Archive for January, 2011

DCU Online

Posted: January 31, 2011 in Braak, comic books
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I have started playing DCU Online, which is a massively-multiplayer online role-playing game that takes place in the DC comics universe. So, you make a superhero or a supervillain, and you fly around and start punching people. It’s pretty cool, but there are some caveats.

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Against Purity

Posted: January 27, 2011 in Braak, poetics
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Purity is pretty good for water and I suspect metallurgy, but I’m starting to think that it’s a waste of time when it comes to everything else.

Kurt Busiek recently Twittered (not recently, this essay is from a while ago -ed.), in a conversation with Colleen Coover: A story that readers hate but is in continuity is more valued than a story they’d love that isn’t. On a related note, I got into an argument with a friend of mine that began with a discussion of Whit Anderson’s upcoming re-interpretation of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and somehow segued into a discussion of Sherlock Holmes, and about the purity of interpretation.

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A couple months ago, DC released the first in what will be a series of standalone Superman graphic novels designed for audiences that aren’t steeped in decades of DC continuity or beholden to previous reboots.

They titled this series “Superman: Earth One.” Because when you’re trying to start with a clean slate, it’s best to use a reference to the DC universe’s multiverse structure that only long-time comics fans will pick up on.

This isn’t the least of the book’s problems…but it’s up there. But before I get into the Huge Crushing Issues, I will point out the one thing I really kinda liked about it:

J. Michael Straczynski, freed up from the “standard” continuity, finally gives Krypton something to do.

SPOILERS AHOY

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Amazon.com has declared that Richard Kadrey’s Kill the Dead is one of the ten best SF/Fantasy books of the year.  Pursuant to that, I decided to finally sit down and read Sandman Slim, the precursor to the aforementioned Kill the Dead, and see how it is.  Sandman Slim is fairly good; in case by some mischance you’ve been living in a cave and haven’t encountered it yet, it reads as a mash-up of the (sadly) little-watched TV show Brimstone and the movie Payback (which is one of the best movies that Mel Gibson has made in, oh, let’s say fourteen years?), with some Spenser for Hire and Dresden Files slathered on top.

The supernatural-noir, or supernatural detective fiction subgenre is pretty wildly popular these days (actually, it’s been going strong for several years), and I think it’s a really interesting kind of a splice of genres, so I want to talk about some of the things that I’ve noticed on the subject.

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A less catchy motto, but still pretty good.

One of the more baffling ideas in “The Cape” – the one that makes everyone assume the creators have probably not read a comic ever – is that the hero of the fictional comic has a motto: “One man, one fight, one right.”Which doesn’t actually mean anything, but…hey, “The Cape,” everybody.

I sat on the couch racking my brains trying to think of other heroes who had a well-known motto, let alone a catchphrase encapsulating their views (even as obtusely as The Cape’s). But while it’s not exactly a staple of superhero comics, it’s actually more common than I’d initially thought.

Superman’s got “Fighting for Truth, Justice and the American Way.” And I suppose you could make a case for Batman’s “Criminals are a superstitious and cowardly lot.”

The DC trinity motto is unfortunately rounded out by Wonder Woman’s battle cry… (more…)

The Many Villains of The Cape

Posted: January 20, 2011 in Braak
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I don’t think I’m ever going to stop talking about The Cape.  I don’t know if this should make NBC optimistic for the show’s future — I also don’t think I’m going to buy anything advertised on The Cape — but there it is.

Anyway.  NBC is soliciting fan’s to send in ideas for villains for this show.  Heheheheh.

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With its third episode, The Cape has pretty well established the kind of show it is going to be, so grousing about its relative quality seems to be a waste of time. It is going to be at times silly, at times corny, usually a bit stupid, and most of the time not exactly sensical.

But the sense of whimsy and “Let’s just have a good time, huh folks?” sincerity is hard to ignore.

And occasionally – occasionally – there will be moments where you think, “Wow, they actually did some nice writing there.”  (more…)