29.10.14

The Two-Hundred-Eleventh Greatest Panel in the History of Comics

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Dear lord, is there anything better than metaphorical title pages? We know that a beat cop isn't going to go to a lost valley and fight a dragon, he's going to punch smugglers, one of them presumably going by the codename 'the green dragon'.

But just for one page, it's wonderful to pretend, isn't it?

22.10.14

The Two-Hundred-Tenth Greatest Panel in the History of Comics

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Oh my god, is there anything that isn't awful about this? Plastic Man is choking a chief with a peace pipe, a brave is running out of a teepee, wielding a stone tomahawk, and there's a war dance going on in the background.

If that weren't bad enough, there is - for absolutely no reason - a Swastika on the side of the teepee. Are these Nazi Injuns?

What is going on?

And how sad is it that The Spirit feels he has to beg for your attention from a corner of the cover?

15.10.14

The Two-Hundred-Ninth Greatest Panel in the History of Comics

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It doesn't happen that much, but sometimes I just have to pause and marvel when I see some great non-Spirit visual storytelling.

10.10.14

Filmmaking errors and their effects on narrative.

So imagine a movie that opens with a child being kidnapped. That kidnapping sets the plot in motion, and the search for the child is the main action of the film, with the identity of the kidnappers being a central mystery. Now imagine, two minutes later, a scene in which the mother, before the police come to tell her about her missing child, is talking on the phone in her living room, and in a mirror on the wall, the child is plainly visible getting a drink of water in the kitchen.

If you saw that, wouldn't you spend the rest of the film wondering what the mother's connection to the kidnapping was, and how the child was back at home after we saw them being abducted? Wouldn't it be a little infuriating if the film never addressed it?

Of course, from the filmmakers' point of view, none of this screwing with the audience was ever intended - during the editing process, they moved the kidnapping up to the start of the film, but they needed the content of the phone call to set something up in a later scene. Feeling that a flashback might be confusing, they just edited all of the shots of the child from the phone call scene, and then pretended that the phone call scene was taking place after the kidnapping, but before the mother finds out about it. Unfortunately, they missed the reflection in a couple of the shots, and they wound up leaving a deeply confusing image in the film.

Can an observant viewer be blamed for letting the awareness of that reflection colour their impressions and expectations of the rest of the film? This isn't like seeing wires attached to monster heads, or a boom mike drifting into the top of frame. This is an error that doesn't look like a mistake, and has the potential to drastically change the meaning of the film - possibly the most severe kind of mistake.

Which brings me to Curse of Chucky.

8.10.14

The Two-Hundred-Eighth Greatest Panel in the History of Comics

DuPont Firecrackers? What? Is that a thing people call dynamite? Why?

This calls for an investigation!

1.10.14

The Two-Hundred-Seventh Greatest Panel in the History of Comics

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Okay, all that is great, caption boxes, but is no one going to address the fact that the cobra is guarding a bag of gold coins? How is that not the most important part of this image?

24.9.14

The Two-Hundred-Sixth Greatest Panel in the History of Comics


This is Destiny riding a horse. Why is it that a man in a suit riding a horse such a bizarre image. Does this just never happen in fiction?

Is it just that the suit is buttoned up? Is it the yellow tie?

In any event, this image fascinates me!

17.9.14

The Two-Hundred-Fifth Greatest Panel in the History of Comics

Wow. A single comic panel that understands the FBI better than literally ever show on television.

Not that the boss here stops Plastic Man from solving the crime anyhow.

10.9.14

The Two-Hundred-Fourth Greatest Panel in the History of Comics

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No one - not even her father, the Senator, -can recognize Phantom Lady, who doesn't disguise herself in any way, shape, or form.

Sigh.

3.9.14

The Two-Hundred-Third Greatest Panel in the History of Comics

She's just broken that guy's neck, right? I mean, that's the only way to interpret a stomp on the throat with a corresponding lump at the back of the neck and the bizarre angle it's twisted at, isn't it?

27.8.14

The Two-Hundred-Second Greatest Panel in the History of Comics


No, but I'm fairly sure shooting a corpse is some kind of a crime, isn't it? Great crazy-face, though. Keep that up.

20.8.14

The Two-Hundred-First Greatest Panel in the History of Comics

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A full-sized devil with no corresponding angel? Man, Hustace didn't stand a chance.

13.8.14

The Two-Hundredth Greatest Panel in the History of Comics

What's the best part about this? The comma in the headline? The reference to a handlebar-mustachioed boxer from the 1880s? The fact that the newspaper is the "Daily Morgue"?

Obviously, the answer is 'everything'. Everything is the best part.

12.8.14

The Hidden Hand: Alien Contact and Government Coverups "Review"

I watched this documentary the other day, and found it to be lacking in any sort of clear narrative whatsoever. It's nothing more than a series of often-contradictory testimonials from a series of interviewees of vastly differing credibility levels. I mention it here because I noticed two interesting things while watching it.

