New York Comic Con 2011 Sketch Book: Hulk Matt by Whilce Portacio

Hulk by Whilce Portacio I think one of my highlights from New York Comic Con was getting a chance to meet and speak with Whilce Portacio. I’ve been a fan of his for a long time, and I consider him to be one of the best comic artists from the 1990s. His runs on the various X-books and his own Wetworks projects are some of my favorite stuff from that era.

I got to talk with Whilce at the Marvel booth about a bunch of things, including his favorite projects, some ideas he would like to pitch and even his upcoming run on Incredible Hulk. After such a great pitch, I’m sold. That said, I was super excited to get this Hulk sketch from him. I love that it was a quick sketch and his style permeates it.

Check out Whilce’s website to see some of the current stuff he’s working on. His run on Hulk starts in January.

Ridiculously Awesome Halloween Music

I might not be that into horror movies or comics, but that doesn’t stop me from liking horror influenced music! Here are some tunes you can add to your party playlist tonight.

Misfits – “Scream” from the album Famous Monsters

The Misfits and Halloween go hand and hand. This video from their 1999 album Famous Monsters shows a hostile vampire takeover and was directed by none other than George A. Romero. He knows a thing or two about zombies; he directed Night of the Living Dead!

Marvel has this clip of the current Misfits lineup talking about their favorite Marvel characters and their new album Devil’s Reign.

Rob Zombie – “Dragula” from the album Hellbilly Deluxe

This was the first single from Zombie’s solo debut album. I hold Hellbilly Deluxe to a special fondness because it was a then-current soundtrack to my senior year of high school. Getting back to the song, it’s a loving homage to the Munsters’ hot rod. I love how the video is so simple yet effective, with the band playing behind projections of classic horror films. Trivia buffs will note that the dancing robot is from Bela Lugosi’s movie serials The Phantom Creeps.

Lordi – “Would You Love A Monster Man”

Finland’s very own monster rock band is super awesome, like the lovechild of Gwar, Alice Cooper and Kiss. “Would You Love A Monster Man” was a single for Lordi back in 2002 and a new version in 2006. The video has the band being reawakened in a morgue and trying to recruit a female coroner into their posse.


The Ramones – “Pet Sematary” from the album Brain Drain

1989’s Brain Drain was a turning point in the history of the Ramones, as it was the last to feature Dee Dee and was the return of Marky to the band. It also had the hit single “Pet Sematary” which was written by Dee Dee. The song was made for the same-titled movie, based on the Stephen King book. Why? Because the author was a super fan of the band.

Type O Negative – “Black No. 1″

Finally, if there was ever a band made for Halloween it would be Type O Negative. Their songs have countless referenced to fall (like the album title October Rust or the song “September Son”) as well as horror movies and

As a bonus, here is a clip of Type O playing “Halloween in Heaven” at Philadelphia’s Trocadero Theater. Here are some pictures I took of the concert.

New York Comic Con 2011 Sketch Book: Hawkeye by Tom Raney

Hawkeye by Tom Raney

At New York Comic Con, I also got this quick head sketch from everyone’s favorite archer Hawkeye! It’s by Tom Raney, who is currently working on Marvel’s Avengers Academy.

I’ve been a big fan of many of his stuff over the years, so I was super happy to not only get the chance to talk comics with him but he was generous enough to get this sketch! Super fans of my blog will remember that he also is responsible for the first sketch I ever got at a convention!

Bob Newhart’s Brief Odyssey Into Comics

Move it Sheldon. CBS’s Big Bang Bang Theory wasn’t the first comic book-centric sitcom. In fact the eyeball network tried its hand on that type of a program about nineteen years ago with Bob.

Mad-Dog #1 cover by Ty Templeton

The 1992 sitcom Bob starred Bob Newhart of Newhart and The Bob Newhart Show fame as Bob McKay, the cartoonist who created Mad-Dog, a Batman like super hero during the 1950s, which ceases to be published after the whole Wertham “Seduction of the Innocent” scare. Fast forwarding about four decades later, the American-Canadian Trans-Continental Communications Company buys the rights to the character, and Bob gets back into the comics industry.

Bob winds up feuding with his much younger writer/editor who wants to take the character into a much darker and more violent direction, setting up Bob’s workplace drama in the usual sitcom old guy versus new guy sense.

