The Roundtable


NOTE: The individual opinions of each Roundtable contributor is their own, and is not representative of anybody but that contributor.

NOTE: Because Megan’s guest stint on the Roundtable was a huge ratings booster, Ben shamelessly tried to duplicate that success this week by bugging whatever friends of his were online when he was editing this”¦you’ve been warned”¦

Warner Bros. to begin releasing DVD sets of Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman in 2005

Ben Morse (Co-Editor-In-Chief of The Nexus & writer of The Watchtower): Woohoo! If there was any show outside of Melrose Place I was waiting to get the DVD treatment, this was it. Yeah, it got pretty bad in the later seasons, but the second and especially the first season of this show were simply incredible and I absolutely love Dean Cain, Teri Hatcher and John Shea; really looking forward to this.

Jesse Baker (Nexus reviewer): That would be good if only because I can finally have the first (and only good) season of the show on DVD.

Manolis Vamvounis (Writer of Leave Your Spandex @ The Door): The first season was really spectacular, but I think the whole thing shimmered down after the big marriage. Isn’t that always the case for all tv series? Introduce a marriage and BOOM, it all goes to hell on the express route.

Paul Sebert (Nexus contributor): Ah “Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman,” someone really study the show’s second season for a dissertation on how destroy a successful television series. If I recall correctly the ABC Network fired the creator of the show after the first season because 1. He didn’t want the two to get married, and 2, He didn’t want to “camp up” the show.

Turns out he was right on both parts.

Actually to be fair… while a lot of people like to point to the marriage plot as the point the show went wrong, well… to be fair a LOT of the show was going wrong before the marriage episode. I mean the show had a frog-eating Lois Clone, AND an amnesia plot to boot leading into that.

Jordan Geary (Nexus Senior Political Correspondent): Man, I never watched that show. But if it’s got more of Teri Hatcher bantering with that lovable Howie Long count me in!

Eric Bana expressing interest in returning for Hulk movie sequel

Ben Morse: Cool; I thought the first one was very underrated and Eric Bana (particularly after Troy) can do no wrong in my eyes. It would be nice if they could get Ang Lee back given how unique his style was, but I’m not holding my breath.

Jesse Baker: No Hulk sequels unless they can get Ang Lee to direct the sequel. The Hulk film has to be my favorite of the recent string of Marvel films and I’d hate to see it be dumbed down if and when they do a sequel…

“Starman” Matt Morrison (Writer of Looking To The Stars): Matt Morrison interested in knowing who actually wants a Hulk sequel… oh, sorry Jesse.

Manolis Vamvounis: I hope they manage to get a half-way decent scriptwriter this time around and manage to spend their CGI money on actually creating a Hulk fit for the big screen. Ang Lee’s unique direction was the saving grace of the first Hulk movie, when everything else was falling apart, Check my original Hulk movie review to jog your memory.

Jamie Hatton (Writer of Diner Talk & Nexus reviewer): ME NO LIKE HULK! ME NO CARE!

Paul Sebert: I’m one of the minority of folk here who really enjoyed the first Hulk movie, and sign me up if there’s a sequel.

I just realized I found myself agreeing with Jesse on not one but two different issues.

This must be some sign of the coming Robot Zombie Apocalypse.

Morrison: No, this is just a seal breaking.

The end won’t be nigh until Judd Winick writes a comic without a supporting character getting a slow-death disease and one demon attack every six months.

Expect Batgirl to test positive for Rabies soon as “War Games” is over.

Sebert: I thought it wasn’t a Judd Winnick comic unless there was at least one
supporting member (usually a girl) with Red (Brick), Purple (Blink), Green (Jade), or Blue Skin (Nocturne, Indigo).

But seriously… cut the guy a little slack Matt. The guy had a friend die of the disease so he’s writing from the heart, AND this *is* precisely the kind of thing Adam/O’Neal would do if they were still doing their topical Green Lantern/Green Arrow thing today.

Besides I don’t see any other books on the shelves dealing with this issue.

Jordan Geary: Eric Bana in a sequel! I’m going Bana-nas!

Jefferson C. Post (Freelance Vigilante Sociopath): Well, I didn’t see the movie, so I just watched some trailers to see if that would be enlightening. All I saw was him staring unblinkingly at things, so at least they’ll know they can use a lot of eye shots of him changing. But I will say that he does look too much like an enlisted man; He looks ready to kill people before he changes.

Sony Chairman joins list of people who want Spider-Man 3 to be the last film in the series

Matt Morrison: I’m glad to hear it. It would be a shame if they tried to do anymore with anyone outside of the original cast and production team, and pretty much everyone involved said that the third movie would be the last for them.

