Man of the Moment

Sean William Scott

Kindly direct email to:
dorianwright [at] gmail[dot]com

"Reading his blog is like watching a beloved 50's Rat Pack Vegas act"--Larry Young
"One of the few comics blogs I always make time for"--Antony Johnston
"Dorian Wright is intelligent and slightly bitter, like a fine coffee."--Kevin Church
"Absolutely huggable."--Bully
"It's always fun to see Dorian be bitchy."--Chris Butcher
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Friday, March 30, 2007

Friday Night Fights 

Bahlactus is to blame.

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Music Video Stream of Conciousness 

So, I've been in an Afghan Whigs/Twilight Singers/"why doesn't Greg Dulli put more stuff out" sort of mood lately, which prompts me to do a quick YouTube search. Lo and behold, here's a video I haven't seen in years, of "Debonair" from what is probably my favorite album of all time.

Thinking of 90s bands whose albums I played so much I actually managed to wear out CDs, I always did like Faith No More's version of "Easy" a whole hell of a lot.

So, now that you've seen the best damn video of a Lionel Ritchie cover featuring drag queens, here's the best damn line-dancing competition set to a song sung by a drag queen, from the film Adam & Steve.

All this talk of drag queens made me think of Eartha Kitt. Trust me, it sort of makes sense.

Ah, YouTube...the lazy blogger's friend.



Thursday, March 29, 2007

Superboy Subtext? What Superboy Subtext? 

"Why are you thinking about other boys when you're on a date--I mean, out skating, with me? By the way, how far down your throat do you think you can get this not at all phallic object, Clark?"

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Tuesday, March 27, 2007

The Internet: Making Me Weep 

Quick Links

John McCain learns why hot-linking is a bad idea. To the surprise of no one, the story involves MySpace.

Complete list of episode titles for the third series of Doctor Who.

Kevin's new forum gets its first flame war. Mike loses, because he is unable to see the inherent logic of his intellectually superior opponent's point.

Yet another reason I'm glad I don't watch reality television. There's "pushing the envelope" and then there's "just outright creepy and misogynistic." And then there's "don't ever let yourself be alone with the guy who thought up this idea, ladies."

Real Pokemon. Including a certain delusional Swamp Thing fanatic's favorite: Lickitung.

Mind-bogglingly selfish woman risks undoing years of progress on gay rights because she's too self-absorbed to come to an equitable child custody agreement with her ex-girlfriend. This is, in a roundabout way, yet another argument for gay marriage. When a straight couple ends a relationship, there are already existing legal solutions to dealing with problems of property division and child custody. When a gay couple ends a relationship, the workarounds most couples have had to go through to even have joint property and child custody create legal problems like this.

Fun With Message Boards

Is it over for DC comics?

"Yes it's over. If anything Marvel comics is more edgy, more realistic and overall much more better written and edited than DC whose characters are all practical throwbacks to the 30s or 40s. Frankly the only people who really like DC are the ones who grew up or were born in that time period. Anyone else probably just buys DC either because they don't like Marvel or resents the fact that hispanics and foreign artists and writers are working there. If anything, the implosion of DC can only help Marvel become the sole dominating force that it is in the comic book industry. Just think about it, if Marvel takes out DC then they could be one step closer to scooping up and assimilating their rivals like Image, IDW and Dynamite then and finally then the comic book industry would be practically unified under one guiding mind with one guiding purpose. Think about it under Marvel's editorialship, you could have every comic book character in the Marvel Multiverse with every major creator working for Marvel comics from grant morrison to geoff johns with Dan DiDio and Paul Levitz forced out like the bootlickers that they are.

Think about it if there was only one comic book company then people like Byrne, Austen and Jones would be in the unemployment line and thats frankly the best reason for one comic book company."

"DC comics is just simply more infantile compared to Marvel. Marvel is about adult and mature themes, the problems that you and I encounter each and every day about responsibility and right and our nomal lives while DC is about guys who dress up in bat suits fighting clowns while endangering chilren or some wish fulfillment story about a kid who magically turns into an adult and finds his orphaned sister and his big brother sidekick.

DC = ludicrious and infantile stories
Marvel = serious stories that address current issues that effect our lives"

"Why do you need Superman when you have the Sentry? Why do you need Wonder Woman when you have Thor or Hercules? Why do you need Batman when Midnighter or Moon Knight are much superior copies?"

"DC has no proper sense of history. If you don't have a strong foundation based on continuity, you can't move forward and frankly the DC editors suck at continuity so really DC has been stuck in the same quagmire since CoiE thats almost 20 years of going nowhere, but running in circles. Kill the multiverse then bring it back. Reboot the legion then reboot it again. DC has been caught in this vicious cycle for far too long. It's as I say again the sick man of the comics industry and right now, it needs to be put down for the good of everyone."

