Really this whole thing has been the Michael Geist show… so skip the middle man and enjoy the glorious shadenfreude directly. I don’t always agree with Mr. Geist, but I’ll toast a glass to his efforts tonight.
Like lots of other bloggers, I was shocked to come out of my post-Christmas turkey induced coma to the news, broken by Michael Sieply in the New York Times, that Twentieth Century Fox has succeeded in at least some of their lawsuit against Warner Brothers relating to â€œWatchmenâ€ – a ruling which now puts the proposed March 7th release of the film in jeopardy.
Now at midnight all the agents and the superhuman crew come out and round up everyone that knows more than they do. – Bob Dylan
Like lots of comic fans, my initial reaction was annoyance â€“ Iâ€™m a tremendous fan of Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons original work, and have been looking forward to the film with equal parts anticipation and dread. My bio notes that Iâ€™ve been hired three times to write about comic books for very disparate magazines (all three of which stopped publishing before my first columns ever saw print). It’s a testament to the depth and breadth of â€œWatchmenâ€ that I was able to reference it in all three of my initial columns despite the very different audiences and focus of each. Itâ€™s one of my â€œhookâ€ books to introduce adult readers to comics when they ask me to “recommend something” (although I do occasionally suggest that on first reading one can skip the supplementary text-pieces, and â€œtales from the black freighterâ€ sub-plot – both of which have caused friends of mine to “stall” and not finish the book).
My frustration quickly turned from Fox to the larger press given that since Justice Feess dropped his December 24th surprise order no one was actually reporting on what the case was about, except in vague banalities like “contract dispute”. For copyright and computer law Iâ€™ve been a little bit spoiled by resources like Groklaw â€“ wherein within moments of legal documents being available they have been widely made available and dissected into plain English by eagle-eyed legal beagles. Eaglebegles. Leaglebles.
I canâ€™t offer that, but since no one else seemed to be looking into this, I spent yesterday morning digging through the Byzantine labyrinth of PACER (the US courts electric document filing system) to bring (hopefully) a little meat to this discussion. Read more
Others will write about how Rudy Ray Moore in many ways laid the groundwork for the African American comedy, music, and rap explosion of the late 70s and early 80s. How the “party record” circuit in many ways showed for the first time there was a voracious market of African American consumers (even in disadvantaged neighbourhoods) who where starved for any kind of material that actually spoke to them directly. The number of contemporary hip-hop, r&b, and rap artists who claim they wouldn’t be doing what they’re doing without Moore (or Red Foxx) is proof enough of that.
Without Rudy Ray Moore, there would be no Snoop Dogg, and that’s for real.
I remember the first time I ever saw Dolemite, and was blown away by an almost pure expression of independent cinema. Here were a group of self-financed, self taught, street hustlers with no film experience. There are no shortage of criticisms you can level at the film (or Moore’s other blaxploitation staples: The Human Tornado, Petey Wheatstraw, and Disco Godfather) they’re misogynist, foul-mouthed, and often technically amateur (and I’d be lying if I said that period kitsch fascination wasn’t a huge part of their longevity) – but they were absolutely the vanguard of the low-budget independent movement. Each of those films was solid proof that one didn’t need millions of dollars, or a studio, to make a feature film (also, you apparently didn’t need actors, technical crew, fight choreographers, a script, special effects, or an ending). What you did need was the desire to tell a certain story, in a certain way that spoke to an audience.
It’s absolutely fascinating to me that most of the criticisms that one could level against Moore’s early work could be equally applied to the recent Nollywood movement in Nigeria. One could almost do a point-by-point comparison between the two easily (film theory majors in need of thesis topics take note).
In a couple of later interviews I read with Rudy Ray Moore, he seemed frustrated at how much the systems he had laid the groundwork for had become co-opted by “the man”. Rap, R&B, and even “independent” film are once again the domain of the major labels and studios. As someone who drove town to town, selling self-pressed comedy records out of the trunk of his car, I’m sure it was tough seeing others make far more financially successful careers with only a modicum of his drive (simply because of fate, timing, or their accessibility to a wider audience), but to his credit Rudy Ray Moore knew how important his contributions had been (and would tell anyone who cared to listen, along with delivering his trademark smack-talk) until the end.
Rest in peace Rudy, we know that Dolemite hasn’t quit – he’s just run out of ass to kick down here and gone off looking for a better challenge.
A number of my officemates were unaware of the perennial classic piece of Americanna, “You and I and George”. Not only was this oversight shocking, but it occurred to me that, like many great works, it is even truer in this difficult American political climate than when it was first penned. Rolf was truly ahead of his time.
Look, I want original Seth art as much as the next guy (given statistical probability, probably more than the next guy) – but I don’t think anyone likes to see this kind of stuff. Any information on the theft would be appreciated and can be relayed through Christopher (his e-mail and phone can be found here.
I was picking up my pull list at my local comic haunt last week (confidential to readership: If you don’t know what a “pull list” is, this story is probably not for you) and ended up in line behind a mother and her young son discussing which comic character he would dress up as for “Super Hero Camp.” “Wolverine!” was his instant, choice. “No, that’s too scary for some of the younger kids – pick someone more friendly.” The boy started scanning action figures lining the wall across from the counter “The Hulk! Hellboy! Lobo!” Each met with a similar complaint. The young gentleman clearly screwed down his thinking cap to give the issue some major thought – and then you could see the lightbulb go off over his head – “The Joker!”.
Mom beamed. “That’s a much better choice!” At this point I came dangerously close to doing a spit-take. May I present a common comic-shop dillema: Should I volunteer an opinion that no one has asked me for? Read more
beer commercial husband, your plight is that of blindness to her plight. your only explanation you offer when she found you pouring kitty litter into the bathtub is a sheepish grin. you impulse-bought a motorcycle when the two of you were saving for a minivan, and your solution is to get a sidecar and a baby-sized germanic helmet that reads “lunch time” beneath a cartoon drawing of some tits.