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

Saturday, May 19, 2018

Super-Reviews: Superman Special #1


Release:  05/16/2018
Creators:  Various/ Anthology Book

I believe this is our last Super-stop before Man of Steel #1 arrives.  Tomasi and Gleason return to a story from what seemed very early in their run on Superman (issues 8 and 9) where Superman and Jon went to Dinosaur Island and ran into Captain Storm of The Losers.  We get a Superman short-story from Mark Russell and Bryan Hitch, and a possible teaser for future Super-content with a few pages from Ian Flynn as Writer and Kaare Andrews on Art and Colors.

Sunday, May 6, 2018

Superman Comics Talk: Action Comics Special #1 / DC Nation #0

Superman variant for DC Nation #0 by JLGL


With DC's Rebirth event now a couple of years in the rear-view mirror and a status quo set-ish for the DCU at this point (at least until the next reboot), the Superman books seem to be on solid ground, even as they head into the next series of changes as Brian Michael Bendis arrives at DC and takes over both Action Comics and Superman.

I've been considering writing more often on Superman comics the past year, but it was impossible to write about them without spending half the post explaining to anyone not reading Superman titles what was going on - continuity wise - in the comics.   Tomasi and Gleason's take on Superman and Dan Jurgens and a rotating group of artists' run on Action Comics worked very well for me, messy continuity and all - but getting past the "now Superman is married to Loid with a 10 year old son" bit - not that hard, but he's from another dimension (no he's not!), he lives on a farm except when he lives in Metropolis...  all that stuff was hard to talk about, and, frankly, when Superman and family didn't just make the jump back to Metropolis and the Daily Planet the way I expected, began to feel a bit like a holding pattern awaiting some coming change.  Still, the tone was right, the adventures depicted hit the right Super-buttons, and I returned to regularly reading comics (because I always start my stack with my Super-books).

Ancillary titles have been shakier, with occasional highlights.  Supergirl isn't exactly critical reading, but found footing in recent issues.  I am so far behind on Superwoman and New Super-Man that I can't comment.  

Bendis's first pages showed up in Action Comics 1000.  While there's a novel hook to get folks interested in the Man of Steel mini in June Action Comics #1001 and Superman #1 arriving in July, if someone was expecting Shakespeare on the page in the few pages penned by Bendis - what we did get was pro-level comics, Bendis' first pages of set set up that actually kinda worked, and a feel for "Superman is back in his regular environs".

Action Comics Special #1

Thursday, May 3, 2018

Ho, boy. We Should Talk About "Krypton" on SyFy

The most exciting thing in this show is a piece of fabric


Ignore Jamie's guffaws to the contrary, but I quite like being proven wrong about (some) things.  Example:  I started watching Supergirl because I like Kara Zor-El quite a bit as a comics character (and mad props to Helen Slater for being better than her bad movie).  I found the first couple of episodes of Supergirl hilariously bad, and then the show start playing against expectations and I found myself enjoying Supergirl in a sort of "this is okay TV and pretty fun" sort of way.  It's not exactly The Americans, and it can't sustain 22 episodes per year and I wish they'd cut it to 13, but it's in my TV rotation.

So despite the David S. Goyer association and SyFy channel "we're doing serious Sci-Fi now" and some pretty boring adverts for the show (which, weirdly, ran incessantly during the Winter Olympics on NBC), I wanted to give Krypton a try.  Sure, it looked plodding and joyless in the vein of Goyer's Man of Steel work, selling that "but this is seeerious, Mom" vibe that one can only get when everything is gray and poorly lit like a nightclub that will have a brief but forgettable existence.

Krypton has an uphill battle no matter what.  It's not a mistake that DC Comics has only explored Superman's home planet in bursts via single issue appearances and the occasional brief mini-series.  If the stories don't arc toward Superman - you're more or less looking at a planet knowing "oh, you guys are boned".  After all - the point of Krypton (the planet, not the show) is to be either a near Utopia that made some critically bad choices about getting out of Dodge, or to exist as a highly advanced planet that should have been named "Hubris".

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Action Comics Hits #1000 and 80 Years of Superman



April 18 marks both the 80th Anniversary of the release of Action Comics #1 and the release of Action Comics #1000.

