Penguins of Madagascar

I love the penguins in the Madagascar films, but they're best taken in small doses with no character arcs. This film was fun, but it wasn't awesome. 

If you've seen the third Madagascar film, the one with the circus, the opening chase scene is over-the-top hilarious. Delightful. Penguins of Madagascar gives us a gondola chase that is similarly over-the-top, but it didn't quite clear the bar set by the Paris chase in the previous film.

Part of the problem with this film is that in all of the others the penguins are a force of nature. They are super-beings whose successes are godlike, and whose failures mean a thing simply cannot be done. In this film, however, the penguins are our protagonists, so they're not allowed to be super-beings. They come close, sure, but their failures feel contrived, and their successes can't ever be quite as awesome as they were in the previous films.

So: small doses.

I had fun, though. Penguins of Madagascar comes in at #14 for me for the year.

(cross-posted from

Exodus: Gods and Kings

Exodus: Gods and Kings is pretty powerful, but it might rub a lot of folks the wrong way. It doesn't tell the story of Moses the way biblical literalists would have it be told. (Disclaimer: It's also not the story of Moses that I believe in, but I didn't expect it to be.)

That's okay. It's a pretty good story. And it's a story that rings true in a lot of ways, especially in the ways that the characters relate to each other. 

Was it fun? Not really -- I'm putting it at #16. But it was beautiful and powerful and I liked it. Best of all, I never once heard Batman noises come out of Christian Bale's mouth. Although Batmoses would have been a cool movie, too.

On a strictly literary level, Batman and the other comic-book superheroes are very similar to the gods and heroes of ancient myth. They're part of a modern mythic pantheon, and this is a very flattering way to justify why their origin stories and key adventures keep getting re-told (much more flattering than the "we're too scared to take chances with a new story" version). In that light, Exodus: Gods and Kings is a Moses movie just like The 13th Warrior was a Beowulf movie, and Troy was about Achilles.

Touching on the Topical

The current Schlock Mercenary storyline may appear topical with regard to current events. This is a coincidence, of course. I outlined the full story months ago, and when the news from Ferguson, Missouri and Staten Island, New York broke it was far too late for me to decide to tell a different story.

So now it is topical, regardless of my original intent. All art is consumed and given relevance by the consumer and their context. If something feels topical, relevant, or timely, then it is. There’s nothing wrong with that.

It’s possible, however, that readers may arrive at incorrect conclusions concerning my personal opinions on current events, and these events are of significant import. With that in mind, I’ve posted my musings on these matters over on my blog. In most cases I’m happy to let the comic grant a measure of ambiguity to my personal politics, but in this case I would much rather speak my mind plainly.

Sketch Editions Are Done!

I just finished with the last of the Massively Parallel sketch editions. Now I can relax all day Saturday and do nothing but make comics, since the buffer has dropped to eight and who am I kidding I'm not going to relax. I'm going to ink my way up to fourteen, and then script so that I can draw my way to eighteen by Tuesday.

Sandra will be shipping these books out over the next few days, so by Tuesday everything should be en route. 

There's still time to place orders with us for delivery by Christmas, but I think that window closes on Thursday or Friday.

Sketches, Shopping, Shared Nightmares, and Schlock

I finished the last of the internationally-bound sketch editions early Sunday morning, and then took Sunday off. Today Sandra and Keliana will be shipping all the international packages, which means that unless there are postal issues in the destination nation, they'll be arriving in time to be Christmas gifts.

Meanwhile, our store is still open, and there's plenty of time for the delivery of gifts to folks in the United States. Pins, coins, and patches make great stocking stuffers, and for folks with office walls that need decoration, the 2015 Schlock Mercenary Monthly Calendar is kind of perfect. We still have the Munition Canister slipcases that hold the first five and the second six books for folks who own books, and want a handsome way to keep them upright without book-ends. (Note: the slipcases sell fast, and we can't stock huge numbers of them because they take up a lot of space in our warehouse.)

If you're considering taking the plunge for the first time, going all-in, as it were, we have an eleven-book bundle!

Since it's not unlikely that you'll be doing some shopping elsewhere for gifts this week (and by "elsewhere" I mean "Amazon"), you might consider starting your trip with this link. A portion of the proceeds from your purchase will help pay the bills here at Chez Tayler. It's a small thing, but it adds up quickly on our end, and has gone a long way toward paying the bills in January and Februrary in past years.

Oh, hey! If you're out at Amazon anyway, check out the SHARED NIGHTMARES anthology! It's just $2.99, and features really bad dreams from a Hugo nominee, a couple of Campbell nominees, a Prometheus winner, and a New York Times best-seller. It's also available here on Smashwords.

Me? I'll be spending Cyber Monday scripting comics and sketching in books. It may be Schlock, but it still doesn't draw itself.

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