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I feel dirty … 2007 edition!

It’s that time of year again, when I venture out and purchase the one issue of Wizard I get per annum.  I do this because it’s their year-end review, and I always like to see what Wizard thinks is worth my time.  It’s become a long-standing tradition around here for me to do this, and I hope you’ll forgive me in advance for the snarkiness of this post.  You know I try to be positive in my posts (most of the time), but when it’s Wizard, it’s kind of difficult.  So let’s delve into the horror of the “#1 Men’s Pop Culture Magazine!”

11-29-2007 08;12;16PM.JPG 

The letters to Wizard are always a treat.  Some guy writes that he wants “real answers” to his questions, not the “humorous quips” (such as they are) that are occasionally given.  And then this guy – who wants “real answers” – asks “if Mystique were naked and she changed her form to look like Cyclops, could she then remove her visor or any article of clothing, considering it is all her skin, just rearranged to look different?”  If this letter-writer is over 16, he needs to be beaten with a sock full of quarters.  Some other guy is whining because he had a Cap shield tattoo way before the Winter Soldier did and he doesn’t want to be seen as a “follower.”  Man.  At least somebody asks about insuring a comic book collection – that’s not a bad question.

There’s a brief interview with Alan Moore about The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen: Black Dossier.  I love the Mad Monk of Northampton as much as the next guy, but he’s become kind of a dick, hasn’t he?  He says that the “mainstream American comic industry is probably not the place to publish our [his and Kevin O’Neill’s] work.”  That sounds fine, doesn’t it?  And I totally agree with him.  The interviewer asks him “why not?” and Moore rambles about the shittiness of the publishers who wanted “carping changes” that were only asked for to “annoy” them.  He gripes about the book not being released in England and how that sucks because “it’s a wonderful book and it is trying to take the League beyond the confines of the regular American comic book.”  Again, I don’t really have a problem with that, although I don’t know the intricacies of the copyright laws he’s trying to circumvent, and I’m not sure how revolutionary the book is anyway.  The books of Mark Danielewski and Milorad Pavic are revolutionary.  Moore’s … not so much.  The interviewer follows up by asking “in what way” does it go beyond the confines of the regular American comic book, and Moore loses me here.  He says, “I suspect that it does make a lot of the other product being put out look a little bit lazy and perhaps a little tiny bit illiterate.  But you have to judge for yourself.  I might be blowing my own trumpet too much.”  You think?  Look, if you compare LoEG to a regular superhero comic, of course it’s going to look far superior.  Does Moore really want us to compare it to your regular issue of, say, Green Lantern or Wonder Woman or Iron Man or Uncanny X-Men?  I doubt it, even though it’s far more like a genre book than I suspect Moore wants to admit.  If we compare it to more “literary” comic works like, say, Exit Wounds or Super Spy or Fun Home or Palestine, it comes out looking a bit less like the greatest thing in the history of literature that Moore thinks it is.  I just wish he would stop being obsessed with porn and his desire to fit all literature into one cute little pretentious world.  How about you write a story, Mr. Moore?  (I haven’t reviewed the confounded thing yet, but I will soon.  I enjoyed it more than I let on, but I don’t think you can argue it’s all that good a story.)

Boy, I’m already ranting and I haven’t even gotten to the picks yet!  Let’s move on.  Phil Jimenez wants to work with Grant Morrison, which is kind of shocking, I know, but he wants the God of All Comics to revive the New Mutants so he can draw them.  Nice to see the best in the industry are committed to moving comics forward instead of wallowing in 1980s nostalgia!  There’s a sidebar under the title “Naked Superchicks,” and unfortunately, it’s not a metaphor.  You can go to this site (not safe for work!) and buy your 2008 calendar featuring women as superheroes in various stages of undress.  I’m not surprised it exists, but do we really need to know about it?  Shouldn’t this be something you’re ashamed of instead of seeing it in Wizard?

Well, we finally arrive at the “best-of” section, and Marvel is apparently King of the World, as they had their best year ever.  I shit you not!  Let’s check out some of the 25 reasons Marvel ROOLZ!

25. Alex Ross returns to Marvel.  They go on about drooling fanboys drooling over Ross, but he doesn’t really do much, does he?  I mean, it’s not like he’s coming back to Marvel to actually do interior work, right?  He’s doing covers, sure, but is that really a reason to buy the comic?  Steve Sadowski is the doing the interiors of the Avengers/Invaders “maxi-series,” so that ought to be a selling point, but he’s not the “name” attached to it.

24. Joe Quesada draws Spider-Man.  Nice of him to deign to draw something and then delay the whole thing.  Good job, Joey Q!  (I can still write the X-Men, right, Joey Q?  Right?)

23. Anita Blake helps Marvel go mainstream.  If we believe Chris Sims, this means the “mainstream” is even stupider than regular comic book geeks.

19. Halo: Uprising is released.  The first sentence in this section reads: “There aren’t many sentient beings on this planet that haven’t heard about the Halo 3 gaming phenomenon.”  I love when people who like something make statements like this.  I would bet the majority of sentient beings on this planet haven’t heard of the Halo 3 gaming phenomenon.  In fact, I would bet that the majority of the sentient beings in this country haven’t heard of the Halo 3 gaming phenomenon.  I know those people are “squares,” but they still outnumber the cool people who think sitting (or standing, I suppose) in front of a television or computer making avatars shoot aliens is the single greatest experience they can have.

13. Spider-Man goes back to black.  The Wizard gang admits this is a movie tie-in, which is really all it is.  But then they claim that it really was an organic outgrowth from the comic.  Please.

8. Wolverine kills Sabretooth.  Yeah, that’ll stick.  Why do people continue to act impressed when a writer kills off a character?  Later on in the book, Wizard actually lists people who came back from the dead this year.  But this is the eighth best reason for Marvel to rule?

1. The murder of Captain America.  I guess no one saw that coming.  I know he’s coming back, but what’s most impressive is how Brubaker has kept the book going without him.  It makes one wonder if any of these iconic characters are really necessary to sell comics.

Best Ongoing Series: Incredible Hulk.  They list 11 reasons that it’s the best.  I know I shouldn’t expect more from Wizard, but I guess I should be impressed that they didn’t just go with something that Bendis wrote.  At least Pak tried to do something a bit different with the book, even though the execution of both “Planet Hulk” and “World War Hulk” (Wizard counts it as part of the ongoing, which is a cheat, I think) was fairly standard.  I mean, Hulk beats the bad guys but can’t enjoy his triumph, he returns to Earth to kick ass, but ends up imprisoned.  It was entertaining, sure, but I still don’t get why Wizard can’t even look to the Little Two – Dark Horse and Image – for a better choice.  Yes, I know they are slaves to DC and Marvel, but it’s still annoying.

Breakout Talent: Greg Pak.  I guess, although I did like this description of “World War Hulk”: “Pak proved his ability to deliver complex, heartfelt storytelling and intense scenes of action on the grand stage of company-wide crossovers (my emphasis).”  Complex, heartfelt storytelling?  Did they read “World War Hulk”?  I would have gone with Gerard Way.  Who figured he could write a comic, much less a wildly entertaining one?

Best TV Show: Lost.  I’ve been watching less and less television, although I still like Lost, so I can’t really argue too much with this.  This also gets Best Cliffhanger.  I admit, that was a pretty cool season finale.

Best Writer: Ed Brubaker.  That’s not a bad choice, actually.  He does a nice job on pretty divergent titles: Daredevil, Iron Fist, Uncanny X-Men, Captain America, and Criminal.  He’s better at the noir stuff, but he’s finding his way on Uncanny X-Men.  I wouldn’t call him the best comics writer, but he’s close.

Best Addition: Kristen Bell on Heroes.  She’s been pretty good.  It’s kind of a strange category, and I assume Wizard made it up to put a picture of Bell in the magazine.

Best TV Hero and Villain: HRG and Sylar on Heroes.  Why do I get the feeling that the Wizard staff watches only about 5 television shows?  Yep, the Best Episode is “Five Years Gone,” the Heroes episode in the future.

Best Artist: Ivan Reis.  Here’s where I have a bit of a problem.  Reis isn’t bad, but his stuff looks a lot like most superhero artists.  So many artists out there make the books they work on shine with uniqueness, while Reis’s art looks pretty and does a good job telling the story, but it looks like low-rent Bryan Hitch.  Off the top of my head, here are artists who had a better year: Fábio Moon, Gabriel Bá, Juan Ferreyra, Sean Phillips, J. H. Williams III (in only three issues of Batman), David Aja, Christopher Mitten, Jamie McKelvie.  Oh wait – most of those people don’t work for Marvel or DC.  Sorry!

Best Character: Iron Man.  They give six reasons, none of which are particularly compelling.  Any character can be good if a good writer gets a hold of them, really.

Best New TV Show: Reaper.  I DVRed the pilot and never watched it, so I have no idea if it’s any good or not.  As for new shows, Chuck and Dirty Sexy Money aren’t bad, but I don’t think they would be the “best.”

Best New Face: Smallville‘s New Supergirl.  Wait a second … didn’t you just do a category like this and put Kristen Bell in it?  Oh wait, this just gives you an excuse to publish another photo of a hot girl.  Do people still watch Smallville?  Didn’t it start to suck two years ago?

