Archive for November, 2007

The Other Wizard Named Harry

Tuesday, November 27th, 2007

http://forum.newsarama.com/showthread.php?t=137640

Dabel Brothers, the comics publisher best known for the Sci Fi/Fantasy book adaptions, made official today what has been known since the author announced it on his website several weeks ago.  They will be adapting Jim Butcher’s The Dresden Files series of novels.  But before the first direct adaption comes out in mid-2008, the first book Storm Front, Jim Butcher will write an original 4 issue mini-series which will begin shipping in April.  Jim Butcher is a big comics fan and has worked numerous references into the series, from numerous comparisons of Harry to Batman to his transportation, a VW Beetle aptly named the Blue Beetle.

For those out of the know The Dresden Files series follows Chicago’s only wizard PI Harry Dresden as he investigates the supernatural, either for his clients or when the Chicago PD employs him as a consultant.

Is selling a Wii illegal in a hurricane?

Monday, November 26th, 2007

Want to know why I haven’t posted all weekend? Because I’ve been trying to find a Wii.

Warning: This post is long and whiney, full of petty details about my personal life, but it also has some helpful shopping advice and a bit of philosophy as well.

A few weeks ago, during my trip to Boston, we had a party in the evening where the hosts set up their Nintendo Wii so that we could play Tennis and Bowling with the game projected on the wall. I’d never played the Wii. Sure, the commercials are intriguing, but the last game system I owned was a Colecovision! (My previous system was a used Atari 2600 just as they became uncool, which I traded in for a TI-99 4/A only a month before Texas Instruments announced they were discontinuing their computers.) I’ve played games exclusively on the PC for almost two decades. Frankly, most modern console games look bafflingly hard to master, way too visually confusing and the mere sight of the flakey 20-button controllers makes my carpal tunnel-ridden hands hurt!

Well, the Wii is designed for the audiences overlooked by the XBox and Playstation systems. It involves less button manipulation and a lot more exertion. I think I burned off 100 calories playing tennis! After mulling it over a couple weeks, and prompted by an Amazon.com promotion that I received last Thursday, I decided I’d buy one.

Oh wait. You CAN’T. As I haven’t any children and don’t play consoles myself, I’d been totally unaware of the fact most of you know: you can’t get Wii consoles for love or money. OK, poor choice of words: you CAN get Wii’s for money. A LOT of money. The $250 system is going for $600 and up on eBay.

The Wii has been out a year, with Nintendo cranking them out as fast as they can. No store can keep them on the shelf. Usually, they never touch a shelf. No store will sell them online. You cannot even order one on Amazon! This is unbelievable! I don’t care if it takes six months to get to me, but I can’t even place a standing order???

Saturday, we were at Toys R Profitable and I asked the clerk when they were getting more. He told me that they’d have 15 of them Sunday morning and that they opened the store at 9:00. Melinda and I decided to swing by around 8 and see what the crowd was like. Big crowd, we skip it and pretend we were only going next door to Baker’s Square for breakfast. If it’s only a few people, we get a Wii. So Sunday morning, we drive past and there’s nobody at the door! We park the car and Melinda reminds me to bring my hat and gloves as we wait outside for 45 minutes. As I walk up to join her… the doors part and someone walks out of the store. They actually opened at 8 a.m.

The rest of Sunday, instead of all the web design I wanted to accomplish, I perused eBay. I Froogle’d the Wii and went down dozens of pages. Froogle pointed me to dozens of online retailers who were selling them for $550…but upon opening the page they were now marked as $780! They’re raising their prices so fast Google can’t keep up! I found some package deals which didn’t really offer the games I wanted but at least they were giving me the value of my money instead of just making someone a windfall profit on eBay, and as I dawdled over which games to get by watching GameTrailers reviews (well worth it, as they changed my mind on a number of games) the bundled Wii’s went out of stock. OOPS! I just checked the page again and they’re in stock again…but most of the good games are gone now.

