Thursday, June 23, 2011

By now you have all read the spate of negative reviews on Green Lantern. Over the past several days I have also heard a lot of comic fans chiming in their disappointment. As with all things reviewable one opinion is as valid as the next. So for all of those who disliked the film, I am here to present the loyal opposition!

For me Green Lantern was a classic Saturday afternoon pop-corn eater. While it certainly was not the Godfather, or even Iron Man, GL was a healthy dose of Sci-Fi Superhero fun. The action was well paced and the cast was likeable.

Most of all, the movie stayed true to the basic character of both Hal Jordan and the Green Lantern Corps.

When DC first revived their Golden Age Superheroes (GL, Flash, Hawkman, Atom etc.) they made a decision to modernize . To revamp the character origins and motivations from a more magic based mythology to something more akin to Science Fiction. Thus The Flash got his speed from a lab accident, The Atom was a scientist who invented a shrink ray, and Hal got his powers from a highly advanced form of technology.

Jordan in particular was modeled after the Mercury Astronauts like John Glenn, Alan Shepard and Gus Grissom as well as the legendary test pilot Chuck Yeager, who was the first man to break the sound barrier. His adventures were hell bent for leather space operas. Along with Mystery In Space, Green Lantern was DC’s most space spanning title.
In this area the film is absolutely faithful to the GL mythology. It’s big…with aliens…and space ships…galaxy spanning fights…and lots of green construct goodness.

Right in the middle of all this is Ryan Reynolds, all thumbs up and envelope pushing in the truest 1960’s NASA tradition. He has that sort of “what the hell” quality that when leavened with the humility and post 80’s angst that we expect in our Superheroes, makes his Hal Jordan accessible to the audience.

Who can complain about any movie that has Kiliwog and Tomar Re, OA and the Guardians, a VERY creepy Hector Hammond and an equally leggy Carol Ferris?

PLUS can anyone say they DIDN’T get just a SMALL lump in their throat when Reynolds says the Oath?!

My only complaint is that we did not get nearly enough Mark strong as Sinestro. He dominated every second he was on the screen. And here is the big weakness of the film. Sinestro is Hal’s arch nemesis, not Parallax. Parallax, quite frankly always struck me as a bit “second tier” in the bad guy department. However, since this was an origin flick, Sinestro is still a Green Lantern and NOT a bad guy.

One can only hope he goes to the “Yellow Side” for any sequel.
Green Lantern may not be The Godfather, or even The Dark Knight, but is sure is a lot of fun and well worth a viewing!

Oh and by the way, make sure to check out the GL ANIMATED SERIES this fall!!

That’s 30!


Thursday, June 16, 2011

The New DCU Line Up!

Well here it is boys and girls! The complete launch list of 52 titles for the coming DC Comics Reboot. It looks like DC will be running up some horror titles in their main line. For the most part horror titles have been regulated to the Vertigo line. This is hardly surprising given the fact that horror and Vampires in particular are enjoying widespread popularity at the moment. I am kind of bummed that Powergirl is noticeably absent. Also no Justice Society, but on the other hand who wouldn’t be excited about Frankenstein Agent Of Shade. I don’t even know what that one is about ! But it SOUNDS cool!!!

While I am going to miss Stephanie Brown as Batgirl and I would have been happier had Superman kept his under ware, I AM going to give this reboot a fair shot and I HOPE that I am blown away by the all new DC comics line.

Action Comics
All-Star Western
Animal Man
Batman and Robin
Batman: The Dark Knight
Birds of Prey
Blue Beetle
Captain Atom
DC Universe Presents
Demon Knights
Detective Comics
Frankenstein, Agent of SHADE
Green Arrow
Green Lantern
Green Lantern Corps
Green Lantern: The New Guardians
Hawk & Dove
I, Vampire
Justice League
Justice League Dark
Justice League International
Legion Lost
Legion of Superheroes
Mister Terrific
Red Hood and the Outlaws
Red Lanterns
Resurrection Man
Sgt. Rock and the Men of War
Static Shock
Suicide Squad
Swamp Thing
Teen Titans
The Flash
The Fury of Firestorm
The Savage Hawkman
Wonder Woman

And for those who have never seen it. This is the opening cinematic from DCU Online. What a movie THIS would make!

