Thursday, June 30, 2005

Da War of Da Woilds

It's quite good. Spielberg's best effort in years, certainly. It is simply a machine designed to freak you out for two hours. And it works. There's pretty much nothing to the movie beyond "unsettling," so I don't know how many times I could watch it, but it's an impressive suspense/horror movie. It upset Emory and Leslie quite a bit, really.

I'm fine, though. Because I'm not a pussy.

Wednesday, June 29, 2005

The Inside (of my butt)

Finally saw the first two episodes of Tim Minear's new show The Inside, and I'm not wholly convinced yet.

The show has an intriguing premise: Peter Coyote runs a small squad of FBI agents who sepcialize in serial killers, only Coyote's really creepy and manipulative. The newest recruit is an untested agent who was kidnapped and tortured by a serial killer when she was 10. She has a knack for getting to "the inside" of a serial killer's brain. Yes, like Manhunter. Only less Michael Mann-y.

Rachel Nichols plays the lead, Rebecca, and she's wooden and distant to the point of distraction. In the first episode Emory and I thought her big secret would turn out that she was a robot. (Someday, some character we think is a robot will actually BE a robot, and then you'll all be sorry!) Anyway, she kind of sucks. But the show kind of rests on her shoulders. And Jay Harrington, playing the squad's moral center, is kind of annoying. But Adam Baldwin's around, basically just playing Jayne again, but that's still better than no Adam Baldwin at all. And Peter Coyote is always a welcome presence. (Emory had the legitimate question of whether Coyote is also on USA's The 4400, since he was in the initial miniseries. Anyone know?) Anyway, the show is in the basic "case per episode" mode, which rather limits my interest, but the subplot of Coyote's manipulations is cool, and Rebecca has some secrets left. It's basically C.S.I. with actual characters, so there are worse things, although it doesn't really fill my need for long-form narrative fiction that I require of all my TV shows nowadays.

I'll probably watch it when I'm home, but nothing I've seen so far has made it a must-see. Still, Minear, Espenson, and Fury all working together again warms my heart.

Shout out

To Brandon and any of his co-workers that might read this..., hi.

I'm not very good at shout-outs. Does "shout-out" have a hyphen or not? Man, I don't even know.

Meanwhile, everyone becomes adults

Danny (Frank's younger brother) proposed to his girlfriend. She said yes.

Julia had her baby. She's really cute.

Knock it off, guys. You're making me look bad.

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Slow news day

Not much for you today. Plus I have actual work to do. Perhaps I'll get inspired later, but for now here's an interesting essay on Batman Begins and the myth of the superhero.

Monday, June 27, 2005

Well, so much for that

So no more play. I've never actually performed a play for that long a time, so I'm not quite sure what to do now that it's over. It's a weird feeling.

It went great this weekend. Packed houses on both Friday and Sunday and everyone was really complimentary. It's just been so great to work on a production like this, where everyone involved really believes in what they're doing, and are so enthusiastic about it, and have the talent to back up that enthusiasm. This has easily been one of my best theater experiences.

Darren painted watercolors of each of us as robots. I'm so gonna frame mine, it's not even funny. My robot-self is wearing a helmet.

Man, what am I going to do with myself now?

Friday, June 24, 2005

Why Hollywood makes me vom

Between Alan's thoughts on the new Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, and the horrific film adaptations of The Cat in the Hat and How the Grinch Stole Christmas, I now present a miniature play about how Hollywood execs would react if I tried to pitch them a whimsical children's film based on some of my own favorite stories from my youth.

(JEFF sits in an office with two EXECUTIVES. JEFF is pitching story ideas.)

JEFF: Okay, how about Where the Wild Things Are?

EXECUTIVE 1: Tell us more about these "Wild Things."

JEFF: Well, they live on this island, and they dance around, hoot and holler, that sort of things.

EXECUTIVE 2: Where did they come from?

JEFF: Excuse me?

EXEC 1: Yeah, what's their story?

JEFF: Well, they're just there on the island...

EXEC 2: Could we give them a backstory?

JEFF: I don't know...

EXEC 1: Right, like maybe a discraced scientist came to this island many years ago...

EXEC 2: Good! And he created these "Wild Things," because he was a geneticist. Like a rogue geneticist, whose experiments were deemed too "wild" by the scientific community.

EXEC 1: And he eventually dies, and his creations are left to run "wild."

EXEC 2: And that's where we come in on Max. Sounds good, right?

JEFF: You know, forget about that one. I'm not really into it. How about, um, Calvin and Hobbes?

EXEC 1: I'm not sure I'm familiar with that property.

