Super Bloopers

More clunky stuff, from comics and real life, coming right up on this page!

To start this page off, here's some really classic flubs from Britain and Europe's worst ministry of truth, the BBC:

"Journalists and media organisations [are] waging the campaign shoulder-to-shoulder together with the Palestinian people." -- BBC Middle East correspondent Fayad Abu Shamala at a Hamas rally

Oooohhh, a confession to their war against Israel! How touching.

"When the helicopter carrying the frail old man rose above his ruined compound, I started to cry." -- BBC Middle East correspondent Barbara Plett commenting on Yasser Arafat

This woman needs help - fast.

"If you persist in making these allegations [of bias], I will treat it as harassement [sic]. If you attempt to contact me again this bureau will pass you [sic] emails on to the police." -- BBC Middle East correspondent Orla Guerin in an email to one of her many critics

Gee, now isn't that overreacting a bit?

"I'm in the center of Baghdad ... and I don't see anything ... But then the Americans have a history of making these premature announcements."  -- Disgraced ex-BBC journalist Andrew Gilligan during Iraq War

Gilligan was the journalist who misrepresented a government scientist, Dr. David Kelly, and led to his committing suicide last year. It drew a lot of attention from the media, including FOX News last year. It can be read about on the Hutton Inquiry website too. Thanks to their bold efforts, Mr. Gilligan was exposed for his wrongdoings, and the resulting scandal led to his resignation from the panel.

But while the BBC's credibility has certainly been dealt a blow, the battle against their biased media coverage must still continue.

On the previous page, at the end of it, I presented a quote from one of the worst Captain Comics columns I've ever seen. Now, to start off the second page of this section, I proudly present:

The Captain's Classic Clunkers!

"Saturn's Child (by Nichelle Nichols and Margaret Wander Bonnano, Ace, $5.99) is the first novel by the actress who played Lt. Uhura on Star Trek - and unfortunately, the inexperience shows.

"Virtually all the heroes in this novel are stunningly beautiful; astoundingly multilingual; expert in dozens of demanding, unrelated fields; incredibly healthy - in short, too perfect to be interesting. By the middle of the novel, you're wishing one of them would get a zit, or a run in their stocking, or SOMETHING to make them a little more human. It's really hard to identify with characters who can master brain surgery on their lunch breaks.

"Since this novel is a transparent set-up for a planned series, maybe she'll have a couple of rude, ugly or incompetent heroes in the next one. We mere mortals can only hope." – Andrew Smith, Captain Comics column from Feb. 16, 1997, Scripps-Howard News Service

Frankly, I really don’t understand what’s wrong with shiny, happy people as the stars of the show. This is something that’s been going on ever since H. G. Wells wrote the Time Machine back in his time, with the lovely Eloi being encouraged by the hero of the book to fight back against their Morlock tormentors. If Mrs. Nichols wants to write it that way, that’s her business, not yours, my dear Captain. And if wretchedness and gloom is your cup of tea, well then, just go and dust off your old copy of Blade Runner for a change.

"Joel Schumacher returns as director, and is so pleased with himself that he's already signed (with Clooney and O'Donnell) for Batman V. What this means to the Captain is that Schumacher's cartoonish violence has proven more profitable than Tim Burton's moody psycho-thrillers, so we'll see less depth and more huge explosions, outlandish vehicles, bizarre outfits and campy dialog. Ah, well. Any Bat-movie is better than none at all." – Andrew Smith, column from March 16, 1997, Scripps-Howard News Service

Gee, how about the other way around then? Given how awful the Bat-movies were overall, what with underwhelming performances and the garish costuming, that’s exactly why I, for one, would rather there not be any Bat-movies at all!

And if he can’t point out more in depth as to why the Bat-movies were so awful, well then, is it any wonder that they kept on with them until then? That’s journalistic superficiality for you, folks.

"Captain Comics can't gauge how well Batman & Robin will do with general audiences, but comic-book fans are going to loathe it.

"The Captain, who saw a preview, was actually mildly entertained. But then, he has already accepted that former director Tim Burton's edgy, moody take on the Dark Knight -- so like the comics -- is history.

