Wednesday, January 01, 2014

In with the old and out with the new

Another year has ended and it´s time to take a look back on the year 2013 and see how it looks in retrospect while it´s still fresh in my memory. I know the title sounds wrong but for me most " new  "things in 2013 made me go back and check out the old things. New in 2013 wasn´t really that exciting especially with the NEW 52 still F - ing things up.

Now some people may say that things are looking up at DC since they have gone back from that abomination that was Power Girl´s new costume and returned her original costume. But the simple reason for that was just that even the guys at DC realized how ugly it was ( nicely emphasized by artist CallMePo whom you can check out at his DeviantArt gallery , be warned though there is some NOT SAFE FOR WORK content ) and they changed it back before they lost the few readers they still had.

So besides a few cosmetic changes things are still as bad at DC. Power Girl is still just Supergirl of Earth 2, George Perez has definitely left WORLD´S FINEST and DC since they clearly had no idea whatsoever what to do with him, Wally West is still nowhere in sight and aside from the few good titles left such as AQUAMAN, WONDER WOMAN and some of the Bat - titles like BATMAN, BATMAN INCORPORATED and BATMAN AND ROBIN there´s not much you can spend money on and get your money´s worth. It also gets more difficult because DC still has brilliant ideas like axing LEGION OF SUPER - HEROES to start something like JUSTICE LEAGUE 3000. On one side it´s not surprising if they bring in an artist like Kevin Maguire at the last issue. That´s not going to help since the book´s already canceled. Even Kevin Maguire was so confused by the whole shaking and changing at DC that he defected to Marvel. Not that things are much better at Marvel but he gets to do GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY which is going to be one of the big franchises over there once the big blockbuster movie comes out. It helps the career if you do stuff like that.

But coming back to the Legion of Super - Heroes and the possible reasons why it didn´t fly with the NEW 52 ( no pun intended ) it may be the fact that when you look at the basic idea of the series it is pretty optimistic.

1000 years from now there will be teenage super heroes in outer space coming from different worlds who will be working together to fight for good, protect the innocent and oppose tyranny, injustice, racism and intolerance for the betterment and enlightenment of all sentient beings.

It´s really not that difficult to see why that didn´t really gel with DC´s new grim and gritty iMAGE revival they are doing with such things as FOREVER EVIL and such where Superman is mind controled on such a frequent basis that people are keeping counters on the internet of how many days ( let´s be realistic : how many weeks or months ) it has been since we have seen Superman´s normal eyes and not the red ones.


DC seems to be so hellbent on doing edgy and dark versions of their characters that they have completely forgotten what makes them so great. Is it any wonder that they cannot get it right in their movie adaptions anymore ? Over the holidays I have finally managed to see MAN OF STEEL and the first that that went through my mind was that you have to be exceptionally stupid to get a costume wrong where everybody in the world knows what it looks like. Not that they got the rest right. Okay, somebody in the production team was obviously a comic fan or at least a fan of some superhero tv shows since the scene where Superman steals some clothes is directly swiped from the Hulk tv series. Which was a good series for a tv adaption of a Marvel comic. But Superman is not the Hulk and he doesn´t steal, if he needs something he asks for it. Maybe he would offer to work for the clothes but in any case he would´ve talked to the people. And if he was the REAL deal they would have given him the clothes because he´s the kind of guy you would give your last shirt.

And what´s up with Superman´s Dad getting killed to save some stupid dog ? Which kind of sick bastard comes up with this s - word ?

So let me get this straight. Superman can´t save his Dad because that would expose his super powers. Superman also can´t save the dog because that would also expose his super powers. His Dad on the other hand can try to save the dog and get killed for it. WTF indeed. Is there something in this scene that I don´t understand ? On one side his Dad would have been okay with Clark letting all the kids in the school bus die to protect his secret. But on the other hand he can´t let one stupid dog die. Come on, it´s just a dog we´re talking about here. He may be the best dog in the world ( although that would probably be Krypto ) but would you really let your father die to save a dog ? No, don´t answer that. If your Dad is even remotely like mine was you´d probably go for the dog. Heck, you´d go for a six pack if you were real thirsty. Okay, not really a good example. But let´s get back to the whole Superman / Dad or rather Superman / adoptive parent thing since his real father would be Jor El a.k.a. Russell Crowe. Who did kick some serious butt in the movie.

