Archive for the ‘Comics’ Category
Alright, so we’ve all heard the ridiculous story of Abin Sur crashing on Earth, and eventually dying from the injuries suffered in that crash. And, it looks like they are going to continue this charade in the upcoming Green Lantern movie staring Ryan Reynolds.
The story is bologna.
We here at the Steve Austin Book Club have uncovered the truth, and in our tireless efforts to keep you, our loyal readers, informed, we offer this never-before-seen bit of comic book history that was covered up by the Powers That Be!
Behold, the biggest shock since it was discovered that JFK was actually mauled to death by a tiger:
EG: Alright, folks, it isn’t that often we revisit a topic, but that is EXACTLY what we are doing today. What earthshaking developments have taken place that drive us to do so?
That’s right, folks. Our pleas, in part have been heard. In the most recent images released from the upcoming TV tragedy of epic proportions, Wonder Woman, the costume has been changed.
I’ll say it again, slowly: The. Costume. Has. Been. Changed.
Thanks to the very comments and concerns expressed right here on this blog, the Steve Austin Book Club has convinced the Dark Forces working on this series to (at least partially) fix the costume.
OG: Huzzah!!! Er, well, that is, Partial Huzzah!!!
EG: I’m sure that some of the other bloggers out there that made some comments had a slight impact on the decision as well, but I’m hereby claiming credit for this advancement in the voice of fandom for this blog. We, OG and EG got this done for you, our people.
You are welcome.
OG: Yes, that’s right! Big shot Hollywood muckety-muck David E. Kelly and those ninnies at NBC have buckled under the mounting pressure from our rarely updated and virtually unknown blog! OUR INFLUENCE CANNOT BE DENIED ANY LONGER!!!
EG: So, let’s take a look at the updated costume!
EG: There she is, determinedly running! First off, let me say, I know it isn’t perfect. The top is still shiny. I still wish they’d gone with a more dull, leather-like top. But, look at the improvements – the pants are darker, and no longer made of vinyl. And the boots! We got the red boots! And not the hooker-heels that the blue boots were! That right there was such a vast improvement I can almost forgive the shortcomings.
OG: Indeed, on the whole, it is a significant improvement. The only reason I wish they had held their ground on the original costume is that we could have seen shots of her running awkwardly in vinyl pants and trying to jump up on cars in stilettos. Certainly the comedy of that would have been delightful!
EG: But, I did mention shortcomings. With the replacement of just the pants material/tone, the costume now seems a bit less cohesive. As much as I didn’t like the shiny elements of the original picture released, the costume had a flow to it. Yes, a cheap Halloween-esque plastic-y flow, but a flow nonetheless. That said, I still think this is better.
OG: ‘Tis a very good point EG. It does look very much disjointed. But, with such a short span of time between the initial release of the original costume image and these new images, I think the changes they made were the only ones they could do on the quick.
On a side-note, as much as I celebrate our victory in getting them to make changes, it is clear evidence that they don’t have a firm creative vision for this show nor the confidence to stick to their guns that such a vision would give them. And, with it being NBC, it feels like Heroes all over again – Changing and modifying their show based on the whims of fandom ultimately results in an even worse product. Does that make any sense?
EG: I get what you are saying, but I think you have to consider that this is *just* a costume modification, and not necessarily an indication of any lack of vision. Frankly, I’m more inclined to believe that they released the images just early enough so that they could make modifications based on fan reaction. If you think of that as an affirmative decision, it becomes less wishy-washy and more tactical.
And, if you are paranoid like me and follow that line of thinking to a darker conclusion, maybe those initial image drops were released *just* to get the fans to react in the way they did, that these changes were always going to come down the line, but now the studio can claim they actually listened to fans…
What? Too much?
OG: Anyway, putting that aside. What else?
EG: Nitpicking, I really do wish they’d gone with the silver on the boots instead of the gold. But, that is such a minor concern, it doesn’t even need to be mentioned. Along that same line, the stars on the pants would stand out more in silver as well.
OG: Hmm, I can see what you’re saying and certainly wouldn’t be opposed to that. But, the gold does fall in line with the iconography of the character, making a revised look to the character still fall within the bounds of what we expect from a Wonder Woman costume.
