Tag Archives: comics

A Good Weekend and The Avengers

Happy Sunday!  This weekend was excellent.  Daniel and I went to the Duke Faculty Club pool with his dad this afternoon, so I took the opportunity to do a little swimming and tan, of course.  I’m still not used to the fact that there are just more beautiful days here than in Upstate New York.  Yesterday we went for a hike at West Pointe on the Eno.  It was a real hike that included climbing up rocks and walking on narrow banks next to the river.  I probably almost fell into the river at least twice.  It was a spectacular day and I did snap a few pictures.

The Eno River

A Daniel in the wild.

It’s not the Genesee, obviously.

The majority of this post is going to be dedicated to The Avengers.  Now, Daniel and I actually saw this movie a few weeks ago, but it’s one that I needed to write about.  I personally thought the movie was brilliant.  It was scripted and directed by Joss Whedon, who you may know as the creator of Buffy the Vampire Slayer.  I think few people realize how much involvement he has also had in the comic book industry, making him extremely qualified to write and direct a film like this.  Even if you didn’t know he wrote the script for The Avengers, I think it became pretty obvious throughout the film.  He made Tony Stark’s/Iron Man’s character entirely like his character of Xander in Buffy.  (This witty character archetype is one that he uses in probably all of his films and t.v. shows, and I believe that in interviews he has claimed it is based off of himself.)  And it worked perfectly with the previous film depictions of Iron Man, and matched the comics as well.

I’ve noticed he also likes to build up tension, usually during a monologue of a villain, but that monologue is then cut short by a protagonist beating the crap out of the guy trying to give his speech, followed by the protagonist saying something witty.  I feel like that was in every other episode of Buffy, and at least in the Angel pilot, which I happened to have watched recently.  If you’ve seen the film, you’ll know to which scene with Loki and The Hulk I am referring.  If not…well, WHEN you go see it, you will understand.  It was hilarious.

I think some previous movies based on comic books have failed because the writers couldn’t get the pacing right.  At least, this is what Daniel always says, and he would know, right?  This movie was unique because all of the back-stories of the members of The Avengers had already been established in four previous films, respectively:  Iron Man, The Incredible Hulk, Thor, and Captain America: The First Avenger.  Whedon didn’t need to waste any time establishing the characters, but could jump right in to the assembly of the group.  And, like I said, he’s a comic book writer, so he just gets it.  The script sounded just like a comic book.  It was perfect for comic fans like Daniel for that reason, but it was also just really well written, which would appeal to the rest of the population.

Overall, I get why it’s been so successful.  If you haven’t seen it, go watch it, but not before you watch the other movies.  And be sure to stick around after the credits.  It was by far the best movie I’ve seen in a couple of years.

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Some Exciting News

Last night I heard from the landlord Adam about moving into our apartment (townhouse?).  Originally, he had given us the date of June 1, but changed it and said that the space should be ready around May 15.  This is perfect because Daniel will actually be in Durham during that time and we can start moving some of our things into our new home.

Naturally, because I’m a woman, I love to decorate or design the spaces in which I will be living.  My first obstacle is the bedroom.  Daniel and I are getting a really basic bed frame from his parents’ house.  It does not have a headboard, so I’m trying to think of cool things to do in lieu of a headboard.  I’ve seen some interesting ideas on both Pinterest and Apartment Therapy, like painting words or a picture where the headboard would be, but realistically I can’t paint something on the wall, since we are renting.  I do love the idea of this:

A wood pallet headboard from Apartment Therapy.

But I think we would need something a little more…lightweight?  I also would love some creative ideas for night stands.  Suggestions are encouraged.

The other two “bedrooms” upstairs will serve as a study/work area and a music/comic room, respectively.  We just need to acquire more bookshelves for these rooms.  The music/comic room will also have a guest bed or a futon in it.  Basically, a place where guests will be able to live comfortably, provided Daniel doesn’t fill it to the ceiling with his collection of instruments and comics.

