10 Unanswered Questions in The Sandman

October 30, 2013 at 6:25 pm (Articles / Interviews) (, , , )

Warning: a fair bit of gushing and spoilers about the Sandman.

In The Sandman, one will find plenty more questions than answers. Like Cain once told Abel – it’s the mystery that keeps people interested, not the secret behind it.

Outside of the series’ original 75-issue run however, writer Neil Gaiman has taken the opportunity to reveal just a few of the secrets behind the mysteries.  If you want to know why Dream is always in conflict with Desire (besides the fact that they’re both douchey to each other), you’ll find out in The Heart of a Star, published as part of the Sandman 10th Anniversary special Endless Nights, that Desire once caused one of Dream’s lovers to betray him. If you want to know why Death decided to take human form once every hundred years, you’d have to read A Winter’s Tale, originally published as part of Vertigo: Winter’s Edge #2.

The Sandman: Overture, which marks Gaiman’s first new Sandman story in a looong while (and the first Sandman story to be drawn by the awesome HG Williams III), will be answering a question that was never overtly stated, but has sort of floated discreetly behind the ongoing action.

In the start of the series, Dream of the Endless was captured by humans and imprisoned. But Dream, being of the Endless, is mightier than gods and demons. So how the hell does he find himself encased in a glass globe?

In Brief Lives, we get the only clue as to why – Dream is shown to have emerged from a far away galaxy, “in triumph”, but “tired beyond reckoning and tried beyond all endurance” – weak enough to then be caught by a bunch of human cultists. Which begs the question, what in the Vertigo universe can possibly weaken a member of the Endless?

The first of The Sandman: Overture’s six issues is already out.

Before reading it, here are just a few of the other Sandman questions that have remained unanswered. Read the rest of this entry »

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Meet Joe Dredd

March 30, 2013 at 7:30 pm (Articles / Interviews) (, , )

I previously knew Judge Joe Dredd primarily as ‘the guy with the helmet and gaudy shoulder pads’, who was associated with British comics and general bad-assery. Never saw the Stallone movie, but I thought the Karl Urban one was great. I knew he was The Law, and had a tendency to get violent, and that a large chunk of his continuing appeal was that he operated in the endless dystopian sprawl of Mega-City One, a setting which practically writes its own stories. And, that was all I knew.

It was with that limited knowledge that I dove into the ‘Mega-City Masters 1’ collection, which pulls together a slew of Dredd stories from 1983 to 2010. The book focuses on showcasing the various artists who have worked on Dredd over the years, like Dave Gibbons (‘Watchmen’) and Kevin O’Neill (‘League of Extraordinary Gentlemen’), but it also provides a snapshot of how Dredd’s evolved over the years. Read the rest of this entry »

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Walking with the Dream King

August 30, 2012 at 5:11 pm (Articles / Interviews) (, , , )

So there’s going to be a new Sandman story. When I found out, back during the height of SDCC 2012, I went into my head and did a little happy dance because it meant I’d get to see Morpheus again.

morpheus

Morpheus isn’t like Batman, or Harry Potter, wherein you expect to run into them on a regular basis, or they’ve so saturated culture that you know they’ll never be too far away. He’s more like Number Ten Ox and Li Kao, or Totoro – he has a canon with a distinct beginning and end, and is rarely seen outside of it. Read the rest of this entry »

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James Jean: One-man art army

July 10, 2012 at 4:00 am (Articles / Interviews) (, , , , )

James Jean unedited interview/feature for Contemporary Art Philippines. Interview was conducted in January 2012, during Jean’s visit to Manila.

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James Jean in Manila

James Jean is tired after four full hours of signing for fans at Fully Booked, High Street, in the last leg of what has been a three-day marathon of giving talks and meeting with the country’s art and pop culture aficionados.

He admits that meeting such enthusiastic devotees of his work is “great for the self-esteem.”

