Retarded… literally

The Fiance introduced the concept of literal videos to me a while back.

What are literal videos? Takes too long to explain, just click on the dang video below.

This was the first that I was shown and it remains one of the best I’ve seen.

Another video just begging to be turned into a literal video?

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Comic of the Week – Week of 27 Aug 09

No, I’ve not slacked off for the past 3 weeks. I was away for work.

I’ve been catching up on the previous few weeks of comics and not surprisingly, Blackest Night continues to be brilliant.

Even the side series such as Blackest Night: Superman and Blackest Night: Batman impressed, which is much more than what can be said for the side series of other Mega Crossover events these days.

The inclusion of the crap talking Deadman to the  uneasy alliance between the new Batman and Robin is simply… awesome. I was going to complain that too many of the classic Batman Rogue Gallery seemed to be dead, maimed or rendered lame these days, then along came this little ditty…

Blackest Night Batman, rogue gallery, ventriloquist, batman rogue gallery

Brrrr…. what is it? Chills running down my spines is what it is.

Blackest Night: Superman took a very different direction from the other Blackest Night books so far. At the core of it all, Blackest Night is a book about zombies, and conventional wisdom dictates that zombies are commonly associated with… slasher flicks. And what would be a better place to base a slasher flick than the small American cornfield town of Smallville?

blackest night, Superman, it's a bird

Also, it’s the first time I’ve seen an individual running so many colors on the emotional spectrum as seen by Black Lantern Kal L.

Blackest Night Superman, color spectrum, superman

As for this week’s entry… to be honest, I am still waiting for my Secret Warriors to come in. I was very sure that THAT or Green Lantern #45 (being a Blackest Night book. Did I mention I adore the series right now) would be the books to top the charts this week. So before, I procrastinate any longer with this week’s entry, I decided that we should just move on.

Green Lantern #45, while good, focused too much on the War of the Lights in space. While it fleshes out Sinestro even more (if you can believe it. The guy has a Corp named after him) as a character, not much happened on Earth, which I felt was where the real fun is.

My problem with the War of the Lights is that there is too much baggage. Too many characters running around that is simply over the head for casual (really) fans like myself. There is too much history to catch up on that I simply cannot be bothered for the moment.

Ditto for Batman and Superman. I just know that the new Batman *spoiler alert?* is Dick Grayson and the new Robin, Damien Wayne. Superman’s New Krypton is a story line that I have not even begin to wrap my brain around.

Don’t even get me started on the X family of books. I cannot get who’s dead and who’s not anymore.

That is the reason why those books have not been on the Comic of the Week list so far. Though to be fair, Detective Comics this week is kind of  brilliant. Like the continuation of the Dark Prophecy for Batwoman.

That is why I’ve decided to cheat a bit and put a Trade Paperback as my Comic of the Week.

Presenting Robert Kirkman’s The Walking Dead.

Walking dead, Vol 10, kirkman, rick, zombies, what we become

Yes, it’s another zombie book but an uber brilliant one. It is not so much the brain eating brain-dead-guys or the hack-slash gore (I hate gore) that are cool, as the interactions between the various survivors of the zombie apocalypse. Kirkman just uses the scenario his exploration into the (sometimes dark, somewhat hopeful, always… human?) human psyche in this ongoing soap opera series.

The TPB is at its 10th volume right now, and I think we have just began to comprehend how far this rabbit hole really goes.  By this volume, the main protagonist, Rick is not so much an anti hero anymore. He is just a Survivor like everyone in the book. Nothing more. Nothing less. As the world continues to trudge around knee deep in zombies, we began to see, through Rick’s interactions with new found Survivors and his current crew, what being a Survivor truly entails. It is not a pretty sight. But one you cannot stop starring at.

Highly recommended for… well… EVERYONE. Even those that don’t normally like zombies. Trust me, it’s worth it.

And yes, I trade wait for this series. For one thing, I cannot justify the money output for a black and white series every month. For another, I am pretty sure the anticipation from the month to month cliff hangers will kill me.

Speaking of zombies, apparently Marvel decided to hop onto the bandwagon with this as well.

X men, Dead will rise

Apparently Dead Mutants will rise.

Wish we could say the same about originality…

Would this be less tasteless if it is done a few more months down the road?

Found this off the Internet.

