New York Comic Con: Day 2 Recap

More bullet points! Woot!
  • No special privileges for pro badges on Saturday, so it was to the back of the line for us. And oddly enough, the back of the line when we got there was at the exact door we sailed through the day before. Very long line, but it moved relatively quickly once the door opened, and we were standing near some fun people to talk to, so that was cool. And we got to make all sorts of jokes about the burned out taxi sitting across the street. Also, we got to watch all these people whine about how they shouldn't have to stand in line since they already had their ticket, and then see the crestfallen look on their faces once they heard that so did everyone else. I chortle merrily at the suffering of others, because I am a bad person.

  • Seeing the crowds already inside by the time we finally got in, we were quickly glad we decided to do most of the shopping on the show floor on Friday, and made our way over to the DC Minx panel, since Cecil Castellucci was so cool the night before and we wanted to listen to her talk about her book, The Plain Janes. She and artist Jim Rugg made the book sound excellent, and Minx editor Shelley Bond really sold me on the potential of the line as a whole (the creators alone lead me to expect good things). As an added bonus, they gave away advance promo copies of The Plain Janes, which we were able to get signed later at the DC booth (PS - buy the book! It's great! I'm sure I'll type about it in the not too distant future, but for now, just trust me on this one).

  • Speaking of that signing, on the way over, some guys from GameTrailers.com asked if they could interview me about superhero video games for reasons I've yet to figure out. Musta been my Hawaiian shirt. It's the sort of garment that screams "this guy plays way too many video games for someone his age," even though I hardly play at all. I explained this to them, but they still wanted to talk to me, so I did. If they use any of my footage, it'll show up on the website, and possibly MTV2. So if you see a guy in a red and white Hawaiian shirt who looks like the grown-up version of Sherman from the Mr. Peabody cartoons, that'll be me. I'm sure I'll end up looking or sounding dumb. Probably both.

  • I got to be a contestant in the first game of the Comic Geek Speak trivia panel, and did pretty well, making it to the semi-finals. I went out on a question about the other two guys who traveled back in time with Bishop, though I would've gone to the finals if I had gotten the other guy's question (the adult Franklin Richards's codename in the MC2 universe was PsiLord). Probably for the best, since the final question involved naming all 6 cast members of DC's Young Heroes in Love, and I definitely would've lost.

  • Hung out some more in the Artist Alley/Podcast Arena area, and got a few more sketches: Mary Marvel by Andrew Charipar and Kitty Pryde & Lockheed by Jeff Chandler. Really excellent work from both guys.

  • We were going to go to the Kevin Smith panel, but a staffer offered us tickets to the MySpace Mystery Artists Panel, so we figured we'd check it out. The guests ended up being Garth Ennis, Jim Lee, and Steve Niles, and though I'm not a big fan of any of them, they were still pretty interesting. Lee was the real highlight, pulling out a FedEx envelope containing the finished pages for All Star Batman & Robin #5 and letting an audience member open it up and look at them ("They're not lettered yet, but most of the dialogue is just 'I'm the god damn Batman' and 'I'm the god damn Batman.'"). He also joked that WildStorm's next big project was called 365 ("One issue every 365 days.") and that he'd love to draw the Legion of Super-Heroes ("With all those characters, I can be REALLY late!").

  • Jeff ate an $8.00 sandwich. He was mocked accordingly. I just feel the need to point this out. Also, on the way back from the $8.00 sandwich (which cost $8.00), we saw some dude in an entirely too accurate Aqualad costume, the Biker Scout with the lunch tray I posted the pic of the other day, and Kevin Smith walking through the halls flanked by a security detail of Star Wars folk (stormtroopers, a Jedi or two, and one of the Fetts, though I don't remember which one). Only a comic con, folks!

  • The crowds thinned out a lot on the main floor after 4 or 5, so while Dan went to get some sketches, Jeff and I scoured the dealer area trying to find something for our respective toddlers. Pretty slim pickings if you were looking for anything for little kids, I must say. We both ended up getting a Star Wars-related beginning readers book called What is a Wookiee? from the DK Books booth, because A.) it was honestly the most appropriate thing we could find that wasn't Pokemon-related, and B.) we both realize that you can never start the indoctrination process too young. I'd also like to add that when I read this book to Liam the other day, I actually skipped over the Jar Jar page, because I love my son that much.

  • On the way out, we met Andrew Pepoy at his Artist Alley table and had a long conversation about Bob Oksner, Dan DeCarlo, Roy Crane, and generally about how comics really need to be more fun again. His book, The Adventures of Simone and Ajax, is set to return soon, he said, and it looks great.

