Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Concrete Frog in Backyard


This being a leap year day I thought I would talk about a frog that was always in my backyard growing up in Kitimat. Ironically even though it represented something that can leap, this particular frog could not. In fact put it in the water and it would sink like a stone. 

Basically when my family moved into our first Kitimat place, where we stayed most of the time, we inherited from the previous owners a concrete frog in the backyard.  Light green, very heavy. There was a piece missing from before we got the place (a leg I think). I saw it nearly every day I lived there and it almost seemed like an old friend even though it was never alive.  We never moved it except to feel how heavy it was, so it was something you could always count on being there.

Eventually we moved to another place and I wanted to take it with us but my parents declined due to the weight.  It would be nice to think it’s still there, being passed from owner to owner. I tried checking on Google Earth but it’s probably too high up. Also there’s some shadowing and there seems to be something new in the backyard, maybe a garden. So hard to say. If it’s not there I hope it’s still out there somewhere being passed along from home owner to home owner.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

The Evolution of the Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe - Deluxe Edition


The Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe – Deluxe Edition (second series) 1985-1988

Number of Issues: 20 (64 pages plus covers)

Covers: Front and back covers in a single image again; all solo characters included, plus those with sub-entries.  #1-15 combine to form a single image, as do #16-20.  Images continue to the right in subsequent issues, no poster style with one issue above another. have the characters facing right; white backgrounds.  #16-20 (Book of the Dead issues) have ghostly versions of the characters facing forward; blue background.

Formatting: The inside front covers for all list the contents and credits, as well as an editorial section that frequently spills into the back cover. In some of the later issues the editorial section is in the form of a list of data corrections. 

For the non-cover sections, the entirety of #1-14 is the regular entries, as is the first half of #15. Entries are typical 1-2 pages, often 3-4, a few higher. No ½-pagers; however, some team entries have ¼-page sub-entries (a few sub-entries ½-page). The second half of #15 is ¼-page Alien Races entries. #16-20 constitute the Book of the Dead, with entries in the same format as the regular entries except as noted below.  No defunct teams/groups unless the entirety/majority of the team is deceased at time of publication.  In #20, the editorial (Data Corrections) section spills over to the last non-cover page.

Due to colouring errors in #8, the middle section of #9 has the colour-corrected versions of those pages (4 pages).

Inside back covers: #1-4: Glossary.  Appendix: Alternate Dimensions#5-15. #16 is devoted to Strength Levels in the Known Marvel Universe. #17-18 lists series set in the Marvel Universe, Editorial section from inside front cover spills over into back in issues #2-5, 7-9, 11-13, 15, 18-20. #15 has a second editorial at back plus 2 additional Alien Races as described above. #19-20 have no additional sections other than the editorial (Data Corrections) started on the inside front cover.

The editorial section is Data Corrections in #8-9, 11, 13, 18-20.

Interior Art:  Main illos: Either new art or art taken directly from the original series; in the latter the art is sometimes modified somewhat to make it more current.  Considerable use of secondary illos including action shots taken from various comics. If team members head an entry elsewhere they’re usual depicted with a headshot; if not, they are drawn full body in their ¼-page sub-entry. Some entries have weapons and paraphernalia specs embedded in the entry, some new, some adapted from #15 of the previous series. The Alien Races section has been completely redrawn. White backgrounds.

Text Categories (*= not for all entries; categories only used once or twice not noted):

Text in this series used cross-references, many to a non-existent but planned at the time Appendix.  Roman numerals according to in universe chronology were common.

Main Entries
ENTRY NAME IN CAPS
Real Name
Occupation
Identity
Legal status
Former aliases*
Other current aliases*
Code-name in own language*
Place of birth
Place of death (#16-20)
Marital status
Known relatives
Group affiliation
Base of operations
First appearance (First modern appearance for characters who first appeared prior to Fantastic Four#1)
Origin
Final appearance (#16-20)
History
Height
Weight
Eyes
Hair
Unusual features*
Strength level
Known superhuman powers*
Former superhuman powers*
Other abilities*
Abilities*
Limitations*
Weapons*

Origin has a different meaning than in the first series. Here it refers to which issues have a character’s Origin stories.  First appearance and Origin sometimes merged together as First appearance and origin. History now covers characters’ careers in greater depth.

