Bedtimes and Broomsticks

What’s even better than hearing that my niece can’t come to the phone because she’s engrossed in reading Magic Trixie?

Magic Trixie, a young girl in a black frock and traditional witch's hat, with frizzy pink hair

I was recently made aware that E and her sister M — that’s for privacy purposes, not because my family names its children after club drugs and Fritz Lang movies — lent their book to a friend and were eagerly awaiting the sequel, Magic Trixie Sleeps Over. Sharing is great! And they need wait no longer. I’d already bought it, and I mailed it out after hearing this rather than hold onto it for the girls’ upcoming visit. HarperCollins was smart to advertise the next installment in each book, price them low ($7.99 each), and of course snap up this series from the brilliant Jill Thompson to begin with.

L Is for...

... Links — about The Late Late Show and Lily Allen.

As soon as The Late Show wraps up each night, Craig Ferguson pops in with a cold open of The Late Late Show. He might ramble a bit, address the “People… of… Earth!” via hand puppet, bring on a special non sequitur guest, or launch into a lip-synched musical number. It’s fun largely because of the shoestring budget, going to the heart of the host’s sense of “I have a TV show! Yeah, it’s on CBS at 12:30 a.m., but still!” glee, enticing viewers to stick around.

Well, Monday night had a little of almost all of that. Ferguson, a couple of costumed dancers, and a chorus of puppets performed Britney Spears’ “Oops… I Did It Again” [bad link].

The skit reminded me that if you find Spears’ “Womanizer” hella catchy yet kind-of annoyingly overproduced there’s a virtual cottage industry of cover versions to sample. Franz Ferdinand’s [bad link] has strangely off-key vocals but proves that the song can work unironically as rock. The All-American Rejects [bad link] slowed it down and set it to acoustic guitar, beer-bottle percussion, and concertina, yet despite some winkingly substituted lyrics and a smart segue into the Turtles’ “Happy Together” it doesn’t quite transcend the sum of its parts for me.

My favorite take on “Womanizer” is Lily Allen’s.

Cover Album(s)

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What’s Future Is Prologue

Here at last, on the heels of the brief Star Trek review I put up the other day, are
some expanded thoughts on the franchise and the film...

Kirk, Spock, Uhura, and Nero in different colored sections of Starfleet insignia

I suppose I’m a Trekkie. Star Trek’s original series aired in reruns as I grew up, and
my mom introduced me to it. The Saturday-morning cartoon incarnation that debuted in 1973 was on as well — I recall most vividly (and not irrelevantly to the subject at hand) the episode in which Spock goes back in time and meets his younger self on Vulcan. The Next Generation was just about the only television I watched in college regularly besides the news and SNL, and I sampled every subsequent series out of affection for the concept. Heck, I’ve read episode guides and maybe a half-dozen of the hundreds of novels, but I’ve never dressed up in a Starfleet uniform, memorized the kind of minutiae some fans have, or engaged in other behavior that I tend to associate with the more serious enthusiasts who allegedly prefer the name “Trekkers”.

And if you’d asked me a decade ago whether recasting the original crew was a good idea, I’d have emphatically said no.

Eau de Kirk

Pon Farr perfume bottle, with title rendered in classic 'Star Trek' logo typeface

I’m not making this up.

When I first saw these Star Trek fragrances advertised, in a comic-book distributor’s catalog a couple of months ago, I had to wonder if it was an April Fool’s joke. Nope... You too can smell like a Vulcan in heat.

Isle of Lost

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Scary Good

Panel from Scary Godmother: The Mystery Date ©
1999 and characters
TM creator Jill Thompson.

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Vulcan A

Or at least a solid B, if not B+.

'Star Trek' 2009 poster depicting the Enterprise heading into warp

I’m talking about the new Star Trek film, of course.

Ric Estrada 1928-2009

The original Flash, Jay Garrick, speeding towards an erupting volcano
Panels from All-Star Comics #58 © 1975 DC Comics. Script, Editing: Gerry Conway.
Pencils: Ric Estrada. Inks: Wally Wood. Letters: Ben Oda. Colors: Unknown.

Artist Ric Estrada passed away last Friday. He was 81.

While he didn’t rank among the best known comic-book pros, Estrada’s held a place
in my heart for decades thanks to his part in the revival of All-Star Comics in 1975.
I’ve been learning that he holds a place in the hearts of many others for very different work: illustrating passages from what’s popularly known as the New Testament, plus The Book of Mormon, for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints as sampled below. Or perhaps not so different, given the superhero genre’s modern spins on ancient myth and legend, but that’s not the purview of this post.

Friday Firsts

Cover to Detective Comics #27 © 1939 DC Comics.

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