Tuesday, April 14, 2009

New blog site.

In case anyone was wondering, my new blog setup is at www.ckburch.tumblr.com.

Peep it.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Viktor Reis Is At It Again

There were two thoughts that went through Viktor Reis' head as his midsection exploded for the second time in his life: the first was Okay, I'm really dead this time, and the second was No, wait, wait...nope, not dead. Now what?

The truth was that Viktor was, in fact, dead. He'd been dead for quite some time before the explosion occurred, but he'd yet to realize it. In fact, if he didn't realize it quite soon, he'd be dead dead, cosmic powers or no. But that, immediately, wasn't a concern to Viktor: in fact, it was very fucking far from his mind.

Exploded again, he thought, but was unaware of the fact that a rail gun slug, propelled through his midsection at just beyond the speed of sound. He froze in mid separation, and as he did so he at last heard the sonic boom that accompanied the slug's launch. He felt air molecules buffet his body from all sides from the slug's passage; at this speed, it took a moment for it to catch up to the projectile.

Once the cosmic awareness kicked in, Viktor realized that there was a man with a rather large rifle, or rather railgun, kneeling on top of a parking structure, his infrared sights aimed right at Viktor's stomach, or what current was the large hole where Viktor's stomach used to be. Within a moment, Viktor thought FALL DOWN and the parking structure collapsed, taking the shooter with it. Viktor zoomed his hearing in as far as he could to hear the sound of the shooter's bones crunching and his brain smooshing into an exquisite paste that would be enjoyed by the cockroaches. Viktor smiled to himself, and was about to think COME TOGETHER but stopped; there was a presence nearby that he couldn't remove from his system, and at that point he realized that perhaps, maybe, he really was dead.

It took him a moment to really scan the lifewaves around, then the timeflow, and finally the cascading superstructure of the universe; that took him a moment to really grasp. Within seconds he'd located it: a multiparticle parasite that was situated between his torso and his lower half, waiting for him to zzzzip himself back together and lodge itself between his third and fourth vertebrae. Viktor was a very, very lucky man: the parasite had been absorbing his energy by riding piggy back on his epidermis. It had been waiting a long, long time, waiting since he'd first garnered these wonderful cosmic powers, hoping he'd explode again and never gain the understanding to locate it.

Viktor smiled. He thought, DISINTEGRATE, and the parasite vaporized. With it, the energies of a thousand absorbed cosmic energies were instantaneously reabsorbed by Viktor's body, and in that moment as he also thought COME TOGETHER, he felt a big bang of nova particles within his midsection and he smiled.

Ohhhhhhhh man, was he going to have some fun with this.

copyright Christopher K. Burch, 2007

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Viktor Reis and the Crucifixion

"My name is Viktor," he said, "and I'm addicted to time travel."

For a moment, the crowd before him seemed slightly confused; Viktor himself had an inkling that there was a theme going on that he'd missed in the brochure. Many of the group were wearing old, sackclothian robes and red sashes, were bearded and had mock thorns adorning their brows. Jesuses? Jesusi? Jesi? He shook his head to clear his thoughts, and popped the last bit of hot dog into his mouth before continuing.

"The last time I travelled through time was about twenty minutes ago. I was running late for the group session, so I jumped back half an hour so I could walk in right on time. I got such a rush from it; my heart is still beating a little. I have to say, jumping back to the fall of the Roman Empire or to Washington crossing the Delaware River is something to get excited about, not a thirty-minute swim in the timeflow. It's gotten to the point where it's like an orgasm now; I have cravings for hot dogs whenever I jump. But isn't that sad? I mean, we're all in this together and we're all addicted to it in some way or another, but arousal? Am I truly losing it? Or....or..." Viktor bit his lip and closed his eyes. He thought GO BACK. When he opened his eyes, he was staring at the group again.

"The last time I travelled through time was about five seconds ago. I was trying to speak about my addiction, but it wasn't coming out right." He paused to gather his thoughts, but a hand went up in the back. Viktor pointed and the man stood.