Best Moment: The Real Sinestro Corps.  I read that issue, and I didn’t get a chill up my spine when the “real” Sinestro Corps were revealed.  It just wasn’t that impressive.  It’s interesting that Wizard always seems to latch onto one event and laud it ad infinitum.  This year it’s the Sinestro Corps War, which has been less than excellent.  I don’t know if I have a best moment.  The end of the first Casanova “album,” maybe?  We’ll probably get to this in our own year-end posts, so I have time to think about it.

Best Shocker: Skrullektra!  Wouldn’t killing Captain America be more shocking?  I mean, we’ve seen Skrulls disguised as humans before.

Most Deserved Beatdown: Thor Hammers Iron Man.  I guess.

Most Unexpected Betrayal: Sobek Chows Down.  Well, that sounds awful.  I’m really glad I wasn’t reading 52.

Creepiest Resurrection: Warren Returns.  Hey, look, it’s Wizard‘s obligatory nod to a book not published by the Big Two!  They do this every year, picking one book in one category.  This is probably easy because it’s Joss Whedon.

Best Killing Blow: Nova Guts Annihilus.  How can Wizard use the words “permanent” to describe the killing of Annihilus?

Shortest Honeymoon: Green Arrow and Black Canary.  Did anyone else get married this year?  The only reason to have this category is to remind us of the awfulness of that issue.

Most Chilling Revelation: Sharon Shot Cap.  Why not?

Most Painful Moment: Hulk Crushes Doctor Strange’s Hands.  Is that more painful than the plenitude of groin kicks we see in comics these days?  I think not!

Best Revenge: Hawkeye Skewers the Widow.  I didn’t read it.

Coolest Rejection: Batman Offered Sinestro Ring.  Why is this cool?  Did anyone think Batman would accept it?  Really?

Best 11th Hour Save: The Green Lantern Corps.  This is from Justice #12, when the GLC saves the world.  Go, Green Lanterns!  Why does Wizard have such a nerd boner™ for the GLs?

Most Appreciated Return: Wally West.  Too bad it came at the end of one of the worst issues of the year.

Best Knockout: Hercules Hammers Thor Clone.  Why does this act give Hercules “street cred,” as Wizard claims?

Best Reunion: Yorick Brown and Beth Deville.  Is that a Vertigo book?  I don’t read that high-falutin’ shit.  What about Batman reuniting with the Outsiders?  That shit was awesome!

Best Villain: Cobra Commander.  Is that an independent book?  It’s not even published by Dark Horse or Image?  Holy crap!  This is a decent choice.  I’m telling you people, G. I. Joe is a really good comic.

Indie of the Year: Super Spy.  Whenever Wizard separates the indies out from the Big Two, I always wonder if it’s because they know that a good 75% of their categories would be filled by books that Marvel and DC don’t published.  Super Spy is a good example.  The villain in it (if that’s the correct word) is probably more creepy and evil than Cobra Commander.  There are several fascinating moments of revenge.  There are chilling revelations.  There are brilliant killing blows.  There are great shocks, moments, and characters, and Matt Kindt’s art is more expressive and powerful than Ivan Reis’s.  And that’s in one book!  Think of what else is out there.  Good choice by Wizard, as this is an excellent comic.

Best Video Game: Halo 3.  Duh.  I don’t like video games.  (Yes, I’m making a blanket statement about all video games.  If you can say you don’t like sports or historical novels or Republicans, I can say I don’t like video games.)

Best DVD: Blade Runner.  I have to say, I’m totally geeked out about this five-disc ultimate collection, which includes the original theatrical release with Harrison Ford’s narration, which I always thought was better than anyone else did.  I’ll be interested to see if it really is not too awful or if I’m an idiot (probably the latter).  I love this movie, so I’ll probably have to take out another mortgage and buy it.

Best Movie of the Year: 300.  In what universe is 300 the best movie of the year?  I haven’t even seen it and I’m positive it’s not the best movie of the year.  I hardly ever see movies anymore, but I’ll bet freakin’ Transformers was better than 300.

Best Revivals: Booster Gold and Iron Fist.  I like the latter book and wasn’t impressed with the former.  I guess both choices are fine.

The only good thing about the two-page spread listing 2007’s Deaths and Resurrections is that Ryan Dunlavey drew it.  It’s very fun, despite the horribly cynical and depressing subject matter.

Breakout Artist: Dale Eaglesham.  Fuck the heck?  As Wizard admits, Eaglesham has been drawing comics for 20 years.  I know that doesn’t mean anything, as this is his “breakout” year, but he was drawing Batman comics ten years ago, and that seems like a pretty big deal.  I like Eaglesham’s art, but it’s kind of an odd place to put him.

Best Miniseries: Doctor Strange: The Oath.  This was a mildly entertaining series with nice art by Marcos Martin.  To say it’s the best mini-series of the year is wildly insulting to some truly great series, including Phonogram and The Nightly News.  Oh well.

Best Cover Artist: Lee Bermejo.  I’m not really that big a fan of Bermejo.  I know they don’t want to always give it to James Jean, but I think Ladrönn had a better year doing covers.  (By the way, Brian, Wizard spells Ladrönn’s name with an acute accent (ó) and not an umlaut, so I think we can forgive you missing it – they ought to be better at that sort of thing, right?)

Breakout Movie Star: Shia LaBeouf.  How much do you want to bet Wizard picked him because he’s kind of a geek?

Best TV Show in Comics: Buffy.  Really, how many options are there?  Three?

They have a short interview with the God of All Comics, who gushes about various things and then tells us that he just sent issue #2 of Wildcats to Jim Lee.  I understand that he’s a perfectionist, but it’s a 22-page comic about people shooting other people.  Can’t you do that in your sleep, Grant?  Sheesh.

Then there’s a two-page “article” about the secrets of Countdown, in which they ask the various creators all the burning questions about the series, such has “How Does Karate Kid Cause The Great Disaster?”, “Who Are The Agents Of Darkseid?”, “When Does Jason Todd Become Red Robin?”, “Who’s Gonna Die?” (how charming), and of course, “Why Does This Series Suck So Much?”  Oh, wait a minute, they don’t actually ask that last one.  Anyway, I wonder why they even ask.  This is two pages of absolute waste, as the writers certainly aren’t going to answer any of the questions.  So it’s just wheel-spinning, which is utterly pointless.  Here are some of the answers: “Jim Starlin is killing them.”  “A lot of the usual suspects, plus some surprising newbies.”  “Is Holly being manipulated, or going along to see what she can learn?”  (Answering a question with a question is gold!)  “I think it’s a stylized Mother Box.”  “There are going to be deaths down the line.”  Hey, thanks for the insight, Wizard!

There’s a brief summary of why you should read Jim Shooter and Francis Manupal’s Legion of Super-Heroes.  I dig when they write stuff like this: “For years, confusing continuity issues and multiple reboots plagued DC’s Legion of Super-Heroes.”  Have you ever noticed that whenever there’s a creative change that Wizard talks about, they use the same language?  I’m sure that when Waid and Kitson launched this latest iteration of the Legion, they said the same thing.  I’m not saying that Shooter and Manupal are going to suck on the title, but in a few years, I’m sure Wizard will say the same thing when some other creative team decides to tackle the Legion.

Wizard actually has an interesting article about Mark Waid’s first day as editor-in-chief of Boom! Studios.  It’s astonishing that they devote four whole pages to Waid and the books that Boom! publishes.  How daring!  But then they go back to standard stuff like highlighting six “hot” artists (Tony Daniel, Billy Tan, Dale Eaglesham, Steve Epting, Mike Perkins, and Shane Davis).  Oh well.  Then it’s on to the price guide, which is where I lose interest quickly.  It annoys me.

So that’s the year in review, according to Wizard.  I got less glee from it than I have in the past two years, partly because it’s all the same bloody thing year after year, and it vexes me.  I have no illusions about what Wizard is and what they’re trying to promote, but it still makes me sad.  Every other issue during the year is devoted to promoting events that every comics fan already knows about and pimping shit that keeps comics from ever becoming better, and it would be nice if they could devote the year-in-review issue to promoting stuff that’s, you know, good.  I mean, does anyone really think Incredible Hulk was the best ongoing title?  Seriously?  And not unlike a lot of comics, Wizard has become obsessed with slaughter, and it’s kind of depressing.  Look at the titles they highlight in the “best-of” section.  Hulk’s book had him deposing an evil king (good) for selfish reasons (bad) and then coming back to Earth to pound on other heroes (bad).  Iron Man is a dick, and calling him the best character because he’s a dick (which is basically what they did) is stupid.  Ben Tanaka is a better dick and a better character, and he only shows up in one graphic novel!  The best moment isn’t when a hero saved the world, but when we saw how evil a group really is.  The most deserved beatdown is one hero bashing another one.  The betrayal is a crocodile eating a teenager.  They even have a category for “best kill” which features a hero ripping the insides out of a bad guy.  They spotlight a woman killing her husband on their wedding night (I know it wasn’t Ollie, but still), Hulk mauling another hero, and Hawkeye shooting an arrow into a woman’s face.  The biggest question they really want answered when asking about Countdown is “Who’s going to die?”  Not to sound all curmudgeonly, but did anyone do anything heroic this year?  That’s why it’s humorous when they try to claim that these big, stupid, gaudy superhero comics are telling complex stories.  Exit Wounds is a complex story.  World War Hulk is not.

