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Wednesday, September 27, 2006
In No Mood To Blog
You know what I miss? Smurfs. Not the rather crappy cartoon series, though the film version of The Magic Flute is pretty cool, but the actual Peyo comics. Somewhere, packed away where I can't find them, I have some English translations of the albums, released during that big rush of Smurf merchandising in the early eighties. Anyway, here's the cheat guide to the Colecovision Smurf game.
Okay, you want to make fun of my taste in men? Here you go: when I was a kid, I had a pre-awareness-of-sexuality crush on the lead singer from Kidd Video.
I gather that The State is now available from iTunes. Thing is, I hate the iTunes interface and I'm not fond of the file formats they use either. So, I'm still going to be grumpily awaiting the long overdue DVD release.
And, lastly, but most importantly, here's the band I'm going to go see tomorrow night as my birthday present to Pete.
Don't worry, I don't plan on shooting pictures of nothing but toys in extreme close-up. That's Kevin's gig anyway. I just quite literally had nothing else in my house to take pictures of that would let me play with the settings on the camera in the hopes of taking an interesting and aesthetically pleasing picture. These were the three that came out best.
Ever wondered why, exactly, Wonder Woman traded in her eagle bustier for the drab "WW" design?
No, Diana, no! Go with your first instinct! Yeah, granted, cupping your breasts inside eagle wings was an...odd fashion choice, but anything is better than a W on top of another W. And trying to make it into some kind of feminist statement is a really sad way to attempt to justify doing what your mother says only to avoid hurting her feelings.
I mean, it was bad enough when you ditched the skirt...
Mickey Hargitay died this past week at age 80, and I actually intended to post a little something about it, but much to my chagrin, the only photo I have of him in my collection is this one.
His daughter, actress Mariska Hargitay of Law and Order: Special Victims Unit, bears a strong resemblance to him, I think. He really did do quite a bit to popularize body-building in his time. And his earl career success goes a long way to showing what good taste in men Mae West had.
I ended up at a Renaissance Faire this weekend. No, I didn't wear a costume. But I do now own a slightly homoerotic print of a minotaur licking himself.
Capsule review of this week's most talked about comic: "Civil War #4: making Infinite Crisis in it's entirety look like a work of absolute genius."
I purchased the DVD edition of Shock Treatment recently, and in hindsight the film actually did a fairly good job of predicting the personality warping effects of reality television. Here's the theme song, featuring Barry Humphries and Rik Mayall in supporting roles:
I think I've found the manga to fulfill that "cute art, strange comedy, peculiar situations" niche that I've been missing from my manga reading now that Tuxedo Gin is over. It's Reborn, by Akira Amano, and it's just so...strange yet endearing I think I've fallen in love with it.
Reborn is the story of Tsuna Sawada, a middle school student who's bad at sports, bad at studying, and incapable of doing anything to impress the girl he likes. He's such a complete and total loser, it's pretty much the only reputation he has whatsoever among his peers. Then along comes Reborn, a toddler hitman working for an Italian crime family.
Let that soak in a minute...toddler hitman. Not "midget hitman" or "strange creature who happens to look like a toddler, but is also a hitman." But an actual toddler, with a binkie and diapers, who is a hitman. And everyone just accepts this. Oh, sure Tsuna can't help but comment on how unlikely it is...but everyone else just lets it be.
Anyway, disguised as Tsuna's live in tutor, Reborn reveals that he is actually here to groom Tsuna into becoming the next head of the mafia family he works for, Tsuna, by an obscure quirk of genetics, happening to be the last living male relative of the current Godfather. In addition to his vast personal experience and hands-on knowledge of running a crime family, Reborn also has access to magic bullets. Yes, that's right, magic bullets. Just...accept it. The effect of the bullets depends on where you're shot with them, and Reborn is particularly fond of using the "Deathperation Shot" which gives someone the courage to accomplish anything they have regrets over not doing. Over the course of this first volume, Tsuna gains two soldiers in his growing crime family and Reborn gains a nemesis in the form of Lambo, another toddler assassin working for a rival crime family, who dresses in a cow suit.
So, to sum up: cute art, slapstick comedy, and a premise that is entirely insane. See, this is why I love manga.
Edited to note: And, oh yeah, it's published by Viz in the Shonen Jump Advanced line.
One of the questions that frequently comes up when Mike and I are at our weekly salon meeting is: "Are comic book fans actually crazier now than they used to be?" Because, honestly, you rarely saw stuff likethis in fanzines and letter columns.
The working theory we devised is that, back in the olden days, there was a barrier to the nutcakeiness in the form of editors. Before, to get your word out to other comic fans, you had to find an editor who didn't think you were a) insane or b) illiterate. Oh, the insanity was there, but without blogs or message boards, people couldn't expose their loonyness to the world within moments. I have no doubt that someone wrote nasty letters to DC about how this Hal Jordan upstart was besmirching the name of Green Lantern, who as well all know has only and can only ever be Alan Scott! It's just that DC put all those letters in their "fruitcake" file.
