thehefner: (I'm a pirate! YARR!)
For a movie that's getting so much praise as to be called "second only to The Dark Knight", X-Men: First Class was far more dumb, annoying, and frustrating than I was expecting. Oh, make no mistake, there's a lot that is excellent about it too. Pretty much everything with Magneto. Unsurprisingly. I mean, duh. But until I can do a full, spoiler-riddled review for discussion with others who've seen it, all I can say is that so much of it is stupider than I think most critics seem to be talking about.

I'm reminded of how some people called Thor and Iron Man "dumb action movies," even when they meant that as praise, whereas the stupid in X-M:FC far out-stupids those films. Hell, I'm further reminded of how people dismissed Iron Man's status as a great film opposite The Dark Knight, which was clearly the better superhero film for no other reason than because it was so dark and serious. I'm getting seriously sick of people, especially comic fans, equating "fun" with "stupid." I guess even geeks are guilty of the Oscar mentality that a comedy or action/drama with comedic elements can't be a Capital-G "Great" Movie.

Tangent: But it goes more deeply than that as far as geeks are concerned. Some time back, I read an essay that posited a theory that many geeks are deeply insecure about their passions, mainly after years of being told that the things they love are juvenile, only for kids, and that they need to grow out of it. To compensate, they want their superheroes and their cartoon adaptations to be dark, gritty, SERIOUS, so that they can feel like they're enjoying "adult" entertainment. Thus, we get a tone-deaf, blindly stupid Transformers film, which somehow removes all sense of enjoyment out of a huge-budget film about giant robots hitting each other.

Second tangent: Thor was also, coincidentally, called "The next Dark Knight by Not only has this proved not to be the resounding case with movie or comic fans alike, but it's also an obnoxious reminder of how TDK remains flawless in the general esteem of fans and critics. When's the last time any of them have seen it on a TV screen, where the problems with that film are so much more evident? Seriously, if somebody really wants to earn my respect and interest in a superhero film they're espousing, call it "the next Batman: Mask of the Phantasm instead.
thehefner: (Iron Man: Life is Empty w/o GIN)
I loved Thor. Loved, loved, loved it.

Now, it wasn't perfect. There was some serious Dutch Angle abuse (and you know it's bad when the photo on the Wikipedia entry for Dutch Angle is from Battlefield Earth), and I'm not sure how satisfying Thor's character arc was, plus I'm sure I'll notice more flaws upon revisiting the film. Which I plan to do. Several times.

I'm so glad I avoided reading any reviews, raves though they were. I went into this with very few expectations. I did my best to ignore the headlines that hyperbolically raved "Best superhero film since The Dark Knight/Iron Man/Blankman, etc!" because I already knew that this would (or at least should) be a different beast entirely. Only fools would compare them on the same level, as if all DC and Marvel superhero properties were the same. But even geeks make that mistake, it seems.

Ughhh, I'm crashing hard, and we still have a lot to accomplish IRL over here with rehearsal and packing up. I'm lacking the energy to give it a proper review right now, so I'll leave that for the comments. If you've seen the film, chime in with your thoughts! And if not, you'd best avoid reading the comments. I'm not gonna be able to hold back with certain things which made me giddy in ways that probably earned me weird looks from all the normal people in the movie theater.

So yeah, SPOILERS to follow in comments.
thehefner: (Bill the Butcher: They Tuk Er Jerbs!)
Y'know, I've known several people who have no interest in Captain America because they understandably think he's nothing but a gung-ho jingoistic flag-waving conservative superhero. It was for this very reason that I was afraid the upcoming CAP film would result in... well, did anyone see this Tea Bagger photo?

Yeah. I was expecting to see dozens, even hundreds of people sporting Cap costumes and memorabilia at Tea Bag rallies, giving their own "do you even know what you're doing to be doing it wrong?" protests ala how 4Chan has utilized V FOR VENDETTA to protest Scientology. Because hey, the guy's name is CAPTAIN MOTHERFUCKING AMERICA! He dresses like a 4th of July parade! He has little eagle wings on his head! AMERICA, FUCK YEAH!

Now, at this point, I would start composing my own impassioned defense of Cap to all those who've never really read the character, but guess what? Now some of the Tea Baggers are actually going AFTER Captain America for not being patriotic ENOUGH.

