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Really enjoyed the conversation about the homogenized nature of Marvel Hollywood films. It's really frustrating, because of the decline of the mid-budget picture in the 00s, science-fiction as a whole has mainly been contained to these ridiculously over-stuffed, mechanical blockbusters or indie films that are too lean for their own good.

Weird! I stumbled onto Matt Seneca's review of X-Men First Class on this very site a couple days ago, and the way he described the creativity in one scene (where Emma Frost is being choked by Magneto while psychically manipulating another person into believing he was having sex with her) and the experience of seeing that in a theater is what convinced me that there can be moments in these movies that aren't homogenized and are a bit more idiosyncratic

Speed Weed credit screenshots are one of my new favorite things. I think my maturity might've been stunted from reading superhero comics :(

I completely agree with Tucker's assessment that, now that Big Two superhero comics are seen as a stepping stones toward creator-owned high-concept Image titles (which, let's be honest, are often another incremental step toward TV and movies for at least the writer), there are few modern ones which two-hours worth would match up with a corresponding film of the same length (luckily most of the films are more like three hours, right?) The last one I saw was Fantastic Four as well. I didn't enjoy it at all precisely because the train wreck seemingly bore out of squandered potential for originality, despite ripping off Akira similarly to the passable Chronicle. Josh Trank's whining about studio interference probably ruined any chance of a director's cut backing up that claim.

But just like with Zack Snyder on occasion or Michael Bay, I want to like these sleazy, mass-produced franchise films because of how the slick studio production puts their directors' entertaining tics and fetishistic developmental hang-ups amusingly at the forefront. Like, imagine what Uwe Boll would do if one of his video game movies had a Marvel budget? Talk about the best sick day Netflix experience!

Regarding the Mark-Millar-as-stalwart-vanguard praise, I just don't see it honestly. By now I've long accepted Millar's throwaway elevator pitch concepts and cutthroat multimedia pursuits because, as mentioned with the Image writers, everyone's trying to copy that success and, hey, at least he gets my favorite artists high-paying gigs. I still don't enjoy the comics because, unlike Moore or Morrison, dude may have good tastes but he has zero appreciation for the medium.

Everything he scripts composition-wise is either to pack a lot of information into a panel to distract from what Jeff Lester coined as not being much "there there" or to make it more superficially cinematic. Even at times when I find Moore thematically tone-deaf or Morrison up his own ass, their work consistently pushes the medium forward in terms of experimentation with pacing and layout. It may be easier to recall many of Millar's crude one-liners and occasionally next-level fight sequences, but Morrison gets the most interesting pages out of Quitely. Jupiter's Legacy looked antiseptic to me by comparison with its less considered use of negative space and stacked widescreen panels.

So sorry for foaming at the mouth there. Love the show.

Taylor, haha! thanks for reminding me of that! I actually think (and was going to say at one point before I sorta thought better of expressing any positivity toward these films) that the X-men ones are the exception to the rule - they're not "good", but they can be strange or unexpected enough to be fun at moments, as opposed to the mainline Marvel movies, which are so fan service-y and telegraphed and plotted by numbers that it's impossible to enjoy them. The x-men's also employ better actors than the rest of the superhero movies... or at least actors who understand the dance between seriousness and camp those movies have to do a little better. I also think not being yoked into the bigger picture of all the other marvel universe movies benefits them - they basically just have to keep making movies that somehow turn a profit, instead of like making sure they also set the table for Thor VIX next fall.

So ya! they're interesting movies. But I still wouldn't recommend them, for both ethical and aesthetic reasons. Even if you wanna watch a shitty action movie, there's a lot of Michael Mann's and Johnnie To's out there before you gotta sit through one of these.

re: The "Black Smurfs" reference in Puke Force.
I saw Chippendale speak about the book last week, and he directly addressed the Smurfs influence, which apparently comes from his childhood viewing of the "Purple Smurfs" episode of the animated cartoon.
I'm not sure how many readers are going to catch the reference. When he asked if anyone in the audience had seen the Smurfs episode in question, I was the only one to reply in the positive, and then only because I'm familiar with the original book.

What's doubly interesting is that the contagion is both a Smurfs reference *and*, via dialogue, reference to Chippendale's "Black Pus" music project - which embodies the ambivalence he's mentioned a few times about the internet as both a sinister and damaging force, but also a very useful platform for disseminating art... like Black Pus, and indeed Puke Force itself, which began as a webcomic...

Has Iron Man ever actually been good? I once was in the middle of downloading every issue of Iron Man and halfway through, I thought "why?" and I cancelled it.

Re: Iron Man

I don't know if the character has ever been all that interesting, but Gene Colan's run was amazing art-wise. Definitely worth a skim, as are the three issues Barry Smith drew. Doomquest sounds like something I should want to read, but Bob Layton's aesthetic kills my interest.

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