Assembling.

ATTN: Counterforce has turned nerdy as shit.

Two thoughts about this new trailer for The Avengers

Thought #1: I feel like if I wasn’t such a Joss Whedon fan, and also if this wasn’t the realization of so many of dorky dreams as a kid standing there in front of the spinner rack when I was so little, that I would hate what I see in this trailer and find it so cheesy. But I don’t. I find it, in a word, AWESOME. My whole being is HULK SMASHING/devolving  its way into a full FAN BOY FRENZY.

Thought #1.5: It looks like so many scenes of this movie will involve the team working together to fight off alien baddies in the crumbling ruins of Cleveland standing in for NYC, and it reminds me a lot of Warren Ellis’ classic The Authority, which was a wonderful analogue for DC Comics’ big hitters, The Justice League Of America.

If there’s any out there, anyone in the world, who doesn’t get who the Justice League Of America are (who, I’d wager, are probably more popular in the everyman and woman than The Avengers, just because the JLA is made up o’ the Big Guns, and not just the Big Guns + characters like Hawkeye), then my simple analogy would be this: The JLA are DC Comics’ jerking it to the right while The Avengers are Marvel’s jerking it to the left.

Also, that’s just a penis and masturbation metaphor folks, not a political analogy. Or is it? Hmmm…

Anyway, long story short, this film looks like it’s finally the movies living up the early 00’s dip into WIDESCREEN COMICS, which were the dream of comics emulating the movies, and it looks GLORIOUS. ALL CAPS NERDERY.

Pre-Thought #2: This is the new poster for the movie:

This is a fine example of a bad poster.

Also, sorry, that’s the UK version of the poster, because in the UK the movie will be called Avengers Assemble. I don’t know this for sure, but I’d guess it has something to do with the TV show? ScarJo’s Black Widow looks kind of like Uma Thurman’s Miss Peel, right? Ugh. Right? (Or was it Mrs. Peel?)(I think it might’ve been Mrs. Peel) But neither Robert Downey Jr. nor Jeremy Renner is a Ralph Fiennes, nor a Patrick Macnee.

Thought #2: Ever since the moment it was rumored and then announced that Joss Whedon would be writing and directing The Avengers (and probably script doctoring the Captain America movie as well), Benjamin Light and I had had this running joke: Well, since Marvel likes to fuck things up, and fire people, there’s still p l e n t y of time to fire Joss Whedon…

And then when the Internet informed us that the first day of filming on The Avengers had commenced, we thought, “Well, there’s still plenty of time to fire him.”

And as new set reports came in, and rumors about various scenes, and mini trailers attached to the end of the Captain America movie, and the announcement of the end of principal photography, and then Super Bowl trailers being show during the Super Bowl, we kept saying, “There’s still plenty of time to fire him, and Marvel’s probably just waiting for the right moment.”

Anyway, May is so close! There’s still plenty of time for Marvel Films to scooch on in here and fuck this up by firing Joss Whedon. Hope not, but just saying. And I’m sure that however too much screen time they’ve already signed over to Robert Downey Jr. they can probably squeeze in another half an hour or forty minutes for him.

“God told me to do it.”

Some of the best news out of yesterday was that Philip Pullman, author of the His Dark Materials trilogy, has a new book coming out…

It is: The Good Man Jesus And The Scoundrel Christ. What a gorgeous title. Apparently the plot is a bit of what if (folks, your entire religion is based on wizards and magic and questions of “what if,” as you know) Mary had given birth to two sons, Jesus and Christ. The one who is Jesus is the good son, the one told about in the gospels. And the one called Christ? What if he was Jesus’ evil twin?

Ah, glorious. You know we love EVIL TWINS here at Counterforce.

Also, we love Philip Pullman. The His Dark Materials trilogy, if you’ve yet to read it, is brilliant and fun. Yes, it’s a bit (well, maybe more than a bit) of an attack on the catholic church, but it’s hardly just that. It’s some of the finest literature for children (and adults) in years, imaginative in it’s scope and smart in the design of it’s characters, and a beautiful reminder that the box you’re thrust into by those who claim to know better than you isn’t necessarily the world you have to accept, and the world you want is the one you have to create all around you…

They adapted the first novel in the series, The Golden Compass (as it was titled here in the US, but it’s called Northern Lights in Pullman’s native UK), was adapted as a movie a few years ago, and it’s not terrible, but it’s also not terribly fantastic either, despite strong casting. Really, it just suffers from poor execution and from what I would classify as a serious lack of balls on those who sought to bring it to life.

