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Your favorite fictional properties


#1

We’re pretty spoiled for choice these days, countless comics, TV shows, movies, books and so on. Too much for anyone to be able to stay on top of, but enough that we can all get our own thing - the stories and characters that appeal to our personalities.

I’m interested to see what everyone loves, and the whys of what makes a thing so special. Plus comments if it’s not quite everything you think it could be. So I’d ask everyone to take a minute and list their five favorite fictional properties (can be a TV show, character, entire line or whatever). If you’re not sure think of properties that you might have t shirts or merchandise of, or where you’ve got tattoos or named your kids in the other extreme! Properties where you’ve gone far beyond just consuming the work, you’re buy whatever you can to get more of the experience. Stories that changed your life. I’ll start with my top 5:

Guardians of the Galaxy
The Good - I love space adventures with misfit cowboys somehow managing to get it right. Guardians ticks all the boxes.
The Bad - I don’t think it’s ever lived up to the potential. Except the movie which was heaven, but most of the comics were just touching before the movie and afterwards it’s become somewhat of a mess.
How far my love has taken me - I’ve designed my own t shirts with the Guardians, built custom action figures, my boy got a Rocket Raccoon for his first Christmas and if I could have dinner with one famous person it’d probably be Chris Pratt.

Hulk
The Good - He’s always been my favorite comic character. I like the idea of a character who can’t be stopped, but who isn’t fully in control. The darker side of Banner, what makes him more human than most characters is what makes him so interesting.
The Bad - I don’t know if anyone has ever really done a great job with him. Peter David came closest and I think the Maestro story was the best Hulk story ever. I’d like to see more of that, but then he doesn’t work as part of a shared universe. I didn’t care for Planet Hulk, don’t much care for the movie portrayal and haven’t read Hulk regularly for a long long time. Yet he’s still my favorite.
How far my love has taken me - The mug I use for tea every morning is my Hulk mug.

Justice League International
The Good - Much like the Guardians, I love the loveable losers aspect of the characters, it made them much more interesting than the JLA or Avengers. Their 80’s run was truly great comics, it’s sad to see what became of the characters.
The Bad - DC destroyed the property, but when it was running it was pretty perfect. I can’t really find fault with JLI.
How far my love has taken me - Legends of Tomorrow reminds me of them enough that I’ll watch it just because it’s maybe the closest thing we’ll get to JLI. Again I’ve made t shirts, action figures, etc…

Warhammer Fantasy Battle
The Good - I like Warhammer much more than LOTR which seemed to be in love with it’s own mythos and less focused on just the world of cultures clashing against each other. It’s the perfect fantasy environment.
The Bad - Most of the fiction is horrid, GW lost the plot on how to use the franchise.
How far my love has taken me - I have half a dozen Warhammer miniatures armies (each with over 100 figures), back issues of White Dwarf, loads of old rule books and catalogs I’ll never look at again.

Spartacus
The Good - Pretty much my favorite TV show ever. The quest to be free to live life how you want in part inspired me to quit my corporate job and start my own company. The cast are all excellent and take the story seriously, the supporting characters are universally interesting and the melodrama can’t be beat. It’s the perfect length too.
The Bad - The reputation that it’s either stupid gore nonsense or soft core porn. I mean it’s both of those things, but it’s so much more.
How far my love has taken me - I have some custom artwork on my walls and I’ve bought some materials like press books off Ebay.


#3

Nice topic.

Looking forward to the responses.


#4

OK. I’ll give this a try.

Superman
The Good - Superman is the first and the best. He does what’s right because it’s right despite the personal cost. He was raised by loving parents in the middle of nowhere and moved to the city to best utilize his talents. Man of Steel was pretty great.
The Bad - There have been some great stories over the years but very few great runs in the comics. This should be the one book I’m most excited to pick up every month but rarely has it ever been on my pull list.
How far my love has taken me - I have been a Superman fan much longer than I was a comic fan. I have a lot of Superman stuff. When we got married, a sculptor friend made Sheena and I a statue of us as Superman and Lois Lane. I still have a Superman cape complete with perfect yellow S (see my avatar) that my mom made me when I was in grade school. My main coffee mug at work is a Metropolis Superman Festival mug. I have a collection of S shield drawn by various comic artists. If I ever got a tattoo, it would probably be the S.

