Tag Archives: Iron Man

Anime STP Marvel Sadness

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I saw an ad for a show that promises anime style oil and acrylic paintings that reinterprets Greek myth and biblical stories. Intrigued, I went and was sadly disappointed that it had nothing but giant renderings of nude anime women. Hard as I try, I couldn’t find any connection with biblical and mythological themes. It’s as if the show description is describing a totally different set of works.

I try not to be too harsh on criticism, but I walked away from the show thinking I could do better. So I started messing around with anime style drawing, this time dealing with Canadian themes. I figure I’ll try to make ten posters or so, see where that takes me.

Scott Weiland passed away a few days ago. The news hit me hard because I was still kinda hoping he would get back with Stone Temple Pilots, despite his solo work has been amazing and his album with the Wildabouts was promising. I remember him being interviewed by Howard Stern when STP got back together and Sterb was talking to them like they were children who couldn’t get along, and in the process of bickering fail to see the bigger picture. I had hopes back then, but even during the interview, I could tell that they were still pretty unhappy and that Weiland was still pretty much on drugs.

Then years passed and STP fires Weiland, replaces him with Linkin Park’s Chester Bennington, and even had Slash and Duff McKagan, Weiland’s old band members from Velvet Revolver, play with them at MusiCares. It’s almost like a collective F***you to Weiland who obviously needs help. What annoyed me more, aside from never really liking anything Linkin Park put out, is Chester Bennington dying his hair and dancing around like Weiland. I know you’re a fan, but we can tell you’re not Weiland, dude. Sammy Hagar didn’t prance around like David Lee Roth when Van Halen took him in.

And now Weiland passes away, everyone tweets out condolences and what an honor it was to have worked with Weiland. You know, the guy that STP is suing and is being countersued by. .. the guy that Slash and McKagan fired as well. I’m sure it must’ve been difficult working with the guy. Even Weiland admits that he has a bit of an ego. As for the drugs, he surrounded himself with people involved in it. Heck, Weiland and Tommy Black from the Wildabouts were arrested on drug charges, and their guitarist, Jeremy Brown, died presumably due to drugs. The guy was difficult, but he needed help. He wasn’t just a difficult band member, he was also someone’s son, husband, and father. Now he’s passed away and everyone’s tweeting roses about him. I wonder who it really serves, talking nice about someone after it’s all too late.

Stone Temple Pilots was Scott Weiland. Without him, I wish they’d just call themselves Talk Show.



I don’t like what Marvel is doing with some of their beloved franchises. It’s been written about in many outlets but Marvel is slowly killing IPs that do not belong in their studio’s cinematic universe.

I’ve never been too excited watching the Marvel movies. I think the X-Men films, especially the First Class film was far superior. Even the upcoming Civil War film is not very exciting, especially since the movie is based on a book with a dumb premise and characters acted uncharacteristically. But what annoys me is not so much the push for the Avengers characters, after all, it attracts a new generation of readers, but the almost aggressive effort to push out the X-Men from existence. Just look at what happened to the Fantastic Four.

To recap, back when Marvel didn’t make movies, they licensed their IPs to film studios. Two notable and very successful IPs were the X-Men and Spider Man, whose licenses are held by Fox and Sony respectively. The licenses were giant money makers for the studios, and even to Marvel at the time who gained benefits despite movie studios taking all of the risks. But then Marvel decided to make its own movies starting with Iron Man and continuing with members of the Avengers. The movies were very successful but due to licensing agreements, they don’t have control of characters that the other studios continue to own, at least in the cinematic world. The Avengers cannot have stories involving the Fantastic Four or members of the X-Men.

So what’s Marvel to do? Well, what they appear to be doing is killing off the X-Men. I’ve been a regular comic book reader since the late eighties and I know that the X-Men basically was Marvel’s bread and butter in the nineties. Without them, Marvel wouldn’t exist as a company. The Avengers books were gathering dust on shelves. Iron Man was “Ol’ Shellhead.” But now that Marvel is more interested in the movie-making business, they are actively trying to devalue properties which they don’t have full control of or just creatively try to put a spin on characters which puts them in IP limbo. They made a new Spider Man. Not Peter Parker, but Miles Morales. As exciting a change as that may seem, it puts the control of the Morales character into question. Does Sony own the Morales Spider Man license or just Peter Parker?

But what’s worse is that with the rejiggering of the Marvel Universe, they killed off many of its popular X-Men characters (Prof. X and Wolverine) and made all mutants impotent. A fictional substance, Terrigan mist, is killing of mutants and activating the powers of a superhuman race called the Inhumans. Unpopular with readers, the Inhumans have been getting a push in the comic books and now have a movie scheduled to be made in the future. Kill off the mutants and replace them with Inhumans. Good job, Marvel. Even making Cyclops, a character that was never attractive to many fans, the leader of the X-Men seem like it’s designed to turn readers off. In the X-Men movies, Quicksilver and the Scarlet Witch, the mutant offspring of Magneto were played by different actors in the Avengers film. To spit at the X-Men movies, Marvel retroactively makes the two characters non-mutants, thus delegitimizing the Quicksilver and the Scarlet With of the X-Men movies for no apparent reason.

