Monday, November 24, 2008

Comin' up on Turkey Time!

We're coming up on Thanksgiving here in the USA -- a holiday devoted to giving thanks, to hanging around with family and friends, to Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, to football, and to TURKEY!

No, not THAT Turkey. I mean, TURKEY!

No, no, no, no, no ...

I mean, I KNOW there's gonna be a LOT of Wild Turkey being consumed in households this weekend (amongst other things), but I'm talkin' about the BIRD!

That's more like it ... hey, now, cut that out!

Anyway, I have many, many things to be thankful for, too many things to list here, so I'm just going to wish everyone a Happy Thanksgiving before signing off for the week. I should be back December 1. Stay safe and be happy, everyone! And watch out for turkeys at football games!

Sigh ...

Friday, November 21, 2008

NO MORE SEX for Green Lanterns!

Ooooooh, those stupid, stupid Guardians of the Universe! For anyone who hasn't yet viewed Green Lantern Corps #30, it ended on THIS delightful little note:

Okay, okay ... maybe she's REALLY saying the Green Lanterns just can't mess around with each other -- but it's still open to interpretation. 'Course, it also doesn't mean that this law will actually pass. So, we may not get to see how the Green Lanterns will react to this jolly bit of news. Still, it's not too hard to figure it out. A cycle of GRIEF will no doubt sweep through the Corps!

Psssst! Hey, ARISIA! Rumor has it that Green Lanterns won't be allowed to have sex anymore!

DENIAL!

Hey, KILOWOG, JOHN -- the Guardians say you have to give up sex!


ANGER!

(Wait -- Does Kilowog even HAVE a sex life? Oh, well ...)

HAL, oh, HAL, have you heard? The Guardians are gonna pass a law saying Green Lanterns have to give up their sex lives!

BARGAINING!

HOLD ON ... I thought you'd be more upset than THAT, Hal. I mean, the Guardians are screwing you over again!

Okay, okay, just checking ...

Hey, GUY -- No more sex! The Guardians said so!

DEPRESSION! Or what passes for depression with Guy. Still, you gotta wonder if this isn't going to mean HUGE business for Warriors, and for Guy, what with all the Lanterns that are gonna need to drown their sorrows.

Moving on ...

The Guardians say, no more sex for you, KYLE!

ACCEPTANCE!

Hey, waitaminute ... Please tell me Kyle isn't THAT stupid. Or maybe he just isn't all that upset about giving up his Lady-Killing Touch of Death. Who knows?

(P.S. -- This is all based on the classic Kübler-Ross Grief Cycle, in case anyone is wondering. Go look it up. :->)

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Batman and Robin in happier days

Just another one of those behind-closed-doors meetings between Bruce (Batman) Wayne and Dick (then Robin) Grayson:

Oh, but all is forgiven between our two boys, right?

Ya gotta love out-of-context Batman and Robin panels. Batman and Robin just make it ALL so easy.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Hurryin' Hoosier, the superhero!

What a pleasant surprise! Egyptoid at Ramblin' Gamer has used Fábrica de Heróis to design an Indiana-based superhero: The Hurryin' Hoosier! At his day job, he's journalist and avian veterinarian Gary Seymour (*snicker* -- the names of two towns in Indiana). As the flying, bird-loving superhero Hurryin' Hoosier, he's decked out in the colors and designs of the Indiana state flag.

More details from Egyptoid: "Apparently born to Wealthy Parents, the boy was raised in a boarding Orphanage, with all his expense paid, and a trust fund that paid off when he was 18. He was dropped off at the orphanage by an aged second cousin, but that person died before Gary was ever old enough to talk to him. The cousin muttered something about the child being raised by bald eagles in the Wyandotte state forest, but this was dismissed by the nurses as crazy talk. However, the lad grew to have an affinity with avians, so who knows.

"The closest friend and mentor Gary had at the school nearby the orphanage (IUM Childrens Home) was the science teacher, Mr. Broaderick.

"Gary keeps to this day a model he built of the B-58 Hustler from Grissom Air Force base, which he built when he was seven.

"At puberty his mental prowess accelerated, and he found his mental powers and comprehension of machines growing. He used his money to fund his way through IU Journalism school, keeping his powers a secret. He and Doc Broaderick worked on his super suit in secret.

