Friday, September 30, 2011

Chaos Theory Is Here

I don't know what YOU folks are going to be doing this Friday night, but I have a pretty fair idea of where I'm going to be hanging out. I'll be at the Henning Cultural Center for the opening of the art show "Chaos Theory Volume Three". I was intending to go anyway, but then I helped a certain someone we know and love here at OWARI submit some work for the show. THERE MUST BE PICTURES TO DOCUMENT THIS OCCURRENCE!

Information on the Chaos Theory show can be found on Henning's website or on the Chaos Theory Art Show Facebook Fan Page. I'll be making an attempt to photograph as much as possible for the folks that can't be there in person!

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Owariverse Encyclopedia: Section II - Heroes and Villains (A-B)

Amazing Girl: When Kendal Rose was a little girl, her father would sometimes tell her that they had been too poor to afford a second “L” in Kendal. Of course, that was just a cute exaggeration. In truth, Kendal’s family lived a comfortable middle-class life in a Midwestern suburb. In almost every respect, Kendal Rose had a perfectly average, happy childhood. Except Kendal had a secret.

Early in life, Kendal discovered that she had the power of telekinesis – the ability to influence objects using only her mind. At first, it was limited to moving or lifting small objects. As she grew to maturity, her telekinetic powers developed as well. Eventually, Kendal found that she could move and lift much larger objects, cause objects to spin, vibrate, bend, or break, and even project so-called “thought beams” that caused impact. All the while, she kept her practicing well-hidden, fearful of the repercussions if her schoolmates learned she was different.

Kendal graduated from high school just as the Super Hero Boom precipitated by Captain Satellite was in full bloom, due to the formation of the Invincible Alliance. As a college art student, Kendal came to idolize Firegirl, and resolved that she too would become a superheroine and use her powers to help others. This dream was finally realized during her junior year when she assumed the identity of Amazing Girl and embarked on a crusade to protect the city of Middleburg.

Amazing Girl is due to earn her degree soon from Eastern Midwest University, and hopes to journey to Major City to meet Firegirl and the rest of that city’s famous heroes. Recently, she has extended her telekinetic abilities even further to include levitation, allowing her to fly. It is as yet unclear what limits there might be on her powers.


Astro-Giants: From the far reaches of outer space, they come to planet Earth. They are...THE ASTRO-GIANTS!

The Astro-Giants are a race of phenomenally powerful cosmic beings who have, for reasons unknown, taken an interest in our world. They seem above the humanoid concepts of “good” and “evil”, and carry out their masterplan without regard to either. The Astro-Giants have been known to prevent natural disasters, but were also responsible for threatening the existence of Thunder Man's parallel Earth. They do not tarry on our planet regardless of how their operations turn out, but whether this is simple preference or out of necessity is uncertain.

Captain Satellite and others have speculated that there is a connection between the Astro-Giants and the Mystery Spaceman. Though the faceless stranger clearly does not serve the cosmic colossi, the question remains whether these two separate enigmas from beyond our solar system are somehow intertwined.


Azure Ant: Rip Witchell is a former officer in the Major City Police Department who was busted for corruption. Ousted from the MCPD, he broke out of prison with the help of his ingenuity and connections. Witchell then disappeared into the shadows of the underworld to plot his next move.

The Azure Ant is the result of Witchell’s scheming. Donning the guise of an obscure comic book hero, Witchell’s goal is nothing less than taking over organized crime in Major City. Neither the authorities nor the current gangland leaders find the Azure Ant’s plan particularly appealing.

Given the nature of his ambitions, the Azure Ant has inevitably clashed with Captain Satellite and other heroes based in Major City. Somewhat oddly, he claims that his “secret weapon” in his battles is his steadfast devotion to the soft drink Kooba Cola. He says Kooba is “invigorating, refreshing, and delicious” and “gives him the pep he needs” in taking on his foes.


Hugo Beaumont: Hugo Beaumont was bored. Very, very bored. It was hard not to be, considering how he lusted for adventure in the safe and sterile world of the far future. He craved excitement, but that was the last thing his environment could offer him. All he could do was throw himself into developing the technology that would allow him to break the shackles of his dull existence.

