Offensive, harrassing or baiting comments will not be tolerated and will be deleted at my discretion.
Comment spam will be deleted.
Please leave a name and either a valid web-site or e-mail address with comments. Comments left without either a valid web-site or e-mail address may be deleted. Atom Feed LiveJournal SyndicationLOLcats feed
Monday, April 30, 2007
Lessons the Internet Has Taught Me
Everyone else gets all the fun trolls.
My side of the internet is the cool side. We're also sexier and dress better.
Using your blog to grind personal axes gets really old really fast.
Marvel has been corrupted by the homosexuals. Or the Arabs. Or possibly the gay Arabs.
YouTube makes up for not having anything to say today quite nicely.
There's nothing the slightest bit hypocritical about praising Marvel for doing the same things you criticize DC for doing.
I'm far too polite. The fact that I haven't responded to anyone's post on any blog or message board with the phrase "you're fucking retarded, aren't you" is proof of that.
The knee-jerk homophobia of comic fans never stops being entertaining. The knee-jerk misogyny is just soul-crushing however. At least they've stopped being overtly racist. Most of the time.
Manga has gotten as boring as American comics. But, shh, we're not supposed to talk about that. Or the blatant misogyny and racism in so much of it. Because it's self-evidently superior to American comics.
I'd read more indie comics if the creators weren't pretentious jerks. Or half as whiny. Or quite so obviously only creating comics in order to impress girls.
We have the comics industry we deserve.
Dan Didio apparently spends his weekends jetting around the country and running over comic fan's dogs. And Joe Quesada rides shotgun.
God help me, I miss Bill Jemas.
If comic fans go for more than forty-eight hours without complaining about something online, they'll have an aneurysm.
Watching people miss the point leads to wonderful, unintended comedy. Than great sadness. Then comedy again.
Why yes, I do think less of you if MySpace is your blogging platform of choice.
I only read your blog to forward links to posts to my friends. And then we make fun of you. Because that's all your blog is good for.
Tokyopop is the Marvel of manga. No, that's not a compliment.
People really like comics about mice. Yet Gemstone had to cancel Mickey Mouse.
The people that Shakespeare joke was aimed at didn't get it.
Saying that you think Justice is good will make me think less of you.
On the whole, I could do with less people who think trying to imitate a popular writer's online persona makes them seem intelligent or witty. Yes, that goes for the writer in question as well. Actually, the phrase "shut up and write some comics" comes to mind.
Concern trolling, when applied to comics, is just sort of tragic.
That the qualitative differences between, say, an Adam Hughes picture and a Michael Turner picture escapes people gives me cause for concern.
Guys, she's not going to sleep with you, and yes, your intentions are just that transparent.
The existence of the internet is justified by pictures of cats and other animals with funny captions.
We've finally moved on from people thinking that "irony" means "made of iron." Sadly, people now seem to think it means "to press a hot plate of metal against cloth."
Amazons Attack #1, by Will Pfeifer and Pete Woods, published by DC Comics
I'll just come out and say it: I kind of like continuity. By that I mean, I like it when creators take advantage of the shared universe nature of super-hero comics. It's an approach to storytelling that does, on occasion, create strange beasts, like this book, a title that seems to exist to bridge the gap between the tail-end of Infinite Crisis and the "One Year Later" relaunches and the forth-coming Countdown, with lots of ties to Greg Rucka's run on Wonder Woman, the current run of Wonder Woman, The OMAC Project and probably a few more titles by the time everything is over and done with. Pfeifer does a fairly decent job of quickly encapsulating some of the immediate build-up to this story, but in such a way that the suddenness and brutality of all out Amazonian war is still communicated. And it is a brutal war. After serving as the DCU's convenient cannon fodder for the last several years, the Amazons are fairly angry, and the book marks a noted change from the "protectors of enlightened peace" portrayal they've usually had in comic form to a more classical "remorseless female fury" portrayal. Pfeifer is especially good at subtly portraying the motivations for the war. Yes, there's the fact that Wonder Woman has been taken hostage, and yes there's also Circe's manipulations-an apparent desire to destroy the Amazons by giving the world cause to turn against them, but there's also the recently resurrected Hipolyta's desire to relive her days as a warrior-queen. Pete Woods's art has usually struck me as work-manlike. It's your standard, contemporary approach to super-hero art, though he does have a nice hand at facial expressiveness and clear, unambiguous storytelling. It's a solid approach to take on a book that's meant primarily to appeal to the existing audience and it ends up fitting the book.
God Save The Queen by Mike Carey and John Bolton, published by DC/Vertigo
The thing I was most struck by with this book after I was done reading it was that apparently the phrase "The Sandman Presents" is no longer necessary to sell Vertigo hard-covers, or at least no longer perceived to be necessary. In this particular case, that's probably a good thing, as the cameos from the Sandman cast felt rather tacked-on and superfluous. And that, sadly, is a pretty good word to use for this book, "superfluous." It's not bad enough to be offensive, or even annoying, but the story of a girl who discovers her secret connection to a magical kingdom and must save it from a menace is so horribly cliche and over-used that, when I stumble across a book on that theme in the fantasy section of a bookstore I set it down quickly and walk as far away as possible. It's been done. To death. And adding a trendy heroin addiction to the main character doesn't make that old chestnut any more palatable. Which is a downright shame, because the book boasts some lovely and lush artwork from John Bolton, whose work we don't see on shelves nearly often enough.
