Archive for the ‘Random Stuff’ Category

Rob Bricken over at io9 has posted another letter and his response, this one about Batman and why we haven’t, and probably won’t ever, see another Batman tv series. I don’t really agree with him completely about the Superman Returns/Smallville thing but he raises some important points. See the post below in its entirety. (I also included another letter he posted about Yoda cause I could.)

60s_batman

Batshit Crazy

Paul C.: I was wondering why there haven’t been any live-action Batman TV series since the campy ‘60s Adam West Batman. There have been two versions of Superman (Lois & Clark and Smallville) which I assume require more special effects than a Batman show would. There is [Green] Arrow who is essentially Batman, but not the same. There was even that show “The Cape” which was a Batman rip-off and not nearly as interesting. With the success of the recent grittier Nolan Batman films, and our love for police procedurals, couldn’t there be a 60-minute time slot there for a Batman TV show?

There could, but there won’t. Batman is too big for TV. By which I mean that Batman is one of Warner Bros.’ biggest, most lucrative, most reliable movie franchises, and they are absolutely terrified at the idea of somehow screwing up the potential revenue of the Batman movies by making a Batman TV series — either by diluting the public’s desire for Bat-entertainment, confusing the public (two people playing Batmen? My mind cannot comprehend such a thing!), or somehow diminishing Batman’s appeal (by the TV series sucking, which, since it would likely end up being a show on The CW, is a very real possibility).

 I know what you’re going to say — Lois and Clark aired only six years after Superman IV, and Smallville was airing when Superman Returns hit theaters. But the truth is that the Superman movie franchise is not nearly as big as the Batman movies. WB felt okay taking those risks for Superman. The worst Superman movie, Superman IV, made $15 million; Batman and Robin still made $105. Which is why it took WB nearly 30 years to get around to relaunching Superman in theaters, but it only took them eight for Batman.

In reality, the public would like all the Batman it can get. I sincerely doubt anyone would cry foul if two different people played two different versions of Batman on TV and in the movies, and there would especially be no problem if the TV show was a Smallville-esque, Batman: Year One TV series and the movies featured an older, most standard, in-his-prime Batman. What can I say? Hollywood is dumb.

 

That Is Why They Fail

LM: Dear Mr. Postman, I’m a Star Wars fan, but I realized yesterday with the rumor one of the new Star Wars movie was going to be about Yoda is that I don’t want a Yoda movie. Does this make me a bad fan?

Not at all, you just have Yoda fatigue. Same thing as Boba Fett fatigue. It’s a problem many creators create, but that George Lucas is very susceptible to; he learns audiences find such-and-such cool, so he keeps bringing them back until they’ve lost all their appeal.

The other problem is that in the original trilogy Yoda was wise and mysterious, and we could only imagine his power. But in the prequels, he was just as big a doofus as all the other Jedi, and his power was being a green bouncy ball that could hold a lightsaber. Honestly, a little bit of Yoda goes a looong way.

I wouldn’t worry about it, though, because I don’t think it’s true. First of all, half the sites on the internet are claiming they know what Disney is doing, And while AICN certainly gets its scoops, but they’re hardly batting 1.000% rumor-wise. Honestly, I think the waters are so muddied at this point we can’t trust any Star Wars news until Disney genuinely announces it.

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This addition to my Star Wars Episode VII Wish List comes courtesy of GiantFreakingRobot’s article stating that Keri Russell wants to be in the new Star Wars movies and since JJ has worked with her before, this is a possibility.

No, just no. Keri Russell would not fit in a Star Wars movie… at all!

That was one of the major problems I had with the prequels, their desire to just cast anyone.

Samuel L. Jackson, I love you, you make an AWESOME Nick Fury, but I just could not take you seriously as Mace.

Jimmy Smits, what you were doing in those movies, I don’t even…

It’s not like these two can’t act, cause they can, it’s that they just didn’t fit in the film. This wasn’t their element. I hate to throw the ‘typecast’ word out there but it is a legitimate thing. Some actors simply don’t fit.

It’s like when we hear Tom Cruise and Harrison Ford could have been Andy and Red in Shawshank Redemption. Cruise and Ford are good actors, yes, would that have worked, oh hell no.