"When Marvel gives us fans a Crisis, it's a real crisis. Civil War, World War Hulk, Silent War and Annihilation War are all better than the dozen infinite crisis tie-ins that apparently had nothing to with the main event. If anything, it just further proves how detached DC editorial is from the DCU or from the fans. Hell Civil War, World War Hulk and the rest are more connected than the dozen or so lame Infinite Crisis tie-ins."

"No DC doesn't work for anyone, it's a subsidiary of Time Warner and has lost its purpose while becoming part of the super-corporation in contrast to Marvel which maintains its original purpose of selling comic books to the fans and giving what the fans want: great stories and characterization.

DC: souless part of a super corporation that has lost its way entirely, but still tries to pretend that it cares when it really doesn't
Marvel: comic book company run by fans of the actual books who care about stories, characters and continuity"

That's all one poster by the way. Either he really hates DC, or he's doing a better job of mocking fanboy rage and nerd entitlement than I could ever hope to. Fourteen pages long as I write this, and it just keeps getting better and better.

Stupid no-fun insertion of common sense: Marvel and DC go back and forth like this all the time. For now, Marvel is up, due to expansive mega-events. In about a year, when the next cycle of mega-events hit DC, they'll be up. It's probably better to compare the companies on long-term sales, rather than a brief window. When you do that, Marvel tends to have huge sales peaks but just as many near-disastrous sales lows. DC tends to be a lot more stable, sales-wise, over the long term.

Reader Art pointed me in the direction of this IMDB message board:

"I'm sick of everybody and their cousin saying 300 is HOMO-EROTIC...
So basically what everyone is that when you see a movie about BAD-ASS MUSCULAR SPARTAN SOLIDERS CHOPPING OFF LIMBS AND DECAPITATING HEADS during COMBAT...that these soliders would rather be sucking each other off...
Ok, so Spartans are muscular and aren't wearing much clothing...what the hell do you expect, a bunch of pale skinny nerds in sweat suits facing off against the Persian army...
Just because a muscular man doesn't have his shirt on doesn't make him gay...
It makes the viewer gay for thinking about homo-erotic stuff from looking at that...
So if 300 is gay or homo-erotic...
does that make CONSTRUCTION SITES homo-erotic...
oh yeah....PRO-wrestling is homo-erotic...
CONAN the Barbarian....very homo-erotic... that is homo...
don't forget UFC- Ultimate Fighting THAT, my friend, is about as homo-sexual as it gets... "

There's one line there that caught my eye:
"oh yeah....PRO-wrestling is homo-erotic..."

Sounds like an invitation to play one of my favorite games!

Gay Porn or Pro Wrestling?

Gay Porn or Pro Wrestling?

Gay Porn or Pro Wrestling?

Gay Porn or Pro Wrestling?

The only game harder to play? Gay Porn or Country Singer?

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One Day in Gotham 

"Gotham Mutual, this is Ted, how can I help you?"
"Yeah, my house was just wrecked."
"I'm sorry to hear that sir. What caused the damage to your house?"
"It's like a giant cube thing. It just crashed right through the roof and now it's in the living room. The damn thing just wrecked my new wide-screen. And that thing was HD! Half the neighborhood was over to watch the game. Now we're all standing around watching some cube."
"Did you or your family sustain any injuries in the incident, sir?"
"No, no, we're all fine. Just the big whole in the roof, the tv, and the living room furniture."
"May I have your account number sir? It sounds like your house has sustained some super-crime related damage, and not all of our home insurance policies cover that."
"It's 777-88-7768-77-686."
"All right, thank you sir, I'm calling up your account now. And...yes, it does appear that you have been paying the super-crime premium."
"So, you'll pay up for all this damage?"
"Pending verification that this is a super-crime event, yes sir. Although I should remind you, your policy doesn't extend to events related to alien intervention or supernatural action. And in the event that the Justice League, Justice Society, or other officially recognized super group becomes involved in your super-crime incident, your premium will not be raised."
"Oh, wait, something seems to be happening with the box. My son says a handle just popped out of the side."
"Sir, I would advise you to keep clear of the box, and your family as well."
"'s...well, if that don't beat all. Hey, it wasn't just some cube thing, it was a jack-in-the-box!"
"A jack-in-the-box? Sir, what kind of jack-in-the-box?"
"You know, the normal kind. Some sort of clown thing popped out, and now it's laughing and spraying my neighbors with some kind of sparkly green gas."
"Oh, sir...I'm sorry, but according to our records, you signed the Joker waiver at the time your policy was written. There's nothing we can do to help you?"
"Hey, everybody's laughing. Don't see what's so funny, it's just some clown puppet...hey, what do you mean, you can't help?"
"There's a note here in your account...yes, you said 'that's highway robbery, I'm not paying that' when our agent told you how much not signing the Joker waiver would raise your premium."
"Well, I don't understand why you would raise the premium so much for just one super-villain. He's just some clown themed crook, right?"
"Have you lived in Gotham long sir?"
"We moved here from Keystone eight months ago."
"Oh...that explains it."
" won't buy me a new HD?"
"No, sir, I'm sorry. Your policy actually becomes voided in the event of a Joker related incident in your home. If it had been the Calendar Man or even Two-Face, we could help, but I'm afraid there's nothing we can do."
"I'm really sorry, sir. Do try to have a pleasent day. Uhm, and you might try calling 911 for anyone who breathed in the gas."



Monday, March 26, 2007

When in Doubt 

Golden Age Wonder Woman panels: the busy blogger's best friend:

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Friday, March 23, 2007

Subtext? What Subtext? 

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Thursday, March 22, 2007

Linky Day 

Matt at No Sword has a review of the first issue of new manga magazine Comic Charge. It features farting potato-aliens. So, already it's better than most of the stuff we're getting in the States.

Novice examines the female archetypes in Agatha Christie novels. I think you could probably make a good argument for applying her list to not just mystery novels, but genre fiction in general.

This pretty much summed up my Wednesday.

Shorpy, the photo-blog from 100 years ago.

I'm so glad I happened to catch this Wikipedia edit before it got corrected. Link contains SPOILERS for the most recent issue of Birds of Prey.

New trailer for the third season of Doctor Who:

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Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Other Brief Thoughts on Comics 

Pete: "So, in that JLA Classified story, the only version of [villain of the piece] Red King that survived was the absolutely evil one, right?"
Me: "Yes."
Pete: "Did that not make a lot of sense?"
Me: "It didn't really, no."
Pete: "Plus, if all the other versions of the Red King knew about the back-up plan, why didn't he?"
Me: "Like you said, the story didn't really make a lot of sense."
Pete: "Does it seem like they're just putting people on Classified who don't know a lot about DC or care about continuity?"
Me: "Well, since JLA: Classified seems to be the dumping ground for inventory stories cluttering up the JLA editor's desk drawers, I think it's safe to say that the stories in the title aren't in continuity."

As for me, I was more put out by an odd...well, I'm tempted to call it an art error, but that's mostly for lack of any other good explanation.

So, that's the JLA versus the Royal Flush Gang. So, why are there seven of them, when there are only five cards in a poker hand? And, I read all five issues of that "4th Parallel" story, and I don't recall seeing those two highlighted characters anywhere other than in that spread above...which was repeated exactly as is, with only dialogue changes, in the middle three issues of the story.

And why are there only five members of the Royal Flush Gang anyway? There are four suits in a deck, after all. Shouldn't there be about twenty of them?

Actually, the comic oddity I want to see exploited someday is this: If Thanos is just Jim Starlin riffing off of Darkseid, and Mongul is just Jim Starlin finishing off Thanos stories with Superman instead of Captain Marvel (the bad one)...why hasn't anyone done a story with Darkseid and Mongul?

(I have to apologise for that last paragraph, it was possibly too geeky even for me.)

Favorite DC message board thread of the moment: Are D.C. creators completely sexist?

1. Sexless Ice Queen: It seems that every writer is afraid to address Wonder Woman's sexuality. As far as I can tell, she has never had ANY serious relationships at all, since post-Crisis. You could argue that neather has Batman, but at least his relationship problems stem from his mission statement. ("I am a creature of the night. I can't let anyone get too close, because they will hamper my mission to fight crime, and that's all that matters.") Superman is married to Lois. It seems like they don't want to give Wonder Woman any sexuality because if a man is sexual, he's a stud. If a woman is sexual, she's a *****. Come on D.C., grow up and let Diana grow up, too. At least Batman had time to have a son, which brings me to my other point...

2.The Blessed Virgin Dianna: I'm almost positive (correct me if I'm wrong)that Wonder Woman is still a virgin. Why? It's fine if that's her choice, but I don't believe that's why. I think writers are afraid to let Dianna have sex, because then she becomes "unclean". Women are sexual beings, and having sex is a natural part of being a woman. If Dianna is waiting until she's married, please let her state that view. Leaving it ambigious is just annoying.