Tonight I was at Gamestop buying games for a system I don’t own yet and I see some Wii boxes on the shelf. Could it be that stores like Gamestop actually have Wii’s in stock and it’s just that Joe Public only thinks to pester big box stores? Nah, can’t be. But… how stupid will I feel if I don’t ask when there are priced Wii console boxes right there?

Me: “I have a very stupid question.”
Clerk: “There’s no such thing as a stupid question. Shoot.”
Me: “Do you have any Wii’s?”
Clerk: “That is a stupid question.”

Here’s the point of all this:

Melinda and I talked it over this weekend. Do we want to get one? The thing is, it’s not a surprise, and we don’t have any kids waiting for it under the tree. I feel like I don’t have the right to get one before Christmas when some desperate parent really needs one. Those people paying inflated prices on eBay and to small online retailers are doing so because they’re desperate, and to them it’s well worth the money just to have it in time for Christmas. I’m certainly not willing to pay three times the price; other people are.

Once again, Thomas Sowell’s Basic Economics (which I heartily endorse as a Christmas present, and you should click that link so I have money for a Wii) is correct: “gouging” is nothing more than raising prices in response to demand, which in turn helps to parcel out the limited goods to the people most desperate for them. For me, it would be “nice” to have one. If I could buy one for $250 from Amazon right now, I would… and that would be one less system available for people who have three kids begging for one.

Frankly, I don’t even understand why the retailers have to sell it for $250. A Nintendo Wii is WORTH $600 -$800. Deprivation and demand have dictated the actual value of the item. Why should the retailers be forced to sell it for a piddling $250 to someone grinning greedily as they run home to list it on eBay and make $400 profit? The retailer’s doing all the real work of placing orders, running invoices, paying clerks, etc. If there’s profit to be had in selling Wii’s, they should be making it.

Now, when I tried to make this argument before (due to Green Arrow shooting a store clerk for selling a precious commodity at a higher price in a disaster area), there were many people whining about it not being the Christian thing to do. Frankly, religion doesn’t enter into economics and it shouldn’t be dictating policy in a secular nation. I believe in charity, and especially in Christian charity, but if in addition to charity there are people willing to do what it takes to bring in needed items at inflated prices, they should be free to do so without any hindrance by government or hassles about it not being Christian. Again, I love charity, but if charity alone was meeting the need for the diapers in bombed out Star City or (in real life) getting generators to Katrina victims, then there wouldn’t be any profit in “gouging”, would there? The fact that people have reached a point of desperation where they will gladly pay twice as much for a needed item is pretty much proof that your vaunted charity is not meeting that need.

However, all of you who responded thusly to that debate last year are more than welcome to buy me a Nintendo Wii because it’s the Christian thing to do.

And now, some rejected Wii games:

Announcing Comics For Soldiers*

Thursday, November 22nd, 2007

As of today, Thanksgiving Day, Monitor Duty is launching a major fundraiser for Operation Gratitude. 

For several years, Operation Gratitude has been sending out care packages to our people stationed in Iraq, Afghanistan and other remote parts of the world where contact with home is infrequent.  A package of goodies and notes from stateside can brighten their day.

For the last two years, I’ve been supporting Operation Gratitude privately with contributions of comic books for inclusion in care packages.  I recently contacted Carolyn Blashek, who tirelessly runs Operation Gratitude, to ask her if she wanted another box of comics this year.  She told me that they actually prefer having comic books to send because they’re small and don’t take up a lot of room like regular books do.  They’re a great item to stick into an almost-full care package.

In World War II, many soldiers shared copies of Action Comics and Detective in-between the fighting.  That tradition continues today; comics can be passed from bunk-to-bunk, with a comic providing entertainment for an entire barracks. 

Comics also have the advantage that they can be passed along to children who can enjoy them even if they don’t understand the words.  Care packages often include items for kids, especially beanie babies, because the soldiers give them to kids to win them over and then the kids come back to tell them where bombs are planted or explosives are stored.  So you never know: Sending a comic book, game or toy could actually save a life!

