Monday, November 14, 2016

Review Supergirl Season 2 Episode 6 Changing

First of all Parasite kind of sucked and was wasted just like Metallo. I'm also shocked they actually addressed though wordlessly that Supergirl kills him. I feel like the global warming angle didn't earn itself as the topical cause of the episode, though. There's better villains that would have served that purpose while Parasite is wasted as a knock off Yeerk turned purple, hulking Red Skull. I feel like Flash's episode about Everyman does this concept more justice. Than again I feel Metallo was wasted too. A pattern perhaps.

They're getting Alex's development down and done better than last episode. This could be the first dreaded friend zone trope to apply to two gay characters on tv. Alex's rejection felt real, I can relate to the forget I ever said it should of kept my mouth shut sentiment. That her memories are filling in childhood moments of identity that were buried is also a common experience and it needed to be addressed. After many misdirects they actually have Kara supportive. There's never too many shows that have believable sisters that hits you. She also has time to work, and convince M'gann and Mon El to rise above themselves.

Maggie's presumptions and brush off aren't wrong, but condescending in trying to be a friend to a child kind of way. This Maggie while irritating in some ways is what I wish we would have gotten for a liveaction Renee Montoya than that plot device on that Fox show. While she has comic Maggie's confidence, she doesn't have her comic book backstory baggage. She does like comic Renee have an implied blink and you'll miss it drinks alone mention that could lead somewhere, or go nowhere as the writers choose. It didn't go so well for Laurel Lance so I don't think it will work here. Alcoholics rarelhy make compelling characters, especially on CW.

I'm sort of interested in how they resolve Mon El's kidnapping and his job as n enforcer. I was not expecting the enforcer angle, I thought they were going to go with not stripper, but maybe male model. I like to see him interact with James and more Winn. I'm glad Alex inspired him to be a hero, but maybe James and Winn got to show him how to be a proper human being since Kara's doing a fine job at it and Alex has her own problems besides the obligatory rescue that she and Supergirl will come up with.

I'm not sure what to think about James's vigilantism. I'd have rather they'd done a wacky gains superpowers for an episode to revert back to normal but most of those stories reek of a stay in your place mentality. If his should be a stepping stone for Winn's turn as the new Toyman than that'd suck.

I'm liking the slowburning development of J'onn and M'ann's friendship that could rip apart any second. One nitpick I have is that I like the actress who plays M'gann, but basically the symbolically oppressive white martian is doing the shapeshifter equivalent of blackface. I mean so is J'onn, but M'gann's race is explicitly genocidal and conquering (they're not only white, but they're coded white). It only works because of the initial misdirect and the actors are just that good. While I'm used to Miss Martian being a bright, sunny teenager with a shameful secret in need of a father figure, this Miss Martian whose distrustful, remorseful and older with a shameful secret in need of a friend, or something more works for me in a CW drama. I can see the Young Justice cartoon fans pissed as I was when they dumped Tim, Bart and Cassie, replaced it with Teen Titan characters and screwed up Kon, so fairs fair.

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Review Flash #10

Up at 6 in the morning reading yesterdays comics to cheer me up. Reading Flash #10. The Shade returns and they introduced what I'm sure will be a one issue wonder villain in Papercut.

I'd like to comment that the art was good this issue. It's the first issue of The Flash in a long time where the anatomy isn't wonky, people have distinct faces, the line work is clean.

The Shade has come back, gone from dapper and good to appearing creepy grotesque and has lost hope, which is what turned him into a bad gut and gaining hope and friends turned him good. Not a lot more has been revealed yet as it ends on a cliffhanger, but the shadow effects look great. If I had to guess, the stealing of years has either reset Shade back to square one without his connections and without them he's lost, or he has enough awareness to know that a higher power can rip your life away and despairs because of it.

Now on to Papercut. Other than the unfortunate villainous albino aspect, he has potential. To be honest I'm not sure if he's a white albino with dreads and that would be unfortunate, or if he's intended to be black albino. He does have a cool costume and a cool power. In fact the m.o. sounds like something I would have created. He makes origami paper weapons because he can control wood. I'd like to see this rogue go up against Alan Scott, if his old powers/weaknesses were restored by Rebirth.

Flash Facts are back! At least in dialogue. Between this and Psylocke's mention of Psychic Totality this is a good week for old acknowledged catchphrases.

The little shit who must not be named better stay out my comic. Don't care if Kid Flash is on his team.

Meena might be alive, but I'm not digging the explanation for her staying away. There's got to be more to it. It'd suck if she only came back once Barry and Iris take the next step. Wish they'd resolve things before that happens. I actually like Meena as brief lover interest unlike Patty in the books and show even though both Patty's seem like different people to me.

While I find some of young Wally's impulsive actions annoying, I got to keep in mind that he's a teenager and they rationalize things weird, or maybe that's off writing either way I can overlook it, because other times he gives me the feels whether it's his joy of his powers and helping people (even when he doesn't always think of that when he's showboating a villain), distrusting Flash, not wanting to disappoint Iris,being withdrawn, trying to prove himself (though looking for trouble seems iffy to me). I also want more development on his friendship with Chunk.

Even though I think Barry keeping his identity from Iris is stupid, I suppose in this lost time of his life he can justify it. I dig the fact that Iris protects him when they're in danger. It sort of reminds me of Diana in Steve over in Wonder Woman.

Saturday, October 29, 2016

Missed The Record Swap So I Went Shopping At The Mall

After the write in, I went shopping and got two cool things that sort of makes up for missing the last record swap meet.

My first purchase was at the Sleeping Tiger import store where I got a print of Mick Jagger talking to Ed Sullivan while Keith Richards looks on, arms crossed looking reserved and rather cute. He's also wearing pinstripes and I'm mad gangster for those. It cost $3.99, so no big loss. I figure I mine as well make it official since my sister won't stop pestering me about our secret relationship. I mean if I'm all defensive about him, but all shy, embarrassed and in denial about it, it must be true, right? Anyway I found that this same print sold on ebay for $14.99 + $4.99 shipping so I made out.

At all the previous record shows I was already scraping the bottom of barrel of availability and budget. Needless to say I was never going to find any Small Faces/Faces LP's not credited to Rod Stewart only. I have many of those, but today that all changed when I went to FYE where they always have overpriced vinyl reissues. My sister found me First Step discounted from $24.99 to $19.99. I ended up buying it making it the most expensive record I've ever bought, beating out Truth, Rough And Ready, and Beck, Bogert & Appice at $5 each. Yikes. Well anyway the record itself is orange color, which is tacky, but alright whatever and long as it plays.

An older guy notices I'm holding it and he tries to step to me with his old man hipster act. "Oh The Small faces with Rod Stewart, well that's a good album, but I liked them with that other guy." You know trying to slyly call me a poser without coming out and saying it.

"You mean Steve Marriott," I said. "I like him and Rod."

Then the conversation goes on where he talks about Steve's stage presence and the scarcity of their live shows and I'm all, well it's not a concert, but I have a burnt copy of their BBC selections from Ogden's Nut Gone Flake performance on dvd, you can find some of those clips on youtube if you do a search. Well by the end of it he told me to take care having finally been convinced of my Small Faces fan credentials in spite the fact that I appear to be a short, greasy, ugly, androgynous female sixteen year old. In fact I'm all those things, but sixteen and female. So anyone who tells you Comic Book fans will quiz ya for being born with the wrong genitalia, well Rock fans are exactly the same.

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Review For Flash #9 And Flash Episode 4 The New Rogues

This was a great week for me in The Flash department. A great Flash episode with a competent Barry outsmarting the Mirror Master who've I've been wanting on the show since day one, forever annoyed the first series done it and the new series was dragging it's feet. I not a fan of Top being Mirror Masters girlfriend since I'll always associate Top with Golden Glider, but since they already botched that and had Glider be interested in Cisco, whatever. This Top also reminds me more of Golden Glider than the Golden Glider they cast as well. She just has that fun, gleeful vibe to her. Maybe that's just me. I'm not keen with either being metas, but that complaint left the station when they did it to Weather Wizard first season. I also thought it weird that this Mirror Master had an accent (which I don't think resembles a real world one) even though he was Scudder and not McCulloch who I could understand having an actor do a botch Scottish accent, but no excuses for Scudder whose traditionally States. There was a blink you'll miss it mention of Earth-2 McCulloch who gets mirror gun, but I'd have preffered main Earth Mirror Master had one.

Most importantly this week was the comic. In Flash #9, the two Wally's meet, we get the confirmation that young Wally's father is in fact Daniel West/Reverse Flash who've I've suspected for awhile. I don't know if this is new information since Barry knew as I didn't read most of the crappy previous run.

