“Man of Steel”: A Movie Review

For my friend’s birthday, we went to an advanced screening of Man of Steel!

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The ticket looked pretty cool 🙂

The ticket being the Superman logo I'm holding up :P

The ticket being the Superman logo I’m holding up 😛

If you didn’t already know, this is an origins movie. We not only see Clark Kent– or Kal-El as he is known back on Krypton– on earth as a young boy, but we actually see his parents in their home planet, as well their destruction. We see his dad fusing him with a skull-like object, which is where the blueprints of millions of their kind’s lives are saved. The villain, General Zod, gets shipped away to be reconditioned for rebelling against their planet. However, this actually saves his life (him, and his group of followers), as their old planet collapses upon itself. Back on earth, Clark’s childhood is told in a series of flashbacks as he journeys through his current life, working from job to job, always an outcast.

A group of scientists discover something buried in ice and this is where Lois Lane steps in. She’s here to discover for herself what they have found, and of course, being a journalist, wants to write about the findings. This ‘thing’ turns out to be connected to Clark’s home planetm and since he’s working as part of the excavation crew, he is able to learn about his past through a saved version of his father’s soul (it’s basically like a hologram, except more high-techy).

Shortly after discovering this, as well as saving Lois and consequently gaining her interest, Clark gets a call from General Zod, having found where Clark is now located. He is interested in re-creating Krypton with the blueprints inside Clark. Of course, they will need a planet to inhabit their people with, and unfortunately, they mean to take over earth.

That’s a very brief outline of the plot, but without spoilers of course.

I thought that the special effects were amazing. The story was good, and I liked the cast. I honestly didn’t particularly like the villain, but with some help from the movie, I do understand why he’s fighting so hard to save their race. It was just a bit hard to see it from his point of view when you think about earth being destroyed.

Some parts of the movie was really cheesy. And some lines could have been omitted (i.e this one girl calling Superman hot…). I also thought that Lois and Clark’s relationship develops pretty intensely in a short period of time, but then again, it is a two hour movie.

It’s out in two days! I think it’s still a pretty good movie, and is one of those that work a lot better in a cinemas with 3D.

– Karen

Musings After Sandman Volume 3– Gaiman’s Scripts

I felt the need to just ramble about how I felt after reading Sandman. And here are my unfiltered thoughts (though I edited for grammar)– just thought I would share it with you guys! You may notice it is a bit different from my usual style of writing, but that is because I was just pouring out everything that went through my mind after reading the volume!
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I have nothing better to do on this fine Tuesday afternoon. I have braved through all my classes, and am now waiting for my HR meeting.

Anyway, I was at the gym earlier (shocker!) and instead of bringing my usual iPad to watch an episode of Supernatural while I run, I read volume 3 of Sandman. The stories were okay. Like the first book, I found myself loving certain parts of the book a lot more than the rest. I remember for book 1, it was when we were introduced to the Sandman’s sister– Death. She is amazing. Dare I say perfect? We see her again in one of the short stories in this volume.

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I still don’t entirely get Sandman. But I respect Neil Gaiman as a writer– a lot. He has that dark vibe to him, much like how you would expect Tim Burton to write if you got a chance to read his scripts. What was my favourite part of this graphic novel was the very last section of the book. Gaiman told us he would allow us a peek behind the curtains of how he writes his graphic novels. Actually, I’m wrong in saying that. He explicitly told us that this was not the Neil Gaiman style of how to write graphic novels, but simply how he writes The Sandman.

I did not think that writing the script for a graphic novel would be so intense. It seems like it would take ages to finish a page (I’m sure it does). I know I breezed through the pages of the novel, spending 2-3 minutes max on them. But the effort it takes to write one of these pages is commendable. He included notes from both him and his artist, Kelley Jones, in the margins of the script.

Gaiman writes his script out in a manner similar to writing a letter. To introduce each page, he would write to Kelley how he wanted the page to go. Additionally, he would also add random thoughts that he happened to ponder on. One of these included how he had a strange phone call the night before and it freaked him out. I loved this. It personalized the script, and made it so much more inviting to Kelley (or at least I would think I would feel that way if I was him). You are no longer reading stone cold instructions, but something from a friend.

