Pretty Sketchy: A Superman Two-Fer

Superman in both the mulleted and non-mulleted varieties by Jon Bogdanove and Dennis Janke respectively, acquired at an in-store signing at my then-local comic shop, the late, great Nostalgia Ink in Bangor, Maine. Obviously, this was around the time of the whole Death/Return storyline in 1994, back when Bogdanove was drawing the Superman: The Man of Steel book and Janke was inking it.

I'm sure this is an unpopular opinion, but...

So I'm not sure the world actually needs a Spice Girls reunion, but this picture makes me not oppose it so much:

Clearly Geri Halliwell realized that when she has a little more meat on her bones, is adequately covered up, and significantly less teased and made-up, she looks abso-freakin'-lutely amazing (sort of like how older Susanna Hoffs is even hotter than early Bangles-era Susanna Hoffs). Homina. Mrs. Beckham there could stand to learn the same lesson, though. Eat a damn cheeseburger, Posh!

(Full disclosure: I still think "Wannabe" is a great pop song. And their movie, Spice World, really could've been a lot worse. And the Emma Bunton solo album is a great listen, sort of like a lost Petula Clark or Dusty Springfield record. Aaaaaand I think I have officially said too much. How about that sports team, huh?)

The (Short) Dig List: 6/26/07

Fantastic Four Visionaries: Walter Simonson Vol. 1 - See, Walt Simonson gets it. Doing the FF right is a balancing act - ape Lee and Kirby too faithfully, and you're little more than a cover band (Kirbymania: not the King, but an incredibly simulation); stray too far, and you end up with stuff like Walking Pineapple Ben Grimm and Sue Richards's boob-window costume. This book, reprinting the first 8 issues of Simonson's well-loved (but rarely talked about) run on the title, prove that Simonson was more than capable of the artistic acrobatics needed for success.

Any number of baddies could have tried to derail the FF as they testified before Congress (against a Superhuman Registration Act, you'll notice), but pitting them against a few dozen of the C-list-or-lower villains clogging the pages of OHOTMU is unique and, quite often, hilarious. And what about Galactus? He has tried to eat the planet any number of times, so that's nothing new. But a future Galactus attempting to eat the entire universe? With the added threats of the Dreaming Celestial, Nebula, and a couple of Cross-Time Kangs? Now there's a threat. Throw in some time-travel, a couple of guest stars, and an unfinished plot thread from Simonson's earlier Avengers run, and you're in for a good ride. This is Fun Comics to the Nth degree, and I can't wait for volume 2.

Just horrified by this.

So last night, right after hearing the news that wrestler Chris Benoit, his wife, and young song had died, I put up a quick R.I.P. post. I hadn't watched wrestling for a few years, but when I did, I was definitely a Benoit fan. If you watched the guy wrestle even just a few times, you couldn't not be a fan.

A few hours later, right before bed, I read that the deaths were possibly a murder-suicide situation. I took the post down, just in case the worst was true.

Well, the worst does indeed look to be true, and I'm having a hard time processing it all. Not just because I'm having a hard time reconciling the person I cheered on with the person who could do something like this (though that's a factor, sure), but because I can't imagine as a parent, a husband, and a human being who could do something like this to their own family.

I certainly can't wish someone who could do such a thing any sort of eternal rest, much less a peaceful one.

"But what do we do now, Doctor?"

Bored tonight, so let's a do a Top 5 list.

(TV only - sorry folks who are fans of the novels, Big Finish audios and the like. Though if I did open it up to stories of questionable canonicity, Benny Summerfield would definitely make the list, though I've read just one and a half stories in which she is featured. She's pretty awesome.)

(Also, I haven't seen Season 3 of the new series yet, so Martha Jones is out by default. I do hear good things, though.)

Honorable Mention: Brigadier Allistair Gordon Lethbridge-Stuart. He only ever made the odd short hop in the TARDIS, so he's not a companion in the traditional sense, but his frequent reappearances (in all the Who-related media) have made him such an important figure in the show's mythology and fleshed out his character so much (even retired, the man kicked ass) that he belongs on the list in some fashion regardless.

