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Posts tagged “Superman

Brandon Routh

AutographsTo this day, I think Routh’s Superman is underrated, but he took everything that made him appealing as Clark Kent and rolled them even more effectively into his performance as The Atom!

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Superman Supermobile

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Anyone remember the goofy Supermobile with the extending fists that ERTL put out in the 70’s? I always wanted one of those and figured that now that I have my own printer I could grab a model and print out my own. I was shocked to discover no one had created a model for this vehicle yet, and ended up rendering it myself in Bryce 3d, and then converting it to printable.

 

Model can be found here   https://www.thingiverse.com/thing:2832957

 


Week of 3/14/21

 

“I need to drink about this a lot more”
“Don’t you mean….”
“I said what I said.”

I really feel like I need a copy of Disenchantment on DVD or Blu, because it’s just too loony to survive and I don’t trust Netflix to keep it on forever. It’s just a delight to watch and I feel weird that I prefer this to Futurama, but whatever. When Richard Ayoade showed up in episode four I just about plotzed. I totally want to spend my next vacation in dead monksburg.

“Someone get the Princess a six pack.”

Superman and Lois actually continues to impress and get even better. There is an astonishing emphasis on fatherhood in this show which I absolutely adore. There is a lot more football though than Superman… And that criticism doesn’t look like it’s going away anytime soon! We had an interesting villain this week… At least we had him for five or 10 minutes. He brought back Dr. Killgrave, a mad scientist type from the comics, a C-lister at best but a nice little Easter egg for Superman fans. Whenever I hear about him, I can’t help but think about the Jerry Ordway cover with him in the robotic bulldozer.

I’m also intrigued by the role they have cast General Sam Lane in. He acts kind of as a liaison between Superman and the government or the army. I was never a big fan of this in Supergirl, and my first inclination is to kind of be annoyed by here as well, but it’s not entirely unheard of. If you’ve ever read the excellent Superman : Secret Identity miniseries  (it’s an elseworlds thing, but one of the best ones) They actually propose a similar situation, where there is a contact and Superman sometimes cooperates with the government… mostly to keep them off his back – trying to kidnap him and throw himin a tank of fiendish green liquid, and dissect him or whatever. It makes sense, and I am willing to concede this small bit of CW formula and darkness because there’s a lot of other things going on in the show. It’s a thrill to see Clark be a father to his sons, something that they’re really contrasting with the way General Lane raised Lois.

Speaking of Lois by the way, with every episode she solidifies further in my mind as the definitive Lois Lane. It’s brilliant the way they show her drive… She’s going to be a journalist in Smallville just as much as she was in Metropolis. It kind of shows that this is who she is, this is what compels her. It’s actually a nice mirror of Clark in that Superman, even without the powers would still have been all about trying to help people… He just would’ve had to go about it a different way. Lois, even without the Metropolitan setting in the high power connections is still going to fight for the voiceless in the best way she knows how.

There’s a great line in this episode as well, where Lana is having a drink with Lois, and she describes the real change that she saw in Clark after he moved to Metropolis. More confidence, he stood up straighter, he really grew up. Then she looks at Lois and says and she gets exactly where that comes from. You made him a better man.
I love this. It is a way of showing Lois‘s strength and brilliance, that builds up both her and Clark at the same time. We spent so much time in popular media where, to build the woman up as smart and strong, they have to tear their male counterpart down… It’s a really common trope in family sitcoms that always drove me nuts. The fact that they are accomplishing the same goal,  building Lois up as a quality female character, but doing so in a way that also builds up her male costars, it’s just so refreshing and rare that I feel a real need to call it out.

Indeed the rest of the media seems to be taking note. I saw a new article over at the AV club talking about how Superman on TV is the hero we need right now. That comes hot on the heels of last week’s article in the Los Angeles Times. I’m always pleased when the press finally gets it, but at the same time I’m equal parts frustrated because they seem so shocked that this works. The thing is, as we move further away from the 1950s, apple pie, baseball, truth and justice and the American way, as we move further into a more cynical post modern era, we crave these kind of aspirational and pure characters even more… not less. We start with Captain America, heck we see it in the Mandalorian even… The driving appeal of that series isn’t the cool Boba Fett armor, it’s not even the cute Baby Yoda. The moments that consistently move people to tears are the ones where Mando is being a father to Baby Yoda. There’s a hunger for that, and I give Superman and Lois enormous props for taking the steam and running with it.

