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Review: Impossible Jones #1

Impossible Jones #1

Karl Kesel and David Hahn seem to be quite fond of 90’s cartoons. Their new comic, Impossible Jones, is often just a panel away from full motion and you can just see its world and characters being broadcast on TV screens, alongside the likes of Batman: The Animated Series and The Tick.

Impossible Jones isn’t just a love letter to those cartoons, though. It’s a comic with an edge that uses nostalgia as a springboard to come up with an inventive story about an accidental superhero that’s hiding a lot of bad under her secret identity.

Impossible Jones #1 kicks off the story of the titular character, a thief that acquires impossible powers—mainly elasticity, but also shadow manipulation and perhaps other skills yet to be revealed—and passes off as a superhero as she looks for her crew, the ones responsible for leaving her behind during the heist that led to her current predicament.

Kesel’s script does a great job of populating Impossible Jones’ universe with a well-rounded cast of characters that already feel storied, familiar enough to help the story move at a brisk pace without having to stop and dump copious amounts of exposition on readers. There’s a fair amount of fun poked at superhero conventions here as well, especially when it comes to character names (which include Holly Daze, Even Steven, and Polecat, all winners in my book).

Impossible Jones #1

The dialogue is kept snappy and agile, helping the story get to where it needs to without getting tangled up with specifics. It’s an economical approach not unlike that employed in individual cartoon episodes, in which the story bustles with activity but not at the expense of worldbuilding. It all unravels smoothly as the narrative progresses, providing just enough character development and plot to feel like a good chunk of story was provided. Fans of Kesel’s previous work, namely Section Zero, will find a lot to like here.

Hahn’s art is completely in sync with the grandiose aspect of the story and its pacing. His previous work on Batman ’66 makes this type of story play to his strengths and not a panel is wasted getting the most out of character interactions and action sequences. Tony Aviña’s colors make everything pop with a larger-than-life feel that captures the more fantastical elements of the story.

Hahn’s character designs also help with the fast and furious storytelling approach Impossible Jones brandishes. Each one wears a part of their story on their proverbial sleeves, another element that’s very present in cartoons given the short runtime the usually have per episode.

Something that surprised me from Impossible Jones’ origins, so to speak, was how much it reminded me of Dr. Manhattan’s in Watchmen. It’s a clever play on the character’s lab accident sequence that, whether intentional or not, made for a particularly memorable part of this first issue. It was good fun associating something as fast and furious as Impossible Jones with something as serious as the Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons book.

Impossible Jones #1

Impossible Jones #1 is a blast, in every sense of the word. It will satisfy readers searching for not-too distant nostalgia in their comics and readers looking for a creative alternative to the usual superhero offering on the shelves these days. To sum it all up, it’s a crowd pleaser.

Story: Karl Kesel Art: David Hahn Colors: Tony Aviña
Story: 9.0 Art: 9.0 Overall: 9.0

Recommendation: Buy and then go dust off those 90’s cartoons you recorded on VHS.

Scout Comics provided Graphic Policy with a review copy


Purchase: Zeus ComicsTFAW

Supermegafest 2015: Interview with Bob Camp

bobcamp

At Supermegafest 2015 held in Framingham, MA I was fortunate enough to meet an animation giant. I got up and close with the man who gave us the gross up, as well one of the greatest cartoons of all time: Ren and Stimpy, Mr. Bob Camp. Bob (sans magic nose goblins) was kind enough to share a few moments time and shed some light on his work in the industry.

Graphic Policy: I grew up with the Ren and Stimpy cartoon, it was one of my favorites. I was fortunate enough to do a tour of Nickelodeon Studios when it was at the height of its popularity. How did you come up with the idea for the character of Ren? What was the background inspiration for it?

Bob Camp: Actually Ren and Stimpy were characters that John K. created for an animated show called Your Gang and he pitched it around Nickelodeon, and they liked the dog and the cat, who were minor characters. They said let’s do a show about those guys. So we created The Ren and Stimpy Show based on those character designs and gave them personality on those designs.

