This blog is essentially a collection of posts I used to write on Facebook combined with my travel blog and expanded to make a very public forum of my thoughts regarding Pop Culture, The Interweb, Cartoons, Comics, Ultimate Frisbee, Absurdity, Life, Travel and whatever else captures my attention long enough to write about it...

Enter at your own peril!

27 June 2011

Comics, part 2

The "mainstream"

So continuing from last time I figured I'd write about other comics, only this time just focus on the main marvel and DC lines. Of course rather than talking about individual comics like last time I'll be talking about characters in these "universes" on top of specific story arcs...

Starting with Marvel and their more commonly recognised stuff that I like... The Xmen... Who I like particular individuals in but tend to avoid the whole group just because it's confusing and to much happens. I never liked Spiderman, Ironman is a douche, Captain America is a SUPER douche and the Hulk just sucks (so I won't talk about them). I do like Mister Fantastic from the Fantastic Four, mainly because his advantage is being smart and not his power of being stretchy (on that note did we all notice the Incredibles basically just had the Fantastic Four's powers with speed instead of fire?). Another cool thing from the F4 is they introduced Galactus and the Silver Surfer. The surfer rocks, even if his comic is a bit "woe is me I'm marooned on a planet of savages etc"

So Xmen I like are Nightcrawler, Kitty Pryde and Archangel (interestingly 2 of those 3 where in Xcaliber). Nightcrawler is just a good character, you'd be hard pressed to find someone who doesn't like him (a blue skinned swashbuckler who can teleport was never going to fail), similar to Kitty Pryde (but with WAY cooler powers). Archangel however is up there with the coolest powers around, true he's kinda rubbish in a fight compared to most of them, but he's super fit (without any effort) and can FLY... Everyone would like that power. There are other Xmen I don't mind (Beast, Iceman, Psylocke etc) also but more important are the ones that are annoying... I won't go Wolverine bashing (it's not his fault he's over exposed), he was a good idea when he started, it's just the fact that every second character SINCE has been just a copy of him. Cyclops is a douche, 'nuff said there. Jean Gray is/was also annoying. Storm shits me to tears and wtf is the point of Jubilee?

Stretching from Xmen you get Exiles, I picked up a whole collection of their books from a mate when he moved back to the states. I probably wouldn't have bought them myself but they were a decent price and turned out to be none to shabby. Somewhat standard "traveling through alternate dimensions and trying to get home" plot that included Nightcrawler's daughter from another dimension, the good Sabertooth from Age of Apocalypse and Blink.
Funnily enough it was supposed to be a story removed from the main Marvel universe, but of course when any character begins to gain popularity they need to find themselves relocated to the main universe (as happened with Nocturne). It did provide Marvel another outlet for "alternate universe" versions of popular characters too, like the evil Daredevil and whatnot on the Weapon X team. All without having to go to that "what if" comic they used to do... plus if they proved popular *zip* over to the main universe...

Another "alternate universe" marvel story that's worth looking at is Marvel 1602, basically it's the base marvel universe in the 1600s, weird idea but works pretty well. But I think the main reason it works is NEIL GAIMAN wrote it (more on that later).

The Earth/Universe/Paradise X series is also more of the same "alternate timeline/universe" stuff that Marvel do so often (you think the terminator timeline is complicated, you should look at the marvel universe). Anyway in this one everyone has superpower (cool!) but noone can have kids (???) and there's captain marvel and the avengers are dead and the xmen have scattered and Peter Parker is exposed as Spiderman and blah blah blah... Interesting idea, just draws out for to long and gets way to complicated. Killing death and Galactus and all these other key godlike characters gets tricky but Fat Wolverine (how?), Deadpool/Daredevil, Female Thor and Loki being the only Asgardian who understands what is happening are all amusing though.

Finally we have my favourite character from Marvel... Deadpool... Now I hate to say it but I totally liked Deadpool before it was cool (I've even got one of his standalone comics from the 90s still... It was in a showbag). Essentially he started as a copy of Deathstroke from DC (costume, skills even weapons) but he slowly warped into a pisstake of the 90s "violent antihero" schtick (think Wolverine, Punisher and even more Wolverine). Basically he was in the same Weapon X program that Wolverine was in where he got given the stock  standard super healing power, but he had cancer and something went funny and etc etc... Basically he's covered in horrible scars and it's fucked his brain so he's batshit insane. The most obvious part of this is he knows he's in a comic and noone else does (he even answers his own letters page), so all the other characters think he's an idiot and don't understand him. He doesn't know what he's going to do next, so noone else can predict him and in the last few years (powered by the interweb) he's shot up in popularity to the point where he's basically in every comic Marvel do and his refreshing differences are now annoyingly everywhere... He's still funny, just over exposed (much like Family Guy).

Connected to Deadpool comes a comic character I've never actually read a comic of, but have read about and seriously wish I could get copies of their stuff... Squirrel Girl and the rest of the Great Lakes Avengers... I hate the Avengers, and the spin off West Coast Avengers just seem even more pathetic... But the spin off spin off Great Lakes Avengers seem quite amusing, someone dies in every issue and at one stage they met Deadpool and he moved into their HQ and wouldn't leave. He killed one of them for the remote. Google them for the full story.
Squirrel Girl is probably their most famous member, however she's a little bit all over the shop, her power is she can talk to/control squirrels and she has claws a tail and climbing skills and most importantly hazelnut flavoured lips. She also has an entire collection of "Iron Man Vs" collector cards, giving her background info on bad guys... using these abilities she's managed to bring down some of the biggest bad guys in the marvel universe... Apparently some writers hate her and keep trying to "but no" her accomplishments and others love her and keep making her beat bigger and badder people... Much more amusing than Spiderman or the Captain America.

Providing a lovely segue is the Marvel Vs DC collection I have, average kinda comic but interesting in that they used reader votes to determine the winners. Batman vs Captain America, Superman vs Hulk, Spiderman vs Superboy, Flash vs Thor, Silver Surfer vs Green Lantern etc... The coolest part of this clearly being the weird amalgam universe, a Batman/Wolverine Hybrid chasing a Sabertooth/Joker Hybrid with an incredibly annoying Captain America/Superman hybrid etc...
Comics being comics and Marvel/DC being Marvel/DC nothing that is even remotely popular is let go, so that means Amalgam Comics was setup to do 24 comic run of stories about the heroes/villains from the merged universe (never let storyline get in the way of potential profit). A list of comics to think from this would include
  • Legends of the Dark Claw (Wolverine/Batman)
  • Bruce Wayne, Agent of Shield (Bruce Wayne/Nick Fury)
  • Iron Lantern (Iron Man/Green Lantern)
  • Lobo the Duck (Lobo/Howard the Duck... WTF is right)
Now we move into DC land... As mention previously I was never into DC as much as Marvel (although Watchmen is officially DC, and V for Vendetta is Vertigo which is a DC imprint)... Basically I HATE Superman and Batman, I really really hate the pair of them. The Joker is an awesome villain, but Batman sucks, so unsurprisingly the coolest DC comic I own is a Batman story with no Batman in it till the last couple of pages. It's just the Joker leaving Arkham and going on a bit of a rampage, then finishes with Batman coming from nowhere and kicking the fuck out of him.

But that does mean we can segue straight to Neil Gaiman's Sandman comic, initially DC and later Vertigo this is one of the most awesome comics you can ever read. Neil Gaiman would have to be one of my favourite writers (of anything... yes there is man crush there) so his most kick ass of kick ass comics is pretty freaking awesome. I've read his short stories, kids stories, comics, novels and watched the damn movies and they're all awesome. I won't bother trying to summarise the series, just read it... read it all.

So that's the two big publishing houses covered, next up is the smaller stuff...

Love, Hugs and Kisses

23 June 2011

Comics, part 1

So looking over my previous posts I've found very little reference to comics on here. Now I'm not quite a "comic book" person like you imagine when you hear the term... There's no collection of air tight plastic bags holding issue 1 of anything, in fact there's very few actual comics in my collection, it's almost exclusively "graphic novels" (big comics for those who don't know what that means).
Anyway I guess when I first started paying any attention to comics it was in the 90s and mainly Marvel stuff... But that was mainly due to the toys and the tv shows and not actual comics... Although I do have one (somewhere) where Magneto rips out Wolverines adamantium and then Prof X vegetables him... So in the Marvel vs DC debate I'm pretty heavily on the Marvel side (on that note I did have a couple of the Marvel vs DC comics they did... and years later picked up the collection). When I started looking at them again a few years back (coinciding strongly with the appearance of a disposable income) I drifted away from the Marvel/DC "mainstream" and started looking at other publishers like Devils Due and the more obvious Image, Dark Horse etc...
So I was shifting around my collection to new shelves and I thought I'd write something about it... but I couldn't quite come up with anything that worthwhile... So I thought I'd just write about comics/characters I like or own and why...

Starting with the "classics" (most are movies now too)

THE comic that everyone tells you to read. Alan Moore (a name you need to know to understand comics today... but a bit of a douche... more on that later). Award winning (and not just in comic categories, but actual "real" books too) and quite worthy of said awards. Complex story with lots of morally grey areas and a quite good movie too. Read it more than once... Although the artwork is nothing special (Alan Moore is pretty boring in his layouts...) Committing comic book heresy here, but I actually like the movie conclusion a lot more than the book, (spoiler time) but Dr Manhatten going rogue and threatening earth seems much more realistic (within the bounds of the story) than other dimensional aliens... Although it sucked they took out the pirate story. Also interestingly was meant to be set in a "universe" of another publisher that DC "acquired" and then be killing off established characters with history, rather than newly developed ones.
V for Vendetta
Again with Alan Moore, this time indulging in his pen chant for anarchism and revolution (rather than sex and conspiracy that Watchmen covered). Interesting enough story with boring as art (although no thought bubbles is new). A semi decent movie adaption that Alan Moore seems to hate (basically he's a douche and hates anyone doing anything with his work). He can blather on about trying to make his work unfilmable and wanting comics to be special... but that's not ever going to happen dude... get over it...
V is harder to read than Watchmen mainly due to all the hoo hah about anarchy and the completely unrealistic end game of V... People ruling themselves nicely? Dream on... I quite like the anti authoritarian stance, getting upset because the words "anarchism" and "fascism" aren't used is pretty silly IMHO

Sin City
Another classic turned into a reasonably popular film, this time however it's NOT an Alan Moore work but Frank Miller. A series of very awesome looking comics held together by a very tight (if somewhat over the top) story. And because Frank Miller had a bullshit time making Robocop 3 (basically he got fucked by a studio) the movie is pretty close to the comics too.

What? Frank Miller again? Yes much like Stan Lee invented 90% of the Marvel universes characters a surprisingly large proportion of really kick ass (more on Kick Ass later) comics come from a surprisingly small portion of writers. Funnily (yet unsurprisingly) enough Alan Moore had a whinge about this comic (and probably the movie too)... Apparently there wasn't enough homo in it for him... I get the feeling Alan Moore is kinda a epic douche as a person.
The art is once again quite awesome (and different to the "norm" or Alan Moore's "extra boring" style) and again the movie (the "this is Sparta" one) turned out to be quite popular (at least on the interweb) and quite close to the original comic.

Moving on from "classics/must haves", but continuing the "recently filmed" trend and you have

Kick Ass
Not Frank Miller or Alan Moore, but once again comic bigwigs (kinda) and you get a relatively new comic being developed almost alongside its movie. Substantial differences exist between the comic and movie (not the least being the reaction by the chick when she finds out he's not gay) and whilst you might think the movie is a little fucked up, it's got nothing compared to the comic. And most amazingly the comic writer is quite ok with the differences between the movie and the comic, with the reasoning being comic audiences and film audiences are different and film audiences wouldn't be able to deal with the less than happy things that happen (because they're pussies essentially). Think of Kick Ass the movie as the "chick flick" of the comic.
Bright colours, over the top storyline and gore make this comic most amusing to read... and I can't wait for the next two installments (comic AND movie)

The Mask
Yes it was a comic first, no the movie has nothing at all to do with the comic... Well they both have green faces, that's about it... I do like the Jim Carey vehicle, however comparing it to the comic is possibly even less reliable that comparing the Starship Troopers book to the movie.
Crazy over the top stories and violence makes the looney tunes copy cat mask from the movie appear like a total pussy... Plus the mask is actually a BAD guy in the comic...

I dearly dearly dearly want to read the Lobo/Big Head crossover and the Big Head/Joker crossover.

That's about all I can be bothered writing for the moment, but I do have more to write about (Scott Pilgrim, Hack/Slash, Dead @ 17, Marvel stuff, not to mention Neil Gaiman) so I'll do that whenever I get around to doing it

Love, Hugs and Kisses


I really love the movie Ghostbusters... It's only recently occurred to me how compulsively I will watch that movie. Whenever I'm looking for a DVD to watch it's always on the short list (or the sequel). I think it would be quite distressing to see just how much of that movie I know off by heart, either of them... Ghostbusters 2 still has one of my favorite henchmen lines ever "soon it will be midnight and the city will be mine and Vigos... well mainly Vigos..." Ghostbusters 2 also counts as the first ever reference in my life to Moldova (Vigo was the "sorrow of Moldavia").
The Ghostbusters 2 computer game is one of the first games I ever remember playing on a PC and it was impossibly hard. All I could do was collect the slime and occasionally break someone out of the mental institute... I couldn't catch ghosts at all. I assumed this was because I was young and computers were complicated, but a few years ago I found a copy of the game and played it... That wasn't the issue, that game was just insanely hard...
I've played and finished the new PS3 game, fun but quite short... but hey you get to be a ghostbuster and run around with the original ghostbusters in the game (hell they even do the voices) so I was sold there...

Even the theme warms my heart, I believe I've mentioned before that a ghostbusters multitrack is the default video for me on youtube, but I've dug up a bunch of other covers of the song...In order of goodness are
8 bit

Anyway... I like Ghostbusters

Love, Hugs and Kisses