Sunday, November 18, 2007

COMICS: Friendly Internet Spider-Man: Marvel, Other Comics Go Online -- Cautiously

I edited this article down to make it shorter. - OlderMusicGeek.

By Ryan Pearson

November 13, 2007 (LOS ANGELES) - Marvel is putting some of its older comics online Tuesday, hoping to reintroduce young people to the X-Men and Fantastic Four by showcasing the original issues in which such characters appeared.

It represents perhaps the comics industry's most aggressive Web push yet. Even as their creations -- from Iron Man to Wonder Woman -- become increasingly visible in pop culture through new movies and video games, old-school comics publishers rely primarily on specialized, out-of-the-way comic shops for distribution of their bread-and-butter product.

"You don't have that spinner rack of comic books sitting in the local five-and-dime any more," said Dan Buckley, president of Marvel Publishing. "We don't have our product intersecting kids in their lifestyle space as much as we used to."

Translate "kids' lifestyle space" into plain English and you get "the Internet." Marvel's two most prominent competitors currently offer online teasers designed to drive the sales of comics or book collections.

Dark Horse Comics now puts its monthly anthologies "Dark Horse Presents" up for free viewing on its MySpace site. The images are vibrant and large.

DC Comics has also put issues up on MySpace, and recently launched the competition-based Zuda Comics, which encourages users to rank each other's work, as a way to tap into the expanding Web comic scene.

For its mature Vertigo imprint, DC offers weekly sneak peeks at the first five or six pages of upcoming issues. The publisher also gives out downloadable PDF files of the first issues in certain series, timed to publication of the series in book or graphic novel format.

For Marvel, the general public has often already gotten its initial taste through movies like "Spider-Man" or the "Fantastic Four" franchises.

The publisher is hoping fans will be intrigued enough about the origins of those characters to shell out $9.99 a month, or $4.99 monthly with a year-long commitment. For that price, they'll be able to poke through, say, the first 100 issues of Stan Lee's 1963 creation "Amazing Spider-Man" at their leisure, along with more recent titles like "House of M" and "Young Avengers." Comics can be viewed in several different formats, including frame-by-frame navigation.

About 2,500 issues will be available at launch of Marvel Digital Comics, with 20 more being released each week.

A link to the complete article

COMICS: In Search of Superman's Inner Jew

Well, they've written about this topic in numerous American books on comics - and even in books on Jewish culture, and does it anyone take notice? No, of course not. But France does something and the mainstream media - Time in this case - finally notices! - OlderMusicGeek

The debate has raged for decades: is he Jewish, Methodist, Kryptonian Raoist? But finally, it's been settled: Superman is definitely... a non-Aryan Protestant. The complex origins of many a comic book character are deconstructed at the engaging and erudite exhibit, "From Superman to the Rabbi's Cat" — through Jan. 27 at the Museum of Jewish Art and History in Paris — which explores the impact of the Jewish experience on the evolution of the comic strip and graphic novel.

Comics are serious culture in France, where they were named "the Ninth Art" in 1964 by historian Claude Beylie. Today, the country hosts the preeminent annual international comic book festival in the town of Angoulême. And it is in that committed comic-book aficionado spirit that "From Superman to the Rabbi's Cat" presents some 230 American and European works dating back to 1890, including the 1940 strip How Superman Would End the War. "I'd like to land a strictly non-Aryan sock on your jaw," grumbles the Man of Steel as he drags Adolf Hitler off to be tried for crimes against humanity. For the late comic-book artist Will Eisner, the Jewish people, faced with the rise of fascism, "needed a hero who could protect us against an almost invincible force." Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster's Superman in 1938 was only the first and — like Bob Kane's Batman in 1939, Jack Kirby's Captain America in 1940 and many more that followed — he was created by sons of Jewish immigrants living in New York.

Like their characters, many of these artists took on dual identities, says author and comic book historian Didier Pasamonik, a consultant on the exhibit: "There was a kind of diffused anti-Semitism at the time, and it was better to use a good American commercial name to reach the wider public." Even as Robert Kahn had become Bob Kane and Jacob Kurtzberg worked as Jack Kirby, their superheroes reflected some of the identity they were masking, evoking Jewish concepts such as tikkun olam (repairing the world through social action) and legends such as the Golem of Prague, the medieval superhero of Jewish folklore who was conjured from clay by a rabbi to defend his community when it was under threat.