Wizard, as I’ve said before, can do better.  It’s kind of sad that they have no interest in doing so.  I guess they enjoy what they do and their readers like it too.  But I always think it’s kind of odd that you would consistently buy a magazine that simply tells you what you already believe.  All Wizard does is validate the beliefs of those who buy it.  Do you need to spend money for that?

109 Comments

I don’t know. I don’t buy much of what Marvel publishes these days, but I would consider picking up a Morrison/Jiminez New Mutants series. And with Morrison, there’s more of a chance he would confound the 80’s nostalgiasts rather than flatter them.

I think the point Alan Moore might have been trying to make is that he has always wanted League of Extraordinary Gentlemen to have a dsitinctly English sensibility, influenced by past works of English fiction and comics, without the marks of the American super-hero/fantasy genre of comics (a fact he has mentioned in the past). Though it’s hard to tell since I’m reading excerpted quotes, and I’m really not interested in picking up an issue of Wizard for the full interview. And it is Wizard, whose collective interest in the history and legacy of UK comic art may not be very high.

Hawkeye killing Black Widow was a whole lot of awesome… I’m just sayin

“I hardly ever see movies anymore, but I’ll bet freakin’ Transformers was better than 300.”
Believe me, it was.

I’d also say that if you enjoyed Chuck at all, you really should check out Reaper, because Reaper takes everything Chuck does, then does it far better and makes it 10 times less irritating in the process. (Then again, I absolutely hated every second of the Chuck pilot and never watched beyond that.) But seriously, Reaper’s an incredibly entertaining show with a great high concept and a likeable cast.

I definitely think Alan Moore is a bit full of himself. League of Extraordinary Gentlemen’s place in the annals of literary history is something like Best Fanfic Ever. And it *is* very, very good, but still, in *essence* it’s not much different from all those awful “What if the Enterprise fought the Death Star, Battlestar Galactica, and the Smurfs” things. It’s a very clever and well-written approach to a rather silly idea.

jaythe1letterwonder

November 30, 2007 at 8:55 am

That last paragraph is the main reason I had to stop buying Wizard,awhile ago.

For the record, while 300 was far from the best movie of the year, it was better that Transformers.

Bumblebee peed on John Turturro. Worst scene in a movie I’ve seen in a long time.

I’d also say that if you enjoyed Chuck at all, you really should check out Reaper, because Reaper takes everything Chuck does, then does it far better and makes it 10 times less irritating in the process.

See, I’m going to go ahead and go with the total opposite tack here, because Chuck is, with the exception of the horrible Morgan character, almost always entertaining with good actors and a clever ongoing plot that still subdivides down neatly into individual adventure episodes.

Whereas Reaper has Ray Wise’s great performance as the Devil, and… did we mention Ray Wise?

Thank you so much, for reading Wizard so that I don’t have to do so myself. Seriously, every year I see a copy and get that itch do buy it, but it turns out being a waste of money. Instead, I picked up a copy of Garth’s The Zombie from Marvel MAX and saved the rest.

300 and Transformers are equally dumb. But Transformers has giant robots so I say it goes for the win.

Yeah Wildcats doesn’t seem that hard to write. But then again Morrison has been pretty much has had a lot on his plate considering he’s pretty much rewriting the entire DCU.

Not entirely sure what the point of this is, especially every year.

You know what you’re going to find. We know what you’re going to find. We know why Wizard caters to the big two and that fanbase. It is what it is. This doesn’t prove a whole lot.

It DOES probably make you feel better by the end (and probably a whole lot worse too). So I suppose there is that. More power to you there.

WIZARD is only as good as its writers. The good ones have all jumped ship. There are still some good people working there, but for how long? They are few and far between too…

I only saw five minutes of Transformers, but it was enough to let me know that it’s the worst movie of the year. 300 looks like goddamn Kubrick in comparison. We all know the best movie of the year, however, was Hot Fuzz.

I disagree with all of Wizard’s choices, but we knew I would anyway. Lost? Crap. Heroes? More crap. Smallville? Has sucked from day one. The best new show on TV right now is Pushing Daisies, people. C’mon, it’s brilliant. And the best not-new show is… oh… Doctor Who or something. Now that’s a proper nerd show.

Dr. Strange: The Oath was really good, but not the best mini of the year. And most of it came out in 2006, anyway. I buy a lot of mini’s, but I’m not sure who I’d give the prize to.

Greg,
I only disagree with your complaint about Jimenez. I see no problem with creators wanting to write/draw characters they loved growing up,(thats probably one reason they got into comics) especially if those properties actually sold and had a good premise. If those creators want to reinvent the franchise, update it and NOT just reiterate stories from the past (Jeph Loeb) then by all means go ahead. Morrison and Jimenez would probably do a good job, you yourself said that there are no bad characters just poor writers, and we all know that morrison/jimnenez books are great (Invisibles, and New X-Men).
Thats my two cents
-doron

I dunno…complaining about Wizard’s Big Two, only the already-hyped coverage bias is a bit like complaining that E! Online doesn’t pays more attention to Michael Bay and James Cameron than it does to Pedro Almodovar and Todd Solondz.

Bleeg. Me no write gud. The above should read: “E! Online pays more attention to…”

On the one hand, I absolutely agree with a once-annual trashing of a shitty magazine that does absolutely nothing positive for the comics industry. Just once a year, to get it out of your system.

But on the other hand, all I could think while reading this was, “Why’re you picking on the slow kid wearing the helmet? You know he’s not quite right!”

I forget, is the Wizard best-of poll picked by the readers? I remember them having some kind of horrible poll on their website a few months ago or so, but maybe that was for something related to Wizard World Chicago.

Matt D and Jeff: I’m just always curious what they think is “best.” It’s really hard for me to grasp a bunch of people sitting around and seriously thinking some of these things are the “best” of the year. It’s so far from what I think that it’s like they’re speaking another language.

I think what was supposed to be cool about Batman rejecting the ring was that it didn’t give him much of a choice. I’m not sure though, I didn’t actually read it.

Halo 3 best game? Oh that’s original.

And no mentioning of Fables in any of their categories just shows how ignorant they truly are.

But were you honestly surprised by any of these? Sure they say “best,” but they really mean “the things we think our readers want to see in this slot the most.” And that’s pretty much what it’s their job to do.

I grew up and Wizard didn’t. This issue sounds like exactly what the 14-year-old fanboy in me wants. Superheroes! Awesomeness! Babes! Goofy jokes! Don’t waste my time with that indie crap. Give me Hercules busting Thor’s skull open!

It is what it is.

And I think 300 is one of the best films of the year. It’s flaws come from its source material. If you didn’t see it at a theater, you missed an amazing movie-going experience.

Blah blah Marvel, blah blah Wizard…Oh, Reaper! Yeah, that’s one of my top 3 shows right now. Definitely check it out.

So the switch to “Men’s Pop Culture Magazine” means they talk about TV a bunch?

Huh.

I care even less about Wizard now.

I was watching Lost for a while and really liked it, though. I’m glad to hear it’s still on.

Nah. I was bored silly by 300 in the theater. Every frame of the movie was gorgeous, but that was it– and after 90 minutes of that, your eyes just glaze over from the constant barrage.

And Halo 3 was a pretty good game. I’ve played it to death by now.

So you basically hate comics?

“52 was STUPID!”
“Captain America sucks”

What DID you like?

Have to agree with Jeff Holland: “Why’re you picking on the slow kid wearing the helmet? You know he’s not quite right!”

That being said, I am a Wizard reader, with the attitude of someone rubbernecking at a car wreck: the magazine never fails to astound and amaze me with the slavish devotion they have to the Big Two.

Yet where else would I learn that Mark Millar owns the cat from Superman: The Movie? Got to admit I found it pretty hilarious, say what you want about Millar’s cynical and depraved mind.

What I’d like explained is Wizard’s obsession with cataloging gruesome deaths in comics. At least twice this year they had features about the awful things that have happened to people in mainstream comics. DO we really want to revisit what happened to Sue Dibny -AGAIN? Wasn’t it terrible enough the first time, when we saw how shameless DC editors had become?

If Wizard is the “#1 Men’s Pop Culture” magazine (what a godless banner that is), why does the writing seem squarely aimed at hydrocephalic children?

Thanks for your review: very refreshing!

I found 300 to be a highly stylized fight movie; a lot of action scenes without much plot. Still very entertaining and kind of “cool”.

Transformers made me reach for the fast-forward button. In the theater. Michael Bay has done the impossible and made the 1986 animated movie look like a work of genius.

Nice to see the best in the industry are committed to moving comics forward instead of wallowing in 1980s nostalgia!

Wait…you’re shocked that a guy who has spent his life mimicking George Perez shamelessly (and badly) is (gasp!) unoriginal!?!?!

How shocking. Personally, I never saw him as one of the best in the industry, so it’s no surprise to me there.

