Monday, August 31, 2009

News Item: The Mouse Makes a Bid on Stan Lee

I don't know about anyone else, but I was a bit surprised to learn that Disney very likely will be buying Marvel this morning. Approved by the board of directors of both Disney and Marvel, the transaction comes down to $50 a share, or about $4 Billion.

Robert Iger, CEO of Disney said "This transaction combines Marvel's strong global brand and world-renowned library of characters including Iron Man, Spider-Man, X-Men, Captain America, Fantastic Four and Thor with Disney's creative skills, unparalleled global portfolio of entertainment properties, and a business structure that maximizes the value of creative properties across multiple platforms and territories"

As part of the deal, Disney will acquire total ownership of Marvel, including "more than 5000 characters." Ike Perlmutter, current CEO of Marvel will oversee Marvel properties under the direction of Disney.

I'm not sure what to think of this. My instinct says it sucks, at the very least from the perspective of market and product homogenization. The deal still has to be approved by the Marvel shareholders, and has to pass some anti-trust barriers, but I think it's safe to assume it's a done deal.

Disney to Acquire Marvel Entertainment []

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Uncomfortable Comics Truths 1

I have no idea if this will actually become a series. Anyway:

Animal Man is basically just Ambush Bug but taking itself much more seriously.

Batman is essentially every bit as impossible as Superman. Yes, that's right: even a billionaire with years to dedicate to training in exotic martial arts and criminology couldn't do all that stuff. Let's be honest: Tony Stark is a far more realistic portrayal of how a billionaire who decided to fight crime would go about it. Drunk off his ass and in a armored suit that kept bullets from hitting him, and with as much ordnance as he can possibly afford. (Thankfully, realism in comic books is completely unimportant.) If you're one of those fans who says things like "Batman is a self-made man" (if you don't count the billions of dollars he inherited, I guess) or "I like Batman because it's possible anyone could be him if they trained hard enough" (no amount of training will allow a normal human being to defeat 20 armed men) then you're kind of missing the point of comic books.

Man-Thing came out before Swamp Thing. Man-Thing's first appearance is cover dated May of 1971, Swamp Thing's in July of that year. That's right: Swamp Thing is in fact a retread of Man-Thing. Don't worry, they're both ripoffs of the Heap anyway.

For a guy who constantly complains about his terrible luck, Spider-Man has nailed some ridiculously attractive women over the years.

Wonder Woman was created to be a bondage fantasy. No matter how you try and dress her up as a symbol of feminine empowerment, she's still a bondage fantasy in a star spangled unitard. Go ahead and read some of her Golden Age appearances, she comes right out and tells people she's going to tie them up and make them submit to her. It's not subtle. Moulton-Marston was a complicated fellow.

Behind the Scenes videos that showcase the creative teams of comics should make sure that they don't showcase people who look like their souls have been replaced by pure evil after a long, painful hollowing out process. (Seriously, rent the new Green Lantern straight to DvD video and watch the Blackest Night preview, you will be convinced that at least two of the people involved are themselves zombies.) Victor Garber is ridiculously well cast as Sinestro, btw. The guys voice just oozes menace.

The Ultimates was never really all that good. At best, it was old Avengers scripts with tits and violence thrown in. At worst, it was written by Jeph Loeb so they ramped the incest up to 11.

Superman's lazy.

No, seriously, he's lazy. Really really lazy.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

PHI 120: Introduction to Humanism and Hellboy

Everyone loves Hellboy. Well, I guess, some people probably don't, but they're communists. And not the good kind, the bad kind, that invade Connecticut and make everyone wear mittens in the summer.

And, I guess, there are probably people who haven't read Hellboy, like say, Yanomamo warriors, appellate judges or philosophy 120 professors. There's no hope for the first two, but the latter is in luck.

Sara Cole, writing for, has produced an article that not only covers the origins and essential details of the Hellboy story, but also delves into deconstructing the titular character's motivations, Mignola's attempts to define what constitutes humanity, and adds a little sprinkling of Giambattista Vico to tie together the conclusion. It's the perfect article for someone who's never heard of Hellboy, but wants to have a coffee house conversation about what it means to, you know, really be human, and a demon.

