Tuesday, February 28, 2006

"Happy Fat Tuesday"

Hurricanes may come and go, but nothing seems to be able to stop The Spirit of New Orleans or The Mardi Gras celebrations, so the best of wishes to anyone in the Gulf Coast Area today.

I neglected mentioning that my last post was the 250th. I've done on the "Elmo's Junction" blog. That's 250 posts in a little less than 2 years now (I started this one in May of '04).

Well I noticed that according to surveys, President Bush's popularity poll has now slipped to 34%; the lowest it's been in his administration. Question is: Would this country be any better if anyone else was in office? I certainly don't want his job. Me? Well...you know...I just wanna be The Supreme Pharaoh of The Galaxy (*heh*)!

My wife's going back up to see her dad in the U of L Hospital today while I stick around here and take care of some things that need being caught up on. We've got a pretty day here in South-Cenral, KY. with temperatures upwards to the 60's and tomorrow's high might actually reach 70 degrees! Even at 6AM tomorrow morning it's supposed to be 51. (Time to take off those long johns.)

Sad of course to hear about actor Dennis Weaver passing on. Haven't seen anything of his in years. I was never a "big" fan of his work I guess because I was never into the myriad westerns that appeared on t.v. in the late 1950's, although I do indeed recall watching lots of episodes of Gunsmoke when spending weekend nights at my grandparents. Also, I thought the show got pretty "cut-and-dry" after he left the series. I do also remember his early 70's t.v. series ("McCloud") and watching it quite a bit and enjoying it, though.

And in the mail yesterday I received about a dozen comics; a real hodgepodge of titles. There were 2 misc. issues of Animal Man I needed (1 by Morrison) as well as 3 different issues of the second DC-Vertigo series of Doom Patrol (2 of which were by Morrision). Also in the lot was a copy of the DC 1983 The Omega Men #3 which features the first app. of the character "Lobo" (quite different back then than he is today), and finally, 5 misc. issues of the 1970's DC title, Batman Family, of which I found the most interesting.

Beats me why I didn't have any issues of this title in my current collections. I suppose that I'd sort of forgotten about it because it was originally published during the short few years of my life that I didn't purchase comic books on any sort of regular basis. And these are right from that particular time period of 1975-76.

Well...that's not really true. I did have a subscribtion to Howard the Duck back around then, and did indeed buy "some" comics, but usually those that were less than fifty cent cover price. "Batman stuff" seemed to have been on the lower end of my collecting agenda at the time. I really missed out on some good stuff.

For instance, these issues I got are #'s 7, 8, 13, 14 & 16. They began as a fifty cent title then progressed into the sixty cent cover price. In #7, Robin and Batgirl fight the Golden-Age "Huntess and Sportsmaster" villians, and this issue also contains two different Silver-Age Batman reprints, one of which has artwork by one of my all-time favorite artists, Dick Sprang, and the original story artwork is by yet another personal favorite, Curt Swan.

In #8, it's Robin's first solo novel-length tale where he battles "The Catwoman", and it has a cameo by "The Joker's Daughter", plus a Silver-Age Batman reprint as well.

#13 contains the unique art combinations of Don Newton & Marshall Rogers where Batgirl & Robin AND Man-Bat fight "The Outsider" in what is his first app. since Batman discovered years before that he this was an entity which possessed his butler, "Alfred"! This issue also gives a history of The Outsider character.

#14 features a rare bronze-age app. of Batwoman in a double-length tale, plus a Man-Bat back-up feature and Don Heck artwork.

And #16 we have some rather beautiful artwork by Michael Golden on The Man-Bat back-up. Issues 13, 14 & 16 (as well as others in this series, I'm sure) also feature cover artwork by Jim Aparo.

There were 20 different issues of this title published by DC from 1975 to 1978 and I've definately added them to my comic book want list, now.

Monday, February 27, 2006


As far as we know so far my father-in-law came through his cancer operation very well. He'll be in the U of L Hospital for around a week now. My thanks to one and all for your best wishes and prayers!

Saturday, February 25, 2006

"Some Batty Comments"

Although I don't buy much in the way of "toys" these days, I did in fact make one recent small purchase; a "Hotwheels Die-Cast of The Batmobile" from the Batman Begins flick. Found it for three bucks and it has a tiny, little die-cast "Batman" with it. I sort of hated to even buy the thing. I mean, it's so horrendous-looking. The first time I saw previews for that movie and saw the vehicle I knew at an instant that within a week it'd be selling across the country as a remote-control car. I'm surprized the back wheels don't flip over the front and it starts spinning like a top!