“I think as an artist I tend to be very self-critical,” he says. “Working alone in the studio, your personal demons can tend to drive you a little crazy, so it’s nice to be injected back into society.”

The Filipino artistic society in particular, has embraced Jean so well that this is the second time he’s been invited to the country as a special guest of Fully Booked. But while Jean says it’s great to be back, the fan love he receives has taken its toll. Read the rest of this entry »

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Random book things: Unemployment reading (Part 2 of 2)

July 3, 2012 at 3:25 pm (Articles / Interviews) (, , , , , )

I’ve been unemployed for about a month, and I’ve been using it for reading. The list started here (with Jose Saramago’s ‘Blindness’, Myke Cole’s ‘Shadow Ops: Control Point’ and Viktor Frankl’s ‘Man’s Search for Meaning’) and continues here. Warning, mild spoilers for everything.

Feed (Mira Grant)

feedcover

This one’s a zombie novel that’s really more about the paranoia of human beings and the freedom of media (but there are also zombies). It takes place a few years after the zombie apocalypse foretold in pop culture, so the surviving population is remarkably genre-savvy (ie. Nobody leaves home without a gun, people don’t congregate in big crowds, and anyone found to be infected is killed without question). Read the rest of this entry »

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Sputnik: Where geeks gather

March 30, 2012 at 8:44 am (Articles / Interviews) (, , )

This is because Sputnik will be having its Moving Out Sale on Saturday. Although they’ll be moving out of Cubao Expo, here’s hoping they continue selling toys and comics somewhere else (preferably closer to where I live).

(This article was originally published in the Philippine Online Chronicles in January 2010, and features smart-sounding words like “eclectic” and “welcome boon”).

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sputnik 1
Down in Cubao, a stone’s throw away from Gateway Mall and the Araneta Coliseum, is a little comic book and toy store called Sputnik. You can tell it apart from the other eclectic shops, novelty stores and art galleries in Cubao X (also called Cubao Expo or the Marikina Shoe Expo) by its exterior–a molten white façade sculpted in fiberglass by Leeroy New. This should tell you something about Sputnik–if you’re expecting your run-of-the-mill geek shop, this isn’t it. If you’re looking for a place with actual character though, you need not look any further. Read the rest of this entry »

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Into the green: A Swamp Thing (Alan Moore) retrospective

April 13, 2011 at 4:13 am (Articles / Interviews) (, )

An old article of mine about Alan Moore‘s run on Swamp Thing n__n. Was originally published in the Philippine Online Chronicles in August 2010. I take credit for the rather crappy photos n__n.

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swamp pic 6

Before Tim Hunter (of Books of Magic) came as a proto-Harry Potter, or Death of the Endless (from Sandman) arose to make the ankh a staple symbol among geeky goth girls, or John Constantine (from Hellblazer) made trench coats fashionable—even before the creation of Vertigo Comics, the DC Comics imprint from which these characters and stories came from—there was in the bayous of Louisiana a strange quiet creature called the Swamp Thing.

The Swamp Thing first appeared in 1972, in a stand-alone story in House of Secrets, a horror anthology then being produced by DC Comics. He later appeared in a series of his own, under the collaborative efforts of Len Wein and Bernie Wrightson.

The idea was that the Swamp Thing had once been a man named Alec Holland, a scientist experimenting on plants in the swamps. He (in typical superhero fashion) was caught in an explosion which transformed him into a hulking mass of vegetation with powers over plant life. Over the course of a few years (and a few writers and artists), the Swamp Thing aka Alec would go on pining for his humanity, seeking revenge on those who sabotaged his experiments, fighting the forces of evil and defending the swamp – everything one might expect from a plant-based heroic-type monster.

And then in 1984 a young British writer by the name of Alan Moore came along. Moore, whom comics-readers would later associate with comic high-points such as WatchmenV for Vendetta and The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, essentially revamped the entire series, launching it in an entirely new direction – a direction which certain comics still trace today.

Read the rest of this entry »

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