Posted on July 10th, 2020
If there's one thing I've learned over the years, it's that movies based on comic books are a mixed bag. Sometimes they do a great job of translating the source material... other times they do a horrendous job. But in every case, there's always changes that get made.
Marvel Studios has been the most successful in respecting the original comic books with their films. When they make changes, they are usually in the service of the story and are made so that the essence of the characters and stories will work in an entirely different format. DC had some very good Batman movies with Christopher Nolan's take on The Dark Knight, yet their current movies have been worse than shit. And then there's the 20th Century Fox X-Men movies, which were awful to extreme levels of bad, and about the worst comic book translation you'll find.
You just never know.
So when I heard that Netflix was creating a movie based on The Old Guard, I wasn't entirely sure what to expect. I loved the comic book. Greg Rucka and Leandro Fernandez told a great story in a cool way and it had incredible potential for a movie. So when Netflix unleashed it, I tuned in with a mix of both excitement and dread. How much of the story would they butcher? How many senseless changes would they make?
Turns out they did a fucking amazing job.
This story of immortal beings working as mercenaries stars Charlize Theron, which was reason enough to watch. She has never disappointed. And she absolutely does not disappoint here. She kicks copious amounts of ass and delivers exactly as you'd expect her to. That much was not surprising.
What was surprising? Not did Netflix keep two of the major characters gay... but they did not reduce their characters to platonic shells as what usually do. Take this scene between them from the comic book, which was incredibly touching and romantic as it gets...
And compare it to The Old Guard movie...
The scene is not just faithful... it's word-for-word faithful.
There was a time not even ten years ago that this would likely have not been the case. If the characters of Joe and Nicky were allowed to stay gay, they would have been neutered or played for laughs. And then there's the fact that the two leads of an action movie are women... and one of them is a Black woman. Don't see a lot of that, even in 2020.
Highest possible recommendation. If you like action movies, it's definitely worth a look.
Posted on July 5th, 2020
Life can be so cruel, but there's more to existence than misery... because an all new Bullet Sunday starts... now...
• Cuong Nguyen creates utterly amazing works of art in various mediums...
The guy's entire YouTube Channel is remarkable.
• Areala! Netflix finally dropped their adaptation series of Warrior Nun Areala and it's pretty good...
If there's a fault with the series, it's that they dragged it out too long. There's painfully dull stretches where the nuns aren't kicking ass that should have been seriously cut down. I admit that there were times I just fast-forwarded through it because I just could not bring myself to care. They could have easily dropped this down to six episodes and been far better for it. When it comes to faithfulness to the comic book, it's a mixed bag. Sister Shannon (who headed the comic) is gone, and a formerly quadrapalegic, formerly dead young woman inherits her mantle. Alas, she's new and inexperienced, so that's automatically adding dead weight to the story, but Shotgun Mary and Mother Superion are there... as are other warrior nuns... so I think it tries to keep true to the spirit of the source material, and that's something. Hopefully if it gets renewed they'll focus more on action than they did the first time around. And if it doesn't get renewed? That's one shitty fucking cliffhanger to go out on.
• Being With Her! One of my favorite TV shows was I'm With Her... a rom-com where a school teacher starts dating the most famous movie star in the world. It's a fairly obvious take-off of the Julia Roberts movie Notting Hill. The series was fun and clever and featured hilarious guest-appearances by Peter Dinklage. The idea was retread again in the show Beauty and the Baker this year. It was good but nothing special. Today I found out that this show is based on an Israeli show called Lehiyot Ita... which, coincidentally enough, translates to Being With Her. So we've come full circle...
But here's the thing... the Israeli original series is really pretty good. Clever, smart, funny, and the casting is fantastic. If you have Amazon Prime streaming, I highly recommend giving it a shot! It's in Hebrew, so you'll need to turn on the subtitles, but it's worth it.
• Hamilton! I had the opportunity to see the Broadway play Hamilton very early on. I knew it was getting raves and had huge buzz, but it hadn't entered national consciousness yet. I don't care for Broadway shows at all, so I took a pass. I'd have to burn money on a flight and hotel that I'd rather spend on something else. Better the ticket go to somebody who would enjoy it. Then as Hamiltonmania exploded across the country, I always wondered if I made a mistake. Maybe I should have saw it just so I could say I saw it?
