Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Interview with John Belskis of Excellent Adventures (part 2 of 2)

ExcellentAdventuresFacadeHave you been to any of the Albany Comic Cons that have been held in the last few years? If so, you should thank John Belskis for organizing them. John is the proprietor of Excellent Adventures - a comic book store located in the village of Ballston Spa on Milton Ave (Route 50). His store has been a staple of Capital Region comic book stores for many years now. I thought it'd be great to learn a little about him, his store and how he almost single-handedly revived the Albany Comic Con, so I filmed this interview with him. Here's what I asked him in part 2:

0:01 How do you determine that a comic is bound for the discount bin?
1:31 Do you read any current comics?
2:51 Did you think that was a good thing or bad thing when DC rebooted their entire universe?
4:07 What do you think of all the Silver and Golden Age comics available in reprints?
5:09 What's your thoughts on digital comics? Does it make your nervous as a retailer?
6:18 Have you noticed the movies and TV shows bringing in new customers?
8:25 What do you think of the show "Comic Book Men"?
8:54 What do you think of the show "Big Bang Theory"?
9:50 What do you think the future holds for you and the comic book industry at large?

  http://www.excellentadventurescomics....
http://albanycomicbookshow.com/
http://toyshow.albanycomicbookshow.com/
http://twitter.com/COMICBOOKSHOW
http://www.facebook.com/AlbanyComicCon

Monday, February 24, 2014

Interview with John Belskis of Excellent Adventures (part 1 of 2)

ExcellentAdventuresFacadeHave you been to any of the Albany Comic Cons that have been held in the last few years? If so, you should thank John Belskis for organizing them. John is the proprietor of Excellent Adventures - a comic book store located in the village of Ballston Spa on Milton Ave (Route 50). His store has been a staple of Capital Region comic book stores for many years now. I thought it'd be great to learn a little about him, his store and how he almost single-handedly revived the Albany Comic Con, so I filmed this interview with him. Here's what I asked him in part 1:

0:15 How long has this store been here?
0:35 Where are you from, originally?
0:52 How did you get into comics? Which characters and titles did you like?
1:53 When did you start taking collecting seriously?
3:00 What was the inspiration to open your original store?
4:38 How/why did you move from southern New Jersey to Ballston Spa?
6:47 Where did the name "Excellent Adventures" come from?
7:36 What's the square footage and how much inventory do you have?
8:05 How did you revive the Albany Comic Con?
10:10 How many people and vendors are there usually at ACC?
11:12 Any chance of it going to two days?
11:50 Do you sell on eBay or any other online venues?
12:00 How/where do you get your back issues and other collectibles?
13:12 Should the prices of back issues be going up because demand is higher or going down because supply is higher?

http://www.excellentadventurescomics....
http://albanycomicbookshow.com/
http://toyshow.albanycomicbookshow.com/
http://twitter.com/COMICBOOKSHOW
http://www.facebook.com/AlbanyComicCon

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Epilogue | Batman Beyond | vlog #53

In the future of Batman Beyond, Amanda Waller reveals to an older Terry McGinnis she created the project "Batman Beyond" to continue Bruce Wayne's work. The episode is not only the Justice League season finale, but, as a cross over, the final Batman Beyond episode as well. The episode contains many references to prior episodes of Justice League, Batman Beyond, and Batman: The Animated Series such as the death of Terry's father, Ace from the episode Wild Cards, the future Justice League, much of Terry's rogue gallery, the Gray Ghost, and Andrea Beaumont. The episode is also notable for being character driven, exploring the motivations and relationship of the two Batmen; this attribute was common in Batman: The Animated Series but rare in Justice League or Batman Beyond. The final scene in this episode bears a resemblance to the first scene in the episode On Leather Wings of Batman: The Animated Series, as the creative team thought it could possibly be the final JLU episode. Furthermore, it is notable that in the beginning of the episode Terry believed that he was a clone of Bruce Wayne but it is revealed by Amanda Waller that Bruce Wayne is Terry's biological father due to her using genetic tampering. The rift created by Terry discovering his genetic compatibility to Bruce is also healed once Terry discovers that Bruce Wayne was unknowingly his father and talks with him. The truth being revealed to Terry allows him to let go of his anger and fear. He calls his long-time girlfriend Dana in preparation to ask her to marry him, an accomplishment Bruce Wayne unfortunately never has in his own life. Terry also begins to start treating Bruce as his father.
Originally aired: 7/23/2005
Written by: Bruce Timm, Dwayne McDuffie
Directed by: Dan Riba

