Sunday, December 19, 2010

What I Dislike About...


Having to wait for anything good in life just plain sucks. Honestly, has there ever been even a single moment in all of human history when someone actually said to themselves, "Boy, I sure am glad I had to wait so long for that thing which I really wanted," or other words to that effect?

Friday, December 17, 2010

What I Like About...

Kang the Conqueror (Part 1).

Given the benefit of hindsight equal to such a task, life seemingly has an odd habit of proving people wrong in the long run. And it is with just such an intention that I now post the following: Amongst the non- comics-reading public, Kang the Conqueror’s name is unlikely to ever attain a comparable level of recognition as widespread as that of Dr. Doom or Magneto. More's the pity, then, because I feel that Kang shares many of the self-same qualities which make Marvel's best villains all so memorable. The character exhibits a similar sense of majesty and grandeur, whilst also retaining that air of unspoken dignity in the face of tragic circumstances which ultimately renders him relatable to the reader.

Perhaps it is this aforementioned lack of a more general renown - both with non-fans, and sometimes seemingly even amongst Marvel's own creative staff (in regards to an almost criminal underuse of the character) - which helps to elevate Kang's status (in my eyes, at least) as something of an underdog. Nevertheless, to merely suggest that this character's back-story is both voluminous and convoluted, and simply leave it at that, would be a gross understatement. I'd be remiss in any attempt I could make to adequately summarize, in a more-or-less thorough manner, Kang's expansive history, extensive motivations and all his capabilities... Therefore, I'll instead try to focus on that one most-singular facet of the character which I personally consider to be the most fascinating.

Now as a fellow diehard fanboy myself, I understand all too well one's natural inclination to nitpick an article such as this for each and every incongruity and omission - but the constraints inherent to recounting, in text form, what is so fundamentally a visual medium (i.e. comics/sequential art) means that absolute, one-hundred percent accuracy in relation to the original source material was perhaps never even realistically achievable. Consequently, I must humbly entreat the reader to make certain allowances for whatsoever liberties I might take - whether inadvertently, or not - in the following retelling. In return, I shall spare you the headache of having to read about events which - in continuity - take place in the future, by referring to them using the past-tense (versus future-tense) instead.

In the 31st Century, Nathaniel Richards (distant descendant of the Fantastic Four's Reed Richards) lived up to the villainous epithet by which he is better known, insofar as managing to conquer the entire universe. Take a moment to fully consider all the implications of that statement: A lone human being subjugated - not just a single solar system, nor even a mere galaxy... but absolutely everything, everywhere.

And yet, even this was not enough. In what should have been his moment of greatest triumph, Kang instead lamented that his victory ultimately felt like an empty one. For although he now reigned supreme over all of creation, the one thing he had failed to capture... was the heart of the woman he loved.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

What I Dislike About...

Writer's block.

I mean, why would anyone ever willingly go on a guilt trip... much less one which is self-imposed? And yet, isn't that exactly what we as writers so often do? In our minds, the self-incriminations are two-fold: We lament our momentary inability to simply conjure up worthwhile new content and/or summon only the best words possible, whilst also condemning ourselves for expending precious time and energy on anything other than our specifically-chosen creative endeavors!

Monday, December 13, 2010

What I Like About...

Marvel 1602.

Neil Gaiman's 1602 introduced a whole host of new storytelling grist for the figurative mill from which Marvel's writers and artists can draw upon: classic characters, re-envisioned through a filter of having originally been intended for the 'sandbox' backdrop of the year 1602.

And although that alone is incredible, in and of itself, it is not what I wish to focus on today.

If I might be given leave to do so, I'd like to preface the following statements by admitting that the pragmatic fanboy in me (now there's two words I never thought I'd see used together) well realizes that the actual rationale behind the following phenomenon was to facilitate Gaiman's literary 'shout-out' to Jack Kirby, by way of Devil Dinosaur (in lieu of the Mole Man's monster).

One of the more curious aspects of the hypothesized alternate history given by 1602 is the continued existence (albeit in greatly-diminished numbers) of prehistoric animals - dinosaurs in particular. It is presented as a universally-accepted fact - common knowledge amongst society at large, and not at all thought of as being in the least bit strange...