"I'm sorry," the man said. He was curiously yoked to a rather large plank of wood behind his head; it looked like his wrists were actually nailed to the plank, but Viktor had a large imagination. "You're in the wrong room, Viktor. This isn't TTA, this is CCA, Christ's Crucifixionoholics Anonymous. We're all addicted to the death of Christ."

Viktor raised an eyebrow. "Isn't that just Christianity in general?"

When he got no response, Viktor decided that he'd had enough. Might as well quit while he was ahead---he'd given it a fair go, anyway. He closed his eyes and thought GO BACK. When he opened them, there was a shout of "Sic semper tyrannis!" and a gunshot and a woman screaming. He snapped his fingers; just missed it. He thought GO BACK one more time and appeared in one of the lower seats of Ford's Theatre. John Wilkes Booth walked up behind President Lincoln, shouted "Sic semper tyrannis!" and the back of Lincoln's head was erased.

Viktor thought HOT DOG and a ballpark frank appeared in his hands. That was a good show, he thought, and decided to rewind a bit and watch it again.

copyright Christopher K. Burch, 2007

Wes J. Clothing and Me

Wesley Jagod, owner/designer of Wes J Clothing, is going to go over my portfolio/sketchbook for feedback and possible ideas for designs to be incoporated into his next clothing line.

As an artist, I'm stoked. As a businessman, I'm fucking ecstatic to get my name out.

More on this as developments surface.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Marvel MMO

It seems that Newsarama reports Marvel Comics new deal with Gazillion Entertainment to produce a new Massively Multiplayer Online game based on the Marvel cartoon/action figure line Super Hero Squad. This, in turn, led them to report that Marvel's on a quest to have Marvel Universe, the game, to be released before DC's entry into the field, DC Universe Online.

Marvel previously had a deal with Cryptic Studios.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Viktor Reis.

The faster-than-light sequencer began to shake, rattle, and slide across the floor as the doctor looked on impassively. Perhaps a little less than impassively; Viktor was bored, let's be honest. All sequencing, no fun. Where's the fun in just combining, deconstructing, and then recombining cosmically enhanced DNA recently discovered on the moon's surface? Now, if he were doing all of the above on the secret government-staffed Moon Base over on the Dark Side, then maybe this would be cool. It would have a better view at least; being 200 yards below the Earth's surface in a titanium-enhanced bunker makes Vic a dull boy.

The sequencer gave a final yelp of impertinence and was silent. Vic walked over, opened the top hatch and suddenly he exploded.

What he didn't realize at first was, yes, he had in fact exploded physically, but his consciousness had just reached the fourth plane of cosmic awareness. It had been the exposure to the DNA in a close-quarters environment for the past year-and-a-half; if anyone had known it would have produced these results, maybe he would have taken that trip to the moon. Rather now he was suspended in a state of bloody separation, the lower half of his body still planted on both feet, his upper half a good three feet above and cocked at a ninety degree angle, his intestines doing a crazy loop-de-loop in the middle of the air and a thousand and one particles of plasma dancing in the air, literally dancing, like some crazy cha-cha from that horrible Robin Williams movie, Flubber. That's exactly what Vic thought: My blood has turned to Flubber. Then, within seconds, his torso hit the floor and the lower half of his body fell over as well. What was kind of strange was that his intestines still hung in the air, dangled by some cosmic invisible wire, as did his blood.

Vic looked up at his entrails. "Get back here," he said, rather absent-mindedly. Part of him thought of this as a dream. Yeah, it would have been nice.

But the amazing thing was that his blood and other things responded to what he said: like a crazy flesh-measuring tape, his lower intestine zzzzzipped back into his torso, pulling taut and slamming the two pieces of his body back together into a whole. There wasn't even a scarring line to show where he'd separated before: he was absolutely whole again. The floating plasma disintegrated into a million microparticles and entered his bloodstream through his pores. Viktor got up without a scratch nor a clue and looked at the sequencer. The top hatch was still open, and inside a multi-colored sine wave was shining not quite unlike an aurora borealis.
"Cool beans," Vic said. He reached inside, not thinking at all yet (he'd only just been exploded, you see; it affects the mind a bit), and was sucked through the sequencer into an alternate reality deep inside the alien DNA.

