Bloggity-Blog-Blog-Blog Archive LXV
Laura "Tegan" Gjovaag

Saturday, January 17, 2004

Sketchbook - Anne Timmons

The story of this sketch is told in my con report from the day I got it. Anne Timmons is known for "Go Girl", which I have now loaned to my little sister to read so she can understand her sketch from Anne. Anne is fun to hang out with, interesting to talk to, and draws a good Aquaman. Of course, you get to judge that for yourself:

by Anne Timmons
16 November 2003
(permission to post given 16 November 2003 in person)

To see all the sketches I have permission to post so far, check out my Sketchbook Page. If you have any contact information for any of the other artists I'm trying to contact, please e-mail me. Click for a random Aquaman sketch.

by Tegan at 8:12 PM Seattle time

Rapid Reviews - 14 January 2004 - Part III

It's apparently "naked" week in the comics, so each review will include a "nakedity" rating as well as a starfish rating.

Superman: Secret Identity #1: Clark Kent doesn't have a secret, his parents just named him after the alter ego of Superman, which leaves him frustrated with the whole world... until suddenly he does have the secret, and it leaves him even more confused. But then, who would ever suspect that a kid named Clark Kent is actually... super? Nakedity: None. This is the tamest book this week. 4 starfish

Way of the Rat #21: Oh, the troubles Boon can get into. Now poor Po Po is into it, too. And another ring has shown up. I'm really curious as to what kind of wish needs to be written to prevent the doll from twisting it. Nakedity: Well, Po Po is always naked, and the monster is mostly naked. Moderate. 3 1/2 starfish

Green Arrow #34: A lot of set-up. A lot of sex. Some stupid crooks. Mildly interesting cliff-hanger. Nakedity: Four pages! Major. 3 starfish

1602 Part Six: While bits of the fight are very confusing, overall, this was a rocking issue. The answers are starting to come out, and it's going to be interesting to see how the main problem gets resolved. Nakedity: Uh, invisible woman? Minor. 3 1/2 starfish

Next Week's Comics: Arrowsmith, Batman Adventures, Birds of Prey, DC The New Frontier, and JSA, if everything ships. I also have several other reviews in the pipeline.

by Tegan at 7:49 PM Seattle time

Rapid Reviews - 14 January 2004 - Part II

It's apparently "naked" week in the comics, so each review will include a "nakedity" rating as well as a starfish rating.

Hawkman #23: We probably didn't need to buy this to understand the crossover with JSA. Probably. It was an ok issue, but a little annoying to buy just for the last two pages. Nakedity: The village people wannabes ask the wrong woman to show off her assets, but otherwise tame. Minor. 3 starfish

Aquaman #14: Another great fill-in from John Ostrander. I love these single issue stories. And this is my favorite kind of story: how people react to Aquaman. This one brings to mind my all-time favorite Aquaman story, written by Shaun McLaughlin. It is someone asking about superheroes, trying to find out more, and getting completely different reactions from each person. While this wasn't quite as touching as the McLaughlin story, it's pretty close, and we get a bigger variety of interpretations, too. Yeah, I liked this one a lot. Nakedity: One woman being interviewed has a bit of a fantasy. Only one panel, but... moderate. 4 1/2 starfish

Thor #73: We get to see how Thor lost his arm and eye in a flashback, and it was about the person you'd expect to inflict such damage. This plotline is moving along. I only wonder where it will finally end. And who gets to grab that hammer. Nakedity: Does Magni ever wear a shirt? And Thor gets mostly undressed at one point, too. Moderate. 3 1/2 starfish

Still to review: Secret Identity, Way of the Rat, 1602, and Green Arrow.

by Tegan at 8:48 AM Seattle time

Friday, January 16, 2004

New Blogs

Tony Collett has joined the comics bloggers with his blog Mah Two Cents. I'm mentioning him now because he linked to my little rave of Red Tornado.

Dewey's World seems to be a gentle sort of blog with a book-lover's slant. And, of course, some comic's blogging. I noticed him in my stats when I checked this morning.

And I'll take this opportunity to ask anyone who has linked to me (who I haven't noticed already) to post a comment to let me know about your blog so I can check it out. Yeah, I know, I'm practically inviting the spammers, but if the blog they link to is obscene, I can just delete the comment. And, hey, at least I'm actually asking for it this time.

by Tegan at 10:43 AM Seattle time

Rapid Reviews - 14 January 2004 - Part I

It's apparently "naked" week in the comics, so each review will include a "nakedity" rating as well as a starfish rating.

