Thursday, August 18, 2011

Heading for the Beach

Hey, Signal Corps!

As of tomorrow I am packing my swimtrunks, my suntan lotion and my REO Speedwagon 8-tracks and Jamie and I are headed for Galveston for a few days with my folks and my brother and his lady-friend.

we shall all look splendid in our bathing costumes

Galveston is a town of unfortunate history and frequent calamity, but its also a fascinating little burg sitting out there on a spit, bravely casting its face against the many dangers the sea and sun can deliver. But its a fun place to go, and relatively shark free.

The island is home to some fascinating Queen Anne homes, both restored and decaying, three universities (including a medical school), an aquarium, a sort of zoo thing, an airplane museum and was one of the ports pirate Jean Lafitte used as a headquarters.

Every fall they have an event called "Dickens on the Strand" where locals dress up like Victorian-era folk and make a sort of living Christmas display in their touristy/ shopping area off the beach. I've never been, but it sounds... well, I don't know how they don't pass out in those get-ups. Its still warm here in November.

Its The Admiral's* B-Day, and as his B-Day usually comes and goes with a minimum of fuss, the KareBear decided this year we'd do it up a bit more. So off we're headed to sunny Galveston where we'll... I have no idea. I suspect it will be fun, though.

But that's it for me. I'm all tuckered out. You kids have a good weekend and we'll see you next week.

our birthday boy in his finest regalia

*for those new to the Signal Corps, "The Admiral" is not actually an Admiral and his service was limited to four years in the Air Force. Its an affectionate honorific.

DC's New 52 commercial has me concerned/ is pretty lame

1. This is basically a collection of still images from promo art. It doesn't tell a story, it gives an impression of "look - stuff with superheroes" that doesn't say anything outright about what DC is selling other than characters.

The League's Guide for Incoming Freshmen

This week students are arriving on campus at the university where I work.  I work in a building (a library) where I studied as an undergraduate.  This building is across the street from the building I lived in with 2,999 of my fellow students, and where I now eat lunch about 2-3 times per week.  

When I left high school and entered the wide-world of higher education, it was quite a change for your humble blogger.  I was leaving a world in which I'd achieved academic success mostly by following the rules and bullshitting when I did not, but doing it with humility and a pleasing smile that seemed to keep me from getting my head lopped off on the many, many occasions that should have done me in.

College provided me with a new set of circumstances, new people with new perspectives, teachers no longer working from a regionally approved curricula nor with fear that saying things displeasing to the local moral majority would cost them their job.  But, I also left the comfy nest of a home provided me by KareBear and The Admiral, a place where meals were provided, laundry magically happened, and as long as I did my homework, promised to go to college, occasionally did the lawn and didn't get anybody pregnant, I was able to enjoy the benevolence of those who might smite me.  But it wasn't exactly training for college.

I attended the University of Texas, my incoming class becoming part of what was a roughly 48,000 person student body, which would jump to 51,000 before I'd departed with 5 years and 2 degrees under my belt and the perspective and philosophy that comes with time spent in a city-state dedicated to creating the educated individuals of tomorrow.  I never didn't love the institution.  Instead, despite the rough first two years I spent at the bottom of the GPA pool, I figured out how, at last, to get out of the school what it was offering.

And so, I offer up some helpful tips I wish somebody had told me when arriving upon the steps of the Ivory Tower of Education, some things that may help out the young The Leagues showing up at their own colleges and universities, all across the world this Fall.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Signal Watch Reads: Terry Moore's "Echo"

This week the single volume edition of Terry Moore's Echo hit the shelves at your favorite comic shop (if it didn't, change comic shops.  They should carry this kind of stuff, too.).

I followed Moore's Strangers in Paradise off and on, and it was one of the books that got Jamie into reading comics back in the day.   Moore's artwork is easy to spot, and while he could go off and become a penciler for DC or Marvel, I'm glad he's always stuck to his guns and indulged his writing as well as his pen and ink.

If I kept leaving and coming back to SiP, it was because I couldn't tell what Moore was doing with the series.  It went from a sort of suburban melodrama/comedy to having secret organizations and martial artists and god knows-what-else.  It was his series, and he could develop it however he pleased, but coming out in single issues, it was a bit hard to swallow over the span of years.

Of course, Moore DID wrap up SiP with what I considered a satisfying conclusion.  With a few years between the end of the series and now, I've been thinking of filling in the gaps I have in the series (I read it as a mix of trades and floppies and stopped and started during the duration).  Moore has since released an affordable 6 volume set, and its tempting to try re-reading it from beginning to end, because I think Moore knows what he's doing more than I gave him credit for.

I didn't know Echo would be a limited run story when I first picked up an issue, but I found the first two issues interesting enough that I decided I'd pick up the trades.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Looking with squinty, skeptical eyes at the November solicits for DC's New 52 (Month 3)

In truth, a while back I quit reading "Previews" or looking at anything more than titles of books coming out.  (A) The solicitation information was always one of four or five boiler-plate bits (B) The information was usually hyperbolic and misleading, anyway. And (C) I quite like looking at comics on the rack at my local comic shop and pondering those crazy covers to make a buying decision.*

As exciting as talking about "The New 52" from DC was in the first weeks of the announcement, in the back of my head I was always aware that we'd have a couple of months' worth of solicitations available before the first issue of the New 52 hit the stands (and we'd be spinning our wheels all summer as DC geared up for the effort).  With the New 52, I've felt obligated to get an idea of what I might (and might NOT) spend my money on.

Monday afternoon, the solicitations hit for November's releases, the third month of DC's New 52. DCNu effort.  And maybe I'm tired or in a bad mood, but...  If there was any doubt that New DC is the Old DC, somehow rebooting the line with the same heads and talent in place, curiously, did not seem to shake things up a whole lot, and we're already back to simple tricks and nonsense.

That said, a few things still have me absolutely excited.  And this is where my personal taste comes into play.

Here's my favorite copy of the November solicits:

Frankenstein and The Creature Commandos crash-land on the invading alien planetoid and all-out mayhem ensues, but nothing can prepare them for the coming of The Titans of Monster Planet! And just when they thought things couldn't get worse, Father Time receives a troubling message from his past.
I don't know what any of that means, but its exciting!

Its also telling that I actually like this cover:

I am not sure this is what Mary Shelley had in mind, but I'm gonna run with it
But I was less excited by what I saw elsewhere.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

No Post Monday

I have to go to Waco in the morning, and I didn't have time to finish the post I was working on.  I am sure you all understand.

Had a lovely weekend, and am sure this week will be swell.

Here's the cover of Captain America #1, featuring work by Jack Kirby and story by Joe Simon.  We (The US, that is) weren't actually yet at war with Germany when this comic hit the stands.  But Cap was already in action.  He's just that cool.

Go, get 'em, Cap!