Podcast Episode 96: George Hanna Interview

Direct Download (1:52:17)

 

I talk to George Hanna, one half of the wonderful George and Tony Entertainment Show (GATES), about podcasting, comics, and comic book related media. Please listen in as two veteran geeks discuss the things they love, plus, hear George answer the ponderous question of “why comics?”.

Please send your comments to longboxreview@gmail.com, chat with me @longboxreview on Twitter, or visit longboxreview.com. Please subscribe, rate, and review the show via iTunes.

Thanks for listening!

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10,000th Comic!

I just added the 10,000th comic to my collection, and it was the Miracleman: Golden Age hard cover collection by Neil Gaiman and Mark Buckingham.

I would have reached this milestone before now, but I’ve sold off or gave away portions of my collection over the years, not to mention there was a time in the 1990s that I was only getting 4 or 5 comics a month. Still, wow, 10,000 floppies and trades! I guess I’ll never want for reading material. :)

Character Witness

Jaimie Alexander (Sif in the Thor movies) recently stated,

“The thing I really enjoy about Marvel is that they start with a character first and all the explosions and costumes, the glitz and glam, are secondary to who the actual character is deep down. That’s something I haven’t really been able to find with DC Comics,” said Alexander. “I know that’s a bold statement, but it’s been my experience.”

I can’t argue with her experience, but I disagree with her perception, and it is one that is held by many. There was a time, yes, when DC Comics characters and stories were, quite simply, not that interesting (stiff as a board comes to mind), especially in comparison to Marvel’s early work. But I don’t think it’s been that way since in decades (this is informed by my own reading experience, which started in the 1980s). No character in the New Teen Titans, Legion of Super-Heroes, Swamp Thing? I don’t think so. Animal Man, Books of Magic, Sandman? Batgirl, Secret Six? All good, strong characters from which good stories are told.

I don’t mean this to be a “Marvel isn’t all that” post, but to demonstrate that this idea of DC Comics as a publisher of not interesting (at best) and substandard (at worst) comics in comparison is just incorrect. I’m sure some (many?) will just deride me as a DC apologist, and if they do, so be it. The actual material will support my assertion.

Podcast Episode 92: New Teen Titans Spotlight



To commemorate the New Teen Titans 35th anniversary (better late than never!), I talk about my favorite comic book series of all time!

Please send your comments to longboxreview@gmail.com, chat with me @longboxreview on Twitter, or visit longboxreview.com. Please subscribe, rate, and review the show via iTunes.

Thanks for listening!

Links:

Direct Download (56:50)

The Autobiography of James T. Kirk

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I just finished a book that I was loath to put down every night for a week so that I could get some sleep: The Autobiography of James T. Kirk, The Story of Starfleet’s Greatest Captain, “edited” by David A Goodman. Star Trek, as I believe I’ve indicated before, was my first fandom, years before comic books became my thing, so when I saw this book in Previews a few months back, I knew I would be getting it. But what was I getting? Some schlock that did not offer me anything new or at least that I couldn’t read at Memory Alpha? I’m happy to say that I was pleasantly surprised.

The first thing I did was look at the color pictures of James Kirk, offering glimpses into a past that was largely undefined aside from the scattered bits in various episodes and the movies. The first picture following shows a young Kirk, age 12, as he was heading for Tarsus IV and his run-in with Kodos. Notice the detail about his allergy to Retinax V, which was revealed in Star Trek II?

 

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The next photo shows Kirk’s Academy graduation photo, age 21. (Shatner was quite handsome in his youth.)

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Then I read the Afterword, by Spock, and then started the book with the forward by McCoy. (Don’t ask my why I did that–it’s actually common for me whenever I read any book to start it out of order, especially when there is front and back matter to read.) These pieces were sentimental, being written about their friend after he, from their perspective, had died saving the Enterprise-B, as shown in Star Trek Generations. As it turns out, Kirk submitted this autobiography right before that fateful event.

The meat of book was very surprising to me. It filled in quite of bit of Kirk’s personal history that I, as a fan of Star Trek for the last 40 years (one of my earliest memories is waking up from a nap the summer before I started kindergarten and seeing these colorful costumes, and who was that guy with the pointed ears?), did not know. This is exactly what I wanted to read! From Kirk’s childhood, to his time at the academy, to his early postings before he became Captain of the Enterprise, the fleshing out of some of his five-year missions (though, when I got to the point of Kirk retelling certain of those adventures, I got a little bored), and what came after that and between the movies was all very entertaining and fulfilling to this fan. But all of that wasn’t the surprising part.

The book opens with a prologue about Kirk meeting Edith Keeler (from the fan favorite episode “City on the Edge of Forever”). This focus on his feelings for and about Keeler permeates the book with a melancholy that belies the somewhat jovial tone the series and movies oftentimes had. Even more, Kirk admits to his own selfishness, his ambition, his failings, which is something I did not expect. I was–pardon me–fascinated by this approach. The “editor” could have easily chosen to just romp through Kirk’s adventures, sprinkling in details to tantalize and educate us (and we do get plenty of that through the back half of the book), but there is a lot of second guessing and self-reflection that goes along with the adventures, and it is a stronger story for it.

Because of this book, I will never think of Captain Kirk the same way as I did. He became more of a three-dimensional character for me, someone more relatable than just the brave and daring Captain who saved Earth and the galaxy on multiple occasions. As Spock writes in the end of the book, Kirk is not dead, and he will return. I think these statements transcend the foreshadowing of the events of Generations, and the reimagining of the character in the JJ Abrams relaunch. Kirk has made such an indelible impression on our culture, on me, that he (and his crew) can never really “die”. I hope that, to paraphrase the tag line from Star Trek: The Motion Picture, the adventure is just beginning.