There's so much to unpack with this issue. I can't get into all of it, but each scene and dialogue was smartly paced and written.

I'm not going to go detail by detail, but Iris gets flowers from a secret admirer who unlike Barry knows they're her favorite flowers. The two Wally's meet. A possessed Barry reveals that Daniel West is young Wally's father. Chunk cameos. Older Wally reveals to Barry that Abracadabra's behind his disappearance. Older Wally is the one who's been sending the flowers as gratitude and knowing he can't reveal himself to her yet. Barry suspects there's more at work and that the culprit is bound to return to the scene of the crime. Barry sees one vision he wasn't supposed to see while he was possessed. Jay Garrick's helmet, y'all!!! And that vision filled Barry with hope!

I'll admit the issue made me emotional and not just because there's the hope that we'll get a proper reunion between Jay and the Flash family and perhaps more Justice Society members in other books. Please let Alan meet Simon and Jessica. Please. If not reunite with Hal and Kyle.


"You would never understand! My parents were taken from me…But you two…Both of you were abandoned by your parents. They left you." - possessed Barry

(I promise Barry's not all angsty except here.)

"Iris didn't just introduce me to you, Barry…She got me out of that house…Iris saved my life. The least I can do is give her flowers." -Wally

Monday, June 6, 2016

My Favorite Brother Published A Book And I Helped!

My favorite brother wrote a book and got it published! He drew this cover, front to back, as well as the map and postcard. We collaborated on the non-animal interior illustrations throughout the book. Basically I’d draw the crappy outline, he’d redraw or improve it, then digitally line and shade it. A friend of ours drew all the interior animals illustrations and they’re amazing. I took the author photo as well.

Here's the link to purchase, if you're interested.

If you want to give the author more of the profits, use this:
Create Space

If you just want the convenience, though we lose a little money, use Amazon which will take more of the cut. We honestly don't blame you, so don't feel ashamed. We just want it read (and hopefully reviewed).

Goodreads Author Page

Link To Jay’s Tumblr Page
I apologize for the lack of posts there. It’s a working progress.

Saturday, May 28, 2016

I'm Not Dead Yet, Perhaps Undead

Though I sure feel like it with this unbearable heat and working on the house repairs.

I watched The Flash season finale. Honestly as much as it pisses people off I'm glad Flash saved his mom. I expect torches and pitchforks now. With how low the last episodes were, it felt like my birthday all over again getting the ending I wanted in the first season all along. I'll get to my Season 3 theories and observations in another post.

After all was said and done, I finally bought my months worth of comics on my pull list and I finally read DC Universe Rebirth #1 beyond all the spoilers and I busted out my neglected Legend Of Wonder Woman run and marathoned it before bed. Tonight I'll read the last three issues of Justice League 3001. I'll admit I've not kept on top of of these two series because of their finite nature and I haven't read any of Waid and Samnee's Black Widow because I never found a first issue in any of my local comic shops so next time I do Amazon (because Ebay failed me hear too) I'll buy it with shipping because nothing else on my wishlist free shipping fulfilled through Amazon matches the lowest price with shipping through individual seller. The perils of liking vintage and out of print books, cd's, records, dvd's and vhs's records like the loser I am.

Quick Reviews

DC Universe Rebirth #1

I'll just say now, that Rebirth exceeded my expectations and it made both of my brother and I cry, especially Wally's arc and the lost love between Ollie and Dinah. Sorry Babs/Dinah shippers. I like where they're going with younger Wally's turn to Kidflash especially in light of him being an actual new character instead of being a repeat of old Wally with a personality change. That bothered me. I loved the Atom and Blue Beetle subplots and yay for Dr. Fate and Johnny Thunder showing up. Even Jay Garrick gets a small blink and you'll miss it cameo where Wally talks about first taking The Flash mantle after Crisis. Even Saturn Girl is showing up in the present. I know Geoff Johns won't be writing a comic for awhile, but I feel optimistic that when he does it will be Society or Legion since no other writer employed by DC apparently cares about them or is trusted to do anything with them.

The three things I don't like, Baby Darkseid and Grail (an unoriginal repeat of Zeus/Zeke raised by Athena/Zola), WWINO's twin and the reinforcement of Azzarello's canon and Little Shit Who Must Not Be Named's decision to form the new Teen Titans.

I don't have problem with either Watchmen or the Three Joker's. I know it's perverse, but come on, a Night Owl/Blue Beetle or Silk Spectre/Black Canary team up are the dreams fanfanfiction are made of. Also if this means we can have one Joker that's classic and didn't either shoot Barbara or skin his face off, I'm happy. Those other Joker's suck and they seem to still exist too, but oh well, you win some you lose some.

Legend Of Wonder Woman # 3-6

Finally we get to have nice things. I've heard the criticisms that Diana doesn't smile. Perhaps that would bother me if I was reading this serialized weekly and I kept it in mind while reading the collected floppies. Honestly it makes sense for a someone who left her island while a political upheaval's going on, is traveling to an unknown land on journey wrought with peril and comes to America thinking her passenger died and is culture shocked, thinks her mom is in danger because a guy with illusion powers has her mom's stuff and then finally enlists into the nurses ward to see the horrors of war to not smile. It makes the first smile earned because of Steve no less.

I love this series. All the little retcons and bigger deviations from Marston are simple and not overly complicated or unnecessary like the Perex reboot, all the expansions included work towards her journey. I love Etta, a loyal true friend with personality and her own dreams and problems modern Wonder Woman is doomed to never have. I love Steve and his comment that he loves to fly, but admits he's not as good on ground when it comes to fighting is adorable. He really is cut from the same cloth as Steve Rogers (without the Hydra shit though, grr...) with a dash of Hal Jordan (not the sexist pig version, writers like to default to). I'm also glad to see Duke Of Deception again even if he looks like a Final Fantasy character (Reno, Axel, any Nobody really, take your pic) combined with Constantine. It's growing on me. Knowing I get to see Priscilla Rich Cheetah in the future has me excited.

Etta mentioning that her little brother's in the Justice Society Fanclub. I doubt that little mention will payoff with how little time's left in the mini-series, but maybe it will play a part in the second series. Just knowing they exist at all in the same universe makes me happy. I want Diana to meet, Jay, Alan and Carter again soon. Those were her real buddies before she was forced to play Robin for Superman and Batman Post-Crisis.

Why can't we have this Wonder Woman as canon and in the shared Universe?

Monday, April 18, 2016

Finally Watched Trumbo

If this is the role Bryan Cranston got instead of Lex Luthor in Batman Vs. Superman: Dawn Of Justice than that's okay with me. I love period piece movies based in old time Hollywood, but as with all biopics and most blacklisting subjects I have to watch it with a grain of salt.

The moment I saw Edward G. Robinson (Michael Stuhlbarg) I let out a groan, because someone always has to be the traitor to the cause in dramatizations. What makes it worse is how they frame it in a deceptive way. Of the four times Edward G. Robinson was called to testify in front of HUAC, it was his fourth time by 1952 that he gave in and named the ten who were already blacklisted so he could clear the air of being a Communist himself. Trumbo had already done his eleven month sentence in 1950. He was only confirming what was already known, not giving new information to light. He wasn't a Communist just because he fundraised with people who were against Fascism. Just as with Humphrey Bogart and John Garfield, Robinson had to clear the air and prove he wasn't in league with anti-American organizations. It's up to you to decide how dirty was Robinson here.

As for the movie itself, forget the complexities. Shit they'll show you how feeble it is if you refuse to martyr and snitch instead. This leads me to the point of how much was Eddy G. a snitch? The transcripts that were reenacted verbatim in the movie are sure framed in a way to set him up as one to the audiences eyes and any made up personal conversation written between him and Dalton Trumbo (Bryan Cranston) there after has to be framed to make you root for Trumbo and pity or have contempt for Robinson. A shameful, missed opportunity there. All so Trumbo can be the bigger man in the end when he makes his last speech in front of The Writer's Guild, while Robinson is oddly enough in the audience. Does that imply the two made up in the end. Why else would Eddy be there than for dramatic license?

It does look bad on Edward G. that he just confirmed names already known and then denounced his former ties to organizations that supposedly supported a totalitarian regime. The true definition of a snitch is someone whose implicit in crimes and dealings with whoever they rat out vs. what John Wayne does and that's target employers and colleagues he wouldn't have hung out with or do fundraising with anyway. When you're Eddy G. and you see the reality of all your colleagues going to jail, jobs drying up, dying, families disintegrating, other friends turning on them, demonized, hounded, and some that comes your way, you might just decide you don't have it in you to be Trumbo and martyr or take the high horse. Not to save your ass or your collections of paintings, but perhaps to protect your family and ability to work, which is more important than your job or public persona in the end. Nope that can't be it can it? Be sure you got a loyal family to risk it all like Trumbo.

