Lit Literature member interviews (Interviewing Findswoman)

Discussion in 'Literature' started by Point Given, Jun 6, 2013.

  1. krtmd Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Sep 5, 2012
    star 4
    *sigh*

    I can only say that this is my greatest shame as an American.
    Last edited by krtmd, Oct 23, 2013
  2. JackG Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Aug 15, 2011
    star 4
    What about Kinder Surprises being illegal?
    THINK OF THE CHILDREN, AND ALL THE TASTY DELIGHT THEY'RE MISSING OUT ON.
    Last edited by JackG, Oct 24, 2013
  3. krtmd Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Sep 5, 2012
    star 4
    Apparently they're so illegal, we cannot even know of them.

    Seriously, I had never heard of Kinder Surprises. Google is my friend.

    And you must know, Americans love to pass laws telling each other how to be safe. Unless it's to do with guns.
    anakinfansince1983 likes this.
  4. JackG Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Aug 15, 2011
    star 4
    They're delicious.
    Not as delicious as the irony that weapons made to kill and main, guns, are legal, yet a kids' confectionery is not.

    And, @krtmd - I ain't no R'hllor'back girl, but praise the Red Lord for your avatar.
    Last edited by JackG, Oct 24, 2013
    anakinfansince1983 and krtmd like this.
  5. Zeta1127 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Sep 2, 2012
    star 4
    Um, sorry, but guns don't kill people, people kill people with guns. Gun control isn't the problem, preventing people who have no business possessing a firearm is the problem, not banning people who have respect for firearms from ever owning them.
    GrandMasterKatarn likes this.
  6. Lugija Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Oct 3, 2009
    star 4
  7. Gamiel Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Dec 16, 2012
    star 5
    Isn't that what gun control is?
    Grey1 likes this.
  8. Todd the Jedi Mod and Sitcom Dad of SWTV

    Manager
    Member Since:
    Oct 16, 2008
    star 5
    Alright, it's time for our next subject, @Jedi Ben! [face_party] (And if one of the many mods could change the thread title, that'd be much appreciated ;) )

    1. Tell us about your username, why you chose it, what it means, etc. And what is the best way to address you?

    2. What made you sign up for the Jedi Council Forums? Do you post on any other forums?
  9. Jedi Ben Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Jul 19, 1999
    star 6
    OK, let's go.

    1. Tell us about your username, why you chose it, what it means, etc. And what is the best way to address you?

    Hmm, yeah, easy, er.... Nope..... It was a long, long time ago and I really don't recall the details..... Really....

    Nah, playing the Reagan card isn't a smart way to start.

    1999 and I'd found the internet while finishing off a Masters in Philosophy at the University of Warwick, in the process stumbled on both the Force Net Forums and Jedinet. Figured it could be fun so registered as a combination of partly my real name and partly an alias, this being in the time when Jedi were cool. Plus, as a kid at school in 1983, I ended up with the nickname of Obiwan, as Jedi was in the cinemas. Jump forward a few years and an ability to memorise entire levels of video games, Super Star Wars being a case in point, meant I came to merit it! So Jedi Ben seemed a good combination, stuck with it ever since.

    2. What made you sign up for the Jedi Council Forums? Do you post on any other forums?

    At the time I'd been reading EU books since Dark Force Rising and Dark Empire. Dark Empire, more than any other story, is what drew me back and re-ignited my interest in SW as a whole so the idea of talking about the stuff with others was appealing. Then the Vector Prime Wars exploded across Lit....

    In terms of Jedi Councils here, I make occasional drop-ins to the Senate and Video Games boards, but my main activity remains in Lit.

    I'm very much active over at Millarworld - one of the major threads being the Trades thread, which is a few of us seeking out preorder deals on upcoming items. The amount of cash it's led to both being spent and saved has to be quite considerable by now and it's a large part of the reason for my starting the Trades thread here. Comics aren't cheap, so any deals should be shared.

    I wrote for an online comic magazine, Fractal Matter a few years and am now currently regularly contributing to Eleven Thirty Eight.
    Last edited by Jedi Ben, Oct 24, 2013
  10. Todd the Jedi Mod and Sitcom Dad of SWTV

    Manager
    Member Since:
    Oct 16, 2008
    star 5
    @Jedi Ben 3. Tell us specifically how you become a Star Wars fan, and SW lit in particular.

    4. Where are you from? What are some of the best parts about where you live?
  11. Jedi Ben Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Jul 19, 1999
    star 6
    3. Tell us specifically how you become a Star Wars fan, and SW lit in particular.

