Rob Noble


One of the things I love most about science fiction set in the “near future” is how far off the mark they are fashion-wise. In so many movies, the day-after-tomorrow clothing choices seem like a mid-1970's Ben Cooper Halloween costume.   Leaving behind the silver unitard look, other movies follow a stylishly utopian theme (ala Gattaca) and make everyone exceptionally well-dressed and early-60’s retro. I like this Kennedy-era style, and it fits well with the film’s Space Age theme. I hope one day in the future to look like young Jude Law. Others try, really hard, to come. Read more

COMICS WRITERS! Stop setting your stories in Portland. KTHXBYE!

Posted by Rob Noble Thursday, August 11th

I’ve always been fascinated with the differences in comics that choose to portray actual, real cities versus those that place their characters in such exotic locales as “Coast City,” “Central City” and “Hub City.” Probably the most famous of these fictional burgs are Gotham and Metropolis, and it was with this in mind that Stan Lee and his late-50’s, early-60’s cohorts made sure to place their Spider-man, Fantastic Four and X-Men stories in the cities of Queens, New York and Salem Massachusetts.  “X marks the spot,” indeed. It makes sense - this real-life geo-locating is supposed to anchor the stories in. Read more

Mattel's Longest-Lasting Superhero Toy Line Comes To an End

Posted by Rob Noble Saturday, June 4th

The country’s biggest toy convention, NYC’s Toy Fair, was last month and although I didn’t go, I did read the press releases and reviews that came out of it. Lots of ink was spilled discussing the new Masters of the Universe figures and Green Lantern tie-ins, but the biggest news to me was also the saddest. After 19 years, toys based on the Bruce Timm DC Animated Universe (the DCAU) were coming to an end. What began with 1992’s Batman: The Animated Series and stretching all the way to this year’s Justice League Unlimited Fan Collection was. Read more

Another Comix Twofer for Incognito!

Posted by Rob Noble Thursday, March 24th

Even Ed Brubaker’s commented on it in the back pages, but there was almost no lag between issues 3 and 4 of his terrific new sequel series, Incognito: Bad Influences.  (This post is another two-fer, because these issues flow so smoothly it’s easier to treat any issue like part of the larger piece that it will evuentually become.) When last we left ex-super villain and current SOS Agent Zack Overkill, he’d gone undercover in the underworld and gotten himself noticed at the end of the trail he’d followed: A kinky super-brothel where the other patrons might be… well, imagine what kind. Read more

A Belated Birthday to an Unlikely Futurist!

Posted by Rob Noble Wednesday, March 23rd

A late happy 90th birthday to Mr. Al Jaffee, Playboy cartoonist, creator of the Mad Magazine fold-in and the Tall Tales comic strip, among other noticeable pieces of boyhood snickery. His birthday was March 13th, and I’ve been meaning to say something about him for a while.  Not only is he a national treasure and a swell read, but he had an almost-psychic knack for predicting our present day consumer glut.  Mad Magazine often had spreads depicting their "crazy ideas" with an ad man's eye for illustration. Al JAffee may have been an unlikely futurist, but he successfully imagined what. Read more

Portlandia - Disinformation at its finest

Posted by Rob Noble Saturday, March 12th

So Portlandia’s gone until next season, with IFC promising ten more episodes of the Fred Armisen/Carrie Brownstein sketch “comedy” show next January.  I’m going to put comedy in quotes here, because “mostly improv with wildly varying degrees of actual writing” is too wordy, and might make me look like a douche.  Portland’s reaction to Portlandia was mixed at best, with episodes 1, 4 and 5 being pretty good, and episode 6 being the worst. Some folks I know decided to dislike the very idea of Puddletown’s hipster intelligentsia making fun of itself, but most people decided to dislike it on. Read more

Doom Patrol's Negative Man guest-stars on Fringe!

Posted by Rob Noble Thursday, March 10th

With Fringe on hiatus until next month, I thought I'd re-watch some old episodes and spackle those holes in my knowledge of the show's deep, DC comics-inspired backstory. I've written before about the preponderance of DC superheroes and supervillains that keep making cameos.  From the Crisis on Infinite Earths plotlines to the WW2 super-speedsters, this show is 100% about the old DC multiverse.  Sure, string theory's all the rage these days and JJ Abrams looooves alternate Earths, but the real secret to this show is how many DC characters they keep bringing in.  And in Season 2, episode 6, they. Read more

It's a comix two-fer, Batman and Witchfinder!

Posted by Rob Noble Sunday, March 6th

Today’s quick comic review is going to be a two-fer, because I wanted to talk about Batman: The Return (which came last month) and also Sir Edward Grey, Witchfinder, which is fresh on the stands last week.  That one’s from Dark Horse, and I’m printing a Scott Allie interview next week, so I thought it would be good to bone up on my DH reading. Batman: The Return is a one-shot, wrapping up all of Grant Morrison’s loose ends from Batman: The Return of Bruce Wayne.  Bruce had been dead-not-really-but-actually-lost-in-time for most of last year, and his return meant that. Read more

The Adjustment Bureau - better than it looks!

Posted by Rob Noble Sunday, February 27th

The latest big-budget Philip K Dick adaptation, The Adjustment Bureau, opens March 4th, but I’ve seen it already and wanted to give a heads up (but not a review) to anyone who thinks they might like it.  Worried that the trailer’s a little too shallow and crappy to actually be worth your time? Exhale - It’s not that shallow or crappy. And it has a surprising reason to recommend it: It wears its influences on its sleeve, proudly and with some good humor. As they say at the Tautology Hut – If you like what they have, they’ll have what. Read more

RIP, Dwayne McDuffie

Posted by Rob Noble Sunday, February 27th

Aw man, Dwayne McDuffie has died.  A veteran of Marvel, DC and the founder of the Milestone funnybooks, he'd been responsible for some of the best, most ethnically-diverse characters and story arcs of the past 15 years.  I came on board as a DMD fan a little late, having given up on superhero comics through all of the 90’s.  But it was his work on the seminal Justice League and Justice League Unlimited animated series that brought me back around to the tights-and-long-underwear crowd.  And now I’ll never have the chance to thank him personally. Him, Jim Henson, the list. Read more