Thursday, June 30, 2011

30 Days Of Bean Juice

The One Cup a Day project was an experiment where a different coffee cup was designed, modeling and made available for production and purchase within 24 hours. You can buy any of these and the dozens of others here.

The Pool Is Closed

Marie Joseph's body might have been left in the cloudy water of a Massachusetts public swimming pool for more than two days, without lifeguards, health inspectors or other swimmers noticing it, said officials today. Well, at least they figured out why the water was cloudy...

The state medical examiner completed an autopsy, but the findings haven't been made public yet, as investigators are going through hours of video and conducting interviews. Joseph had gone to Veterans Memorial Pool on Sunday with a group of friends, and her body was found Tuesday night, when some trespassing youngsters jumped over a fence for a midnight swim.

So for 48 hours, nobody reported her missing? Her friends said they thought she simply walked away from the pool. Her boyfriend's calls went unreturned, but he thought she wanted to be alone. Shit, you got a crappy circle of support. After the discovery, state officials closed 24 state-run deep-water swimming pools for fear of additional bodies being lost in cloudy water, as well as suspended staff at the Fall River pool along with a pair of Fall River inspectors.

Joseph was a native of Haiti and had five children, though strangely, only an adult son lived with her. She worked as a housekeeper at a hotel in Rhode Island, and her boyfriend said she could swim.

The best part of the article I read was a quote from Tasha Stokes, who said she visited the pool on Monday, and noticed that the deep end of the pool was white and closed to swimmers: "It was white. We went swimming in that water. There were little kids drinking that water...I'm shocked. I was swimming in water with a dead person. I think I have a lawsuit on my hands."

How About A Bit Of The Old Ultraviolence

It makes GTA look like a PDA (and minors can enjoy it too thanks to the Supreme Court!).

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Jihad On Deadlifts

A female Muslim weightlifter in Atlanta can now compete wearing a hijab and body-covering unitard, further ruining the chance that women lifters will be though of as sexy.

Kulsoom Abdullah began lifting last year at her gym, and her repressed anger at the male dominated Islamic ways helped her discover she was surprisingly good at the sport. She qualified for the American Open Weightlifting Championships last December, but USA Weightlifting, the event's sponsoring body, told her that she would not be able to compete in her modified uniform that covers everything but her hands, feet, and face.

Officials cited they had to blindly follow the guidelines of the International Weightlifting Federation, which mandated that elbows and knees be uncovered so judges could tell that athletes had fully locked them out when they lifted. Both the U.S. Olympic Committee and Abdullah petitioned the group, and at a meeting in Malaysia, home of ultra-conservative Muslims, the IWF determined a tight-fitting unitard would be acceptable.

Abdullah has a PhD in electrical computer engineering from Georgia Tech, and still does research at the university, but enjoyed lifting because it "gave me confidence". Yes, and those dorks in the lab will never try and but a move on you again at the annual White Coat Mixer.


After slashing half their staff earlier this year to present a leaner profile to potential buyers, Myspace has been sold (and it wasn't for 60 bitcoins and a Subway foot long Italian as rumored).

The proud new owner of that cyber graveyard is Specific Media, an advertising network who had a spare $35 million laying around. News Corp. will still hold onto a stake of less than five percent for nostalgia. The deal includes another halving of Myspace’s staff of 400, and a limited run for Myspace CEO Mike Jones and other top personnel. The sale comes just before the end of the fiscal year (tomorrow!).

There were several other bidders recently, including separate efforts by the two co-founders of Myspace, Chris DeWolfe and Tom Anderson. The most recent lead suitor was a group including Activision CEO Bobby Kotick, but the deal fell apart, leaving Specific and private equity firm Golden Gate Capital. Specific Media was founded in 1999 and helps marketers buy digital ads for the interweb, online video, and mobile devices. The company now ranks among the largest online advertising networks in the country, reaching 170.9 million or about 79% of the U.S. internet users just last month.

While the company gets data about Myspace users which can be used for ad targeting, it's still pouring a lot of money into a domain that is losing attention and members to Facebook on a daily basis. But hey, it's their money to waste, and they can try to make it back

Florida, The Final Frontier?

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Magic Accounting

Behold how a multi-billion dollar film franchise can still lose money!

