I wonder if anyone will read this.
Archive for the ‘Exclusives’ Category
I live over on the east side of Rochester, Minnesota. One fine day I was out walking when I noticed an odd blue sign in the distance. It was fuzzy and I could barely make it out…
The heck? I’ve never noticed that sign before. Now, it’s probably been there all along, and I’ve been passing it for years. But how could I not have noticed that that’s the
I was still several blocks away from the sign. It was a sunny day and I was squinting in the brightness. I quickened my pace to get to this sign and find out what it was. I mean, how could there be something Star Trek-related in my own neighborhood all this time and I haven’t known about it!?
My mind was racing. Could Rochester be the birthplace of Gene Roddenberry, maybe? Couldn’t be anything to do with Shatner or Doohan, they’re Canadians. Takei was from California or thereabouts, since he was in an internment camp during WWII. That leaves a number of major castmembers.
Maybe Enterprise designer Matt Jefferies was born here! That would explain why they have this schematic-looking overhead view of the Enterprise on the sign.
I was getting closer. Now it was just across the street.
Perhaps, instead of a Trek birthplace, there was a little Star Trek museum? This is a residential area, so maybe some Trek collector let his collecting get out of control and take over his house. He collected action figures, bought authentic props, built dozens of models, changed all his decor to be Trek-related, and he turned his entire basement into a replica of the set, and it finally reached a point where it was either put it all into storage or turn his house into the Star Trek Museum of Rochester. That would be pretty cool.
I crossed the street. Now I could definitely see the details of the sign. That most certainly is the Enterprise against the blue background!
Well…Star Trek is practically a religion, so I wasn’t too far off.
Jimmy Jams Comics here in Rochester is closing its doors next week.
I’ve just found out tonight, having missed the announcement earlier. (On top of everything else wrong with this, I’m very late to their storewide 50% off sale on trade paperbacks and I’ve missed a lot of goodies!)
This leaves me without a comic shop. Oh, their store in Winona an hour away will gladly ship my books free of charge once a month if I choose. I’m wondering whether I want to.
Frankly… at this point, I could probably be happy just buying the TPB collections of PS238 and having that be my total involvement with comic collecting. I don’t really enjoy the majority of books that DC puts out these days (the exceptions being Green Lantern Corps, Booster Gold and Birds of Prey). I’m not even buying the current Crisis book, which is kind of a stunning thing for me. A few months ago I realized that I have not truly enjoyed a single issue of the Justice League series since it was relaunched. I buy Justice League because I have an uninterrupted run going back to 1982. Aside from skipping the last year of Gerard Jones’ awful run, and then buying all of the issues from the cheap bin later on anyway, I have been a nonstop reader. But…it just isn’t a good book.
Hey, I’m 38, I’ve got a wife and a teenager to care for, and other things to occupy my time. It makes sense to move on from comics at some point, right? Except that…I still love comics if they’re done right, which is why I read PS238. I get a thrill from RE-reading the comics made in the 1980s and some of the 1990s. I could haul out the old Suicide Squad or L.E.G.I.O.N. or Giffen’s JLA and enjoy them just as I once did, and if those titles were being put out today I’d buy them. It’s probably why I’m loving Ambush Bug: Year None so much.
And I still would love to write comics, which means I can’t give up on READING comics, can I? I’m making one final go of Metro Med and hoping it goes somewhere.
I’ve got more to vent about the state of comics, but I just had to share what’s going on with me right now.
I know I haven’t posted in a while. The reason is, I’ve been preparing a major, lengthy post on G.I. Joe. To prepare your palate, I thought I’d start you off with an appetizer. A little history here to those of you who don’t know the story of G.I. Joe inside and out (and can’t be troubled to head over to Wikipedia):
G.I. Joe was invented not out of some ideological drive to teach kids to love soldiers but mainly to give boys a dolly that their dads would tolerate. Girls had Barbie dolls they could dress up; boys now had do- I mean ACTION FIGURES. And yeah, the action figures come with different outfits which the boy can accessorize, but at least there were guns and grenades as part of the ensemble.
After 5 years of tremendous popularity, in 1969 they ran into a problem: Vietnam. Soldier toys weren’t as popular due to the anti-draft movement and that bastard Walter Cronkite. Young American lads were growing disheartened when they’d come home from school to find their G.I. Joe figures covered in spittle from Hippie Barbie, who was flipping them the bird and shrieking that they were “Betsy-Wetsy-killers”.
