Saturday, June 11, 2011

DC Relaunch, outreach and the rebuilding of The World's Greatest Heroes

So, I am told that the titles we've seen til now are the complete deck of 52.  I'm a bit surprised to hear this as I hadn't been counting, and I figured we'd hear more next week.

It doesn't feel like a particularly huge change from the DCU of recent history for a longtime DC reader, but any rebooting will most certainly leave many longtime fans feeling put-off (see: 95% of the commentary at  The Superman, Wonder Woman and Flash books seem to be the most changed, but I'd make an argument that in doing some remodeling on this house that's seen so many changes and tenants, DC may find that there's been a lovely original wood floor under the carpet all along.

No, I'm not thrilled with every decision made, and I won't follow even half of the DC titles within a few months of their launch, but I agree with a few things:

Friday, June 10, 2011

DCNu Superman titles - Nothing makes me nervous like getting what I want

Two things:

1)  I don't know if DC intended to release the info about the nu-Superman titles today, but it sounds like some folks poked around the DC servers until they found what they believed to be the Superman Family covers.  The images got out, and everybody had posted them by the time I went to bed last night. I saw the images but didn't discuss as it wasn't official yet from DC.
2)  As a look at my coffee table on any given day will attest, I buy all the Superman titles.  That certainly won't change under DC's nu direction.  At least not for the time being.

The announcement was released this afternoon.  A few bits:
1)  Truthfully, I'm disappointed there's neither a Superman Family book nor any hint that Steel is anywhere to be seen.
2)  The descriptions are barely that, and very light on detail.

Nothing is less edgy than things which tell you they are edgy: The latest batch of DCNu

I'm trying to keep my natural tendency to roll my eyes at anything labeled "EXTREME" keep me from reading the actual descriptions of these books.  I only briefly delved into the Wildstorm universe, enjoying The Authority for a spell until I felt like the joke had been beaten to death and was now doing a Weekend at Bernie's.

Today's solicits are an odd mix, and its clear that DC is shooting everything through the pipe before they unveil their Superman sleight.  But that's fine.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

DCnu Reveals: Young Justice-ish type stuff

I don't have time for this, but I'm doing it anyway.

Today's batch of DCNu releases was comprised of a bunch of titles centering on DC's teen heroes.  Here's the scoop.

-Legion Lost  Time lost, that is!  Because this worked so well in Countdown, a squad of Legionnaires will be lost in our present time.  Fabian Nicieza writing (who I realize - I don't think I've read his work in a decade, so no opinion) and Pete Woods, who I like, on art.  The lineup looks cool, though.  I...  will probably pick this up and see how I like it.

-Legion of Superheroes - I'd lie if I said I thought THIS was the change that would get me to quit reading Legion.  Right now I think a court injunction will be what stops me buying Legion no matter what's going on in the main Legion book.  Its a sickness.  I actually really like Paul Levitz's writing, so there.

-Teen Titans - REBOOT! 

ha ha ha...  Okay, roll out the REAL costumes now.

I don't know who half of these characters are (but if that's the new Miss Martian on the bottom corner, that's hilarious).  And for some reason Robin's new outfit is getting a lot of flack, but...  man, that's nothing compared to the look on Superboy.  That is awful.  I thought the jeans were kind of silly.  Anyway, I'll say I never thought the Red Robin costume looked good anywhere but in Ross's paints in Kingdom Come, and I find the 90's-pouch stuff on Red Robin far sillier than the cape.*

I have no thoughts on the creative team.  I dunno. 

Static Shock #1 - You're taking him out of Dakota?  Why?  Anyway, this is a likely title I'll sample.

Hawk and Dove - Oh, man, DC.  Its like telling me I get to eat a delicious turkey sandwich, but there's going to be someone smoking cloves at the table.  I like writer Sterling Gates' work on Supergirl, but I have a hard time with Rob Liefield's work.  I know he's got supporters and detractors, but I don't see me picking this up.

*seriously.  We're harping on this when nobody will redesign Hawk's should doo-hickeys?  I think this is one of those cases of "if we hadn't grown up looking at Batman's ears and cape, we might think it looked kind of dumb, too".

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Noir Watch: The First issue of Brubaker's "Criminal: Last of the Innocent" is great comics

Confession time:  As weird as it might seem, somehow I didn't get past the second issue of Brubaker's creator-owned series, Criminal.  I don't even remember what happened, because I don't recall having ill-feelings toward the series.  I suspect that I always planned to pick it up in TPB, and then just... didn't.  Likely because its being published by Marvel, and I don't really scour the Marvel solicits too hard these days (oddly, my Marvel purchases are limited to only a few things, including Brubaker's Captain America, so its not like I've had an embargo on his work).

Brubaker's series, as I understand it, tells a new story with new characters for each storyline.  Gien the nature of crime movies and stories, it seems really how it should be.  Different tales from the mind of a guy who knows his territory. 

Yes, if you're going to evoke pulp-noir nostalgia, start with the cover

DC Comics and magical thinking

Well, no Superman #1 news today.

Instead we got a listing of new DC titles with a supernatural bent.