JEFF: You know, it's the comic strip where the little kid has the stuffed tiger, only he imagines that the tiger is alive and talks to him. And no one can talk to the tiger but him.

EXEC 2: So is the tiger really alive, or is the kid crazy?

EXEC 1: That's something we're going to have to establish.

EXEC 2: Right. Like maybe Calvin's dad bought the tiger in this hidden shop run by an ancient Chinese man...

EXEC 1: Or, or how about this? The tiger is from this ancient society where tigers walked and talked and ruled the earth.

EXEC 2: Only he was cursed! Cursed to live as a stuffed tiger, but when Calvin is around, he can resume his old form because...

EXEC 1: Because Calvin is a descendant of the sorcerer who put the curse on Hobbes in the first place!

EXEC 2: Yeah, and maybe the plot is that they're trying to get this curse lifted, because Calvin has learned to love and appreciate Hobbes.

JEFF: Yeah...

(JEFF pulls out a gun and shoots executives and then himself.)


Thursday, June 23, 2005

In the year 2056

The Onion has been pretty lackluster overall, lately, but this weeks' issue totally makes up for it.

Sweet TV memoires

To the ever-expanding list of TV shows that needed to be on DVD yesterday, let us add the animated Tick series that aired on Fox in the mid-90's.

Last night Leslie and I were flipping channels and we found that Toon Disney re-airs The Tick at 11 (or so) on weeknights. Watching that episode ("The Tick vs. the Uncommon Cold") made me remember how goddamn funny that show became, particularly in its 2nd and 3rd seasons. How easy would it be to release all the episodes on one DVD set? Pretty easy.

MAN, that show was funny. I've got one word for you: Sarcastro.


Is there a finer 45 minutes of British comedy than the "Bambi" episode of The Young Ones? I ask you.

Not only are there appearances by Robbie Coltrane, Emma Thompson, Hugh Laurie (I should really watch House one of these days), and Stephen Fry, but the musical guest is MOTORHEAD! Doing "Ace of Spades"! That song rocks harder than you ever will, even if you lived to be 1,000.

I mean, The Young Ones is always really funny, but that episode just hits it out of the park, gag after gag. Like when Neil is quizzing Rik on the way to University Challenge? And Rik can't get the answers right?

"You spiteful little bastard, Neil! Just because you've done loads and loads of work for this! Just because you've done about 15 MILLION tons of work just like a GIRL!"

Then at the end they're all crushed by a gian sticky bun and fed to an elephant. It's that kind of show.

If you've never seen The Young Ones, then you are a lost soul, and I pity you.

V (not the lizard alien one, the comic book one)

I'm really excited about the V for Vendetta movie. Not for the movie itself, really (I've never even read the comic), but because I want to see how America reacts to a movie where the hero is an anarchistic terrorist.

Onward and upward

But enough about my easily-avoidable, financially-debilitating mistakes. Let's talk about some music!

As stated long ago at the outset of this blog, I am not a "music person." I do not know all the cool bands, either hipster-y or actually popular. I don't listen to the radio. I buy, on average, perhaps three CDs a year.

But now that I have the car, and my portable CD player and everything, I find that I cycle through my meager CD collection very quickly, so am therefore forced to seek out new music, no matter how much I loathe doing so. So it's a good thing two excellent bands released new CDs recently!

Firstly, Sleater-Kinney's The Woods totally rocks. Like, HARD. Like, deliberately distorted, ripping guitar, like "BWAAAAAAAAAAH!" hard, you know? To use an overexposed catchphrase, this album is turned up to 11. And it's not really interested in being catchy. This isn't One Beat. Good luck finding an actual chorus in the first track. Which isn't to say the tracks aren't great. They are. And a few are of the "stuck in your head" variety, particularly the alarmingly light (for this album) "Modern Girl." That song will nest in your head and refuse to leave. I've been walking around this entire week singing "Myyyy whooooooole liiiiiife is like a picture of sunny daaaaay" to myself. Anyway, the album is awesome.

Yesterday I also got the new White Stripes album, Get Behind Me Satan. I heard part of it over at Frank's the other night (Jess was insistent on listening to "My Doorbell," which is indeed a damn good song). Anyway, for some reason I hadn't planned on buying this album, even though I was a huge fan of Elephant. But the songs I heard at Frank's were good, and the part of the album I got to listen to before my car magically vanished into fairyland were to my liking. So hooray, good music! I'm actually thinking of going to the record store and buying (gasp) MORE music! What is this world coming to?

Any recommendations?

