Moving On Sideways

Even though it is perfectly common for me to go weeks without making a non-scheduled post on the site here, I feel like I should explain my current span of weeks in which I won’t be posting. I’ve had to move again, and as a result I am currently without Internet for a while.

For the last few years I have lived in an apartment above what is, to my generation, still known as the Video Difference building in Halifax. I liked it and it was nice to live in a Haligonian landmark of sorts. And for the fifteen years prior to that, I had an apartment just across the street from that, so for almost half of my life I’ve lived on Quinpool Road. I like it there and still think of it as my neighbourhood.

But, a victim of the whims of capitalism as I am and as are we all, I have had to move about two blocks away. It’s fine, though inconvenient. I’ll get by, because what other choice do I have?


Why can’t turtles fly?
Because if they were up there,
they would not be here?

Anyway, I am also about to change my Internet service provider, which is part of the reason for the delay I am currently going through. I would have happily continued to pay the city’s most expensive provider if they’d managed to make the switch right away, but they didn’t so I’m going with someone cheaper. Hopefully in the long run, that will help.

A Flailing Attempt At Being A Superman Fan

A few days ago a lot of the people I follow on Twitter to see their Superman-related thoughts were all answering the same set of questions, which began with this post. It’s one of those things they do on social media to get to know each other better and feel like they’re all being fans of the things they love together, y’know?

I’ve said it before, but I always feel kind of outside of the Superman fan commuity. A lot of my “takes” feel so contrary to the accepted mainstream views that I feel like when I chime in, I’m being overly negative.

But then I find I don’t feel comfortable in “fandoms” in general. One of the primary reasons for that is I don’t often see the value in ranking and picking favourites among the things I enjoy. But hey, even as an outsider, I can feel the fun in participating. And I gotta put something on this darn site. So here goes:

1. Favorite member of the Superfam?

So, to translate into PDRese, which of the Superman-related cast of characters do I like best? Realistically, without Superman himself, would I even be here? But I’ll give some honorable mentions: I have high hopes for Natasha Irons to become a great character. Lois Lane is nearly as iconic as her husband and with good cause.

2. Adding onto the other one, who’s your favorite ‘Superman’? Like whether it be Kenan, Jon, Clark, or some other world variant.

At this point, if I’m deciding which person who has gone by Superman is my favourite, the boring answer of Clark is the truest.

3. Who do you believe is Superman’s best rogue and/or your personal favorite?

Different supervillains serve different purposes and which one is “best” really depends which purpose your story is going for. Lex is good for scheming superscience and corruption. Zod is a nice stand-in to be the kind of fascist strongman that Superman is occasionally incorrectly called. Really, I just have more thoughts on Superman villains than my head can contain.

4. Thoughts on Lois Lane and Jimmy Olsen?

They kick ass. As I’ve said before, if you want Superman to be a character who inspires people to be their best selves, it is handy to have Jimmy as someone in-text who is living that inspiration. And Lois is great because she shows the audience that you can be as driven as Superman and fighting the same kinds of battles even without being a godlike superhuman.

5. Thoughts on Jon Kent as both Clark’s son and successor?

I like Jon a lot. His current iteration, where he’s been trapped in other dimensions and whatnot throughout his childhood isn’t something I care for, I’d rather he was born and raised in Metropolis and had a childhood that is at least somewhat more relateable, but I still love him. I’d love to see him become an eternal and iconic part of the mythos. I’d also like him to go into school to be a psychiatrist.

6. Do you prefer Superman with or without trunks?

With. Mostly I like it just because it is how Superman has looked for most of his career and it has become iconic. It also helps that I have zero self-consciousness about goofy stuff in the stories I like. I feel like a lot of the trunks-haters are still kind of embarrassed to like Superman and want to make it less goofy so they don’t need to feel that way. I don’t care about that. And also, if we’re going to have other Supermans like Jon and Kenan around, leaving Clark his trunks gives them to have their own unique trunkless looks.

7. Follow up to the previous one, what is your favorite suit that Clark has worn?

Assuming this means Superman suit and not just a suit-and-tie combo he wore to the Planet, I’ll just go with the classic look that you can find through most of the Silver and Bronze Ages and beyond.

8. Preferred origin story?

I don’t think my preferred version of the origin has been told yet. I generally find retellings of the origin to be useless to me at this point. They’re easily skimmable at best.

9. Favorite Superman writer?

No strong opinion.

10. Favorite Superman artist?

No strong opinion.

11. What do you believe is Superman’s best story? And what is your personal favorite(s)?

I can’t pick a single best. Just give me stories with a mix of science fiction and journalistic mystery where some threat to the world is opposed by Superman and his allies. I’ll be happy.

