Saturday, March 17, 2007

The Soundtrack to My Life (needs more Max Geldray)

Not started by him, but I saw this first on The Soundtrack to Your Life meme. (Here's another good one from Bitter Andrew over at Armagideon Time.)

The rules: write down the following categories, start up your MP3 player on shuffle play, and write down the songs that pop up under the categories in order. No changing the sequence! I cheated only slightly as I have a large number of radio plays and radio station jingles on the BullyPod, but I wrote down the next specific song after each of those.

Are you seated comfortably? Then let's begin:

Opening Credits:
"Walk a Straight Line" by Squeeze. Quiet and not quite thematically right for a little stuffed bull, oddly apt for the big guy whose iPod it really is.

Waking Up:
"Sailing By" by Royal Ballet Sinfonia. Absolutely positively almost diametrically the wrong song: "Sailing By" is the song I use to put me to sleep. (I discuss my obsession with "Sailing By" and the BBC Shipping Forecast here.)

First Day At School:
"She" by Edie Brickell and New Bohemians. The words don't fit but the tune has a playfulness that works perfectly.

Falling In Love:
"Latin Snowfall" by Henry Mancini. I don't care what anyone says, Mancini can score my entire freakin' life.

Fight Song:
"Strange Currencies" by R.E.M. Slowwwwwwest... fiiiiiiiight... sceeeeeeeene... evvvvvvver.

Breaking Up:
"The Folks Who Live on the Hill" by Dakota Staton. Oh, my, this so totally works on an entirely ironic sad level. One of the most wistful and poignant love songs I know, and one of my favorite covers of it. Like "A Nightingale Sang in Berkeley Square," I have an entire playlist just of versions of this song.

"Hello Stranger" by Queen Latifah. Holy cow, do I wanna go to that prom. Instead of the one with the endless Billy Joel and Queen covers.

"Living It Up" by Rickie Lee Jones. An odd but apt juxtaposition despite the appearance of the word "living" in the title.

Well, you know
It's more trouble than it's worth
it's more trouble than it's worth
Oh Wild and the Only ones
Tell him where you are—
Oh Wild and the Only ones
Tell him where you are
Tell him where you are

Mental Breakdown:
"That's What I Like About the South" by Phil Harris. Gosh, I love Phil. This, like "Roly Poly," is one of those great Bob Wills songs about eating...about stuffing as much as possible into your mouth:

Won't you come with me to Alabamy
Let's go see my dear old Mammy
She's fryin' eggs and boiling hammy
That's what I like about the South

Now there you can make no mistakey
Where those nerves are never shaky
Ought to taste her layer cakey
That's what I like about the South

She's got baked ribs and candied yams
Those sugar-cured Virginia hams
Basement full of those berry jams
An' that's what I like about the South

Hot corn bread, black-eyed peas
You can eat as much as you please
'Cause it's never out of season
That's what I like about the South

Aahhh, don't take one, have two
There's dark brown and chocolate too
Suits me, they must suit you
'Cause that's what I like about the South

That said, I can totally picture this being a psychedelic freak-out scene, possible directed by Bob Clampett, in which I messily stuff as many pies into my mouth as possible and then collapse in a giggling fit before they haul me away to the lovely hospital on the grassy hill.

"Back to Tupelo" by Mark Knopfler. Slow and sad. Not what I had expected for my driving song, but here you go:

When you're young and beautiful
Your dreams are all ideals
Later on it's not the same
Lord, everything is real
Sixteen hundred miles of highway
Roll back to the truth
And a song to give your mother
In your first recording booth

"Moon River" by The Innocence Mission. Remember what I said about Mancini? Double here, baby. Especially apt for a reason I won't explain now but will in (I hope) a month or so.

Getting Back Together:
"Breathe Me" by Sia. You know, this might have worked at one point for me, until a certain TV show fixed it in my head so whenever I hear this song now I think about Every. Body. Dying.

