I don't normally just link to other blogs' posts, but this is just so well put that I when I saw it a couple of weeks ago I saved it for today. It's one of those things that I wish I'd written myself: "The Historicity of the Resurrection of Christ" by Mark Musser. Basically, the way I usually put it to my students, "The life of Jesus is better documented with earlier, more reliable sources than is the life of Julius Caesar." It's well worth reading. Happy Easter!
commentary, general reactions, and random notes on the DC Comics that
were released during February that I received near the beginning of
March. Caution: Spoilers ahead! [ Link to previous month
news coming out of DC – or rather about
DC, 'cause DC themselves are being rather mum except with excited
“great news” type damage-control announcements that invariably
turn out to be premature or not the whole story at all – seems
dominated these days by continuing word of chaos among DC editorial.
The most disconcerting came within a handful of days just this past
week (I'm starting this on 25 March) was that Andy Diggle is leaving
after only one issue as Grant Morrison's successor. Since Diggle's
announced plans and vision for the greatest super-hero of them all
seemed a step in the right direction, this is bad enough. Worse was
the corollary news that Tony Daniel was to take over writing the
title as well as art. The anguished “NOOOOOOO” you may have
heard mid-week was me. Daniel is a decent artist. His writing in
the New 52 has invariably sucked, and frankly before that was seldom
more than adequate. Yeah, I couldn't wait to see Action
end up looking like the first year or so of Detective
couple of days to contemplate that bleakness was followed by the
announcement that, no, Daniel won't be lasting but a three-issue arc
then moving on to a preplanned, “major” project. No word that
I've seen so far as to what Action
might look like four months hence ....
roughly the same period came word that Joshua Hale Fialkov, whose
writing I've really liked on the just-ending I,
be taking over Green
– because editorial sucker-punched him with the mandate that John
Stewart die. Fialkov walked and made no secret why. Whereupon DC
crawfished and announced that there are currently “no plans” to
kill off John Stewart.
Chaos. Do those people have a clue? It's ultimately quite
disturbing, especially with rumors coming out of Bleeding
of other lame stunts under consideration – “Villains Month” in
which, e.g., Batman
#24 would be renamed “Joker
#24” for that month only; mass cancellation of sixteen titles to be
replaced by four weekly titles. And how is that last supposed to
The only thing to do is sit back, not
think about that kind of stuff, just read and enjoy what we're
getting … where it's enjoyable. Some's getting a little marginal
on that score, though.
Just a short plug to let interested
parties know that the pulp basis for Dynamite's current Masks comic book miniseries, Norvell Page's wonderful 1938 trilogy of
tales from The Spider magazine, collectively known variously
as “The Black Police Trilogy” or The Spider vs. the Empire
State, under which title they have been available for a couple of
years now in a nice trade paperback edition from Age of Aces,
containing a fine historical introduction by Thomas Krabacher
(reviewed here, parts one,
respectively), have recently been made available in inexpensive eBook
formats by the wonderful folks at RadioArchives.
Part of an aggressive initiative by
RadioArchives, mainly known for making available remastered,
high-quality CD sets of classic radio shows of all genres, to expand
their market into the realm of classic pulp literature, The Spider
is just one of several series that are appearing in rapid succession
as part of “Will Murray's Pulp Classics” eBook library – see
All this in addition to marketing pulp reprints and replicas from a
number of different publishers.
One great feature of the RA eBooks is
that they include the entire contents of the original magazine,
including the typical backup short-stories, columns, and letters
pages. About the only thing they do not reproduce are the original
interior line art illustrations. Well, or the advertisements. But for one cheap price each (currently
– but as long as I've known about them – slashed by a buck from
$3.99 to $2.99 apiece), you buy the right to download the eBooks in
multiple DRM-free formats, suitable for just about any eReader including
Kindle and Nook as well as plain old pdf.
So if you want to read the original tale
of the criminal “Justice Party's” fascist state in 1938 New York
and the Spider's valiant war against it, for currently less than $10
in total, follow these links: Part One, Part Two, and Part Three.
commentary, general reactions, and random notes on the Dynamite
Entertainment comics that were released during February (mostly) that
I received near the beginning of March. Caution: Spoilers ahead!
[Link to previous month.]