Graphic Policy: The thing about The Ren and Stimpy Show that stands out to me is, it was so different from anything else on Nickelodeon. To me it was definitely an adult cartoon that was under the guise “for kids” especially with the toilet humor..

renandstimpyBob Camp: That’s definitely one way to describe it, but really we were making a kids cartoon. It just depends on your idea of what kids should or shouldn’t see is. I think that kids are smarter than people think. I think that kids know more than people think and they have good sense of humor. They’re funny it’s racy and we designed the show to be for kids and funny to watch because its just funny animation with funny characters doing funny stuff. Then under that we put layer upon layer upon layer of innuendo and suggestive stuff. Not in a creepy handed way mind you, it’s just sophisticated humor. I say sophisticated because it’s got pathos. it’s got satire. It’s got a million different kinds of humor. It’s deep stuff. There are jokes in the drawings and in the attitudes and deliveries. So you know, people have always put stuff in cartoons. If you watch Warner Bros. cartoons from the 40’s there’s tons of stuff in there, that when I grew up I go “Aha now I get that joke”.  So that’s what we wanted to do with Ren and Stimpy. We wanted it to be funny for kids, and then we wanted them to grow up and be just as fun for adults. The show has legs. It has such depth. I think a lot of cartoons are pigeon holed for audiences 6-11 years old. Which is this weird graph that got created for programming. So what happens is you actually talk down to kids and you have these preconceived notions. They go, well we better decide what’s right for a 6 or 11-year-old and I think it’s all b.s.

Graphic Policy: Well said. I think it ended all too soon personally. So how did you feel when they revamped it in the 2000’s when they put it on Spike TV?

Bob Camp: You know I actually had nothing to do with it…

Graphic Policy: Yeah that was way past innuendo. 

Bob Camp: Well, I don’t really have anything to say about it because I haven’t actually watched the cartoon. I was a little annoyed with it when I wasn’t asked to do them, because I was the one who finished the show. I was the one who delivered the show when someone else didn’t. So when that person was asked to do the new shows, and I had no idea they were thinking about it. I didn’t know they were being made. I never even get copies of the DVDs when they came out and somebody else did the commentary on my cartoons. So I wasn’t even given free copies of those cartoons and yet I was the creative director of the show. I was the one who delivered the show. You know I’m the one who directed more of them than anyone.

Graphic Policy: That’s unreal. I just don’t understand that.

Bob Camp: Yeah well.

Graphic Policy:  Do you have a favorite episode you’ve ever worked on? 

Bob Camp: Stimpy’s Invention. It’s my favorite because, well there’s a lot of me in it. I wrote it. It was my idea. I storyboarded it and when we showed it at a big party with lots of hollywood types were there. I mean people were laughing out loud with tears running down their face. I looked around and I’ve never seen anyone do more of a chuckle at even the funniest cartoons before. People were just belly laughing, I thought that “This is a high point in my life.” It was one of those moments that you got to remember and appreciate for the rest of your life. At least I did something right. So when John (K) and I worked pretty closely on a project it came out great and you know that’s kind of my favorite.

Graphic Policy: Well thank you for all your time and insight sir.

Bob Camp: Thank you.

 

*I just have to say on a personal note, Bob was one of the most approachable and down to earth people I’ve met. He answered every question professionally and even took the time to speak with me candidly quite a bit. Plus he signed my very awesome Powdered Toastman and Spider-Man team up from Ren and Stimpy #6. Great guy and very cool cat.

Marvel’s Iron Man & Hulk: Heroes United Smashes Onto the Screen at Wizard World Austin Comic Con

Get ready for the world premiere of Marvel’s Iron Man & Hulk: Heroes United! This all-new animated movie debuts at Wizard World Austin Comic Con on Saturday, November 23, at 12:30 p.m. in Room 14 at the Austin Convention Center. Fred Tatasciore, the voice of Hulk, will make a SMASH-ing appearance to unveil the Marvel Television’s CG-animated feature to Wizard World attendees!

