Friday, June 09, 2006


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

Tuesday Night Ramblings

Hey, ya'll.

Well, there's like 3 seconds left in overtime and Mr. MVP just screwed up a perfect chance to win the Suns/ Clippers game. Crud. I don't need the extra stress, I tell you.

By the way, what sort of bizarro universe am I living in when the Lakers didn't get past the first round and the Clippers are still competing for the Western Championship? I keep expecting to see goatee'd Spock come around the corner.

I'm going to say something that I find personally painful: The Mavericks will probably win the NBA Championship this year, and, even worse, they may deserve to. You have to understand, with John Stockton and Karl Malone out of basketball, my least favorite guys are now Dirk and Cuban. Which pains me. Because Avery was one of my favorite players ever. Remember when it was Avery and Robinson carrying the Spurs? I do. Dammit.

Well, shazam! Looks like Raja Bell just bought the Suns a 2nd overtime. I'll be dipped.

You know what's awesome about the Clippers (aside from Sam I Am)? Penny Marshall, Laverne herself, is at the game.

I know CrackBass loves the Mavs, but to me Cuban represents what's pretty much awful about about money+ego. I mean, how many millions does he really have to get fined before he takes his Moe hair and sits down? They need to quit fining him and start reducing Dirk's minutes every time they want to punish that moron. Dirk is skilled, yeah. But he's a jerk, which makes him hard to actually respect. Sorry Dallas fans, this is why nobody will cheer your team if they aren't from Dallas. Your owner makes us dislike your team. Funny that Big D produced two of the biggest jack-ass owners in sports...

I can't take all this basketball. It's too much. I need to get back to the WNBA where it's all about the opportunity to play, and nobody cares who wins.

Shit. Shawn Marion just got hurt.

I am just not into this Bam Maguera guy, even when he incorporates Roller Derby into his ads...


So, just to clear the air here. Not The League nor Mrs. League were offended by any comments made when things got a little wacky yesterday. Let's all just relax.

Regarding my Hopes and Dreams for making comics:

Look, I really, really appreciate the support. I do. Ya'll are nice to tell me I make nice pictures. Jason is nice for telling me I have decent ideas.

There's a saying among comic creators: There's no such thing as a fan over the age of 21 who doesn't want your job. Would I like to do all that? Oh, sure. I'd also like to be an ice cream taster, an NBA recruiter, Gillian Anderson's towel boy or an astronaut. Like anything else, sure, if you try hard enough and chase your dreams, that can be you. Whatever.

I am totally happy enjoying other people's work. I am happy sitting at my table and drawing my little pictures for fun. It's a nice thing to do to keep the brain working as you unwind.

Calling me out for not making a comic kind of ruins the whole thing for me. I never said I was making a comic, so I'm not even sure where that comes from. Up until when I moved my table out of my office last week, I'd had time to draw one picture in all of calendar year 2006, and that was at a special request for KareBear's birthday.

I don't see what's wrong with me enjoying my hobbies separately. Going forward, that's sort of what I would prefer to do.

Jesus. Did you guys see that? My Suns! I can't believe that. Insane. Good game. Marion and Raja were awesome. Mr. MVP made some pretty dorky mistakes. Ah, heck, we WON!!! I thought we totally blew it.

And Billy Crystal, also there for the Clippers, looked so very sad. How will he tell funny baseball stories now?

Kenny Smith looks sleepy. It must be past his bedtime.

Speaking of...

Sunday, May 14, 2006

They may not know you, but they love you...

Yes, we re-arranged the living room. I was sick of everyone coming into my office whenever I was at my drawing table so I brought my table to them.

Leaguers probably wonder how the League manages to maintain a Super outlook in life. The answer is: You have to start your day the Super way.

Superness can vary from day to day, so you really have to take steps to ensure that you've done what you can to make your day as Super as possible.

Below you will find a photographic guide to a typical, say, Saturday in the League's busy, busy life.

Your Super alarm is set to wake you for your day. Superman would not steer you wrong. If he's telling you to get up, you probably should. Also, note the super-safety of keeping a Super flashlight by the clock in case of an emergency.

You've been getting your Super Sleep all night, so now it's time to get up and get on with your Super Day!

Filling your head with Supermanness isn't enough. You've also got to fill your tummy with Super goodness. Remember, you super are what you super eat.

While enjoying your Super coffee, it's time to really start considering how your day can be more Super. You should consider a wide-ranging view of Superman as you enter your Super day.

Check your home for Golden Age items

...add a lot of Silver Age

...and some Modern Age and a few items from the upcoming movie.

Select from your Super wardrobe

Brush your Super teeth with super accutrements.

Make sure significant other is properly attired

Check in with Super Dog

Check in with the Fortress of Nerditude

Staying classic means you can't go wrong...

Check Super library for readings

Review other materials in Super Library

Consult with Super Friends about how to proceed with your day

Now The League has taken the necessary steps to get rolling. We hope your day is as Super as can be. We'll be having a few more Summer of Superman highlights. We hope you keep checking in.
Happy Mother's Day

Hey, everybody. Most of you should have a mother of some sort. I sincerely hope you visited or called your mother today. I did. I love my Ma. She's one hell of a lady and a really good dancer.

Weekend Round-Up

Friday night wasn't all that exciting. In fact, I can't really tell you what we did Friday. I believe I picked up food from Venezia's and we watched some tube and played with some dogs.

Lucy has officially made the passage from interior-destroying outside dog to lazy inside dog. I don't know what Jamie did, but somehow in about three weeks' time, Lucy made the adjustment.

Saturday Jamie tried to get me up to go running, but was completely unsuccessful. Around 10:00 I took an hour-long walk around the new part of our neighborhood (which is nicer than my part), ate some lunch and went to see Poseidon. Look, to keep it short, it wasn't my favorite movie. Of course I did a review, and you can read it over at

Last night we headed for United Airways Center to see a pre-season WNBA match between the Phoenix Mercury and the Conneticut Sun. Hey, it was $10.00 per ticket for good seats, a Coke and a hot dog. All we paid for was a plate of nachos, which, apparently, the 90 year old lady at the concession stand took 10 minutes to "fix" herself.

I sort of dig the WNBA, mostly because seats are $10 a pop, but also because it's such a laid back atmosphere that winning or losing is sort of incidental. That, and... let me put it this way... if a bomb ever goes off at a WNBA game and the audience is wiped out, there will be nobody in the city of Phoenix to train dogs.

The Mercury doesn't have cheerleaders, but we do have something called the "Hip-Hop Squad" which is comprised of a Disney-esque team of insanely perky multi-ethnic folks, some of whom can dance. I mean, all of them can sort of dance, but only one or two actually seem to be able to dance in a way which people might find engaging. Many of the members look like elementary school teachers trying to dance. It's sort of the best/ worst thing I've seen in weeks.

I strongly suspect the Phoenix Mercury won't be taking home a national championship if this weekend's effort was any example of what Phoenix has to look forward to, but at $10-15 a ticket, I'll be back.

Anyhoo, Happy Mother's Day to all you Mom's and children of Mom's.

Saturday, May 13, 2006

Melbotis Mailbag: Emergency Edition

RHPT writes:

Dear Mel,

The Mysterious M has gathered her 8 closest friends from high school in Nashville this weekend, and four of them have made camp at our house (with 4 more arriving tomorrow as reinforcements). They have overrun the house - now with women's undergarments strewn around the house [and not in the good way] - and cornered me into the office with nothing but a laptop, internet connection, two cats, and left me without food or water. Please send help.

Dear Randy,

By the time we'd get to Tennessee it would be far too late. You're on the right track with the internet connection. Beware: You can't actually stay in the room the whole time or, by the end of the weekend, the stench will be unbearable .

My recommendation, take M's momentary distraction as your cue to hit your local comic shop. It will give you a chance to get out of the house and you can finally spend some quality time (and money) looking at comics without M worrying about when you're coming home.

I also suggest possibly hitting Best Buy and/ or your local record store.

If money is an issue, you say you have two cats. It's time to teach those cats to dance. Not only will it fill the time, you can also bid your guests a nice fairwell with a small dance number. Afterward, you go on the road with those dancing cats, Randy. You'll take the world by storm.

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Melbotis Mailbag!

Yes, Leaguers, it's once again time for Melbotis Mailbag! The assembled might of League HQ is here to assist you in answering all of the questions which plague you.

Natalie writes:

Here's a question for your mailbag:

Do men identify with and/or aspire to be superheroes because of their innate desire to fix every problem they come across? Do you think a superhero that just listened to the problem and didn't jump right in with a solution or a fix would be considered a failure?

-Natalie, who contrary to indications pointing otherwise is not bitter and jaded. Yet.

Natalie, my dear, it sounds as if there's a subtext suggesting you're asking something completely different from the stated question, but since I'm not exactly clear on what that question is, I will take this on at face value.

This is a little boring, but I think the answer to your first questions is: Yes. Dudes would like to be able to resolve problems easily and efficiently. This is not just ridding the world of crime, but also changing a tire, mowing the lawn and making cheeseburgers. Thus, the pneumatic wrench, the powered lawn mower and the gas grill.

Moreover, I think a lot of people wish they had greater ability (ie: superhuman ability) to resolve problems they know they cannot solve as a flesh and blood mortal. Also, men like to wear tights. We don't talk about it much, but notice the pants on football players, the outfits on winter olympians and the speed suits on swimmers.

In answer to your second question, I think you have to draw a clearer picture of "listening", and when that might be appropriate. For example, Batman probably isn't going to want to take some share and care time with a guy about to stab someone 47 times in a dark alleyway. Iron Man isn't going to hang about listening to why Kang the Conqueror should get to rule all of history.

I do think that you'll find in Superman comics that The Man of Steel generally gives everybody an opportunity to put down their weapon and give up, or at least figure out what's going on in any situation before he starts slugging people. Superman knows who he is, and so does everyboy else, so you do get an opportunity for people to pause when he shows up to, say, foil a bank robbery.

Superheroes are a largely reactive bunch, not terribly proactive. I don't think they'd necessarily be considered a failure for trying to stop and think out a situation or learn the motivation of a perpetrator. I do think if you read most comics, the characters are either placed into a position where they MUST immediately react to a clear and obvious threat. Many a comic story has been written regarding a superhero walking into a situation throwing punches first and asking questions later, only to learn that they may have taken the wrong side.

Usually superhero teams will not just go running around slugging people, there usually is some discussion of appropriate plans of action with all viewpoints considered. For good examples of this, I suggest JLA and JSA comics.

The next question was submitted by Steanso, no doubt, to see what I would be willing to print. At the risk of any potential future employer deciding this post makes me unfit for employment, here we go.

Steanso writes:

Dear Melbotis,

Can you please explain the cause and the cure for the chafing, burning sensation that Jeff Wilson experiences in his crotch region whenever he participates in any extended outdoor activity? I have suggested that the sensation may be a biproduct of the hormones which the doctor has given him in anticipation of his gender reassignment surgery, but Jeff seems skeptical about this being at the root of his problem. For the good of Crackbass and of everyone who gets stuck watching him jiggle his junk, please help.


Dear Lord.

Well, it was just a matter of time before the bi-curious antics of Steanso and CrackBass spilled over into LoM territory. I confess that neither my information nor the database at League HQ had any immediate answers. We do know that in the old west cowboys would use something called "crotch powder" to keep themselves from chafing from the hours and hours in the saddle. I assume this is merely talc.

My suggestion, do not let anything go to chance. You must assist CrackBass in applying liberal amounts of baby powder and/ or Gold Bond Powder to the offending region.

If that doesn't work, try some tough actin' Tinactin.

Remember, Steanso, only you can make a difference.

That's all for this evenings's mailbag! Keep those letters coming.

Do you like Spider-Man? And evil samurai? And the movie Desperado?

Because if you do, Leaguers, have I got some awesomeness for you, courtesy of Doug.

Go here.

Beware... when you come back, you will never be the same.
Some Interesting Tidbits

Justice League Heroes will be coming out soon. If you own a console and you do not buy this game, you are some sort of weirdo.

Here is a page where you can download the trailer.

You can even play The Flash, J'onn or Zatanna. Now that, Leaguers, is a Justice League game.

If I had to guess, they're going to be fighting the White Martians.

The final episode of JLU will air on Saturday night. I'll probably post more about this on, but this show surpassed all expectations. Unfortunately, it's a lot more expensive to make a new cartoon than just buying some Japanese stuff. (Thank you, Cartoon Network, for Bobobobobo)

The Superman Homepage is reporting that a Superman documentary entitled "Look, Up in the Sky" will air on A&E in June. I will keep you all posted.

Comic Book Resources has it's 10th Anniversary. If you like comics, you should be visiting this site.

It's the 10th Anniversary of Kingdom Come, the groundbreaking work by Mark Waid and Alex Ross. This comic helped redefine the superhero comic for the last ten years. You can find echoes of this work in both Infinite Crisis and Civil War.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Melbotis's Bubble of Blechhhh

Last night after dinner and AI, Jamie asked me to look at Mel's incision where he had his surgery. I guess earlier in the day she'd had a look and it appeared he was getting some fluid build-up behind the scar.

I pulled up his shirt and a bubble the size of my fist was right behind the scar. Mel was happy as a clam and appeared not to notice.

Our vet was long closed so we rushed to the 24 hour clinic a few miles from the house. The place was run suspiciously like a people ER. The only difference being that they weren't worried about getting sued, I guess, because the nurse in triage looked at Mel's bubble and said, "I'm going to save you two hours of wait. Go home and put some hot wash cloths on the bubble for fifteen minutes. Do this twice tonight. Go see your vet first thing in the morning."

I have no idea what this was supposed to do, but we went home and put hot wash cloths on Mel's bubble. I made arrangements to miss work in the morning, made appropriate e-mails and checked on Mel who was, still, happy as a clam.

This morning he woke up and the bubble was slightly larger. I went for my run and at 8:05 I called the vet to get an appointment. We were to go in at 10:00.

I took my shower and got cleaned up, checking on Mel through the window to see how he was doing. He was pretty much standing in the yard happily wagging his tail.

Jamie came home from dialysis, scarfed down an Eggo and we were ready to roll. Mel came inside, and I immediately noticed his bubble was gone. He had a small rupture in his scar that was no longer bleeding, where, I assume, he scratched open the bubble or it just popped. Either way, he'd drained the darn thing.

We still drove him to the vet where they added some staples to his scar and told us that, apparently, what he'd had was "serum". I'm still not sure I'm buying their answer, but it's just bodily liquid that can form at a surgery site.

Bottom line, Mel is fine and I missed 3 hours of work. And somewhere in our yard is a puddle of Mel's blecchhh...
Infinite Posting

If you're wondering why things have been a little quiet lately, I've been working on some sort of rambling review of DC Comics' last few years worth of effort.

It's really, really long. I am sorry.

Still, I would feel remiss if I did not point to my post as both an explanation and excuse for why so little has been showing up at The League.

Go here to read about Infinite Crisis, etc...

Monday, May 08, 2006

52 Website

DC launches a new comic series, 52, this Wednesday. This series will be 52 issues in duration, released once a week, and covering 52 weeks in the life of the DCU.

A crazy idea, so we'll see if DC can pull it off.

To learn more, go to DC's new 52 website.

If you get a chance, look it up and explore. There's actually some pretty funny stuff in there if you've been following DC comics lately. Check out the "Dollers & Sense" story and "Ask Dr. Expert" for some really geeky stuff.
Suggested Reading:

TST has given me her permission to re-direct you to her site. She recently completed the 95th day of a 95 day eating disorder recovery program.

Her comments are honest and enlightening, and I highly recommend her blog as reading to all Leaguers.

Read here.

Melbotis Mailbag

Hey, ya'll... We have two very different letters sent in to the Melbotis Mailbag as well as a question from the Mellie Noms. I will still be digging back through the Mellies Noms to answer all of your questions.

Steven submitted this with his Nominations:

In the future, The League should not ________
Use vaguely Biblical and/or archaic, beautiful language to describe infertility or other personal ailments. It has had a searing effect upon my mind:
"Now, it's more or less public knowledge that Jamie's insides are a rocky place where my seed can find no purchase."

This sentence is both beautiful, cruel, and sad; it has etched itself into my mind.

I wish I could take credit for this one, Steven, but I can't. While somewhat accurate to describe our personal childless status, I lifted this from the opening of the Coen Bros. classic, "Raising Arizona" as H.I. McDonough realizes that his beautiful wife, Ed, is barren. Nobody has a talent for dialogue like the Coens. I believe the exact line was "At first we could not understand why this woman, who looked as fertile as the Tennessee valley, could not bear children. But the doctor explained that Ed's insides were a rocky place where my seed could find no purchase."

I apologize for any discomfort.

As Steanso or CBG could tell you, "Raising Arizona" is just about one of my favorite movies of all time. If you haven't seen it in a while, I think you should watch it as soon as possible.

Doug writes:

Dear Melbotis,

Why doesn't the League have an ATOM feed? My other friends' blogspot blogs all have them. Is it a preference you have to enable? RSS and ATOM feeds are neat.



Well, Doug, Mel has no idea what you're talking about, but he does ask "Am I a good boy?" The answer is, "Yes, you are a good boy!" to Mel's question. The answer to your question is more complicated.

I looked into an RSS feed a long time ago with the help of Steve G. Harms. It turns out Really Simple Symdication is a @#$%ing lie. The tools I looked at kept spitting me code that didn't seem to do anything. I would plug it in here, I would plug it in there, and nothing happened. Nothing. I couldn't figure out what was up, so I quit.

Also, I'm not really clear on what the point is of RSS. I sit in front of a computer all day for a living and I work in an online media environment, and I'm still a bit confused as to what RSS is supposed to be doing for me in general, let alone in relation to a blog. It seems a little bit self-important for The League to be blasting you guys to come read our latest navel-gazing hoo-hah.

Jim D. writes in with a comic related question.

Are really good stories that are told prior to a continuity reboot somehow tainted because they are no longer in the continuity?

What Jim is talking about is some serious comic-nerdy stuff, so I'll try to explain.

You can refer to my prior post on Continuity here for a primer on continuity in comics.

Every once in a while a comic will get stale, an idea worn thin, or become implausible or goofy as time marches on and the comic reading and writing populace becomes more sophisticated. (I use the word "sophisticated" with no small amount of reservation.)

Thusly, a company may decide to "reboot" a character. The most famous instances of such a reboot actually belong to the Big 3 at DC: Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman. In 1986, after a company wide event known as Crisis on Infinite Earths, Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman were each assigned to top-shelf comic creators who were asked to re-tell their origin with a modern sensibility.

I'll stick with the Superman reboot as it probably had the most long-standing changes to the origin and character.

John Byrne re-told the story of Superman's origin in "Man of Steel", a 6-issue limited series that was then followed up with the appropriate changes in Superman, Adventures of Superman and Action Comics. Prior to Man of Steel, Superman had been a Super-powered youngster in Smallville who took on the name "Superboy", fought crime and natural disasters and generally had some nice adventures as a teen-ager in an idyllic Kansas small town. Whenever he felt like it, Superboy would join up with a gang of teen-age Superheroes in the 30th Century known as The Legion of Superheroes.

Also, the motivation for Lex Luthor's anti-Superman-scheming ways could be found in Superboy. Apparently Lex and Superboy had been pals, with Lex helping Superboy out as a child-genius scientist. Lex had a fire in his lab, and Superboy blew it out, spraying chemicals on Lex's head which caused her hair to fall out. Being a vain little goon, Lex decided Superboy was jealous of him and had caused the entire scenario to humiliate him.

Superboy had his own comics, appeared in Adventure Comics for years, and also was part of the cast of the fan-favorite Legion of Superheroes.

Byrne wished to look to the original version of Superman who had not, in 1938, spent time as Superboy, and struck Superboy from the record. Needless to say, Byrne removed the Lex hair removal bit from Superman's history. Lex was now a corporate tycoon who despised Superman for exposing some of his criminal activity and humiliating him (ie: arresting him) in public. Lex also went bald the year Superman appeared in Metropolis. I think the suggestion was that the stress got to him.

This decision to rework the Superman mythos forced the cancellation of Superboy comics as well as Legion of Superheroes. Legion would need to be rebooted as Superboy was no longer part of their lore. Further, Krypto was struck from existence as Krypto had been Superboy's pet pup on Krypton, and had appeared mainly in Silver-Age Superboy comics.

Are the stories from the first 50 years of DC/ National's history "tainted" by the decisions in 1986? I can't see how you can they aren't. After all, those stories no longer "exist" in the minds of the Superheroes wandering the DCU. Or, at least, they didn't until Infinite Crisis #4. So, God knows what the next 20 years will look like.

It's my opinion that the Crisis events were a small bit of genius on the part of the DC editorial staff. Continuity could continue, characters could advance, and it didn't necessarily throw the baby out with the bathwater in retelling the story of the DCU. But you also didn't need to worry about reading every issue of "Superman's Pal: Jimmy Olsen". In a way, in the DCU, it's ALL continuity. It just depends on which aspect of the universe you're looking at, be it the 1939 version of Superman or some version of him from the animated series.

I guess the question then is: Are the pre-reboot stories still enjoyable?

Again, this is my opinion, but: Yeah. I like reading the stories from the 1950's and 60's and being allowed to know that they're a product of their time and place. The stories can serve as a relic of a bygone era and still be strip-mined by today's creators for the best parts. Sure, the format is simple, and the stories geared at kids, but there's a bit of raw energy there and a puzzle-solving nuance that's all but gone from comics these days. (You couldn't show Superman beating the tar out of people in the 1950's thanks to threats from parents' groups, so he HAD to do something).

The fusion of past and present is exactly what's making Grant Morrison's "All-Star Superman" such an amazing comic read.

In the meantime, other comics such as re-boots of the Superboy concept and Legion of Superheroes have struggled endlessly since they were written out of existence. Something happened there that took the wind out of the sails of both concepts, and it's left both franchises gasping.

The Smallville TV show mixes the heroics of the Superboy comics with the costumeless alien coming to terms with a destiny that Byrne described. Legion of Superheroes has had, I believe, three separate launches since 1986. Most likely because Paul Levitz, who once wrote "definitive" Legion stories is now running DC. It will be interesting to see if folks regain interest in the Legion again with "Superboy and the Legion" coming to TV this fall on Cartoon Network.

In the end, you have to answer the question for yourself. How do you, as a reader, feel about these decades of pre-1986 DC comics? You can mine them for comics history or dismiss them as the past.

I do think the reason DC appeals more to an older readership than the teen-ager audience (who seem to enter comics invariably through Wolverine and Spidey) is due to an adult's sense of perspective and understanding of the importance of history. Marvel is getting there. In the past two or three years they've really learned to take a look at their roots and have made some hand-waving about their own "golden age".

I guess, as a rule, reboots do need to be kept to a minimum. It is difficult to keep up with character change after character change, as well as plot alterations, etc... The rules of continuity still apply. Editors need to show the greatest amount of foresight possible when re-writing the histories of their characters or you stand to lose your long-standing leadership all together.

Again to the Superman case: Superman's fan base was expected to grow with the reboot, but in the intervening years, that's not really happened. A lot of folks were put off by the drastic changes Byrne brought to the character. Despite Berganza's shaky record as an editor, he was willing to reintroduce elements of the Silver-Age of Krypton. I'll be curious to learn Superman's new status-quo in the upcoming year as Infinite Crisis once-again provides opportunities to alter the character's past to reset and look to the future.

On a personal note: I do buy collections of older comics. I do enjoy the stories. I highly recommend readers pick up what they can afford of the old stuff. Most of it doesn't show the same cinematic quality of modern comics, but the comics are also usually a lot denser in plot and generally a fun read.

That's it for today's Melbotis Mailbag. Don't forget to keep sending in those questions.

Sunday, May 07, 2006

Comics, Summer of Superman and Rollerderby

Hey Leaguers!

Friday I finally got my hands on some of the toys being released with the upcoming film, Superman Returns. I got "Truck Lifting Superman", "Crystal Smashing Superman", "Bulletproof Superman", and "Zipping into the Air Superman". Pictures to come.

Anyhow, the toys got me all in a tizzy because they really are some fairly decent toys for a movie tie-in. And, man, do they class up the living room.

Saturday I got up around 7:00 and tried to break up my usual run/ walk/ lope/ frighten the neighbors routine by bringing Lucy along. What I learned is that Lucy is not a good running partner as she thinks it's a race. Sure, she's faster than me, but she just kept getting yanked around on the leash when she tried to pull forward. Deciding that I'd prfer not to wind up dragging a dead dog through the neighborhood, I slowed my pace to a walk and all was well.

I was doing some cleaning up of the Fortress of Nerditude when Dedman called.
"The League!"
"I've been to Free Comic Book Day! I got you a back issue of Superman versus Santa Claus!"
Well, I was, of course, deee-lighted that Jim D. was taking advantage of Free Comic Book Day at his local retailers, and I felt a bit down about my own decision NOT to partake in FCBD. You see, The League has a lot of comics. A LOT of comics, and picking up free comics doesn't hold a lot of appeal when you already have tons of comics, some of which are in a stack waiting to be read.
"Hey," I asked Jim, "Find me JSA #39. It's the only hole in my run on JSA."
He called back two minutes later. He'd found it. WHOO-HOOOO!!!!

So Jamie and I stepped out of the house to redeem a coupon for a free cat toy at PetsMart (we had to pick up dog food, anyway). While eating my mediocre salad at Chili's, I kept stewing over my decision NOT to go to FCBD.

Finally, en route to League HQ I turned to Jamie (who was driving) and asked "Can we go to Mesa?"
Jamie is the bestest wife ever. Most wives, as I understand it, somewhat tolerate their husbands' eccentricities. Jamie's willing to drive.
So we drove up to Mesa and after overshooting by, oh.... three miles, we turned back and made it to the Atomic Comics in Mesa where comics scribe Ed (Captain America) Brubaker and Michael (Gotham Central) Lark were participating in a signing. These two guys are now jointly working on Daredevil in the wake of the ground-breaking Bendis/ Maleev run, so I guess that's why they got pulled in together.

At any rate, there was a really long line when I came in, and I knew we had about a 50/50 chance of seeing the line and turning around and walking back out the door again. I sort of wandered around the comics, trying to figure out what the situation was, and quickly realized neither Lark nor Brubaker were in the store. I guess they'd taken lunch.

I grabbed a Daredevil and a back-issue of Gotham Central for them to sign, and finally asked a store employee what the deal was. "Is that the line for Lark and Brubaker?"
"No. They're on break. Those are people trying to get a sketch from (blah-blah-blah)."
"So where's the line for those guys?"
"There isn't one."
Okay, so in my head, the way Reedo or Steanso might spend some time worrying about meeting, say, Ween, I had been sweating it that meeting these two guys would be an insurmountable task. I turned to the girl checking me out at the counter and said "So, look... I've never been to a signing before. I don't know how this works. Is there a gratuity expected?"
"They don't want you to kiss up to them."
I paused, realizing this girl did not know what the word "gratuity" meant.
"You know," she continued, "They're just guys. Treat them like you would anybody else."
Well, The League has crippling social anxiety in non-work related environs, and so I just sort of shrugged and said "So I can be a complete jerk."
The girl was confused.
The guy pointed me to a sweaty guy in his forties (we're all seaty, it's AZ in the Springtime) and said "Go stand with him. I guess we'll start the line there."
So I stood with the sweaty guy, pretty excited to be second in "line", or "Blob" as I suspected it would become as it was not a great place to queue.
"So who's this 'Lark' guy?" Jamie asked. I pulled out the Gotham Central issue I'd bought and flipped through it, expalining to Jamie how, yes, it's a little retro, but Lark's work has a certain naturalism and how he really draws the best Batman of the past five years and blah, blah, blah...
Then this guy walks up to the blob of five of us and says "Are you looking to get your comic signed?"
"Yeah-" I'm about to tell him to get in line BEHIND me.
"Cool. I'm Michael Lark."
So, anyway, I guess Michael Lark heard my elevator speech on the virtues of his work. Which can't be all bad.
"So," I said, flipping through his original page art (I loved his 'Pulse' stuff and it was in there). "You're not actually from here?"
It turns out Lark is from Dallas and also, despite only being in PHX a short time, ALSO finds PHX butt-ugly and lame. Nice guy. Seriously. It was a little weird because, I mean, what am I going to do? Sit there and tell him how much he kicks ass? That just seemed a bit off.
Brubaker showed up and happily signed my comic, but it sounded like he'd an altercation with the store staff over dropping the F-Bomb in conversation with a fan.
Not really having anything to add to the conversation, I said my thank-you's, took my Daredevil and Gotham Central and scooted out.
I did, however, totally forget to grab any actual free comics.
What blew me away was that these guys are big in the comic industry. Especially Brubaker. I mean, Brubaker writes Cap and X-Men and stuff. At a Convention, he'd be huge. For some bizarro reason (and I choose not to question why) there was nobody in lien to see them, but there were like 20 teenagers in line with their moms waiting to get a sketch from (bla-bla-blah).

Last night we headed North to Casey at the Bat, a sports complex off Union Hills in Phoenix to see the Surly Girlies take on the Bad News Beaters. Sadly, my favorite player was not actually playing last night, but the Surly Girlies must have been putting in some serious overtime at practice because they looked great.

They played at an outdoor in-line rink which is usually used for some sort of in-line hockey, as near as I could tell. It was open air and pretty darn nice. Lots of people, most of which were Surly Girly fans, batting cages and some sort of miniature golf course.

Hippie's Revenge (#069) was probably the star of the evening, but Denise Lightning (#23) and Kiddah Kilah (#17) stepped up as well.

I think I did have a moment of clarity as one of the Beaters went down and the announcer had us all applaud her as she left the track. "Let's all hear it for 'Chesty Molesty'!" And two hundred people applauded wildly.

Perhaps due to the open air envirnoment, the crowd was pretty sedate. Music was provided by The Route 66 Killers who were a step above the last group to play and brought their own belly dancer to perform along with them. For good or ill, the dancer wore an ape mask, which I think Jamie found a bit distressting.

Lots of kids show up for these events, and so it was kind of fun to see five or six boys and girls dancing to some surf punk along with ape-dancer.

Anyhow, the Surly Girlies demolished the Beaters. The final score was 174-144, but I suspect the Surly Girlies gave up some points in the 3rd period, or else they finally got tired. Of course, with the way the clock was off and the score board seemed to change just randomly from time to time, who knows?

The announcers, looking to get some crowd involvement, did take time out to annoucne the final score of the Lakers/ Suns game (which, sadly, I already knew thanks to my Blackberry).

Oh, and Justice League Unlimited kicked-ass.

All in all, a good Saturday.

Thursday, May 04, 2006


According to her own website, my old roommate and film school collaborator CBG is now great with child. Well, not "great" quite yet, but she's knocked up.

You can read CBG's account here.

You need to see the picture. The little critter looks so much like CBG, it's adorable.

Soon the world will be populated with a walking, talking CBG DNA replicant. Are we ready? Apparently the Bush White House is putting a plan into place. Expect word from Chertoff to be released this afternoon.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Infinite Crisis #7

The final issue of Infinite Crisis hit the stands yesterday. A lot of people aren't going to like this comic. A lot of people aren't going to like this series.

The League is not to be counted among these people.

The wrap-up to the biggest event at DC in 20 years was an absolutely mammoth undertaking, and, as such, it's sheer size and scope gives readers plenty of places to find problems. Did the story deliver? That's up to every individual reader to decide.

In the end, the series did what it set out to do, and that's to reset the DCU for the next twenty years of publishing history. Whether or not you liked how they got to that point is personal taste.

Jim was looking for my review, and I'll give it ASAP over at as soon as time permits. For now I have comics to read. Tomorrow night I have a Cubs/ D-Backs game to attend, so we'll see when I can get to my full, navel-gazing review.

Next week 52 begins. I highly suggest picking up the first issue.

Oh, and get this...

So tonight I was sort of reading comics, sort of watching the Cavs game. If you watched, you know this game came right down to the wire. With three seconds left in OT, my DVR switched channels on me to start recording "Mythbusters". Why? ABC can't set their @#$%ing schedule for "Lost" to 8-9 like the rest of the world. "Lost" is apparently so special it runs from 8:02 - 9:02. So my DVR can onlyhandle two channels at the same time, and for two minutes I was scrambling with the remote and I missed the end of the game.

Screw you, ABC, for not just broadcasting at 8:00- 9:00 like the rest of the civilized world.

I've been trying to finally add Leaguers to the blogroll, so please check it out to see if I missed any suggestions from the Mellies, or if one of you Leaguers has a blog or website I haven't added. I'll also add organizations, etc...

I've also updated the poll on the left menu bar.

And, if you haven't seen it yet, I've linked to the new Superman Returns trailer. Scroll down a bit. It's there.
Poll Position

Say "so long" to the old poll and welcome in a new Poll.

Thanks to our three pirates for chiming on this go round!

Tuesday, May 02, 2006


Go here. or here for different bandwidth, etc...

Thanks to SupermanHomepage for alerting SuperFans everywhere.

btw... in true comic-movie form, looks like the villain steals the show once again...

I think they're still saving the big guns for the actual movie, but even if not, this looks like the Superman movie I would want to see.


Nathan was the first one to send me the link via e-mail. Bonus points to Nathan for his Loyal Leaguerness

I was going to hold off, but, heck, why not...

I declare it is now officially



Here's an April article from the local student paper on AZRD.

read here

Monday, May 01, 2006

Free Comic Book Day

Hey, Leaguers... I would feel as if I were slacking in my crusade if I did not mention that this coming Saturday (May 6) is Free Comic Book Day.

FCBD is an annual event in the comic industry wherein publishers print up free copies of some great comics. The idea is to drum up interest in potential new readers and get current readers to check out titles they aren't sure they want to spend money on just to test the waters.

I can't guarantee what FCBD will look like at your local comic shop. I've seen some stores that did it up right for long-time readers and folks who came in to see what the big banner was for (Austin Books), I've seen some shops that are mostly interested in the new customers that the comics might draw (Atomic Comics), and I've seen some stores that didn't seem to understand the concept in the slightest (my very own local comic shop).

If you're in the Austin area, I highly recommend dropping into Austin Books (on Lamar) or Funny Papers (in Dobie Mall). In Houston, I recommend checking out any of the Bedrock City locations.

Comics which should be available will include titles for both adults and the kids. It looks like Gemstone is going to have some of their great Donald Duck comics available, so look for those. (I picked up "The Life and Times of Scrooge McDuck" the other day. Good stuff. Seriously!)

Parents, this is your only wanring: comics are like movies, so do not expect for all content to be G-rated silliness. There's all kinds of stuff in those things and they don't have much of a ratings system. So take a look at what your kid is holding in his or her hand before letting them take anything home. Don't be a loser who decides to sue because you can't take two minutes to monitor what your kids are reading.

I just noticed some of the local shops in Phoenix will have some of my favorite writers and artists for signings, so Jamie may have to deal with me standing in line for hours on end to get Steve Dillon to sign my copy of Preacher #1 at Atomic Comics. Not to mention Michael Lark and Ed Brubaker will be at the Atomic Comics in Phoenix.

Man, these stores ARE doing it up right.

Sunday, April 30, 2006

Some quick updates

For The Admiral... Here is further information on Marvel's new event, Civil War.

I've done some reviews of DC comics from last week over at

And, we left Lucy inside today while we went bowling and to the store.

I bowled a high of 142 and a low of 98. Jamie's high was a 136, and her low in the mid-90's. My low score is up for debate as on the fourth frame I missed the 8 and 10 pin, but the machine registered the bowl as a strike. Unsure of how to fix the computer error (and not really inclined to collect my imaginary strike) I got something lower. But who knows? Maybe I would have gotten a spare? I think God wanted me to have a strike, is what I think.

By the way, the Chandler AMF Lanes has the BEST musical selection of all time. I hadn't heard that much crappy nu-country in one span of time since leaving Texas.

Yes, we'd never before left Lucy to just roam the house while we were gone, but it's summer, she's a big girl, and I'm not going to stick her in her kennel anymore every time we leave. Apparently the separation anxiety was a bit much for her. When we got home, right by the back door, she'd barfed up all the grass she'd eaten in the backyard (she eats grass all the time). It was so sad, and so very, very gross.

I felt awful for the little squirt. She must have been so scared. Luckily, she and Jeff had managed not to kill each other.