But, sometimes, a few slipped through all the same:
from Superman's Pal Jimmy Olsen #150
Yeah...kinda odd, sure. Maybe it's me, but that "I applaud you for putting a token black character into the book" doesn't strike me as very sincere, especially after the "for the love of God, don't make the black man a super-hero" material that precedes it. And...Deadman is the Earth-One Spectre?
But, oh, here is a thing of beauty, from Action Comics #263:
So, it's...comforting? to know that creepy fanboy matchmaking was going on back in 1960. Well, not so much comforting. More disturbing and unsettling. The weird mania for "Superhero X should get it on with Superheroine Y" fantasies having a long pedigree makes me shudder with revulsion.
Of course, they start out with a clunker like Batman Confidential. I've never warmed to Whilce Portacio's pencils, and I'm really struggling hard to see what the value of a "Year One" continuity title is for either the Batman or Superman franchises. Especially when we still have Legends of the Dark Knight running.
For some reason, John Ostrander and Tom Mandrake are doing a fill-in story on Batman. Huh. A fill-in. And not pushing back the books several months and killing momentum. Like a real business would handle a lateness problem.
Catwoman #62 promises to answer some of the "missing year" questions that have fueled the run of late. And the cover is very striking and pretty. I'll be very surprised if it survives intact to the stands, though. Someone, somewhere is going to panic over the idea of a naked baby.
Oh, if only this cover for Nightwing #127 wasn't a tease. Dick Grayson is right up there on my list of "Characters I Never Need to See in a Comic Ever Again."
I think only Kitty Pryde ranks higher than Dick Grayson on that list.
Klarion the Witch Boy guest stars in Robin #157. So that's another Seven Soldiers spoiler.
And I've found my new desk-top wallpaper.
DC? If you're paying attention, I would buy a poster of that. Or of the Frank Quitely Krypto/Superman cover from All Star Superman. Or of the cover to the first issue of All Star Superman. Yet another Alex Ross poster? No, thanks, honestly. No, not a Jim Lee Wildcats poster either.
Aw, Owen looks so sad on this Supergirl #13 cover. Don't worry, I'm sure Power Boy will turn out to be gay. I mean, look at the highlights.
Blue Beetle #10 contains more hints as to the badly and blatantly foreshadowed upcoming cross-over involving the New Gods, while Birds of Prey #101 spoils the new line-up.
I really like the idea of the DCU Infinite Christmas Special. The artists and writers are (generally, mostly) good, and it's the kind of updated idea that I think DC has been making good on lately. And I hate to say it after praising the dramatic improvement in Howard Porter's art I saw in Trials of Shazam. But...
That's good old fashioned nightmare fuel, that is. Superman looks like he's about to do something unspeakable to someone who just wanted a Christmas present.
While I'm looking forward to the new Justice Society of America series, I really don't like the bland, lifeless Alex Ross covers they apparently plan on using. I'm also not thrilled at yet another variant cover. Nor does this line please me, from the solicitation: witness the return of the world's greatest hero, and watch another one fall. Is Johns just incapable of launching a storyline in this title without killing someone?
Cute cover for JLA: Classified #30.
While this cover for the fifth issue of Justice League of America so strongly suggests Amazo as the blanked-out villain to me I strongly suspect it's a bluff.
There are several much appreciated, at least by me, reprints coming in the December/January window. The first, The Justice League of America Hereby Elects, collects several issues where characters join the Justice League. I particularly like the detail of Black Lightning quietly sneaking away.
There's also a second volume of Showcase Presents: Justice League of America, and more importantly, Showcase Presents: The Brave and The Bold-The Batman Team-Ups. I'm not sure I can put into words how much I want this book.
Manhunter comes back, along with a second trade paper-back and a relist of the first trade. All the good hype you've heard about this series is true. But, man, more variants. Granted, you've got your choice of Art Adams or Phil Jiminez, so it's not like you're going to get a bad cover either way.
Apparently Supergirl does indeed have to choke a bitch.
There, I made the obvious joke so no one else has to.
I'm not sure I'd want a fallen angel decorating my solstice tree...
Gail Simone's Tranquility about a retirement community for super-heroes, looks to have promise. And three variant covers. In fact, all the Wildstorm U titles appear to have at least one variant. This game of putting out variants to buff up initial orders is getting tiresome from both Marvel and DC. It's at the point where, for me, titles I'm inclined to buy are annoying me from the outset because of the variant. It suggests, backhandedly, that the publisher doesn't have confidence in the book without the sales bump from the variant. The only incentive variant I've ever purchased was the Turner cover for Justice League of America, and I only bought that because I didn't want half of a Benes cover interrupting a run of Turner covers in my collection.
As glad as I am that Alex Ross finally tried something different on a cover, boy howdy is that ugly.
The Boys #5 is a variation of the classic "full face shot" cover.
Well, I like it, anyway.
This is just begging to be turned into Christmas cards.
Yes, I plan on buying this.
DC' Beefcake for December
Not much this month. It's sort of sad that the best I can scrounge up is Claw from the Red Sonja/Claw the Unconquered: Devil's Hands trade.
Step One: Find a gay man whose name has been in the news.
Step Two: Completely ignore the reasons why his name was in the news.
