thehefner: (Default)
Life these days is a series of situations that are all relatively easy to deal with on their own, or even two at a time, all coming at us at once. I'd post about them more, but I can't help but feel like it'd be a whole lotta complaining about stuff that we're already on top of combined with the stuff that's out of our control. So I'm going to cut this post with images of owls with stupid expressions on their faces, just to make it all go down easier.





For my part, I'm tired. More tired than I've ever been, more tired than I was trying to pick up the pieces after Dad's death. And that tiredness has made dealing with my everyday neuroses just that much harder. And I was never that good at handling them in the first place! But after yet disappointing another Fringe Festival (and like all the disappointing Festivals over the past year, there have been entirely logical reasons WHY they were disappointing, but that doesn't help my emotional state), AND the moving situation, I'm wiped out and not really looking forward to doing CapFringe and IndyFringe this year. I've never been one for regrets, but I do so wish that I could go back a year and plan this all out better.





As for that moving situation, we're currently living at the beach while the Cabin John house... my home... is on the market. It's been repainted and rearranged to the point that it's effectively no longer my home anymore. It looks depressingly like... like a NORMAL person's house! Ew! But we can't stay there, since it's on the market, thus we're in Delaware. This means that we'll have to drive a couple hours to the hospital once she goes into labor, which should be within, what, a week? Two weeks? More? Any day now? We're just waiting, and we have to wait here, because our actual home has to be clean and free of people. Hard for prospective buyers to impose their vision onto a property with a fanboy and a pregnant Henchgirl squatting in the living room.





We're staying at the new house Mom bought in Delaware, which will be our main base of operations once renovations are completed by early next year. We're by Broadkill Beach, near Slaughter Beach. I fucking love that. In reality, it's not so much the site of a boobtacular slasher film as much as the nation's site for Horseshoe Crab Orgies. So, almost as good, right? That almost makes up for the fact that we're going to be living in Delaware.





In truth, living at the regular house in Rehoboth Beach is great, as we adore that place. But unless you all come to see my show at CapFringe in a couple weeks, and bring your friends and family and pets in people costumes so that they can be charged as adults, that beach house will be my sole source of income. Did you know that we're still renting it out? Because we totally are still renting out the house in Rehoboth Beach!





I guess what it all comes down to is the fact that we have a lot to do, all of which costs a LOT of money and causes a lot of stress, onlt some of which might possibly make us some money in the process. What I'm saying is, if you want a piece of Hefner, you have options!

Want to own the house where Hefner lived? Well, you can! Want to just rent a house where Hefner lives? You can do that too! Want to rent Hefner himself for an evening (I mean, as a performer? I mean, as a non-sexual performer? I mean, to talk about himself for an hour with jokes and slides?) Here's your big chance! And if you still want a piece of Hefner's creativity but aren't able to travel, well, I'm finally starting to post the Harvey Dent novel, chapter by chapter. For those who've read it already, I've changed a lot and I'll be changing even more after the acid hits. It's gonna be a whole different story by that point, and with Henchgirl as my editor, I'm going to finally finish this for good.






That's about it for now. Back to life. Mine, hers, and the brand-new little one that's about to arrive. Any day/week/minute now.
thehefner: (Me: White Background)
Henchgirl and I saw this at the Safeway:





Okay, look, I understand the "Team Edward" and "Team Jacob" stuff, I do. But "Team Bella"? She's not a team! She's the ball!

Eh, it's not worth worrying about. Not tonight, on this holiday's eve, which has somehow also become a holiday in its own right. It only today occurred to me how weird that was, as I realized that all the banks were closed. It's like how the college students in The Rules of Attraction throw a "Pre-Saturday-Night-Party Party."

Still, Henchgirl and I are getting into the spirit in our own way:





Now, in my defense... while the idea had certainly occurred to me while we were shopping for fake trees in the Target, it was my Henchgirl who suggested we actually do this.

Have I mentioned how supremely lucky I am to have found her? She actively encourages me to be as flagrantly geeky as I'd never allow myself to be in public. The decorations were her idea too. I love how the silver works on both sides. Really, all that's missing is a giant coin tree-topper.

Have a good one, folks. No matter what you do, no matter what you celebrate, stay safe and stay sane.




Well, at least until I pull together the Hugo Strange New Year's Eve post for [livejournal.com profile] about_faces. Funny how the next post in my series actually ties into the holiday. Go me, accidentally!
thehefner: (Batman: I Am The Night)
First, Aaron Eckhart is "heartbroken" to learn that Nolan is definite on Harvey Dent being dead, and thus will not be in Dark Knight Rises. It's worth actually reading Eckhart's story of how he learned the news. I predict it'll launch a number of slash-fics.

For my part, I'm glad to hear it now than to hold out hope that maybe, maybe there'd be a surprise cameo in Arkham or in the twist ending or after the credits or in a deleted scene or maybe hell maybe in the fourth film yeah yeah maybe who knows *cries*. So, good to be spared that cycle.

Still, it's certainly put a crimp in my entire day. This is why I haven't actively thought about TDK for months. It just puts me in a frustrated, thinky mood for hours, going on with what I liked and what I wish wish wish they had done differently.



In related news [livejournal.com profile] box_in_the_box posted the following, dubbing it the "Best Batman Theme EVER." It's a combination of the themes by Danny Elfman, Hans Zimmer, and Shirley Walker:





Oh my god. Okay, very mixed feelings here.

Whenever the theme went to Zimmer, I. Was. So. Bored. At least, I'm guessing the boring parts were Zimmer, because they were the parts that were neither Walker nor Elfman. Now, I didn't like Zimmer's theme in BB until I heard it used in the trailer for The Dark Knight, at which point I was like, "Okay, this is actually pretty badass, I like it now."

Here, it was swalled up by Elfman and Walker. Maybe it's just that the composer didn't effectively recreate the literally thirty seconds of good music from Zimmer's entire BB score, by which I mean the first thirty of this:



Those blaring horns and slamming beats are the only part that could have stood up to Elfman and Walker, and while it actually took me a couple listens to discover that the composer actually had included that part, he didn't successfully recreate the "grab you by the balls and PAY ATTENTION" urgency. I think that speaks more to Zimmer's production than composition skills, because without that factor, it really is a boring track.

Actually, I'm listening to that above Zimmer piece on its own, and I'm rather loving it. The best thing Zimmer can do with the soundtracks is give them a sense of urgency. But even this is two-dimensional compared to the sheer scope of Elfman and Walker's soundtracks.

And yet... maybe it's because of that that I actually felt gut-punched both times Shirley Walker's theme came in, and elevated the entire piece to greatness for those few seconds. Maybe it's sympathetic pregnancy (and dear god, I've wanted to kill somebody for chocolate on more than one occasion, so it well could be), but I was actually moved to tears when the Walker theme came on the second time. Amazing how hearing that theme over and over again in the most formative show of one's childhood can have that effect.

There's something so much more hopeful about that theme to counter Elfman's glorious darkness. Both are soaring statements about who Batman is. Zimmer's is more just what Batman does: just pure action, action, action, without introspection.

All in all, this was a fascinating and fascinating piece, one that was even moving in a couple occasions. I want him to do a second version down the line. Maybe a series. Hell, I'd love to hear him combine all three Joker themes. Ohhhh fuck yeah, do I wanna hear that. Screeching Hans Zimmer white noise of horrifying madness:




... giving way to a magnificent Elfman waltz...




... giving way to that whistling, happy, mischevious Walker theme (cue to 4:15)...





... and back again with little to no warning. Ohhh man, I gotta write to this guy and make a request.
thehefner: (Two-Face: TLJ "Fuuuuuuuuuck")
Note: I posted this at [livejournal.com profile] about_faces last Friday, but between the great response and the fact that at least half of you are MD-area locals who'd actually remember the subject in question, I figured this might be of some interest here.



When the Six Flags America opened in the Maryland town of Largo about ten years ago, seventeen-year-old me was the happiest fanboy in the world. Not because there was a mega-park within a half hour from my house (take THAT, two hour drive to Paramount's Kings Dominion!), but because they actually had Batman-themed rides.

No, better than that: they had a Two-Face roller coaster.





Can you imagine? Harvey! The biggest Batman villain no one cared about, getting his own ride! With his glorious visage right up there and everything! More than the coaster itself, I actually really liked the drawing (by Eduardo Baretto, from the looks of it?), which actually hung over the entrance for the ride itself.





But what actually made it Two-Face-themed was how riders would be suspended from harnesses to face one another as the coaster would take you through a series of loops to the end, then come back by going backwards.

Apparently it's hardly a radical gimmick, as even Wikipedia has dubbed the design "a standard Vekoma Invertigo roller coaster." Even at the time, I recall that many considered it one of the weaker coasters at Six Flags. But of course, it was my favorite (metal) coaster, and it seems there were other people championing it too.

Here's a video from one such fan of the Two-Face in action, set to music that almost certainly won't invoke memories of the worst version of the character to date!



Some of you may be curious about the video's title, which goes out of the way to celebrate the fact that it's "one of the safest coasters ever!!" With two exclamation points and everything! Why would someone put together what is essentially a propaganda piece for a roller coaster?

Well, because in a meta twist that I doubt many people actually realized, the Two-Face became synonymous with breakdowns, accidents, and failure after an accident that caused two people to go to the hospital, and twelve others to need medical attention.

No, wait, it gets better.

To quote Wikipedia, with added emphasis on my behalf: "On October 6, 2007, the ride malfunctioned causing the cars to become stuck on the lift. Once the train became dislodged, the hydraulic line was severed and hydraulic fluid was sprayed onto multiple riders. "

The Two-Face ride was shut down... due to an incident... in which people were sprayed with chemicals.

