Wednesday, January 30, 2008

An apology and an announcement

The first is to the owners of two sites linked over on the right. Apparently when I put in the URL I made some typing errors and they weren't working. I want to apologize for the folks who put those sites together and have corrected the problem. From now on it might be wise to actually try the links before making them permanent. :-)

I have purchased a four-day pass to San Diego for this year. I'm working that Thursday but will be wandering around from Friday through Sunday (7/25-27) for at least part of each day. Donna, who doesn't care at all about comics, will not be coming down and will be spending the weekend with friends back in Orange County. I'll be sharing a room in Hotel Circle with a friend on Friday & Saturday nights, so I hope to hit a few of the evening events.

I'm sure to be mentioning this several times before July, but I'm really looking forward to attending the convention for the first time in a decade.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Four-color Fiend: Catching up on Countdown #15 & 14

Only a baker’s dozen issues to go until FINAL CRISIS and things are beginning to pick up. This is just a quick run down on the main COUNTDOWN series and some tie-in books.


Superman Prime (SP), who we knew previously as Superboy-Prime, has totally lost it. He has captured the former ‘lead’ Monitor and is trying to make him find the ‘perfect’ Earth that SP remembers. Forerunner shows up, momentarily distracting him and the Monitor tricks SP into believing that Earth 51 was his world. SP flies off to confront Monarch, leaving a vengeful Forerunner with the one being she holds responsible for the destruction of her people.

Things are going badly for just about everyone on E-51, where Monarch’s forces have killed almost all super-powered resistance. Surviving Monitors are trying to put up a fight, but aren’t really trained for these kinds of thing so are not doing too well. While Green Lantern Kyle is protecting Ray Palmer, the original Atom tells Kyle what he discovered on this Earth and what he has been doing the past years. Apparently, Earth –51’s Ray Palmer carried a natural immunity to all diseases, so our Ray has isolated that ability and was trying to spread this throughout the multiverse. It’s obvious that Ray and his discovery will probably figure prominently in the up-coming Final Crisis.

Meanwhile, Donna Troy impersonates the evil Wonder Girl and is able to defeat the Insect Queen, thereby gaining the loyalty of her insectoid troops who she leads into battle. Jason Todd joins forces with the murderous E-51 Batman, donning the costume created for his namesake, becoming Red Robin (hey, I don’t make this stuff up, okay?).

Back on Earth-One the depowered Mary Batson, is taken to Queen Hippolyta, the mother of Wonder Woman. Hippolyta is in hiding and with the assistance of Holly & Harley is trying to overthrow the disguised Granny Goodness. I’m going to guess that MB is going to play a role in the next series as well, but hoping she isn’t the little b**** she has been here. I would have to go back and check, but I think she actually killed some folks along the way and should have to pay penance for that.

Overall the series is picking up again and lots of things are happening. I think the mistake was in trying to keep the storyline going for too long and in too many titles. The ARENA series, in particular was a waste and the events there could have been shoehorned into the main series. Paul Dini and the rest of the writers have their work cut out for them, but still have over a dozen issues to bring things to the point at which FC will kick off. Working with such a huge cast they generally do a good job keeping characters mostly consistent, even if they are not exactly the characters we like.

COUNTDOWN: New Gods 80-page Special #1 – Like the Jimmy Olsen special, this reprints books from the Jack Kirby era when The King was introducing his Fourth World concepts. Here we get the first issues of the FOREVER PEOPLE & MISTER MIRACLE, plus NEW GODS #7. These show Superman’s discovery of Supertown (which he visited in the Jimmy Olsen tales); we learn of Mother Box; are introduced to Scott Free as he takes up the mantle of the World’s Greatest Escape Artist; and learn the details of The Pact that ties so much of the books together. All this stuff has been reprinted before and you can reread the entire Kirby epic in the Fourth World Omnibus books DC is now publishing. It’s still nice to sit down and remember how wonderful it all was as we all discovered this for the first time.

COUNTDOWN PRESENTS: Lord Havok & the Extremists #4 – We witness some horrendous attacks and Doctor Diehard decides it may be time to take action against Havok. It is also revealed that President AmeriCommando has made a deal with Monarch, and we all know that that won’t work out in the end. Writer Frank Tieri continues to make this all very interesting, even though this tale takes place early in the Countdown continuity, so we already know some of what is going to happen before it ends. I think things are really going to hit the fan next issue as Havok looses control over his followers.

