Happy Halloween!

David was up at 6:00 this morning, all excited about Halloween. That lasted him through school, but he’s napping now; resting up for tonight. When he gets up, Diane will turn pizzas into Jack O’Lanterns for dinner (eaten while watching It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown!); then she’ll take David Trick-or-Treating with some friends while I stay home, pop in Return of the Vampire, and man the candy bowl for the neighborhood kids. Man, I love Halloween.

Hope you have a great one too.

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Godzilla vs. Robbie the Robot!

I meant to share this picture with you earlier. It was given to me at FallCon by an artist pal of mine, Charles Raymond. Actually, Charles gave it to me to give to my son because Charles knows how into Godzilla David is. I love that he included a giant Robbie the Robot for Godzilla to fight.

Get ’em, Robbie! Kill All Monsters!

Low Content Week Begins!

So you know how sometimes you put on your winter coat for the first time of the season and you find a $20 bill in the pocket? The equivalent of that happened to me last Thursday with some vacation time at work. Turns out I’d taken off this week and forgotten about it, so I spent last Thursday and Friday wrapping up some projects that I needed to complete before being gone. Sorry I just sort of disappeared for a couple of days there.

What this also means is that content will be a bit light this week, but I’m going to try hard to still post everyday. I finally got broadband at the house (I know!), otherwise I wouldn’t have even tried to post anything this week, but the faster connection has mostly highlighted how slow my virus-infested computer really is, so I’m still not going to be up to full speed till next week.

Like today, for instance. I’m hoping that showing you this fantastic 20,000 Leagues-inspired painting by Patrick Reilly will serve as a substitute for actual news or thought. (Thanks to Grant Gould, who knew I’d love it, for the link.)

Into the Depths

Wonder Woman and friends

Thanks to photo chutney for the picture of Wonder Woman and one of her “friends.”

“We are no longer doing movies with women in the lead.”

I’ve been consciously avoiding talking about the Jeff Robinov debacle and how it does or doesn’t affect a possible Wonder Woman movie. If you don’t know about it, Nikki Finke — who broke the story — has the details. Essentially though, Warner Brothers’ President of Production Robinov allegedly made a statement that “we are no longer doing movies with women in the lead.” Warner Brothers has denied that he made the statement, but it’s led folks to speculate about whether it’s not a true statement in practicality, even if it’s not a written policy.

The reason I’ve been avoiding it because I don’t like to speculate about that kind of thing. I’m all for other people doing it — in fact, I find that kind of fascinating — but I don’t enjoy it myself. It just gets me ticked about stuff that may or may not be real and I like my blood pressure where it is. If Robinov did say it, of course it’s stupid and he should be appropriately disciplined. If he didn’t say it… well, I think a close eye still needs to be kept on not only Warner Brothers, but all the Hollywood studios to see what kind of female-led movies they’re coming out with. Not a Big Brother kind of eye, but an Interested Consumer kind of eye.

None of this is new though. In fact, I already blogged about it four months ago. The only reason I’m bringing it up again is that the discussion around it has now become a news item (or at least it was two weeks ago, which is how far behind I am in my blog reading). Even the angle on how it affects a potential Wonder Woman movie is a moot point. Even if Warner Brothers was a bastion of feminist movie making, it still follows that the development of the beleaguered Wonder Woman movie will be affected by audience reaction to Wonder Woman in the Justice League movie. I don’t see that Robinov’s views or WB’s policies are going to change that.

Wonder Woman casting news rumors

The latest names thrown into consideration for the role of Wonder Woman are Christina Milian (who will appear on an upcoming episode of Smallville) and Shannyn Sossamon (Moonlight). I’m not fond of either choice from a visual standpoint. Milian has a young, cutesy look that I don’t think is appropriate; Sossamon looks too frail. Wonder Woman needs to look like she can kick my ass.

Mahfood’s Wonder Woman

Which may be a large reason why I’m not especially fond of Jim Mahfood’s interpretation of Wonder Woman for the Wonder Woman Day auction. I love the confidence she displays in the piece, but she doesn’t look physically powerful enough. Wonder Woman isn’t just a confident woman. She’s an Amazon.

But back to casting: Emily Deschanel as Wonder Woman?

Not really, but it looks like the star of Bones is a fan.

Street reaction to Wonder Woman

Valerie D’Orazio, another fan, proves how iconic Wonder Woman is.

Who is Wonder Woman?

Amy Reads didn’t have to think as hard as I did about who Wonder Woman is; she knew it all along: “I never felt the need to ask, ‘Who Is Wonder Woman?’ because I already knew. She was us all. She is me, this Girl-Child turned Woman, this once-wearer of secret identity under banal school uniform. Wonder Woman is, above all else, the potential for greatness.”

“Canary needs to learn how to lead.”

Changing the subject to Black Canary, Silver Bullet ran an interview with Justice League of America writer Dwayne McDuffie in which McDuffie talked about Canary’s leadership ability. I can’t read the Silver Bullet site at work for some reason, so I found out about the interview via the CBR message board. I’ll let you read his comments for yourself, but I’m impressed (though not surprised) that McDuffie’s spent some time thinking about Canary as the leader and how that might work out. I’m looking forward to seeing his thoughts played out in the series.

“‘…if I could just…if I could just…there!’ Aaaaaand stab.” (Green Arrow/Black Canary SPOILERS)

I’m not a Judd Winick fan, much less an apologist for him, but I actually buy his explanation for why Canary stabbed Green Arrow in the throat rather than use a non-lethal tactic. Yes, his Star Wars analogy is lame and yes, his point is that he essentially had to fudge the story to make it work, but I think that his explanation holds up. Especially when you consider that Canary didn’t actually believe it was Ollie in the first place.

I also notice that Winick’s “Of course we weren’t going to really kill Ollie” speech possibly sheds some light on his statement a while back that they were considering “killing” off Black Canary. A real death for either character doesn’t make sense. Ollie was just recently resurrected and, figuratively speaking, so was Canary (thanks to Gail Simone and others). Even though Winick doesn’t mention it in his explanation, it’s not hard to connect the dots and figure out that the original plan was for Black Canary to be kidnapped by the Amazons and have Ollie go looking for her. And while I think it would be really cool that the Amazons wanted Black Canary, having her search for a kidnapped and captive Ollie is by far the more interesting story.

Links du Jour: Gay Dumbledore, Azrael, and Neil Gaiman’s Superdog

The Return of Azrael

I don’t talk much about Azrael, but there was a time when he was one of my favorite comics characters. He eventually turned into a directionless mess, but when he started out he had a cool name, an interesting origin with tons of potential, a great supporting cast, and the coolest costume in the history of superheroes.

I hate that his ongoing series was allowed to continue far past the point where Denny O’Neil knew what to do with the character. He should’ve been retired when Denny ran out of ideas, but even though DC rode the Azrael horse until it died, I’ve always believed that the right creators could revive the character and do something really great with him. There’s just too much potential there.

Marc Andreyko started hinting at a possible return in Manhunter and I’m eager to see where that goes when Manhunter finally returns from hiatus. In the meantime though, Comic by Comic notices an Azrael appearance on the cover of an upcoming issue (#8, if my figuring is correct) of Frank Tieri and J. Calafiore’s Gotham Underground. Of course, Spoiler — another dead Batman ally — is on the same cover, so maybe that issue focuses on fallen friends or something. It’s nice to see Az’s face on a comic again anyway.

Realism and Superhero Comics

I’m not a Garth Ennis fan, so I’ve never been tempted by Hitman, but this review (you have to scroll down a ways) made me want to read JLA/Hitman. Mainly the part where Ennis explains why realism and superhero comics don’t mix: “because there are real situations where men have to kill to succeed, and Superman and Batman don’t really have the ‘moral courage’ to get their hands dirty.” It’s an interesting opinion that I don’t disagree with. The Never Kill manifesto is something that needs serious exploration and possible change if superhero comics are to embrace “realism” as part of what they are.

I Love My Dead, Gay Dumbledore

I wish I’d thought of that line from Heathers myself, but I totally stole it from my fellow Newsarama blogger Tom Bondurant who said it when the Newsarama group was discussing this story amongst themselves. Anyway, I’m sure you’ve heard the story by now about J.K. Rowling’s recently outing Dumbledore at Carnegie Hall during her Open Book Tour.

I agree with some of Ian Randal Strock’s thoughts on it in that if fans want to ignore that bit of information, they certainly can since Rowling never made it part of the stories. But I disagree with Strock’s assertion that it just doesn’t matter since it’s not part of “canon.” Fans who want to ignore Dumbledore’s sexuality — as revealed by his creator — will have to make a conscious effort to do so. Whether it’s in the books themselves or not, the fact is now in the public consciousness and Dumbledore is irrefutably gay. Ignoring that fact isn’t so much a valid choice as it is simple denial.

And so, to Strock’s question, “So what?” I say that this is kind of important because there are Harry Potter fans who didn’t think they knew any gay people before this announcement. And now, for the first time in their lives, they realize that someone they really cared about (fictional though he may be) was gay. And it’s going to force them to take a hard, inward look and decide how they’re going to respond to that news.

Neil Gaiman’s Dog Looks Like Krypto

During hunting season anyway.

Domo arigato, Mr. Roboto.

No giant monster links today. Everyone’s about the robots lately.

The illustration for this post is from a cool shirt you can order from Threadless.com. It’s called Transfarmers. Heh!

Gaga goods has something called a RoboCard that holds CDs and toilet paper! And it comes in Giant and Crazy Monster varieties. So, if you’re the kind of person who enjoys giant or crazy monsters and listening to music while you take care of your business, gaga has the product for you.

I’ve never really wanted to visit Japan until now. It looks like a beautiful country and all, but the real draw would be this giant robot piloting simulator. I think I could get a tax deduction for “research” on Kill All Monsters!, don’t you?

30 Days of Night: A Non-Review

I’m so unqualified to write an unbiased 30 Days of Night review. My brother-in-law Dave and I happened to run into Grant Gould at the theater last night, so we all sat together. After the movie, Grant asked me what I thought and my only response was, “Perfect.”

Dave pointed out some plot holes to me later and he has valid points, but I can’t help but dismiss them. Maybe it’s that I’m just really familiar with the 30 Days of Night story and filled in gaps based on what I knew from the comics. Maybe it’s just that I was incredibly excited to see this movie after waiting five years for it and the giddiness hasn’t worn off yet. Whatever it is, I’m still thinking the movie was pretty much perfect.

SPOILERS BELOW

The only thing I missed from the comic was the scene at the end of the first issue when Eben and Stella look out over the ice fields and see the line of vampires advancing towards town. It’s a great moment in the comic and I’m not sure why they left it out of the movie. They hint at it. In fact, I’m pretty sure that the moment is there; you just never get to see what Eben and Stella do at that moment.

Everything else was spot on. The comic’s limited by its three-issue format and reads a little choppy in the original issues. It skips from the vampires’ appearance at the end of #1 to almost the end of the 30 days as #2 opens. The trade collections fix that as much as possible by adding some extra story pages, but the movie is able to really dig in and explore the entire experience of being stuck up there in Barrow with all those vampires.

It also simplifies the plot a bit from the comic. The comic explains more about who the vampires are and why they’re going to Barrow and has some extra characters. There’s a group in New Orleans that knows what’s going on and try to stop it, and there’s some infighting amongst the vampires about whether or not all of this is a good idea. The movie takes that out and does a slick, smooth job of doing it so you never miss it, but I’m curious about what’ll happen if there’s a sequel.

Both the New Orleans group and the infighting lead to important elements in Dark Days (a movie that it sounds like Raimi would like to make), so it’ll be interesting to see how a Dark Days movie solves the challenge of telling the story without them. It can be done and I’ve already worked out in my head how I would do it, but I’m curious to see how they do it. Dark Days is a more complex story than 30 Days of Night, so it’ll require some thought to get it all right. Fortunately, this movie had no shortage of thoughtful people working on it, so I’m not fearful about a hypothetical sequel at all.

See how this isn’t even a real review? I’m sorry about that, but I’m just way too deep into geek mode to think critically about it.