Adam Graham's Blog: Christians and Superheroes, page 109

October 6, 2012

Justice League: Secret Origins (Review)

So, I began today watching the Justice League TV series which stars with the 3-part Story Arch, Secret Origins.

The plot that brings the Justice League together is, of course, an alien invasion by some ugly aliens. I say, "of course" because an alien invasion is the inciting for the recent Avengers movie as well as The Mighty Avengers direct to DVD release. This does contrast with the Silver Age introductions where the Avengers just needed to battle Loki alone while the Justice League apparently only needed to be fighting a giant malevolent alien starfish. But this is the 21st Century and no Starfish is going to be enough to bring together Earth's greatest heroes.

Aliens invade the Earth just as Superman has been destroying all the big missiles the Earth has that could do any good at the behest of a disarmament plan. Batman and Superman feature strongly in the first episode with brief appearances by the Martian Manhunter, Wonder Woman and the Flash (outside the action) , but by the end of Part One, it's clear Superman and Batman won't be able to handle this alone and in Part Two, the first scene features all our heroes including the Green Lantern and Hawk Girl joining the fight.

From there on, the series was animation magic with a great sci fi plot and superhero battles. We got to know most of the characters and get a taste of their personalities. Each adds something to the team except perhaps Hawkgirl. Her personality seems too much like Wonderwoman's at this point, and she's one of those character you get the idea was only added in so that you'd have a good balance of female characters.

The series, like Batman Beyond had a little bit more gore than the early-mid 1990s Batman and Superman series, but it was all good as it was just alien goo for the most part and not blood.

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.0
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Published on October 06, 2012 12:48

October 5, 2012

Comic Dreams: For Want of A Comic Book Artist

If you write superheroes you face a unique challenge if you can't draw. Well, even my stickmen look bad.

When I first began showing Tales of the Dim Knight to people, someone thought it'd be a good idea to do it as a graphic novel. He looked into it and found it would require going overseas to do the artwork and opposed offshoring work on principle.

In the years since, I've never quite run into an artist who could do the type of work I need. I've never imagined they've existed. Those who can do this sort of work well seem to work for mainstream publications or have their own comic books. It's definitely something I'd love to pursue if I could work out.

This is particularly true when I hear about The Marvel Method wherein the writer writes a generl plot outline, gives it to the artist and the artist then draws the pictures and fleshes out the story. The writer then adds the dialog where appropriate.

It sounds like a blast, but it would all depend on finding the right artist. We'd have to have some shared vision and be able to respect each other as it's very much a collaborative process. I wouldn't want just anybody to do it. Someday, hopefully I'll find someone to bring Powerhouse and other characters to the full comic-style adventures they deserve, until then, I can dream.
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Published on October 05, 2012 18:45

October 4, 2012

Stan Lee's the Man

Stan Lee

Stan Lee remains one of Superherodom's greatest ambassadors. He was co-creator of so many of the great Marvel franchises: The Fantastic Four, The Avengers, Spider-man, The Incredible Hulk, The X-men, and what I'm reading right now: Daredevil.

Mr. Lee always approached his comic books with a sense of fun (not that he didn't get serious from time to time). His work has a sense of fun and excitement to it. He loves his readers, he loves his characters, and its writ large on every page. In one page of a comic I'm reading, a previous issue is referenced and Lee said, "If you didn't read that issue, don't worry, we won't mention it again.-Considerate Stan Lee."

He's a bit of an inspirational figure. He was 39 and ready to give up on Comic Books writing entirely when his wife encouraged him to try one more time and to write a comic book his way. The result was the Fantastic Four and was followed by a host of other characters including Mighty Thor, Iron Man, and The Incredible Hulk. While this made him a success in the comic book world, it didn't necessarily make all of his dreams come true.

After Fantastic Four was created, there were plenty of setbacks with poorly produced television shows and movies, the failure of Stan Lee Media due to shenanigans by some of his investors. He enjoyed a mixed series of good and bad films as some efforts were successes and others were abysmal failures (such as the 1990 Captain America Movie.) His original dream of acting didn't come true until he was 58 and he appeared as the jury foreman in Trial of the Incredible Hulk. Now, as he's 90, his characters are enjoying perhaps their greatest popularity among the general public. When I feel annoyed at the pace of my career when I'm 31, the amazing story of Stan Lee stands as a reminder that it's a long journey ahead.
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Published on October 04, 2012 06:03

October 2, 2012

Powerhouse v. The Illusive Plot

On the blog, I'll address a couple criticisms that my work's gotten, not as a defensive measure but to explain the methods of my madness.

If there's criticism that Tales of the Dim Knight is the seeming lack of a central plot. Some have even suggested the book should be a short story collection.

Tales of the Dim Knight by Adam Graham

However, I'm comfortable with it as a novel, though I guess people could consider it a braided novel if they like. I will say that the book is a little different, so it throws people for a loop. There are three things that make the book different and throw people for a loop.

