Musings on the Most Ridiculous Band I Can't Stop Listening To

Tag: marvel comics (Page 1 of 2)

Uberhensch

ZOOM NOTIFICATION NOISE

“Stan!”

“Big Al!”

“Been a while, man. Nice to hear from you. Looking good.”

“You, too! Didn’t you used to have ears?”

“I did. Got rid of ’em.”

“Okay. Any particular reason?”

“It was enough already.”

“Gotcha, sure.”

“So, anyhoo…I’m not just calling to catch up.”

“Oh, no. What happened?”

“Fuckin’ Luthor laid us all off. And not just the henchmen. The goons, the mad lab technicians, the half-things.”

“Half-things?”

“Man-tigers. Tiger-men. Kangaroo crossed with a duck. The place was lousy with half-things.”

“Weird. But, oh man, I’m sorry. I thought LexCorp got a huge PPP loan.”

“Yeah, they did.”

“And?”

“Lex stole it all.”

“Makes sense.”

“In hindsight, we should’ve seen it coming.”

“Sure.”

“Anyone hiring?”

“It’s rough out here, man. The ronus is kicking our asses like no hero ever could. Riddler let his entire crew go.”

“Even Rodrigo?”

“Yup.”

“They dated for years!”

“Love doesn’t buy question mark-emblazoned bodysuits, man.”

“Too true.”

“Joker needs guys.”

“Nuh-uh. I’m looking for my next job, not my last job.”

“He doesn’t always murder his henchmen.”

“No, sometimes he lets Batman have the honor. I’m not henchmanning for the Joker.”

“I don’t know what to tell you. The pandemic is just laying waste to the below-the-line villain industry.”

“For every bad guy, there’s a dozen hard-working union members setting up his death traps, scouting out locations, making sure his precious mango-lingonberry smoothie was the right temperature.”

“I’ve never had a lingonberry.”

“You’re not missing much.”

“What about Stilt-Man?”

“Oh, I’m not at the ‘Working For Stilt-Man’ phase quite yet.”

“Work is work.”

“Is it?”

“Okay, okay. No Stilt-Man. Penguin might be looking.”

“What’s the dress code like over there nowadays?”

“Everyone’s back in the penguin getups.”

“Pass.”

“You’re awful picky for a guy with no job.”

“We both know that he dresses his henchmen like that for sex reasons.”

“He’s flirty.”

“Pass.”

“The whole Goblin organization is looking. Green Goblin, Hobgoblin, Demogoblin. They all need guys.”

“All of ’em?”

“There was an all-hands meeting right at the start of the Covid thing.”

“And? Did everyone get sick?”

“Demogoblin ate everybody.”

“That’s why I stay away from that occult shit. Gimme a guy with a gimmick and a grudge who wants to rob banks any day, thank you. What about Doc Ock?”

“Gone legit.”

“You’re shitting me.”

“He’s all-in on BitCoin.”

“I thought you said he went legit.”

“Nicely done.”

“You served it up so well. But, yeah, Ock doesn’t need henchmen right now, he needs coders. You know Python?”

“I worked for the Serpent Society for a while.”

“No, Python the computer language.”

“Language? Great, now even the computers don’t speak English.”

“Times, changing, etc.”

“Christ, I’m screwed. You know me, Stan: I’m a henchman. I’m a fucking great henchman. Y’know what I do? I make the Star look good. And I make him feel good. I complement, and I compliment.”

“You’re one of the greats, Big Al.”

“One thing I can is hench.”

“No one says different. Listen, I did hear about this one opening, but I was a little hesitant to bring it up.”

“I’m two minutes from asking you for Stilt-Man’s number. Bring it up.”

“Red Skull needs a guy.”

“The Nazi thing isn’t just schtick with him, is it?”

“Not at all. Card-carrying member of the Nazi Party. There’s an actual card. He showed it to me once.”

“He’s still better than Stilt-Man.”

“I’ll text you his number.”

The Marvel Cinematic Universe: A Catch-Up, Volume 2

There’s revenge, which is for middle-aged white men in action films, and there’s testevengeria, which was when the Pope would dip his balls into hot wax to seal especially important documents, and don’t forget stonevenge, which is like Stonehenge but not quite. And then we have avenging; such behavior requires a super-suit and great hair. Assembling is also required.

AVENGERS: AGE OF ULTRON (2015) You don’t mind that I bailed on the intro, do you? We all know what what’s happening here, and I won’t slow the class down for latecomers. Besides, it’s Part 2. We’re talking about Marvel movies, so naturally we’re dealing with sequels. Would you have me do a catch-up of the catch-up? Fuck that, Charlie. Not on my watch.

Anyway, A:AoU is one of the more maligned Marvel Comicbookmovie Universe films, and rightly so: it’s bloated and patched together and we’re forced to spend twenty minutes doing chores on Hawkeye’s farm. But it does have this scene:

Which My Dinner With Andre did not.

ANT-MAN (2015) Alligators sun themselves in the mornings. Soak up them rays, heat up that blood. If it’s the right time of year, maybe they do some fucking. Middle of the afternoon, slide back into the water. Turn back around, face the land, keep them eyes peeled. If food comes around, maybe they eat.

