Thursday, September 25, 2014

Gotham

The only thing happened  when I watched Gotham that I wasn't really expecting.

I REALLY liked it.

Was it subtle? No.  But then again.... that's never been what comics books have been about, has it?

Ben McKenzie's quiet charisma is enormous.  The moral dilemmas, while a bit conveniently stark, are real and sophisticated. Once I find myself understanding--agreeing with--Carmine Falcome, I"m impressed.

Pictured: quiet charisma.

Sure, they took too many liberties in tying together closely all manner of terribly disparate and unrelated pieces of the Gothamverse.  Selina Kyle witnesses the murder of the Waynes, for which Poison Ivy's dad is framed (contrary to evidence found by forensic expert Edward Nigma) by the boss of the Penguin who is crippled for betrayal possibly in front of the Joker?  Really, was Harvey Dent sick that day?

But that kind of need to "tie everything altogether" is very typical of the small screen where they don't have the luxury of 70 years of monthly issues to spin our thousands of various yarns.  They need it all wrapped up in tidy tee-vee-sized ball.  And, as myth-making goes, the pilot does a good job, particularly with an actual, interesting origin for the Penguin.

It will probably become too crowded too fast, and, like Smallville, will become too penned in by the 'real myth. But for now, I am definitely on board.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

"That's just AWESOME!"

You know what the most fun comic book you're not reading now is?

I do, and I know why.  It's "The Awesomes" and you're not reading it because no one is writing or publishing it.

For those not already familiar with it, The Awesomes is a Hulu animated television series that's a comedic take on superhero teams.  That description make its sound like rather a played out concept, and that was my first impression before I finally broke down and watched a few episodes, which amused and entertained me greatly.  My fondness for the show has only grown as I have started sharing it with others (many of whom, like me, were at first skeptical).  



The show oozes with comedic talent; it is almost completely performed by alums of SNL (like Seth Meyers) or MadTV (like Ike Barinholtz), even the bit parts, walk-ons, and one-liners.  The unctuous villain Dr Malocchio, as played by Bill Hader, is a treat in every frame he's in.  

Unlike many such parodies, The Awesomes isn't derisive or demeaning toward the superhero/villain concept.  It's clearly affectionate and informed joking and most of the characters are very likeable (even the villains are -- to some degree-- likeable or at least, we understand why they do what they do even if we don't approve). 

That's not to say the show's not without bite. There's some wicked satire going on, and the show's by no means G-rated. But at its core, it's warm-hearted, respectful of the heroic ideal, and has a great mix of lively characters, whose interactions are comedy gold.  My favorite is Gadget Girl (an expy of Merry the Girl of a 1000 Gimmicks), who's a rejuvenated sassy-talking 1940s hero with a zest for adventure and a lack of delicacy that enlivens any scene she's in:



Not even halfway into its second season, The Awesomes has generated enough characters and throwaway concepts to fuel a comic book for years.  I hope that Hulu and Seth Meyers, the brain behind it all (and the voice of the Awesomes' leader, the perennially injured supergenius Jeremy "Prock" Awesome), takes the step of licensing it out, but I would read the CRAP of an Awesomes comic book.