Friday, July 23, 2004

I loves me some Watchmen

This seminal 80's comic (by comic legend Alan Moore and artist extraordinaire Dave Gibbons) is one of the two or three comics that journalistas trot out each time they want to point to the fact that, once and for all, comics have matured since 1955.

I pulled this from Superhero Hype!

The Hollywood Reporter says Watchmen is moving ahead with some big names at Paramount..."Watchmen," the seminal DC Comics limited series, has landed at Paramount Pictures. Darren Aronofsky will develop and direct the project, which is being written by David Hayter. Aronofsky's producing partner Eric Watson will produce with Larry Gordon and Lloyd Levin. "Watchmen," created by writer Alan Moore and artist Dave Gibbons, was released as a 12-issue comic book in 1986 and is one of the most critically acclaimed series in the genre. It is a crime-conspiracy story that provided the first realistic look at the behind-the-heroics lives of superhero archetypes.
Watchmen is a phenomenal comic book, but...

Watchmen is about retired superheroes.  It has absolutely no action to speak of.   I think there are five or six fights in 12 issues.  And only one of the characters has any "super-powers." 

Like any decently dense reading, I don't begin to see how they can condense this into a 2 hour movie.  At one point, Jim D. suggested to me it might make for an excellent mini-series for TV.  And I think that's probably a much, much better idea. 

The story criss-crosses about forty years, is deeply embedded in Cold War issues, and covers topics from quantum physics to McCarthyism to pirate comics to troubled marriages.  Not exactly "We must defeat the Masked Menace!"  This is not to mention how curious I am about how they would handle the conclusion of the story.

Film adaptations of Moore's work tend to fail.  From Hell was a slightly interesting movie, but failed to capture Moore's densely layered investigation into the period and environment surrounding the Jack the Ripper slayings.  From all accounts, League of Extraordinary Gentlemen was a tragic mistake.  I loved the comic, and thusly avoided the movie (which has nothing to do with the comic, from what I hear). 

Cartoon Network is adapting the classic Superman story "For the Man who has Everything" for one of the first episodes of the new Justice League Unlimited series.  I certainly look forward to their treatment.

I have no faith in Paramount's ability to actually bring anything remotely faithful regarding Watchmen to the screen (just watch...  they're going to make Dr. Manhattan wear clothes...).  Nonetheless, I am deadly curious about how they plan to present Dr. Manhattan and Rorschach. 

But, hey, Paramount!  Given my physical fitness, sign me up to play Nite-Owl!  I'll do it for scale!

Wednesday, July 21, 2004

Looks like Squawkbox has decided to turn a pig's ear and watch 'em squeal. 

Curious thing...  Squawkbox only takes payment by PayPal, and my credit card company won't let me sign up with PayPal.  Curious, no?

I'll figure something out. 

on with the show...

Mellies 2004, Day Numero Three

Most loathsome band/album/ song

Jim D.

Inspiration by William Hung. Is there really any competition for Hung in this category? Somehow, Hung has taken his fifteen minutes of fame and stretched it out far beyond what was previously imaginable. It is astonishing that he has released not only one album but will release another in the fall (which will include his rendition of Queen's "We Are the Champions"). Hung was, of coure, amusing during his initial appearance on American Idol, but the fact that he is still in the public eye after so many months illustrates that his handlers and his "record company" are attempting to milk him for every penny. His sincerity, which was at first intriguing, now just seems depressingly silly.


'Hey Ya' as blasphemously manipulated by the Golden Globes to note the arrivals of celebrities and their bling-bling.


stopped listening to the radio when I got a CD player in my car


No answer


I don't know. Probably something by one of those American Idol kids or Toby Keith


Tie. Nickleback, whatever Fred Durst is involved with, whatever Axl Rose is passing off as Guns N Roses


Nickelback - in the words of Jeaneane Garofalo back when she was doing comedy central ads, "mediocrity is evil".


No Answer


a. Every band on the radio that isn't Outkast  b. Anything by former mouseketeers. I thought we moved past that with Beach Blanket Bingo.

The League Chimes in:

Well, I guess Nickelback wins.  Unfortunately, the only radio I listen to is the local public radio station, and until Renee Montagne decides to do a duet, I don't think think I'll be hearing them.

I pretty much don't hear anything new until it's months and months and months too old.  Today I saw a video on VH1's bizarre 90's nostalgia show in which they make reference to a band called "LFO" who enjoys girls in Abercrombie & Fitch (famous for catalogs in which people wear next to nothing, which I can onboard with), who was apparently really big in the 90's.  I had never, ever heard of LFO.  In the 90's, I was just discovering Roxy Music, so in 20+ years, I should catch up and really dig LFO.

Worst idea of the past 6 months

Jim D.

John McCain as John Kerry's Vice Presidential Nominee - I have never understood McCain's appeal, and the reputation of Republican maverick (which he foisted upon himself using "campaign finance reform" as a vehicle to free himself from the entanglements of the Keating Five scandal). McCain is an egomaniac, and the press only adores him because of his occasional tendency to stick it to his own party. I find McCain particularly distasteful as both a senator and a candidate, and I was pleased as punch when he was defeated in the 2000 presidential primaries by President Bush. Although McCain would likely do anything for the sake of self-aggrandizement, the prospect of his switching parties to join Senator Kerry (though unlikely) is a terrible, terrible idea.


The intro of the 'roundabout' concept to the city of Mesa.  Imagine 5 very old people sitting in their cars waiting for each other to go


take digital pictures of yourself abusing prisoners


No answer


Besides renewing the patriot act? Buying stamps to send email.


re-setting my tivo and ending up erasing everything. f direct tv customer service. DAMN YOU TO HELL!


MS-Windows perenially takes the cake


No Answer


a. The kid in Lubbock who drank poison.   B.  This radio promo.

So Speaketh the League

Yeah.  So many ideas we manage to jack ourselves up with.  I think my bioggest mistake was having too many categories and THEN allowing everybody to have two answers.  Or perhaps the mistake was in not building an Excel file as the noms were coming in. 

I dunno.  This is turning into real work.

It also occurs to me that if I delay anymore, Jill might have her baby without the input of The Loyal Leaguers.

Best Name for Jill's Forthcoming Child

Jim D.

Male:  Filo,  Female:  Aphrodite


C3 - designation of cube a cat Jamie and I were going to adopt, and we referred to the cat so often as "C3", we determined if we got the cat, we would name it "C3".  The cat was adopted, and we ended up with Jeff The Cat instead.


Ryan 2 on both counts (male or female)


No answer


Boy: Ryan   Girl: Jamie

Come on, who is running this award thing anyway? 


i don't know jill or her child. but Seven is good. as is Napster.


Boy: Calvin  Girl: Ravenna


No Answer


a. Atreyu - boy  b. Evangeline - girl  (the League has to give props to Atreyu.  Because the next step is to get an oversized dog named "Falkor.")

League sticks its nose in

I'm fairly certain Jill will be able to name her child without our help.  But that doesn't mean we can't help.  And I by help, I mean browbeat Jill into naming her child "Ryan 2". 

Jilly,  I am certain you will select a wonderful name for that kid.   Keep us posted with any news.   The League wants to publish the first internet photos.

Monday, July 19, 2004

Hey, if Maxwell can make herself into a Superhero, so can I.
Check out this link to make yourself a superhero. 

2004 Mellies, Day Numero Dos
Today we see two categories as I try to get through this nightmare of my own making!

Most loathsome television program

The Jury - This is just one of those shows which illustrates that the writers and producers have only a little working knowledge of the law and its procedure. I suppose that they pitched the show as a "Twelve Angry Men" for cynical, modern times, but it comes off merely as a third rate legal drama in which jurors are depicted as either misunderstanding key facts and evidence or refusing to follow jury instructions.  I had originally set my Tivo record this program as a Season Pass, but upon watching the first episode, I was so disappointed that I cancelled the pass so as to avoid all future showings.
(editor's note:  Sorry, Jamie...)  Wonderfalls - Despite the protestations of viewers, the cancellation of this acclaimed and praised (and mostly unwatched) television program was warranted. The program tried valiantly (too valiantly, in fact) to be hip and clever and postmodern and wry and ironic, and thus, its humor and narratives seemed forced. Oh, how I grimaced when the writers had their main character use the recently coined word "frenemy," a combination of "friend" and "enemy," just to showcase their hipness and familiarity with Internet lingo. Ugh

The Simple Life.  Because Paris and Nicole will never realize what dumb dipshits they really are.