That day came when Beaumont invented his time travel belt. Using the belt, he can travel through time and space to anywhere in the known universe. Now, a normal person would utilize such an invention for useful purposes. But Hugo Beaumont? He chose to make himself into a nefarious villain - for kicks.

Garbing himself in a peculiar form of anachronistic costuming, Beaumont traveled to the era of Captain Satellite to match wits with the hero. The battles between Captain Satellite and Hugo Beaumont have already proven to be considerable, but does Beaumont know how the game will play out? Only “time” will tell!


Blue Behemoth: Mortimer Kane was the very definition of the word “milquetoast.” It didn't matter that he was one of the most brilliant graduate students at Major Technological Institute (MTI). He was so unassuming and timid that he was largely ignored by the vast majority of people on campus. In fact, the only person he could truly call a friend was his colleague Danny Graham. That wasn't really bad, except Danny was just as socially inept as he was.

Mortimer Kane's life changed forever the day he got caught in his experimental Mighty Rearranger. It affected an irreversible change on Kane, mutating him into a large, blue-haired anthropoid. His intelligence was left intact, but there was a noticeable difference in attitude. He became more boisterous, opinionated, and outgoing.

Ostracized even further due to his condition, Mortimer Kane created the Blue Behemoth identity to fight crime and injustice and...well, for something to do. Joined by his buddy Danny under the name “Drone Man” in the crimefighting business, the duo forged a solid reputation at the college and in the surrounding area for their tireless efforts to keep the peace. By becoming even weirder, two losers had made themselves Big Men on Campus.

Blue Behemoth possesses tremendous strength and astonishing agility. Contrary to popular belief, his mask is not just an eccentric superhero affectation. One of the side effects of his transformation is that the Blue Behemoth is now color blind, and the mask contains corrective lenses designed by Drone Man to maintain proper vision.

Blue Behemoth and Drone Man were instrumental in assisting Roxanne Prize in creating her own secret identity. Kane harbors a crush on Prize, but so far has been unable to admit it to anyone. It remains to be seen if this uncharacteristic throwback to his old personality traits will persist.

Blue Behemoth was there when the Invincible Alliance was founded, and is currently one of the core members of the group. He can frequently be found loitering around its headquarters when not on a mission.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

If This Be My Destiny...


I'm posting this cover because a) it's awesome and b) it is a roundabout way of wishing a happy birthday to a good friend of mine! Destiny is turning 23 today, and I consider earning her friendship one of the best things I have done over the last two years. Have a smashing day, kid!

Cover to Amazing Spider-Man #31 (December 1965). Art by Steve Ditko. © Marvel

Monday, September 26, 2011

My World : Amazing Girl


When Kendal Rose was a little girl, her father would sometimes tell her that they had been too poor to afford a second “L” in Kendal. Of course, that was just a cute exaggeration. In truth, Kendal’s family lived a comfortable middle-class life in a Midwestern suburb. In almost every respect, Kendal Rose had a perfectly average, happy childhood. Except Kendal had a secret.

Early in life, Kendal discovered that she had the power of telekinesis – the ability to influence objects using only her mind. At first, it was limited to moving or lifting small objects. As she grew to maturity, her telekinetic powers developed as well. Eventually, Kendal found that she could move and lift much larger objects, cause objects to spin, vibrate, bend, or break, and even project so-called “thought beams” that caused impact. All the while, she kept her practicing well-hidden, fearful of the repercussions if her schoolmates learned she was different.

Kendal graduated from high school just as the Super Hero Boom precipitated by Captain Satellite was in full bloom, due to the formation of the Invincible Alliance. As a college art student, Kendal came to idolize Firegirl, and resolved that she too would become a superheroine and use her powers to help others. This dream was finally realized during her junior year when she assumed the identity of Amazing Girl and embarked on a crusade to protect the city of Middleburg.

Amazing Girl is due to earn her degree soon from Eastern Midwest University, and hopes to journey to Major City to meet Firegirl and the rest of that city’s famous heroes. Recently, she was extended her telekinetic abilities even further to include levitation, allowing her to fly. It is as yet unclear what limits there might be on her powers.


