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Art, Featured, Julytember 2010, Literature »

[15 Nov 2010 | No Comment | 2,765 Views]
Playtime Featured Artists: Team Robo

In a world where adventure comics seem to consist of nothing but grim, tortured heroes fighting grim, tortured villains for grim, tortured reasons, Atomic Robo is a comic with the apparent – and unthinkable – goal of making its readership smile. Oh, there’s violence, and vampires, and Nazis, and all sorts of that kind of thing, but they’re there in service of excitement and thrills, rather than the battling of inner demons. Its creators have described it as “a combination of Indiana Jones, Buckaroo Banzai, and the Ghostbusters.” It’s the …

Art, Julytember 2010, Literature, Subheadline »

[17 Oct 2010 | No Comment | 3,023 Views]
2010 In Comics: The Middle 48%

2010 (so far): The greatest year in the history of the comics medium? The nightmarish nadir from which it will never recover? The year when the whole industry, and our relationship with it, changed forever? Nope. But come with us nevertheless to yestermonth, for a look at some of the comic books, trade paperbacks, and funnypages/comic-strip collections of oh, say, the middlish part of the year.
Gorilla-Man #1
Creators: Jeff Parker (writer); Giancarlo Caracuzzo (artist); Jim Charalampidis (colorist); Ed Dukeshire (letterer)
Publisher: Marvel
From a narrative point of view, part of the purpose of …

Cultural Comment, Literature, May/June 2010 »

Welcome to the Machine
[4 May 2010 | No Comment | 1,112 Views]
Welcome to the Machine

March of 2010 saw the release of Hardware: The Man in the Machine, a trade paperback collecting the first eight issues of the comic book Hardware; but it was in April of 1993 when Hardware #1 first hit the shelves. Written by Dwayne McDuffie with art by Denys Cowan, Hardware was the first title in a new line, or imprint, of DC Comics titles, called Milestone Media. The milestone referred to was easy enough to figure out. Though the Milestone imprint, on a basic level, published comics about the usual …

April 2010, Cultural Comment, Literature »

[4 Apr 2010 | No Comment | 1,851 Views]
Why e-readers suck

I’m a semi-novice at many things. Within the past few years, I’ve become more and more of a semi-novice Luddite. I’ll often see some new piece of technology, with buttons and a screen of some sort, and be absolutely smitten.

Cinema and Television, Jan/Feb 2010 »

[27 Jan 2010 | One Comment | 3,229 Views]
Suspended Anticipation: <i>Grayson</i>‘s Pop Art

When it comes to fan films (as opposed to other media), resource constraints tend to impose upon the creativity a little more heavily, since the creation of an aesthetically successful motion picture requires a delicate alchemy combining the best of every kind of artistic medium invented to this point. It can be expensive, and it can be even more difficult to find collaborators whose enthusiasm for a project is matched by their skill. That’s why a fan film as tremendous as Grayson, directed by John Fiorella, is a major accomplishment. Beyond being such a great example of the fan film, it arrived at a pivotal moment in pop culture, emerging as the quintessential superhero film of the decade.

Cinema and Television, September 2009 »

[3 Sep 2009 | No Comment | 5,332 Views]
Plain Damn Weird: an Appreciation of Frank Miller’s <i>The Spirit</i>

Only a fool or a madman would make the argument that if you watched and hated this film, you just didn’t get it, or that the arcane magic of postmodern criticism has produced this, the infallible key to unlocking its hidden secrets. No. What I’m suggesting is that appreciating The Spirit requires something of a temporary paradigm shift, in which it’s possible to enjoy something truly “visionary” — something fanciful, not presently workable, impractical, unreal, imaginary, purely idealistic and speculative — for its own sake. Something that may be the dream of a fool or a madman.

Cinema and Television, Literature, May 2009 »

[7 May 2009 | 2 Comments | 9,155 Views]
Top 5 starships: Star Wars, comics, and UFOs

That's not a ship….. it's a SPACE STATION. –Alex M.
In honor of the release of Star Trek, Playtime is running science-fiction themed articles during the Month of May. And what could be more apropos than talkin’ about some of the most badass spaceships to be put on-screen? Regular Playtime contributors and posters were asked to submit lists of their Top 5 Starships. In Part 1 of 2 of Playtime’s Top 5 Starships, we have culled three of the most interesting submissions, covering everything from Star Wars to the legendary saucers …

Cinema and Television, March 2009 »

[12 Mar 2009 | 30 Comments | 4,987 Views]
Watchmen vs The Dark Knight

Seriously, my world just turned upside down.
Early in the year I forced myself to sit through Christopher Nolan’s painful but much hyped follow-up to the dreadfully mediocre Batman Begins.  You know Christopher Nolan, the guy who made the brilliant and ambitious movie, Memento, following it with one of the decade’s smartest American movies, The Prestige.  As a Batman fan, sitting through The Dark Knight was a physically painful affair: dire, clichéd rubbish, an overly traditional man vs terrorist setup soaked to the brim in an unquestioning philosophy a mile or …

Cinema and Television, Literature, March 2009 »

We Watched the Watchmen: A Roundtable
[12 Mar 2009 | No Comment | 5,854 Views]
We Watched the <i>Watchmen</i>: A Roundtable

Huge lot of comics fans that we are, the Playtime Staff sat down for a roundtable on Zach Snyder’s Watchmen (2009). Matt Kessen, our resident Watchmen expert was tapped to conduct the discussion, especially in regards to how the film differed from Moore’s graphic novel. The following takes place over the the week before and after the film’s release. If you are interested in continuing the discussion, feel free to jump into the fray on the forum.

Page One: Quis custodiet ipsos custodis? The Pre-Game
Page Two: Why I Am Not Seeing …

Cinema and Television, March 2009 »

A Dark Tale of Heroic Deeds, Presented in Glorious SNYDERVISION™
[12 Mar 2009 | No Comment | 1,661 Views]
A Dark Tale of Heroic Deeds, Presented in Glorious SNYDERVISION™

A surprisingly sturdy, mildly provocative 105 minute movie is hiding somewhere in Watchmen’s gangly two and three-quarter hours running time. Dense with shockingly unnecessary exposition, this story about the nature of heroism and identity indulges in a great deal of introspective character study between bouts of flamboyant brutality and fleeting moments where director Zack Snyder’s technical prowess and filmmaking ambition coincide. As a messy, sprawling adaptation, the product of marketing, focus-testing, and the instincts of a young would-be visionary still learning his craft, the inchoate professionalism of the production serves the film’s gargantuan ambitions and readymade stature, rather than completely defeating it. From the perspective of the film’s own history, it is a miracle that it got made at all.