Marvel At The REAL Civil War

A column article, Busted Knuckles by: Beau Smith

It's a wonderful feeling when you buy something and get more than the price you paid back in use and entertainment. When that happens, I'm here to make sure you get steered in the right direction.

Recently, Chuck Dixon and Gary Kwapisz established a publishing company called History Graphics Press. Their first release is now available to the public and it comes with quite an impact. The book is Civil War Adventure: Real History-Stories of the War That Divided America. It contains over 142 pages of seriously entertaining, historically correct and dynamic stories of the Civil War. These are not your father's sometimes boring Classics Illustrated stories that were as dry as sandpaper left in the sun. These are not the far-fetched western period comics that Marvel and DC Comics tend to throw at you from time to time. Dixon and Kwapisz have meticulously crafted words and pictures that bring you true history in a form that will entertain you and inform you. 

Civil War Adventure will make young people enjoy history and enhance an older reader's knowledge of the war that divided the states. The bulk of the art and stories are done by Chuck Dixon and Gary Kwapisz as they reunite years after their long run on Marvel's Savage Sword of Conan. The book is filled with stories, maps, fact pages, a Civil War Timeline as well as further recommended reading. My personal favorite story in the thick, easy to carry book is "Darnel Dingus". It radiates with excellent art, story and dialogue. Nothing is wasted and nothing is overdone. It's pitch-perfect writing and art. True history has never been more enjoyable than in Civil War Adventure.

To order Civil War Adventure check out the History Graphics Press website atwww.historygraphicspress.com. Dixon and Kwapisz have and will be doing various conventions and store signings, so you can also buy signed copies from them there. This book is a perfect gift for anyone that has a love or interest in the Civil War and history. I also recommend it as a gift for anyone in school. It's a great way to kick start a young reader's interest in history. 

This is just the first of many historically accurate books from History Graphics Press.

Civil War Adventure Book One
Cover Price $14.95
$3.00 Postage
www.historygraphicspress.com
528 Tower Road
Lebanon, Va. 24266
(276) 794-9420

 


 


As Seen On TV

Recently, talented artist and good amigo Marlin Shoop tipped me off to a site that is packed with movies, TV shows and other viewable treasures, both old and new, called www.tvshack.net

I was very surprised at the amount of FREE viewing that is posted here. With rumors that www.hulu.com is going to start charging for views here in the very near future, TVShack may be the new place to head to. Take the time to check it out and see what you think.

 


 


Flash Forward To V

Ever since I was a little kid I've always been excited for the new fall season of TV. Granted, back then there were only three channels, so almost anything new was exciting. Today there are more channels than you can shake a remote at and the networks seem to have divided the new season into multiple seasons: fall, winter and summer. 

I pride myself on trying most anything that has the spark of looking interesting. I'm still a bit old school in the fact that I set time aside to watch shows. I don't TIVO, DVR or even shove in a blank DVD or VHS. Nothing on TV is THAT important to bother with for me right now. I also like the old fashioned feel of preparing to watch something on "the magic box."

Two shows from the ABC Network that I looked forward to over the Summer were Fast Forward and V. Both shows have excellent casts and have expensive feature film looks about them. 

From everything I had read, Flash Forward had the possibilities of being the next LOST, including some former LOST cast members. I was pretty stoked. Like comic books, I believe in giving new TV shows a fighting chance. If we didn't do that then shows like Seinfeld would've been axed after the first season. That would truly have been a loss. 

So far, I've watched every episode of Fast Forward. Here is a quick rundown of my Likes and Don't Likes:


Likes: 

    • Superb cast. Top notch known and new actors/

 

    • Expensive production look and feel.

 

  • Very interesting main plot/mystery on the whole world blacking out at the same time.


Don't Like: 

    • Over dramatic and over used sappy, musical montage/video sequence every episode. These are done to try and force feed emotional attachment into characters/situations they know are weak.

 

    • Hard to have any emotional investment in any of the characters because none of them are very likeable. The situation they are in with the blackouts is outstanding, but I'm sorry to say, nothing has been done to make me care about the character(s) in the situation. The relationship between the FBI male lead and his Doctor wife is very forced.

 

    • Dominic Monaghan's character is over the top as a "villain". I'm surprised they haven't given him a mustache to twirl as he smirks. It seems that the writers want to almost make him a "Joker Lite"

 

    • The show seems to be heading into the problems that drove the NBC series Heroes out of my TV watching by becoming like a badly written comic book.

 

    • No sense of humor at all. I know this is a drama, but in real life someone says or does something funny at least twice a day. LOST is a great example of how to inject some wit and humor into a very dire drama.

 

  • Like a badly written comic book; too many talking head scenes.


You can see, for me, the bad so far is on its way to outweighing the good. I'm almost at the turning point of not turning the show on anymore. That's not a good thing when there really isn't that much good stuff on TV. You'd think even the semi-weak shows would do okay. But with technology so broad and alluring in so many new areas, TV can lose out really quick if they don't stay on their toes. I'll give the show one or two more episodes, then if something doesn't start moving in a more interesting path, I am done. I hope there are some changes because I really want to like this series.

