Wednesday, November 24, 2010

More True Facts of Thanksgiving!

I am afraid that in my haste to share with you the True Story of Legally Required Thanksgiving, I forgot to relay a crucial chapter in the tale.

Upon pondering the fearsome fate that could befall us all at the hands of the Turkey Goblins, you may ask: "if the Turkey Goblins pose such a threat to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, Why the Presidential Pardon?".

Why the Presidential Pardon each holiday, indeed...

On April of 1945, the Allies were making tremendous progress in the European Theater.  Berlin would fall in the next month, but President Franklin Delano Roosevelt would not live to see the Allies take Germany, nor would he live to see VJ Day by the end of the summer.  With his passing on April 12, 1945, Harry S. Truman would assume the presidency.  And with that, the Secret Knowledge and responsibilities bestowed upon the President of the United States of America.

While the most famous weapon developed as an extreme measure during WWII was, undoubtedly, The Bomb (and clearly a product of Mad Science rather than Boring Science, which was developing better ways to starch a collar and ways to use lemon juice as invisible ink for most of the war), the wily scientists of the USA had more than one iron in the fire.   The Bomb was the most famous, but other, possibly deadlier plans were still being investigated.

While the story of Coolidge's discovery of Lincoln's secret headquarters is a fascinating tale, it will have to wait for another day.*  But suffice it to say, Coolidge's discovery meant the records of the Turkey Goblin Adventure had fallen into the hands of the US War Department where they had been stored in Secret Bunker X, where they had remained until the morning of June 8, 1942, when, after Midway, the US had finally just plain had it and began looking for options.

By July of 1942, Mad Science had come a long way, and in oh-so-controlled circumstances US Scientists began keeping a coop of turkeys, all of whom had tested positive for tryptophan.  They knew it would take at least a year and a half to see real results, and while few would call the horrendous deaths of several graduate students a "success", by August of 1943, the US had on its hands 6 Turkey Goblins who they knew were capable of quick and merciless slaughter (especially of unsuspecting graduate assistants).

Deployed in the Pacific Theater in the fall of 1943 with the assistance of Private First Class Lee Marvin, the Turkey Goblins were an expeditionary force, sent to islands considered suicide missions for even the iron-tough US Marines.  Across a year and a half, small batches of Turkey Goblins were deployed, serving with distinction and, ultimately, giving up their lives.

Artist's interpretation of one of the Fighting 999th

A month after taking office President Truman learned of the bravery of the Turkey Goblins at Iwo Jima, with only one Turkey Goblin (or T.G. Joe, as they were affectionately known by the Pacific fleet) still alive, Truman is said to have called home this last gobbling soldier.  What is known is that Truman, himself, flew secretly out to West Virginia to an undisclosed location where the Turkey Goblin was said to be kept.  What words passed between Turkey and President, none can say.  Nor does any man know what became of that Turkey Goblin.

What we do know is that after this meeting, President Truman became particularly sentimental about Turkeys.  And so, it is supposed that between Truman's access to the secret knowledge of the history of the Turkey Goblins and how he had seen them deployed in the Pacific, that he could never bring himself to see another gobbler harmed.

In 1947, Truman pardoned the Turkey brought to the White House.  It is said that upon leaving the Oval Office, he has left special instructions to each successor to read, detailing why the pardoning of the Turkey must be done.  Some have pardoned the Turkey.  Some have not, but the pardoning of a symbolic Turkey each and every year holds special significance not just to the pact between Turkey and Man, but as a coded message from President to President. 

President Truman's affection for our feathered friends and his awareness of our uneasy alliance would haunt him well past the end of his term

The Signal Watch is not a politically bent site, but we would point out that the pact that seems to have been forged Man and Turkey Goblin by US Presidents may fall apart should Sarah "What Else is in the Shot?" Palin take the Oval Office.

The Turkeys have not forgotten the former Governor's 2008 post-pardon interview and the slaughter of their young that occurred while Palin stood by, remorseless, as the television cameras rolled.  One shudders to think of what might occur should Palin ascend to the White House and the Turkey Goblins, quiet and dormant living just beyond our line of site for so long, take her election as a sign of aggression.

