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PCR #171  (Vol. 4, No. 27)  This edition is for the week of June 30--July 6, 2003.

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The summer has been flooded with "Top Lists" and there is more on tap. Iím still recovering from MTVís "Top Voices" that included a rapper (Eminem), a dead rapper (Tu Pac), a screamer (Steven Tyler) and culminated with "Glitter" - Mariah Carey. Atticus Finch beat out Indiana Jones as AFIís "Top Hero" and Universalís "Animal Planet" very maturely avoided any Disney references in their "Top TV Animals of All Time." The Wachowskis are atop the "Worst Sex Scenes of All Time" with "Matrix Reloaded", Sean Conneryís accent in "The Untouchables" was chastided on one list while "Rolling Stone" praised the live performers such as U2. EWís "Top Cult Movies" rocked this website and instigated a follow-up column.

Now comes Wizardís, the premier comic book magazine, "Top 50 Comic Book Movie" and my response was - fifty? How the hell are they going to come up with fifty? Well, they didnít and they acknowledge that with their comments on the latter half of the group.

We could debate the top ten - "X-Men" versus the original, "Superman" versus number two, and where does "Spider-Man" fit into all of this. More noteworthy is the recognition of "Road to Perdition" and "Ghost World" based on graphic novels by Max Allan Collins and Daniel Clowes respectively. John Q Public doesnít even know the comic book ties of these two films, especially Sam Mendesí "Road."

So, add "Batman", "Rocketeer", "Blade" to get a Top Ten as follows:
1. X-Men 2
2. Spider-man
3. Superman 2
4. Superman
5. Road to Perdition
6. X-Men
7. Ghost World
8. The Rocketeer
9. Batman
10. Blade

The real entertainment in their list is at the bottom. "Batman & Robin" beats out "Steel" to get the prestigious honor of being number fifty. The 90ís abominations of "Captain America" and "Fantastic Four" are here in the forties, but Dolph Lundgrenís "The Punisher" somehow snuck up to number twenty-nine. "Conan The Destroyer" and "Red Sonja" are seated in the forties while "Conan The Barbarian" gets the nod at number twenty. While "Superman 1 & 2" make the top of the list, part three and four are numbers thirty-seven and forty-five.

Points of major disagreement - I have a few. "Batman: Mask of the Phantasm", an animated Bat-flick was longwinded and not worthy of thirteenth place ahead of "From Hell" (#17), early Jim Carrey in "The Mask" (#19), or Adam West beating the fake shark in the 1966 "Batman" (#23) - I loved that show. "Batman Forever" (#36) gets repeat viewings in my house, while the curse of the penguin, "Batman Returns" (#25), nearly hits the DVD player. Sure, I prefer Michelle Pfeiffer to Nicole Kidman, but an army of penguins with missiles gives penguins everywhere a bad name.

Wizard at least knows how to countdown as EW continues to publish their lists from top to bottom - I hate turning to the article to accidentally find out number one. The authorís satire is prevalent as they comment on the bottom half, but credit is given for hot actresses: Lea Thompson in 'Howard The Duck", Diane Lane in "Judge Dredd" (#34), or Kirsten Dunst in "The Crow 3: Salvation" (#38) - these movies just sucked.

Soon weíll have the "Top Ten Lists of Top Lists" and Iíll completely short circuit. Are they fun for debate? Sure. Do they stir up a lot of memories, good or bad, okay - Iíll give you that. But these also have conservative radio hosts discussing Kurt Cobainís drug addiction as a reason why "Smells Like Teen Spirit" doesnít belong a top VH1ís "Top 25 Songs of the Last"... ooh wait, thatís the "Top 100 Songs".. - oh hell, see Iím fizzling out already.

The list is moot as a gambit of Marvel movies are due out the next couple of years (e.g. "The Punisher" filming here in Tampa) and DCís titles are getting off the ground finally. Well, maybe "Virus" (#47) and "Tank Girl" (#42) will come off the list.

THE SLUSH PILE

I think itís only appropriate to recognize the influence that eBay, the primary online auctioning service, has on collecting. With comic shops failing (see last weekís issue) and the increasing popularity of Internet sales, eBay has emerged as a major resource in the collectorís universe.

My favorite example is a sports card my son had asked me about: a John Lynch, safety for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, had signed a limited number of special looking cards - 47 to be exact (matches his jersey number). None of which were available locally, so an eBay search revealed THREE! Three! I could own nearly ten percent of the entire print run. I could search shops for years before Iíd find three.

Point is, things have changed. Print runs, odd variants are of no concern for a collector seeking the unique or specialized item. A few notables:

Asterix Pez1962 Flintstones Lunchbox, with thermos -- $390, Hoganís Heroes Lunchbox -- $175

Action #1 (CGC 2.5) with a torn cover had 45 bids - $27,000, but this was not enough - didnít meet the reserve price set by the seller.

The Asterix Pez dispenser from Austria sold for $2,749. I really donít get this one!

Lastly, a near-mint Happy Days #1, with the photo cover, reached $50.

PULL OUT YOUR LONG BOX (Your comic box, now put that away!)

Saga of the Swamp Thing #37: Keanu Reeves moves from "The Matrix" to tackle the infamous Vertigo character John Constantine in the upcoming movie "Constantine." This issue is the Alan Moore introduction of the character and an is still reasonably priced for a character headed to the big screen.

Battle of the Planets: Yep, Gold Keyís 1979 tale with the lovable characters G-Force. They are finding a new audience with the recent issues from Top Cow/Image.

ONE SHOTS

Fantastic Four #500The Beginning of "The End"? The Foil-Enhanced Cover Returns: Yep, itís back! Fantastic Four #500 will feature a "regular" version and a "Directorís Cut" with a foil-cover, deleted scenes, creator commentaries and outtakes. Itís a clear rip-off of the popular DVD gimmick and a frightening flashback to the early 90ís. Mike Doran, Marvelís marketing and communications manager is quoted in the Wizard article: We donít have any other ĎDirectorís Cutsí planned right now." He excuses the Supreme Powers #1 regular and special editions as different, then adds ..."thereís a good possibility with core books Amazing Spider-Man and Avengers that weíll do similar anniversaries. But done on a smart basis." Issue 500 is a reversion to the original numbering and would be #71 in the current series. Sounds smart to me. (Complete story in Wizard #143, August 2003)

Catwoman - One Year: No, not "Year One" but one year from now, weíll all be talking about Halle Berry as the Catwoman which will be released on July 30, 2004. "Catwoman" follows Patience Price, a veterinary scientist (Salina Kyle died long ago) working in biotechnology under the guise of the evil businessman. I fear the origin story will mimic "Batman Returns" and has promised references to the Caped Crusader. Rather than embrace the cross-franchise references, which I think audiences will enjoy, "Catwoman" will struggle to stand on its own with a series of "Itís just like a man..." lines.

Punisher Casting: Laura Elena Harring ("Mulholland Drive") will star opposite John Travolta in the upcoming Artisan film. Rebecca Romijn-Stamos will be playing a character called Joan. Joan is a bit of a recluse in the Garth Ennis comic, but will represent his love interest. Mmm...Joan. Sure, thatíll work - not as smooth as "Mmmm...Mystiqueí, but hey.

UP NEXT

Looking ahead...Movies, Music etc...the rest of 2003 and beyond.


"Splash Page" is ©2003 by Brandon Jones.   Webpage design and all graphics herein (except where otherwise noted) are creations of Nolan B. Canova.  All contents of Nolan's Pop Culture Review are ©2003 by Nolan B. Canova.