It’s bringing in the viewers too, Superman and Lois set streaming records as well as being a ratings juggernaut, not only on broadcast, but also setting records in streaming and I have no idea what the CW is going to do when they replace it with the final season of Supergirl next month….swaping Superman and Lois with it’s 3.2 million viewers for Supergirl with it’s mere half a million or so viewers. *sigh*

I’m not entirely certain what I’m watching with the Flash. So, the Flash lost his speed again? We’re getting Wells back again? Wait, no. Wells is going away again? And Iris was in a coma, but was woken up by this weeks deus ex machina just in time to help get Barry’s speed back again, again? It feels like a muddled mess, like a rewrite on some of the old Half produced episodes from last year, but they couldn’t afford to get rid of footage so we get this weird duplication of themes from episode to episode.

I will say, when we do get a superhero antics, it’s spectacular. Actually, I think Superman and Lois could learn a trick or two in the flash when it comes to setting up the superhero battles… And I’m loving Vibe’s new costume. I like that the power is technical and not necessarily inside him… it’s not canon to the comics, but the Cisco Ramon on the show is a very different character than the one I’m used to seeing in the comics. I actually kind of like him better on TV!

You may remember some hubub last year when Hartley Sawyer, who plays Ralph Dinby, the Elongated Man, got himself canceled over old tweets. I think they are still tying up loose ends from the previous season, so they needed him around to at least give him a somewhat organic exit. They use some bizarre methods to bring Elongated Man back … With a melted face and then later on, A regeneration helmet that I bet will change his appearance so they can recast the character… But for the moment, they’re shipping him and Sue off the show to go on their own adventures offscreen while they figure out if they can bring the character back in some way shape or form.

Falcon and Winter Soldier also premiered, and I think I was actually looking forward to this one more than WandaVision. This series promised to be more of a straight up superhero show, and I was in particular looking forward to the introduction of John Walker, USAgent.

My first impressions were that they finally got Falcon right. The thing is, I always felt like the studio thought they needed to use him, but had no idea how. There’s already too many people in funny costumes in the Avengers movies, and Sam always got lost in the crowd. This time around they finally given him a proper outfit… Even back in the 80s, the red and white scheme on his suit really appealed to me, and I’m glad they’re finally leaning into it. They also get more into the dynamics, the tech, and the combat. It’s all something that we really needed from this character, and I’m glad to see them finally doing him justice.

Sebastian Stan is a welcome face as well. In fact, that’s really what this feels like. a family reunion with old friends. They start his scenes off with a flashback to the Winter Soldier days, and it’s comforting to see that costume and that actor. Yeah, comforting I think is indeed the word. It’s comfort food. Familiar and safe, with just a touch of new.

We’re getting to see more of the Falcons family, a destitute fishing clan in an area that’s been devastated by the events of Endgame. we se how that affects the mundane, things like credit scores and financial impacts. It’s a good hook, and one that you really couldn’t have done within the confines of a film. I am looking forward to see where this goes. I’m not expecting greatness. I’m not expecting cutting edge or revolutionary television, but good superhero fair with an underlining foundation of drama? Yeah. This definitely hits all those notes.

Elsewhere, I keep hearing about something new dropping this week… Something about Justice Cuts Zack or something? I can’t quite remember the name.

Never mind. probably it wasn’t that important anyhow… I’m sure it’ll come to me…

 


Supergirl Rocket

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I didn’t just stop at teh Superman rockets, I ended u doing one for Supergirl too! This is Supergirl’s pod, based on the rocket featured in the TV show! modled Bryce 7, converted to STL in 3d builder.

