Thursday, February 25, 2010

Talking Points

Arguments on a note card:



Doesn't anyone know the meaning of the word "paraphrase?"

Seriously, I watched about three hours of this before they broke for a House vote around 1PM. There's quite a few clips floating around the Internet and I could make this post about a mile long with the various things that made me angry, excited, or proud. Do yourself a favor and go watch as much of this as possible. It's really amazing at what was said by whom and how the summit was approached by all involved.

BTW, I know this is from MSNBC, which is hardly unbiased, but their video player lets you pull out a segment for sharing. While I'm not an Internet expert, I don't know of any other news outlet that lets you pull your own segment for sharing out of practically an entire episode of their programming. If there's another, please direct me to it.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

What's That? Re-Drawing Virginia Dare?

In last week's strip I casually mentioned that I would eventually be re-drawing Flight of the Virginia Dare. I've planned to re-draw it for some time, if for no reason than I just don't like a majority of the artwork that I did 8-9 years ago. I also don't like the way the romance between Jenny and Officer Duett just kind of happens. In the revision, we'll get a tour of the Virginia Dare and a real sense of why a conventional bomb in the ballroom will damage the ship past the point where it would be space worthy, since it's a BIG ship.

There's also a bit of science that needs to be cleared up. The effort with Jet-Pack Jenny, despite the absurd name she goes by, is that the science fiction is supposed to be scientifically accurate. It's just something that really irks me when science fiction gets science wrong. Of course, it's one thing if the science fiction is from an era and the science that's wrong simply wasn't known, yet. Getting the atmosphere of Venus as habitable is fine if you're writing a story in 1952. but it's bad science if you're writing it in 2002. Ignorance doesn't count, either. That's why I'm redrawing the story.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

I have convinced myself that this could be a great piano ballad, a real tearjerker.
These guys feel differently:

Congressman Schock Can't Tell You Anything.



So, if that's all that you can tell us, then why the hell are you in the Congress? What Congressman Shock is doing here, is playing the argument from ignorance. It's frankly all he can do when he's up against Rhodes Scholar Rachel Maddow, who directly squared off against him, confronting him with factual inaccuracies that he stated and all but calling him a hypocrite for touting programs in his district that were funded by the stimulus bill that he voted against and still criticizes to this day. It's a disturbing political tactic where you play the "aw shucks, I ain't nothin' like those Harvard intellectuals, I'm one of you folks." They're telling people that smart is not a positive quality.

Here's some news for you, Aaron Schock is not stupid. He got his degree in Finance in just two years from a very fine college in Illinois. He could talk intelligently about economic issues and be able to present his case very well, and his THREE committee positions (other Congressmen only take two) reflect this area of scholarship. The problem with him here arguing that he is just following the will of the people is that he is a leader, and has always wanted to be a leader. Look at his biography and you'll see that he's always wanted to lead. Representing yourself as being a follower is just being dishonest when you obviously want to lead.

This tactic that politicians use is troubling because our leaders need to know more than we do. Our leaders need to be able to know where to go to learn about issues that they're going to have to take a position on. Our leaders need to inspire us to learn about issues just because we want to relate to them. We currently have a President that has a Doctorate in Congressional Law* after having a president that didn't seem to want to read his daily briefings completely, and didn't bother to learn to say the word "nuclear."** We can like intelligent people, as long as they're engaging. It bothers me when this tactic is used, because it's not always used by intelligent people trying to seem "like normal folk," and sometimes the unintelligent people win with it.

*(TRIVIA: the only other one with a Doctorate was Woodrow Wilson)

**(FULL DISCLOSURE: I too used to say "nukular," but have since made effort to pronounce it right.)

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Wow, she's... pretty.

Avengers #255
May 1985

Oh my gosh, it's a new review of an old comic. I must be insane. Bear with me while I should be doing something else.

