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Johnny California

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About Johnny California

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    Street Magician
  1. Considering the tight schedule PLANETARY keeps, can't you forgive Ellis just a little bit if he rushes inconsequential plot points like the deaths of the series' major villains to get the issue on the stands in a timely manner?
  2. The art is great, and the story is okay.
  3. Mean, but very funny.:) Surely Bradstreet used a reference for this cover. The guy doesn't pick up a pencil unless he sees a photo of it first. Is it a Golden Dawn image? Goetic?
  4. I had to brief a friend about Frank Miller who was meeting with Miller and the producers just after they'd shown the director's cut of 300 to him (Miller, that is). He said he only had four notes for Snyder, but he didn't say what the notes were. So one of them could've been, "never touch one of my books again!" ;) Actually, Miller was very happy with the film, it seems.
  5. Is the plan to mimic the shots from the comic book using greenscreen CGI?
  6. And hopefully Nixon will still be President.
  7. And he's gotten a lot of indy heat lately with excellent performances in KISS KISS BANG BANG (speaking of, Kilmer would make an interesting Stark as well) and A SCANNER DARKLY. However, I agree that Zane would be another interesting choice, but where's he been. Personally, I really liked his over the top performance in the HBO Tales from the Crypt film, DEMON KNIGHT. Power Rings? In the Marvel Universe? Mandarin=Sinestro?
  8. I'm glad you think so. Perhaps you can lay the cosmology out for me, then, using evidence from the movie, because I found it to be quite muddy: What's a half-demon? Where do they come from? Is Gabriel a full angel or a halfie? Why does Hell's Bible have more words tyhan the Earth version? Was Satan in on the Counsel of Trent? Essentially, it seemed apparent from the scene where Constantine threatened to save Balthazar that "half breeds" (demons and angels) were a combination of deceased human souls with the presence of spritual angels and demons. This has some precedence in Alan Moore's Swamp Thing where Arcane is able to become a sort of demon in Hell, but it is not exactly the same thing. In John Shirley's novelization, after Gabriel loses his/her wings and becomes human, Chaz takes on the role as chief of the angelic forces in Los Angeles. This really goes back to the Hollywoodized IT'S A WONDERFUL LIFE and general Americana concept that people can "earn" their wings in the afterlife. On the converse side, they can earn their horns and pitchforks as well. With Gabriel and Balthazar, I'd assume as Archangels and Archdemons, they are not only ancient spiritual beings but are also combined with blessed and damned souls that are very old as well. Therefore, it is conceivable (though pretty stupid) that since he's got half a human soul, Balthazar might think it is possible he could find himself unwillingly saved. Perhaps the Angels and Devils as named are simply roles or "offices" that souls can earn in the afterlife with the Royal Families of the Trinity in Heaven and Satan, his Son Mamon and presumably the Whore of Babylon as the only true everlasting personages. The idea that Hell has a Bible is pretty fun, but I don't know why Corinthians has more chapters than the one here on Earth. Perhaps there is less in other chapters. It could be that Heaven's Bible is slightly different as well. The point was that Hell's bible tells the same story but with different emphasis and interpretation. It's obviously propaganda, but the Devil's story is that the war with God ends with him ruling Earth in Hell. The interesting part of the cosmology for me would be that Demons and Angels once they manifest on Earth, since they have half-human souls would also have free-will again and the ability to be damned or saved so both Heaven and Hell would want to ensure their people were properly indoctrinated to prevent a crossover. It sets up not only an occult version of a criminal underworld (like in most Film Noir Private Eye stories) but also of a kind of Cold War with double-agents and triple-agents not sure whose side their really on.
