Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Last month was the 30th anniversary of when I started reading comic books. I still remember the very first comics I read: DC Comics Presents #6, Detective Comics #482, Justice League of America #163, World's Finest Comics #255, The Brave and the Bold #147, and Super Friends #17.

Yesterday was the 30th anniversary of the release of Superman: The Movie. I watched it again tonight to mark the occasion. I first saw it when I was eight years old. Along with Star Wars, it was one of the formative experiences in my development as a geek. It was never a perfect film by any means, but Christopher Reeve remains the definitive Superman/Clark Kent. The idea that a business suit and glasses would work as a disguise seemed silly until Reeve made it seem plausible. John Williams' theme still makes me want to tie a red towel around my neck and jump off of furniture whilst pretending to fly.

According to a recent report, Smallville may be canceled after the current season, its eighth. Although ratings have improved and the network would likely renew it for at least another season, star Tom Welling’s contract is up and he may be ready to move on. The big question of whether the show will end with Clark Kent becoming Superman and putting on a certain red-and-blue costume for the first time is up in the air because DC Comics is concerned it would somehow hurt any future Superman films, which is absurd. I'll be disappointed if it ends without at least one shot of Welling in costume.

I watched the first few episodes of Wolverine and the X-Men. It’s surprisingly good for a Marvel animated show. Not quite up to the standard set by the DC Animated Universe, but still good. The show was developed by former X-Men: Evolution writers Craig Kyle and Greg Johnson (Kyle has also written New X-Men and Young X-Men comics with writing partner Christopher Yost, who’ll also be writing episodes of the show).

Batman: The Brave and the Bold is also entertaining and has a Silver Age feel to it. In contrast to the darker portrayals of Batman, even in animation, here he has a good sense of humor, and it's nice to see characters like Blue Beetle and Plastic Man in animated form.

The first season of Merlin ended last Saturday. I stand by my initial description of it as the "Smallville of the Arthurian mythos. That's not a dig, either. It's a lightweight but entertaining show with a photogenic cast, and some strong acting each week from Anthony Stewart Head as Uther Pendragon. It succeeds on the level intended. While it will never win any awards for being great drama, I looked forward to its escapism each week. It's been renewed for a second season. Meanwhile, the first season will debut in the US on the NBC network in early 2009.

There are only two episodes left of Stargate Atlantis. It's ironic that its landmark 100th episode will also be its final episode. It was canceled so a new show set in the same fictional universe could be produced, namely Stargate Universe. I wasn't too keen on the idea of the new show until actor Robert Carlyle (The Full Monty, The World is Not Enough) was cast in it.

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