Smallville: Asylum [3-09]: Nasty stuff. And not everything in the episode fit into continuity. At some points it seemed like the writers were trying too hard to include Clark's old foes. What happened to Lex makes you wonder... did it really work, or is Lex hiding something? It was an ok episode, but I was still left with questions. I guess that's par for this show. Nakedity: Duplicate boy gets naked to divide himself, but since it's TV, it's not too obvious. Moderate. 3 1/2 starfish

Fallen Angel #7: Flashback to Lee's beginning in Bete Noire, leading up to some current events caused by the return of somebody she annoyed by setting up at Furors. It's a freaky, nasty little story, and I'm not sure why I want to keep reading, but I do. Nakedity: Four pages! Major. 3 1/2 starfish

H-E-R-O #12: So it's possible to become a super-hero of a different gender with the H-E-R-O device. Ooops. And the guy lost the device, too, which is a bit of a problem. Oh, and he's learning just how difficult it can be to get people to listen, REALLY listen, to you when you have such big, er, assets. Nakedity: the costume leaves very little to the imagination, but it's not much worse than the average superhero costume. Minor. 4 starfish

Still to review: Aquaman, Way of the Rat, Secret Identity, Thor, 1602, Green Arrow, and Hawkman.

by Tegan at 9:53 AM Seattle time

Thursday, January 15, 2004

Missing Episode of Doctor Who found!

And in the "breaking news" category, a missing episode of Doctor Who from 1965 has been found. This one is the second episode of "The Daleks' Masterplan", and features a few characters that have never been seen since the original broadcast except in either short clips or photographs. Scenes from the episode are already up at Liquid News, as well as at BBC news.

by Tegan at 6:50 PM Seattle time

Don't Mess With Ma

Today I come to you to report on a much-maligned character who is in fact one of the best of her era. That's right folks, I'm here to sing the praises of Red Tornado... Ma Hunkel!

The original Red Tornado first made her appearance in All-American Comics #20 (November 1940, a whole year before Aquaman debuts!). The character who becomes Red Tornado was around for a bit earlier, in the Scribbly strips in All-American. When we join the story, Ma Hunkel's daughter Sisty, and her friend Dinky, have been kidnapped by racketeers who made the mistake of trying to collect protection money from the formidable Ma. When Ma goes to the police, she gets a wee bit disgusted with their inability to do anything.

On the way home after telling off the police, the title character, Scribbly (an artist), mentions Green Lantern, and Ma starts to get an idea.

In the last panel of the story, after Sisty and Dinky give the racketeers a serious runaround, in steps a new "mystery man" to save the day.

In the next issue's strip, the Mystery Man identifies "himself" as the Red Tornado (not the Red Tomato). S/he also threatens to tear up the police station if the chief doesn't stop wise-cracking, a threat she makes good on once the chief claims he rescued the kids single-handedly.

She made other appearances. The most famous would be her crashing the first JSA meeting. In those appearances she was much less than the character who started out being inspired by Green Lantern and finished by breaking up a mob's protection racket completely. In fact, her appearances in superhero stories were a strange sort of revenge. She started out as a character who made fun of superheroes in a comedy strip, so when she actually shows up in a superhero strip, she's made out to be goofy and ineffective... which is just the opposite of how she was in the Scribbly strips (Scribbly even comments about how many gangs she has taken out in one strip).

She's had two notable "modern age" appearances. One of them was in the JSA 80-Page giant, in which she teams up with some of the women of the Golden Age JSA to protect a factory where she happened to work at during the war. The second one was in the Christmas issue of JSA. In it we learn that Ma took off her mask to testify against mobsters, then had to go into witness protection. But every year, she got a visit from some JSA members... and in this one they have some good news for her... she can stop hiding. And the JSA wants her to hang out with them all year long. Yeah, that was a good story.

I don't mind the retcons of Ma Hunkel. She was a good character who has been unfairly mistreated over the years because no one had ever read her story in context. All that superhero fans ever saw of her was her appearance in JSA, which was practically an in-joke. So the modern writers who have decided to bring her back into the fold are all right with me.

