Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Apparently, Scientology Makes You Feral

Just got sent this by a friend:



While I'm getting my celebrity snark on, I remembered this cover photo from the Parade Magazine circular that came with the Sunday Trib a few weeks ago. I had originally assumed that Xenu's programming erased the section of her brain that allowed her to smile like a sane person, but, perhaps she's silently sizing up her co-stars for dinner?

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Lazy Posting: Creepy Comics of the 70's

Man, there was some weird shit going on in comics the year of my birth:



Damn, that Magneto is creee-azzzy.

Anyhoo, somewhat normal posting will resume once work stops, literally, kicking my ass, and I get back from vacation.

Panels taken from The Defenders #15 via Essential Defenders Vol. 2. Joke stolen from Mike Sterling.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Lazy Posting: 30 Rock

Yeah I know, I have three posts that are so old they smell right now, but I just can't get them done. Anyway, I promise that I'll be back on Thursday with this week's "Two Reviews". I've decided that each week, I'm only going to offer two reviews of whatever struck me the most a given week, good or bad. Hopefully this will make what I write a little more concise.

Anyway, in the mean-time, here's the best 2 minutes of 30 Rock from last year:

Friday, January 18, 2008


OK, I'll admit that this looks pretty damn cool:

But, then again, I'm the target audience. I wonder wha tthe general public will think of this?

Sunday, January 13, 2008

2007, Yet Again -OR- Stop this Year in Review! I Want to Get Off!

Alright, a few odds n' ends I left off my last two lists:

Best Mini-Series: Annihilation Conquest: Starlord

Kicking off this year's Cosmic Event, Marvel once again rolled out a couple of mini-series (and a story arc in Nova) to set the stage. This is easily the best of the lot, mostly for one reason:

Anyway, for those of you who are not enthusiasts of the best anthropomophic raccoon ever created by Bill Mantlo and Mike Mignola, the story is a very funny, very tense take on the Dirty Dozen in outer space. Thanks to Calvin Pitt for reminding me about it.

Best Movie I Saw This Year: Casino Royale

I was doubtful when I saw that they were re-booting this franchise, I had genuinely enjoyed Pierce Brosnan's work as Bond and thought he was very good at it. But I was just blown away by this movie. The commitment to making it down and dirty, but with still most of the hallmarks of Bond (hot women, hot cars, cool locales and giant set-pieces). Daniel Craig was just a revelation as Bond, making this the "realest" Bond we've ever seen. I'm really pissed I skipped the theater on this one, and I've probably watched it at least once a month since I got the DVD. Just great stuff.

Best Movie I Saw in a Theater All Year: Blade Runner: The Final Cut

Just beautiful, if you've never seen it before, shame on you, go buy the DVD. If you haven't seen it in a while, shame on you, go buy the DVD. If you don't have the DVD, shame on you, go buy the DVD. I just can't believe they took a 27 year old film and made it look like it was made yesterday, without any of the problems that crop up when you update such an old film. George Lucas should watch this and cry at the fact that it makes his tinkering with Star Wars look like he was hacking at his films with a machete. A rusty machete.

Allright, irregardless of anything else I might think of, that's it. 2007 is over and anything I forgot about will be mentioned in '08's YiR post. Now, let's get to some resolutions for 2008:

See more movies in the theater. I tell you, having kids really kills your ability to go to movies, but I'm going to make a commitment to get to at least on a month for all of 2008. There's alot of flicks coming out this summer I'm guaranteed to see (Iron Man, Dark Knight, Indiana Jones, etc.), but I want to try to get to more films that I'm not likely to see anyway.

Along with that, I need to stop Netflixing bad movies and start watching the good ones. I must have watched 4 bad action flicks in the month that Letters From Iwo Jima sat on my kitchen counter waiting for me to watch it. It turned out to be unquestionably one of the best movies that I had seen all year, but it's hard to work yourself up to something you know is going to be a tough movie, especially when you can tune out to Jet Li punching guys through walls. I will stop this, from now on, at least one of every two discs I get from Netflix must be a "good" film and I will watch it within a reasonable time-frame. Yes Rescue Dawn, I see you there on the counter and I will get to you within the next two days.

Annnnd, along with that, I need to start reading more "real" books. I've been doing pretty good over the last few weeks, I've read 3 books already since Christmas, so I have a feeling this shouldn't be to tough. Just to keep myself honest, I'm going to try to post monthly on what I've been reading.

Speaking of blogging, I'm going to make a commitment to posting at least once a week on both of my blogs, I'm going to try and get some recurring series going, mostly focusing on stuff that I've recently unearthed in my collection, stuff that, I feel, never got its due, or somethings that should not have in the first place. As ever, I try to keep my stuff positive, as the blog-o-dome tends to be such a soul-suckingly-negative place that I can't believe blogger doesn't have it's own anger-management hotline.

