From my bookshelf to yours...

More trade paperbacks for sale on eBay: Tom Strong Book 1, Birds of Prey: Of Like Minds, and Birds of Prey: Sensei & Student.

Bid while the bidding's good!

Pretty Sketchy - Jeffrey Brown by Jeffrey Brown


A self-portrait sketch by Jeffrey Brown from the bottom of a reading/event featuring him and Paul Hornschemeier at Quimby's in Chicago. A teeny sketch, to be sure, but still the entire poster as a whole is pretty cool, was acquired cheaply (though not in person... got this at a show), and looks like a rock band gig poster. More comics-related things oughtta have all that going for them.

Legal Kryptonite?

So the heirs of Jerry Siegel were awarded the copyright to Superman, or at least the Superman content of Action Comics #1, if you want to get technical. Pretty big score for creators' rights, I'd say, but at the same time, it's not so cut and dry. As some folks are quick to point out, Siegel and Joe Shuster created Superman before they took him to DC (then called National) and pitched him as a newspaper strip for a while before they turned him into a comic book, whereas most superheroes that came later were editorially mandated creations done as work-for-hire in the wake of Superman's popularity.

I'm of two minds on this situation. For one thing, Siegel and Shuster were definitely lowballed (even outright well and thoroughly screwed) in terms of monetary compensation for Superman, but on the other hand, the did sell the rights. And (if I'm getting my facts right) when suing for compensation later in the 40s, they did reach a settlement for nearly $100,000, which in those days was amazing money. And though they did hit hard times later on in life, an effort spearheaded by folks like Neal Adams (again, if I'm remembering correctly... please feel free to tell me if I'm not) did give them long overdue credit and some sort of pension. All small peanuts compared to what the Man of Steel pulls in through licensing dollars and such, but still.

So while I usually try and root for the underdog, well, they did sell. And for whatever reason, didn't settle for the sort of deal Bob Kane would get for Batman a year later, which somehow allowed him to claim credit for work he didn't even do. It's unfortunate, but that's the truth.

Whatever the case, I think it's a safe bet that DC - no, this goes higher than that, that TimeWarner - won't let Superman slip through their fingers completely. That S shield is basically a license to print money, after all, and they'll do what it takes to keep their fingers in that particular pie, even if it means begrudgingly cutting a deal with the Siegel (and eventually, the Shuster) heirs. So while a lot of the comics internet is speculating about the fate of Superman, I highly doubt he's going anywhere.

Ten.

Ten years ago tonight, my wife and I started dating.

Life is good. :)

Tim Robbins' (and George Clinton's) Finest Hour

Dolby's Cube Presents Cherry Bomb singing "Howard the Duck."

Yup, the song from the end of the movie.

The bounty of YouTube has no end in sight. I'm certain it will one day herald the end of humanity, but at least we'll go out ironically happy watching stuff like this:

Fame and fortune continue to elude me, but credit is always nice, I suppose.

Hey, Schmap!! is using my photo of The Gene Siskel Film Center for their Chicago City Guide (well, they're using others' photos, too, but you see mine first). I get nothing but a tiny photo credit for this, but still, kinda neat.

I take what I can get, you know?

My life would be so much cooler if it were narrated by Jackson Beck.


I have learned the following facts from "Batman's Great Mystery," an 11-part serial from the old Superman radio show, which originally aired back in 1948 (I think... I don't have the CDs handy at the moment).

1. You can listen to an entire week's worth of episodes and hear Clark Kent actually be Superman for maybe a combined 30 seconds.

2. I don't think Clark walks anywhere. Even a trip down to the corner hot dog vendor is preceded by a change of costume and a hearty "up, up, and away!"

3. The quickest way to make Robin mad is to oppose The Marshall Plan.

4. If you make rabble rousing, un-American speeches, you're generally pretty cowardly on your own, but you usually travel in a pack with at least 4 or 5 thugs, all of whom call you "da boss," so at least you've got that to even things up a bit.

5. Clark isn't terribly good at this whole secret identity thing. He not only nearly blows his own secret a couple times a week, but he keeps almost giving away Batman's, too. He has to repeatedly stop himself from calling Batman "Bruce," he keeps mentioning that Batman is very wealthy, with money, stocks, and bonds in banks all over town, and when Robin goes missing, he offers to take Inspector Henderson "over to Robin's house" so they can ask his butler, Alfred.

