Popular Youtube channel Geek and Sundry has come out with a new superhero themed web series called Caper. it follows four heroes (analogs for Superman, Wonder Woman, Thor, and Iron Man) who can’t quite make their rent from their heroics so turn to crime. They’ve only put out two episodes so far, but I am hooked. And there’s already been one surprisong and very recognizable guest star. Have a look!
It is no secret that I love the character Harley Quinn originally from Batman: the Animated Series. (I’m seriously considering cosplaying as her at my next convention). It’s also no secret that I’m not always happy with the direction DC has taken with her since incorporating her into the comics continuity.
I was floored by this latest controversy involving the character. Read it for yourself.
However rather than me going into another lengthy rant, I thought I’d give Harley the floor for a rebuttal.
Thanks, Harls, that about sums it up.
Actually no it doesn’t, there is a lot more that is wrong and offensive about this mess. I’m just not optimistic enough that any intelligent argument against this nonsense will get through to the DC brass, who somehow thought this was a good idea in the first place, to waste the energy.
Yesterday my daughter Colleen sat down at the library with this book Robot Dreams, by Sera Veron and started singing Mary Had a Little Lamb. I thought nothing of it until I spotted a copy of Comic Book Nursery Rhymes on the shelf (which we own), and put two-and-two together.
She only “read” this book (there aren’t many words, if any), for a few minutes, but we also spent some time paging through some of the Muppet Show comic anthologies they have in the kid’s comics area. An area that we will definitely visit again.
(Gee, wouldn’t it be cool if we started writing on here again. Maybe we will start reviewing kid-appropriate comics.)
Robot Chicken is airing it’s special DC episode this Sunday at midnight ET on the Cartoon Network. If you don’t know what Robot Chicken is, it’s a sketch parody show. All the the sketches are stop motion animation usually done using modified action figures. I love it! It’s a big ball of geeky-slapsticky-anarchic-randomness. They’ve done three specials where all the sketches were about Star Wars. This episode will be devoted to skewering the DC universe. I can’t wait! And it’s airing on my birthday. Thank you, Cartoon Network!
It’s been a little while since I last posted. I was planning writing a review of the Amazing Spider-man, but then I went on a week long cruise the day after I saw it and it got sidelined (I saw whales! It was awesome!). I’m not going to write a long review, but I will say a little bit about it. I really liked it, more-so than the original movies (which I liked a lot). I liked that it felt smaller in scale than those previous films. Not that it didn’t have plenty of comic book action, but the story felt more personal. It was a movie about a Person with powers, instead of a person with Powers. I liked Emma Stone as Gwenn Stacy. I liked that she fit into the love interest role very well, while not being a stereotypical superhero love interest. She was smart and not in just a “oh look she’s pretty and brainy, aren’t we progressive?” way. When she got the “I’m going to push you away so I don’t put you in danger” treatment, she knew exactly what was happening and refused to accept it. And she served a function in the plot other than to be imperiled and-or longed for. Also, she and Andrew Garfield had really good chemistry together. Speaking of Garfield, he was very good. He brought several layers to Peter Parker, which are there in the comics, but I hadn’t seen in the earlier films. He aptly portrayed Peter as an awkward kid with an enormous burden. We saw his guilt over his part in his uncle’s death, and his unbridled joy in discovering his new powers. I also really enjoyed the scene when those powers first manifested
Okay those were my thoughts. Now to make up for the lack of a legnthy review, here are a bunch of links!
On the topic of our friendly neighborhood web-slinger, check out this Spider-man fan film from 1969! It’s charmingly homemade, and does capture the simplistic and sort of hokey feel of the early sixties issues.
This I only just discovered. It’s a tumbler devoted to reviewing, page by page the novelization of Back to the Future. It picks apart the questionable quality of the writing, while also analyzing the story itself. I especially liked this passage.
Okay, hope everybody is good. That’s all I’ve got right now. I’ll probably be back after I’ve seen the Dark Knight Rises (if I see it while it’s still in theaters).
Watch this. Do it!
Long time readers of this blog can probably guess how I feel about this. He doesn’t say when it will come out or if it will be a single issue, a mini series, a maxi series, or a standalone graphic novel. my vote is for the latter, since after months of anticipation waiting a month between installments would be torture. Of course I will buy it regardless of format. I’m very glad he’s giving us another glimpse into this universe. Sandman is such an important mythology to me, it feels a bit like Homer announcing an untold tale of Odysseus.
(By the way, if you are one of the five people who have purchased something from my Redbubble shop, thank you from the bottom of my heart.)
If you are interested, I’ve put some of my drawings (including my idea of the ultimate super group above) on Red Bubble for sale as tee shirts and prints.
They can be found here.
By now we’ve all seen the Avengers, maybe more than once. And the Amazing Spider-man and the Dark Knight Rises aren’t out yet. so how to fill the on screen super-hero void? May I suggest Holy Musical, B@man? It’s the latest project by Team Starkid, the folks who brought you A Very Potter Musical, a staged parody of Harry Potter. They’ve given Batman the same treatment and it’s just as funny though songs aren’t quite as catchy in my opinion). Their production values are much improved. They’ve put the entire show on their website and on youtube. Watch it, it’s a good time. and if you haven’t see a Very Potter Musical or it’s sequel, give them a shot.
The Avengers is only a few weeks away! I’m super excited (and already have tickets for opening weekend). I think Joss Whedon was the perfect choice to direct. He knows how to direct dynamic action sequences without losing sight of character arcs, and can handle a large ensemble without having one or two characters dominating while the rest get lost in the shuffle. And he always brings the funny. So in honor of this excellent director/comic pairing, I thought I’d try matching up comic books I want to see adapted with the directors that should do the adapting.
Maus as directed by Julie Taymor. Maus is a masterpiece. It’s the only comic to win the Pulitzer for literature. And it’s probably unfilmable. But if it ever is, Taumor is probably the only director who could pull it off. I know her last comic adaptation, the Spider-man musical, didn’t work out so well, but Maus is far more in her wheelhouse. Most of her work both on screen and stage has dealt with death and or tragedy. She often uses masks and puppets to create moving and effective imagery, dealing with some of the darkest aspects of the human experience. Maus is a holocaust survivor’s story as told by his son. The Jews are depicted as anthropomorphized mice and the Nazis are cats. Masks are a running motif throughout the comic. Maus isn’t really a project I see movie producers clambering to make happen, but I’d be fascinated to see it.
Y the Last Man as directed by JJ Abrams. In YLM a mysterious plague kills every male person and animal on Earth except for one man and his pet monkey. The comic follows the last man on earth as he and a few companions travel through the ruins of society (the loss of half the world’s population overnight, caused some serious chaos) trying to figure out what happened. This is complicated by the fact that he is the most valuable commodity on the planet, and is pursued by numerous governments and organizations. JJ Abrams is one of the most successful television creators in recent memories. He has a hand in such diverse projects as Lost, Felicity, Alias, and Fringe. He’s recently had big screen success with Super 8 and the Star Trek reboot. He’s got the chops when it comes to action, as well as suspenseful conspiracies (aside from pretty much all of the later seasons of Alias). What he’s really good at is getting you really invested in characters in the midst of some crazy circumstances, and while the premise of YLM was great, what made it a must read were Yorick, Agent 355 and Dr. Mann.
Death as directed by Neil Gaiman. Technically I’m cheating here. At one time Neil was set to direct an adaptation of his comic Death the Time of Your Life. But it seems to have fallen by the wayside. I would love to see it revived. Gaiman’s Death is one of the most original and compelling characters to come out of comics in the last twenty years. And if anyone can get an adaptation of Neil Gaiman’s work right, it’s Neil Gaiman.
Fables as directed by Peter Jackson. Fables is a big story, it’s been running for over a decade and more than a hundred issues. There are hundreds of major characters and thousands of secondary characters. I actually don’t want to see a direct adaptation (although I think Jackson could handle it). The Fables universe is expansive. I’d like to see an original story set in the Fables universe, featuring some of the less used characters (like what creator Bill Willingham did in the Fables novel Peter and Max). Jackson have proven that he can create fully realized fantasy worlds. And he’s done darker stories. I think he can balance humor, magical elements of the series, while not shying away from it’s creepy side. I know he’d give us a fairy tale that didn’t reek of Disney.
