Tag Archives: thoughts

Thai Firefighter Dresses up as Spider-Man to Rescue Autistic Child

Now here is a news story you don’t see every day!  In order to save an austistic child, a thai firefighter dons his Spider-man costume (which he usually uses for school fire drills), and brings the kid a cup of juice.  How amazing is this?  On a slightly mawkish note, this ties in nicely to the moral of the  story in “Nemesis” which I discussed yesterday.  Does anyone remember when cartoons had the moral at the end, I distinctly remember Rocky and Bulwinkle having one, and of course GI Joe had their PSA announcement.  This story really shows what a little bit of ingenuity can do to save the day, and create a real life hero.

(queue moral-of-the-story scene)

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Reasons to Dislike the Watchmen

As I mentioned in my post yesterday, I noticed the first time I saw watchmen (the second time I went during work/school hours, and it was empty, something Scott Kurtz might have preferred), quite a few people got up and left.  I’ve been mulling over in my mind not just the obvious “I didn’t like the attempted rape scene,” because any two-bit pundit can do that, but delving deeper into the reasons why some were so appalled by the film that they chose to leave.  So dedicated am I to providing absolute top quality blogging that I have done the unfathomable, I have come up with reasons to dislike the watchmen…

All verbosity and showmanship aside, the question of why people were so affronted or bored by The Watchmen that they decided that they would burn the $10.75 they spent, rather than sit through the rest of the movie is a topic worth addressing.  I mean, c’mon, less people walked out of Batman and Robin than the Watchmen from what I saw!  The first, and most obvious reason that people may have been offended is simply that we as a population are pretty desensitized to seeing breasts, or even full frontal nudity on women.  This movie had penises, and lots of them at that however, none were real though, I don’t think so anyway, most looked CGI or prosthetic.  Pretty immediately you are exposed to Dr. Manhattan, who lives and works in the nude, and let’s be honest, nude men are not all that photogenic.

Moving swiftly and gracefully away from male nudity (or at least, I am, you may linger if you so choose), we move onto the fact that the Watchmen deals with a whole host of generally uncomfortable, or generally avoided topics, such as child murder, more realistic violence, and rape.  Herein lies the true core of why many viewers were shocked by the Watchmen.  The movie-going population has become used to the idea of a superhero movie, we are getting inundated with them recently, and most are fun action movies with some corny one-liners that are really typical of 80’s-90’s authors.  This was an Alan Moore comic turned movie, and a faithful one at that, not V for Vendetta.  This was written as a progressive “in your face” novel.  We are used to bones breaking in movies, but they’re always in a jacket, or the skin doesn’t break.  I’ve got news for you, that’s not how it works.  I have heard many complaints about the scene between the Comedian and Jupiter, about how it was too much, or not appropriate for the movies.  My response to this has been to remind them that this is a rated R movie, and for good reason.  If you’re going to see a movie, and you’re unsure about it, the best course of action is to look a little bit into the subject material first.  A few chapters into Watchmen, and you’ll soon find that it’s not your average superhero flick.

Another general quality of the modern super hero movie is that feeling inside you that in the end, the good guy won.  Today’s culture does not seem to appreciate the old style of film noir.  And the Watchmen goes even one step further beyond that, the Watchmen is ambiguous, it’s not even a cliffhanger.  Nobody has any idea if Rorschach’s journal does get published, or if anyone believes a word of it, it IS Rorschach after all.  Even beyond this notion lies the uncertainty about if the ‘villain’ was evil or not, or even if Rorschach was ‘good.’  Make no mistake, this is intentional, beyond the plot, subplot, and everything else, it is by firm believe that Alam Moore wrote the Watchmen to make his readers question what they saw, to make them think and reach beyond their comfort zone, something we should all try to do from time to time.  In this he was successful.

There is a line in the book, as well as the film, in which a news reporter states that “God exists, and he is American,” he then goes on to say that if this makes you a little uncomfortable, then you should not worry “it only means that you are still sane.”  The same can be applied to the Watchmen.  If the scenes of graphic violence, attempted rape, and child murder made you even slightly uncomfortable, you should know that it’s ok, it means you are still rational.

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Watching the Watchmen

Let me start by saying that the Watchmen was absolutely fantastic, not as amazing or indepth as the novel, but it’s pretty damn close.  I have spoken to many people who saw it and had not read the novel, and I received two distinct points of view.  Either they liked it because of the action, or did not like it due to its graphic nature.  This is something that will be interesting to talk about in the near future, comic book movies have become so closely associated with X-Men and Spider-man that people figured that Watchmen would be another feel good movie.  Sorry guys.  Before I talk about what others did not like about it though, let me tell you about why I felt it was the best movie I have seen in a long long time.

First off, the casting was phenomenal.  I think that directors of comic based movies have learned that comic enthusiasts appreciate more than others that the actors physically resemble their heroes.  This translates into acquiring sometimes less famous actors to play the parts of lead roles.  Just look at Jackie Earle Haley, he did nothing between 1993 and 2006, unless you count working as a security guard, limo driver, or pizza delivery guy.  But he was the best goddamn Rorschach anyone could have hoped for!  Another fine example outside of watchmen, was Patrick Stewart as Professor X, I can not think of anyone more ideal for that role.  Do you have any other examples of good or bad casting for comic book movies?  Leave a comment and let me know, or shoot me a message on Twitter.

On the subject of Jackie Earle Haley, his fit for the role goes beyond merely looking like Rorschach.  That guy can act.  He wasn’t hiding behind the mask at all.  I’ve never had to beg for death, and I’m pretty sure he hasn’t either, but man could he do it, and it was probably one of the most powerful scenes in the movie.  However, another reason he was good for the part was his martial arts experience.  This segues nicely into the fight choreography, which was also amazing.  As someone who has a fair amount of experience (in fighting, not choreography), the fight scenes were pretty outstanding.  If you couldn’t tell, I have almost nothing but praise for Watchmen.

Any ciritism I do have is minor, such as, the director couldn’t seem to decide if Rorschach called his mask his face or his mask.  He refers to it twice, and one he calls it his face, the other his mask.  I am someone who appreciates above all other things, faithfulness to source material.  I prefer the first Lord of the Rings movie to the other two because it is most faithful to the books.  All in all, I would recommend Watchmen to any comic book fan, it is two hours and fourty three minutes of awesome.

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The Polar Express

With my new found super-power of mobile blogging, I would like to take this opportunity to talk about something non-comic book related. Actually, I seem to be doing a lot of that this week. The other day I saw the Polar Express, and I’m not sure if I liked it. It wasn’t a bad story, but at the same time it made me a little uncomfortable. The deal with the grammophone kinds creeped me out.
Has anyone else seen The Polar Express? If so, what did you you think?

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Review: Gears of War #1

Lead up to the Story
This comic is based on the video game for the Xbox 360, is written by Hoshua Ortega, illustrated by Liam Sharp, and published by Wildstorm comics.  It is set two months after the end of the first Gears of War game in which a “lightmass” bomb was detonated at a location called Timgad, supposedly destroying the bulk of the locust (bad guys) army.  The main character is Marcus Fenix, who is supported always by Dom Santiago both have a returning role from the game.  The other characters shown so far are exclusive to the comic book.  Usually I do a plot synopsis section, but this issue can be summed up by saying that they start out looking for guys, find one, and then start their trip home.  Then they get shot at.  Seriously, that’s it.  There’s really not much to it.

Art Critique
Personally, as someone who has eagerly anticipated both games, and played them both to completion, I am willing to say that Sharp has managed to almost capture the dark and gloomy aspect of the game.  The opening is very cool, very modern, with only a red and black pallet, and does seem to encompass the feel of the game.  However, as it continues on through, parts of it just don’t feel right.  Any panel that has a strong close up view looks great, but anything from far away looks like it was rushed, or done poorly.  It’s like some kind of reverse-Monet.  Personally I found it lacking

Is it Worth Buying?
For anyone who is new here, I use this section to discuss things that don’t fit in other parts of the review.  Also, I refuse to give a rating out of ten.  It is my firm belief that comics, like any other art or literary form, can not simply be judged as a 6, or an 8, and to do so does them injustice which cheapens them as a medium.  That said, I did not like this comic.  For the reasons mentioned above; seemingly ‘off’ artwork, and a lackluster story, but also because every other page seemed to be an ad.  While I understand that comics make most of their money from ad space, it really seemed like every right hand side page was an ad.  There were 22 pages of comic, and 17 pages of ads.  Seventeen!  That’s just way too much.  So, no.  I would not recommend this, but if you are a huge gears of war fan, you might appreciate it.

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YCR Presents: Thanksgiving Day Top 6 Marvel Titles to be Thankful For

Welcome one and all!  Welcome to the latest issue of Your Comic Relief presents.  This time?  Your top 6 comics to be thankful for this Thanksgiving!  Please take the time to comment and leave me some feedback!  It is much appreciated.

6. Incredible Hercules

A title that I am quite partial to, as I am a huge fan of Greek, Roman, Egyptian, and Norse mythology, Incredible Hercules took over from the Incredible Hulk after World War Hulk ended.  This issue has been faily reliable in terms of quality.  Hercules, accompanied by Amadeus Cho, has set off destroying just about anything in their path, and while much of this has been Cho’s conniving, it has also been Herc’s unpredictability that serves as the catalyst for their antics.  In fact, watching their interactions is one of the many joys this title offers.

5. Uncanny X-Men

Uncanny X-Men had some problems with messiah Complex, it really was just OK.  Not as awesome as it should have been or really as we were promised it would be.  However, the last 6-8 issues of Uncanny have been absolutely fantastic.  Another product of Brubaker’s undeniable, and often simply unbelievable contributions to Marvel.  Now co-authored by Matt Fraction and Ed Brubaker as of issue 502  My favourite part of the last 3 or so issues have been the (re)introductions of each of the characters in each issue, which the authors have taken as an opportunity to make some much appreciated jokes.  Of the jokes, I think the best one has to be calling Wolverine “ubiquitous,” meaning everywhere at once.  I have to assume this is a reference to Wolverine appearing in so many Marvel publications, I remember over the summer there was a week where he was in every single release, and I’m sure that can’t be the only time – just the time I noticed.  Another aspect of this that I have greatly appreciated is the expansion of Pixie as a character; previously a side character in the x-men B-team, but she is now turning into an actual relatable character.  This, mixed with the recent storyline, allows Uncanny X-Men to make the cut into the Your Comic Relief Thanksgiving Top 6.

4. Cable & Deadpool and Deadpool

I have included both titles in this, because in my mind, the star of C&D really was Deadpool, with Cable serving to create meaningful plot devices and serve as a rational figure by which we could appreciate how utterly absurd Deadpool is.  The last several issues of Cable & Deadpool, the “X and Deadpool” run, while we were supposed to believe Cable was dead.  Did anyone raelly think that?  The new Deadpool series features Deadpool still actively ambiguous about his allegiances, and whether this is a function of his dubious (at best) mental compas, or his ever blossoming psychosis, I don’t think even Marvel Knows.

3.  Wolverine Origins

Written by Daniel Way, and illustrated by Steve Dillon, Wolverine Origins has delivered unique story arcs to us all year.  With guest appearances from Deadpool, Captain America, and most recently Daken (Wolverine’s Son).  Probably one of the best arcs of the year in my opinion was the confrontation between Wolverine and Deadpool.  A matchup that people had been waiting for for years; while they did meet up in Cable & Deadpool, it was overhyped and anticlimactic at best.  This time, it went on for several issues, and really delivered.  This title has had the ability to run the gamut of emotional possibilities, from the more serious aspect of the Cap’s storyline to the sheer ridiculousness of Deadpool.  It didn’t stop there however, the story right now of Wolverine and Daken is a reminder to the seriousness of Wolverine’s past, the decisions he has had to make, and stands in stark juxtaposition to the humor of seeing the Wolverine-Deadpool confrontation through the warped mind and eyes of Deadpool.

2. Iron Man

This title has had its ups and downs as of late.  Back when it was Iron Man: Director of Shield, which was before 2008 if I’m not mistaken but bear with me, it was very hit or miss.  There was some subplot of “Iron Man might be Crazy!!!”  Very hit or miss unfortunately.  However, with the most recent story arc of nuclear threat (which as an aside, reminds me of the Ultimate Iron Man II series of 4), Tony Stark has had the opportunity to return to his self-sacrificing…. self.  If you get right down to it, I firmly believe that this is why the Director of Shield thing didn’t work out so well.  he had too much responsibility that he couldn’t afford to do something that everyone else saw as incredibly stupid.  More often than not, his decisions have been incredibly reckless, but he saw that it had to be done, and he was the only one who could do it, such as defusing a nuclear weapon about to go off.  As with Uncanny X-Men, the most recent story arc really makes this much more of a contender than it previously would have been, not to say that before this arc has been bad mind you!  Also, Warmachine is totally badass, and anyone who disagrees has to answer to giant space robot.  They should pay me to love Ironman and the Number One pick this much, am I right?  Now for the number one reason to thank marvel this Thanksgiving!

1. Captain America

Captain America has been Ed Brubaker’s work this year, and damn does he do good work.  In my opinion, this has been THE title to read this year.  Every issue has just been stellar.  I’m not even sure to begin, and am a little ashamed that this paragraph is so much shorter than the others, but honestly, it’s just all good.  It is always the first comic I read whenever I get it home, bar none.  Bucky is shaping up to be a fantastic new Cap, ant the interplay between Faustis and the Red Skull has been fantastic, with plots within plots.  Agent 13 and Falcon have been well developed, but really, the best part has been how in each issue a little more of the Skull’s plot has been revealed to us.

Well, that’s that.  Those of you that know me may have noticed something.  Where’s Thor? Thor this year has been rather lackluster this year, and much to my chagrin (I’m trying to use that word more often, as I always have to look it up).  And this makes Thor sad:

While there have been some cool Thor tie ins, the Secret Invasion was entertaining if nothing else, the bit that happened about Egypt was pretty cool too, and was a cool insight into how the Marvel universe allows for seperate sets of deities, especially if you read the Incredible Hercules as well, issues like 114-117 or something like that.  But I decided to limit myself to regular titles, and not consider limited series such as Logan by Marvel Knights (which is beyond fantastic by the way), or the numerous Thor extra releases recently.  Once again, let me know what you think of my list, and, if any comic bloggers who are big DC fans would like to do a DC version, I would be honored to publish it, and of course link to it.  Just in the spirit of fairness, I would like to have a DC version, but in the spirit of honesty I don’t know much about DC.  That’s it for YCR Presents, have a happy thanksgiving!

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Green Lantern – A Plea for Help

Hello everyone.  I have a favour to ask of all of you.  I know next to nothing about DC save a few bits and bobs here and there.  However, many of my friends have been telling me I need to read Green Lantern for quite some time now, and my local comic shop is having a black friday sale of up to 30% off, and I figure that’s as good a time as any to buy some trades.  I know that green lantern is a fairly involved series, with a LOT of backstory.  My question is, where do you guys think a good starting off point would be, and what trades/storylines should I be looking for?

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