Saturday, March 12, 2011

MGYG Podcast: The Making of the “Best Comic Book Review System”

Bart and I were talking about our disdain for the American comic book scene recently and we realized we needed a better scoring system for reviewing comics.

A scoring system that could be as objective as possible (we’re still figuring out if this is possible) and score based so we can get a clear numerical picture of how good or bad a comic book is.

In Part One of this podcast we dive in and debate, in public, our thoughts on formulating our ideal scoring system.

We start with the category WRITING, our first of the four major categories of our scoring system.

So jump on in and take a listen to Part One by clicking on the link below or by subscribing and downloading the Me Geek, You Geek podcast on iTunes.

And since I love you and want to make your life easier, here’s a preview of our review system for the Writing category so you can follow along at home. Please remember, this review system is a work in progress so we’ll continue to debate until it’s just perfect.

WRITING:

* For the following 10 questions a possible score of 1, 0 or –1 is to be scored for each question. So after scoring there’s a possible score range of –10 to +10.

Plot:

  1. Was the story worth telling or did it seem like a “filler” issue?
  2. Was the plot cliche?
  3. Was it an original plot or has it been done in it’s own title before?
  4. Does the story seem to be predicated on “happenstance”?
  5. Did the story influence your emotions?

Script:

  1. How would you rate the pacing of the story?
  2. How would you rate the action/or tension?
  3. Was the dialogue accurate?
  4. Is there a cliffhanger?
  5. The “No Prize”: Is there anything major that adds or distracts from the story?

Go ahead, Download the Podcast! (iTunes)

Oh, and will somebody tell me what’s going on in Daredevil please?!?!?!?

 

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Monday, March 15, 2010

Samuel L. Jackson: Secures a Ten Movie Deal with Marvel

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Samuel L. has reportedly signed a ten movie deal with Marvel, according to contactmusic.com. That’s pretty cool if you ask me, that means we’ll see Sam in - wait…

WHAT?!?

A ten movie deal?

Okay, let’s run through this:

The First Avenger: Captain America. (1) A possible Iron Man 3. (2) Thor? (3) Avengers? (4) S.H.I.E.L.D? (5) Another Hulk film? (6) Captain America 2? (7) Thor 2? (8) Avengers 2 (9) A possible Black Widow spin off (OH PLEASE, OH PLEASE!) (10).

Okay, that’s ten. At first I was thinking 10 was a number that could not be met. But clearly it can be met (snicker). If all the stars align, all these movies get green lit and the bottom doesn’t fall out of a seemingly airtight comic book movie genre.

Sam is currently 62 years old. So by the time his tenth film comes around he’ll only be, what, 68 years old? I’m assuming minor bit parts in some of the films so he could kick out more than one a year.

By the time we get to Avengers 2 we’ll have Nick Fury with a eye patch and a walking cane. Woot!

Is it possible he’d show up in the possible Daredevil remake? I guess if can put him in Daredevil we can put him in the Ant-Man movie, etc.

What do you think about this news? Good for Marvel? Definitely good for Sam?

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Thursday, February 11, 2010

Captain America #602: I'm So Disappointed Marvel!

captain america 602 title Captain America #602 has caused quite a stir. In this one issues we’re given all the ingredients of a controversy: current events, politics, racism and one of the worst apologies (ahem…lie) I've ever heard.

The Story Synopsis: Nick Fury and James Barnes (Bucky, The Winter Soldier, Captain America with a gun, you know the one) look at footage of the crazy 1950s Captain America (William Burnside) who had his physical appearance changed along time ago to look exactly like Steve Rogers. Crazy Captain America has apparently set up shop in Boise Idaho and he’s still all crazy and bent on getting his country back…whatever that means. But, he’s crazy, so who knows what he wants.

Fury and Bucky are worried that the real Captain America, Steve Rogers, will go bananas when he sees that Crazy Captain America is back on the scene.

So Nick decides to send Bucky and The Falcon to clean up the mess. You with me so far?

