Monthly Archives: January 2009

The Year of the Black and White

That’s when I was born…

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…at least according to the Jewish Zodiac.

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So…um…what’s your sign?

Happy Birthday, Poe!

Today is Edgar Allan Poe’s 200th birthday.  Or, would be if he were still alive.  Of course, since it’s Poe we’re talking about, maybe he is still alive.

The New York Times has a nifty little slide show to celebrate the occasion.  Not to be outdone, I wanted to post a clip of Poe’s The Raven.  But, which one?  Sure, there’s the awesome Homer Simpson version.  Or the Vincent Price/Peter Lorre version.  In the end, though, I think I picked the right one:

"Even a Man Who is Pure in Heart…"

According to this story in the New York Daily News, 2009 is going to be “The Year of the Werewolf.”  A week or so back, Entertainment Weekly made a similar pronouncement.

I love werewolves.  They are, hands down, my favorite monster.  Need proof?  Well, some of my favorite movies are The Howling, An American Werewolf in London, and Ginger Snaps (bet most of you have no idea what that last one even is).  I’ll even go so far as saying that, as bad as Van Helsing is, it had a pretty sweet looking werewolf:

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So, while I’m happy that 2009 may be “The Year of the Werewolf”–yes, I’m pretty psyched about Benicio Del Toro’s remake of The Wolf Man and hold out hope that 2009 might see Ginger Snaps 4–I’m a little annoyed that most of the projects mentioned in these articles are actually vampire series.  TwilightTrue BloodUnderworld.  All vampire series.  So, even if it is going to be “The Year of the Werewolf”, Hollywood is still forcing our furry brothers to ride the foppish coattails of those pasty-faced bloodsuckers.

And, in this Era of Change, that’s just wrong.

Four on the Floor #19: Sassy, Intelligent Heroines

The Situation: We all have our types, right?  Some guys go for the femme fatale or the Sex and the City-esque fashionista.  Some gals like bad boy bikers or tennis-playing preppies.  Me?  Well, I admit to enjoying the ass-kicking ladies.  But, when it all comes down to it, I’m a sucker for a sassy, intelligent gal.  (I’m actually a bit surprised it’s taken me this long to do this list…)

The Criteria: The ladies on this list may not be physically imposing–no Xenas, Buffys, or Wonder Women here–but they are far from helpless.  Like Robin Hood or Bugs Bunny, these gals use their intelligence and spunk to outwit their foes and save the day (which, of course, does not mean they don’t possess some additional powers or abilities).

1. Katherine “Kitty” Pryde

For me, Kitty is the Alpha and the Omega of sassy, intelligent female characters.  When she phased her way into our hearts, Kitty was the youngest member of the X-Men, but that never stopped her from pulling her weight.  A buddy of mine (who happens to be more of a femme fatale/’50s pin-up kinda guy) said he could never get behind Kitty because he felt she was created to be the kind of girl comic fans would dig–the smart, cute, spunky girl next door.  Um…duh.

2. Hermione Granger

Everyone was all about “The Boy Who Lived”, but poor little Potter wouldn’t have made it to the end of the first book without Ron Weasley and Hermione Granger.  Bookish, principled, and focused, Hermione had no problem bending (or, occasionally breaking) the rules to do the right thing.

3. Clarissa “Clary” Fray

Clary is just like every other shy, artistic fifteen year old in New York City.  What Clary doesn’t know is that she’s also a demon-killing Shadowhunter.  But, what she lacks in strength and training, Clary more than makes up for in wit, guile, and spunk.  It doesn’t hurt that she also happens to be a redhead.

4. The Joss Whedon Triumvirate (a.k.a. Willow Rosenberg, Winifred “Fred” Burkle, and Kaylee Frye)

Joss Whedon works in archetypes.  And, since he’s gone on record as being a huge fan of Kitty Pryde (hey, the man has taste), it should come as no surprise that the sassy, intelligent girl next door shows up in one form or another in each of his three series.  Whether it’s computer geek-turned-Wicca Willow Rosenberg, theoretical physicist Fred Burkle, or uber-mechanic Kaylee Frye, Whedon knows sassy and intelligent.

