Bloggity-Blog-Blog-Blog Archive XIII
Words of Wisdom from Laura "Tegan" Gjovaag

Saturday, January 18, 2003  

Final Thoughts for the Night

Here's a review to cap off the week:

I'm kind of surprised I haven't put this one up yet. More Fun #73 was the very first Aquaman tale. Drawn by Paul Norris (who I'm still hoping to get a reply from), and written by Mort Weisinger. Paul Norris described the creation of Aquaman in an interview in Comic Book Artist #22: "Prior to the creation of Aquaman, I did not discuss it with Mort. I just spoke of it with the editor, Whitney Ellsworth. He was the one who wanted to develop a character. So I developed a character, the visual character, then he assigned Mort to write the story."

Song of the day is "Goody Two Shoes" by Adam Ant. Why? Why not?

posted by Tegan | 9:49 PM

Random Thoughts

It appears that DC Comics is becoming the anti-Marvel. Their new system of returnability might not make a dramatic impact on the market right away, but it's certainly better than telling retailers they can't have more copies of a best-selling title to sell.

Hubby-Eric and I had a short, sweet talk about the new Dr Strange mini by JMS, and it turns out we're both tempted. We're also tempted by his new Squadron Supreme series. So now comes the hard part: deciding whether or not to support a company that puts all the risk on retailers.

posted by Tegan | 8:51 AM

Friday, January 17, 2003  

Not Much To Say

That's never stopped me before...

I'll go with "We Are The Champions" by Queen for the song of the day, since I actually managed to change the receipt roll at work without getting a papercut. I got a papercut later when I was pricing workbooks. Math books can be so vicious.

I will be working on my birthday. Although the store is generally closed on Mondays, this coming Monday is a school holiday, and we try to be open on school holidays so teachers can come in and buy supplies. At least it won't be a long work day.

posted by Tegan | 9:32 PM

Morning Thoughts

With the pre-order frenzy going on for the new Harry Potter book, I thought I'd put in a good word for the Canadian edition which has the same words as the British edition. Hubby-Eric and I have bought only the Canadian editions since we started buying the series, since we are perfectly capable of reading British English.

I'm opposed to another war in Iraq, unless President Bush produces clear evidence to the American people and the world that Iraq is a serious threat. Frankly, I'm a heckuva lot more worried about North Korea right now. The President may have that proof of danger from Iraq, but I'm afraid he's going to have to share it for me to support another massacre.

No Iraq War

These signs started popping up in Seattle a few weeks ago. While they aren't on every lawn, they've become more and more common. I support the sentiment: you can still be patriotic and not support Bush's agenda in Iraq. So here's my one on-line statement about this. But let me emphasize, if things like this pan out into proof that the world agrees with, I'll support action.

posted by Tegan | 8:22 AM

Comments (2)

"...proof that the world agrees with..."

You mean the world that just voted for Libya to chair the UN Human Rights Commission? How about all of Europe who abstained from the vote because a) they didn't want to make the moslems in their midst angry, and b) they make to much money selling technology to terrorist nations?

farsider | Email | 01.21.03 - 11:36 am

I mean the people, actually. At the moment, Bush is planning an utterly pointless massacre simply because his father didn't bother the finish the job when it was his turn.

Why? Why on earth should we send our people to risk death while they butcher people who simply don't know any better? Why are we wasting time and money on Iraq when there's a whole frigging terrorist network that Bush is apparently ignoring? Why?

Bush hasn't made any argument for attacking Iraq. He's consistently failed to make a point, much less prove one. So are we going to gung-ho bounce over to the Middle East and murder a bunch of people in cold blood just on Bush's say-so? WHY?

This war makes no sense. It won't solve any problems, nor change any opinions of America and Americans. It will NOT make the world safer. All it will do is kill a bunch of people and give chest-thumping war-mongers their moment in the sun.

So I'm opposed to it.

Laura Gjovaag | Email | Homepage | 01.21.03 - 6:59 pm

Thursday, January 16, 2003  

Ties to the Land

I have this picture on the wall of my "office" at home:

The photo is by Greg Gilbert of the Seattle Times, the billboard itself was put up on April 1, 1971 by real estate agents Bob McDonald and Jim Youngren as a humorous response to the massive pessimism of the times, fueled by the horrible "Boeing Bust" recession (more information can be found on HistoryLink).

Seattle has hit another recession. We're no longer a one-industry town, but the collapse of the dotcom industry hit the area hard, and Boeing isn't exactly in the best of shape right now, either. It was a difficult Christmas, with many people on unemployment and new jobs not to be found. People are leaving Seattle right now, and I don't blame them. Problem is, this is my home. I can't fathom living elsewhere. I don't want to. The thought of leaving chills me to the bone, but it's always there, on the horizon.

If I do end up leaving Seattle, I hope they leave the lights on... so I can find my way back.

Song of the Day

"Man Of Our Times" by Genesis. I'm in a big sound mood, and this song delivers.

posted by Tegan | 6:52 PM

To the Blogmobile!

A big congrats to Neilalien, who is getting a dream come true in the form of a Doctor Strange limited series written by J. Michael Stracyznski. Ok, I'm tempted. Despite the Marvel no-reorder nonsense, despite not being that interested in Doctor Strange, I'm really tempted.

Mark Evanier and I disagree on many aspects of copyright, but we both have this view that creators should get the copyrights after corporations lose them, and that corporations should lose copyright if they don't keep a work in print. His is an interesting viewpoint, and worth reading (it's just under the Dick Van Dyke show info).

Speaking of copyright, Franklin's Findings has a good overview of the Supreme Court's decision on his blog. And the Journalista rips the decision apart.

posted by Tegan | 8:30 AM

Wednesday, January 15, 2003  

Rapid Reviews - 15 Jan 2003

Green Lantern #158: Eh, average. I'm with Jen, there's something fishy there, but it's too obvious. Hopefully the second part will make up for this less-than-stellar set-up issue. 3 starfish. 3 starfish

Power Company #12: Everything finally boils out into the main conflict! This was a good one. 4 starfish. 4 starfish

Spectre #25: Another deep meaningful issue. I actually prefer these types of stories to the regular ones, as this focuses on the people that the Spectre touches in the real world instead of the Spectre himself (who, let's face it, is kind of a boring guy because of this "all-powerful" thing he has going). Anyway, I liked it. 4 starfish. 4 starfish

Here's what is supposed to ship next week: Castle Waiting #16, Batman: Gotham Adventures #58, Birds of Prey #51, Supergirl #78, JLA/Spectre: Soul War #1, Titans #49, Amazing Spider-Man #49, Crossovers #1, Interman GN, and the Aquaman Archive Vol 1 (if it's not delayed).

Rowling Along

By now you've probably heard the news. "Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix" will be out on June 21, 2003 in Britain, the US, Canada, and Australia. It's also over a third longer than the immensely long "Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire". Will Harry-mania get children through a book that long?

Song of the Day

"Linus and Lucy" by Vince Guaraldi. Sometimes called the theme to Peanuts. Nice snappy little tune that's neither overly happy nor depressing. Perfect song for a middle-of-the road day.

posted by Tegan | 8:11 PM

Search Update

I asked my co-worker Carmen, who is a native speaker of Spanish, to translate some information I had found on Luis (Louis) Cazeneuve for me. She corrected my translation of one of the titles. I thought "Pibe Palito" was the full name, she said Palito was the name, and "pibe" was an unfamiliar adjective. Some hunting on-line revealed that "pibe" is an Argentine word for child or kid, so the corrected title is "The Hunting Adventures of Kid Palito". She also explained that "Quique" is a common nickname, short for Enrique (which is Henry in English).