Marvel’s Iron Man & Hulk: Heroes United, is the first full-length direct-to-video CG animation feature that showcases the team-up between two of Marvel’s greatest Heroes – Iron Man and Hulk! When two HYDRA scientists try to supercharge a Stark Arc Reactor with Hulk’s Gamma Energy, they unleash a being of pure electricity called the Zzzax – and he’s hungry for destruction. Together, Iron Man and Hulk are the only force that stands in the way of the Zzzax’s planetary blackout. But first, the Super Hero duo will have to get through snarling Wendigos, deadly robots and the scaly powerhouse, Abomination. Can two of Marvel’s mightiest Heroes find a way to work together without smashing each other before time runs out?

Fred Tatasciore has voiced the Hulk more than any other voice actor for Marvel Television. In addition to this animated movie, he’s brought the Hulk to life in Marvel’s Hulk and the Agents of S.M.A.S.H., Hulk Vs., Marvel’s Avengers Assemble, The Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes, Ultimate Avengers and Ultimate Avengers II. His additional contributions to other Marvel animated series include Beast/Dr. Hank McCoy in the animated series Wolverine and the X-Men and X-Men, and Shingen Yashida in Wolverine.

Schedule of Fred Tatasciore Wizard World Events:

12:30pm – Film screening with Q&A to follow Room #14
2:30 – 3:30pm – Fan signing Booth #106

Marvel-s_Iron_ManandHulk_Heroes_United_Photo03.jpg_cmyk-4 SONY DSC

Facebook Fandom Spotlight: Hasbro’s G.I. Joe

With it being Veteran’s Day, I felt it appropriate to look at another military inspired toyline, comic, cartoon and movie series, G.I. Joe for today’s Facebook Fandom Spotlight. For this report, we’ll also compare the results to a similar property, Transformers.

For this report, I looked at a lot of terms of characters, television shows, video games and comic book series titles. It’s a long, exhaustive list of 49 different terms.

Facebook Population: Over 1,600,000 in the United States

That’s a very small population compared to general comic fans or Transformers fans, both of which is 10 times the size of G.I. Joe fans. Something doesn’t seem to translate as far as social networking and community.

Spanish speakers account for now 220,000 fans, 13.75% in the United States that’s about about a full percentage point lower than Transformers.

Gender and Age

When it comes to the breakdown of men and women, Transformers fans are pretty much similar to the general comic fandom populace. Men account for 58.93%, slightly higher than comics and women make up 41.07%, slightly lower. G.I. Joe however is more heavily male dominated as I’d expect. Men account for 63.75% of fans and women account for 36.25%.

G.I. Joe Fans

gi joe gender 11.11.13

Here’s the gender as it breaks down with age. We see the expected increase of female fans, most likely due to how Facebook users skew to begin with.

G.I. Joe Fans

gi joe gender age 11.11.13

Here’s the breakdown of age and gender for the group. We can see that the largest portion of the fans lies in the age of folks who grew up with the cartoon series and toys, those in their 20s and 30s.

G.I. Joe Fans

gi joe gender age raw 11.11.13

Relationship Status

With a population that’s a bit older than Transformers fans, the percentage of those who are engaged, in relationships or married is higher for G.I. Joe fans.

G.I. Joe Fans

gi joe relationship 11.11.13

And for those that like pie charts.

G.I. Joe Fans

gi joe relationship pie chart 11.11.13

Education

With a population mostly of college age or just graduated, we see that when it comes to the education breakdown.

G.I. Joe Fans

gi joe education 11.11.13

Gender Interest

When it comes to same gender interest, G.I. Joe fans is lower than the general comic fandom, but similar to Transformers fans.

G.I. Joe Fans

gi joe gender interest 11.11.13

That wraps up this edition. Join us next Monday for a new Fandom Spotlight!

Marvel’s Hulk and the Agents of S.M.A.S.H. Clip: Wendigo Apocalypse

BIG HEROES! BIG VILLAINS! AND BIGGER ADVENTURES…this week Share Your Universe with brand new episodes of Marvel’s Ultimate Spider-Man and Marvel’s Hulk and the Agents of S.M.A.S.H.inside Marvel Universe on Disney XD (Sunday, 11a/10c).

