Showing posts with label comics. Show all posts
Showing posts with label comics. Show all posts

Thursday, June 16, 2022

Tim Sale Merges With The Infinite




Comics artist and illustrator Tim Sale has passed.  




Sale's work was singular, unmistakable, and reminded an industry what could be done with a certain minimalism if you knew how to capture the essence of character in gesture, expression and motion in a line.  He volleyed between Marvel and DC for a good bit, but I believe I remember learning of his work through Haunted Knight and then the superlative Long Halloween.  

His work at Marvel provided a depth to characters with whom we're all familiar on multiple series, such as Daredevil: Yellow and Spider-Man: Blue.  

As a Superman reader, it's hard not to point to the defining work of A Superman For All Seasons, a new chapter to the life of a young Man of Steel finding his place in the world.  It's a beautiful comic with a deeply sympathetic take on Superman that you simply wanted to comfort as he sought his place in the world.











Wednesday, May 18, 2022

"She-Hulk, Attorney-at-Law" is Coming to Disney+

It's not easy being green whilst filing writs of habeas corpus



On May 17th, the trailer hit for Marvel's She-Hulk: Attorney-at-Law multi-episode series, which is set to begin on Disney+ in the coming months.  

When talking to pal GadK about the trailer last night, I had to put aside 30-something years of personal knowledge and history and consider what the hell She-Hulk looks like to someone unversed in the character.  Which, for us old man comic nerds, is an increasingly common occurrence.

Here's that trailer.




We're just in a weird, weird part of whatever the arc will be for superheroes media in our very own reality and continuity.  We're moving rapidly away from how superheroes were understood by the broad population as costumed do-gooders who fight obvious bad-guys in melodramatic four-color battles, an impression derived from barely understood comics of a by-gone era.  

What a non-comics person should know:  At some point, the various genres of comics that appeared across a range of comics (romance, western, etc...) seeped into various genres of the booming superhero genre and sparked endless iterations and permutations - and that is what you will now get at your local comics shoppe.  And it means things in Marvel and DC comics adapted to TV and movies will get weirder than a sarcastic space raccoon post haste.  

Friday, May 13, 2022

PodCast 199: "The Batman" (2022)- a Kryptonian Thought Beast Episode w/ JAL and Ryan




Watched:  05/01/2022
Format:  HBOmax
Viewing: First
Decade: 2020's
Director:  Matt Reeves




It's no riddle which flying rodent-enthusiast had a blockbuster in 2022. The Dynamic Duo of JAL and Ryan get back to the Batcave to talk all about the latest take on the Dark Knight Detective. It's time to get broody as we go batty talking how this one fits in with the big picture, and what makes it unique.


SoundCloud 


YouTube


Music:
The Batman - Michael Giacchino, The Batman OST 
Batman - Neal Helfi
Something In the Way - Nirvana, Nevermind 

DC Movies Playlist

Saturday, May 7, 2022

Comic Artist George Pérez Merges With The Infinite



One of the first comics I read that turned me into a comics fan was in a DC Blue Ribbon Digest (1984), a reprinting of Tales of the Teen Titians #50, one of several landmark issues of the famous run by George Pérez and Marv Wolfman.  Even in that reduced size, I was blown away by the art - in detail, character design, and ability to convey and carry emotion.  And Tales of the Teen Titans was always full of emotion.  

a page from Tales of the Teen Titans 50



Hence, the name George Pérez was one I always took seriously and who made me realize the contribution of the artist in a comic book - both in partnering with the writers, but also how good work absolutely elevated everything in a comic.  

I was a boy when Wonder Woman was rebooted post-Crisis, and boys did not read Wonder Woman (this is the dumbest thing, but it was true).  So it's to my eternal regret that I missed the initial run of George Pérez's solo work on the title, which, if you've never seen it, is achingly gorgeous and simultaneously spawned a generation of artists trying to be Pérez. In the meantime, I've collected every issue and likely have most of it in 2-3 versions of collections.  I may love Kirby and his dynamic flow and over-the-top energy, but Pérez's vision of Themyscira, Olympus, of a professor's home - and his shockingly grounded writing of the series filled with Greek Gods and supernatural terrors also gave way to the emotions of tween girls, middle-aged military brass, and the brave face of a fish-out-of-water Princess making her way through modern-day Boston.  It's so good.

