Questions About Writer Tools & How Long It Takes To Write…

I’ve had several people send me emails inquiring about the tool bars you see over top the right of your screen on my website, unless you are on a mobile browser and then they may be at the very bottom of the page. Those are my word count progress graphs. The overall questions I’ve had about them is , where did you get them, and are they helping?

I originally saw them several years back at Cheri Priest’s website and she linked over to this website, Writertopia. Of the two styles they have available, I use the more straight forward one. They have one with a cute little cartoon that you can have show your mood, but that one just wasn’t me. The page I linked to a few sentences back has complete directions on how to use them, and they should be no problem if you chose to go that route. By the way, if you have not read at least one of Cheri Priest’s books, you are missing out, go pick one up today.

How much do those counters help me? To be completely honest, not much. All of the word counts are currently out of date. A few of the works have been finished and one was put away to peculate for a while. If you are on your page several times a week posting and updating it, I can see it being a great boon. For me, not so much. I just have spurts of updating consistently, and then weeks of nothing, but I’m trying to get better.  Hopefully tonight I can find time to delete the onces that are no good and update the others.

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     The other question I have noticed popping up is, “How long does it take to write your book/story/whatever? My answer is this…

“It takes as long as it takes.”

     It’s kinda trite, but its the truth. There are writers out there that can set themselves a deadline and on that day they are FINISHED. I am NOT one of those writers. I just can’t, I guess I am not disciplined enough yet. I finish a few works, submit them, and get on to other projects while waiting for the rejection slips to come in. I’ve been working on my two long form projects for a while and have to bounce between them every few weeks. Makes for slow writing, but it keeps my mind busy and on a different problem all the time.

     All that to say that I will endeavor to be more consistent in my writing projects and on this website. I will try not to bore you, but I wont go weeks with nothing either.

     On that note, I leave you with this little meme…

How Long to Write Novel

How Long to Write Novel

Have a good day, and keep on writing!

Stacy

@stacybaugher

Reprint: Stacy’s Comic Casting Couch – JUSTICE LEAGUE

Like my Star Wars 30 year Gap series, I had planned on doing more of my Comics Casting Couch articles as well. I have drafts of several, most of which have been marked for development in the real world, but this one is a favorite. 

I wrote this one in February of 2013, prior to the release of the MAN OF STEEL movie in June of that year.At the time,  Warner Brothers & DC were denying a unified DC Movie Universe. I, like many others, thought that was a missed opportunity and quickly wrote up my pitch for a Justice League movie. It introduces the idea of multiple heroes to the world and even uses the much aligned Man of Steel movie as a jumping point. Now, of course, we know now that Warner Brothers has decided to make their SUPERMAN V BATMAN movie (or BATMAN V SUPERMAN, whatever) and attempt to develop a unified series of movies, but I was pretty proud of the fact that I had worked this up quite a while before they admitted to that. I even cast a currently popular wrestler/actor for a major part, before James Gunn!

Let me know what you all think. Here it is, copied and pasted from an old blog, with only a few grammatical changes: STACY’S COMIC CASTING COUCH – THE JUSTICE LEAGUE

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Hello out there world! It’s the return of the Stacy’s Comics Casting Couch! And this week, we cast, THE JUSTICE LEAGUE!

Justice League TitleThe concept is simple, you have the greatest heroes in the world, band together to combat threats that no one hero could handle alone. Over the years, in various incarnations, these heroes have dealt with everything from alien invasion, inter-dimensional invasion, temporal invasion and even invasion from within. They defeated countless foes and saved untold lives, but there is one villain that they have never defeated… HOLLYWOOD.

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The Story

As we start out excursion in a new DC Universe based movie, the only super powered hero the world has ever know is the alien being known as Superman. After the turmoil and destruction of his initial appearance, people slowly began to feel safer actual to warm up to the idea of a Superman. World peace looked like it was finally within our grasps. But all hope is dashed when Superman turns on the people he swore to protect. Cities are destroyed; people left homeless and lives shattered. He gives no reason for his actions as he spreads destruction in his wake, he simply becomes a force of nature. No one individual can stop him, so it is time for a League to rise and take a stand.

The Main Characters

Henry Caville as Superman

Henry Caville as Superman

Superman has turned against the Earth. Now a mute, emotionless force of nature that is feared by all who stand in his way, he has begun to systematically take out the world’s infrastructure. What could have caused this change, and what connection does the strange star shaped growth on his back have with his current actions?

If we decide that the new Superman movie coming out this year is the beginning of the new series of DC inter-connected movies, let’s keep some continuity from the get go and have the actor who plays him be familiar. We are not really sure how Henry Caville will be as Superman when the movie is released*, but let’s all send good vibes that it will be something to build a universe on.

