Monday, October 31, 2005

Fan Film of the Day - The Cave


The last fan film posted here was a very short Hellboy clip. Today's nomination also features Hellboy in a slightly more substantial film called The Cave. Made in stop-motion, the short action depicts a fight between Hellboy and a group of zombies.

Zombies, Hellboy, and Halloween. Nothing better on the web.

Sunday, October 30, 2005

Alien Abduction - Close Encounter of the 3rd Kind

Well, Part 1 of my UFO DVD arrived from Netflix in playable condition. Now I can begin watching some episodes and seeing if they really change my life.

Saturday, October 29, 2005

Explore Blogs - Star Wars Mystery

Ever click into one of those links that scroll by at the Explore Blogs on the opening page? One I clicked into earlier threw me for a total loop. Beli's Bio Blog was totally incomprehensible. It was written in some kind of strange code. My paranoia flare -- could Beli be dabbling in national security issues?

I became more alarmed when I noticed the word Tatooine -- clearly from Star Wars. How could it be legitimate if it contained Star Wars references that I couldn't place. It took me another minute-or-so to realize that what was being recorder were prices associated with the economy of the massive online game, Star Wars Galaxies. Here's a section of text from a typical post:

20 cpu for stacks above 2k (standard price 12 cpu)Distoze, Tatooinian
Domesticated Milkmilked from domestic eopie, dwarf bantha DR=583, FL=353,
PE=894, OQ=939 » Marked as available on Tatooine 2 hours ago.

Imagine my embarrassment.

Sketch of the Day


I'm waiting for that call from Marvel or DC. I'll accept a contract from Mad Magazine too. I'll even stoop to selling sketches to the New Yorker.

Is anyone out there?

Don't Judge Me By My Friends

For those of you want an idea of the extraordinary buzz that Argottmania has been generating, a Superior Political Blog has linked to one of my articles. I wonder what could have possessed him to do that?

Alien Abduction - Part 2

For those of you following the chronicles of my UFO journey, Disk 1 didn't arrive from Netflix yesterday as scheduled. I'm going out of town to visit my brother-in-law this weekend. We are leaving before the mail comes so I won't be getting Disc 1 until (hopefully) late tomorrow. I wonder if it will arrive intact?

For those of you who aren't interested in the mere fictional imaginings of aliens and UFOs, Hacking Netflix recently posted an interesting link. A new DVD-by-mail service for UFO fans that I am sure has Netflix shaking in its boots can be investigated at UFODVD.com.

Fan Film of the Day

I like this animation of Hellboy; it's very close to the movement I perceive when I'm reading Mike Mignola.

It's too short though, offering only a taste of what's possible.

Open a Comic Store, Go Mad

The retailing side of comic books has always been a mystery to me. I was oblivious to them when I bought them as a kid at my local grocery store. When I was thirteen I began frequenting a comic book store, and by the time I was eighteen, very few of the traditional outlets carried them.

Johanna Draper Carlson had two posts that deal with the retail end of the business in the current market. The first post offers an example of the frustrations that can arise when working with Diamond. In the second post she describes the Marvel's new agreement for returnable merchandise.

For a more comprehensive chronicle of the steps involved in opening and running a comic book store, visit the archives of the oft-discussed store called Riot. The inconsistencies in sales and traffic sound maddening.

Is this why my wife doesn't want me to open a comic book store?

Friday, October 28, 2005

Sketch of the Day


I wore a lot of Batman shirts in my day, but at least I'm a human being.

This Week's Obligatory Comic Reviews

Flash #226, DC
Finish Line, Part One

Ok, I'll admit I bought this one because of the cover. I loved the Flash when I was a kid. Everything about him was cool, but nothing beat the way he stored his costume in the ring. I was happy to see it again.

The contents of the issue itself were fairly interesting. The interior conflicts and fears of Wally West, through the lens of his expanding family obligations are very capably scripted by Joe Cavalieri. I was actually impressed that Cavalieri managed to balance traditional comic fun and slight elements of a grittier core.

