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The Emerald Abyss
Where comic book art and sick humor dwell
Been a while since I posted last. My brother got remarried a couple weeks ago, my current boss is transferring to a new facility, I've been working a ton of overtime, we're currently in the process of helping my brother get his house prepared for a bathroom renovation...a lot of stuff going on. So just to unwind and have a little fun, let's get down to some Time-Warped Movie Casting!

The last time we did this, Marlon Brando was sucking blood and prowling England as Count Dracula. So why don't we cast a seven-film series about that other bat of pop culture fame?

Why, yes, I do favor the classic gray, blue, and yellow costume...or would be fine with something relatively close to it (a gray, black, and silver version would be a fine alternative). What made you ask?

Then again, when it comes to Batman, I'm a classic guy all the way. The Golden Age comics. The "New Look" period of the late Silver Age comics. The Bronze Age comics. Batman: The Animated Series. Seasons 1 and 2 of the Adam West show. And so it is that my ideal Batman movie franchise would be a fusion of all the above. Rousing, rollicking pulp adventure stories set against a film noir backdrop. Played straight and full of tension and menace, absolutely. But also full of fantasy, fun, sly humor, and unfettered energy. In short, nothing whatsoever like the personal fetish bullshit of Frank Miller, Tim Burton, and Christopher Nolan, and not much at all like Joel Schumacher's well-intentioned but wildly uneven and unfocused offerings. If you've been lucky enough to see 1998's The Mask of Zorro (and if you haven't, get off your dead ass and seek it out!), that's the template my ideal Batman franchise would follow.

In casting this particular series, it pretty much went similarly to Tyrone Power's Superman. It had to start with the title role. Since my preferred Batman is the pre-1986 version -- a genuinely good, compassionate man motivated by tragedy but refusing to be consumed by it and/or become the very thing he's sworn to fight -- it had to be cast with an actor who would radiate that nobility and warmth. An actor who would be accessible and relatable even when caped, masked, and scaring the shit out of bad guys. And lastly, an actor who had the athleticism and fluidity to be the physical dynamo Batman is. And once Batman was cast, everybody else fell right into place.

So who's up to play the Caped Crusader and company? Gather 'round...


Gene Kelly as Bruce Wayne/Batman.

Cyd Charisse as Selina Kyle/Catwoman.

Elijah Wood as Dick Grayson/Robin.

Rex Harrison as Alfred Pennyworth.

Clifton Webb as Commissioner James Gordon.

Sarah Michelle Gellar (circa Buffy Season 1) as Barbara Gordon/Batgirl.

Boris Karloff as the Joker.

Renee Zellweger as Harley Quinn.

Rita Hayworth as Poison Ivy.

Claude Rains as the Penguin.

Danny Kaye as the Riddler.

Bela Lugosi as the Scarecrow.

James Cagney as Harvey Dent/Two-Face.

Peter Cushing as Ra's Al Ghul.

Ornella Muti (circa Flash Gordon) as Talia Head.

Fernando Llamas as Bane.

Kenneth Branagh as Dr. Hugo Strange.

Anthony Perkins as Matt Hagen/Clayface.

Max Von Sydow (circa The Greatest Story Ever Told) as Mr. Freeze.

Vin Diesel as Killer Croc.

Willem Dafoe as Kirk Langstrom/Man-Bat.

We can't very well leave out the crew, so here they be, as well:


Director - Michael Curtiz

Producer - Hal B. Wallis

Screenplay - Ted Elliot and Terry Rossio

Music - Bernard Herrmann

DP - Jack Asher, BSC

Editor - Verna Fields

Production designer - Jack Otterson

Costume designer - Alexandra Byrne

Character makeup - Jack Pierce

Fight choreographer - Ray Park



Admittedly, there is a heavy Universal/Hammer Monsters slant here, with the casting of the villians and several of the crew members. But considering Batman's rogues gallery, I think it's a slant that fits like a glove. That, and Hammer's signature shadow-drenched Technicolor visual style is perfect for Batman altogther.

There's not a whole lot more to say, really. I think Batman works best when it accepts it's fantasy, embraces that fact, and runs with it while presenting itself with sincerity and conviction. And I feel this Time-Warped cast and crew embodies that.

So there it is. There will be another one of these, but I don't yet know what it will be or when. For now, to the Batmobile!

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It’s amazing how low people will sink to defend their favorite celebs, no matter how vile they are as people. People rushed to defend Mel Gibson for his complete lunacy by blaming Oksana Gregorieva for “provoking him,” conveniently ignoring that he’d already acted like this during his DUI arrest. People defend Chris Brown up and down, either accusing Rhianna of instigating his assault of her or flat-out lying about it. People cried foul over Charlie Sheen getting shitcanned from Two and a Half Men and demanded Chuck Lorre and CBS come crawling back to him, despite his very, very public outbursts of insanity. People defend Frank Miller’s misogyny and hateful dismissal of any political activism that doesn’t center around killing Muslims as “telling it like it is” and “being a brave voice against the tide of political correctness.” People excuse Roman Polanski for raping a teenage girl by demanding you sympathize with his wife being a Manson victim and insisting “it wasn’t rape-rape” (whatever the fuck that means). It never ends; if it’s someone they like, they’ll go to extreme lengths to defend and make excuses for the worst behavior of that person.