Eric Bana as Batman

Eric Bana as Batman

From the depths of a secret underground network, a dark knight of justice watches events unfold as the world’s protector turns against it. He has no name, only a description given to him by the cowardly criminals he vanquishes, Batman. Until now he has focused on keeping the city of Gotham in some semblance of order, but now the actions of an alien threaten to topple everything he has worked to accomplish. He sets his contingency plan into motion and contacts his agents; it’s time to go to work.

While I think that using Superman as part of the new interconnect movies is great, I don’t think the Dark Knight series should be used. Let’s start fresh with a new Batman that is a myth to the world at large. Instead of being a loner, he has placed himself at the head of a group of non-powered heroes who stay in the shadows to help the common man. While Superman may relatively new to the public, this Batman has been in the shadows for years fighting crime, undetected. Let’s go with an actor who has several comic and sci-fi films under his belt, and I think that Eric Bana could knock this one out of the batpark. For more mystery, let’s make him Dick Grayson and give hints that Bruce Wayne has disappeared, setting up a plot thread to be picked up in a future film.

DB Woodside as John Stewart

D.B. Woodside as Green Lantern

The threat of a Kryptonian gone mad is not something that goes unnoticed in the grand scheme of things, and with the interstellar repercussions that could erupt The Guardians of the Universe have sent their own investigator to find out the cause: Green Lantern John Stewart.  Drafted into the Corps after being captured by insurgents while deployed in Iraq, he has been away from his home world for over a decade. Now he comes back to defend it, but is he ready for all that he finds?

I think the same stipulation I put on the Dark Knight movies should apply to the Green Lantern movie; recast and start over, heck, you could even make mention that the regular Green Lantern is detained fighting the space pirate Kan-Ja-Ro if leaving the door open for a Ryan Reynold’s Hal Jordan is really necessary. D. B. Woodside has the look to play John Stewart, and has played in unbelievable settings in the past (Buffy The Vampire Slayer).

Cat Zingano as Wonder Woman

Cat Zingano as Wonder Woman

As Superman continues his rampage across the world, he runs across a small island nation hidden by highly advanced technology in the Mediterranean Sea called Themiscyra. The Themiscyra military see him as a threat and attack. After a short battle, Superman has left the island in ruins. Even their highly advanced society could not stand against a mad Kryptonian. Acknowledging that their people cannot recover without help, Queen Hippolyta decides to reveal her people to the world. She sends her daughter, the Amazonian Princess Diana, to the United Nations to ask for help. But while she addresses the U.N., the villain reveals himself and forces her to take up arms to save no only her people, but civilization as we know it.

Wonder Woman is TOUGH to cast. Many of the actresses who are qualified can’t bulk up enough to pull it off. My first thought here was Olga Kurylenko from Quantam of Solace, but I just am not sure she could manage the physicality of the role. So for this one, I am going strictly for the build and looks; Cat Zingo has proven herself a fighter in mixed-martial arts ring, so she has the power needed to amaze us as Wonder Woman.

Tristan Wild as Cyborg

Tristan Wilds as Cyborg

Victor Stone was a promising young quarterback for the Gotham County High School football team. While visiting his parent, scientists at S.T.A.R. Labs in Gotham, he was injured in a horrible explosion. Under ordinary circumstances, he would have died, but his parents acted quickly and used equipment at the lab to stabilize him till an ambulance arrived.  While their son was on the verge of death in the hospital, the Stones were told that they had been fired from their positions with S.T.A.R. for the misappropriation of lab equipment, i.e. the very items that saved their son’s life. Word got out and a mysterious benefactor offered to pay all current and subsequent medical bills. The Stones were also hired on to Wayne Enterprises to work the R&R division. Using their new resources, they began to replace their son’s destroyed body with new advanced cybernetic parts. Victor becomes involved with rescue efforts after one of Superman’s rampages, and he is seen as a hero. The media name him Cyborg, and the Batman clandestinely recruits him for his anti-Superman task force.

Tristan Wilds may not be a name known to the general public, but he made waves during his time on the HBO series The Wire. He later went on to more main stream television roles and worked with George Lucas on his World War II movie, RED TAILS. While he has turned more toward music as of late, I still think he would make a Cyborg that would explode off the screen.

Dave Bautista as Starro

Dave Bautista as Starro The Conqueror

Through the Batman and Green Lantern’s investigation, it becomes evident that Superman has been possessed by a Starro, an alien that latches on to their prey and relays control of said prey through a central hive-mind. Normally, millions of the small, star like creatures are dropped on planets from orbit, but once the presence of a Kryptonian was confirmed, their ruler, who goes by the proper name Starro the Conqueror, decided that he wanted to take control directly. He eventually realizes that he is unable to influence enough control over Superman to use him indefinitely and decides to cast his starro creatures out to form his army. He positions his star-shaped ship over the state of Kansas and prepares to meet the super powered beings that have banded against him in mortal combat.

