Monday, June 22, 2009

Writing Dojo #1: Finding the time.

'Ability is nothing without opportunity.'
-Napoleon Bonaparte

'Writing is not necessarily something to be ashamed of — but do it in private and wash your hands afterwards. '- Robert A. Heinlein

When I first kicked off The Canadian Defender last year, I made a point of placing in my User Information the notion that I'd be exploring writing in this blog as well as providing my opinions about popular culture in film, comics, and literature. Of course, in my own personal grand tradition I immediately began focusing entirely on the minutea of superhero comics and characters to the point where any notions I might have had about sharing my opinions and experience with writing prose were broomed to the side and left to collect dust. Which is unfair, in my opinion. I can ramble on about upteen zillion ways on how One More Day sucks, so why is it so difficult to use an open forum to discuss writing and my own efforts to become a better author?

Hence my creation of this series of articles, the Writing Dojo. Here we'll get in on the ground floor of the creative process, and I'll talk about how I take it all in and try to work with it. I'll also discuss some of the books that made me want to write and ones I've found helpful in getting me started. And what better place to begin this series than to talk about how to get started, and how to budget time effectively?

I can't speak for anyone else but for the most part my days are already managed, as I suspect a lot of yours are too. Simply put we wake up, we go to work, we come home, we go to sleep. For the full-time professional author I think time management has to be much more hands on (I have to imagine the temptation to lose oneself in a good book, or do some housework, or watch television has to be pretty tempting) but for the most part I can count myself 'fortunate' that a large portion of my day is spoken for already(of course it does mean I do get a steady paycheck and health benefits, so I suppose I shouldn't complain. I'd make for a lousy starving artist). Let's take a look at how a typical day breaks down for one Mr. Dooks:

10:oo am - Wake up.

10:30 am - Breakfast/Internet time.

11:00 am - Shower/Dress

11:30 - Bus to work.

12:00-8:00pm - Work.

8:30pm - Bus home.

9:00pm - Home.

9:30pm - Supper

10:oopm-2am - Free time.

2am - Bed.

As we can see, the top of the day is usually pretty full, while the bottom third might be the best place to slot in some writing time. As a night owl by nature I prefer to write later, and on weeknights I'm less likely to be out and about. So, a quick ammendment:

10:00pm - 11:00pm - Free time 1

11:oopm - 12:ooam - Writing

12:00am -2am - Free time 2.

An hour a day for 5 days seems workable to begin with. Firstly I'm not trying to burden myself with too much too soon, thereby running the risk of getting down on myself, getting frustrated, then abandoning the work altogether. It also keeps the work feasible, and helps to keep anxiety to a minimum. Writing a 500-page novel can seem terrifying, but if you've only got an hour a day's work to think about it doesn't seem so scary. Of course, as you develop you may want to extend the period of time to an hour and a half, two hours, and so on. Stephen King maintains a writing schedule of eight hours a day, but as we're not cyborgs I think 1-4 hours a day in an average work week (i.e. where one has a job in addition to writing prose) is probably the range we should aspire to.

This can work for anyone who wants to try creative writing. Take a look at the hours in your day and see if you can find a space to slot in some time to write. Remember to keep the time in small increments to start and to hold to that rule. When the hour is up you stop, even if you're in mid-sentence. You then pick things up the following evening from where you left off, giving your creativity both time to relax and something to look forward to.

That's all for now. When next we speak we'll discuss the dreaded White Page of Doom, inspiration, and how to build a proper story.

Until next time,


Thursday, June 11, 2009

In which one engages in silliness for its own sake.

69 posts. Most excellent.


Science Fiction Fans: Your instructions for this week.

1) Go to your nearest comicbook store.

2) Purchase Dynamite Entertainment's Buck Rogers #1, written by Scott Beatty, illustrated by Carlos Rafael, with covers by either John Cassady, Alex Ross, or Matt Wagner.

3) Read said issue.

4) Experience joy.


Ps. I can't wait to get my hands on this book. Seriously, check out the preview here and you might get an inkling of my overall enthusiasm.

PPs. Oh my God, the energy meter on Deering's suit makes a 'bidibidibidibidibi' sound. Glee. . .

Work Needed Doin': The Streets of Glory Review.

'Know what I'm afraid of?'
'Sir? Why. . .nothing sir. Nothing on God's earth.'
'I'm scared I fought hard for this country. Only to hand it to fools.'
-Streets of Glory.