EG: But, let’s take note of the other aspect of this show we are seeing in these images – Wonder Woman is running. That implies that there is actually going to be action in the TV show! As an occasional viewer of Smallville, I’m used to a superhero show that barely has any action most of the time, and this show, we are already seeing action! I’ll admit, I feared, given David Kelly’s record of doing mostly courtroom dramas, that we’d never get around to any superheroic action scenes, so I’m suddenly filled with cautious optimism for this show.
OG: Well, we probably shouldn’t get ahead of ourselves just yet. This is the Pilot after all which is generally a more action-y affair in this type of show anyway. I don’t recall the Smallville Pilot (I believe the only episode I ever watched) but I gotta think that had some promising action in it as well. Also, running? Really? I mean, isn’t this situation tailor-made for Wonder Woman to show off her lasso skills? Ah, looks like I found another nit to pick. Please, carry on.
EG: Hey, how about a clip from the filming of the show?
OG: Let’s do it!
EG: Yowch! Busted knees are never fun!
OG: I have to say, she looks 1000 times less silly in action then I thought she would. Apparently, this ain’t just gonna be Ally McBeal with tights. That said, the shiny top does look significantly goofier in action than the pants. Despite that, it’s pretty encouraging overall.
EG: It does bolster my pie-eyed optimism. I know it isn’t much, but I did expected so little.
OG: Me too. But, I have to say, though we have no context for this clip, I do get worried in any superhero project where the hero/heroine is chasing some random thug. I like my superheroes to fight dudes that are equal to or even superior to them in ability. Of course, he mounted that last car with a lot more skill then she did (she looked pretty winded, right?), so I should probably reserve judgment there.
EG: Before we finish, let’s take a look at two more images. First, this:
EG: Now, that’s not even right. I know that Adrianne Palicki is more attractive than this bizarre shot lets on. I’m just saying – not an attractive angle.
OG: I’m going to venture to say that Ms. Palicki has probably already lodged a complaint about this angle. Yikes.
EG: And, finally, this image:
EG: I don’t know if this photo was darkened on purpose, or if it was just the particular lighting, but, wow, this image shows the potential for awesome this costume has. The colors in this one are dead on what they should be for the live action, the shine is more easily overlooked, and the flow of the costume is much better. If this is how the costume comes across on-screen, I’ll be thrilled!
OG: And, that’s not counting the wonders (I think this leaves me with 4 or 5 more crappy puns for the year based on the strict new crappy pun policy we put into effect recently) they can do to the color and look in post production enhancement work. So, I’m thinking this aspect of the show will be the least of our worries.
EG: I can’t believe I’m going to say this, but I’m starting to actually look forward to this series. I know the potential for it stinking is huge, but, seriously, the makers listened to geekdom about the costume. They WANT this show to be successful, they WANT to please the fans. How often does that happen, people? I mean, seriously? For that reason, I’m going to watch this show. That’s right – I’m declaring right now that I’m going to watch this show, good or bad!
OG: I’m with you. But, I must reiterate my concerns about how wishy-washy they’ve proved themselves to be already. But, you are right. A certain amount of respect for the fans opinions is healthy and can lead to a better show. No doubt. I just hope that outside of the costume they have a fresh and interesting take on the world of the character and give us something worth tuning into each week. So, I’m going to go ahead and join you in some good old-fashioned “cautious optimism.”
EG: For the changes to this costume, I’m driving my rating four and a half Running Steves. If the red bodice were changed to a duller leather look, I’d make it five in a heartbeat.
OG: I’ll bump from 3 ½ to four. They can certainly still change the top after the pilot is done and I’ll gladly revise upwards should that happen.
EG: Alright, Mr. Kelly and NBC… you’ve got us… can you hold on to us?
EG: Welcome, all, to the All-New “We’re gonna reboot this blog again” Extravaganza here at the Steve Austin Book Club. No lousy excuses here – we (OG and EG, your unreliable hosts here at the SABC) are bad people.
Not serial killer bad or kick-your-puppy bad, but easily-distracted-from-this-blog-and-not-post-anything-new-for-more-than-a-full-calendar-year bad.
