Thursday, January 15, 2009

Lies To Believe In

I am a lover of good fantasy. I cut my teeth on Tolkien when I was young, and have always been looking for good stuff ever since. I enjoyed David Eddings and Terry Brooks, and love Terry Goodkind and George R.R. Martin. But I have found that good fantasy is really hard to come by, and that there is usually a long wait in-between books by good authors. So I have been searching for more good stuff. And boy did I find it. I won't go into detail about how I found it, but I will say that Scott Lynch's books are fantastic. I think that far too many fantasy authors these days think that good fantasy has to have lots of epic battles, magic and monsters. I don't think that is the case. I think that good fantasy has to have believeable characters, and the reader has to believe that the world in which the story takes place could actually exist. That means that the author needs to provide enough details about the world, but not get bogged down in those details. Who cares about magic, monsters, and battles if you don't care about characters? Lynch does both of those well. I cared about Locke and his friends, and they functioned in the world that they were in. I wont go into plot details, but I will say that the plot of the first novel, The Lies of Locke Lamora, is like a fantasy version of a crew like in Ocean's Eleven, whose plans go south. The second novel is very different because of how the first ends, and has a very different feel, but enjoying the characters of Locke Lamora and his companion Jean make these worth reading. I just found out his next book comes out next month. I am really excited.

Friday, January 9, 2009

Poor Spidey

When I first heard that this issue was set to hit the stands next week, I thought that it was just an attempt to cash in on the upcoming festivities for our next president. Anything with Obama's face on it is sure to sell. .No big deal. Sure, it turns my stomach a little bit to see my favorite hero of all time getting the bump from Obama, but I was willing to leave it at that. Then I did some more reading. Now the content of that issue makes me angry. It's enough already that Hollywood is so far left that most of what we get is biased towards that end of the political spectrum, but our comic heroes too? Please!!!!! I don't have a problem with a story about Spidey saving the President-Elect from an assassin, especially if that assassin is a classic Spidey villain. What I have a problem with is Spidey telling the President he did it because he's glad that the "right man is in the Oval Office." What??? What makes Spider-Man so great, or MADE him great, is that he was prepared to do what was right no matter what it cost him. Shouldn't a superhero save the President because he is the President? What chaps me too is that there are plenty of instances in Marvel comics where it has been made clear that our last President was the wrong man in the Oval Office. From the Punisher threatening a drunken Bush, to a horrible "Civil War" storyline that was clear in its parallels and thoughts on the War on Terror and its leader, to hints of Captain America being killed because he knows the truth about Bush an 9/11. The Bush of The Ultimates is a stupid cowboy dictator. But nothing about Presidents on the other side of the aisle. COME ON! Republican or Democrat, liberal or conservative, can we please just have our heroes be heroes? Joe Quesada has destroyed Marvel with this junk. I no longer recognize the hero of my youth. I guess this bothers me so much because in our country politics has become our Golden Calf. We look for it to save us, so it has saturated everything we do and say in this country. This may be the last straw for me as far as current Spidey goes, not because of ideology, but because I want my Spider-Man back.