Archive for April, 2008

Superfriends, Korean style!

Wednesday, April 30th, 2008

Here’s the opening to a Wonder Woman clone, called Wonder Ghong Zu (princess)…

and guess who this is supposed to be…

Rather than strike fear, I can see criminals laughing to death at that color scheme!

Star Wars + Country Music = Something Pretty Interesting

Tuesday, April 29th, 2008

Take Country singer Brad Paisley’s recent single “Letter to Me”, add some selective clips from all 6 Star Wars movies, do some creative editing and you wind up with an entertaining video.

The Penguin’s origin doesn’t work anymore

Monday, April 28th, 2008

I’ve been thinking about the origin of the Penguin. No particular reason, but when a friend advised me to come up with some new material to pitch to DC (what with so many of my traditional faves being kaput or inaccessible) I started thinking of characters I’d like to update. The origin of Oswald Cobblepot is one I’d love to retell and expand upon, since I think I could do a very credible story of a put-upon kid forced to carry an umbrella by his mother.

In case you don’t know, Oswald’s dad died of pneumonia from being caught in the rain unprotected, so his mom ordered him to always have an umbrella handy. This naturally makes him a laughing stock with the other kids, and thus his resentments begin to build etc. etc.

I had the story pretty well roughed out. And then I realized…

These days, he could just put a collapsible umbrella in his pocket and no one would laugh. His origin has been utterly ruined by technology. Oh, granted, Oswald is like 40-50 years old and so they didn’t have them quite yet in his childhood, but he’ll be getting there as the timeline continues to slide.

A Bat-Classic from 1989

Monday, April 28th, 2008

And now it’s a music video!

Time for the annual “announcement too late to be useful” announcement

Thursday, April 24th, 2008

MicroCon is this Sunday at the Minnesota State Fairgrounds in St. Paul.

For the first time in several years, I’ll be an attendee instead of a guest. It’s been a while since I published my last book, and competition for space at MicroCon is fierce. I’ve been honored that they have invited me back year after year, and have felt like I was skating on their largess. I think I’ll actually have more fun this weekend because the pressure’s off… especially the pressure on my butt in those chairs for six hours! It’ll be great to stop in, stay as long as I want, see all my friends, scout out some talent, and then vamoose.

By this October, I’ll have a new book printed and more in the works, and hopefully they’ll invite me back as a guest for FallCon.

I know I say this every time, but the guys who run this con are simply some of the nicest people in comics. It’s a thrill to go, it’s a treat to be a guest, and I hope you all make an effort to get out here for at least one MicroCon or FallCon.

(Did I just say “new book printed”? Yes, I did. I guess I haven’t really mentioned it here yet. And I still won’t. However, plans are to have this book ready by Wizard World Chicago. So…more soon!)

Correction to the Addendum

Thursday, April 24th, 2008

This is getting silly.

I told you how I found out you can get MST3K’s Giant Gila Monster for a special low price on a single disk from Rhino. Then I updated you that it was no longer available… and as a result, I was selling my Volume 10 in order to buy 10.2.

Now they tell me that I can add it to my order and it will be sent to me whenever a new shipment is in. (Now they tell me…after I placed my order for the whole volume!)

Learn from my mistakes, people. Get Gila while you can!

It’s coming…

Thursday, April 24th, 2008

Season 3 of the Venture Brothers!

Coming in June!

(Like that G.I. Joe parody at the end!)

From Hellboy to Hobbit

Thursday, April 24th, 2008

Oddly enough, I was taking a break from re-watching “Hellboy” out in the kitchen and Dirty Harry tipped me to the following:

Guillermo del Toro, director of the Hellboy movies as well as Pan’s Labyrinth, just signed on to direct “The Hobbit” and a sequel. Previous talk of splitting up The Hobbit into two parts have either been thrown out or were rumor; the sequel will cover the timespan between Hobbit and LOTR.

