Saturday, August 22, 2009

Kind of Bloop

Because its funny to see Nathan C. freak out.

Miles Davis: Kind of Blue as an 8-Bit

It may also sound like the only video game Nathan would be really motivated to play

from Dan G.

Wolfman Trailer

Well, they certainly expanded upon the original Wolfman movie. That's cool.

I've only seen the original twice, I think. But it's a good movie, and while the story looks mostly very different, it does look as if like they kept to the same spirit.

It also warms my heart that Universal loves its own monster movies enough that they don't blink at a re-make every once in a while.

Aren't we due for a "Bride of Frankenstein" remake?

Happy B-Day to The Admiral

Happy B-Day to The Admiral!

Today The Admiral turns 562. To be truthful, I just don't feel like doing the math. Anyway, he's a geezer.

The Admiral feels this birthday thing is a trap.

Next week, the Admiral is headed for Africa. It's a first for The Admiral, and we're hoping it goes swimmingly.

The Admiral (on left) makes a new pal

Anyway, I hope The Old Man has a good birthday weekend before heading off for adventure.

In Which I Talk About Some Comics

editor's note: I've seen a surprising spike in traffic thanks to the link from When Fangirls Attack. Welcome to all new visitors! Please feel free to poke around, ask questions, take off your shoes, etc...

Poe #2
Writer: J. Barton Mitchell
Art: Dean Kotz

Obviously I'm a bit biased, what with knowing JackBart and all, but I was very pleased with Poe #2. The story took a supernatural turn I wasn't expecting, there's elements of Poe's work peppering the comic without weighing it down or feeling like a wink, and, honestly, its got an intriguing mystery that's a page turner.

I am also happy to report that there's a "blink and you'll miss it" shout out to a Leaguer or two in the comic.

Dean Kotz's style suits the mood for this story very well.

The comic comes in two different covers, so keep your eyes peeled if you pick up issues #1 and #2, so you don't think you're picking up different comics.

But I can safely recommend the book as a smart, well-characterized, well-paced read. For JackBart's first comic on the shelves, he's outdoing many of his veteran counterparts, and certainly bringing his own perspective to the work.

Color me impressed!

Power Girl #4
Written by Jimmy Palmiotti and Justin Gray
Art by Amanda Conner

Power Girl has long been a point of contention in the comics-sphere. Her origin was a mess until 2006. She was sorta Supergirl/ sorta not. But mostly she became characterized as the poorly tempered hero with the cleavage-bearing costume.

Whether bloggers had actually ever read any comics featuring Power Girl or not, the character design was held up routinely as "what's wrong with comics". And given how many artists and writers handled the character, it was hard to argue the point.

However, the new series takes Power Girl in one of the two directions in which Power Girl seems to work best. Position 1 is: capable leader or the JSA, with a short fuse, but a decisive "let's take the fight to them" sort of attitude. It works in a team book, but in a solo project, Power Girl works well as Position #2: She's great at being a superhero, but is sort of sit-com-ish about everything else.

Power Girl takes on a big challenge

I adore Amanda Conner's work (also currently being seen in her Supergirl strip in "Wednesday Comics"), but have not not always been a fan of her writer-husband and his partner, Justin Gray. I'd initially skipped the first issue, but eventually decided to give the series a try.

I have to give kudos to Conner, Palmiotti and Gray. I wasn't sure how things would shake out on this series after the first three issues, but #4 tells me what this team wants to do with the book, and I'm in.

They're not resorting to an endless bunch of boob jokes, and there's a lot of love for the character they see as cranky, messy, and probably a lot unfocused. There's not an attempt to make the character a "bad ass", a la everything Warren Ellis ever wrote. Nor is she a Mary Sue, filling in for a 12 year-old's fantasy version of themselves.

"Fun" was a dirty word in superhero comics a few years ago, but I think when you see a project like "Power Girl", you can have a little hope that there's an audience out there for a different tone in their superhero reading.

Potential pitfalls include:
-Tying into grim'n'gritty storylines in which Power Girl might appear (see: JSA vs. Kobra)
-Deciding Power Girl doesn't have enough pathos and steering toward much of the rest of superherodom
-The current team leaving and a new writer going back to "Power Girl's boobs" jokes (ie: laugh at, not with)

I'm pleased to say I'm recommending the title.

Batgirl #1
Writer: Brain Q. Miller
Art: Lee Garbett and Trevor Scott

Spoilers below.

He he. Spoilers.

Dear DC: On your new Batgirl comic. No.

Let me confess, there's a certain drudgery to reading a certain percentage of Batman comics. At the end of the day, there are only so many things a Batman can actually do as he wages a war against colorful villains in what has got to be the worst @#$%ing place to live in the Western Hemisphere.