The Swan--televised trainwreck

No answer 
The Swan--I admit I watched this a couple of times for the sheer train wreck morbid fascination, and for this I will be judged in heaven
Again with the Kutcher. Punk'd is stupid and juvenile

Fox News - if I must be specific I think it's Hannity and Colmes 

No Answer

a. Survivor   b. American Idol
The League Chimes In:
Goodness.  You know, of the shows I watched this year, I'm tempted to say anything starring Wolf Blitzer is pretty lame... but is it loathsome?  Not really. 
This one is a tough call, and since I haven't actually seen The Swan, I have to believe it's strong showing here indicates the loathsome nature of this show.  And I thionk going into why here is a bit redundant.
The show I did see an episode or two of, which outstripped the embarassment of Jessica Simpson or the grotesque behavior of The Simple Life, was MTV I Want a Famous Face.
The show seems like some bizarre sequence from Robocop or The Running Man.  There's no other term for this show than "fucked-up."  The show follows really fucked-up people who worship A and B list celebrities, and, unable to stalk them on their Piggly Wiggly hourly wage, decide they will contract MTV to get them plastic surgery and a make-over so that they may look like bizarro versions of their favorite celebrities.  This isn't to mention that these people don't want to look like, say...  George F. Will, or Cokie Roberts.  These people want to look like fucked-up celebrities like Mariah Carey or Nelson or something.  But they don't.  They end up looking gross and weird, and MTV sort of fawns all over them like this is something really rational to do, and not something really fucked-up to do. 
I mean, this is the equivalent of you or I deciding we REALLY like Doc from Love Boat, so we're going to go get tube socks, stethoscope and a white sailor suit. 
Anyway, virtually all of MTV's programming is seriously jacked, but this show is seriously fucked-up.
But, maybe less fucked up than giving people a total body make-over and THEN making them compete in a beauty contest.

Most loathsome movie (theatrical release)

Van Helsing - Said I during my initial review of this movie: "Words fail me when I attempt to describe the utter awfulness of Van Helsing. Adjectives like 'abominable,' 'regrettable,' 'ridiculous,' and 'asinine' seem appropriate, but even they cannot convey the magnitude of the film's idiocy. I could attempt to cobble together a word or phrase ('deus ex machina-ridden' perhaps?) to achieve my great level of disdain for this cinematic detrititus, but even that would not accomplish the task."I can think of no other film released this year that was as awful.
However, for good measure, I'll include this as my second nomination: Dogville, a film about America by a pretentious Danish director who has never visited America. Lars von Trier has his moments (Breaking the Waves) but his downward spiral into fashionable pretension resulted in Dogville, which even The New Yorker called "unwatchable." I did not see it.

Garfield. Because Garfield ceased being funny circa 1991.

haven't seen enough to answer

No answer

Troy-within the first five minutes Brad Pitt smells the fart. It looks like Wolfgang Peterson took a joke take for each of Orlando Bloom's scenes, a "Don't worry, we'll never use this" take, and used all of them. There is one hot sex scene with a knife, but even Brad Pitt's naked ass cannot save this film.  

hmm. I haven't seen anything in a while that was truly awful. I'm guessing Farenheit 9/11 for the obvious reasons

The Passion of the Christ for undermining the hopeful message of Christianity and turning it into a death cult on the par of Q'tub's death cult.
The Matrix Revolutions. The original was fantastically entertaining. Reloaded raised enough questions to keep me interested. The finale was endlessly disappointing.

a. Lost in Translation   b. The Passion of the Christ
The League Chimes in:
Looks like The League has turned on Gibson's exploration of Christ's final days.  I never saw this flick, so I don't really have much to say about it.  I mean, I loved the book, so I wasn't sure if I wanted to spoil it with a movie.
You know what movie really pissed me off? 
Disney's Home on the Range.  This movie wasn't funny.  It wasn't clever.  It was some nice, clean animation, but the humor was derivitive of every Disney movie since Aladdin. 
And, if nothing else, it's the last 2D movie from Disney for the foreseeable future.  Blah.  Just thinking about it irritates me too much to go on again.

The League is slowly but surely succeeding in its elaborate plan.
Just now, Jim D. e-mailed me to let me know he'd been to Mile High Comics in Denver.  Jim had not bought a comic in years, but recently, I dragged him back... kicking and screaming.  Apparently, he's newly fascinated with zombie and horror  comics.  Unfortunately, I don't pick up too many horror comics, so I am unable to be much help, but I am more than 100% supportive.  I actually am digging Darkhorse's Freaks of the Heartland.  it's not a horror comic, per se...  but it is done in the milieu.
And then Cowgirl Funk posted about her 4th, and how she managed to incorporate Free Comic Book Day into her day.  And the story is well worth reading. She seems to like Spidey.  Hey, I love Spidey.  More power to her.
Arnie finally plays off his own caricature as means to a political end!  And, predictably, everyone else acts like a caricature, too...
How many other Governors provide this sort of powder keg atmosphere?  Not dull, old Janet Napolitano out here in Arizona. 

The very first rumor about a new Superman movie to not make me break out into a cold sweat hit the internet this weekend. 
Apparently Bryan Singer (director of The Usual Suspects, X-Men 1 and X-Men 2) has signed on to develop the new Superman movie from Warner Bros..  Following McG (Charlie's Angels 1 and 2) being onboard twice to direct, and Brett Ratner (Rush Hour 1-15) being the other director previously affiliated with the movie, it appears Warner Bros. (who owns DC Comics, and thusly, Superman) is trying to follow the Marvel Comics path to success.  By stealing Marvel's directors.  Apparently WB has no idea how to handle the material, so they'll take the position of lifting Marvel's talent.  Real original, guys... 
Much has been made over the past two years over a JJ Abrahms (sp?) script which detailed Clark's adolescence and first appearance as Superman, etc...  and riffed on The Death of Superman.  The script also eliminated Superman's additional moniker "Last Son of Krypton" by, for some reason, keeping Krypton alive and well instead of blowing the planet up and giving Superman a large part of the basis for his character (ever wonder why he's so hell-bent on trying to save all of us puny earthlings?).  The JJ script was written after the success of Matrix 1, and was part of planned trilogy of Superman movies in which Superman saves Earth and Krypton from Brendan Frasier.
The JJ script was read by AICN's Moriarty, detailed in Moriarty's review, and sounded like a decent sci-fi script, but had absolutely nothing to do with Superman.  WB freaked out as the leaking and subsequent panning of the script became what some might estimate to be the single largest scandal ever to hit AICN.  Basically, nobody but dumb 'ol Harry liked the script (who will like anything, as long as he continues to get access), and the WB almost did a mercy kill on the project.  Only that didn't happen, most likely due to Hollywood politics.  
(Keep in mind, when JJ wrote the script to his version of Superman in 2002, his pet project had been ABC's Alias, a criticially touted program which appeared to be a show people liked, and with a growing audience.  In Summer 2004, most people aren't sure if the show is still on the air).

Well, DC and WB kept kicking the development of that script around until this week.  For the past year or so, the script has been under McG.  The problem was:  McG's sophomore effort with Charlie's Angels 2 was a disaster, critically and financially.  And somebody at the WB didn't want to hand this guy the $200 million he was asking for to make the movie on a script nobody seemed to like.  Plus, McG wanted NYC as Metropolis, and WB is, for some reason, hell bent on Sydney, Australia.  NYC was too expensive, the WB said.
Apparently, nobody is quite sure what the new movie would be like or about, or what Singer has in mind.  Except that some genius at WB noticed that they've been running a show called "Smallville" over on their TV network.  Apparently this show already tells how and where Superman came from.   The rumor mill is churning that this movie takes place after the initial appearance of Superman, and, possibly, long after he first appears.  This gives Smallville some breathing space and gives fans of the first Superman movies some comfort zone.
AICN seems to believe the movie is going to pick up where Superman IV left off.  Or possibly Superman II.  (I'd prefer the continuation of John Cryer's character from Superman IV blown out into his own series of movies).  I don't know.
All I know is:  starting over with a new script and director at this point can't be all bad.  And Bryan Singer has handily directed the first two X-Men movies, so you get a fairly good idea of how seriously he'll take the material. 
But Singer's attachment to Superman puts immediate development of X-Men 3 in serious jeopardy.  The X-Men cast seems to insist on having Singer as a director, and many may not return without Singer at the helm.  Personally, I wanted to see Phoenix on film, but I'll take Superman first, any day.
With Batman Begins set to hit next year (the Christopher Nolan directed Batman origin flick), could be a good year for DC.
Except:  another rumor hit this week that Jack Black has optioned The Green Lantern franchise and wants to make a wacky Green Lantern movie.  Of all the DC characters, Green Lantern is probably the least inherently funny, but apparently Jack Black wants to do a movie like The Mask, and WB wants to be in bed with him.  
One step forward, two steps back.
Now I'm just waiting for Beyonce Knowles to begin developing Wonder Woman and Tom Green to get Hawkman.  Then I can officially say that WB tries to ruin all that is fair and good.
Check out the story