They probably wouldn't have, if CAP director Joe Johnson hadn't opened his big mouth and said absolutely right and true things about how Steve Rogers is "not this sort of jingoistic American flag-waver," but instead a good person who represents the ideals of America.

Of course, Tea Bagger bloggers took issue with this, displaying obvious knowledge and appreciation for the character, seeing this as further evidence to condemn Hollywood:

"The same industry that spent hundreds of million of dollars on a dozen-plus embarrassingly awful anti-American flops that were specifically designed to undermine morale at home so we would lose the war in Iraq is now putting the brakes on the Americanism of a character named Captain America."

For extra fun, be sure to read the comments, littered with angry and disappointed people saying things like "This one hurts," and "They should call him Captain France.*"

Honestly, I'd figure all the Tea Baggers would need to know about Cap's politics and outlook on America was formed by his being a direct production of the FDR years. But then again, these are the same people who worship Ayn Rand as the savior of all that's good and true of America while ignoring the fact that she was a staunch atheist and therefore at odds with, well, probably most of their core values. Not to mention fucking evil. So I can't expect the Tea Baggers to actually think about such things.

But that's just the abstract. They can ignore such a thing, because the actual character is on their side, right? Well, if they're thinking about the Captain America from the 1950's, sure. THAT Cap--an impostor who took over the role while the real Cap from WWII was frozen in an iceberg, oh comics--was a flag-waving, jingoistic asshole, a Commie-bashing Red-phobic rabble-rouser who had his ass kicked by the REAL Cap.

And then, he delivers this speech.

Yeah. THAT'S Captain America. For the full skinny on what's going on in that story, here's a synopsis and analysis. Damn, I need to find me that issue.

The Daily Kos article expands upon those points better than I'm equipped to, at present. And in truth, I'm not even that big of a fan. I'm a DC boy, remember. I certainly want to read more Cap, but I'm still getting into him.

My main hope is that--when you inevitably see Tea Baggers who didn't get the memo co-opting Captain America in protests--you won't think it's because the character represents their jingoistic luv-it-er-leeve-it ideals. You'll think of that above panels, and how even Cap himself would say, "America: you're doing it wrong."

All that said? His movie costume still needs the little wings on the sides of his helmet. Just sayin'.

*Maybe they'd prefer Mark Millar's Cap from THE ULTIMATES, a much-loved alternate universe series where all the Marvel heroes are turned into assholes, fascists, sociopaths, perverts, idiots, or madmen. So, y'know, Mark Millar characters.
thehefner: (Bill the Butcher: Reflective)
Harvey Pekar to be buried next to Eliot Ness. Neat. Well, now I have something to see should I ever be in Cleveland.

When I heard that Pekar died, I felt incredibly sad, even to the point of tears. This is bizarre because I never really liked his work. I loved the film of AMERICAN SPLENDOR, and I admire and respect the fuck out of him not just for what he did for comics (it's been argued that he's the equal of Alan Moore when it comes to his impact and influence on the medium), but also for how he's one of the pioneers of autobiographical storytelling. His actual comics never did much for me, though. So why did it hit me so hard? At least it was rather cool to see that it hit everybody else hard as well, to the point that "Harvey Pekar" became a trending topic on Twitter.

Also cool: Ty Templeton remembering his first meeting with Pekar, told through comics. Ty is one of my very favorite comic writer/artists (the mastermind behind most of the best DCAU Batman comics!), and his website is always a delight. I particularly enjoy when he channels his inner Harvey Pekar through stories like this.

I love that story, as did many in Ty's comments. "Poignant" is the word that keeps coming up. I find Ty's response to the compliments rather amusing, and also telling:

I feel odd accepting any compliment for what is a verbatim conversation simply written down, but it did involve drawing, so I suppose there’s that.

That comment resonated with me. Recently, I started writing original work (non-autobiographical, non-fanfic), and I'd forgotten how great it feels to have the freedom and ability to tell anything, without being tied down to fact or someone else's continuity. You put your imagination to work and play at the same time, and I can easily imagine that, to some, autobiographical bits feel almost lazy, because you didn't go through the effort to create something. You just told it.

But then again, that's what Harvey Pekar did. Hell, unlike Ty, he didn't even draw anything.

