Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Comic Book Review - "The Ultimate Unholy Halfbreed"


"The Ultimate Unholy Halfbreed"- Graphic Novel review (comic by Garc Mraci--writer, artist)

So what would happen if actor Robin Williams had sex with a rhinoceros and fathered a half-breed child? That's the question posed by The Ultimate Unholy Halfbreed, and that's the question foremost on my mind when I received my review copy of the book.

I'd heard a lot about Unholy Halfbreed in the weeks prior. For those not in the know, this independent comic book caused quite a bit of controversy due to its over the top themes and depictions of graphic violence. Its main plotline involves the aforementioned act of bestiality and the resulting birth of Rhinoboy, a half-breed bastard child with a real Oedipal complex. He hates his father (Robin Williams) and wants to kill him for raping his mother.

The very premise is the product of a warped mind. But I usually love black humor like that, entertainment that doesn't pull any punches, so I was really looking forward to reading this.

My initial reaction was that of shock and disappointment. The "art" seemed remedial and amateurish. I persisted, though, because the story was so perversely compelling. I had to find out what demented plot twist Mraci was going to introduce next.

And it does get really demented, really quick. Rape, prostitution, bestiality. Mraci doesn't leave a single taboo untouched. This is a book that you read for the characters and the plot, not for the art. Although, after a while, the art grew on me: it has a very Mike Judge ("Beavis and Butthead"), early South Park kind of vibe going for it. Mraci has a unique artistic vision. His drawings are simple, but they're direct and get his plot across. It's clear that his art is just a vehicle for his ideas (which are genuinely very funny).

In fact, more than anything else, this book is funny. I found myself laughing out loud several times, much to the annoyance of my roommate, at the constant stream of gross out humor and sight gags. Robin Williams wearing a pair of ass-less chaps? Check. Rhinoboy visiting a prostitute? Check. There's at least one good line or noteworthy visual on each page.

At just under $20.00, this book costs less than a night out. With the rumors that an adaptation is being developed for Adult Swim's late night cartoon lineup, don't miss out on what many are already calling the indie comic book find of the year.

Rating: B+ -review by Stephen Galackawicz

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Comic Heroes You Should Be Reading About

Although in today's world there are many different comic books and series to choose from, I find that it is best to read from a few series religiously and then pick up single issues that look interesting on the side. For those series you choose to read all the time, I suggest a subscription to ease the continuous blows to your wallet each week or month. For once in a while reads, keep picking them up at the stands but once you feel yourself looking forward to reading that specific comic a few times in a row, you may want to think subscription.

Okay then, that was the easy part, now here comes the hard part. Which comics should I subscribe to and which are best left on the stands? I'm so glad that you asked. In my opinion the best comics to read are the ones that revolve around your favorite comic heroes. Now that may seem pretty self explanatory but look at the key word favorite. Favorite doesn't mean top twelve, instead I would try and subscribe to your top four heroes. I'm not trying to dissuade you from reading more than four comic series. Quite the opposite, read as many as you'd like, but for your wallets sake, subscribing to the top four isn't a bad idea.

"But I like so many comics! I can't possibly just choose four!" you may say. Well, if it is too hard for you to decide on your own who to read let me show you my top four comic heroes and explain why you should also be reading them.

1. Deadpool

Deadpool is hands down my favorite comic book character ever. He has the most unique stories in comics right now chock full of action, women, and ridiculous humor. Deadpool is such a fun read because of the zaniness and open insanity of the title character. He breaks the fourth wall in every issue and is actually aware of his thought balloons (that's right he has two) and the interactions between them all lead to comedy gold. If you aren't reading one of his comics, start.

2. Batman

There's a new Batman in town folks and he certainly has his hands full. All of the Batman series are great and in my opinion are written by the best people in comics at the moment. Paul Dini, Grant Morrison, and even Kevin Smith have been involved in Batman. Although Bruce Wayne he is not, the series keeps its dark tone but with a lighter Batman...for now. Batman is definitely DC's power player and for good reason, check him out in any of five on going series.

