Showing posts with label superman. Show all posts
Showing posts with label superman. Show all posts

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Super Watch: Superman (1978)

So, yesterday, I journeyed to the Alamo South Lamar for a "Kid's Club" screening of Superman: The Movie (1978).



It's impossible to know how many times I've seen Superman, but I figure I'm pushing triple-digits at this point.  Or maybe it's been a mere 70 times.  Who knows?  I've seen it in the theater so many times I've lost count - but I figure it's at least 10 at this point, and I would have skipped this one, but after going to Metropolis and reading that Larry Tye book, it just felt like serendipity that the movie was screening, and I should probably go.

"Kid's Club" screenings are always fun.  As much as I enjoy the evening throw-back screenings of movies at the Paramount and Alamo, seeing movies with the original intended audience is always amazing.  Superman runs something like two and a half hours, and I didn't hear a single anxious kid nor a peep out of anyone aside from some mild excitement during properly exciting scenes.  There's a sweet spot you can hit where the movies are not as dull as some kids movies, but without over-stimulating kids with just too darn much going on up there on the screen - because I have absolutely witnessed that phenomenon, even in a Harry Potter movie, and the kids start just blanking out and futzing with their chairs or asking for Cheerios or whatever.  And despite our weird idea that "kids are so advanced these days"*, the kids certainly don't know about or understand the difference between CGI FX and in-camera or practical effects.  They just don't care, even if they're vaguely aware this doesn't look like other movies.  And I've seen this again and again, including favorites like The Time MachineFantastic Voyage and Batman '66.

The kids even totally dealt with the "Can You Read My Mind" scene at face value.  No ironic snickering, no groans of disapproval.  It was kind of nice.

One other weird factoid about "Kid's Club" - they show the movies in 35mm, so the print yesterday was beat to hell, discolored in places and had audio issues, but nobody cared, including the kids.  It may be the last time I get to see Superman in 35mm, so it was a nice treat.

Anyhow, it was a fun screening.  I may want a break between screenings for a while as I did just watch the movie, like, three months ago, but I didn't regret going.  Got to hang with Simon and his lady-friend, Tiffany, and we got some nifty plastic Superman rings from Toy Joy.

*what?  Kids got better at being kids?  That doesn't even make sense.  They're just fine with adapting to the world they were born into that has stuff their parents didn't have at the same age.

Signal Reads: Superman - The High Flying History of the Man of Steel (audiobook)

When I was driving between Indianapolis and Metropolis, Illinois, I cooked up a plan to listen to the audiobook of the fairly recent Larry Tye book Superman: The High Flying History of the Man of Steel.  I've read a few comic and Superman histories before, and still hold of the Les Daniels book as the gold standard, with Gerald Jones' Men of Tomorrow:  Geeks, Gangsters and the Birth of the Comic Book as absolute and required reading.  But it'd been a while since I read either and there's been a lot of history since then.



The book is very well researched and is a fairly complete and comprehensive but detached history of the character as a property, focusing on the origins and multiple iterations of the character from the influences on Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster to the multiple forms of media the character has taken on and arguably conquered, to the ever-changing nature of Superman and the societal factors at play.

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Superman 41 and giving up on The Man of Tomorrow

I just read issue #41 of the post Flashpoint/ New 52/ DC You Superman series, and...  I mean...  Okay.



There's some decent Superman-action, and I like the Jimmy and Clark pairing well enough.  I think the idea of "Superman's Pal" actually knowing his identity is worth exploring if Jimmy's his peer.  It substitutes the 90's and 00's problem of Superman not having anyone to talk to in his own titles which the Lois-marriage resolved.

But we know where this storyline is headed, right?  I mean, all of the other titles and solicitations tell us Lois will blow Superman's cover.  He gets a haircut.  He goes back to the t-shirt and jeans.  But we already have the broad strokes for how this will play out.  There's not a lot of places for this story to go, it seems.  Or, at least, if we know the effect, any surprises in how we got there seem a little moot at best.

After finishing the issues, I am sorry to say that I think I'm done reading any Superman comics for a while.  Which kind of kills me.  But I feel like I'm spending money on something that isn't what I signed up for or what the name of the comic is selling me.

Saturday, June 13, 2015

A Trip to Metropolis II - Adventures in Superman-Mania

Had a SUPER fun day palling around with Stuart at the Superman Celebration in sunny Metropolis, Illinois.

For a review of my participation in Day 1, here's a link.

I arrived around noonish, and stumbled Stuart without really having to try.  I should also mention that fellow Austinite Tim Gardner was here for his 23rd Superman celebration with the entire family in tow.  Very nice fellow with a great family.

