Comic Book Review – Crisis on Infinite Earths Part 9 (of 9)

Crisis on Infinite Earths Part 9 (of 9)
Reviewing stories found in Crisis on Infinite Earths #12, Green Lantern #198, Infinity Inc #25, All-Star Squadron #57-60, and DC Comic Presents #94
Written by Marv Wolfman, Steve Englehart, Roy Thomas, Dann Thomas, Robert Greenberger, and Barbara Kesel
Art by George Perez, Joe Staton, Todd McFarlane, Mike Clark, Rick Hoberg, Arvell Jones, Richard Howell, and Tom Mandrake

Throughout Crisis issue 11 and continuing into #12, there is a subplot where the Forgotten Heroes stumble across Brainiac’s ship. The Forgotten Heroes were a group of C-tier characters put together in the pages of Action Comics and DC Comics Presents. Their roster consisted of Animal Man, Atomic Knight, Dolphin, and more. When Brainiac wakes, it’s another sign of the effects of the Crisis, with the robot having no memory of the pre-Crisis timeline. However, he does detect that Earth is in the Antimatter Universe and rushes off to Apokalips to seek aid from Darkseid.

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Comic Book Review – Crisis on Infinite Earths Part 8 (of 9)

Crisis on Infinite Earths Part 8 (of 9)
Reviewing stories found in Superman #423, Action Comics #583, Crisis on Infinite Earths #11, Amethyst #13, and Green Lantern #197
Written by Alan Moore, Marv Wolfman, Robert Loren Fleming, Keith Giffen, and Steve Englehart
Art by Curt Swan, Murphy Anderson, George Perez, Ernie Colon, and Joe Staton

One of the major conventions of the Superman comics during the Silver Age was “Imaginary Stories,” these were “what if?” style scenarios revolving around changing some essential aspect of Superman’s lore and seeing how it plays out. For example, a typical story might be about Superman getting married, having children, being killed by one of his enemies, or vice versa. To wrap up this era of Superman, writer Alan Moore penned a two-point narrative that brings the story of the Man of Steel to a clear finale. It doesn’t necessarily fit with the continuity of what was happening in the Crisis on Infinite Earths event, but it was written because of what Crisis was bringing to the DC Universe.

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TV Review – When Was SNL Funny? Part 3 (of 9)

Saturday Night Live was at a crossroads by 1985. Dick Ebersol’s four-year run had ended in shambles with a constant reshuffling and discarding of cast members. The 1984-85 season was actually Ebersol’s most successful, but it wasn’t a ratings winner. In preparation for the next year, Ebersol proposed making the majority of the show’s content pre-taped segments sort of undermining the whole Live part of the title. NBC said no, and the show was on the verge of cancellation. Lorne Michaels was brought back along with Al Franken and Tom Davis as producers. Jim Downey (the debate moderator from Billy Madison) was made head writer.

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Comic Book Review – Crisis on Infinite Earths Part 7 (of 9)

Crisis on Infinite Earths Part 7 (of 9)
Reviewing stories found in Crisis on Infinite Earths #9-10, Green Lantern #196, Justice League of America #245, The Fury of Firestorm #42, and The Omega Men #33
Written by Marv Wolfman, Steve Englehart, Gerry Conway, Todd Klein
Art by George Perez, Joe Staton, Luke McDonnell, Rafael Kayanan, Shawn McManus

I recently read an interview from Comics Interview (issue 26) with Marv Wolfman & Bob Greenberger about Crisis on Infinite Earths after issue eight was published. It’s an incredibly insightful piece into the thinking behind the scenes, how Wolfman worked with DC’s writers to integrate elements of the event into ongoing titles. My biggest takeaway was that Wolfman was incredibly tired from the logistics of the event. There was so much coordination needed, but it also required a light touch to not feel like blatant editorial changes happening in books. There still needed to be stories and engaging character arcs, not just plot beats. What’s interesting is how neutral he is about killing off characters. From his point of view, he was given a list of changes to make, including deaths by writers and editors. Yet, he managed to make Barry Allen’s death such a beautifully heroic moment regardless of the mandate put on him.

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TV Review – When Was SNL Funny? Part 2 (of 9)

1980 began an extraordinarily difficult period for Saturday Night Live. The plan was for showrunner Lorne Michaels to step away from the program and promote writer Al Franken into the top spot. However, NBC President Fred Silverman passed on this after Franken delivered a monologue on Weekend Update near the end of the fifth season titled “A Limo for a Lame-O.” This piece involved Franken cracking jokes about Silverman being responsible for poor ratings on NBC programs during his tenure, and people were actually very shocked at how mean Franken was. I don’t know if this was intentional self-sabotage, but it basically sealed the deal that Franken was out. Silverman gave the job to Jean Doumanian, who had been an associate producer under Michaels. But things were not settled in any way, and the next five years would be chaotic.

