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Music Video Stream of Conciousness: Doctor Who Edition
Rouge Traders, "Voodoo Child"; I loved the use of this song in The Sound of Drums. A lot of Doctor Who fans seem to think it was somehow blasphemous to use an electro-rock tune with a good beat to score an alien invasion. Never mind that the song is actually used diegetically; it's actually being played in the scene by one of the characters. It's a deliberate sick joke on the part of the villain. He's planned his end of the world scenario down to the last detail, including choosing theme music for it. Now, that's dedication to evil.
Britney Spears, "Toxic"; Now, if you want to complain about the use of pop music in the show, take this piece of garbage. Lousy, lousy song. Granted, in the episode The End of the World the song is explicitly used as a joke. And at the time, the world thought little Brit-Brit was just a marginally talented teen starlet, using her sexuality as a cover for her lack of singing ability. We didn't know at the time that she was batshit fucking nuts. Still...horrible, horrible song.
Gary Williams, "Song for Ten"; One of the features that has developed in the Christmas specials for Doctor Who is the use of an original song. Of the two we've heard so far, I prefer the song from The Christmas Invasion. Lyrically it resonates with me more. This live version was from a charity concert where Murray Gold's music for the show was performed live.
KLF, "Doctorin' the Tardis"; I was the only person in my school who had any clue what this song was about.
And, just for fun, here's a rather nice mix of the various title segments and variations on what a lot of people consider one of the all time best television themes.
Flash: The Fastest Man Alive #13, by Marc Guggenheim and Tony Daniel, published by DC Comics
I'm hard-pressed to think of what the point of this comic was. If we are expected to take DC creative types at their word, that the entire point of this Flash series was simply to kill off Bart Allen so that we'd be grateful that they brought back the "one, true Flash," it strikes me as nothing more than proof that there is a death fetishism running rampant through modern super-hero comics. That interpretation certainly seems borne out by the comic, in which it is emphasized over and over again that Bart Allen isn't "worthy" of being the Flash. A more likely explanation would be that, rather than ignoring the fans, as super-hero publishers are often accused of doing, DC looked at the steadily declining sales of the title, replaced the creative team (a better creative team, that was actually starting to do something interesting with the title, in my opinion), and went out of their way to give the vocal message boarding and blogging fans what they seemed to have wanted: Bart dead, Wally back. Which leads to a final issue that's frankly a creative train-wreck.
The Highwaymen #1, by Marc Bernardin, Adam Freeman and Lee Garbet, published by DC/Wildstorm
A near future crime-caper with snappy dialogue, slick art and action-movie ludicrousness that doesn't devolve into self-parody. In other words, a good, surprising little treat that appears to have snuck in under the radar. Two ex-, well, secret agents supposedly, but it's not quite clear, are activated when a (supposedly) rogue element in national security attempts to track down a decades old secret. There's just enough of a teasing and ambiguity in this introduction to make it plausible that we don't quite know who the good guys are supposed to be, but the tale is told so strongly and entertainingly that finding out more promises to be fun. Garbet's art is new to me, and he has a very good sense of storytelling, with good action scenes, and unique and expressive characters. Visually, it reminds me slightly of a cross between Steve Dillon and Frank Quitely, without aping either of those styles, but occuping a kind of middle-ground between them.
Gintama volume 1, by Hideaki Sorachi, published by Viz
I was looking for something high concept, but not too serious, and I got it. Mostly. In an alternative Japan, aliens have invaded and corrupted the government. To secure their position, they've outlawed the samurai and confiscated all their swords. But, really, that's all just a pretense for allowing Sorachi to draw anachronistic technologies and funky aliens in his farcical samurai comedy. And farce it is, with broad characters and slapstick comedy, and an oddly literal approach to comedy and jokes that seems at odds with the surreality of the situation. Many of the characters are stock types to the point of stereotypes: ooh, the hard-bitten tough guy, the wacky nerd sidekick, the tough-girl side-kick, the crusty landlord with a heart of gold, the mysterious ally/enemy from the past, etc. It's hard to tell whether the characters are meant as parodies of the type, or simply the result of lack of experience as a writer. But there's the root of something there, and Gintama wouldn't be the first manga with a rough opening to improve in later volumes. The art, scrunchy and distorted, but with a careful detail, has some attraction, and between that and the potential in the work, I think I can give it the benefit of the doubt for a couple of books.
At some point, I still plan to talk about the Doctor Who episodes that have aired since I last reviewed any, but I wanted to gush over the latest episode a bit. If you're reading this in a newsreader, you shouldn't get spoilers. If you're not, and you don't want to be spoiled, don't scroll past the picture of Katy Manning and the Dalek.
I figure the picture alone should scare off a good 75% of my readership as it is...
Yes, contemporary television shows and their "goths/emos are scary" storylines will look just as dated and ridiculous in twenty years...sorry C.S.I. fans.
Attempts to contemporize Archie comics ruining the jokes:
Does anyone use commercial collect calling anymore? Does anyone use payphones anymore?