I’m stepping up my donation, folks.  In addition to a box of comics this year, I’m going to make it my mission to use my carpal tunnel-riddled hands to sign EVERY SINGLE COMIC IN THE BOX with a message of support. I’m doing that this weekend, after Thanksgiving. And one more important thing: I’m sending a check for $100 to their cash donation address.  $100 may seem like a fair bit of cash, but it’s actually barely enough to ship 10 care packages.

Here’s my challenge to the readers of Monitor Duty during the “Comics For Soldiers” fund-raiser:

  • If you’re a comic shop owner, look over the racks and grab an assortment of what’s available.  Perhaps take that pile of comics you were going to spend the next night bagging up, pricing and filing in the back issue bins, and instead set that aside.  Grab some thin trade paperbacks off your shelves, or some nice thick Showcase/Masterworks compilations since they are are cheap and provide hours of entertainment.  Then look for some small games or even beanie babies if your store has them.  Maybe grab some DVDs from your DVD section.  Don’t bother with action figures, though; the packaging is too bulky.  Looking around the average comic shop, one will find many of the items on the Operation Gratitude Want List  Total your pile up (you’ll want to know the total so you can claim
    the full amount on your taxes) and put it in a shipping box.  Send it off to the address below.
  • If you’re a comic book pro, sign and send some copies of your own work. If you’re on a company comp list, take that stack of unread comps from your publisher and send it off.
  • If you’re a self-publisher, maybe you have a few extra boxes of your work that are unsold?  Perhaps you overprinted your first issue, thinking it would be the next Ninja Turtles?  Well, here’s a win-win situation: Send a box or two to Operation Gratitude and then claim it on your taxes.  Of course, be honest: Does it suck?  Is it some bizarrely incomprehensible alternative comic?  Then maybe don’t do this option.
  • Are you just a fan who would like to give of himself?  Buy some comics, manga, DVDs, or any of the items on the Operation Gratitude Want List and send it off.
  • In all of the cases above, please do one more thing: Send a check for at least enough money to pay the shipping on one care package ($10).  Gift items are nice, but Operation Gratitude can always use money for shipping.  Oh, and don’t throw that check in with the items; it needs to go to a different address.

A few things to bear in mind:  Items need to be new and unread.  Items need to be small enough to fit into a box about the size of a Priority Mail box. Also,
don’t get “cute” and send antiwar stuff like JLA #83.  (Come on; use your head.) 

Why should you do this?  Gratitude for the service of others that allows us to live free?  Altruism?  A tax write-off?   Promotion of the joy of comic books?  Advertising?  Maybe you were a smelly hippy who shouted “Baby Killer!” at vets back in the 1970s and now you want to buy your way into Heaven?  Well, sure, any and all of the above, but I’ve got one more reason to sweeten the deal:

Everyone contributing to the Comics for Soldiers fund raiser will get a nice bit of promotion on Monitor Duty.  Simply reply to this post (or any of our future “Comics For Soldiers” posts) and let me know you’re contributing to Operation Gratitude.  Feel free to let us know what you’re contributing; I know that may seem like bragging, but it can encourage others to match your generosity.  (You may also e-mail me privately at thehutch-ATSYMBOL-thehutch.com)  I will keep a running list of all contributors and I will keep publishing the names as the list grows, and I will provide a final summary when the collection drive ends on December 15th.  I’m willing to link to your web site and name your current project, too.  If you’re willing to donate your time, money and comics to provide some Christmas cheer for our servicemen (and women!) abroad, I’m willing to make it worth your while!

Here are all the gory details:

Operation Gratitude (opgratitude.com)

Send your items to:

Operation Gratitude/California Army
National Guard
17330 Victory
Boulevard
Van Nuys, CA 91406
Charlie Othold: 
818.437.6201


For cash donations, you can either donate online or make checks payable to:

Operation
Gratitude
16444 Refugio
Road
Encino, CA
91436

This Thanksgiving, don’t forget to give thanks for all of our military personnel.

