Friday, May 13, 2005

Okay, I just spent an hour watching a documentary on Oliver, the Humanzee.

I invite for you to read up on Oliver.




Apparently he lives here, near San Antonio.

As unnerving as Oliver may be, it was just as unnerving to learn that scientists sort of think it might not be too hard to mix and match human and chimpanzee DNA and make a Humanzee.
I can only assume my sense of dread from the other day foretold the loss by Suns from last night. Otherwise, I have no idea.

DC's president and publisher, Paul Levitz, has posted an open letter to DC fans regarding the logo change at the company.

As much as something seems afoot in the actual comics DC publishes, a few rumors have popped up of a DC Comics which will be asked to play ball with the parent omnicorp of Time-Warner. Previously, DC had kept a low profile within the corporation and acted more or less independently, pointing to licensing of the big three in order to justify their existence.

It's not so much that Time-Warner appears to feel DC needs to put up or get closed down, as much as they look at Marvel setting up their own movie studio, a billion dollars in receipts for Spider-Man, and other successes Marvel has managed to leverage. In short, they're looking to further merchandise DC properties and try to manage it in house so travesties like last year's Catwoman do not reoccur.

Personally, I think properties like Green Lantern (Corps), The Flash, Green Arrow and Black Canary might all be viable commodities. Second and third tier characters from DC would be at least as viable as Marvel's. And, heck... Marvel can't seem to sell Blade comic books, but the movies make tens of millions. Could DC make a succesful Question movie? What about Enemy Ace? Or Mr. Terrific?

The concern is this: As DC angles to drop "Comics" from their name, and, instead, become just DC (as is DC toys, DC movies, DC t-shirts)... What are those in power from above Levitz going to do to the comic line? It's never been hugely profitable, and with fewer and fewer comic readers existing in the world, what will happen? Will Time-Warner use it's distribution channels to increase circulation? Will the suits step in and hack and slash titles? Force format change? And, most important... how likely is it that somebody at Time-Warner above Levitz will begin to dictate what content is appropriate for a wider audience? Especially when lunch boxes and action figures get involved in the mix?

It's a waiting game at this point. But I've got faith in DC.

BTW, I like this picture DC has on the website, with Superman and Batman sort of endorsing the logo by association. The picture looks a bit like Superman and Batman are behaving as they might normally when confronted with something new. Batman looks suspicious, ready to kick somebody in the sternum. Superman looks enthusiastic, ready to check out this new thing, confident that if he tries hard enough, it's all going to work out.

Speaking of Superman, Bryan Singer has been publishing video diaries of his work on the currently filming Superman Returns. You can check them out over at

The latest video, as of this writing, is video 11. I deeply recommend you check it out. This video shows a first glimpse of the new Daily Planet offices.

Each item which I see regarding this movie makes me believe this movie is going to be the sort of Superman film I want to see.

I've picked up a copy of Sarah Vowell's "The Partly Cloudy Patriot." It's going to be a quick read. Some highly distracted reading tonight got me through about 60 pages. Vowell's writing is conversational, quick and breezy.

It's part-memoir, part navel-gazing, part who knows? Here's what I am really enjoying: a lot of younger writers riff on the morass of pop culture in our lifestyle. Movie, TV, music references. Touchstones which are going to mean something to your Gen-X/ Gen-Y reader more than allusions to House of the Seven Gables.

While Vowell does bring these things up, she's got a lengthier worldview. For the most part, she sticks to what she knows, and this is book of history as pop culture. Where others might dwell upon reruns of Gilligan's Island, Vowell visits Gettysburg and reflects upon Abraham Lincoln's likely penchant for procrastination if he is anything like her fellow writers. But the book doesn't devolve with Vowell swimming in detail. The book uses the knowing shared nod so familiar to Gen X writing, but refers to Thomas Jefferson the way others might point to Mick Jagger.

