Friday, June 19, 2009

Kingdom Come - Revisited

I have just finished re-reading the graphic novel of Kingdom Come.

For those of you who may not be familiar with it, Kingdom Come is a 4 issues mini series created by Mark Waid and Alex Ross.

It is the story of a future where the children and grandchildren of Earths Super Heroes are not the 'Heroes' of the world. While they have all the power of their Parents and Grandparents, they do not have the moral compass. The villains of old have long since been killed by those who are termed "Metahuman" and now they only have each other to fight.

Superman is retired and with him went most of those we are familiar with.

It is at this point the story begins. We as observers are taken on tour though this story by the Spectre through the eyes of a Pastor Norman McKay. Pastor McKay has been chosen by the Spectre because he needs a man who's soul is pure and can help decide who do judge at the end of this tale.

That's a much of the plot I want to give because if you have not read this collection you should. In fact, if you read comics and haven't read it - YOU NEED TO!

It has been 13 years since it was first published. I have read it twice before. But now that I read it again, I am put in a position to consider all that has happened in real life to the world since its publications. A terrible world catastrophe happens within its pages. Upon re-reading that, I was reminded of the events on Sept. 11, 2001. What I find odd is the reaction of 'big business' in the form of the Villains like Lex Luthor to the terrible tragedy and the reaction to our government at the time seemed to almost mirror each other in some ways.
Of course the comic book reaction is more dastardly, but by how much?

Kingdom Come can be read and re-read time and again to remind each of us that the power we wield today is so much greater than those who came before us. And with that power we have choices to make in how we use them and why.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Smallville 90210

OK, so Brian Austin Green is making an appearance as Metallo this season on Smallville. BOOO! But ok. I will give him a chance. But this got me thinking - Why not do a 90210 Reunion of Evil on Smallville? I mean, with Tori Spelling already a show semi-regular as Linda Lake and all.

Now, I was a fan of 90210 back in the day. Yeah, I know. Shuddap. Here are my ideas for the Villians and the Actors who can play them:

Banshee - Jenni Garth. She's still pretty hot and could pull it off.
Ultraman - Luke Perry. Cause, you know. He knows how to kill vampires, he's gotta be cool enough to pull off Ultraman.
Solomn Grundy - Ian Zering. Really, just because he pronounces his name "IIan" and not "EEan."
The Prankster - Jason Priestly. Cause he's creepy looking like that.
Amazing Grace - Shannon Dougherty. No explanation needed I think.
and Finally...
Zaora - Gabrielle Cartris. Because they were both forgotten about by their Franchise.

So there you go. the 90210 Smallville Reunion of Evil!

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Will the real SDCC Twitter please stand up?

That headline is, of course, facetious. SDCC does have an Official Twitter feed. But things did get kinda confusing for awhile there.

Earlier this month, this Twit - let's call it Underscore - popped up, billing itself as being "a Con employee making the twitter that the con should make." After being questioned by @theonetruebix, Underscore Twitted that his or her feed was not approved by Con officials, but that he or she was working on behalf of the fans.

Finally, yesterday, The Official Twit came back to life, posting for the first time since last November. Official's bonafides were further confirmed by CCI Treasurer Mark Yturralde on his own Twitter feed. Underscore has subsequently re-billed itself as being produced by "a Comic Con expert" while continuing to post about upcoming panels at the event next month.

-- El Secreto

Monday, June 15, 2009

Sexism used to 'create buzz' for SD Comic-Con

The San Diego Comic-Con made the news over the weekend, but not in the best of lights. Check this out:

IGN started hosting a contest put on by the folks behind the upcoming sci-fi film District 9 looking for someone to perform “journalistic assignments” connected to the film at SDCC. The catch? According to the original contest rules:

This sweepstakes is open only to males who are both legal residents of the fifty (50) United States and Washington D.C. and who are at least between 18-24 years of age as of July 23, 2009

Well, Comics Worth Reading got ahold of the story, and so did Feministing and, none of which failed to note the irony of a film that would reportedly deal with themes of prejudice and exclusion literally excluding a whole gender.

As the online backlash picked up, IGN posted a response:

The eligibility requirements for this contest were determined by Columbia TriStar Marketing, the marketing team behind the District 9 film, and were passed on as a directive to IGN as Sponsor of this particular Sweepstakes running on the site. While IGN supports gamers of all ages, genders, shapes and sizes, these guidelines were created to foster a buzz for the film among a very narrow target group that the film’s promoters felt would be extremely passionate about the film’s subject matter.

