First things first. Hello, and Happy New Year!
As you can see, I’ve redesigned the site. This is something I’ve promised for a long time and have been working on even longer. Since October of 2007, if you can believe it. This thing has gone through so many revisions and so many different ups and downs, I can’t tell you how relieved I am to finally bring it to you.
The new site is being powered by WordPress and Tyler Martin’s excellent ComicPress content management system. Tyler was of great personal help to me putting the finishing touches on the site. He helped me not only to customize the archive, but with some of the CSS and page layout as well. He was a very patient teacher and a great help. If you have a webcomic, you NEED WordPress and you NEED ComicPress running things behind the scenes.
Of course, there were others who helped me along the way. I cannot understate the value that my good friend Brian Arnold brought to the project. Brian is a good friend of the site and has actually being hosting Theater Hopper for years. Not only that, but he’s been my go-to guy when things go kerflooey. He has an amazing talent for scripting and is always willing to help. I can’t tell you how many jams this guy has pulled me out of, but in regard to this latest revision, he was INVALUABLE in helping to transfer over 1,000 pages of content from the old database into WordPress. I can’t tell you how much time that saved and I am truly grateful.
Words of thanks also have to go out to Steve Wallace, who was an early contributor to the project. Steve helped me get my head around WordPress and helped me piece together a few layouts.
And last but not least, I have to once again thank David Buist. Dave put together the original PHP database that managed Theater Hopper for years and years practically from scratch. It was a great system, but I would always find a way to break it. He was always very patient and helpful when I sent panicked e-mails to him in the dead of the night. I have to thank him for his contribution or else Theater Hopper would have never lasted this long — and that’s the truth.
I’m taking special care to give a shout-out to all of these guys because this redesign was not an easy process for me. It forced me to adopt some new technologies that I didn’t completely understand and these guys patiently showed me the way. The best I could do was come up with the look and feel. These guys helped make it fly. This change would not have been a success without them. Thank you, guys.
Now, on to business.
There are a lot of big changes all around the site, but I don’t want to overwhelm you with too much at one time. I encourage you to look around. Hopefully you’ll notice that there aren’t as many dead links in the navigation like there was before!
Most prominently, I’ve brought back the Theater Hopper THorum. So, if you’re looking for a place to hang out and talk to other fans of the comic about movies or whatever, it’s open for business!
I’m moderating the board very heavily at the moment because the last THorum was overrun by spammers. I’m approving everyone individually right now, so it might take some time before you can participate. But I’m very much interested in cultivating a community aroud Theater Hopper and plan on working hard to make the THorum the kind of place that I want to hang out as well. So once you’re in the door, you’re going to like it a lot. I promise.
In the meantime, the second big addition are comments under every blog post. If the THorum sounds like too much of an investment, this is your opportunity to leave your thoughts and contribute to the discussion in a different way!
Comment areas can sometimes be dodgy and I’ve had some contemporaries talk me out of including them. But I plan on heavily moderating these as well. If things get hairy, I’ll take care of it. But, for now, I’m interested in them as an avenue for instant feedback to the strip, the site or whatever.
So what do you say we test them out? What do you think of the new site? Do you see any room for improvement? Some easy fixes I could make? What do you like about it? Let me know in the comments below and thanks for visiting!
A few quick odds and ends to close out the day:
- There was a little bit of a problem with the blog commenting and THorum registrations, but I think we have that ironed out. So if you want to join the conversation, it should be easier to do.
- I completely forgot to tell you guys about my guest strip at Dueling Analogs. Please go check it out.
I’m doing my good friend Steve a solid because things are a little hectic in his life right now. The holidays were weighing heavily on his mind, he just got a new job and – most importantly – he’ll be having a baby soon!
I was reminded of how kind everyone was to me when Henry was born by chipping in with guest comics and well-wishes, I couldn’t say no when Steve made the call. Congrats, buddy!
- Last, but not least, we’ll be recording our first episode of The Triple Feature of 2009 tonight at 9:00 PM CST at http://www.thetriplefeature.com. Be sure to listen to us live and join in the fun. I think we’re going to take the evening to reconnect with each other after the holidays and share with everyone the movies we’ve been watching. It should be a casual evening before our big Best of 2008 show coming up soon. Be sure to tune in!
