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

Saturday, February 05, 2005

No Blog Kind of Day

No sketch to post, big convention to go to tomorrow... I think it's a no blog kind of day.

by Tegan at 5:16 PM Seattle time - Permalink  

Friday, February 04, 2005

The Best Romance Comic Currently Published

First there was True Story, Swear To God: Chances Are...

Which, by the way, you will all be buying for your loved ones this Valentine's Day, right? With chocolate. Lots of chocolate. Yummmmm. Chocolate.


Then, there was True Story, Swear To God: 100 Stories

This one is good as either an intoduction to Tom Beland's work, or as a compliment to Chances Are... There are samples from this book at Tom's Website, and I urge you all to go check it out. If you haven't at least read Dancing Crab, you aren't allowed to read comics. I also recommend Diana Would Smile, but that's just because it has an Aquaman joke. Yes, trust me, the regular book is a romance comic. And it's all true.

Moving on, now you can pre-order True Story, Swear To God: This One Goes To 11!

No, I haven't read it. Nor have I read the individual issues. But I know I can strongly recommend it sight unseen. In fact, for all you guys getting the first book for your girl for Valentine... follow up with this one. It'll be out in May.

Why do I bring this up again? Because of what Larry posted over at AiT/Planet Lar, which I have shamelessly stolen and posted here:

What are you waiting for? Go order this. And the other two. And start ordering the singles from Previews. Go on.

by Tegan at 6:07 PM Seattle time - Permalink  

Cell Phones Are Dangerous

So I got a nice new cell phone, the LG VX3200, which has some handy features but most importantly to me was cheap. No games, no photos, no extra crap. It's just a phone. I'm pleased with it except for the limited ringers, which I can apparently fix if I want to buy a $20 cable and play with the phone set-up. I'm still debating that one.

Anyway. I know driving while talking on a cell phone is dangerous. In fact, I HATE seeing drivers talking on cell phones, as they usually are driving like they are drunk: either really slow or as if they are the only person on the road.

So, knowing that I hate cell using drivers, why on EARTH did I feel a strong urge to pull my cell phone out and call people while driving? It's not like I must talk to these people right now. In fact, I generally don't like talking on the phone. So where is this urge coming from? Why do I want to talk on the phone while driving?!??

by Tegan at 1:07 PM Seattle time - Permalink  

Thursday, February 03, 2005

Mongo-Random Thoughts Post

The Weekend section of Today's Seattle Times has an article about the Emerald City Comicon. The cover to the section is an annoying cartoon, even. And there's some celebrity tips on how to survive the con.

Check out the Benefit Auctions for Bill Loebs.

Near Mint Heroes reports on a couple upcoming comics, including AiT/Planet Lar's Filler. I find myself more interested in both books.

You can read the first chapter of Dragonsblood, the first Pern novel NOT written by Anne McCaffrey, on-line.

Your Mike Sterling link of the day. The new Mr Terrific is one of my favorite JSA characters.

The results of Polite Dissent's contest. I never could manage the Spiro Agnew angle, so my entry never got finished.

Speaking of contests, Trash Heap celebrates winning mine. The book went into the mail this morning.

And still speaking of contests, Four Color Meat & Fish has one going now, and it's even easier to enter than mine was.

Fanboy Rampage lays out the arguements for cheaper comics.

Sinister Ducks in Flash. Via Neil's Journal.

And... he swooshes it from the opposite side of the court. One of the coolest plays in basketball this year, and there's video of it. Via South Knox Bubba.

Cheerleader Tossing. Looks like she hurt her head going through the basketball hoop. Via Metafilter.

Tom Smith points us to Sphere XP, an alternative desktop to XP. As Tom says, you really need to run the videos to get the scope of the thing.

Sneak peek at Superbowl Ads. I will not be liveblogging the Superbowl ads this year because I'll be at the comicon. I might tape the game so I can check out the commercials, but don't count on it.

Speaking of the Superbowl, Thought Balloons reports that Marvel heroes will appear in a Visa ad. Maybe I will have to tape it...

Really really odd cyber-fish. Via The Modulator.

Nuns on Stools.

You can't take pictures of the Eiffel Tower at night.

Recordings of Bigfoot sounds. Perfect listening for your aspiring Cryptozoologist. Via Boing Boing.

