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Tom Spurgeon recently had a piece up on the not so subtle homophobic subtext of recent comics coverage in the mainstream news. And, really, it's a hard premise to argue against. Much of the coverage of the new Batwoman in 52 seemed to veer strongly towards the "is this bad for children" angle. Because, as we all know, learning of the very existence of homosexuals makes children gay. On top of that we had quite a bit of anxiety and hand-wringing over the fact that Superman Returns was certain to bomb because it had a (semi-openly) gay director, which would mean he would have Superman acting "gay" in the movie, which means teenage boys wouldn't go see it. And the ongoing "do you know what your children are reading" coverage of manga seems to have finally reached the "ew, yaoi, gross" stage as well.
Now, all of this is noteworthy in and of itself, though not terribly surprising given the fact that most comic fans tend to display homophobic attitudes. So, naturally, when the mainstream news comes to the comics world for a story, it's only natural that those attitudes translate into the stories. But, in terms of the larger picture, of how the mainstream media has been discussing gay issues of late, the homophobia of comic themed stories is really unsurprising. There's been a strong thread of anti-gay attitudes in entertainment and news coverage of the last few years. For awhile there lip service was being paid to "diversity" but as the political rhetoric has shifted towards extreme conservatism and venomous punditry, that no longer seems to be the case.
From "silly fairy" commercials to the media's utter unwillingness to challenge right wing politicians "gay marriage will lead to bestiality" rhetoric, the media narrative regarding homosexuality that appears to be dominant is that gay men and lesbians are, at best, objects of ridicule, and at worst a distinct threat to the American way of life. Within the last month a homophobic slur by a sports figure was treated, not as an opportunity to engage in a discussion of homophobia in sports, but as an opportunity to further trash the object of the slur, and gay baiting political ads are dismissed as simple campaign rhetoric. When these stories received any mainstream coverage at all, the tone was "how dare homosexuals get upset." Meanwhile, globally anti-gay violence appears to be on the rise, but very little coverage has appeared on the issue. The message that's coming through is that this is not a good time to be a gay or lesbian American.
Or, Getting All the Arguments Taken Care of in One Post
1) I don't care for Scott Pilgrim. Even if I could get past a story that simply doesn't interest me, I still don't care for the art.
2) Castle Waiting was good, but devoting half the book to one character's flash-back, and putting flashbacks within that flash-back, completely derailed the story's momentum.
3) I really can't be bothered to get upset over Canon God Exaxxion being censored.
4) Booster Gold has not suddenly become a selfish, egotistical glory-hound. Booster Gold was always a selfish egotistical glory-hound. The writers of 52 are not at fault for your inability to grasp the oh-so-subtle characterization the character has had in the past.
5) The Giffen/DeMatteis era Justice League is not holy writ.
6) Since when is Joss Whedon a feminist? Because, you know, I've seen his television shows and movies, and read his comics, and he's really only got about two, maybe three stock personalities for female characters, and they all strike me as rather cliche and one dimensional.
7) People who negatively compare All Star Batman and Robin to Batman Year One and Dark Knight Returns make me think that they must not have read those last two as carefully as they claim to have. All Star Batman is consistent in tone to those earlier works.
8) Marvel is really only publishing three good comics these days: Runaways, Young Avengers and Spider-Girl.
9) I will accept the argument that the new Batwoman is "masturbatory fan service for straight male comic fans" when two things happen. One, when the majority of the characters appearances involve heavy sexual innuendo (and the mere fact that she's a lesbian does not count as sexual innuendo in and of itself). And two, when the people making the complaint acknowledge that the Harley Quinn and Poison Ivy relationship in the animated Batman continuity is "masturbatory fan service for straight male comic fans."
10) Adam Beechen is the new Ron Marz. And by that I mean, he's the writer unlucky enough to be told to deal with an editorially mandated "fall from grace" storyline for a super-hero which has only served to alienate that character's fanbase.
