Monday, September 30, 2013

Shade the Changing Man

Back in the 90s, everything that was weird and cool in comics was found under the Vertigo label. An imprint of DC, it was the place to go if you weren't all that interested in the spandex-clad four-color malcontents that dominated the Big Two, or at the very least, if you were just looking for something a little different. Horror, fantasy, crime, social satire, speculative fiction, whatever you wanted, man, whatever you needed, Vertigo had it. The titles were often controversial, both in topic and depiction, and usually dealt with complex and mature themes. They were unafraid to show graphic violence, drug use and sexuality. Also, there was a ton of swearing and no small amount of boobies either. It was kind of like the HBO of comics. It was pretty great.

But that time has passed.

A lot of the stuff that had once made Vertigo what it was--the non-traditional artists and writers, the diverse subject matters, the different storytelling tools and styles utilized, all of that can be found in even the most mainstream of superhero titles today. The worlds have merged and Vertigo is now left just a pale shadow of its former self.

It's all right. These things happen.

One particular refugee from those long gone days is called Shade, the Changing Man. A cast-off created way back in the golden days of comic books when brand spanking new superheroes were being thrown against the wall daily and by the dozens just to see what would stick. Shade did not. He was quickly forgotten. But just like everyone else in comics, his time came around again and he was eventually resurrected. However, when he came back he was very different from his original inception.

Where once an alternate-dimensional fugitive secret agent in a stupid-looking vest that made force fields and monster illusions had stood, he was now a reality-warping nutbag Doctor Who type in an even stupider-looking vest. People loved it. It was the 90s. But eventually, his second hey-day passed too. The Shade began to fade.

To every comic trend, turn, turn, turd...

He hasn't really been heard from too much since, at least, not until recently when the people over at DC Nation put together a short film starring the little weird-o and his questionable choice of coats.

And you know what? It's not too bad either.

Check it out.


Sunday, September 8, 2013

Doom Patrol

Doom Patrol is a kind-of forgotten bit of DC comics. There are those who would say the idea of the X-men was originally inspired (or stolen) from the concept. Others counter that the idea for Doom Patrol was itself ripped off from Fantastic Four--How incestuous!--but in the end, none of that really matters as one idea very obviously caught on like a house a'fire, while the other very obviously did not. In fact, if it wasn't for Grant Morrison's weird but seminal run way back in the late 80s, Doom Patrol would be pretty much completely forgotten by just about everyone out there save for a few sun-adverse nerds.

Of course, that doesn't mean they weren't kind of cool...

kind of...

In a nutshell, the Doom Patrol are a group of misfits traumatized by their strange gifts. Despite this, they fight crime and protect the innocent in a quest for acceptance from a world that ostracizes them as freaks. Hmmm... that does sound a little familiar... Anyway, why are they called Doom Patrol, you may ask?

Shut up.

So, who are the Doom Patrol?

First up, we have The Chief (aka Niles Caulder). He's the man who created the team, or "the chief." He's an old guy (pictured below) in a wheelchair (not pictured below). At first glance, you might think he's either the direct inspiration of Professor X or a nearly inexplicable coincidence, but you would be wrong. He's nothing like Professor X. Y'see, instead of having telepathy, he's super smart, which is a totally different kind of brain power... ahem...

Niles instantly regrets his decision to "quick run out for some smokes."

Next, we have Robotman (aka Cliff Steele... how ironic!), a man trapped inside a robot body. He's sad about it. I can only assume it's because he obviously no longer has a penis. The poor son of a bitch...

Big talk, smooth crotch

Then there's Elasti-girl. No, not the one from the Incredibles movie. The Elasti-girl from Doom Patrol is a former Olympic swimmer Gold medalist (a skill set that almost never comes up), turned Hollywood actress (something she never shuts up about), who--while filming in Africa--was exposed to "volcanic gases" and as a result, gained an at-first uncontrollable ability to grow and shrink, which... completely makes sense. As a result of a sudden on-set of some pretty severe Body Perception Issues, she was a hermit before joining the team.

"Wha...? Panties? ...oh, shit."

Finally, rounding out the original rooster is Negative Man. He used to be a high-flying hot dog of a test pilot and like all test pilots in comic books, he was exposed to radiation and gained superpowers. His superpower is that he can release a shadowy silhouette man from his body who can fly, pass through solid objects, and then cause them to explode, a more naturally tangential power grouping I defy you to come up with. Unfortunately, if his "Negative Man"... eh? eh? see what they did there?... is outside of his body for more than 60 seconds, he dies. The other downside of this power is that he must now wrap himself in "specially-treated" bandages to protect others from his radiation-soaked body.

Negative Man... kind of a jerk...

So yeah... never really caught on...


Seriously though, Doom Patrol is a weird and kind-of awesome bit of comic gold, so it's always nice to see them pop up somewhere, especially when they're used as more than just an X-Men knock-off.

I've posted a little short I found on the DC Nation channel. It's quick and silly and seems to embrace the crazy Silver Age nutball feel of the team. I'm a little upset Monsieur Mallah is nowhere to be seen, of course. He's a talking French Gorilla who wears nothing but a beret and a bandoleer--the choice of which only serves to somehow make the choice to not put pants on the Gorilla seem weird. However, they do face General Immortus, a man who used to be immortal, but (most likely due to extreme old age) somehow "lost" the secret formula to his Immortality Elixir and now he is super pissed about it. I mean, he's looking everywhere and he will blow your shit up if you get in the way..

Anyway, enjoy the short-short.

Freak for keeps,

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Gravity - Trailer 2

Oh man... I am so excited for this film. This shouldn't surprise you. I love Alfonso Cuaron's films. I'm sure I've mentioned my eternal love of the film Children of Men a time or two before now. And this one here? It's gonna be so good, kids.  All of the advanced reviews are going gaga for it.

Harrowing. You hear me?

It looks harrowing. Sustained, harrowing and terrifying. Judging from this trailer, and much like any film concerning characters lost and floating in the ocean, this film is going to be one hell of a white-knuckle cinematic experience. Intense. I can't wait. Let's watch.

Can't wait,