Manolis Vamvounis: Both Spider-Man movies have set new sales records when they were released, and I don’t see the trend dying in the third release either. I think Spidey will be the new James Bond franchise, only, you know… good!

Jamie Hatton: All good things must come to an end – and I have to agree that 3 is pretty much it on a superhero franchise. Maguire doesn’t wanna be Spidey forever, and I sure as hell may not know why, but I respect his decisions.

Jefferson C. Post: Well, I only saw the second one. My reasoning was, “Well, my brother and mother said that the first one was really sappy. The second one will probably have less since the first did all the emotional trauma setup.” Except for the scenes with Bruce Campbell, Doc-Oc, Jameson, and the awaken scene that looked like a recreation of Evil Dead, I had some problems with it. Here’s what I said to the person watching the movie with me: “Hey Mom, I’m going to distract myself from this by cutting off my left testicle now.”

Jordan Geary: It’s about time that Sony realized that it’s time for Spider-Man to go back to the home it was always meant to have: The Broadway stage!

Ben Morse: Actually, we talked about a possible Spider-Man musical with U2 doing the music in this column a couple months back”¦

Geary: Am I dreaming?

Morse: No, no you’re not”¦

RUMOR: Supergirl movie in the works

Matt Morrison: Could we get Supergirl back in the comics, first?

Ben Morse: We do”¦oh wait, no we don’t”¦wait, yes we do”¦wait”¦

Tim Stevens (Writer of DC News & Views & Nexus reviewer): ARRGH!!! Tim so confused! Why so many Supergirls?!!!!

Morse: Anybody else notice that both Jamie and Tim “hulked out” in the same week? Coincidence”¦?

Paul Sebert: True story, a couple of years ago I found a copy of the two-disk collector’s DVD set of the 1984 film at K-Mart for under 10. This set featured a whopping 140-minute cut of the film, which in my view stands as a testament to man’s inhumanity to man.

Anyway I gave this set as a gag-gift to a Superman obsessed friend of mine and the look of dumbfounded horror on his face was priceless.

Manolis Vamvounis: Oh, nice, we can then get a movie tie-in supergirl comic, I don’t think we have enough girls in red capes and short skirts flying around the DCU right now, they could always use a boost in their ranks.

Kidding aside, I had quite enjoyed the original Supergirl movie, but Warner hasn’t been so good with their comics franchise properties lately (coughs up a furball).

Jamie Hatton: Midriff and Miniskirt Supergirl or Blue unitard and red skirt Supergirl? I want sexy options!!!

Jordan Geary: The only way they will salvage that one and not ruin DC comics movies altogether is if they slap a wig on Christopher Walken, but you know some insolent little chick will play her like Hilary Duff or Ben Affleck.

Jefferson C. Post: I just hope they pick the actress on her abilities and not how much ballast she’ll have while flying.

Chris Bachalo confirms he will be working on a weekly six issue Age of Apocalypse mini-series beginning in February, 2005

Manolis Vamvounis: Remember Marvel’s last AOA anniversary event? ”Ages of Apocalypse”? Or the horrid BLINK mini? The success of this will depend on the writer, although I’m pretty sure it’s gonna be Robert Kirkman, he’s succeeded Chuck Austen as Marvel’s go-to guy.
I’ve become disenchanted with Chris Bachalo’s work in the past years, I think the writer he’s paired up with is instrumental in the quality of the end result. I hope they can get Scott Lobdell on-board, he was the mastermind behind the original AOA, remember?

Jamie Hatton: I know I know, I’m not the majority opinion on this, but I am such a fanboy for Age Of Apoc. that it really doesn’t matter what you all think. Chris Bachalo’s Generation X work was some of my favorite comic books of the 90’s and all I can do is drool over this. Ben, Daron”¦since all of these folks are too shortsighted to see how cool this is – I personally will review EACH and EVERY book that comes out. I’ll turn it into a little mini-event. If it sucks, I’ll admit it, but damnit – It deserves it’s fair shake.

Kay, I’ll get off my soapbox now.

Ben Morse: Loved AOA, can’t stand Bachalo’s work, especially of late.

In all fairness though, Manny, “Ages of Apocalypse” was a story driven more by events taking place in the X-titles proper than by the original AOA.

You’re on Jamie”¦but only if you also agree to do a 36 part Youngblood: The Liefeld Years retrospective.

Hatton: 36 Parts? For god sakes man, I am only human. Hmm”¦
Part 1 – No. I’m not doing this
Part 2 – For God Sakes this is a lame idea.
Part 3 – Just for one AOA bit.. I can’t believe I’ve sunk this low

…Part 16: Kill me.

Part 35: Phew, that was easy.. Oh! Don’t read Youngblood by Liefeld.
Part 36: Fin.

