Saturday, July 31, 2010

Revolving Door

Why the heck does Warner Brothers feel compelled to keep switching up the voice talent for their direct to video animated releases?

Since the launch of their direct to video DVD/BluRay line with Superman/Doomsday in 2007, here's the rundown over who has voiced the Man Of Steel:

Adam Baldwin (Superman/Doomsday), Kyle MacLachlan (Justice League: New Frontier), Tim Daly (Superman/Batman: Public Enemies), Mark Harmon (Justice League: Crisis on Two Earths), and back to Daly (Superman/Batman: Apocalypse).

Batman, meanwhile, has been played by Jeremy Sisto (New Frontier), Kevin Conroy (Batman: Gotham Knight and Public Enemies), William Baldwin (Crisis), Bruce Greenwood (Batman: Under The Red Hood), and Conroy again (Apocalypse).

No casting has been announced yet for the forthcoming All-Star Superman or Batman: Year One. There must be other Baldwin brothers out there...

We've also had several different Hal Jordans and Wonder Women, as well.

I'll confess up front--I'm a fan of Conroy and Daly from the work on the animated TV series, and I think they're the best.

But I'm open to change, and giving new people a chance. But why the constant yo-yoing around? Why not pick someone and stick with them?? They don't change Harry Potters every movie, and Christopher Nolan is sticking with Christian Bale. Why does the DC animated division feel compelled to keep their biggest roles a revolving door?

I know these are stand-alone releases, but still, shouldn't there be some continuity of character, some overlap between the video releases? Especially when you consider that, at least for me, the audience spends the first 30 minutes of the hour and a quarter video trying to shake off the cognitive dissonance of "that's not Batman's voice!" ringing through my head.

Not that I'm saying that any of the various voice actors is bad (although the less said about Mark Harmon, the better). But why are we approaching the casting of these roles like the Joel Schumacher Batman movies? I really can't see that most of this constant rotation brings anything new or interesting to the table, except as an excuse for Andrea Romano to say "X really brings something to role" each and every time on the making of documentary. It's like she's playing Mad Libs...

So, all I'm saying is, why can't we pick actors and stick with them??

PS I should mention that some of other the stunt casting gets in the way of the movie, because Barney Stinson as Nightwing and Bender as the Joker kept taking me out of the moment every time they spoke. I'm just sayin'.

Friday, July 30, 2010

Friday Night Fights--Worse Than Tony Stark Style!!

For the finale of this edition of Friday Night Fights, our master of ceremonies Spacebooger has commanded that we use Spider-Man.

Well, good. If there's one thing I like, it's using Peter Parker during Friday Night Fights.

But you know what else I like even more? Seeing Iron Man get his ass kicked.

Let's see what we can do to combine those, shall we??

Arno Stark is the first cousin once removed of Tony Stark, and is the Iron Man of the year 2020. He's also an arrogant dickweed (hmmm, perhaps it's genetic) who prefers to use the armor for personal gain and glorification.

Anyhoo, a terrorist is about to blow up Stark's complex (and the whole city surrounding it). Unfortunately, the terrorist died real good, and since the only way to disarm the bomb was with his retina pattern, Stark 2020 has to travel back to 1986 to get a retina scan of the terrorist as a youth.

But, since Arno is a jerk and an idiot, instead of asking for help, or even stopping to explain himself, he goes on a bit of a rampage, killing a minor villain who gets in his way, and endangering the kid.

Fortunately, Spider-Man happens along.

Less fortunately, the kid still gets maimed:

Well, this pisses off Peter pretty good. So prepare for, as the Road Runner cartoons would say, Beatdownamus Awesomenus:

Ouchimus Maximus...

Fact: Spacebooger could put this big a beatdown on Iron Man, but only in the gray armor.

Complete and total butt-whoopery is from Amazing Spider-Man Annual #20 (1986), "from an original story by Fred Schiller," script by Ken McDonald, art by Mark Beachum and Bob Wiacek.