Justice Society of America #5, by Geoff Johns and Fernando Pasarin, published by DC Comics
Remember how I said I like continuity? Well, it's a good thing, because this latest Justice League/Justice Society/Legion of Super-Heroes cross-over is almost nothing but. And after a very rocky start, it's actually quite nice to see JSA starting to get back on track as a fairly well-written, well-characterized, "let's throw all the toys into the sandbox" type of title. It's very unfriendly to a hypothetical new reader, but I always have a hard time believing that Justice Society has been any one's first comic in the last sixty years. It's the sort of book that you have to be pretty invested into comics in the first place to even notice to pick up. And so, a fun read for DC fans, and a bit of a puzzle to everyone else. Fernando Pasarin isn't an artist whose work I recall encountering before. In comparison to regular series penciller Dale Eaglesham, Pasarin's art seems a bit stiff. His faces are nicely emotive, but there's also a sameness to most of his figures, and many of them are only really distinguishable from one another by costume. It's journeyman work, in a way; the promise of better work in the future is there, but hasn't quite arrived yet.
The Last Sane Cowboy & Other Stories by Daniel Merlin Goodbrey, published by AIT/Planet Lar
Goodbrey's collection of his Isotope Award winning mini-comics is a bizarre and confounding spectacle of surreality. It's genuinely funny, but you're frequently left with a nagging suspicion that the story wasn't meant to be funny, but heart-rending. And then the next story is strongly emotionally evocative, but you half-suspect the joke's on you for not seeing the joke. In either case, it's a good kind of cognitive dissonance that's created, as the dream-logic world of Goodbrey's stories is compelling in any case. The art, which is in a high-contrast, starkly black-and-white, computer assisted style, grounds the work in a recognizably realistic and consistent appearance, which gives the needed veneer of reality to contrast the strangeness of the stories against. Which, all in all, is a rather needlessly complicated way of saying "it was really weird, but really good, and I liked it a lot."
The new season of Doctor Who recently began in England, the third of the current series, the second starring David Tennant, and the first starring Freema Agyeman as the Doctor's newest companion, Martha Jones. I've had...access...to the episodes, and overall I've been very pleased with this latest series and wanted to share some thoughts on it, in as non-spoilerish a manner as possible, for those Doctor Who fans without...accesss...to the episodes.
As far as season opening episodes go, Smith & Jones follows very much in the tradition of Rose. The primary purpose of the story is to introduce us to the new companion. S&J has a slight advantage over Rose in this respect in that all it has to concern itself with is the introduction of the new companion and getting the audience to respond positively to her, whereas the first season opener had to do all that, and introduce the Doctor and the concept of the show in a way that was accessible to a new audience without alienating the pre-existing audience. Removing that burden from S&J makes it, in the end, a more successful episode. The story is, by the stakes of the show, fairly low-key, focusing on the Doctor trying to avoid alien police-men while directing them towards their real target, in an effort to save everyone inside a hospital. And so there's no vast or complicated plot and no larger story to link up to, and the interesting visual designs of the space-cops, the Judoon, a kind of space rhino can be played off a rather camp nemesis for the Doctor, can take a more secondary role.
The focus on Martha in this episode reveals a companion that, already, I like more than Billie Piper's Rose. After so much was made in the Christmas special, The Runaway Bride of the Doctor's need for a companion, we see the Doctor essentially testing Martha, examining her potential for the job. What we as the audience see is a woman who is competent, inquisitive, brave, keeps her head in a crisis and excited by the possibilities of life with the Doctor. In the end, when she decides to travel with the Doctor, it's a deliberate choice to go and fully experience a new and exciting world, as opposed to Rose, who seemed to run off with the Doctor because, to borrow a phrase, it was either that or off to the Dole queue on Monday.
And as charming as Billie Piper's Rose was, I have to say that I much prefer Freema Agaya's Martha. While Rose could be selfless, she could also be petty and jealous. Look no further than her continual mistreatment of Mickey and Jackie for proof of that. And she always struck me as more in the mold of a Jo or Tegan or Mel or (God help us) Peri, with her role being primarily to be exposistioned at by the Doctor and to get into peril in order to move the plot along. Martha has already been conveniently exposistioned at many times as well, but in her reactions to danger and in her banter and (deserved) cross-ness with the Doctor, she seems to fall more into the Liz, Sarah-Jane, Romana and Ace camps in terms of personality and relationship to the Doctor.