Pérez's Wonder Woman



With his work we don't talk about issues or runs, we talk about "eras".  That's the impact.  

Whether it was Avengers, the phenomenal work of JLA/Avengers or even his indie work - his look and his eye changed everything.

In recent years, it was known his eyesight wasn't great and his health was not good.  And in recent months he announced he was terminal, and would pass.  Unlike so many deaths, which happen as a surprise to the public, Perez's announcement allowed the fans to celebrate him and let him know the impact he'd made on them.  

There is no picture of modern comics I can muster that doesn't include Pérez.  He picked up the torch and the challenge Neal Adams put before everyone to push their work as hard as they could.  And it's unbelievable we'd lose two such giants within days of each other.  

But I am glad the industry and fans got to let him know what he meant.  Godspeed.



Tuesday, May 3, 2022

80's TV Movie Watch: The Spirit (1987)




Watched:  05/02/2022
Format:  DVD from Warner Archive
Viewing:  First
Decade:  1980's
Director:  Michael Schultz

Way back in the 1980's, I ordered a Bud Plant catalog so I could get an idea of what all was out there in the world of comics.  I remember two things that really stuck out - a Mike Kaluta image of The Shadow (the first time I'd heard of the character) - and an image for a collection of The Spirit strips with P'gell prominently featured.  You know the one.

I didn't know what the hell The Spirit was, but to my 11 year old brain, this seemed very sexy indeed, and I assumed The Spirit was some sort of soft-core comic.  

Flash forward probably only a matter of months, and I read in Comics Scene that someone was making a TV movie of The Spirit, learned more about it (not a softcore book!) and back in the days when we weren't having superhero media rained down upon us, I was very interested.  

Finally the movie was slated to air, and of course there was some scheduling conflict (we just missed TV in those days), but I could probably catch the last hour or so.  I don't remember where we were or what was up, but I do remember my mom ran into a friend and started talking.  And I just had to stand there while the clock spun and my 1980's chances with no DVR faded away of seeing any of the movie.  

I walked in the door, watched the last five minutes, and then went to do homework.

Friday, April 29, 2022

Comics Great Neal Adams Merges With The Infinite

Meeting Adams in November, 2013 



I am shocked and saddened to hear that Neal Adams passed on Thursday.


Adams' work looms large for all comics fans, and for us Superman and Batman fans, it's seminal work.  Of course he's covered all sorts of other things.  Jamie has an Adams' Wonder Woman print on her office wall.  But to me he's the guy who brought Muhammad Ali to the DCU and advocated for Siegel and Shuster to be recognized financially and as creators when Superman: The Movie was in production.  



He brought an illustrative realism and humanity to his characters that pushed all of comics to a new level when he arrived, and he never quit pushing boundaries as an active creator right up to his passing.  

Do yourself a favor and look for some Neal Adams comics.  






Friday, November 12, 2021

Supergirl on the CW Ends




I started watching Supergirl from the pilot when the show had big ambitions and was going to air on CBS.  The pilot of the show is... not great.  You could feel the hands of CBS, home to a wide array of boring shows I don't watch, all over the show and kind of wringing themselves with all this superhero weirdness.  But they did bring in a decent cast, and seemed to have some ideas for modernizing the Maid of Might from her incredibly goofy origins in Action Comics 252.  

I won't get into it here, but Supergirl as a property allows for some flexibility as the character's titles never last, no one working on the latest iterations seems aware of prior incarnations, and once on the title, never seems to know what to do with the character for more than 3-6 issues.  I have probably hundreds of Supergirl comics, and there's been exactly two modern runs that I would recommend.

