Comics Ate My Brain

August 12, 2008

Not a dream! Not a hoax! Not an imaginary story!

Filed under: meta — Tom Bondurant @ 2:49 pm
Yeah, yeah, I know … another weekend gone by with no scans posted, and no new-comics roundups.

Well, this time I have a good excuse … I became a dad! Mary Helen (a/k/a the Best Wife Ever) and I welcomed our daughter Olivia into the world at 8:36 Central time on Saturday, August 9.

We did miss the big “08/08/08” convergence, but that’s OK. Everyone is home from the hospital now and we are getting Olivia adjusted to a good routine. (Obviously we are also adjusting to her.)

Naturally I hope she acquires her dad’s tastes in comics, space operas, etc. I put a Dean Trippe Supergirl print in her nursery, to get her started out right.


Anyway, gotta go — lots to do! Back before too long, I hope.

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August 2, 2008

Well, this can’t be right.

Filed under: meta — Tom Bondurant @ 3:27 pm
So I just finished entering about a year’s worth of comics into the Vast Comics Library’s spreadsheet (I still have the nine issues of Trinity and this past week’s books to do), and looking at the bottom line appears to yield just over 10,000 individual issues.

Let me repeat that: Ten. Thousand. Comic. Books.

My Dad called me last week to ask how many I had, because he’d seen someone on “Jeopardy!” with, like, 1,500. I told him I didn’t know, and I ended up lowballing my estimate.

Still, I can’t quite believe it. It’s all there in the spreadsheet, but it’s an awfully big number.

I don’t know if I should feel proud, a little embarrassed, or some weird mixture of both….

July 14, 2008

Vive le blog!

Filed under: meta — Tom Bondurant @ 12:56 pm
If it’s Bastille Day, it must be this blog’s birthday … or is that the other way around?

Yep, it’s been four years since I started Comics Ate My Brain. In that time I’ve met a lot of great people, gotten a second blogging gig, and moved twice! Thanks to all who have visited, commented, or otherwise supported the site — it’s all appreciated, and it makes everything here worthwhile.

Okay, now back to work!

June 6, 2008

Housekeeping

Filed under: meta, trinity — Tom Bondurant @ 9:15 am
Well, here it is — the end of another week and not much on this blog to show for it. In the corporeal world, however, my recycling bin overfloweth; the car’s oil has been changed; and a lot of papers and knick-knacks have been reorganized.

Also, in addition to the regular Grumpy Old Fan column, I’ve started annotating Trinity over at the New-Look Blog@Newsarama. Check it out, won’t you? — and please, feel free to leave comments here (on both the annotations and the new GOF) until we get the bugs worked out over there.

A busy weekend awaits, so there might not be updates here until Monday. See you then!

January 3, 2008

Checking in briefly: TNG and 2007 comics buying

Filed under: 52, countdown, meta, star trek — Tom Bondurant @ 3:12 pm
Well, after a Nyquil-flavored New Year, I’m on the road to recovery … but also on the road in a more literal sense. Therefore, new posts will probably have to wait until next week. In the meantime, though, here are a couple of items which have rattled around my mind long enough.

* * *

The Modern Trek Project, through which I am watching every episode of “The Next Generation,” “Deep Space Nine,” and “Voyager,” in as close to Stardate order as I can get, rolls on. Last night I watched “The Wounded,” TNG’s first Cardassian episode, which puts me into early 1991, approaching the halfway point of TNG Season 4. It won’t be too long before I start alternating TNGs with DS9s as per The Star Trek Chronology.

Still, that’s not today’s point. What really struck me about the beginning of TNG S4 was its emphasis on “sequels.” Virtually every episode up to “The Wounded” basically revisited a previous one.

