Archive for July, 2010

30
Jul
10

Getting back to work…

Erin is back home again, and to get my mind off it, I’m going to get some work done. This means, in large part, catching up on reviews of recent comics, mainly for Comixtreme.com, but also for my own site, The Back Issue Bin. I’ve taken to posting more and more comic book reviews here at Evertime Realms in the last few months, and it’s occurred to me that’s kind of silly. I established a whole new blog specifically for the purpose of posting comic book reviews, so why am I duplicating my efforts here? So in addition to the old reviews brought back from internet purge obscurity, in addition to the “Somebody’s First Comic Book” pieces I’ve been posting at the BIB since the beginning of June, I’m going to now start a queue of recent comic reviews in my files, where I’ll post one each day – reviews of comics that other reviewers at CX already covered, or books that I didn’t get to read until they were no longer timely, concerns that of course won’t matter at my own site. This will include future Brightest Day reviews – except for those that are posted at Comixtreme, of course. I maintain my vow that every Brightest Day tie-in I read will be reviewed either at CX or at the BIB. And you’ll be able to follow all of them as I constantly update the Archive.

The other thing I’m going to be working on are the edits to Opening Night of the Dead. I printed out the manuscript, put it in a binder, and spent my downtime during Annie rehearsals to work on editing the document. (I’ve discovered that I do much better work editing my own stuff in hard copy. For some reason, I just gloss over a lot of the errors on the screen.) As soon as I finish the editing, I’m going to ask a few trusted readers to look it over for their comments, and then it’s going to be time to look for a publisher for this bad boy. Wish me luck.

29
Jul
10

Other People’s Heroes: Issue Five (Evercast #24)

Last issue, Josh Corwood decided to go undercover in the Siegel City Superhero Scam, hoping to gain all the information he needs to prove to the world that some of its proudest heroes are nothing but frauds. This week, Josh’s investigation begins in earnest, with a tour of Simon Tower.

Other People’s Heroes: Issue Five (Evercast #24)

Theme song, “Last of the Superheroes,” by American Heartbreak, courtesy of MusicAlley.com. Cover art by Jacob Bascle, FreemindGraphx.com and VisionaryComics.com. Evercast theme by Jeff Hendricks, JeffHendricks.net. Evercast logo by Heather Petit Keller.

E-mail me at BlakeMPetit@gmail.com

Creative Commons License
Blake M. Petit’s Evercast by Blake M. Petit is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.
Based on a work at www.evertimerealms.com.
Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available at http://www.evertimerealms.com.

28
Jul
10

Classic EBI #58: From the Movie Theater to the Comic Shop

No new EBI this week, because Erin is here and she wins. but I can still bring you a blast from the past…

April 14, 2004

Everything But Imaginary #58: From the Movie Theater to the Comic Shop

A week ago, we here at Everything But Imaginary Global Headquarters talked to you about the current crop of comic books that have been turned into movies. What, you don’t believe me? Go ahead, click here to read last week’s column. Remember now? Ah, good times, huh? (Sigh.)

Anyway, our discussion last week was about how we’re getting a lot of pretty solid comic-book-to-movie adaptations these days, and that’s a good thing. The question, though, is whether or not those movies ever translate into higher sales of the comic book. Unfortunately, I think the answer is probably “no.” Or at the most optimistic, “not for long.” When Spider-Man was released in 2002, it was seen by millions of people, but of those millions about three new people picked up comic books, all named “Bernie.” That wasn’t quite the windfall we want if we’re going to get comics out of the shadowed corners of the artistic spectrum and make them big again.

There are a lot of ways that visibility can be increased. One of the most obvious is the premium giveaway — this has happened to me twice in recent years. When I went to the opening-day showing of X-Men, I got a movie prequel comic, and when I went to the Empire Strikes Back: Special Edition premiere, I got a free Star Wars: X-Wing Rogue Squadron #1/2 special. This was extremely cool to me, and cool to my friends as well. Unfortunately, most of us already read comics on a regular basis, so we weren’t the target audience. There were others in the theater with us of course, adults and children who got the free comics, several I even saw reading them while waiting for the movie to start, but how many of them actually went out afterwards and found a comic book shop to pick up the next issue? Painfully few.