Here's the story from

Trading allegiances for at least one film,
Variety reports that on Friday, X-Men director Bryan Singer signed with Warner Brothers to both develop and direct the Superman film.
According to the report, Singer will work with Michael Dogherty and Dan Harris to develop the film, which is slated to begin production in late 2004 in Australia. The deal with Warner Brothers makes it look unlikely that Singer will return to direct X-Men 3. The other project that Singer was reportedly set to develop and direct, a remake of Logan’s Run may still be on the table, though the trade reported the film may fall now to Constantine director Francis Lawrence.
The studio has also shelved JJ Abrams’ version of the script.
Prior to Singer, Charlie’s Angels director McG was attached to the film, though he left the picture after a disagreement with the studio over location and budget.
Variety also reports that Singer will bring a new take to the franchise for the film, most likely scrapping the original treatment’s focus on Superman’s battle with Luthor, and a mysterious visitor from Krypton who has come to earth to hunt Superman.   (League editor's note:  This was Brendan Frasier playing Superman's evil cousin who was coming to Earth to kill Superman so he couldn't return to Krypton to fulfill some prophecy about Superman saving Krypton.  because brendan Frasier had taken control of Krypton or something...)
Singer told Variety: "My interest in Superman dates back many, many years," Singer said. "In fact, it was the Richard Donner classic film that was my day-to-day inspiration in shaping the X-Men universe for the screen. I feel that Superman has been late in his return and it is time for him to fly again."

The 2004 Mellies, Day Numero Uno
This is too complicated.  Next time, we're doing one category and everybody gets one vote.
The thing is, you guys did a fantastic job, and thus...  I plan to share all noms and then announce the winners. 
'Cause I'm crazy like that, Leaguers.
Later I'll be posting links back to everybody's blogs for bloggers who sent in a nom.
TODAY'S CATEGORY:  Most Loathsome Celebrity

Jim D.

Paris Hilton - Need I say more?
Michael Moore - The self-righteous Moore, though somtimes amusing, is no documentarian. By no means can the sort of film he makes be characterized as a documentary. Social satire, perhaps, but not strictly factual. His tendency to twist facts, rearrange the chronology of events, and omit surrounding circumstances to establish context, illustrate that he is a demagogue by any definition. (See here and here for my previous thoughts on Michael Moore.).


Jennifer Love Hewitt.  Because she refuses to go away and for her participation in Garfield.


Jennifer Lopez--and I'm not allowed to legally get married. she is the example of why nobody should be!


No answer


Nicole Richie isn't the biological daughter of Lionel Richie and she hasn't made a sex tape. Why is she famous?


Well, Tom Green hasn't done anything in a while. So it probably has to be Ashton Kutcher. Beyond wasting oxygen that clearly belongs to others, he's just annoying and stupid. Actually, taking that into account, he ties with Nicole Richie


Simon Cowell. It's part of his act to act loathsome, and I know that, I don't like the act though.


No Answer


a. Jessica Simpson  b. Courtney Love 
The League chimes in...

There are so many tools on the TV to choose from, it's a real shame that we can only pick one or two (or whatever...)
But, wow...  People really dislike Paris Hilton and Nicole Ritchie.  And who can blame them?  It appears that The Simple Life duo has really drawn the ire of Loyal Leaguers.  I've never actually seen "The Simple Life," but everything I've seen of the pair in ads and commercials pretty much makes The League want to begin to support communism if these two are a demonstrable example of the end result of successful capitalism. 
In truth, the latest spate of Paris Hilton interviews was what spawned this particular category, but I'm glad to see that I am not alone.

Friday, July 16, 2004

And now for something completely different.
Hockey Chicken on webcam.

Steven G. Harms sends in the following.
It's a French anti-AIDS ad depicting Superman and Wonder Woman if they were to contract the disease.
As The League is usually not very useful, we thought the least we could do is to promote a little AIDS awareness... even if the ad is in French and we're not sure what it says. 
click here for the link.

here is a link to a more complete, but no less French, website with the images.

Randy sends this one in, a comparison between the robots in the new film I, Robot, and those seen in a Bjork video from a few years back. 
I need Jeff to help me locate an image from the way cooler robot from the Autechre video from 1996 or 1997.
In the meantime, I remind you all that I, Robot was foreshadowed by the late-80's triumph, R.O.T.O.R.
Hello to Kevin Bankston, should he actually pop up here.
Kevin has forwarded this blog entry to me, which he believed I might enjoy.  And now I share it with you.

Sunday, July 04, 2004
Hulk saw movie about bug-man and it was good but needed more smashing.
The Incredible Hulk has a blog.
and now this law related tale which will never see the light of day on Jim's site.
Straight from my wife's home state, another thrilling tale of judicial misconduct.

thanks to Randy for the link
"I'm not normally a religious man...  But if you're up there...  Save me, Superman!"  -Homer Simpson
thanks to for the quote
When I got married, as the reception ended my old man had rented this kind of classic convertible.  I am sorry to say I can't remember much about it.  I only saw it from the inside as, while we running down to the car, folks were blowing bubbles instead of tossing birdseed, and I got soap in my eye.  All I knew is that I was then piled awkwardly into the convertible for a photo op.
We posed for some pictures, waved to everybody, and off we went. 
And the last thing I heard as we pulled away from the curb was, "So long, Superman!"
It took me months to find out who that had been.  Thanks to Jeff Shoemaker who said the only three words I remember from that evening after, "I do."

Wednesday, July 14, 2004

Because Saddam is a vile bastard, I ask that you check this out.

Tuesday, July 13, 2004

And now back to our regular programming.

These guys are geniuses. If I weren't so lazy, I'd try this myself.
Leaguers, you know I do not often touch upon the political in this column.

Just thought I'd post this Amendment which certain folks in DC are currently trying to tinker with.

Amendment IX

The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.

On Wednesday, our Senate will be seeking to repeal Amendment IX of the Bill of Rights. The Senate shall be voting to decide whether or not citizens from our nation will be able find wedded happiness, or whether homosexuals will be relegated to the status of a second-class citizen. In deciding whether or not homosexuals can marry, our representatives are taking steps to ensure that they are the first congress to pass a Constitutional Amendment which can deny a portion of our citizenry the same freedoms given to others. If this Amendment passes, it will be the first sweeping law by our government to institutionalize discrimination with no chance of appeal.

This act is the single most egregious affront to liberty to face the United States in my lifetime. This is not an act being perpetrated by our nation's enemies. This is an attack on the freedom of our own citizenry by our own representatives.

I urge all Leaguers to visit the web-site and sign the petition to stop the passage of the proposed Amendment banning Gay Marriage.

It's been stated in the media that the Senate doesn't have enough votes to get this Amendment through, and this is a largely parliamentary procedure, meant to divide the Democrats or the public, or some body of people who cannot agree on the issue. And the introduction of the Amendment is certainly an appeal to social conservatives, so in an election year, it's been reported to be a win-win political move. Consequently, the media is more or less writing this whole ordeal off as a bit of showmanship.

I don't agree. I apologize for breaking from the usual nonsense in these pages, but I do have a small (minute, by all counts) readership, and if I didn't say something on this issue, I don't think I'd be doing my duty as a citizen. I love the US for its potential and its promise and its unending ability to deliver to its citizens a chance for hope and prosperity. I recognize that these are things which are not possible in much of the rest of the world.

I am ashamed to witness the Senate's acts this week, whether for partisan favor, or out of genuine distrust of our own American citizenry. The contempt that the Senate shows for the American population with this proposed Amendment is no less dehumanizing than the Jim Crow Laws.

We were given an amazing document in the Constitution. But it could not be ratified without the Bill of Rights. These rights granted us the basis of the freedoms which we purport to enjoy, but somehow cannot abide our neighbors enjoying. The document has withstood the scrutiny of more than two-hundred years, withstanding the batterings of the times and even an ill-fated Amendment or two. The proposed Amendment does little more than weaken Amendment IX, and, by default, the Bill of Rights.

Our Constitution was designed to limit no one but our government, protecting the citizens from the excesses of the ambitious. No one vested in the freedom of our citizens should agree our citizenry can be told by their government that they are forbidden to engage in the pursuit of life, liberty and happiness.

Monday, July 12, 2004

Doctor Octopus and Spidey in LEGO!!!!
Looks like Squawkbox is down. So now all of you folks wishing to scream to the heavens your praises of The League will have to wait for a bit.

Anyone looking to give me $250K in venture capital?

Shoemaker sent in this e-bay item.

