Thursday, March 31, 2011
Like most people of my generation, I have a soft spot for Snoopy. I still remember the stuffed animal Snoopy I had that I would carry around with me everywhere. I would hold him by the ears and my mother kept having to sew them back on. One of the first movies I remember seeing in the theaters was Snoopy, Come Home. I watched that recently and it actually holds up very well, what with the catchy music and psychedelic 70's backgrounds... not to mention an epic fight scene between Snoopy and Lucy! Great stuff! The TV specials and of course the comic strip (second only to Calvin & Hobbes in my eyes) made Peanuts a constant fixture in my house for years. I always felt bad for Charlie Brown and didn't blame him for being depressed most of the time... I mean, the poor kid was bald! That had to be tough.
Wednesday, March 30, 2011
Bizarro was always interesting to me in that even though he was usually treated as a comical character, there was usually a healthy dose of peril when he was around as well. He was as powerful as Superman, but without his moral compass or common sense. It's a nice twist on the "dark reflection of the hero" archetype.
I thought that the fourth Christopher Reeve Superman film missed a great opportunity to bring Bizarro to the big screen. They had a plot involving Luthor creating a life form based on Superman's DNA and instead of using Bizarro, they decided to make up a new character with Nuclear Man? I never understood that. Of course that was just the tip of the iceberg as far as the problems that the film had. Maybe now that DC is ramping up a new Superman franchise, we will finally see Bizarro in theaters one day.
Tuesday, March 29, 2011
I used the more comedic talk show version of Space Ghost for my Batman team-up, so I was glad to get the chance to offer a straight team-up here. This cover took a long time because there was a lot of fixing up to do to the background in order to eliminate the other members of the Fantastic Four and that were on the original paperback cover and make room for Space Ghost. I haven't heard much from Space Ghost as a property lately, and I hope that changes soon in the form of a comic, animated show or dare I say live action adaptation... He's just too cool looking a character to rest in limbo.
Monday, March 28, 2011
If I am not mistaken, Solomon Grundy has the distinction of being the first clearly Earth-Two character to break through to other media, with his appearances in the Super Friends cartoon and the live action Challenge of the Super Heroes. I'm sure those Legion of Doom appearances made an impression on plenty of comics pros because he seems to make his way through so many different series. The conceit where upon each death and rebirth, Grundy has a slightly different personality has kept his stories fresh and given writers like James Robinson, Roy Thomas and Dwayne McDuffie a springboard for a lot of cool story lines. I got a kick out of his recent solo series by Scott Kolins, some very nice slugfests in there.
Here's a preliminary cover Sketch from a Solomon Grundy appearance in Green Arrow by Matt Wagner (despite the cover copy, Bard Meltzer wrote this issue):
Friday, March 25, 2011
This one was a request form a friend and I wasn't sure that I would be able to fulfill it at first. Upon a little bit of searching, it turns out there have been a few series based on Kurt Russel's Escape From New York character. It really is amazing how many movies have not just been adapted into comics, but expanded and extrapolated upon by them. That's another great aspect of the hobby, readers can see sequels and continuations of a lot of their favorite film properties, even if the movie versions don't provide them.
I have heard rumors of a cinematic reboot of Escape From New York, and that seems like an unnecessary remake. The original still holds up pretty well.
Thursday, March 24, 2011
Smallville has had it's ups and downs, but when looked at as a kind of alternate version of the Superman saga I find it pretty entertaining. It really is amazing how many characters from the DCU have been woven into the story. I must say that I am glad that it will finally be coming to a close at the end of this season, because it really is time for Clark to make the final leap into being the superhero we all know and have been waiting for. The best news is that Michael Rosenbaum as Luthor will be returning for the final episode. He was my favorite actor on the show and was sorely missed once he left. I am also looking forward to the episode featuring Booster Gold and Blue Beetle (written by Geoff Johns) and a big throwdown with Darkseid before the end of the season. It sounds like things will be going out with a bang... I hope it lives up to the long build up!
Wednesday, March 23, 2011
Sin City was a real revelation to me when I first checked it out. I was already a big Frank Miller fan, but never had I seen his style presented in such a focused, stripped down manner. His knowledge of light and shadow and sparse but powerful use of color made these gritty noir tales instantly iconic. I was very pleased when Robert Rodriguez chose to work so closely with Miller for the film adaptation, and the result was the most faithful comic book film yet. For the first time, I really felt like I was watching comic panels come to life. Mickey Rourke as Marv especially seemed as though he stepped right off of the pages. I'm not sure what the status of a sequel is these days, but I would love to see another entry into this film series.
