Celebrating the Unpopular Arts
 

Hatcher’s Junk Drawer #21: Waiting Room Thoughts

Sitting in the doctor’s office. Waiting. Sooner or later they want me to come back to the lab area for yet another blood draw.

Julie and I both had to do blood draws today. I snarled, “This is what we do now instead of date night, I guess,” and she beamed at me and said, “It’s a lab date!”

The woman I married, everyone.

Except Swedish Hospital has screwed it up AGAIN. Third time in the last two weeks.

See, we’ve been here over an hour waiting for Swedish to–wait for it–FAX the order for my blood draw over, because there’s got to be a paper copy and printing a PDF from an email is too newfangled and technological, or something. Told flatly to wait till it gets here. Called and asked what the hangup was and was told it had been sent half an hour ago. Yes, to the number I gave them.

Julie was done over an hour ago, of course.

Faxes used to be instantaneous. Thirty years ago.

Apparently Kaiser hasn’t cracked the technology yet. Or Swedish hasn’t. One of them. So I’m sitting and playing with my phone. My mind wanders from one thing to another. Like this….

*

At least half of my affection for Hawkman is Joe Kubert ‘s artwork. Without him, it just isn’t the same.

Still love that first story where Hawkman and Hawkgirl have to punch a dinosaur in the face, just as much as I did when I was twelve.

That said, I have enjoyed the last couple of Hawkman trade collections from Robert Venditti.

Venditti is another one of those journeyman writer guys at DC like Peter Tomasi. Not necessarily setting the world on fire, often given the thankless job of following a star, but he’s dependably entertaining. I liked his Legion, I liked his Green Lantern, and I was really getting into his Hawkman.

The art’s all over the place, we started with Bryan Hitch and ended with Fernando Pasarin– but they’re keeping it consistent and they know how to tell a story and still do big flying visuals.


The latest volume, Hawks Eternal, seems like a series finale. If so, it’s pretty good. Extra credit to Venditti for mostly ducking all the Batman-Who-Laughs crossover crap, which is a remarkable feat considering Hawkman was one of the Infected.

*

Sad to hear of the passing of Henry Darrow. We always liked him here, whether it was The High Chaparral

…or Harry O

…or being Zorro’s dad

twice.

Whatever he was in, he seemed to be having a lot of fun, even when he was leaning into the drama. I don’t know if this was how he was in real life, but he seemed to just like being Henry Darrow and talking to fans and all the rest of it.

We liked the idea of him out there hanging at Western autograph shows and whatnot, and we were sorry to hear of his passing.

*

I confess that I am honestly baffled by the excitement over the Snyder cut of JUSTICE LEAGUE, especially after years of online bitching about how DC movies are too dark. A guy whose vision is based on every shitty nineties ‘grim-n-gritty’ trope in comics is not the guy I want making a DC movie.

Especially since the big selling point seems to be the new cut’s darker and more serious. I’m sticking with the CW’S CRISIS ON EARTH X as the one that nailed the JLA vibe. More fun and you can see what is going on, even.

Still thinking about what I want from a JLA movie. More I think about it, the more I circle back to the 1990s relaunch. Either New World Order or Tower of Babel. Slightly leaning towards the first but either one would work. Give me seventy million and I’ll make it happen. First call is Tyler Hoechlin and the second one is Kevin Conroy. Keep Jason Momoa and Gal Gadot.

Introduce John Stewart as Green Lantern, maybe Phil Lamarr–he’s even the right age now and his voice alone would sell it!– and bring in someone like Adam Rayner as an older Barry Allen.

And Mads Mikkelsen, Angela Bassett, and Keith David as White Martians.

Imagine Keith David frantically looking around while Conroy’s voice sneers, “I know who you are,” with Mikkelsen yelling over the comm, “He’s just a normal man!” And Hoechlin as Superman gasping, “The most… dangerous…man…on Earth…”

But of course no Super-mullet.

