Saturday, July 31, 2010

Quotes of the Week: Mmm, corn!

Image by Mike Maihack. know what they always say about kids? That kids can't distinguish between fantasy and reality. And that's actually bullshit. When a kid's watching The Little Mermaid, the kids knows that those crabs that are singing and talking aren't really like the crabs on the beach that don't talk. A kid really knows the difference. Then you've got an adult, and adults can not tell the difference between fantasy and reality. You bring them fantasy, and the first thing they say is 'How did he get that way? Why does he dress like that? How did that happen?'
--Grant Morrison, on how grown-ups ruin everything. (By the way, I agree with him and the rest of that post is well worth reading for additional thoughts by Carla Speed McNeil and Sean T Collins.)

My goodness! How shall we "entice Middle America without a lot of complicated explication"? Let's spread corn kernels on a path to the theater in the hopes that they will be confused into thinking it's harvest-related and they'll just come a-runnin'! Let's call it Hoedown instead of Inception; maybe that will help!
--Linda Holmes, taking The Hollywood Reporter to task for not giving my people enough credit to be interested in a Christopher Nolan film.

The Awesome List: Greet Your Creature with the Double Feature

Sharktopus trailer

I hope this is half the fun that the music makes it sound. [Undead Backbrain]

Shanna the She-Devil Blogger

Discovered this awesome blog this week. It's primary focus is jungle girls, but blogger Mike Destasio also loves Conan, Tarzan, Red Sonja, and Hercules.

Frankenstein costume

Oh, I'm sorry. I mean the "Freak-N-Monster Creature Reacher" costume. Whatever the name, it's the coolest thing I've ever seen. [Horror Sniped]

Battle of the Planets trailer

[Brother Cal]

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Elsewhere... CrossGen returned

Here's what else I've been up to online:

The Return of CrossGen?

Inspired by the Comic-Con news that Marvel's planning to do "some CrossGen stuff" now that they access to the properties Disney bought when CrossGen went belly-up, Tim O'Shea and I came up with a list of six CrossGen series we'd like to see make a comeback. I was a huge CrossGen fan back in the day, so knowing that it could be resurrected in some form is all the reason I need to appreciate Disney's buying Marvel.

What Are You Reading?

Short reviews of Super Maxi-Pad Girl #3 and a serial killer mystery called The Awakening.

The Royal Historian of Oz and Fanfic

In this week's Gorillas Riding Dinosaurs, we tackle the age-old problem of creator-owned work vs. corporate-owned (or public domain, as the case may be). Which should you read? Which should you create? And what does the concept of Official Canon have to do with it?

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Pass the Comics: Jetareeeno!

Jet Dream and her Stunt Girl Counterspies

'60s spy comics at their swingingest. [Gold Key Comics!]

The Monster Hunters in the Hour of the Werewolf

There's no monster hunter like an old, British colonel turned hunter-for-hire. Especially when he's drawn by Mike Zeck. [The Charlton Story]

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

2 Things I Learned from Aquaman #11

By sheer coincidence, right after I read The Aquaman Shrine's recap of Brightest Day #6 (and its retcon of Aquaman and Mera's entire relationship), I got to Aquaman #11 (the first appearance of Mera) in Showcase Presents Aquaman, Volume 2.

Brightest Day #6 SPOILERS below.

In Brightest Day, Mera reveals that she was originally sent to Earth on a mission to assassinate the King of Atlantis, but that when she met Aquaman she fell in love with him and couldn't follow through.   

The first lesson I learned from Aquaman #11 is that significantly more has changed than just Mera's motives, because Aquaman wasn't King of Atlantis in the original story. In fact, he and Aqualad didn't even live there. They were still hanging out in the Aquacave, patrolling the seas on porpoiseback; only stopping by Atlantis when the city had a major threat that needed dealing with.

