Tag Archives: spider-man

Kids on Classics: Marvel Super Heroes vs Street Fighter (Alex vs Lukas)

It took a couple of weeks but I got Alex and Lukas back on the arcade console. I thought we might play something new but all, Alex could think about was Marvel Super Heroes vs Street Fighter and I can’t blame him. It is a great game! So for the first time we get Alex going against Lukas (in video games, they go against each other in real life constantly). At least they do for a few minutes until Lukas gets distracted. Okay so maybe it is a little false advertising but what do you want from me? Enjoy!

 

 

 

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Kids on Classics: Marvel Super Heroes vs Street Fighter

After playing King of Fighters, Alex got a taste for fighting games and wanted more. Since he tends to be a button masher (he’s 5 so of course he is) I decided to show him on of the best button mashing fighting games. Marvel Super Heroes vs Street Fighter. You can pull off amazing moves completely by accident. He also sees his love of octopuses and the color green combine when he discovers Shuma-Gorath. If that’s not enough, we get to learn how Alex reacts when he loses. Spoiler alert, he doesn’t like losing. Enjoy!

 

 

The Character/Writer Comic Conundrum

Rick Remender’s run writing Venom came to an end this week with issue #22. It has been one of the surprise series of the last couple of years, bringing back a character that was left behind in the 90’s and remade him into a modern anti-hero that was interesting and fun to follow. Eddie Brock was fine, but Flash Thompson? Back from war without his legs and now he’s a military styled Venom clouded with guilt and rage? Loved the idea from the start. When I started getting back into comics Venom was one of the series that kept up with and it was well worth the ride thanks in large part to Remender’s vision.

But now Remender is leaving Venom for greener pastures and it brings up an interesting question. Do I still follow the same books with a different writer at the helm?

What’s more important? The character…

Back in the day this would have been a non issue. As a young reader I was drawn to the characters and the action. The art was more important to me and I wasn’t smart enough to know if what I was reading had any depth to it. All I knew is that Spider-Man kicking Vulture in the face was awesome! But I need more than that now. Yes the artwork is very important, as it often can make or break a book. However I need that writing to draw me in. This is especially the case as I get into more dramatic book, that are more about espionage and emotion than explosions and fight sequences. I love the current Venom character, but I specifically love Rick Remender’s writing of the character. Would you read a Harry Potter novel if it wasn’t written by J.K. Rowling? Of course you wouldn’t. That might as well just be considered fan fiction.

Remender is still working on X-Force, Captain America and Secret Avengers (which has Venom!). The Dark Phoenix Saga was amazing and the others have been good as well. Would I be best served leaving Venom behind and just following around writers that I like? Could the same go for artists? What if Remender takes on something like the Fantastic Four, which I’ve never been interested in?

Naturally a lot of this also depends on who takes over Venom.

…or the man writing the character?

People will always buy Batman and X-Men and Spider-Man. They are so popular that even if you mess them up badly you will still get at least some people who just need their Batman fix (of course Scott Snyder is doing a great job with Bats and that helps too). But Venom is a little bit more of a niche character. He is still a work in progress that can go either way. Mark Waid has done similar work in remaking Daredevil into a fantastic read again but he did have more to work with. The better comparison might be what Geoff Johns has managed to do with Aquaman. Did anyone thing he would ever be cool again? Will he remain as cool if someone else takes over writing him? Like the King of the 7 Seas, Venom can lose its audience a little more easily. Cullen Bunn is taking over for Remender full time with issue #23. He had been co-writing this recent arc with Rick and has been very busy doing work on Captain America and a miniseries, Deadpool Kills the Marvel Universe, which all point in the right direction for what would make a good Venom book. The other books circulating are getting mixed reviews, but thanks to the run so far I am emotionally invested in this symbiote wielding maniac. Can I just drop it because I don’t like the current author? I guess I’ll just have to read it and find out for myself.

What do you think? How much does the writer influence what you buy? Am I a fool for thinking of ditching a book just because it’s being written by someone else? Sound off in the comments below.

Read comics!

