Friday, June 30, 2006

Brave New World

I just finished reading the new DC preview book, Brave New World, and thought I would post some thoughts on it.

Now, I'm kind of predisposed to not liking any of it, so if I get a bit judgmental, keep that in mind. I'm not terribly happy with how the Big Two are trying to make their comic book universes suddenly 'relevant' so this 'change-for-change's-sake' attitude they have going on is leaving something of a bad taste in my mouth.

That being said, I will admit that my curiosity has been piqued (as evidenced by my previous post on the subject) and I'm going to try and keep an open mind about all of this. Somewhat open, anyways.

Okay, here goes.

Brave New World starts off with a preview of the all-new, all-different Martian Manhunter. Overall, this little vignette was enough to make me wonder how this series will turn out but not quite enough to make me actively seek it out, either. A.J. Lieberman earned the benefit of the doubt from me with his absolutely fantastic run on Harley Quinn, so it gets some points for that, too. I'll probably look at this one in the shop but, again, I don't see money exchanging hands over this one.

Next up is the new OMAC. If there was one thing I didn't like about Infinite Crisis it was the retooling of the OMAC concept and its execution throughout the event. It was one of the weakest Crisis tie-ins at the time and remains fairly weak in this brief promo story. The art by Renato Guedes is wonderful but unfotunately, Bruce Jones doesn't offer up anything of real value here. A definite passola.

Uncle Sam is a character I liked seeing in special projects like Alex Ross and Steve Darnall's US prestige mini from a few years back, but I am unsure as to how he (or any of the Freedom Fighters) will fit into current continuity. The story did manage to grab my attention for the length of time I spent reading it, and the art was very nice to look at (if a little dark, at times) so I'll probably pick this one up just to satisfy my curiosity, if nothing else. It could have some promise (which shocks me since it's written by Palmiotti and Gray).

The Creeper by Steve Niles and Justiniano. Nothing here interests me. I liked Justiniano on Day of Vengeance but I don't see anything redeeming in this particular vignette.

The new Atom has me torn. I didn't mind Byrne's pencils, and the character has always been one I liked, but Gail Simone's writing felt disjointed, gimmicky and, overall, kind of bland. I know she gets a lot of attention and kudos for being a great writer but you know, Villains United was also not one of the strongest Crisis tie-ins and none of her work to date has been able to grab my attention. The premise for the book is based on an idea of Grant Morrison's, so I may peer at it in the shop, but I'm not planning on having a copy in my house any time soon.

Lastly, The Trials of Shazam! looks all right but, again, just not enough there to really grab me by the ears and make me want to have a copy in my file every month. The artwork by Porter was good (his new painted style gives him a Kubert-esque feel) and Winnick's script has me wondering what has happened to the Marvel family so another one to peek at in the store but not something I'll actively seek out.

If you want to check out the book for yourself it's a steal of a deal at a buck a copy (a buck thirty-five if your a canuck like me), or you can snag a sneak peek from DC's website HERE.

Now I'm going to go and reread my copy of The Flash #1 by Bilson, DeMeo and Lashley since it has yet to make any sense to me. I'll be sure to comment on it here when it does.


It's Enough to Make Me Weep

I read about THIS 10 days ago but put it off until the Superman week could run its course.

According to Steve Rude, Nexus, the ultra-cool sci-fi/super-hero/adventure series from Mike Baron and Steve Rude is officially dead in the water. I know everybody who read the book in the past was hoping for one more trip to the well for these guys, but as the quote says, the two couldn't find any common ground to revisit the character.

I'm getting a little teary even as I type this.


Props to a Real Supergirl, Allison Mack

Possibly the only thing worth watching on Smallville.

As anyone who has read my blog in the past might know, I am an irregular viewer of the WB show, Smallville. Although I was a huge fan of it in its first season, subsequent efforts have left me wondering how a show that is consistently this retarded can stay on the air for as long as it has while other shows which show so much more promise get canned after 4 episodes or less (Kitchen Confidential and Love Monkey anyone?).