Part of me believes this is a hoax. I have a hard time believing that this sort of collection is in the hands of a single collector (unless it's that guy who owns Diamond. He has an AMAZING collection.) This poor soul appears to be in need of money, quick. Otherwise s/he wouldn't be selling this collection in one fell swoop.

Logic would dictate that this person should sell these comics off one at a time over an extended period. This would allow collectors without $200K burning a hole in their pocket to participate and bid on each comic individually, driving the cost up of each comic. By selling in bulk, the cost is now prohibitively high and only a company with good credit, or a rich bastard with lots of disposable income is going to be able to afford this. Which means the number of potential bidders just fell out the bottom.

Of course, you can't place everything on the auction block individually at once, either. The placement of so may valuable comics in the marketplace all at once would prevent collectors from being able to keep up with all the auctions and prevent them from bidding on enough comics to drive the prices up high enough. That's not to mention the dilution of the value of some of these comics as they are suddenly no longer "ultra-rare."

Just looking at the quality of this collection leads me to believe it's a big hoax. If it's not, this is probably the best collection of comics ever assembled for sale, and one wonders why the collector is liquidating in such a fashion. Holy cow.

Alas, I cannot determine who Filter81 is. It would be interesting to know.
First, some business... which one of you was the one who demanded this find a home on DVD?

So today I meant to spend this evening working on the 2004 Mellies, and something funny happened. Something which hasn't happened since the Dungeons and Dragons/ Dracula 2000 incident of December 2000. I saw two movies in the theater in one day. But this time, I didn't walk out of the first movie.

The two movie thing was sort of a cop-out, since one of the movies was Spider-Man 2, which you might know I've already seen. The other movie was Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy.

I strongly recommend Anchorman, and that's my review. It's a goofy comedy. What do you want?

I am dilignetly working on the 2004 Mellies, but we have 16 categories and a large number of participants. It's slow going.

Hopefully in the next day or two, you'll get something substantial out of me.

Friday, July 09, 2004

This one's for Shoemaker (and Dan, if he ever reads the damn site).

MTV article on Superman II v. Spider-Man 2
Jim was disappointed I could not join him in Houston to film the party scene for his movie as I had promised to do a year ago.

But Jim also never promised me the pre-packaged fun of Lt. Blender.

thanks to Jamie for the link.

Thursday, July 08, 2004

Review: Spider-Man 2

Movie reviews are a funny thing. Reviewers are required to do a few things:

1) not give away too much of the story so, no matter how bad, people will still not feel they've been robbed of any surprises which the movie might hold
2) provide very little context for the review unless pointing out references to other movies (this doesn't relate to documentaries as often)

I plan to do neither.

The reviews so far on Spider-Man 2 movie have been very good, with some exceptions.

I was Spider-Man for Halloween when I was 5. I don't remember knowing much about him aside from that he'd occasionally show up on The Electric Company, and that I'd seen the cartoon show from the 60's with the catchy theme song. I also had a Spider-Man belt that I used to try to hook over the door to climb up the wall. It never worked.

Then Spider-Man and his Amazing Friends took off, and I remember watching that very closely.

When I got into comics, I read Spider-Man comics for a while back in the 80's, but I was always more of an X-Men and Batman guy. I liked Spider-Man well enough, but if it came down to scrounging up money for three comics at the Piggly Wiggly, I was getting X-Men, Detective Comics and Batman. My main exposure to Spider-Man came from the newspaper strip, and a huge collection of the strips I had bought at a discount bookstore in Florida while on vacation. I will say I was there for the Todd MacFarlane kick-off of the short-lived Spider-Man series, and I have the super-sized annual where Petey and MJ tie the knot (Sorry to blow any surprises, but this happened in 1985, kids. If you don't know this by now, it's your own fault. You snooze, you lose.). And I remember losing my mind waiting for each issue of the classic Spidey tale, Kraven's Last Hunt , to hit the stands.

Then, in high school, I sunk into my "Vertigo only" phase, and Spider-Man was off my list.

But you can't read comics and not know a bit about Spider-Man. I watched the whole Clone Saga thing go down from afar. Some folks love it (ahem, you know who you are...). Others point to it as almost bankrupting Marvel Comics. I've not read it, and know it only by it's less than sterling reputation.

And then when I was getting out of college, Marvel decided to shake the dust off the Clone Saga era and revitalize the Spider-Man books. I started picking the comics up, and lo... They were good. And while I liked Amazing and Spectacular, they didn't inspire the same mania with which Justice League and Superman were filling my mind.

In a fit of curiosity, I started picking up the "Essential Spider-Man" books. All in black and white, printed on cheap newsprint, but costing only $15 and collecting 20+ issues at a time. I love these books. Pure Stan Lee, Ditko, Romita. Classic Spider-Man, pure Spider-man before writers and editors with no good ideas started adding clones, etc... And right about then, I was aware they were making a movie. But big deal... Have you ever seen the 1991 Captain America adaptation? Ay carumba.

But I LOVED that first Spider-Man movie. Loved it. Someone had finally brought the elements of a comic to the screen in a faithful and respectable fashion. Sure, Batman had been good back in '88, but that wasn't the same Batman I read in Detective and Batman comics. This was some weird guy with a weird car who dressed in a rubber batsuit. He was not a master of martial arts and the World's Greatest Detective. And while I love Superman... Let's face it, the movie gets pretty silly for stretches once they hit Metropolis.

But short of Empire Strikes Back, and maybe Godfather 2 (the Wrath of Corleone), have I really gotten much out of a sequel. So I was expecting something out of Spider-Man 2, but not the same visceral thrill I got out of the first film.

And I was wrong.

Spider-Man and Doc Ock freak me out

I loved Spider-Man 2. I honestly believe it's the best super-hero movie to date. The movie is not unflawed, and will no doubt receive the usual scorn and derision of those who know better... But it's going to be one of the movies I buy immediately on DVD (hopefully in some sort of deluxe packaging, the way I managed to pick up Spider-Man 1).

I'm at a bit of a loss to speak about the movie without gushing. Suffice it to say, I felt that the film doubled the efforts of the first movie to capture the essence of the Spider-Man comics, and delivered the feel of the comics while ditching some of the dead weight which 40 years of straight Spider-Man stories have accumulated.

You have to understand a few things. For some of us, we have more invested in Peter Parker and Mary Jane Watson's relationship than the relationships of our friends. Seeing Petey and MJ on the big screen fulfilling in two hours what it took the comics more than a decade to accomplish is no small feat. And if they do it this well in the film, I can ignore the fact that Gwen Stacy simply doesn't exist in the movies. For those of you who don't know who Gwen Stacy is... Well, something bad happens to her. Something that makes comic fans not like the combination of bridges, damsels in distress and the Green Goblin.

I always liked Doc Ock in the comics, but I loved Alfred Molina's interpretation even better. The comic's Doc Ock is a raving megalomaniac. In 1963, all you needed in order to be a super-villain was to be a bit funny looking and believe yourself to be an unsurpassed genius, and sooner or later, you were tussling with Spidey. Since then, they've developed Doc Ock. But the script Molina was given, and what he managed to do with it wiped away any misgivings I had on the issue. This villain made sense to me.

Ultimate Spider-Man scribe Brian Michael Bendis has stated that his entire MO for approaching comics, but especially Spider-Man is: make the situation bad. Then make it worse. Then make the situation unwinnable. Then find a way for our hero to triumph.

And that's what this movie gives us for Peter Parker. He's got to deal with his guilt over Uncle Ben's death and admitting his failure to Aunt May. He's got to accept that his two lives will never intersect. He's got to deal with a lot of issues that are basically character issues, that, super-hero or no, are interesting to watch. And all while dealing with the core of what would have been a fine movie unto itself, he's got to deal with the insane menace of a mechanical armed mad scientist (who has his own bag of problems).

Tobey Maguire remembers where he wrote the answers to his exam

These are problems I can watch on screen for two hours. And Tobey Maguire is actor enough to handle it all. I can believe in his Peter Parker and not feel embarrassed for the poor actor having to trudge through the role.

The effects in this movie easily surpass those of the first movie. The choreography of the fight scenes is insane. In a post-Matrix world, I was amazed to see fight scenes where people were able to perform superhuman feats, and still look as if they were hitting each other in something resembling an actual fight and not The Ice Capades.

What tweaked me? The movie does do two things which, for some reason, a lot of comic book movies do. But it did them better than most.

1) The villain discovers the hero's identity at some point. In the comics, Doc Ock and Spidey only really know each other in their super-human identities. But they made this work fairly well in this movie, and not only from a narrative standpoint did this work, but from a logical standpoint, it fit. It's just been done before (see the odd ending of Batman Returns sometime...).

As far as Peter's other unmaskings, these will surely irritate some Marvel Zombies and fanboys, but from a narrative standpoint, these were seamlessly interwoven, and advanced not just the plot but the character.

2) The hero loses his mojo. Superman II saw this. Hell, even Judge Dredd did this routine. It worked in Superman II, and it works here. In fact, it works amazingly well here. Superman II posed a hypothetical question which really made no sense. You must quit being Superman to have sex with Lois Lane. Will you do it?

What? Why? Lara (Superman's mum) never says. She just insists Superman must lose his mojo, and he goes along with it. I suppose you could infer the "well, Lois is a target" thing, but that isn't really what Lara seems to be hinting at. What my 20+ year old mind makes out of the idea is fairly grisly, and I'd rather not get into it here.

Spider-Man 2 sees the loss of mojo as something of an outward manifestation of internal problems. It grants Peter what he wants, but highlights what he's leaving behind. And I think it works pretty well.

The show-stopper for me of Spider-Man 2?

Aunt May.

Rosemary Harris lights up the screen as Aunt May

Rosemary Harris gives us an Aunt May we all should want. Twice in the movie, Rosemary Harris absolutely broke my heart. And maybe it's all these years of reading Spider-Man, but I hope you guys liked those scenes as much as I did.

The first scene was after Peter's birthday party (and I'll let you guys see this one yourselves if you haven't).

The second scene included the monologue Aunt May delivers to Peter as he seems past his cross-roads, and appears content with returning to a normal life. The monologue sums up everything those of us in the superhero-reading community have always loved about the idea of a superhero, and why we pick up these damn comic books each and every month.

Harris's commitment to the monologue, the writer's execution and Raimi's direction leap out as what can happen if you treat the subject material properly, and understand why Spider-Man and superheroes need to exist, even if just as fictional characters.

And that's it. A rave review from The League.

There's probably more to write about from a critical standpoint, but this wasn't meant to be a critique, it's a review, and there's a difference. I haven't mentioned some key performances, or interesting visual imagery, or a lot of other things worth talking about. Maybe later. I think this review is long enough.

Kirsten Dunst is hot

My final, gushing note is that I loved MJ's last scene with Peter. "Go get 'em, tiger."


Wednesday, July 07, 2004

There are a few local celebs Central Texans know by their first name.


As a former Austinite, I dutifully follow the adventures of Lance Armstrong.

If Lance can win the Tour de France this year, he will have set the record not only for total wins, but most consecutive wins. (editor's note: if this is incorrect, please pipe up)

Hopefully Lance can pull it off, but even if he doesn't, he and the US Postal Service Team will surely be champions of some sort. I mean, Lance beat cancer and won the Tour de France. Have YOU gotten cancer and won the Tour de France? No, I didn't think so (unless you're Lance and reading this, in which case, I salute you).

You can read up on the latest Lance info here.
Free Comic Book Day and Spider-Man

So after hyping Free Comic Book Day for weeks here at The League, I figured I'd better put my money where my mouth is, and on Saturday I headed down to the local (decent) comic shop. Now, the local shop is not the shop I go to regularly. Normally I go to a shop near my office, run by a decent enough guy who offers a signifcant discount to subscribing customers. On a light-traffic Saturday, my office is about 30 minutes away, so I didn't want to haul myself all the way down there. But out near my house, there's an Atomic Comics , and it's a great store. It's one of the two fairly professional jobs I've ever seen of running a comic shop. Unfortunately, it's just more expensive than other shops.

But when you're talking about free comics, how can you lose?

I'll tell you how. Probably due to high traffic, Atomic Comics decided to only allow each customer to take one free comic from a selection of about 18 or so comics. This decision totally negates the point of Free Comic Book Day for steady comic book readers. The point of FCBD (for me as a regular reader) wasn't just to get me in the store, which they did, but to allow me to sample different ongoing comics to decide what I, as a reader, might like to pick up this year. (Editor's note: it's bad comic shop etiquette to just stand in the aisle and read a comic. You can flip through the pages, or whatever, but you're really supposed to buy the comic if you read it cover to cover).

I have to give a load of credit to Atomic Comics. There was a LOT of traffic in the store, as this shop is at the mall in a prime spot near the movie theater. So all those kids leaving the 12:00 show of Spider-Man came straight over to Atomic Comics and picked up a free comic. Which is EXACTLY what the day is supposed to inspire. Of the 18 or so comics, the "comics for kids" ratios were very, very high to the "mature" comics. At least at this store.

Katrina, the manager, doesn't really know me, but she knows who I am. And she's sold me some funky stuff before, like "My Monkey's Name is Jennifer" (which is absolutely hysterical), and a few other things. So she put a comic in my hand when I walked up to the "one free comic" table. And it was a Slave Labor Graphics anthology.

I'm going to blow everybody's minds here, because I'm going to admit something: I have a low tolerance for indie comics.

A lot of indie comics are kind of like three chord punk. Indie comics are usually high energy and kind of goofy and sort of fun. And like 3-chord punk, they're cheaply done, almost inaccessible and kind of all come off the same. The indies try to be edgy, but it's that sort of post-suburbanite edgy, where they substitute narrative with weird for weird's sake and a lot of high-school literature references to look smart. This doesn't even begin to tap into how ideas seem to get recycled a million times over by the indie comics (probably a by-product of folks trying to recreate whatever it is they liked in a favorite indie comic of their own).

Some of the indie comics I like, but most of them are totally forgettable. And most of them never really see any print after one or two issues, leaving you hanging or wondering when the "artist" is going to lay off the pipe and get drawing again.

This makes maybe 1 in 15 indie comics something I'd want to peruse on a regular basis. I realize in admitting this that I have (1) upset the punk rock ethos, and (2)made myself appear to be a stick in the mud. But I'm going to call a spade a spade. If indie comics want to know why they don't move massive numbers and can't compete with, say, Legends of Batman's Neighbors, instead of being irritated and pretending that "nobody understands them", they might want to try things like a story and decipherable art. And, failing that, they should try to be funny. And not one joke funny (even as I say this, I am reminded The Lockhorns has been in syndication for 20+ years, defying all of my rules here).

I do not believe black and white indies are inherently bad. I do think the "artists" who put the bad comics together are the same kind of people who think everyone wants to hear their poetry, and refuse to write multiple drafts of their prose, afraid the editing process will sully the wild ferocity of their thoughts as each jewel drips from their ingenious mind.

Now some indie comics are very good. And when the format works, it's an amazing thing to behold. These guys are free from corporate bosses and other worldly constraints, and occasionally you get a Sex Pistols for the other 2 bajillion lousy bands. And you'll get something like "Blankets", "Ghost World", "Jimmy Corrigan", "Stuck Rubber Baby", "Maus", "Love and Rockets" or even "From Hell".

But as I say this, of the entire 48 page comic I got, I think about 6 or 7 pages were actually interesting. And 2 of those pages were Milk and Cheese, which has never been my favorite, but is better than the rest of the stuff, and a pioneer in violent, dairy-related comics.

As much as bad black and white comic bug me, get me started on "bad girl" comics someday. I beg of you.

Some of these indie comics end up doing very well, and that's thrilling. What happens most of the time is that the good indie creators get hired by the mainstream companies (Marvel, DC, Image, even Dark Horse) and either sink or swim with the big boys and thier millions of corporate-type rules. It's the equivalent of getting signed to a major label and then having to answer to the suits, to stretch the punk-rock analogy as far as it will go.

Some of the artists do okay. Some burn brightly before fizzling out under the high-pressure of the industry. Most do a fill-in back up in Spider-Man Unlimited, and then disappear from comics to go do something more lucrative, like selling shoes.

Anyway, suffice it to say, the Teen Titans, Go! comic Jamie picked up I found endlessly more rewarding, even if it took me an 1/8th as long to finish it. You see, the story had a beginning, middle and an end. It was well drawn, and had a point (admittedly, a child-friendly "teamwork" related point, but a point).

So we went to check out (as I also bought a few other comics, none of which were notable enough to mention [actually, I need to do a brief note on Marvel's new direction soon]), and the guy says "so, are you going to hang out? Because I need to staple your bag shut if you are."
I looked around the shop, saw no impending action or promise of adventure. "Why? What's going to happen?"
"Oh, I dunno." the guy shrugged. "Spider-Man is going to be here from 6:00 until 9:00."
"It's 2:00," I said.
"This Spider-Man is supposed to rule. He's from Universal studios and he actually studied up to be Spider-Man."
"Sweet. But, no... I'm leaving."

And then it started to brew in my head. I went to the gym and tried to work it off. But there it was... Spider-Man was coming. Spider-Man! I love Spider-Man!

