Comic Book Post 5.1: The Death and Return of Superman

Pursuant to Comic Book Post #5.

Max Landis, of ChronicleAmerican Ultra, and Red Letter Media fame, parodies the killing and unkilling of Superman in the famous 1993 DC cash-grab. It’s funny, and he makes a salient point at the end about ruining death in comic books (NSFW due to language).

 

Philosophically speaking, death and life are inextricably intertwined, as mutually exclusive states of being must be. Thus, if death is a state into which one can pass in and out of with a wave of the narrative hand, then the stakes of life are shrunk accordingly. The meaninglessness of Superman’s Death just made him the more boring.

Comic Book Post #5

Being the continuance of a series abandoned…

I never read any of D.C.’s New 52, because I objected to it on principle. The whole point of comic books is that they provide the balance of new tales as part of a coninuity. I get that managing said continuity can be a challenge. But re-booting is pointless. Every issue is a reboot.

Plus, stop “killing” characters. It’s lame.

But D.C. Has abandoned all of that, and given us Rebirth, which is supposed to restore everything as it was without erasing the New 52 stuff. So …


This doesn’t mean I haven’t read anything. I checked out the first few issues of Marvel’s Star Wars reboot, and that was fine. Decent Luke storylines, anyway. I stopped because they started spreading the storylines over five or six separate titles, so I have to buy Princess Leia #8 to continue Darth Vader #11 to continue Star Wars #9. And that’s too damn nerdy for me.


I also kept up on Dark Horse’s Conan titles. Conan the Avenger had a wry humor to it, occasionally at the expense of the title character, while Conan the Slayer is tonally more in line with the original Robert Howard stories.  Both are enjoyable, if you’re into that sort of thing.

I also got this:


Because Deadpool is funny, and he makes Spider-Man funnier, and I have the Erik B. And Rakim album this cover references. You got me, Marvel. You got me.

But what finally broke me from my D.C. boycott was a little documentary I caught on Hulu, Batman & Bill, which chronicles the campaign to get D.C. to officially credit the man who created much of the Batman universe, Bill Finger. Bob Kane, who claimed all the credit as the creator of Batman, apparently came up with the name, and not much else. Everything around the name, from the costume, the villains, the secondary characters, even the death of Thomas and Martha Wayne, was Bill Fingers work. But Kane made the deal with D.C., so every Batman comic and movie and TV show has “Batman created by Bob Kane” in the credits. Kane died a millionaire and Finger died in poverty and obscurity.

But the truth will out. As early as the 1960’s, people whispered the truth that Batman was not a solo act, but Kane vigorously stuck to the legend. And after he died, so too did D.C. Finally in 2015, after generations of Finger’s heirs and the nerd community shouted loud enough, D.C. agreed to change the credit, starting with the Batman vs. Superman movie.

So I picked up Batman #23, a Swamp Thing crossover with an interesting nihilist villain. It’s well-drawn and appropriately gloomy. And on the first page:

That’ll do, Bats. That’ll do.

Nerd Culture Abused

This is old, but if you’re sick of the way “nerd culture” has been inflated into a Seriously Important Thing, Red Letter Media is Awesome. NSFW for some crude language.

 

There’s a second episode:

 

You might not get this if you don’t hang around on YouTube, but they’ve been making fun of the hysterical dweebery surrounding Disney and Marvel’s Cinematic Universes for some time. And going by this recent Screen Junkies video, it’s already having the desired effect.

 

The best kind of satire is the kind that makes its targets reconsider things.

A Sober and Logical Analysis of Disney Princes, or No, Disney Doesn’t Hate Boys

This click-baity article at the Federalist: “Why Does Disney Hate Boys So Much?” way overstates its case. Contra the article, male Disney characters have not gotten lamer lately. As the father of two little girls, and as a boy who had a sister during the “Disney Renaissance”, I’ve seen my share of Princess movies. And when you look at them all, in total, the male characters have gotten much more interesting as the films have gone on.

Don’t believe me? Then absorb this totally objective analysis. Herewith, a selection of primary male characters in Disney Princess Movies, together with how much they speak, and what their function is in the plot. I exclude Aladdin and any other film with a male protagonist (which spares me having to re-watch Hercules and Hunchback of Notre Dame, which seems to be when the so-called Renaissance went through it’s Mannerist Phase, or something).

Continue reading

That’ll Do, 2016. That’ll Do.

I had this long blog post about Statistical Clustering and Artists Die, but Art Survives written in response to Carrie Fisher’s demise called Why I Don’t Get Sad Over Dead Celebrities. I was letting it lie to give it an editorial once-over before I posted it. Here’s the part that got Overtaken By Events:

Is it sad? Of course it is. Not merely because she died, but because she predeceased her mother (that’s right, Debbie Reynolds is still alive), and that’s not a thing that should ever happen.

I still think some of those points are solid, but now Todd Fisher has to bury his mother and his sister in the same week. That is just sad, so I’m going to shut up about it. Starting … now.

A Complete Map of Tolkein’s World

The news has taken up space in my brain and I’m working on finishing a short for the 7th issue of Unnamed Journal, but I just had to post this. (h/t Ace of Spades).

(Click to enlarge. Do it!)

It’s a map of Arda, Tolkein’s world. The Middle Earth you know from The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings is only a small portion of Tolkien’s realm. You have to read The Silmarillion to get the larger picture, but even so, I’ve never seen the whole thing.

It’s a slice of nerd with Awesome Sauce. Share and Enjoy.

Fisking Frank Zappa, Because Why Not?

Which is to say, fisking his liner notes, which are irritating and pretentions: the latest post over at Every. Damn. CD.

frankzappafreakout-original454237

Original text in italic, my responses in Bold.

Notes on the Compositions Included Herein

 AKA, I’M A MUSICIAN AND A GENIUS AND I LIKE FISH STICKS IN MY MOUTH.

1. Hungry Freaks, Daddy…(3:27) Was written for Carl Orestes Franzoni. He is freaky down to his toe nails. Some day he will live next door to you and your lawn will die. Drop out of school before your mind rots from exposure to our mediocre educations system. Forget about the Senior Prom and go to the library and educate yourself if you’ve got any guts. Some of you like pep rallies and plastic robots who tell you what to read. Forget I mentioned it. This song has no message. Rise for the flag salute.

 While it’s cute to see what hippies were called before they were called hippies, and it’s disappointing to read what was said about Motorhead being first said fifteen years before the fact in reference to some rando, do you really think that anyone drops out of school in order to educate themselves? I know you guys hadn’t learned this in 1966 yet, but the kind of kids who go to the library and read are the same kind of kids who do well in school and don’t waste their time moaning about pep rallies, because they’ve already decided that they’re not worth getting worked up over. Kids who drop out mostly stop reading anything except pamphlets in the unemployment office entitled “Chlamydia and You.”

 The song would be better without the stupid helium-voice sound effect at the end of every verse. I mean, I know it’s the Sixties, but damn.

I go on like that, because so does he.