janradder: (Default)
President-elect Barack Obama inducts Spider-Man into his terrorist fold, as the two bump fists, terrorist-style:

The image is set to appear in Amazing Spider-Man #583.

via [livejournal.com profile] pierogi_queen
janradder: (Default)
Over the past few days, the boys and I have been watching The Mighty Thor, the cartoon from 1966 that was part of The Marvel Super Heroes.  Inspired by the Thunder God's exploits, Arie has fashioned his very own Mjolnir with which to smite the wicked and defend the just:
janradder: (Default)
Not really, but I do have a stack full of comics.  Over eighty comics tall.  With the exception of maybe a total of eight comics, I have not bought a comic book since 1991 when I had such a ridiculous number of titles pulled at my comics shop that I had to stop buying them altogether or else I'd have found myself in the poorhouse.  Since then I've either checked trades out from the Minneapolis library or a friend has given me whatever titles he's reading.  That eighty-plus stack of comics comes from him and represents several months of back issues.  Over the past week and a half, I've been making my way through.  I'm a little over halfway through it now.  Here's what I've been reading:

Umbrella Academy, #1-6 (of 6):  Started off really great with excellent artwork, neat characters, and an interesting story.  In the last issue, it fell flat on it's face.

Runaways #29-30:  This finishes Joss Whedon's run on the title.  If you didn't look at the credits, you'd think that Brian K. Vaughan was still writing the comic, which is a good thing.  If you haven't yet discovered this book or have been put off by the teen characters, this is your notice to pick up the first trade and give it a chance.  You won't be disappointed.

Teen Titans:  Year One #1-5 (of 6):  Nothing spectacular, nothing mind bowing, but it is fun.

All-Star Superman #10-11:  Although at times Grant Morrison veers off a little too far into his world of weirdness, for the most part, I've really enjoyed this book.  He clearly knows his Superman mythos and it's fun to see aspects of Supes not seen since the eighties (the zoo in the Fortress of Solitude, Lex Luthor's ridiculous purple costumes, Superman with an intellect that surpasses that of the smartest people in the universe combined).  The two issue journey to Bizarro World was great.

B. P. R. D.:  1946 #3-5:  Vampires, gorillas, and Nazis, oh my!

B. P. R. D.:  The Ectoplasmic Man one-shot:  Decent story about Johann Krauss, following the loss of his physical body.

Abe Sapien:  The Drowning #1-5 (of 5):  Ok story, ok art.  Not much beyond that except for a nice nod to Lovecraft near the end.

B. P. R. D.:  War on Frogs #1:  Ok story,  really, really lousy art.

Hellboy:  The Crooked Man #1 (of 3):  Great Richard Corbin art that really goes well with an Appalachian witch story.

Batman #672-678:  Yet another Morrison penned DC book.  I'm not sure what I think of this story arc.  I like that it seems to be picking up previous arcs that seemed to be over and done with but I really don't know where it's going or if I like the direction it's headed in (the last 3 issues are the beginning of the "R. I. P." story line which, according to rumor, spells the permanent death  of Batman, though I'll believe that when I see or read it).

Detective Comics #840-845:  I have to say, I really like Paul Dini's writing for Batman.  Lately, on Detective, he's done some interesting things with the Batman villains.  It's hard to believe that this guy cut his teeth writing Filmation dreck like He-Man and Thundercats (though I must admit I used to watch the latter in seventh grade and quite enjoyed it).

Batman:  Gotham After Midnight #1-2 (of 12):  I really, really, really don't like Kelley Jones' artwork.  To me, he's a poor imitation of Bernie Wrightson who could illustrate just about anything and I'd read it just to look at his art.

All-Star Batman & Robin the Boy Wonder #9:  While Morrison veers off track a bit, he's at  least doing something interesting with Superman.  Frank Miller, on the other hand, is now, officially, a washed up hack.  All-Star B & R #9 is just further dirt piled onto the corpse of a once revolutionary comics writer.  I honestly have no idea what the hell Miller is trying to do with this title.  His Batman is, simply put, a bully.  And not just to the bad guys, but to everyone.  He's the asshole jock who you just want to punch in the back of the head who spends his days beating the crap out of kids weaker than him just because he feels like it, calls women lesbians just because they don't fall down in worship of his magnificent cock, and, in general, degrades the lives and values of anyone who disagrees with him.  This might be interesting (and I say might) if that were the point of this title -- making Batman an asshole -- but, sadly, I think that Miller really wants us to like this guy and shout out "All right!" and "Awesome!" as he further proves what in immense fuck-wad he is.  As hard as it is to believe that Paul Dini started out writing for Filmation, it's even harder to believe that Frank Miller is the same man responsible for The Dark Knight Returns.

The End League #2-3:  There's really not much to say about this except that it kind of sucks -- confusing story, rather pedestrian characters knocked off from DC archetypes, and run-of-the-mill artwork.

