Monday, September 30, 2013

Review: Dark Legacy of Shannara

A while ago I posted a review of the first book in the Dark Legacy of Shannara trilogy.  Now, having just finished reading the second and third installments of the story, I thought it time to comment in a completely full-of-spoilers way.  So be warned: you should really really read the books before reading this.  Not just the most recent trilogy, but all of Terry Brooks’ books.  If you like them half as much as I do, you’ll be very happy.

The biggest thing I kept thinking while reading the trilogy was how hard the plot was to figure out.  Brooks set up certain things in a way that made me think he was going down familiar paths.  For instance I was sure finding the missing Elfstones was going to be critical to defeating the Demons. But in the end, it was rather inconsequential.  Which begs the question of why Allanon thought the quest was so important to undertake.  I’m sure Brooks has a reason why it was so important.  Perhaps because it was the only time the Elfstones could be retrieved, it was important to get them now.  But why was it important to get them?  And was retrieving the crimson stones enough?  It seems like there must be purpose in all of this.  It also seems that the demons and the forbidding are going to be important in the future.

I also enjoyed the philosophical quandary of the demons all being imprisoned due to their race and not their individual deeds.  We have seen a lot of evil humans and elves and other races in the four lands, and we have now seen that some of the demons, like Tesla, are not totally evil.  Therefore, shouldn’t there be a way to free demons who don’t do bad things?

The final thing I’ll discuss today is the return of the Ilse Witch.  She didn’t really accomplish much to stop the demon except for defeating their leader.  But he would have been stopped by the reestablishment of the forbidding anyway.  But now he’s not inside the forbidding planning revenge.  The quest to free Grianne was about as useless as the quest for the missing elfstones.  And I was surprised in the final use of the magic ring.

Terry Brooks is my all-time favorite author, and this series shows he’s getting better and better!  I await his next creation with great anticipation!

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Statues- custom made

I recently completed this statue made to the specifications of a customer.  I also wanted to take a chance to let anyone out there know that I make all kinds of clay statues.  If you have any particular interest, let me know and I'll be sure to try my best to fulfill your wishes!

Monday, September 9, 2013

Review: Captain Midnight

“Captain Midnight, Ovaltine, and The Whip at the County Fair”

From The Statler Brothers’ song “Do You Remember These”

The above song, by one of my all-time favorite groups, was the first I ever heard of Captain Midnight.  When I saw that Dark Horse Comics was doing a Captain Midnight series, I wondered if it was the same Captain from the song.  It turns out is is.  And in a way it isn’t.

Captain Midnight, written by Joshua Williamson and drawn by Fernando Dagnino, is a new version of the classic serial character. So I’d classify the series as a reboot, I suppose.  But since I know nothing of the original version of the character, I can’t really judge the news series based on comparisons to any old series.  Instead, I’ll just have to tell you how good it is.

Captain Midnight is the tale of a World War II superhero that is transported in time to the present during a battle in 1944.  The Captain is a genius inventor named Jim Albright who’s major accomplishment seems to be a flying suit, but it looks like he’s created lots of very interesting gadgets.  He’s currently on the run in the present as he isn’t sitting still waiting for the government to decide what to do with him.  Also, there seems to be a surviving, perhaps immortal Nazi running a criminal empire in our present day world.

And that should be plenty of story points to get you interested.  I will add that the book is very very well done.  The writing is engaging and the story keeps moving while the mysteries keep you thinking.  The art is top-notch also.  It has a retro but not dated feel. Dagino’s action sequences are exciting and clear.  His quieter moments are interesting and his architecture and technology is well crafted.  Also, every character has a clear look and distinctive voice.

It seems I’ve been on a WWII kick lately (see here and here) but Captain Midnight is both a great tribute to WWII comics and a great new modern idea.  Kudos to all those involved for putting out a great super hero comic!

Monday, September 2, 2013

Mutant Elf- the continuing saga

I would like to spend some time here talking about my webcomic, Mutant Elf.  I think this is a good time because this week marks the debut of the 5th and latest storyline in the weekly series.  The storyline that ran the summer was first published online and in print in the 2013 SPACE Anthology, so this marks a “return” somewhat of new Mutant Elf stories.  Mutant Elf is the story of Tom Tyler, an author of youth fantasy novels who meets a real-life Elf.  This elf, named Myzla, is a special kind of elf—a mutant – who travels between our world and the world of the Fairy.  Her job is to round up other fairy creatures that have crossed to our world and send them back to the land of fairy.  Along the way, Tom assists in ways both clever and lucky.  The series also features Tom’s girlfriend Teri, a librarian with a very scientific mind.  Due to her low tolerance for fantasy Tom and Myzla keep their Mutant Elf adventures secret from her, as well as from the rest of the world.

And somewhere along the way, hilarity ensues.

At least I hope so.  When I worked out the concept for Mutant Elf I wanted to do a comic that I could have all kinds of fun with.  And I am having fun.  One thing I thought would be fun would be to start each storyline (except the two 8-page stories done for the SPACE anthology) with very similar scenes, which I have reproduced below.  The full stories are available here, and print mini-comics are available for order from me via my e-mail.  You can also send me comments and questions about the series if you'd like!