I suppose it could be worse, you could be director Buddy Ross (Roger Bart) who disavows Trumbo then comes crawling back to him to fix his screenplay anonymously because his last pictures were crap.

In contrast, John Wayne (David James Elliott) doesn't seem so bad for wanting lenience with denouncers of Communism, while the villainous Hedda Hopper (Helen Mirren) is hellbent on destroying lives with her power of the press whether the the target's remorseful or not. Then of course you got your Otto Preminger's (Christian Berkel) and Kirk Douglas's (Dean O'Gorman) who risk there career for the greater good of giving Trumbo his due.

There's of course some dissent among the family, but they stick it out and from Trumbo's friend and fellow blacklisted screenwriter Arlen Hird (Louis C.K.) a composite character who wants to sue the House of American Activities and dies for his bad habits, while Trumbo would rather win through perseverance and prove to them that they need his services when they vilify them.

Ultimately Frank King (John Goodman) proves to be the neutral party in all this as the foul mouth boss of King Brothers Productions who hires Trumbo and Hird for doctoring and writing screenplays for gaudy B movies. It's pretty cool that he sticks to his convictions of being in it for the money and pussy and refuses to be pushed around by investigators. Louis B. Mayer (Richard Portnow) surprisingly isn't thrown under the bus as much as I thought he would be, casting couch assertions or no, they're said from a power hungry gossip columnist who calls him an antisemitic slur. Here is the closest we get to complexity even though you end up hating Hopper for her blatant racism than you do Mayer for his alleged sleaziness against women.

All in all a decent film, but I'm not happy with how they handled Edward G. Robinson. I guess he had to be the much needed traitor to liberals because Elia Kazan doesn't work thematically and has been played out. Eddy's story is much more complex than Trumbo's assertions that he just wanted to continue to be Beverly Hills bourgeois collecting painting from dead guys or Robinson's point about him being a public face while Trumbo can hide under screen writing. Disappointing and simplistic when you consider the actors who got hounded to death like John Garfield or were never allowed to work again like Lee Grant. The film does try to address that point at the end, but it really doesn't get into the meat of the whole controversy than vague allusions and speeches.

As much as I'm on Trumbo's side for free speech and freedom of affiliation and I hate snitches, as I've said, I don't care for how they frame Robinson as a turncoat who lost his way doing things he wouldn't normally do. It's not really snitching if the crime is on public record and had been dealt with. Political ideals only get you so far until your personal and working life is fucked beyond repair than to play the friendly witness. How many readers out there have to eat shit everyday from a boss who abuses power, but talks a big game of worker's rights? I'm not saying that Robinson is theoretically in the right, nor do I condemn him.*


* Maybe I'm biased because I own more Robinson films than any other actor besides James Cagney and Fred Astaire, but John Garfield's my number three favorite actor after James Cagney and George Raft so you know I take the HUAC blacklisting personally as an great injustice. On another note: I also have to point out that while I can't stand John Wayne and Ronald Reagan anyway, that doesn't stop me from enjoying a Walt Disney production or a Robert Taylor movie who are also in league with HUAC or named names because they believed in what they thought was the patriotic thing to do.

This movie was a must for my dad who loved (maybe that's the wrong word, impressed?) by Bryan Cranston's turn on Breaking Bad.

Dalton Trumbo writes in the bath as do I. He had a better system, a board propped on both sides of the tub to place his typewriter on. I used to prop my mini laptop on a food tray on my dry belly, didn't want to press my luck so I've taken to typing on my notes feature on my 1st gen. Kindle. Much like a typewriter, it's not good for going back and fixing mistakes. I'd say they need to make a handheld word processor, but that's what stupid touch screen smart phones and tablets are for and I say bah.

The movie Dalton Trumbo gets his first credit on since the blacklist is Otto Preminger's Exodus. My mother saw it when she was young and talked about a lot and she finally begged my brother to buy it for her for Christmas last year and he did. It's one of the last films she got to see before passing away this year.

Sunday, March 27, 2016

Maybe I'm Just In A Mean, Petty Mood

Maybe I’m just in a mean, petty mood, but with all the disappointment in Rebirth it does my heart good that the artist at the little anime convention who boycotted Keith Giffen and JL3001 over an assumption, who was excited for the new Blue Beetle book will in sticking with her social justice principles have to now boycott Blue Beetle because Giffen’s on it baby!!! Almost makes me want to pick it up in support if not for it being ersatz New52 versions of Jaime and Ted.

Since no one has taken my challenge to come up with actual evidence that Keith Giffen is transphobic, I went back and reread the Giffen interviews myself. He states that the Guy in a girl body plot was not meant to be a trans story. I believe him. Re-reading the comics themselves I’ve concluded that Guy before the reveal was portrayed as a man who doesn’t understand what is to be a woman and is misguided with well-intentions to jump on the strong woman, feminist bandwagon. Wouldn’t you if you woke up one day and lost your male privilege and your body is smaller and weaker? Yes estrogen weakens your muscles and ability to lift. I hang out with trans-women who attest to this. When I transition my strength will increase with testosterone. This is why transpeople are banned from the Olympics. Hormone replacement therapy is legally considered the equivalent of taking steroids, fair or not. So Guy not understanding all the bodily and hormonal changes going on with him will naturally act moody, claim sisterhood then realize he said something he has no business saying as a man and try to pass it off as the hormones. No that’s not how hormones work, but he’s set in his ways enough to think that he ought to identify with his physical body even if he knows he has no right because he’s Guy inside and is still a chauvinist and people expect him to be like that. There. That’s the psychology of a stupid body switch plot. I get it. Some don’t because they want to read whats on paper literally without context and wonder why it doesn’t line up to their trans experience, which is valid, I get uncomfortable with plenty of things that were not meant to be geared towards my experiences and I can explain why it bothers me. It’s not the trans journalists and fans that I have an ax to grind with. It’s the allies with their pretend trans friends. No I’m not saying all allies rallying against this story don’t have trans friends, but sometimes I wonder. Sometimes I wonder if certain allies are jumping on the behalf of trans bloggers and activists they read and then try to speak for trans people like me or my associates in the community because they just assume I’m ignorant of my own rights or feelings without ever realizing they’re like Guy Gardner or maybe Keith Giffen and are ignorant of their own intentions and feelings on the situation. I mean I can’t tell people how they should feel about a story, but it offends me when someone assumes Giffen’s intentions because they met him once and he was a jerk so a jerk must be hateful to all outsiders because... because this story is problematic to her social justice sensitivity. Talking about grasping at straws to build a strawman out of Keith.

I had to lose my little niche book outside the new52 so tptb can cater to haters who can’t stand or have any business reading genetic overwrite plots because they insist it has to be an accurate, sensitive trans plot and it better be done with 20th century science because the 30th century fictional science used is too creepy and improbable to relate to. It’s comics guys. Are sci-fi/fantasy writers barred from exploring body switching and genetic overwrite if it’s between a man and woman from here on out until trans-representation is perfected? Or do we ban all portrayals and explorations because it can be problematic with any kind of body shaming or racelifting? If you’re overwritten with the genetics of someone whose basically the same race, gender, height, weight, etc. you’d still complain because it’s personality raping and that’s triggering and insulting to real rape. Alright I agree, but banning story elements is a slippery slope and for twenty shitty portrayals of this theoretical topic their yields a thought provoking one. Just saying. Cloning is offensive to individuality, cell regeneration is offensive to disabled people, so is cyborg stories, so is robots offensive to humankind. Where do we draw the line in what we can and cannot speculate and how we tell it? Okay I’m getting away from the topic.

One things for certain though, whether presumptuous, artist alley girl doesn’t support her favorite character because of Giffen or breaks her pact and picks it up, it’s a victory. A petty, spiteful one. The book will succeed or crash and burn without her support or it will prove her a hypocrite if she picks it up after all.

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Zeus Is Why I'm Boycotting Batman Vs. Superman Dawn Of Justice

Reasons I Was On The Fence About This Movie:

1. It comes off the heals of Man Of Steel by the same director

2. It’s inspired by Dark Knight Returns

3. Rumors about Wonder Woman’s parentage

4. Jesse Eisenberg Lex Luthor

5. Doomsday

Things That Made Me Slightly Optimistic About This Movie:

1. They’ll address the moral issues and fallout from the destruction of Man Of Steel

2. The conflict between Batman and Superman would have merit unlike DKR, this time around Batman is law and order, Superman is the misfit.

