Friday, May 30, 2008

Awesome List: Amazons from Space, Jack Sparrow tells all, flying gorillas, Moon Town, Keira does Shakespeare, and much much more

"Amazons from Space" and other stories

I never had this Wonder Woman one, but I had a couple of these superhero records (like this Hulk book-and-record one) when I was a kid. Clicking either of those links will take you to the Power Records blog where you'll find tons of these things. Very cool site.

Indiana Jones makes everything better


Jack Sparrow tells all

Confessions of a Disneyland Captain Jack. It's an extremely interesting behind-the-scenes look into the challenges of adapting a drunken, horny pirate to a family setting without losing the initial appeal. Be sure to read all the way to the end. It sounds like he's complaining in parts, but it's got a very sweet finish.
Disney wanted us to tone Jack down, so they put us through an acting class to discover reasons why Jack walks and talks the way he does. Obviously he is based on Keith Richards, who’s always messed up, which is why they came up with the class. “Don’t be flirtatious,” they told us. “See women as trouble.” And they said as far as alcohol goes, don’t even mention drinking. But the Pirates of the Caribbean song is all about drinking, and they’re drinking all along the ride. So I eventually broke that rule, because it would have taken me out of character. When parents took pictures, I’d say, “Everyone say ‘rum,’ ” and the parents loved it.
Flying gorillas

Do you remember my raving about Gene Gonzales' flying gorilla? Turns out its for Perils on Planet X, so we can thank Christopher Mills and be even more excited about his and Gene's comic.

Moon Town

"Moon Town is a series of science-fiction episodes being created by writer/director Steve Ogden. He is planning to use a 'Production-Based' approach to developing the series, in hopes of keeping down the production cost and amount of time it takes to develop each episode. Look for finished episodes to be released online in serial form. The first episode, "Arrival," is slated for completion in Spring 2008." (Thanks, SF Signal!)

Tintin movies a trilogy

Sounds like Spielberg's directing the first one, Peter Jackson's got the second one, and they're co-directing the last.

I've never seen a review of an action figure doll before

At least, not one this in depth. Lots of great pictures too. It really is a great-looking doll.

Devil May Care

The new Bond novel is out. I had my hands on it the other night at Borders, but decided I didn't have time to read it right now. Besides, I'm saving up for the Fleming hardcovers. Devil May Care is definitely on my list though.

"So young, my lord, and true."

It's no secret that we like Keira Knightley around here. And thanks to a re-watch of Emma and her performance in Iron Man, I'm kinda developing a crush on Gwyneth Paltrow too. Put them together with Anthony Hopkins and you've got a can't-miss King Lear. The only thing that could make it better would be for Kenneth Branagh to write, direct, and produce, but we'll give this Joshua Michael Stern fella a chance too.

Hulk connections

Saw Iron Man again last night and dang it if I didn't forget to look for Captain America's shield at the appropriate time. I thought about it as the movie started and then got sucked in and didn't think again about Easter eggs. (Or maybe I was just way distracted by Gwyneth Paltrow.)

I'll probably do the same with The Incredible Hulk, which is going to have plenty of its own Easter eggs and connections to other Marvel movies.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian (2008)

So now we're in new territory for me with the Narnia series. I'd read The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe as a kid and knew something of what to expect from the movie, but Prince Caspian was a whole, new thing. Unfortunately, I had basically the same reaction to it as to the first movie.


You can't get away from the Lord of the Rings comparisons in your head, especially when walking trees join a battle or the bad guys start to cross a river and the water begins to magically rise. And I don't think it's unfair to make those comparisons anyway. Disney certainly meant for the Narnia series to help cash in on the Lord of the Rings craze, so it's perfectly appropriate to hold these movies up to that standard.

Of course I understand that Lewis was trying to do something very different from Tolkien. The two even argued about whose approach was better. But I side with Tolkien in that discussion and even if I didn't, there's just no matching what Peter Jackson did with those movies. Nothing will ever be that good again.

Though Prince Caspian was marketed a little darker than Wardrobe, it's got the same kids-movie feel. There's plenty of hacking and slashing, but no blood. I didn't want gore, but it didn't have to be as sterile as they made it. And at times, it gets downright ridiculous. Look, I love Susan and would love to see her kicking more butt in hand-to-hand combat instead of just shooting arrows all the time, but having her knock out soldiers by hitting them with her bow is silly. They went so far in trying to make it kid-friendly that it pulled me out of the action. So much stabbing was going on off-camera that I couldn't tell when main characters were being wounded.

