Friday, March 24, 2006

Another Review

I lapsed again, but hey, you tend to do that when you become an uncle for the first time! Anyway, today's review is Gun Fu: Showgirls are Forever #1

http://www.thecomicsreview.com/temper.php?id=66

Saturday, March 18, 2006

Batman meets the Shadow!

If I were ever to write Batman, I would like to do it in the same style as my favorite era of Batman comics, the mid to late 70's. In these books, Batman was a detective above everything else, and he knew how to crack a smile. Sure, he's a grim avenger f the night, but he isn't as nutty as the criminals he hunts, which is how it seems to me nowadays.

My very favorite Batman comic of all time is Batman #253, published in November 1973. If it couldn't be evidenced by the cover, that "master of other people's minds", The Shadow makes his first (to my knowledge) DC Comics appearance. In the appropriately titled Who Knows What Evil--?, we find Batman taking down a gang of counterfeiters, where he is saved from being shot by a marksman so excellent that he shot the gun out of the thug's hand without injuring the guy! Anyway, Batman pursues the lone remaining criminal but loses him in a blind alley, where he hears an eerily familiar bone chilling laugh. Writing these goons off as small fry, Batman leaves them for the police and returns to the batcave to analyze the stolen money in the hopes of capturing the mastermind. With the assistance of Alfred, Batman discovers a possible lead in Arizona. Meanwhile the goon that eluded Batman earlier apparently didn't escape the mysterious marksman from before, as the police find him tied to a lamppost in a hypnotic daze mumbling "Tumbleweed Crossing" over and over.


Arriving as Bruce Wayne he checks in to the only hotel in town, inquiring about any other newcomers to Bammy Stone, the local hotel owner. Bammy mentions a scientist taking water samples which strikes him as odd, being that the water isn't fit to drink anyway. Before Bruce can comment, a bunch of hooligans in dune buggies tear through the main drag to terrorize the small town. Ducking into an alley, he switches to Batman and tackles on of the punks off his buggy. After a short Batman-style confrontation, he learns that the punks are really a bunch of non-conformists who were paid to roll into town every Tuesday. Batman reveals to them they were paid with funny money, so they beat feet out of there. Batman hears the same chilling laugh from behind the hotel. He starts to wonder if it could really be 'him', but discounts it as his own wishful thinking, and decided to investigate as Bruce Wayne. He has dinner with one Lamont Cranston, who as anyone familiar with the character knows, is one of The Shadow's many disguises. Their conversation alludes to the fact the the water Cranston is there to investigate could be used in the production of ink. Bruce excuses himself and rents a jeep, which he proceeds to drive out to the mountains as Batman to check out this 'water supply'. He is ambushed by snipers and is only able to over come them due to the timely interference of a certain autogyro. After he takes out the gunmen, Batman hears the laugh yet again and continues to wonder if it truly could be 'him'. He shrugs it off and continues to his destination, where he finds the main counterfeiters, easily takes out the two thugs who pull guns on him, but is taken aback by his own overconfidence, and the printer who splashes Batman in the eyes with ink. While Batman is blinded, the printer tries to escape a plane stashed away, but is confronted by the Shadow himself, who proceeds to mete out justice with his twin .45 calibur automatic pistols, destroying the propeller and causing the plane to flip and crash into flames. Now recovered, and with the Shadow nowhere to be seen, he interrogates the printer, who gives a chillingly accurate description of the Shadow! Batman decides to prove it once and for all, but first he has to track now the true mastermind of the counterfeiting ring, and as he returns to the hotel, we learns he suspects Cranston, as he's the only stranger in town. He busts into Cranston's room, but instead finds the true fiend behind it all, Bammy, the hotel keeper who was going through Cranston's notes, to see how much he learned of the operation. Bammy pulls a gun on Batman, but the room's light is shot out by a certain marksman, so Batman quickly knocks Bammy out, and dives out the window in the hopes of catching the elusive stranger. He doesn't find him, but does find a note written by Cranston asking Batman to meet him the next night.

What follows is probably my favorite Batman page ever, where the Shadow explains it was he who has been helping Batman on this case, to determined if Batman deserved the reputation he has. The Shadow says "I am happy to say that you have fulfilled my greatest expectations!" Batman is sincerely flattered, revealing that the Shadow was one of his greatest inspirations. This was explored in the Batman Animates Series episode Beware the Grey Ghost where they couldn't use the Shadow's name or likeness. Finally, Batman asks the Shadow if he'll come out of retirement to help the world. Enigmatically the reply is "That... only The Shadow knows!"

