Sometimes I think the XKCD guy is writing these specifically for me...

then he does a math joke and shatters the illusion completely. But still, this one here?

That's pretty much exactly what was going through my mind the day we closed on our house. The last panel for sure. Well-played, XKCD guy.

Jingle Bells, Chris Pike smells, Spock please change his dressings!

Because nothing says "Happy Holidays" quite like having Kirk, Spock, and quadriplegic, radiation-scarred Christopher Pike hanging on the tree.

And hey, it talks, and Pike's "Yes/No" light flashes. Because the taste barrier hadn't been completely shattered already just by mere the fact that it exists.

And it costs $28.

I mean, holy crap, Hallmark.

Click on over to experience the full grandeur, if you must.

Pretty Sketchy: Kinetix by Flint Lockjaw

Here's my (and Johnny Bacardi's) favorite Reboot-era (as opposed to Original, "Threeboot" or now even "Retro-boot") Legionnaire, Kinetix, as rendered by the artist (and co-host of the Everything Comes Back to 2000 A.D. podcast) known to the world as Flint Lockjaw (a.k.a. the resident cranky Irishman of the Comic Geek Speak boards). Thanks, Flint!

Thanks (or maybe apologies) and a few quick Sunday morning links

Thanks for enduring Comic-Non International. The original plan was to string it out over all 5 days of the real Comic-Con, but I figured that just the once maybe I could avoid beating a joke into the ground. Besides, I figured that petering out after 2 or 3 days was more in keeping of the True Spirit of the Least Impressive Pop Culture Gathering of the Year, being as far removed from Comic-Con's epic five day endurance challenge as possible.

Amazingly, the Facebook event listing I made attracted the fake non-attendance of over 20 people, some of whom I don't even know, which is a hell of a lot more attention than I usually get from my particular brand of malarkey. A couple people even took costume pictures, which took way more effort than I ever intended to put into it myself, so good on them.

Anyway, some links of note on this rainy and humid Sunday morn:

They gave out the Eisner Awards over at the real Comic-Con. Here are the winners. Yay for Herbie Archives!

And as everyone who cares has already heard, Marvel is getting the rights to Marvelman. But very little word yet about whether or not this is going to mean they can reprint the Alan Moore and Neil Gaiman stuff, which, let's be honest, is the only stuff anyone cares about.

Hey, wanna feel old? Here are 100 things your kids may never know about.

It gets worse. Here's what happened when the BBC convinced a 13 year old to trade in his iPod for a Walkman for a week.

Doctor Who canon? Not so much, this guy says (As apparently does Russell T. Davies. And Steven Moffat. And Paul Cornell. And the BBC itself.). I tend to agree.

Comic-Non Day 2: Summer Blockbuster-Related Media Presentation

I admit I'm curious to see G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra, but that's mostly because I enjoy Christopher Eccleston, I think Sienna Miller looks AMAZING as the Baroness, and I love watching ninjas flippy kick each other around. I really don't expect it to be very good, though (but, in the movie's defense, "acceleration suits," though stupid-sounding, aren't any lamer than tanks with glass canopies; so there's that).

However, we here at Comic-Non International are committed to bringing you programming related to at least one geek-interest summer blockbuster, so here's a YouTube compilation of every commercial for the original G.I. Joe comics from Marvel:

The voice acting is terrible, but damned if those songs aren't catchy and more than a little insistent ("Destro is his name! DESTRO IS HIS NAME!!!"), and I think if we're all being honest with ourselves, this is how most of us prefer to remember the Joes.

Comic-Non Day 1: Panels, Candy, and The Greatest Comic Book EVER

Comic-Non International 2009 continues! Lots of great panels today, including:
  • "Lee Elias drew some foxy women in his day."
  • "Helping Liam through the hard parts of Lego Indiana Jones: The Video Game."
  • "Megan Fox is trying way too hard to be the next Angelina Jolie and it's really, really sad."
  • "I'm weirdly attracted to the girl in the Progressive Insurance ads."
  • "Hey, I totally would've won both Showcases if that had been me on The Price is Right just now."

And the shopping has been pretty great, too. I found me a tasty, tasty Zagnut bar, and then I managed to find the comic book I've been searching for my entire life:

Yeah, it's been a great day. Comic-Non rules!

Never allow the cold, hard facts to get in the way of a cockamamie belief

I try not to get too political around here, but I had to share this Daily Show video of Jon Stewart's take on the whole "Obama birth certificate" nonsense:

The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
The Born Identity
Daily Show
Full Episodes
Political HumorJoke of the Day

It is equally amazing and terrifying what people will choose to believe despite MOUNTAINS of evidence to the contrary.

Comic-Non International: Let's Get This Out of the Way

Can you believe it? Comic-Non International, the world's single least impressive pop culture event, is just barely under way - I mean, it's only Preview Night! - and we've already had our first Slave Leia sighting.

Welcome to Comic-Non International!

Yeah, I'm not going to San Diego, either. Sigh... maybe someday.

But I've got comics, DVDs, and a whole week's worth of BBC America premiere screenings (Torchwood: Children of Earth, Being Human, Doctor Who: Planet of the Dead). All I have to do is not shower and it'll be just like the real thing, only without the crowds and the debilitating back & foot pain.

I think I can make this work.

And you may find yourself behind the console of a small police box...

This has to be one of the greatest weeks - maybe even THE greatest week - in the history of nerdy television. There's Apollo 11 anniversary coverage all over ther place, those of us in the U.S. who don't know how to find shows online finally get to see the Torchwood: Children of Earth mini-series and Doctor Who: Planet of the Dead special on BBC America, and in Wales, they've started filming Matt Smith's first episodes as the new Doctor Who. And thanks to the British press, we've already gotten a look-see:

And an accompanying article, of course.

Not a lot to go on - just some costumes and finally a name for The Adorable Karen Gillan's character, Amy Pond, but hey, I'll take what I can get.

Predictably, the new Doctor's outfit is getting all the usual criticism, but I dig it. It's Buckaroo Banzai meets David Byrne in the "Once in a Lifetime" video meets the hip young high school physics teacher. And for my money, that's pure Doctor Who.

Giant Leap

Hard to believe it's been 40 years since we first put people on the moon. It's harder - maybe even sadder - to believe that in all that time, we haven't gone beyond. It's the 21st century, and yet the future seems further away then ever some days.

(And yes, I realize that spending, presumably, billions and trillions on space exploration seems a bit frivolous given the current economic and social climate, but I'm still naive enough to believe that having a frontier to explore - and actually doing something about it - makes everyone more ambitious to tackle the rest of life's problems. And Cronkite would've loved it.)

Oh, yeah, because that looks SO much better than the big starfish.

So I'm reading the early preview solicitations for DC's October books, and according to the copy for the R.E.B.E.L.S. annual, this yahoo here...

is the new Starro the Conqueror. Or, as they're trying to pass off, the guy who has been the "real" Starro all along.

Really? Armor, spikes, and a skully-lookin' face? Why not just give the guy some pouches, arm-blades, and giant, triggerless laser guns while you're at it, guys? I guess I shouldn't be shocked, given that hologram foil covers are coming back, too, but seriously Comics Industry, can we all please please PLEASE finally move past this need to reconceptualize old, corny characters in order to make them greater threats, badass, or - Kirby help me - kewl?

Sometimes the appeal of these silly characters lies entirely in the fact that they are silly characters. A dude from outer space who takes over people using millions of starfish that attach themselves to people's faces? And he calls himself Starro the Conquerer on purpose? No matter how you dress that up, that's just goofy, man. By that point in the concept, making the character into a giant space starfish actually makes more sense than not.

Every time one of the companies does this - and let's be honest, it's usually DC lately - it smacks of desperation. It's like those kids you knew in middle school who would walk around telling anyone who would listen, as well as most of those who wouldn't, just how grown up they were now. And, of course, the only people actually buying into it were the kids themselves, because everyone else understood that the more you walk around declaring yourself adult, the less you adult you are.

Same thing here, more or less. Making your space starfish guy into a World of Warcraft reject is not the path to sophisticated entertainment for a grown up audience (though it is, sadly, exactly the entertainment those kids walking around thinking they're grown up are looking for). But - and maybe I'm being a little naive here - I think that telling an interesting story with the starfish (and maybe one that isn't afraid to embrace the inherent silliness of the character at that) is.

I hanker for a hunka links (or at least 4, anyway)

Fans of Neko Case - or fans of things that are entertaining in general - will want to check out the July 11th edition of NPR's news quiz show Wait Wait... Don't Tell Me, as she was the guest for the show's "Not My Job" segment. She was cute and charming and incredibly funny, and as a result my already planet-sized crush on her has grown exponentially.

Plus, you learn more than you'd ever want to know about America's greatest punishment candy, the NECCO wafer. So there's that.

Continuing along with the "female musicians that make Bill swoon" theme, Juliana Hatfield is once again offering a bunch of songs available for honor system download on her website.

And you can download songs from her session here. Haven't gotten a chance to listen to much of this yet, but her cover of the Stones' "It's Only Rock 'n Roll" is an interesting take on a very familiar song. Check it out.

Christopher Doyle over at thought it was a good use of time and money to make full scale Lego replicas of Crow and Tom Servo from Mystery Science Theater 3000.

I'm inclined to agree with him.

In case you forgot, or just doubted that it would ever actually happen, The State finally came out on DVD this week. Like, for real. Our long national nightmare is at last over (though I wonder how some sketches are going to play now that the music has been changed... the "Pants" sketch, for instance, made excellent use of the Breeders' "Cannonball," enough so that I can't think of the bit without thinking of the song.).

Fear not the vampire loving females, fanboys.

So I've seen a few things online lately about how certain folks are all up in arms about the mega-presence the new Twilight movie - and its largely-lacking-in-Y-chromosomes fanbase - is going to have in San Diego next week. They're worried it will somehow "ruin" Comic-Con, that these lovers of teen Mormon vampire romance fiction will drive the "real" fans away.

It all makes me laugh.

First of all, I've never even been to Comic-Con and I know that it's no longer really about comics anymore, and hasn't been for some years, so I don't think another media event for yet another fantasy blockbuster is all that much of a sea change.

Second, and more importantly, nerds need to get it through their heads that there is no hierarchy of fandom, much as everyone likes to pretend there is (and isn't it funny that no one can agree who belongs on the top of this mythical dweeb chain?). Comic book collectors, Trekkers, gamers, cosplayers, Harry Potter or Twilight fans, baseball stat fanatics, record collectors, scrapboookers, whatever... geeks is geeks is geeks. As Athena Voltaire & Ursula Wilde creator Steve Bryant said in a brilliant post over on the Comic Geek Speak podcast forum,

Everyone's a geek about something. I've worked in the roleplaying game industry and the comics industry (and been to conventions) and have worked at a gun magazine (and been to the NRA show). I've been to sports fan appreciation shows and Beatlefest. My ex-wife was an avid quilter, so I've been to many a quilting/sewing show...

...the only thing that changes is the T-shirts.

So there.

And lastly, my fellow geeks of all stripes... you are familiar with some of the stuff we like, right? I mean, you've taken a really good, hard look at your objets de fandom of preference and really considered it on the intellectual level, right? Even when compared to the vampires of Twilight, sparkly like My Little Ponies though they may be, we haven't got a leg to stand on where most of this stuff is concerned, folks.