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Model can be found here   https://www.thingiverse.com/thing:2836700

 


Week of March 7th

It’s interesting, the flash this year almost feels like The Flash’s big theme is “let’s see how many different kind of rolls Grant Gustin can play”. “Let’s stretch his range”. It’s as if he’s been watching Harrison Wells have too much fun with these different personas and it’s Barry’s turn now!

We do start off with some attractive people in the hall talking about their feelings… Most specifically talking about how sad they are that Wells is gone. I suppose this is appropriate, although our last scene shows that he might not be quite as gone as it seems! I’m eager to see where the shenanigans go later.

Barry however has gotten his speed back, and a new side effect! Speed thinking. This actually came in to play in the comics with impulse/kid flash, but has never really been explored it here on the TV show. They start off playing it for laughs, but it soon becomes a little sinister. Barry’s lost his emotions, and it’s an interesting look. Kind of the Flash if he were Batman.

It’s still feels though like we’re very much in the middle of a story arc, and the episode suffers a little bit from middle child syndrome. It’s less an adventure of it’s own, and more part of a serialized story. The equilibrium feels off on the show, and I’m hoping that they get their groove back soon. Still, I’m enjoying seeing the gang all back.

Superman and Lois on the other hand, doesn’t seem to have nearly as much attractive people talking in hallways about their feelings, it’s there, but more of it is teen angst than it is CW soap opera. They did have the best line of the week… “Do you drive a station wagon that’s currently on fire?”.

If I have any real complaints about the show though, it’s not there’s just not enough Superman. We get two good Set pieces with him, but for the most part it’s Clark and the kids. Not that this is it all bad, I actually happen to be every bit as fan of Clark Kent as I am of Superman… But the show is called Superman and Lois and I kind of miss seeing the red cape more. There’s a lot going on with the kids though, and they’re trying to build up a supporting cast. This is in enormously important in a Superman story… One of the things that really makes the Superman stories in Metropolis charming is Jimmy Olsen, Perry White, even the lesser supporting characters like cat Grant, Bibbo, and Dr. Hamilton. If the show really wants to succeed it’s going to have to build a strong supporting cast. Good news is, they seem to be on their way there. I’m not even really missing the old supporting characters… Perry White had obviously retired, and we know that Jimmy Olsen had moved to where ever it is Supergirl lives. The natural progression of the story has helped immensely… Indeed, I recall Brian Singer complaining that he didn’t know how to handle Superman. He used to complain that because Clark was invulnerable, the only way you could hurt him was emotionally. I don’t know if I subscribe to that. But if that’s the direction you want to go, the writers on Superman and Lois have figured it out. They’re playing on Clark’s own insecurities as a father and the general tough job of raising teenagers. It makes him emotionally vulnerable, and it makes him surprisingly human. You don’t need to make him a deadbeat dad the way singer did in Superman Returns, you don’t need him to be a creepy stalker spying on his ex-girlfriend and her new fiancé from the sky. Singer’s attempts at emotionally compromising Superman damaged the character, it made him into a loser, a jerk. Whereas the emotional beats and vulnerability that they are showing Superman and Lois, actually elevate Clark Kent… And I think make him more of a hero. I’m really enjoying what I’m seeing here, and I really hope that this Continues to stay the course with this level of quality. I’ll gladly put up with the sulking teenagers to have some quality Superman!

By the way, I mentioned Disenchantment a couple weeks ago. It continues to delight. I almost get the impression that Netflix just didn’t care anymore and were just fulfilling contractual obligations….and that they aren’t paying attention, because this show is getting weird. It’s more out there than previously, but it works. The episode we watched this week involved a psychotic unicorn, a trouser thief, Zog with PSTD and acting slightly undead and the marriage of the prince to a geriatric fairy named “Saggy”.

I can not recommend this enough.

 


Superman Rockets

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We’ve got a new category this year, exploring things I’ve 3d-printed, many of which I modeled myself.

We’re starting off with the rocketships that Baby Superman was sent to Earth from Krypton in. I wanted both the Silver Age version as well as the Man of Steel John Byrne design. Both of these I had to modle myself, creating from scratch. I’m particuarly proud of how the gold MOS one turned out.