But that's not the worst of it. Something else that kept yanking me out of the story is Lewis' need to make theological points with the plot. That's the thing I alluded to earlier that Tolkien also didn't care for. I don't know what Tolkien's specific issues were with Lewis' style, but in Caspian at least there's a general problem with manipulating the story to fit the theology. Aslan can't reveal himself to anyone unless they seek him, because that's how God works. I appreciate the commentary on the nature of faith - truly I do - but it doesn't make any sense in the story. All we're given by way of explanation is some vague rule about how "things never happen the same way twice." Whatever, Aslan.

And the ending...

I can take a downer ending if the story calls for it. I usually prefer a happy ending, but if Hamlet's got to die to make the point and the whole story has been moving in that direction, so be it. But there's no reason to send the kids packing back to England at the end here. In the last movie, they got to stay and grow up and have many other adventures together. Why do they get kicked out this time? Oh yeah, "things never happen the same way twice." How frustratingly arbitrary.

Especially for Peter and Susan who are told they never even get to come back because they've "learned everything Narnia has to teach them." What is that supposed to mean? And it especially especially sucks for Susan who's fallen for Caspian and why can't she stay with him instead of going back to England where the nerdy stalker awaits? 'Cause Aslan says so, that's why. Maybe there's some kind of lesson there about questioning God, but leave it out of my fairy tales. Or at least bother to make it make sense in the context of the story you're telling.

'Cause except for those two, major problems, Prince Caspian is a very fine fantasy story. I love the Narnia that Lewis has created with all its talking animals and minotaurs and werewolves and dwarves and ice queens and Santa Claus. I love the explanation about where Caspian's people came from. I love the battle scenes and Peter's nicely choreographed duel with Caspian's uncle. I love the extremely powerful and effective White Queen cameo. I love Eddie Izzard as the voice of the chivalrous, swashbuckling mouse Reepicheep. I love swashbuckling mice. I love Liam Neeson and Peter Dinklage and Anna Popplewell. I love the kids' (especially Peter's) not being able to adjust to life as young children in England with the memories of having grown old in Narnia. I love that Edmund has learned that it's better to trust Lucy. I love that castle and the storming of it. I love that water giant.

So much to love. I just wish they'd let me focus on those things all the time instead of bloodless battles and stupid rules about magic.

Three out of five swashbuckling mice.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Thanks, Siskoid!

Siskoid's Blog of Geekery is one of my favorite places on the Internet, so it was a very cool honor to be chosen as his "Someone Else's Post for the Week" a week or so ago. It made me realize though that I really needed a different banner for my blog than "Blogger Generic."

When I shame-facedly admitted that to Siskoid, he proved his awesomeness further by volunteering to make me a new banner. Which you now see at the top of the page there. Indy, flying saucers, and dinosaurs. Everything a growing boy needs. I decided the rest of the blog needed a new look to go with it, so I'm trying out this seaside theme. For me, the ocean is adventure.

Thanks, Siskoid. Final Rating: HOT!

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Awesome List: Runaways movie, Moon Nazis, Sea Freak, Steranko, Fleming movie, and the coolest Hulk toy ever

Runaways: The Movie

I quit reading Runaways when Brian K. Vaughan quit writing it. News of a Runaways movie makes me realize how much I miss those characters. Especially Molly (pictured above).

Night at the Museum 2

I'm not quite as thrilled about a possible sequel to Night at the Museum as I am a Runaways movie, but the first one didn't suck and I'm all for any movie with the potential for more dinosaurs chasing security guards down hallowed halls.

Iron Sky

"In 1945 the Nazis fled to the moon. In 2018 they are coming back." I want this on DVD right now.

Manhunter interview

Like all lovers of excellent superhero comics, I'm way looking forward to the return from hiatus of DC's Manhunter. Comic Book Resources has a talk with series writer Marc Andreyko that's got me even more pumped up.
Andreyko said he has the next six to eight arcs for "Manhunter" in various stages of planning but his goal is to hit the century mark with the title. "My dream is to get to #100," he said. "So please, buy this book."
Sea Freak

If that panel doesn't make you want to check out Sea Freak, nothing will. (Thanks, JK!)

Steranko's Radical covers

Comic Book Resources has another great conversation up, this time with the Awesome Jim Steranko on his cover (and possible, future interior) work for Radical Comics.
...we felt the traditional action approach would be a cliche. The Radical version is different from all other comics' versions and I felt my cover should underscore that quality. So, instead of casting it in spine-cracking action, I did the opposite: I visualized a silently inert, fearsomely intense Hercules, a Hercules just before the storm, a moment crackling with tension!
Hulk (and friends) Mighty Muggs

These Marvel Mighty Muggs are all great, but look at that Hulk one. Mike Want!

