In which apparently these assholes are real

These are not the assholes to which I am referring.  I’m a big fan of one of them and I’m sure the other one is a perfectly nice person.

The news hit earlier this week: that Brian Michael Bendis had signed an exclusivity contract with DC Comics.  This news probably means precisely nothing to you unless you’re a fairly hardcore comics person; if you aren’t such a person feel free to skip this post entirely as it will hold little relevance to you.

For me, it was really Goddamned bad news.  Now, to be perfectly clear: I don’t begrudge Bendis a single dime of the no-doubt enormous check DC has written him for this; the man has the unquestioned right to do whatever he wants with his career.  He doesn’t have to ask me shit, and he doesn’t owe me anything.  But as Bendis has become, for me, the definitive Spider-Man writer over the seventeen years he’s been writing the character, and as he invented Miles Morales, who for me is now a better Spider-Man than Peter Parker ever was, and as he’s also currently writing both Jessica Jones, which I love, and Iron Man, who is my favorite comic book character of all time… well, the news that he wasn’t going to be writing any of those books anymore is insanely Goddamned depressing.  I’ve been reading Iron Man since I was nine.  He’s had a lot of writers during that time.  Jessica Jones is great but I can live without it.  But the idea that I won’t be able to read any more of Bendis writing Miles is deeply upsetting.

I mean, I’ll get over it.  I’m sure whatever he ends up doing at DC is going to be pretty awesome.  But… shit.

So anyway, I went to the comic shop on Wednesday, as I do.  And I (no doubt as 90% of his customers for the day had done) asked the owner (who, by the way, is the cover artist for Skylights) what he thought of the news, and we got into a brief conversation about it. Now, Casey pulls my books for me every week, and it’s literally his job to know the tastes of the various people who frequent his store, so he knows good and well I’m a fan.  And I’m reasonably sure he is as well.

This dude comes up behind me while we’re talking.  This isn’t unusual, mind you; I’m at the counter, so “behind me” is the place where other people who want comics will naturally end up.  And I hear him mumble under his breath:

“Yeah, maybe Marvel will finally start getting good again.”

I glance at him and don’t respond, opting to continue my conversation with Casey, who gets a very brief pained expression on his face and then also moves on.  I’ve seen this guy in the store plenty of times before, and as much as my physical appearance screams Comic Book Guy to most normals this guy has me beat by at least a few levels.  Anyway, we conclude– I’m not enough of a dick, and Casey is too much of a professional, for either of us to monopolize the counter when there are people waiting.

“See you next week,” I say, as I damn near always do, and I head for the door.  And then this guy starts in on Casey.

“Yeah, he’ll probably end up getting Justice League, and then he’ll make Batman gay, and Superman black, and who knows what else he’s going to ruin…”

…and it hits me.  Bendis is married to a black woman, right?  His kids are biracial.  He was pretty explicit that he created Miles Morales because he thinks (correctly) his kids need superheroes to look up to.  And not for nothing, the person running around in red and gold armor in the Marvel universe right now is a black teenage girl named Riri Williams:


Holy shit.  This guy is one of those fuckers who thinks Marvel screwed up comic books by getting too much brown in them.  One of those stupid, stupid bastards.  Right here!  Right in front of me!  Trying to argue with me, in fact!  Or at least inflict his stupid opinion on the guy who owns the comic shop, somebody who by definition really can’t argue back, after making at least a halfassed attempt to insert himself into our conversation and being rebuffed.

Most of this is unfolding in my head as I’m walking to my car.  And I resist the urge to go back into the store and start some shit, because part of me thinks that this type of racist asshole needs to be made unwelcome everywhere he goes all the time forever and ever, but the rest of me really doesn’t want to start a row inside this guy’s comic shop.

That said?  Next time I see Casey, I’m asking him for permission.

I see movies


You like movies, right?  Everybody likes movies.  You may have noticed that they made another movie about that Spider-Man dude recently.

Quick!  Guess if I saw it.

Of course I did.  And I’m pleased to report that I liked it quite a damn lot; I continue to be amazed that Marvel has cranked out something like ten thousand of these movies and I haven’t seen one I disliked yet.  It’s not the best superhero movie of the year– that title belongs to Wonder Woman still, but it’s a solid effort, especially when you consider that there have been like seventeen movies just about Spider-Man in the last fifteen years or so.

Highlights: Tom Holland, Tom Holland, Tom Holland, and Tom Holland.  Also Michael Keaton.  Actually, hell, let’s be honest here: I like the entire damn cast.  There’s just enough Robert Downey Jr– I didn’t want this to have as much Iron Man in it as, say, Civil War did– and he’s got enough screen time that it’s more than a cameo but not a lot more than a cameo, if you know what I mean.  Putting Peter Parker back in high school was the right move, and Tom Holland plays young more than well enough.  Michael Keaton as the Vulture (who, note, is never actually referred to by that name) is the best villain Marvel’s put on-screen since Loki, and I actually really like how low-stakes the film is for most of its runtime; it fits Spider-Man’s role as a street-level hero.  This movie gets the character’s soul completely right, and that’s really important.

One minor gripe: this guy?


