Saturday, May 5, 2012

FCBD2012 at Austin Books

Free Comic Book Day is still going on all over the place! I, however, am done for the year.

I met up with PaulT, we visited the comics tent at Austin Books and Comics on Lamar, then went into the shop. I picked up a back issue and an action figure I was missing from my line-up (I'd already been to the shop this week). Then headed next door to Guzu Gallery where Paul picked up a couple of prints and I bought something for Jamie.

Then we went to House Pizza, and it was totally great.

But, FCBD!

While waiting in line, I got to meet vintage Catwoman.  She looked purrr-fect.  Yes, I just did that.

this pic came out weird because I'm holding a water bottle in my hand and didn't make fists

Apparently I was having hair issues today.  Too much product.

You can't go to FCBD and not get the annual picture with Sidekick Girl

I don't even think this is in her job description.  I think its just what she DOES.

We were allowed 10 comics from the tent.  I picked up nine because I cannot count.

In group A, we see Donald Duck Family, Superman Family, Escapegoat (a leftover from last year), and Atomic Robo and Friends

And here we see the hardcover free comic (I know, I don't get it either) for Mouse Guard, Ride, Graphic Elvis (just nice pictures of Elvis.  How was I to say no to that?), Dinosaus vs. Aliens and oddball offering, Animal Planet's World's Most Dangerous Animals.

All in all, a really fun day!

Now get out there and find some comics!

Signal Watch Reads: Action Comics #9

Action Comics #9
The Curse of Superman
writer - Grant Morrison
artist - Gene Ha
colorist - Art Lyon
letterer - Patrick Brosseau
associate editor - Wil Moss
editor - Matt Idleson
Superman created by Jerry Siegel & Joe Shuster

And now for something completely different...

It's no secret that at this point, of the New 52 relaunch, I may actually be down to just Action Comics.  This week, more out of knee-jerk loyalty than anything, I also checked out Levitz and Perez on World's Finest, but I don't think that book is going to be my thing, either.

What I am interested in is what Grant Morrison is saying and doing with his run on Action, a book that by issue 9 has already suffered two fill-in issues.  If readers were having doubts, what with the broken momentum of the first 8 issues and the seeming "well, here's the set-up" vibe of the book, Action Comics #9 is a remarkable comic, and, it seems, possibly Grant Morrison's line in the sand to the overlords at DC, to the readers, and to maybe very specific people.

Morrison has long said he tries to manage reality by working his will through comics, and for anyone paying attention, the allegories and symbols are riding on the surface level.  Not the least of which is Morrison's decision to put an entirely reimagined, African-American Superman on the cover of his book (with the help of Gene Ha).

Rude George Returns!

CarlaB was good enough to share some pics of the aforementioned Rude George!

Rude George is just going to stand really close in your personal space, if that's okay

Rude George does not care for your attitude

Rude George does not care to make amends, but he's willing to stare at you while you talk

Wise Ben is here to set things straight

Brought to you by CarlaB, David and, of course, Xander!

Friday, May 4, 2012

We Rewatched "The Muppets" - Movies 2012

As we plod on through talking about every movie we watched in 2012, I am obliged to mention that we spent this evening watching 2011's The Muppets.

We talked about the movie in passing back in Novemberish, and I stand by what I said back then. Its a great all ages film, and the sort of thing I hope parents are sharing with their kids.

I will note, on this go-round I noticed that within about twenty minutes of the same movie, the movie expressly makes a point about believing in yourself as a sign of understanding yourself, but then concludes the movie by having Kermit tell everyone he believes in them.  So, you know, whatever.  We all believe in everybody.  I guess that's okay.

MCA Merges with the Infinite

I am shocked and saddened to hear of the passing of MCA of The Beastie Boys, most certainly a seminal band for my generation.

I have nothing else to add.  47 is too young to go.

Here for an obituary for Adam Yauch.

And here is one of the greatest songs and videos of the 1990's.

Happy Star Wars Day!

May the 4th be with you!

Meesa the avatar for what happened to everything Generation X once believed in! 
It's Star Wars Day!  That's fun.