You can't make this shit up. Nor, for that matter, did anybody see anything whatever-is-the-better-word-than-just-misusing-"ironic" about the situation.

Of course, I imagine some of you are already preparing to point out how hydraulic fluid doesn't exactly count as "chemicals" per se, but don't be the screen door on my submarine, here. ;p

Now, the actual story from Fox 5 News used as source for the wikipedia article seems to be down, and this official-sounding account from Theme Park Insider sounds less Fox-sensationalistic, saying that the hydraulic fluid merely leaked rather than sprayed. But either way...

After that, the ride's reputation was stained beyond repair. Even today, people share stories about how dangerous the Two-Face was (or wasn't), with videos like the above still singing its praises, while YouTube commenters like "bonerboy4321" shares the following:

i herd that some 1 died in this ride in the 6 flags in maryland because it got stuck it was up side down and the some women died because of to mutch blood in the head and today the ride is hut down

So there you go.




Photo by "rablat5" on flickr.

"Two-Face: The Flip Side" was torn down at the end of the 2007 season, its parts supposedly purchased by a park in Brazil--around Sao Paulo, it seems--that wanted to maintain its anonymity. My guess is that they'd want to disguise anything Two-Face related (and thus special and awesome), making it just another "standard Vekoma Invertigo roller coaster," albeit one with a history of malfunctioning and chemical-spraying/leaking. No matter what, the Two-Face coaster is gone forever.

I'm not sure how I feel about this. On one hand, it was awesome to see Harvey get featured in such a big way, the character getting exposed to people in ways he never was before THE DARK KNIGHT came out. It was also a pretty fun ride, even though I almost threw up that on last time in 2004. So I'm sad to think that it's gone.

On the other hand, it's Harvey we're talking about here. Nothing good ever comes to him for long. In a way, it's extremely fitting that the short period of glory for his namesake roller coaster was cut short due to a breakdown and a chemical spill, injuring innocents in the process, and resulting in him being taken down entirely.

Even in amusement-park-ride form, It Sucks to be Harvey Dent.
thehefner: (Batman: Rogues)
At a strip mall in PA, at a store I won't name (it rhymes with Shmot Shmopic), while I was totally not listening to Lady Gaga on the store's awesome headphones, I saw a guy there who happened to have the Best Tattoos Ever.





He claimed to have the entire TAS Rogues Gallery on both his arms. You can see a bit of Penguin (in a cloud of money), plus I also saw Clayface, Scarecrow (the second version, who was in the most episodes), and a Mr. Freeze outline that had yet to be colored in.

If I hadn't been so shy, I'd have wanted to get shots of them all, but at least I got the one that was most important to me, as well as most of the Riddler, which is the second most important. Third would have been Hatter, and man, I hope he had Hatter. Man, why can't Comics!Hatter be more like TAS!Hatter? I blame Grant Morrison and ARKHAM ASYLUM: A SERIOUS HOUSE ON SERIOUS EARTH.

But really, this kid was only about nineteen. How much money did these cost him, and how much would he be paying to maintain them for the rest of his life? Either way, I salute his dedication, and also his taste. Anybody can get a Joker tattoo (probably the Heath Ledger version, as I'd expect from someone who hangs out at Shmot Smopic), but to get all the Rogues, especially in their TAS versions? That's cred, man.
thehefner: (Two-Face: O RLY YA RLY)
In the first Two-Face Tuesday post since Fresno three weeks ago, I've posted what I consider to be the definitive Harvey Dent story, my gold standard for everything related to this character up at [livejournal.com profile] about_faces.

I strongly resisted the urge to just post the whole damn thing here too. Besides being my favorite Two-Face comic, it's just plain one of my favorite comics period, Batman or otherwise. If you haven't read it, I urge you to check it out.

As a side note, I'm really pleased with the edit I did for the scanning. I cut out an entire subplot (which is honestly the weakest part of the whole story), and the result is even leaner and tighter than the actual issue.



In other (more general) comic news, Comics Alliance has a fascinating interview with Greg Rucka. Normally I hate interviews because they're all full of pabalum and bullshit, especially in an industry where everyone is so afraid to speak their minds or discuss comics critically in any way but to boost sales. Rucka's is a breath of fresh air on a number of front, from how he talks about Wonder Woman...

Diana – there are people who hate her. I mean, they just hate the concept of a Wonder Woman. They really do. You've seen – I don't even want to call it "fan-based art" – but I'm sure everybody's seen the various images out there. That speaks to something going on. Somebody is real scared of her. He's really afraid of her. And I don't know why. I don't understand where that comes from. So there's that. And people want to simplify her, so they go, she's Superman with tits. Well, no. She's not. It's a completely different background...

