Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Typical Tuesday Rant

All right – feeling a little bit better today. The best part of taking some sick leave from work is the change to flop on the couch with the converter in one hand and a funnybook in the other.

I recently picked up some newer material (a breakthrough for me), and had some fun getting a feel for the current comic book scene. These included:

Plastic Man: On the Lam – Kyle Baker
It’s just like me to jump on the bandwagon after it's a flaming wreck, but I have always been interested in this now cancelled title, but had never gotten around to reading it. Brooklyn based comic guru Joe Rice recommended this title to me in a lukewarm fashion – stating that the series improved as it rolled along. I have got to say, that I liked it a lot. Was it perfect? No – but it was fresh. Much fresher than anything I’d read in a while. As I am a big fan of the Jack Cole version (and will likely post my thoughts on Art Spiegelman’s book on Cole at some point), I have always been disappointed with DC’s treatment of Plas (save for a couple of wonderful Brave and Bold appearances). This collection hit most of the right notes – a good mix of humour and action. Some of the sight gags were a little much, but bonus points were earned for the Nick Charles bit and the jab at the overly dark Dark Knight. Nice job overall – I think I’ll hunt down the rest of the series.

Just read in EW about Baker’s Nat Turner book – sounds unbelievably interesting.

Solo – Darwyn Cooke
Like most sane people, I really dug DC: New Frontier, so I was happy to pick up this recommended book by Toronto native Cooke. It’s an interesting package – basically a series of vignettes playing to the auteur’s strengths. Cooke does a great job infusing new life into old characters (how’s that for clichéd writing?) – and I really liked his take on Slam Bradley and The Question. Man, would I ever love a Question series or mini-series by Cooke. The more I think about it, the more Cooke reminds me of a pre-lunacy Ditko.

This Gun For Hire (1942)
I have been really into Film Noir lately (maybe that’s why I enjoyed the Darwyn Cooke comic so much), so I was happy to see that TV Ontario had this playing on their Saturday Night at the Movies a month or so back. I taped it and finally got around to watching it. This movie has a great pedigree – based on Graham Greene story – starting Alan Ladd and Veronica Lake, but somehow it doesn’t all add up. Don’t get me wrong – it’s enjoyable from start to finish – but the plot is simply too muddled and the characterization of the anti-hero Raven (Ladd’s character) is straight out of a Ed Wood script (he slaps women around, but feeds stray cats!). Veronica Lake, who is so great in Sullivan’s Travels, is ask simply to stand around and look nice and her musical numbers are cringe inducing. The movie is saved somewhat by the last 30 minutes where much of the action takes place in a darkened Los Angeles rail yard, and the final showdown involved art deco office buildings, scaffolding and gas masks. Not bad, but not great.


Jhunt said...

I watched Sullivan's Travels for the first time a couple of days ago, and you're right, Veronica Lake is terrific. I enjoyed her performance so much I promptly went to imdb to find out what else she'd appeared in. Then I read the short bio imdb provided and got a little depressed about the way her life turned out.

Still, Sullivan's Travels is a hoot.

Scott M said...

I read that bio yesterday, and also found it to be very sad. I saw Sullivan's Travels for the first time last year - kicking myself for not seeing it years ago. It's great - I'd like to own a copy.