Friday, May 29, 2009

You've probably been an editor TOO LONG if ...

-Your four basic food groups are nicotine, caffeine, chocolate, and Scotch, not necessarily in that order.

-When you were a kid, you dreamed of writing your own book, but now you wouldn't be caught dead trying to write a book.

-You flinch every time the phone rings or you get a new text or e-mail message.

-You have friends all over the world that you've never met face to face.

-You know that telling people you're an editor sounds more impressive than it really is.

-You get very angry whenever someone cleans the office coffee machine.

-You often claim loudly and vehemently that books will be easier to publish without authors.

-You burst out laughing whenever someone asks if you'll meet the publication date.

-Your boss is always asking you to be more creative, and then gets mad at you when you ARE more creative.

-You check every day to see if anyone said anything bad about you in a review -- and then post an enthusiastic reply in agreement with the review.

-You often speak fondly of such outdated things as wax machines and pageboards.

-You miss the smell of bluelines.

-People keep asking you why you aren’t rich.

-95% of your social life is devoted to people you've met over the Internet.

-You no longer get bent out of shape whenever you see typos on billboards and service station signs.

-Your favorite book is not a book you've actually read, but one that made it to the printer without any problems or delays.

-Before computers, you had at least five paper cuts a day. With computers, you get 20 paper cuts a day.

-You dread going on vacations because you know someone is going to try calling or texting you about something horrible happening to your projects.

-There are at least two authors that you try to avoid whenever possible.

-You feel like crying whenever someone says, "This book will be an EASY edit."

-You were 40 pounds lighter at the beginning of your career.

-Famous people really just don't impress you.

-You're supposed to work 40 hours a week, but you really work at least 60 hours a week.

-Your home is full of books that you have no intention of ever reading, but you like them anyway because your name is in them.

-You know more about computer networks than the people in your IT department do.

-You complain about being too busy when your projects are full of problems, and you complain about being bored when your projects are running smoothly.

-You love going to book conventions just so you can bring home sacks full of cheap promotional items.

-Your favorite possession is a 100-year-old book that contains a major typo.

-You’re fond of scaring interns by yelling, "Your participles are dangling!"

-You remember (incorrectly) that journalism school was a piece of cake.

-Your authors aren’t aware that you have (mostly unflattering) pet names for all of them.

-You could swear that all of the proofreaders you’ve met in the last year aren’t a day over 12 years old.

-You actually use the word "peruse" in everyday conversation.

-Power outages in your office building are always immediately followed by gasps of surprise and then loud cheers.

-You know that there are authors who fantasize about murdering you in your sleep, and you don’t care.

-You no longer care when you see typos and errors in the books and magazines that you read at leisure.

-You’ve told your friends and family members that you will never again proofread their homework, resumes, or garage sale ads.

-You know that "deadline" really means two months after the target date.

-Every illustration submitted to you has to be redrawn by the poor artist at least three times.

-In your off hours, you go out of your way to hang around with someone, anyone, who doesn't work in publishing.

-You enjoy hearing about how every department in your company thinks that every other department is doing everything totally wrong.

-You can repair the copy machine faster than the copy machine mechanic can.

-Anyone in your office who says, "Let's make sure we're all on the same page," is at serious risk of being punched in the face.

-You’re very fond of telling your friends about the stupidest thing you’ve ever read.

-You dream of becoming a freelancer and you are extremely jealous of people who ARE freelancers.

-In bookstores, you can't resist pointing out errors in certain books to complete strangers.

-When you first graduated from school, your greatest ambition was to become an acquisitions editor; but now your greatest ambition is to have enough time for a nap.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Nathan Fillion as Hal Jordan, PART II

Last fall, several bloggers speculated about the possibility of actor Nathan Fillion portraying Hal Jordan in a live-action Green Lantern movie. Someone has put together a very-well-done fan movie trailer exploring that possibility. For those of you who haven't seen it, here it is:

Regarding the actual live-action film plans, the current speculated release date is summer 2011, and they're still looking for a lead actor. Bradley Cooper, Chris Pine, and Ryan Gosling are the most recently reported considerations for the lead.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Indianapolis 500, 2009!

Congratulations to Helio Castroneves for his third win at the Indianapolis 500 on Sunday! Only three drivers have won more Indy 500 races. A.J. Foyt, Al Unser, and Rick Mears each won the race four times. Look out, boys -– Helio is catching up to you! The final tally of the race appears at the end of this article.

