Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Interview With Ethan Murphy of Slate & Ashe

Happy day after Memorial Day!  It's my 83rd favorite day of the year!  If you are all about ranking your days of the year, it has to be close to the top half.  I mean, come on.

In today's installment, I am very happy to be interviewing Ethan Murphy!  Ethan is the creator of the Slate & Ashe series coming out.  The premise is awesome, and I love the different approach he has taken with zombies.  Zombies...the undead, NOT the employees at the DMV.  Let's dive in!

Steve: Tell us about yourself!  What is your background, and why comics?
Ethan Murphy: I went to James Madison University to study media arts and design. I originally wanted to be a filmmaker but was convinced by my brother that comics would allow me more creative control and be more gratifying.

S: What creators, in or out of comics, have inspired you?
EM: My single biggest influence was probably the 90's as a whole. Bit of a cop out, I know. I grew up watching next level, AMAZING shows like Batman the Animated Series, X-Men and Dragonball Z. Those three shows in particular showed me as a kid that storytelling can and should transcend mediums. They also showed me how much fun and diverse characters should be.

S: Slate & Ashe has an interesting concept, to be sure.  Tell us all about it!
EM: Slate & Ashe is about a cop and a zombie teaming up to solve a case. It features a version of the undead but is essentially a buddy cop story. Think Lethal Weapon with zombies. However, in this world, the zombies are highly sentient and don't eat brains. In fact, the zombie working with the cop is very similar to Frasier Crane. Haha.

S: Where can I spend my money to follow the adventures of Slate & Ashe?
EM: On June 1st, Slate & Ashe will be available for digital download on Plume Snake. They're a great site and very affordable. We will also personally deliver hard copies of the series to anyone interested. All you have to do is contact us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/slateashe.

S: As a writer, what is your favorite part of the process?  On the flip side of the coin, what is your least favorite part?
 EM: I enjoy virtually every part of the writing process itself but like doing the dialogue the most. It's the best chance to really give the characters a unique voice. My least favorite part is lettering the finished comics. Since our operation is still small, I have to do it myself and am not the best at it. Haha.

S: You get to choose any two superheroes to protect you in the inevitable zombie apocalypse, who are they and why?
EM: Very good question. I would go with Green Arrow since he is a survivalist that is a master archer and The Punisher since he's the single greatest killer in all the comic universes.

S: You can only watch one movie for the rest of your life, which is it?
EM: Another good question. Haha. I've actually thought about this before. Have to go with Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade.

S: Where can people follow you on social media?
EM: You can follow us on Facebook and on Instagram at SlateAshe.
Thanks, Ethan!  I am excited for the launch of Slate & Ashe.  We will be inviting Ethan to join us on the Field of Geeks podcast, as well!  Once we nail down a date, I will post it here and on Twitter.

Monday, May 30, 2016

Captain America (SPOILERS)

Short blog today, ladies and gentlemen.  I have an appointment tomorrow in Helsinki to discuss replacing my blood with mayonnaise.  Don't judge me, people.

So...Captain America has been an agent for Hydra?  The worst part of this idea is the fan backlash already starting.  I only have one piece of advice to people getting upset over this: let the story play out.  When Bruce Wayne died, did anyone doubt he would be back?  When Supes and Doomsday slugged it out, we knew it was a matter of when Superman would come back, not if.  Comics has an endless supply of these examples. 

Stay patient people, outrage culture is exhausting.

Cue asteroid.

Thursday, May 26, 2016

(After) Rebirth - Spoiler Free

Ha.  See what I did there?  Yeah, it was dumb.  I didn't have time favorite for a super-witty title, as I was in Tibet changing the oil in some lamps at a Monastery.

After buying a physical and digital copy of DC's Rebirth (and reading them both), I am happy that report that it was outstanding!  As a critic of certain elements of the New 52, this old fan is excited about the direction.  Execution is everything, and seeing the return of a major player (as well as the addition of an interesting protagonist) was just fun.

Comics should be fun, right?  I've read a lot of reviews and a lot of fan chatter in relation to Rebirth, and the Internet is a great reminder that you can't please everyone.

This is an exciting time for DC, as they are focusing on the legacy of their impressive stable of characters.  It is really an exciting time for comics, in general, really.  Between the big 2, and all the independent companies, there is an incredibly diverse selection of comics on a variety of platforms.  With a lot of press and industry focus on Marvel and DC, there are so many other cool choices out there, too.  I encourage anyone reading to pick up something new.