Probably, such a car is a more reasonable vehicle for The Batman to have. Perhaps I'm just spoiled to all the other cars from the flicks that began in 1989, to think it should have more style. Or maybe it's just because I'm so tired of these movie producers thinking the character has to rely on so many gimmicks instead of his detective skills (which is what the character is supposed to be all about), but that car just looks like an armored hummer to me.

But I do have samples of the vehicles used in the OTHER flicks in my "Batmobile Collection", so...

In fact, I have something like 50 different Batmobiles dating from the 1960's to current. Things like an Aurora 60's Batmobile plastic model, a scarce foreign-made battery-operated (RED colored) tin one from the early 1970's, Corgi, Hot Wheels and Husky versions, the 1975 Mego one, the 1974 Hamway version, the 1970's plastic Duncan one with brightly colored Batman & Robin figures seated in it, a full set of the Corgi seven different versions from each decade from the 1930's to 2000 in 1:43rd. scale, the 1:32nd. scale die-cast of the Batmobile from the 1950's, plus many more including a huge remote control version, and even a "Batmobile telephone" of the 1989 movie version.

I've always loved that particular car, having seen more than one of the several originals that were built for the 1960's t.v. show at both car shows and the Guiness Museum in Gatlenbury, Tennessee. It's one of those dream cars I've always liked to have one of for real! My others being a '61 Jaguar, or "The Monkeemobile", or "The Black Beauty" (from "The Green Hornet" t.v. show), or "The Red Baron", or even a 1963 red & white Cheve Impala coup with a 283 / 4-barrel, white-walls and twin rear antenni (like I had as a teenager).

But I guess I'll just have to settle for my Ford Taurus. At least it gets me to work!

And...on the local scene...this is the weekend of the annual "Concave", or, "UpperSouthCon" as it's called, and it takes place just a couple of miles from where I live. I'd like to go to it, but honestly, this convention is only an excuse for a bunch of over-aged SF fanboys/girls to smooze with their clique-group of buddies, and it's far from being worth the $30. or $35. bucks (or whatever ungodly admission fee they're charging these days; dunt know since it's been like 9 years since I've attended one) just to go into the dealer's room (really the only part of the con' that interests me) to make a few purchases. For what that's worth, I could always drive the 35 miles to a comic shop and still come out waaaayyyy ahead money-wise, and besides, isn't that a little unreal to charge anyone anything at all if they only want to buy something at one? Looks like they'd just let you in for free for that since you're there to spend money anyway with their dealers.

That, and I have an ex-wife that I've tried to avoid for the past 26 years that's into that sorta thing these days and when I did attend the last one, she was set up AS a dealer in costuming. So you can see why I avoid this convention.

Friday, February 24, 2006

" 2/24 Follow-Up"

I try not to harbor ill feelings towards people, but there are the select few that I'd just as well take a ball pein hammer to at times (at least in my fantasies). Case in point, one pawn shop owner who had called and told me to go through those several boxes of modern-type comics.

So today I made a special trip over to see them, and when I came into the shop, I noticed they were gone. I asked her where they were and she said she'd sold them all to one person. She never called me to save me a trip although she had my telephone number (and it wasn't long distance), my name as well as my e-mail address, and I had told her more than once if she'd decided to sell all of them at one time to definately give me a call. But, she didn't. She just wasted my time.

Needless to say, I was a bit more than simply pissed about this.

So much so, that in the little antique shop that joins the building I could have bought a complete 1964 "Give-A-Show Projector" set, AND, a 1952 "Disney Peter Pan Fun Book", both for just twenty bucks. But I was so irritated about the comics, I just passed and left before my temper got the best of me.

In fact, my wife was with me and wanted to stop at Wallyworld. I put a dollar's worth of quarters into their lobby machine for some "Simpson's stickers", and that ripped me off (with no sign saying Out of Order, or Empty. So, I just went back and sat in the car. Didn't even buy a couple of action figures that interested me. The whole day just soured me on buying anything at all.

"Just Let It Be"

I had thought about reorganizing my comic book collections. Back when I was a teenager, I kept each company seperate for handy access to any particular issue. But...that's really problematic. Because, back then you see, I didn't keep my comics stored in "long" boxes, but had, instead, each title stacked seperately upon shelves. They weren't in any alphabetical order, either. The metal shelves were usually about 5 tiers tall and wide enough that I could put 5 or 6 titles on each. So a typical shelf might consist of seperate stacks of, say, Fantastic Four, Spider-man, The Avengers, Daredevil, X-men, and Sgt. Fury. Or, another shelf might have Justice League, Superman, Action, Adventure, Batman & Detective.

If I only had enough books to make a healthy stack of comics of some company, I'd just stack them altogether in order, like maybe a stack of Harvey, or Towers, or ACG.

But...that was back then, and over the years I learned it was better on the comic's spines NOT to stack them such, and went to storing them vertically instead in boxes that are designed for that purpose. And that's when I went to the system of alphabetical filing. Now, that's okay too, IF you only have 5 or 6 boxes of comics; NOT if you have 40+ boxes. Say you want an issue of Zorro, and you have 8 boxes across stacked at least 5 high, well...that's a LOT of lifting and moving around, especially in a tight storage area just to get to some specific issue you want, as well as making it difficult to insert new additions to your collections.

So's...I get the idea here lately that maybe I want to at least go back to seperating the books by company again. Leave them in alphabetical order, but have nothing in some boxes but DC's, some Marvel, etc. This has it's problems too.

There are so many titles that began being published by one company, then discontinued and picked up by another company retaining its numbering sequence. For example, Tarzan was started by Dell, then Gold Key, then DC. If you sperated by companies, that title would have to be in three different places. A title such as The Phantom was started by Gold Key, then King Comics, then Charlton. Once again, three different places. God help you on some of the Disney-type books such as Donald Duck, Uncle Scrooge, or Walt Disney's Comics & Stories using a seperate company system of filing. You'd start off with Dell, then Gold Key, then Whitman, then Gladstone, then Gemstone, then Disney, etc., etc.

Yet another problem here is that you'd have to have just a misc. box of sorts for those companies that published only 1 to 10 comics at all, such as M.F. Enterprizes, or Lightning. Even Skywald probably didn't publish more than 10 actual comics.

So what did I finally decide? You guessed it. Just leave them as they are and say the heck with it and save my poor ol' aching back the pain of moving those heavy boxes.

Thursday, February 23, 2006

"And, Along..."

Well, It would appear that not just one person won that big Powerball Jackpot last Saturday Night, but rather a number of people who had gone it together and bought tickets. According to what I've read, each will clear around $15 Million each. I could live with that.

No real news today, nothing in the mail. Just a very hectic and busy for me at work. This morning driving there around 7AM, the fog was so thick you couldn't see 50 ft. ahead of you. But that burned off quickly and temperatures got upwards to the 50's with a cool wind. Tomorrow's supposed to be more of the same so maybe I can finally get over to look through those several long boxes of modern type comics I was supposed to have looked through Tuesday.

As well, tomorrow's payday for me and I'll have to go by to get that, and "whatever" other things rear their heads for me to take care of, so I can see a full day ahead.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

"Bloggin' Right Along..."

The same people that I used a BIN to purchase a copy of Omega Men #3(1st. app. "Lobo") from yesterday offered me a few more items at .99 each from my various want lists of comics, and I'll be getting another 3 misc. issues of the DC/Vertigo Doom Patrol I need (which will bring those down to 10 issues to complete that set), plus another 2 issues of Animal Man (think I'll still need around 15 or 16 of those though).

I finally finished re-reaing that 1996 series run of Supergirl in order so I could make better sense of it all (well, all but the 4 odd issues I don't have), which is composed of 80 issues plus 2 Annuals and the 1 Million one-shot. After the re-read it all joined together quite nicely, and I'm a bit surprized that this didn't end up as a Vertigo title somewhere along the way, as the storylines regarding "Earth Angels", "Demons In Human Form", etc. would surely have fit in with those sort of titles.

But after all of those it's nice to see Kara Zor-El back as a super-heroine again in her new title as it fits in more with the original concept of the silver-age character.

And, by the way, that's the last you'll hear me review a Supergirl title for a long time...which I'm sure everyone that reads this blog on any sort of regular basis will be happy to hear. (*heh*)
So...what am I gonna read now? (Okay...who's the smart a$$ that said a book WITHOUT any pictures?!?!?)

And, after my dad worrying my mom and me to death over trying to get his riding lawn mower started and running yesterday (as well as numberous trips back-and-forth to his place to work on same) I finally called off my trip to look through those long boxes of modern comics. Will try that again Friday when I have another day off, leaving early that morning as I'll have other things to getout of the way then as well (like, going by to pick up my weekly paycheck and depositing it). My dad means well, really, but age has taken quite the toll on his mind, I'm afraid. I was speaking with a good neighbor who checks in on dad regularly, especially during the day when I'm at work, and even he said that he was able to see how much he'd gone down just since last Autumn. Dad doesn't even have the strength in his hands to turn the ignition key on his truck, which is a good thing in a way because seriously, I wouldn't want him to be out on the road at his age and condition. I'm sure that aging parents are something many of you can sympathize about, or shall know about as the years pass by. We simply don't live forever, nor do we retain the energy we did sometimes even a year before. I know I certainly can tell a difference in when I was 40 and now at age (nearly) 55, and I keep extremely active.

