Saturday, October 18, 2014

Two Blonde Dudes

I might have said something about finishing my dark heart of the soul analysis of Twin Peaks as a reworking of Peter Pan, but that shit be dark and depressing, and I got a little weekend getaway in Kyoto planned, so I felt more emotionally comfortable blogging about two white bread characters. Just be grateful I didn't have the time to include other blondes like Barry Allen (now a brunet on the CW), John Constantine (dyed thanks to NBC), or Animal Man

The Brave, the Bold, and the Blonde gender bender await after the jump!

Green Arrow

Before I joined the Church of Morrison comics, Denny O’Neil was my patron saint. His novelization of Batman: Knightfall became my bible from then onwards one sophomore day I covertly purchased it from a bookshop. Repeatedly reading that and later seeing Batman Begins motivated me enough to fall down the comics’ rabbit hole after about a 7 year absence. Knightfall’s intro or afterword, I forget, by Greg Rucka (No slouch when it comes to writing great comics, Gotham Central, Wonder Woman, Wolverine, to name a few) helped point me in the right direction towards some guys named Frank Miller, Neal Adams, and of course Denny O’Neil’s seminal run not just on Batman, but Green Arrow. Rucka described how O’Neil reworked what for decades was an unapologetic Batman knockoff, complete with ward sidekick, Arrow Car/Plane/whateva, millionaire alter ego, and striped the character of his wealth, housed him in a poverty stricken tenement, and made the once square jaw WASP a vocal opponent of racism, pollution, government corruption, and anything else a 90s Captain Planet might encounter. With my Bruce Springsteen fanaticism and Joe Strummer Punk leanings, of course I was going to fall in love with Green Arrow. I could have been Marty’s mom in Back to the Future and GA suddenly swoops in with the pick up line,“I’m your density…”

Down with Fat Cats, Daddy O

It wasn’t until College that I got to read O’Neil reshaping of Green Arrow, which began in Justice League of America and carried over as the anarchistic counter to the more straight laced Green Lantern in Hard Traveling Heroes. I’ve talked about “The Killing of an Archer” before when GA accidentally causes the death of a criminal, then tears up his costume and bow, crashes his Arrow Plane into a mountain in Northern Cali, and seeks forgiveness from a monastery of Zen monk archers.

By now we’re so familiar with the hero who gets beaten down and has everything stripped away, just so he can rise up stronger than before. It’s an archetypical tale older than comics, yet it wasn’t commonplace in comics until O’Neil, and of course Neal Adam’s (responsible for so many amazing stories, but deserves a unique prize for Green Arrow’s Van Dyke beard) retooling of GA. Frank Miller, an admitted student of O’Neil and Adams, during his run on Daredevil and hitting it’s peak in Daredevil: Born Again had the hero being put through a very similar ringer and deconstruction.

Pain. Miller eats pain in the morning with a side of cornflakes, Jack

With Arrow in its 3rd season and Ollie’s billionaire company drying up, I’m hoping the writers give the character the liberal bleeding heart his counterpart in the comics, as well as myself share.


I have solved DC’s Aquaman problem.

Besides being an intense comic book fan (is there any other), I consider myself to be quite the pretentious film buff. I’m talking Kubrick, Spielberg, 40s film noir, Eastwood, Coppalla, Hitchcock, James Bond counts, Lynch, Scorsese, Carpenter, but the one who I consider the greatest… Kurosawa. The reason I’ve been in Japan for the past four years. The director’s masterpiece, Seven Samurai, should be ripped off entirely for a blockbuster Justice League film, which could be the greatest single achievement in superhero cinema… and maybe salvage any respect I could possibly have for Zack Snyder.

If you’re not familiar with the basic plot of the aforementioned film or it’s cool Western remake The Magnificent Seven they both involve a poor small village being forced to hire sword/gunmen for protection against a group of 40 horsed bandits. The farmers can only offer food and board for protection so that only invites the truly honorable, thrill seeking, or experience lacking individuals to fight off impossible odds. There’s no better way to spend 3 hours and 40 minutes with a Criterion Collection Edition on a rainy Rashomon day!

Obviously you’d substitute a rural village for a distant planet or parallel dimension, but here’s how the character archetypes breakdown;

The Leader, who although physically skilled, can provoke respect or intimidation with only a glance


The Zen Warrior, who seeks only to perfect one’s craft, yet chooses violence as the last course of action

Wonder Woman

The Right Hand Confidant, who having just met the leader, takes an immediate liking and interest in his actions

J’onn J’onzz (Martian Manhunter)= Steve McQueen

The Jester, who brightens the group morale in dark times

Plastic Man

The Student, who is under the tutelage of the Leader, and involved in a tragic romance that comments on social prejudice

Could throw in Jon Stewart or Kyle Ryner GL, but Black Canary won’t let WW be the only chick in this fan fictional pipe dream

The Mysterious Man with No Name, who I’m drafting in from Kurosawa’s Yojimbo, which spawned Clint Eastwood’s stardom and prompted Frank Miller to write Dirty Harry Batman in TDKR

I don't care what they say, I love you All Star Batman & Robin the Boy Wonder

The Rebel Outsider, who although an enthusiastic and adept fighter, can never do enough to be fully accepted by the group

Aquaman! Two Toshiro Mifunes for the price of one Justice League movie. The Mifune performance in Seven Samurai steals the show, which has much to do with the actor’s manic acting approach, and sympathetic back-story makes him the most accessible stand in for the audience. Just imagine Aquaman meeting up with the JLA for the first time and puffing his chest, going on about being the descendent to the throne of Atlantis. Of course Aquaman is fit for comedy, but he needs to have some sense of redemption in a story, which wasn’t the case when Geoff Johns made the king of the seven seas a MadTV inspired whipping boy with the constant barrage of lame fish jokes at the start of the New52. Seriously… fish jokes, daddy issues(added to the list along with Green Lantern, Flash, Capt. Cold, Cyborg, Earth One Batman of Johns resume), and a murdering back-story

"I don't talk to fish" actual Geoff Johns dialogue. Not actual Ivan Reis art

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