Casting Internets

I’m still insanely behind on my link reading, but I figured I’d get these particular ones from the past month or so out there for all to read…and to unload a bit.

My pal Rob Bricken left ToplessRobot.com for io9.com. I will definitely miss coming up with crazy lists and writing them for him. Onwards and upwards good sir!

Speaking of Topless Robot, I wrote a few lists for them recently. This one’s about the craziest mini-monsters in horror, this one’s about Green Lanterns we want to see on the delayed Green Lantern Animated Series and this one’s about evil monkeys.

Speaking of me writing stuff, in addition to my usual CBR duties covering Image and doing daily posts for Spinoff Online, I also launched a collecting column over on CBR called Toying Around, I’m pretty psyched about it, here’s the latest one.

While on the subject of things seen on CBR, I was really excited to hear about IDW reprinting Wally Wood’s T.H.U.N.D.E.R. Agents material. Everything that guy did should be in trade format if you ask me.

Would it be awesome to have Robert Plant’s level of talent where you just go over to a friend’s house and make a record without really meaning to? (via Rolling Stone)ironmenvs-hulkI would very much like to see Ulises Farinas draw all the comics, much like he draw all these Iron Man armors going up against the Hulk.

I know it’s well past the election, but I finally caught up on a few political pieces I really found interesting. First off, director Adam McKay’s HuffPo piece pointed out to everyone that, even though he wasn’t outright saying it, Romney’s politics are almost exactly the same as George W. Bush’s.

I also found Matt Taibbi’s Rolling Stone piece on the big/small government argument is essentially moot considering how huge Bush made the government when he was in power. When will people start actually listening to facts? tyler stout mondo reservoir dogsMan, Tyler Stout’s Reservoir Dogs poster for Mondo is pretty amazing.

The HMAD review of Don Coscarelli’s John Dies At The End makes me really excited about seeing that flick.

John Carpenter talked to Hero Complex about They Live! What an awesome movie.

One of my favorite parts of the year is when Tom and Lorenzo do commentary about the Victoria’s Secret fashion show. Here’s part 1 and part 2. Fun stuff.

Elmore Leonard did the Proust Questionnaire over at Vanity Fair. That guy is so damn cool.

I’m embarrassed to say that I’ve never actually read anything by Harlan Ellison, but I will read his new DC graphic novel with the amazing Paul Chadwick called 7 Against Chaos (via Blastr)

I liked this Hero Complex piece about Adventure Time, then again, I like pretty much anything having to do with that wonderfully weird show.

Some idiots want to secede my hometown of Toledo back to Michigan. What a great use of one’s time. (via The Detroit News)

I like the idea of a new Kurt Cobain documentary, though less so when I find out Courtney Love’s partially involved. I don’t trust that lady. (via Rolling Stone)

Ron Marz’s Shelf Life column over on CBR focused on his days at CrossGen which actually sound a lot like my days at Wizard: a lot of people from all over the place coming together and doing some great work. He wrote a second CG-centric post that I have yet to read, but am excited to.

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Casting Internets

Thanks to a vacation last week I got way behind in both blogging and reading links. I got caught up recently and here’s what I found interesting.

As always, I will hype my own stuff. Before SDCC got underway I talked to Brandon Graham about his amazing series Prophet, Jamie S. Rich about the upcoming It Girl series and wrote up a Dark Knight Rises press conference without even attending. Yes, I’m that good.

SDCC really kept me busy the week leading up to the convention. I wrote about the Cyber Force Kickstarter campaign, Brandon Seifert’s upcoming Hellraiser comic, Ales Kot’s new book Change, Whilce Portacio and Glen Brunswick’s Non-Humans, Top Cow’s other panel announcements and Oliver by Gary Whitta and Darick Robertson.

I also did some work for Marvel.com for SDCC including stories about Red She-Hulk and Ultimate Iron Man.

Speaking of the con, my pal Kiel Phegley got interviewed for his hometown paper in Flint. It’s a good piece except the dude misspelled Spider-Man, one of my biggest pet peeves.

Forget comics news, I’m super psyched that Marvel’s characters will be teaming up with Phineas & Ferb, that show is fantastic. (via CBR)

Still on the subject of SDCC, I thought this THR piece about whether presenting at Comic-Con is actually worth it to studios or not. My guess is it’s not, but it definitely earns good will.
These minor league baseball jerseys made to look like Chewbacca are fantastic. How far away do I live from Rochester, NY? (via MPN Now)

I’m not quite sure what I think of Billy Corgan or the new Smashing Pumpkins because I haven’t heard any of it, but this Rolling Stone interview with him was pretty interesting.

I was a huge fan of Ron Marz’s Green Lantern, much of which was drawn by the rad Darryl Banks. Marz’s most recent Shelf Life Column on CBR caught up with him. Gabriel Hardman did a Dr. Phibes piece. I will now follow his blog forever.