The Boy Who Would Be The Beast of the Apocalpyse: Mike Mignola’s Hellboy, Mythology, and the Human []

Living in the basement, Geoff? Really?

So, either you read Legion of 3 Worlds or you didn't. I did, because George Perez was drawing a Legion of Super Heroes stories with three Legions of Super Heroes in it. (Is that how we work the plural of Legion? The Romans didn't make that clear for me when dealing with Legions of Super Heroes.) I'm neither a huge fan nor a detractor of Geoff Johns, if only because I keep remembering that there but for the grace of God we could have had Chuck Austen as the hot DC writer instead.

And to be fair, I don't dislike Johns' take on the Legion. Sure, it's yet another retcon, but come on: we've had so many Legion reboots by now that they were running out of cute ways to combine numbers with the word 'reboot'. Johns' approach - every Legion you ever read about is valid because they come from one of many DC fictional universes - is at once Silver Age enough to tickle me (and I'm long on record as having disliked what Crisis on Infinite Earths did to the DC Multiverse) while it does for the Legion what they somehow missed doing back when there were sixty million alternate Supermen, Wonder Women, Green Lanterns and Hawkmen... it gives them the same metafictive weight as their 2oth/21st Century predecessors. I'm okay with Waid's Legion being the Legion of Earth-Prime. I'm okay if not actually excited with the Adult Legion of the Johns' Action Comics run being around and still interacting with Superman. I'm okay with the Connor Kent/Kon-El clone Superboy being back from the dead (although I really don't get the Lex Luthor connection) and Bart Allen, too, why not?

No, my real problem is with Superboy-Prime, the alternate version of Superman from Earth-Prime who first debuted in a DC Comics Presents back as Crisis on Infinite Earths and who went from an earnest young kid with the power of a Superman and no idea how to live up to it (and who was even aware of Superman, since in the DC Universe's fictional metacommentary on itself Earth Prime is supposed to be OUR world, and so OUR comics are what's published there - basically, you and I live on Earth Prime.) to a monstrously egotistical and moronic teen jackass who punches people's heads off while whining that no one likes him.

The reason I hate the kid, though, isn't that he's a strutting, preening jackass who blames everyone but himself for every bad thing that's ever happened to him, though. Shit, if that's all it took to set me off I'd have had a meltdown within five years of my birth. No, what pisses me off is that the kid is effectively a kind of smug, leering in-joke at comics fandom.

I'm the first to admit that I find fans and fandom irritating. I used to post occasionally on Scans_Daily, after all, and I found their attitude of entitlement and sneering contempt for the people actually making the comics they read unbearable and pretentious. Even as I partook in it. Shut up, I know I'm a hypocritical asshole. Anyway, when you get to the end of a comic book it's taken months and months to get out (hey, you hire George Perez and tell him he can draw any member of the Legion who has ever existed, what the hell do you expect to have happen?) and you see the ultimate villain of the story lurking in his parents basement demanding grilled cheese sandwiches while posting menacingly to DC Comics messageboards then the joke, she is dead.

I'm not saying its not apt.

I'm just saying it's not particularly funny or clever. It's too easy. Yes, we get it, Superboy-Prime is what those annoying trolls on message boards would be like if they had Superman's powers. Thanks, Geoff. We needed this in depth exploration of nerdraging. It's compelling storytelling.

It's a shame, too, because I actually like the majority of what Johns is doing with the Legion, and I'm interested to keep reading it. I like that he's embraced competing narratives, different versions of the LSH and found a way for them to all coexist while still writing the stories he wants to write. I liked his idea for the Time Trapper as a sentient, rebellious timeline that constantly changes and reinvents itself in its battle with the Legion, unable to determine which of the many timelines and realities it can see is the one it has to destroy. I even liked the idea of Superboy-Prime's punishment being what he'd always longed for, a return to his home, only to find the people he'd wanted and loved no longer could stand the sight of him.

But the basement scene? Frankly, it's too much like saying "Get it, get it?" after you tell a joke. Yeah, we get it. If you really feel you have to explain the joke this much, man, it's probably not all that funny.

Chip Kidd Shows Part of His Japanese Batman Toys Collection

"During his presentation at the Philbrook Museum of Art in Tulsa, Oklahoma, Chip Kidd shows the various Japanese Batman Toys he came across during his project, Bat Manga."