Well, as you can tell by my saying my next day off from work means that I personally didn't win that $365,000,000.00 Powerball Jackpot last Saturday night. From what I hear, one person from Nebraska won it. Can ya imagine...

So it's back to $10,000,000.00, which I'm certain I'd be over-joyed to win. Never could figure these people out that say they don't buy a lotto ticket until it's way up there (like they'll ever have 10 Mil' in their lifetimes!)

The ones that REALLY kill me are the people that win it big, then say they'll keep their jobs...as street cleaners or garbage men...just because they love their work.


Tuesday, February 21, 2006

"Day Off Ramblings"

Made a few on-line type purchases/won auctions and the like recently.

One of the auctions I won was for 5 misc. issues of the 1970's DC title, Batman Family, of which for some unknown reason I currently didn't have a single issue. There were 20 issues of this title published by DC between 1975 to 1978 or so. They contain Barbara Gordon "Batgirl"app.s, plus "Robin", and some even have the original silver-age "Batwoman" in probably what was some of the last of her stories.

Something I never could figure out about the original Batwoman, as well as the original "Batgirl" was why they wore such colorful, bright costumes if they were trying to imitate Batman? Needless to say, I feel the costume the curent Batgirl has to be much more in the tone of the character.

Other issues in this lot include app.'s of such characters/villians as the original "Huntress & Sportsmaster", "Catwoman" (in her original costume), "The Outsider", and "The Man-Bat". Looks like they'll be some good bronze-age reading.

Yet another lot I purchased/won was nearly 20 misc. app.'s of the Michael Gilbert character, "Mr. Monster", with issues from the first series by Eclipse Comics, plus some of the Dark Horse ones and even two different Graphic Novel collections. It includes his first app. from Vanguard #7, and the first issue of his Eclipse series, plus others. Should be more than enough to satisfy any "craving" of those great tales.

And finally, I used the BIN to purchase a copy of the 1980's DC title, Omega Men #3, simply because it's the first app. of "Lobo". I got this cheap (under two bucks) and consider it being a good investment considering he's pretty much a major sort of character running around in The DC Universe these days.

And, later on today, I'll be going to look once again through several long boxes of fairly modern stuff ('80's-'90's comics). I've gone though these boxes already a couple of times and pulled out anything really good, so this time I'll be scarfing up some just misc. filler stuff, like issues of Namor, and Alpha Flight, and the second series of Nick Fury or Dr. Strange. At thirty cents a book it's not a "big" investment, but a lot of decent reading I'm sure.

And, in other news. My father-in-law will be having his stomach operation next Monday (the 25th.) at the U of L Hospital in Louisville (KY.). They'll be removing the part of his intestine which contains the cancer, then reconnecting it. He'll probably be up there at least a week.

My own father, who is pretty frail, is still fairly healthy for a man who is about to turn 86. I was over there visiting today, charging up the battery on his riding lawnmover. He's got bad cabin fever from our Wintery weather here in South-Central, KY. as of late and just itching to mow a lawn and get out of the house. Of course, it'll more than likely be a couple of months before grass-cutting time again.

Weather here has as usual been off-and-on good for the season, but there's been three weekends in row with snow and it's predicted for us once again this coming weekend. None of the snow accumulation has been bad enough to really give us any problems, especially in making it to work, though. It's usually melts off mostly by noon and very little, fortunately, has actually stuck to the roadways. Last weekend we did have a pretty cold night with temps dropping into the teens, but more often it only gets into the 20's, so we've been very lucky so far. Of course, we still have a couple of months ahead of us until truely warmer weather arrives, and one never knows the "future of weather".

(I recall one Winter, I think it was 1968 here, when the temperatures got warm enough that as a teenager I went swimming in the nearby lake in March, only for the temperatures to drop drastically and we had one of the largest snows in these parts ever the following month of April.)

But Spring arrives in just a month now. I welcome it with open arms.

Saturday, February 18, 2006

"Can You Bear This Joke?"

Frank was excited about his new rifle and decided to try bear hunting. He travels up to Alaska, spots a small brown bear and shoots it. Right afterwards, there was a tap on his shoulder and he turned around to see a big black bear.

The black bear said, "That was a very bad mistake. That was my cousin and I'm going to give you two choices. Either I maul you to death or we have sex." After considering briefly, Frank decided to accept the latter alternative. So the black bear has his way with Frank.

Even though he felt sore for two weeks, Frank soon recovered and vowed revenge. He headed out on another trip back to Alaska where he found the black bear and shot it dead. Right afterwards, there was another tap on his shoulder. This time a huge grizzly bear stood right next to him.

The grizzly said, "That was a big mistake, Frank. That was my cousin and you've got two choices. Either I maul you to death or we have rough sex." Again, Frank thought it was better to cooperate with the grizzly bear than be mauled to death. So the grizzly has his way with Frank.

Although he survived, it took several months before Frank fully recovered. Now Frank is completely outraged, so he headed back to Alaska and managed to track down the grizzly bear and shoot it. He felt sweet revenge, but then moments later, there was a tap on his shoulder. He turned around to find a giant polar bear standing there.

The polar bear looked at him and said, "Admit it Frank, you don't come here for the hunting, do you?"

Thursday, February 16, 2006

"Misc. Thoughts"

An interesting blog site I read today was "Comic Book Urban Legends", although, if the first legend in No.17 is true, I find this very sad and disapointing news about a comic book legend whom I've held in such great esteem over the years.

And, in other news, there should be a hundred reasons why I shouldn't enjoy the latest DC Supergirl title, but for the like of me, I can't seem to think of a single one. This latest incarnation of the "Maid of Might" took root in Superman/Batman #8 (2004) and appeared off and on in the title until #19 before given her own book. Issue #19 of S/B was so popular, in fact, that it was reprinted as Supergirl #"0".

I find Jeph Loeb's writing on this character very satisfying, and the artwork by the likes of Michael Turner, and Ian Churchill to be excellant. The stories are riveting and well-developed. This is definately not the Supergirl Peter David gave us, but, thus far, handled very well.

Moving right along...I see that the Powerball Lottery is now over $300,000,000.00! Unreal. Even with the cash option and after taxes one would have at least a hundred million clear. What would anyone do with such a sum? Move to Beverly Hills? Get a cement pond? A whole lot of good could be accomplished with that sort of money; as well, a whole lot of evil, I'm sure.

And today the temperature here in South-Central, Kentucky hit almost 70 degrees with still over a month left until Spring begins. But, we're supposed to "pay" for that starting tomorrow with temperatures dropping steadily throughout the day by at 40 degrees and a chance of snow this weekend again and it not getting out of the 30's! It's "the end of the world", I tell ya.

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

"Yesterday's News"

In my last post of February 12th., I commented on Abraham Lincoln's birthday and his birth site in Hodgenville, Kentucky. Oddly enough, just yesterday I was within spitting distance of it when I traveled to Hodgenville to have my annual tax forms filed with an old aquaintance who has done such for me ever since my wife, Debbie, and I were married 17 years ago. In fact, with all the leaves fallen from the trees this time of the year, you can plainly see the memorial building which houses Lincoln's birth cabin from the highway as one passes the entrance on HWY 31-E North. (As we passed, naturally, I wished Abe a belated "Happy Birthday".)

After we dropped off the forms, we traveled the 2 miles or so to downtown Hodgenville to an antique store, and I was talking with some of the locals who were telling me that in 2008 the 100th. Anniversary of Lincoln's Birth Celebration will begin, going thruough 2009. They informed me that the downtown section will undergo some major changes in renovation during that time.

And, while my wife looked around the shop at their various crafts and the like, I looked through a stack of old magazines from before World War II. There were some women's magazines from 1890 that were interesting just because they had advertisements for "Pear Soup"; a popular brand at the time. Interesting to me, because in our bathroom we have these two reproduction prints of Pear ads from that time period on the walls above our antique, claw-footed tub.

Then my eyes rested on a small stack of 1930's humor magazines such as College Humor and Judge, and I looked through them and purchased one for myself: Whiz Bang Annual #2 from 1940. Now this is not the "Capt. Billy's Whiz Bang" publication which were the pillar of the then forming Fawcett Publications. That had ceased publication in the latter 1930's and they had published numberous "annuals" (also, all of the Capt.Billy stuff was "Reader's Digest" size). No, this was by Country Publications who I suppose capitalized on the Whiz Bang title to capture readers, although it's contents were a little similiar in having risque men's cartoons (and the size of a common modern day magazine). What interested me the most about this particular magazine was that it contained cartoons by the late Henry Boltinoff (1914-2001). Now for anyone that's anyone who knows comic book history, and particularly DC Comic's history, knows that name very well! Boltinoff did numberous one page strips that any older comic collector remembers (my personal favorite being "Super-Turtle"). It was very interesting for me to see some of his earliest work as he had only begun free-lance submissions such as this 3 or 4 years before that time.

