Archive for March, 2010

31
Mar
10

Everything But Imaginary #346: From Blackest Night to Brightest Day

DC Comics’ mega-event Blackest Night came to a conclusion today, and so I take a little time to go over the unanswered questions and storylines that have been established for the upcoming follow-up series, Brightest Day. Be warned, spoilers abound, so if you haven’t read Blackest Night #8 yet, stay back.

Everything But Imaginary #346: From Blackest Night to Brightest Day

30
Mar
10

Blake Gettin’ Healthy Status Update

A few weeks ago, I announced my intention to shape up and finally start trying to get a little healthier, particularly in terms of weight. As the reason I actually made a post about it is because I wanted to be public, to keep myself honest, I decided I should do the occasional update here and talk about how I’m doing.

I’m doing… okay. I’ve really managed to cut down on the junk food, that’s probably my biggest accomplishment to date. I’ve got myself on a fairly rigid schedule — some sort of breakfast daily (fruit or cereal, low-fat milk), a decent lunch (cold cut sandwich, 100-calorie pack of chips), a mid-afternoon snack (fruit or cereal, low-fat milk), and a dinner that consists of more vegetables and smaller portions of the entree. I haven’t gone to a drive-thru window since I started this endeavor, which is probably a lifetime endurance record for me, at least going back to when I got a driver’s license. The closest thing to fast food I’ve had are Subway sandwiches. Tuna, mostly. A roasted chicken or two in there. I’ve cheated a little on the weekends because… well… you’ve gotta. You’ll go insane eating perfectly all the time, and if I’m going to be weak, I may as well do it on Saturday nights when I’m out with my friends at a pizza joint. Even then, even when I eat something that isn’t quite as good for me, I’m winning the battle of portion control — fewer slices of pizza, diet sodas or lemonade or the like.

Have I noticed any difference yet, you ask? Yes, a few. I do feel like I have more energy during the day. I don’t get tired as easily, and a lot of the general cruds I’ve gotten in the past haven’t been creeping up on me. Even my old arch-nemesis — staircases — have been easier to tackle as of late. I haven’t gone down a pants size or anything, but physically, I’m feeling some results.

I’m feeling other things, too: hungry. I’ve been told that, once you get yourself on a schedule like this, your appetite will subside. I wish it would freaking hurry up and subside, because I’m really sick of being hungry all the time. I don’t crave food any less, I’m just getting better at fighting those cravings. I keep my gaze trained firmly ahead when I walk past the candy aisle. I ignore a low rumbling because I know I’ve eaten everything I actually need for the afternoon. I chew sugarless gum. I’ve chewed a lot of sugarless gum.

When I’m really hungry, I admit, I start to get a little snippy. In the store earlier today, the guy ahead of me in line got a Coca-Cola from the cooler. As he did so, his wife said, “That’s your second Coke today!” My immediate reaction was to snap at her, “And how many times today have you bitched today?” But I didn’t. Because I’m nice.

This is just update number one, status report number one. I’m still going. Keep your fingers crossed for me, will you?

29
Mar
10

What I’m Reading: The Lost Books of the Odyssey

As you are probably aware, if you’ve spent any time on this blog, I’ve got a real fondness for mythology in general, Greek mythology in particular, and the adventures of Odysseus specifically. I do consider The Odyssey one of the finest adventure stories of all time, and the assorted interpretations of that book have entertained me to no end. It wasn’t a hard decision at all to give Zachary Mason’s book The Lost Books of the Odyssey a try.

The book labels itself as a novel, but it’s not really, not if you define define a novel as a book length work of fiction. Instead, Mason gives us a quick read full of 44 alternate takes on the tales found in the Illiad and the Odyssey. As the writer notes in the introduction, before the poet Homer’s interpretation of Odysseus’s story became the standard, there were many versions of the story that were used, moved around, and toyed with by storytellers putting their own stamp on the legend.

This book purports to be some of those “lost” tales, and several of them feel as though they actually could be. “Helen’s Image” shows the woman who launched a thousand ships making a different choice, for example, and in “A Sad Revelation” we see an Odysseus whose wife Penelope has not been as loyal as in the classic version. Some of the other tales, “The Books of Winter” for example, take the framework of Odysseus’s tale and wrap it around a context that would not have been thought of in Homer’s time. More than one of the tales dips its toes into the realm of metafiction, making a commentary on fiction itself.  “Record of a Game” reinvents both Homeric tales as document about the playing of one of the oldest games of strategy.

