krpalmer: Charlie Brown and Patty in the rain; Charlie Brown wears a fedora and trench coat (charlie brown)
After ordering the latest big volume of “Peanuts Every Sunday” from the area bookstore, I once again took my time reading through it. The Sunday pages it reprints in colour get to ones I was alive for, although certainly I’d have first really noticed them in earlier, less elaborate reprint books. Balanced against that personal thought, though, was a certain feeling of melancholy that as this series of books moves into the back half of the comic strip I can imagine certain other people concluding even a “Silver Age of Peanuts” is wrapping up, even if there does seem no insisted-on guide to where the previous lines are drawn. It was also a bit surprising for there to be no introduction; perhaps Fantagraphics has run out of people to say things at last.
“And it’s orange? This I have to see!” )
krpalmer: Charlie Brown and Patty in the rain; Charlie Brown wears a fedora and trench coat (charlie brown)
While I’ve indulged myself for several months with a bagatelle of a comic book pitting “Star Trek” (the animated series) “versus the Transformers” (the original cartoon), I can’t say I’ve had many impulses to check out further comics licensed from either property. In continuing to look at the “TF Wiki,” though, I did take slight note of another comic looking at a just-tangential “robot toy line of the 1980s,” enough that running into a comment suggesting it had continued on into an “edgy” take on things left me a little askance. One follow-up to that comment, however, did get my attention when I saw the claim the best of all the recent comics on the general subject remained “Incredible Change-Bots.”
More than just machines! )
krpalmer: (Default)
After waiting for months, then waiting for a few extra weeks after that, the first issue of the "Star Trek meets the Transformers" comic, news of which had broken through my usual detachment from the modern comics extending both franchises, was promised to arrive at last. I travelled to the closest comic shop and saw a lone issue left on the shelf; whether it had proved popular compared to the Mystery Science Theater 3000 comic I'd seen plenty of issues of a few weeks before or had been deemed not worth the risk of ordering many issues I don't know. After buying the comic and starting to read it I was a bit impressed there hadn't been any time wasted before the crew of the Enterprise encountered the Decepticons; by the end of the issue, though, I was wondering a bit about those comments tossed around these days about the relative ratios of price to content for North American comics and manga volumes. Whether the story would seem to get to "the good guys of both franchises get to understand each other and team up" with the same brisk pace when all the issues are collected in "graphic novel" format, I don't know yet; I can at least suppose we've avoided "the humans (and the alien crew members of the animated series) are reduced to in no time to the tagalong mascots of the Autobots," though. The greater risk, perhaps, just might be "supposing this modern take on something seen when young and impressionable should be somehow profound."

I'd noticed from the preview covers the Autobot lineup included a character not instantly recognisable with familiarity of the formative era the art is reproducing. (I'm inclined to say the Star Trek characters look just like their animated series art; on the other hand, the art of the animated series wasn't very complicated to begin with.) It only took a bit of looking around, however, to realise the female Autobot had been designed in recent years for what seems a steady stream of Transformers comics. Unfortunately, that looking also turned up some whiffs of the noisome mire that can seem to engulf any attempt to expand on "familiar casts." Even if "familiar casts" often seem associated with "familiar properties" these days, that shouldn't excuse the nastiness. In any case, though, in the comic itself there was a female Decepticon a bit more looking around turned up had come from the same stories, and before things were over for this instalment one of the few female Autobots "instantly recognisable with familiarity of the formative era" had also appeared.
krpalmer: (mst3k)
I'd supposed for a while that this week would mark the release of the first issue of the "Star Trek meets the Transformers" comic I took note of a little while ago. It was easy enough to plot out my journey to the nearest comic shop, just as an indulgence. On getting an email from the digital-comics site Comixology (which I've bought some electronic manga from when the volumes get discounted further below "seemingly slightly less expensive than buying them in a bookstore would be"), though, I didn't seem to see the issue promoted. A bit of searching turned up that the comic was to show up later this month; I wondered for a while just how I'd become mistaken before managing to sort out via the "history" function of the "Transformers Wiki" it had been pushed back for whatever reason.

The email, anyway, did promote a second comic book I'd also heard about before. I don't know if I'd been quite as amused to hear there was going to be a comic book version of the Mystery Science Theater 3000 revival; the show itself attracts my attention where I hadn't been paying attention to other Star Trek or Transformers comics. Still, it was available this week, so I headed over to the comic shop. There were plenty of both cover variants there, and I decided on the standard one. (I don't want to say too many bad things about Steve Vance, the cover artist of the Shout! Factory DVDs, but his Crow never seemed as expressive as the puppet itself could be for me.)
