Friday, June 3, 2011

A Quick Catch-Up

Oh, all the things I could be posting on.  But:

1)  I've been fighting allergies the past few days, and haven't the energy to ponder much more about comics.
2)  Work has been particularly busy as next week I am assisting with the Open Repositories 2011 conference here in sunny Austin, Texas.  And if you've never helped with a conference - you should keep right on not doing that.  Its really hectic (but can be fun).

I mention the conference because either I will have a ton of downtime next week and you'll hear from me too much, or NO downtime, and you'll hear from me very little. 

You can't live in Austin and not talk about allergies.  Everybody who lives here develops them, and I finally developed mine in 1999 or so, forgot about them while I was in Arizona, and came back to learn that I don't get along great with oak (it makes me itch) and whatever is going on right now, which give me super-fun drainage and makes me feel kind of lowly.

So I had also forgotten that my body chemistry thinks Claritin-D is some sort of hallucinogen or something because yesterday at work was sort of a loss.  I mean, yeah, I was there, but mostly in body.  I am kind of curious what emails I sent and what I may have verbally agreed to.  I'll take a few Benadryl before I go to bed so I can sleep, but mostly I just hope that the allergy stuff lessens by Monday when I have to be at work by 7:00 AM.

I did make it to Austin Books and Comics yesterday, and the shop was a bit sedate.  Wishing to stir up trouble, I asked the cashier if it had been crazy with the DC news, and she said people had talked about it, but that people seem mostly just interested in hearing the details.  That's probably good news.  Yes, I think we all had a bit of a "the sky is falling" moment at first, but when you look at the chance to jump on a new book, well, that's genuinely fun.

The trick is for DC to make sure the comics are actually worth reading after that September spike.

Considering DC's multiple formats, I haven't decided yet how I'll consume the new DC Comics.  I'll continue buying floppies of all Superman-related titles, certainly.  And I may pick up a few series like Firestorm just because, hey, Firestorm is NEAT.  The rest I'll have to choose between in-store, online (bear in mind I have no iPad), trades and not at all.  I'll have out the old calculator and make some decisions here in a few weeks.

Word on the street is that the new X-Men movie may be okay.  I won't be able to see it this weekend, but I will take time to make it out and see X-Men: The Promise of January Jones in a White Queen Costume as soon as possible.

Anyhow, all this allergies and work have made me a tired boy, so I'm off to bed.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Rise of the Planet of the Apes - Full Trailer

I can't promise I won't just keep talking about the DC Comics Reboot

A few things I want to ponder out loud about the DCU reboot.

1.  So, things are looking bad for the Superman lawsuit, and one can imagine DC is working to shore up their version of Superman for when the Siegels run off with Action Comics #1.  Its possible the Siegels could include items such as Superman's red trunks and boots as part of what they own, and that explains Superman's visual overhaul.  They will not own Lex, the Daily Planet, Jimmy Olsen or pretty much anything but a Superman who jumps over buildings and who came from outerspace and who gets emasculated by Lois Lane when he's Clark Kent.  I think.  And I suspect DC is getting ready for a "this is their Superman, and this is our Superman" scenario, knowing that new readers will likely go with slick new Superman, not one that will be more or less a sort of curiosity of a vintage era of comic-making.

Its going to be very complicated, but I wonder what the WB lawyers are telling DC to do with their version of Superman so they can project to January 1, 2013 if negotiations fail.

And, yes, I totally believe the Siegels are getting bad advice from their attorney.  But I'll probably give their Superman a shot, too.

Noir Watch: "Touch of Evil" at Paramount w/ @PlacesLost was a good/ horrible time

Man, Touch of Evil is a complicated movie.  Charlton Heston is supposedly a Mexican narco agent, Orson Welles acts and directs and looks like he's about to keel over in every shot, Marlene Dietrich shows up as a tired fortune teller/ good-time girl and looks pretty damn good, Janet Leigh gets menaced, and for some reason Zsa Zsa Gabor is in the movie for about twenty seconds.

In this film Heston plays what he does best:  Charlton Heston.  But with a mustache.
I watched Touch of Evil for the first time around 1998 or 1999, likely on VHS from "I Love Video" on Airport, and what I really recall is that I found the scene in which Janet Leigh is menaced alone in her motel room so upsetting, I turned the movie off and went and did other things for a bit and came back to finish the movie later.  I suppose as I'd seen the movie before, I knew what was coming and it was a bit easier to manage as a viewer, but its still some fairly powerful stuff.