3. Lex Luthor’s parentage, makes the casting sting less irritating, suddenly it makes sense that he’s a spoiled brat

4. I wasn’t pissed about the casting of Ben Affleck or Gal Gadot, I support world weary Batman and Immortal Wonder Woman

5. Batgirl, maybe

What I’ll never support is a WWINO. Wonder Woman In Name Only. Forget you Snyder, you do one good thing by not making Diana’s arc another naive 19-23 year old, new to man’s world story, but you fucked up when you not only decided to put your stamp of approval on a plot element only 4 years old for newbie theater goers to absorb as the DC mythology, damn 70 years of comics, TV Shows and cartoons, but that this early in the game it is now going to be her defining summary. That’s bullshit. We don’t need a Wonder Woman screaming barefoot that she’s the “Daughter of Zeus!!!” at the top of her lungs as that’s her defining point. Thanks Cliff Chiang for that garbage image. I loved your art until you put it to Azzarello’s script and now I can’t stand to look at it. I bet to really bring it home for the WWINO wankers you’ll have Wondy solve every problem by screaming “I Love Everybody!!!” and nothing real ever gets resolved and nothing ever rings true and morally sound, just like the end of Azzarello’s arc. Just like the end of Man Of Steel.

After reading the reviews, I’ve made my choice. Not going to buy a ticket. Maybe some day when it’s on cable I’ll catch it, but I’m not spending money on a movie that caters to Azzarello and WWINO fans. Same as to this day I won’t watch Antman for catering to alternate universe daughter fans (or fan as there’s only Edgar Wright) at the expense of a founding Avenger literally being put in limbo to be a damsel for alt-daughter to rescue next movie. I probably won’t watch Justice League either for axing Hal Jordan or any Green Lantern as well as using WWINO “Daughter Of Zeus!!!”. Who the hell is Barry going to be besties with, Cyborg so he can pretend to be Wally? Fuck that. As with Marvel catering to Edgar Wright, the DC Movieverse is already off to a bad start, catering to Snyder. Now Jenkins has to clean up his mess. An uphill battle.

For anyone reading this and shaking their heads at what you consider a minor origin change, remember this. Tone. Believe it or not it dictates how her story is told and what their themes are. When she was made of clay and raised by mother who couldn’t conceived and a sisterhood of Amazons, it informed her character. Now her character is defined by who her father is and who her brothers are, and what a liar and conspirator her mother is and how her sisters are two-faced backstabbers or weak willed and jealous or barbaric black widows.

Now that Wonder Woman is daughter of Zeus it suddenly is important to make that be known in her first movie. It’s all that matters and defines her world. Zeus gives her powers. Zeus gives her bad guys. Zeus drives her plots. Suddenly her Amazon training is done through her brother (Ares) whose her grandfather by the way (Hyppolyta’s dad, but Azzarello don’t want you to know that). Her godly gifts weren’t earned they were spermed.

Once it became clear that Wonder Woman’s powers come from daddy Zeus, suddenly that defines her at all times as much as being raised by a bunch of barbaric Amazons that she is somehow born morally superior to. Yes born superior, in spite of being raised by barbarians who hate her, a mother who’s deceitful and for some reason is truly in love with a philandering manipulator because Azzarello just won’t admit that no actually she just wanted to fuck him out of lust becuase he wanted to make clear to critics it wasn’t rape. Just be honest Brian, she was just horny for the most majestic sleaze and didn’t give a fuck about her duties as a Queen of manhating murderers. Dumb hypocrite.

Basically once you change WW’s origin to daughter of Zeus, raised by barbaric Amazons all her stories shift in tone and none of her old classics fit into that world nor will any new classics be made from her old setup unless it’s a digital out of continuity comic, because suddenly all the movies and all the TV shows will want to pretend the WW made of clay, raised by philosophers, artisans, and warriors (not just stone age barbarians), etc. never existed even though there’s tons of old media that contradict it. This isn’t like Batman where you can compromise campy with gritty. He still had parents that were shot dead in the alleyway by a mugger and he still grew up to adopt orphans and fight crime. Flash still had a mother, but now it’s a plot point that his arch-nemesis went back in time and killed her, his adventures as a altruistic crime fighter with two alive parents happened. Not Wonder Woman. The clay’s a lie!!! Her Amazon sisters were always mean and jealous her, but Wondy put blinders on and held an idiot ball, conveniently and willfully ignorant. Never caring or wondering why her Amazons came back pregnant so she can’t find about their murderous deeds and segregation policy. Hyppolyta apparently okaying this and letting it go on yet keeping her own daughter in the dark because she’s apparently the only Amazon who realizes that what she lets her people get away with is wrong when the other Amazons are to far gone to know better. Is it really a wonder the the Amazon sisters killed their sons when Diana brought them back. What did the idiot think would happen? What did Azzarello think would happen when he left this to less competent writers? A better writer would have had Wonder Woman enact brainwashing regimen like the Allies did to Germany. It’s not moral or ideal, but how else are you going to reason with stone age barbarian misandrists who only know that way. Why would the Amazons not murder? Because Wondy as Queen says so? Bullshit. No amount of “I Love Everyone!!!” will break that spell, Wondy. Try again. Try loving submission or put them on a reform, work island. Don’t just lead your Amazonian brothers to the slaughter, dumbass. This is my point. Azzarello left DC Entertainment a crappy Wonder Woman. A Wonder Woman with a legacy of a false victory, reuniting sons with their two-faced mothers who murder their fathers and she lets her own dumbass, selfish father get away with everything. He gets reborn a baby so he never has to face punishment and is put back on the throne. Fuck Zeus! Fuck Black Widow Amazons! Fuck WWINO! Fuck Batman Vs. Superman: Dawn of Justice!

Even if Geoff Johns fixed this crap in Rebirth, returning the real Wonder Woman, he still let this get green-lighted on the screen.

Sunday, March 6, 2016

Comics: Two Late Reviews And One Non-Review

Honestly who's reading this blog anyhow? I have five followers on tumblr most. I for a brief second had eight because of my one post about The Flash and Green Lantern, but after they saw all the Led Zeppelin gay I think I scared them off and they unfollowed.

Anyone who notices these things will know I haven't updated for awhile. Part of it is that I'm living in a state of zombified sleeplessness that some how makes me less motivated to throw myself out there in the ether.

Quick Rundown of Comic Book Reviews

Justice League 3001 #9

I admit it took awhile to pick this one up. It's cancellation status has made me less driven to get it right away, but I still want to know how it's going to tie up in a clumsy fashion by the end. So I will continue buying it, but I won't be timely about reviewing it anymore.

I don't have a lot of thoughts about this one. In spite of my ambivalence, I'm actually curious about the Legion Of Death. It reminds me how we'll never see the 3001 version of the New Gods promised issues ago. Ariel and Lois are finally in their right bodies. The question I have though, is if Ariel was housed in Lois's body as stated, shouldn't she have been able to use the body or is there something else I'm missing. Did they drug her to keep her unconscious. I vividly remember Bane carrying her body carelessly and admitting he uses the body like a mannequin to keep him company for tea parties. Unless that was a joke to piss of Lois, but he seemed earnest about it. If that's the case would Ariel have been unconscious.

Legend Of Wonder Woman #2

Finally a Wonder Woman comic in the last four years that I can stand reading. I'm glad to find that Alcippe is indeed Phillipus. As my headcanon is her and Hyppolyta are in love, but torn apart by duty, the exchanges between them has more meaning. I'm impressed by the real resentment Alcippe/Phillipus has for Diana. Now it makes sense story wise to do the writing choice of higher ranking Amazons as immortal.

It's impressive that for the most part they manage to write a story of intrigue centered on an isolated island, so far. There's a faction of Amazons who are in league with Ares and want to overthrow Hyppolyta, one of them is her own sister. I think they're establishing Ares as their grandfather. Thank you.

Also Steve!

Black Widow #1

And I couldn't get a ride into town on Wednesday, but it's on my pull list, so I'll get to it eventually.

How the hell did my pull list get so female heavy. Never in a million years when I was first reading comics did I ever think I'd put down the men and actually have a variety of women-led books that weren't softcore. Different times.

Thursday, February 18, 2016

DC Releases Underwhelming Rebirth Line-Up

You can read it in the link here

Very underwhelming. Other than Blue Beetle, almost everything announced is already on the stand, some with tweaked names like Green Lanterns, Hal Jordan & The Green Lantern Corps or Batgirl & The Birds of Prey while other revert to their old names like Nightwing or Red Hood & The Outlaws. Otherwise they removed any C-List title like Starfire for new variants of Batman or Superman concepts like The Super Man, Superwoman, or Super Sons, which I suspect is more fanwankery for a certain character I’d want nothing more than to go away forever.

