Random Access Memory – Deadpool 

I am looking forward to the upcoming Deadpool movie and that got me thinking about the character’s name. Rob Liefeld created Deadpool and he took the name from the Dirty Harry movie The Deadpool which came out in the 80s. So this will be the case of a movie that shares the title of an earlier movie but it is not a sequel. Weird.  

Random Access Memory – Musicians using comics as their muse

I listened to a lot of metal music back in my teenage years and one of my favorite bands was Anthrax.  I was on YouTube today, listening to some of their songs (which still hold up today IMHO) and came across ‘I am the Law‘.

The song ‘I am the Law‘ is based on the comic Judge Dredd.  The title of the song is based on the credo of the Judges in Mega City.  I found out about Judge Dredd through Eagle comics.  They were an American publisher that took the U.K.’s 2000 AD comics and reprinted it in the states as Judge Dredd comics.  The story was about a post nuclear war world were only pockets of humanity survived and the only way to control the population was through strict, draconian police officers called Judges.  If a Judge caught you committing a crime, they were the judge, jury and executioner and most crimes resulted in executions.  Post apocalyptic stories were all the rage at the time because it was the mid-80’s and the cold war between USA and Russia loomed large.  Judge Dredd captured the zeitgeist perfectly,

I had a blast reading Dredd’s adventures against crime, the Sovs and even death itself!    So when I heard this song by Anthrax, I was pleasantly surprised!  I have never heard a song by a band that basically reviews the comic.  This is very rare.  Can you think of another band or song that does this?  I can’t.  So, I will share this unicorn of a song with you now by included a link to the YouTube video.  The video is a mashup of the totally awesome Dredd movie that came out a few years ago (not that Sylvester Stallone POS) and the song by Anthrax.  Enjoy!!

– Jim

All-New, All-Different Marvel – Revisited

If you are a Marvel fan, by now you have read or heard that Marvel will be restarting (otherwise known as Retconning) their Universe at the end of Secret Wars.

Jon and I will be previewing the new titles and creative teams in this week’s podcast but my question to you is:

“Is Retconning the Marvel Universe necessary?”

Here is what I think.  Marvel is first and foremost a business and as a business, you need to improve sales year over year to show that you are profitable to your shareholders.  If you do not hit these profit marks, then you have to try something different to get those customers back.

Marvel followed this formula with Marvel Now! back in 2012.  This plan of action cancelled all the existing Marvel books and relaunched them with new creative teams and reformation of books like the Avengers and Uncanny X-men.  For the most part, I liked the changes.  I enjoyed the new creative teams’ takes on existing characters and there were some very good stories that came out of this change.

Now it is 2015 and Marvel is following the playbook again by cancelling all the books, reforming the comics teams and telling new stories with brand new creative teams.  I understand why Marvel is doing this; new and old readers alike start on the ground floor with teams that are familiar but also fresh.  I am looking forward to trying these new books but at the same time, I am like “When will this universe be destroyed and retconned again?”

Is there such thing as burn out from all these retcons?  If you are a longtime DC reader, you know the pain of which I speak.  You have seen your DC universe destroyed and rebuild some many times over that you have a hard time remembering which universe are you reading (Is the Crime Syndicate from World 2 or World 3 in this reboot?)

I guess the point I am getting at is that companies like Marvel and DC are more focused on the ‘bottom line’ that they are willing to sacrifice their character’s legacy.  I feel that rebooting universe will lead to lazy story telling.  In the past if you wanted to modernize a universe, you had keep the 30 – 50 years of history.  That took some really creative story telling to build a bridge from the past to the future.  Now, all you have to do is destroy that history and start anew.  Where is the fun in that?  It just doesn’t seem right.  Are we all getting ret’conned’ with this new universe?

How do you feel about these changes with Marvel?

– Jim

The All New, All Different… MARVEL! (I am starting to have doubts).

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You have probably already seen the promo pictures at Marvel.com or over a dozen web and social sites.  It’s the All-New, All-Different Marvel!  Why when I look at these pictures I am getting a sinking feeling that most of these changes will not be for the better.  Here is the gut feeling that I get when I look at these photos:

The Good

  • The are bringing back Wolverine, Hyperion and Spectrum – supposedly, these 3 characters were dead but now they are all alive with the reset of the new marvel universe.
  • More diversity – X23 is now the new Wolverine, the new Ms. Marvel will be part of the new-after-Secret Wars-Avengers and they are introducing a native american hero.  Add these new heroes to the recent Thor, Spider-Man and Captain American changes and you can see that Marvel is really committed to having a universe that better reflective of the real universe.
  • The Thing will now be a Guardian!  This seems like a logical choice – The Guardians of the Galaxy are a bunch of misfits that all have good hearts and like to save… the  galaxy.  Blue Eyed Ben Grimm is a good fit on that team!!
  • I like that they are bring back Citizen V.  Does that me the Thunderbolts are coming back?

The Bad

  • Agent Coulson – Is it me or does anyone else have a problem with Marvel hammering the Cinematic and Television Universes into the Comic Universe?  Come on, Marvel – Let’s keep the moving media and the static media separate.  No need to put these characters into the comics.
  • Getting rid of the mutants and the Fantastic Four – Where are the other members of the X-men and the Fantastic Four?  I know that Marvel had made some bad movie deals with Fox and Sony so now they are marginalizing the presence of X-men and Fantastic Four (and Peter Parker too) but some of us fans still love these characters.  Let’s not throw the baby out with the bathwater, Disney/Marvel.
  • Stephen Strange… with a battle axe?!  Why would the Master of the Mystic Arts need a physical weapon?  I am not too sure I like this.
  • Teenage-Angst Karnak – I have been told that the person in the hoodie and jeans is Karnak – one of the inhumans.  Why does he look so moody?  Karnak is a martial arts master, not a teenage mutant ninja turtle!
  • I don’t know if I want to read a Vision comic.  I like Vision in an ensemble book.  I don’t know how I will like him in a solo book.

