Conservative Comic Book Pundit

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

Wednesday Review - 5/18/2005.

The Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe: Teams 2005

I have to admit, I'm a total sucker for these kinds of comics. As a comic geek, I love learning new things about the intricate make up of these gigantic shared world efforts known as comic book universes.

This series from Marvel has proven to be just what the doctor ordered for both die-hard geeks and newbies. For die-hard geeks like myself, theses volumes contain new information and hard to find facts about the subject matter. For example, in this volume, I had not even heard of half the teams profiled, and I've been a "Marvel zombie" since I was a child.

For the newbie, these handbooks contain a succinct and simply explained intro into the background of major teams and themes. The comics novice who feels lost can learn a lot - and without having to read a lot of back issues can be quickly brought up to speed.

Everyone wins. Die hard fans get the info they crave, and novices have an easy way to enter the comic realm that's under 5 bucks.

(However, the entry on Power Pack does not mention their obvious Mormon heritage, leaving me a little disappointed.)

Saturday, May 07, 2005

Orson Scott Card vs. Peter David.

No Wednesday review this week, as I didn't get my comics yet. Today is Free Comic Book day, so I'll likely get them when I head to the store later today. Perhaps I'll write my "Wednesday Review" on Sunday.

But another storm is brewing. Here comic book and Star Trek writer Peter David takes Orson Scott Card for his unkind words about Star Trek (which can be found here).

Here's my take on the debate:

1. I think Star Trek II: the Wrath of Kahn is one of the best Science Fiction movies ever.

2. However, overall, I feel I have outgrown Trek (this may seem odd, seeing as I read comics, but - what can you do?). It introduced me to science fiction, but since then I have found better, richer and deeper works/authors.

3. However, that said, I think Deep Space Nine was far and above the best Trek series. Whereas the original series was beset by predictability (red shirts always die), the Next Generation series became a platform for unthinking and mindless PC platitudes and Voyager was just badly written - DS9 had intense plots, was not afraid to shy away from exploring the issues from multiple perspectives - and even when it propounded a position I disagreed with, it never felt like it was preaching the was ST:TNG did.

4. Peter David's comic book work is among the best in the field. His recent series Fallen Angel was amazing - a great, overlooked gem of a series. However, his Star Trek novels (the few I've read) appear to me, I hate to say, pure hackwork. His most celebrated ST book A Rock and Hard Place makes no sense, has poor characterization, and it appeals to a fanboy's worst sensibilities (plus the sexual puns read like they were written by an adolescent). His Star Trek comics weren't much better. He is a bit restrained by the form, since by contract he can't mess with the main characters or their overall universe much, but it still comes across as hackwork. I'm glad he gets a paycheck for it and it allows him to write full time, but this fact undermines his "moral authority" in the argument somewhat.

5. The comments on PAD's blog are very unfair to OSC. Waaaaaaaaaay too much name calling and disparaging of OSC's motives. It's one thing to disagree with OSC, but many are attacking him personally or saying his writing of the Ender's Shadow series was more hackwork, etc. Far from the truth - but that would require them to actually read the books, and we can't have that (On commentator, after insulting OSC actually admits to not having read many of Card's books).

6. Card can be a bit of a dogmatic gadfly at times, and this get annoying. However, this is a case of the pot calling the kettle a cooking implement - a quick scan of PAD's archives will reveal he is just as much a dogmatic prick (albeit liberal, instead of conservative) as OSC is. He routinely insults conservatives, labels them all as ignorant theocrats - and then there is his "funny for the first two minutes" freedom clock. Oh, yes - and his mindless parroting of George W. Bush conspiracy theories (He's going to delay the election and declare martial law and be President for Life!) didn't exactly make Peter David look like one of the more rational and intellectual bright stars in the night sky of science fiction authors.

7. I think they should debate this. I would love to see two dogmatic authors from the same field and opposite sides of the political spectrum go at it. Of course, OSC would likely take PAD to the dry cleaners (and on 2 for 1 day as well), but it would be entertaining.

8. A rant on Rock and a Hard Place, again: PAD - never, ever, ever say a character beat the Kobayashi Maru scenario and then not say how! It's a cheap attempt to make the man seem brilliant. Plus, if he did beat the Maru scenario, then with a tactician like that, Starfleet would never, ever, ever, ever, ever lose a major battle. Yet they have - plenty of times. Oh - I'll stop the rant now and just let this end.

9. GO check it out for yourself. Follow the links above. OSC is a bit harsh, but PAD's response is a tad too defensive.