Runaways as directed by Joss Whedon. What? You didn’t think I’d let Joss get away with directing only one comic book movie, did you? Runaways is one of my all time favorite super hero comics (though the kids in Runaways aren’t traditional super heroes). With a bunch of sarcastic, smart, angsty, pop culture reference making teenagers with superpowers at its center, Runaways felt like a spiritual successor to Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Whedon was such a fan that he wrote an arc of the series after creator Brian K. Vaughan left. Joss is the only choice to direct in my opinion. It must happen. But I’ll be generous and let Joss finish up promoting the Avengers, film the next two films in the Big Damn Serenity Trilogy, and the Dr. Horrible sequel, and and Goners, and finally give us the long promised Ripper tv series, before he starts work on Runaways. I’m nothing if not considerate.
Last night Florence, Mike, and I were preparing to watch the latest episode of Game of Thrones. We were discussing Theon Greyjoy’s accidental and very amusing attempts to hit on his own sister, the previous week. Poor Theon desperately wants to be cool and never will be. (At least going by the first season, I haven’t read the books so I don’t know if his fortunes change later on.) It occurred to me that Theon Greyjoy is the Milhouse of Game of Thrones.
I really like Milhouse, he’s utterly pathetic yet often misguidedly optimistic. I find him really lovable (This is the same reason I harbor a deep affection for Butters on South Park and Andy Bernard on the Office). I don’t yet love Theon in that manner, but if he keeps being so adorably pitiful, I might.
And to help that along, here are pictures of Theon accompanied by some of my favorite Milhouse quotes.
Milhouse: This is where I come to cry
Milhouse Van Houten: Well, I used a rhyming dictionary, but it only gives you options. The job of the poet is to say, “this one, I guess.”
Milhouse Van Houten: Ow! It’s stuck! Now I’ll have a quizzical expression all day.
Milhouse: Remember the time he ate my goldfish? And you lied and said I never had goldfish. Then why did I have the bowl, Bart? Why did I have the bowl?
Milhouse: I like being under your shadow! It’s nice and cool!
Theon: Unchain me, and I will serve you.
(I did a search for Theon quotes and that was the very first thing to pop up. I think that about sums it up, don’t you?)
Now I’m wondering, if Theon is Milhouse, which GoT character is Ralph Wiggum?
The other day, I started listening to an audiobook of a highly regarded scifi classic. I was enjoying it, the world building was interesting and the characters were compelling. Until I got to the chapter introducing the villains. They couldn’t have been more one dimensional if they’d tied their victims to railroad tracks while twirling their mustaches and laughing maniacally.
I bring this up not to malign a well beloved book (I’m not going to name the book, since it has a devoted fan base and I don’t want them to come after me. Besides I’m not that far in, they could get more complex later, I don’t want to judge too early), but because I fear crafting well rounded villains is one of my biggest weaknesses as a writer. I ended up getting into a fascinating discussion on a messages board for writers about what makes a well written villain.
Everyone had a different answer, but a few things came up most often. Motivation, a compelling villain should do their villainous deeds for clear reasons, other than they’re EVIL, and or because the writer needs them to do it to move the plot along. Villains that think of themselves as the hero of the story, was also mentioned. Though others said they enjoyed a villain that enjoys being evil.
It got me thinking about the villains that stand out for me, the villains that I’ll never forget. So me being me, I made a list!
1) Scorpius from Farscape, both the television series and comics.
Scorpi has a lot going for him as far as villainy. He is the product of a interspecies rape. Tortured for being an abomination by his father’s species, his incompatible DNA made him weak and in constant unbearable pain. He learns to overcome his weaknesses, and tolerate the pain, with one goal in mind, destroying the species that made his life hell. And he’ll do anything to accomplish it. Clear motivation, check.
He also sees himself as the hero of the story, ridding the universe of the violent, oppressive Scarrans. Yet he also obviously relishes his scheming and backstabbing. To top it all off he has one of the scariest appearances ever put on screen, an emaciated corpse like body clad in S&M style leather, made all the more creepy by his patrician accent.
2) Pobadiah Unkshuss from Moonshadow.
I don’t know how many people will have heard of him, or the comic he appears in, but he is one of the most memorable villains of all time for me. His full title is the Pious Rabbi Pobadiah Unkshuss. Though he calls himself a rabbi and wears the robes of a Cardinal, it’s all an act to make him appear powerful and respectable. Looking like a cross between the Grinch and a lizard, everything about him oozes evil, and I was screaming for him to get his comeuppance.
3) Bellatrix Lestrange from Harry Potter.
4) Iago from Othello.
He taps into everyone’s fear that someone close to you might be secretly out to get you. He is the ultimate manipulator. He manages to get his enemy to kill his innocent wife and then himself, all while keeping his own hands clean. And why? Because the guy got the promotion he wanted. In other words, Iago is slightly disappointed, cue utter decimation of rival. That is a bad dude.
(By the way, murder is not an okay response to adultery, real or faked. Ahem–Othello.)
5) Vizzini from the Princess Bride.
6) Jack Chili from the Bones of the Moon.
If very few people will have heard of Pobadiah, almost no one will have heard of Jack Chili, the main antagonist of one of my favorite books. Of all the names on this list, he is the one that gives me nightmares. He is basically a boogie man, hunting the protagonist, Cullen, in her dreams. There is no real explanation for why he is after her, and he has the power to do or be anything. That sounds like a pretty flat, cliched character, but the execution is terrifying. He is literally inside her head, and can access everything she is afraid of. I’m really scared of Jack Chili, you guys.
7) The Joker, from Batman.
Honorable mentions form the board: Maleficent, Darth Vader, Voldemort, and the Captain from Pan’s Labyrinth.
So who makes you want to hide under the covers?
Fan artist Aviv Or has done this fabulous rendition of the cast of NBC’s Community as the X-Men. It makes me happy.
You can see details of each one here.
At least it’s exciting to me. A short story I wrote was recently published in the anthology Horror, Humor, and Heroes Volume 3. Im not posting about it because I’m proud of being published (okay maybe a little because of that) but because the story, titled Sister, is about superheroes and was heavily influenced by comic books. I thought the readers of this blog might like that.
It’s available in paperback here:
And on kindle here:
The kindle edition is only $2.99, which is a pretty good deal for 24 stories. Please note, I’m not making a dime off the sales of the anthology, I just want as many people that might want to read it to know about it.
We will return to our (not) regularly scheduled comics rambling, ranting, and spoofing in the next post.
Or not that different actually since it’s a comic, and that’s what this site is all about. The different thing is that it’s a comic by me. Despite that i didn’t draw a single panel, it took an awfully long time to put together. Four whole hours! I’m such a artistic visionary, or something. I don’t know if anyone besides me will find it amusing, but here it is.
In order for the post not be enormous I put in the pages as thumbnails. You’ll have to click on each one to read it.
Poor Giles. I hope it made someone smile (other than me).
This isn’t particularly timely, but I thought of it last night and it made me giggle, so I whipped this up.
I’m not trying to besmirch Liza Minelli in any way, she seems perfectly nice, if a bit eccentric. I just can’t think of an instance in a sci fi film or tv show where a female character with extremely short black hair was benevolent, can you?
Part of the cast was on hand at the Disney Expo thingy this weekend, where they showed four minutes of footage from the upcoming Avengers movie. I haven’t been able to find a video of it online, but here is a good description of it, as well as an article about the event.
I’m excited for the movie, mainly because it’s being written and directed by Joss Whedon. I don’t think it’s a secret that I love just about everything he’s done and it feels like there hasn’t been much output from other than a few issues of Buffy season eight, since Dollhouse went off the air. That would be because he’s been busy prepping a major tentpole motion picture. I think it has the potential to be fantastic. In his one previous big screen work Serenity, he delivered exciting action sequences that furthered the plot,while not losing sight of the characters, while also giving them strong emotional arcs and some really fun dialog. That is exactly what I want out of the Avengers.