This year’s race was particularly significant because it’s the 100th anniversary of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Mind you, it’s not the anniversary of the race itself. No, the track was originally a test track, and then raced motorcycles before the Indianapolis 500 was officially founded. The 100th anniversary of the race is 2011, and you can bet I’ll be there! I didn’t get to attend the race this year, but some friends came in from out of town for the race -– their first ever -– and apparently they had a great time. I love going to the race, but related events leading up to the race are just as (and often MORE) fun -- especially for Hoosiers. I haven’t attended many Carb (Carburetion) Days or Bump Days, but I think I’ll make an attempt next year.

Oh, Bump Day! Bump Day, held one weekend prior to the race (weather permitting), is the third day of qualifying, and many people consider it more exciting to watch than the race itself -- especially since the drivers often go faster than they do during the actual race. Bumping allows drivers to move their positions ahead in the current starting field of 33 positions. Also, if the 34th qualifier is faster than any of the 33 qualified cars in the field, the slowest car is bumped completely from the field. As you might expect, Bump Day qualifications can be pretty crazy, because in many cases no one really has any idea who’s going to stay in the race (or climb the field), and who isn’t. About the only pre-race day crazier than Bump Day at the track is Carb Day, which is the final day (Wednesday) of practice before the race.

My dear friend George attended Bump Day this year and supplied me with the following images, posted with permission. Don’t blink, or you might miss some famous racing faces. First, though, here is the setting, starting with a view of downtown Indianapolis from the track:
Cars and drivers:

Pageantry: The Borg-Warner trophy: Video footage of qualifying:

Now, as promised, here is the final tally of the Indy 500, 2009:

1 Helio Castroneves
2 Dan Wheldon
3 Danica Patrick
4 Townsend Bell
5 Will Power
6 Scott Dixon
7 Dario Franchitti
8 Ed Carpenter
9 Paul Tracy
10 Hideki Mutoh
11 Alex Tagliani
12 Tomas Scheckter
13 Alex Lloyd
14 Scott Sharp
15 Ryan Briscoe
16 A.J. Foyt IV
17 Sarah Fisher
18 Mike Conway
19 John Andretti
20 Milka Duno
21 Vitor Meira
22 Raphael Matos
23 Justin Wilson
24 E.J. Viso
25 Nelson Philippe
26 Oriol Servia
27 Tony Kanaan
28 Robert Doornbos
29 Davey Hamilton
30 Marco Andretti
31 Graham Rahal
32 Ryan Hunter-Reay
33 Mario Moraes

Thank you to everyone for a great race!

Thursday, May 21, 2009

What if Hal Jordan and Sinestro switched bodies, PART VII

Well ... If Sinestro (in Hal's body) can GROW a mustache ...!

Agh! That's not right. That's DEFINITELY not right.

Still, despite the fact that Oliver (Green Arrow) Queen -- the whisker king -- is one of Hal's best friends, Hal himself doesn't seem to be a big fan of facial hair. So, if Hal was trapped in Sinestro's body, OF COURSE he'd shave off Sinestro's mustache!.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

What if Hal Jordan and Sinestro switched bodies, PART VI

Trapped in Hal's body, Sinestro not only sees an opportunity to take advantage of once again being the "greatest Green Lantern," he takes it upon himself to master one of the greatest weapons in Hal Jordan's arsenal.

No, not THAT weapon. The weapon in question here is none other than the HAL JORDAN SCOWL:

Or is that really a pout? Oh, well.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

What if Hal Jordan and Sinestro switched bodies, PART V

While Hal and Sinestro are trapped in each other's bodies, with no foreseeable way to reverse the process, Sinestro decides to have a little fun by messing with Hal's sense of style -- or lack thereof:

"Ah, Jordan, your sense of style is SO dull. I was quite disappointed by the garments I found within the closets of your less-than-opulent abode. I took it upon myself to replace them with more suitable attire. That threadbare bomber jacket of yours now belongs to an Earth organization called 'Goodwill.' As for the rest of your clothing, I found a marvelous group of Earthmen possessing attire almost on par with a gentleman of Korugar -- I believe they called themselves "cross dressers." They were quite pleased to help me find an acceptable wardrobe, and I must say your frame bears the style well!"

So, is Hal (in Sinestro's body) likely to take any of this well?

Nope, guess not.

Now I just GOTTA find a picture of Hal in drag ...!