Poor Mad-Dog had to put up with a lot.

It was typical sitcom fare with Bob’s overly supportive wife Kaye and their whiny, perpetually single adult daughter Trisha. As a fun footnote and trivia question, her best friend was played by Lisa Kudrow, who went on to find fame and fortune as Phoebe on Friends.

The typical episode involved some sort of wacky situation with Bob’s family or his coworkers, who were an odd assortment themselves. A few comic book creators (mainly the Image Comics crew) made cameo appearances of themselves at a comics award dinner banquet. Longtime Jack Kirby chronicler Mark Evanier was a consultant on the show.

Unfortunately, the series went through a drastic overhaul between the first and second seasons. I guess the show’s producers decided that a comedy about the comics world was the reason for the show’s low rating, and season two had a new direction. Mad-Dog was cancelled, Bob left the comics industry and took a job at a greeting company as an art director, with Betty White as his new boss. This didn’t help much and the show was cancelled shortly after.

Mad-Dog actually did get to have a comic book; he was featured in a six issue mini-series by Marvel. The comic was a flip book, with one side featuring a classic Mad-Dog story and the other having the modern, violent/darker version.

Modern Mad-Dog is filled with angst and buckles, just like any good super hero from the 1990s.

The classic Mad-Dog stories were by Ty Templeton, and were ridiculous. You could tell that they were written and drawn by Templeton to be an absurd parody of 1950s comics, especially the weirder Batman ones.

The modern Mad-Dog stories were written by Evan Dorkin of Milk and Cheese fame and were pretty straight forward super hero stories. After recently re-reading these, Im’ not sure if Dorkin intended these stories to be written as a “through the looking glass” view of super hero comics at the time.

You’ll probably be able to track these comics down online or at your local comics shop. As for the television series, I don’t think it has ever been released for home video, either on disc or digitally. Your best luck on seeing it is if they have another Bob Newhart themed weekend on TV Land, which showed some of the second season episodes that were never aired.

New York Comic Con 2011 Sketch Book: Uncle Travelling Matt by Katie Cook

Uncle Traveling Matt by Katie Cook

One of the best parts of going to any comic comic book show is the chance to get sketches or original art. I was lucky to get this awesome picture of Uncle Travelling Matt from Fraggle Rock at the New York Comic Con 2011!

It’s by Katie Cook, who we’ve mentioned before. I thought it was awesome that she had this for sale in her portfolio, since we all know I’ve been on a bit of an Uncle Travelling Matt kick now and again.

Matt’s sitting down–excitably–to a pizza. Under normal situations, I’d be happy for pizza. I would be doubley excited to see him hanging around a pizza parlor.

What kind of soda do you think he’s drinking? I think I would assume that he would be a big drinker of ginger ale. It fits his character very well.

I don’t remember him eating pizza on the show, but this clip does the trick. He’s so right about barbecue gender politics, with the ladies on one side and dudes on the other.

 

 

 

Muppets invade WWE

Finally, something I’ve been clamoring for. And I’m completely serious.

For years I’ve always thought that the format of Monday Night Raw was like the The Muppet Show. Both shows feature a cast of crazies and eccentrics running around causing mayhem, with some sort of hapless leader figure trying to salvage the show, whether it be Kermit the Frog or who ever the general manager of Raw is at the moment.

This was furthered a couple years back when Raw started having special celebrity guests. If you ever saw the clips of The Price Is Right‘s Bob Barker on Raw, it totally seemed like an episode of The Muppet Show.

I’m looking forward to this episode of Raw more than any in quite a long time, but there’s a large contingent of haters. So to them, I politely ask that you consider the following:

  1. Survivor Series is about three weeks away, and they’ve already pretty much set up what the main matches are going to be. It’s not like Fozzie and Gonzo will be messing up Nash/HHH or Cena and Rock/Killings and Miz.
  2. Too many fans are stuck in the OMG! ECW/ATTITUDE era. If you want to see bloody, hardcore wrestling or over-the-top gimmicks and promos, that’s fine. But you do have to acknowledge that the WWE has made a lot of money in better advertising and sponsorship by abandoning that direction. And if wrestlers interacting with the Muppets isn’t your cup of tea, check out some Ring of Honor.
  3. IT’S THE FREAKING MUPPETS!!!?!?!?!!!!! What’s not to like?