I won't draw any conclusions yet. I'm on page 61 for God's sake. But I am enjoying the book.

Work is going to pick up drastically this coming week. You may see slightly less of The League. Maybe Mrs. League will pick up the slack?

BTW, Duncan sort of lost that game. One or two better shots earlier on, or even that last shot, and the Spurs could have locked it up. Pretty poor showing for my two remaining teams.

Thursday, May 12, 2005

The League Presents:
Suggestions for Further Reading (special edition)

For the previous SFFR, go here.
Well, this evening saw a suprise (to The League, anyway) defeat handed to the Phoenix Suns by the wily Dallas Mavericks.

The Suns came out of the gate showing none of the qualities which have made them an exceptional team throughout the regular season. They certainly picked up steam in the 3rd quarter, and even occasionally took the lead in scoring, but Dallas simply outperformed them.

I missed large chunks of the first half while watching Smallville. Smallville has jumped the shark, and I won't be returning next season. This evening's episode was the single worst episode of any TV show, ever. One more episode and I'm out. It didn't even begin to make any sense.

Honestly, I put a lot of the responsibility for the Dallas victory not on any one player, but believe the laurels should be bestowed upon head coach, Avery Johnson. Avery put a real fire under the Mavs tonight, just as he once was able to do with the Spurs while on the court.

It's tough to say what the loss of Joe Johnson in the second half did to the Suns' overall performance. It seemed to both spur the Suns on, but the lack of Johnson's solid playing may have been the 3 point difference Phoenix needed to win.

I haven't checked the stats, but I think Phoenix's shooting percentage wasn't all that hot.

Ah, well. Off to Dallas for a few games.

Shut up, Marc Cuban.


It sounds like Joe will be out for a while. I heard on the radio he needs surgery to fix a broken bone near his EYE. Sumuvabitch. Ouch.

Wednesday, May 11, 2005

The League is unsure of why, but The League has been feeling a general unease of late. It's that sort of "why are the animals all jittery? Oh, look! The volcano is smoking..." jitteriness which seems to be telling me something is currently, or is about to be, horribly, horribly wrong.

No idea what is up, but I can feel it, like a sort of tangible vibe in the air.

Perhaps I am listening to too much Marketplace, perhaps my underwear isn't fitting properly, perhaps it's because nothing in particular is actually going totally wrong at the moment.

Don't get me wrong. The League does not enjoy drama. The League avoids drama at every turn. The League also has never really perceived within himself a sort of Spidey-Sense to pick out trouble before it happens. But every once in a while, The League begins to suspect that maybe things are just a wee bit too quiet, and that can only mean we're in a lull before things get goofy, as things inevitably must do.

Shall it be a work or career problem? Shall it be terrible financial difficulty? Will it be something of a sort of cosmic scale which affects not just The League, but, indeed, the whole planet?

The great thing about walking around with an impending sense of doom, as I am currently doing, is that when something finally does go cataclysmically wrong, The League will say, "Hey, who called the national emergency? THE LEAGUE DID, BABY!"

Anyhow, I guess we'll see.

Tuesday, May 10, 2005

Suggestions for Further Reading: Some Quick SFFR

Hope you guys went to FCBD. Sounds like Shoemaker took advantage.

Just wanted to surface to point out some recent comics which have been released but which you might have missed.

1) Ex Machina: The First Hundred Days

Fantastic art by Tony Harris complements great writing by the increasingly popular Brian K. Vaughn.
This takes place in a world similar to our own. Things diverge in 1999 when a civil engineer is exposed to a a glowing green device. The story begins as Mitchell Hundred has hung up his jet-pack and is now serving his first term as mayor of NYC. Sound a little sappy? It isn't. Works as both a political-fiction tale (think West Wing) and post-modern Superhero story (think Watchmen).

This collection includes the first five issues of the critically acclaimed series.

Don't believe The League? Michael Chabon recently tapped Brian K. Vaughn to write comics based on the titular comics of his Pultizer Prize winning The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay.