Warner Bros Animation Does the DC Universe Right

While misguided attempts at putting the Justice League in theaters and a Superman reboot cautiously on the way, Warner Bros. Animation has been producing classing stories from DC Comics time and time again. If the trailer is any indication, The Dark Knight Returns – Part 1 won’t be any different. If nothing else it has Peter “Robocop” Weller as Batman! Your move creep! Check it out:

Looks amazing right? This is nothing new for Warner Bros. Animation as they have been doing this for decades now (if you count Batman: The Animated Series). They have succeeded in all of the areas they have failed with their big budget action movies (except Batman of course because anything Batman is good). They take chances and stretch their wings. Different animation styles, different voices to fit those styles, and most importantly they tell the stories we want to see.

How many origin stories can there be? Instead of taking up and entire film introducing every single DC character, they are getting straight into the good stuff with the comics that we love. Doomsday, Red Hood, Tower of Babel, they’ve all been done and done mostly well in these movies. WB tapped into a market of real comic book fans and knows that they are the main audience of these animated features. It’s not like the major films that have to pander to everyone. Marvel took a gamble on giving everyone an origin story and if they didn’t luck out with Robert Downey Jr as Tony Stark I’m not sure any of the last few years of success actually happen. Green Lantern tried to do the same thing, but Ryan Reynolds can only take you so far and unfortunately their were so many plot holes and other story issues that the most realistic looking live action take on the Green Lantern and Oa that I could have asked for got completely wasted.

Green Lantern done right

I have seen the Green Lantern movie that works though. Check out Green Lantern: First Flight, the animated feature that came to Blu-ray and DVD two years before the failure in theaters. It’s very similar in theme and hits a lot of the same notes. Hal Jordan gets the ring from a fallen Lantern and has to learn how to be a better man while the universe is in jeopardy and so on. Yet it does it so much better. First of all thanks to it being animated, most of it takes place in space, which is where he belongs. Second, Hal gets his training on the job throughout the entire movie instead of a five minute sequence followed by a bunch of crap. Third, instead of pacing it so poorly because they want to save Sinestro for a sequel, they throw the kitchen sink out there at once. The lack of limitations and big names make it so that there are just some things you can do with animation that you can’t attempt with a blockbuster movie. Want to see how a Wonder Woman movie should be made?  Go to WB Animation again. Don’t even get me started on Jonah Hex. The characters we know less about get their due, while the ones we already know (Superman/Batman) get spared of introductions and instead we get their best stories shown as we know and love them.

As far as films go this is the one area that DC clearly trumps Marvel. Marvel Animation does what they can, but it just isn’t on the same level as DC. They do a fair job, specifically with Hulk vs, but the overall quality and quantity just isn’t there. Eight films in six years, along with some poorly received anime just aren’t going to cut it. Not when DC has almost doubled their production and done so with such high quality. All this while making Justice League and Young Justice TV series that have critical acclaim as well.

DC has plenty of very good movies aside from the Dark Knight trilogy. They are just being shown on the wrong screen. Hell they even nailed it with The Flaming C!

Free Comic Book Day Q&A with Joe Field

Christmas is great, but if you’re looking for a present now know this: Free Comic Book Day is just days upon us. The annual event is exactly what it sounds like. Comic book stores around the world give away comics to anyone that walks in. This year it is this Saturday, May 5th. Yes, that’s the day after The Avengers hits theaters. In honor of the best idea since pizza Fridays at school, I spoke to Joe Field, the founder of Free Comic Book Day, about the comic book industry.

-What inspired you to come up with Free Comic Book Day?
The business of comics had come through a tumultuous time in the late ’90s. When things started turning around, I saw a need for a massive invitation for everyone to check out what’s going on weekly in their local comic shop. I wrote a column for a trade magazine, outlining Free Comic Book Day and suggesting it be modeled after other “free” events. The column was met with enthusiasm!

-What went into getting all of the other comic book stores involved?
I knew that I couldn’t coordinate the event, so I turned to the dominant distributor of comics in the English-speaking world, Diamond Comic Distributors. Their team has regular contact with all comic book stores on a regular basis, so I was confident they could do the job— and they’ve done it exceedingly well for these last 11 years.

