Saturday, December 10, 2011

SW Advent Calendar December 10

This evening we host our annual Holiday Party.*  Were we only so lucky as to have Enemy Ace come flying in out of the snow to party crash as he did in the story "Silent Night" from Christmas with the Superheroes #2.

*you're invited.  Come on by!

Friday, December 9, 2011

SW Advent Calendar December 9

...why is Santa so HUGE?  And shouldn't Wonder Woman put on some pants if she's going to sit down in the snow?

So, so many questions...

Superman Family Kids' Comic Coming?

Well, this looks three kinds of promising.

Free Comics Book Day is announcing their upcoming titles for this spring/ summer, and included in the "Silver" book announcements, I read the following:

DC Nation Super Sampler / Superman Family Adventures Flip-Book
(W) Art Baltazar, Franco, Various (A) Dario Brizuela, Art Baltazar, Various
This super sampler is the place to check outGreen Lantern Adventures and Young Justice, two sensational new comic series from the DC Kids line based on Warner Bros. Animation’s popular Green Lantern: The Animated Series and Young Justice, featured on the upcoming DC Nation programming block on Cartoon Network in 2012. The sampler includes two exciting, all-new stories that readers of all ages will enjoy. Plus, get a sneak-peek at the brand-new Superman Family Adventures monthly series from the Tiny Titans creative team!

Let me pull out the relevant/ exciting part.
Plus, get a sneak-peek at the brand-new Superman Family Adventures monthly series from the Tiny Titans creative team!
What?!  That could be AWESOME!

So maybe this summer we're getting a kid's version of The Superman Family?  Well, count me in.

You can see Superman in the little bullet there towards the bottom of the cover.

It's a nice little surprise in my day.

Garth Ennis's "Battlefields"

A comic that's gotten sadly too little conversation, in my opinion, has been Garth Ennis' war comic, Battlefields.

Ennis is famous for Preacher, Hitman, Punisher: Welcome Back Frank, The Boys, Adventures in the Rifle Brigade and other over-the-top comics adventure stories aimed squarely at the 17-and-up crowd.  Yes, he knows how to a work a good de-nosing, be-facing, entrail gouge and other such entertaining topics into his work.  And, I admit, when I'm in the mood, I absolutely love that stuff.

But a number of years back now, Ennis did a two-issue, prestige format Enemy Ace story that more or less set up my current fascination with the character (especially after learning Pratt's work on War Idyll and the original Kanigher and Kubert work was so astoundingly good), and I'd highly recommend it as a good "here's a comic without superheroes" comic.

He went on to write some great stuff in his War Stories comics at DC, and, again, I'd recommend.

But a couple years back he started a new banner at Dynamite where he could tell short, 3 issue stories, called Battlefields.

Truthfully, I'm not sure if I've discussed his work on Battlefields here before or not.  But it bears discussion.

Unlike most of comic-dom that plays with facts, refuses to do so much as a Google search on even the historical figures or events they're talking about, or grossly misrepresents facts in order to "tell the story", Ennis clearly does his research.  He clearly knows his topics, from New Zealand army bombers to British tank commands during WWII.  And on top of that, he tells brilliant, human stories in the grinder that is war.  Sometimes sentimental, sometimes less so, but never with the varnish of a John Wayne war movie, nor the melodramatic flair of Platoon, Ennis actually carves out a pretty straightforward way of relating his stories, and that makes the tragedy surrounding the characters all the more grim.

If you get a chance, at least pick up that first collection.  Its of 9 issues, 3 separate stories on 3 separate fronts, and all chillingly well told.  I'm pretty sure it'll mean you go ahead and pick up Volume 2.

While Ennis most definitely gets a nod of respect, there's so much more internet ink spilled (and I suspect sales are much higher on) his books like The Boys.  And that's great, but its missing what a tremendously talented and versatile (and damned smart) writer Ennis really can be.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

SW Advent Calendar December 8

Dang, yo!  Batman gets all the cool presents.

Then again, Jamie doesn't like how I drive as it is.

Jerry Robinson Merges with The Infinite

Comics artist and creator of Batman's arch-nemesis, The Joker, Jerry Robinson has merged with The Infinite.

There are fact-filled eulogies and appreciations drifting in from all over the internet, so I'd rather link to better-written and better-researched articles and eulogies.