*Seriously, it's a pretty good story.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

I actually left my house and saw a show: Dresden Dolls

A few years ago I believe I misspoke, and as we strive for accuracy at the Signal Watch, I want to correct myself.  In 2009 I said:
Have been listening to "Who Killed Amanda Palmer?" which sort of begs the question of how necessary the other half of "Dresden Dolls" really is
I fully retract that statement and think its a good time to point out that the recordings and albums of Dresden Dolls don't do justice to Brian Viglione's actual skill, talent and showmanship.  Dude isn't just technically proficient, he's also just as much a part of the show as Palmer, which is saying something.

this is a rock show as seen by my crummy camera in my phone
I mostly no longer talk about music on this site as, seriously, its like arguing your favorite color.  But I did go see Dresden Dolls here in Austin on Sunday night.  For a two-person combo, they more than managed to knock my socks off and fill the stage.  They played 3 hours straight (after a really solid set by San Antonio's Girl in a Coma, who I will be making Jason go see)  and I guess I knew 70-80% of the material.  But if I had any doubts, their finale was a cover of Sabbath's War Pigs, which...

Well, it was weird.  I attended the show with a work colleague who mentioned the band Warpaint, and it was loud in there, and I thought she said "War Pigs", and so I had "War Pigs" on the brain, anyway...  and so when they actually played "War Pigs"...  it kind of melted my brain.  Apparently this is an old number from pre-hiatus, but I didn't know that.

And then I just downloaded the new album from Girl Talk (its free, btw), and what's the first track he uses?

Sabbath is haunting me at every move.

Palmer from someone else's much better camera

Dresden Dolls also covered Neutral Milk Hotel's "Two Headed Boy", "Pirate Jenny" from the actual Threepenny Opera and a few other tunes.

That's not to say they didn't play their own stuff.  And, apparently (according to the band themselves online today) Dresden Dolls played their longest set ever in Austin.  So, go figure.  I guess they just liked the crowd.

Palmer and Viglione are surely putting on a rock show, but, yeah, if you think you can pick up someone's love of showtunes off the recording, on stage, its just cranked up to 11.  In a way, even if you don't love their actual music, its a good show, and that's not something too many bands know how to do.

Viglione takes aim

What really surprised me was how they killed on some of their songs I like best, like "Delilah" (for which they brought out Nina, from Girl in a Coma), "The Jeep Song" (for which they brought 20 or so folks from the audience onto the stage), "Ultima Esperanza" and "Mandy Goes to Medschool".  I didn't expect them to NOT play them well, but I was just surprised that they seemed like showcase pieces in the set.  So...  there you go.

Anyway, a fun night.  And while I wasn't the oldest one at the show, it was definitely true that the audience was definitely a bit younger.  Kids.  Ah, well.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Why CN's "Sym-Bionic Titan" is the best Space Fantasy/ Sci-Fi/ Giant Robot/ High School show on TV

Those of us in the know watched Samurai Jack, by the great Genndy Tartatovsky. His new show is Sym-Bionic Titan, and it is awesome.

That's Flock of Seagulls' "Space Age Love Song" playing while a giant robot fights a mega-monster from space. And, yeah, that's a girl who just unwittingly fell in love with a robot.

Happy Thanksgiving Week!

In 1940, you could look hungover and still be Super
JimD sent me this picture from The Retroist.  Absolutely great picture of the first Superman float, debuting just a year and a half after Superman's first appearance in comics.  I absolutely love this picture, partially because I'd never seen this balloon before, and partially because, well...  20th Century America.  She had her moments.

I am unsure of the frequency of posting as we move into the US's Thanksgiving Week.  I hope that you find a table with friends and family.  Give thanks for what you've got.  Eat some appropriate meal (I am getting hungry just thinking about turkey and cranberries), and try not to get into a full-blown political debate with the in-laws.