Batman being a hypocrite:
Man, was that series awful. I think the "armor" the heroes wore is easily in the top five of "Stupidest Things I've Ever Seen In A Comic." I'm glad Alex Ross really liked the Super Friends when he was a kid, but that was no excuse for DC to put this out.
Oh, and in regards to the big spoiler news from comics today, I only have four words to say: status quo successfully maintained!
Two Countdown spin-off minis, as well as a spin-off one-shot dedicated to how the Wildstorm universe fits into the 52 universes paradigm, not to mention three 52 spin-offs and another Sinestro Corps special tells me that, nope, we're still not out of the "massive cross-over" woods yet. Cue the complaints from people who will buy them all anyway!
The Black Canary/Green Arrow wedding gets started in earnest, and, oh my, how the fan entitlement rants are flying with confused arguments for how the marriage of two fictional characters is definitive proof that DC HATES WOMEN, with a delicious extra dash of "let's kill the people who work for DC" popping up every now and again...because, as everyone knows, marriage is a male fantasy of domination over women, and no woman in her right mind would ever want to get married because, you know, she loves the guy...You know, I can see objecting to the marriage because it's clearly a stunt. I can see objecting to it for reasons of characterization. But marriage=misogyny? Christ... On the other hand, that it even occurs to people to think of marriage that way is a sign that maybe we shouldn't let you damn breeders even get married, if you're going to debase the institution with tawdry displays instead of seeing it as a sign of bonding and love.
I mean, let's take the first book, the Black Canary Wedding Planner, written by J. Torres, a notorious misogynist, second only to Dave Sim I'm sure (that's a joke, by the way):
Now, I look at that image, and I see a jokey take on the mishaps that can occur on a wedding day. Other people look at that image and see "OMG, LINGERIE, OBJECTIFICATION! AND SHE'S KNOCKING OVER THE CAKE! SEXISM! SHE'S BEING PORTRAYED AS INCOMPETENT!"
Or this cover to the JLA Wedding Special:
Setting aside the curious emphasis on Wonder Woman's ass, and the overall business of the image, I see a harmless image of a very tame bachelorette party. Others see...well, I'm not actually sure what they see, because other than that it's not a very well composed picture, I'm really straining to see a serious problem with this picture. Okay, yeah, Superman popping out of a cake to strip...maybe not in character. Though with Lois right there, maybe it will. I can totally see Lois enjoying watching her husband strip. And though it's already been pointed out, it bears repeating; regarding this comment: But the Big Blue Boy Scout isn’t exactly who you’d recruit to be your stripper. I gave this some thought, and this is who I came up with for the beefcake: A scantily clad Arsenal/Red Arrow should be bursting out, wearing just a red-and-white toga and doing something cutesy with a “love arrow.”
Yes, just what every woman dreams of on her wedding day...her foster son stripping for her... The internet makes me really not want to know about how comic fans were raised...
Lastly, we get to the actual wedding comic:
I'm not even going to bother to scrounge up the objections to this picture. Mostly they involve the horrible, horrible misogyny of an arrow being attached to her rear end. This despite the fact that she's lifting him, putting her in a dominant position. Never mind the playful sexuality expressed so wonderfully by Amanda Connor on both character's faces. And see, now I'm all depressed and frustrated with comic fans, and I've barely started looking at the books...
Dwane McDuffie takes over as the writer of Justice League of America. This is good news, and that's coming from one of the few people who seems to be enjoying Meltzer's run on the title (pending the ending of this JLA/JSA/Legion cross-over, of course. Something about that story has set my "something really stupid and fan wankish is going to happen" senses tingling). DC manages to spoil this good response, though by taking a quite good cover:
And splitting it into two pieces. No, guys, seriously, wrap-around is better.
Wonder Woman Annual ships, but we'll place that in the "believe it when I see it" category, and a Wonder Girl mini launches, written by J. Torres and with a nice "girls kick butt" style cover by Sanford Greene:
Green Lantern #23:
My favorite version is still:
Tales of the Sinestro Corps Presents Parallax is leading to angst in fan circles, with it's suggestion that Kyle becomes Parallax somehow. Me, given how central Kyle seems to be to the Countdown storyline, and given that they already did that story with a Green Lantern, I tend to think it's sloppy and unclear writing.
A second run of the criminally underrated Uncle Sam and the Freedom Fighters begins, as do new series for Infinity Inc and Suicide Squad. II looks to continue the Steel and Everyman storylines from 52, while SS looks to fill in continuity holes. I can't say either of those prospects gets me too excited.
New Showcase Presents volumes for this month are The Great Disaster and Metal Men. Both are utterly insane, for the record, though I prefer the insanity of the Atomic Knights over the insanity of Silver Age Metal Men.
Superman/Batman #40 brings back Bekka. I'm surprised anyone even remembers Bekka. Checkmate #18 finally gets around to that "oh yeah, Amanda Waller is totally a villain...we should do something about that" storyline that's been waiting in the wings since the series launched (or, since the character was introduced way back when, if you want to get technical).