6. On a related note, Batman apparently has multiple bank accounts actually listed under the name Batman. Makes me wonder why Spider-Man had so much trouble cashing his TV show checks almost 20 years later.

7. Never rely on a farmer for anything if you're in a hurry.

8. Robin sometimes refers to Batman as "Batty." Or maybe "Daddy." I couldn't quite tell. Whatever the nomenclature, the jokes write themselves. Feel free to come up with one of your own!

9. As the announcer reminds us, "all men [sic] are created equal," fellows and girls. And if some of our country's minorities aren't always treated equally, well, at least it's getting better! Just don't ask any questions about that Japanese family down the street that was spirited away in the dead of night a few years back.

10. If a villain learns your secret identity (through no fault of Superman, shockingly), don't bother magically erasing his memory. Fire works just as well, is easier to come by, and can't be reversed later on.

GLX, SHPTZL, GLAH! (which means "I'm not giving up on this!" in babytalk)

So Kevin saw that DC plans on finally reprinting the complete Captain Marvel/Monster Society of Evil storyline sometime next year (scroll down past the bit about Camelot 3000 and suggestions for stuff he'd like to see collected instead of garbage like Time Masters). That's really great news, and one more thing off of my Long Overdue Collected (or Re-Collected) Editions Wishlist. But while that's a great move, DC, well, I'm still waiting...


You can even make it look better than this crappy mock-up of mine, if you like.

Given the success Dark Horse has had with Little Lulu, the excitement about their upcoming Herbie Popnecker collection(s), and the crossover appeal of cute kid-based comics like Yotsuba&!, I think that DC's insistence that there's no sort of market for this material today is a load of GFBLSTXK*.



* Which, of course, is babytalk for exactly what you think it is. Or possibly "shoehorn." Babytalk is very tricky like that.

Alas, poor Order. I read it, Horatio.

It's a damn shame Marvel is canceling The Order. Or that writer Matt Fraction is pulling the plug on it himself. Whichever version of the story represents the truth, the end result is the same... a good comic is falling by the wayside before its time, and that's a shame.


Like a lot of people, I overlooked the series at first. Mostly. I picked up the first issue through DCBS since it was one of their mega-markdowns and because I liked what Fraction was doing on Iron Fist and what little of Cassanova I'd read, and while I thought it was interesting, it didn't grab me right out of the starting gate. I set it aside, and figured I'd go back for the trade eventually (which I do with most Marvel books these days, actually, even the stuff I love like Captain America and the aforementioned Iron Fist). Then came the word that the series was being canceled/rested/whatevered with issue 10, and the resulting outcry from the core audience. That core audience, at least blog-wise, seemed to be people whose opinions I generally respect, so I figured I'd go back and give it another shot, even if I was just paying last respects to a Dead Book Walking.

I'm not quite caught up yet, but 7 issues in, I can see where I went wrong in bailing so early. The Order is a book that rewards patience. It might not give you a whole lot of bang and bluster in each individual issue, but not in that tired, padded out to 6 issues for the trade paperback feeling so common these days. You definitely get the feeling that the story is going somewhere, and that each event, character reveal, or flashback is an important stopping point on the trail. Fraction has said that he's trying to follow the Lost approach in this regard, and it not only shows, but I think it's largely successful to boot.


All this time on characterization is well-spent, too. Each issue's main focus on a specific character allows us to get into his or her head in a way we don't often get in superhero comics, much less a team book that juggles over a half-dozen leads and a supporting cast that's just as big. And each seemingly small reveal informs the story being told in some very crucial ways, such as in #5, when we learn that the team's most powerful member may be it's publicist. Or in #6, when we see that Milo, A.K.A. the armored Supernaut, may resent the government that exploited him, but will always remain a Marine at heart (seriously, the way he fought back and rescued fallen teammate Aralune in that issue legitimately made me cheer).