And I remembered four years before at Universal Studios where I met Captain America and how I had almost flubbed that meeting. One does not stand before The Sentinel of Liberty and not feel a little humbled.

So at 6:30, I was getting out of the shower (post-gym) and I said, "So, can we go see Spider-Man?"
"Sure!" Jamie said. "What time is it showing?"
"Uh..." I said. Clearly, we had different ideas on how this was going down. "Let me check."
So I used my out! There was a theater right next to the comic shop, and the theater was showing Spider-Man every half-hour!
"Where are we going?" Jamie asked as I went on instead of turning right. "You're going to the Mall? Oh my God! You're going to see the guy in the Spider-Man outfit!"
"Do you really want to see him?"
And she let me! She agreed to my insane plan! Sometimes you achieve a moment of absolute clarity as to why you married someone.

We drove down to the theater and parked, and we walked up to the comic shop, and... there was a line literally 500 or more feet long to get into the store and meet Spider-Man. It wrapped around the "dancing waters" and over to the California Pizza Kitchen.

I was clearly not going to meet Spider-Man and see my movie in one evening.

Distressed, I looked down the line, and there were hundreds of kids. Stupid, stupid kids... all blocking my path and destroying my plans. Stupid kids. All in Spider-Man shirts. Some in Costumes! Heck, some poor, confused kid was dressed up as Superman (to which I tipped my hat). And all of them had comics in their hands! They were all waiting diligently to have Spider-Man sign their comics! This, I realized, was the absolute realization of Free Comic Book Day! Kids and comics. Kids and Spider-Man!

"We don't need to meet Spider-Man," I told Jamie.
"Are you sure?"
"Yeah. I'd love to, but I don't think I'm going to get as much out of it as these kids."
"Okay. Let's just go see the movie."
And then, through the store window, we watched Spidey do the splits.

coming soon: Part II, a brief review of Spider-Man II.

Tuesday, July 06, 2004

So my student worker, Rahim, is from India, and this is his first summer in the good ol' US of A.

"So what are you doing for The 4th, Rahim?"
"I believe we are going to Tempe Lake to see the fireworks."
"That'll be rad."
"It costs $8."
"Climb up on a roof, my good man. Eight dollars is outrageous."
"We are also thinking of doing that. So what do you plan to do?"
"I dunno."
"What do you usually do?"
"Well, in years past I pushed meat around on a grill and drank beer until I got sick."
"You do this most years?"
"It's how most Americans celebrate our independence from those British bastards. Do you eat meat or drink beer?"
"Well, you're going to have to improvise."

So how does The League spend the 4th of July?

This year we combined two summer events: the usual 4th of July festivities (now reduced to our party of two, they are somewhat lackluster), and the annual viewing of Jaws (usually done to announce that it's now summertime).

We ate an inordinate amount of watermelon and potato salad, then around 9:00, Jamie persuaded me to climb the ladder and get up on the roof. From there we watched the fireworks from Tumbleweed Park, just a few miles away. And, hey... no traffic! One of the very few cool things about the greater Phoenix area is that, because it's so flat, you can see the fireworks going off in all the suburbs. At one point we were watching four fireworks displays, from Tempe, Scottsdale, Mesa and Gilbert. Kind of groovy.

Mel was awfully baffled by our roof perching. He could see us up there, but could not determine how we had landed ourselves up there. So he stood just out of sight and whined.

All in all, a successful July 4th, 2004.

Further evidence of my fishing trip

I actually caught one of these things

Good golly. Had internet difficulty all weekend, which also meant I didn't have access to my "files" on the 2004 Mellies. That's going to have to get delayed. My apologies.

However, here's a little Melbotis Independence Day fun.

Also, here is a photo of our very patriotic neighbor, Flag Guy, as he's called by the neighbors. Jamie and I call him Squidward, but Flag Guy will do. He's NUTS for flags. How many flags can you count? I guarantee you, Leaguers... any number you've chosen is too low. Squidward constantly also dresses in shirts with the flag, he has flags on his car... he's flat out NUTS for being patriotic.

Friday, July 02, 2004

And now, for your viewing pleasure...

A Retrocrush photographic salute to Lynda Carter as Wonder Woman!

And lest The League forget, tomorrow is FREE COMIC BOOK DAY.

Look here for more info and to find a participating store near you!

Don't forget: Lots of free comics! And just in time for Spidey-2!!!
Marlon Brando is dead.

Steven G. Harms has submitted his nominations for the 2004 Mellies.

Jamie says hello to her fishy friend.

Well, we're back.

Our trip to Muskego Point was a smashing success. I even caught a fish. Jamie, pictured above, caught several more fish than I did.

On the whole, it was my kind of vacation. We flew into Duluth, then drove two hours towards Canada, and then took a boat across to the cabin. From then on, it was all about fishing, reading and then more fishing.

Keep in mind, The League is 1) a lousy angler, and 2) a vegetarian. So when I did catch a fish worth eating, I never got to eat it. Luckily, because of point 1, point 2 wasn't really a problem.

I'm about 1/2 way done now with The Rise of Theodore Roosevelt. It's a good read, and thus far avoids the usual trappings of just becoming a laundry list of historical details, a fact of a lot of non-fiction which usually keep me away from biographies. TR always makes for good reading, but it's been years since someone handed me my diploma (BA in Liberal Arts for History) and I quit reading biographies/ non-fiction in my spare time. Fortunately, this volume is just volume 1, and volume 2 is already out. So when I finish this book, I know what I'll be reading next. Supposedly a 3rd volume is in the works covering the Bull Moose era, etc... we'll see. Anyway, The League can safely recommend the first half otf the book.

I like fishing. I really do. I feel like I've just scratched the top 2% of what there is to know about how to catch a fish and all that, so I feel like there's a lot for me to learn in future trips. We'll see. My father-in-law may lack the necessary patience to ensure I do much more than learn proper casting methods. I can barely get a fish off the hook once on, so you can see my dilemma.

Now that I'm back, over the weekend I'll be reviewing the 2004 Mellie Noms and be compiling a list.

And Randy. You're wrong. Whatever your argument, you're wrong. Just send in your noms, already.

Thursday, July 01, 2004

I'm back. There's a lot for me to catch up on. Looks like a lot of chatter on the League comments section. And a lot of stuff going on in the world. Wowsers. My mind is swimming.

That, and I'm really, really tired.

Friday, June 25, 2004

Okay, Leaguers. This is it. Last post for about a week. When you click here, but all you see is this picture yet again, you'll know I have not yet returned. Rest easy, Loyal Leaguers. You may feel content in the knowledge that while I am not blogging, I'm still looking out for you.

Couple of notes:

1) You can keep sending in Mellie nominations until I return. Send them to the e-mail address associated with this site.

2) If I die on my trip, this is the last, haunting entry I'll ever make.

3) In which case, we'll never know who won the Mellies. If this happens, Jim gets to just make some junk up.

4) In the meantime, check out my other links over there on the left. There's a blogroll and some other good stuff. See the place where I learned and embraced the phrase "abso-ludicrous".

5) It's summertime. Try and go out there and get some sunshine. Play a little frisbee. Meet a girl. Fall in love.

6) I doubt you've read everything. See what I said just before I said this. If that doesn't work, try the archives.

7) I'll be back well before July 4th. See you then.

And an Official Melbotis Medal of Commendation for Valor in the Face of Stupidity, goes to Maxwell, for raising the alarm and trying quite valiantly to get me a signed Geoff Johns comic.
Even if it didn't happen, it's the amazing thought that counts.
And I forgot to mention...

Ryan Valdez and Michael Scaljon have both submitted very good entries to the League's 2004 "So far, so what?" awards (AKA: The Mellies).

Thanks to Valdez and Scaljon for their participation. Thanks to Jim for actually pointing me to their sites so I was aware of the nominations.

No thanks to Randy for his utter failure to participate. Even on his 28th birthday, I don't know how he manages to muster the will to draw even a single breath.

And check out the pictures of Jim's movie in the making! It's funny. I read the screenplay in various drafts, and I know exactly which scene it is where "Wyatt" here is drinking his aqua.

Happy Birthday to Randy! Randy is 28 today.

I have written Randy this haiku

bright eyes wondering
so happy to eat jell-o
no nominations

Happy Birthday, Randolph!
the Lynda Carter 1970's television series Wonder Woman comes to DVD next week.

As Loyal Leaguers might imagine, The League is in no small way intrigued by Wonder Woman. Here's something that might probably get me beaten up over by the bike racks after school: I read Wonder Woman. I do. I really like Wonder Woman. She's got an invisible jet, she's into tying people up, and she wears next to nothing while saving the world. Seriously, given those qualifications, what's not to like?