This is all nerdspeak, but what annoys me about the whole thing is that Marvel is now letting the movie business dictate the world of its comic books. In the process, it’s spitting at fans who have grown to love characters that have sustained the company for many years. I would argue, that they are sacrificing a medium that is more creative and exciting for a world that it is very lucrative but ultimately shallow.

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Comic Book Rambling

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Ah… Parliament of Trees. If you’re gonna pick a not-so-popular comic book to read, pick up Alan Moore’s run on the Swamp Thing. Excellent writing! People often know of Alan Moore through The Watchmen or The Killing Joke, but most of his stuff is gold, and I suggest reading his work on whatever series it may be.

While Jim Lee has always been my favorite artist back when I started collecting comics during the X-Men heyday, he was soon replaced by Masamune Shirow. Not only is he a great artist, his books (both comic books and illustration collections) are often filled with insightful and humorous commentaries. Orion was my introduction to his work and still one of my favorite books, and Ghost in the Shell is one of the greatest series ever. It’s a shame however that there are no signs that Shirow will be coming up with any new books soon, just collections of artworks, mostly erotic stuff. It’s also a shame that DreamWorks is still planning to create a live-action version of Ghost in the Shell. With the way Hollywood studios westernizes foreign IPs and creatively butchers them (Dragonball, The Last Airbender, Oldboy…), my expectations are set really low.   Speaking of comic books turned movies, I’m surprised at the zeal of adapting comic books to movies these days. It’s like movies have turned to the new comic books, especially since many people would know of characters like Moira Mactaggert and events like Days of Future Past without even picking up a comic book. There’s been hints of the Infinity Gauntlet run being adapted into movies, and Guardians of the Galaxy, a series that I wasn’t even sure was all that popular, is set to be released in 2014! Whoa! I think people need to slow down. While it’s great that there’s some continuity and connection to the narrative of the Marvel/Disney movies, I think they’re going to burn out soon. It’s gonna get tiring, and people would want to watch movies not based on comic books or an IP from the 80s. For a while there, even the Superman vs. Batman project seems like it’s being developed and cast in a panicked rush. I’m glad they’re finally trying to move on with the series and not re-telling the Superman origin story again and again… having Batman, a hero everyone loves, fight Superman, a re-launched hero that not too many people care about, sound like a disaster.

A few random comic book thoughts (or hate) in closing:

I never liked Rocket Raccoon nor Squirrel Girl. I find them both incredibly corny.

I also don’t get Deadpool. Wasn’t the funny, breaking the fourth wall thing done by Spider Man before? I also can’t reconcile the idea of a morally ambiguous, mentally unstable villain to be a “funny” character. I don’t find it cute. The fact that he was created by Rob Liefeld and portrayed by Ryan Reynolds are just nails in the coffin.

I’m not a fan of the Iron Man films. I find Tony Stark grating. Wasn’t he supposed to be the serious scientist-type with a drinking problem from the Avengers? What’s with all the wit and quips? When did he become Spider Man? I also found Iron Man 2 incredibly one-sided, like the billionaire industrialist Tony Stark versus The Wrestler (“an old broken down piece of meat”). Weren’t we all supposed to root for Tesla and not for Edison?

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Super Problems

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I was sketching out ideas for a graphic novel yesterday. I was explaining to the writer that there seems to be a trend nowadays of making comic book characters more normal. While super muscular demi-god types are still the order of the day, there are more books now with normal, everyday characters. Just look at the Walking Dead. I believe that the series is popular not only due to the current recession and its effect on the popularity of zombies in pop culture, but also because the characters are really quite normal, normal people in extraordinary situations doing extraordinary things.

Speaking of making characters more normal, Stan Lee pioneered this by adding flaws to characters in order to make them relatable. Spider Man is really a geek, the members of X-Men have their own little problems, etc. But it was Alan Moore who really ran with it, giving comic books more adult themes and making characters more complex and flawed. Suddenly, it wasn’t just about superheroes fighting nefarious villains, but superheroes battling personal demons. Heroes dealt with personal loss, addictions, different mental conditions, etc. And now the most successful superhero in film has a drinking problem. Back then, the only problem superheroes in film had was keeping a double life.

It makes me wonder though, what about other problems that are less serious but are made worse due to the hero’s super status? Like a character with a super hoarding problem? I guess that’s been done already (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Collector_(comics)). But what about a character with a crippling smoking addiction? Not a cool smoking habit that many writers use to indicate manliness (see Wolverine), but a crippling super smoking addiction that not only threatens the characters health but also alienates him from his super friends.

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