Grey Matters

I noted on Sunday that my pal Teebore’s methodical march through Marvel’s X-Men over at Gentlemen of Leisure has reached Oct. 1976’s X-Men #101 and the start of the Phoenix saga.

Dark Phoenix gesturing with energy effect around her
Front of cover to Phoenix #1 © 1984 Marvel Comics. Pencils: John
Byrne. Inks: Terry Austin. Letters: Jack Morelli. Colors: Unknown.

Well, I’ve been organizing material from throughout my career as a comics journalist for archiving at another website and I just happened to come across some items related to that epic.

Stars and Gripes

I already had mixed feelings about the proposed Wonder Woman series, whose
pilot is shooting under the auspices of writer and executive producer David E. Kelley for NBC. Then Adrienne Palicki was cast. Now we have a promo shot of her in costume.

Figures of Wonder Woman in her familiar garb of bustier and high-rise shorts, in new comics outfit with long dark pants and jacket, and embodied by Adrienne Palicki in shiny, garish costume for TV pilot
Blam’s Blog composite of (left to right) Roberto Campus painting, © 2007 the artist; Jim Lee
color sketch, © 2010 DC; and Justin Lubin photo, © 2011 NBC Universal & Warner Bros.

You may assume that the outfit is a departure for Diana, if you’re not up on your superhero comics, but as seen above it’s actually a hybrid of the character’s traditional uniform and one that’s been featured in her DC title since early last summer.

X Libris

My friend Austin Gorton, who blogs (and comments here) under the handle Teebore, has been methodically examining Marvel’s X-Men in a series of posts over at Gentlemen of Leisure. He began with 1963’s X-Men #1 and last week reached #101, a landmark for more than just its numbering as Jean Grey evolved into Phoenix. But the entry that I’d most been waiting for is the one on X-Men #98.

Cyclops, Storm, Wolverine, Nightcrawler, and Colossus locking in combat with two giant robots atop a building
Cover to X-Men #98 [digital] © 1976 and elements TM/® Marvel Comics.
Pencils, Inks: Dave Cockrum. Letters: Dan Crespi. Colors: Unknown.

The issue is a sort of touchstone for me.

Not Above a Book

So tonight’s episode of How I Met Your Mother revealed that main character Ted Mosby has lived his entire life* pronouncing the world “chameleon” not “kuh-meel-yun” but “tchah-mil-ee-on”.

It’s SuperMoon!

Full moons have a hold over me, and not just in a vague gravitational sense.

Silver full moon in a cloudless pitch-black sky
Photo: NASA — Sean Smith

I get entranced by them — cool silver or fiery gold, low on the horizon or high among the stars, but especially, to echo what I wrote a couple of years ago during a lovely Buck Moon, when they come as the moon is essentially at perigee, its closest point to Earth in its elliptical orbit. (As I’m sure we all learned once upon a time, neither the orbit of our moon around Earth nor that of Earth around the sun is an exact circle; rather, they are very slight ovals.)

Event, TV

Big hype surrounded NBC’s The Event, promoted as what the name says — a cross between Lost and 24 in its mythology, conspiracy, government intrigue, large cast of characters, and fractured narrative. I was more than willing to give it a chance, despite having been burned plot-wise by Lost in its final season and to a lesser extent by fellow ABC shows The Nine and FlashForward not going beyond a first season.

One reason why: Event’s showrunners promised both that answers to smaller
mysteries would be rolled out gradually and that they had an early endgame in position if the series wasn’t renewed. Another: Really good television is never a waste of time even if it’s not allowed to reach a conclusion (which, just to spit in Lost’s general direction again, may be preferable to reaching to a poor conclusion or, more to the point, giving up on large parts of the story in creating one). Yet another: I figured I’d
be able to ditch The Event if it truly became unsatisfying and, until that point, have a potentially exciting show to dissect with friends.

The Green Green Ross

GL Hal Jordan flying through clouds against a blue sky
cover to Green Lantern: No Fear

I should have saved last week’s post on Fringe’s crimson revision of DC Comics’ emerald adventurers for today. Migraines and other obstacles have put the squeeze on this piece. But it’s only St. Patrick’s Day for 18 hours more at most anywhere on the planet, so in the spirit of my green-themed posts from 2009 and 2010, here’s another one.

Nooner in Song

45 RPM single of 'Afternoon Delight'

Glee last week was in many ways not at its best but at its most — at its most plot-oriented, at its most gimmicky, at its most disposable, at its most thematic, at its most randy, at its most heartfelt, and as the previous contradictions indicate at its most all-over-the-place. Case in point: John Stamos on drums while the unlikely members of McKinkley High’s celibacy club — Rachel, Quinn, Puck(!) — joined their literally virginal, newlywed guidance counselor Miss Pillsbury to perform one of my favorite tunes, Starland Vocal Band’s “Afternoon Delight” [3:02].

Swap Things

I really need to write about Fringe more often. A couple of friends have been urging me to do periodic if not weekly reviews, but that’s almost certainly not in the cards. While I’m hoping to publish at least some thoughts about what’s happened on the show since my first major post on it this time last year, soon, right now I just want to finally clear my metaphorical desk of several images that have been on the docket to share for nearly that long.

The week after I finally got that piece up, Fox aired one of Fringe’s best episodes — confirming Peter Bishop’s origins and blowing the show’s mythology wide open. “Peter” was a flashback to 1985, with awesomely retro opening credits; it showed the Walter Bishop of the standard Fringe universe spying upon the denizens of a parallel universe whose history and technology were slightly divergent from the familiar but which was inhabited largely by close counterparts of Fringe’s Earth. Later in the season Peter Bishop returned to the alternate universe in the present day, and in Part Two of May’s season finale “Over There” we saw some intriguing framed comic-book covers in his room.

No-Spin Zone

I have more conversations about Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark with folks who don’t read comics than with folks inside the hobby and business. Part of that, I suspect, is because I’m not very plugged into the comics world these days. But part of it is also because the show’s talent, spectacle, and travails are intriguing — yet “comics people” already know, in a way others might not stop to realize, that Dark has little to do with comics at all.

Kodak Moments

James Franco and Anne Hathaway posing in front of giant replicas of Oscar statuette

The Oscars brain-trust was ostensibly going for a fresher, younger feel in tapping James Franco and Anne Hathaway to host the 83rd annual ceremony. So naturally the big hits in the Kodak Theatre on Sunday night included 62-year-old repeat emcee Billy Crystal, a frisky but stroke-impaired 94-year-old Kirk Douglas, 73-year-old Original Screenplay winner David Seidler, the 1953 avatar of the late Bob Hope, and James Franco’s grandmother.

James Franco’s Grandmother is my new band name, by the way.