Star Wars
The Good - It’s great sci-fi/fantasy with touches of religion and huge action. The original trilogy remain some of my favorite films of all time. I always thought Luke Skywalker was one of the coolest characters. The Force Awakens hit all the right buttons for me.
The Bad - The prequels just didn’t live up to my expectations. I wouldn’t say they were objectively bad as a lot of people enjoyed them. They just put me off the franchise for a very long time.
How far my love has taken me - I followed Ain’t It Cool News religiously when they first announced the prequels hoping for any shred of information. I stood in line to buy tickets for The Phantom Menace the day they came out and stood in line to watch the film. The one celebrity that I would like to meet probably more than any other is Mark Hammill.

X-Men
The Good - X-Men were what got me into comics. That first issue I picked up just oozed cool sci-fi and interesting characters. The Claremont years and immediately after were pretty great.
The Bad - The X-Men books have seemed pretty broken for a while and it seems like Marvel is trying to replace them with the Inhumans.
How far my love has taken me - X-Men introduced me to Jim Lee and Rob Liefeld who I followed when they jumped to Image and eventually got to meet at comic conventions.

He-Man and the Masters of the Universe
The Good - He-Man was a great sword and sorcery with a little bit of sci-fi cartoon when I was a kid. The toys were fun and I loved the cartoon.
The Bad - I really see He-Man as more of a nostalgia thing for me now. I’m not interested in reading comics. I might go see a film if they made a new one.
How far my love has taken me - I used to have a ton of the toys. One of my clearest memories of my dad is him bringing home a couple of the figures. There’s more to the story that makes it a bit more meaningful but that’s for another time. When they did the reissues several years back, I picked up those two figures that he brought me that day again.

Dukes of Hazzard
The Good - Lovable outlaw moonshiners driving muscle cars. What more do you need?
The Bad - It’s hard for the show to not seem extremely racist in hindsight.
How far my love has taken me - A good friend of mine who I used to enjoy the show with went to one of the festivals a few years ago. He bought a General Lee die-cast car and got it signed by the whole cast for me.


#5

The XMen
The good: I had been reading comics since I was 3 yrs old, but at around 10 I picked up Chris Claremont and John Byrne’s X-men and it pretty much set my entire model for reading comics or enjoying any form of fiction. “Soap opera with fight scenes” is how Grant Morrison described it. On top of that, it developed in a way that did not require repeating itself or even retaining the same main characters.
The bad: After Claremont left, the X-Men lost a great deal of what made them special, and they became basically very little different from any other repetitive comic book series. There were a few high points like Ultimate X-Men or the first few arcs of Morrison, Whedon and Bendis’s runs, but in general it was a pale reflection of the original nearly two decades run Claremont left behind.
How it has: as mentioned, it pretty much set the standard for how I enjoy long running series, and you can see that in most of the major successful series, movies comics or television since. I love the movies, but I rarely get into the comics anymore EXCEPT when they have amazing artists like Quitely, Immonen, Ramos or Bachalo.


#6

Birdman
The Good: Guys an ancient resurrected bird-god bitten by radio-active birds from the secret island of Avianica whos parents were killed by a rogue thug exploding planet and genetically engineered to fight in an alternate dimension future WWII.

The Bad: Fuck off.

How Far my love has taken me - You. Have. To. Be. Shitting. Me


Clara Who and the adventures of Old Man companion
The Good: Clara Who is the best Sci-Fi property out there. Even when they do stand-alone episodes focussing on old man companion they’re pretty good.

The Bad: Other people not respecting Clara Who.

How Far my love has taken me: When her showrunner made an abrupt change in her narrative, I got him fired. Clara is mine forever.