“If Wizard is the ‘#1 Men’s Pop Culture’ magazine…why does the writing seem squarely aimed at hydrocephalic children?”

Ever read Maxim? That’s why.

And Mike D’s right on in describing 300 as a stylized fight movie.

300 was possibly the most boring experience I’ve had in a movie theater all year. Maybe if I had a bottle of Jack and took a shot every time they did a completely unnecessary slow-motion or fast motion sequence it would have been moderately diverting. As it was, I just felt like I was watching a 90 minute cutscene from a videogame I never got to play.

I’ll take Reaper over Chuck. Reaper is funnier, and I like Sam’s best friend more than Morgan. Reaper has less “emotional” moments, and Ray Wise’s fun performance as the Devil.

I like Pushing Daisies, but the schmaltz overwhelms the cleverness sometimes. Chi McBride steals the show.

For everyone who’s taking shots at the “#1 Men’s Pop Culture Magazine” header, I should point out that it was on one previous issue but not, for example, this one (as you can see from the image at the top of the article). Fixating on that as a point of criticism comes off like criticizing DC for go-go checks or Marvel for their “Pop Art Production” logo.

I think a lot of the love for 300 is that even though it’s typical in the fact that it’s a modern stylized action movie, it’s rare in that it is a movie with alpha males. Everything in movies now is all beta males and manchildren, so the audiences have been starved for alpha males. Look at the modern action heroes: Keanu Reeves in Matrix, Matt Damon in Bourne, Brandon Routh AKA Jason Schwarzmann with muscles in Superman Returns, and the slacker geek rejects from a Kevin Smith movie that we see headlining Chuck and Reaper, two of the worst beta male offenders in recent history. I think 300 was just appealing because it had men that made you aspire to be more manly rather than an action hero that looked like he wrote for the Onion AV club or Rolling Stone.

Addendum: Think about it, the situation is so bad that Hollywood is digging up action hero relics from the 80s to fill the alpha male void like Bruce Willis in Die Hard 4 and Stallone in ROcky Balboa and John Rambo. And the movies are not only generating enthusiasm but making good money. Think about that. 300 is actually not a typical movie but a rare gem, simply for the nature of its protaganists (mainly that they don’t look like they work as video store clerks)

I’ll be you’ve really got something against Seth Rogan, don’t you, T?

Doug – the designation “#1 Men’s Pop Culture Magazine” is on the alternate cover of this month’s Wizard, featuring Gerard Butler. I don’t know if they’re going to stick with it or use it on alternate covers or what.

“They have a short interview with the God of All Comics…”

“God of All Comics?” I thought Osamu Tezuka died in the 80’s. :-P

Seriously though, I liked Wizard back in the mid-90’s; back when they were sarcastic and actually tried to put a focus on lesser-known books. Their Top 10 lists were pretty funny too. ^_^

Now it’s like seeing Ozzy Osbourne turned into a reality-TV star: funny yet somehow pathetic.

At least 300 fulfilled its premise.

For a movie about giant robots fighting each other, Transfromers didn’t have many scenes of giant robots fighting each other.

I’ll be you’ve really got something against Seth Rogan, don’t you, T?

Honestly, I’m just sick of the whole slacker-geek aesthetic or slackercore or whatever they’re calling it these days. Everything is so catered to the effete 18-34 year old big city male gadget-loving geek that it’s gotten incredible dull. The whole genre peaked with either Napoleon Dynamite or Jay and Silent Bob Strikes Back. And to have it infiltrate action genre is even more annoying, which is why I have no interest in Chuck or Reaper. But I do think that is why 300 really resonated with so many people, because the men in it weren’t dumb slobs or slacker geeks with untucked shirts or displaced sitcom characters or fighting metrosexuals. They were old-school male archetypes.

Think about it, the situation is so bad that Hollywood is digging up action hero relics from the 80s to fill the alpha male void like Bruce Willis in Die Hard 4 and Stallone in ROcky Balboa and John Rambo. And the movies are not only generating enthusiasm but making good money.

John Rambo hasn’t made any money yet though, has it?

(and from what i’ve seen, the trailer has generated more chuckles than enthusiasm)

i don’t know whether it’s fair to call Bruce Willis an “action hero relic” either, because although the Die Hard series had been on hiatus for a while, Bruce has remained around, still being Bruce Willis.

While I agree with your sentiments about Wizard, you and I must have two very different tastes for comics. The Sinestro Corps has completely blown me away so far, and Booster Gold is probably my second favorite monthly title right now, behind Captain America. But to each their own I guess.

John Rambo hasn’t made any money yet though, has it?

(and from what i’ve seen, the trailer has generated more chuckles than enthusiasm)

i don’t know whether it’s fair to call Bruce Willis an “action hero relic” either, because although the Die Hard series had been on hiatus for a while, Bruce has remained around, still being Bruce Willis.

But the point is, the fact that they are even being seriously entertained as action hero headlines at their ages in big screen productions is a sign of how bad it is for alpha male action heroes. There simply aren’t any new actors being produced in that mold. All of the younger actors (as in 40s and younger) who could reasonably pull it off tend to be British like Jason Statham, Clive Owen, the guy who played Juggernaut and Daniel Craig. Even NY Times did an article about this last year. Hollywood has overdosed on one demographic: the 18-34 year old hip, irony loving, pop culture reference devouring, big city dwelling, Starbucks swilling, effete college student/graduate, leaving a void in any other type of male actor or fans of anything else.

Anyway, my point is that people who criticize 300 for being videogamish or low on plot or not intellectual or cliched action movie are criticizing it for the wrong reasons, as plot, innovative filmmaking, nuance and intellectual stimulation are neither what the filmmakers were going for nor the reason for its appeal. It’s appeal comes from the fact that it smartly fills a void in the market, and the makers of the film, knowingly or unwittingly, took advantage of that void.

“Best Video Game: Halo 3.”

Seriously, Wizard? I dug Halo 3 as much as the next guy, but it was by no means the best game of the year.

Call of Duty 4? Super Mario Galaxy? Mass Effect? BioShock? All of those were superior to Halo 3 in terms of game play and competent story-telling. Hell, I might even go as far as to say Assassin’s Creed was better than Halo 3.

-M

But the point is, the fact that they are even being seriously entertained as action hero headlines at their ages in big screen productions is a sign of how bad it is for alpha male action heroes.

i don’t know if i can buy that.

i mean, i thought that your original statement that the appeal of 300 was its alpha male characters was interesting and rang of some truth. but it’s the second part of the argument (“this is a sign of how bad it is/slackercore is out of control”) that i think requires a major leap of faith.

Rocky Balboa did well–much better than was expected–because it was the return of a beloved character and an iconic actor who hasn’t done too much of note in recent years. but it didn’t exactly set the box office on fire per se. its success was based more on the 20-year cyclical, nostalgic nature of American pop culture.

John Rambo on the other hand… maybe i’m out of the loop, but i haven’t seen too many people excited about it. i have heard plenty of titters about the graphic beheading in the trailer, the exploding arrows, how bloated Sly looks and why Rambo has botox in his face.

the true test of whether America just has the need for a hero like Sly rather than the nostalgia for one would be if he starred in a brand-new, unsentimental, franchise-free action picture that blew up the box office.

you know that’s fairly unlikely to happen.

but the most important question is: what IS the percentage of action films that are spearheaded by slackers and manchildren? is it really that out of control?

i don’t think so. (despite his babyface, i don’t think Matt Damon’s Jason Bourne is necessarily non-beta either, unless you’re defining “alpha” based on pec size)

and why didn’t the public go crazy for John Cena’s movie? why did Vin Diesel fall out of favor as an action hero (besides the fact that he kinda sucked, i guess)?

Anyway, my point is that people who criticize 300 for being videogamish or low on plot or not intellectual or cliched action movie are criticizing it for the wrong reasons, as plot, innovative filmmaking, nuance and intellectual stimulation are neither what the filmmakers were going for nor the reason for its appeal. It’s appeal comes from the fact that it smartly fills a void in the market, and the makers of the film, knowingly or unwittingly, took advantage of that void.

surely that doesn’t render it immune to criticism for those reasons, though, does it?

the fact that there was a void and something filled it… does that make it “good”?

Best video game? Madden Football. Every year. Period.

But then I don’t paly video games except for Madden. And whatever I can load into MAME.

It only took me a year ot two early on to completely ignore Wizard. Their price guide is what did it for me. They had Wetworks #1 at $10, 2+ at $5, and none of them had made it to the stores yet. They were shamelessly felating Image at that time, as well as trying to shift the back issue prices of whatever they thought was going to be hot. 15-18 years later, I’m still not sorry I stopped reading it.

I was using “stylized fight movie” as a positive, if that helps matters.

And as a city-dwelling effete college-coffee-drinkin’…uh, hipster-core, irony-liking, late-20’s guy, I’ve found that I can enjoy movies/TV featuring both alpha and beta males in a variety of situations.

Reaper’s terrible. So is Chuck. They’re both super-formulaic, and filled to the brim with cheese.

I never saw 300, but I can’t imagine it was worse than Transformers. My understanding, from talking to people who saw 300, is that they were both stupid and senseless, but in 300, you could see tell characters apart and understand what they were doing in the action scenes. Unlike Transformers.

