Episode 130: The Justice League Movie is Real

A couple of weeks ago DC was able to take the spotlight when it came to movies by releasing it’s film lineup until 2020. The boldest decision was a solo Wonder Woman movie which honestly should have been done long ago. Marvel took the spotlight back with its recent reveal of a schedule but I want to take a second to talk about DC and what they want to do with the Justice League. Long before Avengers took the screen and made everyone fangasm, Justice League as a film has been in scripts in one way or another but it never seemed feasible. The rest is history and comic book centered films are in center stage to the point that even if it can’t come close to the Avengers they still lose a lot by not even trying. With Batman V Superman shaping up to be a JL preview w are going o at least see each character if only briefly before they get their own stand alone film in a few years. As for what could happen in the two future movies, well it’s time for another speculation. With Brainiac (who might be voiced by Benedict Cumberpatch if you believe the rumor mill) and Darkseid being the potential villains for both parts respectively, here’s how I see it:

I’m tempted to go with the Justice League Unlimited plotline that Luther is being called out by a voice to build him after Lex investigates the Kryptonian crash. Consider him more of a ghost in the machine or an evil Jor El. Luthor thinks he is finding answers to al the last questions but the stress is haunting him, making him do crazy things, even makes him lose his hair. In the end, Brainiac takes shape and with that power he lets his puppeteer know that he was the one pulling the strings as he becomes a true techno terror. I’m assuming that Cyborg might be like Hawkeye from Avengers 1 and be controlled/hacked temporarily into fighting the heroes. Of course, the fight ends with the Justice League victorious but not before Brainiac sends an all points bulletin to the universe that he will rule because he has the most powerful thing in the universe:

The Anti-Life Equation

Darkseid considers this the final piece to obtain true power and control of the universe and punish the new gods that have kept him in check for so long. He will send the forces of Apokalips straight at Earth to find it by any means necessary. And the heroes who barely trusted each other to fight together last time must join forces one last time to not just save the planet but the universe. Green Lantern (probably Hal Jordan who then gets smashed to pieces and John Stewart can have his own movie in 2020) will be there to warn the team. He might even go with a feds taking jurisdiction over local cops theme. And to bring some more alien goodness to the mix, let’s say Darkseid hires a bounty hunter, the main man Lobo to help take out the famed kryptonian everyone keeps raving about.


Episode 129: Speculative Conversations and Lego Batman

Chances are that if we have had any kind of nerdy conversation together I’m going to go into a diatribe of how a particular character or a serial will develop. I’ve been studying storytelling for a long enough time to have a good enough idea and with a crazy sense of optimism in how a story can grow I come up with some interesting possibilities. If you follow me on the book of faces, you have probably seen a few of these beforehand. Many of these speculations occur through extended comments with friends, more often than not with super cool pop culture reporter and good friend Rose Hernandez. It is with her blessings that I offer the present and future post tag of “Rose Garden Stories” of passing along said info in this humble blog.

Today’s post comes from a conversation detailing the reveal of the Lego Batman film for potentially 2017. The sad version of what I came up with goes something like this: So here’s a weird idea of how the plot could go for this movie that would be appropriate but heart wrenching. What if the kid that is playing with Batman figures is an orphan himself? Obviously not to the tragic levels of Bruce Wayne, but yeah the adventures of Batman going through different worlds and scenarios are a reflection of the kid going through different foster homes. It it were the kid from Gotham then the meta levels would be intense. Wow, too many feels for a Lego movie.

A slightly less depressing but way more convoluted version then came up. And again, directors and producers of pretty much any kind of film, I am available for hire if you want stories like these to make their way to the big screen. Two brothers start playing with their respective toys. Let’s say one is seven and the other thirteen to better illustrate just how varied in detail and awesomeness their respective legos are. They play and argue about a lot of stuff but one point keeps being part of the conversation, who would win in a fight between Batman and Superman. Interestingly, it’s the younger one who favors the dark knight as the older one has begun losing that childlike wonder of imagination and creativity and prefers the straight up power of Superman. Hell, take away Superman and replace him with Iron Man for an even more interesting discussion. Anyways, the older brother is going to go on his first camping trip over a week with boy scouts because that’s a reason. Since this is the first time the siblings will be apart, the little one is obviously bummed out. The older one feels the same way but he won’t admit so he allows his lil bro a rare concession of unlimited access to his toys, so long as he is very careful with them.

Now we have Batman transitioning from a limited play space to a whole new world of adventure. Some of the more adult characters like Spawn or even some weird Japanese figures make a cameo. Batman is fighting and doing awesome things all over until suddenly one of the rarer figures breaks (let’s say it’s a limited edition Superman for sake of continuity.) It’s the kid’s/Batman’s fault so both try to hide the evidence of their misdoing but are guilted by the broken figure/sense of brotherly affection to make things right. The Caped Crusader will of course scour through different settings to find something that can help and eventually hears of the mystical Crackle, an object once used for great evil but that can be used to make things right. All the while the kid is avoiding tipping off his parents and working within a limited time table, so stealth missions in the dead of night of 9:30pm will be common. Batman will eventually take on the rest of the master builders to take the crackle and maybe face some of the more dangerous monsters out there (mostly power tools from dad’s garage where the crazy glue is located. Along the way, Bats will have plenty of friends to help but some will become enemies as they realize that the power vacuum of no Superman (and maybe no Batman if they take advantage of the situation) can lead to a new world order for toykind. Batman’s broodiness and paranoia takes an even bigger point and is magnified as the kid refuses to let anyone come close to knowing what happened and he even shuns his own friends. In the end, we get a power of friendship scenario, Crackle is obtained, repairs are made, but the glue isn’t quite set by the time the brother comes back, picks it up and the jig is up. The little brother explains everything, anger subsides and the older sibling realizes that maybe he doesn’t have to grow up too quickly as they both start playing once again. THE END.

Oh and the movie at some point there should be a How It Should Have Ended cameo because those guys are awesome and the superhero cafe should definitely be a thing.

Episode 128: Tanselle’s Terminology

A handful of students (mine and from other classes) have been asking me if I have a blog of some sort. I point them to this site and realize that I haven’t written on here since forever. The discipline to update my thoughts and musings on various topics and actually archive them keeps getting lost. The original purpose of this blog is to develop some of my more interesting ideas, some nerdy, some academic, all in one way important to me and that I consider worth sharing. The intent was to post something at a nearly daily basis and since I’ve been doing this for a couple of years with several months of hiatuses being not uncommon, you can tell it has been lost. So I’m going to do my best to get some writing done one way or another and post it here. It should mostly be dissertation centered but if any interesting cyber conversations take place I might just copy paste them unto here so that the general public can geek out with me.

I’m not sure if I’ve covered this particular topic before but this is going to be part of future chapter 1 of dissertation so here goes.

One of the central critical theories that I use in my analysis of serial texts is Textual Criticism, which deals with the process of authors creating and publishing their texts. One of the main theorists of this field is George Thomas Tanselle whose seminal book A Brief Rationale of Textual Criticism contains many ideas that guide my study of contemporary serial within various media. One distinction that Tanselle makes in his definitions of the “work”, the “text”, and the “document” are particularly instrumental to this dissertation and are used throughout each of the following chapters. These terms (especially the first two) are often interchangeable when referring to the literary creation of any author but I will be using them according to Tanselle’s definition throughout this study.

The work exists as an abstract concept within the author’s mind. Before a single word is written and even after its publication, the work is ephemeral and malleable. The text is the physical embodiment of the work as the author gives shape to his/her thoughts through language. While the common perception of the text is the manuscript, it can be an amalgam of multiple notes in various sources with annotations and changes done by the author and editors. The document is how the reader can perceive the text, usually after the publication process. Alterations to individual documents (ie highlighting, annotating, or other marks to pages to name a few) are quite common but in order to change the text itself the author (or someone with the authorial authority to do so) must publish an amended version of the text via a new publication of the document.

In the context of serialization, the stages of work, text, and document become problematized even more so than with traditional print publishing. The work continues to be abstract but can be limited to a certain number of years when a particle title has been serialized for so long that multiple authors have worked on it. For example, Grant Morrison’s time  writing Batman spanned from 2006-2009 so that would be his work within the grand scheme of said piece of serial fiction. The text encompasses all installments in all versions by all authors, even the ones that have not been written yet. The text changes with each additional part added to it during serialization but parts of the story can be altered through newer installments. Authors can change the text through retroactive continuity or “retconning” which makes it so that a previous event never happened officially within the text itself but readers know the history of the narrative well enough to track these changes. The document is each individual installment but also the trade paperbacks, the reprints, the compilations, and the omnibus editions. Digital documents have each subset of the webpage of the document but also the website itself, where the author also works as the webmaster (or gives that authorial performance on someone else) and alterations to the text can be done almost instantaneously through this format and affect all readers from that point on.

Edit: Definition used in my MAEE thesis concerning work, text, and document. on Tanselle’s definitions of the
“work” as the “ineluctable entity, which one can admire or deplore but cannot alter without
becoming a collaborator with its creator (or creators)” (14), the “text” as the “tangible records of
creativity” (20), and the “document” as “the received texts of the work” (28)

John Bryant’s concept of textual fluidity: “Fluid texts, insofar as their material versions register these breakdown
revisionary acts, are, from the moment of genesis and on into print, a constant ‘deferral’ of the
literary work itself” (10)

And this is another nice quote to have handy. Peter Shillingsburg, specifically because of
his definitions of different types of texts and of textual performances, which include the creative
performance where the literary work is first invented, the production performance where it is
ready to be transmitted or published, and the reception performance where the reader interprets
the text (Resisting Texts, 76-78)