-Was there any suggestion by the comic book industry to have The Avengers movie come out on the same weekend as Free Comic Book Day?
Free Comic Book Day  has been the “first Saturday in May” for 10 of its 11 years. In most cases, there has been a comics-related movie attached to the same weekend. I choose to look at it as Hollywood coming to comics, rather than comics being a barnacle on the Good-Ship Hollywood.

-Do you think the industry is taking enough advantage of the comic book movie franchises and their popularity?
Movies are passive entertainment. You pay for your ticket, then sit in your seat and watch. The reading of comics and graphic novels is a much more involved experience. There’s reading the words, interpreting the art, filling in the time between panels ans scenes. In short, there’s more required of a comic book reader than there is of a movie watcher.

Really, I think the movies have been a great calling card for comic books. I honestly hope that more movie-goers will want to check out the source material for all these comics-based movies!

-What do you think of the current state of comic book stores?
With some 2500 comic shops in the U.S. and Canada, I don’t think there is one “current state.” Many retailers are thriving and some are having a tough time paying the bills. That’s just like any other business segment these days.

As the current president of ComicsPRO, the only retailer trade association of comic book specialty retailers, the trends look good right now. More people are reading comics, other media are getting some of their biggest ideas from comics and comic retailers seem to be better prepared and more professionally adept than at any time since I got into the business 25 years ago.

-Are digital comics helping or hurting business?
I have seen no indication that digital comics are putting a dent into print comics. Every other print media would love to have the conditions that are current in comics— handling growth rather than managing a slow steep decline, new ideas, formats and ways of doing business, rather than the same old reliance on advertising to drive the editorial.

Make no mistake, digital comics are a growing segment of the overall comics business, but so are print comics.

-How difficult is it to maintain a store these days?
Owning any small business has a multitude of challenges.  I discovered a long time ago that I had a difficult time have anyone as my boss. Now that I am my own boss, I find the pressure much more significant, but also much more satisfying.

-Do you see this event growing more in the upcoming years?
Free Comic Book Day has been growing for the last ten years and it sure looks like there’s a lot of life in it! This year, events will take place in 2000 stores in nearly 50 countries, with more than 3.5 million comics available to be given away.

-Are there any changes you think should be made with stores or the industry itself?
The most significant thing to come out of the success of Free Comic Book Day , in my estimation, is that it has led to many retailers working much more effectively on reaching outside of their stores to find new customers, to do more events, to really integrate their comics’ businesses in with the overall business of entertainment.

-Anything else you would like to add?
Comics are a lot more than just being about whatever the latest super-hero movie is. If you like to read, if you enjoy reading novels or you enjoy going to art galleries, if you enjoy any of the visual arts, then I maintain that regularly visiting a well-stocked comic book specialty store is definitely worth outing on your “to do” list. Comic books and graphic novels are the white-hot core of visual entertainment!

Every Batman Comic is the Same – Why Doesn’t It Matter?

I just finished reading the newest of “Batman” and like the previous 5 issues before it, is top notch. The entire story arc has shown Batman at his most vulnerable, most insane and most beaten, yet somehow he fights through and wins anyway just because he can’t allow himself to ever fail at anything.

That is all fine and good, however isn’t that like almost every other Batman story (and most other comics while we’re at it)?  Batman had his back broken by Bane. Came back and beat him. He’s been drugged an left for dead by the Black Glove. Nothing a mind trip to bring out the Batman of Zur-En-Arrh can’t fix. He’s even come back from the past after being blown away by Darkseid. I recently reread an old comic that I had found. “Batman: Legends of the Dark Knight” #34 from 1992. It’s the concluding issue to a story where Batman has become increasingly ill and weak while in pursuit of a criminal. Alfred tries to get him to rest. Batman’s mind keeps moving as he dreams about his parents being killed and he is eventually able to overcome his physical issues to defeat the bad guy. Sound familiar? Check out this except from that now 20 year old issue:

I'm so defeated right now

“Can’t think about how I feel. Focus…my vision doubling…blurring…can’t let it — Can’t think about — Have to move. Move”

Now here is a section from “Batman” #6 that came out Wednesday:

“No…no strength left. Blood f-filling the wrong…all the wrong places. Whole body…every bone…saying let go. Let go…and let them take you. Let it end. The pain. The fight. Become a ghost, a face behind the glass. A face…his face…Alan Wayne. His face…so scared. Begging…calling out for someone. Someone to help him…to help him stop…them. Enough. ENOUGH!”

