August 21st, 2014, 11:18 am

Where is Blue Yonder?

So I can't stand it anymore. I have to post something about Blue Yonder, even if it is just to talk about Blue Yonder's status. So here it goes.

First of all, Blue Yonder is not dead. I'm really not sure what Blue Yonder is, but I am sure dead is not the word. The truth is, Blue Yonder, as a webcomic, has taken a financial, creative and personal toll. Don't get me wrong: I've loved every minute of it. But I still have to recognize the financial price of commissioning an artist and paying for a website alongside writing a story every week when I could be focusing on other projects. While Blue Yonder has open a few doors for me, it hasn't completely broken even either.

We're at the crossroads, now more than ever. I can't go into all the specifics, but there's some big changes coming down the pipeline, and neither Luke nor myself know how they are going to shake out. One change I can mention is that in a few months, Luke will be a father (how did we get so old?). Suffice to say, we have a lot on our plate.

This isn't to say we've completely stopped writing. Instead, we are just using the time to work on other projects. Right now, I'm revising the second draft of a mythical murder mystery. Luke is currently in the planning stages of a Western science fiction that's unlike anything I've ever seen on the screen or on the page. We're keeping busy.

Here is what is happening on Blue Yonder. We are prepping it for a Comixology release, so you'll be able to rediscover Jared Davenport's journey with Comixology's patented Guided View. There will also be a brand new cover from Diego Diaz plus concept art and scripts.

Right now we are making sure the pages meet Comixology's submission standards. That means putting every page into the proper format. That also means correcting all those spelling errors our gracious audience pointed out. We're really close to getting the pages finished. After that, it's just a matter of getting the cover, the credit's page and the logo done. And then it's four to six weeks to get through Comixology's submission process. So fingers crossed, Blue Yonder will be out on Comixology in the next two to three months.

What happens after we've released all of Blue Yonder so far on Comixology? I really wish I knew. I can only promise one thing: Blue Yonder will continue. There's more of the story to tell. I'm not sure when exactly Blue Yonder will continue. I'm not really sure how Blue Yonder will continue. I'm don't even know what form it will take - but Blue Yonder will be back!

December 9th, 2013, 10:26 am

"Arrow" Shows Why Barry Allen is Awesome

I finally got around to watching the last episode of "Arrow", which serves as a sort of backdoor pilot for "The Flash" TV series, and its main character, Barry Allen. Though I've always liked the Flash, I was never a big fan of Barry Allen. I always liked reading and watching the adventures of his successors, grown-up sidekick Wally West, who is currently all but non-existent in the DC Universe. But "The Scientist" doesn't just show why Barry Allen will be a good Flash - it shows why Allen is a great character.

This happens a lot among pop culture - and especially among comic book fans. We all have our favorites. The problem is we expect everyone else to share our favorites too, and we often don't do a very good job explaining why such characters are our favorites in the first place. We just expect everyone to immediately understand why X is the best Green Lantern, the best Doctor, the best James Bond, the best Top Gear co-host (it's James May by the way).

But as with a lot of things, "Arrow" starts small. The episode takes place before Barry Allen has become the Flash (I suspect the particle accelerator we keep hearing abut in the background will have something to do with that). Thus, Allen is a perpetually late and occasionally awkward (assistant) CSI, who helps Oliver Queen and company investigate a bizarre break-in at Queen Consolidated. The episode handles superpowers in a similar subtle manner. Based in a hyper-realistic setting (think Nolan's "Batman Begins"), we only see the super-strong Cyrus Gold (who I hope turns into Solomon Grundy). Everything else is hinted at in dialogue, ranging from the bizarre murder of Allen's mother by something - or someone - in a blur, or Oliver's own experiences with a super-serum years ago.

The only problem I had with the episode itself was the lack of interaction between Oliver Queen and Barry Allen. The two end up becoming good friends in the comic books, but the two have very little actual dialogue, aside from Oliver making cracks about Allen's age. Granted, Allen does look young, but it makes for a visual contrast, between the fresh-faced Allen and the hardened Queen.

I remain a Wally West fan, and this episode did little to change my opinion on the Best Fastest Man Alive. But it did do one thing - it showed me what people see in Barry Allen, and that's something not many comics have done in the four years since Barry Allen returned (long story). While Wally embodies the humorous side of the flash, Barry has more humble origins, and while the two are opposites, I can appreciate them both. I love forward to seeing what CW does with a Flash series (as long as they fit in Wally West somehow . . . )

(That's it for this rant. Check out a new Blue Yonder this Wednesday!)

December 2nd, 2013, 10:31 am

Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.'s Mission Impossible

I have thoroughly enjoyed the last few episodes of "Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.". I will admit the show is slowly getting better with each episode. However, the show still faces an uphill battle - one that doesn't involve who is writing it, but rather, who is watching it. If "Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D." wants to stay on the air, it has to tread the line between not one, not two, but three different fan bases.

The largest fan base is the most obvious: fans of Marvel's "The Avengers", and by extension, it's cinematic universe. "Agents" has recently catered to this crowd two weeks ago with an episode tying very loosely into "Thor: The Dark Age" and delving into Asgardian lore. The team has contended with a virus contracted from artifacts left over from the Battle of New York seen in "Avengers" as well as superpower cocktail containing the Extremis virus seen in the pilot. While these shout-outs are cool, they are just that - shout-outs to the original movies - and they just don't further the story or enrich our view of the Marvel Cinematic Universe that much.

The second fan base is also fairly obvious: current fans of the comic books which inspired "The Avengers". We saw a nod to this fan base in the episode "The Hub", which features Saffron Burrows as Victoria Hand, a pivotal character in several "Avengers" titles. The inclusion of Hand was actually successful in the episode, as it shows a darker, more bureaucratic and protocol-driven side of S.H.I.E.L.D. However, while these characters make a interesting addition to the mix every once and while, you have to ask the question . . . just how many viewers are going to know who Victoria Hand is?

The final fan base is also the least obvious. Likely to be from an older demographics, these are the fans of the original Nick Fury comics which first launched S.H.I.E.L.D. into the Marvel vernacular. Almost fifty years ago, Nick Fury didn't look like Samuel L. Jackson (as cool as that is) and was instead the main character of James Steranko's stylized spy comic, which put James Bond, The Man From UNCLE and G.I. Joe into a blender and came out with something infinitely cooler than all of these. That said, both Nick Fury and S.H.I.E.L.D. have changed a lot in the forty-eight years since their debut, having taken a bigger role in superhero stories since then. We see the biggest nod to this era with "Lola", Coulson's flying car in the pilot. The problem is, it's one of the only nods we see to this era, and many fans are disappointed they haven't seen mainstay characters like Contessa and Quartermain yet.

When you get right down to it, you can't please everybody. But one of the reason "Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D." is struggling to find its footing is the large range of expectations for the properties. I really want the show, with its current cast and writers, to succeed, but the show needs to find its voice and stick with it. It may cater to one or more of these fan bases, but I suspect ratings will only continue to drop if "Agents" tries to please everyone.

(That's it for this rant. Check out a new Blue Yonder next week.)

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