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 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.

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swI have always been a proponent of the idea that I can separate what I think is brilliant from what I personally enjoy.  Let’s just look at 2015.  I think that Carol and The Revenant were the two best films of the year.  But if I’m going to sit and watch a movie from 2015, odds are it will be The Force Awakens (this is borne out by the fact that I’ve seen Carol twice, The Revenant all the way through once and The Force Awakens, at a modest count, 21 times complete plus the final 20 minutes about 15 more).

To that extent, I have finally culled together a list of my 100 Favorite Films, the ones I am most likely to sit still and watch, or at least not change the station if I come across them.  They’re not heavy Drama.  In fact, when I went through the genres, only one film on the entire list is one that I classify primarily as Drama (Casablanca).

It’s really hard to do this kind of list when you’ve seen as many films as I have (14,000+).  I put it together by going through year by year and adding films, and once I hit 100, knocking off the films at the bottom.  When I first read Veronica a list of 50 films, I then pointed out that those were the 50 I was about to delete because they didn’t make the list and she was stunned.  “But you love those films!” she pointed out.  “But I love the Top 100 even more,” I replied.  It was very, very tough.  Though they are easily two of the greatest directors of all-time if not the two greatest directors of all-time, not a single Kurosawa or Kubrick film ended up on the list.  There is no Bergman.  There is no David Lean.  The Ealing Comedies and the Hammer Horror, both of which I love so much I wrote about them only have one film each.  I did For Love of Film posts for James Bond (1 film) and Star Trek (2 films).  It’s really, really hard to narrow it all down. (more…)

Still one of the greatest covers in comic book history.

Still one of the greatest covers in comic book history.  Art by George Perez.

Every now and then I write a post about comic books for a few reasons.  First of all, they were really important to me for a really long time.  Second, this site is actually named after a comic book character that I adopted as my own: Nighthawk (Kyle Richmond), a Marvel character who was originally created as a Batman counterpart.  There were two versions of Nighthawk – the Squadron Sinister villain who would eventually become a hero and a member of the Defenders before dying (it would be his costume that I really loved), but it would be the second Nighthawk – the Squadron Supreme member, who I would really like.  He would also die, in a dramatic event that was unlike almost anything Marvel had ever published before, loaded with death.  Which brings me to this list. (more…)