For the first time in forever, I find myself really not caring all that much about the Oscars this year. I'm pulling for The Incredibles in the Best Animated Feature category, though, and will be really shocked if it doesn't walk away with the trophy. I wouldn't mind if Ray won for Best Picture, if only because that's the only one of the five nominees I actually saw (and it was good, so at least it's not a vote out of complete desperation on my part). And Jamie Foxx was damn good in the title role there, so I wouldn't be at all upset if he won Best Actor (and when did Jamie Foxx become such a good actor, anyway? Was I out sick that day?).
Mostly though, I'm pulling for Morgan Freeman. I haven't even seen Million Dollar Baby, but come on, the man's due. Let's see some Oscar gold for Easy Reader, people!
"The mistaken belief that there is some kind of hierarchy of geekdom. That it is somehow acceptable for Star Wars fans to look down on Star Trek fans, for Trekkies to look down on D&D players, for D&D players to look down on comic fans, and for comic fans to look down on furries. Guess what? You’re all nerds. Deal with it."
I do have a birthday coming up at the end of April, you know. I'm just sayin'.
The Spirit (Kitchen Sink series) 1-6 - I don’t feel there’s anything I can really say about this series that hasn’t been said a million times before, but here’s something that absolutely blew me away. In one of the stories in the first issue (I don’t remember which one right now and don’t have the issue handy to look it up), there’s a panel of the Spirit and Chief Dolan discussing the particulars of a case. Pretty mundane stuff, but the “camera angle” from which this is presented is from inside a garbage can. Why? Why not? Here it is, 2005, some 60 years after these stories were created, and there’s still incredibly innovative stuff to be found in the individual panels. Just brilliant stuff here, and I should have discovered it YEARS ago (though I probably wouldn’t have appreciated it as much then). It amazes me that so much can be packed into a seven page stories. The perfect panacea for those of you tired of the so-called “decompressed storytelling” trend.
Nova 1 - Everyone spoke so glowingly of Nova (any pun you find there is unintentional, I swear) over on Mike Wieringo’s sketch blog the other day, and it’s one of those books I’ve been meaning to look into for years, so I figured I’d finally give it a try. The concept is nothing more than “What if Peter Parker became Green Lantern” (though Richard Rider starts off as an even bigger loser than Peter ever was), it’s got all the typical origin story baggage to deal with, and the villain is pretty lame. But with Marv Wolfman, John Buscema and Joe Sinnott on the creative end, the whole is far more than the sum of its parts, and I’m definitely interested to see where the story of the man called Nova goes (er, went). It’s 70s Marvel high drama at its finest – full of sound and fury, signifying nothing, but a hell of a lot of fun.
Little Lulu: Lulu Goes Shopping - The first volume of Dark Horse’s attempt to reprint the complete John Stanley run of Lulu stories in an affordable format, and therefore one of my Ultimate Comics Dreams come true (similarly formatted and priced reprints of Carl Barks’s Uncle Scrooge stories and Herbie the Fat Fury would also be greatly appreciated, please!). Fun reading, excellent mode of delivery, and the lack of color really doesn’t affect too much (except for one story where Lulu turns herself green – you really have to take their word for it in that case). I was hoping to see Witch Hazel and Little Itch (they of the respective “Kackle, Kackle” and “Kickle, Kickle”), but I’m sure they’ll show up sooner or later, as they play a role in some of the fairy tales Lulu concocts for Alvin, the pesky neighbor kid. I’ll definitely be picking up the later volumes. Great stuff all around. They truly don’t make ‘em like this anymore.
I'm just excited that the movie now comes out the day before my birthday. I must've been a good boy this year.