Hoping to salvage their toy line, Hasbro decided to turn America’s fighting man into a vague adventurer. Instead of fighting the enemies of the USA, he’d contend with serious threats such as avalanches and jungle rot. Fine, manly adventures, sure. What it had to do with being a G.I. is a good question, but it still wasn’t sissy stuff. This era is actually the most well-known to the public for several reasons:
- The debut of the “kung-fu grip.”
- A new technique for flocking hair, leading to the well-known image of G.I. Joe as having curly hair and a thick beard.
- Talking G.I. Joe.
After a good six-year run, this G.I. Joe line petered out. For antagonists, the Joe “team” was fighting aliens from outer space.
Then Hasbro tried “Super Joe”, a smaller toy line of superpowered G.I. Joe figures. This was obviously followed by G.I. Joe being a dead product for several years.
G.I. Joe was reinvented in 1982 as “G.I. Joe, a Real American Hero”, with the singular being quite inappopriate in that there wasn’t a person by that name anymore. Now G.I. Joe was an American special missions team which fought the terrorist organization known as Cobra. The team was headed up by Duke (who never used the monicker “G.I. Joe” but is for all intents and purposes the main character) and is a diverse team of men and women with special training and weapons. For instance, the Sheena Easton-looking chick over there, Lady Jaye (otherwise known as Lady J, or sometimes Lady Ray, or occasionally as Lady Ray Jay but never as Ms. Johnson), had special javelins that she threw…at, you know, tanks and robots.
This has been the G.I. Joe toy line as we have known it for the past quarter century. The toy figures were Star Wars-sized, allowing for vehicles and playsets. The toy line was boosted with a robust animated series (including several full-length mini-series and an animated movie) and a very long-lived comic book by military-trained writer Larry Hama, who created backstories for all of the characters and gave them a depth usually lacking in the average toy. Both the animated series and the comic books have been revived in recent years due to the 1980s nostalgia that also brought back He-Man, Transformers, Battlestar Galactica, Night Rider, Dragon’s Lair, Space Ace, etc…
As for the toy line, they began issuing anniversary 12″ reproductions of the classic G.I. Joe and Adventure Team characters. The G.I. Joe name was even used for a series honoring real life heroes such as Ernie Pyle (the roving journalist who coined the term, whose own life was told in the movie “The Story of G.I. Joe”) and platoon Sgt. Mitchell Paige, one of the greatest heroes of Guadalcanal.
That’s all for now. Next, the history of the media Joe, and then my major article.
One of my favorite comics-related weblogs, and most underrated weblogs has ended as of the last day of 2007. Loren Collins’ Suspension of Disbelief has been there to correct the record and lend advice whenever the creators of our fictional worlds committed major and noticeable errors regarding the real world elements that are included in these fantasy universes. One of my favorite (albeit guest-) posts is this one, which although the image is broken, indicates a moment where George Perez is drawing New York and putting two famous buildings in close visual proximity whereas in real life the two famous landmarks in such geographical disparity that you would have to look in two different directions at once to see both edifices simultaneously. In theory the geography of the Marvel Universe’s 616 earth is nearly identical to the real world, that is, the fictional world is a pastiche… and George Perez didn’t research the real world skyline before creating the fictional view.
Just as Dr. Scott from Polite Dissent is a doctor correcting medical errors in comic books, Loren Collins used his legal training to correct the legal errors in comic books, actively seeing trials depicted in issues and then criticizing how realistic the trial portions were, as we have little choice but to imagine that many of the legal structures of the comic book universes are the same as the real world, except when explicitly declared otherwise. In which case there is speculation or conjecture as to how the law is different, where the differences are never explicitly stated.
In many instances the mistakes actually detract from the quality of the comic, and distract the reader. It works that way for some lawyers, doctors. For Phil Meadows he cannot merely enjoy a building without deconstructing it in his head and I could not watch Smallville’s political election plot lines without getting a sense of nausea. President Luthor did it to me worse.