I didn't really understand the last third of the book, but I think that by picking up the next issue many of these "mysteries" will be explained.

VERDICT: Ready to buy the next issue of The Flash.

The Book of Lost Souls #1, Icon (Marvel)

Introductions All Around

What do you get when you mix a suicide (I think), a magic book, and a talking cat? Basically, you can look forward to a slow and hard-to-follow story.

The only J. Michael Straczynski that I have direct familiarity with are Babylon Five and Supreme Power. Both are "cereberal" refittings of properties that preceded. Babylon Five tries to extend some of the core concepts of Star Trek, while Supreme Power looks re-envisions both the Squadron Supreme and Justice League.

If I had to guess who Straczynski is trying to imitate here, I would have to say it's The Sandman. However, Gaiman's first issue is a lot more compelling than Straczynski's first issue. Still, it is an introduction, and it's difficult to tell if any real movement is in store for future issues.

VERDICT: Will possibly (reluctantly) purchase the next issue of The Book of Lost Souls.

Knights of the Dinner Table Magazine (Kenzer)

Resident Medieval

For those of you who aren't familiar with the format of this book, you should really check it out. Each issue of the magazine contains 15-20% of brilliantly redundant artwork featuring a group of roleplayers who work through their adventures and personal tribulations. The remaining parts of each issue are loaded with articles featuring games, books, and comic books. This is publication is a real value, and it's entertaining to boot!

The current storyline is beginning to wrap up. For the last several issues, master dungeon master, Brian, has been running his first game in years. He has all of the Knights (Bob, Dave, Sarah, and B.A.) at each other's throats, and someone has been forced to enlisted help from beyond the table.

Overall, I've found this story-arc to be riveting, popcorn entertainment. This issue, by Jolly Blackburn, is an especially strong contender in the current sequence.

VERDICT: Will be the first one in line to buy the next issue of Knights of the Dinner Table.

I Wish I Were a Superhero; I'm Glad I'm Not a Smurf

Mick Martin over at The Daily Burn wrote recently wrote his 100th post. In addition to describing his comic book journey, he also offers his vision of what superhero comics should be. His points are right on target, and should be read. (I couldn't possibly do them any justice by trying to enumerate them here.)

I would like to point out one of the strange ironies of one of the statements in the post:
That’s why comics claiming to portray what superheroes would “really” be like don’t carry much weight with me. It’s a stupid, worthless endeavor. Superheroes have never been real and never will be. It’s ridiculous to bind them with real world rules. You might as well have an Identity Crisis for the Snorks or the Care Bears.

Strangely, this week's news about the Smurfs seems related to Mick's observation. Here's the justification for the acts of violence against the Smurfs. A little bit of the original video can be seen at ifilm.

I sure hope the little guys come out of it okay.

Dear Bobby - November 19, 1961


November 19, 1961

Dear Bobby,

The Russians have just been upsetting me more and more as of late. When they removed Stalin's body from Lenon's tomb late last month, I thought things looked promising. I was even more encouraged when the changed Stalingrad's name to Volgograd. All of this was encouraging. But then I hear the Vladimir Yefimovich Semichastny has succeeded Aleksandr Nikolayevich Shelepin as the head of the CIA. I'm sure you know what that means!

Anyway, I didn't really write you to complain about my problems but to thank you for thie comic book that you sent me.

The Fantastic Four #1 was a a nice little romp. I was a little angry that the story didn't match the cover. And aMoleman? What kind of villain is that? He was real wimpy looking, unworthy to challenge the power of these four extraordinary individuals. The monsters were nicely conceived but there weren't enough of them.

I don't really think the Thing should be a part of the group. He destroyed the door to someone's business, a city street, and a innocent bystander's car. These aren't the acts of a hero! I'm going to "wait and see" about this Human Torch--he certainly doesn't have the nobility or maturity of his counterpart in the Invaders. Reed Richards is admirable and that Invisible Girl is cute. I think those two should get together.

