Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

The Deathstroke #10 Addendum Mini-Comic

So without further ado, here you are, free of charge! As always, click the images to make them as big as Captain America's chest (Okay, maybe not that big)!

Sunday, June 17, 2012

They like it but don't want to be like it

I couldn't figure out why the Michigan legislature was so keen on silencing Rep. Lisa Brown the other day but as usual a Venn Diagram explains it all.

Many of the members of the Michigan GOP may like vagina in concept but are terrified they may someday be put in the position to be treated like the traditionally second class semi-citizens that have one of their own.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Superman vs. The Elite: PP as LL

I really enjoyed the new animated feature from DC, Superman vs. The Elite. I agree with Chris Sims of the Comics Alliance site that it is better than the [comic book] source material. This movie was a lot of fun and I liked the art style more than many reported to from early viewings. The Fortress of Solitude, Superman Robots and the pre-Ad Nauseum Crisis relationship between Clark Kent/Superman and Reporter Lois Lane made me miss the old DC Universe so darn much.

Actress Pauley Perrette as a new voice for Lois Lane was the thing that stood out most for me. Voice actors can really make or break a show. I still wince when I hear the boyish pitch of Tony Stark in Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes. Perrette has a great-sounding voice and delivery cadence that suited the character without sounding too similar to the manic, hyper-caffeinated Abby of NCIS. The Lois personality really comes through with Perrette ably voicing the character. In fact, Perrette was considered so effective as Lois that that as a mark of respect the animators created their own "cross-over event" by copying Perrette's real spider web neck tattoo onto Lois, thereby making it a part of the DC Universe continuity. That's just great.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Hero's Journey for the new Green Lantern?

I'm going to weigh in on the argle-bargle surrounding the image of a new Green Lantern character DC is introducing.

The fans are screaming that based on the image this character is a street thug, a gangsta and what does a Green Lantern need a gun for anyways? Predictably, the big deal appears to be that he is black, has a tattoo (it's glowing with green power, get a clue, that means something), is wielding a gun and wearing a stylized uniform based on what appears to be a ski mask, possibly a reference to his occupation of a bodega stick up artist.

Forgetting everything else for a moment (even that the new GL may wear a mask in his civilian life as a neighborhood vigilante good-guy) let's understand that one of the under lying themes of being a Green Lantern is redemption. It was for Hal Jordan, Guy Gardner and is certainly an on-going process for John Stewart. All of these characters are on the hero's journey paying for their past sins of arrogance.

It appears from the cover solicit the new Green Lantern, if not John Stewart himself undercover for something, may be on a similar path. Assuming the new guy is a predatory street thug it makes sense that he would have the basic requirement to be a space cop, the ability to overcome great fear.  He actually could be the perfect representative at this time for the GL Corps. Guy Gardner is the past was appreciated by both fans and the GL cast as a Corps member who got things done, regardless of the fall out. He has recently been the morals of the Corps and is probably the most honorable Lantern there is, doing what he feels is right even if the Guardians disagree.

Gardner continually defies the Guardians and is currently on a campaign to stop their shenanigans. So the Guardians may search for someone they think may be easier to point at things and zap stuff without questioning their directives. The new Lantern member, chosen for toughness, poor-impulse control and lack of morality for whatever purpose the Guardians need him for, this character could learn to be the hero the Corp needs to set them back on the path of Order (if not Good). The stylized mask and the gun would be the transitional props from his old life, surely to be discarded as he grows beyond his origins.

So relax. See what happens. Don't jump to conclusions.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Monday with Hayley Mills: Country Girl

Skip past all the ads (I didn't know the English were into monster truck rallies) to page #37 for a feature on Hayley Mills in the June 2012 issue of Country Images. The article touches a bit on her past, present as Ursula in Ladies in Lavender and her future with Wild at Heart.

Country Edition, June 2012.

Thursday, June 07, 2012

Think about it

It’s clever using the telepathic link so much in the Young Justice - Invasion animated television series. The link, which I first recall seeing used a lot in the X-Men comic book years back, is a science fiction device that allows covert communication between team members and information dumps. It is used to great effect in the YJ show, more so than in any other media I've seen. In X-Men and any number of other similar print and video series once the link was comprehensively Claremonted onto the continuity and back story it was just a given that the characters were using the telepathic link. In Young Justice the mental interaction between the characters is integral to the pacing of the show. One of the aspects that is clear about the teen team is that they don't want to share very much with the adult members of the Justice League. This is very much in keeping with the premise of the show of the junior league chafing at the leadership and their perception that they are together only at the sufferance of the elder heroes.

The big deal about the link in Young Justice is not in driving the story but that the animators and presumably the budget really gets some breaks when the characters are able to just  stare at each other without moving during expository voice-overs. Did the creative team understand at the start how much time and money would be saved per episode from not animating the characters speaking, including all the realistic body gestures that would have to accompany such scenes? I wonder if cost considerations come into play and the use of the mental link to cover the majority of the animated speaking was the solution or was that just a beneficial circumstance of a plot device.

Edited from original post June 6, 2012 at the LTMS Tumblr.