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

I am still totally obsessing over the DCU reboot thing

Quite literally yesterday, whilst brushing my teeth, I was doing some mental math in my head and thinking about how long DC Entertainment President Diane Nelson has been at DC, and that, in that time, she really hadn't done a whole lot to change things.  Silly me.   Of course, the news came down today that DC was going to be making the most significant changes I can think of in its 75 year publishing history.  

Diane Nelson is not a comics fan.  She is, however, the head of DC Comics and is the person responsible for taking the work of JK Rowling and turning it into a franchise that's given the Harry Potter author an income somewhat close to that of a small nation.

Your new Justice League lacks a Martian and John Stewart, but is basically okay

So, DC is seemingly doing a hard re-boot on the ENTIRE DCU

I have absolutely no idea how this is going to work, but it looks like DC Comics just announced a few minutes ago that they will be starting their entire line over with all new #1 issues set in a DCU not of the current continuity.

Announced here at USA Today.

1)  All new #1's
2)  I think its safe to assume we just moved to an all new Earth for the DCU and the stories we all have been reading since 1986 just got wrapped up and put on the shelf
3)  The reboot is going to take everyone back to a younger, earlier point
4)  Same day online delivery of ongoing content to DC's online store
5)  New costumes for many heroes, including SUPERMAN (I never thought I'd see the day)
6)  It's 1986 all over again
7)  I think we can assume this is one way to wrap up the Lois/ Superman relationship without a One More Day resolution
8)  I have to appreciate the bold move by DC to jump start interest
9)  I think they're going to lose tens of thousands of readers and go back to old continuity within a year
10)  No word yet on if old continuity will continue or if numbering will be preserved in titles like Action and Detective.  Basically - is DC trying an Ultimates Style redo line wide and keeping any old titles, or...?  I have no idea.
11)  I am completely stunned.  Not that I didn't think it was a possibility given the nature of Flashpoint, but...  Wow, DC...

More updates as events warrant.

Something must have slipped, because DC was going to make a big announcement on June 11th, and word must have been too close to leaking.

If their Fiscal Year ends on August 31, this is one hell of a way to change the numbers for FY 2011-12.

The Weekend That Was

The weekend was pretty great in a lazy weekend sort of way.

Friday night Jamie and I stayed in as we do every Friday.  As you may know, Jamie is in dialysis, which she does three times per week.  This procedure does not require her to run through an obstacle course, but it is tiring to have all the blood removed from one's body, run through a blood car wash and replaced.  She does errands and chores all week, especially on her off-days, but by Friday night, the batteries are usually running low.  So, its mutually agreed upon that Friday is not usually a day for hitting the local discotheque or working on our relay races.

We stayed in and watched a PBS American Experience episode about J Robert Oppenheimer, father of the atomic bomb.  The doc was less about the development of the bomb and more how someone basically apolitical was destroyed by associations in his personal life after World War II and the Red Scare had gripped the American psyche.

We also watched How to Train Your Dragon, and, yes, people with kids, it was as good as you've been saying.  Very cute movie.

After Jamie had retired, I watched more of Mega Shark vs., Giant Octopus than I intended to watch, and if you see one Lorenzo Lamas vehicle this year, ladies and germs, may I recommend this one in which he appears to actually be enjoying himself.  Actually EVERYBODY looks like they're having a good time, especially Debbie Gibson, who plays some sort of scientist. 

Saturday we met up with my folks and Jason, all of whom decided they wanted to see Thor.  On a second viewing, I mostly enjoyed it all over again, especially wondering what The KareBear would think about these shenanigans, but she either genuinely liked the movie or genuinely liked Thor actor Chris Hemsworth's winning smile and inhuman build.

We also went to have dinner with the family and the ever-affable Steans-Clan-Auxillary-Member, DK.  DK is really pretty great, and I don't see her enough.

Sunday was Day of the Apes at the Alamo, and I've already written about that excursion (all five Apes movies in one sitting).

Sunday evening on Twitter, PaulT and I were discussing a possible next marathon, and he suggested a Super-marathon.  And somehow it came to be that Paul invited writer Chris Roberson of Superman, Elric, etc.. fame, and that started a whole mess.  So, anyway, more details on that this fall, should it materialize (I have my doubts).

Today boiled down to "prepare to have a little cookout", "cookout with Matt & Nicole" and "hanging out on the front porch with Matt & Nicole".  Not a bad set-up.

All weekend I've been wrestling with Dell Datasafe Online, a service I pay for that backs up my computer on Der Kloud. A combination of factors occurred in the past month, and I haven't had a successful backup in some time.  So, as a Dell/ Windows user, I have been desperately trying to resolve all issues myself so I am not put on the phone with an 18 year old on the other side of the planet who thinks the solution to everything is to reformat hard drives.