As for the text of the Quique sample cartoon: "Beached on the high seas" is the title at the top (Varados en alta mar). The first text block says "After the abrupt shock, the 'Invincible' remained motionless and fixed, very inclined to port: nobody had remained standing on board and more than one had received a strong blow." The second text block says "The sensation that they had collided seized all; to the extent that when they got up they went from one rail to the other in search of the reason for the shock." That's a fairly rough translation, by the way. But it's enough to make me want to read more of the story (and dang! It's fun to translate!).

Unfortunately, the only copies of the newspaper "El Mundo" in existence in the United States apparently reside at the Library of Congress. I'm not sure how to go about interlibrary loan from the Library of Congress, especially since I'm not sure how many issues they hold, and in what format. Nor do I know for sure what issues I want to see, as 1931-1939 is a pretty large range. Not to mention that Quique is a little tangential to my original search, and probably won't help me find anything new about Luis himself. In other words, I'm happily headed down a blind alley. But hey, as long as I'm enjoying myself!

My other search, for John Daly, has yielded nothing so far. A wonderful suggestion led me to ask Bob Rozakis, The Answer Man, but he doesn't know anything about Daly. He suggested I write to Julius Schwartz, which I think I may do. What have I got to lose except the price of a couple of stamps? I think I'll also send another letter to Ramona since she took over Aquaman from Daly, and might have some insight. I'll also probably send another e-mail to Mark Evanier, but he's pretty busy so I don't expect a reply. But then, I didn't expect a reply from BobRo, either, certainly not as quickly as he did respond.

And, yeah, I think I need to send a nice letter off to Jon B. Cooke at Comic Book Artist. He might be able to dig something up, too.

posted by Tegan | 6:25 PM

Rapid Reviews - TV

Smallville: Visage: Wow. Yeah, intense from start to finish. This show is so much fun, especially when you don't think too hard about it. And the events and revelations in this episode will definitely stick around, though some of it may seem rather... final. 4 starfish. 4 starfish

By the way, a great site full of wonderful episode guides is TV Tome. I've been using it to confirm episode names for awhile now, thought they deserve a link.

The Mouse Wins - Our Culture Loses

The Supreme Court has decided that extending copyrights infinitely is not unconstitutional. Check out the blog of Lawrence Lessig (who argued that it was unconstitutional) for up-to-date reports.

posted by Tegan | 8:30 AM

Tuesday, January 14, 2003  

Search Update

Finally, a breakthrough! Maybe not as impressive as I'd hoped for, but at least something more to go on. I was googling on Louis Cazeneuve when I got frustrated and started trying various keywords with the last name. Suddenly, I found a source of information in the form of a Dutch comic shop: Lambiek that has a page on Cazeneuve. More importantly, they spell his first name "Luis". D'oh! I should have thought of that!

In any case, the page gives me a couple of more pieces of information to go on, including the names of three works he did in Argentina: "Quique, el Niño Pirata", "Aventuras de Caza del Pibe Palito" and "Aventuras de dos Argentinos en un País Salvaje". Those would be "Quique, the Boy Pirate", the "Hunting Adventures of Pibe Palito", and the "Adventures of two Argentineans in a Wild Country" (according to Babelfish). Luis apparently drew "Quique" from 1931 until he moved to the US in 1939, though I have no proof of that. The strip appeared in El Mundo. I'm going to have to see if anyone local has microfilm of that Argentinian paper.

I also found the above sample of his art on "Quique", which I plan to take to work tomorrow and show to my co-worker who is a native Spanish speaker.

Song of the Day

"Save Me" by Remy Zero. Guess what show hubby-Eric and I just watched?

posted by Tegan | 10:02 PM

Morning Thoughts

Here's an article that's extremely sobering, no matter how you look at it. Outgoing Illinois Gov. George Ryan commuted the sentences of 157 death row inmates, and he explains why he did it. Link courtesy of Mark Evanier.

Franklin Harris ought to be happy with me, as in my thank you note to Paul Levitz, I went ahead and put in a good word for reprinting his 1970s run on the "All-Star Comics" revival.