Monday, May 18, 2009

What if Hal Jordan and Sinestro switched bodies, PART IV

If Hal and Sinestro switched bodies, you can bet it wouldn't stop 'em from trying to beat the tar out of each other. Of course, watching them fight under those circumstances would probably be pretty darned funny, because you can ALSO bet that they'd be trying REALLY HARD not to damage each other TOO much: "My face! I just can't bash in my pretty, pretty face!"

Actually, this is all just an excuse to post the following. Just looky what I found! First, here's an Ivan Reis panel from Green Lantern #37 (2008):

NOW, check out this panel by Alex Ross and Doug Braithwaite, from Justice #11 (2007):

Coincidence? Hmmmmmm! Just different enough, yet similar enough, to make one wonder.

Friday, May 15, 2009

What if Hal Jordan and Sinestro switched bodies, PART III

Trapped in Hal's body for an indeterminate period of time, Sinestro decides to make the most of it by growing a DRAMA MUSTACHE on Hal's pasty Earthman face.

"Eek! Green Lantern is trying to grow a porn 'stache! Run, RUN!"

(Hal's always been smart to leave the facial-hair-growing to Ollie. I think the only time readers have seen Hal grow any sort of facial hair is when he's gone a few days without shaving.)

Thursday, May 14, 2009

What if Hal Jordan and Sinestro switched bodies, PART II

While Hal is trapped in Sinestro's body, and Sinestro is trapped in Hal's body, Hal can't help but be amazed over Sinestro's inability to master Hal's, er, POWERS.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

What if Hal Jordan and Sinestro switched bodies?

Yeah, yeah, I know it's happened in a Justice League story or two, but never for any serious LONG-TERM shenanigans. But if it DID happen for the LONG term, and Hal and Sinestro were forced to go their merry ways, just imagine the consequences ...!

Victim of a body-switching mishap, Hal Jordan isn't TOO upset -- until he discovers that Sinestro's condom size is less than acceptable. Distraught (especially since Sinestro, in Hal's body, can't be found), Hal decides to exercise his frustrations by having "Sinestro" attack the Justice League.
Hal, I know you don't care if Sinestro's body gets beat up, but that's GOTTA hurt.

(Yes, in that panel, that really is Hal in Sinestro's body. More about that later. For now, I just can't help shaking my head sadly over Hal's "BRING IT ON!" *Sigh.* Hal, Hal, Hal ... You are SUCH a moron.)

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

How would comic book super-heroes REALLY appear in real life? Well ...

They’re the epitomy of what can be achieved through perfecting one's physical self through training. They are capable of astonishing feats beyond what most people can do. They wear colorful, often skintight costumes that usually conceal their faces and very identities. No, they’re not super-heroes, but they’re the closest physical representations of super-heroes that you’ll probably ever see. No movie has ever come closer, because what these people do is REAL.

As a rule, I’m not terribly fond of traditional circuses. They’re noisy and gaudy, and their treatment of animals is questionable at best. However, I am a longtime fan of the performers of Cirque du Soleil. For anyone who’s never seen Cirque performers, many ARE very close, visually, to super-heroes (and villains). Very, very close. I’ve always thought that if artists ever needed live models to accurately portray what men and women are capable of doing in super-hero comics, they need look no further than Cirque du Soleil.

Cirque shows utilize a lot of traditional, professional circus performers in their acts (and they don't use animals in their acts). But they also employ former Olympic gymnasts, and then push them to go beyond anything the Olympics would ever demand of them. I remember once seeing an interview with a Cirque acrobat who said training for the Olympics was a breeze compared to working for Cirque -- but he wouldn’t trade his experience with Cirque for anything.

Wanna see exactly what an acrobatic super-hero should be able to do in real life? Here’s a trampoline act like no other, from Cirque’s La Nouba show in Orlando, Florida (permanent residence). No special effects, nets, or wires for these men and women, folks -- this is very real, and very dangerous (video may require time to load):

“Oh,” you might be saying to yourself, “that’s all well and good for the acrobatic heroes like Batman and Spider-Man -- but what about the ones who can FLY?” Well, Cirque has an answer for that, of sorts. Here is the Russian Swing act from Varekai (touring show). These guys are absolutely nuts:

Want to see more aerial feats? Here are the lovely ladies of the Triple Trapeze from Varekai -- no net, no wires. Proof that acrobatic women don’t need to be given exaggerated features or be almost naked to be sexy -- but some creative costuming DOES work:

For those of you clamoring to see sexy guys, here are Kevin and Andrew Atherton (twins), also from Varekai. Again, no net, no wires. Look at 'em fly!

