Could really use some good suggestions here...

Hey all, as some of you probably already know, I've just been through a big crisis with my old computer and, long story short, I have a new one.  Big problem with all this is, I hoped I could transfer some of my files from my old one to this one and..again long story short, the hard disk finally has gone out.  So I'm sure the question is, so what? Well, it is an issue to me because one of my most important multi-file document on that old computer was a personalized database of all my comics organized by issue number, story/arc/event and according to single issue.  I spent lots of time working on it and now I just don't have it.  I could possibly have someone retrieve it for me but at this point that will in all likelihood cost me more to retrieve it than just to make a new one from scratch.  So my question here today is, my fellow Viners, what suggestions would you make for me creating a new database for my comics?  I welcome any and all suggestions short of setting the database to paper because for me I think I'm just to lazy to physically make an actual hard copy of what I do own.  As long as your suggestions are computer related, I'm all eyes!  


My contribution to Easter this glorious Resurrection Day

Hello to all you Viners.  Take a gander at what I created the night before for the local family Easter Egg hunt.  It's an egg sure, but look at the colorings?  All mottled, seemingly in dark browns and mint greens and blacks.  Does it not smack uncannily of camouflage?  Well, regardless of what you say I did not honestly intend for it to look that way.  It is an honored tradition in this house to take one egg after all the others have been colored and dunk it in all the remaining colors to give it a strange hue and this year, I was responsible for its creation.  I did not intend for it to turn out this way but it is curious that it would come out as such.  Sadly I did not have the chance to really put it to good use since it rained last night and made an outdoor hunt impossible.  Instead, it was easily found in the nook I hid it in my home.  It does beg the question though...if it had not rained outside...could this have been the ultimate Easter egg to hunt for?  I submit this for your viewing pleasure, Viners!  Enjoy!

Skyline, Battle: Los Angeles, Battle of Los Angeles. Inspiration?

   On November 12, 2010 we were treated to Skyline which dealt with an alien invasion of the world with events centering upon attacks in Los Angeles.  Almost exactly four months later on Friday, March 11, 2011 Battle: Los Angeles was released in theaters and once again the premise is that an alien attack is released upon the world, with the story once more centering upon Los Angeles.  And now as I write, a mockbuster has been released on SyFy called Battle of Los Angeles which...oh what's the point?  You get the idea.  Alien attack with Los Angeles as the emphasis.  Point is, we've had a whole lot of alien action going on in the City of Angels as of late over the last few months and it really just has led me to wonder what the big fuss is all about.  While each film has different spins on the story, the basic elements are the same.  Big alien attack.  Humans pretty screwed. Survival at all costs.  Fight back.  Not like we haven't seen that in any of a number of alien contact films, books, novels and comics.  But why L.A.?
What makes the southwestern metropolis of the US of A so important to alien visitation movies as of late?  It almost made no sense to me why there would be so much emphasis on this particular city as of recent.  
    And then I recall a certain historical tidbit of 1942 Los Angeles that not too many people are aware of and for which I later found out were major inspirations for the three films I have thus discussed.  Apparently on February 25 of that year, anti-aircraft batteries in and around the City of Angels were on a mass hysteria artillery barrage in the dead of night shooting something in the sky that people thought may have been a Japanese bomber.  You have to understand, this was just a little under 3 months after the the sucker punch that was the aerial-naval bombardment of Pearl Harbor and there was massive concern among the Western populace of some kind of imminent invasion on the part of the Imperial Japanese that spurned a wave of anti-Japanese hysteria and suspicion.  But you all know about this story.  What you might not know is that many contemporary news papers of the time decried cover-up in official explanation of the events thereafter which prompted later UFOlogists to claim that what as being shot at in the sky was an unidentified flying object.  Here's one contemporary newspaper article of the time that sheds light on the subject.   

     Apparently tracer lights, flood lights and other things all tried to make focus on what was being shot in the sky, but as you can see, the way it looks has led some conspiracy theorists to speculate that it was a UFO being fired upon.  Official reports later say that it was just hysteria that caused the firefight in the first place and that most likely the flying object being targeted was a weather balloon of some kind, which is an interesting official explanation since that's the same "story" attributed to the Roswell discoveries in New Mexico nearly five years later.  
     Regardless of whether you believe the conspiracy theories or official explanations though, it seems that those same crackpot theories have become the popular focus of directors and producers as of late since they all take inspiration from that one historical bleep of the World War II home front.  In the end, I find it almost quite hilarious that three whole movies could be extrapolated from such an event.   Its artistic expression like this that shows history is never boring!
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Drawing the Line at 2.99...Should it be a trend?

