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

Monday, February 8, 2016

The Atlantic Takes DC to Task for Dropping the Ball with Superman

Whether you get around to reading my comments below or not, it's probably worth looking at this article in The Atlantic.  This is a fairly serious and well respected news and opinion source, and it's calling out DC Comics/ Entertainment for their poor handling of Superman in the past few decades.  A topic near and dear to my heart.

faster than microwaving his popcorn


I was awake and moving for all of 30 minutes Sunday morning before I looked at my phone and saw my brother sent the link to the story.  Honestly, I kind of rolled my eyes at the headline.  The past twenty or more years have been full of articles in places, both reputable and otherwise, writing about how and why Superman was no longer relevant.  Too goody-goody.  Not po-mo or meta enough.  Not "edgy" enough for today's gnarly kids and their totally radical view of bad-ass-dom.

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

In Defense of Bizarro: Me Am Think Bizarro Is Worst Character Ever

So, I watched Monday evening's episode of Supergirl on CBS, and while heartened that the episode introduced the idea of Bizarro for a new generation, I'm also wondering what they're leaving for Superman himself at this point, or what they think Superman has been up to as they keep introducing all of his villains on the show like they've never been around before.

But, no harm no foul.  

If I took exception to the episode, it was that we had a BINO.  Bizarro In Name Only.

Good-bye!  Me am not comics version of Bizarro-Girl!

If you've unfamiliar with Superman's sometimes enemy/ sometimes pal, Bizarro, well, firstly, I pity you.  Secondly, in the original comics, Bizarro was an imperfect duplicate of Superboy and, soon, Superman.  The angular-faced misfit was a perfect fit with the bi-polar nature of Superman's Silver Age adventures.

In the wake of the Senate hearings and the installation of the Comics Code Authority - we ended Superman threatening people and hurling them around violently and the comics explored what it meant for Superman to be the Last Son of Krypton as well as a Superman with time to kill since crime was abruptly held in check.  The Man of Steel was now having a good laugh moving the Eiffel Tower around to mess with Lois one story, and in the second feature was openly weeping about the fate of his birth parents.

Equal parts clown, monster, hero, villain, misunderstood child and wreckless menace, Bizarro was the wild card in the Superman deck in an era of Superman comics littered with Robot Supermans, Supergirls, Super Cats and Dogs, King Kongs with Death Laser Eyes and routine occurrences of Superman being turned into a baby.  I haven't even gotten to Jimmy Olsen's Silver Age lifestyle and all that insanity.  And, yet, it all fit together pretty well.

Bizarro first appeared as a one-off in Superboy #68, but soon re-appeared in the mainline Superman titles where he gained his own supporting cast and planet.  Hell, yes, he did.

Sunday, January 10, 2016

Superman Watch: The Death of "Superman Lives" - What Happened? (2015)



Of course in Superman nerd circles there was a lot of noise about the documentary The Death of "Superman Lives" (2015) when it was going around on Kickstarter and other fundraising sites.  It's a film about the failed 1990's Jon Peters produced Superman movie, a flick that never quite made it into production and has, in recent years, achieved a sort of legendary status among nerds as "wouldn't that have been awesome?" sort of project.  Most of this opinion is garnered from 20 and 30 somethings who only know Nic Cage from the post Con Air era, and think of him as the "not the bees!" guy who makes shitty action movies and has a seemingly absurd personal life.  They do not know the Leaving Las Vegas Nic Cage or the Adaptation Nic Cage or even the Wild at Heart Nic Cage.  It seems impossible most have seen Moonstruck.

Way, way back in the mid-90's when the project was in pre-production, I was of the solid opinion that: No.  This is not going to be awesome.  And, in 2016, I stand by that same notion.  Much better to look at the art produced and hear people talking about what could have been than get dragged through a movie that could have accelerated Superman's loss of cachet in the pop-consciousness and, who knows?  Could have prevented the entire cycle of superhero movies we've enjoyed since X-Men and Spider-Man back 15 years ago.

