I like the 1970’s Neal Adams look best. Classic Superman, still jacked but not weird looking, and still supporting his classic underwear.
I like the 1970’s Neal Adams look best. Classic Superman, still jacked but not weird looking, and still supporting his classic underwear.
The third season of Louis C.K.’s FX show, Louie, spans 13 episodes and is a mixed bag of really strong great episodes, mixed with a few so-so ones that really seem kind of pointless. Despite the range of quality in episodes, one thing that is very noticeable is that Louie has a lot of friends in showbiz, and there are a crap ton of cameos throughout the season. Jerry Seinfeld, Chris Rock, Robin Williams, Susan Sarandon, Paul Rudd, David Lynch, Artie Lange, Amy Poehler, Sarah Silverman, Jay Leno, being some of the most notable.
One of the good story arcs for the season is from Episode 4 & 5 “Daddy’s New Girl Friend Part 1&2″ where Louie is trying to date this girl who works in a book store. Over these two episodes you see Louie go through the awkward process of getting up the nerve to ask her out, as well as their fairly random date. Louie is a show where most of the time stuff doesn’t work out for him, and his life is fairly depressing, so it’s nice to root for his happiness in these episodes.
So we have great episodes like “Daddy’s New Girlfriend” then we have episodes where nothing happens! Episode 7 “Ikea Piano Lesson“, Louie goes to go to Ikea with some crazy ex of his, Louie finds out he has crabs and goes to the pharmacy, Louie then visits a friend who he hasn’t spoken to in 10 years because they were fighting, only to realize he actually apologized to this person 5 years ago and forgot. That’s it. That’s what happened.
Episode 8 “Dad“. Louie’s uncle visits him and says Louie should go visit his father in Boston because his dad misses him. Louie hasn’t seen his father for two years and doesn’t really want to, so he avoids going. But then Louie becomes stressed out about the idea of not visiting his father, and starts vomiting and forming rashes from anxiety about putting it off, so he just decides to go to Boston and do it. Louie then flies to Boston, knocks on his fathers door, and then runs away before his dad answers. End of episode! Not that funny, not much happened. Waste of my time.
Episode 9 “Looking for Liz Lilly Changes“. Louie goes to the bookstore looking for the girl he dated earlier in the season, but she no longer works there. So he attempts to search for her for half the episode, never finding her. Louie is then at home with his daughters, it appears one of them has ran away from home, so Louie phones the police, but it turns out his daughter didn’t run away, she was just reading in the closet. So nothing really happened, another waste of an episode!
So up to this point I was kind of disappointed in the season, but the next story arc was really fantastic. Episode 10,11 & 12 “Late Show Part 1-3” are all about Louie being told by CBS that David Letterman is retiring from the Late Show, and that CBS is thinking of Louie as well as Jerry Seinfeld to replace Dave as the host. It’s a long shot that Louie will get the job, as Jerry is the strong favourite. But over the three episodes you witness a Rocky-esque underdog story of Louie trying to against all odds prepare to host a test Late Show and do well. It’s a story that really sucks me in, and I found myself having to watch all three episodes in one sitting. I won’t spoil the conclusion, but it’s a very fitting ending.
Last episode of the season titled “New Year’s Eve” was just perfect. The episode was a masterpiece in a way, even deserving of an Emmy. While not terribly funny, the episode is actually kind of dark and depressing, yet it is heart-warming and gives a message of hope. In the episode, Louie has Christmas morning with his girls and watches them open their presents. While watching their happy faces he remembers all the shit he had to do to get them those presents and all the wrapping involved. Then Louie’s ex shows up with her new husband, and takes the kids away to go on a vacation for the next few weeks, so Louie spends the remainder of the holidays in his apartment “all alone” fairly depressed. His sister invites him on the phone to come do stuff with her over New Years, but Louie declines. Louie then has a dream sequence of his girls in their early twenties at a restaurant talking about Louie and how alone and sad he is as an old man. Louie then decides he doesn’t want that for his life, so he wanders the city in search of companionship. Louie is on a bus, and happens to run into his love interest from the book store from earlier in the season. Which is great, so you are thinking maybe Louie can finally be happy with her. Of course his bookstore love interest DIES INSTANTLY! Haha, you’ll see what I mean. While maybe that female character didn’t have to die so suddenly, somehow it works for the story. So then Louie decides to go on a trip himself for the rest of the holidays, and picks a kind of random location. On his trip, Louie in an unexpected way finds the human connection and happiness he is searching for.
