Tagged: Doctor Doom

Mindy Newell: Doctor Who, Queen Elizabeth, and Donald Trump

FFN_IMAGE_51880447|FFN_SET_60099314Before I get to the heart of my column today, I just wanted to mention that if you’re jonesing for Matt Smith, may I suggest The Crown, the new Netflix original series, about Queen Elizabeth. No, not the red-headed daughter of Anne Boleyn and Henry Tudor (a.k.a. Henry VIII) whose story has been told numerous times on both small and big screens, but Queen Elizabeth II, the current English monarch whose reign is at 62 years and counting.

The erstwhile titular star of Doctor Who plays Prince Philip Mountbatten, Duke of Edinburgh, who married Elizabeth in 1947 after officially giving up his royal relationship to the Greek and Danish royal families and becoming a naturalized British citizen. I have never been a fan of Prince Philip – he has always seemed to me to be the epitome of the “ruling class,” cold, distant, and without empathy or sympathy for us working slobs. In fact, I’ve often wondered just what the hell Elizabeth Windsor ever saw in him. However, as played by Matt – at least so far, I’ve only seen the first two episodes (before King George’s death from cancer, though he is already terminally ill) and concentrating on the young royal couple’s carefree life – the young Philip is sexy, athletic, incredibly handsome, loving, and an all-around great guy. He even takes over the renovating of Clarence House.

And attention Matt Smith fans! He has an adorable butt, as seen in a bedroom scene… and according to the RadioTimes website, more are coming! Quoting from the article:

The British actor – who stars alongside [Claire] Foy in Peter Morgan’s lavish tale of Queen Elizabeth II’s early years – bares his backside in the occasional bedroom scene, but not for the reasons one might expect.

“’A crucial thing is that Philip sleeps naked. That’s a fact. That was something that we found out… They weren’t put in – it’s just the fact that there are bed scenes. And what do you do, put Philip in a pair of [sic] pyjamas? That’s not right for the character.’ Smith joked that the scenes were ‘actually the best bit of acting I did in the whole series. No word of a lie. It was my most truthful moment.’”

As I said, I’ve only seen the first two episodes – the only reason I stopped was that it was getting really late and my eyelids were growing heavy – but so far, so good. (By the way, an added bonus is watching John Lithgow as the once and re-elected Prime Minister Winston Churchill.) So if you needing your Matt Smith fix, or just really missing Downton Abbey – I’ve been rebinging on the Crawley family, and now that I think of it, my guess is that they would all be still alive in 1947. Well, maybe except for the Dowager Countess Violet, but I wouldn’t really be surprised if that redoubtable woman spit in the face of death – go stream The Crown.

•     •     •     •     •

doctor-doom-this-land-is-mineTomorrow is Election Day. As I posted to Mary Mitchell, John Ostrander’s talented and lovely wife <snikt>

We interrupt this column for your columnist to watch the last 1:43 seconds of the Giants-Eagles game. Score is Giants 28, Eagles 23. Both teams are 4-3. Eagles just intercepted, in easy field goal range, but the Eagles are going for it. (They are now on the Giants’ 17-yard line.) Third down and ten. Now fourth and ten. Timeout – clock reset 10 seconds, now 1:28 left. Fourth down conversions for Eagles today is 1 for 3. Eagles quarterback Wentz throw a pass into the end zone to Eagles wide receiver Matthews. No good!!!!!!!! The Giants hang on to win!!!!!! <snikt>

As I was saying…

Tomorrow is Election Day. As I posted to Mary Mitchell, John Ostrander’s talented and lovely wife – I am absolutely terrified that he will win. And I have never been scared of the “other” candidate winning. Sad? Yes. Concerned? Yes. But never terrified.