Thing Number 1-

If you took the audio of a group of people talking about the PTSD effects of being abducted by aliens, then removed all of the mentions of aliens, and just left in about how it's impacted their lives, it would be indistinguishable from the audio of a group of child molestation survivors.

Thing Number 2-

The photo that the filmmakers used to represent 'Men in Black'

Is pretty clearly two guys cosplaying as the Blues Brothers.

9.8.14

Criminal Minds 804: God Complex

In the background, a slight beeping. In the foreground, a person on a makeshift operating table. This probably won't go well for the patient, who's just coming out of sedation. He sits up and looks around, noticing that his arms aren't strapped down at all, he has a chance to take out the oxygen tube going to his nose. Troublingly, a dotted line has been drawn on his right leg, noting the optimal place for amputation. Before he can decide how he feels about any of this, the 'doctor' comes in and is surprised-

Wait, is that Ray Wise? How weird would it be if I could recognize Ray Wise by that little of his face? No, more likely it's just a guy who looks like Ray Wise.

Where was I? Right, the doctor and patient look at each other for a moment, then start fighting. Doc is able to overpower the still-groggy patient, then uses a mask to knock him out. We cut to him sometime later, waking up in a hotel room, missing a leg! For a second there, I thought he was just having nightmare about something that happened a while ago, but no - this is a fresh amputation!

Then we stop by DC, where Reid is on a payphone that's attached to absolutely nothing. Check it out.


No wires of any kind. How is he making a phone call? Also, can we pause for a second to feel sorry for whosever job it was to create the pretense that this shot was occurring in DC? 'Oh, we'll just put the Washington Monument in the background, that'll make it look right, won't it? Sure it will - unless you were to, say, completely mess up the transparency of the various layers while doing it, and made that phone line mysteriously disappear. Also, why did you leave in that 15-story apartment building in the background? Do you know noting about DC architecture? This is like the palm trees at the DC train station, or the time you could see the side of a soundstage in the 'French Quarter'. Come on guys, you're being paid money to do a job. A little less half-assing, please?

So, the phone call -   Reid dials a number, it beeps once, and he hangs up. Then he pulls out a copy of
'The Sign of Four' and resumes reading it-


Although that book seems really thick to just be 'The Sign of Four'. Is he reading in super-large print because of those mysterious headaches that were never explained/resolved?

The pay phone then rings and Reid answers it - can you call a payphone? I'd guess he's using some phone-phreak style workaround. Anyhow, on the line is a woman who's puzzled because they normally talk on Sundays. Does Reid have a secret girlfriend? They talk about his headaches, which seems to have gone altogether (thanks for the resolution, show!), and generally seem to enjoy chatting.

I'm distracted by the fact that in the tracking shot of Reid, despite the fact that we're moving just a few feet parallel to it, the Washington Monument has massively shrunk-


And although you can't see it in still photos, the graphics people couldn't get it to move at the same rate as the camera, so there's a stutter to its movements. But enough nitpickery, back to Reid and his lady-friend! Also apparently the 15-story apartment building is fake as well, given how much it's moved. I'm sure the clock tower isn't real either, even though it remains fairly consistent.

The show refuses to let us see what phone lady looks like, other than that she has long brown hair. Apparently they've been talking on the phone for six months, but have no idea what each other look like. She is consulting on his condition somehow, because he sent her the MRI of his brain. Then they tell each other to 'be safe', and talk about the possibility that someone 'knows about them'. Does she have a husband who's weirdly protective? Is that who was photographing the team in the season opener? Are none of these things connected at all?

Let's find out together!

In the office, Garcia presents the case- they're going to New Mexico, where someone is snatching guys, cutting off their right legs, and then letting them go! One in a motel, the other, who died in the procedure, was 'let go' in a ditch across the border. How the heck did a guy smuggle a one-legged and sedated man into a hotel without being noticed?

Derek asks if this is drug related, what with it being in cartel country, but Garcia claims that both victims said they had no involvement. Which is a weird thing for her to offer, considering that one of the victims is a decomposed corpse.

Alex says that since both legs were severed and then professionally sutured, they must be looking for a doctor. This causes Joe to say 'That's a first.', which makes me sad.

First off, this wouldn't be the first serial killing doctor ever. More importantly, you don't need to be a doctor to be able to amputate a limb and sew it shut. Nurses or EMTs should have all the skills necessary. Reid points out that the 'surgeon' didn't even do that good a job, and he's more accurately referred to as a 'butcher'. Good, although it might have been neat if Reid had said 'barber', referring to the medieval practice of guesswork-based surgery.

Meanwhile, the killer is dragging another victim out of an ambulance as the groggy man asks what's happening. The killer responds, and based on his voice I can confirm that yes, it is Ray Wise, who I can apparently recognize based solely on his eyes, forehead, and a bit of his hair. Weird.