I finally saw the filmed performance on Disney+ and now I know I was right to skip it. Don't get me wrong... Lin Manuel Miranda is genius (I loved his work on Moana) and the cast seems talented... but good Lord is this not for me. AND IT LASTS THREE HOURS?!? I would have been praying for death after 30 minutes. I'm happy that people can enjoy watching actors running around in circles screaming/singing dialogue like this, but I just don't get it.
• Oopsies! And this... is 2020...
And we're only half-way through.
• And Lastly! You're welcome...
Just try getting that out of your head.
And that's enough joy, I suppose. See You Next Sunday.
Posted on July 7th, 2019
It's a glorious day to be alive... because an all new Bullet Sunday starts... now...
Seeing as how Mississippi ranks 49th out of the 50 states in education. Perhaps it's understandable that their state government thinks the populace is TOO FUCKING STUPID TO KNOW THAT A VEGGIE BURGER ISN'T MADE FROM A COW. But are they smart enough to know that a veggie dog isn't made from a dog or do hot dogs confuse them too?
• Ski! Somehow I missed this excellent short video on Jim Niehues, the guy responsible for painting so many of those ski run posters you see at all the resorts...
• Dreaming! Any comic book series is going to have its ups and downs. A series which had less downs than usual was Neil Gaiman's Sandman. A complete reimagining of the cheesy DC Comics character...
My favorite thing to come out of the series was Sandman's sister, Death, as she appeared in the mini-series spin-offs by Gaiman Chris Bachalo...
Death: The High Cost of Living is easily one of my all-time favorite comic books.
And now comes the news that Netflix has commissioned a Sandman TV show. Despite the fact that Gaiman himself will be involved, I am more than a little nervous. The series seems all but unfilmable given the visual language of Sandman's world. And the stories are wildly tied to the medium they were created for, and I question how well they will translate to television. I hope it's good. I hope Death makes an appearance...
"A wizard attempting to capture Death to bargain for eternal life traps her younger brother Dream instead. Fearful for his safety, the wizard kept him imprisoned in a glass bottle for decades. After his escape, Dream, also known as Morpheus, goes on a quest for his lost objects of power."
• German! I ran across one of my favorite Trevor Noah's Between the Scenes the other day...
I mean, they're all good... but his wit is at its sharpest here.
• Mermaids! Disney has found their latest live-action princess when they cast Halle Bailey as Ariel in The Little Mermaid. She's incredibly talented and I know of her from appearing in Grown-ish (the TV spin-off from Black-ish)...
Photo by Evan Agostini
Disney, being the savvy company they are, cast who they felt was best for bringing the character to life... regardless of race. She's a Grammy nominee, for heaven's sake. But of course the bigot brigade is all #NotMyAriel because the idea of a fictional half-fish girl being played by a Person of Color is just too much for their tiny brains to process. Time will tell If Bailey will make a good Ariel. Personally I am trusting Disney on this. But holy crap... give the young woman a chance! They haven't even started filming yet! I sure hope she isn't bothered by all this nonsense.
• Plus Plus! Speaking of Disney... as if the Marvel and Star Wars series in development weren't enough reason to compel me to subscribe to the Disney+ streaming service when it debuts later this year, now they've got a new series called Life and Deaf in development with one of my all-time favorite actors, Marlee Matlin. Somebody at Disney is very, very serious about competing with Netflix!
Have a great Sunday!
Posted on June 11th, 2019
As I've probably mentioned numerous times, I was a massively huge comic book fan for many years. Now-a-days I purchase everything digitally and don't buy many titles, but I've got an entire storage room filled with the physical comics from my past.
Back when I first started collecting, I hated subscribing to comics from the comic book companies because they would arrive in a brown wrapper with no protection and often came damaged. Instead I'd go to the two local drug stores and hope that the comics I wanted were stocked. Popular titles like Batman could always be found. Less popular titles may not be. I'd show up on the day they arrived whenever I could so I could get a mint copy instead of one that had been mangled on the rack.