    As anyone involved in the business of comics knows, DC has made a veritable price limit to most titles.  The price would put most running series titles at 2.99.  Good for consumers and apparently not bad for a large distributor like DC.  What I'm curious of though is just what other industries will do in light of this.  To my knowledge, no word has been made officially from Marvel to match such an offer as this and in truth one would think its almost necessary in a day and age in which economic recession is the unfortunate rule rather than the exception.  It would seem that Marvel should follow suit considering that their only real major competitor has finally drawn the line at 2.99.  not that it would matter much to me since I only purchase one monthly title from Marvel monthly anyway.   
    However, what of the smaller independent companies that don't put out as many titles as the Big Two?  Should they follow suit in order to keep up competition?  Its a real tricky question considering they still need to make a profit and therefore may be adamant about putting price ceilings on their products.  By putting such ceilings on their product they already cut into their profits yet if they ignore such things they run the risk of declining consumer confidence.  It's almost a double edged sword.  Damned if the indies do, damned if the indies don't.  Monthly from independent labels I receive one from IDW (GI Joe: A Real American Hero) and one from Image (Walking Dead Weekly).  The former of the two titles is 3.99 an issue whereas the latter is 2.99, so as you can see I've not much to complain about there.
    Alas, I think the price ceiling is a good trend since it helps comic consumers such as I who have limited income have a wider variety of choices without seriously depleting their wallets.  Lets just hope that trends in electronically digitized media do not make these price ceilings irrelevant.  As for Marvel, I think they are well off enough financially to make such price ceilings too.  We'll just have to see what the future holds in store for comic prices, and let the laws of capitalism reign supreme.  Hopefully this 2.99 gesture isn't a last ditch effort to stave off the digital revolution that is invading comics as we speak.  One can only wonder.

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Citizen Steel: The Perfect Adversary for Doomsday?

     I take great pride in admitting that I am a fan of the Justice Society and have faithfully collected every issue the latest series has put out since 2007.  That being said, I've become immersed in so many characters the Society has had, but none seem to stand out more to me as of late than Nathan Heywood, A.K.A. Citizen Steel.  We all know about his origin and how his powers came to be so I'll not go into details of that since a character biography is the last thing I'd want to do for this blog.  Instead I want to pose an interesting question that struck me the other day as I was reading the Puzzlemen storyline (JSA 14, 15, 16).  
    Heywood's powers make him invulnerable to the point that he suffers no physical pain any longer.  In fact he withstands no feeling of any kind, which, for whatever reason (i.e. deadening of the nerves, physical invulnerability of his body, physiochemical changes) makes him quite a powerhouse.  Not only does he have great strength behind him but can push himself far harder than most other entities.  And his feats exemplify these powers, most recently in JSA 14 when he asked Karen to punch him as hard as she could.  Though I will give no spoilers to what the end result of that request was, I will say that poor Heywood was quite upset as a result.   
    These powers do not make him unbeatable, mind you, but they do clearly give insight into just how tough Heywood can be in a fight.  Then Doomsday came to mind, another character that seems quite tough, some might even say ludicrously tough.  Because of genetic engineering and forced evolution, The Ultimate has incredible super strength, speed, invulnerability and stamina.  At one time he was endowed without sentience and as a result, as Superman once said "couldn't withstand pain, much less understand it." So he could push himself past the brink  which could bring down or even kill any other being.   
    Reactive adaptation renders Doomsday one of the greatest threats then that can overcome any challenge once he's been defeated.  But Citizen Steel is a character under which he experiences absolutely no feeling of any physical nature. In conclusion then, does it seem plausible to suggest that Citizen Steel can be the perfect adversary for Doomsday then?  Reactive adaptation only allows for him to be the next step better than his adversary, but how can Doomsday evolve beyond the point of Citizen Steel's invulnerability?  I mean unless Doomsday just pulled Citizen Steel apart limb from limb on the second try, I don't exactly see how he could win.  Is this another situation where the unstoppable force meets the immovable object?  Your thoughts, please!



    It would seem that I am on the verge of getting the "Fill in the Blanks" Quest of the Photoshopped Quest set since I've been uploading pictures like crazy of and relating to the famed city of Bete Noir that is the focal point to the Fallen Angel title, issued out by DC and later on by IDW.  I think I am 3 short of the 20 image quota needed to get this particular quest finished and I'm desperate because I just simply don't know where to look for images anymore!  I've been on search engines aplenty looking for pictures but I just cannot simply find anything new that would put me up and over that limit for the quest.  Are there any suggestions someone can give to me?  Perhaps another search engine I've overlooked?  Or even some reference site I'm unaware of?  Or will I have to take another route and possibly buy (or borrow, if I can) actual trade paperbacks and start scanning images at will?  Any help would be appreciated, for I would sure like to get this quest done like so many others that need finishing. 


Just five more blogs to go.

    I have just five more blogs remaining in the Chaste Monk Quest until I have that entire quest set down. This is just the interlude to the last four blogs I will create in order to achieve the quest.  Thus far I've talked about a variety of subject, ranging from Batman to the JSA, to comic appropriateness in school libraries and Monolith origins.  Just what shall I write about next? Stay tuned, for the best is yet to come!


Yin and Yang?!

  Remember these two? 