To pay any attention to the news lately, you might be forgiven in thinking that there are only three gay men in America: Lance Bass, Reichen Lehmkuhl and James McGreevey. The celebrity status of Bass and Lehmkuhl isn't terribly surprising, not for the entertainment media that made Paris Hilton a house-hold name. They're young(ish) and fairly attractive (in decent lighting), and even though one's a washed up boy band member and the other was on a reality show once, it doesn't really matter much that their careers now mostly consist of going to very public places so that people can take pictures of them to prove that they love each other very, very much. And hey, they at least make for a more convincing couple than Tom and Katie. I'm not sure that being young, famous and gay is enough to merit an award from the Human Rights Campaign. And I don't even really begrudge the political expediency of their media campaign if all it accomplishes in the end is helping normalize the image of two men showing physical affection for one another in a romantic way, not in light of a culture that feels it's acceptable for airlines to tell gay passengers that if they touch one another they're going to turn the plane around and send them back to where they came from. So, while I might personally think Klaus Wowereit is more newsworthy, I understand the realities of American media.
But McGreevey...McGreevey, I suspect, is one of those cases where gay people are so desperate to have some kind of public figure to promote that they're too willing to overlook the seedier reality of the situation. To recap: McGreevey is the former New Jersey governor who came out of the closet after it became apparent that he appointed his (alleged) lover to a post he was unqualified for. This was during McGreevey's second marriage. Rumors have also suggested that the true motivation for McGreevey's self outing was not a sudden flash of guilt for lying to his wife and the public, or an inability to lead a double life anymore, but a desire to avoid being blackmailed. Is this worthy of being annoited by Oprah as a gay spokesperson? Especially when the "other man" in the story insists that it was sexual harassment, not true love.
Navigating these contradictory narratives is tricky. Is McGreevey a sexual predator? Is he a corrupt politician who traded influence for sex? Or is he an innocent victimized by an unscrupulous rentboy con-man? Or is he a little bit of each? He certainly has shown poor judgment in his choice of sexual partners, if his tales of tearoom tricking are to be believed. And the corruption evident in giving his (alleged) sexual partner jobs he was unqualified for alone should be cause to keep him out of any elected office. But in this day and age I have precious little sympathy for men who choose to remain in the closet, especially when they're married, with children, and having anonymous sex with strangers in restrooms and trading jobs for blow-jobs, so his "poor me, I was consumed with shame and confusion over my desires" sob story holds no water with me. That the mainstream rhetoric over his outing and new publicity tour for his book has focused on his "bravery," I'm particularly leery of the gay community's relative lack of real critical thought on McGreevey. Most gay news sites seem to be content to just let the mainstream news sources appoint McGreevey as the new face of coming out. The new face of gay America.
God help me, I think I'd prefer Lance and Reichen.
Mystery in Space #1 by Jim Starlin, Shane Davis, Matt Banning and Al Milgrom
I'm genuinely surprised that Captain Comet and The Weird would be the stars of a good space opera comic. It's not even as if either character really has much of a cult following, with The Weird having only appeared in a four-issue mini prior to this while Captain Comet has been relegated to guest and supporting roles in other people's titles for years now.
It's a very, for lack of a more precise term, "comic booky" comic. It's got a media res opening that serves primarily to give Captain Comet an excuse to talk to himself about his past and how he ended up in this situation, before starting in on a series of flashbacks allowing other characters the opportunity to explain who Comet is. In fact, this entire first issue is very heavily geared towards the expository. There's a "mystery" here, to be sure, but it's barely touched upon in this issue, just glimpsed in quick flashes of a capitalist church and Comet's death and resurrection. So it helps that all the exposition is entertaining. The book highlights one of the things that has been a strength at DC lately; taking the disparate bits of their long history and putting them together in new and interesting combinations, but while keeping the characters grounded in a recognizable and familiar state. This is especially on display in the reintroduction of The Weird and his new relationship to Captain Comet. There's something really quite charming in Weird's nearly meta-textual talking to himself as he recounts, to himself, aloud, his own history, and description of ritualized super-hero combat at first meeting.
Shane Davis's art has a slick, fan-appealing quality to it that serves the book well. Where it pales is in comparison to the Starlin penciled back-up. Starlin's elegant art looks a tad old-fashioned in comparison to Davis's, but it's simplicity is more engaging.
Rex Mundi: The Lost Kings by Arvid Nelson, Eric J, Jeromy Cox, Jim DiBartolo and Juan Ferreyra
I've only been reading this compelling alternate-history mystery series in trade forms, which makes the advent of a new volume somewhat frustrating as, after two movies, I'm no longer sure in which box the first two volumes may be. I've forgotten both small and significant details, and the series is so densely plotted that I'm no longer certain if things I don't quite recall are significant or not. Nelson does a fairly good job of covering the basics and reminding the reader of important details when they come up again, so in the end I didn't have too much difficulty in catching myself back up. Which is good, as I do strongly enjoy and recommend this series. I'm usually skittish about alternate history tales, but Nelson and his artists have crafted an interesting world in which occult secret societies flourish and conspire against each other in a world in which the Protestant Reformation never succeeded. A great many of the conspiracy elements that Nelson draws from have been popular in other recent fictions, notably in The DaVinci Code, but whereas those other authors insistence on "this is all TRUE!!!" renders me incapable of taking their work seriously, the deliberately and ostentatiously fictional nature of Nelson's story allows those elements to work. We can believe in a vast Templar conspiracy tied to the true lineage of the Merovingian kings, because once we accept that people use magic to light cigarettes it doesn't strain credibility.
