Saturday, June 13, 2009

Random Notes - Vol. 4, No. 1

  • I just stumbled across this old Harvey Kurtzman comic from 1952 called A CORPSE ON THE IMJIN. Yes, the Harvey Kurtzman who later founded Mad magazine.

    IMJIN, however, is much more serious than Kurtzman's later work. It is a dark story set in the Korean War, of a soldier sitting at the shore of the Imjin River, watching a body floating by, wondering how the man died. Then the story takes a grim turn. A short but fascinating read.

  • Matt at Popular Gusts beat me to writing about the comic book exhibition over in the National Museum of Contemporary Art, down in the Seoul Grand Park (by Gwacheon). The exhibition runs until Aug. 23 (and, who know, maybe the museum will have updated its English website by then... but for now, you can see the Korean website about the exhibit here).

  • As long as I am on the subject of comic books, I just found out about Kim San-ho a Korean comic artist who used to draw for Charlton Comics back in the 1960s and 70s (and even Marvel a little). He returned to Korea later and made several Korean comic books and wrote a lot about Korean history, too. You can see a gallery of some of his comic book covers here.

  • I watched Jun Ji-hyun's BLOOD: THE LAST VAMPIRE last night. No surprise that it was not very good. The first half felt exactly like the original anime, and was borderline interesting -- basically BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER will all the humor and wit taken out, and several bathtubs of blood put in.

    About halfway through the film, the mood shifts, and it begins to feel like a Hong Kong movie like CHINESE GHOST STORY, with a lot of really frenetic action sequences and cheap special effects. One of the biggest action sequences is really poorly done, and looks like the producers ran out of money. The story changes from the original anime, too, acquiring a ridiculous backstory that is unnecessary and really, really cheesy.

    It's too bad -- Jun Ji-hyun looks exactly right for the part of Saya, the Vampire hunter. Unfortunately, the director and writer were quite terrible and uncreative.

  • I loved this story about our favorite cloning scientist Hwang Woo-suk getting a science award recently. I do not know anything about the loonies who give out the Jang Young Shil Award of Science, Technology and Culture, but you have to love this line from the KT story:
    Hwang was unable to participate in the awards ceremony at the Press Center in downtown Seoul, due to a previously scheduled court appearance.
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