Archive for March, 2008

This song needed a video

Thursday, March 27th, 2008

Five for Fighting: Two Lights CDI just saw this new video, “Freedom Never Cries,” I’d been listening to this song on Five For Fighting’s new album and I never really got the whole “flag to a pawnshop” idea. The lyrics don’t convey the action which the main character takes at the end of the video. The song makes more sense now.

By the way, watching the video counts as a charitable donation. No, seriously. Every time you watch, $1 goes to Operation Homefront which cares for the families of our military and helps returning vets.

Hat tip to Hewitt, who points out that the pawnbroker in the video is actually a Medal Of Honor vet.

Skeletor is unemployed… #1

Thursday, March 27th, 2008

Pull List Review – March 26th, 2008

Wednesday, March 26th, 2008

Small load this week.

Countdown to Final Crisis #5: I knew it. I knew it last week as soon as Hal Jordan did something so dumb as to spread a disease to other planets. It’s not our Earth. What a cop out. Still, it’s a creepily-told story that does a good job of setting up Kamandi-Earth. Unfortunately, the cover is trite. The first thing I thought when I saw it was, “Pssst. ACT!”

JSA Classified #36 featuring Wildcat: I’ve heard this book is canceled. There have been some good stories, but all too often this title features boring filler with the same old tired JSA characters. Wildcat is a character who bores me to tears. A boxer who punches people but does it with a cat mask on his head. At least Grant Morrison did us all a favor. He finally addressed the problem of making an ancient boxer relevant by pointing out that he must be magically young somehow. (Though, like the similarly-prominent Alan Scott, it’s never explained how the public deals with a Ted Grant who is magically more vital than he should be for his age.) Last month, I was surprised when this new Wildcat story had Green Lantern asking Ted why he still felt compelled to run around punching people while wearing a costume. ‘Bout time. Unfortunately, this story is quite padded and doesn’t seem to be going anywhere anytime soon, though it’s probably just the flashbacks that make this play so slowly.

Green Lantern #29: An excellent read, well worth the $3. Though Johns has been developing Hal Jordan for three years, giving him more personality than he’s shown in the past, I haven’t really LIKED the Hal that Johns has created. This issue really helped flesh him out, and we got to meet a surprise guest when John Stewart appears as a marine. Remember when John Stewart was just a bitter punk in an afro who was the backup G.L.? Thanks to the Cartoon Network changing his personality completely, they’re rewriting the past of the character in the comics…and I LIKE it! Plus, I finally feel like his two brothers have distinctive personalities. I realize I’ve used the word “personality” three times in one review, but that’s really what this story is about. It’s not often I think a 22-page story that’s all character development is worth it, but this one is. Still, I think Johns has been falling back on the worst Green Lantern cliche: every plane Hal flies comes down in a flaming mess of metal. Yes, as a writer I can see how disasters are more exciting than safe landings, but Hal must have destroyed about a BILLION DOLLARS worth of planes by now! How in the world is it that he has any career worth talking about?

Ruminations on “Dark City”

Wednesday, March 26th, 2008

Dark City Tonight, while I planted seeds in my seed trays, I popped in one of my favorite movies, “Dark City”. I noticed something I hadn’t really focused on before.

If you haven’t seen it…buy it using my purchase link, there, then watch it and come on back. I’m going to talk about something that’s pretty much telling you the point of the movie.

Are they gone? OK, all clear…

Rufus Sewell plays the main character, John, a determined young man struggling to make sense of his new abilities and fighting to stay with the woman he loves. Keifer Sutherland portrays a sniveling psychiatrist who assists the Strangers in their experiments upon the humans. Right?

Here’s the thinker: Keifer Sutherland is the hero.

It’s true! Keifer’s character makes the decision to fight to free the humans he betrayed. He takes a huge personal risk in concocting a plot to assist a guy who just lucked into some telekinetic abilities. If not for Keifer, John would have ended up captured, killed or mind-wiped by the Strangers.

Discuss!

Peeeeeeeps!

Monday, March 24th, 2008

Don’t tase me, Peep!

The Lord of the Peeps (THIS was a lot of work!)

UPDATE: Last year’s dioramas.

Live Action Simpsons Casting

Friday, March 21st, 2008

Who would you cast?

I need enough pills for five weeks

Friday, March 21st, 2008

Thanks to Seth for the link. We’re in for a rough month, so thank goodness for this relief.

Still to come…

Friday, March 21st, 2008

Parts 2 and 3 of my G.I. Joe article are on their way.

