Showing posts with label interaction. Show all posts
Showing posts with label interaction. Show all posts

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Friday Night: Let's Watch and Live Tweet "The Rocketeer"



I don't remember exactly where we came down on the vote, but on Friday night I'm going to watch the 1990's Disney live-action classic The Rocketeer.

Time:  9:15 Central huddle time with a 9:20 start
Runtime:  about 2 hours (we'll take a potty break)
Where to watch:  Amazon Options including streaming
Twitter Hashtag:  #bettyteers
I'm at:  @melbotis
Cocktail of Choice:

Cliff's Undrinkable Rocketfuel

  •      1 part vodka
  •      1 parts gin
  •      1/2 part dry vermouth
  •      twist of lemon


1.  Add liquid to shaker with ice
2.  Shake for five seconds
3.  Pour into class (without the ice, you heathen)
4.  Add lemon twist
5.  Stop complaining, it's good for you

Saturday, July 16, 2016

Should We Watch Penelope Ann Miller or Jennifer Connelly? (The Shadow vs. Rocketeer)

yeah, yeah.  There's pulp superheroes in these movies too, somewhere, I guess


Hey, y'all -

It's been a while since we did a live tweet of a movie.

After watching The Phantom, I remember thinking we were going to do The Shadow or The Rocketeer as our next selection, and now I can't remember which 90's retro-throwback we were going to take on.  And, really, I don't care.  The real question here is, "which will we watch first?"

Shall it be the tongue-in-cheek Yellow Peril adventures of The Shadow?  Or the Retro-Joe Johnston stylings of The Rocketeer?  Both have a lot to recommend them, are full of fun and adventure, and both have excellent casting in the leading lady role.

So, speak up.

Plus, if you know what Friday night will work for you in the next few weeks, drop it in the comments.

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Noir City Austin 2016 - Schedule is Up - Come join us for a show!



Noir City returns to Austin at The Alamo Drafthouse Ritz on Austin's famed 6th Street!  Dates are May 20, 21 and 22.

I'm going to a bunch of the shows, but I fully expect to be worn out only attending a portion of the full program as each showing is a double-bill.

To see which shows are available, check out the calendar at The Alamo Ritz website.

Right now I have tickets to a whole bunch of the showings, which you can see in the calendar on this site.

I'd spend more time coordinating with you fine people to see who wants to go, but I'm flying out for Atlanta for a conference tomorrow.

I have tickets for Row 3, Seat 20 (and 19 for some screenings so I don't leave Jamie alone all weekend).    

I don't know too many of these movies, which is something I'm pretty excited about.  Always fun to see new things.

Come on down and join us/ me!

Sunday, April 10, 2016

Slam Evil Watch: The Phantom (1996)



In 1989, Michael Keaton put on a terrible-looking rubber cowl with ears, got dropped onto fantastic looking sets with Jacks Palance and Nicholson, Jerry Hall and Kim Basinger, and the world went bat-shit.  Warner Bros. made a ton of money off not just the movie, but the merchandising.  Batman, overnight, became America's favorite superhero.

All the studios scrambled to see what else that looked like a comic books that they could exploit, but without spending a ton of money (this was a pre-CGI era).  And for about 10 years, man, there was a lot of stuff coming out.  A lot of stuff of varying quality.

I'm actually a fan of The Shadow from 1994 or so, and I love Disney's The Rocketeer.  Both super fun movies, even if The Shadow kinda hams up, then softens up the whole concept.  Marvel, for their part, laid some eggs in their straight to video Captain America and Punisher films, circa 1990.

During this era, a vision in purple spandex strode onto screens across America.  And, for reasons I cannot put into words, felt compelled to see this movie then and a few times since.  The Phantom (1996)!!!

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Before Comics Were Cool - The Gen-X Recollection Project: David Rossi

I can't tell you how gratifying I'm finding this whole Gen-X Recollection project.  One of our first submissions was from a new friend from Denmark, and another from a person I'd only met once in the flesh, but that I spent plenty of time chatting with online (and Stuart is tops, people).  Then the flurry of submissions from friends from all across my lifespan.  I've been doing this blogging thing for a while, and this is one of the most fun things I've ever done here.