You can watch this episode online at: http://dubbed-scene.com/justice-league-unlimited-episode-26-epilogue

You can see all of my animated Batman series vlogs at: http://www.youtube.com/user/Chad9976/videos?view=50&shelf_id=8&sort=dd

Friday, February 21, 2014

Unmasked | Batman Beyond | vlog #52

Terry recounts to Max one of his earlier adventures as Batman, during which he revealed his face to a child and inadvertently made the boy a target of KOBRA.
The final official episode of Batman Beyond, "Unmasked" was scheduled to air on September 14, 2001, but due to its terrorism-related content on September 11 attacks it was replaced by a re-airing of "Hooked Up". The actual series finale of Batman Beyond was provided by the Justice League Unlimited episode "Epilogue".
Originally aired: 12/18/2001
Written by: Hilary J. Bader
Directed by: Kyung-Won Lim

You can watch this episode online at: http://www.tvids.me/watch287/Batman-Beyond/season-03-episode-13-Unmasked

You can see all of my animated Batman series vlogs at: http://www.youtube.com/user/Chad9976/videos?view=50&shelf_id=8&sort=dd

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Countdown | Batman Beyond | vlog #51

Zeta returns to Neo-Gotham City to look for his creator, but falls into the clutches of Mad Stan, who turns him into a walking time-bomb. Batman and Ro must track Zeta down before time runs out.
Originally aired: 4/7/2001
Written by: Paul Dini and Rich Fogel
Directed by: Kyung-Won Lim

You can watch this episode online at: http://www.tvids.me/watch287/Batman-Beyond/season-03-episode-12-Countdown

You can see all of my animated Batman series vlogs at: http://www.youtube.com/user/Chad9976/videos?view=50&shelf_id=8&sort=dd

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Curse of Kobra, Part 2 | Batman Beyond | vlog #50

After the leader of KOBRA kidnaps Max to be his wife, Batman is forced not only to rescue her, but to stop KOBRA's plot to revert the world back to when dinosaurs ruled it... with their gene-spliced dinosaur men as the dominant species.
Originally aired: 2/10/2001
Written by: Stan Berkowitz, Rich Fogel
Directed by: Dan Riba

You can watch this episode online at: http://www.tvids.me/watch287/Batman-Beyond/season-03-episode-11-The-Curse-of-the-Kobra-%28Part-2%29

You can see all of my animated Batman series vlogs at: http://www.youtube.com/user/Chad9976/videos?view=50&shelf_id=8&sort=dd

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

The Greatest Fanzines Ever: The Electric Currents Annuals


Electric Current Annuals
1993a Electric CurrentsElectric City Comics in Schenectady is one of the oldest comic book stores in the Capital District. They’ve been around since 1982 and still reside at 1704 Van Vranken Avenue. This was the comic book store of my youth and I have many fond memories of the place. Probably the fondest of which is the “Electric Currents Annuals” that proprietor Bill Townsend released at the end of 1991-1996.

You see, back in the early 1990s, my only source for news and commentary on comics was Wizard magazine and the Electric Current Annuals. I always found them fascinating and remarkably breezy, even though some editions were 50+ pages in length with nearly 1,000 words per page. Each annual contains a detailed recap of the major news and events in comics from its respective year. As you can see from the pictures in this blog, there’s a lot of riffing on all the major comic book publishers as well as individual writers and artists. Most of it is good-natured, but all the criticism of Marvel and of then-owner Ronald Perelman is vitriolic, scathing criticism. I also enjoyed the “Best of” and “Worst of” lists, plus all the analysis and discussion of the industry from an insider’s perspective.
1993b Electric Currents
For the sake of this post, I re-read all the annuals which have all held up pretty well, though there are plenty of dated references that are quite funny in retrospective. I found myself remembering a lot of major sections, as well as a few specific sentences. Just like the first time around, the annuals were both breezy and addictive, so trying to find a stopping point was a challenge. As a writer myself, I am absolutely floored that Bill was able to write these lengthy works in the relatively short time he did. It can take me hours just to write a simple 1,000-word blog. I can’t imagine how long it would take to write a 50,000 word fanzine all by myself.

Here’s a recap of the annuals by year. Click on the links to view PDFs of each issue online. You can also download them. Insert copyright disclaimer here.

1995b Electric Currents Annual1991: “A Look Back”
 
By far the shortest annual at only nine total pages. It reads like any year-in-review article you might see in a magazine or on someone’s blog today. At the time Marvel was an absolute behemoth and DC couldn’t do anything right. Though Image hadn’t yet been formed, Bill declared Rob Liefeld the worst artist of the year. He also awarded Challengers of the Unknown Must Die! by Jeph Loeb and Tim Sale as the worst mini-series of the year. In retrospect, this is pretty funny since Loeb and Sale have gone on to create some of the most critically-acclaimed works in comics in the last few decades (I have that book and will give it a formal review someday).

1992: “The Year of Living Weirdly”

The first annual to have a stylized cover rather than just plain text. Just about triple the size of the previous year’s annual at 24 total pages. There was a lot of major events that took place in 1992, namely: Superman “dying,” and the launch of Image Comics.

1994a Electric Currents AnnualThis annual contains an eight-page essay called “The Insider’s Guide to the Comic Market,” which is a great autobiographical piece on what it’s like to be a comic book retailer. While I’m obviously not a comic dealer, I’ll bet any current comic book store owner could read this today and totally sympathize with it.

There’s a short addendum written by Alan Ekblaw who owned the Excelsior Comics shop in Burnt Hills at the time (and is a frequent commenter on this blog). He does a great job of comparing 1992 to 1986 in terms of events and trends, and he also laments on “The Vanishing $10.” Today, it’d probably be “The Vanishing $20.”

1993: “The Deluge”

April 1993 was the biggest single month for comics ordered and was all due to the speculator craze that was rampant throughout the early 1990s. Superman came back from dead while Batman’s “Knightfall” story arc put him through the ringer. There was also the Image/Valiant crossover “Deathmate.”

This particular issue is a great bashing-fest of speculators, trading cards, and especially Marvel Comics. It includes the first of what would become an annual tradition of Bill pointing out all of Marvel’s blunders and flat-out atrocities that they had committed that year.

1994: “Judgment Day”

This was the year everything changed in comics on the retail side. The speculator bubble finally burst and the result was a rippling shockwave throughout the industry as plenty of publishers and retailers folded up shop. Bill’s tone to this issue is especially bitter and he even makes a point of saying “I am very, very angry. I am going to KICK ASS and NAME NAMES.”

His epic 20-page exposé on Ron Perelman and Marvel Comics isn’t some fanboy rant, it’s a piece of professional journalism that reads like something out of Time, Forbes, or Newsweek. It accounts for nearly 40% of the content of this annual!

1995a Electric Currents Annual


1995: “Boom! Crash! Bang! Or: How To Make An American Quilt”

If you thought 1994 was bad, it was nothing compared to 1995. Marvel nearly single-handedly crashed the entire comic book industry by going exclusive with the small distributor Hero’s World (which they later bought outright). This sent the rest of the publishers into a frenzy and wound up creating a veritable monopoly by Diamond Comics Distributors, Inc. Bill’s anti-Marvel rant only went 14 pages this year. Though he did spend a lot more time discussing the news and trends of the year as well as delving into anime and manga.

1996 Electric Currents Annual1996: “Coming Together, Falling Apart”

By far the longest annual at a whopping 70 pages, it was bound like a magazine rather than simply stapled together. I always thought the last issue came out at the end of 1995, but when I interviewed Bill and Jevon last month, I was flabbergasted to learn there was actually a 1996 annual that wasn’t released until the spring of 1997. I missed it because I had gone off to college at that point and didn’t spend much time in Schenectady anymore. Thankfully, they were kind enough to let me borrow a copy to read and scan. It was akin to time-traveling for me since I was reading something that was 17 years old but was brand new to me.

The 1996-97 edition answered a lot of questions I had been wondering about the industry for years. It’s nice to finally get filled in on what I had missed (better late than never, eh?). It’s amazing how much the comic book industry changed in 18 months. Marvel narrowly avoided bankruptcy, plus their exclusive deal with Hero’s World crashed and burned. Though, I’m sure Diamond was happy to have become a monopoly without even trying.

1996a Electric Currents Annual
thatdarninternet

While this issue does contain the usual Marvel-bashing, it also contains sections ripping on Erik Larsen, Rob Liefeld, Beavis & Butthead, the Comics Code, the Spider-man clone saga, and the “worst of” list is even longer and more detailed than in previous years. There’s also a few paragraphs scoffing at the then-fledgling Internet. This is the only part of the annual that feels dated, otherwise it’s pretty timeless.

I highly HIGHLY recommend all comic book readers give these old “fanzines” a read. Especially if you were a reader at the time. If not, they’re still worth reading for their authentic, historic perspective. Heck, just read them for their entertainment value alone – they’re really that good!

Curse of Kobra Part 1 | Batman Beyond | vlog #49

Terry is sent to Bruce's old friend Kairi Tanaka to brush up on his combat skills, and inadvertently befriends the heir-apparent to the criminal organization KOBRA.
Originally aired: 2/3/2001
Written by: Rich Fogel
Directed by: James Tucker

You can watch this episode online at: http://www.tvids.me/watch287/Batman-Beyond/season-03-episode-10-The-Curse-of-the-Kobra-%28Part-1%29

You can see all of my animated Batman series vlogs at: http://www.youtube.com/user/Chad9976/videos?view=50&shelf_id=8&sort=dd

Monday, February 17, 2014

Betrayal | Batman Beyond | vlog #48

Big Time returns to Neo-Gotham, causing problems for both Batman and his alter-ego Terry McGinnis, who still feels guilty for what happened to Big Time.
Originally aired: 12/9/2000
Written by: Stan Berkowitz & Robert Goodman
Directed by: Kyung-Won Lim

You can watch this episode online at: http://www.tvids.me/watch287/Batman-Beyond/season-03-episode-09-Betrayal

You can see all of my animated Batman series vlogs at: http://www.youtube.com/user/Chad9976/videos?view=50&shelf_id=8&sort=dd

Sunday, February 16, 2014

The Call, Part 2 | Batman Beyond | vlog #47

To get to the bottom of the problem facing the Justice League, Batman must face off against his own teammates—including Superman himself.
Originally aired: 11/18/2000
Written by: Stan Berkowitz. Story by Alan Burnett & Paul Dini
Directed by: Butch Lukic

You can watch this episode online at: http://www.tvids.me/watch287/Batman-Beyond/season-03-episode-08-The-Call-%28Part-2%29

You can see all of my animated Batman series vlogs at: http://www.youtube.com/user/Chad9976/videos?view=50&shelf_id=8&sort=dd

Saturday, February 15, 2014

The Call, Part 1 | Batman Beyond | vlog #46

Superman drafts Batman into the Justice League when he suspects there is a traitor among them.
Originally aired: 11/11/2000
Written by: Hilary J. Bader & Rich Fogel; Story by Alan Burnett & Paul Dini
Directed by: Butch Lukic

You can watch this episode online at: http://www.tvids.me/watch287/Batman-Beyond/season-03-episode-07-The-Call-%28Part-1%29

You can see all of my animated Batman series vlogs at: http://www.youtube.com/user/Chad9976/videos?view=50&shelf_id=8&sort=dd

Friday, February 14, 2014

Speak No Evil | Batman Beyond | vlog #45

Batman reluctantly agrees to aid a genetically enhanced gorilla in finding the poacher who kidnapped his mother.
Originally aired: 11/4/2000
Written by: Stan Berkowitz
Directed by: Dan Riba

You can watch this episode online at: http://www.tvids.me/watch287/Batman-Beyond/season-03-episode-06-Speak-No-Evil

You can see all of my animated Batman series vlogs at: http://www.youtube.com/user/Chad9976/videos?view=50&shelf_id=8&sort=dd

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Out of the Past | Batman Beyond | vlog #44

Bruce Wayne's former love, Talia returns to offer him the chance to be eternally young. But unfortunately, things are not what they seem when Bruce and Terry discover that Talia has a dark secret of her own.
Originally aired: 10/21/2000
Written by: Paul Dini
Directed by: James Tucker

You can watch this episode online at: http://www.tvids.me/watch287/Batman-Beyond/season-03-episode-05-Out-of-the-Past

You can see all of my animated Batman series vlogs at: http://www.youtube.com/user/Chad9976/videos?view=50&shelf_id=8&sort=dd

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Big Time | Batman Beyond | vlog #43

