Archive for the ‘Nerd Rage’ Category

horn

 

That horn.  That smile.  It’s the image that launched a wave of outrage across the internet.

Last Monday, if you weren’t crapping on a show you probably never watched, you were probably busy watching the series finale of How I Met Your Mother.  The third option is of course anything but the previous two.  Actually, the majority of you were probably doing that.  But who’s counting?

I find it necessary now to advise you of potential spoilers from here on out.  I’ll be talking about that HIMYM finale.  So, yeah.

SPOILERS

After 9 seasons, 208 episodes and 25 years of television time, Ted Mosby ended up right where he began.  Holding up a blue horn as an offering to his future/former girlfriend, Robin Scherbatsky.  In that span of time, he had many near misses and a wife he loved with whom he fathered two children.  The serialized show (a rarity in the world of sitcoms) was about how Ted met the mother but it was just as much about everything that happened to him before that fateful moment.  And as the finale, in my humble opinion, so eloquently established what happened afterwards.

Ted very much loved the mother.  That was made perfectly clear in the brief glimpses of their future lives together that the final season offered.  But then she got sick and then she died.  And Ted mourned.  And after six long years, the torch he had always held for Robin burned bright once more.  And with the blessing of his kids, he went to see if he could get his second happy ending.

I thought it was lovely.

But I was in the minority.  It seemed most people hated it.  And I’m not sure why.  They said it shouldn’t have ended that way.  But this is what the creators had intended from the beginning.  So the question then becomes why can’t we respect the vision of the creators?  Why must we second guess the people who created the characters and, in this case, shepherded them through 9  years of ups and downs to get them to the place where they were meant to be?

The answer, I think, lies in the way we watch our favorite programs.  Before Netflix, Hulu or Amazon Instant we were forced to savor television shows in 9 month chunks with 3 month breaks.  This can be especially frustrating when you’re dealing with serialized storytelling.  I wonder if those who binge watch shows might not be better off.  Cramming three seasons of Game of Thrones into a weekend in anticipation of the fourth season doesn’t really allow time for speculation. And that speculation is what ultimately and almost inevitably leads to disappointment.  Because let’s be honest, NO ONE’S ideas are as good as our own.  So when a show fails to match the lofty ideas we’ve set in our own minds, we get disappointed.  We get angry.  And then, we get on Twitter.  Can you imagine what would have happened had the internet existed when entire series like Newhart and St. Elsewhere were ‘Bobby Ewinged’ in their finales?  It would have been insane.

But no more insane than the numerous negative reactions to the finales of Seinfeld, The Sopranos, Battlestar Galactica and Lost.

We are a notoriously difficult audience to please.  In fact, it’s impossible.  Someone’s going to get pissed.  Someone’s going to get disappointed.  And people have a right to feel however they feel.  But before you allow yourself to become one of the naysayers, ask yourself why you’re so pissed off.  Was this story well told?  Was it well produced?  Well acted?  Now be honest with yourself as to why you didn’t like it.  You might be surprised by the answer.  We’ll never all agree on anything but I think we can all agree to be fair and give a show its due.  It’s why we were fans in the first place.

Actually, hold on.  I think there is one thing we ALL can agree on.

Breaking Bad was the best show ever and the series finale kicked ass.

Okay, carry on.  It’s settled.

 

What?

You hated Breaking Bad?  The finale sucked?

*sigh*

Never mind.

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batfleck

The internet exploded on the evening of Thursday, August 22, 2013 with the official press release that Warner Bros had picked Academy Award-winning director/screenwriter/actor Ben Affleck to portray Bruce Wayne/Batman in the 2015 sequel to this year’s Man of Steel.  I was in a screening of the home invasion flick You’re Next (it’s really good, go see it) when the news broke but upon seeing mention of the casting on my Twitter feed I immediately started scrolling through my history to gauge the reaction of those I follow.  I’d love to say I was surprised by the unfettered negativity to which I was exposed but as this was the internet (let’s be honest about this) it seemed par for the course.

