Monday, June 29, 2009

Why I Love Soranik Natu... Um, I Mean, Patrick Gleason.

I don't hate any of the "regular" GL artists. I love Ivan Reis's work and will miss him greatly. Philip Tan's current run on GL has been okay -- not bad, but I think his beautiful pencils suffer a lot from the comic book coloring process. I am not a huge fan of Ethan Van Sciver, not because his artwork is bad or anything like that, but it just doesn't do anything special for me.

But there's a lot of dislike for Patrick Gleason on various message boards that I frequent, which makes me sad. I love Gleason's art!

I realize that he has a bit of a quirky style that seems to be one of those "either you like it or you don't" styles. Occasionally there have been panels that seem a little off to me, but overall, I love his style and I love his work. Yet there seem to be quite a few fans who don't care for it, even going so far as to say that his art is ruining an otherwise good book.

I suppose I should be grateful at least that they recognize what a good book GLC is, when too many people are overlooking it in favor of the main GL book (which has been hit and miss for me this year). Peter Tomasi has been writing a dynamite team book, blending the Blackest Night plot elements in with the other story threads seamlessly, and making me care about every single Green Lantern on the page. It's no secret that Guy is my favorite GL, and he hasn't had much to do lately, so it's a testament to the creative team's abilities that I'm still enjoying the book so much even though my favorite character is taking a bit of a backseat right now. And I think that Gleason's art is a big part of my enjoyment, too.

So while combing my back issues for examples of why I love his art so much, I came to a realization. I already knew that I love the way he draws Guy -- tons of personality in every panel he appears in! -- but you know who else looks absolutely yummy under Gleason's hand?

Yes, Soranik Natu is both beautiful and adorable, isn't she? There are a ton of characters in this book, ranging from a (soon-to-be-undead) fly to a lizard-man to a planet to God-knows-what, and all of them look good, but Natu's design is just wonderful! I love the "I'm a professional" short hair, and the costume that's both modern and very classy. I love the facial expressions he gives her -- ranging from "tired" to "Love you, Kyle!" to "I'M GONNA KICK YOUR ASS!". I love the way he uses her hair to show her current condition, like above, where it's all messy and kind of flat because she's cute and tired. When she means business, it's all spiky. How many artists actually show their characters' hair in disarray? Not nearly enough, in my opinion.

What a snarl! You'll note that here, and in other close-ups, it seems that Soranik has violet eyes. Hmm, I had never noticed until now.

Determined pout.

I think I have a girlcrush.

And as for Mr. Gleason? There's only one thing I don't like about him: he doesn't do nearly enough conventions, so I might never get those dozen convention sketches and autographs that I want!

Monday, June 22, 2009

Back From the Con...

Back from North Carolina, and happily carting in loads of stuff that I bought at HeroesCon 2009 I've been to a lot of cons, both larger and smaller than this one, and I've attended HeroesCon nearly every year since 1992, but I have to gush about how amazing it was this year because of Blackest Night.

The big question for me on Saturday morning (I skipped Friday and visited friends instead) was: which of my geeky comic t-shirts should I wear? In the end, I decided that I was feeling greedy and wore my Orange Lantern shirt, and I'm glad I did. HeroesCon was like one giant War of Light! I've never seen so many Lantern shirts in one place before. Every time I looked, there was someone else: Green Lanterns, Red Lanterns, Blue Lanterns, Black Lanterns! The place was just bursting with GL pride! All weekend long, I was hearing "Hey, nice shirt!" and saying the same to other folks. Some people really got into it, too: more than once, someone with an Orange Lantern shirt grabbed something I was looking at and said "MINE!", then we'd both laugh and go our separate ways. I saw two different people actually wearing a full Green Lantern costume, and when two guys in Blue Lantern shirts walked up to one of them, he looked at his ring and said "Power levels 200 percent! Thanks!". Probably half a dozen people stopped me to ask me what the hell was up with all these rainbow t-shirts, and then of course I had to explain it to them. I'm almost positive that the single vendor who was smart enough to stock these shirts at the con probably sold a ton of them to people who didn't even know what they were for and just wanted to get in on the weirdness. (For my part, I already had Orange, Indigo, and both the Sinestro Corps shirts, and I finally picked up the Blue and Red shirts here, but they sold out of Black and Star Sapphire on Friday! Curses!) It was a Lantern-fan's paradise, and I can only imagine how awesome SDCC will be for those who get to go.