Wanna see more? How about a combination of acrobatics and stilts, courtesy of the women of Cirque’s Dralion (touring show)?

Here’s the bamboo pole act from Dralion. Getting whacked in the head would be dangerously easy:

Are you an Aquaman or Namor fan? Cirque’s got an answer for that. “O” is the most astonishing show you’ll ever see -– in the most astonishing theater you’ll ever see -– in permanent residence at the Bellagio in Las Vegas. Esther Williams wishes she could have been in something this cool:

More of a martial arts fan? There’s always “Ka,” in permanent residence at the MGM Grand, also in Las Vegas. Again, in a rather astonishing theater. And one mustn’t miss the Wheels of Death act in this show:

How does one see a Cirque performance? They have several touring shows. Their big-top performances (in big, blue-and-yellow striped circus tents) tour big cities around the world, while their arena shows are at home in sporting arenas in smaller cities. They also have several permanent shows established in a couple of cities, mostly in Las Vegas. (In fact, Cirque is often credited, or cursed, for changing the live-show landscape of Vegas in the last ten years.) I'll warn you, though -- these shows are NOT cheap. Sometimes you can find good deals on tickets, but be prepared to shell out some serious cash ($100 or more per seat in many cases).

However, over the years, Cirque HAS been very good about filming many of their shows -- mostly their touring shows -- and making the footage available via TV and video. That's definitely a good (and the least expensive) way to watch Cirque, though seeing them live IS highly recommended.

I've seen several Cirque shows live, and I have to say that if you DO see Cirque live, be sure to get seats as close to the stage as you can -- but not TOO close. If you sit too close, you miss a lot of the action, because Cirque almost always has SOMETHING going on on the stage, above the stage, below the stage, in the wings, in the audience -- all over the place. Also, if you sit in the front row, it's damn scary. I did that once -- ONLY once -- and darned near had an acrobat land right in my lap. That SOUNDS like it might be fun, but let me tell you, it was quite terrifying at the time.

If you sit too far, though, you can't see a darned thing -- especially in Cirque arena shows. Nosebleed seats are no good for the arena shows, due to the amount of scaffolding Cirque uses -- your view would be blocked.

Here are a few more Cirque facts:

- When a touring show circus tent gets worn out, the tent is usually cut up and recycled into other things, such as purses and souvenirs.

- Each Cirque show is based on a story or theme. For example, Corteo depicts the funeral of a clown. Varekai depicts an alternate -- and happier -- ending for Icarus, from Greek mythology.

- The music in most Cirque shows is performed live, and most Cirque shows feature music composed specifically for that show.

- Song lyrics and dialog in most Cirque shows are in "Cirquish," a made-up language cobbling together words from just about every major language. The effect is that Cirque always sounds exotic, or foreign, no matter WHO is sitting in the audience.

- The acts in Cirque shows tend to evolve and change, as performers or acts retire or move on to other projects and others take their places.

- Cirque's home base is in Quebec, Canada.

- Cirque supports ONE DROP, for making clean water available to EVERYONE worldwide, and is active in many social and cultural charities.

Which Cirque show is the best? It's a matter of opinion, really. I have to say I've never seen a BAD Cirque show, but I do have my favorites. I'm very fond of Varekai for various reasons. However, I have to say that by far the most stunning show I've ever seen -- by ANYONE -- is Cirque's water show, "O", at the Bellagio in Las Vegas. I saw grown, gruff men CRY during that show, it's so amazing and beautiful.

Not only that, after the show, the Cirque ushers gave my 8-year-old nephew (who was along for the show, and probably the youngest person in the audience) one of the giant inner tubes used as a prop during the show. Awfully darned nice of them, and my nephew was thrilled. Of course, it was quite a challenge (not to mention a sight) carrying that giant, orange inner tube halfway down the Las Vegas strip toward our rooms at the Luxor ...!

I apologize, because I didn't mean for this article to sound like an advertisement for Cirque du Soleil. I can't help it -- I LOVE Cirque. And I really do think if these people ever decided to go out and become costumed vigilantes, they'd be VERY, VERY close to comic-book superheroes.

Monday, May 11, 2009

REAL Wolverine claws?

I'm sure a lot of you guys have already seen this, but for those who haven't, there's a guy who's made REAL, WORKING -- and potentially very lethal -- Wolverine claws. Check 'em out:

Now, on Metacafe, the guy who made them posted the following explanation:

I made these myself out of steel and metal tubing. This was a request from a friend, and I enjoy the challenge of making stuff, so I took it. I know it's not impressive to beat up boxes, but honestly what else I am going to use to show that they really work and can take a beating. It was fun to make, and pretty fun to wear too. Oh, and I'm a perfectly sane person.

