Monday, October 31, 2011

The Halloween Seagull


I was relaxing on my couch this morning when much to my shock a seagull crashed into a paperback rack I keep in my apartment and got tangled up for a bit. It finally relaxed, and, after getting a suggestion from a friend on Facebook, grabbed a towel to try to gently take it out.

It was a baby seagull, and I briefly thought it might be one of my stuff animal birds (the child friendly type, no taxidermy stuff in my place). I took a couple photos and they talked nicely to it as I try to grab it.  It ran off, in the general direction of my balcony. I tried coaxing it further that direction but it disappeared. Not sure where exactly. I didn’t think it had escaped but I couldn’t see it anywhere.

A couple hours later I heard it move again and found it on top of some DVDs. More photos and capture attempt. It flew on top of my entertainment centre (which worried me because I keep comics there). It had a great view of the balcony but wasn’t moving. After more photos I tried tossing a puffed cheese snack out the balcony. No luck.

Another attempt. This time it flew to a DVD shelf and was now only about 30 cm away from the balcony.  More photos and cheese snacks. I tried holding the towel across my hands so it could land on it. Still nothing. I finally made one more attempt. This time it flew out on my balcony. As I tried closing the balcony, it flew off.  The baby seagull was now finally outside and hopefully able to reunite with its family.  Hopefully no major decorations while it was inside.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

13 Halloween Movies 2011 Edition


Another year, another list of 13 Halloween movie recommendations.
 
An American Werewolf in London: An American tourist gets turned into a werewolf; great transformation effects, and some dark humour

The Cook: a foreigner prepares meals for a sorority house. They think what he’s saying is romantic when he’s actually telling them how he plans to kill them and turn them into food.

Dance of the Dead (2008): Zombies invade prom night

Dawn of the Dead (2004) Uses the zombies in shopping mall concept of the original as a starting point, but then goes off in its own direction

Dead Snow: Nazi zombies

The Devil’s Den: Ghouls invade a night club

Dracula (1931) Bela Lugosi’s take is still a nice mood piece

The Evil Dead: I really many prefer the sequels, but this is my favourite of the trilogy, an everyman facing great evil in a cabin

Freddy vs. Jason: Teens are caught in the crossfire of a war between two slasher film icons

The Rocky Horror Picture Show: Probably the biggest omission from previous years. A couple’s car breaks down and they encounter a “sweet transvestite” from the city of Transsexual, planet Transylvania

They Live: A drifter finds sunglasses that allows him to penetrate the disguises of aliens in our midst

Underworld (2003): First in a series of movies about vampires battling werewolves

Village of the Damned (1995): I haven’t seen the original, but the remake about part alien kids is quite creepy.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

What Role-Playing Games Really Are


Many outsiders have interesting ideas as to what role-playing games are. To some, they are engaging in a gateway activity to the dark arts (little to no truth to that). Others see the games as impenetrable activities being played by oddball games speaking a language no one else can underst4and (okay, there’s a little more truth to that one). But let me life the curtain and tell you what role-playing games really are: simply put, role-playing games are improvisational acting with pen (or pencil), paper, and dice.

This is actually an oversimplification, though it’s very close.  Sometimes cards are used instead of dice (for simplicity sake dice with be used below to encompass cards and any other way of determining outcomes). Not everyone getting fully into their character (more on this in a moment).  And some computer games are also called role-playing games; in the latter case I would argue they’re a different form of game entirely, though they do draw on elements from fantasy role-playing games such as character statistics; they have their appeal but are beyond the scope of this discussion.

Basically with the type of role-playing games we’re talking about, all players (except one) play a single character, and the remaining character presents the scenario and plays all necessary characters except those played by the other players; we’ll call this player the Games Master, though Dungeon Master, Judge etc. mean the same thing.  The players interact with each other, with the fantasy environment, and with the Game Master’s player. This much, again, is improvisational acting, `thinking on the spot what your character does. Kids call this make-believe, but since the Game Master has something resembling a script (at least s/he should), improvisational acting is a slightly better term. Like the movie Best in Show, the script is there as a framework, but the players are largely free to do their own thing as long as it’s within character.

Now some players don’t really get much into character. If, say, they’re playing Thor, they might say “Thor questions the civilian” whereas someone more into their character might say, “Halt, yon mortal. The Mighty Thor would have words with thee!”  In the former case, well, okay, they’re not doing a very good acting job, but at least they’re taking some aspect of the script that the Games Master has shared with them and making a decision accordingly. It’s still on the outer edges of improvisational acting.

Where dice come in is where an action has a chance of failing.  Most movies don’t really worry about that if they use this kind of acting; it’s more bouncing dialogue off one another there.  With role-playing games though the characters (not usually the actors, though we’ll get more into this in a moment) are often presented with situations where they could succeed or fail. Dice are rolled and the results are compared with they characters’ statistics (how smart they are, how good a fighter they are, etc.) to determine how successful they are at what they are trying to do (or what they could potentially notice, etc.) Sometimes the player roles the nice, sometimes the Games Master does do behind a screen (because they know something the players don’t), and of course the Games Master roles the dice to determine actions taken against the player’s character. Regardless, the Game Master tells the player the outcome of their action based on the dice roll and the player will usually get another chance to respond to this outcome unless the character is killed or incapacitated (meanwhile the player playing the character is probably sitting down with everyone else in front of a table).

Dress? Well, that’s usually a lot more casual then characters in movies wear. Oh sure, role-players are often depicted in cartoons wearing robes and hats  and the like but really most just wear their regular clothes to the game sessions.  Most of the acting is just done verbally.  I’m sure some do dress up, but in my experience most don’t. As long as they’re consistent in they’re role-playing it’s not hard to visualize who’s playing which character.