Gambit:
Le Good. Le punching. Le kissing. Et Le jumping. Le thieving. Le kissing. Le smooching.

Le Bad: Le fuck off.

How far le love has le taken moi: Le made a movie about le Gambit.


#7

Ok…let’s try this…

ChiPs
The Good - Cheesy. Excellent disco beats. The uniforms.
The Bad - The movies. So much unfortunate reimagining.
How far my love has taken me - Considering getting a cat just so I can call him Poncherello.

The Joker
The Good - I started out as a Batman fan - and I still am - but as I grew older it’s been the Joker and his various depths in titles that have intrigued me.
The Bad - Heath Ledger. Also, trying to justify the enjoyment of a character who’s essentially a homicidal maniac.
How far my love has taken me - My extensive collection of titles featuring the Joker. And I once had a Joker bathrobe… Shut up.

Star Trek
The Good - It’s just never grown dated or tired or old. TOS is still fun watching even to this day, despite knowing how much of a dick Shatner actually is. The new movies!! So much awesome even with so much lens-flare. DS:9, ST:TNG, ST:V…all excellent!
The Bad - Shatner, post-TOS, I guess. Never meet your heroes. Also, didn’t really get into the prequel series, ST:E.
How far my love has taken me - Collected every season of TOS; collected every season of Voyager.

Doctor Strange
The Good - Magic. Magic. MAGIC!!! The new movie. So much excitement.
The Bad - The very first live action movie…which I have. It tried. It really did.
How far my love has taken me - Currently designing a tattoo based on the symbology found within the pages of the title.

Justice League International
The Good - So well written! The JLA + JLEurope = humour, action, drama, adventure…all in one seamless mix. And probably the best iteration of any Justice League ever.
The Bad - It didn’t keep going.
How far my love has taken me - I have all the trades and regularly quote lines out of the books in actual real life conversations.


#8

Doctor Who: The Doctor was one of my earliest heroes, and one that’s lasted a lifetime. It is not an exaggeration at all to say that how I learnt to approach the world - or at least, to aspire to - came from the Doctor. Intelligent, rational, not afraid to make difficult decisions - but always, always, always tempered by compassion and a humane understanding of consequences. Plus, the basic idea of Doctor Who allows you to tell any sort of story you like.

Calvin and Hobbes: So much insight and intelligence wrapped up in the humour - the mind of Bill Watterson is an amazing thing. (When I lecture, most of my presentations are interspersed with Calvin and Hobbes cartoons)

The X-Men: For all the usual reasons … outsiders, outcasts, feared and hated for being different, and proving every day why that shouldn’t matter.

The Culture: Iain M Banks’ galaxies-sprawling utopian, liberal civilisation. Where I would live if I had a chance to.

I hummed and hawed about adding this last one, but I think it fits.

LEGO: It wasn’t exactly a fictional property when I was a kid (though much more so now), but it was the gateway to taking ideas from my head, turning them into something real and telling stories about them. In exactly the same way that the individual LEGO pieces themselves were building blocks for something bigger and bolder, I think the various themes served to catalyse storytelling for me when I was a kid. Definitely the most important toy of my childhood to me … and I’ve still got loads of LEGO lying around as a nominal adult.


#9

#2 for me would be BLADE RUNNER
The Good: It pretty much defined style and substance for science fiction cinema
The Bad: there really isn’t much as good as it was and it’s only one movie so far.

#3 would be the Anime and Manga of AKIRA
The Good: I can’t think of anything like it as far as art, story and animation
The Bad: There has really not been anything like it since. Though there has been a lot of good anime and manga, very little has been in the same vein or of the same quality.
How it has: In the 80’s I went to Chicago ComicCon to get a VHS of Akira, Japanese only, and would watch it continuously.


#10

No Deep Space Nine?


#11

I liked all the shows. The only one I couldn’t get into was ST:E. I really like Scott Bakula…just can’t get into ST:E
Besides, Avery Brooks in DS:9 was amazing .