And now we have an entry from someone from the twitter-verse who I was kind of aware had a fascinating background, but hadn't put all the pieces together.

David Rossi is not someone I know in person, but he is a man who may have lived one of my lifelong dreams: working in a Star Trek Future.

Dave has had many roles when it comes to actually working on Star Trek.  But, I'll let him tell you about that himself, and how he got to that point.

Then, I'm going to ask him how many Captains chairs he's secretly sat in.


Editor's Note:  As a plaid-wearing Superman fan, I approve of Dave's whole aesthetic here


Dave Rossi
Los Angeles, CA via Buffalo NY
51 Years Old
Married, 2 kids.

I’ve worked at Paramount Pictures for 25 years, 14 of those on the Star Trek franchise, starting as a Production Assistant and ending as an Associate Producer. I also served as Supervisor of Star Trek Projects for Executive Producer Rick Berman, who created the position for me when he realized all the Trek knowledge in my head was actually valuable! I also co-produced the Star Trek Original Series Remastered project.

I’m still an avid Star Trek fan, Sci-Fi fan, Comic book collector, tabletop game player (It’s all about the Heroclix!). I am loving what Jason Aaron, Tom King, Geoff Johns, and Greg Pak are doing with their titles, and I think it’s a magical time to be a fan of these inspiring characters and their stories.


Before Comics Were Cool.

My father was a WWII veteran, and not much of a dreamer, unlike his youngest of 5 children, me. I had discovered Star Trek when I was in my 6’s, which profoundly changed my life. No one “got it.” None of my siblings, not my mom, certainly not my father. In fact our interactions on the subject went something like this: I’d be prone on the carper, head propped up on palms watching Star Trek with rapt attention. My father would walk in and say, in his deep voice, “Who’s winning?” to which I would reply, proudly, “Captain Kirk always wins.” My father would then say something pithy like “Now that you know that, turn the baseball game on.” It was a little game we would play I guess. Whenever it happened, I would use that tiny opportunity to try and imprint on him that what was happening on the TV was important, to me anyway. And I never thought he understood.

Sunday, April 3, 2016

SLAM EVIL with us During a Live Tweet of "The Phantom"! (Friday, April 8th at 9:00 Central)




Honestly, it doesn't seem like I've watched this from beginning to end since that summer when I dragged my brother to the theater to catch this flick.  The staff kind of shook their heads mournfully at us as we first, purchased tickets, and then, even more sadly as we headed willingly into the theater.

Basically, what I remember from this movie is that Billy Zane is fun (and still has hair), there's both a dog and a horse in the African jungle, Treat Williams chewing scenery and Kristy Swanson works a pair of jodhpurs and riding boots.

And, really, what else did we need in 1995?

We're recruiting YOU into joining us next Friday, April 8th at 9:00 PM Central for a Live Tweet of the movie.  Hopefully that's not too late for East Coast, not too early for West Coast and, apparently, this is the time that is best for Stuart.*

If you've not seen The Phantom and/ or don't know anything about The Phantom - all the better.  He's a purple superhero.  That's what you need to know.


  • The Movie:  The Phantom (1995)
  • Day:  April 8th, 2016
  • Time:  9:00 PM Central Time
  • Available:  On Netflix in the U.S.  Everyone else is on their own.
  • Technology:  We'll be on Twitter
  • My handle:  @melbotis
  • Our Tag:  #slamevil
  • Recommended number of drinks before starting:  3 beers/ 2 glasses of wine/ or 2 shots of whatever you've got (our temperate readers will need to just gird their loins)

Let's prepare to SLAM EVIL!


*And who are YOU to question what is best for Stuart?

Thursday, March 31, 2016

Before Comics Were Cool - The Gen-X Recollection Project: Jim D.

