Friday, August 29, 2008

Gamora: Guardians of the Galaxy #1



Guardians of the Galaxy is easily one of my top five favorite Marvel comics right now. (Thinking quickly, I'll fill the other spots with Captain America, Incredible Hercules, X-Men: First Class, and Wolverine: First Class.) There's a lot to like about Guardians: the steampunk design of the team leader's costume, the talking raccoon, the grumpy little treeman, the ferocious battles, the witty banter, and oh yes, the cute alien precog in the Hawaiian skirt.



One of my favorite things about it though is Gamora, a former assassin.

I've seen Gamora a few times during my years reading Marvel books. She usually showed up around Adam Warlock though, and since I never liked him much, I'd dismissed her too by association. My problem with Adam Warlock - and the rest of Marvel's pre-Annihilation cosmic stuff, frankly - is the focus on the mystical. I mean, Marvel's never referred to Adam Warlock, Silver Surfer, Thanos, and all those guys' stories as "scifi" or even "outer space adventure." It's "cosmic," with the implication being that these are huge, grand sagas meant to explore metaphysical questions about the universe and humanity's role in it. Yawn.

With Annihilation, all that has finally changed and we're getting some great space opera with some really cool characters I've only marginally been aware of until now. Adam Warlock is one of them, and though he's still this spiritual kind of character, there's far less focus on his mysticism than there is on his shooting laser blasts out of his hands. And that's all for the better, says I.

Gamora used to date (or whatever the outer space kids are calling it these days) Adam Warlock. She's not anymore though, even though both of them are now Guardians. That's cool too, because the few times I'd seen her before, her role as assassin was far subsurvient to her role as "Adam's girlfriend." Now she gets to just be herself and I love what I see.

I don't know for sure, but I get the feeling that past writers haven't really been sure what to do with Gamora. Maybe they were torn between those two roles I just mentioned. Whatever the case though, in Guardians of the Galaxy #1, writers Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning introduce Gamora as a character who's lost her way.



It's a cool way to reboot her. I don't have to know the ins and outs of her history because she's starting fresh. But knowing that she's confused and conflicted right now makes me want to know how she got to that point, so I'm immediately connected and interested in her. Drax too, to a lesser extent, but he's got a lot less personality than Gamora. Witness, for example, Gamora's reaction when Nova approaches her about joining Starlord's new team.



Abnett and Lanning are great writers (I've been a fan of theirs since discovering them on Legion Lost), so it's no surprise that they inject some humor into Gamora.



And...



There's plenty of fighting and shooting and sword-slinging in the first issue, but it all involves the entire group and Gamora doesn't get the spotlight much. It's her sense of humor and screwed up way of seeing things that makes me like her so much. I'm very curious to read her early adventures and see how much of Abnett and Lanning's take is based on previous stuff and how much is them fixing her.

I'll be writing more later about the next issues of Guardians. They're up to I think #4 and Gamora does get the opportunity to show how tough she really is. So stay tuned.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

She Creature (2001)

I had really low expectations for She Creature when it was on Sci Fi not too long ago. The name's totally cheesy for one thing and, well, it was the Sci Fi Channel. But it had Rufus Sewell and Carla Gugino in it, so how bad could it be? Both of them can act, and if nothing else, Sewell would be impossibly cool while Gugino would be incredibly hot. Kinda like a McDLT.

And they do both do a great job in She Creature and, surprisingly, so does everyone else. Especially Aubrey Morris as a retired sea captain who introduces Sewell and Gugino to his captured mermaid.

The story starts off awesome. Sewell and Gugino play a couple named Angus and Lily who run a carnival in Ireland. Lily's act is to dress up like a mermaid and that brings in the old sea captain who thinks that maybe they've captured the real thing. If they have, he wants to warn them about what they've got, but he realizes that they don't. He's a little eccentric and rambling, so thinking he's not entirely capable of getting himself home, Angus and Lily drive him back in their carriage (it's set early in the 20th century) to his totally awesome seaside mansion that looks like it came right out of a Scooby Doo episode.

The captain feeds them dinner and tells them all about mermaids and how dangerous they really are. When Lily - mostly to be nice - says that she believes him, the old man shows them a tank in which he's chained a real mermaid. Angus offers to buy it, but the captain refuses, so Angus comes back later that night with some men to steal it.

They put it on a ship set for America where Angus hopes to join the Ringling Bros. circus. The rest of the action takes place on the boat and it's mostly great stuff. The mermaid starts to get into Lily's head and people start disappearing on the boat. It's mysterious and thrilling and you don't even mind much that the mermaid's tail is obviously made out of rubber. The rest of her is as beautiful and creepy as a mermaid should be.

Unfortunately, the third act becomes a completely different movie. The mystery and slow-burning horror disappears to be replaced by a crappy monster flick with the mermaid "running" around the ship killing everyone Alien-style. Up until that point, I was ready to give the movie four out of five whatevers, but the end absolutely destroys all the good that had come before. I loved the first two thirds too much to hate the entire movie, but I still can only give it...

Two out of three seaside mansions.

Weeki Wachee Mermaids

I grew up in Florida and whenever we were near Orlando I used to see signs for Weeki Wachee Springs. We never went (not when the Mouse was so close by), but I've always wondered what the famous Weeki Wachee mermaid show was like.

And now I don't have to wonder any more.



Thanks, Black Mermaid!

Adventureblog Gallery: Sea Monsters

Triton strangling a sea serpent



By John Hamilton Mortimer.

The Adventures of Uncle Lubin



By William Heath Robinson.

Whale Man



By Darryl Young.

Michael Phelps: Sub-Mariner or Aquaman?

Last week I linked to a post Caleb wrote about the popularity of Aquaman and Namor. Of course, the context of that post had to do with Michael Phelps and which underwater superhero people most easily connected him with.

I haven't said a whole lot about Phelps and I probably should have. Caleb's got some great links about how Phelps is actually a mutant perfectly designed for underwater speed. The only thing Phelps is missing is webbed fingers and flippers.

Here's one more link for the pile though: John Kovalic's Dork Tower on the subject.

(Okay, two more links for the pile, though this one's not Phelps related. Jon Hex has a great overview of the careers of both Aquaman and Namor. He proclaims Namor the better underwater character and I would've agreed with him before I read the post, but now I think that in all DC's not knowing what to do with Aquaman, they've actually made him the more versatile and interesting character. That's a rookie's perspective though. I haven't dug into the actual adventures of either yet.)

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Where's Atlantis?