Speculation had run rampant as to who would portray the Dark Knight since Comic-Con in San Diego where Warner’s announced plans to introduce the Caped Crusader into the Superman universe in the follow-up to the worldwide smash.  I love Man of Steel and felt it was a great reintroduction to the character.  However, there was much fanboy outcry as to certain decisions the filmmakers made.  A sequel was certain but there was most likely some behind-the-scenes concern about the overall reaction to the film.  Execs were speculating prior to its release that it might end up being the biggest money-maker in the studio’s history surpassing even the huge performances of Christopher Nolan’s  Dark Knight films.  It failed to reach those lofty heights domestically, grossing just under $300 million dollars which combined with worldwide grosses made for a hefty total of $650 mill.  That’s a lot of skrilla but when compared to the $1 billion worldwide Marvel’s Iron Man 3 made earlier in the summer it was almost certainly disappointing.

Marvel, owned by Disney, has set up their own studio and made a series of interconnected movies starring characters that were probably unfamiliar to anyone who didn’t have at least a casual history of reading comics.  Beginning with the inspired casting of Robert Downey Jr as Iron Man and ending with the dream team-up of all their heroes in the fun (but overrated) Avengers, the first phase of their movie universe was an unqualified success.  Some of the flicks were better than others but overall it was a job very well done.  Marvel has begun the second phase of their film saga which will ultimately lead to a second Avengers film.  These films include the already released third Downey flick, sequels to Captain America & Thor flicks, and the untested Guardians of the Galaxy, a little known property of the Marvel Universe which is easy pickings for reinterpretation.  It’s the only crap shoot in the lot and the only one I’m looking forward to.  They are already planning a third phase of films rumored to feature a whole bunch of B-list characters.  The majority of the world’s population has never heard of Ant-Man, Doctor Strange and Black Panther.  I’ll be very curious to see the box office numbers on THOSE characters.

superman-batman-logo-770x513

And that brings us back to Warner’s and the biggest problem facing a studio desperate to bite off some of that box office pie that’s being hogged by the house that Walt built.  Because let us never forget that studios are in the business of making money and making as much money as they can.   To compete with Marvel/Disney on this battlefield, DC/Warner’s needs to jump-start their universe filling it with the likes of a Flash, a Wonder Woman and (another?) Green Lantern.  But no one’s going to watch a Justice League movie for those characters alone.  You need a Superman and you most definitely need a Batman because THEY are the icons.  If you show their symbol to some kid in Baghdad, there’s  good chance that kid’s going to know what it means.  So, of course, there will be insane scrutiny where matters of casting these characters are concerned.

The studio went the Christopher Reeve route when casting the latest Kal-El by choosing a relative unknown to anyone who hadn’t seen Showtime’s The Tudors.  I felt Henry Cavill did a very good job (with some obvious room for improvement) and I look forward to his future work as the character.  If the film had done even better, they MIGHT have let him have another movie all to his own to further his story.  But that didn’t happen.  So how do you generate excitement for a sequel?  You give the fans what they want.  You give them something they’ve been promised for many, many years.  You give them Superman AND Batman.

Supposedly, Christian Bale was offered fat stacks of cash to once more reprise his role as the world’s angriest orphan.  He turned them down.  So what next?  Do you go for another unknown a la Supes?  Do you go old or young?  What the hell do you do?  Because, as has become all too apparent, whatever you do someone (most likely a lot of someones) is going to be pissed.  And why do we get pissed?  Why do we care so much?  Because, as I said earlier, they are ICONS.  We’ve all done our dream casting.  We all have our ideal.  Those who care have been casting this movie for decades.  Sure I would’ve loved to see Clint Eastwood portraying a grizzled Bruce Wayne once more donning the cowl to fight an insane Joker and a fascist Superman.  Twenty years ago.  Never happened.  Never will.  Time to move on.  And so the studio does some testing, has actors read, God knows what.  And they make a decision.  And the wailing and gnashing of teeth begins…with a fury.  Because, this is Batman and we all have our own Batman.  And, I guess for many of you, Affleck ain’t him.