Surprise, surprise, the Spoony One’s fanbrats are now on the job.

See, they don’t see anything whatsoever wrong with hitting on another man’s girlfriend in front of them. They see nothing wrong with spamming Twitter with endless “pity me” messages and getting on people’s nerves. They see nothing wrong with treating friends, co-workers, and fans like utter shit and subjecting them to verbal abuse. No, that’s just fine and dandy. It’s speaking out against that behavior that’s unforgiveable to them. So it should come as no surprise that they’ve singled out Obscurus Lupa for crucifixion, never mind that she was one of MANY Channel Awesome members who had clashed with Spoony over his bullshit. The mere fact that she’s a woman who voiced disgust over his antics is enough to make her the fanbrats’ punching bag. There’ve been idiotic claims that she was part of a conspiracy with CA executive Holly Brown and Spoony’s ex Jessica “Scarlett” Miller to manipulate Spoony into getting himself fired. There’ve been demands that she be forced to keep her mouth shut regardless of what’s going on or being said. There’ve been accusations that she had a personal vendetta against Spoony…because, you know, being pissed with his increasingly egotistical, obnoxious behavior couldn’t possibly be a good reason to tell him off. Worst of all, there are demands that Lupa and everyone who dared to criticize Spoony (including JesuOtaku, Nash, Oancitizen, Holly Brown, Andrew Dickman, Phelous,and Welshy) be fired and Spoony reinstated.

What sense does any of this make? Seriously, think about it. A conspiracy to get Spoony fired? How fucking stupid do you have to be to believe this? Do you really think Holly Brown, the HR director for Channel Awesome, has time for such shit? Do you really think Lupa, with her video schedule and her relationship with Phelous, has the time to waste on this? And do you really, really think Scarlett has so little life that she’d devote herself to ruining her ex’s job? Be honest: this conspiracy theory doesn’t hold up even to basic thought, much less to scrutiny. Secondly, since when did it become a crime to speak out against someone’s shitty behavior, or the mistreatment of others? Especially when said mistreatment is being directed at co-workers? I must have missed the memo that human decency should be suspended whenever popular people act like shitheads. Thirdly, if taking offense at shitty behavior – especially when it’s been going on for months on end – counts as “having a vendetta,” then you might as well castigate anyone and everyone who’s been in a similar position.

And fourthly – and most importantly – what the hell sense would it make to fire a shitload of people en masse in order to bring Spoony back?!?!? I mean, you’re essentially saying it’s worth firing a minimum of six reviewers, the company’s main artist, and the company’s HR director in order to keep one shitty, reprehensible human being around. How can you not see what’s wrong with that?

Don’t give me the “he has mental issues” excuse; it holds no water. He knows perfectly well what he’s doing and made it clear he didn’t give a shit who and what he offended.

Don’t give me the “he helped found Channel Awesome” excuse; if he’s actively pissing off and offending his fellow reviewers and his fans, then he’s a liability to the company.

Don’t give me the “he was just joking with JO, it’s no different than Spooning with Spoony” excuse; hitting on another man’s girlfriend right in front of them is a sick, disrespectful thing to do to both of them. Whether you take it as a joke, a rape threat, or an S&M invitation, Spoony had no right whatsoever to do that to either of them. As for Spooning with Spoony, that’s a sketch comedy bit where everyone involved knows it’s fake. Spoony’s come-ons were (a) in real-life, with no context at all and (b) totally out of the blue, without any warning. If you can’t tell that simple difference, then I have nothing more to say to you.

Don’t give me the “quality before quantity” excuse; he’s been mostly doing vlogs since 2011, and even then not at a consistent pace.

Don’t give me the “saying whatever he wants makes him real” excuse; being an asshole is being an asshole.

Don’t give me the “Spoony’s a victim of misandry” line; last time I checked, Oancitizen, Dickman, Phelous, Nash, and Welshy were all guys. Spoony was an equal opportunity offender.

Don’t give me the “Lupa and the others should have minded their own business” excuse; Spoony was treating them like shit one at a time, and disrespected two people’s private lives along the way. Several of these people are close friends. Sooner or later, someone was going to lose their cool and let him have it. You can only take so much of a co-worker crapping on your friends before you’ve had enough, unless you’re completely soulless.

Don’t give me the “Lupa should have handled this privately” excuse; nobody forced Spoony to make his meltdown public. Nobody forced him to make a total ass of himself on Twitter. Nobody forced him to insult and disrespect his colleagues in full public view. He’s the one who made this into a huge spectacle. Lupa and everyone else who stood up to him are only guilty of getting mad at him and fighting back.

Don’t give me the “Lupa needs to grow up and be a woman instead of a girl” line; Spoony’s the one acting like a whiny, spoiled brat with everyone (crying and moaning about how he can’t get his way, screaming at anyone who even tries to help him or talk sense into him). Everyone else, Lupa included, is pissed with him for good reason.