The implementation of Free Comic Book Day has been a real help with this idea, and tying it in with a major comic book movie is a good plan — if it’s marketed properly. This year’s FCBD will be the Saturday after the Wednesday premiere of Spider-Man 2. If people like the movie, they may want to check out some comics, especially if they know they can get them for free. That’s the tricky part: if they know. Would it be that difficult or expensive for Marvel to perhaps attach an ad to the beginning of Spider-Man 2 (if you put it at the end nobody will be there to see it) telling the audience “Get free comics this Saturday! Go to www.freecomicbookday.com to find the store nearest you?” That would be three days of advertising to the people who’ve got time off in anticipation of the coming July 4 weekend – if that doesn’t drive up business to comic book stores, what would?

Oh yeah. The store. That’s problem number two.

I keep harping on this, I know, but it’s important. As much as I love the comic book store, keeping the focus on direct distribution is just a case of preaching to the converted. People walking out of a Hellboy theater last weekend or a Punisher theater this weekend, having enjoyed their respective films, may be interested to read more about the characters, perhaps in that clever 25-cent Hellboy: The Corpse special, but how will they do so if they don’t go to comic shops already? Let’s say this person (we’re going to call him Fred for the sake of expediency) is already a voracious reader. Fred reads lots of novels, magazines, newspapers, etc., and has no preconceived notions about comics being just for kids. But Fred doesn’t know where any comic store is, so how is he going to learn more about Frank Castle?

Here’s our chance: Fred does go to the bookstore. His bookstore may even have a graphic novel section, but he doesn’t browse it much because it’s near the back and 75 percent of it is Japanese Manga. We need a display of Punisher trade paperback in a visible area. We need a reprint of Garth Ennis’s Welcome Back Frank TPB with a photo cover of Thomas Jane. And most importantly, we need an outlet for the monthly books there as well. We need bookstores to carry comics that we never would have dreamed of selling outside a comic book store ten years ago. Something that amazes me is that our local Border’s not only put in a spinner rack some time ago, but it carries Vertigo and Max titles, recognizing that more mature people are reading comic books. Fortunately, the bottom rows still consist of Archie and Powerpuff Girls, where the kids can still get to them.

Once we’ve got Fred looking at these comics, and I hate to say it, I think we need to keep him away from movie adaptations, for the simple reason that most comic book movie adaptations just aren’t very good. Now I haven’t read the Punisher adaptation, but most of them I’ve read suffer from the same problems over and over again: the dialogue doesn’t work as well in the comic as on the screen, too much is cut out to make it fit in 64 (or 48 or, Heaven forbid, 32) pages, the action scenes don’t work because of a need to replicate camera angles and the artwork suffers as the artist struggles to replicate the faces of the actors from the film. There are exceptions to this rule, and if any fine writers or creators of movie adaptation comics happen to be reading this column, rest assured, your stuff was just plain brilliant, but in general these adaptations just don’t work. So what if someone sees a comic-based movie they like and then pick up a lousy adaptation as their first exposure to the real comic? We’ve just lost a potential reader.

And finally, I think it’s important to play up films that are based on lesser-known comic book properties. A couple of years ago I was buying a DVD and the checkout girl at the bookstore commented upon my choice of movies. We talked for a few minutes and she asked me if I’d ever been to the local New Orleans arthouse cinema.

“Sure, I’ve been there,” I lied. I’d never been there in my life, mostly out of a desire to stay entirely out of New Orleans proper without a really good reason, such as my mother is dying of an alien ailment and the only cure is the sludge that collects against the docks at the New Orleans Riverboat casino and my brother lost his car keys. But the checkout girl was cute and I wasn’t about to tell her that.

“Have you seen Made?” she asked.

