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Archive for July, 2009

Who Watched the Watchmen?

Who Watched the Watchmen?

You know all of that rain we had in June up here in the Northeast? That’s pretty much how I remember my one miserable year at Ithaca College. Except it was freezing rain, mixed with snow, started in October and ended in April, and went sideways. This sideways business was likely on account of the wind that came off of Lake Cayuga nearby. Somebody who went to class more often than I did could explain that better. This was in the fall of 1986 and I start with this exposition because the weather and the desolation suited and fostered the state of mind that made me so completely receptive to the arrival of the twelve-issue run of Watchmen at the comic shop which was upstairs of some store in the Commons.

I grew up on superhero comics and movies: X-Men, Daredevil, Superman, Captain America, and others. I was a child of the Reagan 80’s, pretty confident and in love with my country. Heroes were there to learn from. They fought for truth, justice, the American Way, and they roundly defeated bad guys.

But that fall in Ithaca, I had gone from fairly popular in a suburban high school to fairly unpopular in a cold ass college town. Heroes weren’t helping me out. They weren’t stopping the brinkmanship between us and the Soviets (who had now been in Afghanistan for years). Superhero stories seemed stupid and irrelevant. I was ready to see what else comics had to offer me. That is how, I’m sure, I came to pick up the first issue of Watchmen. And the first issue was all it took to know that I would follow the entire run. The Comedian was dead, Rorschach was on the case and scaring the hell out of friend and foe alike, Dr. Manhattan was untouchable, and Dan and Laurie were bound to hook up.

I followed the run of Watchmen right out of Ithaca and back to my hometown. Each month’s issue seemed to exemplify my growing social discontentment and disdain for abusive authority and creeping colonialism. Reagan wasn’t listening to the world and the cavalier cowboy actor was dragging us all to the edge of the abyss. At the conclusion of the comic, I was okay with what Veidt had done. People were savage and government could not be trusted with society’s welfare. He’d broken a lot eggs but he’d made a huge omelet. I was okay with Rorschach’s death because he was a loose cannon. I hoped that the fat kid at the New Frontiersman would miss the journal or nobody would read the column. It was all for the greater good and it meant peace with the Russians.

Watchmen will always have significance for me. I say all of this because I finally saw the film. In March, I missed the theatrical run of the movie because it just didn’t last out here where I am. I waited for the dvd release this week and watched it after it arrived yesterday. Zack Snyder’s style of directing a comic book film seems to be to faithfully transcribe the panels to live action. I for one am cool with that. The art of Frank Miller in 300 and that of Dave Gibbons in Watchmen warrants that treatment. Some of the song selections were arch, but I will accept that in a comic book movie, which is a rightful place for archetype. My main issue with Watchmen is that this story, which was so relevant—revelatory even, at age eighteen in 1986 and 7, doesn’t speak to me in the same way at age forty in 2009.

What was new when writers like Allen Moore and Frank Miller were crafting it twenty-plus years ago, has become the new cliché in superhero storytelling. Noam Chomsky could be ghost writing War Machine at this point and it would hardly come as a surprise. And the biggest change for me is me. I am married, a father, working at providing a stable home in unstable times. The world today is at least as complicated and scary as it was in 1986. These things foster my current frame of reference. I support my government and military in looking out for our national interests. I believe in good and evil. I miss Reagan.

I still love the story that Alan Moore put together. I will buy the next Watchmen dvd collection with Tales of the Black Freighter woven in. I will always appreciate the intensity of the source material and its lasting effect on me. But I have changed back to the lover of true superhero archetypes that I was in childhood. And that means a new perspective for me on watching the Watchmen.

This time, I want the New Frontiersman to publish Rorschach’s journal.

Article by Space Commando

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Thanks to SciFi Now for this bit of info on the elusive series. Click here to read.

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As we continue through our series of looking back at Trek history we come to 1979 and the debut of the movies with Star Trek: The Motion Picture.

As we said in part one with the Original Series, there was no other Star Trek around in 1979.  We had a brief resurgence with the Animated Series in the early 70’s. James Blish Novelizations, Photonovels and a spat of novels depicting new adventures were all we had.   There was a brief moment there when we thought we were going to have a new live action series called Star Trek: Phase Two, but that was it.  By this point, we had come to love Star Trek warts and all.  We were in the driest period imaginable and there had been plenty of room to just live with these characters as they existed in the 3/5 year mission. We were starving for more! (more…)

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Trekmovie.com talks with Leonard Nimoy about the future of Star Trek and the role of Spock Prime in it.

What do you think of Spock Prime appearing again? An assett or hinderance?

Read the article here?

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Star Trek is dead.

That’s been  the common consensus since 2005 when Star Trek: Enterprise was canceled.  Since 1987, there had been four spin-off series and six feature films without respite. The feeling was that there was too much mediocre Star Trek out there and not enough interest. The situation was grim.

Then in 2008 something happened. In the darkened theatre we witnessed the first Star Trek movie teaser since 2002’s Star Trek: Nemesis.  I won’t go into the fan debate and uproar that pervaded the proceeding year, but we all know what it led to:

Star Trek is back!

I was one to agree that there was a little too much Trek going on back in 2005 (Gasp!).  But was Trek actually “bad” or even “mediocre”??  I’ve always held a theory that Star Trek is like a fine wine.  It needs to age. It needs some air. It needs some time in order to be fully appreciated and enjoyed.   The implication since 2005 was that Trek used to be AMAZING and now it’s not. Spaghetti is my favorite, but if I had it night after night I would want  a break from it too.

So I wanted to test my theory. (That, and I needed an excuse to pop in my Trek DVDs again). I’ve sat down and revisited all the Trek series since TOS.  My goal was to watch it again with two simple differences since that last time I watched it:

1. The new movie was a resounding success.

2. It’s been some time since we had any new Star Trek and there probably won’t be any more for at least 2 years.

So we have age, air and time. Let’s take a look back.

(more…)

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Variety reports that SciFi is going to be putting together a re-imagining of the old Television program Alien Nation, which, if memory serves, was sort of Noir-esque/X-files spin on the cop show. It had a very “The Creature Walks Among Us” vibe going, which I guess is absolutely no surprise whatsoever.

Any thoughts on this most recent resurrection? I  have to say, the two or three memories of this show I have do NOT inspire excitement. There, I said it. I hate aliens.

Big Happy Intergalactic Family

(source: http://www.variety.com/article/VR1118005577.html?categoryid=14&cs=1&ref=ssp)

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