Black Lantern, Michael Jackson, Michael Jackson as a Black Lantern, MJ

Personally, I think it’s kinda brilliant, but I know of a few who would hiss and crawl my eyes out for even entertaining the thought.

This is the line that absolutely slayed me:

“There has been controversy over whether or not Jackson can really call himself a Black Lantern, when he appears to be a White Lantern.”

Movie Magic

This has got to be one of the most innovative movie trailers I’ve seen recently…

My only complain is that the editor for this particular trailer, like a lot of other trailer editors in recent times, seemed to have an ingrained and deeply felt prejudiced against people who do not suffer from epileptic fits. It is really disconcerting watching fade to blacks at cut throat speed.

District 9, poster, prawns, no non humans allowed

As a movie, District 9 is a bit hard to categorize.

I suppose it is considered more or less “mainstream Hollywood”, but it’s production budget is peanuts compared to the amount catered for brainless Hollywood “blow em ups” (I’m looking at you Transformers and GI Joe).

It’s an alien gore flick (think Predator, Mimic and…. ermm… yes, Alien) but the people running scared are the Aliens.

It’s a sort of apocalyptic disaster flick that is… *gasp* not set in America.

More importantly, it is one of those “multi layered” shows with a Message… yet… fun.

It’s one of those shows that everyone can find something to like or find something to hate.

Some “Critics”, which incidentally comes from the German words “cri” meaning “people who are” and “tics” meaning “blood sucking insects”, will no doubt scoff at yet another mainstream “brainless explosion filled” Hollywood flick being churned out of the mass production factory. Yet, some of them will rave about the “parallels to history” and the what a “dark satire” the film is.

Mainstream Hollywood flickers will hate the fact that there is a thinly veiled Message in the midst of their brainless explosions.

Regardless, I love the fact that even though Neill Blomkamp seems to have a Message to spread, the film does not take itself too seriously.

While it is no Iron Man, the special effects are pretty good given the (relatively) tight budget for the film. I HATE gore, but after getting used to the fun and innovative ways the show explodes people/aliens, it actually started becoming quite funny. The term “popping like popcorns” come to mind.

Best of all, I love its narrative structure. Just check out the first 20 minute of the film which sets up the rest of the show using purely “news footage”.

All in all, one of the best films I’ve seen this year.

Pixar, up, poster, balloons

ONE OF the best films, the other being Pixar’s Up, of course.

I don’t think the Girlfriend will ever forgive me if I did not at least give it a special mention. It’s sweet and, well… buoyant (pun TOTALLY intended).

I love how Pixar is able to tell a story and make you feel, really FEEL for the characters, even without dialogues. They have some master story tellers there that can tell a life’s tale in just 10 minutes. The story of Carl and Ellie has to be one of the most poignant and bitter sweet short films I’ve ever seen. I’m practically guaranteed buckets of tears every time she-who-shall-not-be-named watches it…. Much like the ending sequence for Tim Burton’s Big Fish.

Young Ellie Carl Up Pixarup carl ellie young in love

Like District 9, the visuals were truly stunning. Watching it in 3D (yes, with the dorky glasses) makes the experience even more vivid. It makes you just wanna reach out and grab some of them balloons off the screen.

And these 2 films, when you put them beside some of the brainless explosion filled flicks (I’m looking at you, Transformers and GI Joe) just showed that awesome CGI is just a tool for superb story telling. You cannot have a hot bod without a soul.

It’s amazing how much special effects have improved over the past 100 years. It’s not readily apparent. It’s like watching a tortoise grow. And you don’t realize it’s a big turtle until you put photos of the turtles all side by side.

Stupid Roald Dahl reference…

But all the special effects in the world is nothing without heart.

So, here’s to more movies with heart and soul. Awesome visuals help too.

For the Moment…

For the moment, my favorite comic related imagery is this…

beatles Sandman neil gaiman Michael Allred Abby Road

What’s not to like? It features my favorite characters (Delirium, Dream, Death, Desire, Delirium’s flying goldfishes… if only they have Destruction) created by my favorite writer (Guess…), drawn by one of my favorite artist (Michael Allred), paying tribute to my favorite band (Beatles… that’s Abby Road for those of you who just came out from under the rock. Be careful of the sunshine).

Days like these, feels like someone up there wanna look out for me.

I take it as a sign.

Also… my favorite quote of the moment:

Penny: While you’re there, could you pick me up some comics for my nephew’s birthday?

