Showing posts with label Leaguers. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Leaguers. Show all posts

Sunday, December 20, 2009

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 12, 2009

It's a Wonderful League

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Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

It's a Wonderful Blog

I'll be writing a few posts as we head toward the December 20th ending point of this site which will be, alas, actually about the twists and turns of writing LoM over the years.

JimD suggested I write about people I might not have met and experiences that could not have occurred without League of Melbotis. And so I shall.


To understand this web of people, its also important to understand that JimD is at the center of it all. I met Jim in a screen writing class in the Fall of 1997, and took my second screen writing class with him in the Spring of 1998, just before we both graduated. I had no immediate plans following graduation, and he was headed for law school.

We kept up via email, writng back and forth multiple times per week on pop culture, politics, etc..., and Jim maintained a blog (one of many over the years). Eventually he persuaded me to start this site in the Spring of 2003.

Randy and Emily

Many Leaguers would be surprised to learn that I have only met Randy twice in person, and our acquaintanceship stems directly from this site. Randy knows JimD from many years back, and I guess Jim sent him a link to the blog circa Summer of 2003.

Since that time, Randy and I now email at least once per day. I still recall when he emailed me that he was thinking of getting engaged, and years later, he's now a husband and father. Kind of kooky.

Randy moved to Tennessee during the tenure of this blog to make a life with Emily, who I finally met this year, and immediately liked. Randy is a lucky guy.

Steven and Lauren

My understanding is that Steven wrote for UT's student paper "The Daily Texan" while JimD was editor of the paper. I don't recall exactly when Steven and I began chatting back and forth, but it was a good year or so prior to 2006, when he and Lauren packed it up and moved from the Bay Area to Austin.

Steven's decision to do so was part of the catalyst that launched us back to Waterloo. It became somewhat apparent that such a move was possible if we really wished it (and we did).

We'd been back about 3 - 4 weeks and missed one another a few times when we finally met for coffee at Magnolia Cafe. For whatever reason we hit it off, and Steven and Lauren have been terrific friends. Sadly (and I think I'm spilling some beans here), Team Harms-Roth is picking up and returning to The Bay Area this winter. My feelings are mixed as, selfishly, I hate to lose such great friends to geography. But I also know that career opportunity, lifestyle, etc... are a huge draw.

My gameplan is to visit Dug and K in Berkeley frequently, anyway, so I suspect we'll be seeing them on some sort of routine basis.


I have no idea when Simon began visiting the blog, and I pray he never finds the jokes I used to make about Canadians eating babies in some earlier posts when the League was still feeling its way.

A fellow comics nut, Simon and I chat via email regularly, have exchanged comics through mail, and I have visions of meeting up at a Convention one of these days. He's been a co-writer at Comic Fodder, maintains his own blog which I read when he posts semi-weekly, and has been an all around good guy to have around.


Perhaps the most mysterious of all Leaguers, I know little about Fantomenos other than that he lives in Oregon, is a football and genre fiction nut, and wrestles with dog issues as well. He's my equal number living somewhere in the North Pacific.

I think 99% of our communication has occurred via the comments section of the blog, but he's such a regular, I really look forward to when he shows up to chime in.

I am, of course, very sad that the end of this blog will mean the end of the mysterious Fantomenos in my day.

Paul T.

I don't think I'd heard Paul's name before my trip to Vegas. I was checking my messages on my phone and an old high school chum, JenIn, emailed me that she was going to hook me up with this guy, Paul, assuring me we'd be best buddies.

Paul and I have been chatting back and forth ever since, and I actually owe him an invitation to coffee.

It turns out Paul is from the same part of Austin whenre I attended school in 4th - 9th grade, and also attended UT Film school, just a few years behind me.

Paul maintains a blog
, and has started a nifty web project called "Sunday Screenings" that I really need to get motor-vated to take part in.

I guess JenIn saw enough parallels that she hit the nail on the head. Anyway, check out Paul's work.

Some Other folks:

Check out that "Fan" list. 77 Facebook fans. Not bad.

I see I forgot to mention the always amazing Alfredo, Anne Francis and about a dozen or so more of you. Wow. Truly a George Bailey moment.

