Monday, February 28, 2011
I remember when Dick Grayson dropped the Robin identity in favor of Nightwing in the pages of New Teen Titans, and as radical a move as it was (especially for the time), it made complete sense to me given Marv Wolfman's deft characterization throughout that series. Soon enough, there were new Robins hitting the scene and it was clear that Nightwing was no phase, but the permanent status quo for Grayson. That it, until a couple of years ago when he took on the Batman mantle from the missing Bruce Wayne. It was fun seeing Grayson in the title role for a while, but now that the original Batman is back, I wonder what will become of him. Sure he is operating as Batman simultaneously as Bruce, but how long can that last? If he goes back to being Nightwing it might look like a demotion at this point. Wally West is facing similar issues now that Barry Allen has returned. The upcoming Flashpoint event is going to be playing with shifting timelines... I wonder if DC will use it as a way to somehow de-age West and Grayson and get them back to their original sidekick status?
Friday, February 25, 2011
I was surprised at how much I liked the recent A-Team movie. I thought that all the actors did a great job with the characters and really liked the over the top action sequences. I figured it would just be a silly film, but it turned out to be a lot of fun and one of the better action films that I have seen in the past few years. I hope the same crew gets together for a sequel.
Thursday, February 24, 2011
Of all of Jack Kirby's Fourth World concepts, Mister Miracle has always been my favorite. The idea of a super escape artist was very cool to me as a kid and I dug his costume, which was very busy but somehow worked. The mask with the Egyptian style eyes always stood out amongst other heroes cowls to me, and I loved the flying discs he used. Along with the rest of the New Gods, Scot Free was killed off recently, so fans of the character will have to wait patiently until DC decides to dust off the property for another relaunch. Hopefully the wait will not be too long, he's too cool a hero to keep down... and besides, if anyone is able to escape comic book limbo, it should be him!
Wednesday, February 23, 2011
Metamorpho is one of my all-time favorite characters, I will pick up any comic featuring him. I loved to draw him as a kid because I always had trouble drawing hands - so I would aways make his fists into hammers or drills or something. I thing Rex Mason makes a great DC analogue to The Thing - they are both rough, straight talking regular joes who fight for good while looking for a cure to the effects of the event that gave them great power, but disfigured them horribly. Rex would have a permanent place at Ben's poker table, I think.
Here's a sketch of Metamorpho that I commissioned from the great Steve Rude:
Tuesday, February 22, 2011
Well it looks like we are going to have to remain patient for the return of Mary Marvel and the rest of the Marvel Family in the DCU. I hear that there will be something called S!H!A!Z!A!M! as part of the upcoming Flashpoint event, but I don't know how much that will have to do with them or how much it will affect them once the continuity bending event is over. Whenever the characters do return, I hope they return to the more classic mold and look that made them so popular in the first place.
Monday, February 21, 2011
Manhunter was a character way ahead of his time. I remember reading his back-up feature by Walt Simonson and Archie Goodwin in those great Detective Comics 100 Page Giants and the artwork and storyline were unlike anything I har read up to that point. It would be several more years before comics caught up to the ninja craze or with Simonson's inventive layouts and sound effects. There have been a bunch of characters called Manhunter pass through the DCU since then, but none have been able to capture lightning in a bottle the way this incarnation did.
Not only is Walt Simonson a superb artist, he is also an incredibly nice guy. I was lucky enough to get one of his free quickie sketches at a convention a while beck:
Friday, February 18, 2011
Man-Bat has been a favorite of mine since I was a kid. He had a great visual and you never knew if he was going to be Batman's ally or enemy in a given tale. I had the Power Records book and record set featuring "Robin Meets Man-Bat!" and that was about the coolest thing ever to me at the time, with the Neal Adams art and cool Man-Bat sound effects. Check it out here: http://powerrecord.blogspot.com/2007/12/batman-robin-meets-man-bat.html
I was kind of hoping that Christopher Nolan would go with Hugo Strange as the villain in the upcoming Dark Knight Rises. With Strange's tinkering with Monster Men formulas, we might have seen a way to introduce more animalistic villains like Man-Bat and Killer Croc into Batman's world. That's probably too out there for Nolan, who prefers the more street level villains - but maybe a director for a future sequel will do something along those lines.