King of the jackasses

A recurring irrational fear I have is that while parking my car, I will simply not notice that I have parked in a red zone, or blocking a driveway, or in a permit zone, and I will return to my vehicle to find that it has been towed away.

Last night my dream came true!

So fuzzy-headed was I yesterday afternoon that I parked in front of a driveway in broad daylight. Paul, Leslie, and I were going out to my car to go to karaoke only to find that it had vanished. I was out of sorts yesterday, I guess. I don't know, there's no excuse really, other than I am simply unobservant and an idiot.

Next month I simply plan on flushing 200 dollars down the toilet directly, so that I don't have to wake Leslie up at 7 AM to drive me to the impound lot.

At least it wasn't stolen. Although I would have come out ahead, financially, if it had been.

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Come back, it wasn't me

I haven't been ignoring you, little blog. It's just that the internet at work has been down from 11 AM yesterday until just now. So don't worry.

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Marvel sues everybody on earth

I suppose it's easy to see this as Marvel just rabidly suing anyone whose work vaguely resembles theirs (a la the "City of Heroes" suit), but I think there might be a bit more to this one. After all, if the only similarity is that it's a school for superheroes, why didn't Marvel go after Sky High, that's coming out later this summer? I think there's a bit more to this one.

Monday, June 20, 2005

Morrison let loose on DCU

Stephenson on Star Wars

One of my favorite authors, Neal Stephenson, has an interesting take on Star Wars in the New York Times. Check it out.

The doldrums

Man, I need to find whatever it is about Sundays that makes me so goddamn depressed and DESTROY IT.

Seriously, every Sunday I get really down and it takes a few days to recover. What's up with that?

So how was your weekend?

Mine was pretty typical. Show went well, I think. Lots of friendly faces this weekend, particularly on Saturday. Everyone seemed to enjoy it quite a bit, which is always nice. It's so rare to be involved in something so fun with so many excellent people, so it's really great that audiences are into it. Very gratifying.

Not much else, really. Oh, Finding Neverland is incredibly bad. Just so dull. And everyone speaks in these mumbly, hused tones. As Emory said, "What, is this movie afraid of waking the neighbors or something? SPEAK UP!" Seriously. Also, it's only 90 minutes long, but it feels like 2 1/2 hours. Can't BELIEVE that it was up for best picture. Woof.

Friday, June 17, 2005

It's Street Angel!

The Street Angel trade just came out last week. It's a mere 15 bucks for the five issue miniseries, plus several short stories and a bunch of other crap. Street Angel is a young, homeless skateboarder who goes around writing wrongs, fighting ninjas, and thwarting the Devil. Sometimes she time travels. If you haven't read Street Angel, you're missing out on one of the pure, goofy pleasures that American comics has to offer. That bit with the megaphone in issue #1 still has me chuckling.

Oh, Roger

I suppose arguments could be made against Roger Ebert's relevance these days, but then he writes something like this from his review of the new release, The Perfect Man:

"The Perfect Man" crawls hand over bloody hand up the stony face of this plot, while we in the audience do not laugh because it is not nice to laugh at those less fortunate than ourselves, and the people in this movie are less fortunate than the people in just about any other movie I can think of, simply because they are in it.



Last night I admitted that I rub Odin on my cheek sometimes despite the fact that a thin, irritating layer of cat hair and dander immediately accumulates in my nostrils when I do this. There it remains, until it finally itches enough to sneeze out, usually sometime the next day druing work. Then I go home and do it all again. I just look at him and say "Aw, look at your little cat face. Let me now apply it to my clean, human face." I've just never had a pet I could hold before, I guess. I don't even know if I'm actually allergic to cats, since I think most anyone would sneeze should they voluntarily apply cat hair directly to the inside of their nostrils. You'd think I would take a lesson from this, but no.

Why am I incapable of learning?

Thursday, June 16, 2005

I'll break YOUR leg

I don't go in for theatrical superstition. You do not need to say "break a leg" to me. "Good luck" or "good show" are just fine. I say "good show," since I emphatically refuse to say "break a leg." I also will say "Macbeth" in a theater. I'll say it a lot. I'm still waiting for the doom to fall upon me. When I was in Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead back in college, I got chastised for whistling in the theater, because that's apparently bad luck, too. Whatever.

Man, isn't acting hard enough without having to worry about bullshit like that?

Which isn't to say I don't appreciate people saying "break a leg." I appreciate the sentiment muchly. Just letting you know that "good luck" is just as good.

The Fantastic

Are there only three scenes in the Fantastic Four movie? There've been like three trailers and it's just been more or less the same footage every time.

