Saturday, January 29, 2005

So I guess today Iraq had it's first real elections.

Now, Iraq had elections in recent memory, but with Saddam nabbing 99% of the vote, as I recall, one is led to believe the opposition just wasn't really putting their heart into it.

And, despite how you or I or whomever may feel about the road to the election, I'd like to think we can agree that it would be a good deal if this democracy thing will take root in Iraq. It's a wait and see experience at this point, which is sort of leaving me feeling a bit like Lone Star and Barf toward the end of the second act of Spaceballs.

"C'mon, Schwartz..."

You're not sure it's going to work, but you think if you stare at it hard enough, maybe... just maybe MegaMaid will switch from suck to blow.

Anyway, here's to Iraqis learning how to cast a vote. More importantly, here's to Iraqis hopefully not shooting at one another when their candidate of choice doesn't get the job.

Hal Jordan! Hal Jordan! Hal Jordan! Hal Jordan!

Whoo hoo!

Hal Jordan! Hal Jordan! Hal Jordan! Hal Jordan!

Whoo hoo!

Hal Jordan! Hal Jordan! Hal Jordan! Hal Jordan!

Whoo hoo!

Hal Jordan! Hal Jordan! Hal Jordan! Hal Jordan!

Whoo hoo!

Hal Jordan! Hal Jordan! Hal Jordan! Hal Jordan!

Whoo hoo!

Wednesday, January 26, 2005

I really, really, really have nothing to write about. But, I know even the Loyalist Leaguer is probably sick of failed contests and me yammering on about how anything DC Comics does is ingenious.


I've decided to come up with a new column I can toss in here when I reach the point at which I have time to post, but nothing to post about. It's not going to be a super hero spot-light. That sort of went over like a lead balloon.


If there's one thing The League is missing, it's lots of violence. Short of that, we're also missing drugs and sex. Since violence isn't really a part of my life, and the only drugs in this house are all on the up-and-up, I must revert to sex.

Unfortunately, Jamie has more or less put a ban on allowing me to discuss our more intimate details, and without a good CAD program, I'm not really sure I could really get my points across here, anyway.

SO... Inspired by supersite, RetroCrush, The League has joyfully lifted somebody else's idea.

It's time to take a peek back at how The League became the man he was. It's time to look back at Dames In the Media Who The League Once Dug.



If I'm going to do this, I might as well start early. And why not with one of my earliest memories?

God knows what armchair psychologists would say about how this personality effected my young mind (we will much more thoroughly discuss this in the Yvonne Craig Column), but first and foremost of chicks I once dug (and continue to dig) is Wonder Woman as portrayed by the lovely Lynda Carter.

Lynda Carter looks radiant in her Wonder Woman get-up.

I don't really remember much from the first airings of the Wonder Woman TV program. Mostly I remember Wonder Woman did a lot of twirling. And what kid doesn't also like to do a lot of twirling? So, you know, I sort of thought maybe Wonder Woman and I had something in common we could talk about.

Why was Wonder Woman so cool?

1) Girlfriend has an Invisible Jet. This means she's a pilot. That's cool. The jet is either magical or has some awesome cloaking technology. That's very cool. And she hasn't chosen some lame mode of transportation that somehow involves a magical horse with wings or a horn. That's doubly cool.

2) Her secret ID? She works for the military. She's a woman in uniform either as Diana Prince or as Wonder Woman. You've got to like that.

3) She's un-selfconscious standing around in a swimsuit that looks like it was designed by the costumers at Six Flags. For this fact alone, Diana Prince should be saluted.

4) She punches people. Look, when you're a four-year-old boy, you're convinced that if you could just punch people correctly, all would be right with the world. Your entire MO for somehow affecting yoru world is to poke and destroy. Wonder Woman slugs a lot of people. Again, at age 4, I thought me and Wonder Woman had a lot we could talk about.

5) Magic Lasso. Charles Moulton Marston who dreamed up Wonder Woman back in the 1940's as a positive role-model for girls and boys was sort of a freak. I really don't have time to get into all of this here, but I suggest you read Les Daniels' Wonder Woman: The Complete History.