After that, I’ll be doing some reviews: “Matamoros”, “Homeland” and a DVD review that’s overdue.

Sorry for the lack of content today. I’ve been super-busy at work with a shopping cart system we’re designing.

Pull List Review – March 19th, 2008

Thursday, March 20th, 2008

Again, the way this works is I give you the brief rundown of my immediate thoughts about this week’s comics.

PVP #39 – You know what? I don’t know why I’m buying this. I started years ago when Scott would alter the stories, improve the artwork, fix typos, etc. These days, this is just stuff straight from the web and the only original art is the new cover. I think it’s time I removed this and saved $3.50. I wish Scott the best, it’s still a great strip, but I don’t have money to burn.

Shadowpact #23– The moment we Blue Devil fans have waited 2 decades to see: suddenly there’s a zipper. Best part of the issue, and I’m intrigued where this will go. I’d love to see the special effects man return. All in all, the book is keeping my interest enough to stay on the list, but it’s still not as good as in the days of Willingham. Dr. Gotham is a bore of a character and the book needs to go somewhere new.

Robin #172 – Nice to see Maxie Zeus alive. Stunning surprise in this one. Chuck says that #173 will be his most under-ordered book since Birds of Prey #8 and I believe him.

Justice League of America #19 – I have had mixed feelings about JLA ever since it rebooted. JLA just seems dark and dreary, without a hint of the spark that JSA has. It’s been that way through several writers, too. Maybe it’s just that nobody ever smiles in this book. At this point, I’m reading it just because I like Red Tornado and Black Lightning, and that’s not reason enough. I buy it on inertia because of my quarter century of reading JLA, but I am putting this title on notice. It’s seriously close to the cut-off. I could just give it up and let my friends tell me if there’s ever anything so monumental that I need to start reading it again.

Birds of Prey #116 – My face lit up when I saw whose name was on the cover. GAIL SIMONE IS BACK! And in the middle of a storyline, too, which is weird. Ah, but it’s a mistake. Still, a good issue by writer McKeever. This book still rules.

Flash #238 – OOPS! I missed this one. I’ll read it and get back to you.

Countdown to Final Crisis #06 – This book has been a major suckfest. It has sucked and sucked, and so far it’s sucked some $138 out of my wallet! I actually canceled this book months ago. I told Mark at Jimmy Jams that I was done collecting it, because it was boring, the characters were uninteresting, it wasn’t going anywhere, it wasn’t entertaining, and it was costing way too much money. He told me that, per the agreement, I still had to buy it until all the issues he’d pre-purchased for my pull list were done. I said I understood. A few months later I asked him how much longer I had to go and I guess there was some miscommunication as to whether I was for sure canceling it. At that point, the story was FINALLY getting interesting, so I told him I’d stick with it to the end. And given that I got to see an appearance by Ralph and Sue Dibny (even on another Earth), it wasn’t so bad. But boy, this book still sucks. I’d rather have my $138 back. It’s all leading into a major event and I just couldn’t care. Plus, the issue ends with Green Lantern doing something that is way too stupid for Hal Jordan to do. (My guess? This isn’t the real Earth and none of this matters.)

Batman and the Outsiders #5 – Well how about that? A book I was only buying because it was by Chuck Dixon and I was giving it a chance has just shot to the top of my pull list. This is now the book that I will be eagerly awaiting and diving into as soon as it arrives. I’ve had a lousy week working long hours (and it’s only half over), and this comic book brought a huge smile to my face, made me giddy, made me laugh…and no, I’m not telling you why. You have to buy it. The surprises in this issue are now forcing me to re-read issues 1-4. I will say one thing: kudos to artist Julian Lopez, who manages to pull off the difficult feat of making you see a face inside a different face. I’m not explaining it well, but I’m trying to be cryptic. Go buy it. Go buy five! As for me, I’ve already promised to buy the Silver Wookie a drink at Wizard World.

By the way, the first word balloon in the book references Chuck’s list of Gun Mistakes All Writers Make. (UPDATED: Thanks to commenter Moosalini for the link.)

South Park hits it out of the park

Thursday, March 20th, 2008

“Britney’s New Look” is the most powerful episode since “Trapped in the Closet”. Dennis Miller will be pleased.

If you missed it, you should try to catch it when it’s repeated on Thursday and then all through the weekend.

It’s called WHAT now????

Thursday, March 20th, 2008

There’s an interesting article about George Miller’s efforts to get his Justice League movie made in Australia.

It’s a lot of fuss about how the movie isn’t about Australia, so Australia won’t give a big tax discount to make the movie there. (Heck, show Flash running past that clam-shaped opera house while he’s running around the world and bam, you’ve got an Australia-relevant flick.)

That isn’t the interesting part.

It’s…the name.

Justice League MORTAL? It’s called THAT?

Why wouldn’t Justice League International work? Or Justice League Unlimited. Or Justice League Australia??? Anything better than Justice League Mortal. Ugh.

Or Pat Benatar!

Tuesday, March 18th, 2008

Lady JI know, I said Sheena Easton below. And Lady J does generally look like Sheena Easton. However, I knew this shot looked familiar!

It reminds me of Pat Benatar’s…ugh, TWENTY-SIX-YEARS-OLD music video. (Oh, I’m so old.) This was from back in the early days when music videos had plots and themes and storylines. Anyway, the shot of Pat belting out her tune into the cockpit microphone is what came to mind when I put up the screencap of Lady Jaye.

I loved this video when I was a kid. I don’t know what it is about 1940s women’s hairstyles, but I think they’re hot.

I also love how the planes are supposedly taking off from England in the 1940s and in the background you can see modern semi trucks whipping by on a highway.

Arthur C. Clarke Has Died.

Tuesday, March 18th, 2008

clarke-sm.jpg Few men can truly be called a giant of their field. Mr. Clarke was one of them. I have no doubt he has transcended to…something wonderful.

Obits:
Times UK
AP/Foxnews

G.I. Joe Makes Doll History

Tuesday, March 18th, 2008

I know I haven’t posted in a while. The reason is, I’ve been preparing a major, lengthy post on G.I. Joe. To prepare your palate, I thought I’d start you off with an appetizer. A little history here to those of you who don’t know the story of G.I. Joe inside and out (and can’t be troubled to head over to Wikipedia):

G.I. Joe was invented not out of some ideological drive to teach kids to love soldiers but mainly to give boys a dolly that their dads would tolerate.  Girls had Barbie dolls they could dress up; boys now had do- I mean ACTION FIGURES.  And yeah, the action figures come with different outfits which the boy can accessorize, but at least there were guns and grenades as part of the ensemble.

Hippie Barbie gives the finger to the troops
After 5 years of tremendous popularity, in 1969 they ran into a problem: Vietnam.  Soldier toys weren’t as popular due to the anti-draft movement and that bastard Walter Cronkite.  Young American lads were growing disheartened when they’d come home from school to find their G.I. Joe figures covered in spittle from Hippie Barbie, who was flipping them the bird and shrieking that they were “Betsy-Wetsy-killers”.

Hoping to salvage their toy line, Hasbro decided to turn America’s fighting man into a vague adventurer.  Instead of fighting the enemies of the USA, he’d contend with serious threats such as avalanches and jungle rot.  Fine, manly adventures, sure.  What it had to do with being a G.I. is a good question, but it still wasn’t sissy stuff.  This era is actually the most well-known to the public for several reasons:

  1. The debut of the “kung-fu grip.”
  2. A new technique for flocking hair, leading to the well-known image of G.I. Joe as having curly hair and a thick beard.
  3. Talking G.I. Joe.

After a good six-year run, this G.I. Joe line petered out.  For antagonists, the Joe “team” was fighting aliens from outer space.

Then Hasbro tried “Super Joe”, a smaller toy line of superpowered G.I. Joe figures.  This was obviously followed by G.I. Joe being a dead product for several years.

Lady JG.I. Joe was reinvented in 1982 as “G.I. Joe, a Real American Hero”, with the singular being quite inappopriate in that there wasn’t a person by that name anymore.  Now G.I. Joe was an American special missions team which fought the terrorist organization known as Cobra.  The team was headed up by Duke (who never used the monicker “G.I. Joe” but is for all intents and purposes the main character) and is a diverse team of men and women with special training and weapons.  For instance, the Sheena Easton-looking chick over there, Lady Jaye (otherwise known as Lady J, or sometimes Lady Ray, or occasionally as Lady Ray Jay but never as Ms. Johnson), had special javelins that she threw…at, you know, tanks and robots.