Bucky Captain America 602

The Controversy:

A "tea bag" reference in a recent Captain America comic book that has angered the Tea Party movement will be removed by Marvel Comics in future editions, the story's writer told FoxNews.com. – FoxNews.com

Shortly after this news report hit the apologies ensued:

BleedingCool.com did a good job of laying out the responses from Brubaker and Joe Quesada so I won’t repeat it here in detail. But it’s very obvious Brubaker and Quesada are trying to play this off as a mishap, an editorial mistake. Brubaker was quoted as saying:

“I don’t know who did it, probably someone who thought it was funny. I didn’t think so, personally. That’s the sign being changed to something more generic for the trade reprint, because I and my editor were both shocked to see it.”

Shocked? Really? Brubaker is clearly political and anti-Republican. Here are some of his tweets:

VA GOP leader tells workers to compare Obama to Osama because "both have friends who have bombed the Pentagon." Someone punch that guy. 10:46 AM Oct 12th, 2008 from web

So, apparently Judge John Roberts punked Obama and said the oath of office wrong. What a douche. 9:16 AM Jan 20th, 2009 from web

@joe_hill Yeah, I loved when they cut to Bush after Obama rejected everything he stood for. That was nice. 9:40 AM Jan 20th, 2009 from web in reply to joe_hill

Memo the everyone: Who cares if the GOP likes Obama's planst? They got us here with their ideology, more of that same thinking won't help. 1:36 PM Jan 26th, 2009 from web

Clearly there's a bias here. After reading these tweets there’s no way you should believe Brubaker was “shocked” to see what was written on the signs. Sure, maybe he was shocked that the signs were filled with it, as he did not write the signs, but as we will get to later in this post, the story that he wrote clearly lays out the same message.

Then it was Quesada’s turn. He explains the signs were left empty by the artist so Marvel had to rush to fill in the blank white signs with some text. And this is where Joe Q. throws his letterer under the bus, as told to CBR:

“The letterer in his rush to get the book out of the door but wanting to keep the signs believable, looked on the net and started pulling slogans from actual signs. That’s when he came upon this one. (CBR shows this sign) And used it in the scene and off it went to the printer. Unfortunately, to make the deadline, the work wasn’t double-checked thoroughly, and it was printed as is, which is where we as an editorial group screwed up. We spoke to the letterer, and he was mortified at his mistake and was truly sorry as he had no political agenda.”

Now, c’mon Quesada, let’s not say that Mr. Caramagna has “no political agenda”. It’s clear from reading his tweets he firmly has a political agenda.

And for your reading pleasure, here’s some samples of his Caramagna’s tweets:

What's the over/under on how many minutes it takes a Fox News pundit to blame Obama for the Ft. Hood shooting? 4:26 PM Nov 5th, 2009 from web

RT @alexirvine: "52% of GOP voters nationally think ACORN stole the election for Obama" http://bit.ly/3GiMtm - because Fox makes you stupid 9:56 AM Nov 19th, 2009 from TweetDeck

How can they say in the same breath that Obama has both "ruined the country" and "not done anything." How many mindless people just repeat?7:02 PM Jan 6th from TweetDeck

I'm now praying to baby Jesus in heaven that President Obama and his secret socialist agenda puts all of these people out of business.11:27 AM Jan 14th from TweetDeck

Now Obama's terrible because his response to the quake in Haiti was too fast. Gee, how predictable. Who takes the right seriously anymore?12:23 PM Jan 14th from TweetDeck

RT @BarackObama: This is it—the polls are open in MA. Your calls can help send Martha Coakley to the Senate: http://bit.ly/7-5#MASen Pls RT8:20 AM Jan 19th from TweetDeck

Hey, you guys who claim Obama is taking away your freedom? Looks like we just lost our country to the corporations:http://bit.ly/5c43MS12:14 PM Jan 21st from TweetDeck

Now, I’m not saying Mr. Caramagna can’t have his political beliefs. And I’m not saying he can’t spout them on his Twitter account and blog and still be a fine comic book letterer and artist. But damn Quesada, don’t throw him under the bus like you did and not have your facts right. No political agenda? C’mon!

Plus, I love how Joe says:

“…but ultimately the onus falls on me as E-i-C.”

…only after he has already blamed the letterer.

But as I said before, I don’t think the signs are the most controversial aspect of the story. So here’s what I think should really be torking people off.

The script!

We can assume the script was not changed by the letterer, right?  And the script clearly labels all non-big-city, Republican supporters, protesting current politics, as racist.

