Thursday, September 10, 2009

Secret Publishing Crisis Wars of Vengeance

August 31, 2009:
Disney buys Marvel Publishing Inc (aka Marvel Comics)

September 9, 2009:
DC Comics hires new President and becomes DC Entertainment

The future:
Anybody’s guess.

First things first:
Disney buys Marvel.

Anybody who knows me (see: nobody) knows that I despise pretty much any product Disney makes. Incredibly. (Their last good film was Sleeping Beauty, and that's only because Maleficent is kinda hot. So yeah, I'm a Disney-hater.) But, I also recognize that they do a lot of animation work within US borders paying US animators reasonable wages. Yet I also blame them (and Pixar, which they bought) for the uprising of computer animation which seems to be by-and-large leaving traditional cel-style animation in the dust. To me, things just look better when actually DRAWN. Regardless of data, I just feel like the Disney of my lifetime is the perfect representation of everything that's wrong with American culture. It's decadent, fake, and ultimately empty - overpriced and self-assured. Back on point.

Things could go either way. Could Disney ruin Marvel’s characters?

Sure, if they tried to – which would be incredibly stupid from an investment standpoint, and I’m still not sure they could do better than Marvel’s done of sullying respectable characters. (Gimmick covers? Beast is still a cat? Captain America a complete and total sellout? Spider-Man a reboot? Ultimate a reboot? Ultimatum? No Cable/Deadpool? Daken exists? Greg Land on X-Men? Oh how I long for the DeFalco and Harras days.) Back to Disney.

See, Disney doesn’t appeal to guys. They know this. They're pH balanced for women, much like Secret deodorant and Mario Kart. Disney already monopolizes girl-money, they want guy-money. But when they try to make something to get guy-money they fail again and again. In buying Marvel, Disney doesn’t have to create something that appeals to guys to get their dollars, as they've bought something guys already buy. I feel like that's a smart move. So, things at Marvel might not get tremendously better, but I feel like they won’t get much worse.

Too, I always say that comics by-and-large should be for children. They should be tales about looking outside of your own opinions and worldview and about questioning authority – things that entertain kids while teaching them how to read and teaching them how to think. Will Disney do that? I don’t know. But I bet damn well there’ll be more Marvel cartoons on TV – and increased visibility to young children is what ensures the future stability of the medium. That's plus marks all over the place.

DC Entertainment? This seems to be coming in response to Disney’s buy, but really I’m not so sure of that. Between the continuity reboots and tossing out the bullet logo, I feel like DC’s been trying to figure out where they’re going for the past 4-5 years now – and when it comes to movies they’ve been nowhere near as successful as Marvel has been. DC really hasn’t been able to keep a one together. Superman Super-Sucked. Watchmen did well, but there was so much legal trouble over it I doubt DC views it as the financial success it could’ve been. The most-recent Batman did well, but I believe that was largely due to the buzz that a certain actor’s death attached to it. Whatever the case, there’s no sequel in sight, which I view as a positive, but again, I’m getting off-point.

You know what has done well and has stayed fairly in-line with the characters’ origins and personas? The DC straight-to-video animated flicks. Wonder Woman, GL: First Flight, the upcoming S/B Public Enemies. The NEW DC President was largely involved in these when out in Hollywood. So, while she’s Hollywood, and obviously looking for stuff to please WB that they can churn into more money – she’s got a track record of doing that WITH RESPECT TO THE CHARACTERS. So, it’s not like she’s the anti-christ or something.

I am choosing to look at both of these scenarios (Disney-Marvel and DC Entertainment) with a “the glass that does not yet exist might well be at least half full” mentality. Could it suck? Yes. Would it be easy to say it will suck? Yes. But that’s only because it HAS sucked for SO long. Maybe some changes (to what ISN’T working) is just what the genre needs. And maybe we’ll be looking back 20 years from now as the present being when things in comic books didn’t just change, but changed for the better.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

This is Pretty Awesome...

I've owned this original art for about 3 years now, originally from the 1982 DC style guide, and used all over the place, including posters/signs/action figure images, etc. Cool enough, right?

But I only JUST found out it was, at least in part, used in making commemorative coins back in 1987.


Wednesday, August 5, 2009


Eventually it had to happen. Take the emo of Spider-Man and the emo of musical theatre and you have this.

If there's something lacking in Spider-Man, CLEARLY it's dramatic monologues that went UNSUNG.

Maybe with great power comes great choreography?
And how does one "turn off the dark?"

To quote a wiser man than me, "It's schwarbage."

(It's stuff like this that makes me think of Joe Quesada as the Mr. Pinciotti of comics.)

Monday, August 3, 2009

Comic book character spotting! Ra's al Ghul


I inadvertently found indisputable proof that Batman exists - in the form of this statue of Ra’s Al Ghul in Tribeca.