What I'd anticipated, and what more I got )
krpalmer: (Default)
One recent item jumped out at me from the usual flow of reports on the Anime News Network, at first glance an unexpected stretch in what the site covers. There've been connections between the Transformers and Japan from the very beginning, of course, but I don't remember the site taking that much interest in them. Star Trek would seem that much further afield. Even so, though, the report the comic book company that now holds the license for both Transformers and Star Trek comics would be publishing a crossover between those two franchises did amuse me, in a way that cut through my usual thoughts of "I know about them; I'd just rather spend what time I have now on other things than trying to follow their modern flow of product." (Certainly, if not for that single unusual excursion, it might have been a while before I'd taken another look at the "Star Trek news" or "Transformers information" sites I do know about, when the bit of news might already have been buried in their own flow of reports.)
While waiting )
krpalmer: (europa)
In dwelling on a disconnection that may only be increasing between me and this new corporate era of Star Wars product, I have thought a bit about at least some of the other opinions I've picked up on even at the possible risk of being pushed in unapproving directions. There are those who insist the sure antidote for current ill feelings is to turn back to the spinoff novels and comics sold up until a little while after the sale, works ultimately encompassed under the name "the Expanded Universe" but shockingly "decanonized" near the beginning of the new era. To focus on something you're positive towards does seem commendable, but I have to admit quite a few things built up over a fair while to detach me from those spinoffs.
Quite a few things )
krpalmer: Charlie Brown and Patty in the rain; Charlie Brown wears a fedora and trench coat (charlie brown)
After buying four of the big volumes reprinting the Peanuts Sunday pages in colour, following up with the fifth in the series was easy enough to consider. I did, though, mention it on my Christmas list only to wind up buying it myself. It brought me to the halfway point, even if I had to face familiar ambiguities brushed by here and there about opinions pushed on what was yet to come, or what some seem to imply began in this volume itself. An awareness Charles M. Schulz got divorced and remarried in the first half of the 1970s and seemed to do better in his second marriage can get mixed up with excessively autobiographical readings of his comic strip and an impression of certain demands on it, although that then brings to mind a comment from Charlie Brown, back when he still had a bit of the smartalec attitude he'd started with, that the one thing that cheered him up was seeing someone else depressed.
'There was one that was all different shades of red..' )
krpalmer: (anime)
In acknowledging news of a new and "different" Robotech comic had sharpened a personal interest hardly dulled to oblivion before, I went so far as to say that should I happen to see some of the more amusing alternative covers at a local comic shop, I might go so far as to buy the first issue. It was raining on "new releases day," so I didn't get to the shop until a day later. Once there, I just saw a few of what I gather to be the "regular" cover, perhaps not quite "photorealistic" but a long way from the "anime-esque" variants that had looked more amusing in the previews. I can't say rarer covers hadn't been picked over the day before, but it is easy to suppose there weren't many issues ordered to start with. Even as my previous thoughts bumped against a lack of options, though, with an awareness of disdain from slices of whatever was left of the series-specific fandom and an assumption of unrelieved hostility from the anime fandom just "outside," the thought of buying a copy to form my own independent opinion did wind up unshakeable.
From one comic to another )
krpalmer: (kill la d'oh)
Not quite two years ago, I watched a "poetic reconstruction" of the scattered episodes of Robotech I'd managed to see "the first time around" three decades before to start me off down a path both long and perhaps a little strange. As I finished that project by at last getting through a parody-sequel video I'd long heard amusing rumours of and had available to watch for a while, though, I did wonder a bit if it might, to stretch the metaphor, either let or just make me step off a path now trailing off into lonely weeds.

After just a little while, though, it didn't seem to matter too much that the remnant of discussions "inside" seemed bitter in a "terrible food, and such small portions" way and the references from just "outside" go through a filter of fixed hostility, because there had been a time when my interest in Robotech had seemed to make me "a fandom of one." Some people can regale younger generations with tales of the days when "fandom" was carried out through the postal service, but even if I'd managed to hear about that before everything turned electronic I hadn't got to the point of trying it myself. After all those days with just one episode on tape, the novelizations, and the drawings in the first volume of the role-playing game, I did find myself still spending some idle moments contemplating the thoughts I'd had back then, and sometimes the reasons why I'd had them, back before everything had got a lot more complicated.
Some things that have happened since then )
krpalmer: Charlie Brown and Patty in the rain; Charlie Brown wears a fedora and trench coat (charlie brown)
"The Complete Peanuts" may be more than complete, but the spinoff project to release the Sunday pages in colour is still under way. It did take me a while to get the latest volume of "Peanuts Every Sunday." I had ordered the previous large and pricy volumes from, but this time the wait for the listing to offer physical copies had stretched on until at last I ordered it through my local bookstore, which with my discount card was cheaper than going through an online reseller. In any case, I had a definite interest in this volume. The second half of the 1960s, as I understand it, were "the phenomenon years" for Peanuts, where all the developments of the fifteen years before added up to more attention than most comic strips get as the television specials added up along with the magazine covers, followed by appearances on stage and screen and going to the moon, with the World War I Flying Ace more or less leading the way.
'I scan the air carefully searching for the Red Baron.. I *must* bring him down!' )
krpalmer: Charlie Brown and Patty in the rain; Charlie Brown wears a fedora and trench coat (charlie brown)
For the unexpected twenty-sixth volume of The Complete Peanuts, I pondered over just how to get a copy of it and wound up ordering one online, almost "for old time's sake" remembering how I'd got a certain number of volumes that way over the years. There was something a little "Charlie Brown-like" about that, though, when I received the book in the mail and found its hardcover boards were warped. I had it anyway, though, and could contemplate seeing what had been selected to go in it. Hearing what would be in it a little while before it was published did get me realising that, for all that I seldom suppose myself "an assiduous collector," I'd lucked into getting a good number of the stories promised to be in it back when they were still generally for sale. Even with that, though, there did turn out to be surprises.
'Now, I can go back to worrying about soil erosion!' )
'Don't worry about the world coming to an end today. It's already tomorrow in Australia.' )
krpalmer: Charlie Brown and Patty in the rain; Charlie Brown wears a fedora and trench coat (charlie brown)
The "next volume preview" at the back of what I'd supposed the penultimate volume of The Complete Peanuts surprised me a bit by putting Sally on the cover of the collection to come. Some years ago I had seen a seemingly official anticipation on all the cover characters that had said the series would end with Charlie Brown, as it had begun and as it had included a Charlie Brown from each decade, and so far as I can remember the list had seemed accurate up to that point. Some months after that, though, I saw an explanation of sorts in that plans now included a twenty-sixth volume featuring "comics and stories," things Charles M. Schulz had drawn outside of the regular strips. This, of course, would mean an even number of volumes in the series and the opportunity to put the actual final days of the strip in one more consistent-sized boxed set. In the piece I saw the explanation in, though, there was also the comment the introduction to the last regular volume would be by President Obama, and that was in a strange way reassuring. I did wonder all over again about what I'd heard of Schulz's personal politics for all that he'd seemed to have kept them out of the strip (in a collection of interviews with him I once bought, a wide-ranging late interview included him remembering how depressed he'd been when Dewey hadn't defeated Truman after all and criticising Bill Clinton's policies, even if Clinton has provided a back-cover quote for the last several volumes, and in an earlier interview he had been contacted by people associated with Adlai Stevenson's 1956 campaign, supposing anyone writing such an "intellectual" strip would surely support that candidate; Schulz had to turn them down and explain he was an "Eisenhower Republican"), but I could suppose that no matter how careful Obama would be in his comments (his introduction wound up just one page long, and that included the usual page-wide graphic at the top) he wouldn't cluck and sigh that Schulz could have enjoyed his retirement and maintained the respect of those whose opinion counted (just like the commentator's) by having quit long before. Now, I just had to see what my own opinion would be.
'Dear Harry Potter, I am your biggest fan.' )
krpalmer: Charlie Brown and Patty in the rain; Charlie Brown wears a fedora and trench coat (charlie brown)
I always take my time reading through new volumes of The Complete Peanuts; with the new Peanuts Every Sunday volumes reprinting the Sunday pages in colour, I might be even more careful rationing them out. With a Christmas vacation coming up I did change my pace just at the end so I wouldn't have to take the latest yearly oversized volume with me, but wound up also taking my own time getting around to writing down my thoughts on it.
