Strip Talk #12: Superman does have real enemies

Superman does have real enemies

Lyndsey Hicks Mosley, editor-in-chief

For many years in my life, I have been a comic book fan. I like to think of myself as objective and impartial when it comes to my likes and dislikes, with the love I have for the paper fantasies of ink, crime fighting and justice split evenly between DC and Marvel. But there comes a time when you have to choose your favorites. The Caped Crusader is easily on my list of favorite characters, and the X-Men are tops any day of the week and twice on Sunday. But, so help me, if I had kryptonite I’d wipe Superman and his ilk off the face of comicdom.

I know it’s not popular not to have even the smallest modicum of respect for the Man of Steel. Heck, I can even think of a few people who’d revoke my comic knowledge badge of authority for making such a statement. But the entire time that I’ve known of the son of Krypton, I never have been able to get behind him as a viable candidate in the race for my comic character love.

What bothers me the most about Superman is this notion that he is literally unstoppable. I think about it this way: If you have Superman around, why would you need anyone else? Superman obviously has all of the bases covered.

Outside of the basic question of neediness regarding him, I have always had too many questions about his day-to-day interactions with the rest of his universe. Where does he sleep and does he even really have a need for sleeping, eating or other human functions? Are people really so dumb in the DC universe that they can’t tell Clark Kent is Superman? For Lois Lane to have been such an intrepid, hard-nosed reporter, she sure isn’t too bright if she can’t tell that the man she kisses who saves her life on a routine basis is the same man that she works with everyday and all he’s done is change his hairstyle and throw on a pair of glasses. The same goes for the rest of the universe, barring Ma and Pa Kent.

And then we get to the sorry excuse for a villain that is Lex Luthor. The question that I’ve been begging to ask for the majority of my comic-loving life is this: Why doesn’t Superman just kill Luthor? He’s done enough to be impeached as president of the United States, he’s maimed and stolen more times than anyone can count in his existence. He’s outright tried to kill Superman numerous times. What else does Superman need to pull off the prime directive in regard to Luthor? Maybe malevolent Joker-level shenanigans (Editor’s note: This is opposed to prankster Joker shenanigans. There is a difference), because I can’t understand why he’s allowed to keep running amok in Metropolis and getting away with the things he does.

I believe Kal-El is a little too nice sometimes. With my tolerance at an all-time low for stupid superheroes that lack logic behind their actions, Superman’s about to get the short end of the kryptonite.

Lyndsey Hicks Mosley is editor-in-chief of Gaming Insurrection. She can be reached by email at gicomics@gaminginsurrection.com

Anime Lounge #02: School Rumble Ep. 1-10

Series: School Rumble

Episodes: 1-10

Premise: School Rumble is like most school romance anime: The protagonist, Tenma Tsukamoto, is a normal teenager who goes to school and has crushes. The difference is that School Rumble is a romantic comedy that revolves around multiple love triangles and quadrangles where there’s a lot of unrequited feelings. You’re introduced to Kenji Harima, a juvenile delinquent extraordinaire who is in love with Tenma. She doesn’t feel the same but it doesn’t stop Harima from bellyaching about it and what it means most of the time.

Is it worth watching?: In a word, yes. If you can get past Tenma’s inherent draw-on-your nerves cuteness and the fact that she spends a lot of time chasing Oji Karasuma, a dude that doesn’t appear to know she’s alive most of the time, the show is pretty funny. There’s a lot of gags that happen and the characters, as they’re introduced, have personalities. In the first 10 episodes, the humor is at the forefront and that’s where it needs to be.

Breakout character: Easily, in the first 10 episodes, it’s Harima. His appearance makes the episodes and his humor, intentional or not, is the draw.

Funniest episode: Episode 3 (“See and Sketch! Letter on an Arrow! Pajama Party Confessions!”). Tenma attempts to get Karasuma’s attention and confess her love for him through shooting an arrow with her confession attached to the end of the arrow. Karasuma has a seemingly supernatural ability to avoid the arrows, and manages to dodge them. Tenma narrowly misses hitting Harima who is nearby. Harima only avoids the arrow by dodging the shot with well-timed Matrix-like Bullet Time maneuver.

Where it’s going: Starting with episode 11, the focus shifts to the surrounding cast and how their relationships play out. Tenma’s still there fighting for Karasuma’s attention and Harima’s still fighting for Tenma, but I love the fact that Tenma’s friends, classmates and family are starting to develop deeper personalities.

Anime Lounge #01: Welcome

Hi, I’m new to anime

with Lyndsey Hicks Mosley, editor-in-chief

It wasn’t that long ago that I was a newbie to the world of anime and manga, or so it seems. I was in high school when Dragon Ball Z began airing on Cartoon Network’s Toonami block. The saga of Vegeta, Goku and the gang resonated with me and the folks that I hung out with at the time, so we all watched it faithfully. While my friends were mostly into DBZ, I was discovering other shows such as Sailor Moon. Say what you will about the show, but I could relate better to the relationship of Serena and Darrien more than anything else.

By the time I graduated from high school, Pokemon had hit the airwaves in America. Not knowing that this was considered anime, I was all over it in the form of the Gameboy’s Red and Blue versions. There was something about the RPG aspect of it that helped force me to nearly catch them all. But the real explosion in otakuism didn’t hit until college. It was then that I discovered and fell in love with a variety of shows off the beaten path.

Thanks again to Toonami, I got heavily into Inuyasha and Yu Yu Hakasho. Saturday nights were my immersion and escape into the other side of the world, or so I thought. A little Iron Chef, some anime and Chinese food to pig out on? I lived for the weekend and the Toonami Rising Sun block. At the time, I did watch a little Tenchi Muyo and Ronin Warriors, but not much.