The character’s name is supposedly Ned?  And maybe he’s supposed to be Ned Leeds, although they don’t ever use his last name, and shouldn’t Ned Leeds be a lot older than Peter anyway?  And: nah.  Fuck that.  This isn’t Ned.  This is Ganke, dammit, and I want Miles Morales in a Marvel movie.  Donald Glover plays his uncle Aaron!  He’s out there, dammit!  Quit giving me his friends under weird pseudonyms and his relatives and give me Miles Morales!  


I also saw this, finally.  You may remember my review of the book of The Girl With All the Gifts: I loved the hell out of it, and it ended up being my second favorite book of 2016.  I actually first heard of the book when I saw the trailer for the movie and it blew me away, and then I waited a year and a goddamn half and the damn movie either never came out in the States at all (I’ve been unable to get a solid answer on this, and believe me, I’ve looked) or got such a limited release that I was never anywhere near a theater that showed it.

Well, good news: Apple to the rescue!  I was able to rent the movie for 24 hours for just 99 cents, and if anything it’s even a bit creepier than the book was– and, remember, I loved the book.  You won’t be able to find this in theaters anywhere, but it’s absolutely worth hunting down if you have any way to stream it.  Read the book, too, while you’re at it.


…because I’m not ready to talk about the election just yet.


Here’s the deal about this movie, guys:  when I walked out, my wife said to me that she had no complaints about it at all.  And I agreed with her.  You will enjoy watching Doctor Strange, and you will see some shit you haven’t seen on screen before, and you’ll see a movie where the good guy wins not by winning a big fight but by outsmarting the bad guy at the end.  This movie is fun to watch.  But now, six days later, I’m finding that while it’s not the worst Marvel movie (that would be Iron Man 2) it’s definitely held up more poorly than any of them.  I knew IM2 had problems when I saw it.

In no particular order, a list of complaints:

  • Okay, I get why this sorta had to be an origin movie.  But goddammit it’s damn near the same origin movie that Iron Man had, only Iron Man’s transition to heroism stretched out over a few movies and Bangledoof Climberbunch’s takes like ten minutes.  Is there any reason, really, that we couldn’t have had a movie where Doctor Strange is already the Sorcerer Supreme and we just do like a five-minute flashback to his origin, a la every Batman appearance in the last twenty years?
  • Speaking of Binglethump Clammerplatch, I spent the whole movie wanting him to say “Carl.”  His American accent is basically exactly the same as Hugh Laurie’s.  He certainly looks the part, though.
  • Although, that said, there’s no reason a white guy had to play this part.  None at all.  There was supposedly going to be a story-based reason why the Ancient One was a white woman; that boiled down to Baron Mordo saying “She’s Celtic” at one point.  Not that she sounded Irish or anything either, mind you.
  • The fight scenes are kind of cool because of the reality-folding stuff and gravity-bending that happens, only it’s not really entirely clear why reality-folding and gravity-bending follows from the rest of the stuff that magic can do, which mostly involves generating weird glowy things out of one’s hands.  Magic is boring in the Marvel universe.
  • Also boring: learning magic.  If we’re going to waste a big chunk of the movie on Bufflepuff Cummerdammerung training to use magic and not being a big old dumb empiricist anymore, maybe we could have seen the moment where he first succeeds at something?  Maybe.  It really seems like doing magic in the Marvel Universe basically just involves waving your hands around, and sometimes wearing a weird two-finger ring for some reason.  I have a few years’ worth of Doctor Strange comics, by the way, and the ring has made no appearance.  We spent a lot of time watching him train, but never saw him learn.  There’s no Word and the Way conversation here, no indication at all of how magic actually works, or why him waving his hands in a way does something but me waving my hands the same way in front of my computer wouldn’t.
  • Oh, and he also learns karate, because of course he does.
  • This isn’t a complaint: Kaecilius, the villain, makes more sense than any other Marvel villain so far.  His role is criminally underwritten, but his evil plan makes sense.  Especially this fucking week.  This movie was loaded with acting talent– it may have the best cast of any Marvel movie, with the possible exception of Thor.  It just wasn’t interesting.
  • The Female Love Interest had no reason to be there, at all.  None.  They shoulda had Strange working out of Night Nurse’s hospital and brought Rosario Dawson in.

There’s probably more, but I think you get the idea.  I’m not actually recommending not seeing this; my wife liked it a lot, and again, all these problems came up later, not while I was watching it.  But the ultimate assessment?  Meh.  If I write much more, it’ll just be so I can find more ways to say Blimpledimp Clinkypunch’s name, and that’s gonna get old eventually.

(No it won’t.  Bumplemump Carrybrinks.  Buzzawump Clubberpick.  Bonklesnuzz Clippersmell.  It will never get old.)

#REVIEW: Captain America: CIVIL WAR


And now, let me geek the hell out for a few minutes.

We’ll start with the tl;dr version: Captain America: Civil War: The Search for More Colons is the best Marvel movie.  You should go see it.  There’s really no reason to read the rest of this.  Just go see the damn movie.  Get it?  Got it?  Good.

Minor spoilers beyond the line, but nothing huge:

Continue reading “#REVIEW: Captain America: CIVIL WAR”

In which the world sends me mixed messages

On the one hand, I got neither of the two jobs I interviewed for last week.  I really, really thought I was done with this, guys.  Hearing that I didn’t get called back for one of them because the boss thought I was probably smarter than her was just the icing on the cake.

On the other hand, the wife has taken the day off and I get to go see this in a bit:


So… will there be a second post later today?  Probably.

Team Iron Man, btw.