Joshua Hale Fialkov

Purveyor of sheer awesomeness.

Joshua Hale Fialkov is the Harvey, Eisner, and Emmy Award nominated writer of graphic novels, animation, video games, film, and television, including:

THE LIFE AFTER, THE BUNKER, PUNKS, ELK'S RUN, TUMOR, ECHOES, KING, PACIFIC RIM, THE ULTIMATES, I, VAMPIRE, and JEFF STEINBERG CHAMPION OF EARTH. He's also written for NBC's CHICAGO MED and SYFY's upcoming INCORPORATED.

Filtering by Category: Reviews by Me

iPad One Week Later

So, a week later and I'm sitting in bed at midnight, while Christina sleeps next to me, typing a review on the glass screen of the future. I suppose that's a bit of an exaggeration as the future, so to speak, is now. The long and short of it is that i love the iPad. It's got some funkiness to it, but overall, it works as advertised, has a battery life that's borderline ridiculous, and has me happy to ship off my laptop to my parents so that they can talk to my forthcoming daughter via it's web cam.

The web cam, by the way, is in no way missed on this thing. I think that placing a camera on a device this large, while theoretically useful for video chatting, would be pretty much absurd for any other use. The iPad is just too big to use for snapshots. Hell, even the idea of holding it up while using it for video chat seems ridiculous.

As for 3G vs. Non. My logic is that realistically if I'm in a spot I'm not really going to pay 15 or 30 bucks for internet, the sort of files you actually want to download in a spot when away from home tend to be too large to download via 3G anyways, and, i'm literally never without my iPhone anyways, so why not go for extra memory on the device itself.

To the future of comics question... It's damn close. The screen is slightly too small to be used with a standard sized comic. I've dropped Tumor (which was designed to be the smaller digest size) on here and it's damn near perfect looking. Some of the text pieces are a bit small, but otherwise, it's all there. That being said, until Marvel and DC decide to start going day and date with their print and digital releases I think it's still up in the air. Not being able to have your comics transfer to other devices is sort of a no win for most of these apps, although Comixology's app does allow you to redownload things purchased on your iPhone.

Probably my highest praise i can give the device is that I've been using it for work. With the Bluetooth keyboard and the little stand i bought for the it, i have a truly tiny, truly mobile, and truly functional work station that doesn't need a power outlet and is far less distracting then my laptop with all of its IM's and web browsing that seems to only take you away for a second, when in fact it sucks you in for hours on end. That's right, i like that there's no multitasking. It means that i have to decide to stop working to check my email or read the internet or, whatever else I do to interrupt my workflow. For someone like me with a little bit of ocd and a whole lot of procrastinators disease, it may be the system I've been dreaming of.

At least until they release the 4.0 software.

NOTE: As Tony Fleecs pointed out the Wordpress App is greatly lacking in the spellcheck department. Should be all fixed up pretty now.

More Things I Love: Chad Crawford Kinkle's Harpe

No buy it now link for this one, as it's just now available for pre-order in the direct comic market. Harpe: America's First Serial Killers is quite possibly one of the most mature, sophisticated, and down-right beautiful debuts of a graphic novelist I've ever been privy to. First, about Chad. I met Chad at Comic-Con a few years ago when some of my buddies brought him around to talk about his proposal for a graphic novel. When I heard the concept I fell in love. When I got to spend time talking with Chad about the project, breaking into comics, and what to do next, I knew that I'd just met an exciting new talent who was going to rock the shit out of this industry.

The book, in case the title didn't clue you in, is about a couple of brothers in the early 19th century who went on a killing spree through the South. They're like Bonnie and Clyde is just barely post-revolutionary war times. It's a delicate mix of history and horror with the feel of good Western Noir, that's engaging and beautifully executed by Chad and artist Adam Shaw.