He surfaced just before lunch. He did not file the incident in his report. In fact, he never filed another report again; somehow he mysteriously vanished from the bunker. Security tapes still show no exit. Except that if you turn around sometimes, like right now, you'll see Viktor eating a hot dog. He really likes hot dogs, which makes being cosmically-enhanced really cool: you think HOT DOG and there you go. A hot dog.

Right now he's thinking STOP READING.



copyright Christopher K. Burch, 2007

Watchmen makes $25 Million opening day.

Opening day ticket sales hit around $25 million for Watchmen, which isn't bad, isn't fantastic, but at least the film isn't flopping like a dead fish.

Currently, Watchmen's rating on Rotten Tomatoes is at 65%.

I'm seeing it tomorrow night.

Distractions.

Yes, I know I promised the new installment of Digital Media Superheroes yesterday, but I've been distracted by women.

In the meantime, here's some links for you to go check out:

Uncle Warren's webblogthing. This will lead you unto all sorts of new links and clickies and interwub fun.

Constant Siege. Clayton Cubitt's tumblr site, a blogthing as well. Cubitt is a photographer who blurs the line between pornography and art until the line doesn't exist anymore, and this site will lead you unto all sorts of more clickies and wonderful sites as well. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.

Quite possibly the best Wolverine fanfilm I've seen yet. Really well made.

More oncoming.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Character of the Day.



Nightcrawler.

Coming tomorrow: Part II of Digital Media Superheroes.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Monday, March 2, 2009

Friday, February 20, 2009

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Character of the Day



Cable.

Datablog: House of Ideas versus House of Management

Hi, welcome to the Datablog. This week: business versus storytelling.

To begin, let's start by having you, dear reader, go to the official DC Comics website, and then to the official Marvel Comics website. Go on, go check 'em out. I'll be here waiting.

Now, what I want you to do next is go back and look at each site each and ask yourself a simple question: which of these websites is promoting nothing but comic books, and which of these sites is promoting an entire business?

If you're guessing Marvel Comics is the latter, you're guessing correctly.

Now, it's a little unfair to say that DC Comics is only promoting comics on their website; there's the DC Direct link, and links to MAD Magazine and ZUDA. But go back to the Marvel site and you'll find multiple hubs related to not only comics, but to kids entertainment, internet games, digital media, the Marvel Store, TV & Movie news, and even Corporate News. This isn't merely the website of a comic book publisher, it's the website of a media franchise establishment, and that, dear reader, is why Marvel Comics dominates the sales charts every month. Forget whether or not they're telling the best stories, or have the best artists, or strive for the most quality month in and month out. Marvel Comics understands, nay, Joe Quesada understands that comic books are a business just like any other business, and people want to get fed. Marvel Comics are in the daily spotlight in both internet and print news, on the Colbert Report and on CNN.com. Spider-Man is in video stores in cartoon and cinematic forms, in video games and action figures. Walk down the aisles of any local Target and you're going to find more Spider-Man and Marvel figures than you will DC Direct toys. Why? Because Marvel has grasped something that it appears that DC has not: in order to make the sales, you have to branch out beyond simple comic books.

But is that a good thing?

Let's look at the much-hyped Hulk comic book: once upon a time, under Greg Pak, it was a thrilling story about the green giant on a world where he could be respected, and could finally allow himself to be at his most destructive. But that came crashing down, the Hulk took the hurt to those he felt was responsible, and gave up at the end once he realized he was defeated. Some seriously epic storytelling. Now Jeph Loeb has taken the reins of the Hulk title, and we have a massive, red-hued Hulk running about, defeating every over-powered hero/villain in sight, which includes cold-cocking Thor and even Uatu the Watcher. I think that is supposed to be tongue-in-cheek, but nevermind that for now; the point is that Hulk's sales have never been better. And I say that without looking at sales charts for reference. Secret Invasion as well is an excellent demonstration that one writer can control an entire universe by simply tossing a left-field twist onto the end of an event title that needed two or three other books just to make sense. Illuminati, Initiative, Invasion, impressive. Brian Michael Bendis deserves an Eisner for simply being able to write as many books simultaneously and have absolutely none of them be near the quality of any single issue of the Distinguished Competition's "secret" book, Secret Six. Seriously; compare any issue or tie-in of Secret Invasion to any single issue of Secret Six and the Six will win. Why? Two words.

