Wednesday, August 19, 2015

All Star Comics #8

All Star Comics #8 from the Fanboy Library

In my husband’s vast collection of omnibi, I found the first appearance of Wonder Woman in All Star Comics Volume 2. All Star Comics #8 began by introducing Wonder Woman with, “As lovely as Aphrodite – as wise as Athena – with the speed of Mercury and the strength of Hercules – She is known only as Wonder Woman, but who she is, or whence she came, nobody knows!”

I was a little worried about what I was going to encounter since I just read Wonder Woman: Bondage and Feminism in the Marston/Peter Comics, 1941-1948 by Noah Berlatsky, but it wasn’t as kinky as I thought it would be. Considering that William Marston wrote the comic under the pseudonym Charles Moulton, readers at the time would have been oblivious to Marston’s personal life and his beliefs about sexuality and submission. Without that background information, Wonder Woman isn’t that bad… if readers disregard everything they know about Greek mythology. 

Sunday, August 9, 2015

MST3K XXII

I love the summertime because I am home by myself, and this means I get to choose what I watch. When my husband is home, he has to assert that he’s the dominant male by holding the remote with a vicious death grip. Since I have been able to do a lot of my school work from home instead of my studio lately, I have had time to enjoy my beloved Mystery Science Theater 3000 collection. I recently watched MST3K Volume XXII, which includes Time of the Apes (episode 306), Mighty Jack (314), The Violent Years (610), and The Brute Man (702).



Not only did Sandy Frank distribute the Gamera movies for an English speaking audience, but he also did Time of the Apes. This “movie” is pieced together from several television episodes in an attempt to make a Planet of the Apes-type film. Johnny and Caroline are the children protagonists who are accompanied by Catherine on their adventure in the future. They get frozen in a science lab and awaken in a time when apes evolved from man. The humans return back to home just in time to hear Joel and the ‘bots sing the Sandy Frank song.

Might Jack is another poorly dubbed movie presented by Sandy Frank. I have seen this movie multiple times, but I still can’t say what it’s about at all. I believe there’s something about a secret agent in it. The Satellite of Love captives note the viewer’s inability to remember anything about the film with their concluding sea shanty, “Slow the Plot Down.”

The Violent Years begins with a nightmare inducing sketch with Tom Servo sporting a ventriloquist dummy’s head! Fortunately, Mike defeats him and rips off the abomination, and Servo is returned to normal in time to see the short Young Man’s Fancy. This short touts the advantages of having electricity in one’s kitchen as a young woman tries to attract her brother’s friend.  The feature, on the other hand, follows the story of a teenager gang that terrorizes a small town. The young women loot, pillage, and rape. The ring leader faces the ultimate punishment: she is sentenced to life in prison and it turns out she’s pregnant.

Crow T. “Art” Robot is put in charge by Pearl Forrester during The Brute Man episode, which begins with The Chicken of Tomorrow short. The Brute Man is about a murderer referred to as “the Creeper,” who kills his former college chums. The host segments are fun to watch, and at one point Servo puts himself in an egg so he can experience life as the chicken of tomorrow.

Saturday, August 1, 2015

MST3K XXI

MST3K vs. Gamera is a special collection of Gamera movies in a metal tin. My husband was pretty excited when this boxed set of Mystery Science Theater 3000 came out because he was certain that there was no way the Sandy Frank dubbed films would get released. This collection includes Gamera (episode 302), Gamera vs. Barugon (304), Gamera vs. Gaos (308), Gamera vs. Guiron (312), Gamera vs. Zigra (316). These movies are fantastic for anyone who enjoys over-dubbed films about rubber suit monsters.

Unfortunately, there is no turtle meat in this tin.

For those who haven’t seen these movies, Gamera is a giant turtle who terrorizes Japan yet befriends small children. The first Gamera movie follows a child named Kenny who loves turtles, particularly one named Tibby. Even Tom Servo can’t resist Tibby’s charms and sings a love song to the turtle. Anyway, Kenny eventually upgrades his turtle to become Gamera’s best friend.