Human beings make Ant-Man.

CAPTAIN AMERICA: CIVIL WAR (2016) The dirty secret of comic books is that there’s, like, half-a-dozen decent villains. Doctor Doom, Lex Luthor, Magneto, Joker. All the rest are jobbers. What the fans really want is to watch the heroes punch each other. DC tried it with Batman v. Superman, and Marvel laughed and lit cigars with million-dollar bills and flopped CA: CW onto the table; it landed with a meaty THWAMP.

“Oh, you have one superhero fighting another? Wow. HOW ABOUT EVERYONE FIGHTS EVERYBODY?”

When I was a kid, I would buy (or, more correctly, hassle my mom into purchasing for me) every Marvel action figure they made. First, when I was very young, were Megos.

The bodies were made of molded plastic and were held together by a rubber band; the heads were cheap vinyl. The boots were removable, as was the costume, so you could gang-bang ’em with the Barbies your cousin would bring over. This was Falcon, and he was my favorite. He had wings.

Then, in 1984, Marvel did a big crossover event called Secret Wars. All the big heroes and villains were transported to someplace called Battleworld–gosh, they put so much thought into it–where a nigh-omnipotent being called The Beyonder forced them to fight. The entire reason for the story was that Marvel had signed a deal with Mattel to produce a line of toys and needed a hook.

I didn’t give a shit; I bought every one from Silverman’s Stationery right there on Livingston Avenue.

It is difficult to overstate the shittiness of these figures.

This photo is a lie: the moment you removed the toy from the packaging, the paint would begin to rub off.  And it’s tough to see, but Doctor Doom is wearing a bride’s garter. Keep your fetishes in Latveria, Doom.

BUT this is all there was. No super-realistic, 95-points of articulation, computer-produced “collectibles” back in 1984. Your toys had five points of articulation and clip-on claws that you lost almost immediately and they wouldn’t stand up on their own. It was fine. You laid on the floor and smashed them into each other.

And that’s what the Reagan Years were like, kids.

DOCTOR STRANGE (2016)

  • Professor Oogie-Boogie.
  • Alistair Unexpected Outcome-Smythe, Lecturer-In-Residence
  • Dean Jennifer R. Peculiar (Emeritus)

GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY VOL. 2

For your pleasure and edification, TotD now humbly presents a fluffy piece of nonce entitled Hodor And Groot Borrow A Book From The Unseen University Library. Enjoy!

“Hodor.”

“I am Groot.”

“Ook.”

“Hodor.”

“I am Groot.”

“Ook.”

“Hodor.”

“I am Groot.”

“Ook.”

We thank you for your patronage.

SPIDER-MAN: HOMECOMING (2017) Holy shit, I love this movie so much. I would be in an abusive relationship with this movie. Emotional abuse, physical, whatever. Just stay. Don’t leave me, Spider-Man: Homecoming. You’re the only Spider-Man movie that’s any good. I’ve been with the other Spidey films, and none of them will shut the fuck up about dead uncles and Peter’s sex life. They’re not the films for me, SM: HC. I’ll never testify against you, baby.

THOR: RAGNAROK (2017) Holy shit, I might like this one even better. Thor: Ragnarok is the apotheosis of comic book movies because it is, above all, fun. It’s about a giant lummox with a hammer, who–along with his pet gorilla–fights a goth chick and a giant dog. Along the way, he and his rough trade brother visit an orgy planet. FUN.

Stop brooding, the lot of you. Oh, boo-hoo, Steve. You were trapped in ice and now your boyfriend is a Soviet assassin? Get over it. Is your boyfriend a robot, Wanda? Deal with it. Look at Ant-Man. See how he’s happy-go-lucky? Be more like Ant-Man, and stop staring into the middle distance.

BLACK PANTHER (2018) About an hour into Black Panther, I thought to myself, “Man, I haven’t seen anyone on the screen who looks like me in twenty minOOOOOHHHHHHnowIgetit.” So I get the representation angle.

(Although there aren’t any Jewish superheroes, at least not definitely. Ant-Man’s name is Scott Lang, so he might be a Jew, but none of the other heroes are Hebrews, and that’s bullshit. We really do live in Trump’s America.)

The movie, however, was fine. The movie, not the cultural bullshit surrounding it, just the text: it was fine. Effects were janky. Forest Whitaker’s eyeball was sloppy. There should be a Constitutional amendment banning kid genius characters. Also, “panthers” aren’t really a thing. Panthers aren’t their own species of big cat, just jaguars or leopards with melanism.

This world is made of lies.

AVENGERS: INFINITY WAR (2018) 

  • Space Stone (blue): Refills any beverage the wearer is drinking, automatically and for free.
  • Mind Stone (yellow): May or may not make squirrels nervous.
  • Reality Stone (red): Name is misspelled; the gem is actually the Realty Stone, and it can find you a two-bedroom in a great neighborhood.
  • Power Stone (purple): Summons the ghost of Prince.
  • Time Stone (green): Summons the ghost of Morris Day and /or Jerome.
  • Soul Stone (orange): No parking tickets, ever.

