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Joe Rice Media Review 12/06/06

Argh, what a bad day at school. Due mostly to three individuals. It’s a sad day when people under the age of 13 can completely ruin your day. But good comics can redeem it. And there were some this week.

American Splendor had what might be its strongest issue under DC, at least artistically. ‘Beto, Deano, Geary, and Fingerman headlined the issue. Some good, everyday stuff. Pekar’s comics are somewhere between comfort food and art comics. They require a bit more thought than Superman hitting a rock, but they also feel so comfortable and real. The way this blog goes, I’m probably speaking to a hole here, but this is good comics.

I was less bothered by the coloring on The Other Side this issue. I dunno if it was that improved or I just had that much alcohol. But the Asian folk seemed less 1950s racist superhero comic and more naturalistic. Stewart’s art is typically beautiful, and the two stories are aligning interestingly. Some great stuff. This would be a good book to buy your war-movie-fan friend/relative. Too bad there’s no trade for Christmas or whatever excuse you use to give people stuff.

Cronin not liking Superman Confidential is almost as dumb as him letting me type on the blog again. It’s finally that 40s repartee Lois done well with a side of Superman Byrne only dreamed of showing. The neophyte, unsure Superman done realistically but heroically. His ignorance of his limits isn’t played brashly, but hesitantly, as most folks trying to figure out “Well, just how invulnerable am I?” would be. (Thanks to Lisa for the spelling help for boozed-up Joe there.) Nice, cartoonish art that goes a long way to telling the story and the mood. I may become a Sale fan yet, now that he’s not working with Liefeld’s writer.

I’m glad that Salvador Larroca seems to have gotten over his X-Men/Claremon boob + butt phase. And Ellis seems to be writing a possibly interesting story for newuniversal. But (and, yes, this is not technical) OH MY GOD I DO NOT CARE. You know what’s boring and lamely-written? That show “Heroes.” You know what’s better written but no more interesting? YET ANOTHER COMIC BOOK ABOUT REAL FOLKS GETTING SUPERPOWERS. Christ in Heaven. I know that superbooks sell, but can we put a moratorium on superbooks that aren’t frakkin brilliant for a few decades? This might even end up being good, but I’m so tired of this idea that I can’t even give it a chance. You want to write about real folks, do it. Screw the superpowers and the twists on archetypes. Write something real. That’s not really the point for this, I know. And this is good, for what it is. But screw it. Spend your money on the Huizenga collection or something else that’s truly great.

Agents of Atlas dealt with the “evil within” subplot very succintly and originally, I feel. This is still a very good, pulpy book. I know I just yelled about the plethora of crap superbooks out there, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t worthwhile ones out there. One of the most appealing parts of this book is the fact that it’s going to end. It will be a story and not just a marketing device. The characters are interesting and varied, the story is moving somewhere neat, and it’s just a kick to read. I dunno what the nerds are doing for this sales-wise, but I’m enjoying it.

And some superhero books are just really good superhero books. Doctor Strange: The Oath is one. The Martin art is frakkin gorgeous. I kissed it a few times, especially when the Dr.’s being all flirty. Some good twists, and an antagonistic organization that seems really evil but also seems natural for the setting. Kung fu Wong is also pretty great. What’s up with the great sideline Strange books this past couple of years? Milligan and Vaughn? Meanwhile Spider-man is stuck with PAD and the legions of Civil War tie-ins. Still, good comics are good comics, and this certainly is one.

You know something that makes Chris Sprouse awesome? In Midnighter, he draws a young Hitler and it looks like a young Hitler. I’m sorry, Jeffrey from Project Runway, but that is mad skills. The story takes unexpected twists and remains fun but interesting the whole way. I feel like Ennis found the happy medium between “Important Ennis” and “outlined on bar napkins” Ennis here. It’s good fun. Involving killing Hitler.

Can’t wait to read the Showcase: Shazam, AKA, the last time DC did a Captain Marvel that at all understood the appeal of the character. Sunny Sparkles is like a Chris Ware character sans irony. I’m going to cut this review bit short so I can dive in.

As for other media, Casino Royale is challenging Goldfinger and On Her Majesty’s Secret Service as my favorite Bond film. The direction is crisp, the acting is strong and tight all around, and it seems to actually mean something. Daniel Craig is great as Bond, and his wardrobe gives me crazy envy. That short-sleeved linen shirt with the grey suit when he goes to the Bahamas? The fashion nerd in me went NUTS.

“Put Your Quarter Up” is an amazing song. You’ve got the Molemen, Slug, Aesop Rock, and frakkin MF Doom rapping, mostly about video games. You get a line rhyming Slobodan and Robotron? Yeah. Download that stuff immediately. Thank you, itunes.

And it’s time for a confession. I mostly admit to only watching very few TV shows. There’s the Office and Battlestar Galactica, the two best-written shows on TV for my money. Cosby and Andy Griffith re-runs. Daily Show and Colbert when I can. And a bunch of awful crap my wife watches. But I now must publically admit I like one of those shows. I like Grey’s Anatomy. Mind you, I hate Grey, and I hate every plot she’s in. But the rest of the cast is damn TIGHT. It’s a soap that I actually got into, and I’m not (as) ashamed anymore. I just wish it was more Karev’s Anatomy instead. That’s a damn interesting character.

Enjoy your week.

