Thursday, August 04, 2005

Hola amigos. It's been a while since I rapped at ya.

Well, I don't have much to report. The League has been a busy bee, and after reading a stack of comics the last two nights, the League wanted nothing more than to toss himself headfirst into bed and wish for the cold grip of death to claim me. Wait, no... That's not right.

Anyway, I've been neglecting my duties here at The League.

It's tough to come up with new ideas, but I'm not here to bitch. I'm just saying... I'm a little dry right at the moment. I'd probably default to writing about comics, but, Leaguers, I'm not sure that too many of you guys stick with me when you see a post on, oh, say, why the JSA is awesome. Or do you?

Anyway, it's kept me from popping up with much this week.

Here's something: For more than a month I've been keeping a log of what I eat for lunch. Why? I haven't the faintest. Anyway, the blog is Lunchtime with The League.

You will notice that 1) Tempe has a terrific number of places to eat. 2) I go out very, very often for lunch.

I just have never really liked eating at my desk, but it does happen. I usually just feel like I've got to get some fresh air and sunlight.

Anyway, it's not engaging reading, but it is out there.

I'm also toying with the idea for yet another blog entitled "The Chandlerist". You know how other people will take photos of their town and talk about all the fun crap there is to do in their town? I want to do one of those about Chandler, AZ. Why? Chandler is the most @#$%ing fun place in the world. People keep telling me that, anyway. Someone needs to keep track of how awesome this place is.

Has anyone else seen the new Coke commercial based on the hippy Coke commercial from 1971? They kidnapped a bunch of kids from around the globe and put a bottle of Coke in their hands and forced them to sing in Ingles.

Hilltop Coke commercial

I'd like to teach the world to sing
In perfect harmony
I'd like to give the world a Coke
and keep it company

The commercial ran for YEARS, and was one of my earliest memories.

Every few years someone decides to "update" the concept, with varying degrees of success.

Now there's a new commercial for the 'ought's. It's just a bunch of models, you know, hanging out... just chilling on a roof in the NYC area. And, you know, they've sort of turned the Coke song into a rap. And, you know, they're chilling and singing.

There is a short version of the commercial is on TV, but there's an extended version showing at my local theater. I can't seem to find it online.

I'm not sure the original version is this pure thing which can never be touched. It is, after all, sort of co-opting the visual cues of the counter culture movement used for pushing a corporate product into every corner of the world under the auspices of peace and love.

But, you can say it did give us all a memorable campfire tune.

Re: The new version

It's sort of the "photocopy of a photocopy" effect you get when a commercial's greatest strength is it tries to make you recall the first cynically produced commercial in hopes you'll place the same good feelings upon their new, even more cynically produced commercial.

The new one doesn't have ugly people in it. It's just models lip-synching. Nor did they even bother to fly in some dude from New Guinea and some chick from Indonesia. They just went down to the local talent agent and had them send over some good looking 20 year olds after they were done with a Calvin Klein commercial.


At any rate, no matter how bad it gets, it's probably nowhere near as bad as most of Pepsi's advertising.

Oh, and I'm watching Hogan Knows Best on VH1.

Hulk just said, with absolutely no sense of irony:

Without Rocky III, Hulkamania wouldn't have been able to grow into the strongest force in the universe.

You know, Peabo and I saw Hulk wrestle in 9th grade. Screw electromagnetism, screw gravity and the strong and weak forces. Hulkamania IS the strongest force in the universe.

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

Hot or Not?

Decidedly NOT.

Leaguers, The League is not a handsome man. He's large, portly, sort of blank around the eyes and generally resembles a panda which has somehow lost it's way and cannot figure out how to return to the bamboo forest.

We lack washboard abs, hair gel, a waxed chest and pretty much anything else which someone might consider to be "attractive" in this day and age. Perhaps the pizza and sloth lifestyle I've adopted isn't turning me into the muscel-bound dynamo I had hoped it might.

But how unattractive is The League?

Well, for years we've had the technology to tell us exactly that. We've long suspected a deep love of pizza and loathing of an exercise regime would lead to a general feeling of repulsion by most folks, but now we've got real, scientific evidence.

Leaguers, The League has submitted his photo to

The offending photo

Come see my linky link here.

I went ahead and voted myself a 10. I figure I need a little boost to offset the onslaught of poor numbers as we move forward and I gradually realize the best looking I will ever be was probably 10 years ago, and that ain't ever coming back. It's all downhill from here.

I've done a little research, and I figure in light of today's sex symbols, the League is but a pale shadow. I figure if we get a 3 to a 3.5, we're doing gangbusters. We're just not going to do well here.

Nonetheless, it's better to be honest with oneself and just find out.

I'll be checking my stats. To see how poorly we're doing, you'll see something along the lines of the item below:

Not enough votes
to calculate a rating

Rate me!

