Showing posts with label DCU. Show all posts
Showing posts with label DCU. Show all posts

Sunday, March 31, 2024

It's Supergirl's Birthday - 65th Anniversary of Supergirl's First Appearance




Today marks the 65th Anniversary of the first appearance of Supergirl - or as us actual nerds know her, Kara Zor-El of Argo City, Krypton.  Yup, Supergirl hit newsstands on March 31, 1959!

Prior to Kara's arrival, DC had played with a few variations of what Supergirl might be - from giving Lois powers for an issue or two to a sorta magical helper friend for Clark for an issue.  But eventually DC just said "teen-age cousin" and a superhero was born.  

Created by Otto Binder and Al Plastino, Kara Zor-El appeared in Action Comics 252.  It's not an epically long story, mostly there to set the table for whatever they'd try next with the newest toy in the DC toybox.  Enough for an origin and a status quo set-up, and out.

And, I am happy to say, I do actually have a copy of this comic.

After about 20 years as the semi-sole-survivor of Krypton (minus Krypto, Beppo and a few stray villains in the Phantom Zone), we learn that a chunk of Krypton has been hurtling through space for decades, with the city of Argo attached.  Living in that city, Superman's Uncle and Aunt - Zor-El and Alura - have given birth to Kal-El's couson, Kara.  

As things go from "this seems bad" to "oh no" during a meteor storm threatening Argo City, Zor-El puts Kara in a rocket and shoots her at Earth.  Superman finds her, decides she's his new secret weapon and places the traumatized youth into an orphanage in Midvale.  Because he's a swinging bachelor and he has no time for kids, I guess.

Saturday, March 9, 2024

DCEU Watch: Blue Beetle (2023)




Watched:  03/08/2024
Format:  Max
Viewing:  First
Director:  Angel Manuel Soto
Selection:  Me


I was a reader of the Bwah-Ha-Ha era of Justice League and Justice League International when I got into comics, and had an affinity for Ted Kord as Blue Beetle, perhaps even more than his pal in the title, Booster Gold, who I liked just fine (and I'll read Booster solo stuff from time to time).  But the Blue Beetle of the eponymous film is not Ted, but a Blue Beetle I came to like quite a lot back in the 00's via comics, starting with his Infinite Crisis appearances and then into his own title.  

And, so, Jaime Reyes is probably the last character DC spawned from a big crossover event that has received any traction over the longterm.  Or, possibly, one of the last new characters created by DC to last and carry their own title from time-to-time.  And appear in non-comics media enough to get recognized.

As a plug, the Blue Beetle comics written by John Rogers are phenomenal, and I highly recommend them.

Our version of Blue Beetle here is a recent college grad, who is returning to his family after getting his diploma.  He swiftly learns things are bad at home - the rent went up, they lost the family garage, and Dad recently had a heart-attack.  Plus, it's indicated, he's wildly in debt thanks to student loans.

Thursday, March 7, 2024

Superman 2025: Climbing the Story Mountain and the Soft Application of Dunning-Kruger


You can follow along with this series under the label for Superman2025, a series of posts leading up to the release of WB's new movie in 2025.  All Superman posts since the start of this blog can be found under the Superman label.


With James Gunn's recent social media posts about the start of principle photography on Superman (2025), we now enter into one of the curious aspects of Superman as a character and property:

Everyone has an opinion

Folks have ideas about what the movie should and should not be.  They have bold ideas that haven't been tried before.  They have ideas about period settings, and what would *finally* make Superman click with a wide audience.  They have opinions about why Superman doesn't work for them, but *could* if they just did X.  Folks demand they not do an origin.  Or, they demand Superman dies.  And so on and so forth.

There are the occasional think-pieces and social-media threads arriving in various levels of provocativeness and consideration.  These are usually more focused on the characterization and actually worth glancing at as the writer is often someone working through a thought experiment of the challenge of writing for a guy who can bend steel with his pinky finger and melt a tank with a hard stare.  

One such thought-exercise which made the rounds this week was from writer Michael Chabon.


The ideas thrown out there by social media users and the deeper thinking is welcome.  It's engagement.  It's people with feelings about one of the original superheroes and an American icon.  It's sometimes quality writers pondering the challenges of writing for a character who has been around since 1938 and which seems stuck in place - and so we want to throw an idea or three out there.

It's nice that we *want* to like Superman, and we are being helpful.

Friday, March 1, 2024

Let's Talk About the New Superman Movie - Superman 2025




So.

