-So I finally saw the new Spider-Man movie yesterday with my very patient, understanding wife. Everyone's criticism of it is basically right, I think--there really is way, way, way too much stuff in it. Contrary to most reviews I've read, we both thought Sandman was least essential part of the whole picture, and we both wanted more Venom (yeah, yeah, I wouldn't have guessed it either). Despite these reservations, I still enjoyed it more than nearly every other superhero movie I've seen. I've never liked the Superman movies, the Tim Burton Batmans haven't aged well (and I don't like Prince), and I'm not a big fan of the X-Men (or, for that matter, Bryan Singer). I liked the Christopher Nolan Batman and two much-maligned Marvel movies: the Hulk and the Fantastic Four. But I greatly prefer the three Spider-Man movies to any other superhero movie, simply because none of them are so entertaining. I'd love to see Sam Raimi direct more Spider-Man movies if he feels up to it. It's a perfect pairing.
-Disagreeing with Dirk: Mr. Deppey restates his "logic of the market" argument for sexism in Marvel/DC comics. Again, I totally disagree with his supposition that male superhero fans just aren't going to buy comics that don't feature the more egregious forms of objectification or weird, misogynistic writing. I guess it's possible that some of these readers would quit buying comics if they dropped all the cheesecake elements, but I don't think anyone's asking for that--spandex costumes will inevitably lead to at least some cheese- and beefcake. Actually, I strongly, strongly suspect that the rise of hypersexualized depictions of women was directly tied to more realistic, occasionally erotic depictions of roided up men in Marvel/DC comics. In that sense, I think the role of women in "mainstream" comics is similar to that of women in pro wrestling--they're there to provide cover for the screamingly obvious homoerotic displays of male flesh. "I'm not gay--I think Jean Grey is hot!", etc. However, comics are now such a niche market that I don't know how necessary those excuses are for the male hobbyist. Maybe there's some internal psychological rationalization going on. In any event, I really don't think Bill Jemas got fired because there wasn't enough T&A under his watch. It's kind of a silly assertion.
I also disagree with his market logic argument in that it takes a rather 19th century view of market forces. We're in a more mature period of capitalism where shareholder value often takes precedence over simple matters of growth and profit. Companies are responsive to pressure by outside activists because controversy can affect the value of its stock, which in turn leads to executives being fired. If bloggers are serious about changing the culture of "mainstream" comics, they should consider taking their complaints to executives who aren't knee deep in day-to-day publishing operations. This might be more effective at DC, due to the more diverse nature of the parent company's holdings (which is to say, some Time Warner execs are probably only dimly aware of DC's existence).
-Another funny review from Jeff Lester, this time re: Countdown. Don't sell coloring books short. My wife apparently learned of the existence of Green Arrow this way. Er, not that it set her off on a lifetime of reading comics. She liked that recent Stagger Lee comic, though.
(Also: Johanna Draper Carlson disses Mr. Lester in a sort of subtle way. Anyone else catch that?)
-From the realm of cookery, with minor Trader Joe's content: People will tell you that, in order to properly make homemade pizza, you need to (a) form the crust by pulling it out by hand, and (b) you should use a peel to transport the pizza in and out of the oven. I've tried to follow these laws of pizza making over the years, to occasionally disastrous results. So this weekend, armed with three bags of Trader Joe's refrigerated dough (more on that later), I decided to abandon these rules and make the pizza in a way that seems much more realistic. First, I rolled out the dough with a pin rather than stretching and tossing it. The result was a much, much bigger diameter without all the tearing. Second, I placed the crust directly on the heated pizza stone when I applied the toppings. I then put the stone back into the oven. So I was able to avoid the seismic waves which peel-shuffling usually produce, and thus the pizza actually kept its nice, round shape.
As for the Trader Joe's dough, it's all pretty good. The white and herb varieties are okay; I like the latter for garlic knots. The best of the bunch is the whole wheat dough, which is also surely the most nutritious of the three. They're all cheap (around a buck apiece), so I'd encourage my fellow amateur pizzaiolos to give them a try.
-Shit that no one cares about dept: Sorry to offend anyone with my orifice-derived lists yesterday.* To make it up to you, here's my annotated Let's All Be Friends List of Inoffensive Songs That the Writers for AMG Might Consider Punk If They Were Making a Similar List:
1. ??? (Can't remember the name of the woman who sang this)-"Turn the Beat Around"-I'm unsure if Disco is considered cool or not right now--it's hard to keep track of how the wheels of "I hate everything my parents hated, but I also hate anything remotely popular" are turning. But this is undeniably a disco song.
2. Pretenders-"Tattooed Apathetic Boys" This is the only Pretenders song I can remember, mostly because it was on one of the Guitar Hero games. I can't remember if I ever beat it. You know what song was fun on that first game? "Spanish Castle Magic," and I don't even like Hendrix!
3. Elvis-"Don't Be Cruel" Jerry Lee Lewis might have been a lot better, but Elvis is popular, thus he makes the list.
4. Dr. Know-(I actually can't remember any of their songs) I think there was a child actor in this band, giving them extra points for irony. Speaking of...
5. Old Skull-(I really, really don't know any of their songs because I've never heard them) I hear one of the members of this band now is a celebrated comics bloggger, but doesn't want any one to reveal his secret. Don't worry, dude, I won't spill the beans (and no, it's not who you think).
6. The Business-"Loud, Proud and Punk" This is one we can all sing along to in a moment of ironic white male hipster brotherhood.
7. Minor Threat-"Riot on Sunset Strip" I know some of you might deny the existence of this cover, but I assure you I have a copy. Ian McKaye turned it into an anthem about The Man trying to force the righteously nonconformist members of the band to drink beer and worship Jesus. I'll let you hear it if you agree to be my friend.
8. Social Distortion-"Mommy's Little Monster" That is a song and not just the name of an album, right? Anyway, Mike Ness is a haunted poet who totally never ruined a Hank Williams song.
9. The Rising Storm-"Don't Look Back" It's inferior to the Remains' version, but it's also more obscure.
10. DI-"OC Life" I wanted to put one I liked on here.
*I really, really mean it.