Friday, May 27, 2011

Jack Of Hearts guests Starring Comic Book Rehab

My Globe Trekker 'Special' part 4 - San Diego Comic Con

(I'm still chasing the along now)

Don't the confuse the multitude of Star Wars stromtroopers with adjunct security - it just seems that way. They might not be much help in finding any missing items.  ;)

In smaller shows, it's possible to find comics sold for 25 cents or 50 cents, but at a larger show like this, expect to find old and new comics sold at prices ranging from one dollar and beyond. It really pays to look around and never regret leaving empty-handed if someone beats you to an item - there's always something else to buy. I'm looking for discount prices on  used Adam West Busts - an item sold exclusively online by a small company for over a hundred dollars direct - but possibly available in used shape for just under that price, here. 

Of course, it's disconcerting to seeing comics that you know you've seen in quarter bins being offered for three dollars or more...

I'll be back with more 'footage'...check on it!

Monday, May 23, 2011

Part Three over Ten - Comic Book Rehab Tours San Diego Con

Part Three of My Globe Trekker 'Special' 

(Yes...I'm still playing along)

The most unusual free swag I've ever seen was a yellow highlighter marker promoting Eli Roth's film CABIN FEVER. It was in the shape of a hypodermic needle. Even at 23, I wouldn't want to seen waving it around anywhere - some jokes are not worth the punchline.

I feel like I've barely scratched the surface on Comic-Con 'couture' - "Hello, Sir!"

(This gentleman appears to be middle-aged and is dressed as the superhero Wolverine)

"Tell about your choice of costume - it looks great."

"I'm a huge Wolverine fan - my house is full of stuff, anything with that character. I feel like some aspects of his character that I can relate to - he's a loner, I've got three kids - but just that sense of him being that kind of guy that you might've known at one time or another - the guy sitting in the bar leaning over his drink, not saying much - I get that. I like Hugh Jackman's portrayal of the character and the costume - people used to just think he could only be played by a Robert DeNiro-type, y'know - that attitude and stuff. So I made a costume - the ones in the shops don't really have an authentic look to them - my outfit was sewn up with help from my wife - she's a seamstress. I'm really proud of it and its become my uniform for Comic-Con for several years now."

"Terrific. You're in good company - there's a lot of guys and even girls wearing their own signature Wolverine outfits."

"Oh, sure...the character has had a lot of different artists, different designs - they're all valid  interpretations."

"Nice talking with you."

"Same here."

There's a lot of that going on - for example, you could have a Peter Sellers Inspector Clouseau mingle with a Steve Martin Clouseau and a Roberto Benigni Clouseau. If I could find an empty bucket to wear over my head, I could be a Roger Moore Clouseau...

There's more 'footage' to come. Check on it!

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Nine columns and counting... - Comic Book Rehab

Globe Trekker Special Pt. 2 - San Diego Comic Con

(still playing along with me?)

There's a lot to do here. Many attending buy a pass for a full week. Costumed attendees may alternate between walking in-costume one day and dressing casual the next. It's best to have a plan for your stay here, because it is impossible to see EVERYTHING, unless you're thinking like me - I've got a 'blitzkrieg' approach all set.

I was thinking of arriving here dressed as Rudy Maxa or Rick Steeves, but I'm not sure if that's too dry a reference - even for here.

"Excuse me, you know where the new Milla Jovavich movie is being shown?"


He kept on walking. I kept on walking.

Look, free swag! Lots of free shopping bags for putting stuff in, as well as movie poster, buttons, magnets, patches - anything related to a new movie that's coming soon, or a dud that has a lot of overstocked merchandise warehoused for over a year - would you like a "Space Chimps" edition of MAD LIBS? There are also lots of postcards and flyers avertising a lot of upcoming conventions and shows in other places, though most are smaller than the one in standing in. I remember attending one at a Holiday Inn that was the size of my mother's apartment!