Let's talk about the new Superman movie happening over at WB.  I mean, eventually.  We'll start by talking about me and why I'm going to focus on just the one thing in a series of posts.  With DC moving into production on a new film, I'm thinking about talking about Superman again on a regular basis.  Y'all let me know if this content would be welcome or useful.

Despite the name, this site was never intended to be a Superman fan site - at least not entirely.  We started blogging back around 2003 over at League of Melbotis, when blogging was very different from what social media is today.  Heck, I don't think I'd even heard the term "fandom" when I started, and wouldn't for a few years. 

Sunday, January 21, 2024

"Glory Boat" Splash Page Goes Up For Auction


A while back, Stuart asked me what original comics art I would like to own.  And the answer to that includes complex math in my head, but for simplicity's sake, I'd cut to the chase and say - probably the Glory Boat splash page from New Gods #6.  See above.

seen here in full color


Starting around 1971, The Fourth World Saga was Jack Kirby's original epic/ opus when he returned to DC from starting Marvel, the work spanning four titles:  New Gods, Forever People, Mister Miracle and Superman's Pal, Jimmy Olsen.  Unthinkable in the last thirty years, Jack Kirby, then 54 years old, pulled this off by drawing, plotting and writing 4 titles per month, in the process creating a universe on top of the DC continuity that had started, sort of, around 1938, give or take.  

Wednesday, January 3, 2024

WB Animation Watch: Scooby-Doo and Krypto, Too! (2023)




Watched:  01/02/2024
Format:  Max
Viewing:  First
Director:  Cecilia Aranovich
Select:  Me


It's not to say Scooby-Doo and Krypto, Too! (2023) is particularly good - it has issues.  But it was better than I figured, which is possibly damning with faint praise.  Look, I'm just not a huge fan of Scooby-Doo, which is hurtful to Scooby-Doo fans, but here we are.  But I do find myself checking out some Scoob from time-to-time as they do these guest-starring movies, like the recent one with Elvira.  

As a DC Comics nut, it has a lot to love.  There's deep cut jokes exploiting a breadth of DC comics and animation history.  You'll maybe recognize bits from cartoons and movies, and you'll see items like Kandor.  Lex Luthor is a really funny supporting character here.  No notes.  I laughed.

Of course I'm a Krypto the Superdog fan, and he's in the movie, but he doesn't talk - which, look, Krypto hasn't had so much as thought-bubble in the comics since the 1970's.  But that's a bit limiting for a show with other talking dogs.  So it kinda sorta works, but.  Maybe a bit confusing?  Still, I'm just happy to see Krypto, so bonus points.

As an animation fan, it has some challenges.  My Scooby-Doo was made in the 1960's - 1980's, by the cheapest animation house outside of Filmation, so this looks like Star Wars by comparison.  But my in-house Scooby-Doo expert has assured me that they've done better by Mystery, Inc. in recent years, so I'll just agree with that.  But for someone expecting Scooby-Doo, Where Are You? style art and maybe Challenge of the Superfriends, it's... fine.  Really, it looks like the art in DC's Scooby-Doo and Batman comics that I pick up once in a blue moon if Krypto or someone shows up.   

There's some funny bits in the movie - there was a Velma's glasses bit that kills.  And I liked some of the gags about, like, the valet at the Hall of Justice.  But some of the old, worn out gags from Scooby-Doo are no fresher in 2024 than they were in 1984.  And there was no gag they couldn't stretch until you were like "I get it.  Enough."

And that included the finale "fight" that went on what seemed as long as any DC superhero movie ending - ie: way past the point where it wore out its welcome.  Which may have been a gag unto itself.  And, of course, any DC fan worth their salt could telegraph the ending twist.

I did have a couple of moments watching this cartoon that made me just sort of stare at DC over the past twenty years or so and want to ask "why do you make it so hard when this is so simple?"  Like, DC needs a Superfriends cartoon, or some version of the Justice League on Max or Cartoon Network, aimed at kids.  I know they have some marketing research that tells them "this is for people between 16 and 24", but that is *nonsense*.  They haven't even tried since I was in middle school.  And I'm old now.*

And seeing all the villains piled on Metropolis, which is treated as a gag, also made me realize why I don't give a shit about most DC events in the comics.   They aren't just the straight up Legion of Doom vs. Justice League match-up that wouldn't just feel like some wank-fest that will be meaningless to most readers.  

If they can make DC Comics work better in a Scooby-Doo cartoon - where the characters don't even really appear - than in most DC media, it may be time for a rethink.

