Wednesday, November 19, 2014


...from my new comics/media.

  • Lex can accidentally develop a virus that gives people temporary random superpowers, but ONLY affects humans?
  • While the Joker can, during his downtime, develop a version of Joker venom that affects Superman and Wonder Woman and Flash, all of whose physiologies regularly reject such things?
  • And makes them -- with bizarre specificity -- feel like attacking Batman?
  • While growing a new face and moonlighting as an orderly without Batman recognizing him?
  • And, meanwhile, Lex can't even cure his sister's paralysis?
  • Am I the only person who thinks that the next time we see the Penguin in comics he just be an older version of the one from Gotham, who's been world's more successful in capturing the public's imagination than any version since Burgess Meredith's?
  • Hey, Wonder Woman; how bad is it when AQUAMAN tells you you're too prone to throwing a punch?
  • Is it really that hard to write Wonder Woman by just asking yourself "Would Lynda Carter do this?" every time you write a scene?
  • Anyone else confused as to why Swamp Thing would be even be a suspect?
  • Or how the League can't tell that WATER wiped out a village, particularly since there's a broken dam nearby?
  • Or why the scene at the dam felt like I was flashbacking on Avatar?
  • Wouldn't YOU have moved the statue-that-used-to-be-your-mother into a safer place? Is there no U-Store-It on Paradise Island?
  • If for no other reason than... aren't there any BIRDS on Paradise Island?
  • Does Harlan Ellison not like Robin, given how incompetent he made him in Batman '66?
  • Is there anything more disturbing than the Penguin taking DEEP whiffs of your underwear?
  • Shouldn't Harvey Dent be handsomer than that?
  • Cisco Ramon, are there no barbers in Central City?!
  • What kind of jerk DOES buy a yellow humvee, anyway?
  • Would Eddie Thawne be that *ahem* 'sexy' if they let him wear clothes that fit?
  • Have you EVER wanted to see anyone successfully hit a little girl in the face more?! I mean, OTHER than "Cat" on Gotham?
  • P.S. Your friends do not call you "Cat"; you call you  "Cat". Do you even have any friends?
  • Why do half the characters in Central City talk with NYC accents?
  • Except for Iris, who's from the Valley?
  • You wanted to see Barry drop Iris off the roof, too, didn't you?
  • And then travel back in time to do the same thing to Barbara Keane in Gotham?
  • So, Det. Eddie Thawne is substantially less bright than a kid wearing earbuds?
  • Why did Barry sit up just to deliver one line, only to lie back down immediately?
  • Since child-Barry says "gawt" and adult-Barry says "gaht'h" are we just not supposed to notice they have completely different accents, or does lightning give you abs AND a NYC accent?
  • Exactly WHY is it so important that no one in Central City know that their town is now crawling with metahuman villains?  
  • And isn't it awfully conveniently that every single one of them waited until Barry came out of his nine-month coma to start using their powers?
  • I wasn't surprised they altered Girder's origin, were you?
  • Were there an awful lot of people doing improbable things are the same moment the particular accelerator blew up?
  • If you were the Flash, entering a dark place, wouldn't you take four seconds to set up about a thousand flash-lights?
  • Was there some reason Flash didn't just hit Girder by THROWING something at him at Mach 1.3? Because you can throw something a LOT faster than you can run, you know.
  • Or just... dropping him in the very nearby river?  Because turning to steel doesn't really help you there.
  • Oh, yeah, dude; revealing your secret identity to a deadly superfoe who you now have to keep in solitary confinement for the rest of his life was... totally worth the incredible risk to you and everyone you know...?!
  • Was anyone else TERRIFIED by the end of The Flash?

Sunday, November 02, 2014

The Penguin for a new generation

I have heard some complaints about the Robin Lord Taylor version of the Penguin  on the television show "Gotham" as being insufficiently canonical.

For example...

Kind of skinny, isn't he?

But then again...

so was Burgess Meredith, the man who defined the Penguin for at least one generation.

Killing someone for a sandwich?  How could the Penguin be so vicious!

