It was a movie about something, but it sure as hell wasn’t #Superman!


After long months, I have finally sat down and watched “Man of Steel”.  Due to a number of issues, I was unable to make it to the premier for which I had waited in line at Walmart to score tickets.  Problems in the ‘real world’ (aka work) kept me in the office, so my dear wife Mrs. Snackpants went to see it with her friends, while I slaved away at the office.  When she came home from my office, she launched into the greatest nerd rage I have ever seen from her (besides when I give her a hard time about Firefly).  She loudly proclaimed, “It was a movie about something, but it sure as hell wasn’t Superman!”  I was so very proud of my wife at that moment… to understand that while something could be decent film, it could be the worst film for a particular property/character/etc.  She understood what was important to a Superman film.

I know there has been quite a bit written about how bad this film was, but I want to address one major point…

When Richard Donner had Jonathan Kent (played by the great Glenn Ford) die, it was from a heart attack.  A silent killer that Clark had no way to prevent, even with all of his superpowers.  It taught Clark that there were certain things in this world he cannot control, and he would have to deal with that on a daily basis.

When Zack Snyder attempts the same lesson for Clark (we WON’T even get into the terrible death of Jonathan in Man of Steel), he teaches him something I thought I would never see in a Superman film.  Clark learns that the only way to control the situation to eliminate what he cannot control.  He kills Zod…  Violence is Snyder’s solution…

I should have been just as upset with Clark’s killing of Zod as I was with Optimus Prime’s need to take a life in the first Transformers film, but I just did not care at that point.

This film, while visually stunning, lacked any heart.  Something that the 1978 Donner Superman had in spades.  How can Geoff Johns, a man who was given his big break by Richard Donner himself, allow this film to have the Superman moniker on it at all?  In the end it can be simply put…

Crowe is no Brando, Costner is no Ford, Cavil is no Reeve, and Snyder is not even worthy to be compared to Donner.

Strange things are afoot at the CircleK… #FB


Yesterday’s post made me realize I really need to update this much more often… but I also got an email from DC Entertainment today.

I have already 300+ hours in Borderlands 2… I really need to write something about that, and my Raspberry Pi experience (along with Xbian and OpenELEC), and my 2 Asus Tablets I have had since i wrote last about android tablets, and my opinions on Dredd, and how I don’t buy comics any longer, and my visit to “The Wizarding World of Harry Potter”, especially after I recently read my previous blog post about it.

I just need to write… and stuff.  I haven’t been complaining enough on the internet, though reading my older posts… I really am more 50/50 in my internet writing.  My negative writing is just much more ‘colorful’.

Comic Book stories that Don’t Suck!


I read comic books… I have been reading comic books regularly for over 24 years now.  When I say ‘regularly’, I mean I have not had a real long hiatus.  Even after the hiatus, I would get back on the horse and pick up all those lovely back issues that I missed.  I was truly an after market dream for the local comic shop (LCS).  I grew up with comics in the 80′s with the start of the MEGA-OMG-HUGE Crossover events.  Crisis on Infinite Earths was where I began my ‘regular’ comic buying, but later I made my parents stop at every major comic store in Virginia and Washington, DC during a family trip.  I had my copy of Uncanny X-men with its “Mutant Massacre” map so I knew exactly what issues of Uncanny X-men, X-Factor, New Mutants and even Mighty Thor that I needed to pick-up to follow the storyline.  I kept all of my comics in nice bags ‘n boards, shoved in long boxes, cataloged and alphabetized.  These boxes served as game console storage, night stands, TV trays, they took up the 2nd most cubic footage in my living area (the most being reserved for the JACO Tape Library, but that is for a different blog entry).  This was all fine, until I had to move… and that signaled the end of my ‘comic collection’.  I took all but one short box to Coliseum of Comics and unloaded it.  Since that moment, I have treated my comics like magazines: bought, read, then thrown/given away.