The Odd

  • Why is Iron Man in both pics?  Are there 2 Iron mans… er, men?
  • Why are you changing Daredevil’s costume?  Is it because the show because the show is closer to the all red costume.
  • Well, that’s all I have for now.  How are you all feeling about these changes?

– Jim

The All New Batman Suit – Does it give you nightmares too?

If you have seen the promotional material for the upcoming DC Batman books, you will notice a big change.  The new Batman is actually Commissioner Gordon and he will be patrolling Gotham in a mech batman suit.  It is the most radical change so far with the new DC You Universe and I like it so far but the new suit is a little.. unsettling.  I know that Batman is meant to inspire fear in the hearts of criminals but this mech-suit will make them poop their pants.

Every time I look at the pictures of the suit, I keep thinking of Frank from the Donny Darko movie.  For those not familiar with that movie, her is a side by side picture of the new mech suit and Frank:

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Creeeeeeeeeepy!  But I do like it.  What do you think?

– Jim

DC You?

DC Comics is really pushing their DC You promo now that the lame Convergence crossover non-event is over.  I have seen some of their sneak previews and promotional art and it does appear that DC is trying to change up their characters like Marvel did with their Marvel Now! campaign.  Marvel Now! was successful because they put top writers and artists on books they never worked on before and Marvel put little restrictions on their stories.  I wonder if DC is going to attempt this formula with DC You?  I hope they do.  I would like to see other creative teams’ takes on characters like Batman, Wonder Woman and Superman.

Here is the teaser trailer:

How are you feeling about the new DC You?

– Jim

Image Years Appendix

So if you listened to the podcast, you know that Neil Gaiman wrote an issue of Spawn early on in the series.  Gaiman also created a character called Angela.  Since that issue, Gaiman has been trying to secure the rights to use that character with other comic publishers but Todd McFarlane has put the kibosh on that.  This lead to a big court battle for ownership of the character.  I found this video that tells the story of what happened at the end of that court battle.  I swear, we could have talked for 4 hours on all the drama that happened with the rise and fall of Image comics.

– Jim

The Rob Liefeld Name Game

We will be doing our upcoming podcast on Image Comics this week.  One of the founding members is artist (in the loosest sense) and writer (more of a general idea jotter) Rob Liefeld, who is responsible for creating some of the most utterly forgettable characters in comics history.  I have been reviewing the names of the characters he created for Youngblood, The Brigade and Bloodstrike and I have come up with a cool game to play.

You will need the following to play:

  • A pair of 6 sided dice
  • The Rob Liefeld Name Creator grid (listed below)
  • Beer (no necessary but can enhance the fun)

robgame

Instructions:

  1. Designate which of the 2 dice will be Die 1 and Die 2.
  2. Roll the dice.
  3. Using the numbers on the face of the dice, create your name.  Ex. If I roll Die 1 as a 4 and Die 2 as a 2, then my character name is Die Fist.
  4. Come up with a completely implausible origin story for your character (the more inept, the better).
  5. Repeat steps 1-4.

The funny thing is you may actually roll some of the names that Rob actually created so watch out for copyright infringement.

We will be playing this game during the taping of the podcast.

– Jim

Old Memories

I was going through my storage space for my comics and I came across these 3 items.

Item 1: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #1 and #3:

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I bought these when they originally came out in 1983 or 84.  I was always interested in collecting weird or oddball titles and the art work looked pretty decent so I decided to pick them up.  These were published in magazine format so slightly larger than a traditional comic.  There were published in black and white probably because Eastman and Laird could not afford color but it was very serendipitous because the B&W images fit with the grit and moody atmosphere of the comics.  This was not your cartoon Turtles.  No pizza or ‘Cowabunga’ in these comics.  Just teen angst and blood stains.

Item # 2: Neuromancer Graphic Novel

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This was published by Epic (which was a mature imprint by Marvel).  It’s based on the cyberpunk thiller of the same name by William Gibson.  The story centers around an ex-hacker named Case that has lost the ability to neurally connect to computers (that right, in the future you connect to computers with your mind!) so he can no longer work.  He is met by a street mercenary called Molly Millions that offers him a chance of getting his Neural hacking back if he does one job for her employer.  The area work is great in this book – just like the cover, very stylized and sullen just like the novel.  This graphic novel only tells about a 3rd of the story.  I don’t know if they published a 2nd or 3rd issue to complete it.  I never did see them.  I guess I will have to do some research on if they were every published by Epic.

Item # 3: Marshal Law – The Day of the Dead

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I believe this is the last comic ever publish with the Marshal Law character.  This is more of an illustrated novel than a comics since most of the inside is text with a few graphic pages from the awesome Kevin O’Neill.  The stories center around the main protagonist, Marshal Law (which is a play on word of Martial Law) who is a hero hunter.  You see, in the future normal humans are given the ability to have super powers to help America fight a war.  The war is won and the “heroes” come home with post traumatic stress disorder and start tearing up the streets of San Futuro (San Diego).  A squad of normal humans are tasked with bring in these monsters and they are the Hero Hunters.  This comics was created as a 6 issue limited series in the late 80’s under the Epic imprint and it was fantastic.  It is a parody comic where characters like Superman, Captain America, Batman, Wonder Woman, Spiderman, etc. are all turned into monstrous shadows of their DC and Marvel counterparts and are hunted down (and mostly killed) by Joe Glmore aka Marshal Law.  I will definitely have to cover this character in a future podcast.

That’s it for now.  Talk to you in the future – Jim