The idea of recreating the cover to Brave and The Bold #28 is super tempting. In fact, it might be possible to have them heroes fight a giant Starro just like that. Once it has been defeated, then the hive mind aspect comes into play and “The Conqueror” appears, having possessed a powerful alien being years before. While the “mini-boss”  Starro fight would draw on the classic cover B&B cover, the big boss fight would show a Starro closer to his appearance in the 2009 R.E.B.E.L.S. series. Strap a giant flesh-colored star to the chest of Dave Bautista, and you have Cobi from R.E.B.E.L.S. Vol. 2 #5.

The Supporting Cast

Outside of the main heroes mentioned above, you have several heroes that emerge from the shadows, either part of the Batman’s network or gifted individuals that realize they have to act. Most can be done as cameos, a great chance to have some fan eye-candy, but a few take a slightly larger role.

Cary Elwes as Green Arrow

As one of the Batman’s secret operatives, Green Arrow could be shown fighting Starro’s spore driven army in Seattle or Star City.  Cary Elwes is the actor I have ALWAYS wanted to play Green Arrow. Just get him back into shape from his Princess Bride Days.

Jason Lee as The Flash

I know that everyone has hung their hat on Ryan Reynolds for playing a Flash role, and I to think he would be a great wise cracking Wally, but I also think that Jason Lee is underappreciated as an actor. His Barry Allen, late of Central City CSI, could not only figure out how to combat the starro possessed public, but implement that solution at super speed and free everyone at once.

David Ogden Stiers and Dolph Lundgren as Martian Manhunter

Okay, hear me out on this one! Yes, David Ogden Stier is a nod to the Justice League television pilot, but I don’t want to see him painted green! He’s a great actor, so he can play John Jones, private eye. When he transforms to a form closer to his own, we get a green Dolph Lundgren or that type with appropriate forehead prosthetic and one of the more current costumes.

There are many other cameos that could be done. You could have Zatanna protecting a cruise ship from possessed passengers and then have one of the starros be blasted off, sink below the waves, and show Aquaman and the Aquafamily protecting Atlantis.  Imagine a Hawkman and Hawkwoman flying over New Orleans and saving people from starro spore infected Mardi Gras revelers. So much potential!

Shooting Notes

Start off the film with a flash back and a situation (possibly from the new movie) that would give a starro spore a chance to graft to Superman. Begin showing Batman as a shadowed figure behind a computer directing other street-level heroes; maybe even have him be an Oracle type figure (that could be passed off later as he takes a more direct hand in the battle) and then he gathers his troops to battle Superman (yes, Grayson could have Kryptonite, maybe even a Kryptonite tipped arrow) but he is stopped from finishing Superman off by Green Lantern. Cue initial distrust & obligatory fight scene, Green Lantern against every street-level hero that is appropriate, and they realize that Starro the Conqueror is actually responsible. When they approach Starro the Conqueror’s base, they are aided by Wonder Woman, fresh from the attack on the U.N. (flown in by an Air Force pilot named Steve Trevor). They succeed in freeing Superman, but then have to face a monstrous Cobi/Starro. After defeating him and telling him to spread the word that the Earth is off-limits to cosmic conquistadors, they set up a network to contact each other again if they are ever needed. BONUS: An after credits scene of could include a blonde haired G. Gordon Godfrey reporting on the events of the movie, trying to paint the heroes in a bad light. While in his dressing room after going off the air, he activates a boom tube, returns to Apokolips and telling an imposing Darkseid that the Anti-Life Equation is on Earth.

If done right, a Justice League movie could be as big and serve as a root for other DC movies. Moving the focus away from Superman and Batman onto other heroes helps deal with the overpower issue, and the global scale of the attack gives cameo opportunities to practically any character.

But, as always, I won’t hold my breath until Hollywood (or DC Comics) comes knocking!

Thanks for reading!

Stacy Baugher

REVIEW: KID CODE – CHANNEL ZERO #1

Kid-Code-Channel-Zero-1TITLE:     Kid Code: Channel Zero #1

WRITERS:       John Jennings, Stacey Robinson, Damain Duffy

PENCILS:        Stacey Robinson

INKS/COLORS: John Jennings

LETTERING/DIALOGUE:  Damain Duffy

PUBLISHER: Rosarium Publishing

OFFICIAL BLURB taken from the Rosarium Publishing website…

Kid Code: Channel Zero is a rollicking, cosmic, time-traveling adventure, fusing classic hip-hop culture and outlandish sci-fi fantasy in this alternate universe to create the ultimate mash-up.

Everything’s a remix! And Kid Code and his comrades must fight against The Power, who eons ago sampled the first sounds made from the God MC and created the Dark Mix (a version of the universe that was never intended).

Now there’s a race against and for time throughout the universe to assemble The Everlasting Cosmic Mixtape–nine tracks that can re-assemble the God Sample and help set things back on course.

The adventure starts here in Kid Code: Channel Zero.

