Nausicaa Manga Review

Studio Ghibli fans, or followers of the career of Hayao Miyazaki, will know that as well as being the famous animator and creator of films like My Neighbor Totoro and Spirited Away, Hayao was also an illustrator and writer of manga. I recently read perhaps his most influential manga, Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind. In this Nausicaa manga review, I hope to bring some of this great work to life in the hopes that you’ll make time to read it.

If you are like me, and had only enjoyed the animation of Miyazaki, then this multi-volume manga is the perfect place to start expanding your palate.

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Super Comic Draft Part 2

Why don’t we pick up right where we left off, amidst a game of timing and comicbook know-how, of skill and strategy, round six of our Super Comic Draft! Catch up on the first five rounds if you need to. Read on to learn which characters your Ink contributors value most, and ultimately, who will have the finer team.

Here we go.

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Super Comic Draft, Part 1

It’s the return of Dan to Ink’s My Thing, and what else would we be doing than diving into comics? It’s summer; Fantasy Football drafts are right around the corner, and Pokemon Go has just about taken over the world, but we decided to have some fun of our own.

We hope you’ll enjoy the first five rounds of our Super Comic Draft, a game that is one part sports management, and one part comicbook storytelling. It started as something fun between friends, but the results were so entertaining, we thought we’d post them for all to see. Some choices may surprise you…

Here’s the deal:

An unknown crossover villain threatens both the DC and Marvel comic universes. It is up to Dan and myself to draft heroes, villains, and other characters from across comics, to see who stands the best chance of defeating the new threat, and saving the multiverse. We know nothing about his or her powers or potential weaknesses, so it will be up to our characters to work together, spoil these plans of domination, and solve a crossover crisis.

Think you can handle that?

Okay, here are our rules.

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Fantastic Four Foundation, Review



Continuing my FF reading campaign, I’ve reached the conclusion of Volume Six – Fantastic Four Foundation, and with it the end of Jonathan Hickman’s run on the fabled series.

This graphic novel was more of a story collection than a collected storyline, with nothing tying the editions together. I enjoyed nearly all of them.

As a conclusion to a major writer’s tenure, it was curious, as it did not give us a great story or sense of finality like in Volume Five. Instead, it served to tie up loose ends.


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Some Progress, Vacation Too

Here I am, back from the beach, and with at least some progress on my Write-a-thon to report. I do not have any startling writing totals to share, but all told, I have been true to my stated goal, which was to begin. And, there is a lot of Write-a-thon left to go. As you may know, this has been week one.

  • Written: about 1,000 words of the novel Timeless Kid. One blog post.
  • Read: One graphic novel (Fantastic Four Foundation), three comics (Nightwing, Stray Sod, and old school Mister Miracle).
  • Zero sponsors.

With that being said, I’m off to continue my Write-a-thon sans the beach distractions. Until the next update, I hope you’ll enjoy some photos!

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Fantastic Four Forever, Review

One thing I realized reading Fantastic Four Forever: it’s been too long since I’ve read Fantastic Four!

Jonathan Hickman’s story about the Kree invasion of Earth, the Celestials’ attack on the planet, Council of Reeds, humanity’s relationship with Galactus, and the evolution of the FF itself (and add to that many other things) has me recalling why this is the first (dysfunctional) family of Marvel. It also moves me to assert that we should think of Reed Richards as the Superman of Marvel (but we can get to that later).

World’s Greatest Comic Magazine? Not sure. But this was one of my favorite comics in a while.

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Nausicaä, the Book

I make the distinction of a book, as there is a very famous film adaptation of Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind. And to distinguish it further, I must say that Nausicaä, the book, is a beautifully rendered manga, or graphic novel. My edition comes in two hardcover volumes.


Last year, I had the pleasure of reading Starting Point, the autobiographical work by Hayao Miyazaki, where he discusses, among other things, the great difficulty he experienced trying to complete Nausicaä, the book. In fact, the final version of the story was released a decade after the film.

I should note that this feels like one of those books that I’ll actually finish in a decent amount of time. That may be due to the fact that ever since seeing Spirited Away a few years ago, I have been obsessed (at least a little bit) with Studio Ghibli. For those of you looking to watch the film you’ll have the added bonus of Patrick Stewart voicing the character Master Yupa.


Whether in book or movie form, I believe most people would enjoy following Princess Nausicaä as she fights for her kingdom, and tries to restore a balance between humans who have lost their technical ingenuity, and the toxic jungle which has claimed much of the earth.


She’ll have some help from the aforementioned Master Yupa, the greatest swordsman on the Periphery, and from her uncle Mito. But she finds herself in a dangerous position, as the only human who can understand the Ohmu–a giant insect species who most everyone view as the enemies of humankind.


