Early in my comics-buying career, I was aware of a title called World’s Finest. I’m not sure how I was aware, but I was. I guess I’d seen it on the spinner rack, and maybe I’d seen ads for its 1960s issues in the pages of my brother’s war comics. Was it called World’s Finest Comics on the cover when I bought my first issue? Or just World’s Finest? If you look closely, it was called “WORLD’S FINEST!” but with a little whisper of ‘comics’ under it.
Either way, I knew it was a book co-starring Superman and Batman. It had been since its first publication in 1941, although, in the early days, co-starring meant there was a Superman story and a Batman story in each issue, not that the two teamed up. Their first team-up story came in 1954, 71 issues into the title.
Okay, I guess I’m really back, because I’m delving into morality, philosophy and politics. With the revelation of Harvey Weinstein’s staggering abuse of his phenomenal power to coerce his employees into undesired sexual situations, Hollywood’s floodgates have opened. It seems everyone being accused, from Louis C.K. to George Takei. And one question that keeps coming up for the public to munch on is, “Are these people, alone, to blame?” After all, along with the accusations almost always comes the statement, “And everybody knew all about it.”
So, when behavior that’s been accepted, even encouraged, for decades is suddenly revealed, and finally recognized as the problem it always was, who’s to blame?
Mara Wilson, former child star and current left-wing social activist (her Twitter presence is self-dubbed “Mara ‘Get Rid of Nazis’ Wilson”) has an answer:
We all are.
There aren’t many TV shows that I have to watch anymore. I like The Flash and Legends of Tomorrow. I enjoy Supergirl overall. I tend to fall way behind on them, though. I’m still finishing Iron Fist and thus haven’t started The Defenders. Beyond those, I’m a little behind on This Is Us and a lot of the shows friends are watching I’m just giving a pass to. I don’t need The Orville. They made 79 real episodes of Star Trek, and enough Next Gen that I’ve never seen them all. I gave Star Trek: Discovery what I feel was a fair chance, and it didn’t impress me any more than any other non-Enterprise Trek has.
But Stranger Things I must see. It’s too gripping, too engaging, too much plain fun not to. It’s such a great piece of 80s nostalgia, not just in costumes, music and décor, but in the feel of 1980s films about young people.
I saw this opening weekend, and didn’t really think of commenting on my blog. But then it occurred to me that, the last time a Thor movie came out, I pretty much savaged it in this forum. So maybe a follow-up visit, albeit perhaps less expansive than my review of Thor: The Dark World, is deserved.
This was easily my favorite of the three Thor films to date. Although, sadly, it does not serve the supporting cast well—Jane Foster, Sif and Erik Selvig are all missing, and the Warriors Three appear, but only in cameos that their fans probably weren’t glad to see—it’s rooted firmly in the Thor comics mythology and showcases Chris Hemsworth and Tom Hiddleston amazingly well, to say nothing of newcomers Cate Blanchett, Jeff Goldblum, Karl Urban and Tessa Thompson, and welcome guest Mark Ruffalo. Idris Elba has a reduced, but important, role. I point out with irony that this is probably also the best Hulk film ever made—with irony because, obviously, it’s not a Hulk film, and the character did not fare well in his own title films. But here, he’s the best he’s been in a movie.
I wasn’t sure what to expect from this film, going in. I remembered the 1974 film coming out—probably from commercials and buzz on morning news programs. I remembered that one was an all-star “vehicle” (pardon the pun) of the type that was so popular in the 1970s. I never cared much for such films, when I was little. They seemed designed to appeal to boring people who drank martinis, talked about Nixon and watched too much football.
Kenneth Branagh’s film is, too, an all-star vehicle, with no less than the director himself, Michelle Pfeiffer, Willem Dafoe, Johnny Depp, Josh Gad, Derek Jacobi and Dame Judi Dench in its cast. And, admittedly, some of the crowd around me in the theater struck me as being martini drinkers who talked about Trump and watched too much football. But I found myself delighted with this film.
