It isn’t news that Hollywood is incapable of actual thought. “Hollywood” is a mass organism, a parasite, sort of like a Portuguese Man-O-War, a composite animal, a siphonophore (loving the word “siphon” makes up this name, as it’s so apropos for the point I want to make here), a cluster of millions of micro-celled organisms all living and working together. Any microorganism that doesn’t just go along with the flow, that displays individual thought or initiative, will likely be expelled from the mass. Like the man-o-war, Hollywood cannot swim, cannot move itself, is at the mercy of the ocean’s currents to get around. Hollywood, in other words, though it is capable of delivering a painful sting, is really rather stupid.

Superheroes are the thing right now. Comic book movies. So what does the Hollywood beast do in response? Certainly it does not stop to examine WHY movies like the Avengers or Christopher Nolan’s DARK KNIGHT trilogy are so successful. It just assumes, stupidly, that ANY comic book movie will be similarly successful. Thus we see a whole slew of projects getting green-lighted that ANY fan could tell them won’t do worth a flip. Jonah Hex, anyone?

Two high profile stories ran on Bleeding Cool yesterday, that laid out certain woes at DC Comics. 

When DC Comics chose to wipe the slate clean and start over back in 2011, canceling all their titles and erasing their established continuity, relaunching all the books as first issues and creating an all new, all different universe in order to woo new readers, it looked like a huge success. Sales went up—way up—and for the first time in, oh, EVER DC began to outsell Marvel. It does appear now, with five years perspective, this temporary bump in sales is attributable to the novelty effect. Or the train-wreck effect, depending on who you ask. DC’s current sales figures, though, provide undeniable proof; the New 52 has been a failure. Sales are lower now than they were before DC rebooted.

In spite of the fact that some excellent stories have come out of the New 52—Scott Snyder’s run on the Batman books, or the initial Justice League reintroduction, before the writers lost their way with all that multiverse, alternate dimensional crap; and I was overjoyed to see Swamp Thing revamped and brought back into the DC mainline—fan reaction to the New 52, which ain’t so new anymore, has overall ranged from lukewarm to hostile. Sales are reflecting that. Might we see a return to the pre-New 52 DC universe in the days to come?

source: www.bleedingcool.com

After all the build up I share Clark’s emotions at the end of the issue. Not with Lois Lane and her galactically stupid error in judgement – but with DC.

The fanbase is divided over the new direction the SUPERMAN comics have taken, as indeed they have been since the launch of DC’s “New 52” continuity back in 2011. Look at this reviewer, for example, whom I’m only linking to in order to provide a counterpoint to my own argument. He is a major Superman fan, hence the website he maintains in honor of the Man of Steel, and he absolutely loathes the current storyline. All of his complaints are valid—as the opinions of any fan are valid—but I happen to disagree with them. I’m digging what they’re doing with the character, even if I don’t believe this will remain fixed as the new status quo.

For those who’ve not been following the developments, Superman’s powers have gone all screwy. This couldn’t have happened to him at a worse time, as his secret identity is a secret no longer. It was revealed to the world by Lois Lane! See, some clandestine criminal organization had already learned it, and were using the knowledge to blackmail Superman, so to take that power away from them, Lois “outted” Clark. Now Superman is on the run, in hiding, and not able to depend on his full range of powers. I like it. I’m enjoying the ride and curious to see where it leads. Is new writer Gene Luen Yang painting himself into a corner? Perhaps. Or maybe he knows something we, the fans, do not.

source: www.supermanhomepage.com

He’s getting just old enough for this s–t.

Hey, I have an idea! Let’s replace Bruce Wayne as Batman! That’s NEVER been done before! (Except for a couple’a dozen times, but nobody remembers any of those. Comics fans have lousy memories, right?) Then we’ll put some guy in armor and let him play Batman, until Bruce inevitably returns to great fanfare and reclaims the mantle. It’ll be great! Sales will skyrocket! How original we’ll be!