All in all none of it is exciting. I held my breath for nothing. We're still stuck with the crap that is Earth-2 a garbage concept. No main earth Justice Society as hoped. No more Justice League 3001 or 3002.
The days of having that one ongoing title that isn't a digital compilation of short one shots is getting smaller. I don’t have faith that The New 52 Universe can suddenly flip a switch and exude quality. Especially when we have that Flash, Superman and Wonder Woman around. I've already boycotted Batman because of they won’t get rid of a stupid character. I’ve already boycotted Green Lantern when they wouldn't resolve Carol Ferris's murder of Katma Tui. I'm not saying Pre-Flashpoint has to be canon. I don't care that it is, I ask that they stop forcing terrible ideas previous management knew not to touch or reintroducing and botching what was once good ideas or ignoring problems.

As an exercise, I'm going to list three things from five franchises that I'd like to see, but won't. I'm not going to touch Batman (because I only have one wish), Teen Titans/Titans or Superman who's an untouchable toxic mess.

The Flash:

1. Fix the West family. That's right, racelift Iris already. Stop finding new ways to make sure white men protagonists can't have long committed relationships with non-white women. It's an insulting double standard. It's also an odd message that you can be raised by other races, your future in-law can marry outside their own race, but Oa forbid you Barry (or Reed Richards or Ollie) date long term or marry someone outside of your race. Screw you media. Look at it this way. If Iris is black, she can have an adopted white brother who marries a black woman or she can have bio brother that marries a white woman and has Wally. Everybody wins on all progressive fronts.

Speaking of Wally, he needs to age up a bit, hang out with Dick and Roy and have his old personality back. Yes I mean the former nerdy, young Republican small town kid, who outgrew being selfish and started caring about his community. That's the Wally I miss. He doesn't need to be white to have that background. He doesn't need to be pushing thirty and married with children. He can still have a recognizable personality, recognizable interests and friends.

2. Fix Eobard Thawne or lose him.

3. Bring Barry's mother back and get rid of this nonsense once and for all. Please!!!

Wonder Woman:

I could ask for a lot of things about Wonder Woman. I could ask for her immortality and historical status, JSA membership, Donna Troy as a mentored American teen, Steve Trevor, Etta Candy and The Holliday Girls, the campy villains reinvented. You know cool ideas nobody likes to explore, but I'm breaking it down to the bare-bones of what I require in any WW story. This is my litmus test for readable WW stories.

1. Zeus isn't Diana's father or Cassie's, but definitely not Diana's.

2. Diana doesn't date or sleep with Clark ever. Ewww. Enough with the Kevin Smith fanboy fantasies. They suck and don't make for actual compelling stories unto themselves. If we really cared what stupid crap comes out of the mouth a character played by Jason Lee, Jughead would be another gay character worrying about the dating life instead of one of the few ace icons right now.

3. Diana isn't raised by inhuman barbarians and a deceitful mother with a libido problem.

There. That simple. Of course, fanwanker writer's and their pet fetishes and status symbols will insure I'll never pick up a main universe Wonder Woman DC comic. Good luck Batman being the awkward third wheel in the Trinity book.

Green Lantern

1. Carol is punished for all her crimes, or Katma isn't dead. One or the other. If John has to continue being a grieving widow then let him have his confrontation with Carol. Stop acting like everyone's okay with each other and Carol's more moral and more pure than Hal ever was. I think GL: Rebirth should have been Carol's plot. Hal's fine being morally ambiguous with the ends justifying the means. Carol's just a spiteful, manipulative pawn. She fits the Parallax retcon better than Hal does. All Geoff Johns did was lower him to her level and then pretend she never did anything wrong at all. No wonder I can't stomach modern GL stories.

2. Jessica Cruz is forgotten. Sorry as champion of Earth female Green Lanterns, I'm sick of our only viable options being a spoiled bloodline mutant whose uncreative and uses her green skin sex appeal instead of cool constructs or a random girl with fear problems, whose corrupted by trans-dimensional ring. I suppose there's no such thing as a woman candidate with you know actual bravey, willpower and creativity. Then again of course the Power Ring plot is written by the same guy who decided only predatory stalkers or vindictive, scorned women can feel "love".

3. Dump the Emotional Spectrum. 1. Most the emotions listed aren't emotions, they're virtues and sins. 2. Emotions should not be dictated by base human experiences in a franchise of various sentient species. 3. Colors that the human eye can see should not be the ruling dictate of the inner workings of universe full of sentient lifeforms all guided by this principal. There are colors humans can't perceive just as there are ones other lifeforms can't. A franchise dictated by the emotions of ROYGBIV has no room for a character like Rot Lop Fan (a blind lifeform who relies on sound), nor any possible complex alien that can feel things a human can't.

Justice League

1. Have a bigger rotating line up. Instead of the big seven and some occasional pet plot character, use characters that we want to see adventures for, but can't keep a monthly tile, like Martian Manhunter, Starfire, Black Canary, etc.

2. Put Superman and Batman on honorary status so the other four can shine with other fan favorites without a book.

3. Don't go back to the era of strict continuity and embargo restrictions.

Justice Society

1. Don't ghetto them to another Earth on another Universe.

2. Have the original members be contemporary to Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman, Aquaman and Green Arrow, which means those characters should be slightly older (5 years) than the Silver Age generation and 10 years older than the first Teen Titans and 15 years older than Young Justice. Ideally with that in mind, I want Wonder Woman to be a seminal member, but she's too tied up as the token female on the League (or wasted dead on a parallel Earth) for that to happen.

3. No children legacies. You can reinvent both Hourman's as brothers, Rex being older, Rick being younger. Silver Scarab as Hawkman's jealous cousin, Fury as another Amazon, Jade and Obsidian aren't adopted, but separated by divorce and their powers come from exposure to The Green (or starheart or whatever they want to tie Alan's powers in with) and Ian Karkull's shadow radiation.

I think only one thing on the Justice League list will become reality. Either the edict will be Big Seven all the time or all the characters will be divvied up by editorial. So if we lose Batman we're not guaranteed The Flash and c-listers. As for the rest on my list, none will ultimately happen and I'll continue to boycott those titles and they'll continue to service the few who clamor for that crap.

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

A Long Winded, Confusing Compilation Of My Pre-Crisis Earth-1 And Earth-2 Theories

For the sake of discussing Earth-1 and Earth-2 doppelgangers, I'm going to refer to superheroes by their alter egos instead of their masks so we don't have none of this Jay is Barry crap unless the character in question doesn't have an alternate secret identity like Deadshot who as far as I know is always Floyd Lawton.

One of my complaints about Pre-Crisis Earth-2 comics is the notion that there are no doppelgangers of Silver Age heroes unless you count Kara Zor-L Power Girl as Kara Zor-El Supergirl (I don't, you're not the doppelganger of your sibling are you? Admit if one of your siblings of the same sex was skipped over you'd have gotten their name too). Even Helena Wayne is alive when Barbara Gordon remains unborn so Commissioner Gordon has to be childless so Bruce Wayne can breed. Weird rules. Of Course on Earth-1 we get doppelgangers of Clark Kent, Bruce Wayne, Dick Grayson, Oliver Queen, and in the first Earth-1 and Earth-2 crossover Johnny Thunder (as a criminal) and in issues of Brave And The Bold, Ted Grant and Eel O’Brian. Of course Bob Haney didn't care nor let Roy Thomas's stupid ghetto classifications ruin the flow of his stories nor should he have. Of course Roy Thomas the spoil sport had to go out of his way to explain that Zatara and Airwave (Larry Jordan) were Earth-2 refugees so much as to decide that Earth-1 Helen Jordan was Hal's relative and not Larry or maybe he was and he decided to marry his alternate bloodline and have a kid anyway. Sure Roy, whatever floats your boat. You're the same creep who decided Black Canary inhabited the body of her own daughter or her daughter has her mother's memories or whatever which makes all the details surrounding her grieving of Larry Lance creepy. What is it with Earth-2 Larry's and incestuous spouses?