As should be evident above, the specific combat related categories are determined by the nature of the character.

Main Entries (Teams/Groups)
ENTRY NAME IN CAPS
First appearance

The First appearance category was now standard.

For those team/group entries to have headshots, they used the following format as per the original series:
HEADSHOT NAME IN CAPS
(Real name/alter ego in parentheses)
First appearance*
Active*

Some entries, where the members are too minor to have their own entries and where this wouldn’t result in too large an entry, ¼ page sub-entries are used. Sub-entries work similar to main entries; however, categories are further abridged for space reasons.

Alien Races categories
ENTRY NAME IN CAPS
Origin Galaxy
Star System
Planet
Estimated population
Physical Characteristics (Type/Eyes/Fingers/Toes/Skin color/Average height)
Special adaptations
Type of government
Level of technology
Names of representatives
First appearance

So Habitat, Gravity, Atmosphere, and Cultural traits have been dropped from the first series, and Note added.  This the final series to have ¼-entries on Alien Races as separate sections, though larger such entries do appear in later volumes with very different categories.

Once again, certain key alien races received full group entries in the body of the text, following the group format.  No headshots except for the Kree.

Appendix: Other Dimensions categories
ENTRY NAME IN CAPS
Type
Environment
Usual means of access
Dominant lifeform
Prominent inhabitants*
Comments
First appearance

This is the only series to have this section, though some dimensions later get full entries.

There was also a 10-volume trade paperback series based on the Deluxe Edition with a few new entries and some removed (including all the Alien Races and inside cover material). The new entries follow the same pattern as the rest of the Deluxe Edition.  In addition some of the existing entries were modified either cosmetically (e.g. a different costume) or extensively.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Razzie Nominations 2012 with Comments

Here's the link to the official page: http://www.razzies.com/history/32ndNoms.asp

Each category has a separate link so I'll list them all below to save you all some time. An actor nominated for multiple roles often has then lumped into one nomination unless they fall under different categories. Winners will be announced April 1, though I understand that some less important awards show aired at the end of February. Other than in the My Comments section, everything below is the opinion of the Razzies folks, not me.

Worst Picture:
Bucky Larson: Born to Be a Star
Jack & Jill
New Year's Eve
Transformers: Dark Side of the Moon
Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part I

Worst Actor:
Russell Brand (Arthur)
Nicolas Cage (Drive Angry 3-D, Season of the Witch, Trespass)
Taylor Lautner (Adduction, Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part I)
Adam Sandler (Jack & Jill, Just Go With It)
Nick Swardson (Bucky Larson: Born to Be a Star)

Worst Actress
Martin Lawrence (Big Mommas: Like Father, Like Son)
Sarah Palin (Sarah Palin: Undefeated)
Sarah Jessica Parker (I Don't Know How She Does It, New Year's Eve)
Adam Sandler (Jack & Jill)
Kristen Stewart (Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part I)

Worst Supporting Actor
Patrick Dempsey (Transformers: Dark Side of the Moon)
James Franco (Your Highness)
Ken Jeong (Big Mommas: Like Father, Like Son, The Hangover Part 2, Transformers: Dark Side of the Moon, Zookeeper)
Al Pacino (Jack & Jill)
Nick Swardson (Jack & Jill, Just Go With It)

Worst Supporting Actress
Katie Holmes (Jack & Jill)
Brandon T. Jackson (Big Mommas: Like Father, Like Son)
Nicole Kidman (Just Go With It)
David Spade (Jack & Jill)
Rosie Huntington-Whiteley (Transformers: Dark Side of the Moon)

Worst Screen Ensemble
Entire Cast (Bucky Larson: Born to Be a Star)
Entire Cast (Jack & Jill)
Entire Cast (New Year's Eve)
Entire Cast (Transformers: Dark Side of the Moon)
Entire Cast (Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part I)

Worst Director
Michael Bay (Transformers: Dark Side of the Moon)
Tom Brady (Bucky Larson: Born to Be a Star)
Bill Condon (Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part I)
Dennis Dugan (Jack & Jill, Just Go With It)
Garry Marshall (New Year's Eve)