Even though this issue was before my time, and to be honest, the whole caper wouldn't have been as exciting without the mysteriousness of the Shadow, it still remains my favorite Batman tale to this day, and I doubt it'll ever be topped.

Friday, March 17, 2006

Another Review? Why yes!

http://www.thecomicsreview.com/temper.php?id=59

Tomorrow, a non review-post, I promise.

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Back in the swing of things

Ok, so I guess I took a bit of a break, but I'm committed again, and to start it off I did a new review, and that is located here: http://www.thecomicsreview.com/temper.php?id=56 . I plan on posting daily again, so you know, if you actually read this thing, stay tuned.

Friday, February 24, 2006

40 lashes with a wet noodle!

I've been a terrible slacker. Well, I could justify things, but I don't feel like talking about real life so instead, lets indulge in some escapeism!

Have you ever dreamed you could fly? Of the dreams I have remembered, I can fly in a lot of them. I am a bit wary of heights in real life, but in my dreams, I can loop the loop with the best of them, flying alongside airplanes, to spook onlookers, soaring with the birds... It's incredibly liberating, and if anyone invents an anti-gravity belt or a rocket pack, I will likely invest my entire life savings to have one.

In the movies, I have always envied The Rocketeer because I felt it really gets across that feeling of unadulterated freedom you'd have by being able to take to the skies. To be honest though, if rocket packs were real I don't think I'd like them as much, cause I wouldn't be flying under my own power. Having an engine on my back isn't what I'd call freedom, but the idea is all that matters.

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Well, I broke my resolution, eh?

Yes, yes I did. I told myself I would write once every day, and over the long weekend, due to the combined factors of helping family move, staying over there with no internet access, and getting my car fixed, I haven't for a while.

I'm not really going to make any excuses, I don't even know if I'm going to write more to 'make up' for it. I suppose I'll just try to write a bit each day, and continue like I didn't lapse for 3 days. This really even shouldn't count as a writing, but it's wordy and that works.

Also, as always I am running low on time.

Friday, February 17, 2006

The Frantics Reunion Special!

It rocks to have good friends. As mentioned in previous posts, my favorite comedy troupe happens to be The Frantics, and last month, on Canada's Comedy Channel, they got to air a reunion special, but living in the U.S., my chances for ever seeing it were pretty slim. Thanks to some reciprocal generosity, a friend of mine who lives in Canada taped it for me, and I received it yesterday. It was the shortest hour long special ever, and of course I want more. Since that wont happen until they release their next cd, the least I can do is highlight some of my favorite bits.

One bit that was funny just because of how absurd the concept was, Jason Mahooch, Master of Disguise. In this sketch, the guy 'disguised himself as various objects, but it was just him. The funniest was when he was being carried around because he disguised himself as an MP3 player, and when he was the reflection for a beautiful woman.

The sketch I probably laughed out the loud the most on was this sketch in which 'Roy' was a motivational speaker guy, and his main means of motivation was a boot to the head. Boot to the Head is a frantics specialty and I was thrilled to see it on tv.

Yet another great bit, was one I had already heard on the Official Bootleg CD, Dutch Cowboys. It was pretty funny to see the guys in cowboy outfits with larger pants and clogs. I don't know why they omitted an old lyric, 'our wooden shoes, have wooden spurs on them'. I thought it was a funny line, and they don't really need to re-state 'we're the cowboys from the Netherlands'.

The biggest treat for me, and also the most bittersweet, was the return of Mr. Canoehead, Canada's favorite aluminum-headed crime fighter! Unfortunately, he was only shown in flashback, and it was implied everyone on the prison transport he was on drowned, although they realize he does have a canoe welded to his head, so he may have survived. The ended the sketch and the show with a cryptic 'The End?" I sure hope not, I need more frantics in my life.

Thursday, February 16, 2006

Review, Review, who's got the review?

Planetary Brigade #1
http://www.thecomicsreview.com/temper.php?id=27

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

I'm denser than a supernova

Here I am enjoyed my weekly comic haul, and I look at the clock, and I have to go to work in 15 minutes and I haven't written today! I don't really have anything prepared, and I also really don't have time to make something up on the spot, so here I am rambling on, like and incoherent hyena with after a 3-day binge on nothing but Pixy Stix.

Well, maybe not that bad, but you get the point. Well let's see... If you laid every grain of sand on earth end to end, you'd probably be working for the government. It is said 1 out of every three marriages end in divorce. This seems bad, until you realize the other two end in death. Hard shelled turtles from the Galapagos Islands can live to be over 100 years old, but chocolate turtles from Malley's, are best before February 27th.

