About Me

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I started reading comics regularly after 'Final Crisis: Rage of the Red Lanterns'. Since then, I've become a co-host on 'The LanternCast' (a podcast dedicated to Green Lantern that's been on the air since 2008), started a new podcast covering the late 1980's DC series Action Comics Weekly (appropriately titled The Action Comics Weekly Podcast), and have been the curator of THE blog on the internet dedicated to the character of Ragman, created by Robert Kanigher and Joe Kubert published by DC Comics starting in 1976 and currently appearing on The CW show 'Arrow' as portrayed by actor Joe Dinicol. I'm an avid fan of comics, classic rock, and speaking my mind. Welcome!

Monday, July 16, 2012

The Secret Life of Martin Nodell...

This month marks the 72nd anniversary/birthday of the first appearance of Green Lantern in comics and as I'm going through and doing research for an upcoming episode of the Lanterncast, I found a series of youtube videos posted on August 18th, 2010. I thought it a fitting 'celebration' of sorts. This video series, taped in April of 1994 at the Dallas Fantasy Fair, is an interview with the creator of the Golden Age Green Lantern, Mr. Martin Nodell as interviewed by Lou Mougin. In the video he is also joined by his wife Carrie Nodell as he describes the history of the company that would eventually become DC Comics and the creation of Green Lantern, a character who, over the years, would evolve to become one of the most popular characters in the history of comic superheros.

This interview is a fantastic find and a must watch for any fan of Green Lantern or comics history in general. Unfortunately Martin Nodell is no longer with us but, through this video, we can get a firsthand account of a historic time within the comics industry. It is an absolute shame that, at the time of this posting, these videos have few views, no 'likes' and no comments. In my love of this industry I feel led to post these videos to get the word out just that much more. I dip my head in respect to a great man with a great creative vision who did to much to contribute to my introduction and love of this industry. As a side note, the interaction between himself and Carrie is endearing and reminds me very much of my own grandparents. It's great to see a man I respect and admire as a creator to also be a man of relational and personal quality that is also worthy of the same, if not more, admiration.

So hat's off to you Mr and Mrs. Nodell for your part in comics history. I truly thank you both because I have no doubt that Mr. Nodell himself would attribute a fair amount of his own success to the woman by his side.

(Part One)

(Part Two)

(Part Three)

(Part Four)

(Part Five)

Friday, July 6, 2012

Introducing the Green Lantern!


As many of you are no doubt aware, DC has decided to reinvent their oldest and most beloved characters in the new 'Earth 2' series. In the eyes of many fans these characters who once formed the Justice Society of America (JSA) have been a cornerstone for continuity errors in DC publishing history for years. Despite these woes, the teams that have written the JSA have managed to do what nearly every other comic title has; some write good issues, some don't. When DC announced the 'New 52' and began soliciting the titles for their new initiative to remake their Universe, many fans were unhappy to learn that no Earth 2 characters (the JSA most notably) appeared in their lineup. After their first round of cancellations, DC announced the titles taking the spots left open in their wake...two of which would focus on their alternate Universe mainstays, 'Earth 2' and 'Worlds Finest'. As 'Earth 2' makes it's attempts to reinvent the staple characters of DC's golden/atomic age, they've been the subject of controversy and no announcement caused more grumblings than the revelation that Alan Scott was now gay (click HERE for my blog entry on this announcement).

The controversy surrounding this new take on the golden age Green Lantern may still be ongoing but most of the storm has settled restlessly awaiting the release of 'Earth 2' issue three and the all new origin of Alan Scott as Green Lantern.

(The Emerald Flame reveals it's intentions to Alan Scott)

That issue is now out and let me say, I am pleasantly surprised at how good it is. In this issue we are immediately confronted with the chaotic wake left behind as a consequence of the cliffhanger from issue two. As Alan searches desperately for his love (Sam) we can see he is badly burned and otherwise injured. Suddenly a nearly twenty foot tall ball of green flame strikes up and begins speaking to him Moses-and-the-burning-bush style. After informing Alan that it is the power of the Earth itself it begins to heal him of his injuries sustained from the sky train crash. As Alan is being healed, the jade flame explains that, while it did not cause the crash, his "lover did not survive" and proceeds to tell Alan that a great evil is coming and Alan must be prepared as the new champion of Earth to confront this challenge.