#12

If you haven’t tried them, would suggest you give the books a whirl. While many wail loudly about Abrams killing Trek, Pocket Books have just been quietly plugging away with 12 books a year across all eras of pre-Abrams Trek. They’re fun reads.


#13

Star Trek

Dredd

Batman


#14

Spider-Man
The good: He’s the prototypical superhero for me and my favourite character in all of fiction. He’s the everyman who jumps into action whenever he needs to, and whatever the consequence. He’s the Charlie Brown of superheroes.

The bad - A property that has existed for over 50 years has peaks and valleys (cough, cough, One More Day).

How far has my love taken me
I’ve bought far too many comics just because they were Spider-Man comics. I’ve seen movies which I really didn’t enjoy just because they were Spider-Man movies (I just didn’t get the Andrew Garfield one’s…that’s not my Spider-Man). When I went to New York years ago, I kept staring up at the buildings and imagining Spider-Man swinging above.

Doctor Who
The Good - I didn’t grow up with Doctor Who. It wasn’t shown on Irish TV when I was growing up, but I imagine that I would have loved it if it was.The fact that there is over 50 years worth of material to get into makes it perfect for someone like me. I started with the Eccleston series and then jumped on board with the old Doctors with Big Finish audios. Seeing the 50th Anniversary episode on a big screen was one of the best nights at the cinema that I’ve ever seen.

The Bad- Let’s be honest, there is quite a lot of it which is appalling or just hasn’t aged well. That’s part of the fun though, searching through to find the treasure.

How far my love has taken me- Not too far. I have CD shelves full of Doctor Who audios and lots and lots of CD’s. And action figures. Mrs. Jones made me a Tardis cake for my birthday one year.

PG Wodehouse
The Good- I always come back to these books when I’m ill or when I need to be cheered up. They’re just to silly and cheerful. Nothing bad ever really happens and they’re just full of contrivances and idiotic people wearing inadvisable hats, wise valets, uncontrollable uncles and domineering aunts. It’s like a weird parallel universe to be honest. I remember loaning a few of these books to my brother, and I was delighted to hear him say that they helped him through chemo.

The bad: I can’t think of anything. Some people may say that it perpetuates the class system, but I don’t think that’s true. They’re far too silly for that.

How far has my love taken me- I have a lot of books. I don’t consider that a bad thing.

The adventures of @TMasters ** :wink:
The Good - Who can’t but enjoy the adventures of that loveable scamp Tim, a modern day Don Quixote, tilting against windmills trying make Gambit popular, whilst simultaneously worshipping at the altar of Clara (who doesn’t even notice he exists)? It’s so much larger than life and stylised that you buy into it despite the lack of relationship with reality. I particularly like the one’s where Tim tries to kick the football and @Todd pulls the ball away just at the last moment.

The Bad - Gambit


#15

I endorse this post.


#16

#Star Wars:

The Good: I saw it in the theater in 1977 and it was utter magic! It had everything a 5 year old boy wants and nothing he doesn’t. Loved everything about it until…

The Bad: Special Edition: My joy at seeing it back on the big screen was tainted by cartoony looking CGI inserted throughout and ridiculous song and dance numbers. Not to mention some young punk Jedi ghost (that’s not MY Anakin!) The prequels…not even going there.

The Good again: My daughter got into it at about 5 and rekindled my past love, I forgave the SE CGI a bit since its’ all that was available at the time (thanks uncle George!) and even forgave the travesty of the prequels since a 6 year old girl is not as discerning about stories, so I just enjoyed the dynamic lightsaber fights (and Christopher Lee! :slight_smile: ). In 2012 I acquired a clean HD hard copy of the Original Trilogy, the Special edition has been a dust collector ever since.

How far my love has taken me: Amber went through my SW toy anthology (Pre-prequels) when she was 6 and loved all the “old” toys so much Santa had to scour ebay to find vintage figures and ships. (everyone knows Santa can get anything! :wink: ) I once airbrushed my wife blue for a Twilek costume. My work flashlight is a Maglight converted to a Lightsaber that I carry on a covertec clip.