But is this strength also a weakness, perhaps even the cause of the book's (perceived or actual) lack of success? A lot of us wait for the trade now. In order for a book to really capture our interest - at least enough to keep the monthly going strong - a book really has to hit the ground running with page one, issue one, and never look back. Sadly, I don't know if a lot of us - and yeah, I include myself in here - have the patience anymore to really let a book take it's time in Going Places (in the immortal words of Ti Kwan Leep student Ed Gruberman, "Yeah, yeah, patience. How long will that take?"), no matter how great our patience is rewarded by those Places. It's not like this sort of thing is at all new in comics: OMAC, Omega the Unknown, Chase, Chronos, The Thing, and Manhunter (repeatedly) are all notable examples of books cut down long before they got to where they were going. And honestly, if they weren't so likely to be tied in to the large goings on of Final Crisis, I'm sure All New Atom and Blue Beetle would be on that list, too, if sales numbers are any indication.


Whatever the story behind The Order's untimely end, it's a good read, and I'm sorry to see it go. But maybe it's better to get 10 great issues rather than a longer series that eventually runs out of steam, loses that spark that made it special in the first place, and just chases it's tail for the duration of its existence (also a bit like Lost, I suppose). If nothing else, it'll make complete re-readings easier, and with this book, I can guarantee that those will be happening.

IWANNAEASTEREGG!!!

Have a happy Easter tomorrow, if you celebrate. But even if you don't, here's a holiday appropriate Bugs Bunny cartoon to enjoy, Easter Yeggs:



(It was years before I knew that Mel Blanc's voice for the Easter Bunny was the same as his ironically named Happy Postman character from The Jack Benny Program. For my money, this is why old Warner Brothers cartoons still seem fresh five or six decades later... the more historical context you learn, the more jokes you come to understand for the first time.)

Batman: Thrifty Department Store Shopper!

Perhaps the Waynes got rich because they appreciated a good sale?



Sometimes I kinda miss Zayre... the one in Bangor had the Popeye video game up by the registers for years. It used to be worth going just to pop a couple quarters into that.



Having been to a Zellers several years ago on a trip to Canada, I can't say I'm terribly surprised that the Dynamic Duo look sort of off-model in this ad.

Sleepy Monday Link Blogging

The insomnia decided to give me Friday and Saturday nights off, but it came back last night with a vengeance. So in an attempt to actually get my brain moving again, here's some easy-to-type linkage:

  • My friend Jeremy is busy remembering the Commodore 64 over on his blog. Here's a general remembrance of the C64, and here is a piece on the ALF game, which is not only the beginning of a series about every C64 game he ever owned, but also features what is undoubtedly the hottest picture of Deborah Harry I have ever seen. So he's got that going for him, which is nice.

  • Hey, look, some folks from the ACAPCWOVCCAOE* went to WizardWorld LA this weekend and apparently had an okay time. Here's Mike's recollection... and Dorian's (and here's his first one, actually)... and those kids from The Bispectacult. And speaking of the Bispectacult, here's Dafna and Kid Chris channeling their inner Shatners (which Dafna does a little too well... the Shat himself best start worrying about job security).

  • Andy has found the best Doctor Who shirt since people started making their own "The Angels Have the Blue Box" shirts.

  • Speaking of Doctor Who, if you're a fan, you should really be keeping up with The Ten Doctors over at Rich's Comix Blog. It's really shaping up to be quite a story, and there are lots of Easter eggs and jokes to keep old school fans quite happy (the recent bit when an exasperated 6th Doctor threatens to push the 4th off of the Pharos dish himself made me legitimately laugh out loud. But I'm a nerd like that.)

  • I'm a little late posting this, but Brian Cronin plays armchair editor-in-chief in a creative way with the "I'ds of March."

  • James Robinson says Congorilla is gonna be in the new Justice League book? Well, that's one way to get me interested in a book featuring both Hal Jordan and Ollie Queen. Well-played, DC!

  • Lastly, if Old Time Radio is your thing, try giving the Decoder Ring Theatre podcast a listen. Their website isn't much to look at, but this is OTR we're talking about... the audioplay's the thing here. The two main programs are The Red Panda Adventures (featuring a Green Hornet/ Shadow-type adventurer who protects 1930s Toronto with his wise-talking partner/would-be love interest, the Flying Squirrel) and Black Jack Justice (a private eye series featuring the pair of the titular Jack Justice and Trixie Dixon, Girl Detective), but there are other programs and specials featuring sci-fi, horror, and comedy shows, too. Lots of fun here, and Red Panda, in particular, has been a hit with both myself and Liam. And if you can win over a 2 year old - one that usually only wants to listen to Laurie Berkner, Barenaked Ladies, TMBG, or Morrissey (don't ask) - you've got a good thing going.


* That's the ASSOCIATED COMICS AND POP CULTURE WEBLOGGERS OF VENTURA COUNTY, CA, AND OUTLYING ENVIRONS, of course!

Happy Pi(e) Day!

It's March 14, Pi Day!



Except you know what? I kinda hate math. So I prefer to celebrate Pie Day. Which is actually January 23rd, as it turns out, but to paraphrase Fabienne from Pulp Fiction, any time is a good time for pie.




Pie... mathematical, delicious, and an essential part of any superhero's arsenal. It may be nature's most perfect food.

(Sorry for all the image intense blogging this week, by the way. Insomnia reigns at Trusty Plinko Stick World Headquarters this week, rendering us all even more incoherent than usual.)

Pretty Sketchy: Iron Fist by Brent Schoonover



Ape Entertainment ran a promotion with DCBS several months back... if you pre-ordered the Horrorwood or SullenGrey trade paperbacks through DCBS, you'd get a sketch from the artist. And as both artists were regulars over on the Comic Geek Speak forums, it was pretty easy to request a specific character if you so chose (otherwise, you'd get a sketch of one of the characters from the book).

Anyway, long short - too late - I figured Brent Schoonover's animated art style would make for an awesome looking Iron Fist, and I'm quite pleased to say I was 100% correct. Fantastic work, and a hell of a nice guy to boot.

Incidentally, DCBS's sister site, InStock Trades, still has extra sketches available for people who order copies of either book. You don't get to pick your own character, but hey, free artwork, and 30% off retail for the book itself. You can't beat that with a stick.

Well, you could, I guess, but it wouldn't really prove anything, and you might break your stick.

5 Up, 5 Down: Star Wars Episodes 1 - 3

The Star Wars prequel trilogy... I think we can agree that's a fairly divisive issue, at least as far as fandom goes, yes? The kids seemed to like it pretty well, but for those of us who grew up with the originals, it was a whole other ball of wax. Some folks liked 'em, others were less receptive, and then there's the whole group of people who claim that George Lucas forcibly sodomized their childhoods at gunpoint. As for myself, I don't think they really hold a candle to the original trilogy, but while they certainly have their problems, they had some positive things going for them, too, which means they're perfect fodder for a 5 Up, 5 Down.

Pros:

1. There was a feeling that each and every one of us got when we sat down to see The Phantom Menace for the first time when we saw the sequence of the "A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away..." card, the opening blare of the John Williams theme, the logo shooting away from us, and the title/narration crawl. Whether we liked the movie that followed or not, the sheer joy of anticipation was amazing... if I could bottle that excitement and sell it to the world, I'd be a billionaire in a few short months.

2. John Williams still has it. "Duel of the Fates," especially, was a great piece of craftsmanship, and probably ranks among the finest works of his career. It scored that climactic battle of Phantom Menace so perfectly.

3. The Clone Wars animated series on Cartoon Network wasn't just good storytelling in the Star Wars universe, it was good television period, and a nice little oasis of awesome in the midst of a fair-to-middlin' movie series. The tie-in comics from Dark Horse were a lot of fun, too.

See? Anakin doesn't *have* to be annoying!

3a. Clone Wars was also notable for being the one piece of Star Wars TV that was at-all watchable. The Droids and Ewoks cartoons, the two Ewok TV movies, and the ever infamous Star Wars Holiday Special all might qualify as varying levels of war crime.

4. Bigger, better lightsaber battles, and in greater numbers to boot. Who didn't love that? Especially the Yoda/Dooku fight in Attack of the Clones. Honestly, who didn't mark out over that? I definitely missed the look and feel of the puppet Yoda, but if CGI Yoda made that possible, then it was all worthwhile.

5. While none of the performances were particularly great, I thought Ewan McGregor made a great Obi Wan Kenobi. He was able to channel the feeling Sir Alec Guinness originally brought to the role without doing an outright imitation, which I appreciated. I also appreciated the sarcastic delivery of so many lines... the only way to really bring life to Lucas lines are to sort of mock them as you say 'em. This is why we all loved Harrison Ford in the originals.