     Aside from the fact that they're obviously non-canon, I just find these two supposedly ultra-omnipotent beings to be completely and utterly ridiculous.  They were shown to have powers beyond that of what were considered to bet the most powerful characters of the Earth-616 and New Earth universes, the Living Tribunal and the Spectre (story's words, not mine mind you, I know better). While the story was itself good I just thought it obviously weird to include two such entities even if they made sense for the story.  
    What astounds me though is what I found out as I was doing a little research on the Vine.  Apparently on the entry for these two characters they are officially called "The Brothers Yin and Yang," and I really need some verification of where that was written, because I was under the impression, based on the issues they appeared in, were referred to only as "The Brothers", even if this moniker is still incorrect considering that the term should have been "The Siblings" since the story indicated that both universal beings were apparently sexless. 
    Still, does the the name "Brothers Yin and Yang" strike anyone as odd even if its correct?  After all, Yin and Yang implies lightness and darkness, justice and injustice, good and evil.  Is this to say that one of the "Siblings" is evil? If so, which one? Look carefully at the heroes and villains listed.  Notice Ben Grimm and Bruce Banner specifically.  Their expressions kind of exemplify my feelings on the Brothers' very existence and the questions I am posting here believe it or not!

Comics and School Libraries...Appropriateness

    I recall a certain day when I was substituting at a high school and on the break period I headed over to the library on campus to pass the time by reading something.  Lo and behold I find the trade paperback of Batman: Year One and I took the time to read through it.  I read through it and then moved along with the rest my day.  
    It was only until I was home that I recalled what I had read there and began to wonder of just how appropriate it was to have such a graphic novel on the shelves of a library of a public school.  After all, while the story in itself is not exactly bad or controversial, there are themes and situations that more or less were inherently inappropriate to have in a book in a public school setting.  And if anyone knows about the story, you would know what I'm talking about, with special reference to the reintroduction of Selina Kyle and her pre-Catwoman days as a woman of ill-repute.  Personally for me it just seems to be something that doesn't belong in a school library, even if students are more mature by the high school years (supposedly anyway). 
    I bring this to light now because I recall having a conversation with someone a while back that while they were working at a normal elementary school they recalled seeing the trade paperback version of the Watchmen on the shelves of the institution's library.  And quite simply for me that is just beyond the pale.  I have no way of verifying the truth of his claims since I never visited the school, so I just have to assume that what he was telling me was correct.  Everything about that particular story is completely inappropriate to be on the shelves of an elementary school library.   
    It really is funny too considering so many pieces of literature become controversial and are thus attacked by parents and communities for inherent messages.  Just look at the literature of Mark Twain (specifically Huckleberry Finn), or even C.S. Lewis' Narnia series.  And yet novels like Batman: Year One and Watchmen remain on shelves?  Is there something wrong with this picture? 
    Now, I'm not saying comics should be banned from public school libraries at all. That would be a useless and fruitless gesture.  What does need to be done is a more selective process in picking what goes on the shelves.  The comics/graphic novels/trade paperbacks need to be appropriate to the age level of the students being exposed to them in the library.  Like for instance, Watchmen on the shelves of an elementary school is not good.  Now if Tiny Titans trade paperbacks were on the shelves, then I would not be so concerned. Your thoughts?


JSA All-Stars...Good series but necessary?

    It all started in September 2009 with issue #29 of Justice Society with the "Bad Seed" storyline.  It all came into a head in January of 2010 with the introduction of the JSA All-Stars ongoing series.  Now we essentially have two versions of the Justice Society, with the golden oldies and more experienced members on the old team, and the younger, more spry individuals on the All-Stars.  And that is the current state of Justice Society comics.   
    But how did that change come about? What caused the division?  Many people would attribute it to a variety of reasons.  Philosophical and ideological differences between the oldies (i.e. Jay Garrick, Alan Scott) and the newbies (i.e. Karen Starr, Mon Roi).  The fact that the group got WAY too large considering the number of recruits that had come in to swell the ranks of the old JSA ever since the first issue.  There was distrust sewn among the ranks that had been planted ever since their run in with Gog during the whole "One World Under Gog" arc.  But an even more important result of their fight with Gog was the transformation of David Reid into Magog.   
    In many ways I think Magog deserves the credit for having sewn the seeds of discord among the ranks of the old Justice Society and caused it to divide.  After all, he had been at odds with Karen and the ranking members ever since his transformation into Gog's herald and had differing ideas on just what superheroes were meant to do.  If anything, he merely capitalized on the incessant problems that plagued the Justice Society and manipulated events to bring about a virtual dissolution.  Plain and simple in my opinion.   
    What is the point of all this? Well it's quite simple.  Since Magog no longer exists with the events that had transpired in Justice League: Generation Lost, the root cause of manipulation and divisiveness is dead and gone. What reason then do the younger and older generations of JSA members have to stay apart?  They got along once, they could do so again!  I truly believe if they wanted, they could recombine themselves into a single group once more.  They just have to be willing to do so.  After all, are there really any major fundamental differences (other than ages, backgrounds, philosophies) between the old guard JSA members and the 'young turk' Justice Society members?  If someone disagrees please, say so!  Otherwise, I really see no clear justification for having two separate teams and hence two separate running titles.