Tuesday, November 30, 2010

30 Days Of Comics: Day 9: A Comic You Could Give To Anyone

Runaways #1
"Anyone" is a relative term for me. I don't think there are comics that can change one of the "straights". If you don't like the medium, nothing will change your mind.

That being said, I picked this comic because I actually DID buy copies of the collected trade for Nancy and then Haley ended up reading it and BOTH of them liked it.

This is another comic that could fit in to several categories this month. I really like the writer's other work and when I heard about this book I knew I wanted it.


The premise is cool. Six kids get together every year when their parents gather for some sort of "charity" event. By the end of the first issue, they discover that their parents are actually a group of super-villains who "control" Los Angeles (a city with few-to-no superheroes in most comic book companies).

They flee their parents and the entire first series (18 issues) deals with the group on the run and finding out that one of the six is in contact with their parents and is a "traitor" to the rest.

Really a fun read....

Monday, November 29, 2010

LeBron James

While I am not a big basketball fan, I will admit I like this commercial. As James (and Jordan) has transcended basketball, so has their message/image/etc.

Whatever fallout lingers from "The Decision" (and Miami's "slow" start), this is the way to help move forward from it.

30 Days Of Comics: Day 8: A Comic You Received As A Gift

Ms. Mystic #1

Growing up my parents were...tolerant...of my collecting. They never went out of their way to stop me and from time to time actually helped me out.

One Christmas, they purchased some sort of "collecting kit" from Sears (I think). It included a bunch of plastic bags (with a place to write details about the comic on) and a handful of comics, including this one.

It's kind of funny. I had a hard time with trying to remember a comic that someone gave me. I think I've been given more Gift Certificates than actual comics.

Nan and I are struggling to think of one she may have given me at some point in the last 14 years. I think she realizes that this "hobby" is very specific for me. She has given me comic related items (toys and such) but no specific comic!

Actually, I am now almost doubting I ever got this "comic collecting kit" I am referring to! I don't have any comics in the distinctive bag I think that I got that year! And nothing is showing up on Google!

Sunday, November 28, 2010

30 Days Of Comics: Day 7: A Comic You Gave As A Gift

Fables: Volume 1: Legends in Exile

I have been swapping comics with Lee for a while now and have started giving some to The Armchair Squid to try and hook him, but this is the first comic collection I ever gave as a gift.

A few years ago, Lee left a job that made him unhappy but paid him well. It was not his choice, but as a result of some layoffs the company made in an effort to appear more profitable to possible investors.

I wanted to buy him something to read and cheer him up so I grabbed this collection. I absolutely LOVE this series and since Lee is the most well-read, literate individual I know AND he likes comics, I thought he might get a kick out of its premise.....the "fairy tales" of old were based on "real" individuals who were alive and well living in New York City today.

Well, it turned out I was wrong, as he is more of a "capes and tights" fan and he told me he didn't even really try to read this.

C'est la vie! Either way, it fits today's category none-the-less!

Saturday, November 27, 2010

30 Days Of Comics: Day 6: A Comic That Reminds You Of An Event

Amazing Spider-Man #36

The events of September 11 are one of the few "I know where I was when..." events of my life time.

I was starting my second year as a teacher in a VERY small school in Vermont. My wife called and told me a plane had hit one of the towers. And then the internet went down. We had no television in the building and the only updates we got all day were e-mails from my wife and a few phone calls from other people.

Our principal was never around in those days (a LONG story for another time) and as a staff we decided to stay at school and not share anything with the kids. It was a long day. I remember occasionally stepping into the hall and sharing/getting information with the other teachers.

I remember going outside for a Social Studies activity and just staring up at that blue, blue sky. There were none of the usual contrails criss-crossing the sky.

When school was finally out, I drove the hour (plus) home, stopping at WalMart for something. The store's hanging monitors were all tuned to some news program and I stood and saw images for the first time that day. It was horrific.

The next day, the town's minister, whose child was in my class, sat in with us for the first part of the day and helped me answer questions the kids had, which weren't many. After about 10 minutes or so, things were back to normal in the classroom.

It was the kids who helped me get through it. On the day of the event, I needed to shield them and on the day after they protected me.

This comic book was one of a few to specifically address the day.

I have never been a big Spider-Man fan. I never collected him monthly, but like some short series or his guest appearances. The movies have left me cold.