Season 3 of Louie overall did not disappoint. While the show itself is not on the same level as other great modern day comedies such as Curb Your Enthusiasm, and while certain episodes of this season were real duds, overall I must say I did enjoy it, and would definitely recommend it to others.
The age old debate of who is better, Marvel or DC. If we are talking movies, Marvel is definitely doing a better job with pumping out more high quality work. If we look at animated tv shows and animated movies, DC is killing it. Video games I’d give it to DC as well, as the most recent Batman Arkham City game was fantastic, and the upcoming Injustice: Gods Among Us game looks very promising. But if we are talking comics, the real battle to decide supremacy, these two companies are very equal indeed.
Below is a list of all the books I am reading monthly from Marvel and DC, and I’ve organized it by favouritism. Marvel books in red, DC books in blue.
A total of 18 DC books and 19 Marvel. I really can’t pick a favourite company, I like a lot of books being published from both. Both of them have their ups and downs as creative teams change, and various events unfold. I’d have to call it a draw unfortunately.
Books from other comic publishers I’m enjoying (in order of favouritism) are:
This is one of the first Star Wars comics published by Dark Horse around 1991 and 1992. The Dark Empire storyline is told through two 6-issue miniseries titled Dark Empire I & Dark Empire II, and wraps up in a two issue series called Empire’s End. The Dark Empire story is set after the Thrawn Trilogy, which I also reviewed and enjoyed immensely. Dark Empire however, was actually pretty terrible.
The story has Emperor Palpatine (Darth Vader’s Master) returning from the dead as a clone, and he wants to destroy the Republic. Whenever you bring back a character from the dead, you always open yourself to harsh criticism, if the story was good, it could have worked, but unfortunately it wasn’t good. Luke Skywalker than precedes to partner with the Emperor rather quickly and join the dark side, claiming it’s the only way he can destroy them. This action by Luke seeming very out-of-character. At the end of Dark Empire I, Empire Palpatine is killed, and Luke joins the good guys once again.
Dark Empire II and Empire’s End II, has the Emperor returning from the dead..AGAIN, by jumping into another clone body and continuing his takeover. The Emperor also has access to a weapon that has the ability much like the Death Star to destroy planets. This is silly though, because the Death Star was such a huge endeavour that took years to build, and the Emperor should in no way have that technological ability.
In the Thrawn Trilogy we are under the impression that Luke, Leia, and Jorus C’baoth were the only Jedi left in the universe, and in Dark Empire it seems like everyone is a Jedi! There are maybe 10-20 Jedi characters introduced. Also in the Thrawn Trilogy, we are introduced to Mara Jade, who has a long rich history with the Emperor, and Mara Jade is not even present in this story. Luke is also given a new love interest (who also happens to be a Jedi) who he kisses, but there was no real build-up between these two characters, and it never went anywhere, and the whole thing seemed out-of-place.
The colouring inside this book is atrocious. It seems like only one or two colours are chosen per page, and no matter what is drawn, everything is done in that colour. It really drags the book down. Empire’s End (the final two issues) got a new artist and it did improve a bit, but not by much.
Overall this series was a real disappointment.
