Monday, August 06, 2012

(links)

Don MacPherson's review of DC's latest take on Kid Eternity, in National Comics: Eternity #1, makes the book sound duller than dishwater to me, and I don't think it's simply MacPherson failing to see the inherent awesomeness of the book, as his description and opinions jibe with the few others I've seen (Robot 6 gathered up links to a few others, and retailer Brian Hibbs discussed it among his other reviews last week). And I really like Kid Eternity (and writer Jeff Lemire...although I do like writer/artist Jeff Lemire more than writer Jeff Lemire, I think...and artist Cully Hamner's not too shabby either).

It really sounds like nothing so much as a pitch for a Kid Eternity TV series, which is in and of itself kind of silly, since it sounds like this version of the character has so little to do with the original conception of the character (and the next few conceptions) that I can't imagine why a anyone would make a television series based on Kid Eternity or using that title. I see no mention of Mr. Keeper or a costume or a codename or magic word, and the most interesting aspect of the comic book character, his ability to resurrect or summon the dead (usually in the form of famous dead people and historical figures) seems to have been removed and replaced with the more banal ability to communicate with the spirits of the dead in order to help solver their murders.

It sounds an awful lot like "Ghost Whisperer...but without the hot chick lead," and, when you take all the Kid Eternity out of something called Kid Eternity, what, exactly, is the point of making a movie or TV show or even a one-shot comic book entitled Kid Eternity...? Why not just make up a new title for your movie or TV show or one-shot comic book about a medical examiner who can communicate with the dead...?

Unless the real point of National Comics isn't simply to field test IPs for transmedia exploitation but, rather, to simply renew trademarks. That is, I assume, why they're calling this anthology series "National Comics" instead of...well, anything else.

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Dan Nadel said some things that sparked quite a conversation (167 comments under his original post...that's a lot of comments, right? I usually get about two per post here).

I don't really know what to make of it, as I am frightened and confused by Kikcstarer in general, not being the most tech-savvy or even tech-aware of comics bloggers), but it provided me with some new information. Like, I didn't know Amazon getting a cut (!).

I think Tom Spurgeon responded with some good advice on his site (i.e. don't just get mad and dismiss Nadel's argument out of anger or spite, but engage it if you disagree). I also think it's awesome he framed his reaction using professional wrestling imagery, which always makes for funny mental images when pertaining to comics discussions.

Sean T. Collins, another smart writer about comics, also responded to Nadel's post and the discussion swirling around it.

UPDATE: On Monday, Spurgeon revisited the discussion with a few more thoughts, and, in the process, linked to a few pieces I hadn't seen or read.

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So Greg Land is going to be providing the art for the upcoming Iron Man series, after Marvel relaunches the title with a new #1 as part of their "Marvel NOW!" initiative (which will mainly consist of reassigning various Marvel creators to new books and renumbering books again).

Iron Man was previously drawn (or "drawn") by Salvador Larroca, whose artwork uses photographs to assemble computer-generated imagery that looks to be about 75% filtered photo reference, resulting in ugly pages that look like videogame fumetti. Land's art looks more like 95% filtered photo reference, so I suppose his art will be an improvement, if by "improvement" we mean not only as terrible as the previous art, but worse.

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Honestly, I think making two movies out of The Hobbit is probably one movie too many, although I suppose it will depend on what sort of conclusion they can build into the first half of that book (The old animated version got pretty much the whole book done in about 90 minutes, cutting out only the bear guy stuff; a 2.5-hour live action movie oughta be able to do the whole book effectively enough, right?)

I'm not complaining, mind you, just expressing my surprise. They could make ten movies of Ian McKellen being a wizard and I would be totally okay with that.

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Speaking of Hobbitses...

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Mark Waid and Leinil Yu on The Hulk...? Huh. Yu's no Martin or Rivera, but I'm assuming Waid's getting this gig at least in part because of the (relative) success of his Daredevil, which has been a critical darling. If so, that's cool to see Marvel rewarding a writer producing excellent comic scripts, not simply one producing popular comic scripts (I think Yu lacks the paper-moving, gushing praise-generating abilities of Martin and Rivera, but the Hulk's popularity is higher than Daredevil's, traditionally, so this could work out well for all involved).

If this is $3, I may give it a shot. I've wanted to read Hulk comics since...let's see...World War Hulk, and Marvel has attached writers I like to the franchise (Jeff Parker, Jason Aaron), but that franchise has been particularly scary to attempt reading ever since, due to multiple Hulks of various hues and the weird numbering and renumbering schemes that I never really got a sense of which Hulk was in which book, and if the "real" Hulk was in a book that a creative team I liked was working on that book.

