Sunday, October 31, 2010

In Honor of Halloween

This is probably Alice Cooper's creepiest song. I recommend ignoring the video and just listening to the lyrics. Its much more unsettling that way.


Monday, October 4, 2010

Monday, September 20, 2010

Champions' Syndrome

Once in a while, a comic book company gets an idea. Say you have two beloved writers who have a large fan base but who aren't big enough stars to carry a series on the strength of their names alone. Suppose you have several characters who suffer from much the same problem.

What's an editor to do? How about putting the writers on a book which stars all of these characters and hope that the combined fan bases are enough to float a book.

Thus, we get thing like Marvel Comic's new Heroes for Hire title and I have to say I have my doubts about the whole thing.

For one thing, the writers in question, Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning, are begin asked to write outside their area of expertise. This writing team has been primarily known for more science fiction oriented comic like Legion of Superheroes and the Guardians of the Galaxy. A earth-bound comic featuring grim-and-gritty mercenary street level characters seems a little bit out of their wheel house.

The second problem is that there is no logical reason for the characters in the series (Elektra, Iron Fist, the Punisher, Ghost Rider, and Moon Knight) to work together. Iron Fist, for example has always been more of a traditional super-hero, so why put him on a team with characters known for being amoral murderers ie the Punisher.

Furthermore, Ghost Rider and the Punisher are not really what spring to mind when one thinks of "Heroes for Hire." Sure, the Punisher was introduced as a mercenary but that angle was dropped pretty quickly after he first appeared. Since then his sole motivation has been an unceasing war on crime. Similarly, the Ghost Rider is magically compelled to avenge the innocent and fight supernatural evil. As a result, he is compelled to move from place to place, a trait which doesn't really itself to holding down a job. Furthermore, neither of them would with Elektra, a character who has no compunction killing innocent people.

This whole exercise reminds me of the short-lived Marvel series the Champions. An attempt to do something with a group of characters who didn't have their own books, the Champions was a comercial failure. It starred two original X-Men, two b-list Avengers and, oddly enough, the Ghost Rider, with no real reason for any of the character's to work together other than editorial fiat.

It's a shame. I like the characters in Heroes for Hire and Abnett and Lannning are superb writers. I really hope that this book succeeds but I'm not optimistic. Who knows though? Maybe, the second time will be the charm.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Still on Video Mode

So have a mildly amusing Star Trek novelty song.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

I'm Exhausted Right Now--

So in lieu of actual content have some needlessly creepy music videos.

From the banned episodes of the Muppet Show--


As a bonus, something so horrifying that once it is seen it can never be unseen--

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

The World's least Subtle Villain

This guy makes a Batman villain look like a model of restraint.





How do people not notice this guy having a musical number in the middle of Central Park?

Monday, August 23, 2010

A Comic Book Blogger's Code of Conduct

One of the things I hate about comics blogging is that, nine times out of ten, it winds up being uninformed and needlessly angry. On this principle, I submit the following for consideration.

1) Uninformed yelling does not constitute a critical opinion. You need to state why you don't like something rather then dropping the f-bomb in all caps as often as humanly possible.

2) Learn some syntax. Typos are OK and unavoidable but, please, phrase the sentence coherently.

3) Don't be jerks to the creators. Their giving up valuable time to come onto the Internet Nothing requires them to do so. Please, don't be a jerk.

Feel free to add onto this at your lesure.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

These Are Some Writers We Like

In no particular order, a list of some of my favorite authors-

Michael Moorcock- A small caveat about Mr. Moorcock. I have only read one short story written by the man. This should tell you how I feel about his writing. Moorcock is a unique wirter in that his writing is literally about Joseph Cambell's Hero of 1'000 Faces. All of Moorcock's heroes are diferent incarnations of the same character who exists across diferent realities. Its like a really twisted version of Doctor Who.

Stephen King: Not only did he right the first adult horror novel I ever read, he also created his own multiverse out of pop-culture ephemera. His Dark Tower epic totaled eight books and was based on not only on a medeival poem but also a Deep Purple song. Now that is impressive.

Peter David: Quite simply one of the funniest writers in comic today. A Peter David story might not have a lot of flash to it but it is sure fun to read. A good Peter David comic is a solid work of super-hero fiction in a world which sadly underates such things.

