Friday, February 27, 2009
Hmm. Splash pages are legal, right? Just in case, here's a backup page with a pain-filled final panel...also, bonus butt-shot!
The action happens in The Immortal Iron Fist #6, written by Ed Brubaker and Matt Fraction and drawn by David Aja.
Wednesday, February 25, 2009
Hey folks, sorry that this post is late. Last night, after watching the episode, I barely got to start writing about it before Nick and a friend of ours screech into the yard like bats out of hell, and we spend the entire night talking about the finer points of bosses in the Metal Gear Solid games, one of which I'll post here. Keep in mind when watching this video, that this is all BEFORE the fight actually begins.
We also talked about how shitty the new video game movies coming out look, and capped the evening off by watching Exitspeed, which if you don't know (how could you not?) is about a group of people on a bus getting attacked by a gang of bikers... er, rather, Nomads, and trying to defend themselves. Of course, there's not too much defending going on, because all the bikers do is funny tricks on their crotch rockets and smoke a shit ton of crystal meth, while the heroes slowly pick them off while 'holding their position'. This is one of those flicks where you almost feel bad for the villains because the heroes are just so much more equipped to deal with the situation. In this case, it's a bunch of meth-heads getting their asses kicked by an AWOL soldier, A level something or other Dark-Elf Archer, The dude from tremors who wasn't Kevin Bacon, a mexican laborer who can build a gun for shooting molotov cocktails, and a single mom who not only runs marathons for breast cancer, but also strangles bitches with barbed wire BEFORE smothering them with a plastic bag. After the initial scare of the Nomad attack, the rest of the movie is pretty much just seeing our cast of heroes 'surviving' by brutally and efficiently dispatching the drugged out psychopaths. It's a pretty fun little flick, and very well done for what it is.
Anyways, this is a Lost post, so let's talk about THAT.
The Life and Death of Jeremy Bentham. I really dug this episode, and it focused on John Locke, of course, who is one of my favorite characters in the show who's still alive, next to Jack and Jin. From what I've read since watching it, this episode had a lot of hype behind it, so of course, some people were very disappointed with it, but since I don't read about episodes before I watch them, I found the episode quite fulfilling, though it did seem a bit rushed. The writing in certain scenes was magnificent, with great delivery from a lot of the characters, most notably Jack, Kate, Ben, and of course, Locke. Even if this episode wasn't all it was apparently hyped up to be, watching it with fresh eyes, it's pretty much top-form for Lost. It didn't reinvent the wheel or anything, but I thought it did what it did very well.
The episode kick off by formally introducing the Hispanic character seen in the last episode, who as it turns out, is named Caesar. He is played by Said Taghmaoui, who was in Vantage Point with Matthew Fox, and will be playing 'Breaker' in the new G.I. Joe film, pictured below.
Caesar starts the episode in an as-of-yet unknown location, where we see him discover several items of interest, including an awesome sawed-off shotgun and more info about the island. A fellow survivor of 316, who's name is later revealed to be Alanna, walks in just as Caesar is putting all of the stuff into his bag. When she asks what it is, he lies, of course. No one on Lost can just be honest. She tells Caesar that they found a man in a suit, standing in the water completely still, and have taken him ashore. They run out of the building, and discover that the man in question is Locke, alive and well. They chat for a while, and Alanna reveal to John that they are the survivors of Ajira 316, and that the pilot and one woman (Lapidus and Sun, presumably.) stole one of the three longboats and headed away. This suggests that 316 actually crashed on the other island (the one with the Hydra station on it), so Frank and Sun were trying to get back to theirs. Throughout this scene, we see other survivors of 316, but no one who really stands out.
Following this, the flashback scene starts, and it takes up pretty much the rest of the whole episode. We go back to the point at which Locke turned the donkey wheel, and was transported off of the island. Like Ben, Locke wakes up in Tunisia, still with a broken leg. This time, unlike Ben, there is a camera on a post, watching him. He notices the camera, and when he calls for help, a team of armed men in a pick-up truck squeal up and take him away. He is rushed to a make-shift hospital, where the food sucks and a team of doctors try to fix his broken leg by snapping it into place. Locke sees a familiar face just before he passes out.