When a friend from Terry's troubled past, Charlie "Big Time" Bigelow, returns, Terry tries to stop him from repeating his mistakes and going back to jail. But when Charlie ends up helping a gang of crooks rob a Wayne-Powers research lab, he is exposed to a dangerous experimental chemical and mutates into a monstrous giant.
Originally aired: 10/7/2000
Written by: Robert Goodman & Tom Ruegger
Directed by: James Tucker

You can watch this episode online at: http://www.tvids.me/watch287/Batman-Beyond/season-03-episode-04-Big-Time

You can see all of my animated Batman series vlogs at: http://www.youtube.com/user/Chad9976/videos?view=50&shelf_id=8&sort=dd

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Inqueling | Batman Beyond | vlog #42

After Inque's latest employer betrays her and blasts her with an experimental weapon that causes her body to slowly dissolve, she is forced to turn to someone she has not seen in years: her daughter.
Originally aired: 9/30/2000
Written by: Hilary J. Bader
Directed by: Butch Lukic

You can watch this episode online at: http://www.tvids.me/watch287/Batman-Beyond/season-03-episode-03-Inqueling

You can see all of my animated Batman series vlogs at: http://www.youtube.com/user/Chad9976/videos?view=50&shelf_id=8&sort=dd

Monday, February 10, 2014

Untouchable | Batman Beyond | vlog #41

Batman goes up against a new, seemingly invulnerable foe called Repeller, who uses technology similar to a prototype that Wayne-Powers' medical division has been developing.
Originally aired: 9/23/2000
Written by: Hilary J. Bader
Directed by: Dan Riba

You can watch this episode online at: http://www.tvids.me/watch287/Batman-Beyond/season-03-episode-02-Untouchable

You can see all of my animated Batman series vlogs at: http://www.youtube.com/user/Chad9976/videos?view=50&shelf_id=8&sort=dd

Sunday, February 9, 2014

King's Ransom | Batman Beyond | vlog #40

The Royal Flush Gang return, minus Ten, in an attempt to regain their reputation. However, after they are double-crossed by Paxton Powers, both Paxton and the gang seek to increase their bank accounts through Bruce Wayne.
Originally aired: 9/16/2000
Written by: Rich Fogel
Directed by: Butch Lukic

You can watch this episode online at: http://www.tvids.me/watch287/Batman-Beyond/season-03-episode-01-Kings-Ransom

You can see all of my animated Batman series vlogs at: http://www.youtube.com/user/Chad9976/videos?view=50&shelf_id=8&sort=dd

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Ace in the Hole | Batman Beyond | vlog #39

When Ace goes missing, Bruce remembers the origin of Ace. Terry discovers an underground dog fighting organization.
Originally aired: 8/19/2000
Written by: Hilary J. Bader
Directed by: James Tucker

You can watch this episode online at: http://www.tvids.me/watch287/Batman-Beyond/season-02-episode-26-Ace-in-the-Hole

You can see all of my animated Batman series vlogs at: http://www.youtube.com/user/Chad9976/videos?view=50&shelf_id=8&sort=dd

Friday, February 7, 2014

Where's Terry? | Batman Beyond | vlog #38

Shriek traps Batman in the abandoned tunnels beneath Neo-Gotham intent on revenge, and Bruce must ally with Max to find him.
Originally aired: 5/27/2000
Written by: Rich Fogel
Directed by: Yukio Suzuki

You can watch this episode online at: http://www.tvids.me/watch287/Batman-Beyond/season-02-episode-25-Wheres-Terry

You can see all of my animated Batman series vlogs at: http://www.youtube.com/user/Chad9976/videos?view=50&shelf_id=8&sort=dd

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Payback | Batman Beyond | vlog #37

A new vigilante who calls himself Payback begins taking revenge on the tormentors of several troubled teenagers, all of whom are in the same therapy group. When Terry goes undercover in the group to find the culprit, he begins to suspect the doctor running the sessions, but Payback's real identity proves to be someone nobody would have expected.
Originally aired: 5/13/2000
Written by: Robert Goodman
Directed by: Kyoung-Won Lim

You can watch this episode online at: http://allnewepisodes.com/goaway/aHR0cDovL3d3dy50dmlkcy5tZS93YXRjaDI4Ny92L3NlYXNvbi0wMi1lcGlzb2RlLTI0

You can see all of my animated Batman series vlogs at: http://www.youtube.com/user/Chad9976/videos?view=50&shelf_id=8&sort=dd

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Sentries of the Last Cosmos | Batman Beyond | vlog #36