From CBR

From Newsarama

Jerry lived to the age of 89, but in his youth was part of the comics explosion, working side by side with the pioneers and greats of industry.  He was also a comics historian, and advocate for creator's rights.

With the production of The Dark Knight as a major film (and featuring The Joker), Robinson was given emeritus status at DC Comics, and has enjoyed a close relationship with the company the last few years.

Another of the great ones has passed.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

So, someone has made an all new Three Stooges movie

...I find this idea bizarre.

Yes, the Three Stooges were characters portrayed by actors.  I do not labor under any illusions that the three Stooges really went about poking one another in the eye, slap-sticking each other and pulling one another's nose, no matter how totally awesome that illusion might be.  But its also, for this human, impossible to separate the characters from the actors.  Hell, the Stooges didn't just hire some new guy to play Curly.  They replaced him with Shemp.

Which opens the door to the whole "Fake Shemp" discussion, which is sort of morbidly fascinating.

Now, according to my intensive Stooges research, the Stooges struggled for years with their third stooge, and it could be said that somehow that makes them all fungible.  Hell, after Curly and Larry died, Moe did continue on with Shemp, then Joe, then Curly Joe.  Then a replacement Larry.  Then, when Moe died, an "all new Stooges" formed from the replacements, but who the hell remembers those guys?

the classic formula

The point is - Moe, Larry and Curly are so tightly bound between actors and characters, bringing them back in 2012 with new faces and actors trying to emulate the original formula seems ill-conceived.

In all honestly, I originally thought when I heard there was a movie about the Three Stooges, it would be a biopic about the men behind the eye-poking.  It wasn't until I watched the new trailer that I learned otherwise.

I don't think you'd see a new Little Tramp movie.  Or a new Marx Bros. movie.  Laurel & Hardy.  Abbott & Costello.  A new Lucy TV show, etc...  And while, yeah, we'd all like to see some new Stooges movies*, if none suddenly surface, I think its okay to just live with the many, many shorts and features they released.

Also - these guys, all talented, just aren't the Stooges.  They're guys approximating what the Stooges refined every day of their lives for 30 years.  The timing looks off, and it looks like half-realized impersonations of well known characters more than, well, I guess just BEING Moe Howard

I guess its a kids' movie, but given current trends in parenting, I'm hard-pressed to believe that the eye-poking, face-slapping antics I enjoyed as a youth will go over well today.

All this said - I'm not a huge Stooges fan.  I don't dislike the Three Stooges, but it isn't something I watched all that often as a kid, and they just didn't air much anymore by the time I was an adult.  I appreciate that they have a cult following (you know who you are), and I am certain someone is thrilled to license the image of their dead relatives to get this movie made, but I'm not sure how this is going to work.

Prove me wrong, new Stooges movie directed by the ever-increasingly-dull Farrelly Brothers.

*your mileage will vary on that sentiment

SW Advent Calendar December 7

For Randy, who (as discussed) is like my personal Shatner.

Happy Birthday to The Dug


Today is the birthday of The Dug, brother of League-wife, Jamie.

I'm sure today is important for other reasons, too
Happy B-Day, Dug.  I won't reveal how old you are, even if I get punched in the stomach forty times.  Why, if forty angry badgers were biting my shins, I'd never say how old you'd become.  For forty days and forty nights I could resist questioning that would reveal your true age.

Happy B-Day, Dug.  May it be contain the fun of 40 Nukies.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

The Mass Delusion of The Muppets

I was watching the National Tree Lighting Ceremony on PBS, and First Lady Michelle Obama took to the stage to read 'Twas the Night Before Christmas to a bunch of kids.  No sooner had she sat down and pulled up the book than who should pop up beside her but Kermit the Frog?

The wife of the President of the United States of America turned, greeted Kermit, and off they went reading the story together.  Because, you know, talking frogs make total sense.

Mrs. Obama does not know Kermit is a member of the Green Party.
And it struck me, its pretty awesome that we've all agreed that it doesn't matter where or when The Muppets show up, we're all going to act like that is not a sock puppet, we're going to always join in with the illusion Jim Henson and Co. cast with The Muppet Show 30-odd years ago, and we're going to insist on a reality where The Muppets are absolutely real.

Its like if I were presenting at a conference and looked over and Rowlf were on my panel, I'd know exactly how to deal with it.  Just say "oh, hi Rowlf!" like its no big deal, join in his banter, and then follow his cue if he bursts into song.

