Wednesday, June 29, 2011


I find news such as this to be delightfully entertaining.

It appears that a series of DC fans -- currently amounting to a staggering 130 persons -- intend to stage a protest against the DC relaunch at the San Diego Comic-Con. They have the following to say:

"Are you utterly baffled, disappointed and just ANGRY to see how DC ruins your favorite character’s design and wipes decades of comic history out of the mainstream universe?"

Give me a moment to suppress raucous laughter. Then I will tell you that these people are complete and utter fools who have little to no understanding of DC's "decades of comic history."

The DC relaunch is by no means unprecedented. The history of the universe is tweaked regularly, like clockwork. It is true that some of these relaunches alter things to a greater degree than others -- see the first Crisis or Zero Hour -- but there are always changes being made.

I was front and center during Crisis on Infinite Earths and I can tell you that not a lot has actually changed. Batman's parents were still murdered, Krypton still exploded, and Hal Jordan remains an idiot of inconceivable proportions.

Keep in mind as well that the only true reboot in DC's history was astonishingly successful. I am speaking, of course, of the advent of the Silver Age which brought us -- among other things -- a new Flash, a new Green Lantern, and yours truly.

Perhaps the 130 do not realize this. It would not surprise me. Ignorance of history is common enough among the modern populace. Still, I am truly disappointed. I expect as much from the Marvel fans. But I had hoped for better from DC readers.

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Monday, June 27, 2011

Green Lantern the Movie

I went to see the Green Lantern movie yesterday. I'd heard a lot about the movie going in. Mostly I was hearing bad things. People saying the movie was "terrible" or some such nonsense.

It should come as not surprise to all of you that I greatly enjoyed the Green Lantern movie. Was it the apex of humankind's cinematic achievement? No. Was it the best comic book move ever made? Certainly not. But it was exactly what a comic book movie should be: entertaining.

I had a lot of fun watching the movie. It was a little slow in the middle but mostly I had a blast. The special effects were beautiful and I felt that the casting was mostly very, very good. Mark Strong nailed Sinestro, Peter Sarsgaard was perfectly creepy as Hector Hammond.

And Ryan Reynolds? Reynolds got the role just right. He was cocky and a bit of an asshole which is exactly what Hal Jordan needs to be. But he also managed to add aspects to Hal Jordan that we rarely get to see.

There was a seen in the film -- I don't remember exactly where -- Hal was up against a major villain. He was gritting his teeth and wielding his ring and he recited the Green Lantern oath as he did it. I remember saying aloud (without thinking about it): "That's Hal Jordan." And I'd never felt that a comic character was so effectively portrayed on screen as he was at that moment.

I'm pleased to see that despite lackluster reviews and lower than hoped for box office receipts we'll probably get a sequel. There's a lot of territory to explore. Let's hope this film helps opens up a whole universe -- specifically the DC Universe -- to the movie going public.

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Wednesday, June 22, 2011

No Time!

I have my MA exam two weeks from tomorrow, so it shouldn't surprise you all that I haven't had much time for posting.

Plus, I've been mulling over this whole "relaunch" thing and have been having some disturbing thoughts. Among them was this: "Wouldn't this be a good opportunity to give the whole thing up?"

I pushed that thought away, of course. I couldn't give the comics up entirely. But part of me wants to save the money and the effort. After all, I won't be able to visit a comic book store for a whole year once I leave for Japan in September. And why should I spend the money on the floppies when I can't even read them?

Am I drifting towards digital? I'm not really sure. I'm not really sure what is going to happen. And I don't know if the new DCU is a good thing... Or a bad thing.

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Thursday, June 16, 2011

Thursday Night Thinking #187

Thursday Night Thinking, once again! Take it away, Superman!

You know, I'm actually glad they're doing away with the Lois/Clark marriage. Maybe we'll see more stories like this...

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Wednesday, June 15, 2011


I'm more than a little concerned about what's going to happen when the Green Lantern movie is released. I've high hopes, and some of the preliminary reviews trickling out aren't particularly glowing.

That doesn't mean the movie won't be successful, of course. Lots of bad films go on to make enormous amounts of money. But I really wanted to see a film that's both good and successful. A good, successful film based on one of DC's second tier properties would bode well for future films based on characters like Wonder Woman and the Flash.

What do you all think? Are you going to see the Green Lantern film? And does it really matter if it's good of successful?

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Tuesday, June 14, 2011


Despite the loss of Oracle as a character, it is somewhat heartening to see the DCU diversifying in the new book line-up.

We've got at least three books starring characters of African heritage and a number starring women. Of particular note is the introduction of Apollo and Midnighter to the DCU in Paul Cornell's Stormwatch.