Harlan Ellison: Ellison is a contreversial figure in science-fiction. Certainly, much of his early work come off with a mysogynist vibe. That doesn't matter so much because is an incredibly talented writer with one of the most extensive vocbularies in science-fiction.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Friday, July 30, 2010

Kick-Ass Review part 4

So the Kick-Ass DVD came out which means that it's time for me too finish my review. I've had more time to think and I've come to a conclusion. I like the movie better then I do the comic book.
You see, the comic book and movie take very different approached to the super-hero paradigm. The main point of the comic book seems to be that super-heroes are OK in fiction but if people suddenly started running around in costumes in the real world, it would have a deleterious effect on society. The movies attitude is more "Whoa! Superheroes! Awesome!"
This reduces a lot of the comics complexity but the result is that the characters in the film are much more likable.
For example, in the original comic, Kick-Ass is an unambiguous loser. A nerd whose crush on the girl of his dreams borders on the stalkerish, he goes out and fights crime largely as a cry for help. His motivation is primarily described as a combination of "loneliness and despair." Tellingly the movie changes this to "naivety and optimism." Unlike his comic book-counterpart, the film's Kick-Ass is genuinely motivated by a desire to help people.
Similarly, the movie's other super-heroes, Big Daddy and, his daughter, Hit-Girl are completely different. In the film, they are an ex-cop out to avenge the death of his wife and his homicidal twelve-year old daughter. In the comics, however, Big Daddy is actually a disgruntled accountant who has kidnapped his daughter and molded her into a killing machine in an effort to live out his super-hero fantasies. Changing Big Daddy into a competent hero doesn't enhance the movie but, in the end, it doesn't detract from it either. The character serves the same narrative function in the plot either way.
This function is, of course, giving the hero a reason to go up against the main villains, the Genovese crime family, and burgeoning super-villain, Red Mist. In the comic and film, Kick-Ass is inadvertently drawn into Big Daddy's war on crime, specifically the Genovese family. Indeed, it is the teenage mobster, John Genovese, who puts on a costume and poses as the super-hero, Red Mist, in order to lure the other's into a trap.
The intresting thing is that the Red Mist, is actually rendered more complex by his portrayal in the movie. In the original comic, he is an out-and-out bad guy who kills without any display of conscience. In the film however, he is a burgeoning nerd, desperate to impress his father and befriending Kick-Ass despite his better judgement. Indeed, at one point, he actually tries to get his father to spare the fallen hero. This adds an especially bitter twist to the relationship especially given that in the end, Kick-Ass ends up killing the Red Mist's father, setting up an arch enemy relationship between the two. After all, as Superman knows, there is no worse enemy than one that was once your freind.
All in all, the movie is the superior work for one reason. It give us characters we care about. In the comics, all of the characters are somewhat nasty. Even the heroes are terrible human beings. There, the action sequences serve to distract us from the fact that we don't have any empathy for the characters. In the film, we want the good guys to win and even feel a bit of sympathy for the bad guys. That, in my mind, gives the movie the edge.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Friday, July 16, 2010

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Move Over, Chuck Norris---

There's a new TOUGHEST MAN IN THE WORLD!!! I mean sure, Chuck, you were good for a laugh or two but you just don't have it any more. We need someone new to be the epitome of manliness so I would like to present my candidate---


--- Izaiah Mustafa, the Old Spice Guy. I mean, just that sketch alone is worthy of it's own elaborate hevy metal ballad. I'm asking you to join me and helping get the Old Spice Guy elected the TOUGHEST MAN IN THE WORLD!! Together, we can make a difference.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Password Blues

Blogger chagned their password systym so that I had to use my Google password to log on. Of course, I had to jump through all sorts of hoops before the web page informed me of this. But don't worry, I have braved password hell to bring you this.

Don't you feel loved?

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

A Note on Intelectual Property

Today's comic book news brought word that Image Comic has changed the name of it's upcoming Guardians of the Globe mini-series to Guarding the Globe. This seems like a bizarre change in name. The Guardians of the Globe tells prospective readers what the series is about: a team of superheroes. In addition, the Guardians already have a built in fan-base, being long-time supporting characters in the series Invincible. So why change the name to something so generic sounding and uninformative. My suspicion is that DC Comics is flexing its legal muscles. You see for the last 20 years DC Comics has had a team of superheroes called the Global Guardians. It sounds similar enough and DC is probably well within it's rights to do this. However, it does screw over fans who were looking forward to a Guardians comic and the name change isn't going to help the title in a hostile marketplace. I know that it's important to protect trademarks but the Global Guardians are group of ethnic stereotypes who haven't held a series in years. Really, DC, you couldn't just let this one slide?