The shifting artists on display in this volume is somewhat distracting, and some artists are certainly inferior to others. But they all retain enough of a consistency in their page layouts and character design that those distractions aren't insurmountable.
I recently finished Mark Gatiss's The Vesuvius Club. Gatiss is a performer/writer for the League of Gentlemen and has written for the new Doctor Who series as well. I enjoyed the book immensely and highly recommend it. Especially if you're at all curious as to what James Bond might have been like if he were a bisexual Edwardian.
I've begun reading Douglass Clegg's Mordred, Bastard Son, a retelling of the Arthurian legends from a decidedly non-historical point of view, and from the perspective of the traditional villain of the tales, Mordred. It's an interesting take so far, playing heavily on the Christian vs. Pagan elements of the tales. Casting Mordred as a gay man works here as well, especially as he's quite sympathetically portrayed as a victim of destiny, his mother's desire for vengeance and Arthur's ambition.
Bea Arthur and Madame argue over Rock Hudson
Oh, the jokes middle-America never quite understood...
And now, just because I can, a gratuitous picture of Jake Shears and Babydaddy:
(No one is allowed to link to this post without receiving prior written and notarized permission from me, in triplicate.)
To be honest, my initial reaction to the news that Joss Whedon is taking over Runaways is "Oh, good, an excuse to drop the title." My hats are off to those who can actually enjoy his work, but the bright spots are fewer and farther between. And I just don't have the patience for fan-fic and forced pop culture references anymore.
In fact, although I hate to promote the stereotype of the comics blogger with the irrational hatred of all things Marvel, nothing announced by Marvel in this too-cute for it's own damn good piece interests me in the slightest. A new Nova series? A Runaways spin-off by someone other than Brian K. Vaughn? Mighty Avengers crossing over with Guiding Light? Marvel doing more Classics Illustrated knock-offs? Straczynski on Thor? To be perfectly honest, most of those things are disincentives towards purchase for me.
And it's not quite a DC vs. Marvel thing, because very little in DC's announcement thrills me either. Okay, sure a Showcase Presents edition of Who's Who is an easy bet, and I'll probably buy the books, again, making it my second edition of that comic (third if you count the set I'm sure Pete has). And re-releasing Gon is such a stupidly obvious decision I'm honestly embarrassed for DC that they haven't done it before now. But still, much needed reprints are still better than yet another relaunch of Thor or Nova.
Oh, and before anyone asks, no, I'm not terribly surprised that the queer got killed in Marvel Team-Up. Nor am I surprised that it was presented in such a way as to imply that it was his "punishment" for being inept, particularly after he was crippled for pretty much the same reason. I guess it was just too comforting a cliche for Kirkman to resist...
Wait, wait, wait...people are surprised at the presence of "inappropriate" cheese-cake pictures in a comic written by Paul Dini? That features Poison Ivy? They're surprised that when Ivy is the villain in a Batman comic written by Dini there's over the top sexually suggestive situations?
I'm having difficulty wrapping my head around such willful naivete.
It's remarkably rare that a comic week comes along where there is so little that I plan to buy. Luckily, to make up for it, I was able to purchase Lost Girls, which Pete quickly took away from me and read for himself. He liked it, in any case.
I managed to make several unplanned purchases as well, mostly small and inconsequential trifles. Like about 30 or 40 back issues of late 80s Batman and Detective that Mike was desperate to unload at the store. So don't be terribly surprised if the site is Batman heavy for a little while.
I also purchased the DVD of Shock Treatment, the release of which I'd apparently managed to completely over-look.
And now I'm trying to pay bills on-line, an effort that is being continually thwarted by my bank's web-site's stubborn refusal to be up and working...
I'm not quite sure why, but every time I see this image somewhere they sell DVDs:
I think of this image:
And I'm not sure why. Okay, yeah, both have a slight similarity in the actor's poses. They're both sort-of, kind-of looking over the other's shoulders as they face different directions. And the typeface on the newer edition of the Redford/Newman film is similar enough to Brokeback Mountain's as to seem deliberate, but that could just as easily be blamed on unimaginative graphic designers with a misplaced fondness for all caps sans serif fonts.
Well, and there's the fact that both movies are about gay cowboys, but I'm still not sure why they look so familiar to me...
Sometimes, you just don't want to share your brilliance with the world. Your precious insights and witticisms are just too...special to be shared with the masses via your blog. But you have an obligation to the many thousands and thousands of people who come to your site daily to be enlightened by your gloriosity. So, you need something to keep the monkeys occupied while you refresh yourself from the very hard work that is blogging.
This is when the smart lazy blogger turns to message boards. It's like all the entertaining lunatics gathered in one place, and you can cherry-pick their bon-mots to entertain your audience. It's perfection!