What's my point? Hell, I dunno. This was meant to just be a post of comic-related links and fun, and the rambling took over. Maybe I'll get that one written sometime before I go up tonight. I feel like I should make some comment connecting what I do on stage to what Harvey did on paper, but eh, I don't want to sound like a wanky poseur. Feel free to connect the subtext yourself.
thehefner: (Two-Face: Snarl)
Yesterday, they leaked the first picture of Josh Brolin as certified badass Jonah Hex:

Hex, for those who don't know, is one of the most hardcore motherfuckers in the long history of DC Comics. Sort of a cross between the Man With No Name and Conan the Barbarian, with a dash of Harvey Dent thrown in... )

I'm still undecided if he looks better this way or if they'd have gone full "Two-Face in DARK KNIGHT" CGI with the scarring (oddly enough, they gave Eckhart!Harvey the Jonah Hex connective mouth tissue touch).

Of course, the movie sounds like it could be a load of ass anyway. While I agree that going the supernatural Lansdale route would be the way to go for a feature film rather than a straightforward western (even though that's where the very best Hex stories are found, if the current series is any indication), the plot concept of John Malkovich as a voodoo practitioner raising an undead army of Confederate soldiers doesn't exactly fill me with confidence.

Also, at the risk of outing myself as a homosexual/eunuch/houseplant... between her bogging down TRANSFORMERS and her recent "Wonder Woman is lame" comments, I have to confess that Megan Fox and her lack of internal organs does nothing for me..

But Brolin as Hex... for that alone, there are possibilities. Here's hoping the performance is sufficiently grizzled, and that it actually stirs up interest in the character's series, which I'm still frankly amazed has avoided cancellation for this long. No one seemed to read it when I worked at the shop, and I never see scans of it on scans_daily. I'd rectify that if I had the free time.
thehefner: (Green Lantern: Bling Bling!)
At least there's good news on one comic-related front:

GREEN LANTERN animated movie on the way.

Acclaimed actor Christopher Meloni (Law & Order: Special Victims Unit) fills the lead voice of Hal Jordan aka Green Lantern. Meloni is joined by fellow Emmy Award nominee Victor Garber (Milk, Alias) as the villainous Sinestro, Tricia Helfer (Battlestar Galactica) as the voice of Boodikka, and Michael Madsen (Reservoir Dogs) as Kilowog.

Produced by animation legend Bruce Timm, Green Lantern: First Flight is helmed by heralded director Lauren Montgomery (Wonder Woman, Superman Doomsday) and scripted by four-time Emmy Award-winning writer Alan Burnett (The Batman).

If it's even close to as good as the upcoming WONDER WOMAN DVD (which is a must-watch for all; seriously, it's single-handedly made me a WW fan), we'll be more golden than the entire Sinestro Corps.
thehefner: (Watchmen Babies: V For Vacation)
The producer of WATCHMEN speaks openly on the current legal battle.

Frank, insightful, inspiring, and infuriating. Now, more than ever, I feel there is no finer response to this debacle than this.

Coincidentally, I've discovered that there are several fans out there who think that WATCHMEN won't be better than THE DARK KNIGHT. While I agree that may be the case, it depresses me because it should be better.

I don't think WATCHMEN will be perfect, and I'm sure I'll have criticisms just like I performed several autopsies on TDK. But if I have any serious hopes here, it's that WATCHMEN will raise the bar above and beyond how TDK already did. Because that's exactly what frickin' WATCHMEN did and should do.

And in other superhero media news, holy crap, SMALLVILLE is getting a ninth season?

To quote "OK, think about this for a moment: nine seasons of Smallville. That's longer than any Star Trek series by two years. That's going neck and neck with X-Files, which itself should have ended two years before it did. That's approaching the current genre record holder, Stargate: SG-1, and that show had to retool itself bigtime after Season 8."

Did anyone see the Legion of Superheroes episode? Geoff Johns wrote it, right? Certainly gives me hope. Heck, that alone might actually interest me to finally catch up where I left off around the Zod episode, and I subsequently avoided the rest because of things like sexy Mr. Mxyzptlk and dialogue like in the Bizarro episode, "I'm like you, only... bizarre."

I say it's time to don the tights. Let's see some actual Superman versus Lex action in the final episodes.
thehefner: (Titus: Cavort Like the Greeks!)
Kenneth Branagh.

Directing THOR.

As in Marvel Comics' "I SAY THE NAY" THOR.


