Another Awesome Thing Canada Gave the World: The Man They Call Reveen!

Okay, according to Wikipedia, it was Australia that really gave the world hypnotist Peter Reveen, a.k.a. Reveen the Impossibilist, a.k.a. The Man They Call Reveen, but Canada is where he's most famous, so I say it counts.

Anyway, one of the joys of growing up near Atlantic Canada was getting some of their TV commercials in the daytime, since some of our channels broadcast up there (and we used to get CBC, too, which is why I still hope to one day have hair just like Nick from The Beachcombers). And right around the mid-to-late 80s, one of the stations ran a lot of ads for Reveen's touring stage show as it hit the Maritime provinces, and something about them really seemed to captivate my entire middle school.

Maine was never a hotbed of hypnotism fandom, so I figure it has to be the song, which is awesome.

Hell, he was still using that song as of 2008!

And come on, wouldn't you?

They, whomever it is They are, call him Reveen. I suppose They could be Everyone, seeing as Reveen is, in fact, the man's given surname, but whatever. He has an excellent song, he makes money making people humiliate themselves, and he makes Canadians of a certain age very excited. That's livin', friends.

And I totally want to be known as The Impossibilist from now on.

You better stand back... there's a HURRICANE comin' through!

And, sadly, it is not professional wrestler Gregory Helms, but in fact an actual hurricane. Rhode Island doesn't get a lot of these, so a lot of people are freaking out, thanks in no small part to the news media, who are pretty much promising everything up to (and by now, maybe even including) zombies. Ever since they got huge ratings showing Katrina coverage, every storm is the next Katrina. Sigh...

All media-drive promises of an apocalypse I doubt very highly will actually come aside, if you've already dealt with Irene, I hope you made it through okay, and if you're in the path like we are, stay safe.

Man, we had tickets to go see Juliana Hatfield tonight and everything. I'ma take a page out of Helms' book and shining wizard the hell out of this actual hurricane.


That this is a thing, it perplexes me. And yet, the very… THISness of it all, makes it strangely compelling.

Not $29.99 plus shipping and handling compelling, mind you. More like $3 at a yard sale compelling. Which I’ve always thought is the best kind of compelling.

(cross posted from my Tumblr, Better Living Through Junk Culture)

The Protector: not Robin, but the 5th next best thing

The November solicits for DC are up in all the usual places (here, for instance), and what to my wondering eyes should appear but this solicitation for Tiny Titans #46:
Art and cover by ART BALTAZAR
On sale NOVEMBER 30 • 32 pg, FC, $2.99 US • RATED E
What happens when Robin is called away on a secret mission with Batman? The team will need a replacement! Enter: The Protector! Will he be welcomed with open arms? Or will someone like, say, Talon, have something to say about it? And where does Nightwing fit into all this?
Well, this made me weirdly happy. If you don't know, the Protector was a character who appeared in three special issues of The New Teen Titans co-produced by DC, the Presidential Drugs Are Bad M'kay Council (or, you know, whatever it is that was actually called), and various corporate sponsors. One of those sponsors was Keebler. One of Keebler's competitors, Nabisco, had the licensing rights for Robin, so he had to be replaced by our boy the Protector here (so sayeth Marv Wolfman and George Perez).

Anyway, I remember these comics being a pretty big deal at the time (they even managed a write-up in The Mini Page, the newspaper insert kids' supplement of record in the early 80s), and they were EVERYWHERE. I even remember we read this one:

out loud as a class in second grade as part of our nascent, pre-D.A.R.E. anti-drug educational time. And even when you're only 7 or 8, reading comics for class credit is awesome. It didn't hurt that it was actually a pretty decent story as these things go. I remember everyone in class was floored by the revelation that Speedy had once been an addict, even if none of us knew who the hell he was at that point.

(Funny thing, though... even though we read these in class, they never actually gave us copies. We had to hand them back. Seems like it might have been a better education tool if we had actually gotten to take these home. Might have led a few more kids into reading comics, too. I'm just sayin'.)

But even though I had never read New Teen Titans before this point, I knew from house ads in other DC books that the team was led by Robin, so this new guy, who even then I realized was probably just a redrawn Robin, was a bit of mystery to me. Only a bit, though, since he had no real character of his own... our boy the Protector is pretty bland, and probably intentionally so, since if they couldn't make him Robin, why make him cool? Hell, he's almost shunted aside completely in favor of Speedy in the above issue, as I recall.

But still, as a mostly forgotten (wisely or otherwise) bit of DC lore, a guy whose only other appearance was a Who's Who Update 1987 entry, he's got curiosity value going for him, and I can't wait to see how Art and Franco manage to drag this particular also-ran out of the cold.

