Why DC's Who's Who Is Almost Too Great For Mere Mortals to Even Gaze At - Part 3!

Gil Kane could take a concept as goofy as Sword of the Atom and still make it look kind of cool. His draw fu was that strong. (See also: Why that first Sword of the Atom mini-series was way better than it had any right to be.)

(Here are part one and part two, by the way.)

R.I.P. Dave Cockrum

Newsarama says that comics artist Dave Cockrum passed away Saturday due to diabetes-related complications at the still-too-young age of 63. My condolences go out to his loved ones.

In cheerier news, Newsarama also has preview pages posted for Mark Waid and George Perez's The Brave and the Bold and Jeff Smith's Shazam and the Monster Society of Evil, among others. Those Jeff Smith pages are particularly gorgeous, and they give me great hope that DC might finally - FINALLY - be producing the sort of Captain Marvel book I've been wanting read for quite some time. They also make the preview pages for Trials of Shazam #4 that are also included look particularly poor by comparison. If you can look at those and honestly say that you like them better than the Smith pages, I don't think we can be pretend internet friends anymore.

There are also some astoundingly good looking pages from something called God Save the Queen by Mike Carey and John Bolton. It sounds like a bit of a Sandman/Lucifer spin-off and features drug-addicted punk faeries, which I'm sure is a fetish for somebody.

The true story of seven pantsless strangers...

For reasons I never quite understand, I always end up wanting to watch the first episode of any new season of The Real World, and this year was no exception (the Denver season debuted this past week). I never watch any of the rest of the season anymore, not if I can help it, anyway, but I'll usually sit down to watch that first one with Erin, even though for the last 5 or 6 years, it ends up making me kind of mad. I think that's because I remember how the show used to be. Or at the very least, I remember how the cast members used to be.

The show began when I was in high school (and wow, does that make me feel old), and when it began - probably for the first 5 or 6 years, in fact - I remember being sort of impressed by the people who were on it. The roommates in the earlier years all seemed to be striving to achieve some sort of goal in their lives. Well, most of them, anyway; you always have to let a few slackers and total nutjobs into the mix, as it makes for more compelling television, I guess, but more often than not, they were the exception, not the rule. These were people setting out to be writers, doctors, musicians artists, actors, executives, dancers, cops, and so on. And even those folks who didn't have a clear-cut career path in mind were still very much looking to figure out who they really were and wanted to find their place in the world. It's no wonder that the show became so popular so quickly. Even though this was a carefully constructed situation featuring 7 attractive 18 to 25-year-olds living rent- and practically consequence-free lives for a few months on MTV's dime in exchange for providing some strategically edited faux-drama, it was still very relatable to teenagers and twentysomethings. It actually felt sort of real.

Somewhere along the line, it all changed. Cast members chosen to be on The Real World stopped being people who wanted to be writers, doctors, musicians, etc., and started being people who just wanted to be on The Real World. People less interested in trying to prepare for real life than they were in using that rent- and practically consequence-free environment to drink or screw anything that hovered into their field of vision. People specifically out to pick fights with their roommates in an effort to maximize their camera time and get popular enough to get asked back for the Real World/Road Rules Challenge show so they can put off having to get an actual job for as long as possible. It's maddening, but even worse, it's disappointing.

Maybe it's always been this way, and now that I'm older - officially too old to be on the show by a good 5 years at least, I'm almost certain - I notice it more. Maybe I'm forgetting the fact that reality television panders to the lowest common denominator of the TV audience, and that producers are just playing to what's popular. Maybe I'm even expecting too much of the network that unleashed the likes of My Super Sweet Sixteen on to the world; MTV was never an especially intelligent network, but it was certainly smarter and more subversive than it is now. I don't really know. But I used to really like The Real World. It used to be about something. Now I just wish these whiny kids would keep their damn pants on and actually go get a job or something.

You know, maybe that's why I keep watching the first episode of this show: to keep me motivated to be a good parent. Because if you're the parent of anyone who's been on The Real World these past few years, guess what? You pretty much failed.

The electronic equivalent of repeatedly banging my head against the desk.

I have to work until noon today for no discernible reason whatsoever. The school is closed, all the students have gone home, and we've had maybe 3 people walk through all morning. It's only a half day, sure, but it's a half day I could be spending at home with Erin and Liam, hanging out and watching TV with them, maybe even playing Lego Star Wars II (The World's Most Perfect Video Game) while Liam naps. But nope, I'm here. So I'm passing the boredom on to you with a very scattershot blog entry.