However, the Penguin is probably...

more cold-blooded than you remember.

He's rather fey, isn't it?  Hardly seems appropriate.

Then again....

the Penguin was never what you'd call "macho".

He's so ...pathetic.  He hardly seems threatening at all!

Then again.

that was part of made him originally so successful.

Ugh, the Penguin as some low-level mob flunky? How undignified!

Then again....

being an apparent pushover not taken by seriously by "real" gangster is part of his origin.

Why is he cooperating with the police? That's completely un-Penguin-like!

Except,of course,

for every time it suits his purpose.

No, "Gotham"'s version of Penguin is just fine, thank you.

Wednesday, October 08, 2014

Things That Made Me Happy

...on my television this week.

Yup; that's Central City and Keystone!

  • Really, Iris? You didn't back up your dissertation to the cloud? Come on, now.
  • Huh, Thawne looks like Barry, except with different hair color. Whaddaya know.
  • "Can I have part of your cookie?"
  • Apparently Barry Allen went to the Peter Parker School of Solving Your Parent' Murder Through Collage.
  • WHOA. You say "a little snug" as if that's a BAD thing...?!
  • Fish Mooney has been sleeping with Michelangelo Milano instead of Mario D'Leon? What a moron.
  • Defibrillating a guy who just got struck by lightning? That's TV.
  • "She's talks a LOT." ha!
  • Balloonman.  I honestly don't care what you think.  Balloonman was awesome.  Absurd? Of course. That's the point. We are watching Gotham slowly go round the bend.
  • "Cool."
  • And we never even saw what happened to guy Oswald wanted to ransom.  Because we didn't need to.
  • Wait, did Jason Schwartzmann just steal your laptop...?
  • Gotham sure isn't shying away from the "vigilanteism" issue, is it?
  • No, Tom, I don't know why you took your glasses off, either.
  • "What part of 'irreversibly evil' do you not understand...?!"
  • Barry went from 'what's wrong with me?' to "Awesome!" in nothing flat.
  • Well, at least her dog lived.
  • "More or less."  Heh. Reason enough.
  • Oh.  I finally watched "The Spirit". But the only thing about that that made me happy was that it ended.
  • Well, no, Barry didn't wear a bow tie.  But he wore a plaid untucked shirt covered by a too-tight sweater, which is the modern equivalent, I suppose.
  • I was TERRIFIED, knowing that the Penguin was behind that door.  They've made the Penguin terrify me.
  • Vibe. Or at least Vibe-to-be.  
  • Huh; it appears someone at CW has seen "The Gondoliers".
  • Gods need neither bank robberies nor starships.
  • Well, all existing problems for the Awesomes have been solved!  Yep.  All existing problems.
  • ALL of the 312 DCU shout-outs. But particularly Jitters.
  • Hm,  no, actually, you already had abs when they wheeled you in. I checked.
  • John Wesley Schipp. Love that guy.
  • Scarlett Johannsen managed to still find work after "The Spirit". Good for her.
  • Grodd. Heh.
  • Oh, so THAT's the connection between her and her?! Yeah, I did NOT expect them to go THERE. But they DOVE there.
  • Speaking of going there....we all knew that they WOULD with Harrison. But not in the first episode!!!
  • Gambi. Heh heh.
  • "Flash" had me sold the second that the opening flyover of Central City and Keystone looked EXACTLY as it should. Oh, and I WANT THAT MAP.
  • "So it's not boring." Heh, Reason enough.
  • The need for the mobs to stop Arkham from opening being both strategic and symbolic.
  • Yeah; I cried.

Sunday, September 28, 2014

I'm a Bee-liever

I just learned something:

The Red Bee is in the public domain.

This character:

Opened fire with WHAT?  It looks like a martial aid.  Must be a sex pistol.

believe it or not, belongs to all of us, belongs to the WORLD.

And yet there is no Red Bee film in development.  No Red Bee The Animated Series.  No Red Bee comics.  In fact, I can't even find Red Bee fan fic.  Meanwhile, there's a Ant-Man movie being planned.  

