Posts Tagged ‘Catwoman

17
Feb
13

2 in 1 Showcase Episode 283: Bruce Willis and Bruce Wayne

showcase logo smallIt’s a big week for Bruces and Blake and Erin take in Willis’s newest film, A Good Day to Die Hard, and talk about the repercussions of Wayne’s lastest battle with the Joker in the conclusion of Death of the Family. We also talk about the return of The Walking Dead, rejoice in the crapitude of Birdemic: Shock and Terror, and Blake recommends that if you’re not reading Morning Glories, you go back and start at the beginning. Contact us with comments, suggestions, or anything else at Showcase@CXPulp.com!

Music provided by Music Alley from Mevio.

2 in 1 Showcase Episode 283: Bruce Willis and Bruce Wayne

20
Jul
12

2 in 1 Showcase at the Movies Episode 29: The Dark Knight Rises

It’s gonna get all spoiler-tastic up in here! Blake and Erin caught the Dark Knight Trilogy last night, and after a few minutes of discussing the latest Batman film, they give up and get into specifics. Spoiler Warnings are in effect for their review of the conclusion of Christopher Nolan‘s trilogy. Contact us with comments, suggestions, or anything else at Showcase@CXPulp.com!

Music provided by Music Alley from Mevio.

At the Movies Episode 29: The Dark Knight Rises

02
Oct
11

2 in 1 Showcase Episode 239: One Month of the New 52

The new DC Universe is a month old now, and in an extra-sized episode Blake, Erin, and Mark sit down to talk about how that first month shaped up. Mark gives us the retailer’s perspective on how sales have changed not just for the New 52, but for other titles as well, and the gang discusses the hits and misses of the last two weeks of titles. In the picks, Erin is just getting into the Dresden Files, Mark is a fan of Annihilators: Earthfall and Herc, and Blake cheers the premieres of Ghostbusters and Dorothy and the Wizard in Oz. Contact us with comments, suggestions, or anything else at Showcase@CXPulp.com!

Music provided by Music Alley from Mevio.

Episode 239: One Month of the New 52

07
Aug
11

2 in 1 Showcase Episode 232: Spider-Man, DC Changes, and Phineas and Ferb

Blake and Kenny hang out this week and touch upon a wealth of new comic book topics, but not before giving their ecstatic review of the TV movie Phineas and Ferb: Across the Second Dimension! After that moment of geeking out, the guys talk about the Ultimate Spider-Man news, images of Henry Cavill as Superman and Anne Hathaway as Catwoman, the aftermath of War of the Green Lanterns, a more thoughtful reaction to the DC Relaunch, the prospect of a Tuxedo Gin movie, and more! In the picks, Kenny chooses Power Girl #26 and Blake goes with Flashpoint #4. Contact us with comments, suggestions, or anything else at Showcase@CXPulp.com!

Music provided by Music Alley from Mevio.

Episode 232: Spider-Man, DC News and Phineas and Ferb

18
May
11

Classic EBI #92: What’s So New About It?

In this week’s all-new Everything But Imaginary, I talk about the terrifying news that Seth MacFarlane has been hired to reboot The Flintstones, an in the process pick apart why some reboots work and others don’t.

Everything But Imaginary #399: Runaway Reboots

But moving back to December 8, 2004, I had a particularly pertinent discussion. As rumors swirl about massive renumbering over at DC comics, I back then I was already discussing renumbering and misleading prefixes in…

Everything But Imaginary #92: What’s So New About It?

In the land of comic books, there is one thing you can be certain of — publishers will never tire of starting a comic book over with a new issue #1 in the desperate attempt to boost sales. We’ve seen it with Captain America and Iron Man, we’ve seen it with Catwoman and, soon, She-Hulk… we’ve even seen it with stalwarts like Wolverine. Legion of Super-Heroes is about to start volume five of that title. And if you don’t mind, I’d rather not even discuss the Punisher.

This drives the people who care about such things (geeks like me) absolutely crazy, if for no other reason than that we’ve got to constantly remember which volume of a series we’re referring to while having a debate. (“It happened in Fantastic Four #12!” “Which Fantastic Four #12?” “Er…”)

If a company feels the need to relaunch a title with a new #1, I prefer them to at least make a slight alteration to the title. Give it a subtitle, for instance — instead of Doctor Strange Vol. 3, the series was Doctor Strange: Sorcerer Supreme. That was cool. Or make a massive alteration that still keeps the feel of the book, such as when Justice League of America gave way to simply JLA.