Now, I'm always a bit...concerned over people fretting about whether or not Wonder Woman is a virgin, but the bit I love is that later on in that same post:

4.Bathing Beauty: Finally, I will end with a simple statement about Wonder Womans wardrobe. SHE WEARS A BATHING SUITE TO FIGHT CRIME! Come on, D.C. It's the year 2007, give the woman a pair of pants! How can any woman look up to a hero who runs around in hooker boots and a tiara? I know purists say, "her costume is iconic, you can't change it!" Yes, you can, if it is better for the character. Instead, it just gets smaller and smaller, until all you can see is cleveage, and her a$$ hanging out. want a Wonder Woman that's more of a sexual being, but you want her to wear a more frumpy costume?

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Monday, March 19, 2007

Three Short Thoughts 

I'm genuinely surprised that I haven't seen more mentions of the latest issue of Stormwatch: Post Human Division's oblique tie-in to 52 and/or Countdown. The meta-plot in the DC Universe leading up to the next cross-over, in any case, figures into the issue, in any case. Either that or a really deliberate fake-out.

Of course, I'm disappointed more people aren't talking about the series anyway, as it's quite good. Most of the Wildstorm relaunches and new titles have been good, Stormwatch, Welcome to Tranquility, Gen 13, Midnighter and Authority keep migrating to the bottom of my "to read" pile. Bottom because I'm one of those weird people who saves the best stuff for last so that I have something to look forward to.

Something I said to Mike, when discussing the unpleasant fact that the success of Joss Whedon's Astonishing X-Men has more to do with the fact that it's a known property and less to do with it being Joss Whedon writing, and writing blatant fan pandering material at that, got me to thinking about the one thing that really annoys me about X-Men comics: the stupid and pointless space-based plot-lines that crop up so frequently. I've just never been able to understand what the hell going out into space has to do with fighting to protect an oppressed minority.

"To me, my X-Men, we must head into space to stop the Shi'ar civil war."
"Uhm, yeah, Professor, about that...we just got reports of an anti-mutant rally downtown, and Logan's following up a rumor of a new Sentinel plant being constructed in Canada, and we've been tipped off that Reverend Stryker has formed an alliance with the Hate Monger. Don't you think we should take care of those emergencies first?"
"But the Shi'ar need us Scott!"
"Professor, there's about two dozen space based heroes, any one of which is more powerful than any three or four X-Men combined. I mean, they've got Nova, the Silver Surfer and Adam Warlock. We've got Gambit, Mirage and Jubilee. Those guys can probably handle a space war a little better than we can. And anyway, the rest of us were sort of talking, and it occurred to us that the Shi'ar are pretty much a totalitarian, imperialist monarchy. If they were Earth-based, we'd probably be fighting against them."
"You're just determined to keep me from getting any, aren't you Scott?"

And now, Ollie once again being an unmitigated ass:

I wonder if anyone at DC realizes that no one actually likes Green Arrow...we're only reading comics with him in them in anticipation of that inevitable moment when he gets what's coming to him.

I mean, who reads something like this:

And thinks: Man, Green Arrow is cool!

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Dobie Gillis is Creepy 

Faceless women competing for the attention of a shiftless teenage lothario and his beatnik buddy. That's good old fashioned nightmare fuel, there.

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Saturday, March 17, 2007

Comic Relief with David Tennant and Catherine Tate 

Doctor Who fans will want to take the six minutes to watch this one:



Friday, March 16, 2007

The First Rule Is... 

Oh, it's on:

What? You didn't seriously think I'd be taking Green Arrow's side, did you?

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I Feel Like A Traitor 

So, despite my better judgement (I can't stand John Romita Jr's art), and despite knowing from past experience that it won't be worth it, I find myself, slightly, intrigued by the premise of World War Hulk. Maybe it's just me wanting to see the Hulk turn Iron Man into a greasy red and gold smear on the sidewalk, but there you go. Stuff like this helps:

Marvel, apparently unwilling or unable to give me a reason to read about Hercules, have decided to simply make me want to look at pictures of him.

Of course, that DC is putting out stuff like this may also be causing me to look across the aisle, so to speak.

Now, I've joked before about how mannish looking the women Alex Ross draws are, surmising that, unable to find women to pose in the costumes for him, he simply puts them on men instead. I...I think Michael Turner may be doing the same thing. Because that doesn't look, even remotely, like a woman. That looks like a drag queen with two huge, flesh-colored balloons down the front of her unitard, that have slipped down too far because no one explained about double-sided tape to this particular drag queen.

