Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Sunday, December 20, 2009

End of the Golden Age

Neverending Battle





In closing...

So I wish I had some sort of terrific way to wind things up. Maybe some "Ocean's 11" ending (the remake, not the original) where you guys realize that this has been a 6+ year scam, and that I've secretly been using League of Melbotis to clean out your bank accounts, and just as you look at this final post are you able to put all the pieces together. That would be awesome. And I could certainly use the money.

Alas, I'm not that clever, and robbing my readership blind via a blog seems to be challenging at best. But if you wake up tomorrow to find yourself destitute and me driving a BMW around with a stack of Jimmy Olsen comics and smoking a cigar, well, we'll both know what happened.

I've already done my fair share of "wasn't it great when" and "aren't you people all great?" posts. So, you know, refer to those if you'd like. I suspected I'd have more to say for a final post, but I don't, and that's sort of the thing.

Two months was probably too long, but, heck, its over now, so we can turn the chairs over and shut off the lights. We'll worry about sweeping up some other time.

I literally have no idea what my life is going to look like now, which is part of the fun. I have many good things going on which I don't wish to screw up. I've not got too much a self-destructive streak in me, but like anyone else, I get uneasy when things are going a little too steady-state. Add in misguided visions of what I c/should be doing with myself and my time, and its sort of now or never. I'm too old to say I'll try new things when I'm older, and don't wish to look back and wonder where the time went.

I expect you guys to hold me to being productive one way or another.

In an odd bit of synchronicity, just after I announced the conclusion of LoM, I learned that Leaguers Steven and Lauren were moving back to the Bay Area. Perhaps not forever, but I'll be shocked if they ever return to Texas for more than a visit. Steven waxed a bit rhapsodic and brought the eloquence to the conclusion of chapters in a way fitting and with that flair of which I've always been envious. Read here.

It's also JimD's birthday (and I started this blog awfully close to my own 28th birthday). It was JimD who instigated the thing.

This evening we raised a glass with Steven and Lauren to join with friends and bid them adieu. Juan and Letty were there, as were Julia and Alfredo. And I won't share the conversation, but I had a few minutes to speak with Alfredo, and he remarked upon the impending closing of this blog, to which I gave the same smile and a shrug I've given most who've asked. As you do with these things, I laughed it off. Alfredo begged to differ, and I was reminded that from time-to-time, it wasn't all just Superman pictures and talking about awful movies.

Anyway, thanks, Alfredo. I am, and always shall be, grateful. You have no idea.

I don't know why, but I am also reminded of a moment from a year or so back, when I was at a comic shop here in town (now closed), and was looking at discounted paperbacks, when a person I didn't know looked at me across the table and said "You're that League Guy".

And that's the sort of thing I think I'll miss most of all. The never-knowing of being connected to people in such odd and different ways, whether its the random person in the comic shop, or wishing once-were-strangers-and-now-they're-friends the best of luck while they embark on their own next chapter.

But that's kind of how it works, isn't it?

A special thank you to Jamie, who has been an often silent partner, but one who has been remarkably supportive, and who is a remarkable person in every way. She has enjoyed being partners in The League since its inception, and has often been a writing partner in the ways that count. I love you, sweetie.

Let it never be forgotten that this started because of friends. And it was dreamed up and cared for in the name of the best pal on four legs you could ever have. The four-color adventures of a dog and his boy, indeed.

Be well. Be safe. We wish you the best, always.

I'll see you in the funny pages.

Up, up and away.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

UT Longhorn Volleyball Fought Hard

Man, that was a heart-breaker. Not only did we have to say good-bye to Steven and Lauren, but the National Volleyball Championship was on TV with our UT Longhorns. Unfortunately, despite winning the first two games, Penn State came from behind to win. Here.

I say... oh, well. UT kicked ass. They played amazingly well against an equal opponent, and the games were very close.

I've been pretty focused on football, but the Longhorns had an amazing season by any standard. Heartbreakingly close to a National Title, but they made a fan out of me. Next year, I'm definitely hanging out on Wednesdays to go to the games.

Keeping Up With The League

So, as of midnight tomorrow, that'll be it.

Not to fret, The League of Melbotis will carry on in a limited capacity over on Facebook. And to a more limited extent, over on Twitter.

The site will remain up, but I don't plan to update links, etc...

The site already rolls overfor approval on comments after a week, but I may be shutting comments down all together. I foresee a future in which Chinese spammers are flooding my inbox and I keep having to reject comments.

