Wednesday, November 12, 2008

TV Comics, the current trend

I just finished reading True Blood, The Great Revelation on the HBO site. A week or so ago I borrowed the Heroes hardback that has the collected comics from that show in it.  A few weeks ago I bought the first issue of Fringe, which is related to the TV series on Fox.

I have stopped watching Fringe, so I will just let that one go. I actively watch Heroes and True Blood, so I figured I should have a look at their comic offerings. 

The heroes book just didn't draw me in. It was like a comic version of deleted scenes in a lot of ways. Little snippets that relate to things that were on the air, but that don't really give you a lot more of anything you are probably hoping for in a comic related to a series. It's like with the show Lost. All I want is some hints and spoilers and answered questions, but all I can ever find is just supplementary stuff that doesn't answer any of the hard questions.

Reading the latest Heroes installment online, and reading the True Blood Great Revelation online made me see that if there is a unifying theme in online comics relating to currently running TV shows, it is that they all have really awful reader interfaces. Both sites seemed slow and hard to navigate in a readable manner to me. The art is decent on both, but the stories strike me as irrelevant. I guess something could come up in True Blood that makes the scene we were shown mean something. In the latest installment for Heroes, we get some background on two characters I believe we have been seeing on the show. It's ok, but it doesn't enhance my enjoyment of the show, nor does it come across as being something that stands on it's own. I appreciate the use of comics, but I am not sure they are being used to best effect.

True Blood is a show that is set in a Louisiana backwater town during a time after the creation of a synthetic blood substitute that can be used by vampires for nourishment. Vampires have come out and revealed themselves, and in the US there is a Vampire Rights act that will be coming up for a vote soon. Not everyone is embracing this concept. The show is based on a series of modern vampire romance novels and isn't bad. I have said recently that I don't think it is particularly well acted, but I can't stop watching it. It's like the Sopranos, or the L Word, but with Vampires. It is a show with a lot of compelling characters with a lot of plot opportunities and multiple story lines. It makes for a show you want to keep watching to see how things come out.

The comic takes place earlier that the show, around the time of the Great Revelation when the Vamps officially came out.  It is an account of the Vampire 'King' of California and his trip to japan to meet with the Japanese interest responsible for Tru Blood, the commercial brand for the synthetic blood. It could be interesting if anything happened, but as it was, it read like a story about a guy going to a business meeting, with a bit of interesting background about that character himself, but not much more.

I'm not sure how I really feel about these sorts of things. They come across as more of a straight commercial than a comic I would want to read. I also think they are a sort of pandering. It's like... Geeks like comics, and our s is a geek demographic... lets give them comics, then they will love us.  Any thoughts on this are appreciated.

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