Of course the moment I typed the famous last words of my previous entry everything was jinxed. I'd already been dealing with trouble restoring some backed-up files after my hard drive was replaced; then, as I was trying to flesh out a longer piece on the next subject in this post, the FiOS went out — mighty ironic given that my Wi-Fi oh-so-briefly seemed to be speeding along once I got a new Airport card and we switched over to Verizon from Comcast, which I wish hadn't happened at virtually the same time so that I could determine which one of the two was the bigger culprit. The DC 52 stuff will roll out right after I get this up. [A look at an online Super 8 comic and other links are after the jump.]
Gene Colan died on Thursday at the age of 84. As expected, Mark Evanier has a remembrance of him at News from ME — too soon after his obituary for Lew Sayre Schwartz, an early and admired ghost for Bob Kane on Batman, and shortly before his anecdote about the late Peter Falk, a legendary actor known to my generation as much for his turn as the narrating grandfather in The Princess Bride as for Columbo. You can find many more thoughts on Colan around the Web, but surely none will be as personal as the reflections of his friend Clifford Meth, whose latest post at this writing on his blog Everyone's Wrong and I'm Right is a beautiful inscription that Colan provided for a scrapbook in thanks to the young students of a cartooning class taught by comics journalist Greg Hatcher.
The image above of Gene holding a recreation of his cover to Marvel's Iron Man #1 is cropped from a photo that ran last year on a blog overseen by Meth, which now has information on how to donate to The Kubert School in Gene's memory.
I began putting together a piece on Colan's work not long ago upon hearing that he'd fallen seriously ill, but abandoned it due to Internet problems. Earlier today work on it resumed, and promisingly, since it felt only right to complete it in short order after his passing — even though that pushed my scheduled material back a scootch. Now that the clusterfrak of connectivity problems has continued, I have to postpone publication of the fuller piece, but I didn't want to forego mentioning the sad occasion and have folded it into another utility post of random items culled from my constantly growing list of link-blogging notes.
While the comics world is no longer really my scene, to my bewilderment, resignation, and not a little melancholy — as I've mentioned here before and I'll be discussing again soon if the coming round of stockpiled posts gets published as planned (which is surely taunting fate once more) — I will say that although I'm not as plugged in as I used to be I often find myself sampling the incredibly vast array of comics commentary online by both accident and design. Despite a desire to mostly stay out of the loop, I see links popping up in correspondence and on friends' blogs or general-interest websites that I make it a point to read; in addition, when the mood does strike me I'm nearly always intrigued by what I find trolling the latest entries at the simple, handy Update-a-Tron Comics Weblog Aggregator.
I'll save my full review of Super 8 for the DVD release, I guess, but the short version is this: It's exactly what you'd expect from a J.J. Abrams / Steven Spielberg collaboration, which is on the whole a good thing; it's almost inescapably predictable, but you kind-of want it to be, and the core members of the young cast are often astounding. My favorite part of the whole film might be the movie within the movie that's played out in full during the end credits.
DC Comics has produced a short tie-in story in collaboration with the filmmaking team that's available for online viewing or download from an offshoot of the film's main website. Its "cover" is mocked up to resemble an actual publication dating from 1960, with a distressed spine, 12¢ price, and vintage DC bullet, but no issue from that era would read or look quite like this. In fact there's little hint of period DC-ness to it at all; rather, it strikes me as what would happen if WildStorm produced an issue of Mike Mignola's Dark Horse series BPRD for the long-defunct Charlton — a description that will utterly confound non-comics folks but hopefully resonate with those in the know once they read it. The biggest problem with this slight but solid piece is that it ends with not a bang nor even really a whimper but with a big white space that readers were invited to fill with their own creature design as part of a contest that Paramount Pictures ran right before Super 8 opened. You can take the invitation to imagine what's seen next as a conclusion on its own terms, but there's no real resolution to the story; the narration of the brief prequel-cum-promotional infodump is the whole point, which to the credit of scripter Peter Tomasi and artist Tommy Lee Edwards works well enough in its muted color. You don't need to have seen the movie to read this, and it doesn't spoil any of the film's plot points unless you had no inkling that it might possibly, conceivably have at least something to do with extraterrestrial life.
And... Now that the Internet's back I'd better get this published before something else goes wrong.