Everything I just wrote could also apply to the 90s fiasco that was KNIGHTFALL. Bruce gets injured and a new character, Azrael, takes over, doing his best impersonation of Iron Man by turning the Bat costume into some super high-tech, wearable robot. The creators string it out, making the fans wait, before finally bringing back the REAL Batman. They did the same thing with Dick Grayson (call him Robin the First) subbing for Bruce, only without “improving” the costume. It’s tired, it’s played-out, and it smacks of a dearth of ideas. It’s also boring.

That being said, at least this latest attempt, spearheaded by writer Scott Snyder (who was responsible for the excellent “Court of Owls” storyline, one of the best in recent years) feels a little less contrived than the 90s version, or even the stunt of putting Robin in the Batsuit (for the second time!). Commissioner Gordon as Batman? Why not. Everybody else has had a turn.

source: www.mtv.com

Marvel’s biggest event just got bigger.

Marvel Comics’ mega-event SECRET WARS is now set to conclude at the end of the year with a bombastic NINTH issue. This is good news for fans, as the hordes of geekdom have been almost universal in their praise for this series. In case you’re one of the three comic readers who imprudently chose to pass on this one, here’s the skinny: All the universes in the multiverse slammed together, two at a time, until only the Ultimate universe and Marvel’s original 616 were left. When those two had their smash-up, it looked like the end of everything—until Dr. Doom managed to reforge all reality into one massive planet called BATTLEWORLD, fixing himself in place as its god and master. But some heroes from the original 616 and Ultimate universes have shown up, and the stage is set for the conquest of Battleworld. And now it will take an extra issue to tell the story.

Personally, I expect writer Jonathan Hickman to kill Reed Richards at the end of the tale. Don’t care; I can’t stand that character. I just hope he doesn’t also kill off Doom. I know such a thing would be temporary—likely until Marvel regains the movie rights to the characters—but the new Marvel that will come into being after Secret Wars needs Doom in it. It can get by just fine without Mr. Fantastic.

source: games.yahoo.com

Doom is a genius in physics, robotics, cybernetics, genetics, weapons technology, bio-chemistry, and time travel. He is also self-taught in the mystic arts. Doom is a natural leader, a brilliant strategist, and a sly deceiver.

Last week I pontificated on the abysmal failure of the latest FANTASTIC FOUR movie. Which reminded me of the two previous abysmal failures. All of which reminds me of the greatest transgression this slew of films has committed. No, not by casting Jessica Alba, who couldn’t ACT like she was in pain if you smashed her big toe with a hammer. No, not by making the Human Torch a black dude. No, not by depicting Galactus as a big puffy cloud with an attitude. The greatest disservice of which the FF movies are complicit is paid to Doctor Doom. And this is, I believe, the primary reason why they failed. You can’t cast Doom as a smarmy playboy or a whiny brat and expect it to fly. Screw the people in the blue suits, with the 4s on their chests. If Doom doesn’t work, the movie won’t work.

Doom is tied with the Joker, in my opinion, as the greatest villain in comics. That’s if he IS a villain. A good argument could be made that he is, in fact, a ruthless, megalomaniacal HERO. (After all, in the current SECRET WARS storyline, it was Doom, not the Avengers or any of the other Marvel heroes, who saved the Multiverse, sorta.) And how badass is the guy? He just KILLED THE FREAKIN’ DARK PHOENIX. You do NOT wanna mess with Dr. Doom. Which is why the makers of those asinine movies better be glad that Doom isn’t living in THIS universe.

source: marvel.com

What did Josh Trank do?That was the question people were asking all over social media on Thursday night after the director of Fantastic Four tweeted — and then quickly deleted — a message slamming his own movie on the eve of its debut.

Director Josh Trank wants us all to know it’s not his fault that FANTASTIC FOUR sucks like a Hoover jacked up on steroids. He posted, or “tweeted,” as much, before he quickly deleted said tweet, but a mere moment in cyber-time is equivalent to an eternity; people noticed, people copied and pasted, and the word quickly got around; no doubt news of Trank’s acknowledgement that his movie was garbage helped to squelch its already meager box office and it into one of the biggest bombs ever, insomuch as films inspired by comic books are concerned. I doubt Trank has committed career suicide by his honesty, though. If having his name attached to this picture in the first place doesn’t shoot down his rising star, passing the blame on to the studio isn’t likely to do it. After all, there are other studios.

By far the harshest critique I’ve read is that the previous two FF movies, directed by Tim Story, were actually BETTER than this new one. I don’t see how that’s possible. This new one might be just as bad, maybe. But worse? Can they GET any worse? The only way to find out for sure would be for me to watch the new flick. And I’m not that much of a glutton for punishment.

source: www.ew.com

In their latest spotlight on examples of comic creators making commentary on other creators within the pages of comics, CSBG looks at the classic case of the inker who talked some trash in the background of a Spidey comic.

I tend to enjoy a good “secret” message in my comics. Usually it’s a dig at a rival. I remember the 90s, that low water mark of the comic industry, when Peter David had the Incredible Hulk’s wife Betty put a fake fin on his head as a disguise. “It won’t work,” the Hulk told her. “Any idiot will take one look and say, ‘Oh, it’s the Hulk with a fin on his head!’” This was an obvious dig at Erik Larson’s character and comic, the Savage Dragon, which features essentially the Hulk with a fin on his head. The joke made me laugh then, and it still makes me laugh now, recalling it to memory.

Creators have to tread carefully, though, as these in-jokes can get them into trouble. Al Milgrom got canned (sort of) for sneaking in a dig at his former boss at Marvel comics, Bob Harras. (Interestingly enough, his fellow artist, the legendary John Romita, Sr. did NOT get in any trouble, so either Milgrom alone was responsible for the dig or else Romita is just so darn legendary he can get away with stuff like that.) Artist Simon Bisley has the bad habit of hiding not secret messages but drawings of uncircumcised penises in his work. (Admittedly it can be fun, trying to find them.) For me, as long as the story as a whole doesn’t suffer, I don’t mind the hidden messages (or penises) at all.

source: goodcomics.comicbookresources.com

A Japanese comic is one of the biggest topics on Chinese social media – despite a government ban.

The fact that a Communist regime restricts the freedoms of the individual is obvious to anyone with a functioning brain. And of all the Communist regimes still around—and there aren’t nearly as many as there used to be—the biggest by far is China. John Lennon told us all to imagine a world without religion to divide us, inspired partially by Chinese society (at least according to FORREST GUMP), but can you imagine living in a country where something as simple as reading a comic book can get you into trouble? I know I can’t. Or I don’t want to.

Among he things the Chinese government feels its citizenry doesn’t need access to is Manga, Japanese comics like DEATH NOTE. I’m not a Manga fan myself, but come on, China! Comic books? Really? It isn’t only under repressive regimes that such censorship occurs, though. There are more than a few morons right here in the good ol’ US of A who feel that comics are “kids’ stuff” and should be neutered of all hints of sex, violence, and adult concepts. They are just as dangerous in their own way as the Chinese Communists, and they are the reason why the CBLDF exists. And I’m sure DEATH NOTE scares them, too.

source: www.bbc.com

Greg Pak has written many comics for both Marvel and DC Comics, but he may be best known for his long run on the primary Hulk comic book franchise from 2006-2011.

There’s gonna be an all-new, all different Incredible Hulk! And Greg Pak is returning to script the series! And . . . I couldn’t care less. I have no interest in reading this new series and no interest in trying to discern the secret identity of this new jade giant. (My guess? Amadeus Cho.) I just don’t get why Marvel feels the need to replace all their primary players with stand-ins. Does that make them fresh and exciting? Not in my (comic) book.

Moreso than with Captain America, though (Steve Rogers is now an old man and The Falcon is playacting as Cap), or Thor (where Thor is a woman but the real Thor is still a prominent character in the book), the Hulk has had one too many redefining, status-quo-altering changes in too short an amount of time. First they split the Hulk and Banner into two separate people, then quickly ret-conned that. Then Banner got shot in the head, causing brain damage to him and his green alter-ego. THEN he was healed with Extremis technology, which left the Hulk with Banner’s intellect but lacking his conscience. Now they’re scrapping THAT storyline to give us a new Hulk. It has become tedious—and boring.

source: www.examiner.com