'A little blue in the sky and a little orange for good flesh tones...' )
krpalmer: Charlie Brown and Patty in the rain; Charlie Brown wears a fedora and trench coat (charlie brown)
I dallied again on pre-ordering the latest volume of The Complete Peanuts, thinking instead of waiting until I saw it at the local bookstore, where I would have a chance to see just what the introduction said. At first glance there, I wasn't sure who Paul Feig was, but I soon understood him to be a producer of the new Peanuts Movie. I may not have gone to see that film at the movies, but the introduction did seem positive, so I bought the penultimate volume of the series. Now, I just had to see how I'd take the comic strips themselves.
'Sorry, Charlie Brown.. I thought I heard someone say the millennium is coming..' )
'What's the name of the guy who draws 'Dilbert'?' )
krpalmer: Charlie Brown and Patty in the rain; Charlie Brown wears a fedora and trench coat (charlie brown)
With this year being the sixty-fifth anniversary of Peanuts and a major motion picture set to premiere, a variety of books are showing up too. The volumes of The Complete Peanuts I have lined up on a bookshelf perhaps put me in a mood where I've supposed I don't need anything else, but the announcement some of the very first comic strip collections were to be reprinted got my attention anyway. I'd already known plenty of strips hadn't been reprinted in those books; for some reason, wondering what had been had me contemplating the past experiences of the first people who hadn't made scrapbooks but still sought something more permanent than one strip a day in their newspapers. I started looking up the ISBNs for the reprint books so I could order them should I decide to; then, I found the first two of them on a shelf at the local bookstore and accepted the opportunity and the decision somehow made for me by buying both. They weren't that expensive anyway.
Peanuts )
More Peanuts )
krpalmer: (europa)
I was in a nearby dollar store when I saw a good number of trade paperbacks of Dark Horse Star Wars comics on the racks, the "original trilogy-focused" titles they were publishing after the sale of Lucasfilm when they seemed to be trying to get ahead of the obvious curve but before the comics license was brought more in-house. They did all look to be numbered higher than "volume ones," though, so I at least had a different way out than just continuing to dwell on how the comics and novels and video games kept being talked up by certain people as "making up for the movies," such that it became easy to not bother with any of them. I did get to reflecting a bit, however, on just how easily spinoffs can be altered and replaced. It would be a bit too easy to project this into the future, of course.
krpalmer: Charlie Brown and Patty in the rain; Charlie Brown wears a fedora and trench coat (charlie brown)
One thing I didn't mention when commenting on the previous volume of The Complete Peanuts was that with it, I already had "Peanuts in complete": a few years ago now, five paperback volumes collected "every strip per year" for the final years of the strip, and I wound up getting all of them. While their production values weren't quite as "dignified" as The Complete Peanuts, a thought that did come to me was that one of the final introductions in the three volumes then remaining might yet seem so dismissive of the last years of the strip as to feel unpleasant to me... That thought then returned when I heard the introduction to the latest volume would be provided by "Rifftrax MST3K". While I suppose it's interesting to see the "post-Mystery Science" project placed alongside the other figures who've provided previous introductions, and I at least remembered a MSTing of a "Peanuts fanfic" (among other things), the thought "I'm not interested in them taking cheap shots at current convenient targets I happen to like myself" that's kept me from taking chances on any of it popped up in a new context. I wound up reluctant to pre-order the book, instead waiting to see if it would show up in the local bookstore, where I could at least read its introduction first.

One of the volumes did turn up there. I already knew the introduction inside the book was "by Conor Lastowka and Sean Thomason," names not associated with the "Best Brains" of Mystery Science Theater; I supposed they had joined the Rifftrax writing staff. However, their comments were pleasant and entertaining enough, although they did make a big deal out of "selling the premise of Peanuts would be tough these days," which had me remembering how different and perhaps easily describable the strip had been in its first days. They also, however, brought up Snoopy's brother, the "ugly dog contest" winner Olaf, in a "he's big in Japan" kind of way, which was a bit more fun. The "riffed-on" comic strips also in the introduction, said to have been done by the more recognisable names of Rifftrax, were also quite acceptable, and with that (and the thought that both Charles M. Schulz and Mystery Science Theater were from Minnesota), it was on to the actual comic strips.
