This article contains SPOILERS. If you haven’t read the issue yet, proceed at your own risk!
It’s been fascinating watching Chip Zdarsky evolve as a writer. While I once thought of him primarily as a humorist, over the last few years it’s become apparent that his greatest strength is actually his ability to find the humanity in any character he touches, even villains. Throughout his run on Peter Parker: The Spectacular Spider-Man Zdarsky’s turned that into a strength of Peter’s as well, having him “defeat” several of his opponents (J. Jonah Jameson, The Tinkerer) by connecting and empathizing with them, by appealing to their shared humanity. Issue 308 pulls off the same feat with a particularly tricky character to humanize: The Sandman. Continue reading →
This article contains SPOILERS! If you haven’t read the issue, proceed at your own risk.
Charlie: I’ve written myself into my screenplay.
Donald: That’s kind of weird, huh?
To call Adaptation “kind of weird” would be putting it mildly — ostensibly about Charlie Kaufman’s attempt to adapt Susan Orlean’s The Orchid Thief, the movie is ultimately about itself, but becomes this weird fictionalized version of itself, as Kaufman invents a twin brother to introduce hackneyed thriller elements to the film’s closing acts. It’s much, much weirder than someone simply writing themself into their own screenplay. Heck, the actual script is credited to both Charlie and Donald Kaufman, and both were nominated for an Academy Award for best adapted screenplay even though Donald is a fictional character (or, arguably, a manifestation of Charlie’s most commercial writing instincts). But I think Mister Miracle 5 might just top it for meta weirdness, serving as a kind of final word on comics’ own Charlie and Donald Kaufman — Jack Kirby and Funky Flashman. Continue reading →
Today, Patrick and Shelby are discussing FF 11, originally released August 28th, 2013.
Patrick: I don’t care how many times we say it around here — it bears repeating: comics are weird. Every time I think I get a handle on the time travel, or space travel, or clones, or moloids or whatever, I discover that the well of weird is deeper than I could ever imagine. Enter: The Impossible Man. Who’s The Impossible Man? Just a shapeshifting alien with nearly unlimited power and a comprehensive knowledge of (and fascination with) Earth popular culture. I did a little rudimentary research, just to familiarize myself with the character, and my favorite piece of trivia about The Impossible Man is that he once talked Galactus out of eating Earth, and then celebrated by going to the Marvel offices and demanding that Stan Lee give him is own solo series. It is in that spirit that FF 11 introduces his son.
Today, Patrick and Drew are discussing FF 10, originally released July 31st, 2013.
“I’ve written myself into my own script.”
“That’s kinda weird, huh?”
“It’s self-indulgent! It’s narcissistic! It’s solipsistic! It’s pathetic! I’m pathetic and I’m fat and pathetic!”
Nick Cage as Charlie and Donald Kaufman, Adaptation
Patrick: Adaptation is the best narrative I’ve ever encountered that directly confronts the challenges of portraying beauty abstractly. The screenplay works incredibly hard to achieve this, constantly doubling down on both its own cleverness and its disdain for said cleverness. Screenwriter Charlie Kaufman does this my making himself a character in his own movie about adapting the book he’s been hired to adapt. If that sentence seemed to loop back on itself — and consequently, not make any sense — that’s because the film really needs to be experienced to be understood. Matt Fraction inserts himself, artist Mike Allred and editor Tom Brevoort into this issue of FF, but the lessons he offers have more to do with history than with expression. Plus, he makes himself say “ginchy,” like he’s Velma from Scooby-Doo, so you know it’s a home run.
The Retcon Punchers spend an awful lot of time looking for ways to celebrate our nerdy obsessions. This means a lot of time sunk into scouring Etsy, Deviant Art, Think Geek or whatever. Sometimes we see things so great we just have to share them… and then clutch them fiercely to our collective chest. Throw it in The Vault.
Who Would Love This: Those who want to dive deeper into the rabbit hole of comic books.
First of all, yes that was Stan Lee! Alright, so this isn’t exactly a geeky product you’d find on Think Geek or Etsy, but it certainly does help us celebrate and even explore our nerdy obsessions. Mark Waid (of Daredevil fame) has introduced the first comics specific Massive Open Online Course, or M.O.O.C. for short. That means this is FREE and available to EVERYONE! All you need is the internet and a geeky appreciation of comics. That also means you get special access to interviews with some of the biggest names in comics. Names like Brian Bendis, Scott Snyder, Brian K. Vaughn, Gail Simone, Jonathan Hickman, and MORE. Class begins on April 2nd and you can register right NOW! To get all the details check out Mr. Waid’s blog. Lastly, if you’re as excited about this as we are here at Retcon Punch then help spread the word!