After staying in Hodgenville an hour or so, we headed over to Elizabethtown, which is about 10 miles away from there. We went to yet another antique-type mall we regularly frequent and I looked through several hundred inexpensive modern comics. One of which I should list on my "Beatles & Bizarros" blog listings, but I hesitate since it falls sort of into the advertizement catagory, and usually I don't list such appearances. But, this one does have an original drawing of John Lennon. It's on the inside back cover of the King Hell-Kitchen Sink limited series by Rick Veitch called The Maximortal. This particular issue is the last one from the mid 1980's (No.7) and it shows John wearing one of their specialty t-shirts. I would assume, however, that this ad ran in numberous issues by that company at that time, so it makes such an appearance rather borderline.

After the mall we visited with my father-in-law for several hours, who is to have a serious operation in a couple of weeks. Then, back home just to try to relax the rest of the day. We left at 7AM and didn't get back until close to 5 PM. I really needed another day off just to recover from the one I had.

Sunday, February 12, 2006

"Happy Birthday Honest Abe"

Today is the birthdate of Abraham Lincoln, who was born in 1809 (by my figuring 197 years ago) in Hodgenville, Ky.

His family soon moved to another little burg in Kentucky (Knob Creek), but he only stayed there until he was 2 years old and the family moved to Illinois.

Hodgenville is about 45 miles from where I live, and probably every kid in Kentucky at one time or another back in grade school, took a field trip to the Lincoln Farm and birthplace. The National Site is located right outside of the town and a pleasant little drive along HWY 31-E North from here. At the park there's, of course, a museum, picnic area, a gift shop where they sell Civil War-type things, and one can walk over to the old boundry oak which was old when Lincoln was young. The base of the oak is immense, and usually they'd have the school children join hands and circle to tree to see how many it took to make the link.

Then there's the little spring where the Lincoln Family got their water, and of course, the log cabin in which Lincoln was born, situated within a large memorial building.

Funny thing though about that cabin. No one knows if it's actually the one he was born in or not. You see, interest in the cabin itself didn't happen until around 1909 on what would mark his 100th. birthday. At that time everyone just about had heard or read about Lincoln's childhood (since he'd only been dead around 40+ years at that time), but the cabin had not been preserved as any sort of momument. So...they went to look for it.

What they found on the old homeplace was more than one cabin, so, they decided that the one in the best shape was his. In 1916 congress designated The Lincoln Farm as a National Historic Site.

The cabin was then unassembled and taken across the country on tour. In fact, it was on display at the 1939 World's Fair.

Then , in the 1940's, a memorial building was build and the cabin assembled within (where it's stayed ever since). Whether or not that's the actual birth cabin of Lincoln is unimportant however as long as it helps to remind people everywhere who come to see it, that it represents the humble beginnings of a man who rose pretty much from poverty, educated himself and obtained the highest political office in this country; a man who struggled with the conflicts of brother against brother during The War of The States, and chiefly responcible for the abolition of slavery.

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

REVIEWING: "Madrox: Multiple Choice"

Read the Madrox: Multiple Choice 2005 series from Marvel last night. It's the first series I'd read from Marvel in a while, and the only thing that caught my interest enough to read it was because Peter David had written it. What with reading series he'd done in the past with mostly long-john heroes, I thought this series might be a welcomed change of pace (and it was).

Madrox, you might recall, was all part of the new "X-Factor" team that was introduced later on in that title, replacing old X-Men characters as the team. And, in theis series, we have Madrox, Strong Guy and Wolfsbane, all former members of the old X-Factor ( the latter two play more minor parts in this story) except now they're not in any sort of team, but rather living in a section of NYC called "Mutant Town".

Well, right off, you get the picture. There's different areas of NYC that pretty much contain primarily one cultural group of people, and in this area live mostly mutants. Madrox needs to have some sort of income and starts up a P.I. business. Seems pretty natural a thing to do since he can split his body into multiple copies and send them out to do the jobs, then reabsorb the copies as well as any information they may have obtained into his original self. But..."things" have changed a bit since his X-Factor days.

His duplicates are starting to take on individual personalities and some of them just as well have a life of their own. In fact, the whole story begins where it appears that Madrox has been stabbed and is trying to get back to his office, and it turns out that it's actually one of his dup's. When the original Madrox reabsorbs this copy he feels the pain his dup is suffering as well, which darn near kills him. And he finds that each time he does this trick he's a bit disoriented for a while.

And we as the readers think that this wounded duplicate got that way because he was messin' around with a gangland boss's gal and the ganster stabbed him in revenge...but t'anin't so.