Will something along these lines suffice?

Vamvounis: I got Youngblood 2-4 from a discount bookstore”¦it was 3 for 1$, I couldn’t resist”¦gonna review them sometime when I’m feeling mean… well, meanER….

Michigan “Harmful to Minors” case concludes (details available at Newsarama)

Jamie Hatton: As a SUPPORTER of the CBLDF, I’m sure the ‘members’ Ben and Tim will agree with me, as well as all the rest of you who give a damn about your first amendment freedoms that this helps. It’s not all encompassing – and it sure as hell sounds a little on the loose side, giving a judge a decision to say “Well, I don’t like it – so it’s smut” about anything that isn’t considered an educational ‘classic’ (They cite Catcher In The Rye as a perfect example), but the idea that retailers once again are able to rest a little easier by having books with a bit more risque content at the same time as children is always good.

Sadly this probably won’t set into motion a turnover of the Jesus Castillo as that was in Texas, and they’re idiots about the 1st amendment apparently – but it is a victory nonetheless.

Mia from Green Arrow revealed to be H.I.V. positive

Matt Morrison: Failing to think of any more exciting demon-fighting stories for the title, Winick turns to his other hallmark to boost sales on a sagging title: exploiting a tragedy in order to seem hip and cutting edge.
He did this with Terry Berg in GL. Now he’s doing it with Mia in GA. He’s trying to recreate the magic that made him a media darling with “Pedro and Me” by shameless copying the same situation and hoping the same lazy media hacks will photo-copy their reviews as he spiritually photocopies his plots.

Mike Maillaro (Nexus reviewer): Yep, that’s exactly how I see it, too. Sucks that a unique character that I actually enjoy will now be a frigging after school special.

Paul Sebert: You know I was really enjoying the current Green Arrow arc (Brick kicks ass) up until this little cliffhanger made me uneasy. It felt like Winick was trying waaaay to hard for an for a “relevant” feel ala the Adams/O’Neal Green Arrow stories of years gone by.

To be perfectly honest, I’m not really bothered so much by killing a very long established character like Sue Dibny or most of the Avengers Disasembled characters because well… those characters have years of stories that I can crack into when I feel like reading more about them. I’m bothered more by the recent killing or more recent, less established characters with untapped potential, such as Spoiler who’s pretty much confirmed to die in War Games, and Mia here.

If Winick plans on keeping Mia around for some time, and manages to play up
her heroic battle with the illness well then some good may come of this.

Tim Stevens: First, let’s just dispell a few things. This is the first of any of Winick’s character to contract a life threatening disease (unless you count being infected by the Brood). Pedro was a real person, Winick could hardly write about him without including the fact that the man was dying of AIDS. And, I fail to see how giving a fictional character this illness has anything to do with “copying” his work on Pedro & Me.

Second, this isn’t the same as Terry. Terry was gay and, eventually, beaten within an inch of his life. He didn’t have AIDS then or now. Mia is a straight woman who was a prostitute. This has more in common with Kevin Smith’s portrayal of Karen Page then it does with Terry.

Look, you may or may not like Winick’s style. You may or may not think he can pull this off, but to characterize this move as being somehow one note is silly. This is his first AIDS afflicted character. He has written 2 gay lead or supporting characters. One was Terry, the other was Sunfire over in Exiles. I thought his handling of Sunfire in reference to that gave rise to some very good stuff between her and Morph and her and the alternate universe Spider-Girl. But then that’s just me. However, the fact remains that it is unfair and untrue to characterize him as going back to this mystical “AIDS/gay” well as some are. Also, it is distressing how quickly AIDS and being gay got lumped together here and elsewhere on the net.

I’ve gone on for too long already, but eh, too bad. The “keep issues away from my comics” movement that seems so prevalent these days is honestly one of the most distressing things about comics to me right now. The fact is that comics have ALWAYS dealt with issues and it is foolish to think otherwise. Whether it be Superman tossing out slumlords, the “drug issues” of Amazing Spider-Man and GA/GL, (actually, choose any of those GA/GL issues during Denny O’Neill’s), Jim Wilson’s death from AIDS in Hulk, Shadowhawk’s death from AIDS, or tort reform in Daredevil (alright, that last one never happened) reflections of the “real” world have always been depicted in comics. And looking over that list, most of those stories are considered classic today, milestones of the industry. That is not to say comics cannot be fun or exciting or interesting. They can and they are. But why can’t they do both at the same time?

Again, this could be a question of people not believing Winick can pull off that balance. Fine, then say that. But if you’re point is indeed that comics should be escapist entertainment forever and always, I say you’re wrong. They never have been and I hope they never are.

And now, let me just put my soapbox away.