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Things that Bugged Me This Week

- DC comics's killing off the all-new Atom in the new Titans: Vilains for Hire comic. I mean, I personally don't have a problem with him not being the Atom any more. (I always liked Ray Palmer, the orginal Atom, better and legacy characters are ludicrously overused to the point where there have been roughly one million Robins). However, he was a beloved character with a fanbase and could have easily been given a distinct identity. Killing him just comes of as a gratutious way of creating cheap drama and pushing Ray Palmer back into the spotlight.

-The fact that I will have to retract the previous statement in the somewhat likely event that that the upcoming Titans story-arc will reveal that the all-new Atom isn't actually dead.

-People who make scurilous comments about the Marvel editorial staff who undid the Spider-marriage. Just beacuse some people have different tastes does not mean that they have deep psyschological problems.

-The one Internet comentator who engages in the behavior mentioned above and then reveals way to much information about his disturbing sexual hangups to the entire internet with no sense of irony.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Music Video Awards

In the tradition of the` MTV Music Video Awards, I've decided to give out awards to music videos. Unlike other music video awards, the Nateys are not awrded on the basis of quality. Instead they aare awarded on the bais "Becaus felt like it."

For "Music Video as Elaborate Joke Setup" the award goes to "Falling for the First Time" by the Bare Naked Ladies. (The man won't let me embed this so you'll have to look it up yourself.)

"Most Needlessly Frightening Music Video" goes to "The Bird and the Worm" by the Used



"Would Have Won Most Neeelessly Frigtening If I Hadn't Repressed It" goes to "Schism" by Tool



"The Quinesential 80's Video" goes to "I Beleive In a Thing Called Lov" by The Darkness



"The Decemberists are Awesome" Award goes to "Sixteen Miltary Wives" by the Decemberists

Friday, June 11, 2010

Behold the Youtube

A funny Weird Al Song!

It's funny because it's about failure.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

An Announcement

Wow! I didn't really mean to be away from the blog this long. My sincere apologies. I'll try to update more regularly in the future.

In addtional news, since I feel silly reviewing a movie that's been out of the theatres for over a month, I will finsh my Kick-Ass Review when the the DVD comes out.

To tide over the wrath among my fan-base, I will instead submit fcor you reading pleasure, an biref review of the new TBS Neighbors from Hell.

The show is one of the more recent attempts to make a cartoon show for adults and cash in on the South Park fans. The show is about the Hellman family, deomons sent to Earth by Satan. Their goal is to infiltrate an oil company and destory a gigantic drill that can literally tunnel into Hell. The series primary joke, indeed its only joke, it that the Hellmans are actually quite nice compared to their psychotic and racist neighbors. (The tile has double meaning. Isn't that clever?)

Neeedless to say hilarity fails to ensue. No one seems to have told the writers that jokes need punchlines. The whole schtick about "look! Aren't these people disgusting" isn't funny on it's own. For example, one overly long gag is devoted to one of the neighbours picking up dog poop with her hands. Ther's nothing funny about the scene. Instead, it come off as creepy and disturbing.

In additon, the whole storyline with the drill makes no sense. Since the show ends when the Hellmans suceed, their pretty much going to fail every week. It's like Pinky and the Brain except that there's only so many ways you can fail to destroy a gaint drill. Also it's not funny. What's worse it that there is no need for this plot contrivance. There are a thousand less complicated ways to pur the Hellmans on earth. For example, the father, Balthazar is bit of a bungler. All I'm saying is that "banished due to ineptitude" makes for better story potential then "the need to sabotage a drill."

Finally, thers Pazuzu. He is an imp/family dog. He also has the most annoyiung voice known to man. I hate him with a pasison. He sounds like a peice of glass being rubbed on a chalkboard. Since I can't embed a video, youre going to have to take my word for this. This is the worst animated show to appear on television since Clutch Cargo and it's not half as entertaining.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Muppet Bohemian Rhapsody

This must be shared with the world.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Kick-Ass: Part 2