- The Marvel Family (and their assorted friends and villains)
- The 60s Batman TV Show
- Starman by James Robinson
- “The Kid Who Collected Spider-Man”
- Getting issues of March of Comics from Paul at Standard Shoes
- Wednesdays at Nostalgia Ink during high school and college (Hi, Bruce and Mary, if you’re out there somewhere)
- Jack “King” Kirby
- Stern and Byrne on Captain America
- The first season of “Lois and Clark”
- Wolfman and Perez on The New Teen Titans
- Animal Man by Grant Morrison
- Steranko’s brief but perfect Captain America run
- Peter Porker, the Spectacular Spider-Ham
- Strangers in Paradise from Volume 1 up through the High School story in Volume 3
- Milk and Cheese (MERV GRIFFIN!!!!) and other works by Evan Dorkin
- The Maze Agency by Mike W. Barr
- The Sesame Street segment about the letter S, starring Superman
- DC reprints by Whitman, available in three-packs in drug, book and department stores everywhere
- Dr. Doom
- Mark Gruenwald on Captain America (pre Cap-Wolf, anyway)
- Steve Ditko
- Batman: The Animated Series
- Carl Barks
- Superman: The Movie & Superman II
- Sandman by Neil Gaiman
- Peanuts, featuring Good Ol’ Charlie Brown
- Spider-Man and his Amazing Friends
- Sarah Dyer's Action Girl Comics
- JLA/JSA crossovers
- DC 100 Pagers
- Lynda Carter as Wonder Woman
- JoAnna Cameron as Isis
- Gorilla covers
- “The Life and Times of Scrooge McDuck” by Don Rosa (D.U.C.K.)
- The Dark Phoenix Saga
- The fact that superhero action figures of the 80s were about the same size and could be used interchangeably (Dr. Doom Vs. the JLA! The Spider-Man/Firestorm feud!)
- The Phantom Blot
- Dr. Doom traps The Fantastic Four in The Village, sort of (FF 84-87)
- The Skull House storyline (Captain America 290-300)
- Byrne on Fantastic Four
- The Essential Marvel books
- The Adventures of Captain Marvel starring Tom Tyler
- Watching Batman: The Movie in French on the CBC when I was 4
- Crisis on Infinite Earths
- John Romita drawing Spider-Man
- Understanding Comics by Scott McCloud
- The Aim toothpaste give-away comic with Spider-Man and the Green Goblin
- Wizard of Comics, the first comic book store in Bangor, ME
- Calvin and Hobbes
- Filmation’s Shazam! cartoons
- Gil Kane
- Erin discovering Optic Nerve
- The Legion of Super-Heroes
- Waid and Garney’s first run on Captain America
- 80 Page Giants
- Jack Cole’s Plastic Man
- Will Eisner’s Post-WW2 work on The Spirit
- Superman Peanut Butter (Fred's right; that stuff was good)
- Fred Hembeck
- Alan Moore’s run on Supreme
- The New Adventures of Superboy
- Nostalgia Con 1-5 (comic conventions in Central Maine, run by the afore-mentioned Nostalgia Ink)
- Challenge of the Super-Friends
- Superman: The Animated Series
- Kirby names (Flippa Dippa! Vermin Vundabarr! Mr. Buda!)
- Walter Simonson’s signature (it’s a dinosaur!)
- The 7-11 Marvel Superheroes promotion
- Gumby’s Summer Fun Special by Art Adams
- Little Lulu by John Stanley
- X2: X-Men United
- Spider-Man on The Electric Company (and Spidey Super Stories)
- “This Man… This Monster!”
- Nexus by Baron and Rude
- The Fleischer studios Superman cartoons
- Ask The Answer Man
- Grant Morrison’s New X-Men
- Tales of the Beanworld
- “Whatever Happened to the Man of Tomorrow?”
- True Story Swear to God
- Get Fuzzy
- Spider-Man 2
- The Comics Journal’s online interview archive posts
- Outlandish origin stories
- Mad (comic and magazine)
- The Giffen/DeMatteis Justice League
- The hand-me-down Superman pajamas/playsuit I got from my neighbor as a kid (and the warning printed on it: “Remember, this suit won’t make you fly. Only Superman can fly!”)
- The first comic book store I ever went to, Moonshadow Comics in Portland, ME.