I can really relate to Alex Noriega’s latest Stuff No One Told Me called Everybody Else.

I was bummed out to read that Krist Novoselic doesn’t play bass much anymore, but then at the end of this Rolling Stone piece he hints at getting back together with Dave Grohl. I like the sound of that very much.

Green Day is currently working on three albums and two documentaries. I will be dropping a log of green on them this year. (both via Rolling Stone)And finally, Paul Pope drew Orion!!!

Casting Internets

Goodness, it’s funny how these things get away from me. When I started keeping track of this back of links, Mad Men had just come back out.

First, to toot my own horn, I wrote stories about Youngblood, “Triggergirl 6,” Battle Beasts, Think Tank and The Tower Chronicles.

Meanwhile, over on Marvel.com, I talked to Joe Casey, Tom DeFalco and Roger Stern about their issues of Hulk Smash Avengers as well as an Iron Man movie app comic!

Mad Men returned which meant I wanted to read two posts about it, one from my pal Sean T. Collins, the other by Tom & Lorenzo. Neither disappointed.

I know there’s no details about this Dan Aykroyd/Chevy Chase movie, but I’m cautiously optimistic about it. I hope they don’t disappoint. (via THR)

I haven’t listened to Aziz Ansari‘s new hour called Dangerously Delicious, but I did buy it for $5. I really like this new method of getting stand-up out there, but do wish the video came with a separate audio file as well.

The day Ansari’s new set went on sale, The New York Times did a story on this new model of business that Louis CK started. I am a big fan of this model.

I also bought but haven’t listened to Jim Gaffigan‘s latest special. Jeez, I need to set some me time aside, you know?

I remember Derek Trucks when he was just a young kid blowing my mind with both his skill and the fact that he got to play with the Allman Brothers. This Rolling Stone interview with him was equally interesting.

Also from RS, I had no idea Amazon bought used stuff, let alone the news of them accepting CDs for credit. This could be worth while.

Yes, I kind of want to go to the Summerland Tour, which features Everclear, Sugar Ray, Gin Blossoms and Marcy Playground. 90s Nostalgia! Here’s another old one, this 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea Mondo poster already went up for sale and is gone, but it lives on as my wallpaper.

Speaking of Mondo, the gang at /Film interview the brains behind the operation. I still think their desire to keep numbers low on their runs is less about keeping quality up and more about trying to stay cool, but they still do amazing work.

In one more bit of Mondo-related news, they’re opening an Alamo Drafthouse in NYC! I will probably never go there, but I am excited (via Bad Ass Digest)

Chef and food guru Michael Ruhlman wrote a post about the perfect martini, which includes gin if you didn’t know. I made half of one of these after reading this post and was doing quite well. Highly recommended.

Mark Waid’s post about the math that goes into making comics these days was pretty eye opening.

This story from my hometown newspaper The Toledo Blade about a group of dudes who regularly gather to play old school Techmo Bowl made me nostalgic for several reasons. Gizmodo says that Jeffrey Brown is doing a Star Wars book about Darth Vader being a dad. Yes, this will be in Lu’s library when it comes out.

MTV Geek broke the news about a He-Man comic from DC written by James Robinson. Five years ago, this would make me giddy. Today I face it with cautious optimism.

Legend has it that my AP European History teacher from high school wrote some of the backs of action figures, I wonder if he did any on this G.I. Joe Topless Robot list.

I love the idea of Green Day producing three albums in four months. Why not? Might as well put out the music as it comes. (via Rolling Stone)

Finally, this is the coolest Rube Goldberg device I’ve ever seen. (via Wired)

Steve Rogers Trade Post: Secret Avengers Volume 1 & Fallen Son

Secret Avengers Volume 1: Mission To Mars (Marvel)
Written by Ed Brubaker, drawn by Mike Deodato, Will Conrad, David Aja, Michael Lark & Stefano Gaudiano
Collects Secret Avengers #1-5

After getting a good deal on the second volume of Secret Avengers from Thwipster, I was pretty excited to check out the first volume. So, right after finishing, I went on Sequential Swap and set up a trade for the book. When it came in the mail on Saturday, I read it pretty much immediately. This is basically the perfect team book for Ed Brubaker to write because it’s perfectly set in his wheelhouse. Not only does it star Steve Rogers, the character he revolutionized over in the excellent Captain America, but it’s all about the black ops side of the Marvel Universe and includes characters that fit in that world either obviously like Moon Knight, Sharon Jones, Black Widow and Ant-Man (the most recent one) in ways that make a lot of sense even if you didn’t think about it like Beast, War Machine, Valkyrie and Nova. The idea is for the team to be more pro-active, a buzz concept in comics that always sounds good on paper, but doesn’t always deliver because, how do you stop crime before it happens?

