Monday, June 20, 2011

SMCS Companion Piece #17: Road Rovers

Dogs driving cars.  ‘Nuff said.  Good night everybody.

…oh you want a little more than that, huh?  Alright then.  This past weekend on the Saturday Morning Cartoon Show we watched Road Rovers.  If you’ve never heard of this show don’t worry yourself too much over as it’s not exactly a “classic”, though even to this day it has its fans.  Premiering in 1996 on Kids WB! and lasting all of one season Road Rovers was a superhero spoof show during a time when Freakazoid! and Earthworm Jim were on television and probably as a result it’s not nearly as remembered.  In fact it was created by Tom Ruegger who, in addition to creating Freakazoid!, also created Tiny Toon Adventures, Animaniacs and Pinky and Brain so it may be easy to see how this show was overshadowed by its more popular siblings.   Despite its short run it would continue to re-run for the next few years.

More on Road Rovers after the jump.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Forbidden Tales of Science on iTunes (Shameless Self Promotion)

Hey everyone.  Sorry for the lack of updates this week following several weeks of solid updating.  I am working on some reviews as we speak so content is coming.  Today though I've decided to do some more shameless self-promoting.

You see my band Zombie Apocalypse NOW! has just released our 2010 debut EP, Forbidden Tales of Science, on iTunes and Rhapsody.   I strongly encourage you to check it out and if you like it to purchase it since it's reasonably cheap and I think it's pretty well made.  Failing that how about heading to our Facebook page and liking us?  As I understand it if we get 500,000 fans we become Rock Stars or something (I suspect this is the same type of logic Underpants Gnomes work with).

Zombie Apocalypse NOW! on Facebook

Friday, June 10, 2011

Nerd Rage #7: The Great DC Comics Reboot of 2011

DC rebuilds the JLA with their most iconic characters
...And also Cyborg
I was debating whether or not I should write about this subject but ultimately I figured I might as well as it deals with several lingering issues that I was planning to address anyway and is really the biggest news story in comics right now.  It’s going to be a pretty stone cold nerdy blog though, I’m afraid.

So for those of you who haven’t heard (And if you indeed haven’t heard than you must not read comic books regularly) but DC Comics is rebooting the DC Universe following the current crossover “Flashpoint”.  Well “reboot” may be the wrong word as DC has been claiming it’s not a proper reboot. Plus all of the details have yet to be made clear.  As I understand what’s happening is that DC will be canceling all their titles and starting in September start releasing 52 new titles, most of which will simply be re-numbered issues of their catalogs (Superman #1, Batman #1, etc.).  At the same time, apparently due time travel madness as seen in Flashpoint (Though honestly I’m not 100% sure about that), the DC Universe continuity will be noticeably altered although to what degree I don’t know.  I’ve heard people say that it’s a full on new continuity and other people say that Batman and Superman are being made drastically younger ala Spider-Man: One More Day and there’s a lot of rumors spinning around the internet.  What we do know for sure is that it seems the vast majority of heroes are getting “updated” costume changes.  Seeing as I’m of the opinion that massive retcons in general are normally just an excuse to re-use old plots I’m not super into this news.

The reason for this change is apparently to give new readers a jumping on point.  New readers, huh?  It seems like DC and Marvel Comics are always trying to gain these “new readers” and it always seems to involve revised origins, massive retcons and new #1 issues.  I’m not sure either company have ever been really successful in the long term using this strategy but, hey, just because it didn’t work the last few times doesn’t mean it won’t work this time.  Or the next time.  Or the next time after that.

Pictured: DC's 2009 "Bold New Change" for Batman
New Readers Gained: Apparently Not Enough
I’m trying not to be too put off by all of this since as of this writing I do not know all the details of this new direction and am still months away from being able to read anything (Though I suspect a lot of things will be revealed during the San Diego Comic-Con).  Still what little I do know makes me feel like DC is about to make a huge blunder and isolate a lot of long time readers.  Plus I feel what I have heard form DC is the same B.S. I’ve hard for years about “Bold New Directions” and “Never Be the Same” and all that noise.   For now I’m cautiously pessimistic: I’m concerned but I’ll keep an open mind.

DC also announced that they’d be releasing digital version of the titles the same day the print versions come out.  A lot of people are excited about this but I HATE digital comics with a fiery passion so all this says to me is “Yet another step until comic book shops go the way of arcades.”

More about the Reboot after the jump.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Anime Review: Heroic Age

It’s been a while since my last anime review.  There have been a lot of factors in play with that but probably the most annoying reason has been that I’ve been having trouble getting through the anime Suzuka which as of this writing I’m STILL not done with yet and it’s really been slowing down my schedule.  Oh well.

Today we’ll be looking at Heroic Age, an original anime I powered through recently.  Originally aired in 2007 Heroic Age was produced by Xebec, Inc., a subsidiary of Production I.G, which also produced Martian Successor Nadesico and Love Hina.  It also has character designs by Hisashi Hirai who is my absolute favorite anime character designer having done work on Scryed, Infinite Ryvius and Mobile Suit Gundam SEED (The latter two among my top ten favorite anime). So for that alone it caught my eye. Oh, that and it’s a SPACE OPERA WITH GIANT ROBOTS!

Now I love space operas; in fact it’s my favorite genre of fiction. Star Trek, Firefly, the Gundam series, Star Wars; if it has a spaceships zipping around the universe I will at least not outright tell it to go to hell.  But Dragonaut: The Resonance was a space opera and that crappy show put a dent on my bathroom wall (Via my head) so simply taking place in space doesn’t necessary mean anything.  But one thing this series has that Dragonaut didn’t is…it’s loosely based on Greek Mythology?  What, you mean like Ulysses 31? Actually I’m not sure how I feel about this…

Catchy theme song though...

Full review after the jump.

Monday, June 6, 2011

X-Men [Indeterminate Amount of Time] Day 7: Review of X-Men - First Class

And here we are; X-Men: First Class has been unleashed upon the world and thusly X-Men [Indeterminate Amount of Time] draws to a close.

Pre-production, or at least discussion for pre-production, for this film began before X-Men: The Last Stand had even come out.  There was talk about where the franchise would go after the inevitable wave of immense critical acclaim and Oscar nominations for the obviously brilliant forthcoming third film.  Spin-offs seemed to be the word of the day as movies starring Magneto, Wolverine and others were pitched but one idea that ended up getting past the drawing board stage was a prequel to the films starring a younger Charles Xavier and a younger team of X-Men.  After the success of the first spin-off, X-Men Origins: Wolverine (Not critical success, mind you) 20th Century Fox green-lit the prequel and whole elements of the Magneto film ended up being merged with it (Supposedly, possibly not).

At an early stage in production Bryan Singer had returned to the franchise he had previously abandoned to blunder tackle Superman Returns.   He appeared all set to direct this new film but once more bowed out to work on another movie instead (Jack the Giant Killer, whose production interfered with his involvement with this one).  This time however Singer stayed on as a producer.  Instead Matthew Vaughn, who himself once walked out on directing X-Men 3, came onboard to helm the film riding the wave of success from Kick-Ass.  It’s somewhat fitting that he gets the chance to prove that he indeed had the tools to make a decent X-Men film.

Now that’s we’ve looked the three original X-Men movies we’re primed to compare this new entry to its predecessors.   Seeing as the last two films were goddamned awful my hopes are not high.

Full review after the jump.

[WARNING: There are some minor spoilers. Not too bad, but they’re there so watch out]

Friday, June 3, 2011

X-Men [Indeterminate Amount of Time] Day 6: Review of X-Men - The Last Stand

We’re winding down on X-Men Appreciation “Month/Year/Exactly Three Weeks After You’ve Gotten Sick of It”.  With X-Men: First Class out this weekend we have time for one more blog post before I take the long walk into the movie theater.  So let’s take a look at the final part of the X-Men Trilogy, X-Men: The Last Stand.

In the aftermath of the success of X2 a sequel was guaranteed and, at first, it appeared that Bryan Singer would continue on with the series since he had really hit his stride with the previous effort and seemingly had become an expert when it came to making X-Men films.  Unfortunately he was offered the chance to direct a new Superman movie and soon dropped out of the director’s chair in favor of that (Superman Returns, to be exact. How well did that one do again?).  So who did they eventually get to fill the shoes of possibly the only person alive capable of making the X-Men look relevant on the big screen?  Darren Aronofsky, whom Hugh Jackman was pushing for?  No, he turned it down.  How about Joss Whedon, who wrote the original comic book that much of the story here would be based on?   Nope, he was committed to directing the Wonder Woman movie…which never ended up happening.  Zack Snyder, maybe? Of course not, he ended up cutting his comic book directing teeth with 300.  So who did 20th Century Fox end up casting? Why none other than Brett Ratner!  Who is Brett Ratner you ask?  Why he’s only the man who directed all three Rush Hour movies!  You know, movies that are significantly more racist than anyone seems comfortable admitting (Stereotypes are funny, hyuk hyuk hyuk).  So obviously we’d want that guy to make a movie about fighting racism.   Fantastic.

Chris Tucker makes everything slightly more racist
 Also as far as the script went it was written by newcomers to the franchise Zak Penn and Simon Kinberg and it seems that the studio was constantly telling them what to add in.  Because writers OBVIOUSLY don’t know what they’re doing and must ALWAYS being held on short lease!  There were a lot of x-factors (Pun intended) involved in the months leading up to this movie’s release but after two really, really good X-Men films, as well as the really awesome films of Spider-Man 2 and Batman Begins still in recent memory, fans had started to believe that the stigma involving comic book films was over and that Hollywood could do no wrong. I f nothing else we now know that this ended up being the highest grossing of this series so clearly something went right.   But the question is this: is this a worthy successor/ending to the up until this point super fun film series?

Find out after the jump.

[WARNING: Plenty of spoilers ahead, but it’s been, what, five years since this came out? Get over it!]
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