You need to see this: PULP's Common People by Jamie Hewlett

This made the rounds a few weeks ago, I think, but in case you missed it, here's PULP's "Common People," one of the greatest songs ever, as translated into comics by Tank Girl/Gorillaz creator Jamie Hewlett.

It's good that this exists. Go cast your eyes upon it. And here's the song itself if you need something for comparison's sake, or just want to listen along.

R.I.P. Irvin Kershner

Irvin Kershner had a long and varied career as a film and TV director, but let's be honest here, we all remember him for directing The Empire Strikes Back, which is generally the best-loved entry of the entire Star Wars saga. And while I do think it's the best of the bunch (though the original Star Wars is still my favorite... and yes, I think there is a distinction to be made there), it's important to me for another reason in that Empire was the first movie I ever saw in a movie theater as a kid, going with my older sister, her boyfriend at the time, and our next door neighbor. And maybe more amazing still (to me, anyway), Kersh was the first movie director I ever knew by name - yes, before even George Lucas himself - thanks to the copious amounts of Topps ESB trading cards I accumulated as a kid.

I was already a Star Wars goner before seeing The Empire Strikes Back (despite having to wait another year or two to see the original when it finally came to HBO), but Kersh helped ensure it would become a lifelong thing, and for that I'm grateful.

R.I.P. Leslie Nielsen

Leslie Nielsen had a long, distinguished career in the entertainment business, playing a variety of roles. Like most people my age, though, I'm mostly familiar with the second act of that career, in which his serious demeanor was put to effective use in comedy, thanks to David & Jerry Zucker and Jim Abrams in the movie Airplane!, the Police Squad! TV series, and its later spin-off Naked Gun films. I prefer early-funny Nielsen, with his deadpan reactions to (and eventual acceptance of) the zaniness going on around him, rather than participating in the mugging for the camera that would come in some of his later comedic material, but Nielsen was always a fun presence, and based on all I've heard, a classy guy, to boot. He palled around with Robby the Robot and married Dorothy Zbornak, but no one ever actually called him Shirley. Thanks for everything, Mr. Nielsen.

Happy Thanksgiving!

One of the greatest single episodes in television history, and one that several longtime radio industry people have assured me is based on actual events, abridged for your busy lifestyles:

Happy Thanksgiving, America. Have a decent Thursday, rest of the world.

You know you want to hear Don Pardo say "And your host, Cooooooookie MonSTER!!!"

I'm generally annoyed by the attempts to replicate the success of the "Betty White hosts SNL" campaign, but I'm really thinking we need to make this one happen, America.

We should also be thankful they're not attempting this campaign with Elmo or Abby Cadabby instead.

So this one time a kid in a Carnage Halloween costume wandered onto the set of the Spider-Man musical during a photo shoot with Annie Leibovitz.

That's what I assume happened, anyway. I mean, there's no way this is from a set of legitimate - though all equally bad - promotional photos for Vogue in a desperate (and failing) attempt to persuade people that the upcoming, disaster-plagued musical "Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark" isn't the unholy abomination of The Producers' "Springtime for Hitler" and Stayin' Alive's "Satan's Alley" made screamingly, horribly real, right?


Readin' (All Collected Editions Edition)

Some spoilers ahead. Read with caution.

Dark Avengers / Uncanny X-Men: Utopia – I’m continuing to enjoy reading Matt Fraction’s run on Uncanny in trade. What I’m not enjoying is Marvel filling these books extraneous material to pump up the page counts and the prices. They did it with Manifest Destiny, they did it with this, and I can expect with Nation X and beyond, I’m sure. Anyway, Fraction’s story from Uncanny and Dark Avengers was good, and I legitimately like the idea of the X-Men getting so fed up with the “hated and feared” malarkey that they take their ball and go home to an entirely new country formed from the wreckage of Asteroid M. That is some mad, rad comic bookery right there. The X-Men: Legacy issues weren’t bad, but, you know… Gambit. All set there. And the rest was just filler. Send the filler off to its own book, Marvel, and just give me the story.