This shows what happens when you don't have an agent (or anyone who owns you as intellectual property).  All those of you so ardent for preventing copyright law extensions on such characters, let the fate of the Red Bee warn you all!

Thus, the legacy of the Red Bee languishes.  Truly, the state of the Red Bee is a tragedy much like global warming, is which something for which everyone is responsible is something for which no one feels sufficient responsibility.  

As do your descendants, Rick.  I mean your spiritual descendants, of course.

What would you do to bring back the Rick Raleigh version of the Red Bee? Would you give mutant bee-controlling powers, like Yellowjacket?  Would you include his much-maligned, but incomprehensibly well-trained, sidekick, Michael?  With his outrĂ© couture and poofy diaphanous sleeves would he be a would-be fashion designer out for justice? Given the fact that, in 24 issues, he was hit on the head and knocked-unconscious 14 times, would you make him a sidekick for Hal Jordan (truly, the Red Bee put the "hit' in Hit Comics)?  Or for Green Arrow, considering how ridiculous he is?  Would you sign your masterpiece "B.H. (for Bee hive, one assumes) Apiary", out of shame?  Is he really any more ridiculous than, say, the Green Hornet? Would you have him fight all the sort of crime Golden Age heroes used to tackle that's no longer on the radar of big-time Justice Leaguers, such as milk racketeering, jilted lovers, and medical supply-jackers?

I believe something wonderful can be done with this character (again).  I'm a Red Bee-liever.

Prove me right!

Thursday, September 25, 2014


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.

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Let's catch up with the Shield

As much as I love the Shield and Dusty....

there are some things that even I don't want to think about.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Where's Cecille when you need her?

And then there was the time Green Arrow was turned into a fly and had to fight off a giant spider.

Let me tell you, kids; however bad you THINK your comics are now...

just be glad you're not in the Bronze Age.

P.S. Add "turn him into a fly" to the list of 1001 Ways to Defeat Green Arrow.

Monday, September 15, 2014

The Rise of Skartaris?

If you're anything like me, you've given next to zero thought as to Skartaris.

Even as you read this, I can hear your brain scrambling.  "That's ... a planet?  A... Supergirl foe?  An ... evil island nation?"

Skartaris, for (all) those of you who've forgotten, is the subterranean mystical 'Lost World' that was the setting of the adventures of WARLORD (or Travis Morgan, as his mom calls him). Mike Grell, master of minimalist couture and extremity in stance, invented it in 1975.  It had all the regular stuff and then some: dinosaurs and names stolen from the collective cultural conscience,  like 'Shamballah", and... well, it's easier to show you:

It's outer world is as a divorced mom and a secretary at a state government office in Nebraska;
it holds all this inside it, all day.  "Ms Skartaris, are you listening to me...?"

"Warlord" has been seen for, oh, several universal reboots by now, and I certainly haven't missed seeing it.

Although I certainly HAVE missed seeing Travis Morgan.  Sigh.

The only thing that brought it to my mind was some research I've been doing into ... Villainy Inc.

Now, SURELY, some of you remember "Villainy Inc.', if only because of the hilarious name that you'd be proud to see in your stock portfolio.  

They invested heavily in animal print, polka-dot skirts, and metal cone bras.

It's the 'super-group' of female foes of Wonder Woman who kept her so busy in 1948.

In fact, they kept her... all tied up.

Since then, they've only had only other big arc, during the Jimenez run on Wonder Woman.  You know, the one with hunky dreadlocked diplomat Trevor Barnes.  This modern Villainy Inc tried to take over ...Skartaris. For reasons.  They were led by Queen Clea, ruler of a lost Atlantean colony (as mentioned in my previous post on "Rise of the Seven Seas").  I'm skimming this story, mostly looking at the visual redesigns of the Villainy Inc members when THIS catches my eye:

Sentient Ancient Atlantean computer viruses? Right, whatever. I'd still marry you in heartbeat, Phil.  Particularly if you were dressed like Travis Morgan.  Sigh.