But this comic....


We interrupt our regularly scheduled program to bring you the following special
Longitude: 74 degrees, 0 minutes, 23 seconds West.
Latitude: 40 degrees, 42 minutes, 51 seconds North.
Follow the sound of sirens.

Some things are beyond words.
Beyond comprehension.
Beyond forgiveness.
The questions come:

How could you let this happen?
Why didn't you know this was coming?

How do you say we didn't know? We couldn't know.
We couldn't imagine.
Only madmen could contain the thought, execute the act, fly the planes.
Even those we thought our enemies are moved. Because some things surpass
rivalries and borders.
Because the story of humanity is written not in towers but in tears.
In the common coin of blood and bone.
In the voice that speaks within even the worst of us, and says This is not

Also here are those who face fire without fear or armor.
Those who step into the darkness without assurances of ever walking out again,
because they know there are others waiting in the dark.
Awaiting salvation.
Awaiting word.
Awaiting justice.

Ordinary men.
Ordinary women.
Made extraordinary by acts of compassion.
And courage.
And terrible sacrifice.

We've voted, and we're going to try to take the plane.
It's the only way to stop them hitting Washington.
I love you.
Ordinary men.
Ordinary women.
Refusing to surrender.

Ordinary men.
Ordinary women.
Refusing to accept the self-serving proclamations of holy warriors of every
stripe, who announce that somehow we had this coming.

...probably what we deserve....
All of them who have tried to secularize America...the pagans and the
abortionists and the feminists and the gays and the lesbians and the ACLU....
I point the finger in their face and I say, "You helped this happen."

-- it is God's will that America should fall through their iniquity and
their sin --

We reject them both in the knowledge that our tragedy is greater than the sum
of our transgressions.

Bodies in freefall on the evening news.
Madness in mosques, shouting down fourteen centuries of earnest prayers,
forgetting the lessons of crusades past:
That the most harmed are the least deserving.

There are no words.
There are no words.

The death of innocents and the death of innocence.
Rage compounded upon rage. Rage enough to blot out the sun.
And the air still filled with questions.

Is it going to happen again?
What do I tell my children?
Why did this happen?

What do we tell the children?
Do we tell them the evil is a foreign face?

No. The evil is the thought behind the face, and it can look just like yours.

Do we tell them evil is tangible, with defined borders and names and geometries
and destinies?

No. They will have nightmares enough.

Perhaps we tell them that we are sorry.
Sorry that we were not able to deliver unto them the world we wished them to
That our eagerness to shout is not the equal of our willingness to listen.
That the burdens of distant people are the responsibility of all men and women
of conscience, or their burdens will one day become our tragedy.

Or perhaps we simply tell them that we love them, and that we will protect
them. That we would give our lives for theirs and do it gladly, so great is
the burden of our love.

In a universe of Gameboys and VCRs, it is, perhaps, an insubstantial gift. But
it is the only one that will wash away the tears and knit the wounds and make
the world a sane place to live in.

We could not see it coming. No one could. We could not stop it. No one
But we are still here. With you.
Today. Tomorrow. And the day after.

We live in each blow you strike for infinite justice, but always in the hope of
infinite wisdom.

Because we live as well in the quiet turning of your considered conscience.
The voice that says all wars have innocents.
The voice that says you are a kind and a merciful people.
The voice that says do not do as they do, or the war is lost before it is even

Do not let that knowledge be washed away in blood.

When you move, we will move with you. Where you go, we will go with you.
Where you are, we are in you.

Because the future belongs to ordinary men and ordinary women, and that future
must be built free of such acts as these, must be fought for and renewed like
fresh water.

Because a message must be sent to those who mistake compassion for weakness. A
message sent across six thousand years of recorded blood and struggle.

And the message is this:

Whatever our history, whatever the root of our surnames, we remain a good and
decent people, and we do not bow down and we do not give up.

The fire of the human spirit cannot be quenched by bomb blasts or body counts.

Cannot be intimidated forever into silence or drowned by tears.

We have endured worse before; we will bear this burden and all that come after,
because that's what ordinary men and women do. We persevere.

No matter what.
This has not weakened us.
It has only made us stronger.

In recent years we as a people have been tribalized and factionalized by a
thousand casual unkindnesses.

But in this we are one.

