Archive for the ‘Discussion Group’

HEROES DISCUSSION GROUP :: CRIMINAL DOUBLE FEATURE :: FEBRUARY 18

January 30, 2012 By: Andy Mansell Category: DISCUSS, Discussion Group, EVENTS, Looking Ahead

There are few things more satisfying than high quality crime fiction (The Novels of Jim Thompson, HBO’s The Sopranos, and Polanski’s Chinatown just to name three).

And there is nothing more embarrassing and ridiculous than cliche-ridden badly done hard boiled crime like Mickey Spillane (OK, it’s kinda funny), Bones (yikes!), Fatal Attraction (GAH!) and sadly I could go on and on.

The essential ingredients needed to produce quality crime writing are a consistent and believable tone, a fully developed central character/narrator and solid cast of supporting characters that allow you to suspend your disbelief until the final page is turned.

In recent years there have been a number of successful crime series in comics–(Darwyn Cooke’s Hunter adaptations, Brian Azzarello and Eduardo Risso’s 100 Bullets and Warren Ellis’ Fell ) and quite a few crime comics that fall headlong into cliche (the last four Sin City GNs).

One of today’s most popular crime series is Criminal by Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips.  For February’s Discussion Group we’ll be looking closely at two of Criminal’s story-arcs and examining what makes the stories work.  How do the writer and artist avoid cliches or how do they use them to enhance the story?  How do the creators use the comic medium to their unique advantage versus a prose writer or film director treating the same material?

Please plan to join us on Saturday February 18th at 1:00pm down at Heroes Headquarters and help us get the facts straight about Criminal: Bad Night and Criminal: The Last of the Innocent. Just leave yer pieces at home, but bring an open mind along with an air-tight alibi (See??? Bad Crime writing is a breeze!!!).

As usual, Heroes is offering the Discussion Group 10% Discount on both books,  Just remember to mention the Discussion Group as you check out.  We’ll see you on February 18th; and as always, Dames are welcome (Dear God, somebody stop me!)

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REMINDER :: PLANETARY DISCUSSION GROUP THIS SATURDAY!

January 05, 2012 By: Andy Mansell Category: DISCUSS, Discussion Group, EVENTS

Just a Planetar-reminder that the Heroes Discussion Group will meet this Saturday January 7th at 1:00pm to discuss Planetary— Warren Ellis and John Cassaday’s magnum opus of superhero archetypes and the team that investigates them.

As usual there are a myriad of topics to discuss, the two that come to mind first are:

Why make villains out of the 4? What does it say about–well, everything?

and

How much of the narrative is serious storytelling and how much is a self-parody?  And does it really matter?

I’d also like to discuss colorista extraordinaire and Heroescon regular Laura Martin and how her contributions affect the story-telling.

So remember, bring an open-mind and your sweet-tooth (if we end up at the bakery).

And as usual: All of the Planetary volumes including the enormous, beautiful omnibusseses  are available from Heroes with the 10% Discussion Group Discount.  As usual, be sure to mention the discount to your clerk as they are ringing up your order.

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HEROES DISCUSSION GROUP :: PLANETARY VOL. 1 – 4 : JANUARY 7

December 28, 2011 By: Andy Mansell Category: DISCUSS, Discussion Group, EVENTS, Looking Ahead

2011: What a great year for the Heroes Discussion Group! In one ten month period February to November, we tackled Death of Speedy, Sandman: Endless Nights, Ghost World, Superman Earth One, Parker: The Outfit, Wednesday Comics, Cinderella: From Fabletown with Love, Daytripper and Jimmy Corrigan!  It’s hard for me to to pick a personal favorite discussion but (after review) I am leaning towards the afternoon that Jimmy Corrigan reared his round head.

So, how do we start 2012?  On the weekend of the Feast of the Epiphany, let’s do the those star following Magi one better than Gold, Frankincense and Myrrh by presenting 4 gifts–The entire four volume Planetary by Warren Ellis and John Cassaday.  This is a book that creates some serious division amongst comic readers.

Many love Ellis’ work; many do not.

A large number of readers are intrigued by the conceit behind Planetary; some view it as an attack on some of our beloved superhero archetypes.

