I have a post on Metafilter to thank for pointing out this far-ranging and fascinating discussion on the role of fictional brands in media with members of the design teams from the Barbie film, the films of Wes Anderson, and Adult Swim, by writer Ayla Angelos for It’s Nice That (and the piece also introduced me to the Fictional Brands Archive).
I thought that I had shared a quick reaction to seeing James Mangold’s Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny somewhere online, either here or on one of the MANY social media sites I’ve tried out recently, but it looks like I never actually got around to it? Or maybe I did and I the search functions on those sites aren’t so great? Or there’s a social media outlet that I’ve forgotten about…?
In any event, yes, I was able to see the final Indiana Jones film in the theater on opening weekend, and I absolutely loved it. I thought that it was a fitting finale for the character and a loving tribute to the films that came before it. If Mangold didn’t quite stage action sequences quite like Spielberg would have, he still really captured the tone and spirit of the originals. I went in with some hesitation about the new de-aging techniques for the flashback sequences, but ended up very, very impressed with the results. The third act twist was a big swing that I absolutely did not see coming, and I really respect that they took that big of a creative risk, but ultimately I think they pulled it off nicely.
I’ve always felt that the character of Indiana Jones only really worked as well as he did all these years because Harrison Ford was the perfect actor to embody him, and that has never been truer than here. Ford brings a real gravity and weight to this older version of the character, while still diving headlong into the action and humor of it all.
It was great to see some familiar faces again, but the new characters introduced were fantastic, too. I would be more than happy to watch the ongoing adventures of Phoebe Waller-Bridge’s Helena Shaw and Ethann Isidore’s Teddy for years and years to come.
I’ve been meaning to share my thoughts on some recent reads and watches, but I keep getting distracted and then time goes on and I still haven’t said anything and my site remains dusty and unused for weeks and months on end.
So here’s a quick list of things that I would have written about here had I had the time, and may end up coming back to sooner or later.
Mrs. Davis on Peacock is like a live action Tom Robbins novel, and is absolutely worth checking out.
Star Trek: Strange New Worlds is my new favorite live action Trek series of all time, but I’ve been loving all of the new stuff in general (and the crossover episode with Lower Decks, “Those Old Scientists,” is one of the best episodes of Trek, or indeed of anything, that I’ve seen in a LONG time).
I’m halfway through the first season of Apple TV+’s Foundation adaptation and really, really impressed with it so far.
I recently finished rereading one of my favorite science fiction series of novels, Kage Baker’s Company series, and it remains every bit as good as I remembered it being.
Greta Gerwig’s Barbie is absolutely fantastic, and FAR better than it has a right to be.
For the last few months I’ve been reading all of the Krakoa-era X-Men titles in publication order starting with the 2019 releases, and as of now I’m almost caught up with this year’s releases, and I have been really impressed with the overall level of quality.
And finally, now that Twitter has been well and truly x-ed, I should note that I’m spending most of my social media time over on Bluesky these days, where you can find me at https://bsky.app/profile/chrisroberson.bsky.social
“After Hank suddenly disappears, Team Venture is forced to fight their way through conspiracies, mysteries, and plenty of villains to find Hank and restore the world as they once knew it. Own it July 21 on Digital and July 25 on DVD/Blu-Ray.”
Go Team Venture!
With the current sad state of the bird site, just a quick note here that I’m still active on Tumblr as @chrisroberson and on Mastodon (or the Fediverse, if you prefer) as @firstname.lastname@example.org. I’m going to try to do a better job of posting here on a more regular basis, but I can usually be found at either of those sites.
On April 5, 2063, a Vulcan survey ship lands in Bozeman, Montana after detecting a warp-capable ship launching from there earlier that day. The Vulcans are greeted the ship’s designer and pilot, Zefram Cochrane, and the rest is (future) history.
I’ve always been a hardcore Trekkie, having started watching the original series in reruns as a kid in the Seventies, seeing all of the original cast movies in the theater, watching all of the spinoff series from The Next Generation through Enterprise live in broadcast. I read the comics and the novels, played the video games and got the roleplaying games. I’d return to Trek whenever I needed it, and these last few years I’ve needed it a lot.
At the beginning of the pandemic I started rewatching The Original Series, introduced my son to Deep Space Nice, and then proceeded to rewatch all of The Animated Series, The Next Generation, Enterprise, and am currently working my way through the last few seasons of Voyager. I’ve read giant stacks of Star Trek novels and comics, technical manual and series companions. And with all of the new Trek being produced–Discovery, Picard, Lower Decks, Prodigy, and Strange New Worlds, to say nothing of all of the legacy shows being available to stream, I don’t think there has ever been a better time to be a Star Trek fan. And with the state of the world and all of the challenges facing us today, it’s arguable that we’ve never needed Trek more than we do right now. Stories about competent people working together, overcoming their differences and finding strength in their diversities, solving problems with science and cooperation. Sounds pretty good to me.