American Splendor #1-4 (of 4):  Harvey Pekar has apparently signed a deal with DC to distribute his books under their Vertigo imprint.  This follows his graphic novel, The Quitter, also put out by Vertigo.  There's not much I can say about this except that it's the same old Harvey Pekar.  You either like his stuff or you don't read it.

I should hopefully have the second half of that enormous stack of comics done by next week by which time I'm sure there'll be another waiting for me.

Hellboy II

Jul. 15th, 2008 01:55 pm
janradder: (death race 2000)
Had some really pretty imagery, some beautiful cinematography, some decent fight scenes, and some really neat creatures.  It was enjoyable to look at.  Past that, though, the film seriously sucked ass.  Abe is a simpering C-3PO with emotions who stumbles and stammers his way around serving no real purpose in the film except to act as a cute Merman friend to Hellboy.  Johann Krauss is a  buffoonish robot who emits gas (literally) and acts and sounds much more like the oafish Johann in an oversized body from a recent B. P. R. D. run (if you read the comic you know what I mean) than a thoughtful psychic who lost his body.  The Hellboy/Liz Sherman romance is completely ham-fisted and unbelievable.  There were several moments (well, more than several, actually) where I could do nothing but roll my eyes and be thankful that I only wasted $5 on the dreck I was listening to (again, it really was very pretty to watch, with the exception of the atrocious Hellboy as a child scene that [livejournal.com profile] snurri described in his post about the movie.  If I could have turned the sound off I think I would have been a lot happier).  The story itself meandered to and fro, wasting time with tangential scenes of romance, and resolved itself in a manner that most viewers will probably figure out at least half an hour into the film.

There are two things that I really like about the Hellboy and B. P. R. D. comics.  One, the stories are interesting.   They blend myth and pulp into the type of  tale you'd expect to find in some cheesy 1950's paperback collection, complete with a sensational cover filled with monsters and men with guns, the type of story that you pick up because it was only ten cents at a yard sale and you figure you'll read it when you're bored and once you do read it, you're pleasantly surprised because that pulpy story  is actually well written and reading it turns out to be a pretty decent way to spend your summer afternoon at the lake.  Second, the relationships between the characters really aren't based on romance.  The people/beings who populate the Bureau for Paranormal Research and Defense are all misfits and outcasts who really have no place in the world at large.  They are each the only one of their kind (as far as they know, at least), who have found each other through their work in this government agency and, for the most part, they really do care about one another.  Together, they have formed a de facto family.  But these relationships are usually shown in their down time between missions.  They don't take over the story unless they really are the story, if that makes any sense.  Hellboy II really has neither of these.  It's a clumsy, sloppy, yet beautifully photographed, melodramatic soap opera.

(Now maybe if they'd added giant, mutant, robotic gorillas . . .)
janradder: (aquaman)
Tonight I went to see a lecture give by David Hajdu on his new book The Ten Cent Plague:  The Great Comic Book Scare and How it Changed America.  It was given at the University of Minnesota Children's Literature Research library in conjunction with a local Minneapolis resident who was donating his comic book collection of around 40,000 comics.  David Hajdu was interesting to hear as he talked about comics in the late 40's and early 50's and burnings of those comics as well as legislation enacted to keep them from being distributed.  He's not who I wanted to write about, though.

Before he spoke, the man who'd donated his collection spoke.  Before the event I'd found out that he was some big shot Minneapolis attorney so right away my anti-rich hackles went up.  He'd also had some big dinner with about seventy guests before the lecture and the library had reserved most of the seating in the lecture room for those guests.  When I found out that he'd be talking I kind of rolled my eyes and thought, let's just hope that it's quick.

When he came up to the podium he started talking about why he was donating his collection and about what comic books meant to him.  He described sharing comics with his friends as a kid, and then later as he grew up and went to college.  He talked about reading comics to his three children and instilling a love of comics in them.  He talked about reading comic books to his nearly four year old grandson who always asks for another story after they finish each issue. He talked about things that he loved about super heroes such as the Spider-man line about "with great power comes great responsibility" and started to choke up when he talked about Superman being a being of such incredible power that he could easily take whatever he wanted whenever he wanted it but instead, used his power to protect the people of earth, even giving up his life to do so because it is the morally right thing to do.  Throughout the talk he choked up and listening to him talk, I got choked up as well.  When he got to why he chose to donate his collection instead of breaking it into components and selling it off, he said that by giving it to the library (which will make the collection available for the public to read), perhaps one day his grandchildren's grandchildren could go there and read the same comics that had been read by generations past.  In the end, he  said, he could no more sell his comics than Batman could auction off his mementos in the Bat Cave or that Superman could put the contents of his Fortress of Solitude up on ebay.
janradder: (dork)
Turns into the Hulk!

