Saturday, December 3, 2011

SW Advent Calendar December 3

Yes, they come from a planet of living machines, but their artificial hearts are no less warmed by the joy of the season.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Signal Watch Reads: It's Superman!

In 2005 or 2006, I bought the novel It's Superman! by Tom De Haven.  And, I never read it.  I don't know why.  I read the first couple of chapters and then loaned it to Judy (my mother-in-law) and when it came back a week later, I just never finished the book.

Truthfully, I didn't really understand the point of the book.  Who was Tom De Haven?  With television, comics, movies, cartoons, etc... all spinning their own take, why go to the media where Superman hasn't had as much success as elsewhere?  Why start over?

After listening to the novel as an audiobook from Blackstone (delivered via audible), I'm still not exactly sure.  Yes, the novel provides angles and insights movies and comics might not.  It follows inner monologues, switches points of view with tremendous regularity, but it also seems to lack a certain insight into Superman, the sort of insight that I think has been understood by others in recent media, from Mark Waid's Birthright to Paul Dini and Alex Ross's Peace on Earth to Morrison's All Star Superman to bits and snippets of Superman Returns.  And, again, I think I'm seeing it in Grant Morrison's Action Comics.

Between buying the book of It's Superman! and listening to the audiobook (thank goodness for long car rides), I read De Haven's follow up to this one.  The follow up, however, wasn't another novel.  Instead, it was a meditation on Superman entitled Our Hero: Superman on Earth.  It was a nuanced read but it also informs some of what I think De Haven struggled with in writing It's Superman! and where he and I might part ways in our opinions of what's going on with the character.

SW Advent Calendar December 2

Christmas is the great gifts at this year's office Christmas party and wondering what you have in common with your work colleagues other than work.  Also, wishing for Don Draper's hair.

Holiday Helping Hand

Hey!  It's the Holidays!

It's the time of year when movies and TV tell us we learn important life lessons about the real meaning of Christmas.

This can mean family, giving, whatever TV and movies seem to say, I suppose.  In the case of Die Hard, it means blowing up Alan Rickman in a spectacular fashion.

Things are rough out there, of course.  Nobody is saying it isn't.  But it can also be a time to step back from buying that one more $15 present and putting that money toward something that will help somebody who actually needs the money more than you need one more package under the tree to make things symmetrical.

If you give to any charity this year in the spirit of the Holidays, why not send me a message so I know what you've been up to, and I'll post a Signal Watch Holiday Honor Roll.  You don't have to say how much you gave, but we'd love your name, who you gave to, and if you feel like saying so, why you gave to that organization.

Superman helps out with more than a donation

You can also mention any groups that you regularly give to, especially if you have someone you give to monthly.

I'll give an example:
I give monthly to Capital Area Food Bank, which provides food to local families in need.  
If you have an organization you give to (that I won't find creepy), just send it our way via our email or click the contact tag on this website.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Signal Watch Advent Calendar: December 1

Christmas is about siblings competing, and talking it over with your mystery spouse.

Santor has advice upon the topic of Christmas Gifts

Happy December 1st! The first day of December, and already, you're probably a bit sick of Christmas.

Santor is here to help. He has prepared this inspirational video to get you through the holidays.

he struggles, he does. Poor Santor.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Signal Watch Reads: Superman #3

Superman #3
A Cold Day in Hell
script & breakdowns - George Perez
penciller - Nicola Scott
inker - Trevor Scott
colorists - Brian Buccalleto, Brett Smith, Blond
letterer - Carlos M. Mangual
cover - Perez & Buccelleto
associate editor - Wil Moss
editor - Matt Idleson
Superman created by Jerry Siegel & Joe Shuster
this review is of the print edition

The storyline taking place five years after the events in Grant Morrison's Action Comics continue, with Superman established but not the paragon of trust in Metropolis that readers may have been familiar to readers of prior Superman series.  There's most definitely a bit of "One Year Later" fatigue setting in as characters speak elliptically about the past, established relationships, etc...  and it can feel a bit more like we're picking up a comic that's been running for a while than stepping into the start of something new.  Which, truthfully, seems to defeat some of the purpose of a "relaunch".

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

No Post Tuesday

Instead, I leave you to ponder the Fortress of Solidarity.

click to enlarge

Doug and Kristen were still with us Monday night, and I had an early morning.  No post for you.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Happy Birthday, Gloria Grahame

We've talked Ms. Grahame before.  Today is her birthday.  Happy B-Day to you, wherever you are.