The statue has been erroneously engraved as being a figure from Uruguayan history who supposedly died over 150 years ago. But technically Ra's could've been a figure in Uruguay's history. See, Ra’s has never let a little thing like mortality get in his way.

This is Ra's al Ghul. The Demon's Head.

And he's REAL.

And if Ra’s al Ghul is real, and I am both living and not enslaved, then I have to believe Batman is real. Because no other force on Earth could keep us safe from a man who's lived for centuries and wakes up every day continuing to choose this crazy of a hair/facial hair combo.

Please note this closeup of my amazed face.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

If A is to B as C is to D...

... then in some alternate universe, Alan Moore is cramming his beard into a dress.

Friday, March 27, 2009

For those who think I haven't given enough...

... I give you this.

Porco Rosso? No.

Porco Griffin.

The Disney-sponsored film about Peter Griffin's great-great grandfather Marco "Porco" Griffin, a WWII flying ace who was transformed into a pigman. True story.

Friday, February 27, 2009

Hush or Darkman? You decide!



Hush 2

Hush or Darkman?


A hat and a gun folks.
When it comes right down to it -
a hat and a gun.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

(In a Nutshell: One Guy’s Take on Where the X-Men Went Astray, aka,) Whatever Happened to the Children of the Atom?

When I was a kid, the X-Men were hated by a world that didn't understand them. But I understood them: railed against for being different, trying to figure out their purpose(s), who to trust and where they fit in. The story kernel of "the outsider" is relatable.

Today, the X-Men are still hated by a world that doesn’t understand them. What's changed is that I’m not so sure their publisher understands them either.

Below are some of the larger points of disagreement that I have with the handling of the X-Men mythos over the last decade.

The release of the first X-Men film (2000)
The X-Men uploaded into the sleek patent-leather of The Matrix and Marvel got insanely paid. Duplication and emulation were bound to follow. It was good for the pocketbook, but would prove bad for the cohesiveness and integrity of the franchise. This coincided with Joe Quesada's appointment to Editor-in-Chief.

The creation of the Ultimate Universe (2000-2001)
As the casual fan (aka non-comic-reading-moviegoer) might not understand the "regular" comics (which disagree with the movie in several regards) a “do-over” of the X-Men mythos was in order. Sort of like “What If,” only less different and much longer. Still Matrixy.

Grant Morrison’s New X-Men (2001)
An attempt to Ultimatize™ the regular X-Men – well, I’ll limit myself to fifteen words on this one.

Magneto – addict,
Beast – a cat,
Cassandra Nova - Stupid.
Beak - really?
The villain was mold.

Wolverine Origin (2001-2002) and, vicariously, the second X-Men film (2003)
Purportedly, the rationale here was to tell Wolverine’s origin before the movie (X-Men 2) did. X-Men 2 touched briefly on the adamantium bonding process and the Weapon X story. It did not involve finding out that Logan was a 200+ year old prissy-pants named James who wore frilly shirts, or that Logan/James’ mom was kind of a whore.

Sidebar: Wolverine’s name: James Howlett. Get it? Like Howl? I despise character names that are supposed to “subtly” inform their personae. Like Steadfarst Everymann, Petale L'Delicat, or Honesty McGoodLawyer. But this is worse, because - you know what howls? Coyotes, wolves. Not Wolverines. Marvel loves to equate Wolverine with more esteemed creatures. Guys – he’s not some forest spirit and he isn’t noble. Wolverines are short little hairy ugly fighty guys who kind of grunt at you. They could’ve at least named him James Offputting, or James Fartsnstabs.

Real Wolverine

This is a real wolverine, which probably weighs less than 50 lbs.

Astonishing X-Men (2004)
Unlike Ultimate X-Men, which has the decency to take place outside of normal continuity, Astonishing takes a fence-straddling approach that can only be described as, “these editors don’t talk to each other, or they don’t care, or they don’t think the readers will.” Since the book sells through the roof, apparently they were right about most potential readers. Also, Colossus is back. And he never died. Also, more Cassandra Nova. And space. (Whedon.)

Wolverine Origins (2006)
Six words here.

Written by Daniel Way.
Also, Daken.

Daken Sings
Sing it loud, buddy.
If only, "tonight you'd be gone."

The X-Men move to San Francisco (2008)
‘Nuff Said.
Also, Mr. Sinister is a chick now.

In closing, please note:
I do not hate Joe Quesada, Grant Morrison, or the entire work of either. Yes, I paid money to see all three X-Men films (though not any of the other Marvel films). I do not think the Ultimate Universe completely sucks.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

NYCC 09 (Why Deadpool Owes Me a Drink)

In forty-eight hours I shook Dusty Rhodes' hand, met Unemployed Skeletor, bought awesome art for myself from Chris Uminga, and another baby sketch for gf-of-Apocalypse from Tom Raney. Of course I also snapped some pics of the promotions and cosplayers.

