Saturday, December 30, 2006

For JimD: I Now Own Superpup

Holy Smokes. It appears that the Superman Ultimate Collector's Set ALSO includes the long-lost (never aired) pilot for Superpup.

Read up on Superpup here.

Pointing toward the parties responsible for this atrocity

It is badly recorded, utilizes the highly recognizable sets from "The Adventures of Superman", and a lot of expensive masks. That said, the production quality is sort of like a mash of "Adventures of Superman" and "Banana Splits". You can't say there's not a lot of energy and enthusiasm, but somehow the thing never gels, mostly because the mouths of the characters only partially move, and the voices attributed the achracters are uniformly awful.

This is some high grade nightmare fuel, and worthy of a Doug-viewing. National Periodical Publications made the right decision in shelving this particular gem.

Testing new formats

Don't get too excited. I'm trying new templates out. This isn't the final look. Nor is it the final functionality.

Re: comments - I am abandoning Haloscan for the integrated comments offered by Blogger. You shouldn't have to register to leave comments, but you may need to verify by using one of them text boxes. We're trying to avoid spam.

I am not even settled on the text sitting on the left. So, you know, check in to see changes. And while your input is always welcome, I'm going to do what I'm going to do, as always. If you have a really neat idea: super. is free to use. Go nuts.

I'll be seeking assistance on feedburner, etc... in fairly short order.
Superman II Extra Features

As you may know, Jamie bought me the Superman Ultimate Collector's Box Set for Christmas. This evening we were more or less rained in as Austin is sunk under a deluge, so I popped in one of the bonus feature discs associated with Superman II, and man...

A: There's a disco/ urban cowboy-era documentary of the making of Superman II in which Richard Lester more or less cops to shooting TV-style with multiple cameras ( big complaint of the cast after Donner left).

B: A short documentary on the Fleischer Superman cartoons with folks like Bruce Timm.

C: I believe ALL of the Fleischer cartoons.

D: And most priceless, there's a Superman 50th anniversary special produced by Lorne Green and hosted by a deeply mulleted Dana Carvey. Writers included Robert Smigel and Bruce McCullogh. What's absolutely stunning is the amount of talent assembled for the show, including two DITMTLOD (a) a pre-fame/ pre-Miller's Crossing Marcia Gay Harden playing a high schooler and (b) Ellen Greene as the curator of the Superman Museum.

The show is a mish-mash of reality and fiction, including interviews with real-life Superman actor Kirk Alyn, interspliced with Hal Holbrook pontificating on his one-man Superman show on Broadway. Plus, Noel Neill gets screen time as Lois Lane's concerned mother.

The show isn't necessarily great, but you do see some early Robert Smigel genius as he dons a latex egg-shaped cranium to play the very real comic-based villain "Brainwave". Al Franken plays 1/2 of a super duo attempting a "Scared Straight" approach to stopping "potential thugs and world dominators". And Ralph Nader plays a consumer advocate, instructing you on the effects of various colors of Kryptonite (skipping blue, which only affects Bizarros).

And The Flash and GL make an appearance. Again, well-intentioned, but not great.


Randy sent me this. I have no idea what they're advertising...

Friday, December 29, 2006


Okay, sometimes my archives creep me out.

Right now, with my recent switch to Blogger II or whatever is calling it, my archives are completely jacked up. I can no longer link back to a specific post, just a specific day. When I do this, I can only link to the day in question. So if I have five posts that day, tough noogies. One link.

Also, my archives freak me out because:
(A) most of the time I have no recollection of writing the post, and so it sounds like someone I'd sort of agree with, but who I think needs to polish up his grammar.
(B) occasionally I stumble across something in the comments section which blows my mind (such as the time Meco chimed in on my comments).

So I randomly looked at an old post which featured images of both Randy and grimace, and compared the two in the most flattering manner possible. Looking at the comments, I came across the following.