Just to prove to you that I haven't completely shifted my allegiances, here's a dramatic re-enactment of one of my conversations with Mike last week.

Me: "Good day to you, kind merchant. I find myself most uncharacteristically taken with some of the concepts behind this forthcoming World War Hulk bally-hoo, and am most taken indeed with the notion that the casus belli is a catastrophic explosion, which most poetically counterpoints a similar dire event which prompted the recent unpleasantness. Is there, by chance, a chapbook collating the earliest chapters of the contemporary Planet Hulk serial story?"
Mike: "No. Marvel wants to make you pay for a deluxe, over-sized hardcover collecting the entire series."
Me: "Oh well then. Bollocks to them. They shall not see one of my hard-earned guilders."

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Thursday, March 15, 2007

Aquaman: Heterosexist 

Oh, I don't know, maybe the reason they can't love isn't because they're an all male race, but maybe because putting up with judgemental, prejudiced jerks like Aquaman drove the emotion out of them.

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Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Odds and Ends 

So, the popular rumor of the day is that Jake Gyllenhaal is being considered for the title role in any Captain Marvel (the good one, not any of the Marvel ones) adaptation that may come out. Personally, I think it's premature to worry about casting in a film like that, and Gyllenhaal is a bit younger and trimmer than I think Captain Marvel should be, but it's not as if he's a bad actor or couldn't add muscle to his frame.

But go ahead and guess how comic book fans reacted to the "news." Go ahead. Did they make reference to his latest role in Zodiac? Or perhaps to the role that first brought him to prominence, the sci-fi film Donnie Darko? Or perhaps his early, ground-breaking performance in Bubble Boy?

If you guessed that they made trite Brokeback Shazam jokes, well congratulations, you've obviously encountered fanboys before.

Via Dave comes an interview with Doctor Who producer and writer Russell T. Davies. It's an interesting article, not least for this paragraph, on how the show responds to fan complaints and criticisms.

But then, everything creates uproar in the Doctor Who online community. Fans spend hours logging what's right - and what's wrong - with Davies's doctor. He just ignores them. 'In the community of sci-fi shows, I think we're the only one that actively ignores its online fanbase. American shows seem to court them, or pretend that they do. That way lies madness. I can't think of a show that's improved its quality, or its ratings, by doing it. It's like going in search of a massively biased focus group - why would anyone do that?'

You might as well retitle that paragraph "Why no one cares about Star Trek anymore" or "What will kill (what's left of) the comics industry."

Ahem...that being said, I would be perfectly happy to see Davies quit the blatant Judeo-Christian symbolism in series 3. The Torchwood finale and Impossible Planet were rubbish.

Several people have already linked to it, but if you haven't seen it yet this translation of an interview with German cartoonist Ralf Koenig is worth a look. Because anything involving Ralf Koenig is worth a look.

Shane has done some inspired Marvel propaganda posters. I think this She-Hulk one is my favorite.

I know it's also made the rounds since last week, but if you haven't seen it, this bit of fan service from Manhunter #29 is inspired.

I dig it when blogs that aren't comics blogs talk about super-heroes in an entertaining and non-condescending way.
Tbogg on Marvel
Lance Mannion on Iron Man

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Tuesday, March 13, 2007

A Sort Of Present 

In honor of the shared birthdate of Mike and Andrew, I present Batman in drag:

Trust me, it makes sense. They know why. And besides, it was this or a sequence where Batman kills a bunch of poor little doggies. And I'm saving that for a day when I want to make Chris Sims cry.

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Okay, I Can Deal 

This interview with Frank Tieri, about his upcoming Wildcat two-parter in JSA Classified alleviates any of my irrational fanboyish concerns:

Why Wildcat? Wildcat’s the baddest mother----er in comics, that’s why. There… I said it. Wolverine, Batman, Punisher… all pussies in comparison. And while some of those characters may be stronger or more skilled or could take Wildcat in a fight, certainly none are tougher—and this from a guy who’s written his fair share of tough guy characters. Ted Grant throws on that crazy-ass cat costume of his and goes out there to fight the good fight in the DCU with no powers or claws or guns or utility belts or whatever—but with his fists.
Think about that. That’s totally nuts. You have to have stones the size of casaba melons to even consider doing what he does. And consider this other little tidbit-- he’s been doing it since the days of ducktails and Ozzie and Harriet.