(Today I learned that while I'm cleaning the lens on a Super 8 camera, I shouldn't leave the film in the camera - which is perched precariously over the egde of a full kitchen sink.)

I'll see if I can recover more "footage" next time. Check on me while I check on it!

Thursday, May 19, 2011

"Eightball - was a comic I read on vacation" - Comic Book Rehab

My Globe Trekker Special - San Diego Comic Con

(play along with me)

(cue title sequence)

San Diego - thousands flock here every summer - but not just for sun: they're here for the COMICS. That's right - Comic Con! Where tickets are sold out months in advance to an event that has thrived for over 30 years and survived numerous economic shakeups and changing public interests, all the while becoming a rapid-building multi-media hub for Hollywood power players giving advance notice to audiences born into the information age for a jam-packed week long event.  This is COMIC-CON!

(cue theme music montage - I'm lining up for an advanced film screening one moment, sampling corn dogs, looking for the bathroom, flirting with costumed female fans)

That's the first five minutes... I'm  rounding up 'footage' for the next half...

Check on me to see what happens next!

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Sovereign Seven - guest staring Comic Book Rehab

The Last Smallville (aka: "Dawson's Creek with Capes")

That joke was my first reaction to hearing about development on this T.V. series - which might have had its origins in a pilot script for a "Young Bruce Wayne" series  that never went into production. The 3rd season of Smallville hinted what might have been when a character named Adam Knight was introduced and had fans guessing - but that turned out to be a red herring (proof positive that every idea gets used).

Anyway... I was always ambivalant about this show - it fell into predictable soap opera patterns -  far too few thing happening, gimmicks (Kyrptonite-powered villains of the week, Clark's senior ring gem made of Red kryptonite, that cave, and Jor-El - the longest-running voicemail ever). When it got better was when it got closer to the source - and that was the problem. The show was a new twist on a series/character that is in dispute (Superboy) so when it became more about 'Superman', it seemed like the show was reborn - that was the last three seaons.

And what a terrific 3 seasons it was - cool takes on familiar stuff  Lois and Clark at the Daily Planet, the early days of the Justice League, Doomsday, Checkmate, the Suicide Squad lots of their  cool take on Green Arrow (which doesn't really exist in the comics - he's like a hybrid of the late 50's Batman wannabe and the late 70's-80's, pre-Mike Grell - when he was a columnist at a newspaper - that's a story that would would have made a fun subplot, with Oliver joining the staff at the Planet. Well, there's always the comics...just let me write it.) I liked how they let Lois and Clark be together and not wipe out her memories of his secret I.D. just to clean house - fans were guessing that would happen.

It made sense to me that the finale paid off the last 3 years rather than the whole show. Lex Luthor's return 'cameo' (that is the best way to describe it) was really just a way of dotting the i's and crossing the t's and putting the toys back in the box. We didnt' get to see Lex in his power suit joining Clark in the 3-way 'rassle with Darkseid - that's not really what the show was about, but yes, some fans were hoping for it, including me, just for a laugh. The only real showdown was the fight between brainwashed Oliver Queen (Green Arrow) and Clark at the wedding - that was well done.  The business of stopping the invasion of the New Gods by pushing their planet away like a communications sattellite is more impressive in summary form, but an impressive visual. One visual however,...

We only got to see Tom Welling partially in the Superman costume, usually in extreme close-up. Anyone hanging in there from the begining hoping to see Superman's grand entrance in the finale was probably tossing their drink at the sight of a cgi Superman, instead. Was that their nod to the old 40's serials, where a cartoon substituted for the actor in flying scenes?

As for the framing sequence, I thought it was nice, if a bit cloying, though it had me wondering if Chloe's son is a young Connor Hawke - the 90's Green Arrow - Oliver's son in the comics. Yep, there's nothing new under the sun in funybooks...

This felt like my longest entry yet!

Take care. Be Good. Send me any Superman comics you don't want. Bye-bye. ;)

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Selective Six: "The Thrill of The Hunt!, By Jove!"

