Posted in Feelings on a Friday

Feelings on a friday

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Sometimes I feel like I am always in a state of struggle. I struggle with weight, stress at work, with depression, with parenthood and the attempt to be a better husband and it feels like I’m getting nowhere with any of these things.

 

This week has been a perfect storm of stress and crap on my and mine it’s been hard to keep my head above water some days.

But when you get a win, that can change everything. Last night at my gym assessment, I found some stuff out. These things include that my hip is ticklish, but more importantly that I have gained weight, but in muscle, not all in fat, I’ve put two inches on my arms and one on my chest, I have actual triceps now and have lost an inch on my thighs. Also for the first time in a long time, my belly is the same size as below my chest. All the time at the gym with a new trainer has started to make a difference. Just that little thing has changed how I am feeling about stuff and I have looked at the things that I struggle with, in a new light.

I struggle with work, lots of people struggle getting some, so at least I have one. I struggle with depression, meaning I am fighting it, not succumbing to it. I struggle with parenthood, because I am invested in it and my son wrote a shopping list right in front of me, only needing help with spelling. He’s just turned 5. I struggle with being a better husband, because my wife if f@@@ing awesome and it’s hard to keep up with that. I am a lucky man and I don’t feel bad about admitting that.

There’s stuff I feel bad about, but there’s stuff I should be happy about and often, I forget to just take a moment and feel that happy.

In the geek element I just want to take a moment to point out some positive geek-stuff that I feel I have taken for granted.

Podcasts:

While I have less time to listen to them, I have really been enjoying the shows I am subscribed to among them being

crisis-podcast

http://www.fortressofbaileytude.com/from-crisis-to-crisis/

palace

http://twotruefreaks.com/shows.php?show=37

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http://www.rachelandmiles.com/xmen/

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http://x-aspirations.com/

The_Fantasticast_Episode_151

http://ffcast.libsyn.com/

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http://resurrectionsadamwarlock.tumblr.com/

And more to come I’m sure.

TV:

TV is an embarassment of riches right now with at least 4 or 5 comic related TV series on, weekly including

 

super girl Flsh

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And that’s just the comic related stuff, I have also been enjoying on demand TV and binge watching again.

Tokusatsu:

download Cover-gransazer

Have several DVDs coming in the post in the genre of one of my guilty pleasures, the blatantly ridiculous Totusatsu, which translates as ‘special effects’ this is the bonkers stuff that was translated to several Power Rangers, but trust me, that’s sane as can be compared to this stuff. It’s fun and silly and everything comics used to be.

 

Marvel Comics:

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I can’t read DC anymore, it’s neither as good, as iconic, or as fun as it once was, with the odd exception here and there, but Marvel’s recent restart has been a bit of a breath of fresh air and it’s nice to have a reason to enjoy comics again.

My Family:

I could fill several pages about this, but it would only matter to me and I like to think, those that need to know I love them, know that already, if not, will tell them again tonight.

 

The Point: Because we all had doubts there.

 

The thing is, none of this is new information, just my own disorganised thoughts. But the point is, the world is fun of downbeat stuff and we need to remember that the positive exists as the negative does.

There’s always something to look forward to, whether it’s a new movie, a weekend away or an extra five minutes in bed. There are several reasons to stay down and let the world win, you only need one to get up.

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Posted in Comics n Stuff

All New, All Different, All Actually Enjoyable

Last week for the first time in a while, I found myself in a comic shop, the shop (Worlds Apart for the non- existent interested) and actually buying new comics. Now got get me wrong, I still buy comics from time to time, mostly online and never on the day, or even the week they are sold, but by and large I was kinda of the opinion that my time reading and above all ENJOYING new comics from either of the big two companies had come to something of an end.

So I found myself in there on tuesday, my son was off sick and had to stay off an extra day to be sure, so we went out, trip to the comic shop for me and a trip to the park for him. In the comic shop, this caught my eye.

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Invincible Iron Man #1. I looked at the internal art and I thought, yeah, I’ll buy that.

