Saturday, March 20, 2010

Guy Test (NSFW Vid.)

I ran a brief search for Vampirella and found...this. I wasn't surprised, as she's known for having women do cosplay with her costume (...and people whine about Kara Zor-L's outfit...), but seeing it was a two minute video kinda made me wonder if there might be a story involved.


After sitting through the full video, I realized I was more of a Stupid Guy than I care to admit. Coming to THAT fact made me realize the video could serve as a Guy Test for all of us. (No, very little changes in the whole two minutes.)


Voluptuous Vampirella - Watch more Funny Videos

So, here's the test:

< 10 seconds: There's three possible answers for this: You're very much in love right now and no other girl can compare, you're very, very married, or lastly, you're gay and haven't come to terms with it. Not to be hetero about this...but if that girl couldn't keep your attention for at LEAST ten seconds...wow. There's nothing wrong with being gay, though--be proud of who you are!

10-30 seconds: Minimum Guy Level. Means you can probably tell when women are lying to you about how handsome you are, and when guys tell you how "cool" you are.

30 seconds to a minute: Above-Average Guy Level. Occasionally you actually fall for the bullshit people feed your ego, men and women alike. That or you REALLY appreciate an attractive body.

1-2 minutes (full length): Congratulations. You've aced (or failed, depending on how you wanted to score) the Guy Test. You're probably overconfident, get into stupid pissing contests, and are an unabashed fan of Baywatch. (You don't even bother telling people its "because of the great writing".)

I don't watch Baywatch, but if I DID I would admit its because I enjoy the bouncing. So yeah, I'm depressed, but I'm apparently a Full on guy. Great. Crack open some Bud Light and let's drive down to Hooters. *sighs*

(Incidentally, I'd love it if a girl could come up with a counter test for this based on how long they watched.)

Vampirella. Great Costume, or GREATEST Costume.

Spring Break's winding down. Gah. Sucks too. I've barely gotten any of the things I wanted to do done. And while that isn't wholly my fault, the fact remains I have...really, tonight and the weekend left. Ah well.


The point of this was to bring up the fact that Dynamite acquired the character Vampirella. This is interesting for two reasons:

1.) Vampirella's a great character, and one of the first of her kind. Battling supernatural enemies to save humans. Plus her outfit rocks (though if they changed it I wouldn't complain--you don't need a bikini to be hot).



2.) The rights have gone to Dynamite, probably the biggest indy company out right now. Thus far I have enjoyed from them Alex Ross's Project Superpowers, and they possess a great track record for their licensed properties.

They have a tendency to nab star creators for "from the ground, up" creations of the character's mythologies, and I love that. Plus if any character needs that, its Vampirella. Does anyone know her original origin? What about its current state? How many does she have? See, they'll have to shed all that stuff when they start over. They own the character, and no doubt reprinting rights, but they'll probably stay away from old stories and build something different for their own brand.

What this means is they'll be using Vampirella's core elements to create something new to tell stories in. The direction they will take from here on
remains to be seen, but Dynamite has shown before they are not afraid to do multiple takes with more than one creator, if they all have pitches deemed strong enough.

I have a personal checklist I'm going by to determine whether I'll be following minis/ongoings for this character, so my excitement has a limiter placed on it until I learn more, but for now? Great work, Dynamite.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Toonami: All Engines Are Go.

A random Twitter post earlier today sent me down memory lane. It was a meaningless post, just linking to another YouTube video but damn...the brief trip sure was nice.


I know kids today see their favorite shows whenever they want--what with reruns, clips on stream sites, and even downloads if you know where to look...

But I still feel like, they're missing something. There are great cartoons made these days, but I don't know.

The original Toonami (1997-2003) was literally one of the most innovative blocks on television, and THE most innovative with regards to animation programming. They continuously pushed the boundaries and gave both adults and children a variety of shows so that there was something for everyone.

There's no denying that animation has come a long way since Moltar first sent out the Toonami probe to Earth, and yet I still pity the younger generation. They missed out on an animation renaissance.