Here's a controversial statement: I don't hate the Fantastic Four trailer. Sure, the dialogue is weak, but the movie looks like it could be goofy fun, and that's really the tone an FF movie needs. I've never been a particular fan of the FF comic (save for Waid's awesome run, and that Morrison miniseries), but I don't think this film will be the nail in superhero film coffin that many in the comics blogosphere (kill me if I ever say that again) have supposed. Scott Tipton puts such talk in perspective. (Seriously, follow that link. It's hysterical.)

So yeah, it might be that bad, but I haven't despaired yet. And I won't lie to you, I get kind of thrilled when they show that footage of Johnny yelling "Flame on!" and then writing the flaming "4" in the sky. That's cool.

Batman Begins

Oh, yeah. That's the good stuff.

It's a cool take on Batman, and I enjoyed it bunches. Those who want a more detailed analysis can hit the Begum thread. Probably my second favorite Batman movie.

Emory really wants Katie Holmes to become Two-Face (Begins is set in a Harvey Dent-less universe), which is a cool idea in theory, but as Paul noted, Holmes probably couldn't pull it off. Frank also pointed out that she's presented as too level-headed to go off the deep end after her face gets scarred. Dent had problems well before becoming a villain. Still, gender-reversed villains are cool.

Enough already

And the graphic novel I've been looking forward to for months is pushed back yet again. What's the deal, DC? Why are you killing me? First it was supposed to be out in May, then July, now August.

In other news, I finally read the "Half a Life" arc from Gotham Central last night. It's good, very solid, but nothing blew me away. The mystery villain behind it all is never much of a mystery. But the motivations and plotting are rock-solid, and Michael Lark's pencils are always a plus.

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

Week of NO SLEEP

Sunday: Howl at the Moon for Kim's b'day
Monday: Night of normal sleep
Tuesday: Batman Begins midnight screening
Wednesday: Karaoke
Thursday: Show and inevitable post-show shenanigans
Friday: Hopefully some sort of thrilling social engagement.
Saturday: Show and inevitable post-show shenanigans

Somebody help me!

Tuesday, June 14, 2005


How on earth will I be able to live without this?

When they released The Complete Far Side I was able to resist only because of the price and because Emory and Leslie got a copy. But now it's Calvin and Hobbes, man. That strip's power over me is absolute. Good thing it comes out a few weeks before my birthday.

Monday, June 13, 2005

Whooooo are you?

A few days ago the roommates and I were flipping around cable channels and eventually settled on some reruns of CSI. Now unlike, say, the roughly 200 billion people that regularly make CSI the highest-rated show on television, I'd only seen one episode of the show in my life, so it was interesting to see what all the fuss was about.

Dudes, that show is GROSS. One episode we saw featured a dead cheerleader who had been killed and PARTIALLY EATEN by her friends who were high on PCP. There was a scene where a charcter was rifiling through this guy's VOMIT, in order to find PIECES of the PARTIALLY EATEN cheerleader. The most popular show on television, people. Woof!

Some lessons I've learned from the now three episodes I've seen of CSI:

Crime scene investigators not only investigate crime scens, they also totally do all the work of homicide detectives, as well! Nice work on doubling up those roles, city of Las Vegas! Also, they have awesome computer technology from the future! (David Simon has specifically cited CSI, with its pat resolutions and completely unrealistic, high-tech police work, as an impetus to create The Wire.)

If you ever deviate from heterosexual, missionary-position sex, you will die in one of a thousand grisly ways. It's God's way of punishing you.

If you've heard these gags before, I apologize. I arrived late to the party.

PS - Speaking of CSI and therefore William Peterson, if you saw Red Dragon but haven't seen Manhunter, then for God's sake, see Manhunter. Witness how awesome that story can be when I decent director is at the helm!

Zombies and Lauren Bacall

Okay, so there were no zombies. But we did go see To Have and Have Not at the Hollywood Forever cemetary (projected on the side of a mausoleum). It was one of the most roundly enjoyable excursions in some time. We got there early, set up blankets, and ate and drank and had a fine time. The movie was excellent, too. I'm still snickering at "What are you trying to do, guess her weight?" It was a really diverse group of attendees, as well, with a mixure of high school friends and theater festival friends. Plus Trumbo, who fits into neither of those categories, but whose presence is always appreciated.

In contrast, last night we went to Howl at the Moon at Universal Citywalk for Kimberlyl Jo's birthday. The theme, as near as I could tell was "If frat boys grew up to be sub-par, piano-centric cover bands." A loud and oppressive atmosphere combined with a jocular, casual sexism. It was totally delightful. And by "delightful" I mean "tiresome after 30 seconds." Not really my kind of place at all, particularly coming straight from a performance at the end of a long weekend. I would've left, but when I mentioned the possibility of departure, Kim put on a ginormous pout so I stuck around. What? It was her birthday party.