The show started off on CBS, which was always an awkward fit and probably one of the things that drove DC and WB to realize that working with network suits was more trouble than it's worth.  For the first half of the first season, the show felt deeply uncomfortable with itself, bucking against old network tropes and trying to make the domestic life of Kara Zor-El as basic as possible.

Friday, October 15, 2021

Superman Stuff: Let's Talk That Jonathan Kent News




If you came here because you're under the impression that the character known as Superman - who goes by Clark Kent in his everyday life as a mild-mannered reporter for a major metropolitan newspaper - is now categorized as bisexual:  he's not.  Hang in here with me.  

Let's start by clarifying - at this time, Clark Kent, Kal-El of Krypton, is still into women as far as the comics have indicated.*  The "Superman" in question is - in current Superman comics - the young-adult son of Lois Lane and Clark Kent, one Jonathan "Jon" Kent.  In the comics, as Clark Kent has had to take care of some business elsewhere, Jon Kent has been promoted from Superboy to Superman.  

It happens. I don't make the rules, I just report them.  But, yes, there are now two Supermans.  Mens.  Whatever.  It's less and more complicated than who is and is not a Green Lantern.

I don't think it's any surprise to folks that know me or follow this site where I stand on certain topics.  

In coming issues of Superman: Son of Kal-El, a maxi series based on current events in Superman comics, it seems our guy Jon is finding love with a male reporter.  Jon Kent's sexuality is not an issue for me as a reader.  He's a character reflecting both science-fantasy ideals but also a character who will be defined by many characteristics as a person which will appear in his serialized adventures hopefully for many years to come.

Saturday, October 9, 2021

Action-Ween Watch: Blade (1998)




Watched:  10/07/2021
Format:  HBOmax, I think
Viewing:  Fourth?  5th?
Decade:  1990's
Director:  Stephen Norrington

So.

I saw Blade (1998) the first time in a theater full of people who had apparently had a LOT of sugar.  It was one of the theaters in town at the time where there was a higher than likely chance people would talk at the screen, and that was fine by me for a movie about Wesley Snipes killing 90's sexy vampires.  

Mostly I remember at the end of the opening sequence, the place went crazy.  Like after a killer guitar solo at a concert.  I mean - Traci Lords at a rave as a vampire and then blood sprinklers at the drop, followed by Blade tearing the place up?  Yes sir.  

I was never really able to separate the fun I had watching the film from whether the film was actually "good", but sometimes a movie is "good" because you had a great time watching it.

Monday, October 4, 2021

DCU Animated Bat-Watch: The Killing Joke (2016)




Watched:  10/03/2021
Format:  HBOmax
Viewing:  First
Decade:  2010's
Director:  Sam Liu

Look.  This... should never have been a movie.  I know what DC/ WB Animation was thinking, but I have no idea what DC/ WB Animation was thinking.

Winding it way back, in 1988 I would have been about 13 when I stumbled across The Killing Joke as a comic book.  And, yes, at one point I had a first printing of the comic, which rises and falls in value on a regular basis.  

It's worth noting - Moore and Bolland were commissioned to do the comic en route to the Keaton-starring Batman movie.  Moore now distances himself from the comic as he has all things DC.  It was, I assume meant to be something of the moment and to give people curious about Batman and the Joker and modern comics something they could pick up as a "graphic novel" at B. Dalton Booksellers.  

This was the era just before 1989's Batman movie, and DC was pushing occasional random things out there and making sure to have collections on the shelf of Year One, Year Two, Dark Knight Returns and the ever popular Greatest Joker Stories Ever Told.  A beautifully crafted story by Alan Moore and Brian Bolland was a slam dunk - focusing on Batman and the Joker to give it synergy - what could go wrong?

Your answers are multiple choice.

Thursday, September 30, 2021

TL;DR: The New 52 - 10 Years later - from a guy who just buys comics




Polygon recently ran an oral history of the New 52 effort from DC Comics.  It features then DC Co-Publisher, Dan Didio, as well as a number of writers from the era.  It's a fascinating article for a lot of reasons, in part because of what those interviewed considered success and good ideas, and it seems that at least one person seems to have some difficulty separating fact from fiction on a few points.

