Sunday, June 27, 2010

Composite Rocker

Back in the mid to late 1990’s when Marilyn Manson came to prominence I ran into some kids extolling the virtues of said Mr. Manson. They talked about an interview in which he talked about his artistic originality versus that of the Teen pop queens and boy bands. I double taked at that remark. Marilyn Manson original, No. That’s not right. I injected myself into the conversation. I said, “You realize that Marilyn has stolen his act from Four Rock Greats: Alice Cooper, David Bowie, Iggy Pop, and Ozzy Osbourne.” They were like yea right Old Man. At the time I was in my late 20’s, but to teens old is anyone over 25. They ignored me and walked away. Looking back I still hold to my assertion. I know today Marilyn Manson is no longer timely or relevant. Surprising how he polarized public discourse only 6 or 7 years ago. What galled me is Marilyn Never acknowledge his influences, whom he “borrowed” so much from. Rob Zombie in contrast has been public in the fact that without Cooper, Pop and Osbourne, he would not have an Act. Zombie has gone out of his way to not only acknowledge them, but also work with them. I will go a head and list what Marilyn “borrowed” from these four.
From Alice Cooper, Manson took the whole Shock rock concept. Cooper borrows much from Burlesque and Grand Guignol. He is all about theatrical rock, but from the horrific side. He wants to shock us and make us think. By all means this is not new eve to rock, but Alice is considered by many music experts to be the perfector of this form.

From David Bowie, Manson took the whole gender ambiguous and sexually ambigious concept. Bowie famous for doing this with Ziggy Stardaust. Bowie had people guessing what he was or who he preferred to bed. Now none of that is really anyone’s business, in my not so humble opinion. Bowie was able to make you think about that subject in a way no one had or has since.

From Iggy Pop, Manson took the in your face and self mutilating image. Pop was known in the 70’s to do all sorts of harm to himself on stage. All of this was done under the influence of multiple psycho active substances. I am not excusing or supporting this behavior. This was done to shock the audience, and Manson defintely wants or wanted to shock his audience. Actually I think he wanted to shock the mainstrem society. Pop is considered many as the Godfather or Grandfather of Punk. Some of this behavior was adopted by that movement.

From Ozzy, Manson took the whole Prince of Darkness persona. With his antichrist Superstar he tried to do the whole epitome of evil idea. Now he went to go as far as claim to be a practicing Satanist and all that encompasses. Ozzy did it as an act. Ozzy always has enjoyed Horror Films. In the 60’s, 70’s and early 80’s, British horror had a whole sub-genre of Satanist Cult films like Devil’s Daughter. Ozzy always did it tongue and cheek. He also separated his stage life from his personal life. Manson has always blurred those lines.
Now in my opinion the four did those things much better than Manson. They also were innovators and pioneers of a sort. Their music was also better too. That is my not so humble opinion.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

A League of My Own

As a Comic Book Geek I always was a DC fan. As mush as I enjoyed the X-Men and all the Mutant Titles and Thor, I always found DC’s Iconic characters with decades old Legacies more fascinating. Well I also found the second Tier first stringers and the First Tier Second Stringers more interesting than the big three, Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman. I enjoyed Justice League as much as the other guy, but once again I was happy when the stories did not have any of the big three. Superman back in the 70’s was way too powerful; Batman was and is too smart. Between those two the plot can be resolved too quickly. My Favorite line up was the one active when I was a kid in the 70’s, Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, Green Lantern, Green Arrow, Black Canary, Hawkman, Hawkgirl/ Hawkwoman, Flash, Aquaman, Atom, Zatanna, Red Tornado and the Rookie Firestorm.

Justice League line ups after this were full of second, third and fourth stringers. Justice League is all about the Icons. The Detroit League with Aquaman was one of the a fore mentioned Third and Fourth Stringer teams. I understand why Captain Atom, Rocket Red, Fire, and Ice were in Justice League International. The U.S. needed a government based superhero and since none of the first stringers fit the bill he was needed. The other three were what was needed to be international. Mind you Captain Atom was a First Stringer in the Carlton Universe. Blue Beetle was a Carlton First Stringer too, but he was originally played too much for laughs. Also the Justice League unlike Avengers typically was full of characters that already had at least one ongoing or formerly ongoing Title. Many Avengers never had their own title.