5.) K9. He's a dog. He's a robot. He has a ray gun in his nose. He has a bit of an ego. What's not to love? Plus, he was far more versatile - and significantly less annoying - than the Doctor's other robot companion, Kamelion (who only appeared twice, to my recollection: his debut, and the episode where he gets blowed up real good. Am I missing any?).

4.) (tie) Leela and Ace. I always rank them together, since they're variations on the same theme: women with untapped/overlooked potential who approach every situation with a similar question: how can I stab this (Leela) / blow it up (Ace)? And that's always fun. Plus, seeing the Doctor(s) play Henry Higgins to their respective Eliza Doolittles always made for some fun situations, though the really fun stuff happened whenever the Doctor actually let them cut loose ("Ace, hand me some of that Nitro-9 you're not carrying.").

3.) Post-Regeneration Romana (the Lalla Ward version). Usually the Doctor plays the caretaker / tour guide role with his companions. But Romana, being a fellow Time Lord (okay, Time Lady), was the first companion since granddaughter Susan to be on anything approaching equal footing with him. Sure, the Doctor was the experienced traveler helping her break free of her staid Gallifreyan existence, but she was his intellectual equal (and in some respects, probably his superior), making for an interesting twist in the Doctor / companion relationship. And I prefer the second Romana because a.) she's now been around for awhile and is starting to really dig the ride, and b.) I happen to find Lalla Ward more attractive than Mary Tamm.

2.) Jamie McCrimmon. The Doctor tends to prefer traveling with cute women rather than guys (well, wouldn't you?), but there have been a few males here and there. The problem is, a lot of 'em were complete tools (Harry Sullivan? Imbecile.). The Brig was good, Ian Chesterson seemed like an alright guy, and Captain Jack is undeniably cool, but my favorite of the guys was always Jamie. Just about everyone else the Doctor has ever traveled with was definitely a companion. Jamie was more akin to being the second Doctor's buddy... lots of joking and mock adversarial banter. The sort of thing a couple of guys would do, really. Not the sort of relationship we see on this show very often. Plus, he got to travel with both Victoria and Zoe, two companions who might not be my favorite overall characters, but would definitely make my "Companions Who Have Teh Hawtness" list if I were to make one. Lucky man.

1.) Sarah Jane Smith. I think we can agree that Sarah Jane is pretty much the ultimate Who companion. Smart, tenacious, decent in a fight, willing to go along with the Doctor but unwilling to take any of his crap, screams well when the situation requires it, and best of all, I don't recall her ever stupidly twisting her ankle at inopportune moments (I always hated that old Doctor Who chestnut). And it certainly doesn't hurt that she was pretty cute. It's never been particularly surprising to me that of all the former companions, she's the one that's had the most shelflife after being written off the show: brought back for an anniversary special, brought back for the new series (only one so far for that), her own range of Big Finish audios, and two TV spin-offs. So clearly I'm not alone in my admiration here.

Tag, I'm It - 8 True Things

GTS over at Sentient Force Field tagged me with the 8 True Thing meme.

Here are the rules:

* Each player starts with eight random facts/habits about themselves.

* People who are tagged need to write their own blog about their eight things and post these rules.

* At the end of your blog, you need to choose eight people to get tagged and list their names. (You’re not the boss of me!)

* Don’t forget to leave them a comment telling them they’re tagged, and to read your blog.

I'm not gonna do the last two... or instead, I'm gonna pull a page out of the Rock's playbook. Every now and then, when slapped with a last-second tag match, the Rock would take on both members of the opposing team himself, claiming that he was teamed up with "the People." So I'm tagging you in, the People. Play along if the feeling strikes you.

Here goes:

1. I was an extra in the ABC mini-series Stephen King's The Langoliers. I'm even on camera, sort of: at the very end (it's 12 years old, I feel no need for spoiler alerts now) when the cast is coming back in sync with time, you can see the crap-SFX outlines of people walking through the airport terminal. At one point, you see a tall outline in between two shorter outlines. I'm the tall outline; the shorter ones are my friends Cat and Julia.

2. I have never ice skated. Despite growing up in a state where we got a whole damn lot of winter. And I've only ever attempted skiing once, and since it was the one and only time in my life I've done a complete split, I'm not terribly keen on trying again.