5a. It's worth noting that if you skip all the Anakin/Padme scenes in Attack of the Clones and just follow Obi Wan's side of the story, it becomes a significantly better movie.


The Cons (and I'll try to avoid the more obvious ones; well, I do have to include one obvious one):

1. Let's get this out of the way. Him. You know, him. I'm not even gonna mention his name, nor link to his StarWars.com profile or anything. Everyone knows who I'm talking about, and more importantly, why. Let us move on and never speak of this again.

"Yeah, Jabba... you can just keep that one."

2. In the heart of the galaxy's baddest mo-fo, there remains a sad, scared little kid (Who can't act as a boy or a teenager. And hates sand.). Gah, that's so 70s touchy-feely I could barf.

3. The histories and rules of the Sith, the Jedi, and Republic in general as presented in the movies contradict a lot of stuff from various Expanded Universe comics and novels written in the years between the first and second trilogies. Now, obviously since this is all Lucas's baby and everything, he certainly has the right to dictate canon as he sees fit. But the problem is, a lot of those comics and novels were better than the new trilogy, and it annoys me to see decent storytelling overlaid with bad.

4. The Revenge of the Sith opens with a big space battle and a wheezy General Grievous, both of which are the direct result of events at the end of the Clone Wars toon. The reasoning for the battle is explained a bit in the narration crawl, but not very well, and there's no in-movie explanation for that asthmatic robot over there. I hadn't yet seen all of the cartoon when I went to see the movie, and I'm willing to bet a lot of people didn't see it at all, so there was a lot of headscratching there. If it's important enough to be in the movie, it's important enough to be explained in the movie.

4a. But Lucas has always had a problem with this... I knew that Vader was a Dark Lord of the Sith, and how he got in that big suit in the first place, but that was due to the storybooks and trading cards I had as a kid. None of that is mentioned in the movies at all. I don't think we hear the word Sith once in the entire original trilogy, even after they've been Special Editioned to death!

5. No Admiral Ackbar or Nien Nunb. Come on, George! We see younger versions of Vader, Boba Fett, Chewbacca, Obi Wan, Yoda (well, Yoda is still old, but he's not quite as old here, I suppose) the Emperor (ditto), Luke & Leia, and even freakin' Greedo. Where's Ensign Ackbar? Or Lil' Nien Nunb? The public demands it!

"It's a travesty!!!"
"Bleh bloo plah, heh heh heh!"

Dogpile on the Herbie! Dogpile on the Herbie!

(Actually, don't. He'll bop you with that there lollipop.)

Herbie Archives coming from Dark Horse this summer. Oh. Hell. Yes.

Sure, other people have mentioned it, but I've been waiting for this for so long that I can't let it pass without bringing it up here, too (Plus, maybe if I type about it enough, Dark Horse will comp me? Please?). And while I'd prefer a nice, thick, affordable black and white collection, at this point, I'll take what I can get.

Now where's my Showcase Presents Sugar & Spike, DC? You have no longer have any excuse.

Dogpile on the Watchmen! Dogpile on the Watchmen!

Honestly, I don't think they're all that bad. But if people lost their shit over Galactus not being a big dude in a Kirby hat in FF2, I suppose it's only expected that they'll do the same if the Watchmen costumes don't 100% match what's on the page, too. And I guess I shouldn't be surprised by the comics internet looking for things to complain about a movie they'll end up going to see anyway.

And yeah, the success-to-failure ratio for adaptations of Alan Moore comics isn't great, but V for Vendetta proved that it can be done reasonably well, so I'm willing to give Watchmen a fair shake. But hey, I'm a reasonable guy.

The Dig List: 3/6/08

Kinda quick reactions to stuff I've read/watched, and enjoyed recently. Might be SPOILERY, so you've been warned.

All New Atom #20 - It may have tied up all the loose ends from the previous 19 issues a little too quickly, but at least Gail Simone got to tie them up herself, which brings a refreshing feeling of closure to the run. This has been Fun Comics of the highest order, and Rick Remender has a lot to live up to. I'm willing to give him an issue or two to keep me on board, though.

The Umbrella Academy: Apocalypse Suite #6 - Gerard Way has spent a lot of interview time talking of his love for all things Grant Morrison, and apparently he has taken to emulating Morrison's occasional habit of too quick, not-quite-as-satisfying-as-you'd-like endings. I still enjoyed the series as a whole, and definitely look forward to whatever comes next for the characters, but it was really more of a stop than an end.