So, yeah… JJ, you did some great casting in Star Trek (2009) so please, PLEASE, bring that to Star Wars Episode VIII.

I wish that only actors who fit and can own their roles will be cast in Star Wars Episode VII.

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Rogue Rules the News

As I was going through my usual news outlets, I noticed a trend with the news that Paquin, Page and Ashmore will be returning for Days of Future Past. The trend being that Paquin and/or Rogue are pretty much always given top/first billing and is never the one to be dropped out.

Is this because Paquin is the bigger name? I wouldn’t think so, while Paquin has a popular tv show, Page has been busy and in the recent blockbuster Inception and Ashmore just got back into the news with his new tv show.

Could it be because Rogue had a bigger role in the original movies? Possibly, but then Kitty is at the heart of the original Days of Future Past story.

Could it simply be because Singer chose to write her name first, which could work as an excuse but people choose how they want to report the news and what pictures to use.

Or maybe Rogue is just that much cooler than Shadowcat and Iceman?

Take a look below and decide for yourself.

CinemaBlend

Paquin is given first billing and Rogue is the only image shown.

Paquin is given first billing and Rogue is the only image shown.

Empire

Page and Ashmore aren't even in the lead line, added like an afterthought!

Page and Ashmore aren’t even in the lead line, added like an afterthought!

Newsarama

No top billing but Rogue's is the only image.

No top billing but Rogue’s is the only image.

ICv2

Paquin is first billing and they didn't even bother with a 'Rogue' image instead going for the actress herself.

Paquin is first billing and they didn’t even bother with a ‘Rogue’ image instead going for the actress herself.

ComingSoon.net & SuperHeroHype

Paquin is top billing and first photo.

Paquin is top billing and first photo.

CBR

Paquin is given top billing and Kitty is left out.

Paquin is given top billing and Kitty is left out.

Entertainment Weekly

Kitty is again left out for Rogue and Iceman.

Kitty is again left out for Rogue and Iceman.

Yahoo! Movies

More Rogue/Iceman scenes, ugh, where's Gambit when you need him!

Paquin top billing and more Rogue/Iceman scenes, ugh, where’s Gambit when you need him!

i09

Iceman is dropped out for Rogue and Kitty.

Iceman is dropped out for Rogue and Kitty this time.

ComicBookMovie actually shares the lime light a little.

Iceman gets top billing on the title but Rogue is the first mentioned everywhere else in the article, plus she has the most decent picture.

Iceman gets top billing on the title but Rogue is the first mentioned everywhere else in the article, plus she has the most decent picture. Seriously Kitty, that hair!

BleedingCool seems to be the only one to focus on Kitty due to her role in DOFP, but even then, they are lumping all of the casting news together.

The only picture of the three is way down in the article and same one used by Empire.

The only picture of the three is way down in the article and same one used by Empire.

Now, these are only 11 out of the thousands of websites out there that cater to movie and comic book news, but these are some of the biggest sites, three of which have their own printed magazines. I think that’s a pretty good indication of Rogue’s and/or Paquin’s popularity.

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But he should read more comics… no one stays dead for long.

Kevin Bacon #CoinInTheHead Twitter

Stolen from someone who stole it from someone who stole it off Tumblr.

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io9 writer Rob Bricken answers letters in a column called Postal Apocalypse. In the January 23rd, 2013, edition, he answers a letter and attempts to explain “Why Nerds Freak Out About Things“. It’s published below in its entirety.

Superman’s Gal Pal

John W.: I got really upset when I heard the rumor that Jimmy Olsen might be “Jenny Olson” in Man of Steel, and then I instantly chided myself. It doesn’t matter, obviously. It‘s not going to really affect Superman in any way. And certainly it’s sexist to disapprove of the gender swap. I know this. I agree with this. But then why am I still kind of consternated about this?

Well, the good news is that you’re handling this is well as you can. For any fan, any kind of change is generally a shock. What matters is if you can look at yourself and realize it’s not actually important. If it’s something in the touchier sex or race category, feeling bad about your own kneejerk prejudice is good –- it’s how we grow more tolerant, actually.