This balance-sheet (or "participation statement") came out last summer, but given the final instalment of the Harry Potter goldmine comes out in a few weeks, it's worth pulling the curtain back to show the shady way studios can make a billion dollars on a film and impossibly show they're $167 million in the red. Maybe they shouldn't have spent so much on advertising and marketing...but fortunately they paid themselves the majority of that budget.

Tech Legs

This year, Apple launches the latest iteration of their OS X (that looks frighteningly the same over it's 10 year run) and 2012 will herald Windows 8, but there's still a lot of retro-love for the old systems.

As of last month, 40% of Windows users are still running Windows XP on their computers.  Hard to believe, given the advances on computers in the last decade, but it's been stable and yet to be outdine.  Hell, I'm still rocking the XP!

XP was released way back in October 2001, and is just barely less popular than the two proceeding Windows Vista and Windows 7 versions combined . By comparison, OS X has about 8 percent of the market share.  There's an extensive graph of the Microsoft / Apple here, which not only covers their company rivalry, but also their saw-saw dominance over each other.

This Resonates With Me

Bonus Video:

Monday, June 27, 2011

Oreo Cameos

I have to admit that seeing Judith Klausner's art made me want a cookie.

Game On, Kids!

It's official - the Supreme Court said states cannot ban the sale or rental of ultraviolent video games to children. Seriously, what kind of future can your child have if they can't get good at Grand Theft Auto IV?

On a 7-2 vote, the court threw out California's 2005 law covering games sold or rented to those under 18, calling it an unconstitutional violation of free-speech rights. Pussies Justices Stephen Breyer and Clarence Thomas dissented from the decision. Breyer said it makes no sense to legally block children's access to pornography yet allow them to buy or rent brutally violent video games.

"What sense does it make to forbid selling to a 13-year-old boy a magazine with an image of a nude woman, while protecting the sale to that 13-year-old of an interactive video game in which he actively, but virtually, binds and gags the woman, then tortures and kills her?" Well, maybe you should read Justice Antonin Scalia's majority opinion!

He said that video games, fall into the same category as books, plays and movies as entertainment that "communicates ideas — and even social messages" deserving of First Amendment free-speech protection. And non-obscene speech "cannot be suppressed solely to protect the young from ideas or images that a legislative body thinks unsuitable for them. Even where the protection of children is the object, the constitutional limits on governmental action apply."

This decision was the latest in a series of rulings on on First Amendment cases, with the justices throwing out attempts to ban animal cruelty videos, protests at military funerals and political speech by businesses.

If California's 2005 law was upheld, it would have prohibited anyone under 18 from buying or renting games that give players the option of "killing, maiming, dismembering, or sexually assaulting an image of a human being." What, do they want everyone to go back to playing only Pac-Man? Under that model, even Mike Tyson's Punch Out would be covered - an he doesn't even bite any ears in that game! Parents would have been able to buy the prohibited games for their children, but retailers who sold directly to minors would have faced fines of up to $1,000 for each game sold.

Thankfully, the law never took effect, as lower courts have said that the law violated minors' constitutional rights, and the state lacked enough evidence to prove that violent games cause physical and psychological harm to minors (like when David Cross asked what those video games where that Hitler gave to the Germans). Courts in six other states reached the same conclusion in striking down similar bans.

So rejoice, children! You may not get to see a tit in real life, but at least you can play a game where you cut them off someone...

A Little Shredding

Friday, June 24, 2011

Sedentary Solo Weekend

For the first time in more than a month, I'm not out of town or putting in extra hours at the office, and Scarlett is doing 48 hours in Sin have no idea how excited I am to be able to stay at home and have some down time to get things organized. Okay, I'll leave to watch the European GP, but that's it...

Best of the week: Hef may have lost his young tail, but there's still guys out there picking up the slack. So congratulate Doug Hutchison, the 51-year-old actor (from Lost, The X-Files, and The Green Mile) who married Courtney Stoddard...who is 16. And from the pictures, she looks barely a day under 25.

It should be noted that Stodden is signed to Hutchison's production company, Dark Water, which might have something to do with the wedding. And in order for it to happen, Stodden's mother gave parental consent so that the two could wed in Las Vegas, who aside from her support, added "Courtney was a virgin when she married Doug. She is a good Christian girl." Hutchison is four years older than his father in law, and Alex Stodden said, "Every father can only pray to have such a man behind their daughter." Sir, I imagine that's exactly where he is right now.

