Archive for January, 2011

31
Jan
11

Cough, wheeze, croak

Gotta love flu season, right? I took today off work due to a nice cocktail of an elevated temperature, horrible stuffy nose, incessant cough, and a voice that sounds like I’d lined my throat with broken glass. And how was your day?

After I called in sick I tried to go back to sleep, but only succeeded for about a half hour before the aforementioned coughing and wheezing made it known that I was up for the day. So I tried to be at least quasi-productive. I didn’t have any major cerebral capabilities, so rather than working on a big writing project I knocked out a lot of mini-reviews over at CXPulp.com (we’ve changed up the format in a way that I think is cool and, more importantly, will help you guys find what you’re looking for). I also watched the last two Netflix movies I had at home to cap off my previously mentioned “watch as many 2010 movies in January as I can” experiment. I plan to report on the results of that tomorrow, for those of you who are interested.

And if you’re waiting to hear more about Wizard World New Orleans, that’s going to be a big ol’ column at CX this Wednesday. If you’d like to see photos of the con or a couple of videos of the musical stylings of Ethan Van Sciver, you can find them on my Flickr Album.

30
Jan
11

2 in 1 Showcase Episode 207: Wizard World New Orleans

The boys make the trip to the first ever Wizard World New Orleans. Listen to the guys as they walk the floor, give their thoughts on the convention, have chats with Sweets creator Kody Chamberlain and X-Men writer Victor Gishler, and listen to the musical stylings of Ethan Van Sciver! Contact us with comments, suggestions, or anything else at Showcase@CXPulp.com!

Music provided by Music Alley from Mevio.

Episode 207: Wizard World New Orleans

29
Jan
11

Wizard World New Orleans…

Was a lot of fun.

Probably won’t go back tomorrow, because I don’t really feel great and I feel like I did everything I wanted today. But if you didn’t make it today, make the trip on Sunday. It’s totally worth it.

More detailed thoughts later this week. I leave you with an image or two:

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28
Jan
11

Wizard World New Orleans tomorrow

The first-ever Wizard World New Orleans is tomorrow!

So of course, I’m sick tonight!

Fingers crossed, friends, that I’ll be there and kicking. If you’re there and you see me, say hello.

27
Jan
11

The Future (Evercast #44)

It’s been a while since I talked at you, friends. This week, in a mini-episode, I ponder the future of Other People’s Heroes, and here’s your chance to help shape that. Plus — where will you be this weekend? Blake and the 2 in 1 Showcase boys are going to be at Wizard World New Orleans!

The Future (Evercast #44)

Theme music by Jeff Hendricks. Evercast logo by Heather Petit-Keller.

Send your e-mails to BlakeMPetit@gmail.com.

Creative Commons License
Blake M. Petit’s Evercast by Blake M. Petit is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.
Based on a work at www.evertimerealms.com.
Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available at http://www.evertimerealms.com. Just don’t change the file and don’t sell it.

26
Jan
11

Classic EBI #74: The Recruitment Drive

A big change happened in the world of comics last week, as both DC and Archie Comics announced that they’re ending their association with the Comics Code of America. This week I look back at where the Code came from and whether or not a rating system is the way to go.

Everything But Imaginary #384: Collapsing the Code (Bring on Sex and Violence!)

And in the Classic EBI for this week, let’s go back to August 4, 2004, when I was thinking about what it takes to get new folks reading comics. Let’s talk about…

Everything But Imaginary #74: The Recruitment Drive

Here at Everything But Imaginary Global Headquarters, there are two topics of conversation we never get tired of: how cool it would be to get a job applying body makeup to actresses for science fiction TV shows and movies, and how to get new readers into the comic book world. This isn’t meant as an insult to longtime fans, of course. The comic industry has been kept afloat for years by people like myself, who own every issue of Superman since 1988 and who will actually spend hours arguing over which is better, G.I. Joe or the TransFormers. (The answer, by the way, is that G.I. Joe has a better comic book, while TransFormers has a better TV show.)

But let’s face it, we aren’t getting any younger. Some of us are not getting younger at a particularly advanced rate, in fact (these are the ones who have every issue of Superman since 1968). And while successful movies and TV shows and an increased awareness in the mainstream media can only help comic books as a whole, I’ve found that nothing is as great a tool to get new readers as plain and simple word of mouth. Last week, for instance, Jeff Smith released the giant one-volume edition of his epic Bone series. 55 issues. Over 1300 pages. Probably (although I have no official documentation) the longest single-volume comic book ever produced.

And I bought two copies.

No, it’s not because I’ve got that kind of money. It’s because I wanted one, and so did my brother. As we grew up, I tried to get him to read several comics, and he did, but the one that he stuck with more than any other was Bone. So when I was picking up that giant volume for him (that reminds me, he still owes me money), I felt like I had at least accomplished a little something. I’ve also had limited success with my sister — she enjoys Liberty Meadows and occasionally looks into other titles with an artistic eye, but she’s not quite the rabid fan.