My very first memory of Jim D. is from an evening when I waiting for my Intro to Screenwriting class to start, and this guy behind me said "Hey!  Hey!  Are those comics?" about a pair of comics I had out on my desk.  No idea what they were.  Probably JLA, Invisibles or Preacher at the time.
"Yeah," I said, holding them up.  In film school, I was not much of a talker with people I didn't know.  UT is large, often impersonal and the film department could be competitive in the way everyone scrambling for scraps can be a bit un-fun.
"I used to read comics!" this guy said.  "Marvel!"  I think he mentioned Avengers by name.
This piqued my interest.
We began chatting and the guy was decidedly talkative in a breezy way, and decidedly not a blowhard film school jerk.
After that, we sat together in class, and pal'd around in the subsequent class, and then we both graduated.  He went to law school, I remained in Austin, being a non-lawyer.

As has been mentioned before, Jim and I kept up after graduation via email, and he got me started on all this blogging business.  After years of legal blogging, he's recently returned to blogging about pop culture, music, etc..., and we highly recommend his site.

This is a cross-post from Jim's blog, so if the formatting is a bit wonky, I'm tried of playing with the html he sent my way, but I'm glad he sent it.


elsons


A few years ago, I found myself wandering the streets of downtown Athens, Georgia on a lazy Saturday morning. After dutifully visiting the local record shoppes, I chanced across Bizarro Wuxtry, an old school comic book store located on College Avenue. A wonderful mess, the place offered its customers the opportunity to sift through immense piles of back issues, nostalgia drenched toys and collectibles, and other miscellaneous pop culture debris. As I strolled through the store that day, I suddenly caught sight of an issue of Elson's Presents Super Heroes Comics, the cover of which is depicted above. I was instantly taken aback, as I had been searching for this particular comic book for a number of years. This issue - apparently published in the very early 1980's when "Elson's Gift and News paid DC to repackage some of [its]√°comics" - was the very first comic book I owned. I don't recall very much about the circumstances surrounding its initial acquisition, but I suspect that my father purchased it for me as a gift during one of his business trips. Some Googling confirms that the Elson's franchises catered to business travelers during that time period. Somewhere along the way, my original copy of the issue was lost to the ages (likely misplaced during a move or otherwise purged from my possessions during some vainglorious effort to achieve a more minimalist existence). But three decades later, there it was again, sitting atop a pile of comic books and beckoning to me. Of course, I bought it and relived a few moments of my lost youth.

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Before Comics Were Cool - The Gen-X Recollection Project: Jason C.

We are thrilled to have the participation of Jason C. here for the Gen-X Recollection Project.

Jason is a recently published author, a former co-worker, a former collaborator from my days at Comic Fodder, holds a PhD in English, a software developer and all around good guy.  Oddly, before I met Jason, I'd read part of his dissertation as it made the rounds in the geek-o-sphere as he discussed DC Comics as a collaborative shared universe through the lens of Crisis on Infinite Earths.  It was an odd moment when Jason and I were first chatting at work and I realized he was the guy who wrote that dissertation.*

Also, it turned out Jason was in grad school at the same time as my boss and they're pals.  Sometimes Austin, TX is a very small world.

Recently, Jason published his first novel, Old Green World. which is very reasonably priced at Amazon.

But, enough about me.  Here's Jason's narrative of how things went down.



I don't remember my first comic, but I'll tell you the first comics that I remember. A crisis happened every summer, late in the summer, around when the pool was getting routine. The Justice League would visit every year with the Justice Society. The Justice Society were the old heroes, the aunts and uncles and grandparents from World War II. It was a family reunion. The Justice League lived on Earth-1, and the Justice Society on Earth-2, but they would travel to see one another through a dimensional portal. When the portal went wrong, it was a crisis. The portal always went wrong. Every year.

ed. note:  Owl Man's original costume is insane


Sunday, March 27, 2016

Before Comics Were Cool - The Gen-X Recollection Project: Ryan (It is I! Your humble blogger!)

Howdy!  And welcome to a not terribly special edition of Before Comics Were Cool - The Gen-X Recollection Project.  Because, it's me.  Writing about me.  And, settle in, kids, because this entry is entirely TL; DR material.

Fair being fair, I thought I'd partake in my own memory-gathering exercise.