Also, I imagine the email address associated here will be good for a long, long while.

Anyway, don't be a stranger.

Friday, December 18, 2009

WW Christmas

Normally I don't post cheesecake comic art, because I find it distasteful and believe it just reinforces some negative stereotypes about comics. But... Ah, heck. Why Not?


Wonder Woman for Christmas is okay by us

Happy Birthday JimD


Our Birthday Boy Stands in Repose

Panick Attack!

I know you're not supposed to think the end of the world is awesome. But there's nothing I don't like in this video.


More Garth Merenghi

To have to explain Garth Merenghi means you're not going to like it, anyway.

Here's new Garth Merenghi. I believe called "War of the Wasps". Found by Brit Simon.

UT Longhorn Volleyball in National Championship

HEY

I keep forgetting to say anything about this, but on Saturday at 7:00, UT's Longhorn Volleyball team is on ESPN or ESPN2 (I forget) playing Penn State for the National Championship!

WOOT!

Just because. darn it.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Iron Man 2!

Hey!

I think you guys might want to check out the trailer for the upcoming Iron Man sequel.

HERE (its at Apple. Must have Quicktime. So, Jason, get someone to help you out.).

Thanks to Simon for the link!

Trail of Lights

Hey!

Well, trying to keep our levels of Christmas Cheer set to "Jingle-riffic", Jamie and I headed to The Trail of Lights at Austin's Zilker Park.

The Trail of Lights faced a lot of challenges this year. In the spring, the city spent a truckload of money laying copper wire to enable better power for the mile long trail of lights. In the Summer, the City figured out somebody had come along and STOLEN all of the copper, likely for a tidy profit.

Then, ACL Fest was a bit rough on the lawn and the city is having to replant that grass, etc...

So... the Trail of Lights was renamed to "Zilker Tree Holiday Festival".

Jamie had fun.



The Zilker Tree is a longstanding tradition. Its actually several strands of lights attached to a Moon Tower, and while quite lovely from far away, the longstanding tradition is to get underneath the tree and spin until you barf. Good times.

I hadn't been to the Tree or the Trail of Lights in many, many years. Due to the challenges, the trail was a lot shorter this year, and on the other side of the park from the last time I was there. Also, they had like, five funnel cake stands.

Anyhow, we had a good time. And that's all you get for a post tonight.

Just look at Jamie. She's cute as a button.

Alicia Keys and Colbert rock NYC and the Burbs

The Colbert ReportMon - Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c
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Found by Joe Cathey

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

I got nothing.

Well, as the clock winds down, I should really have another post or two in me. But I think I'm sort of worn out from the last few posts.



Here's Power Girl. Now go talk amongst yourselves.

Happy Holidays From The League!

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Tuesday, December 15, 2009

So long, Superman!

About three and a half years ago (that's roughly 25 years ago in blog years), I posted what I felt was more or less my statement on WHY I'm a fan of Superman.

You can read it here.



I'd also pointed to my Superman collection at the time, which has only expanded in the intervening years. At that time, I did not have replicas of five shades of Kryptonite, a toy Kryptonian Battlesuit, etc... Were there time and my office in any condition to show, I'd have put up a few images. But its not, so... you're just going to have to stop by some time. Tours are $2.

I'm fairly sensitive to criticism of the Superman character, primarily because Superman has taken on this odd, avatar-like role for the squeaky-clean image of heroism that's fallen out of favor but which is mostly a gross oversimplification.

I talked about that here.

At another point I tried to address what I would think are limitations of Superman (and superheroes) here.

I get a lot of blowback from readers when I bemoan the misconceptions, and am told "well, its what the public thinks that matters". But I also am aware that the public perception is shaped by articles exactly like the ones Loyal Leaguers gleefully forward me (which is shockingly often). That's not to say that you can't criticize Superman as a character, but the thing is: John and Jane Public in this case are getting sold a bad bill of goods. And I've always felt that wasn't quite fair to DC Comics, John and Jane Public, people like myself who actually bother to read the comics, watch the movies, cartoons, TV shows, etc... and certainly to a figment of a teenager's imagination whose done little more in 70-odd years of existence but be the good guy.

There are different visions for how the story of Superman might end. Ends are how we can judge characters, after all. Alan Moore's closeout of the Silver Age with "Whatever Happened to the Man of Tomorrow?" is tragic, but ends on the right note. DC One Million suggests Superman sort of goes on forever. I like the ambiguous wrap-up to All Star Superman, with Superman toiling at the heart of the sun, having given up his Earthly life to save the world, and lifting from the page of all mythic heroes, with the promise that he will one day return.