Don’t give me the “it’s the Internet, so he can say whatever he wants” line; common courtesy and decency apply everywhere, and he showed none to JO and Nash, much less to the other TGWTG people he curbstomped.

Don’t give me the “Channel Awesome looking out for its reputation hurts its credibility” line; we both know that’s bullshit. Channel Awesome is a company. It has to maintain a good working environment in order to remain viable and attractive to new employees. Having one of its most high-profile people making life miserable for everyone else makes for a bad work atmosphere and is a deterrent to newcomers. And Spoony was pissing too many people off.

Don’t give me the “Spoony’s more popular, so everyone should just keep their mouths shut” line; popularity is a not a free pass to act like a little bitch to your fans and your co-workers. Check that. It’s a not a free pass to act like a little bitch, period. It’s why Mel Gibson and Charlie Sheen are such jokes now after decades of success and goodwill they’d earned. They pissed away all that goodwill and poisoned their accomplishments with their antics. Spoony’s doing the exact same thing.

Don’t give me the “his girlfriend left him” excuse; it’s been two godforsaken years already. Most people move on well before the two-year mark. I know I did. If Spoony can’t – or more accurately, won’t – get over it, that speaks very poorly of his maturity level.

Stop kissing Spoony’s ass. He’s done nothing to earn your loyalty, unless you think being completely bankrupt is a worthy human trait. All he’s done is expose a ego so massive even Tim Burton would go, “Dude, get a grip.” He’s demonstrated he doesn’t care about anyone or anything but himself, he has no respect for his co-workers and colleagues, he has no respect at all for the fans who truly do care about him…face facts, people, you’re enabling him to keep doing this. You’re encouraging him to keep shitting all over his fans and his colleagues and act like he’s owed the world. For people who profess to love Spoony and want him to succeed, isn’t this accomplishing the exact opposite? Isn’t this ensuring his inevitable self-destruction? Or are you so pissed with TGWTG for canning him that you don’t care how much damage Spoony does to them or to himself? In which case, congratulations. You’re a bunch of vindictive idiots.

There are three possible paths Spoony can take out of this quagmire:

  1. Man up. Accept he screwed up, accept he ruined a lot of friendships and working relationships, accept he damaged his reputation severely, and admit he was wrong. Accept the consequences of his actions, and bust his ass rebuilding his Internet career, rebuilding his reputation, and proving he’s worthy of the success and accolades he’d earned. (See Robert Downey Jr. and Mickey Rourke.)
  2. Man up. Accept he screwed up, accept he ruined a lot of friendships and working relationships, accept he damaged his reputation severely, and admit he was wrong. Accept the consequences of his actions, and quietly build a new life for himself, be it in the field that made him famous or something else, without fuss or muss. (See Val Kilmer and Arnold Schwarzenegger.)
  3. Continue on the same path, making an ass of himself, indulging his ego, wallowing in his failings, turning away anyone who could help him get back on his feet, and diminishing whatever remains of his career and fanbase until there’s nothing left. (See Mel Gibson and Charlie Sheen.)

Paths 1 and 2 are what Spoony should be taking. Path 3 is what he’s actually doing. This is not something you should be defending. It’s a surefire path to utter ruin, and he almost took several TGWTG people down with him. Think about it. He hurt a lot of people, strained several friendships severely (Linkara, Nostalgia Chick, Angry Joe, and Sage were all stuck between a rock and a hard place), and left a lot of pain in his wake. Channel Awesome took a severe blow with his antics and their fallout, and it’s going to take a long time to heal. There was no reason for Spoony to have done this. There was no reason to disrespect his co-workers, no reason to make an idiot of himself in a public forum, no reason to drag everyone thru the mud, no reason to abuse anyone who tried to offer help…how is he the victim in any of this? Why is it wrong for the co-workers he offended and insulted to be angry with him? Why can’t they be upset with what he did to them? Why are they the ones being blamed for his bad behavior? Why should they be punished for what happened?

Simple: They shouldn’t. They were in the wrong place at the wrong time, and they tried to fight off a bad situation. There’s no reason to blame Lupa for Spoony’s stupidity, nor is there any reason to blame JO, Nash, Oancitizen, Dickman, Brown, Welshy, Phelous, or anyone else who tried to reason with or stand up to Spoony. Anyone who does blame any of them is just as rotten to the core as Spoony is.

But hey, why bother with inconvenient truths? Why bother with evidence that Spoony was being a dick to everybody, and that’s what set the inferno off? It’s so much easier to scapegoat Lupa for being the first to finally tell him off. I mean, why would we ever want to admit Spoony dug his own grave when we could pawn the blame off on someone else for completely bullshit reasons?

Yeah, well, you Spoony worshippers can kiss my ass.

EDIT: And now the Spoony worshippers are demanding Nostalgia Chick and Todd in the Shadows be fired/disciplined for not sucking up to Spoony. What the hell do you people see in that pathetic spunk stain of a human being that you want everyone who thought he was out of line fired?

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I really didn’t want to post about this. Seriously, I really wanted to stay out of it. But there comes a point where someone pisses you off to such a degree that you have to say something. And when that someone is a person you were once a fan of, it’s that much harder. But hit that point I have, and while others have spoken much more eloquently than I’m about to, I’m going to stick my big fat nose into it anyway.