Someday, at some convention, I fully intend to dress up as Ma Hunkel. I think I can manage the build alright, though finding the various bits and pieces might be more difficult. And I'll have to practice her accent. But she's one of the first female superheroes EVER, and I tend to admire her despite the jokes.

by Tegan at 11:25 AM Seattle time

Wednesday, January 14, 2004

Keep Looking Around

So I was at the top of the ramp in the store, talking with a customer. I was trying to recall something when I looked up and out the window of the store, gazing at the rainy street outside in an effort to focus my thoughts. Whatever I was trying to recall was driven entirely out of my mind by what I saw, though.

The scene keeps replaying through my head. It wasn't long, a second or so... and for the next few seconds after seeing it, I thought I had maybe imagined it. What I saw was a red car, clearly hitting the breaks as it seemed to lean forward in an effort to stop in time, but it didn't stop fast enough and crashed into something just hidden from my view by a shelf.

My shock must have been clear on my face. The customer turned to look but couldn't see anything from where she stood. I said something to the effect of "An accident" and headed for the front door to see if there was anything we could do to help.

Well, there wasn't much. I helped direct traffic while the drivers got the cars off the road into our parking lot. Then I checked the drivers of both cars and the one passenger to see if they were ok, and was really surprised to find that the driver of the red car was my mechanic from down the street. As soon as I realized who it was, I realized that the car he was driving was almost certainly a customer car that he was test-driving after fixing. Ouch.

The van that the car had hit was a transport company for seniors, and the passenger was a senior citizen. The driver of the van kept apologizing for pulling out in front of the car. The occupants of the van claimed they weren't hurt at all, but the mechanic was limping and clearly had a sore neck. Everyone had been wearing seatbelts, which was good. We brought everyone inside to keep warm and dry while we waited for the police and the tow truck for the van.

And, yes, the red car was a customer's car. Ouch.

The vision of the accident keeps going through my head, over and over. I'm sure my brain is filling in details and trying to make it make more sense to me. For instance, I remember hearing the horn of the car right as I saw the crash, but that seems almost like a tacked on memory. Other people in the shop heard the horn, did I?

Whatever. It made the afternoon go by faster and gave me something to blog about, and nobody was seriously injured as far as I could see. All's well that ends well, I guess.

by Tegan at 7:09 PM Seattle time

Random Thoughts

Whew, the blogosphere is busy. Here's some links to hold you until I have time to write more:

Franklin Harris directs us to this interview with the new 'Doctor Who' producer, Mal Young. You can listen to a RealAudio interview with Mal Young at the BBC's site.

Elayne Riggs points us to a wonderful on-line card trick that says a lot about how your perception of reality shapes your assumptions. It's easy enough to figure out, if you use the back button on your browser.

Since everyone else is pointing out that Mark Evanier is pointing this out, I'll just point out that there is now an Oh-fishul Pogo Possum Website.

Eugene Volokh has a list of letters that can be silent in English.

by Tegan at 11:46 AM Seattle time

Tuesday, January 13, 2004

Random Thoughts

I have been linked to by Fred Hembeck. The honor is quite overwhelming. I just have to link to his great redo of the classic cover to Superman's Girlfriend Lois Lane #29 again. He also redid the cover to Aquaman #22, which was another good one.

Oh, oh, oh, ... LOL! I think I'm just going to giggle myself to death now... Scott Kurtz, you are my hero!

Aquaman, oh excuse me, Aquatic Man gets some fun on I Need A Hero. Check it out.

Speaking of making fun of Aquaman, check out the Weekly Burn on Down in the Mucky-Muck for a bit on the problem with having two Kings of Atlantis (second item). Should I mention that he spelled my name wrong in his link to me? Nah, it's not like "Gjovaag" is easy to spell.

It's all the fault of Mag at the Comic Treadmill for getting me curious enough to ask hubby. But, as you can see in the comment section, we did answer his question that wasn't related at all to Plastic Man. Three people have medalled in both the Summer and Winter Olympics, with Christa Luding-Rothenburger managing the feat in a single year, and Eddie Eagan getting gold in both summer and winter. Jacob Tullin Thams, the third person, was Norwegian.

I don't know why I'm linking to this bit from Sean. Perhaps it's because he intelligently wants us to keep cuter things to ourselves. I think most people would shout "TMI!" before I even started to explain what I think is cuter.

Huh, Shawn is flipping over an on-line comic. Time to go take a look.

Here's my monthly link to PS238, one of the best comics out there right now according to... um... me. Free samples on the website, so just go and look and decide if you are interested. People who have been reading the comic will be interested in the website updates.