The second episode, The Shakespeare Code somewhat sidelines Martha, focusing instead on the "celebrity guest star," William Shakespeare. It's a very good episode, easily one of the best of the new series, and for a Shakespeare nerd it plays nicely with some metanarrative conceits and semiotic ideas. There's a lot of clever jokes, by English major standards, about Shakespeare's tendency to steal ideas and phrases from others, and a particularly impressive bit of casting against popular conception in setting up Dean Lennox Kelly as Shakespeare, as a sort of Elizabethan rock-star. We still get quite a bit of Martha's natural curiosity and intelligence, as she asks the right questions about the nature of time travel and fluidity of history, in between being flirted with by Shakespeare. She even gets to tell the Doctor off a little bit in the third episode, Gridlock, both for his refusal to get over Rose not being with him anymore (a sentiment I share, three episodes and a Christmas special of the Doctor whining about Rose being gone was two episodes too many) and for lying to her. Sadly, Martha being annoyed with the Doctor were the best things about Gridlock. The central conceit, a motorway so congested that people spend years, if not decades, trying to reach their goal, while something sinister eats people who go into the fast lane, isn't a bad hook to hang a story on. But the episode is so busy dealing with current series continuity, and dredging up past series continuity so obscure even most classic series fans are hard pressed to remember the significance of those villains (though do check out Dave's overview if you don't mind the spoiler), not to mention finally getting around to kicking off the through-story for the season, that the good parts of the episode sort of get crowded out.
One of the aspects of Doctor Who that I always think deserves special note is the integration of gay themes and characters into the show. Most science-fiction fans have politics that could, charitably, be described as Neolithic, yet for the most part Doctor Who has managed to incorporate the radical suggestion that not everyone in the universe is heterosexual into its world. Oh, to be sure, there is the normal grumbling about a "gay agenda" when such unspeakable things as Shakespeare flirting with the Doctor or a nice elderly lesbian couple or a well-timed joke about musical theatre show up, but nothing anywhere near the scale of what you might expect were, say, anything remotely similar ever to happen on Star Trek or in Star Wars.
There are a few reservations here and there. For those who dislike the soap opera and family drama elements that were introduced with Rose, the Jones family manages to be even more dysfunctional, and the number of episodes for the current season which promise to be set in contemporary Earth (or near-future Earth...the timing of the last couple of seasons versus real world chronology is threatening to make UNIT dating arguments seem tame) make it look as if we'll be seeing plenty of them. I don't mind the family dramas, I think it makes for a needed look at the consequences of traveling with the Doctor on those left behind, something the classic series never dwelt on. There was also, especially in Gridlock a return to the overt religious symbolism and metaphors which began to creep into the second series and the spin-off Torchwood. It doesn't sit well with me, as it never feels like it fits the tone and world of Doctor Who. This is a world, remember, in which Demons are, quite literally, just another race of aliens. The concept works better when it stays secular, to my mind.
After Wally's little...discussion...with Mal, the Justice League thought that, maybe, some sensitivity training for their side-kicks was in order. But who could be trusted with a task like that? Batman? No. Hawkman? Dear God, No! And then Superman had the bright idea of giving the task to the most bleeding-heart liberal member of the team, in certain assurance that he would be the most sensitive to and aware of the sensitive subject of race...
In the end, Wonder Woman got saddled with the job.
You would think, given how often your average comics/sci-fi fans have been called "faggots" for having the nerve to watch Star Trek or play Dungeons & Dragons or gasp-shock-horror read comic books, that they would be better at detecting homophobic language and discourse, especially their own.
Forget uncomfortably proportioned super-heroines, I've found the creepiest doll ever, courtesy of the Tonner Doll Company. I've joked in the past about Tobey Maguire's utter and complete inability to emote. Well, when you combine his "no resemblance to human emotions" acting style with the cold, dead eyes of an uncomfortably realistic doll, something nightmarish is created.
I mean, look at this doll's face:
And compare it to this photo of Tobey Maguire:
It's uncanny how well they've captured that unreadable, blank look of his. In fact, I'd go so far as to say that Tobey Maguire's unique, anti-emotive attributes make him the perfect candidate for an action figure which crosses into the Uncanny Valley.
I mean, I'd wager I could mix up the photo of the man and the photo of the doll, and most people would be none the wiser.
So, that picture of Citizen Steel I posted the other day...there's been some discussion of it on other comic sites and blogs. Most of it, oddly, focusing on how "inappropriate" the image is. To no one's great shock, it seems to be straight men who are bothered by the image.
Don McPherson tries to put the picture into context by comparing it to gratuitously sexualized images of Catwoman and Supergirl. While his point about the depictions of women in super-hero comics is taken, I really have a tremendously hard time (no pun intended) in seeing the Justice Society of America cover as being anywhere near the same league as a statue of Catwoman with her breasts popping out or the nymphet Lolita Supergirl statue. The entire point of those statues is to present the characters portrayed as erotic objects. I have tremendous difficulty believing that Alex "gay writers are molesting Obsidian" Ross intended the same effect. The real howler of a response is Brian Cronin's description of the image as "creepy." It's such a bizarre over-reaction to the image there really isn't any way to engage it. Chris Butcher's response to the whole thing is well worth a read, especially as he's not afraid to call a small shovel used for digging a spade, and very accurately assess the revulsion straight men claim to have for the image as homophobic in nature. Cronin uses the word "creepy" or a variation of it five times. McPherson compares it to yaoi (boys love) manga, which was a nicely subtle bit of gay-baiting, I thought, to compare the image in a perjorative sense to material depicting gay relationships.
