Saturday, September 18, 2010

Link maintenance and you

.....At the risk of sounding like a military training film about hygiene, I've decided that before I return to regular posting that I take a serious look at the few regular features of the blog. The template is fine, and in fact I am reluctant to fiddle with it because my absences here that have resulted in long gaps during the summer have been enough of an interruption to continuity. So, the template stays.
.....My icon stays as well. I spent a great deal of time here as well as commenting on other blogs and sites using generic blank icons before adding the Sandman illustration by P. Craig Russell. If I could figure out how to make a more DP-specific icon for this blog alone and use the Sandman elsewhere I would. The DP's connection to the Sandman is tenuous at best (it would be easier to connect them to Kevin Bacon) and I am reasonably certain Russell has never drawn any of the Patrol characters, even as a pin-up or trading card, ever. (My Russell collection is about as extensive and complete as my DP collection and almost as well documented. I'm pretty confident that he never drew them.) My reason for using this is because the art comes from a commission by the American Library Association for a poster to promote reading in schools and is not generally available commercially. It's one of a handful of Russell works I haven't managed to acquire. Having found a virtual copy online and pasted it here, I can look at it everyday. I am able to use a different icon on and may rotate through other things in the future, but for now the picture stays in the kid.
.....I have just finished checking all of the links on the left under the heading "If You Don't Follow History..." and as of today they all successfully lead to pages that are up and running. Some may not have been updated in a while but that's a glass house at which I'm not prepared to throw stones. This blog should have marked its first birthday earlier this month with something more festive than silence but it seemed a little hypocritical given its (my) recent inactivity. If you're feeling nostalgic/masochistic you can click on the first link to read this blog's Mission Statement. After that you can wake yourself up by clicking on the link to D-D-D-D-Doom Podtrol!, the audio blog (podcasts) of fans' direct reactions to reading Doom Patrol stories. Unlike here, they jump around in chronology, reviewing both current and original series. In one podcast they eschew the format to do an overview of Cliff's career. They also offer a choice of formats for listening. Along with mygreatestadventure80 (aka Doom Patrol), Doompedia and this LGC: Doom Patrol blog, there is now a pretty well founded community for DP fans that didn't exist just two years ago. As long as we don't all get blown up simultaneously, things ought to be pretty good for the foreseeable future.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

News and Irresponsible Speculation for the New School Year

.....The good news is that the technological problems that interrupted my flow here and on the "So, What Kind Of..." music blog I had been cobbling together have (I think) been overcome or at least circumvented by upgrade. The bad news, if there is any, is that, obviously (a) in technology there are no permanent solutions, only current situations and (b) no amount of technology can make me less lazy. And before some smart aleck out there adds that no amount of anything could possibly make me any more lazy, I just want to say while researching DC's publishing history leading up to the 1978 "Implosion" I got distracted by a more ambitious project that I set aside years ago-- and still will not have finished once I get back to analyzing the Showcase arc. Since the two research projects involve a lot of overlap and much redundant handwriting, I decided to combine them, at least until I follow them past the period where they dovetail. When I want to return to the larger project, its notes will be waiting, half completed. Well, I'm assuming we all live that long. It's a more of perpetual hobby than something that could conceivably bear fruit.

.....I mentioned news in the post title. Here 'tis: as of yesterday (September 13, 2010) I noticed that Amazon is offering pre-orders for the trade paperback "DOOM PATROL: BROTHERHOOD", collecting the second helping of the current series. Elsewhere on this blog I have a history of DP trades entitled DP08- AT Trade Format Survey that should link when you click on the "D". (Cross your fingers.) This entry will have to be updated soon since the Black and White trades of the Original Period apparently don't include the Challengers portion of their crossover, nor the Flash team-up from Brave And The Bold. However inexpensive the Showcase Presents... format is, I think it is extremely unreasonable to ask readers to buy both the DP volumes as well as the yet-unreleased third Challengers volume, totalling over sixty issues, in order to read a three-issue arc. If anyone at DC is reading this, could I respectfully suggest collecting the two DP issues, the Challengers' chapter between them, the Flash team-up, Beast Boy's guest spot in Teen Titans #6 and the Niles Caulder appearance in Plastic Man, all tied up into a color paperback that could fit neatly between the two DP 'phonebooks'? That would account for absolutely every DP appearance outside of their own title during the 1960's. The details are on page DP01- AA.

.....If the Amazon entry for the upcoming trade is correct, it will ship (from them) on January 18, 2011 for a list price of $17.99. The direct market shipping will likely be the previous Wednesday, January 12. (For reasons lost on me, Amazon lists availability of books on Tuesdays, the day brick-and-mortar stores conventionally release new titles. Both the first Giffen trade, "WE WHO ARE ABOUT TO DIE...", and the second Showcase Presents... volume were listed at Diamond on the Wednesday prior to their respective Amazon dates in the past few months.) Two weeks from now you can expect to go to your local comic book store and find distributor catalogs soliciting DC comics for December and trades for January. Most stores will take advance orders if you want to reserve a copy, or at least give you more reliable stats than a non-specialist web-site. For instance, they say the volume will be 168 pages, but are vague about what issues that covers. Most likely it will be #'s 7-12.

.....Speaking of the new series, I haven't noticed many people making much of a familiar name being dropped into the conclusion of that arc. In issue #12 (09/10), page 4, a memo from MSE is signed "E. Garguax". Granted, if we have the daughter of Egg Fu/ Dr. Yes running around then it's not too far-fetched that Garguax left an heir. Or perhaps it's the original and the 'E' stands for "Emperor"? To the best of my knowledge, Garguax died in the aftermath of Invasion! when his space ship crashed into Arani's Kansas DP HQ. When I saw the signature on the memo I filed it away in my memory as a bit of foreshadowing for an eventual appearance by lime-green invader (or his successor) but the subsequent story arc, in which The Chief simulates Superman's powers, got me to thinking about the circumstances of Garguax' death. Because it occurred in both a mini-series and multiple monthly titles, the Invasion! storyline had multiple elements concurrently at work. There were a few main elements that determined the outcome however (not to disclose too much of the plot), including our own Cliff Steele trading on his non-human appearance to infiltrate an enemy base and the intervention of the Daxamites. Before all the recent foofarrah with the Kandorians, the Daxamites were the only post-Crisis folk who shared Superman's solar-based... talents. They were generally only seen in the Legion of Super-Heroes' 30th Century stories, but a story about several alien races coming to Earth seemed the perfect vehicle for explaining how they originally discovered the effects of our 'yellow' sun. It was very clever how the whole thing played out. It also hinted at how Earth might confront someone with Superman's powers should they become unstable. Who plotted that story, anyway? Wellllll..... whaddayaknow? It was Keith Giffen...