I haven't finished converting the cover dates on my master list of comics milestones to on-sale dates, so the 25th anniversary of the release of Alan Moore & Dave Gibbons' Watchmen #1 is being observed now. The issue actually came out in June 1986, three months before its cover and indicia date. You can read more about this practice at the above link, and expect more commemorative posts once I finally get The Comicologist online, but I didn't want to let this occasion pass without comment.

The mid '80s were something of a renaissance era for the American comic-book industry, as the direct market (another of my frequently referenced posts) led to a rise in alternative / independent publishers, creator-owned projects, and more sophisticated storytelling.

Numbers Game

The Phillies P is a trademark of The Philadelphia Phillies.

Last night The Phillies didn't just reverse the frustrating if statistically inconsequential losing streak that they'd finally snapped the night before. They won their 101st game of the season, tying a franchise record. And in doing so they handed Charlie Manuel his 645th win as Phillies manager, tying the mark of Gene Mauch. Tonight both records can be broken during the final game of the regular season as the Phillies look to sweep the Atlanta Braves, up their winning percentage of .627 (the best in MLB) a skitch, and play a potentially deciding role in whether the Braves themselves make the National League playoffs. Win or lose — and of course win is the preference — the Phillies begin their postseason battles on Saturday, Oct. 1st.

Fringe Thinking:
(Just Like) Starting Over

I find this post's title most apt given the options, but Fringe's Season Four premiere didn't actually bring us back to the point at which the rewritten timeline we're viewing diverged from the familiar one decades ago. Rather...

... picked up shortly after the Season Three finale, with Peter erased from reality due to actions he undertook to save his native and adopted universes. Over Here and Over There both still exist; in fact, they coexist in the room that houses the First People's machine — where members of each side's Fringe Division meet to compare notes, as we see Olivia and her counterpart Fauxlivia do grudgingly.

Yeah, I've decided to write up some thoughts on the episode, despite the near certainty that I won't be doing so weekly. Partly it's an imperfect salve for the fact that I never got to finish out the brief run that I began at the end of last season — not that there aren't plenty of other unpublished or just plain unwritten posts in Blam's Blog history whose absence irritates me — and partly it's because if/when I do get to resume Fringe reviews I'll likely appreciate having this as a foundation. In case you're new to these posts, I should explain that having named my Lost episode analyses after Beatles tunes I decided to name my "Fringe Thinking" installments after John Lennon songs (Beatles or solo); unfortunately, some titles perfect for this post were either already used for "Lost in Thought".

Here's some of what made me think:

Muppet Monday

This past Saturday would have been Jim Henson's 75th birthday.

Since I really and truly plan to take a break from the blog come October, with the exception of publishing or re-publishing some backlogged material as time allows, I thought that I'd set up a series of short weekly posts counting down to the much-anticipated opening of the new Muppet movie as a way of ensuring at least a bit of fresh content. It's just a coincidence that so many of my stockpiled links are perfect for such an endeavor.

Our first installment is a clip from a pitch that Henson & Co. made trying to sell a little something called The Muppet Show to CBS. Like many of my links it comes courtesy of Mark Evanier, who places it in some context.

An Exposure Thing

Here's what in an act of self-charity I'll call a think piece that's a bit about Glee, more about Taylor Momsen, and in a broader sense about American pop culture in general. I wrote the majority of it a year ago, at a time when publishing to the blog was about as frustrating as it's ever been; the unfinished essay languished on my hard drive until yesterday's post, the title of a post from earlier this month, and periodic noodging from my friend LK proved a perfect storm, or at least a sufficient one, in compelling me to dredge it up. Some of the particulars are dated, but whatever points it makes — and my internal jury is out on their significance, believe me — should still be valid.

Close-up shot — head, shoulders, and chest — of Taylor Momsen, a pale young woman in black jacket and lace bustier with significant décolletage, choker, dark-red lipstick, considerable black mascara around her eyes, and bleach-blonde hair with dark roots showing
Photo © 2010 Getty Images / Dave Hogan

LK is mildly fascinated by Momsen. She brings her up often enough that we have our own nickname for Momsen, which in a strange way helped me feel less pervy discussing her because it abstracted Momsen's image from her as a person (a dubious merit, I know).

Momsen was only 17 when I began this post, a fact reflected in the nickname itself. "She looks like a blond, underage Elvira," I said to LK one fine day.

"Yeah," LK responded, "Albino Elvira."

"Jailbait albino Elvira," I clarified.

"Jalbira!" we said at the same time, in one of the most questionable eureka moments known to humanity.


I never thought I'd be linking to Perez Hilton, but in honor of tonight's season premiere of Glee (at 8 p.m. ET on Fox) I can't help pointing you to a most excellent video clip featuring my favorite character on the show.

Heather Morris does the voodoo that she does so well — and which I've praised before — in "A Day in the Life of Brittany S. Pierce".

