Man of the Moment

Sean William Scott

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Thursday, August 31, 2006

Because Gay Men Have Bad Taste... 

This article at AfterElton talks in rather broad terms about why, in most cases, films aimed at gay men are so bad. I really have a hard time disagreeing with the basic argument here: most gay films are really, really awful. But then, most films are really, really awful. Add to that the fact that gay films tend to be low-budget affairs, and it's really not surprising that they tend to be somewhat lacking. Further add to this that most gay films fall under the rubric of "independent films," a genre which tends to attract the pretentious, and it's surprising that any gay films are ever any good at all.

A good example of this is the film I watched last night, O Fantasma. This is a perfect example of the "Emperor has no clothes" principal as applied to independent film. The acting is terrible, the script is non-existent, and the film ends with the entire project disappearing up it's own sense of self-importance. Yet it was highly critically praised. Apparently all your average gay film-goer needs to be convinced that a film is brilliant is a few dick shots and an explicit hard-core sex scene or two. If you're ever tempted to watch it, just watch a Bel Ami film instead. At least the acting and script will be better in that.

There are a couple of things in the article which make me question the aesthetic of the author, however. He calls Adam & Steve disappointing. I thought it was pretty charming, and one of the better examples of the gay dating film genre. If nothing else, the fact that it's not about 20-something twinks who magically find a pure and everlasting love without any complications whatsoever (other than a sexy rival) puts it miles ahead of most of the "boyfriend" films. Eating Out is also cited as an example of a good gay film, and this is where the author totally loses me. Eating Out is a terrible, terrible film. Again, apparently a couple of full-frontal nudes, and in this case a soft-core sex scene, are all it takes to win over gay men. The "gay man falls in love with straight man" premise of the film is offensive, the film is incredibly misogynistic, the acting is horrible, every single character is thoroughly and completely unlikable and unsympathetic, and the stupid, annoying made-up slang drove me batty after five minutes. And there's apparently going to be a sequel.

It's films like this that sometimes make me glad that gay films don't more often play in my area.


Wonder Woman #300, Part Four 

One of the more baffling "wouldn't it be cool" games that fanboys and girls play is the "wouldn't it be cool if Superman and Wonder Woman got together? You that way?" And no, no it wouldn't. Because both characters have far too much history and story elements built into their existing supporting cast and romantic subplots. Such a pairing just doesn't fit the tone for either character. But that's a rant for another day.

In this instance, as her plane plummets to Earth, Wonder Woman's most recent vision is of how her life would be different if, somehow, Superman had crashed into the waters off Paradise Island. Weakened by a cloud of kryptonite dust or something, I guess.

Dispensing with the rather silly gold and crystal carpets, Kal-El simply floats all the time as he recovers on Paradise Island and makes googly eyes at Diana. Disturbingly, there's a really uncomfortable element of ubermenschen to their courtship.

They have a small service in Metropolis so that all of Superman's friends can attend. Apparently none of Diana's relations are invited to this ceremony, despite the fact that Hippolyta approves of the pairing this go-around. And even though this is Wonder Woman's book, Superman's supporting players manage to remain in character.

Yep, Perry's an ass and Jimmy's an idiot.

Things get off to a promising start. I mean, what could possibly go wrong in a relationship where both partners have demanding, high pressure occupations?

Excuse me? Too dangerous? Who was it who saved your alien ass from drowning again?

An errant splash of lava from an exploding volcano results in the closest thing to fan service this book gets.

Creepy exhibistionistic super-sex. Ew.

Proving that Clark's supporting cast really are dumb as fence-posts, no one notices that Superman and Clark both got married to statuesque brunettes at the same time. And both Clark and his new wife have a habit of rushing off whenever there's a crisis.
The Daily Planet is really a terrible paper, isn't it?

Why do I get the feeling that dressing isn't the only time Clark's worried about "saving time?" It would explain the disgruntled expression.

Ultimately, the pressure of the relationship proves to be too much for both of them. They never see each other, and when they do see each other they spend all their time bickering over never seeing each other. At least there were no little super-children to be traumatized by the dysfunction that settles into the relationship before it reaches it's only logical conclusion.

Of course she goes back home to her mother. It wouldn't be a soapy melodrama without one last little cliche, now would it?

Diana manages to wake up and avoid crashing her plane, but she's rather disturbed by the vividness and unhappy nature of all these visions she's been having. She gets some sound advice from other Amazons, and a comforting call from Steve before, you guessed it, passing out again.

Really? You wonder if the Sandman might have anything to do with this? The "Master of the Dream Dimension" who has been spying on you, involved somehow? Who'da thunk it?

Tomorrow, someone's fetish is realized as we discover the fate of the Feminazi Wonder Woman.


Wednesday, August 30, 2006

It Never Rains But It Pours 

It would figure. The week I don't have a pay-check incoming, the week after the week I paid all my bills, both Alan Moore's Lost Girls and the Horrorclix brick I pre-ordered ship.

(I'm the only person on the planet buying both of those things, aren't I?)

And next month Pete's birthday, a Scissor Sisters concert in L.A., and the start of the new school semester for Pete all fall on the same day as well.


Wonder Woman #300, Part Three 

Wonder Woman again dreams of what her life would have been like if the events leading up to Steve Trevor crashing his plane had gone differently. This time Diana dreams of what would have happened if someone other than good old Steve had been a lousy pilot. Meet Trevor Stevens.

I wonder if this is Diana's subconscious letting her know something about Steve she won't admit.

Trevor's a bit...different than Steve. For one thing, he lacks even the basic sense of tact and courtesy that Steve possesses. I know, it's hard to imagine. But just look at the marvelous first impression he makes on Queen Hippolyta.

Oh no he didn't!

Damn! Polly got so pissed she came out of the panel!

It's hard to see exactly what Diana sees in Trevor, but somehow he managed to successfully get her to fall for him. This really doesn't say much for Diana's taste in men, that even in her fantasies she ends up with jerks.

Can you tell this was written in the eighties?

In this little drama, Diana didn't even bother going through with the contest, apparently. She just grabbed the outfit and the lasso and makes plans to take off with Trevor.

Cue Diana taking her plane underwater to recover a box that went down with Trevor's plane. He's oddly insistent that she get the "long, airtight box" out of the wreckage. But Diana's so besotted with him she barely notices. She barely notices the Amazonian armada bearing down on them as they surface until she flies right through it, wrecking ships and severely endangering her sister Amazons.

Cripes, woman, get a clue. The guy's congratulating you for nearly killing people. This is not a blissful "mmm" inducing moment, here!

Diana and Trevor head back to Man's World, Miami International Airport to be specific. Trevor's none too pleased to find a reception waiting for him (how did they know?), though Diana's naivete about the crowd around them is a nice echo back to her original arrival in America.

Turns out Trevor's just a common thief, and that airtight box contained a prototype disintegrator. Which he then uses to kill all those cops that greeted them at the airport.
Yeah, Diana picked a real winner there.

As glad as I am that Diana finally got a clue, I'm horrified that it took her this long.

It's hard to believe that Diana managed to fall in love with the one guy who's even more of a chauvinistic jerk than Steve Trevor.

Wonder Woman wakes from her latest dream to see the shadow creature that's been plaguing her hanging around. It runs away before she can fight it, so to settle her mind she decides to hand-deliver some of her wedding invitations to her co-workers.

Diana, the correct response is "Stop being such an egotistical ass, Clark.

Diana starts to think in far more detail than she probably should about Clark's love-life as she flies back to Earth...only to fall asleep again. I don't know about you, but I'm not sure narcoleptic Amazons should be flying invisible stealth jets in the first place.

Tomorrow, the dreams of lots of creepy fanboys is made manifest, as Diana discovers what her life would be like if she married Superman.

Yeah. You just know that's not going to end well...


Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Manga Headaches 

No, I'm not talking about the recent yaoi unpleasantness. I'm talking about Tokyopop's recent announcement that some titles will move to online sales only.

Even though I (thankfully) no longer work in comic retail 24/7, I still keep my hand in and assist my former employer with the manga orders. I really try my best to maintain as diverse and full a stock of new titles as possible, and research new titles as they're solicited as much as I can. But I don't have an unlimited budget and manga is not the focus of the business, so cuts and exceptions have to be made. Occasionally I screw up. I never ordered any of the Project X books, for example, because I couldn't imagine anyone possibly wanting to read a comic about the history of Cup Noodles. And then it became a hit with the discerning manga blogerati.

I've got a pretty good grasp, otherwise, about what does and does not sell to our customers. Manga novels don't sell. Sports manga don't sell. So-called "global manga" titles don't sell. A few Korean titles will sell every once in awhile, but the "original English language" stuff is almost always dead on arrival. So I keep in mind the types of material customers won't buy at the store when I set the order numbers.

But a great way to keep orders down on certain titles, or entire lines, is to pull stupid, un-friendly to comics retailer moves. I've been very impressed with Go Comi's line of books, particularly their production values. But I won't order any of their titles that have been Borders exclusives. Why should I? Anyone who wants them has already had four or five months to buy them at Borders. We haven't carried anything from Net Comics either, because, as I said earlier, Korean comics tend to be a tough sell with our customers and they solicited something like twelve first volumes their first month in existence. That was simply too much at once on unknown properties from a new publisher. I may start ordering some of their material, now that I've had a chance to see it for myself elsewhere, but I have no regrets for not letting them flood our shelves early on.

And now I have to decide what to do, if anything, about Tokyopop. I'm extraordinarily upset about this latest move of theirs. They've always been a bit of a nuisance to deal with, from an ordering and budgeting angle. They put out too much at once, their section in Previews is a mess, and now doesn't even include descriptions for anything more than one or two volumes old, and their production values are somewhat lacking in comparison to almost all their still in business competitors.

My first impulse, honestly, is to simply stop ordering any Tokyopop titles outside of what we need to fill pull-lists. Why should I take a chance on ordering a new series from Tokyopop if, two or three volumes later, they might decide that it isn't selling what they think it should be and make it an online exclusive item? Why should I attempt to build an audience for a title in the store if Tokyopop could decide that they'd rather cut out the middle-man and sell the title direct themselves? And what do I tell customers already buying a title when Tokyopop decides to take it exclusive?

I'll probably have to talk with the rest of the people who work at and operate the store before I come to a final conclusion, but I have a hard time imagining that anyone is going to have an opinion about what to do that's far different from my first impulse. Tokyopop really did a lot to usher in the current manga marketplace in the U.S., but their actions since then have been frustrating and baffling and have burnt out a lot of people's goodwill towards the company.


Wonder Woman #300, Part Two 

When last we left Diana, she had just fallen asleep in the throne room on Paradise Island. In her dreams, her mind drifts back to the day that she first met Steve Trevor, when he crashed his plane into the waters off the coast of the island.

A romance quickly develops between Steve and Diana as she nurses him back to health, much to Hippolyta's annoyance. She declares that as soon as Steve is healthy, he must return to Man's World, and a contest is held to determine which of the Amazons is most worthy of the honor of escorting the uninvited guest that no one really wants there in the first place back to where he came from.

It's a sequence we all know and love, with Diana of course beating out all other competitors. But, what's this? Heretofore unrevealed romantic complications as Diana's friend Mala reveals that she, too, is in love with Steve?

Diana shows her usual tact and sensitivity and makes time with Steve until it's time to leave.

Wait, he hasn't even bothered to learn her name after all this time? Cripes.

Hippolyta, distraught over the prospect of losing her daughter to Man's World, consults the patrons of the Amazons about what she can do to keep Diana in Paradise. Very little, it turns out, as "love must conquer" and there's nothing anyone can do about it. Unless, of course, there's a more vital role that Diana could fulfill than ambassador to the outside world...

Oh, dear...does that mean...

Steve isn't really very quick on the uptake, is he?

Steve really isn't very quick on the uptake, is he? How many hints can Diana possibly drop? "Everybody whose girlfriend's mother is still alive, raise their hand! Not so fast, Steve..."

Eventually Steve figures out what Diana is talking about. He's a bit put out that she won't be taking him back home, and not terribly taken with his consolation prize, an escort with Mala, runner-up in the contest and the understudy Wonder Woman.

See, redheads look good in the outfit. That explains Artemis, a little.

And he finally learns her name. And the healing begins, as he doesn't entirely shoot Mala's suggestion down.

Steve and Mala head to the United States, and Diana does her duty to her people and her gods and takes the throne in her mother's absence, shedding a single, solitary tear as she mourns the loss of the life she could have led with a chauvinist who'd barely have time for her.

It's very reminiscent of high romance tales of chivalrous love, where duty separates the lovers. Except that the guy is a total tool.

Diana awakens from her dream and goes to talk over her disturbing vision with her mother. Hippolyta's not particularly helpful, revealing that, actually, she almost did just what Diana dreamed she'd do, but changed her mind at the last minute. I guess Polly was more committed to letting her daughter make her own mistakes than we thought. Diana also talks about the Sandman's recent visits, and mother and daughter both agree that the guy's kind of a creep. To cheer her up, Polly suggests that Diana go and check and see how plans for the wedding are proceeding.

Putting the men in their place? That's putting a bit of a fine point on Marston's intent with the character, isn't it?

That's right Diana, it's utterly impossible for women to be sexist. Or racist. Or homophobic.

Tomorrow, Wonder Woman learns what her life would have been like if a different man had come to Paradise Island. Meet Trevor Stevens...


Monday, August 28, 2006

Links That Amused Me Today 

The DC Comics Message Board asks: why do comics cost so much?

I love these threads when they pop up, with appalling regularity, on message boards. You can pretty much run down the usual list of "ways to lower prices" that are always offered. Increase the page count (because publishers would get a better deal per page that way...what?), lower the paper quality, increase the number of ads, pay artists and writers less, reduce staff at the publisher to lower over-head...

Lowering the paper quality is my personal favorite, because it completely ignores the fact that paper prices are actually fairly high across the board. And printing comics on lousy paper would have such a minimal effect on final price that it really isn't worth considering. Especially when lower paper quality would more likely than not lead to readers complaining about the terrible paper quality.