Worst Prequel, Remake, Rip-Off, or Sequel
Arthur
Bucky Larson: Born to Be a Star (rip-off: Boogie Nights, A Star is Born)
The Hangover Part 2
Jack & Jill (remake/rip-off: Glen or Glenda)
Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part I

Worst Screen Couple
Nicolas Cage & Anyone Sharing the Screen With Him (Drive Angry 3-D, Season of the Witch, Trespass)
Shia LeBeouf & Rosie Huntington-Whiteley (Transformers: Dark Side of the Moon)
Adam Sandler & Jennifer Aniston or Brooklyn Decker (Just Go With It)
Adam Sandler & Katie Holmes, Al Pacino, or Adam Sandler (Jack & Jill)
Kristen Stewart & Taylor Lautner or Robin Pattinson (Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part I)

Worst Screenplay
Adam Sandler, Allen Covert, Nick Swardson (Bucky Larson: Born to Be a Star)
Steve Koren, Adam Sandler (screenplay); Ben Zook (story) (Jack & Jill)
Katherine Fugate (New Year's Eve)
Ehren Kruger (Transformers: Dark Side of Moon)
Melissa Rosenberg (Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part I)

My Comments: I can really comment on the quality of these because I haven't seen a single one. There was speculation that Green Lantern (which I saw and thought was okay) might get some nominations but that obviously didn't happen; while I haven't seen it, by most accounts Green Hornet (not nominated) was a worse superhero movie. In three cases (including one Supporting role), male actors got nominated in a Worst Actress category for playing a woman.

Sarah Palin's nomination is not without precedent: George W. Bush was nominated (and won) for Worst Actor for Fahrenheit 9/11.  Ronald Reagan also won a Lifetime Achievement award in the Razzies' first year (1981) but that was for his actual acting; his presidency had only just started at the time.

Adam Sandler now has the record for most Razzie nominations in a single year so he'll more than likely win one or more.

My own pick for worst movie, unsurprisingly shut out because it did get some decent reviews, was Melancholia (I would have also given it nominations in the Actress (Kirsten Dunst), Director, and Screenplay categories, though most of the supporting cast was passable, doing the best with what they had to work with; I think it was trying to induce melancholy but for me just bored the heck out of me).

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Collisions at Quadra and Fort


Every so often, despite the street light, there will be a collision at Quadra and Fort in Victoria, near where I live, though interestingly these collisions never seem to happen when a power outage turns the street lights off. 

This morning I was watching the movie Gamebox 1.0, a movie when some action in it, when I heard a crashing sound that didn’t seem to be coming from my speakers (that there were no cars in the scene I was watching was also a telltale clue). Either a truck crossing Fort had run a red light or a van crossing Quadra had done so, resulting in the collision. Interesting contrast since the truck was white and the van was black.  There were no ambulances so apparently no one was hurt too badly.

More surreal was that of the time in 2010 a car drove through a red light on Fort St, same intersection, and actually crashed into a police van, putting two female police officers into the hospital.  When I saw this I quickly realized that the van had to be what was hit because I heard the crash, could only find one car that wasn't a police car, and noticed that the police van was there too soon after it happened not to have been what was hit. Not sure what happened to the police officers but if the driver of the car was smart, she would have plead guilty since the courts would be unlikely to be sympathetic.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

The Evolution of the Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe: Original Series


This is a new feature that I’m posting on my blog and on the Comixfan site which I think will be of interest to people.  For the blog, each volume will get a separate post. For the Comixfan site, all posts will appear at the top for ease of references, with additions noted in the replies below.  Illustrations always in colour unless otherwise noted.

The Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe (first series) 1983-1984

Number of Issues: 15 (32 pages plus covers)

Covers: Front and back covers in a single image, first 12 issues combine to form a poster that is three issues across and four down. #13-14 for a poster that is two issues across. #15 is by itself. Every solo character with an entry depicted (for #15, every wielder of a device depicted).  Colour backgrounds for all.

Formatting: The inside front covers for all list the contents and credits. 