Paradoxically, Amazing Girl is both the oldest and youngest character in my current cast. She's the youngest super character in the storyline, but chronologically, she dates back to the late 1970s. It seems likely she was inspired by Jean Grey as Marvel Girl in the early issues of X-Men. I was reading those stories in a reprint title called Amazing Adventures at the time.

As I've mentioned in the past, I had no thought to incorporate Amazing Girl into the "modern" superhero tales I was setting up. This was my friend Sara's idea, and she contributed aspects of the character that you see here. But until I came up with an angle that I felt was satisfying, I held off on making Amazing Girl's entrance into the Owariverse official.

Helping immeasurably in this effort was Kabuki Katze, who worked up a revamped costume for Amazing Girl that still preserved much of what had gone before. This seemed particularly appropriate, since in 2007, she had been the one who had chosen the colors Amazing Girl would wear. But then, I wonder if she even remembered that part?

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Godzilla - Paramount/Gateway Style

It seems almost...quaint to be remarking on some of my favorite VHS packaging of Godzilla movies. I still find it hard to believe the format has fallen so far, so fast. Oh well, time marches on and all that.

Anyway, I come to praise some VHS, not to bury it. Though the tapes themselves were recorded in lousy SLP/EP mode, I was quite infatuated by the boxes created for the Paramount/Gateway releases in the early 1990s. The synopses were usually nothing to write home about, but the art on some of them was first-rate. True, it often featured human characters not in the movies represented, but I wager few people cared other than the most hardcore of hardcore fans. It was well-executed and eye-catching imagery, with a degree of skill I still find surprising. Has the artist of these mini-masterpieces ever been identified?

Here's a list of the kaiju film boxes illustrated by this particular artist. It's not all the Toho films from this program, but it's a hefty percentage. All images are from the website Toho Kingdom.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

My Favorite Non-Sequitur

From the John Cougar Mellencamp song "Crumblin' Down":

Some people say I'm obnoxious and lazy
I'm uneducated--my opinion means nothin'
But I know I'm a real good dancer

John, what does that have to do with anything?

Friday, September 23, 2011

Showcase Presents All-Star Comics Vol. 1


It's sort of interesting that my last comics-themed entry discussed my short-lived comics blog, because the period when it was most active was when the solicitation for Justice Society Volume 1 generated a lot of personal excitement for me. That book, coupled with Justice Society Volume 2, collects one of the touchstone runs of my comic collecting life - the 1970s All-Star Comics and its continuation from the pages of Adventure Comics. I love these comics so much, I even sent copies of the books to Kabuki Katze. I have been meaning to write something about them here eventually, and this entry will probably be the first of a few you'll be seeing.

DC Comics has seen fit to repackage the material as Showcase Presents All-Star Comics Vol. 1, which collects all the comics from the two trade paperbacks in one thick B&W book printed on newsprint. Because I am more obsessive about this particular series than most, I bought it. Besides, it gives me the opportunity to revisit these stories and discuss the merits of the collection for those considering buying it.

The following is my review of the technical aspects of this book. It addresses some of the shortcomings of the trade paperbacks from a collector's standpoint. From a READER standpoint, none of these things will detract from the experience.

REVIEW:

Basically, this is a B&W version of the two trades, so if you go into it with that attitude, it works well enough. The art still looks sharp sans color. The weaknesses of the trades are still present (credits removed from the first half's tales, editorial notes altered or removed altogether, two recap pages dropped from an Adventure Comics tale), but this did not surprise me. Well, considering what IS present, the missing recap pages are a little bit of a surprise. More on that in a bit.

Now, if you are worried about the credits (perfectly valid), they are on the contents pages. That's a huge improvement over the trades, where they had to add a separate page to Volume 2. What interested me most about this book were the covers - the one on the front and the ones inside.

1) Contrary to the solicitations (and promo images), the cover is not one by Brian Bolland. Instead, it's a recolored version of All-Star Comics #74. I much prefer this choice, as it's more indicative of the contents and is one of my personal "icon" covers. It is the image that leads off that post. Neither of the Bolland covers appear.

2) Whoever colored Vol. 1 other than Drew Moore (I distinctly recall it was not Drew himself) chose to alter the colors on certain covers, whether by accident or design. I remember in particular the cover to #62 seemed to drop portions of the blurb due to the coloring blending into the background. Thankfully, this is not an issue here.

