Published: February 10th, 2010
Written by: Neil Gaiman
Art by: Andy Kubert, Scott McKowen (covers)
Marvel Comics, 246 Pages
This started out as a really cool story and I enjoyed it a lot from the get go. However, it did lose steam after a few issues and wrapped up pretty weakly. I also thought the big reveal/twist was fairly predictable and that this didn’t live up to the high hopes I had for it and the past work of Neil Gaiman.
Still, it piqued my interest enough to make me want to check out some of the other stories that take place in this odd, alternative version of the Marvel universe.
I liked the setting and I really liked most of the character designs. I did, however, feel like too many characters and subplots were forced in for the sake of trying to make this a big deal, big event. A lot of the extra fluff was unnecessary and narratively cumbersome.
I don’t know if that was an issue with Gaiman’s writing or Marvel instructing him to throw in every major old school character. I feel like all the extra characters could’ve been saved for their own interesting spinoffs of this.
Beyond the rickety story, I thought that Andy Kubert’s art was pretty damn impressive. Artistically, this is one of my favorite things that he’s done and the style he used here fit with the story really well.
Also, the covers by Scott McKowen are some of my favorite from this comic’s era. They’re actually framed poster worthy and while staring at them, I thought about seeing if I could buy some.
In the end, Marvel 1602 was a fun experiment and it captivated me early on. But it was too dragged out and overloaded and with that, became more of a chore to read in the back half.
Pairs well with: other Marvel alternative timeline stories, as well as other comics written by Neil Gaiman.
Published: June 18th, 2008
Written by: Neil Gaiman
Art by: John Romita Jr.
Marvel Comics, 231 Pages
The thought of reading an Eternals comic written by Neil Gaiman was an exciting one. I loved the original Jack Kirby series, as well as the second big Eternals story that saw them appear in the pages of The Mighty Thor for over a year.
Sadly, this was an underwhelming disappointment.
What sucks even more about this is that the art was done by John Romita Jr., one of my favorite artists, whose work I fell in love with when I discovered him during Ann Nocenti’s Daredevil run.
The big problem with this story is that it’s just really boring. It features many of the core Eternals characters, brings in the Celestials and the Deviants, while also featuring Iron Man, Yellowjacket and Wasp. Still, it’s drab and reading this was a slog.
I really wanted to like it. It seemed like a potential perfect storm of awesomeness. It just left me feeling bored and empty.
It’s hard to peg why this didn’t work but maybe Gaiman was resting on his laurels. While I mostly liked the Romita art, it also felt like it was unfinished. Maybe the coloring was the issue but for whatever reason, nothing truly popped off of the page.
Frankly, this was a weak effort and a really forgettable comic regardless of the names attached to it.
Pairs well with: other earlier Eternals stories, primarily those by Jack Kirby and their early crossover with Thor.
From For the Love of Comics’ YouTube description: A look at the Absolute Sandman, the ‘superdeluxe’ edition of Neil Gaiman’s classic comics series. Includes a comparison between the original-issue and recoloured pages. We talk about the size, the binding, the extras and put the Absolute Sandman side-by-side to the original issues.
Release Date: July 24th, 2008 (Comic-Con International Independent Film Festival)
Directed by: Frank H. Woodward
Cast: Ramsey Campbell, John Carpenter, Guillermo del Toro, Neil Gaiman, Stuart Gordon, S. T. Joshi, Caitlin R. Kiernan, Andrew Migliore, Robert M. Price, Peter Straub
Wyrd, 24 Frames, BintFilm, 90 Minutes
I didn’t know if there was a good documentary on H.P. Lovecraft but I felt like I wanted to watch one, so I found this. Luckily enough for all those who are interested, it is streaming for free on YouTube. Granted, that could change at any moment.
What’s great about this is that it is a pretty legit and well produced documentary. It features several notable people between Neil Gaiman, Guillermo del Toro, John Carpenter, Stuart Gordon, Peter Straub and others.
This goes through all the motions like you’d expect it to, as it discusses Lovecraft’s childhood, the things that shaped him and then it delves deep into his work and what it meant to people, primarily those being interviewed.
Overall, this is pretty standard, even though it definitely doesn’t feel like some hastily thrown together extra for a random horror box set. It’s a documentary created to stand on its own and it does quite well.
All of the interviewees did a good job providing stories, context and discussing how Lovecraft has influenced their creations.
