Thursday, July 25, 2013

Superman vs. Batman

One of the scoops at San Diego Comic-Con this year was that, in the sequel to Man of Steel, Superman would be pitted against Batman, bringing to mind their battle in The Dark Knight Returns.

There is already much speculation as to how the movie will be plotted. Contributing Editor Billy Nilles calls the premise a bad idea, asserting that writer David Goyer and directer Zack Snyder have "irreparably altered Superman's philosophy".

While I also found Man of Steel's final battle clumsily contrived, the rationale behind the sequel may be as simple as profit. Thanks to Tim Burton, Bruce Timm, and Christopher Nolan, Batman is probably Warner Bros.' most lucrative property. Meanwhile, though Superman hasn't been as successful at the movies, he remains popular enough to have afforded TV's Smallville ten seasons. Regardless who plays Batman or how problematic the plot, people will go see it. The powers-that-be are risking very little.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Photo Opportunity

Thanks to The Cosby Show, I grew up fascinated with the bacon burger dog, not certain such a tantalizing treat actually existed. Thanks to the Web, I found recipes for it and enlisted grill master John Ricotta to one day make it a reality. That day was yesterday, my first chance to meet five-month-old Anando Paul, son of my friends Deshant and Tracy.

I assist in Anando's superhero training.

Flanked by John, Kelly, and young John Ricotta on the left; Julie and Emma Ricotta, Anando and Deshant Paul on the right.

At The 5-2: "$25 a Day, Plus Expenses" by Peter M. Gordon

This week's poem commemorates the birth of P.I. fiction icon Raymond Chandler on July 23, 1888.

Monday, July 15, 2013

BLACK APERTURE by Matt Rasmussen

As a member of the Academy of American Poets, I received a copy of Black Aperture, winner of the Academy's Walt Whitman Award for poets' first books. I did not intend to read the book in three sittings, wanting to give each poem space, but the overarching subject—the poet's brother's suicide—is darkly absorbing.

The poems are tightly written, yet figurative and purposeful; the book an example of where poetry, crime, and noir can meet.

Visit Matt Rasmussen's website.

CUCKOO Commotion

You may have heard that the author of recent "debut" private eye novel The Cuckoo's Calling was actually beloved children's author J.K. Rowling under the pseudonym Robert Galbraith. As a P.I. fiction fan, I've been hesitant to jump on the Harry Potter bandwagon but am intrigued to compare Rowling's work in the different genres.

Pseudonyms are a time-honored way for authors to branch out. I wouldn't hesitate to use one, but I'll always be grateful to have broken into print under my own name, indeed Gerald So.

At The 5-2: "Glock Nine" by George Dila

This week's poem is by Michigan poet George Dila.

I'm seeking two more poems to round out The 5-2's second year.

Saturday, July 13, 2013


Cartoon Network's computer-animated Batman series premiered today. I like its quirky villains, its new take on Alfred as a more action-oriented bodyguard, and, most of all, that he and Batman were hurt as a result of all that running and jumping. The voice acting was also fine. I'm just not sure the generically clean look of computer animation fits Batman as well as it did Green Lantern.

Friday, July 12, 2013

Noir Riot Journal

Friends of The Lineup and The 5-2 Lou Boxer and Cullen Gallagher, along with Gutter Books publisher Matthew Louis, announce Noir Riot—a biennial journal of noir fiction, nonfiction, and poetry to be published in conjunction with Philadelphia's NoirCon:

Our goal is to create a high quality journal that reflects emerging trends and showcases the best current writing in noir and, more generally, crime fiction (and nonfiction). We want to explore the relationship between classic crime fiction and the issues that affect all of us today. All noir/crime-related submissions are welcome, but we will give special consideration to work that is contemporary and/or socially relevant.

Here are the full guidelines.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Silver Birch Press NOIR Erasure Poetry Anthology - Deadline: September 1

5-2 alum Catfish McDaris tells me of an upcoming anthology of poems made by blacking out passages from noir and hardboiled novels. Here are the guidelines.

Cote de Pablo Leaving NCIS

TVLine's Matt Webb Mitovich reports, with NCIS's eleventh season due to start production next week, Cote de Pablo (Ziva David) has announced she is leaving the show. de Pablo's contract expired last season, but she will appear at the start of Season 11 to wrap up Ziva's arc.

Several characters have left NCIS over the years, but not a character this important, a field agent, since Kate Todd was killed by Ari Haswari and replaced by Ziva. That change succeeded, in part because Kate and Ziva were very different characters fleshed out over time. I'd like to see a new female field agent added to maintain the show's overall appeal, but things could go in another direction.

Sunday, July 07, 2013

Murray Wins Wimbledon

Beating Novak Djokovic in straight, if tightly contested sets, Andy Murray is the first male player from Great Britain to win tennis's most storied tournament since Fred Perry in 1936. What a way to end a fortnight that saw Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer eliminated early. I'm happy for Andy, and for his coach, Ivan Lendl, who was frustrated at Wimbledon in his playing days.

Tuesday, July 02, 2013

If I Wrote a Superman Movie...

As pleased as I am with Man of Steel, Superman brawling with bad guys has always seemed crude to me. This has long been his m.o. in comics and cartoons. In Warner Bros. Animation's 2001 Justice League cartoon, Superman was deliberately powered down so he would need his super friends' help.

My Clark Kent/Superman would have traveled the world, gaining insight into every culture and himself. He would be aware of how powerful he was, of how much damage he were capable of, and would be firmly against aggression. His instinct, like a Jedi's, would be to defend, not to attack. He would not punch, but would slip, block, and use submission holds. Not adding to villains' violence, he would not cause as much collateral damage.

He would be a rescuer and would use his power to nullify villains' power such that, when Superman arrived, they might simply give up.

I know. It would probably never sell. But I'll keep dreaming.

Monday, July 01, 2013

At The 5-2: "Mentality" by Max West

This week, Sacramento poet Max West offers a poem about his lemon tree.

You can now look up 5-2 poems or contributors via a Google search bar.