Archive for the ‘Self-Loathing’ Category

How Abin Sur *Really* Died…

April 14, 2011

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:

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Wonder Woman: The New Duds

March 20, 2011

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?

This:

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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.

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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.

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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:

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Now, I don’t mean to be snide (actually, yeah, I do), but when Smallville, the show that put Green Arrow in a hoodie –

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And Superman in black trench coat –

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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: I only live to serve:
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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?

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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:

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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.

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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.

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NBC, feel free to surprise us and produce an amazing show… but don’t expect us to be holding our breath.

Micro-Hero of the Week

October 12, 2009

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!

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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…

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

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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.

Except fleshtone.

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.

Review: All-New Iron Manual #1

May 15, 2008

They got me.

I hate when that happens.

See, I don’t tend buy comic book one-shots.  Most of the time, they are overpriced and all too often, the “extra pages” included are nothing more than reprints of stories I’ve probably already read.

I’m also wary of projects that come out just to tie-in with movies.

And yet…

*Sigh*

I order my comics through an online service.  It is a great convenience, having discounted comics delivered right to my door (the nearest comic book shop to my house is a 20 minute drive away).  The one disadvantage is pre-ordering and not having the chance to really look at what I’m buying ahead of time.  I am forced to depend on the blurbs put out by the various companies about their projects.

Overall, it isn’t that big a deal.  I know what artists and writers I like, and my track record is pretty good for avoiding pitfalls.

Not so today.  Today, I recieved my shipment of comics, and, sitting atop the pile, is the physical representation of my own stupidity:  All-New Iron Manual #1.

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Yep.  A one-shot designed just to take advantage of the Iron Man film recently released.

So, why didn’t the red flags go up on this project for me?  Actually, they did, but I chose to ignore them.  And, why did I buy a book so glaringly not for me? 

Here is the description of the book that I ordered:

These are the chronicles of Tony Stark: the playboy, the genius inventor, the philanthropist, the director of S.H.I.E.L.D., the futurist, the hero. This Handbook is the definitive resource to the world of Iron Man, featuring Tony’s closest allies (Happy and Pepper Hogan, War Machine, the Order) and deadliest foes (Justin Hammer, Mandarin, Obadiah Stane)! Includes a complete gallery of the Iron Man armors, plus all-new schematics of key armors and the S.H.I.E.L.D. Helicarrier!

I read through that description and was unimpressed… until that last sentence.  That last, horribly deceptive sentence.

One of my favorite things about Iron Man is the fact that his armor changes.  Unlike other comic book heroes, who seem to stay with relatively unchanging costumes for most of their existence, Iron Man’s look has updated every few years since inception.

Imagine my thrill about the chance to have a complete gallery of those armors!

So, despite my reservations, despite all the warning signs, and despite the $4.99 cover price, I bought the All-New Iron Manual #1.

I will never learn.

With undisguised excitement, I picked up the comic from my recent shipment, determined to take a look at it immediately.  The cover?  Fantastic.  It brought hope to me for what would be contained within.

I began to flip through the pages.  It was, essentially, what was promised – basically, a lot of entries about characters, pulled from the Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe.  I continued flipping, knowing I would eventually be greeted by an amazing gallery of the various armors used over the years.

Then, I got to the actual Iron Man entry, and beheld the gallery.

And regret set in.

In my dreams, I hoped for a sequence of splash pages, each type of armor brilliantly displayed in detail, one per page.  In more realistic fashion, I thought that maybe I’d get two sets of armor per page, maybe not as detailed or dynamic, but still a nice display.  Bare minimum, I was expecting the gallery pages to be quartered, displaying four armors per page.

Any of those would have been preferable to what I got.

Bordering the Iron Man entry, like guards for the gutter, were a series of armor images, measuring about 1 inch wide by 2 1/2 inches tall.  There are eight per page (one row of four on the top, one row of four on the bottom), with an equal amount of space devoted the text of the detailed history of Iron Man throughout the “gallery.”

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Thirty-nine types of armor, displayed across the top and bottom of five pages.

Yep, Marvel, you got me.  I was expecting an incredible display of the various armors, and you give me thumbnails.

Ha ha.

