The Great Pretenders : The Best Pre-JOKER ‘Non-Superhero’ SuperHero Films!

 

Way before Todd Phillip’s record breaking JOKER, other filmmakers were tackling very grounded stories of damaged people, transcending (or giving into) their damage in ways either heroic or horrific. Grounded takes that are eerily familiar to the fanciful origin stories more typically found in the comic books of yesteryear, but now moved into a darker world,, more akin to our own. Here then are the best of the pre-JOKER grounded films. One of them plays like the tale of the most bad-ass Robin, another an evil Super-Soldier Steve Rogers, another perhaps the origins of a demented Joker, or a sociopathic Bruce Wayne (the Jeff Wadlow directed TRUTH OR DARE is surprisingly good), and one a pre-Netflix prototype for Luke Cage.

Extra Large Movie Poster Image for The Guest (#4 of 7)

Another Zero in the System

Favorite Modern DETECTIVE Comics Covers! Vol 3!

Here are the best DETECTIVE COMICS covers from the 3rd and current run. What makes a great cover, contrary to those pushing these portrait and variant covers aesthetic, is great typography, meshed with great visual storytelling. Here then, are the best covers to date from that brief run!

GREAT Comic Book covers from the 3RD Volume of DETECTIVE COMICS!

Detective Comics #934BDetective Comics #935BDetective Comics #936BDetective Comics #937BDetective Comics #938BDetective Comics #939BDetective Comics #941BDetective Comics #948ADetective Comics #949ADetective Comics #949BDetective Comics #952BDetective Comics #953BDetective Comics #970BDetective Comics #1000ROSS.ADetective Comics #1006ADetective Comics #1007A

I absolutely love that post issue 1000 logo! And the return to word balloons on covers!

If you like or are missing any of the above issues and would likre to purchase them, feel free to use the handy great link below! You’ll get great books, and earn a couple of pennies for this blog. Also don’t forget to like and share this post if you would like to see more like it! Thanks!

https://www.mycomicshop.com/search?tid=37272914&AffID=200301P01

 

FAVORITE SUPERMAN COMIC BOOK COVER EVER???

My better half thinks I’m a sick puppy for liking this cover, but man, I remember being wowed by this cover as a kid, and as an adult it still makes me literally laugh out loud. Even from the 60s and 70s age of outrageous SUPERMAN covers it is one of the most outrageous and funny.

The thought that even Luthor would stoop to such extremes, is absurd and horrible, both character wise and concept wise. But the absurd part wins out, you can not take it seriously. 

Even as a kid, I knew there was no way anyone was getting ‘killed’ and Luthor would get his well deserved beatdown,  and so even as a kid i saw the cover as a bit of wonderful hucksterism, and wildly audacious fun/comedy. As an adult I still feel that way. I don’t think the interior story is memorable, but that cover… is frame worthy.

 

https://vignette.wikia.nocookie.net/marvel_dc/images/8/83/Action_Comics_Vol_1_466.jpg/revision/latest?cb=20081231145516

Lex Luthor turning the heroes into kids is bad enough, but then he is still so cowardly that he is sneaking up behind them and hitting them in the back of the head, rabbit punching them, with his super-powered brass knuckles. Do you get anymore ludicrously, cowardly, mustache twirlingly despicable. It is impossible not to view it like a Chuck Jones Wile E. Coyote skit on meth. :).

Quick aside, my Favorite Luthor in live action, and I have, to varying degrees,  liked all the versions, but the actor for me who is not only the best live action version, but is better than the animated version , is the criminally under mentioned Sherman Howard.

Sherman Howard

His work in seasons 3 and 4 of THE ADVENTURES OF SUPERBOY, thanks to great scripts and a great cast and crew (including the excellent Stacy Haiduk and Gerard Christopher), was TREMENDOUS. Those two years of THE ADVENTURES OF SUPERBOY, season 3 and 4, I would have to rate as easily the best live action version of Superboy/Superman on the small screen. Better than LOIS & CLARK, better than SMALLVILLE, better than the second season and up, of SUPERGIRL.