Talking about Atlantis in 20,000 Leagues yesterday got me thinking about the Lost Continent again. I've always been interested in the legends, but not enough to really do any research about it. Without making a scholarly endeavor out of it, I thought it might be good to start collecting some of the various theories about the place, just to round out my knowledge. I found three right away.

I should say before I get into this that I take the same approach to Atlantis legends that I do stories about UFOs and other supernatural phenomena. It's the Fox Mulder approach: "I want to believe." I'm a skeptic, but not a judgmental one. I think it's possible for all sorts of things to exist in the world that are unexplained by current science. I just haven't yet seen any evidence for them myself.

The Atlantis legend of course has its origins in Plato. One day I'll take the plunge and read Plato's descriptions for myself, but for now, the Unexplained Mysteries blog's summary will have to do. There's nothing much there that I haven't heard before, but if you're unfamiliar with Plato's account, that'll get catch you up to where I'm at anyway. Later, when I'm feeling motivated, I'll dig into the original text and report back.

I watched an episode of Mystery Hunters last night that explored a theory that Atlantis might have existed in what's now Santorini, Greece. It's a kids' show and never gets too deep into its subject matter, but I've enjoyed other episodes I've seen. There's usually some information I've never heard before - like the Santorini theory about Atlantis - so it's a nice starting point for some light, easily digested research.

What's attractive about Santorini as a possible location for Atlantis is that it was the site of a massive volcanic eruption that did indeed send a large chunk of it to the bottom of the Mediterranean. You can see the volcano in the middle of the lagoon formed by Santorini on the right and the smaller island of Therasia on the left.

Unfortunately, there's plenty of archaeological evidence that the society living on Santorini at the time of the eruption was Minoan, not Atlantean (whatever that might look like).

Luminary Mind believes that Atlantis has become the Canary Islands and Madeira, just northwest of Morocco. In that theory, Atlantis was connected to Morocco by a series of land bridges that were either destroyed in the same volcanic eruption that took Atlantis or were wiped out later in the Great Flood. It's kind of a cool theory, but there's no evidence for it other than the author's claiming that it happened that way.

And unfortunately, the author claims a lot of special, insightful knowledge about Atlantis' culture and technology. It's all very New Age. I'd forgotten the huge connection between Atlantis and New Age philosophy. It makes the pursuit of knowledge about Atlantis less attractive. I'm all for the technologically advanced, lost civilization. I even like the idea of aliens building the pyramids; that's just cool. Magic crystals and enlightened dolphins don't do a thing for me though.

Still, Atlantis in the Canary Islands: not bad. I'm not discounting that one until I learn more about it.

Even cooler though is the idea that the continent of Atlantis is what we now call South America. Jim Allen believes that the continent of Atlantis and the island city of Atlantis were two different places, and that it was only the island city that sank into the sea. What's more, the island city didn't sink into the Atlantic ocean, but into the inland Lake Poopo in modern day Bolivia.

He has tons of geographic, anthropological, linguistic, and even historical evidence to back him up. He also offers a reasonable explanation for the Atlantean metal orichulcum. What he doesn't have is archaeological evidence, but he points to other sites of submerged cities in South America suggesting that there might be something there that just hasn't been found yet.

It's pretty compelling, fascinating stuff and I really like it except for one reason. It doesn't leave open the possibility of an undersea kingdom populated by giant seahorse-riding merfolk. Still, in the search for historic Atlantis (if such a place ever existed), I like Allen's the best.

(He also includes a translation of the entire Atlantis passage from Plato as well as links to other Atlantis sites. It's your Atlantis one-stop shop and I'll be exploring it a lot more.)

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

20,000 Leagues Under the Sea (1997: the Crenna version)

There were two TV versions of 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea made in 1997. One starred Michael Caine as Nemo, Patrick Dempsey (Can't Buy Me Love, Grey's Anatomy) as Professor Aronnax, Bryan Brown (FX, Cocktail) as Ned Land, and Mia Sara (Ferris Bueller's Day Off) as someone who wasn't in Jules Verne's novel. I'm going to have to track that one down, because it's easily the more interestingly cast of the two.

The one I saw stars Richard Crenna (the Rambo movies) as Prof. Aronnax and no one else I've ever heard of. That's not to say that it's a bad movie though. It's certainly got its problems, but I was never bored, which is already a vast improvement over the novel.

Jules Verne's book isn't so much a story as it is a collection of short episodes about life on the Nautilus. It's loosely tied together by events surrounding Nemo's capture of Professor Aronnax, his servant/assistant Conseil, and a whaler named Ned Land, but the book leaves that mostly as a subplot and concentrates instead on describing the undersea wonders that Nemo shows Aronnax on their tour around the world. It's more travelogue than novel and it pretty much sucks.

MOVIE SPOILERS BELOW

The Richard Crenna movie corrects that fault by turning Conseil into Aronnax's daughter Sophie. (I wonder if they didn't do something similar with Mia Sara in the Michael Caine version.) She's still his assistant, but she adds an element of tension missing from the book by giving Nemo and Ned something else to fight over other than Ned's whining about his freedom.

Sophie is convincingly torn in her affections for the two men. Ned is manly and charming, but he's also a rogue and Sophie's not sure she can trust him with her heart. She doesn't really like Nemo, but he's refined, wealthy, her dad likes him, and there's a tragic aspect about him that seems to intrigue her.

The romantic triangle carries us through the story, so that scenes of Atlantis, a sea monster, and a shark attack while diving are all background to the drama. That's exactly opposite of the novel's approach and I liked it a lot.

I wish that the acting had been more exciting though. Ned's the coolest character on the Nautilus and he spends most of the movie locked away so that he can't get to Sophie.

Sophie's a pretty generic heroine. I couldn't figure out what everyone saw in her except that she's pretty and they're all sailors without a lot of women around. Nemo has some women on his crew, but he explains that they're followers; not equals. So Sophie seems to win Nemo and Ned over by being the only available woman on ship. Not exactly the stuff of great love stories.

Nemo's dull as a brick too. Ben Cross plays him really low key. He has moments of passion, but for the most part he's so measured and careful that he's charmless. Nemo ought to be cool. He ought to be romantic and dangerous. I didn't hate Cross' performance, but it makes me sad to think about what it could have been.

Crenna does okay, but with the focus on Nemo, Sophie, and Ned, Aronnax sort of gets left behind. He's much more important in the novel where he has more power over Conseil and Ned, but in this version his role has mostly to do with his approval or disapproval of Sophie's love life. And Sophie is such a strong, independent woman that her father's opinion doesn't really matter to her anyway.

