Talk Talk Talk Talk Talk Myself to Death

Monday, January 18, 2016

On Martin Luther King, Jr. Day

While we're waiting for John Lewis to release the third part of his comics autobiography (although books one and two are both available as we speak--step right up, no waiting!), let's use this Martin Luther King, Jr. Day to revisit the first black superhero, the Black Panther. This is his first appearance, from spring 1966, so it's just under 50 years ago. Could the character have inspired the name of the Black Panther Party? It's possible--the timing is right, and Marvel was concerned enough about the connection that this guy called himself the Black Leopard for a while.

You'll see him soon in the new Captain America movie, along with a whole lot of other Avengers, and then his own follow up film in another couple of years. So be prepared for his visibility to shoot up. And, if you've a mind to, keep in mind his origins as a direct comics response to the Civil Rights Movement.

Friday, January 01, 2016

Happy New Year!

We're in the midst of the big Deadpool push for the new movie coming out next month, so in the spirit of "if you can't beat 'em, join 'em," we might as well let Deadpool ring in the new year. Besides, he's my nephew's favorite character, so there's that, too.

I wrote to a friend yesterday that I don't really believe in New Year's resolutions because they seem awfully glib, and how quickly they're broken is almost a feature of the process. But there's no escaping the symbolism of a fresh beginning that a new year brings, so we should all use that to our advantage. Break old patterns, establish new ones, take advantage of the opportunity to start over. Happy New Year to all. Make the best of it!

Friday, December 25, 2015

Merry Christmas!

I hope Santa was more generous to you today than what he's got for Iron Man. And here I always thought the worst he had to offer was leaving a lump of coal in your stocking. Enjoy your day and the rest of the holiday season!

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Happy Thanksgiving!

Depending on your point of view, I suppose, all the pilgrims might be seen as bringing peril. But not in the histories they wrote, of course.

This has been an up and down year for us, although much appears to have turned around, at least for the moment. I don't have to look very far to see a number of things for which I'm grateful, and that's what I'm trying to focus on—for this weekend, at least. Life doesn't always go well for everybody, but if you find yourself in a position where that's happening for you, I hope it's at least in your power to affect that situation for the better in some way.

And after today, I guess, we can no longer complain about Christmas starting too early. Don't eat too much!

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Respect on Veterans Day

We're 97 years on from the armistice that ended World War I, the war to end all wars, which, unfortunately, failed miserably to live up to its own hype. But it provides a reason for me to post comics covers featuring biplanes, and that's something I enjoy immensely. The Balloon Buster was a short-lived series that provided a bit of a twist on normal WWI dogfighting stories. Interestingly enough, though, of the four covers that featured the Balloon Buster series, this is the only one in which a balloon figured prominently. The rest? Dogfighting.

I also need to give a shout out to one of my former history professors who always comes to mind each year when Veterans Day comes around. For a number of years after the First World War, this day was called "Armistice Day." As a boy, Dr. Paul Armistead misheard that name and thought that everyone in his small town was getting together to have a parade in honor of his family. He later realized his error, of course, but that's why I never fail to think of him on Veterans Day. This year, though, there's even more reason. He passed away a month ago, so there's a part of me this year that really is celebrating Armistead's Day.

Saturday, October 31, 2015

Happy Halloween!

This is the day to look out for demons and other monsters (and it certainly doesn't help matters if you wind up paralyzed, unable to move from this spot, to boot). The Flash didn't tend to take on the supernatural very often--he was more of a science-based hero--but this is a rare Bronze Age appearance of the Golden Age magician Sargon the Sorcerer (he'd nearly skipped the Silver Age altogether, with only a single previous appearance against the Flash, also as a villain rather than the Golden Age hero he'd been). Let's hope no obscure sorcerers make an appearance in your neighborhood tonight!

Monday, September 07, 2015

Take Some Time Off on Labor Day

A bit of a holiday mash-up today, as the elves wait for the most opportune moment to strike for higher wages. We get to have a day off today because of others who have been willing to put their jobs--and sometimes their lives--on the line for better wages, hours, and working conditions.

Unions and labor have been under attack recently (let's face it, more often than not, they're pretty much always under attack) and have been losing influence. And in the meantime, low-wage workers have been without significant raises for years, the middle class has been getting more and more squeezed, and the 1 percent has been making out like bandits. Huh. Imagine that.

Saturday, July 04, 2015

It's the Fourth of July!

For this year's Fourth, let's go all the way to the beginning, for the first patriotic super-hero, the Shield. He was ready to fight on the American home front as early as 1939, when World War II was underway in Europe but a full two years two years before the United States entered the fray following the attack on Pearl Harbor. There have been plenty of patriotic heroes that have followed in the Shield's wake, including, of course, Captain America, but the Shield set the tone.

Be careful this year, and enjoy any festivities you take part in. But if you see any enemy tanks on the grounds of the Capitol, follow the Shield's example and take them out!

Wednesday, July 01, 2015

Happy Canada Day!

We're in the exact middle of the year, so that means it must be Canada Day! In the last couple of years, I've used the day to spotlight Captain Canuck, but I thought this year that I'd go old school and return to Canada's most famous super-hero son, Wolverine. (He needs the attention, since this is an off-year for X-Men movies.)

But I can't forget the good captain completely. He's got a new comics series that debuted in May, and a second series of animated web episodes has recently been announced (here's the teaser trailer). The cast from the first series is returning, and it includes people you might have actually heard of--such as Canada's current "it" girl, Tatiana Maslany, whose amazing work on Orphan Black may allow her to hold our attention for quite some time. The new Captain Canuck web material won't be out until the fall, but you can always go back to catch up on series one if you haven't seen it yet.

Canada's also been getting a fair bit of attention as host of this year's Women's World Cup. So enjoy Canada Day by hugging a moose, taking a swig of maple syrup, and watching this evening's semi-final between Japan and England to see who'll be facing Team USA in Sunday's final.

Monday, May 25, 2015

Memorial Day

It's a day off work. It's the beginning of summer. But this is also the day we've set aside to recognize and remember all those over the years (over the centuries, as a matter of fact) who have given their lives in the service of the United States. We owe a lot to our living veterans, but we shouldn't forget or ignore those who did not survive their service. Thank you to all those who can no longer hear or acknowledge our thanks.