... to the ever-present problem of dwindling readership in comics and what should be done about it:

I'd put comics back in the spinner racks and 7-Elevens and grocery stores and Walmart. That's what's killing us. I was talking to Dan DiDio today -- the best-selling Marvel or DC book today is going to sell a quarter of a million. That's nothing, guys. That's nothing. If a TV show has a quarter of a million people watching it, it would not make it through the second episode. It might not even make it through it's first broadcast. I'm serious. I'm not joking.

Look at manga -- it has millions of readers. Europeans comics, in the millions. What the hell is going on in this country with our comics that we can't break out?


I'd sorta fallen out of love with Rucka's with stuff like OMAC PROJECT, but this interview--coupled with his recent work--has reminded me just how much of a loss it is that he's leaving DC for the foreseeable future. And not just because I want my Renee Montoya and Two-Face reunion/rematch, damn it!
thehefner: (Batman: Jervis)
THE WOLFMAN was terribly disappointing, particularly because I feel like I could just see all the good intentions scattered somewhere inside the horribly-edited mess of a film. Could a different cut salvage it? I'd love to think so, but I doubt it. Sigh. In fairness, the original WOLFMAN wasn't that great either, what with the stalker-tastic love story which could have easily been called--as Henchgirl quipped--THE WEREWOLF WALKED ON TIPPY-TOES. But still! Sigh.

That said, I'm still not sure if crushing disappointment is better than intense horrified loathing. Which brings us to my thoughts on ALICE IN WONDERLAND.

There are few words to describe just how much I loathed Burton's film (which he made, as I understand, without having ever read the actual books), and if I had the time/energy, I would rant about it wholeheartedly instead of doing this kind of cheap, unsupported drive-by complaint. But really, when it comes to a film that makes the Mad Hatter a badass revolutionary, tries (and utterly fails) to combine the Queen of Hearts and the Red Queen, and ends with a song by Avril Fucking Lavigne, what else do I really have to say? I mean, seriously.

That said, I want the soundtrack. The Hatter's dance music was the first time I've heard Danny Elfman write anything sounding like Oingo Boingo since even before Oingo Boingo broke up. Too bad it had to happen in the brain-meltingly-awful moment when the Hatter danced the Robot. I mean, seriously, do I really have to defend these points? Really? Whyyyyy???!?!

On the plus side, I now want to write my essay on why Batman's Mad Hatter, Jervis Tetch, is a woefully abused character who deserves more love.

Speaking of Bat-Rogues, I posted my first Two-Face Tuesday entry in two weeks, the first part of Harvey vs. the Robins, with a focus on the first appearance of Tim Drake. I'm kinda disappointed that it didn't get more attention at scans_daily, what with their adoration of the Robins and all, but hopefully that'll pick up with the next entry, focusing on Dick Grayson's ties to Harvey in PRODIGAL.
thehefner: (Two-Face: Judgement)
For those who've been enjoying my Two-Face Tuesday posts, the newest one is up now at [livejournal.com profile] about_faces. My very second entry. :)

Eventually, I'm gonna 'port over my previous TFT posts over there (the extended editions that have appeared here rather than my edited ones at scans_daily), just for posterity. I've also been doing tons of scanning for the next five or six weeks' worth of entries, since I'm gonna be on the road with Henchgirl from this Friday until the end of March. Entries in progress include selections from A LONELY PLACE OF DYING*, PRODIGAL, Morrison's ARKHAM ASYLUM, and more Ty Templeton goodness from the BTAS comics.

I'm gonna make it a point to still get those posted even while on the road. Yes, I really am that dedicated. This ongoing project has really been fun and fascinating for me, forcing me to really think about stories that I used to just dismiss. Today's installment is no different. I used to consider it one of my least favorite Harvey stories, but now... well, I can appreciate it for the potential it had, which is a lot more than I can say for many stories.

So yeah, if you dig my geeky Two-Face ramblings, be sure to friend (or at least lurk) [livejournal.com profile] about_faces. Bit by bit, the pieces fit, the Soviet Machine advances my geeky ambitions start coming together.




*Including the very first Batman comic I ever read, which had Harvey and Batman right there, front and center
thehefner: (Batman: Riddler)
"Riddle me this! What's Harvey Dent's favorite day of the year?"


The answer behind the cut )

This does nothing to help my worries in yesterday's post about the only two things I seem to post about anymore. But seriously, I am the luckiest damn geekboy ever.
thehefner: (Two-Face: ... FOREVER!!!)
The Two-Face of B:TAS is easily one of the finest depictions of the character. It stayed true to the spirit of the character even while the origin was notably altered* in both the physical and psychological causes for Harvey's transformation.

The psychological explanation for Harvey's dark side--dubbed "Big Bad Harv," and after all these years, I still don't know if I find that silly or not--is it's the result from years of Harvey's suppressed rage, stemming from his guilt at attacking a bully.

