Thursday, January 29, 2009

Batman Written by the Internet

Too funny. That's all I can say. Just check it out already.

More Words from Sal Buscema

Part 3 for the Crawl Space podcast with Sal Buscema is up. Yuo can check out parts 1 and 2 here.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Thrill of the Hunt

Sunday evening, through the wonderful powers of the internet, I caught episode 15 of the Spectacular Spider-Man. Titled "Destructive Testing," here we are introduced to one of Spidey's oldest, yet less appreciated villains, Sergei Kravenoff. Kravenoff possesses enough speed and strength to bring down a rampaging rhino in the wild. But he's tired of easy hunts. He craves a challenge that is worthy of his skill. Calypso gets word from an annonomus friend in America about prey that Kravenoff may find inteteresting. A certain friendly neighborhood Spider-Man.

Kravenoff's first battle with Spider-Man proves to be a lesson in humilty for the hunter. While he is trhilled to be hunting a worthy prey, his defeat isn't something he takes lightly. Believing Spidey's powers are the only reason he won against him, Kravenoff inlists the aid of Miles Warren to give him the powers of the same animals he hunted in the jungle and this is where the the big kicker comes in.

In the comics, Kraven has always possessed speed and strength beyond normal men. He gained his powers by drinking rare jungle elixers, yet he still retained the look of a human being. Well in this episode, after taking a formula from Warren he turns into what looks like a human-lion creature and takes on the name Kraven the Hunter. He doesn't turn into a physcho but it's a seriously big change, one I'm still not feeling yet. I mean, Kraven is still likable, but it will take some getting used to. And even with the power upgrade, Kraven still got beat. With the score Spidey 2, Kraven 0, the Master Planner (who was Kraven's annonomus friend) asks Kraven how he feels about "hunting in packs." That's two villains Spidey has yet to apprehend this season so it looks like Kraven and Mysterio are gonna be members of the Sinister Six.

What about Spidey's life outside of the suit? Well, Peter's wondering if he should go for Gwen or Liz. Both girls are into him, but Liz is far more aggressive when it comes to getting a guy. She thanks Peter for tutuoring her to help her pass her final in bio by giving him a hug AND a kiss and right in front of Gwen, no less. I think Liz is communicating to Gwen through her actions and she's saying "BACK OFF!"

In this episode we are also unexpectidily introduced to Debra Wittman! She was given an ethnic change, which doesn't bother me. I suspect this was done to keep her from looking similar to Gwen. Already got one blonde with glasses in the lab at ESU. Deb is the lab assistant of Miles Warren and even though she was only on screen for a very brief moment, she came across as cold as ice. More on her character will be revaled, I'm sure.

Flash suffered a knee injury during a football game, causing Liz some conflict with her newfound feelings for Peter. Even Peter was concerned about Flash. Matter of fact, he even cheered for Flash during the game. Could this be the beginning of Peter and Flash becoming friends? I hope so. No other medium outside of the comics has portrayed these two as pals.

Overall, I liked "Blueprints" better than this episode, but this was still a fine second episode to season two. Miles Warren is one skeaky, manipulating man and I really want to see what else he does this season. Bring on the Master Planner, the return of Venom and the gang war!

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Barack Obama, President of the United States of America

"I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character."

-Martin Luther King Jr.

Yesterday was Martin Luther King Jr. Day. The quote above is from one of the most well-known speeches ever give, King's "I Have a Dream" speech. If he were alive today, I've no doubt that he'd be blushing with pride to see our nation's 44th president happens to be African America.

I missed seeing Obama be sworn in on live TV, but thanks to the net, I was able to watch his inauguration speech, and what a speech it was. Before he gave it, the crowd was chanting "Go Barack!" (I thought they were saying "No More Bush!"). Speaking of the crowed, the turn out was huge! I don't really watch inauguration's but I wanted to catch this one because it was so highly anticipated. I think it was Oprah who said you could practically feel the nation teeming with delight over Obama's swearing in.

The president gave an incredible speech, but he didn't beat around the bush. He was upfront. America is facing the biggest crisis it has ever faced in decades. The econmy is in the toilet, the job market is in shambles, and the people of America are stuggling just to get by. The gist of it, we've got a tough battle ahead of us.

That being said, Obama's words were inspiring, filling the people with hope and determination, something we will all need to make it through this nightmare that we are currently living. This is the guy I wanted to win the presidency, because honestly, I believe he can do the job. I'm not saying things are gonna be bright and sunny now that Obama is the president because nothing is ever that simple and in he echoed that in his own speech. But it isn't like America to just keel over and die. If the nation did that, we never would have survived the Great Depression or won World War II. If we keep fighting and don't give up, we will make it.

So here's to a new beginning with Barack Obama. As I watched George W. Bush leave the White
House, I could only think, "Thank you, Lord!"

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Some Words with Sal Buscema

One of the all-time greatest Spider-Man artists, Sal Buscema speaks in the latest Crawl Space podcast. I had heard from Tom DeFalco and Ron Frenz in previous podcasts that Sal was a great, down to earth guy, one of the best people you could ever know. After hearing him speak to fans and give advice, I couldn't agree with them more. In addition to being a spectacular artists, Sal is a standup guy.

