Crisis of Comics: Not So Super Anymore…

Crisis of Comics takes a weekly look at some of the recent publishing woes by the Big Two, offers up theories and concludes with suggestions about what might be missing.

There used to be a time when being Kryptonian meant something. Instead DC totally diluted the unique nature of the Man of Steel and have attached the Super moniker to way too many individuals, and there are probably more Kryptonians in current DC continuity than there are Legion members past, present and future. If there are multiple people Marlon Brando makes farewell speeches too, they lose their significance.

 

DC needs to return to Kryptonian basics, and limit those with access to the Super-moniker or Kryptonian powers. I have narrowed the list down, no need to thank me Dan Didio and Geoff Johns. Does this exclude Kandor? No. but Kandor should be the Vegas of DC.

  • 6a00d8345158e369e2011168fbcbdf970c-450wiSuperman.
  • Supergirl- she has a TV show afterall.
  • Superboy- it doesn’t have to be Superman’s son (HINT HINT), it could be Superboy Prime or Legion Superboy, but just one.
  • Power Girl- I don’t think she has made an appearance in current DC canon, though there has been reference to her. It’s a shame, she had some great solo series moments prior to this whole clusterfuck DC has gotten themselves into.
  • ZOD. Because someone has to make Superman kneel.
  • Ursa. See above (wink).
  • Non. Because there has to be one Kryptonian stronger than Kal-El.
  • Krypto. He had his own TV show.
  • Choose one from: Beppo, Streaky, or Comet. I would go with the latter, because Supergirl does need a love interest.
  • Supermobile. Yup.
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The Pull List: Release Date 5/31

698543_c1e33e92f0a5ee16086c40af29d3ceaaea0129e2Wonder Woman Annual

I want to like love Wonder Woman, I really do. I don’t really much care for the bat or the boy scout, but the Amazon, I want to be all-in. Her current series is not doing much for me, it started out a 7, dropped as low as a 3, the most recent issues are heading back up around a 5, but Wonder Woman is and should be a 10!

I loved the Legend of Wonder Woman series. Loved everything about it. When they announced a second volume, I was thrilled. When word leaked out it isn’t happening, I was sad.

I wish the current series was just replaced with the Legend series.

We all have dreams.

But I am hopeful for this multi-story issue.

702247_secret-empire-3-js-campbell-variant

Why wouldn’t Rogue look sexy and happy? Thanks J. Scott Campbell and Joe Q.

Will I also be reading Secret Empire #3 this week.

SPOILERS

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Yes.

The second issue was so bad, the reveal awful, but like a Dukes Of Hazzard episode, I just have to see how all the heroes are gonna get out of this jam.

 

Superhero Memorials

Cap is a Nazi now. Yuck.

But there was a time when Cap meant something.

Before that there was a time when his death meant something. Then he came back. And died again. And got old. The nauseam in ad nauseam here is nausea. It’s lame.

Comic characters die and come back.

Even my friend Mike who believed the greatest moment in comics was when his favorite character was killed, dying a hero, gave in and cheered when his favorite character returned. Oh, Blue Beetle.

What about the comicbook characters who (so far) have remained dead, let us on this day memorialize them.

  • Elongated Man
  • Cyclops
  • Bill Foster
  • War Machine
  • Gertie Yorks
  • Mettle
  • Sentry
  • Dolphin
  • Triumph
  • Indigo/ Brainiac 8

REST IN PEACE

sentrystealsroguesthunder

Do not take my inclusion of this panel as mocking, I actually enjoyed this moment.

 

Game the Game: GenCon Wish Lists, and Heartbreakers

It is my hope again, in August, to journey to Indianapolis to participate in GenCon, both running games and playing games. The initial catalog of games has been posted, and as I always do, I comb through the offerings, not just for some of the more obvious, but i also tend to look for games that once made an attempt, games with settings and mechanics interesting enough that publishers believed in them, publishers got behind them, and publishers put their eggs in the dice basket of. I have written some games. I will be running some of them. Why? Because, I love them. I love the games I have created. I like to imagine that others feel the same, and I would like to play some of these games. Games I own, games that once had big dreams, games that I hope are still loved, somewhere.

I will not pretend to imagine that they are all hidden gems, incredible games worth rediscovering, but GenCon is large enough, and I have enough time, that I would like to sit down and play something different, I’d like to play a game run by someone who loves it, I want to feel their passion, I want to be exposed to new game mechanics and ideas.

I used to run a small gaming convention, and when people woudl ask “where is GAME X?” I would frequently respond with “if you want to see GAME X at a con, you should run it.”