As far as psychological motivations go, it's rather specious. I mean, really, one moment like that doesn't create Two-Face. But it was written for kids who were likely familiar with the pain of bullies, and hey, ongoing child abuse isn't exactly the stuff of afternoon cartoons.

But then we have the comics based on B:TAS, which weren't afraid to introduce darker themes. As such, leave it to the great Ty Templeton (an underrated master; dig this awesome interview with Ty conducted by our own [livejournal.com profile] zegas) to delve a bit deeper past the "bully" theory, and introduce a twist on the regular DCU origin:





A Dent family reunion behind the cut )


Finally, a request: does anybody have scans of the BATMAN newspaper comic strips that ran from 1989-1991? I'm very interested to read the Two-Face story, naturally, but also the Mad Hatter one. They're damn hard to find! Apparently, they ran in COMICS REVUE, but I can't find what issues.



*I have to wonder if the network censors at FOX had a hand in this, or they were both creative choices on the part of Dini/Timm et al. Check out check out this Bruce Timm drawing of all the things the censors wouldn't allow. See how many you can find!
thehefner: (Kids in the Hall: Tea Bag)
Good grief, I feel like this LJ is starting to becoming nothing but Henchgirl and Two-Face. I mean, understandably so, but still! I feel like I'm falling behind when it comes to posting for you, my diverse audience of nerds, geeks, and assorted weirdos.

Well, for those of you who don't care about Two-Face and glaze over any entry that mentions him, don't worry. I've spent this evening finally setting up my all-things-Harvey LJ [livejournal.com profile] about_faces*. Don't bother looking, there's nothing to see just yet. I need to come up with a decent layout, for one thing. That coin image is just a placeholder, soon to be replaced with something more interesting. I also needs to write a snazzy intro post before I start converting all my Two-Face Tuesday posts, among other things.

But feel free to friend me in the meantime, if you're at all interested. Soon, I'm gonna do my best to keep the major Two-Face news, rants, and geekery over there, as well as scans_daily. For now, though, expect at least one more extended edition of Two-Face Tuesday over here tomorrow.

Man, having a life really gets in the way of internetting, doesn't it?




*Looking at it, I have to wonder if there's any way to customize my screename guy to look like Two-Face. I've seen variations on the guy having a Santa hat on, for example. It's the little things, really.
thehefner: (Two-Face: ... FOREVER!!!)
Last week's post on Harvey's sides(s) in NIGHTWING: THE GREAT LEAP provoked some absolutely awesome discussion over at scans_daily (as well as on this very LJ), which was so great to see after all the work I put into that'un. I realize that most of these posts are catering to a specific niche, and will usually just get a handful of comments.

But hey, I love the character. And besides, when it comes to being the best damn comics-discussion community in the world... well, what can I say? I believe in [livejournal.com profile] scans_daily (and, of course, all you fine minions--is that better, [livejournal.com profile] lillbet--here on my flist).

That said, this week's entry is gonna be much lazier. No essays or opinion pieces, just a two-fisted double-feature of Harvey-centric short stories, both of which s_d old-timers will remember from the original community. In the first one, Harvey and his old buddy Commissioner "Jimbo" Gordon briefly reunite to track down none other than "Boss" Moroni himself (still alive in this story, natch).





In the second, Harvey fights a werewolf in Arkham. Because sure, why the hell not?





Unusual Two-Face pairings behind the cut! )


Finally, it seems only fitting to end this post with a preview of my upcoming entry on having finally seen Richard O'Brien's SHOCK TREATMENT, which I watched with Henchgirl. I find it hilarious to note that when this song happened, Henchgirl asked, "Do you know who this reminds me of?" And here I thought it was just me, the obsessed fanboy imposing his own fannishness into something that's not really there.





Why no, I didn't listen to this song (along with the rest of the SHOCK TREATMENT) soundtrack obsessively over my thirteen-hour drive back from Tuscaloosa. And I certainly didn't celebrate my memorization of "Duet Duel" by singing it as both Harvey and Two-Face. Heavens, no. *cough*
thehefner: (Me: White Background)
Once again, I return from Tuscaloosa, sadly minus a Henchgirl and with a week's worth of internet to catch up on. We'll be reunited just before Valentine's Day, after which we'll hit the road to Fresno, CA, for the Rogue Theatre Festival, my first HEFNER MONOLOGUES performance of 2010.

Until then, I have much to do, including working on my 45-minute reedit of the MONOLOGUES, writing THE ROAD TO NOWHERE, working on my epic revisions for the Harvey Dent novel,* and trying not to get too distracted playing SUPER MARIO BROTHERS WII (god damn you, Ridgaway). All of this, I hope to work upon at the house in Rehoboth Beach over the next week.

And until then, I mean to catch up on LiveJournaling, as I feel like I've neglected you, my lovely peons. I've spent entirely too much time having an actual life with a girlfriend in the real world, and the internet has suffered. Well, fret no more: I'm alone once again, and ready to return to smelly unshaven hermitdom. Rejoice! Oh god, so lonely...