But regarding your consternation, the problem is that you’re a fan. In my head there’s an elaborate math theorem that explains exactly why and how much fans freak when something changes in their favorite franchise. It involves:

• The popularity/prominence of the character/franchise
• How long the character has been around, and how pravelent he/she/it is
• Which medium the character is being presented in
• How much variety the character’ has had already (how many different and/or unusual ways has he/she/it been presented already), both in general and that particular medium
• How great the change is from the character’s fundamentals
• The actual quality of the change

I haven’t gotten the formula worked out, because I’m even worse as math than I am at sports, but I think those factors all directly affect fan freak-outs. So the reason you care about the Jimmy Olson sex change is because it’s a new presentation of the character that we haven’t seen before. New is different and scary, etc. etc.

But the reason you only care a little is because 1) you know Jimmy Olson is not that big a deal, 2) you recognize a gender swap is specifically not a big deal to Jimmy Olson’s fundamental character. It might bring up a slight issue of romantic tension between Superman and “Jenny,” but probably not. I’m guessing you’re not even slightly upset about Laurence Fishburne being cast as the traditionally white Perry White, because 1) White is less important to Superman than Jimmy is, and 2) as Clark Kent’s boss, White’s race doesn’t affect his relationship with Superman in the slightest.

This is also why, in my opinion, people freak out more about superhero movies than comics, because we’ve had so much fewer of them. Over the last 70+ years, Spider-Man has been presented in all sorts of ways — adventure, comedy, horror, sci-fi, he’s been in the future, he’s been Iron Spider, he’s been a half-Latino, half-African-American teen –- so the character has an extremely wide range of ways he’s been portrayed. But he’s only had four movies, all of them played pretty straight to the most basic version of the character, which is why more people freak out when they hear about almost any sort of change happening in the Spidey movies.

Remember when Raimi first announced the organic webshooters? People lost their minds, and really — really — how Spider-Man shoots his webs is almost completely inconsequential, as long as he shoots them. When the rumor went around that Spider-Man might be played by Donald Glover, people freaked out at the idea of a black Spider-Man, because we’d had so few Spider-Man movies to establish the norms (also: racism). But when Marvel announced Miles Morales as the new Spidey in the comics? Some mild grumbling that Marvel was merely pulling a publicity stunt, but no one came as close to losing their minds as they did over Glover, which was still less of a deal than the webshooters in Spider-Man’s first film presentation. But wait another Spider-Man movie trilogy or two — create a larger base of “standard” Spider-Man movies -– and people will begin to feel more comfortable with changes. I guarantee it.

Note: There are a ton of other, smaller variables here. Obviously, the fact that Miles Morales is in the Ultimate universe and not the main universe certainly helped minimize freak-outs. Also, a lot depends on you personally; I’m sure there’s someone who’s collected every issue of Superman’s Pal Jimmy Olsen who is losing his goddamn mind that Jimmy might Jenny in Man of Steel, because the character is super important to him. But overall? Not that big a deal. Sorry for the super-long answer, though!

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I keep thinking about this event that took place on Saturday and decided I needed to share.

So, a writing friend of mine who had never read comics in their life (but seen comic book movies) decided to tag along to the comic book store with me and another friend who is into comics.

We show our newbie friend were everything is, point out titles which we read, see what she might want to try…

She picks one up and goes “Is that elephant holding a gun? It is, the elephant is holding a gun! I have to get this one!”

It was Deadpool #2

She ended up leaving the comic book store with Deadpool #1-3…

No word yet if she still considers us friends.

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The Galactic Empire has responded to the White House’s response to the Death Star Petition:

IMPERIAL CENTER, CORUSCANT – The overwhelming military superiority of the Galactic Empire has been confirmed once again by the recent announcement by the President of the United States that his nation would not attempt to build a Death Star, despite the bellicose demands of the people of his tiny, aggressive planet. “It is doubtless that such a technological terror in the hands of so primitive a world would be used to upset the peace and sanctity of the citizens of the Galactic Empire,“ said Governor Wilhuff Tarkin of the Outer Rim Territories. “Such destructive power can only be wielded to protect and defend by so enlightened a leader as Emperor Palpatine.”