Reconnections Via the Blog
some folks I used to know, who found me thanks to LoM

Michael Corley
Carla Beth
Madi (she floated around here circa 2004 or so)
and many more!

That doesn't include all the folks I never lost touch with, but with whom I've been able to maintain contact, like JAL and Nathan C.

Its been a wild ride, Leaguers.

If I missed any of you, pipe up, and we'll do a post numbero dos.

But I gotta go to bed.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

KareBear Returns to Africa

So tomorrow my Ma returns to Kenya. She went last spring as part of a group from her church that visits semi-annually to fit locals with glasses. Not a bad gig, and as I understand it, its a pretty chummy set up. The locals get to have a good laugh at the expense of confused Americans and the Americans get to meet people in a context that's not part of the hospitality industry in a completely different part of the world.

Plus, Giraffes.

The missionaries do get a "free" day, and it sounds like KareBear will be heading to the farm from "Out of Africa", the real life home of Karen von Blixen-Finecke (aka: Isak Dinesen). Apparently the place is now a park.

No, I've only seen the movie and never read the book.

Mostly, however, its eye-glasses time.

Anyway, we wish KareBear safe travels and look forward to hearing her stories over Thanksgiving.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

The League Salutes: Veterans

Its no secret The League has not served his country, or, really, anyone.

We are very proud of the service done by The Admiral (not actually an Admiral, but formerly of the USAF) who served in Vietnam and of our Grandfather's service in the 82nd Airborne during World War II. And let me point out that Jamie's own dad was Army for many years (on the front lines against tooth decay, but that's just one way to fight a battle, people).

We looked with awe at these men and women's service when we were younger, but as time has marched on, that's deepened to true gratitude. I have never had to pick up a gun, I have enjoyed my freedoms without worry, lived without worry of any attack upon me or my family, and there are millions who have served to ensure that could be true.

It is impossible to say that its easy for me to see the purpose of some of our wars and military actions. To pretend the US has always been in the right in all military application is dishonest and to suggest otherwise means we cannot learn from past error and judiciously consider when we put troops in harm's way. But we've always had brave men and women who were able to be there when Uncle Sam asked. They've done it for little pay, for little glory, but because they could serve, and that's something we can't treasure enough.

The League of Melbotis salutes all veterans today, whether infantry or sailor or technician or dentist.

Monday, November 02, 2009

Nicole Discovers She is Invulnerable (we hope)

So, walking to the garage with my co-workers this evening, Bill mentioned that on his way in, he'd seen a girl get hit by a car at one of the intersections. "She didn't cross at the wrong time," he said. "I have no idea what happened."

We talked a bit about how dodgy the intersections were, and I related a tale from when I'd seen a girl hit on campus, who sailed a dozen feet or so when co-eds were first pairing cell phones and SUVs.

Anyhow, I walked in the door about twenty-five minutes later to find Jamie on the phone.

"Nicole got hit by a car!"
"That was her?"
"How do you know?"

Anyway, sounds like Nicole, who is slightly larger than a breadbox, took on a car and lost, but is doing well. She's been to the hospital, and all her parts are where they're supposed to be. I don't have all the details yet, but she's home and chillaxing. So let's all be grateful that Nicole seems invulnerable to moving steel.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Policy: JimD or Randy?

A thinly disguised Leaguer recently asked the policy question:

JimD or Randy?
Well, this question is obviously tough to answer, and will change from scenario to scenario.  But I think a few illustrative examples might be useful:
  • Trapped on an island with?  JimD (wouldn't feel as guilty about eventually killing and eating JimD)
  • Produce my folk/rap album?  JimD
  • Choreograph my videos?  Randy
  • Screen and hire the skanks for my videos?  Randy
  • Write the NDA's for the skanks in my videos?  JimD
  • Would win in a duel (foil)?  Randy
  • Would win in a duel (pistols)?  JimD
  • Would win in a lightsaber duel?  JimD
  • Used to bullseye womp rats in his T-16 back home.  They're not much bigger than two meters?  Randy
  • Is a loose cannon?  JimD
  • Is getting too old for this shit?  Randy
  • Executor of my will?  Randy
  • Will be asked to take on my debts?  JimD
  • Looks great in a thong?  TIE
  • Sends me a constant stream of stuff via email which leads me to wonder what, if anything, he does for a living?  Randy
  • No longer actually reads LoM?  JimD
  • Would want as my backup when we're going to have to shoot our way out?  Neither.  Maybe Emily.
  • I would gladly hand over to the police?  Randy
  • Whom I would gladly trust to start a new government, and then immediately exploit the very loopholes he'd created?  JimD
  • Jazzy Jeff to my Fresh Prince?  Randy
  • Carlton to my Fresh Prince?  JimD*

*Yes, summer of 1997, I watched a lot of Fresh Prince and drank cheap beer.  I was also only partially employed.