Underwear of Vengeance

Is "Yatter" Japanese for "tighty-whitey?" All I know is, this logo passed through SEVERAL hands before apparently resulting in a hero with a pair of drauze on his chest. (With a swooped waist to accentuate the gut. And a shaded-taint-area. These are totally some Grandad Freeman undies.) Does that say "The Ultimate Entertainment: Testicles from Japan?" I mean, hey, I like being entertained - but I think I'll pass. Just thinking about it makes me want to Yatter-cry... which means tighty-whitey cry. (That's why I wear boxers.)


Dave of Apocalyptic Evenings with Skelly. No. The immovable object and the unstoppable force. Not really. Nacho cheese and dryer lint. Gross. Unemployed Skeletor and Dave of Apocalypse. That'll do I guess. With great power comes... ah, screw it. Our hand gestures say it all.


(All that's missing are the Rooty-Tooty-Fresh-and-Fruitys.)

And now - the BEST cosplay picture of the whole con.
Why, you ask? Look it over first... (drumroll please....) - it's because...


Deadpool had NOTHING to do with the other people in this photo.

I wanted a picture of Deadpool. The TMNT'ers thought I wanted a picture of them so they posed. Deadpool got out of the way, and I'm like, "No, you get in there too Deadpool."

DP was on the other side of Casey, but was pretty quick to flank April. (Sticking to character, Casey didn't say anything.) Where's Deadpool's right hand? Might April's enthusiasm tell the tale? Probably not - but either way Deadpool owes me a drink. Albeit inadvertently, it was because of me he got to get this close to April. But that's not what makes it the best picture.

It's the best cosplay picture of the con because, most importantly, I'm pretty sure this entire scenario is EXACTLY what the real Deadpool would've done in this situation. Nonchalantly mackin.

Lookout fellas, if Deadpool is real (which this photo obviously proves) he's coming for your girlfriends - and with that healing factor of his, you'll never beat him in a fight - so you'd better just hope your girlfriend isn't into wisecracking unkillable assassins. Since that's about as likely as you not wanting to be a spy with two sets of junk and an immunity to STDs, you should probably just remind her his face looks like hamburger, and just hope she's not into masks. Yeah - that's probably best.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Jeff Matsuda is STILL awesome (Wolverine vs Hulk)

I should begin by noting that this is a first. I am reaffirming that someone or something is awesome (as if my prior statement wasn't enough, or as if my judgment of awesomeness could be somehow fallible or weakened by the forward motion of time.) All that being said, it's because Jeff Matsuda is SO awesome that I felt the overwhelming urge to state it again. Why?

The new HULK VS DVD. Do yourself a favor and buy this.


Hulk Vs is a DVD with two roughly 45 minute animated films - Hulk vs Wolverine, and Hulk vs Thor. Or as I like to think of it, "Hulk vs Wolverine, plus another one." (I mean no disrespect to the guys who worked on Thor - it was also cool. But, it also had Thor in place of Wolverine.) If you haven't gathered by now, we have Jeff Matsuda's awesomeness to thank for Hulk vs Wolverine.

(spoilers below)

Hulk calls Wolverine "Little Man." He shouts "Hulk Smash" and that he's "strongest there is." Signature attacks and poses are used, covers are paid homage to. The WeaponX program is involved. Featuring: Sabretooth, Deathstrike, Omega Red (!), and a fantastically-executed Deadpool - pun seriously not intended.

Deadpool talks incessantly, mocks nonstop, gets his arm cut off and complains to himself while he puts it back on. Fan-tastic. Sabretooth talks about how after Wolverine's dead, they'll "drop Hulk on an orphanage, or somethin." The characterization here is just great. You can tell that the folks in charge knew and loved the source material. Did I mention it's violent? I mean, it's not early-90s-anime-violent (alas, what is?) but there IS blood and it IS red. Thank you "straight to video."

So all in all, this gets one awesome out of a possible one awesomes, because when you get an awesome from me, just one, that's all you need. But sometimes you get two even though you only NEED one. Come to think of it, JM doesn't actually NEED any awesomes. All I know is this - maybe a person can't be knighted twice (at least not without becoming some sort of super-ghost-killing-knight made out of Voltrons) but, Jeff Matsuda, you have been twice awesomed. Believe that.

On a separate note: I neither know nor care much about Thor, but here's what I took away from his story. Loki might be sort of right to hate Thor, Loki has a hot super-tall daughter who rules hell (every part of that is awesome), and since Thor chose Sif over Enchantress I kind of have to question his ability to make the wisest decisions.