For more on the TRUTH behind Thanksgiving, you can read Sunday's column.

And, of course, on Thanksgiving night I'll be watching the mighty UT Longhorns battle the lowly Aggies of Texas A&M on television while they duke it out a few miles up the road from us at League HQ at UT Austin's Memorial Stadium.

Who knows, we could win a game...

Because elsewhere in 1940:

Behind this lovely/aggressive co-ed, you can see my family's coat of arms.
As per the traditional Thanksgiving match-up in 1940 the UT Longhorns went up against the Texas A&M Aggies, the reigning National Champions.  Knowing the task before his team, the legendary Coach Bible distributed the following poem to his team:

"It Couldn't Be Done" by Edgar Guest

There are thousands to tell you it cannot be done,
There are thousands to prophesy failure;
There are thousands to point out to you, one by one
The dangers that wait to assail you.
But just buckle in with a bit of a grin,
Just take off your coat and go to it;
Just start to sing as you tackle the thing
That 'cannot be done,' and you'll do it.

And thus:
Noble Doss and the Impossible Catch
Thanks to a nigh-magical pass and catch, UT beat Texas A&M 7-0, upsetting their feared rivals.

From the Statesman:
Less than one minute into the game, Texas halfback Noble Doss made an over-the-shoulder, eyes-shut grab that put the ball on the Aggies 1-yard-line, setting up Pete Layden's touchdown plunge. Texas then grimly held on for a 7-0 win.
That's roughly 59 minutes of a defense deciding that they were going to hold the line.  And that is awesome.  And something, surely, UT's 2010 squad could learn from.

But, you know, no matter how tough it looks, I have to have faith that by miracle, mistake, hook or by crook, the Longhorns could take the day.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

The Completely True Origin of the Thanksgiving Holiday

"So," I said to Jamie, "Thanksgiving is coming.  Are you ready for your visit from the Turkey Goblin?"
"Turkey Goblin?"
"Yeah.  The Turkey Goblin."
"What is the Turkey Goblin?"
I, of course, was shocked.  But it occured to me that not everyone knows about the Turkey Goblin or the completely true story of the secret origin of Thanksgiving.  Luckily for you, I've got a history degree from a state university, and this is exactly the sort of thing we learn in class.

While it is true that in olden times when people drowned old crones to see if they were witches, some fairly misguided Englishmen fled the UK in a leaky boat and landed at Plymouth Rock where they would commence being all judgey and breaking bread with the locals... that's at best tangential to the true story of the Turkey Goblin.  But as an historical sidenote, the facts as they pertain to today's Thanksgiving that are true include:
  • Around Plymouth rock, with a solid blunderbuss and decent aim, one could find and shoot a turkey
  • A sort of "oh, we're not all dead of the pox yet.  Thanks, God!" dinner was held, and some locals came by once they heard a potluck was going down
  • Pilgrim women were invariably super sexy, right down to their buckled little shoes
  • Abigail saw Goody Proctor with the devil
This was, of course, all before SCIENCE.

As you know, Thomas Jefferson and Benjamin Franklin made up Western Science, with Jefferson working on Boring Science, while Franklin worked to perfect Awesome (aka: Mad) Science, including his famous attempts to destroy Philadelphia with lightning, a key and a length of twine.

The key figure in our story is, of course, Abraham Lincoln, who in October of 1863 (more than 100 years after Science was invented) declared Thanksgiving a National Holiday.  And while we can all agree that Lincoln's Thanksgiving Proclamation was heartfelt, honest and one of the great works of American historical-type writing whatzit, it's also an elaborate cover story and smokescreen cooked up by a President who knew his people should never, ever know the truth. 

Lincoln is here to tell you:  It is hard out there for a pimp

By Spring of 1863, the war between the States had raged for two long years, pitting citizen against citizen, brother against brother. Things seemed to be going poorly for the North, who could not believe they were losing an honest-to-god War to the fiddle-dee-dee-spewing, slack jawed racist yokels of the South.  In early May, after the second Battle of Fredricksburg, intelligence fell into the hands of the Union forces.  The reports were stupefying and near unbelievable, but there seemed to be a grain of truth as they pulled together clues that otherwise made no sense.

