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Batman

PatMan

Oh for #$%&s sake, didn’t we JUST do this???

It’s probably time for me to weigh in on the whole Batman thing. Funny, this photo came up in my feed today. When Ben Affleck was announced, I vociferously defended him

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when the rest of fandom was taking a steaming dump on the casting, and created this image to visualize him in the role
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I also defended Pattinson . He’s well past his Twilight days and has done some GREAT work since then. Heck, he did some good work in Harry Potter BEFORE Twilight. I’m not holding that against him.

I’ve seen the trailer. I hate the suit. I see nothing in it I haven’t seen done before… and better. I’ve got NO problem with Pattinson as an actor, but I don’t buy what I’ve seen of him as Batman. My first impression from these trailers is a hard pass. Not because Pattinson used to sparkle, but rather because I’ve seen it done better. Way better.

 

I’m actually glad I’m getting more batfleck in the Snyder cut and the theroetical Flash movie (I’ll still plotz if it ever actually comes out). Ben has managed to become y favorite cinematic Batman despite being saddled with somewhat lackluster films.

Maybe I’ll watch Pattinson on cable.

 


From the Den

EPav-SQW4AEka-6I’m sitting here, trying to think of what to say about the late Denny O’Neil, who passed away last week. Certainly  there’s no one besides Batman’s creators that had more of an impact on the stories of the Dark Knight than Denny. It’s not just that he wrote the Batman stories that dragged Batman away from the camp and back into the dark, it’s also his decades as editor for the Batman line, providing a steady hand and unified vision for the character.

But for me, it was his monthly column “From the Den”, that appeared at the end of the letters page across the Batman titles. It was there that O’Neil would muse about random things, subway pickpockets in New York, whether he was too old to keep going by the nickname “Denny”, or if television was really the key to everlasting life. As a kid living in the middle of nowhere, there were no comic conventions for me to go and meet the professionals, and peek behind the curtain so to speak. There was no facebook to 1655630_936408949736862_4026787195773672807_ofriend them, no internet interviews posted on the company webpages. But through this sort of column, I felt like I was able to get a glimpse of that life, making comics in the big apple…and I’m glad I took the time to tell him this face to face.

One of the obits I read referred to Denny as “Legendary DC editor”. Denny never saw himself as legendary. He was just a guy doing a job. But nevertheless, I feel entirely justified in saying we have lost a giant.

Godspeed Denny.


Case Closed

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30698560_1896622683715479_5709502579388504929_nI headed out to the Winchester last night for a special screening of the new short film “case closed”. The cast and filmmaker were on hand, and the films creator, Andrew Sgambati gave a short introduction before the movie ran. I stuck around until after the credits rolled (remember, there just might be a special little something after the end credits! It even happens with short films!). After the lights came up, he returned to the stage and spoke a little bit about the movie he just screened. There may also have been a round of “Happy Birthday to you” sung.


Case Closed is a fan film set in the Batman universe, though if you’re expecting the Dark Knight you’re going to be disappointed.  What we have is a narrative heavily influenced from the Dark Knight trilogy – particularly the interrogation sequence in the second film… The set up is familiar, the Joker has done something horrific, and the plan is already set in motion even though he is in handcuffs.

cc2 copyWhat is interesting here is that the story is told from the perspective of a detective on the case. This has the unsettling effect of making it feel more personal. Usually we see the Joker’s crimes from the perspective of Batman, or the Joker himself. They are statistics, not tragedies. In this case the peril feels very real because the detective’s son is missing. The tragedy is much closer to home.

Our detective by the way, played by Scott Laing, is the real star here. Laing’s impressive performance grounds the piece, which is beautifully shot and composed. With the exception of a brief appearance from Harley Quinn, Laing’s character is the most engaging one on the screen.cc1

You can actually see Andrew Sgambati’s writing has captured the voice of the Joker quite well here. The dialogue is crisp, it rings true…  unfortunately his performance doesn’t live up to his script. I appreciate that Sgambati doesn’t fall into the trap that a lot of actors do with the Joker – that is to play him big. It’s easy to go over the top with the Joker and got completely off the rails without even realizing it… We go the opposite direction here – with a delivery that feels flat. It’s a shame, because he does capture the physicality of the character and the look is well chosen, but I need a little more expression and subtext in his line delivery. I’m IMG_8587hoping to see him grow into the role as these films progress…and I am expecting to see these films continue. the movie itself ends with the announcement that “The Joker and Harley Quinn will return.” I find it interesting that batman may still be absent. It’s a curious choice, but not an outrageous one. The grounded portrayal of these characters makes introducing the hero dressed up in a Bat costume a little more difficult of a prospect and I can see why they would shy away from it.

I’m about 20 years removed from my own film making days, but I remember the Premier night of Ron’s Big Adventure and I could feel that same electricity in the air at the Winchester last night. The film is on YouTube, and their goal is 10,000 views. Head up there and check it out,  and support our hometown filmmakers!

 


alyas batman en robin

fff

untitledI wanted to do two of these this month so I could squeeze this post in before the years end. This is just a bizarre film for me, it’s the Filipino Batman.

It’s obviously based on the 60’s show, but it was made in 1991 to try and ride the coattails of the Burton movie…except someone didn’t get the memo that Batman wasn’t supposed to be funny anymore….

Check it out if you’re a fan of the Adam West Batman. The villains in particular are really well done in that same goofy way.

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Batman versus Superman and percentages

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I really thought I was done – I thought I had defended the movie sufficiently. But this latest version of criticism is surprisingly persistent – and a little bit annoying.batman_v_superman___dawn_of_justice__poster_by_goxiii-d8xs1x9

I have seen repeated articles now about the terrible and significant drop in ticket sales for Batman versus Superman in its second week. If you read these,  one thing you’ll notice about every one of these articles, they always speak in percentages. 81% drop! It’s over! That’s the thing,  They have to speak in percentages. BvS made $52.4 million in it’s second weekend.  If the critics speak in total dollars, there is no disguising the fact that despite its “Plunging ticket sales “Batman versus Superman is still out-grossing films that are coming out for their first week. How many movies would give their eye teeth for a $52.4 million opening weekend? How many would kill to make that in thier second week? And we’ll just ignore the fact that BvS is rapidly closing in on the $700 million mark.

I had hoped that this particular tactic was done – they tried it first by examining the drop in ticket sales on Sunday… Easter Sunday. Monday and Tuesday Batman versus Superman went back to setting box office records. However, the media is so committed to this narrative, that when Batman versus Superman failed to generate another half billion dollars in it’s second weekend the story is sprung right back up. Sales are plunging!

Notice how everybody is using the same keyword? Ticket sales are “plunging”. It’s in eBvSvery headline, every blog, every editorial. Its evidence of media group think and over reliance on outlets like AP. There’s not a lot of original thought going on here but rather we are seeing a lot of people jumping on the same bandwagon. We’re more used to seeing this kind of bias and consensus in political reporting rather than in entertainment, but it’s fascinating to watch those same principles applied here.  Critics hated Batman v Superman, and a lot more then the fans did. Critics want this movie to fail – to die. The Superhero movie has gotten to uppity, and besides, only Marvel is allowed to do that and they feel compelled to do thier best to put it in it’s place. The general public dosen’t quite seem to agree. More fans seem to like it then hate it and most were smack dab in the middle feeling somewhat ambivalent. What the different numbers in ticket sales this weekend really speaks to, is two things – firstly the obvious. It is no longer opening weekend. This is significant, because Batman versus Superman was an event film. People were going to go see it the first weekend – either that or risk of being spoiled on the Internet.

NEfSZ2ONUM37ji_1_bThe second thing at play here is something I noted in my review – rewatchability. There are some people absolutely love this and are going to see it twice, but I think the vast majority of viewers are only going to be able to handle this film once. This isn’t necessarily a negative, I’ve only ever seen Forrest Gump once – there’s just no rewatchability there for me either. So the drop in ticket sales, while still healthy shows that people are not going to see this two or three or four times. It also shows that everybody without the first weekend, and only a few stragglers remaining.

