Saturday, January 27, 2007

"The Strand Prophecy": a comic for & by young readers

I was reading today's Orange County Register and came across this story about two young sisters creating a comic. It's the sort of thing that Leah Adezio would have loved to hear about. I certainly wish the Weiner girls and their father all the best of luck.

If you click on the headline above you'll find the Register's article.

I know I really haven't written much about comics the past few months, but when I start working again I plan to get back into the four-color habit.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

San Diego Comic Con International

The headline above will bring you over to the official SD Comic Convention site. It's my not so subtle way of announcing that I'll be attending the convention this year, at least for a day or so.

My hope is to be able to meet up with former and current members of Capa-Alpha, the comics apa. I was a member and waitlister for that particular apa for over ten years, during my extreme fanboy phase. We're talking about the years between 1982 and 1998, with a bit of fannish activity until 2004 or so.

My very first SD con was back in 1975, while I was actually stationed in the area on the USS Waddell. My actual first convention was a few months before that, in a high-school gym. There were only a few 'pros' in attendance, but I was only interested in picking up the latest issues of DC & Marvel comics in addition to any fanzines I might find. The actual SD con later in the year was a real eye-opener, as you can imagine. Who'd believe that guys like Jack Kirby, Jim Steranko and a very ill-looking Wally Wood would actually talk to a kid from Taftville, Connecticut?

I'll be talking more about the convention over the next few months, as my plans become more defined. If any of you are going to be there, let me know and maybe we can meet up.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

National Gorilla Suit Day

I know this link won't work, since I can't for the life of me figure out how. But you will learn some useful information about this most wonderful of holidays if you click on the headline above.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

What is REALITY? On television, at least.

Originally, at least if I recall correctly, so-called “reality television” were shows like COPS. We’d see video of police officers doing their ‘real jobs’ and what happened while they were on patrol. Then you had various medical shows popping up on the cable stations, which showed operations, procedures and actual footage of women giving birth. That was about as REAL as you could get.

Somebody over at MTV came up with the idea of “Real World”. Here we would follow the daily lives of a group of Generation X types, forced to live together in an apartment or house. Each season the show would feature a different group in yet another city.

With the introduction of SURVIVOR everything seemed to change. You didn’t have folks dealing with remotely ‘real’ situations, but rather placed in totally strange environments and made to compete against each other in physical and psychological fashion. Shows as different as BIG BROTHER, TOP CHEF and AMERICAN IDOL now compete against each other for Emmy and People Choice awards. Where is the reality in any of this?

All that leads up to this:

Donna and I are actually enjoying “ARMED & FAMOUS” which started last week on NBC. If you haven’t seen the show, or the commercials, I’ll explain the basics. You have five “C” list celebrities undergoing three weeks of ‘boot camp’ training and becoming police officers in Muncie, Indiana. We’re treated to some of the training, their graduation and taking of the oath, followed by their being paired with senior patrol officers. The following shows are comprised of the nighttime patrols of the various celeb/officers fighting crime in a small urban environment. If not for the fact that the five individuals are already well known the show might be little more than second-rate COPS. In fact, many of the encounters the officers have are exactly the same as those you’ll see any evening on COURT TV or Saturday night on Fox.

The series stars actor Erik Estrada (probably still best known as ‘Ponch’ from CHiPS), La Toya Jackson (the other Jackson sister, who like her brother had a bit of work done) Jack Osbourne (fresh from rehab and a couple of years of being straight), Trish Stratus (who is known to WWE wrestling fans as a former seven time Women’s Champion), and Jason Acuña (a.k.a. "Wee Man" on Jackass).

Estrada actually seems to have brought some of the skills of his character to his current time in uniform. Osbourne & Stratus appear to be taking this very seriously, which is hard to believe having watched Jack for all those seasons on his parent’s show. It is hard to take either Acuna or La Toya totally seriously, in first case because you know a police department would never hire somebody of his physical stature (although he really does give it his best in some situations against larger criminals). You get the impression that, like her brother, La Toya, really hasn’t had much contact with the everyday. From her phobia with cats to her total confusion about shopping you feel that she has never had to actually fend for herself. You find yourself laughing, but then you begin to feel bad for her and actually feel sympathy.

There are only a couple of more episodes, but I recommend you give it a try. There are certainly worse ways to waste an hour.

Saturday, January 13, 2007

Off the shelf

I have some good news to report regarding the Joe Bob Briggs reviews. At least it's good news to me.

John, to whom I send my reviews, let me know that they have somebody who will be taking over the site and reviews will once again be posted. I have about a half dozen waiting and I'll let you know if or when they become available. On the other hand, John didn't say if any new books would be sent out.

Since I can now concentrate on my own reading I've begun trying to go through the books co-authored by Lincoln Child and Douglas Preston. Just finished both BRIMSTONE (featuring FBI Special Agent Aloysius Pendagast) and the stand-alone RIPTIDE. I'm making it my goal to catch up on the Pendagast series and to read the rest of the books the two authors have written together & separately. Pedagast was originally introduced as a secondary character in the author's first collaboration, RELIC (made into a half-way decent monster flick), but quickly became a favorite, reappearing in several more books and taking on a life of his own.

As for non-fiction, I just began MEN OF TOMORROW: Geeks, Gangsters & the Birth of the Comic Book written by Gerard Jones. For those of you unfamiliar with the book, it covers the beginnings of the comic book industry, focusing on some of those individuals who helped to found it. It also documents the early lives of Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster, the co-creators of SUPERMAN, as well as how their creation was ultimately stolen from them by their publishers. Easy to see why the book garnered so many great reviews and stirred a bit of controversy in & out of fandom.