Friday, August 31, 2007

Breaking News: TV Guide To End Print Edition?

The following intriguing tidbit just came in from Media Bistro via Fark:

A tipster tells us staffers at TV Guide have been told that there will be a mandatory 3pmET meeting today, where it will be announced that the print edition will be discontinued with the final issue being the Fall Preview.

Boobs-To-Killings Ratio

Wizard Online Interviews Rob Zombie about the important things concerning his "Halloween" remake:

Wizard: What is the boobs-to-killings ratio in this movie?

ZOMBIE: I haven’t done the calculations.

Wizard: So it’s off the charts?

ZOMBIE: Pretty much, yeah.

As a fan of contemporary horror movies -- and a good deal of what is considered to be "trash" horror -- the inevitable question of naked women and grisly murders will arise.

However, as much as I am a fan of Rob Zombie and his past movies, I have to quibble with reducing the "Halloween" formula to boobs-to-killings ratios.

The original "Halloween" certainly linked the sex/death thing but its main protagonist was a tough, studious, vaguely tomboyish teenage girl who fought "The Boogeyman" and won (sort of).

I haven't seen the new "Halloween" but if the "grindhouse" elements of boobs-to-killing ratios are played up at the expense of the journey of the female protagonist, the movie just might miss the point of the original.

How Does "Buffy" Season 8 Size Up Compared To 1-7?

Jeff Lester over at The Savage Critics has a very well-thought-out essay regarding Dark Horse's "Buffy Season 8" and how it compares to the TV show.

"So the idea of Buffy: Season Eight in comics can stem from both Whedon's desire to make more cash, to give the brand that much more power, and his desire to tell a story, to have something to say that he can best say with Buffy and the characters of the Buffyverse. Or rather, the idea that Season Eight might be a bit of a cash grab won't stop him from developing a story with something meaningful to say. What should be interesting is seeing if we can tell from the first five issues of Buffy: Season Eight what Whedon might want to say, or what he might end up saying."

I like everything about "Buffy Season 8" except the giants and fairies. It reminds me of this Buffy novelisation I picked up once that started with Buffy riding a dragon. Ugh.

As Lester points out in his essay, Joss Whedon was limited by his budget on the TV show and that's why you had a lot of scenes of them just sitting around one pretty generic set or another just talking -- but also that a lot of genius characterization came out of that "limitation."

A comics writer once advised me in terms of TV and movie adaptations of comic books: "Here in comics you have an unlimited budget. Throw in as much fantastic special effects as you can."

I disagree. Not if it doesn't match the "feel" of the series or movie in question.

Anyway, it's a cool essay, check it out.

Teen Titans #50 Review

I think having flashbacks (complete with the original writers & artists) of previous incarnations of the same team within a relaunch of said team is only a good idea if the relaunch is awesome. Otherwise there is suffering by comparison.

Every time I read a flashback in "Teen Titans #50 -- whether it was Wolfman/Perez, Dezago/Nauck, or even Johns/McKone -- I tilted my head slightly and said: "awww, remember that?"

The nostalgia floods in, you know?

But these flashbacks only highlight the fact that this current "Titans" is so darned generic.

I really wouldn't blame new writer Sean McKeever, because basically he's been given a "bridge" issue (with a patchwork of artists) that unfortunately has to serve largely as exposition. Analogous to this issue would be "All-Star Flash" #1. You really can't tell a lot about the new direction of "Teen Titans" this way -- though for a high-profile "anniversary" issue you really should.

One thing that realy struck me about previous incarnations of "Titans" was how distinctive each era looked. Perez was distinctive. McKone was distinctive. Nauck's "Young Justice" was distinctive.

But the art of series regular Ale Garza (who drew the cover) and fill-in artist Randy Green (who drew all the "current" Titans pages in this issue) don't really have a "look" per se. There is no "signature style" to which I can feel connected.

For example, take the work of Jamal Igle in "Firestorm." I realize "Firestorm" had a short lifespan as a comic. But I collected a run from that book based in part that Igle's art had a distinctive "look" that I got attached to.