I realized I had not shared any pictures of Stuart, so here he is, showing off his immunity to Kryptonite.



A Trip to Metropolis!

I wrapped my conference in Indianapolis on Thursday night, and, on Friday, jumped in a rental car to head down south to Metropolis, Illinois for the annual Superman Celebration.

I confess the conference left me a bit wiped out, so I grabbed a nap and didn't get down there until 6:00ish, where I met up with longtime internet pal, Stuart Ward.  Great guy.  More on that later.

The festival goes all weekend, but I'll only be in Metropolis on Saturday, really, and then drive back to Indianapolis to fly out Sunday.

Anyway, here are some sights:

I finally met the Man of Steel!

Yes, I am 6'5"
He was as swell in person as you would hope.

Saturday, May 30, 2015

Slowly making my way through DC's "Convergence"

Last week DC released the final issue of their Convergence mini-series, the two-month stop gap from DC Comics that was originally advertised as something editorial was doing while they took a break from publishing to move from DC's traditional home of NYC to sunny LA.

Of course, well in advance, it became clear that Convergence was going to be more than just a hiccup in DC's publishing schedule.  After the initial skyrocketing sales for The New 52, units moved have fallen off, and time and again, DC has wound up canceling a huge number of their initial offering of 52 books and the successors of same, all while keeping up appearances by maintaining a publishing line of 52 books (which always felt like something dreamed up by an actuary somewhere, so why it was part of their public marketing, I will never know).

"Welcome to... The Honeycomb Hide-Out!"

The first hint that we could count on major changes, post-Convergence, was that DC decided to follow their award-winning, best-selling Wonder Woman run by well-known comic writer Brian Azzarrello by hiring the previously-unpublished wife of popular comic artist David Finch (an artist with whom cheesecake was pretty much an inevitability) to pen the series.  It was a signal to anyone who has followed the industry for the past two decades that DC was basically putting New 52 Wonder Woman in a holding pattern for a while, but if you absolutely need a Wonder Woman comic - here's one to read (and, please, do not notice that Sensation Comics and Wonder Woman '77 are both fantastic and not technically part of the main stable of DC's titles managed by their core comics people).

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

CBS releases "Supergirl" Preview

oh my gosh, they brightened her up.  what the heck, DC?
Video is below



Kara Zor-El is not supposed to be targeted at me or my demographic. She was the younger cousin/ little sister allegory for Superman, and her adventures back in the 1950's were every bit as bananas as the most bananas of Silver Age tales (let's talk Comet the Super Horse sometime).

But, I'm a fan of Supergirl, nonetheless.  Sure, the 90's tried to make that really hard with the "Matrix" concept, but I still enjoyed at least the far end of that run when it was Linda Danvers in a t-shirt hopping around around 2002.  But I really like the insanely perky version from the 60's and the go-getter Bronze Age version who couldn't get through a day at university without an alien plot spoiling her lunch break.

But, I also know, hey, maybe a 40 year old dude is not who they think of as the current target audience for the story of a Supergirl.

Saturday, April 25, 2015

So, Miller is making it a Dark Knight Trilogy? All righty, then.

What do you even say when you see DC has signed up Frank Miller to create a third installment in the vein of Dark Knight Returns/ Dark Knight Strikes Again?  I think you say "DC needs a hit for the 3rd Quarter or Dan Didio will need a new jobby job."



And that's okay.  I'm a little past the point of hoping that DC Entertainment, a division of Time Warner, Inc., is really all that invested in the artistry of comics in 2015, but it's not like comics haven't recycled ideas before.  These sorts of short term stunts have generally paid off for Didio, and he's certainly running out of his usual bag of tricks now that he's exploited all of his predecessor's successes so many times over that he had to throw bags of gold at Frank Miller (or really pray Sin City 2 would do exactly what it did at the box office) in order to get him back at DC writing comics.

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, April 12, 2015

Today I am 40. We ponder my mortality via Superman.

It's my B-day.  A milestone b-day at that.  I'm planning to take the day easy, read some comics, watch some movies, play with some dogs.  Nothing too extravagant.

But it's also a time to ponder and reflect, and nothing helps you reflect more than Superman.


Oh, 70's humor.  You were on the nose to the pointy of cruelty.

But nothing helps one ponder old age like a good Superman comic book cover.



Let's face facts...  I work on a college campus.  I am more than aware this is how the undergrads see me as I wander the halls.  The notion that these whipper-snappers see me as anything other than someone who might know their parents is delusional.  I never feel the need to try to pretend like I know what the kids are up to these days, because that's like your parents trying to impress you by going to see Billy Joel.