An idea to save money for cities: go to open source software and you can hire more cops.

How to say "I love you" in more than sixty languages.

The History of Valentine's Day.

by Tegan at 1:37 PM Seattle time - Permalink  

Rapid Reviews - 26 January 2005 - Part III

Must finish last week's reviews so I can get to this week's reviews...

Usagi Yojimbo #81: "Into The Mist" and "Nocturnal": Another issue lacking Usagi himself. And yet, it's still fantastic. The stories involve a trip into the past and a ghost. As usual, both stories count as some of the best I've read this month. The only problem with Usagi Yojimbo is that it's so consistently wonderful that it's hard to come up with any praise. 4 starfish

Simpsons Classics #3: "When Bongos Collide!": This reprints a multi-part crossover involving Itchy and Scratchy, Radioactive Man and all the Simpsons. It's a fun adventure, not bad at all. While I'm still not a huge Simpsons fan, this was certainly readable. 3 1/2 starfish

Noble Causes: Distant Relatives: A color reprint of previously published B&W stories. This was an excellent mini-series, makes a great collection, and the events in this book are key to the current series. Definitely worth getting. 4 starfish

Samurai Executioner Vol 3: "The Hell Stick": More brutality, more fascinating looks into the history of Japan. There are three stories in this one. The first story involves a woman who needs to be cut to save herself and her family. I had to read that one twice to figure out why, but I eventually understood the nuances behind the plot. The second tale features a man who wants Yamada's job. The last tale told of a policeman who learns from Yamada. The stories led into one another, particularly the first and second. And the insight they provide is amazing. This is a good one to check out. 4 starfish

by Tegan at 11:55 AM Seattle time - Permalink  

Wednesday, February 02, 2005

Laura G's Sure-Fire Way To Impress Your Girl

Ok... this is to all you single guys out there who either have a girlfriend, or a girl who you would like to be your friend. Here's what you are going to do.

You are going to either go to your comic shop, bookstore, or to and order/buy "True Story Swear To God: Chances Are". Ok, that's part one.

Next, you are going to go and find some chocolates. This one will do just fine if you're too scared to pick out your own.

Ok, if you get everything together by Valentine's Day, then you will present them on that oh so romantic day to your girl with a smile and a "Hope you enjoy these." If you miss Valentine's day, present them with a romantic card of some sort. I do not recommend missing V-Day entirely, though... take her out to dinner that night.

Got it? After you've done all that, be sure to follow up and make sure she's read the book, a couple of days later. A good way to do that is to say, "Wasn't it cool how they met?" or something similar, depending on what you personally liked about the book (did I mention you need to read it too?).

If your girl isn't impressed at this point, she hasn't got a soul. Run away.

Update: Btw, this is $30 max (unless you add in dinner, then it's a bit more), if you aren't willing to spend that on your girl once a year, you might think about adjusting your priorities as far as women are concerned. Also: married guys? This ought to work for you as well.

by Tegan at 8:05 PM Seattle time - Permalink  

Bloggity Contest #1 Winners

Ok, I know. You all want to know who won the contest. I guess it's time to announce the winners of the first ever Bloggity Contest (though probably not the last)...

First up, thanks again to my celebrity panel of judges who helped me to slim down the list of winners. And an even bigger thanks to the ever generous Larry Young who provided four more copies of the book and a page of original artwork as prizes. He also provided the original copy I was giving away, so this whole thing is really a Larry Young provided deal.

I decided to limit the prizes to five: four winners who will receive the trade and one grand prize winner who will receive both the trade and the page of original artwork. Without further ado, and in no particular order, here are the four first prize winners.

First up is Jay Smith whose irony and sarcasm tinged entry appealed to the judges:

From the moment some concerned citizen's group first convinced some congressman to sponsor a bill to limit the availability of comics to children, it was settled. By both popular and governmental decree, comics are such an effective learning tool that they need careful monitoring to control what is being taught.

Jay's entry gave us a touch of the history of comic books as he made his point.

Next up is John Parkin, whose entry provided the judges with wonderful visualizations:

I know a consultant who uses comic books to help corporate speakers improve presentations. He recommends the speaker read comics out loud and mimic the characters. This helps speakers learn to use their voices to convey emotions. The most common question he receives is, "Do you have the next issue?"

