Thursday, July 26, 2012

And before that, he sold gourmet hamburgers

Yeah, I always dressed this way.
Unless I didn't.
Taking The Robin Out Of Red Robin | Bleeding Cool
As of the upcoming Teen Titans #0, Tim Drake, the kid who was Robin from 1989 to 2009, in the second half of the Batman animated series, and in the currently running "Young Justice" television series... was never Robin at all. Which isn't to say that all of his history just vanished, but that his adventures as Batman's partner now all occurred under the name "Red Robin".

And actually, that's not the part that confuses me. Even though I guess now all the Stephanie Brown fans can sarcastically reply, "We feel your pain." Now all the Stephanie-was-never-really-Robin talk makes sense, since she was replacing a guy who was never really Robin either. Yeah, that solves everyone's problems.

The part that bothers me is that as of his first appearance post-New 52, less than a year ago, when every DC title was restarted in an is-it-or-ain't-it soft reboot, he was still a former Robin.

Note to DC Comics: It's not multiple earths and heroic legacies that confuses readers, it's crap like this.

(Just in case you don't get the gourmet hamburger thing.)

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

New DC Gay Character Is An Iconic Male… | Bleeding Cool Comic Book, Movies and TV News and Rumors

New DC Gay Character Is An Iconic Male… | Bleeding Cools “One of the major iconic DC characters will reveal that he is gay in a storyline in June”
Well, if DC was trying to upstage Marvel's upcoming Northstar nuptials, they did it. Now everyone's wondering who it will be.

Some are sniping at Fox News for having used the phrase "a gay Superman", replying "Of course, it's not going to be Superman." I'm not able to think of any reason why Superman would be off the table. Since the New 52 reboot, his relationship with Lois Lane has been deleted, and with it any sexual identity at all. I do recall a semi-official statement from Grant Morrison that the New 52 Superman is not able to breed with human women--but the exact reason why this might be true is open to interpretation. It's a valid alternative reason for his steadfast refusal to marry Lois all those years.

The initial interpretation of Didio's comment is that a familiar character not yet reintroduced in the New 52 will be gay. But Courtney Simmons' phrasing implies that the victim test subject character may already have been seen, just not specifically identified as gay.

I find myself longing for the good old days when comic book characters didn't have sex. That meant if it was important to you that your favorite character be gay, well, he might have been: There was no evidence to the contrary.

If we're going to play the guessing game, I don't think we can attach too much importance to Simmons' description of the character as "iconic". This is DC Marketing talking here: As far as they're concerned, they're all iconic. It could be Alfred, Zatara, or Charley "Golden Eagle" Parker. Or pretty much anybody or everybody on Earth 2.

If they are playing fair with "iconic", though, I vote for Barry Allen. The new original Silver Age Flash is badly in need of some defining characteristics, and gayness might just be the shot in the arm he needs to become an icon for the twenty-tens.

OOPS:  Apparently Scott Snyder has confirmed that it's a character we have not yet seen in the New 52. Which narrows the field quite a bit, if they are playing fair with "iconic". The most likely bet, then, is someone in Earth 2 (Flash or Green Lantern).

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

So, looks like no Black Widow movie?

She Has No Head! – Dear Marvel: Please Stop Ruining Everything | Comics Should Be Good! @ Comic Book Resources
In a chat afterwards, Joe told me that he’d love to make a tentpole [sic] movie with a female lead, but that he really doesn’t think there is an actress right now who could carry it, or a character that would work either.
Trivial issue: I don't get the "sic" on the phrase "tentpole movie". That's what they call a film they can build their summer release schedule around. The metaphor is that of a circus tent, with one big show and a collection of lesser attractions. Is "sic" what you say when you want to attempt a sexual entendre, but can't really think of one?

Main issue: Well, the reason I linked to Kelly Thompson's "She Has No Head!" and not the Ain't It Cool News remark that inspired it is that the smackdown has already been done. But I certainly didn't expect the Editor-in-Chief, head cheerleader and heir to Stan "the Man" Lee himself to go dissin' his own superbabes that way.

Perhaps this is the wrong time to point out that the "underwhelming" "Elektra" outgrossed either "Punisher" movie.

This is a production company that already has Scarlett Johansson (Iron Man 2, Avengers), Natalie Portman (Star Wars), Gwyneth Paltrow (won an Oscar for Shakespeare in Love), and Liv Tyler (Lord of the Rings) under contract. And Johansson is the first one they've used as anything other than a secretary.