When Locke wakes up, Charles Widmore is in his room, watching him sleep, all creepy-like. He explains to Locke that these are his people, that it was his camera, and talks to Locke about meeting him when Widmore was only 17. He also tells Locke that he was the leader of his people for more than thirty years, until Ben tricked him into leaving. He wants to help Locke take his rightful place, by offering assistance in getting the others to come back. He claims there's a war coming, and if Locke doesn't play his part, it will be lost. Before Locke leaves, Widmore gives him a new I.D./passport, with the name Jeremy Bentham (He also makes a joke about Locke's original name. if you didn't get that, read about John Locke, or Jeremy Bentham here.) a new cellphone, and a folder with the locations of the Oceanic Six in it. He also tells Locke that he's special, yadda yadda yadda, and that Abaddon will be his escort and bodyguard. If you don't remember Abaddon, he is the tall black man who assembled Widmore's team who went to the island, including Daniel Faraday, Miles Straume, and most notably Keamy. He also told Locke to go on a walkabout right after he broke his back, and Abaddon also visited Hurley in the psych ward, claiming to be a rep. of Oceanic, and asking about the others. Abaddon, very interestingly, is a name from the bible, and could mean the devil, or a place of death. Read about Abaddon here.
A lot of the rest of the episode is just Locke visiting people, asking them to come back, and them kindly telling him to go fuck himself. Sayid is apparently doing relief work in Santo Domingo in the Dominican republic, and refuses. Kate refuses, Hurley thinks Locke's dead, then when Hurley realizes he's not, he refuses. Then flips out about Abaddon. Basically, John just gets dead-ended everywhere he goes for most of the episode.
However, in the midst of all this, a few interesting things happen. First off, Locke talks to Walt again, and the suggestion is that this might be the last time we see Walt, as Locke doesn't even ask him to come back. However, this seems very unlikely, and the fact that Abaddon excuses himself before Walt can see him kind of makes me think he might be an older version of Walt... Hmm, worth thinking about. At the end of this scene, we also see that Ben is following them, which, of course, is important later.
Locke also 'reunites' with Helen, who died of a brain aneurism in '06. Not a huge reveal, but important nonetheless. More importantly, as they are leaving the cemetery, while Locke is in the car, Abaddon is assassinated right behind him, shot dead in the middle of the street.
So much for Abaddon.
Locke leaps into the driver's seat and squeals away into mid-day Ca. traffic, and promptly gets involved in a vehicular accident, once AGAIN hospitalizing Locke. This guy gets put into the hospital a lot, but twice in one episode might be a new record. This time Locke wakes up with Jack (right now he's kind of stubbly. Not clean shaven, but not quite a beard.) glaring at him all creepy-like while he sleeps, and when Locke wakes up, he asks Jack to go back too, of course. Jack reacts rather predictably, by telling him he's a loser. That is until Locke tells Jack that dad say's 'Hi'. Jack flips out, and storms off to grow a real beard.
The strain of not being liked by Jack Shephard does what it would do to any normal man or woman, and drives Locke to kill himself. He writes a note to Jack, and proceeds to begin hanging himself with an electrical cord from the roof of a hotel. Then...
Knock Knock, Ben's there! Like an exciteable little opossum Ben bursts into the room and tries to save John. He tells him that he's been watching all of the Oceanic Six and keeping them safe and that Widmore is an evil liar. He also reveals that he was the gunslinger who took out Abaddon. Locke starts crying about being a failure, and Ben reassures him that he loves him, and they spend the rest of the night holding each other, until John tells him about the promise he made to Jin about not bringing Sun back, and about the ring. Then eerie music starts to play, and when Locke tells Ben about Eloise Hawking, Ben strangles him with the cord that he just kept John from hanging himself with. They make a nice couple. Ben goes through the motions of making Locke's death look like a suicide, instead of an attempted suicide followed by a homicide. Ben takes the ring, and seems to feel honestly sorry for John before he leaves.