    Monday, October 05, 2009

    Guest Post: Simon talks Irredeemable on the iPhone

    Brief break from the hiatus as Simon has taken up the recent challenge to download an issue of Mark Waid's comic, "Irredeemable", to the iPhone.

    Readers may know, I do not have an iPhone. And as such, I can't check out some of the attempts to bring comics to everyone's favorite brick of technology.

    I very much like the idea of electronic comics, and so like to see what's going on in different formats. The ideal reading format is the Kindle, Sony Reader or much-rumored Apple tablet. Actually, the Apple tablet seems hard to beat, if they can sort it out.

    In the meantime, I'm glad companies like Boom! are looking at the possibilities for eComics instead of what DC is doing and experimenting with motion comics, which isn't reading and isn't really a cartoon, and so satisfies nobody.

    Issue #7 of Irredeemable is coming out on Wednesday, and its a series I'm enjoying quite a bit.

    Anyway, this is Simon's show, and as he was good enough to step away from the coffee pot long enough to type this up, I will hand over the reigns to him:


    I took you up on the iPhone nerd challenge. I've wanted to check out Irredeemable for a bit now and I was planning on downloading them when I saw they were released on comiXology.

    My first thought is that $1.99 is too much for a digital comic. I'd prefer my digital downloads to be a the $0.99 price point. That way I don't feel like I've wasted so much money when the eventual trade rolls around. Now the dollar amount is set by the publisher so maybe BOOM! Studios will come around on this point.

    Story wise the two issues I read were very good. Although I don't find it as earth shattering as it was made out to be as I feel we've seen this kinds of thing before with Black Adam and Marvelman. Mind you I'm not complaining as the plotting and dialog was done very well but I expect that out of Mark Waid.

    One could tell the art was good. Even shrunk down to the iPhone size. The biggest downside I found was the constant switching between portrait and landscape modes. I had to do this as it was hard to read the text in some situations. That took me out of the flow of the book. I think this is something that comic book creators will have to keep in mind in the future. I'd suggest that they try to keep a high percentage of the panels in landscape mode like Atomic Robo or portrait mode like Elephantmen.

    Something I wish they would add to the books are the letters page. Mind you not a static letters page but I link to the on-line forum discussing the particular issue you are reading. I should probably go add that feature request.

    The convenience factor was great! If your local comic shop is anything like mine they are bringing in less and less store copies. They only way I'd get to pick up and issue of a book I haven't pre-ordered is through a service like this. The ability to shop on-line for books is a real winner.

    My verdict on Irredeemable is that I'm going to wait for the trade. The sole reason is price. I don't want to pay $12 for six issues only to turn around and get the dead tree version for $17. This is in contrast to Atomic Robo which I continued getting at the $0.99 price point and Elephantmen where I grabbed both hard covers at the Windy City Con.


    Thanks, Simon! Your reimbursement is en route, which... you know, I wasn't sure what currency you guys use in Canada, so I'm sending you some shiny rocks and a Coke bottle I found in a parking lot. You can still put stuff in it if you don't turn the bottle over.

    Wednesday, September 30, 2009

    Apologies to Nicole

    and to a lesser extent, Matt. Who knows what he did, and deserves no apology.

    Jamie informs me that my post bemoaning the aspect ratio issue with my TV was "a little mean" and "they're never going to house sit again, you jerk."

    So. What was intended to be a little good-natured ribbing for Nicole and Matt didn't wind up that way, and for that, I am greatly sorry.

    even this adorable puppy thinks I was sort of a @#$%

    I am also to communicate how grateful we are for their assistance, etc...

