Random Thoughts! (May 4, 2010)

Random Thoughts! Yes, comics thoughts this week. Hopefully. It's random thoughts time! Get excited!

Link Thought! Top 5 WWE Draft Picks (I give two spots of my top five to a tie... just because). Wrestling 4Rs including my write-up of TNA Impact (soon, moving back to the Monday 4Rs post with Impact moving back to Thursdays...). High Road/Low Road on Breaking Up Cryme Tyme (yeah, no one seems to really care). Wrestler of the Week (give it up for the Hart Dynasty!). WWE Heroes #2 review (it brought out the wrestling smark inside...). Quickie Reviews (Apr 28 2010) (I bring you insight into New Avengers and the Hood). Buy My Book! (or the book I have a story in at least) (my mom bought both copies at the Chapters in my home town... she called me to tell me... that's really sweet, don't you think?). The Splash Page Podcast episodes 14.1 and 14.2 (three hours of Tim and I talking... THREE FUCKING HOURS!).

Random Thought! Was just flipping through last week's Comic Shop News, which I get at my shop like some of you I'm sure, and there's a story on Paul Cornell replacing Marc Guggenheim as the writer on Action Comics. I'd like to share a small portion of it with you that stood out as, well, bad journalism: "Many fans may be familiar with Cornell for his work on the Doctor Who series as well as his novels, but DC is confident that they're going to love him for his comics work." Good bet, DC, because people already do love him for his comics work, except the article doesn't mention his Marvel work that people love so much and is directly responsible for a large amount of the interest in his upcoming Action Comics run. Odd.

Random Thought! Speaking of bad journalism, why is it any time larger media pick up stories about gay superheroes or anything else of 'mainstream note,' the facts are wrong a large amount of the time? Characters declared the first prominent gay superheroes (despite there being a round of news stories making the same claim a year or two back -- and those were wrong, too) or something similar when they're not. Just puzzles me.

Random Thought! Interesting writing tool: 750words.com. 750 words every day.

Random Thought! A reason to love Jonathan Hickman's Nick Fury: he stops in the middle of a fight to take a drink from his flask.

Random Thought! I didn't vote for the top ten Punisher stories since most of what I'm familiar with is the Garth Ennis stuff. Apparently, I would have fit right in. The lack of Punisher: The End disturbs me, though.

Random Thought! For some reason, I'd like to see a revamp of Mar-Vell that involves him being based on Moby.

Random Thought! It's weird to think of John Romita, Jr. as the Marvel artist -- weird in a good way. But he totally is.

Random Thought! Not comics, but the fact that CM Punk could cause an old lady to slap him at a live event without provoking her specifically shows that he is probably the best heel in wrestling today. That is so awesome. (My girlfriend agrees, too.)

Random Thought! Sometimes, I think about what sort of music various superheroes would listen to. It's kind of hard to do with a lot because they've been adults in their late 20s/early 30s from 1960-something until now... Like Hawkeye. What would Hawkeye listen to? You could pick some good '70s classic rock, but he was an adult before that! But picking something that his original appearances would dictate wouldn't fit either. Neverending shared universes create the strangest, dumbest problems.

Random Thought! Also, the lack of music/TV/movie talk by teenager/young adult superheroes? Hard to believe. That's all people that age talk about.

Random Thought! But, I also don't care about dating a work. Most great works are dated in some fashion. No one cares. A work being dated only matters in the time period immediately following it when there's still that backlash against what was cool but no longer is.

Random Thought! Mark Millar's Ultimate Punisher is kind of lame. And I'm not sure that Millar gets the point of that Captain America/Punisher costume from Fraction's Punisher War Journal.

Random Thought! Seriously, though, anyone who thought that there was too much Hood in New Avengers since Civil War... he was just part of the cast of the book. If this was a TV show, his name would be, like, third or fourth in the credits.

Random Thought! I'm slightly dreading tomorrow's issue of The Boys. I'm constantly afraid of what will happen with Annie and Hughie now that Butcher knows about them...

Random Thought! With Batman and Robin #12 out, it will be time for my third essay/look back at a year of Grant Morrison writing Batman like I did with his first and second years on Batman. Time to reread some comics! (And I like that the third year ends just before The Return of Bruce Wayne begins... It makes the third year all Dick Grayson, which is different.)

Random Thought! I miss Doktor Sleepless...