All right. Now for some more cogent critical analysis of the new superhero movie, Kick-Ass.
The main strength of the movie is that it is pretty different from the comic book. That's not to say that the comic book was bad. Far from it. However, the comic was ultimately the story of a pathetic loser who tries to become a superhero and remains a pathetic loser. The movie ultimately has the character become a successful super-hero and realize that he's a winner after all. He pretty much has everything he wants by the end.
This actually works for me because the Kick-Ass movie is as much a high-school comedy as it is an action packed super-hero movie. Although Kick-Ass is an utter creep in the comic book, it can be overlooked because the world in the comic book is so over-the-top that it's fun to read about in brief intervals. However, with a two hour-movie, a story with such an unlikable protagonist would become an utter slog.
It would in fact be a terrible bore with the audience not caring who lived or died. (for movies that do this see Mr. and Mrs. Smith.) So for once, hollywoddidsing the story actually had a purpose.
Next time we'll discuss how the movie differs fotom the original comic with respect tothe most important element, the characters:

Monday, April 19, 2010

Super-Long Reviews: Kick-Ass

Ah, Kick-Ass. What can be said about this film but---
SEE IT! SEE IT NOW! QUICK! BEFORE IT LEAVES THEATERS FOREVER!
This is quite simply one of the best super-hero movies I have ever seen. It's not Watchmen but I actually will give it a bit of nod over Dark Night. (Not on storytelling principal but on entertainment value.)This is simply because the film combines three things I love into one movie: disaffected teen comedy, super-heroes and gratuitous ultraviolence.
The film tells the story of Dave Lisewski, a nerdy high school student. Dave,a passionate comic-book fan, decides to become a super-hero. Really. That's it. His sole motivation is that he reads a lot of comics.
Dave, now known as Kick-Ass, screws up his first attempt at crime fighting rather badly. Beaten,stabbed, and hit by a car, Dave has parts of his skeleton replaced with metal plates. In addition, his nerve endings are damaged limiting, though not eliminating, his ability to feel pain. Now armed with the ability to take a severe beating, Dave is actually able to become sightly more efficacious as a crime-fighter. Along the way he discovers other super-heroes acting in secret and witnesses the creation of the world's first super-villain.
There's so much to talk about with this movie that I have decided to split the load over several blog posts. Next time I will be talking about the movie and how it relates to the comic book on which it is based.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Strange Adventures in Film Adaptations

You know when you're watching a film based on some other source material and you notice that something got changed in the adaptation process? Most of the time you can see why the filmakers might do sometihng like that. For example, Iron Man's butler Jarvis sometimes comes of as an Alfred rip-off so they turned him into a talking computer for the movie.
On the other hand, sometimes the changes they make seem so arbitrary you wonder what happened behind the scenes.
For example, take Arnold Schwarznager's Conan films. The movie is cheesy but most of the time the character rings true to the source matrial. He is regonisably Conan.
The problem is the film's villain "Thulsa Doom". I put that in quotation marks because the character in the movie is clearly not the Robert E. Howard creation Thulsa Doom.
The simple way of putting is that Howard's Thulsa Doom is supposed to look like and indeed, may be the inspiration for this guy--- (I used the live action movie beacuse that's about how the special effects for Thulsa Doom would have been at the time).


This is the character we actually got.

Ignore the havy metal soundtrack. It was the best video I could find.

Anyway, the problem is not that they changed the character for the movie. It's that they gave took a completely different Conan character and gave hime the name "Thulsa Doom." However, the character that shows up in the movie is clearly inteted to be Conan's other recurring nemesis Thoth-Amon. Like the films' "Thulsa Doom", Thoth-Amon was an African sorcerer with a snake obsession. (He also, despite widley being considered Cona's arch-nemisis, only ever actually directly fought the Barbarian in the later, non-howard penned stoires, but that's neither here nor there).
I can literally think of no reason for this name change other then the producers though that "Thulsa Doom" sounded more menacing. However, one could argue that it is a minor nitpick that is uttely unintegral to the final movie and that I'm just being pedanitc here. One would probalbly be right.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

5 More Things I Learned In Colleg

1. When asked for ID, it is not OK to indentify yourself as "Guybrush Threepwood, a mighty pirate."
2. Do not press the issue.
3. At certain formal evnets, you may asked to stand and sing the national anthem.
4. The natioanl antem is not, nor has it ever been, the themje form the movie "Team Amrica."
5. The above is a crime.

Monday, March 15, 2010

The Trailer to Every Oscar Winning Movie Ever

Not funy, just vaguely depressing--- and true.


Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Update

Yeah, I'm updating my blog. I've been swamped with schoolwork for the past week.
Also I somehow managed to get myself dragged to an opera. I hate opera. Let's be completely honest, opera is a form of theatre that has outlived its purpose. Quite frankly, it's a relic of a bygone era where poepel didn't have microphones and thus, everything needed to be sung three or four times so the audience would get it.For someone with a short attention span, it is hell.
Quite frankly, modern day musical thrate has really replaced tradtional opera anyway.The music advances the plot and provides exposition while still having a decent beat and catchy chorus. Mordern day musical thatre is to opera what the DVD was to video. Except that when unbeleivably pretentious people claim to like opera, people take them seriously.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Update

Spontaneous evil dog interlude.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Tom Wait's Thursday: Shiver Me Timbers

Here's some old school Tom Waits from before he was the creepy we all know and fear.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Super short revies: The Great Train Robberry

Well, I just got back form seeing a classic of Western cinema. One of the first movies that changed everything.
And I must say, it was certainly everything it was cracked up to be. The Great Train Robbery is famous for being one of the first films to use parallel action. In other words, when the main plot of the movie, the train robbery, takes palaces the scene cuts back to show a different set of events occurring simultaneously. In this case, this event is the release of a tied up ticket taker and the summoning of Calvary.
Other than that there's not a lot to the film. The plot is standard: Train gets robbed, criminals are gunned down by the authorities. The film spend what, for modern audiences, is an inordinate amount of time on things like squaredancing. Seriously, there's a minute long sequence that's nothing but squaredancing.
The special effects are also laughably primitive. For example, in one seen, a robber beats a man to death and troughs him off a train. By "man", I mean a really, really, crude dummy. It doesn't even have anything approaching realistic human proportions.
All in all, I give this movie an F. I know,I know,it's a cinematic breakthrough. But I really, really, really hate squaredancing.

Monday, February 1, 2010

The World Explained with Britsh Comedy

Mitchell and Webb explain homeopathic medicine.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Mooning the Cheetahs

There's a fine line between tragedy and comedy that often get blurred. This is often true when it comes to celebrity deaths. For example, how long is it going to be before Michael Jackson jokes are OK again?
I would like to propose a simple rule of thumb about such celebrity demises. The more tragic a celebrity's death, the longer it takes for it to be funy. For example, Princess Diana jokes had a wating period before they were socially acceptable. However, David Carradine, who died in an ill-conceived attempt at auto erotic asphyxiation, becomes subject for mockery almost immediately.
I call ths the "Mooning the Cheetahs" rule after a Dilbert comic stirp on ettiquete which says that is OK to laugh at demise of others as long as said demise is so hilarious and deserved that it becomes a health hazzard not to laugh. The example given is a man who died, as the name of the rule implied, whilst mooning enraged cheetahs.
With this simple rule, Michael Jackson jokes should be OK agian in about a week.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Friday, January 1, 2010

Late Comic Books: Unspeakable Atrocity or Unforgivable Sin?

As you can probably tell from the title above, I am not a big fan of one of the more pervasive problems in the comic book industry. I am speaking of course about late comic books.
Now, I'm not talking about when a book misses a ship date by a couple of weeks. Quite frankly, at that point, it's often due to last minute editorial changes and/or problems at the printer/ distributor.
Wha I do loathe , however. is when the writer or artist of a series decides that it would be OK to take a long break. That often means months or years passing in between issues of the comic. This isn't a problem for comics like Fell or Global Frequency that tell a self-contained story each issue.
The problem occurs when comics tell long -form story arcs. A realtively recent example is the comic book, The End League. The comic tells the story of the last group of superheroes on Earth on a post-apoclayptic world where the villains won. With an extremmely large cast of characters, the story contained multiple plot threads that were all finally woven together for a satisfying conclusion.
Or at least, I think they were. You see, by the time, one plot thread became important I had all ready forgotten about it due to the moths long delay between issues. I often found myself digging through back issues in order to find out where a particular character came from.
Thats the problem with late books. Sure, some people say that it's worth the wait so that the writers and artists can produce the best product possible. The problem is with monthly 22 page comic books there's not really enough product to justify the wait. Most comics take no more then ten minutes to read. Ten minutes after a protracted wait is not satisfying. Instead, it leaves me feeling cheated. Like I just wasted my time. This means I am less likely to pick up work by the writer or artist in the future. That's not something the shrinking comic book market can afford.