"Don't panic. There's still plenty of good stuff in this movie. Arnold Schwarzenegger's Mr. Freeze is often chilling (sorry), when he's not spewing lame one-liners. Uma Thurman's Poison Ivy is nearly as good as Michelle Pfeiffer's Catwoman (when she isn't trying to channel Mae West). Worth the price of admission are Michael Gough's heart-warming Alfred, the Mr. Freeze special effects and George Clooney's heroic chin.

"The Captain's advice to outraged comics fans is to tell yourself that this is just a Batman from a parallel world (Earth-Schumacher?) and enjoy what you can. After all, a bad Bat-movie is better than no Bat-movie.

"Of course, a GOOD one would be better still." – Andrew Smith, column from June 23, 1997, Scripps-Howard News Service

Now granted, he does admit that fans (or purists) won’t like the movie. Trouble is, he’s taking a double-stance here nevertheless, going the “it’s only a movie” route, which, come to think of it, he’s gone quite a few times ever since he first took to writing the column in early 1993. And if this is what Batman movies – or movies based on just about any other famous comic book – are going to be like, then, like I said, I’d rather there not be any Bat-movies at all. Or any other comic book movies, for that matter.

While we’re on the Bat-subject, there’s more:

"Writer/artist Frank Miller took this approach to its logical extreme in the wildly successful 1986 opus called, appropriately, The Dark Knight Returns.

"That book, featuring a dynamic but obviously disturbed Bruce Wayne, inspired a certain director named Tim Burton - resulting in the mega-grossing film of 1989. Mom & Pop America finally saw the character fans had loved for years - and they liked what they saw. This success resulted in Batman Returns, Batman Forever, more than 100 action figures, a terrific animated series and . . . oh, yeah, that Batman & Robin thing." – Andrew Smith, column from July 13, 1997, Scripps-Howard News Service

Holy propaganda! After all these years, it seems apparent for one thing that many people who’re familiar with the Masked Manhunter nowadays did not like what they saw, no matter what’s said here, and found the fact that the movie Bat had no qualms about killing the crooks in the movie without a second thought as off-base as is possible to be. And when you think about how even that movie may have contributed to the downfall in characterization of the Caped Crusader, turning from a more humane, kindly millionaire into a mindless control freak, who’s even indirectly responsible for the death of a teenaged girl vigilante, that being Spoiler/Stephanie Brown, the daughter of the Cluemaster (see 2004's War Games crossover, or, better still, forget it), you know that something went wrong.

Somebody, please, gag me with a spoon!

Now, what he had to say about the Spawn movie in 1997:

"But the Captain will give Spawn top marks for painstakingly reflecting the comic's appeal, which very few comic-to-film adaptations achieve. (You may insert the requisite Batman & Robin joke here.)" – Andrew Smith, column from Aug. 3, 1997, Scripps-Howard News Service

No, I will not. Because putting it lightly is simply not funny, IMHO.

Besides, as is apparent today, Spawn has already seen its day in, umm, hell?

Here's excerpts from two columns he wrote about Emerald Twilight, where he screws up:

Needless to say, longtime fans like Captain Comics were outraged. There was tearing of hair, rending of clothing and gnashing of teeth.

Eventually DC saw their error and had Hal redeem himself by sacrificing his life to save the Earth in a 1996 storyline called "Final Night."

But the damage had been done. Hal's reputation was forever besmirched. The Green Lantern Corps was defunct. And fans everywhere didn't have little blue guys in red dresses to giggle about anymore.

Captain Comics had almost -- almost -- forgotten about that. He'd come to enjoy Kyle's adventures. He'd begun to think of Kyle as THE Green Lantern. - Andrew Smith, column from January 11, 1998, Scripps-Howard News Service

Here's why DC didn't see their error, and come to think of it, neither did Mr. Smith: why didn't they exonerate Hal of slaughtering hundreds upon thousands of other GLC members? It's not enough to simply have him save the Earth from an impending disaster, because the mass annihilation in 1994, if it remains a status quo, is very hard to ignore, no matter how fictional the characters are. And for somebody supposedly bored by Kyle's adventures, he doesn't seem brave enough to admit that in his mainstream columns! Wow, does this guy have a forked tongue or what? Here's the next:

"Some of us admire DC for having the guts to tell a story other than the cliched happy ending," writes [name withheld]. "After (3,600) GLs we knew that they were all fearless and honest. It is interesting now to see only one who is learning what those concepts mean."