Jokes on me.

Listen folks, if you are wanting a detailed look at Iron Man and his supporting cast/enemies, this book does deliver that.  If you, like me, were hoping for more in the way of art, save your five bucks and go visit The Iron Man Armory, which has better images of most of the armors anyway.

 

Preview Review – Captain Britain and MI: 13 #1

May 1, 2008

Uh oh!  Looks like it is that time again – another Preview Review, wherein I find the unlettered preview pages offered online for an upcoming comic (that I really have no intention of buying), and write a review of the issue based entirely on my perceptions of what is going on.

Today, we look at Captain Britain and MI: 13 #1, from Paul Cornell (writer) and Leonard Kirk (artist), with a cover by Brian Hitch.

Wow!  Without further ado, let’s take a look at that Brian Hitch cover!

 
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Uh… yeah.  That’s Captain Britain.  Yep.  There he is.  You know, I’m not looking to be spoiled by the covers on my comics, but I would like to see something pertaining to the story contained in the book.  Maybe I’m jumping the gun a little here, but unless the story involves Captain Britain rescuing someone from a random graphics department or Brian Hitch’s sketchbook, I’m guessing the images don’t have a lot to do with the story.  Oh, wait – I do see a guy with lines on his chin.  Ah, that must be the clue to tell us that the issue will have something to do with Skrulls, shapeshifting aliens from space!  Well, that image along with a year of promotion from Marvel basically telling us that Skrulls are everywhere.  Okay, let’s move inside the book.

 
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Ah, right there!  See?  I told ya!  Skrulls.  Clearly, Captain Britain is being attacked by two Skrulls here.  One, obviously more accomplished at his shapeshifting abilities, is combining the forms of Ghost Rider, Iceman, and… uh… Hawkman.  Wait – Hawkman is from DC, not Marvel.  There you have it, True Believers.  The Skrull problem is so bad that it is even infecting and drawing from the Distinguished Competition.  The second Skrull, being less experienced, is making an attempt to look like Morbius the Living Vampire.  Poor kid.  Someone really should take him to the side and tell him that the green skin and pointy ears really work against the disguise.  But, he is trying, so we should give him credit for that.  Maybe this whole issue is about Skrulls in training, hmm?  Next page!

 
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So, Captain Britain pulls the ultimate version of every big brother’s favorite game, “Why are you hitting yourself?”  The Skrull, using his own Iceman powers freezes his Ghost Rider head.  With speed-lines… for some reason.  You know, I would think that the Skrull could adapt to that, but maybe this guy is not as good as I first thought, because in the very next panel, Captain Britain shatters his skull into a few thousand pieces.

The second Skrull, now ticked that his teacher is headless, attacks C.B. (because typing Captain Britain over and over is getting tedious) with renewed vigor!  Along with his Morbius attempts, he is also now… furry… and his arms are on fire.  Again, give him credit for trying.  Still hasn’t got that whole “head” thing down, though.  Hard to fool anyone when your head is still pretty much Skrull, you know?  I mean, say you saw what you thought were your parents, and they looked dead on like your parents in every way, but their heads were all green with pointy ears.  Do you really think you’d be fooled into believing those are your parents?  But, that’s why we have these training missions, I suppose.

Anyway, fuzzy-flaming-arm-Morbius Skrull holds hands with C.B. and then… flies away.  And, it looks as if C.B. is just as confused as I am.  Good.  I hate to be alone in these things.

With the Skrull leaving, C.B. decides to call it a day, flying off until his services are required again, when those in need cry out in desperation.

Gee, I hope all those injured people down below don’t succumb to a horrible death, engulfed by the surrounding flames and all.  Too bad there wasn’t someone around that could maybe get them to safety, perhaps a superhero with the gift of flight… and general awareness of his surroundings.  Oh well.

Hey, in that last panel, is that woman realizing she could have had a V8?

Next page!

