Wednesday, August 1, 2012

On not knowing when you've gone too far, save for the sound of the screaming

Comic and "pop culture" website Newsarama, used to have informative articles, well thought out histories of characters, and, yes, I'm going there, one of the most vibrant and witty bulletin boards in the hobby.

There's none of that left. Literally the only thing left of quality are the interviews. Zach Smith and Vaneta Rogers still do great work, as do most of your new folks. But the rest is disappointing to say the least.
The 10 worst comic performances piece was the last straw. Unfunny, hipster-wannabe snarkery that thinks it's witty.

I'll save you time.  The ten they chose, counting from bottom-up, are:
  • January Jones - Emma Frost
  • Christopher Reeve/Brandon Routh - Superman/Clark Kent
  • Tobey Maguire - Spider-Man/Peter Parker
  • Seth Rogen - The Green Hornet
  • Julian Mcmahon - Doctor Doom
  • Nicolas Cage - Ghost Rider
  • Matthew Goode - Ozymandias
  • Billy Zane - The Phantom
  • Halle Berry - Storm, Catwoman
  • Most Everyone And Anyone In Joel Schumacher's Batman Movies
I agree with Nick Cage.  When he's bad, he's awful.  Mcmahon was trapped in a film that didn't know what it was doing; his performance was hobbled by a horrid version of the character. Goode...OK, I got nothing.

I know I'm in the minority, but I got what they were going for in Green Hornet, and while it was TOTALLY not the film I was hoping for, I think they nailed what they set out to do.  And if you got the VERY subtle historical reference at the center of the fight between Britt and Kato, that might have been the point where you had to look at the film with respect.

And Billy Zane, I'm sorry, was really good in Phantom.  If they'd gone with listing Treat Williams instead, I'd have been right there with them.

They went for easy targets.  The ones they thought they could get laughs from.  Where's Brooke Shields in Brenda Starr?  Lea Thompson in Howard the Duck?  Ron Ely from Doc Savage?  The ones that EVERYBODY has to admit were tripe?

 The last one isn't even a person, it's just a shotgun blast at the films in toto. It's not they couldn't choose a last one, they just plain got tired.
But Christopher Reeve?  Really?  REALLY?

Needless to say, this choice has made Newsarama the internet's new Special Friend.  Creators and fans alike, left and right, are taking to the web, even at this late hour, to share their distaste for this move.  Mark Waid has flatly told them to lose his phone number.

It's the latest in a series of puff pieces on the site that they've been posting instead of more in-depth and informative pieces. The "list-format" article format is getting increasingly prevalent, but the 'rama has taken to them like nobody other.  

It'll be interesting to see if they choose to respond to the almost universal negative reaction to the piece.  It's credited to the "Newsarama staff", and unlike other lists they've posted, the individual entries bear no individual credits.  I've got a pretty good guess who wrote it, but no proof, so I'll keep that guess to myself.  

Seriously, guys, take your thumb out.  There's time to turn this around.


  1. I'm glad someone besides me liked Billy Zane as the Phantom (a rather underappreciated film). If you ever get a chance try to catch Zane in a 2002 film called "Landspeed". He has a nice comedic undercurrent that I wish some major director would allow to surface.

    And how did Cathy Lee Crosby in "Wonder Woman" not make the list?

  2. Really, what's gotten into Newsarama these days? With the exception of Zach Smith and Vaneta Rogers, to borrow a line from The Eagles, did they get tired, or did they just get lazy? Can Newsarama be restored to its former excellence? Here's hoping!

  3. I think you pegged it pretty much the way I see it, Vin. I guess there are three of us who thought Zane was pretty good. They honestly put his performance beneath Alec Baldwin in THE SHADOW?

    Michael,I think they were aiming at theatrical releases so Crosby's WW (as bad as it was) didn't qualify.

    Plus, let's face it where is DAREDEVIL? You could fill half the list with that cast!