This is the start of my Top 1000 Countdown, the 1000 best films made in the first Century of Film (1912-2011).  A reminder that the introduction should probably be looked at first and will answer any questions about abbreviations.

Every film in this group of 50 earns an 86, which is high ***.5. (more…)


Astonishing X-Men

(4 volumes or two larger volumes or one omnibus)

  • Author:  Joss Whedon
  • Artist:  John Cassaday
  • Published:  2004-2007
  • Publisher:  Marvel Comics
  • Pages:  656
  • First Line:  “Mommy is screaming.”
  • Last Lines:  “You take what you can get.  Cause it’s here, and then gone.”
  • Film Version:  none, although elements from the first volume were used in X-Men: The Last Stand
  • First Read:  Winter 2006 and then ongoing until it ended

Back in 2007, I wrote a piece entitled “Whedon, You Stupid Bastard” with the intention of sending it to one of a couple of websites that I occasionally contributed pieces to, but in the end, I didn’t.  But I still have the piece sitting on my computer and parts of the piece below are straight from that piece (the parts in red), written back when things in my life were a lot different. (more…)

I know that you Oscar voters get suckered in for Best Picture but Best Original Screenplay? Really?

The 91st annual Academy Awards, for the film year 2018.  The nominations were announced on 22 January 2019 and the awards were held on 24 February 2019.

Best Picture:  Green Book

  • The Favourite
  • Roma
  • A Star is Born
  • BlackKklansman
  • Black Panther
  • Bohemian Rhapsody
  • Green Book
  • Vice

Most Surprising Omission:  If Beale Street Could Talk

Best Eligible Film Not Nominated:  First Man

Rank (out of 91) Among Best Picture Years:  #30 (more…)

I have been diving deep down into the well of Marvel Comics lately because fnord has ended his magnificent work on his site of putting all his Marvel Comics in order online and before too long he’ll stop paying for the site and it will all be gone from the web.

I also recently finally got a copy of Son of Origins, which I have known about for decades (I remember reading my Uncle Dave’s copy at his and my Aunt Melinda’s apartment the morning of their wedding which was in 1981) which reprints The X-Men #1 (also sometimes known as Uncanny X-Men #1 because the title was changed with issue #142 to Uncanny X-Men and because a new X-Men title was launched in 1991 and it distinguishes it from that one).  While reading it, I was amazed at how many things presented in that first issue have been changed or altered or ret-conned away or into something different.  It was cover-dated September 1963, so for it’s 55th anniversary, I thought I would look at some of those things.  (Note:  For those unfamiliar with the term, ret-con is short for “retroactive continuity change”, changing something that is established and saying it was always the case.  There will be several examples below.)

The X-Men have always been one of my favorite comics with many of my favorite characters.  And obviously, while their films don’t compare to the Marvel Cinematic Universe anymore, it’s important to remember that Marvel made many failed attempts at getting their characters onto the big screen before the first X-Men film was a massive financial success, leading to a franchise that has eleven films with two more coming out next year and that X-Men #1 from 1991 is still the biggest selling comic book in history with over five million copies sold.

So let’s look at the issue, starting with the beginning.


A few months ago, I picked up a free item at B & N called DC Essential Graphic Novels 2017.  Essentially it’s a checklist of things currently available from DC and that’s what I’m using it as.  In the back, where it gives the lists, it lists, first Batman Backlist and Suggested Reading Order, then Batman Compilation Graphic Novels, Batman: From Page to Screen (although the reverse would be more accurate) then Batman Graphic Novels.  The number of books on the list, in order are 152, 19, 37 and 41 and they don’t even include all the Batman books that I actually own.  So this will not, I emphasize not be a completely guide to all of Batman on the page.  This is a guide to the books I do have (though the links are to the current available editions and may not be what I own), why I have them and which ones are on my “to-get” list and why.  I will also mention some others I have that also have Batman in them but aren’t considered “Batman” books, per se (at least for the DC published list, because they’re on other lists in the book).  To keep it consistent with how it’s organized in the DC guide, I’ll follow their printed list until I reach things that aren’t on their list. (more…)

Batman: The Movie

  • Year:  1966
  • Director:  Leslie H. Martinson
  • Series Rank:  #11
  • Year Rank:  #132
  • Oscar Nominations:  none
  • Nighthawk Nominations:  none
  • Batman Villains:  Burgess Meredith  (Penguin), Cesar Romero (Joker), Lee Meriwether (Catwoman), Frank Gorshin (Riddler)
  • Batman Allies:  Burt Ward (Robin), Alan Napier (Alfred), Neil Hamilton (James Gordon), Stafford Repp (Chief O’Hara)

When I first explained to Veronica what movie we would be watching that night, I fake-punched her in the arm and said “POW!”  That told her everything she needed to know.  How disappointing then, that the visual use of the sound effect only appears once in the film, very late in the game.  By then, the film is already almost unbearably bad. (more…)

JLA_200Justice League of America #200

  • Writer:  Gerry Conway
  • Artists:  listed below
  • Published:  March, 1982
  • Publisher:  DC Comics
  • Pages:  72
  • First Line:  “They came from space, seven glowing meteors containing seven alien claimants for another world’s throne.”
  • Last Line:  “Snapping?  Cripes, now he’s got me doing it!”
  • First Read:  Early 1984?