Doesn’t exactly roll off the tongue, does it?
OG: I actually think our lack of posting is quite beautiful. Think about it – despite our numerous bionic upgrades, we are still deeply human. Just because our blogging abilities are cybernetically enhanced doesn’t mean that we aren’t also imbued with the inherent flaws of Original Sin. Also, we plainly suck.
EG: Anyway, what could POSSIBLY cause us to jump back into this? What event of geekdom would push us over the edge from our regular thoughts of “we really should bring the SABC back” to actually putting butts-to-chair and doing it?
EG: It’s… it’s so… shiny. Uh… yeah.
OG: When my browser first loaded the image I actually heard the squeaking of vinyl before I saw the costume.
EG: In case you didn’t know, David Kelly is making a new Wonder Woman TV show for NBC, and the info that has been leaked about the show, up to this point, has been… underwhelming.
OG: Yes, in defiance of everything that Marvel Studios is doing to create a seamless film universe populated by their great panoply of characters shown in contemporary and dynamic ways, Warner Brothers (not counting the Batman films) is doing it’s level best to meet the demands of the late 90’s with the filmed versions of the heroes of DC!
EG: Now we get this costume. Don’t get me wrong, as a red-blooded American male, there is an… appreciation for this costume, but…
OG: Yes, EG. The gal is truly fetching and she has “wonder”ful attributes that make her a real stand-out in the role! (I hate myself for typing that) And, to really make a statement of who this character is, I see that David E. Kelly made the effort to order a Wonder Woman costume from Target’s expansive collection.
EG: You know, it does look a lot like one of those “Deluxe Sexy Superhero Costumes” that come out for women to slut around in every Halloween.
EG: The bad thing is… the one for Wonder Woman is actually less over-the-top than the new TV show costume.
OG: But, what they both have in common is their complete look of having been bought at a store. But, I’m being too negative here. I mean, I do want to say that I think there are things they’ve done right here. Kind of.
EG: I think I understand what is happening here. This entire thing is the nefarious plot of Jim Lee to get the public to accept, nay, CELEBRATE his redesign of the Wonder Woman costume.
And, you know what, OG? It is working. I almost wish they had gone with this costume for this TV show.
OG: I agree completely. I actually liked his design of the character and feels like it is almost tailor made for live-action. And so, I do applaud the inclusion of some of the elements. From what I understand of the plot for the new series, it is going to be more of a street-level superhero story and to that end, they started in the right direction but apparently felt the need to split the difference by bringing in more of the shiny, dare I say cheesy parts of the iconography.
EG: OG, I know you don’t watch Smallville…
OG: It is one of the few things in life that give me true pride.
EG: …and, really, I only catch about two full episodes a season, but they actually put Lois Lane (Erica Durance) in a Wonder Woman-esque costume that I really liked:
Now, I don’t mean to be snide (actually, yeah, I do), but when Smallville, the show that put Green Arrow in a hoodie –
And Superman in black trench coat –
Manages to come up with a better costume, you know you are in trouble.
OG: Not bad at all! I like the more leather look. Reminds me very much of what Marvel Studios is doing so amazingly right (at least from what I’ve seen) with the Captain America costume. I mean, in some ways Wonder Woman has a lot in common visually with Captain America. They have really in your face, bombastic, brightly colored, symbolically rich costumes that are hard to translate to film. Perhaps this is a good time for you to reach in to EG’s Treasure Trove of Superhero Costume Photo Reference and show us what Captain America looks like when done oh so very wrong…
EG: In an effort to be positive, though, let me say that the DESIGN of the costume is actually pretty good. I like that they went with pants… sorta… well, fully-covered legs, anyway. I like that they went with the recognizable and classic bustier. And, while I like the shade of red used in the costume, the blue could stand a little muting, perhaps some darkening… but it is hard to tell from the glare! I think, if they could have de-shine-ified them (yeah, I made that word up), I’d appreciate the entire costume a lot more. The costume really isn’t *that* horrible.
Except the boots. The blue boots do not work. Hey, OG, wanna see this costume become about 90% better?
EG: There. How’s that?