But for me, what I'm most struck by in this anxiety over whether or not Citizen Steel's manhood is threatening to the reader is the blatant insincerity of it. There seems to be a condescending undercurrent of "oh, I get it now! This depiction of an unerect penis completely covered by clothing which isn't even close to the focus of the piece has made me feel so insecure in my own masculinty and an object of sexual desire that I now understand why female bloggers were complaining about that Star Sapphire cover of Green Lantern!" to this whole affair. Which, again, is nonsense. A picture of a fully clothed man, who appears to be generously endowed, in a heroic, athletic pose is miles away from a woman in a latex bikini which barely covers her sexual organs, posed to display both ample cleavage and her ass. Perhaps if Citizen Steel's costume was a mesh-nylon thong and Ross had posed him thrusting his hips forward, his crotch in the dead center of the image, we might be able to say that the cover is sexualizing men. Even most of the examples Tim O'Neil dredges up are more crotch-tastic than Ross's image.
The real kicker, of course, is that the image really isn't much to get excited about. Yes, Ross's model appears to have been of a nice size in the pants department, but all Ross has done is use highlights and shadow to suggest that. And Ross, say what you will about him or his art (and I'm not a particular fan), is nothing if not faithful in his efforts to realistically portray his subjects. Chris Butcher made a good effort at illustrating why this image isn't really as direly sexual as people seem to think, but, what they hey, it's been awhile since I posted semi-naked men. So, to recap:
Good sized soft penis, fake:
Good sized soft penis, real:
Good sized hard penis, real:
Good sized soft penis, real, blatantly detailed and outlined by clothing:
I think it's pretty clear that the painting by Ross is, by far, the tamest of the images.
Well, if you're going to create a wholesome, kid friendly band to do covers of your songs, I guess a group like A*Teens isn't a bad solution. To be honest, they're kind of bland, but I don't mind their sound because it's a little lower than the screechingly high soprano voices of Agnetha and Anni-Frid. This song, "Super Trouper" is one of the rare Abba tracks when the boys in A*Teens actually get to sing, even if it's just "su-u-per trou-u-per" in the background. Honestly, if they hadn't written the songs, I don't think there would have been any need for Benny and Bjorn either.
I think I'm one of the few people who actually liked Robbie Williams's album of swing covers. It was just a slight, playful album of stuff that you could tell that Robbie and his sometimes curious choices for duet partners enjoyed themselves immensely making. And while Robbie and Jon Lovitz singing "Did You Ever?" is probably my favorite track, the version of "Somethin' Stupid" with Nicole Kidman is the only video available. Hey, if anything it's not as creepy as Frank and Nancy Sinatra singing the song.
William Shatner should really have never been allowed near a microphone. At least Leonard Nimoy can carry a tune. And it may make me a kill-joy, but the ironic, hipster "love" for Shatner gets on my nerves. I'm also not terribly fond of fan-made music videos, as they're so rarely any damn good whatsover. But this video for "Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds" is very well done, and witty, and I'll even excuse the post-modern irony just this once.
One of my favorite covers techniques is to take a song clearly written for one gender, and have someone of the opposite gender sing it. It may be a bit on the cheap and easy side, but it almost never fails to entertain me. Cake is, not to put too fine a point on it, not a band I like. At all. But they did do a version of "I Will Survive" that I love out of all proportion to it's quality, just because their approach to the song, with a male singer and a kind of lethargic delivery, really let the lyrics stand out for me.
Amazons Attack# 4: "While Batman and Catwoman devise a plan to get to the bottom of the chaos, Grace — the Outsiders’ 6’ 6” female powerhouse — is about to be visited by her past." Okay, I had Grace as "Knockout's daughter" in the "who is Grace supposed to be" pool, so I guess I'm out five bucks.
Is Action Comics #852 the first "official" Countdown cross-over, or did I miss something last month?
Batman Confidential promises us yet another origin for the Joker. Which, I'm sure, is exactly what the comics industry needed.
Supergirl# 19: " Superstar writer Joe Kelly concludes his SUPERGIRL run." That sound you hear is thousands of message-board posters sighing in relief. Which is odd, because while they'll happily tell you how bad Supergirl is, none of them will admit to reading it...
If you have a spare $75, you can buy a hard-cover omnibus of the "Death" and "Return" of Superman. I'm reasonably certain you can pretty much buy all of the comics individually for less than that.
Green Lantern #21 provides me with an interesting dilemma. You see, while I generally enjoy Green Lantern Corps, and while I'm interested in this "Sinestro Corp" storyline, I really don't want to buy a Hal Jordan solo book. At all.
The Flash #14: " DC Comics announces the second month of a special FLASH promotion as the Fastest Man Alive’s world changes forever! Retailers: please check your the Previews order form for a special incentive designed to help you meet the demand for this story. Fans: remind your retailer early and often to order you a copy!" That seems slightly more effective a way to say "we can't tell you what happens, but it'll be significant" than vague hints in a rumor column.