So, with that team and that idea in mind, Brubaker kicks the first adventure off with a trip to Mars! It’s the kind of story that might not seem he’s suited for, but it still deals with evil corporations, brainwashed henchmen, a secret organization and heroes fighting other brainwashed heroes. Here’s the actual story: Roxxon has a mining operation on Mars, but all the workers disappeared and Rogers thinks something’s up. He sends his space guy–Nova–to check it out and he finds a crown very similar to the Serpent Crown that instantly takes over Nova and results in the rest of the team–minus Sharon Jones who is back on earth getting ambushed–heading into space. It turns out that Roxxon made a deal with a Hydra-like organization called The Shadow Council to mine there, but they accidentally stumbled upon a prophecy or something that will lead to the end of the universe. So, it’s up to Commander Rogers (don’t think I’ll ever get used to that, not that I need to), Moon Knight, Valkyrie, Ant-Man, War Machine and Beast–all in pretty awesome looking space suits, by the way–to stop Nova and save the universe, which includes seeing Steve put on Nova’s helmet and get a Nova-based costume, which I dug. It sounds like a straight forward superhero story and it is, but it’s also got a lot of those awesome espionage flavored moments that signify a great Bru comic. That really gets focused on in the fifth issue that explains who the Nick Fury lookalike that’s working for the Shadow Council is. Really fun stuff.

I talked about Deodato’s art in the last post and I feel the same way with this earlier volume. I think he’s a great choice for this book if you want to get away from the Steve Epting style set up in Captain America, or the Michael Lark/David Aja look that is actually used in the fifth issue. He’s doing great on the big superhero stuff, but also–and this might be thanks to the inking or coloring–things look shadowy, which fits the theme of the book perfectly. At first it was a little distracting, but once I started thinking that way, I was in it all the way. It’s not noir by any means, but shadows are impotant for a black ops team.

Fallen Son: The Dead Of Captain America (Marvel)
Written by Jeph Loeb, drawn by John Cassaday, David Finch, Ed McGuinness, John Romita Jr. & Leinil Francis Yu
Collects Fallen Son: Wolverine, Avengers, Captain America, Spider-Man & Iron Man

I am a very big fan of Ed Brubaker’s Captain America. If you’re into espionage super hero comics, I don’t think you can find a better one than that. I was disappointed when Steve Rogers got killed off a few years back, but, I mean, it’s comics, so you know he’s going to come back, it’s just a matter of when and how. Plus, Bru did an excellent job making me care about Bucky Barnes just as much, so I was okay. But, when I heard that someone else was going to be writing a series of one-shots showing what Cap’s death meant to a variety of heroes in the Marvel U, I wasn’t super excited. I think I read the issues when they came out and I was working at Wizard, but didn’t remember much about them, so I was curious to see how they played out a few years later and with Steve Rogers back in the land of the living.

I gotta say, it’s a pretty melodramatic thing to read which feels somewhat unnecessary, especially considering the fact that Steve Rogers is back. I get the idea behind it, putting together one of the best selling writers in comics with a series of big time artists on the subject of the death of a popular characters. And, as a story, it’s interesting how the issues tie into one another (something I didn’t remember from the first read), and there are some cool moments and ideas like Hawkeye thinking about becoming the new Cap at Iron Man’s request and Spider-Man remembering how Cap helped him out, but at the end of the day, it doesn’t seem to carry any weight now. It also features at least one character issue actually saying “The death of Captain America,” out loud which just never sounds right.

However, if you are an art fan, this is a pretty fantastic book. I love Leinil Francis Yu, David Finch and Ed McGuinness and seeing them tackle a wide variety of characters is a lot of fun, especially since they’re one-shots and you don’t have to worry about them missing a future issue. I’m not the biggest John Romita Jr. or John Cassaday fan, but they turn it on full blast too.

KEEP OR DUMP? So, the big question every time I read a trade is: will I keep this book and I’m split on these two. I will definitely save both Secret Avengers trades because I think they’re great continuations of Brubaker’s run on Cap with a lot of fun other elements thrown in. On the other hand, cool art just isn’t enough to keep a book in my collection, with very few exceptions.

Revisiting Scream 3 (2000) & Iron Man 2 (2010)

Sequels are funny things. Like a lot of people who think about movies way too much, I tend to judge them pretty harshly. Do they hold up to the original? Are they better? Does this story make sense? Is it necessary? The real question should simply be, is it any good? Was it entertaining? Did I like it? Upon re-watching a pair of sequels recently, I feel like I’m either becoming a nicer viewer or (hopefully) less judgmental. I think there’s also something to be said for experience with a story making it easier to digest even if there are elements that you find bothersome. You know they’re they, you see them coming and you adjust your viewing as necessary.

That actually wasn’t the case with Scream 3, which I watched towards the end of last week. The first and only other time I saw this movie was in the theaters when it came out in 2000. I’ve never been a huge fan of the Scream series (you can read my review of the first one here), but they were gigantic to the horror community that I was just getting into as they came out. I remember liking the third installment, thinking that the filmmakers were really playing with the genre and having fun with it. I mean, it’s not a flat out comedy by any means, but I remember feeling a sense of winking towards the audience, especially in the scene where the killer throws a knife at Dewey and the handle smacks him in the head. That bit still made me laugh.

But, I wasn’t seeing or noticing the humor as much this time around. Yes, I was working and it was kind of on in the background while I was doing other things, but it just wasn’t as prevalent. I still liked the movie and think it’s pretty good, but there were two aspects that got on my nerves. First off, and I know I liked this at the time, but the Jay and Silent Bob cameos are just super weird and kind of pointless. I’m saying this as someone who loves those characters, those movies and Smith in general, but they really took me out of the movie. But, they weren’t nearly as bad as that ridiculous voice modulator thing that so much of the movie depends on. Does that kind of thing even exist? I feel like if it did, there would be an app. Anyway, I get the idea that it makes everyone you’re not seeing directly in front of you suspect, but it gets to the point where you as a viewer can’t trust anyone and just become more and more disconnected. It also made me far more aware of off-screen dialog which took me out of the store even more. Without that aspect, the movie would actually be pretty damn solid. I don’t even mind the retconning stuff because I think it fits in pretty well and all makes sense. Plus, it’s another not to old horror movies, though this one far more unsettling. With that, I’ve watched the first and third movies in the past few years and just need to rewatch 2 and see 4 for the first time. I’ve heard good things.

After writing up a piece about Iron Man 3 for Spinoff, I remembered that 2 was on Netflix Instant and gave it another watch. I honestly didn’t remember many of my opinions about the movie from the first time I saw it other than a deep desire to punch Justin Hammer in the face. After going back and re-reading my original review of the film, it turns out that that same elements spoke to me both times. I liked it, it’s a big fun action movie. The performances are great. I didn’t like Sam Jackson that time around, but none of that stuff bothered me this time. And, while I still despise Justin Hammer as a character and think he came off kind of cartoony, I don’t think Sam Rockwell’s portrayal of him is all that far from people like him in the real world.

It’s actually kind of funny that I remembered most of the scenes of the movie, but couldn’t remember how I felt about them. There were bits I forgot, like Tony Stark’s dad as a kind of Walt Disney character. I’m actually listening to a book about Pixar right now that got into some of the “I’ve got these ideas, but haven’t developed the technology just yet, maybe they will n the future” ideas that were directly stated in this film. It’s interesting how the things you’re reading/watching/listening to can inadvertently segue into one another.

Anyway, I’ve found that repeated viewings of the first Iron Man tend to leave me a little flat. I still like all the character stuff they did and Robert Downey Jr. makes an awesome Tony Stark, but the ending definitely has diminishing returns. I understand that they wanted to show that Tony Stark could perservere over a larger, more powerful oponent, but that battle is just boring the third or fourth time around. Similarly, the one between Iron Man, War Machine and Mickey Rourke at the end of this one’s a bit lame. You get that awesome sequence with them taking on the drones and then you finish up with Tony and Rhodey aiming blasters at the Ruskie and he explodes? Eh. These things are great the first time around, but don’t always make for the best repeated viewings which is what I want from my movies. Still, it’s a movie packed with fun and shows just one small aspect of how cool an Avengers movie can and hopefully will be.

Geek Briefs: Iron Man, Captain America & Batman

Hey look, more geeky underwear you can buy at Target! Last spring I posted pics of the Megatron and Spider-Man pairs, but this time there’s some really big guns to put your…I’m going to stop right there. I’m a boxer man myself, so I wouldn’t buy these on that level, but I’ve also never actually purchased geeky underwear for myself, that seems to be something other people do for a laugh when they know you’re into comics. Anyway, if you’re an ultra Iron Man, Captain America or Batman fan, I guess these are out there in the world for you to buy. Just don’t show anyone.

Christmas Stories: 2010 Geeky Ornaments

This is a bit late, but I actually forgot I snapped this pic while at a Hallmark a few weeks back. Anyway, people really seemed to dig last year’s ornament post, so here’s some of the geekier ornaments I saw. Across the top you’ve got the edge of a Tron Legacy light cycle, Iron Man, King Kong on top of the Empire State Building, an Office Dwight bobblehead and the blue chick from Avatar (you can also see the bottom of a Rosie ornament from The Jetsons). On the bottom you can see the side of a Snowspeeder, Luke Skywalker and Captain Kirk facing off (I love how they were posed) and the Enterprise. There were a lot more, but I didn’t snap pics of everything. Hopefully, there’s something in here worthy of your Christmas tree!