Heroes and Villains: The Long Con, Bone Parish, SDCC 2018 Wrap-Up

It a post SDCC come-down for this installment of Heroes and Villains! We fittingly have a book about a convention at the end of the world and supernatural drugs! Which are WAY more frightening than regular drugs! 

A quick housekeeping note: Heroes and Villains will be taking a week off next week. I know, I know you’ll find it difficult to get by without me but you’ll make it. I believe in you. 

The Long ConThe Long Con #1
Dylan Meconis and Ben Coleman (W)
EA Denich (A)
Oni Press

If you’ve ever been to a comic book convention… you know. For many of us it’s a rite of passage, going to your first con. Even better, cons feel a lot like coming home…if done right.

The Long Con does indeed do it right. 

Set five years after a cataclysmic event,  The Long Con tells the story of the world’s biggest (and longest running) comic convention that somehow survived and thrived afterwards. The book feels a lot like a rebuttal to every hack comedian out there that’s got jokes about comic fans and the subculture. You know the ones, “Walking Dead fans would be among the first to die in the zombie apocalypse!” Lamesville.

The book takes place in two time periods both before and after the event bridged by the main character, reporter Victor Lai, who was at the convention when stuff went down. And now he’s being sent back!

Obviously a book set at a comic con (post apocalyptic or not) is going to have lot of heavy lifting when it comes to the art. Which, I’m happy to write that EA Denich nails. As they say, the devil is in the details, and the art was clearly drawn by someone who has done their time behind a card table in artist’s alley… Watching, sketching, gathering reference material. Life’s rich pageant when viewed through the lease of a comic con attendee. 

The art is vibrant, the plot is compelling and humorous, I honestly don’t know why anyone would go to an actual convention when they could just read The Long Con. 

Bone Parish #1
Cullen Bunn (W)
Jonas Scharf (A)
Boom! Studios

I feel like I’ve covered a fair few supernatural/horror books here in H&V and I love it. I’m generally not a horror fan but when I read the solicitations for some of these books I find myself saying, “How can I not read that?”

Such is the case with  Bone Parish. It’s got ghosts, it’s got New Orleans, it’s got rival crime families  and, (most importantly) it’s got a new drug MADE FROM THE ASHES OF THE DEAD. Pretty gripping stuff.

The pace and flow of the book is fantastic and speaks very much to Bunn’s skill as a writer. I could see this concept falling apart under the pen of a lesser writer but Bunn totally knocks it out of the park on this one.

Scharf’s art is pitch perfect and nails the tone that this type of book demands. I hate drawing comparisons to other artists work probably as much as artists hate being compared to each other, but this is a good comparison! If I were to put together a Venn diagram, Scharf would be somewhere in the sweet spot between John Cassaday and Andrea Sorrentino. His work has all the character of Cassady’s with the added textures of Sorrentino’s.

SDCC Wrap-Up

I’ve never been to San Diego Comic Con and, to me, it seems like Hell on Earth. Above, I wrote of my love of comic cons but I feel like SDCC exists separate from that. It’s the convention equivalent of that mean neighborhood dog that lived in the yard that never had any grass in it. You know, the dog that carried around a discarded truck tire as a toy and had a leash that was perpetually on the edge of breaking. 

That said, I would totally go to SDCC if given the chance. Everyone in the neighborhood gets yanked off their bike by the ankle by Zeke at least once. Why not me?

I had hoped for a lot of comic book news  to come out of SDCC this year but the only thing that pinged on my radar was Grant Morrison coming back to DC Comics to do a Green Lantern book. I honestly can’t wait for this book.

Marvel Studios was largely absent this year which should have given DC films a chance to shine. It’s kind of fascinating to see DC movies slowly but surely shaking off the dead weight of the last few movies. A lot of people heap blame and praise in equal parts on Zack Snyder for the current state things, but Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight trilogy kind of set the dour tone for Man of Steel and everything that came after. In brief, they tried to Superman Begins it and it didn’t really work.

Aquaman feels very much like a changing of the guard. I estimate the movie to be made up of roughly 40% of Jason Momoa’s charisma. I honestly never thought I’d see Aquaman on the big screen in my lifetime so I’ll consider it a curious win until I see otherwise.

Then there’s Shazam. Since the MCU is the current gold standard of super hero movies this could be DC’s Guardians of the Galaxy which they sorely need. It looks like it could be an actual fun DC movie…which I honestly never thought I’d see on the big screen in my lifetime.

The DC Universe streaming app is the biggest mixed bag of them all as far as I’m concerned. I was not fully prepared for the Titans trailer. The profanity! The violence! My delicate sensibilities were scandalized! I’ll be approaching that show with a morbid curiosity and I will bet you that Robin becomes Nightwing by the end of the first season (if not the first episode).

However, adult oriented the DC Universe app may be, it’s still going to give us the HD remaster of Batman: The Animated Series and a NEW season of Young Justice. As far as I’m concerned, those two shows are worth the price of subscription AND the best things DC has done in the last twenty-five years.

Next up, the new season of Star Trek: Discovery is coming in 2019. Having watched the first season and found it…pretty okay, the second season appears to have had quite the tonal shift. I would have loved to have seen what Bryan Fuller would have done with the show had they let him do his thing and I found myself  looking for his fingerprints all throughout the first season. Season two seems like it will be full departure from that and I’m looking forward to it.

Finally, go look up Cartoon Network’s  Infinity Train. It’s been loooong in development and I’ve been waiting for a concept to wow me like this since Over the Garden Wall did a few years back.

What did I miss? What did YOU like? Would you go to SDCC? Let me know in the comments! Or on Twitter! That’s the place for reasonable discourse, isn’t it?

 

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