This current "Titans" look is, if anything, the sort of generic videogamey pseudo-manga art style that dominated the books of both DC and Marvel in the late 90s/early 00s.

Now, maybe I'm just getting old and this is the sort of hip "with it" art that all the cool kids are digging nowadays. I'm sure as hell open to this possibility. But only the sales will tell the tale.

McKeever can still provide kickass stories that will reel in readers like me despite the art. But in order for that to happen, he has to be unencumbered by the baggage of a lot of previous DC events & crossovers.

Yes, Bart is dead. Okay. I get it. I feel bad. Yes, I know Robin feels bad. I know Bart was a loveable scamp who always got into mischief. I read those same "Flash" issues too. I know.

Reading those Johns/McKone pages in this issue reminded me how redundant it was to have Bart as Kid Flash & Changeling in the same comic. Several years ago when Teen Titans Go came out I though Kid Flash's days were already numbered because the show decided to go with Changeling instead.

And the sequence where Raven & Starfire reminisce about Bart trying to see them naked was kinda...meh. Do I need to know this about Bart? Is a teammate trying to violate the privacy of his female "co-workers" in any way endearing? What, "boys will be boys?"

Anyway, I will give "Teen Titans" another shot next month to really see where it is going.

Fangirl Fridays

"Female comic fans aren't trying to steal your sexy, you know. "
-- Digital Femme

"Seriously, we’ve all been aware that some comics put out are specifically put out to attract straight men and boys just as some comics were put out specifically to pull in straight women and girls. The question then becomes should there be comics made specifically for straight guys?"
-- Mad Thinker Scott

"Oh, grab that issue of Black Panther, will you honey? That's the one with the Marvel Zombies. Heh. Zombies. That's awesome."
-- Me

Baltimore Here I Come
While I hardly consider myself a "Con Groupie," I'm rather developing a taste for overly-crowded convention halls, inflated prices on hotdogs, impulse buys on action figures I will throw in a closet and never look at again, and talking to a bunch of cool comic book creators.

This year's show at the Baltimore Comic Con on September 8 & 9 has a great all-star roster, the Harvey Awards, and a special tribute to Mike Wieringo.

Impulse Revisioned

Speaking of Ringo, Project Rooftop is currently hosting "Wieringo Week," showcasing a bunch of awesome redesigns of the character the late great artist co-created.

You know, there is such a wealth of talented artists and designers on Project Rooftop -- if editors for The Big Two don't already check the site out, they really should.

As for the Impulse redesigns themselves -- it's just really awesome to see that character brought to life like that again. I think Bart Allen was completely and utterly wasted as a character. Superboy needs to punch another hole in history and pull him back in.

Black Panther #30

I realize that my purchase of this issue based solely on the Arthur Suydam Marvel Zombies cover hereby discredits me from any too intense ragging on other comics this week.

So how was "Black Panther" #30?

This book was the very definition of big dumb fun. No character development, no real story, just Super Skrulls eating things and then the Galactusized Marvel Zombie crew eating things.

What is so damn compelling about these damn Marvel Zombies?! I just can't keep my eyes off of them! It's like I read this damn comic three times because I wanted to see Super Skrull zombies. Has my brain turned into that same green goo Zombie Captain America's is? Holy crap, every time I see these damn snaggletoothed nasty creatures I need to buy their comic.

I will also say that Storm has slipped seamlessly in to the powerful/beautiful/slightly bland mold that Sue Storm has established since 1961. I mean, you could swap Ororo out for Invisible Woman permanently and I wouldn't blink too much. She's a good teammate, a dutiful wife, and her powers are comparable to Sue's.

However, as much as I like Black Panther, his powers really aren't weird enough to replace Mr. Fantastic. T'Challa really belongs as a team leader on "The Avengers."

Gone but Not Forgotten

Hey, the recent uproar over the cancelled DC Showcase volumes has brought up a good point:

What makes readers so passionately interested in old properties like "Captain Carrot," "Suicide Squad," and "The Inferior Five"?

I think the Captain Carrot appeal is largely a nostalgic one. Many of us grew up with "C.C." and "Peter Porker the Amazing Spider-Ham." The books were entertaining but had a certain naive humorous charm that maybe more comics for kids should have nowadays but don't.

