Archive for the ‘Miscellaneous’ Category

Happy Yuri Gargarin Day!

April 12, 2011

If you’ve been to today, you might have noticed the space-themed header. In case you’re not already aware, today marks the 50th anniversary of Yuri Gargarin of the former U.S.S.R. becoming the first human in space.

For a while when I was a kid, I loved space and almost everything about it. Like a lot of unrealistic kids, I had a phase where I wanted to be an astronaut. But Yuri fucking did it, becoming a national hero in the Soviet Union. Dude had a stamp and everything. The U.S. was less of a fan of him at the time, because the Space Race had become another way of showing our dicks were bigger than our Cold War adversary’s. But we got to the moon first, so we still kinda won. And the late Gargarin deserves a ton of respect, especially when you read about how dangerous the Soviet space program really was. That’s a link to a recent article on, one of the best comedy sites on the Internet, but behind the comedy is a boatload of info that shows how scary as shit it must have been for Yuri to risk his life to be such a pioneer.

So what does any of this have to do with comic books? Maybe a little more than you think. Yuri’s trip came a short six months before the release of Fantastic Four #1, a comic issue that helped revolutionize the industry. The FF’s origin, of course, features a trip to space that gives the quartet unexpected powers. Unfortunately, I can’t find specifics about just when the book started developing (not surprising, considering the legal battle about who’s idea it even was — see the Kirby lawsuit battles). But it seems probable to me that, at least among laymen if not even experts, there were still considerable questions about what kind of effects (short- and long-term) space travel would have. The FF’s origin story probably didn’t seem as ridiculous at the time, whereas today, various creative teams have tried to re-tool it slightly to make sense with what we now know about space travel; for instance, the Ultimate line changed the FF’s trip to the Negative Zone.

Furthermore, I feel like the widespread public interest in the Space Race had to have had something to do with FF becoming an unexpected hit. And the book’s success made it the cornerstone of Marvel’s early lineup of books, and encouraged Marvel to try other teams books, such as The Avengers and X-Men. But biggest of all, according to the book Comic Book Century, the comic’s success revitalized Jack Kirby’s waning creative energy and persuaded Stan Lee, who had been thinking about leaving the industry, to stay in comics. And the rest, as they say, is history.

A lot changed 50 years ago, but think about this comic book angle: If not for Yuri Gargarin, the Space Race might not have kicked to another level. If not for the Space Race interest, Fantastic Four could have been a flop. If not for FF‘s success, we might have lost Stan Lee, Jack Kirby, and thus, maybe Marvel itself.

So from the kid in me who dreamed of space, and from the adult who still loves the creative escape of a good comic, Happy Yuri Gargarin Day.


Spiffy and AA talk TV

September 26, 2010

So, Saturday night, Spiffy started texting me incessantly about all kinds of shit, but his one noteworthy idea was he and I teaming up for a Previews Reviews-style post on the first week of season premieres from the fall TV schedule. Due to my lack of AIM on the computer I was using, we ended up on Facebook (he’s Andy, I’m Me). This was the result.

One of us was drunk, but I’m not telling who; try to guess for yourself.


New at the Eat More Comics message board

January 13, 2010

Check out our newest topics:

What were YOUR favorite comics of the decade?

Thor-speak: Yeah or Nay?

Poll: Your Thoughts on the Spider-Man movie news (which Spiff commented on here).

While you’re there, feel free to check out some of our older threads, like “Best Films of 2009” and “What comics are you reading?”

All this and more… at the Eat More Comics Message Board!

Happy Holidays!

December 26, 2009

Yes, admittedly, I’m a day late with this message, but better than late than never, right? I hope everyone around these parts is enjoying time with their friends, families, dogs, cats, iguanas, camels, right/left hand these weeks, and I hope everyone enjoyed/is enjoying Christmas/Hannukah and Kwanzaa. Also, be sure to get hammered drunk/play a lot of board games this New Year’s!