Re: 12/30/2004

#372 is my nephew. Not trained and no acting experience. He was "discovered" working at Trader Joe's. He received all kinds of compliments by the crew and director for his natural ability when filming this comercial. Just to get it one would ever describe him as "chubby". He's a lean, fit young man and we are all very proud of him.
Teri | 03.22.05 - 12:39 am | #

Obviously Teri didn't know The League is pretty chubby, but I had no idea what she was talking about. So, of course, I had to leap back and see

In December 2004 I had made fun of a kid in a really lousy McDonald's ad. You can read my description of the ad here.

Sweet mother of crap. What else is in there?

But, man, did that post remind me of what an awful, awful commercial Teri's nephew starred in. And clearly I had wanted to forget it. How sad.

You would have thought she knew I was kidding after comparing myself to Ronald and my wife to a Fry Guy.
Comic Related Quick Bits


I took a look at Alison Bechdel's graphic novel "Fun Home" below this post. I worked pretty hard on my "review". I thought the book was very good and tried to bring up a tiny bit about what I liked.

The Flash

I am now 4 episodes in to the 1990 series "The Flash" with John Wesley Shipp as Barry Allen. The show is a lot of fun, has some cool stuff going on, and Amanda Pays. Sure, there are some unnecessary trappings of a post-Burton-Batman, and it's sort of a Knight Rider-ish all-ages show, but I dig it.

I am digging it more than I am digging the current run of Flash, which I would drop if DC hadn't already said they're changing out creative teams ASAP. Ironically, the team which is currently writing Flash are the developers of the Flash TV show.

Rise of the Silver Surfer

Thanks to RHPT, I am now aware that the new movie trailer for "FF: Rise of the Silver Surfer" is available. I am deeply skeptical of the quality of the actual movie, but they nailed the wow factor of an otherwordly being on a flying surfboard.

Check it out in QT.

My Kung-Fu is better

I learned today, much to my surprise and chagrin, that my comic shop manager knows almost NOTHING about non-DC or Marvel comics. He had never heard of James Kolchaka, Harvey Pekar, Marjani Sartapi, or, I think, even the Dark Horse title "Concrete". It occured to me as I drove away from my shop, I do not think they carry any Will Eisner, Frank Miller or even Watchmen. He had never read Maus, and had written off "Bone" as dumb, based solely on never making it past the cover.

Apparently he and I have very different notions as to the definition of his job.

Why the World is Better With Masked Heroes

Thursday, December 28, 2006

Suggestions for Further Reading: Fun Home

I am an illiterate idiot. At least, my days in college were not spent in the way college was once experienced, at least in my fanciful mind. Sure, I knew some other RTF and History majors who would stray into reading of the classics during their downtime, but when they were reading Proust or Joyce, I was flipping through X-Men, doodling in the margins of my notes, setting fire to the apartment I shared with CBG, reading non-fiction, the newspaper or magazines, and, of course, going to work. But all of those are excuses. I have the leisure time. At some point, I need to just cop to being willfully illiterate. Of course, I'm also fairly ADHD in my reading, so it's questionable that, even if I did purchase a copy of "Ulysses", I would make it past the first fifty pages.

Alison Bechdel makes me feel like an idiot or, conversely, that I've wasted my life reading the wrong things. Her graphic novel "Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic" is currently riding the end of the year "best in non-fiction" category in a few publications. This is remarkable mainly due to the fact that "Fun Home" is a graphic novel, it is autobiographical, it is personal, and it is everything many, many comics attempt to be, but utterly fail. Of course, Bechdel is very good at what she does.

I picked up "Fun Home" mostly due to a reading suggestion by an old college chum who I had once bonded with over Morrison's "Invisibles" and Jell-O shots. Amy usually had a few good ideas up her sleeve, and I figured she was wise enough not to just go off recommending books willy-nilly, not at the rate she reads. Also, I'd heard Time called it one of their books of the year. (Time does have a Comix reviewer, but I sort of quit taking him seriously a few years ago. I found his reviews too often slanted the subjective as if it were the objective, which I found a bit indefensible as much of the Time audience most likely knows very little about the medium.)

The book itself is currently available in hardback from Houghton-Mifflin (an interesting publisher for any graphic work, I thought). As per content, the story centers around the distant relationship of Bechdel and her father as Bechdel explores the awakening of her own sexual identity, the problematic issues of her father's sexuality and his untimely death.

