Thursday, August 17, 2006

I am such an addict...

Here we are. Thursday night again, and time for another episode of Who Wants To Be a Superhero? We've lost six, with five to go. (Rotiart doesn't count. And it's arguable whether or not the Iron Enforcer does.)

I'm still picking Creature to win. But we shall see. We'll definitely lose one, but might lose two.

I'm actually a bit nervous that Creature is going now, based on not seeing her in the later challenge during the commercials for this week.

Ah well. There are others.

Of course, I'm still sad that we lost Monkey Woman. She was fun, and really "got it." And she climbed into a frickin' tree for her costume change. That really counts for something.

Oddly enough, I find myself wondering how to use this show in an RPG. My current Witchcraft campaign would be completely inappropriate, of course. But I could really see making a campaign, or at least an adventure, out of the premise of this show.

And I really want to audition for the show if they do another season. But I'm beginning to realize I would be eliminated far too easily. I don't think I live my life anywhere close to as "heroically" as I should. And heck, if they eliminated Mary Monkey Woman for being an actress, I would be utterly sunk.

In other news, I absolutely know what I would choose to do for my hero now. I would be Renaissance Man, armed with rapier, and following the principles of Leonardo da Vinci. da Vinci believed that the "renaissance man" would study all things. He would be a scholar, statesman and athlete. Renaissance Man would therefore do these things. He would be like Batman, a trained normal man, who used his advanced skills to fight crime. And on that note, I just recieved my Advanced Actor Combatant certificate from the Society for American Fight Directors. That'd help with superheroic activities, right?

Live update: Creature left. We'll probably see one more after their prison visit. I won't keep updating throughout the episode, so, without seeing the episode yet, I'm going to predict that we lose Lemuria. She's just too nasty.

Friday, August 11, 2006

So, does one put salt on their undead vigilantes?

Oh, wait. That isn't what they mean when they say eating crow.

Thank goodness.

In any case, it is time for me to do a bit of that. I started this blog way back in March of this year. And shortly thereafter, in one of my first blog posts, I had some unpleasant things to say about Who Wants To Be a Superhero?

I imagined that it was going to be a disaster. I contemplated submitting an audition tape anyhow, but I really thought there was going to be nothing good to come from it. Nothing at all.

And now, I find myself absolutely loving it.

Why? Because it is brilliantly put together. Absolutely brilliant. I scoffed at the idea of "super-hero challenges," but that was before I realized how well done they would be.

Stan Lee and company have found ways to test the character of these contestants, and to see if they're really willing and able to act like superheroes. And so far, they've done a great job of it.

I was sad to see Monkey Woman go. She may've been an actress, but it was obvious that she really cared about the competition and being a superhero. Besides, she earned points with me for climbing into a tree to change into costume.

Iron Enforcer may've been a plant. Who cares? It's been wonderful to watch.

My prediction for a winner? Hard to say. Major Victory seems the obvious choice, despite being a bit of a joke. Lemuria is going to shoot herself in the foot with her ambition. Big Momma is just not the right type for this thing. Feedback is a possibility, but something about him rubs me the wrong way.

As a result, my prediction is that the winner of this year's competition will be Creature.

And if they do a Season Two? I am so auditioning.

(It's taken me a little longer than expected to get caught up on comics. I buy a lot of comics in a month. When I pick them up all at once, it can take a bit. I'll have the round-up sometime this weekend.)

Monday, August 07, 2006

The geek equivilant of the recently found Tennessee Williams plays

Jack "The King" Kirby. Stan "The Man" Lee. Two of the greats of comic book history.

We owe Superman to two boys from Cleveland, Siegel and Shuster. Batman wouldn't exist without Bob Kane and Bill Finger. But Stan Lee and Jack Kirby shaped the Marvel Universe as we know it.

As a team, they created The Hulk, Iron Man, Thor, the X-Men, and, of course, the Fantastic Four.

In 1970, Jack Kirby resigned from Marvel to create New Gods for DC comics. He turned in the pencils for Fantastic Four 102 along with the resignation letter. Some of that artwork appeared as flashbacks in Fantastic Four 108, but the original story was lost.

Lee apparently doesn't remember the original story, but a plot summary was available in Marvel's files. Lee is going to write a new story to go along with the pencils. Marvel is in talks to have the pencils inked by Joe Sinnott, a veteran inkist and longtime Kirby collaborator.