Streets of Glory
Avatar Press
Writer: Garth Ennis
Artist: Mike Wolfer

In recent years I've found my affection for the Western genre of storytelling to have steadily grown. I can't point to any one incident or deciding factor, save for a few familial ties. My paternal grandmother loved Louis L'Amour Western novels, and over time I bought a few of my own and found them to be enjoyable(we bonded as readers over his Sacketts series of novels about a family that journeyed to the new world from Elizabethan England and spread out over the West in succeeding generations). After novels came films: Tombstone remains one of my all-time favorites, as well as films like True Grit, the Dollars Trilogy, The Wild Bunch, and The Searchers. There's just something so epic about that time on the frontier, in a violent period when men truly owned their actions and had their freedom with all the good and evil such liberty entailed. As a member of pop culture fandom I'm somewhat bemused by some of my colleagues dismissal of the genre as a whole. It may not always be pretty, but you don't have to dig very deeply with Westerns to understand that you're dealing with myth. Myth in the classical sense, often times as much gory as glorious, but still containing elements of classic heroic archetypes and themes that make for exciting stories. Contemporary science fiction sagas owe a great deal to the Western, not the least of which Star Wars (for it's outlaws, frontiers, and bounty hunters) and of late Firefly(a truly western-themed SF series if ever there was one). As a fanatic for all types of mythic influence and ideal, the appeal of the Western is not lost on me.

Streets of Glory is truly a mythic piece. It's an apocalyptic narrative if you will, a commentary on the end of the period when the West symbolized personal freedom and the potential to forge your own destiny and became just another section of civilization. Set in 1899, time is literally up. A new century dawns in which the world is moving on, moving into a period of horseless carriages and unscrupulous developers, when good men with their own rough-hewn code of honor are being pushed aside in favor of progress. It's a violent, gritty little piece that Sam Peckinpah would be proud of.

We're told the story in flashback by one Peter Lorrimer, a young man from the east brought out to the small haven of Gladback, Montanna by his older brother Frank to tend bar and earn a living. Ambushed by a gang of bandits, Frank is killed and Peter is in a bad way until his assailants are ruthlessly dispatched by one Joe Dunn, a man on his way back to Gladback to try and take stock of his life. Taking the young man into town after helping him bury his brother, Joe and Peter bond and Peter meets Tom McKinnon, owner of the bar Frank had been employed at. Tom takes Peter under his wing while Joe attempts to mend fences with his estranged love Shelly Gillibrand, the town doctor, who in the intervening years has had a daughter named Ilsa. Meanwhile a series of brutal attacks bring Joe back to his world of violence when an old enemy, a psychpathic Indian brave named Red Crow, terrorizes settlers on the outskirts of Gladback. Businessman Charles Morrison draws Joe, Peter, and Tom into his grand plans for the future of the town, and attempts to recruit them to aid his bodyguard Burley into bringing Red Crow to justice(or the grave, whichever seems most likely).

From this framework you could build a pretty decent cat and mouse story, and Ennis does. But there's more tale to tell here than a simple story of cowboys and indians. Within the pages of Streets of Glory is the story of the world that was coming and its battle with the world that was and how for one brief, brutal moment that old rough justice still held sway.

Garth Ennis is a writer whose works I find to be somewhat vexing. As a storyteller I'd have to say he's easily one of the best, particularly in the comics medium. When it comes to a lean, powerful story with brutal action and stand-up heroes against truly despicable villains, Ennis is your man. Of course his work with my favored genre of comics--superheroes--leaves a lot to be desired but within his mileu of War, Western, and Horror comics I think you'd be hard-pressed to find a better writer in the field. When he's on, he can make you laugh one moment and completely stun you the next. Glory shows him at his best, crafting a tale that could stand shoulder to shoulder with the best Western films out there. He's a deft hand with dialogue, and has a sense of timing and craft in his action sequences I wish some writers would take their cues from.

Mike Wolfer is an artist whose work I've never encountered before. It took me some time for his facial work to grow on me, but after a while I came to appreciate his deft hand. It's not always easy to bring over the West in terms of detail, but he rose to the challenge and presented a believable world that feels at once lived in and in the midst of change at the dawn of a new century. He's also a deft hand with the gore, which this book does have from time to time. Ennis doesn't shy away from showing how unbelievably violent this period in history was, and Wolfer brings that violence and its consequences to life in startling detail. This book isn't one to read while snacking, I'll say that much out front.