OG: If you were to tie me up in your lasso of truth (please don’t) I would be forced to say that this is amazing! You almost completely fixed it. Mute the colors on the costume and then make it the more leather look we discussed earlier and you’ve got yourself a PERFECT Wonder Woman costume for the screen, which makes me a little hopeful. I mean, lit and photographed correctly, many of the more obnoxious aspects of the costume (brightness & shininess primarily) might be mitigated. Assuming they do that, the only other pitfall they’d need to avoid would be getting someone like the creator of Ally McBeal to run the show. Now that would be a travesty!
EG: Well, we can only hope! Actually… I have to admit, after looking at the costume for a while, and changing the boots, I could really see something like this working. I’d really like the colors toned down to the tones in the Smallville version. Let me take a try at that:
I still hate the shiny, latex-look, but the whole thing is growing on me.
Or, maybe it is just the fact that I’ve been looking at the image of a beautiful woman dressed up in a shiny latex Wonder Woman costume long enough that I don’t really care anymore.
OG: Well, while my first reaction was 100% negative I have to say you’ve kind of won me over here. I’m not hating it. In fact, I’ll go ahead and give this costume 3 fully loaded Running Steve’s.
And, just to go on the record, I’ll go ahead and give the show itself a presumptive ZERO Running Steves. Really predicting “Birds of Prey” levels of craptitude here man.
EG: I’ll second the three Running Steve’s, and I’m gonna say that people will be wishing Birds of Prey was still around to cleanse their palate from this doomed version of Wonder Woman.
NBC, feel free to surprise us and produce an amazing show… but don’t expect us to be holding our breath.
Directed by Jonathan Mostow
Starring Bruce Willis
There was a time, not too long ago, when Hollywood offering a token of science fiction with good production values and name stars was unusual. It was a dark time. As a result, I still get excited when I see a movie preview from the genre, despite the greater number of offerings.
I saw the previews for this film and was really amped to see it. Real life delayed me, until this past weekend, but now I’ve seen it, and thought I’d go ahead and give my two cents about it.
In a future world quite similar to ours, technology has allowed the vast majority of people to purchase robotic surrogates, physically perfect avatars, to interact in the real world. No more need to fear the dangers of the outside world, people plug themselves in and live through these machines in perfect safety. Even if the surrogate is damaged, the operator is perfectly safe.
That all changes, though, when a college student is somehow murdered via their link with a surrogate. FBI agent Tom Greer (Bruce Willis) investigates the death, running into roadblocks from the company that creates the surrogates, the military, and those that rebel against the use of surrogates.
The movie is based on a limited comic book series from Top Shelf Productions.
I’ll admit, I haven’t read the comic book. I thought about seeking it out before seeing the movie, but I tend to believe that is a bad idea. Seldom to films live up to the source material, and I wanted to give this film every chance.
At the start of the film, I was completely struck by the look of the characters. I would bet that underwear companies had to delay their ad campaigns while every perfect underwear model in the world worked on this film. That isn’t a knock against the film – it establishes very early on the feel of the movie, and artificial perfection, a “fakeness” that allows the premise that people living through perfect machines is plausible.
In fact, this is reinforced when we meet up with the plastic version of Bruce Willis’ character. I don’t know what all they did to Bruce Willis to give us the plastic/perfect look that blends in with the underwear model cast so well, but it is impressive.
And, when his character is forced to go without his surrogate, the grizzled, wrinkled, and bald look of the actual human behind the puppet is also great for establishing the contrast of the film.
Unfortunately, one aspect of this compare/contrast demonstration didn’t really work. In the movie, there are those that are resistant to using the surrogates. Resistant is probably too subtle a term. “Violently opposed” is more accurate. They have been separated from the general populace in various camps. To emphasize the difference between these “real” people and the surrogates, most of the real folks are too real – sloppy looking, craggy, unkempt. It made me wonder, as I was watching, why none of the “real” people looked basically average. You can’t tell me that only the least attractive members of society reject surrogates. There have to be a couple of average folks mixed in, or it seems too black and white, which actually took me out of the movie.
The movie does have several good action sequences, and I have no complaints about the effects within the film. And, with a running time of under 90 minutes, the movie certainly doesn’t drag!