X-Isle by Andrew Cosby, Michael A. Nelson and Greg Scott
This latest Boom! Studios release makes a good stab at transplanting the feel of popular semi-sci-fi ensemble television dramas, which is its strength and also its weakness. Much of this first issue is focused on set-up. A mysterious creature washes on shore, and another mysterious creature, along with some mysterious plants, are found in its stomach. A crew of scientists go out to sea to investigate it, and end up ship-wrecked, by total coincidence, on the very island that the strange plants and creatures come from. It's not a bad premise, but the chain of events is so poorly defined and randomly executed that it comes off as contrived. Why, exactly, are they studying cryptids in the middle of the ocean, and not in a lab on land? Was there some sort of map on the creature indicating where it came from that we weren't told about? Additionally the cast is very large and most of them spend this first issue in a determined race to prove which of them is the most unpleasant to be around. And to be honest, I would probably be more charitably inclined toward this comic if it wasn't for the fact that we've seen so many of these plot-heavy, coincidence driven sci-fi plots in the last few years that it's really a necessity to make a new entry in the field stand out more than The Lost World via Lost. Gregg Scott's art is nice though.
One of the thoughts I keep coming back to with "superstar" writers and artists, especially the ones that seem to be driving the plot-bus at Marvel these days, is this: today's John Byrne circa 1980 is tomorrow's John Byrne circa 2006.
Definitive proof Jimmy Olsen is heterosexual:
Oh, like any self-respecting gay man would be caught dead in one of those outfits!
I've been doing this for just over a week at work now:
That's a hand-drawn index of topographic maps of the Philippines on a Tactical Piloting Chart, in case it's not obvious enough (and really, if you can't recognize a hand-drawn index of topographical maps, how'd they let you out of kindergarten? Sheesh...).
Anyway, it's very, very, very time consuming and OCD-prompting. Which leaves me feeling un-smart at the end of the day. Which is a shame, because GayProf said some things about queer readings of texts that started wheels spinning in my head. It's a topic I think I need to visit, and fairly soon or all the thoughts will flee my brain. Also, the Marvel and Image solicitations for September are out in various places, and while I'd like to take a look at them, I find myself so disinterested in the output of both companies I can't even find anything to particularly annoy me this month. Well, except for the Civil War trade dress. Oh, and does the new Ms. Marvel series really warrant a hard-cover collection?
So, instead of doing any of those things, I'll throw YouTube clips at you:
Ashley MacIsaac's version of " The Devil in the Kitchen." He's the one in the kilt playing the fiddle.
"Pop Goes the World" by Men Without Hats. The first entry tonight in the "don't give me no grief for liking them" category. At the very least, they're my favorite band from Quebec.
A rare film clip of Phil Ochs.
Dolly Parton singing "Jolene" in concert.
Stereo Total covering their own song, "J'aime l'amour a Trois," in German.
The "Diamonds are a Girl's Best Friend" sequence from Gentlemen Prefer Blondes. Two questions are always brought up for me by this. One, am I the only person who interprets the song as a proto-feminist argument for the necessity of women making their own economic security? And two, why do people rarely talk about But Gentlemen Marry Brunettes?
Hearing that last song always reminds me of this next one, "Barbie Girl" by Aqua. This would be the other "give me no grief" performer tonight.
Full solicitations are up in various places. You can sort of tell that summer is over, as the rush to get new titles launched seems to have died down somewhat. But let's look at what's offered that catches my eye and/or scorn anyway.
The Morrison and Dini runs on Batman and Detective continue, and frankly I'll be happy if they're at least more substantive than the Robinson arc, the entire point of which seems to have been returning Two Face to his prior status quo of deformed villain. And people got on my case when I said the run read like filler...
Batman and the Mad Monk #2 gets an early lead as contender for "Best Cover of the Month"
But is then immediately upstaged by the cover to All Star Superman #6.
I'm the only person who cares that Blue Jay is returning in Action #843.
Ian Churchill does much to mitigate his anorexic Supergirl with the sheer comic-booky silliness of this cover to Supergirl #10.
And although I find Darwyn Cooke's seeming obsession with the Eisenhower era irritating at times, the cover to the "Absolute Edition" of The New Frontier is quite nice.
The one-shot sequels to the Countdown minis get collected as Infinite Crisis Companion, as well as an October shipping collection of the Superman Returns prequels. Way to capitalize on the moment there, guys...