More comics stuff in a couple of days.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Popcorn for One: CLOVERFIELD

OMG!! I have seen THE best monster I have seen in years. If you like stuff like this you have to take my word for it and spend part of an afternoon being taken for a great ride.

Is this the greatest Giant Monster movie ever made? Well, I suppose depending on how you feel about that kind of thing you could make an argument that it just might be. I do not know if it is going to become a ‘classic’ like the original GODZILLA film, but it may be too soon to tell. From this point on however, I think any film of this type, especially American films in the genre, are going to be compared to what J.J. Abrams, Matt Reeves & Co. have produced.

If you have been reading or viewing any of the stuff that I have linked to here, already I don’t think I’m going to reveal anything you don’t already know. However, and just to play fair I’m going to insert for your benefit:


Rob Hawkins (played by Michael Stahl-David) has accepted a job in Japan. His brother Jason (Grounded For Life’s Mike Vogel) is throwing him a farewell party and has entrusted a friend Hud (T.J. Miller recently in the sitcom ‘Carpoolers’) to videotape the whole thing. Unknown to Rob & Hud the camera they are using contains video of a day that Jason and their long-time friend Beth (Odette Yustman) spent together, revealing that their relationship had grown beyond friendship. Occasionally, when Hud or someone else pauses the tape, we see what remains of Rob & Beth’s day in Coney Island. I think this is wise, since it adds to our sympathy for both and makes it easier to understand Rob’s motivations later.

During the party, Rob has an argument with Beth, causing her to leave and him to start brooding. Initially the party is disrupted by what many think is an earthquake. Going to the apartment roof, they witness a huge explosion in the mid-town area, followed by a shower of debris, causing them to run down into the street. From that point (about twenty minutes in) the action does not let up for most of the rest of the movie.

Rob, Jason, and Hud along with Jason’s girlfriend Lily (Jessica Lucas) and a party attendee Marlena (Lizzy Caplan), on whom Hud has developed a crush, join thousands of New Yorkers trying to flee the city. They have seen something huge amidst the destruction and even the few news reports they see on various televisions cannot completely reveal what it is. Armed troops are going about the city and it obviously is not safe to remain so the group makes its way to the Brooklyn Bridge as an escape route. While on the bridge Rob gets a phone call from Beth revealing that she has been injured and asking for his help. At this point, other things start to happen, making it unsafe to continue to another borough.

When one of the group is killed the rest try to convince Rob that returning for Beth would be a mistake. The situation continues to change, and we get to see more of the main creature and things, which are apparently parasites, shed from it as it continues to rampage. All of this causes three of them to join Rob in his mission back uptown. Naturally, things go from horrible to down right insane as the military announces that Manhattan may be beyond saving and a ‘final solution’ for the situation may be necessary.

I could probably go on for a half dozen more paragraphs breaking down the movie, but I don’t want to completely ruin all the surprises. Reviews seem mixed, if generally positive, and I think the more negative ones are from reviewers who don’t like anything but melodramas set in Edwardian England. All reviewers no matter if pro or con mention the camera technique, or rather apparent lack thereof, which bothers some folks. I found it amusing that the ticket booth for the theatre where I saw the movie had posted ‘warnings’ that some people might be sensitive to the jarring camera work, even causing motion sickness in some. Personally, I didn’t have that problem, but saw at least three people leave the theatre between a third and half way through, one saying something to the people she was with before getting up.

Some folks are complaining about the ending of the film, but it seems to me that it allows a sequel. Then again, you could let it end in the way it did and the movie would still be good for what it is. Scary, exciting, with likable characters you care about and small touches of humor to keep it from becoming a total downer.

Finally, the fanboy sites seem to agree that this SHOULD have been how the American GODZILLA movie was done. If you see the movie and remember GINO (Godzilla In Name Only, as it has become known) you’ll know what they and me for that matter mean when they say that.

Four stars.
As most of you know, I like to get to the theatre early enough to catch the previews. Of course, nowadays most movie chains have some kind of pre-movie program that tosses in promos for movies, television shows and a good half dozen commercials for different products. What I enjoy are the actual theatrical trailers, or what we used to call “Coming Attractions” when I was a kid.

There were at least eight, but I’ll only mention those that I remember.