3. When I was little, I'd eat tuna mixed with butter. Because I liked it. *shudder* I have this theory that my taste buds were slow to develop, which may also explain why I liked Vienna sausage back then.

4. The first movie I ever saw in a theater was The Empire Strikes Back, waaaaaaaaay back when we were still aloud to call Star Wars movies by their actual titles, not the silly episode numbers (and back when the original Star Wars was still just Star Wars, dammit!).

5. You name a sport, and I can guaran-damn-tee that I suck at it. So I'm really dreading the point in time when Liam wants to go toss a ball - any ball - around.

6. I am currently obsessed with drinking Arnold Palmers. To the point where I filled a pitcher with a carton of Nestea sweetened iced tea and a carton of Minute Maid lemonade so I can have one whenever I want without all the pesky mixing. When obsession and laziness join forces, the end result can't bode well, though it is tasty.

7. My dad was in the hospital for awhile when I was around 5 or 6 years old, and I kept introducing myself to his nurses as Aquaman. I don't even think I understood then why I did this, much less now, but there ya go.

8. I'm a lifelong Red Sox fan, and as such consider Fenway Park to be something akin to a shrine most holy, but as classic stadiums go, I think I prefer Wrigley Field. Better hot dogs, and the seats actually face home plate, not the outfield.

I'll take potpourri for $200, Alex.

Well, we made it through yard sale day, and between the sale itself and some Craig's List-ing of larger furniture done in the day or two beforehand, we did pretty well and cleared out a lot of stuff we didn't want to bring with us, including our monstrous Wal-Mart armoire, , the damned Busy Ball Popper (the most annoying toy of Liam's childhood thus far), a bicycle I haven't used in about 8 years, more baby clothes than we'd ever need even if we had a dozen more kids, and several long boxes of discard comics, among other things. And everything we didn't sell was brought over to the Salvation Army... a good-sized load, but nothing that required Xtreme Tetris Skillzorz, yo (as the kids say, or not), to fit into the car. So everyone wins. Except for the guy outside of Sal's who eventually has to sort through all the bags of donations dropped off on a typical Satuday. I never envy him.

Of course, we still have entirely too much stuff to have to pack up still, but I'm thinking some of that will eventually be dropped off to darken the Sal's guy's day, too.

Liam and I were at the park the other day, and as I was pushing him on the swings, I heard one little girl over at the slide say to her friend, "We've got to defeat them using our science and karate skills!"

Considering that a few minutes before, she had informed the same friend that something was not going to happen "on [her] watch," I'm thinking they were re-enacting some sort of Power Rangers scenario or something, but it was pretty awesome all the same - back in my day, we were only using lightsabers or the occasional Batarang to beat our imaginary foes - and I couldn't help but think that if there was any sort of situation that I desperately wished I was capable of handling, it's something that would require both science and karate skills.*

Okay, see? This is why I don't trust amusement park rides (besides my intense fears of heights, speed, open-air conveyances, and fun**). Because as Erin, ever the mistress of comedic understatement, put it so well, "you kind of need your feet."

I had pretty much this exact thought more than once during our own house-hunting process.

*Of course, I actually did take karate for a little while in the 3rd grade, but it just wasn't for me. All that talk about honor and poise and practicing the katas... I just wanted to learn to kick people in the face. Hard. Is that so wrong? And I did used to be pretty good in science, actually, but then all that damn math started entering into it... bleh.

**Seriously, the "Superman: The Ride of Steel" coaster at Six Flags New England was maybe the worst 90 seconds of my life.

Yeah, it's lazy, I know.

Busy week, between cleaning up from Liam's birthday party, getting ready for our yard sale, and packing stuff up for the move. So blogging hasn't been much of a priority, really. But times like this are the reason they invented YouTube.

So have a Mego commercial for toys from The Black Hole:

The kids' play scenario is a bit simplistic ("We want to throw you into the black hole, oh noes, we fell in ourselves, I guess?"), but it makes a lot more sense than the film's actual ending. And I always wanted the VINCENT and Maximillian figures.