For the record, while I am a registered Democrat – I became one back in 2008 so I could vote for Obama in the primary here in New Jersey – and while I do believe that the Republican Party has, since the election of Bill Clinton, completed its morphication into the Repugnantican Party, as those who follow me and/or on Facebook know – it might interest you to know that I have voted the Republican ticket before: for Tom Kean and Christie Whitman as New Jersey governors in their respective races, and, most notably, you will all drop dead with surprise now, for George H. W. “Pappy” Bush as President in his (first) 1988 campaign. (Unlike waaaaay too many Americans, I also consider foreign policy when choosing my Presidents, and as Director of the CIA, “Pappy” had the inside track; there’s a reason we didn’t go all the way into Baghdad in the Gulf War, and George H. W. Bush knew it and got it, i.e., the balance of power sometimes makes ugly bedfellows. See Roosevelt, Churchill, and Stalin in WW II for reference. Or if it’s too much work for you to do a little historical research, just look what’s happened in the Middle East since Bush, Jr. took out Saddam.) Besides, Barbara Bush is pro-choice, and I have always suspected that her husband is, too, even if it has not been politically expedient for him to say so.

So why am I so terrified of a President Trump? Let me put into comic book terms:

I would rather have Lex Luthor as President than Donald Trump. Why? Because Lex Luthor, archenemy of Superman, is smart. Trump is not.

I would vote for Wilson Fisk before I could ever vote for Donald Trump. Why? Because Wilson Fisk, archenemy of Daredevil, loves his woman beyond himself. Trump is a man whose women are only reflections of his own narcissism.

I would vote for Doctor Doom before I could ever vote for Donald Trump. Why? Because Doctor Doom, archenemy of the Fantastic Four, loves his country, Latveria. Trump does not love the United States; he loves Amerika.


Do you want a taste of Trump’s Amerika?

Here is the transcript of what President Obama said to the crowds attending his rally for Hillary Clinton on Friday night in Fayetteville, North Carolina as he was interrupted by a Trump supporter; the crowd was loudly booing and getting riled up:

Hey! Listen up! I told you to be focused, and you’re not focused right now. Listen to what I’m saying. Hold up. Hold up! Hold up! Hold up! Everybody sit down, and be quiet for a second… First of all, we live in a country that respects free speech. Second of all, it looks like maybe he might’ve served in our military and we got to respect that. Third of all, he was elderly and we got to respect our elders. And fourth of all, don’t boo, vote.”

And here is what Trump told his supporters about the incident at his campaign rally in Hershey, Pennsylvania:

There was a protester and a protester that likes us. And what happened is they wouldn’t put the cameras on him. They kept the cameras on Obama… He was talking to a protester, screaming at him, really screaming at him. By the way, if I spoke the way Obama spoke to that protester, they would say he became unhinged.”

‘Nuff said.

Mike Gold Has Seen The Future


Back when I was a waddling comic book fan, I loved all those little spy cameras that Doctor Doom had floating around the planet. I figured that was the source of his obvious wealth – he sold them to other evil-doers such as, say, Haliburton. It titillated my sense of wonder, which always is a wonderful experience.

Technology has progressed exponentially in the ensuing half-century, and today we have so many spy cameras that last week’s unsuccessful bombings in Manhattan were so well-monitored the authorities were able to see the bomber, identify him with speed and efficiency that would have been impressed Felicity Smoak, and bust his ass within hours. Not only that, but other “security” cameras found the other bomb he placed four blocks uptown – below Neal Adams’ studio, no less – and they saw the thieves who stole the luggage the bomb was placed in, leaving the bomb in the dumpster where it was placed.

I love New York, but that’s not the purpose of my rant today.

Cars used to be a major part of our popular culture. Back when Doctor Doom was still in the spy cam biz, my friends and I could identify passing cars a block away from our school playground.

To a considerable extent the car culture remains part of our American fabric – even though there’s only about a half-dozen different looks and each are changed significantly only when some executive decides he has to keep his phony-baloney job. And now, Doctor Doom-like technology is deeply imbedded in our cars.

All sorts of outfits – Tesla, Apple, Google, and the more common car companies – have driverless cars well in development. Prototypes already are on the street, and Uber is experimenting with driverless car pickup service. An aside: If Uber (et al) is making the taxi driver redundant, Uber is even more rapidly making the Uber driver redundant.

Personally, I enjoy driving… probably too much. I’ve driven between New York and Chicago so many times I’ve named each tree along I-80 in Pennsylvania. I’d drive to Hawaii if I could hit critical speed before I hit the Pacific. So I doubt I’m the type of person “they” have in mind for the driverless car, although I’m not getting any younger and neither are my eyeballs.