After taking Creative Writing 203, we were told that we were not supposed to give the artist too much directions in our children picture book drafts. I wrote my story (which I was not satisfied with– and neither was my TA judging from my mark), and the only instructions you could get from what I wanted the illustrator to do was which page I wanted the text on. It was important that you allowed the artist freedom. Gaiman’s approach was completely different..

If you could read how detailed he makes each scene, it really is amazing. He not only tells the artist roughly what he wants the character to be doing, but he goes as far as to say that outside the window, we should get a lighting that suggests “early summer or late spring”. Each page’s panels have about half a page of text instructing Kelley on what he should do. Gaiman also says that he’d send Kelley reference pics (which us as the reader does not get to see). Gaiman does say that he has to first know who his illustrator is before he writes his scripts, so I am assuming he keeps in mind what he believes Kelley can produce.
I think this is amazing, but of course, I am thinking through the mind of the author. I would love for my artist to paint exactly what I imagined in my head. I wonder how Kelley feels. I wonder if this is the approach many other comic book/graphic novel writers use when they write their scripts. Or maybe it’s because Neil Gaiman is a such a big shot, so he gets to do things this way. Or maybe it’s a neutral agreement between solely Gaiman and Kelley. It’s weird how I refer to Gaiman by his last name and Kelley by his first. But I like it like that.

Seeing the script, I no longer think of graphic novels as very short pieces with several hundred words. Sure, each chapter may come in a small little compact booklet, and yes, we may only see the few hundred words that the writer chose to express physically with words in font.
But it is so much more than that.

-Karen

Ye Olde Comic Book Shoppe – The Fall of Print Publishing

The ABC Book & Comic Emporium – GO VISIT THEM BEFORE THEY CLOSE! EVERYTHING IS ON SALE! You have until the 31st of November.

I was going down to Broadway for lunch with my mom, and she had to leave early. So I decided to go visit the comic book store on Broadway and Granville. When I got there, my heart sunk. Emblazoned on its store front was “Sale- Going out of business”. I cannot say I have been a regular customer at this comic book store, but I have been there every once in a while. It all started around two years ago when my friends and I came back from a movie and decided to venture into the store. Inside we found cheap comic books, as well as a huge variety of other books, magazines, DVDs and some novelty items. It was mostly a second hand book store, but they have a section of new comic books too. I have always thought that it was a nice place and would visit now and then on my way home from UBC.

I actually felt like crying when I walked in, realizing that these walls of books and boxes of comics were to be moved, sold or god knows what else is going to happen to them. I talked to the owner, an older fellow (maybe in his early sixties?), who I have seen every time I visited them. He was always the one who was by the cash register, ready to answer any questions on their selection, or general questions such as what a “variant edition” of a comic book meant. He told me he will try to find someone to buy the store (I am assuming their name and their inventory), and he assumes that if someone does buy it, they will move it to a cheaper location. Rent was around $9000 a month, which made me wonder if they even raked in $9000 in revenue a month. They probably relied on the small sector of ever-diminishing regular customers that they have built up over the years.

For me, I have always loved reading comics. It probably started with my mom borrowing Garfield comics for me at the local library when I was young, then moving into an Archie and Friends phase. More recently, I have been quite into Marvel and have looked into DC. That is why I visited them today. However, it is really sad that the ABC Comic Emporium is closing.

It is not just comics. They have old issues of magazines, really neat looking old novels, as well as new stuff too. You can easily find a second hand hardcover copy of Brisingr by Christopher Paolini on sale for $15. I also saw in their glass cabinet a Game of Thrones, first edition, first print version selling for $80 ish, but now reduced to half. This place was special and had character. You look over to Chapters across the street from them and you can already guess what you will find inside the two storey, glass enclosed building. However, walking into ABC, you have no idea what you will discover!

It is such a shame that print comics and books are being replaced in the modern world. There will always be people who insist that the feel of holding a good, physical book is much better than an e-reader. I am one of those people. However, that did not stop me from turning to my iPad. It is very handy having a bunch of books stored in this simple and small tablet. I used to bring 3-4 books with me on vacations. Now, I can carry a small collection with me, without taking up half my suitcase.

If you have never been, or have not been for a while, I highly suggest giving the ABC Book & Comic Emporium a visit before they close down. You just may end up buying something you never knew you wanted! Say hello to the owner for me! Let him know there is people out there who will miss him and his store. 🙂

– Karen