AiT/Planet Lar Interactive Experience: Making! Comics! Better!
Safety and Information
People often ask, "What the heck is the deal with that company name?" Translated from the ancient Oashbi, it means the "guy who wrote Astronauts in Trouble while playing that B-52s song 'Planet Claire' too loud." It was this translation that led to the Aggregate Company Name Act which turned "Federal Express" into "FedEx" and "Kentucky Fried Chicken" into "KFC." AOL/Time/Warner, of course, remains grandfathered in.
Your journey through the expansive AiT website and associated graphic entertainments will take you into dynamic and possibly even exciting environments. Please take a moment to read our brief safety instructions.
The website entrance is low, so please watch your head and use the handrails, provided. Remain on the walkway at all times, and do not climb on the handrails. No running is permitted; please use care on the steps. Producing high-quality comics can simultaneously be a delicate as well as coarse process. Appreciate the dichotomy, and behave accordingly.
Interactive Experience: Production and Consumption
All AiT/Planet Lar entertainments have been carefully designed to provide years of safe, reliable performance. As with all such fiction equipment, there are some basic precautions you should take in order to avoid injury or damage to the story, the book, or to your person:
Do not use AiT/Planet Lar comic books and graphic novels in any environment or situation that requires your immediate attention or concentration on your surroundings. DO NOT READ AND DRIVE.
AiT/Planet Lar comic books and graphic novels may disturb your concentration or cause you to become disoriented, which could lead to an accident such as tripping, falling or other serious or even fatal accidents. PAY ATTENTION TO SIMILE AND METAPHOR. Even allegory isn't completely out of the question.
Do not use AiT/Planet Lar comic books and graphic novels in any explosive environment or anywhere close to explosives (such as a gas station), or places with a rapid temperature change (a place with moisture or con densation). A place with high humidity, dust, or steam, is bad. A bath is right out. Forget outdoors where rain and snow are falling, or other moist places, you know, outdoors. Best to avoid areas with sand, dust, and dirt, too. Who wants sand in their graphic novels?
Refer to the "Specifications" section of the complete AiT User Manual available in most good comic stores for a complete list of proscribed environments. Remember, when in an institution such as a hospital, factory, school, or even on a public means of transportation, follow the rules of that institution or organization when using AiT/Planet Lar comics and graphic novels.
In the unlikely event of a power failure or other issue, please remain still until your guide turns on the emergency lights. Move over, Rover, and let Jimi take over. We have, after all, been doing this for a while.
Seriously, folks, if you have any questions, feel free to just ask us.
Dorian casts his steely yet approving gaze on Rock Bottom: "Joe Casey's story of a man slowly turning to stone is his best work yet. Thomas Dare is a musician going through a messy and complicated divorce, while dodging the phone calls of his now pregnant mistress. He soon discovers that, through some unknown, but apparently hereditary process, he is slowly and painfully turning to stone. His condition tests his friendships and relationships, while exposing him to a kind of freakish fame he never wanted. Soon, everyone wants a piece of him, literally, and it his story becomes one of a man seeking nothing else but to die with dignity. It's a moving and emotional examination of mortality, friendship and the human spirit. It's remarkable that Casey is able to pare down the story and touch on all the major themes he raises in such a compact and quickly moving story. Charlie Adlard is one of those artists I've always thought to be criminally underrated. He works in a stark black and white here, the only tones being the gray of Thomas Dare as he slowly succumbs to his illness. It makes for a visually arresting experience that highlights the story that Casey is telling in an exceptional way."
Dorian also takes a look at Seven Sons: "This retelling of the Chinese legend of seven brothers, each with remarkable powers, moves the story to the American west during the Gold Rush. The events of the story play out more or less in the same pattern as in the traditional folk tale, but the new context that Grecian and Rossmo put that story into allows them to play with additional themes, such as racism and xenophobia, as well as good old fashioned fear-mongering. It makes for an interesting read, and a nice example of a stated theme within the book itself, that the best stories grow and change."
I think it goes without saying that Dorian is the sort of reader we're trying to hit: insightful without being too on-the-nose, introspective without being self-involved, a dapper sense of style without being too natty, mature enough to think superheroes are vaguely silly but self-aware enough to have room in his heart for an unhealthy Wildcat fixation.
What sort of man reads AiT/Planet Lar? Here's to you, Dorian Wright:
The divine Johnny B gets himself some good books, too: "As you may know by now, basically [Seven Sons] is an new take on the old folk tale about the Seven Chinese Brothers, recast in the Gold Rush era more or less, with a fateful encounter with the residents of a nearby town. It's a clever idea, and fully realized- it's easy to mess this sort of thing up by striving to be too relevant or cynical or something... but Grecian manages to strike the right tone and maintain it throughout. Nice text piece in the back as well, citing and recalling the various iterations of the legend over the years. Although at first I was a bit reluctant, I came to really like Rossmo's loose and over-rendered art, it's reminiscent of Ted McKeever but a little clearer in its storytelling style."
What sort of man reads AiT/Planet Lar? Here's to you, David Allen Jones:
OK, technically, that's just a pic of me, but, no kidding, Johnny B cropped himself out of it. That's really of snap of the two of us at the Horse Cave, KY Cracker Barrel. Really. Here's to him, anyway.
I've loved Bill Sherman's writing since I first saw his reviews and commentaries in The Comics Journal back when I was in college in the 80s. Far from reminding me we're old men, I prefer to think that Bill and I have just had good taste in comics for a long time, is all. Bill takes a look at Rock Bottom: "Casey's script is clear and straightforward, both pitiless in its acknowledgment of Dare's considerable failings and empathetic to his dilemma." and "As his work in the ongoing zombie survivalist series, The Walking Dead, shows, Adlard is fully capable of crafting good full-blown horror action scenes. Here, he proves himself even better at visualizing quiet horror, reflecting it through the distress of those around Thomas as they watch their friend or former lover ossify. Really really fine storytelling, in sum, that'll linger long past many more flashy efforts." remain particular faves.
Mark Fossen knows a good comic when he reads one, as well: "Rock Bottom is a damn fine book that is completely unlike what I was expecting. I should have know better than to expect the expected from Joe Casey, Charlie Adlard, and AiT/Planet Lar."
Your Mom's Basement asks your favorite comics pros their favorite type of candy to get on Halloween. Let me just say that I think comedian Lewis Black is wrong as wrong can be.
icv2.com and Graeme over at Blogarama mention the Nobody pilot at ABC Family. Hey, Graeme! Check your email every once in a while and you would have been much quicker on the draw on that one heh heh.
One of the things I discovered in NZ I liked almost as much as Speight's was Flight of the Conchords:
Craig Reade recommends Demo on the January relist: "Page 213 - Demo Collection, $19.95, 288 Pages, AIT/Planet Lar. Written by Brian Wood, Art by Becky Cloonan. So about 15 issues of DMZ will be out at this point, and for a lot of you, it will have been your first taste of Brian Wood. He probably first made a real name for himself, though, over at AIT/Planet Lar on Demo - a series of 12 self-contained stories, all of which are collected here. This series got more than its fair share of outstanding reviews and even an Eisner nomination. Even still, a lot of readers miss the indy stuff completely, and no doubt never heard of Demo. To cut to the chase - if you like DMZ, buy this trade. You will like it too."
Mo Soar on Rock Bottom: "Casey and Adlard put together an introspective, thoughtful look at a man struggling with his life in general and a strange and horrifying illness in particular. The main story is of a man slowly and inevitably petrifying: literally turning to stone. There are some absolutely beautiful scenes and concepts in the book as Thomas Dare and his friends deal with the unwanted legacies from his father - both the hereditary illness and the personal behaviors. The friendships in the book - and some of the related issues his friends, particularly the doctor face - are so very well-drawn that the support characters come close to stealing the spotlight (particularly Dare's lawyer-friend Fred in the 'hospital break-out' scene). Also very good is the hospital scene with Dare's newly-ex-wife: it's poignant and awkward, faintly tender. The dialog is strong and quick, acerbically witty in many places. Adlard's line art is lovely, from the stiff poses Dare is forced into to the strange, light, bubble-featured dreams the increasingly immobile and weighty Dare experiences."
A follow-up from Dave Trendy says "I thought this book was awesome, i also loved casey and adlard's codeflesh too. Its a shame that most people wont bother to check this out, as again casey brings something different to the table." Don't worry, Dave: AiT books are like the Velvet Underground's first album: "Only a thousand people bought the first Velvet Underground album, but all of them went out to form a band." Vindication comes in many forms.
For example: Lefty Brown opines on Andy Diggle and Jock's five-volume Losers achievement thusly: "With the recent release of the final TPB, I sat and read through the whole series of Andy Diggle and Co.'s The Losers. Most of the art worked for me with just a few exceptions, but the overall storyline was fantastic. By the time I got to the final TPB I felt like the story was well-told. It's funny but I couldn't help thinking that this was an AiT/Planet Lar book that got away. Sure DC holds the copyright to The Losers, but this re-imagining the World War II characters as A-Team like mercs trying to get even with the bastard that betrayed them felt like it had Larry Young's stamp of approval on it."