What I’m Reading: Hawkeye #11

June 26, 2013 § Leave a comment

I don’t dislike it, but I don’t follow the work of Matt Fraction.  And if you talk to me about comic books for more than five minutes, you’ll know that I hate the character Hawkeye, mostly because of his messy split with Mockingbird in The West Coast Avengers.  (It was Phantom Rider’s fault.  See illustration.)

We kiss through the mask now?

But Hawkeye #11 may change all of these opinions, as the Matt Fraction and David Aja book is inventively told through the point of view of Hawkeye’s dog, Pizza Dog.  Here’s a sample I found on Bleeding Cool:

Pretty awesome, right?  Unfortunately, I don’t think you’ll understand or care much about what happens in the story if you’ve never read Fraction’s Hawkeye, but it’s still a pretty creative – and cute – book.

Sci-(Non)Fi: The Future of Population Growth?

June 25, 2013 § Leave a comment

This is a Guardian video of “statistics guru” Hans Rosling explaining the future of fossil fuel distribution and population growth.  Listen closely as he glosses over a fact that doesn’t fit with his socialist political message.

Old Hans mumbles through the fact that population growth will stop.  (He also fails to address his observation that using more fossil fuels correlates with lower child mortality rates).  The fact is, scientists have known for some time that world population will soon begin to decline.  Birth rates in most developed countries have been on the decline for decades.  Most scientists and statisticians studying population expect the world population to decline after it peaks at 10 billion.

So who worries about fossil fuels?  Keep using them, and your grandchildren are more likely to survive into adulthood.  After the world population peaks, more Legos for them.

You Seen: World War Z **SPOILERS

June 24, 2013 § Leave a comment

I’m assuming you’ve already seen the movie if you’re reading this.  So are they really spoilers if you know what happened?  If you haven’t seen the movie, none of this will make sense.  Skip to the last paragraph.

I  agree with whatever objections were in most negative or measured reviews (no character arc, no gore, no ending); however, I enjoyed the movie well enough.  Sure, Brad Pitt’s character didn’t have an “arc,” but that’s only a recent requirement of our pulp heroes.  Before Daniel Craig, James Bond was the same person at the end of a film that he was at the beginning.  Did Adam West’s Batman ever grow or develop?  If you think that World War Z should be exempt from such exemptions, I’d like to remind you that it’s a freakin’ zombie movie.

Pitt’s character was more of the vehicle to take the view on the world tour of Zombie World. Some reviewer said that World War Z was more like a video game story where the characters move from location to location the way a BioWare game moves.  And that works for this film.  In a lot of ways, World War Z is pretending to be a hero-driven narrative, but it’s also trying (and probably failing) to capture some spirit of the source material.  Having Brad Pitt move up through the different game levels is a possible to try this.

I do agree that the ending was a big problem.  One would’ve thought that the mechanics brought in to fix the thing (Drew Goddard and Damon Lindelof, both of whom you love from Lost) could’ve done a better job.  Instead of an ending with a bang, the film’s big moment is Brad Pitt walking down a hallway. It’s the equivalent of the original Star Wars film ending with the Millennium Falcon delivering Princess Leia to the Rebel Alliance and the destruction of the Death Star tacked-on as an epilogue.

It would’ve been more fun if the getting the vaccination was tied to a big, emotional fight for Brad Pitt.  Like, say, there was an outbreak on Nova Scotia where Pitt’s family was staying.  Then, he’s got to swing in and rescue them while delivering the vaccine idea to the authorities.  But I guess money was an issue, and they had this big, Russian fight scene to fit in.

If you like epic video games, this is probably a movie you enjoyed.  If you like zombie films, this probably wasn’t the movie for you.  If you like Brad Pitt, you probably thought his hair was funny.  (And if you’re a super nerd, you’d be wondering how the cute Israel chick found a baseball bat in Wales).

Friday Night Links – 21 June 2013

June 21, 2013 § Leave a comment

Your weekly round-up from the interweb.

Joss Whedon explains how to be prolific.

“You know, it’s so easy to just get nothing done, but you’ve got to rock a little David Allen out to be able to get things done and break your list down into next actions. And this is true of producing and directing but even of writing. It’s like, Okay, today I am going to figure out this action sequence. Today, I am going to watch a shit ton of other action sequences, whatever it is, but that would be the other side of it after the specificity of knowing. Don’t just say, ‘Oh, I need to work on that.’ Say, ‘I need to work on this element of that.’ Absolutely eat dessert first. The thing that you want to do the most, do that.”

Geez, gender is a persistent issue with comic book reporters. This writer seems guilty about not noticing women.