I know, I know, I’m using “soldiers” as an inclusive term when I should be saying “soldiers, sailors, airmen and marines and National Guard”.  That was too long to fit in a catchy title.

G-Farce

Wednesday, November 21st, 2007

Jerry Bruckheimer is producing G-Force.  Sadly, it has nothing to do with the late 70s anime of the same name.

 

As for Animal Commandoes, the North Koreans beat them to it:

 

 

Incidentally, I have no Idea what anyone’s saying.  I do know that the ‘cute’ animals represent the North Koreans, the rodents represent the south, and the predators (the one in the cool jet) represent the superpowers.

 

And is it just me, or are these ‘cute’ creatures even creepier than the Woodland Critters from South Park?

I know what “Chuck” is, BBA.

Wednesday, November 21st, 2007

I just don’t watch it, that’s all.

Mr. Arndt, if you check your IM logs, you will see that all you said was that a show with Adam Baldwin was on opposite “Big Bang Theory”, so I had to ask you to explain it because I haven’t watched “Chuck” and didn’t know he was on that show.  But I know what Chuck is.  It’s that show about a dopey guy who has a hot chick secret agent assigned to him because he has a bunch of secrets in his brain and every week you wonder if he’s going to win her over.  I just prefer the one about the geeky guy who has a hot chick waitress across the hall from him and every week you wonder if he’s going to win her over.  (Answer to both questions, by the way: Of course he will, but it will be during the sweeps week finale of season four in May 2011, at which time the show will have then blown the driving question and the series will never be as good from then on.)

Do NOT challenge me to a Trivia-Off, bro, or you will have to bring me the head of Boba Fett!

Hutch, your not knowing what “Chuck” and “Heroes” is will cost this site its geek credS

Tuesday, November 20th, 2007

I mean, seriously, just an hour ago you told me that you didn’t know what Chuck was.

Okay, I’ll explain that Lost Boys thing…

Tuesday, November 20th, 2007

A few moments ago I referenced “The Lost Boys” and how it tries to fake its way through geekiness.  So Chris/”Blue Spider”/”Stupid New Long Nickname That Clutters Up Our Author Archives” is IM’ing me and asks, “What’s Lost Boys?”

And I realize, that movie is twenty years old.  A lot of you may have never seen it, especially since it’s an oh-so-very-80s movie about vampires.  In a way, it marks the turning point at which the notion of a vampire went from a blood-sucking old monster to becoming a hip punk with superpowers and exotic eyes (and we’ve seen that concept over and over again for the last two decades).

“Lost Boys” is a 1987 Joel Batmanruiner film starring Kiefer Sutherland, Jami Gertz and all 8 Coreys.  And I realize this is petty, but it bugged me a lot.  The movie tries to fake its way through a scene set in a comic book store.  Here it is, straight out of the script:

INT. The comic book store

Sam
Got a problem guys?

Edgar
Just scoping your civilian wardrobe.

Sam
Pretty cool, huh?

Alan Frog
For a fashion victim.

Edgar
Listen budy, if you’re looking for the diet frozen-yogurt bar, it went out of business last summer.

Sam
Actually I ‘m looking for Batman, no.14.

Edgar
That’s a very serious book, man.

Alan Frog
Only five in existence.

Sam
Four, actually. I’m always lookin’ out for the other three. You can’t put the Superman, no. 77 with the 200s. They haven’t even discovered red kryptonite yet. And you can’t put the no. 98 with the 300s. Lori Lemaris hasn’t even been introduced.

Edgar
Where the hell are you from? Krypton?

Okay, the problem is not anything wrong with Sam’s numbers.  That’s pretty good geek cred.