Good Lord, I am not a good looking man.

This is going to rock.

Monday, August 01, 2005

For Reed.

Oh, how I miss the Gremlin.
2 quick blips...

Blip #1

Here's a nice article on the architecture appearing in the skyline of the DC Comic: The Manhattan Guardian. Read here.

This is why I like Grant Morrison's stuff. I knew there was some crazy stuff going on in the background of the frames and from some of the dialogue, but I didn't realize that the structures the characters were referring to actually existed.

Special thanks to Jim D. for the article. Go read Manhattan Guardian.

Blip #2

The @#$%ing Suns just traded away Joe Johnson. I listened to the news all the way into work today, and this was the only story that made me audibly shout out "NO!" and start pounding on my steering wheel.

I think I need to recheck my priorities.

On the other hand, that's 2 of my favorite players gone. (No, the other one was Quentin Richardson, not High-Fiving White Guy).
Suggestions for Further Reading

Quick Picks of the Week

Flash 224

Did you read the Geoff Johns rant from a few days ago? No? Well, go read it. Johns is wrapping up his run (ha ha... It's the Flash... a run. Oh, screw you guys) after five years. He's going out with a heck of a bang, going back to events of two years ago and beyond to create what appears to be the pinnacle of the sort of crazy-assed, mind-bending, fan-boy rewarding superheroics Flash has been excelling at monthly for five years.

Thanks, Geoff.

Wonder Woman #219 and OMAC Project #4

Holy smokes. I'm just really digging the heck out of the OMAC Project. I do think DC completely screwed up by not just integrating the Superman/ Wonder Woman "Sacrifice" storyline right into OMAC, but it doesn't really effect me as I read Superman and Wonder Woman, anyway (and so should you)... If Rucka's idea was to get you to read more comics, I think he succeeded. Thus far, of the four Countdown to Infinite Crisis series, OMAC seems poised to have the most far-reaching effects in the DCU.

Wonder Woman #219 ends the 4 part Superman/ Wonder Woman "Sacrifice" storyline, with multiple artists on board. Apparently there was some scheduling issue as this issue had to be shipped in order, and thus DC had to bring in a lot of help. Still, the issue works. Wonder Woman shows she is a warrior in a way Bruce and Clark simply are not, and one gets the feeling things are going to be changing rapidly in the next month or so.

OMAC Project #4 (of 6) follows the events of WOnder Woman #219 by about two minutes. If Sacrifice brought the story to a boil, now it's spilled over onto the burner. Cool stuff here. Nice art. Nice cliff hanger leaving you waiting for the next issue.

JLA: Classified #10

This series is a sort of "out of continuity" series featuring the JLA, written and drawn by a new creative team with each arc. This issue features writer Warren Ellis and artists Butch Guice. I'm sort of a fan of Warren Ellis. I like most of his work when I don't feel like he's trying to tell me in his story how he's writing down to me so my feeble earth-man brain can get the ideas. (Give me Morrison anyday, giving me enough credit to believe I'm following him where he's going) Here Ellis is doing nice work, and it doesn't hurt that this Guice guy is on the art chores. I like Guice's stuff here, and I'm not sure I've ever seen it before. He's got a nice, realistic style without resorting to drawing over photocopies.

Not sure where the story is going, but it should be good. He's writing Superman as something other than a muscle-bound idiot (DC's editorial seems to have finally found writers willing to do this, or else is gently persuading writers away from this 90's staple). Ellis's Lois is actually really interesting.

Anyway, the series just started, so it's worth seeking out.

For previous SFFR, click here.

Sunday, July 31, 2005


The League goes to see these movies because we know you won't...

After having watched commercials for a few weeks and noting Lynda "Wonder Woman" Cater was in the film, The League did some crafty maneuvering and tricked Jamie into going to see Disney's new teen super feature "Sky High".

Sky High is pretty much, beat for beat, what one would expect if you've seen the trailers. The movie is pretty much a lot of elements from lots of coming-of-age movies tied in with a Harry Potter-lite element. The movie is riding the superhero trend, more in the vein of Incredibles than Spider-Man.

The movie follows Will Stronghold, child of two of the greatest superheroes on earth (an earth which is well fortified with super beings, it is suggested) as he leaves the public school system to start his Freshman year at Sky High, a school for the children of super powered folks. The school is there to prepare these kids to follow in their parent's footsteps.

Nothing is really made of Will wanting to buck the family tradition, which is a relief. A character wishing for a humdrum life when he can shoot lasers out of his eyes might make for compelling inner monologue in a comic, but it's a tough sell to kids 3-12. Nor does it make for the best use of the filmic medium. Instead, he's much more concerned about not being able to live up to the legacy his father (and, apparently, grandpa) have established before him.

Will's parents are the Commander (Super Strength) and Jetstream (karate-wielding flier), but Will has not yet shown any powers himself. Of course, there's a lovely girl who likes him whom he hasn't noticed except as friend (which seems like an odd-bit of science fiction as she's quite pretty), and the pretty, popular girl whose attention he soon wants to get. Due to the fact that Will's powers don't seem to be materializing, Will is tossed in with "Hero Support" aka "Sidekicks", the folks with superpowers so negligible that they're destined for a life of assisting folks with better powers (can you see the direction this is going?).

The movie is directed towards two audiences. 1: Kids who will watch anything with people shooting fire out of their eyes (ie Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers) and, 2: The Parents of the Kids who will actually get the jokes in the movie.

Watching the movie in a near full house as we did, I sincerely got the feeling the parents (especially the dads) were enjoying the movie more than their kids. And maybe that wasn't a mistake. The main characters may all be high-school aged kids, but the teachers include two members of Kids in the Hall, Lynda Carter, Kurt Russell, Bruce Campbell and Cloris Leechman. And, perhaps befitting, the adults in the film seem to have taken the roles because most of them are really pretty funny.

Kurt Russell's "Commander" is given to ham-handed hero speak, in a sort of too-thought out attempt at speechifying (a Kurt Russell we've all sort of missed in recent years). Dave Foley plays an instructor for the Sidekicks, teaching sidekick skills and still milking his glory days as the long forgotten "All-American Boy". Kevin McDonald plays the "Mad Science" instructor with the two foot cranium. Bruce Campbell is the coach, and Cloris Leechman plays the school doctor (with X-Ray vision). And Lynda Carter is... Lynda Carter. Does she really need to be anything else?

Will kids think word problems involving flying superheroes are funny? Well, the adults seemed to like it. Will they understand why 12-story robots are inherently funny? No. Their still in a phase where 12-story robots are a dangerous threat. And, you know what? That's okay.
(ed note: I loved the gaint robot sequence. There just aren't enough giant robots in movies)

The prerequisite points about friendship, self-worth and avoiding popular girls are made in a manner slightly less embarrassing than in the typical Teen-Wolf film. Will kids get a lot of the snide commentary on high-school culture the film's producers slip in? Probably not. Well, maybe.

In one last hint that the movie is also catering to parents, the soundtrack is largely composed of 80's tunes, including an unlikely cover of the Talking Heads' "And She Was". Of course I say that, and I think the kids these days are nuts for the 80's so they might really dig a new version fo "Voices Carry".

Ed side note: Yesterday a troop of girls I saw walking across the Target parking lot looked like 1985 had barfed them up like an overripe hairball. Jamie suggested they were headed for a costume party, but that seemed a little high-concept. Plus, here in AZ it's the first week of school, so all the kids are in "fashion week" where they're breaking in their new personality they bought over the summer. (I miss having to break in really dark blue jeans that felt like they were made out of card-board tubes)

As a whole, the movie works just fine. It's nothing I'm going to be modeling my life after, but I might watch it again at some point on cable. It's nothing I'm going to recommend "YOU MUST SEE THIS FILM". But it's also not the piece of junk I was more or less expecting.

Don't expect anything too amazing, and don't be shocked when some of the FX are a bit hokey. But also give the producers some credit for showing a love for the material.

Now, for an added bonus: The League rants about nerds/ jocks in comics

Probably due to the overwhelming popularity of Ultimate Spider-Man, Marvel has been publishing a spate of comics starring teen-agers. The excuse is: Teen-agers are learning about themselves and it's much more fertile territory.

The problem is this: The only story they ever bother to tell is apparently the one which resonates most with comic fans. Nerd gets bullied by "idiot jock", nerd stumbles into amazing powers, nerd gets cheap, violent revenge. Or not. But the common thread is that there's some enormous moose in the hallway at school seemingly torturing our poor, helpless hero who has undiscovered poetry in his/ her soul and is looking for an opportunity to unleash it (and impress the pretty girl/ guy).

Ugh. It's bad enough that this is the perception of "how things are in high school", but let's be honest... everyone is a jerk to everyone else at that age. You don't need enormous "jocks" picking on "nerds" for 15-17 year olds to start bugging each other. And, secondly, the people buying these comics are how old? And they're still picking this stuff up?

I can take some of it. I do, after all, enjoy most of Ultimate Spider-Man. And the nebbish dweeb reveals amazing abilities was the basis for Action Comics #1. I even don't mid reading teen-books (I pick up Teen Titans). BUT, get a new origin. No more jock-pummeling wish fulfillment. Spider-Man did it first and did it better.

Oh, and Narnia Rant: I really want to see this movie. But I need to read the book first.