Saturday, June 25, 2011

Signal Watch Watches: Night of the Hunter

This isn't exactly a review, but:  for quite a while I've meant to watch the Charles Laughton directed Night of the Hunter.  

The movie simply looks different from a lot of other movies of the day, with shots framed with a still-photographer's eye, unusual use of angles, overly stylized dialogue, and a general feeling of a stage play to the proceedings.  None of that is a criticism.  Quite the opposite.

don't mind me, I'm just here for a small bit a crazy
Robert Mitchum (Mitchum!) plays a psycho who isn't so much posing as a man-of-the-cloth as he is a deranged lunatic using his own made-up deal with God to cut a path across the Mid-West preaching by day and marrying widows (and murdering them) by night, then moving on to the next town.

Signal Watch Reads: Superman 712

Superman 712
Writer: Kurt Busiek
Penciller: Rick Leonardi
Inker: Jonathan Sibal
Colorist: Brad Anderson
Lettering: Comicraft
Associate Editor: Nachie Castro
Editor: Matt Idleson

Friday, June 24, 2011

Comics Legend and Great Gene Colan Merges with the Infinite

Artist Gene Colan did so much exceptional work over so many years, its hard to believe it was one guy.  He was also always much beloved within the industry.

I won't spend too much time eulogizing, but I will point you to this post pulling together thoughts from those working in comics, and this one from the AV Club which discusses Gene's career.

When I think of Gene, I think Marvel, which is funny because I know he did stuff all over the place.  But he's in there with Buscema, Romita, etc..  one of the people who created modern comics. 

We'll miss you, Mr. Colan. 

Here's a link to Mr. Colan's official site.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

JimD goes to Philly and delivers a huge addition to the Superman collection

Holy smokes, ya'll...

Can you read my mind?
Yup, JimD went to Wizard World Philly, stood in line on my behalf and got me a signed pic by none other than Ms. Margot Kidder.  Where I'm from, this is better than currency. That there is Lois Lane, people.

Thanks to JimD, I now have autographs from two of the women who played Lois, both Ms. Kidder and Ms. Noel Neill.

Really, Signal Corps, the rest of you are falling way, way behind.

So I try to be clever, what with the whole Superman/Kitty thing going on

So I had a doctor appointment today and was driving home (I'm fine, thanks for asking), and I suddenly remembered a comic I bought a few years ago "Superman: For the Animals".  And I thought I'd try some PhotoShop, but it turns out that if you don't use Photoshop on a regular basis, you totally forget how it works.  Whoops.

Anyway, here is my editorial.  Shut up.  I worked with what I had.

yes, I did this in mother@#$%ing MS Paint.  Shut up.

If I had to guess, this comic is no longer canon at DC Comics.

you're welcome, internet.  have fun playing with this image for the next few days.

Teh Kittehs will haz their revenge!!! (love this from @daveexmachina)

in response to yesterday's anti-kitty news:

From Dave Lartigue courtesy a retweet by @allisontype

I assume this would be Jeff the Cat approved. He was unavailable for comment.

Fun fact: Jeff the Cat is a big Ostrander Suicide Squad fan, btw.

If you'd told me in 1993 that people would be fighting over people wanting to be called "geek", I would have burned you for a witch

Apparently at some beauty pageant this week, the winner stood on stage and declared herself "a geek".  Specifically, she called out a few shows she liked including Game of Thrones (which is amaaaaaazing, but we'll discuss that later), and declared herself a "history geek".  And with that, it seemed, the meaning of the term "geek" that I knew and as I had once understood it, died a last and wheezing death before a televised audience's eyes.

I didn't see this, of course.  I didn't watch TV last night, and I don't watch beauty pageants when I do watch TV.  But I have the internets, and the internets were abuzz.

I want to refer you to an article I wrote in 2004 about the death of the phrase "bling", which was a not-dissimilar experience.  When white-bread moms are dolling up their upper-middle-class daughters, they may now use the phrase "bling", but the word has lost any weight or meaning. 