The contest rules were eventually amended, somewhat: a separate, womens-only contest was started, with a later deadline.


As bad as that was, the L.A. Times almost trumped it with its Girls' Guide to Comic-Con, a photo slideshow offering helpful tips like these for fans of the star of Prince of Persia:

Women will be rushing the stage, offering to do star Jake Gyllenhaal's laundry on those washboard abs that he acquired for the film, since he spends much of it fighting, shirtless or both.

Lest you think the Times is only cooing over guys, here's their take on Angelina Jolie:

With any luck, her luscious-lipped holiness will be around to hawk her upcoming action film "Salt," which is already being likened to a female-powered version of "The Bourne Identity." What's not to like?

Now, obviously, SDCC isn't to blame for these misguided attempts to "build awareness" for the event. But in the wake of past instances of harassment and sexism at Con, somebody at IGN, or the Times or at Tristar really showed a lack of understanding for all of us as fans, male or female. I'll leave the final word to Tor's Torie Atkinson:
We just want to be fans, and we're tired of being utterly invisible despite the fact that millions of women play games and read comics. That climate is entirely unwelcoming to women, and it's a testament to women's persistent interest in gaming and comics that we continue to try to be part of the community despite the overwhelming myth that we don't exist.

- ES

Last night, on the show ...

Last night's episode of HOUR 42 was, from my perspective, pretty satisfying - and not just because my internet connection had to be restarted less than three minutes before showtime. For most of the hour, @ThePeterPixie and I talked about the week's news in comic-book journalism - and how some of these things could affect you and us as readers and consumers:

* Newsarama and Comic Book Resources and their relationships with the editors-in-chief of DC and Marvel, respectively
* A golden opportunity that Wizard Magazine arguably had, and chose not to pursue
* The Twitterverse fight involving longtime columnist Rich Johnston
* And Peter challenges me to step up and ask somebody a tough question at San Diego Comic-Con next month.

All in all, a good show, that forced us to think about what we're doing - and we've got some more plans as far as that goes, but we'll get to them later. For now, click on the handy-dandy player below and check us out - and don't forget to give us your feedback, either here or via e-mail at!

- El Secreto

Sunday, June 14, 2009

TONIGHT, on Hour 42!

This was a big week for the comic-book press, and El Secreto & @ThePeterPixie will be discussing that and more tonight on HOUR 42, including:

* Wizard Magazine's ongoing labor issues
* A rift between a star creator and a comics journalist reaches the Twitterverse
* A more in-depth look at ES' post from yesterday - how might it affect us at readers?
* And what does that picture mean? You'll hear more about that, trust us! And if you missed last week's episode, or just want to try us out, click the handy-dandy player below! Join us LIVE tonight at 11pm EST (8pm PST)!

Image courtesy of

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Quesada, Wizard and the comic-book press

Quite the study in contrasts this week, as Comic Book Resources announced that Marvel Editor-In-Chief Joe Quesada had brought his weekly online column, Cup O' Joe, to their site. The column had been running on MySpace until earlier this year. (Marvel does continue to post previews via MySpace Comic Books.)

Quesada isn't the only EIC with his own column in the comics press: DC's Dan DiDio has 20 Answers, 1 Question over at Newsarama. But while the two online news providers have gained "official" backing from each of the Big Two, a publication that preceded them continued to seemingly lose strength.

Newsarama and Bleeding Cool both reported this week on further staff cutbacks at Wizard magazine, including designer Arlene So and VP of circulation and publication Darren Sanchez.

@ThePeterPixie and I have more thoughts on the possible bigger picture behind all of these occurences, and we'll be discussing them for sure tomorrow night on the show. Join us and add your thoughts!

Thursday, June 11, 2009

THIS JUST IN: It's officially G.I. D'OH!

Ok, so we all expected G.I. JOE: The Rise Of Cobra to be bad. Even in the best-case scenario, awesomely bad. But this story from Geek Tyrant tells me that not even Christopher Eccleston will be able to save this one.

The story goes that director Stephen Sommers was kicked off the project after a test-audience gave it the lowest score for a Paramount movie ever. A "fixer" editor, Stuart Baird, has been brought in to edit the film into something "releasable." Given all the hype so far, I can't imagine Joe won't be released. But poor Baird has to make something good out of somebody else's dreck. That can't be a fun assignment.

@ThePeterPixie and I will be talking about this more in depth on the show, for sure.

Update: GT posted a response from producer Lorenzo di Bonaventura here.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Shia LeBouf Is As Clueless as Megan Fox

Man, these Transformers stars sure love to talk nonsense. There must be a contest.