The webpage will not show this image anonymously.

The webpage will not show this image anonymously.

And a large part of why those two seasons remain worth revisiting are the Luthor episodes, and the fact that Sherman Howard gets to take the character from brilliant to wildly unhinged to sympathetic and back again. It is really a wonderful performance, that I urge you to go out and purchase or view those two seasons if you have never seen them.

They are that good, and Sherman Howard is that good in the role.

Get the shows here:

https://amzn.to/30zujB9

https://amzn.to/2XHHUod

 

Now getting back to the comic book cover… The cover shows MUCH better in person. But you should get a feel from the image whether it is one to add to your collection. If so, get your copy here:

https://www.mycomicshop.com/search?q=action+comics+466&AffID=200301P01

 

 

If you enjoyed this post, like, share, subscribe, and check out the sponsor link below to order comic book, podcast, and youtube curated laptops or tablets, and/or curated digital picture frames. They also do all manner of repair and customizing for the pop-culture community. Mention you are coming from this blog and get 10% off.

https://techsupport51.wixsite.com/tech-support-2day

 

On JESSICA JONES Trailer, Tom King’s BATMAN, and DCs SWAMP THING show!

Let us start in the middle Tom King’s BATMAN.

I listened to a recent podcast where they were bemoaning the news of Tom King stepping off the BATMAN comic. All kinds of speculation on him being removed, etc. That he was doing a brilliant run on Batman, etc, etc. And they couldn’t understand how DC could not see what a great, innovative job he was doing, and that DC execs must not like great stories, yada, yada.

This very minor and relatively harmless rant from this podcast I watched, illustrates perhaps a less wholesome issue with our culture in whole. This inability to see or look for, or acknowledge, viewpoints other than our own.

The truth is out there, to paraphrase a show I was never a fan of, beyond the odd ‘monster-of the week’ episode.

The truth is out there, but we have to look, and we have to do our homework.

It doesn’t have to be controversy when we get news we do not expect or agree with.

It doesn’t have to be DC executives are stupid.

It could be as simple, if Tom King was removed, as simple as the books were not moving in the numbers they liked, or meeting with across the board praise.

A simple look at reviews of Tom King’s BATMAN run, whether podcasts, or Youtube videos, or blogs or websites, when you extend the search beyond your circle, your chorus, you see a run, a body of work, that from the first trade on, was conflicted. And grew more uneven and conflicted, in terms of the writing, and the response to the writing with every trade/issue.

I think a lot of people make excuses for Tom King”s work when they do not love it. Like they refuse to admit they didn’t love it because of Tom King, so they blame the publisher, or the editor, etc.

A writer is a lot like a director, you get the praise when a product is great. You should also carry the blame when a product isn’t. A lot of people like to give King the former, and make excuses to keep him from the latter.

Stop making excuses or trying to blame Editorial if you do not like a Tom King story. You do not try to give them the praise if you love a Tom King story. So let’s not be hypocrites.

And I am not anti-Tom King, I am not one of these knuckle dragging anti social justice warrior, anti-woman, anti-diversity, psuedo neo nazi nuts. I judge the work, on the work, and wait to read it, before having an opinion on it.

Tom King can be a great writer.

The webpage will not show this image anonymously.

https://amzn.to/2MAm9GC

His VISION series is one of the greatest things I have read in years. (And if you have not read it, I urge you to pick up the collected hardcover… it is that good.)

His OMEGA MEN very good.

https://amzn.to/2EZQGHG

His Batman, in pieces, standalone, I’m thinking specifically of ANNUAL 2, can be great. Annual 2 was great.

