Saturday, December 17, 2011

SW Advent Calendar December 17

You know, I just don't see this happening in a current issue of Batman or Detective Comics. But its nice to know that Batman and Robin, once upon a time, totally got into the Christmas spirit.

Kickstarter Project - Folk Documentary

Hey!  I've known Hilary since the 4th grade, and now she's one of the subjects of an upcoming documentary on the hard-traveling heroes of Americana/ Folk Music.

Hilary and Stuart are The Flyin' A's (who I went to go see just last night).  I've known a lot of musicians at this point, and some have been successful, some less so, but I haven't seen anyone who has worked as hard at keeping their music going as these two.  And they're actually very good, too.*

A while back Stuart and Hilary were noticed by a documentary crew and were approached to take part in the film.  You can see Hil (not really the shyest of daffodils) gets a lot of coverage.

1.  You can see a trailer for their documentary here.

2.  You can help fund the documentary by contributing to the Kickstarter at this link.

They only have a couple of weeks left, so if you can kick in a few bucks, it would get the documentary a really long way and get Hilary and Stuart in front of more eyes and ears than a summer's worth of touring.

*I think we've all known that band or musician we really didn't want to encourage

Friday, December 16, 2011

SW Advent Calendar December 16

Provided by our own AmyD.

This was my response to her email:

I doubt you guys listen to much Magic 95.5 for their magical month of Christmas, but I think they play this song every hour on the hour.  Its insane.

Sometimes...  this is the song that gets stuck in my head, and even a power drill and a tire iron cannot get it out.

And now I share with you. Merry Christmas.

Marvel finally starts working on Disney comics

It seems Marvel is going to release a Toy Story limited series later this year. Toy Story, while more Pixar than traditional Disney (although the Disney Store would beg to differ), was also one of the first titles launched by Boom! when they began rolling out Disney properties under their license.

I thought Boom! did a phenomenal job handling the Disney properties. Maybe TOO phenomenal as I spent a lot of money on Disney comics for a spot there as Boom! flooded the kids' section with Pixar and Disney properties, both new and licensed from the European and classic American Disney comics.

They also wisely repacked their comics in inexpensive, kid friendly collections.

Really, it was a lot of fun. And so when Disney purchased Marvel, I knew that a wrench would get thrown in the works.

Now, this is one comic of a four-issue limited series of one property. I am still not able to buy new issues of Mickey, Scrooge or Donald. But I will be watching Marvel in 2012 to see what they try. And, hopefully, it won't mess with the great work Fantagraphics is doing collecting the really old school Disney strips and comics.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

End of the Year List?

You know, I don't want to do a "best of" list, because, seriously, I didn't watch that many movies or TV shows, read that many books, etc...

So, instead, here's sort of a list of stuff I liked this year.

Friday Night Lights - final season.  The show nobody watched while it was on, but everyone seems to be finding now.  The show wound up on a great note, bringing together years of storylines.
Louis - Louis CK's odd non-sitcom.  Its on FX, its critically acclaimed and lightly watched, but its maybe the closest to a singular vision you're going to find on TV.
Game of Thrones - I wasn't expecting much, and instead I got totally wrapped up in the show.  And started rationalizing reasons why it was okay to like the really pretty bad bad-guys.  Peter Dinklage was terrific.
American Horror Story - gets a mention because so many people didn't give it a chance, and until the penultimate episode, it was one seriously messed up show that was way more entertaining than I was guessing (your mileage will vary).  Also, its show #2 on the list featuring Connie Britton.
The League - I don't even think this show is terribly good, but it is funny in a misanthropic, semi-nihilistic sort of way.
Park and Rec - This show has always been pretty solid, but this year it hit a particular stride, even with the tragic loss of Lil' Sebastian (RIP).
Adventure Time - I would try to explain this show, but the only way you're going to find out about it is if your kids tune in.  You'll enjoy it/ get it more than they will.
Batman: The Brave and the Bold - Probably my favorite show on TV this year, and it went out with a bang.

There were a lot of good shows.  I didn't talk about my perennial favorite Mythbusters, for example.  What else can you say in season 8 or whatever they're on?

Movies (first run at the theater)
Drive - This one hit so many of my personal buttons for a movie, they might as well have asked me what I thought I'd like to see in a crime flick.
Hugo - Likely the best bit of direction I've seen in a couple of years, and a true piece of art talking about art. And, of course, its flopping.
Rise of the Planet of the Apes - APES.
Attack the Block - this one was such a pleasant surprise, I likely overhyped it.  But it was a nice contrast to the nostalgic Super 8.
Captain America - My favorite superhero movie in a while

Movies (on my TV or elsewhere)
The Glass Key - just a kick-ass bit of crime cinema
The Hustler - I am kicking myself for waiting so long to see this movie.  Absolutely brilliant.
Gun Crazy - Those crazy kids.  They almost made it work.  Except for all the gunplay and murder.
Night of the Hunter - Hey!  Its also sort of a Christmas movie!

Oh, I don't know.  They've all been fine.

