How about one where Doc Savage meets Tarzan, and they *both* look like Ron Ely?

Johnny Bacardi linked to this a week or so back, but in case you somehow missed the unfettered awesomeness of it, I'm linking it, too.

Fantasy Doc Savage pop culture mash-up crossover novel covers designed by Keith Wilson from Blog from the Monsterverse, combining the original Bantam Doc Savage cover designs of James Bama and, well, a whole lot of other stuff.

I read a bunch of Doc Savage stories in high school. And yeah, I really, really wish these were real.

Be sure to click on the book spines at the top of the page to read the back cover copy on some of these, too. As if the covers aren't enough to make you wish these books were real, the plots all sound terrific.

A little hucksterism...

Haven't talked about any eBay auctions here in a while, but... I'm running some eBay auctions right now. I'm selling:

  • Blue Beetle (current) 1-4, 6, 15-19 (starting price of a buck, people!)
  • JLA Vol. 1: New World Order (also starting price of a buck)
  • The Flash: The Complete TV Series DVD set
  • Terry Gilliam's Brazil - the 3 disc Criterion Collection set from 1999

Click on through to bid early, often, and honestly. Thanks!

That's really super, Supergirl. For a change.

You know what? I absolutely *loved* Supergirl #34.

For one thing, it features, however briefly, the Silver Banshee. She's a lesser Superman villain, to be sure, but she's a favorite of mine. She was in the first of the "rebooted" Superman issues I ever read, Superman #17, so there's some nostalgia there. Also, she's from an island in-between Scotland and Ireland, and I therefore appreciate the way she represents both sides of my family's heritage. British Isle mutts represent!

But more importantly, it gives this oft-troubled version of good ol' Kara Zor-El something she's lacked ever since she was introduced (reintroduced?) - a distinct direction.

From her Jeph Loeb and Michael Turner beginnings in the Superman/Batman book, the current Supergirl seemed to have had one directive: make the fanboys hot. So she dressed in a belly shirt, went bad and leathered up, got a back tattoo, made out with a couple of different guys (one of whom I'm told was a doppelganger of cousin Kal, right? Ewww...), was supposed to have been sent to Earth with a dark secret agenda (though they'll never admit, a lot of guys fall for emo tendencies, too), and I think even smoked for an issue or so. And while this was nominally supposed to be her trying to find her way in the world while living under the expectations of both Superman and the world, I guess, most of it (certainly the bits I read) just came off as fan service.

(To be fair, her stint in the Mark Waid-penned Legion of Super-Heroes was largely free of this sort of thing, but she was largely free of personality in those issues, too, which takes things too far in the other direction.)

The Supergirl that writer Sterling Gates gives us in this issue, though, is a breath of fresh air, but without completely revising everything that has come before. All those other stories still happened - Supergirl has made plenty of mistakes, and as we see, public opinion is not in favor as a result. She's trashed by Cat Grant on the front page of the Daily Planet. Folks at the baseball stadium are mad that her fight with Silver Banshee interrupted a tight 1-1 ballgame, and one of 'em lobs his soda at her head in anger. She wants to help, and she's certainly trying, but it's really not going well. So for the rest of the issue - the bulk of it, in fact - she talks with her family and friends about the best way to start fresh, and for once maybe join and better understand humanity instead of rushing headlong into situations she still can't quite grasp.

And this where the issue really sings, all these quiet moments - Superman bringing her coffee (complete with the little cardboard carrying tray), talking with the Titans, and having a heart-to-heart with Wonder Woman while helping her fight a gryphon (fun Harry Potter joke in that scene), and a long walk in the fields with Lana Lang, another character looking for a way to begin the next act of her life. In those pages, I think we get a better understanding of this character and her attempts to make her way in the world than we have in all of the past several years' worth of stories combined, and that Gates does so without negating any of them makes the feat all the more impressive. The man has taken lemons and made some truly outstanding lemonade here.

Artist Jamal Igle's contribution can't be downplayed, either. It's no secret that the Navel-Bearer of Steel has been subjected to some fairly... let's say To Catch a Predator-esque depictions in the past. Igle's Supergirl, however, is a lot more respectful, both to the character and the sensibilities of humankind. Kara's still idealized, to be certain - I mean, come on, she's Supergirl, she's supposed to be the picture of perfection - but a bit more realistic. She's not so waifish, doesn't have a weirdly extended torso, and is refreshingly unjailbaity. And the other characters come off well, too, each with the own unique looks, expressions, body language, and sense of style. No cookie-cutter folks here... looks like Igle's been doing his homework, and it pays off.