Since we are upgrading from 1 tiny closet of a bathroom to 2 and 1/2 bathrooms, bathroom space will not be a problem.  I’ve already decided I’m just going to use one full bath as my own and put all of my junk in it, and he can use the other for whatever bathroom things men have.  I really don’t know what you guys use, because when I moved all of my stuff out of the bathroom in Rochester, it was pretty much bare.

If there’s enough room in the kitchen, we would love to get a small island, or at least something that can be used as additional counter space.  If there is one thing I’ve learned, it doesn’t matter if you live in a tiny apartment or a three story house with two kitchens, there is never enough counter space.

Finally, the living room.  It is definitely bigger than what we had in Rochester, but I have no idea how to set it up.  For that, I’m going to have to wait until I can actually see the space and figure out how much room we have.

Obviously once we move in there will be lots of pictures.  We are just a short stroll from downtown and the farmer’s market in Central Park.  I’m sure we will be taking advantage of that very often.  Plus, there is a new coffee shop opening up just a block or two from where we will be living.  Not to mention Fullsteam and Geer Street Garden, both right in the neighborhood.

A Mellow Day, But Not an Uneventful One.

Today Daniel and I visited Kelly’s apartment in Oneonta for the first time.  It’s nice.  I personally love our apartment (except for our ugly green rug), so I did not fall in love with her house, but it was good.  I think she will have a fantastic time living there with her friends, and it is right across from campus.  We ate dinner at her house, some chicken parmesan.  It was delicious.  Daniel and I supplied the wine.  We played a game of Settlers of Catan and then a game of Cranium.  Dillon won the former, Daniel and I won the latter.  Poor Kelly.  It was a great night, and it’s always fun to hang out with those two crazy kids.

We went to Old Franklin Day this afternoon to check out the “festivities” and the sales.  Daniel found a copy of Daredevil #5 from 1964 at a yard sale.  He got it for only $10.  Then his computer died and he said bad words.  Tomorrow we have an appointment at the Genius Bar in Victor.

Tomorrow we  plan to leave for Rochester.  Everyone is very nervous about Irene.  I hope our plans are not deterred because of the weather.

Happiness and excitement.

Dorking Out: A Very Special Guest Post By Daniel

So you may have heard that Christine and I took a special emergency trip down to Unadilla yesterday on account of that fact that her grandmother found a box of “Golden Age” Comics in a closet.  Now you probably know this by now, but I am a huge Huge HUGE comic book geek.  I even have my own (very infrequently updated) blog about them.  Needless to say I had a serious dork attack and may or may not have (read: most certainly did) peed my pants out of excitement.  At 8 P.M., after frantically packing comic book bags and boards, The Overstreet Comic Book Price Guide, and some adult diapers, we were off.  Three and half hours later we arrived to find Christine’s mother and sister thumbing through the comics as though they were a stack of three month-old People Magazine’s at the dentist’s office.  Doing my best to maintain my composure I uttered something along the lines of “Get your filthy hands off of those!  Do you realize what you are holding!?!” or something to that effect…or maybe I just wet myself again…I really don’t remember.  It was late, I was tired, and very VERY excited.

Sitting down at the kitchen table  with a small stack of the issues that Christine’s grandmother really wants to sell, I felt my body tense as I came to the realization that these would be the oldest comics that I have ever held in my hands.  Brow moist with nervous sweat, hands aquiver, I began to inspect the first comic, a little title called “Daredevil #1“.  Did you click that link?  Good.  Do you recognize that man on the front?  The swarthy looking one with the emo hair and the tiny mustache.  Yeah, that’s Adolf Hitler getting punched in the face.  Now, I can’t overstate how incredibly valuable “Golden Age” Comics featuring Hitler are because the confines of written language dictate that I use real words that you will understand, but take my word when I say they are extremely valuable.  For instance, this very same issue graded in Near Mint condition (which, mind you, would be very unlikely considering the comic is 70 years old) can fetch over $20,000.  Aw dammit, I just peed again.

I actually held this in my hands. How cool is that!?

This isn’t to say that Christine’s grandma’s copy is worth that much.  All things considered, it was in very nice condition, the colors are vivid, the paper is relatively white and odorless, there aren’t too many nicks and rips.  In fact, the only major defect is that the cover of the issue was detached from the staples, though I have seen coverless copies of the same issue selling for $600.  And while that certainly is the biggest highlight insofar as the value of these books are concerned, there were still several other really cool issues.  She has a copy of “Detective Comics #96”!  To put that in perspective Batman appeared in “Detective Comics #27”, putting #96 around 1943.  This issues was in incredible condition barring the slight curling on the right side from being stored in a box in a closet for at least the last 30 some-odd years.  According to The Overstreet, Alfred’s last name is revealed to be “Beagle” in this issue; his name, of course, would later be changed to “Pennyworth” but it is an interesting tidbit.

That's my thumb in the corner to flatten it out.

She also has a copy of “Captain America #38”, complete with racist cover and all.  This issue was one of the coolest to me because I am a total Marvel doofus and “Golden Age” Cap is the man.  Interestingly, this issue along with some others only feature one staple in the center of the spine as opposed to the two on either end that is more common today.  This may have been because of metal conservation for the war effort.  For this reason there was a sizable stress hole on the left side of the cover, but the cover has remained attached.  Sadly the bottom right corner of this issue had also served as a buffet for a family mice at some point in time.  Lastly, it would appear that the centerfold poster of Cap, purported by The Overstreet, had been removed.  Still the inside was very readable and the art impeccable.  Plus it included a short seven page story featuring the original Human Torch.  Unbeatable stuff!

I'm just not sure if this is more offensive or awesome...

Another interesting highlight was a copy of the “Cocomalt Big Book of Comics”.  This promotional comic from 1938(!) was put out by Cocomalt brand chocolate milk and featured reprints of classic funnies including Windsor McCay’s “Little Nemo”…it also has a racist cartoon on the cover.  Aside from a thumb sized hole on the right side of the cover, this issue was in superb condition.  While not nearly as flashy as a “Captain America” or “Detective Comics”, this is an extremely rare comic that shared in a long held tradition within comics during the 1930’s of reprinting newspaper funnies.  Also, this issue premiered in 1938, that same year during the month of June a certain colorfully clad alien do-gooder would appear in “Action Comics #1” changing the face of comics and American popular culture forever.

I know this is from 1938 but still, when did people start becoming sensitive to racism?

Aside from those issues there is a stack of around 20 more comics from the early 1940’s.  The majority of these are funny animal books, Mickey Mouse, Looney Tunes, Krazy Kat, just to name a few.  While these are not quite as highly sought after and therefore not as valuable as the ones listed above, they are still almost 70 years old.  Many of them are in good condition all things considered.  It is very interesting to see how the war effort was aimed at children by having Donald Duck and Bugs Bunny buying War Bonds and growing victory gardens.  Over the next few weeks I will go through these issues and grade them to the best of my ability.

Stacks of comics from the 1940s to look through--I gotta stop peeing myself...

Oh, and I forgot the best thing!  Christine’s grandma is letting pick a few to keep because my birthday is on Monday.

Best birthday ever.

Golden Age Comics

This will only be a quick update.  Daniel and I had to make an emergency trip to Unadilla tonight…because my grandmother stumbled on some old comics from the 1940s, including one with Hitler on the cover.  It was a big deal; Daniel almost peed his pants when I told him.  There is a Detective Comics #96 (for those of you that are less aware of comics, that’s Batman) and a Captain America #38.

I’m sure I will elaborate on this more tomorrow, after Daniel has some time to inspect them.

Political Correct-ness hadn't been invented yet.

The photo is from Captain America #38.  Daniel knows A LOT more about this than I do.

“What I Want For My Birthday” By Daniel

As some of you may or may not know (shame on those of you who don’t) my birthday is fast approaching.  Yes!  I, Daniel, will join the ranks of men…who can drink alcohol legally.  To celebrate this monumental occasion I have compiled a list of the five ideal birthday gifts that I would like to receive.  I will expect you all to have these gifts to me no later than 6pm on the day of my birthday, July 11th.  Thank you for your time, attention, and cooperation in this.  And remember “it’s the thought, not the gift, that really counts” is something that people who buy shitty presents say.