Funnily enough, what I almost never see mentioned in these threads is that one of the reasons for "high" comic prices (and I put that in irony-quotes because it's entirely possible that comics are actually priced too low to really be profitable in their current format, but no one really wants to have that conversation) is the very small audience for monthly pamphlet-format comics. You can charge more for a niche-market specialty item, because the intended audience is willing to pay the price.

I also find the notion that increased comic sales would lead to lower prices touchingly naive. Because, let's face, if you can sell 100,000 units at $3 a pop, and then you increase demand so that next month you sell 200,000 units at $3 a pop, where's the incentive to lower prices?

The John Byrne Forum on how much Grant Morrison hates super-heroes

Because, you see, he's once or twice had characters make jokes about some of the sillier tropes of the genre. Most of which actually made sense in the context of the story being told. But, you know, context and common sense are strangers in the lands of comic book message boards.

I can't really extract any choice quotes because, honestly, there's no point. I've said it before, and it's worth repeating, but if you read a Grant Morrison comic and somehow come away with the idea that he hates super-heroes, I'm sorry, but you simply are not a good reader, because you've grossly misunderstood the point. Morrison loves super-heroes. Almost his entire output as a comics writer has been a celebration of the genre. Zenith, Animal Man, JLA, Marvel Boy, Seaguy, All Star Superman, they're all love letters to the idea of gloriously gaudy men and women in tights having weird adventures. Hell, Flex Mentallo alone is a pretty definitive statement on the transformative joy of super-hero comics.

Now, if you want to talk about writers who hate super-heroes, I can give you that list. Pat Mills. Garth Ennis. Warren Ellis. Heck, Nextwave is almost a treatise on stripping down the super-hero genre to it's stupidest and basest cliches. That it's been embraced by so many fans of the Marvel angst school of comics writing makes me wonder if everyone's in on the joke.

The 20 Gayest Video Game Characters

To be honest, I've not played more than one or two of the games cited. I do have to say, however, that I object to Tingle being named as the "gayest character" in video games. Tingle isn't gay. Tingle is just infuriatingly annoying. We're not going to claim him. He can sit out in the "too friggin' weird to be gay" hall with Tom Cruise.

I like that Bertram from Temple of Elemental Evil made the list, as I was pleasantly surprised by the inclusion of a gay romantic subplot in the game. It was a nice gesture for those of us who play RPG style games to have a romance story in-game that wasn't heterosexual. They mention Fable as well, and while I did enjoy that game, I was disappointed in the limited nature of the much vaunted "customization" in the game. Being able to woo and marry men was a nice touch (though it made finishing the brothel sub-quest while remaining a Kinsey 6 tough), though the heteronormative labeling of your partners "wives" was annoying. No shout-outs for Sims or Sims 2, though, which I found interesting, as those were really the first games I can think of whose open-ended nature allowed for gay characters.


Wonder Woman #300, Part One 

The 300th issue of Wonder Woman is a very special anniversary issue. Not only do we get an in-continuity marriage between Diana and Steve Trevor, we also get to see several "What If?"-type scenarios, in which Diana learns what her life would have been like if the events leading up to Steve crashing his plane into the coast off of Paradise Island and Diana accompanying him to Man's World had gone a little bit differently. But first, the set-up:

Diana has been having trouble sleeping, and lately a shadowy, intangible creature has been attacking her. After the most recent attack, she succeeds in driving it away, but only after the Sandman jumps to her aid from the Dream Dimension. It seems he's been keeping a close eye on her, in a not-at-all-creepy, sort-of stalker-ish way. Classy guy that he is, he tells her to dump her man if he's causing her stress.

After politely telling him to pack himself back off to Jerkland, Diana heads to work:

This panel doesn't really add anything to the story, I just thought that guy's thought balloon was funny...

At the Pentagon, Diana and gal-pal Etta Candy are called into a meeting with Col. Trevor and General Darnell to announce that Diana is being given a promotion. She's now, effectively, equal in rank to Steve. Everyone is excited about Diana finally being given the recognition she deserves for her years of hard work, including, apparently, doing most of Steve's job for him. Everyone except Steve, of course. The jerk.

"To be honest, I always thought of you as a sexless automaton that would pick up the slack at work while I go get busy with Wonder Woman. Hey, why are you leaving?"

Wonder Woman flies off in a snit, only to be once again attacked by the shadow creature. She's saved this time by her counter-part from Earth-2. Because, somehow, in the process of fighting the shadow creature, Diana crossed the dimensional barrier into Earth-2. Hey, that sort of thing happened before the Crisis. In any case, Diana takes Diana home, to help her work out her annoyance with her job and her man. It's there that Diana sees how happy Diana and Steve are now that they're married and meets their daughter, Lyta.

Look at Steve's face. You just know he's a minute or two away from proposing a three-way. "But, honey, it's not like I'd be having sex with another woman!"

"Ha-ha! Clark's an ass, isn't he?"

Well, it's not like Diana can cook.

Earth-2 Diana: "Whore." Earth-1 Diana: "Bitch." Steve Trevor: "Ladies, there's plenty of me to go around! Say, did I mention that it's not technically cheating?"

Diana returns to her own Earth, and decides that after seeing how "happy" Diana and Steve are on Earth-2, she tells Steve that she will, finally, agree to marry him. Wedding preparations are begun on Paradise Island (including devising a way for the groom to actually stand on the island for the ceremony), but the wedding is put off until after Steve, Etta and Diana Prince travel to a conference in Mexico. Diana's still not sure what to do about the whole secret identity thing, when the discovery of a bomb in the briefcase handcuffed to Diana gives her a tidy little solution.

A very low-key memorial service is held, and no one except her friends from work show up. Steve is too over-come by emotion to say anything, but Wonder Woman does manage to make it in the nick of time to deliver a stirring eulogy. After everyone leaves, Diana is left alone when the Sandman shows up again. He's still watching her, and in an effort to put her at ease, he relates to her his startling secret origin as a military scientist studying dreams and how to view and enter them. "Healthy young men, after all, often have sexual dreams which tend toward the explicit" he's sure to tell her. Because that's not creepy at all. She's not too thrilled to discover he knows the secret of her double identity as well.

After politely brushing him off, again, the Sandman leaves, but not before confessing his voyeuristic love for her.

Really, a threat? And he seemed so normal and well-adjusted up until now, did he?

Alone again, Diana finally manages to get some sleep, and sees a vision of what her life would have been like if her mother had found a way to keep her on Paradise Island. That will be in Part Two, tomorrow.


Friday, August 25, 2006

Batman on Skis 

The Brave and the Bold brings us yet another example of something we never see Batman doing anymore: skiing.

Green Arrow gets in on the Alpine action as well. In his usually petty manner, he just has to try and upstage Bruce. No hands, while firing a bow. Show-off.

Interestingly enough, Two Face can't ski. Or at least not very well.

This issue also features a guest appearance by the very rare "Green Arrow Brand Inflatable Love DollTM."


Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Barbarella a naked savage!

