Wednesday, May 15, 2013

A Super Celebration

I've never visited Metropolis, Illinois --  the Home of Superman -- but I'd like to someday. Their annual Superman Celebration is on the weekend of June 6 - 9 this year. With this being Superman's 75th anniversary year, and the opening of Man of Steel in theaters next month, this ought to be a big one. Click on the image above for more information.

The phrase "Celebrating 35 Years" in the logo refers to the number of years that Metropolis has been hosting the Superman Celebration. The original superhero himself has been around for 75, and Metropolis was declared Superman's Hometown in 1972, which was 41 years ago. Thirty-five years ago was 1978, which was also the year that the first Superman feature film starring Christopher Reeve was released.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Septuagenarian of Steel

Happy 75th Birthday, Superman!

According to The Photo-Journal Guide to Comic Books by Ernst and Mary Gerber, Action Comics #1, featuring the first appearance of Superman, was published on April 18, 1938. That makes today Superman's platinum anniversary. Or diamond, depending on which guide you prefer.

Actually, the word "septuagenarian" refers to anyone between 70 and 79, so Superman's been one for five years already. I couldn't find a word for just 75, though, so I'll have to settle for this title.

Update: I wanted to do something to celebrate the day, so I bought myself a copy of the recently published Superman: the Unauthorized Biography by Glen Weldon, the "go-to comic book guy" of National Public Radio. It looks like a fun book. I'll review it here after I've finished it.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Con-found it!

The annual I-Con convention of science fiction, science fact, comics, fantasy, and gaming, which had been scheduled for this weekend at Stony Brook University, has been canceled, perhaps permanently. Several factors, including campus construction work and revised curfew rules, have forced the organizers to search for a new venue. But so far, none have been found that fit the con's budget.

If you're on Long island and need to satisfy your convention cravings, might I suggest the third annual EMcon, a mini-convention for fans of anime and manga, at the East Meadow Public Library on May 18 - 19? It's much smaller and more focused than I-Con, but then, so was I-Con in its first few years. Plus, admission to EMcon is free. Check it out on Facebook. If I see you there, you might see your picture on this blog afterwards.

Monday, February 25, 2013

Funny Business?

Every week or so, I like to check this blog's stats to find out what words and phrases people typed into their search engines that brought them here. Today I see that, twice in the past week, someone found this page while searching for the phrase "Where are Newsday's Sunday comics?"

Long Island Newsday is my local paper, and I've mentioned its comics section once or twice in the past. Newsday's Sunday comics used to be inserted in the center of Fanfare, its weekly entertainment section. But as of 2013, they've made a change. Newsday's Sunday comics are now tucked inside of the weekly Business section.

I have no firsthand knowledge of why this shift was made. Perhaps reader research suggested that more businesspeople follow the comics than any other group. Maybe it's an attempt to draw more readers to the Business section. Or maybe they just want to lighten up the gloomy financial news.

Whatever the reason, dear visitor, the answer to the question "Where are Newsday's Sunday comics?" is, "Mind your Business."

UPDATE 3/2/2013: Yesterday I learned the real reason for the move. Each newspaper section needs to have a minimum of 16 pages for proper assembly and packaging. The page count of the Business section recently dropped, so the Comics were moved to make up the difference. So there's a practical reason for it all. But if they'd asked me, I would have said to wrap the Comics around the Business section instead of tucking them inside.

Friday, February 1, 2013

Got Game?

I saw this posted by Alan Gardner at

New prime-time TV game show seeks people with extraordinary, encyclopedic knowledge of cartoons past and present who are ready to strut their knowledge for a shot at a life-changing cash prize! Open to other subjects as well. Email with basic info, age, location, phone number and photo.

Sounds interesting. I wonder if they're only talking about animation, or if comic strips and comic books will be included as well? In any case, I've sent in my info. Give it a try, and good luck!

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Mark Your Calendar

Here are some upcoming events of interest to comics fans on the USA's east coast:

January 27, New York, NY: SUPERMAN AT 75

A birthday party for the first and greatest comic book superhero. Have a piece of birthday cake, and meet author Larry Tye, former DC Comics publisher Jenette Kahn, Superman writers Denny O'Neil and Jim Shooter, and more. 1:00 PM at the Center for Jewish History. Tickets are $25, and include a copy of of Larry Tye's book, Superman: The High-Flying History of America’s Most Enduring Hero (which retails for $27)!

Are you an aspiring cartoonist, trying to get into syndication or animation, or make a career as a freelance cartoonist? Learn from those who have been there, and have your own work appraised by professionals. Tickets are $375, and selling fast, so reserve soon!

March 20-24, New York, NY: IT'S A BIRD... IT'S A PLANE... IT'S SUPERMAN
The New York City Center presents a reading of the short-lived 1966 musical comedy by Charles Strouse and Lee Adams (Bye Bye Birdie), as part of its Encores! series. Note that this is not a full performance, so there will be no sets, costumes, or wire-harness flying scenes like there were in the original. The play itself, though, is a great piece of sixties camp, and the original cast album is available on CD from Amazon and elsewhere. Ticket prices vary depending on date, time, and section.

May 18-19, East Meadow, NY: EMCON III
The East Meadow Public Library hosts its third annual convention for fans of anime (Japanese-style animation) and manga (Japanese-style comic books). This has been a popular event for the past two years, and its reputation is spreading. Come in costume or in plain clothes, talk with artists, watch anime movies, get a drawing lesson from manga creators Kelly Gordon and Jen Scrimenti, see a martial arts demonstration, and meet with other lovers of the art. FREE!

Monday, January 14, 2013

A Bit of Legionnaire Business

 In February of 1976, DC Comics held its first -- and only -- Super DC Convention, at the Hotel Commodore in New York City. I don't remember why I wasn't able to attend, but it must have been a serious illness or a major commitment that kept me away.

My buddy Rob went, though, and he came back with lots of stories and souvenirs. One of the treasures he gave me was a copy of the official ballot to vote for the next leader of the Legion of Super-Heroes.

The Legion, a virtual army of super-powered teenagers set in the 30th century, was a rather popular feature in the 1970s and '80s. That was partly due to dazzling artwork by the likes of Dave Cockrum, Mike Grell, and James Sherman. But I believe that the main attraction was that the Legion's future was a richly detailed SF/fantasy world that was more or less isolated from the rest of the DC universe.

The text on these pages is too small to read, but you can left-click on each image to bring them into viewer mode, then (depending on what web browser you're using) right-click to view them or save them to disk in full size, so you can zoom in at whatever magnification level you wish.

Incidentally, Wildfire was the landslide winner of the election. For you Legion trivia buffs: Two of the Legionnaires on this ballot are listed with the wrong home planets. Can you identify them and name their correct homeworlds? For bonus points, which member of the Legion of Super-Villains is from one of the incorrect worlds?

Thursday, January 10, 2013

But will he get to pilot the Space Coupe?

The cartoon grapevine says that a character based on George Takei (Mr. Sulu from Star Trek) will be featured in a new story arc in the Dick Tracy comic strip. It starts this Sunday, January 13, and will run for eight weeks. Takei helps Tracy investigate a cold case involving the Japanese internment camps that existed in the US during World War II.Here's the link to the online Dick Tracy strip: