Tagged: Batman Vs Superman

Dennis O’Neil: The Big Fall Flick

Somewhere in the curly-edged annals of ComicMix – surely such annals must exist! – there must exist a piece I wrote…well, ya know, I’m not really sure when, exactly, I wrote it. A while ago, okay? My subject, or what I’ll assume was a crisp fall day, was how Labor Day has, gradually, over time, assumed the weight and character of what I think of as a real holiday – one that exists because it fulfills a need.

Christmas is a good example: light and fire and feasting combine to celebrate the return of the light after winter’s long gloom. Similarly, Easter: the return of planting season. Thanksgiving and the various fall harvest festivals: cutting and storing enough foodstuff to see the community through the forthcoming cold. All of these occasions and more are tied to nature’s rhythms and marked by change.

So how does Labor Day fit into all this? Well. A U.S. President named Grover Cleveland decided that we as a nation ought to take notice of the contributions of the American working men the blue-collar Joes who created “the new world.” First Monday in September. From now on – Labor Day!” Thus declareth the Prez!

The Prez’s timing was good. Early September: the kids who worked on farms where pretty much done with the summer’s chores. Any family that could afford vacations had probably taken them by the time the leaves began to change. And there were the Big Holidays to brace for. (Where the hell did we store those tree lights?)

Those of us who got graduation documents – that’d be most of us – has busy Septembers. New classes and, ergo, new schoolmates, some of whom just might be cute. New teachers. New clothes. New sports. Streets spangled with decorations. Maybe some sliding and skating and all that other stuff.

And oh, let me not forget the television and the movies – the really honkin’ big films that seem to materialize in the hottest of summer and coldest of winter. Last year, the one we anticipated was Batman vs Superman and when I saw the name “Bill Finger” early in the credits, I thought this won’t be a complete waste of time. I’ll get some satisfaction from seeing Bill finally, after decades, get some of the credit due him. Then I watched the film.

This fall, I guess the Big Flick is Justice League. The story would seem to have some of the same narrative problems that beset Batman vs Superman. We’ll see.

Meanwhile, there’s some superhero stuff debuting/returning to the nation’s flat screened living room pals and that should suffice to keep us geeks from having withdrawal woes.

Martha Thomases’ It’s a Wonderful Life

wonder woman gal godot stamps

This is quite the week for women. Powerful women.

At the San Diego Comic Con, the United States Post Office announced that, in honor of her 75th anniversary, it was issuing a series of Wonder Woman stamps. This makes me very happy, since I just ran out of Batman stamps.

Also at SDCC, Warner Bros. released the first trailer for the Wonder Woman movie, due out in February. There were other trailers from Warners and other studios, but Wonder Woman is what everybody was talking about, at least on my feed.

While Supergirl was the first super heroine I loved, I also always adored Wonder Woman. When I first read her stories, they were as silly as many other comics with guest stars who included mermen and bird men. I didn’t know about her kinky origin, but I did notice that every story involved someone getting tied up. That didn’t bother child-me because I was too enthralled with her daring escapes and triumphs.

There is a lot that is wonderful about this trailer. Gal Godot looks fantastic, in costume and in civilian clothes. Her training in the Israeli army is obvious in the way she moves, and I completely believe she has the skills to be a super-powered warrior princess. I like the armor. It looks like it moves in battle, which is what armor is supposed to do.

Robin Wright is appropriately regal as Hippolyte. Chris Pine manages to convey Steve Trevor without undue camp.

On the minus side, there is also a lot of slow-motion fighting, which makes it look, to me, like Zack Snyder might have had too much influence. I remember thinking the Batman vs. Superman trailer didn’t look horrible, and then it broke my heart. Please don’t let that happen this time.

Still, I have hope. There is a scene where Steve Trevor is trying to stop Wonder Woman from going to a fight, and she says, “What I do is not up to you.”

That’s my Wonder Woman…

…Which brings me to the Democratic National Convention.

There were women who spoke at last week’s Republican convention, and I’m not questioning their sincerity nor their passion for public service. To me, however, their words defending their party were belied by the platform it approved. And the women who got the featured time slots in network broadcast were, for the most part, relatives of the candidate.

As I write this, the Democrats are just starting. Michelle Obama, wife of the president, had a prime time slot. But so did Sarah Silverman and Elizabeth Warren and non-famous women who spoke about their own, unique realities. The schedule for the rest of the week includes Bill and Chelsea, who are Clinton family members, but also many other women with professions and missions that show their personal commitment to this country, and to their candidate.

And then, later in the week as I write this but last Tuesday as this gets posted, Hillary will be nominated. She doesn’t have her husband’s charm as a speaker but she is intelligent and determined and she does her homework. I expect to be quite moved as she is/was the first woman to be nominated for president by one of our major political parties.

