Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Medical Report

I've been feeling a little under the weather lately.
Last week my appendix burst and I had an emergency operation to remove it. I'm still in the hospital recovering and my body is trying to adjust to an appendix-less world.

I hope to get out of here ASAP for obvious reasons and I still plan to attend the world premiere at C2E2 on the 18th but I'll be moving a little slow (with updates and e-mails) for a while.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Greetings Future People!

21 years ago I shoved several of my least important possessions into a metal box, taped it up and slapped a "Do Not Open Until 2010" label on it and hid it away for the sake of posterity. I assume I was inspired by one of the poorly written sitcoms of the day but regardless of motivation, the box was recently stumbled upon in my garage.

After consulting a calendar, I cracked open the box and will now dump the contents out upon the internet in a blog entry that could only be called: And here is the box in question: Sure, it's not much to look at now but I'm sure in its heyday it was the shiniest, most awesome box that the 1980's had to offer. Lest we forget how difficult it was to survive the '80's.

The first thing pulled from the time capsule seemed to be some kind of archaic audio medium. I had to clear both the metaphorical and literal cobwebs to get a handle on this so-called "cassette tape." While searching for something that could actually play the tape I had plenty of time to wonder just what exactly was contained in this message from the past. Time traveling information typically is more useful when it comes from the future.

But wonder no more...the audio has been captured, converted and I even added visual aids since all our attention spans have decreased in the last few decades. Here now is a message from a 12 year old future documentary filmmaker:
video
I guess the last gasps of the Cold War were at the forefront of the tween consciousness in 1989. Other than that it seems that some things never change since additional items included the comics (mentioned in the audio clip) and video game memorabilia. Most notably, this poster advertising Nintendo's most advanced games...at the time.
I'm genuinely surprised at how uninteresting most of the contents are. Although I certainly don't mean to undermine the significance of The Adventures of Kool-Aid Man #6, featuring the first appearance of Purplesaurus Rex!
I'm expecting a call from the Smithsonian about that one. But the rest of the lot reek of the mundane: a few baseball cards, a flyer for a school function, stamps, a 1989 almanac, a package of firecrackers, a 1989 calendar but not one single treasure map.

I get the distinct impression that I looked around my room and found items that met two criteria:

1. They could fit in the box
2. I didn't want them anymore

Well, lesson learned. The next box gets filled with with nothing but excitement, danger and intrigue...as long as I won't be needing it for the next 21 years.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Pop Syndicate Review

Pop Syndicate gave the documentary four stars! Click below to read the review:


Wednesday, March 17, 2010

World Premiere Info

C2E2 has posted their "Panels & Screening" schedule which includes the world premiere of Comic Book Literacy!
The documentary will screen on April 18th at 1:45 in Room E271A.

Several comic news sites and blogs have carried the story. Here are just a few:






Monday, March 15, 2010

Gumption

It's the bane of elementary school teachers, the scourge of the dental industry and the arch nemesis of the entire janitorial industry. And yet it still remains stuck underneath our desks and our hearts.

It. Is. Bubble Gum.


And like most things it can be improved with the addition of super heroes. Not convinced? Then it seems a demonstration is in order.

Have you ever seen a perfectly ordinary item but instead of the "King's English," the package contains Japanese writing? That little tweak to the mundane just blows your mind, right?

No?


Well, anyway, here's some Japanese Batman Gum:

According to Lex Luthor there are some people that can read the ingredients on a chewing gum wrapper and unlock the secrets of the universe. Personally I'm having a hard time with this particular wrapper.
Not too long ago (maybe the mid-90's), a trip to your favorite comic book store to pick up your favorite X-Men title could have ended with a celebratory piece of your new favorite gum.
I'm not sure if X-Men gum was meant to be given out for free with the purchase of an X-Men comic or if it was meant to be sold but I am sure of two things:

1. It is awesome

2. Each piece came with a free tattoo!

It may be hard to tell from the picture but the tattoo that came with this sacrificed piece of gum is Magneto. I meticulously followed the instruction to apply it to my hand but I guess after fifteen years on the shelf, temporary tattoos lose their vibrancy.

So I'll forgo posting a picture of my non-tattooed hand.


The passage of time may obliterate tattoo ink but it makes the gum itself rock hard. Which only seems appropriate for gum with a pseudo-clever "rock" theme. Luckily we have some of that too:

Krypton Bubble Gum leaps over tall buildings in a single bound in order to reach its premise of "rocks" as "gum". The obvious question being: If you go with the "krypton rock" motif then why not call it Kryptonite Gum? I don't have any answers for you but I can tell you that they certainly do look like rocks.
And since they're from 1976 they now taste like rocks. You'd have to be a man of steel to chew these and keep your jaw intact.

Moving ahead a few years and to a different company, 1979 gave us gum alternatives in the form of your favorite Marvel heroes.

Staying true to the Marvel "House Gum Style," these also came with free temporary tattoos but since I don't have any character duplicates then you don't get to see any. No vintage Marvel gum gets unwrapped today.

But don't look so smug, Spider-Man. You just barely dodged a bullet. (Seriously, I've got his face plastered on everything.)


And so we are right back where we started. We all know that gum is fun. And we all know that tubes are fun. So it doesn't take the world's greatest detective to figure out that gum in a tube is twice as fun.

The late 80's and early 90's were the golden age for Batman merchandising. It even got to the point where the only idea they had left was to put chewing gum in a squeezable tube. Genius or madness? Or both? Or neither? You be the judge.

So what have we learned today? Perhaps that your regular chewing gum is boring? Maybe Lex Luthor was onto something when it came to unlocking the secrets of the universe? Or maybe you should just spit out your gum and get back to work on that death ray.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

All-Con Pictures

I went to Dallas All-Con today to promote the documentary. Here are a few pictures:
Somebody call the Department of Temporal Investigations! It looks like there's some time traveling shenanigans going on here.
Big Lego Man can pull his head off just like little lego man. But he didn't...at least while I was there.
Mario has a hammer and (I assume) he knows how to use it.
Hey it's Dr. Phlox! John Billingsley was a very nice guy and I need to learn how to smile.

All-Con continues most of the night tonight and through tomorrow. Check out their site:

http://www.all-con.org/

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Brought to You by the Letter "S"

Using the appeal of comics and superheroes to help kids learn is a time tested practice. In fact, years ago the producers of Sesame Street sought the aid of the World's Finest superheroes in their quest to educate their young audience.
Batman and Superman both appeared in animated shorts early in Sesame Street's run. In one of the shorts Superman points out things that start with his favorite letter:
video
Jim Henson's appreciation of the comic book medium is expressed in this quote from the Muppet Wiki:

"
I've always been interested in comic books as an art form, and when I was younger I was addicted to them. I read Superman and Superboy, but Captain Marvel was probably my favorite of the super-heroes. The comic I loved best, though, was Pogo. After all, Kermit's beginnings were in a swamp, too."

Comics also seemed to inspire a few loving homages on Sesame Street:
So consider this yet another historic team up in the never ending battle.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Comics Strips as Classroom Material

One of the first examples of comics in the classroom happened with the "Texas History Movies" comic strip.

We shot this video of comic book historian Weldon Adams' presentation on the topic at the "Comics in the Classroom" panel presented by the Institute of Comics' Studies at Wizard World Texas:
video

Other presentations at the panel:

"Re-Canonization: Transforming the English Curriculum with the Graphic Novel"

"Comic Book Literacy in Early Childhood Classrooms"