Flash #232 brings us that vagina dentata cover everyone's been having a good laugh at:
I have to admit, I went from groaning at the tackiness of the cover, to being annoyed that no one at DC stopped for a minute to consider how this cover would be received, to being kind of annoyed with the escalating outrage over the cover. Yes, it's tacky and stupid, but it's hardly the smoking gun proof that "OMG! DAN DIDIO HATES WOMEN!" I've seen some commentators try to turn it into.
The also underrated Mystery in Space mini gets collected as well, though split into two volumes. This does actually annoy me a bit, because I wasn't planning on buying the trades, but volume two will collect the Jim Starlin/Berni Wrightson The Weird series, and I wouldn't have minded a stand-alone version of that book.
Jodi Picoulet's run on Wonder Woman is collected in hard-cover, and while I want to say that this is the first time the follow-up to a recent storyline has been collected prior to the initial storyline, I'm pretty sure Marvel has done that more than once by now.
I kind of want to know what Kilowog is doing in the cartoon version of the Legion:
CMX looks to have a very good month, with the launches of two mature reader titles: the horror series Presents by Kanako Inuki and Variante, a Frankenstein-ish tale of a girl with a murderous arm graft, as well as another volume of the superlative Gon.
GEN 13 #12 features the Authori-teens. Cute.
DC Beefcake for September Nothing! It's quite upsetting, really.
Am I alone in thinking that the Marvel Classics line is going down like a lead balloon?
Ultimate Power still isn't over yet?
What an ugly, overly complicated cover...
Michael Turner Ass Shot #1:
Michael Turner Ass Shot #2:
Hoo-ho! A "cat" fight? Get it? Get it?
Even if you don't get it, the solicitation text for Ms Marvel #19 is sure to spell it out. It's Ms. Marvel vs. Tigra…cat fight! Why is the leader of the Mighty Avengers battling a host of female heroes? What craziness are new Initiative teammates Machine Man and Sleepwalker up to? And who is pulling all of their strings? Find out as writer Brian Reed (NEW AVENGERS: ILLUMINATI) and artist Aaron Lopresti (PLANET HULK) continue their acclaimed and back-to-back-to-back sell-out run! Yes, because we never would have guessed what they were going for with the horribly literal cover otherwise...
Make fun of Shanna the She-Devil? Naw, too easy.
So, that year long "X-Men in space" storyline still isn't wrapped up, but continues in X-Men: Emperor Vulcan? I know it's traditional for the X-Men books to pad, but a year wasn't long enough to finish the story?
You know, and despite all that above, I think this month will mark the most money I've spent on Marvel comics in years. I count eleven titles I plan to buy from Marvel.
Saw the second Fantastic Four film. Is there anyone connected to Marvel in any way that's capable of telling the truth?
Apparently the reason DC has been so vague about the solicitations for Flash is that they've cancelled the book. In order to restart with the previous volumes numbering, with Mark Waid as the writer. While broadly hinting that they're bringing Barry Allen back. Hey, which means that I get to drop Flash! Because while the Bart series had its flaws, there's no way in hell I'm going to waste my money on Waid's Silver Age fetishism.
Black Diamond #1, by Larry Young and John Proctor, published by AiT/Planet Lar
The Black Diamond is the kind of high-concept, patently ludicrous idea you might have expected to see in a movie from one the less reputable production companies in the late 70s or early 80s. And I say that with love. I was a kid who grew up on Hawk the Slayer and Cannonball Run and Radioactive Dreams, and it probably warped me into the kind of person who, frequently, will value entertainment value over "logic." And so, this book, which suggests that American conservative movement would build a transcontinental highway and abandon it to gear-heads, criminals and filthy hippies in order to keep normal surface roads safe for family values voters. It's the next logical step to every car chase movie ever made. And while Young puts together a plot, something about a wife being kidnapped by terrorists, thus neccessitating the mild mannered dentist hero to embark on a cross-country drive, it's really just a pretext to set up the potential for mayhem. If there's a significant flaw in that, it is that this issue serves only as prologue: we don't get to see the mayhem. Though a short back-up strip by Dennis Culver provides a humorous insight into daily life on the Black Diamond. Jon Proctor's art on the main story is highly stylized and expressionistic. I suspect it's probably going to be too stylized for many readers, those accustomed to a slicker, more commercial style, but for me it works on this book.
Elephantmen #9, by Starkings and Moritat, published by Image
The outstanding sci-fi comic does a quiet, "day in the life" story about Hip Flask trying to get home with some groceries. It's a short seeming story, but it still is typical of the deft characterization and humanity that informs the Elephantmen series as a whole. In just a few pages we get a telling character sketch about Hip, a truck driver, some peril and an action sequence. It could almost act as a model for comics shorts.