A couple of other things that need to be mentioned in any review of 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea: the design of the Nautilus and the giant squid fight.

Like the plot, the Nautilus in this version doesn't suck, but it could've been a whole lot better. It's pretty much an oval with a ramming horn on the front and propellers on the back. It's not ugly, but it's not cool either. The Nautilus ought to look cool. But then, Cross' Nemo isn't the kind of guy to build a cool submarine. He's way too reserved. (On the other hand, he did build laser guns for his crew to fight sharks with, so he's got a cool side buried under all that stuffiness somewhere.)

The giant squid fight, disappointingly, doesn't exist in this version. It's replaced by a giant eel, which could have been cool if the CGI had been better. Still, getting away from it involves Ned going inside it's mouth with dynamite strapped to a harpoon, so it's still pretty awesome. It just would've been more awesome if there had also been tentacles.

Three out of five shark-killing laser guns.

Black Canary movie?



Not really, though it's more possible than you might think. According to MTV, Super Max writer Justin Marks says that he "remains hopeful" that Black Canary might make it into the Green Arrow prison break movie.

It's a long shot, since the movie's all about Green Arrow being stuck behind bars with lots of DC bad guys like Lex Luthor, the Joker, and the Riddler, but Marks says that "she’s obviously a huge part of Ollie’s life and now that they’re married especially."

How hard would it be to show her worrying about Ollie and maybe even help him escape from the outside? That took me like two seconds to figure out.

Black Canary illustration by Cliff Chiang (who's got a ton of other cool stuff in that link too including more Black Canary, Zatanna, and Red Sonja).

Adventureblog Gallery: Cook(e)s and Fishnets

Black Canary



By Darwyn Cooke.



And Katie Cook.

Zatanna



Also by Katie Cook.

Adventureblog Gallery: Subs vs. Sea Monsters



By Leo Morey.



Not sure who this is by, but I found it here.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Wonder Woman is sort of a dork

Topless Robot may have a good point about the Invisible Plane's being a bad idea though.

Defending Wonder Woman

It seems to be in vogue to attack Wonder Woman lately. But I’m not talking about Cheetah or Dr. Psycho. I’m talking about bloggers.

And as much as I dig Wonder Woman, I’m okay with that. As long as the critics can clearly state reasons for their dislike. I mean, Lord knows there’s plenty broken with Wonder Woman comics, but I see way too many posts that start from the assumption that Wonder Woman sucks and that anyone who disagrees is – I don’t know – a mindless, Gail Simone devotee or something. That’s not helpful. But then those bloggers aren’t really trying to be helpful, are they?

Dominik B. over at The Independent Comics Site hasn’t been reading any Wonder Woman comics, but he sure doesn’t like the character. He casts all Wonder Woman fans as immature dorks who just want to sleep with a cartoon character. And Wonder Woman, in Dominik’s world, is some kind of wide-eyed innocent who talks “her usual hubbub about how this world is odd and hers is not” and complains about “how everything dominated by a man sucks.” And she apparently does this “in every panel she appears in,” all the while “going on about how she’s the epitome of a woman.” I’d refute all this except that it doesn’t need refuting because Dominik pulled it all out of his butt. None of it even remotely describes Wonder Woman as she’s currently written. He hates the character not because he’s frustrated with something he’s read, but because he doesn’t like this made-up idea he has about who she is.

It’s the laziest kind of writing. He asks the question, “How do we fix this mess?” then admits that he doesn’t know and offers that as proof that it’s too messed up to fix. He thinks that maybe “the guys who are responsible for Power Girl’s most recent origin” (he apparently doesn’t know their names and can’t be bothered to look them up) might be able to help, but then decides that “on second thought, that might not be the best idea, after all. I don’t really know why, but it just strikes me as something that would not work.” Nice thinking there, Dominik.

Topless Robot’s “10 Reasons No One Cares About Wonder Woman” has been getting a lot more attention, mostly because it’s Topless Robot and is – as usual – very funny. And writer Alicia Ashby has obviously read plenty of Wonder Woman before diving into the discussion. She's at least thought this through.

Most of her list is really subjective though. She doesn’t like the lasso, the invisible plane, or how whacked out the Golden Age stories were. Personally, I dig all that stuff, but I can certainly understand if it’s not your thing.

Reason number nine (there are no great Wonder Woman stories) made me pause, but I think she’s wrong there too. I’d offer Wonder Woman: The Hiketeia as one example. Wonder Woman #170 (where she spends the day being interviewed by Lois Lane) is another. I wish I could remember issue numbers for the stories about how Wonder Woman has inspired regular women to stand up for themselves. Those may not be as immediately recognizable as The Dark Knight Returns, but what is?

I really disagree with her number one reason: we already have Superman. Ashby says that Wonder Woman’s “modern overhauls have just made her powers and personality more like Superman’s,” but that’s not true at all. If anything, Rucka’s time writing Wonder Woman and Superman just before Infinite Crisis and Kurt Busiek’s current Trinity series highlight exactly how different Wonder Woman and Superman’s personalities really are. Superman is all truth and justice and apple pie. Wonder Woman has much more of an edge to her.

And saying that the two are equal in their powers is just ridiculous. They’re both super strong, and that’s where the similarity ends. Maybe Wonder Woman can still fly, but if she can, it’s being deemphasized. I admit that having her fly was a bad idea, but I don’t see a whole lot of that out of her any more.

I also disagree with Ashby’s premise behind the article. She says that because the monthly Wonder Woman book is good right now, and because Wonder Woman appears in Trinity, and because there’s an animated, direct-to-DVD movie coming out, that there ought to be this huge Wonder Woman frenzy going on like there was for Superman and Batman before Superman Returns and The Dark Knight. And since there’s not, it must mean that people just don’t like the character.

Really, though? I’m going to discount the quality of the comic and a co-starring appearance in Trinity as reasons people ought to be excited about Wonder Woman. Superman’s also in Trinity and has James Robinson writing his comic, but there’s no extraordinary mainstream craving for his merchandise either.

And are we really supposed to believe that an animated direct-to-DVD movie is supposed to generate the same kind of excitement as Superman Returns and The Dark Knight? Let’s get a major, live-action Wonder Woman feature coming to theaters and then see if nobody cares. I don’t know, maybe they won’t. But until we have that for comparison, it’s not even apples and oranges. It’s more like apples and raisins.

The Wonder Woman illustration is at the top is by Scott Hepburn.

Hawke (Ted Bell)

This one didn't even make the 100 Page Rule. And I so wanted to like it too.