#1-12: The body usually covered all but the last two non-cover pages.  Most entries were 1 page, though quite a few were ½, with two ½ page entries in a row filed alphabetically. On rare occasions entries took up 2 pages The last two non-cover pages were usually for Alien Races (all but Human Races ¼-page each). #12 had only 6 instead of 8 races, and they were slightly earlier in the book due to the Appendix. The Appendix, usually in the inside back cover was usually a full page of capsule entries.  In #1 it was only a ½-page at the bottom due to a ½-page Editorial at the top of the inside back cover. In #12, aside from the inside back cover (other than a small Special Announcements Section at the bottom of that page), there was an addition 1 ½ pages of Appendix entries.

#13-14 (Book of the Dead & Inactive): The main section covered all but the last four non-cover pages (#13) and all the non-cover pages (#14). Page counts remained typically ½-1 page. There was a four page section on defunct teams in #13. The inside back covers were basically a full-page discussion on an aspect of death (the top of #13’s inside back cover has an editor’s note)

#15 (Book of Weapons, Hardware, and Paraphernalia): Non-cover pages were typically about ½-page each (a few 1-pages). Inside back cover had entries on Adamantium and Vibranium that were close to ½-page, though instead of illos of these there was an Editor’s Note with ID card drawings for Avengers and SHIELD.

Interior Art: New main illos. Some entries have a secondary illo taken from another series (none in #13-14).  Team entries are usually headshots with no other illustrations. Locations typically have maps.  Some maps and diagrams have captions that are typeset while others are hand lettered. Colour backgrounds (this would not be used again until 2004).

Text Categories (*= not for all entries; categories only used once or twice not noted):

Main Entries (Solo)(#1-14)
ENTRY NAME IN CAPS
Real Name
Occupation
Identity
Legal status
Former aliases*
Other current aliases*
Code-name in own language*
Place of birth
Place of death (#13-14)
Marital status
Known relatives
Group affiliation
Base of operations
First appearance (First modern appearance for characters who first appeared prior to Fantastic Four#1)
Final appearance (#13-14)
Origin (#1-12)/History (#13-14)
Height
Weight
Eyes
Hair
Unusual features*
Powers
Weapons*

Legal status covers both location and criminal record. Identity refers to if secret or not.  Early issues in the Origin section would cover how they got their powers and in some cases key early activities after becoming active.  Later issues were more likely to go into more in depth into the careers of characters covered but that was not a hard and fast rule.

#12-13 focussed on deceased characters and therefore the Origin category was replaced by History and gave a snapshot of their entire career up to their deaths or time inactive.  Subsequent Handbooks have for the most part stuck with the term History to cover back stories (Master Edition is a notable exception).

In cases where characters first appeared prior to Fantastic Four #1, only their first modern (i.e. post Fantastic Four#1) appearance is noted, not their true first appearance.

See the Appendix notes below for a discussion of the Roman numerals that appear in some #13-14 entries.

Main Entries (Teams/Groups)(#1-14)
ENTRY NAME IN CAPS
First appearance* (later issues only)

It was very uncommon in the early issues to note the First appearance of teams. With rare exceptions, issue 9 appears to be the starting point and even then this was done inconsistently at first.

For those team/group entries to have headshots (a majority), they used the following format, which continues to this day:
HEADSHOT NAME IN CAPS
(Real name/alter ego in parentheses)
First appearance*
Active*

Main Entries (#15)
ENTRY NAME IN CAPS
Description (untitled)

Alien Races categories
ENTRY NAME IN CAPS
Origin Galaxy
Star System
Planet
Habitat
Gravity
Atmosphere
Population
Physical Characteristics (Type/Eyes/Fingers/Toes/Skin color/Average height)
Special adaptations
Type of government
Level of technology
Cultural traits
Names of representatives
First appearance

The more prominent alien races (Kree, Shi’ar, Skrulls) followed the team/group format (no headshots) and were in the main body rather than the Alien Races section.

Appendix entries
ENTRY NAME IN CAPS
Real name/aliases if known in parenthesis (untitled).
In same paragraph as above, History (untitled)
In same paragraph above: First appearance and where died. 