I certainly admired her pluck in her insistence that we have to beat the commies to space. There may be something to that.

Your Loving Brother,
Jack

P.S. I am enclosing a picture of a Union soldier that I drew to test my artistic skills. Not bad, huh?


Thursday, October 27, 2005

Mr. Rogers and the Incredible Hulk?!?


Mildly annoying day made horrible by my wife today when she sent me the following e-mail:

Boy are you going to wish you had stayed home today. Mr. Rogers visited the set of the Hulk and interviewed Lou and Bill. I'm more impressed than the boy but it's still fun and I knew you'd be jealous.

To which I responded:

?!?
I am so ticked. Does it rerun later on today? If so, can you record it?

And of of course her answer was:

Sorry dude, it was a one shot deal. Love you - we're off to the park.

Apparently other people on the web actually remember it from their youth. Peter David's post commemorating Mr. Rogers when he died was followed by several people's comments on the Hulk appearance. And one visionary soul cited these episodes (there were 2) as one of the reasons the Mr. Rogers Neighborhood never jumped the shark.

A little further surfing uncovered at least ten minutes of the episode(s) located at this Incredible Hulk television page. It's video #21.

Wow, that really rocked.

Harriet Miers Nomination


Harriet Miers has just withdrawn her nomination from the Justice League of America. I'll post more as this story develops.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Sketch of the Day


I shall be recognized by future generations as one of the great, under-appreciated talents of our time.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Sketch of the Day


I shall be recognized by future generations as one of the great, under-appreciated talents of our time.

Yes, I am an adult, and I don't draw well.

Brian Meltzer Pushing Identity Crisis

Brian Meltzer was on NPR's Talk of the Nation discussing the hardcover publication of Identity Crisis. It's up on-line for anyone who wants to listen to it.

I thought he offered some real insights and explanations into why DC decided to move in this darker direction. A lot of it is wrapped up in September 11th. He referred to the idea that comics could be more than superhumans throwing buildings at each other.

I find this kind of justification for the overly serious tone a lot of current comic books have discouraging. Superhero comics used to be a lot more fun. When I want to read more "sophisticated" comic books, I prefer The Sandman and Box Office Poison to Superman.

What's wrong with throwing buildings at each other?

More Digital Marvel

Speaking of the 40 Years of Spider-Man CD-Rom, GitCorp recently announced that they will be publishing complete-run volumes of The Uncanny X-Men in November ‘05 and The Avengers in January ’06. In addition, they will also be releasing the complete run of MAD Magazine. Now that these sets are finally being released in DVD-Rom formats (which work beautifully on the 44 years of the Fantastic Four edition), they are compact enough to fit on one disk.

I’ve always liked this type of digital media. I own the complete digital sets of both National Geographic and The New Yorker. They're a lot of fun to browse through

I received this information via Cognitive Dissonance. Johanna Draper Carlson, the publisher of both Cognitive Dissonance and Comics Worth Reading, also alluded to the idea that DC sets may be forthcoming. I wrote her to inquire about this intriguing information. She very courteously replied, pointing me to the last line of Gitcorp's press release:

. . .And a very special announcement of new Distinctively Classic comic products we'll have later in 2006.
Distinctively Classic! Good eye Johanna!

Unwanted Subscription

The same friend who is watching UFO warned me about my subscription to Entertainment Weekly. He mumbled such angry words as “vapid, pointless, groveling, lowest-common denominator.” But it wasn't my fault that a got the subscription. When I was buying my 40 Years of Spider-Man CD-Rom at Best Buy, they offered to give me eight issues free. The subscription could be cancelled at any time.

Weeks turned into months, and I don't even know now how I got here.

I’ve put up with a lot of sub-standard schlock from this magazine, but their Star Wars teasers are what have really soured me on the magazine. For the second time this month, they have referenced Star Wars on the cover without producing an article of any real consequence. Do the Star Wars fans really buy the magazine for a half-page article?