How can a thing so wrong be so right? When Roger Vadim decided to make a film based on Jean-Claude Forest's comic book, it seems his primary motivation was simply to get then-wife Jane Fonda filmed in various states of nudity or in fetish wear. In fact, the film opens with a "zero gravity" strip-tease, as Fonda strips out of her space-suit, her naughty bits barely concealed behind the opening credits. And that pretty much sets the tone for the rest of the film.

The barest hint of a plot is that Barbarella, apparently the best secret agent in the employ of the President of Earth, has been sent to the Tau Ceti system to find the missing scientist Duran Duran. Tau Ceti is in one of the uncharted backwaters of the galaxy, and apparently the inhabitants are still "living in a primitive state of neurotic irresponsibility" which is of some concern to the President as Duran Duran also vanished with his Positronic Ray, a deadly weapon of his own invention. After a cheap psychedelic space journey, Barbarella crash lands in the Icy Forests of Weir, where a group of children nearly feed her to their carnivorous dolls. Yes, really. Luckily, she is saved by the Catch Man, who rounds up all the children to sell them into slavery. As repayment, he asks Barbarella to have sex with him. She assumes he means to take a pill and hold hands with her, as the people on Earth do now, since doing it the other way fell out of fashion when it was "proved to be distracting and a danger to maximum efficiency." Fortunately for the people who came to see the film for naked Jane Fonda, Barbarella is eventually convinced that, sometimes, the old ways are best.

It's hard to tell where Ugo Tognazzi leaves off and the costume begins. Also, her face is about ten inches higher up

The Catch Man suggests that Barbarella continue her search for Duran Duran in the city of Sogo. Unfortunately, on the way there she crashes her ship again, this time in the Labyrinth outside of Sogo. Sogo, you see, is the City of Night, ruled by the Great Tyrant, and it is a place where evil acts of all kinds are performed to feed the Matmos, an intelligent psychic lake beneath the city that feeds off negative energy. So, anything not evil is exiled to the Labyrinth. In a nice touch, the Great Tyrant feeds the prisoners in the Labyrinth orchids, because the Tyrant is amused to be inconvenienced by the great expense of feeding slaves orchids. Now, that's evil. In the Labyrinth, Barbarella meets Pygar, last of the ornithithropes (i.e., an angel, and a blind one at that) and Professor Ping, who agree to assist Barbarella in her search for Duran Duran. But first, Barbarella has to help Pygar regain the will to fly. You can probably guess what method she uses to accomplish this task.

Pygar and Barbarella on her back. Again.

After a battle with the Great Tyrant's Black Guards, Pygar and Barbarella sneak into the city. Now, given that she's accompanied by a man with an eight foot wingspan, she doesn't quite pull off the inconspicuous thing, and after a series of misadventures with the people of Sogo, in which Barbarella is nearly raped but saved and then nearly raped again by a one-eyed alliterative lesbian, she's quickly captured by the Great Tyrant's Concierge and taken before the Great Tyrant. Who, naturally, turns out to be the alliterative lesbian (the eye-patch was just a disguise so she could go about her city incognito...clearly she took her disguise hints from Clark Kent).

In the future, lesbians have horns. Apparently.

Barbarella narrowly escapes execution by parakeet (which she declares "Really much too poetic a way to die") and joins up with the revolution, who agree to help her find Duran Duran if she lets them use the weapons on her ship to attack the city. That is, after the leader of the underground has sex with Barbarella. But he's a gentleman and wants to use the pills, much to Barbarella's disappointment. In any case, Barbarella is given the invisible key which unlocks the invisible door in the invisible wall which protects the Great Tyrant's Chamber of Dreams, the only place in the city in which she is vulnerable. As the revolutionaries go to prepare their attack, Barbarella is almost immediately captured by the Concierge again and strapped into an erotic torture piano, which will kill her with pleasure.
She burns out the machine. She's too much for it. But in the process she discovers that the Concierge is, in reality, Duran Duran, rendered unrecognizable by the severely aging effects of the depravities he has committed in Sogo. Discovering Barbarella has the key to the Chamber of Dreams, he forces Barbarella to take him there, locking both her and the Great Tyrant inside while he takes over the city, believing that both Barbarella and the Great Tyrant will be devoured by the Matmos for violating the cardinal taboo of the Chamber: the Tyrant must be alone while inside. Duran Duran's crowning is interrupted by the inhabitants of the labyrinth attacking the city, a short-lived revolution thanks to Duran's Positronic Ray. The Great Tyrant, however, is no fool, and she takes her vengeance on Duran Duran and her traitorous subjects by unleashing the Matmos into the city, where it devours everyone. Only Barbarella and the Tyrant are spared, as Barbarella's great goodness renders her indigestible to the Matmos. Outside the city, they discover that Pygar has also survived the city's destruction, and he, Barbarella and the Great Tyrant fly off to try and find out where Barbarella parked her space-ship.

Barbarella displays the proper place to store your weapons: in an angel's crotch.

Barbarella, I doubt, was intended to be a bad film. Terry Southern wrote the script, and there's a sense of self-mocking fun to be had. It straddles the fine line between "camp" and "farce." And while the allegedly erotic elements tend to come off a bit silly, there's still a Euro-Pop trashiness to them that manages to make them still work. There are cheap psychedelic effects and an, at times, frankly over-the-top "swinging" sound-track. But in the end it all sort of works. It's one of those rare films that's completely upfront about what it's doing: no pretensions to art, no subtext, no political allegory, no toy-line to sell. Just a sci-fi comedy with sex and naked Jane Fonda. It's compelling in it's innocent willingness to be shamelessly over the top.

Post-Coital Barbarella

After the Catchman (Ugo Tognazzi) has his way with her:

After Pygar (John Phillip Law) has his way with her:

After Dildano (David Hemmings), leader of the failed revolution, has his way with her:

She really, really looks bored in that last picture, doesn't she. Well, in case you think maybe she was just tired or something, here she is after Duran Duran's piano has its way with her:

She enjoyed the inanimate object immensely. So Dildano really is just incompetent at everything.


Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Novembers Comics...TODAY! 

DC for November

To be perfectly honest, there isn't much in the Superman or Batman titles that I'm terribly excited by. I'll certainly check out the Darwyn Cooke illustrated Batman/Spirit story, but I'm wavering on whether or not I'll get the ongoing series.

The only Bat-title I can work up plenty of enthusiasm for is Huntress: Dark Knight Daughter, the collection of pre-Crisis Earth-2 Huntress stories, reprinting mostly her back-up adventures from Wonder Woman comics. It's an era of DC output that I enjoy, and a character that I have an irrational fondness for from reading her adventures as a kid. This, combined with the recent Justice Society collection DC released, will keep my nostalgia urges in check for some time.

The cover for the ninth issue of Blue Beetle is great.

I will almost certainly be getting the Guy Gardner: Collateral Damage mini, with Howard Chaykin writing and drawing. It's purely for the creator, as I can take or leave Guy at the best of times. Although the presence of G'Nort is a plus.

Showcase Presents: Shazam! doesn't particularly represent one of the high points of the character's run, but there's still plenty of charming and entertaining stories in there.

I'll give a look to Stormwatch: PHD, as I've enjoyed Christos Gage's comics work in the past. I'm not a fan of Doug Mahnke's work, though, and I have no particular interest in any of the characters.