"If I Had You" by Tracey Ullman. I copied this meme, as I mentioned, from Kevin. Kevin's wedding song started out with an organ. Mine does too, and a slow building orchestral procession. Huh.

Birth of Child:
"Atlantis" by Donovan. This will be the coolest kid ever. Hey, why's he got wings on his ankles?

Final Battle:
"Bluebird" by Paul McCartney and Wings. Uh, no, there's no way I can make a battle sequence work to this.

Death Scene:
"Rant 'n' Roll" by John Trudell. Whoa, this shoulda been my Final Battle song. Not spot-on for a death scene, but not out of the question.

Funeral Song:
"Unravel" by Bobby Birdman. Accordion-heavy cover of a Björk song. That said, picture perfect. I actually have my funeral playlist on iTunes (heavy on the Pogues, including "If I Should Fall from Grace with God" and "I'm a Man You Don't Meet Every Day") and I'm putting this one on right with the rest of them. Please remove your hats.

End Credits:
"Chinese Whispers/Stereotomy II" by The Alan Parsons Project. Gotta love the Alan Parsons, the perfect soundtrack to reading comic books of the 1980s. This, the final track from Stereotomy, would make a dandy end title.

Please exit the theatre by the nearest available exit and toss your garbage into the provided bins. Thank you for coming to BullyPlex 25.

Separated at Birth: Thor Clones

Thor #126 and #338

L: Thor #126 (March 1966), art by Jack Kirby and Vince Colletta
R: Thor #338 (December 1983), art by Walt Simonson
(Click picture to make god-size)

Friday, March 16, 2007

Redemption 5: Everybody on stage for the big Viking musical number

Part OnePart TwoPart ThreePart Four

(You also may wish to get out your copy of this, or this, and follow along.)

Clor page 9

Clor page 10

Clor page 11

So. Do y'all still hate Clor now?

(rides off into the sunset)

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Redemption 4: Double in the message centre

Danger! Mystery! Drama! Excitement! Clones of Norse Gods! All that and more in today's installment of The Mighty Clor, the comic book hero of which it has been said "Please cease and desist. Signed, the Norwegian Anti-Defamation League." For those of you with short-term memory loss, click here for Part One and here for Part Two and here for Part Three. Now read on, True Bullievers!

Clor page 7

Clor page 8

Next: everybody on stage for the big-ass Cecil B. Demille-style spectacle scene! To be continued!

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Synchronicity rules the universe

Actual Blogger confirmation word that popped up as I posted a comment on another blog:

Blogger confirmation word

Today in Comics History, March 14: Pie Day Special: Let's Cook with Cap!

Altered version of Captain America #193

Hello there, Americans! Captain America here. You know, after a hard day fighting Nazis, Hydra, AIM, disguised Richard Nixons, or my own estranged former teammates, there's nothing like heading back to Avengers Mansion for a delicious, sweet and tart savory slice of apple pie, piping hot, fresh out of the oven. Mmmm, pie! But what with his usual duties of housework, watching the alert monitors, and cleaning out under Hawkeye's bed, Jarvis doesn't have time to make one every day. So yours truly learned to step up to the stove and bake one for himself! Follow along with me, fellow Americans, and I'll show you how. It's as easy as...heh, heh!...pie!

First, enter your kitchen! You may want to enlist a partner in making your pie, so get him in there with you! And close the door behind you! No need to be disturbed while creating your delicious culinary masterpiece!

Avengers #107 panel
from Avengers #107 (Marvel, January 1973); script by Steve Englehart, pencils by Jim Starlin and George Tuska, inks by Dave Cockrum and George Tuska, colors by Glynis Oliver, letters by Denise Wohl

Treat your equipment right! Well-kept kitchen supplies are as important as a shield by your side...don't bang 'em around! Put your pots and pans back when you're finished with them and they'll always be standing by for cooking duty at a moment's notice!