MPD Psycho vol. 1, by Sho-U Tajima and Eiji Otsuka, published by Dark Horse
I'll admit I have something of a preference for the dark in my manga. I've been waiting eagerly for this series, particularly after the spectaculr Kurosagi Corpse Deliverey Service, also by Otsuka. This is a bit of a different beast from that series, though. While Kurosagi is ultimately optimistic, this is a much more pessimistic book, viewing humanity through a far more jaundiced view. It mixes the horror, sci-fi and thriller genres, with heavy elements of paranoia through a conspiracy sub-plot. Oh, and the protagonist is a detective with multiple personalites. One of which is a killer. The brutality of the book probably deserves some special mention. It's shocking and graphic, but it never comes off as lurid or titilating or pandering. Thanks to Tajima's clear, smooth-line art style and carefully detailed work, the horrible nature of the crimes are presented almost dispasionately and analytically. It's that coldness that communicates the horror.
And so the cycle continues...this time it was when one of the more astute retailers out there expressed concerns about Marvel's marketing decisions, in this particular case, the wisdom of redrawing the cover of a comic aimed at and marketed to children so that it now contains a rotting corpse. But not so badly rotting as to not still be kinda sexy! And, predictably, the peanut gallery responded in the predictable way. Which is to go out of their way to miss Chris's point and complain of people trying to spoil their fun.
I'm not offended by the cover. I think it's stupid and crass, but in the grand scheme of things, it's no big deal. That Marvel keeps pulling stuff like this should, maybe, give people pause. And I think beyond the tackiness of sexy corpses, that's the real issue. When I see some of the stuff Marvel releases into the marketplace, the impression I'm given of them as a company is that they're not serious; they're not really interested in being a media corporation. A real business wouldn't blend so easily the lines between their children's properties, their general audience properties, and their mature reader's properties. The impression I'm given is that Marvel is run by a bunch of aging frat boys, cashing in for a quick buck by pandering to the lowest common denominators amongst super-hero fans.
And it's not just in Marvel's marketing that this impression plays out. There's an overall lack of editorial oversight on display at Marvel. I'm hardly one to wax nostalgic for Jim Shooter's reign, as the bulk of Marvel's output at the time was mediocre in terms of art and story...and that's being needlessly generous to it, but it's hard to imagine that past Marvel editors would have adopted the laissez-faire attitude towards retailer relations, late books and over-indulged creators that the current editorial regime has fostered. It's hard to imagine even as draconian a personality as Shooter dismissing out of hand reader's concerns about marketing decisions, as Joe Quesada regularly does.
Take this, the latest example of head-scratching decisions on Marvel's part:
Sure, people were joking that Marvel was going to use "a Skrull did it" as their catch-all explanation for doing away with bad characterization, inane storylines, and failed efforts, but no one actually imagined that anyone at Marvel thought that would actually be a reasonable idea. This isn't a clever idea. It's not even an original idea. It's not even internally consistent with titles Marvel has published now or in the past...but it's "cool." At least to the men in their thirties and forties who run Marvel and act like it's their chance to finally play with the toys, instead of be responsible creators and businesspeople.
Everybody else seems to do a regular or semi-regular rundown of Previews, but I don't. It's not because there's nothing I find noteworthy in the magazine, it's just that I find the experience of reading it so soul-crushing and mind-numbing and infuriating that I can't imagine that it would be much fun for anyone else to see my reaction. So I went and did the post anyway. I also decided to count the number of covers/toys/ads which seem to use women's chests on display in oddly prominent ways to attract attention.
Dark Horse The thing that strikes me the most about the Dark Horse listing is the sense of "going to the well too many times" so many titles give me. Groo, Richie Rich, Star Wars, Buffy, Conan, Aliens vs. Predator, Neil Gaiman, The Mummy of all things: I'm mostly shocked there's still perceived demand some of these things. Boob Count: 1
DC I've already talked a bit about these solicitations already, and I really can't think of much more to add. Though I still think the odd insistence on "armored versions of characters" in the action figures is sort of odd. Boob Count: 10
Image The apparent offensiveness of Special Forces is only mitigated by the fact that it's Kyle Baker doing it.
I think the existence of a Jon Bon Jovi cheap plastic statue "action figure" should be taken as final proof that Todd McFarlane has too much money, if he can waste it acquiring licenses like this. And doesn't it seem like the Jack Bauer action figure should come with some torture "interrogation" accessories? Boob Count: 11
Marvel Sigh...I want to like you, Marvel. Honest, I do. But you just make it so hard... Boob Count: 12
I'm also honestly surprised that with all the (deserved) grief Marvel has taken lately, this slipped under people's radar:
Granted, most of the men don't get arms either, but that's still tremendously creepy.
And here's a little cock panic for the straight boys:
Wizard I can't believe people pay money for these shitty magazines.
Anarchy Studios Boob Count: 4, all Vampirella, if that makes any difference.
Antarctic Press The Boob Count is only 2, but in the middle of their solicitations is an atrocious ad for "To Heart 2" figures, so it feels like I should bump that up, even though Antarctic had nothing to do with the ad placement.