Years later, some comic superheroes would actually be identified as Jews, like Auschwitz survivor Magneto and — the Golem myth incarnate — Ben Grimm (The Thing) of the Fantastic Four. But despite the rumors, the Man of Steel is no Supermensch, says Pasamonik. "Superman is not Jewish," he says. "When Superman gets married it's not at the synagogue!" Pasamonik has not missed the heavy dose of Jewish culture Siegel and Shuster instilled in their character: baby Superman's passage through space in a cradle-like vessel and subsequent adoption "is the story of Moses," he says, adding that El of Superman's given name Kal-El is a Hebrew word for God. But with a Methodist upbringing and extra-terrestrial origins, Superman, says Pasamonik, is best described simply as a "non-Aryan" hero.

And why not? Non-Aryan describes most of the southern and eastern European and Asian immigrants that crossed the oceans with the Siegels, Shusters, Kahns and Kurtzbergs in the late 19th and early 20th century. For the Pulitzer-prize- winning cartoonist Jules Feiffer, World War II-era superheroes embodied the American dream shared by the countless foreigners. "It wasn't Krypton that Superman came from; it was the planet Minsk or Lodz or Vilna or Warsaw," wrote Feiffer in his essay The Minsk Theory of Krypton. "Superman was the ultimate assimilationist fantasy."

After World War II, the comic book genre became an unlikely vehicle for civic protest and consolidation of memory. "The hour of immigrant assimilation gave way to the fight for minorities and civil rights," explains Pasamonik. Harvey Kurtzman used the medium to tackle racial segregation, the Cold War and McCarthyism in his satirical MAD magazine. In 1955, when popular awareness of the Holocaust was scant, Bernard Krigstein and Al Feldstein caused a shock by revisiting the concentration camps with the seminal graphic story Master Race. During the '60s and '70s the genre opened up to the banal and biographical, with Pekar and Crumb's darkly humorous American Splendor and Eisner's landmark graphic novel, A Contract with God.

"Eisner brought an absolutely revolutionary dimension to the graphic novel, which was to make it an instrument of memory," says Pasamonik. Finally, with a nod toward Edmond-Francois Calvo's 1944 La Bete est Morte (The Beast is Dead) — which uses animals to tell the story of World War II — Art Spiegelman brought the graphic novel worldwide recognition by winning a Pulitzer prize in 1992 for his Holocaust saga, Maus. Eisner and Spiegelman's heirs now litter the globe, from Frenchman Joann Sfar (The Rabbi's Cat) to Iranian Marjane Satrapi (Persepolis). "From Superman to the Rabbi's Cat" pays homage to these artists, inviting the viewer to consider the subtexts at work even in comic books about men in tights.

A link to the article

Thursday, November 15, 2007

MUSIC: A Music Survey My Much Younger Brother Sent Me

My much younger brother, Harmonica23, sent me this AGES ago, and now I am finally doing it. :) - OlderMusicGeek

1. What was the first album that you ever owned?
I think it was the Jackson 5's Greatest Hits.

2. What song or album represents Junior High for you?
Cat Scratch Fever - Ted Nugent

3. What song or album represents High School for you?
Outlandos d'Amour - The Police

4. What song or album represents College for you?
Violent Femmes debut album

5. What's your favorite album of the last year?
Oh yeah, like I, a 44 year old, know what albums came out this year.

6. What's probably your favorite album of all time?
Probably Violent Femmes' debut album.

7. What was your favorite soundtrack?
Probably The Good, The Bad and the Ugly,

8. Who's your favorite Jazz composer?

9. Who's your favorite Classical composer?
Phillip Glass i guess

10. What was the first concert you saw?
Kiss with John Cougar opening to promote his debut album

11. What was the most recent concert you saw?
About a year ago, I finally saw The Violent Femmes live - Yay!!!!

12. What are your top three greatest concert experiences?
1. Seeing The Violent Femmes last year - just cus I waited over 20 years to see them :) - plus they were still really good!
2. Glastonbury Festival in England in 1985, possibly 1984 - with The Pogues, Billie Bragg and lots of great bands
3. Lollapalooza in 1995? - with The Ramones, Rancid and Cornershop. Plus Soundgarden and Metallica ended the show so I could leave early without missing much. :)