The webpage will not show this image anonymously.

https://amzn.to/2MzJsk0

However, specifically to Batman, other than that standalone story,  his actual run on Batman, the first 4 or 5 trades, I found awful. I mean… awful. “I am suicide!”As his take-away on the character of Batman. Really???!!

Batman: I Am Suicide (The Complete Story) - YouTube

The great flaw of Tom King’ s BATMAN (for me), was always Tom King’s take of the character. He keeps writing the same broken, suicidal, and ineffective character, over and over again. And while it worked for the Vision and Mr. Miracle, shoehorning that Hamlet type protagonist and calling him Batman or Kid Flash, does not work at all.

He keeps trying to tailor these heroes and archetypes to his ptsd framework, and it increasingly does not work. He needs to start writing to the character, than simply shoehorning them into his rigid story.

We get it,

Tom King brings a military background, and a CIA background, and an espionage background, and a background of those places where we all break under stress and pressure. And again telling that story with certain characters can work, however retelling that story with every character does not work.

There are more stories than that. And another reason we look to these heroes is because they are our aspirations writ large, they should not all be stand-ins for the places where we fall down, they should be the standards of how to standup. They should be our hopes writ large, not our insecurities. The VISION type stories should be the exception, not the rule.

I do not want to read a comic with a Superman dealing with PTSD. It starts to become one note writing, rather than great writing, to make all the heroes analogs for the common man, or the Hamlet in us.

So yeah, while I will not be picking up the individual issues regardless of who writes BATMAN, because paying more than $2.99 for a single Marvel or DC comic is insanity (Marvel and DC should both be ashamed of themselves for charging more than $2.99 for scant pages of comics. Now, smaller Independent publishers I cut them slack on pricing, because their page count and quality is usually higher. However Marvel and DC has the economies of scale to keep prices low. To not do so comes down to mismarketing, mismanagement, and short term greed, over long term sustainability and growth) , I will, if the word of mouth is good, check out the books when they hit the $1 bins of the secondary market or in collected edition at the libraries.

I look forward to a new take on Batman, and a new writer.

Okay… next topic…

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JESSICA JONES Season III trailer. Here is the thing, I was not interested enough to watch the 2nd season of JESSICA JONES. And by all reviews I did not miss much. But I went into the the trailer for season III hoping it would be good. I have to tell you, I found it incredibly uninteresting.

I can only take so much of brooding, not quite likeable, characters so, just with the way the protagonist is played, with a listless, can’t be bothered attitude, the performance of Jessica Jones is typically the weakest part of the show JESSICA JONES.

https://s15-us2.startpage.com/cgi-bin/serveimage?url=http%3A%2F%2Ft0.gstatic.com%2Fimages%3Fq%3Dtbn%3AANd9GcTfEODizVkEhjX5DTd2Fp-EKHQdU-yX9y0FllP-kS2TgqSH8JQEVA&sp=ced14d29e1bfd30e584288dacec803c5&anticache=124267

So that said, you need charismatic, interesting people surrounding her to make the show worth while. You need a Luke Cage, you need a Purple Man. You need dynamism to counteract the plodding, disaffected, and starting to get annoying, performance of the protagonist.  And unfortunately the trailer for Season III offered none of that. Offered an Antagonist, absolutely as uninteresting as the protagonist. A battle of who could bore me more.

 

So yeah the trailer to Season III of JESSICA JONES, a hard fail. That is not going to make my watch list, based on that trailer.

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https://s17-us2.startpage.com/cgi-bin/serveimage?url=http%3A%2F%2Ft0.gstatic.com%2Fimages%3Fq%3Dtbn%3AANd9GcRewaG-8fAXhxFf9lOTCExTuJSTRmAqCeY83ZOieU-7ZSR1JdRg&sp=2c79f4941178f19f38dc309b58dfd647&anticache=375506

Finally, the news that the DC Swamp Thing show has been cancelled before the 1st season really starts.