A lot of talent - writers, artists and editors - seem to have turned down Polygon's request for an interview, some even citing that working on the New 52/ Nu52 was so unpleasant, they'd rather not talk about it.  So the number of voices that you'll see represented are minimal and probably well insulated from being seen as "difficult" or "willing to talk" by the current folks in charge.  After all, it's a tiny industry, and speaking out of turn even about deposed rulers can still label you as a problem.

In my opinion, reading the article, it's shocking how little self-reflection has occurred and how little awareness at least Dan Didio has about how it all ended - eg: being shown the door in early 2020 - just as he was gearing up to do a redux of New 52 and literally needed to be stopped.

Well, here's my history of DC's  New 52 publishing adventure as I remember it.

Sunday, August 15, 2021

Watch Party Watch: Annie (1982)

pretty sure that's Aileen Quinn's head photoshopped onto someone else's body



Watched:  08/14/2021
Format:  Amazon Watch Party
Viewing:  Unknown
Decade:  1980's
Director:  John Huston

Little Orphan Annie is a weird property that, frankly, I can't believe hasn't resurfaced in the past decade of "re-imaginings".  If you can have Archie Andrews battling supernatural forces, and... the same with Nancy Drew, it seems like a junior, globe-trotting adventurer with a dog and a potentially diverse cast seems like a pretty easy sell for a franchise.  

But for people to know that was what the strip was about would mean people read newspapers and therefore comic strips.  Instead, most of my generation knows the character from either the 1982 film Annie, or from one of the thousands of local theatre group productions of the musical upon which the movie is based (I've never seen it live).  

Friday, March 26, 2021

Comic Watch: X2 - X-Men United (2003)




Watched:  03/25/2021
Format:  Disney+
Viewing:  Unknown
Decade:  2000's
Director:  Bryan Singer

Until Logan came out a few years back, I'd argue X2: X-Men United (2003) was the *best* X-Men movie, which may be a sign of how quickly I felt the franchise devolved, but it does wonders to build on the original, expand the world, mine the premise for narrative gold, and set us up for both continuing X-Men films and potential Wolverine spin-offs.  

Jamie was asking me if the movie was based on stuff from the comics, and while I could definitively say it was, I also don't know exactly when and who wrote them.  I didn't get to Uncanny X-Men until around issue 170, with the kind of third incarnation of the X-Men, but - and here's my argument to the Big 2 why you just go ahead and keep on your Chris Claremonts as long as you can - all of the stuff from those stories 50-100 issues prior still had impact in what I was reading years after the fact.  The writer knew and remembered the important stuff, and it was woven into the character's lives and informed how they behaved and thought about things. *

Thursday, February 25, 2021

So, that "Superman and Lois" pilot on the CW




So, yeah.  After 2 serials, 6 seasons of Adventures of Superman, 4 Christopher Reeve films, 1 Helen Slater film, 4 seasons of Superboy, 4 seasons of Lois & Clark, 10 years of Smallville, 1 Superman Returns, a handful of Henry Cavill movies (3?), and 6 seasons of Supergirl, it's time for one more go at live-action Superman.  

Tuesday February 23rd saw the debut of Superman and Lois, a show about Superman/ Clark Kent and Lois Lane, now well into their lives, married and with two 14 year-old teenage sons (fraternal twins).  

Tuesday, December 29, 2020

PODCAST: "Wonder Woman 1984" - a Kryptonian Thought Beast Episode w/ Stuart, Jamie and Ryan

spoiler: the movie was not released in October

Watched:  12/25/2020
Format:  HBOmax
Viewing:  First
Decade: 2020's
Director:  Patty Jenkins


Our elite team of nerds comes together to discuss the hottest ticket on HBOmax and at the cinema. Is she a wonder? Has the world been waiting for her? We try to step inside the characters as we ponder what the film did and why, and, does it work? If you WISH someone could get to the bottom of this film - look no further! We're in our satin tights fighting for the right answers! 
Themyscira - Hans Zimmer, Wonder Woman 1984 Soundtrack

Tuesday, December 1, 2020

PODCAST: "Shazam!" (2019) - Xmas Genre Xrossover 2020 w/ AmyC and Ryan

 


Watched:  11/13/2020
Format:  HBO
Viewing:  Second
Decade:  2010's
Director:  David F. Sandberg




AmyC and Ryan say the word and find themselves checking out the heroic adventures of one of comics longest-lasting heroes who finally found his way to the big screen. And, it's a Christmas movie! We discuss the comics, the movie and what makes for holiday cinematic magic! 

Friday, June 12, 2020

Denny O'Neil Merges with The Infinite



I am terribly, terribly sorry to report that Dennis "Denny" O'Neil has passed.  I am often genuinely saddened when I see someone has gone on to their reward, but sometimes it hits harder.

It is difficult to measure the impact O'Neil had on comics, popular culture and culture writ-large.  And I doubt many people outside us comics nerds (and possibly only comics nerds of a certain age) know his name.  O'Neil was one of the giants, someone I "liked" as a kid when I'd read his stuff, but as an adult and went back through the history of DC and saw all he'd accomplished?

O'Neil is one of the creators largely responsible for the version of Batman you know and love.  He revitalized and solidified Hal Jordan (Green Lantern) and Oliver Queen (Green Arrow), making them relevant as sounding boards for the issues of the day.  He updated Superman and took on the challenge of turning Wonder Woman into a secret agent (with mixed results).  You may know the long runs on Batman that wound up informing Batman: The Animated Series, or the famous "Hard Travelling Heroes" period of Green Lantern/ Green Arrow.  His run on Superman is actually pretty well written, if unsustainable.  The run on Wonder Woman is flat out wild and strange, and - issues though it may have - it's a fascinating attempt to try to update (and maybe a good cautionary tale for every time the internet tells DC to update Wonder Woman).

I first learned his name, I believe, on the cover of The Question (along with Denys Cowan), and soon I looked for his name in association with a certain level of storytelling I thought surpassed most of what was on the rack.

O'Neil didn't just tell stories that took DC heroes on new journeys and challenged them in new ways, he invented a large number of characters for DC and more.   Those characters were a huge part of comics of my youth from O'Neil and others, and wound up in cartoons, movies and more.  Scroll down this page to see a list of his contributions.

It's odd to see the passing of someone who was part of the second generation to enter comics, the folks who were handing off the torch as I was showing up as a reader.  But O'Neil in particular is going to be missed.  But us comics folk aren't the type to forget a person's contribution or what they did to advance the narratives that inspire and entertain us.  And inspired others to create more on the foundations they built.

We'll miss you, Denny.



Monday, May 11, 2020

Comics Rec: Snow, Glass, Apples (Gaiman/ Doran)


Every once in a while you read a comic that you know is just going to stick with you for a long, long time.

Novelist Neil Gaiman of course broke into the public consciousness through Sandman, the perennially popular comic series that, frankly, got me back into comics when I'd wandered off to spend my money elsewhere.  What we don't talk about nearly enough is that, in addition to Gaiman's scripts and plots, he was paired with some of the finest artists to grace the business (you can thank editor Karen Berger), among them Colleen Doran.

Tuesday, March 31, 2020

Action 252 - First Supergirl - Arrived March 31, 1959!




Action 252 is the first appearance of the second time DC floated a super girl,* but it brought Kara Zor-El to Earth, not from a dimensional wormhole or anything like we get in fancy, modern stories, but from a loose chunk of Krypton that was just hurling through space with a city and an atmosphere.

Saturday, February 29, 2020

It's Superman's Birthday


It's Superman's birthday!

Back in the day the editors of Superman comics decided to be cheeky and said the reason Superman didn't seem to age was that his birthday was on Leap Day.  So, now, we only get to celebrate Superman's birthday every four years, so you gotta take advantage.  Go out there and eat a pint of ice cream or a whole cake in honor of Superman's b-day.  It's only every four years.