So set your DVR. I know I will. WWE’s Monday Night Raw airs next Monday at 9 pm.

New York Comic Con 2011: The Last Report

Avengers SetSo New York Comic Con 2011 has come and gone. Let’s talk about all the fun I had in the Javits Center. But first lets talk about this picture of the Marvel section. Yes, that’s an actual set piece from the upcoming Avengers. They used it as a backdrop for their section on the convention floor.

Anyway, the convention itself was fine. I went on the Friday and Saturday. Friday was awesome; Saturday not so much, mostly due to it being over crowded. Let me get some gripes out of the way:

Captain America costume

Captain America's costume/armor was pretty cool to look at.

  1. Non-comic book related stuff tends to do nothing for me. That said, some of the crowds and lines waiting to play whatever new XBox or PS3 games looked horrifically long. This seemed to cause some problems for other exhibitors, as the gamer lines were extending into their space.
  2. Yet again, I didn’t go to any panels. I’m sure there were probably some that I would have enjoyed, but many of them had lines forming hours before. We all like being the first people to find out about something, but in this digital age I am not sure if that’s the best use of your time. I mean, it’s going to be up on the internet seconds after its debuted. Just look at all those movie trailers they have at San Diego. You literally waste a whole day to see three minutes of footage that everyone else will see.
  3. No good swag. I know that promotional budgets are tight across the board but I felt that the con was lacking in that department. Oh well.
  4. Anime/Cosplay seem to be in the middle of everything. Please don’t think I’m knocking them; it’s just not my thing. But at times you felt really bad for the ones wearing elaborate/oversized costumes that made it difficult to navigate the Javits Center in.
Metron

The exclusive Metron from Mattel looks wicked. Love the Moebius chair!

But I did have a whole lot of fun at this show. The artist’s alley section was huge and it was great getting to look at so much awesome comics art, whether it be original pages or just interesting sketches and prints.

Night Own and the Baby from the Hangover

Legendary had an interesting assortment of props, including Night Owl's antarctic helmet and the baby from the Hangover.

Artist’s alley is such a weird and awkward social construct. All you see are comics creators of all levels waiting for someone to talk to them, with sad puppy dog eyes.  The worst is that you feel obligated to purchase something. As soon as you make eye contact, you wind up having an awkward conversation about whatever their project is and they try to hard sell it to you. So not fun.

The other weird thing is the arbitrary pricing you see from table to table. At one table, you had Sara Pichelli of the new Ultimate Spider-Man charging a decent amount for a sketch of someone of her stature in the industry. And then, across the way you would find another artist, who’s never had anything not self published CHARGING THE SAME. Head meet desk. It’s just that certain people have a name value that they can use to justify charging more for than others. Just because Adam Hughes’ sketches and convention work starts at $400 means that you can charge that much.

She-Ra riding Swiftwind

She-Ra? A new Swiftwind? Sign me up!

I did have a lot of fun in the artist alley’s section, getting a bunch of really cool sketches and signatures. I’ll be sharing them later this week. Any who, it’s always nice talking to Walt Simonson about comics. NYCC also had ROB LIEFELD~! as a guest, so I was really happy to chit-chat with him. And for all the internet outrage he generates, he always has a decent line and is super nice to his fans.

Voltron Toys

The new Mattel Voltron series does look really cool. Maybe one of you could get your favorite blogger some for Christmas?

As for the goodies I picked up, there weren’t too many purchases that I made. I kept it relatively small, as taking the train in and out of New York makes it more difficult to buy, say a longbox full of post Crisis DC stuff. But I did get some stuff that I’m happy about.

So yes, I had an awesome time and glad that I had a chance to go. How were your NYCC experiences?

Venom: Volume 1

Who needs new characters when you can take some preexisting ones, add in a new concept, and have an awesome result? Rick Remender does just that in Venom: Volume 1.

This new take on the super popular villain/antihero has longtime Spider-Man supporting character Eugene “Flash” Thompson bonded with the Venom symbiote. Things are different this time. Thompson, an amputee Iraqi war veteran, is given a chance to serve his country again by serving as a host for the symbiote, which gives him the usual Venom powers and abilities. The catch is that the can only stay bonded for 48 hours; after that, the two creatures become inseparable. Obviously, he doesn’t want that and neither does the government, who have installed an explosive device to ensure they stay separated.