Garth Ennis and Chris Sprouse launch a solo, ongoing Midnighter series. I like both creators, I like the character, and if the book takes as it's approach anything along the lines of "Punisher if he had sex with men" I'll probably be happy.

I have as little interest in a Texas Chainsaw Massacre comic as I did in a Nightmare on Elm Street comic. I'm also doubtful that DC can have much more success with the licenses than Avatar did. They'll certainly sell more than Avatar's did, just because of market penetration. But Avatar also had about a dozen variant covers per issue to pad up their sales. I'm just envisioning these comics going over about as well as the Thundercats or Robotech licenses did for Wildstorm. Sure, big sales at the start, but then massive drops.

Mike Carey's Crossing Midnight is being advertised as a cross between Japanese and Korean horror films, and Miyazaki films. Those are two generally very good things that just don't sound like they'll go together. At all.

I'm not sure how I feel about the "Lynda Carter as Wonder Woman" statue. I know some Wonder Woman fans will probably get a kick out of it. But I look at it, and the first thing I can think of are people who will enjoy it a little too much. Not to put too fine a point upon it, that is.

I wondered why Superman looked so annoyed in this picture. Then I saw where his little plastic stand was placed. Clearly Kal-El is strictly a top.

DC's Beefcake for November
Jonah Hex #13

Warlord #10

Marvel in November, the "optimistically scheduled" version.

I'm guessing the ulterior motive for Ultimate Power is to shore up Squadron Supreme sales with a cross-over with books that are actually selling well.

Wow...I'm really not seeing anything worth mentioning in the Marvel solicitations, even to make fun of. Oh, wait, there is this:

But, honestly, it's just embarrassing that Marvel is putting this out.

Marvel's also putting out another batch of What If? one-shots, based on recent high-profile cross-over storylines. Somehow I doubt "What If? Any of these comics had been good?" is going to be a theme for any of them.

There's something called Demons of Mercy coming out, based off of an Xbox360 game. Because comics based on video games are always benchmarks of quality...Anyway, this little snippet attracts my attention:
Retailers: See this month's Diamond Retailer Order Form and the Marvel Monthly Deals and upcoming Diamond Daily on ordering instructions for ordering this series. This will have a limited print run.
So...Marvel thought the allocations on the Halo graphic novels were a good thing?

There exists an outside possibility that I may pick up the Wisdom series simply because Paul Cornell is writing it. I make no promises however.

Heh. In the solicitation for the New X-Men Omnibus, Marvel cites two DC titles as examples of Grant Morrison's work. So, is Marvel ashamed of Skrull Kill Krew, Marvel Boy and Zoids?

Essential Man-Thing once again stretches the definition of the word "essential."

Marvel's Beefcake for November
Iron Fist #1

Stan Lee Meets the Silver Surfer

I think, on the whole, I prefer DC's beefcake this month. Bondage helps, as do the low-slung clothes. Iron Fist is too heavily shadowed, and Norrin Radd too...shiny.


Monday, August 21, 2006

Diana and Tact 


THAT'S What Lois Sees In Him 

Clark can kiss you so hard you pass out. I'm not sure if that's exciting or just kind of creepy.


Friday, August 18, 2006

Marvel Changes Policy on Gay Characters 

I haven't noticed anyone else noticing this, from the latest Joe Fridays column:

JQ:...In many ways, the old policy over the last few years has just sort of faded away, so let me just say that there is no longer any policy.
NRAMA: And this is a new policy, or more accurately, the policy that may have prevented that the last few years is newly no longer in effect?


To be honest, I'm surprised. Marvel's done so little that's worthy of praise lately, that, I'm a little caught off guard to find that they've finally done the right thing. Now, granted, I'd be more impressed if they had never had the "no gay lead characters outside of mature readers labeled books" policy in the first place. But given Marvel's past history of dealing with gay characters...ahem, and ahem, to name just two...well, you can understand why I'm not terribly inclined to give them the benefit of the doubt when it comes to gay characters. But, still, whether it was sincere internal discussion or outside pressure, it is nice to see Marvel correcting this error.


Thursday, August 17, 2006

Trailer Reviews 

Pay Full Price

Crank: Jason Statham in a film which unapologetically advertises itself as ninety minutes of him kicking people and causing mayhem? Hell, I may camp outside the theater for it.

The Prestige: Of the two films about a supernaturally tinged mystery involving magicians in the Victorian period, this looks to be the better of the two, given the pedigree of cast and creators. It looks to be the one that's most willing to keep the tone honest and the plot on track.

Tenacious D in The Pick of Destiny: Just when I think I'm finally bored of Jack Black and Tenacious D...this has to come along. I suspect I'm still fairly tired of the shtick, but there's enough hints of genuinely funny stuff in the trailer to make me at least want to see it.

Stranger Than Fiction: A metatextual comedy that plays with the boundaries between fiction and reality, but without dredging into a cloying, "we're so clever" sense of self-importance? Are such things possible?

Beerfest: A new Broken Lizard comedy...yes, I'll go see it. No, I have no shame. Or pride.

Eh, That's What Netflix is For

Another Gay Movie: To be honest, the "raunchy teen sex comedy" was past it's sell-by date with Porky's 3, and the latest generation, as exemplified by the American Pie movies have been notably unfunny. And so the prospect of doing a gay spin on the genre doesn't feel me with much enthusiasm, especially with an unimaginative title riffing off the Not Another Teen Movie/Scary Movie/Date Movie convention. But, there are some funny comedians in here, and it is nice to see someone at least attempting a gay teen movie that isn't focused on coming out dramas.

Say Uncle: I get what this film is trying to do, but I guess I just don't see the apparent hilarity in a film about a paranoid anti-pedophile witchhunt scapegoating an innocent gay man.

Pusher Trilogy: I wouldn't generally be one to show much interest in an Eastern European Danish crime-drama with pretensions to high art, but the premise of interlinking the films so that what appeared to be a minor character becomes important by watching all three is the kind of thoughtful plotting and storytelling I appreciate, and I'm curious to see if the films can pull it off.

The Amateurs: Lovable small time losers team up to make a full-length amateur porn film? I have to admit, the concept is there, and they're playing it as an intelligent comedy for grown-ups. I half wonder if the forces of moral decency will feel compelled to weigh in. That might make for some entertainment as well.

Babel: "Hey boys and girls, can you say 'pretentious'?"
"Heavy handed political allegory aimed at boutique liberals!"
"That's right kids!"

The Fountain: Is there a movie in there somewhere, or just a series of pretty pictures and spinning camera-shots? Now, I like pretty movies, and I like looking at Hugh Jackman. But the barest semblance of a plot or story would be nice too.

Children of Men: This must be the season for blatantly subtle allegory on current political themes or something. I'm not sure there's much more to be said on "women being reduced to their fertility in sci-fi parable" that Margaret Atwood didn't already say.

Sleeping Dogs Lie: A sex farce from Bobcat Goldthwait? Yeah, that sounds good. Is it really about what it looks like it's about? Yeah?
Netflix is anonymous, right?

Infamous: Another Truman Capote movie. But unlike a tepid biopic, this one looks to have a stronger and more central focus, which alone makes me more interested in this one than that other one.

