Hey, this blog doesn’t exit anymore.
Well, it does. But it all got moved over to PsychoAndy.com, because it makes more sense for me to have all my stuff in a single location.
So update your bookmarks and re-subscribe over there, because this site will be gone before 2013 is.
In case you weren’t aware, I have a tumblr account, now. I tend to use it a lot, mostly for comics- and art-related subject matter (You now, the kinds of things that interest me).
So DC Comics released their solicitations for September the other day, and they’re doing a neat little gimmick; all the comics will be numbered #0, and will be focussing on the early days and/or origins of the characters and teams. This is good, since it’ll be a full one year since the “New 52″ relaunch, and readers still have a lot of questions about what happened before the #1 issues of each of the DC titles.
One of the things about releasing solicitations is that the covers for these comics also get released, and the Internet seems to be up-in-arms about one in particular. Can you guess which one? It’s DC’s most prominent female character that isn’t Wonder Woman!
That’s right — It’s Catwoman, as depicted by Guillem March. You may remember a similar controversy last year, when the last page in CATWOMAN #1 depicted Catwoman and Batman doing the nasty on a rooftop. And all of a sudden, this character as drawn by this artist is coming up in the news, again.
I’ll cut the commentators some slack on this one — This actually IS a nigh-impossible pose, with some impossible anatomy going on. Selina Kyle’s clavicle and shoulders seem to have no relation to each other, and her neck would likely have to be snapped in two to be in that position.
But, seriously? Who cares?
Superhero comics are all about the fantastic. EVERY SINGLE MARVEL OR DC CHARACTER EVER has been drawn at some point doing something that is anatomically impossible. And I’m not talking about flying or being made of plastic. Go look at 100 Marvel and/or DC comics, and you will find at least one panel in each one of them where the artist shortcutted anatomy and drew something that just does NOT work. These are illustrated cartoons, not photographs (except in the case of guys who trace over photos, like Greg Land, where it’s simultaneously both). Comic artists are hired to draw 20-22 pages of art, with an average of 4-7 panels on each page. That’s an average of over 100 images per month, and does not include the covers.
Go draw 101 images in the next 30 days, with no anatomical errors. Then get back to me.
Plus, if you can buy radioactive spider bites giving somebody superpowers but can’t buy that Catwoman may be more agile than most people who don’t parkour around rooftops every night, or might able to dislocate her shoulders on purpose (like Jim Carrey!), then I’m going to question how seriously I should take your argument.
So, okay. Then there’s the people complaining that CATWOMAN #0 is exploiting the female form. That’s fair enough — The cheesecakey nature of Guillem March’s art is never something he’s hidden (even in the 16 months previous to Catwoman #1, where he was drawing GOTHAM CITY SIRENS, featuring Poison Ivy, Harley Quinn, and…Catwoman. And drew them ALL super-sexy). But Catwoman’s whole THING is that she’s super-sexy, and uses that to distract cops and security guards while she’s out cat-burgling. So, actually, hiring someone like March to draw this comic is kind of perfect.
And then there’s the “women in comics are drawn as sexpots while men are drawn at ideals” crowd once again bringing up that whole argument. I would like to direct you to a couple of former Marvel Comics colorist Christina Strain’s deviantART journal entries. The first is from the summer of 2008: http://CeeCeeLuvins.deviantart.com/journal/Feminism-misdirected-236490193 and the second from early 2009: http://CeeCeeLuvins.deviantart.com/journal/Women-in-Male-dominated-industries-233582102 — The long-and-short of it is that Christina is a woman who works (or worked) in comics for nearly a decade, and in that time she colored some VERY sexy art (including the alternate cover to Uncanny X-Men #500). And she’ll be the first one to say that EVERYBODY in comics is drawn ridiculously — Women are sexpots and men are musclebound tanks. And if you look around, you, too, will notice that NOBODY IN REAL LIFE LOOKS AS IDEALIZED AS THEY DO IN COMICS. Even steroid-riddled professional wrestlers look fat next to their comic book counterparts. And when you can make a guy like Dave Batista looks fat, you’re no longer dealing with anything that even resembles reality.
