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Is Jack Black Vulnerable To Yellow?



-- The Heavy Metal Maniac

Hey, I completely agree that Jack Black is wrong for Green Lantern, but I do think he's funny in the right parts. School of Rock was great. More importantly, he actually does a lot to help out those that don't have the clout he does; witness his producing and hosting the upcoming FX show "Channel 101," which gives comics a chance to do five minute sitcom pilots.

But I really wish that his integrity extended to telling Warner Brothers, "I'd love to do a superhero movie, big fan, but I'm not right for it." Of course, as more than one internet writer has pointed out, fans hated the idea of Michael Keaton as Batman, and look how that turned out. It took three whole movies to completely destroy that franchise.

That Hero Happy Hour Doesn't Sound So Happy...

I read your review of SHHH. I totally disagree with your opinion of this book. And, while I can understand that there are "different strokes for different folks", and that you don't like it, you could at least appreciate the originality of the concept of the series. Would you be happier if the characters just flew around the city and fought robots from the future? Or maybe battling another villian that was supposed to be dead for the fifth time? Saying you don't like it is one thing, but telling people not to bother with it is totally assinine.

-- Dave Hernandez

Rob Sparling responds:

Thanks for sending some feedback, even if it is of the negative variety. It's nice to know someone reads these things every once in a while.

I would stipulate that there isn't a lot of originality in the piece. The characters themselves aren't original, but rather archetypes of the characters that we've all grown up reading. The Guardian is a Superman clone. Feline is Catwoman for intents and purposes, or Tigra if you like. The Eradicator is a far less interesting Punisher. And if you don't know who Night Ranger is a bad homage to, you haven't been reading comics long. While it may be difficult to avoid these comparisons in modern comic book writing, there are more creative ways to use the archetypes than to simply place them in a bar to talk. Not even their names (Guardian and Eradicator are both well known to fans of Superman, and gee, a girl with cat powers called Feline? must have dug really deep for that one) are original.

As for the idea of putting superheroes in a bar? Not exactly the newest thing. Super Crullers/Common Grounds from Image places them in a coffee shop commiserating. Crack open ASTRO CITY: CONFESSION and you'll notice a superhero bar or two. And anyone remember Warriors from GREEN LANTERN, the bar run by Guy Gardner and meant to cater to superheroes? Warren Ellis's run on STORMWATCH was full of bars which were full of superheroes. It's not a new concept.

But it didn't have to be. A comic doesn't have to be new and groundbreaking to be a good comic; comics rehash stories and concepts like heroin addicts looking for one more good vein. The problem with Hero Happy Hour is that it never tries to be good. It never comments on the archetype characters it employs, never pokes fun at some of the funnier bits of superheroing that should be pointed out in a barroom setting. I am really astounded that so many people (2) liked this comic enough to even e-mail me, because nothing happens. There's no comedy; there's no drama; there's no action because the artwork and the story couldn't even put together a decent bar room brawl. Even the snarky comments made by the supposedly grizzled and world-weary bar super-patrons are barely below "polite" and I can't figure out why anyone would waste their hard earned money on it. The characters are just there, they just drink, and nothing happens. Money well wasted I say.

And to make yet another point: I review graphic novels. It is my job to recommend or not recommend them. So it's not "assinine" for me to suggest that people not buy a book that I did not think was good, because maybe, through some great coincidence or cosmic influx, if they stop buying badly written and badly drawn comics, those bad comics will no longer see print. What a literary utopia the industry could become. But they'd have to execute Chuck Austen.

Thanks again for writing.


If you just didn't "get" the book, you should have admitted it in your review. You made it quite clear that you were looking for this book to be something it's not. You also made it quite clear that you believe that if characters wear costumes, it should be just like every other super-hero book out there. This book isn't JLA, it's "Cheers" with costumes. If that's not your thing, fine. But don't call a book bad simply because you missed the point.

-- Lance W. Karutz

This makes me wonder: how does a reviewer know if he "gets" a book or not? If he doesn't like it, does that automatically mean he doesn't "get" it? I don't "get" necrophilia but I think I'm still on pretty safe ground saying it's bad.

Rob Sparling responds:

Thanks for sending feedback. It's nice to get some, even if it is negative.

Did I "get" the book? Yes, I think I did. I wasn't looking for the book to be anything but a good comic,and the fact that I found it lacking in this respect is the reason I gave it a bad review. To describe it as "Cheers with costumes" certainly lends itself to my point of view. Cheers was a funny show by itself, with a robust and great sense of its characters. Making a comic book in imitation of that comedy and slapping superheroes into the text is hack writing at its most obvious, beacuse the addition of superheroes adds nothing to the comedy; it's simply window dressing.

Why not write a story about funny people in a bar who aren't superheroes? Because the writers would have to be far more creative and actually attempt to make humorous situations out of the ordinarily mundane world. Like "Cheers" did. All Mr. Taylor and Mr. Fason did was to drudge out every stereotypical superhero pastiche and situation and threw them into the script hoping to grab some readers from a market already inundated with the superhero genre, with little or no attempt at humor, let alone human interest or drama or even the occasional deep philosophical moment; qualities that, once again, could all be found on "Cheers."

I would argue that this book is nothing like "Cheers" for all the reasons stated above, but more pointedly because "Cheers" was funny. "Hero Happy Hour" was not.

I would also like to point out that I'm kind of supposed to call a book "bad" or "good" because I review graphic novels. A pesky, but important part of the job I think. But hey, it's only my opinion. Which you took the time out to read, digest, and respond to.