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Modles can be found here   https://www.thingiverse.com/thing:2833963

and here   https://www.thingiverse.com/thing:2835798


Jor-El on Krypton

I really like  this version of Krypton, very red and yet still a bit of Donner influence. And the photographer got the lighting JUST right….

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Inspired by this shot from Weplcon!

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Guardians of the Galaxy 3

What Guardians 3 SHOULD be….

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Jor-El and the Superman family

 

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JLA

Costume

Couldn’t resist doing some JLA with the folks at Heroes united!

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Batman

CostumeThe weird thing about Batman is this outfit has never been to a convention, never been in a costume contest, never even done Halloween. Still, it’s kind of like the little black dress in every smart woman’s closet.

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I’ve saved this mostly for charity events and stuff like that – I even zombified it at one point!

13239359_1176050305747784_2036060774320829229_nBonus – Supergirl punching out the Stay Puft Marshmello man!

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Jor-El

Costume

It may not be QUITE as detailed as the Bones Iron Man armor, but it sure comes close. It’s a different kind of detail really…more stylized, lest straightforward and techy.

I always intended to carry the baby in the basket around with this outfit, but I built the  actual rocket ship on a whim and I’m so glad I did. It just takes it to another level!


Akron Comicon 2018

Conman

43065891_1936256616467240_2568432662536519680_nA voice rang out at me from across the room.
“Why is it every time you put a baby in a rocket, the planet blows up?”

“I didn’t even BRING the rocket this time,” I replied, glancing down my gold armor at the baby Superman in the hand held basket.

Akron Comicon was in full swing.

The con has grown every year so we’ve once again relocated; this time to the Goodyear Hall on the outskirts of the city. With this particular move came parking problems. The lots filled up fast, but we managed to grab a small patch of street a half block away in a nice shady area next to construction. It was windy and freezing Maddie and me in our costumes. The food trucks we passed looked awfully warm. (I 45344798_10156200733579514_309001933211828224_nregret not grabbing some Swenson’s)

Inside I made a beeline for Jon Bogdanove’s table. The last time he was here, his line was terribly long, and after waiting an hour, I ended up having to bail (Kiddo had a birthday party I had to get her to.). The line wasn’t as bad this time, and after half an hour we were face to face with one of my favorite Superman artists. Bogdanove is a Superman fan himself – his son is named Kal-El- and he gushed over Maddie’s Supergirl suit, expressing delight that she was actually carrying around Streaky the Supercat in her own little basket.

After a quick stop at Brett Breeding’s table ($5 a signature! Yeesh!) we popped over to see Bob Wiacek. The bulk of my books to be signed were his….but they were all big collected “essentials” volumes and weighing down my bag. I do love Wiacek. He’s done a great variety of stuff, working on things like Damage Control, Shadowman and Nightmask. He brushed it off, “A lot of guys can say they’ve had long careers.”
“Not as many can say they’ve had such varied ones though,” I replied.
“I like that!” He nodded with a smile.

I kept running into friends over at Karl Story’s table. As he played Pokemon Go on his hone I beat my friend Mayday about the shoulders with a stuffed supercat until he perked up and noticed me. I didn’t have as much for Story to sign (I restrained myself from bringing my entire run of Nightwing. I don’t like being THAT guy). But I did pick a couple of things, in particular the Star Trek graphic novel “Debt of Honor”

“This was such an interesting story. It’s a shame it’s never been reprinted,” he said as he flipped through it. “IDW has the license right now, and they’d love to, but DC has no obligation to work with them and won’t release their copies of the art. IDW actually contacted me and Chris (Claremont) to see if we had any of the originals. I’ve got maybe, 30 pages but these are oversized – they’re so big they’d be hard t copy, even if I ran them down to Kinkos.”