    1983 - my Dad takes me to see Jedi in the cinema, I emerge a couple of hours later as an excessively hyper 7-year-old! You think the Battle of Endor is awesome now? Just think how it looked to me then!

    In terms of reading, I was far more hooked on Transformers than Star Wars - blame Simon Furman! :) Like most things, interest slips away over time.

    1992 - I'm in a newsagent and there's this Star Wars mag on the shelves - that's unusual, it also had this image on the cover:

    [IMG]

    With an "Emperor Reborn" tag! OK, that's got my attention! Pick it up and have a flick through, da-amn, looks good so I grab it and then, after reading it go and track down the previous issues, this is a UK format mag, not a US comic. But in the back there's a mention of a Classic Star Wars.

    That leads me to a trip to the local comic shop in Basildon and I find my first US comic - yep, my US comic buying started with DHC! Explains a lot, eh? So grabbed those and started buying regularly, just SW comics, which were unusual in having a lack of ads, painted covers and excellent art.

    This is also the time when the first moves to Widescreen format began. What's that? Videos used aformat called pan-and-scan because the cinema image was to large to fit into the 4:3 standard TV screen, from the early nineties onwards Letterbox / Widescreen formats were done. They fitted the image in by compressing it down, hence the two big black bars, but it meant you could see the full cinematography thus in ESB General Veers' AT-AT shoots the generator and you see the shot go from the AT-AT to the generator in one smooth shot on the entire screen. It was little touches like that that the Widescreen format allowed people to see for the first time.

    So, the OT gets a Widescreen VHS release - my interest regained due to Dark Empire, and yeah, I'd also found Zahn's 2 books as well, I grabbed the trio and ploughed through the entire lot in one Saturday afternoon! Yup, I was hooked again. I really liked how there was a continuation, the idea that the Empire would instantly collapse after Jedi? No way, empires don't do that so that there was further adventures was great.

    4. Where are you from? What are some of the best parts about where you live?

    I'm in the UK and in the south-east of the country. It's quite interesting commuting from Rayleigh to London, the one is quiet and then, 45 minutes later, you're in the big city and all that that entails. I can't say I'm a fan of cities, a small town like Rayleigh suits me fine although it isn't that small in terms of people, about 30,000:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rayleigh,_Essex

    There's quite a bit of history to the surrounding area too - the site of a Norman Motte & Bailey castle, a hunting lodge frequented by Henry VIII, a church that has sections dating back to the Normans, further afield off the coast of Southend, a little distance from the pier, is the bomb-laden wrck of the SS Richard Montgomery - and no, they can't remove the WW2 ordnance it went down with! Suffice to say, if anything sets that off it'll be quite a show!

    London's a great place to work and socialise in, but I wouldn't want to live there - it's too frantic, too active, it was good doing so for a few months about a decade back, but it wouldn't work now.

    Being near the coast is good too, I can hop on the train or bus and be there in about 30minutes.
    anakinfansince1983 likes this.
  12. Todd the Jedi Mod and Sitcom Dad of SWTV

    Manager
    Member Since:
    Oct 16, 2008
    star 5
    @Jedi Ben 5. What places have you traveled too? Any favorite locations?

    6. Besides SW, what are your passions in life?
  13. Jedi Ben Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Jul 19, 1999
    star 6
    5. What places have you traveled too? Any favorite locations?

    Not much of a traveller, never really been bitten by the bug and rarely had the money to do so in any case. That said, gone to a handful of places - Scotland, Belgium, Italy. Brussels is great for anyone interested in chocolate or beer, so I qualify. Could happily go back to Venice and would be fun exploring more of Italy, the food is something else over there. As for Scotland, Edinburgh and the Trossachs are great places to visit and there's always the whiskey and shortbread to hit.

    6. Besides SW, what are your passions in life?

    The biggest is likely a fascination with stories and how they're told - books, comics, TV, movies, audio plays - I'm hooked on the lot and how the medium affects the telling. At the same time, criss-crossing the mediums are an array of genres, which can also be combined in numerous ways. The result is a field of creativity that is exceedingly, perhaps even infinitely, complex and incredible to explore.

    At the same time I'd be lying if there wasn't a consistent interest in moral and political philosophy running along side this interest and seeing how various ideas and concepts turn up in fiction, particularly fantasy and SF, never gets boring. Add in the thinking on representation and there's another angle to consider too.

    Philosophy I haven't read much of in a long time and I need to return to it at some point - similarly history and politics, despite the latter's tendency to depress the life out of me.

    I would maintain to anyone wanting to understand how Nazi Germany came to be, operated and fell to seek out the work of Ian Kershaw, with the 2-volume Hitler "biography" being particularly recommended. It's not really a biography of Hitler though, more the effect he had on Germany, nor is it an easy read, Volume 2 took me about a year.