Hopefully this will be a Hulk #1 starring the green, Bruce Banner version of the Hulk. And he won't be wearing the dumb armor seen in that Quesada-drawn image that was released in conjunction with the original "Marvel NOW!" PR.

I kinda like Yu, particularly the way he draws eyelids and bared teeth (he should really draw a Kirstin Stewart comic), although he's not an artist I'm super-enthusiastic, buy-everything-he-draws enthusiastic, about.

He's also not an artist I would have though, "Hey, this guy is perfect to do a Hulk book!" He did very solid work on the half of the hilariously late Ultimate Wolverine Vs. Hulk series that I read, but his Hulks in that silly Ultimate Comics Avenvers Vs. New Ultimates book weren't anything special.

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I'm pretty sure Read Comics In Public Day is actually every Wednesday, every day I have to go to a doctor's office or eat in a restaurant by myself and every day off that I have time to sit in a park or on a beach.

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The only thing weirder than the fact that Marvel ever married The Black Panther to Storm in the first place (Hey, they're both from Africa! And one is male, and the other female! It's like they were made for each other!), is the fact that they've decided to end it a few years later...and like this.

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It's The Portland Mercury vs. Newsarama on the ten worst performances of all time in superhero movies!

Looking at the Newsarama list, or at least the Mercury summary of it, as I don't like to look at lists where you have to click on each item on it to reveal what that item actually is, I don't actually agree with...let's see...any of them.

I think as the Mercury writer points out, there's a difference between acting in a bad film and being bad at acting, or acting badly, in a film. Calling Nicolas Cage out for being Nicolas Cage is, for exmaple, rather unusual. Halle Berry was also really, really good as Catwoman; that is, she was good at playing the character she was playing, and her performance as maybe the best part of that pretty risible movie. Now, Halle Berry as Storm in the X-Men movies on the other hand...

Now that I've been thinking about it for, like, five minutes, I'm actually having a hard time thinking of actors who really fucked up in terms of turning in bad performances in superhero movies. The Mercury writer offers his own lists to replace the Newsarama one, and it's a lot stronger, but it's always difficult to pull out a performance and say, "Yeah, that part right there sucked; not the lines written or the director's direction, the costuming, the direction and tone of the film, all of that stuff was okay, but that performance, which is the fault of the actor, and no one else."

So I would question even some of the entries on the Mercury list. For example, was Jennifer Garner's acting particularly poor in her performance as the Elketra character in Daredevil and Elektra, or was she simply horribly miscast in two very troubled movies? Similarly, did Jessica Alba do such a terrible job in those Fantastic Four movies, or was she miscast as a poorly defined version of Sue Storm? (I think her performance really stood out in those movies as a weak spot in large part because the other 3/4ths of the superhero team was so well-cast, particularly the Thing and the Torch).

And I maintain that Sylvester Stallone was and, perhaps, still is the ideal candidate to play Judge Dredd in a Judge Dredd movie. Is there another big, imposing, name actor in Hollywood capable of playing a role in which no part of the main character's face is ever visible save his lips and chin? Stallone was born—nay, sculpted!—to play the role. Now, having him remove his helmet in the film is a decision that was above Stallone (or, at least, should have been), and kind of gets the character really wrong (Why, that would be like showing The Octopus on-screen in a movie based on The Spirit strip!), but had the makers of that film had Stallone's Dredd keep his helmet on for the duration, Stallone would have fared better. Besides, Stallone's acting was maybe the least of that flick's problems.

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And back to Spurgeon, Khosla and company. Here's Spurgeon's reaction to the previously mentioned Morrison interview. It links back to Khosla's company, and a few comments Collins made on the interview (I like the bit about Morrison going "full Barkley"). YOu should read it; those are some smart writers about comics talking about a smart writer of comics, who says some remarkably strange things about the guys who created one of the gravy trains Morrison has ridden most consistently and lucratively over the course of his career.

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Here, by the way, is what Morrison wrote in a goddam book devoted to how awesome Superman and the comic book superheroes he inspired about Siegel and Shuster, which is about as sensitive as JMS' "Yeah, National Comics screwed those guys, but everyone gets screwed by DC and Marvel all the time" comments.

Short version: Don't believe the hype; Siegel and Shuster got what was coming to them.

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Via Collins, it's Michael DeForge's Batman rogues gallery.

Can anyone identify 'em all? I can't figure out who the guy to the right of The Joker is supposed to be, nor can I figure out the guy to the left of Ra's al Ghul.