Well now.
thehefner: (Green Lantern: Bling Bling!)
Over the past few days, it seems there's been a sudden resurgence in Hal Jordan hatred on [ profile] scans_daily. I'm not surprised, but I'm frankly disappointed. I don't wanna get all butthurt, but damn it, I'd thought we were beyond this bullcrap after all these years. Let me tell you, nothing stirs up passion of all extremes like the Green Lantern mythos.

Valerie D'Orazio wrote an excellent essay recently as to how fervor for fictional characters can equal that for religious and political beliefs, and in my opinion, this trend is nowhere more apparent than in GL. For the past fifteen years, the feelings for Hal Jordan and Kyle Rayner have been the closest thing comic fans have had to the abortion issue.

Especially Hal Jordan. I have honestly never known a major iconic character of comics so widely (or at least, loudly) loathed. Many of the complaints heaped upon him are the same as heaped upon those who (deeply and also loudly) hate Superman: boring, whitebread, arrogant, "Captain Perfect," and so on and so on.

But unlike Superman, I can't rebuke these complaints and defend my position. Not in a way that'll really matter to them. Because, as I realized, my love for that character is more complex and personal than anything I can sum up in a single comic appearance.

Not too long ago, in attempt to explain these thoughts to [ profile] angrylemur--who didn't hate Hal, but certainly found him the least interesting of all GLs--I wrote the following essay. We were considering maybe posting it (and our subsequent e-mails back and forth) somewhere, if we could find an appropriate venue. I'd like to add scans to back it up. But for now, here it is, for those who are interested.

So okay, let me see if I can put into words why I--me personally--love Hal Jordan. )

Maybe sometime I'll make accompanying scans and put this on [ profile] scans_daily, but I know several responses will just end with me being further frustrated. I know I have a way of mistaking disagreement with personal insult, which is because I take everything personally. Especially Hal, obviously. In my own way, I too am guilty of icon-worship with all the other wackos, even if I lack the virulent fire.

Hopefully with a GREEN LANTERN movie finally in the works (you can see some official concept art right here), we'll get a depiction of Hal that finally does the character justice. Justice in the way I've seen him, justice that will make others go, "Ohhh, so that's why Hal Jordan is Hal fucking Jordan."

Then again, not even Robert Downey Jr's rightly-universally-beloved depiction of Tony Stark seemed to warm anybody to his much-maligned comic counterpart, another great character twisted and misused by a cynical comic company looking for shock-value controversy. Ah well. I suppose such unchanging prejudices won't really matter if the film is 1.) good and 2.) a hit. I guess that's all for which I can really hope.

In brightest day. In blackest night.
thehefner: (Watchmen Babies: V For Vacation)
Weirdly, enough, you know what just might be my favorite part of the WATCHMEN trailer?

The Smashing Pumpkins song.

You might think I'm insane. [ profile] kali921 already raged about the song's inclusion bespoiling the trailer for the adaptation of one of the great graphic novels. I certainly understand this reaction. Others were even more pissed when they realized that the song in question, "The Beginning is the End is the Beginning," is--insult upon injury--the fucking theme song from BATMAN AND ROBIN. What the fuck, right? It's idiocy! It's tacky! It's sacrilege!

It's brilliant.

I should point out, it's not the original version of the song from BATMAN AND ROBIN, but rather a remix. A remix of the theme for the most infamous superhero film at all. And you if you don't think that's not deliberate and beautifully calculated, I urge you to turn your attention back to the nipples on Ozymandias' suit. Snyder has gone on record saying that's no coincidence.

It's a pitch-perfect touch that most people are completely missing. I love it.


Jul. 15th, 2008 11:39 pm
thehefner: (Army of Darkness: Stretched Face)

... wait, what?


Jul. 1st, 2008 07:33 pm
thehefner: (Kids in the Hall: Tea Bag)

God, can we just have Ron Perelman go on the talk show circuit (right down to Rachel Ray's cooking show) in costume and character as Hellboy? That would make me a happy panda.

Everyone here is going to go see HELLBOY II: THE GOLDEN ARMY this weekend, right?

It doesn't matter if you didn't see or didn't like the original HELLBOY. It really doesn't. By all accounts, HELLBOY II has far more in common with PAN'S LABYRINTH, with several sources hailing it as a magnificent next step for Mr. Del Toro on the way to directing THE HOBBIT. This film is supposedly nothing short of fantastic.

So go. Everyone who loves ass-kicking fantasy, everyone who gets a little moist thinking of David Bowie as the Goblin King or the entire Mos Eisley Cantina scene, go see, support, and love HELLBOY II: THE GOLDEN ARMY. This film cost more than the first one made, so it needs the love and support.

Go. Friday. Go.
thehefner: (OMG SCREAM)
So did you know that Danny Elfman and Sam Raimi had a huge falling out during the making of SPIDER-MAN 2? As I understand it, Raimi hated Elfman's score, and according to Elfman, Sam essentially just wanted to replicate the first SPIDER-MAN soundtrack over again. By the end, their long-time friendship/partnership was over, with Elfman saying that Raimi is a pod person of his former self.

Well now someone has posted videos of Elfman's original, rejected score synced up with the appropriate scenes from SPIDER-MAN 2. The first such video is of the legendary train sequence, which really might be one of my favorite scenes from a movie ever (I even get choked up at the seriously obvious Christ imagery, right down to the "spear" wound, although I could really live without the goddamn kids at the end).

Also, goddamn, but is or is not Doctor Octopus utterly and thoroughly badass? [ profile] stubbleupdate on [ profile] scans_daily recently said, " If the next big Marvel film was one hour and forty five minutes of Alfred Molina as Doc Ock doing his laundry, washing dishes, or any other mundane chores with his tentacles, I would pay cash money to watch it. Twice. I've just had a thought. Doc Ock could play Wii Tennis against himself." Word to that.

Otto didn't die at the end. His arms totally pulled him out and resussciated him, then he went into hiding to avoid any involvement in SPIDER-MAN 3. That's my story and I'm sticking to it.

But yeah, back to the soundtrack... watch and compare for yourself.

I rather dig that soundtrack if only because that's the first time in a while that I've heard a Danny Elfman score that sounds like Danny Elfman. I look forward to seeing/hearing the rest.

As a bonus, courtesy of [ profile] benchilada I bring you the greatest photo ever taken.

thehefner: (Two-Face: Alex Ross)
So a couple days ago, I came very, very close to posting news here regarding the buzz of Thomas Jane in a JONAH HEX movie... complete with this image:

The question was, could it be real or photoshopped? I'd heard absolutely nothing regarding the Hex movie going forward nor Jane's involvement (and trust me, I would have at and, and this photo was leaked out on some no-name website. When the filmmakers (the guys behind the magnificent CRANK) reported that the photo was indeed fake, that Jane had no involvement in their project whatsoever, well, that seemed like that. Would have been neat, but alas.

Then I go on today to read this headline: "HOLY SHIT, THAT JONAH HEX PICTURE WAS REAL." With the actual article starting with "Sort of." We'll let Mr. Jane himself explain what happened:

"Yeah, the pic is real all right – my pal Akiva Goldsman* told me about the project and I fell in love with the idea right away. Being a huge fan of all things Hex – I just couldn’t help myself. I called up my buddy Chris Nelson and we spent a Saturday afternoon working up some make-up for this impromptu shoot and I fired a few pics off to Warners. How do people get a hold of this shit? It’s a little embarrassing seeing my fanboy enthusiasm spilled all over the web, but great scripts don’t come around too often, especially for characters I love."

Have I mentioned lately how much I love Tom Jane? Here's hoping all this has gotten the filmmaker's attention. He wouldn't have sprung to mind for Hex, but then, I don't know who else could play everyone's favorite grizzled Two-Face of the Weird West.

That said, I still like [ profile] spacechild's idea of casting Jane as CAPTAIN AMERICA. He'd be bloody excellent in the role.

*I don't care if he won the Oscar for A BEAUTIFUL MIND, that motherfucker wrote BATMAN FOREVER, BATMAN AND ROBIN and destroyed I AM LEGEND, you keep that fucker away from all comic properties as well as pregnant and nursing women.
thehefner: (Aquaman: They See Me Rollin')
BABYLON 5 mastermind J. Michael Straczynski interviewed about his screenplay for the SILVER SURFER movie. God, I hope this happens. If anyone could do justice to Norrin Radd (and pull off a badass Kirby-esque Galactus), it'd be Joe.

By the way, if you're not reading THE TWELVE from Marvel, you are missing out. It's already getting likened to WATCHMEN, which is bullcrap for a number of reasons... but it's not unreasonable bullcrap, if you know what I mean. I'd personally liken it to THE GOLDEN AGE and NEW FRONTIER, it definitely belongs to their ranks (so far, I think it's even surpassed the former). If this story keeps the momentum going and packs a powerful ending, we just might have one of the best superhero stories of the decade on our hands.

And yes, [ profile] disc_sophist, the Blue Blade is indeed magnificent. Not to mention hilariously out of touch.

A major reason why I posted that Harvey Dent comic yesterday was because I was and still am deeply disappointed and frustrated that it was being excluded from the BATMAN VS. TWO-FACE trade paperback, a collection of classic Two-Face stories released to coincide with THE DARK KNIGHT. It's the definitive Harvey Dent comic, and it was snubbed in favor of what-- that horrible Doug Moench/Kelley Jones two-part story from the 90's and (even more insultingly) "that" scene from FACE THE FACE? Ugh.

My anger mellowed some when I posted the scans, finding some measure of contentment in knowing I gave that little-read comic a touch more exposure than it had before. We take our victories where we can, right? But then I went into the comic store and actually read BATMAN VS. TWO-FACE, and it started all over again. I decided it wasn't enough to just go on a message board and bitch. I needed to write to DC, specifically to the editor in charge of the collection.

Problem was, I couldn't find his e-mail address, and DC (wisely) only lists business contact info on their website. I thought all was lost, I'd just need to swallow it and try not to be bitter. But then I remembered, no, wait, what did I use to do in these situations? How did I write to someone before I learned to do e-mail?

My god. It... could it be done? Could I actually write them... a letter? My Jove, it's so crazy it just might work!

I'm rather proud of the letter I wrote to the editor. Mom insisted on reading it, perhaps fearing I'd write something too fan-bitchy and ranting, and she agreed it's an excellent letter. Of course, chances are good that the editor will just shrug it off, especially nothing can be done*, but we'll see.

Hopefully at least my voice will be heard, which is about as much as anybody can hope for when standing up to The Man.

*Unless, as I suggested in the letter, they were to do a Volume Two, which could additionally include Matt Wagner's "Faces." I wonder what else would go well in there?
thehefner: (Joker: Why So Serious?)
It's rather amazing how little interest I have in the upcoming film WANTED. In fact, as of the most recent commercials--which feature Angelina Jolie firing a bullet that slows down enough for the camera to zoom in to see that it's inscribed with "Goodbye"--my levels of aversion to WANTED are inching toward SEX AND THE CITY levels.*

It doesn't help that, as a comic adaptation, it throws out everything that made the comic compelling and worth reading (supervillains have killed off all the heroes and now rule the world) in favor of a MATRIX-lite movie about assassins. And I speak as one who didn't really like the comic to begin with!

So no, fuck WANTED, I have absolutely zero interest in supporting anything even related nor aligned with this overblown bit of popcornery. No interest what...

... so...


Brand... new... DANNY ELFMAN song...?!?!?! Not just soundtrack, but Danny on vocals?!

... I... but it...


*I've said it once and I'll say it again. I absolutely loved SEX AND THE CITY until I realized (right around season three) that it wasn't meant to be a brilliant, scathing satire of the shallow, self-absorbed jerks and their hollow, hollow lives.

Honestly! I told Mom that, and she went, "It's NOT meant to be satire?! Damn it, now I can't watch it anymore!"
thehefner: (Watchmen Babies: V For Vacation)

I'm gonna withhold further comments until more people see it, and until I see it at least once more. But for right now, I'm simply gonna say this:

Hell. Yes. Just might be up there with BATMAN BEGINS, SPIDER-MAN 2 and X2. One of the best superhero films ever.

With a 95% positive review rating on, I feel confident recommending it to most anybody here. You don't need to be a geek; it's Robert Downey Jr, what more do you need?

Also: stick around after the credits. Take it from me, I cannot stress this enough. Stay after the credits.

In short. IRON MAN. Go. Go now.

As a bonus, they also had the new trailer for THE DARK KNIGHT. I'd already seen this bootlegged earlier this week, and you know what? I was still on the edge of my seat, jaw open, stunned. When the trailer hits the internet this Sunday, I will be watching it about five times in a row. Harvey's line at the end, that alone... tear my heart out, man.
thehefner: (Hulk Have Axe)
There are rare days when I'd like to smack the entire collective of comic book fans out there, even the vast majority of folks at my beloved [ profile] scans_daily. A loving smack, but a hard smack nonetheless.