I had to go to the DMV not too long ago and realized as I was out running errands beforehand that I'd brought nothing to read. So I popped into a Barnes & Noble and browsed until I found Ted Bell. Hawke, the first novel in his Alex Hawke series, looked promising. There's a picture of a boat, a reference to "high adventure," a comparison to Clive Cussler (whom I've never read, but have always meant to), and a romantic, swashbuckling name for the hero.

Turning the book over I saw that the hero is the direct descendant of a legendary privateer and a decorated Naval hero himself. There's also something about a top secret assignment in the Caribbean. I bought the book right away. Unfortunately, I only made it to page seventy-two.

It began promisingly enough. Young Alex Hawke is on a yacht trip with his parents when modern-day pirates board the boat and orphan the boy. Bell writes the scene convincingly and horrifyingly. I felt real fear and sorrow for the poor kid. It's only when we flash forward to years later that things start to come apart.

Alex overcomes his adversity to join the British Navy and not only better himself, but to become annoyingly perfect. He's rich, he's charming, he's adventurous. The only flaws I could find in him before I gave up are that he's no good at golf and that he doesn't know how to break up with women very well.

I could've stuck it out if that's all that was wrong, but I was already irritated by the time I got to page sixty-eight, which is where I started questioning my commitment to the book. Four pages later, I closed it for good.

What's happening on page sixty-eight is that Alex is trying to track down a lead on a missing submarine and is in a Caribbean bar interviewing a couple of former Soviets who now traffic in high-end military equipment like hovercrafts, helicopters, scud missiles, and - hopefully - submarines. Alex has heard that the men had recently been arguing over a girl (the argument makes them late for their meeting with him) and that one of them had abused her.

The knowledge doesn't seem to affect his attitude towards the men; in fact, he sort of feels sorry for them at first. Bell writes:

Looking at them, Hawke felt a twinge of pity. At one time, these two cold warriors had surely been formidable men, accustomed to a sense of purpose, power, and command. Now they had a dissolute air about them, stemming no doubt from too much sun, too much rum, too little self-respect. It was more than a little humbling, Hawke imagined, to be peddling the arsenal of your once vaingloriously evil empire.
But Hawke's empathy for the Russians quickly changes when he realizes that the waitress serving them is actually the girl the men were fighting over. Seeing abrasions on her wrists and ankles, he becomes a different man.

Now, I get the difference between "hearing" that someone got rough with a girl and seeing the results of it for yourself. It's now how I'd react, but I understand that maybe Alex is the kind of guy who'd let it go until he was confronted with the evidence. In fact, it would make him a more interesting character if he was that kind of guy. It would be a significant flaw that I'd be interested in watching him overcome. But that's not the case here.

On page sixty-eight (aka Chapter Five), Bell retroactively paints Alex as the kind of guy who brooks no tolerance for anyone who would abuse a woman. Words like "unbridled loathing" and "sodden degenerates" are used. Bell tells us, "In Alex's world there was right and there was wrong. And there were no shades of gray."

First of all, my worldview doesn't leave me very patient with folks who see everything in black and white. Abusing someone weaker than you is always wrong, but I'd want to hear the whole story before passing final judgment. Was the girl armed? Was she threatening one of the men in some other way? Did she have information they needed? This new Alex of Chapter Five doesn't care about those questions. His "no shades of gray" policy immediately makes me question whether or not I want to keep reading about him.

But more than that is the sloppiness in the storytelling. Alex already knew that at least one of these guys had beat up a girl. And he felt badly for them; related to them even. Turn the page and now he's outraged. He quickly adjourns the meeting, invites the men back to his boat for further discussion, and when they leave he promises the grateful, gleaming-eyed waitress that he'll take care of them and they'll never bother her again. She all but folds her hands and says, "My hero!"

The inconsistency between the nonchalant, businesslike Alex of Chapter Four and this vengeful Alex of Chapter Five is what made me throw up my hands and put the book away. And it's too bad really, because a series of books about a pirate's descendent who travels the world fixing unfixable problems sounded awesome to me.

Publishers Weekly's review of it (on the Amazon page in the link above) makes me glad I quit now though. It calls Alex "a cartoon" and the book itself "a pirate book for adult boys (that) ... tips over into unintentional parody more often than it should." Maybe instead of reading "the new Clive Cussler" I should try some actual Clive Cussler instead.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Adventureblog Gallery: Black Canary by Paul Taylor

I think this one deserves its own post. Paul Taylor (Wapsi Square) drew it for me at MicroCon back in the Spring. Paul's awesome, his webcomic's awesome, and so is his Black Canary.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

The Atlantis Journal: Pirate Parenting, Argonaut movies, Aquaman vs. Sub-Mariner, new Hawaii Five-0, and more

Guide to Pirate Parenting

At last there's help for those of us who want to raise our children to be scurvy sea dogs. Includes: "Top 10 reasons to raise your children as pirates" and "Top 10 traits that show your new baby has great potential to be a pirate" amongst other great lists and tips.

My favorite from that second list: "When mom’s water broke, the baby yelled, 'I sail with the tide!'"

The Argonauts

There are a couple of Jason and the Argonauts movies in the works. One is a retelling of the myth by Zak Penn; the other is a Dreamworks film about a group of modern-day treasure hunters who find the wreck of the Argo and are transported to ancient Greece.

Iron Chef Japan's Sea Monster Week

If I hadn't fallen so far behind in blogging this week, you would've been able to learn how to prepare fresh Kraken. Sorry about that.

Aquaman vs. Sub-Mariner



Caleb observes that though Sub-Mariner has been around longer and is the more interesting character, Aquaman has won the battle for popular consciousness.

Hawaii Five-2.0

/Film reports that a sequel series to Hawaii Five-O is in the works. "The new series will focus of Chris McGarrett, a Hawaiian cop and son of Steve McGarrett." Just don't screw with the theme song, fellas. Jazz it up if you must, but make damn sure it's recognizable. That'll make or break this thing.

Savage Land action figures



ToyFare has the review and some good pics.

Monitorsaurususes



Robert Hood takes a look at the underappreciated technique of depicting dinosaurs in the '60s: sticking fake frills and horns on real monitor lizards. It was a horrible technique and a drastic step back from the stop-motion used in the preceding decades, but there's still something kind of stupidly charming about it, no?