Still, being the comic geek that I am and the kind of person who, if convenient, will watch just about anything that's put in front of me, I continue to watch the show hoping above all hope that it gets better than it is.

And sometimes the show surprises me by firing off a real cracker of an episode, renewing my faith ever so briefly. This has happened about a half a dozen times so far (the big Christopher Reeve episode being a good example of that), but in the end, disappointment usually follows and I go and find something else to watch before eventually becoming bored enough to try, try again.

When I decided to do another Smallville post (running with that Superman theme again, there) I was pretty much just going to rant on how there hadn't been much improvement since my last entry on the subject and how I didn't have high hopes for the final half-dozen episodes based on what I'd been reading and seeing on the internet. But it was while watching the 14th episode of the show's fifth season ('Tomb') where I was given a clear reminder of what it is that probably keeps me watching despite all of the 'meh' episodes. It is the one aspect of the show that, over the course of five years has almost never disappointed me: Allison Mack.

The character of Chloe Sullivan has pretty much been a favourite of mine from day one and I've always stood by the belief that, compared to the annoying and gaspy Lana, she is the more interesting character. I can understand the producers/writers wanting to create a love triangle, I can understand how fans want to see Clark and Lana get together. Like Angel and Buffy, they have that forever love. However, also like Angel and Buffy, they are horribly annoying whenever they are together and are, at heart, a bad match for each other. Considering the chemistry Mack has with her co-star, Tom Welling, it amazes me that the writers have yet to truly flirt with the idea of Clark and Chloe getting together. The fact that they've forced the Clark/Lana relationship to blossom then end then blossom again (and probably to end again, I've lost count by now) shows the shortsightedness of Millar and Gough and the writers. It's almost like they made some rules at the outset and are afraid to go places their actors and stories are taking them. That's never a good thing.

In this last episode (the last one that I watched, anyway), there was a strength and intensity to her performance that was further evidence that the writers should give her more to do. Mack has proven that, even at her most bizarre (and Smallville gives everyone a chance to do something truly odd), there's a quality that she can bring to the table that few of her co-stars display as prominently or as consistently. She is the audience's anchor in the show. Everyone else behaves like soap opera characters while Chloe has moved on and gotten her life in order.
CHLOE: What's that Clark? The brother of a meteor freak that you put away has kidnapped Lana (who has turned into a witch) while she was stealing secret alien ship blueprints from Lex who is obsessed with discovering your secret and is also secretly in love with Lana but doesn't want to lose her by destroying you?

Sure I'll help. But on my lunch break, OK? I'm kinda busy working full time at the Daily freakin' Planet here.

And on top of all that, she's just absolutely adorable. I mean, just look at that picture.

And with that, I'm off to bed. I've ranted enough for one morning.


Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Still a Year Away, but...

Heh. Just watched this over at the Quicktime trailer site. Click on through for the first glimpse at Spider-Man 3.



Zero Hour

Just got back from watching the movie with my daughter and brother and all I can say is, "WOO-HOO!!!"

I can't remember the last time I came out of a summer blockbuster and was completely satisfied with absolutely everything about it. I, mean, I have absolutely no complaints. This is me we're talkin' about, here. And I gotta say, sitting in that darkened theatre tonight, watching those credits rolling by, I was frickin' six years old again sitting in the Towne Cinemas on 20th Street watching the original for the first time (which always makes me think of Miss Teschmacher taking the chunk of kryptonite off of Superman's neck which is my most vivid memory of that day). I was totally immersed in the experience and I'm almost embarassed to admit that I giggled like a schoolgirl during certain parts of it, too. Especially the in-jokes (one of which I seem to be the only one geeked out enough to have caught) that referenced the previous films.

KITTY: Lex, you act like you've been here before.

Heh-heh. Lex in the Fortress of Solitude. I remember that one.