On the other hand, the film is pretty heavy handed in its moral. Not only does the main plot seem to revolve around the detachment of humanity, the sub plot of the relationship between Greer and his wife does as well. I think the makers of the film were trying to use the sub plot as a more personal reflection of the widespread issue of the main plot, but what results is the feeling of being hammered over the head in a “well, if you didn’t get the idea from that, how about this” sorta way.
(Ooh, by the way, wanna see what that surrogate having its face pulled off looks like? Okay!)
And, had the film stuck with the single social commentary of the detachment of humanity, I think they could have had a better product. Unfortunately, that non-dragging 90 minutes doesn’t really allow for the exploration of that theme, the violation of personal civil liberties, the question of justification in terrorism, and any of the other statements that the film failed to sufficiently elaborate on.
The movie failed to really offer anything new, though. We’ve seen this same sort of story done before, both better and worse.
The real problem with the film, though, is predictability. Every action seems to be telegraphed throughout the movie. Plus, I was able to figure out most of the film in the first five minutes, which is something I hate. OG tells me that this is partially my fault, because I never go into any book or film without overanalyzing as I go along. Maybe he’s right, but I still hate knowing how things are going to be put together at the beginning.
Overall, the movie was okay. Nothing spectacular, but it wasn’t unwatchable. I wouldn’t recommend running out to the theater to catch it before it moves to DVD. It isn’t worth that.
I’m going to give Surrogates two Running Steves.
I don’t know that they could have really done enough to make the film great, but there was definitely room for improvement.
It is almost mid-way through the month of October! Where does the time go?!?
Here is a special heads up for you, our faithful readers: The last two weeks of October will be special focus weeks here at The Steve Austin Book Club! We are not gonna let the cat out of the bag as to the themes we have planned, but we think you’ll enjoy them.
One clue? Okay. Halloween does occur this month, doesn’t it? Yeah, those two weeks probably have something to do with that.
And, speaking of Halloween, since these don’t fall in line with the themes for the next two weeks, but should be put up this month…
EG put a lot of work into this week’s micro-hero… or, actually, micro-heroes!
That, dear friends, is none than your hosts, EG as Batman, and OG as Robin! Yes, costumed for Halloween, but long has EG hassled OG to dress up for a convention, but to no avail. And, so, EG turned to the mighty art of the micro-hero to bring his dreams to life!
(Dreams may be a bit strong…)
This is probably as close as anyone will ever get to OG wearing green panties and showing off those fine legs of his. ‘Tis the world’s loss I say…
There is a mystery in Geekdom.
DC Direct has been producing some pretty neat action figures in relation to the Blackest Night mega-event that is taking place in the Green Lantern titles (and, soon, the entire DCU… my wallet is already crying).
In the first batch of toys, we were treated to a “mystery figure” in all the promotion:
Soon enough, we learned it was Kal L, Superman of Earth 2 as a Black Lantern:
In the next wave, we had another mystery figure:
Turned out, it was Black Lantern Martian Manhunter:
The next wave included Black Lantern Aquaman, but I don’t think his promo was blacked out. It might have been, but I don’t recall. The wave of figures after that, though, is where the real mystery is.
In that image, we see the Black Lantern Firestorm, but there is another figure blacked out. The solicitation for this wave says:
“This series includes Wonder Woman, who is surprisingly transformed by the happenings of the Blackest Night (Read the comics to learn more!)”
What makes this figure so mysterious is that, unlike the previously blacked-out figures, this one hasn’t been spoiled. Kal L and Martian Manhunter were uncovered within weeks of the initial promo. This figure… it is well over two months now.
Don’t get me wrong, it is nice to NOT be spoiled… but it raises a lot of questions. All of the previous mystery figures were Black Lanterns, does this mean Wonder Woman will be a Black Lantern? But, each wave up until this one only has one Black Lantern, and this wave already has Black Lantern Firestorm.
Which leaves us to wonder (get it? wonder? ha!) if Wonder Woman will be getting a ring, and if so, which one?
