Saturday, November 30, 2002  

Why Aquaman?

How is it that I'm an Aquaman fan? I get asked that a lot. "Why Aquaman?!?? Isn't he just the lamest of the Super Friends?" Well, obviously I don't think so. My usual answer is "Why not Aquaman?" along with something of a cold stare.

But, of course, that's not really an answer. That's just an angry evasion. After all, it does seem kind of odd that I would like Aquaman. He's just the guy that talks to fish, you know.

My active Aquaman fandom started in college. Once I was out on my own, there were a few things I wanted to try. One of them was comic books (hey, I'm really tame, ok?). I knew all about comics, of course. Everyone knows about comic books. I had even read some. My best friend growing up had a collection at her family's summer house on Hood Canal, and I would sit and read old Donald Duck and Uncle Scrooge comics whenever I visited the place. There were no super-hero comics there, as I recall, but I really enjoyed the old Disney tales. I knew about super-heroes though, because of the campy Batman TV show and the Super Friends cartoon.

Anyway, in my second year of college, I learned that there was a comic shop downtown. I hadn't been to a pure comic shop before (one of my high school friends ran a sportscard and comic shop, but he dropped comics before I even left for college). So I tagged along with someone downtown one day, and visited the shop alone. It was a small place, upstairs in a mini-mall. I chatted with the owner a bit: I said I wanted to buy some comics, but I didn't know where to start. He asked what my interests were, and I said the first thing that came into my mind, "Well, I used to like Aquaman on the Super Friends a lot!" He told me I was in luck, a new Aquaman series had just started.

I have this vague recollection of him pulling the first issue off the shelf for me, but then, I also have a vague recollection of getting Spider-Man 2099 #1 before Aquaman #1 which is not possible from the dates on the books (I bought both series as they came out, starting with the first issue on both). My memory is a bit dodgy about it all a decade later. But what happened is that I started to pick up that Aquaman title, which was apparently my first comic book. It was only a dollar, and even a starving college student could afford that...

The Aquaman title was Shaun McLaughlin's 1991-92 run on Aquaman. After the end of that fantastic 13 issue run, I eagerly awaited the Peter David mini-series, then the series it led into. I kept collecting faithfully, and one day I decided I wanted to find out more about Aquaman. I searched the internet and was shocked to find just about nothing about Aquaman anywhere. Certainly there wasn't anything of substance. So I decided to make my own page in the hopes that people who actually knew about the character would come and correct me. They did, and I learned, and, better yet, I learned how to learn more. I started collecting back-issues, the page got bigger, and I slowly became identified with Aquaman.

I could stop here and say the rest is just natural progression... but I won't. There's more to the story.

I've told you how I got to where I am. I liked the McLaughlin run, and I liked what followed, but I wouldn't have become a raving lunatic of a fan unless there was something more to it, so I've spent a lot of time the last few years trying to figure out why Aquaman?

After all, any fan can tell you how they started collecting. But how many of them know, really know, why they like what they like? Eventually, I connected an old memory to my current obsession, and I think that I've finally figured out the reason I like Aquaman.

When I was very young, I used to go to my neighbors' house and swim in their pool a lot. It was an above-ground pool, you had to climb a ladder to get into it. My best friend lived next door, but she didn't like the pool much because she got cold too easily. So I often swam in it alone, usually watched by her older brother or her father.

One day, I don't recall the details, I was swimming alone. I remember sitting in an inner-tube on the surface, just floating along. Then suddenly I was on the bottom of the pool, looking up at the inner-tube, wondering what had happened. I vividly recall the sparkle of sunlight on the disturbed surface and the black shadow of the inner-tube. I don't recall holding my breath. In fact, I don't recall any fear or worry at all. And I realized that I really liked being at the bottom of the pool, being underwater looking up. I wanted to stay there.

I have no idea how I got back to the surface, or what happened after that. I'm sure that I came to my senses and realized that I had to breath sometime and so surfaced. I was an ok swimmer even as a child (for the longest time I had trouble putting my face in the water if the rest of my head was above water, so I couldn't swim well on the surface, but I could do all kinds of swimming if I was completely underwater). In any case, it's fairly evident that I didn't die (In fact, I suspect I started diving to the bottom and looking up in an effort to recapture the moment, that would be just like me).

And I think this memory is the connection. I think that I like Aquaman not because he can talk to fish, nor because of the King of Atlantis thing. I think I really like Aquaman because he can live underwater. He doesn't have to surface for air. His fingers don't prune up when he's been in the water too long. He can stay down there. And I can't.

Now, you'd think that this childhood experience would have led me to take up skin diving or something, but the opportunity never presented itself and I never remembered the experience clearly enough to make it a priority in my life. It's only when the fantasy of Aquaman began to sink in that the sense of wonder planted that day in the pool had a chance to grow and bloom. And while that experience in the pool has always been one of my most vivid memories, it never had any deeper meaning until I started searching for a reason why I like Aquaman so much.

The more I think of it, the more I believe that's probably it. Talking to fish? Funny, but I'm not interested in conversations with a tuna. Being a King? Gah, it's hard enough leading a small group, why would I want to lead a city? Being able to live underwater without need of air or any special equipment? Yeah, I would like that.