The problem is that the comic shop doesn’t stand up to scrutiny.  Edgar and Alan Frog have this moment when they look at each other, very impressed with this new kid’s comics trivia as he totally schools them in how bad their organization is because he knows more than them about Superman comics.  Yet…

…and this is what bugs me…

…Sam basically shows them that comics should be in numerical order.

Plus…they’ve got Superman #77 just sitting on a magazine shelf?  It’s not sealed with a backer board in a high-quality preserving sleeve?

Of course, the No Prize can be given for explaining away that in the 1980s there were a LOT of comic shops that consisted of geeks with no sales skills renting some retail space and dragging out their personal collection to go into business for themselves.  So maybe these Frog brothers can be forgiven for not having a well-organized store.  Yet it doesn’t take sales skills to know that you don’t want your Superman #77 getting all bent up.  That’s the kind of thing any comic nerd worth his salt knows or he doesn’t deserve to have a collection.

Lucas can do ANYthing with CGI these days!

Tuesday, November 20th, 2007

(REPOST! I didn’t realize that it was mis-coded when I posted this earlier. Sorry.)
If only real storm troopers were 1/10th this coordinated.

Best of the Big Bang Theory

Tuesday, November 20th, 2007

UPDATE:   Umm…did I do that?  These videos all had thousands of hits.  Then I link to them tonight and inside of two hours they are all removed by YouTube!  I can’t believe how much work I put into this post and now all the videos are gone.  I’m sorry you won’t be able to see these clips.  If I can find an alternate source, I will replace them.  Funny thing is…I originally ended this post with the phrase, “I know YouTube sometimes yanks copyrighted material but I hope CBS leaves these up because it’s great promotion for a great show,” but then I deleted it because it seemed like tempting fate.  Wish I had left it in; it would have made this funnier.

“Big Bang Theory” (Monday nights on NBC) is my favorite new show.  Blue Spider tells me it’s up against a show with Adam Baldwin (“Chuck”) so it may be that some of you are watching that instead.  If that’s the case, I want to show you what you’re missing.  Here’s the best scene of the season:

I think this is one of the smartest shows since Frasier. By that, I don’t mean that it will teach you physics or that it’s an extraordinary achievement. (It isn’t exactly Babylon 5.)  I just mean that it assumes the audience has a brain and an education.

They make very intelligent references without explaining them to the viewer, assuming that we have some understanding of the doppler effect and online gaming.  And they never fake their information assuming that no one will catch it (unlike, say, “The Lost Boys“).  There are even inside jokes like the names of the two main characters, Sheldon and Leonard.  (Ever since that hit me, I keep hearing “Out you two pixies go, through the door or out the window!” whenever someone says their names.)

Oh, and did I mention that the show is just geek heaven?

I hope you’ll all check it out.

Drew Carey’s trip from nears-suicidal nerdy kid to five-star game show host!

Tuesday, November 20th, 2007

John Stossel writes. I knew it was the Marines but I still love this story.

I hate the component about self-help books. All I want is a Bible, some political consulting biographies, my campaign management how-to manual, Seven Habits of Highly Productive People, and… I guess it’s different strokes for different folks, but in my experience self-help books usually just dish out self-love. Increasing self-esteem is usually just mental masturbation, that is the person boosting his own self-opinion makes himself feel better and isn’t simultaneously raising the spirits of another intentionally. Maybe Drew Carey‘s books are that damn good. I am inspired, however, by his declaration of sheer willpower. Perhaps my will alone many not lead to success, as my own human powers are often insufficient, but the good Lord never blessed a quitter with success.

It’s also heart-warming that he received that ultimate blessing from Johnny Carson. The best and most important for any comedian to receive, and one that will never be bestowed again. What Drew Carey has in his comedic history is like an Erdos number of 1, which to a mathematician or a scholar is a sacred status. Now whatever we say about his sitcom, whether we watched it or not (I loved it, despite moment of inappropriate content or themes), or even endorse the continued career of a Libertarian (I’m fine with it) or a soccer fan (I choke on my own bile), he has risen to a level we can only hope to aspire to: being a family-time, big-time, daytime game show host. Drew Carey has a heart for people;

The show’s producers cited Carey’s “empathy skills” as a reason why they picked him for the coveted position… “I have nothing but love for everybody that comes up on the stage,” Carey explained. “And it makes me sad for them when they lose, happier for them when they win.”