And:

"Yes, (Hal) should have died a hero," says [name withheld]. "But we don't always die in our best tuxedo. We rarely if ever get to tell people how much we wished we could have spent more time with them, or that we're sorry we went nuts. ... I respect (DC's story), the strength of commitment necessary to remind us that in real life sometimes there are no quick fixes or 're-dos.' "

Points well taken, gentlemen, and nothing really that I disagree with.

Because I like Kyle Rayner.

He's unique, whereas Hal Jordan was one of 3,600. He's imaginative with the power ring, whereas Hal rarely went beyond using it to create big, green boxing gloves. And he is inexperienced, so watching him grow into the role ranges from worrying (this doofus has the most powerful weapon in the universe?) to hilarious (his obvious terror of Batman).

And the Captain isn't certain DC could plausibly bring old Hal back as a hero anyway. His demise was conclusive with wide-ranging effects - it would take a top-flight story to resurrect the Corps and convince me of it.

Which is my complaint with "Emerald Twilight," the 1993 tale that depicted Hal's dramatic fall from Grace. It DIDN'T convince me. I couldn't shrug off 34 years of heroism because Hal Jordan had a bad day. It would be like making George Costanza of Seinfeld a sensitive gentleman overnight.

Another complaint is that Hal is still remembered in the comics as a hero (by his Justice League teammates), in the 30th Century (where Legion of Super-Heroes stories take place) and in the 58th Century (where he was summoned countless times to battle evil).

This simply isn't so. A man who murdered 3,599 superheroes is the worst villain who ever lived, even if he was crazy. True, he was partially redeemed in a later story when he died to save the Earth, but that doesn't bring back all those dead heroes. Folks, as written, Hal Jordan is one foul piece of work - the Unabomber with superpowers.

This is unacceptable, even if that position risks making the Captain "an uninformed . . . embittered (old) fan" (as he was referred to by one correspondent on AOL's Green Lantern Message Board).

So here's a suggestion to DC: Let Hal stay dead if necessary, but clean up his legacy for us uninformed, embittered old fans. It could be, for example, that Hal's archenemy Sinestro had control of him at the time he was butchering the GL Corps. Think how original THAT story would be: A supervillain whose master plan actually WORKED! Kyle could continue slinging the power ring, and Hal would be a redeemed, if a tragically flawed, hero. - Andrew Smith, column from January 25, 1998, Scripps-Howard News Service

I'm not taking issue with Mr. Smith's claim he "likes" Kyle, because he is a fictional character, but I am shaking my head at his parroting of a defense DC wrote in 1994, that Hal was being replaced because he supposedly didn't have the imagination Kyle did, which is not true: Hal once generated some constructs that looked like gorillas! How is that not imaginative? I can only imagine what Smith would say if Kyle were seen doing that. And I'm hugely disappointed in both him and the correspondents for failing to comprehend that there are alternatives to a "fall from grace", and what happened in Emerald Twilight was completely avoidable. Smith also fails to acknowledge that the writers, such as Ron Marz, are the guilty party in failing to make Kyle palatable. Think about this: it was always possible to write Hal in a showdown with a powerful villain, fighting valiantly but losing the battle, a hero till the bitter end, and that would've been a much more plausible way to end his career without sacrificing heroism on the alter of political correctness.

Besides, ever since Smith embraced Identity Crisis, he's failed to convince me he really likes a lot of the heroes and their co-stars in the DCU. Not even Kyle, or Hal. And he capitulates with his suggestion Hal remain dead without genuine redemption, when it's quite possible to do it by erasing Emerald Twilight altogether from continuity, and conceiving some going-ons to substitute for any absence Hal could have at the time from the lives of his other fellow heroes. Heck, what was Crisis on Infinite Earths for? And, Kyle could be kept around, alive and well, regardless of whether he'd still be a GL or not. Stuff that simply never occurs to such pedestrian clowns.