What separates the great writers from everyone else at DC Comics may be whether or not they can pull off an interesting Batman story in this day and age, while keeping the stories in an environment in which the most fantastic thing about Batman is that nobody in Gotham has pieced together that the traumatized billionaire with the technology company might also be the Bat-guy with all the crazy technology.

These days, I'm giving Morrison an "A" in this area, Dini a "B-" on Streets of Gotham, Rucka a "B", Winick a "C-" and everyone else, a solid "D".

There is absolutely no compelling reason to read the new Batgirl series.

Batgirl is the character formerly known as Spoiler, btw (if you read comics and didn't put that together, well, you need your nerd-card revoked). I still remember when Spoiler showed up the first time. She was the teen-aged daughter of Injustice League villain "Clue Master", a Riddler-like villain who occasionally annoyed Batman. To get back at her old man, Stephanie Brown put on a mask and tried to ruin his day. She became the girlfriend of the 3rd Robin.

Brown would later become famous as the "failed Robin", who was supposedly killed by Bat-villain Black Mask. DC, reacting to their fans calling shenanigans, brought Brown back. She was Spoiler again.

For a #1, this comic is so tied up in recent (post Silver-Age) Bat-Comics, it feels like what it is: another unnecessary splinter off the Batman franchise that absolutely nobody was asking for (see: Red Robin and Gotham Sirens). Were Stephanie Brown a new character and not tied up with what has to be almost 20 years of Batman history, I would be more enthusiastic (see: Rucka's current take on Batwoman in Detective Comics).

Miller, in the first issue, assumes we've all already been following Brown for two decades. There's no explanation of the all-important origin. The passing of costumes from Cassandra (The Batgirl who made fandom say 'Meh") Cain to Brown is contrived and nonsensical (she walks off, presumably, in her underwear?).

Little details also make no sense. In the first few pages, the all-new Batgirl lands, breaking a guy's knee without warning, after destroying his car, because people are racing for car titles?

Judd Winick's "Batman" shouldn't feel light years more competent than anyone's Batbook, but that's the case here.

Also, DC: Stop it with the blond teen-aged heroines.

Your three-main franchise teen-girl spin-offs will now all appear identical when handled by 50% of your pencillers. Not all teen-aged girls are blond. Many of them aren't even anglo. Just a little something to ponder.

Also, how many people's houses is a wheelchair-bound Barbara Gordon really going to break into? There's got to be somebody tracking this.

Thursday, August 20, 2009


I'm going to have to apologize for the short post. Again.

Former KO Leaguers (and others) may find it interesting that after work, I met up with former KO'er Andrea Goodson. It had been years and years.

Anyhoo... she's out in LA LA Land these days, so a sighting is a rarity.

Artifact: KLF and Miss Tammy Wynette

I had forgotten this existed until this evening. I don't know if I'd seen it before, but I seem to recall Shoemaker telling me about it at some point.

I find it baffling that I just blanked on this thing for what must have been the last 16 years, but, dang yo. Sometimes I miss the 90's.

Found at CCCofC

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Turn Around Bright Eyes

So I spent a lot of today in Waco, where my organization holds training through our partner institution, Baylor University.

Its a short drive, and I like Baylor's campus, which is much more traditionally "campusy" than the white block of cement I work in as a state employee.

Anyhow, afterward we headed to Austin Books to meet up with Jackbart and support him during his signing. I also met Alan Porter, who is working on the Cars comic for Boom and Pixar, and who is a bit of a James Bond expert (I bought his James Bond book). And I met Paul Benjamin, the guy handling the Monsters, Inc. comic.

It was a lot of fun!

Hit Mandola's for dinner, and now I'm home. Ran the dogs, watered some trees, etc...

So its been a long day.

Going off to read and then sleep.

So here's a very important link sent to the League Priority Channel, via Randy.

A Total Eclipse of the Heart Flowchart.

Also received this link from one of the folks at Newsy. It's on Usain Bolt's amazing sprint, and looks at the size of today's athletes.

I think I have t-shirts older than the anchor in that clip.

Also, for Mad Men fans: Mad Libs.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

The League's Guide to Starting High School

In the coming weeks, more than ten teenagers across our nation will be setting their foot onto a high school campus for the first time as freshmen.

My own freshmen year was an odd one, as our Freshman class (class of '93) was bused to a campus which had been built when projections indicated a school would be required in that area, but did not take a recession into account. Westwood was too large for all of us, so some of us wound up at The Freshman Annex (aka: McNeil High School).

My sophomore year I moved to Spring, where I had to, basically, start high school all over again.

So here are my tips:

1) I don't know what sexed-up, drugged-up high school the folks go to who write teenage dramas for the CW, but TV and movies are a complete fabrication. Do not expect for life to become glamorous and sexy.

Don't worry. The lack of perspective and tendency to romanticize your own life of the average high schooler will make it all seem a lot more glamorous and sexy than it actually is.

2) Get good grades. You may think you're the next Fifty Cent, but you're much more likely to be the next Ned Irwin, Middle Manager.

3) Join a club or find an activity for godsake.

4) Ask "why?" constantly.

5) Don't take classes because they'll be a blowoff. Save that for college.

6) Your friends are idiots.

7) Get your driver's permit as soon as you are legally able. Same with your driver's license.

8) Don't loan your car out.

9) Don't slide across the hood of your car like the Duke Boys. It will put a huge dent in the hood of your '83 Honda Accord which you will have to hammer out before The Admiral notices its there.

10) Find girls who are funny.

11) Have at least two friends who make you look good to your parents by comparison.

12) Have a few more who are more impressive than you, so they don't start worrying about you.

13) Go to shows as soon as you are able.

14) Stay friends with the kids who tell you they spent the weekend in jail, but reduce your "hangout time" with those kids.

15) Don't let small kids get picked on.

16) Call racist kids names and make fun of their families.

17) Never, ever make fun of truck drivers. Because both times you do, you will find out that you're making an American Truck Driving School joke to the child of a truck driver. Also, our economy would be crippled without the noble trucker.

18) Know how football and basketball work (baseball is optional).

19) Read books that you hear you aren't supposed to read.

20) Be nice to your mother.

21) Try not to embarrass The Old Man.

22) Chew gum.

23) You are not the first person to discover The Beatles, Jimi, The Who, whatever... but rock that shit.

24) Become an expert at figuring out the shelf-life of bands and popular music.

25) Keep a change of clothes handy.

26) Always keep $15 in cash. This is not to be spent unless absolutely necessary.

27) Know too much about one or two serial killers.

28) Know when to shut up and listen.

29) Be ready to walk away from friends.

30) Know that your friends will let you down.

31) Be ready to make friends your old friends don't like.

32) Watch movies from before the year you were born.

33) After 10:00 PM, it's a cliche, but Denny's is a perfectly acceptable destination.

33) Learn to drink coffee.

34) Figure out what food you can eat from a gas station.

35) Go to museums, free plays and concerts.

36) Take lots of pictures. Try to use film.

37) Think long and hard before deciding you're going to want to be seen as "an iconoclast"

38) Nobody is looking at you or thinking about you.

39) Drive around at night.

40) If anyone tells you these are the best days of your life, look upon them with pity.

So, Leaguers... what would you share?

JackBart and Boom Studios at Austin Books on Wednesday

Austin Area Leaguers will want to hit Austin Books on Wednesday between 4:30 and 7:00 PM.

The League's own JackBart (billed as "The Best Looking Man in Comics") will be signing copies of the newest issue of his runaway hit comic, "Poe", which is about the exploits of Edgar Allen Poe as he takes on mystics and criminals in the wake of personal tragedy.

From the Boom site:


Posted using ShareThis

The creators of Boom/ Pixar's "Cars" and "Monster's Inc" comics will also be signing, so its a triple-header!

I'm excited for JackBart, Austin Books and Boom! Should be fun.

Anyone want an ACL Fest Ticket for Friday?

I'm looking to unload Friday ACL Fest ticket. No mark up. I'll sell it for what I paid for it.

Date is October 2nd, 2009. Here's the schedule for that day.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Usain Bolt: Fastest Man Alive

Usain Bolt is really, really fast

Last summer I watched a whole lot of the Olympics. Even synchronized swimming.

One highlight was Jamaican sprinter Usain Bolt, he of the chest-thumping and golden shoes.

Some people criticized Bolt for undue celebration, but... dude. Bolt is The Fastest Man Alive, and he proved it on the biggest stage imaginable.

Well, without so many cameras on him, Bolt just beat his old record in the 100m Dash.

Read about it here.

What can you say other than that the guy is absolutely amazing?

Movie Trailers

I complain a lot (I mean... A LOT) about how Hollywood doesn't put out many movies I'd like to see. But here's some stuff...

From the guys behind Napolean Dynamite: Gentlemen Broncos

That looks just like Pleadings. Its creepy.

And from the Coen Brothers, "A Serious Man".

Sunday, August 16, 2009

The McRib, Donating to Medicine, Superman Rights, and... Really, America?

I was just looking through some e-mail, and realized I had not posted on any of the following items. Many of these things were sent my way by Randy.

The McRib Flowchart

I have taken some good old fashioned McRibbing over my annual pilgrimage to McDonald's for the McRib sandwich. The McRib is a sort of pressed pork patty which McDonald's decided, during the coked-up early 1980's, in a form which was actually rib shaped. For whatever reason, the circular nature of the hamburger (no doubt also from a press) is seen as the natural shape for all the parts of a cow you'd never consume normally. But forcing those same unspeakable parts into a shape resembling something from nature... draws the ire of both God and man.

But I like it. Really, its the sauce, onions and pickles I like, and maybe the big bun. And I am not alone. Apparently there are McRib fanatics who McDonald's appeases with the annual, month-long release of the McRib, usually right around the Holiday Season.

Anyhow, did a pretty good bit on The McRib. I invite you to check it out.

Sent by both Randy and Jamie

Glenn Beck is right!

Glenn Beck has founded his 912 Project, which I am just really enjoying.

Principle 7 is one I am really, really going to get behind.

7. I work hard for what I have and I will share it with who I want to. Government cannot force me to be charitable.

Which is why The League of Melbotis supports:

Leaguers, nothing makes me sadder than a stripper with low self-esteem. How can a sad-eyed stripper feel a sense of real worth in this world unless she's swinging some DD's? bridges the gap between those unfortunate, modestly busty souls and the folks who really want to believe in a bustier world. Also, those same boob-lovin' folks can buy credits to get an opportunity to speak to the women whose boobs they are embiggening.

This is the free market at work, Leaguers, and why I say thee nay when it comes to healthcare reform in the U.S. If our penniless strippers can make it work, then so can YOU.* That is, if its not just girls doing the old mail-order bride scheme with twist.

By purchasing those credits, you're not just handing a stripper a pile of cash, they're sort of working for it. By maybe talking to you. Which, you know, they would normally never do.

All this right-thinking Americanism just brings me back to principle #1.

1. America Is Good.

You took the words right out of my mouth, Glenn Beck.

Thanks to Randy for the link. The "free implants" link, not Glenn Beck.

Superman Rights to Siegels

JimD, Nathan C. and Randy all sent me links to news regarding a recent ruling that decided that material in Action Comics up to issue #4 was not "work-for-hire" by Siegel and Shuster, and so rights to a few more elements of the Superman property are reverting to the widow of writer Jerry Siegel and his daughter.

By way of explanation, Joe Shuster was the artist who co-created Superman. He has passed, leaving one heir, who also subsequently passed, leaving the Shuster's possible portion of the rights unclaimed.

The decision is a pretty big deal, honestly. Short article here.

The court ruled, for the most part, that the Siegels successfully recaptured most of the works at issue, including those first two weeks of daily Superman strips, as well as key sections of early Action Comics and Superman comics. This means the Siegels, repped by Warners' nemesis Marc Toberoff, now control depictions of Superman's origins from the planet Krypton, his parents Jor-El and Lora, Superman as an infant, the launching of the baby Superman into space and his landing on Earth in a fiery crash.

But Krypto still belongs to DC, you conniving Siegels! And without him, you have nothing!!!


(cough cough wheeeez)

I have very mixed feelings in regards to the entire issue. I do feel that National/ DC/ Warner Bros. didn't handle things as smoothly as they could have for decades. That's fairly well-documented. On the other hand, from a business standpoint, its not too hard to see how and why DC thought they were doing the right thing.

Unfortunately for Siegel and Shuster, they were kids with no legal expertise trying to get their foot in the door.

I recommend reading "Men of Tomorrow" for a much better account of the whole story. To keep it short, Siegel's wife and daughter have every reason to bear a grudge regarding what happened to Jerry.

It's not so much a big win for creators that Siegel's family won the rights, as the situation seems so unique, and lawyers became much smarter about this stuff as time passed. But it is a win for Siegel, even if it comes well after his death. Wherever Siegel and Shuster are, I have no doubt they're having a good laugh at Harry Donenfeld and Jack Liebowitz's expense.

My primary concern (and I've said this before) is that the Siegels are probably very good people, but they also haven't spent the past 70 years managing the business of Superman. As much as I hope my Superman purchases alone would put Joanne Siegel in ermine and diamonds (and they could), I think they'd be wise to find some deal to license Superman back to WB, and ensure they get to see the ledger sheets.

I have a sneaking suspicion that DC will find a way to make this work and everyone winds up happy.

The King of Pop at Target

I know that nobody ever proved that Michael Jackson actually molested any of the children he gave wine and had sleeping in his bed, but...

I was at Target today buying some cat food, and couldn't help but notice that (a) the record section had an endcap display full of Michael Jackson CD's, and (b) that the Junior's section had three separate Michael Jackson shirts available.

Sure, its tough talking to your kids about the unsavory business that took Michael Jackson from curiosity of a fading star to pariah. But, you know, we learn from tales such as these. Not by sweeping everything under the rug because a dude passed and your kids just found out about "Wanna Be Startin' Something".

I don't know how things work in Minneapolis, but I am failing to wrap my head around what occurred here at the highest corporate level. But, you know, whatever sells.

*Shake that booty, Jason.