But there is more than one way to approach this world that Ellis and Cassaday have carefully constructed?

So, there is only one thing to do–talk about it.  I promise you this; it is an exciting read; even if your feathers get a bit ruffled, Planetary is certainly worth your time.

Serving Suggestion: Perhaps Planetary can be approached as a 20th Century Superhero take on  the League of Extraordinary Gentlemen.  (And that incredible art alone is worth the price of admission).  Please plan to join us on Saturday January 7th at 1:00pm as we will tackle all four volumes of Planetary.  After the discussion, we want to hear your recommendations for the 2012 Discussion groups.  All of the Planetary volumes (including the enormous, beautiful omnibi (I know, I know)) are available from Heroes with the 10% Discussion Group Discount.  As usual, be sure to mention the discount to your clerk as they are ringing up your order.

We can’t wait to see you!

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HEROES DISCUSSION GROUP RECAP :: LOVE & ROCKETS: THE GIRL FROM HOPPERS

November 23, 2011 By: Andy Mansell Category: DISCUSS, Discussion Group, EVENTS

It was a brisk and clear Charlotte Autumn afternoon and a group of eleven met to discuss the comic work of Jaime Hernandez in general and The Girl From Hoppers collection in specific. We were lucky enough to have three local artists along with Craig Fischer from (the recently disbanded) The Panelists amongst our number of LOCAS enthusiasts. The biggest challenge with moderating is that you are always looking for a follow-up question and it is nigh impossible to take any kind of notes that could result in a coherent recap.

But here is the “10,000 Feet Above the Discussion Group” view:

  • We took advantage of the artists in residence and discussed Jaime’s drawing technique and how he is able to use all of his skills to enhance the mise-en-scene (see Mom, that 20K you spent on my college education was a good investment!) of each panel.
  • We deftly danced around the major events of the most recent L&R story since many in attendance had not read it yet. That was a real drag, but–as per our charter: We focused on how The Death of Speedy affected all subsequent stories in the collection.
  • We delved into Jaime’s storytelling and how he is able to jump cut and change narrative focus throughout each story without using any kind of establishing shot and still provide solid, clear storytelling.
  • We looked at the absence of Hopey from the Speedy story and how her presence may have altered the events that transpired (transpired!–see previous college note).
  • We pondered how Speedy died and whether the ‘How’ was more important than the after-affects of his demise.
  • We closely examined the 4 page Tear It Up, Terry Downe and how Jaime said volumes with what he chose to ignore or omit.
  • We disagreed strongly on Jaime’s uses of genre trappings– super-heroes, Science fiction and pro-wrestling; were they integral parts of the LOCAS world or were they devices that Jaime outgrew as his talents matured?

In the same light, we discussed Maggie and Hopey’s relationship and sexuality, and how they changed over time as characters.
The conversation was exciting, intelligent and impassioned. I came away from the discussion feeling as though I were a bettter reader; I hope my fellow discussioneers felt the same way.
Regardless, I can’t wait to re-read Wig Wam Bam and the LOCAS II Hardcover.
My thanks to all in attendance; you guys are a joy to talk to.
For December– we are going to kick back and have some super-hero fun by discussing all four volumes of Ellis/Cassaday’s Planetary. We’ll announce a definite date after Thanksgiving and hope to see you there!

 

photographs provided by Heather Mobley

 

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REMINDER :: HEROES DISCUSSION GROUP: THE DEATH OF SPEEDY :: THIS SATURDAY!

November 18, 2011 By: Andy Mansell Category: Discussion Group, EVENTS

In 2000, The Comics Journal published a list of the Top 100 American Comics of the 20th Century.  Coming in at # 24, 22 and 17 are three works by Jaime Hernandez.  Originally published in the Comic Magazine Love and Rockets in tandem with the comics of his superbly talented brother Gilbert, these three selections, Flies on the Ceiling, The Death of Speedy and Wig Wam Bam represent some of the most influential and critically lauded comics of the past few decades.

Plan to join the Heroes Discussion Group on Saturday November 19th at 1:00pm as we tackle the second Jaime Hernández trade paperback The Girls from H.O.P.P.E.R.S. We will discuss the entire collection but we will concentrate onDeath of Speedy and Flies on the Ceiling. (Wig Wam Bam is in the following volume and we will just have to tackle it another day!)

For those of you who have read Jaime’s work, you know what to expect—wonderful art and rich rewarding story-telling.  In other words, it is sequential art at its best.  For those of you who are reading for the first time, I envy you.  One suggestion—read it slowly.  The fresh, clean line art and simple page construction makes it easy for the reader to fly through each page.  When you catch yourself sailing through, take a step back (or look again), as there is a lot there.  The fact that Jaime makes it seem effortless is part of the comic’s charm.

The Girls from H.O.P.P.E.R.S. is available from Heroes for $14.95 and don’t forget the Heroes Discussion Group 10% Discount—you must notify the clerk about the discount when you check out.

Note:  for anyone reading the stories in the LOCAS HC collection, start with House of Raging Women and continue on through Below My Window Lurks My Head.

See you tomorrow!

 

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Heroes Discussion Group :: Love and Rockets: The Death of Speedy :: November 19th

November 02, 2011 By: Andy Mansell Category: DISCUSS, Discussion Group, EVENTS, Looking Ahead

In 2000, The Comics Journal published a list of the Top 100 American Comics of the 20th Century.  Coming in at # 24, 22 and 17 are three works by Jaime Hernandez.  Originally published in the Comic Magazine Love and Rockets in tandem with the comics of his superbly talented brother Gilbert, these three selections, Flies on the Ceiling, The Death of Speedy and Wig Wam Bam represent some of the most influential and critically lauded comics of the past few decades.

Plan to join the Heroes Discussion Group on Saturday November 19th at 1:00pm as we tackle the second Jaime Hernández trade paperback The Girls from H.O.P.P.E.R.S. We will discuss the entire collection but we will concentrate on Death of Speedy and Flies on the Ceiling. (Wig Wam Bam is in the following volume and we will just have to tackle it another day!)

For those of you who have read Jaime’s work, you know what to expect—wonderful art and rich rewarding story-telling.  In other words, it is sequential art at its best.  For those of you who are reading for the first time, I envy you.  One suggestion—read it slowly.  The fresh, clean line art and simple page construction makes it easy for the reader to fly through each page.  When you catch yourself sailing through, take a step back (or look again), as there is a lot there.  The fact that Jaime makes it seem effortless is part of the comic’s charm.

The Girls from H.O.P.P.E.R.S. is available from Heroes for $14.95 and don’t forget the Heroes Discussion Group 10% Discount—you must notify the clerk about the discount when you check out.

Note:  for anyone reading the stories in the LOCAS HC collection, start with House of Raging Women and continue on through Below My Window Lurks My Head.

Enjoy! And we will see you on the 19th!

Image by Alex Kropinak, text by Sean T. Collins, originally posted on Robot6

 

 

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Heroes Halloween Discussion Group: Sandman: Endless Nights October 22nd

October 12, 2011 By: Andy Mansell Category: DISCUSS, Discussion Group, EVENTS, Heroes Aren't Hard To Find, Looking Ahead, NEWS

Sandman: Endless Nights

While I was preparing for our 6th Heroes Discussion Group which featured Sandman: Seasons of the Mist, I pondered whether Sandman was the most influential comic book of the last thirty years. Four years and twenty eight discussions later, I believe it to be true.  Do you agree?

For Halloween, please plan to join us for our 35th Discussion group as we revisit Neil Gaiman’s Sandman series with the stand-alone anthology, Sandman: Endless Nights.

The afternoon will be rather exciting for a number of reasons, namely:

  • This will be the first anthology we’ve tackled.
  • We will examine the concept of comic book anthologies.
  • Which stories worked and which did not.
  • The differences (and similarities) between the realms of Despair and Delirium.
  • How does Neil Gaiman adjust his storytelling to match the strengths of each artist he employs?
  • Does this anthology work as a complete book or is it simply a group of stories about related characters?
  • With a generation and a half of influence behind it, have Gaiman’s characters and concepts stood the test of time?

For those of you who have never read Sandman, I believe you are in for a treat.

Many love Gaiman’s comic work; but he has some very strong minded and vocal detractors.

Why not read the book, stop by the store on Saturday October 22nd at 1:00pm and add your two cents to the mix?  We’d love to see you!

One thing is for certain; I promise you will not be bored.

And remember—just around the corner we have Love & Rockets followed by Planetary.

As usual, Heroes is offering a special 10% Discussion Group discount on Sandman: Endless Nights, but remember to mention it to the store clerk when you check out!

See you there!

 

 

 

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REMINDER: GHOST WORLD DISCUSSION GROUP THIS SATURDAY!

September 21, 2011 By: Seth Peagler Category: DISCUSS, Discussion Group, EVENTS

Don’t forget to join us at Heroes this Saturday at 1 p.m. as the Heroes Discussion Group tackles Dan Clowes’ Ghost World.  Our fearless leader Andy Mansell has lots of interesting points to bring up about the book that will inevitably lead to lively discussion.  If you haven’t checked out our ever evolving Discussion Group and are a fan of Clowes’ work, this is a great chance to come see what an enlightening and enjoyable part of Heroes this has become.  Hope to see you Saturday!

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Ghost World (Graphic Novel) Discussion September 24th

September 05, 2011 By: Andy Mansell Category: DISCUSS, Discussion Group

A few years ago, the Heroes Discussion Group focused its insatiable energies on Persepolis—Marjane Satrapi’s graphic novel about coming of age in Iran.  After we talked at length about the comic, we sat down in the back of the store, turned off the lights and watched the animated feature-length adaptation.

We were hoping to do the same thing with Dan Clowes‘ coming of age classic Ghost World.

HOWEVER…..

Unlike Persepolis, he 2001 film adaptation starring Thora Birch as the irrepressible Enid, Steve Buscemi as Seymour and Scarlett Johansson as Rebecca is a bit too R-Rated to show on the TV screens of a family-friendly store like Heroes–especially on a Saturday which is prime G and PG shopper time.

We apologize for this change in plans, but considering the overall situation, it is the only decision we can make.

So, please plan to join us on Saturday September 24th at 1:00pm as we discuss  Daniel Clowes’ star-making Graphic Novel, Ghost World.

If you have seen the movie or plan to see the movie– fantastic. As we did with Scott Pilgrim, Walking Dead and V for Vendetta, if everyone has attending the discussion has seen the film, we will explore one of our favorite topics in Discussionland–adaptation.

But….

this is a Comic Discussion Group first and fore-most.  If you have not seen the film, but want to come to discuss the book, plan to attend.

Our topics will include:

  • How is the story serviced by the medium of comics?
  • Is Clowes’ depiction of teen age girls accurate and believable?
  • Is the story universal or is it a product of its era?
  • A discussion of the colors in the film versus the two tone world of the comic
  • Clowes’ drawing style and how it affects the story and the readers

 

Fantagraphics has just published a Special Edition Hardcover Ghost World which Heroes is offering at the usual 10% Discussion Group discount.  Just don’t forget to mention the Discount when you check out.

We will see you on September 24th at 1:00pm and remember to bring an open mind

 

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REMINDER: V FOR VENDETTA DISCUSSION GROUP!

August 09, 2011 By: Seth Peagler Category: DISCUSS, Discussion Group, EVENTS, Looking Ahead

     Don’t forget that this Saturday, August 13 we’ll be hosting our first discussion group since HeroesCon, and are kicking things off with a doozy!  Be at the store at 1 p.m. this Saturday as our fearless Discussion Group leader Andy Mansell leads us through Alan Moore and David Lloyd’s V for Vendetta.  This book was highly influential on comics readers when it debuted in the ’80’s, and remains a relevant work in the post 9/11 world.  Just why does this Thatcher era comic still matter to us today?  Is it only a political comic, or is this just another classic example of Moore’s use of analogy?  If this book is meant to symbolize something beyond the political and cultural landscape of the era in which it was produced, what might it be?  Join Andy for an enlightening examination of a true comics classic.  See you on Saturday!

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