The mere thought of corporate speakers reading "The Hulk" aloud left one of our judges with the giggles.

Our third winner is Erin Schadt, who made the connection between visual learning via films versus visual learning through comics:

For most students a visual connection to information cements the transfer of knowledge. Educators almost got it right when they began showing films and movies in class; however, not only do comics demand more active participation, but they are also more interesting than classics such as "Electricity: Friend or Foe?"

After reading this, one of our judges wanted to hunt down the mentioned film. The idea of comics being a visual medium that you have to work at a little was a common theme among entries.

Our fourth winner's entry was picked as the best by one of the four judges. Kelly Brown provides us with an anecdote of the effectiveness of comic books in improving reading:

A janitor at my school owes his literacy to comic books. While in the military he was given comic books to read to improve from a 3rd grade reading level. After reading comic books for 2 years he was reading at a college level. His lieutenant gave them to him.

Several other entries also mentioned using comic books to improve reading skills in adults, including people learning English as a second language.

And the Grand Prize, a Colonia trade and this page of original artwork from Colonia, goes to Nick Leggatt, whose entry was picked as best by three of the four judges, and was ranked number two by the fourth judge. I also liked it best by a tiny margin. So congrats to Nick, who gets the artwork and the trade!

Reading X-Men as a kid made me want to learn about cultures and languages. Reading the quasi-science mumbo-jumbo in Justice League made me want to understand real science. Reading Spider-Man led me to study the powers of spiders. You can study hard, but you learn when you least expect it.

A thanks to all our contestants, and I hope you all enjoy Colonia as much as I do.

by Tegan at 12:38 PM Seattle time - Permalink  

Tuesday, February 01, 2005

Colonia Contest Update

I'll be announcing the winners tomorrow here on the blog. My next contest, I swear, will just be a random drawing. Picking best entries was too hard! Even with a celebrity panel of four judges to help!

Speaking of the panel. A special thank you goes out to Paige, Scott, Carol, and Eric who assisted greatly in helping me winnow down the list to the final five winners.

And a special thank you to all the entrants. Your entries were inspiring.

by Tegan at 7:28 PM Seattle time - Permalink  


This morning while working on my computer, I started listening to the soundtrack to "Wicked" which hubby-Eric got, I think as a review copy for his website.

Oh wow.

I really want to see this play now. Yes, I admit it doesn't fit the Oz from the books. In fact, certain bits of certain songs only make sense to me if I'm looking at Oz from the point of view of the MGM movie. I think I'm going to have to read the book it's based on. But wow, it sounds really good.

I think my absolute favorite song is "Defying Gravity" which I kept whistling once I got to work. That's definitely the showstopper. I also liked the loathing song, "What Is This Feeling?" which, having had roommates in the past, I could identify with. "Popular" was a funny reminder of people who want to help you despite yourself. Two others that will stay on my play list for awhile are "I'm Not That Girl" and "No Good Deed".

As a person who generally likes musicals, this sounds like a great one. I hope it comes to Seattle soon. I suspect it won't be hard to convince hubby-Eric to take me.

by Tegan at 6:43 PM Seattle time - Permalink  

Rapid Reviews - 26 January 2005 - Part II

Conan #12: "The Widowmaker": The fantasy epic continues, and this issue inspired me to finally hunt down some original Conan tales to read. Lucky for me, the library has a collection of the first few tales. Again, the artwork is wonderful, the writing concise and strong. Conan is not a character I cared for before this series, but now I think I can say that I am a fan of Conan. 4 starfish

The Flash #218: "Rogue Profile: Heat Wave": A bit of a slowdown after the frantic pace of the last few issues. This one focuses on Heat Wave, as you might expect from the title and the front cover. And although it's good, I don't think it's quite as good as the last few issues. 3 1/2 starfish

Legion of Super-Heroes #2: I think I like Dream Girl. This one is disturbing in its implications, but it's also a nice set-up for the series itself. I think I'm enjoying this series. 3 1/2 starfish

JLA: Classified #3: "Seconds To Go: The End": No one will be surprised that I liked the portrayal of Aquaman in this issue. I'm not really sure about the artwork. There were points that seemed slightly wrong to me, but overall I think it was pretty good. Aquaman sure looked good, and it was nice to see him flirting with Diana again. 4 starfish

Amazing Spider-Man #75/516: "Skin Deep Part Two": So, Peter knows a nerd that wasn't as lucky as he was. And now that nerd has power. Very interesting. Charlie is one of those who has accepted his status as "victim" to the degree that he cannot accept that there is another way. How is Peter going to get out of this one? 4 starfish

by Tegan at 1:06 PM Seattle time - Permalink  

Monday, January 31, 2005

Random Thoughts

We Need a Digital Previews.

