Saturday, February 24, 2007

Justice League Unlimited

After my post of most memorable comic scenes, I got to thinking about the Justice League Unlimited cartoon and how they adapt stories from the comics (like the Superman Annual, For the Man Who Has Everything.) I generally use imdb on a daily basis and very frequently find that an actor or actress has supplied a voice for the show. Just as interesting are those actors who appear not only on this show, but other comics-based shows / movies as well.

OK, after working on a list for the past several hours and realizing I'm not even half-way through I've decided to give up and go get some dinner. Check out the impressive full cast here. You'll be surprised at the number of big names that work on this show, and reprise their roles in other cartoons.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Special Effects is No Substitute for a Good Story

The past two nights I've gone to the movies. The first night was to see Ghost Rider, and the second was to see Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark again on the big screen. Wow, what a difference!

Ghost Rider was mildly entertaining, and I liked the nod to the western comic character, but just wasn't as good a movie as it could have been.

Movie Plot Outline:
1. In keeping with the traditional comic book style, the hero must first defeat the big baddies henchmen. Cut!

2. Then he must defeat the big baddie himself. Cut!

3. Then he must make a speech about how he'll always be vigilant should a similar threat arise. And .....Cut! That's A Wrap People!

My 3 chief complaints about the movie:
1. The henchmen were too easy; There just wasn't enough conflict! Ghost Rider took them out one by one with no problem. They could have easily remedied this by either having them gang up on him at first, leaving him for dead, and have him actively go out to take them on individually or have him learn his own limitations and apply them to defeating the villains. Which brings us to point #2.

2. The character didn't "grow." You just didn't know anything about the character so you really didn't care. Wasn't it a curse? He never seems too broken up about it. I believe they tried to cover this by showing how Blaze has stacks of books about the occult but it just didn't stick. You didn't see him as being desperate to find a loop-hole. I know, you can argue that he just wasn't sure the deal he made really happened, but there wasn't any indication that he was actively trying to find out (questioning priests, mediums, etc.) Which brings us to point #3.

3. The "I'll never rest until I stop you" speech at the end was completely out of character. They showed that Blaze had all these books on the occult, and that he enjoyed watching National Geographic, but they never showed that he was intelligent. If the Lady-in-Distress hadn't been named Roxanne, all of Cage's lines might have been mono-syllabic. Once again, easily fixed perhaps by showing him translating the occult text from latin, or by showing that he put on a dumb adrenaline-junkie act for the press.

All-in-all I was disappointed in the movie. The special effects were very cool and well done, Ghost Rider is just a cool looking character and its great that movie technology can do it justice, but there has to be more than just special effects.

Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark

Raiders came out in 1981; that's 26 years ago (I know that's obvious but until I stopped to do the math '81 just didn't seem to be that long ago!) Oddly enough Raiders is also based on a comic book (Disney's Uncle Scrooge comics that had Scrooge, Donald, and the nephews searching for lost treasures) that both George Lucas and Steven Spielberg had read. But the movie has more of a pulp novel feel. I wouldn't be a bit surprised to find out that Lucas and Spielberg applied Lester Dent's Master Plot to the script, particularly the varied fight scenes (sure Indy wins 'em, but he takes a beating in the process: "It's not the years, it's the mileage!") The movie stands on the solidity of the story. In fact the only real special effects are in the last ten minutes of the movie.

Now I'm not in the movie industry, but it seems to me if you take a good story, with good characterization, and good acting and then add to that modern day special effects if you must, you'll be left with a great movie that is long remembered and people will watch over and over when it comes on TV (I've seen Jaws hundreds of times, but when I'm flipping channels and stumble across it I usually stop and watch it to its end, and thats saying something considering how often its on TNT and AMC), and will probably want to own on DVD. Wouldn't that create more residual income for all involved and be a good reason to not rush an unfinished project. Not to mention the added potential for sequels, prequels, re-makes, and franchise options.

I mean, who's not going to watch the forth-coming Indiana Jones movie?

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Frank Miller's 300 debuts March 9. 2007

300 is a 2007 film adaptation of the graphic novel 300 by Frank Miller about the Battle of Thermopylae. The film is directed by Zack Snyder with Frank Miller attached as an executive producer and consultant, and was shot mostly with bluescreen to mimic the original comic book work. 300 stars Gerard Butler, Lena Headey, Rodrigo Santoro, Andrew Tiernan and David Wenham. The film is scheduled to be released in both conventional and IMAX theaters on March 9, 2007


The film 300 is faithfully adapted (nearly panel by panel) from the graphic novel 300 by Frank Miller in which Spartan King Leonidas (Gerard Butler) and 300 Spartans, along with 700 Thespians and a handfull of slaves, fought to the last man against Persian King Xerxes (Rodrigo Santoro) and his massive army. Facing insurmountable odds, the Spartans' sacrifice inspires all of Greece to unite against the Persian invaders. The story is based on the Battle of Thermopylae in 480 BC.

Visit the Official Movie Site for trailers, music clips, wallpapers, and other downloads.

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Sci Fi Starship Comparison

Alright, I know this doesn't fit into the comics/pulps theme of the site, but a friend sent it to me and I thought it was too cool not to post. I'd love to have a full size print of this!

Saturday, February 10, 2007

Yesterday's Post That I Didn't

Yesterday, I thought I would make a post inviting feedback. The topic would either be:
1. Most memorable comic book scenes or
2. Overall favorite comics (individual, mini-series, or ongoing titles).
I told my brother to get his input, after all this is supposed to be his blog as a companion to his golden age comics site.

But then I got distracted with installing Norton's Internet Security 2007 on my computer. For my computer it's a pain in the @$$. I had forgotten how I did it for 2006 and all in all ended up spending about 4 hours on it, with an hour of that just being on hold with tech support. For my brothers computer, that I'm working on now, no problems whatsoever. As a helpful note to others who may have the same difficulty, i.e. installer not downloading the product, download the trial-ware version (basically the full version but you're skipping the installer), then put your product key into that and its done.

Anyhoo, so then my brother comes home and tells me that someone had posted the exact same topic (most memorable comic scenes) on the John Byrne forum!

Most Memorable Comics Scenes

Just off the top of my head. There are a lot of truly great scenes out there, but if you have to ponder about it, then that defeats my intention.

1. Superman Annual For the Man Who Has Everything. Not the whole story but the part where Robin finally gets into position to save the day, then the fight plummets several floors down.

2. The Boy Who Collected Spider-Man. Probably the first truly touching comic book story I ever read, and thus why it's one of the first to spring to mind.

3. The last comic of Grant Morrisons run on Animal Man where Animal Man meets his Creator (in this case Morrison) and asks how come all this $h!t has been happening to him and The Creator tells him the touching story of trying to nurse a kitten back to health only to have it die. The Creator, after all, is only human and has become morose and brooding.

Favorite Comics

1. D'Arc Tangent. I'm a longtime fan of Phil Foglio's work from back when he did a monthly full page strip in Dragon Magazine. It's also a great companion to Byrne's Rog 2ooo.

2. Chris Clairmont's X-Men Graphic Novel God Loves, Man Kills.

The old Brave and the Bold's featuring Green Lantern and Green Arrow. After 20 years, I still enjoy going back and re-reading those. You can also get these now in a TPB (trade paper back).

Send me your lists and I'll post 'em, or just to comment on my favorites. All replies welcome!

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Joss Whedon No Longer on Wonder Woman Movie

The full story is here. The article goes on to mention the Flash and John Carter (Warlord of Mars) movies in discussion stages.

To track what Whedon is working on, go to his site at