Fringe Thinking:
Yellow Submarine

With its fifth and final season, Fringe has entered a new dimension. Or is that descriptor unavailable, lest the senses of the word be confused? The series has, after all, built much of its mythology on transdimensional travel to a parallel Earth — Over There, a.k.a. the Other Side, home to doppelgangers of our heroes and villains. Instead, Fringe's future lies in the actual (well, the actual fictional) future, as viewers had already been made aware through advance promotion and as was seen on Friday night in the Season Five opener...

I'll get back to the future shortly. First I want to take a few moments to welcome any new readers by way of giving these writeups (and their titles) some context.


After this preamble comes another batch of my Twitter postlets, very possibly the last batch for a little while. I've decided to step away from the twitting and reassess because it's just too much of a time-suck. Nice as it was to dip further back into the crazy, crowded, hopefully chlorinated pool that is the comics world in all of its increasingly splintered splendor, I spent way more time following conversations and links and all that jazz than I should have given that I really wanted to get back in touch with a bunch of folks this summer; Twitter was supposed to be merely one means to that end, and instead it ended any hope of pursuing other means.

Screencap © 2012 ABC TV and/or Angst Productions.

I wasn't able to catch up on enough television before the fall season began, either, but I did make a small dent in the eight episodes of Trust Us with Your Life in my Hulu queue. The improv show was a summer-season entry on ABC starring some of the Whose Line Is It Anyway? regulars, cut short due to ratings competition from the Olympics — or Fred Willard's arrest for lewd activity in a triple-X movie house, depending on what you read. Colin Mochrie's unusually colored wardrobe in the first episode had already caught my eye when he fluffed out his hair in one sketch and prompted me to grab the screencap above.

Like I said on Twitter, Mochrie has to play Mr. Mxyzptlk.

Greatly Reduced Expectations

The downside to not sharing my entries in hashtag sprees within a day or so of them being a thing on Twitter, whether as part of a "Twitticisms" post or in a Top X list like the one that follows, is, I've come to realize, that anyone interested in heading over to Twitter to see the full range of contributions will turn up zilch.

Maybe a hashtag comes back into fashion or someone joins in late or a totally different group of people hit on the same idea, maybe, but those earlier entries are gone. Twits seem to leave Twitter's institutional memory pretty quickly, unless there are tricks to its search function I don't know about (which is very, very possible). You can at least head to my own Favorites on Twitter, scroll down a bit, and see a heaping handful of others' offerings that I found amusing enough to save. It's not at all the same, though, as being in the thick of it — and this one, #unpromisingsequels, was a good one; I was immensely grateful to have a clear, quick-thinking head for as long as I did.

Here, in roughly the order I posted them, save for the favorite that I've moved to the end, are my...

Top Thirty (Yes, Thirty!) Unpromising Sequels

30. The Day After the Day After

29. Hastily-Dressed Lunch

28. Reincarnation of a Salesman

27. Acquaintances on a Train

26. Love in the Time of Cholera Vaccines

25. The Executive Producers

24. Fiddler at the Window: Allegro!

23. Sgt. Pepper's Well-Adjusted, Engagingly Social Hearts Club Band

22. Evaporation Man

21. The Well-Scrubbed Dozen

20. Admiral EO

Tales from the Hartman

I was hoping to have a review of Rachel Hartman's novel Seraphina posted by now. The upshot is that Hartman, who may be familiar to some — if not enough — for her delightful minicomic Amy Unbounded (partly collected in one TPB, Belondweg Blossoming, from Hartman's own Pug House Press), has turned out an equally delightful prose debut in Seraphina. It was released in July by Random House Books for Young Readers, tearing up the charts and garnering rave reviews.

While she lives and writes (as the author bios go) in Vancouver now, Hartman will be returning to her old stomping grounds this coming Tuesday at 7 p.m. as part of the Seraphina tour when she visits Children's Book World in Haverford, Pennsylvania — about a mile away from Bryn Mawr College. I haven't seen Rachel in a decade; I hope that I get to attend so I can let her know in person how much I enjoyed the book.

I realize that traffic for this blog isn't torrential, but it can't hurt to spread the word. More on Hartman, Seraphina, and her book tour can be found via the hyperlink in her name above. If you're in the vicinity and have read Seraphina (or Amy Unbounded), would like to see a great independent children's-book store, and/or just want a chance of meeting me, I hope you'll come on down.