(The 'New 52' Grundy stands revealed)

The story then flashes (heh) to the Flash and Hawkgirl in Poland as they meet each other and test each others mettle (or rather Hawkgirl tests Jay's mettle). After their particular brand of super heroic introductions they are confronted immediately with a problem of planet sized proportions as every living thing around them (including plant life) begins to die. We cut back to Alan agreeing to take on the mantle of power offered to him and becomes "the Earth's one true knight...The Green Lantern". The birth of a hero isn't all bathed in positive emerald energy as it comes in immediate juxtaposition to the rise of a villain. As the wave of death sweeps across the planet, a grey voice begins to narrate it's intentions to destroy all life, all hope and destroy the new jade champion. Alans continuing conversation with the diminishing emerald blaze yields a conduit through which to channel his new found power in the form of the wedding band Alan was going to offer Sam, now altered by the green flame. The rise of power stands balanced though as, once we see Alans power fully bestowed upon him, we see the reveal of the primary nemesis, the man of grey, Grundy.

There are very few problems I have with this issue, the primary of which has nothing to do with Alan himself. Jay Garrick's Flash uniform. I understand that essentially it's a modern take on the garb worn by Mercury mixed with a super heroic flavor, but it looks god awful. The focus on the character however is good enough that it allows me to appreciate his development and distracts me briefly from the horrendous new costume...but only briefly. But before I wrap up my take on Jay, let me get this out. Jay Garrick reminds me of Kyle Rayner. A kid thrust unknowingly into a power greater than himself and just running with it day by day trying to live up to his new destiny. The similarities probably end there, but I thought it was worth mentioning before moving forward.

(Alan discovers Samuel has died)
The only other problem I have with this issue is going to be HIGHLY nit picky. In fact, I only say it because I KNOW that there will be some select individuals out there livid over this one instance and the fact that I saw it right away has to mean SOMETHING. The fact that the emerald flame refers to Samuel as Alan's "lover" and not his "love" or "partner" or even "boyfriend". "Lover" sounds so impersonal and doesn't seem to hold the gravity and importance of the relationship as some other word would. Again, I'm unsure if this is even an issue and really it isn't with me, but I can see the potential fallout here, however minor it may be.

The revelation of Grundy however was fantastic. As I was in the comic store picking up the issue, an individual in the shop informed me that I would never see the villain coming. Unfortunately for him, the second he said that I suspected it would be Grundy. Not because of my amazing intellect or any such reason but simply as a result of my knowledge of the history of the character I was already thinking, "Wouldn't it be awesome if it was Grundy?" However, once the grey box narration came across the page, I just knew. My excitement was steadily building as with each page turn I was thinking more and more, "Is it? Is It?! IS IT?! YESSSS!!!!!" To see Grundy on the page was fantastic and obviously (at least in my mind) sets up the 'Blackest Night' equivalent for the Earth 2 universe as an analog for life goes up against an avatar of death but I may be reaching.

Overall the issue was a fantastic achievement and I cannot wait to see the progression of this character as he assumes a role he was meant for all along...on equal footing with Superman in both power and character. So bid a truly loving and heartfelt adieu to the classic Golden Age Alan Scott Green Lantern and brace yourself for the newest interpretation of the character as he blazes onto the scene in a truly wonderful fashion.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Movie Review: "The Amazing Spider-Man"

Last night I was treated to an advance screening of 'The Amazing Spider-Man'. Granted the 7:30 pm showing I went to was only a scant few hours ahead of the midnight release to the public, but seeing it ahead of others (if even just a few hours) was quite thrilling. Going into this movie I had no great expectations for anything other than the graphics. My history with the Spider-Man side of Marvel Universe is really quite sparse and as such I don't have much of the back story with Peter Parker's parents committed to memory. Nor do I know much about Curt Connors (the Lizard) or Peters love interest, Gwen Stacy. However I will say that in relation to the Spider-Man film interpretations we've seen thus far, this movie was far superior to the others.

