Welcome back to A Fly On The Wall, a feature that imagines what it would be like to hear conversations that may or may not have ever actually occurred. This time, we’ll use our fly power to listen in on a development meeting at Marvel Comics for the 2014 Event, Original Sin.
OK, everybody – it’s a new day, it’s a new year, Event time is almost upon us. What ideas do we have?
I’ve decided that I need to quickly address this issue: you see, I’ve heard from a lot of people that they didn’t like X-Men Origins: Wolverine because the story differed from the comic book, but I can’t accept that. I thought the flick was a good time, but critics didn’t agree. If you glance through its Rotten Tomatoes page, you’ll see quotes like, “I haven’t been this disappointed by a film since the new Indiana Jones,” or “You’re going to be really underwhelmed” or such thought-provoking blurbs as “I was definitely disappointed.” Anyway, critics and dorks agreed, Origins sucked – well, I didn’t agree, but there you go. For me, Origins wasn’t anything spectacular (well, the helicopter scene was spectacular), but it was a good time at the movies and I simply love Jackman as Wolverine. He’s perfect in the role and he has to share even less of the screen this time around, which may be why fans and critics alike seem to prefer The Wolverine to Origins. But in my view, they’re both fine, so if you hated Origins, this might not be the review for you. Read the rest of this entry
What to be a super hero, kids? It’s this easy: just cut a paper mask off the back of a cereal box. (That’s Honey Nut Cheerios, to be exact.) All that sugar and brown sugar syrup will give you the energy you need to fight crime. As a kid, these masks always got stuck in my hair or irritated my face, so kids of all ages should proceed with caution – or buy regular Cheerios, they’ve better for you.
Don’t know who Deadpool is? This video isn’t going to help much!
Did you watch the video yet? No? OK, go watch the video, then read on.
Done? OK, here’s the deal:
The video is now live – click here!
After you stuff yourself on Thanksgiving, wake up ready to get your video on here at CreativeJamie.com as we debut our Deadpool fan film, Deadpool goes to the Therapist. A good time will be had by all!
Unless you don’t know anything about Deadpool… then this might not make any sense. I’ll try address that problem!
In my ongoing effort to bring geeky information to those of you who don’t give a crap…
DC recently dropped zero issues for several of their books. Not all of them, mind you, but several. This baffles me.
In case you were unaware, about last year at this time, DC relaunched several of it’s titles, including stuff that had been running for seventy years, like Action Comics starring Superman. I took this as an opportunity to stop reading DC books with the exception of Justice League because how hard could it be to write a book starring Batman, Superman and Wonder Woman? (Not to mention Green Lantern, the Flash and [yawn] Cyborg.)
As it turns out, it was pretty hard. What followed was the most boring, plodding, ill conceived bunch of crap I’ve ever read. Seriously, no one has ever written a super hero comic storyline do dull.
Anyway, I told you all of that nonsense so that I could clearly and accurately express how FUCKING BIZARRE I find it that DC Comics is issuing zero issues now. Are they rebooting their universe annually now? I know reboots are all the rage, but give me a break.
If this makes sense to anyone, feel free to explain it to me.
For those of you with lives, please be advised that Marvel Comics are divided into two universes: regular and ULTIMATE! (Kinda wish ‘ultimate’ was ‘extreme’ so they could introduce new characters: two teenage twins, one called ‘ Mountain’ and the other called ‘Dew.’) The Ultimate universe is… well, for lack of a better word, dumb. To be fair, it started off fun: a re-imagining of the Avengers in a modern setting. Then, slowly but surely, it got stupider and stupider, like me as I drink my brain cells to death and keep giving myself concussions from face palming over stuff like this, the most recent chapter in in a novel of blunders. [spoiler after the jump]
While comic books as an industry and product seem to be dieing a slow death, that doesn’t keep the companies that make them from desperate cash grabs.
A comic book annual is a yearly special that is larger in size (more pages) than a regular issue and generally tells one grand, inclusive story. Daredevil Annual #1 seems to make an attempt at both telling an inclusive story but also linking this issue to other annuals -specifically, those of Wolverine and the Fantastic Four. Comic book crossovers are the oldest trick in the book when it comes to fooling readers into buying extra books, but when they do an annual crossover, it’s especially rude for three reasons:
1. The story has nothing to do with current plot lines
2. The story isn’t especially interesting
3. Annuals are currently priced at $4.99
Check out the last page:
No. No, fuck you guys -I’m not buying 2 more books to learn how the rest of your crappy story goes. You can suck it.
And was there really a need to restart the numbering of Daredevil’s annuals?
Since I’ve been contributing at AComicbookBlog.com, I’ve been reviewing crap – at least for the most part. But now, I get to talk about something awesome: Winter Soldier! Ed Brubaker’s one of my favorite writers, so the fact that he’s got another book out and I get to review it is awesome.
more Comic Book Reviews at creativejamie.com/category/comic-book-reviews/
more Photos at creativejamie.com/category/photos/
An eight part series came out on eight president contenders, and they released Barack Obama’s issue first. What sense does that make? They knew he’d be in the general election, so why not release his issue last? I’m sure everyone’s face was red when the Sarah Palin issue came out. Anyway, I’m pretty sure they’re just quick biographies in all their fluffiness, but the Obama issue was the only one I bought.
I imagine that the conversation on who to put in here went something like, “Look, we can’t fit nine, so we have to draw the the line somewhere… who do you want? Rick Perry or Newt Gingrich?” I imagined someone vomited and said, “Yuck! Go with Perry, I guess. At least he has a soul… well, probably.”
more Comic Book Reviews at creativejamie.com/category/comic-book-reviews/
more Election 2012 at creativejamie.com/category/election-2012/
If you’re familiar with Spider-Man, then you already know that it’s fairly routine for someone to shout, “It’s all Spider-Man’s fault!” It’s his proverbial cross; he has to be the hero at the sacrifice of his personal life, not tell anyone he’s Spider-Man and then watch as public opinion is turned against his heroic exploits by J. Jonah Jameson (editor of the local paper), or anybody else who’s job it is via the plot to make Peter Parker’s life a living hell.
These days, Spider-Man is in The Avengers and The New Avengers (come to think of it, he’s also in The Future Foundation, which is part of the reason why no one can agree which costume he’s supposed to be wearing when, and I thought he left proper Avengers and is only in New Avengers now, yet he’s all over the annual issue, but those are rants for another day); two teams, one human spider – fine. The problem is, both Avengers books are starting to turn into Spider-Man books.
Look, I’m all for Spider-Man; he’s a fun, interesting character that’s great to have around in a team book. (I prefer just a seasoning of Spider-Man – I can’t read any of his solo books.) When you’re collecting personalities, the wise cracking, boy scout oath observing, web headed all crawler is a must for The Avengers, but the thing that’s begun to happen is both The Avengers and The New Avengers have inherited his problem.
Check out Avengers Annual 2012 and you’ll see that Wonder Man has returned. He’s going around making the case that the Avengers must disband because they do more harm than good; whether it’s property damage, civilian causalities, the death of teammates or Wonder Man got a lump of coal in his Christmas stocking, he’s sure the Avengers are to blame and the world would be better off without them. As a former Avengers himself, he knows all the dirty secrets and where all the bodies are buried. He showed up once or twice to yell at them before he started punching them in the face, but make no mistake – he took his message to the media and now people are constantly protesting the Avengers.
If you flip through a few pages of New Avengers #20, you’ll see that Norman Osborn is back and, like he previously threatened, he’s making life hell for the New Avengers and doing his best to smear them in public, setting up yet another round of protests from a city that would be nothing but a smoking crater without them.
I’d guess that this is happening because both books are penned by Brian Michael Bendis, who has written a ton of Spider-Man comics in his time. Also, both the Wonder Man and Norman Osborn stories are very similar: they both assemble a team of super powered beings to fight the Avengers, they both work on damaging the Avengers reputations and they both are really starting to piss me off as they do the same thing as one another!
Knock it the hell off!
more Comic Book Reviews at creativejamie.com/category/comic-book-reviews/
I love comic books and I think they can be adapted for children, but there is a line.
I grew up on all sorts of violent media: He-Man, Thundercats, Transformers, GI Joe… if I was watching it, someone was getting punched in the face. Of course, I also loved comic books (and still do), but adapting this sort of thing to a story book is tricky. The biggest stumbling block is that story books are generally the sort of thing that, for this particular age group, are a shared experience between parents and children, and it doesn’t need to be an uncomfortable experience.
GETTING IT WRONG:
Captain America, The First Avenger: The Great Escape
This novelization of the movie of the same name only encapsulates one scene – when Cap finds out that his best friend from home, Bucky, has been captured by the Nazis. (I know the ‘N’ word doesn’t get tossed around a lot in the movie, but that’s what they are… and, if you think about it, they’re sorta Super Nazis!) Just look at this page:
When I show this to people, they don’t even read the entire page before they look up and say, “This is ridiculous,” or “Is this real? Did you photoshop this?” Do you want to explain to your kid what a casualty list is? I think not. I love Captain America and he’s a great role model for kids (although fictional characters shouldn’t really be role models for kids), but this is going too far.
Star Wars: The Story of Darth Vader
Because the kids have got to learn about Darth Vader somehow, right? Better that it comes from you and they don’t pick it up on the streets. That way, when they have to confront Darth Vader in their daily lives, it’ll be in its proper context. Stuff like this:
Children’s literature needs more images like this. Remember kids, train yourself to let go of all that you fear to lose, or you’ll end up like THIS! THIS!!!
GETTING IT RIGHT:
DC Super Friends: Heroes United
Ah, here we go:
See, this is how it’s done – get together with Aqua Man and go tubing! Hooray!!
I’m not sensitive and I don’t have kids, but some of this stuff is too much. Often, I find that we insulate kids too much from experiences that would help them grow (modern playgrounds are a good example of this), but the fall of Anakin Skywalker probably doesn’t need to get added to the story book shelf.
From The New York Times:
Huh. Captain America in the house. Let’s take a closer look…
- A goatee? Are you serious? Maybe it’s Boston Red Sox first baseman Kevin Youkilis under the cowl of the Star Spangled Avenger. Or some other loser, whatever.
- The caption reads, “A crowd member dressed as Captain America joined the celebration at the World Trade Center site in New York early Monday morning.” I don’t think carrying a shield, wearing a mask and a t-shirt with Cap’s picture on it necessarily expresses the sentiment of dressing up like someone anymore than those cheap smock Halloween costumes from the 80s did. And those masks that fastened to your head with a rubber band hurt like hell – especially when the rubber band inevitably snapped.
- As a life long reader of Captain America comic books (yes, I’m a dork; I have every issue ever published of Captain America dating back to April of 1968), I can assure you that the following actions that would never be taken by the fictional character, Steve Rogers:
- attending a rally of any kind in costume, unless he was doing crowd control or trying to reason with a group that appeared to gravitating toward violence
- attending a rally that celebrated someone’s death, even an enemy’s
- killing the bad guy; Rogers’ concept of justice has been clearly spelled out over the last 45 or so years – Cap arrests the bad guys so they can stand trial – it’s how he rolls (if anyone retorts with Captain America #321, Volume 1, you’ve a bigger dork than I am – and if you bring up Ultimate Captain America… well, we can have a futile argument about that in the comments sections)
The death of Osama Bin Laden has been something I have not wanted to comment on in this space, but once the New York Times brought Cap into it (or once the goatee guy did), I guess it sorta forced my hand. Cap is a fictional character, and a rare one – unlike any other super hero I can think of, he was created to confront actual people and real events – it’s no accident that the first issue of the original Captain America Comics series from World War II features an image of Cap punching Hitler in the face. Yet he’s not real, and to start waving the shield around at an event like this seems wrong, and to publish a photo of someone doing it feels cheap. Captain America has come to stand for something very specific – he’s the moral compass of the Marvel Universe, not a hit man.
Nevertheless, I strongly support President Obama’s decision in this matter. Just because I don’t want to wave the flag around doesn’t mean I don’t think this was the right thing to do. (It’s also one of those rare moments where a president came through on a campaign promise.) Trying Bin Laden would have been a cluster-@!#?@!, and if you wanted to make the argument that Bin Laden didn’t deserve a trial, I don’t agree, but I’m not willing to argue the point.
Captain America is a symbol for everything that is right about the American way – truth and justice for all, no matter what. Things don’t always work out that way, and the probably shouldn’t – that’s reality. Cap is fiction – so do me a favor and leave him in the funny papers where he belongs.
Are you kidding me with this? Surely you are joking.
I have been reading comic books since I was a little kid – the first time I read a comic book (it was an issue of Captain America… I think 294, back in a day when the cover of a comic book was actually an accurate representation of the content within, but I digress…), it captured my imagination in a way that few things have since. In the passing decades, I’ve fallen in and out of love with comics, and right now, I’m nearing one of those stages where the infatuation dims back to a flicker. It’s mostly due the exuberant amount of Batman related titles released by DC, I’m sure you’ll be happy to know, but Marvel isn’t far behind on my shit list.
I understand that comic books are, by definition, violent melodrama – a visual method of conveying stories that often do not translate mediums. It’s part of their charm. Story telling, layouts and art all come together to push the reader down a stream of fantasy that can’t be experienced anywhere else. I’m with that.
What I’m not willing to champion is the pathetic use of death as both a plot device and an excuse to sell more books. The idea that Johnny Storm is dead and is never coming back is as ridiculous as the notion that Steve Rogers is dead and never coming back… which brings me to the crux of my argument. Stop fake killing people! If characters are dead, then leave them dead. Don’t kill them and bringing them back. Now again, I do understand that comic books are melodramas, and what could be more melodramatic than coming back from the dead? But this is getting ridiculous. Getting? OK, it is completely atrocious! Look, I know you guys have a business to run and comic books to sell and your new masters over at Disney don’t want to hear that profits aren’t up this quarter, but get it together and reign it in a bit. You remember the whole Jean Gray/Phoenix thing and how she was dead, then she wasn’t dead and she did all those horrible things and then she was dead again, but then she came back again but it turns out that the one who did all the bad stuff wasn’t really her and… ugh. Just ugh. And then years later, you killed Captain America (well, not you, Tom, but you know what I’m saying) – this would not stand. You can’t kill Steve Rogers! He’s survived everything Marvel has thrown at him (including Hitler) since the 1940s, including the ill advised Captain America: Commie Smasher series from the fifties. But I guess Cap also wasn’t really dead, he was lost in time or something… (not to be confused with Batman being lost in time just a few months later… very creative, DC) and then he returned, or was reborn, or whatever. If you’re always going to bring everybody back, what’s the point of killing them in the first place? I remember a line from somewhere in volume one of Captain America where he asks himself, “Why is it that when the heroes die, its for good, but the bad guys always come back?” Well, the answer back then was that the writers were too lazy to come up with new bad guys, but these days, they’re too lazy to come up with new heroes as well. In the last decade, Marvel Comics have brought back long dead characters from the Golden Age, like James Buchanan ‘Bucky’ Barnes, Jim Hammond, aka the Original Human Torch and his partner, Thomas Raymond, aka ‘Toro’. All of these moves were unprecedented, but not as stale as what happened with Jean Gray or Steve Rogers – yet still lame. Just like what you’re doing with Johnny Storm, and consider this – given that Jim Hammond and Thomas Raymond have already died before, this makes Johnny Storm the third and final human torch to have died! Are you guys at Marvel just making sure you didn’t miss anybody?
I’ve never been a Fantastic Four fan, although the characters are likable at their basic levels. The movies sucked, but that’s not your fault. (Right?) I guess what I’m saying is I could care less what you do with these characters, but don’t do some far reaching repercussions throughout the Marvel Universe death of Johnny Storm nonsense and then just write him back into the funny papers in a year. This is the reason I’m going to drop my Batman titles – it’s overkill (sorry, no pun intended) and it’s better for Marvel’s longevity if they keep the fake deaths to a minimum.
HOW JOHNNY STORM DIED
I know a lot of folks that ended up on this page were just trying to find out how Johnny died, and initially, I didn’t provide that information – my bad.
Apparently, there was some kind of tear or something in the negative zone (I read comic books, and I have no idea what that is, so don’t feel bad) and the only way to close it was from the inside, so Johnny sacrificed himself. Now in my Star Trek the Next Generation thinking mind, it seems perfectly logical that Johnny is still alive and trapped in the Negative Zone (or whatever) – the problem is getting him out. I’m sure that’s how they’ll bring him back… find some way to tear a hole, take him out and seal it from the outside. Right. Anyway, I read that Marvel said there will not be another issue of the Fantastic Four… Fine, get ready next month for ‘Fantastic Three’… or maybe ‘The Fantastic Richards Family, Features Ben Grimm’ or something.
What do you think? Is it OK to kill off a character when you know it’s only a matter of time before they return from the grave? Comments are welcomed!
more Comic Book Reviews at creativejamie.com/category/comic-book-reviews/
Some things are just irresistible… you have to blog about them, even if they are old news and you meant to write something about it a month ago.
It was only a matter of time before somebody decided that they needed to put on a crazy costume and start patrolling the streets. In fact, I seriously doubt this is the first time someone has taken a crack at being a super hero, but this is the first interview I’ve seen one do, I will say that.
So here we have Phoenix Jones – he’s wearing a bullet proof vest and knife plates and donned in a costume that reminds me of Scorpion from Mortal Kombat. I was sure he’d get hit with a lawsuit before he’d get the key to Seattle, because obviously, you cant walk around tasering people, even if they are breaking the law. That’s not how society works.
And then, this happened:
Now I certainly didn’t want anything to happen to this guy, and I’m sorry it did. It sounds like he didn’t suffer any serious injuries, but the national media is starting to turn on this guy and his boys (he has homies who are also super heroes… a West Coast Avengers sort of thing, I guess), and that’s never good for anybody. It’s funny to hear serious conversations on TV that media has in comic books about;, saying Batman is a lawless vigilante or have somebody put forth essentially the exact same argument in almost the exact same words as J. Jonah Jameson does in Spider-Man: “He’s a menace!”
A word of caution to wanna be super heroes: don’t do it. Don’t even draw up costume ideas for fun. Trust me, I’ve been reading comics… well, since I’ve been able to read, and trust me: you don’t have a chance. If you’re lucky, you’ll spend a night in jail and ending up a paying a fine. If you’re not… you’ll end up dead.
NOTE: Just wanted to mention that a fair amount of my blog ideas come from my buddy over at JeepGarage.org. If you’re into Jeeps, those dudes are your peeps…
I feel I’ve seen more than enough episodes to weigh in on Disney XD’s Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes – frankly, I’m pretty happy with it. Sure, it’s melodramatic, doesn’t necessarily follow strict Marvel cannon and can be melodramatic at times, but it’s got all the elements of a good action-adventure show. Well… Captain America says ‘soldier’ waaaaaaaaaaay too much. Way too much. But otherwise, I’m pretty happy with the show – accept for this:
I already mentioned that the theme song is awful and they should have went with an instrumental like Justice League did (or Justice League Unlimited, for that matter), but wow… what does this imagine look like to you? Believe me, I understand that Marvel Comics in large part takes place in Manhattan. I get it! But does this awful image of lower Manhattan on fire really need to proceed the worst theme song imaginable? I don’t think so.
So that’s my fix list (so far) for season 2 – ditch the singer, ditch the imagery of lower Manhattan on fire. After that, it’s all good. Assemble your editing team!
I have now switched to a 0-10 scale for scoring movies. I don’t know why I keep switching… but I do keep switching. Sorry about that!
I have now switched to a 0-100% scale for scoring movies. Think of it as a grade on a test:
90-100 = A
80-89 = B
70-79 = C
60-69 = D
0-59 = F – an exact number under 59 just illustrates how spectacular the failure was.
While I won’t give every book, comic book, movie review or music review a score, I will, at times, break out the old Reviews Rating System. It’s a 1 through 5 system, 1 being the worst, 5 being the best and may your respective Deity help us if I have to issue someone a zero. If you’re worried about spoilers or just don’t want to read the review, scroll through the post quickly and you’ll see the score, big as life.
My Rating: 2.5 out of 5
- 1 = incomprehensible: like sitting in traffic, going to the dentist or watching Hulk Hogan in Suburban Commando… or Thunder in Paradise. I get chills just thinking about it…
- 2 = bad: the plot feels like something out of the Twilight series…
“And so the lion fell in love with the lamb…” he murmured.
I looked away, hiding my eyes as I thrilled to the word.
“What a stupid lamb,” I sighed.
“What a sick ,masochistic lion.”
Damn you, tweens! “As I thrilled to the word?” Wow. That’s epic. She used ‘thrill’ as a verb without an object. That’s great writing. Just. Fucking. Great. Twilight.
- 3 = average: it wasn’t great, but it had a beginning, middle and end.
- 4 = good: better than most, but no one is going to study it for hundreds of years
- 5 = excellent: you’d sell your grandmother’s false teeth for it
What’s a spoiler alert? Any time you see the spoiler alert image
in one of my posts, you know I’m about to give away crucial information that could ruin the fun for you in some way. Sometimes this is OK; you have no intention of seeing that movie, reading that book or comic book, listening to that album… what have you. But, I do think it’s important that I point it out before I do it.
To see a spoiler alert in action, check out my review of Rambo.
Welcome back to the journey into under appreciated creativity. This feature, Attention Must be Paid, will shine my (however brief and dull) spotlight on something that needs props. Mad props. Today, I’d like to shine the light on Air, published by Vertigo Comics, a subsidiary of DC Comics.
Air is great. It’s well written and the characters are vibrant. Now, what’s Air all about? Uhm, I’ll take some picks from Wikipedia and let them explain:
Blythe follows [Zayn] to Narimar, where she is designated by the Etesian Front a “hyperpract”, that is, someone with the power to move into different dimensions or realities.
As the story progresses, the ambiguous concept of ‘hyperpraxis’ is introduced, as what seems to be a supernatural form of teleportation. The story develops more eccentric and fantasy elements, introducing Amelia Earhart and Quetzacoatl as supporting characters.
Follow all that? And yes, I am openly praising a comic book that features Amelia Earhart as a character, not to mention Quetzacoatl. Air is a great example of a book that shows you how you can do whatever you want, just as long as it’s done well. Blythe is an excellent character. She’s smart, powerful and vulnerable all at once – not to mention other things.
The author of Air was G. Willow Wilson, making this one of the only comic books I’ve read that was written by a woman. Unfortunately, the book has been canceled after 24 issues. =( Why, I don’t know – it always sells out at my local retailers. Wilson should obviously move to Bergen County, NJ, where her genius will be appreciated. Air is getting the graphic novel treatment, though – the first volume is available at Amazon.