My comic collecting began a bit haphazardly.  There were a number of random comics that my brothers had from when we lived in New York that had somehow ended up in my room.  My brothers both collected comics, and I would read what they had so I didn’t yet feel the need to buy any myself (and all my money in the early 80’s was going towards either Star Wars figures or baseball cards).  The first comic I remember buying was All-Star Squadron #31 at a drugstore on the day after Christmas in 1983.  But my older brother Kelly was collecting both Avengers and Justice League of America, the two major team books of the comics world and I started to gravitate towards them.  I liked the idea of books that combined so many characters.  Unlike Fantastic Four (which my brother John would collect) and X-Men (which all three of us would eventually collect), books in which the teams consisted of characters who didn’t have their own comics (yes, it’s true, there was a time when Wolverine appeared only in X-Men), Avengers and JLA were like getting several comics for the price of one because they each had so many characters who each had their own books.  While Kelly would collect a lot of books moving forward, I immediately began looking back into the past.  I became interested in what came before.  I wanted the whole story.  I had never heard of something called Obsessive Compulsive Disorder back then. (more…)

Revisiting Childhood Movies Part XVI:

Superman II

  • superman_ii_ver5Director:  Richard Lester  /  Richard Donner
  • Writer:  Mario Puzo  /  David Newman  /  Leslie Newman  /  Tom Mankiewicz
  • Producer:  Ilya Salkind
  • Stars:  Christopher Reeve, Gene Hackman, Margot Kidder, Terence Stamp
  • Studio:  Warner Bros
  • Award Nominations:  none from groups I track
  • Length:  127 min (original)  /  116 min (Donner cut)
  • Genre:  Sci-Fi (Comic Book)
  • MPAA Rating:  PG
  • Release Date:  19 June 1981
  • Box Office Gross:  $108.18 mil  (#3 – 1981)
  • Ebert Rating:  ****
  • My Rating:  ***.5
  • My Rank:  #9 (year)
  • Nighthawk Nominations:  Original Score, Sound, Visual Effects, Sound Editing
  • Nighthawk Notables:  Best Opening Credits
  • First Watched:  in the theater on my 8th birthday
  • Number of Times Watched as a Kid:  15-20

As a Kid:  My mother took my older brother, my sister and I to the movies for my 8th birthday.  It was a double feature of Star Trek II and Superman II (well over a year after it was first released).  The former film scarred my mother for life but both films were a godsend to me.  I loved them both then and I love them both now.  Indeed, when I was a kid, the only films I loved more than Superman II were Star Wars and Watership Down (I was not a normal child).  So why is it that I loved the second film so much? (more…)

Revisiting Childhood Movies Part XV:

Hollywood finally decides to embrace the comic book world - the real start of a good relationship.

Hollywood finally decides to embrace the comic book world – the real start of a good relationship.


  • Director:  Richard Donner
  • Writer:  Mario Puzo  /  David Newman  /  Leslie Newman  /  Robert Benton
  • Producer:  Ilya Salkind
  • Stars:  Christopher Reeve, Gene Hackman, Margot Kidder, Marlon Brando, Ned Beatty
  • Studio:  Warner Bros
  • Award Nominations:  Oscars – Editing, Score, Sound, Visual Effects; BAFTA – Supporting Actor, Cinematography, Score, Sound; Globes – Score; WGA – Adapted Comedy; ACE
  • Length:  143 min (original)  /  151 min (director’s cut)
  • Genre:  Sci-Fi (Comic Book)
  • MPAA Rating:  PG
  • Release Date:  15 December 1978
  • Box Office Gross:  $134.21 mil  (#2 – 1978)
  • Ebert Rating:  ****
  • My Rating:  ***.5
  • My Rank:  #9 (year)
  • Nighthawk Nominations:  Adapted Screenplay, Supporting Actor, Editing, Original Score, Sound, Visual Effects, Sound Editing
  • Nighthawk Notables:  Best Scene (the first appearance)
  • First Watched:  in the theater
  • Number of Times Watched as a Kid:  more than 10

As a Kid:  It was November of 1982.  I wanted desperately to get home so that we could watch Superman on television.  It was a new 3 hour version of the film that had played over two nights back in February but was now being played in one showing.  And we were headed home, though not fast enough, from Disneyland.  That should tell you two things: 1 – Growing up 6.1. miles from Disneyland means you can take visits there for granted.  2 – I was crazy about watching a comic book movie, especially one in which there would be extra scenes.  Deleted scenes and extended editions were clearly made for me, even when I was a kid.


thorThor by Walter Simonson (5 volumes)

  • Author:  Walter Simonson
  • Published:  Nov. 1983 – Aug. 1987 (original cover dates) / 2013 (current 5 volume set – links below for each volume)
  • Publisher:  Marvel Comics
  • Pages:  1156
  • First Line:  “Far beyond the fields we know, the core of an ancient galaxy explodes!”
  • Last Lines:  “May his hammer ever strike in the cause of justice.  So say we all.”
  • Film Version:  none, although elements creep into the two Thor films and presumably some will show up in the third Thor film
  • First Read:  Summer 1994