Why am I so adamant about this? Why do I feel the need to speak out about this? Because the critics are trying to shape public opinion – not report on it. That’s not the job of journalists, and it frustrates me when I see it happening. Batman v Superman is not Oscar fodder (though I think Zach Snyder actually believed he was making high art– someone should probably tell him that he wasn’t) but it’s not worth othe dismal rotten tomatoes score it has –  although I find it interesting just how inverse the relationship between the critical score and the viewer score is.  I’ll stick with the viewers. Unlike the critics, they aren’t trying to sway anybody.

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Final thought – Bad movies just go away. People complain about them and forget about them. Everybody is talking about Batman v Superman, and everybody has seen it. Every person I meet asks me if I saw it and what was my opinion. Compare this to the recent fantastic four – sure we talked about it, we complained about it, but nobody went to see it. Nobody talks about it any more, except to use it as a yardstick for the worst superhero films ever made. Batman versus Superman has sparked discussion and it’s penetrated the public consciousness and is already a success.

No matter what the critics want you to believe.


Batman versus Superman

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12814231_1146572888720466_3283450144763849407_nIn order to best discuss issues and elements of the film, vague spoilers are mentioned.proceed at your own discretion.

I took the girls out to Amherst cinema to see Batman v Superman on Saturday. This is the movie event of the summer for us – it’s the one with and waiting for, more than Civil War, more than Deadpool, more than Star Wars. It is the culmination of a dream come true. This is what we have always wanted to see, even more than the joining of the Avengers or the Punisher and Daredevil coming together – this is the ultimate dream for us. We are DC people after all.

There’s a lot of Trolls out there who seemed inclined to hate this movie from the word go – and for those who absolutely wanted to see this fail, those people are going to find as many flaws and as many things they don’t agree with in it as they can. There is plenty of it, so yes, I’m seeing more than enough of them feeling justified in their animosity.  I’ve been defending this movie for quite awhile, with a wait-and-see attitude. I’m not the kind of person to hate something just because it’s cool to hate it. Some of you are sitting out there reading this thinking “I sense a ‘but’ here “.

Well not exactly.

12472805_1148774941833594_3636247074446668501_nLike any film you can divide it into a pile of good things in a pile bad things. Lets start off looking at the good things shall we?

Henry Cavill is perfectly adequate at being superman. That may sound like I’m damning with faint praise, but really this is a difficult role and he manages to blend in, embodying the fundamentals of the character rather than standing out as a particular actor version of it. He’s not the Christopher Reeve Superman, he’s not Dean Cain Superman he simply is… Superman. Cavill does an excellent job portraying a lot of Superman’s inner monologue, that is to say he captures the insecurities of the man, he conveys the inner turmoil without chewing the scenery. The Superman of this era is still on a learning curve and Cavill manages to convey that well. More than anything else, no matter what you have to say about the director, or the writer, or even the critics and fans, you can take absolute certainty on this – Cavill gets Superman. It is clearly evident in his rendition.

perry-white-e1370419014942While we’re on the subject of Superman, (discussing the supporting cast is inevitable) can we talk about how good Perry White is in this movie? I was extremely on the fence about Lawrence Fishbourne in Man of Steel. There is something about his performance that threw me off… Perry is an old school war reporter, ‘Nam and World War II. Fishbourne seemed a little too cool sometimes, man that earring of his is really bugging me! This time around he seemed more grizzled, maybe it’s just the gray showing up on his beard but I don’t think so – he played the character with more maturity and age this time around. He played him crankier and with less patience. That really makes a big difference. I felt more like I was watching Franklin Langella’s (Superman Returns) or John Hamilton’s(Adventures of Superman TV) performance.

And then there is Batman. After all the speculation, we finally get to see Batfleck.Batman_Affleck

(I’m telling you guys! You should have used my design!)

1236840_683654624997566_879480929_nIt’s inevitable that we have to talk about him. You know, the Haters jumped right on top of him as soon as Ben Affleck was cast. I refused to delve into the mass of criticism (You can see my initial reactions on this blog HERE and HERE), particularly amid this group of people who want to hate on him simply because he is Ben Affleck. That was the big argument that I kept hearing, that he’s Ben Affleck and he’s going to suck because of it – or that he is going to suck as Batman because he sucked as Daredevil (curiously enough, the main argument and I’ve heard for why Daredevil is so terrible is that exact same one – it sucks because Ben Affleck sucks). Quite frankly, if I’d heard you utter these words or any variation thereof, I have immediately dismissed your opinion and I’m not interested in talking to you any further about these movies. (and by the way, I happen to like Daredevil – I mean really like it – like I don’t understand why everyone hates it, it’s one of my favorite superhero films). Yeah, harsh, but I’ve put up with it enough.

So how did acquit himself? I think that if you were dead set on hating him, if you were invested enough in that inclination then you’re still going to hate him. For someone who went in with no expectations however, Affleck does a marvelous job. This is a different Batman, it’s not Kilmer it’s not Keaton, it’s not Bale. Some of the characterization feels off sometimes, but it’s intentional. This is a Batman who has grown world-weary. He is so involved in vengeance, that he has very much forgotten how to be a hero that that’s one of the interesting things about this movie, Batman has a definite arc. This film is all about him learning how to become a hero again and it is only in his conflict with Superman, (and moreover seeing his own dark reflection cast by the light of Superman’s inherent nobility) that he realities how lost he is… How far he’s wandered off the path of the hero.

Make no mistake, Superman is the hero of this piece.

I realize that an inflammatory statement, but I think I can back it up. You see, in the final climactic battle between Batman and Superman, Superman comes in, unwilling to kill the Batman, even at the cost of his mother’s life. Batman comes in, solely intent on murdering Superman out of nothing more than a paranoid fear. I’m sorry, but no matter how I look at it, in this situation – Batman is batman-vs-superman-theories-officially-proved-debunked-but-which-are-true-668304the bad guy – and indeed it is the very reason why Batman almost wins here… not because he’s single mindedly willing to do “whatever it takes” to win, but rather because Superman is unwilling to take Batman’s life. Superman truly is the hero here. And that’s really the point of it all isn’t it? We see a remarkable redemption in Batman and this is a tough part to pull out off simply because of all of these elements that have been layered and incorporated into a single role.

Affleck’s body language is straight out of the animated series, and his delivery is pitch perfect from Frank Miller’s Dark Knight returns. For those out there who are complaining it’s not their version of Batman, I’m reminded of something John Byrne once wrote – his reaction to reading The Dark Knight Returns. He said that it wasn’t the Batman he knew, not the one he liked, but he understood how it was the Batman that he knew who had grown into this character – that this was12809688_1148774938500261_4617938668998965604_n a potential future for his Batman and it made sense to him when he looked at it from this perspective. I think there’s a lot of that here. If all you’re looking for is a rehash of Christian Bale’s Batman then you may be in the wrong place. That’s perhaps that’s a bit harsh of me, but I’ve never cared for the Nolan films, and have always felt a little distressed that so many people claim that as their fundamental version of Batman – the purist form, and the only one they wish to recognize. There are better versions out there, believe me. This may or may not be one of them.