The thing about Chad, much like the aforementioned Joshua Dysart, is that he does something I just can't do. He takes history and makes it flesh. The book is thoroughly researched, pain-stakingly replicating the events, locales, and characters of this most definitely untold story in a way that defies it's period setting and gory subject matter. He creates a portrait of some sick individuals that you still manage to have feelings for. Considering the atrocities these guys committed, that's an amazing feat. They're not just monsters, they're human, and very, very real.

Do yourself a favor and head to your local retailer, and have them order this book. Tell them it's available using Diamond Order Number SEP090728. You'll be glad you did.

More info, including a five page preview available here: http://us1.campaign-archive.com/?u=9d17c9217240226bbc79d6750&id=6f9b04e3e1&e=

Unknown Soldier Vol. 1

I'm fortunate to call Josh Dysart a friend. I've known him for almost my entire career in comics, which is closing in on a decade now. He has a lot of tools in his toolbox as a writer that I'm incredibly envious of. He handles huge ideas in digestable ways, and creates world that are both painfully realistic, and bendable to his whims. If you don't believe check out his pitch perfect pulp work on Penny Farthing's Captain Gravity, him following in the footsteps of the greatest writer in comics and going toe to toe with him on Swamp Thing, or, crafting one of the most socially responsible comics about a crazy guy with a gun in the history of the medium, as he's done in Unknown Soldier.

The book is dark. Really dark. Achingly, painfully, nightmare inducing dark. And yet... it's not a nightmare to get through, as you'd expect. Instead, it's a delicate piece of true art that both forwards the medium of comics and manages to be a page turning semi-superhero style action piece. It crafts the perfect balance of information dump and character, that makes the world seem ultra-real, extremely foreign, yet simple and understandable.

There truly are few writers in Josh's league these days, and I'm thrilled to see someone so talented succeeding in such a grand sense. And in case it matters, he's also a sensationally sweet guy who can charm the pants off of you. Literally. I've seen it.

Do yourself a favor, and check out the book, and, I recommend seeing Josh's extensive notes, behind the scenes diary posts, and more over at http://www.joshuadysart.com

Quick Review: Columbine

Columbine by Dave Cullen

My review

rating: 5 of 5 stars
A beautifully written tome on an ugly piece of American history. The style and finesse of the writing is equal only to the depth of understanding of the events and people involved.

More than just the 'true story' of what happened ten years ago, it's a chilling and lyrical portrait of a tragedy and the hundreds of people who's lives were forever changed.

Must read.

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Quick Comic Review: Tom Strong vol. 1

Tom Strong (Book 1) Tom Strong by Alan Moore

My review

rating: 5 of 5 stars
For some reason, I skipped over the triumvirate of ABC books of which Tom Strong is a part. It's literally everything good about superhero comics in one book. Fun, inventive, light hearted, emotionally resonant, and, best of all, inspiring. Alan Moore is so often though of as dour and miserable, and yet, here we are, with a book that is anything but.

Go. Read it. Now.

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Watchmen

Posted the following on a discussion board a little bit ago, and realized I never said anything about Watchmen on the site, so, here's my extremely brief review. I saw Watchmen at a screening a couple of weeks back. It's way better than I expected it to be, and, in fact, I found myself inspired by it. I hadn't read the graphic novel in at least ten years, and liked the movie so much, I went out and rebought it, and reread it.

It's different than the book, obviously, but, some of the choices are actually pretty great (the squid never worked for me in the book, and what they came up with instead really makes infinitely more sense.) Overall, there's considerably more style than substance, but, the material itself is so substantial, that it ends up being okay.

So, yeah, go in with low expectations and be pleasently surprised.

Two More Alibi Reviews!

Inked: A Comic Book Review Blog

Alibi is probably the best one-shot yet in the two Pilot Seasons we’ve had so far. Combine an intriguing story with excellent art and you’ve got a hit on your hands. I’d love to see what other adventures the two brothers have in store so it’s easy to say that this is definitely one of the one-shots that should be picked up as an on-going. Pick this up, you won’t be disappointed.

