Archive for the “links” Category
Over at the Bureau Chiefs, Ken Lowery and I look at the trailers for several films releasing in June. It’s a dire looking month, to be honest, but hey, watching Ken rip into the trailer for Grown Ups is probably more entertaining than reading yet another gay-baiting Sex and the City 2 review today.
Over at The Bureau Chiefs, I take a look at the made-for-cable film Beyond Sherwood Forest, a fantasy version of the Robin Hood story that manages to incorporate a dragon and villainous hench-men that appear to have been cast after appearing in back-issues of Drummer and Bear.
It’s also got Robin Dunne as Robin Hood.
I’ve got no idea how it compares to the new Ridley Scott directed version of the Robin Hood story, but on the quality scale it’s better than the Kevin Costner version but not as good as the Disney version.
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Over at The Bureau Chiefs, I give a minute by minute account of the experience of watching the Ben Foster/Dennis Quiad sci-fi/horror flick Pandorum.
You know, I’m not sure I’ve seen a Ben Foster film where he keeps his shirt on.
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Posted by Dorian in links, meta
Books for the pre-teen girl you don’t want confusing abusive relationships with romance.
Your best bet in this regard is going to be the Tiffany Aching series from Terry Pratchett. They start with The Wee Free Men, the story of a young girl who discovers her magical heritage when she’s got to go out and rescue some dumb boy because he went and did something stupid. The series continues with A Hat Full of Sky and Wintersmith, with Wintersmith being as strong an antidote to emotionally abusive supernatural boyfriends as you can get.
Video game for people who want to piss off the religious right.
It’s pretty much just going to be Dragon Age: Origins for the XBox 360. Not only can you have sex with a bisexual elf assassin, you can also have sex with a bisexual female spy. Hmmm…what, exactly, is Bioware implying about bisexuals, anyway? There’s also a Dragon Age: Origins PC version, which is the lead platform and probably plays better than the console version, unless you’re like me and are tired of having to reconfigure your PC rig every time a new game comes out.
For fans of over-wrought medical drama and snarky gay men.
Not long after they were the poncy yin to Rik Mayall’s and Ade Edmonson’s Bolshy yang, Stephen Fry and Hugh Laurie starred in Jeeves & Wooster: The Complete Series, a television adaptation of P.G. Wodehouse’s Bertie Wooster stories. They’ve got that arch, odd pace that British period shows all seem to require, so bear that in mind, but they’ve also got Fry and Laurie back when they were young and pretty.
For the person who likes Arthurian stuff but is getting a little tired of the usual tropes.
For younger readers, there is Gerald Morris’ The Squire’s Tale, a light-hearted take on the knights through the eyes of Gaiwain’s apprentice. For older readers, there’s Douglas Clegg’s Mordred, Bastard Son, about how Mordred and Lancelot became lovers. Yes, that’s right, gay Arthurian fantasy. And it’s about time.
For the animal lover.
WE3 Seriously. If the book doesn’t break your heart, Deckard needs to be alerted.
For the friend who likes comic books but doesn’t like like comic books.
Your best bet is All Star Superman, Vol. 1. Everything you need to know about the character, a story you can jump into even if you don’t know anything about the character, Morrison’s most humanistic story and the usually stellar Quitely art.
For a nerd.
I’d go with Castle: The Complete First Season. You’ve got Nathan Fillion, so while the ooh and aah because he’s one of the five actors they can remember the name of, they might actually end up watching a mystery show with some wit and clever writing.
For a mystery or horror fan frustrated with what passes for good in those genres.
I was getting really sick of mystery solving cats, mysteries that start with letters of the alphabet, yet another funny zombie novel and wimpy vampires. And then I found John Conolly’s Charlie Parker series. It starts with Every Dead Thing, but I recommend sticking with it for the next couple of books. The first book ups the gore, but the real meat of the series, and the overlap between the mystery and the supernatural elements come to the fore later. It’s also worth noting that Parker’s frequent partners in crime are Luis, a black gay Republican ex-assassin and his lover Angel. Multi-layered gay characters in a mystery/horror book that aren’t cartoonish victims? Amazing!
For a little kid you really like.
They totally deserve this totally kick-ass Playmobil Pyramid. You will win Christmas hands down.
For a little kid whose parents you don’t like.
There’s always healthy competition for this category, but this year I think the winner is the Fisher Price Splatster. It’s loud, it’s annoying, it takes up valuable TV time and it takes the place of actual artistic activity by turning it into a passive experience for the kid.
Music to Torment Customers and Coworkers Delight Friends and Family With.
Stirring and hauntingly beautiful songs.