And you know what? That’s another reason why I like him—he’s old. I mean, actually old old—like not “Heaven’s to Mercatroid-- he’s in his 30’s!” old but “Oh my God, they actually let somebody in comics turn 50” old. This whole notion that comic companies sometimes have that their characters have to be young and “kewl” makes me want to puke in a pair of Depends spandex undergarments. It’s beyond stupid. Clint Eastwood, Lee Marvin, Charles Bronson… I guess those guys weren’t kicking mucho ass and taking multiple names, huh? Sometimes you like to see the old, grizzled vet come along and smack the crap out of some snot nosed punks—and Wildcat’s perfect for that.

Tieri gets Wildcat. It should be fine.

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Not This Again 

For some odd reason Chris Sims saw fit to resurrect this tired thing.

Not one to pass up the opportunity to beat a joke into submission, and since I Can Haz Cheezburger? is one of my secret shame web-sites:

Which somehow led to this, because there's always room for a William F. Buckley joke:

Which all ended up in this:

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Monday, March 12, 2007

The Stupid, It Burns 

I've been entertained by the weekend debate over whether or not Marvel dropped the ball with giving retailers enough advance information on the contents of Captain America #25 to set adequate order numbers. And by "entertained" I mean "amused by the folly of man."

The general response from retailers (and you can read many thoughts on the subject here, as well as at Mike's site), has been that Marvel's solicitation and promotion information was not adequate, and that orders would have been much higher if Marvel had chosen to share the contents of the issue with retailers instead of, say, Wizard, CNN and the New York Daily News. The dissenting opinion has largely boiled down to "nuh uh!" One particular "internet personality" (and really, how pathetic is that tier of fame?) keeps insisting that Marvel gave retailers more than enough information to anticipate the slow news day driven demand for the issue from people who never bothered to buy issue 24 of the magazine nor have any intention of buying issue 26, and furthermore, if retailers had read his sleazy online column at a second tier PR republishing comic news site, in which he never actually said that Marvel planned on killing off Captain America nor had a multi-media news onslaught prepped for the day the issue went on sale, they would have known to order more copies. Because, of course, internet gossip and innuendo are better predictors of sales than cycle sheets and regular customers. This is, again, despite scores of retailers saying no, actually, the information we were given was insufficient to set orders on non-returnable product correctly.

Hmmm...whose opinion do I find more credible? People who order comics for a living, and have done so for years...or a self-aggrandizing publicity-whore?

Of course, that decision is made ever easier by the fact that fine folks like "DanteHicks1972" are taking the bold stand that Marvel is incapable of doing wrong:
It seems like any time something doesn't go the retailers way the crying begins. Sometimes it's justified others like this seems like sour grapes. With all the rumors, innuendo etc if Marvel said it was going to be big it's their fault for blowing tem off. The fact that Wizard speculated correctly and made a few extra $$$ more power to them. I'm jus t glad my local retailer held alot of issues back for subscribers who don't normall pull Cap.

Okay, two things deserve comment here. One, by naming yourself after a character in a Kevin Smith film, you pretty much waive all right to having your opinion taken seriously. And two, learn to be friends with the English language and it will be friends with you.

I liked this article about 300 by Francois Peneaud and Joe Palmer for being fair-minded while acknowledging the problematic aspects of the way the original comic dealt with homosexuality. It still doesn't make me want to see the film because, as I've said before, I thought the original comic was pretty dreadful, and nothing about the film version gives me reason to reassess my opinion. I am fairly intrigued, however, by the ways in which people have been projecting highly contradictory meanings onto the film. It's homophobic. No, it's homoerotic. It celebrates fascism. No, it's an indictment of imperialism. It's racist. No, it's misogynistic. No, it's racist, misogynistic and homophobic.

It seems to me that if the film is this open to so many mutually exclusive interpretations it's probably a muddled mess with no strong central theme. And really, I can't imagine my reaction would be substantially different from Tim O'Neil's.

There was apparently a game developers conference in the Bay area this past weekend, and GayGamer has the best write up I've seen on a panel that was held about gay and lesbian gamers and gay and lesbian themes in games. This particular panel was interesting because it's the first example I've come across of gays and lesbians in the game industry talking about the industry being open to gay themes in games, as opposed to the usual straight white men talking about how open the game industry is to gay themes.

Of course, I'm touched by their naivete in thinking that gay themes would be welcome in more games, given that most of the responses in this thread can best be summarized as "faggots are disgusting and I wouldn't buy a game with gay characters."

I think this should be the last word on Captain America. At least until Marvel brings him back in a few months.

In any case, my reaction to a good 90% of the above can be summed up thus:

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Sunday, March 11, 2007

The Origin of Catwoman 

(Click image for full page origin)

Even shorter version: amnesiac stewardess turns to a life of crime as a result of confused memories and trauma.