Quality.

Control.

Look, Final Crisis is what it is, and it's just as guilty of using other titles to tell a story. However, I argue that FC kept it mostly contained to the tie-in books, not the regular monthly books (excepting two issues of Batman, and a couple issues of JLA). Comparing one event to another isn't the point: the point here is to compare one publisher to another and decipher why one consistently sells more comics. Well the proof is in the pudding. Marvel simply goes balls out to promote and sell the fuck out of their product. That's what comic books are to Marvel: product. Is that bad? Not necessarily. Anything is a product. Go buy anything, that's product. What potentially is bad here is that "product" could become another word for "mass-produced shit." Look, McDonald's isn't nearly as good as the local burger joints I frequent, but I'll still go to McDonald's. And quite frankly, I feel I can make a better burger than any of them. But I'm not selling burgers, I'm buying them. And if I want a damn good burger, I'll go to the local joint and get a damn good burger; that's usually what I do. But if I want some overall good food, I'll go to McDonald's, because there's something for everyone, and the family wants food too. You see what I'm saying?

I love DC Comics; I love the quality storytelling, I love the promise of a good book almost every time I crack open the cover. I like Marvel; I like that it's cool and hip and wow and tells a good yarn. But quality every time isn't what I get from Marvel. I get a lot of bang for my buck, but sometimes I just get hungry again half an hour later. Mostly, I get satisfied from reading the latest issue of Batman, or Action, or Green Lantern. I am also a reader of very discerning taste, so if I'm not into a particular character, either the writer or the artist had better be the draw, or I'm not reading it. That's mostly why I haven't read X-Men in forever. Lately, Warren Ellis and Simone Bianchi's Astonishing X-Men has drawn me in like a horny man to a trashy bar, and in diving in so very little to Marvel's merry mutants, I'm discovering that if there's one book I don't like, there's several more to whet my appetite. Classic X-Men? Try Legacy, or Origins, or First Class. Modern? Uncanny and X-Factor, or X-Force to give you a go. And don't get me started on the number of fucking comics Wolverine is in; I'm buying at least one of them starting in April, and we'll see where it goes from there.

But that's the thing about Marvel: there's twenty books that are at least related to whatever character or team you like, so it's always something for you to buy. DC doesn't really have those options. Don't like what's going on in Batman? There's always Detective. Or, um, well, you know, some other book with Batman. Like, uh, Cacophony. You know, that Kevin Smith mini. And Superman! Superman is in his book, and Action Comics, and, ah, well, oh, Superman/Batman. You can get Superman AND Batman in one book! Or in Justice League. Or Super-Friends! Meanwhile Spider-Man is published three times A MONTH on top of the other fifty books or so he's in. You see what I'm saying? Marvel's on top of the options game, and running those numbers is staggaring. Marvel has it's own film production offices in Manhattan Beach, CA, right down the street from where I used to live, while DC is owned/run by Time-Warner who is really dragging their feet about doing, well, ANYTHING cinematically that doesn't involve Christian Bale. Marvel, for their business savvy, is CELEBRATING comic books! Celebrating and selling comic books! DC Comics is telling damn fine stories, but man, where's the beef? Where's the Watchmen Babies? Where's the film version of the Flash for fuck's sake? Cartoons of Wonder Woman are great for fuck-all in my opinion; Watchmen is posed to be the best thing DC and Time-Warner have put out yet.

So, really, it really just boils down to which matters more: getting your name out, or concentrating on the base product. Selling action figures (which, in turn, sells comics when you think about it), or selling comics. DC sells comics, tells comic stories, and arguably tells better stories than Marvel does. Marvel sells comics, video games, T-shirts, movies, offers digital versions of their library, action figures, the works. But do they tell better stories? Arguably no. But do they love their comics? Yes they do; look at how they pimp them.

So what do you care about more? Which gets your dollar? McDonald's? Or the local burger joint?

