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.
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.
When I was a kid, working in radio seemed like such a cool job. Every station had to be like WKRP in Cincinnati, right?
That delusion was first dispelled when I won a prize from the old WIQB (Rock 103!) in Ann Arbor and drove to the station to pick it up. Rather than a respectable office with the magic happening behind the glass, WIQB was basically a shack out in Saline.
As I grew older and got to know people in the radio business, I learned how brutal it could be. Many of them had been ruthlessly fired. (My podcast co-host was one of them.) Plenty of people in other lines of work have been let go because of salary cuts or job duties changing. But radio was supposed to be the cool job.
I was reminded again of how cruel working in radio could be earlier this week when a host I’ve worked with for years was fired. Here in Asheville, Bill McClement was a co-host on the sports talk show I’ve contributed to for nearly five years. I’ve talked to him two to three times a week throughout that time. I’ve sat in with him as a co-host a handful of times and always had great fun doing so.
Working at home, I’m not always the most social guy, so there have probably been many weeks when Bill was one of the few people with whom I had a conversation — even if it was about baseball for a segment on a sports talk radio show.
No, I don’t know all the details and probably never will. It’s not my business. But watching someone lose his job after 15 years with a company (and 40-plus years in the industry) is heartbreaking. It sure seems like he deserved better.
Will there be an Avengers 4 trailer by the time we post a new Amusement Park Podcast? We discuss the Captain Marvel trailer, review Fantastic Beasts, lament Netflix canceling Daredevil, catch up on DC superhero TV, and share what we’re enjoying this week.
Writing a tribute to Stan Lee was something I’d been thinking I should do for quite some time. After all, (Stan) the man was 95 years old and there were various reports about his deteriorating health. Just as a newspaper would get an obituary ready, I thought I should get something ready — whether the piece was written for another site or my own.
Sure, laziness and procrastination were probably the primary reasons for not getting that done. But the idea of writing something in anticipation of Stan Lee’s death was also very upsetting. He still appeared to be lively and vibrant in his many Marvel movie and TV cameos. It seemed as if Smilin’ Stan might just live forever.
Thanks to those movie cameos, even my sister knew who Stan Lee was. She grew up with me endlessly reading and collecting comic books, of course. But when I pointed out the guy who co-created Spider-Man on the screen, she recognized him every time he popped up in the handful of Marvel movies we saw together. She’ll never be able to escape superheroes entirely.
(By the way, will Lee’s last live-action cameo have been in Venom?) Unless he’s in Avengers 4, his final on-screen appearance may well be in the animated Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, which hits theaters in mid-December.)
There will and have already been so many tributes, eulogies and obituaries dedicated to Stan Lee that I’m not sure I could possibly add anything. All I can contribute is what Lee and his many iconic creations mean to me to this day. So often when people write a tribute to someone, the piece ends up being about the writer more than the subject. As much as I’d like to avoid that, I don’t think it’s possible here.