Archive for October, 2012

So apparently now that Warner Bros. doesn’t need to worry about how much of Superman it actually owns, they’re gonna go ahead and just make a Justice League movie next year, to be released against Avengers in summer 2015 – though that’s a hell of a turnaround time, considering they don’t have a cast or director in place.

It’s also comically, stubbornly refusing the Avengers individual-films-then-an-all-star-jamboree model of franchising. Instead Warner Bros. is banking on the idea that it can introduce a bunch of characters in Justice League, then spin them off into their own franchises.

And look, this does sound incredibly hubristic, but if you’d have asked me five years ago if Avengers would have been successful…well, I’d have still been too thrown by the notion that people went to see a Thor movie to even field the question posed to me. So it’s not impossible, just…a daunting task, I suppose is the most diplomatic way to put it.

But unless they think they’re going to revive the Green Lantern franchise, this is not likely to pay off as expansively as Warner Bros. probably hopes.

I mean, look at it this way, the line-up is most likely going to be:  (more…)

Toxic Atheism Drives People Apart,” says the headline, which is about as banal a headline as a person could muster. Couldn’t you say that Toxic Christianity Drives People Apart? Toxic Waste is Bad For Your Health. Toxic Apples Will Give You a Stomach Ache. Yes, duh, that’s why we call it “toxic”. Thanks, hoss. It beggars belief that anyone is going to write an article, much less a book, exploring the intricacies of the circular argument, and let’s be honest, you write for a newspaper or some such, maybe you don’t always pick your own headlines (I know that at io9 they [rightly] NEVER let me pick my own headlines). Let’s take a minute then, and try to see what Chris Stedman is getting at. Sure, the headline makes me grit my teeth, but surely this isn’t going to be the sort of thing that’s really just a long list of cherry-picked and false comparisons, standing in against an argument that no one seriously makes, just generally a general clouding of the discourse by someone unwiling to make an actual argument, someone who’s really just worried about how much people are shouting at each other.

Surely not.

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Yeah, I know.  This is a real thing, anyway, and the number one reason that I’m working on it is that hardly anyone every invites me to direct (and by “hardly anyone” I mean “no one”), so I am going to take the opportunities that come my way.  But despite my base craving for acclaim and attention, I was still hesitant to touch this one with anything short of a very long pole, and so sat down and did some soul-searching, trying to reason my way through it.  This is what I came up with.

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Experiments with Slideshow.  I wish I could tinker with it so the change wasn’t a fade, but what can you do?

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Batwoman Vol. 1: Hydrology remains a frustrating read for me because it’s nowhere near as fun as it should be when you look at the parts making up its whole:

  • It is drawn by J.H. Williams…
  • Starring a lesbian punkabilly socialite with military training who runs her Batwoman operations as combat missions with the help of her version of Alfred, her army colonel father…
  • Missions that usually involve monster-men, ghost-ladies, the Religion of Crime and an Alice-in-Wonderland themed crazy who is actually Batwoman’s presumed-dead twin…
  • While trying to evade the eyes of the Department of Extranormal Operations, which is headed by a skeleton in a suit who smokes cigars.

Honestly, how is this thing not better?  (more…)

I want to write about this article, I guess you should probably read it.  I thought I’d gotten it all out on Facebook, but no, Eben Alexander is actually STILL making me mad, and I don’t know, I guess I’ve got more nattering to do.  I have some things to say, first about atheism, the second about why this article pisses me off so much.  (Spoiler Alert:  It’s NOT because I hate religion and think religious experience is a load of malarkey.)

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The Arrow pilot wasn’t bad, but then, considering it was essentially a mash-up of the first half of Batman Begins (playboy comes back from traumatic adventure abroad with new skill set and objectives, while maintaining playboy persona) with the pilot for REVEEEEENNNNNNGGGGEEE!!!! (socialite with secret plans to upset corrupt order butts up against plotting and fiendish rich people), it was a pretty easy formula to stick.

And yes, I’m kind of partial to Green Arrow, though mostly as a featured character on Justice League Unlimited and the urban hunter period from the late 80’s. Stephen Amell doesn’t get a lot to do to show off, actor-wise, but he manages to switch from “scary and spookily calm” to “vapid party-boy” pretty nicely.

Mostly, though, I like the interpretation of the Oliver Queen character so far: a blend of his early Batman-knockoff days (the playboy-adventurer), the leftie man of the people (Oliver’s plans are a response to Starling City’s depression), the Grell hunter period and even the Andy Diggle Year One miniseries.

And from an overall standpoint, the tone manages to be serious and action-focused without becoming too dour or embarrassed by its comics routes, and not overly stylized to point of becoming distracting.

So yes, “Secret leftie parkour vigilante playboy fights corrupt businessmen, drug kingpins, poverty and his asshole family” probably has some legs, and I’m hoping the next episode is as solid as this one was.

THAT SAID. I have some concerns and complaints, which I will list thusly in no particular order:  (more…)

J. C. Watts once pretty accurately described “character” as “what you do when nobody’s looking.”  In his new novel, The Last Policeman, Ben Winters makes the equally compelling argument that it’s what you do when doing it doesn’t matter.

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It’s certainly possible that he’s a malicious and cynical liar, but I don’t think it could be true that he’s JUST malicious and cynical, as even someone completely disinterested in truth would probably do a better job of framing his arguments.  Say what you like about William F. Buckley, for instance, but at least he didn’t usually sound like an idiot.  Whether Gregory Kane is a complete bonehead, or just mostly a bonehead and otherwise a cynic, it’s pretty clear that the quality of “boneheadedness” is a central element in his analysis.

Let me explain.

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Every once in a while, something like this will percolate through my Twitter feed, a blog post like this one by Patrick Rothfuss where he tries to square up his notions of feminism with some stuff that he’s said in the past.  And because I’m interested in the subject, I read it, and because I’m an insufferable know-it-all, I’m about to sound off on it.

The truth is, I’ve got a little bit of sympathy for Rothfuss, here.

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