So, in short, Supergirl #34... maybe not the perfect comic book, but a damn good one, and if this wasn't proceeding directly into a crossover, I'd likely stick around. But who knows, maybe I will anyway.

An empty Pod is a sad Pod.

My iPod, Douglas (yes, named for late author and all-things-Apple enthusiast Douglas Adams), is about 3 years old (making it well-past retirement age in hardware years), and had a brush with certain doom the other day. It dropped to the floor, bounced off said floor, flew out of the protective case I had him in, and then bounced off said floor again. He then liked to alternate between showing the Sad iPod Icon, the Battery Icon, and the Folder Icon, and made a fun (read: not at all fun) clicking, whirring noise when I plugged into the computer. And iTunes wouldn't recognize it, so it suggested I try to restore factory settings, essentially wiping everything clean. It was painful, but I did it... and it didn't work.

Long story short (too late), I took it to the Apple Store, and the dude at the Genius Bar was able to get Douglas back up and running again - thankfully it was a cable that had come loose inside, and not the hard drive dying, since a new hard drive for a 4th gen iPod Photo is actually more expensive than a brand new iPod Touch these days. Ouchie.

So he works again. At least for now. Which is good. But he's now completely empty. Which is painful. I mean, yeah, I can just reload everything, and with so much stuff I rarely listened to, it was probably the housecleaning I needed, but still... an completely empty iPod to refill is as scary (well, not scary, maybe annoying?) a proposition as it is am exciting one.

Plus, there's all those songs I need to re-find, buried on CDRs burned back when we were transferring files from the old computer, long-since packed away before the move and not seen since. Yeah, that's gonna be a pain in the ass.

The Final Awesome Frontier

Dude. No, really, dude. I'm not even a big Trek fan, nor a big J.J. Abrams fan for that matter, but even I'm getting fan palpitations (the good kind) over the images from the new Star Trek movie.

And if you're the sort of person going online specifically to bash this because it looks (GASP!) different than the original, be aware that everyone on Earth knows that you are lying - lying to yourself, and lying to the world - just as we all know you'll be there for the midnight showing (having camped out in line several days beforehand), and will immediately run home afterward to hop on your computer to tell the world how excellent you always knew it would be, despite the prodigious trail of evidence you've left behind in which you've been stating the contrary since the minute the project was announced.

The Dig List (10/14/08) will kill you with bullets!

All together now: short reactions to stuff I've read and enjoyed lately.

Legion of Super-Heroes (current) #s 37-42 - I was trade waiting on these, but with the announcement that this was ending at #50, I figured I'd catch up with the issues instead. And so far, it's really good. Good enough, in fact, that it's a shame it'll be ending so soon. Jim Shooter may have made his share of enemies through the years, but for my money the man can still write a damn fine Legion yarn, and one that's an interesting mix of styles at that. The whole Wild in the Streets-ish "teen movement" backdrop of the Waid and Bedard runs is still there in the background, but there's a swing back to a more traditional type of LSH storytelling here, too... one that I've missed a lot more than I might have initially thought. And there's some very subtle retconning going on here, too... suddenly Colossal Boy is back to being from Earth, and the Flight Rings are back to being co-developed by Invisible Kid. Doesn't seem like editorial oversight, either. Hmm... Anyway, Shooter is writing this well, and the Francis Manapul artwork is just gorgeous, so it's too bad to see DC pull the plug. I'll enjoy it as long as it lasts, I suppose.

Tales from the Bully Pulpit Vol. 1 - Okay, so I'm four years late in picking this up, mostly because I didn't want to pay the initial $6.99 cover price, and then because I could never actually find a copy later on. But I did - and at a significant discount to boot - and I'm happy to say it was totally worth the wait. And you know, it may have actually been worth the 7 clams, too. I mean, I'm glad I got it for less, but still. As for the story, dig it: Teddy Roosevelt and the ghost of Thomas Edison use H.G. Wells' time machine to save Mars from the descendant of Adolph Hitler. Honestly, if that concept isn't something you want - nay, need - to read, then I don't think we can be internet friends anymore. Benito Cereno and Graeme MacDonald are allegedly working on a second volume, "Legend of the Black Maria," and honestly, it can't happen soon enough.

Final Crisis: Superman Beyond #1 - I haven't been reading Final Crisis or any of the tie-ins (though I'm anxiously awaiting the collected edition of Legion of Three Worlds), but a book where Grant Morrison waxes meta about Superman with gorgeous Doug Mahnke art in 3D? Yeah, look, I'm not made of stone here, people. And while I don't think it worked 100% - the ideas in Morrison's head weren't translated to the page in as clear a manner as they could have been, a fault in both the story and the art - it was still lots of fun. Come on, Supermen of many worlds, including Captain Marvel and a Captain Atom by way of Dr. Manhattan (who was by way of Captain Atom to begin with) travelling The Bleed in, essentially, the Beatles' Yellow Submarine, which we view through glasses that we're told are made from Superman's "four dimensional" armor? What part of that doesn't ooze awesome, people? Just sit back and enjoy the ride.

