This week’s Major Spoilers Podcast, aside from incoherence on my part, focuses on several instances of strange visitors from outer space, notably ROM: Spaceknight and some movie about that one red-caped guy from DC Comics who totally ripped off ROM by also crashing to Earth from space. When you think about it, there are an awful lot of human-looking aliens in the various imaginary universes, and a great many of them are indistinguishable from humans in any meaningful way, going so far in some cases as to be capable of cross-species reproduction. While we all know why this happens (limited budgets, audience identification, simplicity of design, blah blah blah fishcakes) the best part is the various in-universe explanations of WHY this happens, from the ‘Star Trek: TNG’ common ancestor explanation (notably, one of the series’ weakest episodes) to the Doctor’s rather cheeky response of “I don’t look human, you look Time Lord.”
The MS-QOTD (pronounced, as always, “misquoted”) sometimes doesn’t mind this trope in practice, especially when the aliens look like this, asking: Who’s your favorite not-so-alien alien?
This week on the Major Spoilers Podcast: ROM! No, really… ROM! Also, A1, Spider-Man’s Sister, the new season of The X-Files, Akaneiro, and Joe Hill’s Thumbprint.
Show Notes after the Jump!
More After the Jump
While putting together yesterday’s ‘Man Of Steel’-inspired Retro Review, I found myself thinking about how many different nicknames Superman actually has: Big Blue, The Man of Steel, The Metropolis Marvel, The Man of Tomorrow, The Last Son of Krypton, The Dark Knight’s Much Much Cooler Friend. It seems that, as in wrestling, the more popular and long-lasting a character, the more forms of address he or she accumulates, and the acquisition of the “Hawkguy” moniker was one of the exciting signs that the latest edition of Clint Barton’s adventures would be sticking around, because, let’s be honest: “The Battlin’ Bowman” is pretty awful. Plus, in the new millennium, if you don’t have an alternate name, they won’t have anything to call your inevitable reboot movie after your first one tanks or the trilogy ends! (Standby for the next Jonah Hex movie, “Horribly Scarred Old Bastid” in 2017.)
The MS-QOTD (pronounced, as always, “misquoted”) reminds you that you can call me Ray, you can call me Jay, you can call me Stacy, you can call me Mister Pig, so long as you don’t call me after midnight, asking: Who’s got the coolest nickname of all?
Being that it’s Father’s Day, I’ve been ruminating about the job of “Dad.” In the annals of pop culture, there have been fathers who set themselves apart from the pack: Reed Richards, fighting first Annihilus and then Doctor Octopus for the welfare of his soon-to-be born children. Thomas Wayne, stepping forward to protect his family at the cost of his own life. Even that weird round-headed dad from ‘Family Circus’ who lets his children run about the city unsupervised and let’s them get away with murder so long as there’s a good punchline at the end. (Hey, nobody said that they were all GOOD examples.) As someone who hopes to be as decent parent in the long run, it’s always good to have a bar to meet, and while I know that I may never reach the noble sacrifice of Jor-El, rocketing his only son away to safety in the only ship left, I at least know that I’m better at it than Plastic Man. For that matter, as a comics nerd, I can take pride in doing SOMETHING better than Batman, so long as I can keep Widget clear of gunfire and warehouses full of clowns with crowbars.
The MS-QOTD (pronounced, as always, “misquoted”) wonders what kind of parent Peter Parker might have made, before Marvel editorial decided that it made him seem too old, asking: Whos’s the raddest, baddest,way-cool-daddiest father in all of pop culture?
With all the talk about video games this week, I’ve been thinking about the video games of my life, from those heady early-80s days playing Defender and Gorf at the local Boogaarts grocery store through my current use of my PS3 as little more than a media server. Once upon a time, my roommate actually worked in a video arcade, which allowed us an occasion or two to play Mortal Kombat 2 after closing, and introduced me to the mysterious ninja known as Noob Saibot. As a side-character, he actually seemed considerably cooler than the likes of Sub-Zero or Jax, but the eventual reveal of his identity was inevitably disappointing. Likewise somewhat disappointing was the fact that, even with all the hullabaloo about new consoles, nobody said the magic words that would immediately sell me a console (those being “Wario”, ” beach volleyball”, “Doctor Who” or “Legion of Super-Heroes”), which made me wonder if I was the only one disappointed…
The MS-QOTD (pronounced, as always, “misquoted”) want tells you warn of have no chance to survive make your time, asking: What character, property or game could make one of the next-gen consoles a must-buy at any price for you?
Yesterday’s discussion of musicals and musical theatre left me with philosophical thoughts in my head, along with the echoing strains of Christian and Satine’s love theme (though, to be honest, that’s been stuck there since we recorded ‘Zach On Film’ Tuesday night.) As earworms go, though, it’s better than the week and a half I spent with the Bonanza theme Shawshanking its way through my gray matter. Themes seem to be a dying breed these days, as more and more shows give up on the opening in favor of more advertising space or something, but they still have the power to thrill. A recent attempt to introduce a friend to the world of Super Sentai wasn’t exactly the screaming success I had hoped for, but damned if she didn’t enjoy singing the “Let’s go! Let’s Gokaiger!” bit of the theme song. Walk up to anyone in the know and say “Our whole universe was in a hot, dense state” and you’re likely to start yourself a sing-along, which both makes me happy and begs a query…
The MS-QOTD (pronounced, as always, “misquoted”) knows that people say we Monkee around, but we’re too busy singin’ to put anybody down, asking: What’s your favorite theme tune in pop culture history?
