Friday, June 17, 2011

Alan Moore's Killing Joke

Somehow in my discussion of the Barbara Gordon/Batgirl fiasco, I neglected to mention the story that started the whole thing.

Though the legacy of The Killing Joke is most resonant with Barbara Gordon, they actual story is really about the origin of the Joker and the line between him and Batman.  Barbara Gordon is only in a single sequence and what happens to her only happens to motivate the actions of other characters.  I don't hold this against the story itself.  The world portrayed in The Killing Joke is full of tragedy and nihilism.  When reading it again, I was struck by how different it is tonally than all the Batman comics published before or since.  Though some horrible things happen in the book, it feels like the book really takes place in its own little world, independent of the rest of DC's output.  With all that in mind, its surprising that the story eventually become "official" with the Joker's origin and the injuries to Barbara Gordon being carried over into the other titles.

Ad Nonsense

Apparently my Adsense account was disabled last night.  I'm actually not sure why.  It doesn't matter though, having advertising on here made me uncomfortable anyway.  Consider that experiment ended.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

How Research Works: 42


What is the answer?

To life, the universe, and everything?

No.  Where is the coffee machine?


They took the coffee machine because of budget cuts didn't they?!

Um... 42?

Batgirl Returns

An interesting aspect of this whole DC comics reboot hullabaloo is that Barbara Gordon is apparently returning to the guise of Batgirl.  Normally I wouldn't really comment on a fictional character becoming another fictional character like this, but Barbara Gordon as Batgirl is something of a special case.

For the last 20 years, Barbara Gordon has been a highly visible character in a great many of DC's superhero books.  However, barring the occasional flashback issue, it hasn't been as Batgirl, but as Oracle. As Oracle, Barbara Gordon has led superhero teams, fought all sorts of supervillians, and anchored one of DC's most consistently good books.  Significantly, she did all this after surviving an attack that left her paraplegic.  Thus making her the only visible DC superhero with a physical handicap.

Green Lantern: Awful?

Yikes.  Green Lantern is already getting hammered in the reviews.  The majority of the reviews aren't in yet, but a less than 30% on Rotten Tomatoes?  Looks like Warner Brothers might have another Jonah Hex on their hands.

This "report" sums up my general feelings about how misguided the whole endeavor is.  Forgetting my own distaste for Green Lantern and the fact that the movie looks awful, Hal Jordan just doesn't have the popular appeal to justify a big summer blockbuster.

No.  I will not be paying money to see this.

'Green Lantern' To Fulfill America's Wish To See Lantern-Based Characters On Big Screen

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Recipe in Progress: Easiest Salad Ever

Easiest Salad Ever


2-3 Tomatoes (Depending on size)
1 Cucumber
1/2 Shallot
1/2 Lemon


1.  Dice the tomatoes, shallot and cucumber, mix together in a bowl.
2.  Squeeze lemon over mixture.
3.  Eat.

As far as what to serve this with, I've been working our a lime marinade for chicken.  I think that would probably be nice.

Recipe in Progress: Soyaki Sliders

Now that its summer I'm trying to come up with some new things to cook up on the barbecue.  I've been grilling up some corn, some other vegetables, and various types of traditional barbecue fare.   As much as I like hamburgers (and cheeseburgers!), I've been working on a recipe for turkey burgers for awhile now.

Usually, I find turkey burgers to be dry and not very appetizing.  However, the addition of some sauces makes for some interestingly flavored burgers.  So far I've been most successful using Trader Joe's Soyaki sauce.  I've been hunting around for a recipe to make a homemade equivalent, probably involving teriyaki sauce, soy sauce, and ginger but I've been unsuccessful.

Soyaki Sliders


1/2 lb Ground Turkey
1 Shallot
1 tbsp Ketchup
4 tbsp Trader Joe's Soyaki Sauce


1.  Dice the shallot and mix with the turkey, ketchup, and soyaki sauce.
2.  Divide the mix into eight equal portions.  Roll the portions into balls and then press into patties.
3.  Grill burgers over high heat.  Because turkey is rather dry, try to sear the outside of the burgers to trap some of the soyaki inside.
4.  Serve like a normal burger.  Because of the soyaki sauce, I like to add a fair bit of sriracha to the normal condiments.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

How Research Works: 41


As soon as I hand in this paper you'll be the senior student in the lab.

Say it isn't so.

Its not as exciting as you think.

I can't wait to have an excuse for my bitterness.

There is that.

I'll take my small victories when I can get them.

Remember those.  They become less and less common when your the senior student. 

Monday, June 13, 2011

Frankenstein: Agent of SHADE

The most exciting title in all of the Great DC Reboot of 2011... Frankenstein: Agent of SHADE.  

This series has been just rumors for about five years and I have been waiting for it for even longer.  For those who don't know, DC's version of Frankenstein's monster is something of a supernatural super spy who fights crazy monsters with steampunk weapons and bickers with his wife, all while quoting Paradise Lost.  In his introductory mini-series he was introduced as a hitman who rises from the dead to defeat an evil, sentient, universe and things got even crazier from there.  

Here he is after defeating some bugs (sent by humanity's future evil descendants, obviously) by burning down a school in a scene modeled after the last scene of Carrie.

The whole concept is just about the most ludicrous, most comic-booky thing ever.  I can't wait to see more of it.

Images from: Seven Soldiers: Frankenstein
By: Grant Morrison and Doug Mahnke 

Magneto: Mutant Secret Agent

So I saw this over the weekend.  Overall I thought it was very good, if a bit uneven.  Though its unlikely given how this one ended, I'd really like to see a whole movie of Magneto running around doing spy things.

The first three quarters of this are mostly awesome.  The Magneto scenes especially are engaging, with Michael Fassbender more than making up for the acting black whole that is January Jones.  There are a few clunky bits of dialogue, but overall I really enjoyed everything before the last sequence.  The third act isn't bad per se, but doesn't really fit with the rest of the movie.  I don't want to spoil anything, but all the character development that slowly develops for the first two acts is settled in about 30 seconds at the end of the movie.  Its jarring, and it doesn't really work, but I guess it was really necessary to maintain continuity with X Men 3.

Criticisms aside, I actually really enjoyed this.  The first two acts more than make up for the messy third.  Its silly, its over the top, its exactly what you'd expect from an X-Men movie that takes place in the 1960's and stars Kevin Bacon.  I wouldn't rush out immediately to the theater to see it, but it is certainly worth checking out.