Hats off to this very small production for landing interviews with big names associated with the project, from legendary producer Jon Peters to Tim Burton to Kevin Smith and a host of crew members (who are still passionate about the work they did), and a few comics luminaries including an intro with Grant Morrison summing up Superman in a few sentences.

Friday, December 25, 2015

25 Days of Super Christmas - Day 25! Merry Super Christmas!



Merry Christmas, every buddy!

In this time of thanksgiving, let's take a moment to reflect on the goodness and generosity we've received this year, and maybe how we can repay that into the great karmic circle in 2016.

For now, I wish you a day of peace and joy.  May you be with loved ones, or at least be in touch with them on this day.  And I hope, as this year draws to a close, you can cherish the good moments and put the bad behind you, with lessons learned from both.

Have a Merry Christmas, however you celebrate the day.  Jamie and I wish you the best.

Thursday, December 3, 2015

Your Obligatory "Batman y Superman: Something Something Hey! Wonder Woman!" trailer post



Yup. That is definitely a trailer for a movie that is coming out.

And, yup, WB finally (finally!) got Doomsday on-screen as a Lex Luthor product. They've been wanting to do that since I was in college.

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Happy Belated Birthday to Noel Neill, Our Lois Lane!

Technically, Jamie is Our Lois Lane, and I hate to play favorites when it comes to the great talent that has come to the role in radio, movies and television.  But I'd be lying if I didn't admit to tremendous affection for actress Noel Neill in her role as Lois Lane in The Adventures of Superman, and her affiliation with Superman as a character in other ways.

November 25th marked Neill's 95th, and we want to wish her a very happy belated birthday.

Ms. Neill was not in the first season of The Adventures of Superman when the role was played by actress Phyllis Coates.  She arrived in Season 2, and brought her own spark to the part.


She had practice!  Neill also played Lois in the 1948 Superman serials starring Kirk Alyn as The Man of Steel.

Thursday, November 19, 2015

On Current Political Situations




Ads like this used to run in Superman comics quite often in post-WWII America.

And, you know, lil' Kal-El was a refugee, too.

Thanks to SW for the image.

Update - I am told this is from World’s Finest #111, which would be about August 1960
Script: Jack Schiff
Pencils: Curt Swan

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Comic Collector's Corner: On the Accumulation of Things and When Your Comics Own You

One benefit of being a state employee is the accumulation of vacation days.  I basically earn enough vacation that "banking" vacation isn't really something I worry about.  Now, finding time to take days off - that's another problem.  But, way back in July or so, I asked my boss for days off in November.

I took a few days before the weekend and two more after.  I spent Day 1 (a) working, anyway, but on my sofa, and (b) realizing I was actually pretty tired, and so I just sat there.  But on Day 2, I got going on the project I was home for - dealing with my comic collection for the first time since the beginning of The Great Culling, a year-long period during which something like 20 boxes, long and short, went out the door and became dispersed into the back-issue bins of Austin Books and Comics.*

Last summer I had some long talks with Stuart about the nature of collecting, aging into a point where you realize you might not need this stuff anymore, etc... all while standing in the middle of the Hollywood Museum in Metropolis, Illinois.  Stuart's a bit ahead of the curve from me on this.  He's got stuff, but he's divested a good chunk of his comics, etc.. which I feel I've made progress on, but it's an imperfect system.

Purchasing far, far fewer comics these days than I used to certainly expedited the process this go-round, but the idea that I had fewer comics to wrangle also made me lazy and sloppy on a day-to-day basis.  I just hadn't managed the loose comics well at all.


this comic may or may not be somewhere in my pile of comics

It would be a great thing to come to comics in the modern era.  So long as Comixology exists, the money you spend means the comic you own is really a flipped bit associated with your user profile somewhere out there in the cloud, granting you access to that digital content.  No bags and boards and boxes.  No figuring out if you remembered to inventory into that online system you pay for.  Most importantly, the piles of comics you regret purchasing wouldn't wind up as something you'd feel you still had to curate and manage (and I do throw some in the recycling.  Don't think I don't.)

After all, when you're trying things out on the regular, you get a lot of detritus in the collection.