There's an obvious candidate to fill this "mystery spoiler-free silhouette" cover to Birds of Prey #98. And just when I was starting to foolishly hope that maybe, just maybe, we wouldn't have to hear about the "horrible desecration to the memory of one of the most rich and compelling characters in comics history" until a comic with her in it actually came out...
I don't know why publishers keep giving Michael Turner cover assignments, yet he does one more cover for Justice League of America, and it's another one of those "mystery spoiler-free silhouette" jobs.
Since trying to guess who fills those slots seems to be de rigeur, here goes: Clock-wise from the top, we've got Hawkman. I just don't see Kendra with a big mace, nor do I see Turner obscuring secondary sexual characteristics on a female character's outline, plus Hawkgirl has her own solo book at the moment. Next we've got an extremely generic female outline that could be just about anyone in the DCU. I'm guessing the green bow is a misdirection and that's Roy/Arsenal/Speedy there, as one of the teases for this new series was that a "Titan" would graduate, and he's the only former Teen Titan so far unaccounted for in the One Year Later status quo. Next we have another female character with very distinctive gloves and some kind of top-know or long pony-tail. You'd think with such a distinctive outline that it'd be an obvious answer, but I'm drawing a blank. We clearly have a Green Lantern of some kind. I'm hoping it's John Stewart, as I just plain don't like Hal Jordan, and he, Guy and Kyle already have books of their own. The flying figure in the center says Captain Atom to me. Don't know why, it just does. And finally, the last figure, in the upper left, another gimmie, as it's the Red Tornado's distinctive collar and tornado-trail. Plus, you know, he's mentioned by name in the issue synopsis.
Jim Starlin brings back both Captain Comet and The Weird in a new Mystery in Space series that also ties in to Starlin's previous Hardcore Station mini. The Weird is one of those forgotten gems of the post-Crisis era, so it's nice to see that he somehow survived being atomized at the end of his mini.
Showcase Presents The Phantom Stranger. One word: YES!
If anyone tries to tell you that they're a comic book fan, and then they bad mouth the idea of Krypto the Superdog, they're a damned dirty liar and a hypocrite and you have my permission to sock them in the jaw.
Densha Otoko is one of three versions of the same story coming out from three different manga companies this year. There's this version, a version from Viz, and a shojo version from Del Rey. The story, about an anime nerd who saves a girl on a train from a groper, doesn't sound particularly compelling in any of it's multiple formats, but I understand it's something of a phenom. Frankly, the story strikes me as a borderline misogynistic fanboy wish fulfillment fantasy...or did I just explain to myself why the story is popular?
Snakes on a Plane: the comic. Just when I thought they couldn't get me to care any less about the concept than I already do.
The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen: The Black Dossier is at last solicited (when it will actually come out is still anyone's guess). I somehow doubt that this will prompt as much message board anguish as Lost Girls, but then once people work out what a "Tijuana Bible" is I'm sure we'll see some.
Fables gets a hard-cover graphic novel, 1001 Nights of Snowfall, as well as a twenty-five cent reprint of the first issue. See, now that's a clever and timely cross-promotion.]
There's also a bunch of truly ugly statues and toys solicited, but they hurt my eyes too much to examine them closely.
Apparently in Canada manga means porn. I'm always vaguely amused by American liberals who talk about our Northern Neighbor as if it's a land of endless freedom and liberty, when things like the above happen with appalling regularity. Plus, you know, they elected Steven Harper as Prime Minister.
Tom Peyer shows more nerve than I, and goes to the Free Republic boards to get their take on the "Superman is teh gay!" mania. It all pretty much goes about as well as you'd expect... (Is it terribly wrong of me to be disappointed that John Byrne banned discussion of Superman Returns from his message board? I really wanted to know what the always reasonable and open to differences of opinion posters there thought of that particular theory.)
"This is a subgenra of manga (comics from Japan) called yaoi: which depicts "boy love" or men or sometimes teenagers boys in sexual situations. This is a fad that has become increasingly popular with young girls 12-13 and there are even yaoi conventions now. I am concerned since this is now freely available at your local bookstore right alongside some rather innocent manga titles out in the open instead of the adult section where they belong. I was just wondering if any parents had heard of this and what your reaction was. do a wikepedia search or look on anime forums."
I particularly like the phrase "feely available." Because, you know, it's not like bookstores are there to sell customers items they wish to purchase without making judgments about those items or restricting access to them.
" Gross. That's just disgusting. What on earth would a girl find appealing about that? Not that anyone would find it appealing, but why young girls?"
Well, I know what I find appealing about "gay porn," and while I've heard various theories cited as to why young girls enjoy gay porn and/or yaoi manga, I'm not certain there is a singular, easy to articulate answer to that question.
"There is a lot of perversion to to be found in Japanese culture, they simply do not have the same values we (pretend to) have in the US. This does not mean that all anime/manga contains objectionable content, but there is still a lot to be found (and I wish that Yaoi were the worst of it, but it's not)."
Yah! Let's hear it for cultural supremacism! It's not that Japanese culture is simply different from our own, no, it's "perverted."
"Here in the US, many of our superhero comics are not suitable for young teens anymore, either. A recent news item was about how Batwoman is going to come back to the comics, as a lesbian."
Ah, yes. It all comes back to that somehow, doesn't it?
Yesterday, I found my long-missing copy of Gentlemen by the Afghan Whigs in one of Pete's CD piles. I think this is my third or fourth copy of the damn thing on CD, as all my previous copies got too worn to play anymore or "loaned out" and never returned. I can listen to that album all day, over and over, and never get tired of it. This is the video for my third favorite song off that album.
All right...I'm starting to see how those "Superman is teh gay!" rumors got started.
"Is Lois gone yet, Jimmy?"
Speaking of the latest debate that won't go away, I'm sure Tucker Carlson has some sensible words on the subject:
Warner Brother studios has bought advertising time on a gay cable TV channel and Topps trading card has produced a card with Superman literally coming out of the closet. Here‘s the question, is Hollywood wise to appeal to a gay audience in this case? Interesting. I don‘t think so, Max. At least—you know, I don‘t have a feeling about Superman being gay one way or the other. And if you want to market Superman as gay, great. But I think as a marketing strategy, simultaneously pitching “Superman” to gay movie goers and families probably is a self canceling proposition. You‘re probably going to turn off at least one group. I don‘t think you can—you can market to both at the same time.
Hmmm...interesting. I guess my "Gay Money" isn't the right shade of green, and is therefore less valuable than the money of heterosexual parents.
Meanwhile, in "The Land Where Sane People Fear To Go" aka "The DC Comics Message Boards" the topic of the day is: Would they ever make Jimmy Olsen Gay. Not sure why "gay" is capitalized there, but it's the DC Message Boards, so there you go.
"Sure!!!! Absolutely!!!!! Because comics are not about substance anymore they are about shock value and the short term sales they produce. Let's kill White Beetle and make him a hispanic character. Kill Ronnie Raymond and make Firestorm a brother. Turn the Atom's wife into a serial killer and hand over the Atom identity to an asian. Make Batwoman a lesbo and Jimmy Olsen a homo. Make HUGE press announcements about the changes so that it is big news."
White Beetle? Is that anything like White Stormy?
"there were many conplants about this when it was gonna hapen in the superman movie under jj abrams. I think too many people whould get mad like me !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Jimmy olsen all ready had a parterner of shock value he dated a black woman at the end of ruckas arc, but they didn't do much with it. what hapend to her i think her name was jerry."
So...interracial dating is only shown for "shock value?" What's the weather like there in the 1950s?
"The new Batwoman is much ado about nothing, as always. She'll be lucky if she can survive in a teambook. As for Jimmy, why do we have to go monkeying with things just to fill quotas? Should we make him a Muslim too."
Jimmy Olsen as a gay Muslim dating a black woman? I'd buy that comic...
"I see Jimmy as one of those last shreds of innocence in the world. The boy who looks wide eyed at his hero and dreams about the future. It wouldn't be the same if he was gay. In this world, "gay" is not "innocent."
So...gay kids can't look up to their heroes and dream about the future?
"Is this a serious question or are you just wanting to start a wildfire in the already crowded "Make this character gay" threads? Jimmy is obviously not gay from his first apperance until now. There has never been any clues nor reasoning to suggest that he was so why make such a drastic character change just to pigeon hole him to make a minority number count? Leave the character alone and stop trying to fill a roster."