  • We capped off Saturday night (and our trip as a whole) with a huge dinner at The Renaissance on Ninth and 52nd, where we ate and talked with various podcasters (Comic Geek Speak, Indie Spinner Rack, Comics News Insider, and others) and regulars from their respective forums. It was great to sit down and finally talk in person with so many people I've chatted with online for the past year or two. Excellent time, excellent talk, and really excellent food.
Gah, there's no way to keep this sort of thing short, huh? And the sad thing is, there's stuff I realized I left out. Oh, well, I can always get to that some other time.

Final thoughts? I don't know how anyone else feels, but I think the New York Comic Con was both fun and successful. They could still learn a little about crowd control, but it didn't seem nearly as bad as everyone said it was last year in this regard, so that's a huge step in the right direction. And honestly, there were very few problems I saw that weren't fixed as quickly and easily as possible, and that's pretty amazing. It was all kind of weird, though - the con was smaller than I was expecting, but bigger than I was actually prepared for, if that makes any sense. I think I'd like to go again, but I don't know if I'd go for multiple days unless it was in some sort of professional capacity, or else if I had my family with me (which I sincerely do not see happening). And as I said earlier, based on how tired I was after this, I'm pretty sure San Diego would kill me, which isn't a realization that disappoints me as much as it may have in years past.

But all in all, I think it was fun. Let's do this again sometime, okay?

New York Comic Con: Day 1 Recap

I tried writing out my con experiences long form, but it was turning out way too long, so I figured it’d be easier for all of us if I bullet point it.


Day 1

  • Not the most auspicious beginning – they didn’t have my badge. Anywhere. After the easy time I had had getting my original ticket refunded when I found out a few weeks earlier that I qualified for a professional badge, though, I was sort of expecting the worst to happen at any second, and I figured this was going to be it. However, I’m pleased to say, the entire thing became a non-problem astoundingly quickly, as they set me up with a homemade badge on the spot. It traded fancy print fonts for a “Hello, my name is…” sort of feel, but it got me in the door, and that’s all I cared about. So right out of the starting gate, I was pretty impressed with their ability to handle things.

  • After getting that straightened out, we (we meaning myself and my friends Dan and Jeff, two high school English teachers from Maine) made a beeline for the show floor, anxious to see and experience as much as we could before the rest of the crowds started coming in at 4. It was great to be able to move, look around, talk to people, and shop without constantly having to jockey for elbow room. It was fun to people watch, too, and see all the various pros and exhibitors in the calm before the storm. You'd see Paul Levitz milling around the DC booth, Chris Claremont wandering the aisles and saying a brief hello to Mike Mignola, and hey, there goes Jeff Smith. Everyone was so relaxed; it was almost the polar opposite of every other con-going experience I've ever had.

  • Speaking of Chris Claremont, while I was in line getting a poster signed by Mike Mignola, he happened to walk by Dan and Jeff. Dan didn't want to pester him, but offered up a polite thank you for Excalibur, the book that got him interested in comics in the first place. Claremont said thanks, and walked away, only to come back a minute later, tap them both on the shoulder, and ask if they're reading the current version of the book. Meanwhile, I'm over in the line, glancing back, and wondering who that guy in the tweed jacket is, and why does he look familiar?

  • We met a lot of great creators out on the floor, including Jimmy Gownley from Amelia Rules (who I thanked profusely for creating such a fun book, and he did a little Amelia head sketch in the copy of the Superheroes trade I bought), John Gallagher and Rich Faber from Buzzboy (who I similarly thanked), Raine Telgemeier (who signed copies of both Babysitters Club graphic novels for Dan's wife), Mike Mignola and Christopher Golden (who signed the poster for their upcoming book, Baltimore), Evan Dorkin (who was kinda cranky, but also still in the process of setting up, so I'll cut him some slack), the aforementioned Claremont run-in, and Cecil Castellucci (easily one of the coolest people I've met in a long time) and Jim Rugg, creators of the new DC Minx line graphic novel, The Plain Janes (more on this later).

  • I don't know if it was this way during the regular hours, but Friday morning, the various prose publishers present were practically falling all over themselves to give away freebies - posters, buttons, excerpts, previous novels, and even full preview copies of upcoming titles. You could very easily fill your arms with stuff to read without having to drop a single penny if you didn't want to. Dan especially cleaned up in this regard - once the reps heard he was a high school teacher married to a middle school librarian, they couldn't hand him stuff fast enough.

  • Lots of great deals to be found if you were willing to pay for stuff, too, especially at the First Second booth, where every book was on sale for $10 each, and if you bought two, you'd get a third free. Better yet, the free books were all titles that haven't been officially released yet, so I was able to get a copy of The Professor's Daughter to go with Sardine in Outer Space and A.L.I.E.E.N., so I was quite happy about that. Fun, beautiful comics are all too rare these days.

  • Artist Alley and the Podcast Arena were great places to hang out, meet folks, and pick stuff up, too. We talked with Neal Adams, which went exactly the way you'd expect. His views on education are almost as unique as his science. Talked for a while with Fred Van Lente and Ryan Dunlavey from Action Philosophers and picked up the second trade. Picked up the the con exclusive version of the upcoming Subculture #1 from Stan Yan, who I remembered from the Sequential Tart boards. Talked with Robin artist Freddie Williams II and his wife, Kiki, who were amazingly cool. We hung out for a bit with the folks from the Comic Geek Speak, Indie Spinner Rack, and Comics News Insider podcasts, and I got sketches from new DC exclusive artist(and my doppelganger, circa 1998) Mike Norton (he did an amazing Blue Beetle sketch for me) and Dial R Studios artist Pat Loika (who drew Captain Marvel for me). Also met Josh Finney and Kat Rocha, who do a book called Utopiates, at the ISR table, and they were both incredibly fun people to talk with, too.

  • Gary Coleman was in the autograph area. We didn't go up to him or anything, but I feel this is worth pointing out. It was also funny to watch people notice him, because everyone had exactly the same reaction: astonishment, amusement, and a hint of pity.

  • Our one panel for the day was the Joe Quesada/Stan Lee discussion, which was a lot better than I think any of us were expecting. It was almost like Inside the Comics Studio or something (but Joe never asked Stan his favorite curse word, unfortunately). I think the coolest part was just how much credit Stan was giving to Kirby and Ditko for their roles in the creation of the Marvel Universe. He still took a lot for himself, don't get me wrong, but he outright admitted that none of it could have happened the way it did without their talents, energies, and contributions. Maybe he's coming to his senses, maybe he's trying to set the record straight so he can eventually shuffle off this mortal coil with a clear conscience... I don't know. Whatever the case, it's good to hear. But whatever his role actually was (or what you perceive it to be), if you ever get the chance to hear Stan speak, take it. He's a great storyteller (unsurprisingly), and lot of fun to listen to.

  • Having not eaten pretty much all day, we found our way to an IHOP a mile or so from our hotel in scenic North Bergen, NJ (the most poorly laid-out town I've ever seen, I might add, but at least the Super 8 was clean, and way cheaper than anything in the city), and devoured the tastiest short stack of pancakes I think I've ever eaten in my life. Of course, as I said, we hadn't eaten all day, so the pancakes could've tried to crawl away under their own power and I still would've pretty much inhaled them.

Jeez, this is already way longer than I thought. I better break this up. Day 2 highlights to come!

I went to the New York Comic Con and all I got was this giant armload of books to read.


Even the Imperial Go-fers got to wear the cool plastic armor.


Back from the New York Comic Con and am readjusting to life again in a normal, relatively undorky world. I only went for two days, but am still completely exhausted, which only leads me to believe that going to San Diego would kill me. Good to know, I suppose.

Anyway, I took copious notes, because I'm that kind of nerd, but I managed to leave them all at home tonight, so the recounting of my particular con experience will have to wait for another day or two. In the meantime, you can settle for looking at my pictures if you're so inclined. Or, you can just settle for perusing the "F'n Metal!" series. Whatever makes you happy.

If San Diego is Nerd Prom, does that make New York the Nerd Semi-Formal?

Having spent the last day or two expanding the intellectual boundaries of the bloggyverse with such scintillating material as a rant about my neighbor's stupid dog, an El Santo/Blue Demon chess game, and Autobot toilet humor, I think I need a break. Two of my friends are coming down from Maine tomorrow, and on Friday and Saturday, we're off to commune with our dorky peers at the New York Comic Con. Look for me and say hi if you're so inclined - I'll be the guy who looks just like me.

Otherwise, see you on the other side of things.

Offered without comment. Okay. that's a lie. Offered with a choice of comments.

(Via)

So I'm thinking either:

A.) If an Autobot craps in the woods...

or

B.) "Aw, jeez, Bumblebee, where's the terlet paper, huh?"

(For the record, option B works better if you imagine it in an Archie Bunker voice.)

Cheap jokes, I know, but come on, look at it! These things write themselves. Also, is it possible to look at this picture and not think of the Optimus Prime colon cancer PSA on that episode of Robot Chicken? Check yer tailpipes!

The Greatest Picture I've Ever Seen. Today, Anyway.

El Santo: Cerebral Assassin.

Don't I ever get tired of being wrong?

Okay, without spoiling anything, let's just say I got the whole Heroes Death Pool thing entirely wrong and move on, shall we?

See, this is why I don't gamble very often - I'm not good at it and almost never win. I mean, I'm the sort of guy who gets mad when I buy a Powerball ticket and I don't win. Because, honestly, that's just rude of them not to let me, don't you think? My dollar is just as important as anyone else's. *sniff*

A smattering of stuff - Oksner, Heroes, On-Panel Death, & Dogs


RIP Bob Oksner.

I only recently discovered the man's work, but that doesn't make this any less of a shame. You'll be missed, Bob!




Let's talk some TV, shall we?

So someone's supposed to get killed to death on Heroes tonight (and for once, I'll actually get to watch Heroes on its actual day of broadcast, since I'm working daylight hours for the holiday). "No one is safe," the ads say, but let's be honest, it's probably not all that hard to handicap this one. The easy money is on Claire's mom, seeing as she's all Crazy Go Nuts after multiple mind wipes from her hubby's Jamaican sidekick there (which is a much more interesting idea than anything DC has come up with in the past two-to-three years since they went all mind wipe crazy). However, I wouldn't be terribly surprised to see Ando buy it before the credits roll. He keeps putting himself into ridiculously avoidable dangerous situations in his pursuit of getting to touch some American hiney, and it's the sort of thing that could shock Hiro into getting his powers back and reaffirm his commitment to the quest. I'd hate to see the guy go, but it's a distinct possibility, since A.) it'd be enough of a shock to be felt strongly, but not enough of one to really upset the show itself; and B.) he has no powers, and it's not called "Heroes and their Associated Hangers-On."

Of course, I'm really hoping it'll be Parkman or Nikki/Jessica who gets offed, since I'm not interested in either storyline there (so last week's episode where they crossed? *snore*), and I'm tired of seeing their trainwreck lives. Honestly, I keep expecting one of the "Next time on..." segments to say, "Hey, guess what, Parkman actually does something right for a change. Seriously. I know, we didn't see it coming either."

Elsewhere on TV this week (well, Fox, to be exact), The O.C. ends. I was never a huge fan, but it had it's worthwhile moments. I realize it's hard to keep a show about high school characters good after those characters actually leave high school, but still, it's a shame to see the show get the axe now. Ever since they killed off Mischa Barton's character (and whoever made that decision, your check is in the mail), it actually got kind of good again. On the plus side, maybe Melinda Clarke can go back and do another Lady Heather episode on C.S.I.




Confidential to Geoff Johns - eviscerations can occasionally take place off-panel. Remember the shower scene from Psycho? Terrifyingly effective, and you never see a damn thing. I'm just putting that out there for you.




Reason #682 I hate my neighborhood: the local pit bull, the one who never seems to be chained up, almost attacked me in my own yard yesterday morning when I went to go out and get the paper. I'm out there trying to negotiate my way across the sheer icy surface of the far end of my driveway, and this beast comes a barkin' and a growlin' on up to me. I couldn't help but flash back to Never Cry Wolf, only without the whole positive "species living in harmony and respect" lesson. Thankfully, I was able to work my way back to my front door before he decided he wanted to charge, but there's a part of me that almost wishes he'd have bit me so we could end this little dance once and for all. He's always loose, always tearing up people's garbage and barking at folks in their own yards. The owners will do nothing about it, and neither will the police. In fact, Animal Control has told us before that they don't want to come do anything about it because we live "on the other side of town." I'll have to remember that when it's time to pay taxes to the city.

"Oh, I'm sorry, but City Hall is all the way on the other side of town. I couldn't be bothered!"

Someone's going to get bitten (or worse) before anything is done about this, but even then, I have my doubts. This animal needs to be caged. Or better yet, put down completely. Sorry, animal lovers out there, but pit bulls are not good dogs, and they should certainly never be pets. No arguments of "oh, the dogs are okay, it's all the fault of the owners" will ever convince me otherwise. These are vicious creatures that have no business living where people (and small children) make their homes.

Hello, thanks for stopping by. You don't happen to have a blowtorch on you by any chance?

Hi to everyone who came over from the link over at Mike's site. Of course, that was a day or two ago now, and you're probably not seeing this unless you clicked over from Mike's site and liked what you saw enough to come back. So, if that's the case, hi. Welcome back. And if you haven't come back since then, well, I wasn't talking to you, anyway.

Also, thanks to Joanna for her very kind email.

Well, the big ol' winter storm that dumped a lot of snow on pretty much the rest of the East Coast only saw fit to deposit ice here. Lots and lots of ice. So while I hate snow, and am incredibly thankful I didn't have to spend an entire day shoveling out my pain-in-the-ass, no-plow-guy-will-touch-it narrow horseshoe of a driveway, I can't say I'm terribly impressed with the alternative, either. Snow, at least, can be moved. The layer of ice left on the ground (and every other imaginable surface) was incredibly thick, and would outright laugh at any attempt to put down rock salt (ice is sort of a bastard that way; it's the Reggie Mantle of winter conditions - sometimes it's your friend, but the rest of the time, all you get is derisive laughter). But on the plus side, the Disney on Ice folks have announced plans for an extensive tour of my front yard. I'm hoping they'll do Lilo and Stitch or The Incredibles, but I'd settle for Finding Nemo.