Putting Andy Diggle and Jock on the book is one way to get me to read a Green Arrow: Year One comic. Especially as I trust them to portray Ollie as a tool. Which, really, is the only entertaining way to write him.
The cover for Black Canary #2 almost makes me wish Michael Turner was dong the covers. ... No, it doesn't.
The cover for Justice Society of America #7 made me realize that Alex Ross must be using the same model for Citizen Steele as he used for Captain Marvel. You folks who know what I'm talking about know what I'm talking about.
This almost makes up for the creepy Cyclone cover.
I've been putting off buying the Adam Strange Archives, so the Showcase Presents: Adam Strange title can't get here soon enough for me. Likewise the first volume of Showcase Presents: Wonder Woman. Nutty Silver Age Bob Kanigher stories are top quality entertainment.
And while the Tangent comics were, on the whole, pretty good, a trade collecting them, after all this time, does rather surprise me. Unless, of course, it plays into that horribly kept "multiverse returning" secret.
Apparently the Millennium Giants are appearing in Justice League Unlimited #35. Does that count as an official "shark jumping" moment?
I wanted to do a "Beefcake of the month" for DC, but they closest they come this time is that JSA cover.
Civil War Chronicles may just as well be titled "Give Us More Money Fanboys."
I can't even pretend to be interested in a Halo comic.
That there are three Marvel Illustrated books scheduled to come out at once suggests to me that, after all these years, Marvel is still pursuing the "oh, a book in genre X sold well? Better put out a dozen more like it" strategy, with "genre X" in this case being "adaptations of novels."
Annihilation:Conquest-Star Lord is a rather wordy title, when all they needed to tell me to get me to pick it up was "it has Rocket Raccoon" in it.
Despite my better judgement, I actually find myself interested in The Champions. And I'm taking West Coast Avengers as the title it ends up coming out under, if anyone's starting a pool. Oh, Marvel...when will you hire a decent trademark lawyer?
I'm both amused and horrified at the idea of a New Avengers/Transformers title being on the stands.
She Hulk #21: "Ever notice how in some Marvel comics, characters who are SUPPOSED to be dead show up with NO explanation whatsoever? Or in the wrong costume? Or acting in a way they NEVER have before? Well guess what, True Believer, there was a reason. And that reason is going to have She-Hulk and her friends working on some of their STRANGEST cases yet! Don't miss it-- 'cause this is the issue that fixes 90% of Marvel's continuity problems-- from NOW ON! " Pete's been saying for awhile now that continuity at Marvel is so bad they have to do some kind of retcon event to straighten it out. This is probably as close as we're going to get for the time being.
Marvel's best beefcake for the month is Submariner #2.
Yes, every lazy comic blogger's friend, the shipping list. And so, in that grand tradition (and since it's starting to look as if I'll never get around to reviewing the new season of Doctor Who), here's the list of what I plan to get, what I think is noteworthy, and what makes me embarrassed of my hobby, with commentary.
52 WEEK #50 Yeah, at this point in the game, I'm pretty sure I'm sticking with this.
AQUAMAN SWORD OF ATLANTIS #51 To be honest, I didn't mind Busiek's run on the title. But Williams seems to be running with the sense of the absurd that, frankly, an Aquaman title probably needs.
BATMAN AND THE MAD MONK TP I liked Batmen and the Monster Men more than this mini, but Wagner's retellings of early Batman stories are superb.
BIRDS OF PREY #105 BRAVE AND THE BOLD #3 These fill my need for big, dumb fun super-hero comics quite nicely, thanks.
DC MINIMATES WAVE THREE (RES) I'm giving serious consideration to picking up the Wonder Woman/Ares set.
DMZ #18 (MR) I want to like DMZ, but every time I pick up an issue I feel like I'm about fifteen years older than the target audience. Which is not a criticism of the book at all. It's a great book for a politically aware teenager.
EX MACHINA #27 (MR) Every time a new issue comes out I read it, and I enjoy it, and then I forget about it again until the next issue comes out.
FIRST APPEARANCE SER 4 WARLORD AF All right, so it's not the Mike Grell warlord, but it's the closest I'm ever going to get to a Warlord action figure. And he'll look nice on my shelf next to my Wildcat figure. Maybe sandwiched between my Wildcat and Hawkman figures. And maybe my Apollo and Midnighter figures can come over and "hang out" with them sometimes...
FLASH THE FASTEST MAN ALIVE #11 What a difference a new creative team makes, eh?
JUSTICE LEAGUE OF AMERICA #8 I seem to be one of the few who actually enjoys Meltzer's JLA. I think his character based approach to the title actually works quite well.
MANHUNTER #30 One of the best super-hero comics out there right now. If you're not reading it, well, you have no taste.
NIGHTWING ANNUAL #2 Pete wants to know why Babara and Dick broke up. That's the only reason we're getting it, I swear.
SHADOWPACT #12 See my above statements about "big," "dumb" and "fun."