I tried to get friends, throughout high school and college, to pick up comics, and again I met with limited success. My old buddy Jarrod Friloux has, to my knowledge, a single long box that he doesn’t add to anymore, but still looks on fondly. My goombah Ben Clark collected with almost the ferocity I did for a while, then cut down to almost nothing. James Pinkard, my old roommate, still picks up the occasional trade paperback, such as the aforementioned Bone saga, and he was getting into some of CrossGen’s stuff as well, like Sojourn, before the bottom fell out of that one.

My biggest success, and I say this with as much pride as a human being can muster, is Ronée Garcia Bourgeois. After we met at the Thibodaux Playhouse about three years ago, Ronée and I became fast friends, and got even closer when we worked on a few plays together. She’d had a love of comics and cartooning at a younger age, and reading my columns and other posts on this site slowly began to draw her back. She started to accompany me on my weekly trips to the comic book store. She puts her son in Green Lantern t-shirts. She has become one of the few comic-loving women I know, and it pleases me to no end to think I had something to do with that.

And what’s even better, is that I see her passing along her love to her children. Her son, Tré isn’t quite two years old yet, so he doesn’t really grasp the significance of the Spider-Man shorts his granny made for him, but 6-year-old Tori is a kick to take to the comic store with us. Ronée usually allows her to pick out a book or two, and she’s definitely developing her own tastes. Teen Titans Go appears to be her favorite, although she’s also picked issues of Scooby Doo, Walt Disney’s Comics and Stories and, to my utter surprise and delight, new reprints of old Classics Illustrated Junior comics like Cinderella and The Wizard of Oz. This is a child who’s going to grow up loving reading, and whether that’s comic books or that kind of book that doesn’t have quite as many pictures, that’s a love that not nearly enough people have in this day and age.

However, now that Ronée is not only reading, but recruiting as well, that makes things doubly dangerous for anyone who crosses our path. Just this past weekend we wrapped the Playhouse’s summer musical, The Fantasticks. During the rehearsal period, I got into a discussion with another cast member, Michael Cato, who had seen Spider-Man 2 and had really enjoyed it. He and I got to talking about comic books and I found out he used to read them, but after a series of moves and a lack of availability, he’d fallen out of the habit.

So I did what any red-blooded comic book fan would do — I directed him to the comic shop we frequent and specifically told him to pop in on July 3 — Free Comic Book Day. And he did. And he seemed to like what he found.

Poor Michael didn’t stand a chance at this point, because once he went to the comic shop and admitted to reading Ronée’s “What a Girl Wants” and my “Everything But Imaginary” columns, the two of us were relentless. She got him buzzing about her columns, she got him to try out one of her favorite titles, Regent St. Claire’s Candyappleblack, and she started to cajole him to join us on our quest to the comic shop sometime. I imagine it’s only a matter of time now.

I know other comic book readers in my life who have tried to pass on the love. My uncle Wally, a freelance artist, has taken his son Norman to FCBD. My uncle Todd reads comics with his son, Ben. My longtime comic geek group — Chase, Jenny and Mike — have spent years trying to get our buddy Jason to pick up some comics. Even when he accompanied us to Free Comic Book Day, he didn’t partake. Then this year, to everyone’s astonishment, he picked up a Joseph Michael Linsner art book. Mostly, we suspect, for the pretty paintings of scantily-clad women, but hey, it’s a start.

If you’re reading this, chances are it’s because you love comic books. And you’re right to do so. Comics have been very good to us over the years — we’ve gotten gems like Astro City, Kingdom Come, Mark Waid’s Fantastic Four and Neil Gaiman’s Sandman. Even bad comics are part of a unique art form, a blending of words and pictures that can tell stories no other medium can achieve. But it’s an art form with a dwindling audience that is misunderstood by the public at large.

So it’s time to give back, folks.

You’ve all got friends and family that have never touched a comic book, or who stopped reading years ago. Lure them in. Figure out what they’d like and make suggestions. Invite them to come to the comic shop with you. Show them this website, the debate, the columns, the reviews.

Show them why comics are cool.

Remember, Uncle Sam wants you. And so does The Shield. And Captain America. And Batman. And The Flash. And…

FAVORITE OF THE WEEK: July 28, 2004

No character in all of comics has had his origin revamped and revised as many times as Superman. From his very first appearance to his very first origin story, to the silver age updates, the John Byrne revamp, the movies, the television shows, even the radio show — every so often his story has been changed, modified to meet the sensibility of the day. That lastest revision concluded in last week’s Superman: Birthright #12, my favorite of the week.

Superman is on the ropes. Lex Luthor has staged a fake Kryptonian invasion of Metropolis. People don’t know if they can trust this guy or not. The whole city is about to be overrun.

Cue the John Williams score.

Mark Waid and Leinil Francis Yu were spot-on perfect with this series. They showed what Superman is about, why he’s important and what he really means. This is the comic to give someone who thinks big blue isn’t cool enough or is too powerful or has some perfect life. This is the book that redefines the greatest hero in comic books. This is the best origin Superman has ever had.