The bat suit by the way, is dead on and I really love it. I get glimpse of gold on that belt once in awhile, even though it seems to be rusted over and black. I can see the bat symbol on the chest and it really stands out against the gray. There is nothing about this bat suit that I don’t like – and the Batmobile? I have not liked a Batmobile this much since Anton Furst’s design for the 1989 film, and the Lincoln Futura before it. It’s perfect. It 12143230_1148774935166928_2648198661282546357_nhas the teeth of the tumbler, mixed with the sleek look of the first Batmobile. I was excited from the very first images I laid eyes on, and the final product did not disappoint one bit– it’s sporty and brutal and beautiful

Of course the real performance everyone is talking about here is Wonder Woman. I have heard from more than a few critics fans and moviegoers that she stole the show. That was certainly the case for my kids. They waited almost an entire film just to see her – even when she showed up incognito they understood it, and their excitement was palpable. Wonder Woman does not disappoint here – and that’s quite a task considering how difficult it has been to bring this character back to the screen. Lynda Carter is still very much in the hearts and minds of everyone of my generation, but my kids have12798907_1147789361932152_4407022136592722495_n been exposed to her as well (although they are probably more familiar with the animated version that we saw in the Justice League cartoon). Still this was a brilliant performance, and Gail Godot proved she was absolutely worthy of the role. She is another one of those cases of undue criticism, before a single frame was shot. I really don’t understand why there was so much hatred heaped upon her head from the moment she was cast… long before we ever even saw her in the suit! This woman had an uphill battle and had to fight for every step of the way, and man, does she ever deliver in this movie! They manage not only to make her  compelling, but to make her mysterious – to make her and enigma that we genuinely want to unravel and explore further. When we saw the old photograph that she had infiltrated Lex Luthor’s party to retrieve, we nearly flipped. It’s obviously a shot from the upcoming Wonder Woman solo film and that’s such a great way of integrating her into the DC cinematic universe.  The amount of anticipation that my girls and I have for the upcoming wonder woman Batman-v-Superman-the-best-momentsmovie just shot through the roof!

Really, this is The epitome of what is Zach Snyder faced with this film. He had an impossible task, not only to bring these characters to life but to kick off a franchise and to keep us wanting to come back more. I have long said that Batman versus Superman was a license to print money… But only once. This film was guaranteed to be a success, but it had to be enough of a true success to make us genuinely want to come back for more.

I’m not sold on Cyborg and the Flash, not from the mere glimpses we saw in this film, and I’m still not in love with Snyder’s style, but that Aquaman we saw? Man I want to know more about that! He reminds me a lot of the 90’s Aquaman (the version I really like). and this really intrigues me. I am all about a new wonder woman movie and an Aquaman story. I also honestly do want to see more of Afflecks Batman.

I really want to know what’s up with that ending. My kids cried.

It’s not a perfect movie though, it’s at least 45 minutes too long – and far too much of the movie goes right back to my age old complaint about the Iron man films; we’re not in the suit isn’t nearly enough costume time, especially for Superman. We get a montage and rescue at the beginning and not a lot else until we hit that the third act. Batman is only slightly better. There is a moment in the film where Alfred points out that Bruce Wayne is capable of getting certain information far more easily and efficiently than Batman. I wanna punch Alfred as he says this, because I’m not nearly as interested in watching Bruce Wayne hobnob as I am in watching Batman swing on a rope! Aargh!

Lois Lane is not quite tough enough. Margot Kidder may have taken the hard as nails approach a tad too far, but the current Lois Lane feels just a little too soft and friendly . I’m a bit biased, I think Teri Hatcher was the greatest Lois Lane ever to grace the screen which is curious considering I’m not a fan of the Lois and Clark TV show…(although I’m softening on that stand, I’m almost through season two and actually liking it a bit more than I did when I was a kid)

lex-luthor-inside-details-on-jesse-eisenberg-as-lex-luthor-in-batman-vs-superman-jpeg-26235Perhaps the biggest problem in this film, is Jesse Eisenberg Lex Luthor. This was another casting choice that I defended when it was announced, it was my thought that if he bulked up a little bit this might be an interesting chance for him to stretch is acting ability.  He’s got the range, he just never uses it, instead choosing to rely on his Jesse Eisenberg persona. I even found this image back then – a speculative rendition of what he could be as Lex if he choose to play it straight.

Even when it came out that his Eisenber act was indeed the kind of character he was going to be playing, I assumed that the role had been written for him – with this gawky spaz kind of young Lex Luthor in mind… Now I’m not so sure.

There is nothing in his lines or actions that depends on the hyperactive awkwardness that he displays. In fact, there’s moments in his performance of real menace. It’s batman-vs-superman-poster-lex-luthorenough to make me believe that perhaps there’s something more there than meets the eye. I almost want to believe that the nerdy Eisenberg persona is just a defense mechanism. Just a surface act that masks depths of sinister intent.

The problem is it’s never paid off (unless Snyder thinks that the sullen look on Eisenbergs face as his hair is shaved off is that emotional pay off). We never really get to see this explored the ways should be done. As a result, it just comes up as annoying – a real missed opportunity .

When they were first looking around at casting next Luthor I was vocal in my support of Clancy Brown. He was the actor who voiced the character in the cartoons, though he is probably best known for his role as the Kurgan in Highlander or the mean guard in The Shawshank Redemption. He’s never been out of work. In very recent times, he’s played the Clancy_Brownprincipal in the Nightmare on Elm Street reboot,as well as appearing on Supergirl as General Eiling, and very recently showed up on Daredevil as the Punishers old CO.

Sit back for a moment, and transpose him over Jesse Eisenberg. Imagine Eisenbergs lines, but instead of the nervous sputtering delivery that Jesse gave, imagine Clancy in an expensive pressed suit – perhaps a lab coat, thought less likely. Imagine him delivering those lines confidently with that low,sure voice. Just a touch of menace to it. Imagine Clancy doing the things Luthor did. With Eisenberg, pulling the finger tips off of Zod is icky… With Brown it would’ve been terrifying in it’s genuis and obsession. With Eisenberg you hate him for kidnapping Martha Kent, with Brown you’re terrified of what will happen to her.

‘Seriously, I don’t understand this casting choice. Snyder is hellbent on doing imagessomething different, I understand. Indeed, I think in this determination to do something new, he actually exhibits that single-mindedness that we see in Batman… driving him to do the wrong thing.

The wrong thing. That that’s a bold statement, it’s an absolute and a label that I have not applied any other part of this movie. So why do I say “the wrong thing ” 72340_1146572142053874_2236992969757371517_nwhen it comes to Lex Luthor and stand by it with such certainty?

Because my kids didn’t recognize him.

My girls know who Lex Luthor is. They’ve watched him on the Justice League cartoons, they’ve been around Superman there entire lives, they play hero clixs with me and read the comics themselves and THEY. DID. NOT. RECOGNIZE. HIM. It wasn’t until the end of the movie, where Eisenberg sits in prison, wearing an orange jumpsuit Jesse-Eisenberg-Lex-Luthorand having his head shaved that Maddie’s eyes widened and she pointed at him. It was only in those final minutes of the film that my kids realized that they had been watching some strange incarnation of Lex Luthor all along. When you alter a character so much that he becomes unrecognizable to casual fans, you have absolutely gone the wrong direction with that character.

Zach Snyder is not interested in making fun, popcorn action movies. He’s trying to make a serious epic here, and I’m not sure that’s the right approach. While Batman V Superman is not a bad movie, The heaviness of it severely limits rewatchability. I have the same issue with Winter Soldier, and I especially have this problem with Man of Steel. We all know that Superman Returns is a terrible Versusfilm, and it breaks my heart because the visual design has so much potential. But I’ll tell you what, even though Man of Steel is a better film, I’ve seen Superman Returns way more times that I’ve watched Man of Steel. It’s just an easier watch. Truth is, I don’t think I’ve made it through Man of Steel even one time since I saw in the theatre. Maybe in pieces, but certainly not in its entirety. Batman versus Superman will be the same – I may pop the video in and cue it past the second hour, but I’m pretty sure I’ll never watch this entire thing again. I liked it, and I’m glad I saw it, I just don’t know that I’ll ever be able to sit through this a second time, where as I can see myself watching Batman 89 again and again.  If Iron Man is on cable I’m not going to turn it off. If I see BvS though, I’ll probably sit through it until commercial if it’s a good part and then keep on flipping.

The thing is, Snyder has mistaken heavy and cynical for mature. I have the same response to him that I did to the producers of the Muppets many months ago (you can find that HERE) that Cynical is not batman_v_superman___dawn_of_justice__poster_by_goxiii-d8xs1x9necessarily “adult”, and it’s not what I want to see with these characters. You didn’t “grow up “the Superman film, you just sucked a lot of the joy out of it.