“No, I haven’t, but I’ve heard good things about it.” This time I told the truth.

“I haven’t seen it either,” she said. “There’s this other one playing I want to see too, it’s called Ghost World.”

I ask, “Isn’t that the one based on the comic book by–”

Daniel Clowes,” we both say at the same time.

It was at this point that I realized that a line was accumulating behind me and people were beginning to give me dirty looks, so I paid for the DVD and left. When I got to my car, two things soon occurred to me:

1. Idiot. You should have asked her to the movies.

2. Hey, she not only knew about Ghost World, she knew who did the comic it’s based on.

Now granted, you would expect your average bookstore personnel to have a bit more savvy about that sort of thing than Joe Schmo, but she was probably the only person I talked to about Ghost World that knew it was based on a comic book. Similarly, nobody knew From Hell was a comic book first when that film came out, and you should have seen the strange looks I got from people when I tried to tell them about the Road to Perdition comic. A few people knew that American Splendor was a comic, but since the movie is about the guy who wrote the comic, they would have to be as smart as your average Warner Brothers executive to let that one slip past them.

I’m seeing a lot more of Harvey Pekar’s Splendor books on the stands these days, and Max Allan Collins finally got the chance to continue the Perdition series, but the readership spreading across the board just hasn’t happened. Perdition, Ghost World and Splendor all got Academy Award nominations, for Heaven’s sake! If that can boost sales for books like Master and Commander, Cold Mountain or a little tome called Lord of the Rings, why can’t it work for comic books?

It’s all about perception and exposure, folks. Go rent those movies I talked about, watch ‘em with some non-comic fans and then give them the original graphic novels. Watch their eyes bug out. We all want comics to be bigger and better and movies are just one way that can happen.

If only it’s done right.

FAVORITE OF THE WEEK: April 7, 2004

Jimmy Palmiotti, Justin Gray and Phil Winslade have taken an early lead in the race for the EBI “Best New Title” award with their great comic The Monolith. The third issue, out last week, finishes off the first story arc in which Alice Cohen inherits a house from her grandmother only to find an incredibly powerful Golem (a mystical warrior from Hebrew myth made of clay and blood) walled up in her basement. People upset over the demise of Sentinel should give this book a chance, as the story has a lot of the same “boy and his robot” feel to it, and since only the first three issues are out, it should be relatively easy to track them down and give this worthy comic a read.

Blake M. Petit is the author of the superhero comedy novel, Other People’s Heroes, the suspense novel The Beginner and the Christmas-themed eBook A Long November. He’s also the co-host, with whoever the hell is available that week, of the 2 in 1 Showcase Podcast and the weekly audio fiction podcast Blake M. Petit’s Evercast. E-mail him at Blake@comixtreme.com and visit him on the web at Evertime Realms. Read past columns at the Everything But Imaginary Archive Page.

27
Jul
10

Time Travel Tuesdays: I Really Really Really Want You to Shut Up

Time Travel Tuesdays! Yay! Let’s travel back to 2002, when the McDonald’s Corporation made me want to jump off of a suspension bridge just to escape their latest commercial!

April 6, 2002

I really really really want you to shut up

I hate McDonald’s.

I never used to hate McDonald’s. I was actually fairly indifferent towards McDonald’s for quite some time. I’d eat there, but no more often than any other fast-food type of establishment.

Until about a week ago.

Apparently, my friends, McDonald’s has upped the ante in the ongoing fast food war with their new “Chicken Strips.” The message of the chicken strips seems to be, “Hey, if you don’t like our chicken in processed, unrecognizable nugget form, here’s an alternative!”

I have no problem with McDonald’s introducing a new product. That’s certainly their prerogative. I may even have been tempted to sample these new strips, were it not for the way the fast food giant chose to convey the information about its new product to the public.