The Corps #0 - Now, while I haven't read much of Rick Remender's work, I do hold a grudge against him for bleeding all of the joy out of All New Atom and killing my interest in it but good in the space of a single issue (and I couldn't have been the only one, since the book itself died about 5 or so issues later). I keep being told that I need to check out Fear Agent, but I've been hesitant because of my grudgliness. But I think it speaks well of the man's talent that he was able to fashion a story around one of the most memorably lame G.I. Joe knock-off toylines of all time and not only make it readable, but actually kinda fun (and, as Sims said, there's some dialogue in this thing that just spills over with fantastically silly greatness). Short on story, true, but it's only 99 cents, so it's not like you're out a lot of dough, and seeing the layout roughs in the back is a nice, unusual touch for this sort of thing. I have to admit, I'm actually kinda curious to see how (and/or if) the ongoing is going to work. Well-played, Remender. Maybe I'll be giving Fear Agent a shot after all.

By luring that creature to its death, he's sealed his own doom!

So to sum up: jodhpur-wearing gent trips bumpy, writhing monster into a pit of multicolored flame while Fuzzy Zoeller and Karnov look on. Awesome thing, or awesomest thing?

A holiday greeting, in which a dumb joke goes on for entirely too long, starring Admiral Ackbar.

I'm neither proud of the joke, nor how long it took me to set up, but there you have it anyway. Enjoy the day!

Jim Purdue wouldn't accept this poor performance from any of his poultry.

You know the famous Twitter Fail Whale, right?

Well, I got this when Facebook's Superpoke App temporarily seized on me tonight:


Clearly failure is not limited to the world's largest mammals. I find that kind of reassuring somehow.

The (Shorter) Dig List: 10/7/08

Short reactions to stuff I've read and enjoyed lately. Here we go.

Spider-Man: Brand New Day Vol. 1 - At this point, I don't think anyone will disagree that the way Marvel unmarried Spider-Man was just about the most hamfisted reboot in comics history*. But the end result of that convoluted mess? Honestly kind of worth it. Seriously, people, these are some of the best Spider-Man comics to come down the pike in years; certainly since the high points of the early/mid 80s, if not before even then.

Marvel's fabled Spider-Man writing & editorial braintrust might not be writing anything particularly new or innovative (you've definitely seen a lot of the basics of these stories before, be it Peter Parker's money troubles, Spidey's problems with the law, mysterious new villains, etc.). And sometimes they try a little too hard to up the drama content - honestly, the travails of Peter Parker, both in and out of costume, in these six issues push him past being the Charlie Brown of the Marvel Universe and into being its Badluck Shleprock. But as the comic book equivalent of comfort food or that favorite sweatshirt, the sorts of things you go back to because you know exactly what you're gonna get and you know you'll like it, it's aces. The trade paperback of the second collection is already on my October Previews order.

Herbie Archives Vol. 1 - Honestly, I don't know what else I can say about this insane, wonderful book without repeating what just about every other comics blogger has said already (hell, Sims talked about it some more just yesterday). I just hope that these books from Dark Horse find the wide audience they deserve, so that as many people as possible can enjoy the insane genius that Ogden Whitney and Richard "Shane O'Shea" Hughes put down on just about every page. With any luck, these guys will be this year's Fletcher Hanks, a rediscovered comics sensation that people just can't stop thinking about (though as opposed to Hanks' work, the humor found in Whitney and O'Shea's work is intentional, which I think gives 'em a leg up).

* And considering some of the stuff DC has pulled with the Legion of Super-Heroes and Hawkman, to name two prominent examples, that's saying something.

The Comic Book (Baby) Name Game

For some reason, we still get Parents Magazine (notable for being the one parenting magazine that doesn't have a tagline containing a passive-aggressive slam on fatherhood)... I guess Erin still reads it sometimes? Anyway, I looked at it for the first time in forever the other day since there was no other decent commode reading available (oh, like you don't), and flipped to the cover article about the best baby names for 2009. They broke their choices down into a dozen or so themed categories, leaving no potential audience segment unrepresented. Geographic names, royalty names, rock star names, and yes, even superhero names. Not all the choices in this latter category are that bad, really, but some... yeah, if there's any justice in the world, these are considered forms of child abuse somewhere.

