How is your holiday?

*If you're having one. I am, and mine's ok, thanks.



Brooklyn Comics and Graphics Festival 2 (concluding the one con report I've written that I feel best about; believe it or not, a lot of this is an exercise in learning the value of concision, albeit in the micro sense - contains minicomics, new manga in Japan, various recent releases circa the end of November, one bit inspired by a dream I had on Christmas Eve, more, etc.)



[nothing]: Just keeping in practice here for now; it's gonna hurt when I'm doing this every week after Marvel and/or DC stop publishing. But that's next year!

You could always show up at your store anyway, see if they're doing anything for/privy to the existence of Indy Comic Book Week, maybe holding a New Year's Eve's Eve sale. Maybe they got in that non-deluxe Rocketeer hardcover you've been looking for, or that Alec collection?

In lieu of funnybook content, I'll also mention that my whole family went out to see Sherlock Holmes in theaters, so here's a few things:

1. It is something to realize that From Hell has been sufficiently internalized by the right people that bits of the Iain Sinclair tour-of-London chapter can poke their head out of a breezy, summer-style money machine like this to serve as plot dressing. Is there some more immediate influence at work I'm missing?

2. The acting is fun in the same way as in some of the recent Marvel movies, in that the main performers seem entirely relaxed and willing to play up some amusing business dredged up from the background and lore of very storied characters, and all the better if the performer's very presence offers some added synchronization. By which I mean Robert Downey, Jr. is in twitchy scamp mode here, as opposed to cocky-yet-lovable rogue mode as in Iron Man, but the unavoidable aspect of being Robert Downey, Jr. adds a vulnerability that plays equally well off of an antisocial soul like Holmes and an ostensibly tortured, 'weapon's burden' badass like Tony Stark.

3. I sort of liked it. I mean, it's formulaic as possible, to the point where you can finish characters' lines at times before they do, but it's efficient, chummily-scripted, with a fairly endearing tendency to emphasize in-movie logic over the supernatural fantasy movie stuff the script hangs around as modern superhero/sci-fi decoration. That's not to say most of the action scenes aren't ludicrous, but I kind of dug how the pictured tried to at least metaphorically stick with Holmes' everything-makes-sense point of view.

4. On the other hand, my mother absolutely hated it, primarily because the script doesn't extend the slightest hand to the audience. Indeed, the plot is almost entirely powered by stuff happening quickly, Holmes looking at things and then performing vivid extrapolations from background details so as to move the characters to the next event. Now, I haven't read more than three of the original Holmes stories in my life, so maybe they're all like that, and if I were feeling especially generous I'd argue that point is that we, the viewers, cannot ever hope to approach such a fabulous mind, better that we sit agog and observe - which doesn't explain quite why typical reader surrogate Watson is that much of an ass-kicking he-man, or how the female Catwoman to Holmes' Batman doesn't get the same filmic aura of untouchability even though she's presented as the occasional superior to Holmes' intellect, but I guess she's not the star of the movie.

5. If there's one thing that stood out about Guy Ritchie's direction -- which is mostly smooth and unspectacular, a no-doubt prudent submersion of his hyper-vivid taste for indulgence into blockbuster machinework; compared to someone like Michael Bay, which own hyper-vivid taste for indulgence doubles as blockbuster machinework, Ritchie seems like a well-behaved classmate that doesn't make you grin as much -- it's a little mote of wit added to the action stylings, so that the obligatory slooooooow action shots double as Holmes thinking about stuff, working out every angle, the 'joke' being that he can't even punch someone or whack them on the head without really thinking it through. This even extends to a dramatic fake-out explosion scene, where slow-motion (and a mournful string refrain) seems to indicate tragedy, but it's actually just Our Man sorting things out again, so as to explain invisible scents and elusive sights for our benefit later.

It's still a lecture in the end, but you take what you can get.