Blake M. Petit is the author of the superhero comedy novel, Other People’s Heroes, the suspense novel The Beginner and the Christmas-themed eBook A Long November. He’s also the co-host, with whoever the hell is available that week, of the 2 in 1 Showcase Podcast and the weekly audio fiction podcast Blake M. Petit’s Evercast. E-mail him at BlakeMPetit@gmail.com and visit him on the web at Evertime Realms. Read past columns at the Everything But Imaginary Archive Page, and check out his new experiment in serial fiction at Tales of the Curtain.

 

25
Jan
11

Time Travel Tuesdays: Please, Touch That Dial

I’ve got a confession to make, friends. Once upon a time, a very long time ago, I did something I’m not proud of at all. I watched American Idol. Non-ironically. I call this dark time “season one.” Once season two rolled around, it had become evident that the show was going to become a juggernaut with any potential entertainment value leeched out of it by television programming demons from the Fox Network, and since then I’ve stopped watching each season as soon as the first audition round ends and the singers that are bad enough that they lap the scale and become entertaining again are gone. Consequently, I have no idea who won the show for the last several years, and I’m fine with that. But now that there’s an almost all-new panel of judges, I glanced in again and found that even the painful opening rounds just don’t have the entertainment value it once did. So in memorial, I’m presenting the column I wrote way back on June 22, 2002, regarding that first year of Idol and reality TV in general.

June 22, 2002

Please, touch that dial!

Summer is traditionally a bad time for television, but I am coming to the conclusion that this year the network and cable executives have entered a secret competition to see how many people they can drive screaming from their living rooms into oncoming traffic, hopefully while being taped by the Fox network.

I am basing this hypothesis on ads I have been deluged with lately for the Animal Planet’s new series, “The Pet Psychic.” Say that with me here: “The Pet Psychic.” They have found a woman who claims to be able to read the minds of animals and given her her own television program.

Look, I love animals. And I believe wholeheartedly that they each have their own personalities and their own style and their own likes and dislikes. That said, anyone who needs a telepath to figure out what an animal is thinking is just dragging down the human race to begin with.

Let’s look at cats, since these are the domestic animals with whom I have the most personal experience. After years of observing several cats in several environments, I have concluded that at any given time, your average cat is only thinking one of four things:

1. Feed me.

2. Pet me.

3. Entertain me.

4. Leave me alone, you buffoon, I’m taking a nap.

Furthermore, most cats are not shy about making it perfectly clear to you what mood they are in.

Dogs are even less complex, they’ve only got three thoughts on average:

1. Can I eat that?

2. Can I chase that?

3. Woof.

So you see, even if you’re so dense that your cat leading you into the kitchen, looking at her empty bowl, jumping onto the bag of food and meowing like a hungry banshee doesn’t tell you she wants food, you’ve still got a one-in-four chance of being right if you just guess what she’s thinking.

What’s more, the Pet Psychic herself is just plain creepy. And I don’t mean “spiderweb in the corner” creepy, I mean Christopher Walken creepy. The kind of creepy that has you reaching for a crucifix and Max Von Sydow’s phone number.

Animal Planet is not alone, of course. As usual, we can count on Fox to be the home of fine, quality programming that could inspire a person to jam hypodermic needles into his eyeballs. That’s right, from the people who brought you the Emmy Award-Winning “Who Wants to Marry a Millionaire?” and “Temptation Island” comes “Looking For Love: Bachelorettes in Alaska,” the heartwarming story of a squad of nauseating, publicity-starved women competing for the love of a pack of cold-weather hunks. Hot tubs galore, folks. Keep the kids up for this one.

Fox is also responsible for a program I am rather ashamed to admit I have watched, “American Idol.” Evidently they held open auditions some time ago for anybody who wanted to pretend they could sing, eventually narrowing the field down to 30 people. To achieve this they employed the services of a rude Englishman, a Grammy winner (really this time) and Paula Abdul. One of these 30 people, Fox promises, will be the new American Idol.

Well… I suppose I could live with this if I thought the American public would be smart enough to vote for competitors who aren’t likely to become Britney Aguilera or 98 Backstreet Synch Town clones.

This program does have entertainment value, I’ve gotta admit, at least in the first episode. I frequently cracked up as the British guy told people auditioning exactly how bad they were (actual transcript: “Have you ever taken singing lessons? Who was your teacher? Do you have a lawyer? Get a lawyer and sue her.”)

What really disturbs me about this show is the fear that it will invoke thousands of people who have watched the bad, bad, bad contestants, thought “I can sing better than that,” and embarked upon a musical career of their own. The problem, of course, will be that these people will be wrong.

So summer programming isn’t much to look at, folks, but let’s not lose heart. The fall season is only three short months away. That’s the time where the real stars of TV come out to shine, where quality is king, where–

What’s that? They renewed “Watching Ellie”?

Never mind.

Blake M. Petit entered the American Idol competition but was forced to withdraw when Paula Abdul proved unable to resist his wily charms. Contact him with comments, suggestions or a reality check at BlakeMPetit@gmail.com

 




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