 
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Aw, great, now I gotta turn my computer monitor on its side.  Okay.  Just a minute.  Alright, there we go.  Uh oh… here we have some real trouble.  Skrull on Skrull in-fighting.  With oodles of speed-lines!  Looks like another teacher/student thing.  The student, completely looking like a Skrull, obviously did something to deserve getting stabbed by the teacher Skrull, who has mixed the forms of Marvel’s Black Knight, and Arthur Fonzarelli, aka, Fonzie.  Oh, no – wait, I got it wrong.  This wasn’t a fight at all.  Black Knight-Fonzie Skrull must have told the other Skrull to shapeshift into a scabbard for his sword!  The student Skrull evidently couldn’t do it in time, but by the time Black Knight-Fonzie Skrull realized it, he was already slamming his sword into the supposed-to-be-a-scabbard Skrull.  What a shame.  Looks like there is no way supposed-to-be-a-scabbard Skrull will recieve Black Knight-Fonzie’s top grade – an “Aaaayyyy!”

I… I’m sorry.  I apologize, okay?  Even I can’t believe I typed that.  Quickly, on to the next page before my shame crushes my spirit completely.

 
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Hey, its Firestar!  I used to love watching Spider-Man and His Amazing Friends!  Wait… that’s not Firestar?  Well, who is it then?  Doesn’t really matter, I guess.  Anyway, Not-Firestar appears to be running really fast (thanks to the visual cue of, yes, speed-lines) while talking on a cell phone.  If she was paying attention to what is going on, she would notice that a couple of Skrulls-in-training are blasting… architecture.  Whatever.

Ooh, and its time, once again, for everyone’s favorite game of “Guess which heroes the Skrulls are imitating!”  Okay, that first one, all silver-y… I’m going out on a limb and say Silver Surfer.  Ooh, and he’s got winged ankles!  That’s Namor!  Obviously, there must be someone else, too… but I don’t know who.  Is it a cosmic character?  I’m not really familiar with cosmic characters.  Well, yeah, I mean, Silver Surfer, but EVERYONE knows Silver Surfer.  Jumping over to the other Skrull… now, THAT is a combo.  Thor, big-gold-suited Iron Man, and the Wasp.  Let me just say, though, someone really needs to sit the Skrulls down and explain that if the chin lines don’t give them away, the “mixing-up-of-heroes-body-parts” will.

Anyway, Not-Firestar leaps up to the Namor-Surfer Skrull.  I can only assume that one of the landmarks that the Skrulls destroyed must have been a cell phone tower.  She’s probably really upset about the dropped call.  Well, I can understand, I mean that is really irritat–

Great Shades of Elvis!  Not-Firestar is a vampire!!!  Wow, Namor-Surfer Skrull is even more shocked than I am!

Ooh, a silhouette!  Isn’t it amazing how a nice silhouette can tone down the violence of Vampire-Not-Firestar ripping 3/4 of Namor-Surfer Skrull’s neck out to acceptable levels for the general reading audience?  Hold on… 3/4 of the Skrulls neck is gone?  Vampire-Not-Firestar’s mouth is NOT that big.  Wait!  I get it!  It was the sharpness of Vamprie-Not-Firestar’s hair as she flung her head back that nearly decapitated the Skrull.  Wow… that must be some amazing shampoo that she uses.

Uh oh… look at Vampire-Not-Firestar’s eyes.  As an avid watcher of vampire films, I know what is coming next.  Quick, Iron-Wasp-Thor Skrull, run!  Her bloodlust has been awakened!  Don’t just stand there in shock!  Run!

Oh no.  Too late!  Here she comes, really fast… which I know, thanks to the inclusion of speed-lines!  Quick, next page!

 
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Huh?  Oh… well, I guess we’re back to C.B. and the Morbius Skrull.  Morbius Skrull begins by waving his stinky, fuzzy feet in C.B.’s face.  With speed-lines.  He follows with a punch.  And speeed-lines.  Nice combo.

Oh no!  Vampire-Not-Firestar is back!  With speed-lines!  Is there no end to her desire for liquid life?!?

Oh… and they are joined by three other… beings.  Okay, that top guy… Skrull?  Maybe.  Channeling… Man-Bat and Clayface?  I don’t know.  The other Skrull is doing a bad impression of Hyperion.  The other guy?  Uh… Keanu Reeves maybe?  Man, it is getting too crowded in this story.  Maybe it would seem less crowded if there were fewer speed-lines.  Let’s move on to the last page.
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Okay, we’ve got Keanu Reeves blasting the Skrull in the neck, surrounded by speed-lines, while Vampire-Not-Firestar dodges the blast by running in the same direction as those speed-lines.  (Don’t ask why the speed-lines are in front of her, merely accept them.)