The trailers for HELLBOY 2, IRON MAN & the teaser for the up-coming new STAR TREK all made me want to see the films. The last because I’m a long-time ST fan and have seen all the previous ones at least once. Using the Black Sabbath song ‘Iron Man’ was an easy choice for that trailer, but it so absolutely nails the feeling of what you see. In addition, hearing Leonard Nimoy do the first line from the famous ST opening sent chills.

JUMPER looks like a teen romance with good SFX & Samuel L. Jackson as the heavy. No interest on my part and I didn’t hear anybody reacting as I had with the three other movies. Finally, 10,000 BC looks like they borrowed CGI from Animal Planet’s dinosaur documentaries and the plot from The Rock’s SCORPION KING. Can we say ‘direct to DVD’ within a week, kids?
I got nothing else!

Thursday, January 24, 2008


I forget sometimes how much I miss picking up the VILLAGE VOICE every week. I started reading VV, while living in Westport, CT, which was pretty much a bedroom community for richer folks who worked in The City. How the hell I ended up not only working but living there is a long story that you'll have to ask me about over a beer some day.

Anyway, I was curious about what various reviewers besides Ebert were saying about the movie and all but forgot to check out the Voice until I saw it linked over at Rotten Tomatoes. If this isn't a great review than I've never read one, and it is soooooo Village Voice!

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Will CLOVERFIELD Be Worth The Hype?

If you don't care about the movie CLOVERFIELD and/or have no plans to see it, you might just want to ignore this.

I have to admit that I'm one of those Kaiju (basically Japanese Big Monster) fans who has bought into the hype for this movie. I've read reviews and spent hours the past week visiting just about every website (official and not) associated with it. This Friday, since I'm scheduled off, I plan on seeing it at the Kaleidoscope Mall theatre in Mission Viejo. I can't recall the last time I was this curious about a movie, especially a 'horror/sf' flick.

If you go over to the IGN site you'll find links to all kinds of stuff. The folks at Bad Robot and Paramount have created a number of 'bogus' sites over the past months where you can see a lot of back story that is not even mentioned in the film. There are video news reports (supposedly from American & European stations) in at least three different languages that report the destruction of an ocean platform. You can find a site for the Japanese drink SLUSHO! and learn about the mysterious source of this fine beverage. In the movie, the lead character has been hired by this firm and the incidents portrayed happen on the night of his 'farewell' party.

In Japan there is a manga prequel being published, some of which you can find online if you search long enough. Hasbro will be coming out with a Cloverfield monster model for around a hundred dollars later this year, but has not released a photo so as not to ruin things. There is already talk by the producers of a sequel and all types of rumors are flying about tie-ins and related products.

I'll let you all know what I think this coming Saturday. I just hope that I'm not disappointed.
(Spoiler: This is one of the film's posters. Look into the clouds to the right of the Statue of Liberty. Is that it?)
Quick update: Just read the Roger Ebert reviw and he gives it 3 stars. Guess that would be a qualified Thumbs Up if he was in the balconey. The review itself is mostly favorable, mentioning as everyone does that the shaky camera work does bother some folks. Only problem I had was that he seems to give away a bit too much of the ending in his very first paragraph. That's a tad sloppy for somebody like Ebert, don't you think?

Monday, January 21, 2008

Four-Color Fiend: Batman - City of Crime TPB

This book reprints the story arc “City of Crime” (CoC) that originally appeared in DETECTIVE COMICS back in 2005-2006. (The headline above will take you to the Wikipedia entry on all things Dave Lapham.)

I had the pleasure to meet David Lapham for the first time back at Comicfest ’93. He was then doing work for Jim Shooter’s Defiant comics, having followed Shooter over from his previous publishing stint at Valiant. David was very enthusiastic and even then you could tell he was a very talented kid with a lot of potential. You never would have guessed talking to him that his career would take off when he stopped doing super-hero stuff and created the very dark STRAY BULLETS (SB) series. Since then he has acquired several industry awards and a solid fan base, both for his writing and work as an artist.

The disturbing elements he brought to SB fit quite well into the Gotham City in which Batman currently resides. Of course, since its inception Gotham has always been the dark twin of Superman’s Metropolis. Probably natural, since the artists and writers who shaped the early versions of both towns based them on the very real New York City, where they worked and many had been raised. If you have spent time in the Big Apple you know all too well that the same bright sunny boulevards of the workday can turn pretty dark and lonely when all those office workers leave for the outer boroughs. I wouldn’t be the first to point out that the neon lights of that city cast pretty dark shadows into which you don’t want to look too carefully.