Back on the island for the end of the episode, we once again see Caesar checking out Dharma documents, this one with the Hydra logo on it, pretty much proving that the 316 guys crashed on the second island. Locke gives a confusing explanation of his history with the island, and Caesar tells him that Hurley literally disappeared out of the plane. He also mentions that some people are injured, and being kept in the other room.Locke walks in, and guess who he finds among the injured?
Yeppers, it's Ben. The man who killed Locke is now lying injured in a hospital bed just waiting for his come-uppance. Hmm... this could end violently.
Well, that's the end of the episode. Aside from a few small gripes, like the fact that I really liked Abaddon and now he's dead, and the fact that since we knew Locke was alive on the island at the very beginning of the episode, it took the weight off of his death when Ben killed him, I liked this episode a lot. Of course, I've gotten used to Lost death's being more or less empty at this point, but still. It's freaking Locke. His death should have at least seemed bad. Anyways, enough complaining. See you next week.
Monday, February 23, 2009
When we told you there was a whole other story in Sir Robert Liefeld's Great American Graphic Novel Youngblood #1, featuring an entirely different team, you probably thought it was simply too good to be true. Indeed, even though I read the issue in it's entirety every single day right when I wake up and again before going to sleep, I always feel a moment of deep, aching despair when I reach the end of side 1, before I remember it's a flip book, and my life is once again reaffirmed. I think my mind protects me in this way, because subconsciously I know I'd never do anything but reread Youngblood #1 over and over if I didn't repress the memory of it's greatness long enough to go to tittybars and do blogging. But it really, really is a flip-book, and dreams do come true!
By the way, if you've been reading along with our casting (which I'm sure most of you have) but finding Sir Liefeld's story a bit challenging, it might help to know that Shaft's girlfriend Shelly and Badrock's mom are not, in fact, the exact same person.
We hope this clears things up a bit. We're not gonna cast these two lovely ladies because not even Corey Feldman could get his hair to do...whatever theirs is doing. To avoid ruining the characters, they might have to be claymation or something.
Anyway, side 2 is pure balls-to-the-wall action from start to finish. While the 'home' team is waiting all damn day for Vogue to show up, the 'away' team is jumping out of a jet to fight Saddam Hussein (Liefeld's writing is full of layers and subtext you wouldn't pick up on until you've read it many times, but trust me, 'Haddam Kussein' is a cleverly veiled reference to Saddam) and his mech army. No, seriously.
One of the many ways Youngblood is ahead of it's time is that, if you count both teams, it boasts twice as many black men as your average super team (two). Sentinel is the team's leader, even if he does get knocked out early on and act like a complete pushover when his soldiers brazenly disobey orders. Assuming Sam Jackson doesn't want to play him also, there's only one other African-American actor with the chops to pull this off...
Another way Youngblood raised the bar is the subtle homosexual undertones in the friendship between heavy hitters Combat and Cougar. As an example, observe this scene, in which they totally do it in the butt.
Combat may or may not have size changing powers. His height seems to range from about six to twenty feet tall, but Liefeld is the guy who infamously drew Captain America's shield anywhere between the size of a dinnerplate and the size of monster-truck tire. By the by, Combat's gun may also have size and shape changing powers. Anyway, we think he should be played by a twenty foot tall CGI Worf.
We aaallllmost went with Stifler's mom to play Cougar just based on the name alone, but then Justin pointed out a certain actor, and it just made sense.
One character on the away team actually displays a personality trait other than 'Xtreme', and that's Psi-Fire, who's a snotty douchebag. So he has to be played by the 'cocky blonde guy' from Not Another Teen Movie.
Riptide looks like a drag queen that just got done doing squats, but in this case we've decided to cast the part based on what was almost certainly the artist's intent rather than the finished product.
Brahma is a generic Strong Guy character who inexplicably took his name from four-headed Hindu god of creation and his ass from a Puerto Rican woman.
One quick haircut and dye, and...