When the comics I wanted weren't available at the drug store, I'd have to beg my mom to take me to The Big City so I could visit the News Agency there. The Agency was a wholesale distributor of magazines and newspapers to businesses. But they also had a retail store. The general public had to pay full price, but they usually had a copy of everything available.
What I remember most about the News Agency was the smell when you walked in.
All that paper. Like a book store, but fresher and less musty. I loved it there.
Jack, the guy who owned the place, sold it in 1995. By that time I was actually living in The Big City and buying my comics at the local comic book shop that had opened a decade earlier. I think the News Agency maybe lasted another five years before shutting down. I have no idea where local businesses get their magazines now.
The News Agency isn't all fond memories though. Three or four years ago I read an article about an apparent unsolved murder of one of the News Agency employees back in the 70's. His car was found abandoned in a hotel parking lot and he was never seen again. The article was about his family wanting the cold case re-opened to see if anything new could be discovered.
I was thinking about all this on my walk to work this morning.
How even the things that build our happiest memories can be tainted by tragedy.
And I'm pretty sure it relates back to how David Ortiz, one of my favorite baseball players to ever play the game, was shot in the back on Sunday. I can't get it out of my head. The Boston Red Socks, something which has given me so many happy memories, has been tainted by tragedy.
The news is reporting that Big Papi is resting and in good condition after a second surgery, so here's hoping the tragedy ends with him being shot.
Leave it to The Universe to ruin comic books and baseball for me.
What's next? Ice cream?
Posted on May 24th, 2019
I've mentioned a couple times that I had worked on a comic book project decades ago. I made a lot of headway, but never completed it. The final page count was going to be in excess of 300 pages, and I just didn't have the time to commit to it.
Every once in a while I run across the 50-odd partial pages I drew and wonder what it would take to just finish the dang thing. The problem is that I would have to essentially start over from scratch because I created it in the 80's and it's hilariously outdated. The lead character has a car phone the size of a brick, and there's just no way I can go back and rewrite and redraw those parts. The entire story has to be revisited, because it won't work as a period piece.
But... 300+ pages of work.
Tonight I decided to draw/letter/ink a page of comic book art just to see how long it would take. Here's what I'm guessing is my pace...
I don't even want to think about how much time coloring would take. Possibly as long as 6 hours a page. So I'll put that on hold.
So... 5-1/2 to 8-1/2 hours per page.
Which means 1,760 to 2,720 hours if I can squeeze the story into 320 pages. Assuming I can work 4 hours weekdays and 16 hours on weekends... that's 36 hours a week. Or about 50 to 75 weeks to finish 320 pages.
A little over a year, I'm guessing.
Problem is that this would leave little time for anything else in my life. Like woodworking, which is my favorite thing right now.
So that's when I had an idea...
Maybe I take a character from the story, write a back-story series for them, and limit it to 100 pages or less so I can finish it in a year.
Worth a shot anyway. Maybe.
Posted on April 14th, 2019
Time to bend the knee... because an all new Bullet Sunday starts... now...
• Thrones! The much-anticipated premiere of the final season of Game of Thrones has finally come. Since it was just an hour of set-up for the five episodes that follow, it was a bit boring... but did have some interesting moments...
One would hope that they managed to find an ending that doesn't suck... but I've seen finales fail more often than win, so I'm not counting on it. So long as it's a fun ride, I suppose I'll be happy enough. But I really want them to knock it out of the park.
• The Hawk! And so Disney has announced that Jeremy Renner has been signed to a new series for their forthcoming streaming network. I have been begging for a Hawkeye series based on the Matt Fraction and David Aja comic book series for years. It's hands-down one of the best series I've ever read...
No idea if the Disney+ series would go in that directions, but... hot damn. Looks like Disney+ is going to be absolutely killing it with amazing content.
• Only in America! A politician from Texas is so pro-life that he wants the death penalty for anybody involved with getting an abortion. You cannot make this shit up. This is after his tireless crusade to "protect the sanctity of marriage" by opposing marriage equality. He's been married five times. You cannot make this shit up. At some point you'd think that people would get tired of this kind of hypocritical bullshit... but here we are.
