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.