6) Steve Trevor. Wonder Woman's love interest was a dude who was a suave military man in his own right, who probably appreciated Diana Prince in her own right, but he REALLY appreciated Wonder Woman. But really, the point is, at least Wonder Woman's love interest wasn't a complete loser.

7) Bullet Proof Bracelets. So, dude is going to shoot at you? And you can't throw down a smoke bomb like Batman or let the bullet bounce off your eye-lid like Superman? You best get yourself some bullet-proof bracelets. And, you'd best know how to use them. (comic trivia: Wonder Woman's bracelets are functional, and also symbolize the wrist shackles the Amazons once wore after being enslaved by Hercules and his thugs.)

Hit me with your best shot. Fire away.

8) Ravor Sharp Tiara. I can't remember if this ever came into play on the show or cartoon, but Wonder Woman used to be able to throw her tiara to cut ropes and whatnot.

9) Can fight crime in clearly uncomfortable boots. Seriously, those things look awfully uncomfortable.

No part of the Wonder Woman ensemble was designed to be comfortable, functional or to leave much to the imagination.

10) Not as crabby as Super Friends Wonder Woman. Look, I love Wonder Woman. She's the best. She's my favorite pantless super hero. But Wonder Woman on the Superfriends was always sort of crabby. She always sounded more like a 2nd Grade teacher trying to get her class inline rather than like a fun super hero. I'll take Lynda Carter's take on the role any day.

Because his powers are only slightly more useful than owning a Pocket Fisherman, Wonder Woman is forced to give Aquaman a ride home once again. Unbeknownst to Wonder Woman, Aquaman is going to awkwardly make a pass at her when she drops him off.

So, there you have it. Dame #1: Wonder Woman by way of Lynda Carter.

I need to pick up that DVD collection at some point...

Jim D. brought Steven G. Harms' enthusiastic review of Rilo Kiley to my attention this morning.

You know, I feel exactly the same way about Waffle Crisp.

This one's for Jim D.
It appears Condoleeza Rice will be the new face of the United States in international politics.

Secretary of State. Condi Rice.

I'm just trying to sit back and let it all sink in.

Tuesday, January 25, 2005

Something is going down at DC Comics.

1) It seems DC is getting back into the idea of continuity.

For those of you who do not know what continuity is: The way that serial or episodic television programs build on one another as one long story? How what characters learn from episode to episode effects how they will behave in subsequent episodes? How if Character A gets their eye poked out, in the next episode, s/he most likely will not have an eye?

That's continuity.

Comics from both DC and Marvel sort of gave up on continuity a few years ago. The writers stated that they needed the freedom to tell their own stories. There may have been some truth to that, but the writers were hired to do a job. In my opinion, the writers weren't willing to do their homework when they came onto a project and wanted the freedom to do whatever they felt like.

Unfortunately, this had a widespread chilling effect on the comic industry. Intended to bring in new readers, the move drove off long time fans. Despite the fact that a fan may have been loyally reading, say, SpatulaMan, since 1970, if Hot Writer of the Week showed up, he was under no obligation to know anything about the comic he was writing. And Hot Writer usually saw to it that he was in print telling unhappy fans that they were being immature or silly for being confused when major stories from the series were altered or ignored altogether.

2) Continuity on titles is rolling into interconnectivity of titles once more

Back in the bad old days, continuity also meant that if, say Spatula Man got a new hat in his own comic, when he appeared in League of Utensils the next month, there he'd be with his new hat. He might even comment on the new hat. And voila! Instead of one comic book you read, as these comics sort of bumped up against one another, you had this sort of vast tapestry of comics to pick from and see what was going on in different aspects of the same world, all telling different stories.

Recently DC has made a point of ensuring major characters guest in each other's comics and discuss events from multiple titles. (ex: Wonder Woman might show up in Superman comics and mention an event from JLA).

