Hackers with a Stark-like appreciation for AC/DC have apparently let Iran know about their musical tastes. “[Iranian nuclear facilities] have been hit again by a bizarre attack forcing nuclear plant workstations to pump the song Thunderstruck by heavy metal band AC/DC through the speakers at full volume.” Among other things, this would suggest that the scene in Avengers where Tony Stark hijacks the PA system on a helicopter (to blare AC/DC) is plausible.
A mother needed help convincing her four-year-old (who suffers from severe hearing loss) to wear a hearing aid. He thought it was decidedly unbadass. In response to a letter from the mother, Marvel Comics created a superhero who used a hearing aid to detect crime. This strikes me as a very thoughtful gesture (and, although it would probably cheapen the moment, very cost-effective public relations).
Every DC series will restart at issue #1 and many of the characters will be younger than they were before. It’s less clear whether the plots will substantially change in noncosmetic ways. The only substantial changes announced so far are that “a lot” of series are not returning, Justice League will focus more on relationships and DC will branch into genres besides pure superhero action. “We’re going to use war comics, we have stories set in mystery and horror, we’ve got Westerns.”
“We really want to inject new life in our characters and line. This was a chance to start, not at the beginning, but at a point where our characters are younger and the stories are being told for today’s audience.”
DC will be digitally releasing all of its issues the same day they arrive in comic stores.
Some titles will return and “a lot” won’t. Most DC writers and artists are also getting shuffled around. “Series that are successful and writer/artist combinations that work well together won’t be tweaked too much.”
The direction for the costume changes is to look more contemporary. They’re also trying to “alter the physicality of many heroes and villains to modernize the DC Universe.” I’m not sure what that means, but it sounds like a dangerous surgery illegal in most countries.
“The recent emphasis on diverse characters such as lesbian superheroine Batwoman, Hispanic hero Blue Beetle and African-American adventurer Cyborg (who will be a core member of Johns and Lee’s new Justice League) also will continue.”
Virginia Postrel of the Wall Street Journal offers an interesting comparison: “The princess archetype embodies a feminine version of the appeal… The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay ascribes to superheroes. They express the ‘lust for power and the gaudy sartorial taste of a race of powerless people with no leave to dress themselves.’” What do you think? Are the two that comparable? Any other observations, arguments or baseless insults?
Watching superheroes beat up villains may not be the best image for boys to see if society wants to promote kinder, less stereotypical male behaviors, according to psychologists…
“There is a big difference in the movie superhero of today and the comic book superhero of yesterday,” said psychologist Sharon Lamb, PhD, distinguished professor of mental health at University of Massachusetts-Boston. “Today’s superhero is too much like an action hero who participates in non-stop violence; he’s aggressive, sarcastic and rarely speaks to the virtue of doing good for humanity. When not in superhero costume, these men, like Ironman, exploit women, flaunt bling and convey their manhood with high-powered guns.”
The comic book heroes of the past did fight criminals, she said, “but these were heroes boys could look up to and learn from because outside of their costumes, they were real people with real problems and many vulnerabilities,” she said.
My initial impression is that this is so luridly off-base I don’t know where to begin.
BBC: “The thieves were assaulting a German medical exchange student in Sydney, but the alleyway where they struck was next to a school for ninja warriors.” Guys, when you make sure there are no witnesses or security cameras nearby, you might want to take note of the ninja school next time.
From season 2 on, Heroes was a fetid cesspool of contrivances, idiot plots, plot holes, gratuitouslybadacting, wildly inconsistent characterization, no compelling villains besides Sylar and a cast that was probably twice as large as it needed to be and definitely twice as large as the writers could handle. But unquestionably the biggest disappointment was how much the later seasons paled in comparison to season 1. It may be better to have loved and lost than to never have loved at all, but you have a much better idea of what you’re missing.
Hopefully NBC’s next superhero program, The Cape, will do better. An honest cop is framed for murder and becomes a superhero to get revenge. (I suspect that he won’t actually have superpowers, though–among other things, NBC was concerned about Heroes’ large special budget). The concept sounds forgettable, but I’m (irrationally) hopeful. I’m excited that the protagonist is trained by a circus gang of bank-robbers.
As for Law and Order, I’m glad it got canceled. The closest it got to long-term plot development was cast changes. While that makes it easy to rerun old episodes (because it doesn’t matter whether viewers see the episodes in order), I think that serialized television allows for better character development and the excitement of cliffhangers from one episode to the next. I think The Wire is an excellent example of that: the show is ridiculously addictive, but you pretty much have to see the episodes in order or you are screwed.
As far as supernatural fantasies starring teen heroines go, this is pretty close to perfect. But red-blooded Americans of the non-girl variety would probably like this better. The bloody handprints were a cheery touch.
And here’s probably the funniest Hitler-themed video I’ve seen in, umm, ever.
Here’s an amusing excerpt from a Washington Post article…
“We are at a point where no one could have even imagined 15 years ago,” said Albert J. Lurigio, a professor of psychology and criminal justice at Loyola University who has written about electronic monitoring and privacy since a New Mexico judge, inspired by Spider-Man comics, became the first to sentence a defendant to home confinement with an electronic monitor.