A lot of the joy, but not all of it. Seeing Superman and Batman and Wonder Woman on screen together is something we wanted all our lives and we finally have it. This was a monumental and daunting task and if not ideal, Snyder does manage to pull it off. 3-D and IMAX are going to do nothing for it, but if you haven’t seen it in the theatre you really need to. We went for the cheap seats at Amherst Cinema and paid four dollars for a ticket. It’s  showing on a double bill with Deadpool over at the drive-in near us. The movie is everywhere, and it’s not going anywhere – you have no excuse. If you haven’t seen Batman versus Superman, I’m sorry I spoiled it for you but what are you doing wasting time reading this anyhow? Get out and see the movie!


Demir Yumruk: Devler Geliyor : Iron Fist: The Giants are Coming

fff

untitledThis is actually another Turkish Superman film, though it bears less resemblance to him. if anything, this Suprerman is more like Batman, very depowered.

the flamboyant, wheelchair-bound criminal mastermind transvestite Fu Manchu is hunting a hidden cache of treasure and uranium. It is this that will enable him, somehow, to rule the world. When he kills the one archaeologist with a lead on the loot, the murdered man’s son joins forces with macho policeman Enver to get revenge.  Enver fakes his death to trick the villains and dons the suit to defeat the bad guys.

Honestly this one is even more incomprehensible that the other Turkish Superman based on the Donner film, but good news! I frequently see this one bundled in bootleg DVDs with that movie so it’s not hard to find! Watch it while your cleaning or reading a book.

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Indiana Comicon

Conman

I should have known better.11037259_933256620052095_4418008790832503459_n

Seriously, I should have snagged a clue when I passed the billboard for Indiana Comicon on my way to Days of the Dead, but honestly, even with the attendance of Carrie Fisher, they really didn’t have a lot of media guests… it wasn’t going to be THAT big of a con was it? I was beginning to have misgivings, but still, I grabbed my Shadow costume and hit the road.

Indiana is possibly the biggest convention I’ve attended. easily as big as Wizard World Cleveland was. Big cons arn’t my thing. I don’t dig standing in lines all day, fighting the crowds. I want to be able to interact with the guests and hang out at the panels. The bigger the con is the less of that I get to do and this thing was HUGE.New_100_6502

It’s their second year and it shows. They haven’t quite gotten the hang of scheduling or crowd control. Last year people were unable to get in, refunded admission after standing in line for hours. This year those problems were solved, but they crept up again inside with the guests. There were a lot of upset attendees who stood in line for Carrie Fisher for up to 4 hours only to be turned away. It wasn’t  just with her either though. Paige O’Hare (Belle from Beauty and the New_100_6504Beast) had her line closed three times while I was there. It would open for an hour or so (less than an hour that last time 4:30 and closed around 5:15) and shut down again for a photo op or panel. I didn’t make it up to see her and my girls were disappointed.

Still, truth be told, I wasn’t there for the media guests. I was there for the comic guests – and this is to Indiana’s GREAT credit. They are VERY focused on comics, and brought in some amazing guests.

Punisher_Vol_2_11Whilce Portacello mentioned that working on the Punisher was great training for young artist.

“I had to do so much research on the guns, I had to get everything right all the lines all the look.”.

I always love the way that Whilce  created speed and action, and  he told me “You’ve got to do that sometimes.” he pointed to a particular punisher cover.  “Look at this, it’s an old cannon. It’s boring! You got to do something to make that look cool!”

One of the other things I love about his era, is this is when we got away from the cylinders as teeth on the Punisher’s skull.

“That was Mike Baron. We started out with the Cylenders, but he wanted to take it back to the early look. It dosen’t make sense anyhow! Why Cylinders? They don’t bend!”

I also talked to Mike Grell about Green Arrow : The Longbow Hunters asking how this came about it he come do do this. Did they come to him?

“They asked me if there was any one DC character I’d like to take and revamp and relaunch who would it be? My first thought was Batman, But at that time Frank Miller had just done Batman and I had a feeling that his version with stick for the next 20 years, and I was right!” he said,  referring to the changes in the new 52.

“I always loved Green Arrow and they suggested what about Green Arrow as a hunter – well this was perfect for me!”

I mentioned to Grell that I thought Jon Sable was the one of the most interesting character in comics. I really do believe this. He smiled and shook my hand, saying “I’d really like to get back to this character some day. I think there are a few more stories in him.”

I had questions for Mark Wade about Kingdom Come, curious if all that background imaging we see throughout the graphic novel was all Alex Ross

“All that background noise was all Alex.”  he said. Waid is currently writing the Green Hornet and loving it. Dynamite is just a great home for these characters and he asked if I was reading the new Avenger series as well.  I haven’t picked it up yet although I very much enjoy Batman_419Justice Inc.

I question Mike Zeck on his covers for 10 nights the beast which I love, but why does the beast look so different on his covers and he did on the inside?

“I didn’t really study the inside of these issues” Zeck replied and it appears to have been an access issue although he did create a stunning painted cover which is more in line with the character design for the trade paperback which I love.

I got a moment with Jae Lee to gush about how much I loved his Masks covers, and we discussed the Dark Tower a bit (I’m working on the novels right now, and was listening to an audiobook on the way down to the show) and his work on the comic prequels.

Art Thibert was up next and I’m a big fan of Art’s. Particularly when he inks Dan Jergens. There is this era of superman right after Jerry Ordway leaves and we are really missing his art. Dan Jergens is adequate. He’s more than up to the task but there’s just something Adventures_of_Superman_473about the Thibert over Jurgans that’s got this kinetic look.

“A lot of what I was doing were actually finishes not just inks. All that hatching and speed lines. though it might be credited as inks, Dan was doing a lot of layouts and leaveing thefinishes for us.”

Bob McCloud is unassuming, quiet and friendly. His career spans decades he’s done just about everything he’s inked everybody. “I’ve been very lucky” he said.

Denny O’Neill has fond memories of the shadow, especially of Anthony Tollin who was his go-to guy for preparation.

“Any time I had any questions he said I can immediately go and call Tollin. There is a guy who has lived his life exactly the way that he New_11054479_936408949736862_4026787195773672807_nwanted to.”

We discussed both Tollin and Walter Gibson’s love of magic. I’m a magician as well, and I can see how that is part of the appeal.

“Gibson was a lazy writer. He would stop typing after his fingers started to bleed!” O’Niel joked, referring to Gibsons prolific output.

He loved my Shadow costume. So did Allen Bellman

“I though the Reaper had come for me!” he exclaimed as I came up to his table. One of the things I love about cosplaying the Shadow, is it’s a simple costume – and I can get out of it and look reasonably normal for photos with guests, but slip  that scarf right back up and get into character in seconds. It’s also unique. I see dozens of Deadpools, hordes of Harley Quinns, but no one else is dressed like the Shadow, and it’s one of those characters – when people recognize who you are it makes them incredibly happy.

imagesOne last note, I’ve really got to hand it to the little girl from Frozen, she stayed at that booth all day and was energetic and happy period she reminds me so much of my children, with the exaggerated movements the excitement the little bundle of kinetic energy 22 a poster and showing it off, greeting kids with high-fives and hugs to takeing photos and talking with them and interact with them. You can see she wants to be here too, she wasn’t just dragged here by a momager, she’s loving this, and that makes me feel good about her appearance at these kind of shows.  I have the utmost respect for this young woman and almost regret not taking a photo of her, but let’s face it, that would be creepy…

All in all, I’m not going back. Too far to drive for what I got. Not all of that is the cons fault, but it wasn’t one of my better days and more and more I think I need to stick with the MUCH smaller shows. I have a better time with them.  Wasteland in two weeks.

And now – about a hundred photos.

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This weekend’s cons

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gamnesThis weekend happening in Cleveland is the Cleveland CONcoction!

If you’re a gamer, this is seriously the place to be. They’ll be celebrating sci-fi and steampunk this year, with the chance to win a lot of the same games you’ll be playing!

There’s panels, author guests, the Wonderland Ball, the masquerade, costume contest, gameplay, live performances (you really need to check shadow-websiteHeader_444x185out Too The Egress) and tons more going on. This is the only con of it’s type in Cleveland and it’s exactly the kind of con I like, packed with tons of events and programming.