Give it at listen. You'll find it enjoyable.

Part 1.

Part 2.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Naruto In Beast Mode

So yeah, I've read chapter 431 of Naruto. To say the thing is awesome would almost be an understatement. I thought Naruto was doing serious business in the previous chapter, but that was merely his light work. The Naruto in chapter 431 is like a completely different person from the one I've read up til now, at least on the battlefield. Naruto is giving orders on what to do, keeping a clear head, and acting like an adult. I like the goofy Naruto, but the serious Naruto in chapter 431 is just so many levels up epic win. This is the Naruto I have always wanted to see. He is the only one that can deal with the threat that Konoha is facing right now.

Right from the start, one of the Pains summons a rhino and Naruto just stands there, totally unfazed while this behemoth charges at him. Naruto stops the creature in it's tracks, grabs it by the horn and throws it up in the air. That's right, he threw that rhino up in the air with his bare hands. Two more summons were sent after Naruto and he quickly creates two clones, makes two mega sized Rasengans and hits the beasts with them. Next, he throws a punch at one of the Pains that misses, but because of Naruto's ability to gather natural energy in sage mode, the pain still takes damage and is sent flying back by sheer force of wind. If I were the bad guys and I saw Naruto do that stuff, I would wet and crap myself at the same time.

Naruto is now the strongest ninja in his village. Some are saying he may even have blown past Sasuke and after reading this chapter twice, I don't find it hard to believe. He has a far better grasp on sage mode than Jiraiya did so I'd wager that he can do a lot more in his current form. If anyone ever disses the character of Naruto again, just show them the image below.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

How NOT To Behave

This is from Amazing Spider-Man #583. You can view more scans from the issue here, but I've posted the one that gets to the sticking point to the left.

Betty and her friend Haley are clearly plastered. Peter takes Bettey out to get sobered up, but Haley? She's left with a dude she doesn't even know, and again, she's wasted. Sure, Haley may not have liked Peter, (she was supposed to be his date) he still shouldn't have left her wish some random dude who has a look on his face in the last panel that says "I'm gonna get me some tonight!"

Someone over at the Crawl Space hit the nail on the head, summing up Pete's actions as "Not my friend, not my problem."

Sure Peter makes mistakes, but he should be smarter than this. Heck, anyone knows what will more than likely happen in this scenario and even if we find out it doesn't happen in later issues, it still comes off as very bad judgment on Peter's part. I mean, if he's getting a hammered Betty out of there, why not Haley? Does not compute. It doesn't matter if Haley waved to be left alone with some dude, wasted girls tend to have bad things happen to them when meeting random dudes.

The Price of Stupidity

The latest issue of Amazing Spider-Man comes with a backup story that has Spidey preventing the Chameleon from ruining presidential elect Barack Obama's inauguration. For the 10 people that don't know it, our soon-to-be president is a Spidey fan.

This was taken from an interview with Marvel:

"It was a natural after we learned the new president is a Spider-Man fan," Marvel Editor-in-Chief Joe Quesada told USA Today, following reports that Obama is a fan of the wall-crawler. "We thought, 'Fantastic! We have a comic-book geek in the White House.'”

Source

Allow me to add it what Joe Q didn't say in front of the press.

"Obama is a Spidey fan? Perfect! That's just the reason we need to put out our billionth variant cover for Amazing Spider-Man since BND began! And since this guy is gonna be our next president we can jack up the price even higher than usual! I'm a freaking genius!"

OK, so Joe Q didn't say that but one would have to be pretty naive to think Marvel didn't have those thoughts in mind.

I've heard that at some shops, this variant is going for over $80. I thought that was steep, but then I went over to eBay. I'm telling you, it's insane what the opening bids are. I guess some people, even in this screwed up economy have that kinda dough. Either that, or some people just have unfathomable levels of idiocy.

Spidey Caption This

Each week, the Crawl Space website comes up with a picture for the readers to add their own caption to. This week's captioned picture is the image at left. I thought it was so cute, I just had to post it. There were quiet a few funny captions this week and this is the first time I've taken a stab at this. Here's what I wrote:

“There’s a lot of beer in that keg and if the people of New York find out about it, it could cause a riot. That’s why I, Spider-Boy, have volunteer to drink all of it for the good of the city. No need to thank me. With great power, there must also come great responsibility and all that jazz.

If you want to try your hand at it, go here.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Misdirection

Season two of the Spectacular Spider-Man has already began airing over in Canada. I thought I'd have to wait until March to see it, but through the power of the internet, I was able to see the first episode. If you want to wait until March to find out what went down in the first episode, don't click that link, and don't read any further. If ya don't mind spoilers, or if ya wanna know what I thought, then read on.

"Blueprints" (the episode title) sets up a lot of plots right from the get go. Peter is looking for Eddie, who disappeared after losing the symbiote, he's struggling on getting the words out on what to say to Gwen, who just let the cat out of the bag about her feelings for Peter, and then there's the introduction of Mysterio, one of Spidey's earliest villains from the comics.