"Someday he hopes the truth about his parentage will be revealed, how his mom gave him up at childbirth, the eagle story is false, and probably that his real father was spying on the Russians in 82."

Hee, hee, hee -- I LOVE it!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

A most disturbing incident from Green Arrow: Quiver

This is the kind of thing that's gross to many people -- so, if you're eating or feeling queasy, you should probably stop reading right now.

There's one scene from Green Arrow: Quiver that's always disturbed me. No, it's not related to Stanley and his Monster, or any of the other, obvious things. It's this:

Oliver (Green Arrow) Queen has been dead for a while and has been somehow, mysteriously brought back to life (actually, Hal [Green Lantern/Parallax/Spectre] Jordan is responsible, but Ollie doesn't yet know that). He runs into Aquaman, who then brings him to the JLA watchtower on the moon to surprise the other heroes. Aquaman has Ollie travel via the watchtower's teleportation system, which isn't exactly ... ahhh ... FRIENDLY to Ollie's digestive system:



Okay, I think it's pretty obvious that Ollie has been busy tossing his cookies. But THEN, Wonder Woman walks up to him, AND ...

NOW, unless Ollie has Breath Mint arrows or Toothbrushing arrows -- and he somehow managed to use one of 'em between losing his lunch in the transporter tube and getting smooched by Wonder Woman -- I think it's safe to assume here that Wonder Woman just sucked down a load of Green Arrow De-Food breath.

Dunno what this says about Wonder Woman. Maybe it's HER way of "Praying to Dionysus." Who knows?

Monday, November 17, 2008

An editor's worst nightmare: Massive deadline while sick

When adorable little Mighty Mite first came into our lives, I told Mr. Sea, half jokingly, "You know, babies are little germ factories. We're gonna start getting SICK a LOT."

Boy, do I ever hate being right.

Mighty Mite got sick on Friday, and then I got sick, and then Mr. Sea got sick. Oh, what a fun, fun, weekend! Today, Mighty Mite is fully recovered (thank goodness), but Mr. Sea and I are STILL under the weather, and I have a massive book deadline. So, no real blog post from me today. I usually try to post Monday through Friday, with the occasional weekend, but it ain't happenin' today. Gotta go wrestle with a 384-page test preparation book while trying to keep down a bowl of oatmeal. Bleah.

Hope everyone else has a much more pleasant Monday!

Friday, November 14, 2008

So, how does YOUR blog measure up? Find out!

Hoo-hoo, kiddies, you have GOT to try these! Thanks to Erica at The Good Old Days, I've been gleefully playing with a list of links at Library Bytes -- Blogger Tools of Analysis! Sound scary? Ooooh, they ARE! With these diabolical tools, you can learn the following just by typing in your blog's URL:

- What area of the human brain MOST reflects the writing style on your blog? Go to the Typealyzer to find out!

- Are you a man writing as a woman writing as a man -- er, something like that? Visit the Genderanalyzer to find out the GENDER of your writing style!

- Are you blogging at the Kindergarten level or at the Graduate School level? The Blog Readability Test will tell you!

- How Much is Your Blog Worth? Think your blog isn't worth anything? You might be wrong!

Now, I don't know if these analysis tools have any sense of legitimacy about them, but let's see how the Hoosier Journal of Inanity measures up:

- According to the Typealyzer, my blog reflects the Mechanic type, indicative of the "independent and problem-solving type. They are especially attuned to the demands of the moment; are masters of responding to challenges that arise spontaneously. They generally prefer to think things out for themselves and often avoid inter-personal conflicts. The Mechanics enjoy working together with other independent and highly skilled people and often seek fun and action both in their work and personal life. They enjoy adventure and risk such as in driving race cars or working as policemen and firefighters."


That's right, gosh darn it. I wanna be a helicopter pilot when I grow up!

- The Genderanalyzer thinks that this blog is being written by a MAN: "... written by a man (70%)." Now, this really doesn't surprise me. I actually get this ALL the TIME, even for my books (which I write under a gender-neutral pseudonym). I AM WOMAN -- HEAR ME ROAR -- but I admit that my writing style DOES carry a decidedly masculine tone. What I REALLY want to know is, did the Genderanalyzer draw its conclusion based on my actual writing style, or based on the fact that my blog is full of references to superheroes and monsters?