Jack Warden and Jean Marsh star in the sad tale of Jack Corey and Alicia. Corey is a convicted felon, although he claims that he killed in self-defense. He’s a decent enough guy, from what we see of him in thirty minutes, that you tend to believe him about that. But he’s been sentenced to solitary confinement on an asteroid which, Rod Serling’s narration tells us, is “nine million miles from Earth.”
Sometime this past Summer—I guess—my wife Renee asked if we all wanted to go see Nick Offerman at the Warner Theatre in DC in November. I was very excited about the idea—and promptly forgot the entire conversation. There’s a certain special quality to being over fifty and having worked yourself stupid: things you planned in advance can come back to you as wonderful surprises, because you had no idea you planned them.
At our annual Hallowe’en party, which we only remembered to have because people kept asking us what time it was going to start, my friend Sharon said to me, “I guess we’ll want to get together for dinner Friday?”
“Friday? What’s Friday?”
“We having dinner with Nick Offerman on Friday?”
Sat 1:00 PM in Con Suite (Room 800)
Yoji Kondo Memorial
Sat 6:00 PM in Plaza III (Three) (1 hour)
HOW DO I MAKE AN AUDIOBOOK OF OUT OF MY WORK? (2866)
[Panelists: Christopher Mayer (mod), Jay Smith, Steve Wilson]
How do you find appropriate Voice Acting talent? What happens to your property rights if you sign up with a company to produce it for
you? Is ACX.com the solution to all of your problems, or just a good place to start?
Sun 10:00 AM in Crystal Ballroom Three (1 hour)
THE ROLE OF ANTIQUITY AND MYTH IN SCIENCE FICTION (2868)
[Panelists: Mitchell Gordon (mod), Steve Wilson, Tom Doyle, Hakira D’Almah, T. Patrick Snyder]
Why does SF make repeated use of certain myths? How do classical
ideas expand the scope of science fiction themes? Our goal in this panel will be to understand how science fiction dialogues with ideas from the past to explore possibilities for the future
Sun 11:00 AM in Autograph Table (1 hour)
AUTOGRAPHS: JOHN GRANT AND STEVE WILSON (3030)
[Panelists: John Grant (mod), Steve Wilson]
Sun 12:00 PM in Plaza III (Three) (1 hour)
THE INFLUENCE OF FILM ON CONTEMPORARY SCIENCE FICTION WRITING (2856)
[Panelists: Peter Prellwitz (mod), Steve Wilson, Tom Doyle, Diane Weinstein, Aaron Rosenberg]
How is the hope for a Hollywood adaptation influencing writers and their current works
“The Oz Effect” is a five-part story which reveals the origins (kinda) of the mysterious Mr. Oz who has been appearing in DC Comics for quite a while now, in different titles. He’s a dangerous guy, and, like any powerful, godlike being, his followers might be even more dangerous. In the course of this story, in Oz’s name, one of his followers detonates a bomb (and himself) in an attempt to kill the staff of The Daily Planet. His motivation seems to be little more than because Mr. Oz told him to, and because he wants everyone to know how horrible life on Earth is.
Okay, they’re not Hitchcock’s. He didn’t compose them. They’re Bernard Herrmann’s. Specifically, this collection includes the soundtracks to The Wrong Man, Vertigo, and North by Northwest. Herrmann scored a lot of Hitchcock films, especially his big, splashy Universal ones. Popular films whose Herrmann soundtracks are not included herein are Psycho, Marnie (perhaps not as popular a film, but a beautiful soundtrack), and The Man Who Knew Too Much (the 1956 release, with Jimmy Stewart and Doris Day.) He even served as sound designer on Hitch’s music-free film The Birds.
I first discovered Herrmann, like a lot of fans my age, because his music from The Day The Earth Stood Still and Beneath the Twelve-Mile Reef, was prominently featured in Lost in Space. Herrmann did a lot of TV, a lot of it original, particularly for The Twilight Zone. I guess my next encounter with him was his moody score for The Ghost and Mrs. Muir, with Rex Harrison and Gene Tierney. That was one of the first CDs I ever bought, when CDs became popular. (The cassette era, in which I came of age, wasn’t especially kind to soundtrack-lovers. They were pretty much released largely on vinyl and then jumped to CD. There are exceptions.