Scrubs creator dishes on NBC

I just watched the NBC Scrubs "finale" the other night. As fun as it was, what a crappy way to end an even crappier relationship between the show and the network that's screwed it over for the last seven years. Here's to an excellent final season on ABC.
...when we first did the show, it was a drama with elements of comedy and lots of stupid sound effects. But some of the strongest episodes in the second and third year had character comedy. You can still do things like kill Brendan Fraser and have the lady that loved musical theater die and then sing a song at the end. This became a very Simpsons-esque show with incredibly broad, unrealistic moments and fantasies that were both in reality and not in reality. When you've been writing this show for seven years, it's so easy to get into these patterns of writing the same jokes over and over: J.D. loves Turk, J.D. wants Dr. Cox's approval, Elliot's whiny and neurotic. But this year the stuff is really f--king good. I think our old stand-by fans are really going to dig these shows.
Fleming: The Movie

Leonardo DiCaprio's bought the rights to make a fictionalized biopic (à la Shakespeare in Love or Finding Neverland) about Ian Fleming, presumably with lots of extra spy stuff thrown in.


Rufus Sewell's new show
has a new name. Cannot wait for this one.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull (2008)

SPOILERS BELOW. Lots and lots of SPOILERS. I'm serious. Don't read this unless you've seen the movie or don't care if you know everything about it before you go.

It was a good thing I knew about the aliens. It was a good thing I knew that George Lucas has gone absolutely insane and decided to make the new Indy movie a scifi flick. I had it spoiled for me a couple of weeks ago by thoughtless bloggers who made references to aliens in their freaking post titles. I was ticked at the time, but now I'm glad. I'm glad that I had a couple of weeks to get used to the idea.

My brother-in-law Dave had managed to avoid just about every spoiler, so the aliens completely blindsided him. I think he had a tougher time with the movie than I did.

I try to rationalize the aliens. The first three films were set in the '30s and were homages to the cliffhanger serials of those days. This one's set in the '50s, so a scifi theme makes some sort of thematic sense. What it doesn't make though is an Indiana Jones movie, and that's where my rationalization fails.

And unfortunately, the scifi plot isn't the only problem. There are tons of plot holes and other dropped or unexplored elements in this thing. The movie opens with Indy's having been captured by Russian spies who are looking for the body of one of the Roswell aliens. Indy escapes, but he's betrayed by a friend who's now working for the Soviets. Later, the FBI questions Indy, not just about what happened, but also about his loyalty to the country. Indy's friend's betrayal has cast a suspicious light on Indy too and the university where he teaches forces him into early retirement.

I know this is all trying to ground the movie in its historical setting during the McCarthy era of the Cold War, and that's fine (especially the Janitor from Scrubs playing one of the FBI men). What's dumb is everyone's attitude towards Indy at the end of the movie. The movie's plot is about a young greaser named Mutt (Shia LaBeouf) who asks Indy to help rescue a mutual friend of theirs. There's no world-saving going on. National security isn't in jeopardy. Yet once Indy returns from the mission, everyone's forgotten that he's a suspected communist. They even make him a dean at the university.

Then there's the problem with the central plot. We're supposed to believe that somewhere in a hidden temple in Peru are twelve alien skeletons, one of which is missing a skull. When the skull is returned, the aliens will impart great power and knowledge to whomever wants to listen. What's never explained is how the skull went missing in the first place. If these aliens are that powerful, how did a Spanish conquistador and his pals manage to take one of their heads, depowering them until it was returned?

But really, that's not the biggest problem. The biggest problem is the whole focus on aliens as ancient benefactors of human civilization. And not because it's silly, but because it's so unoriginal. Yeah, sure, Indy and friends may not have run across that theory yet in the '50s, but anyone who's seen Stargate sure has. Yet, it's played up as the big, central mystery in Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. When someone holds the crystal skull up to a painting of Mayan gods and notices that the shapes match, it's presented as a big, revelatory moment. But it's not. It's anti-climactic is what it is.

I also don't get the big distinction between aliens from space and "interdimensional travelers." Are we supposed to think it's a more original concept because they're from another dimension instead of a different planet?

And what's with Indy's not really doing any of the figuring out, but just following John Hurt's clues? Who's the hero of this thing again?

Another big disappointment was the missed opportunity for cameos in that last scene. I really didn't expect to see Short Round show up, but how awesome would that have been? Or Willie? If no one else, they should have at least had Sallah there.

In spite of all that though, I actually really liked the movie. I wanted to get my complaining out of the way first, but honestly, pound for pound, I don't think aliens are any sillier than an immortal knight guarding the Holy Grail. And there's a lot else to like about this movie. I haven't liked any of the Indy movies as much as Raiders, and I don't expect I ever will. It's pointless to try to rank the other three. They all have things I like and dislike.

Shia LaBeouf is pretty awesome. I don't take back what I said yesterday about not being able to call a Shia vehicle Indy 5, but I do take back the tone of that post. It may not be Indy, but I'd totally be excited to watch a movie about Mutt. And his interaction with Indy was perfect. It could have been very painful to watch them try to force that character into the film, but they really did a nice job on him and making him fit.