In Gamera vs. Barugon, Barugon is hatched from a radioactive egg. Barugon is giant lizard-dog-beast, and he can shoot deadly rainbows. The best part of this episode includes Servo and Crow dressed as monsters ordering dessert at a restaurant. Joel played the waiter, which required him to wear a lot of flair. Gamera is barely in this movie, but the Satellite of Love crew that’s because Gamera directed this movie.

Gamera returns to fight a new rubber monster in Gamera vs. Gaos. Gaos is a pointy headed flying fiend who loves to drink the blood of humans. The people construct a giant blood fountain at one point as an attempt to defeat Gaos, but it’s fails and Gamera has to save the day. Gamera also befriends a new Kenny named Itchy. During one of the host segments, Joel attempts to teach the viewers how to craft a Gaos of their very own. However, Crow and Servo spoil the bit at tell children to drink glue and cut out interesting pictures from library books!

Gamera vs. Guiron stars a pair of Kennies who travel via spaceship to a planet called Terra. The boys keep calling it a star instead of a planet, and it irritates the ‘bots.  Guiron is the king monster on this new planet, and he has a Swiss Army knife head. After witnessing Guiron chop up space Gaos, the boys meet a pair of Southern, brain-eating aliens. Gamera brings the boys back to Earth, and a man name Cornjob helps welcome them back home. The episode concludes with Joel, Servo, Crow, and Gypsy singing the Gamera theme song.

To celebrate the last movie, Gamera vs. Zigra, Joel turned Tom Servo into a root beer keg for their party. In this film, the preschool protagonist is Kenny and he’s accompanied by a little girl. I want to say that her name is Kennette, but it might be Helen. The children have parents that work at Sea World, which is depressing for anyone who watched Blackfish. The nemesis Zigra is a giant sea monster with a taste for human flesh, and he enslaves an Earth woman to do his evil bidding. Of course, Gamera saves the day. The host segments during this episode are pretty good, including a bit when the robots make dioramas of their Gamera experiences. This is also the episode when Dr. Clayton Forrester reveals his mullet!

Sunday, July 26, 2015

MST3K XX


It’s been far too long since I’ve last professed my love for Mystery Science Theater 3000. I’m going to blame this on a combination of my crazy graduate school schedule and my love of Netflix. During the last two years, I haven’t had a lot of free time to watch TV, and thanks to internet-streaming I’ve gotten far too lazy to put actual disks into a DVD player! However, I do have many glorious MST3K box sets, and I feel that it’s important to show my husband gratitude for buying them for me. I know Mystery Science Theater 3000 XX was released quite awhile ago, but I haven’t sung its praises online yet. This collection includes Project Moonbase (episode 109), Master Ninja I (322), Master Ninja II (324), and The Magic Voyage of Sinbad (505).

Project Moonbase is an early episode with J. Elvis Weinstein as Dr. Erhardt and Tom Servo. This is one of the episodes that I never saw when the show was still on the air. This episode also includes a Commando Cody Short before the forgettable feature. I have watched this movie multiple times, but I can’t really recall what happens in Project Moonbase. I know there are astronauts, and I think they get married.

Master Ninja I and Master Ninja II are both from the 3rd season, and I’m glad they came together in this set. These “movies” are actually stitched together television episodes about a white boy, his pet hamster, and a master ninja teacher. My favorite part about these episodes is “The Master Ninja Theme Song.”

The robots pointed out that The Magic Voyage of Sinbad is suspiciously Russian. I’ve read “Sinbad the Sailor,” and I am going to agree with the ‘bots. This surreal, dubbed film in not Sinbad, but it’s still a pretty decent episode.

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Wonder Woman Bondage Book

I recently read Wonder Woman: Bondage and Feminism in the Marston/Peter Comics, 1941-1948 by Noah Berlatsky. This publication is pretty new; it just came out this year. I read it as part of my research for a class I’m taking this summer.
 
All Star Comics #8 illustrated by Harry G. Peter.
(I can only guess why he used his middle initial. Seriously, why would someone name their child "Harry Peter?")
Before I read Berlatsky’s Wonder Woman: Bondage and Feminism, my main source of knowledge about Wonder Woman came from my husband’s series of lectures on the Justice Society of America. I knew that Wonder Woman’s non-hero name was Diana, she was supposed to be an Amazon, she was the JSA’s only female member so they made her the secretary, and the creator was a polygamous man who was really into bondage. Noah Berlatsky’s book included all of this information, but he flushed out many more details with background information to make the reader more interested in Wonder Woman as a character and the early publications.