@ThePeterPixie already told you the story about Megan Fox's arrogant statements regarding Wonder Woman. Now it's Shia LeBouf coming down with diarrhea of the mouth. Y'see, LeBouf felt the need to put to rest any rumors he'd be playing Yorick Brown in a film adaptation of Y: The Last Man, a very-well executed and well-received book by Brian K. Vaughan.

Yorick, put simply, is the last man on Earth, the only male survivor - on the human side; his monkey, Ampersand, also survives - of a plague that otherwise leaves the Earth inhabited completely by women. It's an easy "franchise" if you don't bugger it up.

So anyway, LeBouf was asked about the role - again, I presume - and this is what he said, according to SuperHero Hype:

"You take Sam and you put a monkey on his shoulder," said LaBeouf [...]. "I don't know if it's that big a differential. It seems like he's the ordinary guy in an extraordinary situation again."

You mean besides a story that touches on issues of gender, race, and privilege besides sci-fi and action/adventure? Right. I'm sure the star of a classic like Eagle Eye is qualified to be the arbiter of taste here. Look, if LeBouf wants to avoid getting into another series of films and do a more varied assortment of roles, that's one thing. But statements like this just make him look ... well, as vapid as his "leading lady." And if I didn't have to watch Revenge Of The Fallen for the sake of the show, I wouldn't have to. This instance doesn't make me reconsider that stance.

-- ES

Monday, June 8, 2009

Last night, on the show ...

Again, apologies for posting the preview so late last night, but like we said, we had a loaded show, including:

* A look at Marvel Comics' price increases, what they could mean for both consumers and retailers - and the star writer who got proven wrong on the internet over one increase.
* @ThePeterPixie talked more about his impressions of Firefly
* El Secreto gave us an analysis of the debut of Grant Morrison's Batman & Robin - and the difference between the new Batman and the new Captain America

And much more! So if you missed the show, just click on the handy-dandy player below!

Sunday, June 7, 2009

A LOADED show tonight!

This week, we are LOADED with conflict! El Secreto v. Batman & Robin! Peter Pixie v. Joss Whedon! Marvel v. Your wallet! and more! Plus your comments and questions, live at 11pm EST (8pm PST)!

Firefly and I part 2

So I spent my Sunday watching the rest of the series Firefly. I must say that starting on the second disc I really found stories I enjoyed. Since I watched 10 hours of television today, I do not see my going though each story and telling you what they were about and what I liked and disliked about each episode.

Instead I offer an overview of the series. The real show stopper was Saffron. She really played the same kind of character Claudia Black had in Stargate: SG1 at the end of it's run.

The show downer: River. I found her character to be a true waste of time in the series. The final episode of the series was really all about her and she wasn't really in it. Jubal Early in the last episode was a great character. None of the characters were awful to watch (Glau not withstanding). Wash was fun to watch and even got his moment in the episode where he and Mal get captured by the Russian mafioso.

Over all the series was entertaining. Not AMAZING as fans often put it to me. It was, at best, fun to watch in parts. BEST LINE IN THE SERIES: 'Why'd you order a dead guy?'

Best episode over all was the Hospital heist. I think it truly allowed everyone to shine. Except that the Sheppard was not on that episode. We also never really learn the history of why this Sheppard knows so much about things he really shouldn't.

I would say that the Book (the Sheppard) was the most under-used character on the show.

Another thing that annoys me: Where are the OTHER Asians? Obviously, Chinese is used as easily as English, so they must have had some kind of affect on the human race. But not a one of them on the ship, not a one of them in charge of any place they visit... Frankly it's confusing.

In the end... do I recommend the show?

Like I said in part 1 of my Firefly blogs: Watch the pilot. If you enjoy it, stick around for the series. Get through the first disc and you will be OK.
If you watch the pilot and you don't like it go back to the better version of this - it was called Babylon 5.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Firefly and I part 1

As promised, I have begun to watch Joss Whedon's Firefly series. For those of you who are not familiar with this series, don't feel bad. It was only on for one season and even then it didn't get a full run of taped episodes.