“The Best of Both Worlds, Part II”: Duh; but also, “Q Who.”
“Family”: Duh, again; but Worf’s parents’ visit reminds him of his discommendation in “Sins Of The Father.”
“Brothers”: Looks back at events discussed in “Datalore.”
“Suddenly Human”: One of the least sequel-y. However, in making Picard a “parent,” it plays into the season’s secondary theme of “family.”
“Remember Me”: More with The Traveler from “Where No One Has Gone Before.”
“Legacy”: Tasha’s sister lets the crew re-examine Tasha’s death in “Skin Of Evil.”
“Reunion”: Ties together “The Emissary” with “Sins Of The Father” to begin the big Klingon arc in earnest.
“Future Imperfect”: We recognize Minuet from “11001001’s” holodeck program.
“Final Mission”: Caps off Wesley’s Academy arc, including The Boy’s recollection of his shuttle trip with Picard in “Samaritan Snare.”
“The Loss”: Neither sequel-y nor family-oriented, unless you count Riker playing the Imzadi card for the first time in a while.
“Data’s Day”: Follow-up to “The Measure of a Man.”

TNG had done sequels and follow-ups before, of course, but I don’t think to this degree. Moreover, combined with the “family” theme, the first part of Season 4 really felt like the show was consolidating itself into something cohesive which could both generate new subplots and re-examine alternative takes. It takes a certain amount of confidence to pull these disparate threads together, but obviously the cumulative effect runs the risk of creating too much familiarity.

Also coming somewhat from left field is the sudden emphasis on Miles O’Brien. Sure, he’d been around since the beginning, and I certainly don’t object to his being in the spotlight, but in the space of a few months he goes from being a good utility player in, say, “Best Of Both Worlds” and “Family” to major roles in both “Data’s Day” and “The Wounded.” I’m going to enjoy watching Miles develop, and I know it’ll help me appreciate his DS9 work even more.

* * *

And about those comic-book numbers: more analysis is on the way, but the short version is twofold. First, apparently I bought considerably more in 2007 than I have in the previous few years. Second, much of the increase can be attributed to 52, Countdown, and their ancillary series. I am trusting that this will correct itself through attrition in 2008.

Not surprisingly, then, I spent appreciably more on DC in ’07. Around 88% of the books I bought were from DC, as opposed to 80% in years past. Again, attrition may return that number to a more typical level, but we’ll see.

Back next week!

December 7, 2007

Brief Words About Recent Books And Upcoming Content

Filed under: meta, questions — Tom Bondurant @ 3:28 am
As you may have noticed, I upgraded to the current version of Blogger a week or so ago. It’s made the site a little more functional, I think, although my StatCounter stats are screwed up. Either that or there are 90% fewer people visiting, which is entirely possible.

It’s been a weird few weeks around here. The Best Wife Ever and I have been pretty busy with our real lives. My parents visited for Thanksgiving. The leaves need raking. We went to Grand Illumination, the kickoff of Colonial Williamsburg’s Christmas season. That doesn’t leave a lot of time for blogging about new comics.

Actually, I’ve been reading a lot outside the Wednesday hauls, and that’s taken time away from the weekly roundups too. Last week it was The League Of Extraordinary Gentlemen: The Black Dossier and I Shall Destroy All The Civilized Planets!. I got Showcase Presents The Brave And The Bold Batman Team-Ups for my birthday last month, and Wednesday I got Showcase Presents Sgt. Rock. So far, all of them have been pretty entertaining, although Black Dossier was fairly self-indulgent.

Of course, I’ve been keeping my regular Thursday deadlines for Grumpy Old Fan, and as I mentioned in a comment on today’s post, odds are good that I’ll finish the magnum-opus Grand Unified Theory of DC Comics — my own Black Dossier, probably, with all that implies — before too long. I’m a little frightened by the thought of that, and you should be too.

I’m also interested in the more nuts-and-bolts aspects of DC’s output, but I admit freely that it’ll take more research than I have time for right now. Moreover, I’m not sure the answers are readily available. Just off the top of my head:

— Are there still formal “ship weeks,” i.e., where Batman ships reliably on, say, the second week of every month?
— How does one calculate when a month has a fifth week? (I think it used to be the number of Tuesdays, but that might just have been back when the books shipped on Fridays.)
— How late have DC’s books been, really? How does that compare to Marvel, Dark Horse, and/or Image?
— What should fill the slots all these Countdown miniseries will leave behind?
— Is a variant cover a slot-filler? What about a second printing?

You get the idea. I still think a lot about comics, even if those thoughts don’t make it to this blog. I just wanted you to know I haven’t turned this space into a series of scans (although I like doing the scans too). It might not be this weekend, or next week, but before too long, I hope to be filling this space with long-winded tirades about superhero esoterica, just like old times.