I don't know, maybe it's just me, but that sounds a lot better than "hooker in fetish gear" or "illegitimate daughter of a crime-lord."

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Friday, March 09, 2007

When Babs Met Steve 

There are few things in comics as satisfying as seeing Steve Lombard get what's coming to him.

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Thursday, March 08, 2007

Great Moments in Phantom Zone History 

An in-continuity Ambush Bug story, where he was still written as something resembling a villain.
This story also introduced the Legion of Substitute Heroes Reserves. Think about that...they're not quite good enough for the Subs...

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Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Captain America Free Reviews 

Doroty #7 by Mark Masterson, Ray Boersig and Greg Manino, starring Catie Fisher, published by Illusive Arts
The fumetti retelling of The Wizard of Oz brings together all of Dorothy's companions at last with the introduction of this darker Oz's equivalent of the Cowardly Lion. The digital illustrations and writing are up to the usual standard for this excellent series, and the "king of the beasts" provides a welcome comic counterpoint to the usual grimness and angst that frequently characterizes the series.

Elephantmen #7 by Richard Starkings, Joe Kelly, Chris Bachalo, Aron Lusen, Sophronius Moritat and Omar Ladronn, published by Image
The premise behind this issue, Hip Flask telling a fairy tale to the little girl who has befriended Ebony, and in doing so reveals a good deal about his past and his relationship with Savannah, is very promising, and the story itself is nicely done, but the art of Chris Bachalo has never particularly appealed to me, and his art on the fairy tale sequence just looks very muddy and unfinished to me. What otherwise would have been a very nice and light break from the regular story is rendered rather unpalatable for me as a result.

Giant Robot Warriors by Stuart Moore and Ryan Kelly, published by AiT/Planet Lar
I thought at first this was an actual reprint of the 2003 graphic novel, but no, it's simply the same edition with a new dust-cover. It's a fairly novel way to represent material that slipped under the radar of most comic readers during the initial release, capitalizing mostly on Kelly's recent prominence as illustrator of Local. The story is framed very deliberately as a satire of contemporary politics (well, post 9/11, pre-squandering of international goodwill politics, anyway), with turmoil in the Middle East and giant robots substituting for weapons of mass destruction. It's a very slight satire, more good natured than vicious, and that toothlessness doesn't do many favors to some of the jokes. In particular, the goofiness of the President' rather tame, and the joke, while fitting into the overall mood of the story, seems to stop just short of making the kind of political point Moore seems to want to make. But then, I'm a horrible evil leftist, so maybe I just want the joke to be more vicious than it is.
Kelly's art is excellent, with ample detail and a fine flair for caricature that suits both the political satire and the broadness of the humor. In many panels there's a frenetic sense of action and over-dramatization that also helps to accentuate the humor, though it does at times make for action sequences that don't flow very well from panel to panel, making the action difficult to follow. This, combined with Moore's story, makes the book a flawed but entertaining minor amusement. It's not a work destined to be regarded for years as a masterpiece of the form, but it's a well done distraction.



I Hate They They Don't Even Give Me The Chance To Spoil It 

So, Marvel once again decided that the best place to reveal a "significant" comic book event is in the press on new comics day, rather than, you know, letting readers find out for themselves when they go to pick up their books. I know that moves like this aren't really in the interests of their reader base, but more of an attempt to up their profile in the general public, and maybe spur a little speculator interest into the death of Captain America along the way. Which annoys me as a comic fan, but I can appreciate Marvel's mercenary streak in a sick sort of way.

I suppose from a story-telling perspective there's something that can be wrought from this. Given how ham-fisted political metaphor has been in Marvel books of late, though, I doubt that anything interesting can come of this. I mean, other than the spike in sales when they undo this a little bit down the road. Call me cynical if you must, but I just don't see a death like this sticking, not with such a central figure. This isn't Blue Beetle. Everybody already expects this "Ronin" character to turn out to be Steve Rogers anyway, and they already have an "out" with the missing Nick Fury and his Life Model Decoys. The question that most readily comes to me about this, however, is why is an event of this significance occurring in a tie-in book, and not the Civil War book proper? Oh, yeah, right, the never-ending cross-over cycle and Marvel's desperate need to appear successful to investors by using gimmicks to inflate their sales to the direct market.

On a semi-related note, I'm calling for a Memory Hole Watch on the announcement that The Initiative is going from a mini to an on-going. Because when it gets cancelled, sometime around issue 10 or 12, I fully expect to see someone at Marvel describing it as a mini.