After stopping by Dirk Manning’s booth to present him with a monster ice cream cone, Maddie guided me over to Chris Yambar’s table so she could get a new Simpson’s comic from him. He greeted us by nodding at me with a “Thank you for you son.” Akron is a very Superman oriented show, but even so, I’m always pleased when someone recognizes my Jor-El (father of Superman) costume. Maddie told him all about how much she likes the Simpsons. “I watch it every day! A couple episodes usually!”
We drifted on to chatting a bit about Yambar’s late and lamented Lawncon. The girls and I really liked it when we hit it’s final year. But perhaps not so final after all. Yambar has been long talking about resurrecting it.
“We keep wanting to do it again, but then something (health issues) would happen. It’s been a good year though, with no new things coming up. Maybe if I could get together a committee – where I could just sit back and be a benevolent overseer….”

45414778_2184913694886375_7893829369523601408_nBack in the lobby area of Goodyear Hall, Maddie and I ran into a huge scarecrow, with his handler, Harley Quinn. After pictures, we found an isolated corner by the windows where Maddie could practice her quick-change for the costume contest. It’s a long one, but Rubber City Cosplay managed to get everyone through reasonably swiftly, and it didn’t hurt that I was in line with my buddies Vito and Cassie. Despite the amazing plush monster in front of me in line, my bet was on the Alien made entirely out of balloons to win. Best costume EVER!

Akron continues to be the best con in Northeast Ohio and I’m eager to see what next year has in store!

 

 

 


Justice League vs. Mr. Freeze

CostumeWe did this one at the Heros United event Epipens for Murry Ridge!

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New edits!

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Been meaning to get to these but just haven’t had time – new edits of my favorite photos from Zip Con!wallevoltron-dinosuperman-spawn


Vox’s 19 thiungs that don’t make sense in BvS

102597285-Batman-vs-Superman.530x298I’m not usually a fan of VOX in general, but this particular writer obviously has an axe to grind an created some irritating clickbait out of it. There’s a ton on these articles floating around, but most hit one or two of these same points, so this is the one I’m going to respond to. (I’d link the actual article, but honestly, I don’t want to give them more traffic)

batman-vs-superman-theories-officially-proved-debunked-but-which-are-true-6683041) Why is Batman so gullible? The entire movie hinges on Lex Luthor using his wiles to trick Batman and Superman into fighting

Batman came to the conclusion that Superman was dangerous and needed to be stopped all by himself. Lex may have added a bit to that conclusion indirectly, but he’s not manipulating Batman. He’s taking advantage of an existing situation (That’s something that Lex Luthor has always excelled at, whether in film or print). Even in the comics, Batman has always had a plan to take Superman down. This isn’t that far a leap.

 

2) How does the world feel about Superman?The world’s opinion of Superman changes from scene to scene, and seems as barely motivated as a mob of Springfielders on The Simpsons.

Public opinion turns on a dime. LeBron James is a perfect example.

 

3) Why does everybody blame Superman for the massacre in Africa?

Valid point. They could have explained this more but that would have made the film longer and no one wants that!

 

Batman-v-Superman-the-best-moments4) What  is Wonder Woman in Metropolis for? Why does she need the photo? If she’s not hanging out around normal humans, no one who looks at it will know who she is. 

Wonder Woman wants to erase any trace of her very existence. Pretty easy to understand (we’ve seen this theme in other films – Highlander immediately springs to mind). This is the article looking for things to criticize.

 

5) What does Lex Luthor want? To destroy Superman, sure. But why?

He’s a paranoid megalomaniac. What’s to understand? Just because Eisenberg is terrible in the role doesn’t make it difficult to understand Lexs motivation. That’s more artical fishing for things to nit pick.

 

6) Is Lois Lane magic? When she’s not being held captive as a damsel in distress, Lois Lane uses her powers of journalism to immediately arrive on the scene of wherever she’s needed

Admitted, Amy Adams is not one of the better Lois, but really? We’re going to call her ability to be where the action is “magic”? How about we call it “Journalism”. Better yet, how about we call it “Investigative Journalism”. She’s not a beat reporter, it’s her job to be where news is happening, it’s a skill. If you don’t understand this then I’m compelled to ask if you ever actually worked for a NEfSZ2ONUM37ji_1_bnewspaper or news outlet (Want to ask me if I have? Want to ask how many friends I have that have or do?).

 

7) Corollary: Why do Clark Kent and Lois Lane love each other?Answer this question for me using only the material found in Man of Steel and Batman v Superman. Don’t talk about their love story from the comics or from other Superman films.

Fair. But no one asks this question in Thor or Iron Man – heck, that relationship with Black Widow and Hulk in Age of Ultron has way less foundation than that of Lois and Clark.

 

8) Why does Batman decide not to kill Superman? Even if you put aside the sheer ridiculousness of the situation, it leans far too heavily on an abrupt emotional shift.

It’s enough of a distraction to break him out of his single mindedness. Moreover it’s a paradigm shift – where Batman realizes what he’s doing is no longer correct – and perhaps he’s on the wrong track. The article says it seems to have relied to heavily on an emotional shift – I disagree, that’s the entire point of the scene.

 

batman_v_superman___dawn_of_justice__poster_by_goxiii-d8xs1x99) Similarly, why doesn’t Superman lead with the most pertinent information when confronting Batman?

He tries, Batman isn’t listening and doesn’t let him.

 

10) Even more similarly, what is Batman’s plan for getting Superman to fight him? it seems like he stands around for a long, long time before Superman shows up. Batman’s a proactive character. Wouldn’t he take the fight to his foe?

He had the area prepped and set up with traps. Moreover, this is strategy. If you’ve played chess for any amount of time (or other strategy games for that matter- RISK, even Heroclix) you’ve seen this tactic played. My friend Johnny Em is notorious for it. Isn’t it wiser to make your enemy come to you and fight on your terms?

 

11) If Batman knows so much about Lex Luthor’s shady smuggling deals, why doesn’t he suspect Luthor’s true intentions?

Again, they seem to think that Batman is listening to Luthor, that he is directly manipulating him – I don’t get that impression at all from the movie.

 

Jesse-Eisenberg-Lex-Luthor12) Why is everything in this movie at least two story beats too complicated?

Fair. The film needs about 45 min cut- mostly shots of people in suits wringing their hands. Also every time Lex opens his mouth, they need to cut his dialogue in half.

 

13) Why doesn’t Superman hear the bomb in the wheelchair?

And, what is he supposed to hear? Real bombs don’t tick. Are you thinking perhaps custom electronics? If by some long shot, the bomb had a distinctive electric hum, would you be able to distinguish that from the other eltonic noises in the immediate area? How many cell phones are in that room? How many lightbulbs? But even if it did have a disctinct electronic whine that is universally identifiable as saying “I’m-A-Bomb!” (but only to super-hearing) Superman himself says he wasn’t looking for it.

Seriously though, what exactly do you think he supposed to hear?

 

14) How is the Daily Planet a functioning business?

We have three daily newspapers in this area alone not to mention at least five weekly’s. Moreover, whose to say the Daily Planet doesn’t have online and multi media presence? But seriously, would you ask this same question of Stark Industries? Hammer Industries? Oscorp? Even the Daily Bugle? Howzabout we complain about not know how the artificial gravity works on the Millenium Falcon? I’d consider this to be in that class of batman-vs-superman-poster-lex-luthornitpick.

 

15) How does the Kryptonian ship just decide Luthor will be its new master?

I’ve heard this one a lot. It seems like an easy criticism except I think the answer is glaringly obvious. Lex had Zod’s fingerprints AND the key – how many more credentials do you actually need? I mean, my car starts up no matter who slides the key into the ignition. If you have the password to my gmail account it’s pretty simple to take it over, you don’t even need to be sitting at my computer. that sort of thing happens every day.

16) Why does Superman die?

and

17) What’s the point of Clark’s dream visit with his dad?


16 and 17 both fair criticisms of a aesthetic that the article clearly did not enjoy. I can respect different taste.

18) Does anybody in this universe know how to use a spear? Spears are made to be thrown! Just throw the spear at Doomsday! Mission accomplished!

Yes, you can throw a spear, and the beast can also dodge that spear. For a big bulky monster, Doomsday did seem to be awfully light on his feet. He also could unleash energy beams and pulse waves and brightly colored CGI explosions.  You think that perhaps, just maybe one of those things could have knocked a thrown spear off course? This is too important a battle for him to risk missing. There’s also the question of penetration. Even thrust straight in at point blank range, it didn’t go deep enough. Superman had to push it in. A thrown spear would have not done enough damage and someone would still have had to close in and melee.

19) WTF was Batman’s dream sequence? I realize the easy explanation for the dream sequence is, “It’s setting up future movies,” or, “It shows us Batman’s paranoia about Superman!” But it also seems like an attempt to get us to worry that Superman might turn evil at some point, and, sigh.

It’s supposed to be a loose end. The author of this article should be intelligent enough to understand that, but seems insistent on hating for hates sake.

That’s enough about BvS. I’ve got Cinema Wasteland at the Holiday Inn in Strongsville Ohio this weekend and I’m far more interested in focusing on that!

Cinema Wasteland

 


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!


Superman

definitive

My personal definitive way of drawing iconic characters

We’re going to start this net subject with my favorite hero; Superman.

I’m very influenced by John Byrne’s superman, but even more by Jerry Ordway’s way of drawing him. It’s flawed in the face, the nose isn’t quite small enough. The chin is a bit too big.

The muscles are big, yet relaxed. that’s the thing about Superman, great power that you don’t have to show off.

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

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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.

costume


The wedding plans

Banner small dark copy

This strip is up today over at Violent Blue, but I wanted to post the full size version here, because It’s one of those moments where I feel like you can really see just how much I love this character through the artwork. To me, Superman looks exactly the way he should here. There’s that old familiar face, the body language is calm, peaceful and the feeling is just majestic.

wedding plans


Turkish Superman

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imagesCA2035HOWe started off easy last month with Dracula, but this month I want to showcase one of my favorite bad movies ever – Turkish Superman.

After the success of the Donner film, Turkey moved quickly to get their own Superman film in their theatres, billed sometimes as a sequal (the way Fulchi’s Zombi was billed as a sequal to Dawn of the Dead)

Where Superman created some revolutionary special effects, this version actually sets film back a few steps with it’s effects. Flying in particular is laughable. We get a head and shoulders shot of the actor in front of a rear projection screen, which then imagescuts to a Mego doll on a string in front of that same screen. They don’t always remember to adjust the perspective either. We saw better effects than this back in the TV days of George Reeves.

They do try to keep fairly close to the story and aesthetic of the Donner film though, we get an origin story and very much a coming of age thing going on. Someone has their mythologies a little mixed up though since Jor-El appears to Superman in a cave and explains to him that his powers come from a bunch of old mythological gods….pretty much mixing in Captain Marvel’s backstory into Superman’s. Still Jor-El actually looks good in this film…which is more than I can say for Krypton…or the space scenes in general imagesCAGDWQ10(which were achieved by hanging Christmas ornaments in front of a black sheet. Seriously. Check the graphic below).

This is fun. Especially at parties. It’s also a nice thing to have in your collection if you’re a Superman fan. Bootlegs abound at every con I’m at so I guarantee you should have not real trouble finding a copy!

i3STALH


Superheroes vs the Cleveland Pops

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Summer is almost over and this weekend here in my hometown of Elyria there was a free concert by Cleveland Pops.

And a bunch of Superheroes.

The city coordinated the Orchestra’s visit with a local volunteer group called Superheroes to Kids in Ohio who work with kids in hospitals and terminally ill patients. They introduced sets and worked the crowd as the orchestra played selections from superhero films such as Avengers, The Dark Knight and Spider-Man. There was even a Frozen set.

This was a good time, in the middle of the city, surrounded by superheros, with the orchestral score playing in the background and fireworks in the sky. It’s also EXACTLY the sort of thing Elyria needs more of.

Happy Labor Day.

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By the way, even though it’s Labor Day there IS still a new Violent Blue up today!


75 years of Superman

Oh thank GOD. This is the Superman Panel from Akron Comicon that I missed. Thank you so much Richard, for putting this up!

Now I can go work on Violent Blue in peace.