I’m talking about a commercial, my friends. And not just any commercial. McDonald’s could have used any of a number of ways to promote this product. They could have had a tap-dancing McDonald’s employee informing a customer. They could have had Ronald McDonald put a sleeper hold on the Hamburglar when the latter attempted to steal the coveted foodstuff. They could have simply shown smiling children eating the strips. Perhaps one could have fed a strip to a puppy.
But no.

Instead we unsuspecting television viewers who, innocently enough, want only to see Anthony Edwards’s last episode of ER are deluged with people munching chicken strips as they dance to a ear-splitting voice screaming, “Tell me whatcha want, whatcha really, really want!”

Yes. McDonald’s has resurrected the Spice Girls.

Heads shall roll for this.

Give me bubblegum pop. Give me country. Give me a drunken barber dragging a screaming cat along a mile-long chalkboard but please, dear God, don’t subject me to the Spice Girls again.

This so-called “musical” group has been thankfully off the charts for years now, but that doesn’t negate the fact that for quite some time they were inexplicably popular, even to the point of filming a movie that makes Mariah Carrey’s “Glitter” seem quiet and understated by comparison.

Just this morning, as I drove to work, the Spice Girls began screaming on my radio again, prompting me to reach out and jab at the buttons, but it was too late. I had already been requested to divulge what it was I want, what I really, really want.

The human brain has a serious malfunction in its wiring, you see. While good memories are quickly shunted to the background, the mind feels compelled to replay horrible songs and embarrassing moments at constant, random intervals, moreso when something happens to remind you of it.

As a result, I’ve spent all day struggling valiantly against the urge to explain to the people in my office that what I really, really, really want is zig-a-zig-AH. Meanwhile, the portion of my brain responsible for embarrassing memories, struggling to keep up with the bad songs segment, has been stuck on a continuous loop of the time I accidentally dropped a lead weight on a girl’s head in ninth-grade science class.

What I can’t understand is why McDonald’s would choose such a tactic to promote a new product. What difference does it make if people who hear your radio commercial are aware of the existence of the chicken strips if the way the message is conveyed inspires them to drive into a concrete bridge abutment just to get it to stop?

And so, I find myself in quite a moral quandary. Do I stop going to McDonald’s altogether, or do I take the more mature, sensible route of secretly breaking in one night and altering the intercom system for the drive-thru window so that it plays Ray Stevens’ “The Streak” 24 hours a day?

Decisions, decisions.

In the meantime, I intend to spend the next 24 hours in a sanitary environment being fed a steady diet of Barenaked Ladies and Five For Fighting until the horrors of this music no longer echo in my skull and I am fit to rejoin normal society.

And I’m gonna work on my radio station changing reflexes too.

Blake M. Petit actually loves every Spice Girls album. Why waste a perfectly good skeet in target practice? Contact him with comments, suggestions or any song that can eradicate the Spice Girls from his mind at BlakeMPetit@Gmail.com.

26
Jul
10

2 in 1 Showcase Episode 180: San Diego 2010

Erin is back this week, joining Blake to talk about the news from Comic-Con 2010! In the news we’ve got the Avengers cast, the Chew TV show, the Young Justice cartoon, new Avengers, changes to the Batman family, the return of the Mickey Mouse comic strip, new announcements about a dozen different comics and creators, and more! In the picks, Erin recommends the book Stiff, and Blake loved the second issue of Darkwing Duck. Contact us with comments, suggestions, or anything else at Showcase@comixtreme.com!

Music provided by the Podshow Podsafe Music Network.

Episode 180: San Diego 2010

25
Jul
10

One last show

A quick recap of the past 24 hours:

Oh no! Tropical Storm Bonnie is coming this way! They might have to cancel the last performance of our play!

Yay! Bonnie has fizzled out! The play is on!

What? The park service is closing the building anyway? Don’t they watch the news? ANNIE is sold out! CURSE YOU, RICHARDS!

What? The play is back on? SWEET.

Erin is in the theatre right now, waiting for the last show to start. If you’re waiting for this week’s podcast, it probably won’t hit until tomorrow. Good things come to those who wait.

