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Archive for the ‘comics’ Category

Classic Scenes is a new segment we are adding to the Starblog and it is just that – classic scenes that we all know and love from movies past. With our lives so busy and hectic, it’s good to stop for five minutes and revisit some old friends.

For our first installment, I thought the Rescue Scene from Superman: The Movie (1979).  In a world as crazy as ours, take five minutes to remember when you believed a man could fly.

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Superman

I like Smallville.

Even geeks have our guilty pleasures. Let me add that I have been perpetually two to three seasons behind. I’ve just finished Season 7 which sees Lex discovering Clark’s secret and causing something really bad to happen at the Fortress of Solitude.

For up to date fans of the show, this is old news.

But one question that starts to surface by season 7 which I believe is still being asked by the aux currant fans is: When will Clark become Superman??

Age is not an issue yet. After all, Clark is still in his early twenties and it’s SuperMAN, not SuperGUY. So there’s time. The issue is the events in Clark’s life up until now.  There is not much left for him to discover as Superman as he’s encountered just about every major bad guy from his comics rogue gallery already.

But I’ll let the writers of Smallville worry about that. I’ve always felt that Smallville could be subtitled: Becoming Superman – the Hard Way.

And this is what makes Smallville so engrossing to me as a Superman fan: it tells the type of stories that are hard to do with a fully formed Superman. After all, Superman is a tricky franchise: make him too powerful and he’s not relate-able. Underpower him and he’s no longer Superman.

Smallville manages this balancing act pretty well (for the most part) and it helps when Clark still can’t fly.

By the way, when is Clark gonna fly!???

Smallville is now like a pregnant woman at nine and a half months. It’s ready to blow. Clark has been through every trial and tribulation imaginable in ten years and has emerged from each a step closer to becoming Superman – not in powers, but in heart.

And that’s the story that has never been told about Superman in quite this way. He’s more than the sum of his powers. Superman is an ideal.  He’s better than us, not because he’s faster than a speeding bullet, but because he will value the life of even the criminal who fired the gun. Superman challenges us to be better than we are and Smallville shows how Clark learned that lesson.

Who we are left with is a Superman with a real honest to goodness past to that we can relate.  All other incarnations of Superman (Even Christopher Reeves – my favorite) give lip service to the time that molded Clark into the Superman he becomes.  That’s not their fault – they only have two hours to tell the story, but then Superman becomes more alien to us.

We have to assume the Ma and Pa Kent just did good.

With Smallville we watch it happen. Even Tom Welling has grown as an actor into playing Superman convincingly.

So why should Smallville become Superman?  Because it could be the most fully formed and well rounded Superman ever.  I would love to watch Tom Welling and cast carry on the Adventures of Superman with all the back story that they have earned. Erica Durance is a Lois Lane that I would watch along with Tom Welling’s Superman for another ten years. And Michael Rosenbaum?? Don’t even get me started on how great he is as Lex Luthor. In a world of Lex’s dominated by Gene Hackman and Kevin Spacey, Rosenbaum gives a stellar third alternative. I want to see Smallville’s Superman, Lois Lane and Lex Luthor go at it.

Come on, CW. Do it.

Call it Metropolis.

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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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Spoiler warning folks – this news is a day old; proceed at your own mental peril

The battle for the cowl is finally over – the obvious, and in my mind *only* choice to take up the mantle Bruce left when he was unceremoniously hurtled through time by Darkseid (which incidentally, is the dumbest explanation of the omega beams power I have ever laid eyes on). But, did we really need a three issue miniseries to tell us what the comic-book reading population at large already knew? (more…)

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Star Trek: Countdown

Star Trek: Countdown

No, I’m not talking about the fact that J to the J’s Star Trek Movie opens in two days.  I’m talking about the four-part comic  prequel called Star Trek: Countdown.

I had a chance to pick up the trade paperback at my local geek shop.  As someone who is admittedly sceptical about the new movie I have to say I was intrigued.  It chronicles the events which brings Nero from a simple miner for the Romulan Star Empire to his jump through time which I assume is where the new movie will begin.

The story takes place some time after Star Trek: Nemesis.  In fact, the Enterprise-E plays a central role in the short tale.  SPOILER ALERT HIGHLIGHT TO READ:

One of the elements I enjoyed the most is bringing back DATA. It seems that after his ignominious demise at the end of Nemesis, the downloading of his memories to B-4’s positronic brain worked.  Data’s memory and personality have reasserted themselves and the old Data is back and now in command of the Enterprise.

Picard, Worf and, most importantly, Spock appears and all play key roles.  Spock in particular is important as he is intricately bound with Nero’s fate.

The artwork is well done and has an almost ghostly quality to it, which lends itself well to the dark and slightly nightmarish quality of the tale.

While Orci and Kurtzman are said to have been involved in Countdown, it will be interesting to see how accurately it ties into the movie.  Comic book prequels have become more common in recent years. Some have been more successful than others.

We’ll know on May 8th how successful Star Trek: Countdown really is.

Article by Matt Rashid

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The Origin of the Future.

The coolest entry in the X-Men Origins series.

The coolest entry in the "X-Men Origins" series.

The official title of the new X-men movie is “X-Men Origins: Wolverine” as if they will be doing a series of origin movies on the X-Men Characters.

Let’s face it, is anyone interested in seeing “X-Men Origins: Cyclops”?

Call a spade a spade: It’s all about Wolverine.

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JLA Issue 31

JLA Issue 31

Hey, Eddie. I dig Shane Davis’ work, love the inks – kind of reminds me of the colors in Perez’ great books past. But I have to tell you that when a comic book crammed full of DC’s premiere superheroes crosses the editor’s desk, one of the jobs of the editor ought to be to check it for battles. If there aren’t any, the editor shakes his head, chomps his cigar, stomps down the hall to where the writer is trying to wash the ink stains off of his hands and with one or two condescending flourishes tells McDuffie to squeeze all that soap opera business into three panels and find some villains that the heroes can combat. The editor may choose to remind the writer that the Justice League of America includes Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman. Oh I know, “Final Crisis this and Penultimate Crisis that,” the writer replies. At this point, the editor rolls up a comic book and smacks the writer upside the head. “Let me worry about Didio (maybe he mispronounces that name for comic effect, I don’t know), ya hear me?! You get me some heroes behaving heroically, dammit!!!,” the editor bellows. BELLOWS. Mr. Berganza, you have to ask yourself, “WWPWD?” What would Perry White do?

By Space Commando.

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