See you out there,



The DC Comics Talent Search & Me

For those who remember (and for those who will never forget) my love of writing, of characters, and of visual storytelling, led me into the world of comics journalism a few years ago, and I’ve made it a habit to keep up with that world. From the webcomics I’ve discovered to the people I’ve met along the way, I’m happy to be a part of the fandom.

Now, an opportunity has come up.

I’ve decided I’ll take the plunge, and apply to the DC Comics Talent Search for writers, which is more accurately: the DC Comics Talent Development Workshops.

Now, some of my peers have been tepid toward the workshops, as they cite they are not for true amateurs, and since it asks for that scary letter of recommendation and all. I was tepid, too. But, to my fellow writers with a bend toward comics, what have you really got to lose? It’s never my intention to stir up false hopes, but whenever we submit a story, we are taking a risk. Whenever we sign on for any large project, like a novel or a blog, that’s a chance, too. We have no way of knowing if anyone will read, or if our efforts will pay off. We sure as hell don’t know if we’ll receive any kind of financial support, but we must take the experience. Why should this be any different?

So, I think I’m going to have to quote Miyazaki on this one, from a famous comic in its own right, Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind:

In this harsh world of ours, the sparrow must live like a hawk if he is to fly at all.

True, a program to train comic writers from the ground up would be special, and would be awesome, but we’re talking about a highly competitive medium, and we jump through hoops for a lot less! So, why not? Cue the damn Alan Parsons Project, and get in the game. I’m not afraid to fail. It wouldn’t be the first time, and it won’t be the last time.

The writers’ portion of DC’s workshop will be headed up by none other than Batman writer Scott Snyder, who has been captured in this very blog, standing next to my friend Dan in a convention photo. (Also, thanks, Dan, for sending this info my way!) Application submissions from writers will be accepted all month (May 1st-31st).

As for some nuts-and-bolts about the application, it’s important to remember:

  • The application will ask you for up to two published samples (comics preferred; fiction allowed).
  • You will need to provide a writerly resume`, so make it flattering.
  • You’ll have to write a short composition explaining why you want to do this, and what you’d bring to the table as a new writer.
  • The letter of recommendation is optional.
  • If you don’t already know how, learn how to create a PDF.
  • There is a helpful ‘save’ feature on the app. which lets you work on it, then come back later to finish.
  • Just apply. You never know where it may lead.

See you out there,


Batman v Superman Backlash, Fan Edition

Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice has come out, and to no one’s real surprise, a lot of people dislike it.

Some would say they hate it.

Others would even say they are boycotting it.

But what is behind Batman v Superman backlash? Is it the reaction of fans who got another lazy blockbuster when they would rather have had a film with some feeling and character continuity? Is there more to it for these fans, myself included, who respect comic book history? Who do we ask? Where do we begin?

We can begin with a story. Once upon a time, my friend Dan and I went to see a movie.

(Well, I saw the movie. Dan is another matter.)

My own issues with this film are not unique, but I think I can sum them up in a blurb: plot all over the place, awkward dream sequences, why is Doomsday in this movie?

However, to get a better sense of a purist’s distaste for Batman v Superman, I had a conversation with a longtime reader of Superman and Batman comics. I talked to Dan. I told him that I was seeing the movie, to which he replied, On Easter Sunday, dude?!

Well, we kept talking, and he even said I could blog about it. So, read on. You may find his opinions illuminating.

Dan, the obvious question. Do you plan to see Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice?

Maybe at some point. Certainly not in the theater.

Sounds like a full-on boycott.

Well, that’s my intention. It won’t mean much to the overall success of the movie, but I’ll be happy knowing it won’t be making any money off of me.

I know I’ve felt the same way about movies, so I can understand. And I know you’re fond of both characters, but out of curiosity, would you say you’re a bigger fan of Superman, or of Batman? Does it even matter?

Probably more of a Superman fan these days. As a kid, Batman was one of my favorites. I didn’t compare him to Superman, but I loved Batman. It wasn’t because he’s human, but because he has these crazy cool villains. And he had a sidekick which I identified with as a younger brother to a kid who loved Batman, too. In my mind, I could be the Robin to my brother’s Batman.

But somewhere along the way, I started investing more time into Superman. I loved reading about this guy who came to this planet as an orphan. He was raised to put others before himself, can fight the most powerful creatures on the planet, but still takes the time to help a little girl find her mom when she’s lost in the mall. He tells a girl who’s contemplating suicide, ‘Hey, you’re stronger than you know. It’s not as bad as it seems, and I’m here for you.’ Both these types of things happen in the comics, which makes me love him more.