Shadow Bridge



I don't know how much sea adventure goes on in Gregory Frost's Shadow Bridge and Lord Tophet, but the two-book series has a cool setting at least: an ocean world criss-crossed with spans and bridges. My friend Shara Saunsaucie liked both books, so I'm curious now.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

The Pirate Movie (1982)



What I didn’t mention yesterday when we looked at 1983’s The Pirates of Penzance, is that except for Angela Lansbury it featured the entire cast from a massively popular, Tony-winning Broadway revival of the opera that had been going on since 1981. But a year before that was faithfully adapted into the 1983 movie, its popularity got it made into another film: the massively unpopular, Raspberry-winning dud, The Pirate Movie.

I hadn’t intended on ever wasting my time on this universally panned movie, but the same cable channel that ran Penzance also ran this one, so again with shrugged shoulders, I gave it a shot. And surprisingly, I liked it a lot better than I expected to.

Oh, there are horrible, horrible parts to it. But there’s also some genuinely funny silliness that’s very much in keeping with the spirit of the “comedic opera.” The cops aren’t quite as awesome here as they are in the Kevin Kline version, but they’re still very good and remind me even more of Monty Python. And then there are the parts where Frederic’s sword becomes a lightsaber and Indiana Jones and Inspector Clouseau show up. I’m not lying. It’s stupid, but it made me chuckle in its stupidity.

What didn’t make me chuckle was the romance angle between Kristy McNichol (love of my life when I was ten) and Christopher Atkins (Blue Lagoon). There are two things wrong with it.

One is the stupid framing sequence that has a nerdy, modern-day McNichol falling for studly, modern-day Atkins at some kind of marina pirate festival. Atkins seems to be a nice kid and invites her and her friends on a boat ride, but her “friends” conspire to leave her behind. McNichol follows in a small boat, but because she doesn’t know anything about sailing, she goes overboard and is washed unconscious up on a beach where she dreams about The Pirates of Penzance with her as Mabel (also her modern-day character’s name) and Atkins as Frederic.

Most of the rest of the story fluctuates between more or less faithfully adapting Penzance and spoofing other movies. The word “shit” is used a lot for supposedly humorous effect. There are many double entendres. So, yes, while there are some charmingly stupid parts, there are also many stupid parts that are just the ordinary, unfunny kind of stupid.

I also didn’t mention yesterday how lame the ending of Pirates of Penzance is. I was trying not to spoil it and I’ll still try now, but I have to explain that the resolution of the conflict comes out of nowhere. The Pirate Movie doesn’t so much correct that as emphasize it by coming up with an even lamer, out-of-nowhere resolution. I don’t mind spoiling this one, so I’ll just tell you that Mabel realizes she’s dreaming and uses that knowledge to affect the story. Since it’s her dream, she can make it end however she wants to, even if that means making people act completely out of character. And she does.

Once she wakes up on the beach, Atkins finds her and in one of those super dumb “Was I Dreaming or Wasn’t I?” moments that you sometimes see in awful movies, Mabel realizes that she’s wearing a ring she got while she was unconscious. Then Atkins picks her up, kisses her passionately for absolutely no reason at all, and whisks her off to freaking marry her back at the marina.

What?!

The other thing wrong with the romance is that there are entirely too many stupid love duets between the two characters. The Pirate Movie uses a lot of music from Pirates of Penzance and that’s cool, even especially when they update the lyrics to reference current affairs. But the ‘80s weren’t hurting for more bland pop duets and there are so many of them in this movie. I would’ve been fine with one. I could’ve convinced myself that while sending up The Empire Strikes Back, Raiders of the Lost Ark, and The Pink Panther they were also spoofing Atkins’ own Blue Lagoon. And I think there had to be some of that going on. But if it’s meant as a joke, it’s a joke that wears thin after three or four tellings.

I can’t recommend this movie to anyone except a certain kind of Pirates of Penzance fan with a tolerance for Meet the Spartans-style movie spoofing. Surely that’s a small, small number of people. I’m one of them and even I had a hard time with it.

Two out of five lightrapiers.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

The Pirates of Penzance (1983)

I’ve never seen a stage production of The Pirates of Penzance. Never wanted to really. What little I knew about it made it sound like the pirates are all silly people who flit around the stage singing not very pirate-like songs. But when the 1983 movie version (warning: that link is to a Region 2 DVD version, apparently it's not available in a US version) starring Kevin Kline and Linda Ronstadt was recently on cable, I shrugged my shoulders and gave it a look.

And I’m somewhat pleased to report that I was correct. The pirates are all silly people who flit around singing not very pirate-like songs. It’s still a lot of fun anyway, but that’s all due to the keystone cops. If this was a keystone cops blog, I’d have no hesitation about recommending the movie. Which is weird, because the inclusion of keystone cops in a pirate production was another reason I hadn’t been very excited about watching it. Why couldn’t they just have been eighteenth century soldiers?

Probably because it wouldn’t have been as funny that way. The keystone cops are a hoot. The best songs in the play are a hoot too. In other words, The Pirates of Penzance works pretty well when it’s making you laugh. Unfortunately, that’s not often enough.

The plot – if you’re as unfamiliar with it as I was – is about a young man named Frederic (Rex Smith) who was mistakenly apprenticed to pirates as a youth. His nursemaid Ruth (Angela Lansbury) was supposed to sign him up as a pilot’s apprentice, but she was hard of hearing. When he turns twenty-one though, his apprenticeship is up and he decides to leave the pirates. Not because they aren’t very good (which they aren’t), but because he’s somehow learned a sense of honor and duty under them and feels that they need to be wiped out. He claims to be conflicted about that because he likes them all individually, but despises them collectively. The play utterly fails on making that convincing. Or maybe it’s Rex Smith’s acting. It comes up a couple of times in the show, so I’ll say more about it later.

Frederic and Ruth go ashore where it becomes clear in an Ew! moment that Ruth wants to marry Frederic. The only thing she has going for her in making that happen is that Frederic has never seen another woman before, but that quickly turns against Ruth when Frederic sees a group of young, pretty sisters on shore. He meets them and falls in love with the youngest, Mabel (Linda Ronstadt).

Eventually, the pirates come to shore too where they decide to marry the sisters, with or without the sisters’ cooperation. At that point, their father the “modern Major General” shows up, sings a show-stopper, and fools the gullible pirates into leaving his family alone. Unfortunately, the pirates figure out that they’ve been duped and decide to attack the Major General’s home. Not only that, but they also find a loop-hole in Frederic’s contract and force him – thanks to his sense of honor – to continue working with them as they go up against the Major General and his goofy gang of keystone cops.

