Thursday, September 15, 2005

I'm opening the lines for ideas.

Is anyone still reading this stupid thing?
Picking over the body: Bones

The Fall TV Season is upon us. Sort of.

Yesterday I watched the premier of Fox's new show "Bones", Fox's entry into the world of crime-scene investigation television drama.

Nanostalgia touches upon the plot of the show here, which we at The League found a bit gutsy for a pilot episode of an untested show. Notice we are not applauding the gutsiness of the plot choice, but we are taking note of the boldness of their call with so little else going for the program.

I don't watch the fictional crime scene investigation programs like CSI. There's something odd to me about police procedurals based around people standing around at 2:30 AM looking fresh as a daisy and making darkly wicked comments to one another over a dead hooker. I do confess to watching the occasional autopsy show on HBO, A&E or other cable channels as they use the magic of cable TV to solve and/ or reconstruct a crime. These scientists defy all expectations as being surprisingly unsexy, middle-aged dudes with thinnging hair and glasses. Usually they're not tortured souls looking for redemption.

The oddest bit about all of this, to The League, is how many people I meet who are so into the CSI sort of programming that becoming a forensics expert is their idea of the new James Bond.

My message: Dead people are disturbing to look at. If you're in a state that they need to call in a scientist before 8:00am to figure out what happened to make you that dead... buddy, you are not someone The League wants to be taking a peek at. Odds are, Barney Fife is not calling in a forensics expert to figure out the case of Mrs. Hunkel's missing wheel barrow. There's going to be somebody's mother, or brother, or child lying there on the ground with their blood all dried and sticky and some gaping holes in them where the life drained out.

Not every body is a stripper whose murder is going to implicate some big-wheel drug dealer and somehow help you clear some dirty little part of your tortured conscience. A lot of these are family arguments, or flashes of anger between people who've known each other for years that suddenly got out of control. But that's not compelling TV, I guess.

Fox's entry into the CSI-style programming has obviously been tweaked and notated to death by the network suits to fit their idea of what makes a good show. Any hint of originality was lost long ago, leaving only some goofy and unwelcome sci-fi elements behind. Our two heroes, Buffy's vampire boyfriend and Zooey Deschanel's fetching sister, each has a checkered and completely cliche-riddled past seemigly lifted from a 1950's era cop movie.

There's some awkward discussion of sex, seemingly jammed in to titillate, a team of scientist stereotypes pulled from 90's era big budget films like "Contact", and an X-Files Skinner clone, doomed to be demanding badges and then admitting our heroes were right and that he never should have given the case to that weasel, Johnson.

Knowing they're to spend a huge amount of time in Zooey Deschanel's fetching sister's lab, the lab is, apparently part of a shopping mall, hangar, or some other unexplained open air environment completely inappropriate for keeping corpses contaminant free. The team of crack scientists (none of which appear to be over the age of 28) have also created an amazing hologram projector (our sci-fi element) which can create a hologram based upon the bones our friend, Bones, has pieced together with Elmer's glue. What everyone else can do by looking at an image on a screen from a projector, these good folks have created in 3D, which, according to the show, everyone can see the face while they're standing behind the head of the hologram. And alter things like "flesh mass around the cheeks by 10%" at the touch of a button. That is some kick-ass processor on their hologram projector.

Even more amazing, the hologram projector can choreograph the movements EXACTLY as they occured during the murder. It's all sort of something you have to see to believe.

As for the just plain bad: We're repeatedly told Bones can't connect with people, just corpses, yet Bones goes on to spend 10 minutes telling anyone who will listen how she's cold and emotionless and can't connect. Note to writers and producers: Show, don't tell. By the end of the show, I couldn't wait for Ms. Chatterbox to quit connecting. Also, getting along with people doesn't mean telling them something you're not sure you should tell. Getting along with people at my work place means nodding and pretending like you care about what their kid said last night at the dinner table.

Look, this is Fox's idea of what CSI should be. Bones stars young, good looking people. There's some badly forced sexual tension between our two leads, and mostly nowhere to go with the show except to force it into the police procedural they promised in the ads. And while I've never watched CSI, from what I hear, this is pretty much William Petersen's character from CSI, only with big goo-goo eyes and boobies.

Fortunately for Fox, big goo-goo eyes and boobies are probably enough of a selling point for The League. We watchedThe X-Files on a similar principle for 7 years.

Wednesday, September 14, 2005


pages from issue #1 of Infinite Crisis

From left to right:

Dr. Light, Dr. Polaris, Deathstroke, Black Adam, Psycho Pirate (yeah... Psycho Pirate!), Sinestro, Cheetah, Bizarro, Zoom

And all of these guys are being coordinated by: Luthor

Viva la Crisis!

Here's my mom with my grandparents hanging out in the summer.

Here's my Ma with Steanso and The League hanging out in the summer.
Pre-Halloween Halloween Contest

I THINK I know what The League is doing for this year's Halloween Contest, but you guys should have a say.

Any ideas for a Halloween contest?

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

For the last week Super Blog "Dave's Long Box" has been running the sort of series The League only dreams of running. The League is afeared to run this sort of series as he strongly suspects it would send the wrong message and rive away what tiny readership we already have.

For the past week, Dave has been running a series entitled "Boob War", exploring the innate silliness of the giddy objectification of women in spandex in comics. It's not quite as weird as you think.

Today Dave ran the final (and, dare I say, ultimate...?) "Boob War" post.

To read up on DC's own Power Girl, click here.

And, yes, it is sort of PG-13. Sensitive readers will not wish to click over.

Monday, September 12, 2005


So, superfreak director David Cronenberg is out touting his new film A History of Violence. And you just know The League wouldn't mention it unless... Yes, A History of Violence was originally a comic book.

Occasionally I get behind in my comic reading, usually of my monthly periodicals, as I will pick up a few trade paperbacks or graphic novels and let them sit for too long, and then I get an itch to just read something from beginning to end, and that's when the trades and graphic novels get shifted into my reading list. I'm now about a week and a half behind in my usual comic reading, but I needed a break from Countdown to Infinite Crisis. Too many OMACs, Leaguers.

Paradox Press was one of those experiments which made complete sense in the crisp, golden light of the 1990's. DC Comics was having success with their newly minted Vertigo line of books (Sandman, Shade, Hellblazer) and saw an audience of comic readers aging and seeking more substantial material. A few imprints spun out, almost all of which are now forgotten, but Paradox Press was intended to be DC's entry into a new format of book-style publishing for comics. What I recall was a two-pronged approach by Paradox. "The Big Book Of..." line, which was usually a collection of non-fiction stories or vinettes around a theme. For example: The Big Book of Freaks (about circus folk, etc...), or The Big Book of Conspiracies (which detailed as many conspriacies as possible). All of this was in comic format.

The second approach, and the one I didn't read at the time, was a novel or digest sized format of comic. These were self-contained original stories, printed in black and white. I'm not sure, but I think most of them were crime dramas of some sort.

Formatting was slightly contrained as panel size could only be reduced so far and retain integrity from a normal sized comic. Thusly, most pages contain four panels at most, and dialogue is generally fairly tight in order to fit into the panels.

In the end, the comic fans returned to superheroics and the Paradox experiment mostly fizzled, being absorbed into DC's Vertigo line-up for reprints, etc...

But from that briefly lived line, two feature films have been produced. 2002's Road to Perdition and 2005's A History of Violence.

I finally read the graphic novel of A History of Violence this weekend. It's a quick read, but fairly well-plotted, if a tad predictable. I had the same feeling at the end of A History of Violence that I had at the end of Road to Perdition. It's a decent comic, but not perfect. It feels a bit like a draft that could have used some polishing and workshopping, and it certainly doesn't seem to have the meat to sustain a two-hour movie.

That said, it seems a lot of details have been changed in the movie version, including location (from Michigan to Ohio? What's that about?), and the central protagonist's name (just weird to do that in my book). But it also seems Cronenberg is taking the title to heart, a lot more so than the original author. Cronenberg and Co. are pitching the movie as a "meditation on violence".

While the comic does touch on the meaning of violence in the central character's life, it doesn't really "meditate" on the topic. Nor does the comic ever really pay-off after the thrilling opening scenes, which lead you to believe something far darker is moving beneath those still waters. But this is going to be a Cronenberg movie, so let's wait and see what the man has planned.

I'll definitely reread the comic after watching the movie to see if I missed anything, but I'm not counting on it. The film of Road to Perdition was, hands down, a better telling of the same story, even if it was an imperfect movie. Max Alan Collins is a gifted comic writer, but the film didn't seem as hindered by page count or as limited in scope on the big screen, and some of the key character moments simply worked better as film.

Nonetheless, it is always interesting to see a "comic book" movie being released that is gaining such early praise. With so many critics deriding the comic medium in reviews of Super-Hero movies, it's nice to see these other comics slip through under the radar and wind up garnering praise you suspect would be withheld if the critics knew the basis of the movie.
Let me assure you...

Any thoughts that you had about rocking harder than The League? A mere illusion.

From left to right: Kare-Bare, Steanso, The League, Pooh
Bottom left: Puffy the Wonder Dog. She hated The League.

I'm not going to dwell too much on the fact that it is September 11th, but I do want to mark the 4th anniversary of the day. I've posted on or around September 11th in previous years, and I don't have anything to add regarding my recollections of the day.

I'll let the pundits and the talking heads debate the lessons learned and the rightness of the steps taken since.

I am amazed that already movies are in the works, that TV shows or mini-series on the events of 9-11-01 are now being planned. The day is still raw in the memory, and it seems odd to be trying to re-dramatize something which has not yet faded from memory. Nobody over the age of 16 should have to be told what was going on that day.

We'll have to wait and see.
Hola Amigos. It's been a while since I rapped atchya.

Well, first and foremost, congratulations to the University of Texas Longhorn Football team. In theiur first meeting with the midwestern powerhouse Ohio State, the Longhorns emerged triumphant. Sure, a lot of the sportscasters said UT would win, but those same sportscasters haven't watched UT go down in flames in important games year after year when faced with a major challenge.

So, anyway, it was a good day yesterday. LSU defeated the evil ASU Sun Devils. And Oklahoma finally remembered they were a good team. Sure, it took them three halves of football to remember they're a good team. Let's hope they forget in time for the Texas game.

Secondly, here's the other time sink from this weekend: The League got an iPod.

Yes, we've finally joined the 00's, and got a device not tied directly to 1970's era technology. So I spent all day yesterday and today watching football and other bad programming and uploading my CDs to iTunes. Unfortunately, tonight around 9:00, I filled the hard drive on my computer. Seriously. Jamie and I share a laptop, and between the two of us (and her separate iPod), it looks like we filled our PC's 18G hard drive well before I was anywhere close to filling this PC.

So, that's a headache for another day, I guess. I do have 1300 songs or so on the iPod now. I just need to do some thinking about what I'm going to do as I can't really afford a new computer at the moment. I'm considering moving the whole operation to the shiny new PC I got from work, but I don't know how to do that yet. If anyone wants to talk me through moving my files from my iPod to a new PC, feel free to boss me around.

or, alternately: Anyone want to buy The League a new PC? We're taking donations.

In other news, I'm still waiting for Jim D and Reedo to send along the interviews I sent them a week ago. C'mon, guys. It's five questions and it'll keep me from having to dream up new content for The League for a few days if you send along the responses.

Oh, and Steven Harms suggested I set up an RSS feed of this site. Is this a good idea. It looked like work to do it when I looked at the "instructions" for one of teh services handling RSS feeds from blogger.

I'm also not yet sure I see the appeal of an RSS feed. I've made it 30 years without using one myself.

Wow. I am tired.

The end.