And, so, too, has the term "geek".

It sort of reminds me of when a very dear friend of mine from high school who's tastes ran toward Top 40 radio, top-rated sitcoms and whatever fashionable people were wearing, etc... (I love this person, and I genuinely am not trying to be critical, but I'm being honest here) jumped in the car with me during a winter break home from college, put in Counting Crows on the CD player, turned to me smiling and unironically announced "see, Ryan, now I'm alternative."  It was so adorable, I just wanted to give her a hug.

Today there's this whole weird argument raging on the internet, and it seems mostly to be happening in the Girl Geek quarters, especially amongst younger women (in their 20's, it seems) who are debating what constitutes a geek, and many are PROUD (like, fierce, angry proud) of overcoming their self-stated reject status and fighting for the right to have a community they may not have felt like they've had before.

So, when Miss America describes herself as a "geek", its causing a kerfuffle. It's the co-option of a hard-won name for a lot of folks out there, and the insinuation of oneself into a community that seems to feel that their rejection at the hands of the beautiful people in high school and then the self-identification of someone who looks exactly like those people who made their lives hell...?  It can be seen as an affront to everything they believe they've discovered, nurtured and built an identity around.

Yes, it sucks when you see the people you can't stand like your favorite band or are, say, using the Superman logo on the mudflaps on the same truck upon which they've dangled Truck Nutz.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

On that pulled Superman issue: My Mind is Officially BLOWN (teh kitties iz to blame)

I guess this is true.  I...  wow.  I don't even know what to do but report the story at Bleeding Cool.

Apparently Superman 712 wasn't dismissed because of Sharif the Muslim character.  It was shelfed because Superman starts the issue by saving a cat from a tree.

And this caused considerable problems with certain DC executives. They thought it was too sweet, too innocent, too anodyne, and not the kind of Superman stories they wanted to tell. The kitten up a tree image symbolised for them what was wrong with the Superman books. It became totemic in the office, standing for far more than it could possibly symbolise. It had to go.

Holy @#$%.  Well, this is Dan "Countdown" Didio and Jim "Wildstorm" Lee publishing and Bob "Clone Saga" Harras as Editor in Chief. 

At first I found this hilarious, then puzzling, and now I'm weirdly concerned for DC Comics.  What the @#$%, ya'll?

As Bleeding Cool also notes:
And a story that started with a kitten has been replaced by a story starring a dog. I’m wondering if that was Superman editorial trying to make a point.

Looking forward to new Superman comics where kitties are left to fend for their @#$%ing selves.

Switch on Superman 712 surprising, disappointing, possibly cowardly, but it gives us a full issue about Krypto!

Jill Pantozzi reports that the solicited story for Superman #712 will be replaced with a Kurt Busiek-penned story we'd all heard about a few years ago, but which never saw print as something got upturned in the middle of his run.

The story was very Krypto-centric, and I was eager to read it back then.  I'm just as eager today,  I find.  I loves me some Krypto The Super Dog.

Well, the story that is being pulled from Superman #712 was supposedly about Superman meeting up with a young superhero named "Sharif" (I am guessing an all-purpose Muslim fellow) who was born outside the US but uses his powers to defend Truth, Justice and the American Way.

You can read Pantozzi's article here.

Truthfully, this sounds much more like something vsetigial from the JMS outline and not the direction Roberson took the story once it was his. JMS was writing a story about Superman confronting the ills of America on the ground, Roberson is telling a story about Superman reconnecting with who he is, step by step.

If the chapter could be pulled out and it was distracting from the storyline that Roberson was telling, I'm cool with this. I don't find the idea of Superman working with a young Muslim controversial, but lord knows that there are plenty who will likely go completely xenophobic crazy over the idea (cough.... Fox News) now that Superman supposedly also renounced his citizenship.

As DC cruises to the new #1's, I am disappointed at what I suspect are the reasons here for the change (cowardice), but not all that surprised.  They do not want to rock the boat with so much at stake with the relaunch. 

I'm speculating a bit here, and I don't really know.  But I am absolutely positive it was not because Roberson didn't hand in an aces script. 

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

No, I haven't really thought much about the fact that Ultimate Spider-Man died/ is going to die/ whatever

I used to read Ultimate Spider-Man with great fervor, but before issue 100, I quit reading.  I have many, many volumes of Ultimate Spidey.  At one point, I looked forward to each new volume, and then one day I just sort of realized I wasn't into it anymore.  This was all before the big world-shattering event a couple years back, the name of which I don't remember.

The "Ultimate" comics were the intentional second-universe of Marvel books intended to, initially, kick-start the Marvel U for a new generation.  That didn't really happen (although one could argue the creative directions in the books significantly helped guide the mainstream Marvel U), and it mostly meant Marvel now has an "Earth 2" that they can muck with and use to kill characters when it seems "neat".  These books sell decently, but their star has certainly fallen in sales and "who gives a @#$% anymore?" in the comics geek-o-sphere.

A while back Marvel brass said they planned to start routinely killing characters because of what it did for sales.  They were maybe joking, but it sure didn't sound like it.  Plus, they do, in fact, keep killing characters because of what it does for sales.  It was when they made the announcement that I felt the last vestiges of my Marvel fandom slip away.  I'm now a fan of creators who go to work at Marvel, and I'm a fan of certain characters (see:  Rocket Raccoon), but I just don't care anymore about the company.

Anyhow, RHPT asked if I knew about the death of Ultimate Spider-Man/ Peter Parker occurring in the pages of Ultimate Spidey this week.

I knew it was coming thanks to the fact that Marvel called their months' long storyline "The Death of Ultimate Spider-Man", but I didn't know when it was going down as I don't buy Ultimate Spidey anymore and haven't since about 2007 or so. 

From the article:
Fans of Spider-Man need not worry much, though, because the Ultimates imprint is separate from Marvel's bigger universe. Whatever fate may befall Ultimate Spider-Man won't count in the pages of the other series, including Amazing Spider-Man.
So, there's another reason I don't take much notice.

I am sure the death is story driven, etc...  but I'm just not involved as a reader or fan.  So, aside from basically knowing Ultimate Spidey is dead as a point of trivia, its not anything that I'm worked up about.

A few items about DC Comics - newsstand, credits on Green Lantern film, etc...

Comics coming back to the newsstand

Marvel got some ink Monday for mentioning that they are going to be working with retail chains to get their comics back on newsstands.  That's a great move, and its something I've been hoping for for a long, long time.  No doubt as info comes out about the DC Relaunch and marketing efforts associated with the relaunch (which really means very little until sales roll in), Marvel is scrambling to make sure they're part of the newsfeed, too, and don't appear to be lagging.  And, you know what?  They're not.

Yes, they were ahead on the iPad thing, for whatever that's been worth.  But surely the "day and date" digital stuff from DC put a bee in their bonnet, especially after the $2.99 fiasco.

But you may remember this Bleeding Cool post from June 3rd of DC and Marvel books sharing the shelf at Barnes and Noble. Those are floppies, not trades.

DC is about to go on a media blitz advertising the fact that their comics are on sale online and in comic shops, but...  you don't do a wide canvas national TV ad campaign unless you're putting out a product people can buy damn near everywhere, not at $2.99 a pop.

Green Lantern Creators not named

In all the hubbub about the box office for Green Lantern and "mixed"* reviews, the media hasn't noticed that the creators of Green Lantern aren't exactly enjoying the celebratory spotlight of Stan Lee or the up-front credits of Bob Kane and Siegel and Shuster on their character's movies.

Noah Kuttler's discussion of why this is important.  

also, Noah's review and then one from Gerry.

*read: poor

So, my folks just gave me my high school yearbooks...

There's nothing to show you the trail of wreckage you and your peers have made out of your lives like sifting through the high school yearbook.  My folks are moving to Austin this fall, and so they are in the process of clearing out the old homestead back in Spring, TX.