Yet Another 100 Reasons I Love Comics

Well, it's Valentine's Day again (well, as I type this, it's technically almost Valentine's Day, but whatever), and for the past two years in the online nation of Lower Comics Blogovia, that's been celebrated with the compiling of lists about why we like this silly little hobby/fixation/sickness of ours. Fred Hembeck kicked it off, Alan David Doane followed his lead, and the rest of us went along like the meme-repeatin' sheep we all know ourselves to be. I don't know if anyone else is going to continue the tradition this year (maybe Sterling will, but I'm not sure who else will follow along; I'm hoping Bully will... I'd love to see the list his little stuffed mind creates), but I figured it'd be fun to give it another go, if only to see if I could create a list that didn't repeat any of the previous 210 entries from the previous year (I did 110 the first year, see; ah, hubris.). I think I succeeded, too, but a.) I'm not sure, and b.) I'm too lazy to check.

Anyway, read and enjoy. And if you're interested, here's the first list, and here's the second.

(2/14/07 - List format edited to make it actually legible!)

  1. DC: The New Frontier

  2. The Absolute Edition of the above. Dear God, is that ever just a giant brick of comics goodness.

  3. The Locas collection, which is a giant brick of comics goodness, too. The new digest sized L&R reprints are far more portable, but there's something to be said for a big ass comics tome, and this is the sort of material that deserves such treatment.

  4. The Hanna-Barbera Fantastic Four cartoon - though not perfect, it's still the FF's best foray into animation. This is never coming out on DVD though, huh? I may have to cave and buy a bootleg sometime.

  5. Spider-Man: Blue - the book that made me actually like Gwen Stacy.

  6. Darwyn Cooke's revival of The Spirit.

  7. You know what? Darwyn Cooke's work in general. Let's just get that out of the way.

  8. The Comic Geek Speak forum, and the community that has formed there - the most friendly and least annoying comics talk forum on this here Information Superhighway.

  9. Heroes - it counts, right? It's gotta count.

  10. The Green Lantern Corps series - all the fun of the Green Lantern concept without any of that pesky Hal Jordan nonsense to get in the way (though, admittedly, I did have to finally cave and get the GL Showcase volume, despite all the Hal contained within... 500 pages of Gil Kane art for ten bones! I'm not made of stone here!)

  11. Magic Pickle by Scott Morse - name-ripe-for-horrifying-misuse aside, one of the most fun comics you'll ever read.

  12. The Sandwalk Adventures by Jay Hosler - hard science, whimsy, and the occasional butt joke collide in a way you'd never expect would work, but it does, and does well.

  13. Runaways - I resisted its charms for a while, but now I'm hooked and am almost caught up. I wish I didn't already know the fate awaiting Gert, though. *sniff*

  14. Marvel Adventures Avengers, specifically the issues written by Jeff Parker. More outright fun than any Marvel book has been in years, especially once they introduced...

  15. The Avengers as MODOCs. Brilliant.

  16. While we're on the subject of Jeff Parker, Agents of Atlas. Best use of these characters since, well, that one What If issue that threw them all together in the first place. More, please!

  17. Marvel Adventures Spider-Man - I miss the more "soap opera" aspects of the supporting cast a bit, but the "Saturday Morning" approach to Spidey's early days makes for fun reading all the same.

  18. The kinda-sorta Silver Age revival currently going on at DC.

  19. The fact that they're finally making toys of the whole Marvel Family. Those are gonna look awesome on my shelf.

  20. Monkeyman and O'Brien. Art Adams needs to get back to this book sometime.

  21. Bob Oksner. I've only recently discovered his work, but he was really good. Especially his women.

  22. Joss Whedon's Astonishing X-Men.

  23. The Justice League Unlimited book when there's a really good guest star in it and the story doesn't end on some silly moral that the spotlight character needed to learn.

  24. The Spider-Mobile. There, I said it.

  25. While we're at it, the Supermobile.

  26. The Legion of Super-Heroes cartoon, especially now that they've stopped rerunning that first Timber Wolf episode ever other week.

  27. The Batman, now that they've added both Batgirl and Robin.

  28. The Batgirl meme - both of 'em, actually; a lot of fun redesigns came out of those. Speaking of which...

  29. Project Rooftop

  30. Bully Says Comics Oughtta Be Fun - preach on, little stuffed bull!

  31. Toon Tumblers - though I don't own any (yet), I appreciate the "Slurpee Cup meets pint glass" design element involved. Drinking anything is 67% more fun when it's out of a superhero cup. It's a scientific fact.

