Anvil Madness

Why, hello there…!

I’ve been busy. With “a mighty work upon the anvil”, as Hume said of Smith. Actually, two. Well…three. Pulling ten-hour days at the keyboard with the flu, secret projects, attempts to get paid, a starved wish to one day get back to the ever-dwindling clutch of stories I feel sure will one day provide a tiny annuity…if they don’t get staledated by the march of time, first. Also: comic scripts.

Comic scripts!

And songs for three albums, one with a brand-new (sort of) writing partner.  And It’s all very exciting, but I have no time: as well, I still owe you Bloggers a Dark Knight review, two Games, and in the other room of this apartment sits a computer languishing, languishing, waiting one day to be hooked up…and the place is a mess, to boot.

And, my vacuum’s broken.

And I can’t find any clean socks.

So, pretty much business as usual, then. One good thing is that I’ve managed to stop writing about Dollhouse…because I don’t believe there’s much point writing about it anymore. Look, here was a very interesting situation where Joss Whedon wrote a show that…well, who knows what it might’ve been, but he wrote a show that simply couldn’t bear up under the kind of interference that he ought to know damn well Fox TV is prone to dole out. I thought it might’ve been his Questor Tapes, but it’s turned out less than that…I thought this might’ve been Whedon 3.0 we were going to see, but the fact is we’ll never know. Five episodes of nuttin’ in a twelve-episode run is a hell of a hurdle to overcome, and the question was only really “can he pull this dogshit into some kind of shape, or can’t he”, not “will this make it over the goal line”. Well, as it turned out he could pull it into some kind of shape, and he did, but it’s really too late now anyway, and besides it’s cancelled. So, what’s the maximum good outcome here? I guess that would be if the remaining episodes just threw caution absolutely to the winds, having nothing to lose, and just simply tried to burn a hole in my brain with something I’ve never seen before, never expected and never even knew I wanted. Something over-the-top mindblowing, a final highlight-reel go-to-hell goal, you want to see a messed-up science-fictional concept put on a TV screen I’LL SHOW YOU ONE…but though I’ll confess I don’t know beans about how they make TV shows, I think I’d be willing to bet that that’d be not only a Herculean task, but probably a Sisyphean one as well. He’s actually, if you look at all the little bits and pieces of dangling threads form episodes one through five, done a quite remarkable job of making sense from a lot of stuff I thought was just about beyond sense-making…there is really somewhere this show could potentially go, now…except there are only three episodes left, and the story hasn’t even really properly started yet, and so what do you do? I feel for the guy, and I’m definitely going to watch it through to the end because you never know…but there may not be much left to say, here.

But in other news…Seaguy 2 came out. My God, can you believe it? Something Nina Stone said struck me about this: she found it impenetrable.

And, on careful reexamination…wow, that’s just what it is!

Now this is a real testament to the Morrison/Stewart team, because who knew — WHO KNEW?! — that all that Seaguy 1 stuff would’ve so efficiently downloaded itself into my brain that I now just automatically go “yup, Am Dek Eye…Walt Disney, The Prisoner, and Crisis On Infinite Earths…xoo milk and monkey butter and half an animal on a stick, all perfectly straightforward stuff, nothing to wonder about, here…”  Once, I blinked at Teknostrich.  But no more.  This stuff’s become natural to me.  Good job, lads!

Hmm, lessee…what else can I talk about, as cover for slipping away from work…

Well, maybe I’ll just go away and try to think of something.

Posting to resume shortly.

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10 responses to “Anvil Madness

  1. A lot of people are pouncing on Whedon with glee right now, because there’s nothing we like better than to tear down those we once loved … right?

    (Or maybe it’s just because he kinda offed Kitty Pryde …)

    Anyway, I don’t consider Dollhouse a masterpiece but since the fabled sixth episode it has been moving in interesting directions that (almost) validate the bits and pieces left in the Fox-mandated Charlie’s Angels episodes.