• Aurebesh Coke! Apparently Coca-Cola is creating special packaging for Disneyland and Walt Disney World's upcoming "Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge" lands...
Cool. Except... no Coke Zero? I cannot fathom why people continue to drink shitty Diet Coke when Coke Zero exists.
• Evil! There are few things I'm more passionate about than Net Neutrality. As expected, The Trump Administration killed it. As expected, the Democrats created a bill to restore it. I fully expect that it will be vetoed by the president. This is reprehensible and evil. The reasons given for killing Net Neutrality are all fucking bullshit. And the reasons for restoring it are legion. Which is why it's not surprising that President Trump hates it. Anything which levels the playing field for everybody works against dumbasses who have to rely on their daddy's money to get ahead in life.
• Kerning Fail! Few things freak me out like bad typography...
You'd think that the people in charge of using type would know how. Doesn't happen as often as you'd hope though.
And... that's enough bullets on your Sunday.
Posted on September 27th, 2018
When I first got into comic books, I was more a DC guy than a Marvel guy. The biggest reason for this was The Legion of Super-Heroes which gathered dozens of differently-powered individuals from different worlds in the far future. For a very long time, it was that one book I could count on no matter who the creative team behind it was. It was pretty good even when it was bad.
And when it was great? Holy cow was it great!
Eventually sales were such that they let Keith Giffen try something entirely new by taking them from hopeful super-powered teens in a bright future to hopeless super-powered adults in a dystopian nightmare. I absolutely loved it. The comic book I had loved forever had somehow changed completely yet was somehow even better. But then DC wanted to go back to the teen Legion and things started to slide. It was fine for a while... but then kept getting worse and worse until I just wasn't interested anymore. By then I had mostly moved on to Marvel anyway, but it was still a sad day.
For this ranking, I'm taking the Gold/Silver/Bronze age Legionnaires and figured out which I liked best... and which I liked least...
I maintain that The Legion could make an excellent television series. We got a taste in the last season of Supergirl but there is still so many places they could go. Maybe one day.
Posted on July 31st, 2018
Today Marvel's Avengers: Infinity War was released on digital home video. I thought before I sat down and wrote my thoughts on the movie, I'd take a run through Justice League from the Distinguished Competition and jot down some notes on it as well.
It's no secret that, with one exception, I loathe the DC Comics Cinematic Universe. Wonder Woman was pretty great. But Man of Steel, Batman vs. Superman, Suicide Squad, and Justice League were all festering piles of crap that were not only bad movies... they were bad adaptations of the comic books they were taken from.
Justice League was so bad that I couldn't even get through it. I've only just watched various chunks when I've seen it on HBO. But, in the interest of fairness, I thought that I would sit through the whole thing last night to see if that changes my opinion.
Turns out that, no, it most definitely does not...
If anything, it sucks even harder in one viewing because it's such an epic slog to force your way through. All that did was make me end up resenting the film even more than I already did. My notes are something I'm posting for myself so I don't lose them, but feel free to read along if you want to.
And now? Do not proceed unless you've already seen the movie. LOL! JUST KIDDING! You do not want to see this movie, trust me.
Spoilers await in an extended entry...→ Click here to continue reading this entry...
Posted on July 29th, 2018
Home again home again... and just in time too, because an all new Bullet Sunday starts now...
• Mutants! The news of the week? Disney's offer to buy out 21st Century Fox's movie properties was approved by the shareholders on both sides. They still have to get regulatory approval, but it's expected there won't be any issues. And so? The X-Men, The Fantastic Four, and Deadpool franchises will be headed to Marvel Studios. Which means we might finally get to see a good X-Men film... and we hopefully won't get more horrendously shitty Fantastic Four films. Deadpool was done right (twice!), but he lives outside of comic book reality, so he won't require a reboot. He'll just comment about his new universe and move on. In all honesty, I don't give too big a crap about the mutant teams showing up alongside The Avengers and so-on... but I am beyond excited to see The Fantastic Four popping up everywhere...
There is so much potential there.