ANT-MAN AND THE WASP (2018) Only thing in the world that don’t take shit is an asshole. You remember that, boy. Now go fetch up your momma and tell her t’ bring the shovel. We got another one t’ bury.

CAPTAIN MARVEL (2019)  Ladies can’t be superheroes; they’ll menstruate on the capes.

That’s how you’re wrapping it up?

I grow weary.

We all do, pal.

The Marvel Cinematic Universe, A Catch-Up

The game, Enthusiasts, is ending. Did you know this? Have you been made aware of the current contestation’s cessation? Lawn Boy is ongoing, but not this game, nosiree. Another match shall begin at the precise moment of this one’s finale, but that’s not important: this game is ending.

I speak, of course, of the upcoming film Avengers: Choke On It, Thickies. Our favorite Marvel heroes are back to battle, once again, Thanos the Mad Titan, who has a giant purple cock and an idiosyncratic definition of the word “sustainability.” Thanos also has a gauntlet, which is like a glove that fucks.

You gonna be unpleasant and sexual this whole post?

Yup.

Sally forth, then.

Now, none of this will make a lick of sense unless you’ve seen all the previous Marvel films; there are 21 in the series, and all of them lead up to this installment. (Now called an “extended universe,” older Enthusiasts will recognize this strategy from soap operas.) Because I love you–and can’t bear to write any political bullshit–I will catch you up on the MCU, film by film. We begin with:

IRON MAN (2008) The first, and still probably best, of the Marvel Cryptofascist Universe movies, Iron Man concerns an abdominally-superior dunce who invents a world-changing piece of magical bullshit, and then proceeds to use it to punch people, specifically someone who has stolen the magical bullshit. (Those of you who have seen the MCU movies will recognize this as the plot to a full quarter of the canon.)

THE INCREDIBLE HULK (2008) The Incredible Hulk is the Tiffany Trump of the MCU: it mostly doesn’t exist, and no one loves it. Edward Norton made a decent Bruce Banner, but he couldn’t stop himself from pulling his usual “I went to Yale” stunts and demanding to rewrite the script, re-cut the flick, whatnot, and so he got fired and now tends a lighthouse in Nova Scotia.

IRON MAN 2 (2010) Iron Man 2 is generally regarded as the worst of the Iron Man trilogy, and one of the worst of the entire MCU; this is because most people are dullards. IM2 is secretly the most entertaining of all 20 films. Allow me to list its attributes:

  • Mickey Rourke and that slushy, lippy nonsense he called a Russian accent.
  • Iron Man–who, I will remind you, is Iron Man–fistfights a man with two super-bullwhips; it’s pretty much a draw. (This is a common trope in the MCU: characters are precisely as strong as the script needs them to be at that moment, and not a titch stronger.)
  • Sam.
  • Fucking.
  • Rockwell.
  • Stand up, Jean-Louise.
  • Your daddy’s passing.
  • SAM FUCKING ROCKWELL.
  • And the black Sam Rockwell, Don Cheadle.
  • (You never realized that Don Cheadle was the black Sam Rockwell, did you? And now you’ll never be able to get it out of your head.)
  • Extended shot of Tony peeing in the armor.
  • The most gratuitous cheesecake-y/male gaze-y portrayal of a female character in the MCU’s history: Scarlet Johansson’s Black Widow, who–in her debut appearance–displays the following qualities:
    • She has an ass which is the shape of an upside-down heart, and looks as though it would be firm yet giving to the touch.
    • Titties.
    • High heels.
    • When threatened, she launches herself vagina-first at her assailants.
  • And that’s pretty much it.
  • Plus, Garry Shandling is in it, and he was wonderful, and it is not fair that Garry Shandling is dead and [HATED CELEBRITY] is still alive.
  • This is Mad Libs now?
  • It’s all Mad Libs.
  • Maaaaaaaaaaan.
  • Simpleton.

THOR (2011) The Greek gods were in Marvel Comics, and the Romans’, too–both Hercules and Ares have been Avengers–but the Norse pantheon was always on top at Mighty Marvel. Stan Lee said that it was his idea to feature the Asgardians; Jack Kirby said the exact same thing. However the origin, Odin and his kingdom have always dominated the Marvel Universe.

The Eddas were written to be plundered by comic book hacks, seemingly: there are bands of brave warriors, and lands of the dead, and evil wolfs. In addition, there was a large man with a giant hammer who occasionally turned into a frog. The large man had a weaselly brother, who was secretly a snowmonster. This is comic book gold, Enthusiasts.

At first, Thor was a much more typical superhero: he had an alter-ego, Dr. Donald Blake. Allfather Odin, you see, had grown tired of Thor’s arrogance. (Tamed down for the comics: in the Eddas, the God of Thunder was a bully who only took a break from raping humans to murder dwarfs; Marvel Thor was just kind of a blustery douche.) So he trapped Thor within the body of Dr. Donald Blake, but he could tap his walking stick against the ground to summon the Mighty Thor, which isn’t much of a punishment, really. It’s like being grounded, but only when you’re sleeping.

Eventually, the Blake conceit was dropped in favor of letting Thor be Thor and making Asgard great again. Over the years, Thor has been: a lady, a guy named Eric, the aforementioned frog, an alien horsemonster, and a specific frequency of violet.

