Showing posts with label star wars. Show all posts
Showing posts with label star wars. Show all posts

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Curbing My Enthusiasm: Approaching "Star Wars - The Force Awakens" with caution

I may not have been the most excited kid on my block for the Star Wars prequels in 1999, but I was pretty darn pumped.  I like to think I had some serious Star Wars nerd-credentials back when that meant something, back in an era when the internet was not around to provide you with an endless amount of trivia via a super computer in your hand.  I could name most of the characters, vehicles, planets, had the posters, the toys, etc...  Grew up with the bedsheets, the wallpaper, all that.  Typical American 80's kid.  No, I didn't have a tattoo or anything, and I certainly didn't quit my job to go sit in line for weeks until the tickets went on sale.  In short, I was a pretty big fan, but I hadn't made it a lifestyle.

Mid-tier nerd.  I know there are people out there who actually run around training to becomes Jedis.  Folks gotta do, I suppose.

Prior to the movie, I went out and bought the toys when they arrived at Toys R' Us, and before that I'd been buying the re-issued toys.  I remember having to explain to my pre-Jamie girlfriend that, yes, I WAS going to buy an X-Wing fighter, right in front of her.

I was never much of an expanded universe guy.  I guess I knew from a young age that anything not in the movies-proper didn't "count", and that the books at B. Dalton and Waldenbooks were a cash grab as much as the Marvel comics with the green rabbit character, but nothing the movies wouldn't run over in a second as it seemed laughable that George Lucas read any of that material.  

When Episode I came out, Jamie and I stood in line - she, fresh out of the hospital, and wearing my Darth Vader helmet (it wasn't a size 7 7/8ths helmet, so it never fit me) and carrying my Vader light saber (I carried my green Luke light saber).  

We were in one of three or four midnight showing screens at the Gateway theater in North Austin, and there was a huge party atmosphere.  Light saber duels on the stairs and people cheering hard against the late hour.

The credits came up, we cheered.  I remember thinking "oh, this isn't entirely what I expected", and just let it wash over me.

Sunday, April 19, 2015

"Batman vs. Superman"and "Star Wars VII" - avoiding the open-ended questions

I've already gotten one or two "hey, whaddayathink about the new Batman/ Superman trailer?" messages from people who know me, know I like me some Superman and Batman, and who know I was not a fan of the last Superman adventure by the same creative team.  And, likewise regarding Star Wars, which I've not been all that into for the last decade, I guess.

So, with the HD trailer now released for Batman and Superman are Going to Punch Each Other in the Rain and the certainty even my dad will now have seen the trailer - rather than answer the same open ended question in short bursts of tweets or Google Hangouts or whatever, here we go:

Ah, man.  We know you're doing your best, buddy.

The DCU that WB is working on for the movies does not jive well with the overall DCU I've liked for 30-odd years of my life (or 37 if you want to want to count when I got into Superman: The Movie and Super Friends - or, heck, before that if you're partial to Adam West, and I am).

There are pretty obvious lessons the WB execs believe they learned from the success of the Dark Knight trilogy and failure of Green Lantern and Superman Returns (although any kind of thoughtful evaluation that didn't require execs saving face just wasn't going to happen on the WB lot).   And in that lesson-learning, much like DC Comics believed with the New 52, everything had to be Batman.  And not just Batman, but the same Batman that shows up in Arkham Asylum video games.

Anyway, I tend to think that the point of Superman and Batman running up against each other is not just a question of the the tone of the characters coming into conflict - it's also the world and worldview colliding and reflecting off one another.  And this isn't that.  This is someone mistaking grim'n'gritty as an ends unto itself.

Sunday, January 25, 2015

The Single Question Posed is Answered - Star Wars or Star Trek?

Gerry asks:

Not sure if you've ever come out on either side of this, but the public demands an answer: Star Wars or Star Trek?
The short answer is:  Planet of the Apes.

pew pew pew!

The real answer is - I grew up loving both, and never understood why I had to pick one over the other.  To me, that was sort of like picking Dragonslayer over The Secret of NIMH.  I kind of felt they were two different animals (one is fantasy, one is space adventure) and I could enjoy both, but I do get that it's like the need to pick either DC or Marvel and then go online and defend your stance from a religious perspective.  It's the internet.  You want to feel that there's logic to your gut feeling.

In my youth, Star Wars certainly got a lot of extra weight as it was the franchise that was being merchandised like crazy.  I never had any official Star Trek stuff until college, I think, when Jamie's Dad got me a Next Generation badge for Christmas (I was touched).

But let's not take any short cuts.  Let's take a really, really long look at this, shall we?

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Buy Tim's Shirt: Jurassic Galaxy

Tim Doyle - famed artist and maker of late night drunken promises - has created the shirt that should speak volumes to this audience.

Here's the graphic:

bask in its glory

here's what it looks like as a t-shirt that will make anyone look better and totally cover your muffin top:

Monday, January 5, 2015

So, What Have I Been Up To? Me and Comics Since June 2013

I really don't know how to write this post, because, if you've been following me for any length of time - and, in particular, if you've been here because of comics, this is where I disappoint you.