In the 90's (1990's, I was not collecting comics in the 1890's), it was extremely rare if I went outside of DC or Marvel.  Dark Horse and a little Valiant was pretty much it, as well as the new kid on the block, Image Comics.  Today, there are a lot of new creators and companies trying to get their work out there for us to enjoy.

Soon I will be talking about a lot of cool stuff that falls outside of "Big Comics", and I hope you enjoy the conversation as much as I do.

Rebirth gets 5 out of 5 Wally/Barry hugs.

Monday, May 23, 2016

Sunday, May 22, 2016


Over at the Field of Geeks podcast, we had a great discussion about DC Comics and the creative directions with both, the comic line, and the cinematic/tv universes.  This is timely with the Rebirth "event" around the corner this coming Wednesday.

In a recent interview with Jim Lee and Dan Didio, they addressed the lack of "legacy and generations and the things that were hallmarks of the DC Universe."  Awesome!  That means that it will be fixed! As a lifelong fan of DC, in particular, I couldn't be more excited.  Will Tim Drake have a history as "Robin" again?  Will the Superman books be coherent again?  The Justice Society?  Lots of questions...

Of course, one question I have is the overall direction at DC.  It doesn't take a rocket scientist to know that when you pull a "New 52" on your audience, you are going to alienate a number of your readers, especially grumpy old people like me.  It also isn't brain surgery to understand that it is very difficult to maintain large, consistent audiences in comics.  I understand that DC was trying to make something work.  That said, the DC universe has been around a long time, about 78 years.  The characters that have come to us in that time have seen tons of change, some good and some bad.

The point I am trying to make (terribly), is that in a fickle market place, huge changes are very risky.  It is easier to operate under a "no risk, no reward" mentality when business is booming.  Comic business is not booming.  DC is not booming.

The $890 million dollar "failure" that was Batman v Superman is proof of a couple things...

1.) Critics are dumb.
2.) You can't just slap together your toys in the sandbox and just expect great things to happen.

Some of the backlash is deserved.  I personally believe Snyder should not be directing comic movies. Google "Snyder" and Batman rape, if you don't believe me.

Enter Geoff Johns.  He has been the architect of the some of the best that modern DC has had to offer.    Now he has built Rebirth, and moves directly off to save DC in other mediums.  If anyone can do it, he can.  He has genuine love for the characters, and it has always shown.

It's only a matter of time until he heads DC.  Sooner the better.

Monday, May 9, 2016

Civil War - Spoilers Probably

Like many people from our planet, I saw Civil War over the weekend.  The reviews for this film have been overwhelmingly positive (shocker), as has audience reaction.  Personally, I felt that to not even mention Abraham Lincoln was just unacceptable.  As President during a time of upheav...excuse me a second...

Sorry.  I was just informed this was supposed to be a superhero movie, not a tale during a turbulent time in our nation's history.  Like, omg, I am SO embarrassed!!!!!!!!!

As superhero movies go, this movie has them.  It also has zany Marvel quips and other scintillating banter we have come to expect from Robert Downey, Jr. and friends.  Did anyone catch the Jessica Jones cameo?  Yeah, I made that up.

This movie was excellent, all kidding aside.  Welcome Spider-Man to a studio that knows what they are doing.  For the small amount of time the wall crawler was on the screen, I am now eagerly waiting for his film.  Black Panther was also a very welcome addition to a film that was heavy on characters, and still managed to pull it off.

What irritates me has nothing to do with the actual movie.  It has to do with what I am reading on the interwebz.  "See DC?!  This is how it's done!"  Because I am one of the MAJORITY of people who enjoyed Batman v Superman, and read various outlets discuss how Civil War will blow away BvS, I went into the movie and actually had to struggle to be objective. 

Part of me wanted to find things to complain about just to throw it in the face of people who do not understand that these are two different types of movies that happen to be in the same genre.  Stop comparing the two, please. 

Back to Civil War...

It is no surprise that the movie version is different than the comic version of the storyline, and I am glad we didn't see anyone die.  That is such a lazy and overused way to advance a story in comics.  The fact that they were able to deliver great action, and a good story proves that you do not need to kill off heroes to tell stories.

5 out of 5 Aunt Mays.  Rawr.