So how are there still dinosaurs - and why? Gaiman makes nary an attempt at offering up an explanation... but really, isn't it obvious?

They're there simply because dinosaurs are cool - and that (and, by extension, Gaiman) rocks.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Venting to the void:

It used to be that Facebook was both a legitimate and permissible forum for all of my catharses. If I'd had a bad day, felt under-the-weather or so forth, I'd just pop on over to my account and post about the same in convenient, bite-sized chunks.

And then all of the sundry workplaces and various higher-learning facilities of this world seemingly started policing the internet in its entirety for expressions of honest opinion and pure thought.

So here I am, using an assumed name - shouting my ultimately insignificant concerns into an uncaring electronic wind.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Regarding Aquaman:

Aquaman - or, more specifically, his near career-long status as the go-to whipping boy regarding his 'powers' (and the widely-held belief in the near-total lack thereof) when compared to his fellow superheroes. It has occurred to me that the cancellation of all his prior solo comic book series is most likely actually due to one thing: wasted potential. Aquaman should, by all rights, be the most bad-assed comic book there ever was!

Consider this: In outer space, it's pitch black. It's much the same on the ocean floor - although, for some reason, the ocean backgrounds in the comics are always shown as being blue... Both environments are freezing cold. The empty vacuum of space can make things explode - while all of the pressure at the bottom of the ocean instead makes things implode. And to revisit that aforementioned term, empty - well, asides from the odd cosmic-based character, outer space is largely just that: (empty) space.

It's not like that on the bottom of the ocean, though! There, teaming and unimaginable horrors exist - literally anything that the writers and artists could possibly conceive, because a) no man-made craft can yet navigate the absolute deepest depths of the ocean; and b) any life-forms that scientists bring up from such depths perish due to the immense pressure changes. Most of these creatures have razor-sharp teeth... and each and every one of them hungers to consume you, in only the most violent manner possible!

Proponents of aquatic characters have, in the past, often cited the much bandied-about statistic that seventy-one percent of the Earth's surface is covered by the sea. However, if one were to judge solely on the basis of every previous Aquaman series (and to be sure, Marvel's Namor the Sub-Mariner suffers this same fate as well), absolutely no one would ever guess that! This is because - seemingly without fail - writers always try and awkwardly shoehorn in plots that relate to the surface world.

Quick - name all of the protectors of Gotham City... heck, even Metropolis! Then name the oceans' defenders, at present, in the DC Universe (while also bearing in mind that Garth, formerly Aquaboy, is now deceased - and so is Dolphin for that matter). Yeah... there's something of a disparity there.

In truth, Aquaman should realistically (well, insofar as any fictional account of super-humans could ever be called 'realistic') be almost entirely unconcerned about life above the waves (although an exception can of course be made for issues pertaining to the impact that surface-dweller borne pollution has had upon the Earth's overall environment). Still, perhaps the best format for further Aquaman stories ought to be eleven issues dedicated solely to his underwater adventures... with only one (likely the now-requisite annual company-wide cross-over 'event' story) taking place on dry land.

That, at any rate, is just my two cents about Aquaman.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Remake madness!

So they're thinking of remaking Videodrome. My question is: why? How could it possibly be made relevant to modern audiences when the old cathode ray tubes have largely gone the way of the Betamax cassettes which were also featured in the original film? Of course, this is where the smart asses of the world will pop up and suggest YouTube, or something similar... but it, like most internet content, is already available for viewing to the general public for free! So where does that leave James Woods' Max Renn character - who was, after all, the protagonist of the original film?

And speaking of Woods, the undeniable truth of the matter is that no modern-day cast could ever hope to even approach the perfection on display in the performances of Cronenberg's original! Even the director himself has moved on from his own body-based horror movies onto, regrettably, making much safer (and, sadly, more commercially-viable) crime thrillers instead...

One can only hope that this turns out to be another one of those projects which dies on the vine (and rightfully so), never having seen the light of day... but as long as rumors occasionally surface of planned "re-imaginings" (slaughterings, more likely) of the likes of Suspiria, and Escape From New York? Well then, my friends, we still have much to fear.