In 2011, a motion picture was produced featuring the characters from the Thor comic books; it starred a slab of cock-steak named Chris and Kat Dennings. The film also introduced Tom Hiddleston’s ambiguous sexuality as Loki and was, for some reason, directed by Kenneth Branagh. (Sir Kenny is one of any number of actors in the MCU who are–officially and objectively–Too Good For This Shit. Glenn Close comes to mind.)

CAPTAIN AMERICA: THE FIRST AVENGER (2011) More like Captain Colonialism, amiright? Who’s the REAL Nazi here?

MARVEL’S THE AVENGERS (2012) The Tesseract. It’s a box. It’s magical bullshit: a macguffin that produces zero-point energy. But it looks like a box. Small box. Wouldn’t be of any use when moving house. You could keep jewelry in it, maybe. That’s the size of the box, and it glows. Thanos–you remember Thanos; he’s got a purple dick–wants the box, so he sends Loki to chew on the scenery and wear elaborate headpieces at the problem.

“Loki, you will fetch for me the Tesseract.”

“Yes, great one. I will use my stealthy magicks.”

“Oh, no, no. Frontal assault right up Fifth Avenue.”

“What now?”

“Let’s send a whole army of dickfaced goblins in the middle of the day.”

“I could…I could just yoink it. All of my powers are based around trickery. Lemme steal the thing.”

“Nope! Dragons up Broadway!”

Which was good thinking on Thanos’ part, if only on a dramatic level. Loki PWOPPING into existence from a Dark Dimension, slipping the Tesseract into his coat, and PWOPPING back into nothingness is not enough material for a two-hour action movie.

Anyhow, the Tesseract was really an Infinity Stone. Ain’t that always the way?

IRON MAN 3 (2013) The Avengers also introduced Hawkeye, who had a bow and arrow the first time we met him, and still has a bow and arrow despite, you know, knowing Tony Stark. Me? I ask my buddy Tony to build me a suit, but Clint is sticking with the good ol’ compound bow.

THOR 2: THE DARK WORLD (2013) Among the many challenges of translating the Thor comics onto the screen was the Asgardians’ habit of speaking in dog Elizabethan. It’s kind of Shakespeare, but not really; it’s shaky Shakespeare. There’s a lotta “thy” and “thine” and “Doth mine eyes betray me?” On any given day in Asgard, you have a 50% chance of being called a varlet or a cur.

This is tricky to portray in live action. The first two Thor pictures did it too much, but Ragnarok just let everyone be posh and British, and that was better.

Fun fact: This is the only Marvel film I’ve never seen all the way through, and that is because it is lousy. You got some evil elfs or dwarfs or whoever, and they want something called the Aether, which I always misheard as “ether” and thought they wanted to have a gas party. They didn’t, though. That might have been entertaining.

Fucked-up fact: once again, Thor chooses Natalie Portman over Kat Dennings, and that’s why we can’t have nice things. It wouldn’t even work, physically: Thor would break Natalie Portman. He would split that shit in two. Natalie Portman couldn’t handle the hammer. Kat Dennings, though? She’s got the base. She’s got the sturdy base, and–far more importantly–she’s got the mindset. The woman wants to win. Can’t teach that.

CAPTAIN AMERICA: THE WINTER SOLDIER (2014) Cap’s dick must have grown, too, right? When Dr. Erskine and Howard Stark gave him Super-Soldier Serum, he got a foot taller and a hundred pounds muscle-ier. One would assume his shwanz kept up with the rest of him, so it’s weird that he didn’t spend the majority of his first film playing with his new super-dong. That’s what I would have done, honestly.

This film introduces Sam Wilson, also known as the Falcon, who–along with Hawkeye–stretches the definition of the word “superhero” until it loses all meaning. He’s got a magic backpack. And goggle, I guess, but it’s mostly the backpack. Wings come out of it, thus enabling him to fly. While aloft, Sam shoots people and aliens and spacedogs with uzis.

We can draw two conclusions.

ONE: If you steal the magic backpack, you get to be an Avenger. Those are the rules; I didn’t make ’em up.

TWO: Yet again, we see Tony Stark’s reckless disregard for his teammates’ safety. How tough is Everybody who doesn’t have superpowers gets a suit? Just give ’em your hand-me-downs, Tony. Because one guy’s got a bow and arrow, and the other has flappy wings, and neither of those is going to help when Galactus comes calling in a few years.

GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY (2014) Pardon my authenticity, but I was into Rocket Raccoon before anyone. See this shit?

This shit was the shit, yo. I had this particular issue and read it to shreds; it was operatically dumb, and therefore thrilled me.

(One of the recurring motifs in the Hulk’s life has been getting zipzapped into other dimensions or galaxies. Sometimes it happens by magic, and other times Reed Richards and Tony Stark give him the ol’ B.A. Baracus treatment. Here, he had been exiled to someplace called Halfworld, which was inhabited by intelligent animals; adventures and punching ensued.)

Sleepy, So sleepy, and hungry, too.

Hit the sack, champ. Part two tomorrow.

Yay, a reason to live.