Self-examination and auto-biography have been a staple of indie comics since Harvey Pekar drew his first stick man in a square, and with Craig Thompson's recent Eggers-like surge in popularity thanks to the Emo-Boy/coming-of-age tale "Blankets", publishers outside of small press seem to be taking notice.

Gay/Lesbian-coming-out tales are not unheard of in comic-dom, but where Bechdel separates herself from the little I've read is in her approach as she attacks the topic with more than the raw emotion of the topic. Instead, the book reads as a thesis in exploring her own story as a thematic reflection of the beloved literature which permeated her life as a child and young adult and the brief life of her father (and for which she obviously continues to hold a student's, if not a scholar's, interest). The depths of Bechdel's attempts at understanding are there on the printed page, and the sheer work which went into constructing the narrative as scholarship mode of telling the story speaks volumes.

Were Bechdel a lesser writer, the references would seem meaningless to those of us in the comic-consuming intellectual under-class. However, she chooses to illustrate (more often with words than her careful cartooning) the parallels she's selected and feels compelled to explore.

I am only familiar with Bechdel's prior work from the hilariously pointed title of her long-running strip "Dykes to Watch Out For" (a strip I'll be seeking out in collections or otherwise). In short, I'd never seen her stuff.

Bechdel's cartooning emulates the illustrations of early-readers I recall from around 1st or second grade, which utilizes clean, clear art and icongraphic symbols/features to differentiate characters rather than a realistic rendering style. At times her words overwhelm the seemingly simplistic drawings, but the juxtaposition between a child's recollection and an adult's 20/20 reflection plays well together.

Time's "Comix" reviewer is concerned with Bechdel's tendency to lean on words, hinting that he feels there's a useless repetition or disconnect between words and panels. I never felt that during the read, and even going over the examples he's cited, don't feel that he's made a particularly compelling case that Bechdel chose words over actions, given the reflective and meditative tone of the book.

Again, the comic makes me wish I'd spent less time signing up for Archery classes in college and more time in English courses. I am sure there were many items which passed me by in my first reading, but this graphic novel was a fantastic read, nonetheless.
Home Again

We are home again.

We arrived home yesterday, about 9:00. This followed a six hour drive across a little-used stretch of road between Lawton and Austin. It's not only faster, it's the scenic route. Unfortunately, we left Lawton late enough in the day that most of the drive wound up occuring in dusk and dark.

Mangum had taken good care of Lucy and Jeff, I think. Nobody is missing a paw or an ear or anything. One telling item: a few minutes after returning, I asked if anybody had seen Jeff, and both Jamie and Doug claimed to have seen him. I looked and looked and no Jeff. Then Jamie opened the door, and the cat was standing outside looking up at the door. He's an inside cat, and is not familiar with temperatures below 70 or above 80. I am sure a ceilingless, chilly world beyond the door came as quite a shock. Who knows what he thought was going on outside.

I also called Mangum, who said to me, "You don't let Lucy jump on the furniture, do you?"
"Oh, heck no," I replied.
"Yeah, I didn't know what to do. In day three, she just started jumping up on the couches and the bed."
"Ah. She is not supposed to do that."
"Yeah, I didn't think so."
"But you didn't stop her."
"I didn't want to yell at her."
And this is why Matt is not allowed to have children.

Doug didn't fly out until this evening, so today we got a little more Doug-time (which is sort of like Peanut Butter Jelly Time), and enjoyed our post-Christmas time. The weather was lovely, and we ate on the porch at Magnolia, then hit Austin Books so Doug could see the wonderment.

A visit with Doug is always good to remind you that you may THINK you have refined taste in Horrifically Bad Media, but Doug is a connosieur. He's done all the legwork for you, and is not afraid to raise your "Eragon" with a VHS copy of "Santa With Muscles" (one of IMDB's 10 worst movies...) or "Monster-A-Go-Go". He also seems to delight particularly in Christmas themed media, both good and miserable (as evidenced by "Santa with Muscles"), always having a few choice items on tap for "after the parents go to bed" viewing. We also were able to take in one of the most mind-blowing half-hours of television EVER PRODUCED with the Invader Zim Christmas episode.