At the San Diego Comic-Con, Joe Quesada announced that Marvel is going to release the last Fantastic Four collaboration by Lee and Kirby this spring. Apparently Marvel has paid top dollar to the Kirby estate for the rights to the artwork.

I find this to be tremendously exiciting.

Sunday, August 06, 2006

As my plastic surgeon always said, if you've gotta go, go with a smile!

So, Nolan, Bale and company have made the announcement; the sequel to 2005's Batman Begins will be titled The Dark Knight. The title is notable in that it doesn't include the name Batman, which may be the first time we've had a superhero movie that didn't include the name of the hero in the title. It will feature the villain we were teased with at the end of Begins, the greatest of Batman's foes, the Joker.

And the Joker will be played by none other than Heath Ledger. Heath Ledger, star of such diverse movies as Ten Things I Hate About You, A Knight's Tale, The Patriot, The Brothers Grimm, and Brokeback Mountain.

I've been a fan of Mr. Ledger ever since Ten Things I Hate About You. My wife's obsession interest in him began even earlier, with the short-lived television series Roar. I think he's a good actor, but does he have the chops to pull off the Joker?

But for some reason, I'm having trouble accepting it. Possibly because of the age issue. Heath Ledger is several years younger than Christian Bale, and for some reason, the Joker has always just seemed older than Batman to me.

(And sure, this could just because Cesar Romero was older than Adam West, and Jack Nicholson is older than Michael Keaton. I'm willing to accept possible reasons for the bias.)

I'm not dismissing it out of hand, mind you. But he's got some big shoes to fill.

The Joker I grew up with was Cesar Romero. Cesar Romero, goofy and ridiculous. He never even shaved off his mustache for the role, instead choosing to put the pancake makeup over the mustache. The Batman television show was camp, pure and simple, but it was such fun camp.

And, of course, all of the villains were top-notch all the way. Cesar Romero as the Joker, Frank Gorshin as the Riddler, Burgess Meredith as the Penguin, not to mention the series of Catwomen, each of whom was excellent in their own way.

(I know that many people are hardline Lee Meriweather fans. And that's ok. But to this day, Eartha Kitt is the perfect Catwoman in my mind. Better than Michelle Pfeiffer. And worlds above Halle Berry.)

I don't want to see Ledger portray that vision of the Joker. Romero's Joker was a product of its time, its genre, and the Batman comics that existed in that era. Revisiting them now would be a terrible mistake, I believe. But I'd be lying if I said that I won't be thinking of Romero when I see Ledger.

Then, of course, there's Jack Nicholson. Nicholson's portrayal of the Joker made number seven in my Top Ten Movie Villains list. (Romero wasn't eligible, even with the Batman movie, I consider those four to be television villains, not film villains.) He would've ranked even higher if the presence of Jack Nicholson hadn't overshadowed the role of the Joker. Nicholson's Joker was psychotic and scary, but at the same time goofy and fun.

I like Nicholson's Joker. But I hope that Ledger's Joker has a thoroughly different take. I also hope that we either get no origin story at all for the Joker, or we get the Red Hood origin, as seen so wonderfully in Batman: The Killing Joke. Burton's Batman followed the same theme, with Napier being thrown into the chemicals due to Batman's interference with the crime, but it wasn't quite the same.

For one thing, Napier was already a psychotic thug, whereas the hapless comic of Killing Joke was just an ordinary guy who had a Really. Bad. Day.

I don't know what the plot of The Dark Knight is going to be. I don't know how it's going to come off. And I'm not sure that Ledger is going to be able to hang with Nicholson and Romero. I didn't have this apprehension about Spacey replacing Hackman as the Joker, but I'm just not sure if Ledger is in the same weight class as Kevin Spacey. But, we shall see.

One month...

I guess one month qualifies as a "short hiatus", right?

I've probably made at least half my readers forget about me, and for that I apologize. But things have been crazy here, what with adjusting to the new job, and all sorts of other drama.

Regardless, I'm back.

As far as the comic round-ups go, catching up is going to be terrifyingly long. So, what I'm going to do is just start with this week's comics, and as I post a title, I'll catch up with the earlier issues I've skipped. So, when I write about the issue of 52 that's coming out this week (which should be Week 14), I'll cover 52 Weeks 8-14. When the most current Amazing Spider-Man comes out, I'll cover both (or all three, not sure) issues of that. And so on.

I've also got thoughts and ideas about The Dark Knight, Heath Ledger, Who Wants to be a Superhero, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Heroes and more.

So, we're back. More here tomorrow.