It’s the scariest Marvel’s Hulk and the Agents of S.M.A.S.H. episode “Wendigo Apocalypse” as the curse of the Wendigo begins spreading across the team. A-Bomb narrates this Heroic episode turned horror flick joined by Marvel’s biggest clawed Hero, Wolverine. Together, they must all stop the curse from spreading and do everything in their power to prevent from becoming Wendigos themselves.

Marvel’s Ultimate Spider-Man Clip: Return of the Sinister Six

BIG HEROES! BIG VILLAINS! AND BIGGER ADVENTURES…this week Share Your Universe with brand new episodes of Marvel’s Ultimate Spider-Man and Marvel’s Hulk and the Agents of S.M.A.S.H.inside Marvel Universe on Disney XD (Sunday, 11a/10c).

On Marvel’s Ultimate Spider-Man‘s newest episode “Return of the Sinister Six,” Doc Ock launches a surprise attack on Spider-Man and the Heroes. They soon find themselves in one of the most challenging battles of the season when they’re up against the newly reformed Sinister Six. Norman Osborn also returns as Iron Patriot despite Ock’s alternate plans for him.

Danguard Ace: The Movie Collection comes to DVD this November 19 from Shout! Factory

danguard aceWar in space! Transforming super robots! Burning, hot-blooded emotional drama! Danguard Ace is a classic of Japanese animation — created by artist Leiji Matsumoto (Space Battleship Yamato, Starzinger), and originally featured as part of the Force Five series broadcast on US television.  On November 19th, 2013, Shout! Factory will release Danguard Ace: The Movie Collection in a two DVD set.

A new planet named Promete is on the verge of entering our solar system. The World Space Institute tries to reach this new world to tap its resources, but a mysterious malfunction leads to tragic consequences for the brave space pilots and their mission.

Years later, the next generation of pilots, including Takuma, the son of an astronaut who disappeared during the first attempt to reach Promete, trains for a new voyage to the mysterious planet. Takuma and his friends are stationed at Jasdam Base, a high-tech facility where construction has begun on Danguard Ace, an incredible transforming robot that Takuma is destined to pilot.

Walt Disney Japan Announces Marvel Disk Wars: The Avengers!

Marvel_Disk_Wars_The_AvengersWalt Disney Japan has announced that it will produce the first Japanese Marvel animated television series targeted at boys 6-12 years old. Marvel Disk Wars: The Avengers will premiere nationwide on terrestrial television in spring 2014.

In an all out battle instigated by Loki, most of Earth’s super heroes and villains have been trapped inside disks—a new technology originally developed as portable security devices for capturing and securing villains around the world.

The Avengers team up with a group of teens to reclaim the scattered disk, and using their special abilities and techniques (waza), thwart Loki’s evil schemes to save the Earth from ultimate destruction.

Marvel Disk Wars: The Avengers will be produced by Nerima-ku, Tokyo-based Toei Animation Co., Ltd., which has produced multiple successful animated series for kids in Japan. Taito-ku, Tokyo-based Bandai Co., Ltd., which has a highly successful track record with major titles, will be responsible for character merchandising. The three companies will collaborate in creating a fully localized Japanese series as well as providing a lineup of attractive products and merchandise targeting the boys market.

This series launch is a focus to deliver content specific to local tastes and sensibilities.

Previously Marvel in conjunction with Madhouse produced Marvel Anime which saw four series consisting of twelve episodes that featured Iron Man, Blade, the X-Men and Wolverine. That was aimed at a difference audience than this. There has been rumors of more of that series to come.

marvel disk wars the avengers

TV Review: Legend of Korra (S2E6)

“The Sting”

So who knew that the best episode of this season of Legend of Korra wouldn’t feature Korra in any capacity? Sure we had that cliffhanger (which I’ll address), but for the most part, this episode was 22 minutes of secondary characters and subplots.

And thank God for that.

