Spinoffs are the new reboot. Big studio movies are usually part of a franchise at this point, and they are going to become even more assembly lines, what with new, constant Star Wars and Marvel movies every year or so. A spinoff is not a
One thing I’ve noticed about being a soundtrack collector is that I own many film scores from bad and/or long-forgotten movies. I was thinking about this while contributing to Popdose’s recent tribute to film composer Alan Silvestri in which I mentioned that a particularly fun score for me was Judge Dredd (1995), which most people would agree is not the most inspiring of sources. And so for the purposes of this list, it seems like a good place to start.
I hate to say it, but I think the Sunday comics have been dead for as long as I’ve been reading the funny pages. By the time I was paying attention to such things back in the 1970s, the full-color Sunday comics already seemed old and outdated. They certainly weren’t the Batman or Spider-Man comic books that I knew and loved at the time. How much story can you really tell in eight or 12 panels?
Part of the problem, I think, is that in Chicago, we had two big Sunday newspapers growing up; the Chicago Tribune and the Chicago Sun-Times. My father was a Chicago Tribune man; that meant I got Peanuts, Dick Tracy, Shoe and Doonesbury, but I don’t think I saw many of the grand adventure strips. The Tribune’s focus always seemed to be on the comedy strips. The only thing I can remember that comes close to an adventure strip is Dick Tracy and its colorful criminals. And thanks to the Tribune’s comic pages, I think I spent too many years of my life thinking adulthood was best depicted in Blondie and Andy Capp.
My grandparents, on the other hand, got the Sun-Times each Sunday, and I remember looking at Prince Valiant on my grandmother’s back porch. But since it was my grandparents’ paper, the Sun-Times was always the paper of old people to me. Prince Valiant looked nice but it also looked classical and, to an eight-year-old’s perspective, boring. Steve Canyon was also in the Sun-Times, but I hardly even remember seeing it. So, due to the newspaper choices of my parents, it would be almost 40 years before I even began to discover the breathtaking storytelling of Alex Raymond or Milt Caniff. The best stories in DC’s big Wednesday Comics hardcover makes me long for something I never really experienced: those grand adventures doled out in small, weekly increments. But, at the same time, it also makes me realize that my favorite way of reading these type of stories now are in the large, prestige hardcovers that gives me years of strips packaged together.
In which I take the opportunity to point out various releases of the graphic narrative-type variety that I deem noteworthy for this or that reason, some of which may even be on sale at a comics shop of retail bookstore near you if you’re lucky…or not, as the case may be.
Big news in the World of Comics this past week, as DC Comics announced the new management team that people had been speculating upon since former President and Publisher Paul Levitz stepped down, in the wake of Warner Bros. Entertainment initiating the company-wide restructuring that led to its rebranding as DC Entertainment, Inc., presumably to get serious about making inroads into creating successful motion pictures that don’t star Batman. The appointment of a five-person team has led to much discussion throughout the Comics Internet, with reactions being, to put it kindly, mixed. I think that Dirk Deppey’s remarkably even handed take (unless you’re Levitz) makes a lot of sense, and many other more-astute-than-I pundits have weighed in as well.
Me, while I am a bit disappointed that the “Five Swell Guys”, as one wag has dubbed them, are firmly in a middle of the road (Golden Age fetishist and Black Lantern creator Johns and Image co-founder/artist specializing in hypermuscled and slickly inked superhero titles Lee are talented, but aren’t known for their innovation or groundbreaking tendencies in the slightest; neither is Didio, and he doesn’t even have the benefit of producing any worthwhile creative works to date) tradition, they still represent a inter-company continuity that should (one would think) make decision making and progress towards whatever goal they have established for themselves a smoother process, and hopefully will at least result in a few less fiascoes like the Minx line, a line of graphic novels targeted at teenage girls, but not getting the benefit of getting creators who had an affinity for that genre…it was canceled after just shy of two years, a casualty of a misreading of the bookstore market demand for such material, among other things. The others seem to have solid credentials in the disparate fields from which they come. Anyway, like I am so fond of saying, we shall see what we shall see. A successful DC is a good thing for comics in general, I believe.
Hope you guys don’t mind me getting all topical…there are dozens of great sites for comics news out there, if you don’t follow them already, so I won’t try to be Heidi MacDonald or Tom Spurgeon each week. Still, I think this column description is broad enough to let me hold forth if a sufficiently interesting topic rears its head. Just let me know in the comments if you agree or disagree! And now…REVIEWS!