I think that a really talented actor could make Frederic an interesting character. The conflict he feels between his love for Mabel and his honor-bound duty to the pirates should have been heavy, dramatic stuff. Not that Pirates of Penzance should be a heavy, dramatic show, but that one element could’ve been a lot more convincing. As it is, Smith plays Frederic as wishy-washy. He revels in whichever side he happens to be on at the time. When he’s with Mabel, he’s all deeply in love with her. But when he’s with the pirates, he’s all smiling and swashbuckling and attacking cops with gusto. You can’t have it both ways, Fred.

That said, Smith probably wasn’t chosen for his acting ability. Assuming his voice wasn’t dubbed, the guy can sing. I mean, like holy cow can he sing. I also learned that “You’re No Good” isn’t the best showcase for Linda Ronstadt’s voice. She’s frickin amazing too. Kevin Kline was also surprisingly good, not only vocally, but also in the athletics his role as Pirate King called him to perform. The Pirate King also needs to ham it up and no one hams it up like Kevin Kline can.

No wait, I take that back. Tony Azito can.

I know, right? Tony who? But the Sergeant in charge of the cops steals the show. He’s incredibly limber and it’s hilarious to watch him deadpan his way through moves that would make the Ministry of Silly Walks proud. And that accompanied by the rousing singing of his fellow cops as they imitate trumpets in “When the Foeman Bares His Steel.”

So except for a couple of scenes that give Kline the opportunity to pose, strut, swordfight, swing from rigging, and otherwise buckle his swash, it doesn’t work very well as a pirate movie. But it’s still a blast and I’m glad I saw it. I won’t be buying it on DVD, but I will be getting the soundtrack.

Tarantara!

Four out of five Pirate Kings.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

The Sea Monster: The Story So Far

Also mostly for my own amusement, here's where I've gotten so far in my novel The Sea Monster. Just into chapter two and I've added a couple of characters from last time.

Writing is Hard: Forming a Band

I've got to capture this somewhere else besides my email inbox. Sorry if you've read it already.

From Warren Ellis' email newsletter:
Okay, I'm pretty sure I did do this last year, but I think it's reconfigured in my head since then. So.

What you need is one writer and three artists. Essentially, you decide to Form A Band.

And you decide up front that all the money from the anthology comic is divided 4 ways equally. This is for simplicity's sake -- people argue this point with me all the time, but I have had publishers say to my face that they avoid anthologies, especially creator-owned ones, because THE SUMS ARE TOO HARD. Keep it simple. 25% for everybody.

What you're going to do, you see, is one writer writing three serials for three artists.

You're doing a two-dollar book. That's FELL format. A 24pp unit, all on the same paperstock, including covers. "Guts" of 20pp, with the "cover", constituting 4pp, wrapped around it, yes?

Three 6pp episodes is 18 pages. Your cover and inside front cover for indicia etc are 2pp. So that leaves you 4pp, including the back cover, to play with. Use them to interleave the serials, use them as backmatter, let the artists take turns doing full-page pieces, whatever.

The cover art is a rotating job between the three artists.

Collect it every six months as a 128pp book (therefore still splitting everything four ways) or collect each serial on its own as best fitting (each book therefore splitting 50/50). (As is blatantly obvious, but people like to ask these questions instead of thinking for themselves.)

Go and do it. I need something to read.

Form a band, boys and girls. Form a band.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Action Girls: The Women of Lonesome Dove, Part Four – Agostina Vega



Let’s get this out of the way first. I like Jon Voight a lot, but he’s not Tommy Lee Jones. Of all the non-Tommy Lee Jones actors to play Woodrow Call, Voight seems like he’s trying hardest to imitate Jones and it’s distracting. Watching him is kind of like watching George Lazenby in On Her Majesty’s Secret Service. He does a pretty good job, but you can’t enjoy him properly because you keep wishing he was Sean Connery.

Fortunately though, Return to Lonesome Dove is six hours long, which was enough time for me to get used to Voight and start accepting him in the role. I’d still get twinges of regret along the way, but by the end I wasn’t constantly being sidetracked by it any more.

This is probably heresy to Lonesome Dove fans, but in many ways, Return to Lonesome Dove is my favorite mini-series in the saga. It’s certainly the most focused. Even Lonesome Dove, as excellent as it is, is pretty episodic in its portrayal of the cattle drive. Return has some of that as Call returns to Montana with a herd of wild horses and some new recruits (led by Lou Gossett Jr. and CSI’s William Petersen). They’re harried along the way by the coolest, nastiest villain yet in the saga: Cherokee Jack Jackson (Dennis Haysbert from 24 and The Unit). And they’re accompanied by a beautiful, Mexican woman named Agostina Vega (Nia Peeples). But more on her later.

What grounds Return is the story of Call’s illegitimate son Newt as he tries to run the Montana ranch in Call’s absence. I didn’t mention Newt much when I discussed Lonesome Dove, but he really is the heart of that story. Gus and Call dominate the saga up until that point, but Newt – a boy without any real peers and whose father doesn’t claim him – is the “lonesome dove.” And he’s the heart of Return to Lonesome Dove too. In fact, without Newt, the title doesn’t make any sense since no one actually returns to the town of Lonesome Dove in the mini-series. What happens is that Newt, who temporarily finds a home – first on his father’s ranch and then in the company of a neighboring cattleman named Dunnigan and his wife Ferris (Oliver Reed and Reese Witherspoon) – learns that he really is still all alone in the world. But that maybe that’s where he needs to be for a while.

It’s Newt’s adventures with Dunnigan and Ferris – and how that affects Call when he returns – that drive the story. It’s a much more traditional, straightforward Western that way, and maybe that’s why fans of the series don’t care for it, but I was ready for it after so much winding in the storytelling of the previous three mini-series. And it’s still powerfully told. Newt has always been a loyal character, so it’s captivating to watch his loyalty so convincingly divided between Call and Dunnigan.

Agostina’s story is a subplot to Newt and Call’s, but she’s still way cool, so I want to talk about her. She approaches Call in Texas and wants to join his drive back to Montana. Part of her motivation is that Call can provide work to Agostina’s poor village, but mostly she wants to stick close to Call and learn more about him and his former partner Gus McCrae. It doesn’t take a genius to figure out why Agostina’s so interested in Gus. The clue is right there in her name. The mystery behind her is what she’s going to do once she learns what she wants to know. Is she going to kill Call? Hug him?

Nia Peeples does an awesome job at giving layers to Agostina. At first Agostina comes across as extremely tough. It wouldn’t be a Lonesome Dove mini-series without at least an attempted rape, but when it started to look like Agostina might be the victim, I wasn’t worried. “She can take care of herself,” I thought. And I was glad to be able to think it. That’s the first time I was able to do that since starting the saga.