What had become of SCIENCE in the Confederate states?  What had the devious Jefferson Davis chartered them to do?  And what did the reports of whole regiments wiped out by beasts truly mean?

The answer was, of course, completely shocking.

At the outset of the war, Jefferson Davis had set about collecting the finest Scientists of the South (those not schooled exclusively in the Southern Sciences of moonshining, deep-frying and inventing NASCAR), and began a top secret project.  By the Fall of 1862, the project had proven a small success and that winter, Union Troops trembled on the field of battle before the might of 7-foot, Confederate Turkey Goblins.

Receiving dispatches at his Top Secret Underground Command Center, Lincoln considered each bit of evidence anew, and the report was grim.  Indeed, it seemed the nefarious SCIENCE minds of the south had gone ROGUE SCIENTIST, and the turkeys of the South had been mutated and weaponized.  From an egg, turkeys would grow at a normal rate for up to a year and a half, at which point...  they swelled to tremendous size and ferocity, and could follow simple commands, such as "go kill all those guys over there."  Lincoln's blood ran cold.  Pensively, he fiddled with the brim on his stove-pipe hat.  Northern researchers, who were from real colleges and not made up diploma mills like Mizzou and LSU, would still need time, and time was not what they had.  And the thought of fighting Giant Goblin Turkeys with Giant Goblin Turkeys...  the fallout was unthinkable, let alone what the nation would do with these beasts once the fighting was done.

But Davis' scientists had only succeeded so far in producing a small batch of Turkey Goblins.  They had not yet been announced to a wary Southern public, who, Davis believed, would likely wish to fry them or ask for both a giant duck and a giant chicken to shove within his prized new force and cook them up.

Lincoln picked up the red phone (he also had secretly already invented the telephone) and called together an elite squad, which he himself would lead into the South.  The names are now mostly meaningless to Americans:  Samuel Clemens, Frederick "The Fist" Douglass, Undead Davey Crockett, and "Tiny" Thomas Edison - Boy Inventor.

Frederick "The Fist" Douglass was a master of hand-to-hand combat and invented the 8-Track Cassette
What is known is that the team dropped in by line from their air-balloon insertion vehicle, and were able to dispatch the existing Turkey Goblins with a thrice-blessed silver blunderbuss and shot made from silver, iron, argon and forged in the flames of a sacrificial fire and cooled in holy water.  However, to their horror, the squad learned that part of Davis' mad scheme was to release a version of the virus that created the Turkey Goblins into the water supply,coding that virus with a message to kill "Americans", believing that the Confederacy would certainly succeed, and, in his maddened state, that only those in the North could possibly ever be affected.  Insisting that he would stop Davis' mad scheme, Lincoln learned that this plan was something Davis had actually put into motion days before.

After kicking Davis' ass and escaping, Lincoln and his team weighed their options.  Turkeys were plentiful, and lived all over the US.  The team had learned that the only sign that a turkey had the potential to mutate to a Turkey Goblin was that it would carry an odd chemical in its blood, something harmless to humans and the turkey, called tryptophan.

Master of all manner of vehicles, languages and seduction techniques, Clemens seems to have disappeared behind a pseudonym following the Turkey Goblin mission, never to be heard from again.

And that's when the young but clever former steam boat worker, Clemens, had an idea:  if we can't kill all the turkeys, let's, once a year, ensure a culling of the population before it grows and mutates.  Once a year, let's ensure a mass extermination of the birds while people can still eat them.

Lincoln looked at the blood-spattered blunderbuss in his hands, his own reflection glinting in the silver:  "The pilgrims, psychotic zealots that they were, may have given us an out on this one.  Men, we're going to give Thanks.  And we're going to do it each and every year, whether our brethren wish it or no...  We here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain—that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom—and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, and in no way for a horrific new breed of murderous seven foot turkey goblins, shall not perish from the earth."

Douglass designed the messaging, Clemens helped run the PR campaign,  "Tiny" Edison invented a special pair of forks for turning turkeys over in a pan, and Undead Davey Crockett returned to his subterranean tomb where he lay, waiting to be called once again into service in the name of freedom.

On October 3, 1863, Lincoln brought the reign of terror to an end as later that November, the population of turkeys was culled before it could rise up and destroy us.

That's not to say that every once in a while a turkey doesn't make it through and grow and change.  And sometimes the Turkey Goblin comes for you in the night, its horrible "gobble gobble gobble" the last thing some men hear.

And that is the completely true story of why we have Thanksgiving.

Beware his terrifying gobble
 But, honestly, I have no idea why Canada has Thanksgiving, too.  Those dudes are totally in the clear.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

DCU Animated Series "Young Justice" coming Nov. 26th

Late Edit 11/30/2010 - I keep getting hits to this post, which I wrote before the show aired. I actually reviewed the show shortly after broadcast.

There hasn't honestly been much in the way of press release stuff to the usual comic outlets about this new show, but that's okay. I get the basic gist of what they're doing, and I like the design. A sort of post "The Batman", post "Bruce Timm-style JLU" look, but building on the sort of classic DCU that the cartoons have been doing better than the comics for all but a year or two in there since Waid left JLA.

While there was value to the recent animated adaptation of Teen Titans to cartoons, I think its smart of DC to tie this new show and the Young Justice team back to the Justice League. Its something adults will appreciate as a teacher/ learner experience, and it gives the younger audience an intro to the DCU with a team of kids on the learning curve (who will, undoubtedly, push back against the adult authority figures and do stuff their own way).

Robin, Aqualad and Superboy

Kid Flash

Miss Martian
Expect the first few episodes to be a bit shaky as the show finds its grounding and its voice.  As much as I love Timm's Batman series, and Justice League series, both of those shows grew in quality each season in animation and storytelling (that said, I think Superman: The Animated Series had a surprisingly good first season, and Batman Beyond, but you could argue BB rode the coattails of the success of other Timm series).

I'm not clear on which version of which characters are in the series.  Superboy is clearly Kon-El (Conner Kent), and Speedy is Roy Harper, but is Robin Tim or Dick Grayson?  Is that Wally or Bart as Kid Flash?  As I am trade waiting on Brightest Day, I don't know the new Aqualad at all, but I'm glad he and Miss Martian (Manhunter's recent new pal) are in the line up.  I'm not sure if we're getting a Wonder Girl, but it seems like I heard we were getting Arrowette, which seems odd.

Given that I haven't been able to stomach Teen Titans since Johns left the title, I'm glad to see someone affiliated with DC is doing something to support the next generation DC characters.  DC Comics certainly has been doing a terrible job of it.

So set your DVR now, people.  7:00 on Nov. 26th, a full hour of DCU.

Our heroes

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Comic Review: 9/11 Heartbreaker

Title:  9/11 Heartbreaker
Author/ Artist:  Craig Staufenberg

This is the first reflection piece on 9/11 that I can recall reading by someone from a generation younger than my own, and in that alone, 9/11 Heartbreaker manages to be an interesting comic. At least I assume that Craig Staufenberg is somewhere in his twenties, given the perspective of the central protagonist.

I was 26 during 9/11, had worked for a few years out of college and didn't have teachers and parents trying to explain or explain away the madness of what people do.  And so part of reading the comic is sorting through the differences in perspective between those of us who think of 9/11 as a "before and after" scenario versus coming to adulthood with 9/11 has an historical fact. 

And looking at the past to inform the present to decide for the future seems to be what Staufenberg's story seems to be about at the core.  The narrator leaps from the concepts of documenting the memories of the remaining population of Japan that survived World War II (and their reluctance to do so), to documenting the memories of young New Yorkers and 9/11, to wondering what became of the memories of the founders and builders of the great cities and towns of the East Coast and the Ozymandias-like fate of their achievements.