And that’s okay.  You’re entitled to your opinion.  I bet you go see it though if for no other reason than to hate watch it and talk about it on whatever social media service is popular in 2 years. It’s what we do.  We’re geeks.

I’m old enough to remember the negative reaction to Michael Keaton’s casting in the titular Tim Burton film.  No one, it seemed, was thrilled at the notion.  The movie came out and, as it turns out, Keaton did a good job.  He might be my favorite modern Batman.  So, if Mr. Mom can do it why not Chris Knight (yes, that’s a Real Genius reference and I’m damn proud of it)?  How about that one guy who was in The Facts of LIfe?  Ooh, I know…let’s get that kid from Empire of the Sun!  You mean the one who grew up to be Patrick Bateman?  Yeah, that guy!

Seriously, take a look at these dweebs.  Do any of them scream Bruce Wayne?  Can you see any of them under the cowl?

You gave them a chance.  To the tune of $1,895,000,000. And some loose change.  So if you’re willing to support them, why not this guy?

Settle down Nerds and give O’Bannion a chance!

The urban dictionary defines NERD RAGE as a term used to describe extreme anger, offence, indignation, and other similar emotions by a nerd, geek or similar which can be triggered upon seeing a favorite film/show/comic book/etc degraded or insulted in some way

As I sit down to write this, a little motion picture is 5 hours away from midnight premieres around the country.  Maybe you’ve heard of it.  Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight Rises promises to close out, for better or worse, the epic trilogy that began in 2005 with Batman Begins.  It is a highly anticipated film that is certain to make hundreds of millions of dollars across the globe.  But is it any good?

Hell, I don’t know.  I haven’t seen it.  All I’ve got to go on is my gut and the smattering of reviews from press screenings I’ve read.  There is no way in hell I wouldn’t catch this flick.  I don’t care if some dude’s review told me that watching it would give me cancer.  Everything gives you cancer.  I’d still be there with bells on.  Granted my attire would be a far stretch from the batshoes, batshirt, and batboxers I wore to Tim Burton’s Batman in 1989 but that’s a different story for a different day.  My point is that some movies are simply review proof and the last of Nolan’s Bat-series is just such a film as far as I’m concerned.

Some people are not quite as forgiving when it comes to reviews though.  Marshall Fine reviews for his website, Hollywood & Fine.  He is a contributing reviewer to the movie review aggregate site Rotten Tomatoes and his was the first negative one for The Dark Knight Rises that was published on the site.  It was followed almost immediately by a flood of hate filled vitriol from anonymous commenters that included actual threats of violence.  Never mind that 99% of those commenting had not actually seen the film.  He had dared to speak ill of their sacred cow, a crime punishable by death some felt.  Rotten Tomatoes shut down their comment section and the bloodthirsty mob then flocked to Fine’s website, crashing that.  Since the review was published, Mr. Fine’s site is back up and he’s seems to be handling the attention quite admirably.

This morning, over at Ain’t It Cool News, the self-professed ‘headgeek’ Harry Knowles published a scathing review of the film after leaving an Imax screening last night.  Harry’s no stranger when it comes to ill-received reviews be they blisteringly negative or hyperbolical positive.

I dont’ really have any problem with Harry not liking the movie.  He’s entitled to an opinion.  I do however have a problem with Harry’s style of ‘reviewing.’  I question the method he uses to form his opinions, the motives behind those opinions, and the shockingly unprofessional manner in which he delivers them.  So, I’ve come to view them for what they’re worth, an occassionally amusing often frustrating view into the mind of a…unique individual.

Others have not been as generous.  AICN Talkbacks (their version of a message board) are often filled with disparaging comments aimed at Harry.  Those insults are just as often balanced with actual considered retorts to the rotund redhead’s oft rambling rhetoric. The response to this review was no different.  Many of the 500 (and growing) posts take great pains to crucify Harry and insult him on a personal level.  There’s nothing constructive about them.  At this point, I would imagine Harry’s got pretty thick skin.  I doubt he’s too terribly upset by the reaction.

You know whose review I’m really looking forward to reading?  Armond White.

