Thursday, August 25, 2011

Oh, DC, now you're just being cruel

In the final week of the old DC Universe, amidst all the meta-textual farewells (Justice League, Teen Titans, Superman) and placeholder issues of series that won't have a place in the New 52 (Batgirl) and brief glimpses into an Elseworlds that mostly isn't all that interesting (Flashpoint this'n'that), we get this gem of a one-shot from Tom DeFalco, Ron Frenz, and Sal Buscema.

With those names together on the credits, seems like this ought to be a Marvel book.

This is a creative team that not only still remembers how to put a comic book together, but how to make it look easy.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Now I get it

Okay, I'm not very observant. But it finally clicked in my head: Now I know why I don't like Superman's "new look".

It looks like they started from an action figure.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

"Squirrel Girl takes out nazis..."

I have not been following "Fear Itself", so I really have no idea what's going on here. I don't even know what made me take a look at New Avengers #15...

Wait, that's wrong. I do know. It was Ken Boehm's rundown of Moments of the Week over on The Weekly Crisis. But the moment he highlighted was not the moment that made me cheer. The moment that made me cheer was the resolution of her sparring match with Wolverine. You go, Squirrel Girl!

And the moment that made me tear up was after she took out the nazis, when she returned to Avengers Mansion (she's Luke Cage's daughter's nanny these days).

Dammit, Bendis, you sucked me in. You had better not be setting her up to die.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Betrayed by Cracked

Back in 2008 (fine, OK, I'm slow), Cracked did one of their famous lists on The 7 Crappiest "Super Heroes" in Comic Book History. Well, fine, there are plenty of lame, lackluster and just plain odd superheroes. You never know what will catch on. I mean, for this list, the prime criteria seems to have been a lame origin, and if we're being honest, Spider-Man?

But number two on Cracked's list is the world-famous Elongated Man.

Really? The only hero you could find crapper than Ralph Dibny was the Black Condor? The man who taught himself to fly?

And the number seven entry that begins the feature is Madam Fatal? The out-of-work actor who fought crime dressed as a little old lady? This is the company you think Ralph should keep?

And the Whizzer is crappy because he gained super-speed due to a transfusion of mongoose blood, but Plastic Man isn't, because he gained his powers after being splashed with acid in a burglary gone wrong? Isn't that also the Joker's origin?

Clearly, that which does not kill us makes us Super Friends.

Tuesday, August 09, 2011

The City on the Edge of Forever... was Atlanta!

Just a couple of postings ago I ran a photo of Floyd's Barber Shop making a cameo appearance in Star Trek:

Well, of course it was that Floyd's. The Desilu back lot in Culver City was used for, well, everything. In fact, the crossover went the other way, too.

Here's a picture of Ronny Howard (Opie Taylor, of course) riding his bicycle down Mayberry's main street, past the grocery and (just past it, out of frame to the right) a TV repair shop and Floyd's. But that larger building in the distance, the one that blue car is parked in front of? It's Edith Keeler's 21st Street Mission, still dressed for Star Trek instead of its usual role on the Andy Griffith Show, the Grand Theater. Well, I guess Otis had to sleep somewhere when he wasn't under arrest.

The pictures come from the RetroWeb 40 Acres website, a tour of what was originally called the Pathe 40 Acre Ranch (though it was really only 27 acres). De Mille used it for King of Kings. RKO used it for King Kong. Selznick used it for Gone With The Wind. (You may already know that the King of Kings and King Kong sets were destroyed for the "burning of Atlanta" scenes.) The Atlanta Depot was still there when Superman, Andy Griffith, Star Trek and Hogan's Heroes were filming there. So if every town in every TV show and movie looked alike, well, there's a reason. They were all filmed in "Atlanta."

The location given at Wikipedia makes the area easy to find, but if you're an old movie buff, there's really no point. There's nothing to see. It's industrial now.

Saturday, August 06, 2011


Okay, I get it, DC, but you don't. You're tired of these familiar characters. They're all too... familiar. Boring. You want to tell interesting stories, and your creative staff can't work up any enthusiasm for these guys.

So, Everything We Know Is Wrong. These new characters look like the ones we know, and some of them even go by the same name, but it's not them. These are people about whom you think you can tell exciting stories. And you want to trick us into buying a brand new comic about a brand new character by putting an old familiar name on it.

Hey, it worked in 1956 for "The Flash" in Showcase #4.

I just finished the World of Flashpoint mini, in which the world's most determined, most dogmatic skeptic becomes a dark magician in order to... No, I can't even finish that sentence. Why even use the name if you're going to go so far off the rails? Representing this character as Doctor Thirteen is just plain cruel.

But why am I surprised? This isn't your first attempt, and cynicism born of years of reading comics I didn't like featuring characters who shared a name but nothing else with a character I wanted to see more of tells me it won't be the last.

As I said earlier:
DC wants to have their cake and eat it too. Almost literally. They want to exploit their world-famous Iconic Characters without being tied to the 75 years of history that, well, made them the Icons they are.
But along with the history, you're throwing out the essence of the characters. When you introduced Barry Allen, there were enough points of similarity with Jay Garrick that for fans who remembered the earlier version, this was still the Flash.

I know, I know, it's only Doctor Thirteen, who cares about him?

Well, obviously not you.

I guess Doctor Thirteen will go the way of Ralph Dibny, and be the exclusive domain of the people down the hall in the Showcase Presents office. Who will be the next character you care that little about?

Thursday, August 04, 2011


First look at Henry Carvill as Superman. Lawrence Fishburne cast as Perry White. Look for the film in summer... 2013!?! If anyone still cares about Superman after the DC New 52 version rewrites everything we know.

Sherlock series 2 set to premiere in 2012. "This isn't a delay, we should be clear, as the BBC never announced a 2011 start date at any point." This is also out of BBC's hands, since Martin Freeman has been off in New Zealand playing Bilbo Baggins.

Should Anime Conventions Screen For Sex Offenders? Do We Really Have to Ask? "Obviously not all men who attend anime conventions are pervs, but ever since news of an arrest by a registered sex offender came out, people are wondering if there is more that can be done to keep women of all ages safe without treating innocent male attendees unfairly."

So, there was this past weekend, see, and Cowboys and Aliens and The Smurfs were both released, and Harrison Ford's wife (Calista Flockhart) took their son to see... what? Oh, and on another show, Harrison Ford faces the longest-awaited reunion of all.

Yes, that Floyd's Barber Shop.


This is, supposedly, the actual final cover of the new Justice League #1...unless they change their mind again. Not counting the three alternate covers. You know, I don't even care anymore.

Flash's clean red suit is now interrupted with over-rendered seams and loose yellow threads. Superman still doesn't have his own chest insignia right. Everybody's still got those "mature" high collared shirts, except Wonder Woman because, well, we know what you guys are looking for with Wonder Woman, wink, nudge, say no more.

No greater sacrifice can a super-heroine make than to lose her pants for the sake of her fans.

It's just occurred to me that DC has this New 52 introduction completely backwards. I mean, given that they're determined to restart in the first place. You don't start with the team-up book, you end with it. You introduce the characters individually first and let us get to know them. You know, what Marvel is doing with their Major Motion Picture franchises. They didn't start with The Avengers, they built them.