Wednesday, 3 October 2007

Five Random Things That Make Me Very Very Happy

1. Great Moments in Presidential Speeches:

The same joke every time, and it never fails to make me laugh.

2: Supergirl as written by Mark Waid.

Kara Zor-El, aka Supergirl, was recently reintroduced into DC continuity, and her history is so complicated as to be impossible to recap here without breaking this keyboard, so forgive me for not going into it. Short version; there are about 5-8 different versions of her, and this one was evil. Or not, depending on who is writing her. Her reappearance was handled by comics legend and sometime Lost/Smallville/Heroes writer Jeph Loeb, who has as many detractors as fans. His work on her title was just appalling, typified by this fight scene with a demented Lex Luthor. The second panel wins my vote for nastiest dialogue in a mainstream comic for 2005.:

And this just looks frigging stupid.

Thankfully, after months of misogynistic horror perpetrated by Loeb and replacement writer Joe Kelly (who portrayed her as a superpowered semi-villainous teen skank with a tendency for jumping on any man in her vicinity), Supergirl appeared in Legion of Superheroes and Brave and the Bold, both written by Mark Waid, and he made her honourable and decent and heroic and even a little tragic. He also addressed her man-chasing and the low self-esteem that seemed to have caused it, and had arch-womaniser Hal Jordan (of all people) explain how she should slow down, advice she instantly took on board. BTW, this is not me saying "man-chasing is inherently bad! Lock up the womenfolk!" I just liked it because the character's reintroduction had gone horribly awry, and Waid elegantly addressed the screw-up in a meta way and then retconned it post-haste. Kudos!

These moments from Brave and the Bold #6 show her capacity for empathy and self-reflection.

That's the Supergirl I want to read. Thank you for giving her back to us, Mark Waid, and also thanks to Tony Bedard for keeping the momentum going. Now, if Gail Simone can fix Wonder Woman, we're laughing.

3: This poster:

4. Jackie Chan and Owen Wilson arrive in "London" in Shanghai Knights.

I've said it before and I'll say it again; I flove this movie. Jackie's done many better fight scenes, but this is the best American one he's done, because director David Dobkin didn't just hire him and say, "leap under this table and then kick the guy in the shins and then we'll wrap and go home." He's willing to go through the grueling experience of planning the whole thing meticulously and rehearsing it a million times, something which is common practice in Hong Kong but seems to be an alien concept to many Western directors, who often hand the laborious task over to their second unit. I also love Owen Wilson's hilariously shallow over-reaction to the flower girl, and his last minute intervention.

How was this film not an enormous hit, instead of the lazy-ass bullshit Rush Hour movies? Is this Bizarroworld? Is there a wrongness virus going around? Why? WHY??!!?!

5: Fireworks by Animal Collective.

The best song from Strawberry Jam, the best album of 2007 (so far). Okay, the video ain't all that, but feel the abstract quality of the songwriting:

They fill the hole in my heart left by the dissolution of Pavement and David Baker's departure from Mercury Rev. In fact, they go further than that. With every new song I hear by them or their side projects, I love them a little more.


Jaredan said...

Jeph Loeb's popularity (particularly with Marvel editorial who have now given him Ultimate FF and X-Men) confuses me.
His work with Tim Sale was ok, even if the origin stories were virtually the same take done with different characters.
He was on books that sold well, which had Jim Lee on them and/or had DC's biggest characters. Not that they were very good but they sold well.
The work he's done at Marvel so far has been pretty atrocious.
Emperor's new clothes syndrome as far as I can tell.

Admiral Neck said...

He seemed to be very popular in the 90s, but then comics were shit in the 90s and he might have stood out then. His work at DC, prior to hopping ship to Marvel, was good twice (I liked Hush and most of the first Superman/Batman arc), but then fell apart in the most unusual way. I really can't understand it.