- According to the Blog Readability Test ...
blog readability test
Now, this is kind of depressing. In journalism school, I was taught that it was important to always try to write at the third grade level, so my writing would be easily accessible to the greatest number of readers without sacrificing content. If this result is at all accurate, it looks like maybe I've been editing nonfiction books for way too long.

- What's this blog worth?


My blog is worth $10,726.26.
How much is your blog worth?


Holy simoleons!

Uhhhhhhh ... Anyone wanna buy a blog?

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Green Hornet combines crimes like no one else

Here's a classic example of WHY the cover of a comic book should ALWAYS reflect the story inside. Here the cover shows Green Hornet and Kato busting some counterfeiters ("We'll teach you conterfeiters that you can't get away with crime!"). HOWEVER, read the text in the lower left-hand corner.

"Marijuana Racket"? Just WHAT are these guys counterfeiting? Talk about confusing your readers.

"We'll teach you not to put fake stuff on the streets! What the heck is that, anyway? Marjoram? No -- oregano? Oregano! That's IT -- we're gonna make honest crooks out of you, by gosh!"

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

The Movie Alphabet: Silent Films, A to Z

Fletch at Blog Cabins tagged Adam at Movie Chunks, who then tagged Rab at Estoreal with a meme asking people to list their favorite movies, A to Z. Rab posted his list and then sent out a plea for meme-tag volunteers -- so I decided, what the heck, I'll join in the fun. My list is posted at the end of this article. If anyone else would like to volunteer and post their own lists on their blogs, here are Fletch's rules:

"Pick your favorite film for each letter of the alphabet. Some will be tough because there are too many choices (R, S, T, L, N, E...), and others will be tough because there are so few choices that you have trouble finding much of anything (Q, anyone?). I'm sure I missed some great ones and I'm hoping that you find them.

1. Pick one film to represent each letter of the alphabet.

2. The letter 'A' and the word 'The' do not count as the beginning of a film's title, unless the film is simply titled A or The, and I don't know of any films with those titles.

3. Return of the Jedi belongs under 'R,' not 'S,' as in Star Wars Episode IV: Return of the Jedi. This rule applies to all films in the original Star Wars trilogy; all that followed start with 'S.' Similarly, Raiders of the Lost Ark belongs under 'R,' not 'I,' as in Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark. Conversely, all films in the Lord of the Rings series belong under 'L,' and all films in the Chronicles of Narnia series belong under 'C,' as that's what those filmmakers called their films from the start. In other words, movies are stuck with the titles their owners gave them at the time of their theatrical release. Use your better judgment to apply the above rule to any series/films not mentioned.

4. Films that start with a number are filed under the first letter of their number's word. So, 12 Monkeys would be filed under 'T.'

5. Link back to Blog Cabins in your post so that [Fletch] can eventually type 'alphabet meme' into Google and come up #1, then make a post where [Fletch] declares that [he is] the King of Google.

6. If you're selected, you have to then select 5 more people."

So, there you have it.

Now, it seems that most of the people responding to the meme have trouble listing movies that are more than thirty years old -- despite the fact that film history is over 100 years old. SO, I'm going to add my own twist to the proceedings by posting favorite movies from the SILENT ERA that fit within the alphabet. Here they are:

Across to Singapore
Big Business
Cabinet of Dr. Caligari, The
Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (Barrymore version)
Extra Girl, The
Faust (Murnau version)
General, The
Hunchback of Notre Dame, The (Chaney version)
Intolerance
Jack-Knife Man, The
Kid, The (Chaplin version)
Last of the Mohicans (Beery version)
Metropolis
Nosferatu
Our Hospitality
Phantom of the Opera, The
Queen Kelly
Road to Mandalay
Safety Last!
Tillie’s Punctured Romance
Underworld
Variety
Wings
Xiao Wanyi
You’re Darn Tootin’
Zander the Great

And, NO, you smart alecks -- this list is NOT indicative of my age. It's indicative of a lifetime of exploring movies from any and all genres. So there. :-)

My favorite movie from this list? It's THIS one:

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Marvel's superhero generator

Many thanks to Chris over at Comics All Too Real for posting an alert (especially for those of us who don't frequent Marvel's Web pages) that Marvel Comics now has its own online superhero generator: Create Your Own Superhero.

So NOW there are at least THREE superhero generators online:

- Fábrica de Heróis, in Portuguese, generates heroes in the Bruce Timm animated style.