(Spoilers afoot if you haven't seen this week's Heroes or last week's Doctor Who yet, so, you know, beware)

So I understand that TV promos are essentially lying sacks of crap, especially where Sweeps stunts are concerned, but this week's Heroes, good episode though it was, really didn't go a long way in explaining much, huh? I mean, sure, the "save the cheerleader" part was in full effect, but "save the world" was left pretty much up in the air. The current theory around the house is that preventing Claire from getting brain-sucked by Sylar prevents him from gaining her regeneration powers, which would basically make him completely invincible. We'll see, I guess. I'm interested to see what Mr. Horn Rim and Cutey McPersuasive (which is a much better name than Eden, I think) do with Sylar now that they have him. And I'm also anxious to see where Christopher "I don't want to be typecast as a sci fi guy, so I immediately do another sci fi show after leaving Doctor Who" Eccleston turns up in this series, because the rumor was that he'd be Sylar, and from the brief glimpse we get of the dude in the "Next week on..." promo, it's clearly not him. But, of course, TV promos are essentially lying sacks of crap.

And hey, speaking of Doctor Who, last week's episode was pretty excellent, especially after coming on the heels of the disappointing Cybermen two-parter and the merely okay one with the face-sucking electrical creature in the TVs. The Doctor has faced off against demonic threats before, but throwing him up against something that could very well be the actual Devil is pretty interesting. And it prompted this exchange:

Erin: I don't know if I buy this. There's no such thing as the devil!

Me: As opposed to Daleks?


Erin: Okay. I see your point.

(Look, it was funny if you were there, alright?)

Anyway, I'm looking to see how this is resolved in the next episode. Unfortunately, we're going to have wait another week to see it. Stupid holiday weekend cable programming decisions!

If you're like me, you spend entirely too much time thinking about comic book storage options. I'd like to start using Drawer Boxes, as I think they're incredibly cool in the way that they're sturdy enough to be stack 'em 5 or 6 boxes high, but you're still able to get at your comics without moving the boxes around since they're like filing cabinet drawers. Brilliant. Sadly, they only make long box sized ones, and after moving three times in one year (back in 2000), I switched to short boxes, and my back has been thanking me ever since. I don't want to go back because, you know, heavy. And the folks at Collection Drawer don't seem to be in any hurry to create a short box-sized option, unfortunately.

These people have an interesting looking alternative, though: sturdy shells that surround an existing short box, effectively transforming your existing storage option into a DIY drawer box. I don't have the money to look into this any further right now, but they seem like a decent option. If anyone out there has used these and can attest to their quality (or lack thereof, if that's the case), I'd appreciate getting some opinions on 'em.

(As I was explaining this to Erin last night, she asked how these shells would actually fit over the lidded boxes. I told her you slide the box in topless, so she started talking about these as being "spring break for comic book boxes," and then screaming "Spring Break! Woohoo!" like Kitty on "Arrested Development." Look, it was funny if you were there, alright?)

Quick question: why doesn't coffee taste as good as it smells? Because it smells amazing, but usually ends up tasting like hot, dirty water. Even if you pair it with a yummy donut or a particularly tasty bagel. The taste/smell differential is that big. Admittedly, my body's occasionally antagonistic relationship with dairy products means I usually don't add any milk or cream (and so few places have soy milk as an option), so that cuts into flavor enhancement, but I do add sugar when I drink it. A lot, in fact. And all that does is make it taste like hot, dirty sweet water. And it's weird, too, because I like iced coffee pretty well. And coffee-flavored ice cream and frozen yogurt. But I just can't get into the hot stuff. Maybe it's some sort of chemistry thing. Someone get me Alton Brown on the phone to explain this to me!

The Newsarama Blog presents Ten Comics That Died Too Soon. I'm hard pressed to disagree with any of the ones on the list I have read (Chase was all kinds of excellent, as were the few issues of Hourman I came into contact with), so the temptation is definitely there to go back and give the others a try, or in one or two cases, give them another try. I remembered I had the first issue of Green Lantern: Mosaic kicking around in the discard pile somewhere since I remembered not liking it all that much back when it first came out, but I re-read it last night, and yeah, it was pretty good; certainly good enough to give later issues a try. It probably helps that the Halloween freebie issue of Back Issue I got in the mail last week actually got me interested in Green Lantern-related anything for the first time in years. I think I need to go and dig up some Hourman somewhere again, too.