However, since it was aired in in 2002, it has spawned a major motion picture called Serenity, a couple of comic books and a role playing game. Oh, and here are some awards it has received:

* Emmy Award: Outstanding Special Visual Effects for a Series, 2003
* Visual Effects Society: Best visual effects in a television series, 2003 (episode "Serenity")
* Saturn Award: Cinescape Genre Face of the Future Award, Male, 2003 (Nathan Fillion)
* Saturn Award: Saturn Award for Best DVD Release (television), 2004
* SyFy Genre Awards: Best Actor/Television Nathan Fillion, 2006[73]
* SyFy Genre Awards: Best Supporting Actor/Television Adam Baldwin, 2006
* SyFy Genre Awards: Best Special Guest/Television Christina Hendricks for "Trash", 2006
* SyFy Genre Awards: Best Episode/Television "Trash", 2006
* SyFy Genre Awards: Best Series/Television, 2006

Since I was given the challenge to watch all of them in order, I wanted to track my progress and thoughts here for you readers. If you haven't seen it, this will give you some insight into the show I had no interest in watching. If you have seen it, it will give you some insight into why I haven't watched it up to this point in it's entirety.

Serenity part 1 and 2 (Pilot Episodes)

What I'm not going to do is break down plot points and story lines. What I am going to do is give my thoughts on it.

Overall, the pilot was engaging. I will say that I had attempted to watch the pilot before on SyFy channel, but it was the first hour of two. It did not grab me then.

This time, I was able to feel the character development and the emotional interest within each character. Overall, there are too many characters on board this show and if anything could kill it, that is one thing I would put my money on. Why? because I still dont recall all the names of the characters after 4 episodes. If I dont have a vested interest in anyone they could put an ongoing storyline on, why do I care over all?

However, having said that, I do LIKE all the characters on this show. Each is interesting and all have their moments. Except Summer Glau's character. I should point out at this point I have seen the movie Serenity, and I STILL don't care about her character.

My recommendation is to watch the pilot. If you find there is interest in these people for you, then the next couple will be watchable. If not, then don't bother. Character development for all of them doesn't come in the next two episodes as much as needed and you wont care enough after the next two to move forward.

This is of interest because 'The Train Job' which is episode 2, was made to BE the Pilot by FOX stating the original pilot was not suitable.

THE TRAIN JOB (episode 2)
The Firefly gang gets rustled up into stealing - for some never disclosed reason - medical supplies from a mining community from a speed train for a Russian mafioso and they feel bad about it when the discover what they've done and make it right. I'm sure this is how TV Guide read when they talked about what this episode is about. This is a straight out of history OLD WESTERN story. Where in the bad guy is established to be the bad guy but we never see him again in the story.

IF THIS WAS THE FIRST EPISODE, I WOULDN'T WATCH A SECOND. This is because I don't enjoy cowboys, six shooters, and train robbery stories. I just do not care.

I presume this is a 'gonna get back to the bad guy later' kinda thing which brings me to a point about Joss Whedon. His style is great for mini-series and novels. See, in a mini-series, you have to show them in order or they just don't make sense.

In a TV Series, one should be able to watch them in a general way and still find them enjoyable. The complaint 'they didn't show them in order' means a couple of things:

1. If the series needed to be shown in order then me catching in at episode 6 would leave me (as it did when I tried to watch in on SyFy) confused and with no emotional investment.

2. Knowing how Network TV treats it's series, doomed to be disappointed.

And I bet money people watched this back in 2002 and went 'what?' A space western. thanks. but no thanks.

Finally, we come to the Bushwhacked (episode 3).

I saw this, it was the opening of Star Wars episode 4 ('Where are the plans - they must be aboard this ship.') following a space version of 'Das Boot.'

Where the episode starts out and how it finishes seems to me like 2 different stories. Glau's annoying character hears the screams of the dead... Maybe. Or maybe they were the thoughts in the Crazy Man's head. IDK. in the end, I didn't care.

This could have been a first episode as each of the crew members are interrogated by the Darth Va- Alliance officer. This gave us some insight as to how each character fits into the whole Serenity crew.

OVERALL - So far, I would say the Pilot was pretty good. Episodes 2 and 3 not so much really. It's not BAD television, for sure. It's just not AWESOME OMG GOTTA WATCH EVERY WEEK TALK ABOUT IT EVERY DAY TIL THEN television.

Maybe tomorrow, if I have time to watch them, I will post about the next 4 episodes.

Monday, June 1, 2009

last night, on HOUR 42 ...

If you missed last night's episode, here's some of the stuff the boys talked about:

* No Joss? No problem! El Secreto offered up a plan for a Buffy the Vampire Slayer reboot.
* The firing of Dwayne McDuffie and why it makes DC Comics less trustworthy
* Speaking of the Whedonverse, Peter Pixie announced he's going to give one of Joss' shows a try!
* A classy gesture honoring Superman at the upcoming Screaming Tiki Con in Cleveland next month

All that and a lot more, so just click on the handy-dandy player tomorrow and check out HOUR 42!