In some cases there would be a mixing of different characters of the same name, in which case after the first character was covered, the next version of the character would be covered in the same paragraph.

In a few cases an entry was just a cross-reference.

In cases in the Appendix and in characters in #13-14, characters sharing the same name as another character would be noted by a Roman numeral, with the first published version of a character getting a I, the second a II, etc. (as opposed to the Deluxe and later versions, in which the chronological rather than published earlier version would get the earlier Roman numeral.

This is the only series to have a general Appendix, those appendices for specific purposes would appear in later volumes.

Friday, February 24, 2012

The Impossible 5 Chapter 8


Chapter 1 can be found here: http://saneinsanities.blogspot.com/2012/01/impossible-five-introduction-and.html
Chapter 2 can be found here: http://saneinsanities.blogspot.com/2012/01/impossible-5-chapter-2.html
Chapter 3 can be found here: http://saneinsanities.blogspot.com/2012/01/impossible-5-chapter-3.html
Chapter 4 can be found here: http://saneinsanities.blogspot.com/2012/01/impossible-5-chapter-4.html

The heroes found themselves in a present day city on an overcast day. They were near a blue bridge that was blocked off to traffic.

“This almost looks like our world,” said Rita.  “Wonder what city this is.”

People were starting to stare at them.  One person close by asked, “Is this part of the demolition? Some sort of ceremony?”

“The what?” asked O’Canada.

“For the rail portion of the bridge.”

O’Canada decided it was best to take the out. “Sure,” he said.

“F--- you,” the guy said.

Okay, Wallbreaker realized, whatever was happening with the bridge was clearly a point of controversy.  “Maybe we should keep walking,” he murmured to O’Canada.

“Yes, but we should also try to find a place to change. The locals don’t seem to have our types in their midst too often.”  He pointed to people taking pictures of them.

“I hate the @#$%ing paparazzi,” Helltrotter said.  The people in the area gasped.

O”Canada said, “Uh, we’re entertainers.  Wallbreaker here is a ventriloquist.”  He whispered, “Best be discrete. I don’t think they have talking horses here.

The started walking away from the bridge. Fortunately across the street was a place called Market Square, and they found washrooms to activities their miniature civilian clothes devices in (the Glowing Man also had to wear fake skin. Even that wasn’t perfect, but it was daylight, so that muted some of the glow.  Helltrotter waited outside of Market Square. As long as he didn’t talk, no one seemed concerned about the horse, which was interesting to Wallbreaker. It seemed that horses in this city weren’t entirely unknown.

They met up with the horse again soon after. They gave money to a panhandler and carried on.

A couple blocks later took them to a road where lots of busses were travelled, some double-decker. They gave more money to panhandlers and entered a pizza place for lunch while an increasingly annoyed Helltrotter waited outside. 

After they sat down, O’Canada found a newspaper and showed it to the others. “We must be in Victoria, BC,” he murmured.  “Looks like the Johnson Street Bridge is being replaced by a new one.  That must be the controversy.”

“But we’re probably not in our Victoria,” pointed out Token Woman.  “We’d be home now if we were. And we still have one more rod to get.”

“Unless it’s actually in our homeworld,” said Rita.

Token Woman shook her head. “Uh uh. Look at the year on the paper. It’s wrong even though everything looks like the present.  It could be pretty close though.”

Heading left seemed to take them away from the downtown core so they started heading towards the downtown core, giving more money to panhandlers along the way.   The Crack Heroine said, “Guys, I hate to say it ‘cause I’ve been on the streets myself, but we might have to budget ourselves.  There are a lot of panhandlers in this city. Soon we might not have any money left.”

They noticed a library a few more blocks down and a half a block across the street (passing a few more panhandlers across the street) and found an Internet terminal that someone had forgotten to log off. 

“Apparently we’re characters in comic books on this world,’ said O’Canada, after an Internet search. 

Maybe his soap opera theory was wrong and they were comic books instead, though Wallbreaker. But if that was the case, wouldn’t the movement be a bit more static?

