odds and ends

When I was a younger man, I would routinely write up “Best of” lists at the end of every year.

At best, this was a pleasant waste of time; at worst it was mental masturbation. About three people in the world cared what a teenaged Chris Pearce thought was the Best Album of 2001… but I enjoyed the process of my thoughts down in a cogent fashion. Of course, the younger me was also had far more opportunities to see movies, watch television, and listen to music. No one may have cared about my opinions, but at the very least, I felt they were decently informed.

The demands of being a husband, a parent, and of course an educator put the breaks on my old practice of seeing EVERY movie in theaters the minute it came out. Most years, I look at film critics’ Top Ten lists and have only a winking knowledge of half the movies, if I’m lucky.

All that is the long way around saying I will not be trying your patience any more than I usually do with a “Best of” list. If you’re interested in the stuff I’ve enjoyed in 2011, feel free to click back and look at the previous 52 “Odds and Ends” posts. I don’t leave many books/tv shows/movies uncommented upon if I’m liking it.

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Semester exams begin today for my students. While I plan on posting comics into the next week, they will in no way be about the administration or grading of exams, which was more than accurately portrayed in this comic two years ago:

…and that’s basically the next four days of classes. The only thing that might be slightly different this time is “music playing”. Now that I have that fancy Eno board, I’m tempted to project a movie on that big ol’ screen after the kids have vamoosed for the day. Something fun and festive… maybe the Mystery Science Theater 3000 version of Santa Claus Conquers the Martians.

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I went on a bit of a comic book shopping spree this weekend and caught up with what Grant Morrison is doing on Action Comics.

I had skipped these issues when they initially hit stands, but as I had some cash to burn, I thought I’d check ’em out. Morrison’s rebuilt the Superman mythos from the ground up, casting Big Blue as a two-fisted crusader for the common man. Supes is, at various times in these issues, threatening slumlords, saving squatters, and pulling cats out of trees.

I thought the four issues I read were just OK. I’m certainly not thrilled with the seeming two month wait until this story resolves itself that Action Comics #4 promises. These comics weren’t made for me… but that in itself gives me some hope. My reserved reading of Action Comics stems from my long history with the character. I found I enjoyed the issues more when I thought of them as some kind of elaborate Elseworlds/Imaginary story, rather than being THE main continuity. I followed the Superman who wears read briefs outside his pants and has a pet dog with a cape for decades. It’s weird to think that character is gone from regular comic publishing right now.

At the same time, it’s cool that DC is doing something different, telling new kinds of stories. When you think about it that way, I’m not even sure if what they’re doing is different enough…

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