Lapham’s Dark Knight makes the one Frank Miller brought us seem like Adam West portrayed him. The Batman I grew up with, although he was the World’s Greatest Detective, had a lighter side that the current incarnation seems never to have had. In fact, there are moments in CoC, especially those involving Robin where I was reminded of Rick Veitch’s creepy super-hero satire BRAT PACK. This isn’t necessarily all bad, since Lapham, like Veitch, uses his characters to reveal things about the folks on the four-color page as well as the readers who love them.

There are a series of brutal deaths, many involving pregnant teens and children, which eventually come to the attention of Bruce Wayne. A chance encounter with a young girl, the daughter of an acquaintance of Wayne’s, causes him to put on the cape & cowl when she is found murdered. Initially it seems that her death may be connected to the disappearance of another young girl, whose mother has become a bit of a media celebrity when she comes forth to demand action. As Batman investigates he soon learns that a group called The Body may be the cause of more than a few deaths. Soon two of the Caped Crusader’s well-known enemies, The Penguin and Mister Freeze turn out to have connections with this new group of villains. Things begin unraveling as it becomes apparent that The Body has a much grander goal in mind than making a profit off of the selling of unwanted infants. The wealthy and powerful of Gotham have long ago sold their morals (if not their souls) for what they desire and are more than willing to turn a blind eye to what keeps them where they are.
The story has a mix of super-heroics, police procedural and more than a touch of “Invasion of the Body Snatchers” as the plot progresses. Even Batman finds himself questioning whether what he does can make a difference and if the citizens of Gotham even care. Of course, in the end Bruce does what he must to save those he has vowed to protect even if they are ungrateful for that aid when it comes. Unfortunately, for many it comes too late to do any good.

Dave Lapham wrote the story and provided the layouts. The final art was by penciller Ramon Bachs and inker Nathan Massengil, both of whom do a good job bringing an air of menace to the whole thing. Boy, their interpretation of The Penguin sure ain’t Burgess Meredith!

I highly recommend this book, but warn you that some of the stuff is disturbing and not for younger readers. I also want to warn you ahead of time, but with no Spoilers, that the ending may not be what you want or like. Heck, even I was creeped out by some of this stuff. Four stars.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Four-Color Fiend: Counting Down with Jimmy Olsen & The Atom

Just playing catch-up with some of the latest DC books, as of last week.
As needed we’ll put down some…


COUNTDOWN #17 picks up right from the last page of #18 where we discovered that Bob the Monitor had used the Challengers (Jason Todd, Donna Troy & Kyle Gaynor) to help him find Ray Palmer (the original Silver Age Atom), only to kill him. We have a battle where Bob kills a number of Earth-51 versions of DC superheroes, currently in their civilian identities. If you remember in the previous issue it was shown that the heroes of this Earth had defeated all of the super-villains so had retired from the dual identity field. Only Bruce Wayne/Batman continued to remain active. We also learn in #16 that this Batman has not renounced the use of deadly force if he finds it necessary. In fact, it looks like Jason Todd may learn this personally in #15 unless something happens pretty quickly.
At the end of #17 Monarch and his minions arrive to begin killing off any super or non-super resistance they encounter. By #16 most of the Monitors (who have begun showing more and more individual traits) have joined with the surviving heroes to battle the invasion. Both sides give no quarter and we see various versions of DC characters fighting, including a ‘dark’ Donna Troy still dressed in her original Wonder Girl outfit. I’m not sure but I think the Earth-51 Zatanna is killed, simply because she gained weight after taking off the net stockings & heels.

Meanwhile, back on Earth-1, Jimmy Olsen is back and sharing his apartment with the female Forager, who looks pretty humanoid coming out of the shower. Seems to be only the upper portion of her face, a bit of carapace and antenna reflect her insectoid origin. Fortunately, the human parts are mostly covered by steam, towel or shadow since we really aren’t interested in how well the art team of Pete Woods, Tom Derenick & Wayne Faucher portrays pink-skinned females.