But ah, I hear some of you wondering about those players who wander around from room to room and go into sewers and the like; isn’t that the real evil of role-playing games, that you get that lost into your character?  I've never met any of those types myself but I’ll give you my take on that anyway.  First off, are they still using dice? If not I would argue that they’ve stopped playing a game that uses improvisational acting and are just improvisational acting by itself. That is, they’re role-playing but no longer playing a role-playing game. Straight acting with no camera or an audience, at least not an intended audience.  If they are still rolling dice, well that’s probably a good thing because that provides some mechanics to sometimes disrupt the illusion.  Frankly if a group starts dressing up and wandering into the sewers (even if they’re still rolling dice) even your typical role-playing gamer is going to think they’re a bit strange.  It’s simply not normal behaviour for people playing these games.  Among those who do dress up, wander around, wander into sewers, look at it this way: some actors in a TV series or movie go in and out of character pretty easily, but others, the so-called method actors stay close to character even between takes. As long as they can eventually shut off the character, it’s probably okay. I’d guess that the amount of danger for the type of role-playing game players who dress up and go mobile are comparable to having a group of method actors together.  Some risk sure, but only if the player gets hopelessly lost in their character.  The Game Master, who normally plays multiple characters and frequently breaks character to discuss a scene or game mechanics, should be able to pick up on aberrant player behaviour like a director would a regular actor.  But again, usually players just stay sitting most of the time (and often forget to even stretch) and I only mention the extreme group just to puncture the stereotype.

In a nutshell, a group of novice actors sitting at a table using pen, paper, and dice to determine the outcome of their characters’ actions … that’s all role-playing games really are, generally speaking.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Seattle Trip Day 2006 Day 3 Sunday July 30


This is the 3rd of a series of posts recalling my first annual trip to Seattle. Unlike later Seattle reports, the hostel I was staying at charged for Internet use so I wrote the reports from notes I’d written after returning home.  I’ve made minor corrections to these reports. Also, I’ve added additional thoughts with the hindsight of five years later or to add further clarification; I “NOW” to denote such cases.

Got up early again and bought a couple new batteries from Rite Aid, where I bought my extra film the day before (latter was buy 1, get one free, about $5 per 4 rolls; batteries not too pricey either).

[NOW: I’m pretty sure that the Rite Aid described above is one that closed down; many other Rite Aids in Seattle though.]

Rode bus to the Museum of Flight.  Bought a daypass, but because I got on during free zone, had to wait for bus to reach the museum to get it.  Museum opened half hour later than guidebooks claimed.  Museum was very impressive.  They had WW1 and 2 exhibits (no mention of Canada though).  A replica of a modern jet allowed people to sit down inside.

[NOW: I recall on one visit, likely this one, asking a volunteer about Canada material. He thought there might be a plane in the present day one but not the WW2 area. None actually found.]

Considered exploring one of the neighbouring cities but was anxious to see the University District's stores, so explored there.  Got a DVD at one music store (Brooklyn South: The Complete Series) and might have gotten more but the music was so loud I didn't want to search too long.  Bought more DVDs at Scarecrow Video, a video store in the University District that even has its own movie guide. 

[NOW: I’m almost certain the music store is Al’s Music Video Games.]

Then I went to a park in the upper part of the Capitol Hill region.  Went up a dome that allowed a nice view of the city, albeit through wire mesh.  Then checked out the hill's main street, Broadway.  This turned out to be the/a gay district, but found a bunch of Troma movies there.

[NOW: The park is Volunteer Park and the dome is called the Observation Tower.  Broadway has since become a bit less of a gay district but it still probably wouldn’t be an ideal play for people who don’t like gays/lesbians. The video store was Gruv, which only recently closed down.]



[UPDATE November 30, 2012: Thinking of it further I probably got the Troma DVDs at both Gruv and at Everyday Music, which has moved three times since. I also visited the now defunct Bailey/Coy Books on Broadway.]

Walked the rest of the way downtown and re-explored some favourite areas, but visited Borders book store. 

[NOW: This is the one that was on 4th Ave in Seattle; sadly all Borders closed their doors just after my 2011 visit.]

Discovered that my swimtrunks were lost.  The weather was variable and I kept them in my backpack in case it warmed up enough, so I probably took them out searching through my bag in a store.

I bought a book on the Justice League at a downtown book store, probably the day before actually, but may have been this day (forget to add to my rough notes).

[NOW: I think that was a book I got at Arundel Books. I could have sworn that it was a Superman book that I bought through, the Krypton Companion.]


[UPDATE November 30, 2012: Arundel Books has since moved.]
 

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Seattle Trip Day 2006 Day 2 Saturday July 29


This is the 2nd of a series of posts recalling my first annual trip to Seattle. Unlike later Seattle reports, the hostel I was staying at charged for Internet use so I wrote the reports from notes I’d written after returning home.  I’ve made minor corrections to these reports. Also, I’ve added additional thoughts with the hindsight of five years later or to add further clarification; I “NOW” to denote such cases.  See Day 1 for updates on Tower Records and Elliott Bay Book Company.

I got up early for a jog.  The police still has an area taped up but it was much smaller.  Also took a peak at the stadium that replaced the Kingdome.  Bought some more film.  Temporarily thought I'd lost my credit card but recovered it at the hostel. Visited Barnes & Noble for the first of a number of times, though I never actually ended up buying anything there (nor Elliott Bay Book Company, sadly).

[NOW: The stadium I was referring to is Qwest Field. Some of the tape might have actually been for the Torchlight Parade but I’m not sure. I’ve since switched from film to digital camera. The Barnes & Noble described above is the one at Pacific Place, but I think I did end up getting stuff there; see day 4.]


[UPDATE November 30, 2012: Qwest Field is now called CenturyLink Field, though the locals call it the CLink.]
 
Met up with an online acquaitance and we visited the troll and Lenin statues before heading to Kerry Park for a nice view of the city.