Hellboy, by the way, is a terrific film. I don’t read the comic book, but the movie made me think that I should… and considering what a DC-drone I am, that’s a great compliment. Story-wise, the movie could be better, but it’s a superb cast (of Ron Perlman, all I can say is “perfect”), the special effects aren’t too annoyingly CGI-ish, and the movie has style and artistry to spare. More importantly, the characters have time to work out their relationships (Hellboy fighting with his “Dad”, chafing at the arrival of the new guy, struggling with his self-hatred and the barriers in his relationship with Liz, etc…), and all too often big blockbusters won’t waste time on those kinds of elements. (I should know, I just suffered through re-watching Spider-Man 3, which bungles its character arcs badly.) Surprisingly, there is a pantload of character development for such an action-packed movie. As I recall, the Hellboy film was a success but not the colossal blockbuster fans would have liked. Here’s hoping the sequel does well.

Rhino doesn’t sing whenever it sings whenever it sings

Tuesday, April 22nd, 2008

A follow-up to my post about “Giant Gila Monster”: Unfortunately, the limited printing of disks has been sold and it’s now out of print.

I’ve decided to sell my Out Of Print MST3K Volume 10 and collect the 80 Bajillion bucks it’s going for, and use that money to buy the 10.2 for $40. The Godzilla movie is funny…but it’s no Giant Gila Monster, which is an out-and-out smörgåsbord of hilarity.

I’ll let you all know when I sell it and where, in case you’re interested.

Is he Doc Hopper or Sgt. Rock?

Tuesday, April 22nd, 2008

Libertas’ Dirty Harry brings it to our attention that the frog legs entrepreneur who pursues Kermit the Frog cross-country was actually a decorated World War II hero. Charles Durning lied about his age in order to storm the beaches of Normandy at 17, survived several deadly confrontations to get patched up and back out onto the battlefield again, was captured and imprisoned…and lived on to become a cherished character actor.

Something to remember the next time you see him prancing around in The Best Little Whorehouse In Texas.

MST3K Goodness

Monday, April 21st, 2008

I have been anxiously awaiting the chance to buy the single DVD disk of “Giant Gila Monster” from the Mystery Science Theater 3000 series. See, what happened was that after their 10th box set was released, there was a rights issue regarding the Godzilla movie contained therein. Rhino pulled the title, removed Godzilla from the collection, threw Giant Gila Monster in its place (thus making the giant lizard on the cover relevant again) and re-released it as MST3K Volume 10.2. But for those of us who don’t want to purchase the 10th volume all over again, we were told that you could also purchase Gila Monster separately. After months of waiting, I googled it only to find that it is only available direct from Rhino, and for a limited time, and I may have missed it. Wah. (I was looking forward to hearing one of my favorite riffs again: “Looks like Larry Miller’s traveling hot tub.”)

My hunting tonight also revealed some great news: after 7 years, the Mystery Science Theater 3000 Movie has finally been put back in print.
Mystery Science Theater 3000: The Movie (Widescreen)

Oh, and TV’s Frank has a new job on a web-based mini TV series called “The Writer’s Room”. It’s about the writers for a late night show hosted by Kevin Pollak. One of the running gags is that Kevin calls the writers on a speakerphone and bores them with his impressions. Here’s one of the five episodes:

Defending Your Keanu Reeves

Friday, April 18th, 2008

I was reading a “Street Kings” review and I felt it was time to say something to forestall the inevitable “Keanu is a ‘whoa’ guy who can’t act” avalanche.

I’ve always liked Keanu Reeves as an actor, he strikes me as a hard worker, and from what I understand in person he’s one of the nicer people in Hollywood. That he has a bit of an oddball persona (i.e. the superficial surfer dude which causes anyone mentioning him to use the word "whoa") which perhaps makes him an odd choice for some of the roles he gets is not his fault.

I mean, people love Chuck Norris but Keanu Reeves has far more range than Norris ever will. The thing is, Norris does one thing VERY WELL and gets movies that emphasize that one thing. If Norris was trying to do Shakespeare, he’d be laughable. Reeves has done Shakespeare; he’s passable but he’ll never be Patrick Stewart. But are we supposed to condemn Reeves for trying to stretch as an actor instead of just taking surfer dude roles all his life? Reeves is a fellow who could have been consigned to character acting the same role forever, but he managed to land the lead in some blockbusters. Good for him!