I also saw Guardians of the Galaxy #1 and Avengers #0 and picked them up too. I put them in my bag and took my lad to the playground for an hour or two and a good time was had by all with the comics not coming to mind at all. That next day, I read them and I really enjoyed them. Are they still over-priced? Yes, but when they got to $2.99 US price  I thought that, but they were enjoyable. Iron Man was very much about a guy at the mercy of his flaws, trying to do his best again. Guardians of the Galaxy was all space opera with added sarcasm and replacing Star Lord with Kitty Pride and adding in the Thing was a great touch. Even the piecemeal Avengers promo was fun and left me with the desire to read more of the new Avengers related series.

Thursday, I went back.

After my life long love/obsession/addiction related to the X-Men, the recent anti-X-Men view of Marvel has put me off the whole Inhumans thing, despite my enjoying many Inhumans characters and stories in the past, but after recently reading some TPBs of the series Inhuman, I gave Uncanny Inhumans and Karnak a try, finding their #1s on the shelves as well as Invincible Iron Man #2 and Uncanny Avengers #1 and New Avengers #1 on the shelves.

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These are lots of fun, yes there’s the usual every doesn’t get along and the over reliance on the ongoing subplots and recent continuity, but for me this seems a better relaunching (not a reboot, Marvel don’t do ReBoots) than Marvel NOW. The stories were enjoyable and engaging. Uncanny Avengers expanded on Vol 1’s ideas, New Avengers has a great premise, Uncanny Inhumans has an X-Men-ish vibe, but has it’s own flavour which I am enjoying and Warren Ellis’ Karnak is full of the dark sardonic edge you expect from Ellis.

The reason I am writing this post is that, the back page of each comic had the heading “Do you want to know what happens  next?” and for the first time in years Marvel, yes I do. I think I’ll be heading back to the comic shop before long.

 

 

Posted in Comics n Stuff

A World Very Much Like Our Own, But Slightly Different

Over the last several weeks, I have been reading the comic Crisis on Infinite Earths, with my son. Through friends at nursery, cartoons and well me, he’s is very much a fan of super heroes and when he saw me reading it one day, he wanted in. He was enjoying it, but had a big question about the cover. “Why is there two Supermans?” I had to explain that the older one was a stand-in for Superman from his earliest stories and the younger one was for more current stories. Once I explained that, we got on to the other subject of parallel earths, Earth 1, Earth 2, Earth 3, Earth 4, Earth S, Earth X and that and it made me realise a little something. I miss Earth 2.

 

Now I don’t mean the recent James Robinson started series from the New 52, or the frankly excellent Grant Morrison HC Earth 2 https://munkycomics90s.wordpress.com/2015/09/10/december-1999-jla-earth-2/

I mean the original Earth 2. Now here comes the history lesson and we’re going back a bit on this for all the non-comics readers or the more Marvel affiliated. We start with the Golden Age, which ran from 1938 till after the Second World War. During that time, Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman and several other heroes made their debut.

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d4dc76da72de79cfb8a3f6c7bca541da DrFate

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The Justice Society was a popular, but not in the league of Superman, Wonder Woman and Batman, so when the War was over, the interest in these heroes died out and all the non big three characters faded into a degree of obscurity and we consider the Golden Age to be over. The next big thing was the Silver Age, this was when DC editors and writers, mostly led by Julius Schwartz, brought these heroes back with a more sci-fi feel to them. With enough years having passed, a new generation of readers where going to get their own Flash, Green Lantern, Hawkman, Atom and a new version of the Justice Society known as the Justice League. The first of these was the Flash of the 1950’s/1960’s Barry Allen, who within the story of the comic was inspired by the 1940’s Flash, Jay Garrick. With one being fictional and one being real (you know what I mean) a line of demarcation was made between the Golden and Silver Ages and never the twain shall meet.

