Premiering on PBS next Tuesday, Superheroes: A Never-Ending Battle is a three-part series about the history of comic book heroes and their impact on culture. There's also a hardcover companion book, titled Superheroes!: Capes, Cowls, and the Creation of Comic Book Culture, featuring full color art and interviews with Stan Lee, Michael Chabon, Grant Morrison, Adam West, and dozens of other icons and insiders. In the above clip from the PBS documentary, Stan Lee talks about the science of superheroes.
"Wonder Woman," a live action short by Rainfall Films. "It's a scant two and half minutes, but in the end, it's one hundred and fifty seconds of pure fantasy, where I get to consider the two sides of my favorite warrior: a crusader in man's world, and a paragon of virtue told through Greek mythology," says director Sam Balcomb.
Batman and Captain America rescued a cat from a burning home. (via Cosey Fanni Tutti)
Geek cook Chris-Rachael Oseland of kitchenoverlord.com has come up with another awesome nerd-themed recipe: bread that displays the Superman "S" symbol, just like Clark Kent would eat for his hero sandwich. The end result looks super fun and cute, but the process of making the multi-layered, colored bread is really interesting, too. I can imagine making other special-occasion breads in the same way.
Previously on Boing Boing: "Sci-fi bread recipes: Sandworm loaf from Dune, and Alien xenomorph pretzel eggs."
(via Boing Boing Facebook)
DC's "New 52" is a reboot of all its major superhero comics and several of its less-regarded ones. In the latter category is a silly Silver Age title called Dial H for Hero about a lad from Littleville, CO who can turn into a variety of randomly selected superheroes by dialling "H-E-R-O" on a weird telephone dial he found in a mystic cave.
The reboot of "Dial H for Hero" is called simply "Dial H," and is written by none other than New Weird chieftain China Mieville, whose prodigious imagination and wicked sense of humor are on fine display in the first collection of Dial H: Dial H Vol. 1: Into You. Mieville doesn't apologize for the fundamental absurdity of the premise. Instead, he turns it up to 11. And then he turns it up to 12.
Last year, Nicolas Silberfaden photographed superhero and celebrity impersonators in Los Angeles. If they look bummed out, it's because Silberfaden asked them to "to manifest feelings of genuine sadness – honest emotions that are a consequence of our current times." Each photo, he explains, "is a somber, striking visual image that contradicts the iconic nature of strength and moral righteousness typical in American superhero and celebrity imagery. Creating the illusion that Superman does exist – that he too was fallible and affected by America’s downturn." "Impersonators" (via Neatorama)
Scientific advising for science-fiction films is a really fascinating topic for me. It's a weird, weird world, where the goal is not necessarily extreme accuracy, but extreme believability. That can be a stress point for science, a field that is, generally, all about striving for accuracy. The scientists that help directors create believable worlds have to balance the goal of educating the public with the goal of entertaining same. That can be tough, and it leads some creative solutions—and little educational Easter Eggs buried in the background of blockbusters.
Take the work University of Minnesota physicist Jim Kakalios recently did for the new Spider-Man reboot. The film's creators asked him to invent a complicated-looking equation that, in the context of the story, would relate to cell regeneration and human mortality.
How do you invent a fictional equation? Start with a real one.
In this video, Kakalios explains where his imaginary equation came from, starting with the Gompertz Equation, a very real function that describes mortality rates and can be used to model tumor growth.
These three fellows made superhero-shaped RC airplanes and buzzed New York with them, giving the city the aerial defenders it has dreamt of for so long. Much of the video was recorded with UAV cameras, which makes for dramatic footage.
Flying People in New York City (Thanks, ArbitraryAardvark!)
Debates over the "idealization" and objectification in the portrayal of women in comics are often met with a reflexive response: "Men are idealized in comics, too!" It's true, they are. But there's different sorts of idealization, as this series of gender-flipped illustrations from Megan Rosalarian shows.
Dudes, I want you to imagine a world where most of the portrayals of your gender in comics look like the above. Are you going to think “Well, I really like the stories so I’ll just suck it up and read this anyway”? Or are you going to be alienated from reading most comics? Be honest. Are you willing to stare at that much thrusting crotch just to find out if Spiderman is gonna win?
Lots of people in the comics business look at their demographic breakdown and think women don’t like superheroes. The creator of DC Women Kicking Ass made a very apt point when she said, “Let me put it this way, if you keep keeping putting food on a kid’s plate and they don’t eat you do you assume they don’t like to eat or they don’t like the food? Right.”
Women like comics. And not just flowery manga and autobio stuff. We like superheroes.