Mysterio has never been portrayed so magnificently in animation form. Ever. Here he's got people thinking he's a scorcerer, even going as to spout of latin phrases before zapping people with his cheap palor tricks. After his first battle (and a conversation with Liz), Spidey was able to see through Mysty's tricks. Speaking of battles, the action sequences in this first episode were mindblowingly awesome. The first season had stellar action animation and if this episode is an indication, season two raises the bar even further. At one point, Spidey blind folds himself so he can let his spider-sense distinguish between the real threats and the false ones. The fight even shifts locations via stage scenes. We go to a bar room brawl with Mysterio robots to a space station on the moon. The music even changes to fit each scene shift. Very nice.

Like any good magician, Mysterio doesn't get caught. Oh sure, we see Spidey apprehending someone who looks like Quintin Beck, but it is later revealed that he was never captured. To make things even more interesting, he and the Tinkerer are working for someone called The Master Planner. Anyone who read the comics knows who I'm talking about.

The non action scenes are always entertaining in this show and Peter's life continues to be full of interesting events. Peter gets his lab job at the Connor's ESU lab back (I had a feeling this might happen) and Norman Osborn wants to play the role of a mentor, much to Peter's reluctance. Miles Warren even showed up in this episode! I was tottally not expecting that. I just hope he stays away from Gwendy.

As for Gwen, well she's having a hard time talking to Peter since she locked lips with him at the end of the previous season. Still, it's clear that Peter does show signs of returning her feelings. There's a cute scene of the two of them looking at each other, trying not to catchy the other looking. It's full of smiles and Mary Jane looking on in delight from the sidelines. I like how MJ and Gwen have become friends in this series and MJ seems to be rooting for Peter and Gwen to get together. Kinda makes the future of Peter and MJ getting together more ironic, at least to me anyway. I do hope this show goes on beyond this season because I really want to see just how MJ develops feelings for Peter.

Gwen isn't the only girl seeking to win Peter's affections. While Peter and Gwen were trading smiles in bio, Liz was looking on and her expression suggested that she wanted to choke Gwen. Seriously. Women can be scary when chasing after men. But Liz has already made her move on Petey, getting him to tutor her for the upcoming final in bio. Gwen is gonna have to step up her game even further.

I also think I saw Sha-Shan with Mary Jane and Gwen at the begining of this episode. Will she get together with Flash? Who knows, either way, I'm excited to see her on the show. And Stan Lee's cameo was priceless. First episode of season two and things are already kicking into high gear. Kraven shows up next week. If I see the ep, I'll have another review up.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Heath Ledger Wins Golden Globe!

Heath Ledger has won a Golden Globe award at the 66th annual Golden Globes for his, what many are calling an outstanding performance in the Dark Knight as the Joker. I've yet to see the movie, but from what I've heard, it sounds like the late actor is very much deserving of the award. I'm sure his family and friends are very proud of him.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Kraven's Last Hunt in 30 Seconds

Kraven's Last Hunt, one of my favorite Spidey story arcs has been abridged. It's short, sweet, hilarious and to the point. Give it a read here.

Special thanks to my bud Tommy for finding this.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Ch-Ch-Ch-Changes

The first comic book series that I ever picked up actually was not Spider-Man, believe it or not. No, it was actually one of my favorite video game characters, Sonic the Hedgehog, back in 1993. My first issue was #2. When I was reading the book, the plots were pretty lighthearted, full of bad puns and plenty of good, clean humor. The last issue I bought was Sonic #25 in mid 1995. Needless to say, I haven't bought an issue of Sonic the Hedgehog in more than 10 years.

I've been watching episodes of SatAM (Saturday AM, the term used to differentiate SatAM Sonic from Adventures of Sonic the Hedgehog and Sonic Underground) Sonic the Hedgehog on YouTube over the last few days and it got me thinking about the current events taking place in the comics and what has happened since I last bought an issue. So I went on over to wiki and did some reading. A lot has happened to Sonic and friends since I've been away. Lots of changes. Good changes, though.


Sonic has had more than one love interest, though he's always gone back to his true love, Sally. There have been far more serious storylines, one even involved Sonic being framed for murder. Much of Sonic's parental background has been revealed. His parents are still alive, actually. More background on Sonic is revealed in the comics than we'll probably ever get in the game. But one thing that really shocked me was that Bunny Rabbot, one of my favorite supporting characters, actually got married... to Antoine, no less! Antoine was largely known for being a yellow bellied coward, but he's really broken out of his shell and become a couragous fighter.

There are other changes that have happened, I'm sure, but those are the ones I've found most interesting. I never expected Archie's Sonic comic to make the level of progress that it has or even make this type of progress at all. I always thought the writers of the comic would been content to keep things as they were and do the same old things again and again. The book has made the level of progress that used to be present in the pages of Marvel's Amazing Spider-Man. It looks like the writers will keep moving forward from here and I tip my hat to them for that. The 200th issue is approaching and I think it's about time I jumped back into blue streak's world.