Avengers #107 panel
If you're interrupted by someone nosy who can't wait for the pie to be finished, just take a step back! Wait them out! And in case of kitchen fire, put it out immediately, then lie low until the smoke clears away!

Avengers #107 panel

Next...Ingredients, Assemble! There's no time to lose when delicious pie is the goal, so grab them from the shelf and go, soldier, go!

Avengers #107 panel

Now...mix, man, mix! You and your partner should by now be a well-trained baking team: slam those ingredients down, give that dough a good old American one-two punch and get ready for a taste explosion!

Avengers #107 panel

Finally, bake, serve, and enjoy! Mmmm, that's good pie! Serves six Avengers (two if it's Hulk and Thor).

Apple Pie

Go get 'em, Gareth

Gareth Hunt as Mike GambitWhen I grew up I always wanted to be like Gambit. No, not the pink-garbed mutant, but action man Mike Gambit: smooth, suave ladies man, rough-and-tumble ex-paramilitary fighter with a saucy quip and a devilish smile, dressed in the most stylish of clothes but never afraid to get down and dirty: the very epitome of a British ladykiller in the 1970s and beyond: a man who would buy you a pint in the pub and then bed the barmaid.

Most of that was due to the uncanny and pitch-perfect portrayal of Mike Gambit by British star Gareth Hunt. Hunt has appeared in many other TV shows from Upstairs, Downstairs and Space: 1999 to Doctor Who and even a role in a film starring Pet Shop Boys. But it was as Gambit in The New Avengers that I first "met" Mister Hunt, and though John Steed had not had a male partner in nearly fifteen years, Hunt fell easily and comfortably into the role, and the clever, joking, but utterly devoted camraderie between him and Patrick Macnee and Joanna Lumley as they battle Nazis, walking plagues, giant rats, intelligent killer buildings and Cybermen, is what makes the show memorable. It was at times a cheesy show that hasn't dated as well as the 1960s Avengers, but I luvs The New Avengers to pieces and was tremendously chuffed when it finally recently came to DVD so I could love it all over again.

Gareth Hunt died today at the age of 65 from pancreatic cancer. I picture him kicking down the door to heaven, brandishing one of his many guns and securing the place. Ten minutes later, he will likely be in bed with Marilyn Monroe or Hedy Lamarr.

You'll be missed, Gareth. Go give 'em hell. You always did.

Gareth Hunt

Redemption 3: With a rebel yell, she cried Clor, Clor, Clor

So you say your local newsstand is sold out of the latest issue of The Mighty Clor? Well, effendi, if you subscribed to Marvel Comics using the handy cut-out coupon at the back of all our frankly fabulous mags, you'd not only be assured of a folded, rolled, creased copy shoved through your mailbox every four to six weeks, you'd also be increasing the collectible value of other copies of this ish after you clip that coupon! Sucker!

Or, you could just click here for Part One and here for Part Two.

All caught up? Don't worry if you aren't, front-facin' fearless freaks! Unca Stan'll fill you in as you go alone, because frankly we haven't the furschlugginist idea what's goin' on! And don't forget: click the images below to expand 'em to brain-searin' Mighty Marvel Mammoth size! 'Nuff said!

Clor page 5

Clor page 6

That deceptive dame decrees damage to our demigod duplicate! Dang! Tune in tomorrow, same Clor time, same Clor blog! To be continued!

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Redemption: Highway to the Danger Clone

Previously, on The Mighty Clor...

And now...

Kirby sez: Don't ask! Just read it! (He also politely reminds you to kindly click on the images to increase them in size, won't you, please?)

Clor #1

Clor #1

Stan sez: if you miss tomorrow's brain-sizzling installment of The Mighty Clor, then you just deserve to get swirlies at school, bud! Excelsior! To be continued!

Monday, March 12, 2007

Redemption: Re-creating the Most Despised Character in Comics as a Fun Guy

And...awaaaaay we go!