It was also nice to see Marion again. I wish she'd had more to do, but there were already a lot of characters in the movie and there wasn't enough time to focus on them all. What she did do was cool. She reminded me why I liked her so much in Raiders and have missed her since then.

Other cool things: the car chase through the jungle, killer ants, Indy's hat, the Lost Ark cameo, the fight in the Area 51 warehouse, Indy's getting stuck at ground zero for an A-bomb test about ten seconds before detonation, Shia and the monkeys, Marion's getting the duck into the water, Indy's missing his dad and Marcus Brody, quicksand, Cate Blanchett, Indy's momentarily getting so excited by the mystery that he starts working with the Soviets, Mutt's having to rein Indy back in, and the jungle setting in general.

The plot is heavily flawed, but they still managed to make it a fun adventure full of great characters we really like and want to see more of. Bring on Indy 5.

Four out of five killer ant mounds.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Adventureblog Theater: Indiana Jones, Doctor Who Smackdown, X-Files 2, and Fringe

Painting Indiana Jones


Fake Indiana Jones prequel

Doctor Who Karate

Who says the Doctor's not an action hero?


X-Files 2 trailer

JJ Abrams' Fringe trailer

Seems appropriate right after an X-Files one.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Awesome List: Lots of Indy stuff, lots of cool stuff returning, and some Cap/Thor movie details

Wait... Indy's not real?!

I am shocked! SHOCKED, I tell you!

The Lost Ark Raiders, on the other hand...

Are very real. And German.

Indiana Jones makes everything better, part 468


Indy 5 possible

And Lucas is already figuring out ways to make it suck:
I haven't even told Steven or Harrison this, but I have an idea to make Shia the lead character next time and have Harrison come back, like Sean Connery did in the last movie. I can see it working out.
That's just depressing. George, you do realize you couldn't call it Indiana Jones and the Whatever, don't you?

No, you probably don't.

Hey, you guuuuuuuys!

On a potentially much happier note, The Sesame Workshop is bringing back The Electric Company. I'm not holding my breath that it'll have those Awesome Spider-Man segments or Easy Reader, but I bet Letterman's a possibility.

Music to kill spies to

Bitter:Sweet's first album The Mating Game was really darn good. Especially the title song, which someone should just build a James Bond movie around right now. Their new album Drama is coming out next month and from the tracks I've heard, it sounds even better than the first.

Seaguy returns

I was apparently too stupid the first time around to recognize the genius behind a heroic scuba-diver, a cigar-chomping tuna, and a moon-building Pharoah. Fortunately, opportunity sometimes knocks twice.

Flash Gordon reboot, take two

After the abysmal failure of the SciFi Network's Flash Gordon series to be cool, it's nice to hear that we may get to cleanse our palates with a fresh try. I'm guessing we have the upcoming Buck Rogers movie to thank for Hollywood's interest.

Get it right, guys.

Captain America and Thor movie details (very general spoilers below)

Captain America will be a WWII period piece, though I'm guessing it'll end with him in modern times (or that'll happen early in the Avengers movie). Thor will be a fantasy film largely taking place in Asgard. It's going to be so hard to get the Thor movie right, but I'm rooting for them.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Awesome List: Kong sequel, Crystal Skulls documentary, Thor casting, and more

Kong movie sequel

I haven't read it all the way through yet, but I've got Joe DeVito's book Kong: King of Skull Island. There was nothing really wrong with the book to make me put it down, but I was trying to read it directly after the disappointing prequel novel, King Kong: The Island of the Skull and the Thoroughly Awesome Peter Jackson movie. The prequel novel burned me out on anything that wasn't the movie and unfortunately, DeVito's book fell into that category.

Still, it's got pretty pictures and promised to be a cool story, so I'd like to get back to it if only I had the time. Markosia did a comics adaptation, but the art was disappointing, so I didn't buy it. Fortunately, there's going to be a movie. Hopefully, it'll be better than the previous attempts at movie sequels.

My two bits on the Thor casting rumor

Of course it's not news that Marvel would love to have Brad Pitt play Thor. I'm sure Marvel would love to have Brad Pitt play Batroc the Leaper if they could get him. What's important about this no-brainer is that it's made me realize that yes, someone like Brad Pitt would make a good Thor and that no, it doesn't have to be a no-acting muscle-man in the role.

Super hero movies rule right now because they're starring real actors and I'm confident that whoever they get to play Thor will be able to hold his own next to Robert Downey Jr., Ed Norton, and Samuel L. Jackson in the Avengers movie.

Mystery of the Crystal Skulls

The SciFi Channel's currently running a documentary on the crystal skulls legends. Gotta set my TiVo. Looks like the next showings are tomorrow at 4:00 PM and May 28 at 10:00 AM. I'm assuming those are Eastern Times.