Well, well, well. I'd completely forgotten that Skarataris is, in fact, supposed to be a lost Atlantean colony.

Could Skartaris be one of the Seven Seas?   Could Geoff Johns be bringing Skartaris back into the DCU this way?  What do you think?

Sunday, September 07, 2014

The Daily Planet

I've been inspired by Superman lately.  As more and more of DC Entertainment's movie plans become public, it's clear they're going to build a universe of cinematic heroes around Superman.  

The character has been struggling to find a new resonant characterization in the DCU's new continuity,   but in only a few issues, Geoff Johns has, as is his speciality, returned to the character to its roots in a way that still feels fresh and comes as a natural outgrowth of previous story elements.  

I also watched some of the Fleischer Superman cartoons,  which are still astonishing today in their beautiful technique and their efficient storytelling; hard to imagine the impact their had on their contemporary public.

In fact, I was inspired to make the following two Heroclix maps for him.

The Daily Planet Newsroom

Lovely balconies; such a sunny place, Metropolis.

The Daily Planet Rooftop

Statistically speaking, it's still the safest way to travel.

If you'll look carefully, you see that the two maps are correlated.  You can play by themselves, or you play them together at the same time, with the Rooftop being "above" the Newsroom. You can even have Clark change to Superman in a storeroom and fly out the window to appear on the map above!

Other innovations in these two maps are doors (which block line of fire but not movement) and flying terrain, which only flyers can occupy and which allows them to ignore the elevation of other characters.  Flying figures, however, are not required for playing on either map; but without them there will be a merry chase around that giant globe, I'll wager.

"Two-tier" map combos like the Daily Planet Newsroom/Rooftop are my new schtick in map-making,  facilitated by the fact that I have a two-tied glass coffee table that's PERFECT for playing them on.

What other vertically stacked maps could I do this way? What do you think of:

  • Wayne Manor/the Batcave?
  • Commercial Street/Sewer Below?
  • Innocent looking shop below/villain's lair above?
  • Spooky house/ second floor?
  • Church graveyard/catacombs?
  • A boat on the ocean/the sea floor beneath it?
  • The jungle floor/ the treetops above?
  • STAR labs public area below/ private labs above?
  • Wayne Tower lobby/executive suite?
  • Lexcorp lobby/executive suite?
  • Antique shop/ mystical lair?
  • Something independent, such as the Phantom Zone, the Fifth Dimension, or the Mirror World, that could be laid "over" any map?
  • Something I"m not thinking of that you will...?

Wednesday, September 03, 2014

Face Value

Ordinarily, I only post here on comics I enjoy (or enjoy disliking).  Seldom do I post on 'comics I think people should read or be aware of because it's important".

But today I will, for the sake of Face Value Comics, which is publishing the first comic book with an autistic audience in mind.

It's your basic YA steampunk setting, but the protagonist has autism and the book is written AND drawn with an autistic audience in mind.  

It not only entertains but helps young people with autism better understand their situation and the situations they find themselves in with other people.  It's not a throwaway PSA-comic from a big publisher; it's a labor of love by a creator with autism that's published in my own hometown of York, PA.  

I learned about it at the beginning of the year when I read about it in my hometown newspaper.  Its print run has been small and physical copies were sold in only a handful of stores around York.  But that obscurity changed overnight when the book and its creator were featured recently on NBC News.   Diamond is now distributing the book, so you can ask for your local comic shop to carry it. Or you can buy a digital version online and keep up with the new printings at the publisher's site.

Do you need to read it? Maybe not.   But I do think it's important that you be aware of it, in case you have personal or professional connections to people who do need to read it.

Friday, August 29, 2014

The Rise of the Seven Seas

There's been some online chat about what DC has planned to the "Rise of the Seven Seas" storyline for the Justice League, so I'm certain I'm about to say anything new in this post.  But it will help to crystallize my own thinking about it (and the many fantastic water-based Heroclix figures that such a story could at some point spawn).

If you don't already know, "Rise of the Seven Seas" is a Justice League arc that's been set up in the pages of Aquaman.  Just like the "Throne of Atlantis" arc; Aquaman, with his globe-spanning domain of the sea, seems to be an easy first-choice nowadays when DC needs an arc big enough for the entire Justice League.

The story is not just 'something for the League to do'. It's pretty clear that DC editorial (i.e., former Aquaman-writer and Creator-in-Chief Geoff Johns) intends to use it to expand the mythology that centers around Aquaman.  Just as he built the Seven Spectrum Corps around Hal "Rainbow Brite" Jordan, he (and the writers) are building 'the seven seas'--seven underwater races/communities/kingdoms--around Aquaman and his role as king of Atlantis.

Johns is quite capable of making up new stuff on his own (e.g., The Trench), but his specialty is taking abandoned or toxic piece of DC lore, cleaning it up and weaving it into a larger, more epic and coherent mythology. That's what he did with the Justice Society, with Green Lantern, and the Flash.  And he's been doing it with Aquaman.  Whether by artistic bent, fanboy devotion, or company shrewdness, he prefers making an ever-growing quilt than a new blanket of whole cloth. He views DC's past as a legacy of riches to be built upon, not a hampering embarrassment to be destroyed or a heavy yoke of continuity to be borne humbly.

What may very well  be happening in "Rise of the Seven Seas' is that Johns will use the story to reintroduce disparate aspects of DC's underwater mythology and tie it all together in a way never done (well) before.  The DCU will wind up with seven different undersea kingdoms of different cultures and races.  Atlantis is the First Kingdom, Xebel (where Mera is from) is the Second, and The Trench (the chompy creatures of the black deep) is the Third, and the statues in the pic above gives us hints as to what the Fourth through Seventh will be. All of them will be in Aquaman's province, of course (he's 'the King of the Seven Seas'),  but several of them will likely have historical associations with other characters as well.

For example, as many longtime readers will remember, part of the Silver Age Superman mythos was his relationship with the merfolk, specifically Lori Lemaris.  Strange how many of the important people in Superman's life have the initials "LL".

How do they--oh, never mind.

So one of the underseas races will probably be Merfolk Kingdom. There's no statue of a mer-person among the Seven Seas picture, but if you look closely you can see that there's a seventh statue obscured from our view, probably so as not to give away the return of merfolk to the DCU.  And, for the historical reasons mentioned, I assume Superman will probably be the member dealing with them in the Justice League Rise of the Seven Seas story arc..

Wonder Woman also had dealings with merfolk, particularly during her adolescence as Wonder Girl, when Ronno the Mer-Boy was a contender for her affections (even in adulthood, in fact).  

How sad is USAF officer Steve Trevor that his major rivals are a guy with no human genitalia and a giant amoeba.
Does Wonder Woman not know ANY Marines she can go out with?!

But I'll wager the undersea world we will revived for Wonder Woman won't be the merfolk.  It will be the forgotten Atlantean colony of Venturia, ruled by her Golden Age foe, Queen Clea the Imperious.

Oh, look, how shocking; domination and servitude.  In a Wonder Woman story.
Queen Clea was a real piece of work, even among Wonder Woman's wacky foes. One time she teamed up with the Penguin, Ibac, the Joker, the Weeper, the Shade, Dr. Light, Brainiac, et al., to fight the JLA and JSA, and enslaved Superman with a mind-controlling "Venus Girdle".  We need Clea back; once Wonder Woman comes back from her all-Olympian vacation of Mazzuchelli's run, she's going to need some substantial opponents.  A warmongering, slave-owning leader of a queendom of underwater anti-Amazons would fit the bill nicely, and I expect to see her going toe-to-toe with WW in "Rise of the Seven Seas."  Take a look at the second statue in the picture; sure looks a lot like Clea to me.

Golden Age Batman, contrary to what many modern readers think, wasn't all about the grim and gritty.  He and Robin did LOTS of weird, trippy stuff, including visiting an Atlantis all their own.  They fought Nazis there.  I guess it was closer than going to Europe.

The Riddler is SO envious of that kid's staff.