SHOWCASE PRESENTS SUPERMAN VOL 3 TP This is full of, as the LiveJournal kids say "the crack." Whatever the hell that means.
SPIRIT #5 Beautiful art and a really outstanding blending of Eisner's sensibility and contemporary story-telling.
SUPERMAN BATMAN #34 This was one of those "big dumb fun" books, but that horrible, horrible aliens going crazy storyline was just so dreadful I ended up buying it just to see how bad it could possibly get. Hopefully this new Metal Men storyline will turn the book around. I mean, how could you possibly gowrong with the Metal Men?
TESTAMENT #17 (MR) Hands down my favorite Vertigo title of the moment, and one of my favorite on-going series, period. It's thoughtful, it's challenging, and it's vastly under appreciated.
WONDER WOMAN THE GREATEST STORIES EVER TOLD TP Did they ever announce what comics were actually going to be in this book? I'd like to get it, but if it's heavy on the Bronze Age Wonder Woman stories, it'll be hard-going, and I have virtually all the post-Crisis comics already.
WORLD WAR III PART FOUR UNITED WE STAND WORLD WAR III PART ONE A CALL TO ARMS WORLD WAR III PART THREE HELL IS FOR HEROES WORLD WAR III PART TWO THE VALIANT I've enjoyed 52, and I don't have any reservations about the creative teams on these books, but I can't quite get past the feeling that these are "whoops, we forgot to explain that" continuity-patch titles to keep fans from complaining about loose threads and plot holes left over from the main book.
ANNIHILATION BOOK 2 HC Dear Marvel: I was interested in sampling your well-reviewed and favorably received comic, but the pricey hard-covers and bridging minis and instant sequel pretty much turned me off of the idea.
ULTIMATE SPIDER-MAN #108 You know, I don't like Spider-Man, and I don't much care for Bendis as a super-hero comics writer either, but this is usually just about tolerable. When it isn't in the middle of an interminable emo-Spider storyline. Which, uh, it is about half the time.
ULTIMATE X-MEN #81 This was never really all that good to begin with, but it's taken a steep nosedive in quality since Kirkman took over. We've stuck with it so that Pete can get his X-Men fix in the least objectionable way possible, but man...this is a stinker.
YOUNG AVENGERS VOL 2 FAMILY MATTERS TP A friend has asked me to pick this up for him. He was given the first volume, and now he wants more. And, yes, he'd much prefer it if he didn't have to buy a dozen different books to follow the characters.
WIZARD HOW TO DRAW 3 PACK You know, for every good artist giving reasonable, useful advice in these Wizard "How to Draw" books, there's about a dozen "hot" artists who wouldn't know anatomy from an aardvark or perspective from a periscope. It makes for a frequently surreal and unintentionally hilarious reading experience.
EDU MANGA MOTHER TERESA GN I wonder how much time will be devoted to her questionable financial relationship to Charles Keating? Yeah, I know "none" and I'm an asshole and I'm going to hell.
INUBAKA CRAZY FOR DOGS VOL 2 TP Cute doggies and crazy girls! Not as good as a book about a toddler assassin, but still pretty enjoyable.
NIKOLAI DANTE TSAR WARS VOL 2 TP I think this was actually supposed to ship last week, but west coast stores didn't get it. At least I don't think they did. Either that or Mike sold my copy to someone else, the jerk! Anyway...what can I say, I like hairy-chested, over-sexed rogues.
SALON GN (MR) I thought this looked promising when I first saw the preview materials a few years back. How impressed was I? The book features Gertrude Stein and Pablo Picasso as characters, two people high on my list of "historical figures who needed a good slap," and I still want to read it.
CITY SLAB MAGAZINE #10 I haven't the vaguest clue what this magazine is about, but I seriously doubt it could ever live up to the images the title suggests.
SCREEM #14 From the people who brought you "Feer" and "Horrrr" I suppose.
300 ORIGINAL MOVIE SOUNDTRACK REGULAR ED CD (PP#757 300 ORIGINAL MOVIE SOUNDTRACK SPECIAL ED CD (PP# Wait...there's a collector's edition of the damned soundtrack? What has it got, an extra five minutes of people screaming incomprehensibly?
DOCTOR WHO TARDIS USB 4 PORT HUB STATION Oh, I'm so tempted.
EMPLOYEE OF THE MONTH DANE COOK POSTER EMPLOYEE OF THE MONTH JESSICA SIMPSON POSTER Choose your own joke: A) "Just in time for no one but their mother's to care anymore!" B) "Just in case your walls weren't unfunny enough!"
ERAGON DAGGER OF ARYA WITH SHEATH Yeah, that's a license someone overpaid for.
LEGEND OF THE PERVERT DVD SUB (A) You know, with a title like that, you'd expect a certain level of quality. And yet, I hear that it had to be edited for the North American release. Which just begs the question: if you knew it had to be edited, why the hell did you license a cartoon called "Legend of the Pervert" in the first place?