There’s one other trick, of course, that publishers can pull out to make it seem like they’re launching another title instead of repackaging an old one, a trick that’s been used frequently of late: stick a “new” at the beginning of it. This isn’t a recent trick, it’s been happening at least as far back as the 80s, when Marv Wolfman and George Perez resurrected Teen Titans as The New Teen Titans. Marvel Comics turned Defenders into New Defenders towards the end run of that title, and even Jim Valentino turned his ShadowHawk property over to Kurt Busiek as New ShadowHawk for seven issues.

Why “new”? Well, what word has better connotations to drag in readers? “New” means it’s bold and exciting and innovative! (And even if the comic isn’t really any of those things, that “new” stamp gives it the feel that it is.) But something can only remain “new” for so long. Even if the book was still good, after a while the “New” Teen Titans weren’t all that new anymore. Eventually DC realized that and changed the title of the book again…

…to New Titans.

Okay, so maybe they kind of missed the point there. But eventually New Titans gave way to Teen Titans Vol. 2, which gave way to The Titans, which gave way to Teen Titans Vol. 3, which if nothing else proves that whoever is in charge of titles at DC Comics has learned absolutely nothing.

These days, though, it’s Marvel that’s really letting the “new” banner fly high. It started when Grant Morrison took over the adjectiveless X-Men comic book and asked that “New” be added to the title. This was done for two reasons:

1. Morrison was trying a totally new take on the superhero genre (well, kinda, except that what he actually did was wallow in the existing superhero genre even as he deconstructed it).

2. It made for a really cool logo that could be read the same upside-down as rightside-up.

When Morrison left the title changed back to just plain X-Men, but Marvel apparently liked the New X-Men moniker and applied it to another title they already had — New Mutants. Volume two.

(Brief aside here, New Mutants, New Warriors and a few other such books don’t quite fall into the category I’m talking about here because they weren’t originally repackaged versions of old titles — although each would be cancelled and spawn a second volume — but rather actual original concepts that were given the “new” label right off the bat to make them appear bold and exciting and innovative, even if they weren’t.)

So New Mutants Vol. 2 became New X-Men: Academy X. Well points to Marvel for at least giving it a subtitle. Interestingly, I think the “new” label fits this book much better than it ever did Morrison’s. While I loved that run, don’t misunderstand me, this book simply feels “new”er. Nunzio DeFilips and Christina Weir have done a great job crafting original characters who aren’t really superheroes, but students that are acutely aware that some day they may be called upon to become the next generation of X-Men whether they want to or not. It makes for one of my favorite reads every month.

This may even be one of those rare titles to not outgrow the “new” label, assuming it lasts that long. The book is about Xavier’s school, after all. It’s not that big a leap to imagine these students graduating a few at a time and a new class coming in to take their place, thereby keeping the book perpetually fresh.

And finally we come to the two big “new” titles to hit the stands in recent weeks — New Thunderbolts and New Avengers. The original Thunderbolts series, for those who don’t recall, was about a group of villains who first masqueraded as heroes in a scheme for domination, then had a change of heart and became heroes in fact. In this incarnation, a few remaining original members of the team begin it again with the hopes of recruiting other villains and giving them the same chance they had at redemption. Is it “new” though?

Well… yes and no.

About half of the characters are new to the title, and the returning characters (Mach-IV, Songbird and Atlas) are cast in decidedly different roles than when they were first on the team. The format of the book, however, seems the same as the original — lots of conspiracies, lots of questions about people’s loyalty and even a big shocker twist ending at the conclusion of the first issue. Not that any of these are a problem, mind you, but they do tone down the “new” aspect.

What about New Avengers? Well, the old Avengers disbanded after several of them died and one of them got crazy and a few of them quit, so when there was a major jailbreak at Ryker’s Island, somebody had to come in and fix things. Who’s that gonna be?

Good question.

We’re still not 100 percent sure who the final “New” Avengers lineup will be, but the safe money seems to include Captain America, Iron Man and Spider-Man (all of whom have been Avengers in the past), Luke Cage, Spider-Woman and Daredevil (who have at least associated with the Avengers), Wolverine (who already stars in four Marvel Universe titles a month and has absolutely no business being in this book but decided to jump on board since he was barred from being on the permanent roster of New X-Men: Academy X on the grounds that he wasn’t technically a student), and Sentry (who was once a bigwig in the Marvel Universe although nobody remembers him anymore).