Hours:

Friday, March 13:  12pm – 11pm
Saturday, March 14:  9am – 11pm
Sunday, March 15:  9am – 3pm

That said, I’m already booked this weekend a little further west, and will be heading to Indiana Comicon.

I’m going mostly to meet Denny O’Neil – seriously, DENNY O’NEIL! The guiding hand of the Batman titles in the 90’s! The writer of the 70’s Shadow series! The author of countless editorial “From The Den” colums!

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Stop looking at me like that. I’m excited.

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MikeGrell_408Mike Zeck and Mike Grell are going to be there as well!

I could actually care less about the media guests at this one (although I and going to get princess autographs for my girls- I admit it). The guest list here is really looking impressive – John Beatty, Art Thibert, Bob McLeod, Whilce Porticelo, Jae Lee, I have a stack of stuff a mile high I’m bringing, just as soon as I break out my Shadow costume….

So wherever you’re headed, be safe, if you see me in Indiana tap me on the shoulder and say hi. If you’re heading to Cleveland, say hello to the POP! members or the Z.E.R.O.S. (Zombie Eradication & Rescue Operations Squad) and give them my best! And we’ll be back with new Violent Blue on Monday!

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Gotham, wizard wars,walking dead.

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gothamWe’re so close to the end of the season and Gotham is still going strong. I never cease to love this program. What I’m finding interesting about this episode is the heart of the series,  the idea that so many of the cops are corrupt here. We always suspected that Bullock had done something scummy, but this is the first time it’s been trotted out and shoved in out face. I’m really loving the protrayal of Flass here. he’s just as slimy as he is in Frank Millers year one, it’s an almost perfect portrayal except he’s got just a teensy bit more class . In fact it’s that attractive quality, that sophistication that makes him even more dangerous. Comissioner Lobe to, is far more sophisticated in this TV series then he appears to be in year one. We have done away with the idiosyncrasy of collecting pop culture memorabilia although I still really really want to see Catwoman rob him. I just wanna see Selena ransacked that office of his ! I guess what I’m getting at, the real thrust of my point here, both Lobe and Flass are really well realized characters in this TV show, in fact the TV series has taken these fairly flat one note characters that Frank Miller created and made them far more interesting, and in fact a bit more threatening as well.

It’s interesting to see the compromises that Gordon is willing to make. I almost wanted to cheer with everybody else on the screen when they announced his candidacy for president of the policeman to union .Great stuff.TheWalkingDeadPoster

I’ll stand by what I said last week about liking how the walking dead is sticking close to the comics. Whats  interesting however, is that I’m watching this with my wife who hasn’t read the comics. She’s actually just started on the second volume which puts her out about issues seven or eight, so to hear her and her friends talk about where they think things are going, how they think that Rick and his group are going to take the Community, it’s really fascinating to hear. It’s like watching it to somebody else as I do, I get to experience it all over again. I still don’t know what to think about the fact that the mayor is a woman, I almost think we’re going to sidestep the lecherous aspects of the character, and I don’t know how I feel about that. Then again if they apply this to her, making her sort of a cougar,I also don’t know how I feel about that. It’ll be interesting to see where we go with this.

Wizard wars was a lot of fun this week. One of the elements they had to use this time around was a guitar and man I was so hoping for a feat that I could duplicate. It’s well known that I play guitar and to mix that into magic, seems like it  would be a lot of fun much the way that I have mixed computers into magic. But it’s actually the sign of some very good contestants, both managed to stumped me. I don’t know how NUP_159570_729.jpgthese feats were handled and I really enjoyed watching the routiens. There is one that in particular I’ve got an idea but still not really sure, where they pass guitar straight out of a guitar case . It’s similar to an effect you do with cards make your card vanishing in a card box but not really. here is also a great bit where they take an acoustic guitar and pull something out of the hole in the center but then a moment later the guitar is solid, the hole becomes just a sticker on the front. It’s really something I wanna figure out how to do. At one point they have Penn and Teller sign a pic as a proof. You know, the signed card tricks always get me too, I’ve never figured that technique out. With Penn and Teller it a little different though, thiersignatures are easy to observe, I can do a Google search for autographs or even walking to my library and see their autograph. It would be easy enough to pre-create an autographed pic so that you can vanish the real one and then make a fake one appear and still possibly fool the audience.

I also love that they were using dominoes. I think this is something more magicians should do, dominoes instead of cards. They are wonderful manipulateable objects and I think it’s a great idea.

For the second challenge there is a 70s theme and it comes off a little cold for me period maybe it’s to kitschy, maybe it’s not kitschy enough but it just doesn’t work quite as well for me.

It was a good week for television for me period I like that things are slowing down and I suspect I’ll be watching more movies as the weeks go on that rather than television, which means you may start seeing more movie reviews up here and fewer TV spots!


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As average as the last few weeks of TV has been, television this week really went itself up.

of course we have the series finale of Agent Carter. This series is just always so much better when Howard Stark is around.  AIt’s always so much better when we have that firm Captain America connection like the shield that we saw tonight. It didn’t feel like everything is wrapped up but enough was taken care of that I left feeling satisfied.
Gotham has gone crazy. Remember how I said last week those commercials were looking incredible? Well this week  certainly lives up to it. It’s really a standard story, a face from the past infiltrates the mansion ect… but the sheer amount of jawdropping moments it was just incredible. There  is a great moment of that idiot Barbara trying to convince Selena that her beauty can be used as a weapon….and the rejection that Selena gives her… but funny, you can see Ivy in the background and she’s learning these lessons very well. Watching fish money and the bit with the spoon just made my wife’s jaw drop. Mine too.  Not to mention Jeffrey Combs, I just seriously wish they’d just go ahead and call him Herbert West. how awesome would that be? Finally the fate of Alfred is just amazing. I warmed up to Sean Pertwee in this role amd I can see how he could still grow into the Alfred we know and love. To see him struck down was nothing short of astonishing.
Can I say, I really missed flash this week. I was so looking forward to Grodd and Reverse Flash and to be confronted with a rerun, Arrgh!

Walking Dead…all I can say is I REALLY love how close they are following the books right now. More of that please.

Also, more Wizard Wars please. The series seems  to be getting good ratings, and it should. It’s a genuinely good magic show, stumping me more and more often….

Gotham tomorrow, and we’re getting close to the end…


Bridge week

tvgothamIt’s kind  of been a big filler week it seems.

Gotham really felt like one of those bridge episodes where they weren’t actually telling the story as much as they were just trying to move people around and get them  fit in to place. The scarecrow story didn’t need two parts  to tell it, but all this shuffling around did.

The big problem was how much of it was redundant. Yes, the penguin gets his club, but didn’t we see this two weeks ago? re we really doing that again? Yeah Gordon  and Tompkins are a couple,  didn’t we cover this ground last week?Why couldn’t we just have firmed up her transfer then?

Even the stuff that was original, the whole bit of Bruce in the woods, we get a really great emotional moment, but then when he tumbles down the side of the woods, was anyone else disappointed he didn’t fall down into a cave? I was certain that was it and to not get that was a bit of a tease.

Still, the end was really good, that CG scarecrow haunting Johnathan crane was terrifying.

I’m not thrilled with the promo for next week though. The original plan was to tease the jokagent-carter-768er, presenting a myriad of possibilities as to who it could be. I was good with this idea, but apparently that idea has been jettisoned. He’s up front and center this coming week….and I don’t like that. The Joker is better when we don’t know where he comes from…unless this entire episode is a gigantic tease… and this series has gleefully shown us that’s not out of the question.

Agent Carter also has a bit of a feel of filler. It’s a shift of Carter from agent to outlaw, but I feel like it could have been accomplished in less time. It’s odd, last week I was still on board, but this is where I think I might have fallen off the series if it weren’t a mini series as it is.

The Flash on the other hand was an interesting episode this week, though we’re still obviously setting Firestorm up for his own series. They really came  up with interesting effects for the character, but they are also really dragging this  out. I kind of  want to NUP_159570_729.jpgsee him become part of the cast or just go away for a while. I’d really like to see him show up on Arrow actually…

I’m still enjoying wizard wars, although I was actually disappointed by the Ohioan that won the first round this week. He and his partner’s routine just felt sloppy. Their Canadian competition was much tighter – including a great bit with turning a soap bubble into a light bulb (a variation on catching and hardening soap bubbles in the air – it’s a bit I do myself and  I may build a while new routine around this stuff….). I was pleased when the resident wizards defeated them.