    Anyhow, I was in no way actually upset with either, and feel awful that the post suggested otherwise.

    Tuesday, September 22, 2009


    Jill's kid started a Bird-Watching Blog

    So, young junior naturalist Arden H-W has started a blog all about his bird-watching hobby.


    The League is impressed. That kid is going to be the next Audubon. His blog posts are also already five times more coherent than anything you're likely to find here at League of Melbotis.

    I look forward to seeing what bird he covers next.

    So Where Are the Kents in the Silver Age?

    Fans of Silver-Age and Bronze-Age comics will note that the Kents are alive when Superboy is a lad, but by the time he becomes Superman, they're MIA.

    Well, at some point, DC decided to address what happened. And somehow, this is the story they put on the page.

    And, honestly, this sort of story makes more sense than 85% of what you're going to find in the typical Silver Age Superman story.

    Mad Men

    Did everyone get the important tip for office safety in this week's episode of Mad Men?

    Not picking up JSA anymore

    For the record, I'm agreeing with Simon and dropping JSA in December, if not before. Makes League cry, but... this just doesn't look fun.

    Schwapp! sums it up nicely

    Also, the perspective or something is completely off on the ocver to JSA All-Stars #1. Without getting too much into it, as an example, Cyclone (front right) looks like she was drawn in at the last second by an 8th grader who doesn't know how big parts are, or where they really need to go.

    sometimes it helps to look at your drawing before inking and coloring it

    Comic Previews and My Precognitive Abilities

    A few days ago I was going through some Superman back issues and stumbled across a cover with 70's-era Superman buddy/ foil, Vartox, the character with the worst design in all of comic-dom. I paused and said to myself: they should really find a way to bring this guy back, without changing a damned thing.

    Well, not change anything other than how seriously a reader in 2009 is likely to take ol' Vartox.

    Vartox, by the way, is most likely what a very drunk comic artist decided was acceptable after seeing Sean Connery in the worst costume of all time in Zardoz.

    Well, ask and ye shall receive. DC December 2009 Solicitations were released Monday.

    Power Girl #7, coming in December:

    The fellow on the ground is Dr. Mid-Nite. He is cool.

    I am really growing to like this Power Girl comic.

    Saturday, September 19, 2009

    Nathan C's Story on the Radio

    Nathan C works at Texas Public Radio in San Antonio. He also wears tweed, turtlenecks and corduroy, and frequently looks down his nose at people exactly like you.

    Well, none of that is true. Nathan is a hip, hip guy who knows more about movies and jazz than almost all of The League Nation combined. Seriously, dude is an encyclopedia (and he also knows a surprising amount about Disney animation).

    Anyway, Nathan is one of the honchos at Texas Public Radio in programming, but he also does stories from time to time.

    Check this out. Or here.

    I meant to post earlier, but Jamie just came back from running an errand and said "Nathan was on the radio!"

    Jamie and Nathan (and Steanso) all went to school together.

    Anyway, the story is on a documentary about a family struggling with autism and the unusual way they're finding to work with their kid.

    Friday, September 11, 2009

    Some Comics Bits from Loyal Leaguers

    We always appreciate it when folks send us links to comics-related items. (a) It's nice to know that we're being thought of during your work day, and (b) it's instant blog material. Shazam!

    The Hall of Justice is located in Cincinnati?

    Baby, did you ever wonder? Wonder whatever became of me? I'm living in the Hall of Justice. Which is located in Cin-cin-nat-ti.

    NTT sends this item along. Apparently, the Hall of Justice which 30+-year-old Leaguers may recall from the Super Friends cartoon as the majestic headquarters of the Justice League, is based on a train station.

    I did not know that.

    The article is here.

    New Clip From Superman/ Batman Animated feature

    Shoemaker sends along this link. It's a video clip from the upcoming home video release of "Superman/ Batman: Public Enemies".

    I am anxiously awaiting the release of the DVD. The original story from the "Superman/ Batman" comic was a fun, big screen adventure-ride, even if the story never made a whole lot of sense. It wrapped the multi-year arc featuring Lex Luthor as the President of the United States and siccing a legion of super heroes and villains on The World's Finest.

    The comic also featured art by Ed McGuinness. I confess I'm not sure either the story or art will translate perfectly, but you have to have hope that DCU Animated knows what its doing.