And now we come to the most mysterious figure in the whole book, Photon. On the inside of the cover, Photon is listed as part of the away team, but he's nowhere to be found in that story. He is, however, briefly seen at the home team's HQ. Shaft walks past him and says "Oh, so we get the pleasure of your company tonight, Photon?", to which Photon replies "Sir?". Then everyone goes to stop that escape attempt, but Photon doesn't go with them. This may be the single most challenging and complex panel in the entire book. Is Shaft really upset that Photon apparently missed an earlier meeting, or is he joking around? Clearly, Photon is confused by Shaft's statement, but neither he nor the reader gets any sort of answer. It's left to the scholars of the future to ponder the meaning of this exchange. Meanwhile...
And that's the entire Youngblood roster. As for villains, we assume actual footage of Saddam Hussein will be used for the Hassan Kussein character. The team of criminals who the home team are sent to fight in side 1 are The Four, two of which (Starbright and Deadlock) appear so briefly and are so ridiculous(ly awesome) looking that they defy casting. As for Redheaded Brahma, a.k.a. Strongarm and his buddy Gage...
So, there you have it. We trust that the man who brought us the Rush Hour we never watched, Brett Ratner, will take our suggestions in consideration and make a Youngblood film we can all be proud of. And if you think this whole post was just our veiled attempt to get bodybuilding icons and film legends The Barbarian Brothers back onscreen again, you may just be on to something. But if you think we've been unfair in our treatment of Rob Liefeld, we just want you to remember this: Rob Liefeld gave Captain America titties.
You know, there's so much that's so glaringly wrong about this picture, I wonder how many people have even noticed that his little head-wings are completely uneven. That's just unforgivable.
Friday, February 20, 2009
Invincible #11 by Robert Kirkman and Ryan Ottley, for all your father/son beatdown needs.
Wednesday, February 18, 2009
*ahem* moving on:
This episode really upped the quality and power of the season, in my humble opinion. It was definitely the best episode since the season premiere, and I think a large part of it is the reunion of several of the major cast members. They're finally reconnecting a little bit, instead of all doing their own personal crap. They're still not necessarily all friendly, mind you, but at least they're together. Overall, the episode was generally just more entertaining and fun than the previous ones, even though Sayid doesn't beat anyone up.
Another thing that I loved about this episode, (and, it appears the next episode) is that the show returned to it's storytelling structure of focusing on a single character and showing their story in a linear (well, mostly linear) fashion. This show followed Iron Jack, so I'm not complaining.
The first thing Jack-O does is open one eye, and send us down memory lane right from the start as he comes to in the forest, already back on the island. Of course, this is a flash forward, but as flash forwards go, it isn't bad. The first thing he does is pull a note out of his pocket which is half destroyed. The only legible words are 'I wish-'. Before we have much time to ponder over this little tidbit of information, however, Jack hears Hurley screaming for dear life across the jungle. Jack throws himself through the forest, following the cry for help. Seeing Jack act this way is almost like reuniting with an old friend, and it brings a tear to your eye.
Upon arrival, we see Hurley floating in the same river where they found the halliburton, and he's surviving by staying afloat on an inexplicable guitar case. No sooner has Jack rescued Hurley than he sees Kate, seemingly dead on a pile of rocks to the side. However, Jack manages to revive her, and we're left wondering how the fuck did they convince Kate to come back to the island... perhaps we'll find out-
46 HOURS EARLIER!
Now we pick up where the last episode left off, with Iron Jack, Sun Damage, Ben, and Desmond going into the church to meet Eloise Hawking a.k.a. Faraday's mom. She takes the group down into the basement, where she has her very own Dharma Hatch. It is apparently called 'The Lamp Post', and it's point is to find the island when and where it will be next, and determine the windows of opportunity to get there. It does this by using a giant swinging pendulum, that scratches a map of Earth as it rotates, pinpointing a location. Somehow Desmond manages to walk blindly through the center of the room several times mid hissy-fit, and never gets hit by the pendulum, which absolutely amazes me. He blows up on Eloise, blaming her for stealing four years of his life, and claims that since he has relayed his message from Faraday, he is washing his hands of the island forever before storming out.
After this episode, things are a little awkward, but Eloise continues with business, telling the other three that their window to the island will be closing soon, and that they need to get on a plane from L.A. to Guam tomorrow to make it. Ajira Airlines Flight 316. If the name Ajira is familiar to you, it's the airline who's water bottles Sawyer and Locke's group found in the old boats near their destroyed camp when they were time-jumping. If the numbers 316 sound familiar, you are thinking of what wrestler Steve Austin says right before some jacked-up nimrod (sic) gets Stone Cold Stunned.
It's from the bible. (The correlation is obvious, is it not?) The verse is:
For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. – John 3:16
Austin 3:16 says I just whipped your ass! -Austin 3:16
Come to think of it, that verse sounds like it could relate to Locke or Aaron or even Ben in some way. The John one. The Austin one is obviously referring to Sayid. Of course, whether the number has any significance whatsoever is questionable.
Eloise leaves her audience with a last piece of advice, and a warning. She tells them that they need to try to recreate the original plane ride as closely as possible. This means that the more people who go back, the more likely they will get the results they desire. If only Jack, Sun, and Ben go, the results could be... unpredictable. She also tells Jack she has something she needs to talk to him about in private.
Eloise brings Jack into her private office, and gives him an envelope with his name on it. It is a note he left for Jack... right before he hung himself. Hrm... That kind of answers the question of how Locke died. (More details in the next episode, named 'The Life and Death of Jeremy Bentham'.) Eloise also tells Jack that Locke will act as a proxy on the plane. (A stand-in, if you don't know the term) Jack has to get something that belonged to Christian, and give it to Locke. This will increase their chances somehow, so Jack has to find something that belonged to a man over three years dead, and give it to a corpse. Sounds fun.
After the meeting, Ben treats us and Jack to a little biblical history, namely the story of Thomas the apostle. Read all about him here.
The next scene is long and elaborate, and for the most part a pointless story showing how Jack gets ahold of Christian's shoes from his grandfather in the old folk's home. From what we can tell in the scene, Jack's grandfather is A: Awesome and B: An outlaw. On a related topic, Ray is my new favorite character.
After we are introduced to that awesome old geezer, Jack goes home and finds Kate looking drugged out and laying on his bed. He rouses her, and interrogates her about Aaron, or rather, a lack thereof. She flips out as only a distraught wanna-be mother can, and tells him that she will come to the island if, and ONLY IF, he never asks her about Aaron again.
Then they totally make out.
The morning after, Jack and Kate talk about their coming up travels, and the only real point of interest here is finding out Jack put the white jogging shoes on Christian because he didn't have the time or motivation to get him some real dress shoes.
After this harrowing confession, Kate bails out and Jack receives a phone call from Ben, who has apparently been in a rather violent encounter. Seems like he was more on the receiving end of things, but it makes you wonder who could just beat up Ben and walk away from it... hmm. Ben tells Jack to go get Locke's body, because he's going to have to move it. Jack agrees and heads off to meet Jill at the butcher shop.
Jack decides to pull a Kansas City Shuffle and switch out Locke's shoes with Christian's, and just like that, he has a proxy. He also leaves the unopened suicide note in Locke's coat, then calls the corpse crazy before taking it to the airport so the plane can crash right. Jack's so awesome.
At the airport, while Jack is arguing with another airline employee about trying to bring yet another body on board a plane, we are introduced to what will probably become a new character, a young latino man with a beard. We also see Sayid coming into the airport... in handcuffs, Kate style. Hurley's there, too. When asked why, he says it's not important, he just heard that he should be there. I wasn't paying much attention in this scene because Hurley was reading Y: The Last Man, and I was thinking about how the story of Y could relate to 'Lost', and if it had any significance beyond being written by Brian K. Vaughan.
In the end, everyone from the island is on the plane, with the exception of Desmond. Ben shows up last minute, and even Frank Mothafuckin' Lupitus is flying the plane. Of course, there are a few hiccups, i.e. Hurley freaks out on Ben upon seeing him, Lupitus didn't even know that there was a plan to crash the plane, and some asshole gives Jack his suicide letter back.
Oh, and deviating a bit, Ben has my favorite quote of the season so far. Ben is reading a magazine, while Jack is just sitting there being terrified.
Jack: "How can you read?"
Ben: "My mother taught me."
After Ben busts his balls a little bit more, he tells Jack to read the damn suicide note, and then leaves him to it. Jack eventually mans the fuck up and reads it. It simply says 'Jack, I wish you had believed' No sooner than the note is read, the car starts going through it's crashing motions.
From here on out, the end of the show is a repeat of the beginning, right up until the end, after Jack manages to revive Kate. As soon as they stand up, they hear the sound of a vehicle approaching, and look up to see the old van (the one Hurley fixed up) back in it's glory days approaching. A figure jumps out and points a rifle at the group. First we see it's someone from the Dharma Initiative, but when it scans up to the person's face, we see it's:
Yeah, I don't really get it either. Although I have a new theory as to who Adam and Eve might be, seeing Jin all decked out in Dharma colors...
Well, aside from that, I have no idea why Jin is with dharma or anything, so I won't even try. Although now that he's been with Rousseau's group, and now Dharma, Jin is officially an 'Other' at this point, I think. The next episode is where we find out all the mysteries around Locke's time in L.A. Looks to be a good one.
'Til next time.
Monday, February 16, 2009
Welcome to our fantasy casting of the Youngblood movie.
For the uninitiated, Youngblood is an almost universally reviled comic from the early nineties. It was created, written, and drawn by Rob Liefeld, who, interestingly enough, isn't very good at drawing, writing, or creating things. He's one of those 'Xtreme' artists who were popular at that time; one of (if not the) worst of the lot. The thing about Liefeld is that for a split second when you first see some of his art, it doesn't look that bad...
Then you stop and think : WHAT THE FUCK IS UP WITH THAT DUDE ON THE RIGHT?! How's his back...why...but...AAAAHHHHHHH!!!!
Most of the time, however, you just take one look...
...and despair. He got paid real, paper money for those pictures, folks. Anyway, everyone always takes jabs at the guy, but I've heard he's actually pretty nice in real life, so we're gonna take it eas-oh, wait...
The really cool thing about Liefeld though is that he's an inspiration to aspiring artists. If he can get a job in comics...
Anyway, have you heard the good news? Preach, Brett Ratner, Director of X-Men 3 and Rush Hour 3 !
“Most of the great graphic novels are gone, and ‘Youngblood’ is one of the few comicbooks left with tentpole potential,” Ratner told the trade. “It was a real personal passion project for me, and a lot of people wanted (‘Youngblood’), but the amazing thing about the guys at Reliance is the speed with which they’re able to move.”
Wow, that is one impressively huge pile of bullshit.
But we're not about crying foul on this blog, we're about CRYING HAVOK!!! , which means (clearly) that we're gonna give this flick a fair shake. Heck, we're actually pretty damned psyched about it, so psyched we've painstakingly compiled a list of the actors and actresses we believe could do this 'great graphic novel' justice. To achieve this, we actually gritted our teeth all extreme nineties style and read Youngblood #1, insofar as you can 'read' the unreadable. Now there's been many attempts to restart the series over the years (Liefeld recently released the first series in a collected edition, with the selling point that it had been completely rewritten. Seriously, he hired a writer, Joe Casey, to chop up and rearrange the old issues and change all the dialogue so people can actually read it all the way through without sustaining brain damage), but we read the real deal, the one that started it all, and that's the story we'll be casting.
Youngblood is the story of a government sanctioned strikeforce of superpowered assholes. That's the whole plot, so now you're in the know.
The leader of these assholes is Shaft (yes, really), who's power is that he shoots a bow with no strings and has impossible hair.
Wait, did we say impossible? Silly, all things are possible when you invite The Corey's into your life!
Badrock (Originally called Bedrock, until Hanna-Barbara made Liefeld change it because it's name of the town in The Flintstones) is a big grey rock guy, so a quick repaint is in order.
We haven't seen Michael Chiklis in much recently, maybe they can even get him to wear the suit. The role of Badrock, however, is primarily a voice acting gig, since (judging from the one issue we've read) he seems to be some sort of child in a monstrous body...