White is a New York based film critic who has developed quite a following because of his contrarian views of movies.  Chances are that if every other member of his ilk liked a film, he will loathe it.  Chances are even more likely that if everyone hated it, he will praise it.  He’s a very calculating man.  I don’t take a damn thing he says seriously.  But I sure as hell enjoy reading it.  He will almost certainly hate this concluding chapter of the series.  I can’t wait to see why.

So, what’s the point of all this then?  Why even bother reading film review?  The simple fact of the matter is that not one single reviewer is completely able to distance themselves from a film and judge it solely on its own merits.  Every opinion of a movie is colored by any number of factors:  the mood  one was in while watching it, inevitable comparisons to other movies like it or previous films in a series, illness, fatigue, etc.  That in and of itself does not invalidate the work of the many fine people who engage in the art.  I love Roger Ebert.  Love his reviews.  But he is particularly hard on the horror genre which is a particular favorite of mine.  I don’t let that diminish my respect for the man. 

The value of considered and well written criticism is in the healthy discourse it encourages.  When that discourse is disrupted by name calling and insults, there is no value to be found.  And when there is no reason to engage in healthy debate for fear of such uncivility, well that’s something I don’t ever want to deal with.

I’m going to end up seeing The Dark Knight Rises by myself.  Of my two best friends, one is completely ambivalent and the other pathologically hateful towards the previous two.  I respect their opinions even though we often find ourselves rehashing the same points in regards to the movies.  That’s OK.  We’re friends.  We can get away with saying things to each other that we never would to a stranger.  I hope you have friends that you can have such discussions with and that if you ever find yourself on a message board itching to respond to something someone posted that you strongly disagree with that you can remember these four simple words:  ‘Don’t be an asshole.’

Anyway, I’ve gotta bounce.  I’m going to watch The Dark Knight to get geared up for my weekend viewing.

[Editor’s Note:  This was written prior to the tragic events in Aurora, Colarado.  Thoughts and sympathy are extended to those affected by this senseless violence]

 

The urban dictionary defines NERD RAGE as a term used to describe extreme anger, offence, indignation, and other similar emotions by a nerd, geek or similar which can be triggered upon seeing a favorite film/show/comic book/etc degraded or insulted in some way

As long as there have been books and comics with fantastical elements that have been adapted into television programs or motion pictures, there have been nerds complaining that said films or programs based on these fantastical comics or books do not closely enough adapt the material contained within said comics or books.

In other words,  nerds like them books, illustrated or otherwise, and take great umbrage when them thar movies aren’t exactly like their beloved tomes.

To this I must say

The most recent perpetrator of this terrible crime, it would seem, is HBO’s Game of Thrones.  I love the show.  Think it may be one of the best things on the ole’ boob tube these days but I have to be honest and admit that I have not read one single word of George R.R. Martin’s magnum opus.  Many of my friends have and attest to it’s greatness.  I’ll take their word for it.  I’m sure it’s alright.  I’ve just never had an interest in ‘high fantasy’ as I understand it is called. 

Over the last few weeks of the series’ second season, I have seen more and more complaints on Twitter and Facebook that it’s starting to stray from the source material.  People are dying or not dying when they’re not supposed to.  Events are not taking place in the proper order or perhaps not happening at all.   And the greatest crime a television/film adaptation can make is to create entirely new events out of thin air.  Man, that shit ain’t right.

Sorry I can’t be more specific.  Like I said, I haven’t read the books.  And I don’t tend to read the complaints.  I’m not too terribly worried about spoilers but I don’t go search them out.  As long as Tyrion doesn’t die, I don’t care.

Pimp

One of the biggest television hits of recent years has been AMC’s The Walking Dead based on the Robert Kirkman comic book of the same name.  Mr. Kirkman sold the series as a depiction of what happens after the typical zombie movie is over.  The survivors make it out of the city but their ordeal is far from over.  It’s just beginning.  The series is quickly approaching its 100th issue which is something most new series from Marvel or DC never even get close so it’s safe to say it’s an unqualified success.  The TV show is no different in that regard.  The ratings steadily improved over the course of the second season.  I’m a big fan.