Representatives on behalf of the nation-state leader from the unimaginatively named planet refused to acknowledge the obvious cowardice of their choice, preferring instead to attribute the decision to fiscal responsibility. “The costs of construction they cited were ridiculously overestimated, though I suppose we must keep in mind that this miniscule planet does not have our massive means of production,” added Admiral Conan Motti of the Imperial Starfleet.

Emissaries of the Emperor also caution any seditious elements within the Galactic Senate not to believe Earth’s exaggerated claims of there being a weakness in the Death Star design. “Any attacks made upon such a station — should one ever be built — would be a useless gesture,” added Motti.

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The White House promised to respond to any petition that gets 30k signatures and the “Secure resources and funding, and begin construction of a Death Star by 2016” met that mark. See the response below.

Official White House Response toSecure resources and funding, and begin construction of a Death Star by 2016.                        

This Isn’t the Petition Response You’re Looking For

By Paul Shawcross

The Administration shares your desire for job creation and a strong national defense, but a Death Star isn’t on the horizon. Here are a few reasons:

  • The construction of the Death Star has been estimated to cost more than $850,000,000,000,000,000. We’re working hard to reduce the deficit, not expand it.
  • The Administration does not support blowing up planets.
  • Why would we spend countless taxpayer dollars on a Death Star with a fundamental flaw that can be exploited by a one-man starship?

However, look carefully (here’s how) and you’ll notice something already floating in the sky — that’s no Moon, it’s a Space Station! Yes, we already have a giant, football field-sized International Space Station in orbit around the Earth that’s helping us learn how humans can live and thrive in space for long durations. The Space Station has six astronauts — American, Russian, and Canadian — living in it right now, conducting research, learning how to live and work in space over long periods of time, routinely welcoming visiting spacecraft and repairing onboard garbage mashers, etc. We’ve also got two robot science labs — one wielding a laser — roving around Mars, looking at whether life ever existed on the Red Planet.

Keep in mind, space is no longer just government-only. Private American companies, through NASA’s Commercial Crew and Cargo Program Office (C3PO), are ferrying cargo — and soon, crew — to space for NASA, and are pursuing human missions to the Moon this decade.

Even though the United States doesn’t have anything that can do the Kessel Run in less than 12 parsecs, we’ve got two spacecraft leaving the Solar System and we’re building a probe that will fly to the exterior layers of the Sun. We are discovering hundreds of new planets in other star systems and building a much more powerful successor to the Hubble Space Telescope that will see back to the early days of the universe.

We don’t have a Death Star, but we do have floating robot assistants on the Space Station, a President who knows his way around a light saber and advanced (marshmallow) cannon, and the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, which is supporting research on building Luke’s arm, floating droids, and quadruped walkers.

We are living in the future! Enjoy it. Or better yet, help build it by pursuing a career in a science, technology, engineering or math-related field. The President has held the first-ever White House science fairs and Astronomy Night on the South Lawn because he knows these domains are critical to our country’s future, and to ensuring the United States continues leading the world in doing big things.

If you do pursue a career in a science, technology, engineering or math-related field, the Force will be with us! Remember, the Death Star’s power to destroy a planet, or even a whole star system, is insignificant next to the power of the Force.

Paul Shawcross is Chief of the Science and Space Branch at the White House Office of Management and Budget

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Here is a reblog from i09, this author hits a lot of the right notes about Batman. He really is a boring character without his crew and his villains… but at the same time his villains would be nothing without him.

It also points out reasons why I’m having issues with Arrow right now. There is so much emphasis put on his ‘feelings’ and very little on the villains he’s fighting. When he wins it’s all a bit ‘meh’ cause you really don’t care. The secondary characters like Digby are much more interesting because they have a wider scope of reactions… but not to Arrow. The people writing that show should totally read this and have a think.

6 Reasons Why Batman is Both Perfect and Boring

A few months ago some friends and I were talking about characters who were boring on their own but had wonderful stories built around them. Among the characters discussed were Luke Skywalker, and Harry Potter, and then I brought up Batman. This did not go over well, but I believe it to be true. And I’m going to give you a few reasons why.

