Showing posts with label superman. Show all posts
Showing posts with label superman. Show all posts

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.

Monday, December 25, 2017

Merry Christmas Morning!


Merry Christmas, every buddy.

I hope you're spending today as you like, whether it's in the company of friends, family or feet up and watching a Godzilla marathon while no one bothers you. 

May the day be a peaceful one.  May the close of the year be the best of days.  Let's all strive to be better people in the coming year. 

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.

Thursday, August 10, 2017

New "Mister Miracle" #1 by King and Gerads


It has been a long, long time since I've talked much about Mister Miracle by Jack Kirby, but when I came across a black and white collection back in late 90's, one of that series one of New Gods, the comics hit my psyche like a runaway freight train.

I'll talk more about Kirby's Mister Miracle and New Gods soon (I'll be doing my own salute to King Kirby before his 100th), but today I want to suggest you guys get onboard with the new Mister Miracle series by Tom King and Mitch Gerads, which hit shelves on Wednesday.

I admit, I've not read the duo's other work to date, though I've been meaning to pick up their Vision series for at least a year.   But...

As comics keep relaunching with new #1's, I'd suggest that both publishers and creators take note:  this is how one starts a series.

Monday, July 31, 2017

The Great Andrea Romano, Voice Director for Animation, is Retiring


Like every other DC Comics nerd, I know Andrea Romano's name from watching my Batman, Superman and Justice league cartoons a little too closely.  And, of course, the extras on the DVD sets.

It seems she's hanging up her... headset?  microphone?  and passing off her duties as she heads into well-earned retirement.

It's hard to say how one measures the skill of a voice director for cartoons, but here's a sample of shows she's worked on:


  • Chip N' Dale Rescue Rangers
  • Duck Tales
  • Tiny Toon Adventures
  • Animaniacs
  • Batman: The Animated Series
  • Freakazoid
  • Superman
  • Batman Beyond
  • Static Shock
  • Justice League
  • Teen Titans
  • Batman: The Brave and the Bold
  • Spongebob Squarepants
  • The Boondocks


and a whole lot more

I know the folks 10 or 15 years younger than me will disagree because they've got nostalgia on their side, but I couldn't ever figure out what was wrong with the acting in the Marvel cartoons of the 1990's (or, heck, today).  The voice acting always sounded rushed, like people just shouting lines into a mic.  But DC's work always sounded natural, like a radio show or movie, just animated.  Her characters were distinct, had their own cadences and personalities.

And when you think of shows like Animaniacs or Tiny Toons - those voices were so specific and as much a part of the characters as any cell animation - you can't really separate the two.  Hell, the Warner Brothers (and the Warner Sister) still bounce around in my head in perfect pitch.

Yeah, that's because WB has a great stable of voice actors, but they've also been working under Romano for decades now.   She brought in name talent like Clancy Brown for Superman, and she found a fellow by the name of Kevin Conroy and made him "the" Batman for two or three generations of fans, no matter who was putting on the cowl in the feature films.

Back when I was still buying DVDs and BluRays of DC movies and series, I'd always jump immediately to the extras and hope they'd have an interview with Romano, who was casual but a total pro every time she was on camera.  Her feel for the characters and, really, how to work with actors was superb, and it played out in every story, in every series and movie and arc.  And even though she's not associated with Justice League Action - which all of you should be watching - the show's production carries so much of her stamp, such is her legacy at at WB Animation.

I'm sad she's retiring, because it means less of her work, but it's important to say a big thanks to Ms. Romano, who has been such a huge part of so many hours of entertainment we've all been able to enjoy, and who's amazing abilities elevated an artform that many thought of hokey kid stuff.

Here's to you, ma'am.





Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Mustache You a Question: The Mustache Superman Meme has already produced this...

If you're not keeping up, Justice League is in reshoots (shocker, after Snyder left and Joss Whedon came on).  Therefore, our modern Man of Steel, Henry Cavillm is acting in two movies at the same time, and he's legally bound to wear a mustache for his part in what I think is a new Mission Impossible movie.

So, WB is going to film a mustachioed Superman and then digitally remove his cookie duster.

But - what if it were otherwise?  Well, the internet went nuts yesterday imagining how great that would be.

And, if you want to do more than imagine it or look at a few MS Paint photo manips, the internet hath provided...  (also, The Dug, who sent this to me)



Tuesday, July 4, 2017

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.

Thursday, December 22, 2016

Happy Holidays From The Signal Watch


Right about now, most of you will be wrapping up your usual routine to begin setting in motion the rituals we go through at the end of the calendar year.  I don't expect that, by tomorrow, much of anyone will be making time to check with us here at The Signal Watch, if you haven't already had to put down the iPad for a few days as the in-laws are now arrived, etc...

So, while I have you - I want to wish you the Happiest of Holidays.

In this year of all years - no matter your creed or philosophy - I wish you peace, love, health and plenty.  And, as always, hope for a better tomorrow.

My wish for Christmas is for us to do something every day that I fail on a daily basis.  May we see the best in each other, treat one another as we would our loved ones, consider those we don't know as potential friends.  Let's do right by each other.  We're all we've got.

We can be a great people.  We can wish it to be.  We need only find the light within to show us the way.

As Christmas may not be your bag - Happy Holidays.  As it well may be, and because I hope your Decembers 24th and 25th are good days - Merry Christmas.




Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Me in 2016

Me at the Start of 2016



Me at the End of 2016


What I think I better be ready for in 2017




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.

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Happy Birthday, Jimmy Olsen!

November 29th is, it seems, the birthday of one James Bartholomew Olsen, Superman's Pal.



It's nearly impossible to capture all the different interpretations of Jimmy, especially as he first appeared as a major character not so much in the comics - where he was an unnamed copyboy - but in radio.  In the 1950's, Jack Larson played Jimmy on The Adventures of Superman, and the character really took off.  National Comics responded by launching a comics which would run for almost two full decades, Superman's Pal, Jimmy Olsen.

I couldn't tell you exactly why I'm a fan of the character, but there's no question he's a fascinating character across a wide field of media.  And, yes, his comics are absolutely mind-bending as National tried to figure out what to do with the character in issues after issue.  Never underestimate the creative power of an unwinnable situation.

Even more so than Superman, Jimmy can change and bend to meet the needs of a story, so long as he's the youngest and most naive guy in the room.  And as a lead protagonist, the reader feels two steps ahead of our hero.  A lot of actors have had a lot of takes on Jimmy, and I have my favorites, but they've all brought something unique to the character.

Happy birthday, Jimmy.  I hope someone got you a cake.

Jimmy in "The Adventures of Superman"