Okay, let´s get down to the crux of the whole thing. What exactly is Pa Kent teaching his son here ? Do as I say don´t do as I do ? I´m not sure but in my book Superman would have either saved the dog despite his father´s protests or he wouldn´t have let his father risk his life to save a dog. If he went superfast he could have nabbed the dog without anybody seeing him. Because you can always distract people with the old " Oh, look, there´s Elvis ! " stick if anything else fails. And okay, maybe he didn´t have enough control over his powers to disperse the tornado by flying counterwise at superspeed - but then Pa Kent has no business playing the big hero and expecting his son to do nothing about it.

Now there were a few other scenes that had me scratching my head like the final battle with Zod where I would have preferred to see Superman give Zod a lobotomy courtesy of his heat vision like the Justice Lord version did with Doomsday. That would have been preferably to Superman just killing the guy. Or the overall fight where Superman recklessly laid waste to Metropolis without any regard for any innocent bystander.

But I don´t want to get into much more detail because that´s just too depressing since I learned that thanks to the crap fest that is going to be the next SUPERMAN VERSUS BATMAN movie we won´t see a SHAZAM movie. Because - at least according to DC - they are too similar. Need more proof DC has no idea what characters they got their hands on ?


Back to the comics, like I said I´m reading much more of the older DC stuff now  because I find that much more interesting. I´m still reading the SHOWCASE PRESENTS SUPERMAN FAMILY 4 and I find the stories just hilarious ( which I think I already mentioned in an earlier post ). And I have to say that even if some DC diehards may call this sacrilege I like the stories by Kurt Schaffenberger much better than the stories by Curt Swan because of the art. Nothing against Curt Swan - I just added the hardcover of WHATEVER HAPPENED TO THE MAN OF TOMORROW ? to my DC library - but Kurt´s art can be downright cartoony in some cases. Which is fitting since he always had the wackier imaginary stories. Two Curts doing the art. Or rather one Curt and one Kurt. Sounds like a good german name too. Kurt Schaffenberger. Although it wouldn´t surprise me to find some german ancestors in the family tree of Kurt Schwan.

And speaking about germans, another of my DC " blast from the past " guilty pleasures on the reading pile ( I finally managed to get a reading pile ) is the second hardcover of LEGENDS OF THE DARK KNIGHT - JIM APARO where I read some of the stories but only in the german version.

So I´m really happy to have so many stories by my favorite Batman artist of all time in one book - even if big parts of the book are not of the high quality the first volume achieved. Printing wise, that is. You see, for some people Jim was at his best in the early part of his career but I liked him much more when he had already switched to a much less detailed style with slicker lines and a much more elegant flow - if you will call it that. So in this volume we have the change from his beginnings to starting to become " my Jim Aparo ". But for some reason big parts of the book have been reproduced really bad. Now I don´t know if it has something to do with the quality of the originals. Some of the stories in volume 2 have been included in the third volume of SHOWCASE PRESENTS - BRAVE AND THE BOLD BATMAN TEAM UPS and there was no problem.

In the spanish collection CLASSICOS DC - THE BRAVE AND THE BOLD ( about which I did a whole series of posts that I can hopefully continue very soon ) on the other hand were so many misprinted pages that I just had to skip volume two and three. So I don´t know if it´s a problem with the originals - especially since those were in black and white and the new hardcover is in color - or if the printer just didn´t give as much water on the printing plates as he should have but I really can´t recommend the new hardcover collection to anyone except really diehard Jim Aparo fans who don´t have the stories or who already have them but want to have a nice hardcover and don´t get bothered by printing errors that much.

It´s really a curse sometimes if you have worked in a print company. At first I thought the problem was just with my copy but when the copy amazon sent me to replace my old copy had all the same errors in exactly the same pages I knew that it had to be in the entire print run.

Anyway, if you are a really die hard Jim Aparo fan then you should get it since it has the usual cavalcade of guest stars from A like Aquaman, the Atom and Adam Strange to B like Black Canary to W like Wonder Woman. Everybody is in here, from more obscure characters like Richard Dragon Kung Fu Fighter, Sgt Rock or the Metal Men on to more arcane and creepy superheroes like the Creeper, Deadman, the Phantom Stranger, hobo Plastic Man or Metamorpho to fellow Justice Leaguers like the Flash, Superman, Supergirl, Hawkman, Green Arrow and Green Lantern.