Vogue is the token hot chick on the team, and she's no man's slave. When the whole team gets summoned to HQ, she purposefully 'makes 'em wait' for five hours before she shows up. Luckily, everybody else is just standing around when she gets there, at which point they get sent to stop some super villains from breaking their teammates out of a prison transport van. Which means the team was called in just to hang around in costume for no apparent reason. Note that they didn't show up for duty at a set time or anything like a fireman or cop, they were all summoned suddenly and had to drop whatever they were doing to go wait at HQ for five hours until an emergency happened to c0me up.
Anyway, on account of Rob Liefeld's particular artistic sensibilities, the only way to accurately portray Vogue onscreen is to digitally graft young Madonna's head onto Dolly Parton's body.
Actually, that sounds ridiculous, but apparently they're doing something very similar with Shwarzeneggar for Terminator 4. That's the rumor, anyway.
Credit where it's due, Diehard is actually a pretty sweet codename. He's also probably the coolest looking character on the team, for what little that's worth. He speaks in english, but his inner thoughts seem to be translated from another language
And, then there's Chapel, who is a black man.
And that's the core team of...oops, hold your horses, true believer. You probably think that this group of generic-to-unlikeable characters are going to have some room to grow in their first issue, maybe pique the reader's interest. Hell to tha naw, man. Liefeld likes to hedge his bets by throwing as many characters at you as possible. hoping one or the other of them will remind you enough of Wolverine that you'll buy issue 2. That's why after a thirteen pages of really Bad Dudes gritting their teeth at you, you get to flip the book over and read about more Bad Dudes killing Saddam Hussein. That's right, it's political commentary in the mighty Liefeld manner, with all the subtlety and intelligence you would expect. And we're gonna cast the living shit out of it, next time on CRY HAVOK!!!
Read part 2 here!
We just watched Bill Maher's Religulous, in which he talks to (and tears into) believers from various religious sects around the world. Let me say straight up, yes, this is a one-sided affair. One quick-witted and well-informed professional comedian blindsiding a bunch of nervous folks on camera. Is this fair? Put it this way : I've been indoctrinated to believe in Jesus and the christian god since birth.
Don't get me wrong, my parents were half-assed christians at best, I wasn't wearing hair shirts or setting witches alight or anything. But bible stories were presented as fact, and not eventually revealed as myths like Santa and the tooth fairy were. Using the lord's name in vain would get you sent to the Principal's office, and god got a shout out right there in the pledge of allegiance. I didn't have Jeebus shoved down my throat every second like some kids did, but I was never exposed to any other options, either. God was never presented as anything but real and good, you heard the movie stars and athletes thank him on tv, now stop asking questions and open your presents.
Religulous is undeniably a pro-atheist documentary, religious figures invited to share their views just so Maher can pick their every statement apart. Which is perfectly fine, because at any time, day or night I can turn on my tv and find christians freely expressing their beliefs, and allowing no opposing viewpoints whatsoever. Religulous is a lone piece of atheist propaganda in a sea of religious propaganda so thick I sometimes feel like I'm going to choke on it, and damn, it's nice to hear these points coming out of someone's mouth besides my own.
Ok, that implies that I'm the sole voice of reason in a world of religious zealots, when in fact about half of my friends are non-religious. But only Justin feels as strong about it as I do, and he's a lot more mellow than I am, so it's me who regularly gets in long, loooonnnggg heated debates with the other half. Now, anyone who knows me will tell you, I love to argue. I'll debate you until the cows come home, then I'll start some shit with 'em. But if my partner/opponent refuses to make any real points or keeps playing the 'that's your opinion' card (aka the 'Imma take my ball and go home' card), I can let it go. Problem is, religious people refuse to admit that they're arguing an opinion. They are RIGHT, praise Jeebus, and no amount of logic or reason is gonna sway them, because they have 'faith'. My lack of 'faith', of course, in no way disproves theirs, because for some reason god has seen fit to imbue them with the light of knowledge and leave me out in the cold, but I should pray to him anyway. And every. single. argument. I've had with a christian has eventually ended with them all flustered and defensive, repeating 'because I have faith' over and over. 'I just know'. The entire christian faith seems to devolve into meaningless under any kind of scrutiny, and they simply refuse to think about it.
