Sunday, May 31, 2009

If You're Smart, You'll Pay The Man $6!

Tony Fleecs has been doing sketches for a few bucks for awhile now. I got in when the prices were lower, but I'm definitely considering paying to get some more done at the $6 price.

I had Vixen, Blue Devil & Martian Manhunter done. They were a little damaged in the mail due to it being a rainy day when they were delivered, but just barely. They still looked great.

Tony scanned in the Vixen and Martian Manhunter over on his blog. I'd suggest going over there, being incredibly impressed by many of his other examples and promptly commissioning some work from the man.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Not Like This

So, Dwayne McDuffie got fired from the writing gig on the JLA. Seeing as how I questioned why he was still on the book, you'd think I'm happy with this move.
I'm not.
You see, I don't like seeing anyone get fired. McDuffie's expressing sorrow that he won't be able to wrap up certain plots make me wonder whether he had one of those "maybe it wasn't quite THAT BAD" moments of clarity you sometimes get once you're rid of something.
The job I referred to being miserable at in the previous blog? Got fired from there. Spent the initial few weeks grumbling about it being a wrongful termination. Then, with distance, I realized it was the best thing that could have happened for me.
Here's hoping that moment comes to Dwayne very soon.
But in the meantime, I can see where DC Comics would feel justified in terminating McDuffie...just as I can see where McDuffie could argue that he didn't say anything worthy of termination. Personally, I'd side Dwayne on this. Living in a "right to hire/right to fire" state, though, I know there are certain things you shouldn't do because your employment is completely at the will of the client. NY is not such a state, but freelancing gigs are pretty much the same territory.
One of the most infuriating things about this news would be the comments from fans ignorant of the whole story. There are some fans railing against him for elements of his run that were handed down from editorial and saying it justifies his termination. From using characters that weren't "JLA" enough (which is always a ridiculous argument) to the inclusion of Milestone characters (which, again, is a stupid argument), the decisions weren't up to McDuffie. He didn't write the Big Three out because he'd prefer not to have them. While I'm sure he enjoyed getting a crack at the Milestone characters being rolled into the DC Universe, their placement in JLA wasn't entirely his call.
So, we have McDuffie fired off the book for questionable reasons, rather than leaving on his own or finally being given more room to tell his stories, with a bunch ill-informed, entitled fanboys dogpiling on him (not that everyone giving him a light kick on the way out the door is such a person). Of all the ways this could have shaken out, it wound up the way I'd be the least pleased with. Ugh.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Terminator Salvation: Pretty Pedestrian

I had high hopes for this latest Terminator flick, due to the involvement of Christian Bale. He's normally a fairly good indicator of a quality film, my experience. But I guess he doesn't quite bat 1.000.

This film had such potential, but squandered it. While the effects are great, the script (or what of it saw the screen) was found lacking.

Bale wasn't given an opportunity to really act. Comparing this to the Batman movies, under Nolan he performs as an actor, but under McG he's simply a movie star. I'm sure he gave it his all, as he tries to lose himself in the character to the point of possibly being a personal mental health concern. It seems as though the script basically gave him scenes to yell in and then scenes to tell the audience what they should have been showing them.

Helena Bonham Carter and Bryce Dallas Howard are completely wasted in this movie. Carter is only in one scene that actually requires any acting, where she acquits herself nicely. Howard is just left to be pregnant and concerned. There's really nothing noteworthy about her character in the movie.

Sam Worthington (Marcus Wright) and Moon Bloodgood (Blair Williams) are probably given the most to work with (which still isn't a lot). While their dialogue and scenes are no better written than any others, they are afforded a better opportunity to demonstrate a wider range of emotions. Anton Yelchin does a really good job of evoking Michael Biehn's version of Kyle Reese, helping you believe that this is the man that grows up to save Sarah Connor.

What the movie lacks is the chase element seen in the first three movies. Instead of a Terminator stalking our protagonists. Instead, we get one protagonist plodding across the first half of the movie to get to the other. While some of the Skynet machines do briefly chase from time to time, there isn't one consistent character stalking anyone. Due to this, it felt like the movie lacked any real tension through most of the two hours. You didn't have a sense that a terminator or other Skynet machine could pop up to attack the protagonists at any given moment, despite their being scenes of just that happening.

Maybe appropriately, the movie felt mechanical. It was just a collection of standard parts put together. Nothing too special about the parts or how well they were connected. In fact, some of the parts seemed worse than the standard. Take note, for instance, how obvious they try to make things about Marcus Wright by how he is posed for his execution. I half expected Keenan Ivory Wayans to pop on screen and shout, "MESSAGE!"