Nope, Mike Carlin has no idea how to start researching Cazeneuve and Daly. Back to square one. Remember, if you have any ideas where I should look next, please let me know. At this point, I'll even take ideas that seem slightly ridiculous.

Only three comics on the shipping list this week: Green Lantern, Spectre, and Power Company. I guess we needed a break after last week's pile. We also finished our Previews order, I'll go over it if I have time to write it up.

posted by Tegan | 8:40 AM

Comments (2)

Perhaps you could ask Jon B. Cooke at Comic Book Artist. He was very helpful in getting me in touch with Trevor Von Eeden...

I can sympathise with your search...I'd love to find out what Jerry Grandenetti's up to these days, and how he is, but no one seems to know.

David J | Email | Homepage | 01.14.03 - 4:42 pm

Whoo hoo!

Franklin Harris | Email | Homepage | 01.14.03 - 7:55 pm

Monday, January 13, 2003  

Fallen Dream

The discussion on the GCD chatlist about copyrights continued, and, as such discussions do, evolved. A note I wrote on the subject got a couple of responses, and one in particular led me to do something I had often dreamed of, but had never dared to do.

In my note, I pointed out that I can't find a large chunk of old Aquaman stories, and that I don't believe that DC will ever reprint them. To which Jerry Bails asked "have you considered working a deal with DC yourself for you to print and distribute a limited print run of Aquaman stories?" Well, that left me a wee bit speechless when I first read the note, as I actually have considered it in the past but never got past the consideration stage since I always figured that it would cost too much to snag a license for it. However, when someone like Jerry suggests it in all seriousness, then I have to take a step back and think about it again.

And while I was stepped back, I read a response to Jerry from Mike, a former DC editor, who told me that there was good news and bad news. The good news was that a license to reprint old Aquaman should be cheap unless the Cartoon Network Aquaman series goes forward (then all bets are off). The bad news was that the reason it would be cheap is because DC wouldn't have to pay the writers and artists reprint fees.

Now, I'd want to do right by the artists and writers so that was indeed bad news, but I'd never even considered the reality of getting a license from DC to reprint Aquaman stories before this. Putting Mike's and Jerry's notes together, something nebulous in my head became a little clearer. I did want to do this. I wanted to know if it was possible. And I had no idea how to go about it.

After gibbering for a few days, while the GCD list quietly made more and more suggestions on how such a reprint could be done, I decided to take the first step. I would ask somebody "in the know" at DC if it was even possible. While Mike Carlin and I have had e-mail discussions before, the one person I knew would give a straight answer is Paul Levitz, the new President and Publisher. He started as a fan, and he'd even written Aquaman in the 1970s. He'd know where I was coming from.

So I wrote my letter and sent it off on the 6th of January. I expected a long turnaround time, as Levitz must be busy as he takes over his new job. So I was a little surprised to get his response exactly a week after I sent my letter.

While I didn't really know what the response would be, and I thought there was a small possibility that it would be yes, I mostly expected to hear that it couldn't happen. Thus I wasn't disappointed when I got Levitz's response, and read, "I'm afraid your idea isn't practical." No surprise there! The rest of the letter was extremely polite, with reasons given which make a lot of sense to me. He closed his letter with an apology for disappointing me and the hope that some day Golden Age Aquaman material will make it into DC's Archive format.

I have to admit that, after reading the letter, my opinion of DC Comics went up another notch. One week turnaround time on a snailmail letter. A polite and complete answer to my question. Really cool DC paper (with heroes holding up the DC Logo). The only thing I don't have now is those Aquaman stories I still have to find...

... and I've been making progress on that without DC's help. So onward I'll go. Maybe some day, after I've finished finding all the stories and doing all the research, I'll write a book about Aquaman and his creators. I wonder if Mike Carlin knows where I can find out more about Cazeneuve and Daly?

posted by Tegan | 7:39 PM

More Thoughts

No sooner do I mention my letters in my blog than I receive an answer to one of them. I will be blogging a full blog about that shortly.