That’s it for this week, I’ve been sick the last few days so I’m catching up on bad movies and old Deep Space 9 right now and you may be seeing some of those reviews coming soon.

by the way, for anyone in the Cleveland area, if you’re looking fore a diffrent kind of valentines day  party, check out the zvzombie valentines day party happening tonight at the 5’Oclock lounge  in Lakewood!

This event is 21+ only….Who’s looking for a reason to get all dressed up in their best bloody and gory costume in the dead of winter?
Who’s DYING to frolic and party and forget about all the stress of this sometimes sad, romantic holiday?
WE ARE!!!
Weather you are a single zed hunting for a meal, a mated pair of ghouls looking to dance the night away or a whole hungry horde of undead pals trying to find strong drink… You should come spend this Valentine’s Day night with the Z.E.R.O.S.
We are having an “EVERY COSTUME WELCOME” Costume Party and it’s gonna be as simple and carefree as it can possibly be. No stress, no worry..You see, There will be NO bands that you’ve never heard of, to sit through… NO Acts that you have to sit and watch… No Hassles… NO frills… Just a bloody good time, laughing talking, drinking and dancing… between a bunch of US… Us freaks… that look for any reason to dress up and act like the characters we are.
In fact, we are going to reward just that…


zv3THERE WILL BE A COSTUME CONTEST!!!!!
There will be a $5 (or possibly $10) admission fee to the contest and the winner will get 75% of the total money brought in, 2nd place will get the remaining 25%, 3rd place will get the boobie prize… hee hee heeee…

The lovely Juliet Blind offering her spfx makeup talents for a reasonable fee for application. I am also very proud to say we will have a Blind 7 Photography photo booth~ prices of photos will also be more than reasonable! I am so happy and humbled by everyone showing up and participating. Remember folks there is NO cover charge for this so tip your makeup artist and your photographer,….. and the bartender.


Like I said, it’s just gonna be us… so one of us.. DJ Tankgrrrl was gracious enough to agree to spend her holiday playing music to keep you monsters dancing and taking your requests (within reason) to keep our night rolling…
All of this monster-ish… zombie-ish fun…brought to you and watched over by… your friendly neighborhood Zombie Eradicators…. The Z.E.R.O.S.

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Better call Saul

tvIt’s odd, I seem to be watching more television than I ever have before. At least more than I’ve watched a very long time, and this is in great part due to the fact that my wife is watching a lot of this with me. Ladies you know that saying that the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach? Totally wrong. A way to a man’s heart is by watching his television shows with him.  Seriously sit down and watch an episode of Doctor Who with them or catch the football game with him on Sunday and then talk with him about it – I’m telling you it’s almost better than sex. It’s one of the things that my wife does with me that I love the absolute most.

better-call-saul-premiere-dateSo I watched the premiere of Better Call Saul this weekend, and it has some bad will TheWalkingDeadPosterimmediately because of the way AMC tried to shoehorn it in between Walking Dead and Talking Dead (especially considering how emotional WD was this week!) I understand trying to follow a strong popular series with a new series that you’re trying to promote, but to move the Talking Dead (which is basically the documentary on how each episode is made)further back, it’s too late in the night that for that nonsense and you lose momentum. Better Call Saul needed a very strong series premiere to build over come the bad will there.

This was not that strong Episode.

One of the things that made the Saul character work in Breaking Bad is that he was the comic relief.What I was really hoping for in  Better Call Saul was a single camra comedy with dashes of drama kind of taking itself seriously but still being funny. This is not what we got, and the character lacks the gravitas to really pull the levels of dram they are shooting for. Saul was always designed as a one-dimensional character in this attempt to go back and retcon him into some sort of layered deep character just doesn’t work. I will not be back for the rest of the series and quite frankly I think the entire conception was a Misstep. I realize we’re  following Breaking Bad, but Better Call Saul wasn’t the way to do it.  Better Call Saul would be better served as something lighthearted and funny.

gothamAmong other things you’re watching this weekis Gotham. There was a real misdirect here, I was looking foreward to the Scarecrow episode and to discove it was his father was a little disappoing.  I think the scarecrow could be someone older than Bruce Wayne, in fact I’d love to have seen him actually be one of Wayn’s  teachers, however, being homeschooled now kinda puts the kibosh onthat. The biggest misdirect however was  the way that Edward Nigma was suspended. I thought for sure this is the beginnings of the Riddler and it would make perfect sense for him to be disgruntled after being fired from the police force, but no, by the end of the episode the status quo was restored and he was back on the force. I’m not sure if that was a missed opportunity or not .

We were also delighted to return with Wizard Wars. This series really engaged me, and I think it’s got to do with the way it’s a competition and also with the stage and parlor aspects of it. I tried watch the show following it on SYFY a sort street magic kind of series NUP_159570_729.jpgwhich is interesting in itself,  but I’m not that into street magic I’ve always been drawn far more to parlor and stage magic, indeed that’s the kind of magic that I do.
Sci-fi did manage to raise my ire however. The series premiered the week previous and I missed it and there’s no way of me watching it on sci-fi without loggin in with some arcane credentials from my cable provider. I used to catch up with Hollywood treasure by watching online and it kind of pisses me off that site is making it so much more difficult to keep up onthier shows. Just another reason to hate the network I suppose.

I enjoyed the flash this week as well. The Flash has really been quite a discovery for me, I don’t think I wanted to like this as much as I do (I suppose a misguided loyalty to the 1990 series) but I caught up on the entire series over he Christmas break and found it to be really well done at whole lot of fun. The return of the series has been no exception. We’re back to monster of the week and in fact this a villian we’ve never seen in the comics, but The Flashthere is also another bit with the Pied Piper. The scene with his implants was horrifying and we can see he can be quite a violent character, and I think actually more interesting than anything we’ve seen in the comics.

Really I think this is where the Flash’s strength lies.

They embraced that this is a comic book, something that superhero shows in the past of really shied away from. Arrow even took a long time to get there.

You can see where they are trying to shoehorn Firestorm in to the series. We’re in full back-door pilot mode, though I can’t really see Firestorm carrying his own series. A miniseries or perhaps even setting up appearances in Justice league? This would be the smartest thing at DC could possibly do. Far smarter then steadfastly trying to separate their television and cinematic universe, but that’s a whole other tangent, we don’t really wanna get into that right now.

That’s it for this week, Gotham is on tonight and I will be seeing in front of the television with my wife seeing where we go with the scarecrow ! Can’t wait. (but since we have to, go check out todays Violent Blue!)


This Weekend!

fooddrive2014THIS WEEKEND!

I’ll be heading out around 9pm to Carol and John’s comic shop for the annual Christmas party. If you want to pop in earlier that day though, starting right at 10am the following sales take place:

50% off ALL Back Issues
20% off ALL Graphic Novels
20% off ALL Action Figures, T-Shirts and Statues
10% off EVERYTHING else in the shop

but more importantly, All day long you will be able to participate in our art show / food drive for the Cleveland Food Bank (In conjunction with Pop The Comic Culture Club)

Bring in a can of food and get a ticket. (or) Donate a dollar and get a ticket. (They also do six tickets for $5) Tickets can be used in two ways. To buy comics out of the dollar bins or to be placed into a basket raffle to win custom covers by local artists including me. I’ve done up two covers and I would like nothing better than for one of my readers to walk away with one of them!

After the party, my daughter and I will be hopping over to White Castle at 3255 W. 117th St for our final trip there. They are closing down all the ones in Cleveland and while it’s not a particular favortie, i’ll still kind of missit (I always went when I had coupons).

Finally, we’ll be heading out to the Capitol Theatre for the midnight showing of Batman Returns, a great Christmas movie in it’s own right!

If you catch me at any of these stops, tap me on the shoulder and say hi! I hope to see as many of my Cleveland area readers there as I can!