I was once a fan of Noah Antwiler, the Spoony One. I’ll even come right out and say it: He was the reason I discovered That Guy With The Glasses and its league of talented comedians. But no matter how talented someone is, no matter how funny they may be, there’s never a justification or excuse for being an egotistical, selfish, infantile, meanspirited ass. If you’ve had the misery to see his Twitter feed (and God help you if you have), you’ve witnessed a popular Internet critic letting his e-fame go straight to his head and losing his mind. Nonstop bitching, moaning and whining about how much his breakup with his girlfriend two years ago has ruined him and his life. Endless bemoaning about how unfair it is that he can’t get a new girl, preferably a Spoony fangirl. Screaming and swearing at anyone who suggests maybe a haircut and a shave might be a good idea. Lashing out at co-workers who try to reason with him or – God forbid – try to help him. Hitting on a co-worker essentially in front of her boyfriend in a way that some interpreted as a rape threat. And finally, accusing everyone who’s either called him out on his shit or has tried to talk sense into him as being a bunch of idiots too stupid to realize he’s being a comedian. You know how some people were revolted to find out Mel Gibson was a total lunatic after having been fans of his for years? Well, here’s a pretty close Internet equivalent.

Yes, I know Spoony has had medical issues in the recent past. Yes, I know he broke up with his girlfriend. Yes, I know a certain segment of his fandom has been unsympathetic to that and made unreasonable demands vis-à-vis his video output. I know all of this. Guess what? It’s still no excuse for being a dick. I’ve been thru a bad breakup. My siblings have been thru them, too. It hurts for a while, yes. But at some point, you fucking move on. Ditto for getting beyond serious medical scares. You cope with the experience and forge ahead in life. You don’t wallow in it and whine nonstop about it. Nobody wants to hear you bitch endlessly. And that’s all Spoony does anymore is bitch, bitch, bitch. He honestly seems to think he has it so much worse off than anyone else. I hate to break it to him, but his life is a hellhole of his own making. He’s chosen not to get over yourself. He’s chosen to be a self-entitled crybaby. He’s chosen to treat people who try to help him like shit. He’s chosen to ignore people who point out just what a creep he’s become. He’s pretty much the MY PARENTS ARE DEAD excuse come to life. If I don’t find that behavior sympathetic and justifiable when comic books pull it, I’m going to dislike it even more in real life.

Speaking of behavior I find appalling in fiction and real life, here’s another one: The old “if you and your significant other don’t work out, hook up with me” card. No matter who pulls this stunt, male or female, it’s just inconsiderate bullshit altogether. Well, Spoony did this, too. Two of his fellow reviewers, JesuOtaku and Nash, are going steady and recently moved in together. While the move was in progress, Spoony decided this would be a great time to hit on JO via Twitter…essentially doing so to Nash’s face. His pickup line? “If things don’t work out between you and Nash, I’d love to chain you to a pipe in my basement and love you. My way.” Not only did he utterly disregard the fact that JO is…you know, spoken for, but he also showed a colossal disrespect for Nash. Seriously, how much of a dick do you have to be to hit on another man’s girlfriend right in front of them? If two people are in a committed relationship, that means you have no business trying to horn in on one of them. PERIOD. Spoony basically offered to break them up so he could hook up with JO, which is sick. And you know the saddest part? Because he did so using a sleazy line that wouldn’t be out of place in the Spooning with Spoony series, some people took it as a rape threat or a rape joke. Which makes it even worse. It’s not enough that Spoony exposed himself as an inconsiderate lech with no regard for his co-workers’ personal lives, which by itself is deplorable. He had to do it in a way that could – and perhaps should; it’s entirely possible I’m cutting him too much slack – be taken with overtones of sexual assault. Either way you interpret his words, the end result is the same: It was a shitty, spineless thing to do to JO and Nash, and Spoony had no right to do it. And while he claims to have apologized for it, his continued asshole behavior shows he’s not remorseful over it at all, just sorry he got chewed out for it.

Now, some of his more hardcore supporters – what few he has left at this rate – might argue that criticizing him to his actions and his stupid remarks is the wrong way to deal with him. That he needs support from everyone to get help and pull himself together. Well, what the hell do you do when everyone who does try to help him gets mouthed off at? His more rational fans express concern for his well-being, he gives them attitude. His TGWTG co-workers try to reason with him, he accuses them of meddling where they’re not welcome. (Latest in line: Oancitizen, and I felt so bad for him when he accepted defeat.) Spoony screams and bitches about how much life sucks and how messed up he is, and yet any attempt to help him gets met with still more bullshit. So what the hell does he want? Does he just want to be able to subject anyone and everyone within range of him to his every bit of misery? Does he want a captive audience to witness his self-destruction? It sure seems that way. And the worst part? He thinks this is all funny and everyone is too dumb to get his humor. ‘Cause, you know, endlessly bitching about your bad luck with women when it’s your own damn fault, hitting on other people’s girlfriends, mouthing off at concerned friends and fans, and mocking those who you’ve pissed off is hilarious. Except…well, not.

