Author Archive

Legendary Comics Writer Alan Moore on Superheroes, The League, and Making Magic

February 28th, 2009 by Rurik

I found this somewhat lengthy article on the WIred site. It’s a very informative look into Moore’s past, present and upcoming projects. Watches the Watchmen

Obama is One of Us

November 17th, 2008 by Rurik

Our First Nerd President

Barack Obama is the holder of many firsts in America, virtually all of which have been covered elsewhere. But I’d like to talk to you about him today because he is the first nerd to ever be president. Now, I don’t want to start a political argument, so I’m not going to talk about his policies or anything like that—and if any of you get even slightly uppity in the comments, I will ban you hard your mother won’t recognize your username. But whether you’re a Democrat, Republican or Other, if you’re reading Topless Robot, I think you can appreciate the significance that for the first time ever, a man who collected comic books will be the leader of the country.

Yes, Obama collected both Spider-man and Conan the Barbarian comics; he actually wanted to be a comic artist when he grew up. He owns all seven Harry Potter books. Wired says he’s a Star Trek fan, and offers this awesome anecdote from Leonard Nimoy:

He is a big fan of Star Trek. He said himself: “I grew up on Star Trek. I believe in the final frontier.” And, when Leonard Nimoy was the guest on NPR’s “Wait Wait…Don’t Tell Me!” in September, he said that he had run into “one of the presidential candidates” and that that candidate had, upon seeing Nimoy, given him the Vulcan salute. He refused to name the candidate, but said he “was not John McCain.”

And of course, he traveled to the home of Superman, the tiny town of Metropolis, Illinois, and took the above picture of himself at the town’s Superman statue, which he even put on his Senatorial website. I don’t know what this will mean for nerds in the long run, but I do know one thing—Hayden Panetierre still doesn’t want to shake his hand.

Original post:

Upcoming Comic Book movies

March 21st, 2008 by Rurik

There are quite a few movies coming out in the next year that have been produced from our beloved comics. Some will rock; some will suck. But here’s a list of the upcoming releases that I’m looking forward to:

Battlestar Galactica: April 4
Iron Man: May 2
Indiana Jones: May 22
Incredible Hulk: June 13
Wanted: June 27
Hellboy 2: July 11
Batman: The Dark Knight: July 18
The Punisher: September 12
Star Trek: December 25 (this may have been pushed back to 2009)
The Spirit: January 16, 2009
Watchmen: March 5, 2009
Wolverine: May 1, 2009

Unknown dates 2009:
Green Hornet

The World’s Greatest Comic Magazine

March 20th, 2008 by Rurik

Fantastic Four #554With issue #554, the ‘World’s Greatest Comic Magazine,’ aka, Marvel’s Fantastic Four, has had yet another creative team relaunch. Normally, 66.6% of these relaunches are Ho-Hum at best (as in “the return of J. Scott Campbell”who ended up only doing covers) or idiotic (let’s erase thirty years of Spider-Man continuity) at worst. But the remaining third are often a worthy change. The new creative team on The FF is one such worthy change, as it consists of megalomaniac, Mark Millar (writing), detail-freak, Bryan Hitch (drawing) and tracer extraordinaire, Paul Neary (inking). This is the same team who brought us The Ultimates, which was, in my opinion, a very interesting and well crafted comic.

Now, having been through my share of FF reboots over the years, I wasn’t overly hyped for this version. And to be honest, I’m not in awe of this team of artists and writer. But I’ve always had a fondness for the FF when they’re done well, which, for me, constitutes that family feeling of familiarity, communication, bickering and, of course, solving galactic problems that threaten the Earth, if not the Universe. The Civil War arc that Marvel ran last year had it’s Good, Bad and Ugly moments, but I was thoroughly disappointed with the way that they wrote Reed Richards, the (allegedly) ‘smartest man on earth’ as a blind-sided fool. (Personal aside: I honestly believe that Dr. Doom is smarter, but he’s never grown past his high school emotional jealousy that he keeps getting his ass whupped. C’mon, Doom could use his magic to send the FF to hell any old time and probably get away with it. Doom works at it; Reed kinda takes it for granted.)

