Monday is Frank Miller’s birthday. Whether you’re a comic book fan or not, if you’re at all familiar with Christopher Nolan’s Batman films (Tim Burton and Joel Schumacher’s Bat-movies were influenced as well), Netflix’s Daredevil series (and the Ben Affleck film), or the Sin City movies, you know Miller’s work.
The legendary comic book creator turns 63, and he’s still producing work. As could be expected, he’s no longer the prolific illustrator he once was, but is still writing Batman and Superman stories for DC Comics, and illustrating stories in his 300 mythology for Dark Horse Comics.
The Dark Knight Returns is one of my favorite stories throughout all of the movies, TV, and books I’ve enjoyed and studied in my life. An aging Batman’s regret over allowing The Joker to continue his murderous reign of crime was one of the most powerful elements of that story.
Free Comic Book Day is Saturday, May 4, and we talk to Scott Russell of Pastimes Comics and Games in Asheville, North Carolina about the business of running a comic book shop, how Free Comic Book Day affects it, and the overall health of the comics industry.
Scott is also The Podcass’s first interview! Hopefully, the first of many that eventually become a key part of the podcast. I want to talk to friends, colleagues, contemporaries, and others who I admire and make for compelling conversation. Thanks to Scott for his time, especially after an attempt to interview him for The Amusement Park Podcast fell through last November. I guess I have to keep giving him my money.
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If you hadn’t already heard (or read) the news, today (March 30, 2019) is the 80th anniversary of Batman’s debut in Detective Comics #27. To commemorate the occasion, DC Comics published the 1000th issue of Detective Comics.
Typical of comic books these days, a whole bunch of variant covers were released for the landmark issue. This is the one I ended up buying, a retro-style cover by Michael Cho.
Surprising myself, I passed on the Frank Miller cover. As much as I love Miller’s work — and the heavy influence he’s had on Batman — that illustration was messy and dark. I wanted something more fun. Cho’s cover also alludes to how versatile Batman is as a character. He works in any genre, any style, something I wrote about five years ago.
A few months ago, my nieces stopped over for a visit. With their mother around, watching TV or playing with the iPad wasn’t an option. So the kids went to Uncle Ian’s room to find some toys to play with or books to read.
While we were doodling on sketch pads, Junior Niece asked me, “Why do you like Batman so much?” What do you mean, kid? Why do you ask think I like Batman?She then took some Blu-rays from my TV stand and set them down in front of me. Hmm, the kid had a point.
Ask me to name my favorite TV shows of all time and Deadwood would be one of the three I list. Yet with each passing year, my memories of the series fade. I could go back any time and watch the show on HBO GO, but haven’t done so. There’s too much other TV to watch now, and I can’t keep with it. Adding an old favorite to the mix would just complicate matters.
But now, Deadwood fans are finally getting the ending we were deprived of 13 years ago. Unfortunately, it won’t be the finale we really wanted. It’s not a full fourth season. It won’t even be the two movies that series creator David Milch and HBO once agreed to. This will be whatever Milch (with the help of True Detective‘s Nic Pizzolatto) could distill into one two-hour movie which takes places years after we last saw Seth Bullock, Al Swearengen, and so many other residents of Deadwood, South Dakota.
This might be one of my more anti-social tendencies, but I enjoy going to the movies by myself. Mark Serrels planted his flag for solo moviegoing, calling it one of “life’s secret pleasures” in a piece for CNET, so I figured I’d share my feelings on the topic too.
Most people I know — and I presume most people you know — have a big hang-up about it, like going alone says something about you socially. Or maybe they just don’t like being by themselves in that kind of environment.
I totally understand. That was something I needed to get over too. And I feel the same way on a Friday or Saturday night, when it’s all couples at the theater. It feels awkward, especially if I’m unfortunate enough to be seated between two couples or groups. Most of my solo moviegoing is done during the day, and I imagine that’s the case for the majority of people who see a movie alone.
On the latest Amusement Park Podcast, we react to news of the next Batman movie being set for a Summer 2021 release and a younger Bruce Wayne meaning Ben Affleck will no longer play the role. We also review the entire Season 2 of The Punisher after delving into the first six episodes last week. And we review the latest DC animated movie, Reign of the Supermen.
Previously, I’ve just posted the same blurb and link to the podcast that you can find at the Amusement Park Podcast website. But I’d like to try and offer a bit more here at The Casselbloggy, especially for those who take the time to click over and read. I think it could be a good opportunity to discuss topics that didn’t make the cut or stuff that I intended to include but forgot to mention while we were recording.
That’s where I’d like to go this week because it’s bugging me that I forgot to talk about Punisher star Jon Bernthal and his voice for Frank Castle. I’ve seen Bernthal in several other movies and TV shows like The Walking Dead, Sicario, Show Me a Hero and The Ghost Writer, but had forgotten what his actual speaking voice sounds like. So when I watched some talk show clips of him, it was jolting to me how different he sounded from Frank Castle.
I know; it’s called acting! But it’s still impressive to me (and far more effective than, say, Christian Bale’s Batman voice) and a reminder of how deeply Bernthal lost himself in that role. It’s a damn shame that he probably won’t play The Punisher anymore.
Here we go again with a “I haven’t written anything for a while” post. But with the calendar turning to November, it seems like a good time to turn up the output here and provide some proof of (writing) life.
(I said the same thing to myself going into October, of course. Probably at the beginning of September too.)
I don’t get to write as much as I used to (though I almost took care of that with a job I was offered — but had to turn down — this past week), so I’d really like to take care of that with the blog and website that I put the effort in to set up. That includes the Amusement Park Podcast, where I intend to put most stuff on genre and geek subjects. I feel like writing holds me accountable somehow.
And I want to do these Not a Newsletter posts regularly. Newsletters are kind of the new blogs these days (actually, podcasts probably are) and if I thought I could assemble a decent subscriber base, I might do one. (Did I sound really old right there?)