This first volume has Venom facing the aptly named criminal mastermind Crime Master (the latest version of this long recurring villain). Venom fights with Jack O’ Lantern in Eastern Europe and gravels to the Savage Land to prevent Crime Master from getting a shipment of vibranium–the super metal used in Captain America’s shield–which he plans on using for munitions. Since this is a super hero story, things only get more difficult as Kraven somehow gets involved, wanting to fight Thompson, who he believes is Spider-Man.

Things get worse for Thompson, as Crime Master informs him that he is aware of his secret identity and has dispatched Jack O’ to kill Thompson’s on again, off again girlfriend Betty Brant, if he doesn’t the vibranium. To make matters worse, his 48 hour period of being joined with the symbiote is coming to an end, and Spider-Man is hot on his trail, as a new Venom tearing through New York looking for Betty (one of Peter’s friends) is alarming to say the least.

Remender did a great job weaving together a fairly complex plot, but really shines with Thompson’s narration to build the relationship between himself and the symbiote. Tony Moore’s art is fine, and you can tell that he was having fun thinking of ways to have Venom’s tentacles use machine guns and other weaponry.

The final story in this collection gives a glimpse into Thompson’s past, showing why he was portrayed as being an asshole all those years. Thompson had a terrible relationship with his father growing up, and this shows how that took its toll on him throughout his life.

So yes, I really did enjoy this. It was the most fun I’ve had reading a Venom story in a longtime and I can’t wait to check out the next volume.

Captain America’s Deleted Scene: Stage Show and Fun At War!

It just seems like yesterday Captain America was out in the movie theaters. To help promote its upcoming home video release, Marvel.com has put up this deleted scene from the movie. It’s neat for two reasons.

I love the juxtaposition between Cap and Bucky, showing the difference in their war efforts. Cap is up on stage at won of the war bonds, while Bucky is off with the Howling Commandos fighting Hydra in Europe. Ultimately, we all know Cap would rather be on the battlefield than embarrassing himself on stage.

The other thing I love is that its a rough cut, with all the cues for the special effects that need to be added or changed. I won’t lie; I’m a sucker for that kind of stuff.

Captain America comes out next Tuesday.

Batman and Robin: Batman Vs. Robin

Everyone knows that Grant Morrison’s writing can be a bit overwhelming if you jump in during the middle. That’s precisely what I did with his Batman and Robin series by jumping on in the second collected volume.

World be damned, this was a very straight forward story aside from the Oberon Sexton subplot (that ran itself through this whole series…thanks Wikipedia) and some references to the “Return of Bruce Wayne” story line.

Mainly this deals with Dick Grayson (now taking the role of Batman) and Damian Wayne (Batman’s long-forgotten son) investigating the possibility of Batman not having died at the end of Final Crisis.

The first half of the book has the Dynamic duo heading over to England to team up with Batwoman, as well as Knight and Squire (imagine a knight themed, British version of Batman and Robin), to protect a Lazarus Pit that a bunch of local super villains are fighting over. Things take a turn from the worse when Dick tries to resurrect what he assumed was the remains of Bruce, but turns out to be one of the Batman clones that Darkseid had made during Final Crisis. This mistake winds up almost costing Batwoman and Damian their lives.

Once everyone gets back to Gotham City, Dick and Damian discover some weird bat references in some old Wayne family portraits and artifacts, wondering if Bruce is time travelling (they’re smart; that’s the whole basis of “Return of Bruce Wayne” is about). Because being a super hero is never easy, Damian’s body is controlled by nanotechnology by his mother Talia in an effort to kill Dick for two reasons:

  1. Dick’s been trying to convince Damian that it’s not his destiny to take his mother’s role as the head of the League of Assassins, and urging him to use his talents/skills to help people, a concept which Talia despises.
  2. She really hates him.

Obviously our heroes survive, as the series went on for a while. Morrison wrote a great comic. What he excelled at was making Damian such an interesting character, especially with his relationships with everyone around him.

Damian acts like a smart-ass to Alfred, who takes it in stride. You can only imagine how insufferable Bruce was as a child.