Monday, June 04, 2012

Monday with Hayley Mills: Hayley on Demand

Actress Hayley Mills is currently busy with her acclaimed portrayal of Ursula in the play Ladies in Lavender. The well-received play is on tour just about everywhere but North America, so I guess she'll never make it to San Diego. Should a North American tour of LiL ever happen I speculate the closest she'll get is Los Angeles. Given enough lead time I'll plan on going up there to see it. Heck, Hayley could charge 5 grand a ticket to stand on a box and read aloud the EULA of the Windows Operating System and I'd pay for the privilege of being there.

Going to LA would have to take the form of a mini-vacation, because my lovely wife will want to hit the Korean shopping district with a purse full of cash. Honestly though, the wife would be bored at the play because 1) She's dead inside and 2) Unless there was sign language interpreter present she wouldn't get as much out of Hayley Mills on a stage as I would. Closed Captioning is the main reason we wait for DVDs of big films to be issued rather than go to the theaters to see them when they come out.

It's enough for me to just be there soaking up all the Millsness but I'd understand if the wife didn't get the same enjoyment out of the play as I would. But there is no way I''d let her stay in a hotel or wander around Los Angeles by herself, it's too dangerous. I'd make sure my wife is taken care of, too.   

Hopefully, Wild At Heart will be available on Region 1 DVD sometime in the near future because I'll be snapping that up. If  the LiL stage play is ever filmed I'll be buying the heck out of that, too. Again, assuming it is in a format that can be viewed in my hemisphere, I will.

Until then here is another cool audio interview with Hayley Mills as featured on the Disney radio channel. DisneyBlu’s Disney on Demand Show #16, with Special Guest HAYLEY MILLS.

That's right, click on the link and listen up!

Saturday, June 02, 2012

Great Scott

The big news in comic books this week is that a character based on the Golden Age Green Lantern,  created by Bill Finger and Martin Nodell in the 1940s, is gay. Pundits and groups have decried the decision to reboot Alan Scott, the old man and spiritual father of the Justice Society as a young gay man as nothing more than a publicity stunt. Maybe it is.

But that's okay, really. As long as a positive message of diversity, no matter the intent, is disseminated and represented as much as possible then that ultimately helps people and lets them know they are allowed to thrive.

Few comic book companies have avoided presenting gay characters in their books though often they were hesitant or clumsy in their presentation (though not so misguided as much as it was well-meaning as most of the depictions of African-Americans in the comics of the 60s and 70s). Among the current higher profile gay characters are of course Archie's Kevin, Marvel's Northstar, who has been out for years and DC's Batwoman. The latter two being good examples of characters the respective companies have been mostly at a loss since their creation as to how to portray them.

A few groups had issue with the news of Northstar getting married to his long-suffering boyfriend and the re-introduction of Alan Scott as gay. They claimed an agenda on the part of the comic companies and the usual tired old argle-bargle of the negative influence of comics. They have been mostly dismissed and marginalized by those motivated to be vocal about the issue. I'm cynical enough to believe that the only agenda Archie, Marvel and DC have is to make money. It is from the increased national discourse on homosexuality and the demands for equal human rights that companies like DC can comfortably exploit (and I mean that in the best way) sensitive political and cultural issues. That their savvy marketing direction can also positively add to the discourse in however a small way is a benefit.

In the 1970s Marvel  successfully tapped into the sentiment of the young on many hot-button issues, a trend that benefited the bottom line well into the 1980s. From the 1960s through the 1970s DC was the company that had the most precedent, albeit steeped in subtext, in exploring gay issues though this was found mainly in the pages of the various romance titles amd one had to read between the lines and ignore the conclusions to most of the tales to see it. Marvel, however, reveled in being relevant and routinely tackled social issues such as class and race. This was all about what the audience would accept and want. The same company that railed against "The Man" in the 70s was fully behind the institution of authority a decade or so earlier even in the progressive and socially conscious 1960s, when mainstream comic companies adhered to the idea of Camelot and the Cold War.

Both Marvel and DC had comical, if not insulting, missteps along the way concerning homosexuality. Marvel infamously managed to draw a lot of criticism over the stereotypical depiction of sexual predators as being gay in an issue of The Rampaging Hulk magazine. DC most recently appeared to be at loss of what to do with Batwoman after the initial PR interest in her being a lesbian faded. The Golden Age Alan Scott had a son who was a gay superhero/villain but he was rarely utilized and often was often depicted as nothing more than a menacing shadow haunting the headquarters of the JSA. Take that how you will.

DC also missed an opportunity to introduce the first openly gay Green Lantern back in the 1990s. When Kyle Rayner (whom I always thought of as bi-sexual) was injured he sent his ring for safe-keeping back to Earth to his intern Terry, a gay man. My expectation was that Terry would spend the next several issues using the ring, going through a steep learning curve and maybe experiencing some interesting character growth. That didn't happen. The next issue Kyle reclaimed his ring and continued his adventures as if nothing had happened and it seems DC either dropped the ball or felt they dodged a bullet.               

However progressive a comic book might be it isn't going to change the world in and of itself. Alan Scott being gay and Northstar getting married won't change anyone into a homosexual anymore than the Teen Titan Spotlight book featuring Starfire ended Apartheid. What it might do, hopefully will result in, someone feeling better about themselves in spite of what the cranks, superstitious, evil and simply backwards have to say to the contrary. Being gay is not different. Being gay is not evil. Being gay is not wrong. It just is.