Shall we also discuss Halle Berry, Anna Paquin, Jennifer Connelly, Jessica Alba and Cobie Smulders, all of whom seem to be able to carry other people's movies and shows?

Really, dude, you're just not trying.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Hoppy? HOPPY?

"And this is my rabbit Hoppy."

Hoppy the Marvel Bunny is back, but Ralph Dibny is still gone for apparent good?

Oh, now that's just cruel. 

The Return Of Vibe And Hoppy The Marvel Bunny To The New DCU | Bleeding Cool Comic Book, Movies and TV News and Rumors

Sunday, March 25, 2012

"This is an Imaginary Story... Aren't they all?"

Slay, Monstrobot of the Deep!!: Obviously, Too Much Alfredo Before Bedtime...
It's too bad that DC doesn't do Elsewhere stories anymore (unless, of course, you consider the whole nu52 an Elseworlds story...)
That would be wonderful news.

I've been thinking of it as Heroes Reborn Part II. You know, because it worked so well the first time. The same Usual Gang of Idiots were largely responsible for both.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Under the Moons of Mars

Why 'John Carter' Is Loads Of Fun & You Should Ignore Cynics Who Can't Have Fun At Movies - Forbes

I'm so disappointed.

Not in the movie. "John Carter" may be the best film translation of an Edgar Rice Burroughs book ever. (But after nearly a century of "Me Tarzan, you Jane, me name son Boy because me cannot spell 'elephant'", I guess that's not saying a lot.) I've read the books, I've re-read them recently, and almost everything that's up there on the screen is in the books. Some of it isn't in the same order it is in the books, but it's there. And the little that is different improves on the books.

I loved "John Carter". I loved Woola rocketing around the Martian landscape. I loved the complexity of Sola, the Thark woman who "adopts" Carter. I loved Tars Tarkas Gibbs-slapping Carter on the back of the head. I loved "I told you he could jump!"

I loved that the first time we see Dejah Thoris, she's wearing the Barsoomian equivalent of a white lab coat, because she's a scientist. No, it isn't a white lab coat... but it is. It obviously is.

I loved Carter leaping to catch Dejah Thoris as she fell from a Martian flyer. I loved the Martian flyers! I loved the cruel Jeddak Tal Hajus, watching one gigantic white ape mop the floor with Carter,  boredly commanding, "Free the other one." I loved the "Oh, give me a break" expression on Carter's face when he sees the second ape.

More. Too much. I'm running on. I loved this movie. It was exactly what a John Carter of Mars movie should be.

So why am I disappointed? Because the assembled brain trust of movie critics determined, long before March 9, that this movie was a flop, a disappointment, a money sink of ishtaric proportions. And because that was the story they wanted to tell -- and because the mighty Disney marketing machine didn't have a clue how to sell this story -- that's the story it became. "A Princess of Mars", that's the name of the book, that should have been the name of the movie.

Go see this movie. If you think the critics might know better than me, save money and go to a cheap 2-D matinee. But go, while you still can.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Nu52: Now with 90% less context

No, Princess, he wasn't just touching your lasso.
He was grabbing your ass. And you let him.
C'mon, how did he get his hand between your lasso and your hip?
Ladies and gentlemen, Hal Jordan!

I'm really loving Comics Alliance's Point/Counterpoint on the new Justice League, even if I'm not sure which is which.
Point/Counterpoint: 'Justice League' Is Everything Wrong With Comics: "[Darkseid] does nothing but show up, say his name, and then trade punches until this stupid story runs out of pages."
Yep, that's about it.
Point/Counterpoint: 'Justice League' Shines with Strong Characters: "In the first arc of the comic, Batman, Green Lantern, Superman, Flash, Wonder Woman, Aquaman and Cyborg join together to fight an invasion from Apokolips, during which Darkseid shows up personally. Batman finds out from Steppenwolf and Desaad that Darkseid is looking for his daughter, who is apparently on Earth. And in terms of the overall plot of the arc... that's about everything that happens."
And that's your defense? That we're hip-deep in Character Revelation that has nothing to do with the story? Six issues of arc get a 50-word synopsis, and you're OK with that?