Anyway, Singer did with this movie what he did with X-Men only times 10. It's bigger, it's more iconic and it's got more heart but at its core he kept the spirit of the idea and characters, updated them a bit, enriched them a bit, and gave the viewers a rollercoaster ride of a movie with fantastic set-pieces and amazing production design. Routh was sublime as Clark/Superman, Spacey was deliciously diabolical as Luthor and everyone else did an equally bang up job with their roles. Hell, even Parker Posey had me rooting for her by the end (and I'm usually the one in the audience hoping she'll die in the first five minutes of any movie she's in).

I'm still just...vibrating from the experience. I'm going to drive my wife nuts in the next few weeks, just you watch. She knows to duck and cover when I'm kinda meh about a movie. I think she'll hit the bunker on this one.

Oh, and since she's still up, I got a quick 1 minute review from Emma who had this to say about the film:

"It was GREAT! I thought the story was pretty good, the acting was so good you couldn't even tell they were, and the effects were great. I liked the whole entire thing.


The apple doesn't fall too far from the tree.

It's late, I work tomorrow and I know I'm going to have a hell of a time getting to sleep, so I'm going to leave it at that for now. Maybe I'll post again from work.

Until then I have just five words to say:

Go. See. This. Movie. NOW!

You owe it to yourself.


Tuesday, June 27, 2006

1 Day Remaining

That is if you don't count the sneak previews which are playing all over the place at 10 tonight. I'm actually considering going tonight but I have a feeling that it'll be either packed or too late for my daughter to go and enjoy the movie.

We'll see what happens.

In the meantime, I missed posting yesterday due to not turning the computer on at home so I figured I'd throw out a couple of last chance links before the big day hits.

Oh, and I should also mention I'm not posting at home so any 'cool' links in my bookmarks won't make it on here until tomorrow or later tonight.

To start with, everybody should go and check out Bryan Singer's video blog. These fun little videos have been posted throughout the duration of filming and post production to give fans a peek behind the curtain on the making of the movie. Some of them are dull and boring, but the majority of them are quite entertaining.

Next up is the official site which, if you're interested in the movie, you've probably hit already.

Lastly, Wikipedia has an interesting entry on the film sporting some pics and lots of info on the history of the project, budget...all that sort of nonsense.

I'll try and come on again later today or tonight but if not, we'll see you tomorrow.

Update: I just got home after buying my tickets for the 10 PM showing, tonight. One for me, one for my daughter Emma and one for my brother who wants to tag along, the big galoot. ANyway, this probably means a review either in the wee hours of the morning or later tomorrow. Have a good one!



Sunday, June 25, 2006

3 Days Left and a 24 Hour Archived Show

I'm not going to waste any time here and just link directly to the KGO810 radio show featuring Noel Neill (Adventures of Superman's Lois Lane) and John Ottman, composer for the new film and longtime collaborator of Bryan Singer.

The whole program is supposed to be 4 hours, so you'll have to click through on each new hour of the program as you go.

You can listen to the first segment with Noel Neill in either Real Media or Windows Media.

You can also listen to the second hour (the John Ottman segment) in Windows Media or Real Media.

Hour three is kind of a Superman hodge podge with various Superman sound clips in Real Media and Windows Media. Of particular interest is the audio clips with Joe Shuster and Jerry Siegel talking about creating Superman.

Hour four continues the discussion and the clips in Windows Media or Real Media. It's nice to hear some of the interview clips from the late Christopher Reeve discussing some of the choices he made in portraying the character of Superman and his alter ego, Clark Kent.

Be aware that the show is archived for only 24 hours so there should only be, like, 5 hours left on the clock.

Check it out!


Saturday, June 24, 2006

4 Days and Counting

Hello, hello! I'm back from work and nursing my aching feet as I sit in front of the computer, sipping from my Super Big Gulp and getting to the business of doing my 'daily' blogging.

The Superman fever that I mentioned yesterday has yet to abate (although in its defense, it hasn't gotten any stronger, either) and I have a couple more links to share.

The first link is to an early review of the movie by Owen Gleiberman over at Entertainment Weekly's website. It pretty much tells me evrything I wanted to know about the movie, believe it or not. My big questions were, "how much of the Donner universe did Singer appropriate?", "How does Routh, Spacey and Bosworth compare to Reeve, Kidder and Hackman?" and "How does the movie play, overall?". I'm pretty much all geared up to see this baby, now.

Second is another AICN link showing how Rhythm and Hues put Brando's lost scenes 'back' into Superman Returns.

Lastly, here's a link to the website Superman Through the Ages and their Fleischer animated Superman cartoon page. After much searching, I finally found a copy of the Bosko Video DVD for my collection, but these downloads kept me in un-'improved' Fleischer 'toons thorugh that lengthy process. I figured if anyone out there had a hankering for some 'Up, up and away!' goodness they could click on thorugh here.

And those are the Superman links for the day.

I should also mention that I decided to read the Superman: Birthright series that Mark Waid and Leinel Francis Yu did a while ago to reimagine the Superman origin for DC Comics so I'll be posting some thoughts on that when I'm done.



Friday, June 23, 2006

Superman Returns in 5 Days

I've just caught Superman fever and am excitedly awaiting the films premiere on the 28th of June. Up until yesterday, I wasn't all that excited. I'd almost go so far as to say I was 'eager to, but in no hurry', to see the movie, but something clicked in the back of my head the other day and now I'm all primed up for it.

Maybe it was the new trailer they ran when I saw Nacho Libre.

Anyway, I figured since everyone and their dog is counting down to the film, I'd do a similar thing only with links to Superman related material or sites I think are cool instead of a timer running down the minutes.

The first of my inaugural Superman Links is to the Superman Returns Yahoo! Movies page where they have a slideshow of some storyboards and production artwork. There's not a lot of stuff there, but what I've seen is kind of cool.

Next up is a text interview between Harry Knowles of AICN and Brandon 'Superman' Routh that I found particularly entertaining.

Lastly, here's an interview with Kevin 'Lex Luthor' Spacey on playing the Man of Steel's arch enemy:



Thursday, June 22, 2006

Brainiac Attacks

Being a huge fan of the Bruce Timm produced DC animated shows I was elated to find out that they were making a new Superman D2DVD movie. The fact that they brought Tim Daly back as the voice for Supes was even more exciting since he hadn't done the voice work since the show went off the air in '98, or whenever it was.

Yesterday I realised that the DVD had been released and took a run down to my local Wal-Mart to check it out and with high hopes to buy it, bring it home and devour it.

The cover art was pretty underwhelming (picture at right) but Warner has never been known for truly impressive packaging on their D2DVD releases, so I was going to let it slide. Unfortunately, after looking over the disc, I was also underwhelmed by the fact that there were no bonus features to speak of despite sporting a price tag of $18(CAN). Sure, there's still a movie there, and one I've been really excited about seeing, but even the most lackluster WB videos have at least a few lame trailers on them. I just assumed for a show that was broadcast on CN a couple of nights ago, there'd be some added value content.

So, I decided to let it sit for a day or two. I'm always happy about shaky purchaes when I sit on them for a day or two.

This has created a problem, however, because in the meantime I've seen a trailer for the movie which has left me...wanting, for lack of a better word. Granted it's just a trailer, but it looks like this one was done very much on the cheap and as a cash grab to tie into the whole Superman month thing. There's no doubt in my mind that I'll watch it, and eventually own it, I'm just disappointed, that's all.

More whining, I guess.

Anyway, I have to get ready for work.



Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Losing Control

While it is awesome that I've finally settled into a line of work where I'm no longer looking over my shoulder for the other shoe to drop I have found that I have sort of lost track of some of the things that I kind of need to do. The effort of getting out first thing in the morning and not getting back in until 7:30 or 8:00 at night appears to be taking its toll.

On the top of the list is to get back to my previous supervisor at my old job (which they wouldn't let me quit) to let him know that I am mostly unavailable to work, but will be able to cover one morning shift while he's on holidays. Next on the list, in no special order, are my BOOM! reviews (kindly doing what I said I would do when Gianluca sent me all of that free BOOM! stuff), my pending Walter Simonson and Jeff Parker interviews and I think I'm due a call to Keith Giffen, as well. It's not a long laundry list, but it hangs over my head and the guilt is starting to really settle in.

I guess I should just start the ball rolling on everything and just get it over with. Not to make it sound like any of this is unpleasant work (well, that's not true, I don't want to call SuperStore again), but that's usually the cure for procrastination/distraction, isn't it? Just put it right there in your face and do it. Once things start moving forward it'll be like snow down a hill.

I just sound like a whiny bitch, don't I?



Monday, June 19, 2006

Work Post

As the title says, I'm doing this post from work so I'm going to keep it short. I just wanted to report that all is going well, the new job appears to be a nice fit, and that I think I've sold my first car today. A white Ion, to be precise. She's a nice lady who works at one of the banks we do business with, so it was a pretty decent experience overall. She's happy, we're happy...everybody's happy.

Anyway, I have to run. I'll try and make a more significant post later in the day or, at the very least, Friday (which is also my day off).



Thursday, June 15, 2006

First Day on the Floor

Today is going to be my first day on the selling floor. Well, not technically, because I've been there all week, but definitely my first day where I'm supposed to be selling. Up until now I've been reading product knowledge, taking test drives, bugging the other salesman (all three of them) for walkarounds and tips, chatting with the receptionist and working out some of the finer details for myself. It's a good environment to work in so I'm not expecting there to be any real difficulties, but when dealing with the buying public you always have to brace yourself for surprises.

One benefit I'm finding already is the dead time you have on slow days. If you don't have sales calls to make (being new and all) and nothing else to do you can kill time however you want. Some of the ways I've chosen to do so this week have been the aforementioned test drives, finishing my Rogue Squadron book (finally!) and working up questions for the Walt Simonson and Jeff Parker interviews I have on the table. I have high hopes for future slow periods.

Anyway, I'll post a follow-up tonight or tomorrow with all the gory details.


Monday, June 12, 2006

Superman's Girlfriend

I'm just on my way out the door at the moment, but I wanted to mention that I recently acquired this...

...which normally retails at $139.95(CAN) for a whopping $10.00! She's standing right next to my computer monitor until I find her a better home.

I am definitely having a good week.

More on this later.


Sunday, June 11, 2006

Busy Week

Wow. When it rains it pours.

To start with, I quit my job at the ol' Superstore this week (well, quit is a relative term - something I'll explain at length in a longer post), got hired on as a car salesman at Saturn (my brother's old job), got a reply from Walter Simonson that he'd be interested in doing an interview, and remembered that I arranged another interview with Jeff Parker regarding his Alex Toth sketchbook that he's publishing (I really hope it's not too late for that one). Add to that the fact that I've completed Evil Dead: Regeneration and the Buckaroo Banzai comic book is finally out (hey, it's important to me) and you have an avalanche of good news over here.

As I mentioned before, I'll get into some further details in another post. I just wanted to make some noise today since I'll probably be too tied up with some shopping and running kids around today to say anything overly meaningful.

Things they are a changin'.



Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Primal Hunting

Just to show you how primitive my game tastes are, I've added a link on the sidebar to Planet AvP, the one-stop source for Aliens vs. Predator info and files for as long as I can remember. While everyone else and their dog are playing XBOX 360 or waiting for the PS3 to arrive, I'm sitting in front of my computer and playing the expansion pack to a game which is fondly remembered but probably considered obsolete.

The reason for even mentioning it is because, aside from having nothing else to post about today, I've started using my computer for more than musing on the blog and watching videos again. Essentially, I got a little bored with doing the same old thing to unwind all the time - watching movies, watching TV shows, reading books or comics. I was looking for a change and since my brother had the XBOX I figured it might be a good idea to dust off some of my PC games and give them a whirl.

I used to be a fairly regular gamer. I played Half-Life, AvP (and it's sequel), Counterstrike, Day of Defeat and a number of others while they were still considered 'cool'. But as the games got more hi-tech, and the ability to upgrade my system grew more limited, I sort of gave up on the whole thing and turned to the XBOX my brother and I purchased together for my electronic kicks.

You know, now that I think about it, having the last Indy game play like shit on my PC might have had something to do with it as well. It seemed to be designed for a platform system, so I just sort of got in line, I guess.

Anyway, I hadn't played the expansion pack for AvP2 yet and figured that nine missions (3 per species) would be enough to keep my brain stimulated for brief spurts of time here and there throughout the week. So, I installed it, have been playing it, and remember how much I enjoyed doing this way back when.

I'm on the second mission of the Corporate (a.k.a. human) character's storyline right now which is pretty decent. The game is a prequel to the original AvP2's story and the game creators claim that secrets will be revealed and unanswered questions from AvP2 will finally be put to rest but, unfortunately, I can't remember the original storyline beyond some xenomorphs, a Predator creeping around and a bunch of Marines sent in to clean up after all hell breaks loose.

Maybe if I could find a summary of the original somewhere.

Anyway, there may be some good news on the pocketbook situation after this week (job interview #2), so who knows, maybe a system upgrade isn't too far into the future for me after all and I can start playing with the big boys again. Get a headset and everything.

Ah well, back to my day.


Friday, June 02, 2006

Facing Reality

So I'm stuck finding my way home from work the other day (actually, only half the way...I was meeting up with the wife and kids before going the last stretch) and I wind up in a little used music store we have downtown called The Vinyl Exchange. I'm poking arund looking for anything that may be cool. Considering a lot of the music I listen to isn't available domestically it pays to check there because these guys will often have imports or singles you won't find anywhere else in town.

I checked out the Blur section, like I always do. I also peeked at what they had for Belly albums since I've rediscovered them through an episode of Homicide. I also checked to see if they had Phantom Moon, the ever elusive Duncan Sheik album which we never got here above the 49th. Those and many other bins were poked and prodded for their treasures but what I stumbled on and eventually purchased was a used copy of David Bowie's last effort, Reality, in great condition and for only $10. It was a steal of a deal. The two-disc limited edition has become harder to find locally and this was the one album of Bowie's recent output that I had yet to pick up, so...

I've only listened to it briefly, but so far I'm liking the sound. A little more traditional rock, with some jazz and experimental stuff thrown in. Kind of reminiscient of his Budha of Suburbia period (a highly underrated album in the annals of Bowiedom) which bridged the last of his pop albums (Black Tie, White Noise) with his newer, edgier, artier sound (Outside).

Good stuff, overall. I'll try and post more on it later when it's had a chance to sink in a bit more.


Thursday, June 01, 2006

Reading Usagi

Being a Groo reader from way back, it can be said I've been aware of the existence of Stan Sakai's anthropomorphic samurai for some time. Until recently I never bothered sit down and actually read Usagi Yojimbo but since finding the collected Usagi sitting at my local library I couldn't help but pick them up.

In just about every interview I've read with Walt Simonson he's mentioned Usagi as one of the books he always makes a point to read. I know exactly what he means. Four volumes in (plus the collected Space Usagi) and I'm hooked. The story never stops being interesting, the art never stops being gorgeous and Sakai's craftsmanship maintains a level of depth, consistency and entertainment that has few equals in the industry.

If you haven't read any Usagi yet, I reccomend making the trip to your library or local comic shop and giving the little guy a try. It may just be the beginning of a beautiful friendship.

I should have a little Usagi sketch done by Stan at Comic Con 2000. A smart person would dig it out and scan it to post here on the blog. I'll see what I can do.