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Guardians of the Galaxy (movie review)

We saw Guardians of the Galaxy this past Sunday with a full house at 10:50 AM. The movie is filled with murder, violence, profanity, betrayal, torture, sadness, jokes, pop songs from the 1970s, abduction, deaths of innocents, more murder, more violence… and it’s probably the most fun you’ll have at the movies this year.

“And there’s your blurb,” as Christy Lemire would say.

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Uncanny Avengers #1 cover is awful most of the time

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This is the cover for Marvel Comics new flagship title, Uncanny Avengers.  See, it’s half X-Men (who are uncanny), half Avengers… That’s not the point.  The point is, they look like they’re melting – especially Cap and Thor.  It’s one fugly cover. 

You’d like to think that Marvel gave a big job to somebody and they fucked it up, but on the same day this issue was released, Marvel released multiple alternate covers for the same issue.  Like they always do.  Here are just a few examples:

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So why didn’t they plaster one of these all over the place instead of that crap factory way up top.  I don’t get it.  Marvel makes weird decisions.

The Death Of Bin Laden: Leave Captain America Out Of It

From The New York Times:

new-york-times-captain-america-osama-bin-laden-dead-world-trade-center-site

"Only in New York, I guess."

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.
scrappy-doo-costume-smock-1980s

"Puppy Power!"

  • 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.

Johnny Storm, Human Torch and Member of the Fantastic Four, dies at 50

human-torchDear Mr. Tom Brevoort, Senior Vice President for Publishing, Marvel Comics:

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.

Thanks!
Jamie Insalaco
CreativeJamie.com
BomberBanter.com

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/

Real Life Super Hero Phoenix Jones

Scorpion Mortal Kombat

Scorpion to purse snatchers: "Get Over Here!"

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…

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