Short a few documents written by fellows in wigs and waistcoats, there are few things in Western culture, Pop or otherwise, with so profound an impact or as wide a legacy as this simple, brief story by a couple of young men from Cleveland.

Superman's first appearance was just one of several of different genres appearing in Action Comics #1 (this link is currently good and includes the first Superman story)   To revisit the story, every time I read it I find it shocking how much of Superman springs to life there in those first few pages - an assemblage of parts of other characters and science fiction concepts forged into something entirely new and its own.

Doomed planet.  Locomotives and bullets.  Lois Lane as a tough girl reporter.  The cape, the boots, the forelock.   A newspaper setting.  The dual-identities of Clark Kent and Superman, Lois' failure to recognize her co-worker.  Superman/ Clark's immediate attraction to Lois.  Righting wrongs.

Superman.

Thursday, February 15, 2018

My Favorite Part of "Justice League"

Justice League (2017) is a mess.  But then it has these great "actually, some of us know what the DCU looks like and what makes it work" moments.

This bit is a post start-of-credits scene, but one of two.  It's also my favorite part of the movie and why I'll likely be back if this is where the movies are headed.



I just want to contrast this with the incredibly murder-y Batman meeting Superman.  BTW, Superman was just letting Batman murder people, like, eight seconds before so he could work in a cool pose.  And, then, later, Batman tries very hard to murder Superman. 

A lot of Justice League is unearned - like anyone missing Superman when his very presence just destroyed Metropolis twice.  But Henry Cavill very clearly always had an idea of how his Superman could work, and it's a lot of fun to watch.  A sort of dry humor that plays off how seriously everyone takes him.  His take in this movie, when he finally gets to show up, matches the character of the comics surprisingly well. 

Their Flash is basically Wally West, and I don't get why they jettisoned everything about Barry Allen that's been established for decades, but he's our kid on the learning curve, and that's sort of fun.

And one of the most DC things you can do is ask Superman and Flash to race, so - thanks, movie!

Thursday, February 1, 2018

Changing of the Guard on "Action Comics" and "Superman"



So, it's weird that Forbes.com is where DC announced that Brian Michael Bendis is taking over both of the main Superman titles, right?

I mean - just that tidbit alone is probably worth a full blog post about comics vaulting their way into mainstream culture and something something what is happening at Forbes.com which is supposed to be a business and economics interest site?

It's also weird that Bendis is taking over *both* Superman and Action Comics, right?  I mean... he's just getting to DC.  You'd think he'd want to putter on a couple of diverse titles or something, get his feet wet... but, nope.  Both bi-weekly Superman titles.  (One expects we'll continue to get Supergirl, Super Sons, New Superman, and Superwoman...  or something.)

And while I am more than game for Bendis on one or both titles, or some Super-title, I am also a bit crushed to be losing Dan Jurgens on Action Comics and Tomasi & Gleason on Superman.  They've put so much love and effort and imagination into those comics the past 18 months or so, I genuinely wish they'd spin up Man of Steel and Adventures of Superman again and just keep giving us more Superman.

Sunday, January 21, 2018

That Took Longer and Way More Failed Attempts Than I Figured, But The Red Trunks Are Back in Action 1000


I always thought the teeth-gnashing over Superman's red trunks was a sign of some deep and unwarranted insecurities at DC Comics.  But it looks like DC has decided, at very long last, to restore Superman to trunks-status with Action Comics #1000.

Yeah, yeah... I know Superman's red trunks were inspired by pre-WWII-era America acrobats, who were more or less covering up their junk.  (Look, if you've been to the ballet... you can most absolutely see what grapes those guys are smuggling under their danskins.) 

I'll always argue that the red of the trunks balanced the outfit, allowing it to remain sleek, but keep the solid blue from a certain visual dullness between the cape and boots.  From a design and visual appeal, and at least on the comics page, red trunks just work better to balance the complete outfit.

Thursday, December 14, 2017

The Wild Ride of Joys and Disappointments of "Justice League" in a 3 minute clip



Superman actually *acts* like Superman, but because the movie needed reshoots and Cavill was legally required to keep his mustache for Mission Impossible 64 (or whatever), they had to digitally remove the facial fuzz.  And it looks terrible.  So, like all of Justice League, you get some really good stuff, but you have to take it on the chin a little, too.