[NOW: By troll I mean the Fremont Troll, a statue made in part from an old Volkswagen. It’s under Aurora Bridge on Troll Ave N.  The Lenin statue is also in the Fremont district, while Kerry Park is in Queen Anne]

We went ate lunch in the International Distict at a Chinese food place that was a bit spicy but had a nice d├ęcor.  Drank a lemon soda (they were out of chocolate).  At a racial-focussed museum I there was a replica of an intern camp.  You weren't allowed to take flash pics there but couldn't figure out how to turn the flash off.  On the plus side, because I couldn't figure this out, got two nice pics before giving up, including a replica of a camp room.

[The museum is the Wing Luke Museum. I went there the next year but having switched locations had eliminated the intern camp display.]

We then went to Alki Beach.  Didn't get to see the mini-Statue of Liberty, sadly, but the walk was nice and there was a sort of art show at the beach.

[NOW: Alki Beach is in West Seattle.  I believe the Statue of Liberty was gone that year. That version got too damaged so I new one got made and placed in a more protected display. I also saw the Alki Bathhouse and the Alki Art Fair. I don’t recall seeing the Birthplace of Seattle marker that year but may have.]



[UPDATE November 30, 2012: The Bathhouse is just a small building, not currently used for bathing if it ever was.]

My friend dropped me off and then I explored the Pike Market area as a whole.  Went back to Tower Records and got some more films.  A parade was being prepared so I got a lot of pics of the preparation, and later of the parade itself.  Battery started to die midway into the parade, as it was a lamplight parade, thus dark.  Watched most of the parade anyway, but stopped a little before the end because it was getting late and wanted to check my e-mail and unwind before turning in.  There was actually a Vernon BC class in the parade, though.

[NOW: The “lamplight” parade is actually the annual Torchlight Parade held the last Saturday of July. I don’t recall seeing any lamps but it’s certainly possible.]
[UPDATE February 2, 2015: Forgot to note earlier that Tower Records closed and was replaced by Silver Platters. However, Silver Platters has since moved, leaving the building empty.]

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Seattle Trip Day 2006 Day 1 Friday July 28

This is the 1st of a series of posts recalling my first annual trip to Seattle. Unlike later Seattle reports, the hostel I was staying at charged for Internet use so I wrote the reports from notes I’d written after returning home.  I’ve made minor corrections to these reports. Also, I’ve added additional thoughts with the hindsight of five years later or to add further clarification; I “NOW” to denote such cases.Note that I had in fact been to Seattle as a kid, but only on the north end and most of memories are of an aunt and uncle's place.  My real memories of Seattle began with this trip.

Well, the adventure began at Customs.  The Customs officer was a bit suspicious of me.  Seems that the group ahead of me were also named Nystrom, and he was dubious that I was really travelling alone.  He let me through anyway.

The ferry arrived in Port Angeles the earliest the Coho Ferry ever has since I've used it, so I went to a book store that opens before 8 and took a peak around before heading to Sequim by Clallum Transit.  I did a small bit of shopping there before taking a Jefferson Transit bus to Port Townsend.  Next bus was also Jefferson Transit so I grabbed a bus schedule.  Good thing I did because the next bus left 15 minutes earlier than I expected, and the next bus after that is four hours later.  So I did a shorter than planned look at Port Townsend before returning to the Park and Ride to head to Poulsbo.

[NOW: The book store in Port Angeles is Port News and Books; it’s not always open before 8. The bus to Sequim is the 30 Commuter bus. I can’t recall if my misconception of the bus to Poulsbo was the result of an online check or if I had previously read an older bus schedule; I had visited Port Townsend in the past so the latter’s certainly possible. The bus from Sequim to Port Townsend is the number 8.]



[UPDATE November 30, 2012: The Coho ferry is Black Ball Transport.]
 
I took a quick peak at the shopping centre by Poulsbo Transit Center before taking a Kitsap Transit bus to Bainbridge Ferry Terminal.  Ferry was free to Seattle and bigger than I expected.  But a cheeseburger (no extras) was $6 US so decided to wait to Seattle to eat.  Excellent view of the city approaching.  That's when I really felt like the trip was really working to its destination.  You could easily see the Space Needle and the large downtown buildings most of the journey.

[NOW: The bus from Port Townsend to Poulsbo is the number 7 and from Poulsbo to Bainbridge is the number 90. The shopping centre above is the Poulsbo Village Shopping Center. I now take a different route to Seattle from Port Townsend because the 11:40 or so run got cancelled and the next one’s not until around 3.  I do miss the view of Seattle approaching. I originally thought that my doing the trip would hit me upon turning off from Four Corners on the number 7, as that was where the trip was new for me, but as noted it was actually on the ferry when I could see the Space Needle.]



[UPDATE November 30, 2012:  The ferry to Seattle is Washington State Ferries.]


The ferry was a little east of where I thought it was going to be.  A woman offering directions to the hostel suggested I head a few blocks us to catch a bus, which was free downtown, but since I'd be heading right back down to the same street I was on once I made it west a few blocks, that seemed like a bad idea, and it wasn't really that far.  I checked into the hostel before exploring downtown, which was accessible by a staircase up to the next street.

[NOW: That hostel was the then Seattle branch of Youth Hostel International on Union St. It closed down after my visit, though the VHI now has a branch in the International District.]

Had lunch at a Subway and visited the Pike Street Market to see the famous fish tossing (can't remember in which order).  Rode a couple of free transit buses (thus visiting the Elliott Bay Book Company, an interesting old fashioned looking multistory store) and got off on a westbound route. 

[NOW: Only two floors actually. It moved to a large one-story place in Capitol Hill, though they no longer sell used books, just new.]

Walked a little further until my way was blocked by police tape, due to a shooting at a Jewish mosque (only learned the details later; one woman killed and I think a few others injured).  As this was major news, I got pics of the various news vans of major networks but didn't look over the tape in the correct belief that I might see a body.  Also got pics of a news helicopter.

Visited a comic shop but instead of a back issue bin to flip through people had to use an unwieldy database.  Didn't end up buying comics.

