Aug 122014

Dark Knight ReturnsBack in 1987 (or so) the finnish translation of Frank Miller’s Dark Knight Returns was an unexpected return to the realm of superhero comics I had written off as childish pastimes the year before (the domestic edition of X-Men having started on not so good storylines following the dissolution of the Claremont/Byrne-duo). But sadly, like so many things in high school, this was a discovery made too late – by the time we found out about the awesomeness of the four issue series, the first three installment had been sold out. Borrowing them from friends with a better taste was no match to owning the whole.

Needless to say, the publisher didn’t do a re-run, and we settled for the next piece of goodness: Year One.

I finally picked up the Titan Comics edition a couple of years later, and what a feast it was. And still is. Year after year. Re-read after re-read.

This, alongside Watchmen turned an entire genre upside down, and they have not been improved on since. Which is more than a little sad, since both of them are closing in on thirty years already.

Frank Miller’s take on an aging Batman is a cruel but deftly drawn one. Gotham City has deteriorated, as has the rest of the world. A world quite well resembling our own (with a Ronald Reagan for the U.S. president) yet subtly different (the island republic of Corto Maltese whose crisis pulls the globe to brink of nuclear war).

The script is merciless, it combines classic characters with modern cruelty and throws in surgically aimed stabs at the american society.

An awesome graphic novel, that should be read by anybody with any interest in comics. Or a good story.

Jan 062014

I’ve been a spineless Mauri Kunnas fanboy pretty much as long as I’ve been aware of him. Initially familiar through his Nyrok City comics, thereafter through his annual childrens’ books.

Piitles was advertised as a labour of love. The prospect of the author’s all time favorite band getting the Nyrok treatment sounded too good to be true.

Which it was.

This isn’t actually that good a graphic novel. The story covers the band’s early days, and is mostly true to life. Which means that there’s plenty of getting started difficulties and angst and the fun bits are rather few and far between. Though occasionally Kunnas’ love and skill of absurd shines through undeniably. But mostly his love for the band and desire to do them right prevails.

The art is pretty throughout the book, and the main characters well recognizable, though occasionally it feels like a rush job.

I learned quite a bit about the Beatles prehistory. I just am not sure whether I was looking for a lecture from a dedicated presenter as opposed to a jolly good time with a comic book.

So, bitten by prejudices, I came off disappointed with Piitles.

Jan 182013

Iron Man 3 posterBack in 2005, I really liked Shane Black’s debut movie: Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang.

And now, only eight years later, someone has let him behind the camera again.

Fortunately he’s brought along Robert Downey Jr., whose splendid acting in the film was one of the definite highlights.

The film is one of the ever-continuing and expanding Marvel universe: Iron Man 3.

I haven’t seen any Marvel movies since the original Iron Man, so the premiere of this (probably May in Finland) is a good incentive to pick up the original sextet. Yes, I haven’t yet seen Avengers. Which, to a card-carrying Whedon fanboy is a grave omission indeed.

Oct 012012

Today’s Fingerpori featured a surprising guest star: Jouko Piho, a quasi-famous “prophet”, whose blog at Uusi Suomi is often too painful to read.

He seems to have taken the strip rather well, after all, it is by no means a mean one. So there’s little danger to have it disappear from the archives (thus far just one strip has been censured).

Fingerpori 1.10.2012

Sep 102012

Heart of Ice coverAlan Moore and Kevin O’Neill continue the saga of Extra-Ordinary Gentlemen, with a solo performance by Captain Nemo.

Heart of Ice is due out already in february next year. That’s not an impossible pace by any means, the two last volumes of the Century trilogy arrived almost suddenly (when compared to the glacial speed of the first volume and that of the Black Dossier).

Apr 062012

Fingerporilainen, the second step in my continuing campaign for world domination, is now available in Ovi Store for Harmattan devices (which is to say that it works on N9 and N950).

It is a very simple application that provides easy access to the six-strips-a-week content published by Helsingin Sanomat.


And yeah, before you ask, I’ve written similar apps for Viivi & Wagner and Wulff-Morgenthaler as well.

Mar 112012

Fables logoTelltale Games, who have been snapping up licenses to abdandoned game franchises, films, television series and whatnot, have picked up one more.

Their take on Bill Willingham’s Fables has nothing but an announcement, but the concept is very intriguing.

After all, the take on fairy tale characters’ continued existence in 21st century does provide an almost infinitely extensible milieu for additional adventures.