'Then a voice comes to me that says, 'We can't take your question now..We're all out rollerblading..'' )
'Aren't you on the internest?' )
krpalmer: Charlie Brown and Patty in the rain; Charlie Brown wears a fedora and trench coat (charlie brown)
I read the daily reruns of Peanuts online (a habit formed even before the volumes of The Complete Peanuts started being published and kept up to the point where now there's the interest of seeing how the strips have been coloured and there's some interest to be found in the comments), but my newspaper is still re-running For Better or For Worse. While in the last years of the actual comic strip things had shifted to a combination of sentiment and melodrama that seemed to trigger certain groups of people online in a quite unpleasant way, I can at least avoid thinking too much now of my own reactions to all of that in these current "good old days." It's easy enough to see the comic strip as more or less timeless; however, when I read the latest Sunday page (which my paper has always run on Saturdays) I experienced the electric shock of connection to a certain topic of recent history my personal interest in may push to odd levels.

The page had Michael and his friend Brian programming "this neat jumping man on the computer!"; after Michael has enthused to his mother Elly about how "It took us hours! Just look at the length of the printout!", Elly replies she can "do the same thing in minutes with two pieces of paper!" Understanding what sort of capabilities the home computers of the 1980s had, I also know there was an undercurrent of "but what actual good are they?" from people who made a big show of being pragmatic; I suppose it's interesting to see one more example of that even as I remember how around the middle of the decade the fad went a different kind of "soft", whose who'd embraced "systems exploration" and "cyber-utopianism" were left with a hangover, and things were left in a limbo I'm not quite as familiar with to be re-colonized in the next decade by elaborations of a rather more uniform "business standard."

If it's the contrast between "then" and "now" that makes this particular comics page stand out to me, I can suppose that nowadays you might well make two (or more) drawings on paper, scan them into a computer, and enhance the drawings to make a simple animation that way; I can then wonder about that being much more a matter of "using programs someone else has written and sold" than "working on a low level," except that I can turn around and wonder if even "assembly language" might then be taken to a still lower level of first principles, such that there is something to "accepting and building on the work of others." Having familiarized myself with the Apple II in particular of late, I am inclined to think it wouldn't be that hard to create a "flip-book" even in Applesoft BASIC by using the computer's two "graphics pages"; I then wondered if the "computer" in the Sunday page could be taken to be an Apple II, and how easily the same sort of thing could be done with any other home computer, whether the Commodore 64 with its "superior hardware" much less accessible to a casual programmer or my own family's Radio Shack Color Computer, which in its very first incarnation might also look like the "computer" drawn. However, all of that doesn't quite distract me from thinking a bit of how the comics page could be interpreted to get indignant about Elly "being condescending" to kids "who'll never grow up to be successful programmers now," which I'm afraid brings me back to one particular starting point.
krpalmer: Charlie Brown and Patty in the rain; Charlie Brown wears a fedora and trench coat (charlie brown)
Some positive recommendations on "comics news sites" got me interested in a newspaper comic strip called Cul de Sac still not that long ago, and I added it to the short list of comics I read through their online sites. I am a little aware of all the comics available online, even recommended there, that I don't get around to reading, but Cul de Sac did stand out even in what can seem, from the way some people dwell on it, these later days for newspaper comic strips. Its art had a lot of character as compared to what can seem the "usual" uncomplicated linework and its characters were entertaining in varied ways, but its run was tragically brief when its artist Richard Thompson developed Parkinson's Disease and couldn't draw any more. Some time after having bought the first collection books of it but then not quite keeping up with news of them, I happened to hear a boxed set of "The Complete Cul de Sac" was available, and asked for it for a Christmas present.
'Maybe it's just as well comic strips are a dying art form.' )
krpalmer: Charlie Brown and Patty in the rain; Charlie Brown wears a fedora and trench coat (charlie brown)
I went to look at the daily Peanuts comic strip online (the new year has brought the 1968 strips into play), and noticed a surprise. The comics site has now also started a feature called "Peanuts Begins" (which did make me think of how older Dilbert strips can be found online), making a point of this being the sixty-fifth anniversary of Peanuts. Even for someone who has all the "Complete Peanuts" books, the fairly famous first strip being coloured got my attention; beyond Charlie Brown's initial featureless T-shirt being golden yellow instead of the "white" that seemed to have stuck in my own mind, the "antique" colours of sky and landscape are also sort of intriguing.

I did reflect a bit on the beginning of the strip, where Shermy was "the boy" and Patty was "the girl," with Charlie Brown as "the little guy" and Snoopy at times more the neighbourhood puppy than anyone's dog. How long this will be kept up does leave me wondering a bit (given the strip started in October, eventually the seasons will get out of sync), but it would be nice for the effort to get to 1952, when for me the characters will have grown past an odd initial sense of them looking sort of "half-finished" to "really kind of cute."

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