So here we go, my thoughts on the script.

The story opens with local sheriff's department in Boise Idaho being attacked by the Crazy Captain America. The Sheriff’s vehicles are blown up, law enforcement officers lie critically injured and Crazy Cap says:

“All right, boys, pack it all up…we head for the compound now. And then we go get our country back.”

Crazy Captain America 602

And not only that, but the title to this story is on this page and we see it’s called “Two Americas”. So we can assume this tale’s not going to be about bipartisanship and most likely we have a decisive and “politically agenda” orientated tale on our hands?

Captain America 602 two americas 

But this is superhero comics, so not too controversial so far but it's obvious things could go down hill from here.

The story jumps to two days later. Bucky and Fury decide they need to take crazy Captain America out. Sam (Falcon) and Bucky go together to take care of the situation.

Eventually they get to Boise Idaho and come upon a protest which Bucky proclaims:

"…some kind of anti-tax thing".

captain-america-tax

And then there's this:

not_in_new_york

Notice Bucky says:

“We’re not in New York anymore Sam.”

So apparently, if you don't live in New York you all hate the government? Okay. Thanks for clarifying that Brubaker and Marvel. (Oh yeah, and you too Disney).

But this ain't nothing yet. Because then this lovely panel hits:

teabaggers

Notice The Falcon says:

“I don’t exactly see a black man from Harlem fitting in with a bunch of angry white folks.”

Also in this shot you see the signs which have caused the controversy surrounding this issue. But again, I don’t believe the signs are the most offensive part of this story. To me, the most offensive part is how Marvel portrays readers who disagree with the writers/editorial teams political views, as racist.

But it gets even better (ahem…worse).

Bucky and Falcon come up with a plan to infiltrate these small city, conservative (sarcasm alert!) racists by having Falcon pose as an IRS agent trying to close down a local (read racist) bar while Bucky poses as a white trucker (read racist) who takes matters into his own hands by punching Falcons' lights out.

angry_white_man

So, the main thing Marvel wants us to know: Apparently white people in small towns are so stupid and so racist they will cheer on a guy that just guaranteed a federal arrest and IRS audit for himself and the bar owner. All in the fun of hitting a black man with opposing views?

punch-out

At this point in the comic it's very obvious the story Brubaker and Marvel Comics are telling.

Making matters worse, and here’s the most shocking part, after Bucky punches Falcon he then throws out his briefcase and yells:

"And don't forget your briefcase Obama!"

obama

So now Marvel has attempted to label people in small towns who oppose current governmental changes as white people in small towns who are racist enough to punch anyone who has the same skin tone as President Obama?

Isn’t it racist to even write a script like this? To think that all black people are the same because they’re black? What kind of racist thoughts are going through Ed’s head anyway?

Joe Q. then goes on to say:

“…assumes that the people protesting in the streets are the Watchdogs, when in fact they are not, so this is an element that is taken out of context.”

Oh great! So that’s even worse! The white, small town racists are NOT actually a part of the Watchdog group? They’re just typical small town Americans? Joe…it was better when those “racists”, which your writer and editorial team clearly mark, were part of some crazy militant Watchdog group and not ordinary Americans!

But at the end of the day, this issue will rise up in price on the back lists and will increase demand for future issues. Any publicity, good or bad, is publicity right? And we all know how Bru loves controversies, he loves increasing his sales with publicity.

(And, is it entirely coincidental how this issue, and the controversy surrounding it, are hitting during Black History month? Hmmm…)

What do you all think?

P.S. And to think that my favorite run as a child was the highly political Ann Nocenti, “no nukes”, Daredevil run. Go figure…

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Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Marvel’s The Heroic Age: Comics Salvation?

Marvel: The Heroic Age

The creators at Marvel Comics said it themselves in their own press release:

“…dark age of despair…”

“…demoralizing downward spiral…”

Marvel Comics as a company seems to be realizing what most of us fans had realized about two years ago: Comic books have become depressing.

Over the last couple of years we, the huge comic book supporters, have found ourselves slowly detaching from comics. Sure, we kept buying the titles we collect, but we were finding piles collecting and to be honest, it felt like a chore to read through the stacks of comics.