That’s 30!

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Some Stuff!

It was with some trepidation that I went to see X-men First Class this past weekend. After the very successful and GOOD X-Men the franchise steadily declined into mediocrity. I’m pleased to say that this movie returns the series to it’s former top flight status.

I realize that purists will have some issues with the way the origin stories and timelines were shuffled around a bit. I won’t deny that the film makers played loose with cannon. But as a MOVIE I thought First Class was entertaining and accessible to audience members that may not be comic book fans. And what can be wrong with that.

In particular I got a big kick out of the not so subtle homage to such early James Bond films as Dr. No, From Russia With Love and Goldfinger! The film being set mostly in 1962 made it a natural for this type of film style. About the only thing missing was opening “Bond credits” with a hit song and an Aston Martin for Professor X to drive. I was not surprised to see that the film was shot at Pinewood, the home of Bond. In fact I would be delighted to see Michael Fassberger take up the mantle of 007 after Daniel Craig is through with it! Not only did he do a great job as Magneto, Fassberger is a legit action/adventure type in the mold of Matt Damon. James McAvoy was spot on as Charles and Jennifer Laurence was surprisingly touching as Raven.

Kevin Bacon was an interesting choice for Sebastian Shaw and I thought he carried it off quite well. Bacon is a tremendously talented actor and added a lot of nuance to what could have been just another two dimensional villain.

There were some great cameos for long time fans but I won’t spoil that for those who have not seen it yet.

So DC is rebooting their entire line. I am never opposed to a reboot! Cleaning cannon every now and then allows new readers to come in and not have to pick up on a decade or more of back story. It doesn’t render previous stories invalid. It just allows for a fresh take on familiar characters.

Having said that I AM a bit concerned over Barbara Gordon taking up the Batgirl mantle again. Not because I did not enjoy her in that role. It is just that ORACLE is such an important character on so many levels that I have to wonder if we won’t ultimately lose more than we gain by this. Watching Barbara overcome her paralysis to become such an integral figure in the DCU has allowed her to grow into, perhaps, THE preeminent hero in comics. Batgirl has, after all, always been a secondary character. Sort of the utility infielder of the Batman family. I just wonder if she isn’t being demoted here. PLUS I think Spethanie Brown is just great as Batgirl!
Well…as with all things new, I’ll wait to see how they execute this change before passing judgment.

James Arness, known to generations of fans as Matt Dillon from the classic TV series Gunsmoke, passed away at age 88 of natural causes. Arness was well known to Sci-Fi fans as the creature in the Howard Hawks Classic “The Thing From Another World” and also from the post atomic “Them!”.
Arness portrayal of Matt Dillon cemented the iconic square jawed Western hero in the American TV audience consciousness just as John Wayne had done for movie goers. In fact the opening of the very first episode of Gunsmoke was introduced by “the Duke” in which he predicted that Arness and the show would be a success.
How right he was. Gunsmoke ran from 1955 through 1975 and an incredible 635 episodes and James Arness was recently voted #6 in the top 100 all time TV heroes.

That’s 30!


Sunday, June 5, 2011

Since I Haven't Done A Gellery For A While....

Since I haven't posted a gallery in a bit I thought I'd share some new Tomb Of Dracula Slabs including a #1! And also a really nice VF copy of Archie #45! Golden Age Archies in higher grades are VERY hard to come by so if you have ANY high grade Archies from the 1940's, 50's or 60's HOLD ON TO THEM! (And also shoot a scan to CBJ or and we'll include them in future galleries!

Oh and here is an unsollicited plug...RUN! Don't walk!!! Go See X Men First Class NOW!!! STAT!!! IMMEDIATELY IF NOT SOONER!

(OK I liked it!)

That's 30!