Now imagine if Roy Thomas had tried to pull another constraint with Clark, Bruce, Dick, Diana, Ollie and Arthur and decide that they too were refugees from Earth-2. Imagine the many Bronze Age Batman stories that were invalidated if The Golden Age stories involving Hugo Strange or Deadshot were only canon on Earth-2. In fact many of the Golden Age stories of Batman aren't canon on Earth-2 as they are on Earth-1, like Catwoman's retirement and not marrying Batman which was status quo before Showcase #4 kickstartyed the Silver Age and status quo into the 60's when Catwoman showed up and didn't marry Batman as she some how did on Earth-2. Admit it, Earth-2 deviated from Batman canon more than Silver Age Earth-1 Batman did.

This suggests there was a secret Golden Age on Earth-1 the general public is unaware of other than in comics. Jay Garrick could have been a Flash on Earth-1 who had licensed comics about his fictional exploits. Unlike Earth-2 Jay, Golden Age Jay had no secret identity.

What I'm saying is that The Golden Age could have happened on Earth-1, but a memory wipe happened erasing the memories and evidence of Jay Garrick's existence except for some licensed comics. Alan Scott was forgotten, but Hal remembered the name Green Lantern and the oath (which originated with Alan) and made up a story about how he came up with the oath and then The Guardians and Corps took credit for both name and oath as early on in the comics. I think Hal was subconsciously thinking of Earth-1 Alan and The Guardians and the older generation of heroes like Bruce and Diana are covering up his existence for the general populace's safety and then meeting the Earth-2 counterparts make the lie more palatable and convenient. Though nobody asks the question if Bruce is Batman on Earth-1 and 2, where's Barry and Hal on Earth-2, where's Jay and Alan on Earth-1? It's a grand cosmic distraction. This also accounts for false memories and status quo changes like Superman's adoptive parents, false memories of Krypton that are inconsistent, Aquaman's inconsistent origins, etc. In fact I bet this whole conspiracy and possible mind wiping is why Earth-1 Johnny Thunder is a criminal. He doesn't remember who he once was and Diana who used to know him as he was, isn't talking.

One other observation before I get into the lost Silver Age of Earth-2. Variant covers, Barry Allen in Showcase #4 is reading Flash Comics #13.

The real life version of Flash Comics #13 looks like this:

Picture credits go to Silver Age Gold

Thanks to Pat Curley (profile link not available) who pointed this out.

One thing everyone excepts about Earth-2 is that Bruce and co. were born earlier while on Earth-1 they're born later. I don't buy that. How is that worse than my theory that they are all born in the same timeline, but Earth-2 vibrates in real time while Earth-1 operates in compressed time? Whenever I've presented this theory to anyone on any DC message board they flip out and call it a too complicated theory that breaks logic. Sorry, but the acceptance that Bruce Wayne can be born to Thomas and Martha in 1915 on one Earth but born thirty years later on another is less logical. It's not hard to think that on Earth-1 people age slowly while events, trends and changing administrations move by without a reflection. Neil Gaiman alluded to this idea in The Wake (Sandman) where Clark, Batman and Martian Manhunter are at Morpheu's funeral. It's a one off meta joke, sure, but a good writer can take a crazy idea or joke and use it. Here's the panel:

Whatever my headcanon for Earth-1's secret Golden Age, one thing is certain canonically on Pre-Crisis Earth-2 there's no Silver Age. Nope, this an Earth where history was different because The Golden Agers retired en masse and set no example for anyone to follow in their footsteps unless they were raised by them or inherited mutant powers through them, thus Infinity Inc. Something happened in the 50's and 60's on Earth-2 to make people generally selfish and look out for number one, which makes it all the ironic that the Reagan 80's is when the next generation comes in full force to fight crime. The Silent Generation and Baby Boomers on Earth-2 must have lacked the social activists we had in real life or on Earth-1. Perhaps the Communist witch hunts really reinforced the notion of Capitalist looking out for number one mentality, creating an Ayn Randian nightmare that makes corporate, yuppie, dynastic, bloodline legacies like Infinity Inc. the natural heroes. At least they're trying to step up when they're not using marriage proposals and secret identity outing for tabloid fodder. Blackmail or not, it was still crass.

As you know, I don't buy that Power Girl is Supergirl. I think she's an older sibling. Why? Because she was born before Clark and was put in a ship that was put in time suspension that kept her the same age while Clark grew up on Earth. If that sounds familiar that's because they've stolen that origin for Supergirl since the terrible Jeff Loeb reboot that has carried into the New52 and TV show to keep the two in line. In the Silver Age however, Supergirl was born after the destruction of Krypton on Argo when it was engulfed in a bubble, putting it on limited time before it too would be destroyed and she'd have to get rocketed to Earth. I actually prefer this origin and I think with better tweaks could work. Perhaps the Zor-El's were on colonization trip before the destruction and were off Krypton when it exploded. They call their new colony New Argo. This is not different than how Daxam was created. Perhaps New Argo runs out of supplies and they send an older Kara on a ship to Earth to get supplies to bring back to them, but she's too late. Anyway, my point is that Power Girl was born before the destruction of Krypton, Supergirl after. They're from different sperm and egg stock from the same parents. They're siblings. They share the same genetics, but not the same traits, much like siblings. That they're named Kara is because Earth-1 Zor-El and Alura didn't have a daughter earlier and would have named any first born daughter Kara. One more thing. El vs. L. How often do we see Egyptian and Greek words Latinized. Both translations are valid. Earth-1 just decided to standardize Kryptonian with visible vowels and Earth-2 never bothered.

Back to my next point. If you believe Roy Thomas, there's no Earth-2 Zatanna or Harold Jordan because their parents migrated to Earth-1 to have kids. Fine fair enough, it would have just been easier to say they were childless. Nobody complains about Earth-1 Bruce/Selina and Diana/Steve lacking children.

As for Hal Jordan, Barry Allen, Ray Palmer and others. It'd have been nice to just once show their doppelgangers doing something ordinary in a one scene wonder kind of way. Oh Wait:

Original picture credit goes to postmodernbarney

Crew-cut Blond haired kid in a red shirt, geeking out about superheroes to a cop. That's gotta be kid Barry Allen on Earth-2. I know it's not confirmed, but I'll take what I can get. As for Hal and Ray, we just assume they're some where doing something unsuperheroic. It'd be odd to say they're unborn since their parents as civilians don't affect whether they need to exist or not. The only problem with Barry as a 60's child as that it invalidates the compressed timeline theory of Earth-1 and brings us back to the Born later theory every Pre-Crisis junkie clings to. My wild mass guessing for why Barry is still a child in the 60's on Earth-2 and not a grown up is that Earth-2 vibrates in linear time while Earth-1 time exists simultaneously. Barry could be experiencing the 50's and 60's as an adult and child at the same time as time doesn't truly exist. After all, if time marches on, but the characters don't on Earth-1, 1956 Showcase #4 Barry who's presumably 25-30 would have born in 1926-1931 (hey he's no younger than my grandma!). Dead Barry of Crisis On Infinite Earths #8 1985 aged between 30-35 would have been born between 1950-1955. A year before his comic debut, making him a child of the sixties! So there's a parrallel timeline where Barry is both an adult and child in the 60's. Admit it we saw the same thing unfolding with Wally as a teenager in both the 60's and 80's. Mindfuck. This doesn't disprove or prove the compressed timeline or born later theories, but they do enlighten both.

As for the other missing Silver age doppelgangers. Perhaps Earth-2 Hal lived and died in a test accident. Earth-2 Ray Palmer's studies in meteorite experiments got him blackballed in the scientific community and he lived out his days in quiet seclusion, disgraced. We'll never know. Personally I think Earth-1 Katar and Shayera are just mind-wiped Carter and Sheira, or Carter and Sheira were put in witness protection and their identities were taken by the Thanagarian couple or the Thanagarians are alien parasites who took over their bodies and lives and everyone bought the sudden information that they're aliens. I mean come on, same job and civilian identity. Ignore the stupid hair color changes. It's called hair dye. No story lines up with these theories, it's just my preference because there's way too many cosmic coincidences at play here. I don't buy the whole souls being born on different planets in different universes.

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Thoughts On Hail, Caesar! And My Similar Lost Project

Many years ago before Hollywood Video closed, my brother and I loaned my mom some rented movies with the instructions to return them to the one closer to our side of town. Instead she returned them to the one closer to hers and it took over a month for them to transfer over. We ended up with $46 of fees. We paid them off and then half a year later they had a closing down sale and excused all fees. Sigh... Such is life.

Rewinding backwards on the way to paying the fee, my brother said "It's time to pay my debt to Hollywood."