Pack Up The Soapbox

Stan Lee taught me how to read. Not personally. He didn’t come to the house with a hornbook or anything. But he wrote “With great power comes great responsibility,” and “Petey, eat your wheatcakes,” and “UNCLE BEN! NOOOOOOO!” and that was my very first education. Spider-Man comics. Alexander the Great had Aristotle as a tutor, but I had Peter Parker stashed in milk crates under my bed. My mother deciphered the squiggles for me, or maybe just underlined the words with her finger as she read them to me. The precisities of my mother’s pedagogical methods are not known to historians. Then Stan took over. He had words, oh such words. Zounds and forsooth and uncanny and hero and villain and neighborhood. Super fucking words, True Believer.

He wasn’t perfect–he was a vain, gullible, credit-stealing, gloryhound–but neither are you and you didn’t create the Fantastic Four. Or name the Hulk. And you certainly didn’t teach me to read. ‘Nuff said.

 

EDITOR’S NOTE: That’s Stan the Man in the monitor in the above page; this is from 1978’s Marvel Team-Up #74 and Spidey is “teaming up” with the Not Ready For Prime-Time Players while Stan hosts the show. I swear.

Marvel Team-Up, hereafter known as MTU, was Spidey’s second book. Until Wolverine showed up, Spidey was the most popular of the Marvel characters, and so he got two titles. Marvel used MTU to introduce new heroes or reintroduce forgotten ones, and workshop new bad guys. The guests varied wildly: sometimes Peter would run into Thor or the Black Panther, and other times he would fight Frankenstein’s Monster. I swear.

I need you to stop doubting me when I tell you that comic books are dumb. I feel like I offer you a piece of evidence, and you refuse it, even though I’ve proven myself correct time and time again while speaking on this particular subject. You must not take my word on medicine, or politics, or business, or love, but I am a goddamned expert in the subject of “How dumb superhero comics are.” Please stop resisting me on this. LISTEN TO ME, FUCKERS.

That escalated. Stop it immediately.

I can’t help it, man. I’m all about consent. And I want the Enthusiasts to consent to me. I need them to, really. How do I make them consent?

We’re going to have another HR meeting if you keep this up.

CONSENT TO ME, FUCKERS.

Just show the nice people what kind of pickle our friendly neighborhood wallcrawler has gotten himself into.

Okay.

They always left Spider-Man’s mask on when they shackled him to the spagmoidinizer.

I wasn’t kidding. Look at these scrubs Spidey has to deal with:

Points for “Tatterdemalion,” Marvel. That is a good word and an even better bad guy name. Points off for literally everything else. For God’s sake, the man has been an Avenger, and now he’s gotta hang out with poorly-drawn werewolfs in a sewer? Oh, and that character’s name isn’t “Werewolf,” it’s “Werewolf By Night,” which you shouldn’t think about too much, or at all. That’s not water. It’s effluvia. Spidey made out with Kirsten Dunst and Emma Stone, but now he’s up to his spider-balls in shit soup. It’s not right to do to a man.

At least that’s the last time Peter will have to deal with werewolfs.

I should have been more specific.

(Oh, the Man-Wolf? That’s J. Jonah Jameson’s son, John. John was an astronaut, and he went to the moon. While there, he saw a glowing rock and picked it up. The rock, naturally, turned him into a Man-Wolf. How many times do I have to tell you that comics are dumb?)

Anyway, back to the dead guy. Peter and Mary Jane Watson score tickets to Saturday Night Live, hosted by Stan Lee because Marvel Comics exists within Marvel comics. In the fictional universe that the heroes punch one another in, there is a company called Marvel that publishes comic books starring the heroes from that reality. There’s a Captain America comic book in the reality where Captain America’s real. In fact, Captain America once drew his own comic book. Don’t think about that.

Stan Lee does a monologue–he is drawn as elaborately coiffed, lean, and dapper–and makes several jokes about meeting with The Thing. It is at this point that one could begin pointing out logical inconsistencies like that tiresome fellow on YouTube who notices errors in films, but one could also remember that this is a story in which John Belushi sword-fights with a 7-foot samurai.

The issue’s not been reprinted since, due to rights bullshit, but I remember every panel. The hero was ineffectual and wouldn’t shut up, and the bad guy mostly paid the hero no mind anyway, and everyone learned a valuable lesson in the end, though no one could agree what it was. It was my kind of story. Thank you for writing it, Stan Lee.

He didn’t. Chris Claremont wrote it, Bob Hall did the pencils, and Marie Severin inked.

Excelsior!

You’re an asshole.