Noah Antwiler…on the odd chance that you might see this LJ post (and frankly, I don’t give a rat’s ass if you do or don’t), I’m well aware of the fact that any criticism I have of you will be dismissed out of hand. You’ve made it clear that you feel you can say and do whatever you like, you can treat people however you like, you can pass all this off as “comedy,” and you can ignore any pleas to get yourself together/STFU. Fair enough. However, as someone who was a fan of yours until now, I can think you’re a reprehensible piece of shit. I can think you have no right whatsoever to hit on another guy’s girlfriend right in front of them, and that JO and Nash treated your stupidity with far more grace and dignity than you deserved. I can think the TGWTG people who’ve either stood up to you (Obscurus Lupa) or tried to talk sense into you (Andrew Dickman, Oancitizen) are people of integrity and good character, and that you were out of line to lash out at them. I can think LordKat’s podcast rant, brutal as it is, is a dead-on assessment of you. I can think it’s wonderfully ironic that you called out the Ultimate Warrior for being insane and “having no filter or tact” when you possess those very same flaws. (No wonder you can impersonate him so well!) I can think Spooning with Spoony – especially the sequence between you and JO – is repulsive to watch in light of your antics. I can think you’re a dumbass for losing your lunch over people wanting you to get yourself pulled together. I can think you’re pissing away all the goodwill you built up over the years, to say nothing of destroying your career. And I can think you’re rivaling Chris-Chan in terms of infantile douchebaggery, and that TGWTG did the right thing by shitcanning you altogether.

You want to self-destruct in full public view, Spoony? Do you want to destroy yourself and go down as an Internet celebrity cautionary tale? Go right ahead. Self-destruct. Scorch that earth, alienate your friends and colleagues, drive away your fans, put yourself at rock bottom with jack shit to show for it, do whatever you want. You clearly want to bring about your own ruin, so get on with it already. You won’t be missed, and the world will do just fine without your bullshit. The world will also get along just fine without the hatred and ill will you’ve engendered. I don’t think your former TGWTG colleagues really want to be as angry and upset as they are now; none of the people you pissed off and dragged into your insanity are happy to be dealing with this in the least. The sooner you’re out of sight and mind, the happier I think everyone will be.

You’re a bastard, Spoony, and you’ve firmly joined the ranks of Mel Gibson and Charlie Sheen as tragic, psychotic wastes of talent. (I’d include Chris Brown in that lineup, but he’s so stupid and incompetent that he’s at least funny.) Enjoy the bed you’ve made for yourself; I’m sure it’s going to be very uncomfortable and painful, as it should be.

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When last we left this topic behind, Tyrone Power was battling cosmic evil and mad science as the title character in Superman. I also promised the next cast/crew would be something batty.

No, it's not who you think it is.

Best. Dracula. Image. Ever. (Well, until Boris Vallejo stupidly decided to do a variant with a naked woman added to the foreground. Seriously, man, what the flying hell? This painting was perfection as is.)

So yeah, Dracula. Probably the most famous fictional supervillain ever, and certainly the one who's been brought to film the most. Which made this Time-Warped Cast so much harder, because so many people have played him...and also because Bela Lugosi is so strongly tied to the role. I had toyed with the idea of keeping Lugosi and changing the cast around him, but it would have been grand-scale cheating since Superman was cast top to bottom with faces fresh to the franchise. So in the interest of fairness, Dracula needed the same treatment. Pretty much everyone BUT The Artist Formerly Known As Vlad The Impaler was easy to cast, but for the title role...good Lord, what a pain in the ass. After a lot of agonizing, I finally realized that the only way to go was to pick a specific angle on the character and cast based on that. Dracula is many things: a charmer, a ladies' man, a tempter, a mass murderer, a mastermind, a hunter, and a nobleman. Where Lugosi portrayed all of those things and more in a mythic, larger-than-life way, I decided to cast someone who would go cold and dark. A guy who would be a more narrowly-focused Dracula, but that focus would be on scaring the living shit out of you just by entering a room.

So what did I end up with? Well....
Marlon Brando (circa A Streetcar Named Desire) as Vlad the Impaler/Count Dracula.

Paul Henreid (circa The Spanish Main)  as Professor Abraham Van Helsing.

Leslie Howard as Jonathan Harker.

Vivien Leigh as Mina Murray.

Heather Graham as Lucy Westenra.

Jason Isaacs as Dr. John Seward.

Timothy Dalton (circa Flash Gordon) as Arthur Holmwood.

Elvis Presley as Quincey Morris.

Alastair Sim as R.M. Renfield.

Flora Robson as Mrs. Westenra.

Audrey Hepburn, Jean Harlow, and Greta Garbo as the Brides of Dracula.

Yes, I cast a younger Van Helsing. He's not an old guy in the book. Bram Stoker was middle-aged when he wrote Dracula, and Van Helsing is not only his namesake, but is of similar age and partially resembles Stoker as he was at the time. Old Man Abe is an invention of the stage and film versions that came later. Also, Peter Cushing was in his 30s when he played Van Helsing in the Hammer Dracula films, so a young, fit Abe already has precedence on film.

