Thursday, July 31, 2008

Stars of Star Trek Sing Their Hearts Out

Nothing brings out the ham in an actor like a hotel bar and a grand piano. Thanks to the all-seeing eye of YouTube, those of us not fortunate to be at the Hyatt during ComicCon can still enjoy the spectacle of Riker belting out the jazz standard Ain't Misbehavin' as if it were the eleven o'clock number in the top show in town. Dude really gets hot at about :15 seconds in.

After the jump, Sisko musically humiliates some web cartoonists at the same hotel, and classic musical moments from three Star Trek captains and an android...

Here, Avery Brooks, Scott Kurtz, Kris Straub (of PvP and Starslip Crisis) try to make their way through "At Last" and "Summertime" with considerable prompting from the brassy lounge pianist.

Cringe Alert: Between Sisko's quasi-incoherent drunkery, Kurtz' frequent self-conscious looks at the camera, and the fact that this already interminable video was obviously edited down from a much longer take....this is the sort of nerd/idol fantasy meetup that is probably exceedingly painful when it's actually happening, but at least makes a great story afterwards.

Of course that all pales in comparison to this video, which of course has the advantage of higher production values (ie a straw boater and cane).

Seriously, this is pretty much the best thing ever. If you're seeing it for the first time, I envy you.

Also, here is the stalwart Captain Archer doing the voice of a cartoon cat in one of the most underrated American animated musical comedies out there, Cats Don't Dance.

Then there's Brent Spiner, in the original Broadway cast of Sunday in the Park with George (his stuff starts around 6:30 in), sporting a snappy fin de siecle suit and an intensely nasal German accent.

And what musical Star Trek post would be complete without this slice of heaven? I know people enjoy this segment in a sort of freak show context, but I have to say after a few viewings, I think I appreciate what he's trying to do here. I "get" you Bill, I do. I even get a little choked up at 4:14...he should have saved that reading for the end, you can't keep the pace after an emotional high point like that. And neither can this post.

UPDATE 7/31/08:
Reader Dracula Jones (awesome) has pointed me to something I shamefully overlooked....

Wow. If anyone is friends with Guillermo Del Toro, please be sure he sees this before he gets started on principal photography. Though I'm kind of enraged by the fact that this song is all about Bilbo and Bilbo NEVER EVEN SHOWS UP in the video. Total tease.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Snap Judgments: Reviews for Wolverine, Locke & Key, True Believers and More

Short comic reviews based on initial, lizard-brain opinions. Arranged from BEST to WORST.

There are probably some minor SPOILERS herein.

Editor's Note: I didn't buy (or read) David Lapham's final issue of Spider-Man: Power and Responsibility this week, but I did pick it up in the store and skip to the end and was shocked by the twist ending. Without giving anything away, did anyone suspect that this was going to be a "What If?" story?

Amazing Spider-Man: Brand New Day: Extra!! gets an A from Albo
As if three issues of ASM a month weren't enough, here's a one-shot teasing what you can expect from the book this fall (after the advertised Slott/Romita Jr. Venom story!!!). While Kelly and Bacholo's Hammerhead story is a bit muddled, the other two tales are great little Spidey nuggets. One has him starting a fight with some snobs making fun of Harry, and the other has him defending himself in a court of law with Matt Murdock at his side. Lots of sharp dialogue in both these stories, and I continue to think Marcos Martis is the best of the current Spidey artist crop (though that will probably fall out the window when [did I already mention this?] Romita Jr. comes in to illustrate a Dan Slott Venom story!!!).

Reviews for The Lost Ones, Wolverine #67, Locke & Key #6, and True Believers #1 after the jump!

The Lost Ones gets an A from Albo
Does it bother me that the writing is sloppy in places? Does it bother me that sometimes the art ain't so great? No way. And why not? 'Cause this bastard was FREE. It's a big, handsome trade paperback collection of a Steve Niles story illustrated by four alternative artists that was originally published online somewhere. And now it's in my hands and it's FREE. This thing would cost like $20 normally. But instead it's FREE. Oh, the story is a really cool time travel dealie and some of the art is honestly out of this world.

Wolverine #67 gets an A from Albo
Mark Millar and Steve McNiven's post-apocalyptic "Old Man Logan" story continues. I'm loving it, and not just because I'd enjoy freaking Family Circus if it had McNiven drawing it. Millar's vision of Marvel's future is fresh, not the police states of 2099 or Days of Future Past, but something somehow infinitely more interesting--a world not in which the powers that be have turned bad, but in which the bad have turned into the powers that be. It's somehow a more optimistic view, because there is such a clear enemy. An enemy with a face that can be dealt with by way of a serious ass kicking. Too bad our hero is a pacifist.

Locke & Key #6 gets a B from Albo
This book has been so good to me since issue one, and now here we are at the end of the miniseries. The only fault that can be applied to this issue is that it wraps things up a bit too quickly, but with an ongoing series coming in the Fall I don't feel all that cheated. This book came out of nowhere (you may have noticed that you were never able to find the early issues because your store under-ordered BIG TIME) to become one of my favorite reads of '08. Definitely pick up the inevitable trade when it comes out, then flood my inbox with thank you letters.

True Believers #1 gets a B from Albo
A tentative B. This issue had just enough new ideas to excite me about the potential of upcoming stories, but not enough blatant quality to assure me that it will live up to that potential. The story is about a team of superpowered folks who've taken on the duty of uncovering corruption and scandal among the elite, both superpowered and otherwise. They are very advanced technologically, so much so that even S.H.I.E.L.D. can't draw a bead on them. Honestly, I probably won't pick up the next issue unless there isn't much else out that week, but as blind buys go it was completely inoffensive.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Panel Discussion: Scans from Invincible, War Heroes, Ambush Bug and More

Every week we at Geekanerd rip panels from our comics and put them on display here, recognizing the best, worst, and weirdest moments of the week. Beware some major SPOILERS.

Click these suckas for high res!

Try It, You'll Like It - Invincible #51
Knowing that comic fans are surpassed only by the Amish and conservative talk show hosts in their unwillingness to accept change, Robert Kirkman seems to be directly addressing his audience here through Art the costume tailor. Doesn't really make much of a difference to me though, because I've always found Invincible's look to be extremely generic, he reminds me of the fake, generic superhero suits seen in The Boys.

Scans from Ambush Bug: Year Zero, Avengers: Initiative, CBLDF Presents: Liberty Comics, and War Heroes: Colon after the jump!

Gag Highlight Reel - Ambush Bug: Year Zero #1

Ambush Bug was chock full of gags, but these were my faves:Seeing Women in Refrigerators Syndrome get an extended gag in a comic is pretty sweet.
I always go geek-kneed for this meta shit. (And for those that don't remember it, those checkers appeared at the top of all DC comic covers in a bygone era.)This one is probably a little to easy, but I like the idea of Sandman escaping across the Multiverse (or whatever it's called these days) from the long hand of DC Editors.

Saddest Moment - CBLDF Presents: Liberty Comics
I never thought I liked Mark Millar all that much, but all it takes is one five-page comic about a sad and lonley old vampire to get me completely on his side. This little moment of supermarket weeps is great because it shows how lonely it would be to be a vampire; struggling to keep up with the changing world around you, and getting attatched to things that you outlive by centuries. I also really love three-cheese pizzas, and they are harder to find now. Single tear.

Suggest Much? - Avengers: The Initiative #15
What a line! "Hey foreigner, you've really been "boning up" on American customs... (Howsabout boning up on mine?)"

Just a Great Panel - War Heroes #1

Friday, July 25, 2008

Geekanerd Spotter: Dark Knight Drink Special

Looks like post Dark Knight the Joker has gotten a job as a signmaker in a cheesy Midtown bar. I suppose this speaks to the mainstream penetration of the movie. Or something.

Porn Star Tera Patrick Takes on Role of "Special Producer" for Saints Row 2

From the press release: famous adult film star TERA PATRICK will be working as 'special producer' on the highly anticipated open-world action video game Saints Row 2. Known as one the best "finishers" worldwide, Patrick's role as ‘special producer’ will bring her one-of-a-kind special touch to the project as the game nears release on October 14.
One of the best "finishers" worldwide? Her "one-of-a-kind special touch"? At least they have the sense to put the bullshit position of "special producer" in quotes. Interested? Check out a Grand Theft Auto IV-bashing trailer for Saints Row 2 after the jump.

You know, as far as I'm concerned this is a really effective trailer. One of my biggest problems with GTA IV is that you can't do anything. Don't believe the "you can do anything" hype. When it comes down to it, you can shoot people, you can steal cars, and you can participate in mind-numbingly dull recreational activities. The possibilities are extremely limited. So even though the Saints Row series is a clone of the GTA style, seeing a trailer like this that tells me the game is "GTA IV with options" actually makes me interested in a game that I would have scoffed at before. Either that or Tera Patrick's "finishing" skills and "special touch" have won me over.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Snap Judgments: Reviews of Invincible, Liberty Comics, War Heroes and More

Short comic reviews based on initial, lizard-brain opinions. Arranged from BEST to WORST.

There are probably some minor SPOILERS herein.

Liberty Comics: A CBLDF Benefit Book gets an A- from AHR
Mark Millar's tale of Vampire ennui is reason enough to get this book. I've been asking Albo for a while why Mark Millar is considered such hot shit when all I've read by him concerns former-nerd baddasses in rubber suits, but this five page story surprised me. I do wonder why it's the only story in here with nothing to do with censorship. The minus grade is only for the Criminal story, which is as emotionally bloodless and by the numbers as every other issue of Criminal I've ever read.

Ambush Bug: Year None #1 gets a B from Albo
I usually don't like humor books, but this book is full of genuinely funny gags. I'm sure I'd get even more out of it if I wasn't such a Marvel Zombie, because most of the humor is DC in-jokes (Ambush Bug inspiring Jean Loring to kill Sue Dibny, for instance--and even accidentally suggesting the method!). Anyway, some of it is very meta (Ambush Bug wondering why his thoughts don't appear in clouds anymore), which is always exciting to me. Recommended for you DC freaks.

Reviews for Avengers: The Initiative #15, Invincible #51, Two-Face: Year One #1, War Heroes #1, Joker Asylum: Scarecrow #1 and New Avengers #43 after the jump!

Avengers: The Initiative #15
gets a B from Albo
Dan Slott's finding a way to make his Avengers book relevant to Secret Invasion but compelling on its own, something that Bendis isn't quite managing over at Mighty and New. This story, brilliantly titled "The Only Good Skrull..." is about just that--the only good Skrull. It's a little hokey in execution, but somehow I think that's the style Slott's going for. It's like an after school special about a closeted gay teen. Except this one's about a Skrull who's been in hiding and operating as an Earth hero and who worries that the current Skrull invasion might reveal his true colors, at which point it'll be too late to convince the Earthlings he's a good guy. Anyway, far from perfect, but Super-Mega-Colossal-Event tie-ins are so tough to do well that I'm giving it serious props.

Invincible #51 gets a C+ from AHR
"Jump on!" they said. "The new story starts here!" they said. Feh. Only having read a bit of Invincible before, about half of this issue felt like talking heads, and heads that belonged to people I didn't know. The half that followed Invincible and his kid brother, however, was fun enough and the art in this book is appealing enough to get me through. Don't like the new costume though, and I don't even remember what the old one looked like.

Two Face: Year One #1 gets a C from AHR
It's always nice to see some familiar faces from Gotham Central (Maggie Sawyer, GCPD lezforce go!) and it's neat that they integrated the crime boss from Dark Knight, but then they destroy any continuity with the movie by offering the tried and true split-personality acid origin Harvey's always had. Throw in some really strange writing choices in which white-collar characters brush-off random acts of agression by their colleagues like it happens every day, and this feels like a rush-job.

War Heroes #1 gets a C from Albo
I believe I'm getting Millar fatigue. Maybe I still have a bad taste in my mouth from Wanted. I wanted to like the film, some reviews said I would like the film, but... ugh. Anyway, there's been so many Millar books recently (Fantastic Four, Wolverine, 1985, Kick-Ass, on and on and on) and more often than not I like them. But I think I've reached my saturation point, because I found very little to enjoy in War Heroes. Just that same slick Millar attitude with not much below the surface. I might be being too harsh, as it's only the first issue, but... Millar has wowed in the past with first issues (Kick-Ass, for instance). It doesn't help that in the back of the book he spends half a page declaring how awesome he is.

Joker Asylum: Scarecrow #1 gets a C- from AHR
It's really cheesy that all the issues in this miniseries are #1's, even though they're all part of a sequential anthology. Also the plot is like one of those teen horror movies from the mid-90s, except instead of a killer in a black cloak the bad guy is the Scarecrow. What a sad excuse for a spotlight issue. But I couldn't bear to give a book with such awesome art a D. It's chunky and colorful and very web 2.0. Sure it's not very scary, but with a script like this it was never going to be.

New Avengers #43 gets a D from Albo
Bendis, you have really blown it. You spend years setting up the Marvel Universe for one huge event, and then when it's finally time for shit to hit the fan--you hit the pause button. Let's see, what has happened in Secret Invasion thus far? A ship of Skrulls posing as heroes have crashed in the Savage Land and are fighting our heroes. A handful of Skrulls have appeared in Times Square and are fighting our heroes. That's it. Oh, sorry, last issue of Secret Invasion had Nick Fury show up and fight. Bendis' Avengers books, meanwhile, are stuck in the past, telling us all about how we got to this moment but not progressing the "event" in any way. I'm sure this Invasion stuff will make a great hardcover one day, when the stagnancy of it is softened by the absence of month long waits between issues, but for now it's growing more and more fetid.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Watchmen Mania Continues:
Animated Comic Available On iTunes

It's a good week to be a Watchmen fan! First we get the assiduously "faithful" trailer for Zack Snyder's film, and now the first of twelve animated shorts (one for each issue) constructed from Dave Gibbons' beautiful original art has hit the iTunes store for FREE! The "short" is about twenty minutes long, and boasts an unabridged telling of the Watchmen tale, something the live action feature will not be able to come close to accomplishing. It even has the chapter headings and closing quotes. And there's no worry about deviating from the source material in any way, because it IS the source material. The only problem is that it's narrated audio book style, meaning one man does all the voices. And not particularly well, all the time. But it didn't bother AHR, and this is still a really exciting new way to experience the book. I can't imagine how long it took to construct some of these animations from tiny comic scans. But the hard work paid off. With an adaptation this spot on, I'm actually left to wonder... Why do we need the movie?

After the jump bonus... A leaked video of the first full Watchmen movie scene?

Saturday, July 19, 2008

The Dark Knight In Stick Figures

How much did I love The Dark Knight? So much I had to draw a frenzied, semi-illegible stick figure comic about it. Maybe not so much ABOUT the film, it really just summarizes the first half hour. It's one of those. Bonus feature: a collapsed interpretation of the Rachel Dawes arc.

HUGE SPOILERS after the jump for anyone who didn't see it...seriously.


Hey, fandom isn't always pretty. Here's what I remember of Rachel Dawes.

Were you shocked? I was shocked.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Watchmen Movie Trailer Dissected, Compared to Comic Panels

Doing all the panel comparisons for those Watchmen set photos way back was so much fun that I couldn't resist picking apart the trailer and doing the same.

Click on the film frames for HIGH RES, and beware spoilers if you've never read the book.

NEW TRAILER UPDATE: See comparisons for the NEW trailer here.

Notice the giant Dr. Manhattan calves in the background there. I was thinking when I watched the trailer that this 'Nam stuff looks a little weird, but it really just looks like the comic. So I won't complain!

Tons more after the jump!

Dr. Manhattan's transformation is well covered in the trailer:
The details are all there, right down to concrete block 15 and the coat Osterman went to retrieve. Osterman asks what happened to the other 14 blocks...

Over time, Osterman reconstitutes himself.

And then BOOM! again, he appears in the mess hall.

Night Owl and The Comedian look down on an unruly crowd. The visible signs: "Bring Back Our Police," "Badges Not Masks," "Give Us Our Police Back." Also of course check out the "Who Watches the Watchmen" graffiti in the top frame. Who knows why that guy BLOWS UP the store everybody is standing right in front of, though.

Rorschach roughs up Moloch. Moloch seems well cast, if a little young (like everyone else in the movie).

Veidt disposes of an assassin. I think it's admirable that Snyder has kept some of the unorthodox color choices of the book. Putting a guy in a purple suit (unless it's The Joker) is a risky proposition on film. I will say, though, I still wish there was more color in these images we are seeing. The book is so saturated, it's a dark book at times but it achieves that through the storytelling, almost in spite of the bright illustrations.

The snow here places this frame up outside at Veidt's arctic retreat, but there isn't a moment where Night Owl screams like this in the book. Perhaps Night Owl witnesses Dr. Manhattan and Rorschach's final exchange?

Dammit, what an idiot Zack Snyder is. Doesn't he know Dr. Manhattan only blows shit up with his left hand?! This movie sux!

This is the only moment I could figure out this belongs to... Even though Dr. Manhattan isn't wearing his unitard and Laurie doesn't appear to be twenty years younger in this flashback (because, uh, that would make actress Malin Akerman TEN YEARS OLD). But there is a little sparkly action in the background of the comic panel, so I'm thinking this is it. Also notice that they've given Akerman a little face mole in just the right place!

You're sitting there like, "What, those aren't the same frame!" Click on the film frame of The Comedian fighting in his apartment and look closely behind him. There on the wall is a sexy pic of Sally Jupiter similar to the one she has on her own wall! Looks like she's not the only one still carrying the torch.

UPDATE: Artist James Jean has given us a better look at that piece of art, a "Vargas-esque" portrait he was commissioned to do for the film. Note that the one on Sally's wall is signed by the artist himself, "Varga."
Jean also has some early sketches of the piece at his website.

Flame on! Notice Rorschach is using Veidt hairspray for his attack.

This frame looks like it's from the scene where Laurie gets mad at Dr. Manhattan for splitting into multiple beings and getting work done while they are making love.

The Comedian is murdered. If you click the film frame and look at the high res you can just make out what appears to be the smiley face button on The Comedian's robe.

The Comedian's funeral. Something that I find interesting is that the book is told primarily in these tall 1/9th page panels, and the movie is trying to stick very closely to the compositions but must adapt them for widescreen. It's neat to see how that affects things.

Veidt's triumphant moment. Not much on TV in the movie...

Laurie and Dan fight fire. Seeing the fire victims likening Laurie's costume to a nightgown made me realize--The Silk Spectre wears silk! Duh! The movie version is more like The Leather Phantasm or something.

Night Owl on the prowl.

Walking into the prison riot to free Rorschach.

This is the shot from the trailer that really put the goosebumps in me. This is why this movie couldn't have been made ten years ago.

BONUS! For being such a good reader, I'm giving you comparisons for these great production photos that were in Entertainment Weekly...
More prison riot ass-kicking on the way to get Rorschach.

The moment The Comedian is attacked by and then murders the Vietnamese woman he impregnated and abandoned. It's a great scene, Dr. Manhattan admonishes him for doing it but then the Comedian points out he could have stopped him by just vaporizing the bullet or any number of other ways. He has discovered Dr. Manhattan doesn't actually care much for human life.

The Comedian contemplates sexual assault in a flashback. I'm not sure how Snyder managed to make Carla Gugino look homely, but... There it is. Notice they've given her the face mole as well.