My only suggestion for the list that didn't make it on? The Kurt Busiek/Erik Larsen run of the Defenders from a few years back. Really excellent and criminally underrated. I didn't like the recent Giffen/DeMatteis/Maguire Defenders mini-series because it just felt like a JLI story with the Defenders inserted in their place. Busiek and Larsen, on the other hand, created something that looked, sounded, and felt like an actual Defenders book, and it just happened to be funny as well (track down the issue narrated by the Hulk if you don't believe me... great stuff!).

I still have a few days left on my eBay auctions! I'd be especially happy if the MST3K movie DVD started to climb in price, seeing as it usually tends to go for around 100 clams, and that's the reason I bothered to put it up in the first place. In the immortal words of the 20th century's greatest philosopher, Sally Brown, "All I want is what's coming to me. All I want is my fair share."

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone! Unless you're in Canada, who already celebrated a month ago. Or in one of the hundreds of other countries that doesn't celebrate it at all. Know that if you live in one of those places, you're missing out on a lot of really excellent things, most of them pie-related.

Excuses and links - two great tastes that blog great together!

My attempt at NaNoWriMo non-glory is very much in danger of ending in failure. 90% chance, I'd say (why be a total pessimist?). All the usual reasons apply: bad weekend or two, previously arranged engagements, a wedding anniversary, a birthday, actually being busy at work for a change, desperate need to catch up on sleep, toddler wrangling, holiday preparations, etc. Who schedules this sort of thing for November, anyway? Is everyone really so busy in March or April? Sheesh. I have had fun with what I've managed to accomplish so far - it's certainly nice to know I'm capable of banging out so many words in so little time - but I don't know, it just doesn't seem to be the sort of thing that makes me want to stick with it. It reminded me that creative writing is something I do enjoy, though, so I figure if I at least got that much out of the experience, than it's a success. And who knows, maybe I could find myself getting back into the swing of it this week. It's not likely, but stranger things have happened.

Anyway, here are some links of note:

Study says TV's youth obsession is starting to backfire. And, you know, that's good and all, but I can't help but think the alternate title was "Baby boomers whine because the attention was focused on people other than them for more than five minutes.

BeaucoupKevin proudly presents The Validus Gallery of Fine Arts.

Joanna finds an interesting story recounting the secret origin of Identity Crisis. Well worth reading.

You know, I love my Red Sox and all, but paying over $50 million just to negotiate with a guy sounds a little ridiculous to me.

Tom the Dog lists the Top 50 Science Fiction and Fantasy Books from 1953-2002 as according to the Science Fiction Book Club. I've only read 7*, which I suppose puts my nerd license in danger of being revoked.

The Artist Challenge threads over on the Comic Geek Speak forums often produce some really great work, and this Magical Characters theme is no exception.

Everyone else is linking to this, too, but it's all sorts of brilliant: the coming of Galactus by Stan Lee and Jack Chick!

This Richie Rich image that Mike found asks questions about reality that I'm not prepared to have answered.

*Dune, Stranger in a Strange Land, The Mists of Avalon, Ender's Game, Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, and Slaughterhouse-5, if you're curious.

Validus: Intergalactic super-villain, "Jack's Big Music Show" fan.

(Go here. It may help this make more sense.)

Silver-Age comics. Children's televison. These are the sorts of things that fill entirely too much of my brain. And I wonder why I can't secure the sort of job they give to grown-ups.

You'll either get why this is funny, or you won't. No grey space here at all.

Here's a decidedly different take on the ending of the Doctor Who story "Earthshock" that I found tonight on YouTube:

Even if you really liked the character in question, you can't say that it doesn't kinda work.


Be sure to get out and vote today, folks! This is a very important year on both the national and state levels.

And we've got a presidential election just two years away now, so remember...

Can't... stop... typing!

Need to type something that isn’t NaNo or work related. Here are some super brief thoughts about things I’ve read (thanks, DCBS!) or watched (thanks, reassuring cathode tube glow of television!) lately:

Dork #11 – How often can you go four years between issues, and still say it was totally worth the wait? Very funny stuff, and a very thick read for your comic book dollar.

Irredeemable Ant-Man #1 – I get that he’s supposed to be unlikable, but shouldn’t he be interesting, too? Glad I got this one on a DCBS deep discount, though I still feel like I overpaid.

Marvel Team-Up #25 – Rushed ending to tie up the loose ends of the series. Better than the end of the Freedom Ring story, though not by much. When I look back on this book, I think I’ll pretend it ended with the League of Losers story, which is the last time it was good.

