Wednesday, September 30, 2009

If I Ran the Zoo 1; More on the Web

If you've ever read a comic book blog, every one has a column on characters they don't like and want to get rid of. Well, I've decided to do something different. I would like to discuss how the lame characters can be improved.
So this brings me to the recent revamp of Archie hero, the Web. As it turns out, I like the revamp more than I though I would. Unfortunately, I got the idea for this before I read the comic so you're all going to read about it.
My take on the character is an expansion of his 1960s status quo. Basically, the Web was a henpecked husband who would go out and fight crime despite the protestations of his nagging wife.
This premise could easily be updated for the twenty-first century. Here's my idea. The Web is really John Raymond, who spent a brief career as a super-hero in his youth. He was never any thing more than a C-lister, fighting crimes with his fists and getting beaten up more often then not. As he grew up, he settled down, got a real job, and married the love of his life.
It was all downhill from there. As the years went by, John and his wife, Rose, began to drift apart. Their marriage has become monotonous. The romance is gone and they constantly fight with one another. One night, John storms out after a particularly bad argument and, to vent some steam, he puta on his old costume one last time. This time, though, John stumbles on to the headquarters of an actual super villain and, through sheer luck, beats him. Now John has possession of the villain's relatively advanced technology and, after that big fight, it would be a shame to let it go to waste. The more his John Raymond's marriage worsens, the more the Web shows up to fight crime. Worse, his wife has developed a fixation on his alter ego.
And that's when things start getting complicated.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Super Short Review: The Web Issue 1

So, I started reading the Web, DC's new revival of the Archie hero. I have to say it's incredibly generic. The story continues on from the J. Michael Stransinski penned one shot that re-introduced the character. Unfortunately, it has lost the touches that made the revamped character interesting.
The JMS one-shot was about a celebrity obsessed super hero who screws up and gets his brother killed. At the end, the Web had decided to make the effort to become a real hero despite the fact that he is not a very good person. The idea is that he is not quite a hero but he's working at it. In addition, he has a unique viral marketing approach to fighting crime; he advertises his services on the Internet and, according to the writers, will be franchising out his super-hero identity to other people.
Unfortunately, none of this comes through in the first issue. Indeed, the Web spend most of the issue searching for his brother's killer. While this is an important plot arc, it dominates the issues to the point of squeezing out any of the character's more interesting facets. In the end, the Web comes off as less of his own character and more like an imprudently dressed Batman.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Tom Wait's Thursday: Good Day

I've had a good day so here's some (relatively) upbeat Tom Waits.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Marvel's New Legal Troubles

I've been hearing a lot in the news about Marvel's legal trouble with the Kirby estate. I'm also hearing a lot of comparison to the current lawsuit over the rights to Superman.
However, in this situation, Marvel doesn't have as much to lose as DC does. The Seagal and Schuster heirs could, if they win, take Superman over to another company. This doesn't hold for Marvel Comics.
This is primarily because the Kirby estate has a higher burden of proof then the Seagal and Schuster heirs do. In order to fully regain the copyright to the Marvel characters, the Kirby estate must prove their contention that Stan Lee had nothing to do with the development of these characters.
If they can't do this, and I'm aware of no evidence to back up their claim, Stan Lee still has a copyright interest in the characters. At lest, he did until he waived those rights to Marvel. My guess is that the Kirby estate will have to share ownership of the characters with Marvel Comics. Hell, they can only lay claim to one-third of the Spider-Man copyrights.
So, comic book fans likely don't have to worry at their fictional universe being torn apart. For the moment, we should sit back, relax, and enjoy our funny books.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Tom Wait's Thursday: God's Away on Business

Tom Wait's foray into gospel music:

Can't you just feel his love for all mankind?

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Misplaced Agression

I'm wondering if comic book nerds (heck, nerds of any kind) are actually as bad as people say we are. If no one's heard about the recent Spider-Man storyline, Sprider-Man's old enemy, the Chameleon, disguised himself as Peter Parker. When he did that, he then proceeded to seduce and (allegedly) sleep with Spider-Man's roommate, Michelle Gonzales.
This controversial scene immediately set the internet ablaze . The fan community insisted that this scene constituted rape as Michelle was tricked into believing that she was sleeping with Peter. The writer and editorial disagreed, pointing out that the Chameleon did not force Michelle to sleep with him. I will not comment on who was right because, at the moment, I am not entirely sure on which side I fall.
What does matter is some of the horrible invective I saw from the fan community. They disparaged and made horrible personal attacks on the editorial and editorial. Entirely for writing about a fictional character.
I don't care what you think about Marvel's editorial decision regarding the Spider-Man franchise. I've read forum discussions where fans fans (in particular, some jerk calling himself Box_in_the_Box) saying that the writer, Fred van Lente, deserves to be , and I quote, "sodomized with a tree." No one who posts on that forum called him out on this.
The logic is baffling. What Box_in_the_Box is saying, and the people who did not call him ou on this are implicitly agreeing with, is "The writer disagreed with my interpretation of his story.. Therefore, he deserves to be brutalized in a horrifying degrading fashion in real life."
That's a horrible thing to say about another human being in any circumstance. There's a difference between a storyline direction you don't like and wishing ill on another human being. Would it kill comic book fans to actually have some perspective?