I am running the games I love. But GenCon is it the major leagues, I want to put out a call for tables of:

  • Fireborn– the Highlanderesque game of past histories, PCs are dragons reborn through time, playing in different eras.
  • Underworld– GMSkarka’s game of subterranean magic and mystery.
  • In Nomine– not really as novel as the rest, but a game I still have some love for.
  • Aberrant– I missed out on the 2 games of this at GenCon last year.
  • Chosen– space gods, gods in space, crazy interesting setting.
  • Weapons of the Gods– a game that had so much love on message boards…
  • Hong Kong Action Theatre– still a favorite of mine.
  • Lejendary Adventures– I have discussed this game, and would like to give it a try.
  • Gemini– a translated European game I actually ran a couple times and own many of the supplements for.
  • Agone– see Gemini above, but I actually played a session of this at GenCon years ago.

And a special shout-out to Hillfolk. This game lit the gaming world on fire, winning several major awards including the Diana Jones Award for Excellence in Gaming. But I have never seen anyone run it. Part of me thinks this is paragon definition of RPGs as art, a game so bleeding edgy and important no one can figure out how to play it.

I always return to an idea for a weekend of gaming, where all the games being run have to be heartbreakers in some way. Games forgotten and maligned, games that need another chance, games unique in viewpoint and content. Maybe I will get off my butt and do this.

Spring Break at GenCon!

PPunk17_Streamlined_RPGNow - Untitled PageThat’s right!

PreppiePunk at GenCon: RPG17109230

But what about They Might Be Giants, they are playing at 8pm on Thursday.

TMBG is the equivalent of most Super Bowl halftime shows of late, artists that were relevant 25 years ago.

What acts would be better suited for skipping the most important game at GenCon.

Funny you should ask.

  • Patton Oswalt stand-up set
  • Brian Posehn stand-up set
  • Chris Hardwick stand-up set (fuck a live-action D&D game with these three and maybe Wil Fucking Wheaton and Blaine Capatch and why not, Vin Diesel)
  • Weezer (noted D&D players)
  • Gerard Way- not only is he from My Chemical Romance, but is overseeing a whole line of DC Comics.
  • Marilyn Manson
  • James Franco- just being James Franco
  • Zak Sabbath
  • Tom Morello
  • Adam Warrock

 

 

IMAGINE IF: The Killing Joke, Release Date 1993

Imagine if Hollywood had released tent-pole comic-book movies starring their iconic characters around the time of the source material’s release date. For the purposes of this experiment, we will say that a movie would be released 5 years after the introduction of the character, and only movies that have been made would be made.

Teased by the Suicide Squad film, when DC announced they would release this Alan Moore tale the following year, many were excited, and Alan Moore was grumpy. Mitchum’s Batman and subsequent Justice League films were successful, but tastes had changed, many years had passed, and what was needed was a reboot of the franchise.

But, producers also did not want to retell the origin story, they were going to jump right into the deep end.

35cd25627b125b453a514e88c8206f7cRobin Williams and Alicia Silverstone had already been cast, but who would don the mantle of The Dark Knight? In the most clever of marketing campaigns, the identity of the actor portraying Bruce Wayne/ Batman was not leaked at all. It was not until opening night that the world discovered…

Let’s not get ahead of ourselves: Plenty of clips of the movies had been released, in addition to Silverstone and Williams:

Alfred-Sir Anthony Hopkins

The newly-knighted Oscar winner took on this most important and underrated of roles in the Bat-canon.

 

MSDSLIN EC023Jim Gordon-Tom Hanks

Proving that there is no role he cannot excel in, Hanks was perfect for the role of the commissioner of Gotham’s police department and father of Batgirl.

 

 

 

 

Johnny_Depp_Cannes_ninetiesAlthough not featured in the original story, producers wanted this film to drop viewers in-media-res into the Bat-universe with the obvious expectation of more films to follow.

Thus, they cast Johnny Depp as Dick Grayson/ Robin I/ Nightwing. Primarily known for 21 Jump Street, he was coming into his own with performances in What’s Eating Gilbert Grape (released the same year) and Edward Scissorhands.

 

 

kinopoisk-ru-river-phoenix-592842Adding even more to richness of the canon, flashback scenes showed the Joker committing a horrible murder, of the second Robin, Jason Todd. Tragically, River Phoenix was cast, and although producers hoped for a Death In The Family film, Phoenix’s death before the release of The Killing Joke quashed that. The film was dedicated to him, and producers acknowledged they wouldn’t recast the role.