Grahame born in 1923 and passed in 1981 at the all-too young age of 57.

Nice Holiday and Muppets

Hey!  Welcome back from the Thanksgiving Holiday.

We had a very nice weekend.  For a brief rundown:  Thursday we didn't actually do Thanksgiving.  

I got up, watched the parade as much as I could, and thanks to a very busy schedule for the next few weeks, figured I better hang our Christmas lights.  So, that's done.  Dug and K arrived around 3:30, so we had a nice, oddly-timed meal (not quite lunch, not quite dinner), and then they headed down to San Marcos.

We watched the UT game at my folks' with some family friends, and, of course, enjoyed that outcome.

Friday I really didn't do a lot.  Austin Books and Comics was having a Black Friday sale on back issues (and who am I to not support local business?), so I headed down for 1/2 off on back issues between 8:00 and 10:00 AM, and then picked up 4.5 lbs. of back issues at the ABC Sidekick store, where they were literally (and hilariously) selling comics by the pound.

I have a lot of 70's-era Superman comics to get through.

My workout schedule was destroyed during all this, so in the afternoon I headed to the gym and did a few extra minutes on everything.

And then Friday evening I caught up with longtime pal ShaunaC and her husband, Fred.  It was terrific catching up.  Too long inbetween seeing each other, but what are you going to do?

Saturday we had Thanksgiving Dinner at Judy & Dick's in San Marcos.  My brother and folks also came down, along with longtime League-pal Heather "Daredevil" W.  

We capped off Saturday by coming back to the house and watching a slew of short subjects, many of which were Holiday themed, all of which were awful, including 1980's syndicated Superboy episodes and the now-infamous-at-our-house We Wish You a Turtle Christmas, a cynically, cheaply and quickly produced series of videos featuring live action turtles from the touring production, clearly with no script or real rehearsals.  There's something bizarre and dream-like about the entire production, with nothing making sense and everything sort of geared to drive you mad.  I'll leave it to Cinemassacre to explain the video as best one can.  

Anyway, that (and maybe a festive cocktail or two) is why this happened:

I should mention we were also screwing around a lot this weekend with the iPhone App that The Dug is currently employed to develop. It's called Vlix, and its actually really neat. They just released a holiday-themed version you can download for free. Just search for "vlix" on your app store.

The Holiday App and Vlix deal in short videos, so the Holiday app is really an easy way to make a video Christmas card.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Announcing the Signal Watch Video Channel

This isn't really that exciting, but thanks to the power of Vlix (an app available on your iPhone - and The Dug's employer) and their recent holiday edition of the app, we found ourselves creating a handful of videos over the weekend.

So, we've added a tab in the row at the top of the page so you can get to our YouTube Channel, or, of course, you can get there via this link.  Feel free to subscribe so you don't miss any of the excitingness.

And, yes, this will include future Santor videos.  But it'll also feature content not on the site, so, there you go.

Right now, you can get a peek at a behind-the-scenes look at our transition from Thanksgiving to the Christmas season.

Prepareth, Ye! It is Santor.

More New DC 52 Reviews: Green Lantern Corps and New Guardians #1

I know, I know.  September was a long time ago, but the truth is, I needed a breather.  52 new titles is a lot to process.

If you've followed this site for any length of time, you know I'm a Green Lantern and Green Lantern Corps fan in concept and in practice, which is why the mediocrity of this summer's outing at the cinema felt like such a kick in the shins.

DC launched 4 Green Lantern titles, including a Red Lanterns titles, which I've already discussed.

New Guardians will feature Kyle Rayner and a medley of the rest of the rainbow array of ring bearers (Black and White seem to be off the table).

While I appreciated the issue (written by Tony Bedard) opening with a riff on the origin of Kyle Rayner and what DC was doing back then*, its weird, context-free, and features no mention of when this was all happening, until a few pages later, they note "oh, now we're in present day".  Its a weird swing and a miss as the issue is trying to be new reader friendly, but instead managed to confuse a GL reader like myself for a page or three.  I can't imagine what a new reader would think was happening.

Its kind of an odd-ball issue as its sort of half a set-up.  In addition to the aforementioned origin pages, we see as rings from several corps abandon their various owners from various sectors and seek out Rayner, leaving most of the owners in a lurch.  And then they show up.  And that's it.