Friday, June 09, 2006


Jim D. has suggested I welcome all of you folks good enough to drop by. In case there's any confusion, Jim D. also suggested I post a link to the post Dave referred to on his page.

Here you go.

The League of Melbotis is not a comics blog in the strictest sense, but I'm a fairly avid comic reader, and thus, a lot of comic related discussion goes on here.

You may note I am a fan of Superman and DC Comics. I also read other comics, too, so don't worry about me drawing some line in the sand over that topic.

Feel free to drop in any time, put your feet up and leave some comments. We'd love to see you back here again some time.

Things have been a little wonky for us this week, so I recommend also hitting Nanostalgia for some media reviews by a little collaborative team we've got going on over there.

Also, feel free to click on the e-mail link if you have any questions. We're here to help.

Good to see you. Hope you can stick around.

Today is the second day back from our nightmare day. Between the time at the ER and my time of revelation in the Indian styled sweat lodge, I had much time to think. I am turning over a new stone. My plans for the day are as follows:

Get up around 5:30 and run and extra half-mile more than I normally do (so that's .75 miles to all of you out there keeping score at home). I will take Lucy and Mel with me, so it may take a while longer than usual.

When I get home, I will make breakfast for Jamie, possibly french toast or eggs benedict. I will also make my own lunch, in a Target bag, of course, consisting solely of ants on a log. 13 logs, exactly.

After I get done making breakfast, i will do the dishes, and head off to work. At work, I will go out of my way to be kind and courteous to all my co-workers, and to share a log of ants with each of them. Should they decline my ants on a log, I will throw it at them in a fit of rage. Afterwards, I will apologize and blame the whole incident on "my inner demons."

After work, I will come home and clean the entire house. Since lately I have come to realize how Superman comics are ultimately pointless, due to his invincibility, I will begin my phase out of Superman figurines from the house. I won't get rid of all of them, and they won't be thrown away, (they will be meticulously wrapped and stored in one of the closets). I will begin to replace my Super-Man memorabilia with that of Spider-man and Batman, whose mortality make
them much more interesting anyway.

I will work some more on training Lucy, and play with Mel, since she feels a little neglected with Lucy around.

During my hiatus, I had some time to think as well as read (and misplace) books. I am going to make the following amends as well. I will apologize to my parents for the many many shenanigans I pulled (including the Clyde and Roundball incidents). I will apologize to
Steanso for the beatings I passed out to him over the years, both emotional and physical. I will apologize for calling his bands "jam bands," and will attempt to appreciate those bands on a new level.

Finally, I will take Jamie out to Barcelona for dinner, as she is the best wife in the world. Any woman willing to put up with my crazy comic obsession deserves no less. (I'm sure you comic collectors out there know as well as I do that collecting comics is really a very small form of Peter Pan syndrome, grasping to hold on to our youth, and attempting to glamorize that youth by confusing it with super heroic actions. I am trying to get away from that and face my
reality. )

Thus will end my day. Wish me luck Leaguers. Change is often hard, but well worth it in the end.

Thursday, June 08, 2006


Jim D., I guess, sent my link to comic geek website Dave's Long Box.

Normally I wouldn't have thought too much about it, but I guess people really read Dave's Long Box. I know this because my old roommate Kevin B. saw me and e-mailed me.

For good or ill, Dave's Long Box misidentified me as Jim.

I am beginning to rethink this whole "ha ha, I like Superman" thing.

Hello to MySpace people. I think you might see Michael and a few other people pop by. Welcome them.

Melbotis Store update. Since Natalie thinks I should make money off the store, I jacked the prices up by a dollar or a dollar fifty or something on the items in the store.

I do plan to swap out items in the near future, so if you really, really liked something on the page, order soon.

We got our shirts in today, and the quality of the images is pretty good. I was pleasantly surprised.

That's it for today for updates. I'm a little tired.

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

living la vida loca

(editor's note: this is not written to illicit sympathy. Rather, Jamie and I sort of just had a bad day, and I thought I'd share.)


Last night Jamie and I spoke on the phone before I got home about how all we were going to do was watch TV and and read.

When I walked in the door, Jamie was already working on some fajita ingredients. "Do you hear that?" she asked. There was a loud hissing sound coming from outside the sink window. Not a snake hissing, like compressed air escaping.

Sure enough, when I stepped outside the sound was coming from the direction of the air conditioner. Immediately we called an air conditioning repair service, hoping that, at best, we could make it through the night and the air wouldn't fail until the temperatures fell outside.