Ha ha ha.  No.

SW Advent Calendar December 15

Every year, right around Christmas, Ms. Darlene Love appears on the Late Show with David Letterman to perform "Christmas (Baby, Please Come Home)", not just the best modern era Christmas song (in my opinion), but one of Phil Spector's best, no matter what Holiday or day we're talking about.

So the internet might be dead by the end of the day today

Hey, all four of you who read this site.  

If SOPA passes today, that may be the end of this blog.  Just FYI.  If it does pass, I'd have to likely not just stop posting, but may need to pull this blog and the archives of League of Melbotis offline.  And forget tumblr.

Basically, its going to make 95% of what I do and talk about here not just a risk to me (of a felony, not just a law suit), but to any of you who might link back to me.

I've written to my congress people, but they're from Texas, so if anyone is waving a $20 bill their direction, they'll be insisting Jesus pre-ordained SOPA and anyone who doesn't love the bill hates America.

So, you know, now would be a good time to write your local congressperson and see if you can't shake the tree a little.  

Funny.  This really wasn't how I was expecting to end this blog (I assumed one of us would die while saving orphans from a submarine fire), but The League is not going to jail for posting pictures of Superman online without the express written consent of the NFL or whomever.

I think the good folks at Get Your Censor On can help fill in some of the blanks.

Enjoy your internet full of nothing but Kim Kardashian updates.  


Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Signal Watch Reads: Batman - The Black Mirror


Unlike a surprisingly vocal group on the comics internets, I wasn't pulling for Dick Grayson to remain Batman forever. For many, many reasons, Grayson is Nightwing, and the longer he stayed in the cape and cowl, the more likely we'd end up in some new "Kyle Rayner is my Green Lantern!" conversation a bit down the road as we dealt with that small section of the populace that came to Batman during the window of Grayson as Batman.

But I like the stories that came out of the era, at least those by Morrison, and I'm pleased to say I quite enjoyed Scott Snyder's The Black Mirror collection as well (and, hey, what are the chances he's an Arcade Fire fan? Pretty high, I'd guess).

Black Mirror started as a series of back-ups in Detective and dovetailed into the mainline story, which must have been quite thrilling to watch unfold over the course of the year. I missed all of this as during the post Return of Bruce Wayne era, I have relegated all new Batman reading to trades.

Snyder's Batman is as close (closer than Morrison's) to how I've been interpreting Gotham and Batman's place in the city as anything else I've read. I'm not sure its exactly Alan Grant-riffic, but it is back to Batman as the line of defense against a city under siege by human monsters (which, actually, is more or less how I read Arkham Asylum by Morrison some years back. It was the pen for all the monsters/ the inside of a madman's mind).

The story throws red herrings, plays off paranoia developed after living so close to the Gotham's violent undercurrent and explores the lives of characters that were present in the assumed past of Batman comics, but whose lives were moving steadily forward in parallel to those of Batman and Robin, but off frame.  Sure, its a bit odd to come in so late in the game with this entirely new backstory, but it fits for the Gordon family, and fills in gaps and works with ellipses Miller left at the end of Year One that no other writer has ever picked up.

It does, however, raise  some questions even while it cements issues around "so how old is Batman, exactly?"

But the real success here isn't just in playing well as a continuity cop.  Snyder manages to tell a compelling page turner of a tale that I thought worked great as a collection, even while enjoying the episodic nature of the book.  The various alleys taken, from the Etienne story to Tiger Shark to our final conclusion all manage to fold together nicely, and while its not so much a mystery at some point, its still manages to work as character study for some of our primaries and for Gotham, itself (something Snyder is exploring in current issues of Batman.

I'd be remiss not to mention the impressive collaboration of artists Jock and Francesco Francavilla, who managed to blend their two distinctive styles of Klaus Janson-esque scratchy line art and illustrative exactness a la Mazzuchelli.  Its a nice blend as they handle separate assignments within the same book. And that's not to mention the exemplary coloring.

Its an odd contrast to the sort of stuff I felt Tony Daniel was doing over in Batman last year and that it seems he's doing in Detective now that just feels so much like watered-down retreads of other stuff you've seen before.  Snyder seems to have found a way to tell a fresh story using familiar parts of the Batman mythos without the need to overhaul everything we've known, and that's not small thing.

Anyhoo...  its a little pricey as a hardback, but if you can find it on sale, its a nice, solid Bat-read.

SW Advent Calendar December 14

Brooksie just isn't going to make a big to-do about decorating, one supposes.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

SW Advent Calendar December 13

I've not read this issue of Flash by Mark Waid, and I've got to find a way to correct that before Christmas.

We're not crazy about the SOPA Bill

I've censored the following, in protest of a bill that gives any corporation and the US government the power to censor the internet--a bill that could pass THIS WEEK. To see the uncensored text, and to stop internet censorship, visit:

I don't ████████████ ████ it in for the ████ or the ████. ████ █████ █████ ████████. But ████ I do ████ a ███████ ████ is the ████ █████ ██████ ████████ ████ █████ ████ █████ 95% of the ████████ on the ████████ a █████ █████.