Despite all of the negatives I can rattle off about it, I didn't feel regret for having spent my $6 on a ticket. It was entertaining enough that I didn't want my money and my time back at the end of it...but JUST enough. The T-800 used towards the end probably put it over the top.

I wouldn't suggest running out to see this urgently, but I, also, wouldn't try to dissuade anyone who had planned to see it from taking the trip to the theater. If you're interested in the Terminator franchise, you're going to want to see this film. Just temper your expectations.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Woo Hoo!!!! Guy Ritchie's Sherlock Holmes starring Robert Downey, Jr. and Jude Law! This is probably the first time I'll be jonesing for a December movie during the summer.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Will Boom! Studios Make It The "Big Three"?

If you've been paying attention to numbers lately, you'd have noticed that sales estimates indicate that neither Marvel nor DC Comics had an issue that broke 100k.

That's just a few months into the Dark Reign event and with Batman: Battle For The Cowl debuting in this month's estimates. It's hard to imagine anything in the near future (other than maybe Blackest Night) charting higher than the Big Two's current offerings. Sales are a bit down all over, so I'm not trying to point to these sales as any indicator of the job DC and Marvel are doing (feel free to argue that in the comments).

Enter BOOM! Studios.

If you haven't noticed all the sellout notices from BOOM! Studios regarding their Muppet Show and Incredibles books, you might guffaw at this suggestion. OK, plenty of books sellout, so you might still have a chuckle. I'll give you two words that should quiet that laughter:
Newstand distribution.

BOOM!'s kids line will be getting broad distribution. It should already be available in Barnes & Noble, if not in other venues. These are properties with amazing mainstream recognition being put in places where mainstream eyes will see them.

Yes, I know that they aren't the only company with newstand distribution. But can you name a property that has a better chance of selling at the supermarket, bookstore or newstand than the Muppets or Incredibles?

I know it probably sounds like quite a leap from about eighth place to third place, but the Disney/Pixar/Muppets product has only just hit the shelves. While IDW has a potential cash cow this summer in their GI Joe product, they have a higher price point ($3.99 vs. $2.99) and are geared to a consumer that has many other options for entertainment when talking about the mainstream audience. While I'm sure BOOM! is selling more than a few copies to adults, they're putting out a product that parents can feel comfortable handing to their child that might just be learning to read.

This isn't to try to minimize the impact of the regular product that BOOM! is putting out. I'm sure the WARHAMMER product has been doing well for them in trades sold outside of the direct market. They're putting out stuff like UNTHINKABLE, UNKNOWN and IRREDEEMABLE. One can always hope for more HERO SQUARED, as well. Can't forget being impressed by COVER GIRL (which Kevin Church, of, contributed to).

What I'm saying is: the moves that Waid, Richie, Mosher and company are making could reap great rewards for the company and a significant vault up the publisher rankings.

(originally composed via e-mail; apologies for misspelling Ross Richie's last name prior to touch up editing this evening)

Saturday, May 09, 2009

Cover Bulge Round Deux?

Athletic supporter or the real reason why Iris hoped and prayed for Barry's return all these years...YOU DECIDE!

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Is This Hollywood's Green Lantern?

Bradley Cooper is rumored to be a strong candidate to play Green Lantern in the upcoming (Marc Guggenheim scripted) Green Lantern movie.

I think it would be great casting. The guy is charismatic. I can honestly see him able to pull off all the facets of Hal we'd need to see in a movie with mainstream appeal.

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

God Help Me: I'm Looking Forward To A Chevy Chase Project

Why Is Dwayne McDuffie Still Writing JLA?

Don't get me wrong. I like McDuffie and appreciate a great deal of his work. I'd quite possibly really dig the JLA he WANTS to write, rather than what he's been allowed or required to write.

But why is he still on the book?

Sales have been going down. He's publicly indicated he is not enjoying his time on the book.

Yet many of his public statements still indicate that he is constantly staying plotted ahead on the book by as much as 2 years.

Now, I've stayed at a place of employment that made me miserable for 2 years. It happens. But if you asked me at the start of those two years what I planned to be doing there over the next 2 years, you'd have probably witnessed me laughing loudly in your face.

Here you have a talented writer who has been successful on other comic book projects and in other forms of entertainment. You, also, have a company with no shortage of known or unknown writers that they could make miserable until they get to the next relaunch or major creative team announcement (like the rumored Geoff Johns/Jim Lee run coming up in the next year or two).

I ask, again, at the risk of major redundancey: WHY IS DWAYNE MCDUFFIE STILL WRITING JLA?

Monday, May 04, 2009

Something From Grant Morrison's Upcoming Multiverse Project?

This new Starro design by JG Jones was posted over on the DC Universe The Source blog. No information as to what project it is for was shared. Obviously, I put my guess into the title of the blog. What's your guess?