I showed this to the boys yesterday and can't get it out of my head now.  They've also been asking me to sing it repeatedly, a request I've happily obliged.  When I was a kid I loved these Marvel Heroes cartoons (there was also Iron Man, Captain America, and Thor) not just because they were super hero cartoons but because most (if not all) of the episodes came directly from the comic book pages (along with the Kirby art).
janradder: (Default)
Thanks goes out to [livejournal.com profile] snurri for lending me his trades of Darwyn Cooke's DC:  The New Frontier, Vol. 1 and Vol. 2 which I read yesterday.  It's a really good story that bridges the Golden Age of DC with the Silver Age while blending in McCarthyism and the idealism of the early 60's.  it has great prehistoric monsters and alien-type life forms worthy of a Gardner Fox story  as the art evokes the pencils of  Gil Kane, Mike Sekowsky and Curt Swan while at the same time creating it's own original retro-look.  Interestingly enough, it really captured the essence of the comic geek talk [livejournal.com profile] snurri and I had regarding the differences between Marvel and DC superheros.  While the Marvel heros are flawed characters who struggle with having super powers thrust upon them, the DC heros tend to be heroic because that is what's expected of them.  The book really epitomized that quality, in a good way.

Later, [livejournal.com profile] haddayr and I watched the original  version of The Thomas Crown AffairMy god, was that an utter piece of crap which was kind of surprising given the cast (Steve McQueen and Faye Dunaway as the leads who were perfectly dreadful and directed by Norman Jewison who was even worse).  The only good thing about it was the fact that I got an amazing shoulder and neck rub while we watched.  Afterwards, knowing the movie was remade of few years ago (which I have not seen), I had to wonder -- who in their right mind would watch that horrible dreck and then say, "Wow, what garbage!  Let's remake it!"?
janradder: (Default)
Why do I ever read Sally Forth?
janradder: (Default)
might be my favorite comic right now.  Of course, it could completely fall apart with the next and final issue.  But I really do like it.  The writing is really good, which is kind of surprising given that the writer is Gerard Way of My Chemical Romance.  Not that I know anything about My Chemical Romance except that they're a band, given my complete lack of awareness for anything even remotely current in today's music scene, but when you think of some guy in a band deciding to write a comic it doesn't really inspire confidence.  It really is very good though.  It starts off in the middle of the story, dropping hints and clues about the past as you are introduced to the characters and the current story.  There are episodes and events in the characters' lives that are mentioned but there are no details given.  It's one of those stories where, as much as you are trying to figure out what's happening currently, you are also trying to piece together what has already transpired and figure out what the motives are of each person in the story.  The art is very beautifully done and really adds to the story.  Like I said, it might completely fall apart next issue as you realize the writer has painted himself into a corner sort of like Chris Carter did with The X Files but for now, I'm enjoying it.
janradder: (Default)
There are some comic books I hate so much that I feel annoyed and  sometimes angry at the time I've just wasted reading then.  I wonder how anyone involved with said comic ever got hired in the first place or who would ever ok the printing of such a piece of crap.  Sort of like really bad movies.

But then there are the comics that really are very badly written -- horrible dialogue like when the baddie declares just how bad he is while shaking his fist dramatically in the air, characters reviewing the plot so far even though it occurred just five pages earlier, superheroes relating how their powers work as they perform the power that everyone already knows they have (like the Atom mentioning it's a good thing he  can shrink down to molecular size as he shrinks down to molecular size).  These comics are just awful but for some reason, instead of getting getting angry or annoyed or even just putting them down mid-story and forgetting I ever read them, I feel sorry for them.  I feel sorry for the artists and the writers and the characters in the comic books.  I think I even feel sorry for the actual paper these comics are printed on.  I even feel guilty for saying anything bad about them.  When I come across them, I read them diligently, cringing with embarrassment for the creators as I come across the really bad parts.  When I used to collect and had my comics shop save issues for me I'd feel so bad for these comics that I'd put them on my hold list just so there would be someone who bought them (which is part of the reason I had to stop collecting).

I really don't know why I feel this way.  Maybe it's because they don't suck out of arrogance or trying to be cool or because the writer thinks he's the next Alan Moore or Grant Morrison but he really isn't.  These are comics written by the dork in seventh grade who just tries so hard to get people to like him but he fails miserably.  These are comics written by the kid who, along with his friends, makes painfully accurate Dr. Who episodes of his own in his basement (complete with styrofoam set design).  They're written by that 10th grade classmate who's every creative writing assignment was a story about his D&D character.  You didn't hate those kids in school.  You felt  sorry for them because you knew they weren't going to grow up to be the next Bill Gates or Peter Jackson or Stephen King.  They were going to grow up to work in a data entry job or collect every episode of Stargate: Atlantis or write really bad comic books.

Of course, the kicker is, they're actually writing comic books and I'm just sitting at home complaining about them.  But I still can't help but feel sorry for them.


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