The Terminator countdown clock marches on

The US military is building warbots that look like spiders. Do these people not watch movies?

Why I'm not at all excited to see the Star Wars: Clone Wars cartoon

Because Topless Robot is totally right that we don't need more Jabba and Tatooine stories. I think Lucas is as tired of Star Wars as I am. I saw the trailer before Speed Racer and I was actually bored. I never thought I'd say that about Star Wars.

Eli Stone and The Unit renewed

This may fall under the category of Stuff Nobody Cares About But Me, but it makes me very happy that both Eli Stone (Yay, Sydney's Dad!) and The Unit (Yay, Dreamy Noel!) have been renewed for next season.

Seriously? Victor Garber is probably my favorite actor right now. He's "sinnnnfully delicious." (My undying love to you if you get that reference.) And it occurs to me that his daughter on Alias used to be married to Dreamy Noel, so... small world.

Welcome to Your World, Baby

Cute, pink, children's books are something else that I don't often talk about here, but it's Truly Awesome that Cori Doerrfeld - one of my favorite visual artists - is illustrating a cute, pink, children's book for Brooke Shields. Cori and her husband Tyler Page are two people I always look forward to seeing at conventions and getting new stuff from.

Speaking of conventions

Here's a picture Jess Hickman took of me and Sam Hiti jawing before MicroCon while Grant Gould is hard at work.

The Book of Lies

Brad Meltzer's new book
will feature the search for two murder weapons: the gun that killed the father of Superman co-creator Jerry Siegel, and the item that Cain used to kill Abel. Sounds very, very cool.

Indiana Jones makes everything better, ad infinitum

Fast food.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Awesome List: Batman vs. pirates, maps, the new Knight Rider show gets cooler, and more

New Batmobile

Topless Robot has the correct reaction to the new Batmobile:

I can't imagine the Bat-rims are part of his intimidating criminals and so forth, because frankly, they're ridiculous. All custom rims are ridiculous. No decent criminal would think a man driving a car with custom rims should be feared; they'd think he's a douchebag. If I saw a car whose rims all said "Steve" on them, I'd assume a guy named Steve drove the car, and that Steve was a huge dick.

So is Batman feeling his age? Is he trying to get down with the kids? Is this Robin's fault? Was he minutes away from putting neon underneath the car, and decided on the rims instead?
Doctor Who theme remixes

Whomix is so Awesome.


There's only one thing better than dinosaur comics: FREE dinosaur comics!

BioShock movie

I'm not a videogamer, but I've always loved the design of BioShock and a movie made from it sounds excellent. Especially one directed by Gore Verbinski.

Mapping the Mysterious Island

I love it when people with more time than I've got spend it making things I love.

Batman vs. pirates

If you don't know about The Daily Batman yet, here's an excellent example of why you should.

More new Bond pics

Can be found here. Some small, potential spoilers there, I guess.

Indiana Jones makes everything better, continued

Desktop icons.

Literature maps

Gnod has come up with a fun tool to help you discover new writers based on the writers you already know you like. You decide who you want in the center of the map and the program does the rest. The closer two writers are on the map, the more likely you'll dig them both.

New Knight Rider show back to drawing board, sort of

New Showrunner Gary Scott Thompson promises to up the Awesome when he and his writers turn the new Knight Rider pilot into an actual series.
We sort of had to backpaddle, and the good thing about what they did - and by the way I had nothing to do with the 2-hour (movie), I was brought in afterwards to do the series - the good thing about what they did with it is they left it almost a blank slate. There are a few things, but everything that was there we can either fill in and embellish or basically discredit in some way and say no that's not the truth. Actually that's open very well for us mythology-wise. One of the things we're going to play with is Mike's military background, and there's a couple of little secrets in there that I'm not going to reveal to you right now, but there's some fun stuff. And then the other thing we're doing too is just the car- I really want this car to be super cool and super hot. We've gone back in and we're really redesigning the whole Attack Car, and that's going to be a big secret we're going to hang on to as long as we can (laughs), exactly what the car can and can't do.

...This has to be super cool. And it has to be super cool every week. And there has to be really cool gadgets, and technology-wise, we're at a level where stuff should be way beyond what we're seeing now, and that's where we want to go.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Speed Racer (2008)

Well, that sucked.

It sucked that it was so Awesome and I couldn't go back in and see it again immediately.

And it sucked that it came out the weekend after Iron Man and is now seen as a flop. Because it's a great sports movie with gorgeous visuals, an interesting story, butt-kicking and car-exploding action, a kid and monkey who are way more funny than annoying, John Goodman and Susan Sarrandon in roles that'll make you want to go home and hug your parents, and Christina Ricci in a role that'll make you want to sit in a parked car with Christina Ricci. All the actors were perfect for their parts (especially Matthew Fox as Racer X), there were some nice surprises in the story, and yet everything wrapped up exactly how it was supposed to. Seriously, I couldn't be happier with it.

