Sunday, March 29, 2009

Hitler on Watchmen

Hitler weighs in on the changed ending of Watchmen. I really have no words to describe the brilliance of this gem.

"A Watchmen movie was a very bad idea...I should have believed Stalin."

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Wonder Woman (2009)

I just finished watching the direct-to-DVD Wonder Woman film released about a week ago and I was really pleased with the experience. It features the voices of Keri Russell, in her first animated role, as Wonder Woman and everyone's favorite captain, Nathan Fillion as Captain Steve Trevor and Alfred Molina as the God of War, Ares and several other notable actors and voice talent.

This is Lauren Montgomery's second time sitting in the director's chair for a superhero movie and having a female director for Wonder Woman translates quite well here. From quippy dialogue, to a gag with Diana hitting a mythological creature with a high heel, to the interwoven themes of sisterhood and womanhood, Wonder Woman is incredibly relevant while being entertaining. While on the whole, the film should be considered "lighter fare"-it should please comic book fans and the casual viewer alike-this is an animated film that does not shy away from adult material; it depicts violence when appropriate and directly confronts misogyny and what it means to be a woman in this world.

The film presents Wonder Woman as not just a warrior for justice or peace, like other traditional superheroes, but as an ambassador for the female sex, one who understands the need for balance between man and woman in the sphere of a relationship in addition to a global scale. She is the catalyst for the Amazonians realization that their isolated, hidden island in the Aegean sea is not paradise without the mixed challenges and joys of the "outside" and ignorance of the importance of a global perspective is not bliss. Eden did not last, nor can the Amazonian's mystical island of Themyscira with its populace having gained experiential knowledge of good and evil.

Friday, March 27, 2009

My Hero

The Hero Factory might be one of the most fun things you do all day. Countless combinations of virtually every aspect of your hero's appearance are possible. Now if they just let you order a custom action figure of your original creation...that would be cool.

Emerald City ComiCon

Emerald City ComiCon is just one week away! I've been meaning to go for a few years now, but I've almost always had to work weekends. This year, I'm fully embracing my inner geek-as if I don't do that often enough as it is-and bought a ticket to attend both days of the event, Saturday and Sunday April 4th & 5th.

The program guide was just released earlier this week with the above X-Men-in-Seattle cover by Dennis Calero.

Right now I am most looking forward to:

Seeing Jewel "Kaylee" Staite from Firefly and Serenity.

Attending the Dark Horse Comics panel with editor Scott Allie (hopefully there will be some fun Buffy comic announcements-Buffy Season 9 perhaps?!)

Going to a Battlestar Galactica panel featuring Tahmoh Penikett ("Helo"), Aaron Douglas ("Chief Tyrol") and Michael Hogan ("Colonel Tigh")

And potentially greeting newly voted Secretary for Geek Affairs, Wil Wheaton at his Q&A on Sunday afternoon.

Other exciting guests and presentations include appearances by Georges Jeanty-artist on the Buffy Season 8 comics, Mike Mignola-creator of Hellboy, and Ray Park-who played Darth Maul in The Phantom Menace, Toad in X-Men and Snake Eyes in the upcoming G.I Joe film.

Show hours are: Saturday, April 4th 10:00am - 6:00pm and Sunday, April 5th 10:00am - 5:00pm. A two-day pass costs $25, a one day ticket is $15.

If you're going to Emerald City ComiCon next weekend and would like to meet up, let me know! I'd love to geek out together.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

The Dark Passenger

I've been enjoying Dexter, more than I thought I would. The season one finale caught me off guard with a haunting reveal, further delving into what the definition of justice is and what drives us to seek it. The question is not "how far would you go?" but "when you go that far, where does that put you?" Who does it make you and can it change you as much as the world around you? Even with saying that, you have to ask, how much the world is changed. A few dozen corpses in your wake, dropped in the ocean outside of Miami. What does it matter?

The second season episode, "An Inconvenient Lie", contains one of the most mesmerizing conversations in the show so far featuring a direct, acute assessment of Dexter's deeply engrained motivations. It takes place between Dexter and an attendee of a Narcotics Anonymous group, Lila Tournay.

There’s no way that I could know what you’ve experienced right?

I couldn’t possibly fill that need.

Like a thousand hiding voices whispering, “this is who you are.”

And you fight the pressure. The growing need rising like a wave. Prickling and teasing and prodding to be fed. But the whispering gets louder until it’s screaming, “now!” And it’s the only voice you hear.

The only voice you want to hear.

And you belong to it.

To this shadow self.

To this...

...dark passenger.

Yes.  The dark passenger.