    TV and movies are a great field of entertainment, with the latter offering cinematography and soundtracks. Williams' ise of leitmotifs in his SW work is excellent and I'd see Vader's theme as being one of the all-time greats, but there's a wonderful eerie aspect to the Emperor's theme too. The Battle of Yavin is an extended cinematographic piece of brilliance that Lucas is never topping and he needs to get over that he hit gold there. But there's so many other great sequences. In use of pop music, Scorsese is unsurpassed. The way that man uses musical cues is streets ahead of anyone else. I'm a huge fan of Michael Mann's Heat, the car chase before the coffee scene with Pacino and De Niro is... perfect, it ends so damn well:



    Cue one hell of an electrifying exchange and it's all just verbal.

    Comics remain one of my favourite mediums. For anyone who thinks, mistakenly, that they are only superheroes, that person is missing out big time. Comics span the entire range of genres and are produced across the continents - I've US, UK, Franco-Belgian and Japanese material across every type of story imaginable and then some. From time to time people will bring up that comics are inferior to books because they can't do X, but by the same measure then books are surely inferior to comics because they can't do X and ditto movies. Don't really have much time for snobbery of any kind, especially in entertainment - I may not understand why someone wishes to own the complete Wrestlemania but hey, their money, their time.

    Video games have become more of a love/hate relationship due to my seeing through the artifice of it all more easily, yet at the same time, when they're on form they can be superb. It had its moments of irritating me considerably, but when it was on form, the Mass Effect games were incredibly good. Rogue Squadron II: Rogue Leader I bought the GameCube specifically to play and, to this day, I don't think it's been topped as a SW game. It is also bastard hard and I don't think I'll ever complete the Battle of Endor / Strike at the Core levels! But hey, I've blown up the Yavin Death Star many times and done over the Razor Renevous level where you take on a Star Destroyer.

    What draws me back to games again and again now are the possibilities being opened up by new technology. The idea that squadmates for instance will be smarter, like how FF13 has party members remember enemy weaknesses, is intriguing. The notion of having worlds to explore both larger and more intricate than the likes of Skyrim is another draw. The whole point of gaming is to do that which you could never do in real life without around a 90% chance of death! SSX3 was a demonstration of this - you did things in that game that were utterly over-the-top and impossible and it was all the better for it.
    Barriss_Coffee likes this.
  14. Todd the Jedi Mod and Sitcom Dad of SWTV

    Manager
    Member Since:
    Oct 16, 2008
    star 5
    Dude, Strike At the Core was a mission from hell. I think I only ever beat it once, compared to beating the other missions dozens of times. But yeah, great game.

    7. What are your favorite non-SW TV shows/movies?

    8. What non-SW books/comics do you like?
  15. Jedi Ben Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Jul 19, 1999
    star 6
    If only those TIE bombers at Endor didn't endure so many shot and were so maneuverable...

    Hmm, how long have you got? Might have to be a multi-part answer!

    7. What are your favorite non-SW TV shows/movies?

    Firefly / Serenity has to be in the mix, but Babylon 5 has it topped. B5 did all the things I was looking for - ambitious stories, inspired ship design - the Shadow dreadnoughts remain the creepiest ships I've ever seen! At the same time it proved you could have an absolutely overwhelming enemy and still have heroes actively opposing it the whole time. Add in some very substantial enemy wins - the obliteration of Narn being an example, but then a series later there's the first major battle of the new alliance and it is one hell of a scrap! One that involves a Shadow fleet - that's where I started from!

    For sheer creativity and the best villain since Vader in the form of Scorpius, Farscape has to be present. It never really topped the last eps of series 3, where they take out Scorpius' command carrier - that was a truly epic story. But it did some excellent follow-ups and the Henson creature shop supplied all manner of weird and wonderful aliens. It being Aussie SF gave it a distinctly different feel to US / UK SF TV.

    Deep Space Nine is another big favourite, a large part of that being Benjamin Sisko, the other part being the Defiant and the final aspect being the combination of both kicking large amounts of arse. DSN is the Trek that showed why the Klingons, Romulans and anyone else hadn't simply defeated the Federation, because they're not that easy to defeat! DSN had the nerve, while lacking the budget, to do fleet engagements! It looked at all B5 had done and was doing and then responded to that gauntlet in the only way possible: It sought to top it! In what it did with the Dominion War, it succeeded in that respect.

    The Wire is truly brilliant, as is its predecessor Homicide - both are unflinching in how they look at real and very hard to solve problems, but avoid being depressing.