Okay, I could've been a little more happy had there been more Trixie. I hear they cut out some of Christina Ricci's butt-kicking scenes. Hopefully those get added back in for the DVD (which I'll be buying the day it comes out).

Five out of five pink helicopters.

Awesome List: Psych and Burn Notice, Marvel movies and cartoons, giant monsters, and still more Indy

Josie gets Psyched

Rachel Leigh Cook is going to be on an episode of Psych; playing Shawn's high school crush. Also, Cybill Shepherd will be playing Shawn's mom in a couple of episodes.

Even more important to know: the next season kicks off July 18.

Six gets Burned

Man, I'm just full of the puns today, aren't I? Genuinely sorry.

Anyway, in other awesome USA Network news, Tricia Helfer's going to be in a few episodes of Burn Notice. Season Two begins on July 10.

Jin gets Strained

Okay, I guess I wasn't that sorry.

Finding out that Daniel Dae Kim from Lost is in A&E's Andromeda Strain mini-series on May 26 and 27 makes me sort of want to see it.

Marvel movies and TV

I haven't talked much about Iron Man, because I really don't have anything to add to the discussion. I feel just like everyone else who's seen it: it's the best superhero movie ever made and it makes me want to read about that Tony Stark in the comics. I'm thinking I'll probably start with Enter the Mandarin. I hear good things.

Also, that scene after the credits was awesome and it makes me even more excited to see The Incredible Hulk because I have a feeling we're going to see it repeated there. The weekend Iron Man was released, Marvel announced it's movie plans for the next couple of years: Iron Man 2 and Thor in 2010, then Captain America and The Avengers in 2011. An Ant-Man movie is also supposed to fit in there somewhere.

I've been wondering why Marvel would bother with an Ant-Man movie until I saw this schedule and realized that Iron Man, the Hulk, and Thor are the original Avengers, with Captain America joining soon afterwards. Except that Iron Man, the Hulk, and Thor weren't the entire original team. There was also Ant-Man. (And the Wasp, but she's Ant-Man's wife and could possibly appear in the Ant-Man movie, if they plan to use her at all.)

So, I'm speculating that we'll see a similar post-credits scene in all the upcoming Marvel movies, culminating in an amazing cross-over movie event, The Avengers.

In other Marvel screen news, Marvel recently announced a new cartoon for next year. Marvel Super Hero Squad is a "'super stylized' animated series geared toward 6- to 8-year-olds." It'll be joining Marvel's current cartoon properties: Spectacular Spider-Man (possibly the greatest super-hero cartoon of all time), Wolverine and the X-Men, and Iron Man: Armored Adventures.

Giant, floating, space squid

Undead Backbrain profiles my new favorite giant monster: Dogora.

The Outlander monster

Looks Awesome, doesn't it? It's from that Vikings vs. alien vs. giant monster movie Undead Backbrain has been telling us about.

Indiana Jones and the Tomb of the Gods

The ads for Dark Horse's Indiana Jones and the Tomb of the Gods comic have been frustrating in their lack of information about the story. Here's the solicitation for the first issue:
Dr. Henry Jones Jr. may be the world's preeminent archeologist, but that doesn't mean he's spent his life in the library! Ready and able to do whatever it takes to preserve the final remnants of history's most significant happenings, he'll go head-to-head against Hitler's elite who want nothing more than to exploit objects of ancient power in pursuit of world dominance!

Be there for the beginning of this roller coaster thrill ride of non-stop excitement as Indiana Jones dons his hat, packs his whip, and undertakes an endeavor more awesome than anything ever!

Indiana Jones sets out on an all-new adventure that will take him around the globe!
I'm not looking for spoilers here, but that's not at all helpful, right? It's just a summary of the basic Indiana Jones concept. Like we really need to know what that is. It doesn't tell you anything about when the adventure takes place or even what "the Tomb of the Gods" is supposed to be. The ads for issues 2 and 3 aren't any better.

Fortunately, Comic Book Resources has an interview with some extra information. It's set in between Temple of Doom and Raiders at a time when Indy is transitioning from being all about "fortune and glory" to becoming the "it belongs in a museum" guy. Personally, I'm not sure those two statements show the character growth that Tomb of the Gods writer Rob Williams sees in them, but that's a subject for a longer post. Williams says that the "fortune and glory" Indy would've shot the ark with a bazooka at the end of Raiders and Tomb of the Gods is meant to depict that change. (I agree that Indy has changed by the end of Raiders, but it's a change we see within Raiders itself, not off-camera sometime after Temple of Doom.)

