Saturday, January 27, 2007

DC Comics Presents

Back when I turned 14 in December, 1978 my mother and stepfather took me to see Superman: The Movie. My life was changed forever. I was already a fan of science fiction because of Star Trek, and later Star Wars, but I never dreamed that a comic book character could be brought to life in just this way.

I saw the movie four times that year. You have to remember there was little chance of seeing it again for a very long time after its release ended. There was no VHS, no DVD, and where I lived, no cable or satellite dish either. So you either got your fill then or you waited for it to come on television, three or more years later. Even before I saw the movie, it had sparked my imagination. I started buying the Superman comics, both Action and his self-named title. I loved the covers but I didn't appreciate Curt Swan the way I should have. When a new title featuring Superman came out, I couldn't believe I was going to get the chance to get in on the ground floor. When DC Comics Presents #1 came out, I bought a Marathon Bar (remember those?) and a fresh copy from Jack's IGA in downtown Mesick and took the comic home to savor.

In those days, I would sit in a recliner in my grandmother's living room, put on some Realistic headphones from Radio Shack, and shut out the world. I would usually play Fleetwood Mac's "Rumours" (on cassette, no less) while I read my newest acquisition. Things sure have changed. Now I sit in a recliner in my own living room and listen to my .mp3 player with my Bose QuietComfort 2 Acoustic Noise-Cancelling Headphones, which I got for my birthday last year.

I pored over the book that day, wondering who this José Luis Garcia-Lopez guy was, and why he wasn't drawing Superman in his regular books. I wondered what Q-Energy was, and why it weakened Superman. My father said, "Back in my day, the only thing that could hurt him was Kryptonite." Dad said, "Back in my day" a lot. He still does. For me, DC Comics Presents #1 posed more questions for me than it answered, but it was still a pretty book to look at. And it still is.

Friday, January 19, 2007

National Gorilla Suit Day

Mark Evanier told me to post this here, and I do pretty much whatever he tells me.

Sunday, January 14, 2007

Space: The Final Frontier...

Ever since I was a little boy, I have loved Star Trek. I'm not one of those guys who dress up in costume, but I have been in a fan club and I have gone to Star Trek conventions. I even used to sell action figures and trading cards at Star Trek conventions. I've met the actors who play Scotty, Sulu, Worf, Q, Quark, and perhaps most memorably, Deanna Troi. I've even won a trivia contest at a Star Trek convention, and that's saying something.

As time has gone on though, I have found the various spinoffs of Star Trek to be, well...disappointing. Social issues that were dealt with in ways that reflected our deeper humanity in the original series (also known as TOS) were supplanted by technological problems that were solved with technobabble phrases like "increase the phase variance of the annular confinement beam" in Star Trek The Next Generation (also known as TNG). It just isn't Star Trek as I know it. Deep Space Nine was kind of cool in its own way until they had a war. The one thing Gene Roddenberry said about Star Trek was that he didn't want to depict war. Voyager, let's face it, was "Lost in Space." "Enterprise" started out badly, but started to find its voice too little too late. Some of its final episodes struck chords not heard since the original Star Trek series.

Well, with no new television series in the works, what is a closet Trekkie to do? The greatest thing since sliced bread has been invented, ladies and gentlemen, and it is Star Trek: Remastered!

Star Trek: Remastered is a re-envisioning of the original series with updated digital effects. It's that simple. It's nothing intrusive, like making it so that Greedo shoots at Han Solo first in the Mos Eisley cantina. It's just minor tampering, like replacing the grainy stock footage shots of the Enterprise orbiting a Play-Doh planet with a new digital model over a planet complete with an atmosphere. It looks great! When phasers fire, the beams don't look like they're going to miss on either side of their target; the beams are parallel, and they always emanate from the same spot. When the original series was made, there weren't a million fans questioning the production department every week on the consistency of the placement of the phaser banks. They made it up as they went along, and that was allowed back then. Sometimes phaser beams were red, sometimes blue. Now they're consistent. Matte paintings have been improved (but not radically changed) so that they look less hokey. When you add these small details to the already strong stories (well, except "Catspaw" anyway) you have a new life for an old show.

Each week there is a new episode of Star Trek: Remastered on our local ABC station (it's syndicated) and there's nothing I look forward to seeing more. To see what the new special effects look like, go to this website and check it out!

Saturday, January 06, 2007

Watch This Space!

Well, after a restful winter recess from school we're back in action! Watch this space for more comics as our referral date approaches.