Thoughts On The Doctor Strange Trailer

  • Let’s just get this out of the way:
  • Blarneystone Crumblybuns.
  • Bigbabyjesus Cappadonna.
  • Barnacle Cupmyballs.
  • Binglebangle Coopersmith.
  • Henceforth, he shall be known as BC, because I am a child and cannot resist the siren song of that man’s deeply ridiculous name.
  • This is the 19th Marvel film, and 27th overall superhero picture, to come out this month; there will be think pieces on many blogs declaring Peak Superhero in the coming weeks and months, but remember I called it first.
  • Or maybe this is what we want, as a species.
  • Maybe this what we deserve.
  • This particular Superhero Product® is another origin story in the increasingly-crowded Marvel Cinematic Universe: the death of Stephen Strange, MD, and his rebirth as Dr. Strange, Sorcerer Supreme of Earth.
  • It seems they’ve kept the basic story: an arrogant but brilliant surgeon is crippled in a car accident, causing him to grow a beard and wander the earth, winding up in Nepal; there he meets the Ancient One and learns magic.
  • From there, Dr. Strange moves back to New York and into a kick-ass brownstone in the Village, 177A Bleeker Street, and it was called the Sanctum Sanctorum and looked like this:
  • strange sanctum
  • Holy shit, how much you think that building costs now?
  • $50 million?
  • Barbara Corcoran would get the listing, I know that.
  • The skylight is a mystic sigil that protects the building and its occupants from magical attack, plus it looks bitchin’.
  • Also, you have a bit of a yard, as pictured here:
  • strange sanctum 2
  • People in the Marvel Universe want to live in Manhattan so badly, that they’ll live next to that unholy light show.
  • That’s not the climax of a battle on the ethereal plane with his longtime nemesis the Dread Dormammu: that’s just a Tuesday night.
  • It always looks like that.
  • In this building lives Strange, along with his manservant Wong.
  • Swear to God.
  • strange wong
  • There he is.
  • Wong is doing kung fu because of course he is.
  • In the movie, Wong will be played by a guy named Wong.
  • Marvel is hoping that two Wongs make a right.
  • I apologize.
  • Strange was always a tough character to write for: he lived mostly in the visuals and he was drawn best by Steve Ditko.
  • strange ditko
  • Clearly, no one was reading it for the words, although Dr. Strange had some of the best words.
  • There was the Wand of Watoomb.
  • The all-seeing Eye of Agamotto.
  • And, when startled, he would yell “By the hoary hosts of Hoggoth!”
  • Which is the best thing to say in any situation.
  • Try it the next time the doctor gives you bad news: it’ll lighten up a tough moment.
  • And he fought wonderfully-named villains like the aforementioned Dormammu, and Baron Mordo.
  • Ditko drew him well during the Sixties, then he had series on-and-off through the years, but mostly joined up with teams and appeared in those books: he was an Avenger, a Defender, he may have been a member of the Fantastic Four for a minute.
  • The character was prickly, though, and tough to root for and impossible to identify with; he was at his best when trapped in a room with other superheros bickering with them.
  • (Which brings up the question: why does the Sorcerer Supreme need to team up with, say, Beast? What does the blue monkey-person bring to the table that the Sorcerer Supreme doesn’t? The Beast is good at hanging upside down with his mutant feet; Dr. Strange could solve the problem on his own. Don’t get me started on the Defenders: that team had Hulk, Namor, and Strange. And then fucking Nighthawk and Hellcat, who were people in costumes. And Gargoyle, who was a rock-person. Defenders was the charity team of the Marvel Universe.)
  • With that out of the way: the trailer.
  • Car accident.
  • Oh nooooo.
  • How are Billybibbit Cumberland’s cheekbones?
  • They’re fine, thank God, but his hands are now shaky, which is disadvantageous for a surgeon.
  • Oh, look: Amy McAdams in in this.
  • Or Rachel Adams.
  • One of them.
  • I’m sure her character will be as well-developed as the other female leads in Marvel films.
  • A shot transitioning from New York to Nepal, and BC now begins narrating; he is using Dr. House’s American accent
  • I don’t know why Strange couldn’t have been British; after all, the Ancient One is now a white lady.
  • We’ll get to her, but first there is a man with a sword walking down the middle of the street, as one does.
  • Chiweti Ojiofor is the guy with the sword and he should be in everything; I have previously enjoyed him in the film Serenity in the role as “guy with the sword.”
  • He is playing Baron Mordo, who in the the comics kills the Ancient One, but does not do so in this trailer.
  • (Also, you can’t really kill anybody named the Ancient One: he just Obi-Wanned right back as a ghost.)
  • Speaking of the Ancient One, and white ladies, Strange now meets the Ancient One, who is a white lady.
  • In fact, it’s the whitest lady.
  • Helena Bonham-Carter is a close second, but Tilda Swinton is the whitest lady actress.
  • This is what the Ancient One used to look like:
  • [PDF] Ancient One (sorcerer) -
  • It’s a bold casting choice in 2016, is all I’m saying.
  • Perhaps being that magical turns you into a white lady?
  • When Gandalf got more magical, he turned white.
  • I’ll give Marvel this: they could have turned him white, or made him a lady, but they went all in.
  • She is also a bald white lady, and knows kung fu; she punches Strange so hard his soul flies out of his body and onto the astral plane.
  • Even Mike Tyson can’t hit that hard.
  • Then there are special effects.
  • People magic at one another, via the use of special effects.
  • Blackberry Campanella makes faces at stuff, and then has a character moment.
  • To level with you, Enthusiasts: at this point in the trailer I was noncommittal.
  • But it closed with this shot:
  • strange cape
  • Take my money.

Page Of Ultron

Jesse send you the hardcover version?