So thanks to you, my real and internet friends, for reading this, and all of my other blather. Let's look forward to a bright 2008.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Two Reviews

Hey there, I've pretty much decided that I'm going to give up reviewing everything I get every week, I'm just going to point out the things that really stood out, both good and bad. Fortunately, the comics web-o-sphere is alarmist enough to warn me not to buy things that are most-likely-to-be-awful (*cough* One More Day *cough*), however, we all make mistakes (*cough* Countdown: Arena *cough*).

Anyway, here are two items that struck my fancy this week (or rather, yesterday), first a movie:


I was watching Space Cowboys on TNT last Saturday and was lamenting to my 5-year-old that they just don't make hard-science-fiction movies anymore, meaning that most of the SF hitting the screens tends to be more fantasy (think Star Wars) than actual, scientifically possible, fiction. Like just about any geek in his thirties, I'm fascinated by the idea of space travel and the possibilities and problems associated with it. Very few movies actually deal with this and just act as if it's just normal to travel in space and you need something like an alien invasion or a ghost to make it dramatic. Dude, you're riding in a tin can literally millions of miles from breathable atmosphere, just the plain mechanics of the situation make it dramatic.

Now onto the actual movie, Sunshine's story is that the sun is dieing and the Icarus 2 has been dispatched to attempt to reignite it. While most of us assume that our sun isn't set to burn out for billions of years, there is science behind the story, Roger Ebert's review explains it a lot better than I can (I assume it's also explained by Science Advisor Dr. Brian Cox in his commentary on the DVD, which I plan on hitting up soon). Unfortunately for our crew, theirs is not the first attempt, the Icarus 1 disappeared right about where they are now, and, since this is a movie, they've just received a signal from their predecessor. As the kids say, this is where the shit gets real.

They decide to rendezvous with the other ship, thinking that, if their bomb is still intact, two shots at reigniting the sun is better than one. This is probably a bad idea. From there on, the situation continues to get more and more grim, giving you cause to wonder if these problems are supernatural, psychological, or just plain bad luck.

It's an absolutely beautiful film to look at. The CGI blends in seamlessly with the practical effects and truly, you never even see "effects", you simply see a space-ship approaching the sun. I really recommend this movie, I've watched it twice in the last two days, tonight with director Danny Boyle's commentary and he really makes you rise to a new appreciation of the movie with his enthusiasm. It's not a great movie, but it is a darn good one.

Teen Titans: The Lost Annual

Now here's an odd little thing. This issue, the final written work by Bob Haney (I believe) featuring art from Jay Stephens and Mike Allred hits the stands after sitting on shelf at DC since 2003. Obviously Haney is channeling the crazy with this issue that features Mod-Aliens kidnapping and brain-washing JFK in 1962 in order to help them battle Space Hippies on their own planet.

Let's let that sink in: Mods vs. Ouuuutttteerrr Spaaaaaace!

Of course, Robin is there to witness all of it, so who's going to believe him, he's just a kid? A kid who was staying in the Lincoln bedroom while JFK got kidnapped mind you. Robin, dude, for the contribution Bruce Wayne had to give to get you that night in Camelot, trust me, I think someone will believe you.

, he gets his buddies, the original Teen Titans to go on a trip to Ouuuttteerrr Spaaaaace to get our Prez back. The do leave Aqualad behind though, because that dude's totally a buzzkill. Once there, they realize the stakes, so of course they go to war. Well, except for the (Wonder)girl, who of course totally falls in love with the Hippy-alien leader and wants to have his babies. And Robin eventually saves the day through a convoluted plan to snap JFK out of his programming involving the PT 109, a demolished spaceship and a hat. Then, in the last four pages, shit gets really weird.

OK, stepping away from it, it sounds like the most crazy-tastic issue ever written in the 60's, doesn't it? The problem is that it was written in the 2000's, so it just doesn't seem as authentically crazy. Obviously, having Haney on board mitigates that, but I don't know, maybe I'm just over thinking the whole thing, but after reading the Saga of the Super Sons, you get the feeling they were really trying to be hip. Now it's like they're making fun of themselves trying to be hip. Maybe it's just the overuse of irony in comedy these days that kind of blunts this for me. Stephens and Allred's art is very good, almost too good, since it's aping 1960's comic art which tended to be serviceable at best. That said, Nick Cardy's cover (above) and sketchbook is amazing. I would kill for just one of those sketches, the detail and composition are so good.

Along with that, the ending just kind of struck me wrong. ***SPOILERS ON*** In the end, they return to Earth with the real JFK (a duplicate had taken his place) only to find out the duplicate-JFK had a very bad day in Dallas while they were gone. So JFK decides, for the good of the country, to go back to the alien world since him reappearing after being "killed" would be too much of a shock to the nation. Linking such a crazy, lighthearted book with such a tragedy just kind of ended the whole thing on a sour note. The artist even draws in the famous photo of JFK Jr. saluting his father's casket, which is, in my mind, one of the most heart-breaking images ever.