Why Brando as Dracula? A few reasons. He can carry himself with dignity and regal quality, he can radiate menace and creepiness by saying and doing very little (his first scene with Maria Schneider in Last Tango in Paris will make your skin crawl), and his intensity as a performer would serve the count well. This Dracula would terrify you into a stupor before popping fangs or shapeshifting. A left field casting choice? Yeah, but consider the guys who've played Dracula already. Going against the grain was kind of mandatory.

Not quite so against the grain, though, is the crew of this particular film. In fact, for some of them, this would be right in their wheelhouse:
Director - Alfred Hitchcock

Producer - Darryl Zanuck

Screenwriter - Tom Stoppard

Music - Alex North

DP - Geoffrey Unsworth, BSC

Editor - Walter Murch, ACE

Production designer - Tim Harvey

Costume designer - Sandy Powell

FX - Digital Domain

Character makeup - Stan Winston

Creative consultant - Edward Gorey


As one might guess, this wouldn't be a particularly bloody or gruesome take on the material. It would instead concentrate on suspense, atmosphere (especially with Unsworth's foggy, perpetually soft-focus camerawork), tension, and mood. Which would be a fresh change of pace from the gore-drenched rut vampire movies and TV shows are currently in; less is often much more.

Yes, yes, I do have a Time-Warped Cast for that other famous bat of page and screen, but that can wait for another time.

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And now for something completely different...Time-Warped Movie Casting!

This is actually an old gag that used to be done on the old DC Comics Message Boards on AOL. The premise of this theme is simple: You can cast the movie of your choice with any actors you want, regardless of time or era. Want to make a romantic comedy starring Victor Mature and Heather Graham? Go for it. Want to make a pirate movie starring Brad Pitt and Walter Slezak? Have at it. Want to have the same actor play two roles by casting his younger self in one part and his older self in another? With Time-Warped Movie Casting, all things are possible!

So now I bring this old chestnut to LJ as a recurring feature. And since this originated on the old AOL DC MBs, let's kick this off with the very character this theme was created for:

And yes, this is essentially the costume I'd be going with (although the belt would be its proper red, rather than the yellow seen here). Superman never looked better than he did in the Fleischer series, and for this particular franchise, I'd prefer to stick with perfection.

For this balls-to-the-wall, epic-beyond-epic, most definitive Hollywood version of the Man of Steel ever, I went the extra mile and cast for an entire series of 6 to 7 movies. This way, all of the major villains and supporting characters would be accounted for, a large range of stories could be told, and there would be no arbitrary limitations imposed by the oh-so-cliche "make everything a trilogy" mindset that pollutes so many franchises. This would be a genuinely larger-than-life film series with a scope beyond any other comic book flicks on the market.

And so, ladies and gentlemen, I give you the cast of Superman and its sequels....
Tyrone Power as Kal-El/Clark Kent/Superman.

Linda Darnell as Lois Lane.

Brian Dennehy as Perry White.

Ron Howard (circa Happy Days) as Jimmy Olsen.

Charlton Heston (circa Ben-Hur) as Jor-El.

Olivia DeHavilland as Lara Lor-Van.

Tom Selleck as Jonathan Kent.

Diane Keaton as Martha Kent.

Ann-Margret (circa Viva Las Vegas) as Lana Lang.

Amanda Seyfried as Kara Zor-El/Supergirl.

Brock Peters (circa To Kill a Mockingbird) as Steel/John Henry Irons.

Yul Brynner as Lex Luthor.

Vincent Price as Brainiac.

Basil Rathbone as General Dru-Zod.

Ving Rhames as Darkseid.

Ewan McGregor as Manchester Black.

Gary Sinise as Metallo.

Woody Harrelson as the Parasite.

Rock Hudson as Bizarro.

Alan Rickman as Prometheus.

Ron Perlman as Magog.

Macho Man Randy Savage as Lobo.

Treat Williams as Ugly Bruno Mannheim.

James Spader as Morgan Edge.

Peter Serafinowicz as Mongul (voice acting over CG motion-capture).

But why stop there? How about the crew of all-star talent who would be making these cinematic jewels? (For individual credits, IMDB is your friend.)
Director - William Wyler

Producer - David O. Selznick

Writers - Norman Reilly Raine, Seton I. Miller, and Casey Robinson

Music - Jerry Goldsmith

DP - James Wong Howe, ASC

Editor - Paul Hirsch, ACE

Production designer - Ralph McQuarrie

Costume designer - Milo Anderson

FX - Weta Ltd.

Special character makeup - Doug Drexler and John Caglione Jr.

Stunt coordinator - R.A. Rondell

Creative consultants - Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster

So there you have it, folks. The ultimate film version of Superman. I'll be doing more casts like this in the future for a variety of properties, including novels, plays, and other comics. In fact, the next Time-Warped Movie Cast you'll see will be something quite...batty. I'll leave it at that for now.

In the meantime, let's go up, up, and away!