A virtual-reality game designer uses three teenage fans' devotion to the game universe in order to eliminate his enemies and rivals (including one inspired by writers Bruce Vilanch and Gary Gygax).
Originally aired: 5/6/2000
Written by: Rich Fogel and John Shirley
Directed by: Dan Riba

You can watch this episode online at: http://allnewepisodes.com/goaway/aHR0cDovL3d3dy50dmlkcy5tZS93YXRjaDI4Ny92L3NlYXNvbi0wMi1lcGlzb2RlLTIz

You can see all of my animated Batman series vlogs at: http://www.youtube.com/user/Chad9976/videos?view=50&shelf_id=8&sort=dd

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

April Moon | Batman Beyond | vlog #35

A bionics designer is forced to give a gang of street punks robotic implants after they kidnap his wife. To stop them, Batman needs a special verbal "kill-phrase" to shut down their implants, but can he convince the designer to give it to him?
Originally aired: 4/22/2000
Written by: Stan Berkowitz & James Tucker
Directed by: Butch Lukic

You can watch this episode online at: http://allnewepisodes.com/goaway/aHR0cDovL3d3dy50dmlkcy5tZS93YXRjaDI4Ny92L3NlYXNvbi0wMi1lcGlzb2RlLTIy

You can see all of my animated Batman series vlogs at: http://www.youtube.com/user/Chad9976/videos?view=50&shelf_id=8&sort=dd

Monday, February 3, 2014

"Batman: Odyssey" by Neal Adams

Batman Odyssey (5)
Neal Adams' original pencils. Can you tell what you're looking at?
When it comes to comics, there's are only two artists I can think of who are considered infallible: Jack Kirby and Neal Adams. Both men were major players in the comic book industry well before my time, and I always heard nothing but praise for them. In the 1980s and 90s I would read interviews with comic book artists who would talk about how influential their art was on them. To this day, I still get the feeling that criticizing either of them would be akin to blasphemy. Well, you'd better get a stake and a firepit ready because I'm about to become a total heretic.

Trying to describe the story of Batman: Odyssey is quite a challenge, because I did not understand it myself. A quick internet search reveals that I am not alone in my confusion. The website ComicsAlliance.com did a complete issue-by-issue analysis of the series and described it as "the most insane comic book we have ever read." Though, I think "convoluted" would be the better descriptor. It's a book that's something of a miracle in that so much happens and yet so little happens.
Batman Odyssey (1)
Bear in mind this is a recap of the story at the HALFWAY point! Also, put a shirt on, Bruce!
The entire story is essentially told as an anecdote by a shirtless and extremely hairy-chested Bruce Wayne who breaks the fourth wall and speaks directly to the reader. What is his story? It's basically everything that ever happened to him, but with absolutely no context whatsoever. He drops us into the middle of an adventure without telling us how he got there, and then cuts to the next anecdote with little to no closure of the previous one. It's essentially flashbacks within flashbacks. They're supposed to be interconnected, but it's so hard to tell because Adams does such a lousy job of basic storytelling. We can never tell where we are and when we are.
Batman Odyssey (3)
Does Talia al Ghul seem like the type to say "Big ol' sloppy kiss"??!! Also note the lack of backgrounds.
This would probably be a little forgivable if the dialogue was able to work. Unfortunately, it seems as though Adams hasn't read a Batman comic since he stopped working on the character so many years ago. Bruce Wayne/Batman acts like a Nicolas Cage character; he always loses his temper, acts like a drama queen, and constantly spews absurd, juvenile quips like "Bull! Stupid! Hell! Idiot! Crap!" Though, to be fair, nearly every character in this story is not their usual self, either. Alfred sounds like he belongs on a soap opera. Commissioner Gordon is a milquetoast who appears to be modeled after Woody Allen. Talia al Ghul is total bimbo, and Ra's al Ghul himself has absolutely no imposing presence whatsoever.