A lot of folks are thinking that Wonder Woman will become a Star Sapphire. This is based on an image tucked away in the massive two page spread found in Green Lantern #25:
See it? No? Down in the left hand corner. Still no? Okay, how about blown up a bit:
As far as I can tell, the only thing that people are going by to connect this image and Wonder Woman is the mystery figure:
Looking at the figure, it seems to have the same skirting that is seen in the drawing. And, thus a lot of folks seem to make a massive leap to say that the figure must be that Star Sapphire, and since the solicitation for the figure says it is Wonder Woman, Wonder Woman will be a Star Sapphire!
That… is a pretty flimsy reason to make that leap.
The whole “Power of Love” (man, I love Huey Lewis and the News) thing the Star Sapphires have going on doesn’t mesh with my idea of Wonder Woman. Plus, the ouline of the figure doesn’t really match up with that Star Sapphire costume.
A lot of folks think Wonder Woman may become a Blue Lantern. But, as passive as those Lanterns are, I don’t see that either.
Green seems unlikely. Red? An angry Wonder Woman is a thing to behold, and might work. Yellow is possible, but less likely. Sure, she can inspire fear, but as an ambassador to the world, it seems against her nature. Orange? Nah.
Which leaves Indigo. And, while attaching an Amazon Warrior to the Indigo Tribe seems like a more natural fit, I’m not buying it either.
I’ve never seen Wonder Woman as a mercy killer.
Then what? Well… I propose that the solicit is deceiving. (That’s right, solicit! I’m calling you out!)
After all, Diana Prince isn’t the only woman ever to be Wonder Woman.
Alternate option #1: Wonder Woman of Earth 2
She was seen again back during Infinite Crisis, so maybe she is coming back to take care of the Black Lantern Superman of Earth 2.
Alternate option #2: Hippolyta, Queen of the Amazons, and Mother of Diana
That’s right – for a time, Diana’s mother served as Wonder Woman. She even traveled back in time and served with the original Justice Society of America. I’m not sure if any of this has been retconned, but it is a possibility.
Alternate Option #3: Artemis
Ah, the 90’s, when superheroines all had gravity-defying hair and broken backs! Yes, Artemis, the grim-and-gritty version of Wonder Woman! She served as Wonder Woman after Queen Hippolyta called for a new contest for the title of Wonder Woman in an effort to protect Diana. Could be her… and, she’s already dead, so she’d be able to slip into a Black Lantern costume pretty easily… which is necessary with that back condition.
Alternate Option #4: Donna Troy
During the year that Diana took off for 52, Donna served as Wonder Woman in this far-superior costume! (Yeah, personal opinion, but, c’mon! That IS a much cooler costume!) Plus, if you are reading the Blackest Night: Titans comic, you’ll know that there is a real possibility here. Plus, she seems to be wearing the correct skirt (or possibly the sword) that is seen in the mystery figure.
Which is why Donna is my odds on favorite for this figure – a Donna Troy as Black Lantern Wonder Woman. Why as Wonder Woman? Well, her other costumes have been generally unremarkable. The Wonder Woman outfit is more distinctive, and should mess with the minds of the other heroes quite a bit, too.
To give an idea of what the figure might look like, I took this image:
And, with a quick, not too detailed mock-up, I came up with this:
I know – not the best, but it gives the idea. I could be completely off base here, but we’ll see!
I’ve come here to help you; I have what you need. My prices are low, and I work with great speed, and my work is one hundred per cent guaranteed!October 8, 2009
Any Dr. Suess fans out there?
On a side note, we here at The Steve Austin Book Club would support the addition of many other colors of Hulk in the comics.
A musclebound angry guy who was fleshtoned would just look like some bodybuilder in the midst of ‘roid rage.
And that’s not something we want to see.
You know, there’s nothing that quite compares to monkeys and apes. Folks love ’em.
And, when you put monkeys and apes in comics? That is, like, twice as awesome.
Put that monkey or ape into a comic AND make him a detective? My friends, that is pure, straight from the fountain awesome sauce.
This week’s micro-hero is the culmination of the amazing formula – Detective Chimp!
Once merely a highly intelligent chimp, Bobo became a full fledged detective after taking a dip in the Fountain of Youth. The effects of the Fountain gave him eternal youth, amped up his intelligence, and gave him the ability to speak to any living creature.
Ladies and Gentlemen, we are proud to present, EG’s micro-hero of Detective Chimp!