So “new” is kind of stretching it here.

Not to say it’s bad, mind you. For the most part I enjoyed the premiere issue and I’m anxious to see how it goes. I’m just not sure how Marvel will still be able to justify having a “new” on the title by issue #25 or so, unless they plan to argue that the original Avengers lasted for 503 issues, so this team will still be newer at least until they hit 504.

Basically what this all boils down to is sort of a note to the comic book publishers — look for new adjectives. No pun intended. Now I’ve got to get back to work on my next book — it was going to be called 14 Days of Asphalt, but now I find myself leaning towards New Other People’s Heroes.

FAVORITE OF THE WEEK: December 1, 2004

This week was easier than expected for me to choose. New Avengers was good, Monolith is always a treat and G.I. Joe continues to impress, but nothing scored as high on the ol’ fave-o-meter as Y: The Last Man #29. Yorick, the last man on Earth, is dying. Agent 355 is looking for the ring he lost on the crazy premise that it somehow may have kept him alive. Dr. Mann puts all the pieces together. Brian K. Vaughan writes a lot of comic books every month, but none of the others I’ve read even approach how good this one is.

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 BlakeMPetit@gmail.com and visit him on the web at Evertime Realms. Read past columns at the Everything But Imaginary Archive Page, and check out his new experiment in serial fiction at Tales of the Curtain.

20
Apr
11

Classic EBI #87: The Shock of the New

In this week’s brand-new Everything But Imaginary column, I’m taking a long look at the divide between American, European, and Asian comics, and wondering if the digital frontier might not be the place where such divisions disappear.

Everything But Imaginary #395: The Cultural Divide

In this week’s Classic EBI, though, we’re going back to November of 2004, when I was sadly bemoaning the trouble new characters have finding an audience. Some things never change.

Everything But Imaginary #87: The Shock of the New

One complaint you can hear coming from virtually any comic book store is that there isn’t enough new product on the market. Everything is just another endless retread or another X-Men or Batman spin off or something that’s been seen a thousand times before. This is a legitimate complaint, one that I completely agree with, and one that is only midly diminished by the fact that whenever somebody does try something new, nobody buys it and it’s cancelled within 12 issues.

It seems a bit pointless to even dredge it up at this point, but that’s exactly what happened to CrossGen comics. They burst onto the scene in 2000 with a wave of fresh, original comic books, new characters, new styles, stories in nearly every imaginable genre… and then the whole thing fell apart because not enough people were willing to give something new a chance. Excellent comics like Abadazad, Route 666 and The Crossovers are lost to us now. We may never find out how Negation War would have ended. I may weep.

I have to give DC Comics the most credit, out of the Big Two, for being willing to try new properties these days, and for trying to let them find their audience, but sometimes it’s just not enough. It was announced with a whimper a few weeks ago that Justin Gray, Jimmy Palmiotti and Phil Winslade’s The Monolith will end with issue #12. This is incredibly disappointing to me. It really was, in a way, the perfect “bridge” property — it took place in the DC Universe, so it wasn’t completely divorced from the familiar, but it wasn’t tied or linked to any preexisting DC character or concept, so it was easy enough for someone who’d never read a comic before to get into it.

The concept was smart and simple — a Hebrew golem, a good spirit given life in a body of clay — is found after decades of imprisonment and becomes a personal guardian for a down-on-her luck young woman in New York City. Maybe that’s what killed the book — the protagonist wasn’t really the Monolith himself, but Alice Cohen, the girl he protected.

Whatever the reason, this was a smart, well-done series, and its impending demise is really sad for me. If you can still hunt it down, do so. At only 12 issues for the entire run, it won’t break your bank, and it’s a title worth reading.

Other comics still have a chance. Bloodhound is another new DC property with no evident ties to existing comics. Written by Dan Jolley with art by the ex-Supergirl team of Leonard Kirk and Robin Riggs, this book follows Travis Clevenger, a cop who was sent to prison for killing his partner. Cleve is released from jail to help track down a superhuman killer.

Like The Monolith, Bloodhound takes place in the DCU (characters use LexCorp computer systems and Cleve is going to meet Firestorm soon), but it isn’t linked to any old property. Plus, it’s not a superhero comic, even tangentially. This is more of an action drama about a good cop gone bad trying to atone for his sins. It just happens to take place in a superhero world. Fans of Powers and Alias might find something to their liking if they give this one a try.