Let’s start this out by saying I don’t hate Batman, or the comics about him. I have so many boxes full of Batman comics that I have literally made furniture out of them. Batverse comics are still the first things I scan the shelves for on Wednesdays. Bob Kane, with the help of subsequent creators, hit one out of the park. Batman is a character that has resonated powerfully with people through many different eras. He is, in many ways, perfect for comics readers. That’s the problem. I won’t say that the only way to make a character interesting is through flaws — that’s untrue — but I will say that perfection has a price. And that’s what I’ll be discussing.

1. Batman is a Reactive, Not Active Character

What’s the typical Batman intro? We all know it. A crime is being committed. Criminals menace the innocent, confident of their coming victory over the forces of good. Suddenly, just when things seem their darkest, a scuffle is heard from outside! Batman comes crashing through the window and saves the day! Alternately, in team books, the entire Justice League has fought for issues and issues against a terrible foe. They are about to be defeated, but will go down fighting. Suddenly, at the last second, Batman reveals his secret plan, the one that he’s been hatching all along. The enemies fall like dominoes. The day is, again, saved.

This stuff makes Batman seem active, and it’s true, he is. But generally we don’t spend most of our time watching him act, we see the criminals acting. (Exceptions to this are the Batman origin stories, and the villain origin stories — because each villain introduces new character aspects to Batman — which is why I think they’re such stand-out pieces and why they are so often retold.) Most of the time, we see Batman making the deciding play at the last second. We generally don’t see him struggling to achieve things, or fretfully planning what’s going to happen. We see the criminals doing that, and him stating what he’s already done to counter it all. I’m not saying that this isn’t a good story. This is the comics equivalent of the drawing-room seen at the end of a detective novel, where the hero reveals all to the stunned crowd. And Batman is the World’s Greatest Detective. It’s a nail-biting narrative, but it leaves the questions, the twists, and the breathless suspense to the villains, the bit players, and the sidekicks. It doesn’t make the actual detective interesting. We need more for that. Which brings us to . . .

2. This Extends to His Personal Life

Almost every Batman Christmas Special I’ve seen is side characters attempting to get Batman to have a bit of cheer and celebrate Christmas. Almost every team-up involves some other character making overtures to Batman, only to be rebuffed. Alfred tries to get Batman to do things like go to the hospital and see daylight. Women try to get Batman to go out with them. Sidekicks are foisted on him. Team-mates practically beg him to even talk to them. It’s a running joke that Batman, the famous loner of the DCU, has an entire family around him. It seems contradictory, but it’s not. (You see the same thing with Wolverine and other characters who are famous loners.) Superman and Wonder Woman go out and mingle with people voluntarily. They have social lives, professional lives, and romantic lives. Batman doesn’t. People have to crowd around him, and they have to be part of his family or indispensable to his work. If they didn’t force their company on him, he’d just be a guy alone on a rooftop muttering to himself for 800 issues. His default answer, to every question, is “no.” That, as a tough -guy archetype, works very well. But it’s boring as hell unless you staple that pestering secondary character to him despite his refusals.

3. He Has Superman Problems

Think about one of the major problems with Superman — the necessity of giving him ridiculously powerful enemies to fight. Now how many times has Batman, in comics, beaten Superman in a fight? The answer, and I’ve made an exact count, is so many times. There’s a reason why Batman, the guy who was inspired by his the murder of his parents to stop random street violence by small time crooks, has spent the last few issues of several of his own series, and all of his movies, fighting vast conspiratorial nets of high-powered criminals. Nothing less is any threat to him at all, and so it’s generally not interesting.

This, to a certain extent, is a problem with any long-running heroic character. Buffy the Vampire Slayer only made it to her fifth season before the show had to insert an episode — Fool for Love — meant to remind viewers that fighting super-powered monsters to the death every night was still dangerous, and by the end of that season she was successfully fighting gods. Batman has been around a lot longer than that, and fought a lot more gods. We don’t even expect him to have trouble fighting powered supervillains like Poison Ivy or Clayface. It would take superhuman effort (no pun intended) on the part of DC to make Batman fighting muggers a compelling story again. Not even Nolan did that.