Tuesday, March 22, 2011
I haven't heard of much movement with the Shazam! movie adaptation lately, I hope it isn't too far on the back burners. With comic movies these days becoming more and more realistic and grim, the whimsy of a Captain Marvel film could be a nice contrast. Ideally it would be filled with all the action and drama of a traditional superhero adventure, but with a healthy dose of humor thrown in, just as the best classic Shazam stories had. The wish fulfillment of a young kid transforming into a superhuman adult is just as important to the story as all of the fisticuffs. Sure, Black Adam and Sivana are the obvious villains, but add in some of the more original characters like Tawky Tawny and Mr. Mind, and that's a superhero movie that will truly stand out from the rest!
Monday, March 21, 2011
Jerry Ordway has always been the quintessential Earth-Two artist for me, so I was very interested when the Infinity Inc. series first appeared. I really loved the first year of that series and was sorry to see him go. Don Newton was slated for a long run, which would have been great to see, but he unfortunately passed away just as he was getting started. DC has always embraced the generational aspects of its characters and this was a perfect series to explore that. I remember wishing the stories would have included Robin, Huntress and Power Girl in larger roles, but the focus was more on the newcomers. These characters have been scattered around various titles for the past few decades, but I think there is still a fondness for them as a team. It would be interesting to see the surviving members reunite and sharing some adventures again... especially if they could lure Jerry Ordway back on art chores!
Friday, March 18, 2011
I was mostly a superhero fan as a kid, so I only read a few war comics here and there... but I was still a big fan of Sgt. Rock due to his guest appearances in The Brave and the Bold. It wasn't until I was older and decided to check out the Sgt. Rock Showcase volumes for the Joe Kubert art that I started to get into his solo stories. Now these are tales that will put hair on your chest! Full of heroism and sacrifice, the stories of Easy Company always centered around Rock's will to never give up fighting, no matter what the odds. I am happy that Rock is a character that Kubert has decided to return to every once in a while, and I enjoyed the serial that ran in Wednesday Comics a few years back. Kubert on Sgt. Rock is just about as good as comic art gets, for me. No other artist has been able to capture the character in quite the same way.
Thursday, March 17, 2011
I recently watched the entire motion comic DVD for Watchmen in one sitting. For a motion comic, the animation, sound effects and music are done amazingly well. the one place it falls apart is the odd choice that was made to have a single narrator doing all the voices. He is very versatile and offers a wife variety of male voices, which was fine... but he also does all the female voices, which try as he might doesn't really work. I don't need a full cast, but a male and female narration team would have been a far less distracting choice. Despite this, I still recommend this Motion comic highly.
Wednesday, March 16, 2011
Consider this cover to be the undercard to Superman Vs. Muhammad Ali. Rocky is one of those movies that never gets old for me, I can watch it over and over. Between the great characters that Sylvester Stallone created, the rousing music, and all the memorable lines and scenes, it really earns it's place as perhaps the best sports movie ever made. I enjoyed the sequels, too - especially II and III, and I have to admit that Rocky Balboa was a lot better than I was expecting it to be. In this age of movie reboots, it's nice to have one franchise that has featured the same cast throughout multiple decades.
Tuesday, March 15, 2011
From what I read online, it sounds like a new Robocop film is indeed in the planning stages. I am looking forward to seeing what happens with this. I thought that the first film was a ton of fun, but the sequels did not live up to it (despite involvement by Frank Miller) and the short-lived TV series that followed was very much a watered down version. I can still remember the first time I saw the movie poster for the original - this was in a time where there was far less advance press or hype for upcoming films so it caught me completely by surprise. "Part man. Part machine. All Cop!" I was sold right there!
Monday, March 14, 2011
I was one of the fans who kind of rolled their eyes when Tim Drake, the third Robin, was introduced. I think the practice of having multiple characters take on the same heroic alias often runs the risk of diluting the characters. In this case, however, I must say that I was quickly won over. Tim Drake was presented as a very competent partner to Batman and had talents that made him stand out from Dick Grayson and Jason Todd. The writers also gave him an appealing personality (especially when compared to Todd) and it gave the Batman titles some much needed levity after years of stories featuring the ultra-grim Batman in the wake of The Dark Knight Returns. Now there is yet another Robin in Damian Wayne (not to mention a second Batman) and my concerns about Diluting the characters are back. Drake is now Red Robin and I feel is kind of being lost in the shuffle. It will be interesting to see how things shake out in the Batman family in the next few years.
