Thursday, November 26, 2009

Something to be Thankful For: Public Domain Laws

Public domain is a wonderful thing.  If you're interested in seeing 1940s Superman cartoons, they are now in the public domain, so they can be freely distributed.  In fact, Wikipedia actually links to every episode so you can easily find the one you want to download (or download them all).  Just scroll down to the bottom of the page and you'll find a table with the episodes and the download links.

Oh, and no posts over the holiday weekend.  I'll be out of town, in a place that has been lost to the mists of time.  (In other words, no Internet access.)

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Flash: Rebirth #5- What were they thinking?

Some minor spoilers behind the cut involving a character's new costume.

"Turtles Forever" Review

What do you get when you cross the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles shows from 2003 and 1987? Sheer, overwhelming awesomeness, as shown by "Turtles Forever," a direct-to-DVD movie which was aired on CW4Kids today.

Through some means, the 1987 Turtles end up in the dimension of the 2003 Turtles. I missed the first 30 minutes, so I don't know how exactly, and frankly I don't care. Even if the set-up was immensely stupid, the rest of the movie would make up for it. The Turtles, of course, must team up to defeat both sets of villains.

Fans of the older show will be happy to see the villains Shredder, Krang, Bepop, Rocksteady and the Foot Soldiers appear, and enjoy the appearances of Splinter and April as well. Fans of the newer series will also get their version of Shredder, as well as Hun, Karai, Splinter, Casey Jones and April. And of course, both sets of the Turtles.

This is a shining example of what a crossover should be. Whoever wrote this was obviously a fan of both shows, and they treated both casts of characters with respect and kept them in-character throughout. The interaction between the two groups is priceless, with the 2003 group notably annoyed by their goofier counterparts, and the 1987 group poking fun at their overly-serious counterparts.

Even though I've never watched the newer version of the Turtles, I was able to follow the action and keep up with the cast of new characters with almost no confusion, and I suspect the same would be true of people who have watched the 2003 version only. The writers cleverly used the two groups being unfamiliar with each other's worlds as a way to sneak in bits and pieces of exposition, but never enough to distract from the plot or the flow of the story.

Some of the best moments are related to the differences in the two worlds, with the 2003 Turtles being dumb-founded by the 1987 April ("What's with the yellow jumpsuit? Do you work in a car wash in this world?") and the 1987 Turtles reaction to the 2003 Shredder being some sort of alien entity. The 2003 characters are perplexed by the 1987 Turtles occasional asides to the cameras and look around in confusion to try and find the person they're addressing. (One character even yells: "Who do you keep talking to? There's no one there!")

But don't think that the show is all goofiness. There is plenty of action, and there were several moments where I thought "Holy crap. How are they going to get out of that?"

There were times when I thought they were being a little too hard on the 1987 Turtles, but there was one moment that really made up for it. At one point, the 1987 Turtles are warned by the 2003 Turtles that they might die if they go along for a fight. The 1987 characters exchange some glances and then say they're coming.

If you're a fan of either TMNT show, this is well worth watching. Heck, if you're a fan of any incarnation of the Turtles, this is well worth watching, as they sneak in references to the comic and the live action movies as well. It makes me want to dig through my old tapes and watch old episodes of the 1987 series. It also makes me want to check out the newer series, which I initially rejected because they weren't my Turtles.

If this is 4Kids' way of apologizing for their dubs of Yu-Gi-Oh, Pokemon and One Piece . . . it's not enough. But they're one step closer to earning forgiveness.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Plastic Man Recap: Episode 1- The Weed

From out of the pages of DC Comics comes the world’s newest and greatest superhero: Plastic Man! He can spring. He can stretch. He can fly. He can bounce. He can change his shape. And he can even dance!

Each week Plastic Man will face the world’s greatest collection of villains.

There’s action. There’s comedy. There’s danger. There’s Penny! There’s bad luck Hula! There’s plenty for everybody on the Plastic Man Comedy/Adventure Show!

Depending on whether you like corny old cartoons, that little intro could either send a shiver of horror down your spine or cause you to grin in anticipation.  Since I have no taste, I'm in the latter category.  The Plastic Man Comedy/Adventure Show was on from 1979-1981, having a grand total of 61 episodes.

Which is funny considering that the first 35 were released as Plastic Man: The Complete Collection.  In fairness, the show's title changed after that, but I still feel gipped.  I paid for the complete collection.  Where's my Baby Plas and Plastic Man Family, darn it?

But enough of my whining.  Let's dive right into, shall we?  (Be warned: this recap is long.)

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Plastic Man Episode Index

Beneath the cut is an episodes list for the The Plastic Man Adventure/Comedy Show.  Why am I posting it?  Because I'm planning on recapping the episodes.  Maybe not all of them, but I'd like to post enough recaps to give people a good idea about what the show's like.