    Superman's Birthplace Now a Landmark - Siegel Home Restored

    Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster were living in Cleveland at the time when they brought Superman to the company that would become DC. Its one of my favorite parts of the history of comics that Superman was cooked up by teen-agers that were working with a gumbo of influences and didn't know the rules enough to think that Superman wouldn't sell.

    The neighborhood where the Siegel house stood has changed, and the house itself fell into disrepair. The Shuster house was torn down several years ago.

    Novel and comic author Brad Meltzer has done more in the past two years than the city of Cleveland has ever done to turn the house into an historical landmark and ensure the structure's future (which is somebody's house, I should mention).

    JimD sent this. Which links to this page, featuring a video demonstrating the work done.

    While this project may not be as important as many, its great to see that Americans care enough about the source of what's become an American icon to preserve a part of its history (and improve someone's living conditions as part of the deal).

    Monday, September 07, 2009

    Halloween Spooktacular 2009!

    So, it seems we're going to do this thing. Based largely upon the fact that Matt has come up with two very good costume ideas.

    Also, we need to redeem ourselves for the lousy Halloween party we tried circa 1999. That thing was a bust. But this year, we know how to ensure everyone has terrifying fun:

    add warm water and H1N1, and it truly is a frightening party game

    It's a Costume Party

    We're planning a costume contest, and we'd prefer it if you played ball by actually wearing a costume. And, no, "serial killers look just like everyone else" does not count. Jason in antennas claiming to be "The Blair Witch", however...

    Will your 6 Million Dollar Man costume win the contest?

    We'll be kicking things off around 8:30, and we hope to see you there. We know Halloween is a kooky night, so we fully expect people to come and go as the evening goes on. We can't promise fire dancers or anything too exotic, but I would expect we can still scare up a pretty darn good time.

    Goodness. She IS the most sincere kid in the pumpkin patch.

    E-mail me if you'd like to come but somehow fell off my list on Facebook, etc... where I've posted announcements.

    On Kids: We know that Halloween is a kid-friendly Holiday, and while we love your kids, too... If Scout eats your kid, all I'm going to be able to do is apologize. We are happy to have them, but nobody ever accused League HQ of being an overly toddler-friendly place.

    Rides Home: I will also see what I can find out about safe rides home. Halloween is a tricky night for driving, and we want all of our friends to make it home safe and sound.

    What You Can Do: Do you have any ideas for the party? Share them. Have treats or goodies for the party? Bring them. I'm still requesting people think long and hard before bringing a case of beer. But if you really wanted to make popcorn balls, nobody is telling you not to.

    Saturday, September 05, 2009

    They said it couldn't happen...

    They said it SHOULDN'T happen...

    But last evening, we met up for dinner with Leaguers Lauren and Steven, Jason and Matt, Jamie, and... of course... Randy and Emily Tjahjono.

    A note to Leaguers. Emily does not have the soul of evil brewing inside her eyes. That's the flash.

    The League was tickled pink to have Leaguers come together over Tex-Mex. Today we're going to grab some breakfast, and then maybe go look at some comics.

    Wednesday, September 02, 2009

    Potpourri Wednesday (that's an awful title)

    Give Money to Simon

    You know who likes to run? Simon. The Canadian one.

    Apparently Simon runs all the hell over Canada. This time, he's doing it for a reason, and not just because he's pursued by an angry mob.

    Simon is participating in the Terry Fox Run
    to raise funds to fight cancer.

    Help out Simon, and you'll get the dual pleasure of not just fighting cancer, but helping a Canadian!


    When I'm 84

    I don't love Dinosaur Comics the way I love Achewood, The Rack or how I used to love "Get Your War On", but this strip... spoke to me.

    Only, more about Superman

    The End of Everything

    So here's something I didn't know.

    Apparently, in, like, 1 trillion years, the universe will pull on itself as it speeds apart, pulling and pulling, until the atoms themselves will be rendered asunder. Which, of course, leaves me wondering "and what then?"

    I guess it doesn't really matter. It's entirely unlikely I'll see the year 2100, let alone 1,000,000,002,100. But if I do, this splitting of all that there is in this universe is going to be a damned nuisance.

