Category Archives: Comics

No Superheroes Today; But Some Musings On Gender

I don’t have a post about superheroes chatting it up in a cafe today. The majority of you probably don’t know what I’m talking about, but for the two who do, apologies. Instead, I’d like to link to someone’s breakdown of Iron Man 3 and how its portrayal of Pepper Potts might not be as progressive as in the prior films.

Here’s the link: Is Pepper Potts No Longer the “Damsel in Distress” in ‘Iron Man 3’?

Some points made in the article:

* When Pepper puts on the Iron Man suit, it’s not of her own volition.
* Archvillian Aldrich Killian kidnaps Pepper and ties her up, using her as bait to lure Tony and blackmail him.
*Tony and Killian make all the decisions for Pepper. She doesn’t make any for herself.

Obviously, I’ve condensed the points down to an obscene degree. You’ll want to read the article to get the full gist of what the author is saying. Personally, I think she’s on point with a lot of her criticisms, and it’s a little frustrating that the film kind of backslides from what has been set up before. You get the sense that Pepper is an equal to Tony in every way by The Avengers, but here she’s getting captured and rescued by him and not showcasing any of the agency she was previously given.

Except for a few little moments here and there, which the author points out. Even though Tony rescues her throughout most of the film, she’s the only one who can defeat the villain. And while that doesn’t disappear the tropes she’s mired in throughout the rest of the film, it’s encouraging to see and it tells me that we might be in a transition period of comic book films evolving from a boy’s club to something that both boys and girls can enjoy and be inspired by.

Maybe.

And then there’s good ol’ DC, who hasn’t been able to get any kind of Wonder Woman film or show off the ground. They keep trying, but nothing seems to come of it. Perhaps it’s not only the filmmakers who are to blame and that maybe we as an audience need to start demanding stronger female characters. There’s already a lot of us requesting this, but in the grand scheme of things that might not be enough.

What I’ve Been Up To Lately, Vol. 1

I haven’t been posting a lot on my blog these days other than the 50 Day Movie Challenge prompts, and even then I haven’t been posting those all that regularly. Thought I would buck this trend and start posting about what I’ve been up to lately, whether that be film, television, comics or video games.

Continue reading What I’ve Been Up To Lately, Vol. 1

On Scott Pilgrim vs. The World

I’d like to get a couple of important details squared away with you first before I start rambling about why I think Scott Pilgrim is one of the top mainstream films this year. First of all, I’m a writer. As such, I believe in the story and characters above all else. Things like “who directed it” or “who produced it” or “how it was made” sit on the shelf below. Finally–and this is the most important detail–I’m a video game nerd from 8-bit yesteryear and I digest non-mainstream comics like fifty-nine cent, name-brand mac ‘n cheese; which is to say, I really dig comics. I’m the dorky, indifferent kid that wants “to think about death and get sad and stuff.”

There. I feel like we can proceed.

Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World is awesome, and the hyperbole is well-founded. The film, from beginning to end, is an experience. Every moment oozes with style and is tailored to the “and stuff” generation I subscribe to; 8-bit sound effects run rampant, sound effects are written out comic book style, and characters pull huge fucking hammers out of their satchels.

This is all fine and good, as long as it’s not at the expense of the characters or the story. There have been too many adaptations that have opted for the “look right” option and have totally flubbed on the story front. With Pilgrim, the main characters all have story threads that wrap up nicely by the end credits and title character himself grows from being a kind of “twenty-something asshole” to “not that bad of a guy.” To quote him, “I think I just learned something.” The romantic triangle between him, Ramona and Knives is also very believable and the awkwardness and crushing blow of getting dumped is played out in a way that’s borders on uncomfortably accurate. It’s nice to see the filmmakers keep a good balance between silly romantic cliche and heartfelt character stuff.

The casting for the film didn’t feel wrong, and everyone was able to do their own thing with the characters. Michael Cera, despite his tendency for sameness across his roles, embodies Scott Pilgrim and does the role good. After seeing the film, I’m not sure anyone else could have played that role. One reviewer I read suggested that all his other roles are just training for this, and I can definitely agree with the sentiment.

Perhaps the most memorable role of the film is that of Scott’s roommate Wallace, played by Kieran Culkin. Every scene he is in is gold and I found myself wishing he had had more screen time. Brandon Routh also shines through as Todd Ingram and revels in the delightfully ridiculous role. When I say that I can’t complain about any of the casting choices, I’m being super-vegan serious.

That’s not to say that this film is perfect. It’s not. It’s a niche film tailored to a specific demographic. It’s paced like a video game and it winks at it’s viewers like an epileptic seizure. The characters could be deeper and could have more heart, but that’s not necessarily the point of the story. What you see on the screen is as faithful an adaptation of Bryan Lee O’Malley’s work as anyone could hope to achieve. It’s not going to be Criterion Collection Masterpiece of Nerddom, but it’s most definitely in the top mainstream films of this year and is pretty much THE film of the “and stuff” generation.

I lesbians this film so hard.

oldsmobile

C2E2: Day 3

oldsmobile

The final day for C2E2 arrived quickly and I leapt from my bed with excitement. I was going to try once more to get Jeff Smith’s autograph and make up for some of the fail of the previous day. I threw on two completely different socks and my Sonic hood once again. I shoved my copy of BONE into my book bag and bounded down the stairs of the apartment. Getting into the car, I told Chewie to “punch it.” We did and stopped at the nearby Dunkin Donuts for some breakfast.

I usually never have any problems at that particular chain, but that day seemed to be “mess up everyone’s order” day. After about ten minutes of getting everything straightened out, we were finally on our way down to McCormick place for the last time.

