With both DC and Marvel regularly releasing large collections of their old comics, there’s fun to be had in taking panels out of context:
From Hawkman #11, 1965
And here’s a nice piece of purple prose, courtesy Marvel writer Gerry Conway.
Or, as we call them, air conditioners.
From Marvel Team-Up #5, 1972
The following may be my all-time favorite comic-book caption.
I also relish a rock ‘em, sock ‘em rhubarb. ‘Specially if it’s in a pie.
From Justice League of America #47, 1966
Not really from a comic book, but here’s Superman providing his own sound effects.
Little known fact about the Man of Steel:
He’s also known to shout “Kapow!,” “Phoom!” or even “Zort!” in the heat of battle.
The postponement of last weekend’s planned Warhammer 40K event gave me an opportunity to drive to Northwest Indiana and visit my dad instead. And while I was up there, I took advantage of the presence of a nearby IMAX theater to catch up with the historical blockbuster 300. Why in the hell Portage, Indiana rates a spanky-new, gigandous IMAX screen is beyond me, but it was rilly niiiiice. And the first movie house I’ve seen with self-serve soda refills!
300, which recounts the Battle of Thermopylae in 480 B.C., isn’t the sort of subject matter that would typically attract me to the movies, but the visuals were striking and I knew that they’d greatly benefit from the big-screen format. And boy, howdy, they did.
Based on a “graphic novel” by Frank Miller (I employ air-quotes because most books which claim that title are graphic novellas at best), 300 is every bit a comic-book movie. On one hand, it does what comics do best: present stunning vistas and hyper-realities; and break the laws of physics. On the other, it also embodies the term “comic-book” in the oft-used pejorative sense: appealing to adolescent fantasies; featuring trite dialogue and thin characters.
Those latter criticisms aside, I thoroughly enjoyed the film. It’s just the sort of experience I seek at the movies: a larger-than-life, transcendent journey. Other, “serious” dramas might have more compelling performances and wittier scripts, but honestly, what’s the point of taking an intimate story and blowing it up to four stories high? TV is great for close-up conversations and plodding portrayals of everyday life, but movies, in my view, should be about spectacle. That’s not to say that they should be empty-headed–a charge I would not level at 300 anyway–but that bigness is what sets movie-going apart from other forms of mass media.
One aspect of 300 that I feel I cannot avoid mentioning is the beefcake. My God, it’s full of rippling pecs, eight-pack abs and more leather codpieces than a row of Sunset Blvd. speciality boutiques. Virtually every scene would qualify as what the late, lamented Mystery Science Theater 3000 jokingly termed a “buffalo shot.” While I question the wisdom of battling 250,000 screaming Persians in a cowhide Speedo, I must say that if I were into that sort of thing (if you know what I mean, and I’m told that you do) I would be very into this movie indeed.
While my planned Warhammer 40K weekend was postponed to April, I was able to wrap up (at least, for now) my painting projects with the completion of a Rhino transport for my HQ squad.
In celebration, I’ve updated my Warhammer gallery. There you’ll find more photos of the Rhino, plus a compilation of all my recent projects. There’s also a new photo of my Sisters en masse!
If television was a theme park, Heroes would be the backwards-looping, knuckle-whitening roller coaster. Last night’s episode–the final new installment prior to a six-week break–elicited the following responses from me:
- “That was cool!”
- “I didn’t see that coming!”
- [thunk] [thunk]
That last one was my jaw repeatedly hitting the floor. It seemed that every five minutes there was a change in loyalties or a reversal of fortune. As Vic said afterwards, more happened in that one episode than in two-and-a-half seasons of Lost. By hour’s end, it appeared that half of the vast cast was in mortal or existential peril.
(BIG SPOILERS AHEAD)
- Hiro was reunited with Ando (yay!) and finally won his power-restoring sword (yay!). Rather than face 573 casino security guards, he teleported the two of them out of Linderman’s vault through time and space…
- …to a post-nuclear New York. Eek!
- Mr. Bennet’s treachery was revealed to the agents of the Company, courtesy an illusion-casting hottie in a schoolgirl outfit–the best kind of hottie–disguised as his own wife. (Now, if she’d disguised herself as Mr. Muggles the family dog, that would’ve been truly impressive.)
- Isaac painted his own death. (And that’s a good thing. The character’s pretty much irredeemable at this point.)
- Claire ran away to find her father…
- …and learned that Nathan’s mom and the Haitian have been protecting her all along.