Pop Thought -- Joe Hilliard

Fialkov builds up some good tension over the brief twenty-six pages, keeping both the characters and the readers on their toes. There are twists and turns down to the very bitter end of this hard candy, going from sweet to sour and back again. In many ways, it reminded me of Greg Rucka's Queen & Country, from the other side of the fence. John and Rick are annoyingly likeable, you like them, and yet you feel you really shouldn't. Their adversaries are confoundingly vague in their intentions. In other words, it dark and mysterious, and ends on an extreme note.

Thanks so much guys! Really glad y'all dug the book!

Book Review - Scalped, Vol. 1

Scalped Vol. 1: Indian Country Scalped Vol. 1: Indian Country by Jason Aaron

My review

rating: 5 of 5 stars
Finally got a chance to read the very talented Jason Aaron's Scalped. I'd read the first issue or two, and decided I'd pick it up in trades, as I so rarely go to the comic shop these days. I plowed through the first volume in about thirty minutes, and really loved it.

I think the Sopranos comparisons the book gets is a bit off. Jason does some really sophisticated stuff with storytelling that, to me, feels more in line with the Homicide/Oz/The Wire style storytelling than it does with anything else.

Highly recommended.

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Book Review - Making Movies

Making Movies Making Movies by Sidney Lumet

My review

rating: 5 of 5 stars
One of my all time favorite 'theory' books, mostly because Lumet handles the content from a much more practical stand point then the usual writer. He manages to sum up not just the roles of the director and writer, but, everybody up and down the credit list, and to do it with practical examples, and to clearly define just what film is capable of, and why it so rarely achieves those goals.

I reread this book at least once a year, and every year find myself finding more and more applicable to my work and creative process.

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Book Reviews - On Directing Film

On Directing Film On Directing Film by David Mamet

My review

rating: 4 of 5 stars
While suffering a bit from his own inexperience, and his angry young man routine, young Mamet says much current Mamet would agree with. I think that a lot of the really intelligent thoughtful information gets clouded by the "The producers are brainless monkeys and deserve to die!" diatribes.

That being said, he manages to merge a lot of great stuff from a wealth of sources into one short, concise book with a clear line of insight into what directing a film is like. Certainly worth the read, although not necessarily the book's steep price.

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Book Review - Naoki Urasawa's Monster Vol. 1

Naoki Urasawa's Monster, Vol. 1 Naoki Urasawa's Monster, Vol. 1 by Naoki Urasawa

My review

rating: 5 of 5 stars
Urasawa's use of suspense is second to none. A complete and utter piece of genius, Monster gives proof not just to readers but to creators of manga and graphic novels that this medium is ready to be used and abused for much grander things than we've seen before.

A complete masterwork that'll leave you aching for Viz to finish releasing the series.

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Book Review - Death Note, Vol. 1

Death Note, Volume 1 Death Note, Volume 1 by Tsugumi Ohba

My review

rating: 5 of 5 stars
The best. The absolute, 100% beyond a shadow of a doubt best use of graphic storytelling in the past five years. Sophisticated storytelling, an amazingly compelling concept, and characters you hate, love, suspect, trust, believe in, and despise.

Be forewarned, after reading the first volume, you won't be able to stop.

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Book Review - Death Note: Another Note

Death Note: Another Note (Novel) Death Note: Another Note by Ishin Nishio

My review

rating: 5 of 5 stars
If this were made in America, it would be terrible. A spinoff prose novel of the beloved manga Death Note. But, Japan just knows better. It's an amazingly executed novel that perfectly uses the literary medium, creating something so much more compelling than you'd ever imagine it to be.

Non-essential for enjoying Death Note, but, it really does add so much more to the experience.

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Book Review - The Drifting Classroom Vol. 1

The Drifting Classroom Vol. 1 (Drifting Classroom) The Drifting Classroom Vol. 1 by Kazuo Umezu

My review

rating: 3 of 5 stars
A simple concept, not quite executed to it's fullest. Unfortunately, the characters, motivations, and reactions are all just out of whack. Lots of 60's style EXCLAMATION! POINTS! AFTER! EVERY! SENTENCE! which is, I guess, sort of a nice retro thing, but, when you take these kids and throw them into such an out of this world situation, some slightly more grounded handling of the characters is in order to really keep you into the story.

Still debating on whether to continue or not, I'm probably willing to give it another volume or so, just to see where the story goes.

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Book Review - Parsyte Vol. 11

Parasyte, Volume 1 Parasyte, Volume 1 by Hitoshi Iwaaki

My review

rating: 4 of 5 stars
A whole lot of fun to be had in Parasyte. Somewhere between a wacky sex comedy, action adventure, and sci-fi/horror, Parasyte is yet another wholly unique experience in manga form. While not particularly deep or thoughtful, the book manages to be the most fun I've had reading a manga in some time.

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Book Review - Color of Rage

Color of Rage Color of Rage by Kazuo Koike

My review

rating: 4 of 5 stars
As a big fan of Lone Wolf and Cub, when I read the back of this book, I knew I had to give it a try. Essentially, it's the Defiant Ones, set in feudal Japan. A somewhat graceful look at race, freedom, and morality, through the eyes of an African American man trapped in Japan.

I'm not sure if this is the sole volume, as it feels fairly open ended at the end. In any event, it's beautiful story telling and very compelling action from one of the fathers of manga. Highly recommended.

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Friday the 13th One Shot in Stores This Week

FRIDAY THE 13TH: ABUSER AND THE ABUSED Written by Joshua Hale Fialkov; Art by Andy B.; Cover by Brandon Badeau

A special one-shot! Maggie's life was never easy, but her abusive new boyfriend has pushed her over the edge. As her life spirals out of control, she hits upon the solution to her problems: use the local urban legend to "solve" the problems in her life. But what happens when she learns there's very little "legend" in the reality of Jason Voorhees?

Wildstorm  |  32pg.  |  Color  |  $3.50 US  |  Mature Readers

You can check out a preview of the book here: http://www.dccomics.com/media/excerpts/9210_x.pdf (PDF Downloads)

I'm immensely proud of this book, so, even if you're not one of those big ol' horror nuts, please check it out.  It's probably my favorite script from last year.

I do a lot of these...

The "Where I've Been" posts, that is.  I've been incredibly swamped the past week or two with getting ready for New York Comic Con, and the coming months of cons and deadlines. in the next few weeks, I've got a couple of books coming out, and, hopefully, a few more announcements of things to come.  I've gotten a bunch of Manga jobs, adapting and creating OEL's, so I've been spending my time catching up on some of the more popular manga on the shelf.

I drifted away from it a few years ago for a few reasons, primarily lack of cash, but, I felt like so much of the manga that made it here was sort of the cliche-laden version of manga, rather than the stuff I fell in love with as a child.  For every Iron Wok Jan, there was three dozen faceless stories about boys with magical powers.

So, with that in mind I entered into reading Death Note with great hesitation.  Plus, it's so insanely popular that it more or less has to suck, one would imagine.

But it doesn't.  It's superb.  It's some of the most sophisticated long term storytelling I've seen in comics of any kind in years.  The way that the concept of the book manages to be turned on it's ear again and again, each time turning the book into something brand new.

It's completely worth checking out.

I'm also pouring through Uzumaki (also amazing... some of the best straight horror I've ever read in comics form, in fact.)

As to what I'm working on... Mark and I turned in the third Cleaners script to Dark Horse this week, I'm on the 2nd draft of my last Vampirella, which should be a doozey, and I'm just getting started on Cyblade #2.  I've got one of those aforementioned manga projects cooking that's alarmingly cool (and has been LOTS of fun, thus far), and a few other unannounced iron-made trinkets

So, yeah, keeping busy.

I'll post my NYCC schedule in a few days.  East Coast here I come.