3. Green Lantern

The Green Lantern is a book well worth reading, and not only because the current comic event: Blackest Night revolves around him. The Green Lantern is actually a recent reboot. Although Green Lanterns have been around since the Golden Age of comics, the titular hero has changed several times. But most everybody agrees that Hal Jordan is considered the Green Lantern. That's probably why Geoff John's creative team pulled him back from the dead and placed him as the lead in the current Green Lantern series. This Green Lantern complete with a haunted past and an ever changing love life is definitely one to read.

4. Spider-Man

Read Spider-man comics. Or comic, I should say. I especially harp on reading Spider-Man comics because it is so easy to do now. He only appears as the main hero in one comic book The Amazing Spider-Man. It ships three times a month so it is a little more expensive but the convenience of not having to read issues in other series just to stay on track with him is definitely a plus. Spidey's been around for ages, and he is still the same do-gooder with an infinite run of bad luck in all areas of his life. Trust me, Spider-man is arguable the biggest name in comics, and there is a reason why.

Well, there's the top four comic heroes. If you aren't reading these four heroes do your self a favor and start. The writing is superb, the illustrations are gorgeous, and the differing characters provide view points from across the spectrum. So whether your just getting into comics, or are a seasoned vet, make sure you check out these four comic heroes, you'll be sorry if you don't.

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Is Wolverine the Most Successful X-Men Character?

Wolverine was introduced in 1974 in The Incredible Hulk #180, before his first major appearance in the Hulk #181. He is born as James Howlett, but he is affectionately known as Logan. In 1975 Wolverine became part of the X-Men, but he played a lesser role than the other team members. Dave Cockrum even considered dropping Wolverine from the team, but it was Cockrum's successor John Byrne that kept Wolverine in the team. Some suggest that it is because Byrne is a Canadian like Wolverine. Gradually more and more information about Wolverine's murky past was revealed. Wolverine is a mutant, possessing extremely keen senses, enhanced physical power, tremendous healing abilities and of course the trademark retractable claws on each hand. During a secret government project, Weapon X, a near indestructible metal alloy adamantium was fused to his skeletal. Wolverine, probably due to his incredible healing abilities, survived this deadly process. Interestingly enough, it was shown that Wolverine has bone claws after his adamantium was ripped out by Magneto in X-Men #25.

Wolverine is highly intelligent, but his personality is a bit rough. He is usually shown to be a loner and his teamwork within the X-Men is often sporadic. Some other team members are Cyclops, Jean Grey, Gambit, Jubilee and Beast. Wolverine, being almost dropped from the X-Men team, became one of the most successful members of the team. His tough anti-authority mentality made him a favorite of many after the fallout of the Vietnam War. Wolverine became the breakout character and in terms of comic sales and appearances overshadowed his other team members.

On the Fandomania's website Wolverine is rated as number 21 of the 100 greatest Fictional Characters, before characters like Merlin, Robin Hood and King Arthur. Without a doubt Wolverine can be seen as the most successful X-Men character of all times. Perhaps it is due to his famous catch phrase: "I'm the best there is at what I do, but what I do best isn't very nice"

Friday, March 10, 2017

The Batman Costume For Dress Up Parties

If you go to a fancy dress party and look for someone who has dressed up as a superhero for the evening then you can be pretty sure that it will be a Batman costume that you see. Out of all of the comic strip heroes from over the years few have had quite the same appeal as Batman. Of course, you are bound to come across the odd Superman but the Caped Crusader just seems to have a greater overall appeal. Perhaps it is because with a Batman costume you don't have to wear your underpants on the outside of your trousers to attain authenticity... Unless, that is, you are styling your outfit on the camp Batman series of the sixties of course. Since the days of Adam West the Batman costume has changed considerably. When the original outfit is compared with the Gothic inspired one worn by Christian Bale in 2008's 'The Dark Knight' the difference is immediately obvious.

Some things about the style of the Caped Crusader's dress sense have remained relatively unchanged over the years. He still has the scallop edged cape and the eye mask with the pointed ears on top but in other ways the Batman costume of yesteryear has undergone some major changes. If anything, it is now far more Goth orientated in its overall appearance. The alterations quickly became apparent with the release of 'Batman' in 1989.