Best bonus links:

Men Say 'I Love You' Before Women Do - Because men want to get laid before women do.

One Dead, One Critical After Dallas Rave Party - And they said the rave as only so-so.

Beautiful People Dumps 30,000 Ugly Members - Hopefully they'll use the refund for self improvement.

Amy Winehouse Cancels Shows After Belgrade Blunder / Ailing Amy Winehouse Cancels Part Of European Tour / Amy Winehouse Cancels Entire Tour - Time heals all wounds.

Lytro, The Camera That Could Change Photography Forever - What, I'm just going to tell you how? Follow the link!

Gaylord Complex To Create 1,800 Jobs When Complete - That's a lot of gaylords!

Topless Robot Presents The Best Scenes From The Green Lantern Movie - there's not many, but the review makes up for it.

California Legislature To Forfeit Pay, Chiang Says - You can't make a legal budget on time, you don't get paid, plain and simple.

Bristol Palin: I Lost My Virginity While Drunk - This, to the surprise of no one. It happened somewhere between the second and third wine cooler, and 10 minutes after Levi said he loved her.

Is It A Bird? Is It A Plane? No, It's Superman And Friends... Painted On Soviet War Statue By The Banksy Of Bulgaria - Vandalism has never looked so pop culture kitchy

The Inner-Workings Of Mail-Order Music Clubs - Warning, it will cost more than a penny and you can not cancel at any time.

Police: Gambling Mom Left Girl, 3, Alone In Motel - What, that kid had no poker face.

Pervious Concrete Is Awesome, Kind Of Zen - Not to be confused with perverted concrete, which is nasty.

Incompetent Chainsaw Attacker Flees From Bat-Wielding Man - This is going to be good!

Sega Attacked, Hacker Group Offers To Take Revenge - Let's hope they don't employ a bat or chainsaw.

Irony alert: Buy KFC's 800-Calorie Soda To Support Diabetes Research - Think of it as a literal investment in your health.

Worst of the week: A Jerusalem rabbinical court condemned to death by stoning a dog it suspects is the reincarnation of a secular lawyer who insulted the court's judges 20 years ago. This is why there can never be peace in the Middle East.

Apparently, the large dog made its way into the Monetary Affairs Court in the ultra-Orthodox Jewish neighbourhood of Mea Shearim in Jerusalem, frightening judges and plaintiffs. Despite attempts to drive the dog out of the court, it refused to leave the premises. One of the judges recalled a curse the court had passed down upon a secular lawyer who had insulted the judges two decades previously. Good luck following that logic train, but when you have judicial curses being issued, I guess anything is possible..

They believe the lawyer's spirit to moved into the body of a dog, an animal considered impure by traditional Judaism. One of the judges sentenced the animal to death by stoning by local children, but the dog managed to escape. Further proof it's the reincarnated lawyer! All I can say is oy vey.

Worst bonus links:

Tritium Leaks Found At Many Nuke Sites - I don't even know what that is, but it sounds bad.

Bay: New 3-D Transformers Better Than No. 2 - Uh, no, it's not better than shit. It's still shit..

Master Chef Really Draws A Crowd - Especially when there are people digitally added to it.

Deer Dropped By Eagle Knocks Out Power In Montana - Yep, life out in the boonies.

Cuba: Seas To Rise More Than 30 Inches By 2100 - Bad news if you live on an island, but by then I think most of the people will have already gone to Florida.

Gossip Girl Star To Play Jeff Buckley In Movie - Penn Badgely? JB is rolling in his grave.

Report Says Big Southland Quake Would Have Huge Effect On Workforce And Economy - And this wasn't even the top story for The Common Knowledge Journal.

55-Foot 'Sea Monster' Washes Up In China - I thought all the Kardashian sisters were back in Los Angeles?

Sarah And Bristol Palin Trademark Their Names - To what, Dumb and Dumber?

Lulzsec Hackers Go To War With 4chan - Geek on nerd violence...when will the cycle be broken?

Science Confirms It: Whining Is The Most Annoying Sound Ever - So now, officially, shut up bitch.

