Justice League review: it’s humor and humanity, stupid.

I saw Justice League. Alone. I did not want to inflict it on anyone else. My expectations were low, like they were when my friend Brian “Mondo” called me up and wanted to see Dude, Where’s My Car? But I liked it. It was funny! (“We are hot babes.”)

I liked Justice League too. Sure, it grated on my writer brain. Some scenes felt glued together with library paste, I believe there was a payoff without setup, and too much dialog was blabby moody exposition. (Alfred Hitchcock said that exposition is a pill that must be sugar-coated.) Plenty of room for improvement. But this movie had two story elements that Man of Steel and Batman v Superman lacked: humor and humanity.

The Flash’s geeky, gawky enthusiasm and Aquaman’s heroic beer-chugging macho were especially fun. (The original Aquaman and Barry Allen Flash in DC Comics had the personalities of Macys mannequins, so this movie was right to revamp that.) Wonder Woman was again the fearless, ferocious fighter with a heart (although some of her fellow Amazons should not bare their bellies when going into battle). Batman showed his after-battle ouchie bruises and he stated his true superpower: “I’m rich.” When Superman stepped up to the villain, his voice was purehearted Christopher Reeve (it made my heart sing). Cyborg got to say his favorite line from Teen Titans Go (starts with a “B”). This movie gave the DC supers humanity to build upon. (Except Wonder Woman, she and her most excellent movie were slopping over with humanity to start with, even considering the goddess thing.) And its photography avoided a lot of the black bleak depressing sad angsty moody sepia dark tones of M of S and B v S.

Speaking of gods, a YouTube video that I saw (and lost) said it best: In the Marvel movies, the supers are human. In Man of Steel and Bats v Supes, they are gods above men. YUCK! My advice for DC movie makers: keep losing the Ayn Rand crap and you’ll keep improving.


In a super-fight, who wins?

Which super-strong superheroes would win in a fight with Super Holly? Superheroes fight a lot when they first meet. I am assuming that neither Holly or her fighting partner is under evil mind control, else the one not under control wins.


Wonder Woman: WW wins. Diana has many decades of warrior training, she HAS to win!

Supergirl: Probably Holly, provided that incarnation of kryptonians does not have them pushing planets out of their orbits. Holly is a better hand-to-hand fighter, and she is older and tougher, but she would feel awful about fighting a young girl.

Superman: Superman wins. Why? Because he’s Superman.

Power Girl: They would fight, but verbally.

Power Girl (pointing to Holly’s chest): “Copycat!”

Super Holly (pointing to Power Girl’s chest): “Get a logo!”

Thor: Thor would call it a draw once Holly picks up the hammer. She is worthy, although she does not think so. She would give it right back to Thor, of course. She has issues with being called a goddess: them’s fightin’ words, and that would likely be the cause of the fight in the first place.

The Hulk (Bruce Banner / Hulk Smash version): The fight would go like this:

“HULK SMASH YELLOW HAIR!” Big green fists hit Holly: THOOM BAM BOOOOOM!!!

Holly staggers. “OUCH! Oh yeah? Well, Holly smash you in the schnoz!” Super boxing fists belt Hulk’s nose: POW POW POW POW POW!!!


Holly grabs that big green fist with her super-strong blue telekinetic fist. “Tell me about it! Stupid paparazzi hound me! They zoom stupid telephoto lenses on my chest, and when that gets on the six o’clock news, supervillains laugh at me for days! I HATE THAT!!!”

The Hulk lowers his fists. “YELLOW HAIR HOUNDED TOO?”

Super Holly lowers her fists. “Yeah.”


Holly smiles and holds his hand. “Poor thing. Wanna talk about it over coffee?” Holly flies the Hulk to the nearest coffee shop, where they quaff gallons of iced mochas and talk and laugh and Tony Stark pays the bill because the Hulk does not have a wallet, and because Super Holly’s cash, not being from the Marvel Universe, would not be legal tender.

The double-talk generator canna take no more!

sup-headerI do not have my blog posts for my audio stories or a fellow writer’s review of my Kindle story ready yet. So here is something I have been putting together: a list of plot devices in science fiction / fantasy movies that overload the human brain’s double-talk generator.

Star Trek J.J. Abrams reboot: Making long-range transporters. Why would you need starships when you can just beam from planet to planet?

Christopher Reed’s first Superman movie: Superman going back in time. Trouble starts? Just go back in time and undo it! And if it does not undo right, just go back and undo it again! There is a can of worms if there ever was one.