I really wonder who the target audience is for this text. I read it as part of my research for my Master of Fine Arts degree, and the author referenced other writings that I was only exposed to during graduate school. Berlatsky’s writing style was less formal than many of the other art history and art theory texts I’ve have to slog through during the last few years. He’s text was actually quite enjoyable to read, and his sense of humor showed through especially when he critiqued contemporary media that featured female lead characters. While I’ve never read or watched Twilight or Fifty Shades of Grey, I enjoyed how Berlatsky tore them apart by analyzing the tropes and stereotypes they fulfilled.

Berlatsky began his text by addressing that most people are familiar with the icon of Wonder Woman, but many have not read the original stories. The bulk of the book was about William Moulton Marston, Harry G. Peter, and their stories about Wonder Woman. Harry Peter was an illustrator who drew other comics and Gibson Girls. William Moulton was known for his work as a pop psychologist, and he wrote Wonder Woman under the nom de plume of Charles Moulton. When compared to other superheroes, Wonder Woman is tied up the most by a large margin. 27% of stories by Marston and Peter included bondage. Captain Marvel, which placed second, only has 3% of its stories featuring characters bound. Wonder Woman was tied up so often because Marston personally enjoyed it, and he wrote “Women are exciting for this one reason – it is the secret of women’s allure – women enjoy submission, being bound.” Tying up Wonder Woman wasn’t just a way to appeal to the male gaze, but Marston thought it would be a good way to teach readers the joys in submission and restraint!

Despite the themes of submission and bondage, there are some radical and empowering themes. In Wonder Woman # 13, she declares, “You see girls, there’s nothing to it! All you have to do is have confidence in your own strength!” Marston and Peter constructed their stories so readers could identify with the heroes and victims regardless of gender. This is unique because most people who create comics, fine art, movies, and television follow the idea that men are the ones who look and women are the ones who are looked at. Having a strong female hero during the 1940s was pretty important too, especially since World War II required women to break traditional gender roles.

Overall, I feel as though I am expected to like Wonder Woman just because she is a female superhero. There is a huge shortage of female representation in comics and other forms of media, but I’m not going to enjoy Wonder Woman just because I have a lack of choices. While I think it’s great that there is a female superhero who is as strong as her male peers, I have a difficult time looking beyond flaws. Noah Berlatsky also addressed contemporary Wonder Woman comics, and he did not like the “New 52” reboot. I remember Ash griping about the “New 52” event when it was happening, so I found Berlatsky’s rant particularly amusing.

At the very least, I can appreciate Wonder Woman because she isn’t a one-dimensional character. Berlatsky wrote, “Wonder Woman had to be a supersoldier and an icon for peace – which is sort of like having to do everything Captain America does but backward and in heels.” After reading Wonder Woman: Bondage and Feminism in the Marston/Peter Comics, 1941-1948, I feel like I should go through Ash’s comic hoard to see if he has any Wonder Woman stories. 

Monday, July 20, 2015

House Binge

I never knew doctors broke into houses until I saw House.


I wish I had something interesting to share about my husband, but he hasn’t been giving me much material. Lately, he’s been doing his best impression of a slug on our sofa while binge watching House on Netflix. This doesn’t provide me with a lot of entertainment other than looking up the inaccuracies in the show just to annoy Ash. 

Friday, June 12, 2015

Ghostbusters Landmarks in NY

Last March, I went to New York City. Most of my time was spent in museums, but I had a chance to go to the New York Public Library. It wasn’t as scary as I thought it would be, but I did see stacks of books.
 
"Get her!"

I also took a special trip to Hook and Ladder 8, the Ghostbusters firehouse. 

"I think we'll take it."

It was cool to see in real life, and the sidewalk was painted with a Ghostbusters firefighter logo. 


Ash wasn’t able to go with me on this trip, so I made sure to take photos and rub it in his face. Unfortunately, no one was at the firehouse so I couldn’t go in, but I peeked in the windows. The inside was unexciting, but the sign from Ghostbusters II was hanging on the wall.