23
Jul
10

Erin is here…

Erin is here, and she’ll be here until Thursday, which means my posting will be sporadic until then. Deal with it.I will, of course, have pictures and stuff. And she’s going to help me record a podcast or two. So you’ll hear from us. It’ll just be irregular.

(Erin here, Nothing in the world could completely tear Blake away from his computer….but I’m gonna try my damnedest.)

22
Jul
10

Other People’s Heroes: Issue Four (Evercast #23)

Last week, Josh Corwood found out the truth about Morrie Abadie’s superhero scam in the heart of Siegel City, and was given an enticing offer to join up. Will Josh sign on the dotted line, or will he tell Morrie to shove it? Also this issue — listener mail! Send more of it to BlakeMPetit@gmail.com!

Other People’s Heroes: Issue Four

Theme song, “Last of the Superheroes,” by American Heartbreak, courtesy of MusicAlley.com. Cover art by Jacob Bascle, FreemindGraphx.com and VisionaryComics.com. Evercast theme by Jeff Hendricks, JeffHendricks.net. Evercast logo by Heather Petit Keller.

E-mail me at BlakeMPetit@gmail.com

Creative Commons License
Blake M. Petit’s Evercast by Blake M. Petit is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.
Based on a work at www.evertimerealms.com.
Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available at http://www.evertimerealms.com.

21
Jul
10

Classic EBI: Demons, Castles, and the House of Mouse

In today’s Everything But Imaginary column, I expend a bit upon something I mused over here Monday — the idea of a storytelling universe where the world is the real star instead of the individual characters. When has it worked? How does it work? Will I try it myself?

Everything But Imaginary #360: Share the Universe!

And in today’s EBI Classic, let’s step back to March 7, 2004, just before a summer where a lot of superhero movies were about to cut loose, and how that made me feel…

Demons, castles and the house of mouse

Sunday evening I got an e-mail from my Uncle Todd. “Hey, looks like the Hellboy movie is number one this weekend,” he wrote. “That should make you feel good.”

“Actually,” I wrote back, “what makes me feel good is that the movie didn’t suck.” Comic book movies, at least over the past 15 years or so, since the first Batman, seem to have fallen into two categories: critical and commercial successes that pundits predict will birth a new breed of comic book readers that never actually show up, or major flops that the comic reading publish wishes people would rather forget but know inevitably will be trotted out as a comparison the next time a comic book movie is made. We’ve been lucky for the last few years. Marvel hit it big with the first Blade movie after 30 years of terrible attempts at movie and television projects, but Wesley Snipes seems to have been a magic charm, because Marvel movies have been, for the most part, very good since then. (Yes, I know some people didn’t like Daredevil or Hulk, but I did like ‘em and it’s my column, so nyeah.)

Most of these characters, with the exception of Blade, were at least moderately well-known to the public at large before the movie came out though, and even Blade had the force of coming from powerhouse Marvel Comics. I’d been wondering what would happen if someone made a good movie based on an obscure character from a smaller company.

Enter Hellboy.

Even I, geek that I am, didn’t know a tremendous amount about Hellboy. I’d read his first trade paperback, Seed of Destruction, and a few random other appearances, but I didn’t carry around much knowledge of who he was or what he did. What’s more, I was a little worried about a live-action movie because, even with a great actor like Ron Perlman in the title role, the character’s makeup looked a little campy and I was afraid it would turn people off. Still, it was a comic book movie, and since the mission statement of this little column includes trying to get more people reading comics, I took it upon myself to see the film and determine if it could potentially help.

First, the movie itself. Was it campy? Yeah. Was the makeup a little hard to swallow? Sure. Goofy dialogue and slightly unbelievable romantic subplot? Oh yeah. Nazis as villains? Boy, there’s a twist.

But was it fun?

Absolutely.