If you're doing the comics blogging thing, a good place to start is TALK@Newsarama. The political threads especially are a good starting place. Don't bother with the comics threads too much, they're mostly sane. And every once in awhile you run into very special things like polls about which posters have the hairiest ass.
The DC comics message boards are usually a treasure-trove of scary-scary fanboys. Honestly, if I were a cruel man, I would suggest that someone could almost make a blog dedicated to reposting some of the more insane comments and threads that go on over there. The question is occasionally raised as to why, exactly, DC lets the boards run as wild as they do, given that it does tend to give DC and their fans a bad name. I think DC honestly has washed their hands of the boards and has just let them run feral as a kind of social experiment. I mean, let's take a look at some recent threads.
On the topic of "political correctness" in the new Justice League of America title (because a Justice League that isn't 100% lily-white is somehow a bad thing: COME ON! Do you really believe that there was no racial agenda involved? How can you say that with a straight face? Do you really think Black Lightning and Vixen would have made the team if they were white? No way! Their powers and themes are simply not special enough. Plus, keep in mind that Black Lightning and Vixen were specifically created in the first place (in the late 70s) to be "black" characters. Their actual powers were never really important.
Hey, yet another totally original "Brokebat Mountain" joke! So, Nightwing and Robin are on top of a building scooping out some bad guys. Robin says to Nightwing, "So, you ever fuc$ed someone in the a$$ before?" "No never have but I sure have thought about f-ing your azz. In fact since we have some time right now why don't we pack each others shi%?" says Nightwing.
With excitement Robin pulls down his uniform, spreads his cheeks and Nightwing goes to town on Robin's a$$. As Nightwing begins to do the "reach around" to Robin a news helicopter flies into view with a spot light on Robin and Nightwing fuc*ing a$$. As Batman is sitting in the Batcave he sees on the local news being broadcast live, Robin and Nightwing packin shiz. Batman yells out, "I knew it!"
The End. This story would be best told as a one-shot...one-shot of gizz to the face! hahahahahahahahaha
Marvel recently answered many bloggers prayers and started their own message board. It's pretty tame at the moment, as they seem to be heavily moderating it. But, c'mon...it's Marvel fans over there. When the fruitcakiness starts in earnest over there, there'll be no going back!
Right now we have to contend with threads about the worst mutant in which Gambit is only mentioned once, and Cable not at all.
The problems with the Ultimate universe: "you are wrong! ultimate marvel is a disgrace to marvel comics and i hate how they changed the story behind every good hero in marvel comics." "meh! i dont like new readers very much, i am kinda a new reader but i read the old comics first and how i loved them! i dont read ultimate marvel and dont like it at all."
"Because killing the elderly and children is too hardcore for the shitty "horror" movies that are too scared to be truly horrific."
"iTs usually the dUmb whitegirl who tRips and falls, taking 5 minutes to get up and hOller so much that she won't have enough breath to even eScape" --I have to admire this posters dedication to the concept of rANdoM caPitaliZatiOn
In a thread favorably comparing the remake of The Wicker Man to the original: "i never saw the original, and frankly i dont care too! normally the original's for movies like this are sooo boring and they are never as fresh or exciting as the new films so, all you remake naysayers can take a hike bc remakes rock and they aren't going anywhere!!"
The TalkBack sections of Ain't It Cool News are usually gems of unintended comedy as well. Of course, you have to read Ain't It Cool News to get to them. Your best bet right now are the sections about the upcoming Transformers live-action film. People seem to be...surprised that it looks like it's going to be awful. Really, a live-action film based on a twenty-year old cartoon based on a toy-line looks like it's not going to be a triumph of artisitic genius? Whoda thunk it? "It becomes harder for me...to cling so desperately to my childhood in a pathetic fashion as it continues to be @$$ raped. I may have to grow up now."
"I just get angrier and angrier every time I see this kind of shit. It looks like Optimus is on his way to a ho down for some moonshine, and line dancing. If i ever come across micheal bay in real life I will throw hot coffee in his fucking face."
"THEY FUCKED WITH HIS FUCKING EYES!!!! HOW HARD IS IT TO GIVE OPTIMUS FUCKING SLITS FOR HIS EYES AND BLUEISH GLOW EMMINATING FROM THEM? THERE IS NO FUCKING EXCUSE FOR THAT!! NO FUCKING EXCUSE AT ALL!!! YOU SAY... 'WE WANT IT TO LOOK MORE REALISTIC, GIVE HIM DEFINITION OF RIBS WITH THE FLAMES, WE SAY HE NEEDS TO LOOK REALISTIC WHEN HE TRANSFORMS SO CHANGE THE VEHICLE SLIGHTLY...AND THE EYES WE JUST WANT TO GIVE A BIG MIDDLE FINGER TO THE FANS" THE FLAMES ARE FUCKIN RIDICULOUS, BUT I CAN TOTALLY DIG CHANGING THE TRUCK FOR REALISM... THE KEY IS REALISM.. HOW THE FUCK DOES GIVING OPTIMUS HUMAN LOOKING EYES FIT INTO REALISM??? HE'S A FUCKING ROBOT!!! A FUCKING GOD DAMN FUCKING ROBOT... WHAT DO MOST ROBOT'S EYES LOOK LIKE??? FUCKING SLITS WITH LIGHT EMINATING FROM THEM... NOT HEIROGLYPHICS!! YOU FUCKING IDIOTS FUCK YOU MICHEAL BAY FUCK YOU IN YOUR FUCKING ASS!!"