Call me, Warner’s.

Sigh. Now I’m sad.

*

We gave up. Two hours to send a fucking fax. They said come back tomorrow. Kaiser staff were super gracious. Swedish staff is now 0 for 3 with us, for those keeping score at home.

So Julie is snoozing on the couch while I am watching CSI: Miami and screwing around online. Because in our house, crime time…

…is nap time.

Back next week with something cool. And maybe more coherent.

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14 Comments

  1. Slam Bradley

    I thought that Venditti did a very credible job with Hawkman and gave us a way to try to reconcile all the umpteen dozen iterations (if you need that sort of thing, I don’t).

    I love Kubert, but his Hawkman was before my time. I always think of Truman & Alcatena when I think of Hawkman.

    1. Well, Truman’s Hawkworld was originally a direct prequel to the dinosaur-punching story I referred to, so it’s in the ballpark. Another version that deserves a lot more love is the Ben Raab/Michael Lark mini.

      Mostly I just like my Hawkman to have that Kubert roughness to it. Murphy Anderson’s was just too clean and tidy and streamlined. The late John Buscema would have done a staggeringly awesome one and I’m sorry he never got to take a swing at it. There’s a local guy here, Jason Metcalf, who did a redesign on his own that’s like the Buscema Conan with wings and I am swooningly in love with it. If by some freak of fate I was ever given Hawkman to edit, Jason would be my first call.

  2. Just started rereading Tower of Babel. Very idiot plot. Instead of telling the entire League “if the day comes everyone else has been replaced by their evil clone or parallel-world counterpart, how would you stop them? Start planning.” he does it all himself, writes the plan down — and apparently had no qualms about going straight for killing (what happens to J’Onn and Aquaman could easily have been fatal). And when it’s all over (IIRC at least) everyone reacts as if the issue was a breach of trust rather than Batman screwing up massively. Because he’s Bat-god and being an idiot isn’t permitted.

  3. jccalhoun

    I haven’t read Hawkman in years so I don’t know what the current series was like. However, since Carter Hall is an archeologist and an alien (is he from Thangar now? I kind of lost track with the whole resurrection thing) it seems that a great spin on the character would be to have him host an Ancient Aliens-type show. Maybe the gimmick could be that he is secretly trying to cover up the evidence of ancient aliens by “debunking” them or something.

  4. In TwoMorrows’ Hawkman Companion, Murphy Anderson (IIRC) made the good point that when Kubert left, the strip got more mundane: rather than punching dinosaurs, the Hawks dealt with science crooks at about the level the New Look Batman was fighting. Reading the Showcase TPB a few years back, I found Anderson was absolutely right (as the Hawks were a backup in Mystery in Space you’d expect something more space-y, but no).

    1. That’s a good point but it misses the larger one, I think; as far as I’m concerned Hawkman shouldn’t be a science hero at all. All of the mess that is Hawkman continuity is due largely to trying to force Thanagar to make sense. Tony Isabella’s version and Truman’s Hawkworld almost made it work, but only almost; poke either one with a stick and it all falls apart. The reincarnation and ancient sorcery from the Golden Age version is the way to go. Geoff Johns and James Robinson understood that and that’s why the one that spun out of JSA was far and away the most successful version. My ideal Hawkman would be that he’s Indiana Jones with wings, he deals with menaces both mystic and natural that are rooted in the ancient world. That’s his specialty, same way Aquaman covers the ocean and Green Lantern handles the sci-fi threats. Hawkman has the archaeologist’s knowledge and the warrior’s prowess; he deals with the mummies and the guys who trigger curses and so on. Just ignore the Silver Age stuff. The only reason people keep tripping over it is because DC editorial keeps thinking they need to explain it. Venditti had the right idea– just use the reincarnation thing to handwave away the continuity problems and have at it. It’s a good explanation but the best part was that he didn’t LINGER on it or do huge infodumps like the 1990s post-Hawkworld, pre-Zero Hour version kept trying.

