April 15, 2011

Why Do We See His Toes?

When it was first announced that a Green Lantern film was finally, officially, in the works, I was intrigued. Green Lantern has always been one of my favorite super heroes. I made my own Green Lantern ring as a kid using an old Chicago Cubs ring, a flash light, and some green cellophane.

Classic Green Lantern
First Ryan Reynolds was cast as Hal Jordan/Green Lantern. Not necessary who I saw in the role, but I was willing to let it go and see how things turned out.

Then the first images of the completely computer-generated Green Lantern costume being used in the film were released. It was an interesting take on the GL costume. Not particularly bad in design, but certainly not an improvement on the classic.

Next came the first trailer, which ended up making the Green Lantern movie look a little like a romantic comedy. Things were not looking good. Started to get a little worried that Green Lantern's first trip to the silver screen would be bust.

But a few weeks ago a new, extended trailer was released that seemed to paint the film as the large, cosmic epic that director Martin Campbell was always saying it was. My faith, and interest, in the film was starting to be restored. Albeit cautiously.

Then earlier this week Warner Brothers released some new photos from the film showing Ryan Reynolds in full Green Lantern regalia. What made these images different from earlier released photos was that it showed the entire Green Lantern uniform.

Based on the earlier photos and the trailers I had seen, it really didn't offer anything new - expect for one thing: you can see the dude's toes.

What? Why show the toes?

It doesn't make any sense. Is he actually supposed to be naked with a thin veneer of black and green covering his body? Are there angles where we can see his junk? Or his ass crack? Who thought that this was a good idea? How can you be this tough, intergalactic police office and have your little piggies showing? It boggles my mind.

I always thought that putting nipples on the Batman suit back under director Joel Schumaker's watch was the dumbest super hero costume design decision, but now I'm thinking toes for Green Lantern can take that top stop. At least I can think of some rationale for the nipples. Not good rationale, mind you; but rationale none the less.

I cannot, however, fathom why to have the toes visible in a Green Lantern outfit.

I don't know what to think about this movie anymore. I want the film to be good. I like the character. I have enjoyed reading his comics for years. WB Animation made a really fun animated movie about Green Lantern a few years back that I love to watch. I know that visible toes in a costume is a pretty minor thing and shouldn't really come into play for telling an entertaining and great story. The movie could still turn out to be a lot of fun. But even if it is, I get this feeling the toes will continue to bug me.


April 14, 2011

Pearls Before Swine - Hand Drawn Every Day

Stephen is correct. If you ask people if they like comics that obviously made using old cut-and-paste art they will say that they hate it.

The problem is that when a newspaper puts one of those old and tired cut-and-paste legacy strips up against a new hand-drawn original strip in a vote to see who will the new regular strip in the paper, nobody votes against the cut-and-paste.

April 11, 2011

Today's Pearls Kinda Hit Home

But like I'm sure Goat does, I write mostly for myself. If an audience follows, that's just gravy.

Pearls Before Swine

Going a Bit Too Far

It angered me a little when the company I work for removed all of the pop machines from our building because they didn't want to "subsidize unhealthy food choices." We are all adults. I think we can be left alone to make our own eating choices. The company pays me to complete a job. Not live a lifestyle they deem appropriate.

However, that frustration would pale in comparison if I was told by an over-bearing school principal that we weren't allowed to pack our own child's lunch; and instead my kids would have to purchase the school provided lunch. But that is exactly what is happening at a school in Chicago.

Usually I poo-poo all the screaming heads on the conservative radio and tv programs complaining about too much government intervention in people's lives and the expansion of a so-called Nanny State, but when I read stuff like this it makes me start to think that buried deep within the hyperbole and the alarmist language might be a kernel of truth.

April 09, 2011

Red Robin Redesign

Toks Solarin posted a redesign for DC's Red Robin character on his DeviantArt site.

I'm a huge fan of Red Robin, aka Tim Drake, who used to be Robin before graduating up to run on his own. While I like his current costume design, I have to give the nod to Solarin's redesign as the better of the two.

Current Red Robin Costume

One, the current design looks too much like a Batman costume minus ears on the cowl with red on the chest and arms. Solarin's design looks like something uniquely Red Robin

Two, I like the yellow for the underside of the cape. That little bit of extra color brightens things up. The current design can be a little too dark.

April 08, 2011

Opportunity Missed

This story was circulating a lot a few weeks ago, I'm just a tad slow in coming around to give it some additional exposure.

Dean Trippe revealed that he and Daniel Krall had pitched an idea to DC about a young adult novel series called Lois Lane, Girl Reporter. Trippe has plenty of details, plus samples of some of the artwork that could have accompanied the series, over on his Tumblr site. But basically the series would have been about an 11-year-old Lois Lane cutting her teeth as a self-styled investigative reporter looking into mysteries around her community.

Of course we could count on frequent appearances by a pre-blue tights and cape Man of Steel. You can't have Lois Lane without Superman, even if he's still just a young Kansas farm boy named Clark Kent.

Apparently DC wasn't at all interested in pursuing a project like this, so unfortunately it looks like the project is dead for now.

Having young reading-aged kids at home, I'm familiar with a lot of the different young reader novel series that are out there. Some are exceptional, some are adequate, and some are slapped together without much creative thought. Heather and I try to keep our kids steered towards the upper level of books, but sometimes we falter.

Knowing Dean Trippe's level of creativeness and based on the samples that he made available on his site, I have to believe that a series like Lois Lane, Girl Reporter would have been an excellent addition to the YA novel landscape. Certainly a novel series that could have found a wide audience and potentially help DC cultivate the appeal of some of its characters to a non-comic book buying audience.

Unfortunately green-lighting a project like this isn't my decision, but DC's. So my girls (who I know would have been a lock for this series) will never get to enjoy the adventures of a young Lois Lane taking on the world..

April 04, 2011

Agreeing With Mrs. Olsen

I've been reading and enjoying Frazz for a number of years now. Jef Mallett is a very talented artist who isn't afraid of trying different or uncommon things in his strips. I might not always like a particular day's installment, but one of Mallett's strips will never feel tired or recycled.

The one complaint I do have for the strip is the slightly preachy or smug attitude the main character, Frazz, and one of the recurring characters, a student named Caulfield, seem to present frequently.

So I found it particularly amusing that Sunday's strip ended with this panel.

I understand that Mallett is trying to be more than just a gag a day comic strip, but sometimes he can get pretty preachy.

April 01, 2011

Welcoming Back Dick Tracy

Back on Monday, March 14, the new Dick Tracy comic strip creative team of Mike Curtis and Joe Staton debuted. Curtis supplying the writing and long-time comic book artist Staton handling the art. They were replacing Dick Locher, who had inherited the strip from Dick Tracy's creator, Chester Gould, decades earlier and who had finally decided to retire from producing the strip.

The change in the comic strip couldn't have been more abrupt if they had replaced the stars of the comic with furry, day-glow animals who worked as doctors at an experimental sex therapy clinic in Oslo, Norway.

Immediately gone were Locher's stiff, unimaginative drawings and nonsensical story lines. In its place was engaging and dynamic artwork accompanying a storyline that didn't feel like it was being recycled from a story that first ran during the Eisenhower administration.

I'm a long time fan of Dick Tracy, so I was disappointment when I turned my back on the strip about 10 years ago because Locher's misguided efforts became too much for me to endure. Locher was reducing - intentionally or not - Dick Tracy into something that resembled a bizarre German expressionist soap opera. Fine for an unintended laugh now and then, but I didn't like seeing detective Tracy mishandled so spectacularly.

When I learned that Curtis and Staton would be taking over the strip I knew that I would come back to take a look. I had enjoyed the strip for too long and liked the character too much to stay away forever.

Thankfully, these first few weeks have been great. The strip feels fresh and new. The story so far seems relevant to the times. Curtis and Staton seem poised to breathe life back into the Dick Tracy character and franchise. I look forward to see where this new creative team can take Tracy.

However I find it interesting that on the heels of a new creative team taking over the comic strip Dick Tracy, a resolution to the long standing legal feud between Tribune Media and Warner Beatty over the TV/movie rights to the classic fictional detective is reached. You can read a recap here, but basically Beatty maintains the rights to produce future Dick Tracy television or movie projects.

Now nothing is certain, but I can't help but believe that those TV/movie rights would have been in better hands with the Tribune Media company. Sure Beatty's Dick Tracy movie from 1990 was fun, but what is he going to do now? He's been sitting on the property for 20 plus years since that film was released. The only reason he's able to retain the media rights is because he appeared in a cheeky TV special dressed like Dick Tracy. He didn't actually produce any new Tracy stories.

Like Locher, Warren Beatty's creative well has run dry when it comes to Dick Tracy. The better thing to do would be to give the rights back to Tribune Media. They could then turn around and option those rights to someone who has fresh ideas or a passion on how to bring Dick Tracy back to the screen. Much in the same way that Curtis and Staton have kicked off their run on the comic strip.

Now if that happened, along with a successful run with Curtis and Staton on the strip, then Dick Tracy fans would have something to be excited about. Until then, I'll be content with welcoming the detective back to the funny papers.