Mad Max vs. Mad Max

Okay, we revisited The Road Warrior last night, and I need to update my statement in which I said it was better than Fury Road. Story-wise and character-wise, they’re both (to put it charitably) streamlined for speed. But there’s a lot more action in Fury Road, and its action is far more creative. Fury Road is visually gorgeous in a way Road Warrior never approaches. And the world building in Fury Road is astonishing, just the intricate texture of the world and its cultures, all depicted without laborious exposition. Even the political/feminist themes work, as bald and obvious as they are, but then even clumsy progress is progress (a lesson I wish a lot of fanatical progressives would learn).

As for Max himself, both Mel Gibson and Tom Hardy are fine in a role that gives them little to chew on. Gibson’s best character beat is his “You want to get out of here? You talk to me.” Hardy’s is a grudging thumbs-up he gives in an action sequence. Gibson does get to be the actual star of his own movie, though, which Hardy does not (Charlize Theron’s Furiosa isn’t much better as a character, but she does get to carry the plot).

Still ahead, we’ll rewatch Beyond Thunderdome to see how that compares. And they’ve already announced another flick with Hardy. But really, I’m looking forward to the Mad Max game for PS4 a lot more.

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Say, Mad Max, What About Your Promise To The He-Man-Woman-Haters-Club?

MADMAX

Depending on who you talk to, Mad Max: Fury Road is a revelatory feminist extravaganza, an insidious distaff assault on the stalwart ramparts of all real manliness, or not actually a feminist film at all because all violence is masculine.

I saw it, and if memory is accurate, The Road Warrior remains the best Max film (and Mel Gibson the best Max), but Fury Road is getting people thinking and that’s a good thing. [UPDATE: I changed my mind after rewatching The Road Warrior.]  Of course, the “Men’s Rights Activists” are pathetic creatures whose rants have worth only for those looking for a good laugh (and, perhaps in some cases, to establish a case for domestic abuse), like the quoted comment in the image above. There are similar fuckwits on the feminist extremist side of things, like the idiots who attacked Joss Whedon recently. And I respect Anita Sarkesian, and don’t think of her as a militant/unreasonable feminist, but she can be pretty reductively doctrinaire at times. This seems to be one of those times.

To me, yeah, sure it’s a feminist film. But neither it nor its characters are all that deep, and it seems that it had to hit a pretty low bar (promotion tied to Eve Ensler’s involvement, some really basic symbols and themes, passing the Bechdel test) to excite a lot of folks into raving that it’s some sort of revelation. In truth, it’s still just a beautifully crafted cartoon with the barest of ciphers for characters including Max and Furiosa.

Here’s Tina Turner (who could remind you that strong women in a Mad Max flick aren’t anything new) with a song of the week for everybody who can keep their heads out of their asses on the subject…

Tina Turner — “One Of The Living”

Shadowy News For Pulp Movie Fans…

The Shadow

Some news on the Doc Wilde blog for fans of pulp action movies in general and 1994’s film version of The Shadow in particular:

Shadowy News

Which reminds me of one of my better Twitter statuses last year:

Doc Wilde Abroad…

Memories...

A quick update for Doc Wilde fans and our largely wonderful Kickstarter supporters (who have responded to our delays with almost universal grace and understanding)…

I had hoped to have Doc Wilde and The Frogs of Doom out by now, indeed by Christmas. Fortunately, I hesitated to promise it by then, because, clearly, that would have been a mistake. We are very, very close to completion, and Gary is finishing up the final artwork and layout, but the way things have timed out have presented a new obstacle, at least for the near future.

I am in Brazil right now, pretty much for the month. (A special thanks to Richter and Thomas, and of course to my son Nathaniel, for taking care of the Byrdcave and the dog while I’m away). The trip is both a fantastic vacation and a chance to work with our lovely translator, Nydia Macedo, on prep for the Brazilian editions of the books. I’m having a wonderful time, but my online access is very limited, so my back-and-forth with Gary is going more slowly, and once he’s finished with art and layout, I won’t really be able to check printing proofs until I’m back in the states next month.

When I’m back, things should go very quickly, and book 1 will be out in the world where it belongs.

Two-Fisted Flickage (My Latest IMJ Pulp Column)

My latest column at Inveterate Media Junkies is up. It’s part 2 of my look at pulp adventure films.

Two-Fisted Flickage (Pulp On The Big Screen, Part 2)

And if you missed part 1 or earlier columns:

If Adventure Has A Name (Pulp On The Big Screen)

Column 1: I Am Doc Savage

Column 2: I Am Not Doc Savage

Pulp Adventure In The Sheets [Updated]

It has been a gloriously pulpy week here in the Byrdcave. Three deliveries brought big doses of pulp adventure to add to my to-read stack. The assorted volumes can be seen here, cavorting in my bed:

First delivery brought my latest Doc Savage and Shadow reprints from Anthony Tollin’s Sanctum Books.

Second delivery brought Wayne Reinagel’s Pulp Heroes: Khan Dynasty, the prequel to his epic Pulp Heroes: More Than Mortal (which I intend to review at some point).

And finally, third delivery brought the hefty hardback B.P.R.D. Plague of Frogs, collecting lots of Mike Mignola goodness in the Hellboy universe. And, yeah, Hellboy is pulp. Hellboy is as pulp as it gets.

UPDATE: Wow, this is a pulpilicious week. The fourth delivery brought the new Spider reprints from Girasol.

Lots to look forward to.

I also received a photo of a beautiful woman with her brand new copy of Doc Wilde and The Frogs of Doom, all dark-eyed glee that she’s got my book.

I tell you, that does a writer good.