It’s time for some action!

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When you decide you are going to review books, or any form of entertainment, as a blogger/writer/whatever, your first impulse may be to seek out the high profile projects, the stuff that gives you hits and page views and gets your name out there. The problem is that when you do that, you may be missing out on something really special.

When the opportunity came up to review KID CODE: CHANNEL ZERO out of Rosarium Publishing, I grabbed onto it with both hands, thinking I was ready for whatever Black Kirby and Tan Lee could throw at me.

Boy was I wrong. I was nowhere near ready.

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The world of KID CODE is one straight out of a fevered night on the streets. The God MC creates the Uni-Verse after speaking the word (YO!) and then placed the ancestors souls in The Crowd. But after the Ultimate Hater stabs him in the back and took his power, he changed his name to The Power.

There is more, oh so much more rhythmic and inspired words to the story. but here is the main thing to remember: Kid Code, a member of the Knights of the Infinite Digging (aka The KIDS) is out trying to track down the Phantom Station so he can turn off Channel Zero and shut The Power down. In this endeavor, he is watched over by Father Time and his assistant Roxy Clockwise. To this end Code has tracked down a splinter which can lead him to the Phantom Station, but it is in the form of an innocent young girl name Sylvia. Can Code get the information he needs to shut down Channel Zero and save the innocent, and still look cool as a pair of vintage kicks while doing it? Read it to find out.

There is more, oh so much more. It is difficult to put into words because they flow like lyrics across the page, the visuals moving in ways that only could come from the hands of people who love what they do. There is no holding back on this, you read it at full volume and hope that your ear/eyes can handle the waves.

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Beneath all my poorly attempted hyperbole, this is an amazing comic. Stacey Robinson and John Jennings‘ art is big, bold, colorful and full of life. Damain Duffy‘s dialogue sings off the page and traps you in it’s flow. It is an experience, not just a comic. It grabs onto its own audacity and doubles down for the win, making you find yourself admiring the minds that laid it all out. It went completely beneath my radar when it was released, but now that I have found it I am anxiously awaiting the next installment

Spread the word. Go find it. Hunt it down. Read it, then pass on the good word. Kid Code: Channel Zero #1 get an enthusiastic two thumbs up!

Kid Code: Channel Zero #1 (of 3) is available at Rosarium Publishing and other fine retailers. ISBN: 9781495602207

Kid Code: ChannelID CODE: CH

REVIEW: DEATHSTROKE Vol. 1 – Gods of War

TITLE: 9781401254711_p0_v2_s260x420                Deathstroke Vol. 1: Gods of Wars

WRITTEN BY:    Tony S. Daniel

COVERS BY:      Tony S. Daniel, Sandu Florea,

PENCILS BY:      Tony S. Daniel

INKS BY:             Sandu Florea

PUBLISHER:       DC Comics

OFFICIAL BLURB taken form the DC Comics website…

In these tales from issues #1-6 of the hot new series, Slade Wilson’s entire life is turned upside down after he learns that his involvement in a top-secret mission was wiped from his memory. Now, a new, mysterious enemy known as Odysseus has targeted Deathstroke and everyone involved in the decade-old mission. But Slade’s journey into his past takes an unexpected turn, leading him to Gotham City – and into conflict with both Batman and Harley Quinn!

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Deathstroke.

In the worlds of DC Comics, he is the most dangerous mercenary to ever  raise a hand in violence. He has been a henchman, an instigator, a mastermind, and a pawn. He has been a foil to everyone from the Teen Titans to Batman to Green Arrow. He is the man, and few in the DCU have ever matched him in ability, until now.

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Deathstroke Vol. 1: Gods of Wars, sends a rejuvenated Slade Wilson up against a threat that is more dangerous than any weapon, his family. Collecting the first six issues of the latest series to bear his name, we start out seeing a veteran Deathstroke preparing for his latest mission; minimum people, no electronic exposure. The mission takes Deathstroke to Russia where he cuts a bloody swath across the land of the Iron Curtain, only to find that he has been set up by one of the few people he thought was on his side. Glorious two-page spread battles ensue, only to find him laid low just when he can afford it the least.  After he awakens, he finds himself in a completely new situation with no money, limited abilities, and no friends. Even his own body betrays him as he attempts to find out who is responsible for the new paradigm he finds himself trapped in.

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Writer Tony S. Daniels (SUPERMAN/WONDER WOMAN, BATMAN) is the architect of this globe-spanning adventure which takes Deathstroke from the dirty streets of Moscow, to the mean streets of Gotham City. Along the way he uncovers a new backstory for the man known as Slade, one filled with family betrayal and more. Appearances from everyone from Batman to Lady Shiva to Harley Quinn add to the story as it builds toward an explosive conclusion which sets up Deathstroke in his new surroundings.