But continuity has been rebooted by a Crisis or four since 1963, so perhaps in the current timeline Aquaman was ruling Atlantis when Mera showed up. What that means though is that - while Brightest Day is still a valid story about the effect Mera's confession has on her husband - it's not exactly a major revelation or an Event for the audience. It's not Everything You Know is Wrong. It's You Really Didn't Know Anything About This, But Everything You Assumed You Knew Based on Pre-Crisis History is Wrong. In other words, Mera's confession may impact the current version of Aquaman in a big way, but should directly impact the readers a lot less, especially considering that we don't really know this Aquaman very well.

The second thing I learned from Aquaman #11 is that maybe we shouldn't be using Aquaman as a spokesperson for outrage against the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

That's right. Aquaman stops the tyrant who usurped Mera's throne by creating an oil spill that covers the bad guys in crude. And it gets worse, because it's not actually the oil itself that defeats the villains. It's what's in the oil.

I'm detecting some uncertainty in his eyes there. It's like he knows what he did was wrong, but he did it anyway. And if that's not bad enough, he passed on this attitude to Batman.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Art Show: The Fantastic Night of Terror that Menaced the Fate of the World!

Onward through the Mangroves

By Chris Turnham.

The Abominable Charles Christopher

By Katie Cook.

Monsters and Heroes

By Larry Ivie. [Golden Age Comic Book Stories]

After the break: a giant insect, Avengers, Batgirl, Black Widow, Wonder Woman, and some space girls.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Pirates of the Caribbean 4 Teaser Trailer

I was going to do another item from Calvin's list today, but the next one up was My Favorite Outfit and I don't have one. Unless we get to count someone else's outfit and then I like Jack Sparrow's...

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Twitter Update

I tested out copy/pasting my Twitter feed to a weekly post, but it's not going to work very well. I'll keep looking for an automated widget that can do it effectively (recommendations are welcome!), but in the meantime, if you're interested in news about adventuresome movies, TV, and comics, here's your one-stop shop.

If you use an RSS reader, you can even subscribe that way without having to sign up for Twitter yourself. The only problem with that is that you won't be able to comment, so that's another reason for me to figure out how to integrate tweets with the blog.

The Awesome List: Can You Say, "BURRRRRM!?" Very Good!

One Piece pirate flag


Dora the Explorer in Incepción

Friday, July 23, 2010

Art Show: He's Worth a Lot More to Me Played With

Monkey Island

By Otis Frampton.

Under the Sea

By Nino Carbe. [The Comics Reporter]

Oil Spill Aquaman

By Kate Beaton. You should hit that link and read the cartoon about the jester too. That one makes me LOL every time I read it.

After the break: Jack Torrance arrives at the Overlook Hotel and meets Wonder Woman, Isis, Cleo, Bender, Mysta of the Moon, and Buzz Fettyear.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Writing is Hard: Self-Publishing Ebooks and Feeding Your Family Too

Writer JA Konrath has been championing the advantages of self-publishing your own ebooks for a while now, having raked in a ton of money himself that way. Because I'm interested in the publishing industry and where it's headed, I've been following his posts with a lot of curiosity. I just haven't linked to them because I don't have a novel I'm trying to get published or any other dog in this particular hunt. Not yet anyway.

But I'd like to one day and I figure that I'm going to want to remember his detailed advice on How to Make Money on Ebooks.

Elsewhere... Space Ninjas and Uranians

What Are You Reading?

In last week's What Are You Reading, I briefly reviewed Captain Long Ears and The Aviary.

Marvel Boy and Retcons

This week's Gorillas Riding Dinosaurs is about retroactive continuity, "that controversial thing that happens when a character’s adventures have gone on long enough that they include embarrassing things that need fixing." As seen through the filter of Marvel Boy from Agents of Atlas.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Pass the Comics: Martians of Kung Fu

Shang Chi faces a Frozen Past; Shattered Memories

[Diversions of the Groovy Kind]

The Sisters Grimm

It just started, so there's only one page and an Introduction, but it looks pretty cool so far.

