Quick Hits

My old partner in crime and founder of Forces of Geek, Stefan Blitz, now offers a daily menu of delicacies for pop-cult devotees in the form of Geek News du Jour. If, as I hope, I'm able to post here more frequently, expect a lot of links to come from his 'Net-wide roundup.

Some image elements of tin ® DC Comics.

The above Superman tin popped up at my local Target recently for $10. It comes with one DVD of the 17 Fleischer and Famous Studios animated shorts from the 1940s, plus another of "TV Cartoon Classics" that are presumably also public domain. As I own the Superman shorts a couple times over, including the remastered editions from Warner Home Video, I'm just interested in the tin. I don't exactly have cash to spare right now, but I've been looking for a place to store little knick-knacks that can also be displayed so that the smaller items are easily accessible.

Logo and characters © 2009 and TM/® The Muppets Studio.

I'm probably duty-bound simply by virtue of having a blog that covers entertainment — however idiosyncratic it may be — to mention the Muppets' take on Queen's "Bohemian Rhapsody".

The clip, which debuted a few days ago on The Muppets Studio's YouTube channel and has gone seriously viral, isn't a straight-up cover; Animal's spotlight is an early, hysterical indication of that. Rowlf takes the piano part, Dr. Teeth & The Electric Mayhem join in (Janice can shred!), and familiar faces from the "Mahna Mahna" Muppet to Fozzie Bear get screen time — you can find a rundown of who's who in the video at the unofficial, astoundingly informative Muppet Wiki.

Cover to Superman: The Story of the Man of Steel © 2009 and character ® DC Comics.

The author/artist of Viking's delightful Batman: The Story of the Dark Knight, Ralph Cosentino, has as previously reported here been working on a follow-up starring Superman. It's not yet mentioned on either Cosentino's website or that of the publisher, but the cover art and release date for Superman: The Story of the Man of Steel are up on Amazon; I certainly hope this is no early April Fool's joke, as I'm merely one of many readers and collectors who gave the Batman book a glowing review. My only complaint is that the insignia could look a little sharper.

As I look back at my negative comments about Amazon in that review and the plea to buy locally when possible, at an independent bookstore or even a Borders that may employ your neighbors — which I absolutely stand by — I'm reminded that if you are trying to stretch your dollars this holiday season by making some purchases from deep-discount online retailers and you have comics lovers on your list, you owe it to yourself to check out the Nick & Dent section at Things from Another World, which offers items at half the list price year round and has a 60%-off sale going through Monday.

Several years ago I received numerous books from Amazon in poor condition. One had a seriously bent corner; another had a crooked, impossible to remove UPC sticker that hung off the edges of the book; and — the pièce de résistance — one actually had a hole in the cover. Yet so-called Customer Service could not find a way for me to return these books at Amazon's expense. I tried Amazon again a couple of years back thanks to the deep discounts and again got a book with scuffing that, while not terrible, would have kept me from picking it up in a brick-and-mortar store.

This was all even more remarkable when contrasted with the aforementioned Nick & Dent department at Things from Another World, an online retailer that also has storefront locations in Oregon. I got some gift packages last year from a friend who knew that I'd appreciate them even more if she told me what a great deal they were, and have since placed orders with TFAW myself — thrilled with the bargains throughout the site and honestly almost never able to discern what led to an item's consignment to the Nick & Dent section in the first place. Having received gifts via Amazon earlier this year, because I found the Wish List feature irresistible (even if only as a masochistic chronicle of desirable objects), I went ahead and placed gift orders of my own that apparently arrived at their destinations in fine shape, but the behemoth is still on probation. I'm fortunate enough to have comics shops and a children's bookstore with friendly, knowledgable staffs and great inventory in the area, while I splurge during sales at TFAW as a roughly biannual treat. My rare DVD purchase usually comes from Target or, like general book purchases, from Borders when its rewards program coughs up a coupon for 30% or better. For books that aren't gifts or irresistible additions to the home library, there's always the actual hometown library, an institution well worth visiting and supporting through donations of potential book-sale merchandise or cold, hard cash.


Jenea said...

Ha ha! The first Superman is very seems like on Tom Hanks!!!

Arben said...

Y'know, Jenea's right. He is very seems like Tom Hanks. And that tin is way cool.