While I think the metaphor works, it feels like it could have been more greatly expanded upon.  The attempt to tie the personal past to the larger world seems a bit unfulfilled, and as its not exactly clear who our narrator is, it feels like a missed opportunity.

The comic is brief, really.  Staufenberg has produced the story as a single, 32ish paged comic.  His rendering style is loose and, frankly, somewhat rough, but that doesn't mean he doesn't make the look work in his favor in the style of cartoonist more than an illustrator.  As I see this comic sitting on the shelves in the same section as everything from James Kolchaka to Jeffrey Brown, embracing the limitations and making them work for you is part of what cartooning is about, rather than illustrative art. 

Also stylistically, this is a comic, but not one that uses word bubbles, etc...  Instead, the prose match the flow of the sequential art, and its an interesting way to manage the story, which so very much takes place in the head of the narrator.

As a first effort, 9/11 Heartbreaker is a very interesting read.  I like the core of the concept and genuinely enjoyed the execution once it became clear where the author was headed, but I'd like to see the concept expanded a bit more.  It feels like there's an idea that gels, but you're just seeing the start of it when the story draws to a close.  Perhaps more time, more pages, etc... if Staufenberg allows himself to return to the comic, he can take this to depths and dimensions of his established contemporaries. 

I very much like this first effort, I and I look forward to seeing what we see from this same writer/ artist in the future.

Order a digital copy here

Order a print copy here

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

On the Road

This isn't a road outside of San Angelo, but it could be
I've been driving to and fro across this great state of Texas, most recently in San Angelo.  I am not a big traveler for leisure, and my family tended to head East when I was growing up, so I had never been further west than Kerrville, Texas until I was 20 years old and went out to San Angelo for a wedding.  Of course, now I've been to California a few times, Seattle, etc...  and lived in Arizona for four years, but, mentally, I still tag San Angelo as the start of "the west" for myself.

Its a lovely drive.  Try it sometime.  Texas has a lovely Hill Country, and on 71, you get to cut right through the Hill Country for about 1.5 - 2 hours (and then you hit West Texas, and that's a bit more...  flat).

While driving I listen to a lot of audio books.  This year I've listened to stuff like Catch-22, On the Road, and Slaughterhouse Five (all of which were rewarding "reads", btw).  I don't generally read that much of what's on best seller lists as I'm already about 20 years behind the stuff you're supposed to read, and, on average, I generally don't like the books I wind up reading that are the books you see on airplanes.  But...

So, Jamie reads lots of comics at my recommendation.  In fact, she just read the entire recent runs on Green Lantern, Green Lantern Corps and Blackest Night related material.  But she also reads just an insane number of actual books without pictures and stuff, so, as I was between books, I asked for a recommendation.

I'm about 90% done with Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.  Its definitely an interesting book, and I can see how its become a big hit.  Originally written in Swedish, I wonder how much has been lost in translation, what I'm not getting as I know absolutely nothing about Swedish social norms, and, as the book is read by an actor I'm not particularly in love with (the guy who read Catch-22 was amazing) who I think has genuinely straight up had some weird interpretations of some of the dialog, I keep feeling there's a bit of a haze between me and the actual book.

But I do like the book.  You definitely realize you don't like a book quickly when you're stuck listening to it for more than an hour and you can't keep paying attention.  More on that when I finish in the next few days, I suppose. 

Anyway, sorry for the lack of updates since Sunday.  Its going to be fairly busy straight through the holidays, I'd guess.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Green Lantern Trailer is Up

...and now comes the part where we find out if anyone but comic geeks are going to care about Hal Jordan and his space cop pals.

In all fairness, this sort of looks like Geoff Johns' Green Lantern with a fine layer of Ryan Reynolds cheese. Its going to take some doing to get used to a Hal that's Hollywood's version of a smart-alecky wise guy rather than the comics' teeth-gritting semi-smug hard-ass.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Austin Comic Con Wrap-Up (Year 1)

So, this was the first year Wizard World had brought a Con to Austin.  There were certainly highs and lows, but its a great start and something this part of the state can use and obviously support.