Phil Jimenez got his chance to work with Grant Morrison and he flushed it down the toilet with stiff figures and awkward design. Keep him the hell away.

As long as Wizard’s being published, it’s worth being criticized. Good on you, Burgas.

Twenty years of alpha-male action movies got us shit like Under Siege and Under Siege 2. (Sorry, that was the only thing I could think of that was worse than Under Siege.) We don’t need any more banal Reaganite wet dream flicks. (Although that didn’t stop them from putting out Live Free or Die Hard this year, a film that was probably a better and more successful alpha male action flick than 300.)

And, loathe as I am to admit knowing this, Keanu Reeves was doing the action movie bit when alpha males were still in. Ever see Point Break or Speed?

So you basically hate comics?

Excuse me, but it seems to me that you’re confusing superhero comics with ALL comics. Come back when you turn 16.

“52 was STUPID!”
“Captain America sucks”

What DID you like?

If you read the article, he lets you know. He mentions Optic Nerve, The Umbrella Academy, and Casanova, among others.

Also, I don’t belive he said anything disparaging about Captain America. You’re being really defensive. And although 52 was stupid, I only saw Burgas trash Countdown. You need to take a breath before you post.

Or just not.

i don’t think so. (despite his babyface, i don’t think Matt Damon’s Jason Bourne is necessarily non-beta either, unless you’re defining “alpha” based on pec size)

I don’t think the ROLE of Bourne is beta, but I do think the fact that Damon is the best choice they had to fill the role is very telling. In the 60s and 70s a Steve McQueen type would have done that role.

i don’t think so. (despite his babyface, i don’t think Matt Damon’s Jason Bourne is necessarily non-beta either, unless you’re defining “alpha” based on pec size)

First, it looked like a total B-movie to me. Second, I don’t think being big is enough. To me, bobdybuilders that tan, shave and tweeze and spend hours in the gym doing curls in the mirror can be just as prettyboyish and narcissistic as a metrosexual, just with bigger muscles. Chuck Norris, Bruce Willis, Sean Connery, Steve McQueen…none of those guys were ever that huge, but they had an old-school way about them that we don’t really see today.

the fact that there was a void and something filled it… does that make it “good”?

I define good the way Roger Ebert does: does the film accomplish what it set out to do and satisfy the audience it was intended for, without just empty pandering or pure cliche? I think 300 accomplishes that. I don’t think its fair to judge movies by standards they weren’t even aiming for. 300 has many flaws, don’t get me wrong, but the makers of it hit the target they were aiming for and did it well. It wasn’t intended to be culturally sensitive, cynical of authority and the military, critical of traditional machismo, pro-feminist, historically accurate or any of that. So criticizing it on those grounds is a waste of time to me.

Wizard is really bringing out an ugly side to people here. I don’t know if it’s safe to bring it up again if we’re all to remain friends.

Yet where else would I learn that Mark Millar owns the cat from Superman: The Movie? Got to admit I found it pretty hilarious, say what you want about Millar’s cynical and depraved mind.

I’d argue that Millar’s not cynical and depraved, but rather a basically cheery idealist who tries painfully hard to write the sorts of cynical dialogue and shock moments that the current comics market demands.

I don’t get cynicism out of his plots, which are basically idealism trying desperately to express itself in the vernacular of cynicism. Unfortunately, the mismatch of marketably cynical and apathetic tone with idealistic and often reductive political tubthumping in his work has gotten us to the point of things like Civil War #7 being intended as a happy ending where the right side wins and Captain America’s surrender heals the rift in the superhero community. Thank god Marve;l readers’ve got Warren Ellis and Dan Slott (!) to point out exactly why that’s ill-conceived crap every month in their spinoff books.

Dammit, Burgas! Now I can’t stop talking about overhyped Marvel shite. Wizard is clearly a bad influence even when it’s being thoroughly slated.

Oh, and T.? Beta males aren’t the opposites of alpha males; they’re the top challenger in the pack or tribe that’s next in line to BE alpha male, usually constantly and aggressively trying to make it happen. You’re going for something a few letters later in the Greek alphabet, I think.

Twenty years of alpha-male action movies got us shit like Under Siege and Under Siege 2. (Sorry, that was the only thing I could think of that was worse than Under Siege.) We don’t need any more banal Reaganite wet dream flicks. (Although that didn’t stop them from putting out Live Free or Die Hard this year, a film that was probably a better and more successful alpha male action flick than 300.)

There’s bad movies in every genre. Bad beta male action films also led to CHuck and Reaper. You admit traditional alpha male films can still be good since you cite Die Hard 4 as being decent. And 20 years of alpha male action led to Bullitt, Enter the Dragon, Clint Eastwood man with no name trilogy, Rocky I-IV and a bunch of other great crowd pleasers. It may not appeal to us on an intellectual level, and it may burn us geeks up to admit to it, but that aesthetic appeals to people on a very basic, primal evolutionary level. That’s why hot women will say they like nice smart guys but go out and bang macho assholes and guys will flock to sporting events and make athletes obnoxiously rich. And 300’s appeal is that it taps into that basic testosterone appeal when most of Hollywood for some reason has abandoned it. So to bash it for lack of nuance or enlightenment is pointless in my opinion because it’s the very lack of those things that helped make it successful. It’s the antiWhedon/antiSmith/antiApatow movie.

Greg,

The fact that you waded into the latest Wizard magazine…earns you my undying respect.

It takes guts.

That’s all I gotta say.

I didn’t say Die Hard 4 was decent. I said it was “probably better” than 300. Considering 300 wasn’t that good, it’s not intended as an endorsement.

And I was measuring the 20 years of alpha male action movies starting with the original Die Hard. All the movies you cite predate that.

On another topic, Anita Blake is nowhere near mainstream. It’s porn for goths.

But I always think it’s kind of odd that you would consistently buy a magazine that simply tells you what you already believe. All Wizard does is validate the beliefs of those who buy it. Do you need to spend money for that?

Plenty of Christians do that sort of thing every week.

Plenty of Christians do that sort of thing every week.

Get off your high horse, EVERYONE does that, not just Wizard readers or Christians, and you and I are no different. For example, where is a Grant Morrison fan more likely to go to read a review on Grant Morrison, the DC Message Boards or here where the rest of the acolytes are?

And I was measuring the 20 years of alpha male action movies starting with the original Die Hard. All the movies you cite predate that.

I’m including action movies from the very beginning. I don’t consider alpha male action to have just started in the 80s, although that was probably their peak.

Thanks for doing this, Greg. Sometimes I feel bad about criticizing Wizard when I haven’t read it in years, but updates like these let me know it’s still worthless shit, and I feel better.

Best mini of the year? Modok’s 11! Last last chapter just killed me! Wow, that was some fun stuff there.

I don’t think the ROLE of Bourne is beta, but I do think the fact that Damon is the best choice they had to fill the role is very telling. In the 60s and 70s a Steve McQueen type would have done that role.

true enough… but norms of masculine beauty and carriage have always been dynamic. in the 1970s, people were mourning the loss of “real” men like John Wayne, Robert Mitchum, George Raft. it’s true that they don’t make them like Steve McQueen anymore, but it’s unrealistic to expect them to.

plus, i don’t think Damon was the “best choice” in that there was just a dearth of traditional squarejaw types, but i think he was the “best choice” because The Bourne films deliberate sought to circumvent many of the tropes of the action genre… right down to the relatively realistic way it was shot, and the documentary-style editing.

To me, bobdybuilders that tan, shave and tweeze and spend hours in the gym doing curls in the mirror can be just as prettyboyish and narcissistic as a metrosexual, just with bigger muscles.

that sounds like most of the men in 300, doesn’t it?

in some ways i feel like 300 is a parody of that kind of old-school maculinity. there’s a certain exhilaration that comes with the sheer wall-to-wall dudeness of it, but at the same time, there’s something slightly ridiculous and over-the-top about it. kinda like the Chippendales, y’know?

and not surprisingly, it has a large gay following.

i don’t know if the public is really crying out for these kind of alpha male characters *played straight*, because if they were, Mark Wahlberg’s movies, Vin Diesel’s movies, John Cena, The Rock and guys like that would be a lot bigger than they are.

Get off your high horse, EVERYONE does that, not just Wizard readers or Christians, and you and I are no different. For example, where is a Grant Morrison fan more likely to go to read a review on Grant Morrison, the DC Message Boards or here where the rest of the acolytes are?

First off, that’s an unfair question. I don’t go to the DC message boards at all, because of the median intelligence level. I read reviews from lots of different places, including ones that aren’t loaded with Morrison fans. Newsarama, for example. Not to mention the fact that I get into PLENTY of arguments on this site, whether it’s about Morrison or not, so I’m clearly not here to have my ego massaged.

And no, not everyone does that. Some people don’t pay money to listen to someone tell them they’re right. You don’t know shit about me, T, or what I do in my life, so you’re in no position to tell me what I’m like. Maybe you’re no different. Don’t drag me down with you.