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So the SOPA and PIPA bills were derailed following a mammoth Internet-wide protest and a partial blackout of all the major websites and browsers, sparing the Internet from wide-ranging censorship and a violation of basic free speech and due process rights. This marks the second and third times Hollywood and the record industry have tried to force censorship legislation thru Congress with no success.

Then the European ACTA treaty, a kinder, gentler but no less dangerous version of SOPA/PIPA, was hit with a mammoth global protest and several countries -- some of which had previously signed the treaty without realizing what it was actually going to do -- putting the brakes on it before it could be ratified. It's still too soon to call it a victory, but so far it looks like it's on death row.

So do the MPAA and RIAA do the right thing and reevaluate their attitudes toward the Internet and its users? Why, no! As we speak, they're negotiating a new trade treaty in absolute secret, called TPP. The plan for this treaty? To make basic buffering functions in computers and web services illegal unless everybody on the planet pays Hollywood and the record industry license fees, in addition to abolishing fair use entirely. Not only would this result in the devastation of the Internet, but it would also destroy the computer industry altogether by making it prohibitively expensive to do business at all. They actually think killing the computer industry altogether is the logical alternative to updating their business models.

Do these pasty, swishy Jersey Shore motherfuckers (thank you, Spoony One) ever learn from their mistakes? This is Wile E. Coyote-level arrogant stupidity here.

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As the shit heap that is 2011 draws to a close, I find myself looking back on what this year has wrought and what I’ve learned from it all. To wit:

  • My old boss’ unrepentantly crooked ways of doing things nearly cost us our jobs at the start of the year, actually did get him demoted to a new facility with a severe pay cut, but pleased the deadbeats so much that they’ve made our current and far superior boss’ life a living hell, fighting tooth and nail to restore the crooked business practices, overtime abuses, and protection of deadbeat workers at the expense of those who actually do the work that almost got us shit-canned in the first place.

  • My youngest sister’s pet rabbit Othello died without warning in February.

  • Our dog Arwen, having struggled against degenerative disc disease since Thanksgiving 2010, experienced a near-total recovery only to relapse completely in mid-July and die in August. She was two months shy of her 7th birthday.

  • My father suffered a benign growth in his colon that required its near-total removal and a short-term ileostomy in March, and underwent reversal surgery in October. Both times, the hospital treated him like utter shit (indeed, their willful negligence back in March could have cost him his life).

  • A possible apprenticeship opening at GM went tits-up when the UAW rigged the test results to ensure only THEIR pet picks would get in regardless of qualifications, and thus I and many others who were qualified for the jobs got told we weren’t and were thus rejected. That, coupled with a lot of related criminal behavior on the part of the employees and the UAW, has resulted in a pending federal investigation of the scam. So essentially, I got cheated out of a much better job due to union corruption.

  • My youngest sister got dumped by her dyslexic boyfriend after a year of severe ups and downs in their relationship.

  • My brother’s roommate screwed him over on helping to pay the bills, cheated him out of a job at Wal-Mart, and hightailed it back to Texas with the US Marshals pursuing him for unpaid credit card dues.

  • Our tub backed up and destroyed our kitchen ceiling for the third time this decade, necessitating an entire summer’s worth of extensive repairs and repainting.

  • Our oldest cat, Pumpkin, suffered a severe, near-skeletal weight loss following Arwen’s death (possibly starving herself out of grief?) and died the day before Thanksgiving at 14 years old.

  • In early November, we’d bought – at a discount – two three month-old Pomeranian puppies, Romeo and Juliet. Late at night on my birthday, Juliet seemed to develop an upset stomach, but in reality had come down with a dangerous stomach virus. A trip to the vet and days of medication failed to have any impact, and she died en route to the emergency animal hospital the day after Thanksgiving. She went from seemingly healthy to dead in the span of four days at only three months old.

  • Just before Arwen’s death, we’d bought a new kitten named Penelope. She was an extremely loving, personable cat until Juliet’s death, after which she became increasingly antisocial. Just before Christmas, we got a new puppy named Olivia, and since then Penelope’s been hiding away in the basement, and won’t have anything at all to do with us.

  • My brother’s relationship with his live-in girlfriend has been gradually souring after she spent October visiting her family down south. There’s a not-too-sudden suspicion that she’d rather be back home with her folks, so that relationship is on a death watch.

  • The older of my two sisters – who we do not get along with at all – broke up with her boyfriend of several years, has been dating around for much of the year, and is almost never home, leaving us to tend to her miserably lonely cat Mel.

  • My company’s contract with Chrysler expires in December, with rumors abounding that we’ll be scrapped in favor of a new janitorial service or Chrysler workers taking the jobs back for themselves.

  • As a consequence of all of the above, I have not been able to pursue dating at all this year. And if I lose my job at the end of the year, dating will be off the table indefinitely.

  • Oh, and Congress is trying their damndest to ram thru two bills, PIPA and SOPA, which are designed to allow Hollywood and the record industry the ability to censor the Internet en masse, shutting down any and all websites they don’t like in the name of combating “piracy”...and, unsurprisingly, helping Congress prevent rallies like Occupy Wall Street from happening ever again. In short, Congress wants to eradicate the 1st Amendment.

