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Random Thoughts! (March 9, 2010)

by  in Comic News Comment
Random Thoughts! (March 9, 2010)

Random Thought! The sun is but one of my mortal enemies. It’s random thoughts time! Get excited!

Link Thought! Quickie Reviews and Michelle’s Covers Thoughts (March 3 2010) (my girlfriend shares her thoughts on covers… because people love it when ‘outsiders’ do stuff like that, right?). High Road/Low Road on Undertaker/Shawn Michaels at WrestleMania (I’m torn on this match, I really am…). Wrestling 4Rs including my write-up of the March 4 TNA Impact (and, of course, now Impact is on Monday nights at the same time as Raw… which fucks up my watching of Raw and works against the writing-heavy first half of my week usually… thanks, TNA). Wrestler of the Week (only three of these left before the year five champ is crowned and it’s a tight race between CM Punk and AJ Styles). The Splash Page Podcast episode 7.1 (various comics and a cliffhanger!). The Splash Page Podcast episode 7.2 (cliffhanger no longer hanging and more comics!). Art Discussion Month 2010 continues daily (I completed the Hellblazer bunch and am now 3/4s of the way through the Apparat Singles Club, which means Global Frequency is almost here).

Random Thought! Saying that a hero is great because he has the best villains doesn’t make me want to read a comic about him, it just makes me wish those villains were paired with an interesting hero he doesn’t need great villains to be worth reading about. A comic with an awesome hero and awesome villains is what I want.

Random Thought! I didn’t take advantage of that sale for a variety of reasons… okay, only one: money. Though, I was tempted with that Marshal Law omnibus… though, I see that Amazon has it listed as coming out later in the month, but Top Shelf says it’s coming out in 2011. So, I’m thinking orders for that one probably won’t get filled at that price with plenty of time to cancel before it comes out.

Random Thought! After talking about it with Tim, I do have an odd desire to go back and (re)read some of those mid-90s Marvel novels and short story collections. Diane Duane did a Spider-Man trilogy (plus an X-Men book), Peter David wrote a Hulk one, I also remember some Daredevil and X-Men ones along with the various ‘Ultimate’ books… those were what the short story collections were called, I believe. Sitting in a closet in my parents’ house is a copy of Ultimate X-Men. One of the odder releases from that period had to be the Silver Surfer collection. Though, I imagine that’s a character that would work well in prose short stories, actually.

Random Thought! Rewatched the first season of Frisky Dingo on DVD this weekend and I have to ask: great superhero story or greatest superhero story? Yeah. Boosh.

Random Thought! Also watched this weekend: Old School, which I’ve seen numerous times and never rises above mediocre. That flick needed something else. Like maybe seeing the frat in action beyond one party or something. The Taking of Pelham 123, which is a decent movie. Cassandra’s Dream, which is better than Match Point as Woody Allen took his examination of what happens when someone kills someone else to a whole other level… fantastic. The Informers, which adapts Bret Easton Ellis’s short story collection and doesn’t work. By intermingling the stories as it does, it tries to add up to something more, but winds up with a whole that’s far less. The meaningless/lack of plot in the stories works taken one at a time, but not mixed together chronologically. Some solid performances, but half of the cast were doing American Psycho Christian Bale impressions. It did put me in the mood to reread the book (and maybe Less than Zero, too, but I think I’ll leave that until closer to June when Imperial Bedrooms comes out). I also caught the first episodes of Hiccups and Dan for Mayor, two new sitcoms featuring people from Corner Gas. Hiccups is actually a Brent Butt show (he created/wrote it) with his wife, Nancy Robertson (Wanda) as the star, and it’s funny in a madcap insane way. Dan for Mayor stars Fred Ewanuick and never gets going, though the end of the episode almost makes me want to see what happens next.

Random Thought! Have reread the first half of Preludes and Nocturnes, the first Sandman trade, and it’s good. Nothing that’s blown me away yet, but it’s enjoyable. I will keep you all posted as I progress in the reread.