I thought the show went really well this weekend. Um, and that's about all I have to say about it.

Friday, June 10, 2005

The cutting room floor

Leslie reminded me of this great take from our 24-hour film that we couldn't put in the movie because Emory blew his lines and everyone cracked up. While Emory and Nell are waiting in the car outside General Murder's summer bungalow, Nell asks, "So who is this General Murder guy?" Then Emory says:

"He's my arch-nemesis."
(loooooooooong pause)
"...He's a general."

Oh man, that's funny. I also miss the bit about how we need to start a new Awesome Book because the first one was filled with the names of all the waiters from that Thai place that Emory's character likes.

The creative process, people. It's killing your darlings, day in and day out.

I reckon

I ended a phone conversation today with "I reckon you will," which led me to ponder if people thought I said that because I was from the midwest and my parents are Southern, or something.

In truth, saying "I reckon" is an affectation I picked up while doing the play Dark of the Moon in high school that I was never able to shake. All the characters in that play are mountain-dwelling, moonshine-swilling types, and I said it so much as my character(s) that it snuck its way into my daily speech. So now you know... the rest of the story. Good day!

Please kill me

For I am getting OLD.

I spent half and hour today thinking about who I would invite to my wedding.

Nevermind that I don't even have a GIRLFRIEND. The thought just popped into my head and I went with it. Clearly everyone around me needs to STOP GETTING MARRIED so such thoughts do not enter my impressionable little brain.

Haute Tension

Those who were planning on seeing High Tension when it hits theaters this summer would probably do well to stay the hell away. Although come to think of it, those who were really looking forward to High Tension probably will not be deterred by the problems I had with it.

It's just yet another entry in that new streak of horror movies (such as the recent remake of Texas Chainsaw Massacre or House of 1000 Corpses) where there is never one moment of actual fright, but many moments that are just thorougly, thoroughly unpleasant. It's not actually SCARY to watch someone's throat get slit and to see how they try to breath despite the massive gash in their neck. It's just GROSS. The actually scary part should be everything leading up to the throat slitting, but High Tension bypasses that entirely. It does manage some suspenseful moments in its second act, as our heroine makes every effort not to reveal herself to the killer, but once he does notice her, the movie goes right back to "I'm totally killing this guy with a bandsaw! Isn't that SCARY?" No. No it's not. It just makes me feel bad about the human race. I mean, say what you will about the recent J-horror phenomenon, but at least those movies try to evoke a MOOD. The little girl crawling out of the television in The Ring is more terrifying that all 90 minutes of High Tension times a thousand.

The "twist" makes no narrative sense, and on a second viewing I imagine it completely destroys what little suspense the film can muster. This is not a movie I imagine anyone will want to see over and over. I will say this about the twist: it makes the movie really easy to make fun of. I don't want to reveal it, in case you're psyched about the movie, but it turns the movie into a joke.

UPDATE: Roger Ebert agrees with me. But he had to see the dubbed version. Poor Roger.

Thursday, June 09, 2005

And now... your moment of schmoop

Now the song is nearly over
We may never find out what it means
Still there's a light I hold before me
You're the measure of my dreams
The measure of my dreams.

-From "A Rainy Night in Soho" by The Pogues

I was listening to this song on my lunchbreak and figured I'd share. See you tomorrow.


There was a possibility that I would move in with Paul in a few months, but he found hisself a new place to live, so I'm stuck with Emory and Leslie for a bit longer (the slow-acting poison should be taking effect any day now).

However, the possibility of my departure put the moving bee in Emory and Leslie's bonnets, and we've started looking for a new place. We saw an apartment last night that was awesome. It was down on Las Palmas a block south of Fountain. It's spacious and the bedrooms don't share walls and there's a balcony that overlooks Hollywood and the manager is this hippie musician lady who was way cool. We want it super-bad. Leslie's turning in our applications today, so hopefully we'll get it. Oh, please let us get it!

Anyway, MOVING!

They like us! They really like us!

So the Backstage West review of "Forget My Chrome Embrace" (and the Festival as a whole) is finally up. I encourage you to go read the whole thing, but let me just share some highlights from the paragraph about "Chrome Embrace."

"The festival's funniest entry is its last..."

" humorous as it is original..."

"The trio of performances are ideal..."

I'm going to do the "good review" dance now.