2. We3

This collection of the 3-issue limited series by the incomparable team of Grant Morrison and Frank Quitely is being released June 1.

The story told in this comic is deceptively simple. Three house pets turned into military weapons are broken free when administrators decide to terminate the beta-phase of the project. Sometimes the simple stories are the best.

This story is a heartbreaker and will make you want to love your pets forever and ever.

3. Superman: Unconventional Warfare/ Superman: That Healing Touch

Collecting Greg Rucka's current run on The Adventures of Superman, these two books collect the story thus far. Superior art and a gradually unfolding mystery make this series the best of the Superman books from last year. Fortunately, Rucka has decided to stay with Superman for the foreseeable future.

Introducing a new villain, a new take on an old favorite villain, a few additions to the cast of supporting characters, and more Mxyzptlk than you can shake a stick at, this has been an amazing run.

4. Space Ghost

No, seriously. Space Ghost.

I loved the cartoons as a kid. In some ways, Space Ghost Coast to Coast was a defining element of my college experience.

But, you know, Space Ghost never had jack for an origin, and he never really seemed to be much more than a 70's era Batman in space (with power blasters!). Later, he seemed more like The Admiral with a mask and a mantis piano player.

Joe Kelly pens and Ariel Olivetti provides phenomenal artwork, Alex Ross provides covers. Kelly and Olivetti do their best to make this seem like a lost Humanoids of Heavy Metal project while still incorporating Zorak, Jann and Jayce.

I know! Crazy, huh?

This should be out as a trade in early July.

5. All Star Batman and Robin the Boy Wonder

Coming in July, Frank Miller and Jim Lee present an all new series of Batman comics intended for both the hardcore comic geeks and for folks who barely know Batman from Captain Carrot.

This won't be collected as a trade for some time, and I haven't seen so much as a preview page yet, but I'm putting down my lawn-mowing money in order to get my copy of this one. We think you should, too.

Suggestions for Further Reading: Countdown to Infinite Crisis

Monday, May 09, 2005

Is it just me, or does Nowitzki always cry like a 5 year old? He always has this expression of pained disbelief on his face as if he might start stomping his foot.

What a baby.

So, The League's brother in law was here over the weekend. In a short 72 hour period, Doug managed to remind The League that The League is no kind of man. The League is some sort of man-baby thing.

Only a few hours after getting here we were picking up a rented bike. Why? Because Doug got up at 6:00am on Sunday and rode his rented bike 65 miles around Phoenix. He went places I've routinely thought were too far to bother to drive during the course of a weekend.

Anyway, having Doug here was a nice change of pace. It was also leaps and bounds over the usual visit from Steanso, The League's far less active and far more disappointing actual brother.

All in all, a super-fabulous weekend.

I am very tired.

It looks like the Suns have the wrapped up. I should just go to bed.

Here is a picture of Lucy. Doug took the picture. It is a fairly good representation of what I live with every day.

they've given them legs
dear God, they've given them legs.

Thanks to Dave's Long Box for locating this one.
DC Comics is changing the old bullet logo

to a sort of swooshy star-thingy.

I think this new logo is timely and will really appeal to folks still living in 1992.

This new logo is really great, especially with the baby-blue coloring which will really do a lot to enhance comic book covers trying madly to fit this obtrusive thing into the cover scheme.

The idea is, I guess, to have the DC logo actually appear with DC Comics product. Like, if Beenie Weenie licenses Aquaman to sell Beenie-Weenie, you will see this new logo somewhere on the Beenie-Weenie label. But it should also appear on cartoons, TV programs and movies with DC properties in them. Ina ddition, all those Batman toys and Justice League action figures will also have the new DC bullet printed on the packaging.