Oddly enough, when I first made the connection between my pool memory and Aquaman, I posted it to my Aquaman Mailing List. My friend Leah (are you reading, Leah?) was stunned, because she has a story very similar to mine, and perhaps the same connection to the water that I have. Trial by water, and we both came out of it as Aqua-fans.

So, it's not because Aquaman is so handsome in orange and green, nor because of his sexy voice on the Super Friends cartoon. It's not because he rides a seahorse, nor for his blue eyes and blond hair. It's not because he can talk with fish, nor because of his awesome Aqua-scooter.

I like Aquaman because he can live underwater, and because, somewhere deep inside, I wish I could live underwater too.

posted by Tegan | 8:52 PM

Comments (3)

That's nice.
So, really, Laura....seriously. Why Aquaman?

Aw, I'm kiddin! A very eloquent piece, if I do say so myself. Now if I could just be so articulate in explaining why I get all bent out of shape over obscure characters and concepts like Killraven and Thriller, and disdain the likes of Spider-Man and Superman.

Dave aka Johnny Bacardi | Email | Homepage | 12.02.02 - 12:23 am

Yep, as I was reading your story I was thinking of Leah's. Thanks, lovely entry!

Elayne | Email | Homepage | 12.02.02 - 12:25 am

Heh, Dave, it took me several days to write that essay, and a few rewrites (not to mention checking the dates on some books). Even now I see spots that I could have improved with a couple more rewrites...

Most fans cannot articulate why they like a character. When you ask somebody who is a big Batman fan why they like Batman, the most likely response is, "Because he's so cool!" Identifying the reason behind an emotional response to a character is much more difficult.

Hi Elayne! Nice to read you. It's your fault I'm blogging, you know...

Laura Gjovaag | Email | Homepage | 12.01.02 - 1:36 pm

That's a nice recollection. I like Aquaman, too.

Teresa | Email | Homepage | 12.02.02 - 9:12 pm


Today's Fun

First off, happy Hanukkah!

The Top 300 Comics for December 2002 is out, and Aquaman #1 is gratifyingly high on the list. My favorite swimmer debuts at #34, which is considerably higher than I've seen him since I started paying attention to such lists. For those of you who don't know what this means... you already know that comics are ordered by comic shops two months in advance, right? This list is just the top 300 comics by those pre-orders. It doesn't include any re-ordering activity. For a first issue, it basically is just an indication of how confident stores are that it will sell.

The real interesting numbers will be on Aquaman #3 and #4, after retailers have seen how well Aquaman actually does sell. At that point, we'll have a general idea of how many readers this series will have. Also in about two months, we should get a list of "actual" sales from Diamond. Those numbers for Aquaman #1 will include re-orders.

Early guessimates of where this rank puts Aquaman in actual sales (ie, number of copies sold through Diamond Distributors) are around 40,000-45,000. At the height of the Peter David run, he was barely topping 30,000 (and in the Silver Age, he was cancelled when his sales dropped under 150,000). I suppose these numbers are actually quite meaningless, but it's interesting to look at, nonetheless.

If you want a nice, inexpensive way to keep me happy, go out and buy a copy of Aquaman #1 (when it comes out December 11th) and either read it, or give it to someone who will. I'd like the sell-through to be high on this book, so DC will keep publishing it. I'd like this series to get over issue 100. It's only $2.50, and Rick Veitch is reportedly a very good writer. Give it a shot.

Moving on...

There is an interesting article about Jay Hosler on Dirk Deppey's Journalista, with a link to a New York Times article about Hosler's works. Good stuff, as I've said before.

There's also a Pulse article on Girl Genius. It had some spoilers, so I didn't read the entire thing, preferring to be surprised as the issues come out.

Thanks to my little sister, I saw a movie last night. It had some witches and wizards and giant spiders... here's a rapid review:

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets: I like the book better. That's almost a given, all things considered. Taken on its own, as a sequel to the first movie, it's pretty darn good. Great characters, plenty of action... you almost forget how long the movie is! I'm still going to wait a couple of decades for the definitive mini-series adaptation of the books, but until then, this will certainly do. 4 starfish.

And lastly, the shop got in some 12-sided dice that are numbered 0-10, with a crown on one side. The vendor says that they are "Portuguese Joker Dice" but I can't find a game to go with them, even on-line. Anyone know what these dice are used for? I'd like to be able to tell people who are curious. They are neat, and I plan to add them to my collection some time, but what are they?

Tonight: Why I like Aquaman, the essay.

posted by Tegan | 7:07 PM

Four Eights Answer

I've got a whole lot of things to write about today, but absolutely no time yet to do it, so I'll just give you the answer to the four eights brainteaser and dash out the door.

All you need to add are a decimal point and a division sign (or you can write is as a fraction). 88 divided by .88 is 100.

posted by Tegan | 9:22 AM

Friday, November 29, 2002  

Four Eights

Almost forgot this brainteaser from Nov 15th: Arrange four "8"s using any mathematical symbols into an equation that equals 100.

