So Long and Thanks for the Fish, Man #036: Spoil the Spoilers

So Long and Thanks for the Fish, Man #036: Spoil the Spoilers

Teenage angst has paid off well,
Now I’m bored and old.
Self-appointed spoilers spoil
More than they have told.

If they gatekeep online now,
Plot-holes that they found?
All to piss off and to troll
And needlessly expound…

Bonus points if you get the reference. No Googlin’ either, kiddos.

It seems now that spoiler culture is abound throughout social media. With the Russo’s (of Endgame fame, don’t-cha-know) declaring specific rules as to their accepted window of spoilativity… my feeds have been choked to the nines with needless repetition and condemnation of those who seek to ruin the experience of a piece of pop culture by virtue of their ability to consume it first.

To be clear to all who I am friends with? Not a single soul said a serendipitous spoiler in any sense of the word for Endgame, Game of Thrones, or even The Price is Right. And trust me, I was on high alert. Continue reading “So Long and Thanks for the Fish, Man #036: Spoil the Spoilers”

Brainiac On Banjo #036: Women Unite — But In Mongolia, Hold The Soda!

Brainiac On Banjo #036: Women Unite — But In Mongolia, Hold The Soda!

Avengers: Endgame passed the $2,100,000,000 mark ten days after release, so in honor of that momentous event, here is a photo of my all-time favorite superhero team-up, even though it has yet to happen on-screen.

Now that the Avengers movies have made about as much money as your average Wall Street cocaine dealer, I think we can say the “women heroes don’t sell movies” bullshit is behind us. It’s time to do the A-Force movie.

Seriously. It’s well past time, but before this weekend the banks might not have financed such a film. I think an A-Force movie will inspire more young girls than a woman president, though that is not an either/or proposition. And the prospect of women getting their boyfriends to take them to a big super-hero movie epic is the very meaning of “turnabout is fair play.” Continue reading “Brainiac On Banjo #036: Women Unite — But In Mongolia, Hold The Soda!”

Beat JENeration 33: Avengers: Endgame, Let’s Get Spoil-y

Beat JENeration 33: Avengers: Endgame, Let’s Get Spoil-y

As promised, I have a few thoughts.

Now, if this column’s title didn’t give you pause, let me reiterate that I’m not holding back. Onward ho to Spoiler City we go!

But also, c’mon, if you haven’t seen Avengers: Endgame by now, I have to wonder if you even care about spoilers.

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Continued After the Next Page #008: Happy Geek Day!!!

Continued After the Next Page #008: Happy Geek Day!!!

We are living in a golden age of fandom. Gone are the days of hiding your comic collection in the closet when school friends came over. The time when liking sci-fi books was cause for odd glances in the cafeteria is in the past. There are incredible things happening in the world today.

Let’s take for example the things we can point at that show the geek/nerd culture is popular in the mainstream;

Avengers

The best selling motion picture in the world is Avengers: Endgame. It is the epic conclusion to over ten years of movie storytelling. I was moved to tears of joy while watching it at the massive amount of comic book characters from my your being translated to the big screen. This move was highly anticipated and it shattered box office records left and right.

Continue reading “Continued After the Next Page #008: Happy Geek Day!!!”

Brainiac On Banjo #035: Niles Caulder’s Doppelgängers

Brainiac On Banjo #035: Niles Caulder’s Doppelgängers

When it comes to the DC Universe streaming series Doom Patrol, the world can be divided up into three groups: those who have never seen it, those who have seen it and hate it, and those who have seen it and love it.

It’s exceptionally weird and based (self-referentially) more upon Grant Morrison’s work on the comics series than the original Arnold Drake / Bob Haney / Bruno Premiani creation. Why not? We’ve got plenty of straight-forward superhero dramas on television. On streaming. Whatever. It is clear to me that everybody gets paid by the number of times Brendan Fraser utters a curse word, and that might upset the uptights. After the pilot episode, there isn’t much nudity or on-screen sex. Continue reading “Brainiac On Banjo #035: Niles Caulder’s Doppelgängers”

The Horrifying Implications of Avengers: Endgame’s Ending  (that you probably didn’t think about until just now)

The Horrifying Implications of Avengers: Endgame’s Ending (that you probably didn’t think about until just now)

This weekend, everyone is going to see Avengers: Endgame. That’s appropriate. It’s a great film, tons of fun, and an excellent capstone to the past eleven years of Marvel films. You should definitely go see it. In fact, go see it right now.

 

Welcome back. Did you enjoy the popcorn? Ok, now that we’re all on the same page, I’d like to address one big issue with the end of Endgame and the terrifying implications it leaves behind.

Spoilers ahead.  Continue reading “The Horrifying Implications of Avengers: Endgame’s Ending (that you probably didn’t think about until just now)”

Beat JENeration #032: Avengers: Endgame (No Spoilers)

Beat JENeration #032: Avengers: Endgame (No Spoilers)

Well, shit.