And don’t forget to join us on Monday for the last new Violent Blue of the year!


In Defense of Joel Schumacher

defense

Schumacher’s name is synonymous with failure. After all, he pretty much destroyed the Batman movie franchise and it took visionary director Christopher Nolan to redeem and reinvent it.

And I don’t believe a word of the above statement.

Truthfully, I think the film Batman and Robin poison everything around them and that’s not fair. Batman Forever was actually a decent film. You have to remember, at the time, the only cinematic version of Batman we had was Burtons, and he had no interest in the source material. Catwoman was interesting, but there’s noting about her that ever remotely resembles Selina Kyle…and the creepy Penguin? I don’t even know what that was.

What Batman Forever gave us were villains much close to their comic book counterparts, and a Bruce Wayne that I actually could believe was the Bruce from the comic series rather than the pointy eye browed, curly haired weirdo that slept hanging upside down (Oh! I get it! LIKE A BAT! um, yeah.)

Sure there was a little more humor…Jim Carey (Who I don’t like that much at the best of times) was being Jim Carey. There was some speculation that Robin Williams should have played the Riddler (and the Joker before that). Can you imagine how hammy THAT would have been? The humor isn’t down to the camp levels of the TV show though. There’s plenty of action, with Schumacher’s flair for zooming shots actually giving it a more comic book feel, and that’s what I loved about it back in 1994. It felt much more like the comics to me and that was a welcome change. I even laughed at the single reference to the old TV show (which I still hate to this day) about Holey rusted metal….

I think however, that some studio exec with warm and fuzzy feelings for that show head that line and a lightbulb went off over his head…

You see, I don’t place most of the blame on Batman and Robin on Schumacher. This was another film (much like Star Trek Five again) rife with studio interference. Not even that. The word “interference” suggests some level creative vision on the directors part. Schumacher walked into a meting, before the script was even written and was handed toys. Cars, costumes and props and was told that these all had to be worked into the film somehow. The original script didn’t even have Bane in it. Ever wonder why the toy looks SO different from the on screen character? It’s because the toy was designed before the role was cast.

Schumacher could have said no. I’ll grant that. He could have breached contract. In retrospect it might have even been good for his career. But back in 1993, I can easily see how quitting this film (Batman films were a license to print money after all) might have looked like career suicide.

This isn’t cockeyed optimism that fuels my devotion to Schumacher. rather it’s he track record. On one hand we have Batman and Robin – a heavily studio controlled film that was an utter disaster on every level. On the other hand we have my favorite vampire film EVER, the Lost Boys. And we have Saint Elmo’s Fire before that. We have Phone Booth and 8MM (both done after B&R, just incase you were about to make the argument that he had talent but then lost it). Phantom of the Opera is another fairly closely controlled property that he was able to make good with.

It drives me mad when I hear him trashed on the basis of (mostly) one film that he had little or not control of, and I’ll stand by my defense of him any day you like.

 

 

 


Halloween Comicfest

comics

As I mentioned yesterday, we did the Halloween Comicfest over at Carol and John’s Comic shop.

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hcf_logoLike on Free Comic book Day, publishers release special editions with the Halloween Comic Fest logo on them and these are distributed for free at participating retailers. It’s a way to especially get kids into comic shops these days. I’m still plowing my way through the stack of free comics I got, along with a couple I bought while I was there (I hate just showing up, grabbing the free stuff and leaving. Same as on Free comic book day, we make it a point to buy SOMETHING – even if just a couple issues from the quarter bin or dollar boxes), but here are some of my favorites so far….New_STK621002

Batman : Lil’Gotham.

I really haven’t been into this series. I suppose it’s fair to say it’s not aimed at me. Even worse, Damien is still alive in it and I hat him with such passion it’s unreasonable. There’s also something just ….wrong about cute gothamites. Batman villains just aren’t supposed to be…chibi.

This has some great moments in it though. Damien being completely unfamiliar with trick or treating so he goes and attacks kids in costumes….

it works as a fun kids book and was naturally one of the centerpieces of this years selections.

New_STK622248There was a My Little Pony book this year. I actually made a point to get to the comic shop kind of early In the day just to make sure I could snag this for my girls. Bronys are unpredictable and I could have easily seen this one getting sold out before we could manage to get in the shop. Thankfully, not only did both of my girls get a copy, I even got one myself.  It’s a reprint of one of the stories form earlier this year, but it’s a good bit of the story and nicely scary – appropriate for Halloween.

Interestingly enough, this wasn’t the only pony book out there this year.

New_STK621297Another book called “Vamplets” was out with a kind of “Ghostly Pony” look to it. I almost missed the thing entirely until Maddie pointed it out to me. This and the My Little Pony books are bothe mini comics – about half the size of a normal one. Ashcans we used to call them.  A lot of the kids stuff was set up this way.  Still, fun books and perfect for Halloween.

Next up is Art Baltazar’s new book. I know, I keep gravitating towards the kids New_STK621021stuff, but Ity bitty Hellboy is just not to be missed. I really loved Tiny Titians, and this is just more of the same only with different characters. In fact, I’m not always into Hellboy that much, but this book was too much fun for words.

I did get through the Thor issue they had available and would actually really like to hear someone else comment on it. I’m not a big fan of Thor in the first place – he appeal has always mystified me, and lately a lot of his titles really seem to emphasize the elements of him that I really don’t like in the first place- most notably the big dumb football player personality with the big chin and no neck….and this issue is no exception. It sets up a new story arc about someone or something who is going around the cosmos killing small “g” gods. It’s an interesting enough concept, but with no investment in the character and STK622037_TNa general dislike for beings who refer to themselves as gods or pantheon mythology in general this one really didn’t do a whole lot for me. Sorry guys. Like I said, I’d love to hear someone who’s a Thor fan chime in on this one. If I find something elsewhere, I may reblog it.

My last pick from the pack was Ultimate Spider-Man. This isn’t the actually Ultimate Spidey as in the Ultimate universe, or the Bendis run, this is more based on the cartoon that Disney and Marvel are currently running. I’ve watched it with my kids, it’s okay, and a good attempt to bring Spidey in to the Avenger’s universe. The book is divided into New_STK622038two features, beginning with an origin story, told as Spidey fights off the Shocker. Meh. The second feature where Spidey is shadowing an LMD of Samuel Jackson’s Nick Fury is much more fun. Inside are also a couple of one page gags where they’ve taken a page from the original Stan Lee/Steve Ditko comics and redone the text pull things completely out of context. A really fun book.

Carl and John’s went the extra mile as well, also handing out candy and bookmarks and buttons (with Itty Bitty Hellboy on them). I’m really enjoying Halloweenfest, and I love that it makes Free Comic Book Day come twice a year now!

 

 

 

 


Poor Batman

DC Clix

IMG_20130118_212449While we were playing one night, Eric found that his daughter had slipped a few tiny kitty toys in with his heroclix. he thought it was cute and put one in between the claws of the Predator X he was playing.

Then he immediately attacked my Batman with it.

So Predator X is beating my Batman to death with a squeaky toy and all I can think about is how mad Batman is at the indignity of it all.

batman x copy


Man Thing!

DC Clix

Really, the utility belt is a cool fun idea, but when you can slap that thing on anyone, it gets a little weird….especially when it can copy just about any powers imaginable. Jessie was playing his Man Thing out of the ASM set with the utility belt, copying the Power Cosmic. This is what immediately came to my mind :

man thing copy


Pinhead makeup application, first attempt

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100_3339This is really the moment we’ve been waiting for. We’ve done parts of the makeup here and there, gotten all the prep work done but haven’t done an actual application.  There’s not time to do a test run. Already I can tell this is going to be a crazy long makeup, and I’m not about to waste a couple of hours and a bunch of makeup on a test run like I usually do. This is it.

We begin with some white makeup on the face, right around where the bald cap is going to meet the skin. I wan makeup under some of the cap so if it begins to ride up on my forehead we wont have a flesh toned line where the latex is escaping the skin.