While not as tongue-in-cheek as, say, Batman and Robin, Hellboy was a movie that knew it was taking a kind of silly premise and had fun with it. What’s more, the actors looked like they were having fun, and that sense of fun jumped out and grabbed the audience. Joel Schumaker, in directing the last two bat-flicks, took the sillier parts of the premise and played them up, utterly disrespecting the character. Guillermo del Toro (who, not coincidentally, also directed Blade II), had fun with the silly parts but respected the serious parts, the characters, the creators and, most importantly, the fans. I walked out of that movie theater feeling cheerful, ready to see it again and ready to pick up the DVD.

Ah, but the test is whether or not it will get people to read Hellboy comic books. Well, I already had the second trade on order, and I’ll be on the lookout for some stand-alone comics on my weekly trip to the comic shop this Friday, so it certainly scored with me on that account. But I’m an easy sell, I needed to talk to people who don’t ordinarily read comics. So I did. Friends, family, co-workers. And here’s the thing: while not all of them are necessarily going to go run out and start buying the complete works of Mike Mignola, every single person I talked to was aware that Hellboy was based on a comic book. That’s unprecedented. Sure, most of ‘em knew Spider-Man was a comic, but they hadn’t heard of Daredevil and an awful lot of people thought X-Men and Hulk were based on the old TV shows.

So how on Earth did a little niche comic like Hellboy get it right?

Well, part of it may be the fact that the character didn’t have the stigma of a Saturday morning cartoon or an old Lou Ferigno TV show to live down, so people had no expectations. But it’s not like it’s being promoted as “Based on the comic book by Mike Mignola!” or even as “From the same guy who drew those purty pictures for Disney’s Atlantis movie!” I think the real reason is actually very simple: even from the earliest trailers that had me worried about the makeup, Hellboy was a movie that looked like a comic book. Now a lot of the time people say that in a detrimental fashion, but I mean it as the highest compliment. From the garish colors to the freaks in makeup to the incredible amount of energy on the screen to the overriding sense of excitement that the movie generated, even with a character no one had heard of who didn’t have a cape, this felt like the beautiful image people have in their collective conscious regarding superheroes (at least, the conscious of people who aren’t snobbish enough to deride anything with a superhero as being infantile).

Like I asked, will it get more people to read the Hellboy comic book? That remains to be seen. At any rate, I doubt it will pull in huge numbers except possibly from the preexisting comic book reading market. But one thing that is undeniable is that the movie has made people more aware of comic books, and that is a very good place to start.

And what gets me most excited is that there are still tons of comic book properties coming down the pipe. In just a week and a half the Punisher movie will premiere starring Thomas Jane as Frank Castle. I’m a little wary about that one, to be honest – I like Jane (he’s fantastic in 61*, my pick for the second-best baseball movie ever made), but the trailers disturb me. Especially the costume. Look, points to Artisan Entertainment for actually putting him in the skull as opposed to the tank top we had to sit through in the godawful Dolph Lundgren version of the character back in 1989, but couldn’t they have found a way to do it that doesn’t look like he’s wearing a silk-screened T-shirt?

(2010 Note: I rather did like the Thomas Jane Punisher film –and even if you didn’t, if you try to tell me that Punisher: War Zone was better, I will punch you in the spleen.)

Regardless, the Punisher is a much more well-known character than Hellboy and, again, I shall see the film for research purposes. Hellboy surprised me. Maybe this will too. My friend Jenny, I think, has the best attitude about the film. She has decided just to watch the flick and look for references to Garth Ennis’s run in the title. Well… if nothing else, Spacker Dave and Joan the Mouse are in the movie.

Then later this summer we’ll have Spider-Man 2, a film that will be fun, action-packed, true to the characters, a delight to watch and will leave a thousand over-hyped fanboys who went into the film expecting the second coming of Christ complaining about how much it sucked. (You don’t believe me? Let’s lay odds.) Spider-Man has certainly done more to boost comic books in the public consciousness than any film in recent memory, but I seriously think Marvel has bungled their end of it. Aside from launching Ultimate Spider-Man, they haven’t made any real strides to reach out and grab new readers, and that’s what is really needed.

Also this summer we’ll have Halle Berry in Catwoman. Let’s look at a photo of her in the costume. (You’re going to want to click on it to get a full-sized image for the complete impact):

Okay, now let’s talk about something that doesn’t make me want to wretch. This fall we’re going to have a film that, while not actually based on a comic book, does feature superheroes – Pixar’s The Incredibles, a comedy featuring the voices of Craig T. Nelson, Samuel L. Jackson and Jason “No Middle Initial” Lee. Pixar is a studio that has never failed to enchant me – even their weakest film, A Bug’s Life, is head and shoulders above anything almost anyone else is putting out for children, and if nobody has snapped up the rights to do a comic book based on this film yet, they’d better get in gear. (Gemstone Publishing? I’m lookin’ at you, buddy.)

So what else is in the works? Well, there’s been a Fantastic Four movie in the hopper for as long as I can remember, and supposedly there are film versions of every Marvel character from The Silver Surfer to Iron Fist waiting to make waves. Over on the DC side they finally gave Batman to a good director (Christopher Nolan) and a good writer (David Goyer, who wrote the first two Blade flicks and is currently writing and directing the third one). There’s also talk of a new film to resurrect the Superman franchise, but that’s been in production hell for so long that I’ll believe it when I see it. And even then, I won’t believe it unless I see a signed affidavit stating that Tim Burton and Nicolas Cage were not allowed anywhere near the film. (Don’t send me hate mail, I like them both, I just don’t think either of them are right for Superman.)

Robert Rodriguez, who has yet to take my advice about him doing a Madman movie, is set to begin work on a star-studded adaptation of Frank Miller’s Sin City comic book. Even comic book geek-turned filmmaker-turned comic book writer Kevin Smith has announced he’s going to be taking time out of his hectic schedule of not finishing Daredevil: The Target #2 to make a Green Hornet movie for Miramax. The man may not finish writing his comics very often, but no one can deny he loves ‘em, and I expect that movie to be a lot of fun as well.

And not so long ago it was announced that my personal favorite superhero comic, Kurt Busiek’s Astro City, is in the works for a feature film with producer Ben Barenholtz, who has done a lot of work with those delightful little scamps The Coen Brothers (of Fargo and O Brother, Where Art Thou? fame).

Finally, let’s think about all the great comics that have the potential to be great movies. Special effects have finally reached the point where a Green Lantern movie may be feasible, and I’d do anything to see a great cartoon adaptation of Jeff Smith’s Bone, Doug TenNapel’s Creature Tech or Mike Kunkel’s Herobear and the Kid.

So if you’re a comic book fan who loves movies, this is a very good time for you.

But what if you’re a movie fan that wants to get into comic books?

Good question. I’ll see if I can answer it in just seven short days.

Favorite of the Week: March 31, 2004

Much like I expect people who expect too much of Spider-Man 2 to be disappointed with the film, I think the same plague took a chunk out of my favorite title last week, Avengers/JLA #4. After 20 years of buildup, it was inevitable that some people wouldn’t like the book. I, on the other hand, loved it. From the damaged timestream allowing us to see practically every Avenger and Leaguer ever fighting together, to spot-on characterization of Superman, Captain America, Green Lantern (Hal Jordan) and Barry “Flash” Allen, not to mention beautiful artwork by George Perez and Tom Smith, this miniseries was everything I wanted it to be. All comics should be this good.

(One more 2010 note: It’s interesting, looking back at this column. Some of the movies I discussed here were hits, some of them were flops, some were never made. I completely forgot that Astro City had been optioned, because nothing ever came of it. Oh, and we’re all still waiting for Daredevil: The Target #2.)

Blake M. Petit is the author of the superhero comedy novel, Other People’s Heroes, the suspense novel The Beginner and the Christmas-themed eBook A Long November. He’s also the co-host, with whoever the hell is available that week, of the 2 in 1 Showcase Podcast and the weekly audio fiction podcast Blake M. Petit’s Evercast. E-mail him at Blake@comixtreme.com and visit him on the web at Evertime Realms. Read past columns at the Everything But Imaginary Archive Page.