Then Man-Bat-Clay Face Skrull (floating among speed-lines) is watching C.B. punch Hyperion Skrull.  Maybe he is wondering (like me) what happened to Morbius Skrull, who C.B. was fighting on the previous page.

Oh, and then C.B. claps his hands in front of Hyperion Skrull’s face (of course, creating speed-lines)… for… some… reason…

And the whole thing is resolved as C.B. punches the head off of Hyperion Skrull, scattering speed-lines across the page.

The next page probably shows Vampire-Not-Firestar feeding on the carcasses of the fallen Skrulls, as Keanu Reeves and Captain Britain react in horror.  And, yeah, Keanu Reeves says, “Whoa.”  And there are some speed-lines.

Hmm, this was an interesting read.  A lot of vampire stuff (Morbius Skrull, Vampire-Not-Firestar), which appeals to me, so that’s good.  I would have liked to have seen more of Black Knight-Fonzie Skrull.  Ooh, and if they could have crammed in some more speed-lines, that would have been nice.

Sadly, I can only give this issue 433 stars out of a possible 2572 stars.  Why?  I simply could not read the story fast enough to appreciate the speed-lines. 

See ya next time!

My Great Shame, Part 2: The Shamening

March 24, 2008

“Something tells us that Freejack won’t be making your list.”

And, the shame train keeps chug-chug-chugging along. 

On Thursday I embarrassed myself enough that I really should be banished from the internet for quite a while.  But, here it is Monday and I’m back for even more.  This time I’m talking about the sci-fi films that I’m most ashamed that I haven’t seen.  (I would say “sci-fi/fantasy” but fantasy is still scant enough that I think I’ve seen all the one’s worth seeing.  Oh, sorry “Legend,” did I hurt your feelings?)   

Now, I like to think of myself as a film buff and when it comes to sci-fi I really thought I was doing pretty well.  I knew there were about 5 films that I needed to see, but I didn’t think the shame would really be too great this time around.

Boy was I wrong because now I’m more red-faced than ever.  As I delved into this, I found myself wincing and groaning with each title that I came across or thought of.  So, if you thought the book list was bad.  Get a load of this… 

THE TOP 20 (Yes, I said 20!!?!?!) SCI-FI FILMS I HAVEN’T SEEN (to my even greater shame): 

In alphabetical order, they are… 

Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the 8th Dimension, The, Dir. W.D. Richter:  I am nutty for “cult” movies of all stripes.  If the choice is between some polished, high-budget, big studio money grab or a late night viewing of “Plan 9 From Outer Space” then you will find me comfortably seated in my living room with Mr. Edward D. Wood Jr. and a big bowl of popcorn every single time.  (Okay, not every time.  I do wish I had stayed home with Tor Johnson and the gang the night I subjected myself to Michael Bay’s “The Island.”  Ugh.)  But, I wear my cult movie love as a badge of honor; which is why it’s appropriate that this film should find itself at the top of this list because it’s probably the one I’m most ashamed of for not having seen.  Everything I know about it screams “THIS IS A MOVIE FOR ME.”  Frankly, the presence Peter “Robocop” Weller should really be enough all on its own. 

Akira, Dir. Katsuhiro Otomo:  Anime.  Manga.  Many pasty white guys my age go absolutely bananas for the stuff.  Frankly, I just don’t get it.  I’ve watched “Ninja Scroll” and “Nausicaa of the Wind” with a shrug and a “huh?”  I’ve read, well, okay, I haven’t actually read any Manga.  But, I’ve flipped through some.  Well, that’s not even true.  I’ve passed them by at Borders while stepping over the legions of anti-social, aisle-sitting, punk kids that always crowd that section as if blocking an entire shelf from view is a perfectly acceptable practice.  Seriously, what gives?  I guess I should be happy the kids are reading comics and the art form won’t die the long promised death that cultural observers have been predicting since the 60’s.  But, I’m not.  Get out of the way you little jerks!  Anyway, my point is, I don’t get the stuff.  I’m glad there are people that do and don’t want it to go away.  But, it just doesn’t seem to connect for me.  That said, I do realize that any sci-fi fan worth his salt should at least see “Akira” before completely turning his back on the genre.  The question is – if I don’t get around to ever seeing this, do I still get some credit for loving Voltron?  Or, does that even count?   