Although, actually, he got more out of it than I did. I totally missed the Darkseid's daughter thing (a thrown-away line of dialog dismissing a macguffin who's never seen or named).

Where's my copy of New Frontier? At least that takes more than five minutes to read.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

There's plenty of Batgirls, but only one Oracle

Patron Goddess by ~kit-kit-kit
This is why you want to be very cautious when you go eliminating a character from continuity. You never know when someone is going to come along and do something really awesome with her that you didn't see coming.

Friday, March 02, 2012

"We're not a team, and we're not friends either."

Justice League #6
That was a conclusion? (Spoilers ahoy.)

They don't know who or what Darkseid actually is. They don't know why he's interested in earth. They don't know what he or his Parademons were trying to do. Except for Superman (who somehow learns it while being tortured), they don't even know his name -- until he says it himself, for no apparent reason.

They think they've destroyed all the local Mother Boxes, and that Darkseid therefore can't come back to earth for a long time. This makes about as much sense as Mr Mxyzptlk being tricked into saying his name backwards.

It reminds me of Jean-Luc Picard's first encounter with the Borg, which ends when Q decides he's bored and takes the Enterprise back out of Borg space -- where he put it in the first place.

The Justice League isn't calling itself the Justice League. They clearly don't want to travel together, until Batman points out that if they play nice with others, maybe it'll confuse the police enough that they will stop trying to arrest them.

And I haven't mentioned the art yet, which is so cluttered and detailed that I can't figure out what I'm looking at, or supposed to be looking at.

And Pandora is... oh, never mind. When she was a mystery, she was interesting. Now we've seen every seam on her costume, and we've seen her tattoos, and we know that she's Nu52's Uatu the Watcher, observing us but forbidden to act... Bored now.

Unsatisfying. We'll see if it grows on me. In the meantime, I'll wait hopefully for the real Justice League to come back from multiversal purgatory and kick these pretenders' asses.

Heck, these guys will do.

Friday, February 17, 2012

John Severin, 1921-2012

My all-time favorite sequence by the incomparable John Severin, from Mad #5, June-July 1953. From the lovely Nanuk the Canuk to Miltie the Mountie delivering his dying words as he hangs over the panel border, there was nothing Severin couldn't draw.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Just thinking

It’s the JUSTICE LEAGUE INTERNATIONAL against O.M.A.C in a fight to the finish!
Now I'm getting the idea that O.M.A.C. was always meant to be an eight-issue mini. The alternative is that DC is disorganized enough to have coincidentally cancelled a title written by their editor-in-chief one month before a scheduled crossover with JLI. I mean, if they thought the crossover would do O.M.A.C.'s sales numbers any good, wouldn't they have made sure that the title would continue long enough after to reap the benefit?

So where are all the
characters who are
supposed to be on
The same reasoning applies to Mister Terrific being cancelled the month before the appearance of Earth 2 and Worlds' Finest, all the more so since Karen Starr has been seen (briefly). So far, I haven't seen anything going on there to indicate that Mister Terrific has to inhabit the same earth as the Justice League. He did mention Superman once, but now that we know to expect a Superman on Earth-2... perhaps it has been an Earth-2 title all along.

Now, if O.M.A.C. and Mister Terrific really were meant to only run eight issues, I don't have any problem with that. In fact, I think it's a great use of the flexibility of storytelling 22 pages at a time.

But if it really is just a coincidence, and these titles aren't building on each other to create a larger cohesive story, I'm going to be really disappointed.

But then, we're already getting an indication that the New DC really isn't that organized, since the "New 52" is actually 55 or 56 titles.

On another subject, if I wanted to buy a Batman story but am unable to work up any interest in the Court of Owls, I'm pretty much out of luck, aren't I? I mean, is this storyline really worth ten comics each month? And if it is, why not publish it as a monthly $30 trade? If DC really wants to expand the niche that comics occupy, that would be a heck of a statement.

Hm. I wonder if Pandora (the new 52 mystery woman) will appear in the second wave #1s?

Sunday, January 22, 2012

The most beautiful woman on two planets

I've been waiting for years for Hollywood to get around to John Carter. At last, it's coming. Disney has reached the point they're willing to commit themselves to a release date and a trailer. The technology is there: If Cameron can do Avatar, Stanton can do Mars.