I'll post the answer tonight, if we get home early enough, or tomorrow morning. It's pretty easy. Really.

posted by Tegan | 10:14 AM

There's turkey in the stomach, and a busy day ahead, so it's time for:

Opinion Page Reprint

To make my life easier, I'm reprinting (and updating) some of my comic book industry essays from my now-defunct Opinion Page (which, seriously, was an early attempt at a blog).

While this one had the right idea, I went awry at the end. Instead of pushing more genres, I pushed changing the super-hero genre, which isn't a solution at all. I think there's a lot of different things happening in comics today which can "save" the industry, but what I suggested will not help at all.


a stupid little rant by Laura Gjovaag

Have you heard of a show called "Doctor Who"? It was a British Science Fiction/Fantasy series that ran for 26 years starting in 1963. Yes, I said 26 years. It was about a time travelling alien and his often human companions, and the adventures they had. It was a great show, in a campy sort of way, and for a long time it was also a British Institution. It was something that everyone in England knew about. A shared dream.

In the 1980s, the show started to lose its traditional audience. Part of it was due to the nature of watching television, and how it was changing. But the BBC (who produced the show) did two things that really, in the end, killed the show. The first was a change of time slot. They moved the show from where audiences were used to seeing it, to times that were unfamiliar.

The second problem was that they started catering to the fans. The shows got more detailed and self-referential, the stories became complicated. The fans loved it, much of what was produced was wonderful stuff to them. But the general audience didn't care for it. Too complicated, too much continuity. Too wierd.

And in 1989 the show was cancelled without much fuss.

Comic books, I think, are going along the same lines. In a previous editorial, I discussed the move to the Direct Market. That was comic books changing their "time slot" to a less convenient one. This editorial is about the fans.

Comic books used to focus on a general audience. The people reading comic books were every age, gender, and personality. There were romance comics for women, and war comics for men, and funny animals for the kids. There were superheroes, super soldiers, super lovers, and lovable cartoons. The format allowed for unlimited possibilities, and the stories told reflected that. Comics were published in every genre, and superheroes were a tiny part of a much larger universe of books.

Then came the comics code... and horror comics, possibly the biggest genre of all, died a messy death. And due to the bad publicity, comics became less acceptable. Comic books contributed to deliquency, and therefore were evil. Other genres fell down as fewer people read comics. And the direct market added to the problem.

The direct market came about, in a very real way, thanks to the fans. As young superhero fans turned into adults, they started shops that sold mostly comics. And when they ordered comics to sell, they focused on the comics they loved the most: the superheroes. The direct market saved publishers lots of money, and allowed comics to continue to be produced, but the lack of variety killed off most anything left that wasn't superhero.

This is, of course, a vast simplification of a series of events. But basically, comics were left with one main genre and a marginalized status. Then came the collectors. Into a market that was suffering, they entered and artificially and temporarily boosted sales ten-fold. And when the collector market collapsed, there wasn't a whole lot left. Most of the people reading comics at that point were hardcore fans, willing to go to comic shops to find their books. The people working on the books were fans who'd progressed and become artists, writers, and editors. And because those people working on the books didn't want to lose the fans they had, they started catering to what they thought the fans will like.

See the problem?

Not only are comics out of Joe Public's eyes, they aren't the kind of story that would appeal to good ol' Joe if he read them. They are great stories, some of the best ever written! But Joe Public reads a few pages, stratches his head, and goes back to his Nintendo.

I'll use a personal favorite as an example. If you are reading this editorial, you probably know that I am a major Aquaman fan, and that I really enjoyed Peter David's run on the book. What you may not know is that, while I enjoyed PAD's run, I recognized that his writing is not accessible to new fans or non-comics readers, and therefore I generally didn't recommend Aquaman to people when my opinion on what comic book to get was asked for.

It wasn't a betrayal. It was common sense. The book, though absolutely delightful to my fangirl desires, just wasn't something you could read and pick up without reading more than one issue. So, although it was my absolute favorite book, I didn't tend to recommend it. And that is why I think work like Peter David's Aquaman is killing the industry.

Now, I'm not harping on PAD. If it were only one book, it wouldn't be an industry-wide problem, would it? It's happening all over in comics. The books do not invite new readers in. If the art isn't ugly, the writing tends to be too complicated, or the cast too large. In the previous Ages of comics, art was clean and beautiful, and knowledge of the cast was tackled by standalone stories and splash pages that retold the origin of the character. We can hardly go back to the simpler times, but there's got to be a way to make stories that appeal to a larger crowd.

And I'll be darned if I've got a clue how to do that.

I do see one area of success in DC's realm. There is one product related to DC Comics that "sells" well and appeals to a HUGE audience. I'm talking about the animated Batman, Superman, and Batman Beyond series. Batman Beyond, while not a big hit among traditional Batman comic book fans, is doing extremely well in the ratings, and apparently appeals to an audience much larger than the average comic book has. Batman Beyond is an intelligent show that doesn't talk down to its audience, but doesn't cut them out of the loop by expecting them to know the complete history of the characters. Perhaps the editors at DC need to talk with the folks at WB Animation and figure out what that magic ingredient, the one that makes the viewers love the series, is and see if they can translate it into the comic books.

It probably couldn't hurt.