Fantastic dance/r&b fusion.
Prog-rock that doesn’t suck.
A b-sides album. Yes, they still make those.
And, that’s about it for specific recommendations. Remember, anything you buy from here gives me a little bit of a kick-back to help me spread some joy to my friends and family, and it’s vastly appreciated by me. Thanks!
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Posted by Dorian in links, meta
Kevin’s right, of course.
I wish I could be as determined as Kevin to avoid the film, as Watchmen the comic book is a work I respect tremendously, but between Pete expressing an interest in it, the presence of Jeffrey Dean Morgan in the film, and my own morbid curiosity over just how bad it’s going to be, I’m pretty sure I’m on the hook to see it at some point. Of course, what really fascinates me in that link is the fact that, once again, for stating an opinion Kevin is being raked over the coals by people unable or unwilling to see his point. And that’s funny to me, because Kevin is a hell of a lot more politic about it than I would be.
I mean, let’s all be perfectly honest here: Watchmen the movie is not for comic book fans. It’s for the people who made Paul Blart: Mall Cop the number one film in the country for several weeks. It’s for the people who read The DaVinci Code and patted themselves on the back because they read big, thick books. It’s for people who keep Fox News on the air.
And you can’t blame Kevin, who is in most things a man of taste and discernment, for not wanting to subject himself to a film crafted for that audience. Which begs the question: why would anyone take Watchmen, one of the most important texts in the history of comic books, and turn it into a film aimed squarely at the lowest common denominators of the American public? And that’s when we get to the tragic truth…
Most people didn’t read Watchmen and come away with an indictment of the fetishization of nostalgia. They didn’t read it and find a critique of authoritarian power structures in global politics and how that is mirrored in popular entertainment vigilante fantasies. They didn’t find an examination of the limits of that whole “power and responsibility” thing and how that absolutist notion of morality falls apart when faced with reality. Nor did they find an amazing example of story-telling structure that fully exploits the idiosyncratic nature of the comic book medium to tell a mature story that is, quite literally, only possible within the comic book medium.
No, they found a cynical super-hero beat-’em-up comic with sex and swearing. They skipped the text pieces. They skipped the “boring stuff with the pirate comic.” And they found that if they threw the word “deconstruction” around when discussing the comic, they sounded smart.
And that’s the movie Zack Snyder is giving us: that shallow, superficial reading of the comic translated to film. I mean, honestly, what else did anyone expect?
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Posted by Dorian in links
Kevin Church is a god-damned saint.
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The producers of the upcoming Wolverine solo film have decided, in light of the negative critical and fan reaction to the third X-Men film, to high-light Hugh Jackman’s musical theater abilities and the gay subtext of the X-franchise:
I love covers.
I love Disney.
I…am okay…with Tim Curry.
Yet this terrifies me.
Diamond Comics Distributors has once again rejected from their catalogue work many people find of value. In this case, it was the print version of formerly on-line comics magazine Comics Foundry, edited by one of the sexiest men in comics, Tim Leong. Now, I don’t find everything that appears in Comics Foundry to be of value, but it’s certainly a hell of a lot better than other “generalist” comics magazines like Wizard or The Comics Buyers Guide. Diamond, however, didn’t find it worthy of a listing because, apparently, it’s in black and white. Which comics magazines of far narrower scope carried by Diamond are.
Now, as for me, I’d much rather see something like Comics Foundry on the shelf at my local comics shop than another TwoMorrows nostalgia fetishist magazine, with yet another interview with a Harvey comics colorist (after your fourth “and then the low pay drove me to alcoholism and my wife left me. I don’t even remember what my kids look like” interview with someone who used to work in the comics industry, they all blend together), or another price guide of dubious accuracy. And if you feel the same way you could maybe write to Tim Huckelbery at Diamond and politely tell him so.
Tiny internet elves pointed out this handy function at the website for Canadian bookseller Chapters, where you can see scheduled ship dates for various DC trades. Many of which haven’t been officially announced yet.
Amongst the highlights are:
Showcase Presents: The Great Disaster featuring the Atomic Knights: more Silver Age wackiness, with a tie-in to Countdown. (November)
JSA All Stars Archive: At $75 dollars, I’m at a loss as to what this might be. (November)
Showcase Presents: Jonah Hex: Presumably a second volume, without any annoying unrelated characters butting in. (January)
Superman/Batman: Saga of the Super Sons: Bob Haney baby! (December)
Showcase Presents: Metal Men: Eh. (October)
Legion of Super-Heroes: An Eye for an Eye: Apparently a Levitz era trade, when the jerkiness of the Legion was at its height. Good stuff. (December)
Tales of the Multiverse: Batman-Vampire: Probably “Elseworlds” material under a new trade dress and title. (December)
Showcase Presents: The Secret Society of Super-Villains: Oh, yes. Yes indeed.