I don't imagine we'll see a Nazi-infested underwater kingdom just for Batman's sake (cool though that might be). But Geoff Johns could certainly choose to reintroduce, say, Aurania (rival city-state to Clea's Venturia) and give it any characteristics he wanted. The first status in the "Seven Seas" pic is pretty clearly a set up for classic Aquaman foe The Fisherman--the unique headgear is a dead giveaway.  

The Busiek run surprised even the Fisherman.

And, even if you include Kurt Busiek's fun idea of his headgear being a alien symbiote, the Fisherman is basically a thematic villain who would seem perfectly at home fighting Batman (or the Flash).  So I'm guess that one of the kingdoms will be the source of a modern version of the Fisherman, who will be dealt with by Batman or the Flash during the "Rise of the Seven Seas".  

The statue farthest to the right, the insectoid-looking one, is a bit of a mystery.  It doesn't seem to correspond to any undersea society from DCU history. I suspect that it, like the Trench, is a new creation by Johns, one to give trouble to Cyborg (who, remember, can now breath underwater) or possibly Green Lantern, because we know how GL fans love their weird alien creatures.  

Speaking of Green Lantern, I am hoping that--somehow--this arc generates for us a modern version of The Shark, a classic GL villain with aquatic origins.

One of the lesser known stages of evolution is Homo Hanna-Barbera.

The Shark was reintroduced when Johns brought Hal Jordan back to life, but hasn't been seen since the New52 (during which time Hal's been mostly off-planet).  The DCU isn't quite right without him, and that weak knock-off DC keeps trying to foist on us successfully ("King Shark") is certainly no substitute.

Perhaps we will see Name-Or again and his fantastic undersea world of Lemuria, who so memorably but irrelevantly participating in the Attack of Jean Loring's Brain?

What do you hope for or expect from "The Rise of the Seven Seas"...?

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Haikuesday with Grant Morrison

I will say this, though, for Grant Morrison.  Even as he veers toward the nonsensical, he tends toward the poetical.

His haiku today is titled,


Lex Luthor's drug-fueled
attempt to build a gateway
to alternative worlds.

What haiku do YOU have to discuss Multiversity, the concept of the multiverse, or Grant Morrison/Lex Luthor's drug use?

Monday, August 25, 2014

My review of Multiversity #1

At the risk of continual comics curmudgeonliness--

Grant Morrison's Multiversity #1, which I was looking forward to, is (of course) a disappointing, muddled mess.

It's another rehash of the pet themes he's been slinging around ever since his days on Animal Man (transquartomuralism, writer as god, reader and the reader's world as part of the story, realities beyond and alongside other realities, the music of the spheres, etc.).

My voice doesn't sound like that.

I think this one is left over from an old Morrison Doom Patrol comic.

Don't ask me, buddy.  I' can barely play Heroclix.

"Blah blah, blah blah blah BLAH blah blah!"

Apparently Grant's changed his name to Lex Luthor, now.

Me, too!  Ever since Gardner Fox TOLD us that in Sept. 1961.

It's called a key change, Grant.

In other words, exactly the same hodgepodge of the same concepts Morrison so spectacularly failed to make word in Final Crisis.

These are fine ideas (even if he's repeated them about 8000 times too often), but, once again, his fractured, kaleidoscopic viewpoint makes it impossible for him to tell a coherent story.  At times, in fact, it seems composing a complete sentence escapes him.

I'm sorry, sir; your application to the Brotherhood of Dada must be submitted on paper
in the form of a tone poem or collage.

And, sure, it makes a little more sense after a second reading. But doesn't EVERYTHING (with the exception of Identity Crisis)?!

In my hobby of choral shows, we call people like Grant Morrison "Concept Producers."  They can produce concepts, but they can't produce actual SHOWS.  They have fascinating, out of the box ideas... but THEY can't carry them out. Other more sensible, down-to-earth, coherent, logistically-oriented people have to be there to do that for them, or it all winds up a flaming mess.  Like Multiversity.

Grant Morrison is such a person. He needs an editor--or a writer-- to put his ideas into action.  Until then...