We are only 56 years behind Ceylon.

Mindy Newell: Quality of Life

Law & Order SVU Comic Book Guy

I just finished watching an episode of Law & Order: Special Victims Unit – it’s Sunday afternoon, and I’m addicted to the USA network marathons of the show on Sunday afternoons. The episode was actually one that I’ve never seen before, and it turned out that the perp was the mildly developmentally disabled – what we called retarded in the bad old days – owner of a comic book store. Perpetuating the stale old myth that anyone into comics has to be emotionally and intellectually limited with sexually perverse lusts. Way to go, SVU! That really pissed me off. (And yes, real comics were mentioned, including The Avengers and Justice League.)

On Friday I stopped by my brother’s house; it turned out that he and my niece went to see Batman Vs. Superman: Dawn of Martha (as fellow ComicMix columnist Marc Alan Fishman calls it) and both were completely disgusted by it. “Ridiculously violent,” my brother said. “Stupid,” said my succinct niece. “We live in a violent world, and the movies reflect that,” said I.

Chuck Todd interviewed George Clooney, who hosted two California fund-raisers for Hillary Clinton on Saturday and Sunday, on NBC’s Meet the Press this morning. Tickets cost between $33,400 and $353,400 to hobnob with Hillary and other bigwigs (raising $15,000,000). Clooney agreed with Todd that this amount of money is “obscene.” He then went on to say:

“I think what’s important and what I think the Clinton campaign has not been very good at explaining is this, and this is the truth: the overwhelming amount of money that we’re raising (and it is a lot) but the overwhelming amount of the money that we’re raising is not going to Hillary to run for President, it’s going to the [Democratic] ticket. It’s going to the congressmen and senators to try to take back Congress. And the reason that’s important…to me is because we need – I’m a Democrat so if you’re a Republican, you’re going to disagree – but we need to take the senate back. Because we need to confirm the Supreme Court justice because that fifth vote on the Supreme Court can overturn Citizens United and get this obscene, ridiculous amount of money out so I never have to do a fundraiser again. And that’s why I’m doing it.”

I get what he’s saying, I really, really do. But it still doesn’t feel right or sit well with me.

Clooney also said that, although he is a Hillary backer, he will totally “feel the Bern” if Sanders gets the nomination and will be absolutely happy to participate in fundraising for him if asked to do so by the candidate.

I just wonder…would Bernie ask?

We all talk about “quality of life.” Euthanasia proponents wear the phrase on their t-shirts. And we are told to have, what’s called in my trade, “Advance Directives,” so that if we become unable to articulate our medical treatment desires for whatever reason, our wishes are already written down and notarized and signed, sealed and delivered into the hands of our, as we say in the trade, “healthcare proxies” who can advocate for us when we can’t advocate for ourselves.

I saw my father. He definitely has no “quality of life.” He receives what is called in the trade “palliative care.” He is not in pain – thank God! Though since he cannot really communicate anymore, God knows what kind of inner, emotional pain he’s in. I like to think that when he sleeps or when he is in that dream-state into which I and the rest of my family cannot cross, he is sitting in the cockpit of his beloved P-51D Mustang – the one with the Rolls-Royce Merlin 66 two-stage, two-speed supercharged engine (the definitive version) because one time my mother asked him where he was, and he said that he was “in the hangar.”

My mother and he will be married 68 years this June. There were times when I thought it was over, done, kaput. They are everything to each other. Does he dream of their courtship, of their wedding day, of their early years together?

Do androids dream of electric sheep?

My father is not an android.

But does he dream?

Dennis O’Neil: Superheroes in Three Dimensions

Kara Danvers

Back when days were yore and the sun was yet in the sky and I had a shining splendor of a job – could any job be better than editing Batman? – I didn’t always go film versions of comic books. Not sure why. Fear? Of disappointment? Of being shown that others were better than I was? Of just needing to get away from my day job and watching actors portray the characters who lay on my desk was not exactly getting away from them. All of he above? None of the above?

Not that I missed all the superhero flicks, but I still haven’t seen the last Christopher Reeve Superman and I caught only a few minutes, on television, of the Ben Affleck Daredevil. There may be others I’m forgetting.

Now, though, I catch ‘em all, even the ones that reflect my comic book labors, and I tend to like them, even those that are darker/grimmer than they might need to be. The most recent Daredevil – the unAffleckian version – and the quite similar Jessica Jones are not exactly jolly entertainments. In a few minutes, when I leave this computer and get in the car, I’ll be off to see the much discussed and maligned Batman vs Superman and tonight I’ll probably tune into FOX’s Gotham while recording what is, I think, the lightest and brightest of the teevee superdoers, and of course we’re talking about the lovely Kara Danvers – Supergirl.