Goon Movie Preview

I was thinking about just throwing a link up on the Twitter, but this is too cool not to share directly.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Land of the Lost: Season Two (Part One)

As I said when I got to the end of the first season of Land of the Lost, I wasn't all that excited about digging into the second one. Not because I didn't enjoy Season One (I did: Part One, Part Two, and Part Three), but because I'd heard that Season Two largely abandoned the interconnected, world-building structure I liked so much for simpler, dumbed down stories.

I've finally gotten around to the first half of Season Two though and here's what I thought:

Episode 1: “The Tar Pit”

When Spot the coelophysis gets stuck in a tar pit, Dopey the baby apatosaurus tries to help, but gets stuck himself. Cha-Ka, who’s painting a portrait of Ta on a big rock nearby, wants to help, but Ta insists he stays to finish the painting.

Cha-Ka intentionally spills his paint either as a pretense to go get more or an excuse to quit altogether. They’re all speaking Paku, so it’s not real clear. Either way, Cha-Ka leaves Ta and Sa and heads to the tar pit, sees that he can't handle it alone, and runs for help. While he’s gone, Spot escapes and in a jerkwad move, leaves Dopey behind.

Cha-Ka gets Rick, Will (who’s got a new shirt and vest this season), and Holly and explains the situation. For continuity’s sake, I've decided to think of this season as a collection of previously unseen adventures that took place during Season One; certainly before that season’s finale when the Marshalls all escape the Land of the Lost. That’s my operating theory anyway. I don’t expect that it’ll explain Season Three, but I’m glad to have a way to make Season Two “count” in continuity at least.

The rest of the episode is just the Marshalls and Cha-Ka’s trying to rescue Dopey while hindered by various obstacles, including Dopey’s own inability to cooperate. It doesn’t add anything to the world-building, but shows us a lot of the Marshalls’ ingenuity, even going into great detail about their engineering a pulley system to pull Dopey out. I’m not saying that the lack of world-building is bad necessarily (especially since it's only the first episode of the season). It's entertaining enough on its own and I actually felt sorry for Dopey; it’s just - as I was warned - considerably less complex than most of the first season episodes.

Eventually, the Marshalls are able to get Dopey out with the help of his mom and they congratulate themselves for their teamwork, which ties up the story with a nice, kid-friendly moral.

Episodes 2-7 after the break.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Art Show: A Gaul No More!

Asterix the Viking

By Mike Hawthorne. [ComicTwart]

Red-Headed Pirate of the Caribbean

By Marc Davis. [Shad from Swing with Shad let me know that this Pirates of the Caribbean art is the inspiration for that Little Mermaid Pirate picture I re-posted from his site last month.]

After the break: speaking of mermaids; also some dinosaurs, Black Canary, Green Goblin, the Creeper, Medusa, and Wonder Woman.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

My Favorite Flower

Asking me my favorite flower is a little like asking me who my favorite Ewok is. I really don't think about them enough to have a preference. In fact, when I buy flowers for special occasions, I just ask my florist for something varied and interesting and leave it to their imagination. The picture above is their most recent creation for us. They do good work and I trust them.

But since I have to have a particular answer for the list, I'll go with this one:

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Quotes of the Week: A Straight-Line Drawing Machine

“Face front, true believers! I can’t draw a straight line with a ruler and a straight-line drawing machine, which is why I hired artists to draw my comics! If you can’t draw, you should hire artists, too! Excelsior!”
--Mike Sterling, predicting the entire text of Stan Lee’s How to Draw Comics.

Isn't it instructive how Ben [Caldwell]'s work means that the [Wonder Woman] costume-before-JMS is transformed from cheesecake to something impressive, magical and appropriate?
--Colin from Too Busy Thinking About My Comics, pointing out that it's not the costume; it's the artist.

The Awesome List: Batman vs. Sasquatch!

Gear Island

I have no idea what this project of Jeremy Vanhoozer's is, but whatever it is I can't wait for it.