On the up side, the latest issue does have a fairly substantial article on The Watchmen. And I can read it online because I'm a subscriber. Not sure why I want to read it online, since I'm a subscriber.

I really have to cancel this subscription.

Artificial “Theory”

Anyone interested in reading a brief, but interesting history of Darwin’s theory contrasted with the current intelligent design movement should check out Mark Kleinman’s post on the subject.

Alien Abduction

Check out this chronology of my attempt to watch Gerry Anderson's UFO.

Early October - October 17: Listen to one of my friends continually talk about his experiences watching the series.

October 18: I finally break down and put Disks 1 and 2 of the complete series into my Netflix queue.

October 19: Great luck! Two of my previous discs have been returned. Now Disc 1 and 2 of UFO are set to ship to me.

October 20: I Receive Disk 2. Disk 1 is listed as not being available at my Netflix facility. The website claims it will ship from another facility on the following day, for estimated receipt on 10/24.

October 21-23: I experience emotions -- emotions ranging from boredom, anger, and despair -- all waiting for Monday to come. Disc 2 remains on my mantle unwatched.

October 24: I come home from work, and find the new disc is here! But the in-laws are in for the evening, so I don't get a chance to open it.

October 25: I throw Disc 1 in before work hoping watched thethe opening credits for kicks. The disk doesn't play. It's cracked. I report the problem to Netflix. They will ship the replacement disc from another facility the for shipment on the following day.

October 26 - ?: I wait and wait and wait, while Disc 2 of UFO taunts me, unwatched.

I've heard the warnings about Netflix, but I failed to heed them.

Actually I'm not angry at all. Just one of those things I'm sure. I get most of my actual Netflix blogging from Netflix Fan and Netflix Hacks. I know they are the top ones out of Google's search, but they're the one's I read. I'll probably get around to finding some more individual-based blogs on Netflix sooner or later.

The Blog is Dead, Long Live the Blog

Comic blogs are the worst. Every time I really get into one, it seems like the creator pulls up stakes and quits. Two of my favorites blogs, Trusty Sidekicks and Fanboy Rampage are good examples.

Trusty Sidekicks just ended without explanation. I kept going back periodically to visit for almost two months before it dawned on me that there would be no more posts. Cruel, cruel.

Fanboy Rampage went out with a real splashy goodbye. When I read the last post my immediate reaction was, "I really liked him, but I guess enough people weren't reading him." But 249 people have commented so far since October 17.

On the plus side, sometimes they do come back. I'm almost certain that one of my favorites, The Daily Burn, called it quits a while back too. But when I visited to grab the link for this post, it looked alive and well to me.

Long live Mick Martin and the Daily Burn! Martin wrote one of my all time favorite blog entries, "The Advantage of Being a Reformed Completist."

Whether you read comics or not, it's message is one to live your life by.

Monday, October 24, 2005

Netflix Update -- The Black Adder 1.2

Just to clarify, Rowan Atkinson's character has dubbed himself Blackadder. Blackadder is a real bastard. For example, he constantly takes credit for the ideas of others -- but the episode is laced with tons of additional evidence.

So far, this show has been well-worth watching. You can read a complete synopsis of Born to Be King at the the BBC website.

Sunday, October 23, 2005

Two Wishes

Clearly a shame that my son and Bill Gate's son were (probably) not switched at birth.

Today I gave my four-year-old son two pennies to throw into a fountain.

Wish #1: I wish we had a talking house.

Wish #2: I wish there were robots in real life.

Clearly a chip off the old block, that kid.

Fan Film of the Day

Actually there are a whole slew of them located at Don Glut's Amateur Movie page.

These are true amateur films, created at a young age. But I think they show a real fondness for the source material. It's a shame that they are only short clips, but I suppose there are copyright considerations.

