Chances are better than not, that if you’re reading this, you’ve got a little nerd inside you. I mean, at the end of the day, you’re reading a comic book here– so, if the ONLY nerdy thing you do is read Spy6teen (which, I kinda doubt) than you’ve still got some nerd in ya.
If you go through our comic, starting at the beginning, you can probably pick out some of the nerdy DNA that makes up Spy6teen– between the situations I pop in and DJ’s designs– I don’t think there’d be major shockers in terms of our influences and inspirations.
But that’s just the tip of the iceberg– and today I don’t really want to talk about where we came from– but rather cool new stuff– the stuff that we’re ingesting now and you’ll see in the output of later works.
I have a few creator friends whose philosophy is to cut off outside influences– to be a producer instead of a consumer– I respect their choice in that regard, but it’s very antithetical to how I work. Personally, I enjoy looking at the nerd cultural landscape and being involved in the discussion about it.
It seems like we’re in a good place in terms of “geek stuff”– we have access to more or it (in more ways) than ever before…Sometimes to our detriment, when the signal to noise ratio gets a little heavy (I’m thinking of the week I spend in a nerd-oversaturaion coma after returning from Comic Con), but for the most part, the nerd landcape is at a place where the see-saw of quality to quanity is leveled out.
To that, I wanted to start up a little blog segement called “Input”– where I’d list out some of the cool stuff I’m geeking out on, currently– this isn’t a list of stuff that came before– this is a list of stuff RIGHT NOW.
I try to consume as much idea/creative/interesting stuff as I can– So please, join in the comments with stuff you’re digging on as well!
Ok– Off we go:
Well, this one is a no-brainer– Epic Fantasy on HBO with a ten million dollar-per-episode budget? DVR is SET!
I’m sure by now you’ve heard how amazing George RR Martin’s books are– I’ve read the first two, and yes– they are. They’re also extremely attention draining, at times tedidious, with a Dickens-like cast of thousands to keep track of.
Yes, it IS very good– but, for me, I’ve learned I can’t read two in a row. In fact, I’m going to need some decompression time before I start Book three.
Now, show-wise, they’ve done a remarkable job capturing the tone of the books– Also, an amazing job of adaptation– as I watched it with a few non-readers, who were able to keep track of who’s who and the various Sub-Plots occurring.
When the showrunners refer to GoT as “The Sopranos in Middle Earth”, they aren’t kidding– It was one of the first things I thought when I was roughly 70 pages into the first book.
Only one episode in, but it’s amazing so far– possibly the first TV show ever where I’ve thought to myself: “Man, I can’t wait to see this on Blu-Ray!”
If you haven’t read the books, you’re in for a fairly jawdropping story– and if the production value continues to meet the standards set in the pilot episode, Game of Thrones will go down as the best Fantasy ever produced for Television.
(Not that it has a lot of competition on that front…)
Game of Thrones (both as a book and a show) from an inspirational standpoint is almost daunting. As in, you’re seeing exactly how rich a world Martin has created and populated– and it’s almost paralyzing to think that’s the bar that has been set.
Eventually, I’d love to do a big ‘ole Epic Fantasy, but Game of Thrones has effectively proven to me that I’ll need better chops before I tackle that particular genre.
Huge fan of the comic book, so I was generally jazzed with the AMC series. If you read/watched, I know I lot of people were genuinely miffed with the season finale (no spoilers)– but personally, which I may not have cared for it too much, I appreciated the fact that the show was staking a claim– saying: “We’re not a direct adaptation– we can go wherever we want.”
Going back to Game of Thrones, if I do have a concern, it’s that I won’t be surprised by anything that happens– I’ve read the book, and they’re following that story directly– so, watching it for me is a lot of head nodding: “Yup, they got that right– wow, that looks really cool”– whereas with the Walking Dead, anything goes.
No Zombies in Spy6teen, but I’ll admit to a huge love for the post-apocalyptic genre– Probably watched The Road Warrior too many times as a kid. Sadly, zombies are growing a bit passé, so I’ll likely have to wait until they swing around in terms of popularity to launch my big “Gone with the Wind of Zombies” American epic.
In the meantime, The Walking Dead will do just fine…
If you haven’t seen The Walking Dead (or just want to own it) Amazon has the first season on DVD for 10 bucks! Less than 2 bucks an episode!
This one took me by surprise– I’m only a handful of episodes in, but it has already impressed me with its concept and overall production value.