And, perhaps my favorite, are the people arguing that this is going to be “the first thing” that new readers are going to see, after they’ve decided they like Anne Hathaway’s portrayal of Catwoman in the upcoming THE DARK KNIGHT RISES movie. And those new readers MIGHT be turned off by an even SEXIER Catwoman drawing.
And to those people I say: Who are these theoretical “new readers” you’re talking about? The last 23 years (since 1989′s BATMAN) have taught us that COMIC BOOK MOVIES DO NOT BRING IN ANY SIGNIFICANT NUMBER OF NEW READERS. They raise awareness of the characters and concepts, but most people who aren’t already in the habit can’t be bothered to remember to go into the same store once a month to plunk down 3-4 dollars on a 20 page funny book. The only people they’re going to be attracting to go to comic stores are the people who are going already.
Their PR people will never say this, but DC doesn’t give a shit what the FEW newcomers the movie MIGHT bring in to comic stores think of Mr. March’s depiction of Catwoman’s ass. DC Comics is positioned as an IP machine for Time-Warner, and as long as their cartoons and movies and action figures are making a profit, they’ll never go out of business. And DC’s cartoons and movies and action figures are HIGHLY profitable.
On top of that, TDKR comes out in July. CATWOMAN #0 doesn’t come out until September. So this will not be “the first thing” that any of them see.
Superhero comics are not high-concept art. They’re silly, campy, mindless entertainment to help us escape the bullshit of real life. Don’t treat them like they’re anything more than silly stories on funny-colored bits of paper. I don’t, and I ran a comic book store for two years.
Look, this all comes back to the point I made about CATWOMAN #1. Look at the #0 cover. Does that cover appeal to you? If so, buy the comic. If not, don’t buy the comic. As a little kid, I didn’t buy Barbie dolls, because they didn’t come in wrappers that appealed to me. And what more is a comic book cover, really, than a wrapper for the contents?
(And, perhaps the best part of this whole thing is, Guillem March isn’t even drawing this issue. He only did the cover.)
So, I went and caught Men in Black 3 this past weekend.
I really enjoyed the movie. It had everything that I like about sci-fi comedy films: Complex time travel stories, corny jokes, and crazy-looking creatures. I didn’t bother seeing it in 3D, so I can’t comment on that aspect. But I can tell you that I liked it more than MiB2, but not quite as much as the original.
It’s not going to win any awards, and the plot is fairly predictable and recycled, but that’s not what makes a movie good. It’s the way in which it was delivered, and that was in a, “I have nothing better to do for the next two hours, so I’m going to watch a movie that makes me laugh and has cool action scenes” way.
My favorite things were the little touches. Agent J (Will Smith) goes back in time to 1969 to stop an escaped alien prisoner, and when he goes back, all of the designs of the aliens and the MiB-tech become contemporary of the late 1960s. Or how Josh Brolin totally nailed playing a young Agent K (Tommy Lee Jones), slick.
But at the end of the day, it’s Men in Black. If you saw the other two movies, you pretty much know what to expect. So just kick back, and watch the guys in the suits protect us from the scum of the universe.
(Note: In the United States, the film is called “The Avengers.” In many International markets, it’s called “Avengers Assemble,” to avoid trademark confusion with the 1960s British TV show “The Avengers,” starring Patrick Macnee and Diana Rigg — which, by the way, is a fantastic show! You should totally Netflix the hell out of that. Also note: This is not a proper review, just some thoughts. I’ll keep it as spoiler-free as I can for now, and get into the details about the movie later.)
Four years ago, we met Robert Downey, Jr.’s Tony Stark/Iron Man, and got re-familiarized with The Incredible Hulk, in their own films. Last year, we met Chris Hemsworth’s Thor, and Chris Evan’s Steve Rogers/Captain America in their own films. Also in those movies, we’ve met Samuel L. Jackson’s S.H.I.E.L.D. Director Nick Fury, Scarlett Johansson’s Agent Natasha Romanov/The Black Widow, and Jeremy Renner’s Clint Barton/Hawkeye. Throw those seven personalities into one movie, and you have assembled a collection of Earth’s Mightiest Heroes.
When I first heard about this project in 2007ish, from a friend who had read it as an Internet rumor, I knew it was going to be ambitious. Introduce each major character in their own film, and then do one that brings them all together? Up to that point, we’d had two decent X-Men movies, and two really good Spider-Man movies, and varying-in-quality Batman and Superman movies, but nothing as insane as a five-film build up to an Avengers movie (at the time we assumed an Ant-Man/Wasp movie would be happening, not Iron Man 2, to round out the original comic book cast of the Avengers from 1964). And the problem was obvious from the outset: None of the movies building up to the Avengers climax could be bad. Given the track record of any studio who tried making a multi-film series of superhero sequels (which, at the time, was only Warner Bros.), I honestly didn’t have much hope. Yeah, the 1978 Superman was awesome, and Superman 2 was great, but then we got Supermans 3 and 4. Batman ’89 changed my eight-year-old life when my dad and I rented it on tape in 1990, and at the time it came out, I loved Batman Returns, but then there was Batman Forever and Batman & Robin. X-Men and X2 were fantastic, and even though *I* liked X3, a lot of people didn’t. Spider-Mans 1 and 2 may have been the best superhero movies ever, with a feeling more true to the titular hero than any previous attempts (outside of Superman 1), but even Spider-Man 3 wasn’t safe from awful threequelitis — the condition that the third movie in a series ruins whatever goodwill the first two had built up with an audience.
It seemed like we could get one or two decent movies out of a franchise before things spun out of control, and the corporate suits took over and made everything about selling merchandise rather than making a good movie.
And then IRON MAN came out, in 2008, and the world changed.
Previous to that movie, Iron Man had always been a “Hey guys, I’m here, too!” kind of character. He practically DEFINED Marvel’s B-list heroes, in that his solo title was never going to get cancelled, but something about the character kept him from getting the kind of mainstream appeal of guys like Spider-Man and The Hulk. The closest he ever got was a two-season run of an animated series on UPN in the mid-1990s, but for some reason, something about that show never quite clicked. Looking back on it, the answer is obvious: The producers of the IRON MAN animated series focused more on the IRON than the MAN.
And in 2008, Jon Favreau directed a film from Marvel Studios that, despite its title, was a TONY STARK movie, not an Iron Man film. Suddenly, the weird red-and-yellow robot guy was a relatable human being inside a suit of armor, rather than a cold, hard crimefighter that we couldn’t penetrate. And Iron Man instantly became a worldwide icon.
Later that summer, we got Marvel Studios’ re-imagining of The Incredible Hulk, in an attempt to make up for the semi-disaster that the 2003 HULK movie had been. Hulk is the most-exposed-to-the-mainstream Marvel hero who isn’t named “Spider-Man,” with a cartoon in the 1960s, a live-action show in the 1970s, and cartoons in the ’80s and ’90s. That character has this huge reputation OUTSIDE of his 50 years of comics continuity, and with so many different interpretations, that might make him the hardest of The Avengers to bring to life as the main star in his own movie. But Marvel Studios pulled it off, and we were on a roll!
Skip forward two years, and IRON MAN 2 launched in 2010. And THAT movie was fantastic, as well, although I feel like a lot of its thunder was stolen by KICK-ASS, which came out two weeks earlier. Consider the Black Widow’s fight scene in the hallway, where she took out like eighteen dudes, and compare that to the hallway scene in KICK-ASS where Hit Girl does the same thing, but in a way flashier style. IRON MAN 2 cemented a lot of Tony Stark’s character traits, however, and gave the character more mainstream exposure, which he really needed.
And then last year, we got THOR. Thor was the character I had the most reservations about, due to a lot of people possibly not understanding that this was going to be a movie about the Marvel Comics hero, and not the actual Norse Mythology. And those reservations were absolutely founded — I heard about a lot of backlash from people not in the know who were upset by the way some of the Norse Gods were handled. However, comics and sci-fi fans ate it up! Thor also had the advantage of being released after the Lord of the Rings trilogy, which gave moviegoing audiences a lot more leniency towards sword-and-sorcery-type films. Despite taking place in the Marvel Studios Universe, THOR can almost sit next to LOTR as a fun fantasy movie set in modern times without too much trouble.
Finally, last year gave us CAPTAIN AMERICA: THE FIRST AVENGER, which was a two-hour flashback. But we got to see how a scrawny kid from Brooklyn became the peak of human perfection, and did it all while wearing a gaudy, star-spangled outfit. Steve Rogers is my favorite Marvel hero, so there’s nothing I can say about this movie that won’t just sound like me being a gushy fanboy. But, at the end of the film, we got what we were waiting for: The trailer to AVENGERS.
This week, after four years and five films of build-up, we finally got that movie.
And there’s exactly one problem with the Joss Whedon-directed AVENGERS (ASSEMBLE) film that came out yesterday:
It’s really fucking good.
So good, as soon as it was over, my friend and I drove across town to a different theater and saw it again. And if the second showing hadn’t ended at 1am, we might have gone to see it a third time. I have NEVER IN MY LIFE watched a movie twice in the same day. Theaters, VHS, DVD, BluRay, Laserdisc, whatever. I’ve never been able to sit through a movie twice in one day. But this film was so good, I just had to.
In late 1992, a ten-year-old Andy (before I was dubbed “Psycho”) watched a new cartoon on Fox Kids, called “X-Men.” I was reasonably familiar with who the X-Men were from trading cards, action figures, and the few random comics my parents had bought for me, but I’d never really looked into WHO the X-Men were. And when that episode was over, I turned to my mother and said, “Mom, we need to go to a comic book store right now.” I didn’t want the feeling of exhilaration the cartoon had just given me to end!
And, honestly, that’s exactly where I was after watching THE AVENGERS, last night.
It was so good, I feel like I never need to see another movie, again. And there’s a large part of me that doesn’t ever want to see a superhero movie NOT done by Marvel Studios, because nobody else can seem to get it quite right.
Mission accomplished, Avengers. A winner is you.
If one more person wishes me “May the Fourth Be With You,” I’m gonna Darth Maul a bitch.
Star Wars came out on May 25th, 1977. Not on some really BAD pun. And I may be the guiltiest party about making bad puns, amongst my circles of friends.
But this one is even worse, because it’s going to happen EVERY SINGLE YEAR for the rest of our lives.
Star Wars day is May 25th. Piss off, if you disagree.
I’ve been playing quite a bit of the Mega Man game series, lately. This morning, I had an epiphany.
Dr. Wily is a moron.
Don’t get me wrong: He’s a brilliant (fictional) mad scientist. His skills and proficiency in engineering is without match. No mad scientist has ever created as many varied creatures as Dr. Albert W. Wily, and certainly not in the quantity that he has.
In the 10 Mega Man games from the original series, Wily has created around 80 different Robot Master bosses (MM2-10 and Mega Man & Bass — Dr. Light created the MM1/Powered Up!! Robot Masters), plus dozens of regular enemies to fill each of the Robot Masters’ stages. But only one of Wily’s creations has what it takes to stand up to Mega Man.
Also known as “Mets” and “Hardhats,” the Metool is unique amongst the enemies in the Mega Man games. Mega Man can only damage a Metool by shooting its face or feet. A shot to the hardhat portion of the Met will bounce off, with a “tink!” sound effect, indicating the weapon’s uselessness. When it is hunched into its hardhat “shell,” a Met becomes COMPLETELY invincible. Nothing can harm a crouching Metool. Even the mighty Sniper Joe, who hides behind an invincible shield before assaulting you with a barrage of shots, pales in comparison to the Metool.
So, given all that, why do I think Wily is a moron?
BECAUSE HE DOESN’T MAKE ALL OF HIS ROBOTS OUT OF THE SAME MATERIAL AS A METOOL’S HARDHAT!
If Wily REALLY wanted to destroy Mega Man, he would have enough COMMON SENSE to make everything he built as INVINCIBLE as the Metool!
But, because he isn’t that smart, Mega Man will defeat Dr. Wily, again and again.
It was almost exactly six years ago to the minute when I woke up and thought, “Something happened in wrestling while I was asleep.” I still have no idea how I knew that something was up, but I went to WWE.com to see what it was, and that’s when I learned about the untimely passing of “Latino Heat” Eddie Guerrero.
Guerrero wasn’t my favorite wrestler, but I did always enjoy his matches and interview segments. And out of respect for his contributions to an industry that I enjoyed so much, I immediately got on AIM, and started a chat room where my friends and I could share some of our favorite Eddie Guerrero memories.
We later learned that Eddie died of heart complications, due to years of drug and alcohol abuse. Guerrero passed away completely sober. Even though he had gotten himself back on track, even going so far as to become a born-again Christian, it was, unfortunately, too late. The years of abuse had cut his life short, at age 38.
Guerrero is one of the few wrestlers who was adored by casual fans and by the more hardcore wrestling fans. Casuals loved him because of his endearing personality and incredible sense of humor. The hardcore fans loved Eddie because he could wrestle in several different styles – He could have a great high-flying match with Rey Mysterio one week, have a knock-down brawl with Stone Cold Steve Austin the next, and then have a technical match with a guy like Lance Storm, the next. Most wrestlers aren’t that talented.
I only got to see Eddie wrestle a couple of times, but I was in the audience at Wrestlemania X-Seven in 2001, when he defeated Test to win the WWF European Championship. Seeing a wrestler win a championship is a pretty good memory to have, I’d say.
Eddie left behind three daughters and a wife. And right now, Eddie’s widow, Vickie Guerrero, is the most hated character in the WWE. I had a chance to meet Vickie during Wrestlemania week 2010, and she was one of the nicest, sweetest, celebrities with whom I’d ever had the fortune of crossing paths. I wish her nothing but continued success in carrying on her husband’s name.
Thanks for lying to us, cheating us, and stealing our hearts, Eddie.
Since everybody and their mother is talking about this — and a couple people have asked for my opinion — I figure I’ll throw in my two cents.
The controversy is this:
Apparently, people are surprised Batman and Catwoman have sex with each other.
Because, you know. It’s not like it hasn’t been well-established that Batman, under his Bruce Wayne disguise, sleeps around with more women than James Bond. And it’s not like Catwoman wears a skin-tight fetishwear outfit ALL THE FREAKING TIME. And it’s not like Batsy and Catwoman have had an ongoing attraction to each other since the Adam West TV series.
Oh, wait. All of that exists. I must’ve temporarily forgotten.
Yet, a lot of people (particularly feminist comic readers) are crying foul.
So, okay. Let me take a step back, and try to figure this one out.
Maybe they’re afraid that comic readers are still children. Well, that’s naïve. I ran a comic store for 3 years, and 99% of our customers were males between 18 and 35. So those people have an argument based in myth.
Maybe the people complaining are of a more wholesome variety, and they don’t want to see that in their fiction. I can respect that, but then why would you read Catwoman, a series ABOUT a cat burglar? The premise of the series is that she’s a criminal, so I’m debasing that argument, too.
Maybe some of these people are new readers who are not familiar with the established concepts of both heroes. Those people, sure. I can understand their being surprised.
Except when the cover looks like this:
If you bought Catwoman #1, with THAT cover, and you’re SURPRISED that there’s sexual content? Then I’m sorry, you’re an idiot.
The cheesecake cleavage, the seductive eyes, and the dribbling, shiny… jewels… over her chest all suggest that this is going to be a more mature title. And look at the bottom. See that “Rated T+”? That means there’s going to be questionable content in the book.
To me, that cover says, “This book is for people who want to look at drawings of sexy girls in suggestive poses,” the same way that a Barbie doll’s box says “This toy is for little girls.”
Do *I* like the content? Not particularly. But I’ve also seen a lot more offensive material, in comics with far less warning on the cover.
The issue at hand is that people have deluded themselves into thinking that just because they like comics in general, that they are the target market for all comics, and that’s plainly not true.
Just because I liked the late 80s/early 90s Ninja Turtle action figures doesn’t mean I was going to enjoy late 80s/early 90s Barbie dolls. They’re both toys, but even before I turned 8, I was discerning enough to realize that I wasn’t the target market for Barbies. Comic readers need to be equally as discerning.
I don’t read a lot of Frank Miller comics, because I find them dark and depressing, and too rough for my tastes. Despite being a male between 18-35, I am not the target market for Frank Miller’s work. But I don’t think comic stores should stop carrying SIN CITY, or that Dark Horse should stop keeping it in print. Other people like it, and that’s okay.
The moral of the story is to get over yourself, and realize that just because you like a particular kind of product doesn’t mean you’re going to like all of them. And you can vote with your dollars. If you didn’t like the overabundance of sexual content in Catwoman #1, then don’t buy Catwoman #2.
I’m not going to.