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So Iron Man 3
was better than Iron Man 2
and neither are a patch on Iron Man No Number but Is Now Referred to As Iron Man 1
, but all in all, like I once said about the X-Men
film franchise at a time when there were
only three X-Men films, that we got three watchable and generally likable Iron Man movies at all
is relatively miraculous.
I did have the same problem with this film that I did with the previous installment, that too often during the film I found myself thinking “why am I being shown this when I could be seeing Iron Man doing stuff instead” — particularly during that middle “Tony Stark, Action Spy Detective, Goes to Tennessee” segment of the film. But, I can’t say I wasn’t entertained, and you end up getting more Iron Man armor action than you can handle during the film’s climax, with too brief glimpses of the dozens of different armored suits Stark apparently assembled between sequels.
Okay, the “not enough Iron Man action” is kind of a terrible complaint…Robert Downey Jr.’s Tony Stark carries the show whether he’s in armor or not, and I did enjoy the film. And it’s not as if I was expecting beginning-to-end Iron Man fight scenes…I realize there’s such a thing as “pacing.” When you get right down to it, the amount of Iron Man action was exactly the amount and of the correct quality for the story they were telling, he said as if anyone cared what he thought. I guess the old fanboy in me wanted more Iron Man in action at the height of his powers, outside of struggling against both technological and psychological failures, but I guess that’s what the Avengers movies are for. That this film, along with Downey’s portrayal, makes us like and care about the “civilian” identity as much, if not more so, than the superhero identity, is its real strength. Tony’s a cool dude that sometimes wears super-armor and his movies are fun…what am I complaining about, really?
Also, it’s nice that Bruce Banner was played by the same actor in more than one feature film. The lack of MODOK is points against, however. And, as always, not enough Miguel Ferrer, which is my gripe about pretty much every film.
In other news, I saw the new direct-to-home-video-disc Superman Unbound
film, adapting that “Superman meets the REAL Brainiac” story that ran in the comics a couple of years back. …Well, that was certainly a Superman versus Brainiac story, with some neat visuals and an interesting subplot about Superman’s overprotectiveness of people in his life. Plus, the story ends on a big life-changing decision, which would probably have an impact on the sequel they spend time setting up at the very end of the film (a scene placed during the credits, actually) should one ever come, which it won’t.
It was fine, but honestly, though, I wish DC would just straight up adapt some classic Silver Age stories for their direct-to-DVD film program for a change…it’ll never happen, but it’s nice to think about. …At least the Batman: The Brave and the Bold cartoon took care of that need for a few years.
No, not this “Dr. Supernatural” chump:
I’m talking EXECUTION BUZZARD:
Well, that certainly seems entirely practical.
On a different note, an important question is asked and answered on this issue’s letters page:
Mr. Editor, I believe Mr. Brando-El begs to differ:
images from Action Comics #330 (November 1965) – cover by Curt Swan & George Klein
Another swell drawing by pal Casie, who is, perhaps, speculating on the next revamp of the Batman movie franchise featuring those two lovable scamps
. (To see other pics by Casie featured on this site, just click the newly-created “pal casie
” tag! Or follow her on the Twitters
to see ‘em as she draws ‘em!)
In other news:
- There’s a new trailer for Man of Steel out, and it certainly looks promising, but we’ll see. It’s apparently sparked some debate about revisiting Superman’s origin yet again, but 1) from the trailers it looks like Supes’ origin, both the Smallville and Kryptonian elements, will be thematically important to the film as a whole and not just something to plow through to get to the action, and 2) it’s the first film in a potential franchise, not just for Superman but seemingly for DC heroes as a whole, so a little world-building from scratch is likely needed. Oh, and 3) it probably doesn’t hurt to remind folks who aren’t immersed in the mythology what the Superman story is all about.
I seem to recall arguing before on this site, years ago, that you really didn’t need to retell Superman’s origin since everyone pretty much knew it, and getting plenty of arguments in the comments section against that position. Clearly it depends on the kind of story you’re trying to tell, in what context, and in the case of Man of Steel, where it’s the (hopeful) start of a new series, and it’s been a while since the last film (itself an odd cousin of the Christopher Reeve cycle of films), and the origin appears to be important to the overall plot, retelling that origin seems necessary. So, okay, I may have been wrong about the origin thing, in that post way back when. I’m allowed to be wrong about once or twice a decade.
I also just joked on Twitter that they should go the super-decompressed route in retelling Superman’s origin, and devote the entire first movie to a science drama about Jor-El investigating Krypton-quakes, which just goes to show there’s no debate to which I can’t contribute nothing of any real use.