The TV series quickly established after the pilot episode that it would not tell the exact same story in the exact same manner that Mr. Kirkman did.  The first season ended with an episode set at the abandoned CDC in Atlanta that never happened in the comic.  A character survived much longer than the did in the series and another died years before he did in print.  New characters were created and familiar characters acted different.  There were different romantic pairings.  Most of the same storybeats were there but they were approached in a new manner.  They did eventually get to Hershel’s farm and eventually wise fans of the show came to see Hershel as the badass he truly is.  I’m glad he’s going to be around for Season 3.  He dies in the comic.  Here’s hoping that doesn’t happen on film.

 

Busting caps in zombies like a mothereffin’ boss

The Harry Potter books and The Lord of the Rings novels are geek catnip and both were translated into ridiculously successful film franchises.  And both took great liberties with how the stories were translated to film.  Perhaps, there are budgetary reasons why changes are made.  Maybe cuts were made to make the story manageable and to fit within a reasonable running time.  There are innumerable reasons why things in print don’t get to the big screen.  These decisions are made by people who know a lot more about what works than I do. They are stupid rich because their movies make money.  That’s not a bad thing, mind you.  That’s the reason the movies get made.

Would I consistently make the same choices that producers, writers, and directors make in how to adapt the stories?  Obviously not and it doesn’t matter because those choices are not available to me.  But you know what is available to me?  The books.  The comics.  No one can change those.  They’ll always be there for us.  No series or movie can change that.

Bottom line:  If the story being told to me in the moving images on a big screen in a building or the little one in my living room is enjoyable, well told and well acted, it wouldn’t matter to me if it were adapted from a piece of toilet paper.  Good is good.  That’s all that matters.

The Urban Dictionary defines NERD RAGE as a term used to describe extreme anger, offence, indignation, and other similar emotions by a nerd, geek or similar which can be triggered upon seeing a favorite film/show/comic book/etc degraded or insulted in some way.

You ever see some comic book geek or movie nerd, be it IRL or on-line, get all worked up and raging against the machine because they ran across some kernel of information that ruined the ending to something they have yet to see or do or read?  Yeah, me too.  I always laugh.  I have a right.

Come back with me if you will to that glorious time those of my generation like to call ‘The 80’s.’  It was a magical time filled with hair metal, ‘shot in front of a live studio audience’ TV comedies, and sartorial excellence.  If you need a reference point, find some hipster douche bag on Sixth Street.  That’s what we looked like and we listened to what’s on their iPhone.  But we were cooler because we weren’t doing it ironically.

Anyway, we end our trip back through that wonderful decade and land in late May of 1983.  I was about to graduate 6th Grade.  Elementary school was about to be over and 3 months later I would be in Junior High hell.

It was a Thursday, I believe.  The classroom was filling with the usual suspects that fateful morning.  But one young man was in a frothy state of excitement.  Jason Garcia, my oldest friend since 2nd Grade, is a friend to this very day as we have, lo these many years hence, both landed in the same town working for the same state agency.  He was full to bursting with information and he was about to unleash it on a group of unsuspecting young men and change their lives forever.  For you see, The Return of the Jedi was 2 weeks from coming out and he knew what happened.

He proceeded to tell us that Leia was Luke’s sister and was the ‘other’ Jedi referred to by Yoda and Ghost Ben in Empire.  He told us Boba Fett and Jabba the Hut died and that Vader sacrificed himself saving Luke. He told us everything.  When asked how he came to be in possession of such precious information, he gleefully told us that on the previous evening he was rifling through the Maverick Market magazine section and had come across a Marvel Comic’s graphic novel adaptation of the film.  He read through the book immediately upon returning home and just had to share it with his schoolyard chums.

State’s Exhibit A

A few weeks later I saw the film with my father.  I had to pretend to be surprised at everything.  It would be the last movie I ever saw with him.  Two weeks later, he died unexpectedly while I was on vacation with my grandparents.

Thanks dude.

I’m kidding.  I wasn’t mad.  Never was.  You see, I didn’t really care.  Nothing about knowing what happened changed my excitement about actually seeing it happen.  I still loved that movie.  Always will.  Hell, it was the last flick I saw with my dad.  How could I not?