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Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Musings Miscellany 

There are times when my response to an e-mail or question is roughly this:

And such was the case with people wondering what I thought about Ann Coulter's latest bon mot. To be frank, my initial reaction was pretty much "fuck Ann Coulter." She's about as far as you can get from what passes for reasonable political discourse in this country. But reasonable political discourse isn't her function in the Republican noise machine. She really serves two roles for them. Her minor function is to speak to the dark, racist, misogynistic, xenophobic, homophobic, classist heart of the contemporary conservative movement. Her job is to say the things that make all decent people recoil in horror, but a certain segment of the population longs to hear. But primarily her role is to make other people seem less outrageous in their beliefs and statements by comparison. Let's face it; neither Mitt Romney nor John McCain fundamentally disagree with Ann Coulter on the subject of gay rights. But now they get to portray themselves as moderates by distancing themselves from her.
Not that they won't fully take advantage of her notoriety when it serves their interests again.

I'm far more interested in the latest Republican/gay porn connection, a Marine reservist who had his feelings hurt when the nasty mean old college students called him names, became the latest conservative cause celebre, only to turn out to be a former gay porn model. Oh, and male prostitute. Granted, it's not quite waiving normal security procedures to allow a male prostitute into the White House press room so that he can lob soft-ball questions at the press secretary, but it does raise the question of why Republicans are so fond of male prostitutes but not any other kind of gay men.

This is the message-board thread that that shameless self-promoter Church blames on me. I much prefer this thread of things Geoff Johns is apparently not allowed to write about anymore. Because the arrogance of some online schmoe telling someone else what they can and cannot write about amuses me.

For a real treat, try this thread about "sacrilegious and anti-Christian" characters.
The Spectre
Scarlet Witch
Dr. Strange
Dr. Fate
Any character that uses magic, sorcery

I can sort of see most of those but...Supergirl? Lobo? Nightcrawler?

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This Is Your Insane Genius On Drugs 

Okay, I think that's that out of my system.

For now...



Monday, March 05, 2007

Tobey and James: Totally Hetero 



Comparative Religion with The Spectre 

There's something to be said for the utterly insane bits of historical ephemera that get dragged into comics sometimes.

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Sunday, March 04, 2007

Three Brief Notes 

Zodiac was very good. And by "very good" I mean "exceptionally good." Easily Fincher's most accomplished and mature film. I wish I had more to say about it, but it's the kind of film that requires another viewing or two to really appreciate the craftsmanship and intricacy of it. It is not the sort of happily and easily resolved, meaningless serial-killer thriller that audiences are used to seeing, which sadly I expect is hurting its popular and critical reception. I've even seen and heard people complain about the ending in which (SPOILER ALERT) the cops fail to capture, or at least satisfyingly blow away, the killer.

Which is the sort of thing that makes me think someone, somewhere, has missed the point. And I don't think it was me.

On a similar note, I rewatched Dario Argento's Bird with the Crystal Plumage recently. It still holds up as a well-crafted, though not entirely fair-play, thriller. It's stylistic tics and innovations still impress me. The early scene, with Tony Musante trapped between the security doors of an art gallery, unable to either get out and call the police or get in and help the woman who has been stabbed, is still one of the most nerve-racking set pieces I've come across. Oh, sure, Argento's latest films are fairly crap. And I think I've decided that Stendahl Syndrome is the most misogynistic film I've ever sat through. But I still like Argento's formula. It's hard to go wrong with: black-gloved killer, secret from the past menacing the present, misremembered clue, work of art providing critical clue. Death or serious injury by modern sculpture optional.

Oh, come on, the character was named Osiris! If you didn't see that coming from the moment he was introduced, I'm sorry, there's no help for you.

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Thursday, March 01, 2007

When I'm EIC 

Written by Marc Andreyko, drawn by Steve Sadowski. Ninety-six page original graphic novel. Guest-starring Hawkman.

Suggested for Mature Readers

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Lies Archie Taught Me 

"No thanks, racist antique store lady, we're just browsing."
Though I'm impressed Chuck was able to talk Nancy into wearing her Power Girl costume out in public.
But that's not what's important about this story. No, it's the way the story directly contradicts my first hand experiences both working comics retail and trying to find nifty, inexpensive items in an antique store.

A potentially valuable commodity left unnoticed in an antique store? That never happens.

A comic book in good shape in an antique store? That never happens.

A reasonably priced comic in an antique store? That never happens.

An actual "collector's item" in an antique store? That never happens.

Never mind good condition, a near mint comic in an antique store? That never happens.

Selling a comic for more than you paid for it at an antique store? Now that really never happens.

Oh, and the story ends with racist antique store lady getting her come-uppance, for those of you who need closure.



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