This is part of the issue which some readers may have with Deathstroke Vol. 1: Gods of Wars; the new surroundings. The story is good, solid, and entertaining, but there is a major aspect of it which may make longtime fans of Slade feel it was included less for the good of the story than to make the viewers of a successful television show more comfortable. I read through the book several times, and each time felt that it would have been just as strong without this particular plot line. I have not read the subsequent issues following this trade, so I do not know if this twist was just temporary or if it is permanent. Regardless, on the whole, it is an exciting adventure worth a read.

Pulling double duty, Tony S. Daniels also delivers the artwork for the series, with inks by Sandu Florea (SUPERMAN, BATMAN). They are gorgeous, acrobatic pages. There are one and two page splashes where Deathstroke battles various enemies which simply sing with a fluidity of motion which many artist would sign over their good right hand to achieve. Daniels pencils, fleshed out with spectacular inks by Florea, sing with action.

With exception of the hiccup in the set-up, the story is an exciting one which every fan of Deathstroke should read.

Deathstroke Vol. 1: Gods of Wars is a solid book with wonderful art. Thumbs up!

Deathstroke Vol. 1: Gods of Wars, collects issues 1-6 of the regular series from write/artist Tony S. Daniels (SUPERMAN/WONDER WOMAN, BATMAN) and artist Sandu Florea (SUPERMAN, BATMAN)

REVIEW: GOTHAM ACADEMY Vol. 1 – Welcome to Gotham Academy

Gotham_Academy_Vol_1_1

 TITLE:   Gotham Academy Vol. 1: Welcome to Gotham Academy

WRITTEN BY:  Becky Cloonan, Brendan Fletcher

COVER BY:      Karl Kerschel

ART BY:           Karl Kerschel

PUBLISHER:    DC Comics

OFFICIAL BLURB taken form the DC Comics website…

Gotham City’s most prestigious prep school is a very strange place. It’s got a spooky campus, oddball teachers, and rich benefactors always dropping by…like that weirdo Bruce Wayne. But nothing is as strange as the students! Like, what’s up with Olive Silverlock? Is she crazy or what? Where did she go last summer? And what’s the deal with her creepy mom? And how come that freshman Maps is always following her around? And is she still going out with Kyle? P.S. Did you hear the rumor about the ghost in the North Hall?! It’s all here in these tales from issues #1-6 of the new series! 

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When the New 52 was announced, many gave it a pass. To different, too radical, too much too soon, was how many of the longtime fans have felt about it. It did not help that the titles were shuffled around and inconsistencies sprung up with every issue. If it had a history in the DCU before, chances are that there were going to be some growing  pains.

Luckily, there was also new titles which had no such history and had no true issues with inter-title continuity. Gotham Academy was one of those.

Gotham Academy Vol. 1: Welcome to Gotham Academy is a different look at the much used Gotham City setting and the Batman mythos. We are first introduced to the protagonist Olive Silverlock as she and new student Mia “Maps” Mizoguchi are awaiting a meeting with the Headmaster of Gotham Academy, a tall and foreboding man named Hammer. It seems that Olive had been caught calling the headmaster “Hammer Head”. From there, the book takes you at a pleasant clip as it introduces the various other characters and the pecking order at the school.

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My standard disclaimer: Despite this being a collection of already published issues, I am not in the business of spoiling anything. If you, like me, have a tendency to “wait for the trade” then you also deserve the chance to read the story as it unfolds and with no prior knowledge.

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Collecting the first six issues of the monthly series, we are taken on a mystery trip with the feel of a gothic novel; I refer to the classic literature genre, not the modern interpretation.  Olive Silverlock is cut from the classic Gothic mold of a young girl placed in a situation which she feels she cannot reveal to anyone. She walks the halls of the Academy and reflects on her problems and how since last summer, everything has changed, she is different, and no one understands. At first read, it comes off as a very teenager sort of angst, but as the book progresses, you find that Olive has real reason to worry about how her fellow students and friends see her. It is just one of the many mysteries which are touched on as the story progresses. Olive becomes a deeper character than expected, in fact, a deeper character than you would find in many other comics.

I mentioned her other classmates. While it is important, and refreshing, to realize that while they too fit in the stereotypical molds of teenage school stories, they grow as well. You have Mia “Maps” Mizoguchi, the young new student at the Academy to whom Olive has been assigned as a mentor/guide to acclimate her to the school. “Maps” is a full on RPG nerd, right down to the role-playing references and referring to their various adventures in RPG terms. It is a refreshing change from the awkward male teen geek who would normally fill this role. She is the propellant that thrust Olive into several of the situation they find themselves in, and in many aspects seems to be the glue that will hold this burgeoning band of junior detectives together. Did I mention that she is also the kid sister of Kyle Mizochugi, tennis star, popular kid, and boyfriend of Olive…maybe? Pomeline Fitch starts out as a sort of enemy to Olive, but over the course moves more to a frienemy status. She’s dark, with a fascination for ghost and magic and she fits right in to the feel of the Academy. Her boyfriend is a rather unremarkable kid named Heathcliff, but the name alone gives him a pass in this neo-gothic setting. Then we have the school bad boy, a young hood named Colton Rivera, he’s into fireworks, hacking, lock picking, and trouble. Now, the question is, do any of Olive’s fellow students have connections with the Dark Knight, or other famous Gothamites?