The problem is, nor is anybody else. When it comes to new tech, I am not a naysayer and I am not saying nay now. I’d just like to point one out one small fact.

Minolta DSCIf you’ve ever driven at or below the speed limit on any of our interstate highways, you have been subjected to more middle fingers than Mr. Carter had little liver pills (yeah; even I am too young for that line). We love to get where we’re going as fast as possible. The police count on it, particularly in troubled times when tax receipts are lower than the needs of the municipal budget… or, in other words, all the time.

It stands to reason that, like some rental cars, driverless cars will be regulated to meet but never exceed the speed limit. That will mean two things: we will get to the pizza place five minutes later, and our municipal budgets will go to hell.

I don’t think your average American will stand for this. Moreover, it will be extremely dangerous as long as speed-regulated driverless cars have to share the road with human drivers who possess the tendency towards lead-footedness.

On the other hand, much of our population lives or works in areas that really have run out of room for highway expansion. Regulating everybody’s speed will allow for more cars and might even result in an improvement in driving times during “rush” hour.

I think of driverless cars as the home version of NASCAR… with the possibility of the same results.


Marc Alan Fishman: Secret Conversations About Steve Rogers

captain-americaDeep inside a bunker, equidistant from MSNBC, CNN, Fox News, and Univision, the remaining candidates vying for President of the United States secretly meet. Please note they do this every couple of days.

Lowly PA: Sirs, Madam, I wanted to bring this item to you, as you may be handed some softball opinion questions in the next news cycle. That is if Donald hasn’t spouted off something racist that needs to be covered.

The Donald: Not this week, you loser.

PA: Thank you, sir. May I have another sir? Anyways… So, Nick Spencer – a comic book writer – has penned a recent issue of Captain America wherein Steve Rogers has turned out have been brainwashed by Hydra for decades. This rewrites whole swatches of his origin, potentially. But I should note the story has only just –

trump-sketch1-drdoomThe Donald: Weak! Pathetic! What a loser. I mean, look, are there some great yuge stories about Steve Rogers? Yes. But none by this guy. Who, not that I’m saying anything wrong here… but Spencer is a Mexican. I personally gave over 12 million dollars to Marvel to stop this. But I think they are being run  by… well… the guy is named “Alonso.”

Hil-Dawg: *Cackling Laugh* Oh, Donald, you slay me! But I think we should all take a minute or two to come to a consensus about how we’ll react to this.

Comrade Sanders: Hilary, Donald… I think this is indicative of the fat-cat Wall Street Mickey Mouse Militia out to push an agenda to usurp more powah’ for the one percent! Furthermore –

Hil-Dingo: Just so you know, it actually doesn’t matter what you answer. I’ve already won. This opinion question. The nomination. And the Presidency. But I recognize your right to continue…

Bernie waves an angered hand from his rumpled Men’s Warehouse Special towards the Secretary of State.

Don Juan DiRacist: Look. I love Marvel Comics. Marvel Comics loves me. That they could let this baddy bad badness to occur is just another reason we can’t have Crooked Hilary or Crazy Bernie in charge. Steve Rogers should be a Trump University graduate who fights ISIS and beats them. You’ll see that when I’m President.

Hil-Django: It’s a nice thought. But just like tickets on Trump Airlines, I’m not buying it. I think the smart money says we stay conservative about this Captain America issue. When my husband and I were President in the 90’s, Captain America was an unwavering success. It’s clear that this is just another attempt by the GOP to get in the way of the rights for characters to have retconned background stories for the sake of new fiction.

Burning Man Sanders: Mista’ Trump? Steve Rogers is from Brooklyn. Like me. He fights for the 99%. Miss Clinton? In the 90’s, you’ll denote I wrote many a’ bill to try to stop things like Captain America’s laser shield, Heroes Reborn, and several other complete mishaps during the time President Clinton should have been reconsidering Glass-Steag –

Hilary pulls out an air horn from her purse and honks it angrily at Senator Sanders.