E-Man Recharged – Brilliant reintroduction to the character from the original creators that manages to bring newbies up to speed and still be a good story to boot. Makes me want to go find more issues of the original Charlton run (I have one somewhere, I think), so mission accomplished, Digital Webbing!

Lone Ranger #2 – Still interesting, but PAINFULLY written for the trade. At this rate, it’ll be issue 25 before we ever see Silver.

The Life and Times of Scrooge McDuck Companion – Very apt title; you don’t have to read the stories here to enjoy the original Life of Scrooge story, but it certainly enhances your enjoyment if you have. The reverse is true, too – reading the first book will help you enjoy this one, but you can come into it cold and still be entertained. Don Rosa is a genius. There, I said it. Also, “The Prisoner of White Agony Creek” is now one of my very favorite comic stories ever.

Nextwave: Agents of HATE #9 – Either Warren Ellis has a friendly rivalry going with Mark Millar, or else he’s really missed at the guy for what he did to The Authority. Anyway, yeah, typically brilliant stuff here. Plus, Not Brand Ecch is brought into continuity, sort of, and that’s all kinds of fun.

Marvel Adventures Spider-Man #20 – Saturday morning on paper: Spidey and Hawkeye vs. Frankenstein. ‘Nuff said.

Agents of Atlas #2 – Was going to wait for the trade, but it’s much too fun to read monthly. Will be catching up ASAP.

The Amazing Race – At first, I was disturbed by David and Mary’s horrifying teeth, but now I’m completely rooting for them. It’s nice to see a team who’s so clearly benefiting from the situation (and not just financially), continue to somehow avoid Philimination. I also have to admit that I really enjoy the Blondes, too (and not just for the obvious reason, although, yeah, that’s a factor, too). The “hot” team is usually so bitchy, but these two are really a lot of fun, and, I suspect, really that happy most of the time.

Doctor Who – “The Girl in the Fireplace” may well be my favorite Who episode ever. Such brilliant writing, such stellar performances from the whole cast. So anything that followed that would have a lot to live up to, anyway, but honestly, that Cybermen two-parter? Snoresville. I usually love Cybermen stories, too – they’re my favorite of the show’s “monsters” – but this one really didn’t work for me. I suspect it’s because they tried to shoehorn them into a parallel universe story, rather than do a straight-out Cybermen story. Also, this was, yet again, All About Rose, which frankly, I’m getting a little tired of.

Grey’s Anatomy – Don’t usually watch this, but I caught it with Erin this morning, who DVR-ed it. I liked bits and pieces, but I don’t understand why they don’t just rename this show “Hey, Look at All the Horny Doctors!” already. As Erin said on her own blog a while back, “I’m glad that none of these people will ever get near me with scalpel.”

Heroes – Hiro gets a sword. Hee!

Like I could let this pass unmentioned.

Tom the Dog was right. I couldn't let this go by without mentioning it here.

Bob Barker, 50 year television veteran, animal rights advocate, Silver Fox of daytime TV, host of The Price is Right, possessor of both the thinnest microphone you ever will see and, yes, the very object this blog is named for, is retiring next June.

I can't imagine Television's Most Exciting Hour of Cash and Prizes without him. I imagine he'll still hang around the Celebrity Pro-Am Golf circuit as long as he can, though, because as he's proven before, he kicks ass on the links, figuratively and literally:

Enjoy the retirement, Bob!

Possible Low Content Mode Ahead.

So like some other bloggers I know (or know of, anyway), I kicked off my attempt at NaNoWriMo glory today. As a result, I expect posting here may slow down for the next month. It's not like I'm a bastion of regular posting to begin with, but you know what I mean. Things may get even slower still. So, you know, there's your warning.

I'm proud of myself so far, though. I managed to pound out over 2,600 words today, and a few of them may even have been pretty good. I know I won't be able to keep up that pace on a regular basis, since the first real threat to my writing schedule occurs, oh, tomorrow, but it feels very nice to get off to a start like that. I may try and squeeze out a little more before bed, but my DCBS order came today and I've got the third disc of Battlestar Galactica Season 1 from Netflix, so I may take a bit of a break and pick up again during the boy's morning nap tomorrow. We'll see!

Incidentally, my novel is very Douglas Adams-y so far. Except I managed to squeeze the word "pigf---er" in there. You know, to give it that definitively American spin.