#4 of 8
B (25%) by Jae Lee
this marks the halfway point, and the story skips right along. There
are no new heroes introduced, but Rafael Vega ducks into a costume
and prop shop to evade the Black Police, then kills his pursuers with
a sword and seems to be outfitting himself as Zorro. Also, the
Spider in Albany discovers that the governor is the lackey of a Man
in the Mirror called the Master. Green Hornet, Kato, and the Black
Terror terrorize the mayor of New York into revealing the existence
of the Master as well, for which the Master remotely kills him.
Green Lama and Miss Fury fight the Black Police, then are picked up
by the Shadow and Margo Lane. And D.A. Quinn discovers that he can
see in the dark when he's attacked by the Black Police, giving him
wording above was deliberate, “the story skips … along.”
Again, there's considerable sketchiness to the narrative. Not the
art, which is just fine. Perhaps only because I have the “proper”
mindset and background for this, I'm loving it. I wondered what
those without the background would make of it, and my fears were more
or less confirmed by talking with a colleague who is also getting it.
He's kind of regretting picking it up. He's largely not familiar
with the characters (except the obvious ones), and he hasn't read The
Spider versus the Empire State.
There is something serendipitous in the
fact that I finished reading this book a few days ago, just in time
for this past Sunday's Mass Readings – and hence our Monday Night
Scripture Study Group a few nights ago – to include the story of
the Woman Caught in Adultery from the Gospel of St. John, 8:1-11. I
was thus able to use a situation posited herein as a launching point
for discussion in our group.
But before bringing up our thoughts
regarding the interpretation of that passage proposed by the
characters here, which I assume represents Eidemiller's position,
regarding the implications of the words that Jesus speaks to the
woman, let me provide an overall review and comments.
It's quickly apparent that this sequel to
As Iron Sharpens Iron forges a connection between the world of
Eidemiller's fan-fiction “Christian Adventures of Doc Savage”
series, formally TheBronze Saga, and the separate
universe that is the setting for the Irons Alliance tales.
Indeed, this story launches directly out of the sixth Bronze Saga
novel, Bronze New World, with a minor character introduced
there becoming the central character of this book which tells the
back story of the mentor character bringing together the members of
the Irons Alliance. Of course, that means that this tale is
ultimately tied into the old television series, The Time Tunnel,
as was Bronze New World. That character (appropriately named
Tempor) travels through time back to the early 20th
century and proceeds by his presence and nudges to events as they
unfold through the years to explain the divergences from our own
“real world's” history that were so apparent in As Iron
commentary, general reactions, and random notes on the DC Comics that
were released during January that I received near the beginning of
February. Caution: Spoilers ahead! [ Link to previous month ]
of my “leaner, meaner” monthly round-ups of DC Comics. One
change I'm also making is that now my linked reviews just go to the
wonderful Comic Book RoundUp
website that pulls together and links to multiple reviews and gives
an average overall rating based on them. They usually include the
individual reviewers that I generally go to for each “family” of
books, plus a lot more. If an issue I'm including has a page there,
that's what I'm linking to.
we really need another month's worth of the stupid Arrow
banner across the top of the covers?
other “news” ...
ultimately prevailed at DC as it was recently announced that the
“WTF” “event” will not
be so billed. If I may editorialise, whoever thought that would be a good idea in the first
place should be fired. I don't often say that so bluntly, but come
now to the comics....
What's Steppenwolf been up to these five
years? Well, raising (and corrupting) his foster daughter, Wonder
Woman's daughter, Fury, who comes off as a fusion of Big Barda and
read Valiant during the early 1990s, but I have always been aware of
it and its quick early – and fleeting – success. I knew the
properties were much loved by many, and was vaguely aware that it was
being revived of late. Then I've been hearing nothing but good
things about the revamp, especially from the hosts of the Comic
Book Page podcast, who endlessly
trumpet the comics and the company as, at least now in the beginning,
“comics done right.” So when I noticed this trade being
solicited a few months ago – not the first of the new Valiant – I
decided to roll the dice.