Before the gremlins ate our discussion of ‘Singin’ In The Rain,’ it contained a lovely discussion of movie musicals and the tools of their peculiar trade. Luckily for you, THIS week’s Zach On Film is chockful of more musical goodness, which got my wheels turning about the heightened reality of musical theatre. Many a bad comedian has commented on how unlikely the choreography and harmonies are, but that observation completely misses the point that a musical isn’t meant to be realistic. (Having these discussions with comic fans, who are often of the rather ridiculous notion that Batman is realistic, is doubly fun.)
The MS-QOTD (pronounced, as always, “misquoted”) wrote a song ’bout it, like to here it, here it goes, asking: Does the musical genre work for you?
This weekend at the shop (Gatekeeper Hobbies, Huntoon & Gage, Topeka! Ask me about our blow-out Dennis The Menace sale!), Chris The Counter Guy bought a rather enormous batch of comics featuring a copy of Son Of Satan #1, a book that I immediately filed under “No Way They’d Get Away With That Today.” The batch also features a copy of Tod Holton, Super Green Beret #2, a couple of Howard The Duck comics, and some mixed schadenfreude/nostalgia for a time when the stories might have seemed goofy, but not every character was a nearly-interchangable bad@$$ ninja and/or armored powerhouse. Though my discomfort with the cavalier comic-book treatment of theological issues makes Son of Satan somewhat disturbing to read about, I keep thinking that, if a minor Hulk villain can become the most popular super-character in history, there might still be legs in the likes of the Fat Fury or The Hell-Rider…
The MS-QOTD (pronounced, as always, “misquoted”) has nonetheless always kind of liked Daimon Hellstrom as a character, asking: What seemingly ridiculous or outdated character would you most like to see successfully revived?
This week on the Major Spoilers Podcast, Shang-Chi, Kung-Fu, and Lost Keys! Plus, The History of the Future Folk, The Manhattan Projects, Empowered, and Breath of Bones. And in the Poll of the Week, Video Games!
Show Notes after the Jump!
More After the Jump
Lately, I’ve become enamored of a late-night cartoon called ‘Archer,’ the adventures of a snarky, lazy, hedonistic (but ultimately eerily capable) super-spy, whose interactions with his ex-girlfriend, his emotionally abusive mother-who-is-also-his-boss and a bevy of loony tunes are utterly hilarious. What’s most fascinating, though, is the world they live in, where technology seems modern, vehicle designs are stuck in the 80s, and global politics are squarely in an era best described as ‘James Bond O’Clock.’ Soviet Russia is still a force, the KGB is still a threat, and not once have they broken the spell of the story being told to try to give us an explanation of why. More impressively, I’ve never really thought to ask, a testament to how engaging the antics and adventures of Codename: Duchess and company have become, to the point where thinking about the hows and why is clearly missing the point of the show. A similar effect was seen in the much-beloved ‘Firefly,’ where the future-world-that’s-coming had a strong Eastern influence, but didn’t have to write a Silmarillion-style endless infodump episode to explain WHY.
The MS-QOTD (pronounced, as always, “misquoted”) has a perfectly functional suspension of disbelief, so long as you give a reason to suspend, asking: Given the choice, do you prefer that creators explain their complex world-building techniques, or just let them play out?
After a year or so of MS-QOTDs, I thought surely I had hit today’s query before, as it is one of the most revealing and repeated questions of our age, dating back to time immemorial (but only truly crystallizing in 1964.) The age-old battle for the hearts and minds of the world, between movie star and farmer’s daughter, a battle waged every weekday after school when I was but a young lad. Though I’m firmly a Maryann man myself (I also favor Betty Cooper, even though she’s more than a little bit nuts), it’s easy to see the appeal of the Marilyn Monroe archetype, and it’s not a decision that one can make lightly. Since it is apparently long overdue, we now bring you our previously-scheduled query already in progress!
The MS-QOTD (pronounced, as always, “misquoted”) doesn’t want to be exclusive, so rather than asking “Ginger Or Maryann?”, it’s going to be more circumspect, asking: Boy/Girl Next Door or Glamour Boy/Girl?
Have you ever had the feeling that you’ve done something befo– Naah, skip it. Nevermind, bygones. In any case, the worlds of pop culture are chock-full of characters who are fun to read about, and fun to imagine romantic entanglements, but what about a good old-fashioned Saturday night good time? Who would be the most fun on a pub crawl? Would Tyrion Lannister be a drag at the movies? Sure, Tony Stark would probably pay for everything, but would he stagger and slobber all over your date? Is the thought of hanging out with Superman enough to offset the chance that his idea of a good time is playing cribbage till the shockingly late hour of 9:45 pm? Most importantly, how many whiskey sours before The Invisible Woman yells “WHOO!”, does a table-dance and gets you kicked out of T.G.I. Fridays?
The MS-QOTD (pronounced, as always, “misquoted”) would probably stay clear of the Fun-Vee, though, if only ’cause of shrapnel, asking: You get to spend tonight in the non-romantic company of ONE fictional character. Who is it, what do you do, and why?