3) The biggest surprise of the book for me was the inclusion of the covers to Adventure Comics #461, #462, and #463! Well, the front covers anyway. The back cover to #461 was already in the trades, and it's included here, too. However, the back portion of the wraparound cover to #463 is not included (perhaps deliberately - no JSA). Neither are the covers to #464 (front or back), #465, or #466 included. None of these are particularly JSA-centric. If I remember rightly, the one that had everyone most up in arms was #462 and its shocking and memorable cover.

There you go. If you didn't buy the trades, this is pretty much the same presentation at a cheaper price in B&W on newsprint. It might be more attractive if you're on the fence. If you DO have the trades, I've listed the only significant differences I noted. I doubt they will influence anyone to buy, but you never know.

Unless you are like me, and need BOTH versions.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

"It's the K-Tel Music Machine!"



Music Machine is a K-Tel album with a certain degree of interest even if you don't like a single song on it. Why? Because some genius got ROBBY THE ROBOT for the cover. And as the video above demonstrates, they scheduled enough time to film a commercial, too.

Important facts we learn about Robby the Robot from this ad:

1) He dances to "Blinded By The Light".

2) Andy Gibb songs make him tap his toes.

3) He apparently wants to seek out and destroy Foreigner.

4) "Dancing Queen" (and likely ABBA in general) leads to pure orgasmic bliss.

If you'd like to see more of Robby's latter-day career choices, you should check this out, too.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Owariverse Encyclopedia: Section I - Main Cast

Captain Satellite: Who is Captain Satellite? Captain Satellite is Paul Mann - everyone knows that. The real question is: Who is Paul Mann?

Paul Mann showed up in Major City twelve years ago, and quickly took it by storm. His shy, mild-mannered demeanor did little to hide the brilliance which caught everyone off-guard. Before he'd hit his 21st birthday, Mann was a multi-billionaire.

Except who is Paul Mann? His background details are virtually impossible to verify. His one-time girlfriend, investigative reporter Roxanne Prize, took it upon herself to discover who he really was. She failed, and the resultant rift finished their relationship.

But there are other, more sinister forces that want to know what makes Paul Mann tick. The subversive group Third World has decided that they must have his knowledge to ensure the success of their plans. But Paul Mann is not going down without a fight...

Paul Mann has channeled his super-scientific knowledge into the creation of the Captain Satellite suit. This unique lightweight digital powersuit allows him to function as a superhero - Captain Satellite. Though he has no formal training in the ways of adventuring, Mann has the able assistance of his bodyguard/girlfriend Shelly Ericson to give him pointers on combat skills. There’s also the versatile Multi-Gun to even the odds in battle a bit.

Paul Mann has made no secret of the fact that he is Captain Satellite. But who is Paul Mann? That question...has yet to be answered.


Shelly Ericson: Can a small town girl from Texas make it in the big city? Shelly Ericson has every intention of finding out.

Shelly arrived in Major City freshly discharged from the Air Force, looking for some direction in her life. She had no idea that it would find her when she attended a speaking engagement at a local college.

As it turned out, Paul Mann was the featured speaker that day, and an agent of Third World attempted to use that to his advantage. The enemy operative stormed the stage, laser pistol at the ready. Thinking quickly, Shelly cut the Third World agent off and disarmed him with her superior fighting skills.

After that incident, Mann offered Shelly what seemed to be a too-good-to-be-true job. She was hired to be his “assistant” - in reality, his bodyguard. Along the way, she would give him pointers on developing skills to protect himself. So when Mann adopted the identity of Captain Satellite, there was no doubt that Shelly would be fighting right alongside him.

Shelly is brave, intelligent, and more than a little stubborn. Though their relationship was strictly business at first, feelings have developed between Captain Satellite and Shelly over time. Where that will ultimately lead is anyone's guess.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Owariverse Encyclopedia: Introduction

Approximately six months ago, I unleashed Captain Satellite: Number Zero on the world. One of my stated goals in creating this book was to have a "series bible" for what folks dubbed the Owariverse. Well, no matter how successful Captain Satellite: Number Zero was in accomplishing its other goals, I've decided in the intervening time that it is lacking in terms of being a guidebook.

