Random Thoughts!... with Bill Reed!? (June 7, 2011)

Random Hijack! Yes, I am stealing Chad Nevett's bit for a week whilst he takes a hiatus from this column. Yes, this is all Travis Pelkie's fault. It's Random Thoughts time! Get excited! (Or don't. It's really up to you. This is a free country.)

Link Thought! CSBG for comics. Idle of Millions for... well, not much else.

Random Thought! Speaking of my own blog that I rarely update, I did just post the 52 first issues I would publish were I DC. The ones I'd most want to write myself are, as you may be able to guess, Jimmy Olsen, Aquaman, Blackhawk, and Swing with Scooter. (Call me, DC.)

Random Thought! Since I'm linking to things I wrote on my other blog, why don't you check out this excerpt from a steamy romance novel I'm (not actually) writing?

Random Thought! So Graeme McMillion$ asked which director should reboot Batman next. My answer was thus:

Wes Anderson: A wry, modern reclamation of the 1966 TV series, Anderson's Batman (Sam Rockwell) is a guy in the throes of a midlife crisis, who has built himself a family from the ground up, with Robin (Jason Schwartzman), Batgirl (Ellen Page), and his trusty butler, Alfred (Michael Gambon)-- plus Aunt Harriet (also Michael Gambon), who is starting to think Bruce and Dick's relationship might not be so platonic. Meanwhile, he continues his harried caped crusade against his enemies, including a Joker who's forgotten how to laugh (Bill Murray), a Catwoman who's becoming more cougar than sex kitten (Gwyneth Paltrow), a Penguin who's just been diagnosed with lung cancer (Bud Cort), and a Riddler who has seemingly mellowed out thanks to prescription medication (Willem Dafoe).

Also, every villain's henchmen are played by the same three guys-- Luke, Owen, and Andrew Wilson.

Random Question! Should I join Twitter? And send scandalous pictures of myself to you, my dear readers?

Random Thought! Whenever I'm logged into WordPress/this blog, the spam filter eats my comments. What the what?

Random Thought! When I sketched this post out this morning, I intended to say "Of DC's 34 or so announced series, I plan to buy... none of them." But then DC had to go and announce today's titles, a few of which sound very tempting. I'll probably give Frankenstein! a go, at the very least, and maybe even Demon Knights and Swamp Thing (I'm sure that made Mike Sterling happy).

Random Thought! If I was gonna pick a random late-90s DC comic to bring back, however, I would have chosen Young Heroes in Love.

Random Thought! If DC announces PREZ and/or THE GREEN TEAM tomorrow, they get all my money.

Random Thought! Once Ruse wraps up, I won't be buying any Marvel comics at all, unless I decide to pick up Mystic (the art looks lovely). I do plan to get Journey Into Mystery and Ellis' Secret Avengers in collected format, however, and quite possibly Fraction's Thor, despite the word of mouth from the blogosphere.

Random Thought! I bought the latest Lady Gaga album on mp3 from Amazon when they had the whole shebang on sale for 99 cents. I will never, ever listen to it, but I couldn't resist such a good deal.

Random Thought! Chad would write about wrestling in this space, but I will write about Doctor Who instead (no spoilers, BBC America viewers). Steven Moffat has been writing his episodes like Grant Morrison writes his comics-- he barrels along and cuts out the slow bits to fit in more stuff. He expects the viewer to keep up. He rewards rewatching.

Random Thought! I'd love to see Grant Morrison or Warren Ellis pen a Doctor Who episode. If not, I'll settle for a return engagement from Neil Gaiman. His episode was quite good.

Random Thought! If they remade Doctor Who in the United States, I can think of but one American capable of playing the title role: Alan Tudyk.

Random Thought! If you're a Doctor Who fan you should be reading Frank Collins' Cathode Ray Tube and Phil Sandifer's TARDIS Eruditorum. Those guys are good.

Random Thought! So I watched the newish Green Hornet movie. I dug all the stuff with Jay Chou (Kato), but Seth Rogen brought the whole thing down. Yes, it's a fairly bold move to make the hero a screw-up and a jerk and to keep him that way for the full run time, having the "sidekick" be the competent one, but the execution doesn't work to make Rogen's character even slightly palatable; it's Superbad with fight scenes. The climax of the movie brings it into full-on Observe & Report territory. I much prefer the TV series with Van Williams.

Random Thought! Also, I finally saw the Thor movie, in glorious 2D. It certainly is a movie about Thor. Hemsworth and Hiddleston do great work with what they're given, but Thor's character arc/transformation isn't fully earned. Loki lies to him, he drinks some beer, he cooks breakfast, and suddenly, he learns his lesson. Meanwhile, the romance with Jane Foster seems based more on lust than character. I get that Thor has more characters and more pieces of story to set up, but while Tony Stark and Peter Parker learn responsibility by the end of Act One and work to fulfill that responsibility over the course of the next two acts, Thor's turnaround comes at the tail end of Act Two, and his "fulfillment" is immediate. Still, I liked the movie just fine-- not as much as Iron Man, but more than Iron Man 2. But I'm a big Thor fan-- I guess I'm simultaneously harsher, and more lenient. Any movie with a Walt Simonson cameo has to be good, though. Right?

