Friday, July 24, 2009

It is good news and strange news that Marvel Comics now has the rights to Marvelman

It’s weird because I was thinking the other day “what ever happened to Marvel Comics' strong push to get the rights to Marvel Man (Miracle Man),” and now here we are. Honestly, from a comic book standpoint this is the biggest and most important news to come out of Comic Con. I just don’t see anything else as earthshaking being announced. (see here)

Marvel Man has a long history and it doesn’t behoove me to try to get through the whole thing here, so check the Wikipedia page out for more detail. The article is actually quite detailed. Simply put, one of the main reasons that Marvel Man is important is because it showcases work by Alan Moore and Neil Gaiman (and some great artists too). This is Moore before Swamp Thing, Watchmen, and V for Vendetta; and Gaiman before Sandman (sorta).

Marvelman was originally a British knockoff of Captain Marvel and essentially the UK’s first superhero. His adventures were good, silly fun in the tradition of the big red cheese. Marvelman had a nine-year run from 1954 to 1963.

Alan Moore reinvented the dormant character in the 1980s and all the notions of modern comics that we associate with Watchmen were actually first explored in Marvelman. The irony of ironies, is that Marvelman had to be renamed Miracleman in the US as Marvel Comics was not interested in buying this strange adult character (unlike what DC did with V for Vendetta) and was none to pleased that another comic company (Eclipse) could publish MM’s stories using their company’s name. It’s my understanding that the birth scene really freaked them out. It was a big missed opportunity by Marvel at the time, but obviously Marvel has come to realize how important MM is and that they really need more Alan Moore comics in their intellectual property inventory to make gads of cash like DC does.

Anyhoo, Gaiman picked MM after Moore was done but only got about one third of the way into his storyline before Eclipse went bankrupt and MM was abruptly cancelled. The rights were tangled up badly for almost two decades with everybody claming to own all or part of the character and it was beginning to look like Marvelman would never see the light of day again. But now we have Quesada’s announcement that MM is back and Marvel has him and what’s even better is that they have worked out the rights with the original creator, Mick Angelo too.

What this all means (hopefully) is that Alan Moore’s run on the title will be collected and published again; Neil Gaiman will finally be able to finish his MM storyline; and the original 1950s-1960s stories will be collected for the first time as well.

What is maybe not so good is that it sounds like Marvel will bring MM into regular Marvel continuity somehow. That might not work out so well but we’ll wait and see I guess. An alternate MM is kinda already a part of the Marvel Multiverse via Moore’s work on Captain Britain. That might possibly be the way to do it but I’m not holding my breath.

I could go on about how important the Marvelman is to me personally. I was a teen when MM was published by Eclipse Comics. It blew my mind. I had never read anything so adult and so deep in comic book form before and when it comes to supervillians I got two words for you, Kid Marvelman. Never has a bad guy done so much, to so many, in quite such a horrific way. It was so delicious that my folks thought I was engaged in some light kidde stuff when in reality I was exploring the dark side of the superhero soul. This is what could have and maybe what should have happened to characters like Superman and Captain Marvel but obviously will never happen.

If you are a fan of Alan Moore, Neil Gaiman, Atomic Age superheroes, or are interested in the development of the “modern” superhero,” Marvelman is one of the true blues that changed the comic industry forever. Once you read MM, you’ll see how it has been ripped off and imitated countless times since it was created. I’m looking at you Sentry!

Make Mine Marvelman.

PS. I’m not saying MM is perfect but I am saying it’s very important. Plus it’ll be very funny if MM does become a top tier, mainstream Marvel Comics character because a very British Superhero will now carry the Marvel identity… now that is ironic and random strange.

Oh and one last thing... if you like comics and superheroes and don't think this is an big deal then tah hell with ya! :)!


Wednesday, July 22, 2009

He's 1!

I wish I had more time to jot something down, but I just wanted you all to know that Swinebread Jr. is One-year-old today!

We had a birthday party this last weekend. It was so much fun. It was just family but everyone had a wonderful time especially Swinebread Jr.

Of course the party's theme was spiderman... except for the cake which was Looney Tunes.

Junior's headband says Taisho, which means big boss.

I just can't believe it's been a whole year!

Happy Birthday Oh son of mine.


Friday, July 17, 2009

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Computer Problems

I can't Log into my email anymore; I think it's been hacked. If you have received an email from "me" on July 5th or later. It wasn't really from me. Basically, I've lost most of my contact info for all my connections. I'm in the process of setting up a new email account. If you wondering why I haven't emailed you back... now you know why.

Also, my CPU is in the shop for a couple reasons one of which being that a CD is really stuck in the disk drive.... (and yes I did try everything)


Monday, July 13, 2009

Jr. No-No's

I'm thinking that playing Axis & Allies is NOT something that I should do in my household.

Little Swinebread would have to play Germany all the time so he wouldn't deveolop some sort of complex... and that, in and of itself, would make him absolutely develop one.

Can you imagine him creating an atomic bomb and using it in this game?! *shiver*

I guess I'll have to stick with Arkham Horror and Samurai Swords (formally known as Shogun).

I've had board games on the mind lately... not that I have the time or opportunity to play them...


Friday, July 10, 2009

Weevils Wobble...