12. If you could make any change to Superman’s lore/ mythos, what would it be?

This would admittedly be a hugely sweeping one, but I’d want to sever any and all connections between Superman and the DC Universe. This is definitely a PDR opinion that is note shared by the masses.

13. Favorite adaptation of big blue?

I have a fondness for the radio show. It’s not perfect, but no representation of Superman has been perfect and this one does a lot of things right. Not everything though. It never really delved into Lois and Clark as a romantic couple and I never like the loud dramatic stings that are so overused. But it gave a good mix of Superman sci-fi plots and social causes and fighting supervillains and character stuff.

14. Favorite live action actor?

No strong opinion.

15. Favorite voice actor?

No strong opinion. I guess Collyer would be the reasonable choice.

16. Favorite Superman theme?

I dunno, the Williams one I guess. But what really bugs me is that all of Superman’s themes are these big orchestral deals when what I want for him is a theme that compares to the 60s Batman or Spider-Man themes. Superman needs a theme that a four-year-old could sing.

17. Favorite and least favorite Superman takes?

I think my most and least favourite takes on Superman are kind of the same one. Does Superman represent “Hope”? I have gone on the record that I don’t think so more than once. I think Hope is meaningless without followup and I think we need to keep fighting even when it’s hopeless. But all the same, some of the people who espouse the Superman = Hope stuff are coming at my ideas about Superman from a different angle. They want him to be a figure that shows us what we can aspire to and should be fighting for. I’m fine with that.

18. Who is your favorite Superman ‘analogue’?

Supreme, the Image character, specifically when written by Alan Moore. That run was one of the big steps in the path that made me the Superman fan I am now. It showed me that you can use Silver Age-style silliness, but still take the story seriously. There are flaws in the run (and its incomplete nature is frustrating), but I enjoyed the heck out of it.

19. Your favorite shield?

I don’t really care, but lets just go with Fleischer-style. I will say that I prefer it to just be an S for Superman over it being the Kryptonian symbol for the House of El.

20. Finally, why do YOU like Superman?

As a child I watched Superman movies and the Lois and Clark show and recognized Superman as a fun action hero. At some point in my teens I got into the weirdness and imagination in the stories from the 50s and 60s and realized the potential for sci-fi plots closer to Star Trek and Twilight Zone instead of always just being about fights. I followed that path into the Golden Age stuff when I was in my twenties, and there I saw Superman angry about corruption and fighting to better the world. Finally I looked back to the 90s comics (which realistically should have been where I started, but I missed them somehow) and saw the fantastic worldbuilding built around the character. Those all added up into a single franchise that had so much potential to give me what I enjoy. And sometimes it even lives up to that potential. Sometimes.

Possibly New Sentences

There’s a bit I’ve done a couple times on this site where I make sentences that, according to Google, have not ever appeared on the Internet before.

That was all well and good, but I can’t really do it now. I don’t trust Google’s completeness as a search engine anymore. Maybe it was never as complete as I hoped. I was never under the illusion it that they had literally managed to catalogue everything that was online, but I did think that’s what they were trying to do. I thought that surely in the future you’d be able to check the entire Internet and find what you were looking for, no matter how obscure. I’m not surprised that Google has become about giving you results that are mostly ads, but I am surprised that searches that I know for a fact once came up with results now come up with that cursed “did not match any documents” message. Certainly things on this site, such as the sentences I invented in my previous posts, don’t show up in the results anymore. I have watched obscure videos on Youtube (a site owned by Google remember) and searched Google for the video’s name and not found that video in the results. Google is no longer reliable in the one thing I considered its most important use.

Anyway, I’ve still gotta try to do more new sentences, but I have no way of knowing if they are ACTUALLY new or not. Well, here goes:

  • “I part my hair on the right side, the left side.”
  • “World War 2 will go down in history as a good time for waffles.”
  • “Your hat is hidden behind the Pope’s hat.”
  • “In the future, we’ll all be able to fart our favourite songs.”
  • “If an object spins fast enough, it can transcend the physical universe and entertain ghosts.”
  • “Nobody can say if the Internet has sentences on it.”

And while I’m doing old stuff:


You can’t trust Google
They are not doing their job
But they are still rich

Rocket Racer should be Medium Smart

In issue number 104 of Spectacular Spider-Man, in which Peter Parker for the first time takes an interest in Rocket Racer as a person instead of just as a punching bag, he learns that Robert Farrell is really smart.

It’s absolutely the sort of thing I want in a Rocket Racer story. Bright young man ruined by the society he lives in and his attempts to better things get him painted as a criminal. My only problem with this is the comparison to Reed Richards. For those not in the know, Reed is Marvel’s superest super-scientist. He’s the type who can do ANYTHING science-related as if by magic. Create a spaceship? Open a gateway to another dimension? Hypnotize aliens into thinking they’re cows? Sure. And what do you want him to do in the afternoon? All fields of science are open to Reed Richards.

