Thursday, February 14, 2013

Back-Issue Spotlight: Astro City 1/2

Hey TGI-
Ah fuck it's Valentine's Day isn't it?

Yep, it's that one time of the year where you're supposed to shower your loved one w/ candy, flowers, attention, and if they're into it some showers of the golden variety;)

Personally, I've always hated Valentine's Day.

It's just a bullshit holiday created by Greeting Card companies to make you feel bad if you're single, and even worse if you're in a relationship. Why you my ask?

Simple. The expectations are set so astronomically high to show how much you love appreciate that special someone in your life, that you're literally forced to spend obscene amounts of money on flowers, candy, cards, clothing, and the V-Day date night.

It's no wonder this time of year does big business for those companies that make and distribute those items, not to mention the side-walk salesmen that jack up prices on cheap gifts for those who either forgot, or waited until the very last minute to get their sweethearts something.

Gotta' love Capitalism right?

To me, showing that special someone how much you love and appreciate them should be everyday, not just on expensive holidays, but then what do I know right?;)

Well I was trying to figure out what to do post-wise considering it was Valentine's Day and all. So I went rummaging through my comic collection, trying to find something appropriately romantic for this occasion.
I didn't really find too much, until I remembered today's spotlighted issue:

Astro City (Vol.2) #1/2 Jan 1998 "The Nearness Of You" by Kurt Busiek and Brent Anderson.

Yep, Astro City# 1/2. That is if you didn't already guess it by the title of today's post;)

Remember that famous quote, "It's better to have loved and lost, than to have never loved at all"?
Well the poor bastard in this story's living it to the fucking T!

Yep, poor Michael Tenicek's been haunted every night by the same dream about a beautiful woman named Miranda. Every night's the same; he dreams of Miranda, this woman he shouldn't know, but does, as remembers every little detail about her the way one does with the person they love.

Which is weird because he's never met her, and she doesn't exist.

And the whole thing's gotten so bad, poor Mike's been forced to take pills just to sleep and deal with all this, but still, the dreams keep coming.

You know shit gets serious when Astro City's answer to The Spectre, The Hooded Man shows up in Michael's apartment.
He claims that Michael's dreams are fucking with reality, and quickly shows why things got so messed up.
Apparently a super-villain from the 1940's, The Timekeeper tried to erase that world's super-heroes from existence  By doing so he got the attention of Eterneon, the Lord of Time. They fight, causing a CRISIS-like disaster, and time gets totally fucked up in the process.

Of course things return back to normal, and everything gets fixed to how it was.....except for a few little changes in history, like Miranda's grandparents never meeting, thus erasing poor Miranda from existence.

The Hooded Man says he can't bring her back or else it'd mess up reality again, so really he or it's no help other than explaining why Michael dreams what he does.

Although the Hooded Man does offer a bit mercy for Mike, and offers to remove her totally from his mind. In the end, Mike decides against, saying "NO. I don't want to forget."

And with that the Hooded Man disappears, leaving Michael to sleep....and dream of Miranda. But this time she doesn't haunt him so much, as serve as a gentle reminder of what he once had.

Now if that doesn't make you tear up, I don't know what will.

Busiek writes a really beautiful and moving short piece here, that shows the ramifications of big events like a CRISIS, but in the point of view of the everyday person. 

Astro City to me is definitely a criminally underrated series by Busiek and Alex Ross. Busiek showed fans and readers alike how to showcase the best story elements embodied by the big two, paying Homage to both of them, without the whole things looking like a blatant rip-off.

If you haven't give it a try, I highly recommend you do. There are lots of recognizable characters that represent a Captain America or Fantastic Four, just with different names and faces, but you get the jist of  'em and the love and historical fondness Busiek has towards his heroes of yesteryear.

Well I watched Arrow last night, and it was a lot better than last week's episode in my opinion.
We got more, much more, back-story on that version of Slade Wilson as well as the Chinese Hooded Guy's motivation for what he did and why, and a peak into Ollie's growing process as not only a survivor, but the hero he'd become.

As always, lots of neat little easter eggs thrown throughout the show for watchful fans. Slade's partner who betrayed him was named Billy Wintergreen, the last name of the real partner Wilson had in the comicverse.