#Superman:

The Good: I started with my dads hardcover collection (30s-70s) before I could read, as well as getting up to watch The Super Friends at 7am Saturday morning (was up at 6am waiting with a red blanket tied around my neck). When I saw Superman the Movie that was it, MY Superman was a REAL guy! I still love that movie, and Superman II (Donner cut) to a lesser extent.

The Bad: Superman III was a downhill slide into cheap comedy, I have yet to watch IV (though I’m tempted to). The 1st Superman comic I read published after the 70’s was The Death of Superman, disliked it enough to not pickup another Superman book until last year.

How far my love has taken me: I have 25-30 articles of clothing with the S and I wear one just about everyday, my truck is a blue Super Duty with Superman floor mats and steering wheel cover, the license plate says KALEL.

#Dungeon & Dragons:

The Good: My older brothers got me playing about 1983 and I loved the ability to play a character at the table. It introduced me to some new friends that I still see today and helped strengthen the bond between myself and my brothers. I developed a taste for fantasy and really got into reading more in highschool because of it.

The Bad: None of my gaming friends live close by so we only get a chance to play every few years, younger folks don’t seem to have the patience for a game that requires that much imagination.

How far my love has taken me: I still have all my original AD&D books and back issues of Dragon Magazine from the 80’s, my house has iron sconces and swords hanging about, I got the license plate GAMER on my 1st car in 1992 and it is now on my wife’s car. (Everyone assumes she gambles!) :wink:

#Kick-Ass:
(Big Surprise!) :wink:
The Good: In 2010 I rented the movie on a whim (mostly because Nick Cage looked badass) and was absolutely blown away by it! I loved the idea of people without powers being superheroes and having to endure the consequences for it. The dynamic of the father/daughter team was especially touching to me since I have a daughter a few years younger than Chloe. The acting, writing, directing and attention to detail in the sets and props really sold it and allowed me to suspend disbelief. I didn’t read any of the comics until Christmas 2013, I was blown away all over again! Reading KA, HG and KA2 not only rekindled my love of comics but also of reading fiction, I had only read one set of fiction books in 10 years before that.

The Bad: Kick-Ass 2 (film) I love about 80% of it, if Matthew Vaughn had been in the director’s chair it probably would have been closer to 98% (no offense to Jeff Wadlow). The lack of a Kick-Ass 3 film was a major disappointment, and though it’s been talked about by MM and MV, it seems like the train has left the station with the original cast.

How far has my love taken me: In 2012 I made Amber her 1st HG costume, since then all my “hobby time” has been spent doing things related to making BD/HG fan films, props, costumes, sets…but its’ brought my family closer together and really sparked our daughter’s interest in film making and acting. We’ll be finishing the BD/HG series in March (and hanging up the Big Daddy suit) as well as Hit-Girls 1st solo venture after Kick-Ass 2 (film). I have at least 3 more stories outlined but who knows if they’ll ever get filmed! The Kick-Ass universe is represented by coffee mugs, clothes, props even Christmas ornaments at our house.


#17

Before I give my list I should probably preface it by saying that I don’t really go in for buying huge amounts of merchandise or stuff like that, so my demonstration of my love of these properties is pretty much limited to raving about the original works themselves. :slightly_smiling:

Spider-Man: One of the first (if not the first) comics that I ever read was a beat-up old paperback of the first seven Lee/Ditko Spidey stories. It made an impression on me, and as I grew up and continued to follow the character if felt like he got ever more relevant and meaningful to me as my own life (inevitably) became more complex and difficult. Spidey is the incarnation of strength in the face of adversity: if you’ve ever had a problem, he’s had it too, and this acknowledgment of the fact that life isn’t easy, combined with his never-give-up attitude, morally-sound outlook and endlessly relatable nature makes him the most inspiring and human superhero of all, for me. It’s no exaggeration to say that I have at difficult times drawn real strength from the character. He has affected my core outlook on life, and I will always love him. Yes, he’s had some dud stories (haven’t they all) and “One More Day” pretty much signalled the end of me feeling a genuine affinity with the in-continuity version of the character (although the recent “Renew Your Vows” was a nice glimpse of him again: like meeting up with an old friend), but it hasn’t erased my affection for him as a character.