Now, loyal readers, this is the prize round, and the winner gets a $5 Amazon gift certificate. And I wants me that prize. So, vote as if your life depended on it, so I can buy stuff. Oh, I'll probably buy stuff anyway...but c'mon, 5 dollars, people!!

Thursday, July 29, 2010

World Without A Superman, Part III

Just so we're clear on the extent to which DC is marginalizing Superman...

According to DC's October solicitations (not counting reprints, trades, or children's titles):

There will be 13 Batman titles published.

There will be 2 Superman titles published.

Yes, I know October is a big Bat-event month, so we've got an awfully large number of one-shot/specials celebrating Bruce Wayne's unnecessary absence and ridiculously swift return.

But to offset that, there is no regular issue of Batman, Batman & Robin, or Batman: Streets Of Gotham that month. And no, I'm not counting Dick Grayson/Batman's likely appearance in JLA that month, nor other guest appearances by either character.

Meanwhile, the Man of Steel? Well, he's in Superman. And not even on the cover. And he's in the final issue of Cary Bates' Elseworlds mini-series (do they still call it Elseworlds??) Superman: The Last Family of Krypton. So an imaginary story.

Of course, he's not in Action. And he's not even in Superman/Batman this month, as that story features Supergirl and Damien.

If you want, I suppose, you could count Adventure Comics, which is doing "Superboy and The Legion: The Early Years." I don't count that as a Superman story, but you can if you want. That makes the count 13-3. But only one of those three is a contemporary, in-continuity story with an adult version of Kal-El. (And fine, to be fair we can knock out continuity/time frame questionable titles Batman: Odyssey and Batman Confidential, making it 11-1). Whatever you might think of JMS' Superman, well, that's all you're gonna get, folks.

This is one of your big intellectual properties? This is how you build and maintain a brand? By having Superman appear in 1/11th as many comics as Batman? Fewer comics than Supergirl?? You have him appear in fewer books than Booster Gold?!?! Geez Louise, this is SUPERMAN, and he's in only 1/6th as many books as Deadpool, for heaven's sake?? (Yes, I know...but it is an indication how much more Marvel is dedicated to a popular albeit fringe character than DC is to one of the most iconic characters ever)

How can we conclude anything besides that DC is deliberately making the character who freaking invented comic books as we know them invisible, an afterthought?? I've said it before, I'll say it again: DC is trying to wean us off of Superman, because they think they're going to lose him in 2013. What else makes sense?

Farewell, Kal-El...

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Reese's Monster

Two great monsters in one cursed body? Prepare yourself, true believers, for the ultimate radness...

Poor Arthur Lemming has been cursed to turn into a werewolf under the full moon, and the poor fella killed his beloved wife and daughter.

Whilst wandering around like Superman David Banner for several issues, he transforms again, and attacks some innocent villagers:

Except they're not so innocent:

And so a plan is hatched:

Hmmm, perhaps you shouldn't trust a coven of witches that you've just turned into mincemeat. And forcing them to help you? Could be counterproductive. I'm just sayin.'


They never explain why this coven of witches just happened to have a mummy laying around. The again, why not?

They proceed to transfer the werewolf curse from Lemming onto the dead mummy...

Except, of course, these witches are dickweeds.

Yep, they didn't transfer your curse...they transferred your soul into mummy. Ha ha ha ha!


Oh, dear...those idiots did it during a full moon. So now they must face:

Hey, you got werewolf in my mummy!!

And you got mummy in my werewolf!!

Carnage ensues:

Which inescapably leads to one incontrovertible fact:


Dear Dynamite...since you just bought the Vampirella rights, would it kill you to throw in a few extra cents so you have the rights to Were-mummy as well? Please?? I promise to buy it...

