outside3

This is normally a comic-book related site.  Not right now, though.

I decided to build a house.  That doesn’t mean I’m shopping around for real estate.  I’m going to design, contract, and build a house all on my own.  This means I have to study building codes and learn about permits and do a lot of research on furnace efficiency and r-value and carpet fiber and refrigerators and wind direction and toilet height and backsplashes… I simply won’t have time for Tiny Life any time soon.

So, probably through 2015, the majority of these posts will be about building a house.  And possibly about living with the In-Laws while the house is built.

Why Flash?

I have a few friends who won’t shut up about The Flash being the best superhero show ever.  Every time I watch one I’m disappointed on a number of levels (everything from the acting, to the plot, to the names of the villains).  When I tell them this, they always say, “Oh, you just saw a bad one.  Last week’s was phenomenal.”

I purposefully missed the season finale here’s what I saw on my newsfeed today regarding a “shocking revelation”:

In Barry’s (Grant Gustin) bid to prevent Zoom (Teddy Sears) from destroying the multi-verse, the scarlet speedster created a time remnant of himself, which had the bonus of attracting Time Wraiths, who appeared to transform Zoom into the Black Flash, potentially adapting DC Comics’ seminal Flashpoint in season 3.

black-flash-2

That sounds awful.  Awful, awful, awful.

So, my question is – and this is coming from someone who watched the entirety of Buffy the Vampire Slayer because he saw three good episodes (there are probably 15 good episodes of the entire series) – what episodes of The Flash should I watch?

Etiquette 

  
What good can come from knocking on a bathroom stall door?

New 52 and Agents of Shield

When you ask people why they root for a certain team, the answer is usually either:

  1. I’m from that town
  2. My dad was a big fan
  3. I’m an awful person; that team is winning right now and I only align myself with winners

I used to think I had the same allegiance with comic books.  My dad loved Marvel, so he got me into Marvel.  DC was for pinkos.  As I got a little older I started to see that DC was actually inferior.  They had worse characters, worse stories, and less talented people.  As I got into the history of comics, I started to see that DC often stole Marvel’s ideas.  It wasn’t outright thievery (as Starlin did with Thanos / Darkseid or Liefeld did with Deadpool / Deathstroke), it was more along the lines of “can I borrow a feeling”.

99e0db2e15a8d56a2ebfe3ea9266950d

X-ray vision in the front, party in the back.

The X-Men got big while Claremont was writing so DC tried a dozen different superhero teams.  Dudes with guns dominated Marvel at one point so DC tried it out.  Brown trench coats and lots of pockets were big at Marvel in 1989, so DC did it five years later.  Pseudo-mullets were big in the mid-nineties at Marvel, so DC did it after The Death of Superman.  DC has never been an innovator (as much as one can innovate mostly-naked dudes wrestling each other over possession of something that probably glows).  They only copy.

Check out their recent three attempt-at-a-franchise movies: Green Lantern (the plot is Ryan Reynolds has to be “not scared”), Man of Steel (it’s dark and gritty) and Batman v Superman (it’s darker and grittier and tells you the plot in the title).  Each one is just trying to be more Marvel than Marvel: “You like realistic movies about superheroes?  We’ll give you a movie so realistic you won’t believe it!”

crisis_on_infinite_earths_001

Even their costumes look second-rate.  Who’s the guy with an “L” on his shirt?

After 1940, the only thing DC ever did that was original was Crisis on Infinite Earths.  If you don’t know, it was DC’s way of trying to put some coherent continuity in an otherwise incongruous fictional universe.  They had 50 years of Superman flying and not flying and shooting laser beams and being psychic and being racist and being magic and duplicating himself and being a dandy and time traveling and killing people and hypnotizing people … they figured they had to put it all together somehow so DC said that many of these things happened on different Earths.  This way, anything that doesn’t fit with current trends – like if hippy-killing comes back in style – they can just say, “Oh, that happened on another, more sexist Earth where men are judged solely on cock-girth.”

It was a good idea if they just left it alone.  No one cares that The Simpsons don’t age.  No one cares that Bugs Bunny was racist during WWII, but now is just a lovable scamp who tricks ducks into shooting themselves in the face.  If they would’ve left Crisis as it was, DC could’ve beat Marvel.  They could’ve used their exclusive contracts with industry giants to create some really interesting, really imaginative, really memorable stories.  Instead they just rehashed old stories and had at least three more reboots.

thesimpsonscast

If there’s no continuity in a fictional universe, it’s just not enjoyable.

And now Marvel is trying it.

Although I never read much of The Ultimates, it was a terrific idea: “Let’s create another universe where we can retell the best stories of the last 75 years and create some of our own without mucking up the current characters.”  This way you can have SpiderMan and Amazing SpiderMan and Spectacular SpiderMan and Web of Spiderman and Sensational SpiderMan and Superior SpiderMan and Jaw-Dropping Spiderman and the less popular Mean/Median/Mode Spiderman and The Hyphenated Spider-Man and then an alternate universe version of each one.  With that many monthly titles, something has to hit.  The Wife and I used the same strategy when we were trying to conceive.

secret_wars_001

Even their costumes look second-rate.  Why are there stars on everyone’s costume?

But now Marvel is pulling a Crisis.  They’re collapsing all continuities into one. They’re copying DC.   And not just in the comics.

