Archive for September, 2005

Fabulous Eight-Page Preview of “All Star Superman #1”

Friday, September 30th, 2005


NEWSARAMA does it again! They have released a gorgeous eight-page preview of the “All Star Superman #1” by Grant Morrison & Frank Quitely that arrives November 2005. Click here to check out their link.

Grant Morrison is one of my writing heroes (up there with Mark Waid, Devin Grayson and Warren Ellis). He grounds his stuff in the original source material but also ‘updates’ so that it often seems like something he created from scratch. This is a series I am truly looking forward to.

Fortunately, I grew fond of Quitely’s art during his all-too-short stint on THE AUTHORITY. It is different. But it is also gorgeous and his eye/perspectives bring to light some lovely angles, textures and shadows.

Call your comic shop and have a copy put aside for you when it comes out! 🙂

Serenity reviews are up

Friday, September 30th, 2005

Roger Ebert’s review gives it three stars. I guess it doesn’t matter that I watched a bit of Firefly before my review; Ebert is blissfully unaware of most TV shows (a point of pride with him, though it leaves him ill-fit to review Bewitched, Dukes of Hazzard and the like) so you now have your “uninformed Joe” review.

If you want to see a typical Firefly tambourine-beater review, emoting more than Cindy Sheehan watching Beaches, check out the Flick Filosopher.

Rotten Tomatoes gives it, at this moment with 59 reviews in, an 80%. (47 love it, 12 hate it.) A few days ago there were 9 reviews and 3 of them hated it. That means that in two days’ time 41 more critics have chimed in loving it and only 9 more dislike it. I think the rating will keep increasing.

UPDATE: Tell us what you thought of the movie in our new POLL!

Has Anyone Checked On The Joker’s Whereabouts?

Thursday, September 29th, 2005

Last week during a trip thru Ohio NASCAR Nextel Cup driver Mark Martin’s #6 Batman Begins Ford show car was stolen. The show car (worth around $250,000), along with the truck and trailer it was being transported in, was stolen from a hotel parking lot. The police have no leads.

New Alias tonight at 8 PM EST

Thursday, September 29th, 2005

Brand New!
Season Premiere!


Jennifer Garner!

and Carl Kolchak returns at nine pm in Night Stalker….

just a bunch of reminders…

I cannot believe that we don’t have more posts than this today….

Villains Revealed For Spider-Man 3

Wednesday, September 28th, 2005

Not going to say that I have faith in these supposed revelations but the large Google news search lends credence to the idea that Kirsten Dunst let slip who the baddies are for the next Spider-Man movie.

The bad guys are Venom and Sandman and the actors playing them are Topher Grace and Thomas Haden Church.

I don’t entirely trust these reports. First of all I recall stuff by Sam Raimi saying he was into the Romita era of Spider-Man and earlier. He’d drive mostly for Ditko characters. Venom came out in the 1980s and was drawn by Todd McFarlane. Venom was created by David Michilinie.

It’s hard to believe the reports that Topher Grace would or could play Venom. The important thing to remember is that Venom is a giant freak. You know those football players in college? That’s Venom. In a Spider-Man costume with teeth on it. Topher Grace is comparatively tiny. Bulking up would still make a small Venom. I don’t trust these reports yet. Sounds like the rumor mill to me.

Funny blogpost about Firefly screening

Wednesday, September 28th, 2005

The Grumpy Gamer was also invited to the screening, though he had to go through a great deal of rigamarole to do so. His post is funny (with a few brief expletives). Some money quotes, emphasis mine:

Apparently, me getting into the screening is dependent on my regurgitating a much of marketing hype on my website. Once I’ve done this and notified them, they will let me know if I’ve gotten in.

It seems to me that the these marketing people just don’t understand bloggers, or at least not the bloggers I read and know.

Why do they feel they need to do this? Why did this need to turn into a loyalty contest? It’s not like this is some J-Lo movie that they are trying to save, this is frigg’n Joss frigg’n Whedon and Firefly.

His whole post is worth reading. Especially the part about camera phones.