But, next time, buy a shirt that fits. I mean, honestly. It's bad enough we've got Supergirl doing the belly-shirt thing, we don't really need anyone else associated with the franchise to be sporting that look.
Somehow that poor schlub Clark Kent gets Lois to agree to go on a date with him to the movies. Unfortunately, he lets Lois pick the film, and she decides she wants to see one of those new Superman cartoons.
I bet you can see where this is heading, can't you? Yes, somehow, the makers of the Superman cartoons have deduced details of Superman's life that have eluded all of Superman's enemies and Lois.
Suffice to say, Clark spends a good deal of his time in the theater trying to distract Lois from seeing anything in the film that would clue her in to his identity. Since the film openly states that Clark is really Superman, this could prove to be tricky...
Yes, violent outbursts are what I always call "fast thinking." Lois manages to enjoy herself anyway, despite Clark's blatant passive aggressive displays.
"Dammit woman! I can't take you anywhere!"
Clark continues to be a jerk...
You know, despite Clark's churlish behavior, Lois is actually acting like a decent human being for once. Oh sure, she's short with him, but who could blame her?
Ah, there's the horrible, emasculating Lois we've all come to love!
Yes, way to go Clark. Mission accomplished! You've once again managed to trick the only woman who will give you the time of day with your childish mind games!
Meanwhile, everyone else in the theater now knows that Clark is Superman...
Feeling slightly run down tonight. I had thought I might get it together to do a Closet Monsters post, but of the three films that you could loosely classify as "horror" that I watched recently, one I only watched because it had David Arquette in it. And he was, in fact, the only decent thing about Riding the Bullet. You'd think a film about a suicidal guy getting picked up by the angel of death while hitch-hiking would have potential, but no. Minus Man momentarily made me reconsider Owen Wilson's acting abilities. I've now learned that he can actually act, which means he has simply chosen to do schtick instead in all his other films. And Kikabichi was diverting, but it's a Japanese rubber-suit movie about a samurai werewolf. Not exactly high horror.
Speaking of horror, I've been haunting the horror sections of my local bookstores recently, only to be continually frustrated. I keep going in looking for the next Mark Danielewski or Phil Rickman, but what I keep finding are people desperate to be the next Laurell Hamilton. It's a complaint I make often enough, but it bears repeating; I wish the authors of these endless series of romantic vampire novels would just go ahead and name their heroines "Mary Sue." It's not as if it's not obvious that's what they're doing anyway.
I was heavily distracted by this thread today, though. It's massive, and gamer humor in it's purest form can easily over-whelm you. If I wasn't feeling utterly brain-dead today I might try my hand at making a motivational poster. But, no. (And I'm looking at role-playing stuff because I'm being...emphatically encouraged to start playing again after a prolonged hiatus. And I feel slightly out of touch with what's going on. All I really know anymore is that the MMO version of D&D struck me as an even more frustrating version of Guild Wars. That's how out of touch I am.) [And yes, I did the Gaymer survey, focused on gay video game players. Taking the survey, I kept asking myself, "Okay, I play a couple hours a day, maybe, three or four days a week, just to have fun...who the hell is answering 'yes' to some of these question?"]
Part of my ennui has been the result of feeling a bit, well, put-upon as a gay man in America. Yes, I do so love my very right to exist being used as a cynical political ploy by a failing President desperate to shore up what remains of his party faithful. I do so love knowing that any crimes committed against me because of my sexual identity won't be taken seriously. I do so love being told that the mere fact that I am on this planet is an affront to God and man and a corrupting influence on children. Oh, and by the way, how dare I suggest, tongue in cheek, that a superhero comic might have gay subtext. Gayprof, unsurprisingly, sums the feeling up nicely as well.
At least Hank knows how to bring a smile to my face: (Alas, the Henry Rollins tearing Ann Coulter a new one video has been removed from YouTube...)
And if that doesn't work, here's Ed Fury reading Mad:
Warner Brothers really, really, really doesn't want you to think Superman is gay. Personally, I don't see what the big deal is. Superman has never really had the gay following that more queer-friendly heroes like Wonder Woman, Batman, the X-Men or Wildcat have. He's just a big, corn-fed, "All American" boy from the mid-West. (Okay, that's the type you see in "amateur" porn, so maybe he has a following after all...)