Monday, September 14, 2009

Ah! Nostalgia

I was wandering through TV Tropes today when I saw a reference to So Weird!, a TV show I was fond of in my youth. It was a pretty good show that built a compelling mythology that involved the main character's father, evil supernatural forces, and aliens. Everything was hinting that the main character was going to have final battle with forces of evil. It was pretty dark stuff for a children's show.
--And the in the third season, the main character was written out and all of her subplots dropped to be replaced by the adventures of a more conventionally attractive actress and her magic panther. It is heartening to know that i am not the only person annoyed by this.
I really, really hated that panther.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Video Game Review Review

So it turns out it was bad idea to put David Lynch in charge of the Funky Winkerbean video game---

Seriously, this video game is called Mondo Medicals. Since there is no way in Hell that I am actually goning to play this game, I have linked to Madame Luna's playthrough.
This seems to be a game eniriely based on hurting the user as much as possible. The game developer, "Cactus", is Sweedish so there is a chance the grammatical errors in the game are an accident. This is, however, unlikely.
The object of the game is to solve the various puzzels on each level for the reward with having a man with a television for a head shout at you about cancer. Sorory, I mean cancers. What's more is that the game can not actually be won. After completing all the levels, you get to have a battle with TV-head man. This battle consits of him pulling out a gun and shooting you, which leads to a game over. There is aboslutely nothing you can do to stop him in any way shape or form.
Amazingly enough,they made a sequal to this game called Mondo Agents. It is not unwinable like Mondo Medicals. However, while Mondo Medicals has it's own warped story logic, Mondo Agents actually makes no sense at all. I will not post any links to Mondo Agents because the game is actually a health hazard with its flashing red villains. Quite frankly I don't need to be sued for causing a seizure.
Intrigued by all this, I did a bit more research into Cactus's work. Their only game I found information on is called Clean Asia! The premise of that game is that everyone's eyeballs go rougue and try to take over the world. And after that little bombshell, there isn't really much more I can say about that.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Short Review: Don MacGregor's Sabre

So, I found a copy of Don Mac Gregor's independent comic Sabre at my local library. If my memory serves me right, it was a fairly popular independent comic in it's time. The comic is set in the future and chronicles the adventures of resistance fighter, Saber, as he batlles the standard evil dystopian government.
There are two things that are interesting about the series. One, it has art by Paul Gulacey better known to me as the guy who draws everyone with really long faces . I had no idea that he had been in the industry this long. In fact, I had no idea he did anything before last year's True Believers series for Marvel. The art in Sabre, may be less technically polished than his later work but at least the quirks of his particular are muted. (NOTE: This is not say Gulacy's work is bad. It is quite good but the way he draw's faces can be distracting.)
The second thing is the copious nudity-- I mean the dialogue. Yeah! The dialogue! The problem with Sabre is that the characters tend to give long-winded speeches. Every time someone opens their mouth, they say everything they are thinking. Motivation is not revealed through subtle storytelling techniques but by characters out right telling us.
This , by the way, is an indicator of the best way to read Sabre. Simply imagine William Shatner voicing every single character. Trust me! The comic is much more fun that way.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Sorry I've Been Away

I haven't updated at all this week. Sorry about that. Tomorrow I'll have something more substantial but for now, here's some Tom Waits singing Bertoldt Breckt.

Friday, September 4, 2009

More on Fletcher Hanks

So after reading more Flatcher Hanks, I've realised that one of his characters get's short shrift. Although Hanks is more famous for the twisted adventures of Stardust the Super-Wizard, it's his jungle heroine, Fantomah, who is far more disturbing.
Both Fantomah and Stardust's adventures follow the same pattern. The villain does something evil and the hero doles out a sadistic punishment. The difference is that Stardust actualy tries to rescue people. His villains usually rack up a high body-count but this is justified because Stardust doesn't live on Earth and takes a while getting here. On the other hand, Fantomah, who can best be described as Ghost Rider in drag, tends to stand around and watch the villain's commit their crimes. She shows up and warns them not to commit their horrible crimes but she never actually stops them. Yes, I know the bad guys get what they deserve in the end, but the time for action was before they started using biological weapons! (Especailly when said weapon is called a GREEN DEATH INJECTOR!)
I mean, the villains are actualy are offten more likable than Fantomah. In one story, she turns a pair of criminals into what can be best be described as celery people with no apparent genitals. Their reaction to the horrifying loss of their humanity is as follows---
CROOK 1: Crime sure doesn't seem to pay.
CROOK 2: You're right!
If thats not good sportsmanship, I don't know what is.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

I Don't Know About the Marvel/Disney Merger---

But if he's against it, I'm all for it.

Video courtesy of Rich Johnston's Bleeding Cool

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

TV Disasters

I just watch the new Spike TV show "Surviving Disaster." I just want to say that I find it hilarious that a show thats supposed to teach people how to survive high-stress situations comes with a disclaimer that says "We are not responsible if using any of these techniques lead to your horrible demise."