Thursday, May 26, 2016

Is Superman Responsible for the State of Comics Today?

Image courtesy of GreatKrypton.com
Yes, I know that title will probably get me in trouble, but let me explain myself. When I was reading Superman comics, it was during the "Triangle Era". This was a decade where each of the Superman titles had the year and a number on their cover, which told you what order to read them in. Each book had it's own creative team and storylines, but the subplots tended to bleed over between them. Also, events in one book would impact the other books.

This led to what has been refereed to as "The Never-Ending Battle" form of storytelling, where issues went (usually) seamlessly into each other. You didn't have to buy each title, since you could follow along in one title and still get a satisfying story, but you have a much wider world open-up to you if you read them all.

Now, on to my theory. Many comics in the 90's tried this kind of thing, but it didn't work out as well. The Batman titles did something along these lines, but usually only for a single storyline that would crossover to everything. The same can be said of the Spider-Man books. No one really reached the pinnacle of those Superman books, though. However, if you look at comics of today, especially DC, it seems like you HAVE to read every title or you don't understand what's going on. I understand wanting to have everything happening impact each title. Heck, I loved that kind of thing in 80's Marvel titles, but those were just passing mentions, not key points of the story.

I think that the people writing comics today probably saw the greatness that was the Triangle Era and thought "What if we did that with EVERYTHING in our line?" Unfortunately, you need a really strong hand at the editing wheel and a lot of coordination between the teams to make it work, and I just don't see that in today's comics. The Superman teams had "Super Summits" about twice a year to work out where things were going and who wanted to do what. Not too hard to do over 3-4 titles, but over an entire line that gets unwieldy.

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Thursday, May 19, 2016

A Little Refurbishment

You might notice that things look a little different at the website. That's because I finally decided to have an honest to goodness artist work up some new logos for me. Ones with 100% less copyrighted material. Luckily I have a good friend (and fellow Troop 23 Eagle Scout) who is not only a great artist, but he's quick! If you're ever in need some some outstanding artwork from someone who knows his stuff, then seek out Mr. Andy Seabert. Here are the logos he worked up for me, at a very reasonable price, I might add. (No, he didn't do it for "exposure" but for actual money.)





Would you like to help with this and other updates to stuff around here? Well, how about clicking on that link below and becoming a backer? That will help me get more things done and you'll get some more stuff as well!

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Thursday, May 12, 2016

Why I Like Disney



As a middle-aged man, you might think that I put "kiddie" things behind me. For the most part, you're right. I don't play with toys, and the ones that I have from my childhood are used by my daughter. I play video games infrequently, at best. I read comic books, but now it tends to be either for nostalgia or research, as I haven't purchased a new comic in years.

One thing that many people consider to be "kiddie" though, I don't, and that's Disney. Specifically, Walt Disney and his vision. The vision that the future is still out there, waiting to be discovered, and that it's BETTER than today. Yes, better than today. Not some post-apocalyptic wasteland where humans struggle to survive. Not a world overrun by zombies or alien invader. No, a "great big beautiful tomorrow" where science and humanity has advanced to the point where we can actually do stuff that we only dreamed about a few years ago.

This is still shown, for the most part, at the theme parks. Oh, I know that they're expensive to travel to and all, but if you've never been to one, I'd say that it's worth it. Yes, there are the "flavor of the month" tie-ins, but that's to be expected since it is a for profit endeavor. If you look, though, you will see an ideal to strive towards. Take some time to visit the "Carousel of Progress" to see how far we've come. Visit "Liberty Square" and revive your sense of pride in America. Take a walk through Tomorrowland and see where we might get to.

Heck, just take a look at Walt's presentation for his idea of EPCOT could have been.* No, I mean actually watch it, don't skim it. THIS is what Disney means to me. Hope for the future, rooted in the planning of today. In a world that seems to be getting crazier every day, we need Walt Disney's vision now more than ever.



For the true Disneyphile, I would suggest listening to "Earning My Ears" which gives you some great info specifically on Walt Disney World. It's got an irregular release schedule, just due to real life getting in the way, but it's well worth your time.

* If only I could get hired by WDW, I'm sure I could make this a reality.

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Thursday, May 5, 2016

The High-School-Ization of Fandom

Well, not so much of a rant, as a "Get Off My Lawn"
In the show that came out this past Tuesday, Trentus Magnus & Michael Bailey were talking, in part, about the High-School-Ization of Fandom. What Magnus said was that High School was the last time you were expected to be good at everything (ie all of your classes) and that fandom had become where you now must like every aspect of geekdom, be it movies, TV, the original comics, etc, or you can't call yourself a fan.

While that's a perfectly valid way to look at it, I have a different take on that phrase. Something I've noticed a lot more in the age of "internet anonymity" is more of the clique mindset, as many have seen in High School. What I mean by that is the "I think this is the best <insert medium> representation of <insert character> and if you don't agree, then you aren't really a fan of him/her!" attitude.

I might be odd (OK, I know I am, but stay with me) but I'm able to compartmentalize things. For example, where Superman in concerned, I can see the George Reeves version, the Christopher Reeve version, Tom Welling version, and the Henry Cavill version all* as valid ways to go with the character. I obviously like some more than others, but that's my prerogative. On top of that, I don't think any of them have to match 1:1 to the comics version, or any of the various carton versions.

Do I think someone that who likes Tom Welling but doesn't like Christopher Reeve is an idiot and "not a real fan"? Heck, no! It means that they're an individual and I respect their opinion. It affects me not at all, so there's no reason to get upset by it. If you're stuck in the High School mentality, though, where popularity is based on your public persona, and how much that matches the "cool" group, then you might just fall into the group think and start blasting people that dare to have their own tastes.

