An Introduction to Comic Books and Manga: Part 1

My introduction to comic books like most people were the Archie’s, Asterix and Obelix and Tintin. My eventual enrollment in the local Central Library was where i was introduced to DC and other american comics. Being in India, Comic books are not easy to come by and definitely not light on your wallet. In 2007-08, i decided to have a look into the world of comics again. I had started off reading Manga in 2007 with Naruto and Bleach and wanted to get back to DC comics. The Final Crisis was the main event that started in the DC universe about the time i started reading comics. It gave me a place to start reading. Although confusing in itself, the DC universe was what i prefered over Marvel. Why? thats because there are some aspects of Marvel i simply dislike. I decided to give Marvel a chance this year. There are storylines there i would read but story arcs are really tough to follow compared to DC. Take for example the various Avengers titles available. After the recent reboot, Avengers Prime looks promising. Hopefully it stays that way.

Now am not saying that DC is easy to follow. What i did after Final Crisis was follow the story into the War of Light. I was hooked easily onto the 7 light spectrum power struggle and then came the Blackest Night which although reminded me of something called Marvel Zombies was still well written. The Brightest Day is the currently ongoing event but apart from the Green Lantern storylines am just reading the tie-ins for fun. I really believe that Green Lantern is a Comic book to follow due to the War of Light. I am also keen on the Return of Bruce Wayne(6 issues). I would also recommend Batman Beyond(6 issues) and Marvel Universe vs The Punisher(4 issues). Former dealing with Batman of the Future and the latter with a ‘I am Legend’ storyline with The Punisher instead of Will Smith.

Resticting yourselves to the two biggies is not a smart thing to do. There are many great titles out there in the smaller companies. Listed below are some worth reading in my opinion(My favourites). I dont know if its wise to start of with them but you can try these and then find your comfort zone. Please note that i have read them. There maybe many more good series out there. If you know about one than do suggest them to me.

DC:

  • Grant Morrison’s psychedelic run of Doom Patrol (45 issues) which has one of my favourite woman superheroes of all time- Crazy Jane.
  • The War of Light arc consisting of Green Lantern(ongoing) and Green Lantern Corps(ongoing) and certain select Final Crisis, Blackest Day and Brightest tie-ins.
  • Green Lantern: Rebirth Lord Havok and the Extremists from the Countdown to Crisis arc(also a decent storyline).
  • The Return of Bruce Wayne and Batman Beyond are ongoing series that have already been mentioned above.
  • Alan Moore’s V for Vendetta and Watchmen are acclaimed titles which i havent finished reading yet. And also Frank Miller’s The Dark Knight Returns.

Marvel:

  • Testament:- The origin story of Magneto which utilizes events from the Holocaust of WW2.
  • Wolverine:Origin:- The graphic novel which first dealt with the story and not the rubbish which the movie was about.
  • Bulls Eye: Greatest Hits:- Reminded me about Joker from The Dark Knight and his origin stories.
  • Daredevil: The Man without Fear :- pairs Frank Miller with John Romita Jr.
  • Weapon X: Days of the Future Now:- A must read X-men title.
  • X-men: Blind Science:- A Brilliantly written One Shot.
  • Hulk: Planet Hulk story arc was decent.
  • Marvel Universe vs The Punisher and Avengers Prime are ongoing series that have already been mentioned above. The Ultimate Universe is recommended for people who want to begin reading now. I have heard the marvel movies will depend on the Ultimate Universe anymore.

Others:

  • Scott Pilgrim (6 volumes) for the graphic novel manga lovers.
  • Icon’s Mark Millar and John Romita Jr’s Kick-Ass.
  • Icon’s Mark Millar and Steve Mc’Niven’s Nemesis(ongoing).
  • Avatar’s Chistos Gage’s Absolution.
  • DDP’s Hack/Slash for its unusualness(have read only one book). Cassie Hack makes Lisbeth Salander look cute in comparison
  • Wildstorm’s Push prequel to the Movie helps you put things in context.
  • Also the Inception prequel The Cobol Job is a must read.
  • Dynamite Entertainment’s Sherlock Holmes.
  • IDW’s Singularity 7 and the ongoing True Blood(alongside the HBO series now in season 3)
  • Frank Miller’s 300 and Sin City.

Will keep adding to this list.
(Article to be continued in part 2)

Singularity 7 Hack/Slash

My Review: Nokia X2

One of the newest phones from the stable of the Finnish Giant. But sadly it doesn’t impress much. The Phone has a sleek design which is very unlike Nokia. With the express music buttons it would be a music addict’s fix. A 5 MP camera with flash should appeal to the photographer in you. And with the price of around Rs 5.9k (Price I bought it at. Box Price: Rs 6,579) wouldn’t it be your ideal choice? Right?
Wrong! Alas even though this phone has most of the must-have features, it still has faults some which I clearly fail to understand being in the finished product. Here’s a list of pro’s and con’s I came across.

