Dick Giordano 1932-2010


Dick Giordano at DC in the 1980s

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The Key of F'd Up


My keyboard is freaking out again, so posts and comments may be sparse to nonexistent for a while. I hope this issue gets resolved soon, but while the laptop is working I'm updating this post with some more word-verification fun so that it's more than just bad news.

brawlyst — n. A practitioner of the pugilistic arts.

coape — n. Your gorilla sweetheart.

Colognet — The first cable channel devoted exclusively to smellin' good.

dehortic — adj. Of the removal of one's encouragement.

distra — wd. frgmt. Expression often used by easily confused or inattentive people. ex. "Sorry I couldn't talk before; I was distra... What's that?"

Emusal — Do you resemble a large, flightless Australian bird more and more with each passing day? Emusal is guaranteed to not only halt but reverse this and other embarrassing avian transformations!

equit — v. To take a sabbatical from online activity.

Parodies Found


You can blame this one on kismet, my sister, and Tim Rice & Alan Menken, in no particular order.

'Aladdin' soundtrack CD art of the Genie rising from his lamp holding a picture of Jasmine and Aladdin on their magic carpet

In 1992, Disney's creative rebirth continued with Aladdin. The Little Mermaid was
an unexpected animated delight, and Beauty and the Beast was romantic, funny, and just plain lovely — deserving of its Best Picture nomination — but for all its problems Aladdin may be my favorite Disney neo-classic.

Some time after it came out, I was moved to rewrite Tim Rice's lyrics to "A Whole New World", the romantic theme from the movie scored by Alan Menken, recorded for the pop charts by Peabo Bryson and Regina Belle, sung in the film by Brad Kane as Aladdin (in the guise of "Prince Ali") and Lea Salonga as Jasmine. I'm pretty sure that
it all began with the first line.

The chorus of "Eyes of a Primate" that I came up with off the cuff and included in a
Lost post last month
, inspired by Claire's squirrel-bones baby, got quite a reaction. My sister keeps telling me it's genius, which is flattering if kind-of expected since our senses of humor are so in tune. Last weekend she brought it up again and added my "Whole New World" parody to the conversation; as fate would have it, I just recently uncovered a copy of my hand-written lyrics to that old thing while going through a box of random papers.

What should be posted here is a recording of the song that I made with a friend, but that tape got lost years ago. So to get the full effect you'll have to find a karaoke version of the song online or just play the original softly. Note: While I'd briefly posted my lyrics as-is from 1993, they seemed out of date in referring to videotapes, so I took the liberty of also doing a slight polish on the lyrics to update them for the Age of DVDs
and Streaming Content.

Misery


Lost 6.07 Dr. Linus

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Off Color



Cover to Space Adventures #5 © 1958 Charlton Comics.

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Ebert, &c.



Although The Oprah Winfrey Show isn't usually my bag, I taped and caught up with
its pre-Oscars episode featuring Roger Ebert last week. Ebert and his wife, Chaz Hammel-Smith Ebert, visited to discuss his long battle with cancer and longer battle with that battle's complications — and to debut a new computerized voice specifically designed for the now-mute Ebert using nearly 30 years of television appearances as reference.

When my health made it difficult for me to get out much and my finances were fairly literally nil (a set of circumstances that I can't entirely relegate to the past tense) I frequented Borders. Sometimes I would arrange to meet friends there, it being a good destination for browsing on my part and theirs in case I was early, late, or unable to make it. Sometimes I would stop in for a respite among errands. Sometimes I would make it a destination unto itself, to soak in the social atmosphere and seasonal music
or decorations even if I wasn't up to actual interaction; plus, of course, I enjoyed browsing the books.

As I said, I had no money to spare; I also had trouble reading. In my post "The Slog"
I wrote about how trouble concentrating made it hard to write. I had to all but re-learn how to read, as well, and if there was one thing that defined me in life more than writer it was reader. Short and simple nonfiction as in magazines was easiest, thankfully, so that I could keep up with news and reviews — the latter often, masochistically, purely for vicarious purposes.

Rush to Gold


Not entirely over thinking about the Oscars yet? Here's an article written by Mark Harris for New York Magazine titled "The Red-Carpet Campaign: Inside the Singular Hysteria of the Academy Awards Race". While published a month ago it's still a worthwhile, thorough (long) behind-the-scenes look at, well, just what it says.

Not So Frabjous


'Alice in Wonderland' poster showing Alice under a giant toadstool, White Rabbit in front of her, long table set for tea behind

When I first saw the poster below left in a movie theater last summer, my reaction
was the same as many other folks':


'Alice in Wonderland' poster with close-up look at the garishly made up and wide-eyed face of the Mad Hatter sporting a tall hat 'Alice in Wonderland' poster showing the Mad Hatter strolling jauntily under giant toadstools

"Is that Madonna?"

A, Plus


Cover to the 2000 Definitive Edition of 'The Annotated Alice'

I own more editions of Lewis Carroll's Alice books than of any other book — not counting adaptations or excerpts, just the original texts of 1865's Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and 1872's Through the Looking-Glass, and What Alice Found There.

Martin Gardner's The Annotated Alice, which recently got referenced (again) on an episode of Lost to a hoot from me, could well be my favorite book ever. It's not the sole or necessarily even the best way to experience Alice, but if you only know the Disney film by all means read Carroll and if you've enjoyed Carroll by all means plunge into Gardner's exegesis and celebration of his work.

Case Closed


CGC slabbed copy of 'Action Comics' #1
Cover to Action Comics #1 © 1938 DC. Photo © 2010 CGC.

You may have seen the news reports that Action Comics #1, dated June 1938 and featuring the first published appearance of Superman, was sold for $1 million at a Heritage auction last month.

I mostly shrugged it off as inevitable — and not nearly as exciting as it once might
have sounded to me. Thirty years ago, when I got my first comic-book price guide, the prices themselves were to an extent beside the point; I couldn't do more than gape at the thousands of dollars at which decades-old issues were listed in various conditions, but the details of when certain features stopped and started or which characters first appeared where and crossed over with whom fascinated me. Still, it was nice to show grown-ups that the comic books I was amassing, in particular the back issues I had begun to buy at marked-up prices, could appreciate in value.

My dad brought up the Action auction the other day, though, and I responded with surprising heat. I couldn't write down my raw reaction right away, so I stewed on the topic for a while, ending up with a bit of a rant.

We probably wouldn't have seen a price this high before the advent of CGC, I don't think. Certified Guaranty Company came along in 2000 to do for the comic-book community what had been done for stamps, coins, and other collectibles: inspect an item, grade it, and then "slab" it — seal it up in a plastic case with a certificate of authenticity.

Had CGC not come along, then another such outfit likely would have. And someone would have paid a million bucks for a comic book eventually. Everything is worth, at least in material terms, what one person is willing to accept for it and another is willing to pay (or barter). This is especially true in black markets, extremely deprived or disaster-stricken areas, and the world of collectibles.

But seeing that CGC slab is what got me.