    Mentalist is one I'm currently mid-way through season 4 on the DVDs and I shouldn't really perhaps recognise quite as much as I do in Patrick Jane.

    While it failed to land, Battlestar was still, at times, quite brilliant, only going off the rails in season 3 and it never fully recovered. I enjoyed that Olmos' Adama was this mostly quiet, spectacle-wearing older fellow who, when it all goes down, is then who everyone looks to and it's: You do this; you do that, you..... He doesn't need to yell at anyone, he knows they'll do he tells them to. It was a great portrait of confidence in authority and being at ease in being the figure of it. Of course, he wasn't quite that at ease, but he wasn't going to let on either.

    Inspector Montalbano is a delight. Brought to the UK by the BBC, this Italian series is set in Sicily and details all manner of murder mysteries - it's easy-going brilliance.

    Castle is also easy going fun, mostly due to Fillion and a razor-sharp script,

    The Sharpe series starring Sean Bean is highly recommended, just the idea sounds great - give an NCO, a sergeant no less, a battlefield commission and watch the flak fly, but the cast is top-notch too.

    Fringe has been the best SF series of the last few years showing exactly how you can do all kinds of ambiguity but smartly - is Walter Bishop hero or villain? He's really, like most of the characters, beyond such a simple, binary definition.

    I'm a huge fan of the Marvel movies because they've gone contra-flow to the received movie wisdom that says audiences are dumb and won't follow a complex story - Marvel has spun theirs over 7 films, with at least 3-4 more to come and they're very popular! It's great to see.

    Heat and Casino are in the top movies list, as is Gladiator and The Usual Suspects. Lord of the Rings was excellent entertainment and stunning to watch. Nolan's Dark Knight trilogy. Casino Royale. Red and Kick-Ass were fun off-beat films, with some of Kick-Ass's lines being in such bad taste but so very funny.

    Star Wars the OT has to be in here too, especially the first one.

    8. What non-SW books/comics do you like?

    First, comics:

    Hmm, OK let's do this by region:

    UK:

    Charley's War is a UK classic and incredibly good, no oe has an excuse not to check this out as it's been collected into 10 volumes over the last decade.

    Dan Dare is another classic that was done in the 50s-60s and remains a fascinating window into that era, with some incredible art. The Dynamite mini-series by Ennis and ERskine is well worth a look too.

    Judge Dredd is often great to read, covering a surprising range of stories from the entertaining to the satirical to the deadly series, with the last being exemplified by the America story. Dredd ranges from being the hero of a story to a villain or even absent.

    Nikolai Dante is an awesome epic, but sadly not all volumes are available - it is mind-blowingly ambitious, with a story that crosses continents and decades, covering war and peace and war, in the world of Nikolai Dante, is very vicious indeed.

    The work of Bryan Talbot is frequently brilliant - One Bad Rat, Luther Arkwright, Alice in Sunderland and the Grandville series are all highly recommended.

    Japan:

    Akira by Otomo - this really deserves its rep, with Otomo doing story and art across 2000 pages!

    Lone Wolf & Cub - The joy of these stories is watching a super-hard bastard ex-Samurai executioner kill numerous even worse bastards. That's how the story works, but due to the variation, it never gets dull.

    Blade of the Immortal - Kill 1000 evil men and the anti-hero at the centre of the story can die, but there's far more to it than just this.

    Franco-Belgian:

    The Scorpion: Set in Renaissance Europe, this swashbuckler is gorgeously illustrated and an utter hoot to read, it's absolutely superb i every respect.

    XIII: While it drags in its middle act, this 18-album conspiracy epic deserves its rep.

    Largo Winch: Utter fun, as you find yourself backing a corporate overlord against evil would-be corporate overlords! Hugely entertaining.

    Blacksad: Truly brilliant, with the ingenious concept of matching personality types to animals. Wondrous visuals too.

    US:

    Best to do this by creators, rather than companies, top names being:

    Garth Ennis
    Greg Rucka
    Mark Waid
    Stejpan Sejic
    Matt Wagner
    Walt Simonson
    Neil Gaiman
    Mike Carey
    Warren Ellis
    Kieron Gillen
    Kurt Busiek
    Gail Simone
    Grant Morrison
    Alan Moore
    Jonathan Hickman
    Jeff Smith

    As to books, I'm currently working my way through the Dresden Files. Other series that I'm a big fan of are:

    Mistborn and The Stormlight Archive by Sanderson
    Malazan by Erikson and Esselmont
    Riftwar by Feist
    Shannara by Brooks
    Gentlemen Bastards by Lynch
    The Laundry books - by Stross
    Farseer / Liveship Traders - by Hobb
    Night's Dawn / Confederation Saga - by Hamilton
    Polity - Asher
    Honorverse / Safehold - Weber
    Select Culture books - Banks
    Discworld - Pratchett

    Of these, while I enjoy them all, Discworld is likely my favourite for the sheer variety and warmth in the stories, you can always find something new in them and the world actually develops! That's rare - the next one, out very soon, sees the Disc get its first steam engine. Will anything bad happen? YES.

