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Showing posts from September, 2011

Nerdstalgia: Happy Birthday, Jim Henson

Jim Henson would've been 75 today.

He's probably the first time I could place a creator behind the creations I loved; his name was on nearly all of his creations, and he hosted the series or the behind-the-scenes specials.  A lot has been said about his creativity, positivity, and lasting influence, and there's nothing I can really add to it.  I can only list off some of the esoteric reasons I admire Henson and his wonderful body of work.

1. He knew food & eating is always funny.  Seriously, people either treat eating like some sacred transcendental ritual or horrible shameful sin; however, Henson knew that being part of the food chain in any way was inherently amusing.  From booing vegetables greeting a vegetarian Muppet Show guest while the livestock cheers to having "have someone eat something" as one of the three all-purpose sketch enders, he appreciated that there's humor to be found in food.  He's probably one of the last.

2. He didn't conform…

CASB: An Open Letter to Paul Levitz

Dear Mr. Levitz,

I hate writing these; I only do it to creators whose work I genuinely admire and who I want to see avoid cliche pitfalls towards which they seem to be heading.  I know in my heart that every person to whom I have addressed these can do better than what I've seen.  With some recent Legion additions and announcements, I need to air some concerns.  I know this is probably futile, as you are the master of long-term story planning and are probably already deep into the marrative planning, but I need to say this.  It's been bothering me ever since I heard the teaser in your interview.

You have created a new character that I absolutely love, and I am afraid that your plans to reveal a new teammate as evil will involve her.  I speak, of course, of Dragonwing.

A lot of Dragonwing's characterization codes her as evil.  She is prickly, confrontational, impatient, overly competitive, prone to using excessive force, and incredibly sarcastic.  Her powers are inherently …

Ink and Paint: Remember Your Quest

Someone made a two-hour-plus documentary on the making of Jonny Quest.

I repeat - some wonderful mad genius made a documentary celebrating America's first action-adventure franchise, the first one of its genre to air in prime time (the only one that was a regular series) at a time when the only acceptible way to discuss Jonny Quest is to discuss how lame and unworthy of modern respect it is.

For all the good that's in Venture Brothers, I can't bring myself to respect it.  It has killed any hopes of getting a proper revival of Jonny Quest; it goes beyond the affectionate parody of Freakazoid!'s "Toby Danger" short or the wink-wink elbowing humor of Harvey Birdman into being downright mean-spirited and inviting people who've never seen the series in any form to hold it in scornful disdain.  Even when planning a woefully miscast, now mercifully stuck in Development Hell, movie, Warner Brothers can't even be bothered to see that "Jonny" isn'…

Omnicommentary #1: Y'All Want This Party Started, Right?

Legionnaires #1: Baptism by Fire!

Creative Team: Tom & Mary Bierbaum (writers); Chris Sprouse (penciller); Karl Story (inker); Pat Brosseau (letterer); Tom McCraw (colorist); April 1993.

Legion Roll Call: Apparition; Chameleon; Cosmic Boy; Computo; Ferro; Live Wire; Saturn Girl; Shrinking Violet; Triad; and Ultra Boy.

Miscellaneous Notes: There are two dedications in this issue.  The first is "Special thanks to all the Gaijin guys!"; this is for the sadly defunct Gaijin Studios, which boasted artists such as Sprouse, Adam Hughes, Brian Stelfreeze, Jason Pearson, and Cully Hamner among its members.  The second is the enigmatic "For Carl" - maybe this is a friend from the Interlac APA?

Summary: On New Earth, the Legionnaires find themselves trying to stop the destruction of the powergrid that keeps the cities linked.  A gang called the Hand (not the one from Daredevil) is responsible, but Mega, a girl forced to join the gang, volunteers to help them end the attacks. …

Ink and Paint: Nickelodeon Nostalgia

I am so much of a nerd that I enjoy reading books of essays on television, especially if they address a given subject from a philosophical or analytical angle.  The "(Insert Pop Culture Topic Here) and Philosophy" series seems to have been made for me (for example, Superheroes and Philosophy finally gave me an explanation of utilitarianism and its inherent contradictions that I could understand better than any course I ever took).  So recently, Amazon recommended a low-priced book called Nickelodeon Nation that I picked up, and besides being a fascinating read (one essay is from Linda Simensky, mastermind behind both Nicktoons and CN's What-a-Cartoon! pilot systems), it's also an interesting artifact in two ways.

First, there is an interesting emphasis on Nickelodeon's programming being "nonviolent" - in other words, they don't air action cartoons, which every single author in the book treats as a worthless subgenre.  I can only imagine what these w…