Lowly PA: Gentlemen, Mrs. Clinton… We really need to come to a consensus here. Meet the Press is going to ask each of your communication directors about your stance on this topic in just an hour or two! And the people of America are screaming bloody murder! Some people are livid that there would be such a retcon to a seminal staple of the American spirit. Others are just casually awaiting the arc to end before jumping to conclusions.

Drumpy-Dumpty: Nate Spicer is a Mexican. When I’m President, we’re going to destroy these copies of the book, rewrite the backstory, and make Captain America great again.

Feel The Burn: I think Mr. Spencer is a good writer. Would I have taken such a drastic step in the first issue of a long arc? Potentially. But I think it’s key that we hear the complete story, and work togetha’ to ensure that Captain America doesn’t allow Wall Street to be too big to fail!

Hilarious Clinton: It’s clear to me now, that I feel the same way as any woman would at a time like this. When the country needs to still be this divided over a male-centric issue? It’s a shame. And one that I’ve been fighting against for years. And I’ll fight it more… over the next four years. When I finally take my throne as promised.

The three candidates get up from their seats. They exchange pleasantries and perform the ceremonial secret handshake. Donald Trump then puts on his traditional Latverian tunic, finger-extending gauntlets, and sorcery-empowered armor. He seals his craggy orange facade behind the mask of Doom, and flies out of the cave, to an awaiting mass of white supremacists. I mean… Latverians. Hilary Clinton gets into her Goldman-Sachs’ LexCorp Power Armor™, hugs an awaiting Loki, and promptly teleports back to her secret Harlem think tank. Bernie Sanders tears away his Robert Hall Special revealing a more frumpy Mervyn’s, and plinks away at his 2005 Blackberry. He calls to ensure his greyhound tickets are in order, and takes the stairs towards the street-level shelter to await his bus back to California.

Nick Spencer remains secluded in his own private bunker while the baby boomers all get their death threats in order. He reminds himself that it’s just fiction, he does have an editor who approves his scripts, and, thanks to Doctor Doom, the compelling feeling that there really is no bad publicity anymore.

Marc Alan Fishman The Right to Bear Arms


No, I didn’t spell that wrong. I just think all Americans should have the right to a free pair of bear arms. For protection. Or something. OK, I lied. I just like to be coy with my titles. But, as always, I digress.

A while back, in response to the “Religious Freedom and Restoration Act,” I’d likened the right-wing penned law as being worthy of super villainy. Now, I find myself once again questioning how the Grand Old Party has now become the party of Ultron, Lex Luthor, and Dr. Ben Carson.

Somewhere between Donald Trump desiring to build a wall to protect us from Mexican rapists, Carly Fiorina proclaiming Planned Parenthood as a secret fetus-selling black market, and Jeb Bush basically aping a parody of his own brother a la Aaron Sorkin (no, seriously), it’s sad that Dr. Carson’s recent verbal pile-ups haven’t awaken new ire in me, so much as deflated acceptance of the status quo. Forgive me for being political this week. But when Doctor Doom starts preaching at the pulpit, I find it near impossible to keep my pinko-commie lips shut. Blame my maker, Mike ‘Reed Richards’ Gold, esquire.

Dr. Carson, amongst several bouts of recent word vomit, has suggested in light of the continuous gun-related tragedies that our kindergarten teachers should be packing heat, and that the Holocaust could have been prevented had my ancestors been more like Frank Castle than Frank Zappa. Doctor Doom indeed.

Forgive me. Guns are bad, mm kay? Outside the sport (a term I use in the loosest of senses) of hunting, the need for a firearm just rubs my rhubarb. And for those folks who profess to the ideology that the ownership of a gun is their right, or that it’s paramount to their personal safety, I wholeheartedly believe no one has the right to take the life of another person. Period. And any instrument that is as potent as a modern firearm is simply way-too-easy means to ends no one should have the power to profess over another. But I know my place; my opinion is not law, nor should it be. Guns exist. They can’t unexist. So, we attempt to achieve balance.

Balance isn’t reached by arming the world with weapons. I cite Fiddler on the Roof:

“We should fight back! An eye for an eye… a tooth for a tooth!”

“Great. So the world should be blind and toothless, then?”