Simply put, Streets of Glory is a fun read that deserves a look. The reading experience is akin to catching a Western film on television on a Saturday afternoon, one from perhaps the grindhouse '70s with a fair share of action and gore but ultimately proving to be at times moving and endearing as well. While it may not be for everyone, I'd say check it out. It doesn't require knowing reams of continuity about heroes in tights and makes for an enjoyable, entertaining afternoon's read. Reccomended.


Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Holy Relaunch! The Batman And Robin #1 Review.

Batman And Robin #1
DC Comics
Writer: Grant Morrison
Artist: Frank Quitely

Most comicbook fans hate change. It's a well-known fact. Much like our brethren in the mainstream who enjoy their melodramas in the medium of soap operas, the majority of comicbook aficionados prefer things to remain relatively static, or at least as close to their own personal vision of their favorite characters as possible. As long as certain patterns hold true and the applecart isn't rocked or upset overmuch, you'll keep the wolves at bay. Change things too much too fast and you may find yourself staring down an angry mob rumbling that things aren't the way they used to be and that things have been done to 'their' characters that meet with their passionate and vocal displeasure. Add to this the fact that company-owned properties like to keep things status quo and you'll find a medium that tends to be more conservative creatively than anything else.

So when words like 'a bold new direction' or 'a brand new era' begin trickling down the pike in regards to a pair of beloved characters, it can be understood how deflector screens might go up and immediately one becomes extremely nervous. Particularly when it comes to what might easily be viewed as a particular comicbook company's most popular brand. I speak of course of the new Batman And Robin comic recently released by DC Comics. Now in my previous post I was a bit on the facetious side in terms of my anticipation for the book, but now that I've had a chance to read it I'm ready to share my thoughts.

Batman is DC's hottest property right now. In the wake of the cinematic epic that was The Dark Knight, you can't deny that the caped crusader has taken the medium of the superhero in film to a higher plateau. Indeed, it could be argued that a lot of the mainstream acceptance of the superhero film can be traced to The Dark Knight (with perhaps Iron Man and Watchmen as significant influences as well, but those merit their own posts). With that kind of success involving the classic character himself, you'd think DC Comics--a subsidiary of Time Warner and producer of the comics the film was based upon--would stick to the tried and true and not rock the boat in terms of the character and his world. You'd be wrong. While Bruce Wayne may still be pondering his black and white perspective in a world replete with shades of gray in the cinema, in comicbooks that's no longer a concern of his. Well, it may well be, but the dead don't tend to share their thoughts about the state of morality with the living.

As TDK was blowing away moviegoers, in the comics Batman was undergoing some massive changes of his own. The storyline Batman: RIP saw Bruce Wayne endure a series of events that ultimately lead to his apparent death(well, either within this storyline or the company-wide crossover Final Crisis depending on your point of view, but that's for others to go into depth with. It just gives me a headache). A brief power struggle within the surviving members of the Bat-Family followed, but ultimately a new Batman rose to take the place of the old, with a new sidekick donning the red, green, and yellow of Robin the Boy Wonder. Much of this was chronicled in the 3-part Battle for the Cowl mini-series, but longtime Batman fans saw the writing on the wall: Dick Grayson took up the cowl and became the second Batman, with Bruce Wayne's son Damien becoming the fifth Robin.

Some backstory here to help those lost at sea; Dick Grayson was the original Robin, who as he grew out of the role became his own hero under the nom de plume of Nightwing. He adventured on his own for a time(and as part of the Teen Titans, a group of former sidekicks and other assorted young heroes) as he matured from Boy to Teen Wonder and then into his own heroic identity. He's been a staple of the Batman universe and when most people think 'and Robin', they're thinking Dick Grayson.

Damien Wayne is a bit of a new development, and to explain him I must invoke the dreaded spectre of--you guessed it--continuity! In a nutshell, Damien is the son of Bruce by Talia Al Ghul, daughter of evil mastermind and Bat-villain Ra's Al Ghul (memorable to most as the character portrayed by Liam Neeson in Batman Begins). An adventure left the mastermind's daughter and the heroic adventurer getting really, really close, with Talia ultimately having Bruce's child(chronicled in the excellent Son of the Demon trade paperback). Bruce was never told he had offspring until recently, leaving the boy's rearing to the tender mercies of Ra's Al Ghul's league of assassins. He's arrogant, distant, and driven. . .definitely a chip off the old block in some respects, though he's got a lot to learn.