Issue #17 brings us a slightly different version of the fight between Eclipso and Mary Marvel that we saw in Countdown to Mystery (that I reviewed last time). It seems from this view that point both characters aren’t as chilly and Earth’s atmosphere has taken them down a cup-size or three. Whereas in CtM we learn that the Eclipso entity leaves Jean Loring (as she sinks beneath the waves and is approached by sharks), here we find that dark Mary (who renounced her powers at the last moment to defeat Eclipso) has washed up on the shores of Themyscira. In Mary’s final scene she is confronted by two not very pleased Amazons.

The books aren’t quite train-wrecks but it does seem like things are going at a pace designed just to drag it out for another dozen plus issues. Sadly, I have so much time and money invested at this point that I couldn’t bring myself to give it up.

Countdown Special: Jimmy Olsen 80-page Giant – This book reprints three issues of the old Jimmy Olsen book from when it was written and drawn by Jack Kirby. These issues (Superman’s Pal…Jimmy Olsen #136, 147 & 148) feature encounters with Project Cadmus, the DNAlien, the Newsboy Legion clones and various other Fourth World elements introduced by Kirby into the Superman titles and later the DCU as a whole. Since much of this stuff plays a major part in the current Countdown series it’s probably helpful for new readers and as a refresher for we Old Farts of Fandom who may have forgotten how unique and wonderful it all was at the time. Even if you aren’t picking up the any other Countdown titles (and I don’t know any reason at this point why you would) this is one-shot is fun.

Countdown Special: The Atom 80-page Giant #1 & 2 - As with the J.O. book, these specials reprint past stories which explain some background or at least remind you of why we once cared about these characters. Here we have four stories (originally appearing in Super-Team Family #11-14) written by Gerry Conway that show Ray Palmer’s search for his missing wife Jean Loring, with the aid of his Justice League pals. This was of course before Jean & Ray split and she ended up killing Sue Dibny, so you might find yourself having a bit more sympathy for her here. These stories are typical mid-1970s stuff and typical Conway, who does have his fans they are a nice reminder of the era.

Still have a few books unread that I'll get to ASAP.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

WINKY DINK and YOU KIDS TV 28 minutes 1954

My sister Pam and I used to fight over whose turn it was to use the Winky Dink window.

Does the voice of Winky sound familiar?

Monday, January 14, 2008

Four Color Quickie!

I am going to try to give brief comments on the books I picked up on Sunday at Nuclear Comics. If something really catches my eye I'll do something a bit longer.









In COUNTDOWN Presents Lord Havok & the Extremists #3, we get to see the origin of Tracer. I don't recall much about the character but here he is an Army deserter caught and then experimented on by the government. He gets one of those Weapon Alpha/Wolverine make-overs with claws, healing factor, etc. On one mission he is about to be 'deacativated' by the government, when a mysterious someone in armor (Lord Havok?) saves him and removes an implanted device which would have ended his life. In the final few pages he is ambushed by members of Monarch's super-hero/villain task force and apparently killed. Who knows?

Apparently this is Monarch teaching a lesson to anyone who will not join or bow to him. I expect Lord Havok not to be too happy about all this. The origin of Tracer is said in a footnote to have taken place between COUNTDOWN #29 & 28, but I'm not sure at what point this final scene occurs. To be honest the story is a bit disjointed, probably the poorest issue of this spin off series. Writer Frank Tieri seems to have rushed through this, more intent on giving artist Mark Robinson violent things to draw rather than tell a decent story.

To be honest, I'm only half way through COUNTDOWN TO MYSTERY #4. An online review tells me that it ties into COUNTDOWN #17, which I haven't read yet. Of course, I didn't know that before I began reading the story.

The opening splash has the female Eclipso using her power to grow Double Ds. I mean I don't recall her being like that in other appearances. We kind of see down her blouse, but that's nothing compared to the 'up the skirt' shot (Who knew that Dark Mary Marvel wore a thong?) in panel one of page 2. It also seems that DMM has used the same bra-straining superpower and we also find out that it really is pretty cold in space, if you know what I mean (and I think you do).

I may have more to say about the story by Matthew Sturges later, but the fan-service stuff by artist Stephen Jorges Segovia so called attention to itself that I had to say something.