  32. X-Men 3: The Last Stand - not as good as part 2, but still decent, and Kitty Pryde finally got an actual role.

  33. Amelia Rules (when it actually comes out)

  34. Marvel Ultimate Alliance - best comics-related video game ever, except for maybe...

  35. Superman for the Atari 2600 - well, I liked it, anyway.

  36. Anticipation for the New York Comic Con.

  37. Nextwave: Agents of H.A.T.E.

  38. Superman II: The Richard Donner Cut - maybe not completely satisfying as a movie-watching experience, but an interesting look at what could have been.

  39. Fred Hembeck's series Hembeck, from Fantaco Productions.

  40. Those old Corgi superhero cars.

  41. The new Corgi series of all the various Bat-vehicles, for that matter. Haven't bought any, but they're damn cool.

  42. The Fantastic Four radio show from the 70s, featuring Bill Murray as Johnny Storm.

  43. Power Records adaptations.

  44. Infinity covers.

  45. Mike Sterling's Progressive Ruin.

  46. Mike Sterling's Swamp Thing fixation.

  47. Marvel Super Heroes Secret Wars. Admit it, you still like it, too.

  48. Evan Dorkin's criminally underrated World's Funnest one-shot.

  49. The Power Girl fan films.

  50. Top Shelf Productions - I might not like every book they publish, but at least they're all interesting.

  51. Oni Press - see above.

  52. The Aquaman storyline on HBO's Entourage. I'd actually pay to see that movie.

  53. Jonah Hex.

  54. The autobiographical comics of Jeffery Brown.

  55. IDW's plan to keep collecting The Maze Agency, even though they cancelled the most recent mini-series before it ended.

  56. Buzzboy.

  57. Ted Knight's narration on the Filmation DC cartoons and the first season of Superfriends.

  58. The short musical cue that would play between scene transitions on the Filmation DC cartoons.

  59. The Batman and Robin guest appearances on the old Superman radio show.

  60. The way Robin kept referring to Batman as "Batty" during those appearances. Man, not even the Adam West Batman would've let that one fly.

  61. Speaking of Adam West: "Some days, you just can't get rid of a bomb."

  62. E-Man by Joe Staton and Nicola Cuti.

  63. ComicSpace, even if I've yet to figure out what it actually *does.*

  64. Squirrel Girl.

  65. Dorian Wright's Postmodern Barney.

  66. Unshelved.

  67. Comic Sketch Gallery.

  68. The Grand Comic Book Database.

  69. Comic Book DB.

  70. The cover to Amazing Spider-Man #262, one of the only Marvel photo cover experiments from the 80s that didn't look like ass (and the story was pretty good, too).

  71. Spider-Man's black costume, even though it did end up leading to the creation and subsequent overkill of Venom. You can't deny that it's a sharp design, though.

  72. Characters referring to themselves in the third person (Dr. Doom and Cerebus, for example).

  73. The Death of Captain Marvel by Jim Starlin, even though its impact has now been severely devalued (who says this isn't the Marvel Age of Pointless Resurrections?).

  74. A reprint format for every reading desire and budget - color, b&w, digest, trade paperback, hardcover, Essential, Showcase, Archive, Absolute, Omnibus, etc.

  75. Artist Alleys at cons - great places to discover new books, meet cool folks, and maybe score some sketches.

  76. All the kid-friendly superhero toys they're making now: Spider-Man and Friends, the Marvel Superhero Squad minifigures, the upcoming DC Superfriends (or whatever they're gonna be called)... I'm so getting these for Liam. Fun will be had by daddy and son alike.

  77. Gene Colan's art in black and white. Color just doesn't do his work justice.

  78. E. Nelson Bridwell - good writer, awesome name.

  79. Questionable Content.

  80. Maxine Hunkel, a.k.a. Cyclone, my favorite new member of the JSA.

  81. Comicopia in Boston, MA.

  82. Gosh! in London.

  83. The Justice League Unlimited version of the Flash, my very favorite iteration of the character.

  84. Mogo.

  85. Rot Lop Fan, the F-Sharp Bell.

  86. The Legion of Substitute Heroes.

  87. Ben Grimm, the ever-lovin' blue-eyed Thing.

  88. Kevin Church's BeaucoupKevin.

  89. All those Civil War banner parodies (my own contribution here). Best thing to come out of a stupid series.

  90. The Acts of Vengeance issues of Fantastic Four.

  91. Asgardians with M-16s.

  92. Calvin and Hobbes in The Single Greatest Sunday Comic Strip Ever Published.

  93. Joanna Draper Carlson's Comics Worth Reading.

  94. Fin Fang Foom and his little purple pants.

  95. Dinosaurs versus just about anything.

  96. The Mod Gorilla Boss.

  97. The incessant need to categorize everything into an "age." Annoying, but kind of entertaining at the same time.

  98. Micronauts, especially the Michael Golden issues. That book was way better than it probably had any right to be.

  99. The unintentional comedy and shady "science" behind Seduction of the Innocent.


  100. The living caricature that Stan Lee has become. The level of his role in the development of the Marvel Universe will always be surrounded by a cloud of doubt, but you have to admit the man himself is entertaining. Stan Lee is by far the greatest character created by Stan Lee.

