Saturday, February 28, 2009

DCU Online Preview with Doomsday

DC is working with Sony Online entertainment to create a massive multi-player game, similar to World of Warcraft.

I'm very excited about the game despite the fact that playing means I will need either a new computer or a PS3. It looks like everything I was hoping City of Heroes would be, but because it didn't employ DC (or Marvel) characters or storylines, I just never got all that into CoH in the 6 months or so I played.

The latest out of the DCU Online dispatches is a trailer for a scenario in the game in which Luthor's team tries to liberate Doomsday from STAR Labs. I'm no gamer, so don't go buying the thing on my say-so, but it's neat to look at.

New Krypton

In case you haven't been following the Superman books, here's the nickel catch-up.

Brainiac came to Earth, Superman beat him and disabled his ship. In the proces, he freed Kandor, the lost city of Krypton.

What Superman didn't know was just about anything about Krypton or Kryptonians, and its been a rocky ride since. Kandor took to the other side of the solar system with a new world (using that nifty crystal technology you remember from Superman: The Movie and Superman Returns). They've dubbed the world New Krypton.

DC has put together a snazzy video trailer for the upcoming story arc. Here.

New Leaguer: samax

hey all. I've been chatting a bit in an old comments section with a guy from here in Texas who goes by the handle of "samax". Apparently, we're both fans of Amanda Waller.

I was looking at samax's user profile on blogger, and I encourage you to check out the sites with which he's associated. samax is a writer, an artist, a movie fan/ critic, a gentleman, a scholar, and into comics, and we salute him.

Anyhoo, wanted to extend a welcome and give samax's blog(s) a plug.

Friday, February 27, 2009

The League Re-Watches: The Breakfast Club

Another sign I am getting old:
I watched about 80% of the seminal 1980's teen movie "The Breakfast Club" on cable last night. And I found myself identifying far more with Dick Vernon than those crazy kids.

My first thought when tuning in was whether, in this day and age, anyone would cast a movie about teen-agers in an American high school with such a lily white cast. Or keep issues such as sexual identity completely off the table.

It's almost pointless to critique a movie more than 20 years and when its aimed at a much younger, more cloistered audience who more closely resemble the five characters. I recall liking the movie quite a bit myself, watching it repeatedly into high school, but its been years since I watched more than a snippet on TV. The film isn't aimed at 30+ state employees, but at kids who do believe in the trials and hardships of being upper-middle class and showing up for school (b-o-o, h-o-o).

And I also came to the startling revelation that I have no idea what the title "The Breakfast Club" means. Is it a little used term? Does it have historical connotations? Did it just sound good? I have no clue. Someone throw me a bone.

I will give Hughes credit. When one sees the endless parade of assembly line teen comedies and tween-aimed movies starring teen-agers, which were just as common in the 80's, its a miracle anyone ever bothered to take a look at high schoolers as people. But one also finds the ending of the movie to be more than a little pat.

The jock and basket case find romance? Based on what? The prom queen sneaks into the closet with the thug and possibly has sex with him? And the principal accepts one, single-page paper which would seem stunningly out of context for ol' Dick Vernon?

There's a huge amount of fantasy that creeps in around the edges of The Breakfast Club, and that's okay. The intended audience is more likely to buy it, and it helps to cement the notion of the film that we've all got something in common once you move outside of your tribal identity. And believing it can end in smooching isn't so bad, I guess (unless you're "The Brain", in which case, no smooch for you).

Its easy to be cynical with so much water under the bridge, and looking back at your own high school career with what feels like a permanently etched wince.

I guess what struck me on this viewing was how much the script stacked the deck for John Bender. Nobody ever really challenges Bender, aside from Vernon, who more or less seems to freak him out completely. In most ways, he's a bully who dominates the conversation through shouts, an actual threat of serious physical violence, and often random humiliation. But as he's a bit charming, the audience is meant to root for him. Right up to the point when Molly Ringwald, who he's badgered, berated and made unwanted sexual advances upon for the duration, for some reason slips into the supply closet to make special time with Judd Nelson.

It speaks poorly for "Claire" as written that, apparently, any attention at all seems to be enough, and she seems to be heading into what will surely be an emotionally one-sided and possibly emotionally abusive relationship by film's end.

Brian, who admits to suicidal feelings, is more or less dismissed because he didn't do it this time. But what happens when he can't light the next elephant lamp?

Perhaps 2 hours is too little time to fit in any exploration of the more-or-less real-life issues (although I still have no idea what was supposed to be up with Ally Sheedy. She's never really given any story), but its surprising how well the movie has succeeded despite the fact it doesn't really try to close the loop on the situations thrown out to move the characters beyond their stereotypes.

Perhaps the staying power stems from the fact its a movie that acknowledges its intended audience as having an inner-emotional life that isn't the usual, cheesy fair one sees in after achool specials, or that goes beyond the "will the cheerleaders win the cheer-off?" plots that most teen-oriented films contain, the film has held up for over two decades.

The movie acknowledges sex, overbearing/ suffocating parents, finding out someone gets hit at home... a lot of the messy stuff that pops up in high school but for which the audience doesn't have a serious tool-kit yet for managing. And so, in many ways, its appropriate that we don't know what happens on Monday morning, or even Saturday night with these characters. There's no American Graffitti style conclusion.

I wish today's kids the best with the movie. They'll never believe the soundtrack sold like crazy, or that the Molly Ringwald dance became sort of a thing, but there you go. But I would honestly like to see the movie re-made. Or something along those lines, if for no other reason than so that maybe teen-agers can see some reflection of high school on the screen that doesn't come from "The Hills", "Gossip Girl", or the latest teen-sex romp. It'd be nice to acknowledge at that age that you're a human, and not just so you can be marketed to, pitched a lifestyle, or given some small thrills with your cheap laughs.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Action #1 on the Auction Block

Time to start shopping for my birthday

NTT pointed it out, so I should mention that Action Comics #1 is going on the auction block.

In case you don't know (and I find it hard to believe you've been reading this site for any length of time and somehow missed it, but whatever...) Action Comics #1 is the first appearance of Superman from 1938. Its not the first appearance of a super-hero, in my opinion, but it DID manage to launch 70 years of superheroes as a part of American pop culture, and, I'd argue, culture in general (remember how Spidey is hitting Broadway?)

Here's an article that manages to incorporate a screen-grab of Superman Homepage, which we mention here from time to time. It gets a little into the restored/ unrestored issue in collectible comics.

So, if I had the $400,000, would I buy this comic?

Well, no. I like my Superman comics, but, come on... give me a little credit. If I had a few extra million lying around, probably not even then. It's just a very different thing than, say, my Jimmy Olsens, which I pick up anywhere from $4 - $15 and I doubt are ever going to turn me a huge profit. That's my personal enjoyment from both a story and collector's perspective, not an investment.

And you may not have my Jimmy Olsens anyway.

My co-workers accidentally opened up a whole can of worms yesterday when they asked me a few leading questions about Superman. Anyway, it ended poorly (for them). But, at least they now know better than to ask about that one again.

But, hey, now they know all about the publishing history of Superman, and perhaps that will serve them well in the future.

What is funny is how people have such strong opinions of Superman as a character, even if they really haven't ever touched the character in anything but the most tangential ways. And nobody is ever shy about telling you what's wrong with Superman. I don't know if its years and years of articles, pre-Superman Returns, that seemed intent on instructing why Superman was irrelevant. And with the Watchmen movie hitting the screen and the press trying to explain the relevance of the original Watchmen comic, its easy enough to imagine that Watchmen was a cosmic shift from the hands-on-hips goofiness of the 1950's and that Superman comics hadn't really changed in that whole time, which is both true and not true (Superman was very firmly a kid's book until the mid-80's. I'd still hand a kid a modern Superman comic, but I'd want them to be fourth grade or so.).

Anyhow, as a dime comic it somehow seems fitting as a reminder of the value of inexpensive fantasy can have in troubled times, 70 years on.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

We're ready to believe you!

I think the reason I've failed to get my ghost-hunting career off the ground is that I haven't been treating it like a business. Or, in fact, actually turned it into a business.

I've never owned my own business, so I'm not sure all what I'd have to do.


A) what kind of insurance do I buy for a ghost hunting enterprise?
B) can I incorporate my ghost hunting business?
C) do I list it as an entertainment business so as to avoid suits in the rare occurrence when I'm unable to locate a ghost?
D) how much is a TV ad? I sort of think I'm more likely to get business through a TV blitz driving people to my easy-to-use web site.

What else should I be thinking of? Franchise opportunities? Merchandising? Telvision rights?

I'm thinking of it a bit like the professional palm reader. How do they get set up in a business of which many are skeptical?

And how much should I think of charging so I can make a tidy profit?
Spider-Man: The Musical

I thought I'd talked about this before, but given Jamie and Jason's reaction to my mention of the show at Freebird's this evening (mmmm.... Freebirds...), I may have neglected to talk about the upcoming big-budget Broadway musical.

So... yeah. It sounds like Spidey is coming to the Great White Way. And the music is being written by U2.

I'm going to point you to The Beat, as Heidi's got a nice bit on the musical today.

So, if I wanted more hits, I'd write some column complaining about a Spidey musical
and how it kind of figured that U2 was finally making their way to Broadway... But I'm sort of oddly, cautiously optimistic about this thing. I have no idea what the musical will be about, but I'm imagining a scenery-chewing solo performance by the Green Goblin as he sings his plans for ol' Web-Head. I love that kind of stuff.

What I may be less excited about is someone trying to sing through a mask. But, hey, we'll see.

As per special FX: I don't think they'd be doing this unless they were going to make it pretty cool. And I'm sure they've figured out how to make Mary Poppins fly on Broadway, so Spidey should be possible.

Travelin' Man

I am hitting the road next week. Don't look for me in Austin from Tuesday to Saturday. I am headed for the Texas Tri-fecta of Denton, Dallas and Lubbock. That's a lot of miles on old Babar, and I am going to be pondering audio books to help me kill the time between towns.

Wonder Woman on DVD next week

Turn down your audio before clicking here...

Just a reminder that the Wonder Woman DVD arrives (or as the kids, say, DROPS) next week. Don't worry, I'll do some sort of review once I've watched it. I love the way they drew Diana already, though.

My Friends are Falling Apart

First Nicole had some sort of canoe-related injury that I wasn't clear on, but landed her some nifty pain killers. Randy has had complaints of late. Thanks to his karate, Matt is almost always injured. And now Juan G. has a herniated disc that could keep him from going to France next week.

Jesus, we're getting old. When Lauren begins complaining about the vapors or some such, I'll know we're all really cooked.

I, myself, am fine. Which has just doomed me. My only complaint is that my hands are so baby-soft from my job at a computer that the little bit of work I did left two, stigmata-esque marks/ blister on my palms.

New B Baby

Cousin John and his wife, Julie, have had a kid. Little Ben will be joining John, Julie and Brandy. Very happy for them, but I don't think most of you know them, so this is just a little "huzzah" for me.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Some stuff

I did post. It's just over at Comic Fodder.

Its, honestly, the post I'm least happy with to date. But I just haven't felt the comic-blogging vibe that much of late. So no link to it.

Preview for this week's Batman: brave & the Bold

This is the cartoon for kiddies. I need to do a post on it.

I love the retro-Batman stuff, and this episode seems to be making the most of the Dick Sprang inspired look of the show.



Watched the State of the Union. Did not watch the post-speech spin-doctoring. I'll catch the highlights tomorrow on The Daily Show.

I more or less am in the bag for the guy right now, so the speech worked for me and hit the points I wanted to hear.

The real question is: what will they be saying about Michelle's dress...?

Monday, February 23, 2009


No post. Spent the time I usually give over to the hypergraphia to re-reading Watchmen.

The edition I'm reading is the Absolute Edition, a slip-cased hard-cover printed on oversized, very high quality paper. I own it, and I still treat it like its someone else's artifact. It's heavy, and cumbersome, but the the details in Gibbons' art are just phenomenal.

Its been a few years since I read this thing, and like all good books, movies, etc... I can't believe how much is there that you let slip away between reads. Sure, once you know how it ends, it reads totally differently. Glad I'm taking the time before I inevitably end up seeing the movie.

I've said it before and I'll say it again... It is so of its medium, I cannot see how Snyder will translate this thing to film. Plus, man... how do you translate Rorschach for a mainstream audience looking for a superhero romp? Or The #$%^ing Comedian?

Fun Moore reading tip of the day: I recommend his run on "Supreme".

It's the Silver Age Superman story DC probably never would have let him tell.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

2 things before bed

(1) A Confession:

My dream job? Game show host.

(2) From Mel's Birthday party last year.

Quote of the week:

"Kim Kardashian is soooooo pretty!"
-irony-free anonymous co-ed in library (at TAMU)

Every celebrity is somebody's hero. Which means somebody out there is really into Steve Guttenberg. And that is amazing.

Leaguers, what can I say but that this week was really... a week.

To TAMU and back. Work was jam-packed from Monday through Friday. Friday night we headed out to Guero's to assist Steven in celebrating his freedom from grad scool applications, and we toasted Steven with a few cocktails.

Saturday we headed to Auditorium Shores park with Jason and Cassidy, attempted to go to the new Mighty Fine location down off Brodie Lane, only to learn it had been co-opted as a "suburban family friendly cool" location. Which means that, for what's really a pretty standard burger and fries operation, the place was crammed with our local nuclear families, far past the point of reason.

Good for Mighty Fine's business, bad for me ever trying the place again on a Saturday.

I might mention, and I know this is heresy, but I'm not a fan of In'n'Out. We had them scattered across Arizona, and I was actually very excited to try my first In'n'Out, but wound up severely disappointed. It is, no matter the ingredients, legacy, what-have-you, a fairly standard burger. And I didn't care at all for their fries. But, holy smokes, does that place have a reputation, so beware being the one guy in the crowd who is "meh" on In'n'Out, for it has developed its own brand of acolytes and followers.

Seriously, I thought it tasted a bit like "Short Stop" here in Austin, and which I don't care for, either.

We then headed to San Marcos to visit Jamie's folks and watch the UT/ OU basketball game. Which, huzzah, UT won. But, of course, Jamie's folks are die-hard Sooners fans. So... we were as polite and gracious as possible about UT's upset of the #2 ranked Sooners.

Today we ate breakfast, gathered ousrselves and went to Lowe's. It being so nice out, I wanted to plant a tree in the back and flowers in the front. I am now the owner of a Chinese Elm I have named "Chairman Mao", who I hope survives his first Texas summer. We also have several petunias and whatnot dotting our front flower beds.

Chariman Mao, while deeply respectable, will need counter-parts, so next week I will head back to pick up a couple of Live Oaks, a true Central Texas tree if there ever were one. Our neighborhood is actually named "Grand Oaks" thanks to the large Oaks they left when they developed the area.

Planting a tree is a bit daunting. The tree may live or not. It may be a poor choice for your yard. And if it is healthy, it will grow at an incredibly slow rate, reaching maturation just about the time I begin pondering retirement. I like that idea. Being in this house to watch the trees grow to their full height and then spread wide as shade trees. Forgetting exactly which year I planted Chairman Mao, Zapata and Khan, but knowing it was in the first years I lived in the house, as I'm on my third or forth fence. But we'll look at pictures and say "when we moved in, everyone had just one tree in their yard that the builder put there," and it will look bare. And then we will get in our aero-cars and fly to the moon for space-burgers.

But RHPT has gazed into the crystal ball and found my future. Not for those who dislike naughty words, etc...


Sorry if we did not call you back this weekend, Nicole. We would like to see you this week, though. Or at least before Matt disappears to the Far East.

I hope everyone's weekend was lovely and relaxing. I am happy springtime is here. we're ready for the winter to pass.