Continue reading C2E2: Day 3

My Feet

C2E2: Day 2

My Feet

I woke up the next day, back in my apartment with a wicked hangover. Whatever happened during the Time Lord Orgy would forever be lost to the ether of drunken stupor. I rubbed the sleep out of my eyes and picked up my phone to see what time it was. Seven in the morning. I checked my alarm to see what time I had set it for and realized I woke up roughly an hour earlier than I had planned. Slowly, I dragged my ass out of bed and made my way to the bathroom to see if I could get some sort of grip on reality.

Looking at myself in the bathroom mirror was a sight to behold. My hair looked like it belonged in an anime, shooting off in every conceivable direction. The light in the bathroom shone too bright, a sure-fire sign that I was in the throes of hangover. My eyes were bloodshot and I felt like my wrists were about to explode Riki-Oh style.

It was time to start C2E2, Day 2.

Continue reading C2E2: Day 2

Twisty Face

C2E2: Day 1

Twisty Face

I arrived at McCormick place from the #3 King Drive bus line. Emerging with me was a fellow in a Green Lantern tee and a guy who reminded me of a once co-worker. All around us there were signs for a kitchen and bath expo aptly named K*BIS. Confused, we made our way to the building and to where we hoped C2E2 might be held. Business executives chain-smoked like it was the end of the world and their faces suggested that they couldn’t give a shit.

Mustering up all the creepy I could find within, I got close to Green Lantern Tee and Once Co-Worker and asked them if they knew where the convention was. Just to throw some humor into the mix, I asked them if they were in fact going to the convention. Once Co-Worker scoffed, said yes and said that his plan was just to go through the K*BIS convention. I liked that plan and followed too closely. Fortunately for them, I backed off when I realized what I was doing.

The convention was nestled away behind the Kitchen and Bath Expo with a bajillion banners proving it. We found ourselves on a walkway over the road which seemed to stretch on for miles. I read each of the marquees above us that encouraged us along our way and that we were “almost there.” One sign even said that The Dark Knight was filmed in Chicago.

Continue reading C2E2: Day 1

Jon on the run!

On New Years Resolutions

Jon on the run!

Last year I wrote up a post about my new years resolutions. Out of the 20 I posted, I ended up completing only one. So this year I decided to re-think the resolution thing and come up with more attainable goals so I feel less pathetic when the 2011 rolls around. Although, I have a feeling that history will repeat itself like it usually does and I’ll be writing a post similar to this one next year. Yay for New Years Resolutions, eh?

Anyway, here’s the list in all it’s listy glory.

  1. Finish a final draft of Year of the Con, my nerdy road-trip comedy.
  2. Acquire an Agent and a Manager to help sell my script and future ones I write.
  3. Complete writing of two web series I want to produce.
  4. Get at least one of the web series produced.
  5. Write a third screenplay.
  6. Get Photoshop CS2 and Flash 8 back on my compruter. Srsly, the newer ones blow.
  7. Write every day.
  8. Find either a better-paying job or a second job.
  9. Start up my old webcomic.
  10. Go to more shows.
  11. Go to a rave.
  12. Go to at least 2 nerdy conventions. Dress up for both of them.
  13. Go to comic con.
  14. Write a sci fi novel.
  15. Complete Script-Frenzy this year and do NaNoWriMo again!
  16. Write a spec script for a sitcom, hour-long drama, procedural, and whatever you call the ooey gooey goodness that’s on HBO and SHOWTIME these days.
  17. More dates. Some blind dates perhaps.
  18. Do one of those speed dating things and have at least as awkward a time as Steve Carrell did in The 40 Year Old Virgin.
  19. Drink more cranberry juice. So delicious.
  20. Get a suit. I’ve got the pants. Just need to get the rest.
  21. Co-write a film script with someone.
  22. Hang out more with friends and be less of an anti-social bitch. God, srsly.
  23. Do two things I would never otherwise do.
  24. Get my toon to level 80. God, srsly. I’m such a terrible nerd.
  25. Visit at least 2 Friendfeed people. ROAD TRIP!
  26. Take Killer (my cat) to the groomer. Be able to afford that.

Here’s to the new year!

I’d Like To Thank The Academy

I had a rather large post written up in textedit about the Oscars and who I thought should win based off the nominations. Truth be told, I haven’t seen any of the films that were nominated this year, with the exception being Wall-E, Iron Man, and The Dark Knight. Therefore, I chucked the post in favor of a shorter one that I think will be just a wee bit more discussion worthy. See, I’ve noticed a lot of backlash about the snubbing of Gotham’s finest hero at the Oscars, and how it should have been nominated for Best Picture and yadda-yadda-yadda. “OMG, Chris Nolan should have been nominated for BEST DIRECTOR EVAR!”

Sigh.

Truth be told, I think The Dark Knight was nominated for everything it deserves. The only makeup worthy of note is the Joker’s. The only performance worthy of note is the Joker’s. There’s no art direction to speak of, and the directing is inconsistent throughout the film. The screenplay is nothing special, and feels particularly bloated with the Hong Kong sequence. Bruce Wayne was not the focus of the film, and because of that, it felt more like “The Joker” than “The Dark Knight.”

Don’t get me wrong. I enjoyed the hell out of The Dark Knight. It’s definitely a favorite of ’08. But Oscar worthy? Bitch plz!

Feel free to try and convince me otherwise, but I hold to the fact that Heath Ledger was the only AMAZING thing in that movie. The rest was WAY below the standard set by Batman Begins.