Supe of the Day

Once upon a time, DC Comics established Superman’s birthday as Feb. 29th. That,
it was explained with tongue securely in cheek, accounted for why he still looked so young despite having been around since 1938.

Superman emerges through a hole torn in wall of brick and steel as bullets entering the frame ricochet off his chest.
Cover to new edition of Superman: Sunday Classics 1939-1943 © 2006 DC Comics.

Two bits of good news to celebrate:


a bunch of bing cherries
Photo: USDA Agricultural Research Service — Peggy Greb

My grandfather doesn’t get excited about food much anymore. If he does, he’s most often soon disappointed. And while my grandmother likes to point out that she doesn’t live to eat, but eats to live, I can’t help recalling how we kids used to get awakened practically every morning during a visit to their condo in Florida with “You’d better get up if you want some good sun! Where should we have dinner tonight?”

Dinner usually involved trying to make an early-bird special. They might fit a certain stereotype in that regard, but as far as I’m concerned if you grew up struggling through the Great Depression, have made a comfortable living, and can mingle your enjoyments of a good meal, a good deal, and family, you’re totally entitled to that satisfaction.

Grandmom does love her ice cream, though.

... in Thought

'Lost' promo image with the name in large capital letters, a city skyline visible inside them, rising up from a misty, craggy island

I’m not alone in being driven to enjoyable distraction by ABC’s Lost.

Although the show has seen ratings drop considerably over the last few years, many
die-hard fans remain. You can still find viewers like my mother who tune in purely for the wild television entertainment week after week — or wait month upon month, since Lost switched to a no-repeat season that runs from January to May and goes dark the rest of the year. You’ll also find viewers who suffuse cyberspace, reading and often participating in discussions that dissect and speculate upon every nuance of each chapter, DVD extras, pronouncements from the show’s producers to journalists and Comic-Con audiences, interactive multimedia games, etc. You might even find other viewers like me, who are somewhere in-between.

Ten Tip

I had a pretty good run going in The Late Show with David Letterman’s online Top Ten contest [dead link] a few years ago.

A mousepad was then the standard prize. When contacted for my mailing address
after my third win, I asked if I could perhaps get a T-shirt instead. Hanging proudly in my closet is a misprint whose logo extends from not far past my sternum on the right
to somewhere under my left armpit.

I began playing again several months back but victory has been elusive. You can play, too, submitting all the individual entries you care to based on the week’s category. I usually send in at least a half-dozen, brainstorming as many as I can that I really like along with the sort I think the folks behind the contest will go for based on the tone of past winners or running Late Show gags. Once the week is up, a decuple of winning submissions are chosen. They don’t get read on the show, keep in mind, simply posted on the web-site. Nowadays a T-shirt is the official prize, and presumably not a factory reject either.

Related: Low and Inside Exile in Jayville Feed Me Rewrite

A Curious Case of
Bedrooms and Buttons

Coraline, a wide-eyed girl with blue hair, crawling through a strange tunnel lit in blues and purples

Friday the 13th — a fitting day to talk about Coraline.

The movie, directed and written for the screen by Henry Selick, is an infectious romp with some truly spectacular set pieces. Depending on how audiences react to the darker aspects, it’s sure to become either a cult or mass favorite. But very early on came that familiar twinge of kinda wishing I hadn’t read the book.

Written by Neil Gaiman, and the winner of a Hugo among other awards given to science-fiction, horror, or fantasy works, Coraline the book was good. The problem is that, as prose fiction will do, it calls heavily upon the reader’s imagination to illustrate Coraline’s worlds, aided by Dave McKean’s cover and occasional black-&-white interior art. Gaiman and McKean broke into the American comics market together over 20 years ago with Black Orchid for DC, and McKean produced covers for Gaiman’s landmark series The Sandman.

Oscars Beat is holding an Oscars poetry contest.

You’re supposed to be able to enter via the PopWatch blog, where you can also read
the poem from a 16-year-old reader that launched the challenge, but as of yet there isn’t a link for that. I sent in the following by E-mail.

Oscar statuette

A Free Verse
On the Oscars

I liked Dave Letterman
Call me crazy
He’s certainly better than
Some we’ve had host
But I realize that most
Want someone squarer
Star power of Jim Carrey
Temperament of Jim Lehrer


Hey. I’m Blam. Welcome to my blog.

a portrait of the author in profile — male with dark hair, glasses, mustache and goatee, wearing a plaid shirt, hand resting on his chin as if in thought
Photo: BSL © 2009.

I still haven’t solved the problems mentioned in my actual first post, but I’d like to
begin rolling out more content, so it’s time for a proper introduction.

The name “Blam”? I was signing my art “B. Lamken” way back in 7th grade when a good friend took to calling me “Blamken”. It caught on big (even with teachers), sticking through college and beyond, eventually getting cropped simply to “Blam”. No similarity to the sound effect made by guns and bombs in comics intended or implied. You can totally call me “Brian” if you prefer, or “Mr. Lamken” if you want something.

Folks who know me likely figure that this blog will be in large part about comics. I’ve been fascinated with the physical medium of comic books and the superhero genre from my earliest memories, interests that expanded to the creative medium of comics in all its forms. I started writing about those subjects for real, legal money in college, via the venerable Comics Buyer’s Guide at first and then a variety of sources. After college I worked at Fat Jack’s Comicrypt — eldest, I believe, of the many great comic-book shops in the Philadelphia area — on the sales floor, in the office, and editing the weekly store newsletter. During and since that time I’ve freelanced as a writer, cartoonist, and graphic designer; published and otherwise participated in a handful of books; served as a judge on the selection committee for the Will Eisner Comic Industry Awards; and produced the acclaimed but too short-lived magazine Comicology, no relation to any of the websites with similar titles that cropped up following its unfortunate hiatus (on which more another time). Nearly three decades of comic-book collecting, as well as the comics fandom and journalism that ensued, came to a halt several years ago when poor health drained my financial resources. I’ve only recently, tentatively begun to engage with that world again.