If nothing else, I have to give DC credit. To change the entire status quo of your most popular and beloved pair of characters at a time when the 'classic' interpretation is so popular is one hell of a gutsy move. Granted we know beyond certainty that death is anything but permanent in the medium of comicbooks, but to alter things to such a degree takes a certain degree of pure chutzpah. But how does the actual book hold up? Is it a grand-slam home run? Does it change the nature of everything you've ever known about Batman and Robin? Is it actually any good?

Yeah, actually. Batman and Robin beat up some bad guys, banter back and forth, and make their 'debut' in Gotham City. It's a self-contained story that has some great art by Quitely and the the Morrison dialogue is short but sweet. A lot of guns are being hung on the wall with this new incarnation of the dynamic duo that I think will be a lot of fun to explore as the series goes on.

Particular strengths were seeing Dick Grayson come into his own as Batman. Yes, there will be some who maintain that Dick is stronger as his own man (the character included) but there's no doubt in my mind that his taking on the cape and cowl is long past due. He's the heir, the one that should rightly take the mantle as his own. His Batman is a warmer character, though still able to be just as badass as his predecessor should circumstances call for it. I like how Quitely gave him a slightly leaner, more acrobatic look that the previous Batman I've seen him draw. Dick has his doubts about his new role but I've no doubt that we'll be looking back on the Dick Grayson Batman with serious fondness in the years to come.

Ever-faithful butler Alfred Pennyworth doesn't get all that much to do here, but what he does makes him a linchpin to the entire series. In the absence of Bruce Wayne, Alfred is the paternal glue that keeps the two new heroes from breaking down into bickering and dissension. He's great to see and I look forward to his wisdom and wit as the series goes forward.

Damien I'm a bit cool toward. Some of his smart remarks and his overall attitude within the story make me want to give him a smack in the mouth, particularly his continued digs at Dick and his blustering arrogance make me more than a little exasperated, but I'm guessing that's the point. The kid has skill and he has potential, but he's trying to live up to the memory of a father he never knew and has to work with the man his father did actually raise as his son. That'd make anyone touchy, and boys who've grown up in the League of Assassins? Yeah, he's probably going to be a little jerk for more than a few issues at this rate. Still, it makes for an intriguing twist to have Batman be light-hearted and Robin be the dour one.

There's a scene in the book that I absolutely loved, namely the little cut-away view of the new Batcave beneath the Wayne Foundation building in the heart of Gotham. Long-time Batman nerds like myself have to recognize and respect that little nod to previous Batman stories(at one point Bruce operated in the city in a second underground lair built from an abandoned subway station. It was awesome).

I respect the decision to have new villains to challenge our new dynamic duo, but I'm not too sure how I feel about the seeming master villain of Mr. Pyg and his Circus of the Strange. They're creepy enough, but I feel they're a little more Saw than the usual Batman villain. I did like his henchman Toad though, whose antics attempting to escape the flying batmobile (it makes me smile even when I type it) amused me.

The flying batmobile was just bliss. Okay, so it's not the end-all be-all of the book, but it's just so hokey and Silver Age of comics by way of Back to the Future that I couldn't not love it.

Overall, this was a nice way to get back into the Batman books after a long hiatus. You don't need any foreknowledge of previous stories to get into this adventure(though consulting the hardcore fanboys is always an option) and it's a neat little romp. If anything, you can treat it as an alternate future from the Batman films where Bruce has died and Dick Grayson's taken over. It's a self-contained debut issue that looks like it'll be leading to some interesting storylines (if the preview of the year's storylines are any indicator). If you want to read a comic that's just plain fun, you could do worse than Batman And Robin. Change can be good.

Just don't kill Superman. Again.


Friday, June 5, 2009

Solicitation titillation.


Eh. . .I dunno guys. . .

Written by Grant Morrison: Art and Cover by Frank Quitely.

Hm, not bad, I liked both of 'em on All-Star Superman, but a Batman book? I'm not sure about that. I like the characters of course(not being an idiot), but what's the draw for a guy like me?