The original "Suicide Squad" is a damn good read and if you can find a set to read straight through I would highly recommend it. "Thunderbolts" before there was "Thunderbolts." It was DC at its best -- great plotting, great story, characters with a rich, textured history, and no gimmicks. The set goes for a lot on eBay -- WHICH IS WHY THAT SHOWCASE WOULDA BEEN NIIIIICE!

As for the "Inferior Five," well...there's no damn excuse for them.

Anywho, why doesn't DC release the "Captain Carrots" in a kid-friendly digest format and "Suicide Squad" out in color trade paperbacks? Just a thought.

DC Challenge
DC Comics can completely turn the ship around and fix both "Countdown" and their quagmire. It would take about 4-6 months from start to implementation. If they wanted to, they completely could do it.

They should take a tip from Gilgongo Comics, and see how they turned things around...

How Gilgongo Comics Turned Things Around
(tonight, the role of Gilgongo Comics EIC Maximo Casey will be played by Steve Carell)

"Lemons into the Lemonade Kid"

a Gilgongo Comics Editorial by Maximo Casey

Dear Readers,

You remember the Lemonade Kid, don't you?

The Lemonade Kid -- real name Sammy Sauerbraten -- was a founding member of that beloved team "The Action Adolescents."

He squirted a sticky substance from his fingers that made men blind.

Sammy was known around the A.A. clubhouse for his quick wit and generosity of nature.

During the "Panic Attack" crossover limited series, an FBI agent suddenly blew Sammy's head off during a raid on a meth lab gone horribly wrong. Yes, just like in "The Departed."

But many of you didn't get the brilliant Martin Scorcese reference, and blasted Lemonade Kid's death as "overly graphic" and "meaningless."

So then we brought Sammy Sauerbraten back and made him the star of our 124-issue landmark maxi-series "The Colossal End Of Everything." Every goddamn issue featured Sam and was full of wackiness and mirth.

But you f**king readers are never satisfied.

But that's ok. I really like you all. No really, it's fine. I get it. Really.

I realize that online there have been calls for my resignation. Of course, most people who hang out on the internet too long get too much radiation in their testicles because they're balancing their goddamn laptops on their scrotums. But that's not really for me to say.

But the truth of the matter is that I am like Captain Kirk and Gilgongo is my Enterprise. I'm white and Gilgongo is rice. I love this goddamn company. And if there is some tribble that is harming it, eating its chrome finish with its delicate, barely-visible flat broad teeth, I want to stop it. I want things to be right again, just like they were when they beat that witch in "The Wiz" and everybody started peeling off their clothes and dancing on top of the tables.

I made some bad decisions. I did. I admit it. I f**ked up.

So I'm going to totally fix things now.

We may have lemons at the moment. But from lemons come the Lemonade Kid. And that f**ker is going to die. I mean, next issue. If I have to draw that f**ker myself and drive up to the printer and manually paste it in.

So join us for a brand new era in Gilgongo Comics! I'm really excited, aren't you?

But Seriously, Folks
If "Countdown" became noticeably better and the overall quality of the DC Universe line picked up, I'd be the first to jump up-and-down and praise it. Because nobody can argue with kick-ass comics. I mean, I find "Batman" and "Detective Comics" good. So that's my DC Challenge. Bring on the good stuff, baby!

Baby Doll
Speaking of good stuff, here's some great music to close this post out.
This has been O.S. saying T.T.F.N. on F.F.. T.G.I.F.! HULU!

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Supergirl Speaks

Laura Vandervoort speaks to Wizard about her upcoming role as Kara in "Smallville":

"This version of Kara is based on the new relaunched character—the new Supergirl, who appeared in Superman/Batman and in her new series."

Translation: The producers were given a stack of the "bad girl" Supergirl comics a year or so ago as "research" into what DC was currently doing with her.

"She’s much more edgy and has a lot more attitude and is a lot more rebellious than previous versions."

Translation: Teh hotness.

"She’s technically older than Clark; she was older than him on Krypton and then because of some sort of hyperspace accident arrives on Earth younger."