- HeroMachine, in English, a generic-style superhero generator.

- Marvel's Create Your Own Superhero

Marvel's program is VERY similar to HeroMachine, though greatly simplified. It's also (no surprise) very Marvel-centric, to the point where it's difficult to create anything BUT Marvel heroes (particularly where the mask selection is concerned -- ugh). However, in playing with it, I was determined to create a DC hero, by gosh. So, allow me to present GUY GARDNER ... in a kilt:

So there, Marvel. Nya, nya!

UPDATE: Jeff Hebert has very helpfully supplied new information about HeroMachine. Here it is:

"I've actually got a new HeroMachine 'Mini' version posted at http://www.heromachine.com/warrior-beta/.

"It's still in beta, but it features MUCH better artwork, and many of the features that people have liked in [Fábrica de Heróis]. You can now add multiple items in each slot (so you can make a sort of custom logo, for instance), scale each item, rotate each item, color the lines, move each item around on the stage by clicking and dragging, create your own custom colors, use a cool (if slightly confusing) masking feature, and apply patterns to items.

"It's really neat, if I do say so myself (and I do!), and all of these features will be making the jump to HeroMachine 3 whenever I get to that.

"I hope those of you who have disliked [HeroMachine] in the past give it a whirl, I think you'll be pleasantly surprised. It's amazingly versatile, even with the relative handful of items compared with the full version."

Monday, November 10, 2008

Giving advice to Batman: NEVER a good idea.

I'm sure The Spirit has nothing but good intentions here. However ...




Really, I suspect that ALL The Spirit did was to give Batman advice on how HE gets tough with people. Well-meaning advice to the WRONG control freak.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Batman vs. The Beatles (Batman #222)

Yes, you read that correctly. Make yourselves comfortable, kiddies, and get a load of THIS whacky Batman story, from 1970.

First, a little necessary background information, especially for those who aren't familiar with the weirder details of Beatles history:

The Beatles (John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison, Ringo Starr) pretty much dominated the entertainment news and music culture of the 1960s and early 1970s, even after the band officially broke up in 1970. Rumors and conspiracy theories about the group permeated the news, but none more so than the "Paul is Dead" claim. The story was that Paul, while working on the album Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band, got angry, stormed out of the recording session, got in his Aston-Martin, crashed it, and died. Terrified that they would lose their audience (and their income) without Paul, the surviving Beatles used their influence to keep the news of Paul's death secret, and they found a look-and-sound-alike to replace him in the group. However, the Beatles being who they were (particularly practical-joker John Lennon), they couldn't resist sneaking references to Paul's death into their albums. Those clues, so the story goes, involved things like cryptic statements heard in songs played backwards, and symbolic imagery on album covers (such as the fact that on the cover of the Abbey Road album, Paul is the only Beatle who's barefoot, and he's walking out of step with the others).

No joke, this was a big deal. People used to get together and listen to Beatles albums backwards ALL the TIME, looking for clues to Paul's death. I was just a kid at the time, but I REMEMBER people talking about it ("No -- really, man! If you play "I am the Walrus" backwards ...!"). This rumor lasted WAY beyond the Beatles breaking up. Apparently a few people out there STILL believe it.

Then there's Batman #222, in which Batman and Robin actually try to SOLVE the mystery of "Paul is Dead."

For the story, for copyright and branding purposes, the Beatles were renamed to the Oliver Twists (the "Oliver Twists"? Seriously?), and John, Paul, George, and Ringo were called Glennan, Saul, Hal, and Benji (and, apparently, they recorded the song "Pink Submarine," rather than "Yellow Submarine"). For the sake of simplifying my story coverage here, I'm gonna call the Beatles by their proper names in my text instead of the made-up names.

The tale opens at Hudson University, where a bunch of students (including Dick Grayson) are listening to the radio and playing Beatles songs backwards: "'Sure was a ball, [Paul] -- too bad it's over' Who else could [Lennon] mean -- but [Paul McCartney]?'"

An announcement then comes over the radio that the Beatles are coming to Gotham City to prove that Paul is alive and well. Dick's buddies then talk him into seeing if Bruce Wayne can pull some strings to get the Beatles to appear at the university: "Your guardian ... is a big wheel in Gotham -- Maybe HE could swing it as a favor for you?"

Dick calls Bruce, and Bruce actually goes along with the idea -- mostly because, as Batman, he's intrigued by the conspiracy theory.

Surprise, surprise, the Beatles agree to meet with Bruce. They take a plane to Gotham and hop into Bruce's limo, whereupon Alfred whisks everyone away to Wayne Manor. They look like the Beatles, all right, complete with Sgt. Pepper outfits (except I always thought "Paul" in this story looked more like Jeff Lynne from Electric Light Orchestra [ELO], sans glasses).

(Note: Throughout the story, readers are also treated to artist Irv Novick's tendency to include "ghosts" of super-heroes accompanying their alter-egos).

Dick and Bruce (or, the Batman and Robin ghosts) agree that, for now, Paul appears to be the real Paul. Paul then explains where he thinks the rumors of his death came from:


While Alfred shows the Beatles to their rooms, Dick confesses to Bruce that he recorded Paul's voice while they were talking. (Note: Recording someone's voice without their knowledge and/or permission is against the law, folks!) Dick then takes Bruce to the Batcave and plays the new tape of Paul speaking against a recording of him singing. Dick thinks that because the sonogram shows that the voice patterns in the two tracks are totally different, Paul must be an imposter. At least, he thinks that until Bruce points out that speaking and singing voices would have entirely different patterns, anyway (and you can almost SEE the implied "dumbass" on Bruce's face when he says so).

Oh, but Dick gets another chance to prove his theory:


(Yes, Robin is also a thief. Remember that, folks.)





Unseen by the Beatles, Bruce drags Robin to the Batcave. Robin wakes up and confesses that he tried to steal Paul's tape-recorder, but Paul must have woken up and followed him. Bruce wonders why Paul is desperate to guard his recorder, and wonders if it's proof that he's not the real Paul. (Gee, Batman, MAYBE the poor guy didn't want his stuff taken by a burglar. Ever think of THAT?)

The next day, it's Bruce's turn to concoct a plan:


(Maybe they're terse because there's an obvious burglar problem in the house ...?)

(Anyone want to guess as to WHY Dick thinks "What a cutie!"? I gotta admit, that's slang usage I've never heard before.)

Bruce and Dick are bummed because having a recording of the Beatles singing together is meaningless to their investigation (even though they now have a WAY COOL bootleg tape of the Beatles singing "Birthday" a cappella).

Batman then resorts to bugging the Beatles' outside calls -- proving once again that he was probably lying through his teeth to Morgan Freeman in the movie The Dark Knight. Batman picks up what he thinks is a call between Paul and a local recording studio, and he and Robin are soon off to set up more bugging equipment. However, when Batman and Robin get to the recording studio, instead of finding the Beatles there, they find a bunch of armed thugs, who immediately start attacking.

Batman and Robin easily defeat the thugs. Batman then says he wants to get a confession from Paul rather than from the thugs. He also announces that he's figured out how to solve the "Paul is Dead" mystery --

-- including the fact that it was completely unnecessary for him and Robin to have gone to the recording studio in the first place.


Batman and Robin burst into a room where the Beatles are apparently watching David Letterman (I'm kidding -- probably Johnny Carson, actually. You'd think they'd be watching Ed Sullivan instead.):



That's right, kiddies -- the guy who beat up Robin earlier in the story was none other than John Lennon. It gets worse:


Yep. It turns out that Paul is the only real Beatle in the room. The rest got killed in a private jet crash in the Himalayas, during a trip to "groove with the mysteries of the East." Paul thought he could keep them "alive" for their devoted fans by hiring "three unknown look-alikes to stand-in for them," complete with "minor plastic-surgery" and voice training. Paul then invented the rumor of his own death to pull attention away from the other Beatles, so no one would suspect anything had happened to them. Problem was, John Lennon got greedy and started going to any lengths to protect their secret.

Yeah, you can see where THIS is headed now. Paul immediately puts together the group WINGS -- er, I mean -- The Phoenix Trio! ("Phoenix Trio?" Seriously?)


So, there you have it. Dick (Robin) Grayson is single-handedly responsible for breaking up the Beatles. The bastard.

Batman #222, 1970, "Dead ... Till Proven Alive!" Story by Frank Robbins, art by Irv Novick and Dick Giordano. Cover by Neal Adams.