I immediately thought of Simon & Garfunkel's, "Sound of Silence" and its reference to the "darkness" as a proximate comfort and silence that festers within the human heart. It was probably close to my mind after seeing Watchmen again. A nice moment of intertextuality.

Hello darkness, my old friend,
Ive come to talk with you again,
Because a vision softly creeping,
Left its seeds while I was sleeping,
And the vision that was planted in my brain
Still remains
Within the sound of silence.

The song closes with the words:

...whispered in the sounds of silence.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Låt den rätte komma in

In the process of considering this movie for the best film I have seen so far this year, after relishing in its sublime nature over the weekend. I want to keep holding it in a little longer before letting my breath out.

Friday, March 20, 2009

The Star Wars Figure to Complete My Collection

I have been doing a lot of packing the past few weekends to prepare for my two upcoming moves, one next month just up the street to a friend's house in order to save some money on rent until I make the second move to New York in early to mid August. I am always surprised at how many boxes of Star Wars merchandise I have when I move-and that's only the items I have here in the states. There is a Millenium Falcon or two, a TIE-Fighter, X-Wing and even more figures with all their little accessories and figure stands-unless they're still in their original packing-at my parents house in France. Hey-I saw that look! Thank goodness for their ample attic space. I have all the major characters, except this one:
...the most important figure of all-a "force" if you will, without which Star Wars wouldn't even be possible! I'm impressed; they really nailed the likeness on this one. Via /Film.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

SWTX PCA/ACA Conversation

Photos from our panel, Philosophy and Religion in the Whedonverse, at this year's SWTX PCA/ACA Conference in Albuquerque.

Prior to the event, Kj and I were mildly concerned that technology would somehow deny us the ability to show our audio/visual presentation, which we put many hours into, but the A/V set-up went smoothly and people really enjoyed those elements.

From left to right, Alyson Buckman, Panel Chair from California State University, Mike Richardson, author of The Existential Joss Whedon: Evil and Human Freedom in Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Angel, Firefly and Serenity, Katie Kohn from The European Graduate School, Kj Swanson, my friend and co-author, and myself.

Another shot of our panel. Upon entering a panel, either as a presenter or audience member, you never how well the respective papers will jive on an ideological level. Thankfully our papers worked so well together with many ideas in direct conversation with each other.

We had a really great turnout for our panel and our audience had lots of intriguing things to say. We were quite pleased with how the Q&A went at the end.

In fact, the chair of the religion section of the conference, Dr. Wes Bergen, invited us out to dinner after the following panel he was overseeing. That panel was one of the highlights of the conference placing us square at the intersection of popular/postmodern culture and theology. In addition to a Catholic perspective on Monty Python's Life of Brian, one of the presentations was on the origin narrative of religions as seen through Science-Fiction literature. Dr. Davis, who gave that talk is actually working on representations of Christianity in Sci-Fi, so later at dinner with the religion panelists, Kj asked her if she'd be willing to read our paper since it deals with that subject precisely. We sent her a copy and I'm glad to say Dr. Davis is excited about the dialogue. I look forward to hearing more of her reactions and ideas that sprung from reading our work.

Kj and I hope to continue the conversation and if you'd like to read the full, 35-page paper, let us know and we'll send you a copy. After seven months of writing and research and the conference, we're excited to expand the dialogue surrounding our work beyond that short but significant post-panel discussion. We'd also love to receive feedback as we look forward to preparing our paper for journal-submission in the coming months.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Wild Things

The newly released poster for Spike Jonze's film adaptation of the classic children's book, Where the Wild Things Are. The film, featuring James Gandolfini, Catherine O'Hara and Forest Whitaker, is set to be released on October 16th of this year after a myriad of production delays.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

All of the boys and all of the girls

...are begging to if you seek Amy.

Looking Forward potentially sitting next to James Franco in a class at Columbia University as one of his classmates did the other day...although I think he graduates this year.

Yesterday afternoon, I was accepted to the MFA in Dramaturgy program in the Theatre Division at Columbia University! So many things to do and consider in preparation and there will be some big changes, but I expect most of those to be exciting ones.

The Future of Reading

Via Penny Arcade.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Jo Chen Gives Life to Vampires

Jo Chen's covers for the Buffy Season 8 comics have been some of the best in the series. They are warm, rich, detailed and textured. She uses light extremely well, and it is always appropriate for every subject and subject matter. The characters she paints have weight, body, movement and life. One of my favorite paintings she has done for Buffy was the one on the third issue of the series seen here.

