Batman v Superman: Here be Spoilers

Okay, so I’ll start by saying this: Zack Snyder doesn’t get Superman. He’s so obsessed with the grim tone of Watchmen and Batman that he doesn’t understand how to bring a character like Superman to the big screen. Superman isn’t a brooding, sad, conflicted mess. He’s a boy scout. Anyone who read any of his books over the last 70 years would know this. Would Superman hesitate to save a kid from a burning building? Of course not! See? He’s Superman, Snyder says, putting a scene of that exact thing in the movie during a montage of Superman being heroic and doing everything but saving a cat out of a tree.
This is the same movie that starts with Superman full on tackling a man through about three brick walls. Superman would not do that. Superman would take that man out in a non-lethal way. Zack Snyder doesn’t believe in that, apparently.

Now, the things Snyder does well here REALLY work. Affleck as Batman? FREAKING. NAILED IT.
Seriously, Snyder includes something no other filmmaker has done with the character, and that’s show us that Bruce Wayne is NOT all there in the head… But neither is he crazy. The film strongly hints at the totemic nature of the Bat, with an otherworldly introduction to the Bat Cave that caused my jaw to drop open at its sheer beauty and creepiness.
If this whole movie had just been a Batman movie, it would have been great. Snyder gets dark and brooding and so does Affleck. They’re a match made in heaven.

Lex Luthor? I have no problems with Jesse Eisenberg’s performance per se, but I feel that this should have been more than one film. I mean, the guy enacted his entire nutso plan over the course of 18 months (and like the two weeks the movie actually happened in) and managed to not only infiltrate the Middle East with Goombas with special weapons, sabotage some poor schmuck that just wanted to be heard, take out his only stumbling blocks, get EVERYTHING he wanted, and oh yeah, convince a Kryptonian AI to somehow just ignore its programming and clone Zod’s corpse into (sigh) Doomsday.

Shoulda been more than one movie. Remember how Lost built up the mystery of the Hatch for a while before opening it? This movie showed us a hatch, shot us in the kneecaps, blew said hatch open with a rocket launcher and then threw us into it. There’s no style present, just action.

Did I enjoy it? Heck yes. I knew what breed of awful it was going to be going into it and it didn’t disappoint. It actually  managed to surprise me. I was NOT expecting the bit with the Flash, let me tell you. That right there made up for a LOT of things that irked me about the movie.

There were some parts that were good, some parts that were bad, and the last thirty minutes of it I kept checking my watch, wanting it to just be over already.

When the end of the movie came, I had to roll my eyes one final time. Of COURSE Superman isn’t dead. But hey, could you maybe keep the audience in suspense for a while? I mean sheesh, it’s not as if you could just bring a dead Kryptonian back to life with a conveniently placed World Engine sitting in the middle of downtown Metropolis…

Oh, wait.


New life
bursting forth
every day a new adventure
running as fast and as far as your tiny feet can carry you
but always looking behind to see that I am here
Guarding you
Keeping you safe
Loving you

New life
learning to speak and sign and smile
learning to toddle and walk and run
running fast and far and free
one day you will no longer need me behind you
to keep you safe
to keep you from falling
to catch you
but I will still be there
I will always be there
That is my place

New life
every day a new exploration
every day a new discovery
every day for me a gift
a magnificent gift from the universe to me
you are the face of God to me
the proof that there is meaning to life

New life
you drive me crazy
you make me want to pull out my hair
you make me want to sit down and weep
you make me laugh
and cry
and see the world anew

My daughter

My new life

So there’s a new Godzilla movie coming out…

And of course, there are the inevitable commercials featuring the big guy shilling their products. One in particular, Fiat, has made a commercial wherein Godzilla tries to eat a little yellow Fiat, chokes on it, and spits it out.
This, of course, is almost identical to a sequence from the 1998 Godzilla abomination starring Matthew Broderick.

I simply couldn’t help myself; I had to make a video mashup of the commercial and the scene.

Forgive me.

The White Skull Must DIE.


Villainy. Villainy never rests.

Mostly because everyone is trying to hunt it down and either lock it in a cell or put its head on a pike.

Stay tuned.

WIP 1: Egon

The news of Harold Ramis’ sudden passing the other day hit me like a ton of bricks; Ghostbusters was one of the first movies I ever remember watching, and over the years, Ramis became a huge inspiration to my own sense of humor, with everything from Animal House to Groundhog Day to Stripes and everything in between.
I decided to try my hand at digital painting as a way to pay homage to him.