Showcase Presents: The Suicide Squad: John Ostrander is credited as the writer, so it’s probably the post-Legends version. Which…wow, that’s very recent material by the standards DC has previously set for Showcase trades. (November)
JLA: Ultramarine Corps: Grant Morrison is credited as writer, but I have no clue what this could be, as I was under the impression that all previous Ultramarines stories had already been collected in JLA trades. (November)
Kimmie66: No clue. Possibly an OGN. (November)
Water Baby: Again, no clue. Possibly an OGN. (October)
Edit: It just occured to me, these are almost certainly Minx titles.
The Question: Denny O’Neil era, which will please many I’m sure. (October)
52: The Companion: Notes? “Behind the scenes” material? Sketches? (October)
Showcase Presents: Captain Carrot and his Amazing Zoo Crew: Oh, yes. This is fantastic news. Especially if it includes the Oz-Wonderland War mini-series. (October)
Showcase Presents: Batman and the Outsiders: A book I keep meaning to buy in back-issue form, so news that pleases me. (September)
Sword of the Atom: The swords-and-sorcery revamp from the 80s. Probably a Countdown tie-in. (September)
Dr. 13: Architecture and Morality: Brian Azzarello’s brilliant meta-text from Tales of the Unexpected in stand-alone format. You really should get this. (September)
Bear in mind, this list could be wildly inaccurate. Heck, it updated while I was typing this. And just because it’s on the list, that doesn’t mean it’s coming out. Will Pfeiffer’s Hero is on the list. With a pub date of Januray, 2050. I doubt even DC sets their publishing plans decades in advance.
Edit: Since the link seems to not work all the time, do a search for “DC”, then order by publisher, then order by release date.
All this recent talk of gendered genres prompted me to remember a detail from my comics retail days. If you take the most sexist looking, T&A-riffic books on the racks, you’re probably talking stuff like Lady Death, Purgatori, Tarot and Witchblade. At least in our neck of the woods, it seemed like the readership for those books was somewhere around 90% female. Now, you could argue, I suppose, that those books are about female empowerment. I’d look at you funny, but you could make the argument. But I think the appeal for our female customers was simpler: they wanted to read about women in heroic (or anti-heroic at least) action roles, who looked good in those action roles. Now, if something of as dubious quality as Chaos! Comics can attract a female readership, there’s no reason to think that Marvel and DC can’t.
Ragnell examines a trend in recent comics conversations online, in which fan entitlement concerns are dressed up as outrage over imagined sexism to give those arguments undeserved weight. This is a trend I’ve been sensing coming on for awhile now, and it does no one any good as it obfuscates genuine issues of concern and gives the pro-misogyny crowd ammunition to dismiss legitimate critiques by associating them with illegitimate ones.
On a related note, I can’t stress enough how much I disagree with Johanna’s fundamental position, that super-hero comics “aren’t for girls.” It’s an overly reductive, near-essentialist attitude towards gender and genre that I’m really disappointed to see coming from such an intelligent and articulate commentator. It’s not the genre itself that is sexist, it’s the way the genre is marketed. There is nothing specifically masculine about Manichean morality plays in tights. I’m further troubled, because the “super-heroes aren’t for girls” argument is the flip-side of those stupid “get your girlfriend to read comics” articles that pop up in the nerd-press from time to time which always recommend Strangers in Paradise and Sandman for women comic readers, as if there is some sort of female hive-mind enforcing uniformity of taste. It assumes that women “naturally” don’t want to read about super-heroes, and that those who do are outside of normative parameters.
Kevin makes some very good arguments about accessibility in contemporary super-hero comics, and I essentially agree with him. Where we differ, I think, is that I’m not as concerned with accessibility in comics that are quite clearly designed to appeal primarily to existing fans with an extensive knowledge of comics continuity as I would be in work that is meant for a wider audience or has the potential to appeal to a wider audience. I’m okay with tailoring work for the “continuity porn” crowd to that crowd, in other words.
Chris talks about Dark Horse, and their inability to make material that they’re advertising, material aimed at a very narrow market, available to their primary consumers; retailers. So, it’s business as usual for Dark Horse, really.
Here’s your fun link: I’ve finally figured out why the character designs in the new Transformers movie bother me. All the robots look almost exactly the same. Apart from variations in color, I’m hard-pressed to tell them apart.
The fact that they all look like they’ve got metal dildos glued on to them doesn’t help much either.