Ok, done rambling for now, hasta la pasta de la costa.

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

How many times am I typing this?

So, the scientific community now believes there are an infinite number of parallel universes, something science fiction writers have been exploring for at least 40 years or more. It never ceases to amaze me how much that was previous science fiction becomes science fact.

It also makes me wonder though. If there are truly infinite universes, that means there are also an infinite number of earths, and since that number is infinite the possibilities of what goes on those earths are also infinite. Does that mean that I have alternate versions of myself typing variations of this same article as I speak? It's possible, but it's also possible that an infinite number of those earths have alternate histories where I never existed, or am already a successful writer, or even possibly off the wall things like the world's top ping-pong player or even a mad dictator. That's the thing, if you truly try to comprehend what 'infinity' is, you really realize how massive it all is, and how small we all really are.

Another thing to think of is if there are truly an infinite number of universes how many of them are trying to contact other universes? In DC Comics, the alternate universes exist in a single space and are only separate due to their being on a different vibratory plane, and if you could somehow attune your body to an alternate universe's frequency, you'd appear there. I believe that's pretty scientifically accurate, since Gardner Fox, the writer who introduced this concept was a total science nut. I remember reading 'Flash Facts' when I was younger, I'd get a neat adventure with The Flash, and also a short science lesson. Good stuff.

Anyway, this entry isn't really writing oriented, just a musing, but it was still interesting for me to talk about. Until tomorrow, don't vibrate away, I still need readers!

Monday, February 13, 2006

My 50th blog post and.....

It's a review day. Hope you weren't expecting something spectacular.

http://www.thecomicsreview.com/temper.php?id=26

Sunday, February 12, 2006

A thought that hit me could be a good story.

I was thinking that it'd could be a cool sci-fi spy type of epic if in the future there was a way to watch a person's photographic memory for use in trials and the like, and how that'd change the justice system. If that technology existed, it'd make a lot of sense that it could be foiled as well. If false memories could be used, that'd make it that much more difficult for the truth to be uncovered, and many people would be framed for crimes they didn't commit.

Apply that to the trial for the person accused of assassinating the President. It'd make for a great JFK-esque conspiracy, and that's when I would bring in an attorney who himself has a photographic memory, and through a series of clever courtroom maneuvers discovers that the memories can be falsified just by visualizing what you want to viewer to see, it takes a great deal of effort and it can be done.

Anyway, that's a very bare bones idea. Sorry. Hopefully I'll have something better tomorrow.

Saturday, February 11, 2006

What If...

So, imagine that in 1947, we were visited by flying discs because 'they' noticed our atomic bomb tests/detonations and decided we were a potential threat, or maybe even a possible ally. Would the Truman administration let them live? Would they even have a choice, would we ally, or savage rape their technology and try to adapt it for ourselves?

If it was the latter, how would alien technology affect out development as a species? Would we become stagnant, or would it inspire us to achieve more, knowing that the possibility to achieve more is out there? If we did shoot them down, would reinforcements arrive? Each new question spawns two more, but it's interesting to sit and think about things like this.

Friday, February 10, 2006

Allow me to rant for a minute..

Why is it that when I'm socializing, or whatnot, and I don't want to imbibe alcohol, that I always have to justify why? I mean, do I need a reason not to drink other than, 'I don't want to'? I mean, people aren't like that with other things. People don't wonder ask you, "You don't eat nachos? Were you addicted and now have to avoid them?" Sometimes, just because I get annoyed I say things like, I can't drink because I had a bad experience, that way they can feel vindicated, but I don't actually have to say anything with substance, the listener can fill in the blank.

I am not the most social guy to begin with, and whenever I am out with friends of friends (ie. people I don't know) I have to go through this every single time I go out, and it's so annoying, and alienates me so much, that it's really no wonder that I keep to myself a lot. Of course the ideal solution would be just to join in and drink, right? Well, I like to think of myself as a man of integrity, so that's not really an option, because we come back to the fact that I simply don't want to drink! A long time ago, my 5th grade teacher told me, that she just brings a bottle of ginger ale and pretends, but that doesn't really fit in with my world view, because I wont even pretend to drink. I suppose that makes me a big, dull stick-in the-mud, but if you think that, I don't want to talk to you anyway, so think what you want.

So rant over, thanks for indulging me.

Thursday, February 09, 2006

Oscar Meyer meats
bologna or boloney?
mystery abounds

Zombies among us?
animated corpses rot
get my machete.

lava lamps glow bright
groovy psychedelic time
I'm not a hippie.

writer's block annoys
it gives you all haiku days
and saves me some time

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Space Caravan

This is a story idea I had recently, but since this is comic day Wednesday I may miss a few details int eh mad dash to post today, I'll amend or post more later.

The basic idea is, the year is 2075, and the earth has been completely devastated due to man's own folly, wars/pollution/what have you. The planet is pretty uninhabitable, so the plan is made to launch large caravans of ships. Since space travel isn't very advanced for these earthlings, they are put into hibernation and aren't awakened until they leave the galaxy, because no Milky Way planet can support human life without massive terraforming, which they also don't have to tech to do. There will be the usual space stuff of encountering alien races, and the like, but the earthlings main drive is to find a new home, and the possibilities for alliances are endless. When you're homeless, you may be inclined to make deals with the devil to get what you want, you know?

Ok, I have more, but time is short, so there you go for now.

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Can't explain it..

As mentioned previously, I have some weird, weird dreams. It's probably a good thing I rarely remember them, because I think I would freak out on a regular basis.

Last night for instance, I had an odd dream where I was trying to download a video, in bed, and someone calling themselves my dad kept passing by the bed to see if I was really sleeping. This is odd, because hey, it'd be really hard to download something on my computer from my bed, and also weird because I don't have a father.

It was a rare night where I remembered two dreams! The second one involved me and a friend being imprisoned at a school, so we decided we needed to escape. We bided our time until the school assembly. The bleachers were kind of vertical like balconies, and my friend (who doesn't resemble anyone I know in real life) are seated at the top. In the middle of the arena was an Olympic sized swimming pool. We get the bright idea to dive from the top of these balcony-like bleacher into the pool, and from there make a break for the doors (everyone was at the assembly). I jumped first, but landed into a crowd of girls lower down the bleachers instead, they took it like nothing was going on, so I jumped again, landed in the pool, almost broke my head, made a break for the door, and left the school with the janitor telling me to not stop for anything. Weird stuff, I'm sure.

Monday, February 06, 2006

Another Review Day? You're kidding!

Nope, I'm not.
Captain America #14

Sunday, February 05, 2006

The return of Review Day

Legion of Super-Heroes volume 5 #14

Saturday, February 04, 2006

The Quest for the Holy DS

It was a dark and stormy day, as my mother and I ventured from her residence to procure a Nintendo DS Mario Kart bundle and Animal Crossing DS for my bedridden sister. The journey was long and arduous, but in the end, we prevailed.

We set out for he sprawling Target store, to no avail, they did not have either the glorious red DS nor the carttridge we wanted. No matter, I said. Right across the street is the mecca, GameStop. Surely they will have what we desire. Alas, no they too, were plundered of all of their cartridges and the fabled red DS was a limited edition, no longe being sold.

"Fie on the GameStop, mother!" I proclaimed as we exited. "Never in my life have I known a GameStop clerk to know what he was talking about!" "Across yonder intersection, I spot the desolate K-Mart. They are known to have stock after it is officially discontinued."

The first taste of success! In the barren aisles of K-Mart I spotted a gleaming red box of wonder! "This is it! We must procure it here, we will not find it again!" Mother agreed, and we bought the crimson box of racing Nintendo goodness. Sadly, Animal Crossing was again sold out.

We were at our wits end, we phoned my dear sister and told her the bittersweet news. Notably disappointed mother and I redoubled our efforts, even though it meant we had to venture crosstown to the bustling bounty of Best Buy. Astoundingly, they too, were sold out.

A plan then formed in my grey matter. "Mother, I know of a place in yon strip mall that deals in used games, although the shop is always crowded beyond capacity, I sense we may have luck there." I was ready, but my mother knew she would not survive the waves of patrons, so I ventured alone armed with my wits and a single fifty dollar bill. I braved the teeming masses, and found the game section, on display was a lone, unopened, and thankfully brand new copy of Animal Crossing DS. I asked the shopkeep to open the glass prison the games are stored in, and took it to the register. Calloo, Callay! Our quest was finished, and we celebrated my clogging our arteries with a bounty from the local Taco Bell, returned home, and a fun time was had by all!

Friday, February 03, 2006

This is me, ranting about something, I don't know much about.

Yesterday, I saw advertisements for a few different piece of software that supposedly 'help' a writer along with 3,000 or so pre-determined conflicts. I was mildly interested at first, because I don't consider Notepad a word processor, and was looking into getting one. If I read this right though, these programs augment your own writing, with their 'bag o' tricks'. This might me okay for some people, but I think it's a bit lame. I mean honestly, if I wrote a script or a novel with these programs, I don't think I could legitimately call it my own work.

I guess I am a little old-fashioned, even though I am a bit of a technophile/gadget guy, but honestly, where does talent end and the program take over? If someone knows better, let me know, because I am just basing an opinion off of a half page ad. It's one thing for a program to correct your writing by say, fixing grammar or format, but adding it's own insight is more than a bit disconcerting.

Thursday, February 02, 2006

In comics, why doesn't dead mean dead?

I won't call it a trend, because it's been going on forever, like when Bat-Man thought Hugo Strange was dead more than once in the 30's up until the multiple resurrections of Phoenix (get it? Ugh.) today. In comics, death doesn't really mean squat.

I suppose it can be attributed to the nature of company owned comics where you will never have the same writer/artist team forever, but all too often it's just done for shock value. A beloved character is killed to spike sales, and then inevitably comes back to appease fans. Wiser folks than me have said "don't give readers what they think they want".

I don't know why it bugs me, because if it's a good story, it shouldn't matter. In those cases, I suppose it doesn't. I really enjoyed the last multi-issue story arc in Captain America which focused on the return of Cap's sidekick, Bucky, who hasn't been around since the 40's. If rampant resurrection didn't happen as much, the reader base probably wouldn't be as apathetic when a character does die. DC Comics seems to be addressing this, by having certain of their mystical characters reveal that the door between life and death has been wedged open since Superman came back, and has now been closed. Time will tell if dead really means dead though.

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Haiku = time saver

I have no time again today, so old standby of haiku

Sunkist, orange soda
naturally flavored pop
with sugar added
We all have cell phones
talk like I am important
tumors can't hurt me
Shazam!, the boy cried,
lightning has struck his visage
Captain Marvel rules
DVDs abound
replaced all VHS tapes
until next format
Speed Stick glides on smooth
takes away the stinkiness
B.O. smells quite bad

Tuesday, January 31, 2006

I can't help being a time-travel fan.

So I got another story idea. As evidenced by the title, it has to do with time travel. Anyway, I guess it boils down to 'Time Traveling Detectives". It'd only be a short story, cause hey, I found a nifty Twilight Zone style ending for it. Anyway, in the future, a couple of detectives get an idea in their heads that, in their time, it's just too easy to solve cases (they are more than a bit arrogant). They steal an experimental time machine, because they figure, they can return it seconds after they steal it, and no one will be the wiser.

They then travel to various points in the past, attempting to solve mysteries that have confounded society throughout the ages. As they travel, they attempt to discover who Jack the Ripper really was, if there truly was a conspiracy to murder JFK, whether or not aliens truly landed in Roswell, NM in 1947, that sort of thing. They do all this stuff, and are pretty smug about it, so smug in fact, that instead of taking this information back to their own time, they publish the results of their work in each respective time period.

Unfortunately for them, this wreaks total havoc on the timestream, because they altered societal evolution in detrimental ways, and on their trip back home, they are encountered by 'The Voice' who tells them their hubris has pretty much doomed creation, and there is only one way it can be righted, so the story ends with someone from their future picking up a newspaper with the headline "Detectives Murdered At History Museum By Person Or Persons Unknown". That's the gist of it, and I can flesh it out easily, but pretty neat, eh?

Monday, January 30, 2006

Comics are full of variety!

I like comic books. For a long time, I wouldn't admit to that, because of the stigma that 'comics are for kids'. Honestly though, these days more adults read comic books than kids, due to the fact that they aren't as accessible outside of comic shops, and parents don't take their children to comic stores like they do the supermarket. This is a whole 'nother rant though.

Comic books are not all super heroes, I will admit they still dominate the market, but there are tons and tons of genres. One of my favorite books, originally published in Belgium is XIII. It's a very intriguing espionage action type of book, no powers to be had, but it's like reading a James Bond movie, but with much more depth.

I also very much enjoy Gun-Fu, the continuing adventures of Hong Kong cop Cheng Bo-Sen, set in the 30's. Bo-Sen always seems to get embroiled in plots involving Nazis, and he takes it in stride, chugging out one-liners and speaking in hip hop (though no one seems to notice).

And I'd be remiss if I didn't mention Japanese comics or manga, the variety of these book are endless. You want to read comics about cooking, or being a lawyer, or basketball? Manga has that and more. A lot of people don't count manga as real comics for some reason, but hey, it's sequential art that tells a story, so it's a comic!

So anyway, that's my mini-rant about comics, and I would have better illustrated why I like them, but as always, I am pressed for time.