Some of my earliest memories include Wonder Woman twirling her way into different outfits. I always wished she'd do the same on Superfriends, but it never happened. Superfriends Wonder Woman couldn't twirl, so great was the weight of the Aquanet. Not so with the beautiful Lynda Carter.

Lynda Carter suddenly makes me interested in computer technology of the late 70's...

The series isn't great by any standard, but dammit, I'm hard pressed to think of a better collection of videos than Lynda Carter solving crimes. Incidentally, Lynda Carter graduated from my employing university. Little trivia for you.

I don't recommend folks new to comics necessarily pick up Wonder Woman, but I do find it to be a good read. And if girls are looking for an action hero, my friends, here she is.

These days, Wonder Woman is more or less portrayed as a Warrior Princess sort of person... but not in the Xena mode, and almost never tongue-in-cheek. She's a bad-ass to be reckoned with, just about as tough as Superman, but with a worse temper. Anyway, it's always a fun read for me (Greg Rucka is currently writing...) and while I miss Phil Jiminez's Perez inspired take, this run ain't so bad.

Thursday, June 24, 2004

THanks to Jamie, Laura, Jason, Juan and numerous others who have all sent me this link.

Super strong baby.
Jim has, as promised, submitted his entries to the 2004 Mellies. Good for Jim. He's not the rat that the rest of you are who have not yet submiited a nomination of any kind. Some of you are rattier than others, especially people whose names rhyme with "dandy."

Thanks to Jim. I was wondering how long it would take before Fillmore showed up on the list of Presidents we just don't know enough about. I was disappointed to see Jim doesn't see the crystalline beauty in a democratic process where Al Sharpton can even manage to get his name on a ballot. I weep for Jim sometimes.

If Maxwell really loves me (and I know she does), she will rush down to Midtown Comics at Grand Central and get Geoff Johns, Greg Rucka and Judd Winick to sign me some comics. If you can only get one, get Geoff to sign an issue of "The Flash" for me. If two, then get Rucka to sign the newer issues of Adventures of Superman. I am aware that seems to run counterintuitive, but I really like Johns' work on Flash and JSA.

Signing at Midtown Comics Grand Central
(very first signing at the new store!)
Thursday, June 24th from 5pm-7pm

Judd Winick, by the way, is the dorky cartoonist from the LA Season of The Real World (just before the show turned into 21 Year Old Hanky Panky Fest). It was the one with Pablo and Puck, I think. Judd now works for Marvel and DC. He's currently working on some Batman comics.
I forgot to mention my 1.2 seconds of fame.

Last Halloween, a household down the street from us participated in TLC's daily show about straightening up your junk entitled: Clean Sweep.

Clean Sweep basically has a host who is this blonde with a pretty bad eye-job (seriously, if she didn't have eye-work done, I'm Winston Churchill), a carpenter and a "professional organizer."

Embodying why the rest of the world hates the US, the people living in these houses have just accumulated too much stuff and delight in THAT being their biggest problem. Golf balls. Cabbage Patch kids. There's actually a common theme of too many toys for kids ages 1-4.

And, basically, these people dwell in heaps of items bought and never used. But they don't have the heart to toss away the stuff, nor the sense of mind to drive it to Salvation Army.

So they bring a lady in who basically throws away their stuff and gives them shelves. That's it. It's totally dumb.

Anyway, part of the show entails people having a garage sale in which they sell their used junk, and so Jamie and I wandered down the street to see the garage sale. I was pretty sure if I involved Mel we'd get some screen time, but even as I was signing the release papers so I could be on TV scrounging through these people's leftover plastic and moldy books, I got a sort of sinking feeling. I knew I was never going to buy enough of this useless crap to make it on TV for any length of time, and Mel was pretty much unwelcome.

At any rate, I bought what I think is a rare novelization fo the first Star Wars movie, and Jamie bought some lamp we threw away about a week after we brought it home. But we never did see the show. Until Tuesday night. I watched for forty minutes, and then, all too briefly, you can hear someone yell "Wanna buy a lamp?" And I turn and look at the lamp, as if to say "Are you serious?" Jamie is in the background of the shot looking on, and Mel is sort of waddling through the bottom of the shot. The total shot lasts about 1.5 seconds. If that.

So that's it. My brush with fame. C'est la vie.

It'll be interesting in a few years when they finally take me down, how Access Hollywood or somebody is going to locate that one second of footage and keep replaying it in slow motion to demonstrate my evil.

Wednesday, June 23, 2004

Who should be Superman in the next movie?

It's a question which plagues Super-nerds like myself. I, of course, open the floor and the comments section to any and all opinions. I liked Reeve and Reeves. Very different, but both great.

MSNBC asks the same question.

Tom Welling is probably my pick, if we can't get the greatest American alive, Dennis Haysbert.

So I ask Loyal Leaguers... who would look good in a blue unitard to you?
Apparently Lollapalooza 2004 has been cancelled.

I can't say I'm suprised.

I did have a very cool mother who let her two sons hop in their one son's barely functioning car and make an odd journey from Houston to Austin to Dallas, all in one day, so we could go to the first Lollapalooza. The line-up was pretty good, and a nice yardmarker for what was the music of the day.

Butthole Surfers
Rollins Band
Siouxsie and the Banshees
Jane's Addiction

And I'm sure I'm forgetting somebody. But this was before the festival had all the different stages and took up a land mass the size of Rhode Island. I went for the next few years, but became progressively less interested in the bands. I was never an Alice in Chains kind of guy, and by the time Metallica was headlining... I mean, please... Of course, I think that meant I missed Devo.

But I did get to see acts I would have otherwise missed. Front 242. Jesus and Mary Chain. Nick Cave. Other fun stuff.

And I most certainly would have gone to this year's show but for a few items.

1) It's insanely hot here in the summer, and I do not want to stand outside all day.
2) Jamie doesn't care about most of the acts, and wouldn't be that interested.
3) I couldn't figure out who from Phoenix would go with me, if not Jamie
4) I'm old

I am. I'm old. I have shit to do. I mean, I want to make time to go goof off for a day and see some great acts from my angry youth, but a whole day?

Anyway, I'm sorry to hear this got cancelled, but I do find it funny they basically said "yeah, once they're older than 23, they kind of don't like standing out in the heat all day."
If you're not watching Joe Schmo on Spike! TV, you're probably missing the most fun reality show on TV right now. They're only on episode 2 as of last night, so you have plenty of time to catch up. And believe me, it's not so complicated that you're not going to be able to follow.

Turns out my student worker, Scott "Scoot"/"Scotty", was once in a student improv group with "Eleanor" from the show. He didn't say much about her, except "it's weird, because she's not like that." Lord, I hope not.

Next week, The League is taking a much deserved rest and heading for Minnesota, land of 10 bajillion lakes. If you want to find us, we'll be here.

I don't really fish. I've only fished four or five times in my life. And I don't eat meat if I can help it, so I don't know that I'll be doing much fishing. But I do plan to bob around in a boat for a week watching the loons float over the lake.

Anyway, The League will be on hiatus, so I will redirect you all to my blogroll during that time.

Clinton's memoirs came out yesterday, but until it's in paperback and until I hear a decent review of the book, I'm not very inclined to pick it up. I voted for the man the one election in which I could, and I followed the misadventures of the Clintons with the rest of the country for the term of Bill's presidency. It's probably a worthwhile memoir to have. Just not yet, for me.

If anything, the interviews Clinton is giving on his book tour seem as interesting as any book is going to be. The left-leaning media is constantly fishing for him to bash the current administration, and the right-leaning folks are keeping quiet thus far, I guess. At least I haven't heard anything. But the whole thing is dredging up a lot of bad memories.

But it is nice to remember we had a President in the recent past who can form a complete sentence. And that's about as political as I feel like getting right now.

You know those commericals where somebody joins Bally's gym and in 30 days, they're suddenly sexy? I am getting none of that effect. But I also am overweight for real, not TV overweight. I'm the dude who would have been called "Tubs" or "Chubby" in an old 1940's western. People like me do not become sexy after joining a gym for a month.

And this should tell Randy why I would not dress as Superman for the annual Superman celebration, should I ever attend.

Tuesday, June 22, 2004

whoa. A real supervillain.
Two things

1) And so it begins... And now for the long, painful descent we all knew was coming.

2) Apparently MTV is now running a commercial (I did not know this until last night) of a cartoon history of "bling-bling". This commerical also pronounces the phrase dead (although they say it died in 2003...). The cartoon is hilarious, and if anyone knows where to download it from, I would greatly appreciate a link.

It is nice to know I am not alone in this.
Yesterday sucked like a mighty black hole.

Really. It was awful.

At 10:30 on Sunday night, my woes began. I didn't get to sleep until 2:00am, and getting up for work (which I was an hour late for) made me feel just plain crummy all day.

