Posts Tagged ‘sherlock holmes’

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Batman-as-Sherlock Holmes Tale TRICK OR TREAT reveals new Gorey-ised Cover for Halloween

October 31, 2017

Homaging the original horror-influenced but pastel-colored artwork by Lady Dien, the new cover for Cat-Tales: Trick or Treat has gone full Edward Gorey with an evocative black-and-white palette and textured etching off a well-aged plate:

Batman as Sherlock Holmes in Cat-Tales: Trick or Treat, with Selina Kyle, Alfred Pennyworth, Talia al Ghul, Edward Nigma

Batman as Sherlock Holmes in Cat-Tales: Trick or Treat

 

It’s a Halloween at an Exhibit celebrating the Mystery Whodunit at the Folklore Museum, and all is not as it seems…

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Trick or Treat

October 31, 2012

Just in case the vampire hoards in yesterday’s pick Capes & Bats were too scary for you, we have a very different Halloween classic from Cat-Tales Book 2:

Cat-Tales: Trick or Treat

Wonderful Edward Gorey-style depiction of Bruce Wayne as Sherlock Holmes, Selina Kyle, Alfred Pennyworth, Talia al Ghul and Edward Nigma for the cover of Cat-Tales: Trick or Treat

The Gotham Mythology Museum has a special exhibit celebrating the Mystery Whodunit, and they’re kicking it off with a costume party. Hey, it’s not every day Bruce Wayne gets to dress up as his hero, now is it?

So that’s the treat. The trick… Click through and read it. You’ll find out.

BOO!

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Retro-Active and Reichenbach Falls

April 4, 2011

So, it’s common knowledge that DC Comics and I parted ways several years ago. It’s also common knowledge that that is not at all uncommon, and we’ll get to that shortly. Point is, while I delight in the produce of DC Entertainment, I’ve come to view anything from the actual DC Comics division as I would a plate of shrimp that was left in the sun for a day: there’s a high probability that it’s bad and will make me sick if I eat it. You’re free to, of course, but I wonder what the hell is wrong with you (and I’ll just leave the number for the poison control center right here on the counter where you can’t miss it).

Still, DC news occasionally does push its way in front of my eyeballs, and I must say the latest bulletin from WonderCon is… suggestive.

Retro-Active is described as “a wave of one-shots that will pay homage to the spirit of the Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman, Green Lantern, The Flash, and Justice League of America stories of the ’70s, ’80s and ’90s.” These are not simple reprints but a 50/50 mix of new material written into the old continuities presented alongside the reprinted originals.

Now, what immediately pops out at me is the significance of those decades. Bluntly: an era before things were fucked up beyond all repair. There were missteps to be sure, but there was a bottom line respect for the characters, the readership, and the basic tenets of storytelling. What also jumps out is I’m looking at names from those eras – names we haven’t seen in a while. Names that, like the continuities, were not a part of or tainted by the last 10 years of toxicity.

Len Wein, Alan Grant, Norm Breyfogle, Marv Wolfman… Wow.

I can only come up with three explanations for a move of this kind coming out of… I’m not sure my fingers will even type it… a move like this coming out of the DC Comics of 2011.

1. Reichenbach Falls

DC has been hemorrhaging readers for a long time, but recent years have seen them deliberately slicing themselves open.  I don’t know if the intent was suicide or a troubled teen cutting herself for attention and nicking an artery by mistake, but the result was the same: the readers were going, going, gone. Faster than they could be replaced – and what they’ve been replaced with isn’t worth much.  DC has consistently cut loyal long-time fans in favor of imagined new ones: new ones with less disposable income, who are less invested in the hobby and won’t necessarily spend as much on it regardless of income.  They do make plenty of noise in forums and blogs.  That seldom translates into actual sales because they mostly get the gist from Scans Daily, but hey, at least their excesses further alienate those who have left.  You might think that once a reader is lost, that’s the end of it.  They can’t spend less than $0, right?  But the cost of all those lost readers goes far beyond the simple dollars and cents.  Consider: I was at a friend’s house a couple weeks ago and they were showing off their gaming system.  They had EA Sports, Assassin’s Creed, and then while the rest of us were talking, they took out Assassins Creed and put in Arkham Asylum.  As soon as the DC logo went up, the guy I was talking to looked up, rolled his eyes and threw back his head.  He thought it was an ad for DC Online, but then the Rocksteady name came up and he said “oh wait, I’ve heard of this.”  When he saw the actual game start, he really liked it.

Now, that’s some seriously bad voodoo. The DC logo = Bad.  The Dark Knight was not only a great movie, it was a fantastically popular one.  Smallville has been running longer than M*A*S*H.  The Green Lantern trailer OWNED WonderCon this past weekend.  And yet, the DC logo got this automatic negative reaction – because of the comics.  If you’ve ever heard someone talking about a great unsolicited review or great word of mouth for their business and say they “can’t put a price on that kind of advertising” – well this is the flip side. You can’t put a dollar amount on the negative cost of YOUR LOGO = BAD.  You can’t put a dollar amount on the real damage DC Comics has done to the DC brand.

So, possibility #1 is that Retro is a concerted effort to lure back those lost readers.  If so, it’s a nice start.  It really is, don’t get me wrong.  However, it needs to be said that you’re not going to undo 10+ years of abuse in 2 months.

