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Posted at 10:15 AM ET, 04/27/2010

'RIFFS 6 HOT LINKS: From 'Iron Man 2' to 'iPhone 4G' to Bart-on-Islam

By Michael Cavna

From "Iron Man 2" to "iPhone 4G," our six fave links this moment...

6. "SOUTH PARK" CHALK TALK: We didn't study the ever-changing "Simpsons" chalkboard this past Sunday. Fortunately, the folks at Huffington Post did -- with a post titled: "The Simpsons' Come To The Defense Of 'South Park.' Almost." In the opening sequence, Bart scrawls: "South Park -- We'd Stand Beside You If We Weren't So Scared." In the wake of other cartoonists admitting similar fear in recent days, this has an especially resonant ring:

5. SILICON WALLY: The story is too good for tech-minded Scott Adams to pass up. The "Dilbert" creator (like Comic Riffs) finds the tale of the Apple engineer who lost an iPhone 4G prototype in a Cupertino beer garden irresistible (to say nothing of the heat on Gizmodo since). So on his DILBERT blog, Adams posts two strips that spoof the story -- strips that, as the ol' commercial pitch goes, you won't find anywhere else. The cartoonist wasn't sure whether the strips would stay fresh enough in several weeks' time -- so he offers a blog exclusive. Or as he writes: "You will never see these in newspapers."

4. OLD-TIMEY CARTOONING: Nothing stirs our nostalgic soul quite like watching an old-timey cartoonist at work. So we enjoy seeing the legendary GEORGE McMANUS at the table, showing how he approaches a strip. (Hat tip: Sherm Cohen of "SpongeBob SquarePants" et al.)

3. 'LIGHTYEAR' BUZZ: For just a moment, let's forget all the nasty business about how the Supreme Court will rule on videogame-industry laws. Today we just want to enjoy the goodness that is this "TOY STORY 3" game trailer -- and the admission that with the third film just weeks away, we can't get enough -- in fact, we are champing at the bit as fiercely as Woody's horse. (Refresher "TS3" trivia question: What's the name of Woody's horse? That's right, kids: "Bullseye!")

2. SAVING THE SUPERHERO With the cinematic titan that is "Iron Man 2" just days away -- and with Chris Evans set to take up the big-screen shield as Captain America/Steve Rogers -- novelist Austin Grossman ("Soon I Will Be Invincible") engagingly essays aways for the Wall Street Journal's "Speakeasy" with the smart piece from over the weekend: "Marvel's 'Avengers': Can the Superhero Film Be Saved?" (And it's certainly none too early to take up The Joss Whedon Question as the director reportedly circles an "Ant-Man" film, as well.)

annnd our No. 1 fave-link of the morn...

1. FROM AWES TO "THE TIN MAN"?: With the cinematic titan that is "Iron Man 2" just days away.. -- Oh, sorry, are we repeating ourselves with dialogue that feels so much less fresh the second time around? Well, according to some of the overnight reviews, so, too, does "Iron Man 2."

THE HOLLYWOOD REPORTER has arguably the most scathing early review. Its first words are these: "Bottom line: Now he's the Tin Man."

(There are rumors, btw, that IM2's Robert Downey Jr. might play the Wizard in a Sam Mendes "Wizard of Oz" prequel. So suddenly, we have stuck in our noggin the ancient America lyric: "Oz never gave nothing to the Tin Man." And our apologies if we just planted one brutal earworm.)

Pulling no armor-plated punches, Kirk Honeycutt's THR review continues: "Well, that didn't take long. Everything fun and terrific about 'Iron Man,' a mere two years ago, has vanished with its sequel."


Comic Riffs quickly scampers over to VARIETY for critical hope, solace and relief. Instead -- curses! -- we find the words: " 'Iron Man 2' isn't as much fun as its predecessor, but by the time the smoke clears, it'll do." Not exactly a ringing endorsement.

Of course, we're quick to remind: Everything from "Transformers 2" to "G.I. Joe" has proved critic-proof at the box office in the past year. Then again: That's not exactly a ringing endorsement, either.

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By Michael Cavna  | April 27, 2010; 10:15 AM ET
Categories:  Geek Buzz, Superheroes, The Holly Word  | Tags:  Don Cheadle, Iron Man, Iron Man 2, Mickey Rourke, Movies, Robert Downey, Scott Adams, Toy Story 3, War Machine  
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