Chalk part of the weakness up to the format. I was making it up on the fly, and regrettably didn't take the time to experiment with alternate formats for the character profiles. Perhaps I would have gone in a different direction if I had; perhaps not. As it stands, the character profiles work alright if read as I continuous narrative, but are more difficult to navigate as a reference.

There's also the little matter of the fluid nature of establishing a set continuity for something that has seen many diverse approaches in its existence. I didn't really take the time I should have with some of my characters prior to putting together Captain Satellite: Number Zero, owing to the fact that it was something of a rush job. As a result, I found certain aspects of the story at cross-purposes, and a few characters in particular to be ill-defined. How could I ask my readers to care about them when I hadn't found a reason?

I have been reconsidering my approach to an Owariverse series bible (and the profiles it would contain) over the last couple of months. The final result is what I am terming the "Owariverse Encyclopedia." The Owariverse Encyclopedia will organize profiles in what should be a more user-friendly manner on this blog. I've gone back and reviewed each and every profile, making any adjustments I deemed necessary. For the most part, these are minor tweaks that don't affect the story continuity as previously established.

The exception to the above is the "Ultimate American Chronology" which was published last year and included in Captain Satellite: Number Zero. Though many elements from this piece have been incorporated into the current profiles, there was no way to fully reconcile it with my goals for this shared universe. It has been declared apocryphal. My intention is to do this in an actual story, but such a tale has not been written as of yet. I regret any confusion this causes, but in the long run, it's for the best.

The Encyclopedia will be divided into sections in addition to being arranged in alphabetical order. Section I is for our main characters, Section II will be for "Heroes & Villains", and Section III will be devoted to "Civilians." I'd also like to include an Appendix at some point, but there are no concrete plans at the moment. However, this format will more easily accommodate updates and additions. I'm sure there will be some as it progresses.

The Owariverse Encyclopedia will be updating for a few weeks on a semi-regular schedule as I work my way through all the current material. Meanwhile, if you would like to keep track of it separately from the rest of the Captain Satellite material, I have given it its own label for future reference. If you are curious about the background of any of my characters, this will be the place to go. It takes precedence even over the book, and is as close to "definitive" as we're likely to get.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Ultimate American Fights Again!


Well, actually, he fights for the first time. This faux comic book cover by Kabuki Katze is the first full-fledged commissioned portrait of the guy. He did, however, appear in the PSCs done by Sean Moore last year.

Kabuki and I put our heads together on this one to come up with something that I think is successful in communicating a dynamic hero figure. Plus, the return of the fake comic book cover! How can you not love that?

Sadly, there aren't as many superhero fans watching Kabuki's account, so I am sure she would love to get some feedback on this one. If you like it, let us know! It even sets the stage for something that will be coming on this blog during the week.

Oh, and I know I've already linked you to Kabuki's site, but you should get over to her blog NOW (if not sooner)! There is the news about an upcoming art show which may sound familiar to OWARI readers, and there's also a contest if you "like" her Facebook page! Good times for all!

Friday, September 16, 2011

Gai Yuki -- Alive?!

Igadevil was afraid the news would break my mind, and that the accompanying video link might make my computer explode. It was true. Toshihide Wakamatsu was reprising his CHOJIN SENTAI JETMAN role of "Gai Yuki" on KAIZOKU SENTAI GOKAIGER. What's more, the script was reportedly by Toshiki Inoue - the man who defined the characters of JETMAN.

It's a fair question to ask how this makes me feel. After all, I spent the better part of 15 years shepherding a fanfiction story that spun out of JETMAN. I still maintain Return of Jetman and sporadically add content (which is in progress, I promise). What do I think of this return that seemed unthinkable just a few years ago?

I think it's great!

I'm not sure when I will see the full episode, but I am thrilled that GOKAIGER has been allowed to explore one of the great endings in sentai series history. Because whether you love it or hate it, everyone has an opinion on the ending of JETMAN. I am sure the very nature of that conclusion was what led my good friend Lewis Smith to create ROJ, and take it in the direction he chose.

