Thursday, September 24, 2015


Well hello there!

If you have reached this site, it is likely because you saw it in the trailer credits for David Wong's new novel, Futuristic Violence and Fancy Suits. And that's because I edited it together and chose fonts for it and whatnot!

Anyway, despite this blog looking as if it has been abandoned, I assure you that it has in fact not been abandoned; but I have a legitimate job now and so that has to take priority. I'm actually working on three posts: one about two bad advertisements, one about Superman: The Animated Series (those posts take a long time to do), and one about some background to making the Futuristic Violence and Fancy Suits trailer that I think people will find enlightening. If you ever wanted to know how to make a trailer for a book, I am sure that it will prove very helpful!

Knowing that people are probably going to be looking at this site is really the (only) motivation I need, because I like it when people listen to me and the often silly things which I choose to talk about.

Anyway, while we wait for one of those posts to go up (it will probably be the behind-the-scenes one about the trailer first), which will probably be some time tomorrow, please take a look around. I recommend reading my ongoing series about the Bruce Timm Superman show, or this time I wrote about the history of the opera hat, or this time I wrote about Shakespeare. Oh, and there was that one time I interviewed John Cheese (aka the inspiration for the character John of John Dies at the End and This Book is Full of Spiders: Seriously Dude, Don't Touch It)!

Might be so bold as to suggest following this blog by email? Just go to the top of the right-hand column and enter your email address! I promise that I do not use this information for anything other than updates, and I actually don't think I even have access to it. It's something Blogger does automatically. Or it's supposed to, anyway. Sometimes their widgets are broken or whatever. So maybe you should check back soon, just in case.

You can also follow me on Twitter! Sometimes I tweet, and sometimes I do not.

Thank you for stopping by, and I hope you stick around/come back soon!

Saturday, July 18, 2015

A New Superman Post is Coming

Oh, hi. I didn't see you there.

I recently was reminded that I had a blog, and looking over some of the more recent posts, particularly the Superman stuff, I was inspired to jump back into it. I'm busy this coming week, so the post won't be happening then, but soon. Truth be told, I already had some of it written out, and screencapped, and whatnot. I just kind of ran out of steam.

But the steam is back.

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Superman: The Animated Series, Season 1 Ep. 3: The Last Son of Krypton, Part III (B)

Previous Installment  |  S:TAS Index  |  Introduction

If you're just now joining us, I'm currently examining every episode of the criminally under-discussed and under-appreciated Superman: The Animated Series, because I think it's the best moving-pictures version of the collective Superman mythos that has ever been done. Here is a link listing all of the posts so far.

Also, because I'm discussing certain animation touches in this post more than normal, I've added some .GIFs! There were some technical difficulties in doing this that delayed the post more than my being sick did. You'll notice that there are little black bars around the .gifs and that they look to be in a slightly squashed aspect ratio, which I promise bothers me more than it does you, but if I spent any more time trying to fix it I'd never get it done. Also, I set the .gifs to output at the frame rate of the source material so that they'd be as smooth and accurate as possible, and then I remembered that some browsers will slow .gifs down if they exceed a certain amount of frames per second, so they may look a little weird in, say, Internet Explorer.


We left off with Superman flying away after saving a plane, and there's a nice transition involving a man recording Superman. We're shown the footage as his camcorder is displaying it, complete with blinking red "REC." Then the show zooms in on the footage until you can't see the "REC" anymore, we hear Perry saying "freeze it!", and the show pulls back out and we're at the Daily Planet, where Perry, Clark, Lois, and Jimmy are watching the video. And the "pause" effect is done really well--and, again, like many details in this show, was not, strictly speaking, "necessary," but it really helps sell it.

"What is that?" Perry asks, gesturing to the screen.

Friday, May 30, 2014

Progress Report

I know I said I'd have the next blog post sooner, but stuff came up, and also I took my time making sure I liked it. Also I've been considering a couple design changes to the blog. Anyway, the next blog post is done. It will be posted on Monday, guaranteed unless it's posted on Tuesday. Until then, here is this video of Tim Conway going off-script on The Carol Burnett Show, which he usually did during every second taping:

Still waiting for it to be on Netflix.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Sick Day: Enjoy This Thing

Still under the weather, and busy as well. There's no Superman post today, but there absolutely will be a nice one tomorrow.

In the meantime, enjoy this hilarious video of Groucho Marx on What's My Line?:

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

All the Superman: The Animated Series Posts (Index)

This post will be updated each time there is a new post related to S:TAS. I might add brief descriptions of the topics of conversation later.

S1 E1: The Last Son of Krypton, Part I (A)

S1 E1: The Last Son of Krypton, Part I (B)

S1 E2: The Last Son of Krypton, Part II (A)

S1 E2: The Last Son of Krypton, Part II (B)

S1 E3: The Last Son of Krypton, Part III (A)

S1 E3: The Last Son of Krypton, Part III (B)

Superman: The Animated Series, Season 1 Ep. 3: The Last Son of Krypton, Part III (A)

Written by Alan Burnett, Paul Dini
Directed by Dan Riba, Bruce Timm

Prev. Installment  |  S:TAS Index  |  Introduction  |  Next Installment

The good news first: I have storyboards for the opening sequence!