Thanks again for writing.


OOOOOOOOOOOOhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh myyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy ggggggggooooooooooosssssssssssh jeremy supter is the boy alive you need more pics of him, any girls out there like my man and youll get the beat down i love you jeremy xoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxo holla cutay

-- Intim

This is why I had to return to teaching English....so there would be fewer letters like that floating around the internet. Punctuation, people. Simple punctuation.

The Spider-Man 2 / 3 Conundrum

Just saw 2. It rocked. I think that you're wrong about Connors though...The film basically smacked you in the face and said that we are returning the goblin...Whether it's the Green Goblin or a Sam Raimi Hobgoblin, Harry Osborne will be the next villain undoubtedly.

Unless Raimi decides to destroy the continuity of the series he's created...Goblin was primed... although they teased us with Connors...I think the Osborne saga ends in Spider-Man 3.

-- C. Dedmon

I am not a Hollywood playa (though Harry Knowles gives hope to us all), but my guess is that Spider-Man 3 will feature The Lizard as the villain, mainly because we've already seen a guy flying around in that armor. Or at least we'll have both, bowing to studio pressure to be a little more like the Batman franchise with more action figure possibilities. Why else make Dr. Connors one-armed, if not as a plot point we didn't even know would be a plot point?

I'd prefer that Harry at least become The Hobgoblin instead, but what have we seen that would lead us to believe that the character would show that much creativity or originality? He'll follow perfectly in Dad's footsteps.


I just saw Spider-man 2 tonight. I thought the movie was great and that you were too hard on it. Where the movie suffers (from no fault of it's own ) is that we expected it to be great. Sam Raimi after making such a good movie the first time had removed the trepidation that all comic book fans have before going to see a super-hero move (see Daredevil, Phantom, the Hulk, Superman 3 and 4, Batman and Robin; etc.) in a way that even Bryan Singer did not in the first X-men movie. the first Spider-man was great. I too found myself going into the movie thinking "allright Raimi, show me something!"

Yes, I picked up on the Superman 2 theme (Super-Heroes can't get laid and have superpowers at the same time) but Raimi did it better. Even the fight scenes were better and I up until now considered Superman 2 (minus the sex subplot with Lois Lane) to be the best super-hero movie to date. Now, kneel before Zod! I also noticed that even more people, know Spider-man's secret I.D. than Batman's but once again Raimi did it better. New Yorker's are apparantly the greatest people in the world and will rally around their own like no other people in the world.

The greatest part about Spider-man 2, however, are the scenes without Doc Ock. I've always made mine DC. I've never liked the perpetually whining of the Marvel characters. For the first time ever, Sam Raimi has made me understand. I get it now. I understand why people like Spider-Man and more I understand why people like Peter Parker. For a long period of time in the middle of the movie Doc Ock is nowhere around and I didn't miss him. Compare that to the first Batman movie.

If this movie suffers from second movieitis it is only because you are dying to see the third (and fourth or fifth film.) It seems clear that Raimi will have to deal with the Harry Osborn situation but he has also introduced us to the Lizard. Now even though I never expect to see Man-Wolf or Dr. Strange it was cool to have them alluded too. I want to see More Green Goblin, I want to see the Lizard, the Vulture. Venom, Carnage. Black Cat. Sam Raimi has made me think that Spider-man is cool and for the second time he has had me leave a movie theater feeling the same way I did when I was eight after seeing Superman the Movie. Tonight I believed that a man could climb walls.

-- Troy Benson

P.S. The Computer special effects on the characters needs to get better.

Something we can agree on without fear of reprisal.

The Haunted Hospital

I just read your on-line article on Linda Vista Hospital and the filming of Jekyll there. I went there with a friend who worked on that film as well to scout a movie location we're scheduled to do soon. We went there and it was open, and this deaf-mute caretaker walked us through...THAT shoulda been a movie itself!

-- Randy Greif

Remember...the dead are watching you. And signing insulting things behind your back.

The Villikon Chronicles of Riddick - ulous...

I also noticed the similarities between The Villikon Chronicles and The Chronicles of Riddick. Could there be more to this than we know? I read a synopsis of the Riddick character. He is told to be a legendary warrior foretold in religious prophecy. Sound familiar? I am a long-time VC fan, and I hope that if/when Villikon becomes a feature
film that Riddick hasn't spoiled much of Villikon's originality. I know that you would probably argue "What originality?" Be honest, have you read anything other that the graphic novels? The VC universe is an intricate story spanning 4 feature length screen plays. The novels just scratch the surface. Did Riddick steal some of Villikon's fire? I certainly hope not, but I'm very suspicious. There are too many similarities to not raise an eyebrow. This just can't be pure co-incidence.

-- M. Maxwell

Um...no. I haven't read anything other than the graphic novels (or rather, the 3-part single graphic novel). In truth, I wasn't aware that they had anything else out there for public consumption. I'll have to look them up at Comic-Con.

But again, I think the similarities are just coincidence -- a warrior foretold by prophecy is nothing new or original, and I don't mean that as a bad thing. Heck, you'll notice that both Anakin and Luke Skywalker have a hint of prophecy about them.

Look it up: it's all laid out by Joseph Campbell in Hero With A Thousand Faces.

That's it for this week -- but we've got a lot coming your way as a result of San Diego Comic-Con. Write to us; let us know how we're doing. And heck, go ahead and ask about the WB's Tarzan again. Live dangerously.

Derek McCaw

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