4. His Group Dynamic is Frozen

Hey, quick — what does this Robin look like? How about the last one? How about the one before that? Yes, we all know about Stephanie Brown, but aside from about six issues, all the Robins look the same. (Technically, the best argument against this would be the pre-Crisis Jason Todd, who was merrier than post-Crisis Jason and was a strawberry-blond. When you look at his back-story, though, you find he’s an acrobat at a circus, and Bruce adopted him when his two acrobat parents were murdered. Sound familiar? I think there must be something like the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle For Robins. The farther you stray in backstory from the original Robin, the more the new Robin has to look like him. The closer you get in backstory, the farther you can get in looks. The bottom line is, some things have to stay the same.) Has Batman ever married, even for a time like Superman and Spider-man? Has he changed jobs? How about Alfred? Has he been away for more than a few issues at a time?

There’s a problem with getting an archetype right. Once it’s there, it’s incredibly tough to mess with. The few things that have been messed with successfully — like Alfred turning from a bumbling comic-relief butler to a smart and resourceful ally in his own right — get clicked into place and become inviolate, just like the rest of the series.

5. He Can Only Recognize One Level of Tragedy

One of the major attractions of the Batman legend is its purity. Bruce Wayne never lets go of the tragedy he experienced as a child. He uses his will and clarity of focus to make himself into an instrument that can prevent such a tragedy from ever happening again. He lives in that tragic moment, perpetually, to make himself what he needs to be. Which makes him immune to things like the disappointment most of us experience when we can’t get movie tickets, when we miss the call from our friend who was only in town for a while, or when we burn our tongue on some soup. Almost all superheroes have some tragedy in their background, but they also have normal lives and normal emotional ranges. Superman and Spider-Man and Wonder Woman can have bad days and bad break-ups. Batman has corpses. Nothing short of holding the dead body of a loved one in his arms will get Batman to be “sad.” There’s almost nothing that will get him to happy. And that’s not really a huge problem. If I want to see someone have a long series of awkward dates or a fun day doing silly superhero things, I can pick up another comic. It takes, as I said, a purity of focus to make a character that much of an archetype, but it does mean that the character loses some narrative range and emotional plasticity. After a while, the loss does become a problem.

6. His Stories Have Been Told Thousands of Times

Well, it’s the last entry on the list, so it’s time to get some serious weaseling done. I have no doubt that there are multiple counter-examples of every item on this list. In part, this is because Batman has been placed in different universes, some unquestionably dark and adult, and some light-hearted and fun for kids. (In my defense, I’ll say that within these frameworks Batman is still the grimmest, the most resistant to starting social relationships, the least emotional, and the most powerful character.) There are also multiple stories of Batman dying. There are multiple stories of Batman going crazy. Hell, there are multiple stories that center around Batman’s relationship to contemporary music — Batman: Fortunate Son and Batman: Jazz. Batman is about as old as other major DC characters, but his extraordinary popularity has spawned so many elseworlds, team-ups, leagues, and imaginary tales that the sheer mass of pulp he’s starred in means there isn’t much new to say about him. Go to any scanned image or any discussion of a story and people will say, “This is like X story, a few years ago,” or, “I prefer this other author’s version of that.” It’s all been done. Any creator’s ability to say something new about Batman diminishes as the reader’s memory increases. We’re past the point where we can do anything new with the character.

We can only do something new with the era. Batman will always be vengeance, and will always be the night, and those things will always endure, in new ways as the years go by. This is why Batman has also endured so long. He’s gone from gun-toting killer noir hero in the 1930s and early 1940s, to comics-code and kid friendly crime fighter for justice in the late 1940s an 1950s, to the groovy camp hero of the 1960s, to the street-crime detective of the 1970s, to the embodiment of and reaction to the youthful anarchy movement of the 1980s, to the isolation-is-cool raging loner of the 1990s, and has emerged, in the 2000s, as a slightly-mad Morrison-y genius who can face the end of the universe. Batman doesn’t change and grow as a dynamic character, the era is dynamic and he’s refitted to it. But because the archetype is eternal, but because he is an archetype, he can’t really be a character. We need everyone else for that.

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