But...what about "Return of Jetman"? Doesn't a Toei-produced sequel invalidate it? Maybe; maybe not. It depends on the specifics, doesn't it? But even if the show contradicts what we created, who cares? The stories, the artwork, and the site itself were created to be fun and entertaining. They build off a specific premise, from a specific reference point. I tried to incorporate nods to other follow-ups featuring Jetman where appropriate (the manga, SUPER SENTAI WORLD, GAORANGER VS. SUPER SENTAI). But in the end, the sentai shared universe doesn't make a lick of sense when you scrutinize it. And that's fine. It's just meant to be an exercise in creativity, not something that changes the world.

Memo to some people in this world: Your fanfiction is not canon. Expecting fidelity to your vision is a fantasy worthy of its own fanfiction. Write what you want, but don't complain if it becomes obsolete later. Just because there's a chance Toei might do something that renders ROJ null and void as far as sentai "canon" goes doesn't mean I can't enjoy GOKAIGER's sequel to JETMAN. ROJ still exists somewhere, and it's not as if the fact that it might not "fit" anymore into some imaginary timeline diminishes that.

As I have said in the past, competing with Toei is hard work. I'm glad I finished ROJ when I did, because I would likely be tearing my hair out trying to figure out what to do. As it is, I can just sit back and be entertained. Oh, and marvel at the fact that Toshihide Wakamatsu still looks like he did when he was filming JETMAN. HOW DOES HE DO IT?!

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Earth B : The Blog

Welcome to Earth B, a weblog named for that DC Comics parallel Earth where stories that did not "fit" into established continuity supposedly took place. I am your humble host Christopher Elam. Some of you in the comics blogosphere may be familiar with me as occasional commenter "C. Elam." After a lot of thinking, I've decided to take the plunge and give comics blogging a try.

--Thursday, March 30, 2006, 9:57 PM

Faithful reader Travis recently observed that OWARI is not specifically a comics blog. Honestly, I don't think OWARI has any "theme" going for it at all, other than whatever is floating around my head at a given moment. Though this is probably a hindrance in getting wider notice, it's the only way I can maintain my interest in writing. I learned that lesson the hard way from Earth B.

For those of you coming in late, Earth B was my 2006 experiment in starting a comics blog. I had been writing about comic books off and on in my LiveJournal, so I wanted to give a genuine comics blog a try. If I'm being honest with myself, I'm certain I was craving the opportunity to see if I could fit into that world. 2006 was a strange year.

Unfortunately, I could not maintain my level of interest in a venue solely devoted to comics. I shut the whole thing down after only a couple of months. Then, this entry caught the attention of the comics blogosphere at large. This led to a brief attempt to revive my blog, but that waned in almost no time. I closed it down for good on August 3, 2006, less than 6 months after it began.

It certainly wasn't a waste of time. I wrote some things that I think came out pretty well. In fact, of the 15 entries I managed in that short-lived blog, there are several that have found their way onto THIS blog in retooled form.

Confidential To Comic Book Fans (in fact, this was a repost from my journal!)

The Bob Haney Mystique

He's Not Much Of A Moose By The Light Of Day

The Brave and The Bold Team-Up Archives Vol. 1

The Bearded Boy

Jetta

As I gradually moved this blog away from its "greatest hits" origins, focusing on new material rather than reposts from other sites, references to Earth B disappeared. I don't even link to it on my profile, considering it a dead site. Still, I learned a lot from it in its brief existence, and its spirit continues in the comics content here.

Besides, even if I sometimes go days at a time without mentioning comics at all, it has been the top category on this blog for some time. I expect that will not be changing.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Vintage Firegirl

















Wait, that looks familiar, doesn't it? Yep, I sent the original scan to Kabuki Katze and this unsolicited and completely rockin' piece of giftart was the result. It seems inevitable that we'll see more of my cast done up in such retro cartoon fashion someday.

Not that this is a bad thing at all, you understand.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Not The Starship Song

So, recently I've had the chance to review some of the twists and turns of my recent past with a more dispassionate eye. I mean, when someone asks you about their situation based on your experiences, it behooves you to try to be somewhat objective. At least, that's what I think.

And the result is that, while I have no desire to revisit the past, I don't regret for one second the unlikely chances that I took for a couple of years there. It all could have blown up in my face at any moment, and I guess it eventually did. Still, those were risks that were worth taking.

