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

Thursday, February 26, 2015

GUEST POST: AmyC talks "Fifty Shades, Forty-Three Dollars"

Editor's Note:  Every once in a great while, there's a particular need to bring in an expert here at The Signal Watch.  I posted on Fifty Shades of Grey on Monday, and mentioned I'd seen the movie with longtime pal, AmyC.  She was game, and I hadn't had opportunity to hang with her in a long time, so it seemed the ideal opportunity.  I want to thank Amy, because not only did she go to the movie, she brought a perspective to the whole event that made it all seem like less my usual descent into madness with a movie like Santa with Muscles, and, instead, she was a fantastic sounding board as we discussed "what does this movie mean?" en route and on the return trip from the movie.  

Without further ado, here's Amy's post...


Fifty Shades, Forty-three Dollars

Ever since The League pitched the idea of going to see Fifty Shades of Grey, I’ve been excited about going to see a movie that I would have otherwise done my level best to ignore, mostly because I think that bad movies transcend themselves when shared, and become transformed into good experiences through the alchemy of shared derision. I actually consider myself something of an aficionado of horrible movies, having snickered my way through The Room, Showgirls, Goblin 2, and various other legendarily bad pieces of dreck. And while I hadn’t managed to get through the book, despite a heroic effort on my part, I’d managed to absorb enough of the story indirectly to be dead-certain it was NOT going to be a good movie. Most of my exposure to the content was through YouTube videos featuring parody-readings of excerpts from the books.

Video 1
Video 2
Video 3
Video 4

I suppose it’s also worth mentioning that I have spent a good portion of my professional life teaching classes about sexuality. Generally, most of my time was spent talking about sexually-transmitted infections, birth control, and the ins-and-outs of human reproductive anatomy, but I also took every chance I could get to talk to people about consent, the value and power of mutual pleasure, and respect for one’s self and the person or people one becomes intimate with throughout one’s life. I’ve also had the great privilege of helping some people deal with the aftermath of sexual assaults and abusive relationships, which has made me wary of how our culture portrays love and sexuality in our entertainment.

However, since I knew I was going to be seeing it with a friend, in a theater full of people that would mostly be sincere fans, instead of ignoring it or tut-tutting it, I started psyching myself up for seeing it by actively looking for information about tie-in (heh!) products and things that fans were hoping to see in the film. I got a good chuckle about the sex toys, lubricants, and various other odds and ends for sale at Target , and an actual belly laugh out of the existence of a Christian Grey teddy bear in a wee little grey suit, kitted out with a little Venetian mask and a tiny pair of handcuffs. I read a surprisingly thoughtful essay about the transition in the Anastasia character’s make-up and styling from the film’s makeup artist (the lip color gets darker throughout the film since it’s part of the book that Christian is fascinated by Anastasia’s lower lip) that accompanies a set of cosmetics assembled by a high-end cosmetic company Make-Up Forever that’s being sold through Sephora. There’s a lot of official product out there, and it’s fascinating in its variety and far-ranging price-points.



Monday, January 26, 2015

Answering Questions - The Picky Girl asks Where One Should Start When it Comes to Comics

Picky Girl placed the following in the comment box

Ok, I have a question. So I was not a comics girl growing up. I read a ton - and a lot of stuff that was probably way above my head - but the only comics I ever came in contact with were Archie and Veronica at my grandmother's house (in the bathroom...).

In college, a prof handed me Watchmen, and I loved it. I read some graphic novels and did a lot of reading about comics and the superhero, but when it came to comics, I never knew where to begin. There are so many iterations that I don't know where to begin. Any suggestions?

I'll go ahead and ask my fellow comics dorks to weigh in down in the comment section.  I know you've got your opinions, and my suggestions are just that.  They're just some suggestions by me.  So, chime in, buddies.

First of all, I think if you get down to it, a lot of people had their first and often their last exposure to comics through Archie Comics.  There's a reason everyone over a certain age recognizes Archie and Jughead, and enough people are aware of the Archie-Veronica-Betty love triangle so that you can use it as cultural shorthand.