Ever since the big super-spoilery news of a certain character's return hit the New York Daily News, coupled with yesterday's DC UNIVERSE # 0, the internets have been aflame with wankery and bitching. Now, I personally do not possess any great specific affinity for the character in question, aside from just a general appreciation for the classic greats.

But the more I read these people complain, the more I find the urge to smack is rising... rising... rising.

I won't go into specifics for right now (unless y'all wanna discuss this in the comments), but I will say this: I hope that what Grant Morrison and Geoff Johns have planned for this character utterly, thoroughly kicks ass. I hope it's up there with the best of what they're both capable when they really try, and I hope it all blows everyone's fucking minds.

Yes, this is a new one for me: I want a comic to be awesome purely out of spite.

Y'know, I really want to be wowed by the brand-new trailer for THE INCREDIBLE HULK. All the elements are there: a pissed-off Hulk smashing things in creative ways, William Hurt with a mustache...

... yes, indeed, all of the elements are there. But I dunno, something about it just ain't clicking.

Part of it may be the specter of Ang Lee's HULK still floating over this whole production. In case you missed it, it seems like Lee's HULK is one of the most reviled superhero movies ever made. It's so widely derided, in fact, that I have felt pressure to keep my opinion to myself. Did I think it was brilliant? Did I love it? Did I hate it? Hell, I still have a hard time articulating my thoughts to myself on this matter, let alone a pissed-off comic geek who just wanted to see things get smashed up real good.

Thankfully, it seems a handful of intellectuals are coming forward to defend and celebrate Ang Lee's HULK, including The AV Club's Natham Rabin for his excellent series, "My Year of Flops" and even the joyless bastards at, who even go so far to call it the "best superhero movie ever, man."*

I don't agree with that, if only because... hell, does it (or the Hulk in general) even count as a superhero movie? As the above essays indicate, the biggest problem is that Lee's HULK is just like the Hulk himself: a misunderstood monster.

People were expecting brainless smashing, only to get a Freudian psychological drama where the only huge action scene is murky, indiscernible, and metaphorical. I'm only now starting to realize how easy it is for someone to hate a film, no matter how good that film is, if they walk into it with different expectations. Expectation is a huge--perhaps vital--part of the film experience for many, it seems.

HULK suffered from not living up to what was expected of him, instead delivering something that--dare I say--may have been too smart for your average person.** I dunno, maybe I'm just a bit too much like Mr. Rabin, a self-proclaimed "card-carrying pompous boob who never leaves home without wearing a neckerchief, cravat, and ascot."

Or maybe I just have a thing for slow-burn psychological tragedies about guys with split personalities brought on by repressed rage and Daddy issues. That could be it too.

*In fairness, that article also features a rebuttal by the most joyless bastard of them all, my abusive hobbit boyfriend Devin Faraci. He only hits me because he loves me.

**Okay, I don't know if I can defend the Hulk Dogs. Especially the Hulk Poodle. That right there might have fit in better with this new INCREDIBLE HULK movie, from the looks of things.
thehefner: (Watchmen Babies: V For Vacation)
Valerie D'Orazio comments on Bendis' misuse of Dr. Doom... with the help of Picard and Ryu. Yes, that pretty well sums it up, doesn't it?

Which reminds me... SECRET INVASION: Ugh. Goddammit, Bendis.

And while we're at it--COUNTDOWN TO FINAL CRISIS: What the fuck. Seriously. What the fuck. That's all.

Teaser poster(s) released for Frank Miller's THE SPIRIT. Note that I didn't call it "Frank Miller's take on Will Eisner's THE SPIRIT." Maybe it's just Lionsgate's marketing people who want to make this look like SIN CITY 2, or if that's Miller's bright idea. Dang it, I know Miller is deeply and sincerely dedicated to this film, passionate about his intent to honor Eisner, but it's damn-near-impossible enough for anyone to be Will Eisner (except Alan Moore, with his GREYSHIRT stories), much less Mr. WHORESWHORESWHORES himself.

Someone suggested these posters would work better for a Frank Miller SHADOW film, and I have to admit, the idea is intriguing.

I really, really wish I had and could just read the current WALKING DEAD storyline in one complete trade paperback. Because five months of these past issues, culminating with the one that came out yesterday... I'm just depressed. I read it in the store, then thought about it again a couple hours later, and felt sad all the rest of that evening. And they're not even done with this particular chapter yet.