The UFO Coin, from 1680's France:

So, is it a UFO? A flower that's broken loose and is floating away in the wind? A Biblical Ezekiel's wheel? I vote for the flower.

Marvel's vice chairman, Peter Cuneo on Namor's Film: That film with Universal is well into development. We call it "Star Wars Underwater." Namor was first created in 1939 by Marvel. It is one of our older characters, oldest characters. It is a great story, and we are very excited about Namor. Via Comics2Film. Yes, I'm watching this one closely. Maybe not entirely for the reasons people would expect, either.

The facts behind the MGM suit. I've read a lot about it, but this explains it nicely. I also found a site that showed a screen cap from "A Fish Called Wanda" that showed how a full screen can show too much of the screen. Via Evanier.

Remember the fallen dotcoms. I particularly like the ads slide show.

Attack of the Moose!

I find this story hard to believe. On the other hand, things as sickening as this one are possible when the politicians don't think things through.

Speaking of politics, apparently the next generation already thinks we live in a dictatorship. Very scary results.

Fred Hembeck had similar experience on his birthday as I have on my birthday every four years or so. Sorry I missed wishing you a happy on the day, Fred. Hope the rest of the year is happy for you, too.

Yes, I will be at the Emerald City Comicon on Sunday. Only Sunday, sadly, as I have to work on Saturday.

Happy National Gorilla Suit Day.

by Tegan at 1:30 PM Seattle time - Permalink  

Iron Chef America Review

Bobby Flay vs Ming Tsai
(spoilers)(end spoilers)

I promised to say less about future episodes. So here's my quick thoughts on this one: Alton was identifying which chef the assistants worked for, thus solving one problem I had with last week's episode. I want the little cast-iron serving pots that Flay used. I also liked the judges this time. Is it just me, or are the chefs sort of cheating on the five dish requirement by presenting multiple dishes on a regular basis? Anyway, this one was good. I actually felt a bit of serious suspense at the end as I had hopes for who would win. 4 starfish

by Tegan at 9:08 AM Seattle time - Permalink  

Sunday, January 30, 2005

Retro Reviews - Duplication

I don't know if anyone is actually interested in these. My last Retro Review got no comments... the first one did fine but then there was the whole Namor-thing going with the origin of Aquaman. I guess the Silver Age is just boring? Ah well, if nobody comments on this one, I'll know to drop this feature. It's a lot of work.

This week I bring you a strange artefact of the old way comics were written. The duplicated story. I've found two examples of it in Aquaman, and I'm only going to focus on one of them because I don't have scans from the Golden Age version of the other example, only fiche. There may be more examples in Aquaman's history, but I haven't found them yet if there are. These two are very obvious cases.

In the Silver Age, sometimes an editor would take an old story script and rewrite it a little to update it. Then he would give the script to the current artist who would draw a completely new story. In many cases, the script is close enough to the original to match up lines. In the following case, it isn't only the script that's close... the artist is the same in both stories! I present to you "The Queen of the Sea" and "Aqua-Queen" from Adventure Comics #187 and #274, drawn by Ramona Fradon.

Adventure Comics #187/274

The story: After Aquaman judges a contest, one of the losers is sore enough to use tricks to embarrass Aquaman. Aquaman figures out how she's pulling the tricks, but doesn't expose her hoax, leading her to confess out of guilt.

Adventure Comics #187 has a cover date of April 1953. It is a 44 page book and Aquaman shares the pages with Superboy, Johnny Quick, and Green Arrow. The Aquaman story is five and 2/3 pages long and is titled "The Queen of the Sea". See the GCD for details and cover.

Adventure Comics #274 has a cover date of July 1960. It is a 36 page book and Aquaman shares the pages with Superboy and Congorilla. The Aquaman story is seven pages long and is titled "Aqua-Queen". See the GCD for details and cover.