And, it turns out, she could take care of herself. But I was surprised to see how the experience shook her. She’s an Action Girl, but she’s a vulnerable one. Not only in her reaction to being attacked, but also in her confusion about what to do once she learned more about Gus. She’s a complicated woman. I don’t expect her to show up in either the Lonesome Dove TV series or the Streets of Laredo mini-series, and that makes watching both of those less appealing. Especially since she starts a relationship with one of my other favorite characters from the saga, Chris Cooper’s July Johnson.

Since I spent so much time talking about Clara in the last couple of posts, I should probably follow up on her here. Barbara Hershey does as good a job with her as Anjelica Huston did, though the character has changed yet again with this mini-series. And not necessarily for the better.

Clara was a dark character in Lonesome Dove, but she’s even more tragic here. If she was starting to reach the end of her rope at the end of Lonesome Dove, she’s hanging from it by one hand in Return. In spite of that, there’s not much development for her though. She’s already proven herself a strong woman, so piling more and more heartache on her just to show that she can take it seems kind of pointless and cruel.

Still, it’s good to see her relationship with Call change from where it was in Lonesome Dove. Even if she’s not as vital a character as she once was, she’s still an interesting, valuable part of the story.

Four out of five butt-kicking Mexican gals.

Firefly webcomic



Dark Horse's online comic Dark Horse Presents has got a free Firefly story up.

I wish they'd quit making pre-Serenity comics with spacey River and do some where she's all butt-kicking, but I'll take what I can get.

Vampirella ReVamp



I like Vampirella. I think she's a cool character with a lot of history and there have been some fantastic writers producing her adventures over the years. People like Archie Goodwin, Kurt Busiek, James Robinson, Warren Ellis, Grant Morrison, Mark Millar, Ben Raab, Brian Wood, and Josh Fialkov.

Unfortunately, a lot of people dismiss her as nothing more than a T&A character and you can't always blame them. I mean, you can because those writers aren't known for making vapid T&A books, but there's still that costume. It's difficult to get past that Vampirella isn't a comic that I can unreservedly show to just anyone. Regardless of how well-crafted the story, people look at the costume and eyebrows are raised. Smirks are given.

So, I think it's really cool that Harris Comics is joining forces with Project: Rooftop on a contest to redesign Vampirella's look. As far as I can tell, Harris isn't looking to use the winning design as an official new look for the character, but it means something to me that they're using this approach as a way to promote their book. On some level it's an acknowledgment that there's room for an update to the character's design. It's a small step, but it's a step.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Action Girls: The Women of Lonesome Dove, Part Three – Clara Allen

Lonesome Dove is a classic for a reason. Even though the titles of these posts say that I’m concentrating on the women of the saga, you can’t really talk about any of the mini-series without looking closely at Gus and Call. And I’m not convinced that that’s just because they’re the main characters. I think it has as least as much to do with Robert Duvall and Tommy Lee Jones’ portrayal of them.

Robert Duvall gives Gus such charm and humor that both David Arquette and Steve Zahn thought it best to just imitate him when they took their turns at the character. Gus is a lazy, womanizing old coot, but you can’t help but love him for his gentleness and respect of other people. He can be damn tough when he needs to be, but most of the time you just want to hang out and listen to him talk. Unfortunately, a lot of that charm was lost in Dead Man’s Walk and Comanche Moon, but I blame the writing for that more than I do the actors. Gus was more annoying than charismatic as a youth, but maybe that’s the way it needed to be. A person’s most irritating traits can become endearing once they’ve mellowed out a little with age and had a chance to work on you.

Call is even harder to get right. Tommy Lee Jones makes it look easy to balance Call’s gloomy orneriness with his obvious affection for Gus and the rest of his friends. Even while he’s cursing Gus out for not helping around the ranch, you never doubt that he loves him. Jonny Lee Miller never did manage to get that right. His Call always seemed to be barely tolerating Gus. Karl Urban did a better job, but there’s still some uneasiness between his Call and Zahn’s Gus that isn’t there with Jones and Duvall. Again, that might be because the characters themselves have grown more comfortable with and fond of each other over the years.

But even if that’s true – even if the parts I don’t like from the two prequels are necessary to show character development – I think it illustrates a point about the relationship of those two mini-series to the original. Lonesome Dove is so good and so winning that Dead Man’s Walk and Comanche Moon only have value as they relate to it. They don’t stand on their own. We don’t like the characters enough and as I’ve said before, certain parts of them just don’t make sense unless you also know the Lonesome Dove story.

The one exception to that is the character of Clara. I didn’t care much for her in Dead Man’s Walk, but I grew to admire her in Comanche Moon. In Lonesome Dove, she’s moved away from Texas with her husband and kids to live in Nebraska, so she doesn’t appear onscreen until about halfway through the mini-series. Her presence is felt the entire mini-series though. She’s still the great love of Gus’ life and he can’t wait to see her again on the way to Montana. And we can’t either.

Anjelica Huston’s Clara doesn’t disappoint. Her husband has been kicked in the head by a horse and is in a coma, but Clara and her girls stand faithfully by him and take care of his needs. But having lost two boys to illness and now this with her husband, Clara’s weakening by the time Gus shows up. The effect his visit has on her – especially since he’s traveling with a prostitute who’s obviously in love with him – is spectacular.

In contrast, the prostitute Lorie (Diane Lane) is so very weak. She has a record of trusting untrustworthy men while ignoring people who genuinely care about her. When that leads her to hook up with Jake Spoon (Robert Urich), he deserts her on the way to California and she’s abducted by Blue Duck, Buffalo Hump's son who was starting to cause trouble in Comanche Moon. Fortunately, Gus learns about the kidnapping quickly and immediately sets out to rescue her. Unfortunately, by the time he gets there she’s already been raped – possibly numerous times.

That brings up something I’ve forgotten to talk about before now. There’s a lot of rape in the Lonesome Dove saga and it’s not always handled very well. Lorie’s rape is a powerful event in Lonesome Dove, so I wonder if that’s why we get other rapes in the prequels. Are they trying to recapture that impact? If so, it doesn’t work.

In Dead Man’s Walk, it’s used just to show us how evil Buffalo Hump and his men are. In Comanche Moon, the rape of a Ranger’s wife is all about its effect on him. She hates that it happened to her, but her main fear is that he won’t love her anymore when he finds out. And when he does eventually find out about it, the story’s focus once again goes right on him and how he responds.

