(Not comics, but close enough).
Sick at home and feeling nostalgic, I watched the first episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation on Netflix.
I didn’t like this series when it was first aired. In fact it was a profound disappointment. I was an Original Series guy — and always will be — and this “new” Star Trek did not meet my space opera expectations. I watched an episode or two and checked out.
Re-watching this first episode again, almost thirty years (!) later, brought a few surprises.
It was remarkable how much like silly old Original Series Trek this really was. We had John de Lancie swanning around in an Elizabethan captain’s outfit, and a catastrophically bad stunt double standing in for Denise Crosby when she did a little Kirk-Fu on a courtroom full of fur-clad extras that might have walked off the set of The Omega Glory.
The Enterprise was captured by something that looked very much like a shower curtain.
Add to this the usual planet-of-the-week shenanigans and you had a story that might have been as comfortable in 1967 as 1987, albeit one with a substantially larger budget.
But there was more, of course — the skillful introduction of a whole new cast of characters, and the re-introduction of the Enterprise (with more than a bit of ship porn, what with all the undocking and docking of saucer sections). The show also took pains to show us how it would differ from what came before, with its ask-questions-first-and-shoot-later captain, families on the ship, a more diverse crew, and not a Vulcan in sight.
It had been long enough that I’d even forgotten about DeForest Kelley’s delightful cameo.
In all it was quite a bit better than I’d remembered, probably because I’ve mellowed these last three decades, and am more willing to take my Star Trek where I find it.
There were things that rankled, of course, like a captain too eager to surrender, and a tiresome doe-eyed empath staring into the middle distance and telling us how much pain she was sensing.
The ship’s bridge looked like the interior of a 1987 Chrysler 5th Avenue, and there were hints of elements that would hurt the Trek franchise in years to come (technobabble and the Holodeck, rocks upon which writers would later wreck themselves). But there were some real advantages, too, like the marvelous Patrick Stewart as Captain Picard, clearly the best actor to ever command a starship, and whom I realize was 47 when this series debuted … he seemed so ancient and distinguished to me then, and now I’ve got 47 five years in my rear-view mirror.
It was very entertaining, and a pleasant surprise. I’ll watch a few more. If there are now suddenly several seasons of mostly-unfamiliar Star Trek ahead of me, then that is a good thing.
(and back to comics in my next post)
Longbox Graveyard has gone ad-free!
I’ve used WordPress’ WordAds here at Longbox Graveyard for the last couple years. It never amounted to much — scarcely a dollar a day when the planets all aligned — but I kept it going because along with comments and hits it was another way to “keep score” with my blog. I’m a metrics guy, and I like watching little numbers go up.
Besides, I grew up in an era where comic books carried pages that looked like this …
… and so I rationalized that the increasingly ugly ads integrated into the flow here at Longbox Graveyard were just part of that tradition.
But … ugh … those WordAd serves were pretty tacky. Chances are you didn’t even notice them, but as the guy who looks at this blog every day, I was getting worn down.
Ads used to appear at the top of this page, in the top spot on my right sidebar, and at the end of most posts. Some ads were fine, but I really didn’t like the chumbox stuff:
And so they are gone.
I won’t promise they’re gone forever … WordAds only pay off when they’ve hit $100, and I might someday get sick of seeing my account stuck on fifty bucks, and decide to turn it on again. If my traffic really picks up again and I feel like I am leaving money on the table, ads might return. But I don’t need income from this blog, and giving up seven bucks a month in ad revenue is a small price to pay to be rid of this obnoxiousness.
(If it was your convention to click on ads to support Longbox Graveyard … thanks! If you are still in a supporting mood, consider purchase of a graphic novel from my sales page).
I turned a blind eye to ads here at Longbox Graveyard for a long time … if you are interested in what finally changed my stance, check out this article from The Awl.
See ya later, Chumbox!
UPDATE: Even after disabling ads, I’m still seeing them from time-to-time. Letter of complaint is pending to WordPress, I’ll let you know what happens!
A special guest blog this week as the Son of Longbox Graveyard — Mr. Jack O’Connor — comments on his favorite new comics series: Poet Anderson The Dream Walker. Take it away, Jack!
When I was ten years old, I was introduced by my Dad to Angels and Airwaves— an American space-rock band. (Thanks, Dad!) I first listened to their album, LOVE and, forgive the pun, it was love at first sight. Or listen.
But it was years later when I realized that Angels and Airwaves was more than most bands. It wasn’t all about the music, it was about the message and the concept; all forms of art and expression. Only a few years later they would create their feature film, LOVE, based off the album, which is one of my favorite films of all time. It’s on Netflix. Check it out.
But the main thing I remember back in 2010 when I first heard them, was being teased by a mysterious project, simply titled POET. I knew nothing of what POET was, except that it was going to be the next big thing by these guys. By big thing, I thought, “maybe it’ll be another big two-part album just like LOVE was.” I was wrong.
It was more than that.