I didn't go into any of that with a plan, which is pretty obvious in retrospect. If I had, I suppose I wouldn't have done it at all. But it was all about living in the moment, and I still believe that was the right choice.

Would I do it all again, knowing what I know now? Yeah. It's not something I plan to repeat in such a fashion, but I wouldn't change what transpired. If I could change anything, I'd rewrite the inevitable ending into something a touch more elegant. But even then, it still would've ended. And I can accept that now.

Y'know, I was going to disallow comment for this, but screw it. I know, vague post is vague, but we'll just let it stand.

Monday, September 12, 2011

"Resurrection Shuffle" by Ashton, Gardner & Dyke

A quick programming note, since this is as good a place as any to mention it. I'm discontinuing the "mp3 Madness" posts that I've been featuring on this blog for the last few months. Though they fed into my need to compile lists, they never seemed to generate much buzz. Plus, at this point, putting together such an entry would result in such a huge list as to be unwieldy. I'll still discuss my new music, but it won't be in that format anymore.

With that out of the way...

As I've mentioned, I own one of Joel Whitburn's Top 40 singles books. They were indispensable back in the pre-Internet days, and are still monumentally useful. One of the uses I find for mine is to dig through to get ideas for new music to check out.

If there's one thing I've learned over the years as a music fan, it's that tons of cool songs inevitably slip through the cracks. That can include songs that charted high enough to warrant inclusion in a Top 40 book. I try to scrutinize the artists to try to pick out things that sound promising. Sometimes, I find stuff that justifies this mania.

Take Ashton, Gardner and Dyke. Who? Exactly what I thought. However, this "Resurrection Shuffle" had an interesting title. I decided I'd look into it when I got the chance.

Wow, I'm glad I finally noticed Ashton, Gardner and Dyke. "Resurrection Shuffle" is a terrific, catchy song! I was delighted to add it to my collection, and now I look forward to further discoveries in the realm of "oldies".

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Black Sun!

As you may have noticed, the tokusatsu (Japanese sci-fi) content has been pretty light in an enterprise originally conceived to showcase such material. There are several reasons for this, but the main one is that I tend to write on subjects where my current interest lies or where I unearth something potentially interesting. There have been less opportunities regarding tokusatsu, and thus less coverage. I am sure the pendulum will swing in another direction eventually, but for now, I'm just following my muse.

But wait! I know a blog that has a great deal of coverage of Japanese stuff, and it's one I have not promoted nearly as much as I should. That would be Roy Ware's Black Sun! If you've never read his blog before, I think this entry is as good a starting point as any. You may notice your humble OWARI blogger making the case that Roy pretty much changed his life back in a far simpler, pre-Internet age. It's true, and I will forever be grateful to him - even if we never did agree on the merits of those early episodes of MIGHTY MORPHIN POWER RANGERS.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Once A Hero - The Marvel Comics Link

For reasons unknown, I found myself watching the opening to the TV show ONCE A HERO for the first time since its original airing over 20 years ago. The premise of the show was that a comic book hero named Captain Justice had somehow come to life and found himself having to deal with a real world much different than his fictional home. You'll have to forgive me for being a bit spotty on details beyond that, as it has been a few years. I remember liking some parts of the original pilot, disliking others, and not being particularly sold on the series. ABC must have agreed with me, as they yanked ONCE A HERO from their schedule after only a few weeks. I imagine it has not been seen since outside of the collector's circles.

I was watching the video and not really thinking much about it. There were faux comic book panels and covers, but I would expect something like that. My interest was piqued, however, when I spotted the Marvel Comics villain the Controller fighting Captain Justice. I'm glad I started paying closer attention, as that lessened the shock when frickin' THANOS showed up!

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Chibi Firegirl Sketch Card


This lovely card was a thank you gift I recently received from that artistic aviatrix Kabuki Katze. Not much to add except SQUEE!

Monday, September 5, 2011

The Photography of Jessica Squires

It gets a lot of heat from a lot of people, but one of the great aspects of deviantArt is that it's possible to inadvertently stumble across someone and become enthralled with their work. That's the story of how I found Jessica. She's a young woman with an interest in photography, and she is already capable of capturing really interesting images. I am sure her skills will only improve as she gains more experience.