    At best, this is but a quick snapshot! So might add to it tomorrow night or expand further!

  16. Barriss_Coffee Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Jun 29, 2003
    star 6
    Egads that is a lot of comics!
  17. The_Four_Dot_Elipsis Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Mar 3, 2005
    star 5
    Surely the words of a man who hasn't experienced the X-Wing games.
    GrandAdmiralJello and CooperTFN like this.
  18. CooperTFN TFN EU Staff Emeritus

    VIP
    Member Since:
    Jul 8, 1999
    star 6
    Fixed.
  19. instantdeath Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jul 22, 2010
    star 5
    Egad, this interview is going at breakneck speed.

    Also, I'd love it if you expanded, Ben. Your love of storytelling is infectious.
    Last edited by instantdeath, Oct 24, 2013
  20. Todd the Jedi Mod and Sitcom Dad of SWTV

    Manager
    Member Since:
    Oct 16, 2008
    star 5
    @Jedi Ben Very nice comic creator list there. I bet you didn't know Neil Gaiman has a SW planet named after him, did ya?

    9. What are your favorite videogames, in and out of Star Wars?

    10. How would you rank the 6 Star Wars films?
  21. Jedi Ben Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Jul 19, 1999
    star 6
    First, I'll need to finish off Qs 7-8 Todd! Ran out of time last night!

    Read comics for more than 20 years and then see how many rack you up, hmm?

    Sadly, I never have cracked PC gaming!

    Part 2 to Qs 7-8 to follow, it's not going to be short!

    Oh and Coop? I'd agree with adding Vaughan to my list, but not Fraction.
  22. Todd the Jedi Mod and Sitcom Dad of SWTV

    Manager
    Member Since:
    Oct 16, 2008
    star 5
  23. Jedi Ben Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Jul 19, 1999
    star 6
    Q7-8: Special Edition…..

    Part 1: COMICS (Part 2: BOOKS will be tomorrow)

    Charley's War is a UK classic and incredibly good, no one has an excuse not to check this out as it's been collected into 10 volumes over the last decade. Pat Mills was on excellent form but Joe Colquhuon’s art was something else: Don’t believe me? Here’s just 3 panels from it:

    [IMG]

    Joe Colquhuon also worked on the WW2 story set on the eastern front in Russia, Johnny Red:
    [IMG]

    Dan Dare is another classic that was done in the 50s-60s and remains a fascinating window into that era, with some incredible art by Frank Hampson and later Frank Bellamy.

    [IMG]

    The Dynamite mini-series by Ennis and Erskine is well worth a look too.
    [IMG]

    Major Eazy is a recently restored 70s creation with art by Carlos Ezquerra, later to find fame on Judge Dredd:

    [IMG]
    Judge Dredd is often great to read, covering a surprising range of stories from the entertaining to the satirical to the deadly series, with the last being exemplified by the America story. Dredd ranges from being the hero of a story to a villain or even absent. There have been many images of the character over the years, ranging from the grim America:
    [IMG]

    To the truly iconic:
    [IMG]
    Nikolai Dante is an awesome epic, but sadly not all volumes are available - it is mind-blowingly ambitious, with a story that crosses continents and decades, covering war and peace and war, in the world of Nikolai Dante, is very vicious indeed.
    [IMG]
    The work of Bryan Talbot is frequently brilliant - One Bad Rat, Luther Arkwright, Alice in Sunderland and the Grandville series are all highly recommended. Grandville in particular:

    [IMG]



    Japan:




    Akira by Otomo - this really deserves its rep, with Otomo doing story and art across 2000 pages!
    [IMG]


    Lone Wolf & Cub - The joy of these stories is watching a super-hard bastard ex-Samurai executioner kill numerous even worse bastards. That's how the story works, but due to the variation, it never gets dull.
    [IMG]

    Blade of the Immortal - Kill 1000 evil men and the anti-hero at the centre of the story can die, but there's far more to it than just this.




    Franco-Belgian:

    The Scorpion: Set in Renaissance Europe, this swashbuckler is gorgeously illustrated and an utter hoot to read, it's absolutely superb i every respect.
    [IMG]
    XIII: While it drags in its middle act, this 18-album conspiracy epic deserves its rep.