Damian also has this weird brother/father/mentor relationship with Dick. Even though Damian considers himself to be the superior of the two, you get the feeling that he looks to Dick for guidance and approval. Also, it’s a total flip of the usual Batman/Robin dynamic; Dick is the more relaxed, easy-going one and Damian is the intense brooding character. This works really well.

There’s also a series of weirdness that Damian has with his parents. Even though he’s only been briefly united with his father, he is convinced that he is still alive. Compare that to his dealings with his mother Talia, who is completely detached with him. At the end of the book, she disowned him for not wanting to follow her in the family business, going so far to let him know that she has a clone of him that has taken his place as her son.

I don’t think she’s getting a Mother’s Day card.

Anyway, I was glad I picked this up and look forward to getting the rest of the series. It’s definitely a Batman story (even if it isn’t the traditional Batman), but its very light and easy going in tone (yes…there’s violence and conflict, but its not  beating you over the head).

Good job, Mr. Morrison.

I Survived New York Comic Con 2011

Cartoon Network lounge

The New York Comic Con was certainly adventure time! Photo by Steven Leung (www.flickr.com/gluetree)

So the 2011 New York Comic Con has come and gone. I made the trek up this past Friday and Saturday. I certainly had a much better time then last year’s. Not that I didn’t enjoy myself last year, but I just wasn’t having it.

There are a bunch of pics, purchases, sketches and such that I’d love to talk about, but I’m really pooped. So I’ll just leave you with this.

Jem!

Jem is totally outrageous. In hindsight, I really should have gotten my picture taken with her. Picture by Edward Liu (www.flickr.com/edwick)

One of the weirder things that I found myself intrigued with is Jem. After stumbling across the cartoon this summer on the Hub, I’ve become totally smitten with this totally outrageous character. Seriously.

I’ve wound up staying waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay past my bedtime to watch the show because it is surreal. Anyway, they had a display case of vintage toys and marketing stuff. I wonder if there will be some new Jem stuff in the future. Or, at the very least, a re-release of the cartoons on DVD, so I won’t have to leave my girlfriend’s DVR filled with it.

So I’m going to leave you with this.

We can make a difference.

Happy 98th Birthday Joe Simon!

Did you know that yesterday was comic creator Joe Simon’s 98th birthday? This legendary writer/artist/editor is most known for the creation of Captain America with his longtime collaborator Jack Kirby, but that only scratches the surface of his career.

Here are some Joe Simon facts that you may (or may not) know about!

  1. Joe was the first head editor of Timely Comics, which evolved into what we now call Marvel Comics!
  2. Joe and Jack at one point were neighbors, living across the street from each other out on Long Island!
  3. Joe’s wife Harriet also had a career in the comics industry as well; she worked as a secretary for Al Harvey (founder of Harvey Comics)!
  4. Joe was an influential force in the development of both romance and horror comics!
You can learn more about his career and the Gold and Silver Ages of comics in the recently released Joe Simon: My Life in Comics. He will also be appearing at this weekend’s New York Comic Con.

Great Covers #1

I kind of got bored doing the Splash Page Saturdays feature, but was looking for quick things to blog about on Saturdays, so how about cool covers? Check out the alternate cover of Archaia’s Fraggle Rock #1 by Jeremy Brown.

This cover has Uncle Traveling Matt, a Fraggle who ventured outside of their caves to explore “outer space”, which is what Fraggles consider the human world. Occasionally he would come to visit, but mostly he was featured in segments like the following  where he would send back postcards to the Fraggles about what he had discovered.

So its only fitting that his comic book cover has him exploring the outer space social construct known as the comic book store. I can only imagine the remarks he would have had, like the people who buy the books but never read them, or the fans who go online to complain about everything.

Uncle Traveling Matt was one of my favorite Fraggles, due in part to the ridiculousness of his scenes and that I had a really awesome stuffed toy of him that went on many adventures with me as a child. He may have been a stuffed animal, but he came with a functioning backpack and a plastic safari hat.

Now that’s awesome.

On Steve Jobs

So here’s another post about Steve Jobs, since he’s been all over the media since his passing last night. Jobs has had a definite influence on my life; he ran companies that made things that I wanted to have. Badly.