20
Jul
10

Time Travel Tuesdays: Mom, Can I Have This?

It’s that time again (Tuesday), time for another journey into my own past with a Time Travel Tuesdays column. This week we’re getting into the ol’ Delorean and going way back to March 9, 2002, when my encounters with several different foodstuffs prompted the following discourse…

March 9, 2002

Mom, can I have this?

While I don’t consider myself a wise man, there are certain areas of our society that I find I have a particular understanding of. Movies, for instance, and comic books. Random, useless trivia collects in my brain like lint in a dryer sheet. But longer than I have been a fan of any of these, my friends, I have been a fan of… food.

Unfortunately, our society seems to have taken some incredibly bad moves in the area of food over the past few thousands of years, and as a responsible journalist (or at least as someone who once heard of a responsible journalist) I feel I should take a little time to go over some of the missteps with you, my Highly Educated Readers, to prevent you from going astray. So put the Fruit Roll-Ups down and pay attention.

I became particularly interested in food mishaps at a recent family gathering when my Aunt Nancy produced a box of something called “Satellite Wafers.” This, I learned, was apparently a popular candy when my father and his contemporaries were children. The candy consisted of two oddly-colored wheat wafers with the taste and consistency of packing material sandwiched together in the shape of a flying saucer. This created a pocket in the middle which the manufacturers, in an effort to slowly turn the entire population of the Earth diabetic by the year 2072, filled with some form of rock-hard candy.

From both an economical and nutritional standpoint, one would be better off consuming a heaping bowl of Styrofoam peanuts and gravel than these Satellite Wafers… and yet as soon as the box was open, people (myself included) began consuming these things and could not stop.

At first I was certain the air pocket containing the small chunks of kryptonite masquerading as candy also had some sort of narcotic gas that escaped when you bit into the wafer. After eating several of the offending objects, though, it finally dawned on me why people kept eating them: they were trying to figure out what would possess a person to eat one.
I have a crate of the substance on order to further my research in this area.

Further advances in the incredibly profitable field of food weirdness are currently underway at two of the major ketchup companies, which are virtually indistinguishable from each other down to the fact that their names both begin with “H.” A year or so ago one of the big H’s began marketing a line of… ready for this? Multicolored Children’s Ketchup. That’s right, ketchup isn’t just red anymore ladies and gentlemen – now your kids can stain their clothes red, green, purple, whatever.
Since this has proven somewhat successful (thereby proving that parents will purchase anything their children beg for and that children will beg for anything they see on television), the other H has decided to enter the game as well, but taking a different route as their opponent. The original H, you see, was very upfront about the bizarre concoction they expect people to consume, by clearly making the bottle the same funky color as the ketchup. “Hey!” is the message, “why don’t you eat some green ketchup?”

The other H is taking a decidedly different approach. As a “test,” they intend to randomly place their new multicolored ketchup in red bottles, so that nobody knows what color their lunch is going to be.

The potential problems with this are mind-boggling, not the least of which is the danger of parents who don’t pay close attention to world affairs like I do suddenly seeing their kids squirt what they believe to be some weird blue fungus all over their hamburgers. One must question whether the thrill of a colorful condiment is worth the pain and suffering it may cause.

Never let it be said that I don’t know how to cash in on an idea, though. I’ve currently got my scientists here at Think About It Labs feverishly working on a cross between ketchup technology and paint-matching technology that would allow parents to purchase condiments that would perfectly match their dining room walls, thereby eliminating any fear of childhood stains that last for decades.

By the way, you guys with that floral-print wallpaper are turning out to be a real pain in the kiester.

Blake M. Petit’s next project is plaid mayonnaise to tap into the uncharted Scottish condiment market. Contact him with comments, suggestions or more of those stupid, addictive wafers at BlakeMPetit@gmail.com.




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