Advantages:

• Lovely 2.2” Display and Nice sleek design
• ExpessRadio/ExpressMusic Buttons
• Good Clarity Awesome Stereo Speakers and uses 3.5mm AV.
• Built in Radio Antenna
• Keypad responds wonderfully.
• Free 25 song downloads from OVI.
• Good Pricing.

Disadvantages:

• The biggest downer for me was the flash. Its too bright! And doesn’t give even lighting effect on the picture. Case in point:
Without Flash                                                 With Flash

In the dark the flash worked better at close range. Farther off objects were lost in the flash! Btw if you are wondering why its so bright, well it doubles up as a really good torchlight.
Close range with Flash                          Little further with Flash

Maybe I am at fault here? Or Is there an Apple-ish excuse?
• Talking about Apple, I felt that the in-built radio antenna is a good feature i.e., until you accidentally press the ExpessRadio/ExpressMusic button in the wrong place (happened in a hospital. True Story.) and it starts belting out music at the highest volume. To rectify this I have kept the volume low and keyguard lock at 5 secs. Until I know better.
• The OS. Yes, it runs on S40 but so far it did get hung a couple of times. I haven’t used this OS on other phones but I find it has access friendly menus.
• EDGE in the time of 3G.

What I can hope is that Nokia will come up with a fix soon for the OS problems. The rest are hardware errors which hopefully they learn their lesson from. Not too bad a phone if you avoid the problems.

This review has been my opinion on the Nokia X2 Phone and if I have misunderstood any features or made any errors in the context of this review, please feel free to notify me so that I can correct them at the earliest.

My “Top Characters in Print Ever” List

Mario’s recent list of  “Top 25 Favourite Screen Characters Ever” got me thinking and well i decided to make a list of my very own. But i soon found out that since my list would be one of characters in Print, it would be a lot harder. I tried my best to include all of my favourite series by including atleast my favorite creations in them. And when i meant print i meant anything that s been published and it includes all that i have read voraciously. It does include chiefly among others; novels, comic books and comic strips. Probably everyone will have such a list. So if you intend to do so Please make a list but do link me up to it or atleast include a link in the comments.

Okay before we see the actual list i would like to explain that the list is currently still under construction. I would definitely expand upon it. Plus the list currently contains 13 Characters. You can suggest more characters that i could have possibly missed out or perhaps i can have a look at them.

And Finally The List In Alphabetical Order[ since i didnt want to go through the agony of ranking them]:

  • Artemis Fowl [cant forget his Butler] From the Artemis Fowl series Type: Human. Occupation: Evil Teen Mastermind.
  • Bartimaeus From the Bartimaeus trilogy Type: Djinn[4th Level] Occupation: Magician’s Servant.
  • Batman [Bruce Wayne] From DC Type: Human. Occupation: Crime Fighting Vigilante/Superhero.
  • Calvin From Calvin and Hobbes Type: Human Occupation: Being a Gyaan-Spouting Kid.
  • Crazy Jane [Jane Morris/ Kay Challis] From Grant Morrison’s Doom Patrol[DC] Type: Human with 64 super powered personalities[multiple personality disorder] Occupation: Superhero.
  • Elva From the Inheritance Trilogy Type: Human affected by a spell gone wrong leading to abnormal growth. Occupation: Royal advisor and Can tell The Future.
  • Hercule Poirot From the Agatha Christie books Type: Human Occupation: Detective of Belgian origin working in England.
  • Hit Girl From Kick-Ass : Book One [8 issues] Type: Human Occupation: Student
  • Ichigo Kurosaki From Bleach Manga Type: Human Occupation: Soul reaper/Saving the World.
  • Kakashi Hatake From Naruto Manga Type: Human Occupation: Top Jonin Ninja of the Leaf village.
  • Kirin From the Gameworld Trilogy Type: Half-Ravian and Half-Rakshas Occupation: Saving the World??
  • Phantom From Lee falk’s Phantom Comic books Type: Human Occupation: Crime Fighter from Bengalla.
  • Shine Sarkar From Keep of the Grass Type: Human Occupation: IIM-B/IIT-D graduate
  • Wallace Wells From Scott Pilgrim Type: Human Occupation: Unknown. He’s Scott’s gay room mate.
  • Zaphod Beeblebrox From the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy Type: Betelgeusian Occupation: Ex-Galactic President; confidence trickster; etc

To be continued…

Smstweeted yet?

I started to use Vakow! almost a year ago but the service sadly died midway through my VTU fest tweets. The tweets were cheap at 1ps and i missed them because i could only access twitter through Echofon(formerly Twitterfox). But recently i was pointed towards SMStweet.in by @Rishi

Now Smstweet is a service created by @mayanks and you can read more about it here.
This service is good for someone like me. I registered and tried it. It costs me 50ps to Tweet. But its still anyday better than the Premium sms rates or other methods of updating on the Go! This works for me when i need to tweet badly so i guess you’ll find more ‘on the go’ tweets from me.