Monday, May 31, 2010

Psst ... !

Today, a new era begins with ...

Join me, won't you?

Friday, May 28, 2010

Not a dream! Not an imaginary story!

And definitely not a What If?!

Things have been waaaay too quiet around here lately, and I think you deserve an explanation. As I mentioned a few weeks ago, I left my job to go back to freelance writing (and again, if you know of any jobs or contacts, it would be awesome of you to let me know). I realized, though, that I've only told you half the story.

Not only did I leave the cozy comfort of a regular paycheck for the rough-and-tumble world of self-employment, but I'll also be moving soon. And not like a "moving to the other side of town" kind of moving. More like, "moving to the other side of the COUNTRY" moving. A combination of a university program my wife will be completing along with a hankerin' for some East Coast livin' is taking us to Delaware (just across the state line from Philadelphia) in just a few weeks.

And yes, we've seen the film clip.

As you can imagine, all this has kept things pretty busy here at Casa Romero, which in turn has stalled things a bit at GCP-HQ (didn't know I was incorporated, did you?). But no more! This time I'm giving you a definite date! A date that is coming! Right ... now!


This coming Monday, May 31, will be the beginning of a bold new era for Great Caesar's Post! Polish the china! Change your underpants! Bring in the dogs and put out the children! Above all, prepare yourselves and watch the skies!


Wednesday, May 19, 2010

And this time I mean it

I know, I know - it seems as if I've had one excuse after another for the meager updates lately, but seriously, guys, in a couple of days we'll be BACK TO REGULAR POSTING.

Honest. Swear to the Big G and everything.

And I really do feel bad about it. In my mind it's as if Perry White himself is chewing me out - a-just like this:

Monday, May 10, 2010

Legendary artist Frank Frazetta dies at 82

The sad news that has been buzzing around the Internet today was confirmed earlier — legendary fantasy artist Frank Frazetta has died at the age of 82.

The cause of death has been given as a stroke.

Frazetta's iconic work is instantly recognizable to anyone who has read fantasy novels, browsed through yearly calendars or picked up a metal album. Known mostly for his commercial work, Frazetta essentially invented the look of modern fantasy art with his lush paintings of fantastic and fearsome beasts, rough-hewn men, and women seemingly coaxed from the smoothest and deadliest alabaster. Even you didn't know the name, you knew the work; Tarzan, John Carter from Mars, Conan the Barbarian and his own creation, the Death Dealer, were all given the Frazetta stamp, cementing the image of these and other characters for generations.

I distinctly remember my first the time I felt the impact of Frazetta's work — it was the cover to Molly Hatchet's self-title debut album, featuring the Death Dealer himself.

I was fascinated by the cover, with the obscured warrior who seemed to be made of black and gray, of shadow and steel, and who seemed to drain all the color, all the life, out of the world itself. I would study this cover with more attention than I probably ever gave the music inside, imagining what kind of world this demon-soldier haunted, wondering what damnation stoked his eyes to a glowing red, amazed at the sheer muscularity of the enormous, night-black warhorse.

With that one cover Frazetta, as much as anyone or anything, came to symbolize rock 'n' roll to me. Soon enough, his work became shorthand for fantasy, adventure, sex, heroism and an entire pop culture era for me, as I'm sure it is for a lot of other people out there.

There have been plenty of other artists who are maybe just as good, but they all owe a debt to Frazetta. With work that is erotic, powerful and otherworldly, Frazetta was one of those rare artists who defined a style, and with it an entire genre.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Que casualidad!

Hey, it's Cinco de Mayo! In the United States it means a day of celebration, a time to put on hokey fake mustaches and giant sombreros while downing nachos and drinking Dos Equis. In Mexico, it means ... well, not a lot, really. Mexicans acknowledge the day outnumbered and out-equipped soldiers pushed back French invaders in Puebla, but they don't make a big deal out of it.

Ha ha! Silly gringos!

Aaaanyway, I'm a big fan of Mexican comics, so in celebration of Cinco de Mayo I give you the covers to five comics that were actually published in Mexico. And not a luchador in the bunch!

Kalimán! A mysterious guru with incredible mind-over-matter powers who is also a master of martial arts, science and the arts. A man of peace who nonetheless kicks much ass on a regular basis.


Brujerias was a blackly comedic comic with horror trappings, right down to the host's name, "Hermelinda Linda," which translates to "Pretty Hermelinda." Terrifying.

The Invisible Guardian is ... well, an invisible man. Who fights things like living skeletons. And who, if you can trust the outline, has perfect hair. He is awesome.

I just want to point out that, as far as I can tell, this was way before Return of the Jedi. Also — thank you, Mexico.


Alright, alright — here's a panel showing El Santo about to punch out a hippo. I'm not made of stone, people!

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Hang in there, baby — I've got some big news!

Sorry about the slow posting lately, guys — there have been some big things going on over here, with more on the way, and boy are my arms tired.

What? Um, sorry. I'm a little frazzled.

Aaaaanyway, I usually try to keep the focus on comics here, but since this will impact Great Caesar's Post I thought I should announce it here, too (this will be old news to Facebook pals). A couple of days ago I gave notice at work, with my last day being a few weeks from now.

There are various reasons for it, but I want to say straight out that the parting is completely amicable. No, really. I've loved the company for the past five-plus years I've been here, and leaving was not an easy decision. Still, for a variety of reasons, it's the right time. So beginning in mid-May I'll be going back to freelance writing, which is what I did for three years before taking the job I have now. (As a matter of fact, if you know of any possible freelance gigs out there, please don't be shy about letting me know!)