- DC’s “The Greatest ________ Stories Ever Told” series
- Herbie Popnecker
- Days of Future Past
- Squadron Supreme by Mark Gruenwald
- Marvel Tales (classic Spidey at an affordable price)
- Barnaby and Mr. O’Malley
- Getting a letter printed (Electric Girl #2)
- Stan Lee and John Romita unmask the Green Goblin
- Eating pizza with Mart and Carrie Nodell (perhaps the two nicest people I have ever met)
- The Aquabats (they count, right?)
- A Charlie Brown Christmas
- Blue Beetle
- "For the Man Who Has Everything"
- Multiple Earths (especially 2, S, X and Prime)
- Comics creators with exclamatory names (Elliot S! Maggin, Scott Shaw!)
- My parents actually encouraging me to read comic books (thanks, Mom and Dad!)
*Updated from 105 Reasons at 3:43 pm. on 2/14/05, because I somehow managed to leave stuff out, if you can believe it.
First, the new Quizno’s ads starring Baby Bob, who you may remember (and you’re lucky if you don’t) as the lead character of a mercifully short-lived CBS sitcom. Anybody else out there get the willies from these things? Damn baby is even scarier than the It’s Alive kid. Apparently, someone out there actually thinks this is less creepy than the Spongemonkeys (who, by the way, were a big hit in my house; Erin and I still occasionally exclaim “We love the subs!” That’s what passes for entertainment in our house. Sad, no?).
Furthermore, I find it impossible to believe that we’re nearly 50 years past Clutch Cargo and people still think Synchro Vox can work.
Second is the Valentine’s Day themed ad for J.C. Penney, which lets us know that we can buy all sorts of fancy gifts to give to our respective significant others this February 14th – everything from jewelry to clothing to exciting underwear. All well and good, but there’s all these red balloons floating through the background, and the action all takes place to the tune of a cover of Nena’s “99 Red Balloons.” Because, obviously, there’s no better song to convey love and affection than one that’s about an Army that mistakes the releasing of balloons for an enemy invasion and proceeds to blow up the world.
Appropriate for current times, perhaps, but I’m not so sure about the romantic angle they’re selling.
And given that the rock's original designation was, by total coincidence, 2001 DA42 (2001 being the year of his death, DA being his initials and 42 being, well, if you don't know that already you can look it up yourself), it just kinda seems meant to be, huh?
See, we were at some store one night (I think it may have been Service Merchandise) when I saw The One Toy I Wanted More Than Anything In The World (or that week’s version, anyway): The Mego Pocket Super Hero Batmobile, the one that actually came with Batman and Robin figures (go here and scroll down the page a bit if you don't know what I'm talking about). I begged, I pleaded, I probably threw myself on the ground and cried, but no dice; it was $10, and my parents were not spending that much on a toy when it wasn’t even Christmas or my birthday.
I told my older sister about it the next day, and seeing as she was (and still is) one of the coolest people ever, she concocted a plan to help make my little pre-school dreams come true. If I was an extra good boy and kept my room clean and helped out around the house and all that, she’d give me a dollar a week, and in time, I’d save up the money and be able to buy it myself (see, my sister is about 15 years older than me, and is therefore like my younger, hipper mom, so she had things access to things that blew my mind back then, like money and the car). She ran the idea by my parents, and they loved it. Kid learns valuable lesson, parental duty assumed by a surrogate – it was a win-win situation for them, really.
So for the next 2 months or so, I was pretty much a candidate for sainthood. You’ve never seen a more helpful or well-behaved kid in your life. I was polite, I ate all my vegetables, I helped with the dishes, I even cleaned up my brother’s side of the room (and he was 12 years older than me). And for my Herculean efforts (by a 4 year old’s standards, anyway), I earned the princely sum of $1 a week. On the Friday of week number nine, someone (either my parents, my sister or my next-door neighbor, I don’t know who) figured that I had indeed learned from this whole experience and rewarded me with an extra dollar, allowing me to reach my goal an entire week sooner than anticipated. Needless to say, I was pretty excited, and you better believe we marched right back to that store the moment we finished dinner that night. The Batmobile would be mine at last.