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But then the writer of the Flash, Gardner Fox who also penned many a Golden Age tale himself, wrote the story Flash of Two Worlds and reintroduced the Jay Garrick Flash and thus was born the concept of Earth 2. Now once this was done, we could look in on this parallel Earth and it’s variations on characters more familiar to recent readers, from time to time and thus began the JLA/JSA annual team ups. Around this sort of era we also got something of a Justice Society revival, and through this we started to see the Earth 2 concept expanded upon. Not only did we have alternate versions of characters we knew, but now there were older versions of these characters. We had a middle aged Robin, a senior citizen Superman and a retired Batman, now commissioner in his beloved Gotham City. Then we also had new characters, the cousin of Superman called Power Girl and the daughter of Batman and a reformed Catwoman, the Huntress.

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This proved that the alternate Earths idea had legs and we still got the JLA/JSA team ups and then we got a wonderful bit of Roy Thomas goodness, the All Star Squadron.

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All Star Squadron started in 1981 and was a period peace, set in the 1940s of Earth 2. This was a the world of the Golden Age heroes, during the Golden Age and we saw Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman, WildCat, Green Lantern, Flash, Dr Fate and a lot of the well known Justice Society as well as lesser known Golden Age characters like Johnny Quick, Liberty Bell, Shining Knight and the Tarantula.

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This series had real world events mixed in with super heroics and was a lot of fun. There were also spin off titles, one of which is of particular interest is Infinity Inc, which was a modern day set (well sort of modern, it was the 1980s) series that starred the sons, god children and successors of the Justice Society. After failing to join the JSA, they left with the time lost Star Spangled Kid and started their own team. This group included the Atom’s grandson Nuklon, Hawkman’s son Silver Scarab and his god son Northwind, daughter of Wonder Woman, Fury and Obsidian and Jade, son and daughter of Green Lantern and this expanded the Earth 2 idea even further. I miss these characters and this idea, the older heroes, the successors and the feeling of real history that went with it.

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Then came Crisis. Crisis on Infinite Earths gutted the Earth 2 concept and several of the Characters, there couldn’t be two Supermans because they were both Clark Kent. There couldn’t be two Dick Graysons, or two Oliver Queens, or two Wonder Womans, so the older characters simply went away and their children’s history was ret-conned away, there was no Earth 2, no Superman in WW2 and so on. Infinity Inc, All Star Squadron continued after Crisis, but this era came to an end.

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But this wasn’t the end of the story, Len Strazewski wrote two great Justice Society series which were great and it showed that even folded into the history of the Post Crisis world, there was a lot of fun.

justicesocietyamerica1   justicesocietyamericav2_1

Year later the came a JSA comic, which proved that you can still do the legacy of these heroes, their sons daughters and successors, could still exist within this new universe and it was lots of fun in places with strong characterisation and several attempts to fix the history so mixed up by Crisis.

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After the next crisis, the book was relaunched as Justice Society of America and we got Earth 2 back, it was a pale shadow of what it was and it was such a brief look, that it barely counts, but it put just a little bit of hope back into my heart.

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Then came the New 52 and it all went away again. Now no older heroes, even the new Earth 2 is more contemporary and that sense of legacy and history is lost. Gone were the older heroes, gone was the history and legacy characters and gone was the what if-ness and happy endings and I for one miss that. I miss the older barrel chested Superman and the more seasoned Bruce Wayne, who gave up his war on crime to champion justice. I liked that idea and even with Convergence re-opening the  door for a restored Earth 2 as it was, we all know that if it happens, it won’t be the same.

Look this stuff up, raid the back issue bins because a lot of great stories are often lost in the continuity shuffle. Stories don’t have to ‘matter’, they just have to be good stories.

If my incoherent ramblings aren’t enough to convince you, then check out Two True Freaks and their podcast Tales of the Justice Society of America for a true love letter to Earth 2 by Michael Bailey and Scott H Gardner. It’s here

http://twotruefreaks.com/shows.php?show=2

While there, check out some of their other shows, there’s a lotta great podcasts out there too.

Anyway, got this out of my head. Ta Ta For Now.