All posts tagged: X-Men

PopSmarts_10

PopSmarts: The Theory of Aesthetic Stasis

I’ve been catching up on the Entertainment Geekly podcast this week (which is my own damned problem, I suppose), and I was struck by an odd conversational turn during a discussion of Marvel Comics: The Untold Story. The book’s author, Sean Howe, was talking about how he came to comics as a teenager via The Uncanny X-Men, specifically writer Chris Claremont’s long tenure on the title. That sounds familiar. Since its début in the early 1960s, the X-Men franchise has been the gateway drug for generations of adolescent readers. Indeed, it might just be the platonic ideal of teen-friendly serial fiction, especially when written by Claremont. Not only did he serve up a devil’s brew of soap-opera turns and reversals, dysfunctional family dynamics, sci-fi trippiness, and old-fashioned melodrama — in his stories of superhuman mutants, hated and rejected by a world that fears them, there lurked an all-purpose metaphor for adolescent alienation: What teenager, gazing at his own acne-riddled face in the mirror, has not felt like a misunderstood freak? Chris Claremont worked with a …

Monsters University

10 Movies…That Are Unnecessary Prequels (To Prepare You For ‘Monsters University’)

Once Disney took a more draconian handle on Pixar, it was inevitable that they’d make the tiny, massively-gifted studio start churning out sequels and prequels to their most marketable hits. A couple years ago, they made Cars 2, which focused on Mater, the character that sold the most toys, and later this year we’ve got an offshoot called Planes. But first, Monsters University, in which we get to see the monsters from Monsters Inc. learning the job skills they’ll need to one day land a job at Monsters Inc. Here are 10 other unnecessary prequels. Dumb and Dumberer: When Harry Met Lloyd You want to know how Harry and Lloyd met? They met in high school. Where the hell else were they going to meet? Oz The Great and Powerful All about how Professor Marvel made his way to Oz and how everything went to shit before Dorothy showed up. However, the entire premise of this movie doesn’t make any sense, because Oz was dreamed up by a little girl in a dream and didn’t …

Extra Medium #2: The X-Men of Denny’s

Comics don’t stay in comics. For better or worse, most comics are produced in the hopes they will lead to films, cartoons, action figures, video games, backpacks, beach towels and bubble baths. Extra Medium is my column about all these things and more. During my handful of Limbo years between high school and college, Denny’s was the place to be; more specifically, the Denny’s on Western Ave. in Albany, NY. The Denny’s on Central Ave. was the rallying point if the one on Western was too crowded, and the Denny’s way out on Wolf Rd. – near the Albany Airport – was just barely acceptable  if all other hope was lost. Sadly, all of the local Denny’s except for the one on Wolf Rd. are all gone (or happily, depending on how you feel about saturated fats). We were too young to get in bars, and too old for the high school hangouts. Denny’s was open all night, it was cheap, and you could smoke. That’s all there was to it. This was around 1993-1994. …

Confessions of a Comics Shop Junkie No. 19

Here we go again with Confessions of a Comics Shop Junkie, in which I attempt to spotlight several works of sequential graphic storytelling that I find noteworthy and think you might too, many of which may still be purchased for your very own personal enjoyment at a comics shop, bookstore, or online merchant near you if you’re lucky. Or not, as the case may be. WILSON Script/Art: Daniel Clowes Drawn & Quarterly, $21.95 I think Clowes has refined his take on the “Sequential Narrative” (see, Dan, I didn’t call it a graphic novel!) almost to its purest state; unlike previous efforts in this vein (Ghost World, the excellent Ice Haven, The Death Ray), there’s less than meets the eye yet more between the lines than ever before. Clowes gives us the titular character, a dumpy, balding, bearded nobody with no apparent inclination to stop talking or stop being a misanthropic asshole, kinda like we all imagine ourselves being in our worst moments (OK, me anyway). At first, we get to know him through a series …

DVD Review: “X-Men Origins: Wolverine”

I can understand why fans of the character Wolverine and his band of misunderstood mutants, the X-Men, were disappointed with this film. Sure, the movie has some kick-ass action sequences, but the story is just hodgepodge of scenes thrown together to get to the next big fight. I still can’t say that it’s is a complete waste of time, though, because I find Hugh Jackman (who portrays the titular character, also known as Logan) to be one of the most charismatic actors working today. However, I’m glad that I didn’t lay down eleven bucks to go see this in the theater because, like the rest of those fans I mentioned, I would have been disappointed and pissed off. There were so many times during the film I almost shut it off out of frustration, but then director Gavin Hood and his team of technical wizards would throw another amazing sequence at me (Wolverine sailing through the air toward a helicopter, a battle atop a nuclear tower) that I would have to push my jaw closed. …

DVD Review: “Wolverine and the X-Men”

The cover has Sentinels on it. The opening credits have Sentinels in them. The back cover seems to promise this will be a really cool, animated adaptation of the classic X-Men comic-book two-parter “Days of Future Past.” So where in the flying hell are the Sentinels and a war-ravaged future in the freakin’ movie? Oh, right — they’re all at the end. For about ten seconds. Niiiiiiice. Adult fans of Marvel’s mutant super-hero team the X-Men — and even smaller fans over the age of seven — might be seriously disappointed in the new Wolverine and the X-Men: Heroes Return Trilogy. The DVD comprises the first three episodes of the same-titled series running on Nicktoons, and is in no way a spin-off of the previous X-series that came before it. Wolverine and the X-Men starts off by jumping right into the story, figuring that pretty much everyone on the planet knows by now who the various X-Men are, courtesy of Bryan Singer.  We’re shown a typical training sequence with Nightcrawler, Kitty Pryde and Colossus in the …