I’ve been a firm supporter of Apple’s products since I first set my hands on an Apple II as a first grader back in 1986. My family’s Mac SE is still fully functioning. I’ve picked up my fair share of nostalgic Apple products, many of which I saved from a painful demise at the recycling yard to being used for my various projects. To this day, I’m still trying to track down a complete NeXT system. I spend a good part of my day working on a modern Mac and my iPod is always on me. I may forget to bring my wallet, but I always have my iPod.

The products that Apple has produced under Jobs have definitely changed the consumer electronics landscape time and time again, but in recent years Jobs led the release of the iPad, a device that makes an impact on the comics industry.

Seeing how poorly the music and film industries have done in the digital age, the release of the iPad pushed comic book publishers into the modern era. Now that there is feasibly a way to enjoy reading comics digitally (lets face it…reading comics on screen really isn’t that much fun), they’ve gotten on the iPad/digital comics with making sure that their content is accessible–in a way that they can monetize–and easy for their audience.

Say you still haven’t gotten that first issue of the new Hawk and Dove series, now a month later. You can just purchase it online. Not only current titles, but a bunch of stuff from the back catalog. This is great for the reader, but what about your local comic shop?

Now that consumers have a new way to get their comics, what happens to the brick and mortar location? If they don’t want to wind up like Borders, they’re going to have to rethink their strategy.

But it certainly helps the publisher’s bottom line, as they’ve made their inventory available to everyone. Across the board, digital sales are up, no doubt thanks to people wanting an iPad.

A Steve Jobs helmed Apple created a device that revolutionized how we use content, just like how the Apple II brought computers into the home and school, and how Macs made everything easier on the computer, and how the iPod changed how we listened music, and how the iPhone made cell phones exactly like the stuff that Captain Kirk used.

So Steve did it again.

Requiem For An Atlanta Thrashers Fan

The Atlanta Thrasher

The Thrasher was created by comics legend Stan Lee for the Guardian Project, which created a super hero based on each hockey team. With their no longer being an Atlanta Thrashers team, I guess Thrasher will be a casualty of the looming hockey continuity crisis maxi-series.

So what happens when your favorite hockey team ceases to exist? I’m going to look at the demise of my beloved Atlanta Thrashers today.

Wait…there were actually Thrashers fans?

Low blow. Being from New Jersey, there was never a lack of NHL hockey on television. Every night, you can find New Jersey Devils, New York Rangers, Philadelphia Flyers and New York Islanders games on the local sports channels.

But why the Thrashers? With them taking ice for the first time in 1999, it was a great starting point to be a fan. They weren’t any one else’s team; they were mine. Great players like Ilya Kovalchuk and Marian Hossa made stops on the team.  And plus, they’re from Atlanta which has brought us some of the best thing in the history of mankind. Coca Cola. Ted Turner. Lil Jon and the East Side Boyz. Mastodon. Do I need to say more?

Needless to say, this summer when it was announced that the Thrashers were sold, and packing up for a new home in Winnipeg, I was a bit disheartened. I was more than a typical out of market fan; I’ve actually made pilgrimages to the Phillips Arena to see them play (and lose).

And now that the Thrashers are now rechristened the Winnipeg Jets, it’s created a continuity problem that I don’t think that Marv Wolfman could sort out.

Sadly, the closes that the Atlanta Thrashers, their fans and Lil Jon got to the Stanley Cup was during this promotional photo shoot. To this day, I still stand by the fact that this team definitely was in need of some crunk juice.

It’s a known fact that a sports team will potentially leave its fans for greener pastures. For continuity sake it’s important on how they do it. The Atlanta Flames headed west for colder pastures in Calgary, and Minneapolis’ North Stars heads south to Dallas for better barbeque. Ultimately, these organizations kept their team names, with some tweaking here and there in a new color scheme or two.

This is a lot like DC Comics’ legacy heroes, where someone new takes the mantle of a fallen or retired hero, like the various Batgirls, Blue Beetles and Flashes. They all have their own take on what it means to be that entity, but they respect their history.

Some sports teams completely change their identity after a move to distance themselves from their past. The Hartford Whalers transformed into the Carolina Hurricanes. Over in the basketball universe, the Oklahoma City Thunder has done everything in their power to distance the franchise from its history as the Seattle Super Sonics.