My buddy Jim MacQuarrie often covers stuff that Loren misses, although his usual mission in the course of the weblog is/was to correct the many archery errors that crop up because pencillers who draw Green Arrow, Hawkeye, or Speedy often mess up royally as to how it actually happens, regardless of the ease of research. Even writers screw it up sometimes. Archery can only work in a certain way to even work, and despite that we can let little things go, some things we would not and should not. MacQuarrie is in a good position to catch that stuff, given that he “is an NAA certified archery instructor. Naturally, his arrows are green.” He also did other things, whatever he noticed, and is Christian enough to notice when the Simpsons screwed up Ned Flanders in a Super Bowl episode.
Suspension of Belief was meant to be a group blog, but that never quite worked out. For one thing most of the registered group guys aside from Loren or MacQ posted one or two articles at best. For another I never registered as I intended to, to write about a few of the things I noticed. Hopefully if my short attention span can maintain cohesion I can write about that stuff here on Monitor Duty. (Although sometimes Loren got to it eventually, as he did with the question of whether Jonathan Kent was running for State Senate or US Senate). Another one like that is one that should been done long ago and this particular article should have been proliferated to the far reaches of the internet: Loren’s logical and legal dissection of Civil War’s Registration Act. As it is it was the lack of relevant topics near the end which led to a lack of regular posting which led to Loren Collins ending the weblog. He will continue the purposes of Suspension of Disbelief over at “the CBR blog, Comics Should Be Good.” That is unfortunate, as I do not read that weblog regularly, or anything at Comicbook Resources. I do not intend to. (Well, I will make exception for the work of August deBlieck, Junior and some other stuff as it pops up). I do not read Comics Should Be Good for several reasons, despite the weblog’s quality. However in a few months I will make it a point to go back and review all of Loren Collins’ work on that blog, to see that disbelief remains effectively suspended.
I hope I can keep my mind straight long enough to affect parallel work here.
Also: us professional comic book readers, sophisticated adults that we are, are well-aware that Suspension of Disbelief is what we engage in so that we can truly enjoy a man who can fly, without saying to ourselves, “wait! a man cannot fly!” That is part of why Superman Returns was awful. It had non-Superman moments that rendered proper disbelief suspension impossible. The weblog I eulogize was so titled because it addressed the bits and pieces that were incorrect from the standard that we view a world, and thus interfered with the Suspension of Disbelief.
- I will become more adept at scanning and editing images from my comic books and text from my books for articles
- I will update my Image Archives and create a system for their sufficient and efficient use
- I will improve the Chris Arndt homepage and make Apologies Demanded more accessible to new readers; I will actually make my Star Trek and Lost blogs viable reads
- Convince enough Monitor Duty readers to charitably purchase comics from my get-rid-of-it box for more than they are worth so I can resolve my tax problem with the government
- More product reviews
- I will find ways to make the other Monitor Duty contributors redundant
- I will do my multi-part takedown of “Legends”
- I will do the same with “Star Trek Enterprise” and Michael Bay’s “Transformers”,
- along with finishing that one article predicting why the new Superman movie would be bad (it was written and almost completed several months before the movie was released); it turned out to be ABSOLUTELY CORRECT ON ALL COUNTS.
Just some fun personal news I thought I’d share.
So LevaFilmWorks (who’ve done wonderful documentaries and that really hilarious mockumentary “R2-D2: BENEATH THE DOME”) is doing a documentary on certain DC Comics characters and they want me to be in it as a comic book historian.
Good times! Let’s hope I sound like I know what I’m talking about and don’t come off as just a huge trivia freak.
And seriously, thank you to all the Monitor Duty bloggers and readers. Because of you, this site is here and this site is talked about and if that were not the case, these people would never have heard of me. So thank you all.
Some of you may know I’m a freelance video editor.
I was bored last week in between doing two new profiles that are coming up soon and so decided to spend the next few hours editing together a Transformers music video using footage from the new movie and the cartoon series. The music is the opening theme from the animated movie.
Enjoy. Feel free to comment.
Time Lords can die. But if there isn’t too much damage to the body, they can make themselves regenerate instead, creating an entirely new body from scratch. The brain cells get naturally shaken up during this process, so while the memories remain (keeping the NURTURE part of the personality intact), the basic idiosyncrasies, physical quirks (whether or not they need glasses, etc.) and personality traits (such as temper, mannerism, impulsiveness) shift.
