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Liz Tells Frank What Happened In “Transmetropolitan”

Dear Frank,

transmetropolitanSo the first time I read Transmetropolitan, I was visiting Whitney, one of my oldest friends, in New Jersey. It was 2005, I was on a very random cross-country trip, and Whitney had a day job, and so spending the better part of 48 hours reading her trade paperbacks made sense.

Then, Transmetropolitan BROKE MY BRAIN.

By which I mean I loved it. Even though it BROKE MY BRAIN. And gave me nightmares. And did…

It did some other things, Frank. They mostly involve shouting. I shall explain.

Transmet, as it’s conventionally know, is writer Warren Ellis and artist Darick Robertson’s magnum opus for Vertigo Comics, a five year odyssey through an imagined future where genetics are easily manipulated, technology is something you swallow as pills, and we just call New York City “The City.”

If you read it in less than two days on a futon in New Jersey, it’s really intense. If you reread it in two weeks on an actual bed in Los Angeles… Actually still really intense. Read the rest of this entry

Liz Tells Frank What Happened In “Buffy The Vampire Slayer” Season 8

Dear Frank,

buffy the vampire slayerAs you’re a man who enjoys cross-platform approaches to narrative, I think you’ll appreciate this. Buffy Season 8 is different from other Buffy comics that have been released by Dark Horse over the years because of the words “Season 8” — unlike other comics, this is no stand-alone side adventure. This is what Joss Whedon and his team genuinely consider to be the continuation of the Buffy story, following that whole Buffy-shared-the-slayer-power-with-everyone-and-oh-yeah-Sunnydale-collapsed-into-the-earth thing you might remember from the TV show’s series finale.

And freed from budget constraints by the magic of sequential art, let’s just say that some imaginations get a massive fucking workout. Frank, every once in a while I am genuinely concerned that I will not be able to capture the batshit insanity of something I am telling you about. Today is one of those days.

By the way, when I say batshit insanity, I do mean that in a good way. Mostly.

What happens in it, Frank? Oh, my god, so much stuff. But I’ll try and keep things simple. Read the rest of this entry

Liz (And Jeff) Tell Frank What Happened In “Rising Stars”

Don’t forget, friends — “Liz Tells Frank What Happened In…: The Book” is now available on Amazon!

Dear Frank,

While you may not have ever read Rising Stars, there is no doubt in my mind that you have heard of it. That’s because I have been arguing about J. Michael Straczynski’s, um, unique take on the superhero mythos with our mutual friend Jeff since…

Jeff: Some drunken party in the mid-00’s.

Liz: Yes. At our friend Asa’s house, undoubtedly, because Asa had a bunch of comics and parties at his house often devolved into drinking and reading comics. The HOTTEST PARTIES.

Jeff: Our lives were basically GOSSIP GIRL.

Liz: Yes. Except we were all old enough to rent cars.

(Frank, Jeff insists on sitting in on this one. I’m sure that he’s able to approach this comic book from a highly respected creator with objective distance and clarity–)

Jeff: Straczynski’s a garbage pile. Read the rest of this entry

Liz Tells Frank What Happened In “Batman: The Return of Bruce Wayne”

Dear Frank,

I used to be a big comics fan, buying new issues of certain series monthly and borrowing the rest from friends, with whom I would debate the latest DC and Marvel developments. I did this not as a teenager, but throughout my mid-20s, because that’s how much of a late bloomer totally awesome I was.

I still like the medium, still like a good superhero story, still think Batman is totally boneable — alas, it’s been several years since I was reading regularly. However, a month or so ago, my friend Rudy recommended the graphic novel The Return of Bruce Wayne to listeners of our podcast, and as I love time travel and Batman, I requested and received a copy of the trade paperback for Christmas.

The reason for me wanting to read it was two-fold — one, FUCK YEAH BATMAN TRAVELLING THROUGH TIME. Two, I kinda wanted to see if it’d be at all possible for me, a casual reader, to hop into a modern day comic adventure and understand what the hell was going on. Read the rest of this entry

Liz Tells Frank What Happened In NBC’s Unaired “Wonder Woman” Pilot

Dear Frank,

Fan poster by ALilZeker on DeviantArt.

We gather together today to mock the pretty much dead pilot for David E. Kelley’s Wonder Woman, but let me be honest with you — I feel a little guilty about doing so. And not because I acquired it from “a friend” (ask me no questions and I’ll tell you no lies), but because making fun of something that has ultimately failed and will never officially see the light of day feels unfair. Nothing I will say in this post could possibly sting as much as the fact that NBC declined to pick this show up. Except, perhaps, for this observation: GOOD PLAN, NETWORK.

We open on a nice young black man discovering that he’s going to college — and then abruptly collapsing from a whole bleeding-out-his-eyes-and-ears thing. Yikes! And then we get down to business; specifically, Wonder Woman chasing a bad guy down Hollywood Boulevard. Action action action running! The guy is “superhuman,” a news reporter V.O. tells us, but so is Wonder Woman, and she also has a magic lasso to nab him with.

The cops come just as she’s plunged a syringe into Running Guy’s neck to draw some blood, and while she gets pissy about how Running Guy will lawyer up, she lets them take him into custody and then flies off in her flying jet. Like you do. Points so far for Tyra Colette Adrianne Palicki’s portrayal — while a bit pouty, she sure isn’t afraid of pushing the bad-ass angle.

Once Wonder Woman returns to the headquarters of Themyscira Industries (her own personal multi-national organization), we get the full scoop on The Many Lives of Wonder Woman. Read the rest of this entry

Liz Tells Frank What Happened In “Batman and Robin”

Dear Frank,

So as you know, I’m a very big fan of performance artist Lady Gaga, primarily because in the world of pop music, she’s the rare person unafraid to truly experiment. Like, I know there are plenty of people giving her shit over coming to the Grammys last night ensconced inside a translucent egg, but frankly I kinda loved it. Especially because she also came on stage inside said egg, basically making the red carpet a dramatic lead-up to her onstage performance, which is such a bold and interesting way of approaching the conceit of an awards show! Lady Gaga is so great.

Why am I talking about Lady Gaga, Frank, when (as the subject of this post clearly states) I am here to tell you what happens in the 1997 film Batman and Robin? Here’s the deal. We all know this is a terrible movie (Akiva Goldsman, even Fringe being awesome doesn’t mean I forgive you). But while other cinematic disasters I’ve told you about were failures because of a lack of talent or inspiration, that’s not where Batman and Robin falls apart. Batman and Robin is fucking terrible, but it’s fucking terrible because it was a bold attempt at capturing a certain spirit in film format — specifically, being a live-action comic book.

The primary problem, of course, is that the people involved have this completely childish idea of what comic books are — probably because the last time they read a piece of sequential art, they were actually children — and the entire movie is a fucking mess. But there is a part of me that admires the amount of risk taken here, the flat-out balls of trying something new with what was previously such a profitable franchise. The visual extravagance of this film alone could inspire an entire concert’s worth of Lady Gaga ensembles. In short: This is probably why I am not in charge of a major motion picture studio, but there is a part of me that would rather Hollywood make five flat-out insane Batman and Robins than one generic and blah Transformers.

Thus ends my defense of Batman and Robin. Let’s begin making fun of it, shall we? Read the rest of this entry

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