That’s pretty much all for now, but I have much more to talk about. Be sure to visit the site tomorrow for more news and updates. You won’t want to miss it!
This is kind of a weird approach to a common problem I have this time of year. But I felt it was time to bring Victor out of hiding for a little bit.
Are you like me? Do you get stressed out by the sheer number of obvious awards contenders the studios pump into theaters over the holiday season. To me it’s an embarassment of riches that ultimately makes me feel stagnant. There are so many choices, I don’t know where to start!
Of course the issue is compounded by the fact that studios will “release” the movie in select cities first so they are eligible for awards contention before releasing the film wider several weeks later. I hate this because it makes me feel disconnected from the medium I love. I’ll see an ad for a movie that hasn’t made it to my town yet and they will wallpaper it with critical praise “ON OVER 100 TOP 10 LISTS!” It makes me feel like I’ve missed the boat.
Gran Torino is a good example. It was in limited release on December 12, but it goes wide this weekend. That’s almost a full month since critics first started talking about it. You and I both know how fast things move in the pop culture reference stream. The movie has slipped in and out of the current before it’s ever had a chance to be seen!
Maybe it’s just me. Maybe I’m too close to movies so I notice these things. It’s more than likely that John and Jane Q. Public aren’t bothered by the Hollywood award season marketing strategies. But for me, it makes me feel like I’m better off seeing Paul Blart: Mall Cop and then no one wins!
Is it just me? Am I being over-sensitive or are you guys noticing this shell game, too? Also, what do you think Victor is going to do with those pictures and how exactly did he coerse Jimmy into taking the shots? Leave your comments below.
I feel like since I relaunched the site, there are a million and one things I want to call your attention to. But I also want to be careful not to overwhelm you with too much stuff at once. So I’m trying to parse things out a little bit.
This afternoon, why not consider joining the Theater Hopper THorum>? It’s a great place for fans of the comic and movies in general to come in and get to know each other!
I’m also using the THorum as a place to help steer the redesign in the right direction. Let me know if you catch any broken links or make suggestions for new features to add! Or, if you’re looking for a more light-hearted diversion, I’m taking suggestions for movie quotes to add to the randomizer that displays them at the bottom of every page here on the site!
Hope to see you there!
Sorry for the lack of a new comic this morning, everyone. I spent last night shoveling our driveway with 3 ft. drifts in it and I just didn’t have any energy left over for a comic.
Normally, it wouldn’t be a problem. But I think the late nights with Pearl are catching up with me. I also started a new job on Monday. Well, sort of. It’s a contract position for the next 90 days, but I’m getting acclimated and it’s kind of stressful. It didn’t help that the idea I had for Friday’s comic was somewhat complicated to draw.
I hate flaking out on this stuff because I’ve always been a firm believer in picking an update schedule and sticking with it. I want to give you guys as few excuses for leaving the comic as possible. But this is just one of those situations where life is pummeling the crap out of me right now.
I hope to have a new comic for you either later tonight or early Saturday morning. Keep checking back.
Or, if you have a Facebook account, join the new Theater Hopper Facebook group. That’s a great way to stay notified. Comic updates will be published directly to your wall.
Of course, barring that, there’s always Twitter. I’m on that thing all the time.
Thanks for your patience and understanding everyone. Hopefully things will go back to normal and I can work myself into a routine in the near future!
So there are rumors flying that Mickey Rourke is in talks to star in Iron Man 2 as the Crimson Dynamo. I don’t know how I feel about this. On the one hand, Rourke is a fine actor who does a good job of playing meat heads. But I think anyone piloting a multi-billion dollar suit of nuclear-powered armor shouldn’t be a meat head. He should be intelligent and a little bit menacing.
I like the idea of using Rourke and his comeback story (courtesy of the critical praise he’s earned from The Wrestler) as a mirror to Robert Downey Jr.’s own career resurrection. But beyond that, it feels like a novelty.
I guess there’s also been reports saying that Rourke could end up playing Whiplash and not the Crimson Dynamo. I see that as a better fit because Whiplash was always a more garish villian. But I think the odds of putting the character in the sequel are slim-to-none. Whiplash was always a second-stringer and the visual appeal of the Dynamo armor is much more interesting.
I’m also not sure what to make of the talk that Sam Rockwell is in talks to play Justin Hammer, a corporate rival to Stark Industries. I like Rockwell in nearly everything he’s been in. He can play a great villain. But I always imagined Justin Hammer to be older. Someone who was jealous of Stark for his genius and his youth. Hammer is the kind of character that felt he should be the bigger fish because he’s been around longer. He doesn’t like Stark because he’s an upstart.
Of course, if you had asked me who I would have cast for Obadiah Stane, I wouldn’t have picked Jeff Bridges, either. So maybe they know what they’re doing.
What do you think about this casting news? Does it get you excited or do you think it’s a gimmick? Or maybe you’re still trying to figure out who Whiplash is. Let me know in the comments!
Sorry for the delay putting today’s comic on the site this morning. I stayed up late working on it before having to get up early this morning to take Henry into surgery and I didn’t have time to write the blog.
Don’t worry. Henry is fine. They just put tubes in his ears to help drain his chronic ear infections. They also removed his adenoids to help lessen the blockage he experiences when he gets a cold.
It’s amazing how fast the whole thing goes down. We took him in at 6:30 this morning and we were out of there by 8:30. It takes more time to get him processed, admitted and discharged than it does to perform the surgery!
At any rate, we’re home now. Henry is sitting next to me as I type this. He’s eaten his second banana. He’s a trooper.
As far as the comic goes, I’m pretty happy with it. Clearly, I’m not a woman, but I think the strip has some funny things to say about women. If I’m wrong, tell me in the comments. I invite your criticism!
I’m sorry, but Bride Wars looks like the very worst of every terrible chick flick cliche on the books. But what I think I find most insulting about it is how clearly it telegraphs it’s ending.
In case you don’t know the plot, two friends get engaged and book their weddings at The Plaza Hotel in New York. A clerical error results in their weddings being booked on the same day thus forcing one of the brides to abandon their dream wedding.
I think you would have to be pretty blind not to see the ending to this thing a mile off. Can you say “double wedding?” It’s the only way the at-war former best friends can reconcile their differences.
To their credit, the screenwriters address the obviousness of this when one of the character mentions a double wedding to Kate Hudson’s character. “A double wedding? No! What are we – 40 year-old twins?” she barks. I’d like to think that they found a more creative solution, but I don’t see that in the cards.
What if the screenwriters did something completely revolutionary for a chick flick and abstained from the happy ending. What if one of the brides has her wedding at The Plaza, the other doesn’t and the friendship is irrevocably broken? They never speak again… CREDITS! What if the grooms left them at the alter to teach them a lesson about their superficial ways? What if the grooms marry each other in Massachusetts?
But no one ever listens to my ideas…
What do you think about Bride Wars ? Do you think it will be as bad as I’ve predicted or do you think there is an appreciative demographic for the film? If it is a chick flick that caterers to all that is catty and superficial about women, is that any worse than a film like Punisher: War Zone which appeals to the nihilistic and violent nature of men? Are these films two sides of the same “lowest common denominator” coin?
Please keep in mind that I went to Punisher: War Zone on opening weekend like a dolt, so I’m fully willing to turn a critical eye on myself.
Leave your thoughts in the comments below! Otherwise, I’ll see you here on Monday! Have a great weekend!
I don’t know if you guys have had a chance to take a swim through the rest of the site (and I’m not talking exclusively about the comic archives), but I’ve been trying to provide a richer experience and provide in-roads for new readers.
Something that was sorely missing from the last site was a cast page to familiarize people with the characters or any links to popular story lines to give them a sample of things. With over 900 comics in the archives, that was a pretty gross oversight.
I’ve sought to correct that by creating a cast page under the “About” section. If you have time, take a look at it. I would really appreciate an outsider’s perspective into which characters and story lines they enjoyed or what you think I should promote to new readers. If you have suggestions, please feel free to leave them either in the comments below this blog or submit them using the contact form.