I still think I make 'em better, but that's besides the point.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Monday, February 16, 2009

$500 gets you this:

Filmmakers The Purchase Brothers made this video, and the second part (which isn't online yet) for a mere $500.

$500.

Watch that again.

$500.

Fuck.

Character of the Day



Bishop.

Datablog: If You Want Blood, You Got It

Welcome to the Datablog. This week we speak of X-Men.

I firmly believe that if you want to see how good a writer truly is, and by good I mean flexible, you should put them on an X-Men book and stand back for the results. If the results are either (A) passable, or (B) something pretty damn cool, you've got a writer who can really write anything he/she wants, and let them go on to write whatever. If the results are poor, well, we again see the strengths of the writer. I say this because there have been few X-Men stories in the last twenty years that I've read and have actually cared about, so let's get down to what makes an X-Men story good.

One word: evolution.

Now, evolution in and of itself isn't necessary a good or bad thing; it's not the sword, it's the swordsman. Anyone could write an X-Men story that breaks the mold, but does that mean it's in a good way? Anyone could write a classic-feeling X-Men story, but does that mean we need it? We certainly don't need another Wolverine-goes-and-finds-himself-and-digs-for-the-past story. Those are things of the past; we got that with Origin and New X-Men: Assault On Weapon Plus. Going back and telling stories with Wolverine, featuring the Canadian mutant who isn't actually Canadian in his past years, could work by giving us more Wolverine at any point in the timeline. Wolverine is one of the few characters you could throw into any genre because he's been alive since the 1800s. Almost 200 years old, James Howlett has seen it all, and as Old Man Logan is demonstrating, still has more to see. But another thing is this: if you're writing Wolverine, you really should be bringing your A-game, or you're just telling another Wolverine story. Mark Millar, I think, understands Wolverine to the degree that his big idea mindset is to throw Wolverine in the path of anything and having fun with it. See Enemy of the State. And that's cool. Throwing Wolverine into the path of more ninjas isn't by definition cool anymore, because how many times have we seen that? A whole bunch. You've got to bring something cool to the mix or it's going to fall apart.

Grant Morrison, brought a whole bunch of new ideas to X-Men and let them go crazy. But he had a point, a method, and while he stretched his imagination and the way we read comics, he kept his storyline simple: what are mutants? And to further conceptualize this, Joss Whedon continued that line of thinking with Astonishing X-Men, and not only brought back Colossus, but gave us new ways to view Professor X and a truly dangerous Danger Room. If you need a better example of how to break the X-Men out of the mold, Astonishing X-Men: Dangerous is the best way to go.

Ed Brubaker captured my attention with his work on X-Men, as did Mike Carey, Kyle and Yost, Peter David, and currently Warren Ellis. Warren Ellis is mostly hit or miss with me (see Thunderbolts), and can meander from point to point, but his run on Astonishing thus far is just as entertaining and full of high-brow thought as anything in Morrison's New X-Men. Why? Because he's breaking the mold and putting the X-Men through their paces with something random, off the wall, and totally fucking cool. But cool doesn't cut the mustard on its own. I've attempted to read Claremont and Byrne's work, and in retrospect it doesn't hold up so well. I think it's known mostly for killing Jean Grey, and the Phoenix story. That's fine; that's a classic story. It's certainly not aged well from a storytelling standpoint, but it's classic. So of course we hold it up and go "GOLD STANDARD!" Anybody could write that story these days; but it's old and grey and classic, so we revere it. I say "pah!" and move on. Look at the Onslaught story by Jeph Loeb and the Age of Apocalypse story by various. AoA was something wicked at the time, and I admit I was hooked when I was thirteen, but come on: really? That was such a product of 90's thought as to be so ludicrous by today's standards. And House of M: really? Seriously? With three words, Wanda Maximoff has damned all mutantkind? Really? It just works that way? And Chuck Austen reducing Magneto's biggest threat into "It WAS Xorn, he just thought he was Magneto!"? My god. Listen, Magneto should be retired. I mean it, he should die of old age and retire. At this point, he's, what, seventy? Eighty? And is still considered a huge threat to the X-Men? His entire point is that the horrors of the Nazi occupation could ring true with mutantkind, demonstrated by his escape from Auschwitz as a young man. Magneto, at ninety some odd years old, is far too old to be any threat to anyone. But the problem is that he isn't; by comic book aging, he's spritely enough to still "MU HU HA HA" and threaten. And his powers no longer work! Magneto is an example of Marvel's inability to look at their own realism: he's ninety and he's kicking the X-Men's ass. No. He should be dead because Wolverine killed him in New X-Men: Planet X, except that that was Xorn, and Magneto was...where again? I don't know. I ignored it because it hurt my brain too much to try and figure out why he wasn't dead. Essentially, Magneto is Marvel's cash cow, and one of their coolest villains, so somehow he had to come back. Just like Sabretooth will at some point, and so will Jean Grey. Because that's what happens with the X-Men: the status quo must be.