To be honest I partially credit the Price is Right itself. People have called me “heartless” and I endeavor to the highest to be stoic, and emotionally immovable but whenever I watch that game show I root for everyone to win all they can. The Price is Right is special in that one way: most every game show you have to root for one person to win against someone else, or expect someone to win over someone else. You subconsciously or consciously choose which individual you would rather see win. Price is Right has personal competitions at only few stages of the game, and even though everyone in the audience is officially a “Contestant”, you really simply want to see players succeed, and no one to miss out on that new car. Drew Carey reaches out in that extra special way, beyond average expectations, and that makes him that great game show host… along with the sense of humor.

Of course, Mister Carey has to be a good stand-up comedian and wonderful buddy on stage as he’s still not old enough to play a fatherly figure as Bob Barker did in the last two or three decades of host duties on the show. Whatever the angle, he clearly has a role to play.

My gosh, I only intended to link to the Stossel article and what inspired me. This post was supposed to leave off at that stuff about willpower and quitters not succeeding. Then I gushed out my beliefs on the Price is Right. To think I was saving those.

I like Stilt-Man!

Tuesday, November 20th, 2007

Granted, the character, when written properly and in-character, is not a joke-villain, and not a professional leg-breaker. He’s simply one of those characters that gets thrown into the disrespect-list simply because so many nerds, I mean, Marvel fans, expect all the bad guys to be a Green Goblin, Electro, or Dr. Doom.

Stilt-Man is like what most of Flash’s rogues gallery was before the majority of the most famous members murdered a de-powered Kid Flash in cold blood. The villain’s only real stupid mistake is to continue to take up residence in a major city where he’s quite likely to casually cross paths with swinging super-heroes and flying super-heroes. That alone makes him no less of a genius than Doctor Octopus, the Wizard, or Doctor Doom.

Any dude whose primary gimmick is quick getaways and easy access to stuff up high isn’t someone that should be mocked or used as a throw-away death (although that’s what happened to Kite-Man, as he died an off-panel death in 52). Stilt-Man is great for the gratuitous fight that should be in almost every issue of a super hero comic book. He has also one a few fights. It isn’t the sign of a bad character that most of his arch-enemies slightly out-class him. An armored dude with enhanced strength and elongated piledriver piston-legs isn’t one to engage in innovation, and frankly if he started shooting death rays out of his wrists or became seriously dangerous then it would ruin the character.

Mind you, all it really takes to make me like a villain that some other reader believe is lame, a joke, or silly, is to be introduced to the character in one good story where the villain is treated suitably seriously.

He’s got issues

Monday, November 19th, 2007

 This is an interesting look into the history and evolution of African American superheroes in the 60s and 70s.

 

So Black Goliath once defeated Stilt Man?  Heh.  Technically AUNT MAY could defeat Stilt Man!

Forum is moved to new location!

Monday, November 19th, 2007

In keeping with the moving of Monitor Duty to its new URL, I’ve also moved the Forum (which had been inactive for a while due to spam anyway).  We’ve pruned all of our users of spam accounts so that there are only verified users left, and the new board has spam-fighting controls.

Check it out here:  http://www.thehutch.com/forum

In the coming weeks I’m going to add some plugins, some alternate themes and some new forums.  I hope you’ll swing by and check it out.

who is Boba the Fett?

Sunday, November 18th, 2007

The answer:

The song is “Fett’s Vette” by MC Chris.

The video was created using Star Wars Galaxies, purportedly. I don’t care that the video seems to star Jango rather than Boba. It’s still funny.

Catching up with Alpine

Saturday, November 17th, 2007

What’s better than a G.I. Joe parody?  A well-researched G.I. Joe parody that even knows which characters are married!

Bunnies on a Plane

Thursday, November 15th, 2007

Snakes on a Plane recreated in 30 seconds by Bunnies.

There’s a reason Dale uses the fake I.D.!

Thursday, November 15th, 2007

I think one of the funniest stories of the week is that an American jihadist has sworn out a fatwa against “Rusty Shackleford”.  No, not the dual identity of Dale Gribble of Dale’s Dead Bug, but the internet username of an anonymous blogger who posts at The Jawa Report

The details of the story are pretty simple: “Rusty” posted graphic images of beheaded American soldiers which he captured from Al Jazeera footage.  Then Samir Khan posted the pictures on his web site to celebrate the beheadings, but he made the Internet no-no of linking directly to the images on The Jawa Report.  So Rusty changed all the images to offensive images calling Samir out.  And this all leads to Samir calling for a fatwa on “Rusty Shackleford” and his family.

How hilarious is it to have a fatwa declared upon the fake I.D. of a fictional paranoid character?

The unaired pilot from 24: the Early Years

Thursday, November 15th, 2007

However I feel about prequel series aside, this is just too realistic.

Tim Kring apologizes for the second season of Heroes

Wednesday, November 14th, 2007

Now, I have been too busy to keep up past episode 4 this season, so I’m going to use the NBC.com feature to view it.

So I don’t care for spoilerific discussions now and I won’t even ready any comments.

But yes, I did see the first few episodes this season and while I did not find them wanting so much, I did find them slow and plodding and mostly lacking in kickass action or a huge justification to be interested in either the mysteries or the rookie Heroes.

But that shape-shifter chick was hot in a red bikini before they made the PREDICTABLE move of Sylar murdering her (which I don’t condemn) and her revealed as an insecure fat chick (which I only condemn not because I am shallow, which I am, but because it’s such a bloody trope for the illusion-caster character to be actually ugly).

Anyway, here the Creator of Heroes apologizes. I also think that it is funny that WGA rules demand that member Kring must picket his own show.

Scott Kurtz is my inspiration (even more so)

Tuesday, November 13th, 2007

UPDATE: Welcome, everyone who found this post after it was mentioned on the Webcomics Weekly Podcast and left them speechless in real time.  (Sorry for the dead air.)

He’s still big in the world of online comics, but in person Scott Kurtz has lost 150 pounds since last August.  Amazing, and as a fellow chair-stresser I envy him.  I’ve met Scott twice, once at The Source and once at Wizard World Texas in 2003.  Scott’s a generous guy, and no, that’s not a pun.  He’s great to his fans and very kind.  But when I met him, I worried that he was not long for this world.  This was shortly after I’d met Bob Riley in person  at Wizard World and was amazed at how big he was, and a year later he was dead at 31.  I know tremendous weight isn’t healthy (and despite this I grew to be a little less than Riley’s size myself within a few years), and I’ve sometimes wondered if we’d all be hearing bad news about Scott someday all too soon.  Lord knows I don’t want that to happen.  And now comes the news that Scott has had a diet success that is Stephen Furst-class.

Scott Kurtz's weight loss
Jeez.  If I’d started losing 10 pounds a month the same time he did I’d now be calling up the Air Force to say I finally met my ideal weight for the first time since I applied to join in 1992!   It’s amazing to think about what can be achieved in a little over a year.

Scott Kurtz’s picture is going up on my refrigerator!

(Oh, and don’t ask me why you have to be at your ideal weight BEFORE the military will take you on, at which point they have a drill instructor scream at you about how flabby you are, and then they ship you off to run for your life in a sauna.  Seems like a weight loss solution, right there.  With America’s obesity crisis, you think the military would be looking to offer weight loss as one of the perks of service.  If nothing else, guys like me could join and then participate in “Operation: Big Target” to lure out the snipers.)