I am no longer a "read 20 comics per week" kind of guy.  I'm more of a "I'll knock through a trade once a week or so" kind of guy.  My comics reading and collecting was changing before this site was frozen in carbonite, and it's continued to mutate.

y'all buckle in, because it's about to get pedantic and ornery up in here

I kind of quit trying to keep up with Marvel as a universe around Secret Invasion, which was several years ago now.  I've tried to keep up here and there with Captain America and a few other titles, but Marvel's insistence on the cross-over stunt has made that exceptionally difficult.  Pair that with the fact I read Marvel in trade collections rather than floppies or digital comics, and their "all new #1's all the time" marketing strategy, and I literally gave up trying to understand what was happening at Marvel as a Universe.  But I will be picking up some of the Star Wars books for a few months and see how I like a Marvelized Star Wars U.

DC and the New 52 kind of sent me screaming.   The quality of DC hasn't really improved much over the past two years, and it was in the basement with the launch of the New 52.  I recently read that by Spring, DC will have canceled 60 titles since the launch of the New 52, which is an indication that I'm not crazy to think they have some problems and maybe they aren't serving their audience very well.

In the past year, it's safe to say my habit of reading comics has greatly reduced.  At least the reading of new comics.  When I do buy floppies, I collect them for a couple months and read a few at a time, unless it's something that's self-contained.  And I'll talk about what I'm buying as floppies, which isn't much.

The other day I mentioned that I've recently also sold off a huge portion of my collection.  Well over half my stuff has been dispensed with since August, something like 15-20 boxes (short and long), something like 4-5000 comics.  I've also sold a huge number of my action figures, graphic novels and other items.

And - you know - I don't miss them.  I have more than a room full of great stuff that I like and feel like showing off from time to time, and it's a lot more focused than it once was.

So What Happened?

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Richard LeParmentier Merges with The Force

I don't attend many signings, but a few years back I had opportunity to meet actor Richard LeParmentier when he was in town and Austin Books and Comics held a "Star Wars Day" in his honor.

It was a total circus.  Turns out, people like Star Wars and getting to meet Admiral Motti.

Mr. LeParmentier was very gracious, and signed a photo of himself that I keep on my desk at work.

your blogger, sorely in need of a haircut, and Mr. LeParmentier
You can kind of see the picture in my hand there.  It's a picture of LeParmentier in his classic role as Admiral Motti in Episode IV who questions Vader's devotion to the force and gets force-choked until Grand Moff Tarkin puts a stop to it.

He even drew a square on the Death Star with an arrow and note that says "my office".  It cracks me up every time I look at it.

I keep the picture on my desk facing whomever sits across from me, but in the years since, not once has anyone gotten the subtext.  It's a disappointment.

As Mr. LeParmentier was so nice to me and is one of the few folks I've had opportunity to meet, I am even more saddened to hear of his passing.  I'm even more sad to hear that, reading this article, that he lived in here in Austin or his children reside here, according to the ABC article.  I had no idea.

Godspeed, sir.  It was a pleasure and honor to shake your hand.

Friday, April 5, 2013

Oh, Did You Just Figure Out That Maybe Disney Buying Star Wars Means Everything You Liked About Star Wars is Going to Getting Demolished?

Shoemaker sent me this article from i09.  It's basically about how, the afterglow of Disney's purchase of Star Wars and the sudden lay-offs, etc... start to settle in, someone realized that Disney probably doesn't give two Jawa farts about the Star Wars Expanded Universe.

As I said in my email response to Shoemaker: no kidding

once again, your avatar for what will happen to everything you once loved

Even when the first Expanded Universe stuff hit the shelf when I was in high school, I didn't read it.  I guess by the time those books arrived, I was pretty well aware that studio executives weren't going to care that some sci-fi authors wanted to write Star Wars books when it came time to make new movies, and those studio execs were going to include George Lucas and his associates.  When movies that moved past the conclusion of Return of the Jedi did happen, they'd be so much bigger than a series of fantasy books, that the books would just sort of disappear into the ether as non-canonical, leaving a herd of nerds wondering how to reconcile the irreconcilable, narratively speaking, in their minds.

Of course, for two decades we had Uncle George backing up the books - which I doubted he ever read, but he knew that without his stamp, those books wouldn't be taken seriously nor purchased by Star Wars fans.  And that meant less dough, so best to just approve them and worry on it later.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Star Trek Wars, Jenny Olsen, and so much I missed while I was on hiatus

A lot happened while I was out.  Presidential Inaugurations.  The Sixth Gun got optioned for a TV show.  I watched a handful of pretty good movies programmed by Eddie Muller on TCM.

Anyway, while I was out I guess people online put together than Jimmy Olsen will not be Jimmy Olsen, but Jenny Olsen in the movie, Man of Steel.  I am sure five years ago that would have launched a 3000 word column from me on why it would be better if WB would respect the history and we'd all be snarky and sneer knowingly at the studio people for making some bad decisions.  But...