*say what you will, but the 00's-era Justice League cartoon was airing at 7:00 at night.  That was not aimed at kids.  And they buried Justice League Action, which was great, at like 6:00 AM.  It was insane.







Thursday, November 2, 2023

PodCast 258: "Batman" (1989) - a Kryptonian Thought Beast PodCast w/ Jamie and Ryan




Watched:  09/30/2023
Format:  Max
Viewing: Unknown
Decade:  1980s
Director: Tim Burton




Jamie and Ryan go back to a simpler era of superhero movies where a hero didn't have to turn their neck to stop crime! It's the world's greatest detective in a rubber suit, and busily recreating film language for the next few decades. We talk the 1989 smash that changed how the world saw superheroes and made everyone take a guy in a pointy hat very seriously, indeed!


SoundCloud 


YouTube


Music:
Batman Main Title - Danny Elfman 
Batdance - Prince


DC Movies and TV

Thursday, September 21, 2023

PodCast 253: "Justice League: The New Frontier" (2008) - SimonCanada and Ryan talk Comic Book Movies



Watched:  09/09/2023  
Format:  Max
Viewing:  Unknown.  Probably fourth 
Decade:  2000's
Director:  Dave Bullock




An all-new Simon from an all-new nation joints us on an all new frontier! We talk a 2000's-era comic and animated superhero classic. Join us as we jump back to a different era to look toward a better superhero tomorrow!


SoundCloud 


YouTube


Music:
The Flash Theme - Kevin Manthei, Justice League: New Frontier Soundtrack 
Green Lantern Theme - Kevin Manthei, Justice League: New Frontier Soundtrack 


Playlist: DC Comics and Movies 

Monday, September 18, 2023

Bat Watch: The Dark Knight (2008)




Watched:  09/15/2023
Format:  Drafthouse
Viewing:  Unknown
Director:  Nolan

SimonUK and I attended a 15th Anniversary screening of The Dark Knight, arguably one of two films that set superhero movies on their current trajectory from 2008 (Iron Man being the other), as DC and Marvel made their way from "huh, superheroes are a fun novelty" to "please stop it with the superheroes".

It has been years and years since I've returned to The Dark Knight (see what I did there?!), and there's a lot of water under the bridge.  But it's also a movie I saw so many times between 2008 and 2012 or so that I also have a hard time just slipping back into the movie.  

It still has the wildly confusing discussion at the end, that does, in fact, make sense if you squint and go along with the premise of what will, in fact, sway Gothamites to stand with law and order.  But it's arguable the film needed to be more clear in the moment.  Clearly, Nolan's capable of that messaging - because he really, really sticks the landing on "actually, people aren't murderous trash, Joker, you dick."  But that last scene really scrambles on the whole "Batman went on a murderous rampage, not Harvey" bit so that they make Harvey the symbol of justice as a martyred hero.

It's an odd bit of legacy that the Joker is seen as a "mad dog chasing a car".  He's clearly not that at all in this movie, but we take what people say in movies at face value instead of literally all of the evidence piling up.  He says he's no schemer, but he intentionally gets arrested and sews a bomb into someone's stomach so he can get to the guy in the holding cell in the middle of police headquarters.  I mean, that's... wildly more interesting than Jared Leto's dipshit with the face tattoos.  

But, man, is some of the dialog in this movie clunky.  It's people speaking in trailer quotes and ensuring that their reason for existing as part of this iconography is clearly understood.  Some of it works, but, you have to let yourself sink into the fact that this is a modern myth and not someone's attempt at realism.  We're conveying *ideas* here, not worrying about Batman's inner-life.

Also - man, does the Batmask not work.  I don't know who decided it's essentially a fake nose, but it is.  And in close-up, it looks insane and makes Bale's very normal mouth look very not normal.  Paired with the Bat-voice, it's a lot.

"maybe I don't want to breathe through my nose..."



Despite all this, Ledger's performance is one for the ages.  That's not news.  I should really watch that Joaquin Phoenix movie sometime, because I expected it might suffer by comparison, but apparently did not.  Who knew this guy would become Oscar bait?


Boner.

heh.

Anyway, I still like the movie.  It's not aged into a curiosity quite yet, and it still has massive impact on superhero cinema.  If you look at the myth-building and argument of ethical models as the story, I'm not sure it's been topped.  After all, we're still crawling out from the DCEU that was formed in its image and from a WB who learned all the wrong lessons from this movie's success.  But it also was part of that 2008 one-two punch for a reason.