Note: The story in Adventure Comics #273 is also a duplicate, this one of a 1942 More Fun Comics story! Trust me, if I had a copy of More Fun #86, I'd do this project with that story as well.

Both stories start out exactly the same: "One day, at a swimming meet held for charity..." and diverge a little from there.

Note that in the very next panel of the later story, Aquaman repeats his first line from the earlier story "Yes, I hate to diappoint anyone... but I'm afraid it can't be helped!", only with a new twist thrown in: "I hate to disappoint anyone, Aqualad! But I'm afraid it can't be helped!" Aqualad's presence changed the story mostly in respect to who Aquaman was talking with about the situation.

Next we have the panel in which our sore loser is identified. In Adventure #187 she's "Ann Collins, the wealthy heiress!" In Adventure #274 she's "Dale Conroy, the wealthy heiress!"

In the next panel, Aquaman says "Too Bad! But I wasn't asked to pick the richest swimmer... just the fastest one!" In the later version he expounds on that a little. Apparently in the later story he's judging more than just speed. That's a weakness with the first version of the story, by the way. Everyone in the audience should have been able to figure out who was fastest if it was a flat out race. In the second version, Aquaman makes it clear he isn't talking about speed: "But I wasn't asked to pick the richest girl! Just the best all-round aquatic performer! And she is anything but that!"

The story moves to a time "months later" when Aquaman is either an observer at a test of the Navy's new "atom-powered torpedo" (!) or Aquaman and Aqualad are observers during the recovery of the nose cone of a space rocket. Of course, something goes wrong and Aquaman is sent to recover the speeding piece of hardware. Only, he doesn't get the chance...

The interloper turns the out-of-control hardware around as the Navy men comment that Aquaman's face must be red. In both stories we get a nice shot of Aquaman's confusion as he deals with the fact that somebody was faster than him (and Aqualad).

He's even more surprised when he gets back to the Navy ship and faces his new rival.

At this point, the stories diverge. The later story has another page and a half to fill, and so there is an extra set of challenges. Dale Conroy challenges Aquaman to a battle of controlling fish, which she wins. That challenge does not appear in the earlier story.

The next challenge is to stay underwater. In the older story, Aquaman stays underwater 15 minutes, which is "about five times as long as any human can endure!" In the later story is stays underwater an hour, which is "twenty times as long as any human being can endure!"

Of course he's shocked when he finds out he came up before his challenger, and assumes that she's drowned. She pops up just then, and has a little fun at Aquaman's expense: "Well, well.. and now it seems that I've succeeded in staying under water longer than Aquaman, too!" Aquaman's response: "Impossible!"

The news across the world reports Aquaman's defeat, while Aquaman goes off to ponder this turn of events. In the older version, Aquaman noticed that fish are avoiding a certain area, and discovers a glass chamber that Ann used to stay underwater. In the later version, Aqualad dives down and bonks into the chamber that Dale used. But it's a bunch of expensive gadgets that let the wealthy heiress challenge Aquaman.

In a final challenge, Aquaman and the heiress are sent to get some rare plants. Aquaman sees the midget sub that Ann/Dale uses... but is surprised when she slows down upon entering a school of fish in order to not hurt any, despite it meaning that Aquaman can beat her. He chooses to not race ahead, and she beats him yet again.

Out of gratitude... or guilt... she decides to retire. That last line of Aquaman's, though, is delivered completely different in each story. And in the end, Ann and Dale aren't quite as similar as being in the same script might suggest.

Concluding Thoughts: I could go into a bit of speculation on why scripts were reused at that particular time, but I really don't know. I know that Aquaman was not unique in having duplicated scripts, and that it's one of those fun things to look out for when collecting one character through the ages. This one was a bit unusual in that it was only seven years in between the stories, and that the same artist drew both stories.

Lastly: I don't know if anyone is reading or enjoying these. If you are, a comment would be nice payment for my effort. I thought I'd also point you all to my wantlist again in case you've run across any old issues of Adventure or More Fun in the last week.

Next up: If there's interest, I think I'll tackle Aquaman's second ever story.

by Tegan at 1:44 PM Seattle time - Permalink  

Happy Birthday Janette!

Happy Birthday big sis. I hope the day goes smoothly for you.

by Tegan at 10:37 AM Seattle time - Permalink