I understand the need to place the DC logo all over everything, and I applaud the idea and effort. I'm not sure why they felt the old bullet wouldn't do (which was a great, simplistic design, that fit just about anywhere on a cover and worked in almost any color), but that's the new logo, Leaguers. This new logo makes it appear that the designer never read a DC comic in his/her life. At least not since Brainiac was floating around in a skull-shaped space ship and was referring to himself in 3rd person and shaking his fist menacingly to an empty room while he monologued. (Good times... Good times...)

Go here to see how DC is trying to cram the logo on to the cover, and how someone in marketing is making them print "collector's item" right on the cover. (Really? A collector's item? Well, that's funny, because I'm fairly certain nobody knows who the hell Donna Troy is but collector's anyway, so I guess you're right. It IS a collector's item.)

It's 1992 all over again.

You know, I wouldn't mind ANY of this, if they would quit futzing with verbage on the covers and put the comics back in spinner racks at 7-11 and B. Dalton.

Sunday, May 08, 2005

So... Rockets didn't do so well.

I was out and missed the game. Not sure I missed too much.

Friday, May 06, 2005


Apparently our chant at the Round 1, Game 1 of the play-offs swayed the voting judges.

Thursday, May 05, 2005

Rockets win! And how!

Mayhaps they shall win again. At any rate, the Mavs/ Rockets series has been great.

Randy posted today with a surprise challenge to The League.

Go read it here or else the rest of this post won't make much sense.

First of all, I haven't really gotten involved in this whole Podcasting brouhaha. I am not entirely clear on what it's all about, but people seem to enjoy it. The League has never been an early adopter of technologies, and also finds it difficult to do requests.

I think what Randy is looking for is an episodic bit of The League existing in some sphere outside of that of the blog. Here's the problem as I see it:

1) The League's voice is sort of a nice, flat monotone. It's sort of a mid-range, droning, honking sound. It's awful. Nobody is going to want to listen to that for more than ten seconds.

2) The League requires the time between thought and typing in order to create this unique little universe you see here. Just talking...? Eh. The League doesn't do so well.

Reviewing Randy's individual requests for types of Podcasts:

a) The League has remained friendly because The League doesn't suffer much for politics. Sure, The League is willing to have a nice, reasoned debate, especially when given time to collect The League's thoughts. But The League doesn't watch shouty point/ counter point shows and would rather not add to the mayhem. And here's a secret. I do want to listen to other viewpoints and consider what they've got to say and maybe take it in for a while. I'm not sure what anybody has to gain by me shouting dumb talking points at somebody else's dumb talking points.

b) I assure you, League HQ IS NOT a wild and crazy place to live. If it were, The League would probably not spend its days and nights obsessing about the adventures of musclebound aliens. Further, Jeff, Lucy and Mel cannot actually speak. At least not into a microphone.

c) If you think the League's voice is annoying, doubling that effect by adding in Steanso isn't going to endear us to anybody. Steanso and The League are virtual voice-clones and share a great deal in the way of colloquialisms and usage of the word "dude".

And what do you mean "descend into drug addiction and egomania"? I assure you, we are entirely there already. The League spends his evenings hopped up on Justice League vitamins and preening in front of a mirror trying to get his Superman spit-curl just right. (And I confess... it takes no small amount of ego to maintain a blog like this day after day).

I'm not totally ruling out any possibilities regarding the Podcast. The largest factor is that I haven't determined how much of a hassle this would be.

This is totally unrelated, but does anybody else think that Barkley might be drunk out of his mind on each and every episode of Inside the NBA? The man is a maniac.

Anyhow, I'm not really sure The League would translate well to radio.


Thanks, Randy! I appreciate the vote of confidence/ delusion that the League might be fun in other media. It's this kind of support that gives me the uncontrollable ego which Jamie is beginning to find oh so oppressive.

And, uhmmm... Go Rockets!

Wednesday, May 04, 2005

The League has a confession to make. The League watches American Idol. The League even VOTES for his favorite contestants (God bless toll-free numbers and re-dial).

