Archive for May, 2008


May 30th is a Good Day

May 30th, 2008 Posted by Gavok

So 27 years ago, back on May 30, 1981, I showed up and started doing my thing. To copy from hermanos, I decided to look up some old covers for comics that came out during the month of May, 1981. Sadly, What If skipped that month. Bastards.


– The best covers are definitely the Justice League of America Starro fiasco and Dr. Doom acting like a complete pimp. You know he’s saying, “Suck it, T’Challa!” in that image.

– Ow! Look at Hal Jordan there. I thought John Stewart was the one who injured his spine.

– I need to get back into reading Essential Power Man/Iron Fist. What the hell is going on in that comic?!

– Good to see that Batman’s been an asshole since way before the 90’s.

– I don’t know what’s going on in that Superfriends comic, but I aim to find out and review it.

– Did I mention how fucking awesome that Dr. Doom cover is?

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T’Challa & Ororo vs The Sexist Racists

May 30th, 2008 Posted by david brothers

Let me start this off with a quote from Common’s “Sixth Sense,” just so that you don’t get what I’m saying twisted.

Some of that shit, y’all pop to it, I ain’t relating
If I don’t like it, I don’t like it, that don’t mean that I’m hating

Plain talk: Racists and sexists make for terrible villains.

Wonder Woman’s next big story arc is about the Manazons. They were introduced in DC Universe Zero over the course of three pages where a couple gods are sitting around and watching Wonder Woman. They reveal the Manazons and say something along the lines of “Never send a woman to do a man’s job!”


The thing with villains these days is that we basically have two types. One type has two or fewer dimensions. They cackle and kill and are basically evil. Depending on the writer, this is the Joker and Magneto. Their gimmick is that they are evil. If they are part of a group that once called itself “Evil” or “of Doom” or something like that, they are probably part of this group. This is a holdover from the days when (bang, pow) comics were for kids.

The other kind of villain is the kind who is more three dimensional. He has a goal beyond just wrecking shop, or at least some kind of personality that makes him more than someone who just wants to kill everything ever for whatever reason. Claremont’s Magneto pretended to be this guy, Lex Luthor is this guy, Two Face is this guy when written popularly, and Prometheus started out as this guy. They aren’t evil for evil’s sake– they are evil for a (occasionally good) reason.

Which one of these villains do you prefer? The nuanced one or the black & white one?

I don’t mind evil villains. Joker is frustrating, but fun when Harley Quinn is around to take away from the “RARR EVIL” stuff. But, I think that evil villains are a cheap writer’s trick at this point. With the skill of writers these days, we should be able to have villains that don’t instantly inspire revulsion in the reader. We should be able to mix it up.

I’m only picking on the Manazons because it’s the most recent example. Their gimmick is that they were put into action by two gods who straight up say that women are less capable than men. What decent person is going to be able to say “Hey, this guy is really interesting. I wonder what would happen if they win?”

What happens if the Manazons win? A bunch of women are banished to the kitchen, and even then, they know that men cook better, anyway.

What’s the point? Where’s the depth? Racist sexist villains are cheap. When’s the last time you were like, “Boy, the Red Skull sure is an interesting character! His methods suck, but I can understand where he’s coming from!”

Racism and sexism are bad words. This is partly why people who are (rightly or wrongly) accused of sexism or racism get so upset at the very idea of being such. The only people who accept those labels are people who will never change. Everyone would like to be past the use of them. Racists and sexists are Bad People. Who wants to be a Bad Person?

Tossing these traits onto a bad guy is just another way to make him more unlikeable without actually writing scenes that illustrate that. It’s telling, not showing, and it is cheap like a dinner at a friend’s house or a date at the communal TV room in your dorm. It’s lazy.

Seeing a brand new villain immediately go into “mulatto” or “whore” talk immediately kills any connection I might have had. Now, he’s just a regular old bad guy. A regular, old, uninteresting, boring, cliched, terrible bad guy.

Give it a miss. You can have bad guys without using these shortcuts. I can’t believe how tired I am of seeing cheap cookie-cutter villains. It takes me out of the story instantly. and it just feels hilariously lazy.

I’m not asking for a moratorium, but at least give me another reason to hate these dudes beyond “Ha ha, he said nigger.”

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Incredible Hulk Movie Novelization: Ain’t it UNGLAMORAYS?

May 29th, 2008 Posted by Gavok

The Incredible Hulk, part two of the “Avengers Saga” of Marvel films (there go my nipples again), is on its way in a few weeks. Naturally, Peter David wrote a novelization based on the upcoming movie. Since I did the same for Spider-Man 3 and Iron Man, I went up for round three by picking it up and seeing what it had to offer.