I truly doubt that the concept of spoilers is anything new.  It’s just been given a name and allowed to assume a form.  Everyone knows what you mean when you interrupt a conversation they are having with someone about some piece of pop culture you have yet to consume.  You mutter excitedly ‘Spoilers!’ and they have to stop talking about Harry Potter cause you haven’t gotten around to reading Half-Blood Prince and you don’t know Dumbledore dies.  Yes, Dumbledore dies.  Snape kills him because of some blood oath and because Dumbledore was dying anyway and in the end it turns out Snape’s a good guy who was very loyal to Dumbledore and Harry admires him so much he names his kid after him.

See what I did there?  Spoiled the end of The Deathly Hollows.

I wonder what the first spoiler was. 

I imagine some smelly dude sitting in a pub in 1850’s Boston awkwardly reading a copy of Melville’s Moby Dick.  Some ginger immigrant comes stumbling in and notices his new American friend reading the ill-received tome that he had read while he was over the pond.  He grabs his pint and uninvited falls into a chair at the American’s table. 

“Hey matey,’ he says. “Don’t waste your time.  That book is shite.  I can’t believe they kill Ahab at the end. Crikey.  Faith and begorra,” and other such Irish nonsense.  Now if you were heavily invested in the Ahab character, you might want to give the other 3000 pages a pass.  Just saying.

Gregory Peck was a bitchin’ Ahab

Citizen Kane is widely regarded by many critics who wish to seem intelligent as THE GREATEST MOVIE EVER MADE.  It’s a fine film, beautifully shot, by a great director at the height of his genius.  I say it’s lofty perch atop many best ever lists is open to debate but ain’t that always the way.  The film center’s on Charles Foster Kane’s dying words of ‘Rosebud’ and one reporter’s quest to discover the meaning behind them.  Sixteen hours later, with the last frame of the movie, you find out Rosebud was his childhood sled.  A cat I could understand.  Hell, any pet.  Perhaps, a plush doll of a cat or a pet.  Some young girl he knew as a child who was the only one who ever truly loved him and understood him.  A sled?  Seriously?  Not so much.  A spoiler such as this could save some people valuable time.

Yup.  It’s a sled.

Upon the release of his film Psycho, Alfred Hitchcock required theater owners to not allow late admission.  This wasn’t some fresh ‘Alamo Drafthouse-type’ idea to enhance the motion picture experience for the audience.  He was simply concerned that people, who arrived late, would be confused because they would not see the film’s ostensible star, Janet Leigh.  Why, you may ask?  Cause she get’s knifed to death in the first reel in the most notorious shower scene in movie history (the only close competition is Kevin Bacon’s in Wild Things.) Shocking?  Yes.  Spoilerfic?  Definitely.

Camera…down…just a…little?  Please?!?

The modern master, and I do use the word loosely, of the twisty spoiler-ready ending is M. Night Shyamalan.  He hit gold with Bruce Willis in The Sixth Sense as a counselor whose patient is a kid who claims to see dead people.  Over the course of the film we discover that the little moppet does indeed talk to the dead.  And we watch with shock as Willis’ character suddenly realizes that he is in fact…in a shitty movie!  Actually, he realizes he’s dead.  Upon a second viewing, we realize that none of the other characters in the film have interacted with him.  He’s a ghost.  I have to admit I didn’t see this coming.  I saw it opening weekend and word of mouth rapidly spread of the surprise ending. 

Shamalamadingdong tried to bottle what he got with The Sixth Sense and apply it to his other films with varying degrees of success.  The problem was that everyone expected a twist ending and was so busy looking for clues that they didn’t really pay attention to the story.  It didn’t help that with the exception of Unbreakable, his other movies sucked.  That’s not a spoiler.  It’s a public service announcement.

Willis does his best dead Karnak.  Good job, Bruce.