[NOW: This is the downtown Seattle branch of Zanadu Comics; they have another branch in the University District.]



[UPDATE November 30, 2012: There is now only one Zanadu Comics. The University District branch is now a Comic Stop.]
 
I went to the Space Needle and area.  The 7-11 had beer.  Was tempted to buy one but didn't know where I'd drink it.  Later realized it wasn't even allowed in the hostel.

[NOW: You should understand that I originally wrote this for a primarily Canadian audience; in Canada only “non-alcoholic” beer is for sale in grocery stores. By Space Needle in area I was mainly referring to Seattle Center.]

Didn't go up the Needle but saw the fountain, which sprayed water up to the Needle and higher.  Also saw the KCTS 9 (PBS) HQ and visited the store.  Didn't buy DVDs there but did at the nearby Tower Records.  Back to the Needle and vicinity (Seattle Center) went to Sci-Fi Museum.  A disappointment.  Some nice memorabilia but not long to walk through and no pics allowed.

[NOW: The fountain is called the International Fountain, and it was the first place where I really felt at home in Seattle, where I fell in love with the city. The store at KCTS is of course called the KCTS Store; both the International Fountain and the KCTS 9 Store are at Seattle Center. Tower Records closed down but has been replaced by the very similar Silver Platters. That year you could visit the Sci-Fi Museum separate from Experience Music Project in the same complex, but that is no longer the case.]


[UPDATE November 30, 2012: The KCTS 9 Store is now online only.]
[UPDATE February 2, 2015: Silver Platters has moved, leaving the former Tower Records building empty]

Whew: e-mail crashed on me.  Luckily I only lost a little. Ate at McDonald's and returned downtown.
[NOW: The McDonald’s across from Seattle Center has four clear poles: one with footballs (gridiron), one with baseballs, one with basketballs, one with soccer balls (European football).]

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

The Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe Books of the Dead Tracking Page

Updated to ensure this info survives the Comixfan - CX Pulp merger

This page is intended to track the living statuses of every character who ever appeared in Book of the Dead issues of the Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe. That is: first series #13-14, Deluxe Edition #16-20, Book of the Dead 2004. I’ll also add in the sole Deceased entry from Update ’89 to make this list complete. Versions of this list appear on both the Comixfan forum Who Watches the Watchers and my Sane Insanities blog. I will update this page as needed. There’s also an older version on the VTN site but it’s strictly an Archive version now and won't be updated.

For characters who’ve appeared more than once I’ve cross-referenced later uses to the old one. That way as this list changes I only need to adjust each character once. Apparently some of the below have had clones as part of the Corpse Corps. I'm not sure who all, but since they're clones and not originals it arguably doesn't matter that much.

#13:
Air-Walker: The original is still dead, but the automation returned at some point
Ancient One: still dead, but being "one with the universe" can probably interact with Marvel characters whenever he pleases
Banshee (Inactive): Regained powers and code name but has since died; revived during Necrosha storyline; died and brought back during Chaos War; reportedly returned to death, though this was never actually depicted on panel so a change in editorial policy could conceivably establish that he’s still alive
Baron Blood I: Back
Baron Strucker: returned from the dead in Nick Fury, Agent of SHIELD v3
Baron Zemo I: still dead; unlikely to reappear with his son being a major player; subsequently revealed to be a later Baron, not the first
Black Knight I: still dead, but his ghost occasionally shows up to help or hinder people
Bloodstone: still dead, though his skeleton played a major role in a Captain America story a few years back; role largely taken up by daughter Elsa
Bucky: returned as the Winter Soldier and subsequently Captain America. Killed off again but returned once more; now back as Winter Soldier.
Captain Mar-Vell: still dead; alleged appearances via time travel proved to be a hoax
Changeling: still dead; briefly revived as a zombie member of Black Talon's X-Humed
Count Nefaria: back; has replaced Nefarius, who used his powers and costume
Darkoth: currently around in Otherplace
Death-Stalker: still dead
Destroyer: reactivated
Dracula: back; has has been destroyed and resurrected multiple times since
Drax the Destroyer: back, though his intelligence was drastically lower for a time
Egghead: still dead
Foolkiller I: still dead; legacy currently on 3rd generation
Gamora: revived with Warlock and Pip
Ghost Rider (Inactive): Active again despite successor Dan Ketch
Giant-Man (Inactive): Regained powers and code name; subsequently killed as Goliath; nephew now new Goliath
Green Goblin: Norman Osborn returned; Harry Osborn was just inactive but became active again, got killed, and then got brought back again inactive; Bart Hamilton is still dead; Phuil Urich became a heroic Green goblin for a while
It: Recreated
Jackal: Brought back; apparently killed again but given the number of clones around at the time could easily return; a clone on Spider Island may prove to be the genuine article
Jocasta: Back
Korvac: Brought back and killed again; a return is said to be likely
Lilith: Back; as her existence is tied to Dracula, is always resurrected whenever Dracula is revived
Mantis (Inactive): this one has become active again
Man-Wolf (Inactive): Has made reappearances as Man-Wolf but not currently active as such
Defunct Teams (still #13):
Ani-Men: Members dead at the time still dead; Bird-Man II later killed by Scourge but revived as part of Hood's army (his death occurred between this Handbook entry and the one in the Deluxe Edition) a third team has since appeared. Dragonfly remains active
Champions of Los Angeles: still defunct, though members have worked together since
Freedom's Five: All apparently dead. If not, this is a World War I team so I doubt Crimson Cavalier, Sir Steel, or Silver Squire are in any shape to do much
Howling Commandos: most being SHIELD agents, continued to work together informally; had an apparent last mission as such in the Secret Warriors series; many dead due to that adventure and others
Invaders: The team has been revived a couple times temporarily
Kid Commandos: still defunct
Leatherneck Raiders: being a WW2 military team, still defunct
Liberty Legion: Still defunct; inspired the Liberteens
The final page gives info on Death, who briefly died after this entry appeared