I havent seen any of the movies introducing the individual team members, except the first Iron Man. Which I quite enjoyed. I think it’s a shame that the core of the team has been established and cast already, I would have liked some Whedon regulars in the cast. As it is the closest we’ve got to a Whedon connection is Cobie Smulders, whose How I Met Your Mother castmate Neil Patrick Harris starred in Whedon’s Dr. Horrible’s Sing Along Blog. At least as far as we know. Maybe he’ll find places for Nathan Fillion, Amber Benson, James Marsters, Summer Glau, Alyson Hannigan, Adam Baldwin, and Felicia Day. Yeah, that’s a super team I would get behind.
(the poster is most definitely not an official poster, but it the best of the fan made ones I saw. I could not find an artist to credit it to. If anyone knows, leave it in the comments and I’ll include it.)
Okay, when DC made the big announcement that they were rebooting and revamping their hero books, I really didn’t have an opinion. It’s been awhile since I’ve read any of them regularly, and a good story is a good story. The news did not rock my world.
I felt some trepidation when I heard that Babara Gordon would no longer be Oracle or in a wheelchair, but my mind was put at ease when I found out Gail Simone would be writing her series. If anyone can return her to batgirl and erase all the awesome character development over the years since she became Oracle, but still keep her smart, kickass, resourceful, and compelling it’s Gail Simone.
So like I said, I had no strong feelings about the the reboot until I saw this!
That, if you can’t tell (and OMG how could you?) is supposed to be Harley Quinn!
My reaction was something like the title of this post but less articulate.
I love Harley Quinn! Love her! This isn’t her!
I don’t object to the idea of character redesigns. In fact I’ve liked quite a few of the ones I’ve seen for the new DC so far. But this is to put it mildly an abomination!
The redesigns were supposed to update the look, but stick to the essence of the character. What about this is Harley?
As a refresher this is what Harley has more or less looked like for about two decades.
Isn’t she cute? She’s spunky, kooky, violent, and yes sexy. She is dressed very much like the clown archetype that inspired her name.
She isn’t a skank! She doesn’t look like she is about to eat your liver. She might, but she wouldn’t telegraph it like that. She isn’t in danger of contracting a venerial disease anytime she sits down.
I wouldn’t have cared if DC introduced this thing as a new character. I probably wouldn’t have bought the book she appears in, but to each their own. If they want to publish this character then fine, just don’t call her Harley Quinn! Call her Lady Wetdream vonTrollop derGonerrhea and be done with it. And leave my Harley alone, you bastards!!!!!!!
This is apparently a picture of Theodore Roosevelt, taken when he was attending Harvard. I’ll take the internet’s word for it, but all I can see is Wolverine.
I never went to college, let alone Harvard, so I’ll leave it to someone else to determine if this is evidence that it has changed a lot, or not at all since then.
On the Day Batman’s Parents Died
A poem by me
On the day Batman’s parents died
It was Christmas
It was New Year’s Eve
It was Halloween
It was Bruce’s birthday
They went to the movies (it was Zorro)
They went to the opera
They went to the ballet
They went to the movies (it was not Zorro)
Little Bruce’s mother scolded him
Little Bruce told his father he hated him
His father hit his mother
His mother told his father she was pregnant again
Bruce pretended to be the Lone Ranger
Bruce’s mother read to him from Alice in Wonderland
Bruce’s father dressed up like a bat
Bruce’s butler stayed home with a cold
A black cat crossed their path
A clown juggled for pennies
A crow died
A criminal got away
There was a full moon
There was no moon
It was everyday
It was the only day
This was inspired by the fact that every Batman comic I’ve read or movie or tv show I’ve seen, has set every flashback to Bruce Wayne’s childhood on the day his parents were murdered. Of course each one contradicts the last. But why not? It all happened. It is the only day that matters.
The word is that after much retooling, NBC passed on the David E. Kelley Wonder Woman series that I have been kvetching about for the last several months. Woo hoo, it was shaping up to be a total debacle!
