SUPERMAN YEAR ONE

When somebody told me that there was a new comic book called Superman Year One written by Frank Miller and drawn by John Romita Jr. and it was being published by DC Comics using their new Black Label imprint, well, that created in me some expectations. I expected a comic about the first year of Kal-El being Superman, a young adult Superman having his first adventures told in a style reminiscent of Batman: The Dark Knight Returns especially when Mr. Miller expressed that this story would be in continuity with the aforementioned Batman story.

What I ended getting  was Smallville Reloaded, the adventures of Clark Kent from his arrival to earth until his High School graduation told in a very straight forward, very nostalgic, very traditional style. This is the story of a young man’s journey into becoming a man told like a young romance story whose execution distances itself very much from the crime noirish, two-fisted yarns that have characterized Frank Miller’s writing for the last two decades. It is a good comic book but I hardly see the need of putting this fit for all ages story in a format and an imprint that is supposedly reserved for mature themed content.

What got me very much delighted was the art, that rich gorgeous art produced by team of John Romita Jr., Danny Miki and Alex Sinclair. In this book we can certainly appreciate how much Mr. Romita’s pencils have evolved since his first days. I could spend hours perusing these pages in order of enjoying the outstanding work done here in terms of the art.

In summation, I find Superman Year One a good comic book but not a Black Label worthy book.

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I FOUND MY SAVAGE DRAGON POSTER

I have been a fan of Erik Larsen’s Savage Dragon comic book since its beginnings. In August 31, 1996 Savage Dragon #31 was published. This issue contained an epic battle of God vs The Devil where God wins and warns the loser not to mess with him. A poster reproducing the historical panel with this warning was eventually produced and sold at comic book specialty stores. I bought two copies, one to hang in my wall and another for safe keeping. After hours of searching for it in my collection I finally found it and now wish to share this photo with the world. The art in the poster is by Erik Larsen, creator of The Savage Dragon.

REMEMBERING HARLAN ELLISON

Harlan Jay Ellison, my favorite speculative fiction writer died in the morning of June 26, 2018. I found out about it during evening when I checked my Facebook feed on my cellphone. The moment I read the news I had this weird feeling of a punch to my gut that was being softened by some strange layer of protection. It was like my whole body was covered by a force field made of really thick jelly that protected me from a devastating blow. Afterwards as I headed home from work the sadness started to kick in as did the memories. As you should have figured out by now Harlan Ellison means a lot to me.

I can’t remember exactly the first time that I heard or read about Harlan Ellison. My earliest memory of reading about him him dates back to his interview in Starlog magazine #100 (Nov. 1985) & 101 (Dec 1985). It was around the same time period that the 1980’s revival of The Twilight Zone (he was one of the writers) started its first season. I enjoyed that season very much especially since it had episodes either written by him or adapted from his short stories. Between his unapologetic statements given in that first interview that I read and those wonderful Twilight Zone episodes that I saw for the first time I became a fan and proceeded to hunt for anything that I could find about him. Remember, it was the middle 1980’s at the time, there was no internet and if you wanted to find out anything about anything it was either your local library or finding someone that knew about whatever you were looking for. Bottom line it took me a while to accumulate the amount of books, magazine interviews, comic book stories written by him and any related audio visual material. Ask any long time Harlan Ellison enthusiast like me and you will hear a similar story.

I identify a lot Mr. Ellison’s stories, characters and many of his outspoken opinions and have done my best to follow his career and enjoy his many works through the years. His voice was always an outspoken one, sometimes full of sarcasm, sometimes full of anger but always full of wisdom, the wisdom of a man that lived life to the fullest. Rest In Peace Mr. Ellison. You and your wisdom will be sorely missed and needed in the years to come.

JUSTICE LEAGUE, A SPOILER RICH REVIEW

I almost didn’t go to see the Justice League movie on opening day. It just wasn’t in me at the time. While everybody else was going crazy with anticipation for this movie, I was buried in a deep funk feeling almost cero interest in seeing it. I found myself with my brain divided into two schools of thought.

On one side of my brain, there was the School of Melancholy with me reminiscing about how hard was being a comic book enthusiast in the late 1970’s and early 1980’s, about all the pain, rejection and humiliation that were inflicted upon me from all sides, all because I liked comic books, because I was passionate about it and not about the things other people liked. I was thinking about all that and how I felt that nothing has changed after all this years. On the other side of my brain there was the School of Hope, the wishful thinking that this would be the movie that would turn things around, that Justice League would leave a mark in the collective consciousness of today’s society paving the way for true acceptance of comic book enthusiasts all over the world. My mind was struggling with these two streams of thoughts and seemed that it would keep doing that for the foreseeable future.

Nevertheless, my mood changed about 3 days before Thursday, November 16, 2017 the official release date of this movie in Puerto Rico. I consider myself lucky for changing my mind on time because I would have missed the only chance I would have to be well informed to deal with all the internet backlash created by this movie and boy there have been quite a lot backlash.

On one side, we have people who love it and think that it is the best movie ever and on the opposite site we have total disappointment from a lot of moviegoers. Which side am I? I’m right in that middle ground where I liked it but I’m not crazy about it. After seeing the first time I left the movie theater with a smile but once I got home my emotions had simmered down enough to give way to regular thinking, a second viewing was needed. I watched it again last Sunday and thought that I was ready to write about it.

This movie is the team-up that I have been waiting for all my life to see on the big screen of a movie theater. Justice League is entertaining like nobody’s business but it is not perfect. There’s a lot of things that I like about Justice League and a lot of things that I don’t. Let me put things in perspective by making two lists, two SPOILER RICH lists.

Things I liked

  • The opening scene with the two unseen kids interviewing Superman for their podcast was a stroke of genius. I identified strongly with those kids because it took me back to my own childhood, to the first time that I ever saw the Man of Steel via the live action tv series of the 1950’s. Superman, friend of little kids, that is the hero that I remember when I saw him for the first time.
  • Batman first scene capturing that burglar was very much in the spirit of hundreds of comics that I have read. Ben Affleck’s Batman costume is my favorite so far, especially the cowl.
  • The first eastern egg that I noticed was the big JANUS neon sign that I guess stands for Janus Cosmetics which is the company owned by Roman Sionis, better known as Black Mask.
  • The Green Lanterns’ cameo.
  • Marc McClure (Jimmy Olsen) has a cameo too.
  • Old time fans will recognize a lot of tidbits from DC Comics rich history.
  • The New Gods are mentioned.
  • The Atlanteans, seeing Mera using her solid water powers was so cool.
  • Cyborg using a hoodie at the beginning, it was a tribute to his first appearance in New Teen Titans #1 (1980).
  • The action scenes.
  • Cyborg saying “Booya!”. I just love his “Teen Titans” and “Teen Titans Go” animated version.
  • The two after credit scenes.

Things I didn’t like

  • The clashing of Zack Snyder’s style with Joss Wheldon’s. I would have preferred a 100% Snyder movie so that it would have a thematic unity with Man of Steel and Batman vs Superman. What started as an attempt at balancing the seriousness of the movie with some humor ended with making Batman’s character very dissimilar to what we have in his previous movie appearance.
  • The editing. I found it choppy at some places and it was obvious that scenes were missing.
  • No Darkseid. He’s only mentioned, once.
  • No Hal Jordan or John Stewart.
  • No Martian Manhunter.
  • The way that Superman’s resurrection was handled. They could have just thrown him in a Lazarus Pit and would have the same crazy Superman in a simpler way. And you calm him down just by showing him Lois Lane. Did they explain to the public the return of both Superman and Clark Kent to the land of the living? I think I missed that.

To sum things up, I don’t think that Justice League is “the movie that will turn things around”. It is an entertaining movie but is also one that could benefit with better editing and additional scenes to add more characterization and solve plot holes. Go see it and make your own conclusions.

NEW JUSTICE LEAGUE MOVIE TRAILER

Here we have the brand new Justice League trailer that was recently released at the Warner Bros. movie panel during San Diego Comic Con 2017.

It's nice to finally have a good look at JK Simons's Commissioner Gordon. I liked it. Steppenwolf's face wasn't shown but I saw enough to reaffirm my theory that whom I saw at the end of the extended edition of BvS was Mantis. Aquaman seems to be the one having the most fun in the movie. Who is the mysterious figure making the glass of water shake? I say it's Darkseid.

 

I FOUND BIG JIM’S JUNGLE TRUCK!

Last Friday I was browsing in a local collector’s store and found among the items in display a toy from my childhood, the Big Jim Jungle Truck from Mattel. I got it as a Christmas present during one of those wonderful 1970’s holidays. Big Jim was a very popular toy line during the 1970’s and the early 80’s.  If you want to know more about this particular toy I recommend you to click the following link http://www.toysyouhad.com/Bigjim.htm

 

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