Alphaville, Dir. Jean-Luc Godard:  Alphaville (and a couple other titles below) is where the genre-loving, pop culture consuming half of me is supposed to meet up with my pretentious film snob side and grow to love and embrace him instead of engaging in the never-ending civil war that has caused fits of uncertainty for a long time now.  I mean, I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve shifted “Zardoz” and “The 400 Blows” back and forth on my Netflix queue.  Still, I have a nagging suspicion that “Alphaville” will probably only satisfy the film snob in me, but I’m hopeful that it will have enough for my other side too.  

Barbarella, Dir. Roger Vadim:  Again, I love the cult movies and a good dose of campiness.  So, goofball 60’s space movies are certainly right up my alley.  So, what gives, right?  There is one reason and one reason only that this film has not made it from the video store to my entertainment center lo these many years and it’s pretty simple:  JANE FONDA.  I can’t explain my distaste for the woman.  I mean, I’m a mealy-mouthed, limp-wristed liberal and love almost everything that Henry Fonda ever made.  Hanoi Jane easily satisfies both of those categories.  But, despite it all, the woman grates on me.   To echo Kahn, “She tasks me!”  But, as a sci-fi artifact of that era, Barbarella is pretty indispensible and the completist in me really needs to give it a watch. 

Blade Runner, Dir. Ridley Scott:  Forget what I said about Buckaroo Banzai.  This is clearly the one to be most ashamed of.  I know this.  I can’t even look you in the face right now as I talk about it.  Please stop groaning.  It only makes this worse.  What can I say, really?  I’ve tried a handful of times and maybe because I’ve always attempted it late at night and because that opening shot going into the city is about ten very slow minutes long or something I’ve never stayed awake into the main part of the movie.  Add to that that there is about sixteen different edits of it out there and that Sean Young makes me want to jump off a five story building onto a bike with no seat and maybe you can start to understand.  Anyway, the FINAL CUT has been at the top of my Netflix queue since it came out and still says there is a “very long wait.”  I’m gonna try this one more time for the sake of all credibility.  I’ll let you know how it turns out. 

Capricorn One, Dir. Peter Hyams:  The plot description puts this one fairly easily into my wheel house.  I love a good conspiracy theory and I know for a fact the moon landing was shot on a soundstage in Burbank, so it’s just a matter of time before I get my eyeballs on this one.   

Dark Star, Dir. John Carpenter:  Carpenter, for all his later day sins (Vampire$, Ghosts of Mars, Memoirs from an Invisible Man, etc.), is still very much the “Man” in my book.  I will easily slap the masterpiece label on at least five of his films (and yes, before you ask, that absolutely does include “Big Trouble In Little China”).  I’ve avoided this one for a while because I’m generally disappointed by the first films of my heroes and have always assumed the worst.  But, I’ve heard “Dark Star’s” praises sung in various places and am definitely encouraged by the name Dan O’Bannon on the co-scripting credit.    

Earth vs. the Flying Saucers, Dir. Fred F. Sears:  I’ve probably seen most of the best footage from this film since they seem to be the go-to shots in any movie that calls for a 50’s B-movie playing in the background.  But, I’d really like to see all the stuff in between those shots.  Plus, I’m a huge fan of any film whose title also serves as a plot description.   

Flash Gordon, Dir. Mike Hodges:  Apparently, this one is a seminal film for many from my generation.  It managed to slip through the cracks for me though despite the fact that its theme song has found its way onto my iPod.  Seriously, I don’t know how it happened but I had it on shuffle one day and the song came on.  I don’t own any albums with the song on it and I’ve not intentionally downloaded it.  Weird.   