Lastly, and I may be the odd-man out on this one, but a surprisingly good source of entertaining message board posts are the "discussion" pages at Wikipedia. There's no easy way to find them. You basically just have to get into the habit of making sure to check those pages whenever you happen to be looking something up on the site. It's like a little Easter Egg of insanity! One of my favorite discussion to have stumbled upon recently was a heated argument over wether or not the character of Lt. Dangle on Reno 911 is supposed to be gay or not: "Dangle's orientation is never made clear, for a reason: it's a running gag. To say outright that he is gay is simply wrong, unless there is an episode someone can point to where it's explicitly made clear he's gay."
"Bull! Dangle is a homosexual man, period, end of sentence, strictly given the evidence on the show. You might as well say he has an "ambiguous sex" becuase we never see his actual penis. To suggest otherwise is to either a) not know the definition of homosexuality; b) not understand the comedy or the characters completely; or c) not understand comedy. I don't give a crap what TV Guide says; there IS overwhelming evidence, and none to the contrary unless you do some sort of mental gymnastics."
"That's a horribly false analogy. You're making too hasty a conclusion without really thinking. Your "evidence" is based mainly on his outward behavior, which means that obviously you don't know the definition of homosexual. Anything that points to him being gay and attempting to cover it up could also point to him being straight and attempting to appear gay. Face it: there is not enough evidence either way to make a clear conclusion. Advantage is taken of this fact to create humorous situations. His ambiguity is what makes it funny. It's the entire point."
"The only reason this is a "debate" is become some people are horribly obtuse and stubborn. Let's look at the evidence: a) college kids called him "gay cop," to which he accepted and danced for them; b) told a gay guy meeting garcia that "you know he doesn't play for our team;" c) the shorts and his tendency to display homosexual characteristics; d) the fact that his "marriage" was a marriage of convenience; e) the fact that at his divorce he told his ex-wife's husband that he'd seen him at his ostensibley-gay store before and that he would be in touch; f) kissed a random, very fit man in the first episode; g) wore a dress and stood with a bunch of hookers "deep undercover" in another episode; h) was extremely frustrated at his attraction for the FBI cop...until he found out she was really a man; i) STRONGLY DESIRED AND HAD SEX WITH S. JONES; j) flirts with other men routinely and ignores women... Okay, now take the burden of proof and try to show that Dangle has the slightest yearning for women...I challenge you..."
"As for the anonymous post, you're doing your argument a disservice. Let me run down the line: a) Just because the fraternity referred to him as gay cop doesn't support it at all. They were judging solely on his appearance since they had no other knowledge of him. b) You need to put that in context for it to give a clear idea of what meaning was intended. c) His shorts and "homosexual characteristics" in fact have nothing to do with being homosexual. Homosexuality is not defined by being flamboyant. e) I don't think you're understanding what ostensibly means. f) That doesn't necessarily support homosexuality and could indeed be a measure taken to make him seem more ambiguous. g) Cross-dressing is not homosexuality; the fact that his intentions aren't clear makes it even more ambiguous. h) The fact that he was attracted to someone that he thought was a woman works further to create ambiguity. i) Strongly desired? Those are your own words. He was undoubtedly making an advance, but that doesn't prove your case. j) Flirts with other men routinely? It sure is fun to make believe, isn't it? For it to be routine, it would have to occur in just about every episode."
"You're wrong on several counts: a) Reno 911 is a show in the Reno 911 universe, meaning the frat may well have access to the same show we do, or a similar one. There are several scenes where the perps are aware the officers arresting them are Reno 911 characters; b) what context, have you seen the episode?!?!?!? Season 2, Garcia's military buddy, do you watch the show?; c) the fact that he has some queen characteristics has nothing to do with the writers trying to show him being gay? Are you joking? e) I know well what ostensibly means. The title of the store is an ostensibly homosexual one. WATCH THE EPISODE! f) Kissing another man isn't a homosexual act? g) The purpose of him being there was to have sex with men...Are you really that blind? h) No, he was FRUSTRATED that he had a mysterious attraction to a woman. There's no ambiguity, the only reason he had feelings for her was that she was really a man. A bi-man wouldn't care if he liked a woman, it wouldn't bother him; i) He had sex with him and had been advancing on him for years; j) Make believe? It's happened about 7 or 8 times on the show. With the pepper-spray guy. With Ben Garrant in the pull-over skit. With the hotel concierge. That's three off the top of my head from season one alone. It probably happens every episode that he does something to suggest his homosexuality."
Other good places to try for fun message board discussions: any message board dedicated to a particular comics creator. They're like primers on sycophantic behaviors. Also, comics-related Live Journal communities are excellent places to go for good quotes on fanboy entitlement and nerd rage.
Next on Your Guide to Lazy Posting: Your Friend, YouTube...if I ever bother to get around to it...