Random Thought! Oh yeah, Cop Out wasn’t too bad. I’ve seen better buddy cop movies, but this one worked mostly because Bruce Willis and Tracey Morgan had good chemistry and seemed to be having fun a lot of the time. Definitely a movie that was better than the trailers/ads made it out to seem since the comedy was a little more organic and situation-specific than can be gotten across without context in quick-cuts. Not fantastic, but something that could make for a good rental when it’s out on DVD.

Random Thought! Greek Street is slowly turning itself around and looks like it will become a good book, while The Unwritten continues to sink… tomorrow’s issue will be a make it/break it one with me, I think.

Random Thought! The overexposure of Deadpool seems odd to me because I’ve always thought of Deadpool as I think of key lime pie: fantastic in small doses on rare occasions, but pure fucking shit if you try to have too much of it too often.

Random Thought! I realised yesterday that I have absolutely no affinity for Wolverine as a character. I’ve always suspected that, but it’s been confirmed. I don’t dislike the character, I just don’t care.

Random Thought! It could have been worse: Prometheus could have been written as skilled as he’s supposed to be and he could have just killed all of the heroes.

Random Thought! J. Michael Straczynski on Superman and Wonder Woman… I don’t know what to think. JMS can deliver good writing, but even the comics work of his that I’ve liked hasn’t been the sort I’d rate too highly. It’s good, maybe very good at rare times… His best work (from what I’ve read), Rising Stars was held back by him having far to say than could be contained by the comic, limited by artists and page counts. He seems like he functions best when given a larger platform like the five years of Babylon 5 where there’s 22 44-minute episodes per season and lots of time to flesh out numerous characters, giving 6-10 of them very good stories over the course of the series.

Random Thought! As JMS will admit, he has a habit of asking questions and, sometimes, that leads to good stories, but, sometimes, it’s asking questions that aren’t required or contain answers that don’t add anything. His recent Joker/Atom issue of The Brave and the Bold being a good example. Then again, his retconning of Loki’s origin was fantastic. The Spider-Totem stuff… eh… not exactly my bag. Hit or miss.

Random Thought! I do not understanding the thinking behind the ‘evolution’ of Noh-Varr from Marvel Boy to the recent back-up story in Ms. Marvel #50 where it’s not the same character. At all. It’s almost impressive how it happened, but, fuck, way to turn a cool, different character into something that’s completely mediocre and boring.

Random Thought! I would play the shit out of this suggested Invisibles video game (#5)

Random Thought! And, so, I leave you to watch the Tuesday afternoon replay of Monday Night Raw since I watched Impact last night for the 4Rs…


Random Comments! Wherein I respond to comments chosen by me and possibly edited to suit my needs. If you don’t see your comment here, that’s only because you said stupid, pointless things, and you should really stop doing that.

Bill Reed said: I disagree. I see where you’re coming from, but I don’t think one responsibility necessarily trumps another with Spider-Man. It doesn’t mean Peter wouldn’t be wracked with guilt, fighting crime and risking his untimely demise even though he has an infant at home who needs him, but that’s why he’s Spider-Man. His origin revolves around inaction in the face of crime. He can never stop being Spider-Man. (Is this Spidey mini a new prequel to Spider-Girl? I wonder.)

I can’t begin to describe how much I hated [The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy, Gentleman]. It took over a month to get through, I think, in a Novel class in college; we were all sick of it. I know, I know, they were making up the concept of “novel” as they went along, but man. It drove me insane. Maybe I should try it again.

Yep. An English degree doubles as a bullshit degree. It’s a B.A. in B.S. I’ve done the same, and I know many others who did. It’s a marvelous thing to witness in action. I was dozing off in class one day, the professor called me out and told me to discuss something, I looked down, read a sentence, tossed off some insightful remarks, and went back to dozing off. A winner was me. (I couldn’t help it, dammit, it was 8 in the morning. No one should be awake at 8 in the morning.) Sure, it’s unhealthy to fake your way through everything, but I found a lot of great books in my English studies career. And I also skimmed or skipped a lot of books I couldn’t be arsed with. It happens.

When Peter Parker becomes an actual adult, Spider-Man needs to end because that life is an extension of his childhood. It’s a hero’s journey from childhood to adulthood and part of being an adult would be placing his personal responsibilities at the forefront. That’s why he can’t get married and have kids: it would end the story. That’s his endpoint. “Spider-Man: The End” is just he gets married and has a kid. No more Spider-Man.

I’m enjoying Tristram Shandy, but I can see why it would cause people to hate it. This is my second attempt to read it and I’m sticking it through. The sad thing is that it’s very clever, but the execution is boring in a lot of places.

In uni, I was usually taking three English classes and two poli-sci classes at any given moment, so it just wasn’t possible to read everything — nor did they expect me to. It was just a matter of picking and choosing which things to read, paying attention, and using your brains to not let on when you hadn’t read anything. I found having to discuss works I hadn’t read made me better at discussing things I had read since it made me more creative and imaginative… and able to squeeze a lot of information out of what little I had read.

Joe H said: I love your idea for the X-Men and building a new culture/government/etc, but it has some problems: these cultures, lifestyles, etc. don’t develop overnight in terms of the Marvel timeline and such the X-Men would have to move “faster” in time than the rest of the MU. Or else they’d be expecting us to believe that these elements DID happen over night. Maybe Morrison did something similar, but the genius thing he did was instead of show the culture grow, he just introduced it as if it was already there but the mainstream (and in turn the reader) only just now became aware of the growth, expansion, popularity of the mutant culture. And as mentioned in that article of Greg’s you posted a link to, superheroes barely ever manage running a government for long.

The X-Men as a concept are so limited by their shared universe connections — and the desire to keep the characters relatively static for trademark purposes. Despite changes in settings and teams, not many characters have radically changed or grown, which is ironic about a book about evolution and change. There’s a lot of potential to really branch out and explore very interesting ideas. That was one of the things that pissed me off about Millar’s Ultimate X-Men run: there were so many hints at the characters breaking free from the boring us/them dynamic of Xavier and Magneto, but it never happened. Can’t fight the status quo in superhero comics.

Omar Karindu, with the power of SUPER-hypocrisy! said: Tristram Shandy is excellent stuff; I was surprised at how much of today’s humor it anticipates. Sterne was basically doing 18th century metafiction jokes.

Oh, definitely. It’s amazing how ahead of his time he was. Or how behind everyone else was depending on how you want to look at it.

FunkyGreenJerusalem said: Even weirder… I enjoyed Wildcats V2, more than 3.0. Casey and Phillips take on this group of people, who had banded together to fight a threat that was now gone, trying to find something to do with their lives, and still only hanging out with each other despite not really having anything in common… was fantastic.
Conceptually, 3.0 is a way more interesting book, but V2 was just better in my eyes. Possibly because having read the book on and off in their earlier adventures, I enjoyed seeing a writer take characters who clearly weren’t suited to being forced to grow up and be ‘mature’, grow up and be mature, and part of their character arcs was how much they weren’t enjoying it, or suited to it.

[…] that would just highlight that Black Summer isn’t very good!

Volume two is a lot better than Version 3.0, but the latter gets more notice. Despite some interesting ideas, Version 3.0 is actually pretty conventional in its focus on action stories. The corporate intigue stuff takes a back seat most of the time, whereas volume two was a fantastic examination of these former soldiers as they try to find new lives without a mission, tied together by some concept of family that they can’t escape. It was far more radical than Version 3.0, I think.

Black Summer is good. I love the final issue. It’s more of an argument than a strong narrative, something for someone to pick up on and use in crafting their own story.

Chris Walters said: I’ve always thought Sandman worked better whenever it was a series of standalone issues about the Endless interacting with people throughout history than when it tried to tell an actual ongoing story. Although I generally found the story arcs to be intriguing (though I definitely didn’t like all of them), I thought the self-contained stories like Dream’s relationship with Shakespeare or Death visiting Element Girl or the story of Joshua Abraham Norton were much more interesting and fun to read.

I found the whole thing very hit or miss. Some storyarcs were good, some weren’t. Some stand-alones were good, some weren’t. Not too much of it really blew me away, though. Even the very good stories were few and far between from what I can remember. We’ll see when I reread what I’ve got.

Rome said: About New Avengers; It’s good to have Immonen back on track with Bendis.. they are doing a good job now, and I hope they keep the “street”-level vibe of the first volume.. At least that’s how I see Cage working, because as much as I like the character, he is destined to be that “you-can-count-to-kick-the-bad-guy’s-ass-without-being-in-the-frontline” kind of character..

A street-level urban Avengers group to the global, big supervillain group would be good. And I’m with you on Cage. Bendis has worked hard to make that character a central figure in the Avengers and despite people scoffing, I think he’ll be around for a while. He kind of reminds me of the Thing in that ‘regular guy that will always fight for what matters’ way. I could see the two of them getting along and am looking forward to them interacting in the new book. Two New Yorkers that will fight like hell to defend their friends and family and innocent people.

Layne said: Bernard’s rink was very strong on strategy but poor on actual execution through the whole Round Robin; if they had come up against an aggressive team early on, I doubt they would have gotten very far.

Chad: I’m not sure what sort of stuff you dig, but maybe we can work out some sort of trade!

The execution was awful in the last couple of games. I couldn’t believe it. And, yeah, shoot me an e-mail (via my blog) and we can work something out.

Dan Felty said: I didn’t care for 1602 at all. There was a whole lot of set-up and winks to the audience. It felt like all concept.

I’ll take anybody’s Sandman trades off their hands if they’re not wanted (for real!).

I’ll keep that in mind, Dan. Marvel 1602 was a bit too cutesy, but if you accept that that’s all it was trying to be, it’s a lot easier to take.

Mike Trevors said: Chad, what didn’t you like about Sandman? Was it just not your thing or did you actually feet like it wasn’t “good comics”? Even though it’s been hyped beyond belief, I still look at Sandman and see some of the greatest stories ever told in comics form.

I love this whole “8 smartest people” because it shows how utterly ridiculous logic is in the superhero world (or, more importantly I guess, in superhero fan’s brains). “Smartest” is a completely meaningless word which, at best, denotes some kind of relative/subjective status. So people getting all riled up over the order and whether people should or shouldn’t be present is hilarious. The Intellegencia probably mean the 8 most dangerous (to them) superheroes who predominantly use their brain. Looking at it from this perspective, the choices so far make perfect sense. Especially Tony Stark since Invincible Iron Man has done a pretty good job of showing how key his intelligence is, even going as far as to call it his superpower.

The storytelling was weak early on, but got stronger. I guess, really, there wasn’t much in it that grabbed me. Emotionally, I was left cold; intellectually, there wasn’t anything here that I hadn’t seen elsewhere (and, usually, done better). It was a fine book, but nothing about it compelled me to go beyond the sixth volume.

Agreed on the ‘smartest’ thing. Definitely focuses on a very specific form of intelligence/genius that leaves a lot out.

Neal K said: I think not reading all the assignments is pretty common practice in most Lit classes. I remember one of the classes in my undergrad where we were assigned some insufferable D.H. Lawrence novel. Not a single person in the class read the entire book, but the quality of classroom discussion didn’t really suffer for it. We were able to piece enough together from lectures and skimming the novel to come off as if we had actually read it. Its funny, because I was nervous about the exam, then later found out in subsequent conversations with classmates that I had probably read more of the book than anyone else, and I stopped halfway through.

Yeah, there are a few books I remember standing out for that reason. Wacousta being one for Canadian lit.

Jack Norris said: Here’s a peeve for you, inspired by the just-concluded games: lameass, ignorant douche-bagular “what’s up with Curling? How’s that even a sport?” cracks every time certain Americans are reminded of its existence.

I didn’t see any of those this year. Mostly, I saw comments on Twitter from a lot of people who were really enjoying curling — and never the American team’s matches. It was people watching Canada and the European countries put on fantastic matches.

Thanks for reading. Later.

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