Well, that's a relief, I must say. However, I can't help but wonder if he didn't punch holes in his carpet while filming that video. That, and how do the things retract? Questions, questions.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Oh Ivan, DC -- how COULD you?!

I've suspected this for a while now, and I finally got off my duff to check it -- and, gosh darn it, I was right! I HATE it when publishers and artists do stuff like this!

Exhibit A, from a two-page spread in Green Lantern #25:

Exhibit B, the cover of Blackest Night #0:

See that? It's Ivan Reis's exact same drawing of Hal in both instances, right down to Oclair's inks and Moose's coloring. Now, I understand all too well that sometimes publishers and artists have to cut some corners to save time and money. And I understand that Ivan may not have had anything to do with this decision. AND I understand that Blackest Night #0 is a FREE comic book. But whenever publishers and artists reuse artwork in this particular manner, I can't help but feel a little cheated.


S'okay, Ivan. I still love your work. I really, really do ...!

Neal Adams and the best super-hero hair in comics history

So, is it WAY too fannish (not to mention petty and superficial) to get fixated on a fictional character's hair? That aside, though, I think it can be argued that, in the case of male comic book super-heroes, the hair DOES make the man.

Would Wolverine be taken seriously as a badass if he DIDN'T sport the worst hairstyle in comics?

Would Charles Xavier be taken seriously as a brainy telepath if he weren't bald as a cueball?

While it's almost too easy to pick out comic book super-heroes with bad (or no) hair, finding heroes with consistently good hair is quite a challenge.

Where truly beautiful locks are concerned, the one character who immediately comes to mind is the Mighty Thor. Thor's traditionally long, golden locks are gorgeous -- and who in their right mind would want to mess with Thor? However, if Thor WASN'T a powerful Norse god who's really, really good in a brawl, could anyone take him seriously with that beautiful hair? The super-hero trappings aside, Thor looks like he belongs on the cover of an old romance novel. Hardly the type of hero the average (male) comic book reader would gravitate toward if he WASN'T an all-powerful Norse god.

One hero who has almost always had great hair is Hal (Green Lantern) Jordan. Many Green Lantern fans over the years -- and even some non-fans -- HAVE noted that Hal, almost without exception, has truly great and enviable hair without coming across as a "pretty boy."

Blame it on Hal's designer, if you wish. When Gil Kane designed Hal in 1959, he did two things rarely seen in comics. First, Kane gave Hal brown hair. Brown hair was VERY rare in comics at the time. Heroes were more likely to be blond or raven-haired. Even redheads and bald guys were more common than characters with brown hair.

Second, when Kane drew Hal in flight, Hal's hair actually MOVED and got MESSY. That was almost unheard of in comics, which were filled with heroes who never seemed to get one hair out of place. Superman, especially, seemed to be the King of Brylcreem -- not one hair on Supes' head ever seemed to stray from his sleek, shiny, spitcurled locks. By comparison, Hal's hair, as drawn by Kane, seemed unhampered by grooming products -- though it always looked good. Messy, but good.

Then along came artist Neal Adams. He took Gil Kane's hairstyle for Hal and made it even BETTER. While it's easy to argue that Neal Adams makes darn near EVERYTHING look good, the way he drew Hal's hair really set the bar for all Green Lantern artists who have followed. In a way, Adams really spoiled a lot of Green Lantern fans into always expecting the best where Hal's hair is concerned.

As much as I adore the work of Hal's current regular artist, Ivan Reis, I kind of have a quibble with the way he does Hal's hair. I mean, Hal's hair, as drawn by Reis, is fine. It looks good, and I still believe Reis is Hal's best artist since Neal Adams. However, when Adams drew Hal's hair, it was nothing short of magnificent. In Adam's hands, Hal's hair was gorgeous.

It was thick.

It was luxurious.

It was almost a character in its own right!

And, as drawn by Neal Adams, Hal's hair was ALWAYS beautiful, even when it was messy ...

... or when Hal was getting hit in the head.

Arguably, Hal Jordan has the best super-hero hair in comics. It contributes to Hal's reputation as a self-centered, arrogant, shallow (though VERY heroic and fun-to-watch) jerk. Really, what other type of character could you have with hair that good?

So, all through his comic book history, has Hal ever had bad hair? Well ...

... er, no further comments.