Trials of Shazam #1, by Judd Winick and Howard Porter
I'm apparently staking out an unpopular opinion here, but I quite liked this first issue. Captain Marvel is one of those characters that hasn't really translated to the modern comics period from his Golden Age roots. Under creator C.C. Beck he was an often childish and child-like character. And under Beck, that worked for the character. Under other writers, the "silly" Captain Marvel has come off as, well, silly. And not in a fun way, but a dated and tiresome way. The only attempt at contemporizing the character that even came off half-successfully was Ordway's Power of Shazam series, and even that book had to mostly isolate the character from the rest of the DC Universe. That may, actually, be the best approach to take with the character, from a purist point of view, but the realities of modern comics publishing really don't allow that outside of short projects. Winick's approach here, to heavily emphasize the supernatural aspects of the character, turning him into a sort of Superman-lite for the magical world, is at the very least an attempt at doing something that lets the character move around in a shared universe while retaining something of his own personality and purpose. It's also worth noting that this is the finest work I've seen from Howard Porter. It's very painterly, with excellent color work.
Justice League of America #1, by Brad Meltzer, Ed Benes and Sandra Hope
I'm tempted to be glib and call this the emo version of the League, especially in comparison to the last relaunch and Grant Morrison's deliberately iconic take on the concept. But that's being overly-glib. It's a very good comic, with short, sharp character sketches that reveal that Meltzer has a good grasp of the personalities and interactions of the characters. There's an appealing mystery and very clever uses of existing characters and ties to past stories to keep a dedicated DC fan happy, but not so much that a kid who loved the Cartoon Network Justice League cartoon would be lost trying to read this. I'm trying not to over-praise, but I have to confess I'm excited by this new version of the book. Ed Benes does an exception job as well, and surpasses his past work.
Batman and the Mad Monk #1 by Matt Wagner Batman and the Monster Men by Matt Wagner
These latest Batman projects by Wagner offer a thoroughly enjoyable look at Batman's early career. It's a stripped down version of Batman, free of the continuity baggage he would later acquire, and it presents to the reader a pared-down, iconic version of the character. It's almost an ur-Batman, in a sense. It distills all those early takes on the character into something that feels both modern and timeless. There's also a very adept blending of the original stories being retold in these books and the more recent takes on the "early days" of Batman's career. The short version, then, is that these are very good Batman comics that play with the idea of early Batman stories, but don't slavishly recreate them.
Hero Squared #3, by Keith Giffen, J.M Dematteis and Joe Abraham Talent #3, by Christopher Golden, Tom Sniegoski and Paul Azaceta
Talent continues the compelling mystery of the plane crash survivor who wakes up with the skills and unfinished business of everyone who died in the crash. The reason behind the crash is revealed, and the architects of the disaster start to get a better grasp of what they're dealing with. Meanwhile, in Hero Squared Milo and Captain Valor embarrass themselves at a funeral, Stephie takes her break up with Milo in a very mature fashion, and Evil! Stephie plots against Captain Valor. Comedy hijinx ensue. Both books do what they do (mystery/adventure and comedy, respectively) very well and are well worth a look.
As first mentioned on her Live Journal, Lea Hernandez's house was in a serious fire. She and her family are safe, though six of her pets died and much of her artwork was lost. Gail Simone, amongst others, has put out a call for people who can to donate what they can afford to Hernandez in this emergency. You can find out more details at Simone's blog, or donate directly to her PayPal account at firstname.lastname@example.org
I can't decide who's the bigger jerk: Billy for trying to act like a big man and trick his friends into thinking he's a great artist; or his "friends" for letting him humiliate himself just so that they'll have the opportunity to laugh at them.
I'm sure this incident didn't fester into deep seated resentment against the world on Billy's part, leading to a tragically violent outburst in his late teens.
Bonus jerk: Bruce Wayne telling Boston Brand that he can't go easy on a suspect just because they've fallen in love.
"Keep your ectoplasmic mits off our flesh and blood women, Casper!"
I had a rather uneventful weekend. The most exciting things I did were clean the bathtub and go to a pot-luck at a friend's house. One of those things was fun, the other was not. I would have gone to see Crank, but I hadn't realized that it was playing until late Sunday. This is what comes of not having access to cable or broadcast television or a daily paper.
I attempted to make polenta fries for the pot-luck, but they didn't come out as I wanted them to. I think next time I'll have to try different seasonings and alter my cooking method.
Anyway...there's this comic that that disreputable scoundrel Mike forced me to buy a couple of weeks ago. It's called Dam and it was published in 1997. It's a fairly typical example of the "shock value for the sake of shock value" school of comedy. That is, it has mistaken being deliberately offensive for being funny. In other words, if you like that kind of humor, stick with Yungbluth, Brunetti and Zdarsky and you'll be fine, because those guys are actually funny.
Anyway, again...there's some sort of odd "gay Superman" "parody" in there that's just...well, even I'm not sure quite what to make of it. I mean, look:
See what I mean? The tone of it overall is just a bit shy of being blatantly homophobic, but also reads a bit like a Harry Chess story. (And I would love to link to one, but there's a dearth of material on-line, unless you want to see a grainy black-and-white picture of creator Al Shapiro...time to dig out my copies of Meatmen.)