Incredible Hulk is like Ang Lee’s Hulk mixed with Superman Returns, only better than each of them. Granted, I did enjoy the older Hulk movie for the most part. I thought most of the stuff involving David Banner was fantastic and found him so sympathetic that I can’t even bring myself to call him a villain. But let’s be honest, the pacing had problems and there was a huge unbalance in the story where they try to tell the tale of a man’s tragic relationship with his father one minute and HOLY SHIT DID YOU SEE WHAT HE DID TO THAT TANK the next.

This new movie is most definitely not a sequel to the Ang Lee production, but like with Batman Begins and the Tim Burton Batman, stupid people will believe they’re connected no matter how many changes in continuity they spy. Still, the movie knows what we saw in Hulk and doesn’t give us a story based purely on origin. Though the Hulk’s origin is different this time around, it’s only delved into through explanations and brief flashbacks.

David’s book is based on the screenplay treatments of Edward Norton and Zak Penn. That means that it’ll be harder to tell how accurate it is to the final product than usual, based on the stories I’ve heard about the movie’s production. For one, Norton had been rewriting scenes on the set just about every day. For two, they decided to make some edits that have pissed him off. Even the little footage I’ve seen of the movie is different from what the book goes with. Such as that scene where Hulk tears a cop car in half and uses it as boxing gloves. Not only is that not mentioned at all here, but that scene involves Abomination talking. Abomination has no dialogue in the book after his transformation.

This could be a good thing or a bad thing. Truth is, there are a couple minor bits I wouldn’t mind changed.

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Norman Osborn Will Stain His Hands… With Your Blood

May 22nd, 2008 Posted by Gavok

It’s no secret that I’m a guy who loves the fighting genre of videogames, especially when you consider the kind of awful comics I’ve forced myself to read. With all the Street Fighters and Tekkens and Mortal Kombats out there, the one game I find unfortunate for never getting its own comic series is Fatal Fury. And I’m counting American comics here. None of that ridiculous Hong Kong shit.

The reason Street Fighter fails as a comic is because the main hero and the main villain have little to do with each other. Think of it like this. Marvel’s main hero is Spider-Man. Their main villain is Doctor Doom. Have they met and fought? Sure. But if you were to do a 12-issue comic that sums up Marvel’s history through the eyes of Spider-Man vs. Dr. Doom, it would be a major stretch, watered down by all the other important characters.

Fatal Fury had two things going for it that would keep it a readable comic book. One is that it’s a very simple story. It’s about one man (and his less important brother) trying to get revenge on the crime boss that murdered his father with his bare hands in broad daylight and was so well-protected due to police bribery that nobody could do anything about it. So he enters a fighting tournament held by this crime boss in an attempt to get close enough so he can finally get that revenge. Everyone other than those two characters is ultimately a supporting character. Like I said, it’s simple. You can write the whole thing in three to twelve issues depending on how you want to go about it, not to mention sequels and spin-offs.

The other thing that would make it readable is the villain in question: Geese Howard.

Geese Howard is a slick bad guy who’s both untouchable in the criminal sense and the physical sense. Much of his fighting style is based on him casually catching his opponent’s attacks and tossing them around like a rag doll. Geese has a unique aura of badass that never truly appeared in a comic book counterpart. The character closest to him would likely be the Kingpin, especially the Bendis version, and even then the similarities don’t match up completely.

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Wrestlecomics Interview: Gavok Talks to Tim Donst… Sort of. Kind of. Not Really.

May 17th, 2008 Posted by Gavok

CHIKARA is getting set for another group of shows, so once again I’m capitalizing by badgering one of their wrestlers. This time, it’s Tim Donst, an American icon who mixes the best traits of Rick Steiner, Rocky Balboa and Dan Hibiki into one red-blooded grappling machine.

As coincidence would have it, my very first CHIKARA show was also young Donst’s first match. Being my first experience with the wacky fed, I was more enamored with the antics of the masked cultists calling themselves the Order of the Neo-Solar Temple, his opponents in a six-man tag match, and paid Tim little mind. Months later, I watched his performance as a singles wrestler at Young Lions Cup V and saw potential in his unique amateur/pro wrestling hybrid style. He just needed an extra, undefined something.

Then came the infamous match against that big bully Eddie Kingston, where the outclassed and overly punished Tim Donst stood up against Kingston’s never-ending in-ring torment and fought back, winning the hearts of the fans in attendance. With his newfound gusto, Tim gained respect in his following matches, no matter whether he won or lost. He even got the last laugh against Kingston by pinning him in a tag match.

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Life & Times

May 14th, 2008 Posted by david brothers

Thanks to Luis Medina for filming me, and to Jorge Vega for introducing us!

Also, thanks to Cheryl Lynn for linking my ugly mug earlier.

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On Just Past the Horizon: Late Edition

May 13th, 2008 Posted by david brothers

Good on you, Newsarama.