Forbidden Planet, Dir. Fred M. Wilcox:  I think I gave this one a chance back in college and turned it off only a few minutes in.  When your only exposure to Leslie Neilsen has been the Naked Gun movies it can be a little off-putting to see him in a “straight” role.  I do recognize that this is the antecedent to a lot of stuff I love and also happens to be an adaptation of sorts of my favorite work by Billy Shakespeare – “The Tempest.”  So, I’ll give it another shot.  But, if OJ or George Kennedy show up half way through I won’t be able to handle it. 

Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1956), Dir. Don Siegel:  I have no good excuse.  I’ve seen the 70’s remake.  I’ve seen the early 90’s remake.  I very nearly saw the Nicole Kidman remake.  And, this original version was even recorded on my DVR for about a month until it shamefully got deleted in favor of an episode of “The O.C.”  Something is wrong with me.  

La Jetee, Dir. Chris Marker:  I am absolutely kooky for “12 Monkeys.”  I love it just short of getting the poster image tattooed on my back.  Until recently, the French short film it was based off of was not readily available.  Now that it is I should really give it a watch.  I guess I have a little trouble renting a “short” film.  Kind of want to get as much bang for my buck, ya know.  But, still, as a fan of Gilliam’s adaptation, I owe old “La Jetee” a watch.  (By the way, I know for a fact that EG skipped right down to the next entry after reading the words “French short film.”) 

Logan’s Run, Dir. Michael Anderson:  This will be a treat when ere I finally see it.  It’s a rare sci-fi film that I know absolutely zero about.  Seriously.  The title is the only thing I know.  I think it might take place in the future.  But, that’s it.  Don’t know even the sketchiest of plot descriptions.  So, that’s kind of fun to come to something with no preconceptions.  

Seconds, Dir. John Frankenheimer:  I’m not certain this one qualifies as straight-up sci-fi, but a secret organization that specializes in giving rich folks someone else’s identity fits the bill enough for me.  “Island of Dr. Moreau” withstanding, I love Frankenheimer.  Heck, I love just saying that name.  Frankenheimer.  Ahh.  

Silent Running, Dir. Douglas Turnbull:  Similar to “Logan’s Run,” I don’t really know all that much about this one.  The one thing I do know gives me great hope for it though:  BRUCE DERN.  Give me that cranky, world-weary face any day and I’m a happy man.  As a quick aside, I really love “The ‘Burbs” and I don’t care what you say.  And, Bruce Dern’s scene-stealing performance as the ex-military, conspiracy theorist neighbor is one of the primary reasons.   

Solaris (1972), Dir. Andrei Tarkovsky:  I know that a 3-hour Russian film most often described by critics as “meditative” firmly ensconces this one in the aforementioned “pretentious film snob” category of this list.  But, putting that aside, there’s a sentient planet in this movie and as big a fan of both Mogo and Ego as I am I’d like to add a third planet to that very exclusive list.  I guess I could cheat and watch the much shorter Clooney version, but where’s the fun in that?  I’m just not happy with a sentient planet movie unless my buttox has completely fallen asleep by the end.   

THX-1138, Dir. George Lucas:  I always said I’d give this one a gander before my patience with Lucas had completely run out.  Well, my patience ran out a few years ago.  Should I still watch this?  Honestly, could “experimental” filmmaking by the early Lucas be much worse than the mainstream filmmaking by the late Lucas?   

V: The Miniseries, Dir. Kenneth Johnson:  In many American homes (mine included) the eldest male holds complete control over the television remote.  However, this wasn’t the case in my house as a child.  My Mother had both the best seat (the La-Z-Boy) and the remote at all times that she was in the living room.  Somehow, I had convinced her that we should watch the first night of this miniseries when it came on and went to bed in a trance that evening after it was over, so excited for the next installment.  Well, turns out Mom wasn’t as eager to find out what happened next and that, despite my heavy tears, was the end for me and V.    

Videodrome, Dir. David Cronenberg:  I’m sorry Mr. Cronenberg.  I don’t know how I let this one slip by me.  You know I love you.  Heck, I even watched Jason X because you were in it.  And Nightbreed.  Come to think of it, I do owe “Videodrome” a viewing.  But, what do you owe me for what I lost watching “Nightbreed?”  Street goes both ways pal.   

