Tuesday, August 9, 2011

No $#!+, Sherlock. - Comic Book Rehab Dime Novel, Issue #1

When people talk of adapting and updating Sherlock Holmes, they're really talking about the films. Whenever you see a new Holmes film with Watson and Lestrade left in the dust, that's not Conan  Doyle, that's Rathbone and Bruce. Curiously, the only time the 'canon' was ever faithfully adapted was when the late Jeremy Brett played Holmes in the !980's and early 90's in a series for British television that found its audience here in the USA on MYSTERY!. That's the exception.

Never mind exceptions, let's talk PERCEPTIONS. The new series of Sherlock Holmes adaptations is based on that. The new films with Robert Downey Jr. are taking their cues from Billy Wilder's "The Private Life Of Sherlock Holmes" by completely embracing the 'friends of Giuliano' rumors. Kingsley Amis, in his essay "Unreal Policemen", wrote that the magnifying glass and the dozen roses belong to two different worlds. Sherlock Holmes with a girlfriend gets in the way of solving the puzzle, so he has no girlfriend, but as a consequence, his "buddy" becomes more than his creator imagined. People read too much, don't they? The character and the stories were popular enough to inspire a cottage industry of imitators - all following the same approach, all stuck with alleged 'bachelors-in-the-closet' in thinly-realized worlds of their own, and the rise of the 'hard-boiled' school becomes its opposite number, with strong emphasis on the "one girlfriend a book" rule that Ian Fleming established in the Bond novels. That doesn't mean no fan hasn't tried to dig further than the surface...

Back to Holmes. The new Sherlock series with Cumberbatch (which really sounds like something you have to look for in the supermarket aisle) is not bad, even if it borrows heavily from Doctor Who - both have the hero/villain showdowns - and the use of the internet and smartphones seems forced (Holmes relied a lot more on logical inferences than that showy parlour trickof deducing a man's profile his hat, but the use of maps is acurrate). The first adventure really got rolling with the final confrontation, the second was a little too Fu Manchu-y, and I have not seen the last, in which Moriarty is revealed to be a nondescript guy in a suit with a smug smirk. Ooo, those nondescript baddies...

To be continued... (really? yeah. I'm gonna find the thrid story. Hold your breath) ;)

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

September Scrimmage - DC's Previews - Comic Book Rehab :Special issue #0

Last month, comic book stores gave away (well, I'm assuming YOUR STORE gave it away) free copies of a preview of the September relaunch, which is spining out of this summer's Crossover, FLASHPOINT. One thing I can tell you, the price point is still 3 bucks for most of the books. I'll come up with other usefull observations...

They look alike/they talk alike? - The solicitation form the new comic RED HOOD AND THE OUTLAWS hints that Red Hood (Jason Todd) is starting to act a lot like Grifter from the Wildcats.

Green Arrow - everyone's favorite writer, J.T. Krul is back with a new take on Oliver Queen. The murky "Watcher in the woods" angle is gone, replaced with a "World's Policeman" angle. And trick arrows. And Dan Jurgens on art, but a nice cover by Brett Booth. I hate when we have no clue what's inside but get nice art on the outside. It's like Boom!'s Ducktales comics - the covers by Leonel Castellini are fantastic, but they do not reflect what's happening inside - that's like false advertising. The inside is kind of like what a Gold Key Ducktales comic would've looked like if that company had survived.

Justice League - 2 books, one attempting a comeback with the late 80's-era league - sans Ted Kord, & BIG sucka', with Jim Lee art, that seems to be carrying this leaked-out angle that a big reset button has been pressed and, ... well, these are the only kinds of stories anyone knows how to tell anymore - origins, deaths, rebirths, weddings, funerals, godlike a-holes who shout dull speeches, zombies, and obnoxius awkward teenagers, which reminds me...

They're trying again with Blue Beetle - poor Jaimie. They try and try and puch and push and the only fans you've got are that little old spanish lady who (according to an anecdote by the character's creators) thought it was wonderful to have a latino superhero for kids to look up to. See, Jaime's got groupies - little old spanish ladies who'll buy his comic for their kids...who'll wonder why they didn't get Batman or Spider-Man comics, instead. Oh, and fans of Nova, the human rocket, who I'm convinced is the template for this incarnation of Blue Beetle - they'll be picking up the book too, just for the sake of remembering how 'cool' Nova was and maybe if they buy this, then Marvel will try a reviving Nova again. Yeah,yeah, that's the ticket.

Oh, and Superman. They've been wanting to erase his marriage to Lois Lane for years and years, and now they've got it, but that was the most distinctive element of the comics - you don't see a married Lois and Clark potrayed anywhere else in the media for any long period of time, so the comic will REALLY have to entertain us with a status quo that goes beyond dodging bullets and hoping over traffic.

Oh, and that guy with the bat ears. Batman gets to be just Bruce Wayne, again. Batgirl gets to be Barbara Gordon again. Damien gets to still be Robin. No clue on whether the book will go back to rehashing old "NYPD Blue" or disaster movie scripts like in the past. At least Converse like Batman's blue costume.

Oh, and there's a bunch of other books I didn't get to because there's too many that look like cannon fodder at the moment. I'll approach them when they appear on the shelves.

Take care - behave yourselves.