Polo Player In Canucks Riot Apologizes - Savor it. That is the only time you will ever see the words "polo player" and "riot" in the same sentence ever again.

R.I.P. Gene Colan And Peter Falk - Falk and Colon!

Mother Charged With Killing Baby In Microwave - She should have used defrost and not cook.

Hugh Hefner's Aborted Wedding Becomes A TV Special / Holly Madison Trashes Crystal Harris' Cancelled Wedding Day Bash / Crystal Harris Will Keep $90,000 Ring, Bentley From Hugh Hefner - The only thing less interesting than the magazine these days is the personal life of it's founder.

PNC To Buy RBC Unit For $3.45 Billion - Too many initials. This just sounds like a bad idea.

Jon Bon Jovi On Crutches After Strain - He should not have tried to hit that high note.

Columbia, Of Course

Having made a name for themselves as well known for white powder as Aspen, Columbia is now looking to be as lush and green as Northern California.

Their newest cash crop is genetically modified marijuana, grown in greenhouses outside Cali, their capital. The strains sell for 100,000 pesos per kilo - or or $54 for more than two pounds, which is 10 times more than the local price for ordinary marijuana, and way the fuck cheaper than anything getting sold in America.

Local authorities said seeds imported from Europe and the United States have allowed "a bigger production and better quality at the same time". Ugh, guys, you're not discouraging it with that kind of endorsement. One of the modified varieties goes by the name "Creepy", while another that's well known in Europe called "La Cominera", is named for the Colombian village where it grows. These plants have close to an 18% THC concentration level, which beats the piss out of the two to seven percent in regular plants.

Despite the fact that marijuana production is illegal in Colombia (shocking!), farmers have to heed the economic advantages. Coffee and banana crop prices fluctuate widely in Columbia, and it is difficult for goods to reach markets before they spoil, due to their a poor road network (also shocking!). "I don't like growing marijuana, but it ended up that way," one farmer said. "I received a loan to grow coffee, but I was drowning and I had to sell my harvest very cheap. My sister told me it would be better to plant marijuana." Let that be a lesson to you - it's not smoking or alcohol that's a gateway to marijuana, it's sisters.

The plant had been introduced in Columbia in the 1930s, and hemp was originally, legally used in the production of textiles and soccer balls. But in 1962, authorities banned the use of marijuana in those products in order to comply with international standards. Buzzkills!

Though still the world's biggest producer of cocaine (last noted in 2009), marijuana production and sales are growing. Local authorities have already seized 27 tons of marijuana by June, compared to 23 tons last year, and the profits are believed to be financing the sixth front of the FARC guerrilla forces. Having close to 8,00 fighters and spanning more than 47 years, the insurgency is said to be 90% financed by marijuana. The only thing more dependant on weed is Cypress Hill.

"Anatoliy Shishkov", By Rymdreglage

Thursday, June 23, 2011

King Richard

On the eve of the NHL Draft, there's still big moves happening in the league...

The Philadelphia Flyers needed to clear cap space so they could add free agent goalie Ilya Bryzgalov (whose rights were dealt the club by Phoenix several weeks back), and did so by dumping $110 million in combined salary through 2020 and 2022 in the form of Jeff Carter and captain Mike Richards. Congratulations, you solved the long standing problem in net that let to a second round playoff exit by getting rid of arguably your top two players who combined for 59 goals and 132 points this year!

Carter, ended up with the Columbus Blue Jackets (so now there will no longer just be Rick Nash wasting his talent there), and Richards, well, he'll need a nine year supply of sunscreen. Having planned on ending his career in Philly, Richards said he would have never signed his 12 year extension in 2007 if he knew he'd end up getting traded, but was excited about the opportunity:

"I was fortunate enough to go to L.A., where I’ve heard nothing but tremendous things, not only about the organization but about the city and how nice it is out there and how great the organization treats you. I’m not sure how I’m going to fit in, but I like the makeup of the team. They’ve got an extremely gritty team with a lot of skill. They have two great goaltenders, up to a defense that is skilled and play the game hard, and then you’ve got a lot of depth at the forward position too."