My day today was very different from Day 1 as I actually spent time with people I knew.

Okay, technically, I don't "know" Captain Marvel
Jamie decided to bail on me to spend an afternoon with PalNicole, so Jason took me up on the ticket.

At the Con I met up with Corpsman MattA.  MattA and I go way, way, waaaaaaaay back.  He informed me I was responsible for his first purchase of a comic circa 5th grade when we were both reading West Coast Avengers (I know, I know).  Anyway, I hadn't seen Matt since 1990 when I moved from Austin to the Houston area.  This was all pre-email and whatnot, so, younger readers, it used to be possible to lose track of people.

...Seriously, had not seen the dude in 20 years.  Comics, bringing geeks together.

Anyhow, Matt had brought his daughter, who was terribly sweet, and we all sought out R2-D2 together.  (There was a full-sized R2-D2 replica driven by remote control.  It had all sorts of moving parts and was may as well have been the one used in the movies.  Just great detail.).

a semi-anonymous child, R2D2, MattA's loud shirt and Jason's leg and sandal
 I also met up with JackBart and his friend (whose name I can just never remember).  I also ran into a high school pal, Phil, who I hadn't seen in...  man, I don't know.

The floor was busier today, and it seemed like the dealers had gotten a little more serious with their inventory since Friday as some (not even most) of the booths looked like they had new and more stuff out.  I spent far less time today around the autograph tables just gawking, mainly because I'd already fulfilled my primary objective of obtaining Ms. Gray's autograph.

It definitely seemed like there were more people in costume and far more kids, something I hope the vendors alter the show for next year.  If kids are going show up, it seems like vendors could better cater to the little miscreants.

And then, suddenly... Phil!

I picked up 3 prints from an artist named Terry Huddleston.  He has something of a cartoony, almost Jeff Smith-ish style that I really dug.  So I now have pics of Superman, Wonder Woman and The Atom that I'm going to have to figure out where to hang.

In addition to the Jimmy Olsen and Superman back issues I found on Friday, today I found a copy of The Great Superman Book.  Its not exactly the holy grail of Superman collecting, but I'd never seen a copy of the book before (its basically a big Superman reference book from back in the day).

Cosmic Boy must have used his Legion Time Bubble to bring 80's black-suit Spidey to 2010
Artist's Alley was full of people working on independent stuff, name artists (Greg Horn, Mike McKone, etc...), and just a lot of folks who just want to be in the game one way or another.  I came very, very close to getting a Dean Trippe sketch, but he looked very swamped.  Next time.  I want to see what he does for Krypto.

And...  local Austin artist Tim Doyle was in attendance with his own work and the guys working with Intergalactic Nemesis, a sort of comics/ live-action/ multi-media project.  I really want to get some of Doyle's work, but I can never figure out where it could go...

I was stunned to learn that JackBart knows nothing about Jack Kirby's New Gods series, and so he was a bit baffled when this happened.

Despite what Jason and Jack believed, this guy is actually not just a crazy hobo
It sounds like Wizard World was happy enough that they've already rented the space for the same weekend next year.  That's good news.  I can only hope this thing continues to grow.  Austin can fully support an event like the Comic Con.

If I had one beef, its that the stars of the show, Burt Ward and Adam West, were mostly available yesterday in what was officially dubbed "Batman and Robin Day" by Austin Mayor Lee Leffingwell.  Its not the fault of anyone but myself for not paying attention to the signing schedule, and, of course, I chose not to attend yesterday.

I'd lie if I said that the Con isn't good people watching.  It is, indeed, generally a good time seeing people in a good mood doing their thing, whether its looking for comics, meeting celebrities or dressing up in a convincing Catwoman suit.  And, sincerely, whether you're into comics or not, there are worse ways to kill a few hours on a Sunday.

The local CBS affiliate did some stories and interviews on Comic Con.