Friday, February 16, 2007

Favorite Panel Friday: Astonishing X-Men

Some people have criticized Joss Whedon's work on Astonishing X-Men, saying he tends to shoehorn certain quirks into his characters or that his rat-tat-tat dialogue has become a repetitive trademark.

All I know for sure is that Whedon, along with series artist John Cassaday, made me fall in love with the X-Men all over again.

This isn't a blind love, though - I'm fickle, and my affection is reserved just for Astonishing. The art has been across-the-board gorgeous — just look at that panel from Astonishing X-Men #20 — with expressions and body language that work like a second layer of dialogue.

And about that dialogue: The playful banter, the quick retorts, the tough-guy posturing are all elements I remember making me an X-Men fan in the first place. I think it's pretty obvious Whedon's a fan himself, and that's not a bad thing at all, especially since he seems to not only love the X-Men, he gets them. Cyclops sounds like Cyclops, but he also sounds like Scott. In Whedon's scripts the characters not only sound like superheroes, they also sound like real people who just happen to have super-powers.

In a way, I think that's what the X-Men is supposed to be about.

So, smarty-pants, you might have noticed that after all this talk about dialogue ... there isn't any in the panel above. That's because Whedon not only writes fun patter, he also crams more raw action into a single issue than you'll find in just about any other monthly comic out there.

Aliens with blasters and eye-whiskers! Kitty goes all ninja and uses her phasing power at the same time! And Colossus hits a guy so hard he hits the ceiling!


That pretty much speaks for itself.

Astonishing X-Men #20: Joss Whedon, writer; John Cassaday, artist

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Nerdcules Unbound

Guess who got a new scanner for his birthday?

Maybe I should just apologize in advance ...

Monday, February 12, 2007

Giving up the Ghost

Ghost Rider, the latest in an apparently now-trendy line of superhero movies, is due to open Feb 16 and I have to tell you ... I'm pretty excited.

Ha! I kid! Actually, I can't stay far enough away from what already looks like a terrible movie that somehow manages to completely miss the core mechanics of what makes the character work (mostly) in comics.

Truthfully, it makes me a little sad. I remember watching a Spider-Man TV series that was awful - the webbing looked like clothesline and the eye-lenses could have been made from a colander - and I loved it. I own the Roger Corman version of The Fantastic Four, for the love of Aunt Petunia!

I'm an enormous fan of the Spider-Man movies, too, and I thought Superman Returns was everything it should have been.

But I've only seen the first X-Men movie. I haven't seen Hulk (though I loved the show). I haven't seen Fantastic Four (and I'm not really convinced I need to see Rise of the Silver Surfer). I haven't seen Daredevil. I haven't seen Elektra.

And I'm not going to see Ghost Rider.

Which brings me to a question: Why not? What is it that makes some movies - even the "bad" ones - so much fun to watch?

What makes a superhero movie good?

Thursday, February 8, 2007

Holy Moley (what a great idea)!

Normally, I'm not a big fan of just linking to a post on another blog, but everyone's favorite little stuffed bull has a hell of an idea and it should be supported whole-heartedly. Go read about it, why don't you - then pick up some extra copies of Shazam! The Monster Society of Evil if you can.

And one of these days I'll tell you how I spent hours and hours in my aunt's bookstore, and how she sparked a lifelong love of comics. Thanks, Aunt Lily!

P.S.: (And thanks for the cookies!)

Saturday, February 3, 2007


I've been spending a disturbing amount of time thinking about Captain Marvel lately.

Now I've been a fan of of the corny Captain for a long time, ever since I first started watching his Winnebago-powered adventures on Saturday morning-television (even though I was often wishing they'd speed it up and get to Isis already). But being a fan of Captain Marvel means you're going to have questions, especially if you've been mainlining your recently acquired copy of Showcase Presents Shazam!

Why doesn't anyone notice Billy just got struck by lightning?

Is Captain Marvel a grown-up version of Billy, or someone else altogether?

If Marvel is just an adult Billy, how much of a dick is he for referring to himself in the third-person all the time?

And what the hell is this?!?





I mean, seriously ... Pittsburgh?