I accused Ms. Danvers of lightness and brightness and that’s true only if you can ignore the Maid of Might’s backstory which, like her cousin Superman’s bio, involves the destruction of an entire planet, including friends and relatives. Many of the other costumed heroes have grim pasts too. Batman, of course, seeing his parents killed in front of him and Spider-Man, responsible for his beloved uncle’s death, and Daredevil whose father was killed and who owes his powers to a nasty accident and the Thing, changed into a monster by radioactivity and Iron Man and Nightwing and and and…

Are we dealing, here, with modern fairy tales? Well, there’s Bruno Bettelheim, of the renowned psychologist Bettelheims, who said said that scary fairy tales, with all those dark woods and evil witches, are developmentally healthy because they allow youngsters to face and acknowledge fears, and then reassure the kids that they will survive. And I’ve read very few, if any, comics that did not end with the good guys triumphant.

Batman vs Superman, currently playing at a theater near me, has a happyish ending. I know this because somewhere/when in the last bunch of words I went to a theater near me and saw the movie. Then I came home and checked the email and

had dinner. Oh, and did I like the movie? Well, that might be a topic for another time. Or not.

Glenn Hauman: Should The Never-Ending Battle Have Casualties?



With the imminent arrival of Batman Vs. Superman: Dawn Of Justice, a lot of the old arguments generated from the previous film are being taken out and argued. Most prominently on one side of the argument is Mark Hughes filing at Forbes, he other is most eloquently represented by Mark Waid, who has the advantage of, y’know, actually having written the character numerous times. (for starters) and Kevin Powers.

Regular readers of this site can probably guess where we come down, and yet, we still understand the conflict leading so many to wondering. A strange visitor with godlike powers that was sent here by his father from above is known all over the world for his great deeds, constantly watching over us and protecting us from great evil while walking among us, and yet people say it isn’t enough– he doesn’t reflect the world we live in today. The man on the street can’t identify with him, and so his story must be changed to become relevant to a mass audience. In light of this, it seems only fair to ask…

Should Jesus kill?

Oh, wait. That probably should have read “Superman”.

Surely you can understand the confusion. People go every week to a special spot and plunk down money to hear stories about his life and teaching by example, be entertained, and hopefully enlightened.

And yet, it does seem that we’re hearing a different version of those types of stories a lot lately, doesn’t it? “Superman should kill people, and fight only for Americans!” “Jesus would take a submachine gun to those Roman soldiers trying to put him on the cross, and then haul ass after Judas!” “Superman will protect our way of life by any means necessary!” “Christ commands us to hate gays!” “Kindergarten teachers should carry guns!” “Soldiers should waterboard family members!”

The people who say those things are fundamentally missing the point. And what they say shows not only that they don’t understand, but that they are crude, materialistic, self-serving, cruel, and antithetical to the teachings of their stories. Rather than aspire to their level of goodness and hope, they insist on dragging the hero down to their level after a quick mud bath for good measure, because it’s what they would do themselves.

All of this would be bad enough, but it gets worse. Because lately, these same sorts of people who say Superman should kill have also been using another phrase about someone else:

“He says what I really believe. He says what everyone wants to say.”

Yeah, that’s what worries us… that many people really have been having thoughts like that, and have been all along, along with other thoughts they wouldn’t dare say out loud, and they were just waiting for someone to come along and let them express their innermost desires. A man of wealth and taste, who doesn’t feel ashamed about flaunting it.

As it turns out oh-so-conveniently for the theme of this column, there’s a comic book character who’s been making a splash in other media who does the exact same thing.



Maybe you’ve heard of him. Hope you guessed his name.

Dennis O’Neil: It’s All Done With Mirrors

So the new Avengers movie only brought in $191,000,000 and change, domestic. Well, we knew it was a loser, didn’t we? Its predecessor did way better – broke the $200,000,000 mark without working up a sweat. Then along comes this loser with its giant robot – a giant robot? Really? What a two-finger job!

Okay, I haven’t actually seen the movie but I’ve certainly been aware of it. All those tv ads, all that hype… I imagine that when I do, I won’t be disappointed. It will be what it is, a professional entertainment done by people who know how to make movies and know how to tell superhero stories.

That hasn’t always been the case: I’ll arbitrarily date the first serious superhero flick from 1978 when the kindly corporation that was, then, my main source of income delivered unto the nation’s screens Superman, a film that was slightly marred by an unevenness of tone but which, unlike most of its forerunners, asked that audiences take it seriously. It wasn’t the Citizen Kane of costumed melodrama, but it was a solid dose of escapist entertainment.

When the darkish Batman debuted decade later and repeated Superman’s success, the superheroic colonization of summer blockbusters began in earnest. Now, the guys in the costumes own the region.

Don’t they? If you wanted to play pessimist, you could interpret the latest Avenger flick’s lavish but slightly disappointing box office performance as a harbinger of an impending end. Have we superheroed out?

At least one commentator thought that might be so and I confess that when I look at Yahoo’s news column and see several superhero stories that really aren’t very important, even as importance is measured in the land of popular entertainment, I wonder if the journalists haven’t anything else to occupy their computers. (The middle east? Racial tensions? Global warming?) It’s the old going-backstage-at-the-magic-show quandary: do I really want to see how all the tricks are done? Won’t that interfere with my enjoyment of them? And if everyone knows the Secrets, won’t that hasten the end of magic shows? And what if magic shows are the only kind of amusement available?

Of course, I can go backstage and not look at how the tricks are done. But do you really think I have that much character? Really?

Ah, the questions we ask ourselves on a beautiful spring afternoon…

Maybe because asking questions about the middle east, et al.is discomfiting.

Let’s think about something else, shall we? I wonder if the forthcoming Superman vs Batman will be any good. And what on Earth can the guys at Marvel possibly hope to do with Ant Man? And will there be a sequel to Daredevil?

Boy oh boy, there sure is a lot too think about!


The Point Radio: Why You Should Be Watching CONSTANTINE

There is no shortage of comic properties on network TV this year, but one that may have escaped your attention is NBC’s CONSTANTINE. Executive Producers David S. Goyer and Daniel Cerrone talk about their plans for the future, where it all fits into DC’s New 52 Continuity and how they want to continue to make it the truest comic adaptation ever to hit the small screen.

THE POINT covers it 24/7! Take us ANYWHERE on ANY mobile device (Apple or Android). Just  get the free app, iNet Radio in The  iTunes App store – and it’s FREE!  The Point Radio  – 24 hours a day of pop culture fun. GO HERE and LISTEN FREE  – and follow us on Twitter @ThePointRadio.

Mike Gold Kisses Up To Robert Downey Jr.

Right now, the pop media is full of stories about how Robert Downey Jr. is about to sign on to Captain America 3. Evidently, the only thing holding up the deal was his amount of screentime: he wanted more. He really wants this to be a true Marvel-style crossover, ushering in the Cinematic Universe’s adaptation of the first Civil War storyline.

I think Downey has a very strong understanding of how the Marvel Universe works, and how to bring that over to the movies. This crossover flies in the face of the movie star image: he’s fighting hard to be the second banana in a movie titled after somebody else. It’s hard to imagine Al Jolson doing that.

O.K. He gets it. Other than making a potentially fun movie happen, how does that affect us?

Well, for me and hundreds – now, maybe, thousands – it protects our jobs. This, in turn, protects the future of the comics medium in America.

Prior to Iron Man 1, the comics business was on the ropes and heading into the worst economic crisis we have seen since The Great Depression of 1929 – 1941. Then this particular movie, starring a number of actors who really were no longer “A Listers” at that time and featuring a property that was hard-pressed to be considered a “B Lister,” was unleashed on a world in need of some high-quality diversion. And the comics business has never been the same.

Let’s face it: the profits of even one well-received movie can eclipse the profits made by that property in its entire history of publishing. Fine. Something’s got to provide fuel for the engine, and shoveling in flatcars full of money usually works.

Lots of such movies started being made, and most of those produced by Marvel Studios made just unbelievable amounts of cash. Some of the others didn’t do badly either, although Batman has its own momentum and Superman has been treated like a leper. And, now, Batman has to bail out the Superman franchise.

A year after Iron Man’s release, Disney bought Marvel Comics for a mere four billion bucks. That’s not publishing money, that’s not even movie money. That’s movie-and-licensing-for-movies-and-television-and-new-media money. Yep, that’s Steve Jobs’ face on the one billion dollar bill.

Only one month later, Warner Bros. took control of DC Comics, renaming it DC Entertainment in a fit of reality. They started measures to move the company to the left coast, a process to be completed sometime in late spring.

Whereas I’m not crazy about Hollywood running a marginal industry that it (and most MBAs) does not understand and wouldn’t believe if they did, it beats oblivion. And let’s face it, you cannot keep your stockholders happy with profits that would barely impress even the most conservative investor.

And we owe it all to Robert Downey Jr. His performance was electrifying, akin to Orson Welles’ Harry Lime. We wanted to see more, and by “we” I mean moviegoers, not just the ever-tightening circle of comics fans. Iron Man probably would have been a fine movie without him, but with him we were able to root for the previously-troubled actor at the same time as we were rooting for his character.

So, Mr. Downey, on behalf of the Greater Comic Book Community, I thank you for helping keep our jobs alive.

Next time, lunch is on me.