Sunday Brunch: 5/16/10
Beneath the fold: links and commentary, as I analyze the geek brain, disagree with things people have said, and put down your favorite sports teams! Oh, and there’s stuff about comics, too.
QUESTION OF THE WEEK: Will the upcoming XXX Batman porn parody be the first porno in which the sex is the worst part of the movie?
ITEM! Over at The Hurting, Tim O’Neil asks:
Why does anyone care about superhero movies? I don’t mean, anyone period, obviously a lot of people, non-nerd “civilians,” go to see them. Specifically: why do comic book fans care about superhero movies?
The problem is twofold. First, Tim thinks comic fans should be satisfied with comics, and comics alone. Also, he says:
The success of the Iron Man films is no reflection whatsoever on the strength of the comics, its a reflection of the durability of the original concept – entirely separate from the idiosyncratic talents of the men and women (mostly men) who have brought Tony Stark to life – to be molded and mangled to fit a two-hour consumer infomercial.
Secondly, Tim hasn’t taken the nerd psyche into account. The best answer might be that comic book fans are familiar with scorn, and a comic movie becoming a blockbuster hit lends validation to their hobby. Film is a legitimate medium, whereas comics, while growing in mainstream acclaim and popularity, is an upstart, a red-headed stepchild, or perhaps a red-headed stranger. Either one.
Comic fans also feel a kinship– or more likely, an ownership– over the comics and characters they’ve enjoyed all their lives. This is similar to the fanaticism of a sports fan. Be it by quirk of geography or simply madness, a Yankees fan doesn’t really know why they’re a Yankees fan, they simply are. The same goes for Mets fans. They may rationalize it later, but sports fandom is the greatest argument for the lack of free will. Regardless, they stick by their team no matter what, and the same goes for a guy who really, really likes Iron Man.
Maybe a comics fan is just curious to see how a filmmaker will adapt a property he or she is familar with, however. Or maybe a comic fan just happens to also be a Robert Downey Jr fan, or a Sam Raimi fan, or a Billy Zane fan.
A bad movie based on a comic can’t “ruin” the comic, but it might tarnish the public perception thereof (the upcoming reboot of Judge Dredd will test this theory), and many comic fans– who ritualistically go to a specific store on a specific day every week of the year– want to be there on the day to see what happens.
Why did I go see Iron Man II? I liked the first one. Why did I go see the first one? I’m not really sure. It’s not because I’m a big fan of the character, because I’m really, really not. Am I a victim of marketing? A victim of my own nerdity? Or did I just hope to see a cool movie that pushed my comic nerd buttons and my movie nerd buttons at the same time? I’m not sure. Maybe George Steinbrenner could tell you, but I can’t.
(For the record? I don’t like the Yankees. Why don’t I like the Yankees? Because I said so.)
ITEM! Todd Alcott analyzes 1966 masterpiece Batman: The Movie:
This Batman is the WASPiest crime-fighter in history. The opposite of the angry, suspicious fascist usually presented these days, this Batman goes through the entire movie on eggshells, terrified that he will disrupt or offend — he does not wish to impose upon the citizens of Gotham City. Although he’s happy to participate in a news conference, he is anxious in the face of adoration and, in spite of his garish design choices and outlandish costume, would rather nobody take notice of him.
I don’t really think Mr. Alcott “gets” the film, but I also don’t trust anyone named Todd. All Todds are evil.
ITEM! The Savage Critics Roundtable– Sir Abhay, Sir Jog, Sir Tucker, Sir Not-Appearing-In-This-Blog, and Sir Etc.– discuss Dan Clowes’ new book Wilson in an epic post:
JOG: Well, I think your last question there answers the one before it: no, it might not be remarkable if it was prose, but it’s not. It’s a comic. Like I mentioned above, a lot of the worth of this book for me came from its interplay between mightily shifting observational perspectives and the “Wilsonesque” consistency of the title character. I don’t think it’s been done in comics to this focused a degree, and I don’t think it can be so smoothly executed in prose; you’d need a totally bravura and potentially confusing ever-shifting omniscient narrative approach or a whole bunch of observing characters planted in-story and narrating chorally. Fuck that. This is comics needling its effect right into your brain, icepick style. An arctic shit-knife, if you will.
ITEM! Tim Callahan (more evil than any Todd) points us to Jason Faris’ bit of writing on Alan Moore, Grant Morrison, and the differences between the two:
The iconic figure is something/anything that is instantly recognizable. There are two very basic ways to interact with these figures. The first is to instill them within the bounds and boundaries of realism, to imagine them human. The second is to honor their inherent unreality as something ‘other’, to mythologize them.
ITEM! The Nerdy Bird declares Aquaman needs a new costume. She is wrong.
ITEM! In light of the Sentry’s, er, newly revealed sexual history, Bully, that clever little stuffed bull, reveals ten more people with whom the Sentry’s done the nasty in the pasty:
ITEM! The fine artists at Comic Twart have been working on their tributes to the late, great Frank Frazetta. Franceso Francavilla’s is my favorite:
DOCTOR WHO DEPT: “Amy’s Choice” Written by Simon Nye
Last night, I dreamed about caves, and radioactive pools of water, and various spelunky bits like that. The thing was, I could remember them– I had been there as a kid, I was convinced. Even when I’d pegged it as a dream, which I tend to do, I was absolutely sure I’d been there before (minus the radiation, probably). Of course, my mind was playing tricks on me. Wasn’t it? I can never be completely sure, and therein lies the conceit of this episode of Doctor Who! Aha! Thematic tangents, yes! This episode features The Doctor, Amy, and Rory trapped in dueling realities, one of which is a dream, one of which is real– but each one feels real, feels lived-in, is remembered, just like those worlds in our dreams. Which one’s which, and will they survive in the right one? It’s a clever little episode, taking ideas for two different Doctor Who stories (cold suns and Hot Fuzz-y violent old folks) and jamming them together, using another idea, the devious Dream Lord, as the glue.
Like I was saying a few weeks ago, Doctor Who is all about choice. As the title implies, Amy must make a choice, between the two men in her life. We’ve got two symbolic worlds– danger in the TARDIS, and a quiet, quaint domestic life (plus danger)– one representing the Doctor, and one representing Rory. So far, Amy has overlooked Rory, and yearned for the Doctor, for the stars– but is that what she really wants? Karen Gillain gives her most emotional, natural performance yet.
Also, an old lady gets knocked about with a plank of wood. Comedy gold!