Of course, there was a price to pay - Wayne Simmonds and coveted prospect Brayden Schenn. The initial reaction was mixed in L.A., as Simmonds, though slumping last season, was still a fan favorite and a hard, young player with plenty of time to continue to grow. But as a restricted free agent (as of July 1), the clock was ticking if there were plans to deal him. Schenn, who came up from juniors to play nine games with the Kings this year, had been the object of trade inquiries from the day the team drafted him.

GM Dean Lombardi often said he would not give up the budding star, who many believe could become a "Mike Richards-type" player, "unless the timing has to be right and it has to be the right player". Well, I think getting the actual Mike Richards qualifies. And the 1-2 centers of Anze Kopitar and Richards make the team level with other heavyweight opponents. "You go into Vancouver and it’s Sedin and Kesler. You go into Detroit, it's Zetterberg and Datsyuk. You go to San Jose, it's Thornton, Pavelski, Couture. Those models of strength down the middle — Boston is another example — that still holds," said Lombardi.

Also surfacing this week has been the story of Ryan Smyth, who the Kings seem to be angling for a trade to Edmonton, where Smyth played for years and was reportedly seeking to return. While it would weaken the team at it's already weakest spot (LW), dealing the 35-year-old would free up close to $16 million, money which would be spent on a new long term deal for stud defenseman Drew Doughty (and other RFA's like Brad Richardson and Alec Martinez).

UPDATE 1: The Smyth trade to the Oilers, for the time being, has fallen apart. Apparently, the teams agreed on the trade, at issue is the health of Gilbert Brule, who the Kings would get in exchange for Smyth. By all indications, the Kings don’t intend to keep Brule, and the most-likely scenario would be a buyout, but that can’t happen if Brule is considered injured (he had concussion issues last season).

UPDATE 2: Mike Richards will wear No. 10. The three previous owners - Marco Sturm, Brayden Schenn and Alyn McCauley, lasted a combined total of 35 games with it. Let it not be cursed!

Puerco-Chihuahua Housebreaking

With an army of assistants and entourage in tow, it's no surprise that a diva like Jennifer Lopez lacks the skills to be responsible parent.

Her skinny puppy-looking husband Marc Anthony revealed their technique for getting their kids to use the toilet was by bribing them with lollipops. "In order to potty train them, every time they'd use the toilet we'd give them a lollipop," he said. Brilliant, except they ran out of lollipops in three days, which showed both a commitment to making sure they had succeeded and considerable planning. Finally, it dawned on them that their half-assed attempt at parenting may have not yielded the right results: their three-year-old Max ended up using their swimming pool as his own giant toilet bowl.

"It got into the filtration system and they charged us to clean it," said the proud parents. "He took a $6,000 dump in the pool!" Nice. And now there's no chance that he'll hear about it years later and be totally mortified.

I may not be qualified to fix the components in a pool, but I have been in one, and it's kinda hard for a shit to get into the filters...because it has to get in it. So unless he squatted into the filter itself, how'd it get there? Did it invisibly sneak out of his bathing suit and swim across the pool into the filters? Because it would have to for them - or more realistically their help, not to see it happening and try to stop it. Unless, as I think, the kid was unsupervised at the pool, which is far more likely and wholey more satisfying a story.  But let's not detract from the real magic of a $6000 shit (or in Lopez terms, the equivelent of hundreds of bottles of her perfume) .

Close Encounters Of The South London Kind

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Attack Of The Bagelheads

So, the newest stupid thing on Planet Japan is making yourself look like you have a disfigured, tumor sodden face. Sorry if you thought the header was a Zionist reference or something...

In Tokyo, "freaks for the night" drip saline into their foreheads for two hours while they depress the center. Their bodies absorb it over time so by the next morning it goes back to normal. Extreme body modification photographer Ryoichi “Keroppy” Maeda said that "everyone I know who has done it, no matter how many times, their skin has gone back to exactly how it was before."

Wow, I guess it's finally come to this for the "trying too hard" crowd...


Even if you're an octogenarian softcore mogul, what the FDA said is true: you can't keep breast implants for life.

Women who get silicone breast implants are likely to need additional surgery within 10 years to address complications (such as rupturing), and close to 1 in 5 women who receive them for cosmetic reasons will have them removed within that time (I assume a fair number of them are due to moving up to a large size).