DC has had better luck, of course, with its Vertigo line. Quriky books like Preacher and Transmetropolitan were allowed to flourish, grow and tell the course of their stories, a trend that continues today with incredible titles like Fables and Y: The Last Man. Even books with tangential links to the Vertigo corner of the DC Universe, like The Witching, are given room to grow. [2011 Update: The cancellation of The Witching was announced shortly after this column was written.]

Over at Devil’s Due comics, the company best known for breathing new life into the 80s nostalgia genre with G.I. Joe and Voltron, they’ve got a few original projects of their own as well. Misplaced, a sci-fi romp, has been around for a while, and last week they launched their new superhero line, Aftermath. (There is a rule in comics that every company has to attempt its own superhero line within the first five years. This is why CrossGen heroically folded after four.)

Now the comic book industry needed another superhero line as badly as I need another Double Quarter Pounder With Cheese, but if they’re going to do one anyway, they got off to a pretty good start. Chuck Dixon (an old favorite writer of mine) kicked things off with Breakdown, an examination of a superhero whose life is falling apart.

Jeff Carey, a.k.a. Paragon, was one of those bright, shining superheroes that beat up on the bad guys and was a media darling, before his high profile and public identity exacted a terrible price on his wife and son. Shattered, he pieces himself back together. Although the first issue doesn’t explicitly say so, one gets the impression that this title will be Jeff’s quest for revenge. Not the happy-go-lucky superhero he once was, is he? In truth, the premise sounds an awful lot like The Punisher, only with superpowers, but the difference here is that Jeff was once a good, decent, likeable man, whereas Frank Castle was pretty much always a sociopath.

So what about Marvel? They’ve got young titles, right? They must have some new properties in there. Let’s see, what’s been around less than a year or two? Excalibur, She-Hulk, Astonishing X-Men, Ultimate Fantastic Four, New X-Men: Academy X, Gambit, X-Men Unlimited, Marvel Age Spider-Man, X-Men Go Hawaiian… ooh, here it is! Runaways.

Here’s a product with no overt ties to any preexisting Marvel property — a bunch of teenagers who find out their parents are supervillains and go on the run. A simple concept, one well-loved, well-executed and well on its way to being cancelled.

Or is it?

In an uncharacteristic show of good sense, Marvel is giving this struggling remnant of the Tsunami line another chance as a “Season Two,” the same trick Wildstorm is playing with Sleeper. Now if only someone could persuade them to do a Sentinel Season Two (it’s loosely connected to the X-Men corner of the Marvel Universe, but it’s really a strong standalone comic), I would start giving Marvel a lot more credit for creativity.

I know we’re reluctant to drop money on an untested property. There are a lot of comics, after all. But next time you’re at the comic shop, look over your pull folder and see what you’ve got in there. Look at those 17 X-Men comics, nine of which suck. Then look at some of these new titles you’ve never tried, never heard of and don’t have an opinion about… yet.

And give something new a try.

FAVORITE OF THE WEEK: October 27, 2004

Solo #1 actually kind of fits into the discussion of new titles, which is what got me thinking along those lines in the first place. While it’s not exactly a new property, it is a new concept, an anthology title that DC Comics deserves a lot of credit for giving a chance. Each issue of this comic will feature a single artist given free reign to tell stories, alone or with writers, with established characters or with worlds of their own. Tim Sale took the challenge first, giving us really good takes on Catwoman, Batman, Supergirl and Superman, along with a few other stories, helped out by the likes of Jeph Loeb, Diana Schutz and Brian Azzarello. The quality of each issue of this title will no doubt depend on how good each featured artist is, but this opening installment was flat-out excellent. Fans of Batman: The Long Halloween and Superman For All Seasons should definitely give this book a shot.

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 BlakeMPetit@gmail.com and visit him on the web at Evertime Realms. Read past columns at the Everything But Imaginary Archive Page, and check out his new experiment in serial fiction at Tales of the Curtain.

23
Jan
11

2 in 1 Showcase Episode 206: Onscreen Geeks

Blake and Erin get together this week to talk up the recent announcements for comic movie and TV projects! Casting for The Dark Knight Rises, new life for the Wonder Woman TV show, images from the sets of X-Men: First Class, Captain America and the Spider-Man reboot, and more! In the picks, Blake loves the new IDW Doctor Who #1, and five years later Erin has made peace with Stephen King‘s The Dark Tower. Contact us with comments, suggestions, or anything else at Showcase@CXPulp.com!

Music provided by Music Alley from Mevio.

Episode 206: Onscreen Geeks

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