Flags sprout in uncommon places, the ground made fertile by tears and shared

We have become one in our grief.
We are now one in our determination.
One as we recover.
One as we rebuild.

You wanted to send a message, and in so doing you awakened us from our self

Message received.

Look for your reply in the thunder.

In such days as these are heroes born. The true heroes of the twenty-first
You, the human being singular.
You, who are nobler than you know and stronger than you think.
You, the heroes of this moment chosen out of history.

We stand blinded by the light of your unbroken will. Before that light, no
darkness can prevail.

They knocked down two tall towers. In their memory, draft a covenant with your
conscience, that we will create a world in which such things need not occur.

A world which will not require apologies to children, but also a world whose
roads are not paved with the husks of their inalienable rights.

They knocked down two tall towers. Graft now their echo onto your spine.
Become girders and glass, stone and steel, so that when the world sees you, it
sees them.

And stand tall.

Stand tall.

Stand tall.

Friday, November 26, 2010

30 Days of Comics: Day 5: A Comic That Reminds You Of A Person

Batman: The Dark Knight Returns #1

While I was growing up, Rutland, Vermont was the second largest city in the state. However, we did not have a comic book store. The largest city, Burlington, did and that was where my grandparents lived.

My friends, Dave and Chris, and I had heard that this comic was coming. However, it was going to be made available only to comic book stores. I do not exactly remember how it all came about, but we arranged to have my grandfather pick up three copies of this issue (plus the following ones).

Burlington's store, Earth Prime Comics, was interesting back in the day. Not really the "stereotypical" shop, but slightly off the beaten path and filled with comic books and toys. The owners and employees were so very nice but still, it was not the place one would expect to find a 63 year old former Lieutenant Colonel from the Air Force.

To this day, the image of my grandfather getting in his green Volkswagen Rabbit and driving down to the store's old location, going in and buying this issue makes me smile.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

30 Days Of Comics: Day 4: A Comic That Reminds You Of A Place

Amazing Spider-Man #129This comics could fit into another category or two, but this comic will always remind me of the time I spent at Northeastern University in Boston.

My college career was delayed a few months after an illness. When I finally started school, I realize now, in retrospect, I was more than a little messed up.

Luckily, I found a friend who collected comics and helped me survive my time there. Unfortunately, others "conspired" against me and made things difficult. Due to this, money ran short. To pay off one of my bills, I sold this comic.

It was a turning point and things eventually stabilized, but forever this comic will remind me of my time in Boston.

Happy Thanksgiving!

"As God as my witness, I thought turkey's could fly"

WKRP Turkey Drop from Mitch Cohen on Vimeo.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

30 Days Of Comics: Day 3: A Comic That Made You Cry

Amazing Spider-Man #248

"The Kid Who Collects Spider-Man".....Man, I am all goose-bumpy and verklempt just typing the title...

Most of the comic pictured above concerns a fight between Spider-Man and Thunderball. It's the "back-up" story that holds all the weight for me.

As I write this, I am not sure how much I want to give away. Maybe someone hasn't read the story or the Wikipedia synopsis.

The action of the story is "narrated" through a newspaper article on a young boy named Tim Hammond. Spider-Man visits him one evening, having heard about him through the newspaper article. The two swap stories for hours with Spider-Man recounting his greatest adventures. Even some of the details of his origin....

As the evening draws to a close, Tim asks who Spider-Man really is...and our hero tells him. Tim promises to keep his secret....

You can probably figure where the story goes from here....I just can't spoil it....but the next page......wow.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

30 Days Of Comics: Day 2: A Comic That Made You Laugh

Justice League #5

Many comic fans know this issue because of "The Punch". Comic Book Resources rated this "fight" #16 on its list of "25 Best Comic Battles".

Here is their write up:

The Justice League of America fell apart during the mid-80s, when most of the members of the team were killed by an old nemesis of the League, Professor Ivo. After the crossover “Legends,” a brand new Justice League was formed, made up of mostly superheroes that had never been in the League before, such as Mister Miracle, Captain Marvel, Blue Beetle and Doctor Fate, along with old League stalwarts such as Martian Manhunter, Batman and Black Canary. One new member had a certain idea of how he was going to be involved with the team, and that member was Guy Gardner, a member of the Green Lantern Corps. He felt that he should be the leader of the team.