Arcana Studio Boob count: 2. The ad for Kade is so prominent, I think it should be counted as well.
Archaia Studios Killing Pickman sounds like something I might be interested in, but not at $3.50 for six issues. I can wait for the trade. I think the ad for Starkweather justifies a Boob Count of one.
Aspen Boob Count: 5. All for Iron & The Maiden.
Avatar Boob Count: 5 Ass Count: 1 Crotch Count: 1 Covers Count: 24 Actual Comics Count: 13 Well, at least they've found a business model that works for them...
Basement Comics Boob Count: 3. Mike tells me Cavewoman used to be readable...
Big Bang Comics Boob Count: 1. But they're Kirby knock-off boobs.
Bloodfire Studios Boob Count: 2, counting their ad. But they're sci-fi elf-girl boobs!
Bluewater Productions How many different names has this company been under? Anyway, Boob Count is 4.
Broadsword You know, I'm not even going to bother with a Boob Count. It's almost the friggin' point of the line...
Broccoli International Boob Count: 2. 250 pages into the book before we get our first manga t&a.
Checker Book Publishing Group With Growing Old with B.C. you can chart Johnny Hart's progression from occasionally funny hack to insane fundamentalist racist, all in one convenient volume!
Class Comics I keep forgetting Diamond carries this line now, and since it's only really listed in the adult supplement, it's not hard to imagine why. Plus, I'm always more than a little surprised to see Diamond carrying gay porn anyway.
Dynamite Entertainment We get five full page ads before we even get to their section. And we get a Boob Count of 21, counting those ads. A new record!
I had a comment all ready to go for Lone Ranger, about how the best way to kill my interest in the Lone Ranger is to put out an incredibly decompressed comic, prompting me to wait for the trade, and then put the trade out in hard-cover...with a variant cover...but the hard-cover isn't solicited in this issue, so the point seems moot.
Del Rey You know, I'm surprised I can't bring myself to justify a Boob Count for Del Rey, given that I've seen Suzuka before, but this cover is downright prudish compared to previous volumes.
Devil's Due Boob Count: 5. Amazingly, G.I. Joe isn't one of them.
Digital Manga Publishing This month they've got Pop Japan Travel: Essential Otaku Guide, a manga-format travel guide to Japan's nerdiest destinations. Something tells me this might be one to stock up on...
Digital Webbing Presents Boob Count: 5
Dynamic Forces I'm just going to pretend that all this crap doesn't exist. It's better that way.
Eighty Eight MPH Studios An "Ecto-1" lithograph from the film Ghostbusters...why?
Fantagraphics I really fail to grasp the appeal of Johnny Ryan. He's so busy trying to be "outrageous" and "offensive" that he always forgets to be "funny."
Graham Crackers Comics Boob Count: 1, for Transformers comic...cripes...
IDW Boob Count: 2, for Gene Simmons Dominatrix and variant. I can't help but think some kind of punctuation is appropriate there, probably an apostrophe, though a colon doesn't seem unreasonable either. Frankly, I'm appalled the market can support six different Transformers titles...none of which seem particularly appropriate for children.
Linsner.com Boob Count: 2, not counting what I'm sure are thoroughly tasteful offerings in the Previews Adult catalog.
Moonstone CLASH: I'm trying to avoid dismissing this as yet another attempt to rewrite Watchmen and failing.
Oni Yes, I'm the jerk who doesn't like Scott Pilgrim. I'm also frankly baffled by the hipster kid ironic nostalgia for heavy metal music, which Black Metal seems to be trying to tap into.
Tokyopo Boob Count: 2. Slow month for Tokyopop. I do reserve the right to mock mercilessly anyone who buys the Star Trek manga.
Tyndale House Manga Messiah: of all the things that come to mind when I read that title, a straight-faced adaptation of the Bible, with a frankly cynical attempt to make it appeal to kids and teens by using manga-style art, wasn't one of them.
Valiant Entertainment What, seriously?
Virgin Boob Count: 2
Viz Boob Count: 1, but it's for a title called Kurohime, which looks so ridiculously over the top I'll probably need to check it out. I mean, look at it:
I break out into giggles every time I see it.
Viz also starts the weekly releases of Naruto. The best explanation as to why that I've seen is that they want to burn off all the volumes containing an unpopular storyline, and gimmicking them out this way is the most financially logical way to do it.
Zenescop Entertainment Boob Count: 4.
Magazines Boob Count: 2, both Femme Fatales. A magazine which can never seem to decide if it's a Maxim-clone or a Playboy-clone for nerds.
Books I'm always baffled by half the stuff that gets solicited here. I can only imagine that the section exists to fulfill the obsessive collecting needs of those shut-ins who haven't heard of Amazon. Also, there's a Chronicle Books ad on page 403 for Wonder Woman merchandise which, as far as I can tell, are not solicited in this issue of Previews. Timing people, timing!
International Boob Count: 3, which is surprisingly low for this section.