The mitochondria in Star Wars 1-3: Do NOT explain how the Force works! It is like explaining how the Lone Ranger’s pistol works. In fact, a horrible Lone Ranger flick did that; he used silver bullets to make the bullets fly straighter and truer. Siskel and Ebert said, oh, so the Lone Ranger’s a lousy shot. You want some Force? Have Doctor McCoy give you a mitochondria shot, like in the Star Trek episode Plato’s Stepchildren! (The aliens had big bullying telekinetic powers, but a booster shot of some MacGuffin mineral in the food supply fixed Kirk and Spock right up with mighty telekinesis! And Kirk got to smootch Uhura, to the envy of every Trekkie teen guy in the entire world! Except in the Southern states where they refused to air that episode. Dummies. Maybe too much corn squeezings in their water supply.)

In the UFO tv show: A rocket probe (chemically fueled, not even a warp drive!) follows one of the evil UFOs to its home planet. The probe finally sees that wretched planet of scum and villainy, but us Earthlings still do not know where the planet is because it could be a tiny planet up close, or a big planet far away. THAT! IS!! SO!!!STUPID!!!! The aliens are humanoid and human-sized, and thus came from a planet about Earth-sized. Otherwise, the aliens would have skinny limbs like bugs (small planet) or thick limbs like elephants (big planet). Learn the square-cube law!

In Starship Troopers: the aliens throw rocks at Earth from another star system. I covered this stellar stupidity already.

Armageddon: Ben Affleck said it best, why train oil drillers to be astronauts when you can train astronauts to be oil drillers? And you cannot blow up an asteroid the size of Texas because then you will get a whole lot of pieces that will clobber humanity like just one such rock wiped out the dinosaurs. Just knock the big rock off-course, dummy!

The Matrix: Human bodies make lousy batteries, you’d spend more energy feeding them than draining their meager heat. The original scripts had all those human brains networked to form a big Matrix computer, but some Hollywood jerk thought that was too complicated. Did you notice how they had to say that the machines added fusion power to human warm body power? People understand fusion, but not networks?

The Day After Tomorrow: Global warming is real, but it can’t turn New York City into a giant ice cube in less than a minute.

Waterworld and 2012 (two for one!): Even after you melt every ice cap on Earth (which WILL make oceans rise since lots of ice caps are on land masses and not floating in the ocean, you denial dum-dums!), there is not enough water in the world to flood all the continents.

Transformers, Revenge of the Fallen: Roger Ebert said it best: “You cannot outrun an explosion.” Just ask Bruce Banner.

Any movie with giant insects: Again, SQUARE CUBE LAW!!! More importantly, giant bugs look dumb, check the grasshoppers in the movie Beginning of the End. Stick with giant spiders, they are cool and creepy! (Super Holly Hansson would fight giant spiders, although she’d hate every skin-crawling, icky-webbing, gooey-guts-after-squshing-spiders second of it.)


My Adventures of Superman Binge!

adventures-of-superman-george-reevesMy cousin asked me to house-sit for him. So it is me, his big house, and no cable. Just digital antenna. And Hulu and Netflix, but none of them this weekend. I am watching a marathon of “The Adventures of Superman” starring George Reeves.

The problem with that show is that there was rarely a sense of danger. Superman is bulletproof, lightening-proof, and room full of deadly radiation lightening proof. Superman flies to rescue Jimmy and Lois, crooks shoot at Superman, Superman stands with a “Hoo Hum” facial expression, the end. Almost made me add it to my list of old science fiction shows that do not withstand the test of time. A few shows had some danger, kryptonite and the like. Reduce the “Hoo hum” to “Hum.”

But some of these shows were gobs of goofy fun! I just watched “Flight to the North,” first aired on 10/1/1955, it’s a tad older than I am. Chuck Connors played a hillbilly to the Li’l Abner hilt (wish he’d done more comedy roles). A hotel manager was stunned to read the name that Chuck wrote on the register—Sylvester J. Superman—and asked him to bend a conveniently nearby iron bar. “Yew city folks shore larn fast! How’d ja know ah wuz the strongest man in Skunk Hollow County?” said S.J. Superman as he bent the bar into a U with a CREEEEEK!

There was also a gangster who reminded me of Gunther Toody from “Car 54, Where Are You?” He just got out of prison after five years, and he told a friend what he missed the most: “Lemon meringue pie!” He even tried to shake down a lady friend for one such pie that she baked for her finance. Was he jealous of the guy who was getting the girl? No, but he chased that pie all the way to Alaska. (Sylvester took it there for her: “Alasky? That’s mighty fur, ma’am!”) Pie is delicious motivation for a criminal! (Somehow that pie got to be worth $25,000 to him. Maybe it was a bet? Must be pretty good pie.)