Sorry, I could really go on forever about that but I was too busy fantasizing about all the wacky shenanigans I could get into with my evil twin…

The City On The Edge Of Forever.

Phoenix is the sweatiest city in America.

Stranger In Moscow.”

Sydney and the light rail.

Augmented reality in London.

The ghost in the field, and RFID chips.

What will happen when London is flooded?

Berlin” in Paris.

Interracial couple denied marriage license in Louisiana.

Soft robots and DARPA.

Moscow’s mayor promises a winter without snow.

Paris Syndrome and Jerusalem Syndrome.

San Francisco and the 1906 earthquake.

Rebuilding New Orleans.

from here.

City Of Blinding Lights.”

A possible glimpse at our future space cities.

America’s most expensive cities and most impoverished cities.

FOX promises to air all 13 of the already ordered Dollhouse season two episodes.

Speaking of which, Joss Whedon and Drew Goddard’s The Cabin In The Woods being held back a year to be switched over to 3D.

Magnetricity” observed for the first time.

A map of your future mega-cities and megaopolises.

“When the lights go down in the city…”

Sensing the immaterial-material city.

Cities underground and cities tsunami-resistant.

City Of Shadows.

The ruins of Chernobyl, over 20 years later.

Cities In Dust.”

GTA IV: Inherent Vice City.

Silver City” and “Sad, Sad City.”

Why all cities are haunted.

The mind of a city (and how our brains are similar).

The cityscapes of François Schuiten.

Chronic City by Jonathan Lethem.

The city is a battlesuit for surviving the future.

Phantom City: See the city that could’ve been.

“…when we reach the city.”

“I have come to wound the autumnal city.”

“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times…”

“I’ll take the coral reefs as my metaphor. Though hardly so beautiful. If the essence of life is information carried in DNA, then society and civilization are just colossal memory systems and a metropolis like this one, simply a sprawling external memory….”

-a quote from Ghost In The Shell 2: Innocence, a movie that I was watching the other day and just first stirred the pot on several thoughts I had locked up. Thoughts about human beings and boxes we live in.

Warren Ellis had created a comic book character years ago called Jack Hawksmoor, the “king of cities.” Jack was a normal human who had been abducted by city-empathic aliens from the future and repeatedly operated on and “upgraded” to have city-specific powers for use with fighting some unknown future threat that was coming.

Jack Hawksmoor, the King Of Cities.

Hawksmoor, who’s name was inspired by both Spring Heeled Jack and Nicholas Hawksmoor, couldn’t survive for very long outside of an urban environment, but when he was in any city, he had powers specific to that city, including things like superhuman strength and agility, but also psychometry and the ability to control and alter architecture and infrastructure. I don’t think the character was ever utlized by successive writers to his full potential, but I do remember in one story where Hawksmoor had to fight a powerful villain, he made sure that the fight took place in Mexico City, the larged city in the world, to maximize his abilities.

Quarantined in utopia.

“There’s no one to know. There’s nothing to do. The city’s been down since you’ve been gone.”

Climate change and warfare.

Black And White Town.”

Scientists create “sexual tsunami.”

12 sexist vintage ads.

What’s left of the Roman city of Dougga.

Futurism vs. Science Fiction.

Futuristic steampunk urban recycling.

The little town that Los Angeles killed.

Speaking of which: Future Los Angeles.

Future Chicago.

Future New York.

The saddest blow job story ever.

History Of A Boring Town.”

Russell Brand not capable of monogamy.

10 most amazing ghost towns, including Prypiat.

Everything In It’s Right Place.”

Scientists develop “brain to brain communication.”

As time progresses, the future will literally devour the past: WW2-era statue with added cell tower.

Last Stop: This Town.”