This time around, the long delay in posting was as much a hardware issue as it was a can’t-find-time issue, but I’ll admit that it was nice to hear from so many people wondering why I wasn’t making with the bloggy stuff. I’m always surprised to discover that people actually frequent my little soapbox here, to be honest.
Basically, my macbook’s hard drive decided a few weeks ago that getting out of bed was highly overrated and that staying in sleep mode was its preferred state — a decision that, when it comes down to it, is hard for me find a good argument against. I spent a few weeks trying to fix the problem myself, restoring old backup points via Time Machine and deleting anything that smelled of potential errors, to no avail. I ended up having to replace the laptop’s hard drive, which was luckily still under warranty, but discovered to my great frustration that I had deleted most of my useful backups during my “I can fix it, I don’t need to bring it to the mac store” fervor. So, it’s back to square one with everything I had installed on the laptop over time, and that’s had no small part in delaying my return to regular posting.
What’s been going on in the meantime? Well, I interviewed writer/actor/”just this guy” Wil Wheaton about “Watchmen” — which was pretty neat. Wil’s a genuinely decent guy who has a real appreciation for the film and, more importantly, its source material. He doesn’t seem to hold it up as the holy grail of comics like some folks do, but he has an understandable reverence for it — which is more in line with my own thoughts on this “groundbreaking graphic novel” (as the marketing and media — myself included — keep referring to it).
Here’s an excerpt from my interview with Wil, which you can read in full on Splash Page:
MTV: Wil, now that you’ve seen “Watchmen,” what was the scene you most looked forward to seeing? Did it hold up?
WW: This is super spoilery for people who haven’t read the book, so avert your eyes if necessary: When I first read the book, I was about 15 or something, and I didn’t really pay attention to the backgrounds, so it wasn’t until the second time around that I realized, “Holy s–t, that’s Rorschach with the sign in all those panels!”
Me? I saw “Watchmen” a few days before the wide release. I prefer to wait on reviewing something like this until after its been out a day or two, though, so the people most sensitive to “spoilers” have had their chance to check it out. To that end, I’ll have some thoughts on the film posted here in the next day or two.
On a side note (and in response to all of the people who contacted me when they found out about my early screening of the film), the early screenings aren’t simply a “perk” of the gig. More often than not, unless I’m invited to a press screening like this, I won’t have a chance to see the film until it nears the end of its theatrical run or, in the case of films like “The Spirit” and “Incredible Hulk,” until it gets released on DVD. People tend to be shocked whenever I tell them I haven’t seen the latest blockbuster (especially the comics-influenced films), but after absorbing so many of the important plot points and story elements prior to release, and repeatedly going over the film with a fine-toothed comb to find every possible coverage angle, I rarely have enough remaining excitement about a film to brave the opening weekend crowds on my own dime. That, combined with the fact that readers’ interest in most films tends to take a sharp decline once the project is released, tends to make my brain move on to the next yet-to-be-released film as soon as the last one hits theaters. “Watchmen” would have likely been the exception to both of these issues (I would’ve made a point to see it, and probably would’ve had a difficult time forgetting about it and moving on), but still, it’s one of those sad aspects of the gig that removes a little of the shine.
The Oscars also went down during my off-the-grid period, and I spent most of that weekend sick and fluctuating between pouring sweat and violently shivering. I did manage to catch Hugh Jackman’s comics-friendly musical intro, though. Between that and the massive number of people I know chatting about “Watchmen” these days, I can’t say enough about how great it is to be involved with covering any aspect of the comics world. As I mentioned on Twitter Thursday night, I couldn’t be more happy about having so many new people to talk about comics with.
The day after the Oscars, I reached out to a wide-ranging list of comic book creators to get their thoughts on the presence of comic book movies at this year’s Academy Awards, and some of the responses were quite thought-provoking. I collected them all in a post you can read over at Splash Page. Here’s an excerpt:
DARICK ROBERTSON: I’m enthusiastic that audiences and critics are finally getting in on the secret we comic nerds have known for years: That comics have great stories with great characters that will appeal to a wide audience, if presented faithfully in a serious manner, instead of being played for laughs or dumbed down as if only for kids to enjoy. It’s exciting to see good material and sincere performances be embraced by the public.
“Iron Man” and “Dark Knight” weren’t simply good comic book movies, they were just good movies with comic book characters in them. The award nominations and huge box office sales tells me that the hard road that the more challenging writers and artists have taken in comics to shake things up were the right roads. It would have been easy to keep pumping out formulaic pictures, but instead, fans of the genre have infiltrated Hollywood and let their inner geeks shine, and the results were Oscar-worthy movies. How encouraging and rewarding.
PETER DAVID: I think comic book films have joined the same ghettoizing that you typically see accorded comedies, thrillers, animation and with rare exception major tentpole films. Let’s face it, the two best films of last year were “Wall-E” and “The Dark Knight” with “Iron Man” right up there. We’ve already had more recognition for movies based on comics: Look at the attention paid to “History of Violence” or “Road to Perdition.” Unfortunately movies based on comic book action properties are persistently ignored because of the same biases that keep most such films out of the running for major recognition.
And that about brings us up to speed, really. I’ll have a more in-depth analysis of “Watchmen” up shortly, and now that I have a functioning laptop again, things should get back to normal — or whatever qualifies as normal these days.