Brave and the Bold #10 - DC is really intent on the re-weeniefying of young Aqualad, huh? And hey - this is the SPOILERY bit, as well as a nerdramble, by the way - the Silent Knight was retconned to be one of the many reincarnations of Hawkman, right? And if SK is an ancestor of Jonathan Kent, does that make Superman and Hawkman kinda/sorta related? But I digress... more big, cosmic, comic fun from Waid and Perez that remains an absolute blast to read.

Tiny Titans #1 - I talked about this the other day, but to sum up, you may need a surprising amount of familiarity with the various iterations of the Teen Titans to get why a lot of the jokes are supposed to be funny, but it's cute, charming, and a lot of fun, so that's easy to overlook.

Spider-Man Family #7 - The main story, a tribute to Mike Wieringo by Todd Dezago, Mark Waid, and Karl Kesel, was really fantastic, the sort of story Ringo himself would probably have enjoyed, I'm sure. The Looter's relationship with, well, his rock, had me legitimately laughing out loud in a few spots, as did Spider-Man's mounting frustration with having to keep up with the guy (Spidey was seriously channeling Daffy Duck toward the end... can't get enough of that). Best of all, Chtylok the Che-K'n Kau, star of my most favorite Dezago/Wieringo story, gets a shout out, and that's always a good thing*.

However, I'm more than a little pissed that Marvel used this opportunity to sell me a reprint of frickin' Venom: Lethal Protector #1, of all things. I never expect a lot out of the Spider-Man Family reprints, but really, Marvel? Really? That book was a low point for Mark Bagley, Marvel, the comics industry, and the entire human race.

Doctor Who #1 - I've never expected a lot out of Doctor Who comics, to be honest, but as they go, this was decent. The art was funky to be sure, at times entirely too much so, but the story was good enough to get me to come back. Though I'll be honest, now that I know she's eventually taking over the art chores, I'm just biding my time until Pia Guerra gets here.

Blue Beetle #24 - Still the best superhero book around, blah blah blah, but this issue really kicked it up a few notches more, throwing Jaime into the heart of the Reach without his armor or powers, and he's still kicking ass (and I'm dying to know what his exclamation on the last page leads to next month, given the history of those words). Meanwhile, on Earth, the entire supporting cast circles the wagons and kicks some ass themselves, while Traci 13 delivers one of the best introductions I've read in some time.

The Many Adventures of Miranda Mercury #295 - Pretty much everything I wanted it to be in terms of grand space opera stuff, and the introduction to the ongoing plot is worked into the story rather seamlessly, rather than just being a huge, forced infodump. Definitely looking forward to seeing where this goes. And maybe it's just because I watched Torchwood last week, I couldn't help but imagine Freema Agyeman as Miranda's voice. Anyone else get that?

Firefly: The Complete Series - Okay, Firefly/Serenity fans. I totally get it now. Don't get me wrong... I'm not going to start wearing a brown duster everywhere, I'm not going to refer to the cast by their first names like I know them or something, and I'm not going to start saying everything is "shiny" (unless, you know, it's actually in reference to an object's luminescence or reflective ability). But yeah, your show is a lot of fun. And Jewel Staite is certainly easy on the eyes. I'm sorry I doubted you.

For the record, though, I think a lot more people would be fans if they actually saw the DVDs, rather than trying to watch it on Fox back in the day, since Fox couldn't be bothered to air the actual pilot episode first or anything. The high concept - Ex-Confederate Pirate Cowboys in OUTER SPAAAAAAACE! - is gonna be a little too weird for a lot of the American viewing public if they don't get any context going into it. Of course, it would probably also help if the potential audience in question was in the mood for both Westerns and space adventure like I am right now. At this exact moment, it's the Reese's Peanut Butter Cup of my particular pop culture needs.



*Okay, Squirrel Girl vs. the Che-K'n Kau... would that be a great comic, or the greatest comic?

Bye, Gary.

As every other geek-leaning blog in the universe has mentioned, Dungeons & Dragons co-creator Gary Gygax passed away the other day.



(For the record, stepping barefoot on an unseen d4 left lying on the floor is as painful as stepping on a Lego.)