They’re trying to turn Agents of Shield into The Flash.  They’re trying to turn an already good show about regular people trying to fight super-powered bad guys and evil organizations into a “who can shoot bright shit out of our hands the hardest while showing our distractingly white teeth”.

It never worked for DC.  I don’t know why Marvel is trying it.

 

Mouth

Can you judge a person’s intelligence / age / income based on how much food they shove in their face at once?

Not “how much they eat at one sitting”, but “how much food they try to fit in their cheek at one time”.

Habibi Review

513uig4pmxl-_sx258_bo1204203200_

Habibi by Craig Thompson either needs to be a little bit longer or a whole lot shorter.  At almost 700 pages, it’s a pretty impressive work; even if the subject matter wasn’t complex and important, I think Thompson should be applauded for putting a comic together that’s so long (to put it in contrast, Scott Adams has made a new Dilbert comic every day for the last 20 years; collected, it takes up only 600 pages)

The story is about a girl in the middle east who is sold into slavery, escapes, finds another orphan, raises him, is enslaved again, her son/brother then tries to find her and he does, at which point he becomes her son/brother/husband.  There’s an interesting subtext about the connection of symbols to words to stories to power to the similarities between Islam and Christianity.

There’s also an interesting thing about how the art was created.  No photocopies were made and it looks like every stroke was made by brush.  Look at these pages. I’m struck by the number of hours something this simple took:

710887

craig1x-wide-community

habibi-e1316444804586

hab_240

As sad as it is, I think if I was able to draw this intricately this quickly, I’d still only be 300 pages in to Tiny Life.

But here’s why I say that the length is wrong: through most of the book, I thought it took place long ago.  There’s slavery, a pronounced caste system, there are slums, witch doctors, everyone is riding a camel, everyone is carrying a scimitar… but then at one point a character, who becomes a eunuch in order to work around the concubines at the sultan’s palace, works in a water-bottling factory.  He considers buying a fishing boat with an outboard motor.  He thinks Netflix making an Iron Fist series is a bad idea.

iron-fist-series-confirmed-for-netflix-727247

Why would anyone want to see this?  It crosses all the bad parts of nerd-dom: magic, chest tattoos, and chi.

I know you could say that this just highlights how slowly many middle-eastern countries are evolving; you could say that all of these things still happen.  But the problem is that one of the main themes of the book is that we’re all alike; Catholicism and Islam are essentially the same, with some minute differences in how the holy books are set up.  Contrast that with the other main theme of the book: men can’t control their dicks and they treat women like vaginas with arms whereas women use this as an advantage by getting good at using their vaginas to control men.

So, either Thompson has to make it a little longer and add a little something about how the Middle East is getting better at sexual equality, or shave off about 400 pages and make a judgement: we’re better.

 

 

 

Neonomicon review

tumblr_nhcorskhrm1tl9rdbo1_1280

This is an Alan Moore book about FBI agents investigating a series of grizzly murders that somehow connect to H.P. Lovecraft and The Call of Cthulhu.

0018_yeywkzzf-spiderman-meme-3-que-poner-acaIt’s X-Files fanfiction.  Or, maybe more accurately, it’s a cross between an X-Files reboot and tentacle porn.

If you’d like to see something of the same caliber, you’re welcome to go here.

Boo, Alan Moore.  Boo.

Superman Idea

A few friends of mine were arguing on Twitter about why Batman vs. Superman isn’t all that great.

  • Reason 1: The title.  It’s the Edge of Tomorrow of super-hero movies
  • Reason 2: Suspension of disbelief overload.  As I’ve said in several other reviews, a movie can only have one thing that the audience can look past.  In Man of Steel, it was that Superman exists.  In Batman vs. Superman, it’s that Batman exists.  They also threw in Wonder Woman, Flash, Aquaman, Doomsday, Lex Luthor, and token-black-guy Steel.  I know they say they’re “working up to a Justice League movie,” but they might as well have started with it.  The one thing that people would’ve had to look past in that is “there are many people who look good in tight outfits who like to punch other good-looking people in tight outfits; they all have distractingly-white teeth”.
  • 5f20_big_eye

    See? This cartoon is more disturbing than that guy getting hit by a subway car.

    Reason 3: Superman didn’t bleed.  Reading the comic where Superman gets beat up is jarring because we never see superman get hurt.  Even as a non-comic fan, how many images of Superman have you seen in your lifetime?  500?  In how many of them was he bleeding?  One?  Isn’t that the one you remember?  It’s like when Homer gets hurt on The Simpsons; it’s disturbing.

  • Reason 4: Superman is boring.  He is invincible.  We cheer for the underdog and God can’t be the underdog.

Given all that – and the number of reboots that DC tends to make on a yearly basis – here’s what I propose to be the best iteration of Superman: he appeared in 1938, just like the comics.  He married Lois Lane, just like the comics.  It’s now 2016 and Superman hasn’t aged, just like in the comics.  How do other heroes think of him?  How does he think of other heroes?  Is he tired of saving people?  What has the government tried to do?  What does he feel responsible for?  Has he given up his Clark Kent persona?  How does never aging affect his personal life?  How does saving the world every few weeks affect what he thinks about people?

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 182 other followers