The first company informed me that they weren't even taking on any new customers, thanks to the busy, busy season. Luckily the next company was able to send out a repair person (the next morning). With Jamie scheduled for dialysis in the morning and myself scheduled for meetings in the morning, we had to put off the repair until any time between 10 and 1.

So... about twenty minutes after dinner and dishes, I was reading a book when I realized "gee, it's getting pretty warm in here..." The blower was still on, but the air was no longer cool.

It was getting pretty warm pretty fast, and as we're often a little overly cautious with Jamie, I started calling hotels to find Jamie a place to sleep. My gameplan was to get her a hotel near her dialysis location (where she has to be at 5:15 MWF), and then I'd get up with her, shower at the house, feed the dogs (who would spend the night outside), and go to work as early as possible. Jamie would be able to wait for the air conditioner guy for a while, and when I was done with my meetings, we'd tag team, and I would send her back to the hotel.

It took me four hotels to find a room. And checking into a hotel (without vibrating beds) the same night you call is an expensive proposition.

We ended up at a very nice Holiday Inn just South and West of the house. I watched the Mercury on TV, read a few pages and went to sleep.

At 2:00 in the morning Jamie was yelling for me from the bathroom with the complaint that "I need to throw up and I can't. And I can't breathe."

For those of you who haven't had a silent heart-attack, these symptoms may indicate that Jamie was doing some wicked after-hours partying. As far as I know, that wasn't the case. She was more than a little weirded out, and for maybe the first time in our adventures, she requested EMS help.

The front desk was pretty helpful, and within, literally, five or ten minutes four burly firemen/ emergency responders were standing in our hotel room. Now, I've spent a lot of time in ER's, and the stuff you see on TV is mostly horse-hockey. These guys, however, had the coolest system of testing and report-out that I've seen, with two guys checking things on the wife, one guy doing all the questioning, and one guy overseeing the operation to check for mistakes.

For good or ill, in that five minutes between placing the call and the burly firemen showing up, Jamie threw-up. A lot. Her fajita dinner came back for all to see.

We immediately theorized that a recent chnage in her meds was probably the culprit, but once you set the wheels of Emergency Medical Services in motion, it's best to just them do their thing.

In the middle of all the medical fiddle-faddle, I sort of had a 2:15AM out of body experience. There were four strange men in my hotel room, the room that I really shouldn't have been in, and one of them was wearing his baggy fire fighter pants.

Because Jamie had a heart-attack in 98 or so, her EKG's are always a little off. We had to promise the firemen that we would be headed to the ER, so off we went.

The ER had some folks waiting around who had obviously been there for a while, so I was beginning to wonder exactly how long we would be stuck watching re-runs of "Cheaters" on late night TV. One gentleman who had a hurty elbow was yelling at the nurses that he had been there for a long time.

Note to people who go to the ER: Hurty elbows will not get you seen quickly. Today we learned that a possible silent heart attack gets you the Gold Member Treatment. Jamie was seen almost immediately, and we got a room within half an hour. Unfortunately, the room was in the "Crash" area, where you're almost guaranteed to see a dead person or two before the end of the visit.

And, sure enough, I was sitting there for all of five minutes before some poor soul under a sheet was wheeled by.

Meanwhile, the guy in the next room was "crashing", which understandably draws the attention away from the non-crashing patients. Such as Jamie, who was feeling much better at this point, and me, who was trying to immerse myself in my "JLA: Greatest Stories Vol. 1".

Here's another important life-lesson, Leaguers... yes, you went to the ER because you felt poorly. But when someone just died and someone else is working on it, it is NOT the time to cause a scene because your discharge paperwork is taking a few extra minutes.

One charmer in our ER, who was decidedly not ill enough to actually be in the ER, started walking down the hallway shouting about "Where's my nurse? They said they was coming back in five minutes, and it's been fifteen!" When a nurse tried to explain that they were having a critical situation, she, being well trained as an American to expect instant gratifcation at the expense of everyone else, began shouting about how she "didn't care". And how she was "going outside for a smoke and they needed to come find" her.

When it was expalined that a patient had just died, and could she please lower her voice for the families that were around, she suggested "get him a body bag" loud enough for the entire ER to hear. At this point security was called, which made her grab her items and head for the exit. I'm not really sure what happened after that.

You don't often see ER staff that angry, but, man, yeah... they were all pissed after that. But they LOVED us, for not screaming in the hallway.

Jamie was released at 4:45, so we dashed to get her to dialysis. I drove back to the hotel, slept for a few hours, picked her up, and went to drop her off and grab the free breakfast at the hotel. Apparently, the breakfast wasn't free, we learned, when we were handed a bill.