I, of course, see myself as older and wiser, telling these young punks how it should be done - and how it should be done is by doing it exactly how we did it in my day.

Saturday, April 11, 2015

B-Day Watch: Guardians of the Galaxy and Superman - The Movie

This weekend marks my 40th birthday.  As such, I'm taking it easy and enjoying some of my favorite movies.

Last night was a recent favorite, Guardians of the Galaxy (2014), because it will be a while before I see Rocket Raccoon in anything, and I will rewatch Captain America 2 just prior to Avengers 2.

Es muy bueno!


It's actually a little surprising how well the movie holds up upon multiple viewings in a single year.  And, man, you don't hear much about it, but it's also a very pretty movie.  Space isn't a black field with white dots - it's a nebula cloud of Kool-Aid colors.



And, this morning I got up early and put on Superman: The Movie.  Not much new to see on a 50th or so screening of the movie, but I wasn't going to let a "Ryan gets to watch whatever he wants this weekend" window go by without Superman.

As the credits rolled, Jamie asked me if I'd seen it 100 times yet.  And, I don't think so...  but you never know.  It's possible.  I know I've seen it a few times per year every year since 2008 or so, and before that I'd watch it a lot more than that.  So...  yeah, I have no idea, really.

I also started Blade Runner last night and realized I was exhausted during the "let's kill the eyeball guy" sequence, so I didn't finish.  Sometime this weekend, though.

Oh, and Daredevil is pretty @#$%ing right on.  Check it out on Netflix.

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

We take exception to a poorly constructed Superman joke and, unfortunately, talk about how jokes work

this is not movie merchandise

I can't let this go.  Jamie would surely want me to.  She'd say "just let it go", but I can't, because lazy jokes bug me.  Especially lazy Superman jokes.

Above you will see a house-ad-link from the very popular Cracked.com website in their popular listicle format.

Some Cracked Writers are better than others (I highly recommend Seanbaby and David Wong), and some of them are hacky dudes who can't bother to make the premise of the post work.

For five whole items on a 6 item list, writer JM McNab sticks to his premise and rightfully points out some oddball merchandise tie-in's to motion pictures of years gone by, some more successfully than others.  And then in the final item, the one that - by many years of Cracked.com's hallowed tradition - is supposed to be the best for last - he apparently got either tired and couldn't complete his work or he couldn't be bothered to understand how Google works.

As goofy and stupid as it might be, the Super Powers Collection Justice Jogger has nothing to do with a movie.

the defense does not disagree with the prosecution's assertions of the goofiness of this item, we simply submit this is not, and never has been, tied to a movie

Monday, March 23, 2015

When Little Kids Wear the "S" and do it better than anything in the comics

Today this video made it across my path via social media.  It's a video about a kid in Detroit who has started a charity that provides food, clothing and necessary articles to the people of his city.  He's a kid who puts on a cape and the Superman "S" when he's at work.  The adults (and kids) who are helping him are similarly decked out in Superman gear, an easy and inexpensive get these days.

The video was part of a recent student film festival at the White House.  The video is short and it's worth a view.



Unrelated, these little girls were part of the Science Fair at the White House.



Here's what's on the White House website about why the girls are there.

Emily Bergenroth, Alicia Cutter, Karissa Cheng, Addy Oneal, and Emery Dodson, 6 (Tulsa, OK)After chatting with their school librarian, the “Supergirls” Junior FIRST Lego League Team from Daisy Girl Scouts’ troop 411 discovered that some people have disabilities that make it difficult to turn the pages of a book. They came up with the concept of a battery-powered page turner that could turn pages for people who are paralyzed or have arthritis. The Supergirls sketched out a design concept and culled through motorized Lego components and gears to figure out how to build a working prototype. They discovered that the friction from rubber Lego tires could be used to lift and turn the pages of a book. They honed the device with a second motorized component that forces pages to lay flat after being turned over. The Supergirls’ creation was selected by the statewide FIRST program director to be the only project exhibited at an educational conference for librarians and educators in the region.


These are some amazing kids, and I think it's not a mistake that their parents and families, no doubt a bit insulated from the fact that DC Comics has launched a "New 52" (that even now they're backing away from) wanted to put the capes and the shield on these kids.

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Imaginary EIC Hat - Rules I'd Implement for Superhero Comics



If you've read comics for any length of time, there are tricks and tropes and storylines we've all seen, and worst and best practices for superhero comics.