And, hey, that is JUST like Batman from the comics!  It's just... kind of a not-great scene.  I dunno.  How he fights the guy doesn't even make a lot of sense, really.  He has him on the ground, and then he lets him get back to the gun while he runs away to scurry up a water tower?  And it's the last we'll see of him in Batman-mode in quite this way. 

This is kind of Justice League in a nutshell.  Has stuff you really want to see, but the delivery vehicle is terribly messy.  Still, worth a watch.


Sunday, November 19, 2017

DC Movies Watch: Justice League (2017)



I had no intention of seeing Justice League (2017).

It's not that I don't like the Justice League as characters or concept - I'm a comics guy who tilts toward DC Comics, and once had a complete run of everything from Morrison's JLA run in the 90's to 2011 (I sold if off during the purging of longboxes about two years ago*).  My bonfides include significant runs of Wonder Woman, Superman and Flash comics, reasonable Batman-cred, and having had watched the respective movies and TV shows featuring the JLA characters in a wide variety of live-action and animated incarnations (with exceptions which I can discuss but won't do here). I will happily test my DC Comics-Fu against any of you nerds (but not Mark Waid).

I'm on record regarding Man of SteelBatman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, Suicide Squad and Wonder Woman.  One of these films was much, much better than the other three.  Let's just say 2017 was much better for DC than prior years.

It's no secret those first three movies left me a broken, bitter man.  The very ethos of the films was so far afield from the DCU I knew and loved, and the take on Superman so fundamentally broken (and at the end of the day, I'm a Superman guy), that I just didn't want to do it again.  I'd watch it on cable or when JimD sent me the BluRay against my protestations.

Then, as of Thursday I guess, trusted sources, such as creators Mark Waid, Gail Simone, Sterling Gates and our own readers including Stuart and JimD saw the movie, and weren't furious at it.  They had some nice things to say.  So, I got my tickets and I went to a 10:45 PM show on Friday evening.

Let's be honest:  Justice League has massive plotting issues, bizarrely genericizes and changes Kirby's Fourth World mythology in a way that makes it feel one-note to audiences who don't know their Granny Goodness from their Mister Rogers while also ruining the epic world building for fans of The New Gods (one of the most important ideas in superhero comics and comics in general).**  It has some terrible CGI, I hate the Flash's costume (a TV show should not be kicking your butt in this arena), and not nearly enough Amy Adams for my dollar. ***

But...

After three narrative and character misfires and one absolute gem of a superhero movie (you're my hero, Patty Jenkins), shake-ups in management at DC, a switch of directors, reshoots, a slashing of runtime by nearly an hour...  Some combo of people and factors finally seemed to care a bit about, at least, Superman.  If nothing else, they got Superman right.  And I cannot tell you how much of a difference that made to me as a viewer and what I was willing to deal with and what I wasn't in my superhero epic.

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Happy B-Day to Margot Kidder!


Happy Birthday to Margot Kidder!

She is, of course, one of the greats of Superman media as Lois Lane in four Superman films and with a brief stint on Smallville.  Arguably, Kidder did quite a bit to pivot the popular conception of Lois as less a straight-laced member of the newsroom (something she never was in the comics, but that's how she was played on TV's Adventures of Superman) and into the gutsy risk-taker with no time for a Dictionary that made absolute sense as the kind of woman who would capture the heart of the Man of Steel.

And, she's absolute dynamite in those first two Superman movies.  The interview scene is pretty incredible if you haven't seen it in a while. 

Happy Birthday, Ms. Kidder!

Saturday, September 9, 2017

Super Re-Re-Re-Re-Re-Watch: Superman - The Movie (1978)


The other night Jamie and I watched Superman: The Movie for the first time in some time.  For us, that meansL it's been over a year since we sat down and watched it.  For me, it's been greater than 6 months.  It may be that same "more than a year" timeframe - these days I can no better remember a particular viewing of the movie than I can an airplane flight or yet another hotel room.  I've been trying to watch things new-to-me and kind of failing at it, and re-watching this movie, yet again, was not going to get me into anything novel.

What spurred us down this path was the recent article on a site called Polygon that discussed what most Gen-Xers and our forebears already knew:  Christopher Reeve is more than just a buff, cut dude in spandex.  He was a Julliard-trained actor.  And, he was working with a director and script that didn't just ask him to glower or look mournful across the span of two movies.  In comparison to the funeral dirge of Man of Steel and Cavill's limited acting opportunities and Batman v Superman and the inane use of the character, Superman: The Movie's myth-building, multi-tier, multi-faceted structure gave Reeves (and the film itself) the chance to do something deft and nuanced when it wasn't being broad and slapsticky.

Sunday, August 27, 2017

A Century of Jack Kirby


You're going to see the names Jack Kirby and Jacob Kurtzberg a lot today.  Jack Kirby is the pen-name of the greatest comic artist and creator to grace this orb we call planet Earth.

Here, on the centennial of his birth (August 28th, 1917), it's possible to suggest that Jack Kirby may be one of the most important artistic and literary figures of the past 100 years.  The recognition came late, decades after his passing, and, still, his name is hardly a household word.  But the creations he unleashed upon popular culture from the 1940's to the 1990's would either be taken up directly by the public (at long last), becoming part of the parlance, or influence generations who could never produce that same spark of imagination, but built either directly or indirectly upon what he had done before.

There are Kirby bio sketches out there a-plenty (but no definitive monograph that I'm aware of), a magazine dedicated to the study and fan-splosion around his work, and Mark Evanier - who apprenticed under him - has become the living memory of his professional life while his grandchildren have taken up the cause of preserving the memory of the man.  Now there's a virtual museum (which deserves a physical location), and a charity it's worth considering giving to sometime.  And a slew of collections and books celebrating Kirby's influence and work.

Kirby was not first in when comics became a way for kids from the rougher neighborhoods of New York picked up a pencil or ink brush to start bringing in bread, but he was there really early.  He was a workman who put everything he had into the work, comic by comic, year by year, becoming better and better.  As they tell you in art-school, master the rules before you start breaking them - and that's what he did, finding his own unique style, his own way of creating action and drama, and eventually shattering what it meant to create a comics page.

Taking from mythology, from science-fiction, from films, from his colleagues and the bottomless well within, Kirby created whole universes, pockets within those universes, and held the lens to each character, bringing the internal life of gods, men and monsters to life.

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Black Lightning is Coming to the CW!



I was always a little lukewarm on Black Lightning as a superhero character until, I guess around 2002 or so, someone came up with the idea that Jefferson Pierce was a little older and had daughters who were manifesting powers (and, of course, wanted to be heroes, too).

Not only did it mean Black Lightning was suddenly anchored a lot more as a character - no longer just "that black guy with lightning powers" which he'd become after the early appearances, it gave him a robust supporting cast.

Unfortunately, The New 52 wiped away the take on the Pierce family I'd come to like quite a bit, following the characters across a few DC books.  Needless to say, I'm thrilled this is the angle they're taking on for a new DC show on the CW.  Those writers do family well, and - when given the chance - also do people of multiple generations pretty well.

Looking forward to tuning in and seeing how they pull this off.

Thursday, June 8, 2017

Wonder Watch: Wonder Woman (2017)




It's no secret I'm not a fan of the three prior entries in the shared DC filmic universe (which the kids are calling the DCEU, of DC Extended Universe, which makes no sense, but this train left the station without me).

If you want to extrapolate how much I was dreading the possibility of another weak entry from DC in the current superhero movie bonanza, you can check out my recent post on my love for Wonder Woman as a character and then, based on how I felt about Batman v Superman and Suicide Squad, try to figure out how another movie as weak as the prior DC films was going to settle with me.

Of course, as the cinematic debut of The Amazing Amazon (despite 75 years in print and a well-known commodity), Wonder Woman (2017) carried an unreasonable set of both expectations and penalties for movies far beyond this single picture.  If it failed, who knew what this meant for Wonder Woman as a franchise, yes,* but, if it failed: what would happen to female-starring superhero movies in general?

With much of the same crew responsible for prior efforts involved in this venture, there was no reason to believe much had changed from the disappointing first three DC filmic installments.  And, no, I couldn't trust the trailers.  Man of Steel had a phenomenal trailer, and I actually went to see Suicide Squad in part because it had a different director than Snyder and had a fun trailer.

