Wednesday, January 18, 2012

George Lucas Strikes Back

This is great interview with George Lucas. It asks questions I've wanted to know for years, and reveals things that I never would have imagined.

For us thirty and forty somethings, Lucas was the childhood game changer. Although he didn't really help any us get laid (except for that brief period in the early 90's when SW was the epitome of self-referential cool,) he certainly provided the template by which we would determine what attitudes and behaviors were acceptable of any right-minded young man. He changed the way we absorbed visual information while at the same time providing us with characters and themes of multigenerational appeal. George Lucas belongs and will be on any respectable list of the great 20th Century innovators.

Now he's coming forward with his thoughts and feelings, and announcing his semi-retirement. See, he's not so much retiring as intentionally fading into obscurity. Art films, he says.

Go for it, I says.

After "Red Tails" Lucas intends to make the types of obscure films that landed him so much attention in the first place, and it's about time. People forget what an innovative cat this guy is, like it's his fault cinematic storytelling hasn't changed much since 1977. It's unfortunate that he feels like he has to make a big announcement, instead of just doing like Spielberg and making whatever kinds of films he wants, whenever he wants, but then George was always a different animal. It could be that is exactly his plan; a couple of sleepers, then a Spielberg approved sequel to Close Encounters of The Third Kind.

I hope that's what happens, or something along those lines. I hope the guy has nothing but fun making his movies from now on, whatever type of movies they need be. I look forward to another tribute, another dystopia, maybe even a comedy or two. And the weirdness... oh, the awesome George Lucas weirdness!

George Lucas is a national treasure. I can't wait to see what he comes up with next.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

My 2012 Comic Book Pull List

With the new year comes the realization that I shelled out for entirely too many mediocre floppies during the biggest event in comics publishing history, so it's time to trim the pull list!

Naturally, I'll start with DC, the main siphon of cash over the past four months. I'll admit, I am for the most part enjoying the relaunch, although I'd really appreciate it if they stop depicting all of the supporting female characters awkwardly copulating with second and third string anti-heros. Here's what I'm sticking with, in no particular order:

Demon Knights- The biggest surprise, I never liked the character before, and still kind of don't, but the supporting casting and setting are brilliant.

Resurrection Man- Another surprise, again with the cool premise and supporting cast.

Frankenstein and The Agents of Shade
- A retro-trippy delight. So far so good.

Bat-Man- I wish I could hold off on it for a few years until collectors start dumping, but it's just too much fun. The most "Bat-Man" of the current Bat-books.

Action Comics- Morrison back on Supes is a no-brainer, even though an issue costs four bucks (!) When Morrison goes, so do I.

Swamp Thing- Finally! Something happened! I was afraid I was going to have to drop this book. Nobody wants to NOT like The Swamp Thing, right?

Red Hood- I know what you're thinking, but Roccofort is great, even if the story isn't. It will probably get dropped as soon as he leaves.

Wonder Woman- Not bad. The new origin story might make a warlike Diana more acceptable. One thing I do not like, however, is the return of the hot pants. The revised costume from last year took a while to grow on me, but it did. It was great. WW's traditional costume now seems like a cop-out.

Aqua Man- A fun initial story arc. It looks like Geoff Johns really gets the characters and mythology.

and finally,

Justice League- A really fun team book created by industry superstars. Hopefully we'll get more flashbacks in the future.

Mr. terrific would've made the list if they hadn't tried to totally re-invent the character. Karen Starr is the only reason any one picks it up. This is about half the titles I was collecting during the intial launch. Of all the publishers I collect, DC is the one really on the chopping block.

Most people I know who read comics read DC, whereas most people I know who like comics, but don't actually read them, like Marvel. After DC's impressive re-tooling, with it's emphasis on exposition, it's getting tougher to make it through Marvel's offerings. They edit their stories to accommodate the eventual graphic novel, so why bother with their monthlies? Plus, they continue to deluge us with messy crossover story lines that at this stage in the game are only succeeding at turning me off. Here's what Marvel I can stick with:

Amazing Spider-Man- Peter Parker is another icon whom I feel is getting waaay too much tail these days, something which will no doubt occur again now that Carly Cooper has dumped him. At least Marvel is still willing to keep the sex pg-13. I like the decent mix of new and old characters, a universe within a universe. This book has a life of it's own, and is one of the few that I have subscribed to for years.

Venom- I can hardly believe they were able to re-invent the character so well, and the story hasn't slowed down one bit. This is the best new Marvel comic in years.

I'm giving up on Avengers Academy, since I don't follow any other avengers books and I have no idea what is going on from issue to issue. To be honest, I only picked it up because Tigra is a personal favorite, however I grew to enjoy the young cast. That said, it doesn't make any sense that Tigra is teaching children, since she is a femme fatale who wears almost no clothing. This nonsense might work for me if Marvel could write an energetic, concise story. This problem plagues all of their team books. Overall, Mighty Marvel is looking kind of clunky these days.

There are two Dark Horse publications that I can't give up, ever:

Hell Boy- discussing this books greatness is redundant.

GANTZ- The only manga on my list, this provocative sci-fi actioner is over forty volumes and still publishing in Japan (we're on volume 20 in the states.) I can't imagine this story ever getting boring.

As for the rest of the comic book publishers, I will just mention the few titles that I still regularly enjoy. They are:

Red Sonja- Showing improvement

Queen Sonja- Yes, I am that big of a fan.

Dejah Thoris
- I actually like this better than the series it's based on.

I was disappointed in Vampirella, but at least there's Guns and Dinos to look forward to. Indies aren't doing much for me these days.

That's a healthy list, by any non-comics reading persons standards, and that's where I'm going with this hobby for now. Obviously, I'm not purchasing a copy of GANTZ out in public, and there will always be one or two faves worth subscribing to, but buying floppies in the era of graphic novels is becoming a luxury. So, with the intention of pairing back the frivolous purchases even further, the biggest change to my comics buying habits will be a new policy of visiting the shop only once per month. As I continue to accept the fate of the floppies, I will go from needing a weekly fix to enjoying a monthly feast of moronic entertainment.

Congratz to DC for becoming the new biggest publisher overnight.