I have an inordinate, and probably surprising to many of you, fondness for the musical Godspell, or at least the film version of the same. It's vision of Jesus as a hippie super-hero, combined with utterly sincere and unironic songs are inspiring and charming. That it seems to completely and utterly annoy most American conservative Protestants, who object to it's message of God's unconditional love, is a plus in its favor as well. Now, I've often said that the song "Alas for you" reminds me of blogging, but "All for the Best" works really well in a number of situations as well. It's a very subtle smack-down on the "gospel of prosperity" that has become popular in recent years. John/Judas's line, "someones got to be oppressed" says so much in so few words:
(Besides, if you haven't seen Godspell you probably should, as it seems to be continually referenced in contemporary comedies.)
Of course, you can't really talk about "hippie musicals" without mentioning the grand-pappy of them all, Hair. I sort-of like the film version more than the theatrical versions, even though it takes massive and extensive liberties with the plot, or what little plot the play has, anyway. If nothing else, I'm glad the film version exists, as it provides definitive visual proof that yes, Treat Williams was at one point a sex symbol. He's not in this clip. Instead I highlighted one of the more popular songs, one that doesn't get covered very often, "Black Boys/White Boys." I love the twist they pulled in the film, giving parts of the song to male singers.
For absolutely no good reason, other than that I couldn't find any clips from The Apple (see, hippies=folk music="The Apple"=not terribly good=attempted sequel), here's "Bitchin' in the Kitchin" from Shock Treatment. Any song that manages to incorporate household appliances into it's verses as effortlessly as this deserves a look.
(Featuring appearances by Barry "Dame Edna" Humphries and Rik "the Prick" Mayall!)
Now, even though most of that song was for some reason given to Cliff DeYoung to sing, it did feature the sublime Jessica Harper. And since you can never have enough Jessica Harper (I sat through Suspiria for her!), here's "Special to Me" from the criminally under-rated Phantom of the Paradise.
Aw, heck, I can't leave you with just one Paul Williams song. Here's a certain something from the best film of both Scott Baio's and Jodie Foster's careers.
Geeze, Jen, he's your brother for cripes sake! Quit hanging off him like that!
Passive Aggressive Manipulator
So, let's review. Straight Obsidian=emotional basket case prone to violence and aggression and increasing madness leading to eventual attempt to destroy the world. Gay Obsidian=happy, well-adjusted hero.
And Gay Obsidian has been reduced to a glorified security system because certain writers and artists irrationally prefer the unstable lunatic with a sister complex...
There are two principal charges against Jade. The first, that she deliberately encouraged the worst case of a sister complex in a comic book character since the introduction of Pietro Maximoff.
Hell, Pietro comes off positively well-adjusted in comparison to Todd. On one of Todd's good days.
First of all, it's important to realize that Jennie's parents know that she has a twin brother:
So how does Jennie introduce Todd to her friends?
"Hey, Todd, come over to my family's house for Thanksgiving. Only, don't tell my parents that you're my emotionally repressed brother. It would be so funny to let them think you're my boyfriend instead. Oh, and really play up the fact that you're Catholic. My parents love Catholics!"
Which of course, leads to subtextually uncomfortable scenes like this:
Her second, and far more serious crime, is thinking it's a good idea to dress someone like this:
Okay, we now know that Damon really loves Todd. Because he's willing to go out with someone who dresses like that for work.
I know, I know, you're all probably rending your hair, wondering why, when you snuck a glance here when your boss wasn't working, there wasn't a new post in my unofficial "Obsidian Week" series.
Well, it's like this: Pete and I both spent a good deal of the evening out to dinner with friends, as part of a "Welcome to Santa Barbara" party for our friend Robert's boyfriend Brian, who just moved here from Louisiana. After that, Pete kicked me out of the living room so that he could assemble my new desk. It's spiffy. It's built on a right angle so it fits into a corner nicely, thus freeing up a little more room in our tiny little living area. By the time the desk was finished, I was in no shape to blog, having slipped into a coma brought on by reading too many Legion of Super-Heroes comics in one sitting. That stuff will mess you up man, as well as kill any notions of the basic goodness of man you may still harbor.
"Hey, Chameleon Boy is being a real ass in this story." "How could you possibly tell?" "Because the other Legion members are commenting on it." "You mean, even by the Legion's standards, he's being a prick? Wow, he must be a total asshole in that story!" (I don't know why Blockade Boy even hangs out with them...)
Oh, there also may have been an hour or two of Super Paper Mario distracting me in there as well. I know, comics-related content delayed due to video games. How unexpected.
In any case, to tide you over until the "Why Jade had to die" post, here's Jonny McGovern in a not at all safe for work video.
In Infinity Inc. #35, when the Infinitors met the Global Guardians (featuring Injustice Unlimited as the antagonists and a special appearance by the League of International Batmen), you could cut the testosterone and sexual tension with a knife.
Sadly for all future fan-fic writers, Tas spent most of his time flirting with Nuklon and sparring verbally with Wildcat II, while Todd moped.
"This Corrosion" by the Sisters of Mercy. The album this song was from was my first "goth" purchase, from a period when the first wave goths had mostly outgrown their pretentiousness and Hot Topic wasn't around yet. So the Sisters had pretty much fallen into the self-parody realm. Or more of a self-parody than they always really were anyway.