13. What are your top three favorite Beatles albums?
Abbey Road, Sgt Pepper and um, i dont know, Rubber Soul

14. What are your top three favorite Beatles songs?
It's All Too Much is #1 for sure. And off the top of my head, I guess Helter Skelter and the Abbey Road medley

15. John, Paul, George, or Ringo?
John is the most interesting, but I'm probably more like Paul.

16. What's your favorite John Lennon composition?
Whatever Gets You Through the Night

17. What's your favorite Paul McCartney composition?
Junior's Farm

18. What's your favorite George Harrison composition?
Here Comes the Sun

19. Who's the greatest musical artist/band of the 50's?
Chuck Berry I guess

20. Who's the greatest musical artist/band of the 60's?
Beatles I suppose

21. Who's the greatest musical artist/band of the 70's?
The Sex Pistols

22. Who's the greatest musical artist/band of the 80's?
Violent Femmes

23. Who's the greatest musical artist/band of the 90's?
Presidents of the United States of America

24. Who's the greatest musical artist/band of the new millenium?
Flogging Molly - the best new band to come out in 20 years!

25. What's currently spinning on your cd player or turntable?
don't own a cd player

26. Rock 'n Roll or Pop?
rock n rooooooooooooooooooll!!!!!!!!!!!!!

27. Heavy Metal or Hair Metal?
heavy metal

28. Madonna or Cyndi Lauper?

29. Kenny Loggins or Huey Lewis?
Huey Lewis if I have to choose

30. Blur or Oasis?
Why don't you just kill me now? But I guess I'll have to go with Blur, cus almost anything is better than Oasis!!

31. Britney Spears or Christina Aguilara?
Christina is definitely hotter!

32. The Clash or the Sex Pistols?
The Pistols

33. Led Zeppelin or the Doors?

34. The Dark Side of the Moon or Freak Out!
Dark Side

35. Tommy or Sign 'o' the Times?
Tommy - the Who rule!

36. Blonde on Blonde or Astral Weeks?
Who or who?!

37. Sgt. Pepper or Pet Sounds?
Sgt. Pepper

38. What band really needs to reunite?
uh.....The Pogues maybe

39. What band needs to call it quits?

40. What's your favorite album to listen to when you're getting ready to go out?
Have to admit, I mostly listen to shuffle on my 30 gig mp3 player.

41. What's your favorite album to listen to when you just want to chill out and be alone?
My Floyd and Floyd cover playlist

42. Favorite Saturday night party album?
All my music put on shuffle on the computer.

43. Favorite Sunday morning album?
see #42

44. Favortie road trip album?
see #40

45. C'mon, admit it.....Who is your all-time, favorite guilty pleasure musical artist?
Neil Diamond

46. At this point in time, what musical artist is your absolute favorite?
Violent Femmes - but I love Flogging Molly!

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

MOVIES/VIDEOS: Batman Goes Shopping

Maybe it's just me, but I found this really amusing. - OlderMusicGeek

Some comments from Youtube by the guy who made it, Griffith84, and people who watched it.

I made this video as a going away present for my buddy to college. Hope you enjoy. Also check out my myspace for pics of my costumes. www.myspace.com/funnyguyderek

that costume is professional as hell...can i ask how and where you got it?
I made the costume. I got everything I needed from eBay and around the internet.
wow...excellent work...i tried to make my own too, but it just doesn't look as good...did it cost a lot for all the pieces?
It cost me just over $1,400 to make. If any of you are looking on getting a costume like this, you're looking at spending $1,500 to $2,000

SO what did the check-out lady say to you?
All she said was total under $25 dollars don't need a signature. I said thanks in my awesome batman voice.
This was really funny and I really LOL'ED. But it was too few people in the store to make any point of it, why bother when there is no one but the cashier? And she didn't even smile a bit... odd.
She didn't smile cause she was pissed at the look of me lol.