Speaking of Green Lantern, that´s one of the NEW 52 titles that has finally left my reading list. So far the book was still not as f - ed up as many others because they practically left all of the continuity intact. But I think with the RISE OF THE THIRD ARMY Geoff Johns has finally lost me since it´s not only going to be less Dough Mahnke and more Billy Tan but also the constant one - up - manship with always getting more cosmic and more epic has reached my tolerance limit. Man, whatever happened to the guy who wrote such great stuff on Siniestro Corps War, JSA, Legion of Three Worlds or Superman - Brainiac ? I tell you, whenever I re - read the Thy Kingdom Come hardcovers ( and I have done that at least a dozen times so far ) there are pages where I have to fight the tears. They are so heart breaking. And what´s even more : one of my favorite issues has a guest artist and I don´t mind one bit. Because the issue is THAT good.

So GREEN LANTERN is definitely gone from my NEW 52 reading list for the forseeable future. Not from my reading pile since I just recently managed to acquire both SINIESTRO CORPS hardcovers at a bargain price.

My brother would say that I keep buying comics I already have ( longtime readers will recall that that was a hypothesis I formulated myself : there are some comics you keep on buying over and over again no matter in how many different forms you already have them and those are the GOOD ones - the ones against which you measure up all the others ) but I still had some of the tie - in issues missing as well as some GREEN LANTERN CORPS issues so here´s my chance to finally read the complete story in the right order. What I really like about SINIESTRO CORPS WAR was that every character was fleshed out really good and had his own little moment to shine. It had the big explosions but also the little, quieter moments and even some humor like Hal Jordan bribing Guy Gardner with his little black book that contains the private phone numbers from all the chicks Hal got lucky with - including the Maid of Macro Mammaries, Power Girl. 

Man, I sometimes forget that Hal Jordan is one of the lucky few who scored with Power Girl. God only knows how he managed to pull that off but he seems to have that effect on women. I mean underage lantern Arisia used her ring to get an adult body to have sex with Hal . Of course this was retconned into the political correct version where Arisia comes from a world where they age in something like dog years making her much older than Hal. Thereby turning Hal from a stud into a gigolo. 

In any case it´s once again time for me to wrap things up since it´s a quarter past four already and the way the internet´s working Today ( and when I say " working " I mean " not working at all " because every time I have to change something or add something at least five scripts are not responding and I have to wait at least a full minute before I can continue ) it will be five o´clock before I have managed to put all the bells and whistles on it. I would have preferred to write a more positive post for the first post in this new year but as things turn out nothing really changes this year around. I´m sorry there´s just a lot of DC bashing in this post ( if you can call it bashing when it´s actually just speaking the truth ) but maybe we can be a little bit more positive in my next post.

Now before I can put this post to sleep ( and then - hopefully - myself since I´m holding off on that for at least an hour ) there are two things I have to do. The first thing is kind of a request that was uttered in the comments of my last post. It took me a while to find a good picture of the Mistress of the Dark, Elvira herself but I hope this one by CallMePo is OK.

The final piece is the video at the end of the post and on this occasion I´m making an exception because normally I don´t post music videos.

And that´s not only due to the fact that most of them get either deleted by YouTube or GEMA blocks them in Germany.  But every once in a blue moon I find something so incredible that I just have to post it. Now my attention was brought to this video by my brother - of all people - which may be one of the few positive influences he has had on this blog like EVER. The video I´m talking about is WILDFIRE by JENI and the reason why I´m posting it is really very selfish. Because I want her to get a gazillion million hits on YouTube. I want her to get so many followers that Facebook crashes and breaks the internet in half. This needs to get viral so you all have to spread the word until she gets a record deal because I need her CD in the store and her songs on my mp3 player. Well, the new one I have to buy because my old ones are finally busted beyond repair.

So here´s the video and I hope you like it and when you do send out the message. And I promise that in my next post I will be more positive - although I might mention why the presents I got this year sucked. Anyway, I hope your new year has a good start and enjoy the video.

New to the blog ? Everything you need to know about TALES FROM THE KRYPTONIAN : top ten posts / more posts of interest

FEAR is just False Evidence Appearing Real.

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