That line got me brainstorming. We envisioned a web comic about a Golden Age Hollywood that mashed up eras. It had a studio system, but it made room and allowances for actor and genre types existing simultaneously while also exploring poverty row, indies and self directed vanity projects. Basically the gist as I envisioned it was a director who is owed another movie on his contract before he can freelance or retire. My brother didn't like that and insisted the main character be an everyman actor of Jimmy Stewart or Henry Fonda variety. We then discussed other characters. We had a Clark Gable meets George Clooney King of Hollywood type marrying a Julia Roberts girl next door type who claws her way to the top while making power plays sort of like what people think of Joan Crawford. We moved onto the main characters best-friend, the guy who always plays dad's, but is in the closet, sort of Robert Reed of The Brady Bunch and less like Paul Lynde. We then discussed a Clint Eastwood meets Humphrey Bogart type who goes from doing low budget crime movies to directing his own vehicle. There was to be a Jean Harlow/Marilyn Monroe type who while sweet has mob ties. We'd have had a Benny Siegel gangster type as part of her backstory. We also discussed an obnoxious, method actor Marlon Brando/Robert De Niro type who alienates his co-workers with his extreme idiosyncratic methods. We even spitefully thought of doing a Tom Cruise/Keanu Reeves action hero leading man whose box office appeal gets him cast in inappropriate period dramas. We even thought of a directors nephew Nicholas Cage type whose bizarre, over the top acting produces controversial results. Those last two were cynical on our part. We discussed other actors and directors, but this part of the post is getting too long and is unimportant.

This brings me to Hail, Caesar! It does what I could have done, better than I could imagine. Sure a web comic has room to flesh out soap opera plots and job commentary better than a 100 minute movie could, but it'd be pure wank compared to the what the Cohen Brothers pulled off. I like them. Not all of there movies are winners, some are forgettable, but like that other maligned, but overrated director Wes Anderson, they make movies that aren't structured like blockbuster formulas. They put there own stamp on topics no other filmmaker would touch without turning it into some by the numbers drivel.

I watched Gail, Caesar! in a nearly empty theater with my remaining family. It was an overwhelming sight to behold. I liked it. I don’t understand other people’s bitching that it wasn’t some big blockbuster team up of disparate actors, Avengers style. It’s better than the wasted spectacles of crap like Gangster Squad or The Great Gatsby as far as period piece cinema goes. It’s the day in the life of the going on of a fictional studio, the aptly named Capitol. You see the last night, the day and the next day. Nice structuring to accommodate the comings and goings of characters tied by Eddie Mannix (Josh Brolin). You get to see Clooney as a leading man sword and sandal type getting kidnapped by a Communist conspiracy where he acts like a tool. You get to see Scarlett Johansson as an Esther Williams type career-wise, but with a Loretta Young-type subplot. Ralph Fiennes as a director having line reading troubles with an actor. Channing Tatum doing something I actually found worthwhile. Though too tall and of broad built, he pulls off doing a homoerotic Gene Kelly sailor musical number while being a mastermind and blackmailer Communist. This is my first Alden Ehrenreich movie. I’ve never watched anything with him before, but he made me give a damn about a cowboy actor and that’s tough. I had a hard time doing that for my own Debt To Hollywood concept. I'd like this actor go places, because his previous discography of Coppola, Woody Allen and Beautiful Creatures don't interest me. He's also my type, Eastern European Jewish descent with lots of hair on his head. He sort of reminded me of Sal Mineo too.

While my brother called the Deanna (Scarlett) and Joseph Silverman (Jonah Hill) dating. I was the only one to call the Communist plot, the moment the screenwriters mentioned economics and sociology. It's nice that a Communist Conspiracy in Hollywood can finally be used as a credible plot device now with tongue and cheek, but still played straight of course. No need to mock or satirize a sensitive issue that destroyed lives. I will still check out the Dalton Trumbo movie and I'm still mad at what was done to John Garfield, and the unrelated postmortem lies regurgitated in a Robert Redford movie, but it's time we can actually explore this, what ifs or not. Back in the planning stages of Debt, I had to agree with my brother after much deliberation to drop a nice potential for a thriller plot in Communists. Nothing I would have come up with would have the nuanced comedy going on this movie anyway.

There are three distinct laugh out load moments in the movie:

When Laurence Laurentz (Ralph Fiennes) as a director has trouble with the Hobie the cowboy actor trying to play a party scene and the payoff later when Mannix and the film editor review the footage and what Hobie finally says.

The board meeting with the Priests and Rabbi. I loved that when Mannix asks them what they think of Jesus's portrayal, the Orthodox Preist quibbles about the chariot scene instead, and that the Rabbi is (in my view only) the only reasonable one while the other Priests confuse Mannix on their interpretations of Jesus.

The part where Burt Gurney (Channing Tatum) goes to leave the screenwriters and his dog on a boat on a Russian submarine. They throw him the ransom money for Russia. When Burt opens his arms for it, the dog jumps into them causing the brief case to fall into the water and drown. Should've left the dog at home, Burt.

All in all 2016 looks to be a better movie year than 2015.

Friday, February 5, 2016

Joe Beck, And Other Tangents Vaguely Relating To Him

As I mentioned last post, I found an Esther Phillips (yes a grown up Little Esther of Johnny Otis Show fame) album in the Jazz dollar bin at the Record Show and saw the name Joe Beck on guitar. Who is this Joe Beck and is he comparable to Jeff? Went through my head. Having picked out many albums with my limit of fifteen dollars, I opted not to take a chance, nor could I also fill in my Jeff collection at higher ($5 prices) either so there's that. I went home and didn't think much of it with what was going on in my personal life. I decided to go to Youtube with whatever discography info I could dig up. Having been more obscure than Jeff, Joe has some interesting credits, but he's usually lost in the shuffle of other credited musicians on any given album he appears on. A small taste of his credits, often times on just a few select tracks, listing only artists I've heard of include, Miles Davis, Gil Evans, the last studio album of Duke Ellington with Teresa Brewer (which I can't find anywhere), Paul Simon's Still Crazy After All These Years album, James Brown and Al Kooper. According to other sources he also worked with Louis Armstrong, Buddy Rich and Woody Herman, but I can't find what tracks. Another named I noticed was Tony Scott who I know because he does a beautiful rendition of Jefferson Airplane's Today. Hopefully if I track their collaboration down it will prove a better saxophone compliment then what Dave Sanborn provides further down.

As it is, unfortunately, Beck's music is harder to track down because post-Bop and Jazz-Fusion is a niche interest among connoisseurs. Neither genres are the type of Jazz I would want to subject myself to unless it's played by Jeff Beck because I'm a jerk. With that in mind, I still decided to listen to two tracks off Joe Beck's second solo album Beck, 1975.

Red Eye:


I honestly couldn't stand the pure moods seventies styled saxophone played by Dave Sanborn. I apologize to any Dave Sanborn fans who read this, but it's what I hear. I would say I'm a music barbarian, but this is one of those times I'm with everybody else. I think most people hate Jazz Fusion unless it's Miles Davis. He can get away with everything for some reason. My irrelevant observations about this album is that it came out the same year Jeff Beck did Blow By Blow and of course Cactus reminded me of Beck, Bogert & Appice. Tim and Carmine formed the band Cactus prior to power trio. Annoying fact Cactus played a gig in the living room of my dad's in the early 70's. Good times were had by all.

Speaking of Jeff, he's not the only Beck who like's to pun his name or use it as a trademark. Quick let's list albums from both artists in one column by year and cut any band titled ones and obscure first names elsewhere and see which ones you can guess are by who:

Truth 1968
Beckola 1969
Nature Boy 1969
Rough And Ready 1971
Beck 1975
Blow By Blow 1975
Wired 1976
Watch The Time 1977
There & Back 1980
Flash 1985
Back to Beck 1988
J* Beck's Guitar Shop 1989
The Journey 1991
Crazy Legs 1993
Who Else! 1999
You Had It Coming 2001
J* 2003
Emotion & Commotion 2010
Get Me J* Beck 2014

Other than a couple glaring ones like Nature Boy or Crazy Legs, one has penchant for one word summations except when the other one does, the other has a penchant for short phrases except when the other does too. Both love their names, puns, common confrontational phrases, traveling & time and pairs. Maybe I'm making too big of a deal out of nothing, but there is a reason I tend to name my theoretical, homoerotica-romance novels after Jeff albums and now Joe can help a bit too, but not in an as obvious way as Jeff so there's that.

I find it interesting that in the days before the 90's either musician could simply go by Beck and it could be understood in their separate fields who it referred to. Not anymore, the days of single last names ended on these guys when I'm a Loser debuted and changed my life as far as assumed naming goes. Now Beck can be a first name too and not just a last name and nickname.