Once I graduated and got out on my own, my anime tastes were refined. Toonami changed the lineup and new shows were in place. In came a new crop that sent my anime awareness soaring. In 2003 and 2004, I jumped into Cowboy Bebop, Big O, Trigun, Outlaw Star and His and Her Circumstances. Along for the ride was Witch Hunter Robin and FLCL. I got a feel for the unknown and tried new things, such as Read or Die and Ninja Scroll. I even watched a little Ruroni Kenshin. Sure, these are mostly mainstream titles — His and Her Circumstances excluded — but they were my way of staying sane and escaping into my own world of awesome characters. As I delved into anime, I was drawn to manga, as well. I decided to start two titles — Rurouni Kenshin and Love Hina — as a test to see if I could adapt to the printed form. I found that while I do love reading, taking in manga took some getting used to.

After my marriage, my ardor for anime suddenly cooled. I’m not sure why other than the fact that I suddenly had less time to watch TV. It was some years before I found the ability to devote time to watch TV again, and with the end of my marriage, I’m finding myself back where I started in terms of time to watch.

So, what do I watch these days? Well, through recommendations or having picked up brief snippets earlier, I’m watching or have completed several shows: Samurai Shamploo, Soul Eater, Death Note, Bleach, Afro Samurai, Naruto and Ouran High School Host Club. Again, these are mostly mainstream titles but take it from me, it’s better than nothing. The advent of video on demand is perfect for folks like myself. There’s nothing better than coming home from work, fixing a snack and watching a block of my favorite shows at my own pace. I’m thanking my lucky anime stars for Hulu Plus right about now.

So, here I am: The purpose of the Anime Lounge is to supplement Otaku Corner, which is written by one of our resident anime and manga connoisseurs, Brandon Beatty. I hope to discuss some of my favorite anime, give my insight into the plot — which may be different than the manga that Brandon may be chronicling of the same name — and tell you if it’s a show to give your time to or stay away from. I hope you will join me as I start out on my journey to delve deeper into one of my favorite pasttimes: Watching the animated best of the best from Japan.

Lyndsey Hicks Mosley is editor-in-chief of Gaming Insurrection.

Strip Talk #10: Just where did Charles Xavier go wrong?

Lyndsey Mosley, editor in chief

Charles Xavier: Former leader of the X-Men, founder of the Xavier Institute for Higher Learning. Morally ambiguous leader who mind wipes foes. Yes, Xavier is capable of great things and then there’s that tendency for him to get into the dark side of his humanity and kill people.

Just where did Xavier go wrong?

First, let’s examine the good that came from Xavier’s actions. In creating the X-Men, his strikeforce for perpetuating the good of mutantkind, Xavier gave a home to and helped many a mutant with a tragic background. These people may not have had any other place to go, killed themselves or others if not for the benevolence of the professor. However, there’s two sides to every story and Xavier didn’t always practice what he preached in taking in wayward mutants.

The list of questionable actions arising from the creation of the X-Men didn’t come to light until much later, and when it did, Xavier had to pay. I mean, who does things such as: tamper with a mutant’s mind to prevent their assassination (Wolverine); let a sentient being remain enslaved while knowing they are capable of advanced thought and feelings (Danger Room); tell a mutant for years that he can help them when he really can’t (Rogue); and erase the memory of fallen comrades that he sent unprepared into the field and who subsequently died solely to cover his tracks (Vulcan, Petra, Sway)? That would be Xavier in a number of story arcs. When even Cyclops and Wolverine are disgusted with you, you have a problem.

I’ll be the first to admit that I love the early character of Xavier. He was modeled after Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., a personal hero, so there’s much to love about him. However, his problems with lying and secret-keeping are an immediate dealbreaker in terms of character likability. The more recent story arcs seem to be rehabilitating Xavier into a broken-but-honest man. Let’s hope they continue down that path.

Lyndsey Mosley is editor in chief of Gaming Insurrection. She ponders the humanity of the X-Men at gicomics@gaminginsurrection.com

PlayPlay

Strip Talk #09: Let’s end the bashing of direct comic book films

Lyndsey Mosley, editor in chief

I don’t know where the inclination to bash a direct comic book movie has come from in recent years, but it honestly needs to stop.

I don’t know about the various movie critics out there, but I love a good comic book movie. And, if it just so happens that to achieve this rare feat someone must copy a comic panel by panel, then so be it.

That’s much more preferable than watching some mangled chop job by a director hack who doesn’t “get it.”

Take for instance “Sin City.” Every time I turned on the TV or read a review, someone was bashing the film because it was “too close to the comic.”

You’ve got to be kidding me. It was perfect. Everything that I knew about the comic actually came from the movie and inspired me to pick it up, not the other way around. So what if it was lifted nearly word for word? I’d rather have that than a butchered idea based on something that might resemble a video game movie (see: every Batman film after Returns and and Super Mario Bros.).

Another example? “Watchmen.” It, too, was criticized because of its close proximity to the comic book, and yet, what some critics didn’t realize was that the movie changed some key elements.

If they’d actually bothered to read the comic AND watch the movie, they would have known that. But somehow, it was too abstract and “comic-like” to do well. Damned if you do, damned if you don’t. If it hadn’t been just like the comic, someone would have criticized the movie for straying too far from its roots. But because it was identical to the comic in nearly every respect, it was deemed too close to its source.

Really, movie critics, throw me a bone here.

As a comic book fan, I’m glad we’re moving past the point where movies based on properties are garbage adaptations that have nothing to do with the characters’ past or present activities and don’t make a drop of sense. If someone wants to give me exactly what I can pick up a book and read, more power to them. In an analogous school turn, I’d rather they study and do their homework than to not do the reading.

Lyndsey Mosley is editor in chief of Gaming Insurrection. She enjoys direct panel lifts at gicomics@gaminginsurrection.com