With the announcement of Disney buying Star Wars from LucasFilm, and that we are going to start seeing a slew of new Star Wars movies coming out, I’ve decided to start getting into Star Wars comics and books. I’ve always been interested in venturing outside of the movie universe, and finding out what happens once Return of the Jedi ends. In order to start exploring the Star Wars expanded universe I Googled around, and the first thing Star Wars nerds everywhere recommend reading is a trilogy of books by Timothy Zahn called the Thrawn Trilogy. These books were published from 1991-1993, and they are set 5 years after the movies end, and many consider them to be the unofficial Episode 7, 8 and 9.
In the book the New Republic is setting up a government and controls most of the galaxy, but remnants of the Empire are still out there. Han Solo and Princess Leia are now married, with Leia being pregnant with twins. They live on the New Republic capital planet “Coruscant” with Luke Skywalker, Chewbacca, R2-D2 and C3PO.
The major villain in the series is Grand Admiral Thrawn, of which the trilogy is named after. He’s a blue alien with a highly intelligent and strategic military genius, who had a high ranking important postion during the war, but was kind of forgotten about during the Empire’s collapse. With Darth Vader, the Emperor, and most of the other high ranking Imperial military figures wiped out, Thrawn is now the leader of the Empire, and he wishes to restore the Empire back to their former glory. What makes Thrawn such an interesting villain, is that he does not have special powers, he is not a jedi, he could not win in a one-on-one fight with Luke Skywalker, but his intelligence and ability to outthink everyone makes him such a dangerous threat.
In addition to Thrawn, other new character Jorus C’baoth, is supposed to be the only other Jedi in the universe now outside of Luke Skywalker and Princess Leia. In addition to being a Jedi, and looking like a jacked version of Gandolf, he is also insane! Thrawn goads C’baoth into working with him, but it is always an uneasy alliance, that makes for a very interesting dynamic throughout the trilogy.
Mara Jade is another character introduced in the book, who is a love interest for Luke Skywalker, and after the Thrawn Trilogy she goes onto eventually marrying Luke. However in the Thrawn books, she mainly just wants to kill Luke Skywalker, and her obsession with wanting to kill Luke, is a plot point that is revisited and restated hundreds of times throughout the trilogy, before finally being resolved near the end. It get a little repetitive and annoying after a while.
Another staple in the Thrawn Triolgy are these creatures called the Ysalamiri, which are lizards that are capable of blocking the force, and when these creatures are around Jedi, a Jedi will not have any power. I found the creatures to be a really cool idea, and it became amusing how Thrawn would keep them scattered around his ship, and draped on his shoulder whenever dealing with C’baoth.
Timothy Zahn has created some great new characters, and introduced some interesting new concepts to the Star Wars universe, as well as capturing the voice of all the familiar Star Wars characters well. When Han Solo says something, he sounds like Han Solo. These are great introductory books to the Star Wars expanded universe, and a series I highly recommend.
Minor annoyances that don’t really matter: Zahn likes to use the word “sardonically” a lot, and his characters frequently just say “point” when they agree with someone, as oppose to saying “you’ve got a point there” or “I agree”. It gets kind of annoying after a while!
The New York Times had an article about Beats by Dr. Dre Headphones. What’s interesting about this product is that the reviews are really bad, one review saying:
“In terms of sound performance, they are among the worst you can buy…They are absolutely, extraordinarily bad.” – Tyll Hertsens, editor in chief of InnerFidelity.com
But because these headphones look sharp and are branded by Dr Dre, they sell for $300 nearly 10 times the price of ear buds that come with iPods ($35) and people buy them. Even with the ridiculously higher price and poor reviews, Dre Beats have annual sales approaching $500 million dollars. All of this showcasing the power of how celebrity endorsement and image can mask the quality of a product and enhances their ability to be sold at a higher price point, even though cheaper alternatives of better quality are available.
These headphones are more so a fashion accessory, some people buy them do so for the image associated with them, not really for quality. If people are satisfied with paying more for headphones to make a fashion statement then I don’t have a problem with that. But I do feel sorry for the majority of people that don’t know any better, want high quality headphones, see the price and image of Dre Beats thinking they are the best, buy them, and end up suffering, being ripped off paying way more than they should have.