Archive for July, 2011

I must ask…

Wednesday, July 13th, 2011

I just watched Tim Burton’s “Alice In Wonderland” because I was clearing out the DVR. (We had gotten a free movie channels weekend, which offered me a great opportunity to fill the DVR with movies I would never pay to see like Alice in Wonderland, Predators, Transformers 2, The Sorceror’s Apprentice, etc.) I found “Alice” to be incredibly overwrought and dull in that “Isn’t it astounding what you can do with a squizillion dollars of computer graphics?” way that many big blockbusters are.

Johnny Depp’s overacting is painful just as it was in “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory”, with the added bonus of being pedo-creepy in that he gives the Mad Hatter a crush on a girl he previously met as a child (and Depp is twice her age as well). But I finally realized my big hang-up with Tim Burton movies:

What the hell is it about pasty white skin that Tim Burton thinks is so goddam enchanting?

Look, Beetlejuice was dead, and The Joker IS pasty white, and Edward Scissorhands is pale from never seeing the sun. I get that. But then, Catwoman and The Penguin were pasty white, too. I guess I attributed it to the wintry color scheme of the movie. And of course, the animated films about gruesome monsters and dead people would have pasty white skin.  That makes sense.  Pee-Wee Herman isn’t exactly George Hamilton, either, but that’s a pre-existing character.

But then you throw in films where the white skin clearly isn’t related to the character’s being dead or British, such as Sleepy Hollow, or Depp’s bizarre take on Willy Wonka as a Michael Jacksony freak, and it begins to look pathological.  Then there’s the Mad Hatter, the Red Queen, the White Queen and endless other Alice in Wonderland characters…  You begin to suspect that Hollywood just keeps giving Tim Burton cash to make these garish films because without his career he’d just be hanging around mortuaries while vigorously abusing himself.

What Independence Day is all about

Thursday, July 7th, 2011

Elongated Man Is All Wrong, Part 2

Friday, July 1st, 2011

It is the Minnesota comic book convention that I will always remember, because I, the world’s biggest Elongated Man fan, got to meet Carmine Infantino.  That prized issue of Flash that I owned, with the first appearance of Elongated Man?  That guy there, in the front of the room taking questions from the audience, was the artist who drew that cover and thus created my favorite superhero!  Wow.

Catwoman and Batgirl fight to possess Batman


Carmine was promoting his new book, “The Amazing World of Carmine Infantino,” and he regaled us of stories about working in comic books.  He told us about the infamous cover of Batman that sold 1 million copies, and how the aggressive poses of Batgirl and Catwoman as they fought over the prone and helpless Batman was based on an idea by William Moulton Marston.  He reflected on how the “Seduction of the Innocent” book was filled with a lot of baseless charges of sexual suggestion where there wasn’t any… but when it came to Marston’s work, yeah, that was probably pretty much true.

I was so nervous, but I finally saw an opportunity and raised my hand.  I told him how I was the world’s biggest fan of his creation Elongated Man, I babbled on a bit about how I thought he had a lot of unrealized potential, and what did he think about Elongated Man now?

Carmine, looking rather perplexed by my devotion to his creation, narrowed his eyes a bit and asked, “You, uh, you’ve heard of Plastic Man, right?”

I’ll admit it.  I was a little stunned.  I had been defending Ralph Dibny as his own unique character for years.  I explained to other fans time and again how they were different in personality, powers and their place in the DCU.  And yet the guy who created him saw him as little more than a copy of Plastic Man!

Here’s a juicy tidbit for you: Elongated Man almost WAS Plastic Man!   Had Carmine known that DC Comics had recently bought the rights to Plastic Man, then he never would have bothered with the unwieldy monicker of Elongated Man.

Now, does this mean that supervillain Ralph Dibny in his purple costume would have been named “Plastic Man”?  Would he have been introduced as the new Silver Age Plastic Man, to someday encounter the Golden Age Plastic Man of Earth-2?  Would the Eel O’Brien Plastic Man have appeared in the Flash as a villain, or as a hero?  Or does Mr. Infantino mean that he would have scrapped the whole Elongated Man idea because DC owned “the real thing”?  That is unclear.

So, he was almost a member of The Flash’s Rogues Gallery.  And he was almost Plastic Man!   He came within a hair of not even existing at all.

See what I mean about his being all wrong?

More to come, folks!