I was probably 31 before I had the conversation with my LCS manager back in Phoenix that set me thinking a lot more strategically about actually "collecting" versus hoarding.  At the time, I was most certainly just hoarding as I was in a race to try to "get" all of DC Comics and most of Marvel, buying as many comics as I could afford.

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Super Watch: Supergirl Pilot on CBS

So.  Here's where I'm the jerk who didn't like the pilot of CBS's new Supergirl TV show that everyone is so excited about.



Look, sometimes I forget just how terrible 90% of network television truly is.  It's no secret network TV has its formulas, its trope for every situation, and never met a bit of exposition it didn't like.  I get that they had to get the character introduced and get a lot of things started quickly, and in the post-Lost wake, the networks think they've learned their lesson and are absolutely terrified of not giving the audience every detail about a show in the first episode.

And I say this as someone who likes Supergirl.  A lot. I've got Action 252 hanging up in my office in a frame (please don't rob me).  I've read Silver, Bronze, 90's, 00's and even gave the trainwrecky New 52 Supergirl a shot.  I'm not a stranger to the character.  And, while I actually like the general tone of "Kimmy Schmidt as Supergirl", because I was really convinced I'd never see that take again (thank you, Sterling Gates, wherever you are, for giving me that Supergirl, oh, so briefly)...  The show is a mess.

Yes, it is a show for children and for those who don't know Supergirl, and no one is under any legal or moral obligation to maintain fidelity to the comics.  I think Marvel has proved that's all pretty unnecessary so long as you get the basic details down.

Friday, September 25, 2015

Christopher Reeve's 63rd Birthday



Today would have marked the 63rd birthday of actor and activist Christopher Reeve.

A child of the 1970's and 1980's, of course I am most familiar with Reeve from his portrayal of Superman, and I've seen the Reeve-starring Superman movies dozens of times.  I've seen a few of his other movies, such as Somewhere in Time, Village of the Damned, Noises Off..., The Remains of the Day and a few other appearances.

You forget, because of the broadness of the Superman films, but Reeve was a heck of an actor.  Just to do what he did with his dual roles of Superman and Clark Kent, in film, is worth checking out.  It's near Shakespearean.

Monday, September 21, 2015

Jack Larson, TV's Jimmy Olsen, Merges With The Infinite





The Signal Watch is deeply saddened to hear of the passing of Jack Larson, who played Jimmy Olsen on the 1950's television series, The Adventures of Superman (1952-1958).

Over six seasons, Jack played the young Daily Planet reporter, leading to such a spike in Olsen's popularity that the character spun out of second-banana obscurity and landed his own comic book, Superman's Pal, Jimmy Olsen, that ran from 1954-1974.



Monday, September 14, 2015

Super Watch: Superman IV - The Quest for Peace (Master Pancake Theater)

Oh, Superman IV.  You are not a good movie.



Maybe not the worst superhero movie ever put out, Superman IV was victim of severe budget cuts and shortfalls, overly ambitious filmmaking, muddled scripting and editing, and Jon Cryer just being a doofus.  I've written about the movie before.  At length.  So, go read that review.

For something like a decade, Austin has had it's own set of popular movie riffers in Master Pancake Theater.  It's sort of a cultish sort of thing to do in Austin, and they have their loyal legion, and while I like the idea, I've just never gotten off my butt to go see them.  After all, "riffed" movies are not something I've felt I've had a lack of access to in my lifetime after having grown up on Mystery Science Theater 3000 and still enjoying RiffTrax even today.

But I couldn't pass up this week's screening as it was, as you'll have guessed, Superman IV, a movie I have deep affection for, and am all too aware of its limitations.

Monday, August 24, 2015

Super Watch: Superman 2 - the Richard Donner Cut (2006)

By anyone's estimation, the production of Superman: The Movie and Superman II as co-developed/ co-produced movies was a bit of a trainwreck.  It's nothing less than a super-feat that the two movies which came from that effort went on to become world-wide classics beloved across at least two generations.



I actually care about and read about the Superman movie franchise, and I've read and heard so many different versions of what happened during the production of these movies that I have absolutely lost track of all the moving pieces.  But the short story is this: