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  1. #1
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    Default When Words Collide - Feb 11, 2013

    Tim opens THE HELIX FILES and looks back on Howard Chaykin and Don Cameron's short-lived 'Cyberella" to see if the sci-fi satire of 1996 remains worthwhile today.


    Full article here.

  2. #2
    Junior Member RobertoDaCosta's Avatar
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    only one thing i don't get, why would u like to read a bad comic?
    i get the whole "this is what happened, this is what failed"
    but ultimately it's a bad comic and a bad collection u r gonna read...
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    Quote Originally Posted by RobertoDaCosta View Post
    only one thing i don't get, why would u like to read a bad comic?
    i get the whole "this is what happened, this is what failed"
    but ultimately it's a bad comic and a bad collection u r gonna read...
    That is not necessarily true...

    Lots of great comics went unnoticed and were cancelled due to poor sales...

    Sales does not equal quality...nor does a lack of sales indicate a lack of quality...

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by RobertoDaCosta View Post
    only one thing i don't get, why would u like to read a bad comic?
    i get the whole "this is what happened, this is what failed"
    but ultimately it's a bad comic and a bad collection u r gonna read...
    Often we can learn more from unsuccessful endvors over their more successful brethren. Examining why this individual series may have failed might not be the most illuminating, it's part of a series that examines why an entire line was so short lived. An added context which makes a world of difference.

    By the way, your opinion would go a lot further if you made friends with the words "you" and "are".

    That out of the way, it's funny, but I've recently been thinking about Helix Comics. I got heavy into comics (ie; started reading more than the occasional Batman, X-Men or Spawn) in '98 when Transmet was already pretty deep into it's run and, I believe, the last hold out of line. Rereading Transmet, I've always wondered about the other books in the line, but been too lazy to do the research, let alone track down issues to read. So I'll be very interested in future installments.

    Regarding Cyberella, the premise sounds like it has some promise, although I have to say that the executed plot doesn't sound that interesting. What does the (literal) Devil have to do with cyberpunk? Still, I'd be down to read a comic that mixed up the best parts of William Gibson, The Matrix and The X-Files and told a biting satire of '90s culture.
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    I find it concerning that cbr used covers from a pirate's scans in this article. Watch the watermarks, please.

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    Oddly enough,while I'm a big admirer of Chaykin's art I hardly ever appreciate his writing (apart from American Flagg! and Time^2). There's a certain flow, even effortlessness to Chaykin's dialogue (I remember everything always being explained via dialogue between characters instead of narration), but ultimately all his characters and plots feel empty, bland and pointless. Chaykin as a writer doesn't know how to make his characters emote and plots resonate, imo...

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    I think Tim has missed one big theme of the series though, one which I feel gives the whole series a different meaning. The series is really about iconography and how something can become real if enough people believe in it. The whole first arc is about how the character of Cyberella came to be and became part of the global consciousness. Everyone knew who she was and everyone followed her 'virtual' life, through which she literately became a real person. Of course Chaykin played the reality of this very shrewdly by never revealing whether the main character simply adopted the identity of Cyberella or Cyberally simply used her as a vessel.
    In this same context it also makes sense that the devil would be a real person as to a certain degree he's the ultimate corporate icon and thus 'became real' ages before any other icons.

    So yeah I really enjoyed Cyberella at the time and for me it acted as a gateway drug to other more subversive works like those of Grant Morrison etc. And even though I was already a fan of Warren Ellis at the time due to Stormwatch and the Authority, around this time I started to look deeper into his work and got a better understanding of it.
    But unfortunately I also do have to say as a whole the series did have many flaws and as Tim said petered out quickly after the first arc. I feel the series greatest flaw was Chaykin and Cameron's inability or possibly lack of interest in taking the series to it's natural progression and instead it never evolved into what it kept promising the reader.

  8. #8
    Junior Member fredmanson's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lot 49 View Post
    That is not necessarily true...

    Lots of great comics went unnoticed and were cancelled due to poor sales...

    Sales does not equal quality...nor does a lack of sales indicate a lack of quality...
    +1,000,000,000.00

    Todays, "numbers" is the magical "word" to say that this comic book is a sure hit. Wrong. A piece of shit is still a piece of shit, despite its "numbers", despite the names linked to it.
    "Numbers", "numbers", "numbers". Always "numbers". WTF????

    Do comic books are only "numbers"???? If you think like that, you are a really close minded comic books reader.

    It's really time to be adult and see the things the ways they should be seen. And a lot of thanks to this column to bring to us, comic books readers, important informations about what was done years before.

    My dream: that "Helix" imprint should be "re-launched" under the Vertigo imprint. That way, Vertigo will be more secured for the months to come. And we will read hardcore SF and not these actual kiddy SF stories...

    In these 2010s, a return of the 90s with their "advanced notions and feelings" from these years is really a necessity. The 2010s are actually not the best years for comic books. Because of this f-word "numbers". Shits sales are more important than contents sales. No way for the US comic books industry to be revived without these strong bases.

    It's a true shame to pick into the 90s comic books collections to have a true content to read, instead of the actual decompressed weekly expensive shits that the main publishers are releasing. A true shame.
    2000 AD of course!!!
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  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by MrPenMonkey View Post
    I think Tim has missed one big theme of the series though, one which I feel gives the whole series a different meaning. The series is really about iconography and how something can become real if enough people believe in it. The whole first arc is about how the character of Cyberella came to be and became part of the global consciousness. Everyone knew who she was and everyone followed her 'virtual' life, through which she literately became a real person. Of course Chaykin played the reality of this very shrewdly by never revealing whether the main character simply adopted the identity of Cyberella or Cyberally simply used her as a vessel.
    In this same context it also makes sense that the devil would be a real person as to a certain degree he's the ultimate corporate icon and thus 'became real' ages before any other icons.
    I don't know if you read The Unwritten or not, but Mike Carey tackles a lot of those same themes...and very well, I might add...

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    I'll vouch for Truman's Black Lamb in this lot. I haven't read Cyberella, mostly due to Chaykin's commonly odd writing. It took me awhile to get around to the copy of Timebreakers #1 I had in my quarter bin fodder box, but when I finally got to it I really liked it. I've been keeping an eye on quarter bins since then for the rest of the series. Brainbanx has some sweet art from issues I've glanced, though I haven't read it yet. If you're truly going for a complete run of ALL the Helix books, then I wish you good luck on the first few issues of Transmetropolitan. It could be argues that that book is the outsider of the line, since it was actually successful. I maintain that the 90s, for all its gluttony, produced some great comics.

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