I’m not a “Stargate guy”– despite the design of THE MACHINE which appears in Spy6teen– I mean, I was a fan of the film, and casually watched the TV series here and there, but I wouldn’t consider myself a “fan”.
While popping around Netflix, I decided to give SG:U a go, I’d heard it was a reboot (no prior series knowledge necessary) and a few friends gave it a thumbs up– so, I figured, why not?
SG:U quickly hooks you in with a LOST like opener (Who are these people? Where are they coming from? What’s going on?!) and develops it’s characters through a pretty engaging premise: The survivors of an alien attack find themselves transported/stranded on a centuries old Starship, light years from home. Unable to pilot the ship, they’re on a predetermined course and have to repair it– or die.
Like I said, I’m only a few episodes in, but the opening 3-parter was pretty decent. I can’t give it a full recommend until I get later in the season, but if you have Netflix, it’s worth a watch.
The next series premiere in a handful of days, and man– could I not be more excited. On top of it, The Doctor has even made a covert Spy6teen appearance!
For those who don’t watch Who, I recognize the fact that it might feel a bit impenetrable (what, with more than 30 years of continuity– it’s a bit like saying: Hey, get into Star Trek!)– the plus side is that with every new Doctor, there’s either a hard or soft “reset”– That said, I’d highly recommend picking up LAST season (With new Doctor, Matt Smith)– which serves as a reintroduction to the character/premise and launches a new cast. Yeah, there’s some small stuff you’ll miss, but they do a fantastic job of getting you up to speed.
Without question, Who is some of the best Sci-Fi/ Historical/ Speculative TV I’ve ever seen. From a writing standpoint, I’m constantly impressed at the show’s ability to craft “done in one” episodes while maintaining a larger story, which pays off in the season finale.
Smart, funny, charming, adventurous, and epic– I can see why a legion of brilliant British writers and artists have long cited Doctor Who as an early influence.
JASON AARON: WOLVERINE/SCALPED/GHOST RIDER
(although he looks all “Ima Kill you if you talk about my hat”, he’s actually a super nice guy.)
I discovered writer Jason Aaron after a friend lent me Wolverine: Get Mystique– which was a non-continuity Wolverine story which put him into a noir-y, revenge setting– much like Richard Stark’s Parker. A woman (in this case Mystique) has wronged Logan (a few times) and now he out for revenge– and nothing is going to stand in his way.
I thought it was pretty cool– so on a whim, I picked up Wolverine: Manifest Destiny– which was also written by Aaron– a story where Wolverine headed to the Chinatown district of San Francisco to make amends– only to find himself in the middle of a gang war– It was pretty much Wolverine: Big Trouble in Little China– but it works. Particularly in the sense that we’ve always seen the Japanese/Ninja/Samurai element of Logan– this was a refreshing tour to see how Logan might react in a totally different cultural setting.
Manifest might not be Watchmen, but it’s fun– actually a LOT of fun.
Aaron has a knack for taking Marvel characters and popping them into interesting situations/plots/genres– For example, how he turned Ghost Rider into a Grindhouse book– why hadn’t anyone before him? Because honestly, his Ghost Rider run is the only time that character has been remotely interesting to me.
I’m currently working through his creator owned book Scalped, which is equally fantastic.
Jason Aaron is, without question, one of the best comic book writers we’ve got around today.
I don’t have the time to invest in video games much anymore– although, if I did, I’d probably be playing Portal 2 right now.
How can you not love a game where you ARE Batman.
Somewhat tied into the Comics section, I am getting caught up on Batman: No Man’s Land, which is reportedly serving as the story template to B:AC– The basis of the story is that Gotham has been cut off from the rest of the world by a tremendous earthquake– From a game perspective, it makes for a brilliant choice by limiting the scope of the game area. Can. Not. Wait.
And somewhere in here, I try to find time to read books– the ones with just words and no pictures.
I just finished OLD MAN’S WAR, by John Scalzi– which falls under the “Military Sci-Fi/Starship Troopers” sub-genre.
Again, on the list of “things to write before I die”, I’ve got a military Sci-Fi thing– and to that, Old Man’s War is pretty inspirational. Tight little 300 pager, told in first person, about a 70 year old guy who is “avatar’ed” (sorta) into a young, optimized version of himself.
You follow him through the process, basic training, and then off to war– it’s exciting, funny, contains at least 4 really cool hard-fi ideas, and ultimately, just a blast to read.
Thumbs up on “Old Man’s War”
So that’s what I’ve been nerding out on lately– how about you guys? Any good stories/media/mediums I should be checking out? Let me know in the comments!!