But let's end all this on a happy note. Namely, how goddamn awesome was that Superman/Legion of Superheroes story in ACTION COMICS?! After years of trying and failing to really get into the Legion, not to mention years of struggling to find stories that showcase just how goddamn awesome Superman is (or potentially *should* be), Geoff Johns and Gary Frank have delivered an utterly ass-kicking superhero epic that reveals the glorious inspiring asskickery of both.

I am SO buying this hardcore when the collection comes out. Even if it's hardcover.

Between Johns' work on ACTION COMICS and Morrison's ALL-STAR SUPERMAN, it's so refreshing to truly have comics worthy of the character. It's all part of my mad, glorious mission to convert the masses out there who dislike characters such as Superman, Hal Jordan, Scott Summers, and even the Joker. Odd company, that.
thehefner: (Two-Face: Tim Sale)
I love Silver Age Lex Luthor. Sometimes I really don't know if I prefer corporate businessman Lex Luthor or mad scientist Lex Luthor, but I've often seen both version stay faithful to the spirit of the character, which is the more important thing.

Lex is just such an awesome villain, and it's a shame that--like the Joker--there are so many writers who fuck him up or lame-ify him because they just don't get the character.

Okay. Who here has read SLEEPER, by Brubaker and Sean Phillips? Because SLEEPER is fucking excellent, like a great HBO series brought to comics. It was seriously hyped up both by the likes of Brian K. Vaughan and Warren Ellis as well as my colleagues at Big Planet, and it still surpassed expectations (of which I had few, for some reason). Can't wait to lend SLEEPER to Danny and Kevin.

Here, have some examples of SLEEPER's awesomeness: the fucked-up-ed-ness that is Miss Misery and and the secret origin of... FagHag?

I am now very sad that I'm not still working at the comic shop so I can't tell people to read SLEEPER instead of overblown similar shit like WANTED.*

On the other hand, I'm still more happy to be out of the store. Because really, it was turning me into a comic grouch, and I don't want to be a comic grouch. Honestly, I don't. Much of my grouchiness came from the overwhelming popularity of certain things that I--for one reason or another--strongly did not enjoy, and it became harder and harder to reconcile objectivity when faced with the rabidness of fans. This is not healthy for anybody.

I'm working on it. I love my comics, but I think we need some time apart.

And there are some frustrations that are stronger than others, like Mark Millar's continued popularity or how THE BOYS continues to be a top-seller. But even these, I could dismiss and get over, one way or another. More so than certain other comics. In fact, I've started to think of my frustrations with modern comics in terms of a three-headed Cerberus: SCOTT PILGRIM, Joss Whedon, and Jeph Loeb.

I've already ranted about SCOTT PILGRIM. Generally considered by many, with little-to-no irony, as the greatest comic of the 21st Century, and one of the greatest comics ever. And the appeal is totally lost on me, no matter how many times I reread the books. And now, with SHAUN/HOT FUZZ director Edgar Wright hemling the SCOTT PILGRIM movie with Michael Cera, the rabid hype of fans is going to be inescapable.**

And I've also already ranted about Joss Whedon, whose work I respect and admire, and I do see his genuine excellence, but it's a style I personally abhor.

And then there's Jeph Loeb. Especially for his work on THE LONG HALLOWEEN. Rant ahoy. )

Oh hell, enough ranting and bitchery. Let's go back to happy things!

Did you know that Daredevil almost had his own 80's cartoon series? With a canine sidekick? A super-seeing eye dog? Named Lightning, the Super-Dog?

That picture fills me with such endless happy.

*Which is now coming out as an even-crappier-looking film. The only thing the comic had going for it was it's premise, and you throw all that out for a shitty MATRIX rip-off five years after MATRIX rip-offs were actually fashionable? Lame.

**On the other hand, with Wright doing the SCOTT PILGRIM movie, maybe I'll finally understand the appeal once I see it in movie form rather than comic.

***Although I do think Tim Sale's Batman and Catwoman are both grotesquely ripped, and I do kinda run hot and cold on his HUGE-PERMA-FUCKING-GRIN Joker, which only serves the heighten Loeb's take on the Batman characters, turning them into flat, quote-spouting, one-note caricatures of themselves.

September 2012

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