Finally, something Grant and I can agree on.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

No, I did NOT like Guardians of the Galaxy, thanks for asking.

I applaud my friend Julian Darius for speaking some uncomfortable truths about "Guardians of The Galaxy" and the larger phenomena of which it is a part.

I saw it with a large group of friends, and while most of them enjoyed the film very much, I, like Julian, came away with a very empty feeling (although I can't detail the reasons why as thoroughly or eloquently as he).  

You'd think this would be because I'm the president of the He-Man Marvel-Haters Club.  It's not.  No, I'm not a fan of Marvel, but they do have their role and it's not a small one.  And (unlike many actual Marvel fans!) I actually enjoy most of Marvel's movies.  I want them to succeed and I want to enjoy them.

But I didn't enjoy Guardians of the Galaxy hardly at all.

Nor am I amused by raccoons who think that tricking people in taking the prosthetic limbs of others is funny.

It was, perhaps, the single MOST predictable film I have ever seen, and tritely so.  Every plot turn, every action, every line, every 'joke'. Oh, there was an occasion event that made me laugh; "Nothing goes over my head" did amuse me, even though, like everything else, it was terribly obvious.  I think the only thing that surprised me in the least was the post-credits cameo.  And that... wasn't exactly a pleasant surprise.  

I'm not a natural enemy of predictability, either.  After all, I'm a horror movie fan, where the genre depends at least a certain degree of predictability. I'm a classicist; we don't ready ANYTHING where we don't already know the end of the story and most of the major plot points along the way. But GotG ain't no Greek play.

I don't think I have as high a set of expectations for comic book movies as Julian does -- I don't NEED comic book movies to be Greek plays -- but I don't need them to combine all the worst flaws of various genres (the treacly family-of-friends film, the cutesy rom-com, the explodey action flick, the universe-saving scifi movie, the plucky underdogs triumph plot, the rogues with hearts of gold travelog, etc.) and then polish them with millions of dollars and (admittedly) charming actors.

Perhaps I don't know WHAT I need in comic books movies.  But I know GotG had almost none of it.  

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Starting Work Early

What with her role in the forthcoming Superman (et al.) film, I've been thinking a lot about Wonder Woman lately.  In fact, I've been reading Wonder Woman Unbound, a good new history about the character.  

I have quibbles with some angles the author occasionally takes in order to make his points (such as defending Wertham's analysis of Batman and Superman to make his condemnation of Wonder Woman seem worse), but anyone who actually takes the trouble to chart the statistics on how much bondage there was in WW comics versus her contemporaries' deserves kudos.

Spoiler: It's a lot.

I've learned more than a few things from this book already, and it's made me reexamine some parts of comic history. For example, author Tim Hanley has made me realize that quite possibly we owe the continuing existence of super-heroes to Dr Wertham, since their resurgence in the Silver Age was prompted in part by his evisceration of the popular horror and crime comics they superseded. 

Another thing I've learned is the brutality with which the mad man-babe Bob Kanigher devasted Wonder Woman's "Mod Era" cast in the process of returning her to her mythological roots.

"Without my magic bracelets,
what can I use to protect myself from sniper fire?
Oh! Hello, I Ching...!"

Steve Trevor, in fact, gets killed twice (don't ask).  And the disturbingly gratuitous death of an expy of former Wonder Woman editor Dorothy Woolfolk is, at best, in bad taste:

Ah, 1970s pop-culture New York City.

Hanley rightly points out that war-hardened Kanigher was a prolific writer, not a careful or well organized one.  He was repetitive, forgetful, and indelicate.  But his writing was not without poetry...

One of its unsung,
unknown, faceless millions is
starting work early.

With this heartless haiku, Kanigher used an unnamed sniper, who dies immediately by falling off the building and whose motives are never examined let alone explained, to begin the destruction of the Mod Era. Note well, modern readers; the cruel killing off of supporting and near-main characters was not an invention of the post-Crisis world.

What haiku can you compose reflecting on this, the return of the new original Wonder Woman?