You could call it hyperbole. There are a lot of people who don't understand why Toonami was such a big deal. Wrapping their heads around how Gundam Wing is the signature anime series for an entire generation of fans seems impossible. They've seen better anime, they've even seen superior stuff from America. Let me help you out.

For just a moment, I want you to think back to your earliest years as an animation fan. There is no such thing as Justice League Unlimited or Avatar: The Last Airbender. You saw Batman: The Animated Series a few times but you were far too young to appreciate it, and now its just another show with a huge cult following no one can find on television.

The absolute "best" cartoons you've ever seen involve Thundercats, Robotech, and Dragon Ball Z. The only giant robots you've EVER seen are the Transformers, and those motherfucking Power Ranger robots. Think all the way back to then. Are you there? Its...March of 2000. You're about 11-13. On Spring Break. Its a Monday evening and you're settling in to watch Goku fight Frieza when you see this:



If you're too jaded to have taken the path down memory lane, in which case the promo did all the work, let me explain what was so special about that promo:

- First off, that deep voice does the best promo hype ever.

- Second, if you took it for granted, what you don't realize is that for the last ten years, every mecha series we've ever seen has come from 10-25 years ago. The Transformers, Voltron (Go Lion), Robotech (SDF-Macross), these are all 80's series. The latest series you've seen is Transformers, and THAT'S from 1986. So all of a sudden, you've just been kicked forward 10 years into the future of mecha designs, and its a radical shift. You've gone from this:



To this:



And the difference is huge.

- Toonami was always about showing us some of the most beautiful cartoons ever created, but this was on another level. I always call Gundam Wing my first anime because Dragon Ball Z at this point had become so Americanized (this is a neutral term for me) that it never really felt like I was being exposed to another culture.

- Lastly, from the promo alone, you can tell there's a story unlike any you've ever seen before. If you've been following Toonami to this point, you're used to mummies and aliens with galactic empires being your villains. Here, the villains are very, very human. There's deceit, there's betrayal, there's war. Real war, and rebellion too. A new standard of storytelling is being set here.

That's what Gundam Wing did. That's what Toonami did. It made you realize you could still enjoy cartoons after growing up, because cartoons could still offer the same incredible storytelling live-action could. (And for some of us, in many cases, better.)

The people behind Toonami did an excellent job crafting their own bumps, too, making it more than just a block that aired action cartoons. It felt more like a club you were invited to every day after school:



That "after school" part is important. Even though its aired weekly even in its home nation, anime works best when you watch it daily (or multiple episodes at once, if possible). The original Toonami gave us a fresh dose of new cartoons every day from 3-5, giving kids something to look forward to every day after class. That's important, and it means a lot more than stripping a series down so that new episodes are shown for a longer period of time. (Does to a kid, anyway.) Toonami knew it had a problem with reruns, that's why they made this:



No matter who tries to tell me otherwise, the reruns were never a huge deal for "daily Toonami". The Namek Saga HAD to go through repeat at LEAST five times (not counting the two or three times they started from numero uno) before we ever met Trunks, and DBZ was still a huge cash cow. The key lied in their licensing of finished anime, so rather than re-airing parts in a series while waiting for new episodes, they could simply re-air the whole thing.

In any case...take a moment to go down memory lane with a few more bumps. At least one of these will give you a nostalgia smack.


















I don't mean to sound all, "my cartoons are cooler than your cartoons"...but, they totally are. :D At least, the block that showed them was. They don't even HAVE blocks anymore--something that fills you with happiness from the opening bump all the way until the sign off clip, where you feel a slight pang of sadness that its done. But with that pang of sadness...a spark of hope, knowing that tomorrow your friends will all be back again. Do people get where I'm coming from here, or am I just rambling?

I don't know, but one thing I know for certain...my next girlfriend needs to be a Toonami fangirl. XD (I couldn't help it after that harem clip!)



Thursday, March 18, 2010

College Life Part Two

Melodramatic "my path" stories aside, what's college life like? Good question.