"I have faith."
"I just know."
"God works in mysterious ways."
If you're christian, devout or half-assed, I challenge you to watch Religulous. I've read your bible, I've attended your sermons, I've heard your stories, as an impressionable child and again as a young man. Atheism is the conclusion I've come to after years of living in an overwhelmingly christian country, in the fucking south. Christians are notorious for knee-jerk condemnations and rejection of anything that questions the divinity of their savior, and if they're so sure of their superiority, why the defensiveness? I propose that it's because their faith is built on willful ignorance and a need to fit in, and will crumble under the slightest pressure if they stop for just one second, open their minds, and THINK.
Damn, I didn't mean to go off on a long rant here. The truth is, I'm pretty tolerant of people's beliefs, I'm willing to keep my mouth shut if it'll help a person get through the day easier. But it infuriates me that I live in a society where I'd almost certainly get my ass chewed out for saying anything anti-christian in a public place, but I have to hear grown men calling each other 'fag' and referring to anything bad or undesirable as 'gay' all the damn time, and I'm overly sensitive if I say something about it. I passed a sign out front of a church near my house a hundred times last year...'homosexuality is a sin'. I heard that after several months somebody finally snuck up and rearranged the letters to read 'homosexuality is in', which is hilarious, but it was instantly taken down and I never got to see it for myself. If I were to put a sign on my own, private lawn that said 'christianity is a sham', it wouldn't last a day, and I'd be lucky if my car and house didn't get vandalized.
One really good point Religulous makes is that non-religious people make up quite a large minority in the US. There are more people in this country willing to admit that they don't believe in god than there are African-Americans. How many more on-the-fencers might be open-minded enough to call themselves atheists if they heard the arguments for and against christianity and gave it some real thought? Where's our support groups and parades? I want a special month each year where kids in school get to learn about how many other religions there are, how they are equally or more valid than christianity, how they have a choice to believe whatever feels right to them. I want an atheist in the white house.
Sound unrealistic? Sure. For the next decade or two. But we've got a black president, and that was unrealistic a decade or two ago. And by the way...
"The Bible is not my book nor Christianity my profession. I could never give assent to the long, complicated statements of Christian dogma."
- Abraham Lincoln, American president (1809-1865).
"Lighthouses are more helpful then churches."
-Benjamin Franklin, American Founding Father, author, and inventor
"This would be the best of all possible worlds, if there were no religion in it."
-John Adams, U.S. President, Founding Father of the United States
Faith means not wanting to know what is true. - Friedrich Nietzsche
I contend that we are both atheists. I just believe in one fewer god than you do. When you understand why you dismiss all the other possible gods, you will understand why I dismiss yours. - Stephen Roberts
What’s “God”? Well, you know, when you want something really bad and you close your eyes and you wish for it? God’s the guy that ignores you. - Steve Buscemi (From the movie “The Island”)
Gods are fragile things; they may be killed by a whiff of science or a dose of common sense. - Chapman Cohen
If God created the world, then who created god? and who created whoever created god? So somewhere along the line something had to just be there. So why can’t we just skip the idea of god and go straight to earth? - Ryan Hanson
All quotes found on these two pages.
Tomorrow: Get ready for more Shaft than you can handle.
Friday, February 13, 2009
In one corner, we have Crossbones, the Red Skull's most loyal (and dangerous) henchman. In the other, the Skull's own daughter, Synthia, once a ruthless mass-murderer, now brainwashed by S.H.I.E.L.D. into thinking she's just a normal girl. Even though the Red Skull's dead and gone, Crossbones isn't about to see his bad name dragged through the mud, so he sets about undoing the mind-whammy that the good guys did on his ex squeeze. He does this, naturally, by torturing her until she reverts back to her old self.
It's a bit of a process.
But in the end, worth every second...
Now the killing starts!
From Captain America #15 by Ed Brubaker and Mike Perkins.