Tuesday, January 25, 2011

If You Ask Me #1 by Len Nard

If You Ask Me…
By Len Nard
I love superhero films, but let’s have a moratorium on the Origin film. Filmmakers are under the misconception that audiences can’t emphasize with a comicbook character unless they know how said character came to be. If that is the case, then how come Blade and the first X-men movie were so successful at being entertaining without starting from the absolute beginning? Also, if non-comicbook properties have no problem with introducing their characters without the obligatory origin film, than why do filmmakers feel compelled to do so with comicbook characters? Would Raiders of the Lost Ark have been more entertaining if there was a sequence where Indiana Jones attends college?

That’s not to say that origin movies have no place. The upcoming Captain America and Green Lantern movies retell the humble beginnings of these two lesser known superheroes. But Spider-Man? His origin is almost as well known as Jesus’. Do movie goers really need to be reminded of how he came to be, when they were originally introduced as recently as 2002? I could understand that Sony wanted to shake up the formula a little and add some new blood to the franchise, but why did they have to do a reboot and subject us to Spidey’s origin, yet again. Couldn’t Sony have simply replaced the actors, director, and just carried on the same continuity? I think Sony should handle the Spider-Man franchise in a fashion that recalls MGM’s strategy with the 007 series. New Bond, new director = business as usual. In other words, you shouldn’t feel compelled to reinvent the wheel just for the sake of reinvention.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Top 8 Batman Creative Teams

Batman has been a part of my world for quite some time. He's had plenty of changes with creative teams over his 70 plus years of publication. I got to thinking just yesterday who (in my mind) gave us the best Batman stories. Compiled here, as I see it, the eight best creative teams from the Batman title that you need to read.

Denny O'Neil & Neal Adams


These two gave us a return to the grim Dark Knight. This Batman haunted killers with a vengeance in stories like "A Vow From The Grave" and tried to right moral wrongs in "Night Of The Reaper". But the seller here is Neal Adams' realistic take on Batman. This Batman wasn't barrel chested. He had the look of a guy who really worked out to be at the peak of physical perfection. Plus they get extra points for giving us one of comics best villians, Ra's Al Ghul.

Chuck Dixon & Tom Lyle

Chuck Dixion and Tom Lyle were given the task of making Robin cool again. They did this with the Robin Mini-Series and follow up Robin II: Jokers Wild. Chuck and Tom really gave Tim Drake a voice that I could relate to. He was a young man trying to really figure out where he belonged in the rough and tumble world of the Batman. The Robin Mini's were good but then for three issues they spilled over in the main Batman title. As a kid I read and re-read these issues until they fell apart. You had a young street gang along with King Snake hell bent on killing Robin. Batman's feeling on wanting to protect Tim, in the way here was never able to protect Jason Todd. In the end, those three issues had a daylight shoot-out, Batman using real detective skills and a knockdown, drag-out fight between Batman and King Snake.

Ed Brubaker & Scott McDaniel

I picked up a copy of Ed Brubaker and Scott McDaniel's Batman run
by pure luck. This was just an amazing run. It had little bit of everything, you had supervillians, which was cool, but every now and then Brubaker would sneak a really cool story in with mobsters. I'm pretty sure that Brubaker gave us a post-zero hour Lew Moxon and Bruce's, on again off again, feelings for his daughter. Another plus is that Scott McDaniel's art is just to die for. His Batman had an animated feel to it, but didn't feel to cartoony. I remember being a kid and just going over his pages with a fine tooth comb.
Truly a match made in heaven, this team.

Frank Miller & David Mazzucchelli

If you've only read one Batman comic, let it be this one. Frank Miller and
David Mazzucchelli craft one hell of an origin story. Sure it's got the Frank
Miller the-hero-doesn't-wear-the-costume-until-later-on-in-the-book vibe to it.
If you ever wondered why a guy would dress up as a bat and wage a one
man war on crime you need to look no further. David Mazzucchelli is no
slouch in the art department. Mazzucchelli's Batman has a sleek look to it.
Also Mazzucchelli gives up a glimpes into what Gotham city would look
like if it were real, and boy is it some scary shit.