I gotta throw some old fashioned goofy gangsters at Holly. I have an Edward G. Robinson type in mind: “Yeah, yeah, Rocky doesn’t like super dames, yeah, yeah!”

In another episode, Superman disposed of a liquid about to explode by drinking it. Holy heartburn, Superman! Later in the show, another beaker of explosive liquid is about to go BOOM! George Reeves lifts it to his lips, looks pained, and says, “Oh no, not again.” He puts it down and hustles everyone outside of the cabin, which goes BOOM.

And I gotta have Holly drink explosives sometime, except she’ll have to keep drinking. I could tie that into my dislike for the taste of beer. She’ll hate me, but I’ll giggle.

Okay, now you know what inspires older nerdy writers. Goofy older TV.


To Batman v Superman: Hire a writer!

batman grimly faces supermanWhy was Ben Affleck’s Batman forced to say this stupid line about Superman?

He has the power to wipe out the entire human race and if we believe there is even a one percent chance that he is our enemy, we have to take it as an absolute certainty.

Batman can do math. On the Justice League, he is called, “The Smart One.” He is a detective. He would detect who is guilty, who is innocent, and who does and does not need a Bat-punch in the mush. Read The Dark Knight Returns, there are better ways to give me a Bats-vs-Supes smackdown (and a serious fanboy orgasm!) than that one-percenter line. It is lazy writing, and it sucks. Even an NPR critic did a double-take at that.

That line reminds me of an old joke from Steve Landesberg (Dietrich from Barney Miller). Steve was doing the character of a Deep South sheriff. His accent was perfect. (The quote below is from my memory, so is not likely exact. Except for the punchline.)

“Yep, ah’ve been at this job a long time, I can tell just by lookin’ at someone if they’re gonna do a crime. Just yesterday, I saw a guy, and just by lookin’ at him, I know he wuz gonna kill someone.”

(Perfectly timed comedic pause.)

“So I shot him.” (Audience laughter.) “He ain’t gonna kill nobody now!”

Batman is smarter than that sheriff. DC Comics, when you make your next movie, please hire a writer.


Superheroine defined by superhero, and my sexist spell checker

I have attended a couple of comic/sci-fi con panels about superheroines. The ladies on the panels point out how so many superheroines are defined in their relationship to superheroes.

  • Ant-Man and the Wasp. They both shrink. She stings, he grows. Her powers come from his technology.
  • Superman and Supergirl. She used to be his secret weapon. Her powers come from his planet’s DNA.
  • Batman and Batgirl. Same bat-costume, same bat-utility belt, lots less bat-grittiness.
  • Hulk and She-Hulk. Her powers came from his blood. Except she is also a lawyer, a superpower if there ever was one.

My characters Super Holly and Cal the Intellectual? He is largely defined by her. (In fact, I seem to use Cal to show Holly’s flaws and quirks.) She’s Superman with anger issues, he is Batman with Mr. Spock’s mind. In my early drafts, Cal was always by Holly’s side, always guiding and teaching. It took my putting some Roger Ebert into Cal for him to become more independent. Cal really needed a day job. In my latest story, I loved putting movie references into his internal dialog.

P.S. My sexist spellchecker wants to turn “superheroine” into “super heroine.” But it leaves “superhero” alone.

P.P.S. I went to APE comic con in San Jose this weekend. Enjoyed it. Bought stuff. Met people I know and like again. Met some new people. Should give me more to blog about.


A Kryptonian breakfast

Sometimes I tell myself I will have a Kryptonian breakfast. Then I will go out and buy a hamburger and fries. Why?

Many years ago (if I remember this correctly, I cannot find it on Google), when Lex Luthor was a mad scientist instead of an evil businessman, Superman’s pal Jimmy Olsen visited the planet Krypton before it exploded. A letter writer to DC Comics said that story was wrong because Jimmy was having breakfast, but he was eating a hamburger and fries! The DC editors replied: You forgot this took place on Krypton! On Krypton, hamburgers and fries are standard breakfast fare.

Maybe I’ll try ordering a Kryptonian breakfast at Wendy’s sometime and see what happens. They’ll probably say “What?” or “Que?” And rightly so.

P.S. I just upgraded my MacBook Pro to Mavericks. Smooth so far. Although “less than a minute remaining” really means “anywhere from a minute to an hour or more.” And I bet I’ll have to take care of my multiple Apple ID issue.