Here are my bullet points on the ABC series V:


Likes: 

    • Fantastic casting. Joel Gretsch as a priest is really a key interesting character that has been added to the V story/history. Seeing an invasion from another planet through his eyes and beliefs is truly fascinating and a very good move on the part of the writers. Gretsch is an actor with a huge range. Even though he has movie hero good looks, some forget that he played an incredible sociopathic villain in the TV miniseries Taken. The writers have managed to make the actor Scott Wolf shine as a career climbing news anchor with all sorts of stuff bubbling underneath. I can see some really key character changes coming for his character and he is proving that as an actor he will really be able to pull this off. I'm surprised because I had written him off as a fluff actor and I was wrong. Wonderful use of great actors from series such as LostFirefly and Smallville. Very smart move.
    • Very expensive, feature film look.

 

    • Near perfect pacing with the invasion, the unfolding of the back story and characters. Every layer is peeled off at just the right time with the right touch of interest. Just the right amount of time is spent on character development.

 

    • Each episode is standalone with just the right amount of cliffhanging and continuity sub-plots. There is also a good even amount of action to go with any talking head scenes.

 

  • Nice touches and tributes to the original series which is always nice to see, especially when done in a smart way like with this new series.


Don't Like: 

    • I would rather this show be on in the nine o'clock slot rather than the eight o'clock. As I mentioned before, I make the time to sit down and watch TV and eight o'clock causes me to shift my schedule a bit. Not a big complaint. More personal than the network's fault.

 

    • Elizabeth Mitchell's FBI/single mom character is really great playing both the role of tough agent and mom, but her son is written a little as a cardboard cutout teenage stereotype. He's as pretty as any girl in the show and they seem to dial his IQ and common sense down really low. When he and his sidekick buddy have screen time I find myself drift a bit. I hope they hone this character a bit.

 

  • This is more of a fear than something they have done yet. I hope they don't make the mistake of making the aliens too over the top with "their evil plans". I like the way they have them acting like this invasion is more of a corporate/military take over more so than a "Mars Attacks" situation.


What you have here are two shows that have a massive amount of potential with one that could be a home run and the other heading to be a foul ball. I wish them both the best for my entertainment sake. How do you feel about these two shows so far? Post up here at the forum and let me know.

 


 


Busted Knuckles Babe of the Week: Laura Francese
Adventurer, hunter, model and athlete.
www.laurafrancese.com

This week's Busted Knuckles Babe Of The Week was suggested to me by my friend Billy Tucci (Sgt. Rock). With hunting season starting, Billy's suggestion of Laura was perfect. She is a true lover of the outdoors and an expert in hunting, fishing, water sports, archery and a model as well. Laura has a great website that I highly recommend that you check out. If you love the outdoors like Billy and I do, then I think you'll also become very fond of Laura and her outdoors adventures. She puts a real elegance into the great outdoors. 



 


 


Busted Knuckles Manly Cover Of The Week: Blackhawk #139
DC Comics
1959

Blackhawk, along with the Black Terror, were two of my dad's favorite comic book characters when he was a kid. I remember being mesmerized as a 5 year old when my dad would tell me how he and his friends would play "pretend" outside and that they used to pretend to be Blackhawk fighting Nazis and monsters. I loved it because that's what me and my buddies did as kids. It was a real bonding moment to understand that MY dad was a kid once and acted like me and my friends did.

One of my childhood dreams was to one day write Black Terror and Blackhawk comic books in honor of my dad. 3/4 of that dream has been fulfilled. I have written The Black Terror for Eclipse Comics. I have writtenBlackhawk…kinda. I brought Lady Blackhawk back into the DC Universe in Guy Gardner Warrior. So, now all I have to do to complete my dream is to write the whole Blackhawk squad. Maybe I'll get to do that. We'll see.

Anyway, I thought that this week's Busted Knuckles cover should be one of my favorite off-beat Blackhawkcovers. Usually Blackhawk was known for being a fighter pilot and his covers dealt with him flying a plane. Well, in this 1959 copy of Blackhawk #139, he and his squad are flying underwater in very cool one man subs while under attack from his semi-regular bad guy, Killer Shark. Killer Shark is the one in the also cool undersea flying saucer. Hard to go wrong with this kind of action, eh?


 


 


The Round Up

I hope all of you "Knuckleheads" have a fun and wonderful Thanksgiving. We've all got a lot to be thankful for, that's evident in the fact that if you are reading these words then you are obviously taking time out to entertain yourself, so things can't be that bad.

Please take time to enjoy your family, friends, pets and anyone or anything else you love and enjoy. Throw some comic books in on that request and everything should be A-OK, even better if they're comics that I've written.

Myself, I'm very thankful for your support in my comic book writing career. You've shown up time and time again to read my work and I appreciate that. You've helped me realize a childhood dream of doing something I love and I never forget that. I hope we can keep this up for many years to come. 

Happy Thanksgiving from all of us here at The Flying Fist Ranch.

Beau Smith
www.flyingfistranch.com
P.O. Box 706
Ceredo, WV. 25507
beau@flyingfistranch.com

 


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