Archive for April, 2018

Enjoying Watching ‘The Expanse’ – Gripping Humanist Sci-Fi

10 April 2018

The Expanse screen capture: Naomi Nagata played by Dominique Tipper

A short post today to say that for the past couple months, I have really enjoyed watching a science fiction TV show called The Expanse.

I first read about the TV show via a social media post by comics artist Gene Ha. My wife and I started watching. It took a couple episodes for me to warm up to it, then I could barely stop watching. There are plenty of cliffhanger endings that beg the viewer to keep watching.

The first season is very good, and the second is much better. I have now watched all of the episodes available (two seasons) twice through. Tomorrow night is the premiere of season 3.

There’s a lot to like in The Expanse: world-building (a seemingly believable future, only two centuries away, with relatively accurate science), inter-planetary class politics, kick-ass strong women, great pacing… but I think it most comes down to an ensemble cast that are people who I have come to care about.

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Ten Things A Diehard Alan Moore Fan Learned From the New Annotated Watchmen

8 April 2018

Watchmen Annotated cover

I can remember reading and re-reading and re-re-reading issues of Watchmen as they were coming out in the mid-1980s. At the time, I knew it was a big deal – a great comic. I had already been enjoying Alan Moore’s Swamp Thing, and was looking forward to Watchmen even before the first issue came out. Among many things, it is a murder mystery and I remember re-reading issues looking for clues for me to solve the whodunit.

I even remember that I was buying a couple copies of each issue, expecting it to become a collectible. So much for those plans though, as I loaned the first three or four issues to a woman I met in a laundromat. I had a minor crush on her, of course. If I remember correctly, she was reading a sci-fi book and we had a conversation while our laundry spun. I ended up giving her my phone number and loaning her a couple of early Watchmen issues that I had extra copies of… then I never heard from her again.

Anyway, Watchmen is now widely acknowledged as one of the greatest comics ever.

It was created by Alan Moore (script), Dave Gibbons (art and lettering), and John Higgins (colors).

In recent years there is a lot of great (and not so great) Watchmen analysis available on the web. Lately my favorite is the Under the Hood podcast where Hassan Otsmane-Elhaou and Kieran Shiach spend 30-60 minutes going through each page. There are also an excellent Kieron Gillen video, Hassan Otsmane-Elhaou’s Strip Panel Naked videos (including Time Signatures, Power through Composition), and a few issue-by-issue podcasts underway including Watching the Watchmen and Watchmen Club.

In late 2017, DC Comics published a new edition: Watchmen Annotated. It reprints the full series in black and white, with annotations by Leslie S. Klinger, who had access to Moore’s script via artist Dave Gibbons. DC puts out lots of collected editions of Watchmen, and after picking up the initial trade paperback in the 80s, I’ve resisted picking up any new Watchmen editions, in part because of the ways that DC angered Moore over the Watchmen contract. I am pretty into Alan Moore annotations, though, so this week I bought a copy of Watchmen Annotated.

One of the really fun things about Watchmen is that I have read it a couple dozen times, and each reading I end up seeing new things. There is plenty in Watchmen Annotated that I was already aware of, but here are ten things I hadn’t noticed before:  (more…)