odds and ends: impossible omnibus, misfit toys, lions witches and wardrobes

Starting tomorrow, I’m trying out a new weekly feature!

MisfitToys

I’m going to be looking at weird, silly, and otherwise strange toys and writing about why I think they might not have been successful. Hopefully it will be kind of fun.

—————–

This past September, I was at the Cincinnati Comic Expo, waiting in line to get my copy of Saga of the Swamp Thing hardcover signed by artist Rick Veitch. Veitch is a well-known collaborator of comic writer extraordinaire Alan Moore. Although I like what they did together on Swamp Thing, my absolute favorite paring of Moore and Veitch was their work on Supreme.

A very general rip-off of Superman both in look and name, under Moore’s pen Supreme became a deconstruction of the Silver Age Superman mythos contextualized in a post-modern superheroic world. If I just made Supreme sound like a graduate student’s term paper, I apologize because at its’ core the comic was wild; smart and exciting with a sense of humor. The Alan Moore Supreme was true imagination fodder, the kind of comic I’d happily hand my sons and say “THIS is why superheroes are fun.”

There have never been well-produced collections of Supreme and it’s quite likely there never will be. The character was published by Image Comics, then Awesome Comics… and the collections that do exist were published by Checker Publishing and they are awful. I guess a lot of the production materials were lost somewhere along the way and the scans Checker used weren’t ideal. I’ve always wanted to have a nicely produced collection of Supreme and I thought that was never to be…

until, while waiting on line, I saw a guy with THIS BOOK.

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I couldn’t help but ask him where he’d gotten this massive omnibus collection. The dude seemed pretty pleased with himself and explained: This hardcover was a custom-bound collection of EVERY issue of Alan Moore’s run on Supreme, including every guest appearance written by Moore featuring the characters from the Supreme universe. Further, included in his professionally bound hardcover was an exclusive copy of Supreme #41, signed by Alan Moore himself. Moore’s somewhat of a hard “get” when it comes to signed comics.

I felt two ways about this book. On the one hand… it seemed absolutely insane to me that this fellow had spend so much time and money assembling this impossible collection. On the other hand… ME WANTEE! Going through the trouble to craft a hardcover collection is not something I’d ever do myself, but I can understand the impulse to create something like this.

I came across this eBay auction this past weekend and I’m reasonably sure this is the same collection of the guy I met at the CCE. It ended at over $200 dollars, a sum I wouldn’t be able to afford if I had six months to save for something frivolous. I hope whoever bought it appreciates its’ obsessive beauty.

—————–

Over the last three weeks, I’ve read The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis to Elliot and Henry… or, as Elliot thinks it should be called, The Wardrobe, the Witch and the Lion (in order of appearance). Elliot in particular has fallen in love with the book as I remember doing when I was his age. I decided to hunt down the 1988 BBC adaptation of the work I remember watching ad nauseum when it played on PBS. I didn’t want him to see the newer movie, which I also liked but seemed more concerned with inflated spectacle than adapting Lewis’ story.

Anyhow, I found a copy and we watched it this week. I thought it held up, more or less… although there are some aspects which NEVER worked, even in 1988. The BBC’s solution to the many fantastic creatures was to use a mix of animation, animatronic puppets, and actors in costumes. Some of this is impressive, even by today’s SFX standards; this version’s take on Mr. Tumnus the fawn looks quite a bit better than the efforts of the newer movie. Some of it is so silly, like the full-sized beaver costumes which more closely resemble giant burritos.

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The best part of the entire production has nothing to do with effects, either practical or special. The best part of the TV version of The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe is Barbara Kellerman as The White Witch. Kellerman’s manic choices in her portrayal of the witch is broad and crazy… but it’s also quite effective. I think it still works.

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Oh, and the girl who plays Lucy has the craziest, best overbite I’ve ever seen on a child.

Lucy_Pevensie_BBC

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