We've been catching up on the BBC's Doctor Who spinoff series "Torchwood" and are currently about halfway through the second season. Here's some of my thoughts on the series in general as tempered by those of my wife and kids--

The family consensus: this show is frustrating. It's frustrating because it's difficult to think of another example of a television show that swings so wildly between episodes that are sublime to those that are just plain awful. This show is incredibly erratic.

Much of the blame for this falls on series creator Russell T Davies. A lot of Who fans dislike Davies and credit him with some of the worst episodes of that show. The most frequent criticism is that Davies has a tendency to sway into ham-fisted melodrama and the lack of science fiction in much of his science fiction.

While this is true to a degree, I find it hard to hold much of a grudge against Davies. More than anyone else he's responsible for the revival of Doctor Who, a show that occasionally borders on fantastic. To my way of thinking he's earned the right to toss a few lemons at us.

Where Davies really drops the ball in Torchwood is in his envisioning of the main character of Captain Jack Harkness played by John Barrowman. As the character was introduced in Doctor Who he is an immortal, omnisexual imp from some sort of future Time Police. In "Torchwood" Harkness is more of an angry, omnisexual curmudgeon. The character's humor has been largely exercised for dramatic reasons to make him more of a brooding hero slumping under the weight of some dark secret involving his brother.

Here are my two favorite episodes of the series and why I think they work--

Episode 1x5: "Small Worlds." - The team investigates "fairies" who are protecting a small child. I especially love the subplot in this which touches very deftly on Jack's immortality and it's consequences but the fairies were menacing as a force of nature not entirely good or evil.

Episode 1x6: "Countrycide." - The team investigates a series of disappearances in the woods. Naturally it turns out to be a local village who slaughter and eat travellers every 10 years. A big rip off of American horror films but scary just the same.

Probably the two biggest clunkers of episdodes in my estimation --

Episode 2x4: "Meat." The team rescues a giant, regenerating sentient alien being kept alive in a warehouse so that a meat company can cut off chunks and sell them. Ham-fisted message and the alien looked horrible even by BBC standards.

Episode 1x12: "Captain Jack Harkness." Jack and Tosh are thrown back in time to a dancehall in WW2 England. Jack falls for the real Air Force Captain Jack Harkness from which he had stolen his name. The episode ends with a groanworthy scene in which the two Jacks dance in front of a room full of WW2 servicemen culminating in a romantic kiss that made no sense under the bland dialog between the two characters leading up to that moment.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

When I see a picture like this, it reminds me that the sentiment that women don't like science fiction is total bullshit.

Image from this post at i09


Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Name This Character

UPDATE: Randal Graves wins with Al Gorn!


Monday, July 6, 2009

My wife is so awesome. I've been working a lot of overtime and she felt kinda bad for me so Mrs. SB bought me a couple of books to sooth my doldrums.

The first book is Yokai Attack! It's a nice guide to traditional Japanese monsters. I've always enjoyed creature tomes but this is the best one I've come across. It has the more famous yokai like the the onibaba, the Kappa and the Tengu but also contains weirder stuff like the woman with a mouth in the back of her head, the hand washing demon and the tree with human faced peaches. My personal favorite is the slash-mouthed woman. Yokai Attack is presented as a survival guide, but what really makes this work so well is that it concisely describes the various monsters while putting them in a cultural context that's easy for a westerner to understand. The readability of the test is due to the biracial husband and wife team that wrote the book. It's worth noting that the art is wonderful too. It's a nice cross of modern manga styles and traditional wood block printing. Highly recommended to creature fans and folks interested in Japanese culture.

Here is a video about the writers of Yokai Attack! (and uh Halloween in Japan)

Yokai Attack also makes a nice companion volume for fans of Japanese horror films.

The 2nd book Mrs. Swinebread got for me was a volume of Oishinbo (the Japanese Cuisine story). Oishinbo is one of the most popular manga series of all time. I was quite surprised that portions of it are now being adapted into english because, well, Oishinbo is about food. It had a huge affect on Japanese culture so I guess, now that I think about, it was just a matter of time for Viz to publish it. Now when I tell folks that comics can really tell any kind of story I'll have an edition of Oishinbo to prove it. One of the guys I work with is a Gourmet, and he's salivating to to borrow my this book once i'm done with it. here's copy from VIZ website:
Each volume of Oishinbo follows Yamaoka and his colleagues through another adventure on their quest for the Ultimate Menu. Now, the highlights from the hundred-plus volume series have been selected and compiled into A la Carte editions: bite-sized chunks of story arranged by subject that add up to a full-course manga meal!

Japanese Cuisine introduces us to the fundamental ingredients--rice, sashimi, green tea, and dashi (cooking stock)--that constitute the soul of the Japanese kitchen. In each story we learn about the proper preparation and presentation of different dishes, as well as their history and cultural significance. The result is a moveable feast of a book, as informative as it is engaging.

Now those of you that love food but say you don't like comics no longer have any excuse.


Saturday, July 4, 2009

Happy 4th of July

Have a safe, happy holiday to my fellow Americans and to rest of the world... I hope for Freedom, Peace, and Justice.

Yeah, I know that's a tall order.

and now for those of you that need something a little more patriotic and stuff:


Friday, July 3, 2009

Karl Malden RIP

Karl Malden was real actor, not one of those lameos you get at the five and dime.

Don't Leave Home without 'em