Marta has posted another Harry Potter fan drawing. This one is about a fight in the dorm.

And last and least, I was going to write some more on the whole "waiting for the trade" thing, and realized that I really don't have anything to say. I agree with just about everybody on the subject. Yeah, I like reading single comics monthly, but I also like getting trades. I guess the only further thing I have to add is a mostly unformed thought I'm trying to put into words, so bear with me here. The publishers want single comic books to be what they were in the past. But the mechanics of entertainment have changed from the Golden and Silver Ages, and single issues are now too expensive to fill the niche they used to. As an industry, comics cannot go back. They have to go forward and find a new niche. I can't define that niche, nor do I care to guess at what it might be. I personally think there is a place for comic books in entertainment, and there always will be. So, what do comics want to be? If you answer that, perhaps you'll know what the future holds for them.

by Tegan at 7:15 PM Seattle time

Marysville Teacher Strike Fallout

So I had an opportunity presented to me recently. You all know about the adventures of hubby-Eric and the Marysville teachers strike. You probably also know that while I'm on the side of the teachers, I'm not particularly pro-union. Early on in the strike I wrote to one of the state representatives, Hans Dunshee. I want to point out that he is NOT my representative. But he does represent a bunch of folks in Marysville.

Anyway, in my e-mail to him, I mentioned that teachers needed to have something in place if the courts kept deciding that strikes are illegal, despite the fact that state law is completely silent on the subject. I mentioned binding arbitration as a possibility. He was already thinking along those lines, and he's co-sponsoring a state bill that will make collective bargaining a requirement for teachers, and will also specifically outlaw strikes.

So he invited me down to testify in committee about the expeiences of hubby and I during the strike, and tell the legislators that we suppport binding arbitration.

The problem is that I don't know. I mean, I really don't know. While binding arbitration is a good thing in general, it's got problems that make it difficult to implement for teachers. The teacher's union is understandably afraid of losing the ability to bargain effectively. The only hammer the teachers have right now is the threat of a strike. It's not the best hammer, as seen in Marysville, but it does show the administration something about teachers, if they are smart enough to learn the lesson.

And in the case of Marysville, the long strike woke up a lot of the parents in the district to the problems in the district, ranging from foolish spending priorities to downright unethical behavior on the part of some of the school board members. If there was binding arbitration in place, would the parents have learned about those problems and, more importantly, would they have gotten angry enough to vote out the people responsbile and form a parent oversight group?

So even the dark cloud of a forty-nine day teacher strike had a silver lining. Was it worth it? I don't know. And after a lot of thinking and talking with a number of people about the issue, I decided that I could not, in good conscience, go down and support the bill as it is written. Deep inside I think it's probably the best solution to the on-going issue of teacher strikes in this state. Deep inside, I feel that almost anything is better than 49 days of torture. But I can't honestly say that in testimony. And I don't feel that my testimony alone will make or break the bill. So I declined the invitation.

But I'm keeping up on the information about the bill. I'll be following it closely, as it would go into effect immediately, and could impact both Marysville, which still has no contract for its teachers, and Northshore, the district I actually live in which stands a very good chance of having its own strike this fall.

The hearing is tonight, about two hours from now. I also noticed when I checked on the bill this morning that the number of representatives sponsoring it had bloomed from three to eight, including one of my reps. I won't deny that part of me wants this bill to go through, badly. But there is a significant part of me that is frightened of the change. I've been dealing with teacher strikes since I was very young. It's familiar, understandable, and it gets results. Will binding arbitration help or hurt the teachers?

by Tegan at 5:34 PM Seattle time

Game Blogging

Fluxx. From Looney Labs. Approximate price: $10. Number of players: 2-6. Ages: 8+. Time to play: 2-30 minutes. Rules Rigidity: Rigid yet changing, personal cards can be made. Goal of Game: To meet the currently played goal card.

I snagged the demo copy of this game that was sent to the shop I work at, and I'm unwilling to give it back. I need to actually pay for it soon. I was given the assignment to take the game home and learn it and report back on it, which I did. Basically, it's really really fun. The shop owner seemed satisfied with that description.

You start the game with no goal. You put a "Basic Rules" card on the table and follow the instructions. As turns progress, you play four different types of cards. Some cards change the rules (instantly), some cards allow you to take actions, some cards just sit around looking pretty, and some cards set a goal for the game. As a player, you want to set down a goal card that you can meet.

Sounds simple? Well, yeah, it is, but it can also be remarkably complicated in a good way. It's also possible to win very quickly if you get dealt the right cards, and it's possible to be winning the game only to lose when your opponent next draws. People who like long-term strategy and hate luck should avoid this game.

by Tegan at 9:11 AM Seattle time

Monday, January 12, 2004

Random Thoughts

I was going to have more to post, but after visiting all the various sites I wanted to hit, this is all I found that I feel like passing on. Sorry.

First, and most important, is the news from the LEGO company. Here's the scoop in the words of Jake McKee, a LEGO rep. "In the last few days, I’ve seen much discussion, and recevied many questions about the future of the company. As you probably saw/heard, 2003 was a rough year for the LEGO Company, for a number of reasons. Kjeld has retaken the helm, and has said that we are returning to “our core”. Rest assured, “our core” simply means our toy business. Which is to say, our toy product lines present and future... Harry Potter and Star Wars are NOT going away any time soon... Mindstorms is not going away, but may continue to evolve. Like all technology products, Mindstorms will continue to grow and improve as consumers gain new technology knowledge and technology itself continues to get better and smaller." So, there you have it. Mindstorms and the licenses are not going away. LEGO will continue to make bricks and toys, and focus on those.

And in other news:

Peter David defends himself yet again from accusations that he doesn't "get it". He does, folks, he just wants to complain. But for some reason, pros on the internet aren't allowed to voice an opinion if the fans don't agree.

There's a very interesting note in the comments of PAD's post that compares the economics of "buying the monthly" versus "waiting for the trade" to the Prisoner's Dilemma. Lovely - comic book fans as prisoners. And, unfortunately, right on the button if the publishers continue to play the game the way they are playing.

I found a lot of political garbage that I would like to comment on, but I want to calm down enough to actually articulate my opinion before I make any statements... and by the time I do that, twenty people will have said exactly what I want to say much better than I can. There's also a new twist in the Marysville teacher strike I want to post about, but I'm still working on that one. In short, this is all the random thoughts for today, sorry.

by Tegan at 10:27 AM Seattle time

Rapid Reviews - 7 January 2004 - Part III

Common Grounds #1: Two strong stories about super-powered beings who meet at a coffee shop. The first is a wee bit depressing... having superspeed has some superdownsides. The second is really funny. The last place you expect people to be sitting and talking. I really liked it. 4 starfish

Supreme Power #6: This is a talky issue that doesn't introduce any other characters, but adds a lot to the existing cast. We get to the heart of the problem with Hyperion... he needs something to give his life reason. Something more than simply following government orders. It's not a bad issue, but it's not terribly exciting. 3 1/2 starfish

That's it for this week. Next week: Secret Identity, Aquaman, Fallen Angel, Green Arrow, H-E-R-O, Zatanna's Search, Hawkman, Thor, 1602, and Way of the Rat. If everything shows.

by Tegan at 8:55 AM Seattle time

Sunday, January 11, 2004

Random Thoughts

Via Neilalien, a list of songs that include comic characters. They missed "Aquaman" by HAM, but otherwise it's got all the songs I would say include Aquaman.

Via Mark Evanier, a fascinating article about Jack Cole and Plastic Man by Art Spiegelman.

If you haven't been following the current flap on comics, Shawn of Worlds Within Worlds has a nice commentary on the situation. He also has a nice bit about meeting people on-line and off.

by Tegan at 8:24 PM Seattle time

Rapid Reviews - 7 January 2004 - Part II

Thieves & Kings #43: It's easy to see that Mark Oakley is over whatever depression had him plodding along on this book for a couple of years, even if you don't read his editorial. The story feels like energy is being poured into it, and as a result it's engaging, interesting, and you just want to read more. The short story at the end was also amusing, and kept us up-to-date on the other characters in his epic. 4 starfish

JSA #56: Wow. This is the cliffhanger ending from issue 53 finally resolved. And wow. It's a big change. I'm more than a little upset that the story is continuing in Hawkman, as I hate multi-book crossovers with a passion, but this one might be worth the pain. We'll see next week. 4 starfish

Justice League Adventures #27: A goofy little story about what makes a superhero super. Nothing special, but it was fun. 3 1/2 starfish

Still to review: Common Grounds and Supreme Power.

by Tegan at 1:11 PM Seattle time