Hello Kitty!

If you know me, then you know that one of my favorite characters in comics (well, in all fiction, really) is Kitty Pryde.  Even if you don’t know me that well, if you’ve been reading this blog for long enough, her name has popped up from time to time.  What I don’t know is whether Kitty being one of my favorite characters is the cause or effect of my general love for intelligent, spunky female characters.

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Anyways…knowing how much I like the character, Caroline and others suggested that I check out Marvel’s Wolverine: First Class.  So, as soon as I had a chance, I picked up The Rookie, which collects the first four issues of the series.

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This is actually Marvel’s second First Class series.  While X-Men: First Class focuses on “lost stories” of Xavier and his first five students, Wolverine: First Class is set after Xavier assembled the “All New, All Different” X-Men during the Krakoa incident.  Obviously, as the name suggests, Wolverine is the star of the book.  But, his co-star is none other than Katherine “Kitty” Pryde.

After reading the first trade, I think this might be my favorite book that Marvel is currently publishing.  First of all, I really like the idea of “lost stories”–they are a great way to provide fun stories without really worrying about the current state of affairs.  Also, I kind of miss the days when the X-Men were running around being real superheroes and not freedom fighters or activists, and that’s the time period we’re in with First Class.

These types of stories also allow a fun bit of foreshadowing, if done right.  Luckily, writer Fred Van Lente (with amazing art from Andrea Di Vito), does it right.  In the second issue (“Surprise!!”), not only do we get to see Sabretooth try to kill Wolverine on his birthday, like he does every year (presumably because he really liked the movie Donovan’s Reef), but Kitty refers to herself as being “totally a ninja.”  Why is that awesome?  Well, under Wolverine’s tutelage, Ms. Pryde does, eventually, totally become a ninja.  Then there’s Kitty’s crush on Peter Rasputin, which was there from her very first appearance and played out in full tear-jerking Whedon fashion in Astonishing X-Men.  Also, as a nod to the way things were back in the day, Kitty refers to Wolverine’s claws as being “implanted” (y’see, when Wolverine first showed up, everyone assumed his claws were bionic implants–we didn’t learn they were bone until after Magneto ripped the adamantium out of Wolverine’s body in the early ’90s).

Since this series is set back when Wolverine first joined the X-Men, he’s still really rough around the edges.  Ol’ Logan became so popular over the years and popped up in pretty much every book Marvel publishes, that most folks probably forget what a cranky bastard he was in the beginning.  When Wolverine joined the X-Men, he was conceived as the fly in the ointment, the monkey in the wrench.   It was Wolverine’s relationship with Kitty that showed us (and him) that he was more than just a beast pretending to be a man.  And, it was something that worked so well that Marvel did it again and again, first with Jubilee and now with Armor.  But, let’s get something straight, Kitty was there first (she’s actually called Wolverine’s “intern” more than once in the first few issues).

Yeah, so I guess the short version is “I really enjoyed Wolverine: First Class and will be reading it from now on.”

Ahoy! Avast! And Other Random, Pirate-y Things

Rachel introduced me to “The Worst Pirate Song” by Ceann.  And, let’s be honest, pirates make any day better, right?  Sure.  So here we go:

If you like that, there’s a pretty good chance that you’d like some of the other songs by this Irish American band from Pennsylvania–particularly if you like whiskey, mead, PBR, or coal miners’ daughters.

Who is He? He is Who.

I’m sure everyone knows by now, but they’ve found the Eleventh Doctor.  Twenty-six year old Matt Smith will be replacing David Tennant on the venerable BBC series.

I’ll admit that my first reaction after getting a look at this kid was “Whoa, who thought it was a good idea to cast Bright Eyes as Doctor Who?”

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Then I realized that a reaction like that is probably why people use words like “cranky” and “contrary” when I’m around.

But, then I watched this little video posted over at Karen’s blog, and I started to feel a little better.  At least the kid realizes what a huge role this is.