Translation: It's not really barely legal but it sort of is as well.

When asked about the skimpiness of her outfit, she said:

"Yeah, well, Kara really gets into music and videos and takes her cues from music artists and what she sees on TV, so those are the cues that inform her outfits."

Translation: Britney chic.

Hulu, Zuda. Zuda, Hulu.

NBC and News Corp. have teamed up to create the YouTube-like service

That's right. Hulu.







Who comes up with these namesssssssss? Hah?

Women Can Be Funny: Marie Severin

A few of us ladies at the Comic Foundry party yesterday were discussing the old "women can't be funny" idea that gets floated around every once in a while, and it brought to mind Marie Severin. She is the only female I can think of that is in that list of "classic" Mad Magazine-style spoof artists.

I don't really think Marie Severin gets her due for being a really awesome parody artist. I worked with her a few years back when she did a Batman spoof for "Batman Black and White" and was immediately impressed by her sense of wackiness & comic timing. She absolutely "got it" in that story, got that Mad Magazine humor; and though she dutifully followed the writer's script, she put so much of her own comedic style into the piece.

Here are scans from a Severin story in "Crazy" Magazine (remember them?) called "Kaspar The Dead Baby" (found via Journalista)

A Pair Of Awesomes

Trademarks, schmademarks, if it's a parody you're covered
Hulk Gets Snot Beat Out Of Him
In "World War Hulk" #4

Okay, maybe it's Hulk-blood, but it looks kinda like snot.

I think the rumor is that somebody dies or something in this issue (or by the end of the series)?

Seems some people on the Newsarama board are pushing for Sentry to bite the big one.

I know the last cover of the mini-series features Hulk fighting Sentry. And Sentry is pretty despondent about the recent death of his wife. Would he sacrifice himself to stop the Hulk -- either by beating him to a pulp or convincing him that his quest for revenge is wrong?

That would be good comics!<---never really "got" the Sentry, but doesn't hate him or anything.

Ridley Scott Sez:
The Sci-Fi Genre Is Dead

As reported by Times Online:

At the Venice Film Festival for a special screening of his seminal noir thriller Blade Runner, Sir Ridley said that science fiction films were going the way the Western once had. “There’s nothing original. We’ve seen it all before. Been there. Done it,” he said. Asked to pick out examples, he said: “All of them. Yes, all of them.”

All of them?

Scott went on to say that no science fiction movie was ever better than Stanley Kubrick's "2001."

I can kinda see where he's coming from. But to discount "The Matrix" as not being original? I dunno.

Also, I kinda hate when directors who are well-known for a particular genre movie publically announce that all other subsequent movies in that genre are unoriginal. I mean, that's rather conveeeenient. Where's the love, Ridley?

Also, reports of the Western's death has been rather premature.

Comic Foundry
Launch Party Last Night

A party celebrating the launch of the comics cuture magazine Comic Foundry was held at the Irish Rogue in NYC last night, and your intrepid reporter/reveller Occasional Superheroine was there.

The vibrating condoms placed in our gift bags drove the point home: Comic Foundry is the magazine for comic book fans who get laid.

The Beat's
Heidi MacDonald was there, as was the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund's Charles Brownstein and ACT-I-VATE's Dan Goldman ("Shooting War," "Kelly") and Nikki Cook ("Dripping Wet").

I also had a chat with Occasional Superheroine blog regular Red Stapler.

Comic Foundry Editor-in-Chief Tim Leong was of course the vortex of attention at the event, and expressed excitement that Diamond apparently did a reorder on the debut issue of his magazine.

Comic Foundry, originally online, is basically "Details" meets "Wizard Magazine" and is quite cool. It's available NOW at your local comic book store or purchase it online.

As an aside, The Irish Rogue is apparently no stranger to comic book type peoples, as it is rumored that Frank Miller hangs out there and a copy of a Garth Ennis's "Punisher" hardcover sits behind the bar in a glass case.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

JLA Movie Casting Rumors

Yes, I realize this starting to sound like one of those Wizard Magazine articles where they do their "dream cast" for the "Watchmen" movie and cast Zooey Deschanel as Silk Spectre.