    Largo Winch: Utter fun, as you find yourself backing a corporate overlord against evil would-be corporate overlords! Hugely entertaining.

    Blacksad: Truly brilliant, with the ingenious concept of matching personality types to animals. Wondrous visuals too.

    [IMG]
    US:
    Best to do this by creators, rather than companies, top names being:


    Garth Ennis
    There are various versions of Garth Ennis, there’s the sick inventive humour displayed in the likes of Preacher and The Boys. There’s the hard-core atheist side that gets displayed in the aforementioned and sees some truly insane stuff go on in the Chronicles of Wormwood. And then there’s the serious Ennis who excels at war stories and can be found in War Stories and Battlefields. His recent series Fury: My War Gone By is a devastating and utterly remorseless deconstruction of the alpha male outlook that Nick Fury represents, it’s brilliant work with one of his best collaborators, Goran Pavlov.

    Greg Rucka
    While his DC and Marvel work is very good – his Checkmate series being especially recommended, his best work is found outside of the Big Two. Queen & Country details British espionage while Stumptown is a noir / detective fusion.

    Mark Waid
    Best known for his Big Two work and runs on Fantastic Four, Daredevil, Superman: Birthright and Kingdom Come, Waid’s lesser known works are the villain tale Empire and Potter’s Field which are quite different.

    Stejpan Sejic
    Best known for his work with Marz on Top Cow’s superhero line, Sejic has recently begun a high fantasy graphic novel series Ravine.

    Matt Wagner
    Numerous works, but the ones I’d recommend are the Batman: Dark Moon Rising, where he’s writer-artist, which comprises Batman & The Monster Men and Batman & The Mad Monk. His Zorro run for Dynamite is also excellent, along with Madame Xanadu for Vertigo.

    Walt Simonson
    His Thor run is legendary and deservedly so!

    Neil Gaiman
    There’s the brilliance of Sandman, but so many others too: Stardust, Marvel 1602 to name but two.

    Mike Carey
    Carey actually dared to take on the story of Lucifer, a sort of sequel to Gaiman’s Sandman. Not only that but he pulled it off, his Hellblazer run is well worth a look, as is his most recent epic, The Unwritten.

    Warren Ellis
    Sure, there’s The Authority, which set up all manner of ideas that would prove highly influential but there’s other, equally sharp stories too. Ellis’ weakness is a tendency to abandon series if they don’t sell, so ideas don’t get followed through on. Freakangels is a notable exception, set in a dystopic flooded London in the near future and charts a very interesting course, collected in 6 volumes, it’s also available online, in its entirety, for free! Oh and anyone who knows anything of superheroes should read Nextwave.

    Kieron Gillen
    His best work remains Journey Into Mystery for Marvel, where he brought some wry observations to Marvel’s world. Very recently started, Uber, looks like it’ll be very good too. I’m also collecting his Young Avengers, with frequent collaborator Jamie McKelvie.

    Kurt Busiek
    Marvels was brilliant, but trust me, Astro City¸ is far, far better still. One of the few titles I’ve followed from the start in 1995 and it’s still going nearly 15 years later!

    Gail Simone
    Well-known for her work on Barbara Gordon and others in Birds of Prey, her Wildstorm series Welcome to Tranquility is every bit as good as it asks where do superheroes retire to? And what happens when they’re there?

    Grant Morrison
    His best work, for me, is for DC, as DC tends to restrain Morrison’s trippy tendencies! From JLA to Batman Incorporated, Morrison’s inventiveness serves him well when he’s working with DC’s truly rich and convoluted continuity.

    Alan Moore
    In case anyone wonders, no, his best work isn’t Watchmen, it’s Top Ten – set in a city of superpowers, it’s a police story, but so very creative and inventive in how it does it. Incredibly good art too.

    Jonathan Hickman
    If you haven’t read The Nightly News or Pax Romana¸go away and do so then come back here. Also highly recommended are his Fantastic Four and (what I’ve read of it so far in trade) Avengers. I’ve the Infinity OHC pre-ordered and am now very much looking forward to it as it may well be the first great Marvel event in ages.

    Jeff Smith
    Bone is superb – a fantasy comedy that slowly becomes more serious over time with Smith as writer-artist across some 60-70 issues. But so too, in an utterly different fashion, is Rasl. Finally, Shazam And The Monster Society of Evil is, aside from being very smart, a very sharp demonstration of why the forever grim ’n' gritty DC can’t do anything lasting with the Captain Marvel character today.