Not-So-Random Thought! My favorite character in the Thor movie was Idris Elba's Heimdall, who always gets the shaft in the comics. Here, he's a consummate badass. Take that, racists.

Deliberate Follow-Up Thought! Thor nitpicks? Not enough winged helmet, and the Destroyer gets chumped (Chad would probably say "jobbed," because he is a wrestling fan, and then he would say "eh," because he is Canadian.)

Random Thought! I probably won't get around to writing actual reviews this month, so I just want to say: Xombi #3 is the best issue yet, with thrilling, beautiful, creepy scenes. What happens when the unstoppable force meets the immovable object? We find out. Please buy this comic. (I could do without the Super 8 insert).

Random Thought! I'd like to see John Rozum and Frazer Irving tackle Batman, Doom Patrol, or even Swing with Scooter-- I think they'd be terrific. (Frankenstein! is already taken, alas.)

Random Thought! I think Brian Clevinger has started writing Atomic Robo just for me. To wit, here's a panel from the Free Comic Book Day special:

Random Thought! On Batman Inc. #6: Chris Burnham's art is extraordinary, seemingly combining influences from Frank Quitely and Cameron Stewart, two of Morrison's best collaborators. I'm very pleased he's the artist for BATMAN INC: LEVIATHAN or whatever they're calling it.

Random Thought! On Detective Comics #877: I am enjoying Scott Snyder's run on this book, but the pacing is too slow. It reminds me of the early-90s Bat-stuff I adore, but the Grant/Breyfogle team could fit three Snyder/Jock issues into one. Take this splash page with the Batboat, por ejemplo:

In a film, this shot would look awesome, for it is neatly composed, but it would only take up three to five seconds of real estate. In a comic, it takes up one-twentieth of the available pages-- five whole percent-- and it's one of three splash pages in the book. Note how about half of the page imparts no visual or textual information whatsoever. That's wasting space. (This is the kind of thing Colin Smith writes novellas about!)

Random Thought! That said, I wish John Workman would letter this series, because his and Jock's mutual love for negative space would mesh well.

Random Thought! By removing Dick Grayson and adding Greg Capullo, DC is doing its damndest to dissuade me from buying Scott Snyder's Bat-run.

Random Thought! Not that I'll be buying Nightwing, either. Dick Grayson only interests me when he wears a Batman suit.

Random Thought! Axe Cop: Bad Guy Earth #3 is one of the best single issues I've ever read. Ethan Nicolle's art combines the cluttered-but-clear stylings of George Perez with the nervous cartoon energy of Doug TenNapel. There's a game-changing plot twist every two pages, and it boasts the greatest ending in the history of fiction. This will be only the second comic I buy in multiple formats-- the first being Jack Kirby's New Gods. That's good company; that's how much I love Axe Cop.

Random Thought! Dilemma: I buy the comics I love the most-- Morrison's stuff and Atomic Robo, basically, though Axe Cop and Xombi have joined their ranks-- in single issues, because I want to support sales at their base level and I can't bear to wait for the trade. But these are also the comics I'd most like to have in a sturdier format, like, say, a collected edition that can sit on a shelf. But I'm very cheap, and I hate buying stuff twice-- unless, you know, it's New Gods or Bad Guy Earth, apparently. What do I do?

Random Thought! Dilemma the second: I've been invited to vote in The Hooded Utilitarian's Best Comics Poll, but I am having trouble coming up with the best ten entries I can. #1 and 2 are easy; it's everything else! (I think Daytripper, despite being pretty damn new, makes the cut. It's that good.)

Random Thought! So Kyoto Seika University is launching a Ph.D program in manga. My dream of obtaining a doctorate in comics isn't even a dream anymore. It's just me being lazy. Dammit.

Random Thought! What the hell, here's a link to a massive Dan Harmon interview on the AV Club (part one of four!). Dan Harmon is the creator and showrunner of Community. Community is the best TV show on American television.

Random Thought! Since this is Random Thoughts, I must talk about the Barenaked Ladies, so here goes: Gordon is a much better album than I'd remembered. Maybe You Should Drive is still my favorite. (It's a young man's doomed romance album-- you can plot the maturation of band members by the content or themes of the albums.)

Random Thought! So Dunkin Donuts is selling any size of iced coffee for 99 cents. I bought a large. A large iced coffee is too much iced coffee for a human being of my height and weight-- it took me two hours to drink, and I was wired for hours-- wired enough to write 95% of this post out by hand. Now, at the time of typing/revising/posting, I can barely keep my eyes open.

Random Thought! I really didn't think I'd have enough thoughts to fill a column.

Greg Capullo Joins Todd McFarlane to Illustrate Spawn #300

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