All that said, I do hope the new Batman movie series and whatever happens with Bats in the Gunn-driven DCU work out.  

I'm still blown away we got what we got out of these films.  And I am sure in a few years I'll be back here defending The Dark Knight Rises.












Tuesday, September 12, 2023

PodCast 252 A & B: "The Flash" (2023) - Earth1 and Earth2 Editions! - Stuart and Ryan talk comic movies



Watched:  09/02/2023
Format:  Max  
Viewing: First
Decade:  2020's
Director:  AndrĂ©s Muschietti



Special Note:  We had a whole adventure where we thought we'd lost the first recording of the podcast.  After purchasing a new computer and recording a second version, we learned we actually had recovered the unprocessed files from the first try.  So, as everything these days is about multiverses, especially The Flash, we're offering both versions.

Earth1
Stuart and Ryan race toward the end of the DCEU as we know it, with this long-in-development, long-delayed, long-discussed movie about a guy who runs pretty quickly, if you look closely. Join Stuart and Ryan as they ponder what wound up as another string of disappointments in DC's long string of disappointing people. And you'll believe a man can quit.

Earth2
Stuart and Ryan race back in time to correct the mistakes of the past! Believing all is lost, they must save the day/ podcast and make sure the world knows all about their Flash opinions! Because these two, unlike Barry Allen, do not see giving up as the best solution.


SoundCloud 

Earth1 Version

Earth2 Version


YouTube

Earth1 Version

Earth2 Version


Music:
Are You Actively Eating That Candy Bar? - Benjamin Wallfisch
Into the Singularity - Benjamin Wallfisch


DC Movies and Television Playlist


Sunday, April 23, 2023

Watch Party Watch: Superman IV: The Quest for Peace (1987)





Watched:  04/21/2023
Format:  Amazon Watch Party
Viewing:  Unknown
Director:  Sidney J Furie

I won't get into why we did this, but we did do it as a watch party, and I think folks enjoyed the experience if not the film. 

But here at The Signal Watch we also recently podcasted the film, so if you didn't listen to the episode then (and it's pretty good, if I say so myself), now is a great opportunity to hear three dudes who know a lot about Superman stuff talk about the movie.  

SoundCloud

YouTube

Friday, April 14, 2023

Superheroes Every Day Watch: Man of Steel (2013) - Part 1C



Danny of Superheroes Every Day has launched a PodCast!  And we're the first guest!  

In this installment (3 of 3) we discuss the third, incredibly tedious and somewhat horrific act of a movie wherein a superhero debuts and immediately decides cataclysmic collateral damage is no big whoop while he fights his daddy's pal.  

Spotify:



Here's Part 1 C (you can always listen on Spotify or other providers):

YouTube:




Wednesday, April 12, 2023

Superheroes Every Day Watch: Man of Steel (2013) - Part 1B



Danny of Superheroes Every Day has launched a PodCast!  And we're the first guest!  In this installment (2 of 3) we discuss the second act of 2013's, uh... uneven Super-film, Man of Steel.  



Here's Part 1 B (you can also listen on Spotify or other providers):

Monday, April 10, 2023

Superheroes Every Day Watch: Man of Steel (2013) - Part 1



Watched:  03/26/2023
Format:  HBOmax
Viewing:  third?  4th?
Director:  Zachary Snyder

Well, Danny of Superheroes Every Day has started a podcast.  To kick things off, he's selected (1) the film Man of Steel (2013) and (2) me as his guest (!) for what is a 3-part discussion about the film.  

Even at three-parts of about 40+ minutes each, I'm aware of at least two points I didn't make, so that's to say there's a LOT to say about this stab at superhero flicks by the studio that brought you Catwoman and Green Lantern.  Sure, they did those Nolan-Bat-flicks, but we know who they really are.



Monday, February 20, 2023

PodCast 233: "Superman IV: The Quest for Peace" (1987) - A KTB PodCast w/ Danny, Stuart and Ryan



Watched: 02/10/2023
Format:  HBOmax
Viewing:  Unknown
Decade:  1980's
Director:  Sidney J Furie



For Danny's Superheroes Every Day blog

Well. It's time to talk about the final, and possibly flawed installment of the Christopher Reeve movies about the Big Blue Boy Scout. Join three fellows who have spent way too much time pondering Superman, Superman movies, and the cinema of the 1980's as they consider topics such as "should this story have been told?", "what could have been?" and "who cooks a duck in someone else's hotel suite?" It's a Kryptonian Thought Beast episode for the ages!