Yuki 7 and the Gadget Girls

Kevin Dart's groovy spygirl has her own website with videos, a store, a blog, and more.

After the break: Pulp Girls, Batman meets Alpha Flight, lovey Frankenstein, and Atlantis' Avenging Sneakers.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Art Show: Quickly, Old Chum! To the TARDIS!

The Escape

By Lorenzo Etherington.


By Vincent Bocognani. [Love in the Time of Chasmosaurs]

After the break: The Lone Ranger, Black Canary, Frankenstein, a witch, Wonder Woman, a giant robot, and Batmannin' the TARDIS.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Elsewhere... Some Gorillas Rode Some Dinosaurs

I've written a couple of Gorillas Riding Dinosaurs columns that I haven't told you about.

What Looks Good for September

The best-looking adventure comics for September include new Mouse Guard, Firefly, Good Neighbors, Atomic Robo, new printings of Alison Dare, and a Frankenstein pop-up book.

Atomic Robo vs. the X-Men in… “The Time Topic”

I'm doing something new with Gorillas Riding Dinosaurs lately. Rather than just do straight reviews, I've been focusing on specific elements that make comics awesome and talking about how to do them right (while soliciting readers for their own ideas). It's a lot more fun and interactive now, so if your eyes usually glaze over at my comics reviews, I hope you'll give the column another look.

I started this by talking about stand-alone issues a couple of weeks ago and this week it was all about time-travel.

What's Wrong with Wonder Woman (and How to Fix Her)

I thought about posting this MAD Wonder Woman parody under "Pass the Comics," but it didn't really fit with those two others and besides, I think there's something more to say about it.

As Tom Spurgeon noted, it "nails the super-troubling parts of [Wonder Woman's] appeal in a way it's hard to shake." And acknowledging that there are super-troubling parts makes me want to revisit my earlier, dismissive response to the current changes going on in her serialized adventures. While I still don't really care what J Michael Straczynski does in his run with the character, I agree with many other commentators that it does reveal a lack of understanding about what makes the character tick and how to solve the problems that the MAD parody points out.

I wish I'd saved links to some of those comments, because they've stuck with me and I wish I could point you to them. For one of the best though, I'll go back to Spurgeon again:
...why doesn't [she] have an all-ages title? That seems to me like it would be more important than bouncing it up 20,000 readers on Mel Thompson's charts. Wonder Woman is one of the few characters girls (and their parents) know. Wonder Tot is just sitting there waiting to have demented back-up adventures. Best of all, allowing multiple takes on the character outside of standard mainstream tropes and influences and the judgment of the CBR thread commenters might result in a way of looking at Wonder Woman that works for way more than 20,000 new readers.
He's exactly right. Why isn't there a Johnny DC Wonder Woman? Or, as Ben Caldwell would love to create, a Wonder Woman manga-style comic? Or both? In what way would that not be a fantastic idea?

Pass the Comics: Now I Just Have the Nazis to Deal With!

Still catching up from being gone last week, but I did see these two cool comics from The Charlton Story.

Hercules in the Land of Menace!

Hercules always looks best in Nemedian Lion, don't you agree?

The Phantom must prevent the Triumph of Evil!

The Phantom fights Nazis.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Twitter Redux

Okay, I've got this Twitter thing figured out now. And Facebook.

I'm moving all my news linking to those two places. Adventuresome news items will go to Twitter. Stuff Nobody Cares About But Me will go to Facebook. I'll use both for personal updates, but longer ones will just go on Facebook for obvious reasons.

That leaves the blog free for Art Shows, Pass the Comics, movie/TV/book reviews, thought pieces, Quotes of the Week; that kind of thing. Maybe a weekly Twitter recap or something if that would be helpful and I can figure out how to make it work.

I'm still a little resistant to spreading things out like that, but I think this plays to the strengths of each tool. Twitter for quick linking, Facebook for personal stuff, and the blog for longer pieces and image-heavy posts. Of course, if I ever have really giant news, I'll mention it at all three places.


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