Terminator: Ever since I first saw Terminator 2, the franchise has captured my imagination in a way that few others have ever managed. The big ideas about fate, destiny and the nature of humanity are part of the appeal, but honestly I get just as much enjoyment from the brilliantly-conceived details of the story and its world. The first two movies are masterpieces and two of the most viscerally thrilling films I have ever seen, and even though the other movies (and TV show, and comics) have ultimately failed to recapture that, I still get enjoyment out of them to a greater or lesser degree. The foundations of the franchise are just too strong to be fully eroded even by inferior follow-ups. I even enjoyed Genisys quite a bit and I’d be there opening weekend for a sequel.

Toy Story: The first two movies were brilliant yarns with a great toys-come-to-life hook, great characters and excellent comedy, but it wasn’t really until the third one that I really got the emotional punch that has made these three films really stick with me. I saw the first movie as a thirteen-year-old kid and now I’m watching them with my own kids, so the generational message resonates with me pretty strongly. I don’t really cry at movies but there are at least two moments in the trilogy that are guaranteed to make me tear up. I’m a bit worried that the forthcoming fourth movie will ruin the perfection of the first three (and that perfect, perfect ending), but maybe I should give Pixar a bit of credit at this point. They’ve earned it.

Red Dwarf: My love of this franchise is not so strong today, but in my teens it was pretty much my favourite TV show in the world. The humour and the grounded take on sci-fi silliness was a revelation to me at the time (I watched it before I read/saw H2G2) and it was one of the first times that I felt like a pop-culture thing was ‘mine’: my parents didn’t really understand it, most people I knew had barely heard of it, but my geekier mates at school loved it and I ate up all the tie-in books, videos etc. The quality of the TV show fell off a bit in its middle years but the more recent revival was actually pretty fun, and I’m looking forward to the two new series that are meant to be coming from next year.

Spirited Away: My final choice. And I think the best way to explain my love of this film is probably to post the five-star review of it that I wrote for a DVD/Blu-Ray review site when the Blu-Ray was released a couple of years ago:

[QUOTE]Of all the films that I have ever seen, ‘Spirited Away’ is one of the ones that has touched me most deeply. A beautiful, strange and beguiling animated film from Japan’s famous Studio Ghibli, its coming-of-age story deftly mixes fantasy and reality to create an adventure that is partly an allegory for a child entering the scary world of being an adult, and partly a celebration of youthful naivety and imagination in the face of grown-up dullness. Filled with memorable and original characters, it’s a film that is guaranteed to stay in your mind forever, even after you’ve only watched it once.

To explain how it has touched me so deeply probably means revealing some of my personal history with the film. I was lucky enough to first see ‘Spirited Away’ at an advance cinema screening in the UK shortly before its release here in 2003, and as a result I didn’t know anything about it beforehand. But as soon as I watched it, I immediately knew it was something special. I had never even seen a Studio Ghibli film before this one, so the wildly imaginative and exotic, resolutely un-western creations of legendary Ghibli writer and director Hayao Miyazaki felt fresh and new to me in the same way as landmark modern animations like ‘Who Framed Roger Rabbit?’, ‘Beauty and the Beast’ and ‘Toy Story’ felt in their day.

After seeing the film at the cinema, I immediately sought out the DVD (at that time having to import a copy, well before a UK version was available) and watched the film to death, drinking in the glorious animation and finding new subtleties and layers in the story each time I watched it. But it wasn’t until later that I truly fell in love with ‘Spirited Away’: on a difficult night when, suffering from insomnia and nervousness after a long evening of working, and unable to switch my mind off, I decided to sit down at 3am and try to calm myself by losing myself in the world of ‘Spirited Away’.