While the writing is certainly a bit more detailed, the theme remains the same. Somewhere in every Batman comic you will find something to the extent of “So much pain…can’t breath…can’t move. Have to move. Good, I’m moving” followed by Batman then beating the tar out of whoever pummeled him in the first place. It’s the comic book version of Hulk Hogan “Hulking up” and no selling at the end of every match to win. Now I’m not trying to pick out a flaw with Batman here. Like I said before, pretty much every comic book, and when you think about it every action movie as well, hits the same point. Hero gets damaged seemingly beyond repair, yet fights the odds to succeed anyway. Heard it a million times. What I am asking though is why doesn’t it matter with Batman? Other comics go through similar motions yet the quality waivers. Daredevil and Spider-Man for example go through periods of pour reviews only to return to our good graces without changing too much of the general tone. Every Batman issue isn’t considered a masterpiece, but they do seem to be held above anyone else.

Sweet! I can totally move again!

You could say the writing and production is just better. It would certainly make sense that the biggest brand would get the best staff to work on it so naturally the final product is better. If that is it then DC must really hate Superman. You can also argue that since he has no powers he is more relatable to the readers. Wouldn’t that make Punisher more popular too? A case could also be made that Batman’s rogues gallery add something different than any other book. Each villain attacks him from a different angle. Sure they all attack him physically, but Joker goes after his sanity, Scarecrow goes after his fears, Two-Face on his own duality and so on. The Court of Owls now moves in on what he thought he knew about his family and city, taking away his security. It’s never a question of can Batman beat someone in a fight. It’s usually more about dealing with the stress each battle puts on his mind. Is there a villain Wolverine has faced that doesn’t want to just punch him in the face?

I like to think that that’s the reason Batman is different. But at this point it could just be because he’s Batman, and we know him. By now we’ve had 8 movies, a ton of TV shows, and countless epic comic book adventures. We know what Batman is about. As long as the new books continue with the formula of him being smarter, tougher and better than everyone else at everything, will any of us complain? Maybe Batman gets away with repeating same formula because he did it first, and he did it best. It may not be much of an answer, but maybe we keep buying the same stories over an over just because he’s the goddamn Batman.

Spider-Douche at the Giants Parade and other Super Bowl notes

Yesterday the New York Giants celebrated their second Super Bowl win over the New England Patriots in 4 years with a parade through the canyon of heroes in Manhattan. By now a lot of you have probably seen this lovely Giants fan. But you probably missed this Spider-Man wannabe that tried to creep into a window filled with women:

A few other Super Bowl notes from a Patriots fan living in New York (yeah you heard me):

Did you notice how little the non-game story lines were brought up during the game? The Tyree catch was shown once before the game started. Tyree himself was only shown once and that was not after the Manningham catch at the end that couldn’t have resembled it any more. Gisele was also only shown once early, although that is by Brady’s request. Meanwhile Peyton Manning, the future hall of fame Quarterback drawing a ton of attention for his feud with the Colts, brother of Eli Manning during the Superbowl in his team’s stadium, was not shown at all. Surprising effort by NBC to keep the cameras on the field. Even Gronkowski’s only got brought up a few times during the game.

As long as we are talking about Gisele, do you think Tom Brady ripped her a new one for throwing the team under the bus (seemingly to reporters with Vince Wilfork’s wife next to her). Forget about the fact that Brady got called for intentional grounding on the Patriots’ first offensive play of the game for a safety, or that he underthrew Gronkowski leading to an interception, or that he could have made a better throw to a wide open Welker that could have sealed a win in the 4th. She should know better. The Giselle curse lives on.

Finally, anyone else notice what a mediocre experience this Super Bowl was from top to bottom? The game was okay. Nobody played outstanding. Nobody was terrible. The biggest play was an over the shoulder sideline catch (great play, but no helmet catch by any means). The winning touchdown was scored by mistake. The commercials were mostly tame, and the ones that did stand out we had already seen so there was no wow factor (thanks internet). Madonna was meh. There just weren’t any moments that really stood out from this Super Bowl. Well, except for Aaron Hernandez’s touchdown celebration. Maybe the most sneaky good celebration ever. I had to watch it again before I realized he was breaking into a vault to do his normal “make it rain” dance. Just fantastic.