Happy First Contact Day to all who celebrate. Live Love and Prosper, Peace and Long Life.
Back in the olden blogging days the annual holiday songs from the good folks behind The Venture Bros was always a treat, and I was delighted last night to see that this year we got a brand new installment. There’s also a YouTube playlist of all of the Venture Bros Holiday Songs to date, and all of the songs can be downloaded from Ken Plume’s Patreon.
An issue of Hellboy & The B.P.R.D. that I worked on, “Forgotten Lives” with art by Stephen Green, has appeared on Multiversity Comics list of the Best Single Issues of 2022. Here’s a bit of what reviewer Ryan Fitzmartin has to say about it:
“Mignola and Roberson use the story of a ghost in a mass grave in the Bronx as an entry point to explore death and legacy. Hellboy and Trever Bruttenholm are investigating a ghost, but their heads are really occupied by the thoughts of recently departed friends. It’s an elegiac, sad story, with great dialogue that really understands how people cope. The overarching narrative, of the death of a forgotten comic-book writer, feels in some ways as if Mignola and Roberson are wondering about what they’ll leave behind when they depart.
“The art in ‘Forgotten Lives’ likewise is somber, and constrained, lending gravity and weight to a heavy issue. Many artists have drawn Hellboy over the past two decades, but Stephen Green’s pencils manage to do a standout job. Hellboy’s face is expressive and deeply emotive. Green does great work with his eyes, which speak as much as the words do. Dave Stewarts’s coloring is of course completely on point, albeit a little more muted than normal, perhaps to allow the dialogue to take more weight.”
Another of Mignola’s titles, Koschei in Hell, appears higher up on the list, along with one of my absolute favorite single issues of the year, Nightwing #87, so we’re in pretty good company!
I’ve written before on many occasions about my longtime obsession with Indiana Jones. I first saw Raiders of the Lost Ark in the theater the summer I turned 11 years old, and was there for each of the three sequels on the opening weekend. A trip to Disney World a few years ago got me on a serious Indiana Jones kick and in the span of a few months I rewatched all of the movies, all of the Young Indiana Jones Chronicles, read all of the Marvel and Dark Horse comics and a huge pile of Rob MacGregor novels. I found that Kingdom of the Crystal Skull was much better than I remembered from my one viewing on opening weekend, and that The Last Crusade was even better than I remembered and I remembered it being awesome, and that the original Raiders film is pretty much without a single flaw.
But when there were the first rumblings that Harrison Ford would be reprising the role in a fifth feature film, I was skeptical. Ford is still a fantastic actor, but he’s a little long in the tooth to be an action star. Admittedly, James Mangold’s Logan made it clear he knew how to handle the story of an aging adventurer, but I remained unconvinced. Willing to be convinced, but skeptical.
Then I saw the trailer yesterday, and all of my doubts evaporated. I have no idea what’s happening here, or what this has to do with what appears to be the Antikythera mechanism. Is Phoebe Waller-Bridge playing Marcus Brody’s daughter, or granddaughter? Or is she one of Sallah’s kids who went off to school in the UK? Are those Nazis who got recruited in Operation Paperclip who are up to no good years later? I don’t know, and at the moment, I don’t care. Because that’s Indiana Jones, dammit. I’m sold. That’s the GUY.
I went into the trailer skeptical, but by the end I was grinning from ear to ear. And I’ll be there on opening day to see what happens, just like I’ve been doing for the last four decades.
Hello, anyone who might happen to chance by here. I’ve maintained this site for a LONG time but I’ve only updated sporadically the last couple of years, usually posting about movies or TV shows that I’ve really enjoyed. My day-to-day online posting has mostly been on various social media sites, where I variously talk about politics or post pictures of my cats or share random nostalgia or post about movies or TV shows that I’ve really enjoyed. Sometimes I even talk about writing and my own work. And for a long time that’s worked well enough.
But when a moronic billionaire buys one of the most prominent social media sites and promptly turns it into a cesspool, that seems increasingly less attractive. So while I’ve set up shop at Mastodon, regularly post to Tumblr, and have been active on the Hive Social app (as @chrisroberson), I want to make more regular use of this site. John Scalzi has issued a clarion call that we should all just start blogging again, to create what he calls the “artisan web,” and I for one intend to do my part.
I desperately miss the old days when everyone blogged on their own sites and we used RSS feeds to keep track of the latest updates, and though the demise of Google Reader made that harder to do, I’ve been using Feedly in the years since to keep up with everyone still posting on their own sites. So here’s my message in a bottle. I’ll start posting here more regularly about my own work. I’ll talk more frequently about the books and comics and movies that I’m enjoying. And maybe I’ll even share photos of my cats here, if the mood strikes.
My name is Chris Roberson, and I write comics, and sometimes books and short stories, and sometimes animated TV and video games.