After reviewing new data on silicone-gel breast implants, the FDA concluded "implants are basically safe as long as women understand they come with complications", including painful scar tissue and ruptured implants. And the longer the implant are in there, the more likely there could be complications.  It wasn't a vote of confidence for saline-filled versions either, which come with the same complications.

Boob jobs Breast augmentation is the top cosmetic surgery in the U.S., with nearly 300,000 women getting a boob boost in 2010, and many of those in, or for those about to arrive in Los Angeles. Doctors say women getting cosmetic implants need to understand that their breasts also will change with age or weight gain, and even if the implant doesn't rupture or develop scar tissue, the skin and fat around it can droop or sag in unattractive ways. Talk about a product that locks the consumer into continuing to use it!

The FDA says they will work to revise safety labels for silicone breast implants after reviewing data from several long-term studies, but let's hope they don't follow this model.

In "Bloom:

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Breaking News From The Department Of Obvious Studies

On the heels of such breakthrough research as the "Water Is Wet" papers and the universally regarded "Food Satisfies Hunger" theory, a recent study by Texas researchers seems to have proved that men who wear expensive clothes and drive flashy cars are more successful at having flings and staying single than their counterparts. Everything really is big in Texas, including the waste of time and money.

Their survey of nearly 1,000 men and women, they looked for "signals" sent by conspicuous consumption and how it is viewed by the opposite sex. C'mon, everybody knows that splashy spending is a signal to women that they want a to get some - the human equivalent of peacock plumage is a canary yellow Ferrari (the only reason for that nasty color is to say "look at me").

"Basically, they're just trying to convince a female that, 'Hey, if all you're looking for is genes, I have the best genes, so you should choose me,'" said marketing professor Dr. Jill Sundie. Yes, women know that the fat, ugly, middle aged guy in a sports car has the best genes. She continued, "Women seem to understand that when they see a man who has chosen to spend money conspicuously, they think he would be more interesting as a date." Or a source of income.

I'm looking forward to their next project - a study linking bitchy, ugly women with loneliness.

Warning Signs

"The surgeon general’s warnings are different on the sides of each pack. Mine says, 'Surgeon General Warning: Cigarette smoking may cause fetal injury or premature birth.' Hey, fuck it! Found my brand. Just don't get the ones that say lung cancer." - the great Bill Hicks

And now, smokers can do the same with the graphic images about to adorn smoking packages. Dead bodies, diseased lungs, and even a man on a ventilator will be the part of a new U.S. anti-smoking campaign. The change was part of a law that put the tobacco industry under the control of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in November 2010, and the new labels must be on cigarette packages and in advertisements no later than September 2012.

For example, the packaging would say, "WARNING: Cigarettes are addictive," and then illustrated with a photograph of a man smoking a cigarette through a hole in his throat. Nice. Other messages point out the dangers of secondhand smoke to children, tobacco's causal link to fatal lung disease, cancer, strokes, heart disease and death. By the numbers, over 221,000 Americas will be diagnosed with lung cancer in 2011, accounting for about 14% of all cancer cases, and 150,000 expected to die from lung cancer this year. So this is a good thing, right?

Fuck no.

According to Health and Human Services, the goal of the warnings is to stop children from starting to smoke and offer adults who want to quit some help. Well, does that need to be at the expense of everybody else who doesn't smoke who has to see these graphic advertisements? If I want to see rotting, gnarled, and ravaged body parts, I'll go to the internet when I want, not inadvertently from behind the counter at 7-11.

If you're still unaware of the health repercussions of smoking in 2011 then you should die - you're too stupid to live. It's a choice, and for those that make it, don't subject me to your second hand smoke. And the same goes for the government and their nasty images.

The Commencement Report

Monday, June 20, 2011


These are the 10 most common iPhone numeric lock-codes, as "anonymously gathered" by the Big Brother Security Camera app (sadly, no longer part of Apple's App Store).

These ten represent 15% of the 204,508 passcodes sampled. For the full article on how lame your passcode is, check here.

Dunn Gone

What a shit way to start the day and find out Ryan Dunn died early in the AM hours...

The Jackass star and his yet-unidentified passenger were killed in a fiery car crash when his 2007 Porsche careened off the road, flipped over a guardrail and crashed over 40 yards into the woods of in suburban Philadelphia.