I'm one of those kids, too.  I have a warm spot in my heart for Archie, even if I can't imagine how one remains a lifelong reader, but people do that, and that's kind of cool.

yeah.  every high school guy has two girlfriends who are cool with this situation.

Back in the 90's, you got to ride the wave of 1980's envelope-pushing comics and academics for whom bringing in anything on the edge of culture to teach was kind of a novel thing.  Watchmen has sold a lot of copies to kids taking a blow-off course where they could read comics, but it earned its rep as one of the very, very few comics that reads like a sprawling novel and talks to an audience of people who also read Thomas Wolfe.  I cannot stress how rare this is in capes and tights comics.  Less so in other genres of comic.

The 1970's brought in the first writers that wanted to push beyond kiddie-stuff and you wound up with Green Arrow seeing his ward shooting up smack (no lie!), but it still read as a 22-page adventure with only loose tethers to the past and future.  And, 95% of the time when comics think they're writing for adults or to make a point, it's still basically Speedy doing smack.

First it's comics, then you smoke one rock of pot, and then wham-o!  You've riding the white pony and defending Jethro Tull in public.

Almost nothing in capes and tights before or after Watchmen is Watchmen, and I've written extensively about how comics have learned all the wrong lessons from a superhero comic that wrote up to a literate audience.  We can cover that again some other time, and surely will, but that wasn't really your question.  What I'm doing here is: expectation setting.

Sunday, January 25, 2015

The Single Question Posed is Answered - Star Wars or Star Trek?

Gerry asks:

Not sure if you've ever come out on either side of this, but the public demands an answer: Star Wars or Star Trek?
The short answer is:  Planet of the Apes.

pew pew pew!

The real answer is - I grew up loving both, and never understood why I had to pick one over the other.  To me, that was sort of like picking Dragonslayer over The Secret of NIMH.  I kind of felt they were two different animals (one is fantasy, one is space adventure) and I could enjoy both, but I do get that it's like the need to pick either DC or Marvel and then go online and defend your stance from a religious perspective.  It's the internet.  You want to feel that there's logic to your gut feeling.

In my youth, Star Wars certainly got a lot of extra weight as it was the franchise that was being merchandised like crazy.  I never had any official Star Trek stuff until college, I think, when Jamie's Dad got me a Next Generation badge for Christmas (I was touched).

But let's not take any short cuts.  Let's take a really, really long look at this, shall we?

Friday, January 23, 2015

Your Questions Posed and Answered: What Can I Do For You?

It's been a pretty good start back to blogging.  It's been a lot of fun for me, so I hope both of you reading this site are enjoying my triumphant return.

So, are there any questions I can answer?  Solve any burning mysteries for anyone?  Anyone have any suggestions or requests before we get much further along?

in this scenario, you shall be the Luthors and Mss Tessmachers, and I shall be the all-knowing space-head

Just drop your questions in the comment section!

Keep it clean, and keep it friendly.  We'll see what we can't do to answer that which is posed to us.

And, don't worry about the topic.  I guess.  You know what this blog is about, so... consider that before asking me anything about astronomy or baking.


Sunday, April 7, 2013

10th Anniversary Round-Up

Back on March 30th, this blogger marked his 10th Anniversary of writing.  We want to thank everyone who had an opportunity to send something in!

If we missed your email or message, let me know, as we'd love to include you in this celebration.  Also, feel free to send something in any time if you'd planned to do something but got busy.

Here are some links to the posts as they are now.  Thanks again so much to all of you.

My own thoughts






Saturday, April 6, 2013

Reed chimes in on the whole 10 Years of Blogging Business

I've known Reed since... man, probably 1984 or so. If anyone was there when I passed the curve from "mild interest" in comics to full blown comics nerd, it was he. He was also the guy i knew who actually owned copies of Death in the Family, and so, one day while he and Jason were listening to Van Halen albums or something, I sat on his bed and read the whole run.

Anyway, Reed has been with the blog for years, though he only usually chimes in to defend his beloved Texas A&M Aggies (who are having a pretty good time of it these days). But he's always around... somewhere....