Let's look at Joy Division in comparison to the X-Men. Ian Curtis kills himself, and the band reformats inself as New Order, and we get "Blue Monday." Evolution. Jean Grey dies and we get new stories. Except that Jean Grey comes back. Ian Curtis never came back. We get Joy Division covers all the time, but Ian Curtis never came back. You see what I'm saying? Why, out of all the mainstream comic books on the market, does X-Men continually come back to the well and drag out old characters that should have gone by the wayside years ago? Magneto, Jean Grey, Professor fucking X, all should be dead. Jean is still dead, thank god, but how long can that truly last? Consider Hope Summers, the fucking Messiah X Baby. Green eyes, red hair, just like lil' Rachel Summers, who is the current Phoenix retainer. So long as we keep Rachel and this new Hope in the books, there'll be no need for Jean. Seeing Colossus come back, that was alright, and while I wish dead were dead, Whedon wrote that scene so amazingly well that I couldn't help but smile and say "You know what, all fucking right!" Kitty Pryde, Lost In Space, that's a bitch, tho. That's one that has an out, but that's gonna be a hell of a stretch to bring her back.

Look, we don't need X-Babies or X-Traction Team. We don't need another 90's explosion of X-Books. I think that going back and redefining what the X-Men are while still moving forward would be a great idea. Messiah Complex was a great story, the first really good X-Men story I've read in a long time, and I plan on buying the trade at some point. If we had great writers doing that all the time, fuckin' A. That would really bring the X-Books back to greatness. Not "Sex and Violence" or "X-Infernus" or Chris fucking-kiss-my-ass-you-old-sod Claremont. Real, honest to god writers with a breath of fresh air in them.

Put any writer on X-Men and let them go nuts, and if it's a good story, that's the mark of a good writer. The potenial is so there, but the bar is set high.

EDIT: Thanks to ERIC RUPE for reminding me that Onslaught was created by Scott Lobdell, not Jeph Loeb. Loeb is still a bad writer, though.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Internet Obsession

There are a lot of things on the internets. There are a lot of things that catch my attention and refuse to allow me a social life.

For example:

Simone Bianchi.
Marvel Comics.
Facebook.
Your mom.
deviantART.

Enjoy the linkies and a view into my world. I'll provide more another time.

Character of the Day

Lady Deathstrike.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Artistically Speaking

Writing has been a been of a bother lately; by bother, I mean serious fucking headache. It's not like I don't love writing, but I've got this serious blockage in my brain that somehow refuses to allow me to do it. It's maddening. As such, I've decided to quit stressing over it and take a step back from writing for a bit. Boo hoo, I know, but I've decided to focus more on something that somehow causes me to relax quite a bit: artwork.

Anyone want a sketch?

Thursday, January 8, 2009

ULTIMATE BATMAN: Chapter Five



It's been far too long since a new chapter was posted, but here we go.

This chapter's artwork was wonderfully produced by Salieri, my co-conspirator on the ULTIMATE BATMAN work, and the chapter itself was mostly written by him with few edits from me. I have to give credit where it's due on this chapter: it's a monster of a narrative, and I'm completely blown away by how it was handled.

So, what are you waiting for? Check it out.

And big thanks to those who've visited the blog and checked out the story. Thanks for the thoughts and the read, it's made writing this well worth it.