This has been the G.I. Joe toy line as we have known it for the past quarter century.  The toy figures were Star Wars-sized, allowing for vehicles and playsets. The toy line was boosted with a robust animated series (including several full-length mini-series and an animated movie) and a very long-lived comic book by military-trained writer Larry Hama, who created backstories for all of the characters and gave them a depth usually lacking in the average toy.  Both the animated series and the comic books have been revived in recent years due to the 1980s nostalgia that also brought back He-Man, Transformers, Battlestar Galactica, Night Rider, Dragon’s Lair, Space Ace, etc…

As for the toy line, they began issuing anniversary 12″ reproductions of the classic G.I. Joe and Adventure Team characters.  The G.I. Joe name was even used for a series honoring real life heroes such as Ernie Pyle (the roving journalist who coined the term, whose own life was told in the movie “The Story of  G.I. Joe”) and platoon Sgt. Mitchell Paige, one of the greatest heroes of Guadalcanal.

That’s all for now.  Next, the history of the media Joe, and then my major article.

Little person (you know…a dwarf) posing as gnome

Wednesday, March 12th, 2008

UPDATE: This may be a HOAX.

This guy is in so much trouble. A dude dressed as a pointy-hatted lawn gnome is terrifying a town.

Dude! Do you know how long the stature-challenged persons community has been fighting for respectability? They’ve been struggling against the whole culture of little people being leprechauns and elves for centuries, and then you go and terrify everyone by doing a gnome impression. You’re driving back the cause of little people’s rights! You’re embarrassing…

I’m sorry, I can’t keep a straight face anymore. I tried. But this story is too dang funny.

What did Mary Ann grow in Kansas, anyway?

Wednesday, March 12th, 2008

Stoner Dawn Wells, age 69, 64 inches tall, has been arrested for driving under the influence in a car reeking of pot.

So, the stories of Dawn Wells being the drug connection for the late Bob Denver were true after all? Huh.

Dave Stevens, creator of “The Rocketeer”, dead at 52

Tuesday, March 11th, 2008

Rocketeer Dave Stevens, the artist whose creator-owned glossy tribute to the pulp art of yesteryear, “The Rocketeer”, led both to a movie deal and a resurgence of interest in the model Bettie Page, has passed away of leukemia. Newsarama has more about it, while writer Mark Evanier has a splendid tribute to his friend.

Sorry to say, I’ve never read the original “Rocketeer”. I don’t even know of any trade book collecting it; I couldn’t find one on Amazon, hence the link to the movie which is a pale comparison to actually linking to the guy’s work. I loved the movie, and what little of Dave Stevens’ work I’ve been able to see over the years has left me stunned. R.I.P.

The Mads Return!

Tuesday, March 11th, 2008

The creators of the classic Mystery Science Theatre 3000, known for it’s explotation of bad movies, have found a new target. Namely, BAD CARTOONS!

TV Rarities I’d like to buy on DVD

Tuesday, March 11th, 2008

This old article got me thinking….

There are a lot of TV shows that I’d love to be able to get my hands on in a DVD format. I’m not just talking about the hit shows that are bizarrely unavailable such as any further “King of the Hill” collections or the criminally-unavailable “Night Court”. (I mean, come on… the sales of the first season set were abysmal because the SHOW was abysmal. Every fan knows it gets better in later seasons.)

No, what I mean are the gems that went unappreciated but could find a new audience… or the old shows that probably really suck but nostalgia and curiosity could at least make it turn a profit.
Here are my top five:

  • Century City: A sci-fi legal drama about the ethical and legal dilemmas that could exist in the near future. From a man arguing for possession of his clone to a boy band member who refuses to undergo plastic surgery to appear young…from an athlete who may not be allowed to play ball because of his bionic eyeball, to a man asking for the removal of his implant which keeps him from being mentally retarded, this was true science fiction and I truly regret that it was never really given a chance. And yeah, I’ve whined about it in these pages before. There were several episodes that never aired, so a “Complete Series” set would be worth seeing. It was a brilliant show and you all will serve time in purgatory for not watching it.
  • Hot Properties: This is a silly show about four women working as Realtors in New York City. I get why it failed to catch on, but you cannot argue that it isn’t funny. I’ll freely admit, I downloaded all the episodes I could after the show was yanked and I’m glad I did, because with a few exceptions the episodes are good for multiple viewings. I watched it just for Nicole Sullivan and ended up loving all of the women on this show; their comic timing was well-honed and the scripts sparkled.
  • Quark: A short-lived Star Trek parody from the mid-1970s that lasted for six episodes. It’s about a guy piloting a space garbage ship. As a kid, I loved the way Quark traveled between decks using a slide. I’m sure it’s super-dumb in the same way that most Mork and Mindy episodes have not aged well, but I don’t care. I just want to hear those words again: “Space baggy, straight ahead! Space baggy, straight ahead!”

How about you folks? What shows are you waiting for?


The Bunnies do GRINDHOUSE

Friday, March 7th, 2008

Here it is!