Which is where I'll leave you with this review because you may not have read this series and want to and I don't want to ruin it with spoilers. But the rest of this tale involves trying to find out who stabbed his duplicate and "why". It's well worth the read and different from previous David work. David's writing is well illustrated by Pablo Raimondi in a style that will remind you of many a 1950's film noir detective flick.

Personal Rating would be out of 5 "stars", I'd give it four.

Sunday, February 05, 2006

The Supergirl Saga (Continues...)"

I was going to try to review the remaining 70+ issues of Supergirl (DC 1996 series), but due to the length of the review, I started looking around on other sites and found a summary that I feel is much better than what I could do here.

So just click onto this link and it'll tell you all you ever needed to know about this character's history, as well as other "Supergirls" in the DC Universe.

And, if you'll click here, it'll give you a complete list of the "Matrix/Supergirl" character from said series in the order of their appearances (or, "pretty much" complete, at least).

I would like to say that overall, it's an excellant series; much better work by Peter David (I feel) than he ever did on his long run of "The Incredible Hulk" (but, of course, we're talking apples and oranges here; one being a Marvel character and the other DC/one being male and the other female).

I'll be getting in issues of the new Supergirl series soon: #'s 1-3, plus some of the stories about her before she gained this current title. It won't be so much to digest at one time and I'll give my opinion of it as they arrive and are read.

Saturday, February 04, 2006

Goodbye Grandpa"

A great actor, Al Lewis, passed away last Friday at age 95 from problems with his continuously failing health. It saddens me to hear that yet another beloved actor, best known for his role as "Grandpa Munster", is with us no more, and as well another part of the original "Munsters" cast departed.

There was so much more to this man than as a t.v. icon, so please read the above link (somewhat dated but still informative).

"I'm Fixing A Hole Where The Rain Gets In..."

After multiple attempts at fixing a leak over the bathroom area, I think this last time finally did the trick ("Knock On Wood!"). A week or so ago I got up on my roof and worked on the area over the bathroom for what was probably the forth time since I've lived here in this house I bought going on 5 years ago. But this time, instead of merely throwing more tar on it, I went into the attic first and surveyed the area where water kept coming in.

I can't get access directly to the bathroom area because that ceiling's been dropped over the years and the openings were much too small to get into. However, "someone at some time" had put three pans in the area to catch leaking water. How they got them in that area had always been a mystery to me and they were where I couldn't reach them. Each of the three pans were at least half full of water.

So...I looked around this whole area and notice there was a considerable "hole" between where the roof and the walls met at the top in one space. That got me to thinking that perhaps the leaking was mostly caused by water being blown IN from the wind, rather than a leak on the roof itself.

So up on the roof I go (again), but this time armed with a dozen or so plastic grocery bags (who says you can't recycle them?), some small pieces of wood and my bucket of tar.

I stuffed the spaces full of these bags, then put the wood around and into them, then heavily tarred over it all again. Since that time we've had two hard rains and no leaks.

Then I had the job of once again repairing the water-stained areas of paneling in the bathroom ceiling, so I went and purchased twelve more of those 12" panels. That was the job I did this morning. And, while taking down those panels, I happened to notice that I could actually see those pans with water in them above me! Finally, the "mystery" of how the previous owners of the house had gotten them into that area: they removed the paneling themselves, along with a few pieces of old wood and placed them there, then laid more wood under them for support. So, while I was at it, I had my wife hold a bucket under me while I tilted two of the pans and drained them of water (drenching us a bit, but the job was accomplished). There's still a third pan I couldn't get to, but at least, two of the three are drained. And I left them up there "just in case" there's still a leak. Then I replaced the panels and cleaned up the bathroom from all of the old debris and the ceiling was once again "fixed".

A good project on this, a snowy & cold day here in South-Central, KY. while I had the weekend off from work

Thursday, February 02, 2006

"Komix Talk"

Completed a set of the bronze-age DC title, Super-Team Family recently; a title I always enjoyed. It ran 15 issues from 1975-1978, and started out mainly as a reprint title, but quickly started featuring all new stories of various DC characters.

The issue above , #11 (7/77) I always thought was interesting because it featured two major silver-age DC characters which would be killed off 7 or 8 years later in "Crisis on Infinite Earths": the original Kara/Supergirl and the Barry Allen "Flash".

Earlier issues featured some pretty nice reprints with artwork by Neal Adams, Gil Kane/Wally Wood, Carmine Infantino (and others). Issue #4 (5/76) reprinted a 1947 All-Star story where the Justice Society battles Solomon Grundy.