- Pal Dorian is back to reviewin’ Doctor Who, as is pal Dave, and they’re both smart guys with intelligent things to say about a show I’m watching, and if you’re watching that show too, maybe check them out.
- Hey, you guys remember Ken Lowery, right? The guy I allowed to help me with writing Write More Good by, you know, fetching me coffee and stuff? Well, that boy’s got himself one of those fancypants Kickstarters to help him and his pal Robert Wilson IV fund a new one-shot comic. I contributed to the cause, and maybe some of you can help my pal out, too.
- Speaking of helping, I was more than happy to assist pal Andrew with his latest installment of Nobody’s Favorites, even if all I did was shove a comic into an envelope and let the gentle hands of the post office bear it aloft to Woburn.
- Bully, the Little Stuffed Bull Who Has Been Rebooted into a Stuffed Little Bull, gives those “WTF Certified” covers from DC Comics the ol’ what-for and shows everyone what “WTF” really means.
- And lastly, on a more serious note…my best wishes to the people of Boston.
So, that Superman picture on the wall there:
So did some enterprising entrepreneur, realizing that Ideal-Man was now the New Flavor of the Week, immediately go to press printing up those “SUPERMAN EARTH’S FORMER HERO” posters? I mean, I realize by even Silver Age standards, when people would turn on superheroes, or, hell, even each other, at the drop of a dime, this seems like a pretty harsh thing to do.
Or did Lois pull out one of her many, many Superman photos that she has stored away in albums on her bookcase, the one clearly marked with a rectangular white sign reading “BOOKCASE OF SUPERMAN PHOTO ALBUMS,” find a photo of Superman with sufficient blank space above his head, have it blown up at the local photo shop, and then neatly ink in the letters herself? And then, of course, tack it to the wall in full view of any friends she may have over, who, if they had any sense, would likely wonder what the hell was wrong with Lois, anyway. Luckily for Lois, from everything we’ve all seen in those comics, nobody she knows has a lick of sense, so her reputation is likely safe. (Of course, in this case, this is all part of some ulterior Get-Superman scheme, which frankly doesn’t make Lois seem any less sane.)
image from the Grand Comics Database, because I didn’t really think about this cover until I sold it to someone at the shop, and then no longer had a cover to scan. OH THE TRAGEDY
So certainly a lot of hay has been made out of this new trailer for next year’s Man of Steel flick, in which a young Clark apparently risked exposing his strange, otherworldly abilities while saving folks on a bus. Pa Kent seemingly isn’t thrilled about this, to which Clark remarks “should I have let them all die?” Pa’s response: “Maybe.”
Well, people certainly didn’t like that, as it seems quite at odds with the traditional view of Pa Kent as the wholesome farmer who instilled his solid down-to-earth values of fairness, honesty, and justice into his adopted boy. I suspect (despite my Twitter gag that Pa’s advice would inspire in Clark a reign of bus-destroying terror) that Pa may in fact have more to say in the actual film beyond the snippet of dialogue we’re dramatically teased with in the trailer. I would doubt we’re being given a Pa Kent who is literally telling his son that he should have let people die to protect his secret.
But then again, maybe the movie is giving us a darker, grittier Pa Kent. A Pa Kent who wants every body buried, every skeleton kept in its closet. A Pa Kent who cares so little for his son’s moral upbringing he won’t even tell Clark to put some shorts on, for God’s sake.
Anyway, the trailer looks interesting, if perhaps too serious. It definitely establishes Superman as a powerful and impressive being, somber and bearing the weight of responsibility for the world, but here’s hoping they make room for some fun as well.
Also, every time Superman movie buzz happens, I’m reminded we could have had Dudley Moore as Mr. Mxyzptlk and how disappointing every Superman film becomes in retrospect.
So sometime between the release of Superman’s Pal Jimmy Olsen #122 in 1969 and today:
…the previous owner of a copy of that very comic decided Jimmy Olsen needed a snazzier look more appropriate for the modern gentleman. And thus, with the gentle application of a ballpoint pen, Mr. Olsen went from snoozy:
Sure, it’s a little on the bluish side, but in the Superman comics, whose hair isn’t
? Well, aside from Lana’s. And Perry’s. And Lex’s. Well, young
By the way, have I mentioned I have a moustache category on my site? All the cool sites do.
NOTE: Moustachioed copy acquired in a collection on Thursday. Non-moustachioed copy from the Vast Mikester Comic Archives, and shown for comparison. I’m spelling this out because someone’s gonna ask why I drew on a copy of this comic for a blog post. Someone probably still will. I’ll bet that person won’t have a cool moustache.