#5 New Heroscape stuff:

I don’t know if you know this, but I am a huge dork.  And it is only getting worse as I get older.  I recently discovered a game called Heroscape which Christine has even mentioned before.  It is a minatures game which, on the dork spectrum, is only slightly below LARPing.  But, for a minatures game, it is surprisingly easy to play (no D4, 10, 12, 20, or beyond) and has a vast array of cool characters such as robots, gorrillas, and even Marvel heroes, not just sissy elves.  And the best thing about it is that you get to build the board out of interlocking plastic hexagons.  When you think about it, it’s no wonder I love this game.  It combines three of my favorite things: lego-like building, (tiny) action figures, and epic battles.  It’s a good thing that I didn’t discover this game until much later in my life because 11 year-old me probably would have had an aneurism at how freakin’ cool it is.  Oh! and did I mention the best thing for you?  There are a plethora of items to purchase!  I only own the second master set, so you can buy me any of the other master sets or large expansions sets or small expansion sets…I WON’T COMPLAIN.

#4 Graphic novels, DVD comic collections, and pretty much any comics:

Hi, have we met?  I like comics.  I like comics more than zombies like turtles.  And here’s the joke.  I like them all…pretty much.  I am not going to argue with you if you  want to give me comics.  I am not even being picky about what form they are in.  I like graphic novels and am currently in the market for some classics such as The Dark Knight Returns, A Contract With God, and Bone, but I would take collections or trade paper backs.  I like the DVD collections that you can find online, I currently own the Amazing Spider-Man one but would love the Fantastic Four, Uncanny X-Men, or Civil War.  This is a great way to get a hold of really old/rare comics to read, advertisements and all.  And, in case you didn’t know, advertisements from the 1960’s were freakin’ hilarious…and may have advocated violence.  But seriously, even if you just want to give me your junky old stack of comics I WON’T COMPLAIN.  That being said I am always in the market for The Amazing Spider-Man, Fantastic Four, and Hellboy.  Please email me for my complete list so that you don’t send me anything that I already have because that would be like drinking a glass of water in front of a man dying of thirst, dick!

#3 Synthesizers:

Remember how earlier I said that I have been getting progressively dorkier as I get older?  Behold, the greatest dork instrument of them all, the synthesizer.  Chances are, if you didn’t know any better, you might think that all that stuff was lab equipment because that is how dorky synths are.  Now admittedly you might recognize some synths, and even know that they are instruments.  You probably have heard synths on popular songs.  I am not into the types of synths used on contemporary pop music which are largely digital and/or sampling keyboards.  I am into analog gear right now, which on the whole sounds great, costs an arm and a leg, and is mega-dorky.  Because, you see, analog synthesizers are not acoustic instruments made by people who make beautiful music, they are made by people who understand electronics and physics and look like this.  And while one can make beautiful music using an analog synth, chances are you are just going to make a lot of bleeps and bloops, or whatever.  I am currently really interested in the Korg Monotribe, big brother to the Monotron, which I own.  But if you want to spend more on me I WON’T COMPLAIN because I deserve it.

#2 Vintage and rare comics:

As previously discussed, I love comics, but far be it from me to leave you with the idea that all comics are created equal, which justifies the inclusion of a separate section for this request.  For whatever reason, I absolutely love vintage comics.  I find them to be culturally and historically significant, I love the unassuming art, the naive writing, and did I mention, I absolutely love old comics.  Now, I am of course partial to a few specific titles, namely The Amazing Spider-Man, followed by the Fantastic Four.  I have been lucky enough to have accrued a few of these titles from loved ones and my own wallet.  Though if any of you want to splurge on more vintage comics for me I WON’T COMPLAIN because I can sell the crappy ones you get me and buy ones that I want.  Now before you dust off your old copies of Micronauts to send to me I want to make something clear, when I am talking vintage, I mean V-I-N-T-A-G-E.  Silver Age and before, 10-20 cent covers.  Anything newer than that goes under #4 on this list and means that you will get a smaller piece of my birthday cake.  Unless it’s a rare comic that I have been searching for.  Y’know what?  Just ask me for my list of wanted comics.