-Swamp Thing is Swamp Thing.  Written by Scott Snyder, this may be the reboot Swampy has needed since the conclusion of the series back when I was still in college.
-Justice League Dark.  Truthfully, I don't know if I like this idea a whole lot and I don't like the name at all (we've discussed the use of the tag-on of "Dark" plenty around here).
John Constantine, Deadman, Shade the Changing Man and Madame Xanadu.  No Zatanna?  No Klarion?  No Dr. Occult? No Detective Chimp or Rex the Wonder Dog?

Flat out, I don't buy that Constantine would join a "team", let alone a "Justice League" or, especially, a "Justice League Dark".  But I do want to see what they're thinking.
Pictured: the turmoil JLD faces when they try to find a place everyone can agree on for dinner

Monday, June 6, 2011

and then there was the time Austin made a theater for people who are deadly @#$%ing serious about movies (and some people got upset)

Anyone who reads this blog knows I love The Alamo Drafthouse chain of theaters.  I pay a LOT of money to see movies there, I scour their calendar for events and films to look forward to, and I treat going to The Alamo like a privilege.

Yes, I love being able to go see Big Trouble in Little China on the big screen with a newly struck 35mm print. That's going to mean something to some of you as something to cherish and value, and to some of you, I'm sure you were cool with VHS tapes and pan & scan.  Fine.  Whatever, I'm a snob about things that you don't care about.  I'm not judging, except that you're enjoying an inferior experience and missing the original vision of the filmmakers, but, you know...  that's cool.

Austin isn't the only city with a population of like-minded folk large enough to support a 9 hour Planet of the Apes marathon, but we are the city that got it.  We got the ARCHIVAL prints, straight from the studio (Fox, right?).  We're lucky enough to be one of the few cities where projectionists actually do reset digital projectors to the correct settings, to the point where I didn't even know this was an issue until I read Roger Ebert's column on the topic and Tim League's discussion of how The Alamo does it.  Because somehow this is a town that takes this shit seriously.

Some brief Batman chat

Let's get back to talking about something I'm not sure people care about more or less than business practices of Big Pharma and the challenges of rolling technology and good pedagogy into the classroom.

Today DC Comics rolled out all kinds of news about what the Batman titles will look like after the DC reshuffling (I'm not calling it a reboot anymore) happens in September.

Some highlights:
-the only "Batman" will be Bruce Wayne.  I endorse this plan given the business needs pushing the reboot.
-Dick Grayson will be back in his Nightwing togs, but now in red instead of blue.
-Batman Inc. is on hiatus for a bit, but is coming back
-Sigh.  Jason Todd survived the reboot.  And he's getting his own title.  X-Treme Heroes or some such.
-Catwoman will have a comic.
-Birds of Prey will exist without Oracle, Huntress, Zinda and likely me as a reader.
-No sign yet of fan-favorite Tim Drake, who has been the burger-shop-friendly "Red Robin" for the past year.
-It appears the role of Robin will be filled by Damian Wayne
-A fellow who appeared in Batman, Inc., Batwing, will get his own title.  I think I drew something similar in one of my sketchbooks in college when I was pondering Batman. Only mine looked more like a bunch of squiggles and had grappling cannons on his arm and likely was very, very angry.

Uh...  we do this Batman thing at NIGHT, sir

Higher Ed, Moving Technology and Trying not to pick fights with Lauren

Before we begin, two things:

1)  Go read Lauren's post. 
2)  I agree with a very large chunk of what Lauren says and/ or brings up from the article she's citing.

I worded something funny in my response to Lauren's post via Twitter, and I am afraid she took it as me saying "this will never happen" or "you're wrong", neither of which was my intention.  I love what Lauren has to say, and unlike what you do see occasionally (ie: "how do we turn all these college classes into video games?", which has been asked to me before) the ideas make sense. Its mixing the technological with the sociological in a way that understands the dynamics of a bad situation and proposing plausible solutions.

Now, what started the great Twitter debate of 2011 was that I made a comment about cost and culture as barriers. What was I on about?

Some background:  Of my 13 years since graduating, I've spent more than ten working in higher education (and a year in the employ of higher ed prior to graduation).  In that time, I have always been employed in offices which have been responsible for rolling out new technology to universities, faculty, researchers and students (going back to when pages were written in this stuff called HTML), several years getting courses online in all shapes and forms, and now working in Digital Libraries (or, as I wish to re-configure it:  Research Networks).  So let me share a few things.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Nuvigil Radio Ad: Pitching a world in which nobody ever heard of coffee

I am not one to say that a medication can't help you out.  Heck, the meds I'm on keep me from going on a merciless rampage through the city on a daily basis.

The other day, driving home from work, I heard an ad for a pill called "Nuvigil" which pitched itself as a solution for "Work Shift Disorder".   I don't often call shenanigans on other people's medical woes, but Nuvigil sounds like, dare I say?, a bunch of malarkey.  Or at least what its supposedly treating.

Now, even according to Nuvigil's own site, "Work Shift Disorder" seems to be an issue striking people who work the graveyard shift, which is in conflict with the normal pattern of sleeping at night and being up during the day.  While its not hard to agree that for those whose clocks don't adjust well, feeling logy on the job can't be much fun, but last I checked, we've had a solution for this problem for a few hundred years.  Its called "coffee" and "adjusting your schedule".