 

 

 

In all the trailers, we saw the Batman, we heard his voice, but we never saw the man behind the cowl. The movie did a great job of keeping this a secret until after the credits when it was revealed the iconic role would be portrayed by…

kinopoisk.ruBatman-Nic Cage

Cage took his name from Luke Cage, and loved comic books. Rumors have it that he spent a year going through rigorous training similar to what Bruce Wayne endured to prepare for the role.

 

 

 

Wow or Woe: Release Date 5/24

702060_batgirl-11-variant-coverBatgirl #11

Ignoring the complicated feelings I have of Babs no longer being Oracle, the not-so-complicated feelings I have about Babs being maybe 18-21 years of age (don’t think, publishers at DC, that some of us who did not drink the Kool-Aid, did not notice that as much as you try and shove the theory that “Rebirth has brought back the characters we all loved”, that you made them all young 20-somethings, which is very difficult to reconcile), I have really enjoyed the post-Rebirth batgirl series, the art, the writing, it’s just a fun book. I especially liked the Batgirl-Supergirl teamup. I appreciate this current story arc, I like Batgirl as a plucky, sassy heroine, and it’s one of the books that moves to the top of my pile (meaning to be read first) when it comes out.

Wow! Thanks, DC.

Also purchased this week: Elektra, Jean Grey, X-Men Blue, Kamandi Challenge, Archies, Wonder Woman, Secret Warriors, Totally Awesome Hulk, Infamous Iron Man.

Crisis of Comics: Where My Villains At?

Crisis of Comics takes a weekly look at some of the recent publishing woes by the Big Two, offers up theories and concludes with suggestions about what might be missing.

1052477The Watchmen seem to be responsible for much of the awfulness in the DCU (I would argue this burden falls to editorial, but Dr. Manhattan seems as good a scapegoat as any, and over the piss-poor selling Marvel U, before they can shamelessly copy Rebirth, the heroes are, once again, fighting each other.

Whatever happened to superheroes fighting supervillains? Has the well really run dry of writers being able to craft stories of good and evil, right and wrong, punching-but-not-killing? It sure seems so.

It’s easy to want a hero to kill a villain, like Christopher Reeve-Superman in the 2nd installment of that film series, but for a hero to not kill, for a hero to feel something after killing (see Man of Steel), for a hero to take a high ground and not do it, this is a significant part of the charm of watching women and men in ridiculous spandex costumes battle one another.

One-offs and longer stories, not just punching bags, but SUPER-villains, I would argue both publishers would do well to bring back their focus on the bad guys.

Quentin_Beck_(Earth-616)_from_Spider-Man-Deadpool_Vol_1_2_001Personally, I am enjoying Infamous Iron Man, but even with Doom off the table, here are 10 formidable foes:

  • Lex Luthor- Rebirth started with him as a Superman (teaser for an upcoming Crisis of Comics entry), but can we get back to making him the bad-ass villain he is, you know, the one that makes Superman tremble and gets people to the polls. Make Luthor Villain Again.
  • The Hood- an all-time favorite of mine, an anti-hero on good days, a uniter on better days, bring back the Hood’s Crime Syndicate, a veritable who’s who of forgotten foes!
  • Onomatopoeia- Yes, the character is stuck in Smith-limbo, having been used in the Kevin Smith Bat-series, but he is a terrifying villain!
  • Mister Negative- a newer addition to the roster of Spider-Villains, but worthy of providing a sizeable threat to street-level heroes.
  • Brother Blood- a cult leader, long-time Titans foe deserves a comeback.
  • White Queen- she had her shot as a hero, but was never fully embraced, why not bring her back to her roots, and give the X-Books a villain we can all root against. Because of the fall-out from IvX (another Hero vs Hero conflict), Emma will be taking on the good guys again. And hopefully she can go back to wearing white.
  • Libra- the always-enigmatic Libra seems worthy of a comeback of epic proportions.
  • Frightful Four- some incarnation of this team, with the F4 gone, Marvel needs a foursome to fill that void. Make it a team of villains!
  • Harley Quinn- can we stop pretending it is ok for people to pine for the relationship between harley and the Joker. It is abusive. And, can we stop making her a loveable hero/anti-hero. Return her to the sociopathic roots from whence she sprouted.
  • Taskmaster- some villainous contest to assassinate superheroes brings the wannabe assassins out of the woodwork, but the Taskmaster stands heads and shoulders above the other wannabes.
  • Mysterio- what if he is responsible for all of Secret Empire? YOU READ IT HEAR FIRST!!!!