Sorry, kiddos. I ain’t got no snark to hone into laser focus this week. With a day job literally sapping my inner strength as we prepare a massive brand overhaul alongside our massive summer conference, all I have the energy to do when I make my way home is the bare minimum. Which of course amounts to drawing pages for the upcoming new Samurnauts book, planning a major crowdfunding campaign around said book, organizing video shoots and marketing lists for said campaign, completing sundry freelance gigs for way less money than I ought to be collecting, and of course… writing for you, my adoring public. So, as is the custom when my well seems to be tapped of a singular topic, I present to you a smattering of my simmering speculations from my cerebellum.
Hey, I may be running close to empty, but I’ll be damned if I don’t have spectacular alliterative powers. Natch.
- Jon Bernthal is Frank Castle.
As per my choked Facebook feed this afternoon, I learned that Shane from the Walking Dead is now the mafia murdering mook of the Marvel U. As with all of my brethren online, I was happy to see such inspired casting. Now I’m not a big Walking Dead fan by any means, but I’ve certainly caught enough of Bernthal’s work to know he’s got the chops. Combine this with his partially busted (but still Hollywood pretty) nose and you get a Punisher who will have no problem crossing the invisible line from page to screen. Sorry, Thomas Jane and Ray Stevenson.
What I like the most from the announcement is that the part is hardly bit. From what most are saying, it seems like Marvel read everyone’s online yammering about how the Netflix ‘Devil series presented grit that was pitch perfect. And what better follow up to said grit then the House of Ideas most gritty character, save perhaps for Squirrel Girl, whose grit know no bounds. Suffice to say given the universe they built around Matt Murdoch, Frank Castle will fit right in. Even better: the obvious morality play that might present itself between the costumed compatriots. Whilst Daredevil has shown his willingness to kill, The Punisher is… The Punisher. The fact that it might lead to a showdown with earned angst versus the forthcoming Superman and Batman love-in? Yeah, eat two bullets, and call me in the morning, DC!
- Stone Cold Steve Austin Still Has ‘It’.
The other evening with nothing sitting in my DVR, I turned on the WWE Network (which I pay for mostly to allow my father to have something to do when he’s home in the mornings). They featured an hour-long sit-down podcast via Steve Austin and his guest Paul Heyman. While I could have easily spent my entire column lecturing you on how amazing Mr. Heyman is, I’ll leave it short, so the comics fans don’t click away too soon.
After 55 minutes of fluffy storytelling and jovial revelry between host and guest, Paul Heyman asked if he could ask a hard-hitting question – knowing that the last hour was essentially enjoyable nothingness. Mr. Austin obliged. “Why don’t you come back for just one night? Settle the unfinished business you have with my client?” Heyman asked. For the Internet Wrestling Community, this was more than a bon mot. This was poking a bear that has been long hibernating. I found myself on the edge of my chair as Steve Austin morphed into Stone Cold to respond to the potential challenge of Brock Lesnar.
His response was metered. His gaze became like steel. And the string of near-obscenities that dropped from his maw made me remember why he’s one of the three heads on the Mount Rushmore of Pro-Wrestling. In a two-minute response, which would best be described as a shoot promo, Steve Austin played me and a million or so others for the kayfabing fool I am. It was an amazing piece of work.
- Evil Batman is Evil.
The uncompromisingly talented Bruce Timm has a new animated direct-to-whatever-media-is-ubiquitous-these-days feature. It’s Justice League: Gods and Monsters and boy, did it get dark in here all of a sudden. Based on no previous work per se, this Elseworlds tale showcases a world where Batman is a vampire, Superman is an unhappy Latino Demi-God, and Wonder Woman is… combative, I guess? While most if not all of DC’s recent animated releases have done little to spur my attention, seeing Timm’s name on the project – along with his patented visual style – certainly caught my eye. With that being said, both the trailer and teaser clips released thus far have not engaged my engrossment to the point of desiring purchase.
Simply put, Timm is a master craftsman making something that looks good but hardly great. With beats (again, based solely on the released trailer and teasers) that come awfully close to similar ones tackled during his decade of animated supremacy prior, I’m left cold by the possibility that without the confines of network notes a darker and grittier Justice League is anything to be excited about. Justice Lords anyone? But, let’s not split hairs; Bruce Timm making a good feature is great for the industry. More ideas – especially original ones – will help spark continued creativity elsewhere. Let us just hope that Gods and Monsters delivers more than what meets the eye.
- Bonus recipe time!
Combine 1 thoroughly mashed banana with 2 large eggs and a dash of cinnamon. Fry up in pan. Enjoy your very own banana-fanna-faux-cake. You’re welcome.
Happy Saturday everyone!