Of his book, Heads: A Biography of Psychadelic America, yes.

And instead of writing him, say, a little note thanking him or even just tweeting out an appreciative word, you did this.

This is so much better.

How so?

Books are art, right?

Sure.

Movies?

Yup.

BOOM: double art. Jarnow should thank me.

He should so something.

I took his content and recontextualized it.

The man worked on that book for years. Do not call it content.

Did you know that I invented the remix?

Are you gonna do the thing with the sound effects, and then I describe them and everyone has so much fun?

I don’t have the energy.

You’d prefer Jarnow and Chill.

Die.

I’d take you with me, y’know?

Counting on it.

Why do you have an eyepatch?

Why do you not have one?

Thoughts On The Cap Trailer

[embedyt] http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dKrVegVI0Us[/embedyt]

  • All movie trailers must start with slow piano plinking.
  • It’s the law now.
  • Anyway, sorry for the repost, but I’ve watched the new Cap trailer a dozen times today and don’t see why you shouldn’t, too.
  • I would say “spoiler alert” about Spider-Man showing up, but I refuse to live in a world where spoiler alerts are issued for trailers.
  • A trailer is not a safe space.
  • The story: Iron Man turns narc, and Cap’s all “Bucky’s my FRIEEEEENNNNND, man,” and then there is punching and Black Widow does crotch-fu.
  • They should probably just call these things Marvel Movie #1, Marvel Movie #2, etc. from now on.
  • Everyone is in it, except for the Hulk and Thor, because the Hulk is too powerful and expensive, and Thor was filming Ghostbusters.
  • They had better explain the Hulk’s absence, or I’m going to spend the entire movie telling “THROW THE HULK AT THE PROBLEM,” to the screen and I will surely be ejected from the theater, and rightly so.
  • Scarlet Witch uses her powers of CG on the Vision, and perhaps later they have a conversation about whose abilities have been more ill-defined.
  • (In the movies, that is, kinda. In the comics, Vision has a stupidly complicated backstory–he’s an android, but he’s got a brother or some nonsense–but his powers were clear: he could increase or decrease his mass, become transparent, and shoot ray beams out of his super-bindi. The Scarlet Witch, however, has always just waved her hands while the current writer made shit up.)
  • I would like to see if the Marvel movies follow the comic’s storyline regarding the Vision and the Scarlet Witch.
  • They get it on.
  • I guess he’s got a robot dick.
  • And they got married.
  • We’re a lot more tolerant than we used to be, but I don’t know if you can marry an android.
  • That’s not in my Bible.
  • The Falcon is also allowed to participate despite the fact that all he has is a piece of technology that by any reasonable view of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, should be available to a lot more people than just him.
  • The entirety of Falcon’s powers are his cool jetpack; if you steal if from him, do you get to be the Falcon?
  • Plus, in the big hero fight, he takes to the air to square off with War Machine.
  • First of all: racist.
  • Why do the black guys have to fight each other?
  • Second: these black guys should not fight; one is dramatically more lethal than the other one.
  • Falcon has fancy birdy-wings; War Machine has a shoulder-mounted rocket launcher: this is not a fair fight.
  • Speaking of War Machine, he is once again played by Don Cheadle, and Marvel would like us to believe that he dies.
  • I’ll just lay it out there: Marvel, if you kill Don Cheadle, I will burn your office down.
  • TotD loves some Don Cheadle.
  • There are no snipers in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, because all of Captain America’s team could be taken out from a safe distance.
  • Although, down that road of thought lies sad truth that destroys the fun of the whole endeavor: the proper response to superheros is not “more superheros” but an airstrike.
  • It has been scientifically proven in four or five movies now that Captain America cannot be killed via punching, but a Tomahawk missile would do it.
  • The Winter Soldier, also known as Bucky Barnes, may or may not be given a personality in this film; we’ll have to wait and see.
  • Or he may just be another Macguffin like those dopey Infinity Stones from the Avengers movies.
  • Within hours of this trailer going up this morning, there were dozens of “reaction” videos on the innertubes and I think the web needs some pruning.
  • And, yes, I realize that this is precisely the same thing, but mine’s better.
  • That’s it, I guess.
  • SPIDERMANILOVESPIDERMANGIMMEGIMMEHEHASWEBSANDEYES.
  • I’ll stop that now.
  • Love me some Spider-Man.
  • If Don Cheadle  played Spider-Man, I would take a dump in my pants.
  • I’d take a dump in everybody’s pants, man.
  • Fuck this new kid: make Spider-Man a 51-year-old skinny black guy.