Before I go much further, I suppose I should lay bare my bias'. I couldn't stand Tobey Maguire as Peter Parker. In all honesty, I can't find Tobey Maguire appealing in much of anything. Not to mention I also thought Kirsten Dunst was a consistent bore. But, at the time, I identified with the outcast character Peter Parker and was rooting for him to get the girl and be the hero. Those movies definitely delivered just what I wanted at that time. Of the three, I'm of the group that believes the second movie was the best but some things were missing from the first three altogether that I just couldn't rectify in my viewing of them. Such as the appearance of Mary Jane right out of the gate as Parker's love interest, or the absence of a more traditionally smart-alec Spider-Man and the introduction of web shooters incorporated into his physiology. Much to my great joy however, this new interpretation did not repeat the mistakes made by the previous three.


The movie opened with a sequence of the young Peter Parker and his parents. As things escalate in the scene we see them leave Peter with his Aunt May and Uncle Ben. Now, although I said there were spoilers in this review, I don't necessarily want to throw out a play by play and ruin the entire experience for you. I bring this up because, right at the beginning, this movie introduces a plot point and story angle the first three neglected to play with: Peter's parents. Their history within the comics is muddled and a bit unclear from time to time (being CIA agents recruited by Nick Fury at some point, or so I'm told) but supplying that there IS a riddle to the history of Peters parents was something the original movies never once mentioned.

As you get deeper into the movie you're introduced to the rest of the cast, who I felt all played their respective roles very well. Gwen Stacy in particular was a character that was immediately endeared to me when she was introduced. She was likable, smart and stunning (but not 'sexy'). Her relationship with Peter evolved very naturally (for High Schoolers) and became an interesting dynamic within the film. Speaking of High School, that brings up another small but interesting aspect of this film: Flash Thompson. Flash had traditionally been the complete asshole jock constantly picking on Peter. A completely unlikeable and irredeemable character. Not so in this movie. Once uncle Ben dies, Flash lays off and becomes a relatable character capable of compassion and appreciating the gravity of a moment, an addition I felt added a sense of realism to the movie.

The 'villain' of the movie, Curt Connors/The Lizard was another high point. His descent into madness was a little rushed and implausible to me in a way considering the layout of his character in the beginning, but they provided enough of a mystery to the history of this character prior to meeting Peter that you're not QUITE sure where he stands for the whole movie. So maybe his rapid descent into near utter madness was expected and maybe, with possible later film revelations regarding Peters parents and Curt Connors, it's even expected. When he transforms into the Lizard though is when I became pleasantly surprised about one minute aspect of the character, his voice. The director saw fit to have the same actor use the voice of his CGI monster counterpart albeit filtered through various tonal dilutions to make his voice sound just different enough. This added to the movie and I'm not quite sure how. Perhaps I was just happy that they made the Lizard a talking villain and not merely a mindless and mute rampaging monster.

Something else this movie had that the first three movies didn't was very simple: heart. This was a far more emotional movie. I BELIEVED Peter was racked with guilt over the death of Uncle Ben. I BELIEVED that Peter cared deeply for Gwen Stacy. I BELIEVED that Peter was struggling internally with being "abandoned" by his parents. All of the characters had a very real emotional presence. It was very palpable. You felt for every character in this movie in a way that you didn't really get with the more action driven sequences behind the first three Spider-Man films. I believe it's a credit to both the acting and the directing.

The last thing I'll say about this movie that I LOVED is perhaps the biggest. Spider-Man himself. Andrew Garfield's portrayal of Peter was fantastic but it was his scenes as Spider-Man that impressed me the most. He was cocky, brash and most importantly an insufferable smart ass. Dropping one liners and snide goofy remarks with nearly every move, Garfield really brought to life one of the biggest things I felt was missing from the first movies, a sense of fun without it being cheesy and comic booky. It was a thrill to see. In addition to his personality, the way in which he used his powers themselves was much better. There were far more flips, spins and jumps than any of the previous films. The way he swung on his webbing was more free form, spinning from time to time or flipping through the air. He actually MOVED like a spider! He was much more acrobatic in this movie, which was something that really added to the entirety of the films appearance.

Overall the movie was an enjoyable and fun experience that catered to the comics in a much more comprehensive way. It unseated Spider-Man 2 in my mind and makes me forever grateful I'll never have to see another Tobey Maguire Spider-Man movie again.

P.S Stay after the credits. It's not an AMAZING scene but it is something worth seeing...even if you have no IDEA what's going on in it...