I'm still not sure what to make of it myself. I'm doing the basic college stuff at the moment--Composition I, College Algebra, General Psychology, Modern Western World.

Its off-putting. The first day I was wandering around, not really sure where anything was, and I make it up to my classroom which I'm expeecting to be a giant auditorium...


...and its just me and 15-20 other people. Its like being a Senior in High School again. But then I leave there to get to College Algebra and there's that giant freaking auditorium room I was expecting.

Its interesting to be in a class room in which one could theoretically get NO face time with the teachers. Especially when you're like me, and sit in the back all the time.

I have two classes that are like that, although one (Psychology) encourages participation. Still, mostly these classes feel exactly like high school...

Until your teacher just lets fly a "I don't give a fuck about that" and then you remember, "Oh that's right. This is supposed to be a classroom of adults."

The biggest change I'm having to get used to from high school to college is that...everyone always wants to know what you think. High school was always a sort of, "Shut up and listen" kind of deal. Here the teachers push you to critically think and apply what they're teaching to your own life or to situations around you so that you actually get it.

For that reason, I have become more than a name on the roll sheet, since if you can't tell, when you ask me to share what I think...that's pretty much what you're going to get. (But I try to phrase my answer in the form of a joke, since my life is Comedy Jeopardy.)

Other things I'm trying to get the hang of:

- In a given day, I may run into one or two people I share more than one class with. Otherwise, they're all just random people who I'll see in this class but likely never again. (At least until I start taking classes for a major.)

- Teachers letting out early. "That's all I have to teach for today. You can go." ...Word? Like, as in LEAVE the class? The first time that happened, amusingly enough, was the first class on my first day. The class is only 50 minutes long...and I get to leave 10 minutes early? I didn't even ask questions--I thought she might change her mind.

- Having a Monday/Wednesday/Friday class...that only meets on Monday and Wednesday. One of the first things my College Algebra teacher mentioned was how she only taught on Mondays and Wednesdays and how on Fridays we not only did not have to show up...she wasn't even going to be there. I guess the intention was to get us into the Math Lab for homework/quizzes...but I do those early so for me its a free hour.

- So much free time. I attend school from 9-1, Mondays and Wednesdays, 9-12 every other day. The rest of the day is mine after homework. Its like, I'm actually able to do things now. (But I've gotten so used to NOT doing things that I rarely get anything done outside of HW.)

- People riding by on bikes on the way to class. Getting to each class CAN be a chore, but these bikes still throw me off. I'm actually sort of tired of them riding over the grass, leaving tire tracks like its BMX bike racing. Whenever I see dudes on bikes, I just feel like running at them and throwing my arm out at the last second to clothesline them right off it.

- You CAN get sick of Chick-Fil-A. I was previously not aware of this, but when you spend all day on campus and breakfast AND lunch consists of chicken...it gets kinda old. Thank God for Sbarro's.

- Finding a ride is a bitch. Its easy to learn to drive. Not so easy to get a car. So getting to and from school is a bit of a pain, but--whatever it takes, you know?

There's some other stuff in there somewhere, but I can't think of it this second. One thing I just remembered is that, apparently...you...don't need books. I spent $300+ on my books, and about half of them I've never even used. I can't describe how annoying that is, but, we all have to learn somehow.

I'm also somewhat irritated by the lack of hot college girls in my classes, but there's really not much I can do to fix that except enjoy the view on the way to my classes. *coughs, looks around*

Anyhow, that's my two for the day. I'm out. *Bunny Vanish*

Game Thoughts: Final Fantasy XIII

One of the many things I've been working on during my Spring Break is the recently released video game, Final Fantasy XIII. For a number of reasons (chief of which, pre-occupation with other stuff), I am only eight hours into this game and perhaps a third of the way into Chapter 4.

Its been...several years since I've played a video game, so I'm a bit rusty. Don't misunderstand--over the last few years I have played (and beaten) a number of video games, but they were ROMs emulated on my PC, and I haven't played a next-gen RPG (anything past PSOne) in years. This is my first PS3 RPG ever, honestly. So hopefully you'll understand if, maybe there's some new rules to my favorite genre I don't get.