You know, I'm sort of a non-observant Star Wars fan at best.  But as I understand it, the movies and TV show are very popular with the younger set, and I won't be the one to rain on that parade.

Here's to Yoda, Wookies, Princess Leia in her snow suit, and better times.  And, hell yes...

Lando's not a system.  He's a MAN.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Amanda Palmer, Kickstarter, ROI and The Future

One thing any comics-fan who immerses themselves in social media will now see on a daily basis is at least one Kickstarter campaign to produce a graphic novel or comic.  Sometimes its more than one.  Often its a RT on Twitter from a famed writer or artist who is doing nothing but RT'ing a pleading Tweet sent to said famed artist, and for whom RT'ing the original Tweet is an action of about 2 seconds reading and clicking.

I am not dubious of the Kickstarter technology, rules, etc...  If you are unfamiliar, Kickstarter is a site that enables folks working on creative projects to raise funds.  Basically, you get a description with web content attached (video, images, too much text in many cases), telling you what the artist is doing, why and who they are.  Then a dollar total they are raising, and what it'll go towards.  The answer is not: putting food on my table.  It's usually something like "production costs".  Its basically intended to keep the artists from going deep into debt while they produce the record, comic, statue, indie film, whatever...

There are then levels of support.  Artists are obliged to usually offer something better at each level.  $1 gets you a thank you.  $30 gets you a copy of the album.  $10,000 gets you a a day with the artist and a big thanks, plus a t-shirt.  Something along those lines.

For a better idea of what this looks like, I invite you to visit, but to look specifically at the page for musician/ performer Amanda Palmer.  

when someone asks you if you're a (rock) god, you say "yes"

If you've properly budgeted for your project, then its possible this can work very well for you.  Especially if you know a whole lot of people, so you're not counting on that one person to give you $10,000.

The established artist

Amanda Palmer recently asked for $100,000 from her network (and it IS a network).  She had a month.  In a few days, she's raised almost $450,000.  I count myself among those who have chipped in.

Not all that long ago, Palmer was signed to a label both with her breakthrough act, The Dresden Dolls, and then as a solo performer.  Dissatisfied with the work Palmer thought they were doing on her behalf that she knew she could do herself, she ended the contract and is now a woman without a country, unless you count her actual fanbase as a country, which, really, she should.

Ann Miller Sez: Time Out For Rhythm (No Post Thursday)

Sorry, y'all. I was reading and doing other things.

Now for a game I like to play called:  What Are You Doing There, Ann Miller?

Are you entering a saloon with no walls from an infinite void?  Or leaving the saloon of existential dread?  What do you hope to find?  Or what are you trying to leave behind?  The ground seems ashen and dreadful, but you seem lively and full of hope and promise.

What are you doing there, Ann Miller?

Here's Ann Miller tapping at 1 Billion Taps Per Second in "Time Out For Rhythm".

And Jamie says "you don't move your arms when you tap". Ann Miller and I say "P-shaw!"

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Happy Birthday, Manfred! (The Red Baron)

Today is the 120th birthday of Manfred von Richthofen.

AKA:  The Red Baron

No, that dude does not look German at all.

von Richthofen is known to my generation primarily through frozen pizza marketing and as the cad who shoots down Snoopy, WWI Flying Ace.*  But real he was (and without the handsome mustache attributed to him by the pizza box artists).

The Red Baron had a reported 80 victories in the skies over Europe, many in his Fokker Dr.I, the crimson tri-wing you absolutely cannot believe someone had the guts to fly in any combat conditions whatsoever.  During WWI, air combat retained some semblance of gentlemanly chivalry as understood in Europe, with pilots following certain rules of engagement and a vague sense of knightly honor, even as they ambushed one another relentlessly from cloud cover or diving in with the sun at their backs to ensure a tactical advantage.

Apparently its not apocryphal that von Richtofen collected silver mugs with the date and location of his various victories inscribed upon them, of which he had about 60 when Germany ran out of silver.

