Tag Archives: Wonder Woman

Me, MeTV and Saturday night


The weekend nights – Friday and Saturday nights, really – are and always have been special to young people. They were nights of freedom, with the promise of being able to stay up late because the next mornings were not school mornings.

I grew up watching “Sammy Terry” on WISH-TV 4 on Friday nights – a double-feature of classic and/or cheesy movies beginning at 11 p.m. – and “Science Fiction Theater,” a double-feature of more SF-oriented – as opposed to horror – movies without a host that aired on WISH on Saturday nights.

Of course, despite the enduring memories of Sammy Terry on Fridays, Saturdays have always had an edge is airing great old horror and science fiction. The legendary “Mystery Science Theater 3000” ended its run on the then-Sci-FI Channel on Saturdays (I still miss that viewing experience so much) and “Commander USA’s Groovie Movies” aired on USA Network in the latter half of the 1980s.

Considering I’m in the demographic for MeTV, it’s not a surprise that the channel, which specializes in airing classic TV of the 1950s-1980s, is one that I’m always checking out. And it’s not surprising that MeTV has me – and a loyal fanbase – hooked for its Super Sci-Fi Saturday Nights programming block.

MeTV’s Saturday night line-up has varied a bit over the past couple of years but has only grown more solid recently with its selection of TV shows and, as its crown jewel, the selection of classic horror films hosted by longtime Chicago horror host Svengoolie.

I’ve written about Svengoolie here before, but I’ll note for the record that the show, written, hosted and almost totally performed by Rich Koz, is perhaps the most entertaining geek-oriented two hours on TV right now.

That’s because of how much TV has changed in the past two decades.

With a proliferation of channels – and channels devoted to geek-friendly fare that include (now) SyFy – it seemed like a safe bet that lots of classic TV shows would be available to fill our days and late-nights.

(And yes, I know that virtually anything that airs on TV these days is available on disc, streaming or online. But I like a well-curated TV lineup.)

But any dreams I might have had of being able to see classic sci-fi or horror movies on these 24-7 channels were dashed when I saw what the channels actually chose to air: Tons of “reality” programming and hour after hour of reruns of network shows like “CSI.”

MeTV, which began airing in Chicago in 2005 and went national in 2010, appealed to Baby Boomers and others of nostalgic mindset by airing classic sitcoms and dramas.

The channel’s Saturday night lineup doubles down that appeal by programming for the growing geek base.

The night starts strong with episodes of “The Adventures of Superman,” the 1950s George Reeves series that hasn’t been widely seen in recent decades. That’s followed by the 1960s “Batman” series, the 1970s “Wonder Woman” series, “Star Trek,” “Svengoolie,” “Lost in Space” and “Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea.”

I’ve never been a big fan of the last two, Irwin Allen kids’ shows from the 1960s, but they’re good fare for insomniacs who haven’t been lulled into peaceful sleep by Svengoolie’s airing of some classic Universal monster movie.

And while “Wonder Woman” never met a villain she couldn’t subdue by throwing him into a swimming pool – just watch a few episodes; you’ll see what I mean – the Lynda Carter series plays nicely along with the campy “Batman” series and the crime-busting noir “Superman” show.

MeTV’s whole lineup is comfort food for those of a certain age, of course. Its Saturday night lineup is comfort food for geeks of a certain age.


Comic Con: Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman

wonder woman gal godot batman v superman

Warner Bros. released a pic a while back of Henry Cavill as Superman (wonder if that name will be uttered) and they’ve released a couple of pics of Ben Affleck as Batman from “Batman vs Superman: This Time It’s Personal.”

Today, at San Diego Comic Con, it’s Wonder Woman’s turn.

Above, Gal Gadot as the Amazonian Princess.

When I showed my wife, a Wonder Woman fan from way back, she said: “Very Xena.”

DC comics film slate: I’ll believe it when I see them

justice league alex ross

Yeah, that’s not gonna happen.

Hollywood reporter Nikki Finke recently scooped the rest of the entertainment press with a list purporting to detail Warner Bros. and DC’s plans for big-screen superhero movies in the near future.

Here’s the list:

• May 2016 – Batman v Superman

• July 2016 – Shazam

• Xmas 2016 – Sandman

• May 2017 – Justice League

• July 2017 – Wonder Woman

• Xmas 2017 – Flash and Green Lantern team-up

• May 2018 – Man Of Steel 2

Nope. Not happening.

I mean, in many ways, I wish it would. As satisfying as Marvel’s big-screen universe is, I’d like to see DC comics heroes – the most accessible and familiar heroes in the world, in many ways – finally achieve lift off on screen.

Last year’s “Man of Steel” had so many things wrong with it, and with writer David Goyer and others behind the scenes who are plainly ashamed of superhero names, colorful costumes, origins and storylines, I don’t have much hope for future movies in the series.

And in particular I doubt that the studio can pull this off.

Lookit: WB and DC have only just gotten rolling on “BvsS.” How quickly can they turn around “Shazam,” which is supposed to follow the May 2016 release of “BvsS” by a couple of months?

And if they haven’t been able to figure out a big-screen “Wonder Woman” or “Green Lantern,” how can they pull off an oddity like “Sandman?”

Not to mention the whole “seven movies released within two years” thing. That’s a feat that I’m not sure even Marvel, with its assembly-line methods, could pull off.

I’ll go see whatever DC movies get released in the coming years, no doubt. But I’m afraid I’ll find them as lacking as “Green Lantern” and “Man of Steel.”

And I sure don’t think we’ll see one every few months.

Essential geek library: The works of Les Daniels

marvel_five_decades les daniels

I come to praise Les Daniels, not to bury him. But it turns out one of my favorite authors of comic book histories died and I didn’t even hear the sad news.