Yeah, I guess I don't really have the energy to get worked up about it anymore.  The studio is going to do what the studio is going to do, and it's not like they won't get my ticket on opening day.  Or that the prior five Superman movies really did anything with Jimmy as a character.  In fact, he got more to do in Supergirl than in pretty much any other film.

Not without precedent

I will always like the Silver and Bronze Age Superman comics, I think Jack Larson was great, but I think I'm kind of past thinking Superman is any one, particular thing.  I have my opinions of what works and what doesn't, but the past decade around Superman has really been about DC and WB wrestlimg with what they think Superman is or can be.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Signal Watch Watches: "Trekkies 2" and "The People vs. George Lucas"

I watched these two docs back-to-back, trying to clear out some of my Netflix queue, but also to try to wrap up the number of docs I'm willing to watch about folks obsessing around a particular bit of geek-culture.  It seems like there's a built in audience around these things, so they get made and we can have movies about ourselves as geeks, and that's okay.  Having a movie that reflects the culture built up around a franchise is relevant if not important in understanding the context of that bit of media and why and how it fits in with the broader culture.

The two movies catch two powerful franchises and their fanbases at about the same period, around 2009ish, as Star Trek was more or less out of production and the audience is - you hate to say it - probably in decline as it aged out and maybe moved on as the content had both diminished over a few less-than-stellar series and hadn't had a great movie in quite a while.  Star Wars was, of course, Star Wars, and the final installment (at time of filming) had left audiences with mixed feelings.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Gungan Style: The Internet Video That Sums It Up

Of late, you may have noted a slight change in tone around The Signal Watch.

I think this video more or less sums up my feelings as I head towards my tenth year* of blogging on comics and pop culture.

Give the video about 2 minutes before giving up on it.

*yes, 10 years in April of 2013.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Happy Birthday, Star Wars

Apparently today is the 35th Anniversary of the release of Star Wars.  We do not care to dwell upon the meaning of this day too much.

So, you know, thanks for the first three movies and a happy childhood and whatnot.

And, of course, Princess Leia.


And, of course...

Friday, May 4, 2012

Happy Star Wars Day!

May the 4th be with you!

Meesa the avatar for what happened to everything Generation X once believed in! 
It's Star Wars Day!  That's fun.

You know, I'm sort of a non-observant Star Wars fan at best.  But as I understand it, the movies and TV show are very popular with the younger set, and I won't be the one to rain on that parade.

Here's to Yoda, Wookies, Princess Leia in her snow suit, and better times.  And, hell yes...

Lando's not a system.  He's a MAN.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Star Wars Day at Austin Books and Comics

Today was a pretty cool day at Austin Books and Comics.  Actor Richard LaParmentier was in town and came by Austin Books to do a signing.  If you're wondering who Richard LaParmentier is, let me remind you:

The fellow on the right, General Motti
He's the only guy you see in the the original trilogy talk smack to Vader, and, of course, things go poorly for him.

Once Mr. LaParmentier was on the bill for Saturday, it kind of became a thing, and Austin Books held a very special Star Wars Day!   I couldn't believe the crowds, and I really couldn't believe the numbers of kids.  Man, little boys and girls still really like Star Wars.  And that's pretty cool.

I'm not the Star Wars fan I was until, well...  Episode I was released.  But I still like a good Storm Trooper, and I'll always have a warm spot in my heart for the original trilogy (and Princess Leia).

I realize looking at these pictures that I waited too long between haircuts, but this is me getting an autograph from the man himself.  

I'm not going to scan it, but the picture I had him sign was his profile with the Death Star.  He drew a neat little arrow and wrote "my office", pointing to one of the little blips of light on the Death Star.  Very clever guy.

He's not looking at the lens in the picture because Jamie and The Doug both lifted cameras at the same time.  So, stereoscopic pics, I guess.

Speaking of Jamie and Doug, they got to meet one of their favorite stars of the movies.

Doug and R2 both keep flamethrowers in their torsos
I ran into ObiWan while he was looking at some prestige art books.  He was kind enough to have his pic taken, but I got to say...  I think I have a foot on the Jedi Master.

Ben Kenobi was really very cool and I think was having a good time
What I also learned is that when Vader and the 501st show up, you don't take a page from General Motti's book and confront Vader about his policies and hokey religion.

right before they led me to the Squad-Speeder for booking

late edit:  Doug sends along further evidence of Imperial Injustice

Luckily, Vader did not choke me out.

Anyway, it was a really fun time!  And it was great to see so many folks out enjoying the nice day and the fun ABC put together.

I didn't stick around for the signing by the comic writers for the Star Wars comic (not sure when that happened) and I didn't stick around when BioWare came by to recruit for QA personnel.  But I think we had a grand time. Austin Books has been a great shop for years, but now its becoming also a hub of pop culture madness here in town.  And its kind of great.

And, we wrapped it up this evening with a screening of Return of the Jedi with RiffTrax.