Wednesday, April 23, 2008

VIEWS FROM THE LONGBOX IS MOVING

Or has moved to a certain extent. Recently I took out some space on the web and now Views has it's own URL and everything.

So from now on you can find Views From The Longbox at the following link:

VIEWS FROM THE LONGBOX

The site is a little light on content right now, so you can still find all of the old episodes here, but soon everything will be moved over there, so adjust your bookmarks as you want to.

Thanks for everything. I hope you'll like the new digs, especially when everything is up and running.

Here's the link to this week's episode, just in case you wanted it.

Episode 37: The Mike and Shag Show- Starman Rocks!

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Episode 36: The Mike and Shag Show: The Rediscovered Country Episode




Another episode, another guest host. Shag's back and this time he's not taking any prisoners. Actually he's not not taking prisoners either. Frankly he's just talking about comics with Michael again. This week and next Shag and Mike discuss some of their favorite books of the nineties with this installment dealing with Marvel. Shag takes a team of heroes that turn out to be a team of villains while Michael handles a certain Star Spangled Avenger. Plus, Shag has a little bit of an announcement. All this and a very mean tag after the ending theme.

WARNING: THIS SHOW HAS LANGUAGE THAT IS INAPPROPRIATE FOR...EVERYONE. LISTENER DISCRETION IS ADVISED.

And I am back on track. Next week is another Brave and the Bold/Marvel Two-In-One style team up with Shag. The week after that...

Well, come back next week for an "exciting" announcement.

Episode 35: The @#$% Brian Michael Bendis Episode Part 2

Episode 35: The @#$% Brian Michael Bendis Episode Part 2

More of Ryan and Michael talking about comics. They start this "grand adventure" by discussing the pros and cons of current comic book storytelling and things kind of fall apart from there. After a brief digression into the cinema of the nineties Ryan and Mike talk about the Blade films and what Ryan believes to be the fatal flaw of Batman Begins.

WARNING: THIS SHOW HAS LANGUAGE THAT IS INAPPROPRIATE FOR...EVERYONE. LISTENER DISCRETION IS ADVISED.


Sorry I didn't get this posted sooner. The show was up last week, but I was busy as hell with other things. Hope you enjoy it anyway.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Episode 34: The @#$% Brian Michael Bendis Episode Part 1


http://www.mediagauntlet.com/index.php?option=com_docman&task=doc_download&gid=38&Itemid=

WARNING: THIS EPISODE CONTAINS LANGUAGE THAT MAY NOT BE APPROPRIATE FOR...ANYONE. LISTENER DISCRETION IS ADVISED.

After taking a week off to deal with some family stuff Michael is back with yet another team-up two parter. Joining him for the next two weeks is Ryan Speck, one of Michael's oldest friends and the guy who runs the site that hosts this show. After many a delay the two are finally getting together to talk about the subject that started their friendship in the first place; comics. Following a longish explanation about how the two met and a bunch of names that probably mean nothing to you Mike and Ryan get down to it by discussing Ryan's collecting past, why he really doesn't collect now, his time with the Wild Agents of Marvel, the X-Men and why he hates Brian Michael Bendis. This episode runs about an hour (as does the next installment) but flows along rather nicely once it gets started.

Other Sites of Interest

Fortress of Baileytude: My daily Superman blog

Media Gauntlet: Ryan's Site and the host of this show.

Once Upon a Geek: My semi-regular co-host Shag's blog.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Episode 33: The Batman Episode




A couple of days late (as far as posting goes at any rate) but here is the latest, "exciting" and "thought provoking" episode of Views From The Longbox. This week Michael succumbs to the demands of his listeners (two of them at least) and does an episode centered around the Dark Knight himself; the Batman. Learn (again because he has probably mentioned it already) the deep, dark secret of Michael's collecting past, what he really thinks of the Adam West series, what Batman comics Michael read first and all about the on again/off again relationship he has had with collecting the Batman books. And that's pretty much it this week.


Remember that Michael is still running the whole "Ask Mike a Question About Comics" segment. Have something you've always wanted to know? Want to hear about it in excruciating detail? Then just drop Michael an e-mail at viewsfromthelongbox@gmail.com.


Also, I am pleased to announce that I have begun a new blog called the Fortress of Baileytude, a daily blog about Superman. This actually ties into some big announcements that I will be making here soon, but for right now check it out. I am posting everyday, which is something of a minor miracle for me.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008



Things get back to normal this week as Michael does a pretty standard, yet "interesting" episode. After discussing an Alex Ross piece Michael announces the winner to his Justice League: New Frontier contest. Then Michael spends the majority of the episode discussing the actual collecting of comics because he found some book he read in the seventh grade while rearanging his bookshelf. Topics include a book called Collecting Comic Books, the Overstreet Price Guide, eBay and how much Wizard Magazine sucks. Warning, a slight occurrence of profanity pops up during the Wizard discussion, but then again that was bound to happen. Michael closes the show with the first installment of Ask Mike a Question About Comics, which is probably boring but you should have heard the original version.

Let's just say it's a good thing Mike has an editor is all we're saying.

Here are the photos mentioned in the episode.



and


Justice League: New Frontier DVD Review- 99% Spoiler Free!