And just because I know something like this tends to raise certain questions, here's what I said on Facebook earlier:

Believe me, I enjoy the health insurance and regular paycheck. But sometimes there has to be something more; luckily, we've been able to put ourselves in a position where we can give ourselves a chance at that. We've prepared as well as we can, enough that even if things don't go the way we want them to, we still have the maneuverability to change direction if it comes to that. It's also a matter of over-preparation; when does it feel "OK?" When does it not feel like a risk? If we wait for that, we'll never do it. Just be sure we know what it's like out there, and we know what obstacles there'll be — like I said, we've done it before. And that time we weren't prepared AT ALL, and we survived for three years.

I realize this will probably seem foolish to a lot of people —it's a big part of the reason we've been fairly quiet about it. Maybe that makes it seem as if it's coming out of the blue, but it really isn't. When I say we've been planning it for years, it's not hyperbole or a casual figure of speech. We've literally been planning this for years. We've gone over everything that will be changed in our lives, discussed the things that will have to be dropped or modified, and we've come to a place where we feel good about it. It all looks very risky, but we've actually minimized that risk as much as possible.

Besides, we all need a little risk now and then.

I think there might've been a smiley at the end of that last sentence.

So, what does this mean for Great Caesar's Post? More content, and on a more regular basis! That's something I've been wanting to do for a LONG time, so I'm eager to get to it. There will be even more news soon (I KNOW!), so keep your ears on, good buddies, and thanks for your patience during the transition.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Grim-and-gritty is officially old and boring

This had started out as a longer, probably much more convoluted post about Mark Millar, the cult of personality that seems to have sprung up around certain comic book writers, and the apparent addiction to gore and ultra-violence that both Marvel and DC have been guilty of, but instead I'll boil it down to a simple question that I put to you, my Internet Pals:

Are people finally getting tired of it all?

I ask because I've been sensing some push-back recently, and I'm not sure if I'm actually detecting a ripple in the Force or if it's just wishful thinking. In either case, here are some things to consider:

Kick-Ass, which was hyped so hard people back in the 1920s have probably heard about it, just kind of petered out this weekend when it opened nationally. Sure, it was No. 1, but by just barely bringing in $19.8 million compared to How to Train Your Dragon's $19.6 mil. (a kid's movie that was already in its fourth week).

No doubt the hardcore Millar fans were lined up, but what about the rest of the geek chorus? Did they reject the movie the way some have been rejecting it and the comic online lately? Or is just a matter of little name-recognition and mainstream audiences being gun-shy (heh) about a movie riding mostly on its more interesting supporting character, an 11-year-old girl who curses a lot and is a ninja?

The other thing that caught my attention was the first few pages of Brightest Day #0, the kick-off to what DC promises is a shiny and new direction spanning the publisher's superhero line. A direction apparently best expressed by showing a baby bird falling from a tree, bloodily cracking itself open on a headstone and then laying crumpled on the ground, dead.

Marvel is also trumpeting the launch of the very similar Heroic Age event, noise that sounds tinny considering Millar, Brian Michael Bendis and Jeph Loeb have spent years upping the body count for the publisher while sealing it in a slick veneer of "coolz." (I feel I have to point out, as so many have before, that Loeb was responsible for the "Blob cannibalizing Wasp, like, RIGHT THERE" scene in his Ultimatum series.)

Both companies say they're paving the way to a lighter tone in their books and moving away from the grim-and-gritty aesthetic that keeps getting grimmer and grittier. And I have to wonder — are the Big Two full of shit?

Because I don't see it. And I'm curious whether other people are missing it, too, and if there is some kind of grit-fatigue setting in, like a comic book readers' version of Seasonal Affective Disorder. It bothers me because it's gotten ... stupid. And distracting. And, worst of all, boring. Bo-ring. Both publishers has created a system and style that encourages big, flashy set pieces tied together with the flimsiest of dialogue and piecemeal plot points at the expense of, y'know, a story.

(I know this isn't true of every single title either company puts out — both produce comics I love, but let's stick to generalities for the sake of this discussion.)

Now that the Big Two are promising to do things differently, how will readers react if they don't? It wouldn't be the first time either one has promised more than they delivered, but I wonder if there's more at stake this time. I kind of doubt it — fanboys have short memories and a limitless ability to gripe-and-forgive. But, man, I'd sure like to believe it.

As corny as it sounds, maybe it's time for Marvel and DC to have a little less shock and awe, and a little more aw, shucks in their comics.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Adventures in Sound: Part 20

Panel from Buffalo Speedway
Letterer/artist: Yehudi Mercado

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

It's official: I'm a Geek

Ah ... another day, another — hey! Where's my dollar?!

Anyhoo, if we're Internet bezzies over on the Facebook, you may already know I recently took on the comic book news editor position over at Forces of Geek. I'm pretty excited about it and trying my best while still holding down a day job. Why don't you go over and take a look? The site has also been redesigned and I just posted a short article on a couple of Superman and Wonder Woman analogs gettin' it on in a phone booth. It's big fun, so go check it out.

In the meantime, I'll still be updating here at the ol' Post (if you hear a popping noise, that's just my brains a-sploding). And keep your eyes open for even more Big News coming soon — seriously, it's crazy-time around here!