He’ll never have the acting skills of Al Pacino (back when Al Pacino was Al Pacino), but he’s still got more depth and range than Mike Myers.

Oh, I should add…I like Myers, but he’s teetering close to Robin Williams territory. You know, where we once thought Williams was this never-ending fount of spontaneity and now we realize he just falls back on his black voice, his gay queen and his southern preacher in every interview.

An X-Files movie?

Friday, April 18th, 2008

There’s going to be a second X-Files movie.

X-Files was an absolutely ruined show in its later years, so I don’t know how it’s going to work, but the poster sure is cool! I enjoyed the first movie, though it too also fell apart in its final act.

It’s Two, Two, Two Spocks in One!

Thursday, April 17th, 2008

E! Interviews Leonard Nimoy and Zachary Quinto at last weekend’s Grand Slam Sci-Fi Summit.

Dallas proclaims May 3rd Free Comic Book Day in Dallas in honor of CAPE.

Thursday, April 17th, 2008

CAPE.jpgApril 14th — For the third year in a row, the city of Dallas proclaims the first weekend in May “Free Comic Book Day” in honor of CAPE, the comic and pop-culture expo. CAPE 4 (www.capeday.com) takes place on Saturday May 3rd at Craddock Park from 10am-6pm in the heart of Dallas. This festival of comic and comic art includes more than 80 comic book writers and artists for a free afternoon in the park. With several thousand attendees and over seven thousand free comics, CAPE has grown to be the world’s largest Free Comic Book Day event.

“It’s an incredible honor for my hometown to recognize my work and the work of my peers while we reach out to the community for CAPE,” said Scott Kurtz, CAPE host and creator of the web strip PVP.

Kurtz will also be celebrating the 10th anniversary of his web strip PVP at CAPE. The marriage of the two prominent PVP characters will be marked at the event by a wedding guest’s registry book. “I would like to invite all of my fans and the CAPE attendees to sign the guest book for Brent and Jade,” said Kurtz.

This year’s list of CAPE guest comic book artists and writers includes the new additions Daniel Way, (Wolverine Origins and Ghost Rider) and Andy Kuhn (Firebreather and Marvel Team-Up). They join industry giants Mark Waid, Chynna Clugston, Robert Kirkman, Greg Pak, Jason Pearson, Gail Simone and David Mack. With over 80 guests, CAPE! just keeps getting bigger and bigger! For a complete list of guests and to view the proclamation go to www.capeday.com.

CAPE 4 takes place at Craddock Park on Saturday, May 3rd, 2007 from 10am — 6pm coincides with the Free Comic Book Day events taking place all over the world. CAPE! festivities allow fans a chance to interact with top creators in the comic industry, get sketches, talk comics and pick up some fantastic free goodies including 7,000 free comics and much more!

CAPE 4 is hosted by Popsyndicate, PVPonline and Zeus Comics. The event is also supported by sponsors the Art Institute of Dallas, Martini Lab, Liquid Logixx, Christon Company, Courtyard Marriot, the Marvel Zombie Society APA and Korn, Bowdich and Diaz.

For more information on CAPE or if you are a comic professional who wants to attend please visit www.capeday.com or call Zeus comics at 214-219-TOYS.