I've made allusions to hunting and "The World's Most Dangerous Game" in regard to Free Comic Book Day - which is this Saturday, May 5th - because that's exactly what it is. It's not promoted too well, some comic shop owners get to practice being sly, and the end result is a walkabout of every shop you can think of within sane distance.

Some shops will have ordered enough copies of free swag to appease both the regular customers, the newcomers, the swag seekers, and the stage mothers hoping this will be the only trip to the store they or their kids will ever make. Some have shopkeepers-turned soup nazis, handling out one random copy of any book to whomever has the right teeth or hair or whatever pleases. Other shops use the day to package unsold overstock and hand it out in random grab bags - others will carry on as though the day does not exist. The best shops have enough to let you pick one of everything.

Then there's the comics. There's not much in the way of a guide to what's being offered, so with no opportunity to browse, your judgement is based on the cover that catches your eye - there's the trap. You might be picking an unfinished preview or a free reprint of a book you already have or lightwieght new material. If the store has set a limit, you're sunk. Trust your instincts. Search the net before you walk in and walkabout.

Now, what can be more fun than to use a familiar example to explain the need for FCBD and the Comic Book Market in as vague a way as possible:

Picture a long wide countertop filled with tall glasses of milkshakes - all flavors. You've got a box of straws-sip one milkshake, discard the straw, then use a fresh straw to take another sip out of that same milkshake. You never move on to the other shakes and repeat the same actions with your straws until that one glass is half-full, or half-empty, from your p.o.v. You suddenly decide it's a good idea to try the other shakes on the counter - but you're out of fresh straws. So you try using a used straw to sip out of the other shakes. That isn't really a great idea, but it's all you've got and you repeat these steps - while going back to the increasingly shrinking first glass, because that's the only one that you had used all the straws on and it seems to work out, might as well finish it up.      

That's the last 15 years in a nutshell.

Take care everyone. have a milkshake. ;)

P.S. - Don't think I'm giving comic shops a poke in the ribs just because they're spending more on free stuff than they can hope to earn back - it's not their business to think that way - this day was created with high optimism, minimal negativity. Until the day when someone writes a book called "The Power Of Negative Thinking" then positive is the way to go.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Fantabulous Five with Comic Book Rehab

"You know this might be a big pile of crap, here." - John Huston

Well, John, I happen to think the THOR movie has potential to do great box office. My frame of reference is hazy, though. I read and liked the early issuses of the 1998 revamp, under the "Heroes Return" banner, by the team of Dan Jurgens and John Romita jr. I also liked Walt Simonson's "Frog Thor" story, which was really well done - not as audacious as some fans thought (the actual norse myth has an episode where Thor goes undercover in drag as a mail-order bride to retrieve his stolen hammer - pronounced 'mail-joor-neer', so that you'll know before anyone in the audience knows). Blake Edwards could've directed THAT film.

I stopped following the Jurgens/Romita jr. run closely because the main villains in that initial story arc - The Dark Gods - weren't too interesting once they were unveiled. They did solve one mystery on time, though - Marnot - Thor's mysterious benefactor/watchdog in the early issues turned out to be one of Odin's ravens and not Loki, as many believed. Oh, well. From there, the creative team spent their run reflecting on other creative team's in the book's past and it seemed like they ran out of gas. I would have preferred if they brought back the eskimo sea witch from issues 3-4 for a rematch. Yes, in the book, she's referred to as Inuit sea witch, but c'mon, one is more fun than the other.

I didn't catch the re-re-revamp by J. Michael Strazinski either, on account of how I'm convinced he only writes to new readers, people who've read nothing or seen nothing in pop culture before that would allow them to second guess. It was successful, though, and the film seems to be a mishmash of that, along with the  "nowhere man, nowhere plan" wandering "dude" from Mark Miller's run on the Ultimates, setting up Thor's appearance in the upcoming Avengers film. Moviemaking synergy can be like forming a banquet out of meals brought in by guests from other places sometimes.

Take Care.