This not only assists in presenting a cohesive single view of events and characters in DC Comics, but it also reminds me of why I sort of thought comics were cool when I was a kid. Michael Chabon referred to the effect as "secret knowledge." Simply by being familiar with the comics, a whole separate ongoing and interesting world was constantly unfolding each month in each issue of each comic. And the ability to keep up with it gained you a unique perspective on teh tapestry as a whole.

It's also a good outlet for my OCD.

3) A Crisis Brewing?

DC has been trying to relive the colossal boom of Crisis on Infinite Earths since 1986. Crisis not only sold phenomenally well as an individual series, but helped sell through a lot of other comics being published.

What this took was a heck of a lot of coordination on the part of the DC staff to make sure all the comics could sensibly tie-in to Crisis.

DC would love to see a pile of comics in 2005, just like they did in 1986.

Hints of a crisis really began back in Superman/Batman #6 when Luthor got stomped by Superman and, in the epilogue, promised "a crisis!"

4) What does it all mean?

It means that not only have a few hints online suggested a new "Crisis" is brewing, but that with increased continuity across multiple comic titles and writers clearly working together, it's a lot of fun reading multiple DC comics right now.

It's not clear yet what the Crisis event is, but there have been hints of it everywhere from Superman/Batman to Teen Titans. Identity Crisis, the huge cross over event of 2004 appears to have been the first act in what the writers have planned.

I welcome folks to check out DC comics to see what's going on these days.

If NOT, I would redirect you to the All-Star titles which should be debuting this summer.

3) DC All-Stars for new and occasional readers

Recognizing that some of their comics have run since 1938, DC isn't pressing new readers to necessarily pick up the past 70 years of comics. They're releasing contained multi-issue stories with familiar story elements folks might expect picking up a DC comic.

I know I've harped on these before, but when they come out in a few months, I'd really encourage folks to pick them up. These'll be fun stories told by the absolute best in the superhero business.

Sunday, January 23, 2005

Well, goodness, kids. It's been a while.

Got back a few hours ago from seeing "In Good Company". Not The League's preferred faire, but you know, if you eat bean burritos every day, eventually you're going to get sick of them.

Fairly decent flick, and when it slowed down I spaced and ogled Scarlett Johannsen.

The film tackles a lot of fairly mundane topics from the business world and attempts to bring them into sharp focus. I was feeling sort of squirmy that the story hinges completely on the fact that one of the central characters is a 26 year old who had risen to a seemingly unearned position of authority.

A few years ago when I started in my job, I suspect I may have been viewed with some of the same contempt by some who suspected my age. Luckily, I have the unfortunate issue of looking older than I actually am, and was able to sort of fly under the radar.

In the completely non cut-throat world of university staff, things like degrees earned and seniority are weighed with an amazing amount of import. So, I learned quickly to keep my non-Master's having mouth closed, and my non-30+ self safely age-agnostic. Occasionally it will come out that, yes, I am 29 (all too soon to be 30), and that, yes, I have no Master's degree (as if somehow I did something wrong by not obtaining a Masters). These are mini-powder kegs in the university environment, and it's best not to try to come across as a hot shot, or the weird lady from the registrar's office will come down on you like a ton of bricks when she decides you're getting too big for your britches.

Speaking of University work, I have been very busy with the projects I'm responsible for. I seriously clocked hours in the triple digits last week, and this week ran a little long as well. It's the first week of the semester, and that always means a circus in higher education.

I'm not really sure what the point of all of this is, except that I am, in fact, sort of back.

I think I probably missed some good stuff while I was out. I saw Bush got inaugurated, and that his flashing the "Hook 'Em Horns" sign was thought to be a sign of El Diablo in parts on Scandinavia and beyond. I actually would LOVE to find out some guy we elected twice was, in fact, in league with dark forces. It would at least make me understand a little bit more about how our world functions.

Saturday Night Live chose to jump on the "Hook 'Em Horns" thing with a skit involving Amy Poehler as Jenna Bush continually flashing the "Hook 'Em Horns". And then, in a sort of weird bit, the skit sort of made fun of UT in comparison to Yale, playing it off as a hick school. Which not only wasn't funny, but reminds me of why conservatives can't stand the mythic East Coast Liberals. Whether true or not, in their eyes, any and all things associated with Texas will forever be those of the unwashed and the crassness of the nouveau riche. So, you know, their University must be full of troglodytes who can barely wipe themselves.