P.S. I will be there! 😉

Pull List Review – April 16, 2008

Thursday, April 17th, 2008

Batman and the Outsiders #6 – You may recall that last month BATO shot to the top of my “Most Anticipated” list, due to Ralph and Sue Dibny exchanging their Thin Man homage for a Topper homage. Unfortunately, they don’t appear this month, but I’m sure they’ll show up before the end of the story. This issue has a terrific opening that’s cute and page-turn thrilling. It’s great to see Sapphire Stagg again; unfortunately, there’s no recap of where their relationship is. With all of Rex’s deaths, that Shift character, Java (her husband) being dead and then rejavanated…. I don’t know if she’s Rex’s wife or not. Hopefully we’ll get more character development on that front. Meanwhile, the issue is good, so long as you buy into the whole Dixon “real world” feel. Sometimes it’s a tough sell, trying to believe that a bunch of superheroes… most with strong ties to the JLA… can’t get to the moon. I mean, the JLA had a base there for years. Batman must still own a teleporter somewhere. It’s hard enough believing Batman is so self-reliant that he can’t call for some power-ringed help when it happens in Batman’s own books, but when you pull this in a title like Outsiders one begins to wonder if Batman just likes making his job harder by setting up artificial barriers.

Artificial barriers also crop up in Dixon’s Robin #173, where Tim mentions that he can’t always go running to Batman for help. Again, it looks like a character growth lesson, and really it’s just a way to explain how characters can have adventures on their own without the joined universe intruding. Some good writing here as well. The return of Spoiler is played in reverse of how one would expect in a comic book story. Usually, the dead character returns, the mourning friend is guarded but hopeful, then finally accepting, and then it turns out it’s a clone/robot/Durlan/pretender and our lead character is crushed. Here, Tim is obstinately unaccepting and doesn’t buy it for a second, and it may actually be true. I have a hard time believing Tim is so pig-headed he won’t even listen to what she’s saying (we can all see what’s about to happen when he ignores her warning), but stress of seeing a dead girlfriend can do that to a person. Plus, Chuck believes in finding the flaws in your heroes.

Flawed heroes and page-turn panels also crop up in Tom Peyer’s The Flash #239. I was balking at the flimsy premise that a villain named Spin who can manipulate public sentiment could turn people against the Flash just because he kvetched that crime-fighting didn’t pay and he was hurting for cash… in Keystone of all places, people should be sympathetic upon hearing that……….. and then in a brilliant bit of writing, Peyer has Wally noting that “Those aren’t real human reactions”. Right there, that one line saves the whole story arc.

Suicide Squad #8 – Back in February I complained on a message board that a sudden bit of Bush Derangement Syndrome had intruded into what was one of my favorite books of the year. A company called Haake-Bruton, led by a guy looking like and with a similar name to Cheney, suddenly shows up, and we’re treated to the sight of a bunch of overweight old white men swilling wine in goblets and smoking cigars, talking about all the money they’re going to make as they watch some virus-infected brown-skinned people expiring inside glass tubes. I think the only thing I can say about it is that it’s so over-the-top that it’s not worth the outrage. However, now that I’ve read the ending, I have to say that the descent into caricature and some fantasy political catharsis for the writer and his fellow travelers (they get some wish-fulfillment as Deadshot puts a bullet through pseudo-Cheney’s brainpan) really tainted what was a dream project. The Suicide Squad is one of my all-time-favorite comic books, and it’s Ostrander who drove it. Ever since he lost control of Suicide Squad, Amanda Waller has been completely out of character in a half dozen other books. Half the writers who use her seem to think she’s a villain or a traitor to the USA. The character bits in this book have been a joy to read…reminiscent of the old “Personnel Files” stories… but John Ostrander’s more overt politicizing of the book have not helped the story. Hey, I’ve read The Authority, V for Vendetta and other books that are far more political and/or challenging to my personal ideals, but it’s done as part of a coherent plot. Here, the pseudo-Halliburton is just a big straw man. The virus they’re planning to sell is never mentioned again, because it was never more than a big puppy-killing scene to get you hating the villains so that you can enjoy their thrashing in the end. I know Ostrander is a better writer than this. Here’s hoping he gets a new ongoing Suicide Squad and with this bit of bitching out of his system he can focus on a stronger story.

(You know, back when I wrote a Suicide Squad fan-fic at the height of the whole impeachment debacle, I made Al Gore the good guy even though I disliked him even back then, because it was a good story. Bring back the Ostrander who could write convincingly realistic presidents Reagan and Bush 41 even if he wasn’t on their political side.)