This column is copyright 1999 by Laura Gjovaag. March 1999

posted by Tegan | 7:57 AM

Thursday, November 28, 2002  

TV Rapid Review

Birds of Prey: Lady Shiva: I was more interested in reading Cardcaptor Sakura than in watching most of this episode. Only saving factor, in my opinion, was that the two best characters on the show got some screen time together: Oracle and Alfred. Otherwise, mostly a miss. 2 starfish.

posted by Tegan | 10:42 PM

Rapid Reviews - 27 Nov 2002 - Part II

After reading the super-hero books first, and being remarkably disappointed in them, I read the rest of the stack. Much better.

Ruse #14: Let's see, last issue's cliff-hanger had Emma being buried alive, and the person Simon was impersonating on the way. I expected something a little different, but the whole thing worked out nicely. All-in-all, an impressive ending. 3 1/2 starfish.

Thieves & Kings #40: Yah! It Came! Everything falls apart in this issue, as the status quo is demolished most impressively. I gotta wonder how Heath will get out of this one. I was considering going to trades only on this book, but I was reminded once I read it of why I like getting this one as it comes out, despite the erratic schedule. 3 1/2 starfish.

Age of Bronze #15: First they attack the wrong people, then they have trouble re-gathering for the next attempt... When this is finished, Eric Shanower will have written the definitive story of the Trojan War. As it is, any person interested in the legend really needs to pick this book up. 4 starfish.

Girl Genius #8: Man, this book is so much fun! Special gift tags on the covers, non-stop action in the book itself. I love Agatha's little clank army, and I suspect it's them that will save the day... or the lightning generator... or something else entirely. I wonder if Mimmoths ever get attacked by slaver wasps? Yum, Mimmoth pie... 4 1/2 starfish (it would have been only 4 starfish, but the secret message in the back made my day).

I'm just going to stop here a moment and say that the last three books all coming out in the same week is really cool. While I wouldn't have minded if they'd been spread out a bit more, they are all top of the stack books, and all VERY good. As is the next one on the list.

Usagi Yojimbo #62: In this book, the bad guys generally get what they deserve when Usagi wanders in. I expected him to be more careful in this tale, especially since Jotaro was being put in danger, but even Usagi makes mistakes. The ending was appropriate, though I kind of wish we'd seen exactly how it happened. 3 1/2 starfish.

Long Wolf and Cub Vol 27: Next volume is the last, and we're back to fighting action. It seems to me that Retsudo is saying that Ogami has already won by forcing the return of the grass. Now all that remains is to finish the thing. And it's going to be messy. 3 1/2 starfish.

Cardcaptor Sakura: Master of the Clow Vol 2: It's very hard to get used to reading right to left, and backwards through the book. Some of the scenes in this story were familiar from the American adaptation in cartoon, but most of this was new to me. I'm still not sure why we started getting this, but it's been a very interesting book so far. 3 1/2 starfish.

posted by Tegan | 4:26 PM

What Am I Thankful For?

Such a standard topic for today. Still, it's what you do on Thanksgiving. You give thanks.

So, here I go, in no particular order...

  • I'm thankful for my husband, Eric, and the wonderful years we've had together.
  • I'm thankful for my family. There's a lot of them, they know who they are. I'm thankful for all of them.
  • I'm thankful for my house, my car, my books, my comics, my Lego, and everything else material I have at the moment. They make life fun and comfortable.
  • I'm thankful for my happy pills, which allow me to experience life as it was meant to be experienced, instead of through a dark mist.
  • I'm thankful for mysteries, like sasquatch and the Loch Ness Monster, which add spice to life and allow me to keep wondering.
  • I'm thankful for the friends I've met over the years, including all the old friends I've never met because of the internet.
  • I'm thankful for the internet.
  • I'm thankful for people who understand obsession, and allow me to indulge in my harmless obsession for Aquaman without thinking I'm a loon.

And lastly, I'm thankful that I can believe that someone will actually read this. It's amazing what a difference it makes when you know someone will read your words! Thank you Dave J aka Johnny Barcardi! You actually gave me a lot of self-confidence when you bothered to respond to me.

Now, for the fun of it, go on over to Pulse: Comic Characters Tell All - Thanksgiving Traditions.

posted by Tegan | 12:47 PM

Comments (1)

Aw shucks, ma'am, twarn't nuthin.

My pleasure. And I know exactly what you mean.

Dave aka Johnny Bacardi | Email | Homepage | 11.28.02 - 4:18 pm

Wednesday, November 27, 2002  

Rapid Reviews - 27 Nov 2002 - Part I

Batman: Gotham Adventures #56: I vaguely recall the "villian" in this one. Pretty good set-up, funny bits throughout, nice villian fight... it was ok. 3 starfish.

Avengers #60: I'm just tired of this book. I haven't been interested in ages, and this latest arc ended too quickly with a whimper instead of a bang. 2 starfish.

Wonder Woman #186: We dropped this just as a new arc started, so much for my timing. Still, this is yet another book I wasn't enjoying anyway. At least there was a nice summary of each of the characters in this one, making it a decent jumping on point, but the violence is a bit too much. Ah well, buh-bye Wondy. 2 1/2 starfish

Titans #47: I wanted Dolphin to go away, but not take Tempest with her! A very annoying story for that aspect. The sooner some writer kills off Dolphin, the better. 2 starfish.

I also got to see Mermaid Man and Barnacle Boy in action on SpongeBob Squarepants (the second episode they were in), and they were better than promised. Every super-hero cliche you could think of and more! I love the conch (yes, Aquaman used to have a conch that certain people could call him with in the Golden Age), not sure about their invisible boat-mobile. Loved the bad guy, Dirty Bubble. The only super-hero thing today I really liked. 4 starfish.

Still left to review: Usagi Yojimbo, Girl Genius, Age of Bronze, Ruse, Thieves & Kings, Lone Wolf and Cub 27, and Cardcaptor Sakura: Master of the Clow 2. I also flipped through Previews and didn't find anything I hadn't already caught from the text files. Definitely going to be a small month in February.

posted by Tegan | 8:28 PM

Comments (2)

You know, I can't believe how many links to your page come from my page! I visit you a couple of times a day, but not THAT many! Glad that it's getting you checked out, though...

Y'know, I used to really like Dolphin back in the day, when she only had one recorded comic book appearance to her name (in Showcase). I know she made an appearance or two much later (I have an issue of Animal Man she was in), and I read the first couple of dozen Peter David Aquamans (borrowed 'em from a friend who read it regularly!) so I know she was a player for a while in that book, but I have no idea how she's been used since 1998 or so. What is it about her that has raised your ire? Ya gotta admit that's a nice cover though-not nice enough to get me to buy Titans, but nice just the same...

Glad you finally got to see the MM & BB Spongebob. I think they appear in another cartoon at some point as well. Just wondering-when did you become such a big Aquaman fan? When he got his hook, or earlier?

Dave aka Johnny B | Email | Homepage | 11.27.02 - 11:49 pm

What, you don't visit me five times a day?

I liked Dolphin right up until Erik Larsen got his hands on her. He quickly got her pregnant, then blamed Garth. In the meantime, he turned both of them into white trash. Her personality went from free-spirited sea creature to whiny girlfriend, he went from responsible and sensitive to "typical guy" who would rather watch football than take care of his woman. The marriage between Garth and Dolphin was an utter sham, but no other writer has bothered to set things right. Dolphin has become so unlikable since Larsen wrote her that I just wish she'd go away.

From the episode guides out there, Mermaid Man and Barnacle Boy have actually been in six SpongeBob Squarepants cartoons. I'd like to see the first one sometime. I've got the listings now, at least, that usually show episode names, so I know the next one is on Friday the 6th, and it's the fourth appearance of the wet duo.

As for how and when I became an Aquaman fan... I'll do a regular blog on it sometime. It's something I've really wondered about myself.

Laura Gjovaag | Email | Homepage | 11.28.02 - 3:05 pm


Morning Blog Walking

Hubby-Eric and I agreed before "Fellowship of the Ring" even hit theaters that we would wait until the entire trilogy had come out and buy the definitive boxed DVD set then. This agreement has been sorely tested thanks to reviews of the newest DVD set. ARGH!

I forgot to mention yesterday that there are only 15 days left until Aquaman #1. So now I'll mention that Aquaman #1 is out in TWO WEEKS!

One of today's showings of SpongeBob Squarepants is supposed to have a Mermaid Man story. Hubby-Eric is going to try to remember to tape it for me if I'm not home in time to do it myself.

Lastly, it's Wednesday, which means it's new comics day. A whole buncha stuff is shipping today, including Previews Mag. We're getting two trades: Lone Wolf and Cub 27 (almost over!) and Cardcaptor Sakura 2. Hubby-Eric is getting the Tick Christmas Trilogy. And besides all that there are eight regular books. Three of them are from the must-always-get list (Usagi Yojimbo, Age of Bronze, and Girl Genius). Don't know if I'll have any time for reviews today. Probably by the end of the week, though.

posted by Tegan | 9:21 AM

Tuesday, November 26, 2002  

Rapid TV Review

Smallville: Skinwalker: Um... Er... To be completely honest, I didn't really like it all that much. The Kyla person just annoyed me, she didn't have any chemistry with Tom Welling at all, in my opinion. And the story seemed... I hate to say it... a bit cliche. The whammy at the end made it better, I guess. Anyway, the revelations in this episode coupled with the Ezra Small story in the Smallville Ledger make me wonder who's been time travelling in this version of the DCU. 2 starfish.

posted by Tegan | 10:29 PM

Put Clever Title Here

Thanks to good ol' Franklin's Findings, I found out about this nice entry on Wil Wheaton's Blog:

So here's something unexpected: I did a voice today on this new show called "Teen Titans." The call came on Friday, and here's the cool thing: the director, a wonderful woman named Andrea Romano, who has won seven emmy's called my agent and requested me, based on my work with her last year on "The Zeta Project."

I did the voice of "Aqualad," and I was told when I left today that they were so happy, I would probably be asked back to do the role again in the next thirteen episodes.

The episode I did was written by this really nice guy named Marv Wolfman, who co-created and wrote for "Teen Titans" for sixteen years, created "Blade," and was just an all-around cool guy. We spent some time geeking out about comic books just killed me that he was referring to Alan Moore as "Alan."

The episode name is "Deep Six", according to Marv Wolfman's website.

The Kikkoman foes flash short Banana and Shrimp Show Time is up in English now.

Here's an article about a healthy and fun job that I think I could never manage. Still, made me smile a little. I guess it's all about the attitude.

I didn't really care who won the Apple Cup this year, but I was surprised as anyone when it went into triple overtime. The receiving clerk at work wanted the Cougars to win, just so they would have a shot at the championship game (she also doesn't like UW coach Rick Neuheisel, she calls him NewWeasel). She wanted to know if I thought the final call was right, and I had to admit that I didn't actually see it. But from the radio report I was listening to, it sounded like the Husky announcers were surprised by it also. Overall, it wasn't a very good ending to what sounded like a really great football game.

posted by Tegan | 10:14 PM

Morning Thoughts

Not a lot to say, as I was called by my boss moments before I hopped into the shower. There's a lot to do before Thanksgiving, and not much time, so she wants me in a little early. No time to scout for neat news stories.

So I'll mention a neat upcoming story instead. Gene Gonzales, who did Tales of the Cherokee, will be posting a story on his website sometime in the next few weeks. It will be the story that first saw print in McCandless & Company (which you can still buy through his bookstore. If you haven't read Tales of the Cherokee, it's definitely worth a look (nitpickers beware, there are a few typos, but they are easily figured out).

Ah, breakfast is ready, must dash.

posted by Tegan | 8:40 AM

Monday, November 25, 2002  

Kikkoman is in English

Warning to the ultra-sensitive: The translation contains profanity. They also changed a few of the images, perhaps for cultural reasons? In any case, click on the screen capture if you want to see it:

posted by Tegan | 5:20 PM

More Link Fodder

I added a handful of new links to my linkity-link-link-link section, including Franklin's Findings, which I always seem to end up at for some reason and Dirk Deppey of the Comics Journal.

I formalized my list of links to homepages of great comics, like Age of Bronze, Girl Genius, Amy Unbounded, Sandwalk Adventures,Colonia, and Thieves & Kings. I'll add to the list as I find good comics with correspondingly good sites.

I also added the Emerald City ComiCon. Now, I've got a little story to tell about this con, that won't seem like it's about this con until I get into it a bit. Bear with me.

Back when Peter David announced that he was quitting Aquaman, and Erik Larsen was announced as his replacement, I was skeptical. The only thing I knew about Erik Larsen was that he and Peter David had been involved in a long-running argument that culminated in the pages of their books. While I figure both guys showed a serious lack of maturity in continuing the battle, I felt that Peter David won the "comic book" battle simply because his entry was actually amusing and on-topic. He had the Hulk put a fun on his head for a disguise and reject it as being too obvious. The original argument was that Image comics, with all this great potential to do all kinds of books, stuck with super-hero comics instead of expanding the world of comics. Like Larsen's apparent rip on the Hulk, instead of something original. Erik Larsen, on the other hand, drew an offensive caricature of Peter David annoying the Hu-- er, Savage Dragon in his own comic. It's was both unfunny and it didn't say much.

So, coming out of the gate, I wasn't impressed with Erik Larsen, and the announcement that he was taking over Aquaman filled me with worry. I was assured by some of his fans that his work was actually very good, so I went out and bought some Savage Dragon and read the stuff. It was awful. No narrative to speak of, horribly exaggerated artwork that bordered on soft porn in some places... it was the epitome of everything I hate about comic books. To this day, I still can't see what anyone sees in the book, although legions of fans can't be wrong. There must be something good there, even if I can't see it.

Unfortunately, I gave my review of Savage Dragon to my Aquaman Mailing List, which had just gained a few members who were SD fans in anticipation of Larsen taking over the book. These Savage Dragon fans shared my reviews and opinions with other Savage Dragon fans, and I promptly started getting threats.

Most of them were the standard "Girls shouldn't read comics because they don't understand them!" rants that only insecure little boys write. But one particular person started writing obviously mis-typed notes that, he claimed, kept me up-to-date with how much the Savage Dragon list hated me. It included frequent references to one Jim Demonakos, the moderator of the list, and how he had to hate me because he let the notes go through. He also made more specific threats to my person, all because I didn't like Savage Dragon.

It got so bad that I subscribed to Jim's list under an alias. As I suspected, they weren't talking about me at all. The guy was yanking my chain, pushing every emotional button I had, and he almost succeeded in driving me off the web. I even took down my website for a time, not certain I wanted to have anything to do with a writer/artist whose "fans" were willing to cause so much pain just because someone disagreed with them.

At some point I e-mailed Jim, and together we tried to figure out who my tormentor was. I don't know that he ever did, but I gave up after a while and figured out which notes went into the bit bucket after learning the guy's style. However, through Jim I found the other side of Savage Dragon fandom. Intelligent, well-spoken, and kind. They are everything I like about comic book fans. I hung out on the list a little while longer, and while I never developed an understanding of why anyone likes Savage Dragon, I did develop an appreciation for *most* Savage Dragon fans.

I also decided that Jim Demonakos is one of the best guys you could possibly have on your side in a fight. I think there is nothing this man cannot do.

And, from the looks of it, Jim is one of the driving forces behind the Emerald City ComiCon. If he's involved, count on this thing happening, and count on it being successful. That's just the way it is with this guy.

I hope to make it to the con, despite the financial straights hubby-Eric and I are in.

posted by Tegan | 2:38 PM

Comments (1)

It occurs to me that I'm being really brutal with Savage Dragon. Most of that is because of the small number of fans that were nasty to me, and also Larsen's own lousy job with Aquaman.

I've heard that Larsen himself is a nice guy, and anyone who would support Eric Shanower and help get Age of Bronze into print is a good guy, in my opinion.

I just don't like his work on Aquaman and Savage Dragon. That's an opinion. Nothing more. Please feel free to disagree with me, as long as you don't threaten me. I've had quite enough of that.

Laura Gjovaag | Email | Homepage | 11.25.02 - 6:49 pm


Monday Thoughts

Just read in Mark Evanier's Newsblog about the old McDonalds' coffee case that everyone holds up as an example of ridiculous consumer protection. He links to an article that lists the facts of the case. Facts that I recall reading about back when the case was still on everyone's minds. People thought I was nuts to defend the verdict of the jury, but the facts supported it then, as they do now. McDonalds' had heated the coffee up well beyond consumable level, and at the temperature it was served at, the coffee caused third degree burns in less than three seconds.

Think about that for three seconds. In less time, you could have third degree burns from just spilling a little coffee on yourself. If you don't know what third degree burns are; "Third-degree burns, the most serious, involve all layers of skin. Third-degree burns are so deep that only the edges will heal. Scars will eventually cover the rest of the burned area if skin grafting is not done." In less than three seconds, the "most serious" type of burn can happen, just from an accidental spill. Which is what happened to the poor woman who eventually sued McDonalds, after first asking them to just pay her medical bills (they offered her $800, her medical bills topped $11,000).

If you still think the case was silly, go read the article about it. None of that case, from the injuries the woman sustained to the punitive award by the jury, is the slightest bit amusing to me.

Moving on, greetings to Lady Timedramon, a fellow Elseworld fan who commented on my Doctor Who Day article.

As hubby-Eric mentioned in the comments to the same article, we met thanks to Doctor Who (long story short: we met on the Doctor Who boards on Prodigy way back in 1991 or so). And I've been collecting Who memorabilia for some time. I hung out with Anneke Wills (who played Polly in the 1960s) when she lived in Vancouver BC. And I have a 1991 Doctor Who yearbook with the signatures of many of the Who stars I've met, including Carol Ann Ford (Susan), William Russell (Ian), Peter Davison (the 5th Doctor), Michael Craze (Ben), Anneke Wills (Polly), Wendy Padbury (Zoe), Deborah Watling (Victoria), John Levene (Sgt Benton), Elisabeth Sladen (Sarah Jane), John Leeson (voice of K-9), Anthony Ainley (the 2nd Master), Matthew Waterhouse (Adric), Nicola Bryant (Peri), Brian Blessed (he's been in everything), Colin Baker (the 6th Doctor), Sopie Aldred (Ace), and Sylvester McCoy (the 7th Doctor), as well as many of the writers and producers and minor guest stars.

I'll admit I haven't done much with Doctor Who lately, mostly because I've been focusing my fanaticism on Aquaman instead. I seem to work best when I only focus on one hobby at a time.

Moving on again, anyone who likes stories of superheroes crossing over into the real world ought to read this article about a security guard who was dressed as Batman when the bad guys came along.

There's a fantastic article on copyright up at the National Review Online (via Franklin's Findings).

I'm all for striking a balance on copyright law. The constitution says "limited time", which it hasn't been for quite awhile. I think that copyright should always extend the full lifetime of the creator, then no more than 20 years after the creator's death. Why 20 years? Only to support any dependents the creator has until they can support themselves.

In cases of work-for-hire, like, oh, say, Aquaman stories, I think the copyright should stay with the corporation for 20 years, or for up to fifty years if they keep the work in print, at which time the rights go back to the original creators or their estates for the limited time as I explained above.

Of course, in cases like Aquaman, the character itself will always be trademarked, and trademarks don't expire as long as they are used (nor should they!), so the corporations are protected to keep creating new material using the character.

The old stories, though, could be reprinted once they fall into public domain (which, using my Aquaman example, might not happen for a l-o-n-g time, as Paul Norris, the artist on the first Aquaman stories, is still alive).

My thoughts on copyright will never become law. I'm sure there is some fatal flaw in my reasoning that makes the whole concept I've come up with stupid. I can't see it, though, so if you do, please point it out to me!

posted by Tegan | 10:48 AM

Sunday, November 24, 2002  

Bedtime Story: Hubby-Eric and the Hungry Couch

Once upon a time, a nice guy named Hubby-Eric lived in a house with his wife. They were usually quite happy, except for when bad things happened.

One bad thing that happened to poor Hubby-Eric was that he sometimes lost his keys.

The first time this happened, he grumped and growled and then both Hubby-Eric and his wife searched the house from top to bottom looking for the keys. But they never found them.

And some time later (we're talking months here, if not years), it happened again! Hubby-Eric again grumped and growled and both of them searched high and low, but they never found the missing keys.

And then, one day (today, in fact), Hubby-Eric was sitting on the couch (ok, it's actually a loveseat) minding his own business when he felt and heard his current set of keys sliding out of his pocket. He pulled the cushions off the couch, but the keys weren't under the cushions. Then he moved the couch, but the keys weren't on the floor!

So he called in wifey, and the two of them lifted the couch and were rewarded by the sound of the keys moving around inside. Turning the couch over to its side, they found that the bottom of the couch was covered in fabric, and that the keys couldn't just fall through. In fact, there was no easy way to get at the keys, except by performing major surgery.

And so they got an X-acto knife, and split the belly of the hungry couch, and Hubby-Eric reached in and pulled out...

The first set of missing keys!

Then he reached in again, and pulled out...

The second set of missing keys!

And the third time he reached in, he pulled out the keys that he had just lost.

And so Hubby-Eric lived happily ever after (at least that night) with his wife and the slightly less fed couch.

The End.

posted by Tegan | 6:42 PM

Comments (1)

The scary thing about this story is that it's TRUE! And I've now taken to keeping my keys on my nightstand while I'm at home so the couch doesn't eat them again...

At least now I have back-up keys in case they get eaten again...

Hubby | Email | Homepage | 11.25.02 - 3:15 pm


Rapid Previews For Feb 2003

For the uninitiated, comic books are solicited to the stores two months in advance of the shipping dates. Thus, in December, it's time for comic shop owners to order books for February. An additional wrinkle is that cover dates for comics are usually two months ahead of shipping dates, so in December, comic book stores are ordering books with a cover date of April that will be shipping in February! On Tuesday I got my first look at the full previews for DC Comics, yesterday I managed to get the full text file for all of Previews Magazine, so now I can do most of my order.

Hubby-Eric wants to cut back a lot on our order to save money for more important things (like the mortgage, and food). So first order of business was determining which books we could drop, or which are being cancelled soon. It was an easy decision to jettison Avengers, since I'm not enjoying it much and I also don't want to support Marvel right now, either. Plus, it's about to enter a new storyarc. Buh-Bye Avengers! Spectre, Titans, and Young Justice are all on death row, with Titans last issue being solicited in this previews (and the other two will have their last issue in March). That will save us some cash, but we'll finish out all three series.

On the list for buying for sure: Aquaman and Usagi Yojimbo. I think if everything else had to be cancelled, I'd still be getting those. Hubby-Eric is a Green Lantern fan, so Green Lantern for sure. And he's also a JSA fan, so JSA for sure. I'm also a big fan of Peter David's Supergirl, and I don't intend to drop that book. Birds of Prey has been disappointing lately, but I still like the book, so it stays on.

Despite everything, Green Arrow has stayed on our list, and it's a resolicitation this month, so we've already paid for it. It stays. A note: Most comic book fans don't pay two months in advance. We do, to support our store and control our comic book budget. Justice League Adventures and Gotham Adventures are both strong books that stand apart from the normal DCU, so we get them. Power Company is a great book, so it stays.

On the bubble are JLA and Hawkman. JLA we probably won't drop because it will always have either a Green Lantern or Aquaman himself in it. It just works out that way. Hawkman... well, we'll have to see about Hawkman.

That leads us to the DC minis and one-shots.

First up for our review is Birds of Prey: Catwoman/Batgirl. While I'm interested in the concept, I'm not sure I'm interested enough to buy a two-issue prestige series at $6 a pop. I'm not particularly thrilled by the writer or the artist, so this is a maybe.

The return of Astro City is a no-brainer. We've been waiting a long time for this, so all five issues will be bought, no problema! We'll also be getting the second part of JLA/The Spectre: Soul War.

Two Elseworlds: the second part of Superman & Batman: Generations III, and a sequel to JSA: The Liberty File called JSA: The Unholy Three. The JSA Elseworld is a two-parter, so not a problem.

Moving on to Image Comics, we'll be getting the fantastic Age of Bronze by Eric Shanower, of course. I think that one goes up with Aquaman, Usagi Yojimbo, and Green Lantern as a must have. We'll also keep getting Powers, despite the over-reliance on profanity in the dialogue.

And on to Marvel Comics! Amazing Spider-Man is on the list until JMS stops writing it. At that point we'll drop it. We won't be adding any new Marvel while the no overprint policy continues, so even if JMS moves to another Spider-Man book, we won't be getting it. We'll also continue to get The Truth.

Crossgen books we've been getting are Ruse and Way of the Rat. I still prefer getting my books monthly, but it's a comfort to know that if I wanted to, I could wait and buy just the trades of these every few months.

Other books for this month are Thieves & Kings and Crossovers (which we did decide to try out, four genres sharing one bathroom is just too cool to resist). And that's pretty much it. A very small list for us.

posted by Tegan | 11:31 AM

Comments (1)

"Hubby-Eric wants to cut back a lot on our order to save money for more important things (like the mortgage, and food)."

No, I don't want to cut back a lot on our order, it's getting to be a case of we need to cut back on our order...

And we'd be getting Age of Bronze even if it wasn't any good, since I've known Eric Shanower for years now, even before he became a big name in the comics biz. It's just icing on the cake that he's also put together a damn fine book!

Hubby | Email | Homepage | 11.24.02 - 5:25 pm