I know that's not how it works, but that's the illusion we've agreed makes complete sense to us all.  The Muppets can just show up, we're on a first name basis, and we're going to have a little conversation in front of all these people.

see, I would be prepared for this eventuality
Thanks to the arrival of the movie, which I highly recommend you see for some good cinema fun*, The Muppets have been popping up all over the place, from Ellen to Saturday Night Live.  And, of course, there's a difference in that actors and hosts can interact directly with The Muppets.  Its not like a cartoon or CGI bit that will be subbed in later.  There's a felt thing with eyes, hands and expressions that you can react to.  And I think that helps.

But I do think its pretty awesome, in general, that we're all in on this Muppets thing.

*and some GREAT commie propaganda!

SW Advent Calendar: December 6

The Disney Comics gang has a very weird way of decorating their tree.  And that just looks terribly poke-y if you ask me.  Also, where are Donald's nephews?  On the back side of the tree, unloved and unwanted, I suppose.

Monday, December 5, 2011

The New 52 and Creeping Ambivalence

As I knew it might, and as I've discussed here before, DC's New 52 and its attention on supposedly newer and younger readers (a possibly necessary marketing step) feels less and less like its working for me every week.  And its an odd feeling.

I'm still excited by a few books.  Animal Man.  Swamp Thing.  Batwoman.  Action Comics.  But as time wears on, the approach DC has taken in the relaunch, of hiring the same old hands and just sort of re-jiggering the DCU with no rhyme or reason to it...  the sheer half-baked approach to the effort on so many titles, is just beginning to wear on me as an adult reader and a long-time DC fan.

But the bottom line is that while some of these comics are sort of bad, most of them are just plain not very good.  They aren't special or worth the time or money associated with them.  They're the filler material of C-list comics that, for some reason, always seem to just exist the same way shows like NBC's The Sing Off manage to show on television for no real reason other than that they generate modestly more money than the budget and are less embarrassing than going to a test signal and admitting you ran out of stuff worth showing.

SW Advent Calendar December 5: It's Krampus Day!!!

Forget Black Friday or Cyber Monday. Your Holiday season can officially begin with Krampus Day! Yes, that merry old emobdiment of terror is here for your children, just in time to remind them that being "naughty" may have grave consequences beyond making your parents buy you the XBox Santa refuses to deliver.

It's Krampus! Keepin' Christmas REAL.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Signal Watch Reads: Superboy #3

Superboy #3
Free at Last, Free at Last
writer - Scott Lobdell
penciller - RB Silva
inker - Rob Lean
colorists - Richard & Tanya Horie
letterer - Carlos Mangual
editor - Chris Conroy

If I may... I hate the title of this issue. I know its a famous phrase, but it does have weight. Using Dr. King's words to title a Superboy issue that is entirely about made-up science fiction stuff... it just seems to unintentionally diminish the meaning of the "I Have a Dream" speech, which I am certain was not the intention of DC, but that's why Lobdell and DC's editors just need to be smarter.

SW Advent Calendar December 4: We wish you a Turtle Christmas

May God have mercy on your souls.

The Weekend - The Admiral is Saluted

This weekend we headed into Houston.

As I mentioned about a month ago, The Admiral has retired from his jobby-job at the Corporation Place where he's worked for the last couple decades.  Saturday night his colleagues threw him a shindig at Houston's Morton's Steakhouse down near the Galleria.  It was lovely.

So, Friday Jamie and I drove into Houston.

On Friday evening, we visited with very longtime pals Shannon & Josh and their kid, Owen at Texas Tex-Mex fixture Ninfa's.  Its been years since we'd seen any of the Houston contingent, and we had never met young Owen.   Saturday we headed to the Galleria (a fairly tony shopping complex for those of you wondering) for lunch with Erica & Scott and their two kids, Isaac and Mara.

We've definitely headed into the phase where our pals from days of yore have had kids, and we have not, and that puts us in that Childfree American minority.  We are now those weird people you remember from your own childhood who didn't match your understanding of the world in which the function of adults was to have kids so somebody would feed people e exitinglike you.  They'd show up at the Holidays for meals, maybe, and have no concept of soccer practices, school programs, homework, etc...  Also, those people just sort of stared at your kid-ness, did they not?

Yup.  That's us.  We are most definitely the weird kid-less people now.