Wednesday, September 26, 2018
Ryan and Jamie talk about "Captain America: The First Avenger" - and it goes on way, way too long. We talk about why the movie felt like a risk, how it fits in with the Avengers overall mega-narrative, and how it compares to the comics. This may or may not be one of our favorite movies, so we may have shown up with multiple type-written pages of notes, ready to go.
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Saturday, September 1, 2018
Format: Amazon Streaming
Viewing: I dunno. Fifth? Sixth?
Jamie and Ryan watch the fourth Marvel Studios film, Thor! It's the first off-world excursion for Marvel, an introduction for a key Avenger, expansion of the MCU and a lot of set-ups for payoffs. And, of course, more handsome than any movie should be asked to handle. Some top flight talent joins some soon-to-be-household-names as adventure unfolds!
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Sunday, August 12, 2018
Format: Amazon Streaming
Viewing: third or fourth
Jamie and Ryan cover "Iron Man 2", where the pieces of the Marvel U move forward, plants are placed that will pay off movies down the line, Black Widow first appears, and Tony sits in a giant donut. We also say "interesting" entirely too much. Join us as we realize we discuss how "Iron Man 2" works better now as part of the Marvel puzzle than it did when we saw it as just a sequel Marvel rushed into theaters.
For the Avengers Chronological Countdown Playlist:
Sunday, August 5, 2018
Viewing: unknown. 5th?
Podcast runtime: 58 minutes
Jamie and Ryan buckle in for movie #2 - "The Incredible Hulk". Marvel grapples with the film world of 2008-ish as they adapt comics, movies and TV shows into one cinematic creature that Ryan likes, but didn't exactly take off at the time. We take a look at what Mr. Angry-Pants is all about and how it all fits in.
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Monday, July 23, 2018
Viewing: At least the fifth
Jamie and Ryan begin a re-watch of all the Marvel movies in order of release! (We call it Chronological Countdown, but we're not doing in some willy-nilly Marvel timeframe). Join us as we consider Iron Man (2008), what it meant then and now in the Marvel Cinematic U and how it looks in 2018 in general.
Tuesday, July 17, 2018
Format: Alamo Slaughter Lane
It's a PODCAST! Starring our own Jamie! As the Ant-Man partners up with The Wasp, so we team up with our better half to talk big about getting small. This one is a bit shorter than other podcasts at a trim 35 minutes, so jump right in to hear the good, the bad and the tiny of Ant-Man and The Wasp (2018).
Sunday, July 8, 2018
Comics creator Steve Ditko passed this weekend at the age of 90. As you may know, Ditko co-created Spider-Man and was responsible for the art chores and certainly deserves co-writing credits with Lee on the early years of the wall-crawler's adventures. He was behind some of my favorite Spidey villains like Sandman, The Lizard, Electro, Doctor Octopus, and - of course - Green Goblin. Not bad.
Saturday, July 7, 2018
Author: Sean Howe
Release: October, 2013
The manager at my Local Comic Shoppe, Brandon, suggested Marvel Comics: The Untold Story (2013) while we were discussing some minutia around the history of Marvel Comics.
My knowledge of Marvel history is one mostly gathered patchwork from various interviews, articles, word-of-mouth stories, etc... so I knew some broad strokes, particularly around the infamous Kirby/ Lee creator debates and the Ditko/Lee broo-haha, but after Lee left Marvel, it's all bits and pieces gleaned from Bullpen Bulletins, credits on comics while certain things were happening, and trying to piece together what the hell, exactly, was going on at Marvel at any given time.
Thursday, June 14, 2018
Format: BluRay (purchased)
I've already seen (twice) and talked about (once) Thor: Rangarok (2017), so the rest of this post is just me reflecting on what an excellent idea it was to cast Cate Blanchett as Hela.
Wednesday, May 30, 2018
Tuesday, May 1, 2018
|the parade of pretty people|
As the foremost world expert on all things cinematic and Marvel Comics, my words on Avengers: Infinity War are already making their way around the world as the definitive statement on what any right-thinking human should believe about this movie. So it's natural that so, so many of you would come to me with your questions in all things Thanosy.
Here, I shall address your queries, both penetrating and dumb as hell.
Let us begin with the following question paraphrased from an actual bit of correspondence:
Dear The League,
I have somehow spent the last decade not seeing all - or even most of - the Marvel films. Obviously, this is a sign that I should not be trusted with any decision-making whatsoever.
Therefore, I must bow to your superior wisdom, which is great in so, so many areas, and ask the following:
If I've only seen, like, five Marvel movies, should I see Avengers: Infinity War?
(name redacted to prevent a torrent of well-deserved shame)
Needless to say I was simply shocked that one of my readers - nay, one of my FRIENDS - would have fallen so far. But I wanted to put some serious thought into this, and share my answer for everyone, give them a chance to ponder my response and apply that knowledge - yes, innate genius but also hard-earned - into their own life.
If you have not seen all 18 movies or whatever of the Marvel Cinematic Universe - will, indeed, Avengers: Infinity War be worth the viewing? Will you glean all there is to grasp in each moment, in each line of dialogue, each meaningful glance? Despite the less-informed experience, can you still squeeze some joy, taste the fruit of the labors of both creators and audience, or will the ambrosia be robbed of flavor for your lack of understanding?
My answer may surprise you in it's thoughtfulness and sincerity, it's consideration of every angle. It follows after the break.
Format: Alamo Drafthouse Slaughter Lane
Warning - this write-up will have spoilers. Do not read this post until you've seen Avengers: Infinity War (2018).
Sunday, March 4, 2018
Hey, it's an all-new podcast!
AmyC and I got together and talked Black Panther. Join us as we chat on the movie and cultural force! Sort of Guest Starring Scooter, the very nice kitty.
Folks are generally really enjoying this movie, as did we, and that's uncharted territory here at the Signal Watch Podcast.
Tuesday, February 27, 2018
Watched: 02/15/2018 and 02/25/2018
Format: Alamo Slaughter Lane/ Alamo Village
Viewing: First/ Second
I'm supposed to schedule with AmyC to do a podcast on this film. I need to get that done. In the meantime...
Writing about Black Panther (2018) is, perhaps, not terribly useful at this point. The movie is a legitimate phenomenon in box office and in cultural conversation. Both of these things are yet another sign among many of the past few years that we're undergoing some tectonic shifts in Hollywood, unlearning the rules of the industry when it comes to what audiences actually do want. As of this writing, Black Panther had raked in $700 million worldwide, and, if my sold out 7:00 on a Sunday show was any indication, shows no signs of stopping.
As a white dude who is as much of a white dude as you're like to meet, I get the basic contours of what this film has meant to a Black audience, in America and abroad, but I won't pretend to have been more than an observer.* By this late date, it's possible or likely you've seen photos of people who've "dressed" for the movie, watched video of kids attending crowd-funded screenings... and more than likely you've read one or five of the dozens and dozens of think pieces circulating. So I don't know what new I can add, and I'll try not to belabor those points.
Thursday, December 28, 2017
Say what you will about cheesy hucksterism, but I grew up knowing who Stan Lee and Marvel were years before I read a comic book. Back in the 70's and 80's, Stan didn't just have his name on every Marvel comic ("Stan Lee Presents:"), and his name on every Marvel cartoon, he was also providing editor's note voice-over to episodes of The Incredible Hulk and other cartoons. I knew what it was to be a "True Believer" before I ever read a word-bubble of Spidey's inner monologue.
Speaking of: he also wrote the Spidey daily newspaper strip (in theory), which I read in collections as I got into comics.
Of course we can go back and forth all day about the Kirby/ Ditko/ Lee contributions that made up Marvel starting in '62. But none of them would have done it without the others. And, more than that, the longterm effect of Lee's boosterism of comics and comic-book characters is utterly incalculable in a landscape littered with superhero films, TV shows, cartoons, merchandise, toys, clothing, and where even Dr. Strange is now a household name.
I know Stan has made mistakes and not always made decisions that make sense to idealistic fans. That comes with the territory of being a walking icon and making mistakes as you go.
But I'm grateful he's had a chance to see the world embrace his creations, watched his comic empire flourish for going on six decades, and become a household name himself.
Wednesday, November 29, 2017
Friday, November 3, 2017
Marvel is at an interesting point in it's movie making history. We're, what, 20 movies in? Now that they're past origin stories, they seem to have embraced two things:
- tone can vary
- letting creators with a vision go a bit nuts means you aren't necessarily repeating yourself (as much)
Guardians of the Galaxy demonstrated that audiences wanted a bit of balance to grim-dark superheroes, and the abysmal approach to DC's slate of films up to Wonder Woman showed what *not* to do - so it's a bit rewarding to see Thor bounce back from what was arguably one of the weakest Marvel movies with Thor: The Dark World* and come back with the pop-corniest Marvel movie since... well, this summer's Spider-Man: Homecoming and Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 were both pretty solid entries as well. Let's just agree it's been a good year to be a Marvel movie fan.
Marvel's movies have reflected or echoed an arc not dissimilar to what has happened with the printed comics. Hitting the stage with a surge of quick hits that were better than what we'd seen of late in the same genre, an expansion of the universe with a diversity of types of comics/ movies that reflect the milieu of each character, pulling them back together with Avengers comics/ movies as mega-events that never quite work, exactly, but do ground everyone in a single reality, then push everyone back out into their own books/ films.
Monday, October 16, 2017
This is the most excited I've been for a Marvel movie (beforehand) since Guardians of the Galaxy. Everything about this surpasses what were my biggest hopes for a Black Panther movie.
Sunday, August 27, 2017
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.
Friday, July 7, 2017
So, I hadn't actually paid all that much attention to Spider-Man: Homecoming (2017) prior to showing up to see it in the theater Thursday night. Sure, I'd watched the trailer and was pleased they went with The Vulture for a villain.
At this point, I'm fine with just noting the release date of a Marvel movie, paying my money and showing up. Marvel hasn't always knocked it out of the park, but I'm generally guaranteed a pretty good time out at the movies, and some of the films have been spectacular, reminding me both why I love superheroes and a trip to the movies.
It wasn't too hard to figure out that this Spider-Man film would stick to the high-school years, abandon comic canon (all the Marvel movies have done that), but stick to the core of what makes the character work (also, all the Marvel moves have done that). After feeling let down by Sony's reboot of Spidey with The Amazing Spider-Man - so much so (gulp) I never watched the sequel - I was thrilled that Marvel and Sony saw the light (and potential for profit) enough to bridge differences and make it work.
I'm pleased to say I enjoyed myself as much as I did at Guardians of the Galaxy 2, and many other Marvel films of the past decade. And, while there are huge changes from the comics, Spider-Man: Homecoming reminded me why I ever liked Spider-Man, his world, and his niche in the Marvel Universe. And, that I am very much not alone in wanting to see Peter Parker swinging from a web and trying his hardest.