If you’re bored or tired of that, may I suggest a trip to the movies? I have yet to see Avatar (I’m holding out for a 3-D IMAX experience, and have found tickets to be hard to come by), but I hear the technical spectacle is worth the hefty price of admission. I have, however, seen Guy Ritchie’s Sherlock Holmes, and LOVED it. Robert Downey Jr. is fantastic in the title role, and so is Jude Law’s Dr. Watson (great  chemistry). Speaking of chemistry, Downey had a lot of it with love interest Irene Adley (played by Rachel McAdams, who I will marry one day). I’m not a Holmes buff by any stretch of the imagination, but this was just such an entertaining and well-made blockbuster, which isn’t anything to scoff at nowadays.


Comic book hilarity

October 6, 2009

Click the link for superheroes’ Facebook status updates. Great, great stuff:

Two new members! Count ’em: two!

January 5, 2009

Our family here at Groin Central just keeps getting bigger!  Say hello to Rob (hypergraffic) and Lia (dillonmania), the latest to join the ranks of the proud! The brave! The Grointastic! Both Rob and Lia are old friends who know a thing or two about awesome. Rob’s commented on our blog before as “robthesolarman,” “volcanorob” and “#1 Jeff Fan,” while Lia’s commented as… well, “Lia.”

Now, we at this here blog take new members very seriously, so I thought you might like a sneak peek at how we approached our latest contributors:

Gokitalo (7:26:07 PM): Rob! I will now bestow upon you the Mighty Powers of Grointasticness!
Gokitalo (7:27:32 PM): Hold my Enchanted Groin aloft and let the Power of Groinskull surge through you!
Volcano R o b (7:27:42 PM): uhhhhh

So everyone give us a nice, warm welcome to the new guys!

Twitter puts my favorite creators in my pants

December 2, 2008

I’m hooked on Twitter.  I’ve written about it, used it and abused it.  After joining it I quickly followed all of my fellow internet dorks in Vancouver Canada, and then once I got the local tech / blogging community good and followed I turned my attention to my hobbies.  I quickly found that the comic book community had embraced Twitter in the wonderful geeky fashion that we’re known for.

With a lot of top comic professionals on the Twitter, it’s now easier than ever to reach out and touch someone.  Well reach out and @ them at least.  Plus having the latest thoughts of my favorite writers accessible on my iPhone at anytime is pretty cool.

Whose worth following on Twitter?  Here are a few of my favorites:

@BRIANMBENDIS / Brian Michael Bendis – writer New Avengers, Mighty Avengers, Secret Invasion, Ultimate Spider-Man and others: by far my favorite comic creator, Bendis rarely Tweets.  However like catching a fairy under a glass, it’s the scarcity of the event that makes it special.  He also swears, which is like… cool man.

@brubaker / Ed Brubaker – writer Captain America, Criminal, Daredevil: though he claims to have received temporally unsubstantiated information that Kurt Vonnegut invented Twitter, Brubaker is a clever tweeter just like you’d expect of a guy from Seattle in a nifty hat.

@warrenellis / Warren Ellis – writer Astonishing X-Men and a bunch of stuff I don’t read: while I don’t think I’ve ever liked a Warren Ellis book, he’s a great follow on Twitter.  More so than most everyone else his caustic personality shines through even in the 140 character format.

@BrianReed / Brian Reed – writer Ms. Marvel and others: Reed is probably the best at Twitter of any of the creators I follow.  He’s fun to read and he’s generally eager to interact with everyone else, so he’s the genesis of a lot of cross-tweets between creators.  He’s also responsible for the very funny fake Bendis account that forced Bendis to sign up for Twitter to protect his identity.

@JefferySimpson / Jeffery Simpson – writer this blog post: what?  I can’t self-promote?  Bah.  Right I’ll probably never be let near a comic book writing job with a ten foot pole, though I do have a great pitch for a Scarlet Witch mini-series, my mother tells me I’m interesting and you’re not calling my mom a liar are you?

Introducing our newest collaborator…

December 2, 2008

… Jeff! This is a guy I know from a message board I frequent. He likes comics just like we do, especially comics that feature jailbait and barely legal teenage girls fighting crime (Batgirl, Mary Marvel, Arisia). I’m sure he can tell you more about himself than we can, so I’ll let him take the floor!

Neil Gaiman reads

October 16, 2008

While I’m sure you’re all waiting with baited breath for the comic review I talked about in Spiffy’s Weekly Recommendations, enjoy this video of Neil Gaiman reading his latest book aloud:

Thanks to Steven Grant for linking to this video in the latest edition of his weekly column, Permanent Damage.