Spider-Man goes to pieces

Posted: May 17th, 2013 | Author: | Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: | 2 Comments »

So I found this in one of the neighborhood thrift shops yesterday.


The box is pretty banged up, with the edges worn down and fuzzy, and one corner flaps open since whatever glue held it down is long gone. Surprinsingly, though, the pieces themselves are in good shape, and the color is astonishingly fresh considering how old this Spider-Man jigsaw puzzle must be. I mean, c’mon, a Whitman puzzle?! And I’m guessing that’s some classic John Romita Spidey art being used for the image. Not bad for a buck.

I did a quick count and most of the pieces seem to be there; could ALL of the pieces still be in this worn-out box? I’ll track the progress as this puzzle comes together, and we’ll find out together. Keep your fingers crossed!

In the great hall of the Justice League …

Posted: January 8th, 2013 | Author: | Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , | 2 Comments »

Usually, the covers of the Austin Chronicle aren’t anything to get excited about. Every now and then the weekly alternative newspaper will have an illustration interesting enough to catch the eye, but more often than not readers can expect a static shot of an artist, local politician or members of a band sitting (sometimes standing) and staring out from the rack.

The latest issue was a different story.


Obviously, I love this cover.

Not only does it feature the classic Super Friends lineup, but does it in a way that shows artist Jason Stout understands these characters well enough to have fun with them. I really dig Clark Kent making an appearance, and how bad-ass does Wonder Woman look? I would camp out overnight to see that band. And for whatever reason, Robin looks totally natural in a tutu.

(Honestly, I have no idea why Batman is more of a Fatman, but I’ll bet no one knows their way around a lobster like Aquaman.)

Mostly, I appreciate Stout’s attention to detail. Not only is the tone of the illustration right on, but so is the tweaked DC Bullet and re-purposed Comics Code Authority badge. And I just noticed — Wonder Woman’s guitar is plugged into her golden lasso! Almost every element of this image deserves a second look, and that’s basically the definition of an effective illustration.

If you like what Stout’s done here, be sure to check out more examples of his work at his website (I’d kill to get a copy of The Birders).

Sometimes ‘taking out the trash’ just means you gotta take the trash outside

Posted: August 4th, 2012 | Author: | Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , | No Comments »

Sandy pointed me toward this article about the “Heroes Next Door” photo exhibit in Honk Kong, which puts well-known superhero characters into everyday situations. The work, by photographers Chow Kar Hoo and Chris Lam, is good stuff, both in terms of technical expertise and the staging and casting. Wolverine up there is pretty great, and I don’t know why someone hasn’t put the pair’s Wonder Woman in a movie yet.

The concept isn’t an original idea, but it’s certainly one of the better executed. Also (for me at least) the reaction of the average citizen on the street is just as interesting as the intended contrast between the hero and their setting. In the series of shots you’ll see Batman — the somber and serious Dark Knight — striding through a narrow market as people dare to glance at him only after he’s passed, or out of the corner of their eyes. Superman, on the other hand, ambles down a wide boulevard, surrounded by smiling folks taking pictures and angling for a handshake.

A picture really does say a thousand words, I suppose, and more eloquently than any nerd debate. (And from what I can tell, Green Hornet is a real douche.)

Go to the Chow Kar Hoo Photography site to see more from the recently closed exhibit.

Spider-Man vs the Blue Plate Special

Posted: March 21st, 2012 | Author: | Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: | 2 Comments »

Yes, I know my camera phone sucks.


When I was a kid, I had four favorite superheroes — Superman, the Hulk, Flash and, naturally, Spider-Man. I can’t remember when exactly I was introduced to Peter Parker and his stringy, springy alter-ego, but I know he was everywhere, and I absorbed it all. From the iconic cartoon (and its mind-blowing theme song) and his silent appearances on The Electric Company, to the infamous live-action show and his animated adventures with some Amazing Friends, Spider-Man was a web-slinging constant in my life.

A lot of people make a point of pegging Spider-Man as one of the first comic book characters with a “real life,” and rightfully so. Part of the reason Peter was relatable to so many readers was his being a picked-upon nerd, having a touch-and-go love life, and very often wondering how he was going to make rent that month. Minus the proportionate strength of a spider, we’ve all been there.

But that’s never been the most appealing aspect of Spider-Man to me. As a shy kid who had trouble talking to people, I most admired how funny Spider-Man could be once he put on the mask, how much fun he was having beating up the bad guys and cracking wise. Sure, tragedy was a big part of what made the title legendary, but for my money Peter’s ability to overcome that tragedy with optimism and humor is what made him human. That humanity made Spidey the best kind of hero.

And if was still I kid, I would have gone Rhino on someone to get that Spider-Man balloon.

Found in the entryway of The Frisco Shop (Austin, TX)

Tigra was here

Posted: September 12th, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: | No Comments »

Tigra: Superhero. Bikini-enthusiast. Vandal.

Found on a North-Central Austin sidewalk

The best at what I do …

Posted: March 23rd, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: | 2 Comments »

I have a confession to make: I like hot dogs more than I like Wolverine.

It’s no reflection on the bajillions of fans of the oh-so-popular Marvel mutant, but something to keep in mind is that I’m freakin’ old, man. I was there when when Logan was this weird little hairy guy from Canada who kept showing up in issues of Alpha Flight. I was there when Claremont insisted on turning the character’s angst up so high it blew out the speakers. And I was there in those dark times known as the 90s, when Wolverine was EVERYWHERE.

Basically, I liked the inner beast-fighting, modern day-samurai version of Wolverine but over time found myself overstuffed with Wolverine. (Ugh – that sounds unsavory.)

At this point, I thought I couldn’t be surprised by Logan sightings, even in the most unlikely places. But then I went to my number one hot dog place in town, and guess who I ran into?

This is now officially my favorite version of Wolverine.

You’d think this would be more of a job for Aquaman

Posted: March 8th, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: | No Comments »

Right next to the apartment building I live in is a plumbing supply store, and all day long dudes in trucks filter in and out of the shop’s parking lot. There’s a pretty even mix of vans belonging to bigger plumbing companies and the everyday pick-up trucks of the independent wrench-jockey. My wife and I have lived in this building for years, and at one point were in an apartment that overlooked the back lot of the supply store itself, so I’ve become familiar with some of the local plumbers just out of sheer repetition.

There’s one, though, that’s an obvious favorite.

Strangely enough, I never see the same two plumbers in the van at the same time. Hmmm …