Everyone remember, Free Comic Book Day is coming again in May. When it arrives, plan on wandering by a comic shop and picking up some free reading material.

I'm not sure who came up with a new character for Return of the King, but it's funny. I was trying to look up referrals to my blog and found this. Apparently someone thought I was worth visiting after reading that site.

Poem of the Day

"Dreams" by Langston Hughes, one of my favorite poets. His advice in this poem is to "Hold fast to dreams," and I think I managed that so far this year. Sometimes winning isn't nearly as important as just trying.

posted by Tegan | 5:52 PM

Random Thoughts

For those of you concerned about the current state of freedom in the United States, there's an interesting Art Show at the ACLU website of political cartoons deemed inappropriate by various people. Link courtesy of Journalista.

A recent Seattle Times Article told about a fellow who put up a parody of the Seattle School District Website. The Parody of the Seattle School District website is rather amusing considering the district's recent financial woes. Unfortunately, living in the Seattle area, some of the shenanigans that the district has been up to have definitely hit home. One of my co-workers, who is also a Seattle School Crossing Guard, just had her Seattle School paycheck slashed by one third. Thus, the parody is both funny and painful.

There's an interesting set of pages at BugPowder that have some great examples of early comics. Definitely worth a look.

It's now one week until my birthday. I'm hoping for an answer to my letters by then, that's my birthday wish. Since I already got a wonderful Aquaman statue from my hubby-Eric for Christmas and Birthday, and there's also an Aquaman Archive coming right after my birthday, I don't expect much by way of regular gifts. The problem is that hubby-Eric's birthday is the day after mine, on the 21st, and I haven't got him much of anything! Any suggestions?

Speaking of things we have got, I received our tickets to the first ever Emerald City Comicon in the mail. Eric and I will be there, on February 9th. I think I need to start looking into how we're going to get down there. Maybe the bus...

So, should I risk asking Erik Larsen for an Aquaman sketch, or do you think I'd better just let sleeping dogs lie? And, if Fantagraphics gets a table, should I visit Dirk Deppey?

posted by Tegan | 10:29 AM

Sunday, January 12, 2003  

Finally Found a Home?

You want a pretty place for Aquaman to hang out in? Well, as of issue #2 of the latest series, he's got it!

Mizen Head

As you no doubt know from reading Aquaman ;), our hero has washed up on the shores of Western Ireland. We learn in the second issue that he actually washed up on the most south-westerly point of Ireland, very near to Mizen Head Lighthouse. Doing some searches on the name, I found a bounty of wonderful images. The landscape there is wild and beautiful, and the place itself is now a tourist attraction. In Aquaman's universe, the DC universe, it's pretty clear that Mizen Head had a different history.

I also found some interesting notes on one page (that I now can no longer find) which indicated that the mystical land of Thierna Na Oge is somewhere off the coast from Mizen Head. It's one of those things that make me go "Hmmmm..."

Wow, I now have a destination I want to go to if I should ever visit Ireland! Thanks Rick Veitch!

Song of the Day

"Brannigan's Special Ale" by Heather Alexander. Just because.

posted by Tegan | 9:08 PM

Rapid Reviews - TV

Birds of Prey: Reunion: Well, the last episode wasn't too bad, but this one doesn't build up from that. It's at about the same level. The bad guy was obvious from the start, which was a problem, but the acting and chemistry was up to par. 3 starfish. 3 starfish

posted by Tegan | 7:39 PM

Comments (2)

Oh, come on, dear, you knew it was the bad guy because I had figured it out early on and said so, right? (Unless you had figured it out even earlier, but weren't saying anything, and didn't say something like, "Yeah, I figured that out twn minutes ago" so as not to bruise my fragile male ego... If that is the case, thanks.)

To their credit, I noticed that they didn't keep the "who is it?" part of the mystery going for too long, maybe they knew it was that obvious and so just jumped ahead to the big action finale.