The questions I put out there reflect some of what I've pondered of late when it come to how the notion of nerd-dom has changed, and as we watch the world embrace the same culture we reveled in, the same geek-type-stuff that once left us hated and feared by the very world we sought to protect, what it was like in The Before Times.

In putting finger to keyboard, it's a bit hard to think back on the past with genuine honesty.  The period we're talking about - when we got into comics and the fog of raw emotion that dominates your world in middle and high school - is one with which we all grapple.  My primary emotion during those years was "confusion".   Any tertiary emotions stemmed from whether my confusion was increasing or decreasing.

There are folks who read this site who will quibble with my assessment of how things went down, but that's the way of history.  I have tried to adhere to reality, but I know the years have painted over some of the truths, wounds have healed as the memories recede and the decades in between has provided a barricade from the days when everything felt like an open wound.

This may be the longest I've ever worked on a single post in all my years of blogging.  Perhaps not-so-coincidentally, this has also turned out to be one of the longest posts I've ever written.  So, if you're going to read it, go get your coffee now.

And, without further ado...


Howdy, y'all.  It's me.  Your friendly blogger.



Your name: Ryan (yeah.  I'm doing this, too.)
Your current occupation:  I am an Assistant Director at a Digital Library consortium.  My job is essentially "make the things work/ run a team of devs and sys admins/ other duties as assigned"
Your current place of residence: Austin, TX
Your current personal family status: Married, no kids, two dogs, extended family up in my business (everyone lives in town these days)


What was ground zero for you getting into comics/ science-fiction/ fantasy? About what year was that? Do you remember what was going on in your life?


These are the raw materials we were working with

It's probably important to mention, first, that my earliest memories of superherodom are tied to Adam West in Batman, which I reportedly watched in reruns before I could even speak.  As per sci-fi/ fantasy - my parents bought into Star Wars lock, stock and barrel.  My dad took my brother and me to see the first movie during its original theatrical release (take that, parents who aren't sure their two-year-olds can take Uncle Ben's charred skeleton!).  My Mom, who still likes Star Wars, had us in Star Wars wallpaper, figures, bed spreads... all that.  

But, yeah, I suspect I was imprinting on all of that stuff like crazy.

The Admiral took me to see Superman during its initial run (1978), but that took much later.  I vaguely remember watching (and playing) Gatchaman/ G-Force, as well as Super Friends in the late 1970's, and Spider-Man and His Amazing Friends.  We had lots of capes around and a few Batman and Spider-Man toys.

The first actual comic books I read included Woody Woodpecker and Bugs Bunny, maybe circa 1981, and I didn't like them.  It felt like the rushed, cheap work it was.  At some point, I got a Clash of the Titans comic book, and I liked that a lot.  Between the funny pages and that comic, I now knew not all comics were necessarily as hacky as the knock-offs of animation.

But none of this was exactly nerdy.  Just a kid consuming nerd-adjacent juvenile pop culture detritus.  However, that was not to last.

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Before Comics Were Cool - The Gen-X Recollection Project: My Brother! Jason S.

Well, well, well.

My brother, Jason "Steanso" Steans has decided to show up and get his two-cents in before I have a chance to set the record properly.

There's no doubt that having an older brother was an advantage in getting introduced to things a couple of years before others of my peers and friends.  Jason's almost exactly two years older than me, so we were in the same school sometimes, and close enough in age that we shared interests and did a lot of things together, even if I was on the losing end of any brotherly fist-fights over the years.

When it came to sci-fi, in particular, while growing up, we were often of one mind on what we liked.  We usually had to jointly agree on what movie we were renting until some time in high school, so we had moments like the time we decided to just spend the summer watching James Bond movies.  But he also was the person who told me to check out Evil Dead, brought home a lot of sci-fi classics from the video store, and, as he'll mention, was key in my transport to the comic shoppe once he had a driver's license.

He got into some things I didn't care about, and I was always more of a comics devotee than him.  And he's always been more willing to try on sci-fi TV shows than myself.  But to this day we compare notes on movies and TV, even if we're watching them on separate sofas in our respective homes.

He'll never mention it, but in high school he won a state-wide award for his short story, Death of a Netrunner, his, ahem, homage to the Cyberpunk works of Bruce Sterling, et al.

Here he is.  My brother and nephew, two of my favorite people.

Master Blaster


Your name:  Jason Steans
Your current occupation:  Mental Health Prosecutor- Travis County Attorney’s Office
Your current place of residence:  Austin
Your current personal family status:  Married with one child

What was ground zero for you getting into comics/ science-fiction/ fantasy? About what year was that? Do you remember what was going on in your life?

I don’t honestly remember a time without comic book characters in it. I remember watching the old Batman TV show in syndication when I was like 4 or 5. I remember running around in a Superman Cape while Ryan wore his Batman cape (yes- he used to favor Batman!). I got story books of each of the Star Wars movies and read them so that I already knew the plots when the movies came out. I remember playing Dungeons and Dragons (but probably not getting the rules quite right) in the third or fourth grade. Some of my first driving experiences were to take my brother and one of my friends to comic book shops and comic conventions.

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Before Comics Were Cool - The Gen-X Recollection Project: Daniel F!

I've known today's subject since 6th grade.  We had a parting of ways that lasted for... 20 years?  But then Daniel and I started working at the same company in April of 2007 and were reunited.

Daniel was a classmate of mine in middle school, and we ran in the same circles, waited for the doors to open in the same pack and ate lunch together and whatnot.  So, lots of the sort of chatting one does at that age.  But, we lost track of each other for a long time.  But, now we know where each other are!
When he's not doing his day job, he takes pictures and creates art in a wide array of forms.  He's a fellow Austin resident, and a bit of a traveler.  Get to know Daniel better!

He's responded to my request for folks to participate in interview fashion, so... here goes!


Your name: Daniel Fu
Your current occupation: User Experience Strategist/Visual Designer
Your current place of residence: Austin, Texas
Your current personal family status: Single

he's on to you


What was ground zero for you getting into comics/ science-fiction/ fantasy? About what year was that? Do you remember what was going on in your life? 

My head's been in the clouds for as long as I remember. Seeing Star Wars for the first time definitely sparked my early interest. I became a voracious reader, but mostly focused on genre books... Sci fi, fantasy, mystery. I started drawing in high school, based on my interest in comics and cinema, investigating how the two related and how they translated story and images into 2 dimensions. Only recently have I started to break this down, a bit. Turns out, I'm drawn to stories with a bit of a mythological bent to them, some aspect that's larger than life. Comics, sci fi, and fantasy tend to fall into this pretty easily. But I also very much enjoy movies like Amelie, Sliding Doors, Blue Ruin, and No Country for Old Men that don't fall into those genres, but have that mythological quality to them. As far as timeline... I think G-Force (Battle of the Planets), Knight Rider, Star Wars, Transformers, and GI-Joe really got me started. So early 80s to mid-80's were formative. Our family had moved around every couple of years at this point, so I wouldn't say I was able to make lasting friendships.

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Before Comics Were Cool - Gen-X Recollection Project: Peter from Denmark!

Hey, everyone!  When I sent out the call for your recollections, I didn't expect the second response to appear in my inbox to come from someone I hadn't previously met, let alone someone from the fair land of Denmark!  That's pretty exciting, in my book.  And, to today's contributor, I can only say:  Jeg vil gerne hav en kop kaffe.*

We're collecting the stories of folks born before 1982 or so who grew up on comics, sci-fi and fantasy - back when that was maybe not the coolest thing to do.  There are a lot of different stories out there that defy the stereotypes and show what life was like before the internet and social media - and we want to hear them.

If you'd like to also participate in this grand experiment, please visit the info page we've put together.

Without further ado, here's our first surprise contributor:  Peter from Copenhagen!



My name is Peter Ravn Rasmussen. I'm an historian, mainly working as a teacher. I live in Copenhagen, Denmark, with my three sons. I am divorced.

I was born in 1965, the child of two people who came from working-class families. By the time I was a small child, my father had managed (despite very little education) to rise quite high in the ranks of one of the world's largest shipping companies, so I grew up in a fairly affluent home. But my parents were not academically inclined, and they were not habitual readers. To a certain extent, this meant that I was a "cuckoo in the nest" -- because I learned to read at a very early age (just before I turned 3). My earliest reading material was Donald Duck comics and, later, Tintin. By the time I was of school age, I was already reading voraciously and at very high speed, which caused some friction with my classmates (some of whom were just beginning to read).

In 1973, my father was asked to relocate to Hong Kong, and (after conferring with us all) accepted. I learned English in short order, and this must have happened at a favourable time, for English became functionally my second native language. It was while I was in Hong Kong that my interest in science fiction and fantasy, and comics (and all the other trappings of geekery) first began to grow. I watched classic 1950s and 1960s sci-fi movies on TV, I read superhero comics, and I came across some of the first science fiction books that I can remember reading. In particular, I remember reading many of Heinlein's juveniles, including "Farmer of Ganymede" and "Tunnel in the Sky", in this period. After a few years, we relocated again, this time to Singapore -- and I continued my exposure to these interests. I watched "Star Trek" (both the original series and the animated series), and I remember buying many of the Star Trek-themed Meco 8-inch dolls (this was before the term "action figure" had become common) to play with.

Monday, March 14, 2016

Before Comics Were Cool - Gen-X Recollection Project: Stuart W.

This is the first in what I hope will be a long-running series wherein we collect the memories of fellow Gen-Xer's recalling their experiences with comics, science-fiction and/ or fantasy, from back when these things were far from the coolest activities one could get up to, the internet didn't really exist, and the words "nerd" and "geek" were intended to cause shame.

By the way, I haven't really come up with a name for this project yet, so if you have ideas, email me.

Our first submission is from Stuart, a frequent commenter and a fantastic guy.  Stuart and I met in person last summer at the Superman Celebration in Metropolis, Illinois, and in between checking out The Superman Museum and eating fried foods, we go to hang out and talk quite a bit.  Stuart is a solid guy, and as we chatted, I realized he had this kind of amazing story, so I'm glad he chose to share it with us.

I know you all have stories, too, and we're here to collect them.

Stuart is a father, husband, and I personally know about one terrific act of heroism he performed that he cannot discuss and which is totally legit.

And so, without further ado...  

Stuart sits upon the Kryptonite stone, sharing his wisdom with all who seek it out

My first memory of buying comic books is off the spinner rack at the Navy Exchange in Keflavik, Iceland. My mother was a Foreign Service Officer stationed at the embassy in Reykjavik, so I lived there when I was nine and ten years old. This was during the height of the cold war, and the famous peace summit between Reagan and Gorbachev occurred while I was there.

As a Foreign Service dependent (“brat” is the common term, but it’s not derogatory) I moved with my mother every couple of years to a new country, or occasionally to the DC Area. As soon as I made a friend or two or started feeling at home, it was about time to move. So from a pretty young age I generally felt like an outsider and avoided emotional attachments.

Foreign Service Officers and their dependents usually live in civilian housing near the embassy or consulate they're stationed to. So it’s not like living on a military base surrounded by Americans with a familiar sense of cultural identity who speak English. Generally, you shop and live and do everything in-country. When I wasn’t being homeschooled, I went to foreign schools.

Sunday, March 13, 2016

"I Remember When No one Knew What An Avenger Was!" Signal Watch Comics/ Sci-Fi/ Fantasy Gen-X Recollection Project - Call to Participate



Hey all!

If you've been considering participating in our Gen-X Nerd 1980's Recollection Project, we have some additional tools to do so.  (Basically, we're interested in your experience as a young nerd back when being a nerd could land you an atomic wedgie.)

We've had a pretty good response rate early on, so we started thinking a bit about possibly, maybe, one-day collecting the stories into an eBook or something. You know, for the people.

So, if you're trying to remember what we're up to - review the original post.

Y'all a diverse bunch and a better picture of what the comics/ sci-fi and fantasy scene was really like back in the day, so I'm hoping we can capture some of the pre-internet, pre-billion dollar movies world of nerddom here on these pages.

We've created some questions to get you going, but don't limit yourself to those points.  It's your story, tell it how you want to see it in digital print.

Click here for the questions.

But, I am asking that if you'd like to participate, you also make it semi-legit and make sure we're square in the future if we go the eBook route, I've got a release I'd like you to sign.  Sorry if it feels formal, but they beat it into us in film school to get those releases so we wouldn't have any confusion in the future.

If you're uncertain how all this works, I've got a couple of posts that will go up starting this week.  You'll see you're in good company.

If you'e got questions or want to participate, just email us here at The Signal Watch!


Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Collecting Memories Project: You Were Into Superheroes, Fantasy and Sci-Fi Before It Was Cool



If you're over a certain age, you remember a dark era in the long, long ago when superheroes were not cool.  Reading science-fiction, fantasy or comics got you labeled a "geek" and "nerd" in an era when those words were legitimate slurs, not a comment vis-a-vis "I have an interest outside eating and breathing".  There was a time when the average person on the street did not know the name of the company that published Spider-Man comics, was pretty sure there were only four super-heroes (Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman and the Spider-Fellow) and they had never heard of The Avengers.  Many people found it inconceivable that all comics were not just published by one company.  

Reading an article in Cracked.com was actually a pretty good reminder of what it was to bear the secret shame of your hobbies.  As I begin so many posts here:  "The kids will never know..."

When I came back to The Signal Watch after a hiatus, it was, in part, because I realized that when I felt like talking about comics and pop-culture, it was from a perspective of an elder statesman.  It's one thing to be young and full of excitement about comics and movies.  It's another to be older and have been around the block a bit.  And, of course, remember the time before a Comic-Con in every city, when being seen with a Superman comic would get you assigned "permanent virgin" status, when you only let folks in an elite inner circle know about your extensive knowledge of X-Men trivia, and - really - in a time when comics had no internet, and it wasn't necessarily a very social thing to do.

As much as I think of my experience as typical of comic nerds, there really isn't a typical experience.  Everyone's story is unique.  Not everyone was a straight white dude living in North Austin pedaling their bike to Ballard's gas station to grab some funny books, candy and soda on a summer afternoon.

Here's the thing:

I want to hear your stories.  

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

They Say It's Great, But I Hate It! - We Want To Hear From YOU!!!

As Fleetwood Mac Sez: You Can Go Your Own Way


As folks who are regular visitors to the site may have gleaned, I don't take any particular pleasure in disliking things which are either popular by mass appeal or critical consensus.  For example, the entire thrust of my discussion of The Revenant was really about how I thought it was a good movie, but maybe not a great movie.  And how I figured this meant I'd spend the next six months trying to decide if I needed to be polite in mixed company, or if I'd just be "that guy" and make noise about my opinion.

A few days ago, an old high school pal, JoeC, started asking folks on facebook about what bands people hated that folks seemed to really dig.  You could say why, and some folks did.

Today he asked folks about what movies people hated that had popular or critical acclaim.  He volunteered his own answers and gave some great explanations why - some were logical, some visceral - and then invited others to join in.

I am afraid I came off as a pretentious jerkface for bitching about Whit Stillman, but, man, I cannot stand that dude's work.

I love the idea of us all working through our cognitive dissonance together.  So, I'm going to ask the same thing Joe asked:

What movie do you hate that seems to get all the kudos, laud & honor - and you think it's just terrible?

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

End of the Year Lists and Whatnot

Ann Miller ringing in New Years 70 years back

It's December, which means "Best Of" lists are imminent.

After doing this off and on for almost 13 years, it's pretty clear nobody gives a damn what I think was the best of anything in any year, but I'd point you to Sound Affects as Gerry has started his countdown of his favorite albums of the year.  I know we've got more than one music snob in the house, so go over there and nod with him or shake your head in disgust.

I think the only new album I noticed this year was by Adele, and I'm pretty sure that even if I were in a deep coma since July and woke from it, I'd still be aware of Adele's new album somehow.