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Comic Book Review – Crisis on Infinite Earths Part 6 (of 9)

Crisis on Infinite Earths Part 6 (of 9)
Reviewing stories found in Crisis on Infinite Earths #8, DC Comics Presents #88, Justice League of America Annual #3, Green Lantern #195, and Superman #415
Written by Marv Wolfman, Steve Englehart, Dan Mishkin, Cary Bates
Art by George Perez, Keith Giffen, Rick Hoberg, Joe Staton, Curt Swan

Still reeling from the death of Supergirl, fans were hit with another significant death that would have some long-term effects on the DC Universe for decades. It must be noted that eight issues into these events and the heroes of the Multiverse have just really gotten their bearings on what is happening to all of reality. They even believe the Anti-Monitor was defeated at this point due to what happened in the previous issue. The surviving Earths are still a mess, and they are trying to sort that out while having no idea that the antagonist is still alive and recharging his batteries.

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My Favorite Movies of 1981

Raiders of the Lost Ark (directed by Stephen Spielberg)
From my full review
Raiders certainly holds up as a great adventure movie. The writing is sharp, and the characters are fully realized so that everyone has a personality without becoming an obnoxious exaggeration. Belloq could easily have moved into a farce of a French snob, but he is grounded and feels like a more realistic person. The same is said for the Nazi antagonists alongside him. They are both character types from genre films but also not grotesque cartoons. In modern cinema, we often get more exposition around villains to explain motivation and layout a master plan. While Belloq does have his own designs on the Ark, I don’t think there was ever a scene that felt like awkward exposition. His goals are clearly stated, and then the story moves on.

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Movie Review – Escape From New York

Escape from New York (1981)
Written by John Carpenter and Nick Castle
Directed by John Carpenter

Our flashback to 1981 has come to a close with this film. Be on the lookout for a list of my favorite movies of 1981 tomorrow. For now, we bring things to a close with Escape from New York. Over the last year, I have expanded my viewings of John Carpenter movies quite a bit. I rewatched The Thing, a film I already love a lot. I also gave Halloween another chance and walked away, liking it a lot. Seeing it in the context as a slasher before that became such a dominant and overdone horror genre helped. I watched The Fog & They Live! for the first time and liked both of them. This was also my first viewing of Escape from New York, and…well, I think this is at the bottom of the list compared to the other movies personally.

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Comic Book Review – Crisis on Infinite Earths Part 5 (of 9)

Crisis on Infinite Earths Part 5 (of 9)
Reviewing stories found in Crisis on Infinite Earths #6-7, Blue Devil #17-18, Infinity Inc #23-24, Legion of Super-Heroes #16,18, DC Comics Presents #87, Superman #414, The Omega Men #31
Written by Marv Wolfman, Gary Cohn, Dan Mishkin, Roy Thomas, Dann Thomas, Paul Levitz, Elliot S. Maggin, Todd Klein
Art by George Perez, Alan Kupperberg, Todd McFarlane, Ron Harris, Steve Lightle, Greg LaRocque, Curt Swan, Shawn McManus, Ernie Colon

The Anti-Monitor has been fully revealed and explains that the Multiverse will be his to destroy when the Monitor’s protective energy fades completely. His plan is to first draw Earth S (Shazam), Earth 4 (Charlton), and Earth X (The Freedom Fighters) to the anti-matter universe. Once consumed, they will give him enough power to wipe out Earths 1 and 2, the most powerful of all the worlds in the Multiverse. Harbinger has made the Multiverse heroes aware of what the stakes are, and now they are rushing to deal with the immediate catastrophes befalling their worlds and determine how to defeat the Anti-Monitor.

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Movie Review – Excalibur

Excalibur (1981)
Written by John Boorman and Rospo Pallenberg
Directed by John Boorman

The story of King Arthur has been endlessly adapted into all forms of media, and it can be assumed that it will continue for as long as humans make art. This particular adaptation is a theatrical version of Thomas Mallory’s Le Morte d’Arthur. If you’ve seen The Sword in the Stone or anything where Merlin takes an important role, it’s most likely derived from Mallory’s writings on Camelot. Director John Boorman was initially interested in doing a three-hour film centered on the famous wizard of British lore, but the studios thought it was too costly and without broad appeal. Boorman then turned his attention to a live-action adaptation of Lord of the Rings, which fell through, but there was interest in a film about King Arthur and the Knights of the Roundtable. 

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