But until ANY of that... this smelly, unshaven boy needs sleep. So I shall leave you with an image of something that made me squeal like a little girl in the middle of a Tennessee Wal-Mart, between our toy-aisle lightsaber duels:





He. Is. ADORABLE. Never before has homicidal sociopathic angst ever looked so happy.




*It's amazing what being in a real relationship can do for giving new insight and life to writing a couple like Harvey and Gilda. Honestly, the way this book is now shaping up, I feel like it almost could actually be called HARVEY AND GILDA.
thehefner: (Two-Face: ... FOREVER!!!)
NIGHTWING: THE GREAT LEAP is beloved story by pretty much everyone. And I can understand why, if you're a Nightwing fan. Me, I like Grayson all right, but obviously, my focus on THE GREAT LEAP was Two-Face and only Two-Face. And appropriately enough, I am very torn on how Tomasi used Harvey in this story.

This was Harvey's first major appearance since he was so clumsily rescarred and recrazied in FACE THE FACE, which was itself his first major in-canon appearance since HUSH four years earlier (I sure as hell ignore the beautifully-drawn crapfest that was BATMAN: JEKYLL AND HYDE). His appearance in NIGHTWING served as a tie-in to THE DARK KNIGHT, and aspects of the Aaron Eckhart Two-Face are used throughout THE GREAT LEAP.

And for the most part, it's a pretty excellent take on Two-Face. At several points, it's one of the most refreshing and exciting depictions of Harvey Dent. So why would I have any problem with THE GREAT LEAP, if it's a generally-solid tale?

To answer the question, I present my edit of this story, focusing almost entirely on Harvey's arc, with pretty much all of the Nightwing stuff cut out. The original story as presented is Nightwing vs. Harvey "Crazypants" Dent. But that's not how I read the story. To me, it was "Harvey Dent vs. Harvey Dent (with Nightwing and a Rachel Dawes substitute in the mix.)"

Ultimately, it's a matter of perspective.






That's really the question, isn't it? What do YOU see? )

Honestly, if I'd call bullshit on anything, it'd be the retconned inclusion of Carol into Harvey's past, and the emotional affair they had. Hell no. Vow or not, I reject the thought that Harvey loved anyone more than Gilda, his sole lifeline relationship to humanity.

So for me, I see no more fitting note to end on than a reminder of that love, which I (relevantly enough!) commissioned from Rags Morales at New York Comic Con last February:





Now that's the only person who can break up the one-man OTP that is Harvey Dent.
thehefner: (Two-Face: ... FOREVER!!!)
So I neglected to repost my Two-Face Tuesday entry for last week, which is the modern reinvention of the Paul Sloane character. I'm rather proud of that one, so if you want, please do check it out over here at scans_daily in two parts: Part One and Part Two. Sometime, I plan to use them as the basis for a whole separate rant, but there they are for now.



For this week, I'm included an expanded version of my scans_daily post for you, my dear sugarplums.

Three weeks ago (with my "JLA teams up with Two-Face... wait what?!" post), [livejournal.com profile] lamashtar asked if I was going to post this particular issue, or if it was "too schmaltzy." To be honest, I wasn't sure (of either)!

Who here has read the Hal Jordan SPECTRE series (which ran 27 issues from 2001 to 2003)? I'm genuinely curious as to what anybody made of it. Personally, it was one of the more frustrating reading experiences I've ever had.

Issue #5--the topic of this week's post--is no exception, namely because it features the unlikely meeting of my two all-time favorite characters. And the results are... well... I'm still not really sure even now.





Here's the thing: when I was a teen, I loved Hal Jordan. Not as Green Lantern (although that would come later), but rather as Parallax. Considering that Two-Face is my number one favorite, I loved the idea of a fallen hero striving for redemption and justice but always screwing it up by being so darn crazy. I wanted him to actually grow as a character, to be redeemed, even exonerated. Then they killed him off in a "heroic" manner to pay lip service to his fans, then get him out of the way so that Kyle could be a special little pumpkin.

So I was very excited by the prospect of Hal!Spectre. The character would finally get some development and redemption, and be a hero again! And it would be written by the great J.M. DeMatteis! Even better!

But the actual series was... well, I'm still not quite sure what it was. For one thing, Hal just doesn't work in this kind of context. But mainly... look, I'm an agnostic who loves the stories of religion but has no personal grasp on concepts like souls and karma beyond a layman's utilitarian knowledge. And reading THE SPECTRE, I felt bogged down in all the metaphysical wankery DeMatteis was packing into every issue. Just like with so much philosophy, I responded with a mixture of "so what?" and "SO BORED."

This was made especially frustrating when my two favorite characters actually met in the pages of THE SPECTRE #5. Surely, such an unlikely pairing-off was possible only in my fanboy imagination! At least, that was before Hal became the Spectre.