And I was transported.

The expansive world created by Miyazaki for ‘Spirited Away’ has its inception in the simple journey taken by a young girl, Sen, to her new home with her parents. However, when the family stop their car and discover a strange old abandoned theme park, Sen begins to be drawn into a magical world that lies just beneath the surface of her own - and as she gets sucked further into it (her parents being mysteriously transformed into pigs at this point), she discovers an entire society of strange creatures that live and work in a magical parallel universe.

But like ‘Alice in Wonderland’ - which surely must have been an inspiration for this story - the world of ‘Spirited Away’ is not all pleasant and kind. Sen is forced to work for her living in a local bath-house that is visited by a host of weird gods and monsters, all of which are magical and strange, but some of which have their own sinister agendas and secrets. Unlike many childrens’ films, ‘Spirited Away’ is not afraid to challenge childrens’ views about the world: but although the film is sometimes scary and often ambiguous, all of its darker and creepier moments inevitably lead Sen to the eventual discovery of a profound truth or a greater understanding of life, empowering her by encouraging self-education and empathy.

When it comes to filmmaking, there’s a lot of talk of ‘character arcs’ as an important aspect of every story - which usually means a character going from point A to point B in their life, and learning something or changing somehow on the way. But not many movies give you the sense of truly going on a journey with the lead character in the way that ‘Spirited Away’ does. Sen truly grows into a different character by the end of this film, and unlike many lesser movies, you are truly made to feel that (sometimes difficult) transition every step of the way.

And as I sat there in the middle of the night, going on this journey of self-discovery and edification with Sen (culminating in a beautiful and moving sequence set on a train, that I won’t ruin for newcomers here), I genuinely felt as though I had come out the other side of the film as a slightly different person: stronger, more confident, and more secure in my place in the world. How many films can truly move you like that?

Don’t get me wrong: I’m not saying that you have to have a deeply personal or profound experience like mine with this film to enjoy it. There’s so much here to recommend to even a casual viewer, whether it’s the visual comedy of Sen’s bath-house experiences, the cuteness of many of the character designs, or the sheer sense of imagination that exudes from every pore.

But if you really invest yourself in it, you’ll find that this is a powerful movie that goes far beyond the normal reach of a mere animated kids’ adventure. And on Blu-Ray - with the unsurpassed picture and sound quality that makes the high-definition format such a boon for fans of hand-drawn animation (as well as the elimination of some of the defects of earlier DVD versions, such as the odd overly-red tinge that marred the visuals of many of the standard-definition releases of ‘Spirited Away’) - it finally has a release worthy of its greatness.

I wish I could give it six stars.[/quote]


#18

Star Wars
The Good - As a kid I looked up to Luke Skywalker. He was the coolest character to me. Now I prefer Han a bit, but that’s the thing, there really aren’t too many bad characters in the original trilogy. Vader, Leia, Obi-Wan, R2, C-3PO, Chewbacca, Lando, Yoda, Jabba, Tarkin, the Emperor, Boba Fett… I fell in the love with the whole world. Even as a kid the genius of the designs struck me. I loved that ships were so battered, that there were so many different kinds of aliens and robots, most of whom have clever backstories which I learned from the DK sourcebooks I owned. (The cutaways in those are amazing.)
The Bad - Prequels. Though even there, there’s a lot of ambition to admire, and some outright awesome stuff, like pod racing, Darth Maul, the Gungan city, Obi-Wan vs. Jango Fett…
How far my love has taken me - It’s the only movie/TV property where I’ve read tie-in material. And quite a lot of it, at least when I was a kid. As I said, it’s a fertile world.