• Big Gunn! And speaking of Marvel Studios... they've cut loose Guardians of the Galaxy writer/director James Gunn over offensive tweets he made almost a decade ago. I have mixed feelings over it all. On one hand he has repeatedly apologized for what he said, explained that it was a poor attempt at being provocative, he has moved on, and he tries hard to not be that person any more. On the other hand though... the jokes(?) were about things like pedophilia and rape and really don't qualify as "jokes" at all, assuming that was the intent. They certainly weren't funny. But... is that worth losing the third act of The Guardians of the Galaxy over? In the end I'd have to say "no." It would be a different matter entirely if he actually was a rapist and pedophile... but he's not. He was just entirely too stupid to understand he wasn't being provocative or funny... he was just being an asshole. And if we're going to start firing people in Hollywood for being stupid assholes, at least half of the industry would be gone.
• Roasted! The Comedy Central Roast of Bruce Willis was on tonight. It was raunchy, horrible fun as always...
But every time one of these comes up, I cannot help but think back to one of the best roast lines ever said. Sandra Bernhard was preceding Jeffrey Ross at the roast of Jerry Stiller. Jeffrey stepped up and said "Yeesh, I wouldn't fuck you with Bea Arthur's dick!"... with Bea Arthur in attendance. I had always wondered if Bea Arthur ever reacted to it, so tonight I Googled it. Turns out Jeffrey Ross has a story about that.
• McWrong! Ever wonder what happens when McDonald's wraps your Egg & Cheese Biscuit Sandwich inside-out? Here you go...
I was too hungry to throw it all out, so I tore off as much of the color as I could. Hopefully it's non-toxic in case I didn't get it all.
• Kurzge-wha?! And here's my new favorite thing of the moment on the internet the Kurzgesagt Channel on YouTube...
If you've got time to waste, here's the place to go.
And that's the end of that. See you next Sunday.
Posted on June 10th, 2018
It's been yet another week full of hypocrisy and evil, but it's all good, because an all-new Bullet Sunday starts now...
• Two! I loved everything about the first LEGO Movie... except the ending. When they dropped into "The Real World," everything fell apart for me. With this in mind, I have mixed feelings about the sequel...
Yes, I'm excited to see it. But can we please just stick in the world of LEGO and let Chris Pratt be hilarious? That would be great, thanks.
• No Reservations. There wasn't much I didn't like about Anthony Bourdain. He was responsible for some highly entertaining television. He was a world traveler and advocate for better understanding and acceptance between cultures. He used his celebrity to advocate for worthwhile causes and draw attention to injustices. He was an incredible guest on any talk show he dropped by. He was somebody I liked and admired, which is why his death has hit me so hard. You will be missed, sir.
• Darkness and Light! I was never a fan of the Cloak & Dagger comic books. They all had the same story. Cloak & Dagger hunt down drug dealers. Cloak goes a little crazy because he's hungry. Dagger feeds him a light sandwich. Lather, rinse, repeat. On occasion they team up with other heroes, but their baggage is always the same. And now Freeform TV has created a Cloak & Dagger television show...
Now, I'm not saying that every super-hero show has to be packed with super-power fights... but there has to be something to make it interesting... otherwise it's just another boring TV drama I don't care about. And if the first two episodes of Cloak & Dagger are any indication, here's yet another boring TV drama I don't care about. Which is a shame, because the actors are very good.
• You! Other than an occasional song here and there, I haven't given much thought to Maroon 5 in years. But now they've dropped a new video for their song Girls Like You that's packed with more guest-stars than you can shake a stick at.
Not a bad song at all. And if you're having trouble putting a name to all the faces, here's a link for you. And, as much as I like it, this is not going to displace my favorite Maroon 5 video...
And if that's not enough Maroon 5 for you... here they are covering Bob Marley's Three Little Birds...
'Cause every little thing gonna be alright.
• NEWS: With deal to close this week, Bayer to retire Monsanto name
Well of course they are retiring the Monsanto name! Monsanto is fucking evil incarnate, and people were finally waking up to it. But now? Bayer is just the aspirin people! Evil + Evil = Bigger Evil.
• A Red Letter Day! As my final bullet of the day, I leave you with one of my favorite Pet Shop Boys songs that's woefully under-appreciated... and highly relevant to my life as of late...
Doesn't get much more Pet Shop Boys than that.
So long until next Bullet Sunday!