The most recent example of a film that was heavily spoiled for and by my group of friends was Duncan Jones’ Moon.  In the movie, Sam Rockwell plays the lone employee of a mining company’s lunar outpost.  On a routine mission on the surface of the dead rock, he crashes his rover after seeing what he thinks is an unprotected man on the horizon.  He regains consciousness back at the mining facility, unsure of how he got back but assured of his health by the robotic intelligence (voiced by Kevin Spacey) that handles the life-support and critical station operations.  I won’t say too much but I will say I was quite shocked when Rockwell later finds the crashed rover and discovers himself inside.  Turns out he’s a clone.  Or maybe the other Rockwell is a clone.  Hint:  They’re both clones.

clonecloneclonecloneclonecloneclonecloneclonecloneclone

What?  You didn’t know that?  C’mon, the movie came out like three years ago.  If you’d wanted to see it by now, you would have.

Seriously though the fact that one or the other or both is a clone is irrelevant.  The clone revelation takes place in the first 30 minutes.  The movie is more of a study on what makes a person a person.  It’s really great and you should totally see it.

**********************************

So what is the statute of limitations on spoilers, anyway?  How long does something have to be out before you can openly discuss it without fear of ruffling feathers?  When I worked at the funny book store, we would often try to discuss the latest episodes of Lost.  One of my co-workers would shush us because he wasn’t caught up.  When we asked him where he was, he said, ‘Well, there was this plane crash…”  This was like during season 4.  I asked him nicely to go away.  There was Lost to discuss.

In this wondermous age of the interwebs, one should expect stuff to get spoiled.  If you don’t want to know about the latest episode of The Walking Dead don’t go to Twitter on Sunday night.  Avoid the Facebooks until you’ve had a chance to see it. If you click on articles on Ain’t It Cool News that profess to discuss things you don’t want spoiled, don’t be surprised if things get spoiled.

There’s a film I’m really looking forward to.  Cabin in the Woods.  It played this last week at the SXSW Film Festival to great acclaim.  It’s said to turn the horror genre on its ear.  And there’s a twist.  I want to see it yesterday but until I actually do get to see it I’m avoiding all reviews, all articles, anything having to do with the movie.  I want to go in fresh.  But if something goes all katawampus and shit gets ruined, I’ll still go.  Try and stop me.

Well…that’s that.  But I can’t help but think I’m forgetting something.

Oh yeah.

*ahem*

*** SPOILER WARNING ***

If something got spoiled for you in this article, what did you expect?  I mean seriously it’s called SPOILERS!

The Urban Dictionary defines NERD RAGE as a term used to describe extreme anger, offence, indignation, and other similar emotions by a nerd, geek or similar which can be triggered upon seeing a favorite film/show/comic book/etc degraded or insulted in some way.

The intrawebz are on fire today with ‘nerd rage’ as innumerable people spew vitriol and share their passionate thoughts on the multiple Watchmen prequel projects officially announced this morning by DC Comics.

Are there NO sacred cows? How can they spit in the faces of Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons like this? How dare they?

The answers in order: There ARE none. Gibbons gave his blessing and Moore literally forfeited his right to care. And money, lots and lots of money.

For the uninformed, Watchmen was a 12 issue mini-series written by Alan Moore with art by Dave Gibbons. It was released in the mid-late 80’s and is considered by comic book historians and fans alike to be one of the seminal projects in the history of the industry and, quite possibly, the greatest ‘comic’ story ever told. To say it is held in high regard is an understatement.

After its initial release, it became one of the first collected editions DC ever put out and went on to become the best-selling ‘graphic novel’ of all time (graphic novel being a bit of a misnomer here because I’ve always considered a GN to be original material seeing print for the first time whereas this collection would be more appropriately considered a trade paperback or TPB.) It’s been in print ever since and even landed on TIME’s list of the 100 Greatest Novels. It’s a veritable golden goose for DC and a gateway drug for many looking to get a taste of what the medium can offer.

I’m not going to get into the question of the ownership of the property or the business ethics behind the issue. I do invite you to go online and review the history of the project. Wikipedia or any of a number of comic sites will fill in the fine details. Ultimately, wherever one’s opinion might fall regarding DC Comics’ contractual practices, the facts reflect that they have every legal right to publish these comics. They own the property because they have kept it in print for the past quarter century. Period. This is not in question.