No, what I find curious is the lengths people seem to be going to assure the film-going public that there's nothing gay about Superman. It's like they're trying to fend off "Brokeback Krypton" jokes or something. But that wouldn't make any sense, after all, we all know how gay friendly Hollywood is, right? Right?
But, let's all be honest here. No matter how hard the studio tries to deny it, the film is going to come off as having gay subtext, no matter how often the studio forces it's semi-openly gay director to publicly declare that the film is 110% heterosexual, yessirree. I mean, first of all, it's a Bryan Singer film. The man has seemingly become incapable of making a film without heavy gay subtext. Then they go and cast a very, very pretty boy as Superman, and spend time worrying about the size of his package. And then they've got Kevin Spacey (who is himself absolutely, without a doubt, thoroughly 110% heterosexual) playing Luthor in, to put it politely, an over-the-top camp manner. The film is going to be very, very gay. Deal with it.
It's time once again to unfairly judge upcoming films based on how the studio has chosen to advertise them. I know, it's such an unreasonable standard, expecting the people who make the film to give you a reason to spend your money on seeing it, not to mention the hassle of long lines at the box office, the expense of gas and the downright rude and obnoxious behavior of the other patrons. The scale is simple enough. Full Price means that the movie looks like it's worthwhile. A Rental is a film that looks like it's okay, but nothing to get excited about. Cable is short for Dear God, Someone Has Tied Me To A Chair And Is Forcing Me To Watch This Horrible Film On Cable.
Full Price District B13: Oh, this will be gloriously stupid. I can feel it in my bones. But then, I like Euro-action films. They tend to have a sense of style and the absurd that American action films just lack. And really, gangs with nuclear weapons? Dementedly dumb set-up. That there look to be lots of men running around without shirts on is only a bonus.
Lady in the Water: Shymalan's films tend to alternate between "good" and "bad" for me. Trouble is, my feelings on which are his "good" films and which are "bad" are at odds with most other peoples. I thought Signs was one of the stupidest films I'd ever had the misfortune of seeing, but I didn't think The Village was horrible. History has shown that I will hate this film and everyone else will love it, but there looks to be enough of a departure from his previous schtick that this may have an outside chance of being enjoyable. In which case, everyone else will hate it.
Dead Man's Shoes: I've learned to be slightly leery of the more purposefully "arty" thrillers, as they tend to be very long and very slow. But this English revenge drama looks to have potential. If only it didn't appear to have completely bypassed my neck of the woods.
Happy Feet: It's penguins. They sing and dance. Of course I'm going to see it. My only hope is that they keep Robin Williams' role as small as possible.
Superman Returns: The more images from the film I see in action, the more cautiously optimistic I become that the film may actually be good. I still think it looks to be overly devoted to Richard Donner's vision, and I don't think that the rest of the world holds those films in as high esteem as Bryan Singer seems to.
My Super Ex-Girlfriend: It looks like a cute, silly, superficial comedy that isn't pretending to be anything other than it is. I suppose it's interesting that the super-hero movie thing has now become mainstream enough that "original" characters such as the ones featured in Ultraviolet and spoofs of the genre can be taken in stride by audiences (if not warmly embraced, given Ultraviolet's middling box-office), but frankly I'm less interested in that angle than I am in seeing two actors I like in a comedy.
Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest: It looks a bit over the top, doesn't it? Just a tad? As if they're desperate to be more, bigger, other superlatives in comparison to the first film. Ah well, doesn't matter. That the first film had any merit at all, given that it was based on a theme park ride, was remarkable in and of itself, so this will get a look if only because of residual good will.
Rental Ratatouille: Wow, how utterly original. Rodents trying to steal food. Why, I haven't seen that since every single Tom & Jerry cartoon ever made.
The Wicker Man: And this, if nothing else, is proof that the remake mania sweeping the film industry needs to just stop. You can't improve on perfection. All you can do is make people curious about how badly the new film is going to miss the mark. And this one looks to be missing it by about a mile. By swiping the opening of The Changeling to give Nicholas Cage's cop some kind of angst, you miss the whole reasoning behind why he was selected to go to the island. I have no confidence that they'll let the original ending stand, especially as the trailer seems to be implying that Rowan is now his daughter as well.
