Archive for January, 2012

Preacher: A Retrospective

Posted in Comics with tags , , , , , , , , on 01/29/2012 by Papa Nerd

The library where I live is awesome.  Why?

They loan out comic books.  And not just kiddie comics that fit into a certain religious perspective (you hear me, Salem, MO, library?).  They have graphic novels, complete with violence and foul language.

I love me some graphic novels with gratuitous violence and language.  Anyway, I had heard a lot about a series called Preacher, which came out in the mid to late nineties.  I didn’t know anything about it, other than the fact it was called Preacher.  I was looking at the graphic novels one day, and I saw the first volume in the Preacher trade paperbacks, subtitled Gone to Texas.  The first thing that caught my attention about it was the creative team behind it: Garth Ennis and Steve Dillon.  Ennis and Dillon had a good run on Punisher for Marvel a few years back, so I figured Preacher couldn’t be too bad.  I mean, all of the other nerds like it and are wanting a movie made of Preacher.  I picked it up, and was instantly hooked.

The story revolves around Jesse Custer (his name is an anagram of Secret Jesus), who comes from a crappy background and a home life that is beyond dysfunctional.  He was born out of wedlock, then his family was captured and taken to his grandmother’s plantation in Louisiana, where they could be watched at all times and instructed in the ways of God.  His father and mother tried to escape, and as a result, his father was murdered before his eyes.  His mother taught him, while one of his grandmother’s thugs taught him how to fight and about mechanics.  After his friend Billy Bob, a one-eyed, inbred swamp dweller was murdered for seeing another thug screw a chicken, Jesse escaped the plantation, and led a life of pure debauchery.  He met a woman, Tulip O’Hare, fell in love, and was ready to propose to her.  Unfortunately, his Grandma sent her thugs, Jody and T.C. to get him back.  They found him in Arizona, and threatened to kill Tulip if he didn’t go back with them.  He did, and his Grandma forced him into preaching.

He ended up preaching in a hick Texas town, where he wanted nothing more than to expose his congregation’s hypocrisies, and then crawl inside a whiskey bottle.  One night, he goes to the local watering hole and begins announcing the misdeeds of his congregation, and gets beaten unconscious for his troubles.  The next morning, while he is preaching, Jesse was suddenly struck by a supernatural force later identified as Genesis, grafting itself to Jesse’s soul and releasing an explosion of energy that destroyed the church and the town, killing the whole population. By a well-timed coincidence, Tulip had hitched a lift with an Irishman named Cassidy after having just bungled her first job as an assassin. The two discovered Jesse among the rubble of the church and, after some discussion, agreed to help him to safety, although Tulip was still furious with Jesse over his sudden abandonment of her five years before. The death of the townsfolk and the rumored appearance of a stone-faced, dual-pistol wielding cowboy brought the involvement of both local law enforcement and the FBI.

By the way, Cassidy is a vampire.  Just throwin’ that out there.

Genesis gives Jesse an ability known as “The Word of God.”  Basically, he can command people to do anything.

So, after this, Jesse decides he is going to find God, who has quit His job, and kick His ass.  Hilarity ensues.

As someone who was raised as a fundamental Baptist, I should be offended by what could be extreme sacrilege, right?  Nope.  I don’t really care.  I am no longer a religious or spiritual person, and I am now more open minded about things.  Otherwise, the thought of a drunken, debaucherous, cuss-like-a-sailor preacher, hanging out with a vampire, on a quest to kick God’s ass, would be offensive.  But, Jesse wasn’t a real preacher to begin with.  He was just going through the motions.

Preacher is overly violent, drops more f-bombs than Samuel L. Jackson, is filled with drug use and sexual innuendo.  Not to mention a fun story, with well written characters.

In other words,

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A Nerd’s Review of the Marvel Cinematic Universe… Thus Far, Part 5

Posted in Movies with tags , , , , on 01/21/2012 by Papa Nerd

Captain America: The First Avenger

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Superman Lives: What Could Have Been

Posted in Movies with tags , , , , , , , , on 01/15/2012 by Papa Nerd

Way back in 1996 or 1997, Tim Burton was signed on to direct Superman Lives for Warner Brothers.  Kevin Smith wrote the script, and Nicolas Cage was cast as Superman/Clark Kent.

With the exception of Nic Cage as Superman, it sounds pretty cool.  On paper.

Kevin Smith wrote a good script (you can read it here).  Producer Jon Peters decided that Superman’s suit and his ability to fly were “faggy (his word, not mine),” and that Superman had to fight a giant mechanical spider.  Smith agreed to these stipulations and wrote the script.

Here’s the story in his own words:

Apparently, Tim Burton wasn’t satisfied.  I guess it just wasn’t weird or dark enough for him.  Burton re-wrote the whole thing, and Smith was off of the project.  Then, Warner Brothers pulled the plug on the movie, and nothing else happened.