The Reaping: Bible-horror is very hit or miss with me. When it's good, it can be amongst the best in the horror genre. When it's's a utter disaster. I predict lots of red herrings and misdirections and "nothing is what it appears" and "nearly tragic misunderstanding of events narrowly averted by the heroine's sudden realization at the 80 minute mark."

The Black Dahlia: See, under normal circumstances, I'd be down with the idea of a period mystery based on James Ellroy's work. But when I see Josh Hartnett in the lead, somehow, the character loses credibility with me.

Night at the Museum: Ah, special effects in place of plot or character. It must be a Christmas release.

The Illusionist: The other magician movie. The one I have no confidence in the quality of because they're using connections to Crash and Sideways to sell it.

Make it Stop!

School for Scoundrels: I got as far as Jon Heder's first shot and decided that this film isn't for me.

Hollywoodland: Pretty much the entire cast of this film has steadily managed to make me bored and disinterested in their work over the years. It's like it wants to be L.A. Confidential, or at least Mulholland Falls, but lacks the talent or story to be anything other than a glorified E! True Hollywood Story.

Renaissance: You can dress it up as much as you like...rotoscoping still makes for ugly, stiff, clumsly looking animation. Oh, excuse me..."motion captured" animation. Feh.

Borat: People who should know better keep telling me that this is funny. Clearly my friends are insane.

Lucy You: How I imagine this film was pitched:
"It's about a pro poker player-which is all the rage with the kids these days, who's struggling to make sense of his life, with a hacked in romantic subplot so chicks will go see it too."
"Great, but can we make the lead have some daddy issues? That always makes for a compelling film."

Boynton Beach Club: An overly earnest sex comedy about people living in a retirement community? Yeah, I'm still thankfully several decades too young to appreciate this.

Lassie: Eh, I was always more into Benji.

The Marine: Aw, man, this promises to be a hilarious parody of every dumb, over-used, action movie cliche in the book.
What do you mean it's not meant to be funny?

The Grudge 2: I thought the original Japanese film was so bad, I never even bothered with the American remake. I can't say that anything I see here makes me anymore charitably inclined towards the franchise. Looks to be pretty much exactly what was done before.

Material Girls: Oh, look, talentless bimbettes on minute 14. Can't wait to catch them sharing the upper left square on Hollywood Squares 2010.

My First Wedding: Can we just go ahead and declare a moratorium on romantic comedies that base their premise on one person thinking someone is someone they're not, falling in love with that person, discovering the truth, acting angry for fifteen minutes, and then running to the person because it doesn't matter that their entire relationship is based on a lie spoken in an attempt to get into the first person's pants?

Santa Clause 3: Proof that Hollywood hates children.

Employee of the Month: Wow...Jessica Simpson and Dane Cook together. It's like an homage to mediocrity and unearned celebrity.

Marie Antoinette: "Cool. It's like Marie Antoinette was totally a party girl and really into having fun and hanging out with her homies and just having a good time, y'know? I'm so totally going to make her my, like, lifelong inspiration, so that I can be just like her."

The Guardian: Kevin Costner and Ashton Kutcher in a film about male bonding with no homosocial overtones whatsoever, uh-uh, nosireebob.
I kind of hope that, during the making of this film, Kutcher saw Costner and suddenly had a glimpse of his future. A sad, aging relic whose best work is far behind him.


Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Protecting Kids from Homosinuality 

I've actually gotten a fair few number of e-mails asking me what I think about Marvel's Editor in Chief reiterating his company's commitment to treating gays as second class citizens, I mean, protecting "the children." No, actually, I think I mean "Marvel's skittish investors."

To be honest, I wasn't going to revisit the topic. I said back when this was first news that this was basically Marvel insulting gay people. It's flat out saying that gay people are defined solely by their sexuality, and so any story with a gay lead character must, by extension, be sexual in nature. Which is patent nonsense, as anyone with even a modicum of common sense could tell you. But then, this is Marvel Comics we're talking about here. The exception Marvel seems to be willing to make is that gay characters can have "supporting" roles in titles, but they can't be the lead or the focus of a story. In cinema terms, this means that the largest role a gay character can play in a "non-explicit" Marvel comic is the "wacky gay neighbor."

The thing that really galls me is the arrogance Quesada displays. He insists that, by not releasing any non-mature readers labeled comics with gay lead characters, he is somehow protecting the comics industry from a new Fredric Wertham. Please. The forces of order and morality have bigger fish to fry these days than something as trivial as the super-hero comics industry. They've got smutty video games and pay cable shows to focus their energy on. On those rare occasions they do go after comics it's purely as an afterthought or because some zealous news producer has sought them out for a juicily outraged quote. No, Quesada's only real concern here is whether or not a gay character will attract bad publicity for Marvel. It's a cowardly, self-serving precedent to establish. But then, this is Marvel Comics we're talking about here.


My First Anime 

I used to watch these shows dubbed into Italian* when I was a kid.

Tiger Mask

I remember it as "Tigre Man." Somewhere I may still have some comics or action figures with this guy.

Candy Candy

"Candy" was huge as I recall. You couldn't go into a store without seeing something with that girl on it.

*(Navy brat. There's actually a big chunk of the early 80s that I know nothing about, because I simply wasn't around at the time. I'm probably one of the few people who can watch those "I Love The Noun" shows and actually not know what the hell the talking heads are going on about. This may explain why I don't have the toy and cartoon fetishes that so many other men my age have...I simply never had those toys or saw those cartoons. On the plus side, I did watch an awful lot of Japanese cartoons dubbed into Italian.)


Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Good Reads 

The Savage Brothers #1, by Andrew Cosby, Johanna Stokes and Rafael Albuquerque

Boom Studios publishes another dark-humored zombie comic, this time focusing on two, well, for lack of a more polite term, redneck zombie bounty hunters, dispatching the undead for money and beer. And while I'm for the most part fairly weary of zombie comics, this one brings a tongue in cheek sense of comedy to the enterprise that avoids taking the enterprise too seriously. The book also wisely strays from a zombies only apocalypse, incorporating weird fortean phenomenon, government conspiracies, lakes of fires, talking heads in jars, and virgin strippers, broadening the comedy as it goes. The end result is something a bit manic and preposterous, but that is it's charm.

Deadman #1, by Bruce Jones and John Watkiss

In this new Vertigo series all the baggage of the previous Deadman character is jettisoned in favor of a new character with a new origin and purpose, but the same basic premise; he's dead, but not yet moved on to wherever his soul is supposed to go. To be frank, that core concept works much better when it's stripped of a silly spandex costume and the need to cross-over with Batman from time to time. (As much as I like those Deadman/Batman team-ups, they do rather strain the limits of suspended disbelief for both characters.) There is, perhaps, a little too much time spent on establishing that something strange and mysterious has happened to the new protagonist, a romantically wronged pilot named Brandon, than on establishing why we should care about Brandon.