Thoughts On Marvel Comics Without Research

  • The vast majority of it is utter nonsense written (sometimes poorly) by potheads and drawn (sometimes crudely) bu other potheads; there were also potheads who did the inking and lettering.
  • But there is some truly good stuff; it’s just hidden beneath a universe worth of clones, alternate realities, semi-successful retcons, shameless trend-chasing, and about thirty years of putting Wolverine in everything.
  • The stories are good ones because even though the characters fly around with magic hammers, they have recognizable human emotions, flaws, motivations: this is in opposition to DC’s heroes, who are unknowable gods; the Fantastic Four, X-Men, and Avengers always spent more time fighting one another than any bad guys, while the Justice League lives on the moon.
  • Anyway, we begin at the beginning: Marvel was called Timely Comics back during the War; a young man came to work there named Stan Lieber.
  • Stan was just there temporarily, while he wrote his novel and became an important author, so he adopted the pen name Stan Lee.
  • It makes sense that Stan made up his name, because he has been making things up for quite a while now.
  • Somewhere in the fifties, Timely became Marvel and they didn’t publish superhero comics for a while – they did monster comics and romance and adventure and soldier comics, but in 1961, Marvel’s publisher saw that DC had a hit with Justice League, so he asked Stan for a team book. Stan and Jack Kirby came up with the Fantastic Four and the Marvel Universe was born.
  • That’s the story, anyway.
  • The FF is more than a little bit stolen from another comic, DC’s Challengers of the Unknown, and the art in the first issues is amateurish, but it was a hit, and so was Spider-Man, and then Thor and Iron Man and the rest.
  • Stan Lee’s way with dialogue is a bit dated (his characters whisper with exclamation points and constantly narrate their actions), but his characters and stories are still being used and told today.
  • It should also be noted that DC was deeply weird and corny during this period: Superman was a lunatic god forever fucking with Lois Lane, and Batman was hanging out with Ace the Bat Hound (true), and Green Arrow’s solution to every problem was “boxing glove arrow.”
  • Mugger?
  • Boxing glove arrow.
  • Plumbing fucked up?
  • Boxing glove arrow.
  • Crisis on Infinite Earths?
  • Boxing glove arrow.
  • Plus, DC took place in a stupidly named universe: Metropolis is a stupid name, and Star City is a stupid name, and Coast City is a stupid name.
  • Stupid.
  • Spider-Man, on the other hand, was from Forest Hills; he later attended Empire State University, which is uptown; for a long time, he lived in Chelsea, but I am assuming he has long since been priced out of the area.
  • Doctor Strange lived in the village; the Baxter Building, along with the Daily Bugle building, was in Midtown; Captain America kept an apartment in his old Brooklyn neighborhood, but stayed some nights at Avengers Mansion, which was on Fifth Avenue in Central Park. (It was the Frick Museum, basically.)
  • So everybody ran into each other constantly.
  • Team-ups, yo.
  • Team-ups always sold well: you put a bunch of heroes in a thing, then the reader is getting more value than if there were only one hero in the thing.
  • Simple hero economics.
  • Marvel’s books were always referencing each other, and characters popping in and out of each others’ stories, which made the reader a fan of “Marvel,” not Spidey, or Cap, or whatever.
  • Now, you know the premise (and I’m sticking to it), but Marvel might have the first interconnected fictional universe: a bunch of different creators working with a set of characters in a shared continuity.
  • Everybody’s got a universe now, but Marvel had one first.
  • A healthy portion of the credit for that goes to Stan Lee, but comics are a visual medium; the fact that, fifty years later, the underlying design of almost all the Marvel characters remains the same is a testament to the artists: Jack Kirby, and Steve Ditko, and Don Heck, and Jim Steranko, and John Romita, Sr., and others I am disrespectfully forgetting.
  • Every character had his or her (mostly his) own supporting cast, and then they came together in the team books, and you had to buy everything to keep up, but that wasn’t impossible because comics cost ten cents and were sold (on spinner racks) in drugstores and supermarkets and bookstores, not dingy and unfriendly comic book stores.
  • The sixties and seventies were a boom time for Marvel, as their creative peak came when there were very few alternatives for children’s entertainment.
  • And let us make no mistake: comic books were for children.
  • There was nothing on TV; there was no internet: you rode your bike and read comic books.
  • Sometimes, you watched Dad drink on the lawn.
  • Back to it: comics, and Marvel in particular, had this long gestation period wherein they were untranslatable to any other medium.
  • The special effects just weren’t up to snuff for Iron Man in the 70’s.
  • Sure, there was The Incredible Hulk on TV, but it only lasted a few years; also, it proves my point.
  • The whole show was just a deaf guy on steroids painted green and some piano music.
  • There was the Batman TV show and the two Christopher Reeves Superman films, but everything else was utter crap, and in fact both of those products were utter crap, but they were light years better than anything else.
  • Which meant Marvel sold off the rights to just about everything, which led to problems down the line, such as the recent Fantastic Four movies, or the fact that the X-Men movies are secretly kinda shitty and don’t make a lick of sense.
  • For years and years, Marvel told stories under the radar, but no longer. Some stories that will not make it to the Marvel Cinematic Universe:
  • Captain America turns into a werewolf.
  • Thor becomes a frog, then gets his ass kicked by some sort of alien horse monster.
  • Doctor Doom hurling a Manhattan office building into orbit, repeatedly.
  • The Hulk will almost certainly not travel to the Microverse and woo the similarly-green Princess Jarella.
  • No Spider-clones.
  • (All of these are actual things that actually happened. I am deliberately leaving out the X-Men’s history because the X-Men used to do bullshit like travel into the future and bring back wives and then drop their kids off in alternate realities and who can keep up with the X-Men’s bullshit?)
  • Excelsior.
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