Sheldon: I think you mean comic books. “Comics” are feeble attempts at humor featuring talking babies and anthropomorphized pets, found traditionally in the optimistically-named Funny Pages.

big bang theory, flash, leonard, sheldon, holowitz, raj

Thanks Jacq. Big Bang Theory rocks! Appeals to the inner (REALLY) geek.

Comic of the Week – Week of 29 Jul

With no real Blackest Night installment this week, I was pretty convinced that this would finally be the week for Wednesday Comics (WC). WC is a new anthology that comes out every Wednesday (REALLY), or in sunny home town, Thursday featuring many one page stories of (relatively) popular DC heroes… much like the 1 page comic strip serials seen in the newspapers( think Prince Valiant, Dick Tracy, etc…)

The cool thing about WC is that they have a truly hardcore stable of creators which translates to some (wet) dream pairing up of writers and artists working on hugely established characters.

Exhibit A: Post 100 bullets (something I should definitely blog about) Azzarello and Risso working on a noir-ish Batman murder mystery. Hot dames, check. Wittily punny (or is it punnily witty?) dialogue, check. Hard talking, smooth dealing men, check. Batman? Check! Check! and check!

Exhibit B: Neil Gaiman (yup, HIM again) and Michael Allred in an almost trippy Metamorpho adventure. Neil Gaiman, check! Michael Allred, check!

Wednesday Comics 3 Cover

The whole comic is consistent in keeping with the tone of  the newspaper strip. The dialogue is accessible (meaning comic nerd will not be the only ones who will understand the speech) and a lot of this is because, like all Sunday comic strips, the stories does not carry the baggage of continuity. EVERYONE can just hop on and be entertained.  We have Agatha-ish mysteries, Last boy on Earth fantasy adventures, War stories and of course, Super hero tales. There really is something for everybody.

And did I mention the art? The deliberate news paper-ish lettering and adding of color half tones to the images to make the strips more vintage looking really brought on a wave of nostalgia… in a VERY good way

Halftones, barry allen, iris west, flash, wednesday comics

Sample art. Un Photoshopped

The reasons why WC is not top of the pops this week?

1. It’s an anthology. For every cool Busiek Green Lantern story, there is one lousy and confusing Wonder Woman one. Having a book with something for everybody means everybody has something not to like in the book. Though the average quality of the book is good to rock your heart out superb, there are still some jarring tales that just does not sit very well with you (I’m looking at you Wonder Woman)

2.  Three words. Brian Michael Bendis with his Secret Warriors.

The Group that Fury built during Secret Invasion finally come of age. With the addition of a new kick ass member and the return of the Howling Commandos, the Secret Warriors are slowly shaping up to be the prickly thorn in Osborn’s backside. It’s like watching the growing of the Rebel movements in Star Wars.

Nick Fury, secret warriors, brian michael bendis

Finally. Reason number 3.

And the top reason why Wednesday Comics is not the king of the hill THIS week.

thunderbolts

Post Secret Invasion, we’ve seen this team take a beating week after week after week. We bemoan the lost of the darkly humored Thunderbolts and silently, we think that this incarnation of Thunderbolt is just gonna be the forgotten step sister to the Dark Avengers.

I mean… villains masquerading as good guys that save the world for personal gains. That’s basically the premise of Thunderbolts since its conception. So with the Dark Avengers around, who need the Thunderbolts?

The final page of #134 throws that question right open. The final reveal shows the huge and intricate web of deception that has been built around the readers. We’ve been played for WEEKS. And this normally means 2 things.

1. The old direction for the book is not working and the editors decide to take creative liberties and give a big twist in the tale to bring it in a whole new direction (think soap operas)

or

2. It was planned for all along. (Much like George Lucas planned his Star wars to be part of a nine-0-logy. It’s all bout the money, it’s all bout the dum dum de de de dum) (think soap operas)

Either way, consider me gullibly swindled due to the smoothness in the handling of the twist.

Without giving too much of a spoiler away, I’ll say this image of a future cover of Thunderbolts says it all…

thunderbolts, mach 4, songbird, fixer, black widow

It begs the question… WHO are the Thunderbolts?

And for those not afraid of a spoiler, I would say this lil minx will be getting a LOT of exposure in the coming year.

scarlett johannson black widow iron man 2

Oh, I forgot to include the context…

scarlett, robert downey jr, mickey rourke, iron man 2, iron man, black widow, entertainment magazine