I believe its now working, but as I added a few dozen GBs worth of iTunes to my laptop, its also moving very, very slowly as it pushes those bits up to Dell.  And whenever it messes up, I have to start it over.  It is also, as near as I can tell, going to take about 3 days to complete.  I think I'm doing something wrong, but their documentation is absolutely awful.

Anyway, I rarely do these "so that was the weekend" posts, so deal with it.  I already wrote, like, three posts over the weekend, so enjoy those.

Monday, May 30, 2011

Cinema Corps: Wednesday - "Touch of Evil" at The Paramount

On Wednesday June 1 at 7:00, catch a noir classic with Charlton Heston (hey!  More Cheston for me and Si!) and Orson Welles in Touch of Evil.  You can stay around, and on the same ticket, watch Welles' F for Fake, the movie I've never been able to watch to the end.  Srsly.  I can't deal with it.

True Story:  Touch of Evil is so frikkin' creepy, I literally turned it off the first time I watched it, went away for an hour and then came back to it.

Also, it stars Charlton Heston as a Mexican guy, because, apparently, there were no Mexican or Hispanic actors in 1958.  That is a scientific fact.*

But it is a good movie!  A really good movie.  So, join us!

*or some mid-range racism.  Slow clap, Hollywood.

Memorial Day

Here at the Signal Watch, we salute all those who currently serve, those who ever served and those who gave up their lives for the protection of the USA.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

By the way, there's a Planet of the Apes comic out, and its really pretty good

In the midst of all this Planet of the Apes movie hullabaloo, I'd be remiss if I did not mention the current Planet of the Apes comic (from Boom!) which saw its second issue released last week. 

I can almost hear the Jerry Goldsmith music in my head
The two names on the cover are Daryl Gregory (writer) and Carlos Magno (artist), and I tip my hat to both.  I'm not overly familiar with either person's work, but both obviously referenced the heck out of the Apes movies, but set the comic in a period not covered in the movie series explicitly.  Doing some math, the suggestion is that this story occurs shortly after the framing sequence of Battle for the Planet of the Apes, or roughly 600 years after the main action in Battle

In just two short issues, Gregory has managed to frame his world within the grand scope of the Apes movies, set up multiple characters, the political situation, and reference the transitions occurring that would need to occur for the state of things between (chronologically) Battle and Planet of the Apes.  I'm impressed.

Artist Magno's style fits the material very well, with the rough-hewn world of the Apes and Humans pulling up a new civilization with hints of the old.  His faces are pretty great, and hew well to the style of the Ape makeup from the movies but using the freedom given to him by the pen to get anatmoy up to a grander scale on gorillas, etc...

I confess to some confusion at the... uh... very human anatomy of chimpanzee Alaya, but what I had dismissed as a Ren-Faire style to her dress actually makes quite a bit of sense after watching multiple hours worth of Apes movies.

Anyhow, this can't be a full recommendation as this is only the second issue, but I'm enjoying the series thus far.  Other Apes fans (even non-comic readers) should check it out.  Its a great bit of expansion on the film series and I really like Daryl Gregory's writing.

5 Planet of the Apes Movies in about 9 hours

Well, goodness.

What can you say about the Planet of the Apes Pentilogy that hasn't already been said?

I love these flicks, enough so that in 2001-ish, Target had the original Planet of the Apes for sale on DVD on a big display with the Statue of Liberty and everything, and I caused a pretty serious ruckus in the video department when I re-enacted this scene from the original POTA.

Like Nova, Jamie remained silent.

SO, this morning I arrived at the Alamo Ritz at 9:35 this morning to see Planet of the Apes unspool in glorious 35mm on the big, big screen.  And all of its 4 sequels.

Talking Heads

The video for Burning Down the House was probably the poppiest moment the band Talking Heads ever achieved.  The video got regular play on MTV, became the band's only Top 10 hit, and was where I remember first hearing their music.  The video hit in 1983, which would have made me about 8, and still very excited about whatever showed up on MTV, be it Tina Turner, Billy Idol or the J. Geils Band.

However, I really liked that tune.  Its a pretty darn good rock song, and I don't know if I parse the video now any better than I did 28 years ago, but I did like that there seemed to be something to figure out and I suspected it had something to do with the band members wrestling some inner-something.

We ALSO project David Byrne's face onto the side of our house
But, as a kid I didn't care so much about what the art was trying to say so much as the fact that I liked these people who all dressed in white suits, apparently weren't too worried about glamour or attitude and had a kick-ass blonde on bass.  Even then I thought that was unusual and nifty.