Her work is just shy of photo-realistic, stylized enough to be suitable for a comic book cover, but worthy of framing as art in its own right-of course, there is a plethora of fantastic comic book art out there that I would and have put on my wall. Chen's latest piece is not for Buffy Season 8 but for an upcoming Tales of the Vampire one-shot, written by Becky Cloonan and Vasilis Lolos. Five years ago, there was a 12-issue Tales of the Vampires series written by Whedon himself and several other Buffy scribes including Jane Espenson and Drew Goddard. Amber Benson wrote a story for another Buffyverse collection, Tales of the Slayers. Each series, now collected in trade paperbacks, takes a vampire or slayer from the 'verse timeline and centers a story around that given character while connecting it to a larger narrative.

Jo Chen's stunning cover for the new Tales of the Vampire story followed by a brief plot description from Dark Horse's press release:

In a small town in Massachusetts, a young man named Jacob goes about his day as usual-wakes early, eats breakfast with his mom, and heads to school. He's a hard worker and a reliable friend to Alexia, an athletic and headstrong young woman. But at night Jacob likes to cut loose at the local arcade, where he's befriended a reckless gang of vampires who enjoy drinking his blood. Jacob craves the high and the easy escape from the monotony of his life that this "bloodletting" provides. Enter the mysterious and sultry May, who can help Jacob leave those high-school days behind-that is, if Alexia doesn't stop her first.

Blood and pomegranates. Always a good combination in my book. Tales of the Vampire comes out on June 3rd.

Welcome to my Blogroll

After reading his review of Watchmen, noting the presence of a C.S. Lewis quote in the sidebar and coming across a post entitled "Ewoks: A Hunter's Guide", I immediately included a link to Electronic Cerebrectomy: Notes on Pop Culture at the End of Western Civilization in my list of favorite blogs. Check it out if for nothing else other than some witty-sometimes odd-pop culture commentary and the aforementioned list chronicling the blogger's greatest Ewok slayings which include our friendly but "rather rash" Wicket below. A fair warning, some images on his blog as a whole are unfortunately not safe for work-but the links included here are clean.

Wicket Wystri Warrick (aka Buckskin Jack, aca Chupacabra)
He may look cute, but don't let the looks deceive you. Too many have. He played an integral role in the death of Cindel Towani, a little girl who lost her family in the woods and was taken in by Wicket and his family of human-eating sickos. Inspired by the Ed Gein murders, the Warrick family liked to make clothing from the skin of their victims. Wicket was the first of many ewoks I've been forced to slay in the name of safety and in conjunction with the US Parks Department.

Monday, March 9, 2009

This is ATilla...

...someone's new family pet. See more here.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Of Dexter

When I came back from New Mexico and my short but remarkable trip to New York City, I had the first disc of the first season of Dexter waiting for me in my mail-(I am caught up on Weeds on DVD which has been fantastic and exactly what I wanted it to be).

I had read some time prior that Dexter is considered a sympathetic serial killer, but I don't think I've gotten to that emotional crux on my part. A few episodes in, I feel more numb than anything else and that could be exactly what the show is trying to do at the beginning, numb you, then slowly prick you until you start to regain feeling-albeit in a different manner. If there is one character I am most sympathetic for at this point, it is Julie Benz as Dexter's girlfriend-if you can call her that-of whom, in the pilot episode, Dexter says is

"the right woman for me. Deb saved her life on a domestic dispute call, introduced us and we've been dating for six months now. It's perfect because Rita, is, in her own way, as damaged as me."

Synder's Golden Rules

In honor of the premiere of Watchmen, today (or last night depending if you went to a midnight screening)-I have my tickets for 8:00PM this evening!-I thought I'd post Director Zack Snyder's "Golden Rules" of filmmaking that he recently gave in an online article earlier this week.

1. There are No Rules.
Every job, every story, every shot is different. And each time you do it, it’s like doing it for the first time

2. The Will to Suffer.
This is a phrase I got from my friend Marc Twight. He used it in reference to mountain climbing, saying that the person who can endure the most pain will be the one who succeeds in the end. That applies to moviemaking as well.

3. Your Point of View.
It’s the thing that is not right, not wrong. It’s the thing that can’t be put into a technical box. It’s the tone and texture of a story. It’s the individual way of looking at things that makes us different. It’s why we go to the movies.

4. Storyboard.
Storyboards are not for everyone. As a matter of fact, I think some movies would be seriously damaged by the storyboarding process. But for me, it is how I make a movie; it is how I structure a scene. It’s not a shot list, it is an edited sequence. And although it can all change later, it is a good place to start.

5. Movies are Pictures.
For me, visual style has the same importance as story, as character and as the environment. In the end, a movie is a series of pictures and I try to be aware of that at all times.

6. Respect.
Respect the material, respect the process, respect the audience and, most of all, respect the countless incredible people who work their asses off helping you to bring your vision to the screen. Everyone has immeasurable value when it comes to making a movie, so never take it for granted.

7. Throw things.
Not at people, just for fun. On the set this means: Football, tennis ball, rock, ball of tape—basically any object, it doesn’t matter. Then throw: To a person, at an orange cone, into a distant trash can… again, doesn’t matter. At least for me, any version of throwing shit makes even the shortest break relaxing.

8. I Still Shoot Film.
I always shoot film, then move into the digital pipeline. I’ll be the first to admit that the future of moviemaking will be led by advances in digital technology. But the reality is there is just something about film that digital cameras still can’t replicate. Call me a purist, but it’s just how I feel.

9. Passion.
It is almost impossible to duplicate your original passion for a project late in the process. But if you can recall the feeling of that original spark of excitement, you’ll be able to keep your creative ferocity throughout the long haul.

10. Shoot Every Shot.
It goes back to what I was saying about point of view. This is not to say that a second unit director wouldn’t shoot it better, but doing it yourself keeps the tone consistent.

Via MovieMaker.

And if you missed it, check out my previous post on Writing with Whedon 101.

Go see Watchmen this weekend, then pick up the book, then watch it again next week and then watch the 3 hour 20 minute Director's Cut in July!

Thursday, March 5, 2009


I am always interested in the repurposing and reimagining of cultural artifacts, so I was thrilled to see the following graphic designs for the covers of all seven Harry Potter novels done in the style of Penguin Classics. I like the way these pieces and those after the link from another artist remain literal, yet are somehow more evocative and poignant than the original drawings and designs made for each artistic work. These images generate a greater sense of intrigue about the material contained in the media they represent.

The rest of M.S. Corley's redesigns for the Harry Potter books, those for His Dark Materials trilogy, The Spiderwick Chronicles and yes, Pac-Man, can be found on his blog.

Also, check out another retro-infused project that I came across a few months ago by Olly Moss,Eight Films in Black and Red. I am quite fond of the mock poster for The Last Crusade and The Dark Knight, which recalls the excellent animated series during the 90s.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009


4 days from Wednesday through Saturday, 100s of people, a handful of concurrent panel sessions from 8:00am-7:00pm every day, new ideas, countless conversations and good company. A bunch of scholars, teachers, professors and general academics sharing their work and investment in popular culture, gathered together under one roof in the middle of the desert. It was an amazing experience-one that is a little hard to believe actually happened!

Children’s and Young Adult Literature and Culture I
Across the Harry Potter Universe

Science Fiction and Fantasy III
Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog and the Whedonverse

Science Fiction and Fantasy IV
“Feel Good Imperialism:” Gender, Race, and Colonialism in Star Trek

Experimental Writing and Aesthetics I
Extratextual: The Alchemy of Interdisciplinary Writings

Science Fiction and Fantasy V*
Philosophy and Religion in the Whedonverse

*This panel included our own presentation entitled: “Not Very Christian of Me”: The Escapist Faith of a Lost Shepherd in Joss Whedon’s Firefly

Religion I
Crossing Boundaries
Evangelicals and the Mass Media, The Genesis of Religion in Speculative Fiction, Jack Miles and Futurama, The Gospel According to Monty Python

Chick Lit. I
Chick Lit. I
Rowling vs. Meyer: Taking a Bite (or Two) Out of Stephanie Meyer’s Twilight Series
Gender and Consumerism in Indian Chick Lit

Science Fiction and Fantasy IX
Metaphorical Mythology in the Whedonverse

Film Adaptation V
A Novelist’s Perspective on Literature-to-Film Adaptations

Science Fiction and Fantasy X
Christian Metaphors and Superman, Terminators and Time Machines, Passing Anxieties in 1950s Science Fiction

Myth and Fairy Tale VII
Subversions of Juvenile Narrative, Joseph Campbell’s Monomyth in Alice and Coraline, Neo-Metaphysics, Role Reversal in Greek and Christian Mythology

Science Fiction and Fantasy
Double Feature: Once More with Feeling and Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog

Graphic Novels, Comics and Popular Culture VI
Power of Names in Superhero Comics, A Taxonomy of Graphic Sex, Grand Narrative and Narratives in Watchmen

Myth and Fairy Tale VIII

Intergenic Translation in Disney’s Animated Classics, Rebel Traditions in Pan’s Labyrinth, Sexual (R)evolution of “Little Red Riding Hood” in Film

Science Fiction and Fantasy XIII
Maturity and Sexuality in the Whedonverse