The Devil Wears Prada: I have no particular interest in fashion or "workplace comedy," so this will move up or down the list based solely on the reviews and word of mouth. There's hints of a vicious sense of humor in the trailer, and that works for me, if nothing else about the film's set-up does.
A Scanner Darkly: What a remarkably ugly looking film. Look, if you're going to make an animated film, make an animated film. If you're going to make a live-action film, make a live-action film. Rotoscoping technology hasn't significantly improved enough to make this kind of hybrid look aesthetically pleasing. I also don't have much hope for the film being, you know, good. So far, Barjo has been the only film based on a Philip K. Dick novel that I thought got the tone and ideas of the book translated accurately to screen.
The Zodiac: I'm just throwing this up there because I have nothing in particular to say about it, other than that it just screams out "rental" to me every time I see it mentioned anywhere. Some films are just like that.
Cable Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Beginning: A prequel? A prequel to the remake of one of the seminal horror films? An utterly unnecessary prequel to the remake of the one of the seminal horror films that works partly because the core concept is so simple and visceral? I'm not even sure there are words in the English language to describe what a stupid idea this film is.
How to Eat Fried Worms: I hated this book, and I hate how dumbed down children's movies have become, so this is pretty much a guaranteed miss.
Cars: A movie about a car that "learns an important lesson about what's really important." I don't like that stupid, lame, hackneyed, tired cliche when it shows up in live-action films, what the hell kind of sense does it make to transport that over-used plot to a movie about cars? Cars that look suspiciously like a certain gas station's advertising mascots at that? I was almost, almost prepared to let this go as a Rental, and then the words "Larry the Cable Guy" flashed across the screen. And now I know that not only will I never see this film, I might have to give serious consideration to not going to see any movies playing at the same cinema that this is playing at, for fear that the sheer terribleness infects another theater.
Ghost Rider: I've mentioned before that the audience I was in when I saw this on a large screen did not react kindly to it. And really, who can blame them. It looks ridiculously self-important. It's a film about a flaming skeleton on a motorcycle. Who sees that image and thinks "big important drama?" They're trying to play it oh so seriously and full of gravitas, but they really should have just gone with the inherent loopiness of the concept.
Flushed Away: I'm not a big fan of CG animation at the best of times. It just looks too blatantly artificial and soulless to me. It doesn't have the character or personality of other types of animation. So for Aardman, a company noted for it's exquisite stop-motion animation, to make a CG film, just seems unspeakably wrong to me.
Peaceful Warrior: So, I'm guessing that Iron John and Who Moved My Cheese? will be the next books adapted to film...
See No Evil: The joke at work used to be that Chaos! Comics had as their target audience people who took wrestling a little too seriously. It's nice to see that same sort of asesthetic return to the market-place of ideas.
I'm terribly amused by all this anxiety over Superman's alleged gay appeal. Not as amused as I am by the sheer panic people who have never even heard of Batwoman seem to be having over the thought of her digging chicks, but still terribly amused that people seem to think that people won't like the new Superman movie if it looks "too gay." When it seems far more likely that the biggest obstacle facing the new Superman movie is that most people find Superman a bit dull.
I mentioned a while back that I was continually being frustrated by my inability to find any Candy Butchers albums in my local independent record stores. I did manage to find the precise album I had been looking for in a chain store. For $7. Which is less than what the indie store is likely to have charged for even a used copy.
Just felt like pointing that out.
I leave you with this nightmarish image, of Pippi Longstocking doing something unspeakable to a cow in an illustration from the 1972 German edition of Astrid Lindgren's children's novel.
Richard Blade is a mid-seventies "men's adventure" novel series, one of those books written under a house pseudonym that were hacked out as quickly as possible and are distinguished for their blatant misogyny and extreme violence. Think "Remo Williams" but not as classy.
But there's a certain theme to a lot of the covers. Here's another to clue you in to what I noticed.