I’m made no bones about my disinterest in The Golden Globes in the past. But, without fail, I always end up watching them. I don’t know why. It’s not as if there is any intrinsic value to the awards. It’s become my catchphrase of sorts, but truly, who cares what The Hollywood Foreign Press thinks?
I mean, c’mon. Any organization the lumps together the best performances in a musical or comedy can’t be taken seriously.
That said, there were a few surprises last night. Most notably Kate Winslet winning for Best Supporting Actress for her role in The Reader AND Best Actress for her role in Revolutionary Road. Usually double nominations cancel each other out. But in this case Winslet proved what many other film fans have been saying for years – she is simple one of the best working actresses around right now.
The genuine emotion she displayed after winning Best Actress almost had me thinking The Golden Globes actually meant something. Now THAT’S acting!
Also quite an upset for Mickey Rourke to sneak a Best Actor trophy out from under Sean Penn. I knew from the trailers that The Wrestler looked special and this confirms it. Although I’m kind of tired of hearing the Rourke “comeback” story. It’s true that he was slumming it in direct-to-DVD crap like Out In Fifity and They Crawl. But he’s been on the comeback trail with more high-profile roles since turning up in Once Upon A Time In Mexico back in 2003.
That’s my opinion anyway.
Rourke’s exchange with The Wrestler’s director Darren Aronofsky during his speech was the only shocking moment of a broadcast that normally prides itself on unscripted moments. Calling Aronofsky a “tough son of a bitch,” the cameras totally caught the autuer jokingly giving Rourke the bird.
I thought that was kind of funny.
Other than that, not much to report. Wall-E for Best Animated was kind of a given, but I was glad to see it happen all the same. Also, kudos to Colin Farrell taking home the Best Actor trophy for his performance in In Bruges. That was a movie both Joe and Gordon were excited about earlier in the year and I never got a chance to see it. Now that it’s on DVD, I want to check it out.
Speaking of Joe and Gordon, don’t forget to tune in to The Triple Feature podcast the three of us host tonight at 9:00 PM CST. I’m sure we’ll be talking about The Golden Globe winners and their chances for Oscar gold in a month.
In the meantime, answer me this: Did you guys watch The Golden Globes this year? What did you think of the broadcast? Did any winners suprise you? Do you think anyone got snubbed? Leave your comments below!
Just in case you didn’t watch the show or were curious to see who won, here’s a complete list of winners from last night’s broadcast:
Picture, Drama: Slumdog Millionaire
Picture, Musical or Comedy: Vicky Christina Barcelona
Actor, Drama: Mickey Rourke, The Wrestler
Actoress, Drama:Kate Winslet, Revolutionary Road
Director: Danny Boyle, Slumdog Millionaire
Actor, Musical or Comedy: Colin Farrell, In Bruges
Actress, Musical or Comedy: Sally Hawkins, Happy-Go-Lucky
Supporting Actor: Heath Ledger, The Dark Knight
Supporting Actress: Kate Winslet, The Reader
Foreign Language Film: Waltz With Bashir
Animated Film: Wall-E
Screenplay: Simon Beaufoy, Slumdog Millionaire
Original Score: A.R. Rahman, Slumdog Millionaire
Original Song: “The Wrestler” (performed by Bruce Springsteen, written by Bruce Springsteen), The Wrestler
Series, Drama: Mad Men
Actor, Drama: Gabriel Byrne, In Treatment
Actress, Drama: Anna Paquin, True Blood
Series, Musical or Comedy: 30 Rock
Actor, Musical or Comedy: Alec Baldwin, 30 Rock
Actress, Musical or Comedy: Tina Fey, 30 Rock
Miniseries or Movie: John Adams
Actress, Miniseries or Movie: Laura Linney, John Adams
Actor, Miniseries or Movie: Paul Giammatti, John Adams
Supporting Actress, Series, Miniseries or Movie: Laura Dern, Recount
Supporting Actor, Series, Miniseries or Movie: Tom Wilkinson, John Adams
Cecil B. DeMille Award: Steven Spielberg.