      1. Edo Bosnar

        Hawkman as Indiana Jones with wings. Works for me. Especially since that means Hawkwoman would be Marion Ravenwood with wings (yep, I’m still riding that particular hobbyhorse, with no intention of letting up).

      2. Disagree half-completely. Hawkman of the Silver Age worked just fine as did the Shadow War era — and while the Ostrander/Truman version was too grimdark for me, I also though it worked very well in its own terms.
        The problem isn’t “science hero” per se but the problem of reconciling the Golden Age and Silver Age versions. The half where I agree with you is that yes, it would make more sense to just axe the Silver Age stuff.

  5. JHL

    I’m certainly not a fan of Snyder’s DC movies, Batman v Superman was bad and dumb and I straight up despise Man of Steel (that movie’s version of Jonathan Kent was like a poison that seeped into every aspect of the DCEU’s Superman mythos). Which is all a shame because based on his performances in other movies I do believe that Henry Cavell, with a good script, could have played a spectacular Superman. I’m also not somebody who was bothered by Ben Affleck’s casting as Bruce Wayne (the DCEU Batman suits are far and away my favorite live action suits). Affleck is a guy who now looks like he has the miles on him to play a Batman who has been out there doing the job for a couple decades. Again, give him a decent script and I think it would have been fine.

    All that said, I’m laid out Moderna shot side effects that ended knocking a centimeter sized kidney stone loose so I have had enough time stuck in bed to think killing four hours with the Snyder cut was a reasonable idea.

    And well, I can’t really say it’s a good movie, (or even ‘a movie’ given the thing’s length) but it turns out that I do think it is overall better than the Whedon version of Justice League. And momentarily putting aside all the issues that arise from pandering to a pretty toxic fandom, I think it turns out that there actual merit to the release of the Snyder cut.

    First off, the movie is easily the least grim dark of the Snyder DC films. A surprising number of the jokes in the Whedon version actually date from Snyder’s footage. It’s still weighted down by the darkness of the earlier films but this one was clearly designed to be pushing the franchise to a brighter more positive place.

    The movie has plenty of problems, Snyder wastes an inordinate amount of time on pointless slow motion scenes, one DC character that wasn’t in the Whedon version is shoehorned into a couple of scenes in a tremendously awkward way, and while the score is fine I found all the other music choices in the film to be inexplicable. But there are several characters much better served by the Snyder version of Justice League. It turns out that what the Whedon version did to Ray Fisher as Cyborg is incredibly frustrating. He is the heart of the Snyder version and his arc is the best in the movie, leaving it out of the other version simply makes no sense. The Flash is better served in this version. Alfred gets more to do and is delightful whenever he shows up. Cyborg’s father is handled much better. Lois Lane and her grief are better served in the Snyder version. Having Darkseid and company in the film, even if just for a few short scenes, makes Steppenwolf and actual character with reasons for his attacks. Overall the plot makes more sense and holds together better than the Whedon version. It becomes very hard to understand some of the choices on cutting content that were made when making Whedon version.

    A lot of people online have noticed that most of the cut content involves women or people of color. I’m not going to assume that was done with intent, but that would still mean that the producers and the director either failed to realize what they were doing, or simply didn’t care.

    I will say that the worst stuff in the movie is probably in the epilogue portion of the film and a good bit of that is new footage shot just for this Snyder version. It points to what his follow up Justice League movies would have been and every indication is that they would have gone back to being grim dark tire fires.

    As I said before, I can’t really say it is a good movie, but it is significantly better than I expected and I do think there is value in watching it, especially if you have seen the Whedon version. It is probably most interesting when comparing and contrasting the two versions. It’s also probably worth the ride for all the Cyborg footage.

    Sorry for such a long meandering post, being stuck in bed for the last week without the chance to discuss nerd stuff with people left me overflowing with comics related ruminations that had to go somewhere.

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