It does beg the question of why one comicdom’s most iconic superheroes, and argueably it’s most iconic female superhero, has been in development hell for so long. How many times have we heard about a Wonder Woman movie or tv show being developed, only to have it not see the light of day? This one got closer, as it actually filmed a pilot (partial or complete, I’m not sure of).
I’m not saying this is the one that should have happened, everything I heard about it made me sick to my stomach (except for the casting of Adrianne Palicki, she was great on Friday Night Lights!). I’m just wondering why a new live action Wonder Woman appears to be an impossibility.
In this unstructured podcast, Susie, Marty, Jason and Florence start out by talking briefly about the science fiction convention they all attended this weekend, Minicon, and jump from there to talking about comic book conventions in general and specific. (MCBA‘s SpringCon is right around the corner!) We then discuss the Elfquest fan trailer.
Marty grills Jason’s encyclopedic knowledge of Doctor Who for details and history of Doctor Who comics, and then we discuss The Ten Doctors and the Torchwood Babiez. Jason mentions in passing that there is a podcast about Doctor Who comics. Maybe he’ll post a link in the comments, or you could start your search for it at the Doctor Who Podcast Alliance. We make sure Jason plugs his daily doctor who blog over at Doctor Who Every Day.
Much ado is made about the forthcoming Wonder Woman TV atrocity.
Listen to ReadComics.org Podcast Episode #050 (35 MB, 75 minutes)
I picked this book up at the event I attended last week. I have been very eager to read it for several reasons. The first being that Niffengger is one of my favorite authors. Second, this is her first comic, and as you know if you read this blog, I love comics! Lastly, it is about books and the role they play in in a person’s life. And I love books too, of all kinds, pure prose, illustrated, memoir, essays, fantasy, humor, children’s, ebooks, and countless others.
The Night Bookmobile is unlike Niffenegger’s two previously published graphic pieces. The Three Incestuous Sisters and The Adventuress were both stories told in brief poetic sentences accompanied by equally dreamlike, evocative illustrations. The Night Bookmoblie is different to the point that if you did not know who the author of each was and put them next to each other, you probably would not guess they were done by the same person.
The story shares the magic realism themes of the other two, but is told in a far more straight forward manner, and the art is much more precise and grounded. I don’t consider that a bad thing, I think this is the strongest of her three graphic works. The other two are lovely to look at, and to muse on the narrative, but the Night Bookmobile pulls you into the story in a way the other two don’t.
The story is that of a young women who while on a late night walk, after a fight with her boyfriend, stumbles upon an RV calling itself the Night Bookmoblie. She steps inside to discover it is bigger than it appeared and is filled with books. But they are not just any books, these are every book she has read over the course of her life. Not just books she owns, but everything she had ever borrowed from a library or friend, everything read for school, or read and discarded. The Bookmoblie also has a catalog of every magazine, newspaper, pamphlet, road sign or cereal box she ever read as well. It’s not mentioned, but I am sure it also has a database of every email and webpage also. The discovery changes the way she reads, always aware that she is adding to the library each time she opens the book. She becomes obsessed with finding the Bookmobile again.
The art is incredibly detailed and true to life. It compliments the story perfectly. One particular panel, a close up of the a shelf of books in the Bookmoblie was particularly compelling. She recreates the spines of a collection of children’s books with nearly impossible accuracy, it is clear it was done by hand and it is a wonder to behold. I was drawn to examine each one and felt the same tingles of recognition when I spotted one I had read as a child that the protagonist was experiencing.
The story was originally published as a prose story for an anthology. She later interpreted it into a comic for the UK’s the Guardian. I think it is especially suited to the medium, since the imagery is so vivid. The book was published by Abrams, with as much attention to detail and artistry as the material deserves. If you can’t tell by now, I really liked it and highly recommend picking it up
The full audio of talk is now online at WBEZ. It includes plenty of bits I forgot to mention, such as their thoughts on writer’s block, and the inspiration for the door to the other house in Coraline.
You can listen to it here,