Superman: Brainiac I’m so very, very happy that after all these years, they’ve finally found a way to make the post-Crisis on Infinite Earths Brainiac a threat again (though it looked like they had it back in the early 90s with the Panic in the Sky story, but they got away from that eventually, too), and even though the death of Jonathan Kent seemed forced in order to make the comics more Richard Donner-y, it did have a decent impact (especially the silent funeral sequence, with Bruce Wayne and Alfred standing in the back obscured by shadow). If anything, though, the story felt too short, like they were in a rush to get to the New Krypton stuff.

Showcase Presents: Bat Lash – Now this was fun. Pretty much all of the Bronze Age DC Western material I’ve read is Jonah Hex, which is great, but pretty depressing, especially when read in chunks. Bat Lash, on the other hand, is generally more fun and light-hearted, though writers Sergio Aragones and Denny O’Neill handle the serious stuff well, too. Lash is a study in contrasts – he’s a killer, but he can’t resist helping a kid or a pretty woman; he abhors violence but is really good at it; he never has much money (or when he does, not for long), but appreciates the finer things in life – and is a great character as a result, but there are a lot of other things to enjoy here, too. My favorites were the recurring Laurel & Hardy-esque undertakers and the fact that Aragones himself ends up cast as two different villains throughout the run. And then, of course, there’s the artwork of Nick Cardy, who draws shoot’ em up action and beautiful women equally well. And as one of the smaller Showcase volumes, you still get a pretty decent read at a cheaper price. Highly recommended.

Pretty Sketchy: Long live the Legion! And squiggly knees!

Mon-El, the Legionnaire who, despite being nearly killed by Superboy in his first appearance and then was condemned to 1,000 years in a non-corporeal hell with some of the worst criminals in the history of the universe while Clark utterly failed to help him, managed to remain surprisingly upbeat, as rendered in curly-cued glory on a sketch card by Fred Hembeck. Thanks, Fred!

We are a way for the cosmos to know itself.

Maybe you've already seen this music video featuring Carl Sagan, Richard Feynman, Bill Nye, and Neil deGrasse Tyson autotuned into sci-pop perfection, but if you have, I'm sure you could stand to watch it again, and if you haven't, you're in for a treat.

Some quick observations:

1. Bill Nye is the best hype man since Flava Flav.

2. I want to invite Neil deGrasse Tyson over for an astronomy lecture barbecue. What sort of beer do you like, Dr. Tyson?

3. To hell with Talk Like a Pirate Day... I move we add International Talk Like Carl Sagan Day to the nerd calendar! Milly-uns and milly-uns of us walking around in floppy hair and turtlenecks, talking about the cozmoss, and generally looking sagely at stuff. It would be glorious.

Finally, something with zombies in it that I can enjoy.

Too late for Halloween, sure, but hey, I'm behind on my Craig Ferguson, and this was fun, so I'm sharing it now anyway:

Puppets, dancing bikini zombies, catchy song, and a robot skeleton? Yeah, this has it all.

Uncanny Valley Squares?

Saw this today, the official Wii version of Hollywood Squares. The modern Tom Bergeron-hosted version, mind you, but still.

And yes, there is actual celebrity involvement in this, as Brad Garrett, Jeffrey Tambor, Kathy Griffin, and Martin Mull have all licensed their likenesses (and, presumably, recorded dialog) for the game. I'm not sure who they put into the other five spots on the board, but Bergeron version or not, if the center square isn't Paul Lynde, I'm calling foul on the whole thing.

Here's a close up view of the cast. The likenesses get the point across, I suppose, but they all look a little off-model. Especially Jeffrey Tambor.

They did a pretty good job on Martin Mull, though. His mustache may even be more transfixing here than in real life. Look.






Anyway, weird as this whole exercise seems, I'm weirdly glad it exists and curious as hell to play it. I mean, come on... video game Martin Mull. If only they could add Fred Willard...

then we'd be one step closer to a Fernwood 2 Night video game, and that, my friends, would be the best of all possible worlds.

Come on, you know you'd play it. Or I'm sure you'd at least give "Rock Band: Happy Kyne and the Mirthmakers" a shot.

I mean, really, you'd kind of have to, I'd think.