They're still not telling what The Tomb of the Gods is, but I can let that go. Even if I don't agree with him, I appreciate the thought that Williams has put into his story, so I'll be checking it out when it's available in collected form.

Indiana Jones makes everything better, part whatever

This is another travel package, but unlike Expedia's that just lets you visit the locations from the various Indy films, Viajes Con Imaginación have a deal that's part Egyptian travel; part mystery party.
...they not only organize your entire itinerary, but they also plan strange things and make them happen to you. For example: robberies, kidnappings, ghosts coming to haunt you at night...
They also do a Jack the Ripper themed London tour. So very, very cool.

Michael Bay: Crystal Skull is "gonna suck."

You might be surprised to hear it after reading that headline, but I have new respect for Michael Bay.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Awesome List: Giant Robot Animals, Terra, The King's Gold, and lots of Indy stuff

Giant Robot Monkey vs. Giant Robot Cat

Matthew Porter is taking commissions to have his Giant Cat destroy the city or landmark of your choice. I recommend browsing around his site too. There's a giant seamonster vs. pirate monkey picture that's awe-inspiring.


Oh, wow. I cannot wait to see this.

The King's Gold

Anytime I hear a main character described as "a brilliant bibliophile and owner of the [insert store name here] bookshop," I get nervous. "Brilliant bookshop owner" screams Mary Sue to me. But, the combination of stolen Aztec gold, alchemy, and werewolves is intriguing and Publishers Weekly says, "The characters are unique and memorable, the action fast-paced, the plot serpentine and the riddles challenging in this entertaining adventure."

So, what the heck. I'll give it a shot. And since I'm psychologically incapable of starting a series in the middle, I might as well get the first one - about a jungle treasure hunt - too.

Still, I expect that Arturo Perez-Reverte's novel of the same name will be unbeatable.

Allan Quartermain and the Temple of Skulls

Wondering how shameless rip-off kings The Asylum are planning to capitalize on Kingdom of the Crystal Skull? Wonder no more.

Feel dirty after that?

Shower yourself with the cleansing goodness of the latest Crystal Skull trailer. Sure, you've seen it already by now, but not on my blog. And you know you want to hear that whip-crack again.

And now, some more ways in which Indiana Jones makes everything better

Lego Indy.

Indy search engine.

Indy, er... IndyCar.

Indy lottery tickets.

Indy's hat and whip.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Awesome List: More Indy, Mummy 3, Dinosaur Fetch, Sleestaks, Vampire Month, and the Hulk

The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor

I have such low hopes for this movie that it can't possibly do anything but exceed my expectations. Which of course raises my expectations just enough that I'm bound to be disappointed. What a vicious cycle.

Coming so soon after Kingdom of the Crystal Skulls, it's either going to suck even more by comparison or I'll cut it some extra slack because I'll really be missing Indy by then.

Anyway, there a website for it now.

New Hulk trailer

I'm sure everyone's seen this by now, but I'm still catching up on old news and just in case you've been in Haiti or someplace...

And did you notice that they worked the TV theme into the music at the end?

I'm so excited to see this, especially after Iron Man. I'm planning on sticking around after the credits too to see if what happened at the end of Iron Man also happens here. I'm betting it does.

Only two things disappoint me about the Hulk trailers so far. One is that William Hurt is so wrong for General Ross. Maybe we're not seeing the best parts in the trailers, but he just looks so sleepy.

The other thing I don't like is the design of the Hulk. He's not bad, but if you're doing an all-CGI character anyway, why not make him look really cool like this version?

You almost had me, new Land of the Lost movie!

I mean, those Sleetstaks look really frickin cool. But then I remembered it was a Will Farrell romantic comedy. Whew!

Lucas and Spielberg talk Indy

Entertainment Weekly did a very nice interview. There are some potential spoilers, so be careful, but there's also some cool info about the series in general. Like how Last Crusade was originally going to be Monkey King and feature a haunted castle.

May is Vampire Month

At least for First Second Books it is. And for Newsarama too. I've got a couple of vampire related posts coming over there this month in celebration.

Indiana Jones makes everything better, part four

Expedia's got Indiana-inspired travel packages for the summer. You can visit places like Egypt, India, Jordan, and Peru.

"Fetch wasn't as much fun before dogs."

Click through to see why.

Indiana Jones makes everything better, part five

Indy Kubrick with Golden Idol Be@rbrick. I really don't get those Be@rbrick's, but that Golden Idol one is pretty cool.

Indiana Jones makes everything better, part six

I totally want to eat with something called an Adventure Spoon. And Kellogg's especially rules for actually putting it in the box instead of making you send off for it (unlike the Search Light). Gotta go get me some Frosted Mini-Wheats.