Michael Keaton and Jack Nicholson brought a far more sombre version of the hero to the big screen. The movie was essentially very dark and even its lighter moments were more cynical than anything that had been seen previously. The new Batman costume was more like body armour in its appearance than the skin-tight grey spandex of the nineteen sixties television series. This was to be the new direction that the look of the Dark Knight was to take. With the release of each subsequent movie the Batman costume took on a more Gothic feel. The body armour slant continued, exaggerating contours and muscles on the hero.

The only dubious part of this evolution of the outfit was in 1997's 'Batman and Robin'. The movie sparked outrage with many fans by the addition of 'Bat-nipples' and a cod-piece to the Batman costume. A great deal of movie-goers and critics found this to be totally ridiculous. George Clooney, who took the lead role for the movie, just doesn't seem to come across as being quite so menacing when confronting super-villains when dressed in this style of outfit. Fortunately, since 'Batman and Robin', the nipples have quietly disappeared from the Batman costume and the films have reverted back to a more serious and darker feel.

If there is a fancy dress party that you have been invited to and you like the idea of getting dressed up as everyone's favourite superhero then there are a variety of styles to choose from. Each of the movies has slightly different takes on the Gothic Batman's appearance. Whichever costume you settle on you are sure to be a popular guest.

Saturday, March 04, 2017

Is Batman A Superhero Or Not?

What exactly defines a superhero? Is it truly necessary for a superhero to have super powers like flying, inhuman strength, x-ray vision or invulnerability?

Most people would quickly state that to be a super hero you must have these abilities. If this is true, the question should be expanded to include others like Iron-Man and Green Arrow. Are they also superheroes or not? In the same sense as Batman, they cannot be seen as super heroes. Some see Batman as a vigilante with a lot of high-tech gadgets but no innate super powers. In their opinion, he can't be a superhero.

Taking a look at the definition of a super hero in the Merriam-Webster, you find a superhero defined as "a fictional hero having extraordinary or superhuman powers" as well as "an exceptionally skillful or successful person." So, even if Batman does not have any superhuman powers, he does have some really extraordinary powers.

He is a very skilled fighter, being a master at various martial arts. He is extremely intelligent and is seen as the Dark Detective for his abilities to solve complex puzzles. He is a master of various forensic sciences, and he has a great understanding of the human psychological processes. Batman is, quite certainly, a powerful individual. He is physically strong and agile. Except for these qualities, Batman also shares quite a lot of commonalities with other fictional superheroes. He wears a costume to hide his true identity. He uses various special equipment, ranging from small utilities on his belt, to his famous bat mobile. He usually fights those who are classified as super villains, like the Joker, Two Face, Killer Croc and the Penquin.

His extraordinary abilities are shown by his ability overcome the lower level thugs, mostly used by the super villains. Even when vastly outnumbered by these thugs, Batman can handle and disable them all with relative ease. These alone moves him into the arena of exceptionally skillful. So even though he has no real super powers, he does fit the definition given by Merriam-Webster. Of course, technology does help him in his shortcomings. He doesn't have x-ray vision, like Superman, but he does have his bat-goggles. He cannot fly, but with his trusted grappling hook, he can move quite effectively between the buildings of Gotham. He uses smoke and stun grenades to overcome a huge number of enemies, and he can pick locks and disable alarms with great ease. What he needs in superpowers, he makes up in gadgets.

The biggest argument for Batman as a superhero comes from the Justice League of America. Distinquished superheroes like Superman, the Flash, Green Lantern, Wonder Woman and the Martian Manhunter work side by side with Batman. Would these superheroes accept a mere human being if he is not up to their standards? The answer is no. The Justice Leaguers reckon Batman as one of them.

Batman does not have any real superpowers, but according to the definition of Merriam-Webster Batman does fit the definition of a superhero, and with real superheroes accepting him as an equal, no doubt Batman can truly and utterly be called a superhero.

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