As they used to say, “be here — it’ll be good!”

September 26, 2007

Can’t blog; watching TV

Filed under: meta, tv — Tom Bondurant @ 4:16 pm
Sorry about the lack of content. I was out of town all weekend (got in at midnight Monday morning thanks in part to my old nemesis, the Atlanta airport), and between getting caught up on Monday and having a killer headache yesterday, haven’t had a chance to post here.

In comics-related news, though, I did finish the bulk of Douglas Wolk’s Reading Comics (I haven’t read much of the review-and-commentary section yet). I also read all of The Complete Peanuts 1965-66 Friday on the plane. Both were really excellent, as you might expect.

I also finished watching “The Venture Bros.” Season 2, and of course caught the premieres of “Chuck” and “Heroes.” It’s probably unfair to compare the three, but “Venture Bros.” was great, “Heroes” was good, and “Chuck” left me a little cold. With “Chuck,” and to a certain extent with “Heroes,” the style is there, but the underlying structure is pretty standard. I felt like I knew everything that was going to happen in “Chuck” even before I watched the pilot, and in fact I skipped a couple of minutes towards the end (after the day is saved) and didn’t feel like I missed much. Future episodes look like they could fall into a predictable pattern, too. I’ll give it a couple more weeks, but it’s not begging to be put on my must-watch list yet.

Almost forgot to mention “Reaper,” the first few minutes of which almost charmed me even through last night’s killer headache. It’s on tape (yes, tape; don’t judge me) and I’m looking forward to the rest.

Anyway, “Heroes” was fun, although it was quite the info-dump. Good to see David “Sark” Anders again too.

As far as posts go, look for a Thursday Night Thinking here tomorrow, as well as thoughts on the end of “Smallville” at Blog@Newsarama; and then my Friday Night Fights entry. I also want to remember Star Trek: The Next Generation‘s 20th anniversary. I’m still trying to figure out a posting routine, and the lack of travel in the foreseeable future should make that easier. Thanks for your patience.

September 15, 2007

Judging Library Additions

Filed under: justice league, meta, questions — Tom Bondurant @ 9:25 pm
Help me decide who should go on the JLA bookshelf next:

I’m holding out for the upcoming Mattel Aquaman (classic orange outfit), and I’ll probably get a Martian Manhunter at some point. I’d also like to replace Batman and Superman with figures who are more in scale with the rest.

Still, I probably won’t add much more than that. There’s just not that much more room on the shelf! I have an idea of who’ll make the cut, but thought I’d throw it out to the select few who visit here.

So here goes: which single DC Direct/Mattel figure, from either the Satellite League or the Morrison League (reflecting the majority of books on the shelf), would you add? By my reckoning, your choices include

— The Atom (Ray Palmer)
— The Elongated Man
— Firestorm (Ron Raymond/Martin Stein)
— Green Lantern (John Stewart)
— Hawkman & Hawkgirl (set)
— Zatanna (fishnets, unfortunately)
— Big Barda (in a set with Mr. Miracle & Oberon)
— Green Lantern (Kyle Rayner)
— Huntress (Helena Bertinelli; in a “Birds Of Prey” set with BC and Oracle)
— Orion (upcoming)
— Plastic Man
— Steel (John Henry Irons)

I don’t think I left anyone out. There is a Zauriel figure, but it’s from the Hasbro “Total Justice” line and not in scale with these. The Zatanna figure in her period-appropriate blue-and-white superhero outfit is from the Identity Crisis line, so all her proportions are off. I’d have preferred that costume, because it reflects her time in the Satellite League, but I’ll settle for the fishnets. I’ve seen John Stewart figures in classic and current costumes, and would use either one.

So, whaddaya think?

August 22, 2007

Tumbling Dice

Filed under: meta — Tom Bondurant @ 9:37 pm
Guided by Mike’s Master DC List, my own spreadsheet sk1lz, and a somewhat shaky methodology, I’ve come up with a possible DC publishing lineup. These titles (or their heirs) were each published in at least two of the years 1957, 1967, 1977, 1987, 1997, and 2007, and beyond that I just arranged them into a schedule.