Wolverine/X-Men
The Good - My favorite was Cyclops at first, but Wolverine’s inner conflict won me over. I still like Cyclops a lot, though; again, it’s a series with lots of great characters. I used to hate on Claremont when I was younger because of his over-expository dialogue/thought bubbles but I realize now that was stupid. He set the blueprint for the X-Men. All the good stuff since then (Morrison, Aaron, Carey, Whedon) has been remixing his work to one degree or another. He set the tone for much of the strongest work on superheroes. I like Bryan Singer’s work on the movies a lot, too.
The Bad - Plenty of crappy X-Men stories out there. Plus, the neutering and overexposure of Wolverine since he joined the Avengers.
How far my love has taken me - Not that far, really. I don’t really buy much property-based stuff aside from the comics/movies themselves. I have held onto a Cyclops action figure I’ve had since I was a kid and keep it on my desk at home.

Batman
The Good - I think there’s been more great/good stories written about Batman than any other superhero. There’s the 90s animated series, Miller, Morrison, the Nolan movies, plus plenty of small, standalone stories, either that illuminate different aspects of his massive world/supporting cast or mash him up with other eras and types of fiction (Nine Lives - classic noir, The Doom That Came to Gotham - Lovecraft, etc). He’s a character that can work in an incredible amount of settings. I’ve also always really liked Nightwing and Robin. But his true greatest sidekick is Alfred. Plenty of good Batman stories without Robin, but Alfred’s almost always there, adding a heart.
The Bad - The fascist overtones. Don’t have him mercilessly beating the crap out of purse-snatchers, writers. Jeez.
How far my love has taken me - Again, not that far. I saw The Dark Knight in theaters three or four times.

There are plenty more, but I’ll leave it at 3.


#19

What a great topic! Love Big Daddy’s Kick-Ass shout out.

For me it’s…

SUPERMAN

The Good - The best fictional character ever created. A guy who can visit any corner of the globe, alien worlds and any point in the past and future means infinite scope for stories. Combine this with the fact he has more abilities than any other fictional character and the heart of someone who will always, in any circumstances, do the right thing and you have something perfect.

The Bad - Generally, Superman has been tackled for the last 30 years by often very-talented comic-pros and film-makers who just don’t understand him as a character. They think making him tougher makes him better whereas the opposite is true. They don’t like writing Superman and change it so much or include so many other random characters that it ceases to be Superman. It’s not a flaw with the creators themselves as they’re just trying to do the best job possible. The problem is with editorial or - in cinematic terms - producers. I haven’t really read Superman for more than one issue since I was a teenager. I think it fell off a cliff around 1983 when Superman 3 came out and you lost Cary Bates and soon after Curt Swan, though I loved Alan Moore’s four issues and John Byrne did a lot of very good material.

How far my love has taken me - I own Reeve’s cape and Frisky the cat, rescued from a tree in Superman The Movie. He’s now dead and stuffed, btw!

BATMAN:

The Good - I love Batman almost as much as I love Superman. The concept is beautiful and he’s weirdly un-ruined by endless stunts and reboots, which is rare now at the Big 2 and perhaps why he’s doing so well at the moment. Miller ruled 80s Batman for me (as did Gerry Conway) and I’m loving Scott just as much.

The Bad - Too many books. I didn’t read a Batman comic between 1989 and about eighteen months ago, when I got into the Snyder and Capullo runs. I love Batman, but there were too many books and I had no idea where to start. At the moment, the only Bat-related title I pick up is Batman.

How far my love has taken me - I genuinely planned to be him. Kick-Ass almost autobiographical.

FLASH GORDON

The Good - Buster Crabbe, Sam Jones. You name it, I like it.

The Bad - I couldn’t even look at the recent TV series.

How Far My Love Has Taken Me - My 4-year old daughter watches it easily five times a week and has done so for around a year now. It’s replaced Superman as her favourite thing.

MM


#20

Say Mark, if you haven’t already you ought to take a look at the King’s Watch / Flash Gordon duo that Parker did at Dynamite. It’s a neat revival with some great art.


#21

Oh, I will. I like Jeff Parker a lot. Been meaning to pick that up for ages.

MM