about_faces: (Two-Face... FOREVER!!!)
First things first, I wanted to mention this yesterday, but my son Hal just turned two, and oh my god, the Terribles Twos have arrived in (what I sure as hell hope is) full force. As a fan, this amuses me greatly. As a father, my ears will never stop ringing from the tantrum screams and I will never sleep again. Hey, look, I'm of two minds about it! Whee! ... Well, what do you want from me, I'm exhausted and have a toddler, it's the best I can do right now.

Secondly (enough two puns, Hefner!), guess what, you guys? After I posted about The Beautiful Ugly--the newest Two-Face story appearing in the digital-first Legends of the Dark Knight--I was contacted via Facebook by the story's co-author Derek Fridolfs! Besides the nice things he had to say about this blog, he brought to my attention that he's hosting an interview/discussion about The Beautiful Ugly with co-author Ken Jones over at his own blog! The first part from last week is here and the second just came out today, in conjunction with the release of the second part of TBU!

I had my reservations about the art last week, but wow, THAT is a Two-Face!

These discussions by Fridolfs and Jones are very cool, as they provide a rare insight into the creative process of writing a Batman story without any of the PR-soundbite-ness that comes from normal interviews at comic news sites. Reading through Fridolfs' blog, it's clear that this is a guy who loves Batman and the villains the same ways that I (and presumably many/most of you) do, which certainly explains why his work on Batman: Arkham Unhinged was always a solid read, often handling the villains better than the regular DCU did. He's first writer to actually explore the origins of Killer Croc and Black Mask for the first time since... well, since their original stories in the 80's, and he also has a greater understanding and appreciation of Talia than certain other comic writers and filmmakers do. I now wish I'd reviewed more of Arkham Unhinged, but I put it off so I could first review the rest of the Hugo Strange stories and then Arkham City itself, so I'm taking the opportunity to talk it up now.

Fridolfs is a cool guy and a great writer, so he's definitely worth supporting. Definitely check out his blog and read his discussions on TBU, and hopefully I'll have my own review ready to go shortly after the final issue and discussion both come out next Thursday. With one or two reservations, I greatly enjoyed the second part, and I'm anxiously awaiting to see how it wraps up!

With that, I'm off to enjoy the rest of my holiday. I was thinking about maybe doing a picspam of whatever patriotic Two-Face stuff I could find, but ultimately, I think I'll just stick with this. I've always been ambivalent about this piece from Grant Morrison and Dave McKean's Arkham Asylum, mainly because--in true Morrison fashion--it's all about using a character as symbolism rather than as a person. In this case, it's showing how America itself is two-faced, which is a perfectly valid idea, but not exactly one which applies to Harvey himself, especially considering that he's supposed to have written it. Nonetheless, for today at least, it's appropriate enough.

On that cheery note, I'm off to find a TV network that's airing 1776, which has its own things to say about the light and dark sides of how this country was founded. I shall try not to incessantly sing "The Lees of Old Virginia" around Henchgirl for the next week, but I make no promises.
about_faces: (Default)
So some time back, I was toying with the idea of doing a "Choose Your Own Adventure" story with Two-Face where you could flip a coin to decide where to go. I came up will all sorts of scenarios involving a full cast of rogues and supporting characters, and I even had visions of publishing it and including a coin.

Then I started thinking about how to maybe doing an old-school text adventure version that would actually flip the coin for you, which would not only have made each game different but it would have also given players an understanding of what it's like to be be Harvey. That was one of my big goals here besides the gimmick: to really show people just how much choice Harvey does and doesn't have from situation to situation.

Well, of course, real life for the past couple years has been such that it's taking me longer and longer to even write posts for this blog, much less commit to any personal projects, so this lofty idea fell to the wayside. That is, until Henchgirl brought it back to life in a way that's most unexpected and utterly, utterly awesome. I'll let her fill you in:

I make neat stuff

So, Hal's had a really nasty fever going on for the past four-ish days, resulting in calls to doctors and emergency room visits and suchlike. He's much better today than he was even yesterday, but we're all really worn out and he's still cranky and snuffly.