Disney is paying roughly $50 per share, which is a 29% premium over Friday’s closing. If you own Marvel stock, you will come out ahead quite nicely on this. It was trading around $25 earlier this year.
I am cautiously optimistic that Disney knows how to buy a successful firm without ruining what made it successful. For example, Pixar’s movies didn’t drop in quality after the Disney buyout. (Nor have they released a lot of straight-to-DVD sequels to successful movies).
I doubt this will have a noticeable impact on Marvel’s products. Even the movies.
I think Disney is the biggest loser here. It’s betting 4 billion dollars that it can leverage Marvel’s characters better than Marvel did. I’m skeptical.
A Berlin woman divorced her husband for cleaning too much. “The wife got through 15 years of marriage putting up with the man’s penchant for doing household chores, tidying up and rearranging the furniture.” One of the advantages of marrying me is that this will certainly not be a problem.
Notre Dame just announced that the President is doing our commencement speech this year. I’ve always been opposed to the idea of commencements and do not plan to attend mine, regardless of the speaker. This announcement merely makes it absolutely certain that my absence will cause my parents to flip out. They’re still sore that I successfully missed my high school commencement, even though I had a valid excuse then.
This paragraph appeared in a Washington Post article about a miserably incompetent bank giving hundreds of millions of dollars in bonuses: “The rhetoric grew so heated yesterday that Sen. Charles E. Grassley suggested in a radio interview that AIG executives ought to ‘follow the Japanese model… resign, or go commit suicide.’ An aide later explained he does not actually want executives to kill themselves.” Good to know!
1. I agree that superhero stories are mainstream. Many superhero movies and TV shows have been broadly successful.
2. But comic books and graphic novels are not mainstream. Primarily, that’s because they’re sold mostly in specialty stores rather than general-interest stores like supermarkets and newsstands. These specialty stores usually strike me as kind of creepy and may well scare away low-interest fans. Moving back into supermarkets probably isn’t feasible for the typical comic book series, but it encourages me that comic books are increasingly sold online.
[B. Mac adds:Is the endorsement of the NYT a good thing for comics? The NYT has a soft spot for businesses that are not actually economically viable, such as solar power, US car companies, and itself.]
CNN just did a piece on how cops break the news that someone’s loved one has been murdered. I think the article is an especially useful resource for the authors of superhero stories because a lot of superheroes get so caught up in their superhero identities that regular people are essentially cut from the story. For example, on Heroes normal people are sometimes used as props or plot devices, but they never get any important lines. (Also, the characters haven’t had real jobs since season 1, and all of the recurring characters have superpowers now. Even Suresh and Ando!)
Although breaking tragic news to a spouse might get too angsty, I suspect that an author could play it quietly to add emotional depth to the superhero. One of the things that annoyed me about Bruce Wayne/Batman is that he’s so socially retarded that it seems like he doesn’t care about anyone else. Beating the hell out of bad guys is fine, but that’s just revenge for Batman. If your hero is supposed to be likable, you might want to show that he’s at least trying to empathize with regular people. I’d recommend having him stumble awkwardly in the conversation, though. I think the scene depends on the awkwardness of the hero being thrust into a new role that’s hard even for professional chaplains.
In Brookfield, Wis., no restaurant has triggered more calls to the police department since last year than Chuck E. Cheese’s.
Officers have been called to break up 12 fights, some of them physical, at the child-oriented pizza parlor since January 2007. The biggest melee broke out in April, when an uninvited adult disrupted a child’s birthday party. Seven officers arrived and found as many as 40 people knocking over chairs and yelling in front of the restaurant’s music stage, where a robotic singing chicken and the chain’s namesake mouse perform.
“The biggest problem is you have a bunch of adults acting like juveniles,” says Town of Brookfield Police Capt. Timothy Imler. “There’s a biker bar down the street, and we rarely get calls there.”…
In Toledo, Ohio, four women were charged with disorderly conduct after a melee erupted at a Chuck E. Cheese’s there last year. According to police reports, it started when parents complained to the restaurant manager that children were loitering at the drawing machine…
“I thought they were going to attack me,” says Sheri Kellar-Raab, the first officer who responded…
The company stationed armed security guards inside the restaurant in an effort to make it safer.”It was like something out of a Quentin Tarantino film,” says Mr. Zielinski, referring to the “Pulp Fiction” director. “What parent is going to take their kids to a place where there is alcohol and pistols get brandished?”
A friend of a friend (who graduated from a pharmacy school with a 2.5/4.0 GPA) has supposedly been offered $3 million to spend six years as a permanent resident in a remote region of Alaska. Is that remotely believable?
When mapping out any kind of superheroic narrative, a consideration has to be made that is not often an aspect of other types of stories, and by that I mean you have to determine power level, or maybe we should say Power Level, since so many superheroic concepts work better with capitals. This is […]
Short version: Dr. Short at the University of Oklahoma conducted a study which found that graphic novels helped students learn material more easily and were preferred by 80% of the students. You can enroll for free here to test whether they are more effective for you. Here’s an example of the study incorporating visual […]