Final Fantasy starts with an introduction that really should grip most people from the start. Last I checked, RPGs were about saving the world, and that always begins on a smaller scale (to see if you can handle it)--so when your story starts out with a bunch of terrified people on a train and a squad of what appears to be an oppressive military force taking them somewhere against your will, your hero instincts (you ARE playing a hero) should take over and you should want to DO something. (If you don't, why are you playing an RPG?)

Fortunately, unlike a lot of RPGs, your main character isn't a complete weakling, and kick-starts everything herself. In a beautifully animated sequence, she takes out all the military (you eventually find out they're a group called PSICOM) with the smallest bit of help from a gun user named Sazh. Of course, I've never seen an operation that goes perfect for heroes, so its about this time that someone blows up the rail for the train, knocking everything off-course, and we're left with our heroes--Lightning and Sazh--trying to escape from the military after helping the others on the train get away.

I can't make a complete judgment as of yet, being so early into the game, but what I HAVE noticed is quite the amusing irony: Despite Final Fantasy XIII apparently being the most linear game ever created (that IS what people keep complaining about, at least), the story is told in a completely unlinear fashion, jumping around to various points in the characters' pasts to explain just how each of them end up in their current situation. I guess it could be hard to understand...but only if you're a complete fucking idiot. (That having been said, they rely on the game's Datalog a bit too much. I didn't know who NORA was supposed to be until I looked it up. I thought they were a resistance group but they turned out to be a peacekeeping militia force until the purge.) There's a lot of discussion of Pulse, Cocoon, L'Cie, Fal'sie, Cie'th, Focus, and so on... And at first you have no idea what it means, but that changes somewhere around the first hour of gameplay. By the end of Chapter 2 if you don't completely get what's happened to that point you shouldn't even be playing this game. You should be somewhere coloring. (Hoping your next drawing will make it on the refrigerator. But it won't, because elephants aren't orange you idiot. © Daniel Tosh) To be honest, by the start of Chapter Four I was quite tired of them explaining everything to me in an expositionary fashion.

Speaking of which, I have to say Final Fantasy XIII has devised the most clever alternate method of getting their heroes to save the world I have seen in some time. Final Fantasy Thirteen's world is split into two sections: Cocoon, which is where normal society lives--literally a cocoon in which people have crafted a world, and Pulse, a world outside of Cocoon, frequently described as a horrible place in which humans couldn't survive two minutes. Their society is protected by the Cocoon's Fal'cie, a magical being of great power. But there's also the Pulse Fal'cie, seen as enemies of Cocoon, made ever more deadly by the fact that Fal'cie can, at any time, turn humans into L'cie, cursed humans that are forced to fulfill a Focus--a goal--given to them by the Fal'cie. If they cannot fulfill the Focus, then they are turned into Cie'th, monsters beyond becoming human ever again.

....So, yeah, you guessed it, your characters become L'Cie. Because of the enmity between Pulse and Cocoon though, L'Cie are thought to be enemies of Cocoon, who exist only to destroy the peaceful society that exists in Cocoon. The starting events of the game come from a Pulse Fal'cie being discovered in a city inside Cocoon, and the panic that occurs just from the POSSIBILITY the people in the town may be infected leads to the military first sealing off the town, then rounding up everyone in it and "purging" them from Cocoon and taking them to Pulse. (Should you check the datalog, you'll discover that Pulse looks...suspiciously like Earth, by the way.)

So two chapters in, you've become a L'Cie, which comes with the ability to use magic, and assigned the goal to save Cocoon (who all hate you). If you do not...well...in Chapter Two you get to SEE the failures before you even become a L'Cie. So what awaits you is obvious. Great motivation, really.

