Saturday, April 28, 2012

Frank, Jim and Rowlf

Just a marvelous picture of two of my heroes and my favorite Muppet.

Silver Age vs. Cool Age Comics

John Seavey at has a great post up titled Empirical Reasons Why the Silver Age Was Better. It's a great read, and I don't have much to add, because I agree with him on every count. I especially recognize what he says when he talks about the nostalgia argument in the intro--the idea that everyone champions the comic book era they first started reading comics during. Seavey points out that he came to the Silver Age as an adult and found that era to be a breath of fresh air.

I had pretty much the exact same experience. I started reading comics as a kid in the mid-80s and throughout the 90s and 2000s, and forced because of finances to stop regularly buying comics in 2005 or 2006. Since then, the majority of my comic book fix has come from my local library or from reading them online, thanks to sites like Pappy's Golden Age Comics Blogzine or Diversions of the Groovy Kind, among others. I started reading a lot of old comics from various eras, and once I started reading those Marvel Essentials and collections of kids comics like Sugar and Spike and Little Archie and The Adventures of Bob Hope, I became more dissatisfied with modern comics than ever. I think probably my personal favorite era of comics is from about 1968 to 1980, but the Silver Age, those early Marvel comics that are worth reading and tell actual stories are treasures. I would trade every modern superhero comic for a single issue of Lee & Ditko's run on The Amazing Spider-Man... and a big part of that is that Lee & Ditko could do in one issue what it takes Bendis six issues of agonized pseudo-conversation to do.

Today's comics remind me of Chuck Klosterman's comment about how my generation is "The Cool Generation," because that's all this generation aspires to or is capable of. This is the Cool Era of comics, and I pretty much hate it.

I just finished Daredevil Visionaries: Frank Miller, Vol. 1, which I have out from the library. The comics in that collection are from 1979 and 1980. They're not the best Marvel Comics ever had to offer--I mean, jeez, it is Daredevil after all--but I'd still stack them against Jim Lee's terrible Justice League introduction for the New 52. How anyone could read those and still claim modern superhero comics are any good just mystifies me.

Anyway, great article I thought I'd point out. I'm glad to see someone articulating this better than I can.

UPDATE 7:36 PM: Cal mentions this fantastic post in the comments: What If... Bruce Timm Designed the New 52? Look at it and dream about what might have been. I would read every single one of these comics if they existed. Alas, we get DC turned into 90s Image Comics instead, Liefeld and all. I know Dan Didio hates fun, but I feel like Dan Didio also hates having readers. Especially if they don't think everything DC does is genius.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Film Week

A review of the films I've seen this past week.

A nerdy guy travels to meet his favorite porn star from the Porn Chic era. It's a cute, somewhat grounded movie about a young fan who thinks he can save someone he admires, and who gets snapped into reality by his experience. To my surprise, Kim Cattrall plays Monica Velour with a sort of touching, wounded quality that's a little affecting. It's also amazing to me how at the age of 55 and with makeup to make her aging look harder, Kim Cattrall looks exactly like Lindsay Lohan does now... ***

Well, the title oversells it. Far fewer than 1001 perversions, but it's not like I'm disappointed by this French Porn Chic adult movie. To approximate a line from the protagonist of Meet Monica Velour, back then porn had stories instead of hookers on Prozac going through the motions. I like adult movies from the Porn Chic era, because it was possible--as in this movie--to tell a story about sex and sexual relationships where the graphic sex scenes are organically part of the story. It says a lot about the way we relate to each others' sexuality and our own today that the people who make porn find it more profitable to make short, storyless, non-contextual scenes and that a movie like Shame can't get an R rating. Anyway, dug the movie about a girl's sexual awakening while staying with free-spirited friends of her parents. Beatrice Harnois has the most beautiful pout. ***1/2

Engrossing German silent film, basically a Heimatfilm and, of course, starring Luis Trenker because it's about a mountain. I didn't know he was in this, but wasn't surprised to see him appear. The film stars Leni Riefenstahl in her film debut as a dancer who comes between Trenker (a famous mountain climber) and his friend (Ernst Petersen). As an actress, Riefenstahl is an incredible dancer. The dance scenes are really something, and the way they're juxtaposed with the heavy symbolism of the mountain, the acts of honorable sacrifice, amazing set pieces, and the heavy passions here on display are pretty breathtaking, even for a film that's propagandistic about simple, good German values (the film even ends with the reassurance that loyalty is one of the highest virtues of humanity, which is chillingly close to the motto of the SS: "My Honor Is Loyalty"). The Holy Mountain is a film from that time period when silent films were becoming truly impressionistic and representative, and it's just a stunning achievement to take in. If you can separate it from the propaganda, it's a masterpiece. ****

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Well, I Knew Someone Would Have to Pay for John Carter

Rich Ross, chairman of Walt Disney Studios, has basically been forced to step down after the unfortunate failure of John Carter. You knew someone would have to pay; it was his project, and that's how it goes. What really sucks is that this is a movie that I really think would've been quite a hit if they hadn't made some idiot decisions like the generic title and a terrible, flavorless, unlikable marketing campaign.

