Skip to content

Pull Yourselves Together. Damian Wayne is not DEAD!

April 28, 2013
DamianWayneDeath

Just give him a second. He’ll be fine.

Well, maybe he’s dead in the literal sense, because he did have a sword driven through him and he did cease living due to horrific injuries, and he did die. But that is without a doubt not the end of his story.  Grant Morrison still has three more issues, and if there is one thing that is perfectly clear about his career other than that he is a pretty amazing writer, it is that he cares for his creations the same way that a parent does their children.

Through a series of precedents established in other Morrison books, I will hopefully convince you beyond a shadow of a doubt that Damian Wayne will live again before the last page is turned in Morrison’s epic Batman run.

I present my case:

AnimalMan26_01

“Are you my dad?” “Yes. Yes I am.”

Exhibit 1 – Buddy Baker’s family is brutally murdered in Animal Man #19, leaving the character depressed and shattered.  Morrison’s next few issues feature explorations of what reality actually is, in a revenge fueled trip through the limbo of forgotten characters and abandoned story-lines. Ultimately Buddy actually crosses over into our reality and meets and converses with Morrison tête-à-tête.  Morrison explains the whys and wherefores of the torture that Buddy has gone through, and how it is all for the sake of drama.  His last act as the writer, whether it be an act of kindness to Buddy or to the next writer who took over the book, Morrison resurrects Buddy’s wife and kids and erases all memories of his crazy trip through the backstage of reality, comics, and both of our universes.  Morrison can be a brutal man to his creations, but he can also be very kind and nurturing.

Exhibit 2 – All Star Super Man – the entire story hinges on the looming DEATH of Superman, which never comes to pass.  Yes, he disappears into the heart of the sun, seemingly for all time, but he’s alive, and where there is life there is hope.

final crisis batman

uh-oh

Exhibit 3 – Batman in Final Crisis issue 6:  Batman is seemingly killed by Darkseid’s Omega beams and experiences the “Death that is life!”  BATMAN IS DEAD!?! Yes.  For one whole issue Batman was dead.  At the end of issue 7 Bruce Wayne turns up in Prehistoric times drawing on the wall of a cave.  (I’ve heard that Morrison didn’t want to end it that way, but don’t recall where, but the fact is that the ending took back the death, and Batman was alive.)  Morrison let the character cool off for sometime before penning the Return of Bruce Wayne, in which the character actually fights his way back home through time and space.

photo(4)

You can’t keep a miracle down!

Exhibit 4 – Mister Miracle in 7 Soldiers:  Shilo Norman, super escape artist, seemingly dies more than once over the course of 7 Soldiers.  The first time was when trying to escape an artificial black hole.  The second, after surrendering himself to Darkseid in exchange for the ancient hero, Aurakles.  BUT, once again, at the last moment, Morrison can’t help but offer the audience a last sliver of hope with an image of Mister Miracle clawing his way out of his own grave, escaping death itself (again) in the last image of the series.

photo(3)Exhibit 5 – Zauriel in JLA:   Zauriel is killed in JLA #38  (page #21 Which I own the art of!) when the watchtower is destroyed by a series of nuclear missiles launched by Lex Luthor.  Zauriel remained dead for less than half an issue.  His story picked up immediately in Heaven, where he hoped to enlist divine assistance in the fight against Mageddon.  He was denied and offered the option to stay or return to Earth.  He returned to Earth and had a few more adventures before fading into obscurity and is probably now a resident of character limbo.

387px-New_X-Men_114Exhibit X – New X-Men: Morrison brought the merry mutants into the new millennium by discarding their silly costumes and embracing the soap opera-y aspects of Marvel’s flagship mutant book. Over the course of his run we would see at least three main characters (Some of their names rhyme with Green Gray and Lag-Neato!— sort of) seemingly perish, only to be re-born bigger, brighter, and more dangerous than ever.

Exhibit 7 – One last piece of evidence, unrelated to precedents established by Morrison’s prior work: Doesn’t anyone find it suspicious that Batman is currently telling the “Zero Year” storyline?  I’m sure Snyder and Capullo will tell a fantastic origin in the new 52, but the timing seems pretty convenient.   Maybe they’re excusing themselves from continuity for 11 issues so they don’t spoil anything, or be forced to play by whatever crazy rules and plot lines that will be established in the coming 3 issues of Batman Inc?

In closing, I’d like to point out that the trick that Morrison likes to pull again and again is convincing you that all hope is lost, and then he goes one step further and shows you that hope is never lost.  Even though it is a hard fought journey, and quite a few characters go to hell and back, when the dust settles good always wins.  And you can rest assured that by the end of Batman Inc. #13, out this July, SOMEHOW Damian will be among the living, because Morrison likes to see the good guys win.

Am I A Worker Ant If I Blog About The Latest Man of Steel Trailer??

April 10, 2013

Network mad as hellIn years past, do you remember sitting in a theater as the lights came down, and being gleefully unaware of what trailers might be screened ahead of the feature film?  I do, and I miss it.  Social networking (Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, etc.) has ruined that wonderful ignorance.  There’s no room for surprises anymore.  Everything gets Spoiled.

Newsfeed when googling "Man of Steel TV"

Newsfeed when googling “Man of Steel TV”

When did the ‘dropping’ of a new trailer become news?  Why is the premiere of a TV spot for a movie that won’t be in theaters for six-months news?  Isn’t the trailer publicity enough in itself?  Why does every blogger on the planet jump when the next trailer for Star Trek, Star Wars,  or Superman  is released and provide millions of articles, Facebook posts, and tweets all over  the internet stating  the same thing “Click HERE to see the new trailer for (Insert Film title here)”

Why do we allow them (The Entertainment Powers that be) to do this to us?  Because we (myself included) are all looking for the same thing, recognition for being the first cool kid to realize it’s been released.  We really just want to be liked, and we camouflage that need with our incessant articles, FB posts, and tweets  as we gather our followers, and link to official YouTube feeds showcasing the big budget film trailers, video games, and next big thing brought to us by the global conglomerate marketing machines that tell us what is cool.  We are worker ants getting the word out for Hollywood films, and they don’t even ask for the help.  We willingly provide it free of charge every day via our social networking platform of choice.

In a world where the majority of us have already  drank the Kool-Aid, I ask what about the little films? Small press comics? Self-published books?  Bands trying to cut their first album?   What about the stories which that need to be told, which are ignored as we all discuss the latest Tom Cruise vehicle?

Let’s switch gears!  Rather than continue whining, I’d like to take a step in a positive direction and offer an alternative to giving more free advertising to films that don’t need us.  If you ever find yourself “Mad as Hell, and not willing to take It ANYMORE,” then there are places you can go on these inter-webs which provide the opportunity to support some truly independent artistic endeavors:

kickstarter_300x283www.kickstarter.com – “Kickstarter is a new way to fund creative projects.  We’re a home for everything from films, games, and music to art, design, and technology. Kickstarter is full of projects, big and small, that are brought to life through the direct support of people like you. Since our launch in 2009, more than 3.8 million people have pledged over $559 million, funding more than 39,000 creative projects. Thousands of creative projects are raising funds on Kickstarter right now.

indiegogowww.indiegogo.comEveryone should have the opportunity to raise money. Now everyone does. People all over the world use our industry-leading platform to raise millions of dollars for all types of campaigns. No matter what you are raising money for, you can start right now with no fee or application process.

www.rockethub.com – “You want your crowdfunding project to be successful. Period. You want your project to be where it belongs, and you want it to be noticed. You’re busy and you need this to be worth your time. You want to do nothing less than to dazzle your supporters.

http://www.pledgemusic.com/ – Is a crowdfunding site entirely dedicated to assisting new emerging talent which seeks to break into the music industry.

Now go help an artist that needs a boost up.  The chances are good that he or she will even thank you, while unfortunately Warner Bros.  will never  thank you for re-tweeting their latest Superman trailer.

Deconstructing a Tweet: The Middleman!

April 8, 2013

Javiergrillotweet

Who?  What?  Where? When? Why?  And (W)How?

WhoJavier Grillo-Marxuach, creator of the Comic book the Middleman and former writer of Lost!

What? There will be more Middleman!  For those of you unfamiliar with the Middleman, it was a short lived show on ABC family, and prior to that it was a comic book series created by Grillo-Marxuach.  The Middleman tells the story of the eponymous character as he saves the world from precious-gem-eating-aliens, Alternate reality doppelgängers gone bad, ventriloquist dummy vampires, Lucha Libre wrestlers, etc. etc. with the assistance of his faithful sidekick Wendy and his A.I. the Haydar.

Where?  On Twitter!  Keep up!

Why?  Because the Middleman TV show and comic were “Sheer elegance in their simplicity.”

HOW?!?!?!? “It will not be a movie like VM (Veronica Mars).”  Veronica Mars, the mid-aughts  cult favorite TV program, recently raised over $2 million over night on Kickstarter.com for the purpose of creating a one-shot Veronica Mars film.  This will not be like that.  What could it be though?

Another Comic book series?

A Web Series with the original actors?

A web series of the Middlemen of the past?

A TV Pilot?

What else can be gleaned from this post?

“There may be a kickstarter involved.  Figuring it out”

There may be a kickstarter involved.  He is figuring it out.

There is still the most important question though, WHEN?!?!?!?!?!?! He signed off with a simple “Stay tuned” which is brilliant in its simplicity.

The Importance of being PSYCHO

March 18, 2013

bates-motel-art

hitchcock with truffautIn his time Alfred Hitchcock was never accorded the respect as a filmmaker that we bestow on him today.  He was a genre director who simply shocked and scared us all.  He wasn’t a director to analyze or respect.  Few critics saw any redeeming qualities in his work.  One of his biggest fans and life-long friend was Francois Truffaut, who was not just a fan of Hitch’s, but of all cinema.  Truffaut was on a constant hunt to be entertained and find new ways to communicate story through celluloid.  Truffaut opened my eyes years ago in his book Hitchcock/Truffaut, to the importance of Hitchcock simply being Hitchcock.

Amongst Hitchcock’s vast catalog of Films and TV accomplishments a handful of films stand out as true classics; Notorious, North by Northwest, Vertigo, Rear Window, and of course PSYCHO.  Psycho was released in 1960 to a fan frenzy, and quite frankly, it changed cinema forever.  Below I list merely a few ways in which this disturbingly wonderful film changed everything.

1. Psycho changed how we went to the movies.  Up to this point it was generally accepted to walk into a theater at any point in a film.  If you missed the first half, you could stay in your seat and wait for it to replay.  Hitchcock put his foot down and declared that there would be no admittance after the film had begun.  All theater-goers needed to see this film from the start.

Psycho08

2.  Psycho and Hitch ignored and even challenged the Hollywood formula by literally slashing through the cookie cutter conformity of the 50s. To this day, not many filmmakers would have the guts to do what Psycho did, which is a complete transformation 47 minutes in.  What began as a Crime/ Love on the Run story, suddenly through a single act of violence is transformed into a new kind of horror film.  That horrific act also serves as a catalyst within the story to shift the focus of the film from the suddenly deceased main character protagonist over to the murderous antagonist through an eerie series of dissolves and transitions as one dies and the other reveals his/her true voyeuristic murderous nature.

3. The depiction of Norman cast a terrifyingly realistic light on mental illness.  Up to this point a psychopath in film was often portrayed as a foaming at the mouth irrational lunatic with no control over his actions who would KILL KILL KILL!  Norman Bates presented a new type of killer.  He was methodical.  He was nice.  He was polite.  He was innocent.  Wait, what?  Yes, I argue that the last scene exonerated him.  He is the poster boy for an insanity plea.  He hears his dead mother. I rest my case.

As much as I love the film Psycho, Bates Motel  on A&E might be a massive mistake.  Exploiting Hollywood classics to make a buck is common practice, unfortunately for A&E though, most of Hitchcock’s material works because of what happens off-screen.  He was a master of suspense, which involved not what he blatantly showed us, rather what he didn’t show.  The allusions to Norman’s younger years through a few  brief statements about Mother, and the really freaky image of the fetal position-body-shaped  dent in the bed of the master bedroom were all I needed for my imagination to run wild.  I don’t necessarily want someone to tell me that this is how Norman grew up.  I think Norman’s childhood is best left to our bad dreams and imagination.  It is way more frightening that way.

Then again, who am I kidding.  I’m going to watch it.  But, I can’t help but wonder, would Truffaut find something redeeming about this exercise in story?

More Zombie Tofu – The Blogging Dead!!!

February 12, 2013

zombie-banner-font-cracked31

thewalkingdixons

I’ve talked about this in the past.  Zombies are simply filler within the stories they exist in.

As an antagonist, they’re crap because they have no desire, no motivation other than eating BRAINS, no ability to make a decision.  They simply exist within the landscape to increase the stakes for all the living characters.  Further, their existence allows us as an audience to be open to believing pretty much anything that we are presented with beyond zombies.

In the world of the Walking Dead motivations for the living have changed.  In your regular 21st century film, a person is motivated by money, a prize, a car, romance, etc.  In the Walking dead, the characters have been forced to resort to primal instincts and needs.  They desire Food, Clothing, Shelter, Water, and other humans they can trust.

These changing priorities in a zombie filled world have caused a shift in what society deems acceptable.

The people of Woodbury seem like nice folks.  They have flower boxes in front of their houses.  Their cars are clean, washed and waxed.  They have a swell protective wall and lookouts posted all around the town.  The only indicator that there is something remotely wrong with these people, is  the gladiator style matches in the abandoned warehouse.  But hey, there’s no American Idol or Survivor on TV.  The masses need their entertainment.

Lori Zombie in lovely formal attire

Lori Zombie in lovely formal attire

The drama of this episode kicks off with the malicious Governor declaring that the Dixon Bros. will fight to the death!  That in itself is pretty exciting.  But wait!  Let’s add some zombie tofu!  A handful of zombies are pushed in to the ring!  Now this is getting good!

Rick and his crew attempt to rescue Darryl!  Let’s add Zombies!

Let’s argue on the side of the road!  Add Zombies!

Let’s have a breakdown in front of everyone in the prison!  Add a zombie ghost wife in formal gown!

Look at those zombies over there!  Add more Zombies!

You get the point.  Just add Zombies.   At its core, the Walking dead is a melodramatic story of survival.  Every character has lost a loved one.  Every character has had a requisite woe is me moment. Every scene is life or death.  This story could be told without zombies though.  The danger could easily be wolves, vampires, aliens, cold, heat, or radiation.   The Walking Dead could simply be about the dregs of the human race fighting for survival.  I have to admit though; I prefer it with the addition of zombie tofu.

For more BLOGGING DEAD entries click here -> ARRRRRGH!!!!!

The Blogging Dead!!! Walking Dead Returns!

February 10, 2013

zombie-banner-font-cracked31

the_walking_dead_comicJust a few reminders and things to keep in mind as the Walking Dead returns.

1. If you don’t see a character die on screen, then they can return as the living or the dead.

2. The living on this show have proven on many occasions to be more dangerous than the dead.  Beware the living!

3. Lori wasn’t that bad.  It was a zombie Apocalypse.  She did what she needed to.  What would you do in the face of Zombigeddon?

4. The Governor is a scary SOB.

5. Rick is receiving imaginary phone calls.

6. Carl is a bad ass little kid.

7. This is an ongoing story of survival. But whose survival?  Who will be standing at the end?

Enjoy tonight’s episode!

 

Open Letter to NBC on How To Fix the TODAY SHOW

February 1, 2013

Lets fix the today show copy

To: Whom it may concern at NBC’s the Today Show,

RE: How to Fix the Today Show

Below are a series of thoughts on how to save the sinking ship known as NBC’s Today Show.

Stop Reporting about yourself.  Reporters are not the news.  Reporters do not make the news.  Reporters inform the populace on the news by gathering facts and sharing them with us,  especially in the 7am to 9am slots.  Nobody wants to hear what Matt Lauer did for Thanksgiving.  Nobody cares about the self-gratifying montage sequences that the Today Show prepares to showcase what happened on the Today Show set to the latest songs owned by the NBC Universal library of approved pop music.  Nobody cares about a backstage tour of your own studio. You are not the news.  You are not celebrities.  You only get to talk to celebrities.

Show some class.  We are in the midst of an economic crisis.  We are all tightening our belts and thinking long and hard about every penny we spend.  When The Today Show broadcasts ridiculous excess such as “Where in the World is Matt Lauer?” or “Field Trip Friday” those of us in the world that can never afford to go where Matt Lauer goes can come to resent Matt Lauer…  Furthermore, I saw a segment recently called “Matt’s Day with Led Zeppelin.”  Was the title even necessary?  It further twists the I’m-not-as-lucky as Matt Lauer knife, because the rest of America will never spend the day with Led Zeppelin.  Just do the story.  Don’t rub the story in.

Stop being a 4 hour commercial – The Majority of The Today Show segments act as a commercial for NBC/Universal films, music, TV programming and affiliate programming.  Out of the 4 hours on the air each day, how much time is typically devoted to other NBC programming?  15 minutes?  30 minutes?  I’ve seen mornings where it was in excess of an hour and a half.  During the Olympics, the entire 4 hour program is devoted to the Olympics, which airs on NBC channels, which NBC sells advertising on… The way that NBC treats an NBC episode of The Voice or America’s got Talent  as if it is news is insanely ridiculous.  That is not news.  Edward R Murrow is changing the channel in journalism heaven now.  He’d probably watch Newsroom on HBO instead.  That fictional show gave us more cold hard facts than the Today Show.

Keep it moving – The interviews, particularly with celebrities, are borrrrring and lacks any journalistic approach.  Softball questions like “Tell us about your movie premiering this week…” or “Where do your ideas come from…” “How do you find the inspiration?…” are rampant.   It is obvious that the present celebrity is there to promote whatever film, album, TV show or book  they have hitting the theaters or store shelves that week.  Try this.  Actually See the film.  Read the book.  Listen to the song.  Then as a ‘Journalist’ you might actually discover that you have a question worth asking.  It is called research.  People can’t really do it for you.  You need to understand the context of the questions that are written for you by the Today Show Army.  Earn your insanely inflated salaries.  And if you can’t handle that, then just keep the interviews short and sweet.

Stop covering Viral Videos as if they are news –  I don’t care that Charlie bit his brother’s finger.  I don’t care that some guy proposed to his wife with a magic trick. I don’t’ care that a bus of high school kids danced to Call me Maybe.  In the grand scheme of things, it does not matter if a video gets 5 million viewers. Skip all you tube videos.  There is no news there.  You tube exists for one purpose; It wastes our time.

Stop covering Tweets as if they are news.  An uncensored celebrity in 140 characters or less is amusing, because the publicity and management team is no longer able to filter what their self-important uninformed out of touch with reality clients say, but it is not news.

Drop ‘the Professionals’ –   The segment is pointless.  Instead, grab four random people off the street to discuss a real issue every day for four minutes.  Give each of them 1 minute.  That would be really interesting, and it would give Joe Shmo from off the street the chance to get on TV for 60 seconds.  He’s tell that story for the rest of his life.

The Royals….  I don’t know what sort of payola deal NBC has with the UK Royals, but this is America.  We cut our ties with the Royals when we sent George III a Dear John letter.  Yet, the Today show feels the need to cover every move of the Royal Family.  Why? Please tell me why.

Lastly I think it is time for an anchor change.  Don’t you feel that Savannah Guthrie has been there a little long?

What? 

She’s been there less than a year? 

Maybe it is time to get someone new in the OTHER seat.

In closing, Today Show, If you adhere to these 9 very simple guidelines I’ve laid out for you, you’ll have a successful show.  I promise.

NBC Executives, if you’d like more input, I’d be open to discussing salary anytime.  I’m a mere 15 minute commute from midtown, and would love to run a morning talk show.  I’d be very good at it.  You can find me here at cinemafantastica@gmail.com.

Sincerely,

 

Robert Lee