v1#14:
Marvel Boy: Crusader proved to be a still dead imposter; Marvel Boy alive again
Mimic: among the things he mimicked from mutants was their ability to never stay dead
Miss America: still dead
Morbius (Inactive): Active again
Nebulon: Back
Nighthawk: Back
Nova I (Inactive): Active
Omega: Still destroyed; the newer mini-series is a non-616 version
Patriot: Still dead.
Phantom Eagle: In spite of the fact that his final appearance was as a ghost, still gone
Phoenix: Revealed to be two characters (Jean Grey and the Phoenix Force) who are both back in a sense, though Grey has been stuck in a death-like White Room for a long time
Pip the Troll: revived with Warlock and Gamora
Red Guardian I: revealed to not be the first; back
Red Guardian II (Inactive): revealed to be a later Red Guardian; currently literally in Limbo as Starlight
Red Raven: Back; death revealed to be a (still gone) robot
Satana: Back; with the Thunderbolts
Shang-Chi (Inactive): Back; member of the Secret Avengers
Son of Satan (Inactive): Active again
Spider-Woman I (Inactive): Active again; with the New Avengers
Spirit of '76: Still dead
Spitfire (Inactive): Active; regained youth before becoming a vampire
Swordsman: Resurrected during Chaos War; reportedly returned to death (in Tom Brevoort's Forumspring and in v1 of the current Handbook tpb). However, this was never actually depicted on panel in a comic, so a change in editorial policy could conceivably establish that he’s still alive; an alternate Swordsman has been active for years and Andreas Strucker had a uinique take on the Swordsman identity
Terrax: Returned in the first issue of New Warriors
Thanos: Listed as inactive, though some sources like Marvel Graphic Novel showed him more as dead; back among the living regardless
3-D Man (Inactive): Still inactive; mantle passed to former Triathlon
Thunderbird: revived during Necrosha storyline; died and brought back during Chaos War; reportedly returned to death, though this was never actually depicted on panel so a change in editorial policy could conceivably establish that he’s still alive; his brother took his name before becoming Warpath
Thunderbolt: still dead
Toro: Brought back due to Captain America (Barnes) messing with the timestream in Avengers/Invaders
Torpedo: still dead; Turbo now using his suit
Adam Warlock: Brought back along with Gamora and Pip
White Tiger (Inactive): Since been killed
Whizzer: still dead
Vampires: All vampires apparently revived; however, since not all have since been seen, it's conceivable that the bad guys exaggerated the number to shaken Blade
Yellowjacket (Inactive): Since been active again, in order: Dr. Pym, Giant-Man, Yellowjacket, Giant-Man, Wasp, Giant-Man (current); had a female successor as Yellowjacket for a time
Zombie: Back
Zuras: Still dead
Final page spotlights death deities and after death

v2 (Deluxe Editon) #16:
Air-Walker/Ancient One/Ani-Men/Baron Blood/Baron Wolfgang Von Strucker/ Baron Zemo I/Black Knight I/Bloodstone/Bucky/Captain Mar-Vell/Changeling/ Count NefariaDarkoth/Death-Stalker: see v1#13 post
Basilisk: revived by the Hood
Beyonder: Back under various guises
Big Man: Still dead.
Black Knight II: still dead; nephew is the current Knight; Roman numeral inaccurate
Blackout: Back
Blizzard: Still dead, but a successor is active
Blue Streak: Revived by the Hood but apparently killed again; hs had a successor
Carrion: Original still dead though there’s been other Carrions.
Sharon Carter: Back; video proved to be faked
Turner D. Century: revived by Hood
Champions of Xandar: Xandar itself returned and destroyed again Only Protector seen during the revival period to my knowledge.
Cheetah: revived by the Hood and killed again by Punisher
Commander Kraken: still dead, seen in the afterlife
Dakimh the Enchanter: still dead, but his ghost still hangs out with Jennifer Kale and other heroes
Margo Damian: still dead
Death Adder: revived by the Hood

v2 (Deluxe Editon) #17:
Destiny I: still dead
Jean De Wolff: still dead
Dr. Lemuel Dorcas: first return was actually a robot; actually returned as Songbird foe in Thunderbolts
Doctor Sun: still dead
Dorma: original still dead but there's a bunch of clone bodies around
Dracula/Drax the Destroyer/Egghead/Foolkiller I/Gamora/Green Goblin: see v1#13
Eel I: still dead
Enforcer: still dead
Executioner: still dead, but Thor sometimes visits him in Valhalla
Fafnir: back
Amahl Farouk: body still dead, but spirit still poses a problem for X-characters as Shadow King
Firebrand: revived by Hood, killed again by Punisher; has has successors
Jacob Fury: Back; death revealed to be LMD
Gargoyle I: Still dead, and his son has joined him
Ghaur: Returned during Atlantis Attacks
Grand Director: Returned, back to being Captain America; apparently killed again but a return seems likely
Grim Reaper: Returned as undead; apparently killed again
Guardian I: Alternates between alive and dead fairly regularly
Hammer and Anvil: Still dead
Hangman: still dead, but has a successor
Quincy Harker:: Still dead; soul destroyed as opart of a spell to prevent vampires from entering Britain
Agatha Harkness: Long believed to have been resurrected but her long dead corpse was then found; complicating matters further is that an Aunt Agatha has since been depicted
Hate-Monger I/III: Hitler Clone's soul still trapped in fake cosmic cube, as seen occasionally; Psycho-Man's robot still Scourged; 4th one since active
Hobgoblin: revealed to be someone other than Ned Leeds and therefore alive (Leeds is still dead); apparent newer death revealed to be his brother