First, humor was a priority because it's very much a comedy and a parody. Many authors use humor as something that they mix in with their plot. What's different about my approach with Tales of the Dim Knight is that so much of the basic superhero stories are told for the parody and humor value. So the plot is at least partially built around the gags rather than the gags being put in around the plot.

Second, my overall style for the story is tied to the way I encountered superheroes growing up which was mostly in episodic television. And in the best superhero TV shows like Spider-man: The Animated Series, the stories may stand on their own but they were usually leading somewhere and somewhat inter-related. I hope that appeals to people who grew up watching Saturday Morning cartoons as part of that nostalgic feel.

And that brings me to the third point, the overall dramatic story in here is about Dave Johnson's journey. He gets his ultimate dream when he becomes a superhero, but that has an impact on his family and there's all ready trouble to begin with, so the story of the relationship between Dave and his family holds the novel together dramatically.

Obviously, the style we use here is not for everyone, but I'm very satisfied with it and how it turned.

If you'd like to try out, we are having a give away on Goodreads with the prize being an autographed copy.
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Published on October 02, 2012 00:36 Tags: powerhouse, tales-of-the-dim-knight

October 1, 2012

Stupid Christian Tricks: Prayer On the Bottom

There are two things that leave me feeling refreshed like nothing else.

First, there's prayer. When I've had a good time of prayer I leave re-invigorated, peaceful, and with direction for the day.

Second is exercise, when I've had a good workout, I'm charged up, my muscles have worked, I can think clearer.

It'd seem a no-brainer that prayer would be at the Center of Life and that I would exercise regularly and right away.

Reality though?

Reality is that prayer is hard to do and that it's easy to put it off.

And as for workout? I not only workout in the Evening, I end up pushing it back to 9 or 10 o'clock usually. As if my mind is trying to talk me out of it. It usually loses.

But on prayer, I get so distracted. This morning is a good example, I realized I needed to find my keys. I spent a good half hour ravaging the house for them. I figure I would pray after that and maybe then get to the writing. I didn't get any writing done this morning and instead dashed off a hurried prayer time of 45 seconds. Got to work and was stressed out before my first break over something not even worth getting upset about.

What astonishes me is that I know it'll be good for me and draw me close to God but somehow I find myself always pushing it back behind something else.

"For I delight in the law of God, in my inner being, but I see in my members another law waging war against the law of my mind and making me captive to the law of sin that dwells in my members. Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death?"-Romans 7:22-24
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Published on October 01, 2012 16:37

September 30, 2012

The Incredible Hulk 70s Style

I got my first look at the Television pilot of the 1970s live-action version of the Incredible Hulk with Bill Bixby playing the title role. The series begins with some promise.

Dr. David Banner feels guilty after he was unable to rescue his wife from their burning car. He takes part in research of people who did save others in times of crisis with superhuman strength. He discovers that while he shares similar genes with them, the son was omitting a low amount of Gamma radiation on the day his wife died.

Upon reaching this discovery he, of course, sets about to inject himself with 300,000 units of Gamma radiation but puts it on maximum level, but unbeknownst to him a technician had amped up the output of the machine and hadn't bothered to calculate how much it actually could give and so Dr. Banner got himself nearly 2 million units of Gamma radiation.

We probably shouldn't dwell too much on this because the science of superheroes is always silly when you think about it, we've just learned better to keep a straight face over the years and to try and make our scientific leaps a little more plausible.

Unfortunately, the pseudo-science and its methods took up quite a bit of time in this pilot which was distracting. The story showed definite potential in two ways. The action was good. While this wasn't the CGI creation of the recent films, the Hulk in Live Action looked pretty good for being from 30 years ago.

In addition, while radically changing the comic book character, they managed to capture the sort of sadness and tragic nature of the character that makes him connect with audiences. Banner and the Hulk are both quite a bit misunderstood.

Overall, I'll look forward to another look at Bill Bixby's Incredible Hulk.
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Published on September 30, 2012 19:44

September 29, 2012

Welcome to Christian Superheroes

Welcome to our new Goodreads blog.

I write the Powerhouse Stories including Tales of the Dim Knight. Tales of the Dim Knight

I'm a Christian Author and my faith invariably plays a role in what I write. I've been advised that there aren't too many of those, the purpose of this blog. I'll share with you as I'm on the writing process and the ups and downs.

In addition to that, I'm a fan of (some) Superheroes, particularly from the Gold and Silver Ages of comics and from TV and Movies, so we'll write about those.

We'll also take some general Speculative Fiction and General Speculative Fiction Issues from time to time.

Finally, we'll also discuss how Superhero stories and themes interact with faith. H. Michael Brewer's Great book on the topic got me interested and there's probably much more ground to plough. Who Needs a Superhero?: Finding Virtue, Vice, and Whats Holy in the Comics
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Published on September 29, 2012 23:14

Christians and Superheroes

Adam Graham
I'm a Christian who writes superhero fiction (some parody and some serious.)

On this blog, we'll take a look at:

1) Superhero stories
2) Issues of faith in relation to Superhero stories
3) Writing Superhe
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