  9. Ah, the sweet naivety of someone who hasn't read Proust. :) Seriously, Sandman isn't all that complicated. There's plenty of nuance, but the basic plot is relatively straightforward, as Gaiman's 15-word summary rather neatly proves. It's pretty straightforward if you simply follow Morpheus around. But really, even that is as hardly straightforward as that one line implies. It doesn't feel as if that is really what the story is about until you get near to the last volume. How many central and pivotal characters does the book have? Probably as many as all of Shakespeare's tragedies put together. Even those who show up for only one issue suggest untold epics since most of them are very ancient and immortal. Each one has his or her own narrative (sometime with many subplots) and impact or reflect the central theme of Morpheus' journey and the changing nature of human consciousness and understanding as it begins to invade his realm. But really I was comparing the autobiographical nature of the Sandman volumes as Gaiman uses the story to explore his own dreams and the nature of the relationship between his imagination and the even more inexplicable external world he wanders through.
  10. That reminds me - wasn't there a Monty Python sketch about a game show where the contestants had to summarize Marcel Proust's seven-volume minutely introspective novel IN SEARCH OF LOST TIME in fifteen seconds? I think as far as the nature of the novel goes, SANDMAN could sit alongside Proust's work. Has anyone besides Carey used the new King of Dreams?
  11. BTW, were most of you reading comics at that time? I think that there were reasons to split them, but the result sorta made the reasoning irrelevant anyway. First, and hardly anybody remembers this, there were very few writers back then who could do what Moore, Gaiman and the other UK writers were doing at DC. If they tried, they would just screw up the characters irretrievably. Second, the way the "mature" titles were going, unless you split them, few writers would be writing stories that kids would read anymore - all the DCU would be for an increasingly older audience. However, both these eventualities happened anyway. Less skilled writers simply took the superficial "grim and gritty" elements and turned the books into bad copies of Moore and Miller's comics AND the younger readers left anyway. Moore and Miller's books were dark, but they were intelligent as well. I'd also argue that Moore's regular pre-Crisis stories (as well as stories like Gaiman's LEGEND OF THE GREEN FLAME) showed that there was still plenty of potential for the DCU before COIE. However, not long after WATCHMEN, DKR and SANDMAN, everyone started doing dark books. It really doesn't matter if titles are grim and gritty or light and fun if they are also dumb and dumber.
  12. You know, it seems intentional that the First in Hellblazer is absolutely not Lucifer (isn't that explicitly stated?), but I'd also say that Lucifer in Carey's title seems very different from Lucifer in Sandman. Perhaps it was simply the differences in artists' rendering, but Carey's Lucifer seems much less vain and feminine than Gaiman's.
  13. Oddly, I was just reading a very funny book called HOW PROUST CAN CHANGE YOUR LIFE. In it, the author talks about Proust's convictions that the number of human types is so limited that you can constantly have the pleasure of meeting people you "know" no matter where you go. And in fiction, you constantly read about people you know as well due to the same finity of types of people. I'm sure everyone has met two or three John Constantines in various ways in the years since he was first set down in comics.
  14. I've shat worse visions of hell than "Frances the d'rekter" came up with. I liked the basic idea that it was our world as if it had been destroyed by global warming or a nuclear war - in other words - the worse that mankind could possibly make out of this planet. There were plenty of inconsistencies though (AND the cloudy view of Heaven at the end was a real let down since it was so traditional) but I liked that they didn't go with the usual Medieval Inferno that you see even in the comics. There really is no reason hell would look like what people thought it did four hundred plus years ago. Just as there is no more reason for angels, spiritual beings, to have wings than to have helicopter blades attached to their backs. I also liked the idea that soldier demons were the damned who'd had everything but the reptilian brain scooped out. My problem with most of the concepts (other than the fact they just had nothing to do with the basic concept of Hellblazer) was that the filmmakers didn't commit to or really explore them and broke their own rules whenever convenient.
  15. I can't think of anything significantly literary in the past few months. Of recent books, I think BONE is exemplary in the way it combines the literary with the feeling of classic (1930's) newpaper cartoons. Also, Paul Pope's work seems extremely novelistic. My favorite of all the "Graphic Novels" is by far Dave McKean's CAGES but it must be ten years old right? As far as Hellblazer, I'd be interested in seeing characters that inspired him and the characters he's since inspired. Would F. Paul Wilson' "Repairman Jack" be in the same ballpark as "Jack" Constantine?
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