Via the IESB via CBR, the rumors are:

Tom Welling = Superman (I like Tom better than Brandon Routh, sue me)
Ryan Reynolds = Flash

DC Showcase Titles Cancelled

According to CBR, the following DC Showcase collections have been cancelled:

Suicide Squad
Secret Society of Super-Villains
Jonah Hex Volume 2
The Great Disaster
Captain Carrot

Occasional Superheroine, who counts the Showcase editions as one of the few things she purchases from DC with any regularity or zest, had this to say:

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Tweedledum & Tweedledee
New Gotham City Crime Bosses

Paul Dini spilled the beans at Fan Expo Canada (according to Comic Book Resources):

To loud applause, Dini also revealed that he had a great story for next year in “Detective Comics” that would feature Deever and Dumfree Tweed, A.K.A Tweedledee and Tweedledum, as the new gang bosses of Gotham City.


Not Available For Comment:

Non Sequitur:
Katie Holmes As Wonder Woman?

Yeah, it's gossip, but...(via Starpulse)

Katie Holmes did something really strange on Aug. 6 - she left Suri with Tom in Berlin and flew to L.A. alone! Why the sudden solo departure?

Katie headed home to have a secret meeting with her agents and producers about starring in the big-screen version of the popular ‘70s television series Wonder Woman.

“Katie apparently didn’t want Tom to be a part of the discussions,” the source tells Star magazine.

What? Not want her super-rational hubby in for the negotiations?

Hey, I know it's hip to rag on Katie, but I really think she's got that Lynda Carter face going on there. With her "comic book cred" from "Batman Begins," she might be a shoe-in for the role.

Even if in real life she apparently has to stand in a hole so she doesn't look taller than her husband:

LaBeouf To Play "Y"?

According to MTV Movies via Rotten Tomatoes, Shia LaBeouf might play "Y, Last Man On Earth"

According to the report, LaBeouf is in line to star in Disturbia director D.J. Caruso's adaptation of the Brian K. Vaughan comic Y: The Last Man, which deals with the aftermath of a plague that has wiped out all the males in the human race. All except one, that is -- and LaBeouf would play that survivor, a man named Yorick, who wanders the Earth with a pet monkey named Ampersand.

Purely speculation at this point, you understand.

Happy for Shia:

Doesn't particularly care:
"Occasional Superheroine" in Brazil

I came across an article about my post "Countdown to Change" on the Brazilian blog "Noticias Quadrinhos":

"Olhando uma recente lista de lançamentos da DC, notei que a maioria dos títulos é relacionada a Countdown", escreveu D'Orazio. "Meu Deus! Isso é como se a Marvel decidissefazer de 75% de suas HQs um spin-off de Dinastia M".

This tickled me because I'm actually half-Brazilian, though I can barely read Portuguese.

Em todos os tópicos abordados pela ex-funcionária da DC, o editor Dan Didio não escapa de acusações de incompetência.

My mommy is going to be so proud of me. She can forward this post to her relatives in the old country.

"O segredo do sucesso da Marvel é que suas criações são, essencialmente, párias, aberrações, estranhos e desgarrados. Que tipo melhor de personagens para atrair os adolescentes?", diz D'Orazio. "Por sua vez, as sérias falhas de personalidade impostas a alguns personagens da DC no regime de Didio - como os sociopatas assassinos Maxwell Lord e Superboy; a Supergirl nada boazinha; o estuprador Dr. Luz; a antiética e cruel Dra. Leslie Thompkins e a Liga da Justiça amoral - foram sobrepostas, adicionadas artificialmente, desnecessárias".

Of course, this article could be saying that I'm a total dunderhead, I wouldn't know.

But I like the phrase "a Supergirl nada boazinha."

Playing Kara/Supergirl's aunt in "Smallville":

Power Girl:
What Do
You See In The Mirror?