Dr. Ben Carson, and his conservative cohorts are playing a dangerous game. Fear-mongering. Hate-spreading. You know… Super-villainy. Put a gun in the hands of everyone, and we can live-out the end of Reservoir Dogs every time someone cuts us in line. That ought to cut down on the mass shootings, right Herre Viktor?

If we lived in the world of comic books, imagine how much worse it might be. If weapons discharged from people’s eyes, fingers, or anuses. If people could explode on demand. If violence was solved always with even more violence. If we believed Carson, the world of comic books would be the safest world possible.

And if that were true… Comic books would be a hell of a lot more boring.

Mike Gold: Pissing Off My Inner 11 Year-Old

The Thing

The newest Fantastic Four movie disaster answers one question, but raises at least one other.

From the menorah conveniently planted in a background shot, we learn that Ben Grimm was indeed Jewish. But from all of the later scenes featuring The Thing, we find ourselves asking the question “Was Ben Grimm’s mohel a raving lunatic with gardening shears?”

This is because The Thing is naked throughout the movie. He didn’t even call Fin Fang Foom to borrow some undies. He should have. Then he would have had an excuse to walk out on this remarkably tedious motion picture. In this movie, The Thing has no, ahh, man-thing.

That wasn’t the worst part and, to be fair, it wasn’t the best part either. It was just as boring as the rest of this movie. There were worse elements. A story with so many holes you’d think you were driving down Manhattan’s FDR Highway. A lead cast that would have been better deployed in an adaptation of Power Pack. A Doctor Doom so poorly designed you’ll believe Galactus looked better in Rise of the Silver Surfer, the previous Fantastic Four film fiasco.

Worse still, and, actually the worst thing to happen in a superhero movie in over ten years…

Jack Kirby’s name was nowhere to be found!

Stan Lee was noted as an executive producer. This was a contractual honorific, so as far as I’m concerned neither Stan nor Jack were mentioned. They certainly were not credited with creating even the characters.

I have a special connection to the property. Fantastic Four #1 was the first Marvel comic I ever bought. Yes, that’s the first Fantastic Four #1. Didn’t you read last week’s column? Anyway, I had just turned 11 and I had never, ever read a comic book that was half as… fantastic. It strip-mined my sense of wonder. I reread it immediately. And then, I read it again.

O.K. So I’m a fanboy. They didn’t make this current Fantastic 4 movie (that’s how it’s spelled in the credits) for geriatric fanboys. They made this movie for people who have been shooting cocaine for a week and need something to put themselves to sleep. The best part of this movie was the popcorn and, like the movie, it was overpriced.

Here’s the plot: a bunch of kids invent a machine that causes the audience to immediately zone out. The end.

Have I ever seen a less humorous movie? Yes; that would be Triumph of the Will. Is it better than the previous first Fantastic Four movie? No. Is it better than the first first Fantastic Four movie?

That Roger Corman-produced movie from a quarter century ago was Citizen Kane compared to this new waste of CGI. The Corman film is vastly superior in this release in at least one respect.

They never released that first, first Fantastic Four movie.

 (Thanks to my pal Danny Fingeroth for letting me test some of this out on him.)



Marc Alan Fishman: A Law Worthy of a Super-Villain

As I trolled my Facebook feed this morning, I was caught off guard by some Indiana-dwelling friends. It would seem what I’d thought was an Onion news item was in fact real news. The Indiana state legislature passed a bill – the re-imagining of the “Religious Freedom and Restoration Act” – and upon reading what it allows… well, it sounds like the plot of a Garth Ennis yarn.

And yes, I know that ComicMix is a site for us to post about comics, pop culture, and the other related minutiae of geekery. This law represents nothing related to popular culture outside the fact that the Indianapolis Star reported GenCon threatened to move their large convention to a state that doesn’t allow businesses to discriminate under the pretense of religious freedom. And while I’d hope that Indiana Governor Pence takes the threat under advisement, let’s be honest. He’s far more interested in thwarting legions of Storm Troopers’ ability to purchase goods and services… because they enjoy sodomy and Satan worship, don’t you know.

