Sunday, May 07, 2006

Comics, Summer of Superman and Rollerderby

Hey Leaguers!

Friday I finally got my hands on some of the toys being released with the upcoming film, Superman Returns. I got "Truck Lifting Superman", "Crystal Smashing Superman", "Bulletproof Superman", and "Zipping into the Air Superman". Pictures to come.

Anyhow, the toys got me all in a tizzy because they really are some fairly decent toys for a movie tie-in. And, man, do they class up the living room.

Saturday I got up around 7:00 and tried to break up my usual run/ walk/ lope/ frighten the neighbors routine by bringing Lucy along. What I learned is that Lucy is not a good running partner as she thinks it's a race. Sure, she's faster than me, but she just kept getting yanked around on the leash when she tried to pull forward. Deciding that I'd prfer not to wind up dragging a dead dog through the neighborhood, I slowed my pace to a walk and all was well.

I was doing some cleaning up of the Fortress of Nerditude when Dedman called.
"The League!"
"I've been to Free Comic Book Day! I got you a back issue of Superman versus Santa Claus!"
Well, I was, of course, deee-lighted that Jim D. was taking advantage of Free Comic Book Day at his local retailers, and I felt a bit down about my own decision NOT to partake in FCBD. You see, The League has a lot of comics. A LOT of comics, and picking up free comics doesn't hold a lot of appeal when you already have tons of comics, some of which are in a stack waiting to be read.
"Hey," I asked Jim, "Find me JSA #39. It's the only hole in my run on JSA."
He called back two minutes later. He'd found it. WHOO-HOOOO!!!!

So Jamie and I stepped out of the house to redeem a coupon for a free cat toy at PetsMart (we had to pick up dog food, anyway). While eating my mediocre salad at Chili's, I kept stewing over my decision NOT to go to FCBD.

Finally, en route to League HQ I turned to Jamie (who was driving) and asked "Can we go to Mesa?"
Jamie is the bestest wife ever. Most wives, as I understand it, somewhat tolerate their husbands' eccentricities. Jamie's willing to drive.
So we drove up to Mesa and after overshooting by, oh.... three miles, we turned back and made it to the Atomic Comics in Mesa where comics scribe Ed (Captain America) Brubaker and Michael (Gotham Central) Lark were participating in a signing. These two guys are now jointly working on Daredevil in the wake of the ground-breaking Bendis/ Maleev run, so I guess that's why they got pulled in together.

At any rate, there was a really long line when I came in, and I knew we had about a 50/50 chance of seeing the line and turning around and walking back out the door again. I sort of wandered around the comics, trying to figure out what the situation was, and quickly realized neither Lark nor Brubaker were in the store. I guess they'd taken lunch.

I grabbed a Daredevil and a back-issue of Gotham Central for them to sign, and finally asked a store employee what the deal was. "Is that the line for Lark and Brubaker?"
"No. They're on break. Those are people trying to get a sketch from (blah-blah-blah)."
"So where's the line for those guys?"
"There isn't one."
Okay, so in my head, the way Reedo or Steanso might spend some time worrying about meeting, say, Ween, I had been sweating it that meeting these two guys would be an insurmountable task. I turned to the girl checking me out at the counter and said "So, look... I've never been to a signing before. I don't know how this works. Is there a gratuity expected?"
"They don't want you to kiss up to them."
I paused, realizing this girl did not know what the word "gratuity" meant.
"You know," she continued, "They're just guys. Treat them like you would anybody else."
Well, The League has crippling social anxiety in non-work related environs, and so I just sort of shrugged and said "So I can be a complete jerk."
The girl was confused.
The guy pointed me to a sweaty guy in his forties (we're all seaty, it's AZ in the Springtime) and said "Go stand with him. I guess we'll start the line there."
So I stood with the sweaty guy, pretty excited to be second in "line", or "Blob" as I suspected it would become as it was not a great place to queue.
"So who's this 'Lark' guy?" Jamie asked. I pulled out the Gotham Central issue I'd bought and flipped through it, expalining to Jamie how, yes, it's a little retro, but Lark's work has a certain naturalism and how he really draws the best Batman of the past five years and blah, blah, blah...
Then this guy walks up to the blob of five of us and says "Are you looking to get your comic signed?"
"Yeah-" I'm about to tell him to get in line BEHIND me.
"Cool. I'm Michael Lark."
So, anyway, I guess Michael Lark heard my elevator speech on the virtues of his work. Which can't be all bad.
"So," I said, flipping through his original page art (I loved his 'Pulse' stuff and it was in there). "You're not actually from here?"
It turns out Lark is from Dallas and also, despite only being in PHX a short time, ALSO finds PHX butt-ugly and lame. Nice guy. Seriously. It was a little weird because, I mean, what am I going to do? Sit there and tell him how much he kicks ass? That just seemed a bit off.
Brubaker showed up and happily signed my comic, but it sounded like he'd an altercation with the store staff over dropping the F-Bomb in conversation with a fan.
Not really having anything to add to the conversation, I said my thank-you's, took my Daredevil and Gotham Central and scooted out.
I did, however, totally forget to grab any actual free comics.
What blew me away was that these guys are big in the comic industry. Especially Brubaker. I mean, Brubaker writes Cap and X-Men and stuff. At a Convention, he'd be huge. For some bizarro reason (and I choose not to question why) there was nobody in lien to see them, but there were like 20 teenagers in line with their moms waiting to get a sketch from (bla-bla-blah).

Last night we headed North to Casey at the Bat, a sports complex off Union Hills in Phoenix to see the Surly Girlies take on the Bad News Beaters. Sadly, my favorite player was not actually playing last night, but the Surly Girlies must have been putting in some serious overtime at practice because they looked great.

They played at an outdoor in-line rink which is usually used for some sort of in-line hockey, as near as I could tell. It was open air and pretty darn nice. Lots of people, most of which were Surly Girly fans, batting cages and some sort of miniature golf course.

Hippie's Revenge (#069) was probably the star of the evening, but Denise Lightning (#23) and Kiddah Kilah (#17) stepped up as well.

I think I did have a moment of clarity as one of the Beaters went down and the announcer had us all applaud her as she left the track. "Let's all hear it for 'Chesty Molesty'!" And two hundred people applauded wildly.

Perhaps due to the open air envirnoment, the crowd was pretty sedate. Music was provided by The Route 66 Killers who were a step above the last group to play and brought their own belly dancer to perform along with them. For good or ill, the dancer wore an ape mask, which I think Jamie found a bit distressting.

Lots of kids show up for these events, and so it was kind of fun to see five or six boys and girls dancing to some surf punk along with ape-dancer.

Anyhow, the Surly Girlies demolished the Beaters. The final score was 174-144, but I suspect the Surly Girlies gave up some points in the 3rd period, or else they finally got tired. Of course, with the way the clock was off and the score board seemed to change just randomly from time to time, who knows?

The announcers, looking to get some crowd involvement, did take time out to annoucne the final score of the Lakers/ Suns game (which, sadly, I already knew thanks to my Blackberry).

Oh, and Justice League Unlimited kicked-ass.

All in all, a good Saturday.

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