Crazy murderous ex-heroes, the question of redemption, alien ghost cop spirit guides, and metaphysical theological jibba-jabba behind the cut! )


Okay. So what do you make of this? Me, I just can't make heads or... I mean, I still don't know.

Like, the actual metaphysical stuff about karma meant absolutely nothing to me, but just flew right over my head. It all seemed so maddeningly vague: what old debts? We don't even know why poor Harvey has to suffer through this? What debts does he have to pay? How could he possibly have chosen this from a spiritual standpoint?

It was all so frustratingly unsatisfying. I suspect this could have been interesting if DeMatteis had paced it out over two or more parts, really explored what it meant for the sides to be separated like that.

If "good" Harvey (note the quotation marks) is still capable of violence, what would "big bad Harv" be capable of doing if he were unleashed? Really, it could be the Gotham version of Italo Calvino's THE CLOVEN VISCOUNT, wherein a man is split into his good and evil sides, both of whom are themselves capable of good and evil acts.

(forgive for the snobby literature reference; once I heard about the story in Mazzucchelli's brilliant graphic novel, ASTERIOS POLYP, I felt it was perfect for Harvey insight)

But no. Ultimately, this story feels too rushed, with only one insight to offer: "No, really: It Sucks to be Harvey Dent."

All that said, between this and their meeting in that JLA story, I'm in agreement with [livejournal.com profile] nymphgalatea when she expressed a wish for a proper Hal/Harvey teamup. Because, she said, "Hal is so very pragmatic, and has no patience for the crazy, and Harvey would take a deep and abiding delight in fucking with his head."

Seriously, I would pay good money to see J. Michael Straczynski write this as an issue of THE BRAVE AND THE BOLD, considering how he wrote Two-Face in the TEEN TITANS story and Hal in the most recent issue of TB&TB (with Dr. Fate).
thehefner: (Batman: Rogues)
Few things bug me quite like missed opportunities. Stories that could have been brilliant, but due to a flaw or two, are rendered merely mediocre.

Ever read a story you wish you could rewrite? A story with awesome potential that's undone by fatal flaws? I have a couple. GANGS OF NEW YORK, for example, should have been purely about the struggle between Bill (Daniel Day-Lewis) and Priest (Liam Neeson), who was far more interesting in five minutes than DiCaprio and Diaz were the whole film.

But have you ever read a story that could have been vastly improved if they used a different character?

Here's what I mean. Take Matt Wagner's BATMAN: FACES for example:





In this story, a strangely theatrical and purple-prosed Two-Face kills off plastic surgeons, gets together a gang of circus freaks, and steals a blimp to take them all to a private island where disfigured people can have their own utopia.

Yeah. Doesn't really sound like the sort of thing Harvey would pull, does it? But imagine if Wagner used this guy instead:




Holy hell, not only would that have fit so much better, but it could have given poor Ozzie Cobblepot a much-needed awesome story! Because the Penguin is one of the most iconic Batman villains, and yet nobody seems to know what to do with him! Name me a brilliant Penguin story. It's hard, isn't it? That's not because he's a bad character by any stretch, as many fools mistakenly think.

The problem is, no one seems to write him consistently. Too many make him an ugly thug, a crass, nasty little wannabe Kingpin, when at best, the Penguin should be a master manipulator, a grandly theatrical criminal, capable of incredible cruelty but never losing his impeccable dapperness. But underneath it all is a deeply insecure little man who still burns with rage at the "slings and arrows of outrageous youth," one who would dearly love to strike back at the "beauty merchants" (as Two-Face called the in FACES) and create a place of peace for people like him.

Because Harvey's insecurity and vanity doesn't run nearly so deep as the Penguin's. And what a tragedy it would be for poor Ozzie, to say those climactic last lines to one of the disfigured men: "You cannot have a normal life! You're a freak! A freak!!!"

And how cutting it would be for him to simply hear, "But I am not a monster."

See? Would've been brilliant. But no, instead you have a story that wastes both Two-Face in a misused role and deprives the Penguin from an unusually fine story. Sigh.
thehefner: (Two-Face: ... FOREVER!!!)
So this was to be a post about the "Hal Jordan tries to fix Harvey Dent" issue of THE SPECTRE, but that's gonna require a lot more essay writing than is possible right now. I'm gonna actually have to bring in a special guest commentator (i.e. my loyal Henchgirl) to parse out that particularly frustrating story.

So instead, let's tie in the new and old years with this Two-Face Tuesday two-parter on a guy named Paul Sloane... AKA Two-Face.

"A-bwUUUHHH?!?!?!" I hear you gasp?

Actually, Sloane is one of five different Golden Age iterations of Two-Face. [livejournal.com profile] superfan1 was kind enough to post the original Paul Sloane story at my request a couple weeks back, along with another non-Harvey-Dent Two-Face. But Sloane is notable in that he's the only other Two-Face to actually return to modern continuity!