…that I’ve been in bit of a Low Content Mode this week. Sorry about that, but there’s been a confluence of events and moods and time constraints that’s been in the way of producing daily content here. Which also means that I’ve not yet finished the new End of Civilization post, which usually would be up the Thursday after the release of Diamond Previews. There will be an EoC post, but it’ll have to wait ’til tomorrow.
Again, I’m not goin’ anywhere, but your pal Mike needed just a slight break from the site for a while. I still love you! Well, like you. …”Like” you, at least. I mean, I’m not totally disgusted by you, by any means. Mostly.
Just so there’s something about comics in this post, I did read this week’s new issue of Superman, with the debut of the new creative team. Other than editorial notes pointing out tie-ins to stories in other current DC titles I’ll never get around to reading, I thought this issue was…a little better than the previous storyline. At the very least, I felt like the character of Clark/Superman was a little more relatable than in the earlier issues. Probably didn’t hurt that the new creative team isn’t trying to squeeze 40 pages of story into a 20-page package, which sounds like “hey, getting my money’s worth!” but in practice results more in “infodump” than “story.”
That new costume, though…bleah, I say again.
It’s been a busy couple of days for me, what with my birthday on Tuesday (thank you folks for the birthday wishes!) and my sister’s birthday yesterday (please wish Jeanne a happy birthday as well), so I’m just going to unwind today and enjoy the sheer epic spectacle of…King Krypto:
1. There may be no funnier bit of dialogue from Silver Age Superman-family comics than Krypto thinking “look at those eats!”
2. …Though Krypto seriously pondering “was I born to rule?” is a close second.
Oh, King Krypto, you’re the best.
images from Superboy #77 (December 1959) by Jerry Siegel and George Papp – by the way, “King Krypto” is the name of some “herbal” something-or-’nother, which I discovered via Googling. Google it yourself, at your own risk.
…The writer goes on to say that, since the Phantom Zone villains can see everything that goes on in the material world and therefore they should know Superman is Clark Kent, why wouldn’t they pass that info on, somehow, to another Earth-bound villain who could wreak some havoc on the Man of Steel.
Which of course brings up the fact that the Phantom Zone villains, while trapped unseen in that other dimension, could see into the real world, and why they wouldn’t, say, hang around Lois Lane’s boudoir and later taunt Superman with that knowledge. “HA HA we saw your girlfriend naked!” “Why, you…SHUT UP, YOU VILLAINS!” “HA HA look he’s all mad!”
I figure Superman probably walked around with some low level of paranoia dogging his every action, wondering if, while he’s using the restroom, or digging for some super-boogers, there’s Jax-Ur, hovering invisibly in a ghostly world, staring directly at him, observing everything and smirking all the while.
letter from Superman #211 (November 1968)…also, the editorial response was that the PZ villains did try, but “the crook just went to a psychiatrist and complained of hearing voices in his head, saying the most ridiculous things!”
So a kid brings in some sample comic strips to get a job at the Daily Planet, and Clark (Superman) Kent quickly determines that the art school that encouraged the kid may be perpetrating a scam:
First, Clark calling the kid “no-talent” seems kind of harsh for Superman, even in his disguise as a mild-mannered reporter. Of course, he’s not calling the kid no-talent to his face or anything, but still. And frankly, the art’s not that
bad…clearly Clark hasn’t read some of the black-and-white boom books from the 1980s. Granted, it’s about 20 years too early, but Clark obviously has no idea how good the cartooning world has it.
Anyway, Clark decides to investigate the art school by applying to it himself:
Good gravy, Clark, get it together. …And frankly, I find myself troubled by the idea of a Superman who isn’t super-ambidextrous.
So the art school takes him in, and, via various plot hoohars, finds himself put to work forging famous pieces of art. And because this is a Superman story, Superman travels back in time to learn the skills of the masters directly from the masters themselves. And, on one trip, where exposure to certain energies during his time travel turns Superman younger and, um, blue…well, just check this out:
Imagine if the face on that painting was just left blank. That would have baffled art historians forever
. Or imagine Thomas Gainsborough actually being able to paint a normal-looking face despite having a blue-faced boy as a model, just like he was able to paint a frilly fancy-boy outfit based on a model wearing skintight circus strongman gear.
In the end, the forgery ring with the art school front is caught out and hauled up the river to do a dime in the graybar hotel, and there’s even a happy ending for that kid about whom even Superman basically thought “don’t give up your day job.”
THE UNSEEN IRONIC ENDING: dropping newspaper circulation and shrinking comic pages drive the kid into the more stable and lucrative business of art forgery. OH THE TRAGEDY
from Superman #211 (November 1968) by Frank Robbins, Ross Andru & Mike Esposito
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