Jones does manage, in the end, to make Brandon just interesting enough to make us want to know why he's in a half-dead state, and the mystery of why the plane was crashed is presented in an engaging way. There's some meat to the story, in other words, and my only hesitation would be fear of having the story go on without answers or resolutions for too long a period. John Watkiss's art has a moody, heavily shadowed appearance that accentuates the tone of the story. His figures are angular, even abstracted at times, giving them an unearthly look that emphasizes Brandon's disconnection from mortality. It's a solid opening issue, but the real test of this new iteration of the character will be in the follow-ups.

The Boys by Garth Ennis and Darick Robertson

The book is almost review proof. If you like Ennis's gross-out black comedy, then this is for you. If not, you're better off looking elsewhere for your entertainment. Ennis revisits many of his favorite tropes here: super-heroes are idiots, the government is keeping sinister secrets, and ordinary people are taken advantage of by all those with power over them. It's more deliberately funny than much of his work has been of late, and you can easily detect the glee he is having in depicting horrible things happening. Frankly, it's the kind of material that warms my black little heart.

The combination of Ennis and Robertson is superb as well. Robertson's style has some very strong cartoony elements, but it is very expressive and retains a sense of reality. It's a style that doesn't shy from depicting how horrible the things that are happening really are, but is still able to communicate the comedy to the reader. It's easily Robertson's best work since Transmetropolitan. It's probably, on the strength of this first issue, one of Ennis's best works as well.

The Chinatown Death Cloud Peril by Paul Malmont

Malmont's debut novel is a tribute to the writers and the stories of the pulp age. It features Shadow creator Walter Gibson and Lester Dent, creator of Doc Savage, in a story set in the days of the Depression, at the height of the pulp magazine era, both becoming involved in strange mysteries that build towards a larger and more far-reaching conspiracy. Malmont does a good job with the period details, and he fills the book with supporting characters and cameos from the era, giving it a lived in and familiar feel. Those with knowledge of the personalities and period will get more out of it than others, but Malmont never assumes the reader knows who these people are supposed to be and fleshes them out.

The story is also, apart from the believable inclusion of real life figures, a good adventure yarn as well. It's briskly paced, and moves along with a great energy. Set pieces and motifs pay homage to the pulp period as well. Malmont even pulls off the tricky task of partially rehabilitating the "yellow peril" theme so prevalent in pulp works. He takes advantage of it, but avoids the overtly racist overtones and recasts the plot into a workable and realistic political angle that fits the mood, the era and modern sensibilities. If there is any particular flaw in the novel is that too many of the characters are too likeable and positively portrayed, even though history has shown that many of them were quite unpleasant people in reality. In the cases of at least one supporting character the difference between his portrayal in the book and his actual history are quite jarring. But that quibble aside, the book is entertaining, and for fans of the pulp heroes a must read as both a tribute and a recreation of the period.


Okay, Just One... 

If Comic Book News Was Written Truthfully

Marvel Editorial Department Staffed By Chimps; Pushes Major Cross-Over Event and All Tie-Ins Back One to Two Months

Well, it's either the chimps, or Hank Hall really wasn't supposed to be Iron Man...


Creepy Panels 

I realize that it's supposed to be a cheery panel about the importance of planting trees, but there's just something...sinister about the way that the kid in the foreground is gazing down upon those people.

"Yes...plant the tree. All is going according to my plan, you fools!"

And here we see Terrence Thirteen, once again thwarted in his attempts to prove that the Phantom Stranger is a conman. Considering how all the encounters between the two of them end with Terry there shouting in rage as bystanders look on as if he's gone mad, I'm shocked to learn that people tend to take Phanty's word over Terry's whenever the two meet...


Monday, August 14, 2006

Driving the Point Home 

Wonder Woman #205 is quite possibly one of the best issues of the magazine ever. It's so wrong, in such a gloriously delirious way.

Wow...the sheer and utter misogyny of that "all homely women" statement is mind-blowing.

Apparently sensitivity training is not a concern for the UN...

And Diana, Princess of the Amazons, is reduced to tears by the thoughtless comments of a man she's perfectly capable of ripping in half should she choose to.

And the cover is a thing of perfection as well.

Wonder Woman, in bondage, making a classical reference to tribadism, while straddling a phallic object. This is the point where it stops being sub and becomes simply text.


Friday, August 11, 2006

Meme Weekend 1 

Batman makes sense if you go here.
Tom Kalamakku makes sense if you go here.


Explains a Lot, Actually... 

So...Quicksilver is a Cerebus fan?


Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Context Means Nothing! 

I am sometimes accused of taking images out of context in order to make them seem funny or sexually suggestive. Such as in this panel of Lady Blackhawk, who in a bout of split identity has adopted the villainous identity of Queen Killer Shark. She's doing...something to Hendrickson, who appears to be rimming Chuck.

Believe me, in almost every case of a panel that I've posted, context doesn't make things any better. To wit:

Evil Lady Blackhawk walking across a human bridge...why, yes, that's a perfectly sensible and normal thing for people to be doing...


National Underwear Day 

Hooray! Today is National Underwear Day! Oh, sure, you could be cynical and say that this is only holiday fabricated by underwear manufacturers in a shameless attempt to drum up some publicity for their product...and you'd be almost certainly 100% correct. But, hey, it's an excuse for me to post pictures of men in underwear, so I'm taking it.


Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Martian Manhunter #1 

The Martian Manhunter is one of those characters that, despite a lengthy publishing history, has never really made much of an impact on readers. He headlined House of Mystery for a time, but the most prominent role he's ever had in comics history has been as a supporting character in various Justice League titles. The chief problem with the character is that, in terms of personality and powers, he's pretty much just a green-skinned knock off of Superman.

This latest attempt at making more of the character, an eight-issue mini-series by writer A.J. Lieberman and artist Al Barrionuevo moves the character into a darker place than he's been before. It starts with a classical "everything you know is wrong" approach, with the revelation continued over from the Brave New World special that J'onn J'onzz is not, in fact, the last martian after all, and quickly moves into establishing the new status quo for the character. Gone is the attempt to look passably human in favor of an entirely alien appearance. The formerly benign mood is gone as well, as this is a harsher, more intolerant of humanity Martian Manhunter.

And it's not as if the end result is a bad comic. Lord knows I've read worse. It's greatest fault is that it's merely a mediocre comic. There's nothing remarkable about the art or the story at all, other than an attempt to make the Martian Manhunter a harder-edged character. And that goal isn't a particularly bad one either, but the execution comes off as something of an over-correction. Yes, the character needed something to give him a stronger voice and role in the DC universe other than being just "the green Superman." But making him an angry anti-hero, feared by the public he's trying to protect while fighting a shadowy extra-governmental conspiracy hiding the secrets of his's a bit too Wolverine-lite for my tastes.


Extended Edition 

I promised the folks over at Blog@Newsarama that I'd keep the Meanwhile column I guest-wrote to PG-13 content, which means two sites didn't make the cut.

Meatcute is an excellent resource for gay themed comic art.

Here Now is another excellent site, with a focus on appreciating the male form, which also features regular comic reviews.


Monday, August 07, 2006

Lazy Post 

Sometimes I buy comics just for the covers:

I offer this picture up to GayProf, who recently moved cross-country with an anxious cat, and could probably use an Amazonian pick-me-up about now.

