Thursday, December 9, 2010

Random Thoughts!

I Miss Brian K Vaughan

I just do.  I know that he's got other things to do.  I know that when you've got writing credits for Lost, you can earn a bigger paycheck than comics can ever provide.  I know that he's busy being Olivia Munn's best friend.  He's off hanging out with hot chicks and frolicking in his money.  Fine. These are important things, and I don't begrudge him his absence.

But I still miss him.  He's off dazzling other people with his characters and insights, and I'd rather he was still doing comics.

I got in late, you know.  Didn't read Y the Last Man until the series was concluded and it went to hardback.  Didn't find the Runaways until he was long gone.  And it seems just as I was ready to dig into his next magnum opus.....poof! Keyser Soze.

If anybody knows what he's up to, please do make a comment, and I'll make an effort to track it down and enjoy it.  But I'd rather he came back to me with the comics.  Because I'm lazy.

Christopher Priest Should Do Batman: The Dark Knight
Listen.  I love Dave Finch, and you love Dave Finch.  Nobody wants 12 issues of Batman: The Dark Knight by Dave Finch this year more than I do.  Except for maybe Jesse.  But it just isn't going to happen.  The guy is already late, and he hasn't even started yet.  That's a problem.

So when the wheels come off, and they will come off, (I think I see one of them rolling past me right now, actually) I think that DC should get on the phone and talk to Christopher Priest.  Not the guy who wrote the book where Wolverine and Batman are dueling stage magicians.  The guy who used to be Jim Owsley.

I'm talking about the guy who wrote the best Power Man & Iron Fist stories ever, some interesting Wonder Woman stuff, a hilarious run on Quantum & Woody, and a fantastic term on Black Panther.  That guy.

He's busy doing other stuff right now, but if you listened to the Dollar Bin interview with Priest he was very clear about his feelings regarding Batman.  Whatever he's doing in his life, he will come running to DC if they just say "Batman".

Hey.  DC!  When the wheels come off Dark Knight, you should call up Christopher Priest and say "Batman".  I would read the shit out of that comic.

James Earl Jones Was Preternaturally Good In Conan
I sat down and watched Conan The Barbarian for the first time in about 20 years last night. I'm talking about the 1982 one with Arnold in it.

I think it holds up pretty well, actually.  The tone is suitably grim, and it's not a paint-by-numbers action film like Conan: The Destroyer.  It's a character study and a biography with Conan's road to vengeance against Thulsa Doom as the linking thread carrying the thing forward. Barely a word is spoken for the first 20 minutes of the film.  Nobody would have the balls to do that with a big budget picture in 2010.  Aside from a speech given by Conan's father about Crom and the riddle of steel plus a little overdubbed narration, nobody says a damn word.  It's awesome.

The peak of this opening awesometude is when Thulsa Doom shows up and decapitates Conan's mother.  Spoiler alert.  I mean, the movie only came out about 28 years ago, so you had your chance to see it, folks.  Anywho.

When I think of James Earl Jones, I think the same thing you do - that's Darth Vader!  I don't necessarily think "great actor."  I think Darth Vader, and maybe I think about Field of Dreams if I'm feeling particularly masochistic that day.  Watching Conan last night, I discovered that James Earl Jones is a phenomenal actor.

Go back and watch that scene with Thulsa Doom, young Conan, and his mother again.  He doesn't say a goddamn word.  And there is nothing in the script at that point that explains that Thulsa Doom has these hypnotic/charismatic powers.  You don't need the words, and you don't need the exposition.  He just does it.

Doom takes his helmet off, dazzles this completely aggressive and not very susceptible barbarian woman with a glance.  She lowers her blade, and you know exactly why.  You've almost peed yourself looking at the glance yourself.

Then with a preternatural grace he slowly turns away from the mother, and his eyes describe about seven emotions in two seconds.  There's arrogance, disdain, a sense of self-confidence in his achievement, and a flicker of what felt to me like empathy for his victim.  It's all basically simultaneous.  It's impossible.

And then he cuts her goddamn head off.  And by the way, Jones is doing all that stuff to a camera.  I can scarcely imagine how self-conscious I would be attempting something like that cold in front of a lens.  He just nailed it.  And he's good in all of his scenes for the film, but that opener was just a jaw-dropper.  I seriously doubt that the next Conan movie will even attempt something of that subtlety.

James Earl Jones.  Badass.


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I love Conan the Barb...agree with you on all points. I finally bought it on DVD about a year ago and watched the extras...they are very cool. They go into the making and how they got this high rated composer from Europe to do the soundtack (Basil P). I have the soundtrack it is actually quite good as well.