The students are not the only interesting characters, the faculty surprises as well. Fans of the BATMAN ’66 comic or the classic Adam West Batman television series are sure to be delighted with the various characters who pop-up. Have fun identifying them all!

But, what Gotham based title would be complete without an appearance by the cities Dark Knight. Olive is tied to Batman in surprising ways, ways even she does not remember fully, and that is one of the suspenseful storylines in the book; what connection would a young teenage girl have with the Guardian of Gotham? Find out, and be ready for a special guest start toward the end, it’s worth it, and sets up a whole new slew of possibilities for future issues.

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Co-writers Becky Cloonan (AMERICAN VIRGIN, Southern Cross) and Brendan Fletcher (BATGIRL, ASSASSINS CREED: BRAHMAN) really have opened up a unique tale of teen angst, self-discovery, and dark rituals. The voices of the characters all sing true to their selves and add a layer that some comics are missing. It would have been easy to shot for a straight for a “super hero” school, or a Hogwarts, but with the nods to classic gothic stories, it feels… more, even if it might escape some readers.

The artwork by Karl Kerschel (MAJESTIC, TEEN TITANS: YEAR ONE) shines as well. There is a near anime feel that helps soften the dark setting, and allows for more expression of the characters. The backgrounds are detailed, and draw you in. Beautiful work.

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Overall, Gotham Academy Vol. 1: Welcome to Gotham Academy, is a book that does not disappoint. You have ghosts, mysterious stalkers, strange afflictions, hidden passages, and hilarious role-playing references all in one book. It is a genre bending story that has something for everyone, from the indie fan to the union suit hard case. From pre-teen to forty-something, readers of all ages can find something to like here.

Gotham Academy Vol. 1: Welcome to Gotham Academy, gets listed as a must buy. I give it an enthusiastic thumbs up!

Gotham Academy Vol. 1: Welcome to Gotham Academy, collects issues 1-6 of the regular series from writers Brendan Fletcher (BATGIRL, WEDNESDAY COMICS: THE FLASH) and Becky Cloonan (AMERICAN VIRGIN) with art by Karl Kerschel (MAJESTIC, TEEN TITANS: YEAR ONE). It can currently be found in your local comic shop, bookstore, online,and other fine retailers of quality.

 

REVIEW: BATGIRL Vol. 1 – The Batgirl of Burnside

REVIEW:Batgirl Vol. 1: The Batgirl of Burnside

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 TITLE: Batgirl Vol. 1: The Batgirl of Burnside

WRITTEN BY:  Brendan Fletcher, Cameron Stewart

COVER BY:  Cameron Stewart

ART BY:  Babs Tarr

PUBLISHER:  DC Comics

OFFICIAL BLURB *taken form the DC Comics website…

Barbara Gordon is no stranger to dusting herself off when disaster strikes, so when a fire destroys everything she owns, she spots the opportunity for a new lease on life – and seizes it! Following the rest of Gotham City’s young adults to the hip border district of Burnside, Barbara sets about building an all-new Batgirl…and discovers new threats preying on her peers! As the new hero of Burnside, Batgirl gets started by facing twin sister assassins on motorcycles! Collects BATGIRL #35-40.

 

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Batgirl Vol. 1: The Batgirl of Burnside takes the character of Barbara Gordon and puts her in a radically different situation than we had seen her for the first few years of her New 52 title. Barbara has let Gotham City proper and relocated in the Burnside district, a small, youth oriented borough where she has gone back to school to work on her PhD and moved into an apartment with, HOLY SECRET IDENTITY DANGER!, roommates. We are introduced to this new situation quickly as the current status quo and some future direction is set up rather neatly. Before you know it, you’re cheering for this “new” Batgirl, and waiting to see what happens next.

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Despite this being a collection of already published issues, I am not in the business of spoiling anything. If you, like me, have a tendency to “wait for the trade” then you also deserve the chance to read the story as it unfolds and with no prior knowledge.