    Beavis and Butthead Return

    This sort of makes me miss 1993-95. Also, its sort of shocking how close Butthead's voice sounds to my inner-monologue.

    It's a promo for the new Mike Judge movie, "Extract". I have, so far, liked Mike Judge's work. Even "Beavis and Butthead Do America".

    Also, this movie "Extract" has Kristin Wiig. That's a good thing.

    All the Damn Chupacabras

    The tough thing about living in Texas is not the proximity to both Rick Perry and Kay Bailey Hutchison. It's all the damn chupacabras.

    Well, apparently those little bastards are causing all sorts of trouble once again.


    I hope that doesn't spoil Randy and Emily's imminent trip to the Lone Star State.

    Saturday, August 22, 2009

    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.

    Sunday, August 09, 2009

    Newest Leaguer: Scout

    Leaguers, I would like for you to welcome the newest member of The League of Melbotis.

    This, Leaguers, is Scout.

    this pic stolen from Jamie's post

    Scout came home with us today from the ASPCA. We don't know very much about her, but she's about 1.5 years old, and we understand she's from Bastrop. Taking a look at her makes me believe that she's got some Shepard in her, and most likely some yellow lab. And she seems to have a good, mellow disposition.

    We need to be patient. She is a kennel dog, and often kennel dogs have funny backgrounds that you need to work with. I don't believe Scout had any kind of particularly tough go of it before she joined us, and it's still the first 24 hours. We've got some work to do with her so that she understands how she fits in here, particularly with Lucy.

    I am more than optimistic, but I am trying to be realistic about the work that a new dog will take.

    Our trip to the kennel was not terribly spontaneous. We've been discussing when we'd bring a new dog into our family for a while. We also had a lot of discussion about what sort of dog, how old, breed, etc...

    Scout was, of course, not named "Scout" at the pound. She'd been called "Babette", but it was fairly clear that "Babette" wasn't a name she knew in any way. Jamie and I knew a name would be an issue, and so went back and forth for quite a while prior to actually picking up the dog. I am happy to say, I think we did okay in the end. We won't have a name that I see hitting the top 10 in popular dog names (this is something I find irritating when we take Lucy to the dog park. Do you know how many Lucy's there are? Answer: At least two more, everywhere you go.), and I don't find it to be too dainty.

    I confess to a certain concern that somehow things won't work out. Sometimes these things do not. Jamie and I briefly tried to have a dog at one point, and it completely did not work out with our work schedules, lifestyle, and apartment dwelling at the time. And, of course, before Lucy we attempted to adopt, and were never able to bring the dog home because she developed a sudden, grave illness. In short, I really want for this to work, and I think it will. But we can't expect Scout to be Lucy or Mel overnight.

    So here's to us and what will most likely be a reduction in sleep for a few days while we all get sorted out.

    Of course, yes, we still miss Melbotis. He's still discussed around here almost every day. But we like being a two dog household, and we hope that Scout and Lucy will work things out quickly. And I still think about Melbotis every time we head to the spillover, the dog park, and when a hundred other things remind you of the guy.

    We're looking forward to life with our new crew, and I am so happy to have Scout here with us.

    Sunday, August 02, 2009

    Matt Earns his Black Belt!

    Leaguers, it is with great pride that I announce that League-Pal Matt Mangum has earned his Black Belt!

    Matt punches some fool in the ear

    Matt's quest for the Black Belt has been going on several years, and culminated this weekend in a 3 day marathon session of kicking and punching things (ie: people). Jamie, Patrick and I joined Matt's lady-friend, League-Pal Nicole, to watch today's sparring and belt ceremony.

    Leaguers will know that I, myself, once mastered the ancient art of strip mall Tae Kwon Do, so I know a little about what Matt's been up to, although my program was nowhere near as intensive. The League will cop to the huge amount of respect we have for anyone who puts in the effort I've seen out of Matt and the work I saw today.

    We haven't seen Matt this happy since he landed Hannah Montana tickets

    But the unsung hero of the day was the erstwhile towel and water-boy who bravely stood by his pal, ready with a sip of H20, or ready to mop sweat from Matty's brow.

    The League: Towel Boy

    All pics courtesy Patricio Sanchez