I had a feeling this would get ugly …

Anyone care to stop before it gets uglier? I doubt if T. was claiming that everyone pays money to have their beliefs validated, Dan, and I would guess that most Christians don’t either. Sure, churches ask for donations, but it’s not like they throw you out if you don’t contribute (okay, maybe some do, but those aren’t very good churches). I think what he meant was that we tend to hang around with people who validate us. You may be different, but I don’t think it’s that crazy to say we’re going to seek out people who like the same things as we do. I enjoy being challenged by others, but if someone is, say, a Nazi, I don’t think I’m going to hang out with them. I will gravitate toward people who, in essence, validate my beliefs. There’s nothing wrong with that.

Maybe T. was making a different point. When the money aspect gets involved, that’s where it becomes something different. From what I know about T., I doubt if he spends money on things that simply tell him what he already knows, and I’d like to think I don’t either. That’s what baffles me about Wizard readers. But his basic argument doesn’t strike me as too inflammatory, unless I’m reading it wrong.

Not to mention the fact that I get into PLENTY of arguments on this site, whether it’s about Morrison or not, so I’m clearly not here to have my ego massaged.

Not to mention that, for a place supposedly full of acolytes, there’s not exactly a dearth of people whining and crying about Morrison at every opportunity.

Not to mention that, for a place supposedly full of acolytes, there’s not exactly a dearth of people whining and crying about Morrison at every opportunity.

Well, to be fair, that’s mostly the commenters.

It is not a coincidence that almost all the contributors to this here blog enjoy them some Morrison.

Hatcher has a note from his doctor.

Actually, I was referring to Joe Rice. Everyone’s heard the stories about him campaigning for Judd Winick to take over All-Star Superman. Eeeeverybody.

Secret’s out, Joe. You MAY just have t’pack yer bags and leave town.

Best New TV Show: Reaper. I DVRed the pilot and never watched it, so I have no idea if it’s any good or not. As for new shows, Chuck and Dirty Sexy Money aren’t bad, but I don’t think they would be the “best.

If we’re limiting this to the major networks, then I’d definitely give Pushing Daisies the title. It’s not only the most endearing show on television, it’s also the best looking. The cinematography, set design, and costume design are all immaculate.

If we’re including cable, then it’s all about Mad Men, which has perfectly captured and encapsulated the spirit of the 60s. It’s an unflinching look at an ad agency that’s full of casual sex, casual sexism, secret pasts, uncertain futures, and smoking. The cast is stellar across the board, as well, with Jon Hamm and Christina Hendricks standing out particularly.

If we’re talking all of television, though, not much can touch Showtime’s Californication, which holds the distinction of finally letting David Duchovny play a slick, witty, uncensored bastard. And, he plays it with aplomb. The show also features Evan Handler, a suicide girl, and Pamela Adlon (the voice of Bobby Hill). In a threesome. That goes horribly wrong. Plus, there’s punching while climaxing, blackmail, the perils of writer’s block, painting-stealing, dog-stealing, script-stealing, angy-sad blogging, a generous dose of sardonic humor, and more than the fair share of outrageous situations. Good times, good times.

As for the others mentioned, Reaper and Chuck do both rely heavily on formula, and both are starting to wear thin. Chuck had a recent spike in quality, which coincided with Rachel Bilson’s spunky guest shot, but that show really needs to be half an hour. There’s rarely enough plot to stretch across a full hour, leaving entirely too much room for the Buy More/Morgan subplots. Morgan has to be the most obnoxious character introduced this season. Reaper fairs far better in the friend department. Sock has had quite a few genuinely funny moments (although they’ve lessened substantially since the laugh-out-loud pilot), and Ben is finally coming to his own as something other than the damsel-in-distress fill-in. I do like that both shows eschew the classic “hero saves girl” setup, but Reaper‘s Andi is left out of all the fun simply because she’s “the girl,” and Chuck just flips the paradigm so that he’s the one constantly in need of rescue. Also to Chuck‘s detriment is the criminal underuse of Adam Baldwin. That’s flat-out unforgivable, man.

Dirty Sexy Money is pure soapy fun, and there’s nothing wrong with that. Zoe McLellan is trapped in a rather thankless role as Nick’s wife, Lisa, but they can’t all be winners. Someone has to ensure all the scenery isn’t chewed.

Actually, I was referring to Joe Rice. Everyone’s heard the stories about him campaigning for Judd Winick to take over All-Star Superman. Eeeeverybody.

Secret’s out, Joe. You MAY just have t’pack yer bags and leave town.

But did you see his pitch? It was pretty good.

He was going to take the dialog from the Morrison issues and replace every fifth word with “rape” a la Doctor Light’s appearance in Green Arrow.

I thought it was edgy. Or, dare I say it, even “edgy.”

I’m 99.9% sure that Wizard agrees with me.

Anyone care to stop before it gets uglier? I doubt if T. was claiming that everyone pays money to have their beliefs validated, Dan, and I would guess that most Christians don’t either. Sure, churches ask for donations, but it’s not like they throw you out if you don’t contribute (okay, maybe some do, but those aren’t very good churches). I think what he meant was that we tend to hang around with people who validate us.

Then he should have said that. You were talking about people paying to have their opinions validated. I said lots of Christians do that. T said EVERYONE does that (his capitalization, not mine). That means “everyone pays to have their opinions validated”. There’s no misunderstanding that. Maybe misrepresentation on his own part, but again, that’s not my fault.

People donate to churches because they want the church to continue. Churches tell their congregation what they want to hear. I’m not saying it’s under false pretenses, but that’s what they do. They re-enforce the beliefs that the people had when they came in. Therefore, Christians who donate to their churches are paying to have their opinions validated. It’s not a judgement on the church, it’s a judgement on the church-goer.

From what I know about T., I doubt if he spends money on things that simply tell him what he already knows, and I’d like to think I don’t either.

According to what he wrote, he does. And he believes you do, too.

Seriously, I’m taking T’s comments exactly as they’re written. I don’t know how you could read it any other way.

How can the Blade Runner DVD be the best of 2007 when it hasn’t been released yet?

How can the Blade Runner DVD be the best of 2007 when it hasn’t been released yet?

It’s just THAT good.

Just trying to be a peacemaker, Dan! I was a bit puzzled by T.’s statement as well, and I’m sure he’ll come back to clarify. I was extrapolating because I don’t think there’s any question that people tend to congregate with like minds, and there’s nothing really wrong with that. But the spending money on it aspect of his argument does puzzle me. Everyone does it how, exactly? I try not to, but if he gave examples, it would make more sense.

I think you’re over-simplifying the relationships churches have with their congregations, but I get your point.

Dan, I think you’re grossly oversimplifying the relationships churches have with their congregations, as well as their functions outside of a common belief system. Calling religious faith one’s “opinion” is doing that faith and its adherents a disservice. Churches provide a place for religious celebration, true, but also run charities, sponsor sports teams, etc. The money donated isn’t just for dogma.

I’m not saying churches are automatically good, but faith goes a bit beyond “opinion.” Personally, I’m not even remotely religious; if someone asks my religion, I say I’m a Recovering Catholic. Still, based on the relationships various family members have with their churches, and my wife’s family has with its synogogue, “paying money to have their opinions validated” is an unfair generalization.

Does Mike Cotton still write everything like he’s a telepathic fly on the wall at every pivotal Marvel and DC meeting, revealing all the behind-the-scenes tidbits in a way that makes him sound like he and only he has unlimited access to everyone and everything everywhere? Because that’s the main specific gripe I have about Wizard that might not be hopelessly out of date.

My big specific obsolete complaints are their acceptance of H.E.A.T.’s advertising money and subsequent mockery of them, their role in the early publicity for “The Sentry” and an interview that they did with one of the guys behind “Batman Beyond” that included a quote that went something like this:

“We’ve got an episode coming up that features an homage to a [DC] superteam.”

Except the team was the Fantastic Four, and the brain trust at Wizard changed the meaning of the quote with an ill-considered editorial addition.

And anything I could say about Gareb Shamus’ Black Bull Comics was said far, far better than I ever could by Gail Simone back in her “You’ll All Be Sorry!” days. Heck, anything I could ever say about anything has almost certainly been said better by Gail Simone.

You know, Greg, acknowledging you have a problem with masochism is the first step towards a cure.

The only things I’d like to add are that Wizard has a nerd boner over GL because GL is AWESOME, and the Sinestro Corps reveal was pretty damn exciting, IMO. It’s probably not that big an assumption for Wizard to make that there readers are GL fans, too, so it sounds like a fair call.

And 300? Totally better than Transformers. I wouldn’t watch Transformers again, but I’d rate 300 reasonably high in my favourite movies of the year.

It is quite surprising that they chose Hulk as best ongoing. If they wanted a big two book (and AS Supes doesn’t count as ongoing and Punisher Max doesn’t count as big two), then they could’ve picked X-Factor.

Uh, Greg? You didn’t have Quitely on your list of artists of the year. Mistake?

I have seen neither Transformers nor 300, but my people tell me I’m not missing much.

They’re right about Lost though.

We should all know by now that Moore is a bit of an asshole, but lots of great artists are.

