What Watchmen didn’t teach us

If you’ll indulge me for a minute, boys n’ girls – well, a bit more than a minute; let’s be honest here – I’d like to indulge in a little editorializing.SCAN0022

Recently, I reread Watchmen. I do that every once in a while. I first purchased my copy back in high school. Since then, I probably read the thing… well, about once every year to two years. Not much different from most people, I’d guess.

But this time around, it sparked some thoughts.

I’m sure I don’t need to tell any of you what Watchmen is – if you haven’t read it, you’ve heard of it. It was one of the game-changers, the ones that showed us what the medium is truly capable of. Of course, one could argue that such indications were always there if one cared to take a look, but Watchmen was one of the first that you could shove a copy into someone’s hands and say ‘you want to know what comics are all about? Read this, baby.’

And then there’s the spin-offs. Recently, of course, there’s been the various Before Watchmen minis (which, although certainly unnecessary, are far from the blasphemous undertakings that some fans paint them as), but I’m not talking literal spin-offs here. I’m talking about the influence of the book.

What has it influenced? What hasn’t it influenced? Rare is the wannabe writer who reads it and doesn’t, on some level, go ‘whoa – I wanna write something like that!’

And many have tried. And some have come close.

And many, many others have failed, and that’s what I’m here to talk about today. Continue reading

WEGAF Reviews: Nightmare and Sleepy

And here at last is the next episode – late again, but nowhere near as late, so that’s something, anyway.

At last, a Halloween episode – in summer! How do I get away with this? Watch and learn!

You will also learn how to properly construct a fiendish criminal plot, why avians and love should not be connected, the sheer terror of certain articles of clothing, and the precise location of… ah, but that would be telling.

Next video should be up in August – ideally August 1st, but that’s being optimistic. Still, August is the show’s one-year anniversary, so you can be sure I’ll put up SOMETHING interesting. In the meantime, expect some reviews and articles to fill in the gap.

WEGAF Reviews: Case of the Crumpling Skyscrapers

It’s here! It’s here! Finally! At last! Here and (sort of) on time! Ladies and gentlebeings, I present the next episode of WEGAF Reviews!

And what wonders there are to behold! Superheroes! Detective work! Pigeons! View and enjoy!

Apologies for the sudden drop in video quality in certain parts, but it couldn’t be helped; I’m still feeling this new computer out, and a few hiccups were encountered. As a whole, it turned out all right, I think.

Incidentally, here’s something I probably should have posted a long time ago – the link to my YouTube channel:

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCeezda04oUpl1JG-4Y7LayA/videos

There you’ll find all the videos I’ve posted here, plus a couple of others I haven’t. Also, if you’ve enjoyed my work so far, you’ll have the opportunity to subscribe so you won’t miss any future installments, and hey, maybe you could drop a ‘like’ or two while you’re there. No pressure, but every little bit helps.

If Fox is going in this direction anyway…

If you are a normal mortal, and not possessed of the ability to read minds (specifically, my mind), you will likely have not the slightest clue what the above means. So let me clue you in.Amazing-Spider-Man-2-Gustav-Fiers-Easter-Egg

You may be aware of the somewhat mixed reception that the recent Spider-Man films have been getting. The first got a tentative ‘good but not great’ thumbs up from most, the second has provoked reactions from ‘well, I liked this part, but the rest was…’ to ‘SUCKS SUCKS SUCKS SUCKS SUCKS!’ I’m a little ambivalent about them myself, but there is one thing that has piqued my interest, and that few people seem to have noticed (or, if they have, do not seem to appreciate the impact of).

In both movies, a mysterious man has made an appearance, a man who sticks to the shadows and appears to be either working for or acquainted with both of the films’ major villains. In the second, he is identified in the credits as “Gustav Fiers (the Gentleman)”.

As per usual, a good chunk of the Internet immediately jumped to a variety of wrong conclusions based on misinterpretations of the man’s name (‘He’s Daredevil villain Mr. Fear!’ is onegentlemn1 I’ve come across) or simple ignorance of who the heck this guy is. I’ll tell you who he is. Gustav Fiers, AKA The Gentleman, is the main villain in Adam-Troy Castro’s trilogy of ‘Sinister Six’ novels – he is the one who brings the titular group together again, essentially hiring them to carry out his sinister plans. Since the second movie seems to be intimating that at least some of the signature Six members (Dr. Octopus, for one) may well make appearances – also, there is apparently a Sinister Six film in the works, although it remains to be seen how that will pan out – it seems to be a fair bet that he will do something similar in future films.

I’m not going to play the speculation game here, though. Either he’ll bring the Six together or he won’t – we’ll just have to wait and see. However, Fiers’ appearance is significant in and of itself in a whole other way – to the best of my knowledge, it is the first time any superhero novel has been adapted in any way, whether fully or partially, to film.

This could have far-reaching implications. While they’ve never gotten the press that other spin-offs have, superhero literature has been around for a while, and has just as much potential for epic awesomeness as its comic book counterparts. Marvel did a lot of ‘em – there were quite a few X-Men and Spider-Man entries, an Iron Man or two, at least one Hulk novel, plus Daredevil, Captain America, the Silver Surfer, the Fantastic Four, and probably others I’m not aware of. It wasn’t just Marvel, either – DC’s Further Adventures of Batman/the Joker short story collections are excellent stuff (some of these count among my favorite Batman stories ever, in or out of comics), and both Superman and Wonder Woman got similar treatments – and perhaps others as well; I’m not sure.

For the moment, though, let’s concentrate on 20th Century Fox. They own the Spider-Man and X-Men flicks, and they’re the ones who have introduced Fiers – and, as such, are the only ones who seem to be aware of this particular untapped well. So, if Fox is going in this direction anyway (aha! The title!), what else could they do with the literary material available to them? What other books might they turn to for inspiration – and, possibly, outright adaptation?

Well, I do have a few suggestions… Continue reading

10 Batman Animated Series villains that need to be in comics

Well, folks, I finally did it. After years of picking up scraps here and there through cultural osmosis, I have finally managed to catch up on Batman: the Animated Series. Yes sir, all four24-1 seasons and 114 episodes, counting the five crossovers with Superman: the Animated Series, which I have also seen – and it was good, too!

Most of you are probably already well familiar with B:tAS, given that it’s one of the most talked-about and beloved nerd series of all time. It’s not just a great cartoon, it’s also one of the most influential spin-offs of all time, with any number of original characters and character interpretations making their way back into the comics. Harley Quinn, the new version of Mr. Freeze, Lock-Up, Roxy Rocket, Renee Montoya – there’s lots of ‘em.

What struck me, though, was not how many characters had made it out, but how many hadn’t. To the series’ credit, it never leaned too heavily on Batman’s already-established rogues gallery, instead coming up with brand new (or functionally new, as with Freeze) antagonists whenever it seemed appropriate – and you know what? Most of them are really good. Sure, a number did make it back to comics, but there’s also a surprisingly long list of foes that haven’t, and in my opinion really should have by now, because they’re cool.

So why waste time talking about them, let’s shoot out our Bat-Ropes and soar into the night. Ladies and gentlemen, my Top Ten B:tAS Villains That Should Make It Into Comics! Continue reading