In Part 1, I present excerpts DETECTIVE #580 an #581, by Mike W. Barr (who writes one of the corniest Two-Faces ever, full of terrible, smackable puns) with art by Jim Baikie.


The return of Paul Sloane: the OTHER Two-Face )

The idea of a new Two-Face is an intriguing prospect that should have been utilized while Harvey was "healed" in the years between HUSH and FACE THE FACE. A new Two-Face shouldn't be a carbon copy of the original, but should rather be used to explore themes of duality, fate, and justice in ways that Harvey Dent can't (or shouldn't), while Harvey himself could have gone on to have much more interesting character development as a wild card antihero. Not just for Harvey, but for Sloane as well, as you'll see soon enough.

Next week, Part 2: the great Ed Brubaker re-imagines Paul Sloane in 2003, published in a story that nobody noticed because everyone was reading HUSH instead.
thehefner: (Default)
Got it just under the wire! For North America, anyway! Nya-ha!


Y'know, back when I was but a wee fanboy, I actually used to wonder if there was any feasible way the JLA could go up against Two-Face. It seems far-fetched to say the least, but I suppose the Joker's done it several times. So imagine my delight when, a couple months ago, I discovered this story existed!





In this two-part JLA story from 1975, our favorite bisected anti-villain teams up with the JLA to save the world from aliens inhabiting statues of Julius Caesar, Ben Franklin, and Napoleon! No, really.


God, I love the Silver Age )

Some of the most interesting superhero stories occur when characters are taken out of their usual circles. Like, Ra's al Ghul being revealed as the big bad guy in a LEGION OF SUPERHEROES story! Or EMPEROR JOKER! It's a simple, engaging, and underused trope of comics. They're the kind of stories that require a bit of imagination and originality on the writer's part, which is probably why they're not done that often.

Me, I'd love to see more of characters like Two-Face being used outside of Gotham, pitted against characters who aren't part of the Bat-Family. We already got a taste of the possibilities between this and the TEEN TITANS SPOTLIGHT issue where he faced off against Cyborg. For one thing, I'm hoping that JMS actually does the Two-Face/Hawk&Dove issue of THE BRAVE AND THE BOLD that he talked about back in May 2008. That'd be a great start.
thehefner: (Two-Face: O RLY YA RLY)
EDIT: huge props to [livejournal.com profile] kmousie for the poifect icon!



I keep putting off getting this, even though the price has steadily gone down over the past couple months. Maybe I should resist until it's at least half off, hurr hurr hurr.

Of course, now look what's coming out from DC Direct next year: the ultimate pointless expense for Heffie )

I saw this a few months ago, but dismissed it for two (HURR) reasons. First, I'm prejudiced against green scarring, it just looks silly. And second, it's three hundred fucking dollars. The most I ever paid for a piece of comic memorabilia was my Green Lantern Power Battery ten years ago, which was $250 (my employee discount at the comic shop helped). So I didn't actually go "WANT" when I first saw it.

But today, I checked out the amazon.com page, where it allowed you to zoom in for a high-def look at the details. Wow, the scarring is wonderfully done. I mean, if I had it my way, I would have preferred reddish-pink-black scarring, or even purple, rather than campy comics-green, but based on other images, it's less neon-pronounced as it is above. It works, really. Looks almost gangrenous. Most importantly, it's not a clean division, but rather has gradation like real acid scarring would have.

Plus, while I dislike the split suit, it's actually quite tasteful here, rather than half a used-car salesman, which is Harvey's poor preference most of the time. I'm gonna say it yet again: if I had my way, the only thing split on Harvey's costume would be his tie. Everything else would be a suit and maybe trenchcoat, with subtle plays on symmetry and asymmetry throughout. The idea is to take the emphasis away from the body and bring it right on the face where it belongs. He looks normal and average everywhere else, which makes the scars all the more jarring.

... Why yes, I really do give these things too much thought, why do you ask?

What's really impressive is how his pose actually gives him a decidedly different expression depending on which way you look at it:

Arrooo? )

I just want an "O RLY?"-"YA RLY" icon of those (going back and forth between close-ups of the faces). I wish I had the ability to make animated icons (or even good static icons).* But not as much as I wish I could afford to blow three hundred smackers on something as awesomely useless as this. Shit, who does?

Maybe if I wait long enough, it'll go down to two hundred, which would give me enough flimsy justification to finally buy the damn thing.




*damn, I need photoshop
thehefner: (Two-Face: House of Cards)
I can actually find someone to have an epic discussion about adapting THE BROTHERS KARAMAZOV with Batman characters, starting with the Robins onward.

I originally came up with the idea for THE BROTHERS ROBIN with [livejournal.com profile] surrealname back in college, even though he'd never actually read the book. Since then, I've been dying to find a Bat-fan who has! I just thank god I don't have the energy to actually write the fanfic, because let me tell you, it's now more tempting than ever!

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