Okay, now for the bad news: I have been feeling really sick recently and I think I'm coming down with something. I didn't want to go without an update for the next day, so I'm going to write up as much of this episode as I can before I need to start crawling into bed to try to head whatever-this-is off at the pass, and I'll schedule this post for publishing just in case I end up oversleeping.

Anyway, when last we left our hero, he had dodged a missile so successfully that it flew off in another direction and ended up hitting a plane's wing. Superman was... not thrilled about this turn of events.

The plane rescue sequence in Superman Returns was justly praised, and is one of the few universally-admired things in that movie. That being said, there's one aspect of the animated plane-rescue that I prefer. It took me a while to put my finger on it, but I think it's that the plane is closer to the ground and so Superman has to worry not just about saving the plane and the people on board, but about keeping everyone in the city safe as well. Don't get me wrong, the plane scene in Superman Returns has a different goal in mind, and it's still probably one of the best "Superman rescues people" scenes in live-action. I just like that the animated plane sequence has that added dimension.

In case you're wondering what the best "Superman rescue" is in the comics, I actually wouldn't pick any sort of big action set-piece (though again I am far from the foremost expert on comic-Superman). I think this one is the clear choice to lay odds on (from All-Star Superman by Morrison and Quitely). I'm not going to lie to any of you: I tear up or cry every time I read that. It's even better in context.

Anyway, at this point in his life Superman, it becomes clear, has never really had to stop a plane before. We know this because he goes right for the tail and tries to hold the plane back by pulling on it, which, as anyone can tell you, is the classic mistake of a first-timer.

Of course, the tail of the plane breaks off instead.

Superman berates himself with a biting "Nice one, Clark." Then he heads to catch up with the plane.

It's just three words, but it accomplishes a lot and I love it so much. Tim Daly's delivery is spot-on (I'll be talking more about Daly's voice-acting soon--I've got a whole series to cover here, I don't want to say everything at the beginning), and it's just a great little character moment. It really humanizes the super-human. I don't think I'd ever heard Superman talk to himself in the middle of a rescue before (I certainly can't think of anywhere else).

In the storyboards for this sequence (done by Butch Lukic), the tail of the plane doesn't break off: it's going too fast for Superman's fingers to do anything but dig grooves into it.

Monday, May 19, 2014

Superman: The Animated Series, Season 1 Ep. 2: The Last Son of Krypton, Part II (B)

Previous Installment  |  Index to All S:TAS Posts  |  Introduction  |  Next Installment

EDIT: Dana Delany retweeted my link to this blog post, which, uh... I didn't see coming. She has a lot more Twitter followers than I do, so I'd imagine there will be some people reading who are new to what I'm doing here. For those who are: this is actually a series of posts, and I try to do a new post about this show every day. Every two days at most. I hope you'll stick around! If you want, you can subscribe via email (top right column) or follow me on Twitter so that you don't miss any updates, because this won't be the last time I talk about Superman or Lois or Lex. Feel free to comment as well; I like to know people actually read what I wrote.

We cut to Metropolis. Appropriately, the very first thing we see in Metropolis is a Daily Planet delivery truck. On a nearby TV, there's a news story about the mysterious "angel" of Metropolis, and an interview with a little girl who fell from such a high story of a building that it makes me unsure of how great I feel about Metropolis's building codes. At any rate, according to the girl, she was saved by a blue angel with red wings.

We pull out from the television, now in the offices of The Daily Planet. Some of the staff are watching the news on a huge screen. "If it wasn't an angel that saved her, what was it?" the TV reporter asks, closing the piece.

A woman in a purple blazer and a skirt points at the TV with a ruler. "Friendly pigeons," she says.

Ladies and gentlemen, meet LOIS LANE.

Let me make one thing very, very clear: I absolutely love Lois Lane, and it's mainly because of this show. I LOVE this show's Lois. She's essentially been dropped in from a Howard Hawks movie (specifically, this Howard Hawks movie, except Lois, unlike Hildy, would never want to quit being a reporter), and it's just fantastic. (When I looked up the Delany interview I mention in a moment, it turns out she thought the exact same thing, so it's good that her performance really managed to convey that.) It is by far the best take I have ever seen. She's got that tough, competitive element to her that I think a lot of the portrayals of Lois either forget about or don't get quite right, although I'll admit I don't really remember much about Lois in the Christopher Reeve movies.

The tough, competitive element is definitely in the original conception of Lois. In Superman #3 (in a story which was reprinted in Action Comics #6), she tricks Clark into following a false lead so that she can cover a story that her editor thinks is... well, you'll see:

Which only serves to immediately make Lois scheme out loud:

At the same time, the show's portrayal of Lois also has her feminine side, if you want to call it that, which we'll see in a moment.

"Whatsamatter, Lois? Don'tcha believe in angels?" one of the men asks.

"It's TV, boys," she says. "Just a trumped-up story to boost ratings."

"And maybe sell some papers?" asks a man whose eyes look like inverted commas, showing her the Daily Planet's front page.

Cut to: Perry White's office. Lois barges right the heck in.

Perry looks mildly startled, but not very surprised, which is excellent.