"Batman Reborn" begins here! With the reunited team of Grant Morrison and Frank Quitely (ALL-STAR SUPERMAN, WE3,New X-Men), this first issue kicks off a 3-part story arc that can't be missed!

They did WE3 too? I've heard that book is really good, if occasionally heart-rending. Go on.

The new Dynamic Duo hit the streets with a bang in their new flying Batmobile as they face off against an assemblage of villains called the Circus of Strange.

I'm sorry, what was that?

The new Dynamic Duo hit the streets with a bang in their new flying Batmobile as they face off against an assemblage of villains called the Circus of Strange.

Flying batmobile?

. . .their new flying Batmobile. . .

Great googly moogly.

They also tackle their first mission investigating a child who's been abducted by the mysterious Domino Killer.

Yeah, that's really great but the batmobile actually flies right? This isn't some cop-out like it has a jet engine in the back or something. . .'cause I saw that in the '60s show and the '89 movie. . .

But will everything go smoothly?

Sir, in a flying batmobile everything goes amazingly.

And who exactly are the new Batman and Robin?

Well it's so obvious: Christian Bale and Anton Yelchin. I hardly need to get Hercule Poirot on speed-dial for that 'mystery'. Sheesh, these guys. . .

The newest era of The Dark Knight begins here!

Flying batmobile. Well played Morrison, well played indeed. You know my weaknesses only too well. Consider my money spent.


Thursday, June 4, 2009

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

King of the Impossible: The Flash Gordon Review.

'He'll save every one of us!' -tag line from the film.

Every so often, a film comes along that speaks to us about the human condition. It tells us of the loftiest heights of our ambition, the folly of our hubris, and the hope that one day we might come to know a better tomorrow through cooperation and mutual understanding. It's a film embraced by the general public and touted as an artistic exemplar of all our hopes and dreams, a treatise that could possibly lead to the establishment of a finer, better world for all of us. Truly, when these once in a lifetime motion pictures play on our screens we may consider ourselves blessed.

Yeah, those movies are really great. . .but sometimes you just want to chuck the societal/cultural commentary and cut loose with a film that is just gloriously batshit insane. A film with vibrant colors, broad characterization, derring-do, and sheer badassery on an epic scale. A movie that tanked at the box office upon its debut but found a new life on home video as one of the cult classics of an age. A movie that by no stretch of the imagination takes itself seriously. It can't be bothered to; after all love can wait when there's only fourteen hours to save the Earth! If you like your movies ponderous and full of themselves, I can't recommend it, but if you want a film that's wall to wall fun on an epic scale then Flash Gordon just might be your cup of tea.

Despite what the zeitgeist seems to think these days, there was a time when there were space opera heroes other than Luke Skywalker and James T. Kirk. Flash Gordon was a comic strip hero created in the mold of Buck Rogers, who fought intergalactic evil in the spaceways long before George Lucas or Gene Roddenberry turned their thoughts to crafting their own interplanetary sagas. Flash was a polo player and all-around American good guy who--along with his pluck Girl Friday Dale Arden and semi-mad scientist Dr. Hans Zarkov--wound up travelling in space to solve the riddle of mysterious meteors threatening the Earth. Winding up on the distant planet of Mongo, they quickly become the bane of tyrant Ming the Merciless and his countless hordes of evil minions. Beginning in 1934 and continuing as of at least 2003, the comic strip Flash Gordon remains an institution in Science Fiction and Fantasy. It's spun off comicbooks, cartoons, television shows, movie serials. . .and of course a 1980 feature film from Dino De Laurentiis.

De Laurentiis' contributions to pop culture cannot be overstated. The guy produced some of the all-time classics of cult cinema; Barbarella, Death Wish, Conan the Barbarian, the 1976 King Kong remake, and the Flash Gordon film. In later years he would produce such films as Manhunter (which first introduced audiences to Hannibal Lecter), the David Lynch adaptation of Frank Herbert's epic Dune, The Dead Zone, and Army of Darkness. His production company even distributed the Transformers movie back in the '80s. Simply put, he produced some of the most amazing pieces of escapist cinema to come out of the last thirty years. He is, in short, utterly awesome.

Flash is one of those films I'd only ever heard about online or in fandom magazines like Starlog or Cinescape. By the time I'd become aware of this 1980 release it was largely off the radar. Luckily for me it was recently re-released on DVD for the masses to once again become acquainted with this zany little masterpiece. Our paths crossed just this Sunday past when at a Blockbuster for some rental fare I came across the movie in the for sale section. The painted cover by fan-favorite artist Alex Ross drew me in, but the SAVIOUR OF THE UNIVERSE EDITION subtitle was what clinched the deal. A combination of intense curiosity and boredom contributed to my sudden impulse buy. With a few friends in tow, we placed the newly-bought disc into the player. . .and were transported.

I don't want to spoil the film, so a thumbnail sketch of the plot follows: Flash Gordon(Sam Jones) is the newest quarterback sensation for the New York Jets (in the original comics he was a polo player but I guess that wasn't 'manly' enough) on his way back to the big city after some time in the country. He meets a young woman on the flight home, Dale Arden(Melody Anderson), and they take to the skies in a dual-propped plane bound for Manhattan. Unfortunately for them (and the rest of the planet), Earth has been targeted for destruction by the meglomaniacal Ming the Merciless(Max von Sydow), warlord tyrant of the planet Mongo, who plans to annihilate the planet. . .but not before toying with it for a bit.

Enter Dr. Hans Zarkov(Topol), a renegade scientist whose wild theories about imminent attack from another world have led to his abrupt dismissal from NASA. He plans to use an experimental rocket of his own design to seek out this marauding planet threatening our globe and make them see reason. Thing is, he needs a flight crew for the rocket and his own assistant is somewhat less than cooperative. Enter Flash and Dale who--after their pilots are atomized by one of Ming's fierce attacks--come to a crash landing in Zarkov's greenhouse after Flash (who's been taking flying lessons y'see) manages to bring the plane to a rough landing. With a bit of shaky fast-talking and a pistol for persuasion, the intrepid trio soon find themselves blasting off to the stars, falling into a space warp that leads them to the planet Mongo and it's neighboring moons.

Can Flash defeat Ming and his wicked adviser, the crafty Klytus(Peter Wyngarde) and his lieutenant, the wicked Kala(Mariangela Melato)? Will he be able to resist the cunning charms of the nubile Princess Alura(Ornella Muti), Ming's own daughter? Can he unite the squabbling warriors of the forest world of Arboria and their own Prince Balin (Timothy Dalton) and the winged warriors of the hawkmen of Sky City and Prince Vultan(Brian Blessed) into a force to overthrow Ming's tyrannical rule? Can good triumph over evil within the running time of a classic space opera?

Chances are pretty good you know the answers to all of the above, but if you dismiss the film based on it's (admittedly) hokey premise you'd be doing yourself a disservice. Flash is by no means a classic of the genre that will change everything you know about life, the universe, and everything. But it is an amazingly fun, visually stunning, epic piece of purest, zestiest Gorgonzola cheese that doesn't shy away from the cliches of the genre, but embraces them with a zesty grin and a playful wink. If you can't appreciate Flash's battle tactics in Ming's throne room, or his sincere (and repeated) desire to team up with others to overthrow Ming, if you can't accept that a man can be publicly executed, brought back to life, and then be macked on by an amazingly slinky and seductive alien princess, if you cannot accept a universe where people fly and speak in a seeming vacuum on sky sleds and rockets with fins, if you absolutely positively cannot accept a fleet of hawkmen warriors swooping down from the skies amidst the pounding drums and rippling guitar licks of Queen as we're told Flash Gordon is the saviour of the universe! Well, this film may not be for you. It's a cheesy movie, but also a visual feast and amazingly fun in it's corny, endearing way. If you haven't checked it out I encourage you to do so. Mere adjectives cannot hope to encompass the vibrant colors, ludicrous predicaments, and the exultant joy of the delivery of certain lines('The inhabitants refer to it as the planet. . .Earth', 'Gordon's alive?!') have to be seen in order to be believed.

Mike Hodges's direction of the film seems a mixture of the classic Flash serials as well as the '60s Batman television series, which is no surprise given writer Lorenzo Semple Jr's experience with that show. I could cheerleader about this thing all day, but it's only because I was so utterly taken with a film that just dared to be completely, utterly in love with its subject matter and its universe, while being unafraid to look silly doing so. In an age where Science Fiction and Fantasy have become a bit pretentious with how seriously they take themselves, Flash is a welcome breath of fresh air. No, more than that. He's a miracle! Flash! Aaaahhh. . .!