Here then is a run down of each of the Doctor’s incarnations, as we’ve seen so far.
This is part of ALAN KISTLER’S GUIDE TO DOCTOR WHO.
The program of DOCTOR WHO premiered on the BBC in 1963 the day after Kennedy died and was originally conceived as a family program with educational values for children. It quickly proved to be a lot more than that, both in terms of high concepts and serious, dark tales about death and destruction on sometimes universal levels. The main creative force behind the show was BBC Head of Drama Sydney Newman, who also wrote the first format document for the series alongwith with the Head of the Script Department Donald Wilson and staff writer C. E. ‘Bunny’ Webber. Writer Anthony Coburn, story editor David Whitaker and initial producer Verity Lambert also heavily contributed to the development of the series in the early days and greatly influence writers and producers who came later.
DOCTOR WHO lasted for 26 seasons (695 episodes), making it the longest running science-fiction program in history and was canceled in 1989. It was a phenomenon in British pop culture, reaching practically the same popularity that Superman gained in the U.S. After cancellation, it survived in novels, a TV movie on Fox and audio plays. A new series, picking up some time after the TV movie leaves off, started in 2005 and continues the story of the hero, an alien adventurer who never gives his real name but is known only as “The Doctor.”
The New Gods are the creations of Jack Kirby. Originally, they were supposed to exist in their own continuity, separate from the DCU. What’s more, Kirby intended to give the entire saga a beginning, middle and end, stretched across four different titles, and then leave it alone, never to us the characters again afterwards. Today, this would be known as a “limited series” or a “maxi-series” of some kind. Back then, it was unheard of and Carmine Infantino at DC Comics wasn’t a fan of the idea. When he gave Kirby the title JIMMY OLSEN, it was Kirby’s way of organically introducing some New Gods stories little by little. By the time FOREVER PEOPLE #1 came out, Infantino wanted Superman to guest-star in order to give the title a sales boost and Kirby conceded, firmly establishing the “Fourth World titles” as part of the mainstream DCU (just in case there was still any doubt). The four different Fourth World titles were NEW GODS, THE FOREVER PEOPLE, MISTER MIRACLE and SUPERMAN’S PAL, JIMMY OLSEN.
Kirby never finished the Fourth World saga, returning to Marvel Comics to work on other projects instead, and other writers down the years brought the New Gods more and more into the mainstream realm and added to their history.
So who are they exactly?
For all you Whovians and all you who heard of DOCTOR WHO but are afraid to begin watching without some basic info first.
If you just want a general overview of the show and characters of DOCTOR WHO that takes about five minutes or so to read, then check out my article: DOCTOR WHO IN A NUTSHELL.
If you want a simple and brief run-down on each incarnation of the Doctor, check out my DIFFERENT INCARNATIONS OF THE DOCTOR IN A NUTSHELL article.
If you want more detailed information on the career of each incarnation however, as well as lists of the Doctor’s adventures in different media in chronological order and info about the spin-offs, look below …
For the second time, I made the two hour trip from Buffalo, New York, to Toronto, Ontario, for the Paradise Toronto Comicon. The convention was held Friday-Sunday, June 8-10, although I was only there for Saturday. It was held at the Direct Energy Centre, which people in the area will know as the building that is just inside the Princess Gate on the Canadian National Exhibition grounds. It was quite an enjoyable day, and I highly recommend it to anyone who lives a reasonable driving distance away.
For more on my time there, including notes on the Birds of Prey and Teen Titans panels I attended, click on the extended entry.
A while back, Moonstone posted a call for proposals to revamp the classic action figure Captain Action in a comic book series. Many people gave it a shot, but in the end they’ve decided to go with Fabian Nicieza.
I was one of the many non-professionals who sent in a proposal. Sure, it was a lark, and it didn’t pan out. But I figured it was worth a shot.
And, since it would never see the light of day otherwise, I’ve decided to share my rejected revamp proposal with you!
Ahem! I’ve amended the last few entries.
However, I have to give kudos to Blue Spider for keeping the site alive. I’ve spent the last week working throughout the weekend and sleeping about four hours a night, gearing up for the rollout of our new web site at work.
Oh yeah! New web site. In case you didn’t know, I’m now working for Mayo Medical Laboratories.