    I think a lot of people have problems with the fact that there are no heroes on this show. Even the somewhat sympathetic characters – like Amy Acker’s scarred doctor and the Keeper guy – are far from angels. And Echo is too much the victim for her to truly be a hero.

    I think this would have worked out better if it was designed as a maxi-series – like the original British Life On Mars – with a definitive ending rather than a traditional American TV show that is supposed to last forever.

    People might have been more receptive to Dollhouse then, but given the mean tenor of our times probably not.

  2. Funny you should say that, Matthew — surprisingly, this is basically the first thing Chris has done which I’ve found not my cup of tea. What did you think of his Legion stuff? I really liked those a lot, but of course I’m not as schooled in LSH lore as you…I know a lot about Dr. Strange, though, and it’s apparent to me that Chris and I come from different eras when it comes to that stuff, and different geek-culture backgrounds too. Harvey Jerkwater and I have been having a big email-go-round about this, since a few months ago he came up with his own “Why I Should Write Dr. Strange”…we were just goofing on the Chris Bird style, and then lo and behold! Up pops the genuine article!

    I feel it deemphasizes the Ditko flavour a bit too much, for my tastes — it’s a very integrated-Marvel-Universe concept! But I’m tuning in every day to see what he does next…

    And Keeper: it’s unfortunate, Dollhouse went from a show that really could’ve been anything, to a show that desperately needed to prove it could be about something, back to a show that could be about anything again…but it doesn’t look like we’ll ever find out what it was going to be. No one’s going to be clamouring for a Dollhouse movie, and in fact I question whether such a thing would be possible to make…as a comic, I think it wouldn’t be fully translatable…I think its flaw was just that it was a very specific sort of thing, a bit delicate. It seems to me that what’s there now could serve as a decent platform for a genuine fully-fleshed SF concept done straight, which is a rarity in TV…if you look at the way things have been knotted together, it seems that you could almost say the Dollhouse is already all but a rogue cell in the big techno-pharmaceutical complex that’s clearly the Big Bad…clearly they’re just supposed to be a straightforward testing-ground for a particular kind of specific technology — but no doubt as Topher would say, things are fuzzier at the edges than that, and you can’t keep things so easily compartmentalized…there’s no such thing as “the technology” just as there’s no such thing as “the skill-set”, because it’s really this big, big, big, big, big cocktail, with a whole lotta ingredients. Purely by accident and necessity, the Dollhouse (I would guess) is a more active R&D setting than its masters would probably wish it to be — a Pandora’s Box demonstration: once “the technology” exists, it’s going to be what it is, and not what you want it to be…and it’s going to create its own implications. Okay, but what are those? Blah blah blah. And then of course the way it would all explode is…just by accident you have Echo and Victor and Sierra sharing a sleep-period, and then the one thing happens that’d start the technology fucking up, and doing something you didn’t expect.

    So, that all could have been interesting, actually.

    But, Sean: yeah, I could easily just be projecting something onto it that was never going to be there anyway. Five episodes of total garbage, then a couple of remedial episodes, and then no-time-left? For people who a) read comics, and b) don’t like Whedon anyway…well, it’s laughable.

    Oh, forgot to mention! I have a big Spring Review coming up, as well! Very exciting.

  3. What did you think of his Legion stuff? I really liked those a lot, but of course I’m not as schooled in LSH lore as you…

    I liked it, for the most part. I mean, as I said once in his comments, ideas are cheap and plentiful; the true test of how good his take on the Legion would be would be the extent to which the resulting comics were good reads. But: for a long, long time now the Legion has been swamped by Could and Would stories, and desperately need an infusion of Does, and that’s just what the Why I Should Write the Legion articles would have provided. So in that sense I’m all for it, and I wouldn’t be at all surprised if the same kind of thing was true for Dr. Strange.