This is noteworthy because DC has suffered from a dearth of gay male characters. And a complete lack of them in any form of headlining role. It's somewhat puzzling considering the proliferation lesbians in DC's comics in recent years.

I suppose it's not particularly surprising, however. Though troubling, there is no doubt that a majority straight male audience finds homosexual female characters more palatable than homosexual male characters.

This is something that has bothered me for a long time. As good as it is to have characters like Batwoman, the Question, and Scandal Savage diversifying the DCU, it's problematic when your only gay man is occasional JSA guest star Obsidian.

Apollo and Midnighter taking a central position in the DCU is a step in the right direction. It's not far enough, but it sure as hell is better than having nothing but Extraño...


Monday, June 13, 2011

Last Days of the Justice Society

These are the last days of the Justice Society. At least until they decide to bring them back. It's inevitable that some day they will, but for now the JSA is off the table.

I'm sure that many people will be unhappy about this. It doesn't really bother me. I haven't really enjoyed the Justice Society since prior to its most recent relaunch. The book has felt adrift for quite a while now, and I think that probably has something to do with the decision to "let it rest."

That said, I think there are better reasons out there for taking the JSA out of action. Indeed, I think there are some very good reasons indeed. First has to do with age. In the past, DC has remained firm in tying the JSA founders to World War II. Setting aside what role they may or may not have originally had during the war, they've been tied to that time period pretty consistently for quite a long time now.

That presents a problem for the new DCU. DC is trying to make their DCU younger and fresher. And that's somewhat difficult to do with a team tie so closely to World War II. After all, with every year that passes the war grows more and more distant. The original JSAers go from being in their seventies to in their eighties. And eventually their nineties. And that's a problem.

But it's not the best reason to take the JSA out of the DCU. Under the current post-Crisis chronology the JSA creates a fatal flaw in the DC Universe. In my eyes, there's a big thing that's been missing for the past twenty-five or so years. I think it absolutely vital that Superman be the first super-hero.

In the real world Superman is the first super-hero. There is little debate about that. He ushered in a new kind of fiction and changed our world forever. He did the same thing in the DCU: a world largely like ours existed until a man dressed in red and blue appeared in the sky and altered things irrevocably.

He was followed by many others, but there was no question that he came first and inspired those who followed him. And with the JSA as it has been conceived we can't have that. In order for Superman to be returned to his rightful place -- which it seems Grant Morrison intends to do -- the Justice Society must fade away.

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Friday, June 10, 2011

The Challenge

And so the 52 stand revealed... And the importance of that number to the DCU has been solidified. I feel a strange sort of excitement for what's to come, and a large part of me wonders if this is how DC fans felt when the first Crisis hit. We're rapidly approaching a new DCU -- one both comfortably familiar and refreshingly new. Is this what it felt like in 1985?

The biggest gamble coming along with this, of course, is DC's attempt to grab that elusive creature known as the "new reader." Apparently they're giving it a real go: there are rumors that DC intends to run national television ads to support their new DC Universe line. And while it's impossible to capture a new audience through the direct market, it may be doable via digital comics.

There are some, of course, who don't think that this will work. I've heard people say that the general public doesn't want to read about super-heroes. But I think that's ridiculous. Everybody wants to read about super-heroes. They just may not know it yet.

Kids, of course, love this sort of stuff. Brightly colored costumes, action, and excitement. But comics aren't geared towards kids anymore. Right or wrong, good or bad, they haven't for a long time. So who can we get to read these new comics?

Here's the problem: as people get older they often convince themselves that they need to give up "childish" things. They set aside toys and games and pay attention to the things that society expects them to pay attention to as they become adults. That's a tragedy, if you ask me.

One doesn't need to be a child to hold onto a sense of wonder. To ability to believe in heroes, heroism, and a world where they are possible isn't limited. Myths and legends have spoken to people of all ages for millennia. And even in a world where the gods of old have largely been forgotten, we can still believe in them.

But I don't need to convince any of you that. And neither does DC. It's everyone else out there -- the people who have told themselves that they don't believe in gods or heroes -- that need convincing. That is DC's challenge. I hope they're up to it.


Thursday, June 09, 2011

Thursday Night Thinking #186

Welcome again to Thursday Night Thinking!

The big question left for the week: in the new "dark" and "edgy" DC Universe what sort of Superman will we see? Probably not this kind:

More's the pity...

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Wednesday, June 08, 2011

Just Throwing it Out There

I was wondering if maybe I could get a new #1 as well.

I know the last Azrael book didn't do so well. But I wasn't in that. They could do a new one with me! They could call it Azrael Dark or just make me edgy and cool. Maybe I could get a tattoo of St. Dumas (His name be praised!).