Finally… Countdown #2. Hey, Darkseid is dripping with arrogance and superiority as he threatens somebody. Haven’t seen that before. And I’ll bet $100 that he’ll be back to do it again someday soon, no matter what happened in this issue. I’m so bored. I did have to wonder…if Jimmy Olsen grows to the size of a skyscraper, and The Atom is inside him when he enlarges, does the Atom enlarge?

Hellboy II – New trailer

Wednesday, April 16th, 2008

I loved the first trailer, but this new one is really playing off of the success of “Pan’s Labyrinth”. Many more disturbingly weird and nightmarish creatures in this trailer.

Clone Wars trailer released online

Tuesday, April 15th, 2008

Some Russian site leaked the Star Wars “Clone Wars” trailer a month early, before it is officially shown before Speed Racer. IESB has it.

Meh. I don’t think I’ll even go to the theater for this one. The Prequels just sucked the joy out of Star Wars. I probably could have ended that sentence after the fourth word.

Who Am Iron Man?

Tuesday, April 15th, 2008

Is Iron Man’s movie going to be based on the original character, the old fiercely anti-Communist patriot, or is he going to be another John Henry Irons moaning “I made all my money selling munitions and I suddenly realized that someone could get hurt”? That seems to be one of many questions dogging the blockbuster-in-waiting.

A lot of us just don’t know what to think from the trailers, and now the early reviews and leaks are making us even more leary. Are we being shown all the macho stuff in order to hide an “America is the real enemy” message, or could it be that Hollywood will hew more towards the pro-military themes that made Transformers a hit? Is it even possible for Hollywood to make a movie about an arms manufacturer without his shutting down the company and donating all his money to fight world hunger by the end of it?

Stan Lee based Stark’s personality on real life anti-Communist Howard Hughes, essentially wondering what if Hughes spent his money on flying armor instead of a wooden plane.

For more fears about the upcoming film, check this out:


Wildly Popular ‘Iron Man’ Trailer To Be Adapted Into Full-Length Film

Bargains and deals and I won’t see a penny

Friday, April 11th, 2008

No, this isn’t a chance to flog some Amazon products and get you all to throw some cash my way.

I wish.

No, this is just me being a nice guy and directing you to some of the geekly bargains I’ve come across.

Tower.com has Dr. Katz, the Complete Series for $80, which is the cheapest I’ve found. I’m going to buy this next month with my discretionary movie spending, but I hate that I’ve already bought seasons 1 and 2 individually before they decided to package it this way. Dr. Katz was one of my favorite shows and I’m looking forward to seeing it again.

I was fortunate to buy all of the Batman and Superman animated series installments at Sam’s Club for $20 apiece about a year or two ago, but they never seem to carry Justice League. I’ve been holding back for years on buying Justice League and Justice League Unlimited because they never seem to come down in price. The only luck I’ve had so far is finding JLU Season 2 for about $20.

This week, I found seasons 1-3 of Teen Titans for $9 apiece! Then I actually discovered that Sam’s is finally selling JLU box sets! Yay!

Oh, wait. They’ve packaged JLU 1 and 2 together for $40. And now, since I have Season 2, I can’t buy it. Argh! But for all of you, this is a good deal.

It does make me wonder something: How can Teen Titans have 13 20-minute episodes and sell for about $15, but Justice League (also with 13 20-minute episodes) retails for almost 40? This is why I can’t justify paying retail for it.

Anyway, also at Sam’s, I found the Complete Tex Avery Droopy and two Tom and Jerry volumes, all for $13 apiece. (Warning: Tom and Jerry Volume 2 has Whoopi Goldberg, undoubtedly repeating her “I hereby take the curse off your racist cartoons” introduction which she did for the Warner Brothers volumes.)

They also have the Superfriends box sets for cheap, and I went back and forth on whether to get those as well. Frankly, I don’t have young children, so I can’t imagine watching them on my own. Nostalgia, sure, but they’re pretty painful to look at these days.