Ashley Scott is such a babe, she reminds me a lot of you, dear...

Hubby | Email | Homepage | 01.13.03 - 12:07 am

I hope your ego is still intact, dear, as I did figure it out earlier than when you mentioned it.

Do you like my new starfish? Not that you can tell, but I reduced all five of them from pictures of actual starfish I found across the 'net. I'd been meaning to get some small graphic in, finally got it done (while procrastinating on another thing, actually).

Laura Gjovaag | Email | Homepage | 01.13.03 - 12:31 am


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).

This one is getting reprinted now because of a link I found on Neilalien's Blog about really crappy comic shops (thanks also to Journalista for reminding me about it).

a stupid little rant by Laura Gjovaag

This is the story of two comic book shops, or at least my perceptions, as a woman who reads and collects comic books, of the two shops. The first one is my current shop: Corner Comics. The other one I can't name, but we'll call it Out Of Business Comics, since they now are. In my opinion, these two shops represent the extremes. One is the zenith of shops, the best of the best. The other was slightly worse than the stereotype.

The Good

Corner Comics is located in a strip mall next to a bookstore (Corner Books). The location is well lit after dark, and the store itself is inviting and open. The new comics are clearly marked on the main racks along the wall, with nice old editions in the display case near the cash register. Other back issues are in comic boxes neatly arranged in alphabetical order on shelves. When you enter the shop, Paige or Carol, the store employees, greet you. If they don't know you, they ask if they can help, if they do know you, they greet you by name. If you can't find a back issue in the stacks, they'll run into the back room and check for you. If they don't have it, they'll order it.

The Bad

Out Of Business Comics was a smallish shop that had moved from a larger location some time before I visited it. The store was overcrowded with piles of comic boxes... so much so that it was actually difficult to get into the store. The new comics were nowhere to be seen. When I inquired where they were, I was waved to the back of the store, to a rack that was hemmed in by shelves and so crowded that two people couldn't pass if they were both looking at them, and wasn't properly lighted so you could barely read the titles of the books. To get back there, I had to cross in front of a group of people watching an "R" rated movie on a TV that had the volume cranked up. When I crossed in front of them, they made comments about me being in the way. As I was searching for back issues, I asked the person at the counter if I could look in the many, many comic boxes. He told me no, and tried to take my list. I left.

The Ugly

When most people hear the words "Comic Book Shop" they think of places like Out Of Business Comics. Sadly, for every one Corner Comics, there seems to be at least four or five OOBs, though the number is shrinking. The majority of the shops I've been in seem to be run like Out Of Business Comics. People like to point out that this is just due to the way Comic Book Shops evolved: fans who didn't understand business starting shops and running them however they pleased. But in today's market, that philosophy doesn't wash. If you want to run a shop, you've got to appeal. And most comic shops do not appeal.

The sad fact is, most shops could appeal if they changed only a few things. Having someone greet you when you enter a shop is a sure sign the staff is on the ball. Being able to find the stock without doing a full search and rescue is also nice. Room to move in the shop is good, especially for people like me who are mildly claustrophobic. A well lit shop feels more secure than a dark hole in the wall.

Cleaning Up Their Act

In 1997, Friends of Lulu, an organization devoted to getting more women (and readers of both genders) into the comics field, printed a book called "How To Get Girls (Into Your Store)". While the title implies that it's about getting women into comic book stores, the advice given in the book applies to all businesses, and applies to simply getting normal people into shops. If you are a retailer, get a copy and read it. If you are a comic book customer, you might want to take a look too. There's some interesting stuff in there about business basics.

The point of this rant is that, despite what some fans think, there is a right way and a wrong way to go about selling comics. Too many shops are following the wrong way, and driving off potential customers by ignoring the retail basics. Learn the right way before you start trying to sell comics. Let's see if we can eradicate the stereotype of comic shops being dungeons populated by fat fanboys.

This column is copyright 1999, 2003 by Laura Gjovaag. March 1999

posted by Tegan | 10:44 AM