Trading Cards That's cute...they think there's still a market for trading cards...
"Hey man, what's that supposed to be on your t-shirt?" "Oh, it's the Silver Surfer. But as a zombie. Pretty cool, huh?" "...You don't get out much, do you?"
Toys & Models Boob Count: 6. And how fucking creepy is it that the "toys" section deserves a "Boob Count?"
General hint when going through the toy section: anything that says "sold in case lots only" may as well read "we're forcing retailers to over-buy because the profit margin vs. perceived demand is nonexistent."
McDonaldland action figures: who buys this shit? No, seriously, I want to know, because if they have that kind of money to waste, they may as well give it to me.
On page 448 there's a "Steve Irwin: Wildlife Adventures Ocean Dive" playset. Which strikes me as being in slightly poor taste...
That's just hideously off-model. And nightmare inducing. And they want $40 for it.
There's a $10 difference in price between those two statues. Seems hard to justify to me.
Okay, setting aside the fact that anyone reading Previews is likely to know what Han Solo looks like, this is what's on page 471:
And then there's a bunch of over-priced vinyl figurines for hipster kids.
Import Toys and Models Boob Count: 13
I fucking hate nerds...apparently, in the series this figure is from, she doesn't even have a name, just a title. You know, to make the dehumanization even easier for fetishists.
It's a base for your Char-piloted Gundams. Sold separately. That's actually kind of brilliant in it's evil.
I want to work up some bile over the "Hostel" action figure on sale on page 504, but honestly? The popularity of torture porn just makes me depressed.
Collectibles & Novelties Is there any good reason why this stuff can't be merged into the two other toy sections? Because I honestly don't understand why Star Wars fake helmets are "toys" but 300 fake helmets are "collectibles."
"World of Faries and Elves Figures"
I know some people get annoyed when they see obvious head-shop junk "gifts" in their comic book and collectibles catalog, but I love it. It's a none too gentle reminder of where, exactly, comic book stores place in the retail hierarchy.
Games Monte Cook creating a new back-story may actually get me to pick up a "World of Darkness" game. Because almost anything has got to be better than their regular campaign back-grounds.
Videos Like the book section, I'm baffled as to who this is useful for. You can get every single thing in this section sooner and cheaper anywhere other than a comic shop. The only thing I use it for is to keep track of anime release dates. So that I can then go get them at Fry's. For about $5 to $10 less than Diamond has them.
"Golden Arrow" from Fawcett's Whiz Comics. Something tells me we won't be seeing him in the next batch of "oh, shoot, we own a bunch of old Fawcett characters, trot them out in a cross-over to renew the copyrights" book. Why is that, you ask? Well...
Colluding with a government official to deprive American businessmen of their property without just compensation.
I mean, what is he, some kind of commie? We don't take kindly to those kinds of values in Truman's America mister!
Getting knocked out in improbable ways
I can't tell if that's an ice-cream spoon or a speculum. Either way, that's just weird.
Playing dangerous games with fire
Won't somebody think of the bad example this sets for children!
I have little doubt that the wave of irresponsible and dangerous cow-druggings that have been sweeping the nation are due to impressionable youth who learned that drugging cows was "cool" after reading Golden Arrow comics.
Riding a cow in order to get into posistion to perform a flying tackle on two opponents on horseback
As you know, I really hate the "torture porn" genre of horror. I think, in the long run, it's bad for the genre for those types of films to dominate, and I really don't like what their financial and popular success says about American tastes. And then I found this interview with the marketing co-president for the studio that releases the Hostel movies:
The next image in the campaign was from a photo session Palen did with film costar Bijou Phillips. It shows Phillips nude, holding her own severed head in her hand. Knowing the image was too graphic to ever be shown in a theater or in a newspaper ad, Palen gave the poster to international Internet sites, which are not subject to MPAA guidelines, and Comic-Con festivals. ...
Palen defends his work in two ways: in terms of context and execution. The poster of a naked Phillips holding her severed head in her hands, he says, "is completely inappropriate to be on a billboard on the street or even in the lobby of our offices." But he says it is suitable for theaters in foreign markets — where people are far less concerned about sexual images — and for hard-core horror fans.
"It's for the boys in the backpacks at these comic conventions, waiting in line for hours to get the posters signed," says Palen.
And that's what the legacy of sexism and misogyny in the comics industry has wrought: film studios thinking it's okay to market sexually violent images because they'll appeal to comic fans.
Sigh... I really feel like I should be insulted by Palen's characterization, but I have a hard time arguing against the point he's making, based on the on-line and real life conversations I've seen comic fans have.
Dear lord, there's a lot of stuff coming out this week. After two relatively light weeks, we would get a big week right when all my bills are due. I think I'll probably end up getting The Black Diamond Detective Agency...eventually. That it comes out the same week as MPD Psycho and Young Bottoms in Love is too bad, as I don't feel the same urgency to purchase or read it as I do those two books. I feel like I should feel secretly ashamed that I plan on buying New Warriors, not only because it's got "cancellation-bait" written all over it, but because it's got that "we'll inflate sales by using the book as a bridge between the last cross-over and the next cross-over" vibe on it as well.