Are there any women at DC editorial? Does this offend anybody else? Hell, I'm a guy and it bothers me!!!
More as time permits later this week.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

What Comics I'm Reading

I was over on Comic Collector Live yesterday updating and checking out the forums. I'm using their software to catalog my books and generally throw in my two cents when I can.
Anyway, one of the threads in the Forums was about what folks are currently reading and their Top Ten picks. Since there are only about a dozen titles that I'm buying at all on a regular basis it was pretty easy to chose ten. It did however remind me that I haven't mentioned comics here in the past couple of weeks. I expect to be hitting Nuclear Comics tomorrow to see what Ken has pulled for me, so I thought I'd just quickly mentioned some of the books on that list.

1) Usagi Yojimbo - Stan Sakai's samurai series, which just happens to feature 'funny animals' in place of feudal Japanese warriors. This book is always recommended.

2) Shadowpact - the DCU series about magical heroes, who haven't crossed the line to Vertigo yet. You can't go wrong with talking chimps!

3) Justice Society of America - probably THE best comic currently being published by DC, at least from what I have seen. Back when I was really into comics the previous incarnation of this book JSA, was a favorite. Looks like Geoff Johns and Alex Ross are doing a story arc that features the SUPERMAN from the KINGDOM COME series on this Earth. Dale Eaglesham and Ruy Jose do a wonderful job with the interior art, with some amazing Alex Ross covers to just about make the books perfect. Highly recommended!

4) Bat Lash - Sergio Aragones, best known for his creation GROO THE WANDERER and the marginal drawings he does for MAD magazine, returns to a western character he co-created a couple of decades ago. Aided by western writer Peter Brandvold and Silver Age artist John Severin, Sergio brings us a six-issue mini retelling the origin of Bat and what set him out on the trail. If you like westerns or just well done non-superhero stuff, I advise you to give the book a try.
5) Groo: Hell on Earth - Sergio Aragones again along with Mark Evanier (doing whatever it is he does). A fun comic with an underlying message about ecology, politics and why nothing ever gets done about either.

Since I find myself still a tad confused with COUNTDOWN and other DCU titles, even after reading INFINITE CRISIS & THE OMAC PROJECT, it seemed the best thing to do was to pick up the TPB collections of 52. I can see why fans were enjoying the book, even with just the first volume read.
Probably more on this sort of stuff on Saturday, if I get the chance.

Monday, January 07, 2008

What I'm Reading

Felt it was about time I posted here, since I haven't since the beginning of the New Year.

I may have something on comics I'll be posting later tonight or tomorrow, depending on how much free time I get here on the Reference Desk. Mostly catching up on comics I've read the past couple of weeks, but haven't gotten around to talking about here.

I have decided to take a short break from reading the books I've been sent by the Joe Bob Briggs folks, since they have not posted a review for almost a year now. They have over a half dozen or more of my reviews 'in house' so I don't think holding off for a month is going to effect anything. John over at the site acknowledges the reviews, but all he can do is send them along to the web master. The books I have left are all copyright 2006, so there's nothing that has to get out ASAP.
The first book I'm reading is a collection of pieces by Jack Cafferty, "It's Getting Ugly Out There!" Some of you may be familiar with him from his daily "Cafferty File" segments on CNN's The Situation Room. Personally, I first encounted the man when he anchored first the Fox Channel 5 nightly news and then WB Channel 11 evening news in New York. Hard to believe the guy who uses the term the '"F" Network' used to work for those fine folks. Then again, maybe not, since he is familiar with how they operate. I'll probably have more to say on this over at PARTING SHOTS when I'm finished.
I'm also going through one of those periods where I'm listening to or reading 'classic' books, either for the first time or again to see if I feel differently about them. I started with a couple of Jack Higgins novels, featuring former IRA member, Sean Dillon who currently works 'black ops' for the British Prime Minister. Higgins is a master at this stuff, after writing over sixty novels. One of the books, BAD COMPANY, was narrated by Patrick MacNee, who always does a wonderful job on these audio adaptations.
As the cover repro above indicates, I'm currently listening to THE ILIAD. This was translated and performed by Stanley Lombardo, with chapter synopses by Susan Sarandon. It had to have been in junior high when I read one of those versions of Homer's classic edited for kids. I was probably inspired by seeing Kirk Douglas in ULYSSES on television one day. I know I read both this and THE ODYSSEY at some point in high school, since I owned both in paperback before I went into the Navy in '69. I also think it's one of the reasons I preferred the Norse gods over the Greeks, as the immortals in Asgard never seemed as petty or whiny as those on Olympus. I'm really enjoying the work and it makes the drive home go pretty quickly.