Reveal Highlights from the VGA’s

Spike’s Video Game Awards were this weekend, and since no one really cares who win’s the awards, they jam pack the thing with debut trailers and reveals. As always some of them caught my eye, and some of them made me want to close my eyes and go to sleep.

Transformers: Fall of Cybertron

Of course I’m leading off with Transformers. First announced at the NYCC, the only thing we really knew going in was that Grimlock was in it. In this trailer we get a few more glimpses of what to expect. First off, BRUTICUS! Something tells me however that Grimlock and Bruticus are going to get the same treatment as Omega Supreme and Trypticon in War for Cybertron, meaning that they will be heavily promoted, but ultimately non-playable boss fights. Bruticus would certainly be too overpowered and by the early look of Grimlock next to Optimus, he may be too. Our only hope might be if we got to play as one against the other (maybe multiplayer?). Other than that it looks like there could be a bigger emphasis on close combat. I’d also like to know why they are still on Cybertron since the first game did such a good job of getting them on their way to Earth. I don’t even know why I’m complaining though when I know damn well I’ll be pre-ordering regardless.

The Last of Us

Easily the most anticipated game heading into the VGA’s, this PS3 exclusive had everyone buzzing based on nothing more than 2 screenshots and old news footage. When the trailer finally debuted we finally found out what the hell we were so excited about. A beautiful looking surival horror type game from the same guys that brought us the Uncharted series.

Yawn

Look, I’m sure it’ll be good, but I’ve seen this type of trailer too many times before (hello Dead Island) do we really need another game where you’re among a small ragtag group of survivors fighting zombies against all odds in an apocalyptic environment? I’m personally growing numb to the big reveal shot of how desolate a once thriving big city has become. Knowing Naughty Dog there will be huge set pieces, plot twists, and on point controls. I just hope there is a fresh take on the story too.

Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance

HO-LEE CRAP! What a difference a new lead character makes. So much awesome in this trailer it’s almost beyond words. Dismemberment? Check. Cyborgs? Check. Giant robots? Giant check. Pretty much everything you know about playing Metal Gear looks like it’s thrown right out the window. Watching Raiden in action makes me wonder why we’ve been spending so much time sneaking around as Snake for 20 years. I’m getting a very Ninja Gaiden vibe from the trailer, and I’m sure there will be plenty of cut scenes. I’ll sit through pretty much anything though to slice a guy into a million pieces, so bring it on!

Mass Effect 3

I never played Mass Effect before but I do know it’s a big deal that it’s on it’s way. I don’t know the significance of what I saw, but I do know that we have some third person play, a lot of running, apparently not a lot of shooting, really big robots, really big monsters fighting those robots, and a planet looks doomed. Yes it looks really good, but is it worth saying that about games anymore? In this age of HD-3D graphics and big budget games, isn’t every big title supposed to look gorgeous by now? I think I’ll hold off on talking about how a game looks for those occasions when a game really looks like garbage.

Diablo 3

Another series I should probably check out. Interesting move showing the opening cinematic. Like where the story is going but based on this alone the gameplay would appear to be similar to my Old Testament final paper research in college. I’m sure there’s more to it than that, and I can say one other thing, that girl’s uncle is TOAST!

The Rest

The Amazing Spider-Man will be bad of course but it’s interesting going to an open world again and we got a lot of good looks at the new costume.

Rainbow Six: Patriots showed me one thing. A old man getting got!

Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater HD could be a big step forward for the franchise. Just like Sonic, the best way to being good again is to go back to basics. Updated graphics and with old school gameplay. This might be the last gasp for Tony Hawk games.

Any games I missed that you’re looking forward too? Comment and let me know

Spider-Man: Edge of Time details (NYCC)

Along with X-Men: Destiny, Activision had it’s other Marvel title available with Spider-Man: Edge of Time. Billed as NOT being a sequel to Spider-Man: Shattered Dimensions, this title looks to use a similar engine and gameplay to the first game. We get some details on it with Beenox Studio Head Dee Brown (not this Dee Brown). Check it out: