It's my birthday, get up and dance along to Belle and Sebastian's The Boy With The Arab Strap

Seriously, I don't think you can listen to this song and not bop around a little. Especially on a beautiful day like today.

Yeah, I'm in a good mood. You can't not enjoy a day where you're wearing a Captain Marvel shirt, eating cupcakes, and it's your birthday besides (even if it is #34).

So this one time Chameleon Boy stopped mid-fight to break the fourth wall and take a dig at another company's character.

(He had just transformed back from being a spider, see.)

By this point, the Legion must have gotten tired of always bitching at each other in their stories and started to turn their snark outward.

And no, still no scanner.

So this one time the Legion of Super-Heroes caught Universo and decided to do the Scooby-Doo ending.

And also there was this blogger whose scanner died and he had to make do with a cell phone camera and extremely limited Photoshop knowledge, which probably should have stopped him, but it didn't.

Tuesday Morning Cartoons: Aquaman in "The Return of Nepto"

And I bet you didn't even know he went away.

Filmation's Aqualad is the spitting image of one of my college roommates. It's damn spooky.

Better Late Than Never Reviews: 4/26/10 edition

And once again, quick reactions to recently read (though not necessarily recently published) comics. Potential SPOILERS ahead. So, you know, there's that.

Batman: Ego and Other Tails - A collection of short Batman stories written and/or drawn by Darwyn Cooke, which are decent if hit and miss, and his complete Catwoman original graphic novel, Selina's Big Score, which is exactly the sort of thing you should read if you like a good heist story and proof that Cooke is the perfect person to adapt Donald Westlake novels (seriously, go read Parker: The Hunter if you haven't already). If you already own the original version of Selina's Big Score, you don't really need this unless you're a Cooke or Batman completist, but if you don't, go get this now, you won't be sorry.

Uncanny X-Men: Sisterhood - Maybe not Matt Fraction's most riveting X-Men storyline out of what I've read so far, but points for handling the returns of Madelyne Pryor and Psylocke in a direction I wasn't expecting, so it certainly held my interest. Could've used a little background on Maddy's minions, though; I recognized Spiral and Lady Deathstrike, but had no clue at all who the others were. Were two of them Mastermind's daughters or something? But the last issue in this collection, a time travel adventure of Beast's super-scientist X-Club, was a lot of fun, and exactly the sort of thing that'll keep me reading on with Fraction's run. Plus, it had the advantage of not being drawn by Greg Land, so I wasn't constantly distracted guessing which actresses or gentleman's special interest magazine models he "cast" as various characters. So that was nice.

Green Lantern: Sinestro Corps War Vol. 1 - Tried this once before and hated it, but since so many people love it, and since I've come around a bit to Geoff Johns thanks to his Legion stories, I gave it another shot, and I'm glad I did. I still think Johns tends to prefer the destination to the journey, using the story as a way to get from one Big Happening to another rather than letting the events guide the story, but as Giant Space War stories go, yeah, this was actually okay the second time around, in large part because it's not really the big ol' Hal Jordan lovefest I thought it was the first time. Actually kinda looking forward to part 2 now.

Hawkman: Endless Flight - While on on a Johns kick, I was also in the mood for some Hawkman, and the library had this to offer me along with Sinestro Corps. And while this book of the first several issues of the aughts Hawkman series is a little more pedestrian than you'd maybe expect from co-writers Johns (as his star was rising) and James Robinson (when people still talked about his books positively), it's still a decent enough read, and they boil down the king of the continuity-@#!$ed characters to his core concept: Flying Reincarnated Hits-Things-With-A-Mace Guy. And some days, that's exactly what you want. Plus, Hawkman totally pimp slaps Green Arrow at one point, and that's always awesome to see.

Time Lincoln #1 - Great high concept on this - Lincoln snatched from the moment before his death to become a steampunkish time traveling hero - but the execution was lacking. Somehow the folks at Antarctic Press managed to create a book about Lincoln that doesn't have all that much Lincoln in it. Huh. It leads in to an upcoming mini-series, I guess, but there was enough awesome here to convince me to stick around for it. Too bad, too, because I really like comics about time traveling hero presidents.

Aquaman: Sword of Atlantis #s 40 & 41 - Yeah, I'm really late to the party here, but I picked 'em up out of a cheap bin this weekend, and they were really good. I can kind of see where it was a hard sell - both Aquaman and barbarian comics are hard sells in the industry these days, no matter how many people profess to love both, not to mention that it's not the "real" Aquaman - but the story gets off to a great start, and I'm definitely going to keep picking these up and see where it goes from here. If only I had done so when it was still a going concern.

Pretty Sketchy: ...When He Was a Boy

When I saw Alexander Serra was going to be a guest at Comic Geek Speak Super Show this year, I knew I had to get a sketch from the guy if I could since I loved his work on the Legion of Super-Heroes in the 31st Century book for Johnny DC. Obviously I was successful in my quest, and he drew up this amazing Superboy for me. He also signed a couple books for me, and he couldn't have been a nicer guy.

I also picked up this LSH poster, because honestly, how could I not?

Definitely a mad man with a box - some thoughts on Doctor Who: The Eleventh Hour

Hey, not all of us download this stuff, you know. Anyway, here are some rambling and SPOILERY thoughts on an episode you probably watched weeks ago:

1. Let's get this out of the way: any doubts I had about Matt Smith (not that I had many, as I was willing to give him a chance) vanished pretty quickly. Way too soon to tell if he's a favorite or not, but I'm convinced he's the Doctor, and that's good enough for me. I really enjoyed how he played this episode, particularly how subtly he showed us some of David Tennant's character tics giving way to his own. I particularly enjoyed how he apparently has little-or-no filter... if he's thinking it, he says it, whether it's clever, funny, rude, or just plain goofy. After a few years of seeing Tennant instantly be the coolest guy in any given room, it's a nice change to see a Doctor who has to actually work for that distinction, only to ruin it again. The Doctor has been a bohemian, a gentleman, a dandy, a clown, and even a bit of a badass, but I don't think he's ever been an outright nerd before. I like it.

1a. Speaking of, I know a lot of people seem to hate the the bow tie, but I dig it. We've had two Doctors in a row who look like they should be fronting bands, and while I liked them both a great deal, I want my nerd action hero, dammit. Also, it reminds me of James Brolin as "P.W. Herman" in the movie-in-a-movie at the end of Pee-Wee's Big Adventure.

2. Unsurprisingly, I am deeply in crush with Amy Pond (and Karen Gillen, for that matter). I felt this way from the initial press photos (they had me at "redhead" and "Scottish"), but finally seeing her character in action sealed the deal. For one thing, in meeting the Doctor as a little girl, she pretty much had the best Doctor-companion introduction in series history. And then to come back to that years later, having been let down by her one time hero and purported imaginary friend, that adds an interesting layer to their relationship where I think she'll continue to be amazed by him, but will also always know how unreliable and frankly full-of-it he can be, and will definitely call him on it. I think she's going to be fun to watch.

2a. Also, the cuteness. The unrelenting cuteness. And the accent, which is also part of the cuteness.

3. Scriptwise, this was a damn busy episode - it had to introduce a new Doctor, companion, TARDIS, and semi-recurring supporting cast, lay the groundwork for the season's main ongoing plotline as well as a few smaller subplots, and deal with its own story and monster besides. But nothing ever felt rushed. The extended run time helped, sure, but it's still an impressive feat that Steven Moffat and co. were able to fit all that in without it feeling like a collection of characters rushing from plot point to plot point.

4. Some impressive thematic juggling going on here, too. Doctor Who was always the show that could be everything - smart, scary, funny, romantic, intense, etc. We get a little bit of all of that in this one, and the transitions never felt jarring. I mean, this was a show that included one of the cutest, funniest scenes I've seen on TV in a long time (the Doctor and young Amelia in the kitchen), then a few minutes later there's a slithering alien snake bug thing that literally made me exclaim "GAH!!!" a bit after that.

4a. Speaking of the kitchen scene, Erin and I had to pause it for a few minutes while we finished laughing at "You're Scottish. Fry something!" Maybe you have to have experienced Scottish cuisine to really appreciate the joke (I'm pretty sure I'm still digesting a tasty but heavy full Scottish breakfast I ate in Oban in 2003), but it pretty much had us on the floor.

5. It was cool to see that this adventure was so small in scale (well, as small in scale as saving the entire planet from incineration can be, anyway). No large-scale invasions or bases under siege, just a single escaped monster chased by an overzealous guard in a small village, the sort of thing the Doctor could wrap up quickly if not for the fact that he's trying to adjust to regeneration and all his toys are currently broken. But even despite all that, he does manage to wrap everything up in the space of an afternoon (by his reckoning, anyway).

6. In keeping with that smaller scale, while I'm certainly curious about the whole crack in space and time, I'm more interested in learning about Amy's life in the 12 year span between her first 2 meetings with the Doctor (I hope we see more about the "Raggedy Doctor" games, drawings, and toys that obsessed her as a child) and the two year gap at the end. Did she just forget herself and get swept up in the idea of finally traveling through time, or do we have another runaway bride?

6a. I very much doubt she's marrying Rory the nurse. And if she is, that's why she's so quick to run off.

7. New TARDIS... I like it a lot. Some folks are saying it's too steampunk, but I think it's a good look, and I like that it seems bigger than ever. Maybe we'll finally get to see beyond the control room.

8. I loved that the Doctor's history lesson for the Atraxian eyeball included not just his past selves and new series monsters, but a few quick shots of wobbly looking original series monsters, too. Way to own the past without being embarrassed by it, Mr. Moffat. The comics industry could learn a thing or two from you.

Overall verdict: I would've been happy to just like this, but I full on loved it. It's so rare - especially when you're a certain type of fan - for something to exceed your every expectation, but The Eleventh Hour did just that. I am a happy nerd indeed.

I'll Tumblr 4 Ya.

I has a Tumblr blog now: Stuff And/Or Nonsense.

TPS will still be all my comics and pop culture ramblings. The other one will be anything else that comes to mind, though there'll probably be a fair amount of comics and pop culture ramblings, too, though they'll be shorter. So there's that.

And now, a place I was not expecting to find fairy-related "good girl" art.

Tales from Riverdale Digest #37:

And now we know why the Archies spent all those years singing about sugar. You'd probably advocate childhood tooth decay if you were guaranteed a visit from her, too.

Always remember...

Not out of spite, mind you. In the 23rd Century, they charge you by the leg, and once you get beyond the standard two, the price increases exponentially. Some utopia, Roddenberry!

Half A Dozen Arex Fans Can't Be Wrong.

Like many a Trek alum before him, Arex tried his hand(s) at a musical side project:

And, of course, there was also his famous guest appearance on the Phish track "Seemingly Endless Loop of Random Cover Riffs" from their landmark album Take More Drugs, It'll Sound Better, but you probably knew about that already.

(I did not intend to make this Arex Week, but it looks like certain things cannot be denied.)

"The Extraordinary Adventures of Adèle Blanc-Sec" Trailer Online

In case you haven't seen it, the trailer for Luc Besson's film adaptation of Jacques Tardi's Adèle Blanc-Sec bande dessinée series is now available for your viewing pleasure right here on the inter-ma-net, and it looks all kinds of awesome (ever so slightly NSFW for a sec toward the end... COMPLETELY harmless, but enough to earn it "red band" status in this country, I'm sure):

I only know the series by reputation, as English language editions currently out of print and spendy on the after market (out-of-print booksellers are vultures, you see), but Heidi says Fantagraphics plans on releasing at least one collection later this year (which Amazon kinda-sorta corroborates... it's listed as out of print, but with a release date of 9/22/2010; so go figure), so that'll be nice.

No word on American distribution of the film yet, either, but it's a Luc Besson movie, so I have to believe we'll at least see a DVD of this before year's end.

Arex digs the big chair.

Who's Arex? He's the damn man, that's who Arex is.

Pretty Sketchy: Justice League Gallifrey?

I've posted plenty of Andrew Charipar artwork throughout the history of the Pretty Sketchy feature, because frankly I find it really hard not to get art from him when I have the chance. I dig his style, he's a hell of a nice guy, and he tends to enjoy a challenge. So when I asked him if he could draw me all 11 Doctors in a Justice League #1 sort of set-up, he eagerly took up the task despite not being very familiar with Doctor Who at all. I happily supplied him with reference, though, and when he handed me this at CGS Super Show, well, I was giddy, I'm not gonna lie, and got giddier still when he handed me the prelim sketches he did to get the looks right, too.

And considering he did two other pieces for me at the show (well, one for me, one for the kiddo), yeah, you'll be seeing more of his work up here before too long.

Better Late Than Never Reviews: 4/9/10 (The "Wow, I Haven't Done One Of These In A While" Edition)

Quick, though rarely timely, reactions to recently read, though probably not recently published, comics. Potential SPOILERS ahead. As the thespian Robert "Vanilla Ice" Van Winkle said in his 1991 opus Cool As Ice, "let's gee oh."

Batman: The Brave and the Bold #15 - The main story, featuring Batman competing with the Wally West version of the Flash to see who can solve a case first, is good fun, but once again, it's the opening segment that sells the book: Batman teams up with Super Hip and Brother Power the Geek to fight the Mad Mod in 60s London. If you need to stop reading this post right now to run out and buy that, I'll understand. Writer Sholly Fisch is doing the Lord's work.

Billy Batson and the Magic of Shazam! #14 - And now Mike Norton's drawing the covers, too, so the whole book looks fantastic start to finish. And Art Balthazar and Franco are doing some very interesting things with the return of Black Adam, bringing at least one other familiar character in a very unexpected way. Seriously, people, if you're ignoring this book because it's a Johnny DC title, or because it's not in regular continuity so it "doesn't count," get your heads out of your bums. It's the best Captain Marvel book in years. Buy it so that I may continue to do so as well.

The Green Hornet #1 (the Kevin Smith one... not to be confused with the 4 or 5 other Green Hornet books that shipped around the same time) - I appreciated the callbacks to the old GH TV show, but the idea of the Green Hornet as a generational legacy, the promise of a female Kato... seems like Kevin Smith read the same Hornet issues Ron Fortier wrote for Now Comics in the 80s and 90s that I did. Add in some very out-of-place dialogue and an awkward end point for the issue, and I'm left thinking I'm better off just re-reading those Now issues if I need a Green Hornet fix. Too bad, since I was looking forward to this. Maybe the Matt Wagner-penned series is better?

First Wave #1 - A bit early to see where this is headed, but Brian Azzarello is putting enough of his seemingly disparate cast(s) of characters on the board early enough that it already feels like it's going somewhere. And if you know something about the characters' earlier publishing histories, some interesting questions are posed. Since when is the Spirit's friend Chief Dolan a dirty cop? Why isn't Johnny with the rest of Doc Savage's crew? Since when did Doc start his adventuring career before his father's death? I had my doubts, but my curiosity is officially piqued.

Agents of C.O.L.T. Vol. 1 - This book from indie publisher PKD Media features the adventures of a S.H.I.E.L.D. / G.I. Joe type of special missions force that deals with all manner of alien and/or supernatural incursion, and it's basically a weekday afternoon cartoon put to paper (or monitor, should you decide to read it online). You'll know whether or not it's for you based on that last sentence, but I will say that I think Andrew Charipar's artwork is well suited for this sort of thing (admittedly, I'm a bit of a fan of his stuff, anyway), and writer/publisher Shawn Pryor is definitely writing this out of love and it shows, so if you like things that are fun, it's worth checking out.

What's with all the library hate?

First of all, there's this rather head-scratching Hi and Lois strip from the other day:

So what's this strip trying to say, anyway? That people are going back to using the libraries because bookstores are closing, or even that library use is driving the bookstores out of business? Yeahbutwha...?

And then there's this anti-library screed posted by self-proclaimed Gen Y member the other day.

Adios Dewey Decimal thing, bonjour silence, hello information highway and konnichiwa iTunes. Today we have something I like to call a ‘desktop library’ at our fingertips. A desktop library has infinite pages of information, search optimization tools, it’s quick, it’s easy and portable; some refer to it as the Internet. Grab a drink, a bag of chips, turn on Aerosmith’s greatest hits and do some research, even glance back at Judge Judy if you so choose. Want to research the production process of Almonds? Well Google, Wikipedia, Wikianswers, Yahoo, and countless other search engines will bring this information to you, and very quickly. In a traditional library I would suggest you ask the secretary and begin what would turn into a wild goose chase of shelf navigating, book searching and page flipping.