I was never a huge gamer, but the man's creation was the source of a number of fun Sunday afternoons back in middle and high school (as well as a lot of funny questions from my dad about why people would want to play a game where you can't technically "win"). And if I were to look, I'm sure I could still find a d20 kicking around my house somewhere (and there are certainly some to be found in my parents' attic, I'm sure, along with a pile of GURPS and DC Heroes books that were fun to look at, even if they were never really used for actual gaming). So even though I might not talk, or even think, about it all that much anymore, Gary did impact my life in a positive way, and for that I'm thankful. Rest in peace, sir.

(See? You can do a Gygax tribute without a saving throw joke. Take that, internet! But, for a tribute that manages to be funny and kind of nice at the same time, check out today's Penny Arcade, entitle "Bordering on the Semi-Tasteful.")

The First One

My monthly slab o' comics from DCBS came yesterday morning, and I couldn't wait to tear into it, even more than usual. This was the box containing the extra copy of Tiny Titans #1 that I picked up for Liam.

When you're a geek dad, buying your kid's first comic book is an important day. And yeah, I did say "extra copy" earlier. Being a fan of creator Art Baltazar's other book, Patrick the Wolf Boy, I was really looking forward to checking this out. And, well, the boy is still rather rough on books and periodicals at this point, so, ashamedly, I have to admit that I didn't want him wrecking my copy. But that DCBS discount made this book all of 56 cents, so honestly, I couldn't not get him a copy of his very own to pleasingly destroy.

We sat down to read it, and he didn't seem interested at first. After all, it wasn't Goodnight Moon or The Pigeon Finds a Hot Dog, both books we read approximately 32,783,475 times a day, so he was hesitant. Once I pointed out Robin on the cover - thanks to the Adam West Batman movie, he's a big fan of the Dynamic Duo - his eyes perked right up and I knew I had him.

It's funny how we very obviously had two different experiences as I read this aloud to him. I thought it was funny and very cute, but couldn't help but wonder how someone unfamiliar with the Teen Titans, either the regular comic book or animated versions, would get a lot of the jokes - Principal Slade, Trigon as a substitute teacher, the difference between the Donna and Cassie Wonder Girls, etc. - as they were very "inside baseball." Liam, on the other hand, enjoyed pointing Robin out to me, or telling me the various animals Beast Boy was turning into in each panel ("Bunny! Doggy! CAT!!!"). But for the most part, he seemed to enjoy it, and even let me read pretty much the whole thing to him, which is unusual, since he often likes to grab books and look at pages out of order. I love him, but his lack of respect for narrative flow is frustrating. He steadfastly refused to let me read the last two pages of the Superfriends preview in the back though, preferring to gaze at the Johnny DC coming attractions page (but how will we ever know how that story, um, middles, I guess?).

And yeah, he wrecked it a little, but I'm proud to say no, I didn't let it bother me. I had to make sure it didn't get absolutely destroyed so that we could actually read it again, but a torn cover and some marker lines are perfectly acceptable. Maybe we both got something out of this.

It's Super Kind-Of-Important Tuesday!

If you live in Texas, Ohio, Vermont, or Rhode Island, be sure to get out and vote in your presidential primary today if you haven't already. Remember, if you don't vote, you don't have the right to complain when the candidate of your choosing eventually sells you out.

And if you have yet to decide, may I humbly offer a candidate suggestion?



He's not on the ballot in every state (he wasn't here in Rhode Island, unfortunately), but if he is, he's truly the right person for the job. The statesmanship of Lincoln, the ideals and strong right hook of Captain America (because evil dictators aren't going to punch themselves), and the rise from humble, immigrant roots (he comes from a Danish background, you know) that makes for the Great American Success Story.

Pretty Sketchy - Blue Beetle by Mike Norton



Pretty sure I posted this right after I got it at last year's New York Comic Con, but I've never done it as a Pretty Sketchy post, so here it is again - a fantastic rendering of the second (well, technically third) Blue Beetle, Ted Kord, by DC artist Mike Norton. He's a fantastic artist (check out issues of All New Atom, Marvel Adventures Spider-Man, and an upcoming issue of the current Blue Beetle series for but a few examples), a hell of a nice guy, and possibly my Earth 2 counterpart.