Monday, March 3, 2014

12 Ways of Improving the Razzies

Over time the Golden Raspberry Awards, or Razzies have gotten a bit stale, which is a shame because I honestly feel that if televised in the right way, the Razzies could make for a fun night's entertainment.

Here are twelve ways of improving the Razzies without breaking the budget of them. In terms of adding awards categories from the Academy Awards I'm taking it on a case by case basis. The general public probably doesn't care about fashion or set design but they do grumble about some of the other categories after a movie.

  1. Upload the entire ceremony to YouTube. Once that would have be cost prohibitive but nowadays a standard camera can shoot perfectly decent video. This could entice a network to air the awards.
  2. Stop nominating/awarding Razzies for men in drag in the Actress categories. That joke wasn't tht funny the first time around and the gag has been beaten to death. Besides, do you want women to feel safe from doing a bad performance because they know a man will take the award instead?
  3. Be more deadpan, less wacky in Razzies videos. Act completely seriousness while discussing the amount of skill and talent needed to win a Razzie.
  4. New Category: Worst Performance in an Otherwise Good Movie. Unearth the hidden gems of bad performances
  5. New Category: Most Overrated Movie. Limit the choices to movies not nominated in other categories and which level out at 60% or greater in Rotten Tomatoes' Tomato-meter. Puncture the pretentions of some of the loftier movies
  6. New Oscars-Inspired Category: Worst Special Effects. Sometimes movies with bad special effects are more entertaining than good ones.
  7. New Oscars-Inspired Category: Worst Song: Salute those songs in movies that are so obnoxious they can't get dislodged afterwards
  8. New Oscars-Inspired Category: Worst Documentary: Salute documentaries are too heavy handed or too boring or both
  9. Once per ceremony when no one shows up to accept an award, pause for a few moments and then play the kind of music that gets played when Oscar acceptance speech goes on too long.
  10. Break for mock commercials
  11. Do an In-Memoriam for performers who are still alive but whose acting careers have supposedly died
  12. Do the opposite of the Oscars and announce a much longer running time than the Awards actually need at the start and then at the end announce that remainder of the time will be filled by a previous Razzie winning movie.

Saturday, March 1, 2014

What was Comics' First Intercompany Crossover?

In the 1970s DC and Marvel published Superman vs. the Amazing Spider-Man. While it wasn't the first time that Marvel and DC had had their names on the same comic - the honour goes to a Wizard of Oz adaptation, it was the first time that the modern era Big Two had their heroes meet. However, it wasn't the first intercompany crossover. In fact what I believe to be the first intercompany crossover, while frequently discussed in comic book histories for other reasons is rarely described as an intercompany crossover.

Note: I did use Wikipedia to flesh out a few details but had already made my conclusions prior to starting on this article.

To realize what was the first intercompany crossover, you have to look back to the earliest days of the American Comic as we know it. In the earliest days of the tabloid comics, the stories were all reprints. But it didn't take long before Major Malcolm Wheeler-Nicholson created National Allied Publications to produce new material. New Fun Comics (later More Fun Comics) became the first ongoing series to be devoted to new material (after first testing the waters with the one-shot New Fun: The Big Comic Magazine #1). It was followed soon after by New Comics (later New Adventure Comics, later Adventure Comics). In order to publish a third title, Nicholson, now in debt to accountant Harry Donenfeld, actually created a second comic company, Detective Comics, Inc. with Jack S. Liebowitz as his partner. This company, in 1936 published Detective Comics, then Action Comics in 1938. Action Comics #1, which had the debut of Superman is generally credited with the creation of the comic book superhero, though an argument could be made for Dr. Occult in New Fun Comics #6. National Allied Publications and Detective Comics inc. later merged as National Comics.

Prior to this merger, however, another company with close ties to National was formed. In 1938 Max Gaines (later founder of EC Comics and father to William Gaines, who co-created Mad) created All-American Publications, which Donenfeld also provided funding to with the condition that Liebowitz be taken on as his partner. Unlike Detective, All-American had a different physical location. There were close ties to the companies (both had DC on their cover at one point) but despite their close relationship were separate companies (in fact there was a point where things cooled between the two enough that All-American had its own separate logo on the covers). All-American's best known titles were probably All-American Comics (which had the debuts of Green Lantern and the Atom) and Flash Comics (which in its first issue debuted The Flash and Hawkman).

Both National and All-American continued to create new heroes. All-American published All-Star Comics #1 in 1940. All-Star Comics #1 had all-new strips of superheroes from both National and All-American, though like most comics from that era, characters from the different strips never interacted.  That all changed with #3. In #3 characters from different strips (a somewhat different line-up from #1) were depicted as socializing together as the Justice Society of America. The original roster of the Justice Society included National characters Hour-Man, Spectre, Sandman, and Doctor Fate; and All-American characters Flash, Hawkman, Green Lantern, and Atom. In this story they never actually teamed up, just talked about their exploits. However, in #4 the team learned about a crisis and each character worked on a different part of the case before teaming up in the final chapter.

All-American was absorbed by National in 1944 and soon became National Periodical Publications, a name which was used until 1977 when it become DC Comics. However, at the time that All-Star Comics #3-4 came out, National and All-American were separate companies. So All-Star Comics #3, aside from being the first superhero team comic, was also the first intercompany crossover in terms of superheroes hanging out together, with #4 being the first time characters from two different comic book companies actually worked on the same case together.