Now, here's what he had to say about the Flash:

"Jay Garrick, a Keystone City university student, became the first Flash by inhaling "hard water fumes" in Flash Comics 1 (1940). OK, maybe all the good origins were taken. But the Scarlet Speedster went on to become one of the most popular of DC's early superheroes and a founding member of the Justice Society. He spawned a number of imitators and outran them all, not "retiring" until the Great Superhero Extinction of the late '40s.

"Barry Allen, a Central City police scientist, gained superspeed to become the second Wizard of Whiz in Showcase 4 (1956). He was struck by lightning while being splashed with chemicals - which suggests that being a Flash may actually require a dopey origin.

"During his run, Allen was teamed with a sidekick, Wally (Kid Flash) West. Wally was also splashed with chemicals during a different lightning storm, which - as you may note - was a RERUN of a dopey origin. To correct this recurring problem, DC recently established that all their superspeedsters simply derive their powers naturally from an unexplained phenomena called the "Speed Force," and don't require an origin at all. That's all there is to it, so there." – Andrew Smith, column from September 14, 1997, Scripps-Howard News Service

Whenever I think about it these days, it does seem to me that Mr. Smith’s got a bias against anything runs as fast as these here speedsters do. Not to mention a bias against representatives of the working class, which the speedsters have quite often been, whether they’re of blue-collar or white-collar backgrounds. (Say, now doesn’t that sound almost Jewish!) And he does seem to be a favoratist towards Green Lantern’s world too. Much as I do enjoy the Emerald Gladiator, I don't express my fandom for him at the expense of his speedy partner in crimefighting, which is sadly what Mr. Smith by contrast seems to be doing here.

Now look at what he had to say about the 1990s Spectre series:

"So it was a pleasant surprise when The Spectre's latest series (by John Ostrander) turned out so well. Once again he was the Wrath of God, but one who doubted his role and questioned his goals. It turned out that many a good fellow who'd died badly had hosted The Spectre in the past, all of them held to the mortal plane by their rage against God for their unjust end. Just like Jim Corrigan.

The series assembled a supporting cast that included a Jewish rabbi, a Christian minister and an Islamic cleric. The whole gang would - in between Gothic battles with demonic entities - discuss the nature of evil, philosophy, theology and God's Plan for Man.

The Captain was captivated. Rarely are comics this well-written, and even more rarely do they make you think." - Andrew Smith, August 29, 1999, Scripps-Howard News Service

About everything except the moral equation tactic that was used when putting an Islamic cleric in the same boat as the Jewish rabbi and the Christian minister, right? I guess so. Has he ever read the full and authentic version of the Quran, or even Robert Spencer's studies of what Islam is like? And if John Ostrander whitewashed the cleric's religious background or used it only as a plot device, I'm sorely disappointed.

Mr. Smith even sensationalized the subject of Marvel's dreadful miniseries called Civil War in 2006:

"Let's see: Civil War is a storyline wherein Marvel's Congress passed a law requiring everyone with superpowers to reveal their identities and become licensed law-enforcement agents. Most heroes, led by Iron Man, agree that security outweighs civil liberties, and sign up. The rest, led by Captain America, believe the reverse and become an illegal, underground resistance group.

"But it's gotten even uglier from there. The government has enlisted the registered heroes, the superspy agency SHIELD and even hundreds of murderous supervillains to hunt down Cap's crew, resulting in at least one death (Goliath, introduced 40 years ago as Bill Foster). The Fantastic Four's Reed Richards has created a gulag to incarcerate unregistered heroes (without habeas corpus), and his wife and teammates have left him. Spider-Man's secret ID is public knowledge, and he and his family are on the run from the government, Iron Man and hundreds of costumed killers. And there's still two issues to go!

"So like it or loath it, "Civil War" cannot help but reverberate throughout all of Marvel's titles for years to come. If nothing else, who's ever going to trust Iron Man again?

ITEM! A Miniseries Too Far

I can hear those of you who don't read Marvel Comics saying, "Is that bloody thing still going on?" Ironically, like the real-world Iraq war that inspired it, Marvel's Civil War refuses to stay on anybody's schedule. It was originally supposed to end this month, but the creative team fell significantly behind." - Andrew Smith, column from November 21, 2006, Scripps-Howard News Service

I should've known. What he wrote there was something like a cryptic anti-war message, and not very clever either.