While there were a few gripes about the album — like it being recorded with only a few of the band Members, Tom Delonge and Ilan Rubin, or that the sound had strayed too far from what Angels and Airwaves used to be. I for one, love this album. I bought a mega bundle for this thing and I was not disappointed.
So here I am rambling and geeking out about a band, when the real reason I am here is to review and share my personal thoughts on the three issue Poet Anderson the Dream Walker comic series.
I have one word for the whole POET project. “Ambitious.” This very project could have passed as just a very stylish and original concept album, but Tom Delonge has quite a vivid imagination — as it says on the first few pages, “From the imagination of Tom Delonge.”
The first piece of this rather large puzzle started with the short animated film. It followed a fairly straightforward plot that told the story of Poet Anderson, a lucid dreamer who seems to struggle with reality and dreams. While dreaming, he visits the alternate dimension known as the Dream World, a universe made up entirely of humanity’s shared unconscious minds. But when dreams are made, so are nightmares. Poet finds himself being hunted by a horrific monster known as the Night Terror and meets his Dream Walker. A Dream Walker acts as a guardian angel who protects Poet’s dreams and guides him to the point where he must face his nightmares.
I know, I’m losing you. But the whole point is to feel like you have been dropped straight into the middle of an unfolding story. And you have. The comic series acts as a prequel to the film. This story is not finished — I have only now just finished the second issue. I don’t know how it ends or where it’s going to go in the future. It tells the story of two brothers, Jonas (Poet) and Alan Anderson who have discovered a unique ability to lucid dreaming. They visit the mysterious Dream World, where they meet a colorful cast of characters, discover powerful abilities, piss off a tyrant overlord and get swept up in a rebellion. It’s a wild, crazy story and I adore it.
from Poet Anderson #1
Now, I’ve never really been a comics nerd. In fact, those who were born like me in the turn of the century in 1999, will find themselves with no emotional attachments to classic entertainment. It’s very hard to get into comic book culture because most of them were written long ago and are difficult to get your hands on, or the more modern ones are simply a continuation of those stories. I like superhero movies, but I still can’t connect with the stories in the comics. The Poet Anderson comics are different to me for one big reason. I already have an emotional attachment to the theme. I love the band, so I love everything they do. That’s probably why I enjoy this series as much as I do.
This series is unbelievably stylish. It’s colorful, entertaining and fast paced. Really fast paced. Just like the short film, you get sucked into the story and visuals and when it abruptly ends, you feel shocked. It’s so sudden. In fact, that is my only gripe with this series so far. It’s too short. It seems as soon as the story begins to pick up and you’re completely engrossed, it slaps a “To be continued” sticker at you and one can’t help but feel a little let down. That’s not completely a bad thing because that means it’s so good, you don’t want it to be over.
I love the artwork of this comic. The vibrant colors and the way the panels transition into each other is extraordinary. The artist, Djet, did a fantastic job. A beautiful job. There are a few panels that I would just love to have some framed prints of and hang them on my wall. Because that’s what this is. Art.
The characters are also entertaining, The brother relationship between Jonas and Alan is interesting. Everyone seems to have great chemistry with each other. I even like the villain of the story, REM. He’s big, bad and knows how to show it. His lines seem kind of goofy and sometimes sounds like he just graduated from Super Villain University, but he shouts “Do you know who I am?” So he has my respect there.
The story is intriguing and I really want to find out more about this world that has been created. The comic, thankfully, doesn’t recycle the same material from its animated brother. While the short film takes place mostly in the main futuristic dream city known as “Genesis,” the comic takes place in the wilderness of the Dream World. For fans of the film, it’s a refreshing look and it gives the comics a more original feel, making you more interested in the story, rather than thinking, “I’ve seen this all before.”
Because this POET project is made by the band, it has to tie somehow into the music. Poet Anderson seems to do it quite well. While the short film had the benefit of a soundtrack taken directly from the album, the comic has to do some things differently. The comic doesn’t have a soundtrack. Of course, when I read them I put the music on in the background just to set the mood and for ambiance. Without a soundtrack or instrumentals, sometimes it feels like this and the album are two separate things. However, the characters in the story make very broad references to song titles and lyrics on the album which makes me think if whether they added that just to create easter eggs, or if maybe these songs have double meanings that will unravel as the story progresses. Mysteries, mysteries, mysteries.
Now here’s how I feel about the whole thing…. I’m a huge Angels and Airwaves fan. They might always be my favorite band of all time and I’m glad they try to do things that push the limits. The Poet series is just getting started, however, with a novel coming soon, accompanied by a new EP. And in the distance, a full feature film is being hinted at. Come on Tom, stop being so elusive! But from where I stand now, I’m in love with the Poet Anderson universe. I can tell it’s going to get a lot more intriguing as the story unfolds. There’s just so much to like about it all. Whether you like colorful artwork, entertaining action or just an original, clever form of story telling, the comics are a great way to go.
And besides, Poet Anderson dresses like Charlie Chaplin and fights monsters with an umbrella. Hard to say no to that.