In light of all this tragedy, derailment, endless streaming of setbacks, and overall feeling of helplessness, what can one take from all this? What possible good can come from a year that has been consistently horrible from start to finish? After giving it some thought, I finally realize what this year has taught me:

Be aware of your mortality, and never take the people and things in your life for granted.

Obviously, these two lessons are intertwined to a certain degree. The deaths of Othello, Arwen, Pumpkin, and Juliet were a shocking wake-up call, Juliet and Arwen especially. Juliet at three months, Arwen just shy of 7 – both were far, far too young to die, and in their too-short lives they left a huge paw print on our hearts. My dad in particular has taken their deaths harder than anyone. Indeed, his own medical woes and the shitty treatment he got from his doctors went a long way to driving home the fact that neither he or my mother will be around forever. While I’ve always been aware of that, and while it’s certainly been a large part of the reason why I’m so keen on getting a better job and being able to stand on my own, seeing him come that close to death and have doctors who just plain didn’t give a fuck whether he lived or died made it the elephant in the room that I can’t ignore any longer. And even with our surviving pets Romeo, Olivia, Mel, Penelope, Dorian (another rabbit), and Shakespeare (ditto), what guarantee do we have of their survival? Romeo was Juliet’s brother, and Penelope is only a few months older. If Juliet can get sick and die without warning at only a few months old, what’s to stop Romeo and Penelope from dying young? What’s to stop Olivia from a sudden death? Dorian and Shakespeare are approaching the end of their lifespans as rabbits in captivity. Mel’s had enough eye infections this year to even call his long-term health into doubt. This year, death has hovered over us at all times, and it’s now impossible to assume even the youngest among us is safe.

But there’s also the fact that even the non-death stuff in our lives can’t be counted on. My job, as of this writing, is still hanging in the air. I don’t know if our contract was ever renewed or not, nor do I know if our current staggered work schedule (designed to give us occasional three-day weekends and to help Chrysler recover from the old boss’ constant overtime gouging) will remain in place; the deadbeats are campaigning hard to go back to the shitty old tactic of forcing the exact same people to work every single weekend and evening so they themselves can goof off. So not only do I not know if I’ll stay employed, but I can’t be sure that I’ll be able to have any time off if the shitbags in my building have their way. No free time = no way I can even think about dating again, a problem I suffered during 2010 under the old, crooked boss. While I technically did have time to date this year, circumstances made it utterly impossible. I can’t be sure circumstances will allow for me to date this year, either, nor should I count on it. Further, given Congress’ bullheaded insistence on passing PIPA/SOPA despite everybody telling them it’ll destroy the economy and disrupt cyber-security – to say nothing of the updated National Defense Authorization Act that allows for American citizens to be indefinitely detained without due process just on the mere accusation of being a terrorist – I can’t even count on my civil liberties remaining intact. Every aspect of my life feels like it’s completely up in the air, and there’s no way in hell I can manage any control or say in it.

I’m normally not one for New Year’s resolutions, simply because there’s often no point to them. The simpler ones get broken quickly, the more complex ones are not even feasible. But this year, I’m making an exception. The lessons I learned this year about mortality and not taking things for granted will be my resolutions. Too much has happened this year, too much has been lost, and too much is being threatened with loss for me to do otherwise. So from here on out, the good things in my life? I’ll embrace and enjoy them while I can. The people and pets I love? I’ll cherish them while I can. The hobbies and pastimes I enjoy? I’ll enjoy them while I can? My job? I don’t like it much, but I’ll make the most of it while I have it. My civil liberties? I’ll enjoy them while I can. Really, there isn’t much more to say. This year’s been a hard lesson in loss and not knowing what I will or won’t have in the future, and I can’t go into the new year without those experiences shaping how I’ll deal with things to come.

A grim, bleak entry? Admittedly, but it’s been a grim, bleak year. 2011 will not be missed by any stretch of the imagination.

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If you could solve one problem in the world, what would it be? One random answer will win a $50 Amazon gift card. [Details here]


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Have you ever met anyone famous?

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As if the deaths of Othello, Arwen, and Pumpkin weren't enough (Pumpkin dying on Wednesday), we suffered another loss a couple hours ago.

Three weeks ago, we'd bought -- at a generous discount -- twin Pomeranian puppies, named Romeo and Juliet. They were both three months old. Monday night, Juliet abruptly fell ill with some kind of stomach virus. We took her to the vet, got her some medicine and canned dog food, and were told to give the medicine a week to work its mojo.

The medicine utterly failed, and Juliet started going limp at about 6:00. We took her to an emergency animal hospital in Allen Park...and she died on arrival. The only thing they could do was give us a blanket to wrap her in.

You know, it was bad enough losing Arwen at almost 7 years old. This? It's a thousand times worse. We'd only had her three weeks. She was only three months old. Her breeder had given her a clean bill of health. She never even got a chance to live. And now her brother -- who did everything possible to rouse her into playing with him during her illness -- is going to have to go it alone.I can't even begin to tell you how unfair this is. This year has fucking sucked beyond all belief. And worst of all, it's not over yet.

RIP, Juliet (August-November 2011). I'm sorry you didn't get to live the life you deserved.

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