Shazam-a-rama!

This past week, Liam managed to give a disease I've come to not-so-affectionately call Disco Death Cold 2000 - pain, suffering, dizziness, and more head-cloudiness than you'd expect without causing some sort of inner-ear rainstorm, but at least everything left such pretty-colored trails as it moved by. The worst seems to have passed, though, since yesterday was the first day since Monday that I didn't feel worse than the day before. But I sure wish who-or-whatever seems to be pounding an iron rod through my sinuses Phineas Gage-style would please stop right now.

But I digress.

Anyway, I'm amazed, astounded, and generally downright pleased at how great a time it is at the moment to be a fan of Captain Marvel and his assorted hangers-on, better known as the Marvel Family (or the Shazam Family if you're bound by legal restrictions, as the good Captain's trademark holders happen to be).

First, you get the Showcase Presents Shazam! Vol. 1 paperback, reprinting material from the 70s Shazam series. It's a very fun book (even if some of the early stories are pretty dumbed down*), if a bit incomplete. It lacks the Isis related content of issue #25, the "new style" adventures in #s 34 and 35, and all of the various Fawcett reprints (which just ensures I'll have to keep picking up the back issues, since I want all that stuff, especially the Fawcett stories), but it's still a great big giant brick of Fun Comics, stuff I look forward to sharing with Liam in a few years.

Then, Jeff Smith's long-awaited Shazam: Monster Society of Evil mini-series finally lands after years of teaser images that we started seeing the second Bone ended, and from what I can see, everybody loved it: grown ups, school kids**, little stuffed bulls... everyone! My own opinion? Well, yeah, I don't have one yet. I ordered my copy through DCBS. So I saved some money, which is always cool, but I have to wait until the end of the month to read it, which makes me all kinds of sad. I can't guarantee I won't cave and pick up a copy at the New York Comic Con, especially if I can get Smith to sign a copy. I'm a sheep that way. Baaaa. But from what everybody is saying, ol' Jeff does right by the Captain, so I'm pretty excited. It's always nice to see that someone who actually makes a Captain Marvel comic book understands what one needs to actually be like (or at least in my admittedly fan-entitled worldview, anyway). It all makes me wonder if the near-universal praise is going to make DC reconsider the direction of the whole Trials of Shazam fooferaw Judd Winick is writing. Hope springs eternal, I guess.

(Also, there's an online secret decoder "ring," which is all kinds of fun, even if you don't own the actual book yet. QFHG ZWNRG RG: BLF WRWM'G ORPV HFKVINZM IVGFIMH, VRGSVI.)

And as if that wasn't enough - and all that is great, don't get me wrong; I've wanted fun, readable Captain Marvel comics for longer than I care to remember - the news out of Toy Fair is that DC Direct is doing an entire Shazam action figure line. And you know, most of that DC Direct stuff I can dismiss as overly-expensive shelf decorations for the fan with too much disposable income***, but I think they may have finally beaten down my resolve with these. I mean, they're even making Hoppy the Marvel Bunny. I'm not made of stone here. Well played, DC Direct. Well played. Mary, Junior, and Hoppy will definitely be overly-expensively decorating my shelf when the time comes. I already have the First Appearance Captain Marvel figure (bought on deep discount, thankyouverymuch), and I like that one a lot better than the one they're showing in the prototype pics, so I may skip that one (though I make no promises here). The Sivana pictured doesn't really float my boat, either, even if he does come with a tiny Mr. Mind. Now if they were to decide to make a separate Mr. Mind (not to scale, obviously), maybe I could be persuaded there.

Ah... for the first time in a long while, it finally feels good to be a Captain Marvel fan again, even if I do realize how patently ridiculous it is to be excited to spend good money on merchandise I don't truly need just because it features a favorite character. Such is the nerdy life, I suppose.



* Seeing the artwork of C.C. Beck on his most famous character one last time is a hoot, though, and it makes me wonder just how many underground artists were influenced by Beck's style. There's a lot of Crumb and Shelton-lookin' folks occupying the backgrounds!

** I've said before, I'll say it again: Joe Rice is doing the Lord's work!

*** Though those New Frontier figs are sweet.

Alternate Universe TiVo! Slightly Less Than Current Events! eBay! Oh, there's lots of stuff here today.