I knew this book was doomed when, about a third of the way through, Batman goes absolutely crazy and nearly kills a villain because he appeared to kill a child. Now, based on that description and no other context you'd think that would be understandable. But it's not a matter of just a panel or two, it's an epic rant that goes on for pages! It appears to be an attempt by Adams to insert some political or philosophical discussion into the book, but it's so poorly delivered via outrageous dialogue and melodrama that it cannot be taken seriously. That was the moment the book "jumped the shark," and a few chapters later I stopped reading it altogether.
Batman Odyssey (4)
Batman possessed by the spirit of The Punisher, apparently.
Maybe it's not fair of me to review a book that I haven't read in its entirety, but since I had no idea what was going on from the get-go, I just couldn't tolerate it any longer (though a lot of the reviews on Amazon mentioning quitting halfway through as well). I really don't know what Adams was trying to accomplish with Batman: Odyssey. He obviously has a great imagination and he's clearly enthusiastic and committed to this story. But it fails because he just cannot convey it to the reader. In some ways, this is reminiscent of a Grant Morrison story in that it's complex and intricate to the extreme, with the major difference being a Morrison comic is at least readable. There just isn't any way to follow to plot here because it is so arbitrary in its delivery.

Lastly, I just wasn't a fan of the art. I know Neal Adams is considered a god among comic book artists, but this doesn't seem to be the work of a master craftsman to me. The characters are cartoony, ugly and messy. Adams' style is not what I would call "clean" (a la Scott McCloud, Jeff Smith, Michael Allred, etc.). He likes to use a lot of lines, and I do mean a lot. His pages aren't so much a series of panels, but rather a series of collages. Some pages have only a few gutters separating the frames, which is innovative to be sure. But again, he can't lay them out in such a way to make the story and dialogue flow. There were several times where I couldn't tell which order I was supposed to read the page. There were also a few times where I couldn't tell I was reading a two-page spread because everything looks the same. Additionally, there are a no borders to this comic - every frame goes to the edge. This is a pain because it makes the area at the interior of the pages difficult to see, let alone read.
Batman Odyssey (2)
A good example of Adams' horrible, out-of-character dialogue and muddled page layout. In what order do you read these panels?
I hate to say it, but Batman: Odyssey is one of the worst comics I have ever read in my life. It's a frustrating, confusing, abrasive story with artwork that is off-putting and poorly juxtaposed. Worst of all, it's a disappointing experience, not only as a Batman fan, but as a fan of comics that a creator of this stature working on a character so revered could end up with a comic so awful. There's enough material here for several series of this length- compressing it all into one did more harm than good. The DC editorial staff could've reigned it in and set Adams on a straighter path, rather than allowing him to wander around aimlessly for the heck out it.

Plague | Batman Beyond | vlog #34

Batman reluctantly joins forces with his former enemy, Stalker, to hunt down a wily criminal named False-Face, who has stolen a dangerous virus for a criminal organization called KOBRA.
Originally aired: 4/15/2000
Written by: Rich Fogel
Directed by: Butch Lukic

You can watch this episode online at: http://allnewepisodes.com/goaway/aHR0cDovL3d3dy50dmlkcy5tZS93YXRjaDI4Ny92L3NlYXNvbi0wMi1lcGlzb2RlLTIx

You can see all of my animated Batman series vlogs at: http://www.youtube.com/user/Chad9976/videos?view=50&shelf_id=8&sort=dd

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Zeta | Batman Beyond | vlog #33

A holomorphic military android has been reported to have gone rogue, and Terry needs to find him before he kills someone. But has the android really gone rogue, or has he just gained a conscience?
Originally aired: 4/8/2000
Written by: Robert Goodman
Directed by: Dan Riba

You can watch this episode online at: http://allnewepisodes.com/goaway/aHR0cDovL3d3dy50dmlkcy5tZS93YXRjaDI4Ny92L3NlYXNvbi0wMi1lcGlzb2RlLTIw

You can see all of my animated Batman series vlogs at: http://www.youtube.com/user/Chad9976/videos?view=50&shelf_id=8&sort=dd

Saturday, February 1, 2014

The Eggbaby | Batman Beyond | vlog #32

Terry is forced to take a computer-simulated "baby" with him everywhere—even as Batman—in order to make the grade in Family Studies. Meanwhile, a family of jewel thieves are plying their trade around Neo-Gotham, stealing priceless rubies.
Originally aired: 3/25/2000
Written by: Hilary J. Bader & Alan Burnett
Directed by: James Tucker

You can watch this episode online at: http://allnewepisodes.com/goaway/aHR0cDovL3d3dy50dmlkcy5tZS93YXRjaDI4Ny92L3NlYXNvbi0wMi1lcGlzb2RlLTE5

You can see all of my animated Batman series vlogs at: http://www.youtube.com/user/Chad9976/videos?view=50&shelf_id=8&sort=dd