Bob doesn’t need to be THAT smart. I like him better at a more realistic (for comics) depiction of a super-scientist. Let him be more comparable to Peter himself. Bob should be good at aerodynamics and engineering and computers, but if you need him to do stuff chemistry or botany or whatever, let that be outside of his scope of knowledge. I am Rocket Racer’s biggest fan and I’d hate to see him trapped in the “Smartest Man On Earth” pit that people like Iron Man fall into. I can say this: Any character who Marvel has claimed to be “one of the smartest people on Earth” is not someone I care for.

I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention that there’s another good take on this whole thing in an issue of the Ta-Nahisi Coates run on Black Panther. A supervillain named Thunderball (a personal favourite from his appearances in Damage Control) is lamenting that before getting into the dumb villainy gig, he was a respected scientist, known as “the Black Bruce Banner” to some. T’Challa, the Black Panther, notes that the “prisons heave with Black Bruce Banners.” So many people who had so much potential, wasted because of the system in which they live.

Super-scientists like Reed Richards are great for big cosmic-scaled tales, but Rocket Racer’s story belongs at street level. He’s a genius, but his focus is on struggling against society in a valiant effort to make things better for his loved ones. Reed Richards could probably destroy capitalism overnight if he wanted to. Bob needs to struggle. If we want a character similar to Bob to play on the grander scale, use Thunderball! This is an amusing request because Thunderball has probably thrice the appearances that Racer does and is infinitely more likely be be used in a comic than Bob is, but I’m still right.

Incidentally, while seeking images for this post (I need something better than pictures of comics taken by my phone, after all), I went to an illicit site featuring comics scans. There, beneath the scans of the issue of Spectacular Spider-Man, was a four-year-old comment saying “Somehow, I liked Rocket Racer better when they weren’t trying to make him sympathetic, and he was just a two-bit punk. Now, he’s going to turn into a hero soon enough. Ugh.” and “And what is this about Rocket Racer making his gear in a junkyard? I could have sworn in his earlier appearances it was mentioned that the Tinkerer provided his gear based on his specifications.” I’m not going to engage with an ancient comment in that shady corner of the Internet, but I’ll sure as heck do it here on mine: Spectacular Spider-Man #104 is Racer’s fourth appearance. Appearances two and three both included his mother’s illness in the plot. The first appearance was four pages long and included the fact that he made his own equipment. If this were a comment about modern comics, I’d be sure the commenter was just being a racist bemoaning “wokeness” ruining the genre. As it is, I just have to assume they’re an idiot who has out-sized nostalgia for the cover to Amazing Spider-Man #172. So, that’s my rebuttal to some jerk on the Internet. This is why you’re not supposed to read comments on the Internet, especially not on illegal scan sites.

Something has BEEn going on in Heathcliff

Heathcliff is a comic strip about an orange cat who terrifies his neighbourhood. In recent years, the strip has gotten especially strange in a way that makes it worth checking out from time to time.

But recently the weirdness has not been the only thing to draw my attention:

August 31st: “Hey! Heathcliff is in a beekeeping outfit! And hanging out with Beekeepers! I bet I could get a review out of that!”

September 13th: “Wait, Heathcliff is in love with a Beekeeper! Is it one of the Beekeepers from the previous strip?”

October 7th: “Now he’s wearing bees and walking past some different Beekeepers? Is he trying to impress them? Is he in love with one of these two? Is he trying to pick one up after being rejected by one of the others? Or is he just walking through the Beekeeping part of town to get to his friends from the previous strip?”

The fact is, I can’t answer this stuff. I’d have to go through all of the Heathcliff comic strips and comic books and television shows and whatnot to see if there are any clues I’m missing. Often when I am coming across a Beekeeper to review in a piece of media that has existed for some time I can find some corner of the Internet devoted to that media that will catalogue the appearances I need to look out for. The venerable Heathcliff Wiki lists both “Bee” and “Bee Suit” as running gags, but with precious little other information. And, indeed, image searching for “Heathcliff beekeeper” gives a lot of results. Multiple strips where Heathcliff plays music for bees. A strip where Heathcliff avoids the police by being surrounded by a swarm of bees. It goes on like this.

Is Heathcliff himself a Beekeeper? He’s certainly enjoyed some of the perks, but apart from playing music for bees, we’ve never seen him doing the work. And even when he’s doing that we’re shown actual Beekeepers doing the actual job. But those Beekeepers are not characters. They don’t even look the same every time, so I have to assume it’s a host of different ones.

I need more information before I can review anything here, but to maintain my credibility as the world’s foremost reviewer of fictional beekeepers I had to make it know that I’m aware something is going on.