Mr. Moore and the publisher, whose parent company is Time Warner, have at best a contentious relationship. In fact, Moore has for all intents and purposes retired from comics writing and pretty much seems to hold the majority of the industry to scorn. He forfeited all rights to the film adaptations of Constantine, V for Vendetta and Watchmen. Furthermore, he indicated in an interview that DC approached him and offered back to him the full rights to Watchmen if he would bless and work on (in some unstated capacity) prequel and sequel projects. He refused. He said he didn’t want them back.

Mr. Moore is a crazy, old coot. He’s a grumpy, old man. He’s become bitter and spiteful. If you’re a comics fan, don’t feel sorry for Alan Moore. He couldn’t care less about you.

C’mon, Alan! Just one smile? Please!? No? Meh.

He’s also a bit of a hypocrite. In the wake of this announcement, he’s grumbling quite a bit. He’s upset that someone would touch his creation. But here’s the rub. Watchmen famously began as an unsolicited pitch using the Charlton Comics characters DC had recently acquired. When it became obvious that Moore’s plans would require the death, crippling or spiritual destruction of a large number of these characters (characters HE did not create and that the publisher had just payed for,) the editors requested that the writer resubmit using his own creations. Characters like Nite Owl, Dr. Manhattan and Rorschach became clever analogs of the Blue Beetle, Captain Atom and The Question.

History reflects that Moore has made a career of taking over other people’s creations and altering them to suit his vision. Len Wein created Alec Holland & Swamp Thing. Moore made Holland an imprint of a personality on a plant elemental and wrote a brilliant run of The Saga of the Swamp Thing. Mick Anglo created Marvelman in the ‘50s. Moore picked up the character in the ‘80s, made the entirety of the 50’s run a virtual reality dream, and went on to tell one of the most ‘adult’ runs of a comic I’ve ever read (released in the U.S. by Eclipse Comics as Miracleman.)

And let us not look past the fact that his greatest success of the past 10-15 years is The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, a superstar team-up of public domain characters created by long dead authors who could have no input on their use.

Don’t get me wrong. I pretty much love all that stuff. I bought Watchmen and Swamp Thing as they were coming out. I collected V for Vendetta. I bought The Killing Joke and the Whatever Happened to The Man of Tomorrow? issues of Superman and Action Comics. I was a big fan. I still have all those original issues, too. Again, big fan.

You know who else I’m a fan of? Darwyn Cooke. Brian Azzarello. JM Straczynski. Adam Hughes. Joe & Andy Kubert. Amanda Conner. I think it’s wonderful that Len Wein is involved. In addition to the previously mentioned Swamp Thing connection, he served as an editor on the original series. These are not struggling writers or artists taking a project cause they need the money and every single one of them is probably realizing, today more than ever, that the whole of the industry will be looking to see what they do.

Make no mistake. DC is doing this to make money. Of course they are. That’s their business. And they will. Hand over fist. That’s irrelevant. They could have done this 5, 10, 15, 20 years ago. But the impression I get from the various interviews I’ve read today was that they finally landed on a group of creators who had the right ideas who they could trust with the responsibility of expanding on the SINGLE GREATEST COMIC BOOK STORY EVERY WRITTEN IN THE HISTORY OF THE ENTIRE WORLD AND CREATION AND STUFF. I’m willing to give those brave guys and gals a chance to make that money.

My opinion may not be popular but then again neither am I, nor do I want to be. Me? I’m gonna buy the first issues. And if I like those, I’ll buy the second. And if at any point I stop liking them, I’ll stop buying them. You’re welcome to do the same. Or not. I don’t care.

As a cranky, old editor once said to a mouth-breathing, fat ginger, “I leave it entirely in your hands.”

Oh yeah, if you’re one of those people who have no idea what the hell I’ve been talking about, might I suggest you check out the original series? It’s available at a reasonable price at any reputable comic book store and you can get it on Amazon as well. It is quite good. In fact, it’s excellent.