I've made no secret that part of why I embraced Superman was because the franchise/ series/ character/ whatever DID have that weird, funhouse aspect of "oh, Jesus. What now?" that I still cackle about when a new editon of Showcase Presents Superman hits the shelves or I find just the right back issue. And its certainly a big selling point for me when I pick up an issue of Jimmy Olsen. I like that this same character is responsible for amazing comics like "Kingdom Come", "Peace on Earth" and many, many more... But its also the same character that spawned Beppo the Super Monkey.

Often, Superman can be a reminder of how short I feel the vision is of humanity. Sometimes I believe that its a lack of belief that a person wielding such power would turn it to the good that makes us flush with rage when the story does not become one of betrayal, petty abuse of power, and instead, page after page chooses to show us a man struggling with the choices before him.

In his own story, of course, Luthor is the hero. He's the brilliant mind who turned genius to profit and power, and who cannot imagine that someone so gifted would not want to cap and trade his own power. Superman must be waiting for something, and while we hiss and boo Lex, we're envious of him.



There's, of course, a personal and a quite literal financial stake in all this. I've got something invested. But I also started elsewhere with comics, with superheroes, with action and science fiction heroes, with all the same stuff we all pass through. n the end, I landed on Superman. Somehow, the constant striving to do the right thing didn't seem like such a bad thing. And maybe even the "taking it a step further" that happens when you want to be better than who you really are.

And that's what I read when I pick up those comics, and watch those movies. All those powers, and Superman still so rarely saves the day. I know I can do better, and I so often fail to do so. I do okay. I do well enough, but I don't do enough.

In the years of this blog, its unlikely I've turned a single person into a fan of the Man of Steel. I know I've probably shared more about the character than even one of you ever cared to read. That's okay. You people have no idea what Jamie lives with, here in our Fortress of Solitude.

I haven't forgotten that JimD obtained a theatrical print of Superman: The Movie for what was practically a personal screening, getting Randy to come down to join us, and setting us up in a magnificent theater (The Jefferson in downtown Beaumont). Or that Peabo and his wife drove out there with us to watch the movie.

And I haven't forgotten the endless viewings Jamie suffered through of Superman movies, TV shows, cartoons, etc... Nor have I forgotten the Super-related items folks have shared or given to me as gifts. All of that winds up as part of the package of what I think of when people ask "So you're a Superman fan?".



At the end of the day, I like the idea that there's this alien who came to Earth, and because he was raised to believe in Truth and Justice and The American Way, those things we're all supposed to believe in, that he decided not to use the power for himself, but to do the right thing. Whether its saving a space plane from crashing or standing between a shooter and their victim, that saving the day is the right thing to at least try to do.

It doesn't hurt that he can bend steel in his hands, that his eyes shoot lasers and that he's got Lois, Perry and Jimmy around.

Or that he's got a dog that has all his powers that's a superhero, too.

As I mentioned in previous parting posts, I am aware that Superman is and has been an odd sort of crutch when I needed hours to fill and something to focus on outside of the day-to-day. But I've also been able to look at Superman as metaphor, as inspiration of a sort, and as distraction during some of our most challenging days. A fictional Superman cannot eliminate ill-health, or want, or distress. All the character can do is appear in stories where someone tried to do the right thing, often against obstacles that seemed literally impossible, enough to defeat even a Superman.

I have a favorite memory, of Jamie getting better in the hospital, and me knowing she was getting better when I was able to show her pages from one of those fat "Showcase Presents" Superman albums and say "this is completely insane! Look at this!" I believe it was Superman accidentally finding himself with the head of a lion, and Jamie and I having a good laugh. That's just good stuff.



I'll miss talking about Superman with you guys.

Sometime, pick up a Superman comic. I'll be around to make suggestions, if you like.

I just hope that a few of you, when you see the red cape and boots will know a bit more than "John and Jane Public", and nothing would please me more than finding out you'd won points at trivia by naming Superman's dog (hint: its Krypto).

Verbot never worked

I didn't notice last night, but even in the damn commercial, Verbot doesn't follow instructions. It happens around the 8 second mark.



Also, if memory serves, my dog HATED Verbot. Poor Puff.

I really grew to resent that robot.

Steans Family Christmas Carol

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