Makes Me Crazy

Mistreatment of my favorite characters makes me crazy.  Unearned reputation makes me crazy.  Spending two and a half years on a comic book hoping against hope that it will turn out to be epic (or at least comprehensible) makes me crazy!  And when the Powers That Be decide to turn a waste of paper into a waste of film, shoot a trailer and promotional reel that looks freakin’ awesome, and then utterly fail to deliver the goods on a product that I really should have known better than to buy in the first place . . . well that really makes me crazy!

To mitigate my craziness, I invited my good friend Karate Drew over for a screening, in the hopes that I was simply cranky from heartburn.  To my horror and dismay, this movie still makes me crazy!  If you have read my review of Superman/Batman: Public Enemies, you might be prepared for some of what is about to occur.  If not, brace yourself, as Drew and I pan the living daylights out of this utter waste of time and you get to hear what crazy sounds like as its happening.  Unfortunately, this podcast is not a riff-track, though I’m considering a combination drinking-game and riff-track for this feature.

I just don’t know if I want to sit through it again.

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Public Enemies

A tale of loyalty and unlikely friendship featuring two of the most famous super-heroes on the planet, Superman/Batman: Public Enemies pairs the Man of Steel with the Dark Knight.  The iconic heroes unite when President Lex Luthor accuses Superman of terrible crimes against humanity and assembles a top-secret team of powerhouse heroes to bring Superman in.  But the “World’s Finest” duo are determined to topple the corrupt president’s reign once and for all!

-from the ad copy on the back cover of the trade paperback edition

Perspective: I picked up issue one of the new series Superman/Batman with hope that the adoption of the Kids WB Superman/Batman logo from the Saturday morning adventure hour heralded the same kind of storyteling, glanced at the clean, manga-esque interior art by Ed McGuinness, and finally noticed Jeph Loeb’s name in the writer’s credit.  I put the book down and walked quickly away.  Loeb’s excellent thriller Batman: the Long Halloween had made enough of an impression in my mind that I also purchased the overly sentimental Superman For All Seasons by the same creative team.  After that disappoinment, Jim Lee’s astounding art coupled with the promise of another detective thriller lured me into the twelve-part Hush – densely packed with guest-stars, nonsensical plot device, and held together by author’s fiat.  It wasn’t until issue seven centered on Superboy and Robin that I reluctantly acquired the back-issues; at that I point I felt morally compelled to at least purchase the book until the story-arc had been completed.  Twenty-five issues later, I want my money back.

Surprisingly, when Green Lantern: First Flight included a teaser for this project, I couldn’t wait to see the translation to animation.  I expected a clean adaptation of Ed McGuinness’ spectacular and dynamic artwork accompanied by a team of editors to turn Loeb’s poorly plotted showcase of his partner’s artistic talent into a massive brawl wherein the World’s Finest take turns whuppin’ up on a parade of guest stars.  Time for popcorn.

Background: The “World’s Finest” team of Superman and Batman have appeared in one form or another as friends and allies in adventure since 1941.  The two characters share an iconic status in the pantheon of DC heroes, and it is this status rather than equality of ability that has them joined at the hip in graphic literature.  The so-called “contrasting characterization” is a relatively recent innovation, as the heroes shared virtually identical story structures even into the 1980’s: villain appears; villain confounds hero; hero uses deus ex machina to restore the status quo.  These characters have not been used consistently in this fashion, nor in any continuing shared publication, since DC reorganized their internal continuity of story in 1984.

Following the success of adapting Darwyn Cooke’s Justice League: the New Frontier from graphic novel to animation, the adaptation of other best-selling publications seemed only natural.  Superman/Batman: Public Enemies presented an opportunity to use multiple DC character properties without attaching the words “Crisis” or “Justice League” to the project.

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The Rise of Cobra

snakePerspective: This ain’t your daddy’s G.I. Joe.  For that matter, this probably ain’t your G.I. Joe.  Come to think of it, I’m not sure whose G.I. Joe this is, exactly.  I am an avid G.I. Joe fan; I followed the comics and played with the toys all through the 80’s, never missed an episode of the cartoon, and jumped feet first into the nostalgic revival in 2001.

I’ve been waiting for this movie a long time.

Background: The Hasbro property enjoyed the bulk of its popularity in the 80’s, beginning as a highly successful and still wildly collectible toy line.  The Marvel comic book series soon followed, mostly under the pen of Larry Hama; a half-hour tv series little more than an extended toy advertisement eventually produced an animated film that only fueled the Joe-mania sweeping the country at that time.  After that particular version of the franchise petered out in the early 90’s, Hasbro attempted to revive the property several times with varying degrees of success.

In 2001, Hasbro anticipated a wave of nostalgia and licensed Devil’s Due to produce a new line of comics that would build from the existing Marvel continuity.  Issue #1 hit the stands the week before 9/11.

Although military fiction did not experience quite the revival it might have otherwise expected, the Hasbro property has been in more or less continuous circulation since then.  Devil’s Due lost the license in 2008 and IDW picked it up.  IDW then launched a complete reboot of the property, ignoring the Marvel/Devil’s Due continuity and beginning from the ground up.

The Rise of Cobra isn’t their movie either.

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Lion’s Gate Marvels

Marvel Comics has really dominated the animated movie landscape for the past three years or so.  I take the time to look at the recent offerings from Lion’s Gate and break down the subtext of my favorite films.  They’re all good stuff, and I recommend any of them.  This week introduces a few new things, including the Fanboyarama section of the Amazon store, and the podsafe album of the week.  This week, we’re doing Marvel Heroes in animation, and the music selection is “Manifestations” by Synaecide.  Check it out in the tabber box!

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Fear the Con 2

I spent the weekend at Fear the Con 2 in St Louis, MO.  The guys over at Fear the Boot put this on, and it looks like its going to be a regular event.  I debuted the Atomic Earth board game this weekend officially, and got some cool conversations with other podcasters.  Also, the Watchmen premiered this weekend, and you’re getting my impressions of that event as well.

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New Year New Media

Big announcements at Critical Press.  A new direction for the new year and a host of new media offerings coming at you lightning quick, including: podcast CD archives, OTR series sets, CPCinema monthly, and maybe even a real live book or two!

Join me and my homies as we talk about the Underworld franchise with an eye toward the January release of Underworld: Rise of the Lycans.  Plus a host of old-fashioned RPGeekiness.

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