It's just sad...those guys hurt themselves doing stupid stunts and pranks and have a good laugh about it at the end, but to to have something terrible like that happen in real life sucks.

UPDATE: Some of his legendary acts of silliness, in memoriam.

When The Last Circus Comes To Town

"Because if I wasn't a clown, I'd be a murderer."

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

The Origin Issue

Hope you weren't too comfy with your DC superheroes and their decades of continuity, because it's rebootin' time!

The entire DC Comics line of comic books will be re-launched in September with new #1 issues that feature "younger", redesigned versions of the heroes. The move coincides with same day digital releases via DC's mobile applications and web store, and is on par with other notable reboots like New Coke and the American version of Skins. Over 50 titles will see their history erased and retooled for what DC Comics co-publisher Dan DiDio calls "today's audience". Let me give you a little hint fella, today's audience is not just yesterday's, but last century''s guys in their 20's, 30's and 40's who are your core, not school children and tweens.

All the big names - Batman, Superman, Green Lantern, The Flash, Wonder Woman and Aquaman, will "injected with new life" (a horrible clichè, even for comic books) as the stories "are grounded in each character's specific legend" but also "reflect today's real-world themes and events". So what, will Aquaman have to deal with the BP spill? Or was The Flash a NASCAR driver who gets special speed powers? They're men in tights with powers who fight villains - don't forget that.

Longtime DC artist Jim Lee (and other co-publisher) spearheaded the redesign of scores of costumes to "make characters more identifiable and accessible to comic fans new and old". Hold on - what the fuck!?! How can you make Batman more identifiable than the bat logo on his chest? Or Superman's spit curl and golden S? Or Wonder Woman's tits? People around the world can identify these heroes...they're at the top of their Q factor!

Sure, there have been re-launches to try to get some buzz, and titles changing slightly to start over and allow entry points for new readers, but never a full-on reset. Basically, this is a giant flail and a move born out of desperation and panic. You saw it on a smaller scale last year when Wonder Woman got a makeover which didn't last. DC has been losing market share on an annual basis since 2002 to Marvel, who has already done the reboot thing - but correctly.

Rather than trade the solid, built in audience created by years of cultivation for a pandering swipe at a younger generation, Marvel kept their regular comic line and made the reboot happen in a new, separate universe, which they branded the "Ultimate" line. Sure, Peter Parker became Spider-Man, and the X-Men were still mutants hated by society, but the Ultimate incarnations were free of their history, and therefore could have all those tales retold or remade with different twists. Gender changes, costume and origin redesigns were all fair game, and the Ultimate versions soon rivaled their older counterparts. Uh, why do you think Nick Fury looks like Sam Jackson and not this guy in all the Marvel films? The popularity and new take from the Ultimate line...

Comics Alliance points out several major events from recent years that have, for better or worse, factored into characters' histories:
The death of Superman; Clark Kent's marriage to Lois Lane; the death of the second Robin, Jason Todd; the activities of Damian Wayne, the son of Batman and Talia al Ghul; Crisis on Infinite Earths, Infinite Crisis and 52, the stories that defined the nature of the DC Multiverse itself; the crippling of Barbara Gordon, the original Batgirl; the defeat of Batman at the hands of Bane, resulting in the installation of the homicidal Jean-Paul Valley as Batman; the fall and redemption of Green Lantern Hal Jordan; The Sinestro Corps War, Blackest Night and the rest of the Green Lantern "emotional spectrum" mythology; Final Crisis and the journey of Bruce Wayne across time; the emergence of Batwoman Kate Kane; and the consolidation and reconciliation of dozens of characters from the Golden Age of DC Comics and their descendants, as depicted in books like JSA, Justice Society of America and Starman.
And if you don't know about most of those, congratulations, you are probably not a virgin. Mentioned above are several convoluted attempts to fix their fractured history - Crisis on Infinite Earths, Infinite Crisis, 52, Zero Hour, and Final Crisis. These massive crossovers and multi-part storylines were attempts to fix decades of fractured storytelling and failed reboots...and clearly didn't work. So why go all in again is more stunt and less strategy to me.

I've always been a Marvel fan, and it makes me happy to see that such a colossal move (and eventual catastrophic mistake) was done by the other guys...

Just A Triple Backflip