Anyway. As always when he's sick, we're up all night keeping an eye on him. I can't usually make terribly coherent thoughts when I'm this sleep deprived, which is always made worse by the pain I'm always in because my body is suck, so I always fall back on diddling around with things that don't take much brain power to keep me busy during the long, exhausting night shifts.



Ooooh! )

So yeah, we're working together on plotting it out. As she puts it, I'm the Giffen and she's the DeMatteis. Definitely works for me! So yes, if we do manage to pull this off, you can bet that you folks will be among the first to know!
about_faces: (Default)
Hey everyone, posts here are further delayed due to the fact that we live on the east coast, right where the storm is at its worst.

We've evacuated and (mostly) everyone is safe, but our home, cats, and stuff are all in major jeopardy. If you'd like more details, you can read my latest post/rant over at my personal LJ, but the short version is that we're far away from the worst of it and we'll be okay. Hopefully I'll be able to calm down enough from worry to crank out a review or two while I'm here!

In the meantime: if any of you are getting a taste of this storm, I hope you're safe and sound with plenty of food and supplies to get you through the next few days. Or longer, god forbid, depending on the damage.
about_faces: (Default)
Just to give everyone a heads-up, this blog is going on semi-hiatus for the next few weeks.

It was going to happen anyway, since Henchgirl and I are about to hit the road for a performance of my solo show at the Calgary Fringe Festival in Calgary, Alberta, Canadaland. It'll be a week's drive here and back, and with the performances going on, chances were slim that I'd get an opportunity to post and/or respond to comments for the most part. I've got a handful of mostly-written posts that wouldn't take as much work to throw together in a crunch. But under the circumstances, that may not be happening anyway.

The shooting in Aurora, CO, has left a taint on fandom in particular and Batman fandom specifically, one which we will be feeling for weeks to come, if not years. It has been impossible for me to even try thinking about anything related to Batman, Harvey, or The Dark Knight Rises without feeling sick, like it's just pointless and disrespectful right now. I feel silly looking at the words I've written, but I know I'm not the only one who feels this way: Henchgirl summed up our feelings over at her blog. That says it better than I'm even capable of articulating at present.

As such, I just don't even feel up for responding to your reviews in the last post. There will come a time when I will want to really tear into TDKR, especially since I really, really don't like the movie and will only become increasingly frustrated with it the more I read glowing reviews from others. Like, Joseph Gordon-Levitt's character? Everyone is absolutely gaga over him, and yet, all I could see was the biggest goddamn Mary Sue I've ever seen in a comic movie ever. And generally speaking, everything I already didn't like about Nolan's Batman was ramped up to extremes here.

But I just don't even care right now. For the time being, the only review that comes close to my own criticisms is Harry Knowles at Aint It Cool News. Really, I could hug him just for that third to last paragraph, the one that starts with "We need someone that isn’t afraid of any aspect of the Batman universe." I guess that's a good sign that my love for Batman and superheroes will eventually overcome the feeling of shell-shock and despair. It has to.

If I'm feeling up for it while we're in Calgary on our downtime between shows, maybe I'll post one or two of those half-written reviews. No promises, though. And even if I do, please understand if I don't rush to respond, or even if I don't respond at all. All that said, your own comments and readership mean everything to me, so if you want to chime in and interact, by all means, go for it. Hell, if anyone wants to do a guest review or something, let me know! Your participation might just be the thing which I need. Which, for all I know, we might all need.

So until late August, I guess I'll see you when I see you. After that, hopefully we'll be able to get back to the fun of celebrating (and/or lovingly tearing apart) comics and the characters we love so much. One day at a time.

Now back to work.
about_faces: (coin flipping through the air)
Something awesome was brought to my attention this past weekend, and boy, I needed it.

First, some venting about online Batman-fandom stuff that's been pissing me off for the past week. Feel free to either read or just skip to the comic! )

So thank god for a guy named DeptFord, artist for the webcomic Surrealist Obituaries who sent me a PM a couple of days ago. Deptford is a Two-Face fan who read a bunch of my Two-Face Tuesday entries over at scans_daily (the series of posts that led me to creating About_Faces in the first place), which had subsequently inspired to dedicate a whole strip to Harvey.

I was intrigued but apprehensive, as I've seen a LOT of sub-so-so fan fic/art out there, and even some of the truly GOOD stuff can frustrate me because it doesn't fit my own criteria of what makes a good Two-Face story. Case in point: the best Two-Face fanfic I've ever read is firmly set in the Nolanverse, with "RAY-CHULL" motivation fully intact. So, feeling that I wasn't in the right mood to critically appreciate (read: JUDGE) an examination of a character for whom I have very strong and particular opinions, I put off reading Deptford's comic for a couple of days.

Now I feel a bit like a fool. Not only did I have nothing to worry about, but this comic is... well, I'll just let it speak for itself, and discuss it at the end. But read it. Read it read it read it.

Everything you ever wanted to know about Two-Face's personal philosophy but were understandably afraid to ask )

Now, that said, I have to wonder how applicable this can be to any given take on Two-Face we've seen. Take Eye of the Beholder, for instance, which gives a very specific idea of what the coin means to Harvey. What would it say about Harvey if he held this philosophy using the instrument his father used for years of physical and psychological abuse? What about DeMatteis' Two-Face: Crime and Punishment, which greatly emphasized the adversarial conflict between Harvey's two halves? Is there a way to reconcile that tormented Harvey Dent with the one who seems to have found the best answer available to him?

I welcome your ideas, although I fear that there's no simple answer. Then again, there never is when it comes to trying to reconcile all or even some takes on Two-Face, no matter how great each may be. That said, speaking as someone who really resonates on a personal level with the "abusive alcoholic parent" origin, the idea of Harvey giving himself up to a non-religious "higher power" takes on a WHOLE new resonance for those us who know our Twelve Steps.
about_faces: (Default)
There's a reason why my posts and comments have slowed down of late, and shall continue to be slugging over the next few months. It's the same reason why, against all hopes and intentions, there's no new chapter of Dent posted here today.

Henchgirl and I give you a massive 11 lbs (!!!) bundle of win now officially named Harold (Hal) Tiberius Hefner. A couple people assumed we'd name our boy Harvey, but even I'm not that cruel and/or stupid.

We're back home, utterly bloody exhausted between attending to baby and constantly being bugged by nurses and doctors of variable bedside manners. It was a complicated and scary delivery, but everyone's okay. I should also mention that, as we didn't know that Hal (or Harry, as we're calling him, although nothing seems to fit him quite like "Baybeh," in the same way that Henchgirl and I call each other by "Boy" and "Girl" rather than our names) was going to be so huge, Henchgirl didn't get a C-section. So, yeah, bow down before the most hardcore goddamn fangirl in the world.

Even though I'm sure everyone will understand the delay, I do have a couple more easy posts to make in the near future, starting with the next chapter of Dent. If I don't split it up and just post it as one big chapter, as Henchgirl's advising me to do, it'll easily be big enough to tide you guys over for a bit.
about_faces: (coin flipping through the air)

In my defense... while the idea had certainly occurred to me while we were shopping for fake trees in the Target, it was my Henchgirl who suggested we actually do this.

Have I mentioned how supremely lucky I am to have found her? She actively encourages me to be as flagrantly geeky as I'd never allow myself to be in public. The decorations were her idea too. I love how the silver works on both sides. Really, all that's missing is a giant coin tree-topper.

Have a good one, folks. No matter what you do, no matter what you celebrate, stay safe and stay sane.

Well, at least until I pull together the Hugo Strange New Year's Eve post. :)


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