(Unless you have the tiny, tiny eyes of Hank Pym, click all images to make them, clone-size):

Clor #1

Clor #1

Clor #1

What? Will there be more? Ya, you betcha, true be continued!

Sunday, March 11, 2007

The Redemption Project: Putting Right What Once Went Wrong

There's a lot of maxims surrounding the comic book hobby, aren't there? With great power comes great responsibility. Criminals are a cowardly and superstitious lot. Any given issue is always somebody's first issue. Every character is somebody's favorite. And, a maxim I think it wouldn't hurt a lot of comic book publishers and creators to remember:

There's no such thing as a bad character, only a character written badly.

It's easy to kill off second-tier characters as cannon-fodder in crossovers and mega-events. They serve to emphasize that life ain't permanent no-how: tempus fugit, sic gloria tuesday, and all that. And maybe in some cases the casuality doesn't seem that grave because the character hasn't been that important in the past. He couldn't hold down his own book. She's not that popular a guest star. Sales go down when he's on the cover. It's a boring character to write. And suddenly they become our whipping boys, our sacrificial lambs, our hot dogs on the spit.

She-Hulk #1I challenge the writers and editors of comic books that it may be easier to kill off characters who seem to have a dead end career, but it is more creative and fulfilling to write them in an interesting and unusual new way. It may not work. But it might just. She-Hulk, despite being written by Stan Lee in her first outing, was (let's be honest) a rather drab and uninteresting adventure character that was so derivitive of the the Hulk that it doesn't surprise me there are tales told that she was created simply to hold onto a trademark. It woulda been simple to shrug and give up on She-Hulk, kill her off at the end of her series, or even just bury her in limbo until she needed to be dusted off for trademark renewal.

Instead Roger Stern wrote her while she was in the Avengers as a lively, vivacious, intelligent fighter. John Byrne continued her unique evolution in Fantastic Four and then in Shulkie's fourth-wall-shattering eponymous series. Dan Slott gave our Green Giantess even more unusual new twists and made her not a second-rate Hulk knock-off but a genuining entertaining and unique personality whose book is acclaimed and praised.

Think of all the characters who have been killed off (or worse yet, darkified) rather than brainstormed on. Speedball. Goliath. Pantha. Spoiler.

And I got to thinking...

What if there were a character so universally reviled, loathed, hated, despised, that the fans actually cheered for that character's death to happen? Is such a character redeemable? Can you make a fun comic out of that character, I wondered?

More to the point, could I make a fun comic out of that character?

Tomorrow my Redemption Project begins: one of the most hated characters in comics is coming back. Bully-style.

And although I do it mostly for the sake of a cheap giggle and guffaw and the chance to do a comic book Photoshop mashup, let's see if that character has got what it takes. It's gonna be wacky. It's gonna be silly. It's not gonna be serious. But just for fun, let's see if I can redeem the most despised character in comics.

See ya tomorrow, true believers. (And don't take the whole thing too serious. It's just an opportunity for some more jokes.)

Ten of a Kind: You Only Die Once Ten Times

Luckily, we have some hope:

(More Ten of a Kind here.)

AP Breaking News

The Associated Press presents this amazingly up-to-the-minute breaking news item, dated March 10, 2007:
Stephen King Ventures Into Comic Books

Associated Press Writer

NEW YORK (AP) -- There are few things Stephen King hasn't tried when it comes to his work. He's already the master of horror fiction, a tour guide through disturbing and fantastical worlds, a writing coach, a nonfiction author, a screen writer and even a director.

He can now claim a new genre with the recent Marvel Entertainment comics publication "The Dark Tower," based on his books of the same name.

Wow. Way to stay on top of the news, Associated Press reporter Colleen Long. Yes, I know I shouldn't make fun since any bit of publicity for comics is good news, and this is actually a nice lengthy piece.

But just for fun, I like to imagine what the Daily Bugle would be like if it were run this way:

Altered Spectacular Spider-Man #1 panel