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By the way, DeForge's is a pretty swell Scarecrow, although I generally prefer my Scarecrows to have pointed hats atop their bagged heads:

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The best part of this swell little animation I saw linked to on ComicsAlliance is the face the Lego people put on their Tony Stark. Dude looks like such an asshole.

Oh, and no way re the outcome of that Hulk/Superman fight. Superman would have Hulk in orbit lickety-split. No matter if Hulk is (or can get) stronger (by, um, getting madder) than Superman, he can't move as fast as Superman and he can't fly, which means Superman can always push or punch him off-planet and into gravity-less space, at which point...well, I don't know.

Can Hulk breathe in space? Could he get himself back into Earth's gravitational pull by blowing or clapping in the opposite direction, or would he need at atmosphere to blow or clap against...? I'm afraid I didn't pay enough attention in physics class to know who would win such a battle for sure. But I'm pretty sure it would be Superman.

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Hey Direct Market Comics Retailers and Direct Market Customers: I can't tell you how disappointed I am that you allowed those stupid Before Watchmen books to sell that well.

What a world, what a world...

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I hope somewhere there's someone in the prose publishing industry reading these Chris Sims/David Uzumeri and now Matt Wilson superhero film discussions at CA and thinking, "Say, we should collect all of those and publish them as a book." Because that would be a fine book.

7 comments:

Andrew D said...

The guy to the left of Ra's al Ghul is the mobster from Year One. You can see the three scars on his face where Selina cut him.

Jacob T. Levy said...

"Oh, and no way re the outcome of that Hulk/Superman fight. Superman would have Hulk in orbit lickety-split. No matter if Hulk is (or can get) stronger (by, um, getting madder) than Superman, he can't move as fast as Superman and he can't fly, which means Superman can always push or punch him off-planet and into gravity-less space, at which point...well, I don't know."

On the one hand, you're right.

On the other hand, everything you say here about the Hulk also applies to (the original) Doomsday.

It therefore follows that the original Superman-Doomsday fight made no sense. QED.

Rev'd '76 said...

To the right of Joker is the late, barely-lamented Harold Allnut-- hunchbacked mute mechanic, costume designer, and all-around allreet guy. Offed by Hush, or Jeph Loeb; I'm unsure which fate is more ignoble. I passed the info along to STC, but I don't think he got the note.

http://batman.wikia.com/wiki/Harold_Allnut

Oh, Bruce, who will you adopt next?

KentL said...

With regards to Kid Eternity, I, too, felt it read like a TV pitch. In fact, if felt an awful lot like a TV show I'd seen before, Pushing Daisies.

I think you nailed it, though. It wasn't bad, it was just "meh". I enjoyed it enough that I didn't feel like I needed that time back, but not enough to want more.

That said, I would love to see more one-shot issues like this from DC since I don't follow any of their titles right now.

Caleb said...

Andrew,

Carmine Falcone? Aha! That makes sense, and now I see the scratches. His squinty eyes fooled me, as I thought he was maybe supposed to be Asian.

Jacob,

I haven't reread the Doomsday fight (like, all the comics leading up to the final battle) in, like, ever. Did Superman really never try just, like, throwing Doomsday into space? That seems like it would be the, I don't know, third thing I'd try, if I were Superman. (Which I'm not).

Rev,

OhhhHHHhhhh....Huh. I never woulda guessed Harold. Mostly because he doesn't seem to fit in with the rest of those guys. "Hush" made no sense to me though. I don't even know who the bad guy actually was...I thought Harold was a patsy? Or was he a co-conspirator? Was Riddler pulling his and Hush's strings...? And wasn't Dent in there somewhere...?

At this point, all I remember is that in addition to all of Batman's best enemies and allies, they put Krypto in it too.

Thanks for the character ID-ing!


Kent,

You're in luck! They're going those one-shots on an ongoing basis...at least until they cancel the series. The only one I remember upcoming at this point though is vampire Looker. Maybe there was a Rose and Thorn one announced too...?

JohnF said...

Superman never even attempted to get Doomsday out into space, if I remember correctly. I guess the explanation was that he was getting so hit so hard and so often he didn't have time to formulate any kind of plan. His response was just to hit back as much as he could.

KentL said...

Sadly, I've stopped paying attention to solicits and releases from DC at this point. So I'll probably only see one of these one-shots if I happen to be in the shop the week it comes out. It was happenstance that I got this one. I happened to see it was coming out on both Lemire's and Hamner's blogs and just happened to be in the shop that week.

Still, I think it's a good idea. Not much interested in either of the ones you listed, though. The creative team piqued my interest here, so maybe the others will have strong creative teams, too.