SUPERMAN DAILY STRIPS ONLINE

I was checking out the then latest batch of wallpapers at DC’s official site a few weeks back when I noticed a little button that read, “Superman The Dailies” on the left hand side of the screen.  I clicked on it and discovered that DC has posted some of the old Superman daily newspaper strip that began seeing the light of day back on January 16, 1939.

This is pretty cool.  I have been down on DC lately but this was a cool thing for them to do.  Hopefully they will post more as time goes on.  This strip was neat and, if memory serves, was the first sequential art appearance of the origin of Superman, which didn’t make it into the comics until 1948.

Check out the strip HERE.

More to follow…

READING VS. COLLECTING

There are certain debates that never occur to me until the subject is brought up.  One of the more recent examples of this is the concept that there is a difference between collecting and reading comic books.  Apparently there is a sect of fandom that believes that if you say “collecting” and mean “reading” that you are somehow holding comic books back as an art form.

In all honesty there might be something to that.  If you are going to advance the notion that comic books are a legitimate art form and make it more accessible to the general population any association between comics and collecting might hinder that.  I guess if you wanted to put comic books on the same level as books or music or films, which people buy and collect in the sense that they keep them to watch later than you would have to take the buying for later investment notion out of the equation.  Comic book companies don’t help this either because while they do produce material for the mass audience to buy, consume and keep if they feel like it they also produce variant covers and such for dealers to sell later at a higher price.  Add to that the fact that since the sixties the mainstream media has usually harped on the fact that these things might be worth some money and a case can be made that saying or writing collecting when you ultimately mean reading might be the thirty some odd year old guy with a lisp, overbite, glasses, acne and living in his Mom’s basement stereotype holding the industry back.

I’ll get into comics becoming more mainstream another day because if I start down that rode the point of this post will get lost in a hurry.  What I will get into is the fact that at the end of the day comics are a unique animal and I mean that beyond the combination of text and images to tell a story.  While they certainly started as disposable media comics have evolved into something more.  When the stories were 99% one and done it was easy to pick up an issue and never have to worry about picking up another.  Once the stories started getting more complex and continuing into the next issue they became a bizarre synthesis of collectible and entertainment.  Publishers started taking notice of this fact and by the seventies you would see the words, “First Issue Collectible” popping up on the covers for new books.  So quite by accident the continued stories created a sense that the books need to be bought on a regular basis (thus creating a collection) and when the powers get wind of this they start creating collectibles for the readers to buy.  Wash, rinse and repeat for thirty years and suddenly the concept of collecting and reading become intertwined.

That’s how it is for me at any rate.  While there are books I read and don’t buy on a regular basis they end up in the overall collection, so the concepts are inseparable.  I know there are people that read but don’t consider themselves collectors and I know there are collectors that send their books off to be slabbed without even cracking them open to check out the art.  That’s fine.  If that’s how someone wants to roll go for it.  For me personally when I say I collect a book you can put good money on the fact that I will read it and if I say I am reading something you can bet that I am collecting it too.  To me they are two different ways of saying the same thing.

The problem I have with the overall argument of reading versus collecting is that it really doesn’t matter.  With the proliferation of trades and hardcovers in mainstream books stores and even Wal-Mart and Target it is safe to say that there the perception that comics are for everyone is well on its way to being cemented in the public consciousness.  If someone wants to buy ten copies of the variant cover to Secret Invasion #1 so they can send it off to CGC and sell it to someone willing to pay for it then let the free market sort it out.  The same goes if a person wants to buy the latest issue of Amazing Spider-Man and treat it like a red headed step-child when they’re done.  The great thing about comic books is that they are entertainment and we have the luxery of arguing about the particulars and no one being wrong because they are not a necessity.

In all honesty I think the concept of collectibles is on its way out.  People seem to be using services like Netflix and the like to watch movies, people buy songs piece meal on iTunes and comics are well on their way to becoming digitized, so collecting movies and CDS and comics is fast becoming archaic.  The current generation is going to be raised to think of entertainment as disposable and only some of us old fogeys will hold on to our comics and our DVDs and our action figures watching as time marches on and the next era begin.

Personally I am cool with such things.  There is a difference between raging against the dying of the light and whining because they may not publish comics as periodicals anymore.

There really is.

More to follow…

YOUTUBE TUES…FRIDAY- SUPERMAN VS. DARKSEID

With all of the whining I did this week I just plain forgot to post my usual YouTube Tuesday.  I’ll rectify that today.

It is no secret that my all time favorite animated super-hero series ever is Justice League/Justice League Unlimited.  Loved it.  Loved it to pieces.  I watched the series as best as I could when they first aired and I have gone through my box sets on numerous occasions.  I just dig the way Bruce Timm and crew animated the DC characters.