Sometimes the worst practice stuff seems to get followed because things happen in the fog of trying to put a monthly comic out in a timely fashion, sometimes it's because you can tell the new writer hasn't done any homework prior to coming on and the editor appears to have a laissez-faire attitude regarding what their writers are doing, and more often than I care to admit, I look at comments online and am shocked by how many people really like the worst-practice stuff and are willing to say so out-loud.

I've considered a few things I find grating overall, considered their impact, and how often these could be used and still feel like, perhaps familiar ideas after a while, but to help keep them a little fresh or maintain their impact, we've given a rate for how often they can be used.

Thursday, March 12, 2015

In which we consider DC's June post "Convergence" shake-up and new costumes

Sigh.

I kind of want to be out of the business of thinking about DC's moves as a company, because it's equal parts equally unsatisfying and depressing.

In case you missed the interview with Co-Publishers Dan Didio and Jim Lee that was featured at places like Comic Book Resources yesterday, they're basically moving forward by going back to not tying every book in the DC line to superhero mainline continuity.  As comics were up through the 1980's, DC and Marvel surely put out Superman and Spider-Man, but we didn't need to worry how that fit in with Teen-Age Romance Comics or Katy Keene In Love or whatever made up title I just made-up.

And DC is going back to - maybe not putting out Teen-Age Romance Comics - but they are saying "not everything here is in the main DCU, so quit worrying about that".

Jim Lee, who I am pretty sure has no idea what an actual buyer of comics looks like or thinks, was quick to tell his core audience that we're mistaken for wanting continuity to work in an ongoing serial.  And we were also mistaken for expecting both the New 52 to make sense and the five year time jump to hold together after DC said "it all makes sense, we'll show you" and then absolutely did not do so.

Now, all of this is coming on the heels of Convergence, which is a munging of the DC Multiverse, and because it's been a few years, I think we all needed to expect Didio was going to once again reboot the DCU.  They're not saying that, but they are absolutely saying that the characters will have new, unheard of status quos.  So, practically speaking, a rejigger if not a reboot.

So, let's review the images for the solicitation copy, shall we?


Friday, March 6, 2015

new Supergirl costume is fairly Supergirl-riffic

this is it, there's no turning back now

Sometime in the next several months, CBS is slated to bring Supergirl to the small screen.  Look, I'm a Helen Slater guy from way back, a casting decision I will always support even if Supergirl, as a movie, has... complications.

In the comics, I'm really a fan of only a few eras of Supergirl, if by Supergirl you mean Kara Zor-El and not Cir-El, Matrix/ Mae or Linda Danvers (but, look, I will always support Linda Danvers, and I'm irritated she's mostly forgotten, because today's fangirl community would love her as some sort of Supergirl).

Straight up, I'm a Silver-Bronze Age Kara Zor-El fan when she was portrayed as bright, perhaps naive, but eternally optimistic teen and college kid.  With a flying cat and horse that she sometimes dated.*  If Supergirl isn't trying to see the best in everyone and trying to save the day while she basically fights with identity issues Clark Kent doesn't spend too much time pondering, she isn't really Supergirl.

real Supergirl is perky as all living hell

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Superman 38 and the Geoff Johns/ John Romita Jr. run

So, Superman #38 has been out for a week or so, and it's been generating some news in comic book land.

Superman got his buffalo wings "super spicy"


To date, this feels like the only successful run on the New 52 Superman title from DC Comics.  The title has struggled since George Perez more or less disavowed the 6-issue run bearing his name during the New 52 launch, and once Scott Lobdell came on, I gave it an issue or three and then did the unthinkable.  I actually dropped Superman.

Lobdell is my second least favorite writer to ever take on Superman, with Chuck Austen's mind-blowingly terrible work on the character and world of Metropolis front and center.  So, to get everyone up to speed, I've basically lost track of what was happening in the Superman titles for a good long while as they crossed-over with Supergirl and Superboy (a pair of books I couldn't stand within two issues of the New 52 launch), and then the Superman line launched in to the astoundingly poorly executed Doomsday-Virus hoo-har, which I kind of read, but, sheesh.

So, in a lot of ways, Geoff Johns coming on Superman brought me back to not just to that title, but to doing more than flipping through Action Comics and saying "yup.  okay.  That's what they're doing, then."

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

A Smallville Man

Gerry and Randy were kind enough to each send me this video today.  It's a short, animated fan-film that does a great job of communicating what makes Superman tick.  Rather than weigh you down with a pre-amble, I suggest you go ahead and check it out.



As simple as such a film may be, it's shocking how difficult this sort of portrayal of Superman has become over the past two decades, be it in comics or movies or ten seasons of TV.


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?