Daniels – who died in November 2011 at age 68 – is one of those authors to whose work I have returned again and again.

And no wonder. While he wrote fiction, his non-fiction work lines a shelf near by bedside.

In 1971, he wrote one of the early serious histories of comic books, “Comix: A History of the Comic Book in America.”  He followed this up with some of the most readable “official” histories of comic book publishers and characters in print, including “Marvel: Five Fabulous Decades of the World’s Greatest Comics” in 1991, “DC Comics: Sixty Years of the World’s Favorite Comic Book Heroes” in 1995, and what I consider his best modern-day work, a three-volume history of DC Comics’ Trinity, Batman, Superman and Wonder Woman.

These  three”Complete History” volumes were published in the late 1990s and early 2000s and, in addition to his clear and concise writing, feature some of the best design in comic book histories to that day. These volumes include covers by Chip Kidd, a star of the book design world.

Daniels was also an author of historical fiction and historical fiction with a supernatural bent.

There’s so much online – and so much crap online – about comic books these days, Daniels’ work seems – and is -authoritative and comprehensive and first-rate by comparison.

RIP Mr. Daniels.

Comic Book Odd: Sure they’re superheroes. But they’re girls!


Sure this recurring feature on the blog is Comic Book Odd, but there’s really nothing odd about the history of female characters being treated as punchlines for jokes.

It’s not a surprise, really. Comic books were mostly written and drawn by guys, particularly in the Golden Age and even into the Silver Age. And although girls bought comic books at a much greater rate back then than in later years, boys were still the targeted readers for comic books.

So you have panels like the one above, poking fun at Janet Van Dyne – AKA The Wasp, one of the founding members of The Avengers.

too complicated wonder woman

And this one, taking a shot at everybody except Wonder Woman.

Thank goodness the days of treating women as second-class characters in comics is over, huh?



‘Superheroes: A Never-Ending Battle’ on PBS


Truly the geeks have inherited the Earth: A three-hour documentary about comic books on PBS.

“Superheroes: A Never Ending Battle” played on PBS this week and is still available online (if you can put up with PBS.org’s wonky video player).

I didn’t see all of it when it aired last Tuesday – three hours is a big chunk of time – so I watched the unseen balance today online.

A lot of documentaries have been made over the years about comic books, superheroes and their creators. Because of the wealth of interviews, this one is among the best and most entertaining. Maybe that’s in part because the tone is no longer so defensive and “can you believe it?”  The tone is what it is because superheroes are such a big part of pop culture right now, a huge presence in video games, movies and TV shows. Even though a fraction of the number of comic books are sold today as were sold two or three generations ago, their influence on pop culture has never been greater.

The first hour traces the early history of comics, from the first newspaper strips, folded and stapled and re-sold by the father of the creator of MAD magazine, to the heyday of comics in World War II and the 1940s, when virtually every boy and most girls read comics.

Influences like pulp magazine heroes including The Shadow are cited and the origins of Superman and Batman – familiar stories for longtime fans – are told. Before the first hour has ended, Wonder Woman’s kinky origins are recounted. Acknowledgement is made of the less savory aspects of comics, particularly racist treatment of Japanese characters during World War II. The first hour ends with the 1950s campaign against superhero comics.

Besides the classy treatment and nice graphics, the best part of the show are the interviews with pioneers of the early days, including Joe Simon (co-creator, with Jack Kirby, of Captain America) and other artists and writers who got their start in the Golden Age but continued to work in the Silver Age.

Throughout the three-hour documentary, we’re treated to lively interviews with creators, experts and actors. They’re funny and witty and sometimes surprisingly still vital. I swear that great DC artist Neal Adams, one of the driving forces of the 1970s, looks 40 years old.



And “SHIELD” artist Jim Steranko, whose towering head of hair is now quite gray, displays his comic historian side.

steranko SHIELD

The second episode starts in the 1960s and the birth of modern-day Marvel Comics. The impact of comics on the larger world – including the campy 1960s “Batman” series – is explored and, rightfully so, called a “game-changer.” This seques into Steranko and the “pop art” era.

The ground-breaking moments of 1960s and 1970s Marvel – Peter Parker attending an integrated high school, the introduction of black heroes like The Black Panther and Luke Cage – are given their due. Likewise, DC’s experimental book teaming Green Arrow and Green Lantern, tacking injustice and racism, are cited, as are the Comics Code Authority-flouting campaigns against drugs.

The third hour is kind of a victory lap, noting the huge role in today’s pop culture that comic book characters play, particularly due to the big-budget, big-box office movie adaptations of the modern era. As “Spawn” creator Todd McFarlane says, “None of it is silly anymore.”

lynda carter

But one thing is certain: Lynda Carter still looks amazing.

Wonder Woman done right

wonder woman fan film close

It’s puzzling how Wonder Woman has eluded film and TV makers.

Of course, we can’t be sure what Joss Whedon would have done with his Wonder Woman movie that got spiked, but we’ve seen DC Comics, Warner Bros. and other filmmakers stumble more than once in their attempts to do a live-action Wonder Woman.

I’ve always said the DC Comics animated universe treatment of Wonder Woman in the “Justice League” series could serve as a ready blueprint for how to make a serious, ass-kicking live-action version of the Amazon warrior princess and her world.

wonder woman fan film medium

It looks like Rainfall Films has, in its two minute Wonder Woman short, opted for a “Man of Steel” treatment, which makes sense since that’s the way DC and Warner Bros. are headed. By adding Batman to the “Man of Steel” sequel, maybe they’re building to a movie featuring the DC trinity – those two plus Wonder Woman.

At any rate, the short film would serve nicely as a model for the big studio.

And you could do a lot worse than having Rileah Vanderbilt play the role in a full-length movie. She looks great in the short.

As more than a few people have said online: Okay. Go do this.