Congratulations on 10 years of blogging!!! It's hard to believe. It's hard to believe my oldest will turn 8 in 2 months, that Jas and I are 40 years old, and that my dad is 70! My dad turning 70 is actually the hardest to come to grips with.

Anyway, here is what I have appreciated the most about The Signal Watch (and The League of Melbotis):

* Your captions with photos and images. Whether it's crazy 1950-60s Superman covers, photos of your family, or images from Hollywood, you have the best captions!
* Your commentary and dialogue about your family (especially with and about your brother). I always check the comments section. Of course, I'm biased having known your family for so long.
* Daily Dose of Good Cheer formerly Dames in the Media That The League Once Dug. I never realized that it was originally done to increase web traffic on your blog. Regardless of the reasons, I'm a big fan.
* Your movie reviews. You have helped keep me from making poor decisions at the movies. Especially when you pan comic book movies. That usually seals it for me.
* I stopped collecting comics after I graduated high school so it's been nice to stay in the general loop of the industry through your blog.
* Your general writing. I am constantly amazed at not only the quantity, but the quality of the writing and how you keep things fresh on your blog for over 340+ days a year (you rarely take days off from your blog).

Again, congratulations on 10 years and here's to 10 more. Thanks for providing an entertaining break during my work day.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

10th Anniversary: Jake chimes in from the Shores of Oregon

As he says below, Jake is a relative new-comer to the Signal Corps/ Loyal Leaguers.  If "new" is being around for two years.  I've really enjoyed Jake's participation, his enthusiasm and his occasional voice of dissenting opinion.

And, yes, the Longhorns were the better team.


I stumbled upon The Signal Watch around April 2011, so I'm a relative newcomer to this ten year enterprise. I don't remember how I found the site, but I'm sure it had something to do with Superman. And it became quickly apparent this site was more than a collection of rants written with all of the erudition of a third grader. Quite the opposite; I found the posts to be refreshingly intelligent and insightful, much more so than the major comic book oriented websites, but without the cynicism and contrived snarkiness. Before long, this became my primary source of comic-related news and commentary. In fact, when it comes to superhero comics, monsters, film noir, Planet of the Apes and yes, Superman, The Signal Watch is my Saturday Evening Post.

Of course, it helps when the founder and proprietor, Ryan, is the same age, and grew up watching and reading all the same stuff I did. He's one of those rare people who, with equal enthusiasm, can argue the social and cultural currents running through comics, or pick the winner of Mothra vs. the Giant Mantis. Then of course, there's Superman -- Ryan just gets him. There are few things I don't get, like his zeal for Jimmy Olsen comics. And I think he actually believes the Longhorns were a better team than USC in 2005.

More than anything, I appreciate Ryan's willingness to converse with his readers. As someone who is often clumsy and blunt wielding my opinion, I am grateful for his patience and forbearance.

So congratulations, Ryan. Here's to ten more years. Salud!

Monday, April 1, 2013

RHPT and 10 Years of Loyal Leaguership

I met Randy at a movie theater in Beaumont, Texas.  He had come to Beaumont to visit JimD, meet me and catch a screening of Superman: The Movie.  That's one of two times we've been able to hang out, but I've been there online to find out he was moving to Tennessee, getting married, and now, he's on his second child. 

10 years, y'all.

Here to Randolph and making friends across the internets!




I had a version of this e-mail ready to go, but then I read Steven's letter, and managed to get an advanced copy of the 10th Anniversary post, so I re-worked it. Is that cheating?

I vaguely remember receiving an email from JimD many years ago telling me that I must read this blog a college buddy of his started. As with most things JimD recommends, I ignore it the first couple of times. (I do this despite JimD's amazing track record of recommending insanely awesome things). I - again - vaguely recall clicking the link, quickly scanning the first few posts, and moving on. A few days (weeks?) later, JimD's second email was along the lines of "you need to read his blog or he'll stop writing and that would be a tragedy". And for whatever reason, I clicked the link again and started reading a post. God knows what was the subject of that first post (probably comics), but I was hooked. I probably didn't start regularly visiting the blog for a few weeks (This was pre-Google Reader), but for at least two-thirds of the past 10 years, I visited League of Melbotis more than once a day, and commenting constantly. In fact, after Google Reader came along, I didn't add The League's feed because I would visit the site more often than Reader refreshed the feed. Good times.

Sunday, March 31, 2013

NathanC on The League's 10th!

I don't recall exactly when I met NathanC, but i recall seeing him play in a band called "Barnyard Commandos" at my high school's rockfest. I know I'd met him before he met up with my brother at Trinity in San Antonio when they were both Freshmen. And, not only have we been pals ever since, but Nathan knew Jamie separately from knowing me back at Trinity, as well. So, longtime pal.

No matter what happens with this blogging business, I know that Nathan will still be popping up at odd hours at my house until one or both of us goes.


Lovin’ the League

I’ve told the League (I cannot in any way refer to him as ‘Ryan’ in cyberspace) many times that he should be writing a column for the paper. Or a book.

I’ve know Mr. League for close to 20 years now, and always found him to be a bright boy. But something in his nut cracked when he moved to Arizona. The dearth of cultural activities in Chandler turned him inward, and then led him to spew his thoughts upon the interwebs with the classic-era blog “League of Melbotis.” The life and times of livin’ large in AZ were supplemented by remembrances of better (and worse) times in Texas, including some of my favorite stories about working for the Mouse at Willowbrook Mall, or the rat at Chuck-E-Cheese.

The League writes well, and continues to do so with The Signal Watch. His online persona is honest and not without a little humorous sarcasm. He speaks for the frustrated observer of life and culture. His takedown of Johnny Clambake’s is legendary.

And he brings people together. As many have said before in this spot, the League of Melbotis was a social network when Marc Zuckerberg was only...

Oh, wait a second, Facebook started in 2004?

Well, you were a little ahead of the game.


Saturday, March 30, 2013

Jamie has her say on 10 Years of Blogging


Jamie and I have been together for over 17 years, married for almost 13.  Of that, 10 years has been spent online.  She really never has to wonder what I'm up to or thinking because: there you go.  Just check the post in the morning.

She's been a sport about her supporting role in this endeavor, and her level of joy at participation waxes and wanes, depending on what's going on.  I will say, I found it pretty hilarious (and telling) that we essentially end our posts the same way.

I have been extraordinarily lucky to team up with a partner who is as patient and understanding not just about my hobbies, but about this endless blogging business of which she's been a part.  She's the light of my life, my north star, all that jazz...  Love you, pumpkin.


When Ryan sent out a request for reflections on his ten years of bloggership, I immediately thought - "what better way to toast the League than the League's own words?".  I decided I wanted to go back through League of Melbotis and The Signal Watch and select the most memorable posts from his impressive run.

Holy smokes, ten years.  Do you have any idea how much material that is? That's a LOT of blogging.  I would have regretted this decision had it not been a joy to comb through the archives in search of my favorite posts.  The hardest part was selection.  My first pass through all ten years netted no fewer than 50 entries.  Fifty seemed a little too much for a "best of" tribute, so I have narrowed it down to 10.

I am well aware that everyone has different opinions and some of my selections may seem strange, but I tried to nail down those posts which I immediately remembered or to which I had a significant emotional response.  So without further ado, in chronological order, I present to you:

10 Posts of Note: A League of Melbotis/ The Signal Watch Retrospective

When Ryan fist started League of Melbotis in April of 2003, we had lived in the Phoenix suburb of Chandler for almost a year, had yet to make any friends aside from one of the guys I worked with, and were gearing up for another soul sucking Arizona summer.  The blog was a great outlet for Ryan's frustration and talent for writing. Some of the more common earlier posts took the form of relaying our outings in and around the Chandler area:

1. The Chandler Jazz Festival


League of Melbotis: 10 Years of Blogging

March 30th, 2013 marks the 10th anniversary of my blogging habit.  Ten years, something around 5000 posts.  That's just the blogs of which I've been chief proprietor.  I also wrote briefly with other folks at Nanostalgia and at Film Fodder (a paying gig!  I made, literally, about $1.25).

So, I've written and posted a lot.  Big whoop.  Sometimes I wonder if I've a small case of hypergraphia that's gone undiagnosed, but we won't dwell on that here today.

