I know I’ve been guilty of it, too, to some extent. We who make our livings by writing for the trusty ol’ Internet don’t get paid unless we get people to read the articles we post, and it’s a given that sensationalized or salacious posts get more attention. Also, the Internet has no kind of filter whatsoever, no levels or standards to which a writer must attain, as it is open to anybody and everybody, AND it seems much harder for people reading things on the Internet to tell what constitutes a REAL news item from what is nothing more than a digital WEEKLY WORLD NEWS puff piece–or worse, thinly veiled political propaganda, digital Fox News fare. I have never just “made up” stuff and posted it claiming it to be true. But I COULD. And I’ve for dang sure seen others doing it.

This here isn’t a fabrication, but it is a perfect example of a writer making hay out of nothing. Geoff Johns made a comment about DC not turning Superman into a Nazi. It was not a dig at Marvel and the recent SECRET EMPIRE storyline. Or if it was, it was a good-natured one. This article calls it a “pretty clear shot.” The only thing pretty clear to me is that it was a JOKE. And a case of a writer basing an article on misrepresenting it. But, hey, no harm, no foul, fellow Internet author. I know we gotta earn them clicks. And I DID just make my own hay out of YOUR post, so it’s all good.

IF Johns had made a dig at marvel, however, I would have had to point out that DC itself lives in a lofty house of fragile glass. Was Marvel making Captain America a Nazi really any more of a misstep than Red Superman/Blue Superman? Methinks not.

The first six pages of the upcoming DOOMSDAY CLOCK title from DC Comics were released at the recent New York Comic Con. This isn’t just the smash-up to end all smash-ups, though, with the heroes of the DC Universe meeting the characters from the WATCHMEN Universe. This is going to be in fact the official sequel to WATCHMEN. Some fans are way excited and some think it’s a terrible idea, that the classics should be left well enough alone and that, as Alan Moore is not involved in the project, it is somehow “dishonest.” While having Alan onboard would have been awesome, he has no interest in revisiting this property or of playing in the DC sandbox again. And the project has less of the feel of a simple stunt. Geoff Johns has been waiting, letting the story gestate, waiting until it was ready to be told.

It is ALSO a savvy stunt, guaranteed to garner publicity. At a time when Marvel’s stock has dropped–and I’m speaking of the comics, here; ironically the Marvel Cinematic universe has soared, its unprecedented success in direct proportion to the slump in sales of the comic books that inspired it–the time is perfect for DC to knock one out of the park. This may well be the big one that DC needs to put it back at the top of the sales chart.

…not where its DC properties are concerned, it doesn’t. Jared Leto and Leonardo Dicaprio are BOTH supposed to play the Joker? Say what, now? And they’ve made the announcement that future DC movies won’t be tied into the “shared” continuity of JUSTICE LEAGUE, basing that decision on the standalone success of WONDER WOMAN. Wait. WONDER WOMAN is an integral part of that shared cinematic universe. So the upcoming Batman movie may star Ben Affleck, who plays Batman in the shared JUSTICE LEAGUE universe, but may not be a part of that universe? And the WONDER WOMAN sequel won’t be a part if it? What the ever-lovin’ hell?! Maybe they mean they just won’t connect the films together too tightly, that they’ll all exist in the same universe but the characters won’t interact as much. That would be okay. But if they go and try to create a DC cinematic MULTI-verse, that ain’t gonna fly. I mean, technically they’ve already got one. The Christopher Reeve Superman movies don’t take place in the JUSTICE LEAGUE universe, nor do Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight flicks. But nobody tried to keep those different franchises afloat at the SAME TIME.

On a side note, Joss Whedon’s retooling of the JUSTICE LEAGUE film is said to have been more significant than we were previously led to believe. He cut Lex Luthor, Deathstroke, and even Darkseid from the film completely, if rumors are to be believed. All these moves, excepting Darkseid, make sense. Does the removal of the secret, primary villain from the film mean that WB is planning on ending the current continuity rather than continuing it? Does having no major villain waiting in the wings equal no plans for a sequel? If so, how the hell are they gonna explain WONDER WOMAN?

This article takes a rather grim position, yet it does speak truth. Marvel is in a sales slump. There are various reasons why this is so. There’s no one thing you can put your finger on. We can say with accuracy that Big M has been mismanaged these last couple’a few years. Revising the universe every month or three, relaunching titles ad nauseam. On a personal level, I can testify to the practice that has driven me away: the forced diversity initiative. Removing established characters and replacing them with new politically correct ones, just for the sake of having more female characters, gay characters, minority characters, yadda yadda yadda. Marvel, in trying to attract new readers, has alienated many of its old ones. And, like I said, that’s just ONE thing the company is doing wrong.

Over at DC, meanwhile, things are certainly, um, interesting. Whether you like the current storyline or you don’t, you can’t say it isn’t interesting. A whole slew of Bat-men. All evil. Why? Why not! Which one is your favorite? The Doomsday Batman is awful dang cool, I say. But the Joker Batman has my heart. And we’re getting ready to see Superman throw down with Dr. Manhattan from WATCHMEN. Yeah, right now DC is the one drawing my attention. Marvel should–and no doubt, will–take a lesson from it.

I could summon a little more enthusiasm, I reckon, considering that it isn’t REALLY the return of the Fantastic Four we’re talking about. Not yet. It’s the return of Marvel-Two-In-One, a comic I used to love as a kid. It featured the Thing in a team-up with a different character every month or couple of months. It was fun and entertaining. It hits the old nostalgia button.

Can I just be honest? I was never that interested in Mr. Fantastic and the Invisible Woman. The Thing and the Human Torch were the characters I cared about, so the fact that the new Marvel-Two-In-One series will focus exclusively on the two of them sits just fine with me. Whether it does, as promised, lead to the eventual return of the Fantastic Four to the Marvel Universe or whether it doesn’t, I don’t care. Johnny and Ben getting their own shared comic book excites me.

Is there any way Marvel could make the Fantastic Four viable again? Even before those three awful, awful, awful movies, the team had slipped way down on the list of prominence for comic-reading fans. The book had not been “The world’s greatest comic magazine!” in a long, long time.

The new Marvel-Two-In-One series debuts this December, with Chip Zdarsky writing and artwork by Jim Cheung.

I loved THE GREATEST AMERICAN HERO. It came out when I was a little kid obsessed with comic books and superheroes–as opposed to being an adult who is obsessed with comic books and superheroes, but nowadays I’m a little more picky about my entertainment choices. Not that I wouldn’t love, or have loved, I guess I should say, THE GREATEST AMERICAN HERO if it had first come out today. It’s hard to say for sure. So much of the charm of the series was its 80s aesthetic. (As a little bit of trivia, the name of the lead character was changed from “Hinckley” to “Hanley” after John Hinckley shot President Ronald Reagan in 1981.) I’ve wondered how long it would be before somebody decided to remake the series. Personally I’d hoped for a theatrical movie. Instead there’s going to be a new television series. I’d be more excited about this news than I am if I hadn’t also learned that the new series will feature a female lead character, of Indian descent. In other words, it’s going to be another case of PC anti-whitewashing.

Don’t get me wrong. I don’t give a rip about the gender or the ethnicity of any given character. It’s continuity I care about. The GAH is a white male. That’s established continuity. Now if this series were to take place in the same universe as the original and constituted not a “reimagining” but a continuation, I’d be fine with it. A new hero taking over for the original. They could even get William Katt, star of the original series, to appear. I’d be down with that. As it is, the changing of the gender and race of the lead character smacks of tokenism, and that’s a shame.

I’m probably more concerned about this than I should be, as I doubt this news series will fly, anyway. But it wrecks the chances for a THE GREATEST AMERICAN HERO movie. Not that, if a movie were to be made, it would possibly bear any resemblance to the show I loved as a kid, anyway.

Normally I hang my head in disgust when anything political becomes an issue in entertainment. PC Culture is toxic and vile, and we need a safe refuge from it. Alas, no such refuge exists. Some problems, though, are easily avoided, or would be, if people would just not be stupid. A perfect example of this stupidity was the decision to cast Ed Skrein of DEADPOOL fame in the upcoming HELLBOY reboot. The character assigned to Skrein, Ben Daimio, is of Asian descent. Skrein is not of Asian descent. What were they thinking? Remember how the PC wankers squealed like gutshot porcines after Tilda Swinton got cast in DR. STRANGE in a role that was, according to the comics that inpired the film, supposed to be Asian. (Ironically, this shitstorm came about because the director was actively TRYING to be PC sensitive, fearing that casting an elderly Asian in the role would have been stereotypical. I tell ya, there just ain’t no pleasin’ the PC wankers.)

The studio, Lionsgate, should have known better. Skrein, however, showed that he has integrity. When he found out about this issue, he voluntarily stepped down. “I must do what I feel is right,” he said. Good on you, boy! It would be wrong for the studio to change the ethnicity of the character, just as it is wrong when they change the ethnicity of any established character by casting a minority in a role that should be played by a Caucasian. There are a few cases where they got away with it and it worked–Heimdall in the THOR films, Jason Momoa as Aquaman–but it never works the other way around, casting somebody white in a role that should be played by a minority.

It shouldn’t fall to the actors to have to make such decisions, but they have to when the studios are too stupid to do it themselves. Skrein just did Lionsgate a big favor.

James Cameron said that WONDER WOMAN was a “step back” for feminism in movies. He said it nicely. But the director of WONDER WOMAN, Patty Jenkins, laid some serious smack down on him anyway. She did it nicely, too.

Here’s what HE had to say: “All of the self-congratulatory back-patting Hollywood’s been doing over Wonder Woman has been so misguided. She’s an objectified icon, and it’s just male Hollywood doing the same old thing! I’m not saying I didn’t like the movie but, to me, it’s a step backwards. Sarah Connor was not a beauty icon. She was strong, she was troubled, she was a terrible mother, and she earned the respect of the audience through pure grit…” Hmmm. I think plugging your own character, there, counts as “self-congratulatory back-patting” too, Jimmy.

Here’s what Patty Jenkins said in reply: “James Cameron’s inability to understand what Wonder Woman is, or stands for [is] unsurprising as…he is not a woman…if women have to always be hard, tough, and troubled to be strong, and we aren’t free to be multidimensional or celebrate an icon of women everywhere because she is attractive and loving, then we haven’t come very far…”

Yep. Owned. A woman can be sexy, physically beautiful, and still be strong, Jimmy. Maybe you are just intimidated by strong women?

I really, really hope the upcoming JUSTICE LEAGUE movie doesn’t suck. A sucky movie can ruin the day of a collector. I remember acquiring a McDonalds Happy meal toy of Electro from THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN 2. I was excited to get hold of the figure before it was officially available to the public–I won’t reveal how I managed it–even though I had reservations about the film itself. Then it came out and it sucked so hard it completely ruined my appreciation for the figure. I sold it on eBay.

I stopped by a K-Mart that was having a going-out-of-business sale recently. Everything was marked down, and I about whooped for joy when I found a Batman vs. Steppenwolf action figure 2-pack on the toy aisle. When I got to the register, though, the cashier told me they couldn’t sell it to me, because they had made a mistake and put it out on the shelves too early. “But you’ll be out of business by the time you’re supposed to put it out,” I argued. “What are they gonna do with the figures then?” But it was to no avail. This pissed me off, and I tracked down the figure set on the aforementioned eBay for not much more than I would have paid at the K-Mart. Y’hear that, K-Mart? Suck it!

I have since purchased a 12-inch Aquaman figure and a Parademon.

Please don’t suck, JUSTICE LEAGUE movie. PLEASE don’t suck.

Zack Snyder can’t catch a break. The media en masse are participants, either willingly or because they can’t help themselves, in the pile-on effect. It’s good business to, as Don Henley, sang: “Kick ’em when they’re up! Kick ’em when they’re down!” Also, to quote the former Eagle, “We can do the innuendo, we can dance and sing, but when it’s said and done, we haven’t told you a thing.” So, so true. If there ever was anything resembling journalistic integrity, the Internet killed it. Sites report on rumors, completely unverified rumors, and then other sites parrot them, and things that were never true to begin with become “common knowledge.”

There’s a RUMOR going around that the upcoming Justice League movie was “unwatchable.” Is it true? There’s not an ounce of proof to back it up, but it doesn’t matter. It makes for a good headline. We on the Internet live and die by the clicks. You might be thinking it’s hypocritical of me to say this, considering I also am paid to write articles for the Internet, and I also want to generate “hits.” I admit all that, but I have not knowingly written lies in an attempt to garner attention. If something I write about is just a rumor, I will state that it is just a rumor and I try to encourage my readers not to take it as more than that. (In fairness, some of those other sites have also added such disclaimers to their posts. SOME of them.) RUMORS ARE NOT FACTS, people. And MOST rumors end up not being true.

There’s no way that Snyder can win this one. If the movie ends up sucking, they’ll say it was because of him. And if it ends up being good, they’ll say it was Joss Whedon who came in and “saved” it. I feel bad for the guy. We’ll probably never know where one director’s influence ended and the other’s began. But it’s a guarantee at this point that any faults found with the film will be laid at Snyder’s feet, whether they belong there or not.

We all know that crap is king.