Through the course of six + one issues, we follow Barbara as she navigates her new life pretty much how we all did that first real time away from home in a new place, by making a bunch of mistakes. She learns to adapt to the new dynamic of sharing an apartment with people who don’t know her secret identify and have no connection with the superhero business. This is actually one of the first thing that grabs you. Traditionally, a heroine or hero would live alone, or with other heroes, or at least with confidants; but that’s not the case here. Barbara is thrown full into the reality of dealing with people who have no idea why she acts so strange or has such a bizarre schedule, or has such odd friends. As in life, it doesn’t take long for aspects of the old to clash with the new. When Dinah Lance (Black Canary) arrives on Barbara’s new doorstep and announces that she has lost everything in a fire, it sets up a series of events that allows Barbara to transform herself into a Batgirl with a new costume and less resources, but a more exuberant outlook. As we watch her navigate her new world, it quickly becomes evident that the transformation into the Batgirl of Burnside may come at the cost of old friends, and maybe even her secret identity.

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Fletcher and Stewart have taken the idea of modernizing a hero to a new extreme, peppering Barbara’s life with modern internet references, pop culture images instant messaging and more. Instead of existing only behind the mask, they allow her to step out and be a young woman who is learning how to live in her new surroundings and situations. She makes mistakes, and has to deal with those mistakes. We are introduced to new villains as well; from a pair of twin anime-inspired motorcyclist, to an artist who seems to be a commentary on the clash of the art world with the virtual world, to a mysterious entity that seems to know everything about Barbara that they shouldn’t. These new villains all are skewed with a technological and youthful eye that makes them seem appropriate for the new direction the book has taken.

And the whole issue of Oracle and Barbara being in a wheelchair? It’s covered, rather well in fact.

The art work by Babs Tarr is a true visual treat, and fits the new youthful and bright feel of the book. Her use of original panel layouts, ghost images, and illustrated internal dialogue give you a feeling that you are experiencing the book on multiple levels. The depiction of the characters throughout the book is refreshing as well. No overblown cleavage and broke-back poses here, these are real body types that the reader sees in the mirror and on their way for their venti mocha frap with no whip.

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Overall, is it a good to pick up? Well, seeing as how attempts to re-invigorate books with a more modern and unique bend without being beholden to decades of continuity is now referred to as “Batgirl-ing”, I would give that a definite yes. Younger readers will appreciate the exuberance and attention that makes the book relevant to the current generation, while old-time readers will get to experience a book that opens up new doors to storytelling.  It is a great book if you are a fan and a spectacular book to give that non-comic reader friend/significant other to draw them in. Even if the fluid treatment of continuity that is currently in vogue turns you off, it is a book that deserves a read. Also, if you are even remotely interested in the new BLACK CANARY series, this is worth the pick up

Batgirl Vol. 1: The Batgirl of Burnside, gets enthusiastic thumbs up!

 

Stacy Baugher

on Twitter: @stacybaugher

 

Batgirl Vol. 1: The Batgirl of Burnside, collects issue 35 thru 40 from new writers Brendan Fletcher (GOTHAM ACADEMY, WEDNESDAY COMICS: THE FLASH) and Cameron Stewart (SEAGUY, BATMAN AND ROBIN) as well as SECRET ORIGINS #10. Babs Tarr provides art for the six issue arc, and Irene Koh provides art for the SECRET ORIGINS story. It is currently out in hardback and paperback.

Stacy

 

 

Reprint: Star Wars, The 30 Year Gap: Luke

This is a continuation of a series I originally started on another blog last year and I only got a few in. With all the Star Wars: Force Awakens news and rumors running around, I thought it would be fun to repost it on my main blog….

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Star Wars: The Thirty Year Gap.

Part Two: Luke Leaves the Rebellion

You either stand by your principles or you suffer…

                At the end of Return of the Jedi, we see a Luke Skywalker who has grown in the Force to the point of defeating the remaining known Sith by bringing about the redemption of his own father back to the lightside of the Force. Now, that done, his next steps may be harder than any lightsaber battle he has been in…

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                 Luke Skywalker returns to the Rebel Alliance fleet after the celebration at Endor. He has a sense of satisfaction and a belief that he is on the right track. Now, he sets forth to do that which he knows now he must do, find a way to return the Jedi to the galaxy.

To that end, Luke goes to his sister, Leia, and asks her advice on what he should do. He tells her that he feels there are people out in the galaxy that have access to the Force, but may not know it. He is certain that his next step must be not only finding and researching any remains that may exist regarding the Jedi Order and their ways, but finding other Force sensitive and bringing them into the fold of a New Jedi Order. Han jokingly asks if Luke is getting ready to build an army of cocky kids wielding lightsabers, but Leia hushes him. She agrees that he must do something about the Jedi and continuing their legacy, but believes that there are more pressing matters at hand. She tells him that she has a meeting with Mon Motham and the other Rebel Alliance leaders to discuss their next steps, and that Luke has been asked to join.

After several hours of political and military planning, Luke has begun to think that Mon Mothma and Leia had forgotten him. Just as he is preparing to leave, Admiral Ackbar turns to him and asks, “And what can we expect from our resident Jedi; how long till we can expect some support from a revived Jedi Order?”