Whatever changed at DCEU's offices (Geoff Johns' rise to power, I'm guessing), I am ecstatic to say:  Wonder Woman has made it to the big screen, and I was absolutely thrilled with the movie.

Saturday, June 3, 2017

TL;DR: We Discuss Our Love of Wonder Woman as Character, Icon and Hero



This isn't a review of the movie, which I'm slated to see in a few hours.  But with the arrival of Wonder Woman in cinemas, I wanted to reflect on Wonder Woman as a character and my road with Diana.

Like most kids of my generation, I grew up with Wonder Woman as the default "superhero for girls".  Sure, DC had a wide array of female characters, but a lot of "team" concepts aimed at boys included 1 or maybe 2 girls on the team no matter how big the roster got (see: GI Joe).  And on Super Friends, Wonder Woman was the all-purpose female character who was not Jayna of The Wonder Twins of Wendy of Super Marv and Wendy (ahhh, the 70's).

but at least they gave WW two villains from her rogues gallery

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Superman Gets a New Suit - State of the Comics with "Rebirth" and heading to "Reborn"


The past, oh, six years of reading Superman comics has not been the easiest of rides, and I'm not sure DC Comics is making any of this any easier to deal with in the long-run with the current convoluted decisions.  But, for the moment, I am very much enjoying both Superman and Action Comics as much or more than I have enjoyed the monthlies at any point since I became a regular reader (which is later in life than you'd think, but creeping up on twenty years now).

CanadianSimon hit me up to point me to an article featuring the new look for Superman that's coming soon in the comics.  Rather than overload his email with responses, he's getting a blog post as I think a bit about the past few years and DC's many attempts to land on a new suit.

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Checking in on DCTV: Supergirl and The Flash



Season 2 of Supergirl moved to The CW network, which was already home to DC's Arrow, The Flash, Legends of Tomorrow and iZombie, and the move has been nothing but good for the series, so far as I can tell.  Whatever dictates Season 1 had upon it as a show on a major network, moving to the less-major CW Network has meant the show feels less like it's bucking TV formulas and now it's matching The Flash for melding DC lore with crafting it's own mythology and character arcs.

This season I've enjoyed the shake-up and escape from CatCo, especially if Cat Grant isn't even going to be around and the far more fulfilling role for Win.  And, hey, Kara isn't being defined by which boy she'll pick, which is kind of remarkable on TV.  While Alex's "coming out" storyline felt a bit rushed, crammed in there in-between cyborgs and fiery aliens, alien fight clubs and whatnot, it's interesting to see the show stake it's claim on big-tent "Supergirl is for everyone" and just move forward without turning the show into a melodrama we all have to slog through.

In fact, the CW shows are pretty remarkably good at not doing the things that TV has traditionally done that drove me crazy - namely: have have characters keep secrets from people they otherwise trust when keeping a secret makes literally no sense and drag it out over whole seasons of a show or until they just forget to resolve the storyline.

Saturday, December 3, 2016

Bat-Christmas Watch: Batman Returns (1992)



So, I was at work and I DM'd Jamie.

Me:  You want to watch a Christmas movie tonight?
Jamie:  Yeah.  "Batman Returns"?
Me:  *a single tear of joy rolling down my cheek, certain I married the right woman*

I didn't immediately get to see Batman Returns (1992) upon its release.  I was at a (sigh) 7 week drama camp for high schoolers that was well worth the money as, in week 2, I realized I absolutely did not want to major in drama when I did go to college.  So when I got home and more or less immediately drove to go see the movie, I was aware it was "weird", "not as good as the first one" and the other things people were saying at the time.  My memory of seeing the movie that first time was primarily of (a) Catwoman and (b) my girlfriend at the time laughing at me as my 40 oz of soda spilled all down the floor of the theater.  Great girl.

It's been a long, long time since I watched this movie.  It's nowhere near one of my favorite films, superhero or otherwise, and it's always been a bit of a mess.  Sure, it features things I love in theory - a Circus of Crime, penguins loaded down with missiles and helmets, the Batmobile, Michelle Pfieffer...  but it also feels like too many cooks were in the kitchen deciding what this movie would be.