    Ed Brubaker
    With his regular collaborators, Sean Phillips and Steve Epting, Brubaker has done numerous cool stories, all recommended: Sleeper, Criminal, Incognito, Fatale – and it looks like Velvet will soon be added to this list!

    Brian K Vaughan
    Saga, you’re not reading it? Go buy it! But it’s not just that… Y The Last Man is a decidedly risky look at the gender relations by removing men from the picture, save for 1! Pia Guera’s art is great too. Ex Machina’s mix of superheroics and politics makes for an inspired fusion and it has Toby Harris art as well! His Ultimate X-Men run is often overlooked but is very good.

    Brian Bendis
    He gets a lot of flak and a lot of it is deserved but Bendis has two great runs to his name that he deserves full credit for: Powers and Ultimate Spider-Man. These two series arguably embody all the aspects that makes him great, talky characters, wry observations, smart action sequences.

    Robert Kirkman
    Only 2 series? Yeah but when those two are The Walking Dead and Invincible, what more do you need? An infinitely running zombie tale, where the biggest adversary is humanity and a superhero saga that really does change over time!

    Stan Sakai
    I don’t know how you can have a rabbit samurai, armed with a katana, slicing up a load of anthropomorphic bandits and render it as cute, yet somehow Sakai does this on a regular basis! If you’ve not ever read Usagi Yojimbo, consider doing so.

    Paul Dini
    Dini is very smart at getting to the core of superheroes but he also did the very disturbing yet brilliant Batman: Mad Love. His DC work, when it turs up, is always well worth a read, as was his Top Cow miniseries Madame Mirage. The latter plays a very clever game with the reader.

    Mark Millar
    Infamous for his marketing hyperbole, which he likely learnt from watching Stan Lee, Millar nonetheless has more hits than misses for me. He can talk up anything but his delivery tends to match the talk. He followed Ellis on Authority, that was followed by Ultimates, more recent works are Superior and Supercrooks.

    Finally, favourite comic superhero character? There’s really only one:



    [IMG]

    And no, the above list should not be considered exhaustive or comprehensive! :D
    Last edited by Jedi Ben, Oct 25, 2013
  24. Jedi Ben Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Jul 19, 1999
    star 6
    Picking up from the last post….

    Of course, why Cable? Because I love the idea of someone with immense ability that is crippled by a virus and he still doesn’t let it stop doing whatever he needs to.


    Part 2: BOOKS

    As to books, I'm currently working my way through the Dresden Files. Other series that I'm a big fan of are:

    Mistborn and The Stormlight Archive by Sanderson
    Sanderson I only found by the announcement he was finishing Wheel of Time, which in turn led me to Mistborn and its, for now, sequel. I really liked the thought Sandedrson applied to his world-building and as for allowing to progress and develop, that’s unusual. Allomancy was great to read about in Mistborn, but the sequel set three centuries on has allomantic gunfights!

    Stormlight Archive is very new and very epic, but one of the other unusual aspects of Sanderson is he’s prolific. Fantasy authors are notorious for hitting success with a series and then splitting volumes in two or taking a long time to do the next one or both! Sanderson has a frequency of new books 1-2 years, often not small ones either – so that gets him serious credit from me. In short, the man has serious plans and is very good at executing them!

    Malazan by Erikson and Esselmont

    I shouldn’t like this mega-epic, it does a lot I don’t care for like killing off characters with abandon, being utterly brutal quite often and can be exceedingly dark. But its ace card is the sheer scale of the world-building. Most fantasies will do things over a few millennia, this pair ramp that up to a few hundred millennia! Entire civilizations have arose and fallen long before the story kicks off, yet all the legacies from those civilizations remain, some active, some not.

    It’s other ace card is, despite my tending to not over-invest in any particular individual, the characters. There are some stunning creations here that just command attention – Whiskeyjack, Rake, Cotillion, Kellanved, Hedge – to name 6 in a cast of thousands.

    Finally, it has a great attitude to magic – mages can be one-man walking holocausts and they get treated accordingly, the idea of anti-mage military tactics is great – though not unique, the Black Company books also had it. Then there’s the warren systems, which throw another level of complexity into an already volatile mix. Malazan is a series which always feels too big, that there’s aspects not quite able to be seen all at once and that’s why I like it so much.

    Riftwar by Feist

    Perhaps the polar opposite to Malazan, Feist is offering straight-forward fantasy fare with the story running across the generations, with the same archetypes cropping up. It’s that familiarity that makes the story work, the lack of surprises in some respects, yet the gradual upping of the threat each time also works. There’s no doubt that good beats evil, but there will be times when that takes quite a bit of doing. Feist was also canny enough to do an apocalyptic epic, where the Kingdom gets pretty much decked, and then follow-up a few years later with the story of how it survived and rebuilt, that brought me back to it in fact. The real success here is in the start and end. Magician was a stunning start and, some 3 decades on, Magician’s End is a worthy conclusion that brings together the plots of some 25 volumes to a finish.

    Shannara by Brooks

    Very similar to Feist, in that you probably always know what you’ll get with Brooks, his work has never been as cuddly as might be thought with characters regularly getting offed, it just isn’t anywhere near Martin-level brutality. In Walker Boh he also created one of my favourite characters too.

    Gentlemen Bastards by Lynch

    Lynch’s fantasy is pretty brutal but its leveled out by wonderful characters and more than a bit of well-placed humour. Just the idea of a medieval bunch of crooks running scams and jobs across a fantastical city is inspired and Lynch executes it well.

    The Laundry books - by Stross

    If you haven’t worked in an office and aren’t interested in fantasy / SF, this quirky series ain’t for you. If you have, you ought to give it a go as it mixes office politics and IT with ungodly monsters and other dimensions, all just waiting for the wrong line of code to be written on a PC. Plus the idea of the Official Secrets Act having a section 3 which, if you come to know about, you sign the Act so no one knows is quite plausible. And that’s before the CIA enter the picture….

    Farseer / Liveship Traders - by Hobb

    Farseer is a tale of kings and politics, of grudges and history and a very unsentimental depiction of the medieval world. Liveship Trades and its sequel is set in the same world, but a different region. Both deal with history, legacies and what happens if something nastier than humans turns up, namely dragons. What makes these books is the immersion in the world and the characters.

    Night's Dawn / Confederation Saga - by Hamilton

    Night’s Dawn is an SF-horrir hybrid that is surprisingly effective – you thought NJO was vicious? Pah, not compared to this it ain’t. At the same time Hamilton uses the source of the horror to ask questions of humanity and its attitude to things and how it shifts from person to person. His hero, Calvert, goes from being a freewheeling shag-happy freighter captain to someone a bit more responsible in the process too. At the same time, like Asher, Hamilton enjoys creating all manner of future guns and tech.

    Confederation is a different setting and separate tale, the first 2-book series I found superb, the sequel Void trilogy fell apart in its final act. Those first 2 books are very good as it envisions a corporate future for humanity, with companies being ran by immortal oligarchs. What happens when one generation gets to run things forever?

    Polity - Asher

    Take the snarky AIs of the Culture and make them right-wing and you’re reasonably close to the Polity – a far-future utopia that gets rejected by those who don’t want AIs running things. Add in a fun riff on teleportation, crazy levels of weaponry, massive starships and homicidal cyborgs and you have a very entertaining space opera.

    Honorverse / Safehold - Weber

    Safehold is a series that really makes you question how religious you might be inclined to be by showing how the Church used to run things a few centuries back! We under-rate the secular aspects of our society at our peril. It’s also a love letter to the Enlightenment ideals and the idea of progress by use of reason. That he throws in a smattering of politics, excellent battle sequences and a host of players only adds to the fun.

    Honorverse starts off as the Napoleonic Wars in space and only gets better, with Weber’s lead kicking arse left, right and centre, with the side stories allowing others to move into the spotlights. Past its first phase, it starts to change too into something far more ambitious, which I’m still at the start of.

    Select Culture books - Banks

    In the words of the sadly departed Mr Banks: Hippies with big guns. And that description works. I also love the names of the Culture ships. Banks’ work is always carefully laid out and thoughtful, I’ve the last book, The Hydrogen Sonata, looking at me from the to-read pile.

    Discworld - Pratchett

    I could write pages about Discworld – I love the character of Vetinari, the Watch, the idea of the various guilds extending to organized crime in Ankh-Morpork, that the world is allowed to change and develop technology – like speed cameras courtesy of picture imps. Then there’s the social aspect, can a vampire who’s sworn off blood really work as a photographer for a newspaper? Can a troll be anything more than a bouncer? And the footnotes, yes there are footnotes and they often have the best jokes!
    Of these, while I enjoy them all, Discworld is likely my favourite for the sheer variety and warmth in the stories, you can always find something new in them. The next one, out very soon, sees the Disc get its first steam engine. Will anything bad happen? YES.
    (And some posters should pick up on the last word joke!)
    Last edited by Jedi Ben, Oct 27, 2013
    instantdeath likes this.
  25. instantdeath Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jul 22, 2010
    star 5
    Ben, the image in your post doesn't load for me. Who's your favorite super hero?