OK, that makes me feel a little better. Overall, it's a fun little artifact, and I'm glad that I have it, but I kind of think it is a missed opportunity.

Monday, January 07, 2008

2007, Gone Like Donkey Kong, Part 2

Best On-Going Series of Articles On-Line: Nathan Rabin's My Year of Flops on the AV Club

Mr. Rabin has been taking one (hundred and four) for the entire internet team by writing this year's worth of articles rating a litany of bad, horrible or simply misguided movies that have been inflicted upon the viewing public. Whether it's making a serious attempt at finding the good in Francis Ford Coppola's One From the Heart, or mercilessly mocking the bizarre disco-nightmare musical of The Apple, he brings the funny, along with just the right amount of insight. Kudos to you, Mr. Rabin, your nightmare is over, at least until the make you review Alvin & The Chipmunks 2.

Best On-Going Series: The Brave & The Bold

I really can't say much about this series than I already have. Pure fun super-hero writing by Mark Waid with pitch-perfect art by George Perez. Featuring team-ups ranging from the popular (Green Lantern and Batman) to the downright bizarre (The Boy Commandos & The Blackhawks?) the creators have managed to tell a galaxy and century spanning story that is timeless in it's enjoyability.

Best New Series: The Immortal Iron Fist

Holy Smokes, both Ed Brubaker and Matt Fraction came at us like they were shot out of a cannon this year, didn't they? Kung-fu action with just enough comedy to acknowledge the silliness of the premise and enough drama to make you feel the tension. All that and stuff like this:

Best Movie: Ratatouille

I love this movie. I don't know why, it's just perfect, funny, moving, and it so amazingly articulates it's points about the love of art and food that it just sings. The fact that both me and my four-year-old son can watch it and both of us get the same amount of enjoyment out of it is just gravy.

So that's all I got, I may have another, clean-up post, but that may be more of a quick-hit type list featuring me bitching about stuff that bugged me. Overall, 2007 kinda kicked my ass, but it ended well and 2008 is starting to shape up rather nicely.

Saturday, January 05, 2008

2007, It Was A Year Part 1

That it was, that it was. I suppose I should do a quick recap of what I enjoyed during the year. Keep in mind, while I do frame what I've listed down below as the "Best", it's more that these are my favorites. I wholly acknowledge that there may be better things produced last year in each of these catagores, but this is what I enjoyed the most. And more importantly, remembered 1 to 12 months later. Thusly, here is part 1 of what maybe a single, or several part look at what I liked about 2007.

Best Single Issue - Superman #666

This issues was just a blast. Crazy in every way possible and a lot of fun. Superman goes bat-shit insane and kills EVERYTHING. OR does he?

Best Summer Movie - The Bourne Ultimatum

As I said in my twitter comment the other day. Pound-for-pound, the Bourne series is really the best action series ever. No dead-weight, not a wasted scene or moment. Just pure action moving an excellent story forward for six straight hours.

Best Guilty Pleasure Summer Movie - Transformers

What the hell, it's a crappy movie, but who doesn't like watching transforming robots beat the crap outta each other?

Best Impulse Buy - Bones Season 1 DVD

Saw like two episodes of this series and really got into it this season. Saw the first season on sale for 20 and figured I'd give it a shot. Great decision. Fun, interesting and scary in all the ways that made me love the X-Files, but not derivative of that series.

Best Repackaging of Something I Already Had - Daredevil by Frank Miller & Klaus Janson

I had all of this in the three "Visionaries" trades that Marvel had put out years ago, but since vol. 2 got killed in a basement flood, I was itching to repurchase it. Then, my shop had its big X-Mas blowout sale and I managed to get this beautiful, brick of comicy goodness for quite a discount. What a great package, 15 pounds of over-sized, hardcover kicks to the face and ninja action. Highly recommended to any that can afford it.

Best Movie I Can't Believe They Made - Shoot Em Up

Pure gonzo violence and wise-cracking. I'd be amazed to learn that the writer-director wasn't 15 and drunk during the conception of this film. Both of the leads (Clive Owen and Paul Giamatti) bring just enough dedication to the film's tone to push it right over the top.

Best Essential/Showcase Book - Showcase Presents: The War That Time Forgot

Back when I got my Absolute New Frontier book last Christmas, I read Darwyn Cooke's annotations talking about his love of the "War that Time Forgot" books with longing, knowing that I had to track down these books somehow. I mean, WW2 soldiers vs. dinosaurs, how can that not be great? And DC was kind enough to help a brother out and publish this phone-book sized collection. Great stuff all around.