We see this type of behavior a lot in comics. Dick Grayson abandoned his Robin persona, costume and city to get out of Batman’s shadow to forge his own identity as Nightwing. Or Henry Pym, who has switched back and forth between five different aliases over the years.

This all brings us to the problem I have with supporting the Winnipeg Jets. I don’t really have a problem with the franchise moving from Atlanta to Winnipeg, and supporters of the two cities can argue why their location was a better choice for the team.

The problem is that this new team’s new name continuity makes no sense. The Winnipeg owners bought the Thrashers’ history in Atlanta, which includes the one 2007 South Eastern Division title and nine out of eleven losing seasons. I can see why a name change might be a good thing, as the Thrashers name doesn’t necessarily evoke images of a strong hockey team; instead you think of the skateboarding magazine or the bird indigenous to Georgia.

But naming them the Winnipeg Jets was just ridiculous? There already is a Winnipeg Jets—after they left town, they became the Phoenix Coyotes in 1996. They’re the team that has retired the numbers of the original Jets like Bobby Hull and Dale Hawerchuk. The history of the original Jets is now part of the Coyotes’ lineage.

So it’s really weird to name the new Winnipeg team the Jets. Its like someone who gets dumped by a woman named Rachel to keep going out with women who look like Rachel the First. Let it go.

There in a bit of a pickle. They’re no longer the Thrashers, but they’ll never be the Winnipeg Jets. It’s like a weird purgatory to be in. And unfortunately for the Winnipeg fans, they’re going to soon realize that this isn’t the Teemu Sellane Jets that they grew up idolizing, and they’re stuck with the perpetually up-and-coming Thrashers they made fun of for years.

What if the New York Islanders—who are perennially on the verge of leaving Long Island—were bought by an Atlanta based ownership group to be the new Atlanta Thrashers.  Stranger things have happened. Anyway, if the new Thrashers decided to claim the four Stanley Cups that the Islanders one, and marketed themselves as a four-time championship team, hockey purists would flip their lids.

Nu-Jets fans aren’t getting the four WHA hockey titles and whatever pennants they captured. Those belong to the Phoenix Coyotes. Sorry.

I think Gary Bettman is going to have to have a Crisis of Infinite Teams.

Ghost Rider Fun

Ghost Rider

For those of us without an iPhone or Android powered cell phone, it can be depressing that you can’t do all those cool Instagram photos. Well to those of us who are kicking it old school, there’s Pixl-O-Matic. This website based service allows you to make some really awesome vintage style pictures.

The Ghost Rider picture above was done through a process of using Pixlr-O-Matic filters and then running the resulting image through Photoshop, repeating the process over and over again to get the colors washed out. My goal was to focus all the crazy lighting effects from his chain, since this was a figure of the Dan Ketch version of the hero, whose weapon was a mystical chain.

The end result was this, and I’m pretty content with the final project. So let me know what you think. In the meantime, we’re getting closer to Nick Cage reprising the role of the Spirit of Vengeance, in the appropriately titled Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance, which hits the big screens on February 17, 2012.

Pixlr-O-Matic

An Addendum To Yesterday’s Post

Oh. I forgot to mention my favorite thing about the issue.

GREEN ARROW SAID “THIS AIN’T NO DISCO.”

Wow.

That right there made this a must buy issue. Those four words are a favorite phrase of my girlfriend and I, lifted from the classic Talking Heads song “Life During Wartime” and recycled in that Sheryl Crow song “All I Wanna Do.” Whatever happened to her?

Getting back to Green Arrow, I’ve read way too many comments calling for JT Krul’s head for this line of dialogue. And to that, I say your all crazy. You have to realize the context.

In this scene, he’s burst his way into some club (which probably serves overpriced but third rate mixed drinks) fighting some super powered villains. If you were in the crowd, you would be a little nervous.

So Green Arrow thought on the fly and decided to say something funny (albeit dated) to break the tension. It’s a lot like that episode of Family Guy where Peter is trying to use the “I’ll have what she’s having” catchphrase. The only difference is this actually worked

And to those who complained that its stupid to say something that literal, there’s something wrong with you. Green Arrow is somewhere in the 25-30 age bracket, so he’s never been to a disco. And he’s referencing the Talking Heads, which makes him cool in my book.

Anyway, here’s some fun “ain’t no disco” music to get you through your Saturday.