I know I'm opening myself up for yet more ridicule for my love of the Disney Channel, but I wish Ross had just stayed at the Disney Channel. He took that place and turned it into a home for fun cheese. That was the real Golden Age of Disney Channel. He did so well that they put him in charge of the movies, where he unfortunately flopped. Any of the major successes they've had (such as The Muppets and the popular-but-really-truly-soulless Alice in Wonderland) were inherited. Instead, Ross gets to be the guy who developed Prince of Persia: Sands of Time, Prom, Mars Needs Moms (which destroyed an entire animation studio) and John Carter (which I think is going to be a cult film in the future, but that won't ever save anyone's job). It's kind of sad to see the guy who made Disney a lot of money over the past decade with High School Musical and Hannah Montana and Wizards of Waverly Place somehow not be able to access what must be a pretty canny business acumen in the world of films... Maybe he just doesn't have the same instinct for film as he does for TV. Now Disney Channel's gone downhill and we'll never get that John Carter sequel...

Apparently the front runner to replace him is Kevin Feige, the President of Production at Marvel Studios. It's kind of an exciting move, but we only just got the Marvel movie universe going here...

I'm always way too fascinated by the Disney business.

Happy Birthday, David

This viral video spotlighting Michael Fassbender as the ship's android in Prometheus (excellent casting, btw) is just fascinating and chilling. I've watched this three times over the last week, and I'm just more engrossed in the performance and the concept every time. Despite myself and my feelings of total antipathy for Ridley Scott, I really find myself getting pretty excited about seeing Prometheus. I think this is the first science fiction movie that isn't based on a comic book (though it is part of a series) that I've been excited about seeing in a number of years...


Monday, April 23, 2012

Pac-Man: The Movie

When fan films just make you thirst for more...

Another Scene from the Collapse of American Society

6 year-old girl throwing a temper tantrum at school? Call the police, have her arrested, take her away in handcuffs. I mean, it's America, what 6 year-old doesn't have an arrest record, right?

No points for guessing the girl's race, by the way.

Kristen Bell Mondays

Started rewatching Veronica Mars last night. Couldn't resist. I swear I'll get back to Enterprise.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Lego Wondy

Here's an official image of Wonder Woman from Lego Batman 2: DC Superheroes. The trailer for the game--which I am extremely excited for--was heavy on the Batman-Superman pairing, but we didn't really get to see the other DC heroes, so I'm thrilled to see this image. Can't wait to see some of Flash and Green Lantern, too.

75 Years of Jack Nicholson

One of my favorite actors ever since I was old enough to know I had them. Happy Birthday, Jack.

Song of the Week: "The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down"

Levon Helm 1940-2012.

(Also, I really haven't had the Band on Song of the Week since 2008? What the hell? One of the finest.)

Blogger's New Interface

My feelings: it's fine. I've been using it since December, and I like it better. It's not pretty, but what is online anymore? I've been reading a lot of posts today about how ugly it is and how everyone is incensed that Google would change it and how no one will use it anymore because it's different now and all of the same shit everyone said the last time the Blogger interface changed. Remember how much everyone hated that and how angry everyone was? And now they're all wistful because Google took that thing they hated away and replaced it with something different, and everyone just keeps using Blogger anyway because, seriously, this is not the kind of thing that people stop using a free service over.

You got used to the old one, you'll get used to this one. And then it will change and you'll once again act like someone just walked into your house and took a wall and walked away. And it will, as always, be hilarious to read about.

The more things change, the more the whining stays predictable.

UPDATE 5:30 PM: I can't think anything is hilarious without everyone thinking I'm talking about them specifically. I want to find that funny, too, but it makes me feel too much like an internet troll when I do.

Also: calm down, seriously.

UPDATE 6:02 PM: Also, if I talk about people whining and you think I'm talking about you, that may be something for you to figure out on your own without getting pissed off at me about it. Just a thought.

UPDATE 4/27: I have yet to see a single interface whiner stop using Blogger, by the way. (Or Facebook, for that matter.) You'd think someone was asking people to learn to fly the Space Shuttle.