v2 (Deluxe Editon) #18:
Hyperion II: Still dissolved
Imperial Hydra: Still dead, though there's probably been quite a few Imperial Hydras since
It, the Living Colossus/Jackal/Jocasta/Korvac/Lilith: see post on v1#13
Jarella: still dead
Kangaroo: still dead, though there’s a successor
Kiber the Cruel: still dead
Kid Colt: While his death has since been depicted, he turned up alive; currently in the Savage Land
Letha: revived by Hood
Living Monolith: never actually died but rather transformed into a living planet; restored to human levels by Apoalypse and returned to Earth.
Lucifer: still dead, but his death was reported but not actually seen except in the Handbook itself
Maelkith the Accursed: Back
Marauders (Blockbuster, Riptide, Prism): Versions have since reappeared; unclear if the originals were clones or the ones who reappeared or both
Marvel Boy/Mimic/Miss America/Nebulon/Nighthawk II: see post on v1#14
Mauler: still dead, though there's a couple of successors
Melter: still dead
Midgard Serpent: Back
Miracle Man: revived by Hood
Mirage I: revived by Hood but apparently killed again
Modok: Back
Morlocks (Annalee, Blow-Hard, Cybelle, Scaleface, Tommy): still dead; Scaleface briefly revived as a zombie member of Black Talon's X-Humed
Nighthawk I: still dead; son active

v2 (Deluxe Editon) #19:
Nuke: still dead
Omega/Patriot/Phantom Eagle/Pip the Troll/Red Guardian I/Red Raven/ Satana/Spirit of '76: see v1#14
Ben Parker: Still dead
Phantom Rider I: still dead, but he and one or two successors inhabit Phantom Rider IV's body from time to time
Porcupine: still dead; a successor has appeared
Professor Power: Back in original body; son's body occasionally used in villain plots
Purple Man: back
Rawhide Kid: Death since depicted, though possibly embellished
Red Skull: Back; has had another temporary death
Ringer: Revived but later died from complications of his his original “death”
General "Thunderbolt" Ross: Back; now Red Hulk
Salem's Seven: entire team back
Savage Land Races: some have appeared in the revived Savage Land. Don't know if any race still extinct
General Sam Sawyer: Back
Scourge's Victims: many revived by the Hood but some since killed again
Serpent Crown: repaired
Snowbird: Back
Solarr: still dead
Sphinx: despite a female successor, he's back
Spymaster: Back despite successors
Gwen Stacy: still dead, though there's a character whom was first her clone until the clone's creator changed this, only for this to be changed again during the clone story; other clones of her have also appeared
Obadiah Stane: Still dead. As Iron Monger, there's been successors including his son

v2 (Deluxe Editon) #20:
Stick: Back
Franklin Storm: still dead
Swordsman/Terrax/Thanos/Thunderbird I/Thunderbolt/Toro/Torpedo/Vampires /Adam Warlock/Whizzer I/Zombie/Zuras: see v1#14
Colonel Glenn Talbot: still dead; basically succeeded by nephew
Tarantula: still dead; has had successors
Tom Thumb: still dead
Titania I: revived by Hood as Lascivious
Two-Gun Kid: death depicted but may be embellished; also, a version has been brought to the present; given the tendency of time travel to cause divergences, it's unclear when/where in the timestream this version is from
Union Jack I-II: still dead; successor still active
Vamp: Still dead, though of clones appeared in Deadpool
Rachel Van Helsing: While not seen since, probably revived along with all other vampires
Cornelius Van Lunt: still dead
Viper I: still dead
Aelfyre Whitemane: still dead
Wraith: Revived by Hood and then killed again
Zodiac I: all still dead except Libra, who returned in Avengers Forever

v3 (Update ’89) #8 (Deceased section only):
Madelyne Pryor: Revived a few times, currently dead again

Book of the Dead 2004:
Ancient One/Baron Zemo/Bloodstone/Bucky/Captain Marvel/Changeling/Harry Osborn (Green Goblin): as per v1 #13 above
Ant-Man: brought back during Children's Crusade but unclear how permanent this is; the less noble Eric O’Grady has taken over the identity
Fabian Cortez: brought back during Necrosha storyline but unclear if this was permanent
Graydon Creed: revived as a Sentinel and then destroyed as such
Cypher: Alive again due to Necrosha storyline
Destiny (Adler): revived during Necrosha storyline; died and brought back as a ghost possessing Moira MacTaggart during Chaos War; reportedly returned to death, though this was never actually depicted on panel so a change in editorial policy could conceivably establish that she’s still a ghost
Destiny (Destine)/Dorma: as per v2#17 above
Effigy: still dead
Gilgamesh: Alive again
Hawkeye: Alive again, back with Avengers; was Ronin for a time but now Hawkeye again; has used Goliath powers at least once since; there is also a newer Hawkeye (Kate Bishop)
Kraven the Hunter: Unwillingly alive again; has had successors (family members)
Moira MacTaggart: brought back during Chaos War possessed by Destiny (Adler); reportedly returned to death, though this was never actually depicted on panel so a change in editorial policy could conceivably establish that he’s still alive
Maggott: brought back during Necrosha storyline but unclear if this was permanent
Magik: Alive again, back with New Mutants
Microchip: Briefly returned but then killed by the Punisher; an earlier return, also resulting in a death by the Punisher is now considered to have taken place in a separate reality
Mockingbird: Alive; a stlll dead Skrull revealed to have replaced her
Nova: If I understand correctly, Frankie’s Raye’s still dead but her suit’s turned a woman named Frances into a new Nova
Odin: while seen in the afterlife. has since returned
Omega the Unknown: see Omega in v1#13
Ben Parker/Gwen Stacy: as per v2 #19 above
Pyro: still dead
Skin: brought back during Necrosha storyline but unclear if this was permanent
Captain George Stacy: still dead
Swordsman/Thunderbird: as per v1#14 above
Synch: brought back during Necrosha storyline but unclear if this was permanent
Thor: Alive again, as is Donald Blake
Thunderstrike: Still dead; son now new Thunderstrike
U-Go Girl: Still dead, seen in afterlife
Vision: Briefly resurrected and killed again during Chaos War; later rebuilt by Iron Man in Avengers and back with that team; a newer Vision incorporating aspects of this one and Iron lad also active
X-Man: Alive again
Yellowjacket: Resurrected during Chaos War; reportedly returned to death (in Tom Brevoort's Forumspring and in v1 of the current Handbook tpb). However, this was never actually depicted on panel in a comic, so a change in editorial policy could conceivably establish that she’s still alive