The battle system, initially pissed me off. With only a limited number of options, I found myself just pressing X a lot for Auto-Battle. (Before you complain, this was the natural progression of the Gambit System, which many people either loved or rationalized into a good idea, which it was.) Once you develop magical abilities though, battle difficulty changes and you find yourself glad that you are not able to control your other characters (the AI's smart enough anyway). My only complaint is that we aren't allowed to move around. While this rarely helped me dodge in 12, the illusion was nice.

I would comment on the graphics, but, c'mon. Its a Final Fantasy. You know its beautiful. Square is always pushing the boundaries of what can be done with a given system graphically.

This is running a little long, so I'll wrap it up by saying thus far, this is a great game, if not a perfect one. Even the characters are cool, aside from Hope. (Whiny brat.) Lightning's an example of altering a trope by changing one aspect (she's female) but she's still...interesting, if a bit too enigmatic, Sazh is comedy relief without being stupid, Snow's the idealistic hero without being a 15 year old teenage boy who knows jack-squat about the world, and Vanille's...I don't know WTF is up with Vanille, to be honest. Though I can't shake the feeling she's a girl from Pulse.

In any case, despite being a decent game, I'm sure plenty of people will find a reason to hate it. They always do. Final Fantasy's been a polarizing franchise since VIII. There are STILL people saying the last good game for the franchise was six, and yet with each new iteration they complain as if its a new disappointment. Others simply look for reasons to hate FF games, so any bad review will instantly result in an, "I KNEW I was right!", despite never having spent even a few minutes playing the game. Can't help the stupid, I guess.

Anyway its day...six of my Spring Break and I'm kinda slacking on getting stuff done. *Ninja Vanish*

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

College Life Part One

It seems odd that I've been in college for two and a half months and really haven't talked about it. (Yet, simultaneously, there's a post coming up about my attempts to catch up on comics.)

That's really because I'm not quite sure what to say, but this is what separates real writers from would-bes, so let's see what I got:


It feels nice. I never thought I'd say this, but I'm happy to be back in school. Sure, there are lots of assignments I don't really care about. But you know what? Its really great, just to feel like I have a purpose, again.

Let me back up. In April or so, 2006...my Spanish teacher asked me where I was going after I graduated. My answer, as it had been since 2005, was, simply: "I'm taking a year off."

I am rather certain she was not expecting that. After all, I was doing excellent in her class and seemed to be a rather studious, intelligent person that had his entire life planned out. But that's not true. That's...really, never been true. I have flirted with the idea of various professions, but they are all (as any good profession) labor-intensive, and that burning passion that causes one to put in countless hour after hour...simply was not there. For any of them.

My teacher laughed at me. She told me I should go to college, but eventually mentioned that there were benefits, for those who actually went back to school after taking time off. She said they tended to work harder, be more serious about their studies. "Naturally," I thought to myself. Upon seeing how difficult the real world is, especially without a college education, when you are given the chance to get back in school you double your efforts so you don't fail.

But my life has never been particularly easy. I've been blessed, certainly, but as a child I was definitely short on silver spoons to nurse on. I thought to myself, "I know how hard the real world is. I waste time like that--I'll take this year off, figure everything out, and be back in before people even miss me."

In all fairness, initially that WAS the case. Rather than wait a full year, by December of 2006 I had decided to start school. I was going to persuade my girlfriend to go with me--we would rent an apartment together and do the happy student couple thing. But, as she dealt with the loss of one parent and worried about the health of the other, she pulled out of things and eventually (for completely different reasons we won't get into here) we broke up later that year.

My own attempts to get into college failed when I couldn't find anyone with decent transportation,not just to help me get to and from school, but to even finish the registration process. My intentions of attending college in Fall 2007 were forgotten as everyone around me proved too busy to help out while the re-building of my grandparents' house was going on.

By December 2007, after two relationships that left me emotionally drained, my head was honestly anywhere but school. And my head was still not on school after getting involved in my fifth relationship. (This is the one I've mentioned most frequently on this site.) The biggest problem with this one came when, not long after we got involved, she moved to another part of the country and I was faced with the decision of starting college here or saving up to move and starting there.