Wednesday, June 08, 2005


Over on MySpace I have a pretty strict "no bands as friends" policy (unless, of course, I know them), but when Mike Doughty sent me a friend request I couldn't resist. Aw, Mike Dougty! I have problems with your new album, but I've loved your music since high school. Of course we can be friends! You should totally come to my house for cookies and sugar-free soda.

We3 at New Line

Looks like We3 is being optioned by New Line. I wonder how they'll do the animal voices? They'll probably be very disturbing. As will the whole enterprise, really. Finally, a new movie to give Leslie nightmares for years!

Speaking of comic book movies, y'all heard that Watchmen was in turnaround at Paramount, right? Don't make plans to see that movie anytime soon. Of course this leaves the possibility open for an HBO miniseries, so that's a good thing.

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

If loving it is wrong, I don't want to be right

Bit that's been stuck in my head all day today: The 'Black Sheep' rapper from Chappelle's Show.

"I'm the Black Sheep! The Black Sheep! The real Black Sheep! Doodle-oo, doodle-oo, doodley-doo! Doodle-oo, doodle-oo, doodley-doo!"

If you see the DVDs, be sure to watch the uncut version of that bit, where he just makes up crazy nonsense rhymes. "Spaghetti! Spaghetti! Potato sauce!"


Why Jeph Loeb can't stop losing

I decided to stop making fun of Jeph Loeb's comics in this space awhile ago, since I recognize that the kind of story he likes to tell is simply not my cup of tea, and I understand that some people enjoy Krypto or Supergirl of (I kid you not) Batzarro, etc. But then he had to go and talk a little trash in a really embarassing manner, so let's spend a little time punching holes in his arguement, shall we?

In this interview over at Newsarama, Loeb disusses his latest Superman/Batman arc, and why the villains of the piece are pastiches of the Avengers.

But, if I had to pick one particular moment when I knew I had to tell this story it was, oddly enough, when I read The Pulse #2 by Brian Michael Bendis.

Now, some folks will think of me as an obsessive DC fan -- and before you all bring out your torches and storm the gate, I think Brian is a brilliant writer and a good friend -- but Brian wrote a story about young female reporter named "Teri Kidder" Get it? Teri Hatcher plus Margot Kidder = you got it! In the story, the folks at the Bugle point out that they are a real newspaper and her resume was a bit of a joke. Up to this point, I'm rolling my eyes, but I know that DC and Marvel have tweaked each other on the nose for years and it's all in good fun.

Then, Bendis had the Goblin beat her to death - something I don't recall The Goblin ever doing to Gwen, MJ, or Jessica Jones for that matter - and then dumped her corpse in the Central Park Lake.

Pardon me for not laughing. Bendis crossed the line. He could have told the exact same story, called the character Jenny Johnson and while I'm not a big fan of violence against women, I wouldn't have picked up on it. But. He. Didn't. It was Lois Lane he did that to and for what?

Since then, JMS has had great fun over in Spider-Man throwing sticks and stones; he spends an enormous amount of time on Supreme Power which is a really good book with really big ideas -- I just don't know why it has to be a rip on the Justice League? Doesn't Marvel have its own clean versions? JMS is such a talented guy, I was just bewildered as to why he took this on. I mean, look at Rising Stars -- brilliant in thought and execution -- and wholly original.

And now, Reginald Hudlin -- for whatever reason, and I suspect it is editorial -- brings in a "Kansas fed reporter who can fly and has heat vision" to pal around with Peter Parker. And the Sentry is now a member of the Justice -- I mean, New Avengers... (laughs)

So... DC must be doing something right if the guys across the street have nothing better to do than find ways of telling our stories.

And then, it struck me. It's all for fun. It's all about enjoying the stuff that makes comics, well, comics. We all do it. We come on message boards or hang around the comic book shop and point out that Clark Kent's disguise of using eyeglasses makes no sense or that nothing happens in an Ultimate book for 5 issues and the 6th one kicks ass.

And ... why should Marvel have all the fun?


In other words, if you've never read a Marvel Comic will you understand what's going on? Sure. If you have, well, just remember -- Bendis started it! (laughs)
Now I'm not mad that he's ragging on Marvel. Whatever. It's just the way he's doing it that is so ridiculous. Has he seriously only read Silver Age DC comics? Does he not realize that Marvel and DC have been doing this shit to each other SINCE THE 80'S? He wonders why Supreme Power is a rip on the Justice League? 'Cause it's the friggin' SQUADRON SUPREME, man! They've been around forever! There was that whole miniseries that got all that critical praise (it is, thematically, a forebearer to Kingdom Come and The Authority, and came out BEFORE Watchmen), then they were supporting characters/villains/allies to the Avengers for a long time. They were created by Mark Gunewald, who was always mad that Marvel and DC's characters couldn't exist in the same big universe. So the Squadron Supreme was his way of coping. And JMS is now doing a take on those characters, that, honestly, is way better than anything DC is doing with them right now. And I think it goes without saying that I think Rising Stars doesn't hold a candle to Supreme Power.