Monday, October 24, 2011

Europe 2002 Trip Reports Part 30 Brussels London Vancouver Victoria


This is the 30th (and final) of a series of posts recalling my trip to Europe, using e-mails sent at the time.  Unlike later trips, I didn’t e-mail people everyday.  Trip reports are largely as I wrote them at the time with two exceptions: I was usually pretty rushed due to Internet fees in Europe, so I’ve cleaned up my e-mails to make them more coherent, which wasn’t a priority at the time.  Also, in some blog posts I’ll add additional thoughts with the hindsight of nine years later or to add further clarification.  I’ll use “NOW” in such cases.

This final report covers my Eurostar ride from Brussels to London, my flight to Vancouver, and my ferry ride to Victoria.

Got up early at Brussels and went to the Midi station to catch the Eurostar.  I actually arrived just in time for an earlier train but unfortunately could not change my reservation.  The train ride itself ran smoothly; unlike my arrival in France, I did not go into brief system shock upon exiting the Chunnel.

[NOW: Many people think of the Chunnel as being strictly London to France but there’s also a London to Brussels route.]

Accidently left my London map on the train so had to buy a new one; London charges more than other places for tourist maps: L1.85 (most tourist bureaus just give you one or charge a tiny amount).  Got price quotes for the bus and for Gatwick Express train but not regular train so walked from Waterloo Station to London Bridge Station (near where I had stayed) to find out the amount.  Turns out that all prices are fairly similar and my remaining pounds would not cover both lunch and a ticket.

[NOW: The Eurostar train now arrives in London at St. Pancras rather than Waterloo Station.]

Since I hadn't really eaten yet I opted for a L40 withdraw and, after completing the circuit described in the rest of this paragraph, grabbed a lunch at a restaurant which I had bought two dinners from last month (they charge less for take-out than eat in so I did that).  I checked about leaving my bag at the station.  No baggage storage there but there was one at the place I had just been to. 

Sigh.  I finally decided against it because it was not where I wanted to go.  Walked to the Tower of London where I was considering visiting, passing the HMS Belfast and crossing the Tower Bridge. Cost was L12 (about $25 Can) so I decided against it again.  I'm not *that* curious to see the Crown Jewels.

Crossing the London Bridge and had the aforementioned lunch, then grabbed the metro to Westminster (Big Ben).  I had forgotten how pricey the metro is here (L1.60 or about $3.50) but it at least let me get rid of some coins from earlier on in the trip that had gotten stained when a ketchup package broke.
[NOW: Nearly accidently left behind my map again by the Tower of London. A couple was looking at it when I double backed. At first they didn’t back the connection between the map they found and the one I was looking for, but I finally got it back.]

Took more pics of Big Ben (you can never get enough pics of Big Ben) then headed to Buckingham Palace.  People kept asking me during the trip to take their picture for them so when one did so near Big Ben I asked her to return the favour.  Hopefully she got the clock in the picture.

[NOW: The photo turned out fine. Around this time I also got a great photo of a goose looking prim and proper.]

I walked to Piccadilly Circus, which is listed as a tourist attraction but really isn't that interesting, just another shopping street, albeit a slightly wealthier one.  On the way to Victoria Station as security van was stopped, and a message kept repeating over and over from it: "Help, help! [Unintelligible] Please call the police!"  I would have liked to help but didn't know where a pay phone was or what the police's number was.

At Victoria Station caught the Gatwick Express to the airport.  At the airport they actually weigh carry on baggage so the "put your heavy stuff in your carry-on" trick didn't work.  However, even after moving some hardcovers to my storage baggage, the weight was still low enough to avoid a fee.  Given how much pain I was in from carrying the stuff, I was happily surprising.

[I also got a photo of a strange sign with different combinations of gate numbers, but with all the arrows pointed in the same direction.]

My boarding pass coupon fell out of the boarding pass itself at a book store, but managed to recover it.

Nearly ate at a pizza place but McDonald's had a special deal involving their Smarties dessert (McFlurry) so my sweet tooth activated.

[NOW: I may have eaten at the pizza place before the boarding pass incident; I seem to recall that happening just before boarding the plane.]

The plane ride was okay for a nine hours non-stop flight.  I had requested a window seat not near the wing and there were fewer clouds than usual so hopefully I got some decent shots.  Only picture problems were sun shining right into window, and most of Vancouver upon landing being on the other side of the plane.  I chatted a bit with an old lady near me.

[NOW: If memory serves we politely disagreed on a number of things, nbut it helped to pass the time.]

I didn't bother with the in flight movies, though I'll probably see them eventually back here, maybe via the library.  I noticed that the movies blocked the "current location screens" at about the same points as on the way there, so I suspect that the intervening locations aren't even programmed in.

Deliberately drank a lot of caffeine (Coke, coffee, tea) on the plane because I knew it would be evening upon arriving and didn't want to be sleepy prematurely.

At Customs the declaration occurred even before recovering our storage baggage. It would seem to make it difficult if they need to search your baggage but that was not my problem.

Arranged to meet friend downtown Vancouver, a tricky process:
First find a bank machine, then wait a while at information to find out where you can get change for bus (already had money for phone), follow somewhat faulty directions, repack bag when contents spill on ground, get change, find bus stop, transfer at mid-stop (a bit confusing itself: they now have a stop at Airport Station which is not actually located at the airport; it took me a moment or so to figure that one out), take B-Line to Granville Station.