Pushing through the haze and trying to remember why and how...  you start making up stories in your own head to make it sound better.  But it's mostly right there in print.  At the age of 27, looking down the barrel of 28, I kicked off the first blog, League of Melbotis.

this is no fantasy... no careless product of wild imagination...

Friday, March 29, 2013

Horus Kemwer shares some words on the eve of the 10th Anniversary

In the way things go with Horus, I have met him officially once.  We ate food, drank beer and then liquor.  We swapped stories.  I was given a comic series to begin to pursue (Dungeon).  I may or may not have met him previously in a bar in Beaumont, Texas.  Flash Gordon and Superman were involved.  So was RHPT and JimD.  It's hard to say what really happened.

Horus can be found at Against the Modern World.  And sometimes in Hong Kong.


On the 10th anniversary of the League:

There's only one blog which I have consistently read since I started reading blogs 7 or so years ago. There's only one blog I check on a daily basis (sorry JD, shouldn't have gone corporate). There's only one blog I started reading for one type of content (comics) and yet grew attached to the rest (the noir, the family updates, the rants, the pinups). There's only one blog I've ever contributed guest content to.

There's only one person I've ever met first on the internet, then met later in person.

That person is the League and that blog is his - the best all round blog I know.

~ horus kemwer

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Steven Harms on the 10th Anniversary of my Blogging Endeavors

I didn't meet Steven until the fall of 2006.  By that time I had already followed his own blog that he kept at the time, and knew roughly the cut of his jib.  He'd met and fallen madly in love with Lauren.  They'd decided to leave the cool climes of the San Francisco area for the sweltering heat of Texas.  They beat us to Austin by a few months.

Somehow, our paths took some small amount of time before we did cross (I recall getting a note on our door from when Steven and Lauren attempted a surprise visit), and finally we met up for the most Austin of traditions: breakfast out.

Prior to Steven, the only other person I think I'd met who knew me only from my online presence was RHPT, so it was a bit odd.  I didn't know exactly if I'd live up to their idea of who the man behind the pixels might be, and, I assume that - yeah, I have a lot of rough edges.  They didn't run away screaming, so, that seemed decent of them.

At any rate, I was immediately fond of both Steven and Lauren, and until they decided to return to San Francisco, we spend quite a bit of time with them both, and, frankly, I miss having them around.  They're good company.  You should look them up.

Steven doesn't comment often these days, but he was kind enough to send in the following:


On the occasion of your site's anniversary

Most web site fashions are temporary, coming and going with a season or
an era: Huffington Post faded for me after the Bush administration,
memepool.com stopped updating, Reddit.com was overtaken by Digg.com
refugees, and in its turn I'm sure Facebook will one day be called old
hat. But The League's enterprises: The League of Melbotis and the
Signal have not wavered in terms of my visitation in, I'm surprised to
admit, nearly 10 years. In fact, as I just found out while typing this,
my fingers still have the muscle memory of the original URL
http://melbotis.blogspot.com.

What could make this small, personal blog so entertaining for such a
long time? As mentioned above, bigger, better-funded players have been
killed or committed seppuku in that same time span. What makes The
League's endeavors different? I think it comes down to this: his
site(s) have always been a nice, friendly porches with hot dogs and
spiked Dr. B in red solo cups. They've always been friendly, they've
always been positive and humorous in a vaguely James Thurber fashion,
and the content has always been coming (that is, there was something
new).

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

10th Anniversary - You Humans Weigh In

Hi, y'all!  As the 10th Anniversary of this blog approaches, I asked for folks to send in comments about the site.  

On March 30th, 2003, I posted the first missive to The League of Melbotis blog.  I think that post was seen by upwards of three people, including me.  But soon, that number grew!  We now have maybe eight to ten readers!

Over the years we've had a wide range of folks at the site.  Many of have stuck around, most have not.  It's the way of the world.  

What I did not expect, and something I don't think bloggers with audiences in the thousands can appreciate, is that this whole blogging thing can be personal.  It's great to get web-lebrity status, but I've found a lot of joy over the years in having a small audience that I feel like I've gotten to know in comments, over social media, and, occasionally, in person.  I genuinely consider you friends, even if I don't know what you look like or what you like to eat.  

I think Jamie is still working on her post, so we may not be done.  If you other humans want to weigh in, please feel free to send something my way via email or carrier pigeon.


Stuart Ward of Kansas chimed in with:

I can’t remember when I first started reading your blog. I would guess some time in 2010. I read the first few articles because I thought the ‘Signal Watch’ title was clever, and also because I like Krypto (and all he represents, ie the slightly goofier/more colorful/more fun/Silver Agey side of Superman).

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

A Humble Request - I Need Your Words

The end of this month marks the 10th Anniversary of my blogging career.

I'd deeply appreciate it if you could feel so inspired as to send some publishable reminisces by way of email to:  signalwatch at gmail dot com

I'll be posting whatever you feel like sending my way around the date of the blog-versary. It can be whatever you like.  The time I filled you with rage.  The time you knew I'd gone quite mad.  The time you decided my words were sage wisdom and put a check in the mail to support me.

Whatever you like.  There are no rules.

Ten years, people.  Ten.

a typical night of blogging at League HQ

So, yeah!  We'd love to hear from you.  Just click on that "Contact" button up above and send something in.

I got nothin': Mad Men and creeping up on my blogging anniversary

We started our pre-Season 6 review of Season 5 of Mad Men this evening.  I firmly believe you kind of have to watch every season of this show twice, not just to get the quick, throw away lines you might have missed, but it's a show that writes in a literary mode.  Once you know the score, it's amazing to see the foreshadowing and symbols.  I've seen some critics complain that, basically, the show does this on TV and they feel it can be clunky, and, sometimes, yeah.  But for the occasional open elevator shaft, there's a throw-away line about "not being around by Christmas" that plays out with grim irony nobody but the writing staff could have anticipated.

As much as I live a good show like The Americans and the challenges of the show, they're all there on the surface.  It's a gripping drama that challenges the American hero perspective of the 1980's (or today), but that's the function of the show.  It weaves in home and life to characters we've only ever seen as drone-like killing machines or bed-mates for James Bond.  Again, I really like The Americans, but Mad Men is trying in a completely different way and isn't in danger of becoming a one-hit wonder.

Also, I watched this evening's episode of The New Girl.  I long ago moved on from just watching it for the Deschanel-ness and genuinely like what I suspect is about 50% made up on the spot from an outline.

In the next 10 days I need to finish the 10th Anniversary post for my blogging.

10 years, man.  10.  That's a lot of navel gazing.  And sometimes I feel bad that I only have 200+ posts on Superman on this blog, and then I think:  well, man, that's like 200 posts you did about Superman on this site alone.  That's actually a lot of thinking and writing about Superman that nobody paid you to do.  You're no Steve Younis, but that's nothing to shake a stick at.  Also, go out and get some sun or something.  All this sitting can't be good for you.

Anyway, if you have anything to contribute to the 10 year anniversay-palooza, we welcome you to send in your post-cards and comments.  You can do so via email at the contact link that is in the menu bar running horizontally at the top of the page.  We'll reprint whatever you want to send in.

One thing I learned from visiting with people I hadn't seen much or at all in 20 years last weekend is that their memories of you and  (what was to them) specific, very important moments can be something you don't really recall yourself until they bring it up.  I was just glad that the two things I had dropped on me were both really pretty positive.  But then modern-me looked like a jack-ass for not immediately remembering either event.*

So, yeah, I don't know what you people think of when you think of The League of Melbotis franchise of social media.  But if you want to help me out on this, it'd be appreciated.


*apparently I defended a young woman's honor in the cafeteria and was someone else's first kiss (as a stage kiss.  I had no idea.).

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Your Questions Answered: The Full-Text and less pithy response to Question #4

Jim D asked:

4. Can we trust those youths who have no meaningful memories of the 1990's?

My original answer was:

I tend to think not. I drive past a high school every day on my way to work, and the kids are starting to dress like they're in a Young MC video or maybe big Madonna fans. I don't think they know that's what they're emulating. The undergrads I see are basically okay, but they're easily distracted and swayed by anything from donuts to sparkley lights. Basically, I don't trust anyone who still has dreams or aspirations.

I work on a college campus.  Almost every day I am surrounded by bright young people who were born between 1990 and 1995.  Many are lovely people, and if I didn't believe that, I wouldn't work there.  But I also know that this is the first time they've stepped away from the helicopter-parenting, special-snowflake environs in which they were raised.  One bubble into another.

I don't know if I'd anchor my answer necessarily to the 1990's, other than that the 1990's were the era in which I passed from teenager to college graduate, and the cultural and historical events of the era no doubt had a huge hand in how I think of things today.

Do I trust a 19 year old telling me about hip new bands?  No, I do not.  I've had almost twenty years to outgrow the bands I liked, understand their influences later on - and stop believing that they sprung from the earth fully formed as geniuses, the like of which the world had never seen before.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Your Questions Answered: A Peppering of Questions

My wife asks:

Gorilla vs. Robot. Who wins? (your choice as to how literally you'd like to interpret this question)

bonus question: Lucy vs. Scout. Who wins?


Question # 1:  We do.
Question # 2:  Nobody.



JimD asks:

1. Supes v. Alistair? Who wins?
2. Ten years ago, The League began this blogging thing. If we could transport 2003 League to 2013, what would he say about the world he surveys here?
3. Compare the child reader of comic books in 1986 (who could go to 711 and purchase a new issue) with his 2013 counterpart. What changed, and why?
4. Can we trust those youths who have no meaningful memories of the 1990's?
5. What does it all mean?

Your Questions Answered: What if I Had Creative Control of Superman?

Jake asks:

Since this is Superman heavy blog, if you were the publisher or editor in chief over at DC, or even just a writer on a Superman title, what would you do, creatively, with Superman? Assuming you could flush the whole reboot, what would you do (or not do) with the character? Just focus on good, solid storytelling? Make Superman more socially/politically conscious? Introduce him to a wider audience, i.e. kids, women, etc.?

Believe it or not, this isn't something I think about all that much, and maybe that's wrong-headed, but I'm never comfortable with reviews of something that start with "what they should have done was..." or "what they should really do".  It seems like an endgame with little satisfaction.

Usually the question I find myself asking is: why didn't that work?

But rather than dodge the question, let me give it a whirl.



1. Re-Establish a Supporting Cast of Humans

If you've been picking up Superman comics for a while, or, in fact, most superhero comics of the last decade, one of the primary problems I detect is that there is no status quo.  There's no "home base" for the characters to point to and have in mind as they go about their adventures.  Spider-Man lost his with the dissolution of the Mary Jane marriage, Batman is almost never seen as billionaire playboy Bruce Wayne with his youthful ward, and the only writer who seemed to want to put Clark Kent in the Daily Planet for more than two panels every six issues was Geoff Johns, who left the book before his creative imprint could really take hold.

Monday, March 4, 2013

Your Questions Answered: Why do you hate Rutherford B. Hayes?

Anonymous asks:

Why do you hate Rutherford B. Hayes?

I actually tried to find a reason to hate Rutherford B. Hayes, but reading his bio, it's kind of hard to find much fault with the guy.  He inherited a tough spot in the wake of the panic of 1873 and managed to forge a new path for currency, worked to amicably end Reconstruction and restore full independence to the South, did good deeds in Latin America, took no BS from Mexican bandits and handled the railroad worker's strike with more humility than Reagan and the mess with the air traffic controllers.

The 1870's are a somewhat unsexy period in American history, so I had to look up quite a bit on Hayes, but in my estimation, aside from the extremely dicey way in which he took office, he seems all right.

So, the answer is: I DO NOT HATE RUTHERFORD B. HAYES


In fact, I find quite a bit to admire in his biography.

I'm not sure I'm ready to get on the Rutherford B. Hayes bandwagon, like you people, but as a man of his time, he seems pretty remarkable.  Unfortunately, he falls between Lincoln and Roosevelt, in that era of American history that just doesn't get much press.  I think that's all on me to better understand, and maybe that's worth doing sometime.