Or so we thought.

A little while back, some concept art was released.

Here’s Burton’s sketch:

Tim Burton's Superman

And a more finalized drawing:

Superman Lives

Wow.  Supes in black vinyl.  Not good.

Sometime last year, concept art, based on Burton’s script, was released.  Here’s a little bit.

Brainiac

Humanoid Brainiac

Guess what form Brainiac would have taken when he wasn’t in humanoid form?  If you watched the Kevin Smith video, you will get this on right off the bat.

Answer: a giant mechanical spider.

Here are some concepts for Brainiac’s ship:

Brainiac's Ship

Brainiac's Ship

Not looking good.  We could’ve ended up with this, though:

Brainiac's Ship

So, Tim Burton wanted Superman to run around in skin tight black vinyl, when he wasn’t wearing a robot suit or weird plastic light-up suit, and fight Brainiac (not a bad idea in it’s own right, since Brainiac is a cool villain), who flies around in a literal skull, not just a skull ship.  Wow.  Can it get any worse? Yes.  In closing, I leave you with this gem.

Nicolas Cage in a costume test

Is ist just me, or does Nic look high?

Superman Returns was in no way a masterpiece.  Brandon Routh was okay, Spacey was good, and Kate Bosworth was an abomination as Lois Lane, but it was okay.  At least it was better than what we Superman fans would have gotten from Tim Burton.

Now, we have Zach Snyder (300, Watchmen) directing a new movie, written by David S. Goyer and starring Henry Cavill as Superman, Amy Adams as Lois, Kevin Costner and Diane Lane as Ma and Pa Kent, and Russell Crowe as Jor-El.  Hopefully, this can be the Superman film we have been waiting for since the first Superman movie.  It already looks a lot better than the crap Burton would have put out.

Man of Steel

Sources: ComicBookMovie, TimBurton.jp

Computer Viruses Suck. A Lot.

Posted in etc., Life with tags , , , , on 01/15/2012 by Papa Nerd

No, really.  They DO suck a lot.

Earlier this week, mine got infected by a nasty little bugger, called “Win 7 Security 2012,” which masquerades as a legit security program from Microsoft.

Now, I’m no idiot.  I’m not as computer savvy as I used to be, but I know better than to click on a popup ad that tells you that your computer is unsafe.  These things have been around for years, and they’re pretty easy to spot.  The problem with this particular bug is that you don’t have to click on anything.  If a website has been hacked and the malicious code has been inserted into the site, when you visit, it can install itself on your computer without your knowledge.

I think this is what happened to my computer.  I didn’t click on the ad, just on the close button on the window, and voila! My PC was infected.  It started telling me that my anti-virus software was malware, then it proceeded to disable my McAfee anti-virus (I have since removed McAfee, since it became apparent that it was pointless and didn’t do its job) and firewalls.

My wife and I do a lot on our computer, and we can’t afford to have it compromised, and I couldn’t fix this, so I paid to have the virus removed.  The PC is running like a charm now, with no signs of the virus.

Thank Jeebus!

As a side note, don’t worry about my site being infected.  I’ve been checking on it, and neither Google or Bing detect any malware on the site.

Modern Day Salem Witch Trial

Posted in Life with tags , , , on 01/09/2012 by Papa Nerd

This topic is a little different for me.  It has nothing to do with movies or comic books or T.V. shows or anything of the like.  But, I feel it is an important topic, which deserves discussion and intelligent debate.

Here’s the deal: in Salem, Missouri, my wife’s home town, a lady named Anaka Hunter went to the library to research her Native American heritage, particularly, Native American spirituality.  Every website dealing with the topic was blocked by the library’s filtering software.  A puzzled Ms. Hunter went to Glenda Wofford, library director, and asked her why she couldn’t access the information she was looking for.  She was told that the sites she requested, as well as any sites dealing with Wicca, paganism, astrology, etc. were blocked for being “occult” and promoting “criminal skills.”

Under Missouri law, libraries are required to have such filtering software on their computers to prevent baby-touching perverts from accessing child porn on the computers.  Some libraries choose to filter out other content, as well.  Ms. Wofford told Ms. Hunter that she could unlock certain web pages if they are to be used for school projects and the like.  She proceeded to make more information available for Ms. Hunter: one page of one website.

When Ms. Hunter protested the classification of Native American spirituality as “occult” and “criminal skills,” she was informed by Ms. Wofford that she was required to notify the “proper authorities” if anyone tried to access sites blocked by the software, if she thought the information was to be misused.  Ms. Hunter interpreted her statement to mean that Ms. Wofford was going to call the police, and stopped trying to do her research at the Salem Public Library.

