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Monday, July 30, 2007

The Monday Briefing -- Here's all the news that came out of San Diego that interests me...

* Conan is ending with #50, and relaunching as Conan The Cimmerian. Writer Tim Truman is staying on. I'll probably keep reading, but I wish the end of the first series had coincided with Kurt Busiek's departure, it would have been a cleaner break, somehow. I'll miss Cary Nord's artwork, but it hasn't looked as nice since Richard Isanove started colouring it anyway.

* Warren Ellis is writing Astonishing X-Men after Joss Whedon and John Cassaday wrap up their run. Title to be relaunched as Astonishing X-Men: Second Stage to provide a discreet existence for Whedon's run. That makes sense. This one could go either way, but I'm willing to give it a chance.

* Seems like it's all superhero news, but the big one for me, and I hate to admit it, is Grant Morrison and JG Jones as the creative team for DC's Final Crisis. Infinite Crisis and Identity Crisis were utter shit, to be sure, but both of them were written by writers who have failed to entertain me every single time I have tried to read their godawful hackwork. Seven Soldiers didn't bowl me over like I hoped, but Morrison and Jones were utter magic on Marvel Boy, so I am hopeful this will rise to something close to the standard that title set back in the glory days when Morrison was re-imagining the Marvel universe as adventure comics for grownups. Man, that was a long time ago, huh?

* The San Diego Comicon news was exhaustingly spandexy, as you might expect, but if you want it all in one place, Newsarama's San Diego summary page has links to all their stories.

* After looking at that page, I am more convinced than ever that, if I were to make the effort to attend a major comic book event, TCAF clearly is the one for me.

* By the way, I've seen the new Babylon 5 straight-to-DVD movie, and I have to say that J. Michael Straczynski writes better B5 than he does comics, these days. If you liked the show in its glory days (specifically seasons 2-4, but, all of it is worth watching), the new DVD is like coming home. It's two stories, one about Susan Ivanova Elizabeth Lochley and a literal crisis of faith, the second about President John Sheridan tasked with a nightmarish choice just as he thinks he can finally settle into enjoying his post-Shadow War life. The second story is better than the first in the sense that it invokes more of what was great about the show at its best, but both stories are riveting stuff, well acted, well written, and well directed. The effects look miles better than what was possible in the 1990s, too. After a couple-three failed attempts at a sequel, it seems like Straczynski has finally found a way to keep the series going in a way that doesn't seem tangential to the spirit of the original five-year story, and I'd be happy if we got many more DVD movies at this level of quality storytelling.

* Oh, my invoking Susan Ivanova there was not me being snarky: I suspect the first story may have originally been conceived with her character in mind; it just seems like something that would have fit if the actress playing her hadn't left the series way back when under less-than-perfect conditions. But it worked with Lochley's character just fine, too. One of the things I enjoy about B5 as a whole is the ways Straczynski had to deal with real-life realities crashing into his five-year plan for the show, such as actors and actresses leaving before their character's arcs were complete. It was sometimes messy (Ivanova into Lochley), but sometimes made for a far better show (Sinclair into Sheridan).

* I spent most of my weekend working on the ADD writeblog, which is stories and essays of mine you may have read before, but that I wanted to have in one discreet place with a different design than anything on Comic Book Galaxy. It'll probably only sporadically be added to, but I'm pretty happy with how it looks. Let me know if you have any thoughts, and have a good Monday.


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