Tag Archives: Orion

Missing Shirow

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One of my favorite artists is Masamune Shirow. This is the artist/writer who inspired what arguably are the best parts of The Matrix. Not only is his art amazing, but he’s also a very thoughtful writer. I first discovered him back in the 90s. I wasn’t very familiar with manga at the time. Manga wasn’t as mainstream as it is now. At the time, I was very much into titles from DC, Marvel, and Image Comics. I remember picking up Ghost in the Shell on a lark and was immediately hooked. Not only was the story interesting, I found Shirow’s side commentaries just as interesting. From Ghost in the Shell, I moved on to Orion, my favorite book of his. In it, he crafted an interesting world of technology and Eastern mythology, but unfortunately, it’s a world he never went back to. Most of his works have a futuristic theme and explored with humanity living with the ever-encroaching forces of technology. He seems fascinated with and yet wary of it. (Apparently, his fear of flying keeps him pretty much living like a hermit.) Most people would know him from Ghost in the Shell, the inspiration to The Matrix. And what’s an amazing testament to his genius is that Ghost in the Shell still holds up to this day. I couldn’t say the same for The Matrix.

This was an artist who drew what he loved, and it showed in his writings. He was interested in guns, robots, arachnids, philosophy, technology, and yes, beautiful women. Unfortunately, I think that’s all he’s been doing lately.

I miss his stories. I miss the world he crafted. I would gladly pay good money for the next Ghost in the Shell, Appleseed, Dominion, or Orion. But lately, all he’s been releasing are art books. Granted, they are very beautiful, albeit erotic, art books, showing what an accomplished artist he is. But what I miss is Masamune Shirow the storyteller.

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I want more of this. ^

shirow

This is fine. ^  There’s a time and a place for this. But could we have more intelligent stories and less cartoon sex?

 

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Comic Book Rambling

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Ah… Parliament of Trees. If you’re gonna pick a not-so-popular comic book to read, pick up Alan Moore’s run on the Swamp Thing. Excellent writing! People often know of Alan Moore through The Watchmen or The Killing Joke, but most of his stuff is gold, and I suggest reading his work on whatever series it may be.

While Jim Lee has always been my favorite artist back when I started collecting comics during the X-Men heyday, he was soon replaced by Masamune Shirow. Not only is he a great artist, his books (both comic books and illustration collections) are often filled with insightful and humorous commentaries. Orion was my introduction to his work and still one of my favorite books, and Ghost in the Shell is one of the greatest series ever. It’s a shame however that there are no signs that Shirow will be coming up with any new books soon, just collections of artworks, mostly erotic stuff. It’s also a shame that DreamWorks is still planning to create a live-action version of Ghost in the Shell. With the way Hollywood studios westernizes foreign IPs and creatively butchers them (Dragonball, The Last Airbender, Oldboy…), my expectations are set really low.   Speaking of comic books turned movies, I’m surprised at the zeal of adapting comic books to movies these days. It’s like movies have turned to the new comic books, especially since many people would know of characters like Moira Mactaggert and events like Days of Future Past without even picking up a comic book. There’s been hints of the Infinity Gauntlet run being adapted into movies, and Guardians of the Galaxy, a series that I wasn’t even sure was all that popular, is set to be released in 2014! Whoa! I think people need to slow down. While it’s great that there’s some continuity and connection to the narrative of the Marvel/Disney movies, I think they’re going to burn out soon. It’s gonna get tiring, and people would want to watch movies not based on comic books or an IP from the 80s. For a while there, even the Superman vs. Batman project seems like it’s being developed and cast in a panicked rush. I’m glad they’re finally trying to move on with the series and not re-telling the Superman origin story again and again… having Batman, a hero everyone loves, fight Superman, a re-launched hero that not too many people care about, sound like a disaster.

A few random comic book thoughts (or hate) in closing:

I never liked Rocket Raccoon nor Squirrel Girl. I find them both incredibly corny.

I also don’t get Deadpool. Wasn’t the funny, breaking the fourth wall thing done by Spider Man before? I also can’t reconcile the idea of a morally ambiguous, mentally unstable villain to be a “funny” character. I don’t find it cute. The fact that he was created by Rob Liefeld and portrayed by Ryan Reynolds are just nails in the coffin.

I’m not a fan of the Iron Man films. I find Tony Stark grating. Wasn’t he supposed to be the serious scientist-type with a drinking problem from the Avengers? What’s with all the wit and quips? When did he become Spider Man? I also found Iron Man 2 incredibly one-sided, like the billionaire industrialist Tony Stark versus The Wrestler (“an old broken down piece of meat”). Weren’t we all supposed to root for Tesla and not for Edison?

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