It’s definitely worth checking out for fans of Lovecraft’s work, the stories he’s inspired or even just his film adaptations like Re-Animator, From Beyond, Dagon and more.
Pairs well with: H.P. Lovecraft film adaptations, as well as other documentaries about great literary figures.
Original Run: May 31st, 2019 – current
Created by: Neil Gaiman
Directed by: Douglas Mackinnon
Written by: Neil Gaiman
Based on: Good Omens by Terry Pratchett, Neil Gaiman
Music by: David Arnold
Cast: Michael Sheen, David Tennant, Sam Taylor Buck, Adria Arjona, Michael McKean, Miranda Richardson, Jack Whitehall, Jon Hamm, Frances McDormand (voice), Nick Offerman, Mireille Enos, Brian Cox (voice), David Morrissey, Johnny Vegas, Benedict Cumberbatch (voice)
Narrativia, The Blank Corporation, Amazon Studios, BBC Studios, 6 Episodes (so far), 51-58 Minutes (per episode)
When I first saw that Michael Sheen and David Tennant were in a show together, I knew I’d have to watch it. There was absolutely no doubt about that.
Then once I put it on and the episodes started rolling, I was really excited to see and hear Jon Hamm, Nick Offerman, Frances McDormand, Michael McKean, Miranda Richardson, Brian Cox, David Morrissey and Benedict Cumberbatch. We also got Mireille Enos in maybe her coolest role of all-time.
Needless to say, this six episode television show, which I hope lives on beyond one very short season, is chock full of immense talent. And that includes the cast members that are lesser known. Everyone on this show carries their weight and no one drags ass.
This was created by Neil Gaiman, based off of a novel he wrote almost thirty years ago with Terry Pratchett. I’ve never read the book but I might have to check it out now, based off of how cool this show is.
Now Good Omens isn’t perfect but I also don’t care that it’s not. It’s engaging, very, very human and it challenges its own subject matter, giving its audience hope for something more than the simple doom and gloom of an eventual biblical Armageddon. However, I’m an atheist but I know that most people aren’t and that some of what’s featured on this show is very real to them.
Sure, this is comedic, dramatic and fantastical but it exposes some of the very things that I’ve always questioned about the Christian mythos. As I was brought up very religiously, I had questions and doubts that I never felt got satisfactory answers and I was never really allowed to even have doubts or question the authority that dictated these things to me. So I’m glad that this show puts it all out there.
The production is stellar, the show looks great, its well acted, well written, has great pacing and good direction.
My only real concern is that I hope it can maintain its quality if this goes on for longer. But I also feel that it needs too. The story of this season is concluded within the six episodes but it opens the doors to a lot of new things going forward.
But since this seems to be a big hit for Amazon and the BBC, I’m pretty sure we’ll get new episodes of Good Omens for at least a few more years.
Pairs well with: What We Do In the Shadows, American Gods and Lucifer.
Release Date: September 16th, 2007 (UK)
Directed by: Peter Boyd Maclean
Cast: Jonathan Ross (host), Neil Gaiman, Alan Moore, Stan Lee, Joe Quesada, Mark Millar, John Romita Sr.
Hot Sauce, BBC, 59 Minutes
In Search of Steve Ditko was a one hour documentary special hosted by Jonathan Ross in 2007. It aired on one of the BBC channels but I’m not sure which one. I’ve had a DVD-R of it for a decade though and I figured I should revisit it, especially since Ditko passed, earlier this year.
Also, it’s on YouTube, so anyone can watch it if they want to.
The purpose of this documentary was two fold.
First, Ross wanted to do a biography piece on Ditko and interviewed a lot of other iconic creators to talk about him.
Second, Ross wanted to track down Ditko and meet him, possibly for an interview, but mostly to express his love of the man’s work.
While Ross does get to meet his hero, it happens off camera and we don’t get to see the reclusive Ditko appear. I’m fine with that even if others may be let down, as I believe in respecting the man’s privacy. And if you love Ditko, this is still a fine retrospective on his career and his influence on the comic book medium.
There are some great interviews here with Neil Gaiman, Alan Moore, Mark Millar, John Romita Sr. and even Stan Lee, who discusses who should get the credit for creating Spider-Man.
All in all, this was a good watch and for fans of Ditko, this is a nice, quick rundown of the importance of his work in comics.
Pairs well with: other comic book documentaries like The Image Revolution and Chris Claremont’s X-Men.