Thursday, June 2, 2011

Simply The Best

When you go to the Comic Book Jones Website you might notice the small blurb that says the store was voted #1 by Dark Horse fans. You may also be aware that the store is up for ANOTHER very prestigious award, the Will Eisner Spirit of Comics Retailer Award. Heady stuff indeed!

So what does this all mean? Well these awards are driven by customer nominations and THAT means people are taking time to communicate to the comics community that CBJ is a pretty special place!

Now I will admit that I just MIGHT be a bit biased…(I can tell you’re shocked!) but I concur, Comic Book Jones IS a pretty special place.

Now before I expound further let me point out to those who don’t know. Even though I have been penning this column for some time I am not employed by CBJ, I related to any of the staff, nor has anyone from CBJ bailed me out of jail…recently. I’m a customer just like most of you reading this. I just happen to be a customer who likes to shoot off his (virtual) mouth on any number of subjects, so my opinions are my own! Add to that my basically misanthropic nature and getting compliments out of me is sort of like pulling adamantium from a stone!! I mean I’m the guy who said of Sinatra “nice voice but needs some seasoning!”.

Now that my disclaimer is finished...

What makes a comic store a special place to visit? I mean aside from the fact that most, if not all comic stores are stuffed with all sorts of fascinating items. These days you can buy just about anything you want with a mouse click and there are thousands of specialty shops to choose from, (Staten Island has at least three that I know of) that all have more or less the same items. So unless you happen to live within walking distance of a particular store, why pick one over another? Only one reason that I can think of…

The people.

Comic Book Jones has some pretty amazing people. The people who work there…the people who shop there…the wonderful gifted creators who visit there on a very regular basis…all of them (you) are the reason why people come to CBJ and why the store is so widely regarded as special.

It must have been only a few months after Comic Book Jones first opened that I decided to give it a try. I live in Tottenville and had been shopping at a store elsewhere on Staten island, about the same distance from my house as CBJ. On a whim I decided to give this new place a try. I figured if I didn’t like the place I could always go back to the other joint!

On my first visit I was hooked. Not by the merchandise but by the atmosphere. From day one I was met by people who actually SMILED, who took the time to chat, to know MY name…in short where I was treated more as a FRIEND than as a customer. Nor was I any exception. I quickly saw that the staff treated EVERYONE that way. In fact the FIRST thing Socko asked me after getting my name was if I wanted a cup of coffee! You see there is always a pot of fresh hot Joe for the asking. There are also chairs and couches where customers are ENCOURAGED to sit down and BROWSE. I talked comics and the hobby with the staff and some of the customers in the store for over an hour before I even began shopping! By the end of that first visit I felt as if I had been there for years. Now here is the thing that really sets CBJ aside…when I returned a week later no one had to ask my name or what I might be interested in reading. Socko, Tiger, Waffle…ALL of the staff remembered. The reason they remembered was that they all took the time to actually listen the week before. I can’t tell you how rare that is. And how welcoming. One week in and I was part of the “family”.
Over time I became more interwoven in the community of CBJ and Socko and Tiger asked me if I might like to write an occasional column for the site. They know a HAM when they see one but I think they got more than they bargained for! I think I’ve written over a hundred of these now! (can’t get me to shut up!) And never once was I asked to modify an opinion or change a word. That’s pretty special treatment let me tell you.

Now there was anything wrong with the other joint. It is a nice store and the people are polite. But that’s about it. No reason NOT to shop there, but no reason to go to VISIT. CBJ gives you a reason to visit. It’s not the events (though they are GREAT), not the books or statues or toys…

It’s a cup of coffee on a Saturday when you aren’t even shopping…it’s a long conversation with people who you never met but just happen to be in the store…it’s Gore taking the time to suggest a book you MIGHT like…it’s Waffle putting a variant on the side because he knows you will like it…it’s Tiger who is the may just be a bigger Yankee fan than I am…it’s Socko who absolutely MELTS when he gets around small children…and everyone who I failed to mention but who make coming into CBJ one of the best parts of my week.

It’s people

Onward to San Diego!

That’s 30!