Pretty Sketchy: The (Ginger) Ghost in the Darkness

Every holiday season the Comic Geek Speak forums, there's a Secret Santa sketch trade. Participants get another forum member's name, and everyone sends their people some books and their attempts at artistic endeavor. I feel badly for the people who get me as their Santa, because me and the good drawing, we're not so well acquainted (admittedly, I try to make it up to them by sending as much additional swag as I can manage to affordably send). I got this Hellcat a few years back from a fellow forumite I know only as Filthy McMonkey, and I wish I could've scanned it better, because I love the effect of Patsy coming out of the darkness there, which is surprisingly badass for a character best known for exclaiming "cheese and crackers!" in times of stress.

Man without fear, but maybe at long last some hope, or at least a sense of humor.

I've never read much Daredevil. Not out of lack of interest, he's just a character I've never gotten around to reading besides a smattering of the Frank Miller material (Born Again, the Man Without Fear mini-series), Kevin Smith's run, and a few random issues here and there (the Secret Wars 2 tie-in where the Beyonder gives him back his sight, for instance). I've always meant to catch up, especially the rest of Miller's run, and some of the Bendis stuff, but the reviews I've read over time, especially the last few years, just make Daredevil's life (and, subsequently, the book) just seem like the ultimate gauntlet of human misery. I don't need everything to be sunshine and puppy dogs, but I do like at least a little fun in my comics, so I stayed away. Besides, if I wanted to read Daredevil put through his paces, I'd go for the Miller stuff, not the Miller Tribute Bands that followed.

That sounds insulting and unfair to the many creators since Miller's day, who are talented, true, but it's not entirely untrue, either. As with Batman (and Wolverine, even though he just drew that book), a lot of the people who followed Miller didn't seem interested in giving us their version of the character. It never seemed like we'd see Creator X's take on Daredevil (or Batman or Wolvie), but instead Creator X's version of Frank Miller's take on Daredevil. Miller brought Matt Murdock to his lowest point and utterly destroyed his life, and gave us the story his fight back from the edge. And that, of course, is a great story, but it's a story you can only really do once, even in comics. How many lowest points can one man have, even if he's a superhero?

So, long story short - too late - I never could get into Daredevil.

I think Mark Waid is changing that, though. I picked up the first issue based on good word of mouth and a love for a lot of Waid's previous material, and I wasn't disappointed. I think this could be the best thing he's written in a few years. I don't have a lot of previous Daredevil experience to draw back on, obviously, but what he's writing seems true enough to the character to fit in with both his swashbuckling beginnings and the gritty crime drama character he became known as, and take things in a new direction besides. Waid writes Murdock as a man who has survived the worst life can throw at him (which, from what I understand, has involved divorce, imprisonment, having his identity revealed, heading a ninja clan, and demonic possession): "Every time I finally hit bottom," says Murdock, "God would find me a bigger shovel." Now he's trying to rebuild both his life and his law practice, as well as try and convince everyone that he's not really Daredevil (even if he is).

And for once, he's enjoying it all. Which, to me, makes perfect sense. If I made it through all of that and somehow still came out the other side alive and mostly sane, I'd be dancing in the streets. It's not an unusual reaction, I don't think. And it works on both sides of his mask. What better way to prove you're the Man Without Fear than by stealing a kiss from a mob princess while trying to stop a kidnapping at her wedding? It's a great moment, one that occurs early in the issue's first story, and one that won me over immediately.

Lots of great quiet moments here, too, particularly in the issue's back-up story, in which Matt and law partner Foggy Nelson walk the streets of New York City and give us the scoop on Matt's life, his outlook, and his powers. It's exposition without sounding like exposition, and it also gives us a chance to see how Waid interprets Daredevil's powers, and how we can probably expect to see them used. There's a clever bit where Matt tries out the violin for the first time, and the sequence makes such perfect sense that it's a wonder why it took someone nearly 50 years to think of it.

Speaking of Daredevil's powers, artists Paolo Rivera and Marcos Martin are the perfect people to depict them. They both have such strong senses of design, anyway, and their depictions of how this blind man interacts with and, in his way, "sees" the world, are just amazing. Look at Rivera's cover above (or any panel he drew in the main story), or this two-page Martin spread from the back-up:
(image via IGN. Click to big it up.)

It's brilliant design, but it's also functional, and it tells the story in a way the words can't. Brilliant.

I initially resisted Daredevil #1 based on my previous limited experience with the character, but Waid, Rivera, and Martin have won me over. I'm in for a while on this, I think, or at least as long as they want to keep putting out a book this good.

"Ladies and gentlemen, rock and roll."

With those words, MTV launched 12:01 a.m. on August 1, 1981. And love it, hate it, or just don't think about it much at all (and, personally, I've gone across that entire spectrum these past 30 years), you cannot deny that it changed the landscapes of, yes, music and television, forever.

I'll let history determine whether or not that's a good thing.

Anyway, some enterprising interwebber put the entire first hour of MTV programming - commercials, station promos, mis-ordered VJ introductions and all - up on YouTube. Please to enjoy. I know I will.