This blog was also a victim of the depressing times of comics. We kept coming back to MGYG and thinking about what to write about. For a while it seemed we took pleasure in being critical of some of the dysfunction which was occurring in comics, but we could only be bitter for so long. It’s just not in us to always being harping on comic books. We wanted to give praise to comics, and reveled when we had a chance to do it (here, here, and here for example).

But we couldn’t get up to write about something that kept sucking.

But did comics suck? A point can be made that comics are doing better over the most recent years, both critically and financially. Truly we’ve had some of the best artists and writers together on books for long runs, something we haven’t seen consistently in decades. And truly, there’s been more mass media spotlight on comics then ever before.

So if it’s not comics sucking, it must be P.E.S.T. (Post Event Stress Disorder). Event, after event, after event, after event. They just kept coming. It was exhausting.

And if you don’t believe Marvel comics have been depressing and exhausting, then check out this video that nicely recaps everything that happened over the past several years.

Yeah. Event fatigue was definitely in play.

But then we read this article about Marvel’s new publishing scheme, simply titled: Heroic Age.

And it all came full circle for us.

The reason we, and many others, may have been retreating from comics for the last several years. And yes, we never truly left, but we definitely stood on the perimeter, looking in with our heads hanging low.

The reason: our heroes where no longer heroes.

Comics no longer dealt with heroics.

To think about why we all got in to comic books is to think about the true nature of who we are. We love morally heroic beings who are mostly always on the morally correct side of a problem. Who always put others first. Who are always victorious against the legion of evil that surrounds our four colored worlds.

Especially with Marvel heroes. Marvel heroes do all of the above but they still have personal flaws. Flaws that we all can relate to. Flaws our heroes always overcame. Flaws that made them more heroic for overcoming.

Over the past many years, since the onset of Bendisitis, our heroes have become more and more cynical. At first we all thought it was cool, something new, something refreshing. But as time went on we noticed the cynical hero stuck around.

Lost in the shuffle were the great heroic and optimistic writers of our times. The Kurt Busieks, the Mark Waids. The guys that made us love our heroes for what they were, heroes.

We set them aside for the edgier, sassier, writers. Bendis. Millar. Truly, they have their place, they’re great talents. But we thought we wanted more cynicism. We thought we wanted edgier stories. More death. More moral decay. And so it worsened…

We saw it in the Bendis/Millar letter columns and interviews. We saw it in Wizard magazine (er, pamphlet) interviews and other interviews. The cussing. The cynicism. The lack of heroics.

Sure it was edgy at first, but then it became tired. And so did the creative works. There was no break. No relief. No optimism.

No heroics.

But now I rest my hopes on a quote from Bendis himself, as told to USA Today and hope for a better tomorrow in our comics:

"The 'brand new day' of the Heroic Age presents a tonal shift to optimism, a world filled with hope but quite hellish villains," Bendis says. "The heroes realize it's a blue-sky world worth protecting."

A “blue-sky world worth protecting”? Ahhhhh…

Finally.

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Thursday, November 26, 2009

Thanks: A Day to Give It

Fantastic Four ThanksgivingJLA Thanksgiving

And a Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours.

Be it Marvel or DC.

And let’s give huge thanks to the new year almost upon us. It promises fewer major events in both universes.

True thanks indeed.

Now if we can just do something about Daredevil sucking so much. Hmmm. Do I have time to add that to my Christmas list Santa?

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Friday, November 6, 2009

Oops. DC or Marvel. I get confused all the time.

Saw this in a Christmas magazine. Can you spot the error?

DC_or_Marvel

Oops.

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Saturday, September 5, 2009

Death to Elektra voted second favorite comic book panel in Marvel Comics history!

CBR recently took a vote for to the top 70 comic book panels that excited us the most over the last 70 years worth of comics at Marvel. 

I’ve got to say, el Barto, that your stupid Fantastic Four just barely cracked the top 10 while my beloved Daredevil easily came in at #2.

(Actually, I don’t know if I agree with this pick, the death of Elektra at #2? Out of all the panels in the history of comics? Before the death of Captain America? Before the death of Gwen Stacy? Before the psychological collapse of D-Man and subsequent stealing of normal jewelry thinking it’s the Infinity Gems?)

But alas, the people spoke. And here’s the big number 2:

elektra skewered

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