The Lanterns

So my buddy Jeremy asked me to draw a bunch of 80’s action cheeseball stars as members of the various Lantern Corps from DC comics (the most famous, of course, being the Green Lantern Corps.)

For starters, he gave me artwork of Jack Burton from Big Trouble in Little China and told me to make him a Red Lantern. I banged it out in about ten minutes.

Next, he gave me artwork of Ash, from Evil Dead, and told me to make him a Blue Lantern. This time, I thought I might record my process and share it with you all. Enjoy!

In defense of Guardians of the Galaxy

In Defense of Guardians of the Galaxy

So I’ve noticed in the last several days, as more information and the first theatrical trailer for Guardians of the Galaxy has been released, there seems to be a lot of resistance among the larger geek community itself over this movie. I’m not going to make a blanket statement and say that all of us are on the hate-train; I certainly am not.

A little backstory: when I was about eight years old, my uncle went out to the local comic shop, bought about a hundred and fifty issues of random Marvel comics and then gave the entire box to me. I was ecstatic. Before then, my only exposure to comics was through Archie and Disney Adventures (the latter being where I first got my taste for graphic novels, as there were brief excerpts from Bone in a few issues).

In this box was Spider-man, Avengers (both regular and West Coast), Daredevil, Wolverine, X-Men, and Guardians of the Galaxy (not the modern team, the early 90’s team consisting of Major Victory, Charlie 27, Yellowjacket, Talon, Starhawk, and Nikki).

Specifically, it was these two issues:

In Defense of Guardians of the Galaxy

…And those two issues were enough to spark my interest for the non-mainline Marvel universe. I read and re-read those two issues over and over and over again, wondering just how it was that Major Victory had Captain America’s shield and why Thor was a bumbling old drunk and just who this crazy Loki guy was in that INSANE helmet. (Caveat: I knew full well who Thor and Loki were already from a childhood of reading classical Norse mythology.)
I began collecting comics on my own shortly afterward, quickly growing to love Spider-Man as a favorite. I was surprised at how great the writing was and how sympathetic and human the characters were. My brother collected DC titles, and I noticed that Superman and Batman never had the basic humility or any of the real-world problems that every superhero from Marvel seemed to face. No DC hero ever seemed to have a hard time getting rent together or dealing with being late to work because, webs and all, New York is just too big and busy to get from Queens to Midtown in 20 minutes in time for class.
Then the Clone Saga happened.
I was a comic collector no more.
I felt betrayed; how could they do this to Spidey? Hasn’t he been through enough already? Now you want to make him doubt his identity, put his sanity in jeopardy, make him face the person responsible for the death of Gwen Stacy, make him face Gwen Stacy CLONES, and finally, make him lose both his baby AND the one person on Earth he was able to call brother. (Which, by the way, the shot of him and Ben playing Monopoly, a ‘Parker Brothers Game,’ in Peter’s attic is one of my all-time favorite sequences in comic history.)
So I stopped buying comics… for the next ten years.
Then, in 2006, I moved from South Carolina to San Diego and, as a new hobby, began collecting comics again. I found a local shop that had a great collection of back issues and started thumbing through the stacks. Eventually, I came across Issue 44 of Guardians of the Galaxy, the issue that directly followed the two that I had. I was ecstatic; I could finally read the rest of the story!
I started collecting old issues of GotG whenever and wherever I could find them; it was an obsession. Eventually, I owned, either physically or digitally, every single issue ever published, from the 60’s through the present. It was a weird and wacky series at the best of times; GotG frequently served as the wall upon which all of the cosmic concepts were thrown to see what would stick, and as clumsy as it was, it was also completely, insanely RAD.
I even made it a point to collect the origin stories of characters like Groot and Starlord (who is not at ALL the same character that is in the current roster) and Rocket Raccoon; like many Marvel characters, they go back much farther than their books.

So now, here’s my defense of the new film.

A lot of the vitriol I’ve been hearing over the last few days has been that either
1.) No one knows who the Guardians are, and anyone who says otherwise is obviously either a poser or a hipster,
2.) There’s no chance in hell that this movie is going to do anything for the Marvel cinematic universe except confuse people who are there looking for a superhero movie, or
3.) This is going to hurt the Marvel/Disney movie franchise going forward.

