August 11 2013 Round-Up

Simpsons X-Files

Funny idea on Bleeding Cool: What if Fox’s League of Extraordinary Gentlemen brought together characters from Fox TV shows?

It’s not particularly clever to note the low chance of a shark attack, but there’s another way of looking at it: How much more dangerous are humans to sharks?

Russian modernist painting is the most faked style of art.

In a disappointing story, According to Rick Warren, there have been hundreds of fake charitiy scams inspired by his son’s suicide.

Gail Simone is responsible from a great scene in JLA: Year One.

jla black canary

Noah Berletsky of the Atlantic considers whether comic books can be compared to poetry, in response to Hillary Chute’s essay on the topic.

Mainstream superhero comics at the moment are almostunbelievably awful; if Marvel and DC went out of business tomorrow, I wouldn’t shed any tears. But still, I think comics might want to take a moment or two to think before it embraces poetry as the alternative to either pow or bang. Contemporary poetry, after all, has its own problems—not least among them being the fact that virtually no one reads it. Poetry does have a populist wing, and what might be called pop poetry—song lyrics, rap lyrics, children’s book doggerel—continues to have a large audience. But poetry has been so successful at defining itself as only high art that the lines of communication with lowbrow forms have been severed. As a result, poetry has turned itself into an ivory tower phenomena of painful and infuriating insularity. Mainstream venues, including The Atlantic, tend to ignore it as a critical or cultural phenomena, except for occasional generalized pieces arguing about the precise parameters of the form’s descent into insignificance. (Perhaps, J.K. Trotter suggested hopefully in one recent article, some poet somewhere is publishing something interesting through CreateSpace.)

Comics, on the other hand, have always been inextricably associated with their most mass-market products, whether that’s Calvin and Hobbes or Spider-manor xkcd. When Comic-Con is largely an excuse to advertise films and the term “comics” means “nerd culture” as often as it means anything having to do with speech bubbles, you can understand Chute’s impulse to reach for poetry as a way to solidify high-art cred.   We’re a long way from the place where comics will lose its anchoring in pulp, but Chute’s tendency to make one kind of comics be the only kind of comics, and her connection of that one kind of comics to poetry, suggests that at least some folks might like that to happen. So it’s worth remembering that the high road has its dangers as well. “Not just for kids anymore!” is an irritating meme to bear—but better “not just for kids” than “not for anybody.”

I thought this was a kickass Doctor Who mock trailer, using the great instrumental from Man of Steel.

And this is a cool official trailer with all the Doctors.

Dan Harmon was asked to explain his storytelling process. He used the Community episode “Advanced Dungeons and Dragons” as an example.

If I were to take a stab at the episode’s “quadrants” in terms of general plot…and forgive me, I could really screw this up without watching the episode again, but here’s an EXAMPLE at me taking a stab, you can do this on your own and refine it.

Upper half = The Game is a Game

Lower half = The Game is Real

Left half = Pierce in Control

Right half = Abed in Control

The more important use of quadrants is in creating or checking for what the suits call “arcs.”  You go through the story in the shoes of any particular character and ask yourself what’s changing from top to bottom and from right to left as they move through the plot.  Here’s some possible upper and lower halves choosing Jeff as the protagonist:

– In Control / Out of Control

– Altruism / Guilt

– Pierce is a child / Pierce is a threat

All of those and more might be valid, it’s all subjective, but my favorite is:

– Altruism / Guilt

When I draw a line between “altruism” and “guilt,” the idea that there’s a difference sparks my interest.  Sometimes we want to help people because we’re good people and sometimes we want to help people because we don’t want to be bad people.  To someone else, there’s no distinction there, but it only needs to be visible to the writer.  To me, the arrival of Pierce, who kills Chang and runs off with Fat Neil’s sword, ushers Jeff across a threshold between altruism and guilt, yanking him from a world in which he was “fixing” Neil and tossing him into a world in which he may end up responsible for Neil’s destruction if he “loses” the game.

The Hollywood Reporter looks at the upcoming prestige movie pile-up.

The difference a hairstyle can make on Star Trek the Next Generation.

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About Thomas Mets

I’m a comic book fan, wannabe writer, politics buff and New Yorker. I don’t actually follow baseball. In the Estonian language, “Mets” simply means forest, or lousy sports team. Currently, I’m writing a few comic books about my grandparents’ experiences in Soviet Estonia for Grayhaven comics. You can email me at mistermets@gmail.com
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