Um.

It’s currently 11:42pm Thursday night, PDT and I know the internet is full of all kinds of spoilers (because I already looked up some pressing issues), but it doesn’t feel right to say anything yet.

Even though I haven’t seen a theatre that crowded ever. Well, maybe in the 1980’s, on a holiday weekend. It was crazy. And I loved every second of it.

I think it’s safe to also note that I got a bucket of popcorn and a large drink and didn’t finish either for the first time in I can’t even tell you. I just got too caught up in the movie. That probably has never happened before.

I liked it very much. I will see it again tomorrow. Probably also another time within the next week.

It just doesn’t feel right to say anything else. Except maybe that I wish for you all to see it spoiler free.  Continue reading “Beat JENeration #032: Avengers: Endgame (No Spoilers)”

Beat JENeration #031: Is this Grease Prequel The One That I Want?

Beat JENeration #031: Is this Grease Prequel The One That I Want?

Obviously the big news of the week was the announcement of Summer Loving – the prequel to the 1978 musical Grease currently in development by Paramount Players.

So many feelings about this — some are actually hopeful. Many are weary. And others bitter —falling along the lines of “why now?” and “why this?” And then there’s also rage over how Grease 2 has been bitch-slapped around in all the coverage. 

Wholesome and pure, oh so scared and unsure

Grease is sacred it me. I cannot tell you how many times I saw it in the theater, but I feel like it played in theaters for years. I know I went to see it pretty much weekly for that first summer. It was the late-1970’s and my parents saw no reason why their six-year old daughter shouldn’t ride her bike almost a mile to the AMC Orange Mall 6 to spend the day memorizing every line in a movie about high school thugs, teen-age pregnancy, and succumbing to peer pressure. Of course, I only really saw John Travolta’s dimple, the 50’s fashions, and the choreography. It wasn’t until I was an adult (a full-fledged adult in her late-20’s all married and careered) that I would for the first time truly hear and understand the lyrics in “Greased Lighting” — so truly, no harm, no foul.

The soundtrack album to Grease is the one object that sums up my childhood. I still have it. I still treasure it. I would sit on the floor of my room studying the pictures in the middle fold out as I wore out the vinyl. Of course when I wasn’t dancing around my room and singing on the top of my lungs. This was the soundtrack to all of my hoping and dreaming for my future. It’s only real competition for turn-table time was the Annie Original Broadway Cast Album until 5th grade when The Go-Go’s and Duran Duran came into my life.  Continue reading “Beat JENeration #031: Is this Grease Prequel The One That I Want?”

So Long and Thanks for the Fish, Man #032: The Best of the Worst!

So Long and Thanks for the Fish, Man #032: The Best of the Worst!

If you need a gentle refresher as to my rules of these here listicles? Well then, partner… check out part one. Assuming you did and have come back? Welcome to my evil lair!

When it comes to the cream of the evil crop, I fretted feverishly over my particular placements. But after much deliberation, hung upside-down in an elaborate death trap? I feel like I’ve come to a sound conclusion. No further preamble needed; let’s get down to the best of the worst.

5. Danny DeVito/Penguin, Michelle Pfeiffer/Catwoman — Batman Returns

Batman’s rogue gallery is hands down the best collection of wackos, nutbars, psychopaths, and ne’er-do-wells in comics. But how does one top Jack Nicholson’s turn as the clown prince of crime in 1989’s masterpiece, Batman? Well, you double the villainy!

To be clear: Batman Returns isn’t anywhere near as good as the original. It’s crammed from gills to gonads with odd set-pieces, unnecessary angst, and a third act more bloated than Danny DeVito’s Oswald Cobblepot by several orders of magnitude. But those gripes apart, I can say nary a bad word for either DeVito’s Penguin or Michelle Pfeiffer’s Catwoman.

With the aforementioned aviary-under-dweller, we are given a true freak turn on the classic Bat-villain. And rather than give us an elitist with a foul face, Tim Burton gifts us with a mutated face-biter— with a short temper and a predilection for biblical crimes by way of weaponized wildlife. It’s so far of left field from the original source material that I should dock points, but I’d be lying if I said that should matter given the sum of the parts. Oswald is tragic, black-hearted, and unforgettable.

Selina Kyle travels from sad-eyed secretary to a one-woman advertisement for BDSM across Returns. And with her rise from mouse to cat, she encapsulates the spirit of the character from the pages of Batman comics, with an original spin that hasn’t been bettered by any incarnation since. Catwoman vexes Bruce Wayne, and climbs across the scenery of the movie with the superhuman grace that could only be bestowed by super-powered mystical cat-resuscitation.

4. Michael B. Jordan / Killmonger — Black Panther

There’s so much to like in Black Panther. From the amazing visuals — like the sprawling vistas of Wakanda or the purple-tinted visits to the spirit world — straight through to the actual story of the movie… there’s no doubt in my mind why it was nominated for so many awards this past year.