As for The Pulse, I honestly didn't notice she was Lois Lane. Seriously. Maybe I'm dense, but I missed it. But isn't it cute how mad he gets about it? Hey, Jeph! She's not real! Also, that scene was supposed to be horrific, not funny. Bendis doesn't do stuff like that. You're thinking of Millar. And the reason why it's so easy to ape those characters is because they'r so iconic and recognizeable. Anyone off the street can say "Oh hey, that dude's like Superman/Wonder Woman/Batman...", etc. But how many can say "Oh hey, that dude's like Ant Man"? If anything, using pastiches like that seems like a compliment more than anything. Like, "Hey, your character is so universally recognized that I can make vague allusions and everyone will nod their heads in understanding."

And finally, Bendis didn't start it. Grunewald actually started it, if you want to throw stones. And it's been going on ever since. Where was Jeph Loeb to cry foul during Alan Moore's work on Supreme? Or is it only when DC characters get used? Or else we might have heard some squawks during Millar's run on Authority (in which the stars of that book brutally and bloodily slaughtered a whole legion of ersatz Marvel characters, including the Avengers and X-Men)? Or Warren Ellis' Planetary, in which the main villains are clearly supposed to be the Fantastic Four (and those same villains kill versions of Superman, Wonder Woman, and Green Lantern)?

This is just something that's been so firmly entrenched in the mainstream for so long. And here Loeb comes along, acting like it's a brand new phenomenon. If you're going to talk trash, at least do it intelligently.

Monday, June 06, 2005

"I shall become a bat!"

Let's hope Batman Begins is as good as this.

I know, I know. I link to Dinosaur Comics too much. LEAVE ME ALONE!

Movies! (and some TV)

Leslie and I did the math the other day, and realized we hadn't seen a film in the theater since Sin City. Which is why I'm pleased to report that this weekend Hollywood is finally getting around to releasing not one but TWO movies I'm actually interested in seeing.

First, there's Mr. and Mrs. Smith, which will hopefully be an at least passably entertaining popcorn flick. In the very least, it will feature the world's two prettiest people shooting at each other for two hours. There are worse things.

Second, and more importantly, Howl's Moving Castle opens this weekend, and will most likely be awesome because, well, Miyazaki tends to regularly make animated masterpieces. So. Anyway, it's the first movie I've been truly excited about for about 2 1/2 months. I'll be glad to return to the multiplex.

Meanwhile, in the land of TV...

The first season of Entourage was a pleasant enough diversion for most of its run, but got considerably more interesting as it progressed, as it shifted focus from "Oh damn, we're at this awesome party!" to "Maybe Eric's completely out of his league, here." I'm pleased to report that the 2nd season premiere picks up where the first season left off, and the focus has remained on Eric's role as Vince's manager and the nuts-and-bolts of Vince's career. (The detail that Vince may need to star in an Aquaman movie in order to maintain his career trajectory was particularly amusing.) So a nice strong showing for Entourage.

The Comeback, however, is just more depressing than anything else. Imagine all the uncomfortableness of The Office without the laughs or sympathetic characters! Really, shows like this just make you show what an impressive balancing act The Office was able to pull off.

Truly this is our darkest hour


Well, so much for that franchise! Let's hope Batman Begins is good, eh?

Sunday, June 05, 2005

Mayday! Mayday!

While I was not actually present, Emory and Leslie reported that the screening of our 24-hour film went very well. I managed to make it to the Hollywood House after my play last night and everyone was very complimentary. Oh, I'm so relieved! There was much worrying that no one would find it the least bit entertaining. But everyone seemed to dig it, especially Emory and Frank's performances. Hooray! So let me just get a jump on the trash-talking for next year's competition: Next Mayday, the Paul Cibis Memorial Team Memorial Team will OWN YOUR ASSES. OWN THEM.

You have been warned.

I did get to see most of the other films this morning, and it was a good crop this year. Team Ficus cracks me up. I think "It depends on the baby" was robbed for best line. Also, Psychic Bunny should just bite the bullet and create a "Most Misogynistic" category.

It should be noted that Emory watched Team Lower Gatsby's "The Richter Agenda" entry from last time, and said it was the best overall entry from either competition. I'm still surprised how well that one turned out. And it looks really good, to boot!