The ultimate radness of the Were-mummy (whose story continued for several more issues, because, well, WERE-MUMMY, dammit!) was by Steve Skeates and Martin Salvador in Eerie #54 (1974). Five bucks says Were-mummy could take Frankencastle...

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Let The Right Thing In

I've let it be known before that I have no love for variant covers, especially variant covers that don't have a damn thing to do with the actual issue but are just a silly tie-in to a silly event in some other books.

But look at Marvel's October solicitations, I see this:

And I might just have to buy a copy with this cover.

Damn you, Marvel.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Manic Monday--The Da Vinci Con!!

Some comic book ads really, really REALLY over-promised with their merchandise:

Now, if you actually read the ad (click on it to embiggen), it's just an illustrated bio of Leonardo da Vinci and his inventions. And hey, 98 cents for a tiny picture book about one of history's coolest dudes isn't a bad deal.

But before you get to that part, the copy sells itself as a way to make yourself fly, by building your own daVinci wings.

No, wait, they promise that children can build "real flying wings" with "carpenter's tools."

As if that weren't enough invitation for injury lawsuits, they also promise that, from a "diagram," kids can build their own parachutes..."no knack required!"

Yeah, because that's what I want to jump from a plane (or the garage roof) with--a "parachute" made from 500+ year old plans by unskilled children from "cloth and string." Really, who could possibly get hurt??

And to add outright hucksterism to capitalistic exaggeration, the ad goes so far as to promise:

Yes, they tell you the book can enable you to build a "military tank."

Guys, look--you were selling a cheap illustrated biography that maybe would help some kid do a history paper--was it really necessary to pimp it up as helping kids build hang gliders and parachutes and tanks??

I can't help but imagine a suburban emergency room piled deep with breaks and bruises from kids trying to fly and chute. But hey, at least they were learning history, right?

Ad from Cloak & Dagger #1 (1952). No, not that Cloak & Dagger.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Tales From The Quarter Bin--LL Kool-Aid!!

I have read many a comic book with this banner on it:

But never one quite like this one:

Yes, Kool-Aid Man is in the Marvel universe!! You can keep your Crossgen and your Marvelman, Joe Quesada--just give us more Kool-Aid Man!!

Trouble has broken out at the local little league field:

But don't worry, help is on the way!!

SPOILER ALERT: Kool-Aid Man says "Oh, yeah!" an awful lot in this comic.

How cool is Kool-Aid Man? He has a bitchin' ride:

And an HQ that puts the Baxter Building to shame!!

Eat that, Reed Richards!!

Apparently, Kool-Aid Man is even busier than Superman (pre-broody walkabout version):

And if you dare to desire his companionship, you should feel the burn of dirty shame and guilt:

But don't worry, should the Thirsties strike, well...

In the second story in this issue (yes, two stories!! We are truly blessed!!), Kool-Aid Man takes on a menace from...OUTER SPACE!!

And yes, you gotta love the sound effect hat tip to Frank Zappa, which is so cool I choose to believe it is intentional.

Anyway, after the obligatory tie-in with another Marvel title:

We learn that Marvel's Kool-Aid Man has his own set of physical laws, including the behavior of liquids in a vacuum:

And the ability to burst through heavy spaceship bulkheads.

And here's the valuable lesson we want all kids to learn:

Losing is no fun, so just give up!! Thank you, Kool-Aid Man!!

But the most important lesson?

Ladies Love Kool-Aid!! OH, YEAH!!

But this was nothing compared to the next issue (which I do not own, sad to say):

Yes, Kool-Aid Man goes back in time to help win the Revolutionary War against the (obviously British) Thirsties. Eat that, Rip Hunter!!

Kool-Aid Man #1 was from 1983, and while GCD has no credits for it, #2 is credited to Jim Salicrup, Dan DeCarlo & Jim DeCarlo, and #1 sure looks DeCarlo-ish, so let's run with that, because I'm tickled by the thought that Dan DeCarlo made a Zappa reference....