But what should not be overlooked here is the performance and character of Killmonger, as presented by Michael B. Jordan. He is the fulcrum by which the movie rises above the rest of the comic movies to date. In Jordan’s portrayal, we are given a sympathetic villain whose methods and desires are rooted in an injustice we can almost side with. He’s a hardliner strategist looking for vindication and retribution for the sins of the past. That he not only bests T’Challa in wade-pool combat, but then immediately sets out to change Wakanda without monologuing his way into the throne is a boon of storytelling that Jordan presents coolly across the film. Simply put? He’s amazing, and makes each scene he’s in better.

3. Nick Stahl/Roark Jr. (Yellow Bastard) — Sin City

I recognized as I traveled up this list a need for a pure villain. Someone whose chaotic malice comes from the worst corners of humanity. And no one stepped up to the plate better to me then Nick Stahl as that Yellow Bastard. Underneath layers of perfectly comic-proportioned prosthetics, Stahl is still able to seethe, and make us cringe. With his false-bravado played against Frank Miller’s adapted noir dialogue… I dare say no villain on this list better represents a direct line from the paper he was printed on.

2. Michael Fassbender / Magneto — X-men First Class

Ian McKellen’s take on the mutant master of magnetism was a rare(ish) case of the actor being seen above the role as presented on screen. The gravitas played against Patrick Stewart’s Professor X made both leads in the the Singer-born X-men films feel more or less like brilliant stunt-casting. Two scene-stealers doing Summer Stock for shits and giggles.

I say this to contrast with Michael Fassbender’s take on the same villain in the First Class precursor to the aforementioned film. The portrayal in First Class feels worn-in, in the best way. Whereas McKellen’s Erik Lehnsherr floats above the crowds and looks down on the world through weary eyes… Fassbender presented a Magneto with the same elitism underneath a total disdain for human life. Look no further than his understated uttering of “…perfection” at the visage of an azure Mystique. Simply put, Fassbender made me feel Magneto’s pain, and understand his violent mission. While neither Magnetos would be given good sequels to further explore being the de facto nemesis to the X-men properly… I believe Michael Fassbender brought the powerful profligate of polarity to screen as close to perfect as one might want.

1. Heath Ledger / The Joker — The Dark Knight

Is there really an argument to be made here? What more can I add the litany of words drowning on the internet regarding Heath Ledger’s immersion as the most recognized villain in all of comic bookery? From his weird ambiguous voice, to the specific presentation of his well-staged chaotic lessons to the Gothamites in his way, the Joker of The Dark Knight is the standard by which any actor should study under when trying to own the films they terrorize. His Joker was a threat that couldn’t be punched harder to defeat. His actions spoke louder than his words, and rather than chew the scenery, Ledger sunk into it. He was a product of this realistic world. Somehow, he made the audience laugh at the improbability of a man fighting crime as a bat… through a Glasgow smile and greasepaint. That it was The Dark Knight‘s Joker that made me forget I was watching a comic book movie and just a great crime drama tips the scales above any other actor’s turn to the dark side. Except for…

Supreme Mark Hamill / The Joker — Batman, the Animated Series

And since it’s my rules kiddos, we’re going to just jump the shark to offer the singular performance that eclipses Ledger’s Joker; that of Mark Hamill’s portrayal of the crown prince of crime. Close your eyes, and imagine the Joker speaking. It’s Mark Hamill. And if it’s not? You’re doing a disservice to your subconscious.

From the sing-songy laugh that can ooze down, and spike up chaotically with a flip of a vocal chord, to the graveling grousing from being foiled again… Mark Hamill owns the Joker. Everyone else truly is just renting it. And no other actor or actress holds a candle to the inferno that Hamill represents as the comic book villain.

 

Brainiac On Banjo #031: The Joker’s On Us

Brainiac On Banjo #031: The Joker’s On Us

Alex Ross

This Wednesday, DC Comics will be releasing the landmark 1000th issue of the longest-running comic book published in America, Detective Comics. Yup, if you look the word “landmark” in the dictionary, you’ll see a picture of Alex Ross’s variant cover.

Go ahead. Check it out.

I’m a fan of Alex’s, both his work and his own self. But I really like this cover not only because it is a true tribute to Batman, who (not-coincidentally) turns 80 this week, but because it doesn’t have The Joker on it.

Michael Cho

Now, trust me on this one too: the real reason Detective Comics #1000 is called #1000 is not because of its linear numbering. It’s because there are 1000 different variant covers. Hey, kids! Collect them all!

No. Don’t bother. I’m sure DC will release a hardcover reprinting them. And I’m pretty sure I’ll buy it. But this week I am not ranting about the crisis of infinite variants, but, knowing me I probably will in the future.

Uh-uh. This week I’m ranting about The Joker. Continue reading “Brainiac On Banjo #031: The Joker’s On Us”