The clips include:

The Adventures of the Spirit (1963)
Son of Tor (1964)
Captain America vs. the Mutant (1964)
Wrath of the Sun Demon (1965)
Jeepers Creepers Car Chase (1965)
Superman vs. the Gorilla Gang (1965)
Rocketman Flies Again (1966)
Glut (1967)
Spider-Man (1969)

Captain America and Spider-Man are my favorites. (Dinosaur Valley Girls is actually from a real movie that he directed in 1996.)

Don Glut's experiences in various fields (including comic and movies) are pretty comprehensive and are certainly worth perusing.

Netflix Update -- The Black Adder 1.1


I have finished watching the first episode of the first season (series) of the dark British comedy, The Black Adder. Rowan Atkinson, playing someone who's not Mr. Bean, is terrific. Anyone who has a modest familiarity with Shakespeare's Richard the III and I-III Henry IV will probably enjoy this season of the show.

Among the more pleasant surprises in The Foretelling is that Brian Blessed, who played the Hawkmen's King Vultan of of Mongo, hams it up here as King Richard IV of England.

You can here Vultan bantering with Flash Gordon here.

Here's any interesting game you can play called "Am I Brian Blessed or Not?" It's harder than it sounds.

Saturday, October 22, 2005

Painfully Brilliant

This brilliant science-fiction magazine cover display not only reminds me that I have minimal technical skills, but I also haven't published any fiction.

This astoundingly impressive graphic novel cover display achieves the same effects, only with comics books.

Fortunately, I haven't wanted to write for Mad Magazine since I was sixteen.

I always wanted to be brilliant. Now I would settle for exceptionally bright. Sure would be great to be well-loved too.

Sorry, I lost my train of thought for a moment.

Jim Bumgardner, the creator of all these wonders, is painfully brilliant.

Imaginary Friends

It's great to know comics are still being produced in the grand old tradition of Calvin and Hobbes.

Brainy

I sure hope you don't mind visiting this incredible site.

Thanks for converting me BeaucoupKevin.

Good and Evil



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My four-year-old son came in this morning. He wanted to play with the McDonalds toys shown above. Here's a transcript of the exchange:

My Son: Daddy, can you play with me?
My Wife (looking up at me from her book): Would you mind?
Me (looking at My Son): Yes, of course.
My Wife: Just to fill you in, when we played with those toys yesterday, we had them baking magic muffins. Then we wrote down the name of the animal they would turn into when they ate the muffins. We had a lot of fun.
Me (turning to my son): We're going to fight with them, right?
My Son: Of course.
(In disgust, My Wife looks back down at her book.)

Back to the Future

I recently visited the page for the Time Travel Fund. The concept is pretty simple. You invest $10, and if 500 years, when the your investment is grown t0 $39,000,000,000 -- you know, when time travel is less expensive -- someone will come back to collect you up for the future.

The usual disclaimers apply which is a good thing. I'm pretty sure that somewhere in the future, the greedy fund manager will say: "Sure, it only costs $2 million to go there and bring him back, but then we'll only be left with $38,998,000,000."

Friday, October 21, 2005

They're All Nifty But



I think the new state quarter for Kansas is one of the best of the lot.

On slightly a related note, I'm glad to see that I'm not the only one who noticed that the new buffalo nickle is anatomically correct.

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Argottsania?

Will I ever be angry if someone tries to "take advantage" of me the way Glen Stollery has taken advantage of the Church of Scientology.

(Way to go Glen!)

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Too Much Tolerance

They are orcs! Evil, stinking orcs.

Mighty tolerant, wouldn't you say?

On the other hand, some would say the same of Clint Eastwood's latest project, Flags of Our Fathers, and I don't have any problem with that.

High Society

Reprehensible

I should be shot for buying this. (Sadly, I'm enjoying it.)

Generating Traffic



In the interest of experimenting with this concept:
"Giant Size Man Thing"

Argottmania Word Association

linking . . . movies . . . writing . . . culture . . . comics . . . netflix . . . family . . . independence . . . politics . . . humor . . . promotion . . . fun . . . recollections . . . passion . . . anger . . . ego . . posting . . . obsession

You know, the usual blogging stuff.