Unlucky for us pinko-commie-liberals (those who support Obama, and/or think war is dumb), this law isn’t anything new. Indiana is now amongst 19 states that all passed similar legislation. This was to combat the atrocity of Obamacare forcing businesses to pay for healthcare that allowed for the proliferation of birth control, as well as combat all those laws allowing “the Gays™” to marry.

If I recall my US history lessons, I remember that the United States of America was founded in part because crazy folks began to realize that a government need not control, nor be controlled by a central religion. They dreamed of a land where people would have the right to free speech. To gather as they see fit, and worship whomever they chose to. And after a little genocide, they got a huge chuck of land with which to do it. After some wars, death, taxes, and whatnot, the US even adopted the crazy idea that all men are created equal, and gave equal rights to people of all colors, ethnicities, and (eventually) genders. Insane, I know. And after even more death, wars, taxes, the rise and fall of MTV, and a little bit of space travel (if you believe it was real), this same country even started to realize that all people are created equal, and started allowing identify as gay have those very same rights that straight people had.

Well, obviously this is all too much to handle. Thank Rao for red states. I don’t mean to be partisan about the issue, but it’s rare I hear from someone left of center decrying the wasteland of debochery we obviously live in. I’ve seen nary a single soul with an Obama sticker adorned on their VW Jetta lambasting the heathens who shop openly at Whole Foods. But I digress.

The simple truth is that this law (both in Indiana and in all states who adopted similar laws) is unconstitutional. While I agree that a business can put up a “No shirt, no shoes, no service” sign, and stick to it, putting one up that declares “no gays” infringes on the rights of personal freedom. Not wearing a shirt or shoes could be argued for via sanitary needs. Being gay, a Satanist, or a Cherokee doesn’t introduce potentially harmful bacteria to available merchandise. And if a store is to be open to the public, then the public – with all their beliefs in tact – should have the right to shop in said store. Of course I’d rather know up front if a store I planned to support did not support gay rights, so I could be quick to never shop there again.

This is the world we live in, kiddos. Our federal government can’t find a reason to not allow people of the same sex to marry, so the individual states choose to do it instead. I’d say we’re on the verge of a Civil War, but frankly I know we’re not. We’re amidst a time where the old guard clings to their outdated views, and the next generation removes the idiocy in due time. In this case? I just wish I could fast forward to the time where the bigots and ignorant decide to secede from the Union, and hold shop somewhere I’m not. Because the “Religious Freedom and Restoration Act” is something even Doctor Doom would identify as futile.

Doom / Sanity 2016, folks.


Emily S. Whitten: Deadpool’s New Year’s Resolutions

DeadpoolAs everyone knows, it’s a time-honored New Year’s tradition to not only make resolutions about all of the things you are really going to do better in the coming year, but also to share them with friends so they can encourage you to not be a bum and totally forget about all of your well-meaning promises. So naturally, my bestie Deadpool sent me a draft of his list and, just as naturally, I figured all of you would want to see it so you can be inspired towards your own lofty New Year’s goals. Therefore:

Deadpool’s List of Stuff I’m Definitely Going To Do Sometime In 2015… Probably:

  • Wash that weirdly pulsating pile of uniforms in the corner of the bedroom before it escapes and eats New York. Use actual detergent and stuff.
  • Kill/maim/otherwise injure more bad people
  • …Don’t kill/maim/otherwise injure any more good people?
  • Send Ryan Reynolds flowers (again) (and another cell phone with me as #1 on speed dial!)
  • Make paper-Mache Dogpool sculpture with that pile of Taco Bell receipts I keep tripping over (fulfills therapist’s requirement for “fun therapeutic crafts”)
  • Karaoke with Doctor Doom! (Track down Doctor Doom and drag him to karaoke)
  • Break record for Most Twinkies Eaten In One Sitting
  • Be in the next Avengers movie! As Iron Man’s best bud. (freeze Cap again?)
  • Finally figure out how to get drunk with a healing factor
  • Read all of my back issues of Soldier of Fortune
  • Be nice(r) to old ladies (in memory of my beloved Bea)
  • Replace Spider-Man’s web shooter fluid with neon Silly String. Again. :D :D :D
  • Perfect my patented Triple-Decker Killer Hot Fudge Sundae (needs more caramel?)
  • Always get paid for jobs before accepting them. Especially when Taskmaster is involved.
  • Find Bob a life.
  • More. Chimichangas!