SYNOPSIS:

Captain Marvel (Monica Rambeau) arrives at Thanos's abandoned starship, Sanctuary II, seven light hours away from Earth. Nothing seems amiss, as the station has been abandoned since Thanos's defeat. Back on Earth, both the US Government and the Avengers recover from the Vision's takeover of the world's computer networks. The Vision has decided to leave the Avengers and submit fully cooperate with a government investigation of his actions. Captain Marvel reports in and the Vision admits that he sent her on a wild goose chase.

As she goes to leave, a ship docks and two passengers, Skunge the Troll and an orange alien named Kehl attack her. The attack is called off by another passenger, a Rigellian named Gunthar. The last passenger, the apparent leader of the group, Levan apologizes. Captain Marvel stays behind because something doesn't sound right with these salvagers' story.

The Wasp returns home to learn of the Vision's takeover attempt and see him and the Scarlet Witch off, noticing that the Vision's voice has gone from flat and modulated to being more human.

Meanwhile, Levan's crew acts on their duplicity, engaging Sanctuary II's star drive, temporarily nullifying Captain Marvel's powers and abducting her millions of light years away from Earth!



REVIEW:
This a recovery issue from a previous culmination of a subplot that took a year to develop. John Buscema returned to the Avengers with this issue and his style was a welcome departure from the previous regular artist, Al Milgrom, who could draw the most unattractive women. That's all the background you need for this review.

Roger Stern's story has to accomplish a lot in this issue, including recapping the previous storyline and introduce a new sub-plot. The best element that gets pointed out late in the story is how different the Vision's voice is, depicted visually by his word balloons, which use to be rectangular with rounded corners, and now are organic and oval. Roger Stern is unknowingly giving a lesson in how to convey tone of voice here.

The art, as I've touched on, is exquisite. Captain Marvel had only briefly been drawn remotely attractive, yet despite the worst examples since her creation, John Buscema draws her as a mildly attractive woman. .


NOTES:
To my knowledge, this issue has not been collected in any trade, nor would I expect it to. This was not a very influential period in Avengers history, despite the strong creative force on it.

FINAL RATING: 7.5 (out of a possible 10)

Art wise, it's fantastic, at least a 9, but this is a recap issue, and on its own just reaches for too much and doesn't deliver enough, albeit it does well enough to get by. For a while, this review was going to be for the issue following this one, which is much better. This was a good run for Avengers, up until the culmination of the Masters of Evil multi-issue storyline. I picked my copy up for a couple of dollars, and it should be easy enough to find at an affordable price.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

I Call Shenanigans!

This video is from that wonderful bastion of journalism, Inside Edition.



What do I think, given the research I've done on the issue? Desiree was faking it. She wanted attention and found a way to get it and perhaps, just perhaps could get a little cash out of it. It's entirely possible that she was unintentionally faking it. The presence of a new accent is also suspicious, given that she didn't have it after her keylation therapy in late October.


I am very skeptical, especially with the explanation of a new accent. Sorry, Foreign Accent Syndrome actually seems to involve brain damage. My theory, and it's an educated guess is that Desiree just might be a hypochondriac, and reads a brief bit about a rare disease and then mimics its symptoms.

This also brings up the subject of journalism. Inside Edition shouldn't be the one thwarting these claims that the vaccine caused this woman's illness. When she's latched on to by people trying to discredit flu vaccines and is used by quack doctors to promote ineffective and expensive pseudo-medical procedures, that should be the area of major news investigation. Sadly, what we have now is a news system that doesn't investigate like it used to, so we're left with Inside Edition to do this crap, and they, quite frankly, do it badly. This should have been on 20/20 or Frontline, but I guess looking into the alt-med industry is likely to make too many viewers mad.

All that said, get vaccinated. Stop going to quacks.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Ka-Blam!

I just picked up my books from ka-blam! printing in Orlando, and I must say that they look very nice. The full bleed is perfectly done, the print quality is excellent, and if it weren't for the fact that I put in so few pages, it'd seem like a proper comic book. Very professional, and I couldn't be more pleased.

If you want one of these excellent books, you can order them print-on-demand through IndyPlanet. I'll put a permanent link on the web site soon.

Thursday, February 4, 2010