This treatment of comics may come as sacrilege to many people but as someone that was part of the industry during the rise and fall of the 90′s comic boom, I just cannot get excited about the ‘value’ of a comic that was printed after 1980.  There were just too many to create a scarcity.  I was there to vote for the death of Jason Todd but with the creation of Trade Paper Backs (TPB) and later Hardcover (HC) editions in the last decade, I can re-read those stories in all their glory… and sometimes in better condition than when they were originally released.  Now my long boxes have been replaced with book shelves filled with “Trades”, Hardcovers and ABSOLUTE editions.  My comic book storage devices no longer come from the LCS but from Ethan Allen and IKEA.
Where is all this going?!  Since the major publishers (Marvel and DC… or Disney and Warner Bros if you would prefer to look at it that way), are now printing some of the really old gems in these collected editions. I wanted to share with you the top… 5 or so best stories you MUST read.
Now in no particular order…

The Death of SuperboyLegion of Superheroes (Baxter Series) #37, Superman #8, Action Comics #591, Legion of Super Heroes (Baxter Series) #38Collected in Superman: Man of Steel Volume 4 - After the Crisis on Infinite Earths Mega-Event, DC editorial staff decided that they would perpetrate one of the greatest crimes on the Superman fandom.  That was to allow John Byrne to completely reset the Superman mythos.  In this ‘new and improved’ origin, Superman did not arrive in Metropolis until the year 198X, Lex Luthor was now a evil multi-millionaire business mogul, and there was never a Superboy.  For the short sighted, like Byrne, this was not an issue, but the removal of Superboy from the histories had a domino effect on DC Comics continuity.  The biggest of which was the removal of the pivotal figure in the formation of the Legion of Super Heroes.  Now DC had to create a story to take care of this ‘problem’, so they ‘killed’ Superboy.  Luckily Paul Levitz, in cooperation with Byrne, gave us an epic story.  Here Levitz uses the Time Trapper, the complete Legion, Krypto, every possible type of Kryptonite and the Kents to give Superboy the send off he deserved.  This storyline is still one of a handful that brings a tear to my eye each time I read it.  Even if you are not a long time fan of the Legion or Superboy, the story of friendship and sacrifice is one everyone can understand.

Green Lantern: RebirthGreen Lantern: Rebirth 1-6 – Collected in TPB and upcoming Absolute Edition - In the sorrow that was comics in the 90′s, the DC editorial staff made another one of their incredibility awful decisions that plagued the decade.  They believed that the Silver Age iconic character Green Lantern (Hal Jordan) had become too old and boring.  He was not ‘hip’ or ‘contemporary’ enough for the comic book readers that were reading drivel such as Youngblood and Uncanny X-men.  The powers that be at DC Comics ordered Hal Jordan’s fall and the creation of a new, younger Green Lantern.  This whole story is chronicled in Emerald Twilight.  I would suggest that particular story but the foundation on which it was based is so faulty, it cannot stand on its own.  In 2004 comic writer Geoff Johns was tasked to return Hal Jordan to the land of the living (Jordan had sacrificed himself to save the Earth in the not-so-epic event Final Night) and try to explain the haphazard story telling that Jordan had been the victim of during the late 80′s and early 90′s.  What we get was 6 issues of greatness.  Johns explains the fall of Jordan, the stupid gray sideburns Jordan was sporting in Justice League, why the Green Lantern rings had a lame weakness to the color yellow AND sets up the epic event Blackest Night.  Green Lantern: Rebirth holds its own as an independent story as well as a cornerstone in the Green Lantern mythos.

Batman: A Death in the Family and A Lonely Place of DyingBatman #426-429, #440-442, The New Titans #60-61 -Collected in DC Classics Library: A Death in the Family and Batman: A Lonely Place of Dying TPB - Even though these are two separate stories nearly 3 years apart, they are so interconnected it would be hard to talk about one without bringing up the other in context.  After the continuity reboot following Crisis on Infinite Earths, DC editorial staff made another one of their typically awful decisions and made Jason Todd (the current Robin, since Dick Grayson had graduated on to become Nightwing) into a ‘street wise’ kid with a criminal past.  The new origin of Jason Todd had Batman catching him trying to steal the tires off the Batmobile.  Over the next two years the Batman writing team would transform Jason Todd into the most whiny, over-dramatic sidekick since Bucky.  The Death in the Family storyline encompasses Jason’s attempt to find his real mother, how Batman deals with international politics, the limitations of staying within the boundaries of international law and the death of his son at the hands of a villain that many thought Batman should have killed himself years ago.  Unlike Dick Grayson, Bruce Wayne had actually legally adopted Jason Todd which added a new depth to the character of Bruce Wayne.  The shameless promotional stunt of this story was following the explosive cliffhanger – DC had two 900 numbers to call (@ .50 a pop).  One was for Jason to live, the other for Jason to die.  Well, the cover of the TPB can tell you the result.  The story telling reasons that Jason Todd was created to replace Dick Grayson quickly became evident again.  Soon a new Robin would come to the forefront.  This time the Robin replacement would be brought into the fold through positive circumstances and the assistance of Nightwing (the original Robin).  A Lonely Place of Dying brings full circle the need for a Robin to center Batman while also resolving a number of the long standing issues between Bruce and Dick.  Tim Drake became a much more solid Robin with a stronger foundation.  His character became so popular that Tim was spun off in his own mini-series and then solo series many years before Dick Grayson would be featured in a Nightwing solo book.

MarvelsMarvels #1-4 – Collected TPB and Hardcover (out of print) - I am not a big fan of Alex Ross.  He has come to think of himself as more important than the works that made him so popular.  That being said, Marvels is still just an outright beautiful book.  Unlike other ‘superhero’ comics, Marvels takes the most important stories told in the Marvel universe from the common man’s perspective.  Not only is this a great story, it also gives you all the basic in’s and out’s of the Marvel universe in a single volume.  A definite primer for anyone that is starting out with the cast of characters.

Kingdom ComeKingdom Come #1-4 – Collected in TPB and Absolute Edition - Kingdom Come is the ultimate “What if…?” story.  Taking place in the future year 200X, Superman has turned his back on the world that has become more violent and sadistic.  Where the ‘heroes’ are packing guns and making war with each other because there are no villains to fight any longer.  Kingdom Come takes the 90′s comic book hero fiasco to the final level.  Kingdom Come takes some basic ideas of crime, rehabilitation and freewill and places them in the hands of the super powered.  The ongoing disagreements between Bruce and Clark continue here.  Bruce believes that mankind should be left to its own devices, while Clark, ever the Boy Scout, decides he is going to make the world a better place, whether they like it or not.  Written by comic book great Mark Waid and ‘illustrated’ by Alex Ross (see the above Marvels write-up about my opinions on Ross), the book is filled with Easter Eggs and homages that will stump even the biggest of fanboys.  The collected editions include panels left out of the original storyline and the Absolute Edition includes background information and character sketches for some of the background characters such as King Marvel and the Pepper Brigade.  If you are given the choice, I would drop the cash on the Absolute Edition. The artwork is stunning and it truly captures the epic feel of the entire story.

God Loves, Man KillsMarvel Graphic Novel #5 – Reprinted in Hardcover - This was the first X-men story I had ever read.  It was actually in the library of a friend of mine at the time.  When I read this story, I was a very young and its social undertones were lost on me.  I had no point of reference to understand the issues that Claremont was portraying.  Later, I would obtain a first printing from Coliseum of Comics as my first ‘back issue’ purchase.  When I read it the second time, I had a great epiphany.  Claremont tells a morality tale of intolerance and bigotry.  How faith-based organizations can be twisted and made into instruments of hate.  Though many of the X-men films had story elements that were based off of elements from this story, none of them grasp the subtle items that make this story great as both a “Superhero” story and life lesson.  The image of a young boy hanging lifeless from a swing set with a sign labeled ‘MUTIE’ still sits with me to this day.

DC: The New FrontierDC: The New Frontier #1-6 – Collected in TPB Vols #1,2 and Absolute Edition (Out of Print) - Darwyn Cooke’s story focuses on the three characters that defined the Silver Age of comics: The Flash, Green Lantern and The Martian Manhunter.  While Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman all appear, they are very much in the background as supporting characters.   One of the story’s qualities is the fine line it follows between being continuity heavy and shirking the bonds of the same history.  Cooke brings story elements such as “The Losers“, King Faraday and Dinosaur Island into the tale.  All of these are nods to the Silver Age of DC Comics, but explaining each enough that new readers will not be completely lost.  This story was popular enough to be adapted into one of the Warner Bros. Premier Direct-to-Video releases in Justice League: The New Frontier.  Even though it is a very condensed telling of the story, the film is as faithful as possible for the medium.  I have to say that DC: The New Frontier is one of the few Absolute Editions I purchased sight unseen, just based off of the buzz I had heard in regards to the original story.  Cooke’s artwork captures the feel of the 50′s while truly popping off the page.  The enlarged Absolute Edition is THE way to read this story, if you can get your hands on a copy!

This list in not a comprehensive list of stories that I have given the “Doesn’t Suck” seal of approval.  If I covered them all here, then I would have nothing to write about later, though here is a thumbnail list of a few others you should check out:

- X-Men: The Dark Phoenix SagaX-Men #129-138
- The Death of Captain MarvelMarvel Graphic Novel #1
- The Sandman: Season of MistsThe Sandman #21-28
- Crisis on Infinite EarthsCrisis on Infinite Earths #1-12
- The New Teen Titans: The Judas ContractTales of the Teen Titans #42-44 and The New Teen Titans Annual #3

So go read something that is good… instead of that Civil War or Final Crisis drivel!

Please add Dan DiDio to the list of Comic Hacks…


Oi vey… The DC blog (The Source) hinted earlier today that they would have a BIG ANNOUNCEMENT later today.  As I should have expected, any time that we are told there is a “BIG” anything we should expect disappointment.  DC did not disappoint in the level of disappointment.  Their “BIG” announcement was that Dan DiDio, the Executive Editor of DC Comics, the guy that wanted to kill off Dick Grayson, the guy that gave Grant Morrison the keys to the DC kingdom with that epic fail of an event Final Crisis, will be writing The Outsiders.  When I read this only one thing came to my mind… “Who gives a flying f**k?!”.  So I guess Dan DiDio’s ego was not big enough as the Head Honcho at DC Comics.  Maybe he felt a little shrinkage after the DC Entertainment announcement?  I was on the fence about continuing to read The Outsiders, now there is no question.  I have just saved myself $2.99 a month.  Thanks Dan, you idiot.

Grant Morrison’s "Joker" is superior?! Are we in a mirror universe?


I have not been completely vocal in my displeasure for Grant Morrison and his epic fails of the last 2 years… They can be summarized as:

3.) The death of Bruce Wayne (which could be tied into 2)
4.) The death of Darkseid
5.) The complete lameness of the new Seven Soldiers of Victory
6.) Final Crisis (so bad, it needs to be mentioned twice)
7.) DC One Million (Oh boy was that a stinker!)
8.) His Mary Sue in Seven Soldiers of Victory, Animal Man, and a number of other titles
9.) Final Crisis (Yes, so bad it had to be listed THREE times)
10.) Not killing Jason Todd AGAIN after that other idiot Winnick brought him back from the dead.

I read once that Morrison was one of those “art for art’s sake” kind of writers. You know the type that feels you can not understand the depths he goes to in his writing. I used to be a huge Morrison fan. His run on JLA in the early part of this decade completely revitalized the book and team. Where the problem lies, is that even though he has done great good, his ‘problems’ far outweigh those positives.

At this point, you are probably asking yourself, “So Joey… what’s the big deal? What has gotten you on this tirade today?” Surprisingly enough, this does not stem from a dislike of Grant Morrison, but a like for another writer, Paul Dini. After Grant Morrison did #3 on the above list, Paul Dini was asked to come on board and write two books: Batman: Streets of Gotham and Gotham City Sirens. Both of these have been of high caliber, but because of a number of scheduling conflicts there was a guest writer for GCS last issue. Paul Dini returns to GCS with Issue #4 and DC has put a preview up on on their “Blog” The Source. What is truly annoying me to no end is all the “Dini doesn’t write The Joker as well as Morrison” drivel these people are spewing! The Joker’s resergence as a Batman villain in the last 15 years can be accredited to his placement back in mainstream entertainment through Batman: The Animated Series, Superman: The Animated Series, and Justice League. Three guesses who was primary driving force in those items?!? Oh yeah, it was Paul Dini! Beside Dennis O’Niel’s run on the Batman, I cannot think of another many’s contribution to The Joker that was so defining. I was extremely disappointed when I saw that GCS #3 was not written by Dini and now I am overjoyed to see his return to the book. Many people may not know, but Dini created the character of Harley Quinn for B:TAS and his portrayal of her is has close to the original you can get.

Don’t get me wrong, Grant Morrison is a good writer. He is just a terrible continuity writer. When asked to write his own independent stories or out-of-continuity tales (i.e. All-Star Superman), he is an excellent craftsman. I just need this guy to stay out of my continuity heavy story telling… oh and my “epic” events. Did I mention that Final Crisis was full of complete fail?

Its Wednesday…


Yes, its Wednesday… and there is only one thing that is sure as the sun rises on Wednesday… Mr. Snackpants will be at the Local Comic Book Shop picking up my ‘pull list’. I am a DC Comics fan, have been since 1985… and the DC events lately have been sub-par at best. Final Crisis was such a disappointment… just don’t get me started. Right now, there are only two things I am reading that are really getting me excited, Legion of 3 Worlds and the lead up to Blackest Night, both of which are being written by Geoff Johns.

Johns is great about bringing back plot elements from YEARS ago… and making them relevant. DC Comics just posted a page from Blackest Night… and all I can say is… goosebumps.



I know I haven’t been on here lately, but I have been in the middle of working on JACON… but I read something, and I think you should too.

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