Returning to the room, the phone immediately rang and the front desk called.
"Did you call for emergency services."
"And what was this regarding?"
"My wife wasn't feeling well, but she's been to the ER and stuff, and she's okay now."
" just called for Emergency Services."
"No, I called at 2:00 this morning."
"I have emergency services on the line, and you just called for assistance. I have them on the line."
"No. I called at 2:00 this morning."
"Let me put them on."
"Sir, do you need assistance?"
"No, we're okay. Your people already came out here at 2:00."
There was sort of a bit of dicussion going on at the front desk that I could hear on the line. "We have the wrong room."
"Okay then," I said. "I'm going to hang up. Thanks."

By 9:50 I went to sit in the house and wait for the air conditioner repairman (from 10 - 1, if you're checking facts). So, anyway, I waited. And waited and waited. It was pretty hot, but I brought in a fan and sat pretty still and watched "The Roaring Twenties."

At 1:15 the company cut me off at the pass and called to let me know my repairman was en route. He showed up about twenty minutes later, sweaty and disheleveled, and honestly, looking pretty tired. He got cracking, located a freon leak (that hissing), told me he was going to gauge me, I agreed, and he went to work.

Being the smart guy I am, I went out to his truck with a glass of water, neglecting to put on shoes in the 110 degree heat, burned my feat, handed off the water and went to clean up the plotch of cat barf Jeff the Cat had deposited in by the bedroom door.

Jamie called and announced "My car won't start. I tried to go get some lunch, but my car won't start."
"Of course it won't," I replied.

The gentleman was done fairly quickly, ran through the bill with me, I paid, and changed my air filter (helpful league tip: don't use the solid, nice 3M air filters. Apparently they're too good and make your air conditioners work overtime, shortening the life of your air conditioner).

I drove back to the hotel, started Jamie's car on the first try, retrieved Jamie and checked out. And they didn't even bill us for a second night when they well could have.

Anyway, I'm a little pooped. And poor.

Jamie's feeling better and, in fact, is playing with Lucy right now. We have AC, and things are, for better or worse, back to normal.

But in the past several weeks, Jamie's car has had some minor problems, my tires and radiator needed to be replaced, Lucy was in the doggie ER, Mel had some very minor problems from his surgery, Jamie's been in and out of teh ER three times, and the AC died on the house. I'm just waiting to be diagnosed with a brain cloud.

At this point, you sort of have to be optimistic. I figure we're due for things to balance out.

Monday, June 05, 2006

Post-Hiatus Post 2

It was a nice, quiet week away from blogging. Here at League HQ, peace and quiet is a welcome thing, and rarely gives way to actual boredom. That may change quickly as temperatures have already crested 110 F, and will just get worse through August. These days we're getting up early on weekends so we can get errands done before it hits 100.

I'm reading too many books, which usually means I won't finish any of them. I finally started reading "In Cold Blood" after having seen the film two or three times and having seen Capote. At some point, I need to see what the fuss is about. I started (and then misplaced) Augusten Burroughs second memoir "Dry". Jamie got me started reading ANOTHER memoir called "The Glass Castle", which I then misplaced. Plus, I picked up a non-fiction book about Pirates. There's never enough time to read, and my books always seem to disappear.

Finished "The Life and Times of Scrooge McDuck", and I'm now officially a Scrooge McDuck fan. The Walt Disney comics are a weird comic-reading subculture as the stories are not simple "funny animal" strips, but rather fairly detailed adventure stories incorporating painstakingly researched real-life historical details. No, seriously. It's sort of like "The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles", only less stilted and with talking ducks and dogs.

Unfortunately, the Disney Comics get a lot more play over-seas than they do in the US. Here, those comics are relegated to the juvenile section, when in fact that argument could be applied to a hell of a lot of comics that are marketed for teens and adults. I'll be picking up more of the Uncle Scrooge and Donald Duck stuff. It's a fun read.

Suns lost in 6, which is about what I'd predicted. What I didn't predict was that the Suns would be unable to hold onto a lead when the Mavs decided to get serious. I can now, at least, respect the Mavs. If Cuban can keep his mouth shut and Dirk can continue to play like he has while simultaneously keep his comments to himself, I can give the Mavs credit where credit is due.

That said, if we can keep the current Suns line-up together and get Amare healthy, next year we may be able to finally win a Western Conference Championship.

