It’s a Top Ten list! I know you’ve missed them.
I don’t care about the impending DC reboot because …
1. It’s been a long time since all the good writers left DC for Marvel. Some of them came back eventually, sure, but — eh — I’m reading Morning Glories now.
2. After being unemployed most of the summer, there’s only so many comic books I can justify as a monthly expense. There’s … Chew and Morning Glories.
3. It’s a simple matter of shelf space. If I’m getting all these new DC comics, where will I keep Morning Glories?
4. Yeah, Superman’s new costume is silly.
5. Even if it doesn’t suck, it couldn’t possibly be as good as they’d like us to believe.
6. Now that I’m working again, I don’t have as much lesiure time as I did this summer, and I’d really rather use it re-reading Morning Glories for clues.
7. I still don’t care which one is Green Arrow and which is Green Lantern.
8. I want to annoy all those guys that come into the comic book store asking me if I’m as excited as they are.
9. Besides, when they eventually reboot the reboot, who’s going to give me back those years (months?) of my life?
10. I’d just like this opportunity to recommend Morning Glories to you. Really. It’s quite good.
Gods, why didn’t I think of this before now? I mean, it’s so obvious! The Invisible Man. The Invisible Woman. It’s like it was looking me right in the face and I couldn’t even see it.
Here’s some background: The Invisible Man is a novel by Ralph Ellison that I never read. Also, and more to the point of this blog, The Invisible Man is the titular character in an H.G. Wells science fiction novella. He’s also known as Griffin. Because when you’re invisible you don’t need more than one name, that’s why. The Invisible Woman is Sue Storm, and was created by Stan Lee, just like the universe was.
Now you know, and quoting G.I. Joe is half the battle.
The other half is this fictional character battle!
Physicality. Well, this is hard. They’re both invisible. I mean, Jesus, how am I supposed to judge their looks? Oooooh, I think you’re slightly more invisible? But seriously, folks, once the Invisible Man went invisible, he never went back. Sue Storm, on the other hand, can fade in and out of visibility all the time, and when she fades into it (is that like fading into you?), she’s a hot blonde, because she lives in a comic book, where boobs are eternally perky. Winner? The Invisible Woman.
Better origin? Someday, I want my own origin story that’s much more interesting than “Mommy and Daddy got in the back seat of the car together and, after a few moments of magic, etc., etc.” Until then, please enjoy the origin of Sue Storm, which involves space travel and gamma rays or cosmic storms or something! That’s right, before she was a superhero, she was an astronaut, which is like being a superhero who has to wear diapers. The Invisible Man carries out some sort of scientic procedure to make himself invisible, which is definitely more awesome than anything I did today, but slightly less awesome than space travel and cosmic storms. Winner? The Invisible Woman.
Smacked more bitches up? That is totally a thing I’m going to be saying constantly now. In any case, The Invisible Woman fights for truth, justice and the American way, or whatever the hell it is that superheroes do nowadays, I don’t know. I’m sure she’s smacked up all sorts of bitchy villains. The Invisible Man actually got smacked to death by a bunch of irate villagers he had been tormenting, so my secret plot to have him win a category has not come to fruition. Winner? The Invisible Woman.
Has some sociopathic tendencies? Now, I don’t know much about the Invisible Woman, other than that I just love what Warren Ellis did with her in Planetary, but if she’s on the side of the good guys, she’s probably not a sociopath. (Or if she is, she’s a remarkably patient one.) The Invisible Man is often described as having been driven mad by his invisibility, committing naked crimes willy-nilly (he had to be naked; he didn’t invisibilize his clothes. Yes, that’s a word I just made up. Welcome to the dictionary (eventually), invisibilize!). That theory falls apart when you realize he got the money for his invisibility experiment by stealing it from his father, which led the man to suicide, which means The Invisible Man was a bit of a dick from the get-go. Also a sociopath. Winner? The Invisible Man.
Was in an Alan Moore comic book? I don’t think Alan Moore ever wrote any issues of Fantastic Four, but I’m sure someone who is geekier than I will correct me if I’m wrong. At any rate, Griffin the Invisible Man wins just for being in The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen when he was never a comic book character to begin with. Winner? The Invisible Man.
Has actual superpowers? The Invisible Man just runs about (nakedly) invisible all the day long. His feet hurt. He’s cold. He’s hungry. If he eats anything, people can totally see it being digested, which is an awesome visual, but not actually. The Invisible Woman can throw invisible force fields or something, I don’t know, but she’ll hurt you. She’ll hurt you good. Winner? The Invisible Woman.
Used to be known by a lamer moniker? I love the word moniker, much like mannikin for little person. Something about the Ms and the Ks, I guess. The Invisible Woman used to be known as The Invisible Girl, and that’s not when she was, like, 7, or something. That’s pretty lame. Winner? The Invisible Girl/Woman.
Wanted to become an invisible tyrant, ruling with an invisible, yet tyrannical, fist? The Invisible Man wanted to create something known as Reign of Terror (First Year of the Invisible Man). I don’t know what Sue Storm’s up to nowadays. Reign of terror? Perhaps. But probably not. Winner? The Invisible Man.
Overall winner? Despite my fondness for sociopaths, The Invisible Woman takes this one. That makes me sad.
Because they’re both green, I guess.
(Seriously, if you have suggestions for a fictional character battle, let me know. If it’s a character I know nothing about, I’m willing to fake it.)
On to the battle!
Physicality. The Swamp Thing is a green swamp creature formed of plants that has a bit of a human-like shape, but mostly looks like plants. The Hypnotoad is a toad. Now, I don’t usually find toads appealing, and I have this dreadful fear of running over the one that lives in the front yard with the lawn mower, but in this case for some reason Hypnotoad. Winner? Hypnotoad.
Has superpowers? In the original Swamp Thing series, Len Wein and Bernie Wrightson’s creation was less of a plant god and more of a crime-fighting plant creature. That all changed when Alan Moore got ‘hold of the title and said, “Hey, why not awesome this up a bit?”, and then he did. The Alan Moore Swamp Thing could control all forms of plant life, and even create new bodies for himself to inhabit anywhere that plants grew, by simply (simply?) transferring his consciousness to them. However, the Hypnotoad Hypnotoad. Winner? Hypnotoad.
Used to be human? Wein and Wrightson’s Swamp Thing was the transformed Alec Holland who, yes, used to be human. But then that magnificent bastard Alan Moore got ‘hold of the title, and suddenly the Swamp Thing was just a bunch of plants that thought they were Alec Holland. (It makes sense if you read it. Well, maybe it doesn’t make sense, exactly, but you just go with the flow.) The Hypnotoad was never Hypnotoad. Winner? The Hypnotoad.
Is from the future? The Swamp Thing is an elemental, and basically unkillable, but he’s not from the future. The Hypnotoad stars on Futurama, which almost has the word future in the title, and is set in the 30th century, so Hypnotoad. (Hey! You were going to win anyway, you damned hypnotic Hypnotoad.) Winner? Hypnotoad.
Made it with a hot chick? Through some powerful psychotropic plants of some sort, the swamp thing and Abigail Arcane, who later became Abigail Holland, and somehow they had a baby. I, uh, stopped reading the series after Moore’s run on it, so I have no idea how the whole plants impregnating human woman thing happened, and I’m not sure I want to know. On the other hand, Hypnotoad. Winner? Hypnotoad.
Is the bestest, most awesome, most wonderful character ever? Hypnotoad. Winner? The Hypnotoad.
Overall winner? Hey, for a one-note joke on this here blog, the Hypnotoad comes out ahead. Winner? Hypnotoad.
Because it’s time.
(What, like you don’t already know that Rorschach is a masked vigilante from Alan Moore’s masterwork Watchmen and Batman is the goddamned Batman?)
On to the battle!
Physicality. Rorschach is short, red-headed and smells funny. Batman is a millionaire in the peak of his hotness-itude, because we are going with Bruce Wayne’s Batman here, I don’t care what Grant Morrison is writing now. (I mean, I do care, Mr. Morrison. I think you’re awesome. But Bruce is the only Batman for me, and that’s just how it is.) Winner? Batman, easily.
Better costume: Batman wears a costume that makes him look like a giant bat. Why? Because criminals are a superstitious and cowardly lot, that’s why. Whatever the reason, it’s an ass-kicking costume, unless it’s from the one movie where they put nipples on it, because who puts nipples on body armor, god. On the other hand, Rorschach wears a trenchcoat and a fedora, so he looks like a film noir detective. Well, except for that weird mask he wears, which covers his face completely (like, how the hell does he see out of that thing, you know?). Coincidentally, the mask is what gives Rorschach his name, because it looks like a rorschach test. Also, the designs on it totally move around for absolutely no reason. Winner? I’m sorry, folks, but I’ve got to go with Rorschach’s moving mask here. That’s just awesome.
Better reason for turning vigilante and fighting crime? Batman, as a young batboy, saw his parents brutally murdered before his eyes after the family went to a viewing of The Mask of Zorro. Coincidentally, Zorro is a masked vigilante. After years of training, he returned to Gotham City, which, duh, of course the place is crime-ridden if you’re going to name it Gotham City, Jesus. Anyway, he returned home and started beating people up. Later, he dressed up as a giant bat. Rorschach was born to a prostitute and some random john. His mother mistreated him. Also, he was bullied. He grew up basically a sociopath, but one with a strong sense of justice. He also bit some kid’s ear off, kind of like a young Mike Tyson. Winner? Hey, if crappy parenting were all it took, the majority of everybody would be masked vigilantes. However, it’s not and they don’t, so Batman wins.
Is shithouse rat crazier? Now, I’m not saying Batman’s not crazy. Because he is. He’s a grown man who dresses up like a bat and fights crime. That’s kind of funny in the head behavior, you know? He’s very crazy. On the other hand, Rorschach is shithouse rat crazy. I mean, his day job is carrying around a sign declaring the world’s going to end soon, and he writes letters to newspapers much like the one I work at, much like the letters we receive. FROM JESUS. That’s his cover, for God’s sake. When he’s Rorschach, shit, you don’t even want to know. He’s a lunatic. I love him so much. Winner? Rorschach.
Most likely to kill you dead as hell? Like that annoying Superman, Batman has this moral code that prevents him from murdering the hell out of people who totally deserve it. Based on that code, I would be the worst masked vigilante ever. On the other hand, Rorschach’s quite willing to murder someone with a vat of hot oil, which is totally an un-superhero-like thing to do and utterly awesome. Winner? Rorschach.
Better detective skills? In some sections, Watchmen is set up like a film noir, with crazy Rorschach crazily narrating while he crazily does some detective work. He’s not bad at it or anything, but he is led to some wrong conclusions pretty easily. I blame his upbringing. Batman only went to the best schools, so he’s the best fictional detective ever (except for L and Sherlock Holmes). Winner? Batman.
Best use of shoe lifts? In real life, Rorschach is shorter than me. But when he’s out on the streets, he’s wearing lifts. I love that about him. It makes him seem more intimidating, because, really, who’s scared of a little teeny guy who will shoot you in the chest with a grappling gun? Everyone, rightfully, but it helps if he looks taller. Batman doesn’t need lifts. He’s the goddamned Batman. Also, he’s pretty tall. Winner? Rorschach.
OK, but how about Grant Morrison’s Arkham Asylum vs. Alan Moore’s Watchmen? These are two of the best comic books in the history of ever, and I only made this category so you guys would know they exist (I know most of you do already, but there’s a couple of you who might not) and READ THEM ALREADY! They are masterpieces!! Winner? A tie!
Saves the world? I can’t think of a specific storyline, but I’m sure Bats has saved the world a couple of times here and there. I mean, he’s the goddamned Batman! Rorschach, however, probably doomed the world by sending his crazy diary of insanity that reveals Adrian Veidt’s plan to save the world by killing a whole lotta folks to a newspaper of ill repute. I know that makes it sound like a weekly rag in a cathouse (you see what I did there?), but I just mean it’s like the World Weekly News to the USA Today. Winner? Batman.
Is the goddamned Batman? Winner? Batman.
Overall winner? The goddamned Batman. (But I still love you, Rorschach!)
Hey! It’s a Top Ten list! (Top Ten is one of my favorite Alan Moore series, by the way, and it makes me sad that he let some other writer take over and RUIN IT.)
1. “But I’m sitting at home, sipping this miso.” From Orange Shirt by Discovery. So a guy from Vampire Weekend and a guy from Ra Ra Riot got together and made an album with three songs that I really like, which is more songs than Vampire Weekend and Ra Ra Riot ever managed to do separately. I’m not quite sure, but I think Orange Shirt is about dating a Japanese girl while you’re living in Japan and she prefers conversing via text rather than face to face. I like the line about miso the best because 1) I can understand it and know I’ve got it right and 2) Miso is so very Japanese!
2. “If you want, I’ll give you eternal life. Well, not so much life, but have you ever seen a good zombie movie?” From what is possibly the best vampire song ever, Blah Blah Blah by Say Hi (To Your Mom). This whole song is awesome. Vampires, Star Trek quotes, a drum machine! I love you, Erik Elbogen!
3. “Isaiah fought, but was easily bested. Burned his body for incurring my wrath.” From The Rake’s Song by The Decemberists. This catchy little ditty is about how the self-called rake murders all his children after his baby machine of a wife dies in childbirth. It’s incredibly disturbing, yet I find myself humming it all the time.
4. “I have five clocks in my life, and only one has the time right. I’ll just unplug it for today.” From Daylight by Matt & Kim. This cheerful song is the perfect remedy to The Rake’s Song. In fact, it’s on my playlist immediately following, so I don’t sit there and suffer the guilty feeling of liking a child-murder song. I’m not sure what Daylight is about, but it’s really fun to listen to. It just seems happy. I like this line particularly, ’cause the guy just really doesn’t want to know what time it is. I wonder why.
5. “It’s twenty seconds to the last call.” From 1901 by Phoenix. Lately, somebody’s been using this song in a television commercial. (Some people consider that sort of thing “selling out,” and let me tell you, if I had written a song and someone wanted to use it in a commercial and pay me money for it, there would be no stopping my path down the road to selling out.) I like songs that reference last call. You’ve got 20 seconds to get your last drinks, people! Get on it! Phoenix is a French band, but their English is quite good.
6. “Yoku Wakanai.” From Yoku Wakanai by Otal. “Wakarimasen” is Japanese for “I don’t understand.” Make sure you pronounce it right, or no one will understand you. “Yoku Wakanai” is Japanese for “I really don’t understand.” (Although, if you buy the song from iTunes, the translation is “It doesn’t understand,” which is just stupid. Stupid, stupid iTunes.) That’s the only lyric in the whole song I can understand, but it’s quite pretty.
7. “It’s the same old covers, the same old lovers that warm us through the night.” From Tokyo Sky by Stellastarr*. Couple things here. 1) I’m always cold, so lyrics about keeping warm make me happy. 2) Frak you guys for the asterisk in your name. What is up with that? “Stellastarr” wasn’t indie-rock enough? Like your music though!
8. “Come down, come quickly. Look at the lights in the big city.” From Coast of Carolina by Telekinesis. This is a close one, what with the line about the smoke coming from the sewers possibly being toxic also being one of my favorites, but this line wins in the end for reminding me of my love of big cities. This song is also in some sort of commercial, but it’s only got the “Nah nah nah-nah-nah-nah-nah” part.
9. “Like that good Hole album, I can live through this.” From Camp Out by An Horse. Live Through This was a really good Hole album, I don’t care how bad Courtney Love sucked then and continues to suck now. Thanks for the reminder, Kate Cooper and Damon Cox! (I also like the line “My hips won’t give anything away.”)
10. “When the spring brings the sun, I’ll finally sleep, I’ll finally feel better when the winter’s gone.” From November was White, December was Grey by my hero, Eric Elbogen. This whole song is about how bad winter sucks and how you’re trapped inside because it’s too godforsaken cold to go outside, and he’s paced so much he’s worn the carpet out and why is it still winter dammit? Even when the weather is temperate to hot, I like this song, but it especially speaks to me now as I suffer through sub-zero temps.
It’s only seven issues long (and, as far as I can tell, hasn’t even finished a story arc yet)! And there’s hardly any pages in those issues. In fact, according to the movie’s Wikipedia page (which we all know is totally reliable and hardly ever wrong), there will only be 12 issues of Kick-Ass out when the movie is released. That seems like an overestimate to me, since it’s, like, three or four months between issues now and the movie is supposed to be released in 2010.
Which, of course, begs the question:
Are they making every comic book into movies now?
I mean, in the past decade alone, we’ve had Bulletproof Monk, Watchmen, the Dark Knight, Iron Man, Whiteout, League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, From Hell, Hellboy, V for Vendetta, Spiderman, Daredevil, Elektra, Ghost Rider, Ghost World, Wanted, 30 Days of Night, Et Frakkin’ Cetera!!!!
Now, I’m not saying it’s wrong to make comic books into films. In fact, it’s a great idea! Comic books are basically movies that you have to read, and your acquaintances will laugh at you less if you go to the movies than if you talk about the latest issue of Planetary (which is awesome, by the way).
No, the real problem is: most of these movies suck.
Also, a lot of the stars are embarrassed to say they’re in a comic book movie, so they call them “graphic novels,” which bugs hell out of me. (So much that I decided to omit the word “the.”)
Also, Kick-Ass is going to feature Nic Cage, who stopped acting somewhere in the ’90s. Seriously, I know the guy loves comic books, but I’ll bet there’s some people out there who also love comic books who have tried playing a character lately. Find them! Hire them! Have one of them play Bigby in the upcoming Fables movie (Note: There may not actually be an upcoming Fables movie, but I just assume there is. Also Scalped, Fell and Gen 13.)
In conclusion (thanks, junior high English!), please, Hollywood, don’t make a Cowboy Bebop movie.