Friday, March 11, 2011
I have an affection for robotic characters. They usually look really cool and provide writers with a way to comment on humanity. Red Tornado is one of my favorite examples. I thought it was so cool as a kid that he decided to cross over from Earth-Two to Earth-One and join the JLA. Later in the series, when they tied his origin into the Tornado Tyrant, it gave him even more depth. He works best as part of a team, but I also quite enjoyed his solo appearances in World's Finest and his self-titled mini-series. I was glad to see him getting a key role to play in the new Young Justice animated series (just as he did in the comic of the same name). That series is very well done and hopefully it will expose Reddy to a whole new generation of fans.
Thursday, March 10, 2011
Ragman is one of those C-list DC characters that I will check out every appearance of. I first took notice of him with his original series in the 70's with the fantastic Joe Kubert covers. I always thought that he had a great look and got a kick out of the fact that, unlike most heroes, he was portrayed as being dirt poor. I was glad that DC decided to take him out of mothballs a few years back and make him a team member of Shadowpact. That series has since ended but hopefully it gave him enough visibility that he gained some more fans. I'd love to see a new mini-series featuring him and I hope that it wont be too long before we do. Unfortunately with the state of comics these days, lesser known characters like Ragman tend to be forgotten in favor of those with higher profiles. I hope that things turn around because there are too many cool characters out there, and it would be a shame to see them all shuffled off to limbo.
Wednesday, March 9, 2011
Predator remains one of my favorite 80's action films. The idea of an alien hunter lurking in an earth jungle was realized very well and it is chock full of quotable lines. I liked the sequel as well, but what I really got a kick out of were the various comic book crossovers that the Predators took part in. It's a testament to the strength of the concept that its works so well with different characters. That said, I saw the first Aliens Vs. Predator and it didn't make much of an impression on me. I also have yet to see the most recent entry, Predators, but I like the films of Robert Rodriquez and I have read some positive reviews, so I will have to check that out one of these days.
Tuesday, March 8, 2011
I have been a fan of Power Girl since she ushered in the second generation of the JSA back in the 70's when All-Star Comics was revived. I loved the Justice Society and it was nice to be able to read the adventures of one of their members from the very beginning. I also used to get a kick out of how Firestorm would flirt with her during the JLA/JSA crossovers. I am glad that after years of being a teammate and occasional guest star, Power Girl has come into her own. Rather than run from her convoluted continuity, writers have used it as a basis for her characterization. I felt that the pairing of artist Amanda Conner with Power Girl for her self titled series was perfect, and it was nice to see a series in these days that didn't take itself so seriously all the time.
Monday, March 7, 2011
Plastic Man is such a great, iconic character. I have to say though, that efforts to integrate him into the mainstream DCU have never quite seemed to work for me. The cartoony world he inhabits clashes with the likes of the Justice League. I think he, like the Shazam family, is better served by having his own reality to have adventures in, with only the occasional crossover with the other DCU characters. I must say that I did quite enjoy the Kyle Baker Plastic Man series, that was a lot of fun and captured the whimsy of those classic Eel O'Brian tales from the golden age.
I read a rumor a while back that Joel McHale might possibly be playing Plastic Man in an upcoming film.... I'm not sure if there's any truth to that but it sounds like pretty good casting to me!
Friday, March 4, 2011
I got a request for this one today and thought I would give it a shot. I did not pick up the latest Manhunter series, but I had read a lot of good things about it. I finally got to read some of Kate Spencer's adventures through guest appearances in Birds of Prey and as a backup feature in Detective Comics, and I quite liked the character. I like the origins of her very functional costume as well as her ties to heroes from DC's past. I'll definitely have to check out some of the TPB's of her solo series. Is it collected in full?
Thursday, March 3, 2011
I was happy to read that a third James Bond film featuring Daniel Craig has overcome studio and budgetary hurdles and is now going into production. I thought that the franchise had lost its way a bit and was glad for the back to basics approach they took to the character when they decided to go back to the beginning with Casino Royale. I'm glad they held onto Judi Dench as M, though - she is great in the role. As much as I like the new films, Craig is still only my second favorite Bond. Sean Connery has a cool ease that will be very hard to replace.
Wednesday, March 2, 2011
Another all-Kirby outing today. You have to love those crazy contraptions that he was always coming up with. It will be great to finally see some Jack Kirby-inspired clothing and architecture in the upcoming Thor film. If this film is a huge success, I wonder if it will open the door for a possibility of a film focusing on Kirby's Fourth World creations? If done well, it could be an incredibly epic tale, like Lord of the Rings meets Star Wars.
Tuesday, March 1, 2011
Hmmm, maybe I should have changed this to Charlie Sheen's mansion, given recent events! I'm not sure what OMAC's status is in the current DCU, now that all the dust seems to have settled from the Infinite Crisis event from a few years back. Like most of Kirby's DC creations, he is experiencing some down time these days. I can't imagine it will be too long before he and the rest make their return, though.