Well, I used to like Catcher in the Rye

That is until I learned that J.D. Salinger said that Raiders of the Lost Ark "might be excused for its unwitty, unfunny awful socko-ness if it had been put together by Harvard Lampoon seniors." Oh, J.D...

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Awesome List: Mostly Indy stuff, but also some Black Canary and Jesse James vs. Machine Gun Kelly

Giant Black Canary Doll

One they get this big, I'm sorry, but you're not allowed to call them "action figures" anymore. It's a Barbie doll. Not that it's not a very cool Barbie doll, especially with the interchangeable heads. I mean, I'd get one.

If they weren't ninety-frickin-dollars. There's collectible, and then there's insane.

Dan Taylor plugs Jesse vs. Machine Gun

The Hero Happy Hour creator (and all-around Good Joe) lists Jesse James vs. Machine Gun Kelly as one of his Eight to Anticipate in July. Thanks, Dan!

Indiana Jones and the Heap of Old Junk

Are the real crystal skulls fake? That's what the French think!

Are those Indiana Jones comics any good?

Suite 101 reviews Indiana Jones Omnibus, Volume 1.

Indiana Jones makes everything better: part two

You call it "Adventure Bar," Doll!

Indiana Jones makes everything better: part three

Dr. Pepper and the Passport to Explore

He's not Indy, but...

Snowy: Treasure Hunter II is a pretty fun online game.

Voodoo Indy

Yeah, okay, I know it's not a voodoo doll. It's a Japanese, knitted, stuffed toy. I like my explanation a lot better.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Jungle Tales and Racism

It should be pretty obvious by now that I love the jungle adventure. Jungles are wonderfully exotic, brutally dangerous places just perfect for exploring and getting into trouble.

So, when I ran across this post by David Brothers a couple of months ago, I gotta admit that it rained on my parade a little. I put off commenting on it because I needed some time to process it and figure out how I feel about it, and then I sort of forgot about it all together until a recent controversy (more about that below) reminded me of it.

Growing up as a White Dude, I hadn't had to think too much about how natives were portrayed in jungle adventures. I realized that a lot of Burroughs' depictions were horribly racist, but I was able to wince and move on. I was also sensitive to the depictions of natives - both negative and positive - in the Johnny Weissmuller films, but I certainly didn't let negative ones keep me from watching more of the series.

Some may argue - and I wouldn't disagree - that the few positive portrayals of native characters in jungle literature don't make up for the far more numerous negative stereotypes. But still, I think it's unfair for David in the post I linked to above to say that "Tarzan, Congo Bill, every jungle girl movie ever, Jungle Book, and other stories were essentially all about what Rudyard Kipling called 'The White Man’s Burden.' Bringing peace, light, knowledge, and lots of guns to countries populated by brown skins and shooting them until they give up." To be fair, he admits he's being cynical, but it bothers me that he lumps every jungle adventure story ever made together and calls them racist. I beg to differ.

So does one of the commentators to David's post, calling special attention to Kipling's Jungle Book, which is decidedly not about White Man's Burden. It's about an Indian boy, not a white person. And even if you see it as a metaphor for Western civilization's invasion of less-developed countries, Mowgli the invader never tries to bring anything from human culture to the jungle. If anything, he embraces jungle culture and tries to bring some of it back to civilization. Hell, most of the Weissmuller Tarzan movies are about the same thing, for that matter. About how much superior jungle culture is to "civilized" culture.

And even in the Burroughs novels there were many, many times that Tarzan was not about how much cooler he was than African natives. Sometimes it was about outwitting Russian spies, stealing gold from white women , fighting lost cities full of Roman legionnaires, duking it out with talking gorillas, or wrestling dinosaurs.

I guess my point is that yes, racism exists in a lot of older jungle adventures. That's inexcusable and I'm not dismissing it. But it's not prevalent in all of them and I think we have the option of picking and choosing which we enjoy without dismissing the entire genre as inherently racist. And certainly anyone hoping to update the genre should be careful not to adopt the old attitudes and stereotypes, but I don't see them doing that.

What made me think of this again is that there's been a lot of commotion lately about a modern feminist book that used images of old, racist, jungle girl comics. I agree that it was in bad taste to use those images, but my fear is that the current controversy will reinforce the notion David put forward that all jungle adventure stories are filled with that kind of thing. The images used in that book are from old Golden Age comics, an age that wasn't exactly known for it's enlightened depiction of non-white people in general, regardless of genre. Newer jungle comics like Sheena, Shanna, and Jungle Girl may have problems of their own, but racist depictions of native people aren't among them.

I guess all I'm saying is that I agree there are changes that need to be made, but to a large extent they are being made. Let's continue making them, but leave the half-naked jungle people, the dinosaurs, and the talking gorillas alone.


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