You know, that's really not a bad strategy.
But if the mirror gets cracked during battle, you get bad luck.
Valiant Harbinger Hardcover
Cancelled By Diamond Due To
"Legal Dispute"

The Harbinger: The Beginning hardcover was slated to go on sale this Wednesday. It featured an all-new story by Harbinger creator Jim Shooter as well as collected the original 1990’s Harbinger #0-7.

But now the book has been cancelled in the direct market, due to, in Diamond's words, "legal reasons."

This probably refers to the copyright dispute between Valiant Entertainment LLC (publishers of the Harbinger hardcover) and Valiant Intellectual Properties LLC. You can read about that battle in this Newsarama article.

The mood at the the Valiant fans forums was initially grim.

One fan had this to say:

But the discovery that "Harbinger" could still be ordered through Amazon, certain independent retailers, and Valiant Entertainment directly, lifted their flagging spirits.

Indeed, as if this writing, the book was still available on Amazon and had reached #19 on their graphic novels charts.

The bigger question is: if the dispute between Valiant Entertainment & Valiant Intellectual properties is at the heart of the Diamond cancellation, what does that mean for the future of the Valiant characters?

And what about that damn goat? Is he coming back too?

Monday, August 27, 2007

Molding A Better Plastic Man

The Absorbascon makes the case for returning to Plastic Man's more "serious" roots.

By "serious" the blog doesn't mean grim and gritty, but simply taking the joke-a-minute slaphappiness out of the character. For two reasons:

1) It would go back to Plas's Golden Age roots, where he was a serious superhero a la Superman who played straight man to his slaphappy jokester sidekick Woozy Winks.

2) The excessive wackiness of Plastic Man as of the last ten years or so serves to take the reader out of the story and underlines that nothing in the story really matters:

"As soon as Plastic Man appears, you are are reminded through his commentary that, ehn, it's just a comic, there's nothing really at stake, don't take anything that happens to heart as significant."

I had more than my share of exposure to the "Jim Carrey" Plas due to my tenure in the JLA office at DC -- more than my share of writers asking for Plas to turn into a giant question mark or circus balloon, or wiggle his nose.

Sure, a lot of this characterization was done to replace fellow jokey-jokester Elongated Man's absence from the team. In fact, one of the deciding factors in singling out E.M. in "Identity Crisis" was that DC had Plastic Man and really didn't need two stretchy heroes anyway.

But I think seeing Plas and E.M. as interchangable really does a disservice to both characters.

I did enjoy the Kyle Baker series, though, and I think it played more closely to the original Golden Age version.

Anyway, it might be an interesting take on the character to try playing him "straight" once again.

Of course, this is the version of Plas I remember best:
Wizard Magazine's "InQuest" Magazine:
"Game Over"

Yes another magazine has bit the dust: this time Wizard's "InQuest Gamer."

ICv2 reports:

Wizard Entertainment is ending publication of InQuest Gamer, effective in September. The most recent issue shipped was #149, which arrived in comic stores on August 1st.

InQuest was launched to track and cover collectible game card prices as Magic: The Gathering and other CCGs, then a new category, grew in popularity.

Personally, I've never read "InQuest" and I don't know a "Magic" card from a tarot card (they can both summon fireballs, right?).

But if Wizard cancels "Toyfare" I'm gonna be sad.
Keanu Is Klaatu

From Variety:
Twentieth Century Fox has set Keanu Reeves to star in "The Day the Earth Stood Still," its re-imagining of the 1951 Robert Wise-directed sci-fi classic.

Reeves committed over the weekend to play Klaatu, a humanoid alien who arrives on Earth accompanied by an indestructible, heavily armed robot and a warning to world leaders that their continued aggression will lead to annihilation by species watching from afar.

Keanu, Klaatu.

Klaatu, Keanu.
"World War Hulk"
Sequel "Warbound" Announced

Greg Pak announced at Fan Expo Canada this weekend that he's working on a sequel to "World War Hulk," Comic Book Resources reports.

Details on the mini-series, called "Warbound," are sketchy, but the surviving members of Hulk's Sakaarian gladitorial team will be involved.