It has come out the reason DC/Warner Brothers pulled the plug is largely because North Carolina, an increasingly politically suspect state (excuses to my North Carolina Friends, but you are starting to be run by the pointy hat crowd. And I’m not telling you anything you don’t know. You know you need to start cleaning your house, much the same way the Nation needs to clean its house) basically bailed on their promise to help finance the production of SWAMP THING in their state.

It is a great shame, because I have to tell you, I absolutely loved the full trailer to SWAMP THING.

They looked like they had all the elements for a wonderful , long form story, worthy of the kind of eerie, brilliant, haunting storytelling that creators Alan Moore, Bissette, Totleben, Wein, and Wrightson laid the ground work for.

Such a shame.

Maybe someone else will add the additional funds so we get to see this vision of Swamp Thing, eventually played out.

Well that’s it guys.

Just wanted to put my 2 cents in on those 3 topics. Take two seconds and support today’s recommended comics.

You know when I was saying I cut Independent comics a slack, because of their quality of content and packaging. ALTERNA COMICS and AHOY COMICS are two cases in point. There are a lot of great writers/artists in comics, arguably one of the best of them is Eric Powell. I absolutely am enamored with his GOON and his HILLBILLY and his SPOOK SHOW. And ALTERNA comics addreses all the issues with price gouging that we are getting from the big two, Marvel and DC, while giving us quality products. So you can preorder comics from both publishers and get them direct mailed to you.

https://www.mycomicshop.com/subscriptionservice

 

Use the links above get great books, support these publishers, and earn a few pennies for this blog. A win-win!

 

“Second star to the right and straight on ’til morning. ”

J.M. Barrie, Peter Pan

Podcast of the Day : Episode 286: The July Previews Catalog & Bendis Trojan Horse!?!

Podcast of the Day : Episode 286: The July Previews Catalog & Bendis Trojan Horse!?!

http://comicsalternative.com/episode-286-the-july-previews-catalog/

Great podcast, around the 30 to 40 minute mark you’ll find a nice bit on how everything  thoughtful is somewhat political. Give a listen.

It is a nice overview of items you can find in this Month’s Previews.

Previews for those uninitiated is a prE-ordering system for comic books. Especially with the outrageous cover prices Marvel and now DC are charging (I’m telling you, Brian Bendis was a Trojan horse for Marvel 🙂 , jumping ship to eff up DC’s lower, and more successful $2.99 pricing structure. I was picking up a good # of DC $2.99 books, but suddenly Bendis defects to DC, after defending Marvel’s awful business practices and price points for years, and now DC’s books (with a couple welcome holdouts) have shifted to the higher; and in my view, too expensive, Marvel price point of $3.99 minimum).

Pre-Ordering comics allows you to save (depending on the service you use) between 30% and 50% off cover price.

A sizable savings off the no-discount you would receive if you wait to  get the books off-the racks at your local retailer, when they come out.

The deadline to order upcoming comics at a sizeable discount, this month is 25 july. So in a few days at the time of this writing.

Thankfully there are several online retailers that allow you to preorder your comics and have them mailed to you. I’ve tried them all, Milehigh, Westfield, DCBS, to name a few, and while not the cheapest, the one I find to be the best, with the best packing, best customer service, and best quality of service and ease of use… is MY COMIC SHOP.

Order them here:

https://www.mycomicshop.com/subscriptionservice/previews?AffID=200301P01

Come back in a little bit and I’ll have up my list of must buys! I will give you a hint, fire marvel and dc (the movies are much better than the books anyhow. case in point, in the comics they moronically feel the need to both ride off the coattails of the movie version of nick fury, and diminish him at the same time, Black nick fury as white nick fury’s son??? that is just stupid.

what moronic writer came up with that lame, and more than a bit wasp centric idea?