Please send me your own Top Ten lists of 2015 if you'd like to see them printed here (use that Contacts tab or message me on the social medias).  Make sure they're relevant to the site content and include a JPG or PNG for me to use with the list.

Again, I'm not sure I'll do anything like that.  More likely, I'll break down the numbers for My Year in Movies, and you'll either care or you won't.  I like numbers, so, there you go.

In the New Year, we'll be dropping that whole "blogging every movie we watch" business, but we'll keep it up in some respect.  I ran out of steam in October, which, happily, coincided with all my TV shows coming back on, and I don't blog those, so I've been enjoying the Not Blogging Movies All the Time aspect of my life.

We'll see what we morph into next year.  Hopefully you'll stick around.

I don't have any personal news, but in 2016, I hope to be pointing you guys to a new site by a friend of the blog, so we've all got that going for us (you're right.  It's Adele.  And she and I are best friends.*).



*this is not true, but I pretend it is.

Saturday, October 24, 2015

Monster Watch: The Monster Squad (1987)

When I was about twelve, one of the signs that The Admiral was secretly listening to me, and not just thinking up new and interesting fatherly pearls of wisdom to dole out, was when he took the afternoon off from work to take me to see The Monster Squad (1987).  I'd wanted to see the movie, no one else did (except for him, I guess), and so one day he took the afternoon off in the middle of the week - I guess it was summertime - and we hit the Showplace 6, ate some popcorn and watched Wolfman take one in the crotch.



I recall we both liked it, it was darker than I expected, maybe even a little grittier, and Dracula was straight up frightening in my twelve year old eyes.  And, as anything you consider to be not-dinner-table-conversation occurred, I sort of cringed at having to let my dad know I knew what a virgin was outside of the Christmas story.

The prior year, he'd also taken me to see Little Shop of Horrors when no one else wanted to go, so apparently The Admiral was into taking me to see movies that would bomb at the theater, but gain a following on home video.  But he also got really jazzed at the opportunity to watch old sci-fi movies like War of the Worlds with me, and was always up for a trip to see something like The Last Starfighter or The Untouchables.  Way to go, man.

But, man, it really seemed like nobody else but The Old Man and myself had seen this movie until the last fifteen years.  Although, eventually friends did see it on VHS or cable, as did I.

At some point, maybe in 2008, pal JackBart and I caught a screening at The Alamo Drafthouse with a good chunk of the cast, director Fred Dekker and screenwriter Shane Black in attendance.  The place was packed, the Q&A was great, and the cast and crew pretty forthcoming with details.  I was one of five people who let out a loud whoop when Black mentioned he was working on Doc Savage.

One thing that really stuck with me from that screening was the honest recollection of studio compromise, of what was originally envisioned, and a script that the director felt had been very watered down to serve studio hopes for a Goonies-type film leading to franchise dreams, rather than a movie about adolescents growing up when you know, Dracula shows up.  I'd love to read that original script some day.

Friday, October 23, 2015

MONSTER SQUAD! 2NITE (in, like, 1 hr, 45 min)

Hey, y'all.

It's been pointed out that I have not reminded folks enough that we're watching Monster Squad tonight.

Movie: The Monster Squad (1987)
Day: Friday, October 23rd
Time: 9:15 PM Central, 10:15 PM Eastern, 7:15 PM Pacific
Stream From: Netflix
hashtag: #wolfnards




Monday, October 19, 2015

Let's Watch "The Monster Squad" this Friday!

Movie:  The Monster Squad (1987)
Day:  Friday, October 23rd
Time:  9:15 PM Central, 10:15 PM Eastern, 7:15 PM Pacific
Stream From:  Netflix
hashtag:  #wolfnards

This Friday I'll be barreling across Texas in the afternoon to make it home in time for a screening of The Monster Squad, the 1987 adventure/ horror film.  It's a great Halloween, all-ages fright-fest with a post-Spielbergian depth to our suburban characters.


Note the Shane Black screenplay.  No, it doesn't take place on Christmas, but good question.