Get women into power at the Big Two, and progression will trickle through the industry, is the argument made by many. Start at the top and work your way down. But surely we can view things from the other way round, as well? If female creators are getting hired more frequently to work for hire projects at IDW or 2000AD or Boom (and they ARE), then the battle is already being won. It’s only a matter of time before the best will get noticed by the big two, and asked to pitch for them. If we, as the audience, help them get there.

And a Batman cartoon that actually looks unappealing.

Zombie Revealed!

June 19, 2013 § Leave a comment

Geez, I hadn’t thought about how long it would take to get to actually seeing the monster when I decided to post on MetaMorphosis once a week, but he’s finally here!

Thanks to everyone who’s following this blog and my webcomic.  If you haven’t been keeping up with MetaMorphosis, today’s a good day to see how the zombie brother’s doing!

Sci-(Non)Fi: Superpowers for Everyone!

June 18, 2013 § Leave a comment

Jim Kwik wants you to be a superhero.

I discovered this guy on the Singularity Hub.  Kwik’s passion is learning how to learn and teaching other people how to do it, and the way he sees it, learning is the human being’s true superpower.  Sounds corny?  Well, he proves it.  According to Kwik, there’s no such thing as a bad memory or a good memory; there’s a trained memory and an untrained memory.

And the memory thing is just the beginning.  What’s even better: he wants everyone to learn how to learn for free at Superhero You.  If it can help you get smarter, why the heck not check it out?

New Elysium Trailer

June 17, 2013 § 1 Comment

I’m ambivalent about this one.  Some upperclass liberals have made a sci-fi movie about the class divide, which rich sci-fi writers have been doing since H.G. Wells.  I’ve never understood how wealthy artists could espouse socialist views; no matter what qualifiers you put on it, socialism places the individual as secondary to the group.  Art is, among other things, an expression of the individual.  In some form or another, a socialist society will eventually limit or censor art.

The USSR and its censorship of artists is the clearest example.  Famously, Sergei Eisenstein, who was such a proponent of socialism, was censored because his art didn’t fit with official social realist doctrine.  This isn’t even to get into the extreme cases of artists like poet Anna Akhmatova, whose son was imprisoned because of her opposing political views.

Before you make excuses about how the USSR was “different” and give your knee-jerk reaction about how the rich should share their spoils, and how the 1% greedy bastards are out to destroy the world for their own personal gain, bear in mind that to be one of the top 1% of earners in the world, you only need to make about $47,500 a year.  That’s most of the United States.

You thought you were Matt Damon in this movie, but instead, you’re Jodie Foster.

Friday Night Links – 14 June 2013

June 14, 2013 § Leave a comment

I suck with posting on time these last couple weeks!

This old review of Vladimir Nabokov’s Ada, or Ardor: a Family Chronicle is worth revisiting, if only to remember when high-brow authors wrote science fiction novels – or just to remember that high-brow authors once existed.

Like those other great protean modernists, Joyce and Picasso, Nabokov uses parody to re-investigate the fundamental problems of this art. While Van in the early chapters is waiting to be born, so too is the great age of the novel. Van’s concluding “blurb” notes that “the story proceeds at a spanking pace,” but the pace is sometimes purposefully slow, befitting an infancy of sorts, as Van plots time’s texture and parodies the realist’s efforts to limn “reality.”

Memory deficit: another reason not to play soccer.

Players who headed balls the most showed more abnormalities than those who headed fewer. For one brain region, 850 headers represented a threshold: Players above that mark clearly had more abnormalities than players below it. For the other brain regions, thresholds were about 1,300 and 1,550 headers.

From TTAG, a basic summary of the gun control debate:  irrational statements followed by logical statements that the other side ignores.

The flip side of those 15,000 deaths per year are the 2.5 million crimes prevented by legal gun use every single year. Crimes including rape, murder and felony assault. But for some reason, gun grabbers never seem to recognize that side of the equation.

And Jackie Chan on Bruce Lee (via Fitanium):

Comic Book Feminism

June 13, 2013 § Leave a comment

I’ve been hearing a lot of comic book fans calling themselves “feminists” lately, notable since comic books are historically viewed as one of the most sexist of mediums.  A lot of this talk has to do with how much people love the new Captain Marvel, a book with a clear feminist intent, the talk about Scarlett Witch being in Joss Whedon’s Avengers 2, and the characterization of Lois Lane in the new Superman film.  After years of women rejecting the feminist label (mainly due, I suspect, to the lack of femininity in the image of Second Wave feminists) it’s a relief to see women reclaiming the name. « Read the rest of this entry »

New Wolverine Trailer!

June 12, 2013 § Leave a comment

It looks like the new film will make up for the last one.

The addition of Henry Sanada almost guarantees that The Wolverine will be better.

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