Review: Serenity (a/k/a Firefly: The Motion Picture)

Wednesday, September 28th, 2005

This is a SPOILER-FREE review of Serenity! Read it without fear of corruption.

Let me tell you a story. The creator of a hugely popular genre TV show was invited to do a new sci-fi show about a disparate group of loners wandering the spaceways in a starship. Unfortunately, despite a proven track record for his genius if simply allowed to do what he does best, the network felt inclined to meddle. Not happy with the perfectly-acceptable pilot that would get the audience up to speed, they demanded a new, more exciting first episode, and then broadcast the show out of order. Lacking network support and not garnering overwhelming ratings, and despite a devoted fan base, the show was canceled after half a season’s worth of episodes.

But enough about “The Crusade“, the sequel series to “Babylon 5.”

Let’s talk about how history repeated itself with “Firefly“.

I have this friend who, having never seen or heard of Firefly, went to one of those “working print” screenings of Serenity back in June and has ever since been hanging out at the airport banging this tambourine with a picture of Joss Whedon on it. I mean, he ordered the Firefly box set the very next day, scrounged for advance tickets to the new movie (that’s how I got in last night) and even drove over to my house to drop off the DVDs (though not all of them, for that would leave nothing running on a loop at his own house) so that I could check out the show.

I was torn as to whether I should watch the DVDs. Do I want to review the movie for Monitor Duty as a newcomer to the show would, so as to experience it and rate it as a newbie? In the end, I watched the first four episodes on Disk 1 the night before seeing the movie, and yet I didn’t learn much that isn’t set up in the movie. Clearly, how easily the non-fans can pick up on the situations and characters is a good indication of how accessible the film is. In cases where the movie is based on a pre-existing universe, the writer must navigate between over-familiarity and the assumption of familiarity.

For example: the title of the movie. Due to legal reasons, they couldn’t use Firefly in the title, so they had to come up with something else. They picked “Serenity”. For the longest time, I wasn’t able to make the connection that this was the movie spinoff of Firefly. I mean, “Serenity” is the kind of title you give to a chick flick with Annabeth Gish and Glenn Close as divorced friends who move to a beach house. It doesn’t come across to the average American as “space cowboy opera”. Sure, to the Firefly viewer, Serenity is the name of the spaceship flown by the main characters, as well as the location of a military defeat…but to most people, it’s meaningless. Hopefully the title won’t be a hindrance to this movie’s success.

Now that I’ve seen the movie, I have to say…


Typekey now working

Wednesday, September 28th, 2005

As I mentioned yesterday, Typekey is now configured (properly) to work with our site. Anyone with a Typekey account can now log into Typekey and post comments to our system without the need for approval.

Typekey accounts are free and very easy to get.

Alan Kistler’s Profile On: AQUAMAN

Tuesday, September 27th, 2005

There are characters in comics who are just lame. I admit that. You will never convince me that the Golden Age hero blessed with super-speed called The Whizzer was cool (especially considering that he had the audacity to wear a yellow costume with that name). Yes, the Whizzer who was in the Squadron Supreme was kinda cool. But the Golden Age hero who got his super-speed powers due to an emergency transfusion of mongoose blood? Sod off, he was lame.

What irks me though is when people, especially those who don’t read comics and only saw a few episodes of the SUPERFRIENDS cartoon, look at a legitimate hero with solid history and powers and consider him lame based on flimsy evidence. Aquaman is such a character. We’ve all heard it. "He sucks. He lives underwater, so what?" Dude, Captain Nemo lived underwater too and he was a madman who made all of Britain tremble with fear. And he didn’t even have the benefit of super-human abilities or an entire ocean of creatures at his beck and call.

Now shut up a minute and let me tell you about the history of this surprisingly mythic character.


Serenity preview coming

Tuesday, September 27th, 2005

I have been invited to an advance showing of Serenity. Watch for my review!

New Poster For “Aeon Flux”

Tuesday, September 27th, 2005


Thanks to SuperHeroHype for the image!

Yet another genre for adaptation?

Tuesday, September 27th, 2005

Showgirls with Sock Puppets sounds like it would be far more watchable than the actual movie.

Working hard?

