September 2010

Alan Moore Asks Why Haven’t You Done Awesome Comics in the Past 25 Years

Watchmen Babies

Much has been made about Alan Moore’s recent interview with Bleeding Cool about his views on Watchmen sequels, prequels, and comics in general. It’s an excellent read and I encourage all you comic lovers to take a gander when you have a good free hour or two. Some comic fans think Moore comes off as a paranoid diva. Others think he’s completely justified. Regardless of what side you fall on (team Alan Moore is crazy vs. Team Alan Moore has mad integrity), I think everyone can agree that his last statements are pretty spot on:

At the end of the day, if they haven’t got any properties that are valuable enough, but they have got these ‘top-flight industry creators’ that are ready to produce these prequels and sequels to WATCHMEN, well this is probably a radical idea, but could they not get one of the ‘top-flight industry creators’ to come up with an idea of their own? Why are DC Comics trying to exploit a comic book that I wrote 25 years ago if they have got anything? Sure they ought to have had an equivalent idea since? I could ask about why Marvel Comics are churning out or planning to bring out my ancient MARVELMAN stories, which are even older, if they had a viable idea of their own in the quarter-century since I wrote those works. I mean, surely that would be a much easier solution than all of this clandestine stuff? Just simply get some of your top-flight talent to put out a book that the wider public outside of the comics field find as interesting or as appealing as the stuff that I wrote 25 years ago. It shouldn’t be too big an ask, should it? I wouldn’t have thought so. And it would solve an awful lot of problems. They must have one creator, surely, in the entire American industry that could do equivalent work to something I did 25 years ago. It would be insulting to think that there weren’t. That’s just my suggestion for a way that DC could remove themselves from this thorny impasse, but we shall see.

When I read that, I nearly stood up in my chair and cheered like a maniac. Damn right, the top talent at the big two aught to be producing ground breaking work, not rehashing and remixing characters that have been around for decades. I think it would be great to see big name creators turning out new original material while up-and-comers handle the legacy titles, the Spider-Mans, the Batmans, that sort of thing. It’s a pipe dream, of course, but it is kind of sad that the big names in comics right now are working on properties that were created before some of them were even born. Sure, there’s always the Image or indy route. And indy comics have been making quite a big splash lately (Walking Dead, Scott Pilgrim). But if the big two are attracting the big talents, I think they should be challenging them to push the bounds of comics, not play around in their decades old sandbox.

While I think it may be a little short sighted of Moore to state that no American comic has risen to the level of Watchmen in the past 25 years, I think he makes a great point about making new stuffs. We won’t be seeing anything new from Marvel or DC any time soon. I mean really new, not a new, updated, edgy version of sixy/seventy/bajillion old characters. For new stuffs, it’s up to the indy creators. The next big work that changes the face of American comics will come from outside the big two and I can’t wait to read it!

Source: Bleeding Cool

Julie Taymor’s Green Goblin is the Stuff of Nightmares

You may have ignored the news of Julie Taymor’s Spider-Man musical with music by U2 because such things are difficult for the sane mind to comprehend. I know I’ve tried my best to wipe my brain meats of such a notion. But it’s a real thing and it’s opening soon and I probably wouldn’t have mentioned it ever because I live in a world where the George Clooney Batman doesn’t exist, but then I saw this:

Julie Taymore's Green Goblin

This is the Green Goblin design for the musical and now that you’ve seen it it will forever be burned into your brain meats! It is horrifying and scary and I imagine when it’s lit properly on stage with a real person moving inside it, it will probably terrify you forever. Unless it sings a silly song. Then it will terrify you in other horrible ways.

It’s clear that us comic geeks are not the target audience for this work so I’m not terribly shocked that musical Green Goblin looks nothing like comic or even movie Green Goblin. I’m probably never going to see the show so this version of Gobby will probably remain theoretical and amorphous in my mind unless someone posts an actual video of it from the show. Green Goblin is supposed to be terrifying and scary and I think this version would scare the shit out of me in a dark alley. So it’s got that.

So if any of you are brave enough to see this thing, please write in and let us know if Gobby is indeed as terrifying as he appears or if he does some silly song and dance that makes him creepy in a kid touchy pedo kind of way.

Source: Bleeding Cool

Is That a Robot Snake In Your Tree or Are You Just Happy to See Me?

AZM Ally WayneW has sent along video proof that Skynet is learning how to climb trees. Researchers at Carnegie Mellon’s Biorobotics Lab have taught their modular snake robot called “Uncle Sam” to climb up trees. The Biorobotics lab takes inspiration from nature when constructing its robots. In this case, they looked at the movement of real snakes and taught their robot to emulate some of those real snake behaviors. It has taken nature millions of years to develop organism that respond to specific design problems. Since nature has done the heavy lifting, it only makes sense to learn from her designs.

The snake robot actually has a lot of practical applications. You can send one of these creepy buggers in to any collapsed structure (building, mine) to look for survivors and to check on their condition. You can send one down any number of pipes to check on structural integrity or blockages. Really tiny snake robots can be used to spy on people and to creep them the fuck out.

