Thursday, August 28, 2003

Right now Mars is closer to earth than it has been in 60,000 years. Pretty cool stuff, but I'm a little disappointed that we're not being invaded by three-eyed monsters.

BBC has some photos posted.

And here is a picture of my favorite Martian: J'onn J'onzz, Martian Manhunter of the JLA

Wednesday, August 27, 2003

Jamie was confused by my post about Batman saying "damn." I was in 2nd grade, she tells me, in 82-83. Haude Elementary, Spring, TX. (Haude sounds like "Howdy." I believe it is German.) All I remember is my 3rd grade teacher was trying to get us to read and she brought in comics for pleasure reading and I knew already from my traumatic prior experience that those comics had dirty words. I believe, safety nazi that I was, that I told the teacher about the bad words and all DC comics were removed from the class. Cursing was strictly forbidden in the Steans house at this time. Then, in 1986-87, my mom said "shit," and it's been downhill ever since.
Apparently this occured here in the Valley of the Sun.
Jim sent me two fantastic articles regarding the state of comics.

The only thing I would argue in the NY Times article is this excerpt: "The Sopranos" take on the world has spilled into comic books.

I guess the idea is that comics are reflective of a harsher trend in mass media. But this isn't news, kids. Comics got gritty in the 70's with the rise of stars like Neal Adams, etc... and guys like Moore and Miller cemented the necessity of "real" consequences in comics. It's a slow evolution, but it's safe to say that most comics are not aimed at children anymore, nor has it been so for a while. As a note, all that profanity, etc... has been in comics since I was in 2nd grade (1981?), at least. I remember picking up a Batman comic and being horrified to see Batman say "damn!" This wasn't something I thought I would be allowed to read, so I sought the safety of Marvel and it's bizarre use of colloquialisms native to the Marvel Universe. EVERYBODY in Marvel comics said "blazes" instead of "hell." As in "What in blazes?" or "Go to blazes!"

Superhero comics are struggling with maturity and keeping a balance of being escapism and fun. But they are also attuning themselves to an audience which skews ever older. Most comicstry to succeed as readable fiction for at LEAST teenagers, but many do not succeed to really work as readable fiction. I refuse to name names... everyone has their opinion. The problem is: writers, editors and artists do not always seem to have fundamental grasp of adulthood themselves. At other times, when genuinely adult relationships occur in comics, many readers do not know how to react. Sex must be tawdry, violence must have no consequences, and the very real presence of sex, religion and politics is usually treated with the delicacy of a blunt instrument.

Jim also included articles on the late, great Jack "King" Kirby. I say nice things from time to time about Kirby, but I rarely say too much as it can be difficult to understand Kirby's relevance on pop culture. But I think this article does a fine job of explaining it.

Tuesday, August 26, 2003


Work is kooky. We just started a new semester at the University, and I have been trying to get many a class up and online. I am not what I would consider to be a detail oriented guy. I like broad strokes when being told technical issues and whatnot. Any explanation longer than a minute, and I'm pretty much zoning out thinking about Superman. So all the issues that keep coming up are not entirely a surprise, because I heard OF the problem before. Now it's time to fix the problems. Luckily, I have assembled an amazing staff, and all I have to do is know of a problem, and usually it's 70% fixed before I even hear about it. I love these guys.

I am probably a software engineers' worst nightmare of a manager. I don't know anything about the specifics, and I could really give a damn. I just want to hear what the problem is, how it will affect faculty and students, and how long it will take to fix. If there is money involved, I like to know that, too. But, as I said... broad strokes. Luckily, all the tech guys around campus are aware that I am incompetent and know to call my staff instead of me. Life is sweet.

I also am taking a single grad class this fall. I am very skeptical of the course, instructor, and, indeed, the entire department, but it has relevancy to my job. We'll see how it goes.

Monday, August 25, 2003

Hey, kids!

As described previously herein, I recently made a mistake regarding Superman, the Arizona Department of Transportation and general good taste. The lesson, kids, is just because something seems funny at first, doesn't mean it's going to be funny later. And this, Leaguers, is why vanity plates and tattoos should be avoided. Both are permanent, and both may look a little stupid in the cold light of day.

what's Jamie standing next to?

the plate of shame itself

The World's Finest look over the Forester from the Garage of Solitude.