And here's the video for my favorite Blake Babies song, Out There:

Michel Gondry it ain't, but it's a pleasant little video, and Juliana Hatfield is cute as hell doing the handstands.

Pretty Sketchy - Kitty Pryde and Lockheed by Jeff Chandler

I was literally making my final pass through Artists Alley at the 2007 New York Comic Con when this drawing of Kitty (Ultimate universe version, I guess) and Lockheed by Jeff Chandler caught my eye. I had passed by his booth a few times and noticed some of his Star Wars and Lego-related artwork, but I never got a chance to stop and talk. This was the original for an image that appeared in the sketchbook he was selling - and a steal at 10 clams - but he said no one who stopped by was interested in it because they preferred him to draw in their own sketchbooks. I had no such problem.

Visit Jeff's website and maybe buy some art if you're so inclined.
He's an alright guy.

And by the way...

Happy Father's Day.

The Dig List: 6/17/07

You know the drill. If I liked it, I give it (theoretically) quick shout-out here.

Annihilation Book 1 - Got this from the library, and I must say, that's how you start a space epic. I figured I'd put off by the fact that this doesn't contain any of the mini-series proper, just all stuff that's technically prologue, but there's some damn fine prologuing they had going on in there. Of course, half the book focuses on Nova and Quasar, who always were two of my favorite Marvel second-stringers, so I'm sure that helped. Glad they included the Drax mini in here, too... it would've been confusing to have Drax show up with his new status quo and sidekick completely unexplained, and I doubt it would've been a completely satisfying read on its own. I want to return for the rest now, so mission accomplished there, Marvel. Now why did you push all that Civil War malarkey when you had something as good as this going on at the same time?

Love is a Mix Tape: Life and Loss, One Song at a Time by Rob Sheffield - A memoir from Rolling Stone contributing editor/frequent VH1 talking head Sheffield, going through his mix tapes and showing how they reflect his life and times as music junkie and young widower. Think High Fidelity through a Chuck Klosterman filter - lots of song talk, but American, and your protagonist isn't a bastard. And, you know, it's real. Funny and sad in all the right places. If you're as big a fan of the likes of Klosterman and Sarah Vowell as I am, you'll find this right up your alley.

Action Comics #850 - A story about how Superman, in the end, just wants to be like everyone else could've been very whiny (like the dozens of episodes of Buffy that popped up in the last few seasons that dealt with a similar subject), but it was handled very well here. See? Kurt Busiek proves that the concept of "show, don't tell" works yet again, and the art by Renato Guedes was gorgeous. I just might just have to check out his work on Supergirl.

All New Atom #11 - Liked the ending of this storyline... Atom saves the girl, but it's made pretty clear that she was just stringing him along because she knew he could help her... the old "oh, I love you, I knew you could help, you're such a good friend" trick. Ouch. That one might sting almost as much as anything the vengeful spirit guy was doing. Looking forward to Mike Norton starting as the regular artist on #12 (which is already out, I know, but I'm a DCBS guy, so I'm perpetually behind... the price you pay for savings).

Incidentally, the more I read of this book, the more I'm convinced Gail Simone would write an awesome Spider-Man. Did she ever write any Spidey stories back in her Marvel days?

I mean, can you really put on price on silly happiness?

Considering this blog's name - not to mention the title font I'm currently using - I think it'd be really very cool if y'all wanted to chip in and buy me this.

I'm just sayin'.

Note to My Childhood Icons: Stop Dying Already!

RIP Don Herbert, a.k.a. Mr. Wizard

(On a more upbeat note, how cool is it to see such an old school Nick commercial? I had forgotten all about the pinball logo and their color-coded time zone listings!)

The best conversations always happen right before we go to sleep.

(Setting: Erin and I are lying in bed, watching the end of the interleague game between the Boston Red Sox and the Arizona Diamondbacks. Sox play-by-play announcer Don Orsillo has just made reference to the Arizona Cardinals.)

Erin: Hold on, did he just say Arizona Cardinals? I thought it was the St. Louis Cardinals.

Bill: That's the baseball team. The Arizona Cardinals are in the NFL.

E: Oh.

