Monday, February 26, 2007

Looking To The Stars: Random Thoughts While Dashing Out The Door

Forgive me for keeping it brief this week, but I have a rather busy weekend ahead of me. Still, there are a few things I had to get off my chest before I left the office for the weekend.

1. Ghost Rider

For those of you who were wondering after last week’s little parody, I actually did enjoy Ghost Rider for the most part. As two hours of entertainment, it really isn’t that bad of a film. I just had to point out that the die-hards were ill-pleased about it and that the film did have a number of flaws – apart from the fact that nobody involved in it had ever been to Texas. It wasn’t perfect, but it is nowhere close to even making the Top 10 Worst Comic Book Movies Ever Made. I’d still recommend waiting for the DVD or the dollar theater, though.

2. Countdown

No doubt most of you have already heard about Countdown: DC Comics up-coming new weekly series. Now, there are many good reasons to be excited about this title, not the least of which is the fact that Paul Dini writing anything is cool and the idea of the opening chapter centering on Jimmy Olsen vs. The Joker is an interesting one. But what really got my little fanboy heart a fluttering was this bit of information.

Will we get the perspectives of any villains?

DINI: That’s seen from the point of view of two of the more illustrious members of the Flash’s rogues’ gallery, which are the Trickster and Pied Piper, who have at various times kind of cleaned up their act and fought on the side of angels. Even though they’ve never really gotten along, they find themselves forced to cooperate in Countdown. So much like Jimmy Olsen is the view of the common man, Trickster and Piper is the view of the common criminal.

It’s a little known fact that I am one of the proud few fans of The Trickster. I flinched when James Jesse was written as a B-list Joker in the Flash live-action series. I was one of the few who cared that he was portrayed as a bumbling basketcase in Justice League Unlimited. And I was one of the few who groused when Geoff Johns undid all of Mark Waid’s work in Underworld Unleashed and had James Jesse go straight, lose the ponytail and become... an FBI agent. And then Geoff Johns undid his undoing and put James back to the unheroic soul he was back in the day.

The truth is that Trickster as a character is not a Joker rip-off and there is a good deal of difference between him and... gag ... The Prankster - apart from better fashion sense and the fact that James has issues with killing people that Oswald Loomis doesn’t.

Suffice it to say, I could write a whole column about why I think The Trickster is a cool character. In fact, I did. So in lieu of an extensive article today, please go back and read one of my earliest works. I’m afraid it doesn’t amount to much more than a recapping of the best of James Jesse’s heroic adventures pre-1999 (I was still finding my style back then) but I think that should answer any questions anyone has about “Who is The Trickster and why should I care?”


There are two web comics I’d like to pay a complement to this week.

The first, Deranged Comics, is a new comedy series written by the mysterious Doctor Deranged. A comrade and former writing partner of Something Positive author R. K. Milholland, Deranged displays the same sense of twisted humor and smart comedy. His main comic - Stellar Worlds - centers upon the comedic aspects of science. And lest you think that’s a very limited subject not well given toward comedy, here are a few of the plotlines the good Doctor has touched upon so far.

* On-set troubles on the set of the fake moon landing
* A Frank-Miller inspired parody of the recent astronaut love-triangle murder-plot.
* A war between dolphins and humanity once a car that runs on water is made
* George W. Bush pressuring NASA to get a man on Mars before he leaves office.

If you’re of the geeky persuasion and like smart comedy with absurd leanings, you’ll enjoy Deranged Comics.

4. Punch and Pie

Honestly, I can’t review this yet because as of the morning I write this, the comic is still not up yet. But I expect it to be nothing short of glorious given that it combines the talents of Aerie from Queen of Wands and Chris Daily from Striptease. It’s supposed to be up Monday though, so by the time you read this, it should be ready to go.

Tune in next week! Same Matt Time! Same Matt website.

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