Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Iron Man vs. Gort

In this superheroic week of the Iron Man 2 premiere, I’m reminded that I’m probably one of the few people who was watching Larry Doyle’s career with interest back before he became a Simpsons producer, New York magazine editor, and novelist — because back when I met him once — when I was a newcomer to New York and he, like my roommate, was one of the writer/survivors of National Lampoon magazine and the failed MTV pilot Dirty Laundry — he had previously been the editor of the small company First Comics — which didn’t last either but gave us memorable superheroes like Nexus (a man of the future compelled by his dreams to hunt down and execute mass-murderers, written by now-libertarian Mike Baron), Badger, and Grimjack.  Nexus was my favorite comic at one point.

But Doyle must be cursing superheroes this week, since I’m told that he’s hosting a screening this Friday at 9:15pm at the Cabaret Cinema (150 West 17th St.) of The Day the Earth Stood Still — not the Keanu Reeves version, mind you — on precisely The Day the Nerds of Earth Will All Be Seeing Iron Man 2 Instead.

And Gort is not the only robot causing trouble in this world: An old-timily-inclined associate informs me that legal and philosophical debate has long raged over who to hold accountable to what degree for incidents like the death of Kenji Urada in 1981 at the hands of a factory robot that pushed him into a grinding machine — the owner?  The programmer?  The bot itself?  (The giant radioactive lizard who is the robot’s archfoe?)  In short: The war has already begun.

What can save us?  Perhaps a boy with cancer — or at least, another associate (who happens to know Keanu Reeves’ cell phone number, come to think of it) informs me of a genuinely impressive Make a Wish project turning a boy in Seattle into a superhero for a day.


Xine said...

I believe it’s actually the original, Keanu-free version–making the juxtaposition of DESS and IM2 slightly less mad.

Todd Seavey said...

Corrected above now. Thanks.