My personal line-up of the Justice League would be the following: Green Lantern, Flash, Atom, Hawkman, Hawkgirl/ Hawkwoman Aquaman, Captain Marvel, Green Arrow, and Black Canary. Notice the omission of the DC Trinity. That was for the reason I mentioned earlier. Now here is the rundown.

Captain Marvel replaces Superman as the Powerhouse tank/ brick. Tank and/ or brick is a Superhero RPG term for a Super Strong and Invulnerable character. As I stated in the Article Shazam It, I prefer Captain Marvel to Superman. I like the wide eyed innocence that the Character exemplifies. Marvel brings a sense of wonder and magic to the team. Captain Marvel brings the magical end to the team and stories. This helps since my team seems to be science, technology and alien based hero heavy. Since Billy is a kid, everything he experiences is going to be new which will offset the more jaded characters.

Green Lantern is the gateway for space stories with him being a member of the Green Lantern Corps. My preference is Hal Jordan, then John Stewart. Guy has been screwed with too much during his Warrior era. I mean he wielded the Sinestro ring then was revealed to be an alien. After that Guy jumped the Shark for me. Kyle Rayner is a whine bag, every time I read him I want to slap him. Green Lantern allows one to tell Cop Stories in an Intergalactic vein. With Hal and John being both Ex-Military (Hall, an Air Force Pilot and John, a Marine), one could tell good Military and war stories with and GL Corps as the backdrop. Green Lanterns powers are limited by the writer’s imagination. Unlike other superheroes, Green Lantern answers to superiors in the Guardians of the Universe.

The Flash has always been special too me. He always stretched the uses of Super speed to its extremes. I prefer Barry Allen, but his recent resurrection irritates me. I find Wally West to be a bit too impetuous and a scam artist, not as bad as Booster Gold. Barry was also a Police Scientist, what we call today a Forensics Scientist. With that background, one could tell CSI type stories with the Flash. In Fact, that slant was used in the Early 90’s Flash TV Show. Flash’s Rogues Gallery is only rivaled by Batman’s DC Universe.

The Atom I liked due to his originality in that the smaller he goes the more powerful he was. So Millimeter Atom is almost Superman levels of strength. Ray Palmer was a Physicist and University Professor. Now he is described as a Quantum Physicist, which is fitting. Imagine him like a cross between Leonard and Sheldon of Big Bang Theory and Indiana Jones. I know there is a new Atom, but I am so Old school, sorry.

Hawkman and Hawkwoman/Hawkgirl I have always liked, but to me it is the pre-Crisis Thanagarian version that is the best. They are two of the most messed with DC Characters in Continuity. They were revamped post crisis years after everyone else, and then fused with their Golden Age versions. When the Revamp happened, there already had been stories with the characters. DC wanted to streamline their continuity with Crisis, but this was the first muddying up of it. I liked the Archaeologist angle even though they were alien. The use of arcane weapons was always cool. I also like that Hawkwoman/ Hawkgirl were not a subordinate, but an equal. The Alien angle was cool, but the Police angle left me cold. I like the Golden Age Characters who have been retconned into being Justice League Members. The whole reincarnation of the Hawk spirit plotline is cool. Having Hawkman as the Old School Conservative foil to Green Arrow’s liberal is also interesting. The Silver Age Hawkman was a hardliner, but not as vocal. Seriously the character needs serious continuity surgery.

Aquaman is a great character, now for versatility I will include the Water Control powers he gained in the 2000’s. He is powerful with Super strength and Aquatic Animal control, but water control makes him more useful on land. I know the whole hook hand era was cool, but it never resonated with me. The Water hand era seemed to be at his best. I know I am diverting from my typical use of the classical versions of the characters, but what can I say I liked that era. I am not impressed with the new version of the character.

Finally we come to Green Arrow and Black Canary. I am going to discuss them together. Why? They are best as a team in my eyes. Green Arrow is your typical non-powered Vigilante, not the detective as Batman. He is definitely on par with Batman as a Martial Artist. Black Canary is a legacy character, second generation super-heroine. I know that was retconned in, but it works on so many levels. Green Arrow’s political views are good foils to the typical Super heroes as conservatives viewpoint. Both are street level characters that ground the team to the Average Joe’s Concerns.

Well there it is, My Version of the Justice League.