Alan Grant & Norm Breyfogle

This is a team that can kinda be overlooked. When I was collecting back
issues of Batman I would always keep and eye out for a cover that was
by Norm Breyfogle. With Breyfogle I got this feeling that you didn't see
a guy in a bat outfit. What really threw you off is that all you really saw was
a shape. Just check out how Bat's cape wrapped around him in the Grant-Breyfogle run. Not to forget Alan Grant. His stories have so much depth to them. I got all choked up when Tim Drake's mom was killed by The Obeah Man and jumped for joy when Tim disobeyed Bruce and saved him from the Scarecrow.

Doug Moench & "Lil" Kelley Jones & "Big" John Beatty

After Bruce Wayne came back after some back pains (see:Knighfall)
The powers that be at DC (hey, that rhymed) handed over the reigns of
one of their flagship books to this creative team and man was it worth my
$1.25 every month. These issues by master storyteller Doug Moench provides us with some the best and most thought provoking Batman stories in almost a generation. Everything you would want in a Batman comic can be found in this run from a crazy CIA sleeper agent to a man whose body was connected to link up to a giant ape that he would call brother. Now I know that sounds kinda goofy but Moench has a certain flair for telling offbeat tales. This Batman kept to street level crime and only once in a blue did he tangle with is Rouges Gallery. But when he did it it made the issue that they showed up in all the more feel like a big event. Kelley Jones and John Beatty draw one pretty insane Batman. I mean look at him, the guy has muscles upon muscles. But if you like your Batman to look demonic, this is the run for you.

Bill Finger and Bob Kane

I'd be a little remiss if I didn't give a shout out to the team that started it all.
They gave us The Batman, Robin, The Joker, Two-Face. I mean without these guys (major ups to Bill Finger) I would not be writing this list at all. They laid the foundation for all other Batman stories to be told. By the way, for a real classic check out the "Case of the Chemical Syndicate".


Doug Moench & Jim Aparo

The best Batman artist ever is Jim Aparo. If Bats were a real guy, he would look as if he were drawn by this Art God among men. Aparo was a true great in the industry and got very little credit for his work on the Batman Title. Teaming Moench and Aparo was a stroke of pure genius. These two masters produced stories like "The Box Of Blood" and a story that had the Headhunter in it. When I read these comics, I didn't feel like that's what I was doing. It felt like I was watching some super-awesome action movie that just happened to have Batman in it. It was also during this time that Bruce was dealing with his mental fatigue. Which leads to Bane to break his back. If you don't own this run I will glady mail you my copies for you to read. Just so long as you mail them back.

Tash Moore

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Spidey And Me


I've been reading Spider-Man comics for as long as I can remember. Just about anything that had Spidey on it as a kid I had to have. But long before I ever picked up a comic book I got my first taste of Spider-Man from the Fox kids 1990's animated TV show. Now, some of the other fanboys hate on this show. Just because, y'know, Peter didn't really get to punch anyone, wasn't allowed to harm any pigeons when he landed on a rooftop, or some silly shit like that. I watched all five seasons of the show about a month ago and it still holds up to what I had stored in my head as a little kid. For a twenty three minute show it had tons of action. The pace of the show was quick but never once did it feel rushed. Long before Brian Bendis brought Peter Parker into the 21st century with Ultimate Spider-Man, the tv was the first to update his origin. Gone was the 1960's radioactive spider and in came Neogenics. Neogenic had a big hand in creating Spidey's rogues. Hell, even Morbius the Living Vampire was created using
the DNA of a Vampire Bat and Peter's own Neogenic spliced blood. And the show had tons of guest stars. It was like a who's who of the Marvel U.: Captain America, Blade, Black Cat, The X-Men, Venom, Iron Man, War Machine, Dr. Strange. We even got good Ol' Ben Riley, but that's another post for another time. This show is fast paced and really lots of fun, so if you ever get the chance to buy or
download it, do it. Trust me you will not regret it.
Tash Moore

(Tash is a HUGE Spider-Man fan and still thinks Ben Riley is alive)