  • Charles Xavier - Name you child this, and someone somewhere will hold your son down and forcibly shave his head. You know this, right?

  • Angel - Um, it could work, I guess. Strikes me as a better name for a girl, but that's just me.

  • Logan - Been popular for years with people who name their kids after last names or soap opera characters, so this is actually pretty common. And surprisingly gender-neutral (much more than Angel, I'd say).

  • Bruce - Sure. Nice to see this one make a comeback, actually.

  • Kalel - Their choice to remove the hyphen, not mine. Which makes filling out the name letter bubbles on standardized test sheets easier, I guess, but it still seems like a request for playground beatings to me.

  • Peter - Okay, yeah.

  • Clark - Ditto, though please, please, please do not name the kid this if your last name is Kent. And no Kent as a middle name, either.

  • Anakin - Naming your kid after the guy who grows up to become Space Hitler... fab.

  • Hero - That's just an awful lot to live up to, isn't it? Might as well just name him Awesome.

  • Robin - This one I like alright.

  • Elektra - Let's ignore the whole "assassin who worked for a dude called The Kingpin of Crime, later led an evil ninja clan, and turned out to be a Skrull" thing. If you want to name your daughter Elektra, you might want to look up the name's connection to Greek mythology, as well as the psychological condition that bears her name. I'm just sayin'.

  • Storm - How about you let her choose this one herself later in life if she chooses to become a stripper, okay?

  • Rogue - Ditto.

  • Domino - Wow... you could name an entire strip club's roster just from X-Men books. Don't think I ever realized that before.

  • Buffy - Even after the pop cultural impact of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, this name still seems a little too "Thurston Howell III-ish" for most regular people, you know? Maybe that's just me, though.

  • Mystique - You could call that X-Men themed strip club The Danger Room.

  • Jean Grey - You know, thinking about it, I really like this one. Sounds very Old English, and sort of like the true midpoint of geeky and classy. You could certainly do a lot worse.

  • Phoenix - And I'm thinking all the waitresses at The Danger Room could wear those little halter-top outfits that the women wore in Ultimate X-Men.

  • Angela - Wait, how is this a comic book name? The character from Spawn, maybe? Even with that, it's a stretch to include that here. Still, a name I've always liked.

  • Shera - This is either a de-hyphenated She-Ra, which is stupid, or like Hawkgirl's name, Sheira, without the "i." One is less cringe-worthy than the other. I'll let you decide which is which.

Angie, when will those clouds all disappear?

YouTube again proved it's position as humanity's greatest achievement the other day when I stumbled across the opening credit sequences to both seasons of Angie. Exciting! Well, to me, anyway, because for some reason, Angie was one of my very favorite shows as a little kid. I could never hope to explain why now, as in retrospect, it's probably one of the most generic "lovers from two different walks of life, OH NOES how will their families co-exist?" sitcoms ever (though it began with them already dating and getting ready to marry, so at least it didn't drag that bit out). But for whatever reason, young Bill loved it, enough to watch as much of the original run as his parents would let him stay up for, and to watch it all again through at least two different passes through the syndication cycle.

Well, I imagine part of the reason was Robert Hays, who of course was so awesome in the Airplane! movies. And Debralee Scott, perhaps the most ubiquitous actress of 70s television (truly she was the Kevin Bacon of her day) is in it, so points for that. But, true confession? As a little kid, I crushed big time on Donna Pescow. No, really. Not on the same level as Leia, Daisy Duke, Isis, or Joy from The Bugaloos, but she still managed to set my young heart aflutter. Which I guess means that even as a small child, A.) I could appreciate the difference between characters who were pure fantasy and those who were closer to people you might actually meet in real life; and B.) I had a fairly particular type or two. Huh. Who knew?

Anyhow, let's make with the Compare & Contrast YouTubing. Here's the Season 1 intro:

And Season 2:

Fun fact: I get this theme song stuck in my head at nearly every wedding I attend, since so many wedding readings eventually include the "love is patient, love is kind" bit from 1 Corinthians that is also used in the song.

Anyway, I learned 5 things rewatching these:

1. It's easy to forget in this day and age, but back then, credits sequences were damn long.
2. Need to quickly convey that two folks are in lurrrve? Cue the googly eyes!
3. You don't F with Robert Hays when he's juggling.
4. Donna Pescow has real issues with ReddiWip.
5. Sadly, I would probably buy this show if it came out on DVD. Mostly because Donna Pescow circa 1979 still kinda churns my butter.

Well, now that we've all learned disturbingly too much about me tonight, I'm off to bed.