B: They used to be the St. Louis Cardinals, though, until the late 80s.

E: Wait, both teams had the same name?

B: Yup.

E: Well, that's stupid.

B: It's not that uncommon, really. There used to be two teams called the New York Giants, after all, until the the baseball team moved to San Francisco.

E: I still say it's stupid. Show some originality!

B: You have to remember that back in the day, there really weren't too many clever team names floating around. You either named your team after an animal, some sort of nickname for the people living in the region, or an article of clothing.

E: Article of clothing?


B: Um, yeah. Like, you know, the Red Sox?

E: Ohhhh... okay. I see what you mean. Clothing the team actually wears.

B: Yes.

E: I thought you were being weird again and just meant some completely random article of clothing. Like the New Jersey Pants or something.


B: I would totally root for the New Jersey Pants.

The current soundtrack

I've been thinking a lot about music lately due to a project I'm thinking about, and decided I needed a new mix in my life, so here's the current iPod playlist, cleverly titled 6/9/07, because that's when I made it, you see.

  • Konichiwa by Shonen Knife - Gets things off to a fast and loud - but cute - start.
  • Sweet Lord in Heaven by Mike Doughty - You have to appreciate a song that can namecheck Sam Cooke and Ian Curtis in the same line.
  • Get in Line by Barenaked Ladies - Bouncy and paranoid shouldn't work together, but it does here.
  • Irish Blood, English Heart by Morrissey - Angry Moz is more fun than sad Moz.
  • Honest by The Long Winters - I'm a sucker for songs about girls with weird names.
  • Agamemnon by the Violent Femmes - The Femmes at their loudest and weirdest... New Times was a vastly underrated album.
  • Close to Me (Acoustic Version) by the Cure - I love acoustic Cure, plain and simple.
  • So I Fall Again by Phantom Planet - Back in the Jason Schwartzman days. Decent angst pop.
  • Sunday Girl by Blondie - Sixties girl group sound and Debbie Harry singing in French? I'm not made of stone here, people.
  • The Wedding Song (Short Fade Version) by Tales from the Birdbath - Nasally voiced lo-fi indie power pop isn't everyone's cup of tea, but I enjoy it.
  • Honestly by Zwan - The rest of the Zwan album was forgettable, but maintain that this song is the best thing Billy Corgan ever recorded, and I like Cherub Rock a whole lot.
  • Anyone Can Play Guitar (U.S. Remix) by Radiohead - Remember when Radiohead used to rock every now and then?
  • Saturday Night by Ned's Atomic Dustbin - It takes stones to cover the Bay City Rollers unironically.
  • One by Aimee Mann - Aimee Mann + Three Dog Night = Wonderful. Who knew?
  • Superfly by Curtis Mayfield - So we all agree that this might have the best bass line ever, right?
  • Hawaii Five-O by Fuu - Fuzzy yet faithful homage to the Ventures' original.
  • Popular Mechanics for Lovers by Beulah - Bouncy, melodic... yes, please. I'll take two.
  • Sweet Caroline by Me First and the Gimme Gimmes - If you're a Sox fan who has been to Fenway in the last 10 years, you have a soft spot for this song. I don't have the original, though, so Me First will have to do.
  • I'm the Man Who Murdered Love by XTC - XTC are probably the only band to do Beatle-esque* almost as well as the Beatles, and I may be alone in this, but I think their later stuff is as good as their 80s output.
  • Electricity, Electricity by Goodness - A cover of an educational song should not be this sexually charged. But it works somehow.
  • Melt With You by Justin Stover - An old roommate's younger bro made this version, and it works really well... faithful to the original, but with a certain something unique.
  • The Ballad of John and Yoko by the Beatles - I always liked it when the Beatles went country.
  • Miss Misery by Elliott Smith - I first heard this when Smith performed it on the Oscar telecast, and it's been a favorite ever since.
  • The Rubberband Man by the Spinners - I love this song, plain and simple.
  • Blue (live) by Juliana Hatfield - I knew there was a reason I liked Juliana leaning alt-country, and this Jayhawks cover reminded me why.
  • The Heinrich Maneuver by Interpol - Don't know it very well, but hearing it the one time was enough to make me want to add it.
  • Hate it Here by Wilco - Ditto.
  • The Summer by Yo La Tengo - And again.
  • Secret Agent Man by the Dickies - The Dickies always have the most fun with covers.
  • The Bird That You Can't See by The Apples in Stereo - I love that the Apples idolize the Beach Boys and don't care who knows it.
  • (Don't Go Back to) Rockville by REM - This playlist is getting awfully twangy, huh? Must be a phase I'm going through.
  • Inside by Patti Rothberg - The single from Patti's first album, which should have been a much bigger hit.
  • Golden Years by David Bowie - Always makes me think of the Stephen King TV series of the same name. Probably not the best connection in the world, but there ya go.
  • American Jesus (live) by Bad Religion - I needed a little more anger in here somewhere.
  • Till My Head Falls Off (live) by They Might Be Giants - TMBG can really rock live... I don't think enough people appreciate that fact.
  • Burning Love by Elvis Presley - Younger, thinner Elvis was the real talent, but for my money, older, chubbier, Vegas Elvis was more entertaining. I love this song unapologetically and unironically.
  • Necessito by Some Girls - For a song about the need for loud music, it isn't really all that loud. Juliana, Freda, and Heidi... you confuse and delight at the same time.
  • Mothra song by The Cosmos - What? It's a good song. Really.
  • You Won't See Me by the Beatles - Everything on Rubber Soul is pretty terrific, so it needed to be represented here somewhere... this is where the mood took me this time.
You'll notice a few things here that are recurring themes in just about every mix or playlist I've ever made:

