Wednesday, 3 August 2011

Hollywood Babble On & On #775/Comic Book Confidential Combo Attack!

Today two comic/movie/media related stories for you to chew on...


Remember when I wrote about the potential death of the superhero and said that they're going to go ahead with a
Green Lantern sequel even though the movie sank at the box office and left a bad smell with critics and audiences, because they can't conceive of doing something different.

Once again I was proven right. They are making a sequel, but are saying that this sequel will be much better because it will be "darker" and "edgier."


Time to cut me a switch of logic in order to tan the proverbial hide of the Warner Bros. media empire.

This rather stupid mindset comes from the success of Christopher Nolan's Batman movies, and their dark edginess.

Which brings me to my point. The Batman movies were dark and edgy because it is the nature of the character to be dark and edgy. What Nolan & Co. did was take that dark and edgy nature, and used it as a foundation on which to compose two well constructed
stories. Not only that, they composed big epic stories that befitted the big screen.

Do you see what I'm getting at?

They created
stories, real stories, with plots, characters, the whole megillah. They did not slap together a bunch of cliches gleaned from other movies as a cheap excuse to pile on a shitload of CGI, because Avatar had a shitload of CGI, so audiences can't possibly be sick of it by now.

What Warner/DC has to do is to answer three questions about their character/franchise about its nature, its narratives, and what medium befits those narratives best:

1. What is the nature of Hal Jordan/Green Lantern?

He's a a fearless intergalactic policeman patrolling the galaxy looking for evildoers and protecting the innocent. He tries to do his best, but can be overwhelmed by the immensity of the problems he has to solve, as well as the agendas, both hidden and open, of his Oan bosses.

2. What kind of stories can you draw from that?

Being a cop is a high stress job when it's on planet Earth. Imagine the pressures of policing hundreds of alien races, and not all of them are going to be easy to understand, or get along with. Then there's the Earth-bound super-villains, relations with the rest of the Corps, especially after the betrayal of Sinestro, the coming of Parallax, and the stresses and strains of being a superhero space-cop puts on his relationship with Carol Ferris.

3. What is the best medium for these stories?

Well, you have a large cast of characters, lots of smaller more episodic adventures, occurring with the backdrop of larger story arcs.

Sounds like they would have been better off doing Green Lantern as a TV series, and I'm not talking about a Saturday morning cartoon, but a serious prime-time science-fiction drama. Sort of like
Star Trek, but without the ship, just a ring.

But they didn't, and it looks like they're going to repeat the same mistakes they made with the first one, only "edgier."


There's a lot of huffing and puffing about the new Ultimate Universe Spider-Man being black. For those not as hep to down-low as I am, I'll fill you in with the basics. The Ultimate Marvel universe was created in 2000 to give superhero fans new, updated versions of the classic Marvel characters without the convoluted back-stories found in the mainstream Marvel universe. (The mainstream Marvel universe is still in print, and runs its own stories independently of the Ultimate universe and vice-versa.)

Now they're planning to reboot the Ultimate Marvel universe, and have begun the process with an Ultimate Spider-Man story that ended with the death of long time web-slinger Peter Parker in a battle with long time arch nemesis The Green Goblin.

The mantle of Spider-Man is then taken up by half-black/half Latino teenager Mile Morales who will wear a different costume and have some different powers.

Now this has caused a lot of controversy
that really sort of misses the point of everything.

And that's

Why is Marvel doing this?

The comic book industry is notorious for making announcements of really big things, then undoing those really big things the moment the hype dies down. They kill off major characters with a regularity that's grown tedious by now, because the people in the mainstream media will give them a brief spurt of attention because most mainstream media people don't read comics and think it might actually matter something more than jack and shit.

That's what I suspect is going on here. I don't think Marvel has even the remotest interest in creating a completely new Spider-Man, even an Ultimate version. I think all they're going to do is hype this all up for a few months, then reveal that the Peter Parker who died was actually a clone, and that the "real" Peter Parker is actually in another dimension.... yadda.... yadda... yadda.... or come up with some other excuse to bring back the original, and cast the pretender into pop culture oblivion.

Do you see where I'm going with this?

I think this whole thing is all just another fart in a hurricane, it might get noticed for a second, but it's not going to last.


  1. The big motive for the Ultimate Spider Man change is, as in all things comic book these days, selfishness.

    As I've said before, far too many comic creators want to be as big as Stan Lee, as big as Chris Clairemont. When people think of the characters they want people to remember their names. This causes even writers with actual talent to just go off the rails.

    Brian Michael Bendis, the man behind Ultimate Spider Man, is a textbook example of this kind of greed. His main Marvel universe stuff is complete and utter crap - he has a nasty habit of lying to his audience, and he's behind some of the most atrocious Big Events of the last ten years. In the Ultimate universe, however, he's much better. He's been at the helm of USM since it was created. Its purpose was to reboot Spider-Man and get people interested and reading it, and he succeeded. He has, in fact, tied his name to Spider-Man pretty well, since the USM has kept going despite the rest of the Ultimate line committing mass ritual suicide every six months or so.

    But evidently, that's not enough for him. He wants EVEN MORE prestige, even more legacy. He wants to make HIS VERY OWN Spider-Man! He wants a character that wasn't handed down to him! Etc, etc, etc. It's the equivalent of old Egyptian Pharaohs replacing their ancestors' names on monuments with their own - selfish arrogance that they're dumb enough to believe will stand the test of time. Also he is a minority, so that any critics can be called racist (and also because, hey, it worked for Blue Beetle, so why not?)

    Ultimate Peter Parker (ugh, how I hate saying that) will, most likely, actually stay dead - interestingly, it's a trait of the Ultimate line that actually makes it lamer, as the various writers are way too trigger-happy with who they kill. Bendis's Nü Spider-Man will probably stand for as long as USM keeps going, but it's hard to say exactly how long that is, especially after a confusing-as-heck change-up like this.

  2. I would give my left arm to see a GL live action TV series. Unfortunately, judging from the way Smallville went, I'm not confident in DC's ability to pull it off. I'd much rather have a well put together 30 min cartoon.

    As for the movies? No! I didn't hate the first one as apparently everyone else did (that's ok, I always go my own way) but has DC learned nothing from Iron Man? You can have movies be fun and lighthearted. GL is not always a property that can do heavy stuff (at least, not without more time to examine things, like comics or tv). It needs to be more like Iron Man and less like the Dark Knight. More like Star Trek 11 or the original Star Wars, not like Star Trek: Nemesis or Star Wars: Prequels.


  3. Is there still a lesbian Catwoman? A gay Archie guy?