Outside of Texas, you begin to realize, sure, folks from the East think all Texans are sort of mildly brain damaged, arrogant bastards. But folks from Arizona believe it, too. And, unfortunately, Texans all too infrequently are able to give anyone any reason than to think that maybe it is a state run by yokels and red necks.

I do get tired of the knowing nods and shit-eating smirks when I am asked where I came from before Arizona. You do spend a lot of time saying "Well, not everybody is like that."
"But it is like that," folks counter with.
"Yeah, well," I say, rubbing my eyes. "There's usually a grain of truth to most of what you suspect."

I think people, at least people in Arizona, have a sort of hard time understanding what a vast state Texas is, and how the geographic regions are, in fact, quite different culturally.

"I always thought everyone from Texas was a racist," a co-worker asked me. That's how she put it: I thought everyone from Texas was a racist.
"Isn't that where they dragged the guy behind the truck?"
But you're not going to go down to Houston and find that happening. Or Dallas, or Midland. It was butt-assed nowhere Texas, in atown nobody had ever even heard of until some drunk bastards decided that night was the night to show that thousands of years of civilization means nothing when you think nobody is going to catch you. But it's Texas. And try and tell anyone that Vidor is not San Antonio, and you're wasting your breath.

"You've been to Waco?" folks ask me.
"Yeah," I say. "And no, I never saw any Davidians. Just Baptists."
"That was weird. What did they do with the site?"
"First of all, it's not actually in Waco. It's outside of town. Waco is a little weird, but the Davidians were not in Waco. And I think some extreme libertarians bought the land and they're rebuilding the compound on it."
This is always met with blank stares.
"Texas," I assure them, "Is a weird place to live."

You do not hear about people in Maine having problems with 51 day cult stand-offs. You do not have a show called "Cleveland" about people sporting fake Ohio accents and dressing in cartoonish Ohioan outfits that still runs overseas. New York State is never confused with New York City. Possibly California and New Jersey carry some of the same weight each time they declare their statehood. And when I state I am from Texas, people (and I mean maybe 30% of the time) think it's okay to say "I'm sorry!" and then laugh about it. Like, you know, you KNOW you should be ashamed, right?

Right. Because here in Arizona you have so much more to live for.

Thursday, January 20, 2005

Hi all.

Sorry it's been a slow few weeks at The League. Work is hectic and I'm barely home, let alone enough to sit and dream up the nonsense which I post on these pages.

Sunday, January 16, 2005

By the way, the League is thrilled to see that nobody much wanted to see the Elektra movie released by Marvel Studios.

Elektra was introduced by Frank Miller into Daredevil comics back when having hordes of ninjas in your comics seemed like a swell idea. Miller's Daredevil/ Elektra stories still hold up very well. THe trick is, at the end of these stories, Elektra pretty much took a dirt nap.

So long, Elektra.

Elektra's best appearance was in a spin-off limited series called "Elektra: Assassin", a comic which featured cyborgs, ninjas, shady government agents, blue alien dwarfs and massive government conspiracies.

(ed. note: It appears Marvel actually let Elektra: Assassin go out of print again prior to the release of the movie. Fearing, I guess, that somebody might find some interesting Elektra material out there.)

On top of this, the incomparable Bill Sienkiewicz illuistrated the comic, creating an 80's pop art masterpiece, the likes of which have barely been seen since.

it is important to note that Elektra's one big character trait in the Miller-scribed Elektra comics was that Elektra was completely nuts. She might kiss you, she might shove a sai through your ear. THe point in the Daredevil comics was that Daredevil falls for the wrong kind of dame. In the Elektra: Assassin comics, the point was that their was method to her madness.