Morrison: Couple of things here.

First, Judd HAS done the “character dying of a disease” bit before. Ignorning “Pedro and Me,” His main character in “Blood and Water” was slowly dying of Hepitatus A and B and the story dealt with that as much as it did vampirism. I can’t vouch for any of his Marvel work, so maybe someone who reads Exiles can say if there’s anything there.

Secondly, the reason everyone draws connections between “Pedro and Me” and Terry Berg is because Winick created the Terry character and slowly did his realization, coming out and then the beating storyline, after which Terry slowly faded out of the title. This drew some parallels to Pedro’s trials and tribulations. Winick has said as much in the past. The problem is that Winick covered both these issues (HIV death and the problems of a gay man finding acceptance) very well in Pedro and Me. Further coverage of these issues seems exploitative.

Exploitation does not make a person a bad writer. There are many other things that I feel make Judd Winick a bad writer, but repeatedly using a friend’s death to get a paycheck is not one of them.

Finally, as for the issue of HIV= gay disease, that was not my intention nor, I think, even an issue in my posting. I’ve seen several people make that connection on other message boards and it sickens me to be connected with them. I’m sure that Tim was referring to them and not me: I’ve made such broad generalizations myself in the past and always been sorry for them.

And as a point of order, I believe the biggest risk group these days is young heterosexual white females in small towns, but I’ll admit to not being able to quote a direct study on that. Any and all lumping is due to Winick’s previous writings and not due to any attempt (on my part anyway) to equate homosexuals as being exclusive of having HIV or the AIDS virus.

Ben Morse: I’m with Tim as far as we should at least give this storyline a chance before burying it. Yeah, it could be awful, but at the same time, think of the potential: a well-written storyline in which readers grow attached to the character and learn about the disease through her struggle and then feel the sting of losing her when she inevitable passes away would go pretty damn far in raising AIDS awareness among a crowd that might not otherwise give a damn. There is great potential for failure here, but I admire Winick for taking the risk. And for those who say he’s just writing this storyline to “cash in” or make headlines, I’d remember that one of the man’s close friends passed away from this disease; if one of my close friends died from a disease, I can’t promise I’d be able to write a good, respectful story about it because I don’t have that much faith in my writing skills, but I can tell you this much: it would not be for lack of trying.

Morrison: Hey, I have no issues with a guy writing from the heart. It’s what I do. And Pedro and Me was a good book.

But there comes a time when digging at the ashes of tragedy in the hopes of making something positive becomes exploitation. And Winick has crossed that line with this.

In my opinion, Winick doesn’t do well when he gets preachy.

Sebert: Look, I’m sorry but when I consider what the guy’s been through… I think it gives him the right to write about homosexual characters and the subject of AIDs as much as he wants. These kinds of experiences never really leave you.

The way I see it, these are very legitimate issues almost nobody else in the industry is writing about them for fear of being labeled as “politically correct,” “agenda driven,” or “exploitive.” Winick should be commended for dealing with these issues.

Morrison: I have no objections to portraying these kind of things. What I object to is the heavy-handed manner in which Winick handles such things.

After Terry outed himself, you couldn’t see him in the book unless they were making a big honking deal about his homosexuality. Even if it was just 2 panels to show him calling Kyle from the gay/lesbian youth center to say he was going to be late for work, you could bet there would be a big “GAY AND LESBIAN YOUTH CENTER” sign behind him.

I’m just worried that, given past performance, the only time we see Mia is going to be as she’s lying in bed, screaming about how much the pneumonia she has hurts and how it wouldn’t have happened if she hadn’t turned tricks and Ollie will hug her and tell her it’s okay….

And here’s something that just occurred to me: putting her in Teen Titans? What’s wrong with Cissie King Jones, huh? Oh wait… she’s not diseased. It’s not edgy or hip enough….

Morse: That, or creators are respecting the fact that Peter David had Arrowette have the moral strength to retire after almost killing somebody and stick to her commitment to that retirement”¦

Manolis Vamvounis: I don’t see anything wrong about Judd ”infecting” Mia with HIV, if it is handled well it can be a good story and it can help raise awareness. Because of Judd’s friendship with Pedro he could be considered the ideal writer to tackle this. I haven’t read Pedro & Me yet, although it’s been sitting on my bookshelf for the last month, I haven’t had the time to get into it.

The only aspect of this story that feels fishy is that Judd is finally making Mia a superhero because she is revealed as HIV+. That doesn’t make sense. Superhero fights can get bloody; if Mia is cut during battle she poses a danger to both her teammates and her opponents. I’d like to see how this particular matter is addressed both in GA and in Teen Titans…

Morse: That is what will be the deal breaker here, how they handle issues like that.