Hope that helped you to figure out all the amazing things you want to resolve to do in 2015! Good luck with that.

And until next time, Happy New Year and Servo Lectio!


Mike Gold: They Aren’t So Fantastic…

There has been a debate amongst comics wags that the rumor about Marvel cancelling their flagship title, Fantastic Four, during their 75th anniversary celebration was just that – a rumor. Marvel/Disney couldn’t possibly be that petty. Bleeding Cool.com‘s Rich Johnson, who carried the story, steadfastly stood behind his sources. Good for him.

Evidently, Marvel wasn’t happy with how 20th Century Fox was treating the property in the forthcoming movie reboot, they didn’t want to support it and so were cancelling the comic book. OK, but would they cancel all those X-Men titles if they didn’t like the way Fox handled their latest X-movie? Of course not. Nor did Marvel cancel the Spider-Man titles despite the atrocious way Columbia handled the Spidey flicks of late – and they’ve got release dates for three or four more.

To be fair, compared to the profits of the X-Men comics or even the (fewer in number) Spider-Man comics, the revenues racked in off of The World’s Greatest Comic Magazine are a fart in a blizzard. Even so, it just seemed real petty.

As it turns out, Rich was right. Kudos, pal. But it’s a damn shame anyway. Historical affinity aside, James Robinson was settling in nicely on the series and he’s one of our medium’s best writers.

Prior to this brouhaha, some cast members of this forthcoming FF flick were saying it wasn’t really based on the comics, it was an “expansion” of the concept, it wasn’t comic book shit, it’s goddamned art and they wouldn’t be associated with lesser trash. Yes, I’m wildly paraphrasing, but not out of my long-acknowledged love of the Stan Lee – Jack Kirby creation. No, I’m crabby about this because it’s a stupid business decision. Haven’t they seen any of the Marvel Studios movies? The recently concluded Batman trilogy? Any of those Marvel and DC shows on television right now?

All of these shows have one thing in common: they treated their source material with respect; Marvel Studios more than DC/Warner Bros., but at their worst neither ever distanced themselves from the comics.

Heaven forbid 20th Century Fox should have a movie as entertaining and as profitable as Guardians of the Galaxy – and that movie wasn’t based upon a comic book series that has been published since 1961. In fact, few civilians ever heard of the Guardians.

Now we have what, for me, may very well be the final nail in the new Fantastic Four movie coffin. Over at Collider, actor Toby Kebbell gave us the bird’s eye lowdown on the character he portrays in the film, somebody called “Doctor Doom.”

“I’ll tell you this because of our history.” Kebbell confided to Collider. “He’s Victor Domashev, not Victor Von Doom in our story. And I’m sure I’ll be sent to jail for telling you that. The Doom in ours – I’m (Doom) a programmer. Very anti-social programmer. And on blogging sites I’m Doom… The low-fi way he did it, the whole ultra-real, it was just nice to be doing that, it was nice to be feeling we had come to terms with what we had been given.”

Hey, what were you given, Toby, other than characters and a concept that had been around for 53 years and raised three generations of followers in comics and on radio, television and movies?

By the way, as of this writing IMDB is wrong. They still list the character as Victor Von Doom.

So… maybe Marvel/Disney’s reaction was not so petty. Maybe it was more fanboy, and I mean that in the most positive sense of the term.

Fine. One less movie to see and, sadly, one less favored comic book to read.


Mike Gold: The Internet – Meet Your New Boss…

Doctor DoomThe thrill is gone / The thrill is gone away / The thrill is gone baby / The thrill is gone away – Roy Hawkins and Rick R. Darnell

I was going to write about something else today. Actually, I had several topics to choose from. Then I had a conversation with Glenn Hauman, the invisible hand of ComicMix, and then this screed shot out of my fingers.

As this new medium flourished, I was excited about the opportunity for anybody to communicate in virtually all ways (print, audio, video; instantly, eventually, historically) and to do so directly without outside interference. As I’ve said before, I am a first amendment absolutist: people should be able to express themselves the way they want, in the form they want, using the language they feel most appropriate. The Internet, I felt, allowed all of us to communicate without these ridiculous and unwarranted barriers.

Sure, there’s a price to pay. There’s a lot of bullshit out there, options and outright lies presented as fact. And the rush to judgment that we see on cable’s 24 hour “news” channels (which, oddly, don’t offer very much in the way of news) is exceptionally prevalent. I literally come from the “If your mother says she loves you, check it out” school of journalism. But those are growing pains, and the outrageous lies and distortions generally are limited to sites where they wear their prejudices on their sleeves. I don’t except a eulogy about the three teenagers Hamas slaughtered in Israel to appear on an American Nazi Party website. Or vice versa.

I don’t want or need big business or the government – any government – to tell me what I cannot say… to the extent that there’s a difference between the two. But it didn’t take very long before big business did exactly that by banishing that which they find objectionable from their services.

Ironically, for me this started with Apple. They do not distribute magazines or books that they find violates their standards. Do they have the basic right to do this? Of course. It’s their tubes and wires. But they enforce these standards in a hypocritical manner. There is a ton of music, television and movies for sale on iTunes that Apple would not sell in electronic print form on iBooks, had that content been presented in that medium. And if the object in question is from a big name author or has an enormous amount of buzz about it, well, often it manages to be listed on their service anyway.

Does this differ from, say, Wal*Mart? No… except that Wal*Mart (et al) is consistent. If it doesn’t meet Wal*Mart’s standards, popularity or mass-salability doesn’t enter into it. Playboy could have an interview with Jesus Christ and Wal*Mart wouldn’t stock it.

And then we have Google.

Google may very well be the Doctor Doom of the Internet. They have so much information on each and every one of us that the National Security Agency actually tapped (taps? who’s to know?) Google’s files in their spying-on-the-citizenry jag. That’s bad and ugly and evil, but for the purpose of this particular column it illustrates their corporate culture.

If Google divines what you’re posting is objectionable, they de-list you. In fact, this almost happened to ComicMix. If you’re de-listed by Google, you are screwed. You are left alone in outer space, where nobody can hear you scream.

There’s a good graphic novel in that. But I doubt Apple and Google and their fellow travelers would allow you to use their tubes and wires to sell it.

“Meet your new boss,” Pete Townshend famously wrote. “Same as your old boss.”

And I won’t get fooled again.

Mindy Newell: Who Are You?

“Whooooooooo are you? Who? Who? Who, Who?”

Composed by Pete Townsend
The Who, 1978

Picking up from last week

All our super-powered mythic creations, whether hero or villain, man or woman, are avatars—whether we realize it or not.

Superman, of course, is the Big Kahuna avatar of comics. Every corrupt politician that Superman put in jail, each mobster who pulled a gun and watched the bullets bounce off Superman’s chest, every misogynistic wise-ass jerk who insulted a woman and was punished by Superman was really being punished by these two bookish, nebbishy, and schlemiel-y kids from Cleveland, Jerry Siegel and Joe Schuster, who weren’t able to fight the anti-Semites or win the gorgeous goyishe blonde.  I doubt very much either of them were consciously aware of the psycho-sociological underpinnings of their alien hero who would capture the world’s imagination, but it’s all there, as many critics and writers, including Danny Fingeroth, Jules Feiffer, Grant Morrison, Scott Bakutman of Stanford University, and A. C. Grayling of The Spectator have noted.  Grayling’s article, “The Philosophy of Superman: A Short Course”, discusses the need for a Superman over the decades since his creation in the 1930’s, including the early 21st century and events post-9/11, stating that:

…caught between the terrifying George W. Bush and the terrorist Osama bin Laden, America is in earnest need of a Saviour for everything from the minor inconveniences to the major horrors of world catastrophe. And here he is, the down-home clean-cut boy in the blue tights and red cape.

Others more erudite than I am may have used more polysyllabic pronouncements when analyzing the characterization of the Man of Steel, but I will say that he is a fugue, an escape, an exodus into a world in which, simply put, the good guys win.

Depending on your definition of “the good guys,” of course.