Besides the obvious similarities to both Beck's, it is interesting to point out that they're like mirrors as far as musical explorations goes. Jeff Beck as everyone who knows anything about him knows, is a Rock guitarist of psychedelic background specifically, playing Jazz Fusion. Joe Beck is a Jazz guitarist who often enough flirted with Rock of the Jazz Fusion variant, but did you know he had a psychedelic rock album?

Yes, around the same time Jeff was going solo and was shedding the psychedelic trappings of The Yardbirds with Rod Stewart and Ronnie Wood, Joe did a psychedelic album with some appearances from Danny Whitten of Crazy Horse on 1969's Nature Boy. Prior to that he had appeared on an album with John Berberian & Rock East Ensemble with the aptly titled Middle Eastern Rock, 1968. Here's an example:

Sounds nice right? Well his psychedelic solo album Nature Boy, isn't too shabby from the little I've heard. Unfortunately there's only two tracks uploaded on Youtube. The album has never made it on to cd and it's original issue on vinyl costs about $30 and shipping on Amazon. Someday... If you disliked the previous uploads these are worth it and will change your opinion if you prefer 60's production and the genre stylings. While they're Jazz musicians, none of that background should be distracting to the interest of the music. Here are the title track and the second song, Spoon's Caress.

Not bad at all. I could listen to more.

The story of this album is cute. Basically having impressed the label as a Musician's Musician, Beck was given an $100,000 advance to record an album, but he squandered it all on partying during the month he was to complete it. He ended up doing all the of guitar, bass, and piano parts and even sang the vocals as you can hear above. The only other full-time musician was drummer Donald McDonald. Guest appearances were by trumpeter Randy Brecker, bassist Don Payne and guitarist Danny Whitten as mentioned earlier.

As a bonus I'm going to post a collaboration with Sabicas off the 1970 album Rock Encounter. Also listenable and nice blend of two genres.

I have wishlisted Middle Eastern Rock, Nature Boy and Rock Encounter. I can skip Beck. Shame too. I don't have hopes for later albums either, but I might dig for more if I can only stand 70's trends.

A Preview Of Things I've Bought At The Record Show

Hopefully I'll get to reviewing other things on this blog, like my stash of records I bought at the Record Show. Nothing amazing, I got a couple of Rod Stewart's, Cat Stevens, Spooky Tooth, Glenn Miller, Count Basie and some miscellaneous Jazz compilations.

I got a DVD of Ronnie Wood's pre-New Barbarians band and New Barbarians. I had full intentions of watching it with my mom, but she never got well and it's too late. I bought this over The Yardbirds video collection and the 1965 NME concert which is glaringly missing The Yardbirds.

When looking through the dollar bin where I got all my records, I happened upon an album I didn't buy by Esther Phillips featuring the guitar work of Joe Beck! Who is this guy? Is he any good as Jeff? Should have found out, but my budget made me put back a few things. To Youtube!

Speaking of Jeff, I saw Rough And Ready which my dad has on cd if I really wanted to borrow it and Beck, Bogert, Appice which he does not. Both were five dollars. There's always next time.

I didn't find the 8 dollar Bowie promo I saw back in June of last year. Should have gotten it then. With his death all his records were super inflated, ranging from $60-80. Death means profit in any artistic business. I think there's a Dick Van Dyke movie about that concept.

My dad picked out some cd's from another vendor, Spencer Davis Group, Rory Gallagher and others I can't remember, one of them I think was a Band or Robbie Robertson cd for mom before we knew how terminal she was. This was in the short period of time where we thought the cancer side affects were from Hepatitis C (she did clean out my brother's room last summer, dirty needles, vomit and all while he was in jail) or something else. He can't listen to music with her gone now and has been on a PBS, NPR funk.

Thoughts On Justice League 3001 #8 And Other Comics

I had been late in picking up my pull list for last month, JL3001, the final issue of This Damned Band, Invader Zim for my brother and now The Legend Of Wonder Woman. My mother died last Saturday after a sudden month long deterioration from her cancer. It having come back with a vengeance spreading to her liver. Before that I had attended a memorial service to a departed friend that Thursday and a Record Collector's show the Sunday before that where I bought 15 dollars worth of records and a DVD. That's about as much as I spent on this week's comics. I got to watch my money more carefully. With all that's been going on there wasn't a much room for me to care about my weeklies until I was ready for a distraction other than Star Wars: OT fanfic.

To the review:

Justice League 3001 #8

I'm still of mixed opinions on the direction, but as always just the sheer ride alleviates my worries. Scott Kolins has given the book a different look that I much prefer even if it isn't as packed of details as Howard Porter. His art is sketchy, but bright and cartoony. I like.

I'm glad to see Supergirl rally the troops after almost a whole issue of moping. I love her messy short hair, it suits her. Remember when she had short curly hair for all the fifties and sixties until long straight hair was in and suddenly Power Girl looked revolutionary with a bob? Yeah I wasn't alive at the time, but I'm used to seeing Plastino Supergirl with the short cut in various reprints. It's not a doppelganger tribute if she had it first. Just saying.

Flash has PTSD and Wonder Woman's is frustrated by the retreat. So is Tina who takes her armor out to battle scullions, robots that regenerate. Not a wise move on her part if they're to keep undercover. I'm relieved Tina's obnoxious behavior is called out by Supergirl and Wondy who make time to call each other out as well. That Tina gets as much criticism as the others makes her slightly bearable, she may learn yet.

Fire and Ice address the issue of being outsiders amongst the group while looking around the ruins of Paradise Island, the League's hideout. Guy reminds them they share a past and assures them he has their back. Awww. I don't want his mind to be erased by Shiryalla Tome, but I don't see the story going any other way. Perhaps the dysfunctional team does need a traditional motherly type with sound advice and a level head, but is not afraid to slap a hysterical woman once in awhile.

The last part of the issue sets up Lady Stryx a pre-52 character introduced in 52 or at least a version of her as she doesn't resemble her quite. She's working with a version of the Legion of the Superheroes if Imra Ardeen didn't tip us off. I'm a bit uncomfortable with this plot. I'm by far not a fanatic of that side of the DC Universe, but heroes are heroes whether they're living in a crappy dystopia or not, and I don't trust Giffen's reinventions of these characters. Maybe Dematteis will reign him in, but as Stryx's lackeys or allies I don't have hope. Unless they're part of some cabal to overthrow her, or Stryx is meant to be a benevolent despot in which we're back into deconstruction territory and I won't be too happy. If a deconstruction is on the horizon where the protagonists are in the wrong and the antagonist is ruling the citizens for their own good then I'll probably hold out and then quit in frustration because I want to give the writer's a chance to wow me with a twist I tend to get bored of in Fantasy fiction. I get it vigilante rebellion is bad. The establishment and secret police is good. How many times do modern cape comics have to stress this? And under a guise of flipped traditional white hats vs. black hats skewed and subverted. I get it already.

Terrence Magnus's fate is revealed where he was cruelly lobotomized (just give him a mercy kill, sheesh) before he is zapped by Stryx and is reborn. Whatever that entails, Stryx wants to use him against his sister and the League bringing one backburner plot back to the forefront.

This Damned Band #6

This is a mini-series I probably want to reread in order in one sitting because after a month I can't remember everybody's name each time. Satan makes his appearance and reveals his plan and punishment. The rest of the band getting screwed over manage to make a counter deal and sacrifice the member who sold them out, or at least I think that's what happened. It's sort of hard to keep track of what's going on. When I get around to reading it all as a whole I may do a proper review of the series. There's many interesting observations I'd like to talk about throughout the issues, but I'll leave that for later.

The Legend of Wonder Woman

The book has a lot going for it because it's not connected to the crap in the main universe. We see the history of the Amazons. Why the Gods turned away from man's world, which probably correlates with the gradual disbelief of them by modern man. We see Diana's childhood on Paradise Island and her frustrations with her lot in life as a do nothing Princess while she senses something off about the Island. It turns out she isn't the only one, but her mother's in denial.

I have a few quibbles about this one. Why grant the top official Amazons immortality to rule over the mortals of the tribe? Seems misguided. In theory a long lived ruler would collect all the experience, but in reality experience corrupts and corrodes idealism and justice, or maybe I'm bitter about politics. My other quibble is that Hyppolyta doesn't fashion Diana out clay herself, Diana just forms from the clay beach of the Island or something and Hyppolyta's hope. I guess this is to make the old tale less about playing god or whatever offends people about classic Wonder Woman these days. It's certainly a step up to the many offenses done to Wonder Woman since the reboot and knowing that it could be a lot worse.

That's it as I've not caught up with Invader Zim and we still haven't found an issue of number 3 though we have the rest from day one.