Random Thought! I'm looking forward to Iron Man 2. At Easter, the girlfriend's aunt gave us a movie pass for two tickets, two popcorns, and two drinks -- that seems like the right movie to use it on, don't you think?

Random Thought! I spent Free Comic Book Day hating the humidity and heat, watching The Sopranos, and playing a little The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time. N64, baby! The only FCBD comic I was really looking forward to was the Fraction/Romita Iron Man/Thor one. Hopefully, the shop will have copies tomorrow like they did of FCBD books like last year.

Random Thought! Man, I wish I had thirty bucks to spend on that new Dreadstar hardcover. Dreadstar is the big hole in my Jim Starlin cosmic collection.

Random Thought! For the record, my favourite Ed Brubaker comic is Point Blank.


Random Comments! Wherein I reply to your comments. I may edit comments for my own selfish purposes (usually to combine paragraphs or just address the parts of the comments that I feel like addressing).

Seth T Hahne said: Le Samourai is an interesting choice for Top 5 material. I really enjoyed it myself, but it didn't have the guts to creep into a Top 100 I did a few years back. Maybe it deserves revisiting. Or maybe its just a matter of the personal effect a film can have on a person (after, Snow Falling on Cedars always stalks around in my own Top 5 (maybe I just really go in for the idea of a world in which Ethan Hawke only has one hand).

Le Samouraï is just one of those things that speaks to me. Hard to put into words -- much like Snow Falling on Cedars for you, I guess. I like assassin movies and the style of Le Samouraï is just so great. Very subdued and dark. Very unique.

I'll have to check out South of the Border. I picked it up from the library a while back, but was in the midst of an Ishiguro kick and knee-deep in The Unconsoled at the time so I never got around to it. My favourite Murakami is still Wind-Up Bird (I know, so cliche).

The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle is one of the few novels by Murakami that I've only read once. It might actually be the only one that I've only read once (excluding the ones I just haven't read). It may be up after South of the Border, West of the Sun, which I'm currently rereading.

SR said: It's funny that you should mention Ken Finkleman, who also gave us Airplane 2! He is a frequent customer at the neighbourhood bookstore in which I used to work and one memorable occasion he came in and apologized for his odour because he had just been chopping onions, earning him the nickname "Ken Stinkleman."

HA! That's great. Seems like the sort of thing that would happen in The Newsroom.

Rome said: Hey, any thoughts on Thor? (the comic, not the movie, of course..) Do you like Gillen's run so far? Looking forward to Fracttion's?

Gillen's run is decent. Not amazing, but solid. I'm enjoying it. His Loki stuff is strong. He's done a good job of working with what JMS set up. And, yeah, looking forward to Fraction on the title. After his series of one-shots, he was my pick to take over the book whenever JMS left.

Have you played "MUA 2"? Any random thought about that?

Haven't played it, sorry.

Daryll B. said: Death at a Funeral was good, people hated on that movie just because it was a remake didn't know what they are missing. Plus a senile Danny Glover may be as awesome as Bada$$ Danny Glover.....and I agree with you on Grown Ups..... those comics let loose to clown around AND dealing with family issues might be Men of a Certain Age on steroids....

Danny Glover was gold in that movie. I never saw the original, but always heard good things. I'll have to check it out to see how it compares.

I just surprised that Phillip K Dick doesn't have his books reprinted more often like the Asimovs and Heileins (I think that is how it was spelled...sorry for the misspellings)

Vintage has all of Dick's work in print still, so no need for many reprints. I bought all of them (aside from the few books I already had) from Amazon a few years back. With nearly 40 books, it cost me a little over $400. Worth it, though.

The WWE Draft should be renamed "The Annual Weakening of Smackdown for the next 3-5 months"... and where can I get a superpowered ring? LOL Abyss/Flair/Hogan brought the whole TNA show down a peg or one hundred....

Smackdown took a hit in the main event department, but that just means midcard guys will have to step up, which is fine by me. With no ECW, Smackdown is becoming a cross between itself and ECW, acting as the wrestling show where younger talent make their names. Every year, Smackdown is 'weakened' and, yet, it always manages to be the better show. And agreed regarding the magic ring story. Just awful.

CriticalFel said: Funny, because if last years is anything to go by (and it was pretty similar in the "take big names from SD" sense), it ends up causing the show to become much better than RAW by allowing the midcarders to go up without becoming jobbers to the stars. For the same reason I'm sad that Bourne is still in RAW... he is gonna be jobbing for a whole year again.

Agreed. I actually wanted Bourne to go to Smackdown because I think he'd make a great convert to the Straight Edge Society. CM Punk needs to convert a superstar and Bourne is a fan favourite, so who better? Though, I'm now thinking MVP could be really good in that role.

Nitz the Bloody said: If I wanted to get into Murakami, what book would you recommend I start with, to see wether or not his work's to my taste? I've heard good things.

Other people provided some good suggestions. I'd really just recommend checking out The Elephant Vanishes or Blind Willow, Sleeping Woman, the two short story collections (while after the quake is a collection of short stories, it's more a single unit since they were all written at the same time around the same theme/idea) and see which stories you like best. Both collections have a good mix of the various sides of Murakami, so the stories you like best could act as indicators on where to go next.

Dalarsco said: Moon Knight looks like a blatant Batman knock-off at first, but the way the characters work psychologically is vastly different, since Batman is inspired by childhood trauma and has had Robin and Alfred to keep him even as the light in the darkness and father figure respectively. Moon Knight, on the other hand, is motivated by a more personal guilt for things he actually did and is regularly much more on the fringes of sanity. He also has no young charge to brighten him nor a father figure to guide him. Instead he has a tumultuous on-again/off-again girlfriend and an old friend who succeeded in finding redemption for their mercenary days. There is also the MPD angle that ads to the character. After I posted that I realized a nice analogy. It's like saying that you don't want to read Hawkeye because he's Green Arrow or Captain Marvel because he's Superman. The same powers (in this case gadgets and money) can be possessed by very different characters.

I'm just going off recent issues, which are way too Batman-esque for me. Those elements you mention may be part of the character, but I didn't see them in the issues I read.

funkygreenjerusalem said: I found three to be excruciating - the death of his mother threw it into a tailspin it never comes out of, and it basically became laying the groundwork for four and five - giving new back story and fleshing out new characters to bring back the complexity and richness of the first season - and four and five are the closest it ever gets to the level of the first season - but every season suffers from the same problem - the anti-climatic endings.(Which were apparently often brought on by real world issues with the actors, but still, it makes a great show grind as a whole)

Season four ended quite strongly, I thought. Fantastic writing. Season five didn't quite know what it wanted to do. Season six is shaping up alright. It definitely watches better on DVD when you're ploughing through the seasons quickly (much like a lot of TV shows).

That's an odd statement given how derivative a lot of comics are - especially odd given the Ellis odd in the column, a man who has several time written purposefully derivative characters to see what it's like to play with them. And anyone who's ever read a Moon Knight appearance knows there's very little common between the two...He's just often boring in his own right!

I don't mind derivative characters if there's a point being made. I didn't see any point being made in Vengeance of the Moon Knight when I read it. I could be wrong, of course. I just didn't see anything beyond a Batman clone -- especially in an issue guest-starring Deadpool, a very similar character to Moon Knight psychologically and a great place of comparison, but was completely unused as such.

Neal K said: Ahhh, the "buy in hardcover immediately" club. Two of yours are also in mine - Klosterman and Hunter Thompson. Neil Gaiman is in mine as well, along with Nick Hornby. Kurt Vonnegut was, but I don't think we'll be getting anything more from him, sadly. Chuck Palahniuk used to be, but it got to the point that I didn't feel his books were offering me anything new. I still plan to read his newer ones, but I'm no longer in a hurry to do so. I'm sure there are more that I'm not thinking of now (Michael Chabon and Dave Eggers are close, but I've managed to somehow skip a release or two by them).

I used to be a Palahniuk fan, but he lost me sometime after Lullaby. Same with Gaiman after Anansi Boys. Klosterman is just so much fun to read.

I think its interesting that you go back and re-read books. The only author I really do that with is Vonnegut, for some reason. And I am much more likely to re-read a comic or graphic novel than a prose book. I'm not really sure why, except reading an entire prose novel is usually a bigger investment of time, and I always have so many unread books lying about that I feel guilty neglecting them to re-read an old favorite.

I reread a lot of books. I read so much -- and so quickly -- that I find rereads often feel like first reads even if it's just a couple of years later. Not the plots especially, but the style and nuances.

Rob Schamberger said: My only thought on the draft - why oh why can't can't we have Edge and Christian on the same show? Ugh.

I like them teasing it out. Let Christian get built up some more on Smackdown, maybe break into the main event scene. Then they can take one another on as equals -- since, right now, the two are on different levels (within the WWE).

That's it for this week. Thanks for reading. Later.

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