100_3343Next we put the cap on. Time for more makeup. We need to do the whole face, but special attention is paid to that seam. The white greasepaint is what we are using to make it disappear. Adding latex to it would cause a bump, not the smooth surface we need and I can’t run a horizontal grid line across it because the shape would be wrong.

Once my face is white, we begin to draw the grid lightly with black makeup. This is entirely for guidance on where to put the pins, these black lines will be completely covered by the time we are done. The grid is lined up with the bald cap and we follow the vertical lines down, and begin the adding the pins at the 100_3344intersections. This is slow as each has to be applied individually and dried. They don’t feel quite stable but that’s part of what the cotton is for, to add some support. Time to begin cotton process again, bit by bit. Applying all these small pieces was what made the Zombie Spider-man we talked about last Halloween makeup so difficult. It’s dragging this application on as well, really glad the bald cap is already done. Still, between the pins and the cotton grid, we’re still pushing three hours.

100_3360After cleaning up the grid we add some light gray to the corners to add shading and get dressed. The next step is going to be  to create a proper costume, but for now, black cloths a puzzle box and a long coat should give the right impression. Adding a sinister belt and some knives just in time to meet up with Batman.

PINHEAD MAKEUP : COMPLETE

But that’s not really the end of the story. Like I said, I still have to create a proper costume. I can probably get away with a cheap black skirt for the lower part and a long black sleeved shirt for part of the top, but I need to create a vest for the center of the Pinhead costume…and that will also serve as a central part of any other Cenobite costume I make. We’ll be back to the Hellraiser project after I create some more Violent Blue.

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One last word

With all the hate and vitriol I’ve seen slung towards Ben Affleck in the last twelve hours  there is one thing that really strike me about the vast majority of the detractors.

It’s all hate. It’s all passion. It’s all emotion.

 

Warner bros. ARE YOU FUCKING JOKING? BEN AFFLECK AS THE NEW BATMAN IN BATMAN VS SUPERMAN. NOW THIS MOVIE IS A TOTAL JOKE. NOT EVEN EXCITED ANYMORE. 
Bunch of dumbasses.

I think this is a horrible idea and Daredevil sucked

I don’t want to live on this planet anymore

Thank you, Warner Brothers, for absolutely DESTROYING Batman for all eternity. You freaking IDIOTS.

I don’t want to talk about a guy that aff “lack’s” talent to be any hero.

 its a travesty! Its immoral! Its unholy! I feel like vomiting!

well…. so much for look forward to to the Superman Batman movie………

 

 

There’s not a lot of reason going on. People aren’t THINKING about this, they’re just feeling and the knee-jerk reaction to Affleck is generally negative, no matter what role he plays.

I’m not convinced myself. But I’m also not declaring the end of the world. Sit back, let it sink in. Bale wasn’t coming back even if they drove a Brinks truck up to his door and let him pick out the crispest bills. Moreover, DC/WB can’t afford for this to tank. They didn’t pull this name out of a hat. I’ll admit I don’t have a CLUE what they were thinking, but you can bet they have some reason here. The stakes are far higher than they ever were with say; Batman Forever or Batman and Robin.  It’s two years away and you can bet that WB is going to be immediately releasing some stills and pre production to try and slowly win people over.

Hang out for a while. Seriously. Let’s see where this goes.

Batman_Affleck


The new Batman

ImageSo the news broke, Ben Affleck is Daredevil, and the internet is aflame.

Affleck as Batman, I think I could be okay with this. However, I don’t know about him as Bruce Wayne. The thing is, I LIKED him as Daredevil. I really did, and I think he had a good take on Matt Murdock. I have a much harder time picturing him as Bruce Wayne though…and I really would have preferred a deeper voice.

Those of you hoping the outcry will be enough to get him kicked off the project….well…you remember months ago the news was that he was in talks with Warner Brothers – the rumors were that he was going to be directing Justice league. This casting decision isn’t recent. I’d bet it’s been in place for a good year or so.
They had to know there would be a huge backlash especially in superhero circles, Affleck is damaged goods, and in the mainstream, it’s just conventional wisdom to hate him….in this case I’m kind of the opposite. I thought his Daredevil was good (particuarly to someone who’d been reading the character for twenty years at that point). The director’s cut even more so. In my opinion, most of the people who really hate his Daredevil either already dislike and dismiss the character out of hand or were strictly Frank Miller fans who hadn’t read the title in years- decades even.

I’ll grant Affleck’s Matt Murdock was really just him playing himself -yeah, he does that a lot (so do “respectible” actors like Harrison Ford)….but it worked for me considering Murdock is one of the least responsible lawyers I’ve ever seen. His daredevil fit well enough with what Bendis was writing around the time and had a few callbacks to earlier incarnations. We’re seeing him evolve into a hero in the movie – something that wasn’t always clear enough (Why does everyone complain about him killing Quesada at the beginning but no one has the same complaints about Batman killing the Joker in ’89 – twice if you count dripping Jack in a vat of chemicals or letting Ras die in Begins? At least in Daredevil it’s part of the arc that he grows beyond killing ). It’s a real shame they cut out the sub plot about him trying to solve a case about a dead hooker – we see more development there and a lot more detective work. I never really dug the Bullseye in that film….but that’s got nothgin to do with Batman….perhaps antoher article.

In the end it all makes me wonder what they saw in Affleck that lead them to this casting. Remember how much Michael Keaton was hated when he was announced as Batman as well, and suddenly the 1989 Batman movie was declared “Movie of the Decade!” and to be fair, if we’re going to talk about spotty careers…I still have a hard time disassociating Henry Cavil with the guy that was getting a hummer from a girl with a demonic mask in the eighth (and worst) Hellraiser movie. Superman vs. Batman has a long time before it get’s here. Let’s see what happens next.


This time Deadpool is the jerk

Marvel Clix

There are times when you see Deadpool sneaking up on someone, he’s stealthed and just being generally annoying. you know an attack will hit and do no damage, but you just feel like you have to take the shot anyhow.

clix heros idea


Jimmy Olsen and Perry White

DC ClixIMG_20130714_205050You know, Batman has practically his whole supporting cast made into clix at this point – between the Batman sets and the Dark Knight sets we’ve gotten Dkck Grayson, Oracle, Bruce Waynes, Gordons and Harvy Bullock….heck, there’s TWO Alfreds AND two Lucias Foxs! Spidey has a MJ a Jonah and a Norman Osborne (all that’s missing really is Harry and Aunt May) but Superman…..not much really. We only now got a Lois Lane (a regular one in business attire) in the recent Man of Steel set….and that’s it.

It irritates me because Superman has a strong supporting cast that’s instantly recognizable and fairly integral to the story….and it’s comprised of ordinary people like Perry White and Jimmy Olson. That’s not as common in comics as it once was. These are potentially good figures, especially if you do a silver age influence. Jimmy was turning into something weird every other week back then. At the very least you could go elastic lad and turtle boy with an alter ego figure.

100_4510In any event, I find myself tired of waiting so I finally got around to modding a couple of figures. I took an intergang underboss and stuck him on JJJ’s base for Perry White. It seems to me that they would have similar stats, but for the rule lawyers who might object, I’ve attached the bystander token to the bottom of the piece and printed it out as a card so it can be played that way.

Jimmy on the other hand is a John Jameson base, repainted with the bystander token and card as well. I’m not trying to mod one of those oreo bases. Too hard. I think I have an extra 100_4521Plastic man though, and may try an elastic lad at some point. If that happens, I’ll move him to a different base and perhaps create some AE stats for him.

Seriously though, look at this. How cool is it to see the whole gang there? Honestly WizKids. It’s not that hard.

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Batman this weekend

I’m a huge fan of the ’89 Batman. Now that we’re past the 20th century, time has diluted our memories of just how huge this movie was. At the time, it was bigger than any of the Nolan films are today, it was a total game changer. It’s aged fine, not as well as you may hope, but not as poorly as other movies of the period.

It’s playing this Saturday at the Cedar Lee at midnight. Wear a cape and get a free popcorn! (then head back our site on Monday for a new Violent Blue!)

Batman-Poster-04-1989