The benefit of buying comics for completely random reasons, like a beautiful Garcia-Lopez inventory image that has absolutely nothing to do with the story inside, is the hidden gems you find. Such as this letter to the editor, and Ernie Colon's response:

I'm kind of curious to see if that guy ever wrote back, now...

How lazy is this post? Here's a YouTube video:
I Don't Feel Like Dancin' by the Scissor Sisters.

Alas for you, those brave and hard-working souls at the RIAA were able to sniff out the video and had it removed from YouTube.


They Stopped Running Those Ads for a Reason 

This is Bill. Bill's bored. Bill doesn't have very many friends, because the other kids always make fun of him. He's withdrawn and a bit of an anti-social loner. Naturally, his parents are concerned. So they go out and buy him something to help bring him out of himself.

Hey, it's cheaper than a therapist.


Thursday, August 03, 2006

Brokebat Mountain! Get It? Hnur-hnur! 

So, how have the always open-minded and reasonable comic fans responded to the news that Heath Ledger will be playing the Joker in the Batman Begins sequel?

At Rotten Tomatoes they say:
"You've got to be kidding..."

"this is totally bull."

"'s not april 1...damn"


"Heath Ledger has never been in anything good. Brokeback Mtn was overhyped b/c of the content"

(Yes, that's right, Brokeback Mountain was just a cynical marketing ploy to feed the public's appetite for tragically doomed gay romances...)

"And now begins the second downfall of the Batman series...When the only positive things people have to say about Ledger is he was a good gay cowboy, then I think that should explain it all."

"Watching fans flip out about trivial stuff is always so entertaining..."


Meanwhile, over at Ain't It Cool News:

"god no..."

"Wrong wrong wrong wrong wrong wrong wrong wrong wrong wrong wrong wrong wrong wrong wrong wrong wrong wrong wrong wrong wrong wrong wrong wrong wrong wrong wrong wrong wrong wrong wrong wrong wrong wrong wrong wrong."

"Worst. Casting. In. A. While."

(I find this quote works well if you imagine it being said in the "Comic Book Guy" voice from The Simpsons. Only done without irony.)

"are u fucking kiddin me. people actually think ledger could be the joker...are u fucking serious...whoever thinks this is a good casting choice is a fucking idiot."

"hire anybody but Brokebutt Mountain Heath Ledger. What a weird choice. If they cast him, it will ruin the movie"

"'Bizarre' doesn't even cover it."

"Christ almighty, Heath Ledger?? And people sit around and wonder why the BO is in the shitter."

"go to God almighty himself, Joss freakin' Whedon, and ask if this queer mountain cowboy pretty boy is the right choice to play Joker, probably the most important and recognized of all villains in the history of awesome villainy goodness."

(This would be the same Joss Whedon who can't think of any good Wonder Woman villains to use in a movie, yes? The guy who can't think of a way to do a cinematic take on Circe, Ares, Silver Swan, Doctor Psycho, Cheetah, Paula Von Gunther, the Red Panzer or even frickin' Egg Fu? That Joss Whedon? You want his advice on comic-book villains?)

And again:
"I heard Heath would only do the movie...if they brought back the bat nipples on the costume.. He wanted to have something to suck when Batman frisk's him. He said the Black Leather turns him on and makes his cock explode with white Joker Juice that he will spread on his skin, to give him the white color he needs for the part."
(All class, this guy...)

"I didn't know that the Joker was a gay cowboy."

Across town at the DC Comics Message Boards:
"Great, another reason for me not to look forward to this movie..."

"Just long as the Joker doesn't try to get Bats into the 'pup tent' he'll be fine!"

"im sorry but i cant take the next batman movie to seriously come on broke back gothem city, no it will never work get some other actor to play the joker not that dude."

And lastly, over at the Killer Movies Forums:
"HOWEVER, if the media gets a hold on this and wants to tear it to pieces, they will, and THAT will hurt the movie a lot. ... Bad publicity = bad ratings = poor box office = no Batman 3."
(Aw, you're not a homophobic twit at all! You're just trying to protect the film from all those other homophobic twits! Who just happen to, er, agree with you...)


"Well if he does play the Joker I won't be seeing it... five more dollars I can spend on something else in '08!"

So, what have we learned? Well, mostly that playing one gay role forever invalidates you from ever playing a role in a super-hero movie. Thank God that the rest of the cast of The Dark Knight have only played staunchly heterosexual characters!

Like Christian Bale! No, wait, he played a gay reporter in Velvet Goldmine. Crap.

Well, there's Cillian Murphy! Nope, sorry, he played a trannie hooker in Breakfast on Pluto.

Let's see...Liam Neeson? No, he was a bisexual in Kinsey.

Gary Oldman! Certainly they wouldn't have the voice of legal authority, James Gordon, be played by an actor who played gay!
Damn! Prick Up Your Ears! He played a gay playwright. And Alfred "Doc Ock" Molina played his lover. It's infecting the Marvel universe as well!

So, uh..Alfred is a fairly significant character, right? And Michael Caine is a class-act from way-back. I'm fairly confident that he, at least, has never sullied his resume by playing a queer.

(We'll just pretend that he and Christopher Reeve didn't play murderous gay playwrites in Deathtrap, shall we?)


Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Sick Day Reviews 

I'm busy getting over a very nasty case of the flu, so I figured, as long as I'm confined to my sick bed for the day, I may as well catch up on some review comics.

Second Wave #5 continues the tale of post alien invasion survival, as the protagonists deal with a group of bigoted small-town law enforcement officers who have taken to the concept of martial law with great enthusiasm. It's another good installment of Michael Alan Nelson's and Chee's adventure serial, and the latest batch of new characters to be introduced should make for some more entertaining melodrama as the story continues.

Jeremiah Harm #4 brings the intergalactic terrorist Dak Moyra closer to his goal of destroying the universe. Keith Giffen's and Alan Grant's story continues the mood of dark humor and extreme violence from the previous issues, but new artist Rafael Albuquerque doesn't quite match the manic grotesqueries that Rael Lyra brought to the story.

Joe Casey's and Julia Bax's The Black Plauge is an exciting new debut, focusing on a growing conflict within the factions of super-villaindom, exacerbated by the arrival of a new super-villain using the identity of a long since retired villain. But naturally, things become more complicated than that, as agendas and goals are not at all what they first appear to be. The book moves along at a brisk pace, and Casey's writing is clever and engaging. He manages to make the world feel recognizably super-heroic without having to resort to obvious analogues of more familiar characters. And Julia Bax has an appealing, clear style that helps to convey that superheroic feel.


Tuesday, August 01, 2006

For Those Wishing To Avoid Thinking 

The first ten minutes of the live-action Death Note film that all the cool kids are talking about:

Internet jerks spoiled the ending of volume seven for me. The jerks. But in the process I discovered that there was some controversy over the ending of the series. An ending which was broadly telegraphed as early as the first volume of the series. But I guess an unwillingness to engage in careful reading or recognize foreshadowing isn't limited to American comics fans.

Emo Moose

Aw, go listen to some Fall Out Boy, you big cry-baby!


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© 2007 Dorian Wright. Some images are © their respective copyright holders. They appear here for the purposes of review or satire only.