SoundCloud 


YouTube


Music:
Superman Main Titles (8 Bit Version) - 8 Bit Universe 


DC Movies and Television


Superheroes Every Day PodCast Episodes


Monday, February 6, 2023

PodCast 231: "Black Adam" (2022) - a Kryptonian Thought Beast Episode w/ Stuart and Ryan


Watched: 01/28/2023
Format:  HBOmax
Viewing: First
Decade:  2020's
Director:  Jaume Collet-Serra




Stuart and Ryan see a red door and they want it painted Black Adam! It's a DC movie, so you know that means there's a few dozen missteps to discuss, starting with picking a villain as our hero and carrying through to WB letting Dwayne Johnson think he now runs DC. It's one of those films where the most interesting thing about it is everything around the movie.


SoundCloud 


YouTube


Music:
Black Adam Theme - Lorne Balfe
Paint it Black - The Rolling Stones


DC Comics Movies and TV

Sunday, January 8, 2023

Super Watch: Superman - The Movie (1978 - theatrical cut)




Watched:  01/06/2023
Format:  HBOmax
Viewing:  1,000,000th
Director:  Richard Donner

Superman: The Movie (1978) is the movie I've seen most of any film, enough so that I have it pretty well memorized.  At this point, I'd hesitate to say how many times I've seen the movie, but it's dozens and dozens of times.  At least 7 in the theater.  Intentionally, I haven't watched it much the past few years.  I mean, I'm trying to watch new-to-me movies, I can replay any scene in my head any time, I know the beats and jokes, and cool elements and emotions in every scene.  But I also know the plot holes, the mistakes, the dated issues with the film, where that's-a-doll, that's-how-that-shot-was-done, etc...  I even look for where extras were at a difference walking pace in various shots.  

What's probably most notable to modern film audiences is that a movie that plays it mostly straight for an hour has a hard jump in the second half to a far wackier vision of the world it establishes, moving from sci-fi epic to American Rockwell-esque pastoral to a cosmic sci-fi fantasy.  And then...  Metropolis, with hustling big-city folk, fast talking journalists, and Otis bumbling along.  And for the next 90 minutes, the movie is a mix of romance, screwball, camp and heroism.  There's something oddly Broadway-ish about that back 90 minutes - I mean, doesn't Miss Tessmacher seem like she needs an "I Want" song?  Because Lois gets one in spoken-word.

Sunday, November 20, 2022

PODCAST 221: "Batman: Mask of the Phantasm" (1993) - in memoriam, Kevin Conroy - w/ Stuart and Ryan



Watched:  11/18/2022
Format:  HBOmax
Viewing: Unknown
Decade:  1990's
Director:  Kevin Altieri, Boyd Kirkland, Frank Paur



Stuart and Ryan get together to discuss the 1993 animated film that featured the voice talent of Kevin Conroy, the voice of Batman to multiple generations. We talk about the performances, art, and craft of the 1990's animated Batman material, and the tremendous impact of the cartoon and Conroy.


SoundCloud 


YouTube


Music:
Main Title - Shirley Walker, Batman: Mask of the Phantasm 


DC Movies Playlist

Thursday, October 6, 2022

PodCast 214: "DC League Of Super Pets" (2022) - A Kryptonian Thought Beast Episode w/ Jamie & Ryan

 


Watched:  10/02/2022
Format:  HBOmax
Viewing:  First
Director:  Jared Stern and Samuel J Levine


The podcast goes to the dogs as Jamie and Ryan talk 2022's furriest super-offering. Join us as we sniff around for a take on family fun in Metropolis as Superman's lesser-known pal gets his own feature and DC/ WB tries to kick-start a lucrative super franchise for the kiddos.

SoundCloud

YouTube



DC Movies Playlist

Tuesday, July 26, 2022

PodCast 206: "Smallville - Part 2 of 2" - Jamie and Ryan Talk Super Television




Format:  Smallville currently streaming on Hulu




Jamie and Ryan put in another hour talking about ten seasons of watching Clark Kent go from a teen saddled with alien powers and a tendency to deceive everyone to an adult who does the same. Join us as we consider the super-task of putting out 220+ episodes of TV, finally getting to where you were planning to go and then tripping over your own feet at the last second with a lead who just seems like he never quite figured out why people were watching.


SoundCloud 


YouTube


Music:
Save Me - Remy Zero 
Breathe Again - Sara Bareilles


DC TV and Movies