Oh nick spencer. 

yeah, why am i not surprised. 🙂

I KID because i love! Unlike the moronic anti social justice warrior crowD, [basically any idiot who thinkS he is so witty for having a new short hand derogatory label, ‘SJW’, to try and diminish something that scares them, and they don’t quite understand. if they weren’t attacking sjw, they would be burning crosses no doubt. :). if you are subscribed to these clickbait morons on youtube or etc, stop being part of the problem and unsubscribe from them.

] i do not give an eff about cap being a hydra agent for two minutes. i just didm’t buy them.but it enforces a precedent of spencer perhaps not having the greatest ideas. 🙂

here’s an idea. marvel has a multiverse. why can’t the sam jackson nick fury, be his own man. from that splendid multiverse, where he is called nick fury and he is black, and his dad was black, and his mom was black, and his grand parents were black, like the sam jackson nick fury would have to be with a complexion that dark. 🙂

and that should be a great and fine thing! we have some mixed, melting pot families. that’s fine. but we have a lot that are not, and that should be fine too!

why does he have to be a junior to the wwii version of nick fury. it is worse than being blindly bigoted, which a lot of supposedly liberal people are… it is just stupid.

that is why the movies are better than the comics, they have better writers, and other creative people. and don’t get me started on tom king’s batman. talk about the emperor not having any clothes.

tom king is a fantastic writer. his ‘vision’ is i think, without argument, a masterpiece. However there is a repetition to king’s writing, and having the suicidal, deranged, falling apart protagonist that worked so well for the vision, as his goto archetype for every subsequent story is a failing.

it worked less well for the omega men, jury is out on on mister miracle, and it absolutely does not fit with batman. i am suicide? as the definition of batman? it is  the absolute oposite of everything it would take to endure, which is the definition of batman that rings the truest.

I took the trouble of getting and reading the five volumes of his batman run from the library, it is not good. i think he has one voice for all his male protaginists, and it is a voice that doesn’t fit his batman run. that said, when he gets away from his ‘not working’ longer storyline, and sticks to self contained stories, that’s when you see the genius of tom king.

HIS BATMAN ANNUAL 2 is case in point. forget trying to weave this long form story, and delivering issue after issue that underwhelms, give me a 100 stand alone stories of the quality of batman annual 2.

unfortunately he took the wrong thing from the success of that annual. he thought it was about milking that one storyline for a hundred issues, the strength of that issue is it was complete onto itself. king is trying to do doug moench, when he should be trying to do frank robbins. self contained over long form

 

How is that for an aside?! :))

so all that to say fire the over-priced, variant and gimmick saturated marvel and dc comics , and get periodical comics from people who respect their readers and just want to tell good stories in the periodical format. marvel and dc, do have fantastic creators, but they are being sabotaged by $4 to $8 ‘high way robbery’ price points. i absolutely want to read coates’ captain america and black panther, priests’ deathstroke, same for many other books. i refuse to pay their price gouging amounts. rather do what i do, wait for them to be collected and either read it for free from the library or buy it at a discount at your local bookstore or online store.

marvel and dc, are pridefully ignorant, a catching disease as our political landscape shows too well. such ignorance can not be reasoned with, it must be actively chastised the only way the pridefully ignorant understand, in dollars and cents.

stop buying them in periodical form. job done.

and instead buy periodicals from companies that are still excited by that format and price point. buy from the new marvel and the new dc for the 21st century.

 

I’m talking of the Canadian company CHAPTER HOUSE, AND THE AMERICAN COMPANY ALTERNA. AT LESS THAN HALF THE PRICE OF MARVEL AND DC, I BUY EVERYTHING THESE GUYS PUT OUT. THESE GUYS MAY JUST BE THE NEW, AND GOOD, MARVEL AND DC. 🙂

 

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Currently Reading : BATMAN Vol1-3 by Tom King

Tom King in a few years has made quite a name for himself as a writer of Slims (comic books).