Man, I've never seen a guy buy toilet paper with such intensity, lol

Why did no security guy try to stop you?
because batman serves JUSTICE!

I tried to do this yesterday for a project in my Sociology class. I didn't get more than 10 feet in the store before security turned me around and told me I could only come in if I take the mask off.

My boys are watching this and LOVE it. Batman you rock! Although...if I saw Batman in my grocery store I would assume he was a terrorist. Or I'd offer to pay for his milk and TP. Because that's just the kind of person I am! A real superhero shouldn't have to pay for anything! :)

"Uhm. Yeah, Linda? If Batman comes in today...just act normal."

alright here is my list for today:
1) Have a dinner date with a news reporter
2) Go to the store and buy some TP and juice
3) Find Joker's hideout and flush him out.

Hey i have a question for you. At 1:28 you gave the finger. Was it at the people that were following you or did someone say " hey dumbass" or something like that to you? Also very funny, cant wait for spiderman.
LOL I'm glad you asked. The people behind me told me to slow down...aaaaaa sorry but Batman only has one speed if you can't keep up he'll leave you in the shadows.

milk & paper towels? guess hes going to see catwoman.
nice vid!!

He jacks some apples at the start, and you notice he never pays for them at checkout LOL.
He totally stole! That's not what Batman would do!
No, I didn't do that. I did not steal. Look closer. I grabbed one apple, looked at it, then tossed it back. I have no pockets. Where would I put an apple?

LOL Batdude in the Grocery store! Batman is Awesome! Batman only goes shopping as Bruce Wayne because Batman is too awesome! Cool costume, even the design of the Cape and mask! But how did people react afterward?
Thanks I'm glad you all like it. After I got out of the store a lot of people in the parking lot yelled out. "Batman, look its batman!" On Halloween night, me and my buddy and his girlfriend went to a Domino's and picked up some pizza. A cop showed up to get something. I said "How's it going?" in my Batvoice. Then when we left, I said "Take care." It was so funny. You can tell the cop was trying real hard to keep a straight face but he never laughed.

Another amusing Batman video.

Monday, November 05, 2007

BOOKS: Spam Poetry

This is from me, OlderMusicGeek, not a reprinted article.

Well, I'm still doing experimental poetry! But instead of subject lines from emails of pornographers, I just used the regular spam.

Shed It

Have you popped the bullet?
when does your modeling affect but develop
Got fungus?
have no blemish skin that evening
A Secret Lover is Trying to Get in Touch With You
You've got to see Maureen's Bonuses!
healthy looking skin but what is the reason today
slim down to a new pretty built
where is your balance and there is a change surely
Redhead Gets Stuffed eaten
fashion your torso this month
i'd never get through the gates
retain that baggage
Mom, did you get my last email?
grab me one of these too
Are you ready to rock?
Watch out for huge waves tomorrow
You won't believe this new yacht
We do it everyday
Your Friends Will EnvyYou
Introducing the all-new de-duper
I played with this for hours

MUSIC: A Slightly Amusing Email Exchange

This part of a longer email exchange - but I found this bit amusing. :) - OlderMusicGeek

If there's anyone left who I didn't piss off, send me an opinion and I'll be happy to point out where you're wrong. (all in fun).

So here's my opinion - punk rock, especially the Sex Pistols and the Clash, saved rock and roll!

Did R&R need saving? Is it better to burn out than to be forgotten? Is this an email of Johny Rotten? hey hey, my, my...

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Music That I've Enjoyed Recently

My Internet Radio Stations

This is a fairly good sampling of some of the music I listen to. It's missing a few genres I like - such as cajun. I'll work on that later. But it does contain most of my favorite artists. I tried to steer away from the better known songs to give you a better idea of what kind of music the artists play, but I was limited by the songs the website - Project Playlist - had available. But if you want to get an idea of what I listen to, just hit the play or arrow button. - OlderMusicGeek

The internet station that does the best of playing my music is Last.fm. Here's my station if you're interested.

This website, OlderMusicGeek Radio on Pandora.com, does a fairly decent job of playing what I like, although they do occasionally play stuff I don't care for, but overall they're pretty good.