Release Date: September 21st, 2014 (Fantastic Fest)
Directed by: Paul Goodwin
Cast: Neil Gaiman, Grant Morrison, Dan Abnett, Brian Bolland, Carlos Ezquerra, Alex Garland, Dave Gibbons, Scott Ian, Karl Urban, Nacho Vigalondo, various
Deviant Films, 110 Minutes
I don’t know if I’m just burnt out on these type of documentaries but this one didn’t keep my attention.
Reason being, it didn’t tell a story, really. It did go through the history of 2000 A.D. but everything was done in a heavily edited interview format. There was no narration and this felt kind of disorganized.
Being an American and not as familiar with this comic as someone from the UK, I was hoping for a good, comprehensive history on this. It probably works well for UK fans but Stateside I felt like it missed the mark.
Granted, it was cool seeing a bunch of creators, whose work I love, talking about 2000 A.D. with a lot of passion. I liked seeing the bits on Judge Dread and the stufff involving Neil Gaiman and Grant Morrison. Their two cents are always worth the price of admission when it comes to talking about comics of the past.
Still, even though this was full of people I wanted to hear from, it was quite long for what this needed to be and for how it was presented.
Maybe get some narration, organize the sections a bit better and tell a more cohesive story.
Pairs well with: other comic book documentaries of the last few years.
Published: November 15th, 2011
Written by: Todd McFarlane, Neil Gaiman, Frank Miller, Alan Moore
Art by: Todd McFarlane
Image Comics, 192 Pages
Well, after Spawn: Origins Collection, Vol. 1 left me wanting more, I had to jump right into this second volume.
This collection covers issues 7 through 14 but it omits issue 10, which I actually just read in chronological order because I still have my original Spawn comics up into issue twenty-something.
The first issue in this collection sees Spawn call out Overt-Kill in an effort to finish their intense battle from the previous issue. Spawn is intent on finishing the job and the second meeting between the two is pretty grand.
After that, there is an issue featuring Billy Kincaid and what happens to him after death. It also shows you what the different layers of Hell are like in the Spawn universe.
We then get introduced to Angela, who would become a pretty popular character in the Spawn series and would eventually move on into Marvel Comics, leaving Image and the Spawn series behind. She’s a character with a really weird journey through comic book history but she got her start in Spawn issue 9.
Probably the most important part of this collection is the two issue story arc that covers Spawn confronting his killer. While I remembered this being much more epic when peering back into my 13 year-old self’s memories, it was still a pretty good story but left a lot unresolved.
The final issue included in this collection is the first half of a tale that Violator tells to a group of kids, which then carries on into the first issue of Spawn: Origins Collection, Vol. 3.
This is a better group of stories than the first collection and it helped to enrich the Spawn mythos. Although, the first book is necessary in order to pick this one up. This is where Spawn started to figure out what it was and Todd McFarlane really found his footing in these issues.
Pairs well with: The other Spawn: Origins collections and other early Image Comics releases, especially Youngblood and The Savage Dragon.
Published: August 1st, 1995
Written by: Neil Gaiman, Mark Waid, various
Art by: Bernie Mireault, Joe Matt, Matt Wagner, various
DC Comics, 192 Pages
Ever since reading one of my favorite collected editions of all-time The Greatest Joker Stories Ever Told, when I got it back in 1989, I’ve wanted other big collections of Batman’s best villains. In recent years, DC Comics released some villain collections under the Arkham title. But before getting into those, I picked up this, which was a special release around the time that Batman Forever came out in theaters in 1995.
By the title and the cover, this obviously focuses on Two-Face and Riddler stories. It does also feature one Penguin tale too, as one of the tales collected here was the Original Sin sin story written by Neil Gaiman, which appeared in the Secret Origins Special #1 in 1989.
Like The Greatest Joker Stories Ever Told, this trade paperback covers Two-Face and Riddler stories as far back as 1941 up through the early 1990s, just before this was released.
It gives the origin stories of both supervillains. In the case of Two-Face, we actually get to see three different variations of his origin. While names and details may conflict, it fleshes out who he is really well.
The only real negative is that this is pretty short at less than 200 pages. Therefore, there is more emphasis on origin stuff and not much in regards to just regular stories and run-ins with Batman.
The Arkham series of trade paperbacks will rectify that for me, as each one is much bigger than this book and focused solely on one villain per volume.
Still, if you are a fan of Two-Face or the Riddler, this is something you should add to your collection, as it gives you their first stories and shows how they have evolved over the decades.
Pairs well with: The villain anthologies under the Batman – Arkham banner.
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