X: The Man with the X-Ray Eyes, Dir. Roger Corman:  Ray Milland in a film by Roger Corman.  As if not seeing the above 19 titles wasn’t shame enough.  I don’t have enough shame to contain this one too.  One of the true, sort of forgotten greats of film acting in a Corman film with perhaps the greatest title in cinema history.  Geez.  Where do I get off? 

Okay, that’s all the shame this little nerd can handle.  I’m going to go back into my corner for a little until the urge to bash my head in passes you by. 

And, EG, you are more than welcome to make some disapproving comments below, but if you choose to do so I will also require you to write an essay for this blog in which you defend your love for the 90’s film adaptation of “Lost in Space” starring Joey from “Friends.” 

MY GREAT SHAME, Part 1

March 20, 2008

Hey there good people of Blogveria!  How art thou? 

So, there’s been plenty of big comic book news out there in the wake of Wizard World LA, but none that really floats my proverbial boat.  I mean, Matt Fraction is one of my favorite current comic book writer’s, but the excitement of him joining with Brubaker as co-writer of “Uncanny X-Men” was immediately urinated on with the addition of these four words:  “New artist, Greg Land.”  And to think, they almost had me considering buying that title. 

No, none of that news was as exciting to me as the word from Stephen King (an not news from a con, mind you, but from NPR.  What’s that?  A comic story on NPR?  What happened?  Did they run out of stories about wheat harvesting?) that Marvel comics is going to be putting out a graphic novel adaptation of his epic novel “The Stand.”  

Here’s a link to the story:   http://forum.newsarama.com/showthread.php?t=150380 

I am a big fan of the King.  I’ve liked pretty much every book I’ve ever read of his and have been reading since I could get my hands on the stuff.  But, and this is a cause of great shame for me, I have somehow never made the time in all these many years to read “The Stand.”  I’ve read plenty of long books in my day, but for some reason the page count of this particular book has just always been too daunting to me.   

And, I suppose the fact that I’ve gotten so excited about this adaptation full of purdy pictures and all (ya know, so’s I can easily understand it) should also be shameful to me.  And, well, it is.  Just shameful.  And, It’s sad that my first encounter with the book that, outside of the Dark Tower series, is supposed to be the signature work of an author I adore might be in comic form due to my own bestial laziness.   

Well, this shame got me to thinking of all of the other books that I really should have read by now.  In fact, that list is a good part of what motivated me to start this blog in the first place. 

So, in the interest of full disclosure, I thought I’d share the top 15 sci-fi and fantasy novels that I’m most ashamed to have never read.   

I hope and assume you’re sitting down.  It’s not pretty people.  Here they are in alphabetical order: 

THE TOP 15 SCI-FI/FANTASY BOOKS I HAVEN’T READ (to my great shame): 

1984 by George Orwell:  Seems like everyone but me had to read this one in high school.  It’s one of those rare books (like “Catch-22”) that I haven’t read but that I make reference to on a regular basis. 

A Wrinkle In Time by Madeline L’Engle:  I can’t even tell you how many times I must have picked this one up in the library of my junior high school, carried it around for twenty minutes, and then saw something I wanted to read more and put this back.  Not sure what held me back each time but I have a good feeling I’ve been missing out every year since. 

Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll:  Another of those quintessential texts you find referenced on a regular basis in pop culture but one that many folks, I’ve found, haven’t actually taken the time to read.   

At The Mountains of Madness by H.P. Lovecraft:  I wrote this Lovecraft off early in life as a “poor man’s Poe” and, having now read many of his stories in the past few years, I can say that I was mostly right to do so.  But, I think before I finally write him off completely and for all time I should read this signature work since I understand everything else I’ve read only nibbles at the periphery of the themes and concepts that this one explores.   

Brave New World by Aldos Huxley:  I’ve been told to read this one so many times and in the most finger-waving, shame-on-you sort of terms that I fear it’ll be like taking cough syrup.  I guess it makes me a bit of a blockhead, but I really just want a novel to be fun.  I’m always nervous when a book is supposed to be “good for me.”   

