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Rampant consumerism - John C. Kirk

Oct. 6th, 2005

10:36 pm - Rampant consumerism

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My amazon.com order arrived today, containing American goodies. Specifically, Christy Carlson Romano: Greatest Disney TV & Film Hits and JLA/Avengers: The Collector's Edition. Shameless gushing follows...

Christy Romano is better known (at least to me) as the voice of "Kim Possible". When I started watching the series last year, I commented on the similarities to Buffy; my standard description nowadays would be "Buffy vs 60s Bond villains". And it's probably about the closest we'll get to a Buffy animated series, since the more specific proposal has apparently sunk without trace. I think the most striking similarity was the trailer for one of the films, which included the text: "She's saved the world. A lot."

Anyway, it's a great album, my favourite track being "Could It Be". The only criticism I'd make is that it's a bit short (about 25 mins altogether), but hopefully her next one will be longer. I heard that she played Belle in the stage version of "Beauty and the Beast" in America, so if she ever reprises that role in England then I'm definitely booking a ticket.

Then JLA/Avengers. I borrowed the original 4 issues from billyabbott when they were published a couple of years ago, then figured that I'd wait for the inevitable paperback to come out. There's been no sign of it yet, so I succumbed to the shinyness, and the collector's edition is well worth it (the only snag being that it's too tall for my bookshelf). There's lots of extra info in the companion volume, including the 21 pages that George Perez drew for the previous attempt at this series, and some "deleted scenes" (in script form) from the new version. Looking at the art pages, I can see how they influenced "Avengers Forever", in the same way that I saw "Imzadi" in a new light after I'd read Harlan Ellison's original script for "The City on the Edge of Forever".

I read a review recently (cached copy here if the main site is still down) which basically criticised Busiek for being too much of a fanboy. Personally, I think that's one of the things that makes it great (much like his "Avengers" run in general). Continuity tends to be a dirty word nowadays, but he revels in the sense of history, which I really appreciate. (Paul O'Brien phrased this more eloquently than I can in his review of Black Panther #8, which basically covers the reasons why I dropped the series after #6.) More to the point, Busiek actually likes his characters, rather than sneering at them ("oh come on, superheroes are pretty stupid when you come to think about it"). Mind you, the comment in that review (bottom of the page) about Thor's hammer sapping Superman's strength was quite funny.

I haven't re-read the story yet, but I do remember a few scenes that were just fundamentally cool, e.g. Quicksilver being able to tap into the Speed Force, and Superman with Thor's hammer and Captain America's shield. And there were the emotional aspects of the heroes seeing what they'd have to sacrifice in order to remake the universe, which were handled well (a bit like Barbara Gordon's dilemma in "Crisis on Infinite Earths").

I was also interested to see my own reaction to the initial contest between the two teams. I've tended to think of myself as fairly impartial when it comes to Marvel vs DC, since I like characters from both companies. For instance, I grew up with Superman wallpaper/curtains/bedspread, and his battles against the evil "Nick O'Tine" basically put me off smoking for life. On the other hand, when I started reading US comics (at university) it was mainly Spider-Man at first, diversifying into the rest of the Marvel Universe. And nowadays I read comics from both publishers.

Anyway, at one point in the story it becomes clear that one of the teams ought to "throw the fight", i.e. let the other team win the contest for the greater good. When I first read it, it looked like the JLA would have to let the Avengers win, and I thought "Ok, no harm done". Then I re-read it, and realised that it was actually the Avengers who would have to let the JLA win, and I thought "What? That's not fair!" So, perhaps I'm slightly more partisan than I had realised :)

Oh, and speaking of comics, I enjoyed the recent "Wha-huh?" issue that I bought; I think it's fairly well targeted at a niche audience, i.e. if you've been reading comics for a long time (decades) or have the corresponding back issues then it's very funny, but if you haven't then you probably won't get the jokes.

And according to Peter David's blog, he's doing a 5 issue "Spike vs Dracula" comic next year. I enjoyed his recent Spike one-off, so that should be good.

So, happiness all round. Now for South Park...

Edit: Added link to the review I mentioned.

Comments:

[User Picture]
From:billyabbott
Date:October 6th, 2005 10:02 pm (UTC)
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I like fanboy scripts. Much as I didn't get a lot of the continuity references in JLA vs Avengers Busiek's love for both sets of characters shone through and even made me slightly like the Avengers (in a similar but opposite manner to you I am a DC fan and have never seen the appeal of the Avengers...)

I also got the Wha-Huh book - I also really enjoyed it, even the slightly more barbed comments (like the opening Dreamwave one) that some commentators though a bit over the top. But like JLA vs Avengers there was a lot that I could see I missed, even though it all made at least a little sense.

I'm a big fan of the absolute editions, and I've now got the Planetary and World's Greatest Superheroes (the collection of the oversized Alex Ross painted books) ones, and they are both very pretty.
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