Gweek 057: Promethea = good, Prometheus = bad

Click here to play this episode. Gweek is a podcast where the editors and friends of Boing Boing talk about comic books, science fiction and fantasy, video games, TV shows, music, movies, tools, gadgets, apps, and other neat stuff.

My co-hosts for episode 57 are:

Glenn Fleishman, a long-time tech reporter, a hacky perl programmer, and one of the writers of the Economist’s Babbage blog on technology and culture.

Andy Ihnatko, technology journalist for the Chicago Sun-Times, and host of The Ihnatko Almanac podcast on the 5by5 network.

Joel Johnson, Editor of ANIMAL New York, an arts and culture workshop based in Manhattan.


Here are a few of the things we talked about in this episode:

NewImageNexus Q streaming-media sphere.

NewImageLeviathan Wakes -- George R.R. Martin calls it a "really kickass space opera."

NewImageBefore Watchmen comics.

PrometheaPromethea graphic novels by Alan Moore. Joel says: "It's one of my favorite things, ever."

Fatale "Secrets, lies, horror, lust, and monsters from the time before time all collide in Fatale: Death Chases Me."

NewImageWally Wood photo mentioned.

NewImageWaiting for Hockney.

NewImagePrometheus. Joel: "It's terrible. Is there anything else you'd like to talk about?"

NewImageAnvil! The Story of Anvil.


  1.  Agreed.  Is it flawed, and nowhere near as good as Alien or Aliens?  Yes. 

    But it’s a decent movie, and the simple fact it at least *tries* at being deep, ‘highbrow’ scifi in an age where there haven’t been many of those lately (‘Moon’ is the only one that springs to mind for me) puts it ahead of a lot of the other entertaining-but-shallow stuff playing right now.

  2. Score another vote for Promethea. Truly a jaw-dropping ride through the interface between creation, consciousness and magic. Not for everyone, but if you’re into such things consider this essential reading.

  3. Prometheus was just mind numbingly stupid.

    It also hurts a horror movie when you feel absolutely no attachment to the characters. It’s not even fun to watch them die.

  4. I remember Promethea as being pretty good (with outstanding art). Kind of wish I still had my hardcover collections, but when we moved, I got rid of them (along with Tom Strong &c.).

  5. “Alien” and “Blade Runner” are each, a tough act to follow, so to write. It’s easy to be disappointed with anything by Ridley Scott that doesn’t equal them.

  6. I see the episode has been yanked.  With its oversensitivity to criticism, it’s hard to believe Hollywood didn’t put out a hit on Roger Ebert long ago.

  7. Prometheus is the closest thing I’ve seen in modern cinema to classic 50s sci-fi movies like Forbidden Planet.  Baffles me that so many people went hog-wild for Moon – basically an over-extended Twilight Zone episode – and couldn’t dig Prometheus because the mechanics of its plot weren’t particularly well-executed.  And it irks me slightly that somebody makes a summer picture that actually asks pretty subversive questions (what if our “gods” were as fucked up as we are?, do we actually deserve a benevolent creator?), and all people can say is RUNNING?  AFTER AN OPERATION?  SO STUPID!  Geeks have lost their mojo, if they ever had it to begin with.  Stan Lee wouldn’t have lasted five minutes writing for this crowd:
    How did the spider get into the lab?
    How does Peter Parker acquire the abilities of a spider without any kind of physiological changes?
    Where did he get the money to construct the web shooters?

    over-literal brain explodes

    1. I haven’t yet seen Prometheus (and I have heard some silly things about it), but I also hear it’s decent enough. We have to wait for video now, though, since it’s no longer playing in the theater here.

    2. Totally agree with you.  My favorite has to be people bitching about the crew…  “Where the hell did they find these people?  These are real scientists? ”  Hell did anyone actually watch Aliens?  For “space marines” they were a pretty slapped together rag tag band of soldiers.  More like soldiers of fortune, or as Hudson put it a squad of ultimate badasses.

      Personally I hope their is a sequel or something to Prometheus.  Very few people touch on the fact there is a full size xenomorph carving in the chamber, or the fact that if a person is exposed to the black goo they don’t breed/turn into an alien.  Personally I don’t think the Engineers created the aliens…there is little to connect the two in that direction.  I think it is much more plausible that the Engineers found the aliens in some form and used their DNA as the basis for the black goo weapon.

      In the end Ridley Scott did something that is kind of rare in sci-fi, he left a lot of questions unanswered.  Maybe there will be a sequel that will fill in some of the spots, or maybe you are just going to be left wondering what it all means.  (Now when thinking of how to do a sequel Mr. Scott can simply pull the hundreds of ideas that people have been throwing out on the internet and have an extensive list of go to material….)

    3. what a cherry-pick. i didn’t have a problem with running after the operation, partly because the operation was the only awesome scene in the movie. didn’t have problems with the religious scientist either. i had problems with almost everything else, though, and this contaminated what was actually awesome (the subversive questions you mentioned).

      a lot of movies don’t hold up to second viewings. the dark knight is almost unwatchably silly once you think about how amazingly lucky the joker had to be for his plans to work, but it’s hard to notice this the first time, because things are awesome and not too jarring at any one time. prometheus was jarring and contrived. i mean, a distress call/video evidence was ignored because stringer bell was boffing eileen wuornos at the time. are you kidding me? this plot device has been vigorously parodied for the past two decades.

  8. where are all these high-pitched glitches in the audio coming from? is somebody playing with a bic pen or something? it was just really really annoying, and kept me from enjoying the conversation.

  9. I enjoyed the hell out of Prometheus. I just, you know, didn’t take it very seriously… and I’m not sure why anyone would.

  10. These guys are supposedly journalists??? Really. Now my understanding of the field of journalism might be slightly flawed but it was my impression that folks who want to be journalists or are journalists have some affinity for the language. I hardly got the impression from these guys who seemed rather at a loss for words and whose vocabulary was stuck in the… like… like… like … like… like mode. If this is the state of journalism today, perhaps I need to do something else with my time than spend it reading material from (or listening to material for that matter) from intellectually stunted quasi-nerd journalists. I might be one of the few in this world who feel so but I would prefer (I didn’t use the word like here) to make it a capital offense to use the word like.  The use of the word like at least by my recollection seems to come from around the 1980s with the popularity of the song valley girl. Thanks Zappa progeny. Can we not adopt a new verbal crutch?

    1. You are an articulate person. I’m glad you aren’t shy about cutting down other people who aren’t as smart as you. I’ll bet your parents are proud of their big boy!

  11. Prometheus was ok. Promethea became an occultic info-dump and was boring as all hades.

  12. Promethea sucks. It is just a bunch of mythology stuff stapled together into a by-the-numbers superheroine bit. Hard to believe it’s by the same guy who made thoughtful stuff like V for Vendetta.

    1.  “by-the-numbers”? Really? I’d like to hear what other superhero titles you can list that were done by those numbers. Sincerely.

  13. I’m mildly flabbergasted by commenters calling Promethea “boring” or “by-the-numbers”, neither of which could be reasonably used to describe it even if you didn’t like it. I don’t like Joe Sacco’s work in general because I have a visceral negative reaction to his art style, but I respect what he’s doing (or trying to do) as an artist. Promethea isn’t quite like anything else in comics, and has an immensely positive message at the end. 

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