Dropped Doug off at the airport, then headed home, where, half an hour later, Cousin Sue and Unky D made an appearance. I haven't really seen much of Unky D the past few years. He lives in Florida most of the time, and his scheduled Christmas trips to Houston always fall on years when Jamie and I are in Lawton. However, being back in Austin means that when he goes back to Austin to visit Cousin Sue, we DID get to see him this year.

After dinner we came home, I watched an episode of "The Flash", and now I'm winding down from the Holiday merriment. I am ready for a little winding down, but I do feel Christmas was a success this year. We had a very good time at the McB's, experienced no major issues in our travels, and will most likely be enjoying a quiet night on New Year's (as Jamie has dialysis in the morning, which means an early bedtime). Then that's it for another year.

Christmas isn't really over until you're cleaning up the mess on New Year's Day and putting up the lights for another year.

I shall choose to believe that at the heart of it, the season is an opportunity for people to attempt to put their best foot forward and that the spirit of hope at the base of it all isn't always obscured by the money-making nonsense, awful decorations and incessant carols. To those of you who feel Christmas to be a humbug, you get the next 11.5 months of man's inhumanity to man to cherish.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Gerald Ford, RIP

I have virtually nothing to say about a President whose administration I know almost nothing about, except that he pardoned Nixon.

Seriously. Not a thing. My first memories of a President center around Jimmy Carter, and that's a story for another day.

So... yeah.

So long, Gerry. If I'm sure of thing, it's that they've got football in heaven. You should be just fine.

Monday, December 25, 2006


Hardest working man in show business given only 73 years to better planet with R&B perfection. Billions of Earthlings now left to own, less-funky, devices.

Thank you, Mr. Brown. R.I.P. Let us not dwell on the negative, but remember how you changed music, America and (on the whole) left the world a better place.

May God welcome you with a cape, a heavenly beat and an eternity of getting funky.

Please read more here.
Christmas Day!

You have your Christmas wish, I'll have mine...

Hope your Christmas is going well.

We've opened presents, enjoyed some delicious roll wreath (ask Jamie for the recipe sometime... it will do nothing but improve your Christmas while expanding your waistline), had some coffee, cleaned up and are now basking in the post-Christmas Morning glow.

Jamie received some music books from Doug and has commandeered the McB family piano (I'm excited by the prospect of Jamie learning the theme to "The Magnificent Seven").
Judy and Doug are playing some billiards and Dick is engrossed in a New York Times Front Page book. It's tough to explain. (The New York Time's Page One 1851-2004)

I've already cashed in Jason's gift (a wisely purchased gift certificate) and expect my copy of "Enemy Ace Archives" first week of January. Jamie got me a copy of Spirit Archives Vol. 1, which I am very excited to have to absorb over the next few weeks. Doug landed me the entire run of "The Flash" on DVD (with Amanda Pays, truly a DITMTLOD). My loot also included two books I'll be getting into, and a set of Superman Uno cards (which I believe feature Jose Luis Garcia Lopez art).

Jeff the Cat even received a gift in absentia... a sort of self-heating cat blanket. We will never get him to move, ever, ever again.

Mel and the McB cats (Sam and Pippin) seem to be getting along swimmingly, less a short vaccuum/cat barking incident. Mel's gift was a swell bed which he's been using since his arrival.

Oh, we saw "Charlotte's Web" last night. Excellent movie for adults and kids, btw (Randy, take your nieces, etc...). I should have guessed the line-up of voices they recruited for the film should have indicated the script wasn't going to be a hacky, X-TREME "Charlotte's Web", but I was continually impressed with the filmmakers for remaining true to the material. Even if, subtextually, I worry for Steve Buscemi's self-esteem, what with his continual casting as miscreants.

That's all for this Christmas Day, 2006.

It's our sincere hope that your Christmas is a good one. Travel safe. Be good to one another.

We hope that you'll join us as all hands at The League of Melbotis wish for Peace on Earth and Goodwill towards all.

God bless us, every one.

Sunday, December 24, 2006