Well, it would’ve been, if they’d actually had it. We looked everywhere, and it was absolutely nowhere to be found. We even had people look out back, but no luck. We eventually found someone who remembered that it was in stock at one point, but that they probably hadn’t carried that particular item in about TWO MONTHS, and he didn’t think they company made it anymore. And so there I was again, throwing myself on the floor in utter despair. The difference this time, though, is that my parents very obviously felt really bad. They carted me off to a few other stores and over to the mall, but no dice. They did help me find another toy I kinda wanted that night, the General Lee car that came with the Bo and Luke action figures (also made by Mego, oddly enough), and it was cool, but it wasn’t nearly the same.
So in the end, my family actually taught me a few lessons with this experience. I learned the value of the dollar, and how important it was to earn things instead of just getting stuff for no real reason, sure. But in addition, I learned that working your ass off won’t always get you what you consider to be your just reward, and life really sucks like that sometimes.
Also, parents who think they’ve messed up are pretty likely to take you out for ice cream later. I probably used that one to my advantage more often than just about anything else I ever learned as a kid.
I hope no one's waiting with baited breath for a Blackhawk movie, because they already went and made one and called it Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow. All you'd have to do to make it official would be to shoehorn in Andre, Chuck and Weng in there somewhere and there ya go. Fun little movie. Not life changing or anything, but a pleasant enough way to spend 100+ minutes. It got me thinking though: this is totally how they should make the next Superman movie. Give it a real 30s/40s retro feel with all fedoras, big ass cars, tommy gun-toting gangsters and Lex Luthor returning to his roots as a mad scientist with a penchant for robots and death rays. It's probably not "hip enough" an idea for today's audiences (or, more likely, movie execs), but I know I'd go see it.
Though I've seen and heard a lot of strange things in my life, I never even considered the possibility that I'd ever hear Paris Hilton talking about Daleks, but it happened last night on Saturday Night Live, during a sketch about a phone sex line for geeks. Outpost Gallifrey has the info and a screen capture. And before you ask, although I am a huge Who fan, no, Paris talking about the TARDIS did nothing to excite me. First of all, even I'm not that dorky, and second, it's Paris Hilton. I'm pretty sure the girl leaves a trail. Ick. On the topic of Tina Fey dressed as Princess Leia, however, I can only say "No comment."
Brief thoughts on recent comic purchases (probably a few spoilers):
Legion of Super-Heroes #2 - Damn you, Mark Waid. You've officially got me hooked. If the next few issues are even half this good, I'm in for the long haul. Brainiac 5's meltdown at Dream Girl ("Cause! Then effect!") is worth the price of admission alone.
JLA Classified #3 - Does the Justice League actually have the authority to banish people to a whole other universe? I'm just askin', is all.
Plastic Man #14 - This used to be my very favorite book, but in the past few months, it's increasingly becoming something I just kinda read and forget. It's like as sales decline, so does Baker's interest (and therefore, mine). Plus, the "Plas as female mouse" scene and its punchline really disturbed me. I don't even wanna know how that was possible.
Babies, though, require a great deal of space and money (which is surprising, seeing as they're so small and everything), so we've spent the last few weeks pruning the excess stuff from our life (and wow, is there ever a lot of it). We've dumped several carloads upon the fine folks at The Salvation Army (with more to follow), and I've started putting some stuff up on eBay, too. Not a lot so far, but it's a start, and if I continue past this first bunch, I'll probably put more stuff up in waves so as to minimize time spent at the Post Office (I really HATE the post office). So if you're interested in Atari 2600 games or comics-related goodness, it might be worth while to check out what I've put up so far.
Ooh, one more thing: Iraqis who actually dared to leave the house and vote weren't the only ones celebrating last Sunday - Fred Hembeck went and had himself a birthday! So we here at TPS World Headquarters in Rhode Island wish you belated birthday goodness, Fred... any cake left?