13 Comments

Hell yeah, Joe, I’m glad that I’m not the only one disliking, or merely disinterested in, Heroes for the exact same reason that you gave.

Newuniversal didn’t have a bad start, but… it just had nothing to it to get me intrigued. Ellis can raise my eyebrow at nearly any other time, so why not now? It’s gotta be the concept. Either that or the boring art by Larocca.

I haven’t read anything you picked up this week yet. I plan on getting the Strange and Agents of Atlas minis in some format eventually. I like what I’ve seen of them. I’m also interested in the Shazam Showcase, since you and Alex got me inserested in Captain Marvel on CBR over the years. And I do like thick collections of old comics in black and white. And there’s also Superman Confidential. Looks like I have a lot of trades to look for. That’s a long list. Thanks for adding to it, jerk!

Also; are you new to American Splendor (with this mini, I mean)? Because, while I like what I’ve read of Pekar and appreciate what he does everything, I kind of feel like I’ve had my fill of it after having read that thick collection that came out in tandem with the movie a couple years back. I did just get the Quitter off of E-Bay, but that was more for Haspiel’s work (and it was cheap). I don’t deny that Pekar has skill, but I sort of feel the same way about his work that you do about newuniversal. Although ‘Beto art on anything is pretty appealing, so maybe I’ve completely changed my mind about picking this up. Also, yes, I still read a fair amount of superhero comics and am not sick of them (at least not like I am of American Splendor), so I am a hypocrite. And, you know, my tastes could always change later and I might get in the mood to read more of Pekar’s work. But for now, the very idea leaves me cold. I would appreciate if he brought his realistic, everyman sensibility to an Aquaman relaunch, though. I am killing comics.

Also, two; did you celebrate Fred Van Lente Day? Or are you just ignoring that whole, slightly creepy gag Cronin has going? I’m okay either way.

Superman Confidential #1 was so stiff and boring. I hope #2 is an improvement! I sure do like Darwyn Cooke normally!

If you are not watching Boston Legal, you are missing out on some big laughs every week.

When’s that show on? I enjoyed what I’ve seen, but I really do hate watching TV for long.

Me too. I only watch one show a night. Boston Legal is Tuesdays at 9 central. It’s on hiatus now, but the re-run they are showing next week is great.

Can’t wait to read the Showcase: Shazam, AKA, the last time DC did a Captain Marvel that at all understood the appeal of the character. Sunny Sparkles is like a Chris Ware character sans irony. I’m going to cut this review bit short so I can dive in.

I hate to say this, but I really liked that Superman/Shazam: First Thunder mini, despite Judd Winick’s track record. It nailed a lot of what makes Captain Marvel (I will not call him “Shazam, dammit) work and is frequently gorgeous.

It was very pretty, yeah, but any series where Billy Batson cries as his best friend is killed doesn’t get the point.

the fact that you listen to mf doom is all the proff i need that i am reading the right blog for me.

thank you

Grey’s Anatomy? I feel like I don’t even know you anymore.

Doctor Strange is awesome. It’s nice to see someone finally go back to all the visual craziness that fits so well with that character. Vaughn’s also doing a great job of showing us Stephen’s character with out being ham-fisted or trite.

CASINO ROYALE is the first movie is quite a while that I’m planning on seeing a second time at the theatre. I loved it. ON HER MAJESTY’S SECRET SERVICE is my default favorite James Bond film. CASINO ROYALE will definitely challenge it.

It’s so sad that the Bond fans way back in the day had such a hard-on for Sean Connery. It killed George Lazenby’s film career. The only notable films he did after OHMSS were a couple of Emmanuelle films.

Anyhoo…

Actually Lazenby did a pretty good italian horror film in the early 70′s named Who Saw Her Die? Wonderful use of Venice locations, excellent Ennio Morricone score and tight direction by Aldo Lado. Anchor Bay releaeed it in DVD a few years ago. I was seeing again On Her Majesty’s Service the other day and one of the things that satyed with me was exactly how solid Lanzenby actually was. I don’t know wether he would be good in another film, but he hits all the right notes for the tone they were after in that one.

I liked Casino Royale just fine, actually loved everything through the torture scene, but I did thought it lost steam in the last act. Maybe it’s that I simply didn’t care for the romance, or that the climatic action scene was the weakest in the movie, but I have the feeling that it has more to do with the last act macguffin. Realism is fine, but there’s something wrong with a Bond film that ends with everyone chasing a few million bucks.

FunkyGreenJerusalem

December 12, 2006 at 2:38 am

I liked Casino Royale. It was alright – faithful to the book in the right parts, ditching the rubbish. Managed to get past it’s faults/jarring bits (horrific theme song, new Felix, thinking it was a more important piece of cinema than it was), and kept me entertained.
However, I enjoyed Die Another Day more (even though it had an invisible car) – and I loved that film because of it’s more realistic bits (basically the first half of the film). I think it was just more entertaining.

(Beyond that, License To Kill is my favourite – Dalton is my fave Bond – with You Only Live Twice and From Russia With Love coming up behind that. Lazenby is fine, but the clothing and sets are so tacky, and it’s attempts at realism just make it seem more silly. Fave Moore, is either For Your Eyes Only – he’s almost convincing in it, and the Maggie Thatcher ending is beautiful – or The Man With The Golden Gun – which is both hilarious and entertaining).

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