Once Marvel Comics and Frank Miller had parted ways, Marvel decided Elektra was too hot of a property to pass up. Unfortunately, virtually nobody at Marvel seemed to know how to handle the character. In the late 90's, when Bill Jemas took over the reigns at Marvel, he decided to reinvigorate Elektra by hiring Greg Horn to do cheesecake Elektra covers on the lackluster comic series, and give lonely comic nerds a sort of fetish idol of their own.

Even more bizarre, Jemas tried to market Elektra as a sort of spokesmodel to the highest bidder. So, you know, if Guess Jeans wanted Greg Horn to paint Elektra in Guess Jeans, there she'd be. It seems as if the idea never took off.

Just to add to the bizarre-o universe which jemas was creating, Marvel had a spin-off company which would allow you to hire actors in their characters' costumes to come to your mall opening or birthday party or whatever. So, one of the characters you could invite was blood thirsty, S&M ninja Elektra. 'Cause that's always fun at your birthday party, right after you blow out the candles.

The Daredevil movie decided to capitalize upon the popularity of the Elektra storyline from the 80's Daredevil comics and included TV's only spy played by a Peep, Jennifer Garner.

The Daredevil movie, of course, managed to utilize the important plot points from the Daredevil comics while managing to drain any life from the story. Meanwhile, it managed to ham & cheese up what parts it did keep, making Elektra both unbelievalby boring and kind of a dullard.

I am pleased to see that the rest of the country also seemed to believe an Elektra spin-off film was a terrible idea (it grossed a whopping $12.5 million, comin in #5 this weekend at the box office). Funny how people aren't that interested in a story which is apparently pulled from patchwork bits of Marvel Comics' B and C list of characters.

Unfortunately, from what I hear, the Marvel movie I was looking forward to, The Fantastic Four, released it's first trailer with Elektra and is looking to be a big old stinker along the lines of Daredevil. Maybe rushing these things out wasn't the best option for anybody.

I would have loved to have seen somebody try to tackle the Elektra: Assassin story into a movie, but that's not going to happen. So, until then, I'll just hold onto my comics and enjoy them all the more.

Just popping my head up once again to prove that The League still has a pulse.

This week has been a rough one. I'm not quite done and from Monday to today, will have logged somewhere over 110 hours at the office this week. I am feeling sort of tired.

I more or less completely missed a visit by Mrs. League's folks, and am only now beginning to remember what the light of day looks like.

One of the oddest parts of what I'm up to is that, if all goes well, there won't be much to show for my work. A few pieces of hardware will be added in, but the idea is to make as seamless an environment at possible for the faculty and students using the classrooms we've been outfitting. They SHOULDN'T see the miles of wire laid, the thousands of connections, nor the place in the wall where I stood banging my head for two hours when my DVRs STILL didn't show up.

I'm not feeling terribly confident that I'll still be employed this time next month, but, hey, at least we sort of finished. Now I'm off to do the work which I SHOULD have normally been doing over the past two weeks, and try and get it done before Tuesday when classes begin.

Thursday, January 13, 2005

Apocalypse Watch!

Hey, it's yet another sign of the apocalypse!

Now if the beast would just crawl forth from the sea...

Tuesday, January 11, 2005

btw, I did rip off the tsunami relief link from Maxwell. Consider buying a few less MP3s and see if you can't help some folks out.

Take a look at the shiny box on the left side-bar.

Just popping in.

Lately I've been watching a lot of Suns basketball. I've given up on the idea that they will suddenly start showing Spurs games on Phoenix TV.

Lucky for me, it turns out the Phoenix Suns are having a banner year. They've got a great team put together and the best record in the Western Conference. I'm becoming a big fan of Amare and the gang. Tonight the Suns beat the highly ranked Miami Heat by 15 points.

In Austin I was able to catch Spurs games on a channel called Fox Sports Southwest. Here in Phoenix I watch the Suns on Fox Sports Network. Not a bad channel, I might add. But here's the deal...

One of the announcers has decided he needs a catch phrase. And his catch phrase of choice? "Holla!" Right. Like, "Holler!" only he's saying "Hallah!" And awkwardly, too.