Feb 012012

Watchmen 2012 Silk SpectreIn a truly unexpected turn of events, Watchmen returns in a flurry of prequels, 25 years after the original graphic novel was published.

And DC Comics is not content with a few issues – the seven mini-series run between four and six issues each.

Which means a huge bonanza for the collected editions as well.

Neither Alan Moore nor Dave Gibbons seems not to be involved with the project at all.

Jan 052012

Vicar & duckVictor ‘Vicar’ Arriagada, one of the most prolific artists drawing Donald Duck passed away recently.

In my opinion Vicar was just a tiny bit away from greatness. He was a fast artist, and didn’t resort to the obsessive level of detail that slowed Don Rosa down during the last years of his career. Then again, his stories tended to be on the simpler side – no novel-length sagas with omnipresent intertextuality.

Dec 012011

Wolverine 101When I saw the Dorling Kindersley’s Wolverine: Inside the World of the Living Weapon on the shelf of the local library, I assumed it would have been a leisurely-written mostly fanboy-ish guide to the world’s favorite short-tempered canadian mutant.

How wrong I was.

And how out of touch of the world of mutants I was.

During the last two decades the storylines have gotten complicated enough to warrant page-long explanations in miniscule font even for the Cliff’s Notes version. The brawl-prone Wolverine is seemingly involved in the most complex and multi-layered conspiracy that spans decades, hundreds of issues and heavy-handed work on retroactive continuity.

No wonder the volume of modern X-men I borrowed in the summer made sense only very occasionally.

Nov 132011

Cocco Bill, vol. 1Bought the first Zum Teufel-published anthology of Jacovitti’s comic cowboy tales.

The hardcover album contains four stories, chronologically the three first and the eighth.

The first stories have not yet reached the absolutely absurdist heights of the latter albums, and hover somewhere between comedy and traditional western plotlines.

However, nothing is what it seems. While the first stories are indeed quite traditional, the plots start to stray (and the imagery is anything but the usual from the very beginning).

The apache-centered storyline ends up being a weird tale of building courage and using leaves for wigs. The most recent tale in the book, on cossacks in Oregon, is a delight on everybody but the translator – the plentiful cossack-dialogue has been mangled into a language that bears a string resemblance to russian.

On account of the originals, the print quality is low. But the quality of the book is otherwise very high.

Let’s hope the next album (this is, after all, noted to be #1 on the cover) appears soon in the shops.

Aug 092011

Corto Maltese in Q-TeatteriIn addition to being very late with movie reviews, I’ve neglected descriptions of late spring cultural events.

Of which Q-Teatteri’s take on Hugo Pratt’s Corto Maltese was the first.

The minimalistic play is based on the The Golden House of Samarkand album and effortlessly laid out with half a dozen actors and as few props as possible.

Tommi Korpela as the world-weary sailor pretty much nails the role of the protagonist. In addition to looking and sounding like the stonefaced soldier of fortunes, he smokes the part. Indeed, his puffing on cigarettes (herbal, as stated in the notices in the theatre) gets almost comical at times.

Corto Maltese is a good story, the plot reaches from Venice to Caucasus without a hitch. The two lead characters, Corto and Rasputin, haven’t lost anything from the originals (though the latter has gained quite a bit of comic flair). And considering how often Hugo Pratt used just a few lines and black blotches of shadows for scenery, the bare bones staging is appropriate indeed.

Thumbs up for bravery (this is the world’s first Corto Maltese play), and thumbs up for the entertainment as well.

Jul 302011

Prisoner silhouetteI’ve been an Olly Moss fanboy for a long time. A recent addition to his portfolio is a collection of papercuts of various characters. There’s plenty of figures I do not recognize, and quite a few I wouldn’t mind on the walls. The style is very much the traditional silhouette – black on white – with colour very sparingly used for special effect (like the jackets of the Reservoir Dogs crew).

Jul 122011

Upon perusing the list of books I’ve read thus far in 2011, one name stands out: Manu Larcenet accounts for nine books (or graphic novels).

The scripts cut a deeply existential wound, and the boldly drawn characters lose nothing on account of the simple style. They convey the meaning and feeling in a well-placed scribble or two.

Jul 112011

SVKWarren Ellis’ collaboration with Matt Brooker and BERG has resulted in an interesting artifact: SVK, a graphic novel that requires special equipment to read otherwise the experience will omit one of the colours. Whether this is a privacy prevention measure, an one-off experiment or the inception of something completely new remains to be seen.

Missed the first print run, but will definitely look out for later editions.