No, you ███████'t be █████████ ███████████ ██████ or ██████, you █████. But ████'s █████████ now is ████ a ████ has ████ ███████ ████ █████ an ████████ ██████ of ███████ ██████ ██████ ████████████ █████, █████████ ████████ █████████. If you ████, ███████████, a ██████████ ██████████ ████████, go █████ and ███████ ████.

I ██████ █████████ ████ ███████.

Uncensor This

Monday, December 12, 2011

Signal Watch Reads: Action Comics #4

Action Comics #4
Superman and the Men of Steel
writer - Grant Morrison
penciller - Rags Morales
inkers - Rick Bryant & Sean Parsons
colorist - Brad Anderson
letterer - Patrick Brosseau

One of the funniest things about this issue wasn't what was on the page so much as a few comments I read online. Man, a lot of superhero comics fans really, really do not know their Superman. Even after the recent terrific Brainiac storyline in Action Comics by Geoff Johns and Gary Frank, culminating in the crazier and better bits of the conclusion of the massive New Krypton storyline.

SW Advent Calendar December 12

Scout and Lucy have the spirit of Christmas a-glowing from within...

Dames to Watch Out For: Today is Jennifer Connelly's Birthday

which gives me an excuse to post a picture of Jennifer Connelly.

along with some dude's 'stache
Ah, Ms. Connelly.

Unlike a lot of her contemporaries, Connelly never really became part of a Brat Pack or became known in the sort of faddish way many actresses get used up and spit out, only to wind up on absolutely terrible Lifetime and Hallmark Channel holiday movies.  Which I've been watching again, and they are awesome.

Connelly was a child actress, showing up in Sergio Leone's Once Upon a Time in America as the 12-year-old Deborah, but I remember her as the girl from Labyrinth that I was crushing on and who was pursued by David Bowie and Muppets.  Of course later she wound up as Bettie Page stand-in Jenny in The Rocketeer, which is worth watching just for Connelly in a cocktail dress.

She's gone on to all sorts of work, and has carved out an interesting career for herself while not melting down in public, but managing to mostly appear in movies I just never see.  I think the last of her movies I saw was the iffy remake of The Day the Earth Stood Still.

Still, my hat is off to Connelly, because, dang, yo.  You keep being you, Ms. Connelly.

ah, heck.  here's Ms. Connelly in that cocktail dress.

a wee bit more on Superman Family kids' comic

DC Comics' blog made a formal announcement today regarding the Superman Family Adventures comic I mentioned Friday.

It sounds exactly like the sort of thing I was hoping DC might do this year.  Well, 2012 is close to this year, so I'll take what I can get.

From the article:
This May, the Eisner Award-winning creative team of the NEW YORK TIMES bestselling TINY TITANS, Art Baltazar and Franco, will continue bringing their wonderful and unique humor to DC Comics with the new ongoing monthly series, SUPERMAN FAMILY ADVENTURES. The series will be starring (you guessed it!) the whole Superman gang – Superman, Supergirl, Superboy, Lois Lane, Jimmy Olsen, Lex Luthor, Bizarro, General Zod and … Fuzzy the Krypto Mouse!
As near as I can tell, Fuzzy the Krypto Mouse is all-new, but its been a while since anyone was added to the Legion of Super-Pets, so I welcome Fuzzy with open super-arms.  (But "Krypto Mouse"?  Could he be Streaky's nemesis?)

This is, of course, in tandem with the line of kids' Super Pets books which will soon have volumes featuring Super Turtle, Comet and more Krypto and Streaky.

I did notice on the bigger image DC provided of the FCBD comic that Superman is in his new suit.  I'll be curious how Jim Lee's design translates.

the kids love a high collar!

But, yup, that's Superman.  I am pretty excited about this!

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Signal Watch Watches: Hugo

When the trailer hit for Hugo, I think a lot of folks were bemused or confused. Scorsese made his bones with some tough subject material, is closely associated with his gangster work like Casino and Goodfellas, and still turns out good stuff, the most recent that pops to mind for me is The Departed and the doc Public Speaking.

Of his contemporaries, Scorsese never went off the rails as much as Coppola and Lucas seemed to after their initial decade or two of success. He's been consistent, usually sticking to fairly mature material even when handling a costume drama like The Age of Innocence.  Thus it may have been, I raised an eyebrow when I saw he was doing a family movie for release at Christmas with 3D, storybook sets, a bright-eyed little boy a lead and dogs.  I still wanted to see what he'd cooked up, but more or less planned to write it off as Scorsese's holiday-film lark.

Firstly, Hugo is not at all the movie I believed it would be from the trailer. Nor the poster. And, I'd argue, its barely a kids' movie. Or, if it is for kids, its not going to slow down for your dopey kids as it goes about telling very exactly the story it has in mind.

SW Advent Calendar December 11

Thanks to Nicole for this video.

Actually, this video might actually be of Nicole.