[NOW: Vancouver has since changed their transit system and closed Airport Station. To get to downtown Vancouver from the airport now, you now take a Canada Line Skytrain from the airport straight to there. By the way, the Vancouver airport is in Richmond, now Vancouver.]

The friend lives at West Vancouver but Lion's Gate Bridge was closed so we took the scenic route.  The friend was going to Tsawwassen next morning so got a lift to ferry.  Unfortunately no 8 am ferry or else would have arrived home an hour sooner, but finally made it.

[NOW: I’ve since lost track of the friend unfortunately.]

I forgot to mention before: in Amsterdam they have what are called smart shops, as in if you're smart, you won't shop there.  They specialize in the kind of drugs that take half an hour, and then really kick in.  As with coffee shops didn't feel the need for this particular experience.

So ends the trip e-mails.  I'm amending a previous comment:
I am willing to talk about the trip, particularly the facts.  They may be some emotional aspects that I won't want to get into, but we can take those on a case by case basis.  Otherwise, it is okay to ask questions about the trip.

[NOW: Of course after all these years I can now talk pretty freely about the trip without getting upset.]

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Europe 2002 Trip Reports Part 29 Brussels Day 2


This is the 29th of a series of posts recalling my trip to Europe, using e-mails sent at the time.  Unlike later trips, I didn’t e-mail people everyday.  Trip reports are largely as I wrote them at the time with two exceptions: I was usually pretty rushed due to Internet fees in Europe, so I’ve cleaned up my e-mails to make them more coherent, which wasn’t a priority at the time.  Also, in some blog posts I’ll add additional thoughts with the hindsight of nine years later or to add further clarification.  I’ll use “NOW” in such cases.

This 29th report covers my second day in Brussels and last full day in the mainland of Europe.

Walking around various parks this morn I stumbled quite by accident onto a free military museum (hey, using bad keyboard and avoiding typos!). Quite the place; not supposed to use flash photos there but sneaked a few; highlight was plane area: you could actually enter a US transport plane, plus part of another plane (front seat, the ejection seat); museum was closed for lunch so returned in an hour; I’m glad I did; I found a passage to the roof and got some great shots; I didn't even break the no flash rule there.

Also went to a E5 musical instrument museum; also no flash, and harder to be inconspicuous, so sorry no pics; nice to see though; headphones that I nearly left with by mistake played music as you approached the corresponding instrument.

[NOW: Apparently I’m not the first person to leave the museum with the headphones still on, as the security guard was laughing as he ran out to retrieve them.]

I don't think there's an easy way to get Euros converted back to Can $ so I treated myself to an E36 hardcover (in French) of my favourite comic series, Watchmen; my English. My copy is badly worn so this will let me better enjoy the art (the French hardcover is also larger); plus I'm curious to compare the English to the French and see where the meaning has changed a bit in the translation.

[NOW: I was able to convert the Euro dollar bills in Victoria but not the coins. I’ll probably tell the story of how my English language copy of Watchmen got damaged in a later blog post. The French language hardcover omits the original covers of the comics collected in the volume, which is unfortunately because they are actually the opening shot of each chapter of the story.]

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Europe 2002 Trip Reports Part 28 Brussels Day 1


This is the 28th of a series of posts recalling my trip to Europe, using e-mails sent at the time.  Unlike later trips, I didn’t e-mail people everyday.  Trip reports are largely as I wrote them at the time with two exceptions: I was usually pretty rushed due to Internet fees in Europe, so I’ve cleaned up my e-mails to make them more coherent, which wasn’t a priority at the time.  Also, in some blog posts I’ll add additional thoughts with the hindsight of nine years later or to add further clarification.  I’ll use “NOW” in such cases.

This 28th report covers leaving Amsterdam and my first day in Brussels.

[NOW:  On my way to the train to leave Amsterdam for Brussels my bag spilled open in a run down, black area of the city (at least as far as I could tell). A group of guys suddenly came over and swiftly re-packed my bag in record time. One asked for change, but I think that was part of an act; it seemed more like the group of them were actually protecting me from some of the less safe elements of the area and being a bit forward aggressive was probably a way of not seeming too nice in the eyes of the more dangerous people who might be seeing this.  Without their help I’m not sure if I’d have made it to the terminal in time, with all my stuff accounted for. Upon arrival in Brussels I went to the hostel. They didn’t have any record of me so I might have accidently booked one hostel and walked to another, but got a room there anyway.]

I'll probably describe this town in more detail when I get back home. Hostel terminal is expensive and easyEverything, aside from not letting me use the Amsterdam pass, uses the crappy Luxembourg keyboards.

[NOW: By that I mean that the keyboards in Brussels and Luxembourg used a different character pattern than the ones in North America and much of the rest of Europe.]

I went to the Comic Strip Museum.  Pretty dull actually as it focussed only on a few European creators rather than comics as a whole.  Might still be worth your while if you're a big fan of Dogspanker, er Tintin, or maybe the Smurfs.

[NOW: The only reference to Superman even was in a timeline of cartoons.]

Checked out some comics and saw the peeing boy statue.

[NOW: I know on the second day I visited some regular comic shops and may have done so on the first day as well. The above though was probably referring to a shop at the museum. They didn’t understand my search for a French comic book price guide, so I went back to the hostel and grabbed the German one I bought in Munich, which solved the communication barrier. I didn’t end up getting one though.]

Otherwise this is a pretty dull and boring place.  Would leave prematurely but this is where I catch Eurostar back to London and I’ve already reserved a seat. Not much to eat at the hostel so found a place that served dull but filling pizza.
Film expensive here but bought enough for rest of trip I hope.  I should have bought a lot more before leaving Victoria.

Take care.  May wait until later and then read replies at easyEverything as reading doesn't really require a good keyboard.

[NOW: Can’t recall if I did so or not now.]