And then, on the subject of Identity Crisis, even bloggers don't come off clean:

"I'm also can't wait to read the final issue of Identity Crisis. Like it or not, it's gotten a lot of people talking about it." -- Lefty Brown's Corner, December 14, 2004

Spooky, isn't it, how the above, coupled with Rags Morales' and Capt. Comics' statements from late 2004, seem to mirror each other.

And then, there's a most asinine statement made by a "politician" who's just simply greedy for his own seat in the Israeli Knesset, Benny Elon, who said the following to Israel National News on March 20, 2006:

Asked if most of his efforts during this campaign are on behalf of his party, or for the sake of the right-wing bloc, MK Elon said, "It's a good question, because in fact we have two goals: to be the largest party within this bloc [the right-wing/conservative], and to make sure that it is strong and powerful so that it can be a real alternative. At the start of this electoral campaign, our parties attacked each other a lot, such as the Likud against Yisrael Beiteinu, and the like. I felt that this was very damaging, and I tried to change this, and I feel that these efforts have borne fruit, and we are realizing that we have to work in a more united way..."

Would that it were so...but no. As it so happens, Elon's own would-be party, which is called National Union, ran some of the most disgusting political campaign advertisements on Israeli TV in which they attacked the Likud with alarming nastiness, including its chairman, Benjamin Netanyahu, as worthless, which caused a lot of damage in the 2006 elections. And did the National Union ever succeed in becoming a large party themselves? Nope. They lost, and did little more to discredit themselves and prove that they are not genuine politicians, if at all. And then, a few months later, they went and did at least one thing that shows that they have no more solid standings for a conservative party any more than a liberal one, that being to take something akin to a bribe for supporting the dreadful Ehud Olmert in a state budget vote. Not very grassroots there, eh?

Some people just shouldn't be concerning themselves with political situations.

But here's one real turkey that scrapes below rock bottom:

"We are tired of fighting, we are tired of being courageous, we are tired of winning, we are tired of defeating our enemies, we want to be able to live in an entirely different environment of relations with our enemies." -- Ehud Olmert in a June 2005 address to the Israel Policy Forum in New York

A most disgraceful man, Ehud Olmert is, and someday, I'll write more in depth about his scandalous career in real estate as well. Nope, I'm not kidding.

The Green Lantern movie, debuting in 2011, isn't something I've been particularly looking forward to, and with lines like these, I can't say I'd even care to listen to this on radio:

"There's water in the tap." Spoken to his girlfriend, Carol Ferris(?), after spending the night together and then going out early in the morning to work. That line, which I first heard while watching a trailer on YouTube, was the first real groaner I'd been acquainted with.

“We must harness the power of our enemies and fight fear with fear!” While it can be advantageous to tap into the baddies' own power supplies and turn their own power upon them, the line is still very weak and disappointing, but nothing compared to this little exchange below:

“Why are you glowing?” “Why is your skin green?” “What in the hell is with that mask?” Why do we even care? I can't believe they thought of such trivial bummers. Those are so stupid!

And with Geoff Johns as one of the movie's supervisors, that's one more reason why I'd rather not spend one cent on this dud. Did I mention Parallax was a prime antagonist here instead of Sinestro (presumably, they're saving his own adversity for a sequel, assuming it's ever made)? If they want Sinestro to wait until the sequel, so be it, but the Parallax concept was something so embarrassingly bad, it'd be better to leave it in the past. Besides, another problem is that Hector Hammond is possessed by Parallax, rather than being a foe on his own. Basing the movie's story (credited to four writers, and Johns might make an indirect fifth) on what Johns set up in a Green Lantern Secret Origins special is a pretty tacky path to take, and judging from the critical and audience reception, not many seem excited about it. And the heavy dose of CGI effects this movie is laden with don't help matters (why do the costumes seem to be drawn on by special effects? That actually detracts from the impact). They just make it sillier.

Who knows? The DCU as a movie-making trove may be dead forever.

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