Thursday, June 25, 2015

"Educational" Cartoons

It's no secret that TV standards were relaxed in the 1980's and as long as your cartoon has some (read: not very much at all) educational value, then it could basically be a 30 minute toy commercial. Some, like GI Joe, have become famous for this added bit at the end. Now I learned a lot from GI Joe's "And knowing is half the battle" PSA's, but the one that really intrigued me were the ones at the end of Silverhawks. You see, Silverhawks was a cartoon based in outer space and the stuff at the end was all about our solar system. As a kid who built a modular lego space ship and bullied my parents into sending pictures of it to President Reagan (yeah, I was THAT kid), you might say that this was aimed right at me.

The premise was that each video was a quiz that Blue Grass, the pilot, was teaching The Copper Kid, the youngest member, to navigate in space. Yes, they were pretty basic questions, but I thought they were lightyears ahead of the other stuff out there. Check out a couple of them below.

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Changing My Mind

You know, if you've read my stuff here, that I tend to be old fashioned. The whole "dating website" thing doesn't compute, for example. If you had told me a few years ago that I would drive to Long Island immediately after work on a Friday to spend the weekend with a bunch of guys that I met on the internet, I would have probably blown a gasket from laughing too much.

This was taken just before we went to a diner for what I dubbed "The Mickey Mouse Breakfast Club"

That's exactly what happened last weekend, though. I was lucky enough to be able to go up and meet up with, and in some cases meet in person for the first time, some great guys from Two True Freaks. Not just Scott Gardner and Chris Honeywell, who started it all, but also Dr. Bill Robinson who I do a show with (Anime Freaks), Chris Tyler, who is a frequent guest on Comic Book Fight Club but also part of the Vault of Startling Monster Horror Tales of Terror, and Paul Spataro of Back to the Bins

Not to mention Dave Weter from Dave's Daredevil Podcast, Ron Sadowski from Dinner 4 Geeks, Tim Elliott from Third Degree Byrne (coming soon!), & David Pascarella, who I've never actually spoken to!

I had an amazing time and, as Mr. Weter said at some point, it was like we knew each other for decades, even though some of us had never even traded an e-mail back and forth. It was a odd feeling, and one that I never would have guessed would have been possible.

Regardless, we are strangers no longer, because anyone who shares the experience of doing an "Amok Time" parody with the cast of Rocky III are truly brothers from that moment on.

Thursday, June 11, 2015

What If ... Star Wars

For some odd reason, I've been thinking a lot about possibilities and roads not taken, specifically with respect to Star Wars. Now I'm not going to sit here and say that George Lucas did it wrong. It's his universe and he was allowed to do what he wanted. No, I'm just fascinated by what might have been.

The main thing I've been thinking of is the ending to Marvel Star Wars Annual #1, in which we are told that the original owner of Luke's Lightsaber came to the planet they are visiting with Obi-Wan Kenobi and Darth Vader. The inference is that it was Luke's father along with his fellow student that was there. There have been attempts at retcons that said this was another Jedi that Vader/Skywalker switched his lightsaber with in some ceremony, since the comic came out before "The Empire Strikes Back."

What if, though, Empire never happened? What if we took this story as it was? We had already seem Obi-Wan as a warrior in Star Wars #24 (see image to the right). This fits in much better with the "guardians of peace and justice" that we thought Jedi were supposed to be. No desert robed priest, but a man of action that was dressed for it. In fact, if you look at this image and change the white to black, it's really close to Luke's costume in "The Return of the Jedi."

So, what would be different? Well, first off, there wouldn't be a "certain point of view." Vader would have killed Skywalker and Ben would have been telling the truth. Yes, this would have made Vader a less personal villain, but if he was Anakin Skywalker's best friend, wouldn't that have made the betrayal even more painful? Luke could have still tried to turn Vader back from the Dark Side, in order to try and redeem his father's friend. Or he could have tried to take revenge, and gone down the dark path himself.

I know that there were the Star Wars Infinities books, but they focused on a minor change and what repercussions that would have. What I'm talking about is scrapping Empire and everything after it and asking what would have happened if all we had were "Star Wars", the movie novelization, "Splinter of the Mind's Eye", and the Marvel comics up to that point?

Oh, I have no intention of writing anything story-wise on this, it's just something that has been rolling around in my brain and I thought I'd share it as an exercise in imagination. If you have any thoughts on this, please let me know. I'd love to hear them.

Thursday, June 4, 2015

Confessions of a Nitpicking Nerd

John Byrne spoiled me. Oh, I saw the Christopher Reeve movies long before I read any Superman comics, but the Byrne version, later taken over by Stern/Ordway/Jurgens/et al, is my preferred version of the character. So, when you have a great trailer for Supergirl (see below) that thrills me in every way a comic fan should be thrilled, I still have my teeth set on edge when I hear "Oh, it's not an S, it's our family crest."

I'm sorry, I know what they're going for, but you really want me to believe that the emblem of Superman and Supergirl just happens to be an alien symbol that looks precisely like the English letter that starts their names? Nope. I'm not buying it. It was one thing in the movie to make it a short cut, so you knew that was Superman's dad, but bringing it over into every single version since then is a bit of a stretch,

Yes, I know there are some people that don't like the "Jonathan and Clark came up with the symbol after Lois named him" idea, but that just makes so much more sense to me than the utter coincidence that it would take for the Kryptonian emblem to look like an S.

I love everything else about the trailer, but that bit does the same thing to me that mispronouncing R'as does. (BTW, CBS, Kara rhymes with Sarah.)

For more on the CBS Supergirl, check out Supergirl Radio. It's a great podcast covering all aspects of Supergirl, but focusing on the TV Show.