Thursday, February 17, 2011
Here's another concept that I think would be great for the big or small screen. A guy with the ability to tear apart any manner of robotic threats with his bare hands? Count me in. I am surprised, considering how long he has been around, that we haven't seen Magnus emerge from the comics pages and into other media yet (maybe he had a video game? I'm not sure).
Wednesday, February 16, 2011
I was a fan of Mike Allred's comics art through his forays into the Marvel and DC universe. I finally decided to check out his signature character, Madman. I purchased the first five TPB's of his adventures and read them straight through. It was a fun way to do it, I got completely immersed into Allred's inventive and beautifully illustrated world. I also got a kick out of The Atomics and its band of offbeat characters. I have heard mention of making a Madman film, but I think it would be very tough to capture the unique look of the comics. Maybe animation would work - Allred's art style would look very cool in motion.
Tuesday, February 15, 2011
Well we have heard that the new Superman in Zach Snyder's upcoming film will be Henry Cavill (a very solid selection, in my opinion), but have yet the learn who will portray the latest incarnation of Lois. Noell Neill, Margot Kidder, and Teri Hatcher have all given memorable performances, each highlighting aspects of the character. Kate Bosworth never really fit the role for me in either appearance or performance, although some of that blame must fall on the script. My favorite Lois to date has Been Erica Durance on Smallville, she embodies most of the qualities that make the comic book Lois appealing. Of the names I have heard to be in possible contention for the new film, I would say that Rachel McAdams would be my choice. I am sure we will hear one way or another soon.
Monday, February 14, 2011
Another holiday-themed issue today. I have to give Archie Comics credit for being able to keep themselves in the headlines lately. For the past several years there aren't more than a few months that go by before I read about a marriage, a death, a new character reflecting modern times, or a political guest appearance. They do seem to have the ability to attract media attention, but I wonder how much that translates into additional sales. I'm sure it can't hurt. I did read Archie when I was a kid and have to admit that despite having red hair, I identified more with Jughead than the main character. For one thing, I didn't have the two cutest girls in high school fighting for my affection! I never thought that Archie Andrews appreciated how lucky he was.
Friday, February 11, 2011
Lex Luthor has been getting a lot of notice lately what with him taking over the lead spot in Action Comics for the past year as well as being so prominently featured in the new DC Universe Online game. I would be very surprised if we don't see Lex return to TV's Smallville before the end of this, its final season. Hopefully Michael Rosenbaum will return, as he makes a great Lex. I am also a huge fan of Clancy Brown's vocal performance as Lex Luthor in so many of DC's animated offerings, he's the voice I hear in my head when I real Luthor's dialogue now. The one place I do not hope we will see Lex, though, is Zach Snyder's upcoming film Superman: The Man of Steel. It's time to get have the silver screen Superman face off against somebody else!
Thursday, February 10, 2011
I always got a kick out of the Silver Age tales that featured Ace, but it wasn't until the animated Batman Beyond started to feature him that I really began to like the character. The idea of a dog sidekick to Batman suddenly makes sense when paired with the future Bruce Wayne. The episodes featuring Ace are some of my favorites, especially the one that features his origin. The classic Ace was featured in an episode of Batman: The Brave and the Bold, which was a hoot, and of course in most episodes of Krypto the Super Dog. Hmmm is it too much to hope for a cameo in The Dark Knight Rises?
Wednesday, February 9, 2011
Granted, many of the Silver Age trappings for Superman could be seen as a little hokey, but one element that I thought was great was the introduction of Krypto, the Superdog. I am a big dog lover, and the idea of a super powered pet was very appealing to me as a child... and still is! I got a kick out of the scenes with Krypto playing fetch with meteors and so forth. I also applaud DC for coming out with the Krypto animated series for younger viewers recently. I think comics need all the entry-level books and programs that they can get, with more and more titles being geared for teens and up.