Blog@Newsarama -> Just Past the Horizon: Late Edition

LISA: What exactly happened with the Paul Cornell interview and the last couple of questions that were removed from the site?
MB: Glad to fill you in, Lisa. A question was asked that was poorly phrased and perhaps not thought out as well as it could have been beforehand, and the exchange was then regrettably missed in the editing process. We apologize to anyone who was offended.
There is really no excuse — it was a bad judgment call on Ben’s part and we certainly should have caught it before it was posted. We obviously always try to be thorough when proof reading an interview, but this one unfortunately slipped through the cracks.
That said, as soon as it was pointed out to me, the passage was removed.

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Who Dooms the Doomsmen?

May 12th, 2008 Posted by Gavok

I was in the middle of writing an article about this character in question and I couldn’t help myself.

I will tell you that this guy is as Silver Age as you can get and is really well overdue for a revival.

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President of the 5th Dimension: Ralph Kramden Meets Captain Lou

May 9th, 2008 Posted by Gavok

Remember a little while back when I made a big deal out of a comic so bizarre that merely describing it caused Peter David to go cross-eyed? Well, here’s my review of it.

For some reason (*cough*hermanos*cough*) it’s still titled “Kountdown to Final Kombat” and I seem to have misspelled Gorbachev, but go read it anyway. As long as comics like this exist, I will walk the surface of this planet.

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Guest Article: A.o.D. Loves Iron Man Like Tony Loves the Women

May 8th, 2008 Posted by guest article

Gavok note: longtime reader and internet buddy A.o.D. sent a couple threatening emails to me and hermanos, wondering why we haven’t gotten around to reviewing the totally awesome Iron Man movie. I decided to ask him to write the review for us, since I thought he was the most qualified. After all, this guy knows more about Iron Man than I will likely ever know and has been a well of information for years. Not only has he read just about every good Iron Man story, but he’s willingly worked through the horrors of that whole Evil Tony Stark vs. Teenage Tony Stark fiasco and read every issue of Force Works. Poor guy. Point is, the guy knows his Iron Man, so it’s only fair that he gets to write this.

You’ve probably seen the movie by now. Every entertainment, comic (except 4th letter *ahem*), movie, and newspaper website has had a review up by now. Iron Man has raked in over one hundred million dollars domestically. It has in every essential sense proven itself to be a success. I am in no means going to contradict any of that. I am also not going to discuss the various plot points. All of this has been done ad nauseum. I will, however, sing some of the movie’s many praises.

Iron Man was a wonderful movie. When I first heard of the project, and the possibility of Nick Cage being involved, I was filled with a mixture of fear and excitement. Fear because I knew that Cage would have been absolutely terrible in the role, but excited because a long neglected Marvel character that I had a huge man crush for was going to be recognized. Bear in mind that this was before Civil War, Extremis, or even Tony Stark: Secretary of Defense. Iron Man was a small run book that had for decades been eclipsed by the likes of X-Books and Spider Man. To most comic fans, despite the fact that Iron Man was something of a big deal in Marvel continuity, he was just ‘that guy in the avengers’.

So yeah, I’m a big ol’ Iron Man fanboy. There’s a lot about the character that speaks to me. The fact that he doesn’t always get it right, the fact that he is a deeply flawed, but moral human being. Or that he doesn’t see things in black or white and understands that the world is tinted in shades of grey. Then there’s also the fact that he looks like he enjoys what he does. Sure, there’s a sense of purpose and duty involved, but the metal pajamas he wears look like a hell of a lot of fun.

So I had a lot of expectation for the movie. Expectations that rose once I learned that Marvel was taking over the project and that Robert Downey, Jr. was going to play the lead. Not only did he look the part, but if anyone knew what it meant to be a hard living, self abusive playboy, surely it would be Downey. In that, Downey exceeded every expectation. He owned the part as thoroughly as Christopher Reeve owned his role in Superman. Simply put, I never want to see him replaced. He expertly captures the juxtaposition of Stark’s self destructive hedonism and genius fueled intense drive. Everything he does rings true.

Pepper Potts, played by Gwyneth Paltrow, interestingly enough, had a far larger role than she traditionally has in the Iron Man comics. For most of her existence she was window dressing or a plot point. The movie does her far more justice. Although I wouldn’t characterize her as a strong female, she is clearly characterized as one of the three people who makes Tony’s life work.

Jim Rhodes played by Terrence Howard is blah blah blah blah blah.

Look, you’ve read this all before. If you’re reading this, you’re a comics fan and probably have already seen the movie. If not, what are you waiting for? Are you still pissed about Civil War? What the hell is wrong with you?! This movie is worth twice the price of admission, so go see it two times! It’s a freakin’ bargain! Just be thankful that at the very least we’re getting an encore performance in a couple of years with the promise of an Avengers movie down the road. Iron Man is what superhero movies should all aspire to be. Go freakin’ see it already.

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