Wonder Woman #300, Bonus Picture
This image, despite being on the cover, appears nowhere in the actual book itself:
There are some iterations of characters that I'm glad the Crisis wiped out.
Full press release: Atlanta, GA -- Prism Comics is proud to announce the second annual Queer Press Grant. The grant, in the amount of $1,000 this year, was established to help and encourage LGBT creators to self-publish LGBT themed comics. The winner of last year's award, Steve MacIsaac, used the grant to self-publish Shiftlifter, which debuted at the 2006 Alternative Press Expo in San Francisco and is for sale at his website: http://stevemacisaac.com.
"Prism Comics is thrilled to be able to offer the Queer Press Grant for a second year," said Prism Comics Public Relations Chair David Stanley. "We were amazed last year at the high level of talent who submitted work and we're very proud that we were able to help the winner, Steve MacIsaac, publish his work."
The application deadline for the Prism Comics Queer Press Grant is October 1 and the winner will be announced November 1.
Go to http://www.prismcomics.org/grant.php for the submission guidelines.
Prism Comics is a 501(c) 3 nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting the work of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) creators in the comics industry, as well as LGBT themes in comics in general. Incorporated in 2003, Prism Comics publishes the annual resource guide, Prism Comics: Your LGBT Guide to Comics. Please go to http://www.prismcomics.org for more information or contact David Stanley, PR Chair for Prism Comics, at email@example.com.
Just before her wedding to Steve Trevor, Diana has one more of her vision-dream-things. Only in this one, she somehow manages to not fall in love with, well, anyone. In fact, she comes across as, well, a bit of a ball-breaker this time.
See what I mean? No time for mooning over Steve this time. She's come to put the "debauched, war-mongering race of men" in their place. Which is beneath her boot. I'm not sure if this is supposed to be some nightmarish version of what a "feminist" world is supposed to look like, or a fetish for a dominating woman taken a little far, but it's...kinda creepy to see Diana in border-line Punisher mode and full-on misandry.
Hey, now, you lay off of Pan, lady! If I were a pagan he would totally be one of my patrons!
Steve and Wonder Woman land on the building while it's under attack by terrorists. Naturally, she leaps enthusiastically into the fray, eager to beat some sense into some men!
Oh, relax. She decides to catch him. Only because she's not done beating him up yet.
Diana isn't too appreciative of the city's efforts to thank her. Frankly, she's more than a little stuck-up about it. It's starting to seem like she's getting more than a little corrupted by her power and her mission to discipline men.
Vanity, thy name is Wonder Woman
No, there's nothing decadent about that at all...
Predictably, Diana eventually takes things a tad too far, and tries to over-throw the American government and take the Presidency by force. Steve Trevor has been lying in wait for her to make this move, however, and he and the military men under his command ambush Diana. Or, you know, that's what we're supposed to think, but since Steve is kind of a tool, he was probably just hiding out from Diana in the White House all this time and her coup attempt botched his plans. And so he had to make himself look good in front of his boss.
Hands up who didn't see this coming? Oh, yeah, the people who have never read a comic book before.
She totally stole that little sneer from Billy Idol.
So after all these unsettling dreams, Diana's a little nervy of going through with the wedding. She decides to give it a shot, in the hopes that getting it over with will help settle her mind. Plus, you know, all the guests are on their way, the caterer cashed the check...you know how it goes. Good thing nothing ever goes wrong at a super-hero wedding, huh?
Told you Steve was a jerk. At the altar yet.
Turns out Steve can't go through with the wedding because he's, get this, too upset over the death of Diana Prince. Turns out her death made him realize how important she was to him, and now he's not certain whether he loves the flesh-and-blood Amazon or the dead mousy aide more. And so it wouldn't be fair to Diana to marry her until he knows whether it's her or, er, Diana he really loves. That's got to be the lamest cold feet excuse ever. Luckily, while Diana's feeling sorry for herself, she gets one more visit from the Sandman. Who knocks her out and kidnaps her. Because he loves her so much. Yeeaahhh...
Would a "roofie dust" joke be in bad taste?
Anyway...Sandman kidnaps Wonder Woman and takes her into the Dream Dimension. Diana decides that, you know, maybe dating the stalker wouldn't be so bad, at least he pays attention to her. (Have I ever mentioned that Diana has really lousy taste in men before?) They take an extremely Freudian unicorn ride across the dreamscape when Diana is attacked by the shadow creature once more. Turns out the shadow creature is some kind of dream monster, a manifestation of all her fears and self-loathing, but once it's caught by the golden lasso it's destroyed, because now Diana has confronted the truth about her doubts. Or, because we've only got two pages left to the comic. Take your pick. At this point the Sandman realizes that he doesn't actually love Diana, he just enjoyed watching her dreams and mistook that fondness for her for love. So, he's not an obsessive stalker after all, just a voyeur. Oh, that's much better. Diana returns to reality, and the book ends on this charming note.
And Steve is immediately back to ignoring Diana Prince's existence, because he's too busy making out with Wonder Woman. Status Quo successfully maintained!