The yearbook is full of faces and names I haven't thought about in the 18 years since me and good 'ol Klein Oak High parted ways.  Old friends, old flames, lovely well-wishes from people I don't remember, pictures of people who I don't recall, people who I only remember horrible and/ or embarrassing things about, etc...

But as this site is 90% comics and superheroes and 10% confessional, I thought I'd post a few photos.

Some context...

These are all from my Senior Year (Class of '93 RULES!!!!   WHOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!).  That year I was in drama club where I did about three plays, I had a great little red '83 Honda Accord named The Badger, and had some pretty great friends, some of whom pop up here from time to time.  I did not post their pictures here, but totally would if they gave me permission.

The Drama Club thing is important, because it'll help explain a bit about why I popped up doing silly things.

I have carried my shame long enough, and now I share it with you.
Let's see here.  Dancing?  Check.  Gold hat?  Check.  Singing showtunes?  Check.  Wearing bootleg Jane's Addiction concert shirt?  Check.

Monday, June 20, 2011

A quick catch-up

It was a movie-riffic weekend. 

On Friday I saw Green Lantern.  Saturday was Troll Hunter.  Sunday was Super 8.  I think I liked Super 8 the best of the three, and all were fluffy summer faire. 

Friday I spent finally catching up on some sleep and reading.  Saturday...  well, who can account for it?  Saturday night was lazy, but Jamie wasn't feeling good and my foot is giving me issues again, so I needed to stay off of it. 

Today was Father's Day, and I did spend some time this weekend prepping my Father's Day post to The Admiral.  We met up Sunday for brunch up in North Austin, and had a lovely time. 

This evening we were supposed to meet up with Jamie's folks to take them to Super 8, but Jamie's folks were flying in from Mississippi and their plane was delayed in Dallas.  So...  we will need to tag up with Judy & Dick sometime this week.*  Judy & Dick were off seeing Judy's relation who turned 100 years this weekend.  100.  That is completely amazing.  When she was born, WWI hadn't yet happened.  The Civil War still had living veterans and widows.  She would have been in her 20's when the first issue of Superman hit the stands.  Mind-boggling.

I am ready for a weekend with less to do.  I haven't even made it to Barton Springs quite yet, and that is unprecedented.  I may even try to avoid going to the cinema next weekend. 

Hope you guys had a good one.

*An oddity of the Alamo, you buy your tickets ahead of time to guarantee seating.  So we didn't really have a choice and needed to go.

Kickstart a Horror Movie - become a producer, just like that!

Philly based comic guy Johnny Zito is trying to get his indie horror film Alpha Girls up and running. And I think you people can help.  But, no, you won't get a producer credit, so forget that dream right now.

Learn about the movie here or watch this video:

If you've never heard of Kickstarter, its a web-based service that helps artists crowd-fund their projects. Probably the most famous of these projects was the Robocop Statue that we all decided was a great idea for the city of Detroit.

If you'd like to Kickstart a movie and try your hand at being listed as a supporter/ producer/ whatever... sign up here.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

I added a "Read More" feature

I've figured out from some comments that not everybody has noticed the "Read More" button that I've begun using.  If you're under the impression my posts have gotten a whole lot shorter of late... HA!

No.  I was aware that the length of posts made the front page hard to navigate, so I've added a "Read More" feature which will launch you off to the full article.  In a typical front page post, it'll be easy to find the "Read More" button.

Got that, Jason?
Yes, once you've clicked that button, the wonders of a typical Signal Watch post and the 1500 words I've spilled about why I (mistakenly) believe some random, idiotic superhero business is important will reveal themselves to you.

Anyway, we hope this will make your reading and browsing a bit easier.

A Father's Day Tribute to: The Admiral

The Admiral's icy gaze of disapproval.  Man, if I had a nickel...
Just look at the fella in the picture. Pity him, for he has endured no small amount of nonsense from yours truly.  Good guy, The Admiral.  Puts up with a lot.