Allow me to address those points:

1.) Plenty of comic fans know who the Guardians are. They’re seriously on a popularity level consistent with the Avengers. If your personal tastes don’t run to the cosmic, that’s fine, but don’t issue blanket statements proclaiming the characters and book to be obscure. The book has been around since 1969. To give some sense of how established they are: They’ve only been around for a couple of years less than the Avengers or the X-Men themselves. Books that are obscure flops don’t stick around for 45 years.

2.) Here’s the trailer.

Now. At what point in that trailer does it even remotely look like it’s marketed to the superhero-loving crowd? It simply isn’t. And that’s the point.

This new film is marketed to the sci-fi comedy loving crowd (which, if you didn’t know, makes up a fairly huge chunk of science fiction movies in general). It’s not marketed to the people who want to see spandex and capes. Go ahead; watch the trailer again. No superheroes in sight. Just assassins and mercenaries and legendary outlaws. And Groot.

To address that it might confuse the loyal movie-going fanbase that isn’t versed in Marvel comic history, I say crap all over that. This movie has been set up from the get-go. Seriously. From the very first Thor movie we get little nods to the cosmic continuity (technically, we get our first glimpse of the cosmic universe in Iron Man, with the Ten Rings, but since there was no way of knowing that that movie would be so popular that it would allow them to make an entire cinematic universe, that was simply an easter egg, nothing more). In Thor, we see the Infinity Gauntlet for about an eighth of a second, but that was more than enough time for eagle-eyed viewers to see it and immediately make the leap that at some point we’d see Thanos come into play.

A large part of both Thor and Captain America’s plots was the handling of the Cosmic Cube, which has since gone on to be classified as an “Infinity Stone,” the movie universe’s version of the gems that powered the Gauntlet. In Avengers, we get our first glimpse of Thanos himself, confirming that the Gauntlet wasn’t just an easter egg.

In Defense of Guardians of the Galaxy

In Thor 2, we meet The Collector, as he is given the Aether, one of the Infinity Stones.

In Defense of Guardians of the Galaxy

The Collector is another link to Thanos; however, the film seems to be portraying him in a slightly more villainous tone than his comic-book incarnation. In the comics, The Collector isn’t so much evil as he is… well, a collector. The guy’s got about a dozen planets filled with odds and ends he’s collected over the millennia (what with him being one of the oldest living creatures in the galaxy itself…)

It’s only natural that, as interconnected as the Marvel movies are, you’d want to have several smaller antagonists working for a larger force behind the scenes; if The Collector isn’t working for Thanos directly, he’s at least going to be a mighty tempting target for Thanos once he starts getting his hands on more of those Infinity Stones… which should lead into Avengers 3 or 4, realistically.

Finally, let me make point number 3: This is NOT going to hurt Disney/Marvel going forward.

Did you watch that trailer? I don’t know if you spotted them or not, but the Nova Corps is in this movie… and the 16 or so seconds of screentime they get sells me on the concept of space cops FAR better than the Green Lantern movie did in two and a half hours.

If that’s not a set-up for a standalone Nova movie, someone is truly asleep at the wheel.

Secondly, with Starlord in this movie, it’s going to open up the can of worms that is Aliens on Earth in a way that I’m hoping will make SHIELD a more legitimate agency than Agents of SHIELD or their appearances in The Avengers has been able to portray them as so far. I won’t spoil anything here, but Starlord’s human. Born of a human mother. And yet, he’s in space. In the current timeline of the movies. When humans didn’t know anything about aliens or spaceships or any of that stuff. Suffice it to say, if the movie pulls off his origin story well, it’s going to please more than a few people who have wanted to see more of an alien inclusion in the Marvel movies.

So, to sum up: Marvel stands to tell a really compelling, funny, action-packed story that isn’t about capes or spandex or magical hammers, that’s about spaceships and aliens and things that go pew pew pew, and yet ties directly in to the capes and spandex and other stuff. They stand to attract a whole new audience and further expand their sphere of influence, and they stand to be able to spin a few things off into even MORE great franchises that aren’t Shitty Green Lantern movies. (DC, you suck, if you hadn’t picked that subtext up yet.)

One final note:

In Defense of Guardians of the Galaxy

Make Mine Marvel.