  4. Rather than criticize Chris’ Dr. Strange, Matthew (by saying it is all Could, and very far from Does), I’ll ask you this: if you could have a “fantasy Legion”, I mean one where you could pick and choose the members from reboots, threeboots, and noboots, and jam them all together into a “new” Legion where they had to get used to each other…”who the fuck are you people?!”…what members would you choose? I’d choose the threeboot Brainy, the original Wildfire, absolute Sixties Saturn Girl and Lightning Lad, FYL Cosmic Boy and Invisible Kid, threeboot Phantom Lass…etc…

    I mean, if everybody was going to do a Legion mash-up like that, and so you had no excuse not to do one yourself…what would yours be?

  5. Well, my answer to this is no fun. Because it’s “all of them”. Every single one! There hasn’t been a Legionnaire I wouldn’t be happy to read about as a regularly-featured member of the team, and I don’t see why I should be expected to choose one over another.

    Consider Chameleon Boy aka Chameleon. Do I choose original-version Chameleon Boy, the 30th-century Batman? Reboot Chameleon, the first-generation immigrant? Threeboot Chameleon, the parrot-seducing mirror? Or animated-series Chameleon Boy, the bratty rookie? No, I refuse: I want them all, and if that’s confusing I’ll find a way to sort it out.

    Which is not to say I don’t have my favourites. If I had to choose a roster of my favourites, it might be something like this:

    Kid Quantum II (reboot) (team leader)
    Bouncing Boy (animated) (deputy leader)
    Matter-Eater Lad (5YL) (ambassador)
    Brainiac 5 (original) – original Brainy has something none of the other versions of the character have: wisdom
    Saturn Girl (original) – reboot or animated Imra would do in a pinch, but they messed her up too much in the threeboot
    Laurel Gand (5YL) – the heart of the Legion
    XS (reboot)
    Sun Boy (threeboot)
    Blok (original)
    Shikari (reboot)
    Ultra Boy (any version will do, really. Let’s say original)
    Light Lass (threeboot)
    M’Onel (reboot)
    Dream Girl (threeboot)
    Quislet (original)
    Gates (reboot)
    Sensor Girl (original)
    Kono (5YL)
    Kent Shakespeare (5YL)
    Chameleon Boy (original)
    Phantom Girl (original)
    Invisible Kid (threeboot)
    Polar Boy (retroboot)
    Gazelle (threeboot)
    Shadow Lass (original)

    Add Superboy and Supergirl to taste. Supporting staff includes R.J. Brande, Marla Latham and Shvaughn Erin from the original Legion, Gear from the reboot and Theena and M’rissey from the threeboot.

  6. Shoot, that’s pretty neat, Matthew. Now you’ve got me thinking that Ultra Boy oughtta be the same from Legion to Legion to Legion…

    Hey, if you can spare a couple minutes…what are your thoughts on L.E.G.I.O.N.? Did you think it was useful? Did you collect it? Did you dislike it? Like it? What did/do hardcore Legionheads think of it?

  7. Well, Ultra Boy isn’t exactly the same in all Legion versions, but the differences aren’t very important.

    I never got into L.E.G.I.O.N. when it first came out. More recently I’ve picked up a few back issues, and liked them, and will eventually fill in the rest. Plus I’m currently getting R.E.B.E.L.S. v2, which is basically a revival of L.E.G.I.O.N.; it’s okay so far.

    I prefer to regard L.E.G.I.O.N. as its own thing, and for its ties to the future Legion to be coincidental. The Legion already has plenty of 20th/21st century roots in the person of Superman and his associated characters; they don’t need L.E.G.I.O.N. around for that role. So L.E.G.I.O.N. should exist for its own sake and nobody else’s. So, no: not useful, but then since when does a comic book have to be useful?

    It is a well-regarded series among Legion fans, especially for Barry Kitson’s art. R.E.B.E.L.S. v1 is much less so, but the current v2 is being warmly received.

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