Can someone explain to me what makes Brubaker’s Captain America so great? I bought the Winter Soldier trade based on the hype, and it just came across as a comic trying to be a Hollywood movie. Do I need to give it another chance? If so, why? I keep saying I don’t see what makes him great, but I haven’t read any of his noir stuff. His Daredevil is okay, and his Uncanny isn’t looking so good next to Carey’s X-Men.

I’m sure that magazine can’t last much longer, can it?

“fuck the heck?” — love the FJM reference.

As for the article, I think picking apart a Wizard magazine makes about as much sense as trying to pick apart 300. Wizard does what it sets out to do: hype comics in a way that puerile 14-30 y-o men will dig it. I’ve been reading it for 15 years, and I still buy it every month. I don’t expect any “news” or any ground breaking take on comics. I hope for one or two good interviews with creators i’m interested in, a chuckle or two, and some pretty pictures to swipe. It’s the People Magazine of comics, and that’s not necessarily a bad thing.

As for 300, it was a rollicking oldschool fightfest that worked because that’s all it set out to be. It looked great and was lots of fun in the theatre. I can nearly same the same for Transformers. I had fun at both, and I was entertained. Sometimes that’s enough.

Dan, you made your statement as a judgment on the church-goer. I said that everyone pays to have their opinions validated. Say you and I both go out and have money to spend on books and journals of political thought. Chances are you are going to go and buy books that provide support for views you believe in, and I’m going to do the same. We are going to use the internet bandwidth that we pay for to peruse websites like COmics Should Be Good rather than the DC message boards. We are going to spend our money on movies and events that speak to our identity. If we are going to pay money to see a political speaker, I’m sure more often than not you’d go to the one that is speaking about progressive topics and I’m going to see the one speaking about conservatism or libertarianism.

Or let’s put it this way: you have money to go see a professional panel with comic creators speaking on the creative process and the future of the medium. Your two choices are one that has Rob Liefeld, Jeph Loeb, Todd McFarlane, Ian Churchill and a bunch of popular creators many would call hacks and is run by the Wizard editorial staff. The other has Grant Morrison, Alan Moore, a bunch of acclaimed indie creators and is run by the guys from Fantagraphics. Which one do you spend your money on?

One, no one pays to see panels. They would pay for a single event with lots of panels. Let’s assume these ridiculous panel divisions you propose are even possible. If the Morrison and McFarlane panels were on at different times, I could easily see both. If for some reason they were on at the same time, I would probably attend one and then watch the other on YouTube. There is no need to make a choice. Likewise, I buy low and highbrow comics right next to each other, for my own reasons.

While I would rather read Morrison’s comics, I find every interview I can read with McFarlane or Liefeld fascinating since they were the dominant figures when I started reading comics. I could easily sell articles about McFarlane if the panel talked about his video game work, actually, so if I wasn’t swamped with work at the time I might take that over the probable spectacle of Morrison and Moore throttling each other.

You are clearly someone who enjoys paying money to see his beliefs validated (or, in the case of 300, to believe a flagrantly homoerotic piece of disposable kitsch validates your beliefs). You self-identify with your entertainment. There is nothing wrong with this, but please don’t think everyone in the world can or should think and feel just like you. Every damn thing you post on these forums reminds me, over and over, of how alien one human’s thought processes can be to another’s. To me, entertainments are momentary diversions and nothing more. If I want to speak about who I am, I’ll write an essay.

BDaly – my list of artists was just off the top of my head. Quitely slipped my mind. But he’d have been there if I thought about it a bit more.

“Do people still watch Smallville? Didn’t it start to suck two years ago?”

I’d heard vague rumors that it *stopped* sucking about two years ago, but didn’t consider them credible enough to risk turning the show on.

How can Smallville have lasted seven full seasons– longer than Buffy or Angel (to say nothing of Firefly), more than twice as long as Lois and Clark, as long as Deep Space 9, longer than B5. What’s wrong with the world? Is this genre-TV’s equivalent of unkillable shows like Everybody Loves Raymond and Full House and According to Jim?

On the difference between paying for something and not paying for it, Remember that spending your time on something is still spending. There is always an opportunity cost involved (big up economics students).

I understand where T is coming from, though he does maybe take it a bit far. (I might also go see both panels if they were on at separate times, but I might throw something at Liefeld).

Say you were a liberal and had a subscription to a political magazine – it would of course be left-leaning. Opposite is true for conservatives.

You are clearly someone who enjoys paying money to see his beliefs validated (or, in the case of 300, to believe a flagrantly homoerotic piece of disposable kitsch validates your beliefs). You self-identify with your entertainment. There is nothing wrong with this, but please don’t think everyone in the world can or should think and feel just like you.

What we like to spend our money on and how we choose to spend our time DOES speak volumes about our identity, like it or not. And we often choose to buy things that reinforce our image of how we perceive ourselves to be, from our clothes, the movies we choose to own, the car we drive, etc. same goes for what you choose NOT to buy.

A lot of people who consider themselves progressive and enlightened like to convince themselves that they are above all that but that Christians are some lemmings that need the church to tell them what to like and dislike. They are giving themselves too much credit. What are christians supposed to do, give money to a religion they DON’T agree with? And of those urban, liberal progressives that love to bash Christians for being lemmings that pay to hear their beliefs reaffirmed…how many of them in 2008 are going to be donating time and money to the campaigns of their favorite candidates? You know…the candidates that tell them what they like to hear and reaffirm their views, much like the preacher does for the churchgoing christian? I’m sure a bunch of people will chime in now about how different the two scenarios are, but really they aren’t.

I know for a certain circles christian bashing is an easy way for intellectual brownie points, but if we take an honest look at ourselves I think we’ll all find that we worship at our own particular “altars.”

T., A good example would be paying money to see any Micheal Moore movie… I imagine few go to see his movies to learn new things… Mr. Moore has built an empire on feeling smug about ones’ political beliefs…

(I figured I’d throw my two cent in here… For no other reason but to kill the thread, which seems to be my power)

Christians-???

I think you guys are missing the boat on 300. True to Ebert’s maxim, it accomplished what it set out to do, which was essentially transport Frank Miller’s high-dramatic voice to the big screen.

The voiceover was probably the funniest thing I heard all year. Just when I thought it had gone beyond the pale, it went even -further! Endless hilarity, truly.

And let’s not forget the actor who portrayed Xerxes, who was scrawny and short and definitely beta in an alpha role. I mean, he was fine on Lost, but as a notorious Persian king? Should have gone with somebody who had the clout to antagonize Gerard Butler.

Can’t wait to see what Zach Snyder does with Watchmen.

I watched 300 but didn’t read the book… I felt that it was an example of what Hollywood thought comics were… A series of slow motion sequences of brutality, interspersed with florid speeches, and a female character who shows how tough she is by first allowing herself to be raped, then killing her rapist.

I felt it was tiring and monotonous without a single character to truly care about as a human being… But to each their own.

Now my question is: Is the comic better?

Ok, well, I was going to read through all of the replies, but once I saw that it was turning into another internet “discussion,” I skipped.

I enjoyed your review. Although I disagreed with some ideas of yours, overall I agree with the review of Wizard.

I was buying the magazine quite regularly, and enjoyed some of their plugs for future events, and since I rarely bought other than the BIG TWO, I didn’t care so much if they only focused on them.

I had even thought that they had matured somewhat … there were less junior high theatrics among the heterosexual males contributing to the magazine than in the past.

Then I saw their debut of the mag being a “men’s magazine.” I found that so utterly stupid and offensive.

When I think “Men’s” magazine, I think of the horn dog heterosexual male magazines such as Playboy, Maxim and so forth. Although Wizard has their share of “hot babes” in their book and their “male” antics, the target audience I thought was for comic book readers.

Lots of women comic book readers and such I know have picked up the magazine. To say it’s a “men’s” magazine seems to ostracize women, and anyone that isn’t as “male” as the contributors.

To say they are the number one MEN’s Pop Culture magazine is kind of ridiculous. I mean, it’s not as if they devote their magazine to much more than comic book related material. Pop Culture is of course Popular Culture, and I don’t see that outside of the comic book genre … except a small, small amount to video games, anime, and the like. Or, maybe I’m missing something and they are planning an even bigger magazine to devote pages for video games, all tv shows and not just comic book-esque ones, New York Times bestsellers, independent films and so on.

In regards to Smallville, I had refused to ever watch that show, and it was only big I’m the biggest Supergirl fan that I started to watch it. However, I realized it was a great tv show aside from having Kara in it, and I am completely enjoying the past few seasons. It’s a great show for both lovers of the Superman Family, and for those not into comic books.

For best TV Shows, I think “Dexter” should have been mentioned. Not only is it a refreshing take on TV, and has an intelligent script and cast, I’m surprised Wizard didn’t pick it up too because of all the comic book/ POP CULTURE references.

As in the books themselves, the TV Show has Dexter viewing himself as having a secret identity, references to him being “The Dark Defender,” a super hero, and in the tv show a comic book series was going to be started based on his legacy as the “Bay City Butcher.” Furthermore, Julie Benz is an award winning cast member who plays “Rita,” and she was once known as “Darla,” a very integral part of the Buffy/Angel mythos.

Back to how I never really cared that Wizard focused only on DC and Marvel … I’ve begun to expand my horizons and have found many books out there that I enjoy just as much if not more than what the Two Leaders put out.

I recently discovered “Dynamo 5″ from Image, and I was instantly hooked. It’s a satiric/ real world take on the Superman archetype … “What if Superman cheated on Lois and had a bunch of bastard children with powers,” but it’s done in a way that isn’t all “Frank Miller” or someone, but in a very fun, rewarding read.

“Return To Wondrland,” “Gene Simmon’s Dominatrix” and many more books keep me in the industry, for DC and Marvel are continuing to make me care less and less for spending money on what I love.

Both DC and Marvel seem less intent on putting out good stories and more on making money. Like any company, that is the goal, but they are doing so in such a way that screams ever more like “Disney.”

From Marvel’s Nike and U.S. Army ad placements inside their stories, to DC’s weakly (and I meant to spell it like that) series (I loved 52, but Countdown I finally gave up on … so bad! and then to say they’re having ANOTHER one after that! Yikes) … it’s gotten to where I’m only supporting a few series as a collector of the character … but even that has stopped with some.

But in any case, thanks for letting me know that I am NOT missing anything if I no longer buy Wizard, and for the interesting review.

Do people still watch Smallville? Didn’t it start to suck two years ago?

Nope.

It started to suck three years ago.

Oh, and btw, I wouldn’t watch “300” because of Frank Miller’s biased viewpoints on historical points of the actual blood splattered melee.

As for “Transformers”, well … at first I was absolutely not going to watch it. I thought the designs of the characters were so “anti-G1,” and what have you … but then I realized not only did they make more sense, but the whole movie was excellent! There was a bit of camp, but overall a very satisfying and true to the franchise film.

It was everything a Transformers movie should be like. Perhaps a bit more on the Transformers side of things, but for a “first of” film to hit the mainstream is succeeded. Not only did it erase the memories of the animated movie (I hated it as a kid and I still can’t watch it), it made me fall in love with the big metal guys all over again.

Not only that, but my best friend who is SO not into anything sci fi or fantasy or any comic book outside of Jessica Drew loved it! And I know she wasn’t the only one.

Now my question is: Is the comic better?

Yes! It’s a beautiful book, far superior to the movie.

“For a movie about giant robots fighting each other, Transfromers didn’t have many scenes of giant robots fighting each other.”

I just watched it with my mom. I was going to do a review of it on my blog or something, but that pretty much sums it up. I did watch it with my mom, and she’s meaner than Apodaca when it comes to things she thinks suck, so that made it pretty fun. I liked 300 more, but really, I’m not entirely sure how this became a debate.

I did enjoy the last half hour more Apodaca, but then again, I think I enjoy a lot of things more than Apodaca. But hey, with Alex gone, there’s a void for his brand of shoot from the hip rebukes of inferior pop culture, so thanks Dan! Also, I really want to like Pushing Daisies (mainly because it reminds me of what Wonderfalls would have looked like if Tim Burton had directed it), but the dialogue in the episode in an episode in a quarter I’ve seen drives me batshit, so I’m not sure I can get in on the love. I do like to know that Bill hates Heroes, because now I can finally shake that feeling we have a psychic link or something.

As far as the actual critique of Wizard goes, well; you know, I agree with the guy who feels like you’re picking on the retarded kid, although to be a fair analogy, the retarded kid would have to be the public face of a medium that is capable of more than what he can’t shut the fuck up about, which is also what the public at large percieved the medium to only contain. That’s kind of unwieldy, but you get my point. I can get the point of doing this, but at the same time, it seems fruitless. But hey, you did use nerd boner, so I’ll love you forever for this post anyway, Burgas.

I never buy Wizard anymore.

… the shop owner saves me a copy after he strips the cover, if there’s any left (which, since I asked him to do so about four years ago, has been every month except one).

When Wizard staretd up oh so many years ago, they had one advantage over other comics magazines: you could find it on a newstand. Where I live is fairly rural, and I can’t get THe COmics Journal unless I go all the way to Albany, which is too much of a pain, and while I often enjoy the mag I don’t want to read every issue, it doesn’t always have something I want in it. Wizard’s like the People magazine of comics, mostly fluff with the occasional morsel of meat. Not-fluff is very scarce these days tho.

Which reminds me of Reaper and Chuck, really. I enjoy both shows, but they’re not what I’d call great TV. (I also haven’t watched them, or most any TV, in a month — I’ve been taping instead.) Just entertaining and diverting enough. Reaper’s problem, IMO, tho, is that it’s trying to go the superhero secret ID “if only she knew –!” route with the pseudo-girlfriend. Sam gave up the truth to his mom is the second episode, but the girl he wants either is too important to be trusted with the awful truth, or not important enough.

Smallville’s a show I probably would have stopped watching a couple seasons ago (because, as noted, it began to really suck 3 years ago) except that I like the monster show Supernatural that follows it, so what’s the diff if I watch both …

I read the book for 300 after the movie left theaters. And I hated the book, so I doubt I’ll see the movie.

meanwhile, since I’m male, in my 30’s, like action movies and buy toy robots, I’m a part of the target audience for Transformers. I went to it expecting a big, dumb, summer blockbuster and I left that theater feeling like I’d just seen a big, dumb, summer blockbuster, thoroughly satisfied and entertained with my perceptions unchallenged. There’s a reason it made buckets of money, regardless of fanboys and their claims of violated pasts.

Nope.

It started to suck three years ago.

Everyone here is so generous. It kinda started to suck with the second episode.

Everyone here is so generous. It kinda started to suck with the second episode.

I stopped watching it the moment I heard Jeph Loeb was announced to be joining the staff. I didn;t watch any of his episodes, but I assume it started sucking as soon as he walked through the door.

Everyone here is so generous. It kinda started to suck with the second episode.

On an individual-episode level, yeah. But it wasn’t until Season 4 that the series’ overall ratio of good episodes to bad episodes went in the toilet. And the stupid quotient went through the roof.

The season-long Lana-as-witch plot; the end of the Millar/Gough mythology episodes; the turn toward inconsistent and illogical Kryptonian mythology (including a 180-reversal on Jor-El); the loss of Christopher Reeve and the show’s lame dismissal of him; Lana-as-witch; Black Kryptonite; Jason Teague; Krypto-gatorade; etc.

And, on the whole, a HUGE step down from the series’ peak in Season 3.

It seems we all have our own personal date for when Smallville went off the rails; mine was when young Clark discovered Kryptonians had been messing around in the Indian caves, but really when it stopped even being Smallville at all was when they killed Jonathan Kent.

It makes me sad. I rather liked it the first year and a half, despite the freak-of-the-week plots that had so many people complaining. Squint at Smallville’s first season and you see the old Frank Robbins/Bob Brown Superboy books from the early 70’s that were so deranged. I got a huge kick out of that, even though I’m certain it was in no way a conscious homage. But then it devolved into Dawson’s Creek with superpowers, which is not nearly as much fun.

Heh… I never liked Smallville… The purist in me hated the vapid Lana and felt that somehow Lana’s soul had migrated into Cloe’s body… I watched two episodes and said… “Wow… they clearly didn’t create this show for me… Ever creative decision is designed to drive me away”.

I even hated it at the pilot, when it was clear they were grafting the Buffy formula over the Superman legend.

but really when it stopped even being Smallville at all was when they killed Jonathan Kent.

That was step 3 in ridding the show of everything that made it distinctly ‘Smallville.’ Step 1 was getting rid of Pete Ross. Step 2 was bringing in Lois Lane as a regular character.

Since killing off Pa Kent, they’ve also had Ma Kent appointed as a U.S. Senator and written her out of the show; they’ve made Jimmy Olsen (who is OLDER than Clark) a regular character; they’ve had Clark completely drop out of school without even reconsidering in almost three years; and they’ve set ever more of the action in Metropolis and at the Daily Planet (where Lois now works).

It’s a pity they simply didn’t transition into “Metropolis” about two years ago. This fan-made intro just goes to show how cool that series could’ve been.

It’s a pity they simply didn’t transition into “Metropolis” about two years ago. This fan-made intro just goes to show how cool that series could’ve been.

where’s the intro you’re talking about?

I never watched Smallville in the first place. Don’t care too much for Superman. I’m mostly a Marvel guy.

Now, if they made a Green Lantern series….

where’s the intro you’re talking about?

It’s in the first sentence of mine that you quoted. The word “Metropolis.” The formatting here just doesn’t make hyperlinks very distinguishable from regular text (no underlining; similar color).

I like Smallville a lot, although I did have to be talked into watching the DVDs. I haven’t watched all the more recent, Metropolis-centric episodes, but I used to think they should change the show’s name to ‘Metropolis’ after Jonathon’s death.

Then I figured, rather than referring to the setting of the show, the title now refers to Clark’s nickname in Metropolis (and the fact that most of the show’s characters and storylines originated in Smallville in some way or another), so I’m cool with it.

I hate Judd Apatow movies and how EW is positively in love with anyone and anything having to do with his “slacker-core” aesthetic.

And yeah, Wizard is a big, dumb stupid mag. I don’t think it’s ever purported to be anything else, though. It ain’t “Amazing Heroes”, people. It’s FHM for the nerd set – and by golly, that was a niche that just needed some creme filling.

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