1. I really love a good cover song.
2. Juliana Hatfield in some form - solo, with a backing band (the JH3, Juliana's Pony), or as part of full-on group (Blake Babies, Some Girls, even the Lemonheads) - will always be represented at least once.
3. I generally like my music lo-fi and/or bouncy.
4. At least one track comes completely out of left field (Mothra).

*This reminds me... so many people strive for Beatle-esque. Does anybody ever try do Dave Clark Five-ish? Because there'd be nothing wrong with that, you know. Every Beatles needs a Dave Clark Five for balance.

My latest contribution to humanity...

The Fuzzy Zoeller - it's just an Arnold Palmer, but with peach iced tea and pink lemonade.

The peach component reminded me of the peach schnapps in a fuzzy navel, and seeing as there was actually a golfer called Fuzzy, well, it all just fell into place.

Also, I really wanted an Arnold Palmer, and that's what happened to be handy.

Ends and odds

See? Jerry Ordway gets it.

Want to find out how many times I've tried to force the whole "Mr. Mind has a posse" thing on you all? AskCerebra!

(By the way, way to go on this, Kevin. I suspect this'll be a very useful tool for a lot of us geekfolk.)

Three fun articles on the main page of The Onion A.V. Club right now: Janeane Garafalo talking about some of her various roles (sadly, no mention of The Truth About Cats and Dogs, which I've always heard she hated, but I liked it), The Hater's Guide to Summer Fun (useful, because I hate summer, and I now know that booking Alan Thicke for a speaking event will cost between $10,000 and $20,000... though I'm not sure if that's American or Canadian dollars), and an interview with Jerry Holkins and Mike Krahulik from Penny Arcade.

Feel better, Tegan!

Highlander anime? Hmm... could be cool, as long as it's better than Highlander 2. Or 3. Or the other animated series.

Okay, so long as it's better than anything else named Highlander besides the first movie and maybe the TV show. Maybe.

Comic convention tips from Redhead Fangirl (more than just the typical plea for folks to bathe, too, though that one should never be overlooked).

Five Dollar eBay Trade Paperbacks: Wave One

The Great eBay Purge continues, kicked up a notch because we're moving very soon now and really don't want to take everything with us. So here are some trades I put up a few days ago with a Buy It Now price of $5 each to make everything quick and easy:

Adventures of Little Archie Vol. 1

Private Beach: Fun and Perils in the Trudyverse

Jack Cole & Plastic Man: Forms Stretched to Their Limits by Art Spiegelman

Manhunter: The Complete Edition (the Goodwin & Simonson version)

And there will be more to come in the next day or two.