Thanks to the power of Digital Video Recorders, Mrs. League has managed to cut the entire hour long program down to about 10 minutes. No commercials. No Randy, no Paula, just enough Simon to hear his verdict and cheer him on as he craftily manipulates the voters of America.

(Example: Last night, after a very decent vocal performance by Vonzell Solomon, Simon said, "You better hope your supporters vote for you." In Simon-ese, this means: You did very well, and in order to ensure people who might be sitting on the fence vote for you, I will make it sound like you need all the help you can get. This will ensure you receive an adequate number of votes. Sure enough, Vonzell was one of the top contestants this week.)

I don't know why I watch the show. I mean, it's a stupid show, the performers are somewhat talented, but the style of music doesn't appeal to me in the slightest. I am also well past blaming Jamie for my viewership.

So, of course, this evening I watched the entire Corey Clark deal on ABC. And here, I must get in lock-step with Randy. I'm an American and I'm an idiot, and the news magazines have no trouble exploiting that to boost ratings. Across the planet we have avertable catastrophe after avertable catastrophe, but this evening I dedicated an hour of my life to watching this sorry excuse for a human being "admit" to having had relations with Paula Abdul.

And I think Jim or Randy was going to write a biting editorial on the North Korean situation, but it hasn't appeared yet.

Now, let me clarify: If I had known pretty much any famous person the way Corey claims to have known Paula Abdul, I'd probably want an hour of prime-time TV to tell people about it, too. However, I wouldn't be trying to get a recording contract and a book out of it. I just like to share.

You can read the various reports which are probably trickling out on, Yahoo! News, etc... The evidence which Clark provides is circumstantial, but that certainly doesn't mean that it isn't pointing an enormous glowing arrow toward Corey's camp. Corey appears to be a complete jackass, but that doesn't mean he's lying. And just because he's not lying doesn't mean he isn't absolutely without talent.

I had forgotten in the two years since he was on TV how truly awful that guy really is.

Anyway, after the full hour of prime time TV dedicated to this nonsense, our local affiliate spent 5 minutes covering the exact same story we'd spent an hour watching, then would update us every commercial break to tell us lots of people were voting online whether or not they believed Corey.

98% of people didn't believe him. 98%.

Sure, he's an untrustworthy schmoe, but what, exactly, did Paula Abdul to gain our trust? Was it the dancing cartoon cat that won us over? Was it the failed marriage to Emilio Estevez that had us thinking, "She cannot tell a lie!"

Or was it the hit-and-run car wreck from earlier this year? Or the revelation that Paula's been hopped up on goofballs for the past few seasons of AI thanks to some back injury.

I dunno.

The important thing is that the Spurs won a decisive victory and are on to Round 2 in the play-offs.
This one is for Jim.

Sounds like the League's favorite pundit was asked a colorful question while giving a speech at UT. The question apparently had little to do with Ann Coulter's views and more to do with being wacky/ disruptive.

I am sure that the right's own little hot house flower withered on the vine.

Apparently the student in question also gesticulated inappropriately, and all in the presence of kids under the age of 10.

From The Smoking Gun:
The police affidavit notes that Coulter's lecture was attended by "several children under the age of ten," which probably made them particularly sensitive when Raj queried Coulter about the sexual proclivities of certain right-leaning men.

Which begs the question: Whaaaaaaa....???

I remember being ten. (Don't tell my folks, but I remember being ten better than I remember being twenty thanks to some experimental study techniques). And I'm not sure that listening to someone blather on about politics when I was ten would really have done it for me. Maybe if they'd explained reforming social security while twirling a lightsaber. THAT would have kept my attention.

Further... Ann Coulter? Seriously? And they're concerned about some dude making lewd hand gestures is polluting the little cretins' minds?

I love Zorro.

Tuesday, May 03, 2005

Oh, Leaguers. I am unsure of how to entertain you this evening. I don't have time for a "DITMTLOD" or any of my other wildly amusing columns.