Still something occurred to him and he asked to take over the computer.  There were things about his world that never seemed right and he wanted to test a theory out.  Eventually the time limit was reached but not before Wallbreaker got the conclusion he wanted. “I have no idea where the rod is,” he said, “but we have to be extra careful here. The only reference to a possible real resurrection was Jesus a couple thousand years ago. I think if we die here, we stay dead!”

End part 7

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Legends of the Superheroes (1979): Where are They Now?


LAST UPDATED September 2, 2016. This was a two episode 1960s Batman-style superhero comedy series that aired in 1979.  The entire second episode was a roast hosted by Ed McMahon where villains who tried to destroy the Earth in the first episode were allowed to come and go freely.  All appeared in both episodes unless noted by (1) or (2). Specific titles noted only for 2014-on. Information derived from the imdb. All known cast members noted.

Jeff Altman (Weather Wizard): last known acting role in 2010; as Self: Late Show with David Letterman (2 episodes 2014).
Charlie Callas (Sinestro): died in 2011.
Gabriel Dell (Mordru): died in 1988.
Frank Gorshin (The Riddler) (1): died in 2005.
Howard Morris (Dr. Sivana): died in 2005, though imdb has 2013 acting role.
Mickey Morton (Solomon Grundy): died in 1993.
William Schallert (Retired Man/Scarlet Cyclone): died in 2016; in 2 Broke Girls (1 episode 2014); as Self, filming: Workers Con (2016).
Burt Ward (Robin): in Batman: Arkham Knight (2015 video game); Batman: Return of the Caped Crusaders (2016)  completed; Star Quest (nd) in post-production; as Self: Robot Chicken DC Comics Special 3: Magical Friendship (2015), Na Na Na Batman (2014), Batmania Born (2014).
Adam West (Batman): in Family Guy (22 episodes 2014-2016), The Big Bang Theory (1 episode 2016), Moonbeam City (1 episode 2015), Penn Zero: Part-Time Hero (3 episodes 2015), Batman: Arkham Knight (2015 video game), Scooby Doo and the Beach Beastie (2015), Family Guy: The Quest for Stuff (2014 video game); Batman: Return of the Caped Crusaders (2016) completed; as Self: Jay Leno's Garage (1 episode 2016), Robot Chicken DC Comics Special 3: Magical Friendship (2015), Comic Book Men (1 episode 2015), Electric Playground (4 episodes 2014), Lego Batman 3: Beyond Gotham (2014 video game), Huffpost Live (1 episode 2014), The Playboy Morning Show (1 episode 2014), My Music: '65-'67 Rock Rewind (2014), Na Na Na Batman (2014), Hangin with Batman (2014), Bats of the Round Table (2014), Batmania Born (2014), Holy Memorabilia Batman! (2014).
A’leisha Brevard (Giganta): last known acting role in 1981.
Garrett Craig (Captain Marvel): last known acting role in 1979.
Howard Murphy (Green Lantern): last known acting role in 1982 (also Production Assistant).
Danuto Rylko Soderman (Black Canary): no other known acting roles; as Self in 1988.
Bill Nuckols (Hawkman): last known acting role in 1979.
Rod Haase (The Flash): last known acting role in 1985.
Barbara Joyce (The Huntress): died in 2010.
Gary Owens (Narrator): died in 2015; The Adventures of Kaitlyn Kitty Kat Kay (2016) filming.
Ruth Buzzi (Aunt Minerva) (2): last known acting role in 2007, as Self in 2009.
Pat Carroll (Esther Hall) (2): in BFF's (2014); as Self: Mary Tyler Moore: A Celebration (2015), Pioneers of Television (1 episode 2014).
June Gable (Rhoda Rooter) (2): last known acting role in 2012.
Brad Sanders (Ghetto Man) (2): in Barbershop: The Next Cut (2016), The Vampire Diaries (1 episode 2015), White Water (2015), Drumline: A New Beat (2014); The Leap (2017) in post-production.
Alfie Wise (The Atom) (2): last known acting role in 2000.
Ed McMahon (Host) (2): died in 2009
Marsha Warfield (Woman in phone booth - uncredited) (1): last known acting role in 1999 but Class N Session (unknown episodes 2017) in post-production; as Self in 2003.