#1 Stuffed Shells, cake, and alcohol…copious amounts of alcohol:

What I really want for my birthday not many of you can give me.  It doesn’t cost a lot and it isn’t hard to find but you still probably can’t get it for me and it’s not because you are incompetent…this time.  What I really want is to be able to sit down and have my traditional birthday dinner, stuffed shells with a meat sauce, surrounded by the friends and family that I love so dearly and miss so much.  I want to eat cake.  I want to laugh and joke.  And I want to drink deeply.  And I promise you I WON’T COMPLAIN.

It was okay, I guess...

This was taken at my 20th birthday. Christine got me The Amazing Spider-Man #40. I think I burst a blood vessel in my eye I was so excited.

The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay

Since graduation, I’ve had more time on my hands.  So, I’ve finally started reading for pleasure again.  Yesterday I finally finished The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay, a novel by Michael Chabon.  The two main character, Sammy Clay and Joe Kavalier, are cousins, living in New York City.  They are also Jewish.  This is important, since Joe has just escaped from Prague, Czechoslovakia, during the Second World War.  Sammy is charged with getting Joe a job, so Joe can save up money and bring the rest of his family to America.  Joe is a skilled artist, and Sammy a talented writer.  They eventually go into the comic book business together.  Of course, I should have mentioned that I borrowed this book from Daniel.  Spoilers to follow.

The novel follows them over the course of approximately 15 years, from beginning in 1939 and ending in 1954.  Joe’s entire motivation is to get his family out of Europe, knowing what the Nazis are doing.  He saves up thousands of dollars.  Along the way, he gets distracted by a girl named Rosa Saks.  As he is falling in love with Rosa, he begins to feel survivor’s guilt after members of his family begin to die.  First his father, then his brother, and finally his mother and grandfather.  The real tipping point for Joe comes after his brother’s death.  After paying for his brother’s passage to America, his brother drowns on a boat that was sunk by a German U-Boat.  Joe blames himself, and enlists in the navy, hoping to enact some kind of revenge on the Germans.  Unfortunately, he is assigned to Antarctica.  The other men with which he is serving all die one night when their stove was not properly ventilated, and they all asphyxiate from carbon monoxide poisoning.  Joe and one other man survive, since they were sleeping elsewhere.  This is hardly the type of war Joe imagined he would be fighting.

Upon his return to America, Rosa and Sammy anxiously wait to greet him as he exits the boat.  Only…he never gets off the boat.  For the next 10 or 11 years, they never hear from Joe.  By this time, Sammy and Rosa have married to conceal the fact that Joe had impregnated Rosa right before he left for the war.  Rosa planned to tell Joe about the baby the night that Joe found out about his brother.  After she heard what had happened and that he had left for the war, she knew Joe could never know.  So Sammy agreed to marry her and raise the child, named Tommy after Joe’s deceased brother.  But one day, Tommy spots “cousin” Joe in the back of a magic shop.  Tommy recognized him from old photos that his parents had.  They begin to meet regularly, with Tommy skipping school, and Joe living illegally in the Empire State Building.  He had been living there for nearly the entire 11 years he was missing.  Joe had figured out that Tommy was his son, but continued to keep it concealed from Tommy.  After Tommy finally reveals to Sammy where Joe has been living, Joe moves in with Sammy and Rosa.  He and Rosa almost instantly rekindle their love.  One afternoon, Tommy discovers some old photographs of Rosa and Joe.   For quite some time, Tommy had suspected that Sammy was not his real father, but didn’t know who was.  He then overhears Rosa and Joe talking and realizes that Joe is his father.

The book ends with Sammy moving out of the house, leaving Joe, Rosa, and Tommy to be a true family.

Despite my spoiler warning, I’ve hardly touched on the intricacies of the story and characters or Michael Chabon’s phenomenal writing style.  I highly recommend reading this book.  But don’t take it from me.  After all, it only won the Pulitzer Prize.

Maybe I should rename this blog to "The Amazing Adventures of Daniel and Christine".