I really can't think of a good reason why I shouldn't get a new series. Hawk and Dove are getting a new series. Drawn by Rob Liefeld! Surely they could find some one willing to write about my grim, dark, supernatural adventures.

After all, I've got an "in" to the world of wacky cults. Wacky cults play a central part of the DC Universe in many ways. Or maybe I could join John Constantine's Justice League. I don't know anything about him, but I imagine we have a lot in common.

If that's too much then maybe I could get a few issues in that new anthology title? I'd love to see me drawn by Ryan Sook. That's not too much to ask, is it?

Is it?

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Tuesday, June 07, 2011

Doctor Polaris #1

So, the fools at DC Comics are relaunching their line yet again. I recall numerous past attempts to do the same. How successful were they?

While I may find this relaunch ill-advised and indicative of comics' morbundity, I still want in. DC is launching books starring Resurrection Man, Batwing, and someone named "Voodoo." To top it off, villains like the Red Hood and that filthy cur Atrocitus are getting their own books.

So where is "Doctor Polaris #1?" You cannot say that I have less star power than Batwing. Batwing has shown up in one comic that was released this year. I am the original "Master of Magnetism!" I have a history that goes back decades.

If DC wants to throw money away launching books that won't last half a year they could at least try tie them to one of their big franchises. I'm one of Hal Jordan's enemies. You know, the fool who is starring in a movie this month? Slap a "Green Lantern's Greatest Foe, Finally in His Own Series!" caption on the cover and we're ready to go...

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Monday, June 06, 2011


I'm not sure that this is what I wanted from the DC relaunch.

I say relaunch because it's pretty clear now that this is not a complete and total reboot. A reboot I could have handled; like the Silver Age, the DCU would begin anew in a different way.

But that's not what's happening. This is no clean slate. This is nothing different from any other Crisis. A few things are going to get changed and some things will be back to the status quo. For me it was all or nothing; I don't want another half-assed reboot.

Last week I said I'd be okay with Barbara Gordon becoming Batgirl again. When I said that I meant it in a very specific way. I meant that if they turned back the clock and de-aged everybody then I'd be okay with it.

But I was wrong. Earlier today I read Jill Pantozzi's Op-Ed on Newsarama. I'm a fan of Ms. Pantozzi's articles. We seem to have similar tastes in comics, and I often find myself nodding along with the things she writes. Reading Ms. Pantozzi's most recent Op-Ed gave me perspective on Barbara Gordon that I'd never considered before.

I don't need more people like me in comics. I'm a boring middle-class white guy. There are dozens -- hundreds -- of characters like me in the DCU. Which is why I was so enthused about the idea of adding characters that could serve to make the DCU look more like the real world -- by adding people who aren't like me. More female characters, gay and lesbian characters, characters of different ethnic backgrounds and religions. I wanted to see characters like that in my comics.

And as Ms. Pantozzi put so eloquently in her article, Barbara Gordon as Oracle served as an heroic example of a group of people who seem to be sadly overlooked. I can't really speak to it myself, and can't do what she said justice. So I recommend you go read her editorial.

I doubt you'll ever see this, Ms. Pantozzi. But if you do I want you to know how much of an effect your Op-Ed had on me. It was like a punch in the gut -- a wake up call that I think a lot of people need. You said that Barbara needs to stay as Oracle so that the DCU can be a diverse place. She needs to stay there for everyone. And you're right.

This is not the "bold new direction" I was hoping for.

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Wednesday, June 01, 2011

More on the 52

And here I thought we were done with "52" as a concept. Yet here we are, gearing up for a clean sweep of the DC Universe and a reintroduction of the line with fifty-two new series.

Now, as an historian of the DC Universe I'm going to be more than a little disappointed if everything gets wiped out. But you know what? I think I'll get over it. There is far too much potential in a restart of this sort.

Even if some of my favorite characters get wiped out in this reboot I'll be okay with that. If Cassandra Cain goes away forever, well... I'll deal. Honestly, the idea that Barbara Gordon might come back as Batgirl is more than a bit appealing to me.

Perhaps we can purge Nightwing entirely; I'll certainly miss Tim Drake, but making Dick Grayson Robin again would go a long way to returning the DC to a state where it is at its most recognizable.

I think that the DC animated universe is the best example for this. In order to make things palatable to a mass audience everything got stripped down to the core of what made it work. And it was enormously successful.

Will they go this route? I don't really know. My biggest fear is that in making the DCU "younger" and "fresher" it will start to look too much like Marvel. That has never worked in the past and it won't work now. But if they go back to the core of the characters, then we may see something stupendous.