"Kiss Them for Me" by Siouxsie and the Banshees. I still have an inordinate amount of fondness for Siouxsie and companies. Their music has held up so much better than that of their contemporaries. Of course, you can never be taken seriously as a goth band unless you have at least one song about a famous death.
"She's Lost Control" by Joy Division. Possibly stretching the definition of "goth" a little too include them, but Ian Curtis, if nothing else, certainly influenced many a goth band. This clip is worth watching, despite the wonky sound in bits, if only to see Curtis actually MOVING. I know, it's amazing, you wouldn't think it was possible. Joy Division always makes me remember this conversation I once participated in. "Hey, what do you call someone who likes New Order by not Joy Division?" "What?" "A poseur?" "But isn't that what we call Joy Division fans anyway?"
"Codo" by DOF. For my money, you can't get any better than this for a searing look at the hardcore, heavy German techno/industrial/goth sound. If you watch no other clips, watch this one.
If the Globe Theater had an internet message board:
"FUCK YOU SHAKESPEARE! WHERE DO YOU GET OFF KILLING OFF ROMEO AND JULIET? Clearly, you have no conception of how drama is supposed to work, since you won't let your characters be happy!"
"It was a total rip-off of the sub-plot from Midsummer's Nights Dream anyway. Talk about unoriginal."
"I'm still waiting for WS to explain the continuity errors in Antony and Cleopatra. There is NO WAY that both AAC and Julius Ceasar can take place simultaneously!"
"Don't get me started on Ceasar! HEY STUPID WILL! THE PLAY IS CALLED JULIUS CAESAR NOT BRUTUS WHINES FOR THREE ACTS!"
"Ugh, you think the Julius Caesar continuity is bad? Falstaff fucking disappears between the second part of of Henry IV and the start of Henry V! It's like WS forgot all about him!"
"yo tardo falstaff dies inbetwen storis lololol"
"PLEASE SIGN MY PETETION FOR A FALSTAFF MEMORIAL IN HENRY'S CASTLE THANK YOU!"
"Of course Shakespeare wants his characters to be miserable. He's the last person I'd go to for something fun. All he writes is gorey garbage like Titus Andronicus and continuity porn like the Henry plays."
"He so badly wants to be Kit it's kind of sad."
"The worst was King Lear. Cordelia's death was just another cliche 'Woman in an Icehouse' moment from Hacks-peare."
"The man clearly has issues. I mean, Taming of the Shrew? Women are shrews? I feel sorry for his wife. No, I don't, she must deserve it if she has so little self-esteem to be with him. Othello is one of the most offensive and racist pieces of filth I've ever had the misfortune to see. And Merchant of Venice is just as bad. I'm honestly surprised people still give him work, he so clearly has an anti-diversity agenda."
"Is he really all that bad? I thought Hamlet was sort of okay."
"Oh, please, the plot of Hamlet makes no fucking sense. There's a ghost and incest and an army on the border, yet they have time to fart around with stupid little plays that do NOTHING to advance the story? It's stupid. And he clearly killed Rozencrantz and Guildenstern because of his anti-fun agenda, as has already been noted."
"According to 'Reclining in a Ditch' WS doesn't even really write the plays anyway."
"With incompetents like Hackspeare writing plays, it's no wonder that kids today spend so much time at the bear baiting pits instead of going to the theater."
"Shyea, whatever, I'm waiting for the folio anyway."
Oh boy! Today's the day that Daddy Dor takes me to the comic book shop! I'm so excited. I love comics. The bright colors. The soft paper. They're great for teething on.
Here I am playing King of Comic Book Mountain! Look at all the nifty comics!
That nice boy Aaron is helping a customer but that Mike guy kept trying to pet me! Grrr! Doesn't he know I'm a rough and tough guard dog! My comics! Mine!
Oh no! Mike locked me up in a display case because I growled at him! Help! Help! I'm surrounded by horrible T&A comics!
The horrible comics made me faint! To recover, Daddy Dor put me on top of some DC horror comics! Ahh, that will cure anything! Even a near fatal exposure to Witchblade!
Whoops! I accidentally looked at some X-Men comics from the 90s! And then I had a different kind of accident! I'm so embarrassed!
Finally home! I was so exhausted, Daddy Dor made a little bed for me out of all the comics I bought today! I've got the bestest bed in the whole wide world!
Hey hey hey! It wouldn't be a day out for puppy without some face-kicking action! Face kicking is what comics are all about! And no one can kick faces like Plastic Man! Here's Plastic Man kicking an albino in the face!
The Rubberband by Lal & Mike Waterson: If Plastic Man, Elongated Man and Jimmy Olsen all got together and formed an folk band in the sixties, I just bet they would have sung this song! It's a nifty song! It's about rubber-bands! And even though the song isn't about Plastic Man, Elongated Man or Jimmy Olsen, they've all got kind of rubbery types of powers, so the song is kind of like them, in a very tangential sort of way!