Childhood’s End by Arthur C. Clarke:  A big RIP to this old gent this week.  As big a fan of “2001: A Space Odyssey” as I am, it’s downright uncool that I haven’t read a single one of Clarke’s novels.  This is the one I’ve always known about as THE BOOK of his to read but I could just as easily add “Rendezvous With Rama” to this list.   

Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury:  Another title from the high school reading list that I somehow avoided and, from what I understand, another one like “Brave New World” that I need to read not just for its merits as a novel but for my betterment as a human.  Well, as I said, that kind of “good for you” crap is certainly not going to get me to read it any faster.  What will do it for me, though, is the fact that I really like Bradbury.  “Martian Chronicles” is one of my old school favorites and I remember many frightened nights in the thrall of “Something Wicked This Way Comes.”    

Foundation (series) by Issac Asimov:  By the way, I didn’t just miss these “Foundation” books.  I never read the “I, Robot” stuff either.  So, just tell me where I turn in my “Geek Credibility Card” and I’ll get to it right away and never bother you again.   

Frankenstein by Mary Shelley:  Not just a horror classic, but one of the granddaddy’s of sci-fi.  This one’s even on my book shelf, so what exactly am I waiting for?  Of course, I haven’t read “Dracula” either.  

I Am Legend by Richard Matheson:  Netflix just advised me that I should have the film version of this in my mailbox today.  Will Smith already killed my desire to read the aforementioned “I, Robot” so I’m wondering if I’ll have any appetite for this one after this weekend.  Here’s hoping.  All I know is that I should really start chipping away at this list before he adapts any more of these books.   (Ironically, the ridiculous yet sublime “Omega Man” only makes me want to read this one even more!) 

Man in the High Castle by Phillip K. Dick:  True confessions time.  I have a blog about science fiction and I’ve never read any Phillip K. Dick.  What am I even doing here? 

Slaughterhouse 5 by Kurt Vonnegut:  True confession number two.  Never read Vonnegut either.  If it makes it better, I haven’t read any John Grisham or V.C. Andrews either.  It doesn’t make it better, does it? 

Stranger in a Strange Land by Robert Heinlein:  I remember reading “Have Spacesuit Will Travel” and thinking that Heinlein books were just goofy, outdated fodder for kids, but I’m told that I am very much mistaken.  This one and a few other of his books are on the very long to-do list.   

The Time Machine by H.G. Wells:  Couldn’t decide if this or “War of the Worlds” should be on this list more, but ended up picking Time Machine because of how much I’ve heard reference to the mythology of that universe.  Additionally, I really ought to read this just to scrub the memory of that terrible film that came out a few years back with Guy Pearce from my brain.  Ugh.   

Watership Down by Richard Adams:  Any “Lost” fan worth his salt is supposed to have read this one, so I guess I can’t go on much longer without doing so.  Not that “Lost” is about anthropomorphic bunny rabbits, but I hear along with “The Stand” that it’s a crucial reference point. 

And, that’s it folks.  Of course, “Dune” and “Ender’s Game” would have easily been on this list were it not for the book club, so at least that’s something.  If EG hadn’t (I think) already read most of the above I’d be adding those to the Steve Austin curriculum as well. 

Anyway, now that I’ve got that off my chest, you may commence being disgusted with me now. 

COMING SOON:  My Great Shame, Part 2: Movies  

DEATH OF THE NEW BLOGS

March 14, 2008

“This blog blows.”

You got that right, Darkseid.  Anyway, there aren’t going to be any new updates until next week.  Rest assured, both OG and EG are hard at work reading “Ender’s Game” – so that part of the blog hasn’t broken down yet.  Just everything else.

The first rule of writing a blog that is regularly read by others is to update it often. 

 Which means that this non-update, update is not being read by anyone.

And, that’s okay.  But, I have a new plan on how to pick up my game and will be executing it very soon.  I really will.

Until then, please enjoy the trailer for the wonder of 80’s cinema that was “Ice Pirates.”  A film I declared brilliant as a young boy and forced my poor, long-suffering father to take me to not once, but TWICE!  It’s a wonder that he still loves me…

 Well, he says he does. 

 Okay, see you all soon!