Ms. Hunter brought the issue up at a library board meeting in November 2010, but nothing was done.  According to Tony Rothert, one of the ACLU lawyers who filed a lawsuit on Hunter’s behalf, “They listened to her, but they made no changes… they didn’t give a reason. They just said, ‘Are you done?'”

According to the River Front Times out of St. Louis,

Interestingly, although patrons of the Salem library can’t access sites such as All About Spirituality, The Church and School of Wicca or even the Wikipedia entry on Wicca, they can look up paganism in The Catholic Encyclopedia and “Astrology and Horoscopes: The Bible and Christian View.”

“It violates the establishment clause [in the First Amendment],” Rothert explains. “You can learn what the Catholic Church thinks of paganism, but if you want the pagan view of paganism, it’s blocked. It gives preferential treatment to some religions. Any example of a minority religion discussed in a positive way has been blocked.”

Rothert had hoped that the matter could be settled without a lawsuit, but Wofford and the library remained inflexible and declined to give an explanation for blocking Hunter’s web search.

“It’s a new age of book banning,” he says.

Normally, I don’t wear my spirituality (or lack thereof) on my sleeve.  I was raised a fundamental Baptist, but after a lot of soul searching and, honestly, logical thinking, I realized that religion is not the answer.  Rather science, logic, and hard evidence provide all of the answers I need.  The fact that some people not only force their religious views onto others, but they also make sure that everything you do has to fit into their religious views, bothers me.  Bothers the hell out of me, not to put too fine a point on it.

Why?  Because no one should be forced to believe the same as anyone else.  Christianity teaches us that God gave us free will.  It also teaches us that God will punish you for an eternity for not using your free will to accept Him or His son.  They say the Bible is infallible.  I see a pretty big fallacy there.

I’m not going to sit here and tell you to believe what I believe.  I’m also not going to say you’re condemned to hell if you don’t think the same as me.  No one should have to view the world through a religious filter.  I’ve been there.  I know.  When I left the sheltered world of my parents’ extremely religious household and Bible college, it was a shock to me.  People didn’t act as they should have.  People didn’t speak as they should have.  Things didn’t go the way they should have.  I found that praying didn’t work; that I felt as though I was talking to a wall.

Frankly, I found that if God was real, and if He was actually there, He didn’t give two shits about me.  I gave my life to Him.  “Who cares?” is how He would have responded.

Maybe Agent Mulder was right. “He’s just reading the box scores.”

Maybe George Carlin, Bill Maher, Albert Einstein, and the founding fathers (look it up) are right: He isn’t real.  He’s only real in our heads.

But, that isn’t the issue.  The issue is this: should someone be denied information on their heritage and the spiritual beliefs of their culture, because someone personally disagrees with said culture’s religious views?  No.  And it definitely is not a public library’s job to censor information.  The library exists to provide information.  It exists as a place to go to find out about our culture and heritage.

It is not a publicly funded arm of the Church.  It should not act as such.

Source: River Front Times

Two New Previews for Kevin Smith’s New Reality Show Online

Posted in Comics, TV with tags , , , , , , , on 01/08/2012 by Papa Nerd

I love Kevin Smith.  In a totally hetero way.  Sure, he may not make the best movies, but that is beside the point.  He made Clerks, goddammit.  That more than makes up for Jersey Girl.

Anyway, Smith has a new reality show, premiering on AMC  February 12th, right after the return of The Walking Dead.  Kev must have made a deal with the devil to get that time slot.  Or, he sucked a huge… nevermind.  Gotta keep it clean here.

Instead of this show being a show focusing on his life (which would be awesome, I must say), it will be based in his comic book store, Jay and Silent Bob’s Secret Stash, in Red Bank, New Jersey.  It will be a look at what goes on in your favorite comic book store, behind the scenes, and the people who work at said stores.

It was originally titled Secret Stash, but it has since been renamed Comic Book Men.

 

If the shop looks familiar to you, that’s because it was featured in Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back.  Don’t believe me?  Go watch it.  The part where Jay and Silent Bob are talking to Brodie about the movie rights to Bluntman and Chronic being sold, and Jay and Silent Bob find out they are entitled to a “mother f*****g movie check.”

I’m such a Kevin Smith nerd.  Hell, I even own a copy of Cop Out.  Autographed, no less.

Actually, don’t go watch Jay and Silent Bob yet.  I’ll be a nice nerd and do the work for you:

Now you can go watch the movie.

Until next time..

SNOOGINS!

Source: NerdBastards

This Week in Nerd News

Posted in etc., Movies with tags , , , , , , , , , on 01/07/2012 by Papa Nerd

It seems there is no shortage of nerdy pop-culture stuff happening out there.  Each week, I’ll round up some highlights of the things showing up on the nerd radar.

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