Tuesday, September 27th, 2005

Over Worked Mouse

WARNING: Spoilers in the link I sentcha

Tuesday, September 27th, 2005

I should have told you about this sooner, I suppose, but I didn’t want to participate in spoiling “Flight Plan.” Last week, I got into a disagreement with the people who run Libertas over their intentional spoiling of “Flight Plan”. (FAIR WARNING: Clicking on that will take you to the article with spoilers about the movie.)

The source of the disagreement is Deb Schlussel’s article in which she aggressively ruins the movie for all of her readers so that they won’t want to see “Flight Plan.” This is because she doesn’t like the message that the film is sending (either deliberately or as a side-effect of telling the story). Libertas then ran this article with a subject line which gave away the spoilers! I’d been planning to see the movie and had gone out of my way to avoid spoilers, and made my displeasure clear.

It’s not like I even disagree with their politics or their displeasure with the message, though I’d have to see the movie to know whether it’s really a major point or not. I simply don’t believe in spoiling a movie for your own site’s visitors. It’s an abuse of trust.

I just wanted to make clear that you can always count on Monitor Duty to warn of spoilers and hide them. We’ll never engage in these “BLUE BEETLE GETS SHOT IN HEAD! Don’t read Countdown to Infinite Crisis!” kinds of games.

One more thing. Check out comment #8! Cool, eh?


“A History of Violence” out this weekend

Monday, September 26th, 2005

Ebert & Roeper have already reviewed it and gave it two thumbs up.

More on our site updates

Monday, September 26th, 2005

Thanks to our new spam-weeding controls and new comment field options, you won’t have to wait so long to see your comments appear.

Everyone who has posted here legitimately (i.e. no offers of barnyard sex or enlargement pills) has been granted the status of “approved commenter”. Your next comments should be showing up without any delay.

Also, you can use the free Typekey pass system. Log into it once and it will remember you for two weeks. From then on, you can post on ANY WEBLOG which uses Typekey authentication. YES! Finally. How cool. The answer to my – oh, wait, I just tried it and it’s not working.

Oooookay. I will work on this and get back to you.

Farewell to Agent 86

Monday, September 26th, 2005

Actor Don Adams Dies at 82

Don Adams was a WWII vet who served at Guadalcanal and, after surviving a tropical fever, served back in the states as a drill instructor. That actually explains the delivery he used.

Years ago, I had a copy of an LP record from the library of Don Adams doing “Man on the Street” interviews. (I don’t mind telling you I had a taped copy of that album; it was impossible to find.) I wish I still had that album. Don Adams was a hilarious comedian with terrific timing, and he was also well-known as the voice of Inspector Gadget and Tennessee Tuxedo…but let’s face it, it’s as the star of Mel Brooks’ TV show “Get Smart” that Don will always be remembered. While some people like Gene “I don’t want Star Trek on my gravestone” Roddenberry think that it’s typecasting to only be remembered for one role, I think it speaks well that a star can do such an indelible character that they stay remembered long after the average person is forgotten. R.I.P.

(UPDATE: I like Cathy Seipp’s memory of Don.)

New Monitor Duty system

Monday, September 26th, 2005

After a few hours of problems, I have gotten the Monitor Duty’s blogging system, Moveable Type, upgraded to version 3.2. It does look sweet and includes many new features, which I will be extending through the use of plugins.

Monitor Duty contributors, be sure to give it a test!

Also, anyone wanting to join the crew should contact me. I will give authorship to anyone who wants to post comic book-related links and commentary, provided they follow a few simple guidelines.

Let’s Strike For Lightning!

Sunday, September 25th, 2005

A long time moderator at the ComicBoards family of comic book message boards (who prefers the nom de net Lightning Strike) is selling off parts of his comic collection to assist in the costs of adopting an international baby girl.

If you feel like taking a peek at what’s up for bid, hit this link

And wish good luck to LS and his wife!

New message board!

Saturday, September 24th, 2005

Monitor Duty Central is now on the air! I copied over all of the posts from our old messageboard last night, so it’s ready to go.

You will need to set up a new membership for this board.

I will change links to the forum later tonight.