(Also, if you're the sort of person who is actually afraid of something that promises to bring - EEK! - girls to Comic-Con, then you're also probably the sort of person that none of these girls would ever have any interest in talking to, anyway. Nor would they ever dream of disrupting the special bond between you and your Megan Fox poster. So you've nothing to worry about.)

The List: 7/9/09

Short reactions to recently read comics.

Johnny Hiro Vol. 1 - I bought all three issues of Fred Chao's justifiably well-praised book as they came out, but I planned on picking up the trade anyway to help support an artist (and book) I admire, and because I wanted to be able to easily grab this off the shelf whenever I wanted. Getting two entire issues' worth of new material, and several pages of new strips and chapter page art besides made the decision even easier. There's nothing I don't enjoy about Johnny Hiro - the everyman protagonist, the most endearing love interest in comics today (or maybe ever), extraordinary happenings treated as utterly mundane, pop cultural and mythological references handled with a subtle grace... this is my perfect comic book. Buy the living hell out of this one, people.

Runaways Vol. 8: Dead End Kids - I waited patiently for a few years for Marvel to finally get around to reprinting Joss Whedon's Runaways arc in the same digest format that they used for the the entire Brian K. Vaughn run, and thankfully I feel as if that patience was rewarded. While I didn't like the story quite as much as I did any of Vaughn's, it was still a very good read, and it went a long way towards assuring me this series could go on without the voice of its creator behind it. And seeing as "kids with powers" is one of Whedon's things, he was a logical - even good - choice to follow up, and seeing the characters out of their element in not only place, but time as well, threw an interesting wrinkle into the mix. There were a few pacing problems, and some conclusions were reached without much on-panel reasoning, but everything (and everyone) looked and sounded right, and it was a lot of fun (and surprisingly poignant at times). I definitely want to stay with this series. Let's keep those digests coming, Marvel!

Captain Britain and MI13 #14 and Annual #1 - Managed to read these in reverse order, but it really didn't matter too much. The story in the annual precedes #14, but it can be read just as well as a supplemental piece, too, I'm happy to report. Anyway, as I expected, the shocking ending to #13 was a swerve, but the expected undoing ended up being quite clever, and the story (and series... *sniff*) is building to an exciting conclusion. The Annual, overall, felt less important, but was at least a good companion piece to the main title, and Cornell's version of all those Claremont X-Men baseball stories - here, the MI13 crew play cricket - was fun, even though like most Americans I lack a working understanding of the game. And can someone explain what "Liberty Hall" means? I didn't understand it here, nor when Brigadier Lethbridge-Stuart said it all those years ago in "The Three Doctors."

Batman: The Brave and the Bold #6 - While I don't always think that this series captures all of the charm of the cartoon, it's still often quite good, and has an appeal all its own in that we get to see characters we'll probably never see on the show itself, like Sugar and Spike a little while back, and Kid Eternity in this issue (though I'd sure love to see the Kid or Captain Marvel or the Doom Patrol or ANYONE instead of yet another Red Tornado episode, for instance). And with the Kid's ability to call upon the aid of heroes of history and fiction, we get bonus characters besides (G.I. Robot, people!). Much like the still-missed-by-me JLU tie-in book, they've got a great opportunity to introduce kids to all manner of cool, obscure characters, and I love that they're taking advantage of it.

Pretty Sketchy: We Named the Dog Indiana

Indiana Jones, as rendered for my son by Les McClaine back when he did his Week (or So) of 100 Drawings last year. And as luck would have it, Les is doing it again this year, so if you like Indy here, or the space girl he drew for me, then click on over and exchange money for art with the man already!

Happy Independence Day, America!

To everyone here in the U.S., Happy Independence Day!

To everyone elsewhere, hey. How's it going?

By the Power of, um, Bollywood? Maybe?

Presented without comment or context, because I don't believe either is going to help all that much.

8 Awesome Things Canada Gave the World

Today is Canada Day, so in honor of the land that celebrates Thanksgiving in October, here are a few of my favorite Canadian contributions to world culture.