Fright 'Nite

I've been a fan of Michael T. Gilbert, good egg and gifted cartoonist, since coming across his work a quarter-century ago. My own personal Silver Age of comics was aborning as the era of the "independents" caught steam in the mid 1980s, and features that pushed the boundaries of the kinds of superheroes that had mainly interested me — Gilbert's Mr. Monster, Paul Chadwick's Concrete, Scott McCloud's Zot! — in turn pushed me to explore and accept new publishers, genres, creators, and styles. Gilbert's humor, versatility, and clear love of comics led me to seek out his stuff wherever it popped up; not only that, his obvious jones for collaboration introduced me to other creators when it wasn't just reinforcing the great taste that I had when it came to reading comics done by someone with such obvious great taste himself (Alan Moore, William Messner-Loebs, Ken Bruzenak).

Likewise, I've admired Ken Quattro's blog The Comics Detective since it debuted early last year, as I did his Comicartville website — referenced here many moons ago during my review of It Rhymes with Lust — before it. Among the unpublished posts of mine are more than one linking over to that blog, where Ken has unearthed plenty of material absolutely fascinating to followers of comics history like me.

So I eagerly invite you to experience "The Green Rock of Terror". It's an unpublished story (and backstory) that Mike has generously passed on to Ken for presentation as a historical document of interest to the traditional comics in-group and Gilbert aficionados especially. While a mere trifle compared to much of Mr. Monster and MTG's nifty contribution to Legends of the Dark Knight, the 7-page tale is sure to make you wish that the anthology for which it was commissioned had come to pass.

A Walk in the Park

photo of a blond boy in a red T-shirt with white number 34 seen from behind as he watches a Phillies baseball game on a television from across a wooden kitchen table

My family is full of special kids — funny, smart, good-looking. I'd expect nothing less from the Saner gene pool, really, but a small part of me figured that statistically there'd have to be one dud in the bunch, if only by comparison to the rest. So far, though, from the youngest up through the eldest, born my senior year in college and now a sophomore herself, the next generation is pretty universally awesome.

Ravi, however, is a little more special than the rest. That's in part due to his being on the autism spectrum, yes, but also because — to take the aphorism from Job out of context and turn it on its head — while the Lord taketh away, the Lord also giveth.

A year ago at a family dinner, I had a chat with Ravi to figure out a good book to get him for his impending 6th birthday, asking if he preferred history or fantasy (or liked both).

Ravi: "I prefer history and non-fiction to fiction."

Me: "Do you have a favorite period of history?"

Ravi: "About 4.6 billion years ago is the limit of my interest in history."

Me: "..."

Ravi: "That's approximately when Earth and the solar system were created."

There Are No Words

Of course I remember September 11th, 2001. Not a soul who was of age to
remember it will ever forget. And no matter what that day was going to be for them, when it started, it ended up different.

I was supposed to move that morning, only the truck broke down. We got a call quite early — at my mother's house, where I'd been staying between apartments — that the hauling of stuff would have to wait a day. Sure, I could have gone over to the new place and spent the night there anyway; the events that soon unfolded, though, called for family. I sat and watched Peter Jennings cover the unfathomable news just as I had 25 years earlier, home from school with the flu on the day the Challenger was lost.

That's all you'll hear me say directly about the grim scenes whose 10th anniversary we mark today because, really, there are no words.

What to do, then? How to do… something?

Oh, Hell

Why the face, Blogger?!?

You'd be reading a couple of new posts right now, and I would not have lost more precious hours of my life this evening, had the evil imps who live inside my hosting service not decided that this was a good time to throw yet another last-minute, screw-everything-up-right-before-publication spanner into the works.

The link above goes to a very short video clip, safe for work and kids. If you've seen it before, you know what it is. And if you're in the mood for stronger language, there's an entry from this time last year that might be up your alley.

JL Bait

Justice League #1 cover © 2011 and elements TM/® DC Comics.
Pencils: Jim Lee. Inks: Scott Williams. Colors: Alex Sinclair. Logo: Unknown.

Justice League #1 came out last Wednesday.

It's the opening salvo in DC Comics' relaunch of its main superhero line, hyped as "The New 52!" You may have heard tell — if only from reading this blog, although there's been coverage in mass media from Entertainment Weekly to USA Today (one hopes, just to continue the trend, even World News Now) — that DC has taken the radical step of more-or-less clearing the decks of the primary so-called DC Universe, rewriting and compressing its history in hopes of making it more accessible while restarting all of its series at #1. Over the next four weeks, 52 extant, revived, and/or flat-out new monthly titles will release their first issues, with further limited-run and ongoing series on the way.

The move is something of a Hail Mary pass on DC's part in reaction to consumers' transition away from what have long been the twin pillars of the American comic-book industry.


Oct. 8th, 2010, edition of The Joy of Tech © 2010 Geek Culture.

I figured some levity was in order after the ordeal that I've had with my computer, and therefore with the blog, lately. The above is from the Joy of Tech strip that runs at the website Geek Culture. (I've long since learned that being a tech geek is no guarantee of a clean, well-organized, easily navigable website that won't assault you with ads, animation, and a host of clashing typefaces 'n' stuff, but I'm still surprised when tech-geek artists' websites turn up that way.)

While the cartoon is almost a year old, it's sort-of timely for a couple of random reasons.