In 1893 Conan Doyle decided he was tired writing Sherlock Holmes and attempted to kill off his character in a final battle with Professor Moriarty at Reichenbach Falls.  To put it mildly: the reading public was not pleased.  They flatly refused to accept the destruction of something that brought them such pleasure.  Doyle then tried to appease them by telling new stories from the time before Holmes was killed.  The reading public WAS NOT SATISFIED.  It was not enough to have new stuff if the trail still led to the unacceptable outcome, and Doyle had no choice but to suck it up and undo the damage, bring his hero back to life.

If DC wants to win back readers it lost by its own bad behavior, this is a start, but make no mistake it is only the first step of a long journey.

2. To learn how to get up

A couple years ago, Dan Didio was being interviewed for one of the many specials out just prior to The Dark Knight, and he was going on how “We at DC look on Bruce Wayne as the mask and Batman is the real person.” You could tell he was just so pleased with the line, like they all are, they think it’s so clever… Then one of the real experts came on and said how that’s doing a real disservice to the character and displays a complete lack of understanding: the story of “Batman” is the story of Bruce Wayne, the man.  The long tradition of heroes yadda yadda yadda…

Since that time, that lack of understanding has become more and more apparent.  The phrase we hear more and more is that the folks at DC simply do not know: they don’t know who these characters are, they don’t know what they’re supposed to be, they don’t know what is non-negotiable part of the mythos and what’s disposable window dressing. They don’t know a good idea from a bad one (or a really bad one) (or a really, really bad one).  They don’t know storytelling.  They don’t understand women.  They don’t understand heroes.  They don’t understand how long a story should run.  They don’t understand human behavior…

What’s worse, they cut themselves off from the past that did know.  They mocked it and belittled it.  Now they’re stuck.  They know where they are isn’t working.  They don’t know how to fix it.  They know everything they try makes it worse.  When they stumble onto something that does work, they don’t understand why it worked and they try to reproduce it by focusing on all the wrong things.

With Retro: going back to the time before things were broken and BRINGING BACK THE PEOPLE WHO KNOW WHAT THEY’RE DOING, letting them work in the non-broken continuities, this could be a phenomenally effective way for these guys to LEARN HOW TO DO THIS.

3. Come back here and take what’s coming to ya! I’ll bite your legs off!

Unfortunately, no one who’s seen the storylines of the past few years can overlook the possibility that this series is intended to deliver another attack on old fans by polluting the past continuities.  Having done their worst in the present, it’s a way to retro-actively poison the past stories we love and take that last bit of pleasure from us.

Do I believe there is that much malice in the people making decisions at DC Comics?  Absolutely.  Do I think that’s what Retro is about? Probably not.  Because the whispers about Time Warner shutting down print comics have become louder with each new tweak of the corporate structure and each new announcement of another five titles being cancelled.  When you’re being wheeled into the emergency room with a collapsed lung, you do not waste the energy to give someone the finger.

Anyway, on a lighter note: Trophies is now available in ebook and print-quality pdf. There’s also a new edition of the epub ebooks on the site. Mobile people in particular should find these load much faster. Iphone 4 newer Blackberry folks, hang tight. Your CSS issues are next on the todo list.

Chris Dee
www.catwoman-cattales.com

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This week in Cat-Tales

February 8, 2010

It was quite a week for Cat-Tales.  Rolled out Chapter 2: More Cowbell – a chapter title I had decided upon back when I was still running around Atlantis wrapping up Demon’s in the Details.  The response confirms what we all knew:  Joker is a draw, he gets everybody worked up and speculating like mad.  Joker and Scarecrow playing off each other is – well, I’m not going to say “comedy gold” because Jocular Jack can take phrases like that the wrong way, but the pair of them do crackle on the page.

I’m still getting a few emails and IMs about Sherlock Holmes and chapter 1, and I’ll remind everyone that if you don’t want to go see the movie, a few relevant clips are online and posted in the forum.  It’s not the same, of course, but it’s better than nothing.

I also put in a little time on that TBA I mentioned a few weeks back, which is still eligible for a March release for the anniversary, scheduled “in very light pencil,” as my favorite stage manager was so fond of saying.  Too many if/thens I can’t control to really commit to it, however.

Speaking of, my love-hate relationship with technology continues.  I’m the happy recipient of a hand-me-down mp3 player.  Wasn’t something I was ever interested in, but the previous owner of this one upgraded to video over Christmas, and he passed the old one along to me.  Now I can have my books on tape roam around with me.  I can’t imagine using it for anything else.  So that’s the love part.  As for hate, I’ve made no progress at all with those last two steps that will get me completely settled on the one laptop.  I would have got there by now, except my phone decided the other electronics were getting too much attention.  So it’s on the blink now.  Grr.  Some days, these things are honestly more trouble than pets.   However, even if we’re not completely there yet, life is SO MUCH BETTER now that all my web and graphics software is under one roof.

The weekend was spent catching up on some reading and a few other things that have nothing to do with CT.  Work on chapter 3, as well as that TBA, resumes today.

Chris Dee
www.catwoman-cattales.com
cattales.yuku.com
cattales.wikispaces.com

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