At least in Lonesome Dove, Lorie’s rape is all about her. We learn something about Gus by watching him help her through it, but it’s always Lorie’s story. Unfortunately, the event reveals her to be as weak as she’s always appeared to be. She’s always liked Gus, but has never shown an interest in him until he rescues her and nurses her back to both physical and emotional health. After that though, she’s suddenly truly madly deeply in love with him. I’m not qualified to comment on the appropriateness of a woman’s reaction to being raped, but I certainly wish that Lorie had been made stronger by the experience.

Eventually Lorie does become stronger, but it’s all due to Clara and it mostly happens off-camera in between Lonesome Dove and Return to Lonesome Dove, where - like Matty in Comanche Moon - we don't see her, but get an update in dialogue that she's doing okay for herself further West. We’ll look more at Return to Lonesome Dove at tomorrow.

Four out of five water moccasin attacks.

Adventureblog Gallery: Shadow Lass and She-Hulk

Shadow Lass



By Gene Gonzales.

I'm sure this reveals some kind of weird fetish, but Shadow Lass is easily my favorite character from the Legion of Super Heroes and it's got a lot to do with the blue skin. It's also got a lot to do with how she was drawn and portrayed in the Legion Lost mini-series, which is where I first started reading about the Legion. She was all goth and badass, but with an awesome '30s or '40s hairstyle.

Crap. I quit reading Legion of Super Heroes a while ago and now I've got myself wanting to go back to it again.

She-Hulk



More evidence that I may have a thing for brightly-colored skin.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Monsterpocalypse: The Comic



I don't play Collectible Card Games anymore. There's something I don't like about a game where the person with the most disposable income is able to buy rarer, more powerful cards and dominate. So, while I'm tempted by the concept and the gorgeous art I've seen so far, I won't be playing the Monsterpocalypse card game.

I will however be reading the comic book. It sounds a lot like Kill All Monsters!, but I say there's room for everyone's giant robots vs. giant monsters comics.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

The Atlantis Journal: Nim's Island, real-life pirates, aquatic superheroes, and more

Nim's Island on DVD



I know it looks like a kids' movie, but I found a lot to love about it as an adult too. It's all about love, being brave, and keeping promises. And like I said before, it made me wish there really was a series of Alex Rover books. Plus: Jodie Foster.

Anyway, it's on DVD now and I'm getting it.

Pirate Map



I once found myself in the weird position of having to justify my fondness for pirates to someone who really wanted me to understand that piracy is a horrible, modern, real-world problem. Well, of course it is. And I'm sure I wouldn't have enjoyed hanging out with real pirates 300 years ago.

I'm also sure that I wouldn't want to ride a real, live T-Rex, but it doesn't stop me from thinking that dinosaurs are pretty darn cool. There are awesome, fantasy versions and there are horrifying, real-life versions. I prefer the fantasy versions, but this International Maritime Bureau map of 2008 piracy attacks is really interesting and educational.

I can't help but notice though that there's not a whole lot of high seas piracy going on here. Mostly its very close to shore. I also notice that one attack about a month ago occured pretty much in port at Port-au-Prince, Haiti. Knowing what I do about recent events in Haiti, I wonder how much that attack was motivated by greed versus a desperate attempt to get some food.

Not that I'm at all excusing any use of violence to take something that doesn't belong to you; I'm just questioning how many of these acts are actually committed by what we'd think of as traditional, merciless, professional pirates.

Pirate Hotel East

Back to the cool pirates though: if you're looking to stay in a pirate-themed hotel, but aren't headed to California: good news. Walt Disney World is opening their own, pirate-themed rooms at the Caribbean Beach Resort.

Pirate wagon

Want to know how to convert your kids' wagon into a pirate ship? About.com tells you.

Lego pirates



The Pirate Shack has links to a couple of sites focused on Lego pirate sets.

Marquette Pirate Festival

If it weren't seven hours away, I'd head over the the Pirate Festival in Marquette, Michigan this week. It goes until the 18th and includes treasure hunts, a carnival, a play, and a pirate ball. None of the information I found mentions a specific tie between piracy and the town's heritage, but I'm sure there must have been pirates of some kind on Lake Superior at some point. Even if it's completely arbitrary though, it sounds like a lot of fun.

Flynn


Otis Frampton has been talking about and showing concept art from the pirate/fantasy graphic novel he's working on. It's called Flynn and it's about a young girl in a world inhabited by dragons, steel airships, and cat people.

Mermaid end table

I wouldn't want it in my living room, but the sculpt on this mermaid table is cool enough that it's worth pointing out.

Sub-Mariner: The Depths



I don't know why I haven't been more interested in aquatic superheroes than I have. You'd think I'd be all over Sub-Mariner and Aquaman comics, but I've never cared that much about them.

I think that's mostly because writers have seen them as standard superheroes (or occasionally, in Sub-Mariner's case, a supervillain). They've focused on the water-based powers, but stick the characters in New York or outer space or wherever else you typically find superheroes. No wonder most folks think these guys are lame; Sub-Mariner slightly less so because at least he has an interesting, volatile personality.

Since I've been thinking so much about ocean adventures lately, I'm getting curious about checking out some Sub-Mariner and Aquaman comics. I know there've been some that focus on the undersea lives of these guys, but I've ignored them because of my perception that I just didn't care for the characters. I think it's time to give them another look.

One that looks good is Marvel's upcoming Sub-Mariner mini-series The Depths. It's written by Peter Milligan (Human Target) and will be illustrated by Esad Ribic (The Mighty Thor: Loki). It's about a legendary, Indiana Jones-like explorer who gets it into his head to go find Atlantis, but runs up against the city's lord and protector once he gets there. That sounds like a good story with or without a Marvel superhero in it.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Adventureblog Theater: Pirate Kitteh and IMAX Sea Monsters

Pirate Kitteh...

...boreds ur ship.



Thanks, Videosift!

Sea Monsters: A Prehistoric Adventure

IMAX, here I come.



Thanks, Robert Hood!

Adventureblog Gallery: Sea Monsters and Aliens

Black Monster



Why must Schiani Ledo be so awesome?

The Metal Doom



By Leo Morey.

Doc Savage vs. the Creature from the Black Lagoon



By Keith "Kez" Wilson. You've got to check out the rest of his gallery too. He pits Doc Savage against everyone from Godzilla to Doctor Who. It's a beautiful thing.

Slaves of the Fish Men



By J Allen St. John.

Monsters and Heroes



By Al Williamson.

10 Movies from 2019 That I Loved on Some Level

20. The Kid This is the Young Guns 2 I wanted. Dane DeHaan is a hilarious and charming, but also terrifyingly unpredictable Billy th...

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