(To expedite matters, I'll assume you already know why using Wikipedia as primary source material is a terrible idea and just move on to my point.)

I'll agree with Mr. Millennial here that the internet is probably the greatest research tool to come along in generations, and there is obviously lots of information available out there. But how much of that is good? Or even accurate?

That's why libraries are still - and will continue to be - important: because sometimes you need a guide. Maybe you're writing a dissertation on the almond industry or just want to know which stores in your area carry the wasabi & soy sauce flavored variety. Maybe that information is easy for you to find, but maybe it isn't, and you're wandering through Google for what seems like an eternity trying to find that one little nugget of information you need. You might not know what to look for, where to look for it, or even how to phrase your search correctly. It's good to still have a place where someone can show you where (or even how) to look for what you need, and hopefully adjust the typical search signal-to-noise ratio in your favor.

Not to mention the fact that there's still a lot of information out there that's still tucked away in actual books. I'm just sayin'.

I admittedly have a vested interest in the continued existence of libraries. I work at one and am (finally!) beginning my MLIS program in the fall, so it's pretty important to me that libraries don't go away. But I can't foresee a day where that could ever actually happen. Although the library may evolve, I legitimately don't believe it can become obsolete, even in an age where information surrounds us at an ever increasing rate.

Because here's the thing about the internet: look at it as every page of every book or periodical you can imagine. Tear all those pages out, and while you're at it, mix in some advertisements, cat pictures, dirty pictures, Scrabble tiles, whatever. Shuffle 'em up. Spin around and toss them up in the air, letting the wind spread all those pages EVERYWHERE. Now go look and find the answer to some question you have.

A little help probably sounds good right about now, huh?

Sherlock Holmes and the Unrelenting Blandness

You're probably familiar with the movie studio called The Asylum if you've ever wandered the local video store, Redbox, or Netflix queue. They're the ones who make movies that seem vaguely like whatever's popular in theaters at the moment. Transmorphers, Paranormal Entity, that sort of thing. Well, recently - inevitably, really - they made a Sherlock Holmes movie. And since Holmes is a public domain character, they didn't even have to change the name.

And yes, that is a dinosaur. Sherlock Holmes fights a dinosaur. Nontraditional, sure, but still, sounds awesome, right? Well, don't get your hopes up. No matter how low you set your expectations, you're going to be disappointed, because everything is just that much worse that you even think it's going to be.

Our villain is allegedly the legendary Spring Heeled Jack, but I only know this because that's how he's listed in the closing credits; the movie itself never gets around to calling him this, or anything else. Watson is played by Torchwood's Gareth David-Lloyd, who's actually not that bad, but most of what he's given to do here is basically be Ianto in a mustache. And what of Holmes himself? He's bland, soft-voiced, and seemingly as disinterested in playing the part as you're likely to be watching him play it. Very little presence here. How little? He's playing Sherlock Holmes, and he doesn't even get his name above the title. Admittedly the villain and the sidekick are both sci-fi show alumni, but still.

But here's the thing that bugged me most. It's Sherlock Holmes, a giant squid, a dinosaur, all manner of clockwork automatons that'll get the steampunk fans all hot and bothered, and a climax that involves a fight between a hot air balloon and a dragon... and it's boring, which to me is unforgivable. Be good, be bad, anything... just keep it interesting. Own the ridiculousness. I knew a lot of people who loved Full Moon Entertainment movies growing up, and not one of them would ever come out and say that any of their product was technically good, but they sure thought it was entertaining enough to go back to again and again. People sought out those movies. The only people seeking out this movie are the folks intending to pick out the Guy Ritchie film who somehow manage to miss the T-rex in the center of the cover.

If an incongruous dinosaur can't manage to make your film more entertaining, you've got bigger problems than I can help you with, Sonny Jim, because even in inept hands, that's usually a recipe for awesome.

Lazy Friday YouTube Blogging Part 2: "Your Asterisk" by the Halo Benders

Okay, so it's not much of a video at all, but the song's still awesome, so enjoy:

Lazy Friday YouTube Blogging: Law Enforcement's Gain was Accounting's Loss

Unsurprisingly, Joe Friday kept fastidious tax records.