If you’re trying to accept this book as an actual “lost” tale of Odysseus, it’s not going to satisfy you, but as an alternate take, it works marvelously well. The stories come across like Odysseus told through the prism of the Twilight Zone or Marvel Comics’ What If? series — versions of Odysseus that branch off from or exist catercorner to the version that we’re all so familiar with. I greatly enjoyed this book. It really engaged me, charged up my imagination, and got me to look at Odysseus’s world from a different angle. I definitely recommend this one.

28
Mar
10

2 in 1 Showcase Episode 164: The Gamers-Dorkness Rising Commentary

It’s time for another Showcase Commentary episode! This week, Blake and Kenny sit down to watch one of their favorite geek films, The Gamers: Dorkness Rising. As they discuss the film, the guys tell tales of their own Dungeons and Dragons and role-playing adventures, talk about the works of cartoonist Aaron Williams, and discuss gaming comics and media in general. Head on over to NetFlix and queue up the movie in to stream along as you listen to the boys discuss it! In the picks, Blake has a great time with X-Factor Forever #1 and Kenny stays on-topic with the first collected edition of the gamer comic Looking For Group. Contact us with comments, suggestions, or anything else at Showcase@comixtreme.com!

Music provided by the Podshow Podsafe Music Network.

Episode 164: The Gamers-Dorkness Rising Commentary
Inside This Episode:


27
Mar
10

Summer Love Lives?

One thing I’ve regretted on this site has been my inability to finish the serial novel, Summer Love, that I was serializing here when I launched. As I’ve said before, the main problem I had was Percy Jackson. Great books. Too similar to things I had planned. The story died.

But now…

I make no promises, but I think I have a way to fix this. I’ll have to throw out some of the stuff I already have written and change all my previous plans, but this could work. I may even have a new title, finally.

I do promise this: unlike last time, I will not attempt to share this story until it is FINISHED. I’ve learned my lesson.

26
Mar
10

What I’m Reading: Green Lantern #52

The cover says Green Lantern #52, but this issue is pretty much Blackest Night #7 1/2, as the two main plotlines of the series finally converge in these many, many pages. The united Lanterns of every Corps fight a two-front battle this month. In the skies above the planet Earth, the entire Black Lantern mass of the dead planet Xanshi face off against the Lanterns who have converged from all corners of the Universe. On the ground in Coast City, the newly-crowned White Lantern Sinestro leads the assault against Nekron.

This is what you would call a “mythology” episode of a TV show, something that progresses the plot a bit and reveals a lot of the backstory. We get a definitive origin for life in the DC Universe, as well as the origins of the seven entities — such as Ion and Parallax — that embody the seven Corps we’ve become familiar with.

There are also fantastic, if unexpected, character beats throughout this issue. Fatality, one-time assassin of Green Lanterns and current Star Sapphire, has always hated John Stewart for failing to save her home, Xanshi, from destruction. Now we see them fighting on the same side against a desecrated version of that planet, and both characters are opened up to some real depth here. The stuff with Sinestro and the rest of the main cast doesn’t move along quite as much (that, no doubt, is being saved for the core Blackest Night finale), but Geoff Johns still succeeds in giving us great moments nonetheless. Sinestro’s duel with Nekron, in particular, has the potential for major ramifications in the climax of this series and, presumably, moving into the follow-up Brightest Day.

This series, this storyline, really has delivered consistently and almost without exception. Geoff Johns has long since proven himself as a storyteller to comic book fans, but Blackest Night takes him one step further. Now, he’s firmly established as someone who can orchestrate a line-wide event, adn make it better and more satisfying than any in recent memory. More than ever, with his new position as DC’s “Creative Director,” I fell that the DCU is in good hands.

Rating: 9/10

25
Mar
10

Everything But Imaginary #345: Throwing a Mighty Shield

The new Captain America may be the old Human Torch. What does Blake think about this casting decision? And does — or should — one have anything to do with the other?

Everything But Imaginary #345: Throwing a Mighty Shield
Inside This Column:
Chris Evans as the Human Torch




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