Meanwhile, we're selling a few other things regular-auction-style:

A Palm M105 PDA with serial port Hot Sync cradle

And two Harry Potter dolls my wife's grandmother had for some reason and gave to us to sell (here and here).

I really do foresee a time when these eBay postings won't be so frequent. Honest. It won't be soon, but it'll happen.

The Dig List: 6/5/07

Life at home has been more or less consumed by the slow packing up of our entire lives (did I mention that we're at long last buying a house and for-real moving and everything? I'm not sure... but we are) - which is why content is a bit slow to come lately, and will be for the foreseeable future - but I have found the time to enjoy a couple of things:

Mr. O by Lewis Trondheim - After more or less hating A.L.I.E.E.E.N., I was a little gunshy about reading any more of Trondheim's work, but I've been wanting to give this a shot for awhile, and a school in our library consortium actually owned a copy, so everything fell into place nicely. The verdict - great fun. If you've never seen this before, it's the story of a little circle man's various attempts to cross a chasm. Tragedy always ensues... even on the rare occasion when he succeeds, he still inevitably fails. Painfully. Essentially, it's a French Roadrunner cartoon - funny, violent, and a little bit bleak. At just over 30 pages, it seems short at first glance, but each of those pages contains dozens of tiny panels, so you do end up getting a good read out of the deal. Lots of fun to be had here, and definitely the sort of thing I can see myself actually buying on the day when opportunity and finances combine to make it possible. As slight as it may seem at first, i think there's a lot of potential re-read value in this. All those Roadrunner cartoons still hold up after multiple viewings, after all.

Marvel Adventures Spider-Man Vol. 5: Monsters on the Prowl - More Saturday morning-style Spider-Man fare, blissfully free of all the fooferaw that passes for Spidey continuity these days. Mike Norton - my Earth-2 counterpart - returns on the art, and yet again it's really solid stuff. He's not the flashiest artist around, but he's got the clean lines and storytelling chops that I think make him exactly the sort of artist I look for on a superhero book, and he's only getting better with time. I'm looking forward to his work on All New Atom. The stories here are all by Peter David, and they're fun, but they drift dangerously close to the Annoyingly Cutesy & Clever sort of work of his that just drives me up the wall. But thankfully, he just peers into that particularly abyss rather than jump in headfirst, so it all works in the end, really bringing in a 60s Marvel vibe. Guest shots by the likes of the Werewolf-By-Night*, Dr. Strange, Man-Thing, Frankenstein's Monster, Hawkeye, and Marvel's other green-skinned, purple pants-wearing behemoth, Fin Fang Foom, only solidify this feeling. If you're looking for a Spider-Man book that's actually fun, and want more actual superheroics than you find in a typical issue of Spider-Man Loves Mary Jane (which is also great, but for very different reasons), this could very well be your book.

X-Men: First Class Special - I really only picked this up because I wanted to see Colleen Coover doing cute comic strips with the X-Men, but holy crap, this was fun. I won't go into too much detail, because everyone else already talked about this weeks ago, but I reiterate: holy crap, this was fun. All of it. The ducks, the bathroom key, and the Blob, sure, but also the ghost story, the beatnik poet, and Dragon Man - oh dear god, Dragon Man was fun - I loved it all. Was the mini this good, too? And will the ongoing be equally awesome? I'm going to have to investigate this further. It might not be something I buy monthly, but the collections will be mine. Oh yes, they'll be mine. Once again, Jeff Parker is my master now.

* As opposed to all those Werewolves-By-Day? Honestly, Marvel, this is one character name that always seemed pretty lame to me, even as a little kid. But I do get a big kick out of the fact that a guy who turns into a wolf is named Jack Russell.

Pretty Sketchy: Caprice by Alex Robinson

Head sketch of Caprice, my favorite character from Alex Robinson's Tricked (and she's in Box Office Poison, too, though she has a much smaller role there; and not that you asked, but my favorite character from BOP is Jane), drawn on the title page of Tricked, obviously, at the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund booth at the first and last Wizard World Boston in 2005. I also got an awesome Supergirl sketch from Robinson in exchange for joining the CBLDF. I posted it eons ago, but I'll have to post it again as a Pretty Sketchy one of these days.

Anyway, Alex and his wife, Kristen, were very friendly and a lot of fun to talk to. Buy lots of comics from them.

A Banner Day

Or at least a banner today, as I just made one and it's currently sitting up there at the top of the site. It's my first attempt, so I'm not sure how successful it is, but I wanted something simple (hard to get simpler than black and white), something that matched the decor of the rest of the place (again, black and white), something that reflected the sort of content usually found here(and I think that Ro-Man and the Nicholas Hammond Spidey do that pretty well), and given the blog's name, I figured the Price is Right font was pretty much a no-brainer.

It's not perfect, but I don't think it's half-bad for a guy with no design skills whatsoever. Thoughts?

Here, There, and Everywhere (or just a couple of places, anyway)

It's 8:30 on a Friday night, the kid's asleep, and the wife is at some A.C. Moore sale with her cousin. Time for some scattershot blogging!

I never said my life was exciting.

I watched that Star Wars: The Legacy Revealed special on History Channel this week, and while it was interesting to see a show that wasn't just another repackaging of the history of the series and its effects on popular culture, it struck me as being a little odd. All of the movies - even the bad ones - are chock full of archetypes and allegory and symbolism, sure, but it's still a little strange to watch a bunch of tweedy academic types (including Camile Paglia, which was surprising, weird, and a little bit cool) wax so very, very philosophical about something that began as a flannel-loving Californian's love letter to Flash Gordon serials. Not that it's not ripe for interpretation, mind you, but it's more the sort of thing I expect to see here on the internerd, not on a prime-time, two-hour cable special. Are we coming up, or are they coming down? I hope it's the former, but you can never be sure these days.

It's funny, though... immediately after college, I considered applying to Bowling Green University to get a Master's in popular culture, and everyone always asked me what the hell I'd ever do with such a degree. If only I'd had the foresight to say, "I could go on the History Channel."

I've been reading a lot of Legion of Super-Heroes comics lately, delving into bits of all three major versions of Legion continuity: the Baxter run for the original Legion, Legion Lost for the first reboot (I've managed to find the first 7 issues on the cheap recently), and of course the current Supergirl & the LSH title. And I know that the original Legion, or possibly a 4th version that's merely similar to the original, is running around in the JLA and JSA books right now, but I'm waiting for the trade on that. Because honestly? Three Legions is enough. More than enough, really.

I'm not having any trouble keeping track of which people, places, and things appear in which iteration, but it's still oddly jarring to switch back, forth, and sideways between the books. I think I'm beginning to reach the point where I'm going to have to finally choose one over the others and make it my Legion, at least for a little while. They all have their strengths, though. I'm enjoying the claustrophobic feel of Legion Lost, enough to make me want to give the Abnett & Lanning stories from both before and after this series a shot (though I've really never warmed to Olivier Coipel's artwork). I've followed the current series from the beginning and seem to be one of the few that really enjoys the whole youth movement/Wild in the Streets interpretation of the group. Though the change in creative team has me a little worried, but I'm willing to give 'em a shot. Their fill-in issue, #29, was decent, after all. And the Baxter run (and the stuff Paul Levitz wrote leading into it at the end of Volume 2) is the original team at its finest, combining all of the fun of the Silver Age and the more mature storytelling that took root in the 80s.

It's all good, really... and I suppose I don't really have to make a concrete decision on one at the expense of the others, but transitioning from one to another in rapid succession isn't something I recommend doing very often. It'll only make you dizzy.

Favorite new blog I've found? World of Awesome. You have to appreciate people willing to take the time to sing the praises of such diverse things as plain Chuck Taylors, the Pixies' album "Doolittle," toast, The Andy Griffith Show, and GoldenEye for the N64. Lots of fun stuff to be found there.

I will survive in my Mach 5

I'm not the sort of guy who thinks that movies based on cartoons need to slavishly follow the look and feel of the source material, but this?

Holy crap. That's just awesome. You can just imagine the buzzsaws in the front and the dumbass kid & chimp hiding in the trunk, can't you?