Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Go Watch Some Cartoons

Here's a link to the complete Fleischer/Famous Studios Superman cartoons, made from 1941-1943. Lovely fluid animation, utter xenophobic racism (Japoteurs! Jungle Drums!), Art Deco flourishes, big red trucks with "TNT" painted in huge letters on the side careening off cliffs... what's not to like? (Found via a link on MetaFilter).

Up, up, and away!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Something To Look Forward To In 2009

Lemmy, the Movie.

Predictions For The New Year

Gazing into my crystal ball, I predict:

(Very Likely)

The economic downturn will continue, consumer spending will dry up, the stock market will sink below 6000, and the GOP will blame President Obama.

The courts will overturn California's Proposition 8, noting that "traditional marriage is between one man and one woman" is a relatively recent historical construct and asking haters to take their heads out of their asses and stop dwelling on a mythical past. Society will not collapse into anarchy.

Rosie O'Donnell's new variety show will be awful and will get canceled after less than 10 episodes.

"Heroes" will get canceled at the end of the season, leading to a fan backlash and the show getting picked up by the SciFi Channel, which will then cancel it again because the only reason anyone watches it now is in the hope of seeing some Hayden Panettierre sideboob, and she's too savvy to allow that to happen on basic cable.

The Detroit Lions will take a quarterback in the first round of next year's NFL draft. That quarterback will muddle through three losing seasons, four offensive coordinators, and two head coaches before getting cut. He will go on to be a starter for the 49ers and take them to the playoffs in his first season with the team.

President-Elect Obama's Cabinet members will, as a group, be too liberal for conservatives and too conservative for liberals.

George W. Bush will pardon Scooter Libby on his last day in office. That's actually not a prediction: I guarantee this will happen. Iron-clad, take-it-to-the-bank guarantee.

(Likely)

Sometime in 2009, Jefferson County will go bankrupt. No one will notice.

Sometime in 2010, Birmingham Mayor Larry Langford will get convicted of at least one form of financial chicanery involving city funds, non-profits, and "helping the children". He will get a suspended sentence, go on a speaking tour, and start a charity to help the children.

(Long Shots)

Rush Limbaugh will suffer a massive coronary and die while broadcasting. He will be replaced by a talking mule, or perhaps a sentient toaster oven.

Federal drug laws will change to include a provision for medical marijuana, and society will not collapse into anarchy. Sales of brownie mix will skyrocket.

Flying cars! (Because every end-of-the-year prognostication must include flying cars.)

Metallica will break up. No one will notice.

Having a Facebook page will become really, really uncool. Anonymity will be the new black.

A picture of President Obama smoking a cigarette will scandalize the increasingly infantile American electorate.

Saturday Night Live will move to an all-YouTube format, but still will not be funny.

The Atlanta Falcons will put together back-to-back winning seasons for the first time in the history of the franchise.

So, what do y'all predict?

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Brief Thoughts On Marvel Comics From An Ancient Fan Returning To The Fold

Fuck DC.

I've nothing against Superman and Batman and Sgt. Rock (OK, I DO have something against Superman, but that's just me, not them, and I've worked through much of it with my therapist, Dr. Luthor). It's just that when I was a kid, DC Comics were white bread in a whole-wheat world. Pale. Filling yet unfulfilling. Lacking depth, lacking complexity, lacking substance.

Marvel heroes were the stuff of my childhood mythos. Spider-Man, Iron Man, the X-Men, the Avengers, the Defenders, the Inhumans, Prince Namor, Thor, Ghost Rider, Moon Knight and even Luke Cage (who I knew as Power Man) and Iron Fist-- these were my comic-book heroes.

Well, it just so happened that about three months ago I happened across the novel Crooked Little Vein by Warren Ellis. I liked it. It was over-the-top gonzo bile. Right up my alley. Turns out Warren Ellis writes comic books. Who knew, right? (Gimme a break -- I'm an agoraphobic 40-something with a library card, I don't spend a lot of time mulling over trends in the graphic novel industry. I barely know who Neil Gaiman is. I just know that Chris Claremont wrote the good X-men books.).

So I pencilled "Warren Ellis" into my mental notebook and forgot about it.

Then a comic book store opened next to my neighborhood supermarket. And it became too easy to stop in before the weekly shop and... yeah. You comic book people know the rest.

Marvel's Civil War story arc -- wow. And Warren Ellis writing Thunderbolts. Wow wow.

Stepping back into the Marvel Universe was great. All the old familiar faces and places. The Baxter Building! Like what you've done with the place, Dr. Richards! Hiya, Beast! You're certainly looking more feline these days! Oh, there's Hank Pym. What an asshole. Guy can grow to tremendous size, but he'll always be smaller than his inferiority complex.

There were changes, of course. The Sentry? Worst. Superhero. EVAR. Or at least worst-written. I know Marvel heroes are always wrestling with their inner demons, but The Sentry is so paralyzed by indecision that you just want to slap him. And there seem to be some new mutants running around Dr. Xavier's School for Gifted Youngsters. Hulkling? Wiccan? Eh. OK. Whatevs.

But the biggest change I noticed was in the tone of the comics themselves. They seemed... smarter. More knowing. More engaged with the world beyond their covers. Still stuffed with ridiculous amounts of muscle and spandex, still filled with THWACK and BAMF and BOOOOOOM, but somehow more sophisticated than I remember.

Well, actually the BIGGEST change is the price. Comics are no longer cheap! In fact, they're damn expensive.

But I can't help but grin when I go to the comics store and a new comic is in and I know that after I schlep the groceries home I'll have a good half-hour of pure escapist enjoyment...

Plus, that Thor #600 might be worth something someday.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Hey Punx Listen Up

The new Dillinger Four record is out, and it's pretty good. In fact it sounds just like an, uh, Dillinger Four record. Having given it a complete if cursory listen, I'd say it's better than Situationist Comedy but not quite as good as Versus God. Which is still high praise, because Versus God is a phenomenally good punk rock record.

But if you like smart, pop-tinged, fast punk rock with shout-along choruses, you'll like C I V I L W A R (caps and spacing their idea, not mine).

*checks band website for tour dates*

They're touring with NOFX?

*sigh*

Oh well, there's no accounting for taste.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Hey, Whaddya Know

There's new local music blog called Bham.fm, and so far, it's pretty OK.

Check 'em out.

Maybe we'll see representatives of said blog at the Dexateens show at Zydeco this Saturday.

Saturday, November 08, 2008

In Which I Jettison Everything I've Ever Stood For

Yeah. Blind Guardian is the greatest band in the world.


Look, if you can't appreciate German power metal, then you shouldn't be discussing rock and roll.

*sneaks off to listen to Hammerfall*