I also attended the DC Nation panel on Saturday, which Ethan Van Sciver happened to be a part of. Obviously they couldn't tell us much about Blackest Night, but Ethan did tease us with the knowledge that he's supposed to be designing a very important Black Lantern character for the cover of Blackest Night #4. The entire panel seemed very excited about the event, and we also got to see (from a distance) the first issue of Wednesday Comics, which seems very cool. It actually folds out to resemble a newspaper! The possibility of an Aquaman: Rebirth was discussed (Martian Manhunter and Firestorm Rebirth ideas were also bandied about), but Ethan was very clear about the fact that right now he and Geoff are concerned solely with GL and Flash, and there weren't any plans for anything else yet. Someone asked what was going to happen to Bart Allen, and the answer was "Flash: Rebirth is going to make you very happy."

My favorite moment, though, was when a guy sitting a few rows back from me asked if there might be a possibility of another ongoing Guy Gardner series. They wouldn't answer us with a yea or nay, but Ethan said (I'm paraphrasing from memory here, hope I don't totally misquote him) that everyone knows that Green Lantern is red-hot right now, and it's still going to be huge coming out of Blackest Night, and "two Green Lantern books aren't enough".

Now of course I'd buy a Guy solo book in a heartbeat, but it doesn't really make much sense to give him one considering that he (sort-of) stars in GLC. So even if that doesn't pan out, I'm still stoked about the idea that Ethan, at least, seems to think that a third GL book of some sort would be a good idea. I'd love an ongoing Quarterly like they used to have, or perhaps even a monthly tales of the GLC in the same vein.

Heck, at this point I'd read an ongoing title featuring the other Corps (or whatever is left of the characters at the end of Blackest Night even if the other Corps end up collapsing).

Thursday, June 4, 2009

The Redemption of Sinestro?

Originally posted by me on the Green Lantern Corps Message Board in response to a topic about whether or not we might see Sinestro "redeemed" in the aftermath of Blackest Night (the idea was that maybe we would find out that he was possessed by an entity all along):

I realize I'm in the minority here, but I wouldn't mind seeing Sinestro redeemed in some way. The problem is that no matter how it was done, it would just feel too contrived. As someone said, he was created to be a bad guy, and I'm not sure anyone could ever accept an alternate explanation for his behavior. And it would only be a matter of time before another writer came along and decided the whole thing was stupid and retconned the retcon so that he was really evil all along, after all.

So yeah, I don't think it would work. :(

I desperately want to see some stories about Sinestro when he was a rookie GL. It's not really fair that we only know him as the maniac he is now because we have no way to compare (and no, just saying "Oh, he was the greatest Green Lantern at one time" doesn't really give us a clear picture of the man he used to be). Was he ever young and hopeful and gung-ho to make a difference in the universe... sort of like a rookie cop who later becomes jaded and cynical? Only instead of giving up and becoming numb, he decided he could do it better his way? Or was he always just a power-hungry jerk with phenomenal will?

One of the few things I like about Emerald Twilight is Sinestro's narration before he appears to fight Hal. If I recall correctly, there's a part where he's talking about all the things you do as a GL, and then one day you start to ask yourself "What has this ring done for me?". That's a very natural response to living a dangerous life serving others, I think. Power alone is enough to corrupt, but the temptation must be even worse when you're not just powerful -- you're putting your neck on the line every single day. And people being what they are, the public probably comes across as a bunch of ungrateful wretches most of the time.

I'm actually surprised that more GLs haven't gone bad. Maybe none have been as delusional, or had the will to be as powerful, as Sinestro, but I suspect that more than one GL out there uses his power for personal gain in small ways.

It has also occurred to me that we don't know anything about how Korugar was run before Sinestro took control of it. It's all relative. I mean, think about it this way (and I realize this is a super over-simplification of the Civil War, but bear with me in my metaphor here): if the south had won the American Civil War, what do you suppose the history books would say about Abraham Lincoln? If you try to make sweeping changes to a society too quickly, or before it's ready to accept them, you're reviled.

So what if the status quo on Korugar was something like America two hundred years ago, and Sinestro's "despotism" was in taking control of the government and freeing the slaves, giving women the vote, and making it illegal to put orphans to work for twelve-hour days in factories? Sure, he's still a dictator and it was still wrong (and definitely against GL rules) to use/abuse his power to take control, but it does change the perspective a little.

I'm not saying any of that is true or even an option or anything -- I just like to look at things from every possible angle. And either way, he's still a mass murderer and terrorist, so none of that would wipe it all clean.

Sorry, Sin. I love you, but you're still dirty.