Thursday, November 30, 2006

Original X-Artist Dave Cockrum Dies

I learned last evening from Mike Carroll that Dave Cockrum died earlier this week at the age of 63.
Cockrum's status as a legendary and historic figure in the comics industry, and the super-hero genre in particular, was cemented the day he picked up his pencil to draw a revival of Marvel Comics' X-Men in 1975. Together with writers Len Wein, who created the new team, and Chris Claremont, who would guide the mutant heroes' destiny for the better part of the next two decades, Cockrum helped to take what had once been Marvel's lowest selling title and start it on a path to becoming the best selling comic in the world, as well as the basis for a successful animated TV show and movie series.
In addition to X-Men, Cockrum first came to the attention of comics fandom as artist of The Legion of Super-Heroes and later created his own graphic novel, The Futurians.

Wiggle Out

Here's a story that might upset Alison, my five year old niece and a big fan of this quartet of obnoxious Australians:
Wiggles' Lead Singer To Stop Performing
According to this article, Wiggle-in-Chief Greg Page suffers from a rare disorder that "...causes dizziness, fatigue and nausea."
Which, oddly enough, is what I experience when Alison insists that I watch her Wiggles DVDs with her.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Hallelujah!! "Preacher" A-Comin' To HBO

HBO hears word, brings 'Preacher' to small screen

Yes, the popular (though God only knows why) Vertigo series by Garth Ennis and Steve Dillon will join the network that brought us The Sopranos, Sex and the City, Deadwood and Carnivale.
Now, I was not a fan of the comic book series. I found the "...dark and violent sense of humor..." that the above linked article cites as a hallmark of the series to be excessive and far too over the top. And of course, any hopes that, despite my aversion to the comics, HBO's version of Preacher could end up being, if not good, at least watchable are dashed by the fact that the pilot is being written by the same hack who penned the dreadful Daredevil film and directed by Howard Deutch, the "genius" behind Grumpier Old Men and other modern cinema classics. (One can only imagine in utter horror who Johnson, the man who actually thought Ben Affleck would make a good Daredevil, would recommend to play Jesse Custer or Cassidy.)

(STRAY THOUGHTS) Topic: What's In A Name?

So, I was reading The American Prospect's wrap-up and analysis of the Democratic victories in this month's mid-term elections when I came across the name of the newly elected Democratic senator from the great, but tiny, state of Rhode Island and I just had to wonder if this guy has ever entertained any thoughts about running for President of the United States someday. Given his name, it almost seems predestined that he will.
The senator-elect in question goes by the handle of Sheldon Whitehouse.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Dance, Shatner, Dance!!!

Oh, my Gaaaaawd!

Have you seen Bill Shatner's new game show, Show Me The Money?
It is just the most awful, degenerate spectacle that any broadcast network has seen fit to pollute the public airwaves with since Pink Lady and Jeff. It is tacky, obnoxious, derivative and exploitive and marks the utter demise of whatever shred of dignity or respectability that Shatner may have had left. He makes a complete and utter giant ass of himself, especially when he attempts what we're supposed to believe is dancing.
But, you know what?
I absolutely love it! I cannot wait for the next episode.
Money is so fascinatingly awful that, in the manner of the most hideous and bloody multi-car pileups, you (or, at least, I) cannot look away, if only to see if it could possibly get any worse.
In the end, that is the measure of "good television", though not necessarily "quality entertainment". It is TV that you are almost hypnotically compelled to watch, even if for all the wrong reasons.

Monday, November 27, 2006

The WORD on Michael Richards' "Meltdown"

I am deeply saddened to report that I blew an opportunity to land Word From On High world exclusive--what Perry White or J. Jonah Jameson would term a "scoop"--this past weekend by not thinking of the idea until it was too late. You see, despite having come into possession of a pass which would have granted me free entry into the show, I opted not to attend Mid-Ohio Con this past weekend because I just couldn't come up with a compelling reason why I should. Until this morning, that is, long after the show had folded its tents and slunk out of town.
Among the so-called "Media Guests", a.k.a. TV and movie "stars"(note the distinction between "Media" and Comics guests--oddly, it seems that to the people who put on comics conventions, comics don't qualify as a medium), attending this year's con was one Larry Thomas, better known as Seinfeld's "Soup Nazi," attempting to extend his fifteen minutes, or, more accurately, twenty-two minutes plus commercials, of fame gained through being featured in one episode of that inexplicably popular series. Had I gone to the con, I would have had the opportunity to get his take on the current controversy surrounding Seinfeld star Michael Richards from the perspective of someone connected, in a tangential, "six degrees of Kevin Bacon" sort of way to Richards. (Frankly, my memories of that episode are hazy, but I don't think Thomas and Richards even had any scenes together.)
Alas, the moment has passed, and you'll have to be content with my opinions and unfounded speculation. Maybe I'll ask Thomas if he comes to next year's con, since Richards should still be apologizing, which seems about to become his second career, at that time.
Y'know, maybe I'm just overly cynical, but from the moment the "news" of Richards' "rascist meltdown" hit the airwaves, it smelled to me of what we used to call a "publicity stunt" calculated to get Richards' name and face back in the public consciousness and, more importantly, on television. Whether or not that was the goal, it has been, in fact, the result. Not only has the repentent Richards appeared on The Late Show with David Letterman (and when was the last time that happened before all this kerfluffle?), but his latest in a string of apologies on Jesse Jackson's radio show was covered as if it were real news by many formerly respectable news organizations. And if the whole thing were a publicity stunt, you've got to assume that Jackson is no innocent dupe, but a willing participant. After all, when was the last time he managed to get his mug on the tube?
And doesn't the timing seem a bit suspect? Suddenly, everyone's talking about Seinfeld and one of the show's erstwhile stars just as Season 7 of the show is released on DVD. Convenient, no?

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Letter To The Editor

Several months ago, I read a letter from a reader in Playboy that got me so upset that I had to respond in kind with a letter of my own. Hef's minions, however, chose not to print said letter, obviously blind to its depths of insight and literary excellence. That will not, though, keep me from sharing my opinions with the world, thus I present for you the full text of the aforementioned epistle:
I'm writing in response to the letter from Benjamin Chan printed in the September issue of Playboy in which Mr. Chan accuses the magazine of "liberal bias" and "trying to rewrite history" because of a joke whose punchine stated that Bill Clinton "almost got impeached." I will not deny that Playboy has a liberal bias. That (plus the pictorials, of course) are why I read it. However, using this joke in an attempt to show said bias is itself a joke.
It is far more likely that, rather than an attempt at revisionist history, the reference to Bill Clinton's "almost" impreachment stems from a very common misunderstanding of what it actually means to impeach a president or other government official. My Webster's dictionary defines "impeach" as " charge (a public official) before a competent tribunal with misconduct in office," which is exactly what happened to President Clinton. However, there is a general misconception that to impeach means to remove from office. By being impeached, Mr. Clinton was, in fact, "almost" removed from office.
It is clear from his letter that Mr. Chan understands the true meaning of impeach. It is also clear that he was so blinded by his own conservative politics and hatred of liberals that he read a sinister political agenda into what was quite obviously an innocent vocabulary error.

Monday, November 06, 2006

Another Ray's Top 5

Top 5:
TV "Characters" That You Just KNOW Were Sleeping Together Even Though It Was Never Explicitly Stated On Their Shows
5. The Mod Squad
4. Mary Ann and Ginger
This would explain how, in 15 years on the island, neither of them ever got pregnant.
3. Shirley Partridge and Ruben Kincaid
That's why she never fired him. He wasn't a very good manager, after all.
2. Greg and Marcia Brady
1. Siskel and Ebert