Kitty and Lyle both sounded like they were having so much fun with their Alternate Universe TiVos that I had to run out and get one for myself. I even opted for the fancy model that allows you record shows from two different realities at once. Sure, my kid'll go hungry, but I've learned to love television again, and I think that's what's really important here.

Anyway, some highlights:
  • Season 3 of Wonderfalls started a lot darker than I would've liked (what with Jaye being thrown in the asylum by her family when she couldn't convince them the talking animals telling her what to do were real and all), but it managed to turn around pretty quickly. The voice casting for the animals has been brilliant. Charles Nelson Reilly as the postcard of the Thompson's gazelle was particularly inspired.
  • At first, I thought that a contemporary update of H.R. Pufnstuf that was closer to The Prisoner in tone than Wizard of Oz couldn't possibly work, but I'm glad to be wrong. Some truly disturbing television here, but I just can't stop watching. And to think that (SPOILER WARNING) Witchie Poo was actually working for Freddie the Flute all along... never saw that coming! You don't tend to see evil mastermind tendencies in enchanted wind instruments, you know? That sort of behavior usually happens over in strings.
  • As newscasts go, the WHIZ Evening News with Billy Batson is a little less polished than the other networks, but Batson's youth and the way he seems to address every story directly to the viewers are refreshing. Funny how many emergencies reported before the commercial breaks are taken care of by Captain Marvel by the time the show comes back on, though, huh? And what's with all the lightning in Fawcett City, anyway?
  • I love that show about the Mexican wrestler-turned-junk dealer, El Santo and Son. I always laugh at that one running gag where something bad will happen to El Santo, and then he'll clutch his chest and shout, "¡Elizabeth! ¡Ă‰ste es el grande! ¡Estoy viniendo ensamblarle miel!"* Hilarity!
  • Eugene Levy's new sitcom, "Hit by Smeds, Loved by Smeds" is a classic in the making, mark my words.**


Okay, so the Boston thing? I may be in the minority here, but I'm glad to see there are some sort of repercussions for this. Somebody somewhere overreacted, sure - maybe Boston city officials watch a lot of CSI or Bones or something, where if a Lite Brite shows up somewhere incongruously, you better believe someone's getting blowed up real good - but if this really had been some sort of threat and something bad did happen, people would've been yelling that the city showed a lack of preparedness. So really, there's no way Boston was gonna win here. At least they get some of that fat Turner cash in return for their trouble.

Plus, in the interest of full disclosure, I must admit that A.) I thought that one "suspect" who only wanted to talk about 70s hairstyles during the press conference wasn't being funny, but instead acting like a rectum; and B.) I don't find Aqua Teen Hunger Force funny at all***, am tired of hearing people rave about it, and apparently get some sort of weird kick about it receiving any sort of negative publicity. I am occasionally small-minded and vindictive. But I'm a decent cook, so I like to think everything evens out in the end.



Yup, more eBay:

The Greatest Flash Stories Ever Told trade paperback (1992)

Ghost World trade paperback

DC Direct 1st Appearance Riddler figure, loose but complete

Blue Beetle (current series) #s 1 and 2

Blue Beetle (1980s series) #s 1, 5, 17 and 18

New Teen Titans 12, 17, 19-22, 25, 45, Annual 2 (relisted; and technically, #45 is after the title changed to Tales of the New Teen Titans, but whatever)

You know the drill!




* Yes, I actually went to the trouble of using Babel Fish to translate the Redd Foxx heart attack bit. This is the level of service I'm providing you people!
** Only Erin will get this.
*** Except for the Adult Swim promo where Meatwad kept saying how the A.S. schedule was made up of shows like The Jeffersons, Good Times, and What's Happenin'; that was actually pretty good.

He's Not Who You Think He Is!

Based on this ad, I can't help but think that Doc Savage wasn't who DC thought he was at first, either. I'm no expert, but I've read a number of Doc's prose and comic book exploits, and not once did he ever come across as a raven-haired, pony-tailed, smoking-revolver-packing grizzled P.I. type. And he didn't come across that way in the mini-series (and subsquent ongoing) that DC is advertising here, come to think of it.* Which makes me think that either A.) this is a bait and switch to prepare you for the fact that it wasn't a typical Doc Savage story (see asterixed footnote below); or B.) they originally planned to take the character concept in an entirely new direction and Conde Nast put their foot down.

Anyone know if there's a story here?

(And no, this above image wasn't a feeble attempt at the patented Kevin Church Jauntily Slanted Image, I just sort of suck at scanning some days.)



*Of course, Doc didn't appear in over half of that mini-series, giving screentime to his wimpy son, Clark III, and more Doc-esque grandson, Chip, but that's a whole other discussion topic for some other time, and probably some other blog.