Muscular man wearing next to nothing, smack dab right there in the foreground...half-naked woman just barely visible way out there in the distance. Huh...wonder if they were subconsciously going for a...different audience than most books of this type.
Pete and I went to see X-Men: The Last Stand this weekend. I'm really having trouble finding any enthusiasm to write about it at all. It was mind-numbingly mediocre, but not actually bad enough to be offensive. The best way to describe it is probably as a long series of missed opportunities. There were a few moments here and there where I had to stop and ask myself if what I was seeing on screen was misogynistic or homophobic, before deciding that bad writing and bad direction were more likely answers. The only things that really stood out as patently stupid were the utter superfluity of Angel and the complete and utter lack of believability in the Wolverine/Phoenix "romantic" story. Now, I don't like Cyclops. I've never liked Cyclops. This movie made me miss Cyclops.
The trailers were ultimately more interesting than the film itself. Ghost Rider, unsurprisingly, was greeted with laughter by the audience. Not an "oh, that looks cool" laugh, but more a blistering, scornful mockery of the very concept laugh. Snakes on a Plane was greeted with the exact same response. The only trailers that got a warm response from the audience were Superman Returns and My Super Ex Girlfriend.
The first issue of the new Wonder Woman series by Allan Heinberg and Terry Dodsen is coming out. I'm remarkably impressed with how few leaks of art and story have made it on-line. Of course, any information about the series would have been nice, but that was apparently too much to ask of DC. And no, I'm not "intrigued" to find out whether it's Diana or Donna or some new character in the title now, I'm just annoyed that DC thinks that's a selling point.
So, while you wait for the actual book, here's a little video compilation I spotted over at Center of Gravitas. (You are reading Gayprof's blog, right? Right?)
"I must admit, I am quite shocked at this new "spin" to cause diversity. I know a few people that have chosen that way of life, and they are very nice people. (I for one do not agree with it.) And to create a character under the guise it is going to include more culturally diverse people, is sad. To be African American, White, Oriental, Hispanic, etc- that is one thing. That is who a person is. They are born with this. Including all ethnic backgrounds is important. However, I would not group the gay population into that category. That is the life style they have chosen. Unbeneficial - even if you have no religion at all it doesnt even fall into the realm of evolution seeing as that is to always evolve to the better- eventually I mean.. wouldn't they die out? (Just stating facts) And for DC to say they werent expecting this much debate on the topic shows how little research was actually done. If they wanted to incorporate a gay character, then at least create a new one and don't bring it in under the same reason as having multi ethinic characters (God's Creation vs. Man's interpretation all in the same category.. scary thought) I am quite dissapointed and will be refraining from purchasing anymore comics distributed through DC."
Let's see, he starts out with an insincere expression of surprise, moves on to a blatantly homophobic "it's a choice" argument (bonus points for trying to sound nonjudgmental as he's judging people), a strangely out of context religious argument that, for some reason, attempts to use evolutionary biology theory to prove that homosexuality is "wrong," ending with an implausible promise to not buy comics published by DC anymore. Ladies and gentlemen, I do believe we have discovered the platonic ideal of a message board post!
Honestly, I'm finding great unintended comedy in comics boards lately. Between Batwoman and Lost Girls, I find myself eagerly looking forward to the next knee-jerk arguments about the morality of a work that so far no one commenting has read yet.
Besides, it's either force myself to find this sort of thing funny, or live in despair at the folly of humanity.
Couldn't resist one more:
"I must admit that I am truly disappointed that you decided to bring Batwoman back as a lesbian. I am truly disappointed that you succumbed to the pressures of the gay/lesbian movement. There is no need to bring this lifestyle before the minds or eyes of young children/teens. I had hoped to introduce my children to the comics I loved when I was a child. But now I want you to know that I will not buy DC Comics for any of my kids or students. Comics should be about fun, adventure, make-believe, not sex or sexual preferences. Making Batwoman a lesbian takes the fun, entertaining past time of reading comics to another level, and this should not be. Comics can help children to read and use their imaginations, however you take this away from them. I think you are making a big mistake."
Ah, yes, that angry mob of drag queens and bull dykes protesting outside the DC editorial offices, accosting editors on the street and threatening their families if DC didn't put some more gay characters in their comics finally had an effect...