There's an original "Creeper" story (NOT by Ditko) in issue #2 (2/76), a reprint of the first app. of "Eclipso" in issue 5 (7/76), and in issue #6 (9/76) a reprint of the second app. of "The Composite Superman" plus an original "Shazam/Capt.Marvel" story.

Issues #'s 7 thru 10 (11/76-5/77) have reprints from the original "Doom Patrol" title, as well as #'s 8 thru 10 featuring NEW "Challengers of the Unknown" stories. #7, as well, has a new "Teen Titans" tale.

As I said before, #11 has the Supergirl/Flash story (plus an app. of "The Atom") in a novel-length story, and other issues feature such characters as the Hal Jordan "Green Lantern", "Hawkman, Captain Comet, Wonder Woman, The Atom, Aquaman, The Secret Society of Super-Villians", and even "The New Gods". The first ten issues were fifty cent cover priced, with issues 11-15 originally costing sixty cents. Since most of these contain original material I wouldn't consider a bronze-age DC collection complete without them, and they're all well-worth hunting down.

Okay. Now I promised a review of the 1996 Supergirl series from DC, and, because it is a pretty lengthly series (80 issues plus 2 Annuals and a special "one-shot"), I think perhaps I should do this review in sections.

I'll start with issues #'s 1 thru 9 (9/96-5/97) which are the ones that originally attracted me to the title in the first place, all written of course by Peter David, with some great artwork by Gary Frank, with inks that really complimented Frank's pencils by Cam Smith.

No.'s 1 thru 9 really could stand alone as a great Trade Paperback Edition had it not been for the "Final Night" crap which was running thru the DC titles at that time. Even so, Peter David worked very well around all of that and incorporated it so well that it blended in with this whole original storyline. And, perhaps, the first 9 issues would have worked much better as a Limited Series, rather than an on-going title, but...as they say...I digress.

I believe that this composite of various explanations from different issue's letter of comment page synopsis would probably explain the whole deal better:

"When a far-off world was dying, its scientists created a SUPERGIRL to ward off the planet's destruction. This valiant heroine, fighting alongside Superman, could not save her home, but she survived to come to Earth as the last daughter of a dead world. A powerful, artificial being composed of a wonderous shape-shifting protomat-ter, she has found a new home on Earth thanks to Superman, his adoptive parents, and the planet's heroes. Betrayed by Lex Luthor, the man she loved, she wandered the globe, seeking solace...a home...a life. Now she has landed in an odd town called Leesburg. Things are about to change for her a lot.

The powerful being once known as Matrix has long gone by the name Supergirl, and in her years on Earth she has been Superman's ally, an unwitting pawn of Lex Luthor, and a member of the Titans. In saving the life of a young woman, Supergirl merged her protoplasmic form with Linda Danver's dying body and the two have become one. At last, Supergirl had a family, a life, a soul---but they're someone else's. And more, as she pieced together the puzzle of Linda's death, she discovered that her new identity was not just the victim of Leesburg's local sickos---Linda was a high-ranking sicko herself, guilty of heinous crimes committed with her mysterious and powerful ex-boyfriend, "Buzz". But, Linda Danvers is dead, murdered by Buzz

Now I'll have to admit, this does indeed sound maybe a little confusing and complicated, but really, it's not. Simply put, Supergirl merges with Linda as she lies dying and takes on both persona's. Turns out that Linda had been running around with the wrong crowd anyway, as Buzz is a demon in human form. Throughout these first 9 issues she fights with the dark side that was Linda, a girl who was innocent until the demon preyed upon such turned her bad, and the good side finally wins out and she defeats Buzz and "sends him away" so to speak (or rather, the powers that sponsored Buzz's evil intents get tired of his mistakes and get rid of him for her). Supergirl comes to terms with being both herself AND Linda. We also discover that the reason Buzz is attracted to Supergirl is because she's much more than she appears. That she's actually an Earth-Angel, and it's the whole good VS. evil scenario.

We also have some other good supporting characters along the way; Linda's mom and dad. Her dad, a policeman, and her mother, well...maybe not a religious fanatic, but on the right path.

We also meet an odd, little boy that's...God??!!!??? (More about THAT in later reviews.)

We even meet an "old aquaintance"; a guy named "Dick Malverne"! And others that make interesting supporting characters.

She fights a couple of our old favorite baddies as well, like "Chemo" and "Gorilla Grodd", and issue #6 has guest app.'s by both Superman, and "Rampage" (DC's answer to the "She-Hulk").

These may very well be the best issues. But...maybe not. Things really change around a lot in this title. In future issues we get more special guest-stars, more info on Supergirl's new powers and an idea of just "what" that "little boy" is all about.

But---that's for a different review.