The work day was sort of nightmarish, and then about 9:00 last night I ate one of my new "Philly Cheesesteak" Gardenburgers to try and get some protein in my body. In general, I like Gardenburgers. THis one was terrible. I woke up this morning pretty much convinced I was going to heave. I didn't.

My work woes, which I was unsure had by-passed me, were no longer present when I showed up today, and by 9:00, the fake-Philly Cheesesteak Gardenburger nausea has passed.

I miss real meat sometimes.

The bottom line is: When your servers go down, people get really pissy.
Hey Everybuddy,

Nordstrom has posted his nominations for the 2004 Mellies. God bless the little tyke for participating.

It occurs to me that I'm probably going to lose track of these nominations if they just appear on your blog. So you might want to e-mail them to Mel as well.

You can use the address over yonder


or Write to Melbotis

Monday, June 21, 2004

most important .mov file ever...

I'm in negotiations with the wife to attend next year.

To dream the impossible dream.
The 2004 Mellies are stirring up no small amount of controversy. In order to clear up some of the questions/issues/whatever... The League offers the following:

1) The 2004 Mellies are not a contest anyone can win. We're looking for nominations, but unless you are, say, the most loathsome celebrity, you're not winning anything. We're just looking for nominations so everyone can vote.

2) It's not that NOBODY sent in any nominations thus far. It's that nobody good sent in any nominations thus far. Except for Jill. We LOVE Jill here at The League.

3) Randy has decided to get in a huff over being singled out. He has taken his proverbial ball and gone to his proverbial home.

4) The last day to submit nominations was supposed to be the 30th, but I think I'll be bobbing on a lake in Minnesota, trying to catch some fish on the 30th, so it'll be sometime after all that.

5) If you live in Japan and feel culturally our of touch with US Pop Culture, feel free to submit whatever you like. We got no hard and fast rules here at The League.

In other news... sometime Saturday evening the end of my nose began to feel a bbit tender. On Sunday, it was reddish. Sunday night it was really getting reddish.

During the course of the day on Sunday I tried Jamie's Biore strips twice in order to try to unclog pores, etc...

Alas, this morning my nose was way worse than it was. I tried another Biore strip, which appeared to just take a layer of skin off my nose. It being a workday, I've soldiered on. Within two minutes of arriving, my co-worker Tom announced, "Hey, you look like... Yeah! You look like Roger Rabbit!"

It is not going to be a high self-esteem kind of day.

Sunday, June 20, 2004

It doesn't look like the Squawkbox is working. Sorry, team. No idea what's going on there. In fact, didn't look like it was working, either, so who knows.

anyway, hope everyone had a good weekend. I noticed NOBODY has entered a nomination to the 2004 Mellies. You're all ungrateful bastards.

Friday, June 18, 2004

Leaguers, I would be remiss in my duties if I didn't plug Free Comic Book Day.

Free Comic Book Day (FCBD) is an annual event held by many comic shops across the country, and supported by comic book publishers, both large and small. Essentially, it is what it sounds like... kind of.

The publishers select a few titles from among their imprint. Usually these items will be one from each of their various demographics. For example, DC might print up a free Justice League Adventures comic based upon the cartoon series for younger kids. Teenagers might get Superman or Batman. 17 and up might get a Vertigo book, like Y: The Last Man.

I think DC is actually doing a Teen Titans, Go! free comic. I hear the Go! comic is actually pretty good.

Anyway, the point is, as long as you take one of each, the comics are FREE. Now, with all the different publishers participating, it turns into an event where you can walk out the door with about 10-15 free comics. Not bad. That's about $25 - 45 dollars worth of stuff.

The idea, of course, is for retailers to also vacuum their store for once already, and put up some cool displays of items folks might want to buy. And in the two years they've done FCBD, many shops have done okay with it. There were so many people, the event sort of had a carnival like atmosphere where I went. Of course, both times I happened to be at Austin Books on Lamar in Austin, which is an amazing comic shop.

So keep FCBD in mind as something to do on Saturday in two weeks. Heck, it's on July 4th weekend (FCBD = July 3rd), so it's just something fun to do after you've seen Spider-Man 2 and aren't quite ready to go out and Bar BQ.

And, Maxwell... NYC has some of the best shops in the country, and may have signings from big-name talent as the big-name talent gravitates mostly toward NYC. Or used. If you see Pual Levitz, give him my name. I command you to go to Midtown Comics and see what's going down.

Thanks to Randy for reminding me to say something about this day, which I assume will soon become a National Holiday... like Christmas or Arbor Day.

Thursday, June 17, 2004

The League does not speak Spanish.

Two years of public education Spanish and one day of college Spanish (I dropped out the first day as the teacher ONLY would speak in Spanish... and I had nooooo idea what was going on), and to this day, at best, I can read signs and occasionally make out some very basic Spanish if I read it.

I briefly began to learn Spanish in 1994 when I did not have cable and the only station I could tune in was Univision. My roommates and I became swept up in some Telenovella, and after a few days, you do begin to pick up on a few things. Not much, but some stuff. Somehow the female stars of Univision were keeping us from wanting to (a) turn off the TV, or (b) get English channels.

Alas, someone went and bought a coaxial cable, English-language TV returned to our life, and the dream of becoming bilingual came to an end.

I also took a semester and a half of Italian. I was flunking Italian part 2 and had to drop. So, my last refuge was Danish, which is pretty much just drunken English. I got through it with a C and a B.

I can now proposition someone in the filthiest manner, order someone to shove something up their ass, and order a cup of coffee. Aside from that, my Danish is now a distant memory.

But last night I was flipping channels, and on Galavision (apparently a subsidiary of Univision, but for our purposes, a Spanish language TV channel), I saw the coolest thing ever.

I have no idea which program I was watching, but the show was a multitude of actors, all in weird make-up, with strings tied to their heads, re-enacting Thunderbirds.

For those of you not in the know, Thunderbirds was a television program starring a cast of marrionettes who were kind of a crack action-adventure team. There was usually a nefarious plot by a mad scientist, and the Thunderbirds would have to get in their very cool vehicles and race to the rescue. The puppetry in the show was about as good as you're going to expect out of marrionettes, I guess. Their mouths moved, their eyes rolled, but the whole feel of the show was kind of slow and weird. And they also had no problem intersplicing in close-up shots of real hands if they needed to show any sort of manual activity, such as opening a can, or playing with a Rubik's cube or whatever.

The coolest thing about the Galavision version was that the characters were humans, but the actors and director had committed to the Thunderbirds style. All of the actors had learned the walk (a sort of slow, bouncing motion as you go from point A to point B), knew that you never turn your head (you turn your whole body), and to speak, you only move your lower lip in a quick flapping motion. Also key, but slightly more subtle, you MUST walk everywhere with your arms either straight at your side, or bent 90 degrees at the elbow.

I have no idea why I find this so fascinating, but the fact that they were willing to re-make Thunderbirds as a live-action TV show, including all details right up to the strings coming out of the actor's heads, is just not the sort of thing you get on English speaking TV too often.

Curiously, Thunderbirds is being turned into a live action film in english, and directed by Star Trek's Jonathan Frakes. I have no idea why this is being funded, or how it can benefit from becoming a live-action movie, versus puppets.

Producer: So then I thought we'd have Tom Cruise play John Tracy!
Screen Writer: Yeah, he's got a good voice.
Producer: Voice?
Screen Writer: Yeah. THis is Thunderbirds.
Producer: Right! And it's going to have Tom Cruise in it!
Screen Writer: As the voice of John Tracy? Sounds good.
Producer: What the hell are you talking about?
Screen Writer: Thunderbirds is a licensed property. It's a puppet show. This script is for a puppet show.
Producer: Nobody is going to pay to watch puppets for 90 f**king minutes. SHit! Who else knows about this Thunderbirds show?
Screen Writer: Well, it's been in syndication on and off since the 60's...
Producer: Shit! I just spent $200,000 optioning this f**king puppet show! I can't spend $80 million on a f**king 90 minute puppet show! I wanted f**king Tom Cruise!
Randy steps up to the plate with another Super Rumor.

Can the WB actually put out a movie which respects it's franchise characters? Can they actually learn a thing from the multi-billion dollar success of Spider-Man?

If Catwoman is any evidence... Probably not.

I hope the rumor is true. The sooner they just make the darn movie, the sooner the pain will end. Right now it's like waiting to get hospital tape taken off.
SUPER thanks go out to JimD who provided this link.

The much hoped for arrival of Lois Lane on Smallville is now a reality. WHOO-HOOOOO!!!

Let's hope they cast her well. She's not only a fave-rave of The League, but she's possibly one of the four or five most important comic book characters of all time.