So far, this season has been pretty Korra-heavy, maybe rightfully so (her name is in the title of the series, of course), but Korra’s also been kind of a dick. Plus, with so much of the action set in the South Pole, Mako, Bolin, and Asami have been kind of left out in the cold. (Get it? I’ll see myself out . . .) However, with the show returning to Republic City, the secondary characters can once again have some agency. In fact, I could even talk about their plots separately, which is an incredibly refreshing feeling.

But actually, their plots dovetail extremely well, and everything is connected to everything else, for once. Mako’s frustration at police protocol leads him to set up a sting for whoever stole Varrick’s/Asami’s goods from Varrick’s fifth favorite ship in his fleet. He and Asami hire the Triple Threat Triads for some reason as extra muscle, and ship out to sea, hoping to lure in the hijackers and hit them with the cold hand of justice. Despite the incredibly fun presence of Two-Toed Ping (a character I really hope we see again), the sting goes south when Mako learns that the Triads double crossed him (duh-doy). This leads to what is probably the best fight we’ve seen all season; who doesn’t want to see a bending battle atop speedboats?

Upon escaping Shady Shin and returning to shore, Mako and Asami discover that while they were at sea, the last of her inventory was boosted by whoever hired the Triads; this effectively puts Future Industries out of business. But lo and behold, in comes Varrick to save the day, buying a controlling share of Asami’s company, accompanied by the slyest, oiliest grin even seen on television. At last Varrick is outed as a villain, adding another antagonist into the mix. While that was a little obvious, it’s nice to have an antagonist that isn’t quite as cut and dry evil as Unalaq. Varrick’s motives and goals are a little murkier, which adds some much needed depth to both his character and the season as a whole. This plotline is only tangentially related to the main A plot, but I have no doubt that Varrick will come to have a huge role to play this season, and it adds such flavor to what’s going on now.

Bolin, of course, has the silliest subplot. He gets wrapped up in his “Nuktuk! Hero of the South!” persona, even forcing Mako to use that name instead of Bolin. We get some classic Bolin buffoonery, and I love that he mistakes Ginger’s (admittedly poor) acting for genuine romantic interest. And why wouldn’t she love him?! He’s Nuktuk! Hero of the South! In this plot we again get some great nods to classic, early Hollywood cinema, which I adore. I totally freaked out when they had the silhouette battle. Even this plot, though, meets up with the main thrust of the episode: when Mako visits Bolin on set, he sees some pyrotechnic work and discovers that Varrick’s company manufactures the detonator used on the explosives that destroyed the Southern Water Tribe Cultural Center. So by the end of the episode, Varrick is revealed as both an economic terrorist and a terrorist terrorist. (Unless, of course, Zhu Li is behind everything, which would be really amazing.)

And then we come to the final scene, and Korra has goddamn amnesia. I just can’t handle that trope (or body switching, for that matter). It seems so lazy to me, and it’s been used so often. However, maybe it won’t last long, and maybe it means that Korra won’t be so annoying now. God, that would be great.

Stray(ish) Observations

-I’ve seen enough cop shows to know that a rookie cop can’t just barge in during an interrogation. Come on, Mako. Get yourself together.

-Speaking of the police department, I love those detectives and their facial hair. Particularly that guy who was awkwardly, and sexually, feeling up his hair as he was berating Mako.

-Best Direction of the Episode: This week there were three standout moments for me. 1. That close up of Asami as the boat rises into the air and then falls was amazing. I’m not sure what it really added, but it was super cool. 2. The medium shot of Shady Shin trying to water bend only to be hit in the hand by Mako’s fire. The collision of the fire and water was really cool, as was Shady Shin being forced backwards. And 3. The extreme close up of Mako as he watches the pyrotechnics go off, which are reflected in his eyes. It’s almost like a light was literally going off in his head as he began to understand that Varrick might be involved.

-Varrick named his fifth favorite vessel after his mom. ‘Rest in peace, ‘Rocky Bottom.’”

-Bolin: “Ow! My instrument!”

Written by: Joshua Hamilton Directed by: Ian Graham

Overall Score:9

Zeismic
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