So, Angels and Airwaves, you have done it again. You have completely outdone yourselves and have truly created something beautiful. I eagerly and impatiently await what’s hiding down the road.
Issue #2 of Poet Anderson The Dream Walker from Magnetic Press is in comic shops this week.
Thanks, Jack, for sharing your comics enthusiasm with the audience of Longbox Graveyard … and if you haven’t warmed up to the Bronze and Silver Age books that are front-and-center at this blog, a cool and contemporary project like Poet Anderson isn’t a bad substitute. To read more of Jack’s work — including his original short fiction — please visit Jack’s home on the web at Ranging Stories, or check him out on Instagram!
I know, I know … just last Wednesday I said Longbox Graveyard was going to stop publishing every Wednesday, and now here I am, publishing on the following Wednesday.
But this is a special occasion — the 75th Anniversary of Green Lantern!
Actually, the precise anniversary was sometime last May, but this excellent post over at Flodo’s Page only just this week came to my attention.
Please head on over to Flodo’s Page for a celebration of that very first appearance of Green Lantern. Flodo is the biggest Green Lantern fan I know, and he deserves your support throughout the year, but never more so than on this diamond anniversary of the Emerald Crusader!
Another year goes by, and it’s time for another installment of my blog-about-a-blog — Longbox Soapbox, where I discuss the past, present, and future of Longbox Graveyard!
what does the crystal ball portend for Longbox Graveyard?
Issue #147 of this blog marks my four-year blogging anniversary. I estimate I’ve written about a quarter-million words about comics here at Longbox Graveyard — maybe twice that, if you factor in all my sundry “non-numbered” posts, guest blogs for other sites, and Twitter and Instagram blather.
That’s a lot of words! I’m not sure they’ve all been that great, lately — and when two of your most recent posts are Top 10 Super-Dogs and Chris Hemsworth Naked, a strong argument can be made that Longbox Graveyard has jumped the shark.
But I find I still have a few things to say about comics, so I have renewed my domain name for another year and I expect to continue publishing Longbox Graveyard through the summer of 2016.
But there will be changes.
I do still have things to say about comics, but I don’t need to say them so frequently. This blog has already downshifted several times when it comes to frequency, debuting as a weekly blog, but now publishing on the first Wednesday of the month. I will continue with a “numbered” post each month, but my off-week Wednesday posts will mostly go away. That means bye-bye to Pinterest Gallery posts and (yes) Naked Chris Hemsworth, but I don’t think anyone will miss them. Publishing every Wednesday was a happy habit, for awhile, but my non-numbered posts have too-often been empty content, and it is time for them to go.
Half the reason I was keeping to a weekly schedule was to help sustain the blog’s growth, but a glance at my stats will show that my readership has stalled over the last year:
The year 2014 looks like it was Peak Geek insofar as Longbox Graveyard is concerned, and for the first time, I expect my average readership will decline, year-over-year, when the final numbers roll in at the end of 2015. I’m down about fifty views a day — a significant number in a blog that only gets 400-500 views per day.
Maybe things will bounce back. Maybe they won’t! In any case, I’m tired of pedaling so hard just chasing views.
Fewer posts and better posts shall be my watchword in the year to come. Let me know how I do, OK?
comics explosion, comin’ at ya!
And what do I have planned for the year ahead? Well, I’ve been thinking about reviewing John Byrne’s run on Fantastic Four, but if that doesn’t happen before the movie comes out, it likely never will. I’d like to do a review of the Marvel Puzzle Quest mobile game — a little outside my purview, but my gaming articles have done well here in the past. Looking toward the end of the year, I’d like to do something about Star Wars and comics. I expect there will be another Super-Blog Team-Up, and hopefully another guest blog from Dean Compton. It is my perennial wish to return to my review series on Tomb of Dracula and Master of Kung Fu. I have a hankering to revisit the Claremont/Byrne age of Marvel Team-Up. And I might even get around to publishing those long-promised (and long-forgotten) web comics that I mentioned here a couple years back!
alas, Warchief, your copyright date mocks me
This summer should also see the debut of my original comics story 4 Seconds, published by Thrillbent, which is coming down the home stretch right now … but more about that when we have a firm ship date.
(Let me know which topics interest you in the comments, below!)
Taking stock of where I am personally, right now, comics-wise … all is well. Maybe it’s too quiet. Compared to last year’s Longbox Soapbox — when my neighborhood was burning down and a move loomed in my future — the present is positively sedate! I’m installed in my new place; my comics Accumulation has been catalogued, reduced, and tamed; and I am enjoying the occasional old comics read, more often in digital form than not. I do still enjoy having this blog, but I do see The End coming into view …
… but not yet!
Thanks, as always, to my many loyal readers (those of you who aren’t bots, at least!) As is the tradition with my Longbox Soapbox columns, please check in with a comment below — let me know you are are out there, and breathing.
And to that end, take my poll:
See you next month!
NEXT MONTH: #149 Ant-Man!