To those people, the one's that think their opinion is the only right and valid one, I say ... well, this is a family blog, so I can't really say it, but I think you get my meaning.

BTW, here's the link for the episode in question. Worth a listen, in my opinion.

* I didn't include Brandon Routh in the list because he's, essentially, playing the Christopher Reeve version and not his own.

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Thursday, April 28, 2016

The Podcast This Year


Just in case you missed it (which is possible since I haven't been posting anything about it here), the podcast for this year has been going really well. Here's what you might not have heard:

In January I finally was able to post an episode that was almost a year ion the making. No, it didn't take that long to record, it took that long to schedule. I'm really happy with how it came out, though, and I think that it was worth the wait. Andy Leyland (of Hey Kids, Comics!, The Palace of Glitter Delights, and Listen to the Prophets) was nice enough to come on and talk to me about The Fall Guy, the forgotten Lee Majors show. This is something I loved growing up and I think we covered just about every aspect of the show.

You can listen to it here: http://twotruefreaks.com/media/podcasts/TheHammerPodcasts/mp3/THP-Episode017.mp3


In February I started my year long look at Generational Stories. (OK, it won't be the whole year, as I have other stuff planned, but it's a theme to go with.) This time I was joined by Luke Jaconetti (of Earth Destruction Directive and The Vault of Startling Monster Horror Tales of Terror) to discuss The King Arthur Movie, Excalibur! No, it's not a one for one reproduction of Le Morte D'Arthur, but it's as close as we're ever going to get. Plus, you can't go wrong with Nicol Williamson as Merlin, metal skull cap and all.

This one you can listen to here: http://twotruefreaks.com/media/podcasts/TheHammerPodcasts/mp3/THP-Episode018.mp3


In March I was lucky enough to have Michael Bailey (of too many podcasts to really list) on and we talked about John Byrne's Superman & Batman: Generations. We went so in depth on this one that I had to split it up into two shows!

You can listen to Part 1 here: http://twotruefreaks.com/media/podcasts/TheHammerPodcasts/mp3/THP-Episode019.mp3

And Part 2 here: http://twotruefreaks.com/media/podcasts/TheHammerPodcasts/mp3/THP-Episode020.mp3


This month I had the coup of being the first podcaster to have on Darrin & Ruth Sutherland (from Trekker Talk and Warlord Worlds) to review the Gil Gerard series Buck Rogers in the 25th Century. All of us were lucky enough to have met Gil Gerard & Erin Grey in person, so stories were swapped, but we also broke down the show. Heck, I even came up with an improvement on the second season that probably would have satisfied all parties. If only I can get a time machine to go back 36 years, I could have saved the show. (Because that's the best thing I could do with a time machine, right?)

This one can be heard here: http://twotruefreaks.com/media/podcasts/TheHammerPodcasts/mp3/LegendsBuckRogers.mp3





I've already got May's episode recorded and ready to go, and I've got more of the rest of the year in the works. You know, this planning ahead thing might have something to it.

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Thursday, April 21, 2016

Another Race, Another Time

L to R: Rob as Hacksaw Jim Duggan, Me as Macho Man Randy Savage, Kira as Wonder Woman, Frank as The Brooklyn Brawler, Adam as Nature Boy Ric Flair
This past weekend, my friends and I participated in The Totally Awesome 80's Run in Somers Point, NJ. As we are what you might call "non-traditional" runners, we didn't get any medals. However, I think we did really well. As a team (Team Hulkamanicas, that is) we came in 2nd in the Team Competition (beat out by Team Pac-Man) and I won the "Best Dressed Man" competition. That second one was partly because I was the only one gutsy enough to take part.
Yes, I lost to a little girl. Wanna make something of it?

The best part, to me anyway, came a couple of days later. You see, I got my run time e-mailed to me within minutes of my finishing (ain't technology grand?) and that was 31:58. Not bad, right? Well, I didn't look at my previous race time, from The Rocky Run, until Monday. That time was 33:14, also for a 5K race. So I improved by 1:16 in 6 months! Wow!

We're all looking to do more themed runs in the coming year, so if you know of any in the South Jersey area, please let me know. As you can see from the picture, we have no shame, so pretty much anything goes.

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Thursday, April 14, 2016

The New Paul Harvey

One of the most distinct memories that I have of growing up is my father getting ready for work in the afternoon (he worked nights as a driver for UPS) and listening to the radio. He would go about shaving and getting dressed all while the radio played, but it wasn't music. No, the show that I remember hearing as a little kid was that of Paul Harvey as he told us "The Rest of the Story." These stories fascinated me, as much for the way that Harvey told the story as for the content, which always kept you guessing as to what was really going on.

Now I have discovered a new show, a podcast really, that does the exact same thing. Mike Rowe, host of "Dirty Jobs" and "Somebody's Gotta Do It", as well as the voice of numerous other shows, such as "Deadliest Catch", has a podcast. The show, called "The Way I Heard It", gives you stories for "the curious mind with a short attention span" and is really quite good.

The episodes are short, all under 10 minutes, and give you stories about people that you already know, but you don't know who they are until the end. It's really enjoyable and gives me the same sense of fascination that I had all those years ago listening to Paul Harvey. Try it out and see what you think.

Good Day.

BTW, this is my 200th post. Not bad for something I started on a lark.

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Like what I'm doing here on the blog and podcast? Why not check out my Patreon Page to see how you can help me do more? http://www.patreon.com/TheHammerStrikes