Honestly, with two weeks down of me being sick, Jamie then being sick, and Lucy being sick in the middle... I haven't had much time to ponder the imponderables and dream up worthwhile ways to waste your work day. Not to mention work.

I work at a large, state university and classes ended today. Because I am responsible for delivery and creation of classes, in theory I should be breathing a sigh of relief. But the fact is, we have summer classes coming up, Fall classes to think about, and other projects to work on as well. It never ends, people.

DC Comics are continuing to rock my socks off. The titles are now clicking into one another like cogs on a a crazy comic book machine. It's a heck of a fun time. So, you know, when you GO TO FREE COMIC BOOK DAY, you can pick up any of DC's titles and jump into the frivolity.

Because I want to be fair, I want to mention that DC's oft-less than friendly competition Marvel is not exactly run by chimps. They've also got a big cross-over event going on under the title "House of M". It helps to have read "Avengers: Disassembled" in order to enjoy the series, but I am sure "House of M" will be fine on it's own.

Nice little side story. Apparently the cover artist for one of the House of M books cribbed an image of the King of Spain for his portrait of Magneto. Apparently the King of Spain's people found out and they are not amused. Read here.

The somewhat "edgy" X-Men spin-off series, X-Statix, was pretty much brought down about two years ago by a remarkably poor decision to have a story in which real-life/ real-dead Princess Diana was brought back to life as some sort of mutant superhero. Seriously.

I understand wanting to be edgy or whatever the hell people do when they want to draw attention to themselves. As long as it generates a decent story.

Apparently I have more of a nose for controversy than the publishers at Marvel, because at least I saw that the British Royals might not think too highly of this particular idea.

It appears that Marvel's execs caught wind of what Marvel-publishing was up to after the movie-end of the Marvel business walked into several meetings in Hollywood and ran into angry folks who had known the real life Princess Di.

No, really...

The comic was, of course, changed. But it was, of course, entirely too late.

The controversy was one of several factors that brought Marvel's then-President Bill Jemas down. That, losing all of their decent talent but Bendis and telling both customers and retailers to go jump in a lake. Funny how things work out.

I know. I'm shocked, too. I had no idea Spain still had a king.

Anyhow, there's something to for you to read up on.

And you thought it was all heat-vision and bullet proof skin...
Hey, Leaguers!

I have failed to previously mention it, but...

Saturday is Free Comic Book Day

As you might have noticed, The League of Melbotis has a passing interest in the comic book format of sequential art-storytelling. We at The League hope that you, not at The League, will take the opportunity presented by FCBD and check out the wide-world of comics.

It appears every store handles this event differently. Austin Books on Lamar in Austin, TX gives out one copy of each comic to all comers. While my local shop, Atomic Comics, gives out one comic per warm body. Atomic Comics is also at the mall and has a lot higher foot traffic.

Personally, I think giving out as many different comics as possible is a better business model. It widens the chances that new and old readers will try something on which they never read before.

While at the shop, I suggest you take a look at what's on the shelf. Some neat books are out there for every taste. If you don't know where to start, try asking one of the erstwhile employees of your shop for some hints and clues.

For help finding a shop in your neck of the Hyperverse, you can check out the Comic Shop Locator.

See you on FCBD!!!!

Monday, May 02, 2005

I am sure Jamie found this by way of Doug.

I believe the Mysterious M will enjoy this most of all.

Kitten War.
You see the Admiral as you want to see him.

I'll see him as he is.

Everyone else is doing it...

Your Taste in Music:

80's Alternative: High Influence
Punk: High Influence
80's Pop: Medium Influence
80's R&B: Medium Influence
90's Alternative: Medium Influence
Progressive Rock: Medium Influence
80's Rock: Low Influence
Alternative Rock: Low Influence
Dance: Low Influence
Hair Bands: Low Influence
Old School Hip Hop: Low Influence
Ska: Low Influence