I just did a Google search for Dejah Thoris, looking for a suitable kick-ass image of the Martian princess who wins the heart of John Carter. The only one I found is this out-of-print $99 action figure. All the rest -- all the rest -- are pin-up models.

In the books, Edgar Rice Burroughs tells us (though he doesn't belabor the point) that Martians don't wear clothes. They wear, at most, weapons. They'll wear the occasional bauble and bangle to indicate their social status and brighten up an otherwise drab leather sword belt, but that's about it. The infamous Slave Leia costume is incomprehensibly modest compared to Martian custom.

So if you go searching for images of Dejah Thoris, you can guess that you're going to find as few clothes as possible, to cover up the naughty bits that the artist was unwilling or unable to show. A lot of people seem to have no idea what a naked woman looks like.

(Whose idea was this floor-length loincloth they seem to like so much?)

What surprised me was not her wardrobe, but her demeanor. Mars is depicted as a brutal, hostile place: Everyone is armed, everyone knows how to use weapons and everyone is prepared to use them at a moment's notice, because the alternative is getting dead. Depictions of John Carter reflect this. Depictions of Dejah Thoris indicate that a Playboy photographer is in town taking applications for the upcoming Girls of the Red Planet pictorial.

Some, OK, I get that. I'm a red-blooded male, after all. We're pigs. *shrug* Most, well, I kind-of get that too. Burroughs struggles to give Dejah Thoris much to do beyond being beautiful, inaccessible and/or threatened so that John Carter can win through to her side. But all?

I guess what I'm saying is that if Disney / Stanton want to make a fully rounded... er, fleshed-out... er, three-dimensional... Dang it. If Dejah Thoris is going to be anything more than a macguffin, they've got their work cut out for them. Burroughs is no help.

(If one wished to be a literary purist, one could consider the implications when Burroughs tells us that almost no Martian animals actually have hair -- and those humanoids that have hair have it only upon their heads. And some people do observe that since Martians lay eggs, that Dejah should not have a belly-button.)

Thursday, January 19, 2012

So close

Congratulations, DC, for changing your mind.

Well, did you change your mind, or did somebody get sacked or replaced and the new person decided you needed a new identity?

In any case, I should offer you hearty congratulations for coming up with a logo that would support being rendered in the primary colors one associates with comic books.

I should congratulate you, but I won't, because you clearly don't intend to use it that way, and it's purely accidental that it does work so well. See above right for an example of what I mean by that, since your designers apparently didn't think of it.

LATER: I hear there's been a small internet explosion over the fact that the cover mockups include an image of a clear post-New 52 Batman numbered #708. What it says to me is that the decision to re-do the corporate identity came from a different office than the decision to restart numbering. It might even indicate that the new corporate logo has been essentially a done deal waiting for the right moment to announce for quite a long time. Why now? Well, because they've had the press releases ready for a while, just waiting for the news to leak (which it just did), so now's the time to make it look like an actual plan instead of an accident.

And I see from the mockups that the logo will bleed off the left edge of the cover. Interesting.

LATER STILL: GeekDad points out that this new design is a departure from the continuity apparent in every previous DC logo back to 1940 (even including the briefly-used AA bullet). He calls it a clear indication of a "new regime in control", and that seems right to me. (See also SignalNoise.)

But everything adds up to the new DC wanting to be known as an entertainment company, not a *shudder* comic book company, which makes my color treatment highly unlikely indeed.

I mean, if I owned Superman, I'd be reminding the world of it at every possible opportunity, and one way I'd do that is to happily use his uniform colors on my corporate logo.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

That's what was missing...!

Yeah, the powers that be looked at the DC lineup with eleven bat-titles, and said to themselves, "You know what we need, is another Batman monthly."

Okay, I'm trying to be realistic. I knew all of these new titles wouldn't last. I won't claim to have correctly predicted the ones they just cancelled (I was sure "I, Vampire" and "Frankenstein" would be the first to go), but you just had to know that some of the New 52 titles were never intended to be long-term ongoing features.

And I'm not going to go neener-neener because "Justice League" is shipping late. Cue Iago: "Oh there's a big surprise! That's an incredible - I think I'm going to have a heart attack and die of not surprise!" By my reckoning, this makes twice: #2 was eight or nine weeks later than #1, after all.

So, DC, are you still publishing Showcases?

Monday, January 16, 2012

I just have to say it

This month:
Action Comics #6
Wolverine #300

Something is very wrong.