Man, that thing is really creepy.

Source: Singularity Hub

“The Wilderness Downtown,” an HTML5 Interactive Music Video Experience

The Wilderness Downtown

I haven’t been quite sure what to think of HTML 5. It sounds like the greatest shit in the known universe that no one can use yet. But that hasn’t stopped a number of inventive people from experimenting with the proposed standard. The Wilderness Downtown is one such experiment that really has to be experienced. My powers of describing things with invectives and hyperbole doesn’t quite fully communicate what the fuck it is so you’ll have to check it out for yourself. It’s fairly processor intensive and requires Google Chrome which in some ways is another argument against HTML 5 since experiences like this may have to be browser specific for a good number of years until every browser gets with the program. But if you have the time and processing power to spare, The Wilderness Downtown is pretty freaking awesome.

Source: The Wilderness Downtown

Ole Miss Could Have Had the Best Mascot in the Universe

Angry Zen Minion Ted O’Hanlan sent along the somewhat awesome but ultimately depressing tale of Admiral Ackbar and Ole Miss. For years, the Ole Miss Rebels have lacked a mascot. The Maryland Terrapins have Testudo (GO TESTUDO). The Georgetown Hoyas have Jack the Bulldog (BOO GEORGETOWN). The Ole Miss Rebels have… no one. So when the student body came to the administration and asked for a mascot, the administration agreed to let to the students choose.

Now when you and I think of “Rebels,” our thoughts drift towards a galaxy far far away in which a certain Rebel Alliance battles the evil forces of the Empire. I know this because AZM attracts a certain type of awesome person so naturally I know that we here are all gigantic nerds. Naturally, the leader of the Rebel Alliance would be the perfect mascot for a team of Rebels. Who gives a crap if all the hawt cheerleaders would have left! They weren’t going to date us nerds anyway. They were just going to use us to do their quantum mechanics homework and write their term papers. Besides, with Ackbar as the mascot, Ole Miss would attract sexy nerdy girls who like to dress up in metal bikinis. How fucking awesome is that!

Unfortunately, Lucas Films denied the petition. Ackbar would indeed continue to lead the Rebels, just not the Ole Miss Rebels.

Kamen Rider Hobo and the Taco Bar

It seems that Toei is going after Kamen Rider on the YouTubes so this clip of Kamen Rider OOO’s, who will now and forever be referred to as Kamen Rider Hobo (more on that below), first henshin may be taken down at any moment. I wish someone would license Kamen Rider and translate the shit so I can buy legit copies of the show. And to be sure, I would totally buy many legit box sets of Faiz, Kabuto, Decade, Double, and probably more. Unfortunately, I know us Rider fans are a very small demographic in this country. But it would make it a lot easier to watch the damn show.

Anyway, as with any new Rider show, it’s difficult to judge on the very first episode. Our hero is Eiji Hino who has naught but the shirt on his back, a total hobo. He has no family, no ambitions, no nothing. So of course, he’s thrust into combat against the Greeed, animal kaijin who are nourished by human desire. It seems to me that the Greeed are kind of shortsighted showing up in Tokyo. After all, the hot bed of human desire is clearly Wallstreet. They’d live forever feeding off of the desire of all those high powered banking execs. The message is clear, this season’s Kamen Rider series is really about overcoming greed and desire to live a more harmonious existence with the world. Our hero is a hobo fighting against greed. You can’t hit anyone over the head with a message much stronger than that.

I can’t take the belt seriously. Hobo has three sections, head, chest, and legs that can change into different forms depending on the coin that Eiji slams into the belt. The default is TOKE TORA BATTA which is a bird head, tiger chest, and hopper legs. The belt yells out “TA TO BA TATOBA TA TO BA” which totally sounds like “TA CO BAR TACO BAR TA CO BAR!” It’s nice that the belt is looking out for Eiji in its desire for a taco bar since our hero has no means of income. But I couldn’t stop laughing. And now I’m sad because there’s no such thing as a taco bar!

I also don’t like the theme song that much, but it took a while before I got into Double’s theme which I totally freaking love now so it might just take a few episodes. It’s going to be a comedy series, that’s clear, so I’m a little iffy on it so far. But I don’t hate it as much as I hated Den-O’s first few episodes so that’s something. I’ll give it the good ol’ Mike Dent five episode test before a final decision.

Future Screens

The technologies demonstrated in this video represent the possibilities of 2014 as envisioned by design firm The Astonishing Tribe AB (TAT). Now while all of these scenarios brilliantly demonstrate how easy it is to integrate touch technology unobtrusively in our daily lives, what it doesn’t show are the massive amounts of greasy finger print stains over every touch surface. Maybe by 2014, we’ll have developed a touch surface that doesn’t capture every oily finger stain that touches it, but I have my suspicions.

All joking aside, this is some excellent work. I really love the office segment which gives new meaning to a working desktop. I would love to have an interactive desk that I could art all over. And I terribly covet the transparent screens. It’ll be interesting to see if any of these proposed technologies come to pass. 2014 isn’t all that far away.

Source: TAT

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