Last Friday the title of the 2013 sequel to J.J. Abrams' 2009 Star Trek movie was announced. The site at the preceding link and other news outlets report it as Star Trek Into Darkness [sic].

Um... Okay.

I hope that, if the title sticks, someone at Bad Robot or Paramount realizes that it either has to be Star Trek: Into Darkness or Star Trek into Darkness, with the preposition uncapitalized.

Bamm-Bamm Lamken 1996-2012

He was a sweet boy.

We had a storm the other night. I thought of Bamm-Bamm. A day hasn't gone by since he died that I don't think of him, really; it's just a matter of why I do.

For the past 15 years of my life, excepting the last 6 months, thunder has meant one thing — well, besides the fact that it was probably gonna rain and that I very likely had been or soon would be dealing with a migraine. It meant that Bamm-Bamm was about to run for cover.

He died on the first day of March after a see-saw week's worth of sudden, puzzling sickliness, and I'm still not used to his absence. Not seeing him sprint when thunder booms, not having him rub my legs when I get out of the shower, not feeling him curled up next to me when I roll over in bed... Il me manque, as they say in French. We translate it as "I miss him" but literally it's "He is lacking to me," which is so much more poignantly to the point. My life lacks the Bamm-Bamm.


It's time for another batch of selected Twits from Twitter. As usual, I've mostly culled the overtly (would-be) humorous lines and left out the mundane as well as my part in various conversations.

I should alert those averse to political humor that the past week's worth of Twits — i.e., the last half of this batch — touch upon the Republican and Democratic National Conventions. Like The Daily Show, I probably appear to lean to the so-called left (or, if you prefer, "pinko commie liberal"), but only because an open mind, inclusion, and social justice come naturally to me; also like The Daily Show, I hope that when the situation warrants it — and/or just when the joke is there begging to be made — I'm an equal-opportunity caller on bullshit, regardless of party, conservative or progressive, albeit not for 21 minutes plus commercials in a studio 4 nights a week. I do mostly avoid outright political stuff on the blog, although I suspect that as the November elections near I will make at least one big exception to that avoidance in addition to smaller ones in the form of my Twitterings.

You've been warned.

Joe Kubert 1926-2012

Art from Joe Kubert Presents #1 © 2012 DC Comics. Pencils: Kubert.

Joe Kubert died three weeks ago yesterday, on Aug. 12th, at the age of 85.

Anyone who follows comics knows this already, thanks to news sites, social networking, etc., and has almost surely seen a fuller portrait of the man than I can provide. I've been wanting to put up at least a brief post about him, though, for the benefit of readers who come here mostly for the non-comics stuff I muse upon yet still have some curiosity about this strange demimonde that's begun spawning billion-dollar movies. Jack Kirby, discussed the other day, may have been the King of Comics — to mix metaphors, perhaps part of American comics' Holy Trinity, with Will Eisner and Harvey Kurtzman, in terms of establishing its visual language — but Kubert was at least a Great Duke. Joe Kubert art is, to his eternal credit, as unmistakable as it is beautiful.

The Late Posts

Panel of The Black Racer, a caped and colorfully armored man on skis with poles, emerging from a Boom Tube in the sky / 'So, Destiny has changed and my my course and takes me here -- to Earth!
Splash panel of The Black Racer from The New Gods #3 
© 1971 DC Comics. Script, Pencils: Jack Kirby. Inks: Vince 
Colletta. Letters: John Costanza. Colors: Unknown.

Decades before The Late Show was the title of David Letterman's CBS alternative to Jay Leno, it was the rather generic name of after-hours broadcasts of old movies on local TV stations. The phrase also came to be used, with morbid punnery, for the Oscars' familiar montage of industry folks who'd passed away in the previous year.

I've been planning for some time to use a variation of it to introduce, contextualize, and/or apologize for a batch of posts that weren't up for very long, or never quite went up at all, just a bit too long ago to republish them randomly without some explanation.
Now seemed like a good idea, when now — the languid end of summer — was still a few weeks in the future. At least one memorial was already planned for this particular bunch, too, but more out of coincidence than dark humor.