With the Suns's loss, at some point CrackBass will be guest blogging here at The League. I don't plan to edit a word he says, so God knows what Wilson will write about. I don't usually open the door for Guest Blogging as I ultimately feel responsible for the content here. It's a bit like having your buddy fill out your diary while you're away on vacation. As you all know, if you really want something posted, for the love of mike, just e-mail it to me and I'll post it in nice italics.

As I often do, I'm reviewing the sort of content I post to the site. Between you, me and the wall, has made me feel a bit split in loyalties as a lot of what once went here now winds up over there. The end result is that I occasionally feel as if I have to post more inane stuff to this site just to ensure I post regularly. I guess it would help if I felt folks were making the jump from here to Nano, but I really don't get that impression. If you are, in fact, reading Nano-based reviews of comics, TV and movies, it would be nice to know. Right now I suspect it's me, RHPT, Jim D. and CrackBass all talking to each other.

On the political front, you can tell it's an election year. The GOPers are making a fuss again over the Gay Marriage Amendment. Voters should be far more offended by the GOP's insistence on dwelling on what is essentially a divisive non-issue instead of the many actual issues of the day. Some folks may not like the fact that two dudes can rent out a reception hall, spend too much on a cake and get health insurance through someone other than themself, but it's hardly as pressing as the massive deficit, NSA wiretaps, Iran's nuclear ambitions, North Korea's nuclear ambitions or the many, many aspects of "the long war."

I've yet to hear a logical reason for including secondary-citizen status for a minority group into the constitution, but it's an election year. People do start acting a little daffy.

Saturday, June 03, 2006

...and we're back!

The League enjoyed our time away from the hussle and bussle of the blogging world, but we're also happy to be back.

Of course the week I decide to take off, a lot of things happen.

1) Superman Returns release date is pushed up to Wednesday, June 28th. This will give Warner Bros. the world's longest weekend to try to really hit a home run at the box office. We're travelling Saturday after what was to be teh Friday opening, so I'm pretty pumped about being able to catch the movie opening day and not worrying about missing an early flight.

2) The new Batwoman Post Post Crisis is slated to be a lesbian. And, of course, before anyone's read a word or seen anything more than two drawings, DC went on a media blitz to promote the new character. Yes, I'm embarrassed at the DC PR/marketing machine. Anytime they go hat in hand to the news, pleading for attention, it's a little bit silly. But, that same idea has done wonders for Marvel of late.

Despite the giddiness in the announcement, DC's editorialship and stewardship has been able to handle gay characters for years. In the late 80's/ early 90's, Superman's police captain pal, Maggie Sawyer was gay. The Golden Age Green Lantern's son, Obsidian, is gay. The Vertigo line has been handling gay characters since I was in high school. Green Lantern under Judd Winick had a GLAAD-Award winning storyline.

Can DC avoid tokenism in their Post Post Crisis world as they strive to make the DCU reflect the real world a bit more? The All New Atom is slated to be a Chinese-immigrant academic (which sounds like a stereotype, but I've worked in two Universities. I assure you, we've got our fair share of Chinese-immigrant scientists working in universities). The new Spectre is former Gotham Central cop Cris Allen, an African-American dude. The new Blue Beetle is an Hispanic kid from El Paso (superheroes in El Paso? That's awesome.).

It's kind of nice to have DC giving it the old college try giving roles to folks who aren't just straight, WASPy dudes. The key will be: Will readers give new characters a try? Of late, few new characters of any type have been readily embraced by comic fans.

I guess it's a waiting game on sales.

Here's an article on This ridiculous bit of trivial minutia sat on the FRONT PAGE of for two days. We have a war going on, possible war in Iran, NSA wiretaps on American citizens, a new CIA Chief... and lesbians in batsuits and frikkin' Paris Hilton sat in the headline news section for 48 hours. I think America has officially jumped the shark.

Oh, the new batsuit was designed by Alex Ross and based on the Batman Beyond suit in color scheme. The original Batwoman was also named Kathy Kane, and also a fellow socialite with Bruce Wayne. However, she wore a sort of goofy, brightly colored suit and instead of a utility belt, carried a purse full of high-tech ladies' products (I recall in particular an "expanding hair net" she used to capture crooks). So, yes, she may have needed a bit of a make-over.

Here's a picture of some recent toys of Silver Age Batgirl and Batwoman. Here's a pic of Batwoman from a straight-to-video Batman movie release from a few years ago. Notice any familiar elements?

Oh, Jim, Manhunter was cancelled and then un-cancelled in the past two weeks. That is related to nothing in this issue accept that Obsidian appears sometimes in Manhunter.

3) Alex Toth has passed. Creator of Space Ghost and several other animated legends. Read more here.

4) X-Men 3 made a boatload of money. I mean, a LOT of money. I guess that's one franchise that has really grown on cable and DVD.

I finally saw it this afternoon after getting bumped by a sold-out show last Monday.

It was okay. I think Ratner still can't direct his way out of a bag and certain aspects of the screenplay made no sense. The movie demonstrated one of the flaws of the actual comics. The more the humans throw at mutants, either by enslaving them, experimenting on them or trying to chemically "cure" them the more one starts to wonder if Magneto isn't the realist. While written, perhaps, the most over the top of any of the three films (and making some unbelievable tactical errors) Magneto was given the moral higher ground in this movie about half-way through.

I didn't understand why the movie was so short when so much more could have been done with the newest X-Men (I mean, Colossus got about three lines and was an X-Man)? Jean's ascension to Phoenix sort of just went nowhere, and folks seemed able to travel from San Francisco to suburban New York and back in about twenty minutes.

Luckily, the movie was cut short enough, was loud enough and moved along fast enough that you were never really given much of a chance to think about some of the movie's flaws. Ratner seems like a capable technical director, but he's not winning any extra points for his direction of actors.

The "let's throw everything in the mix" attitude to the film should have been ultimately disappointing to comic fans. It's fine to get a glimpse of established aspects of the comics, but I would rather have seen the storylines touched upon played out for maximum effect. X-Men is unique among comics as the origin of each character is not what defines the character. Thus, the characters tend to develop in a soap-opera method, exposing who they are in their relationships with the other players. Here, we're given black hats and white hats and just sit back and watch events unfold like watching that old magnetic football game.

This was supposed to be the final of a trilogy of X-Films, but if anyone believes that after this movie, I have some beach front property in CHandler, AZ I can sell you. Oh, and for those of you who've never read the comics. Nobody in X-Men is ever dead for long. They'll pop up again one way or another.

5) The Melbotis Store isn't selling too much stuff. I'm a little disappointed.

6) Steven G. Harms is now in Austin. You guys in the Live Music Capital of the World need to invite him to your next cook-out.

7) Lucy was a very sick little girl last weekend, but she's all better now. Today she and Melbotis both got a much needed bath. I no longer feel the need to immediately wash my hands simply because I've touched them.

8) I hope to have a small package sent out to anyone who participated in the 2006 Mellies. If you've updated your address since March, please send me a new mailing address.

9) A special howdy to anybody who has popped in thanks to my recent attempted expansion of my friends list. If you want to be a friend to The League, we're in there. I was delighted to find Amy C. on MySpace, and Esther E. Hello to anybody who pops by.

That's about it for now. We're back.

Thursday, June 01, 2006

Random Comments, May 1 - June 1

Sunday, May 28, 2006

Friday, May 26, 2006

Quick Links:

A site dedicated to saving the Britney that was.

Also: The wax museum doll of Britney, on a stripper pole. The new one at Madame Tussauds in NYC is supposed to have an animatronic heaving bosom.

Jodie Foster really, really did this. At first I was embarassed. Now I think I love her all the more.

See Jodie rap from 8 Mile.

New Zealand Acoustic Hip-Hop Geniuses (courtesy of Jim D.)


Don't forget to hit the League of Melbotis STORE for all your clothing needs.

And the funniest thing I've seen in quite a while (courtesy Cowgirl Funk)

Thursday, May 25, 2006


Hey, Leaguers,

We at League HQ are perfectly aware that many of you feel constrained by the fact that The League is mostly some pictures and words floating in the internet. We know you want to take The League of Melbotis with you no matter where you go.

Thus, we've decided to sign up with and dream up a League of Melbotis store.

Next time you're looking for a great gift idea for your kid or Mom & Dad, why not pop on in and buy a bunch of stuff? We've even got stuff for your dog.


Jamie thought I had been negligent by not mentioning that all the images of "Robot Planet" have some minor nudity. Yes, you can see a cartoon booby. Beware.

Also, Jamie mentioned that I should vary the pictures some. I'm going to add some pics that Jamie requested. And then probably leave them. Long story short, beware the booby in "Robot Planet" and don't order anything until I say it's cool.

****end update****

***Update Update***
Well, go nuts. I changed some images around. Now Jamie can get the shirt she wanted.

Yes, some shirts go up to Steans Boy sizes.

I checked the terms of use, and there's nothing in there about CafePress owning my images, which doesn't surprise me, considering their business model. They are much more concerned about covering their own interests and making sure their clients aren't breaking any laws.

CafePress gives you an option when you're setting up your store to basically bump up their base price if you want to make a profit. I've chosen not to do so. Now, if I suddenly see all the hip kids walking around Tempe with LoM shirts, we may see me trying to get a dollar or two per shirt. In the meantime, I've not adjusted anything.

***end update update***


Here's a link to the site of the new Ghost Rider trailer.

It looks pretty bad. It looks like Ghost Rider is wearing some sort of polyester outfit instead of leather, and that maybe his head is a Halloween ice cream/ liquer confection (a flambe!).

I am neither pro nor anti-Ghost Rider, but this movie doesn't look very promising. Perhaps most telling is that it was due to be released this summer and they didn't even dump it in the August C-Grade movie junklot. It's not coming out until February.

So, sweetie-pie, you know what we're doing for Valentine's Day..!

Well, Wednesday was just an oddly decent day. I got a lot done at work, it wasn't as mind numbingly hot out as I'd suspected, Dan called me at work to fill me in on some Blackboard updates (and life updates), and I got to leave work at a decent time.

Also, of course, Jamie is home from the hospital. She went in to the ER on Monday around 1:00 AM and was admitted, so she was sort of hanging out without much to do at Chandler Regional until Tuesday evening.

She's going to see a pulmonologist (outpatient) to check up on some breathing stuff she's had going on for a while, but otherwise she seems okay. Jamie, of course, took the opportunity in the hospital to tell Dr. Chang I'd been running. He didn't exactly praise me for my astounding transformation, but it was kind of funny how he was more than ready to switch gears and discuss that instead.

So, this evening was kind of nuts with the finale of Lost (which Jamie taped, and which I will not be watching), the Suns/Mavs game and finale of American Idol. I'm kicking myself now, but since we assumed the Suns were sunk, we tuned in to AI. Obviously a very, very bad call.

That said, American Idol turned out to have, arguably, its most entertaining episode to date. Pairing contestants with showbiz success stories, it made for a pretty good variety show without all the self-congratulatory hoo-hah of an established awards show. I mean, where else will you see Mary J. Blige, Live, and Burt Bacharach under one roof? Where?

But, of course, they also had Prince, who reminded us EXACTLY what a performer can be. Thank you, Prince, I had almost forgotten. How have I never seen him live? I'm not living right.

And the show was funny. AI gave in to it's inner dorkiness for the AI Awards, giving some of the not-so-lucky contestants an opportunity to take the stage. And while Clay Aiken may now look like the lost child of Barry Manilow, it was funny to see him as a seasoned performer.

We tuned over to the Suns/Mavs game with three minutes left, saw our boys were down and tuned back. We were more than a little stunned to see the news after the show announcing a Suns victory. I am, I admit, more than a little surprised. Winning Game 1 at Dallas didn't seem to likely. Now for Game 2 the Mavs are really going to be looking for blood.

New comic day brought a conrnucopia of good stuff which I didn't get much of a chance to read. 52 is turning out to be a very interesting read thus far. I guess it's on my recommend list. It's fun to have a book to look forward to every week, so, sales willing, I'll be curious to see what lessons DC takes from 52 as far as marketing strategy.

I still have a stack of other stuff to read, including two Gail Simone written comics (Birds of Prey and the new Secret Six book).

No Superman books this week. Trimming it down to two regular titles is leaving me feeling a bit high and dry, and with JLA on hiatus until July, All-Star Superman a bi-monthly and Superman/ Batman on a wildly irregular schedule, it's just not always as easy to get my Superman fix as I'd like.

Also: Parents called. New Frescata sandwich at Wendy's was okay for what you pay, and Lucy was able to entertain herself all night with a tennis ball.

Hope your Wednesday was a good one.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

No post? Not so.

Check out my review of Da Vinci Code over at

I think you'll find that I am a genius.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Mavs v. Suns = silly betting

Despite the fact that he is not an amoral moron, CrackBass is a Mavs fan. For those of you keeping track of the NBA play-offs, the Mavs beat my San Antonio Spurs last night in game 7 of round 2. It was a feirce battle, and had we fouled the evil Dirk with a few seconds remaining, Spurs would be up for the Western Conference Championship rather than Mark Cuban's evil minions.

Your Phoenix Suns finally decided to play as they do in the regular season and blew out the LA Clippers in game 7.

So, next up, the Suns v. Mavs in the Western Conference Champeeeship.

So, me and CrackBass are putting our money where our mouth is.

Says CrackBass:

Well dear readers, the Mavs won their series over the evil empire that is San Antonio. They overcame themselves and thanks to some horrific officiating (even I think Duncan was fouled at the end of the game), the Mavs will be facing the Suns of Phoenix for a 7 game series beginning Wednesday. The League, Steanso's younger, more distinguished brother, currently resides just outside of Phoenix, in the burgeoning metropolis of Chandler, AZ. Since The League was stripped of his super hero status four years ago after an unfortunate and misunderstood incident with a baby giraffe, The League has been forced to take an interest in such mundane things as pro sports, and therefore, the Suns. I care for the Mavericks a great deal. A bet has been suggested between The League and I. If the Mavs win, then The League shall be forced to do something foolish (mowing the yard in a dress, a la The Simpsons, if only Chandler supported the growth of plants); if the Suns win, I shall do something. We are open to your suggestions. We will take submissions and will choose before tipoff on Wednesday.

Now, the problem is that I don't think the Suns will make it to Game 6, but I have to stand with my local sporting franchise. After all, I have two Suns shirts and no Mavs shirts.

We are now taking requests for what should be the result of this little wager.

You see the comments tab. Go nuts.

Personally, I think whomever loses the battle should have to give Steanso his annual bath.
RIP Lloyd Bentsen

I don't make note of the loss of too many politicians, but I think Mr. Bentsen's years in public service and interesting career are certainly worthy of reflection.

Read more here.
The International Trailer for Superman Returns

Far more spoilery than prior trailers, but a lot of fun.

Go here.

Thanks to Jim D. for the hyperlink.

Sunday, May 21, 2006

Summer of Superman/ Melbotis Mailbag

Randy writes:

I always thought Supes got "beat up" too easily. For a creature with god-like powers, he gets knocked around a lot. This is what always frustrates me when watching a Superman cartoon (JLU; Superman TAS). If Supes was so powerful, couldn't he just destroy people at will? Sure, folks like Doomsday and Darkseid would give him problems, but a guy in spandex with a ray gun? Yes, he has to be careful so that he doesn't kill human beings, but why should he let them push him around? It's like he doesn't fully utilize all his superhuman skills.

Dear Randy,

Point well taken, Randy.

In issue #1 of New England Comics' The Tick, The Tick explains that he is "nigh invulnerable". That's his power. He's exactly as invulnerable as the story dictates. A lot of these sorts of questions don't really bug you when you accept that nigh invulnerability is more or less the status quo of the average superhero in comics or any medium.

The creators of the Justice League and Justice League Unlimited TV programs have gone on record about their decision to de-power Superman in the cartoon. The point being, if Superman were operating at full capacity, would he really need the Justice League? If one watches over the course of the series, it's pretty clear they either couldn't agree on Superman's power (he stops a hurricane but is having trouble with a truck falling off a bridge?), or they simply didn't know what was appropriate to make the show work. I remember screaming bloody murder at the TV in the first episode where Superman is overcome by some alien knock-out gas. Supes can fly in the sun's corona. I think he can handle a little chlorophorm.

All things being equal, I think the same argument regarding "de-powered" superheroes can be made regarding Martian Manhunter, Green Lantern or Wonder Woman. However, nobody seems too concerned that J'onn doesn't have his "Martian Vision" or, seemingly, his telepathic powers. There's barely a snort that Wonder Woman's magic lasso is just super-strong and doe snot force anyone to tell the truth. And I've heard barely a peep that Green Lantern appears limited to lasers and bubble shields in the cartoon.

On the flip side, nobody seems concerned that Hawkgirl can destroy otherworldly atomic drills with a swing of an electrically charged mace.

I guess what I'm saying is: It's all about managing expectations. Everybody more or less has an idea of what Superman can do. It's possible the show's creators misstepped in not meeting those expectations.

If Supes was so powerful, couldn't he just destroy people at will?

He could, but he doesn't. If he did, I think you'd see someone named "Zod" and less of someone named Superman. The idea that Superman would "destroy" people is sort of anathema to the concept of the superhero. Simply because you have the ability to destroy somebody doesn't mean that you utilize it.

Sure, folks like Doomsday and Darkseid would give him problems, but a guy in spandex with a ray gun?

Well, it depends what's in that ray gun and whether Superman was braced for the punch it delivered.

Yes, he has to be careful so that he doesn't kill human beings, but why should he let them push him around?

I think what you're asking is: Why does Superman allow himself to be put in harm's way? Or, are you asking: Why does Superman let himself take the first hit?

Look, some of it is just bad writing. If you have telescopic vision and heat vision and some guy down the block is shooting the place up, you could, in theory, melt the weapon before he ever notices you. I think this is the approach you'd see in the comics but which seems to have missed the JLU writers.

If you're asking why Superman doesn't just pound everyone who is a threat to him... You're kind of missing the point of Superman.

One of the things I dig about Superman is that it's not like Superman is stupid. He KNOWS he can beat most other folks on the surface of the planet. So when he shows up, he can always give crooks of all stripes a chance to drop their weapons and surrender peacefully. He can also afford to take the first shot in a fight, knowing it's entirely likely that he will be able to walk away from a fight.

Does he fully utilize his powers and skills? I guess it depends on your definition. Comics are full of characters who believe they are fully utilizing their powers and/ or skills in order to make the world a better place (ie: the world according to them.) Part of the point, again, of the superheroic ideal is that simply because one has the power, one doesn't necessarily force others (and most likely cannot force others) to abide by their notions of right and wrong. What they CAN do is step in to protect people who stand in harm's way or protect those who are at risk because someone else is "fully utilizing" their powers in a way which is detrimental to the powerless.

But what I think you're really asking is: Can't Superman open a greater can of whoop-ass than what I've seen?

The answer is: I guess it depends where you're looking. Personally, I would have liked to have seen Superman really cut loose on JL and JLU, but that just wasn't in the cards. I did feel like the producers might not even have really liked Superman all that much as a character in the first season, maybe because he can be a pain in the ass to write as he's the swiss army knife of Superheroes.

I think by the end of the show, they really had come to like him a lot more, and had become more comfortable using him in stories.

You do hear some writers complain that Superman is too tough to write as the hero who can do anything, but the fact is that successful Superman stories have only infrequently been about Superman slogging his way, video game like, through low-level villains to the big boss. And, in fact, I don't personally find those sorts of stories terribly engaging anymore in any comics (not just my Superman stories).

Superman comics usually present a far more logical view of what Superman might do. The editors know who their readership is, and they're far more likely to ensure that they don't receive bags of letters asking why Superman let, say, The Rainbow Raider get the drop on him.

I think when you see characters of more limited power, it's easier to chalk up their actions to a "real" effort. Everyone's favorite example: Wolverine. Wolverine is, for all intentions, a guy with a few knives. Wolverine is portrayed as hacking and slashing his way through piles of ninjas, etc... each issue, often with his mouth hanging open, drooling. THAT, is effort. That is a guy fully utilizing his abilities. Superman isn't usually portrayed in this sort of light. And when Superman DOES demonstrate effort, it's usually shown at such a scale that it's less relatable (such as "charging up" by flying through the corona of the sun before smashing through the invading alien army.).

I'm not sure this actually answered your question. What I would say is: in all the media where you see Superman appear, rarely is he portrayed the same way from media to media or even program to program. And, yes, Superman fans also get frustrated with the seeming lack of consistency, too.

Saturday, May 20, 2006

Some Super Unexpected Attention

Apparently Jim D. somehow got a link sent to USA Today regarding the Summer of Superman posting from last weekend. And, apparently, one of the USA Today blogs linked back.

So, LoM has a little unexpected attention.

Howdy to folks stopping in. Sign in below in the comments section. We'd love to see who is popping by.

A million thanks, as always, to Jim D. Special thanks to Whitney Matheson (reporter for a great Metropolitan newspaper) for the USA Today plug. Much appreciated.

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Well, today was a real gem.

I'll try to keep it all short, but we headed to the ER this morning as Jamie had numerous, seemingly unrelated symptoms like a fever, a sore throat, a migraine and probably some other stuff.

However, after sitting there for two hours (I started the second Augusten Burroughs memoir) Jamie decided she really didn't feel all that bad. At least not bad enough to deal with the ER anymore. NOTE: The ER is for people with a medical emergency. about 50% of what you see come in can be dealt with by putting an ice pack on it and a splint from Walgreens.

Anyhoo, we checked out having only, really, checked in.

We kept Jamie's pre-scheduled appointment with her doctor. It seems she may be dehydrated, which is a tricky thing for a dialysis patients. She may also have developed an allergy to something out here. And she has waxy build-up on one ear.

Anyhow, nothing major. She's doing okay, but we're really going to have to keep an eye on her hydration levels.

When we got home, I guess I'd been pretty stressed. I sat down and read a few comics (this was around 4:00) and I fell sound asleep for an hour.

Anyhow, I don't have much to add, but since I've somehow accumulated dozens and dozens of comments from Sunday's posts, I thought maybe I'd step in to say thanks for all the participation! I feel like the first Summer of Superman post was a hit, so I'll try to think of some other posts I can do in keeping with the theme.

Ya'll have a good one.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006