Friday, June 03, 2005

"Home? Is run no more."

I've been working here the last several minutes, sorting out in my head how exactly I am going to tell you how good We3 is while still maintaining some shred of my dignity. It does not seem particularly dignified, for example, to admit that I got misty-eyed while reading the just-released collected edition last night (re-reading, really, since I have all the individual issues). Or that I got misty-eyed again thinking about parts of it just now. Or that I get chills down my spine whenever I think of the moment in chapter 3 when Animal Weapon 1 (the dog) has occasion to say "Gud 2! 1 protect!", which makes no damn sense if you haven't read it, but will fill your heart with song when you do.

So let's just say that We3 is one of my favorite things ever, and leave it at that.

If you do read it (and I can't stress enough that it should be a matter of "when" you read it, not "if"), be sure to take your time and read carefully. The minimal dialogue is deceptive. The panels are packed with information that is vital to appreciate the story. A careful reading can make all the difference in the world, as Randy over at The Fourth Rail can no doubt attest.


There was a guy in the audience last night who laughed exactly like Trumbo. So the whole show I'm thinking "Hey, Trumbo made it! Yay! Yay for Trumbo." Then the play ended and I was like "Hey, where's Trumbo?" and Paul said "Uh, Trumbo wasn't here." And I couldn't accept that, so I said "But... but I heard him. I heard his distinctive laughter," and then Sam came up and said "Trumbo really wasn't here. And I hate you," or something like that. I'm paraphrasing, here.

In summation: My Trumbo hopes were dashed. Dashed, I tells ya!

Note to Trumbo: Come see my play, bitch!

Thursday is the new Friday

It's been a long time since I've been out 'til a truly ridiculous hour on a weeknight.

The show last night went really well, I thought. At least on my end. Nell and Darren thought it sucked big time. But whatever, it was Thursday. The audience seemed to like it.

Afterwards Paul, Nell, Darren, and I had Thai food with Darren's friend Paul, who regaled us with fascinating stories of living in both South Africa (where he's from) and Los Angeles in the 70's and early 80's. TRULY BIZARRE "WOW, WHAT A SMALL WORLD" CONNECTION: Paul's roomate at university was the step-father of this girl that Paul and I went to gradeschool with. Discovering that was too weird for words. Anyway, that guy was fascinating.

Afterwards (at about 12:15 AM), Paul, Nell, and I headed to Father's Office (yet again; that place is really growing on me) to meet Whitney, Brooke, Ben, and Clark. We made it just in time for last call! Nell can down a beer with alarming speed. They were closing up and Nell still had about 4/5 of her beer left, and she started drinking, and in the time it took me to glance at Paul and then glance back at her, it was gone. Nice one. Remind me never to match drinks with her. It'll be like Jess all over again, except this time I'll probably die.

So now it's 1? 1:30? I don't even know. So rather than go home, like one who has to work at 8AM should, I consent to go to Nell, Whitney, and Brooke's place and drink SOME MORE. Brilliant. Ended up staying 'til about 2:30. Got home around 3:15.

And I'm fine! No trouble waking up this morning or anything. Apparently my body will allow me the occasional night of debauchery.

Thursday, June 02, 2005

The pretty girls of summer

For serious.

Yes, I'm bored all day. But not so bored that I will actually produce original material for this blog!

In other news: pretty girls are awesome.

Fidget, fidget

NOTHING to do today. We've hired two new people for our department, and at the moment there simply isn't enough work to keep all of us occupied. Jenni, it seems, is in a similar situation. Mutual-boredom-fueled-blog-comment-o-rama!

"Forget My Chrome Embrace," and the Sight Unseen Festival as a whole, was supposedly reviewed in Backstage West this week, but the review isn't on their website. I don't know where I can get a paper copy. Stupid Backstage West.

"Werewolf" a sexist term?

"According to me: yes!"

Wednesday, June 01, 2005

What did the five fingers say to the face?

Emory got the second season of Chappelle's show on DVD, and damn, that's some funny shit. You'd think the Rick James bit would be old by now, but no, we were still busting up when we watched it. And I honestly chortle every time I think to myself, "Oh shit! It's Wayne Brady, son!" Some of the sketches have some problems, but Chappelle is often charasmatic enough to carry the day. But there's a bunch of great stuff. Remember when P. Diddy tells his reality show contestants to walk to Queens and get him a sugar cookie? Or Sam Jackson beer? Or the basketball game with Prince? These are bits that walk the earth as a comedy colossus. The show makes me smile. Hope he comes back.