Then there's the Chinese Guy's daughter's name, Shado. She was assassin Ollie had an affair with during his Longbow Hunter years. There was supposed to be a child as a result, but that idea was quickly dropped.

And finally, Fryers, the main bad guy on the island, is named after Eddie Fryers. He was a former CIA operative turned mercenary who was a buddy of Ollie's and later his son Connor's in the old regular GA series before the Kevin Smith series.

So there was a good  bit shout-outs to old continuity in yesterday's episode.

As I said, I really enjoyed this one better than last week's, due to the amazing amount of back-story and action, and less typical CW dialogue. And that my friends, is a good thing.

Also just thought I'd mention this, but The House's good friend and frequent comment contributor, Shlomo surprised the hell out of me by sending me some cool stuff.

When he asked for my address and told me he was sending me something, I had no idea what the hell it was.
Hell, it could've been one of Dan Didio's fingers or toes for all I knew.

Ha ha, but actually it was a poster and picture of his custom Suicide Squad art, as seen here:

Yep, just like I said I would, I proudly hung(sticky-tacked) his works of art on my bedroom wall.

Very cool huh?

That Shlomo, what a big, Jewish teddy bear he is;)

Yeah, that wasn't gay at all;)

So, from all of us here @ The House Of Fun, wherever you are, be it single or in a relationship, Happy F'n Valentine's Day;)


Randomnerd said...

Dammit. You made me tear up. I haven't ever teared up on Valentine's Day. Not once. Not ever.


That is a truly good love story. Because if you ever have truly loved, and lost, what would you choose? It's not something every person is confronted with in quite that way, obviously. Not so smack in your face. But what a difference it would make in your life, not remembering every little thing about that love.
And, dammit, now I'm getting wistful.
As to Valentine's day, I do agree that people should show each other they love and respect their significant others every day, and I also agree that it gets out of hand commercially. I do, however, think certain people take it a bit too far the other direction. It's not too much effort to simply make a card (or the bed) one day out of the year. Especially if that might mean something to someone you love. Even if it doesn't mean anything to you. The point being, it shows you've been paying attention. Which is really what us chicks dig most. The paying attention part.

Hell, I'd really settle for picking socks up off the floor. That's romantic.

Randomnerd said...

And Shlomo really is a sweet teddy bear of Jewish love. :) Great posters!

Dale Bagwell said...

Awww. Sorry?;)

It really is a sweet, short story, proving not only how damn good of a writer Busiek is, but also what you can do in just half of a 22 or 30 pages. It's a lost art these days. Decompression rules with a very iron fist, thus stuff like this only exists in back issues:(

Again, how cool to read something this short, but still care enough about the characters inside with just half the normal allotted pages. Today's writers should really sit down and study this one front to back.

As for the other stuff, you make some damn fine points. Sometimes it really is the little things that makes all the difference....except down there;)(Down where?);)

Those really are some cool posters. Very rarely do I have a chance to own original artwork like that, and now I get to add Shlomo's to my hall of shame, uh I mean hall of fame;)

Randomnerd said...

It's invaluable, especially when it's from a friend. It means twice as much. :) And no worries about the tearing up. It's not that hard to do, really. I did it the other day watching Serenity. And again, when I realized A.J. wasn't going to be catching for us this year. It just wasn't on Valentine's Day.

Shlomo Ben Hungstien said...

yeah i kinda fancy myself as being kinda like The Jew Bear from Inglorious Bastards but i'm more kinda like the Youtube version. by the way i'm with you Dale on your opening salvo on Valentines Day. i've never had a good either i was single on VD or having trouble with someone i was with and VD just made shit more awkward. like you said fuck Valentines Day.

Dale Bagwell said...

See everybody, this guy get it;)

I will say this, if you're the Bear Jew, then I want to be Hugo Stiglitz,even though I'll just be stuck with Hans Landa. And Dan can be
Lieutenant Archie Hicox. Gotta' have a semi-british guy in there right?:)

Shlomo Ben Hungstien said...

actually i'd like to have Michael Fastbangher double as that semi-limey guy. glad you liked that custom Rom figure and the video. it's not state of the art animation but like i said over there it beats anything the fucken SyFy channel ever comes up with. also, i see you have a fondness for the Red Hood character as well. wait until you see my next posting on the SS blog you'll say to your self "why didn't i see that coming!?".

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