On two separate occasions the series had Superman and Darkseid duking it out.  I am a sucker for a good Superman/Darkseid fight.  When done right it is an awesome thing to see and Bruce Timm, along with the various writers, producers, animators and other people that worked on the show, lived up to that on both occasions.  What I enjoyed about those fights is how personal they were.  In the final two episodes of Superman: The Animated Series Darkseid took control of Superman’s mind and very nearly conquered the Earth before Superman broke free of his control.  Even though Superman fought Darkseid to a standstill it was apparent that the citizens of Apokolips were still going to love and support their dictator.

In the opening two episodes of Justice League‘s second season Darkseid came to Superman for help.  Brainiac had come a calling and was fixing to destroy Apokolips and New Genesis.  Turns out Darkseid was working with Brainiac and at the end of that particular story Superman got another chance to take his revenge.  Darkseid apparently died at the end of that battle, though not at Superman’s hands.

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cGWvW339Qp0&feature=related

Gotta love Superman burning through Darkseid’s foot.  What I like about that particular brawl is how it was one of the rare times that Superman was willing to let someone die.  To him Darkseid had to go.  I don’t know if anyone had a problem with this though I can see why they did.  I saw it as an interesting character exercise.  This scene also had two interesting exchanges between Superman and Batman the first being when Batman stopped Superman from killing Darkseid.  The relationship between these two characters went through an interesting evolution over the course of the series.  My take on Batman getting Superman out of there was that Batman didn’t want Superman to cross that line, which deepend their friendship.  “You are not going to cross that line and I am going to make sure of that.”  All throughout this two-parter Batman had been pushing Superman’s buttons, which led to that neat line at the end where Superman told Bruce that he wasn’t always right.  So not only was this a great fight, but a great moment between Superman and Batman as well.

In the final episode of the series Darkseid returned in a big way and he was gunning for Superman.

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aOmMTRZyoIY&feature=related

Best.  Fight.  Ever.

Seriously.  While some may believe that Superman was acting out of character I thought that it was an interesting exploration of how far the Man of Steel could be pushed.  Superman was different on Justice League/Justice League Unlimited.  He had more of an edge to him but not in a bad way.  Most of the time he was reacting to the world around him and on more than one occasion his actions were manipulated by outside forces.  While it may not be my favorite version of the character I still dig on it quite a bit.  I thought that George Newbern did a fantastic job as the voice of Superman and was not only able to bring the edge to the character but also get the subtler, almost funnier side to the Man of Steel.

Great.  Now I want to watch all of it again.  Not that that’s a bad thing mind you.

More to follow…

I WON SOMETHING

My good friend and sometimes Chewbacca to my Han Solo on Views From The Longbox Shag presented me with a Dardo Award recently.

This is how it was described to me in the e-mail Shag sent.

The PREMIO DARDO is designed to recognize unique voices and visions on the Web as well as to promote fraternization amongst bloggers of all sorts. The rules as they were passed on to me are:

1) Accept the award by posting it on your blog along with the name of the person that has granted the award and a link to his/her blog.

2) Pass the award to another 5 blogs that are worthy of this acknowledgment, remembering to contact each of them to let them know they have been selected for this award.I appreciated the thought and the recognition so I decided to play along, much like Shag did, and choose five blogs that I think deserve some love from the reading population.

Green Lantern Butt’s Forever: SallyP has a very unique voice and perspective on comic books. The humor of the blog is that every once in a while she’ll post images of Hal Jordan getting bonked on the head but in between those you are treated to her thoughts on the latest issues of the various Green Lantern books in edition to other comics that catch her eye. She also digs on Justice League International, which makes her awesome. I like this blog and is one of my daily stops.

Comics In Crisis: Another daily stop for me even if it isn’t updated that often. Brian Reaves posts about a wide variety of super-hero subjects but the main thrust is, as the tag line of the blog reads, watching the slow, painful death of comics in general. Despite that dire statement Brian writes interesting posts that covers not only the comics themselves but the television and film versions as well. He also has a good sense of humor about things, which I like.

Comics Fairplay: I have been following Heidi’s blog for quite some time now and enjoy the heck out if it. The output has slowed due to real life but I still check it out, you guessed it, on a daily basis. I particularly enjoyed her “Is This Gratuitous?” posts because she would raise some interesting points about comic book art. I’ve also dug her recent posts detailing how the price of comics is getting in the way of collecting.

Has Boobs, Reads Comics: I’ve talked about this blog before but it bears mentioning again. Jill a.k.a. The Nerdy Bird, definitely fits the bill of having a distinctive voice. She posts about all things geek from video games to Buffy related items to comics and the like. Jill has an easy going writing style and like the others on this list has a unique take on her fandom. Another daily stop to be sure.

Collected Editions: One of my favorite new blogs or at least one of my favorite blogs that I have found in the past few months. Collected Edition discusses…well, collected editions. While it might seem like a simple resource blog there are commentary and reviews as well and it makes me want to buy more trades even though I am developing a love/hate relationship with them.

And that’s it for the Fortress of Baileytude Dardo Awards ceremony. Hope you found some interesting blogs to read.

More to follow…