- Nathan also had a secret: his dalliances with the criminal mastermind Linderman were part of a federal investigation.
- Oops! Jessica killed the feds.
- Ah, but her “good self” Niki warned Nathan that Linderman knew about his duplicity, and gave him Jessica’s gun.
- Linderman (freakin’ Malcolm McDowell!) also knew all about the existence of the Heroes…
- …and he offered Nathan the White House.
- Mohinder was only pretending to be unaware of Sylar’s true identity, and captured him long enough to extract his DNA and finally crack his father’s genetic research. But in true comic book fashion, he failed to kill the archvillain when he had the chance…
- …and that’s when Peter walked in on the two of them. The episode ended with Sylar in the midst of cutting open Peter’s head. Will he succeed? Will there be a rock ‘em, sock ‘em rhubarb between the show’s two ubermen? I can’t wait ’til April 23!
While I have a great deal to like about what I do for a living, every once in a while I get to do something really fun! This Saturday at 8:00 pm sees the local premiere of the new Doctor Who series, and we’ll be kicking things off with a special pledge drive preview of the first two episodes.
I know, I know, what’s the big deal, right? The show’s been on Sci-Fi for the last year or so. True, but Sci-Fi (and BBC America, the other channel that’s aired it) isn’t necessarily part of low-end cable packages, and furthermore, I suspect that there are many people who might enjoy the series but wouldn’t go anywhere near a dedicated science-fiction program service. Besides, few cable channels can consistently boast the audience levels of a broadcast station, so there’s a greater potential viewership. With all that in mind, I’m scheduling it as a general-audience, “family” series on Sundays at 6:00 pm (with a “cult” repeat on Saturdays at 10:25 pm).
It’s been a real joy to have the new Who here at last. I’ve been trying to acquire it since pretty much Day One, but was unable to do so prior to this. And from what I understand, it seems that we’re the second PBS station in the entire country to air it. (A west-coast station is beating us to it by premiering it tonight.)
I’ve been micromanaging the upcoming broadcast at just about every level: I wrote the article for the program guide, designed the “teaser” promos, chose the promotional photos, identified the points at which we’ll insert our pledge breaks for tomorrow’s premiere and selected the thank-you gifts. Tomorrow, I’ll pitch the show live on the air. About the only thing I haven’t managed to insert myself into is actually pushing the “play” button on our tape deck. It’s perhaps borderline obsessive–okay, maybe it’s well across that border–but it’s too good an opportunity for a die-hard Whovian such as myself.
Who’d've thought some 35 years ago when I was watching the Peter Cushing Dalek movies on one of Chicago’s late-night, horror-host TV shows that one day I’d be the one doing the hosting duties? Yay!
After what seemed like a month, but was only four weeks, our contractors finally completed their work on our newly-finished basement Wednesday night! They did great work–aside from one or two small matters that we may or may not attend to at a later date–and as much of a pleasure as they were to deal with, I am so glad that they’re gone. It’s great to return our home to some semblance of normalcy, clearing piles of stuff out of the bedrooms, moving the cats’ things back downstairs and getting all of the garbage and scrap lumber out of the garage at last.
Here’s a quick tour of the premises. It doesn’t look like much yet because we don’t have any furniture or decorations for it. I really wish that I’d taken some “before” photos so that you could see the tremendous difference between its previous state as a dusty pile of clutter to its reincarnation as an entire second floor of living space.
A view of the large, central living/game room. Our contractors boxed in the ducts and the support poles, cut heating vents into the ceiling and gave us a slew of outlets. On the back wall is the new door to my old office.
The living room as seen from the opposite side. I expect a TV to go in that corner.
A sink provides us with a handy water source in the basement, and it’s set up in such a way that it would be easy to carry the wall all the way across to create a half-bath.
This walled-off section houses the washer/dryer, as well as providing a storage room for our Christmas decorations. While it’s not visible in the photo, an opening to the right of the washer leads to a semi-secret area under the stairs which we’re using for additional storage.
My “office,” which is really more of a hobby area. Actually, this doesn’t look very different, except that we now have a real ceiling instead of a bunch of pieces of foam. Most important is that the area is now separated from the rest of the basement by a wall with a door, useful for locking the cats in with us in case of severe weather.
Not that exciting a photo, but here for completion’s sake is the back half of the “office” area where the furnace is. This mostly involved finishing the walls, installing a door over the entrance to the crawlspace and putting up a partial ceiling.