As the cover indicates, this is a continued story - part two is coming tomorrow!
Tuesday, February 8, 2011
The 1933 King Kong is just about a perfect classic film. I am a fan of stop-motion animation and the creatures in that film still hold up for me. It's amazing what they were able to achieve with such old school special effects. The 70's version is pretty hokey when I watch it now, but I still have a soft spot for it, since I first watched it by sneaking into my brother's bedroom well past my bedtime when I was a little kid. I even had the movie poster in my room, I loved it so much. I was very much looking forward to Peter Jackson's version, but I must admit that that movie is much longer than it needs to be. It felt very padded out to me with some unnecessary subplots. The last 90 minutes are a lot of fun though and the effects, especially on Kong and the old style New York, are quite impressive. Still, nothing holds a candle to the original film - I can't imagine what it must have been like to be a kid watching that in the theater when it was originally released.
Monday, February 7, 2011
I have always felt that Kamandi is a DC property that is ripe for the animated series treatment. The last boy on Earth trying to survive in a post-apocalyptic future populated by talking animals hits all the right notes. His appearance on Batman: The Brave and the Bold only solidifies my opinion on this. I was a huge fan of the Kamandi serial in DC's large format Wednesday Comics project last year, I think that Ryan Sook's art in that was spectacular, and it made a lot of people take notice of the property for the first time. Hopefully we will see more of Kamandi in the future, it's too unique a concept to be staying in limbo for years at a time.
Friday, February 4, 2011
When DC revamped the Justice League in the late 80's I don't think anyone expected the humorous take that was presented. Surprisingly, it worked for me, at least for the first couple of years. I think a big part of the success was the choice of Kevin Maguire on art chores. His knack for facial expressions really amped up the comedic element. I don't think any of the artists that followed him were able to capture the magic in quite the same way. After I while, I did long for the more serious version of the JLA to return, but I am glad that DC was daring enough to experiment with one of its top tier properties in such a fun way.
I haven't been reading the Justice League: Generation Lost series, which is now nearing it's conclusion - but I do like most of the characters involved. Is it worth checking out when it hits TPB form?
Thursday, February 3, 2011
I am looking forward to Dredd, the upcoming Judge Dredd movie that is currently filming. While the Sylvester Stallone version had a few fun moments, for the most part I think that it missed the mark. Judge Dredd should keep his helmet on at all times and has no need for a wacky comic sidekick! I wasn't even a huge Dredd fan when I first saw it and even I knew those things were just wrong. From what I have seen so far, the new version looks to be a lot more faithful to the comics. I also think that Karl Urban is a good choice for the title role. Between this film, Lord of the Rings and Star Trek, he is really racking up some geek cred!
Wednesday, February 2, 2011
Well, I've Had The Thing meeting Hal, John, Kyle and Guy... so it was only a matter of time before he ran into the original Green Lantern. You know that he is awesome because he is the only superhero (aside from maybe Firestorm) that can make the "puffy shirt" look cool. I like how many artists give each of the GL's ring manifestations their own personal twist - Hal is old school, Kyle draws on his artistic prowess, John's are architecturally based, Guy is blunt and to the point, and Alan's are engulfed in emerald flame. With the original Superman written out of current DC continuity, I think an argument can be made that Alan Scott is the elder statesman of the DCU.
Tuesday, February 1, 2011
I am a big fan of Futurama, it's one of the few cartoons that can be guaranteed to make me laugh out loud. I was disappointed when it was taken off the air because I thought due to its ever shifting time slots, it never got the chance to find the audience that it deserved. Fortunately the DVD sales were strong enough to warrant it's return. I liked the the direct to DVD movies that were released, but I was really impressed when the half hour episodes came back on Comedy Central last year. They were some of the best that the series had ever produced, in my opinion, matching "The Problem With Popplers" (my all-time favorite episode) in quality. My only complaint was that the new season was so short. I look forward to more new adventures later this year.