Always suspicious of hype, I went into his VISION quite skeptical. Long story made short, his VISION lives up to the hype. You can come into it not knowing anything, and be quickly swept away by the sheer power, and humanity and hurt; in a story about what it means to be human, in an inhuman world.

http://amzn.to/2sytRaa

 

It truly is fabulous and if you have never read it, it is a highest recommendation. There is a just dropped hardcover available at remaining Bookstores everywhere.

His MISTER MIRACLE released half a dozen Slims in 2017, the issues were definitely good, though the final verdict is out till he sticks the landing this year. Like the VISION and his earlier OMEGA MEN, it is about a damaged character, a broken character. A slightly off kilter world view.  So far all titles are relatively intriguing and well crafted.  In the case of the VISION masterfully crafted.

 

Then we come to the books up for review this installment, BATMAN VOL 1-3 from the DC Rebirth Line of books, by Tom King.

 

http://amzn.to/2EstqnA

http://amzn.to/2EtmNRZ

http://amzn.to/2swBT3r

 

The irrationality and poor decision making and erratic, even stupid, behavior; that worked well in the tale of a broken Android, a torn freedom fighter, and a suicidal God, does not work well in the BATMAN books.

The very conceit for the whole three volumes, is that Batman (the world’s greatest detective and inventor), is distraught about an emotionally damaged ward, and decides in a world of super scientists, magicians, and Gods, the only way to help his ward, is by stealing a mediocre villain, with the power to make people feel happy, so he can smile at Batman’s traumatized ward and make her feel happy. If that is not a brain-dead enough premise, it becomes even more moronic, when he decides to accomplish this by putting together a suicide squad and risking war and death, and doing this knowing it will wake a retired and sleeping dragon.

It is just the type of moronic plotting one tends to associate with brain-damaged villains seeking world conquest, not the resourceful Batman. And adding stupidity on stupidity, KIng redefines what drives Batman, to be not a sense of justice, or outrage, but a desire toward… (wait for it) Suicide.

And that definition doesn’t stick. Not with any interpretation of the character that makes sense. The desire to die doesn’t push you to be a beyond Olympic level athlete, it doesn’t push you to endure, it doesn’t push you to overcome.

Ultimately this addled definition is Tom King’s definition of the character, unfortunately, it seems to be the same broken, frayed creature that he tries to shape all the characters he writes into. And what worked with THE VISION, and THE OMEGA MEN, and seems to be working with MISTER MIRACLE, does inherently not work, does not graft, does not fit… onto the character of Bruce Wayne/Batman. Plus I can really do without the Yellow costumed Sidekick. I can do without the sidekick dynamic period. Either make him his own character (his own man) and get him out of the insipid yellow costume, or don’t have the character in the book.

Tom King is instead of tailoring the story to the character, seemingly making every character fit into the same story mold. All Tom King’s character are horrible tacticians, who make horrendous plans. That is not any type of Batman I want to read about. I picked up the three Tom King Batman volumes from the library to give a try, and I am so glad I didn’t buy them. It is surprisingly uninteresting, tedious, and disappointing reading.

Final Grade: AVOID

 

 

 

 

Currently Watching: PANELLOGY 85 & 86!! Watch these episodes before buying your next expensive hardcover!

I have recently found quite a few great Youtube shows courtesy of the Youtube channel on Roku.

A new favorite is Earl Grey‘s simply superb PANELLOGY. Two of his older episodes that I just watched are episodes 85 and 86, and as someone who purchases quite a few hardcover books, especially of the graphic novel or collected edition variety, his two episodes are essential viewing.

https://vignette.wikia.nocookie.net/marvel_dc/images/0/07/Batwoman_Hydrology.jpg/revision/latest?cb=20121218200628

Get your copy here:

http://amzn.to/2BQ8Qf4

 

And can potentially save you quite a bit of money as they point out binding issues/defects to be on the look out for

Earl Grey, you definitely should do more of these ‘issues with collected editions’ type shows.

Informative stuff!

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC1ZtauWih38Lr1aVEXuZybw