I'd like to write recaps for them all, but I'm not going to commit myself to 35 episodes worth of recaps.  (Not counting the 26 Baby Plas and Plastic Family episodes, which were apparently not included in the Plastic Man: Complete Collection DVDs. I hate false advertising . . .)

This list will function as an index for my recaps, and I'll link to the recaps as I write them.  If nothing else, it's worth a look for the corny, pun-filled titles.  And the amazing amounts of alliteration and assonance.

Friday, November 13, 2009

No More Event Comics

As of today, I'm swearing off event comics.  From henceforth, I refuse to buy any event comic until they come out in TPB.  Probably not even then.  I may still flip through them or look at scans posted online, but I'm not paying a penny for them until they're in TPB format.


There have simply been too many event comics, one after the other after the other.  I no longer care about how much Final Crisis of Infinite Doom is going to "CHANGE THINGS 4 EVAR!"  Because it's a freaking lieCrisis on Infinite Earths forever changed the DC Universe.  It was what an event comics should be: epic, world-shattering and incredibly well-written.  The entire DC Universe is measured by whether an event happened pre-Crisis or post-Crisis.  None of the recent event comics can claim anything like that.

Event comics are rarely anything but an attempt to boost sales, with the storyline being of secondary importance . . . if it ranks that high.  But no one seems to learn.  Readers continue buying event comics in droves regardless of how horrible they turn out to be.

Comic companies should be focusing on making their regular titles as good as possible.  Event comics are a distraction from that goal.  Event comics continually sabotage the regular titles by forcing the writers to drop everything in order to tie in to the latest event, completely ruining the story flow and derailing the plots the writers have been working on.

Maybe the next event will be different.  Maybe it will be the next Crisis on Infinite Earths.  But I think that's about as likely as my blog becoming the next Internet phenomenon.  Or the devil giving free sleigh rides in hell.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Overanalyzing Comics Details: Judomaster's Power

The current Judomaster has an unusual power: she can't be hit by attacks specifically aimed at her.  Explosions and unaimed attacks can hit her, but not if you're actually aiming at her.

However, I have to wonder if she couldn't be easily taken down by someone using a more "defensive" martial art like aikido.  Aikido focuses on using your opponents attacks against them, heavily emphasizing throws and holds.  Rarely are actual attacks used.  So, in theory, you should be able to take her down simply by using her own momentum against her or putting her in some sort of hold.

Since she's used to not being able to be hit, she probably isn't the greatest martial artist.  She never actually has to worry about enemies hitting her, so she can just wail on them with impunity.  That would lead to sloppy form as well as an extreme level of overconfidence.

She also seems to think that judo consists entirely of kicks, so that further supports my theory that she can't be that great a martial artist.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Nitpicking Judomaster

I'll have to admit that I'm not much for Judomaster.  Mostly because I know almost nothing about her personality.  Johns at least gave us some basic idea about the characters that he introduced in Justice Society of America, but Judomaster was the least developed.  I've heard she appeared in Birds of Prey, and maybe she was a three-dimensional character there, but judging by Justice Society, she's a cardboard cutout.

I'm willing to cut her some slack since she's shown the ability to look beyond physical appearances.  (Judging by her relationship with Damage.)  I know pretty much nothing about her personality aside from that, but oh well.  At least I know she isn't shallow.

However, two (nitpicky) things about her bug me.

1) Her constant high-kicks.  Judo focuses on throws and holds, not kicking.  But it seems that the only thing she does in fights is kick.  If her name was "Kickboxing Master" it would work, but it doesn't fit someone named Judomaster.

2) Her name.  Sonia Sato.  Sato is a common Japanese surname.  Sonia, however, is not a Japanese name.  You could write it with Japanese characters, but that doesn't make it Japanese.  If she's supposed to be American, then I wouldn't take much issue with that, since Sonia is a common enough name in English.  But she's portrayed as Japanese, so she should have a Japanese name, darn it!

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Golden Age Comics- What They Got Right

I've decided that there is one thing that is desperately lacking in today's world of comics.  Something that was prevalent in the Golden Age: comics with several, unrelated stories.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Types of Writers Epilogue

In my past six posts, I examined 6 types of writers that appear in comics.  With the possible exception of the Mind-Screw Specialist, all of them have one thing in common.  They have forgotten an essential truth of comics: Comics are supposed to be fun.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Types of Writers, Part 6- The Vampiric Writer

In this last post of the "Types of Writers" series, we will examine the Vampiric Writer.  (And, no, I don't mean Anne Rice.)

Types of Writers, Part 5- Mind-Screw Specialists

Since I've gone several days without posting, there will be two more "Types of Writers" posts tonight (including this one).

Without further ado, let's examine the Mind-Screw Specialist.

Types of Writers, Part 4- The Artiste

Today, we will examine the Artiste.