I gave the ‘new’ FF creative team two issues (#554-555) to see what they can do and I can say that I’m impressed. In #554, Ben cannily guilts Reed into going with him to visit his old school by saying, “Any chance of doin’ a solid for the guy ya disfigured in that cosmic ray accident?” This gets followed up later with Reed giving a lecture to the school kids on his ‘anti-Galactus suit,’ and boring them to the point of near-fatal nose-picking, which is broken only by Ben interrupting, “Anybody wanna play in the Fantasti-Car?” sending the kids into a frenzy. No, these scenes aren’t terribly pertinent to the main story, but they’re the type of characterization that I’ve always felt was successful for the FF. Reed is too smart to see that everybody isn’t as excited by nano-particles as he is and Ben is the ice breaker.

I like the addition, or rather, return, of Alyssa Moy, the character Sue describes as “Mrs. Fantastic.” Alyssa is an ex of Reed’s from college. She’s cute, sassy and equally as smart as he is, even though she’s now married as well. Although the chemistry between the two is still pretty tame at this point, I can see the seeds of angst being planted by Millar. Flashbacks of flirting from their college days, as well as observations from Alyssa’s husband regarding her feelings towards Reed are tell-tale signs that the pot’s going to be boiling over soon. No, I don’t think that Sue & Reed will split (again….), but I’m going to enjoy the miscommunication, the innuendo, the assumptions, and the ensuing chaos presented by “Mrs. Fantastic.” (Yes, I just enjoy the name…).

Fantastic Four #555As for Johnny Storm…. let’s see… it’s been about 45 years since FF #1 came out and he’s still called Johnny, aka, the boy who never grew up. Well, I can’t say much complementary about him in this reboot. He decides that he wants to put together a band through a reality show and ends up making out with some hot babe/diamond robber in a sexy leather suit while trying to bust her for the crime. Hasn’t this guy learned ANYTHING in 45 years!?! Ok, ok, comic continuity being maybe one year for every ten that we, mere mortal comic readers live, maybe it’s only been four or five years for Johnny. But, Geez! The guy’s been involved with Skrulls, Heralds of Galactus, Inhumans, models, bimbos, witches, and anything in a skirt. If he doesn’t have a majority of the social diseases out there, he should at least have enough dating knowledge to not act like a drunken frat boy 24/7. (Hmmm, maybe that’s why the FF are rich: Reed invented cures for all the STD’s Johnny brought home over the years…?)

And Sue… stalwart Sue. She’s easily proven herself to be the most powerful member of the team on numerous occasions. She’s taken Doom down single-handed. She looks good in leather, even after giving birth. She’s smart, funny, and makes sure the bills get paid. She’s the one constant in a group. Here, she’s trying to create a charity group, working with She-Hulk and the Wasp. The scene where they’re discussing issues, while being served tea and pumpkin pie by modified Doom-bots is a treasure. Sue explains it by saying, “Oh, you know what Reed’s like… Always building stuff while we’re watching TV. I don’t even ask.” Again, this is the characterization that I’ve come to know and love with a well done FF.

Oh, did I mention the plot? Here comes the spoiler info, for those of you who care… The plot revolves around Alyssa’s husband, in conjunction with several other bazillionaires who’ve learned that Earth will only be habitable for another 10 years and have decided to pour their riches into creating ‘Nu-World,’ an exact replica of Earth, minus the guns, war and troubles (though keeping the graffitti, for ‘arts sake’), for all six billion humans. Things begin to go awry in issue #555, but I eagerly await the next installment to see how far the pot boils over. The art is solid the writing is spot-on and the plotting is the usual slow burn I’ve come to expect from Millar before he pours the molten liquid over my brain. The only thing that I can say that I really don’t like is the drawing of the Thing. Hitch seems to be taking a leaf from Kurt Busiek’s “Astro City” character from the First Family (who was, of course, drawn from Marvel’s FF). Ben is drawn somewhere between a human, a lizard and the orange rock we’ve come to know. It just doesn’t work for me… but considering that I’m enjoying the rest, I guess I can make allowances.

My rating: Go buy it.