The things you learn from old comics:
The "master of evil" wears pixie boots and European swim trunks. Huh.
You know what we all need more of? Random, gratuitous beefcake:
I haven't seen a lot of good, enthusiastic, fun posts about female super-heroes lately. Good thing I got my hands on Mary Marvel #23, from 1948. A book which shows us that, if anything, Billy was the normal one.
Mary pops a balloon with a pitchfork (no, I don't want to know what was inside the balloon, and neither do you):
Mary hugs furniture:
Mary dresses like a ghost in order to scare poltergeists (no, I don't know how that works either):
Mary punches an elephant:
Mary spreads imperialist Western propaganda:
Also of note: everybody knows that Billy Batson is really Captain Marvel. Mary Marvel keeps showing up whenever Mary Bromfield is in trouble, looks just like Mary Bromfield, and is the sister of Captain Marvel just as Mary Bromfield is Billy Batson's sister...and no one ever puts two and two together.
Full Price Pierrepont: the Last Hangman: I can't imagine that a film like this, which examines the issue of capital punishment from the very personal angle of the executioner, and doesn't shy away from the ambiguous morality of that position, will do well in America. Or even get much notice in America. We tend to like our morality black-and-white, which is why "the villain" in our movies always has to die, preferably messily or in some poetic manner. That execution leaves a stain on the soul of the people tasked to carry it out is not something we want to dwell on.
Hairspray: Dear trailer narrator, please stop talking over the music. And while John Travolta is a poor substitute for either Divine or Harvey Fierstein (or even Bruce Vilanch), and even though the trailer doesn't seem to have quite the charm or energy this film probably needs to sell itself in a market that's almost actively hostile to musicals on film...yeah, there's no way I'm not going to see this. Part of me now really wants to see Avenue Q as a motion picture, just to watch the pundit classes heads explode as they try to deal with the cognitive dissonance of puppets for adults.
Balls of Fury: I suspect that my final evaluation of the film will be something like "needed more Thomas Lennon" but I'm not going to feel guilty about wanting to see this. I sat through The Baxter people! That's how deep my devotion to the former cast-members of The State is!
Stardust: Man, an ordinary man discovers a world of wonder and magic just outside his everyday world? What a novel and completely new and original idea from Neil Gaiman! While it does look pretty, I'll grant you, and the fairy-tale aspect has an appeal, there's something vaguely...pedestrian about how this looks to be presented.
Underdog: I think this may be the film that puts the "Peter Dinklage makes everything better" theory to the test. I mean it looks...cute. Slight, but cute. It's a very cute doggie. I'm sensing "cute" may become one of the buzzwords associated with the film. I also suspect I'm more charitably inclined to the notion of a live-action version of a poorly animated cartoon I barely remember from my child-hood because, when I saw the trailer in the theater, I had to put up with two annoying sorority girls bitching about how "lame" it looked. I think I'm more inclined to like things that people I can't stand don't.
Paprika: The real question with a new Satoshi Kon film is not "will I see it in a theater" but "can I see it in a theater, or do I have to wait for the DVD release?" Falling to the curse of foreign language trailers, any suggestion of plot or theme is abandoned in favor of arresting and compelling visuals. I also could have done without the review quoted in the trailer, which is based solely on the oft-repeated fallacy that anything Japanese is inherently superior to anything American, a lapse in logic quite popular amongst anime and manga fans in recent years. Did these people never see Tetsuo the Iron Man? If they had, they wouldn't be so quick to blindly laud Japanese pop culture.
Martian Child: Oh, John Cusack, why must you test my patience with you by entering into the "children are holy and magical and solve all your problems and fix your personality defects" genre?
Death at a Funeral: Frank Oz, when not working with puppets, is a bit hit or miss as a director. Still, Peter Dinklage puts in an appearance here as well. Though, I must admit, I have personally lost track of the number of "dysfunctional family has comically amusing breakdowns at funeral" films I've seen over the years.
The Golden Compass: This is another of those films that looks pretty, but I'm mostly curious to know how the "anti-Narnia" will play in the US. My suspicion is that early rumors were correct, and anything in the story that could even vaguely be construed as anti-Christian or irreligious has been excised from the film.
Netflix-able Fay Grim: It's a sequel to a film I've never even heard of, and I'm slightly taken aback now to discover that Parker Posey is now apparently old enough to play the mother of a teenager. But there's a certain snap to the wit here that I found amusing, and something of an absurdist attitude, as well as a mocking approach to post 9/11 American paranoia, which makes me curious as to the final product.
Bratz: I doubt I would actually see this, in any circumstances, but it at least looks more tolerable than the average Disney-channel teen movie. It's interesting to see that the message of the film is one of friendship overcoming the stifling and near-fascist "clique" organization of high schools. Especially when that seems to conflict with the creepy, vaguely sexualized images of the Bratz dolls the film is (supposedly) based on.
Fido: I'm not sure how Zombie Tom would react to this; it seems to be turning the notion of zombie servitude into some kind of joke. Now, normally I don't much care for zombies, and feel that, to be generous, the genre has been over-exposed and well worn out its welcome in recent years. Which may be why we're getting a sardonic satire mixing zombies, slavery, and Lassie satires all in one.
The Brothers Solomon: The Wills Arnett and Forte tend to be fairly funny on their own, so pairing them seems like a natural idea. If anything, this looks like it could be a welcome antidote to the "aw, having a baby completely fixes the lives of self-absorbed career women and shiftless losers" spate of films recently.
La Vie En Rose: I think they revoke my Gay Card if I don't offer at least a token amount of enthusiasm for the idea of an Edith Piaf bio-pic.
The Boss of it All: Lars von Trier makes an office comedy. Well, I should perhaps type it "comedy" after all. I don't quite grasp the appeal of the genre. I work in an office all day, why would I want to watch a movie or television show about people working in an office when I get home?
The Bourne Ultimatum: The first film was...okay, as far as it went. The influence of European action films was fairly strong on American films of the genre at the time, to mostly good effect. But at its heart, this was just another spy thriller, with an almost clever gimmick to see you through a paper-thin and conventional plot. This doesn't look offensively bad, but nor does it look like it has anything in particular to recommend it either.
Duck: I have no idea what the hell is going on here. Is the duck real? Is the old man senile? Does this take place in the future? Explanation please!
The Savages: Laura Linney usually gets points from me, but a laughles comedy about committing elderly parents to a nursing home is going to be a real hard sell. I can't really quite grasp a situation in which I can see myself really feeling the need to see a movie like that.
Pathfinder: Legend of the Ghost Warrior: The web-site says this came out in April. I somehow managed to never hear of it. And while Vikings may be the new pirates/ninjas/monkeys for the obsessive nerd set, I'm just not feeling it. Still, sword-fights and half-naked men...granted, that couldn't get me to see 300, but this doesn't look as ponderously stupid as that...just regular stupid.
The Brave One: It feels like it's been awhile since we had any entries in the "female vigilante out for revenge" genre. In fact, I can't even remember the last "you touched my stuff" film with a female protagonist to come out without it being a "mother defending child" film.
I Don't Want Eyes Anymore Rise: Blood Hunter: Have I ever mentioned that I really fucking hate vampire movies? This looks like a particularly bad example of an attempt to up the angst stakes in the genre, in a rather calculatingly "hipster" vein. Either that, or a female knock-off of Blade starring a formerly hot Asian-American actress. In a just world, it would be a direct to DVD film. And not a general release DVD, a "Hollywood Video" or "Blockbuster" exclusive.
Crazy Love: A documentary about a woman who married her psychopathic stalker after he was released from prison for blinding and disfiguring her with lye. And the tone of the trailer suggests that this is just some "kooky" love affair gone wrong, not a horrendous portrait of the damage abuse does to people. You can not only count me you, you can count me physically sickened at the thought this even got made.
The Kingdom: It would be nice if, after all this time, we could get a thoughtful film about terrorism...and not yet another action movie.
Joshua: The "evil child" genre of horror has never really worked for me. This particular outing seems to have made an extra effort to add "your child is a psychopath" to the list of "things to scare American parents" with. Or, I'm misreading the trailer, and this is more of a satire on the "holy child" philosophy that seems to dominate American discourse. Although it seems a bit straight-faced for that.
Captivity: More sadistic torture porn. I've gone from being tired and frustrated with the ascendancy of this genre of horror to actually being angry that so much of this sick, misogynistic garbage is still around.
Good Luck Chuck: In the past, I might have, might have mind you, said that, at the very least, Dane Cook isn't actually bad looking. But the years of being painfully unfunny and untalented appear to have taken their toll, and he looks absolutely horrible in this. Oh, and Jessica Alba's downward career spiral continues, with her appearance in this.
Civic Duty: I don't think this is the thoughtful film about terrorism we're looking for, either. Frankly, even though the trailer seems to suggest that it's about paranoia and mistrust, and how racism and fear-mongering politicians exploit that, I don't think I trust an American film studio to follow through with that premise to a conclusion that makes "America" or "Americans" look bad. In short, I fully expect the resolution of the film to be about the scary terrorist next door and the brave man who discovers him in the face of official indifference.
License to Wed: Hey, remember when Robin Williams was funny? Me neither.
Superbad: Modern teen sex comedies do nothing except make me longer for the quality of the Porky's trilogy.
I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry: What do you get when you combine an aging comedian, well past his prime, and a complete and utter trivialization of a civil rights issue? A frat-boy pandering ninety minute fag joke. The Gay Deceivers should have been the last word on this particular joke.
Severance: I'm not sure we needed a melding of the "office comedy" and "slasher/stalker" genres, to be frank.