It’s 16 ongoing titles a week, 64 a month. That’s pretty close to the current DCU output (i.e., excluding the imprints and collections), so there’s room for miniseries, specials, etc.

Week One
Aquaman
Batman: Legends of the Dark Knight
Blackhawk
Challengers of the Unknown
The Creeper
Falling In Love
The Flash
Fox and the Crow
House of Mystery
Justice League of America
Our Army at War
Plastic Man
Robin
Strange Adventures
Supergirl
World’s Finest Comics

Week Two
Adventure Comics
Batman
Birds of Prey
Blue Beetle
Firestorm
G.I. Combat
Girls’ Love Stories
Green Arrow
Heart Throbs
House of Secrets
Jonah Hex
Looney Tunes
Metal Men
Our Fighting Forces
Superman
Teen Titans

Week Three
The Atom
The Brave and the Bold
Catwoman
Green Lantern
Justice Society Of America
New Gods
Nightwing
Scooby-Doo
Secret Hearts
Sgt. Rock
The Spectre
Star Spangled War Stories
Superman Family
Tales of the Unexpected
Warlord
Young Love

Week Four
Action Comics
Batman and the Outsiders
Booster Gold
Detective Comics
Doom Patrol
Girls’ Romances
Hawkman
Hellblazer
Legion of Super-Heroes
Mystery In Space
Showcase
Sugar and Spike
Tomahawk
Unknown Soldier
Weird War Tales
Wonder Woman

Every week has a mix of styles and genres, including two Batman books, a Superman book, a couple of team books, and a few anthologies. Romances, kids’ titles, horror, and war comics are also represented every week. (I grouped the six romance titles around Weeks 2 and 3 so there would be more incentive for those readers to come into the shop throughout the month.) By happy accident, there’s also one female-superhero title each week (Supergirl, BoP, Catwoman, and Wonder Woman). Basically, whatever your tastes, there’s something for you each week.

I don’t know how well it would work today, considering the proclivities of the direct market. Obviously it favors the long-standing non-superhero books. DC has eight titles it will probably publish to the end of its days (Action, Detective, Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman, Flash, Green Lantern, and Justice League), and I was originally trying to figure out what the slightly less “untouchable” titles (e.g., Titans, Legion) might be.

It’s not perfect by any means — it’s pretty much what the spreadsheet spit out — and if I were doing my own “fantasy list” it’d probably be different. Still, what do you think? Does this approach a model DC lineup?

August 19, 2007

Know Your Audience

Filed under: flash, meta — Tom Bondurant @ 8:57 pm
I bought several issues of The Flash (vol. 1) in San Diego, mostly for the Green Lantern backup stories. Finally got around to reading the main story in issue #220 (February-March 1973) today, and look who was advertising:

Just so you know I am not making this up, here’s the ad together with the story page which faces it:

The ad’s placement in this comic fascinates me, especially considering that the inside front cover was for Daisy air-rifles (“In 1894, a boy had to learn to act like a man. Daisy’s 1894 BB Gun teaches the same lessons”) and the inside back cover is the familiar Charles Atlas “Insult That Made A Man Out Of Mac” ad. There’s also the usual record-club, Johnson Smith Catalog, and correspondence-course ads, again familiar to anyone who’s read a lot of early-1970s superhero comics.

However, I’d never seen an Easy-Bake Oven ad before, at least not in a comic so fanboy-oriented (even at the time) as The Flash.

And I’m not making fun of Flash for having a “girly” ad. If anything, it speaks to the diversity of readers DC’s advertising department thought it had back then.

Heck, I’m just the slightest bit miffed that the ad was aimed exclusively at Sally, and not her brother too. I wouldn’t have minded an Easy-Bake Oven back in the day. In fact, just this afternoon I was baking! (Not a euphemism. Of course, the pie I baked has two tablespoons of bourbon in it, which the Easy-Bake probably isn’t set up to handle. But I digress.)

Has anyone else encountered the Easy-Bake ad, or something similar you didn’t expect? I wonder how many girls Kenner thought it could keep in traditional gender roles with its inroads into DC comics.

Ultimately, I’d like to think that the combination of ads in The Flash #220 produced fairly well-rounded individuals of both genders — fit, educated, music lovers, and able to shoot and cook. Evidently, I need to work out more and brush up on my marksmanship.

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