6.25.2007

Sabbatical

No new posts for a few days - the rest of the week, actually.

I've nothing new to report today, and tomorrow morning I leave for the nothing town of Bushnell, IL for the Cornerstone Music Festival until sometime Saturday, with no internet access to speak of.

So I'll be back Sunday, hopefully with some kind of content worthy enough to warrant a post.

Until then, everyone have a good week!

-M

6.24.2007

More memes that I can actually do

So apparently I got tagged by Calvin a couple of days ago without realizing it. Better late than never, right? Right! So, let's get to it, shall we?

- I have to post these rules before I start.
- I have to tell you eight facts about myself.
- I have to tag eight people to participate.
- I'm supposed to leave a comment telling them they're tagged and to read my blog.
- And the tagees need to write their own blog post, telling us eight things and posting the rules.

Hm, let's see what we can think of here...

1. Despite the fact that I consider myself something of a film/pop culture "buff," there are plenty of classic films that I've never seen. The Godfather, Schindler's List, Citizen Kane, Apocalypse Now...none of em. I get most of the "hep" references from said films, but I'm still ashamed to admit that I've never seen these American classics. Meanwhile, I have copies of Elektra and Hulk in my DVD collection...think what you will.

2. Speaking of DVDs, over half of the DVDs in my collection are box sets of some of my favorite TV shows. Of the actual films that I own, at least a quarter of those are box set collections as well.

3. I once wrote that Buffy the Vampire Slayer was what introduced me to the wonderful world of serialized storytelling, but looking back, that's not really true. In reality, it was K.A. Applegate's Animorphs series. Despite an "8-12" age label, the series explored themes like war, combat, and dehumanization in a way that I'd never experienced at the time. I still foster a great love for the books, and all sixty (fifty-two reglar novels, four deluxe editions, and four backstory novels) still sit on my bookshelf today. I'm very seriously considering picking them up again after all this time.

4. Despite my appreciation for the characters, I absolutely cannot read Fantastic Four from the Lee/Kirby era without becoming bored at best and appalled at the ridiculousness at worst. However, I can read Silver Age Superman stories and enjoy the hell out of 'em. What's up with that?

5. I'm extremely interested in what some might call "alternative" religion. I'm very into researching the theology of certain faiths, important events in their history, and the lives of their leaders. One of my favorite religions to research to date has been the Latter-Day Saints (aka Mormons). Don't ask me why they stick out to me, but they do.

6. I own copies of The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, The Chronicles of Narnia, and The Lord of the Rings that I've never bothered to read.

7. The first comic book I ever read was an issue of the Archie Comics Sonic the Hedgehog series. For years, it was the only book that I read. To this day, I still have an enormous run of at least 100 issues, as well as most of the 32-issue run of its spin-off, Knuckles the Echidna.

8. At times I can have notoriously low self-esteem. When put in a position with another whom I see as my better in some way, I can't help but feel useless in their presence. This has, at times, affected my writing - I often feel that whatever I have to offer has probably already been more succinctly stated by another, more intelligent person.

So, according to the rules, I have to tag eight people. Lesse...how's about Tom, Sally, Steven, Spencer, Jon, aaaand...Engblom.*

Let the games begin!

-M

*I originally DID have eight, but alas, I discovered that two of my tagees had already done this little excersize. Oh well.

6.23.2007

R.I.P.

In memory of a little thing called fun...

I offer you this.

Rest in peace, fun.

You will be missed.

-M

6.16.2007

Is it possible?

I happened acrosss this little gem while reading over CBR's report of the "Mondo Marvel" panel at Wizard World Philly...
Bill Rosemann took the microphone to discuss the sequel to the popular "Annihilation" event, "Annihilation: Conquest." New covers were shown for the miniseries, including "Star-Lord" by Keith Giffen and Randy Green, "Quasar" by Christos Gage and Mike Lilly, and "Wraith" by Javier Grillo-Marxauch and Kyle Hotz. The ongoing "Nova" series will also be tying into the event, and the cover shown in the panel featured the cosmic assassin Gamora brandishing the helmeted skull of Nova!...The "Wraith" miniseries will feature the eponymous new character, but it was hinted that he may have some connections to a character of the past.
I don't know about you, but when I hear "Wraith" one thing immediately comes to mind...

Please oh please oh please...

-M

6.14.2007

A meme for me, a meme for you

I'm kinda stoked about this. I love memes, but due to my lack of proficiency with Photoshop, I never get to take part. This one's easy and fun for the whole family!

I volunteered myself to be interviewed, and in turn I'm offering to interview others. Here are the questions I was asked; the details follow.

1. You're trapped in a burning building, but you can contact one hero for help. Your two choices are Spider-Man or Batman. Who do you call?


Spidey all the way. Nothin' against Batman, really - he's pretty much a pro when it comes to his war on crime, but when you get right down to it, Peter Parker is more of a natural-born hero than Bruce Wayne will ever be. Not to mention the fact that if I'm in a burning building, I could use a little something to take my mind off things, and I think that ol' Webheads wise-cracking ways are perfect for that.

2. You've somehow been transported into Clue: The Movie! You're drawing straws for pairs to search the house. Who are you paired with?

It's been a long time since I've seen the movie. I guess I'd say Wadsworth, because he's either Mr. Boddy in disguise or an FBI agent, and the fact that he's Tim Curry is a bonus.

3. The Anti-Monitor is coming to destroy your world! Luckily you happen to have a spare "Cosmic Treadmill" lying around and can escape. But you'll be trapped on that other earth forever! To what earth do you flee?

Hm...it's a tie between New Earth and Earth-2. New Earth because that's where the action is, Earth-2 for the simpler times of the Golden Age.

4. You're stranded in a war zone. Things don't look good. Which ex-vet will you choose to watch your back: Wild Dog or the Punisher? (and explain why!)

I would have to say The Punisher. For one thing, I have no idea who Wild Dog is. For another, as Tom Foss noted, Frank Castle is just a little bit crazy. That definitely has it's downsides, but it can come in handy in an all-out war scenario.

5. You're in the Old West, there's a bounty on your head, and Jonah Hex has tracked you down. He asks you if you have any last words. What are they?

Honestly? I'd probably just wet myself. A lot. Jonah Hex is kind of a scary dude.

-----

Now, it's your turn:

1. Leave me a comment saying, "Interview me."

2. I will respond by asking you five questions. I get to pick the questions. (They probably won't be the same ones you see above!)

3. You will update your blog with the answers to the questions.

4. You will include this explanation and an offer to interview someone else in the same post.

5. When others comment asking to be interviewed, you will ask them five questions.

----

-M

6.12.2007

Wait, you mean people aren't still talking about this?

Okay, so yeah, everyone kind of got over the dud that is The Ultimates 2 #13 a while ago, so this is kind of old hat.

But - for some strange reason - I was thinking about the issue earlier tonight, and something crossed my mind.

At the end of the issue, Cap tells Nick Fury that he intends for the Ultimates to break off from S.H.I.E.L.D. and go independent, Avengers-style.

The thing of that is, in my reading of the first two volumes, I always got the impression that the Ultimates were government-sponsored and funded. I always got the gist that, essentially, the Ultimates were a super-human extension of the armed forces.

So can they actually break free, just like that? I mean, it kind of seems like Easy Company deciding to secede from the Army after the war and go their own way.

Seems kind of silly when you stop and think about it.

But then, I find lately that that's the case with the majority of Mark Millar's body of work...

-M

6.02.2007

Sand in your eye

Feh.

Even though it came out a little while ago, I hadn't had a chance to sit down and read the Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man Annual until just a few minutes ago.

And my reaction was mostly "feh."

In the main story, entitled "Sandman: Year One," Peter David attempts to explain how Sandman ended up the way he did with all of the classic elements - an absentee father, a bad home life, and two or three single moments which set him on the path of a career criminal.

That's all fine and good (if a little cliched), but along the way, we get all sorts of unnecessary explanations - as a kid, William Baker (aka Flint Marko aka the Sandman) loved to play with...guess what? Sand. Sand castles, colored sand in a bottle - you name it, Baker loved it. He loved it so much so that he taught himself to fight by watching how sand moves in the ocean.

William Baker came up with his primary alias - Flint Marko - based on a high school nickname and the fact that his high school coach told him he'd "never make a mark" on the world.

I hate hate HATE it when writers do stuff like this. So William Baker loved sand as a kid? I can get behind that, I guess - excepting the fact that Baker's transformation into the Sandman was completely accidental and therefore, this retcon makes it one enormously convenient coincidence.

Whenever I run into this stuff I can't help but ask myself - why is this necessary?

Doesn't it make sense enough that William Baker ended up in the wrong place at the wrong time - and that he just happened to be wearing a green-striped shirt, and hadn't worn some form of said apparel since his adolescence? Isn't that enough?

The name "Flint" I get, but isn't it enough that "Marko" is something he made up out of thin air? Isn't it enough? It doesn't have to have some kind of significance to his past, does it?

The thing of it is, there are a lot of other characters for which this could have worked. Want to say Adrian Toomes has a thing for birds? That works because at some point the old fella had to make a consious decision to dress up like a bird and call himself the Vulture, so it fits. Want to say Curt Connors was really into reptiles at one point? That makes enough sense, because maybe that's what led him to study their regenerative properties in the first place.

But it just doesn't work for Sandman. William Baker wasn't a scientist studying sand who was caught in a lab accident or a guy who deliberately made himself into sand; he's just a poor dude who was in the wrong place at the wrong time - so establishing some sort of precedent for his love of sand just seems kind of contrived and hackneyed. It's kind of like rewriting history so that Otto Octavius had an interest in octupi as a child - despite the fact that the name "Doctor Octopus" is derived from a nickname he earned working with his mechanical tentacles.

I don't know. Maybe I'm being too critical. Maybe I'm not being critical enough. I guess I'm just kind of pissed that I saw that the pieces for a really good (if not overly original) story were there, but all of the necessary explanation and connection seems to overshadow and overpower it all, and what results is just a giant pile of mediocre.

I don't know. You tell me, Dear Readers - am I on to something here or do I just have a bad case of Angry-Fanboyitis?

-M

6.01.2007

More random thoughts

1.) Has it ever been explained exactly how Alan Scott managed to steal the name and schtick of an intergalactic peace keeping force before he knew they existed?

2.) Has anyone noticed that every book DC puts out has a small logo for the corresponding issue of Countdown from that week? I thought that was kinda cool.

-M