In the midst of making that decision, I had...what is likely best described as a mental breakdown in October. Barely holding on to my sanity, it was only through God's help, and hour upon hour of meditation and prayer that I pulled myself together again. I thank God for bringing me back, frequently.

With all of this, undaunted, I began my second attempt at college. My girlfriend and I made plans on what we had to do for it to work, sketchy as they were, and we set to it. I was happy. Excited. I had a plan for my life and I was elated. ...But amidst all this, there was a problem.

After a year in a long-distance relationship, things grew strained between my girlfriend and I. This created a new stress--my life is here. Friends, family, home...all here. I was leaving everything to be with her, and my biggest nightmare was that after so much time apart we could not make it work and would break up. That would leave me, at best, in an apartment with an ex-girlfriend. At worst, homeless.

Eventually, after working up the courage, I approached her about it. In a twist that caught even me off-guard, she said she felt that it was, indeed, possible that could happen. I panicked. (Got hysterical, might be closer to the truth.) I want to say we argued but that would be wrong. I got upset and depressed, she apologized, and we did not speak for the next three weeks. This isn't her story though, nor is it the story of our relationship--so to make a long story short, a week after we spoke again, she and I broke up. Fortunately at this point I was so emotionally numb from a cycle of relationships that never lasted any longer than 14-16 months, when she broke up with me I only wondered what was coming on television next.

By this time it was April 2009. I tried to get things together anyway, on my own and in a different city (before I ever decided to move to where she lived, I took note of the fact that Seattle's Washington State's Computer Science major is almost built for game designers), but without an apartment and with school finances not lining up at all, eventually I let it go.

Still. I refused to spend another year out of school. It was August, but I applied to get into MSU. I had already been accepted once (just not fully registered), so that part was a breeze. In all the hustle and bustle of settling into the new apartment, I actually almost forgot that I'd applied to MSU at all.

Eventually though, the disatisfaction I had with and distaste I felt for myself was overpowering. Lying about doing absolutely nothing with my life turned my stomach. I knew I was better than this, and plan or no plan I refused to wait even a single extra day longer than I needed to.

I rushed to wrap up the last things necessary to attend and got in just under the wire. I don't have a career path yet, really. And I do not have the slightest clue how I will pay for the debt I am racking up.

But life isn't a movie. It's not a television show. We are rarely touched with divine knowledge on what to do with our lives. And whether we are or are not, life goes on. That means that more important than anything, is the desire and the drive to put one foot in front of the other, and move forward.

(I really should go on to discuss college life, but that is a great line to end on, isn't it? And this thing is long enough. A Part Two is in order.)

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Comics World Upheaval

For those that pay attention to the comics world like I do (IE, I check CBR and Newsarama and IGN Comics at LEAST daily), you should have noticed something by now:

A lot of Big Two titles are undergoing creative changes, rotating out both writers and artists, giving us a lot of fresh faces on some of our favorite titles. Let's go through some of them, shall we?


Superman



Rotating Out: James Robinson, Writer
Rotating In: J. Michael Straczynski, Writer

Personal Thoughts: To be honest, I was worried about this title anyway. James Robinson's "Atlas" arc did not wow me, and he shined best when he was doing the story around Mon-El, Superman's Daxamite "brother". With Supes returning shortly after War of the Supermen, its actually a good idea to get him off this title and perhaps on to something else. (Where's my Earth-2 Justice Society origin, Robinson??) When he did the Mon-El bit, his was one of the most compelling parts of the New Krypton saga (along with the maxi-series), so having him leave rather than risk tarnishing his run by doing more Atlas-like stuff is a good move.

JMS coming on though...I have no strong feelings toward the guy. I really enjoyed Supreme Power, but Squadron Supreme rang a bit hollow for me, and I have never read anything else of his so I am unaware if that's his normal quality level or not. What I DO know, is that he took Thor, a character who rarely anyone can make work, and shot him up to the Top 25. And if any other comic book character needs that right now, its Superman.

If he can do that, regardless of what I think of his actual writing, it'll be a huge deal for DC. He's talking about garnering national attention for the character, and my feelings on that are a combination of skepticism and "Please don't make Superman cheat on his wife/reveal he's gay/die AGAIN," since those are the only things that get comics any attention these days. But that's too far ahead for me to do serious speculation about. Right now two questions remain:

- Who's doing the art? This hasn't been announced, and its important. Ask any Thor fan and they'll tell you, having the artist JMS did was definitely part of what made the book such a success. He's going to need an equally impressive penciller if he's going to bring Superman to the same heights he took Thor too.

- Isn't he risking burn-out? JMS is obviously a professional writer, and those guys know tools to keep themselves from suffering true burn-out, but the question goes more to the fact that he's writing two Superman books now. Not two interconnecting Superman books, no--two Superman books in two different universes. I realize Superman: Earth-One will only ship once every six months or so, but that's still quite the creative gambit, I think. But time will tell if I actually know what I'm talking about or not.

Wonder Woman



Rotating Out: Gail Simone
Rotating In: JMS again

Personal Thoughts: I'm incredibly, incredibly sad to see Gail Simone leave. A (pardon the pun) wonderful writer who brought a human charm I'd not seen in Diana since her relaunch, I loved every issue of her run. And though she's got several issues to go and I'm already behind a few, already I wish she were staying. (Especially since I'd rather have Secret Six go away, really.) Still, in today's comic world 14 issues is considered a run, so to see her last from 16 to 47 is commendable.

As for JMS, well...Gail's excited. And Wonder Woman is (sort of) Thor's counterpart in DC, and we see how that worked out. Until we hear something concrete, its really too soon to comment much further than that.


Red Robin



Rotating Out: Chris Yost
Rotating In: Fabian Nicieza

Personal Thoughts: This one's interesting. I'm not sure WHAT to feel honestly, since I thought Chris Yost was really getting Tim in his more recent issues. I wasn't exactly on his side at first, but as his story developed it grew more and more obvious that Chris was really just pulling Tim Drake out of the torture porn hole DC editorial had thrown him down starting with...Gang War? Identity Crisis? Whichever came first. And once he'd done that, the Tim I'd grown to love over the first 100 issues of his original run was back.

...And of course, six issues later Yost is leaving. There's humor to be found in that.

But the guy coming in isn't a bad guy either. I liked what he did to close out the long-running Robin title, and understood that, given enough time, he could've written Tim out of that hole as well. But now that its taken care of, he can get on with writing the DC's biggest teen hero as he should be written. I hear Nicieza was made to write Robin, so I'm excited to see what he wants to do next with the character. (Getting him back in the Robin suit, or in a new costume with a new name, are both great starts.)

Power Girl

Rotating Out: Jimmy Palmiotti, Justin Gray writers
Amanda Conner artist
Rotating In: Who the hell knows

Personal Thoughts: This book's dead in the water. Despite whacking me over the head with "women are better than men" in the comic, Palmiotti and Gray did a great job with this book, and Amanda Conner is the artist who made people cared enough to want to see Kara Zor-L in her own comic to begin with.

Its at this point all the people who said "they need to serious the book up" are going to realize that isn't going to work. Shame too, both DC and Marvel need more female superhero ongoings.

Thor



Rotating Out: Technically JMS, actually Kieron Gillen, writer
Billy Tan, artist
Rotating In: Matt Fraction, writer
Pasqual Ferry, artist

Personal Thoughts: Awesome. I'm sure Kieron Gillen is a great writer and all, but I was hoping at the start Fraction would be picked to write Thor. And Pasqual Ferry's art? I'm not sure why he's got the Iron Man glow, but I like it!

Batman
Rotating Out:
Judd Winick
Rotating In: Tony Daniel, writer-artist

Personal Thoughts: Tony Daniel is an excellent artist. Great doing Titans, great here. Battle for the Cowl ticked me off 'cause no matter what anyone says I think Tim can pulp Jason, but he's been good on this title thus far.

It seems he's done a good job selling Dick Grayson to the fans, as well, which should bode well for the title. I look forward to reading future stories, as I have enjoyed the ones I've read already.

Anyway, I think that's it, but I could be wrong. I know Action Comics is swapping out Greg Rucka (fantastic writer) for Marc Guggenheim, which should be...interesting (a lot of people are still saying his run on Fastest Man Alive was the only thing approaching quality). And of course, there's the whole Avengers franchise being turned on its head, but that's really deserving of a column all its own.

In the meantime, ECCC and Mega Con are this weekend, so between bouts of Final Fantasy XIII I'll be posting about that.

Its Spring Break, so I'll be doing my best to make sure you see more updates. You should see at least two more today.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

First Thoughts Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes Promo

For the few superhero fans that have not heard, Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes is a new toon from Marvel airing this fall on Disney XD.

Here’s your trailer.


Thoughts:
Most startlingly is that, from what I've seen on various websites, it appears the series has been greenlit for 52 episodes. This is very strange—most action cartoons generally only run for fifty-two episodes, or a maximum of 65. With that, stations can run a series in syndication, have an established brand to sell toys off of, and can move on to the next big deal to sell toys for. To have 52 episodes greenlighted?

Either:
A.) Disney has so much faith in the Avengers brand that they’ve decided to throw their weight behind it and have essentially green lighted the entire series run. If this is the case, it’s a great idea as it gives the writers a chance to plan the whole thing out from start to finish and give us a full narrative rather than five rushed ones.

B.) The synergy department is paying attention. There’s an Iron Man sequel later this year, Thor’s next year. Captain America two months later, and Avengers in 2012. Knowing that, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with creating a long-running cartoon series to keep kids interested. Actually, given DCE appears to be getting WB off its butt, it would no doubt be the best bet for drawing (and keeping) attention.

C.) There’s been a shift in the way shows are being produced. Evidence leans heavily toward this. Both Iron Man AND Wolverine and the X-Men were renewed, not for the standard thirteen episodes, but for twenty-six. (Actually, Wolverine and the X-Men was created to have 26 episode seasons, but I thought that was a fluke.)

Now to see Avengers created to start at 52 episodes, it makes me wonder if they aren’t trying to stretch these things out and give us more programming over shorter periods of time. The thirteen episode formula may not be as useful as it once was—the last period of television (2000-2009) can best be described as the Marathon Decade, in which children (and adults alike) were inundated with almost endless repeats rather than given new programming.

Unfortunately, I don’t really know anyone in the “business”, so I’m unable to confirm any of these and thus they’re all guesses at the moment.

However, none of this has anything to do with the trailer. Before this becomes a typical JiH-length post, I’ll get into that real quick.

Pros:
- Love the classic line-up. Captain America, Thor, Hulk, Iron Man, Ant-Man, Wasp. Interviews from the writers talk about how they really want to adapt the classic, early Avengers stuff, and so far so good, honestly.

- That they’re going to adapt the early stuff counts as a second pro, to me. Hopefully that includes the roster changes that come with its progression--I want to see Hawkeye!

Cons:
- Tony’s helmet is, in a word, ugly. I could settle for the (http://www.ironmanarmory.com/UltraPower_Classic_Armor__2.html) early design, so long as it meant I didn’t have to deal with that helmet.
- Kang looks ridiculous. I have no idea what the original Kang the Conqueror design looks like (not offhand, that is), but they could have done better. He’s supposed to be THREATENING. This just looks like the head in a television.

No other thoughts to be had, really. I’d love to type up a long, ten paragraph spiel about how great or terrible this is, but…it’s just a one minute and forty four second clip. And fifteen seconds of THAT is devoted to the Marvel “rapid page flip” intro. Hopefully I'll have much more to say once we've seen a premiere.

WTF!? Who added the metatags?!

A search for Jumping in Headfirst somehow, takes you right to this site. How'd THAT happen? I've told perhaps seven people about this site, and MAYBE one of them checks it regularly.

Nice to be noticed, I guess.

Edit: BBCode in an HTML post. Ignore the brief author fail, if you would folks.