When it comes to film adaptations, live action or animated, there are two terms that are usually thrown into the marketing; based on and inspired by. These are two very distinct terms. If you see inspired by you can almost guarantee that what you are about to watch is going to be an adaptation in the loosest sense of the term. It may have the same basic story but other than that it might as well have been an original story. Based on, however, is different. If the words based on pop up, though, things are a little more certain. It might not be the most faithful adaptation but it will share enough that if you are a purist for the source material things are going to turn out just fine.

Superman: Doomsday, released back in September was inspired by the original death and return storyline that appeared in the comics. It was good and I enjoyed it but you can’t really call it faithful. What the original and the animated film had in common was that Superman was killed by Doomsday and then came back and that was pretty much it.

Justice League: New Frontier was different. This was a full on, four alarm “based on” movie and as much as I enjoyed Superman: Doomsday this really should have been DC’s initial animated offering.

I was and still am a huge fan of Darwyn Cooke’s DC: New Frontier. Despite being referred to as a graphic novel in the opening credits this series was originally published in seven parts over the course of 2004 and at the time I was kind of down on most of what I was reading comic book wise. DC: New Frontier was an exception. I absolutely loved this series from start to finish. It was a rare example of a book being introspective while still telling a larger overall story. On the surface it was the tale of how the Justice League of America formed. Underneath it was an examination of America during the late fifties and very early sixties and showed why these characters were heroes long before they banded together to be all chummy and hang out in a cave.

The animated film captured both of those feelings and did it well. As with any adaptations certain changes were made and on the whole I was pretty much with all of them because the emotional core of the story was still there. The writers, producers and director had a set amount of time to tell a story that originally spanned seven oversized issues. It’s not that they couldn’t have done a direct panel for panel adaptation and I have a feeling I would have enjoyed that but for a mass market release certain scenes were cut to get right into the heart of the plot. Because of this the film had a solid pace with all of the bases still being covered. Like the original series the story of the film was a mystery of what the Centre is and how these heroes managed to come together in a time when their predecessors had been driven into retirement, but underneath it all it was a story about standing up for what you believe in and realizing that mistakes were made and needed to be fixed. They even managed to include a lot of the imagery from the original comics and I especially liked how they worked the covers and even bits of story into the opening credits.

So while I would have liked to have seen certain sequences I didn’t have too much of a problem with what they cut out. The whole Dinosaur Island sequence would have been great to see animated but I think it might have slowed the pace of the film. The intro they went with worked out fine and served to show that while this might look a lot like the Bruce Timm animated efforts of the past it was a different ballgame. It was such a strong opening too. Another sequence that was taken out that I would have loved to see was the John Wilson sub-plot from the original series, but again while it was great for the comic the movie had a definite rhythm and showing those scenes as they happened would have slowed the movie down and I was more than satisfied with where they managed to fit that character into the film.

The changes they made to some of the sequences worked out as well. A scene between Superman and Wonder Woman, for example, was changed to have a similar conversation occur between Superman and Lois Lane. In the comic the scene worked because certain events (and an issue or two I believe) had played out to make the similar tone that the two conversations had work, but those events weren’t in the film, so if it had played out like it did in the comic it wouldn’t have made much sense and seemed repetitive. Plus, it strengthened Superman and Lois’ relationship and gave another scene towards the end of the film more emotional weight. They also changed something involving King Faraday and the Martian Manhunter during the third act of the movie and in this case I think the movie improved upon the original. There was only one scene, the one towards the end where Superman rallies the troops, that I thought was done better in the comics, but that had more to do with the way I had originally read that scene more than anything else.

The cast was perfect. There’s no other way to say it. All of the choices that Andrea Romano and the producers and director made were spot on. Kyle MacLachlan gave this Superman the conviction and experience the character needed. David Boreanaz had the right attitude for Hal Jordan. I think it goes without saying that Lucy Lawless was born to play Wonder Woman but I’ll do so anyway. Jeremy Sisto was extremely impressive as Batman, on par I would say with Kevin Conroy. Miguel Ferrrer was equally as excellent as the Martian Manhunter and I was very amused with the scenes between J’onn J’onnz and King Faraday since Faraday was voiced by the extremely talented Phil Morris, who plays the Martian Manhunter on Smallville. Neil Patrick Harris brought an exuberant quality to Barry Allen and the Flash that made the character extremely likable.

From beginning to end this film was everything I had wanted and more. It was exciting, had some fantastic action sequences and, more importantly, captured the heart of the original comic series that made me such a fan. If this was the last animated film that DC and Warner Brothers produced then they would definitely be going out on a high note. If you were a fan of the original comics then you owe it to yourself to pick this DVD up. Even if you haven’t read the original (and you should in my opinion) then I think you will be pleasantly surprised at how enjoyable the movie is.

The DVD comes in two flavors; regular and two-disc special edition. If you just want the movie and are not all that interested in special features then the standard edition will be enough for you. It has a very well done Justice League featurette and two commentaries. The two-disc special edition has all of that on the first disc in addition to a second disc that has even more featurettes and several episodes of Justice League Unlimited as well that tie thematically to New Frontier. For the five extra bucks I think the two-disc set is definitely the one you should get, but that's just me.