Leonard Kirk will be on board as artist. He filled in on "Incredible Hulk" #111.
"Superbad" -- A Chick Flick
If Chicks Were Dudes And Not Chicks

Despite all the requisite "mild" homophobia in these sorts of "dude" flicks, Superbad ends with two men repeatedly saying "I love you." And while during this scene there are the requisite snickers from the audience, the sentiment between those two characters is genuine -- they're best friends and have saved each other too many times to count.

"Superbad" is the male equivalent of a "chick flick" -- it is, at its heart, about male bonding and males discussing male issues with other males. The movie made me laugh, but at times I just couldn't relate, because I do not have a penis to obsessively draw like Seth does in the movie, nor have I ever been in the position to risk my life to obtain alcohol for the girl I want to have sexual intercourse with.

Nor have I ever been used as a human tampon, nor have I've been forced to sing "These Eyes" by a room full of coked up hipsters, nor have I've travelled with a pair of nutty cops reliving their youth and shooting up street signs. Not that I'm saying these three examples are the exclusive purview of the male experience. But they are as funny as hell.

The best part for me about "Superbad" was that I really felt I knew these boys in high-school. These actors, in both looks and demeanor, pull off some of the most realistic portrayals I've seen of teenagers in quite some time. Absent is that slick pseudo-teen quality of John Hughes films and 90s slasher movies. Neither do we have the ultra-quirk of "Napoleon Dynamite" that jettisons its characters into a never-never land of weirdness for the sake of weirdness.

I recommend "Superbad" but since it is a chick flick if chicks were dudes instead of chicks, I warn you that chicks might be offended. But surely all offense can be wiped away by the dewy earnestness of Michael Cera's Bambi-eyes as he holds a condom and lectures Jonah Hill the importance of respecting your partner and always using protection.
"Emperor Stitch"

What happens when you take two mega-properties & smush them together in the quest for the almighty $?Toyfare is there!

Sunday, August 26, 2007

You Strange, Sad Creature:
The Punisher #49

Five "mafia widows" team up to get revenge on the man who murdered their husbands: The Punisher. Then a sixth widow hunts them down. Since Garth Ennis makes it a point to stress that the woman in question has had her breasts removed due to cancer, we know we are in for something "deep" about the female experience.I liked Punisher #49 in that voyeuristic, grotesque way I enjoy Rob Zombie movies. It's like Freud on crack, fear-and-loathing, bashed skulls, and orgasms. But as a meditation on the Female Vigilante, it gave me the squickies.

Our female-who-hunts-females, Jenny, is a battered wife with scars where her breasts used to be. The target of her resentment & anger are other women -- four of whom she shoots, one of whom she beats, in the nude, into a bloody pulp with a baseball bat. When she is done with her last victim she climbs on the Punisher's body and announces she is going to have sex with him.

Jenny is, as the Punisher puts it, "a strange, sad creature." She is a vigilante like him but "women really aren't supposed to be vigilantes," or so the story goes. She assumes a male job, and thus must have a chest that resembles a male, devoid of breasts. By assuming a male's job she is monstrous, she is aberrant, and so in the end she must shoot herself. Further, she attacks her own image (other women) and then f**ks/worships the male image.

Christ almighty.

One other point to note is that of the five members of the "widow gang," the three prettiest/most feminine ones are shot on their body but with their faces untouched. Of the other two, the butch-looking African-American woman with the short hair is graphically shot in the face, and the heavy-set older woman is graphically smashed in the head with a bat until her features are obliterated.

I have to give the proviso now that this isn't a screed against "Punisher" comics, as I enjoy them. I appreciate that Marvel puts the MAX label on these books as well as an "explicit content" warning on the cover. But when Garth Ennis throws out on the table so much fodder, one has to excuse me for grabbing my bowl of popcorn and digging in.

Edit: The Punisher has one hand handcuffed to the bed when Jenny is bashing the woman's face in, and when she has sex with him. But as soon as the sex is over and Jenny blows her brains out, the Punisher shakes his hand free from the handcuff -- almost immediately after the sex. If the Punisher was capable of doing this why didn't he free himself earlier and prevent the beating of the woman, or prevent this obviously crazy Jenny person from riding him like prize pony, or prevent Jenny from blowing her brains out?