was a little taken aback as I read it to see that at least a certain
aspect of the story plays off of the ridiculous and offensive Da
Vinci Code phenomenon (I take
the historicity of my Faith seriously) – of course, a clue that it
is so appears in the very title – but
frankly it's pulled off so tongue-in-cheek and so entertainingly that
I find I can't hold that ultimately fleeting element of the plot
against it. What you end up with here is a good, solid story that
moves right along, issue by issue – there are only four in this
slim volume, but those four issues contain enough story that it seems
like more – with two surprisingly quickly developed
antagonists-turned-partners whose banter had me grinning a good bit
of the time. It's graced by nice, clean art that gives this tale a
very cinematic air. I definitely will be back for subsequent
volumes, and am checking out some of the other revived Valiant
Justice (Cartoon Network, 2 seasons, 2010-2013)
finished watching (via DVR, a couple hours after it aired), the
series finale of Young Justice
(a.k.a. Young Justice: Invasion
for its second season). It's quite bittersweet.
unashamedly proclaim that I loved this show. I was a big watcher of
cartoons in my youth – who wasn't? – but watched very few in my
adult life, mainly just the DC Animated Universe (or “Dini-verse)
shows starting with Batman: The Animated Series
'way back in the early 1990s up through Justice League
for its third season] a few years ago. The direct-to-DVD animated
films that have followed up the departure of those series in the past
few years I find very hit and miss, but this late series, although a
departure in detail from the traditional DCAU, which had a more or
less cohesive continuity, was very much its heir in spirit and may
have been of even higher quality – a hit, through and through. I
know that I found it consistently enjoyable, with better writing and
characterization than a lot of live action TV shows, and frankly
presenting a far more palatable “updated” version of the DC
Universe than do the comic books themselves in the New 52. I will
miss it deeply.
wasn't a perfect ending by any means – but it was probably the best
we could expect since I don't think the creators themselves knew it
was coming until too late to do more than possibly tweak the last
couple of episodes. It felt a lot more like a cliffhanger leading
into a season three that we will unfortunately never see. There is
an excellent review already up at IGN
and I'm sure others will follow.
could go on and on at how shabbily DC's corporate “sibling”
Cartoon Network – they are both part of the Warner Brothers empire
– has consistently treated DC properties through the years, but the
demise of this show did not surprise me in the least. It saddens me,
but does not surprise me at all given the headwinds that it labored
against. But all continuing down this path would do is raise my
blood pressure uselessly. Instead, I'd rather start the call here:
DC Comics –
Continue Young Justice as a
digital-first title, Young Justice: Season 3,
for reading, and Thank you, creators of Young Justice,
for two very enjoyable seasons.
Well, it was a fitting tribute Episode 8 of the returned Dallas on TNT earlier this evening, from the poignant variation on the opening credits' theme...
... through the great wake brawl and the surprisingly touching eulogies, to the final revelations that assure us that John Ross Ewing II may be gone, but the magnificent bastard, the greatest villain in television history, will not soon be forgotten. Ave atque vale!
the week before last, I came down with the worst case of flu that I
have suffered in my adult life. For six days straight I ran
triple-digit fever, accompanied by chills, achiness, and a general
lassitude that has been very difficult getting through. I don't
remember ever being this sick for this long, and frankly felt worse
than when I had a heart attack a couple of years ago. Sure, that was
painful in the event itself, frightening as all get out, and
frustrating at being confined to the hospital for several days, but
honestly I was not that uncomfortable for most of the period and was
in and out of the hospital in less time than I was knocked flat on my
back for the better part of last week. Although it came at a very bad
time of semester, ramping up toward giving midterm exams this coming
week, I ended up missing the entire week of classes and have still felt wiped
out most of this week as I try to pick up the shattered pieces of this semester.
of how sick I was is that it wasn't until the sixth day that I could
focus my mind enough to read more than short bits and pieces off news
sites and blogs. Before that I had a stack of half a dozen comics,
all that remained for me to read from my end-of-January box of DC Comics,
sitting unread by my bed. Then, it was kind of slow getting my cotton-filled brain
kick-started again. While I could read okay for several days, I was
not really able to focus well on framing thoughts into any kind of
But as I
slowly read through those few issues, I discovered something that was
reemphasized to me as I also picked up a long set-aside two-volume
set of library-bound comics that I'd started well nigh on two years
ago, Jerry Ordway's marvelous
1990s series, The Power of Shazam
– the simple pleasure of reading for pleasure.
Not worrying about taking notes – which like most things I do I
end up going obsessive-compulsively overboard with – just reading.