In the very first page of “Justice League” #1, by writers Keith Giffen and J.M. DeMatteis and artist Kevin Maguire, Guy is shown waiting for the rest of the members of the new League. He is dismayed, though, when he discovers that the rest of the team tends to look to Batman for leadership.

Over the next few issues, the other Leaguers soon grew tired of Gardner's constant complaining, but they also did not appreciate Batman's churlish handling of leading, either. He could have dealt with Gardner in many different ways – he chose to treat Guy like a child, only enraging Guy even more.

The relationship came to a head in quite a humorous fashion in “Justice League” #5, when Guy decides to finally decide once and for all who is in charge. In the issue, he challenges Batman to a fist fight.

Batman agrees, and after Guy takes a swing, Batman proceeds to knock Guy unconscious with one punch.

This greatly amuses Blue Beetle, and it confuses Martian Manhunter and Black Canary, who enter the room to see Guy out cold on the floor.

Beetle's repeated "One punch! One punch!" has become a catch phrase forever associated with Giffen and DeMatteis' Justice League.

Text from HERE

Monday, November 22, 2010

30 Days Of Comics: Day 1: Your First Comic

The folks over at Alternate Cover have published a list of categories to allow one to publish blog posts on 30 Days of Comics. I think I am going to take the challenge....

1. Avengers #228

I peg this as the first comic I bought. We were staying at my grandparent's house (where there were other comics lying around....never thought about it before, but I don't know where they had come from) and we walked down to Simmy's, which was a convenience store at the bottom of the hill. This comic was on the stands. I bought it and a life long obsession began.

I stopped collecting in the late 1990s for a variety of reasons. When I stopped, my Avengers issues were: 5, 12, 17-378 (Plus all the Annuals and Specials). The Avengers were MY group. I had other impressive runs, but this was my title.

When I started collecting again in 2004, I tried to get back in with the Avengers and was successful for a while, but Brian Michael Bendis and Secret Invasion was too much for me....

Saturday, November 20, 2010


I learned about Wordle last summer (or was it the one before) during some summer work I did. I teach 6th grade math and science and where Wordle has some uses for me, I don't often time to fit it in and it had remained largely forgotten.

Yesterday, our schedule was all crazy messed up so I got to teach Literacy to one of my classes and we used Wordle. I had forgotten about the feature that let you plug in a site and generate the cloud.

That is a long way of saying here is a Wordle based on this blog for the last few days!

Every Arnold Scream From Every Arnold Movie

I know this has already been all over the place, but I love it. My son and I have started to do Arnold screams when we "attack" the waves when we go to the beach each summer.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Darth Paul

There is so much I love about this picture.

Growing up catholic, JP was our Pope. He was ever-present in many relatives households, doubly so because we are Polish. I remember my grandmother and her sister both had LOTS of JP stuff (I have inherited a 22 inch ceramic version of him from his glory days).

Tying him in to Star Wars (one of the first movies I remember seeing in theater)....BRILLIANT.

(via JIMSmash)

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Cobra Cares

Apparently there is a new GI Joe type cartoon coming. I have previously mentioned that I just missed the GI Joe wave as a kid. I saw the new movie which did not offend me (I tend to like loud movies with lots of explosions and little exposition).

I like this "commercial" because it brings up memories of "Better Off Ted" and the clever spin on the GI Joe catch phrase.

via Topless Robot

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Veterans Day*

Thank you, Richard Howard Mock....

In Flanders Fields

By: Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae, MD (1872-1918) Canadian Army

IN FLANDERS FIELDS the poppies blow
Between the crosses row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.

*The holiday is commonly printed as Veteran's Day or Veterans' Day on calendars. While these spellings are grammatically acceptable, the United States government has declared that no apostrophe rather than the possessive case is the official spelling.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

What English Sounds Like to Foreigners

This is a catchy song "sung" in English. I have no idea of where it originated but I saw it on IAB. There must be a subtitled version somewhere, but I am unwilling to find it...

Tuesday, November 2, 2010


It's FINALLY election day! Even my 7 year old is SICK of all the ads and signs! I am doubly so since MOST of the elections in Vermont are always foregone conclusions (this year's governor's race being the first in my lifetime that I can't call ahead of the polls closing). However nasty the campaigns get, history always shows us it could be worse.


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