We've been doing a "feature" meme on dA recently, and while that is all well and good, I thought it would be fun to give Jess's work a little wider exposure through this blog. I think her work stands on its own merits as quality photography.


Janay 2 by ~JessASquires on deviantART

Sunday, September 4, 2011

In The "VY"

Hurricanes are no laughing matter. I've been through a few, including the quite impressive Hurricane Rita in 2005. You may not remember it, since that was the same year as Hurricane Katrina. Trust me, it was no picnic for us either. I was without power for about two weeks.

However awful hurricanes, tropical storms, and their ilk might be, they can lead to crazy stories worth retelling. Since there are a number of folks still recovering from Hurricane Irene, and since we're currently experiencing Tropical Storm Lee here, I thought this would be a good opportunity to share one of those anecdotes. It is one of my enduring memories of those post-Rita months.

My job is across the street from a residential neighborhood, and some of the residents there are, to be charitable, a little on the sketchy side. After the hurricane, I happened to notice something that read "VY" sitting in the backyard of one of the houses. For days, I saw the "VY" and wondered what it was and why it was there. Finally, it dawned on me what had happened.

You see, there is a large sign for a shopping center by the road next to my place of employment. One of the stores in this shopping center is...Old Navy. During the storm, all the individual signs were knocked out. And apparently, someone claimed the Old Navy sign as their own.

Why? Heck, why not?

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Or maybe it was the Russians?

Hey, remember when Sting joined with Andy Summers & Stewart Copeland to win the NWA 6 Man Tag Team Title from the Four Horsemen?

...Wait, am I getting confused again? Was it the Fabulous Freebirds?

Friday, September 2, 2011

My World : Tregaa the Tree-Thing


Theories abound as to the origin of the being that refers to itself as Tregaa the Tree-Thing, but none have been confirmed. And let’s face it, it’s hard to pry information out of a belligerent ambulatory tree if it doesn’t feel like sharing. All that is known for certain is that Tregaa appeared in western Canada and went on an impressive rampage before being subdued by Captain Satellite, Shelly Ericson, and a new weapon dubbed the Fire Chainsaw.

There was a concerted effort to gather the remnants of Tregaa after the battle, but it seems likely that at least some pieces of wood were overlooked. Will the intelligence of Tregaa the Tree-Thing persist in random splinters? Will the monster find a way to resurrect itself? You probably shouldn’t bet against it.


Tregaa the Tree-Thing springs from such roots (sorry) as Tabonga in the movie FROM HELL IT CAME and the Marvel monster Groot. In fact, hasn't Groot reformed? Possibly the only thing cooler than a tree monster is a GOOD GUY tree monster!

A word about Tregaa's face. In designing this guy, I was at a loss at first about the mug I wanted to give him. Then, I pulled something from the old memory bank. My house is filled with that sort of wood paneling that was very much in vogue during the 1970s. In my parents' bedroom, there is what I can only describe as a face in the paneling.

As a child, this illusory face ABSOLUTELY TERRIFIED ME. To this day, I still find it sort of creepy. So it seemed natural to incorporate "the face" into Tregaa's design.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

The Marvel Of Muscle Woman


And here's the Muscle Woman piece done by our friend Kabuki Katze! It should be considered in conjunction with Amazing Girl (seen last week).

I will confess that I probably would have never thought to do anything with Muscle Woman had it not been for the fascination my heroine creations held for Sara at Synthetic Platypus from 2007-2009. Fact is, I'm not even sure why I felt the need to make up Muscle Woman in the first place back in my childhood. It's not like I ever did that much with her anyway.

Well, hopefully that will be changing in at least a limited way. I've concocted backstories for both Amazing Girl and Muscle Woman that will be appearing on this blog eventually. I like to think that they flesh them out and make them just a little bit more than another pair of costumes.

Kabuki certainly held up her end of the bargain in this piece. She made Muscle Woman both substantial and powerful-looking, without in any way sacrificing the beauty and femininity we expect from our super heroines. Muscle Woman is sexy, but still looks like she could curbstomp a villain if necessary. Plus, Kabu once again proved adept at assimilating a wide range of references into something that made sense. If you need proof, please notice the wrestling boots and wrestling mask. But hey, why not go tell her yourself?