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

Friday, September 13, 2019

PODCAST: "Secret Origins: Brandon Zuern" - It's a Kryptonian Thought-Beast Episode

The man, the myth, the manager - our own Brandon Zuern

We're trying this thing out where we're trying to stray a bit from the "let's talk about a movie" formula and we delve into comics and the people who love them.








It's the launch of "Secret Origins", where we talk to comic-folk about how they got into comics and how they got to where they're at as collector, creator, comic retail pro, etc, et al. We start off by visiting with the manager of what's been our longtime LCS (Local Comic Shop, for you new kids). Get to know Comic Book Brando, our own Brandon Z! Learn about Austin Books and Comics, its sister stores, and two guys discussing the winding paths to comics fandom.

For more Kryptonian Thought-Beast, you can always visit our, uh, satellite site?  Something like that.  OR our sister Soundcloud.

The Center of Austin Fandom below...!

Tuesday, September 3, 2019

PODCAST: "Aquaman" (2018) - Kryptonian Thought-Beast Episode 01 w/ Jamie and Ryan


Watched:  08/29/2019
Format:  HBO Streaming on Amazon
Viewing:  Second
Decade:  2010's

We launch our Kryptonian Thought-Beast series with an (exhausted) examination of our fishy friend's blockbuster cinematic success! And we ask "Why? Why did people like this movie? For it is not a good movie." Join Jamie and I as we discuss the dude-bro who would be king of 3/4ths of the Earth.




Music:
Aquaman Theme - Power Records, Sounds and Stories about the Justice League of America


Kryptonian Thought Beast PodCast Series

Saturday, August 17, 2019

Happy Birthday, Lois Lane

According to long-lived Superman site The Superman Homepage (it's old enough to still be called a Homepage!), it's the birthday of everyone's favorite comic-book intrepid reporter, Lois Lane!



Lois is having a pretty good year.  She's been key to the entirety of the Rebirth efforts around Superman as the comics squared the Superman/ Lois romance/ marriage once again, and gave them a son in Jon Kent.  Since Bendis came on the Super-books, he's put Lois back at the fore, first as someone Superman missed as she left for space, and then as a source of consternation as she's deposited herself in Chicago rather than Metropolis.

There's no question Lois's storyline is just getting bigger, and it sure doesn't hurt that she's starring in the super-books, deeply involved in Event Leviathan and currently has her own 12-issue maxi-series by Greg Rucka (a great fit for Lois) that I'm actually really enjoying.

Saturday, August 10, 2019

Super Satire Watch: The Boys (Amazon Prime)



I haven't actually read Garth Ennis's The Boys series.  I read the first trade and always intended to follow up to see where it went from the set-up, but never quite got there.  I'll make up for it now, but it's gonna take some purchasing power, I guess.

Flat out, Garth Ennis is one the three or four best writers in comics, and, on some days, I think he's just "the best".  Some of us stumbled upon him due to his bizarre ability to make gore and violence absolutely hilarious (in the right context) but stayed for the amazing characterization, astounding turns to genuine sympathy for unsympathetic characters, and his ability to grasp humanity and the tragedy and comedy of his characters enough that they feel can feel three-dimensional.  All while existing in profane, graphically violent, sexually frank or ridiculous situations that seems like it would send many-a-comics-twitterer running for some pearls to clutch.

Sunday, June 23, 2019

TL;DR: In 1989 I was 14, and I saw "Batman"



The kids are never going to know that there is, literally, in the public consciousness, a world before Tim Burton's Batman from back in '89, and a world that came into being after that movie.

Today marks the 30th anniversary of the release of Batman, the Michael Keaton/ Kim Basinger/ Jack Nicholson-starring gothic caricature that changed the public's perception of superheroes in general.  This isn't hyperbole - nothing was ever the same after this movie came out.  You don't get an Iron Man or Avengers without Batman.  You really don't get the idea out to the general public that comics have moved to a teens-and-up audience until you get breathless write-ups about the Batmania phenomenon.  You also don't have piles of merchandise for adults with a superhero logo on it until Batman, or comics movie-related toys flying off the shelf.

But, mostly, you finally got people to stop thinking "Bam! Whap! Pow!" when they thought about superheroes.

Thursday, June 13, 2019

TL;DR: Happy Superman Day! (yesterday)




So, about halfway through the day yesterday the internet decided it was "Superman Day".  I have no idea what for or why.  Something to do with DC cashing in on the release of Man of Steel a few years back.  Why this isn't a Saturday so stores can promote Superman and bring in kids and stuff, I can't imagine.

Get your act together, all of comics.

Whatever the reason, we'd feel remiss if we didn't raise a glass to our favorite fictional undocumented alien, the man of tomorrow, the ace of action, Big Blue himself:  Superman.

Every once in a while over the years I've attempted to explain the appeal of Superman, but that's never gone over particularly well.  Explaining why you like a fictional character feels like weird and dorky gushing, especially when discussing one who has seen hundreds of writers, dozens of interpretations, and who has been on the outs in popularity for more than thirty years.

Still, I'm a fan.  I don't think this is a secret.

Maybe in this era of cultural division and splintering, featuring a low, dull tension that seems to be hang over us at all times, where we aren't sure what to believe in the news or from our elected leaders (or from other people who'd sure like to be a leader)... We know we're getting fleeced and we know there's plenty to come right back swinging if you push back...  Maybe standing in relief against that backdrop, a guy who tells the truth, stands up for those who can't stand up for themselves, who can shrug off bullets and shackles of the injust but powerful as he moves through the world righting wrongs and helping the helpless...  Maybe in this world a Superman who can pull open his shirt and appears in a blaze of primary colored action makes a lot more sense.

Monday, June 10, 2019

No, Hollywood, That is Not Why We Didn't See the New X-Men (or Godzilla)

oh, no.  I couldn't possibly.  No, thank you.



The Hollywood Reporter posted an article today explaining why X-Men: Dark Phoenix underperformed at the box office.  It's an article that explains how the execs at Fox were wrong about what went wrong with X-Men: Apocalypse and how they mis-course corrected with Dark Phoenix.*

I'll argue, the article is no more correct about what went wrong (re: why people didn't show up) than the condescending treatment it gives the execs trying to sort things out in the days after the poor performance of Apocalypse.

Sunday, June 9, 2019

TV Watch: Doom Patrol - Season 1


I really didn't know what to expect when DC announced their second show in their DC Universe app exclusive line-up would be Doom Patrol From the pictures shared, the comics would be roughly based on the late 1980's/ early-90's-era Grant Morrison-penned (with art by Richard Case, Doug Braithwaite, Scott Hanna, John Nyberg, Carlos Garzon) comics.  But with a slightly different line-up, what with Rita Farr there front and center.

My initial exposure to Doom Patrol as a team was via issue #1 of this series - Morrison had come on in the mid-30's - written by Paul Kupperberg.  Frankly, I'd been completely enamored with the first couple of issues (long since disappeared from my collection, even before The Purge).  It was so weird and dark and uncomfortable - starting at a point where people were assembling, talking about a team that had preceded them had died.  Badly.   Somehow it felt more adult and frank than the way X-Men never seemed to quite exit high school.

Friday, May 24, 2019

This Season - on "Supergirl"



At the end of last season, I'd kind of given up on the CW superhero shows.  Maybe there was some residual guilt - after all, I no longer have that mania for all things comics I once did, and whenever I realize I no longer care about something comics-related, it makes me... kind of sad?  That said - these days, there's so much superhero content out there, I long ago let go of watching *everything*, and now I'm lucky if I watch much of anything.*

I find a lot of network TV a chore - 22 episodes or so per year is a lot to watch in sheer time allotted.  But, more than that, unless you're talking 30 minute sitcom or a show that's more episodic in nature, keeping the thread over twenty-two 45-minute chapters is a lot of narrative to keep track of.  Frankly, it feels like it's too much for the writers a lot of the time on these shows, and by the time we'd get to the season finale, speaking especially of those CW superhero shows, it can feel like a tortured mess that you just want to see end more than you care about the events of the finale.

Anyway - after watching both The Flash and Supergirl for a few seasons, at the end of last year, Jamie and I decided to hang it up.

Wednesday, May 8, 2019

Way TL;DR - Tracking Superheroes from Source-of-Shame to $2 Billion Dollars in 2 Weeks



The kids today will never *quite* appreciate what Marvel pulled off, starting with Iron Man and continuing on with this week's mega-release of Avengers: Endgame.  But, more than that, they'll never really understand what it was like to go from an era where you'd stay home on a Friday night to see a TV movie of the week starring David Hasslehoff as Nick Fury.  Truly, any crumb of a glimpse of a live-action version of the comics you enjoyed was like a signal beamed from weirdo space and invading the lowest-common-denominator normalcy of broadcast TV.  Any cinematic appearance of anything even superhero adjacent was a reason to trek to the movies (a habit I am just now breaking, pretty unsuccessfully).

These days every basic jerk out there tries to claim nerd status for just *liking* something other than sports and *admitting* they have something they enjoy (heads up!  you cannot be a wine-nerd.  You can be a vintner, wine enthusiast, sommelier or lush.  Pick one.  But a "wine nerd" is not a thing.).   But in an era before Bryan Singer turned the X-Men into a box office smash, and the internet gave us hidey-holes into which we all disappeared and Watchmen made the 100 Greatest Novels Since 1923 list...   comics were for children.  Or for nerds, losers, the mentally slow, the emotionally damaged, perverts and delinquents.

Movies might come out based on graphic novels or comics, and sometimes that source was acknowledged - but I grew up in the 1980's, and my comics habit made the adults around me visibly nervous.*  Parents, teachers, etc... knew to be disapproving and angry about musical selections (thanks, Tipper!), but comics?  What were we even doing?

Monday, November 12, 2018

Stan Lee Merges with The Infinite



Excelsior!

I am, like everyone, mourning the loss of Stan Lee who passed at age 95.

But.  What a world we live in where everyone is mourning a comic book writer/ editor/ huckster!  What an amazing guy we had with us for almost a full century!

Sunday, July 8, 2018

Steve Ditko Merges With the Infinite



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

Comics Culture Read: Marvel Comics - The Untold Story (2013)


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.

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

PODCAST: Jamie and I Talk "Justice League" (2017)!!!


Jamie humored me - and we watched Justice League (2017) and then she agreed to do a podcast.



Ryan welcomes a very special guest - Jamie, the light of his life - as they talk DC Entertainment's "Justice League", and Jamie works through her feelings about the movie. And Ryan maybe goes on a Kirby tangent.

Also available on
Stitcher
iTunes
PocketCast

Thursday, May 31, 2018

Super-Reviews: Man of Steel #1



Writer:  Brian Michael Bendis
Pencils:  (mostly) Ivan Reis and 2 pages by Jason Fabok
Inks:  Joe Prado
Colors:  Alex Sinclair
Lettering:  Cory Petit
Editor:  Michael Cotton
Associate Editor:  Jessica Chen
Group Editor:  Brian Cunningham

Well, it finally arrived.

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

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 28, 2017

Happy 95th to Stan Lee!


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.

Excelsior!