To me, Batman is the hero who shows kids that he’s stronger than the growing pains, and whatever life throws at us. Superman is the guy I look to when I want to find hope in myself, or in others, or when someone I don’t know well asks for a favor.

Do you think the producers of this movie understand the Superman you’ve just described? We have, by all accounts, been seeing a dark Superman.

They don’t understand Superman, that much is true. They barely seem to understand Batman as I know him. They’ve just turned him into an asshole who is no longer worried about killing because ‘if it happened in other movies—why not ours?’


Dan with Kevin Conroy, longtime voice of the animated Batman

People wanted to see Superman hit things, not necessarily a dark and whiny character. But Snyder and Goyer don’t see a difference with that.

You may not have seen the film, but you have been told about it by a number of people, and I’ve seen you share nearly every review or article about Batman v Superman. So, what’s wrong with it?

What’s wrong with it? Besides the fundamental misunderstanding of the characters whose names are in the title, there are problems with plot, not being able to control or maintain enough storylines for the movie to work, and everything seems to suffer because of it.

They didn’t just fly too close to the sun. They flew into it. What’s left is the ash of a movie that could have been good if they decided to focus on what matters.

Let’s pretend for a minute that DC and Warner Bros. care what you and I think. As a comic book fan who wants to see a good comic book movie, what could have made this film better?

I mean, any number of things. Editing, character development, a sensible plot, a taste of things to come, and maybe a lesson to be learned by the characters in it? But that’s not what we got. Yet, people will go anyway because it’s the first time the trinity of DC is in a movie. Or, because it’s got Batman fighting Superman, like casual fans have been wanting since the comic Dark Knight Returns came out in the 80s.

Maybe give Superman and Batman a real resolution to their fight, not ‘Hey, both our mom’s names are Martha. Let’s forget the fact that I think you’re an overpowered God who should be killed, or that you think I’m a deranged vigilante whose brutal methods make me just as bad as the people I’ve sworn to fight.’ Maybe make Lois less of a damsel in distress. Maybe give Lex a decent motive for why he’s pissed at Superman.

But Zack Snyder can’t tell a story to save his life. He can make things look beautiful and spectacular, but that’s not enough to make a story good. It’s enough to get someone interested, but not enough to enjoy the movie. And I know because I’ve seen Sucker Punch. The movie looked great, but made no sense at all.

Do you agree with sites, such as The Comics Beat, which have said that Batman V. Superman sacrificed storytelling just to set up a Justice League franchise? iO9 has also detailed how much of the movie was set-up.

I think it did take time away from plot and character development to introduce characters, and set up the League. The problem with that was it came off as forced, and seemed more like a pathetic attempt than an organic sequence in the movie.

You said that they barely understood Batman earlier. Can I ask, did Tim Burton or Christopher Nolan understand him?

Hollywood seems to lose more and more of its understanding of who Batman is, and how he does things. Nolan and Burton made fine Batman films, but there were flaws to the character. Burton’s Batman saw him attaching dynamite to a thug, and tossing him into the sewer to kill him, where Nolan’s Batman took eight years off after the death of Rachel. These things would never happen, and I say this as a fan of both the Burton and Nolan films.

Will we–can we–ever see an ideal movie for either Batman or Superman? Have we seen one already?

You can take liberties with these characters. Lord knows you can’t make them 100% like the comics they come from, but even then there are some things that are vital to what makes these characters who they are.

Richard Donner Superman movies were my ideal Superman movies. They made the character believable. He didn’t live in our world, but we wanted to live in his. Superman hadn’t been brought down to our level as humans like Zack Snyder has done, but he had helped elevate us to his level like he’s supposed to.

As for Batman, the Adam West movie was an ideal version of him in that time period, although I’ve never seen a perfect live action version of the character. The closest we’ve been is probably The Dark Knight.

But there are several animated movies that have shown the Superman I know and love, and the same goes for Batman. Superman vs the Elite, and All Star Superman. Batman: Under the Red Hood, and Batman Year One. I hold out hope that we’ll get another chance to see a live action movie where the caped crusader meets the blue boy scout, and become the best of friends they’re known to be in the comics. Yeah, they can fight, but let it be more believable as to why and how it ends. Let the movie have no clear winner.

Scott Snyder wrote in a more recent issue of his acclaimed Batman run, ‘Who wins in a fight between Batman and Superman? The answer? No one does.’


Dan with Batman writer Scott Snyder and brother Jim

Dan would like to thank his brothers Jim and Stephen, and his friend Ryu, for giving him detailed descriptions of the film. Ink’s My Thing would like to thank Dan for his time. We know readers who will appreciate his honesty.

If you’re a reader dropping by with an opinion, we hope you won’t keep it to yourself.