The Red Baron was, of course, fighting on the side of the Germans in what became truly horrific combat on the ground as trench warfare led to the introduction of new tactics, including gas warfare.  Perhaps because of the near certainty of death in aerial combat (it was sort of a question of "when" more than "if" your number would get punched), the 80 victories and surviving one disaster did not deter The Baron, who turned down a cushy desk job, recognizing that other wounded German soldiers would also be returning to the front lines.

The circumstances of von Richthofen's death are somewhat puzzled over, as its possible he went down from enemy fire from the air or from the ground, but when he finally did go down in 1918, the British treated his burial with the utmost respect.  Perhaps not a hero, but certainly a respected opponent.  His remains were later reinterred in Berlin.

*there's a whole song about Snoopy vs. von Richthofen.

Reminder: Saturday is Free Comic Book Day!

This Saturday is Free Comic Book Day, which means comic book stores across the country will be hosting events at their shops where they will be giving away promotional comics aimed at a wide variety of ages and tastes in order to get the public a bit more familiarized with what comics are like these days.

Most stores know how to do this right, and it can be a lot of fun.  

I'm going to Austin Books and Comics with PaulT where, really, I plan to distract Brandon while he tries to work.  Then we'll probably grab some lunch.  If you're up and about that early, let me know if you want to hang out.  I believe our plan is to be in line by 11:00 AM.

  • Storm Troopers!
  • Ultimate Spider-Man artist Ultimate David Marquez!
  • The Amazing Brandon!
  • The crew from CCP!
  • and, briefly, PaulT and I will put in an appearance
So check your local listings and get out there!

Oh, also - PARENTS.  You can preview the comics here.  You might want to check out the books before assuming they're right for your wee ones.

That said, the offerings this year are really great.  Tons of stuff to check out (get that Donald Duck book.  I guarantee it'll be a favorite or your money back).

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Rude George

No real post tonight.  We were out late visiting with CarlaB, David and Xander.

Xander is a truly remarkable kid.  Apparently he spent his allowance money on a couple of rubber masks of historical figures: George Washington, Ben Franklin and Thomas Jefferson.  All of the masks are sort of cut out at the jowls so you can see the wearer's lower lip and jaw.

Anyway, Xander has different characters he portrays with each mask, including a version of George Washington known as "Rude George", and it is seriously one of the funniest things I've ever seen.  At 5, I'm not sure Xander knows that he's created a bit of oddness fit for David Lynch at his Twin Peaksiest, but its an impressive transformation.

Got a lot of his mother in him, that kid.

artists' rendition of how Real George would react to Rude George

I'm posting this in high hopes we can get some photos of Rude George soon from CarlaB and Xander.

Just a couple of bucks for a good cause?

Hi, y'all!

In a couple of weeks, my family is coming together to take part in the Kidney Walk for The National Kidney Foundation.

  1. I walk around a lake
  2. You show your support for me or Jamie as a walker by donating a few dollars
  3. The money goes to The National Kidney Foundation
Most people don't think of The National Kidney Foundation immediately when it comes to fund raising.  The NFL does not have a "Kidney Awareness Week" where everyone wears a kidney bean on their helmet or anything fancy.

But chances are, if you know a diabetic (and you do), or you know someone with other kidney diseases (like Jamie), or you have kidneys (that's most of you, but not Jamie), then The National Kidney Foundation is your friend.

I'll be honest, many of you have already chipped in, and now I'm just getting competitive.  So if you've already given, thank you!  But...  Apparently there's a trophy at stake for the team that raises the most cash.  Our team is doing really well, but we could sure use your support.  Ie:  I WANT TO WIN THAT TROPHY.

Just FYI:  I am kicking ass in the fund-raising department, and I want to keep the momentum rolling.  I may actually be the top fund-raiser in Austin at the moment.  And I do not want to fall behind.

So, if you have a few dollars to spare, we'd really appreciate a donation for a good cause: ME WINNING.


Monday, April 30, 2012

Avengers Assemble! Saluting Jack Kirby and dealing with the complications as a fan

Your Pal, Jack "King" Kirby!

It's hard to underestimate the cultural impact of comics creator Jack Kirby.  He may not carry the cultural cache of a JD Salinger, but he's probably as widely read, and inspired an army of imitators and worshippers.  And, hey, you can't find action figures nor bedsheets of Holden Caulfield.

still a little peeved the movie will have neither Giant Man nor Wasp (nor Subby)

Kirby didn't create Superman or Batman, but he was part of the creation of (an incomplete list to be sure):
  • The Incredible Hulk
  • Captain America
  • The Mighty Thor
  • The Avengers
  • The X-Men
  • The Fantastic Four
  • The Silver Surfer
  • Sgt. Fury and His Howling Commandos
  • The Black Panther
  • Devil Dinosaur and Moonboy
  • Mr. Miracle & Big Barda andthe pantheon of The New Gods
  • The Newsboy Legion
  • Kamandi
  • The Demon
  • OMAC
  • Challengers of the Unknown
  • Silver Star
  • Captain Victory
and there are some versions of Kirby's bio that suggest he was the guy who originally pitched a "Spider-Man" to Marvel and didn't do the series as he was too busy (not hard to believe).

No matter what you think, you are not ready for this comic
He also did books that he didn't create (Jimmy Olsen, his mind-bending 2001 work), created romance comics, westerns, and a hundred other things that are somewhat forgotten.

The Weekend: Mad Men, the Dramatic Arts and Romance

Mad Men

So, Mad Men got Julia Ormond for a supporting role.  That's...  gravitas or something, there.  We also got Ray Wise, and that's always cool.

Mid-1990's me is, of course, always pleased to see Julia Ormond, Juliette Binoche, Irene Jacob, and Isabella Rosellini getting work as the holy quadrangle of European Lady-ness to me circa 1996.*  Its a hell of a role for Ormond, as small as it is, but...  oh, my.

Season 5 has found its own voice, as has each season of Mad Men, but it has strayed from the confines of the ad agency in a way previous seasons have not.  I don't know if its more or less soapy.  Its certainly no less engaging, and in its own way, it feels less predictable and almost more volatile.

But realizing Ormond is actually mostly old enough to be playing the mother of Mad Men's Jessica ParĂ© does give me a moment of pause.  The  sex symbols of my youth are playing mothers of adults.  Schnikies.

Still, Ormond is still Ormond.

Local 17th Century Theatrical Recreations

Friday I went with my cousin, Sue, and her pal to see a play called The Alchemist by Ben Jonson at Austin's Curtain Theater.  The Curtain was built by gaming software pioneer Richard Garriott, who you may know as the self-made astronaut who recently had a documentary created about him.  He's an astounding individual living here in Austin who has used his wealth for all sorts of interesting causes.

The Curtain sits on his property and is a recreation of a 17th Century theater with some modern accouterments such as gas torches rather than traditional torches, electric lighting and port-a-potties.  But, yeah, its all outside, the actors wear recreations of period garb, the music is performed on period-style instruments (live), and we're supposed to cheer and boo heroes and villains from the gallery.  And the actors do not shy away from playing to the crowd.

The theater is home to The Baron's Men, a company of performers who do period shows, mostly Shakespeare, but who strayed outside the familiar a bit for this show.  The cast has been different with each show, but I thought this cast was particularly in sync.  And my pal, Eva, was remarkably good, once again.

The play was great, the company on spot and hilarious, and a good time was had by all.  Also, there was a beautiful macaw there for absolutely no reason I could deduce, but a very pretty bird.

If you live in Austin, you really need to check out one of their shows.


As was previously blogged, Saturday was our Anniversary.  Friday was a little weird as I just happened to be meeting Cousin Sue at The County Line on The Lake prior to the show when I realized "hey, this is where I had my rehearsal dinner 12 years ago".   However, 12 years on, it was far less full of people staring at me with the saucer-eyes like a newfound puppy and making me sort of uncomfortable.

Saturday we mostly stayed home and did chores and read.  Nothing too dramatic.  We had a lovely dinner out, just the two of us, and then were home again.  I hate to tell you young people...  the 12th anniversary is very sweet, but not exactly filled with drama.


I have a copy of a book I am very excited to report upon as soon as possible.  Hopefully by next weekend.

*I say "PHAW!" to your Julie Delpy and Audrey Tautou.  That's right.  PHAW!