Luke is somewhat taken back by this. He had come to ask for some assistance in helping search for signs of the original records from the Jedi Temple on Coruscant, not to give a timeline of some sort of Jedi return. He tells Ackbar as much, and then adds that he is not even sure that the old Jedi Order should be brought back, even if he could.

An argument follows. It is clear that the leaders in the Rebel Alliance had expected that Luke would bring a new Jedi Order to their side and assist them as part of the military, much as they had done prior to and during the Clone Wars. Mon Mothma tells of how she specifically remembers the power that a single Jedi could hold, able to sway a battle simply by being on the field and to turn difficult negotiations around with words of wisdom. All at the table agree that a new Jedi Order would be essential to the success of any new government which would take hold.

Everyone agrees, except Luke. He gives an impassioned speech in which he explains that, from his research, the closeness that the Jedi shared with the Old Republic may have very well been a large part of both organizations downfall. They spent too much time looking at the larger picture of galactic politics and not enough time watching out for the people they were protecting. With what his research has uncovered, though the diaries of Obi-Wan Kenobi and reports found in pre-war archives, was that when the Jedi became a military force within the splintering Old Republic, that they blinded themselves to the real problem; why did the people feel that they needed to leave to Old Republic in the first place? And what of the Jedi themselves? They seem to have fallen into much the same situation as the Old Republic, as they refused to look past their own indoctrination to the concerns that some of their own members had about the actions they were taken.

The members of the Rebel Alliance council seem taken aback by this. Their assumption had always been that they were working toward a goal of restoring the Old Republic and the Jedi Order with it, and the possibility of Luke, the last Jedi, having fought beside them all this time only to disagree with them now had never been considered. The debate gets heated. Han quickly takes Luke’s side, as does Lando Calrissian. Mon Mothma, Admiral Ackbar, Wedge Antillies and General Dodonna all push for Luke to official declare that the Jedi would be a part of the new government. Luke reminds them quietly that their new government does not exactly exist as of yet. Shocked silence. Leia finally intercedes; she moves to table the issue of the Jedi until a more suitable time, after Luke has made a report on any discoveries and Jedi candidates that he may find. Once again everyone agrees, except Luke.

Luke declares that he does not intend for the Jedi, if he is successful in bringing them back, to become a tool, politically or militarily. Mon Mothma, obviously furious, dismisses him from the meeting.

As Luke leaves, Leia quickly rushes after him, intent on being the mediator and soothing over the situation. Luke reiterates his position, and lets her know that no one, not even his new found sister, was going to change his mind. If he had any doubt about the Jedi Order’s place in a revitalized Republic, they were gone now. He fully intended for the Jedi to be an autonomous entity with no obligations to anyone.   He kisses his sister and tells her he will be in touch.

A few hours later, as he tries to access his waiting X-Wing, the hanger chief tells him that the ship has been grounded waiting for re-assignment. Before much more can be said, Lando approaches and tells Luke that immediately after he left, Admiral Ackbar had his ship marked for reassignment. Leia had protested, but Admiral Ackbar had declared that if Luke intended on leaving the New Republic, he was not taking New Republic property. Lando them offers to give him a ride in his ship, the Lady Luck, to wherever he was intent on going, or at least till he could procure a new ship. Luke accepts.

As Luke boards the Lady Luck, his looks longingly at the hanger bay, realizing that for the first time in his life, he may be truly alone. As Lando takes off, he hears a soft but familiar dweep-doop come from the back of the ship. He turns to find R2-D2 rolling toward him. Lando laughs, stating that he knew the little droid wouldn’t stay hidden for long. R2-D2 then plays a hologram message for Luke from C-3P0. It seems that after Ackbar grounded Luke’s X-Wing, Leia sent C-3PO off to arrange R2 to accompany her brother. A short message of encouragement follows, and declarations of love from Leia and Han, and it is over. Luke realizes that he will never be alone as long as he has his family, blood or not.

Lando then gets a transmission from Home One. It’s from Wedge Antillies, and he asks to speak to Luke. Wedge tells him that he realizes that Ackbar may seem to have been a little rough, and that Mon Motham would come around, and a few more seemingly stressed statements. As they listen, R2 begins to beep excitedly and lets them know that Wedge is sending them a secret message in plain sight, stressing certain syllables and such for a different message. Wedge has given them a set of coordinates, and instructions to go there in 36 hours.

At the appointed time, Lando and Luke arrive just outside the Tantooine system. After a few moments, a strange signal comes through, and a familiar shape drops out of hyperspace. Wedge Antillies has arrived driving a proto-type X-Wing fighter with two seats. He docks with Lando’s Lady Luck and tells Luke that despite the words spoken he has the support of Rogue Squadron, and they want him to have the proto-type X-Wing to help him in his search for new Jedi trainees.

So with renewed encouragement, Luke departs. His journey leads him through many adventures and his new Jedi Order grows steadily.

Thanks for reading, more to come…

Stacy Baugher