I am familiar with the phrase "Holla" (thanks to Laura D.), but it's not a phrase a I use. I am still stuck "Jinkies!" and "Groovy."

Anyhoo, this commentator will be cruising along in his usual sports announcer baritone, you know: And the Spurs beat the Heat by 15. And then he decides to interject his new phrase. Sort of, just tacking it on at the end. And all I can say is "Holla!"

I don't know. it sort of leaves me feeling sort of hollow and embarassed for the guy.

or: Quentin scores again, and the audience says "Holla!"

It's making me very uncomfortable for some reason.

Monday, January 10, 2005

And jusy FYI:

It sounds like Kevin Spacey is playing Lex Luthor in the upcoming Superman film. I'd love to know what the script is like, and if this is Hackman Lex (not really one from the comics), seemingly benevolent (but secretly evil) tycoon Lex, crazy green armor Lex, gray prison suit scientific mastermind Lex, or funky pink and green power-suit Lex.

Man, so many options. And even more confusing... will Lex have hair? Both Hackman and John Shea had hair as Lex... but Spacey seems like the kind of cat who wouldn't have any trouble shaving his head for a good role.

Personally, I'd love to see the green power armor, but that's just me.

And they've cast Lois. No idea who this Kate Bosworth person is, but she's Lois, I guess.

I'll be honest, I was hoping for older casting for Superman and Lois, but I assume the story will carry it all off fine.

When I hear their casting for Mxyzptlk, I'll start getting really excited.

Sunday, January 09, 2005

So, it's most likely to be a slow week here at The League. Back at the employer, I am working on a critically fucked project that is spinning more and more wildly out of control. This means I am expecting to be pre-occupied and a bit busy.

I am happily passing off the keys to my co-contributor until it becomes less likely I am going to be fired.

Here's the moral of the lesson: When you are asked to manage a project in a way which you know is absolutely incorrect and wrong, put up more of a fight. More than a year later, you're going to be looking abject failure in the face and watching any career or professional reputation you ever had melt away before your eyes.

Thursday, January 06, 2005

Natalie Portman in V for Vendetta

It's been a while since I read V, but it really is one of comic scribe Alan Moore's most interesting comics.

Past Alan Moore adaptations have mostly missed the boat as to why the comics worked. From Hell managed to go from being a colossal character driven conspiracy and period-piece to a workmanlike serial killer "whodunit". And try as I might, I can't get past the awfulness of League of Extraordinary Gentlemen as a movie. My dislike of the movie goes well beyond the distaste of the adaptation. I just think it's a bad movie.

While I think the timing would have been better two years ago for a V for Vendetta movie, it's really never too late. And while I am a bit confused why they aren't going for an all brit cast for the movie, I think the Wachowski brothers will probably be willing to put the necessary time and effort into the script and process in order to create a decent adaptation. The problem will be when the studio realizes they're making a movie supporting anarchy.

And how to cast a character who never, ever shows his/her face? I dunno.

Anyway, if all goes well, we'll all be blowing up Parliament in 2006.

Wednesday, January 05, 2005

Top Ten Things Which Were Supposed to be Important but failed to ping on my personal radar in 2004

I'm not saying I didn't notice these items at all, but these seemed to be items of some importance to people in the press and media in 2004. For good or for ill, The League sort of shrugged its chubby shoulders and said, "eh"...

10) Mike Nichols' "Closer"
9) Lindsay Lohann (I still have no idea who she is, but her father keeps landing in the pokey)
8) Boston Winning the World Series
7) NASCAR dads
6) The Apprentice
5) Music in general
4) The mounting mine field of dog poop in my back yard
3) Red states and blue states (I didn't know which was which until right up to the election)
2) the pain and suffering of others
1) bloggers

and a special honorable mention goes to ABC's Desperate Housewives, which I predict will be cancelled by the end of it's 2nd season once the novelty wears off.

I guess the question now is, what got a lot of hoopla but was unimportant to Loyal Leaguers in 2004?
Los libros cómicos pueden ser útiles

And you guys thought comics had nothing to offer!