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Comics Considerations: Marvellous Potential

Earlier this week, DC Comics announced some details on the upcoming Shazam-centred back-up story taking place in Justice League. For starters, they're officially changing his name from Captain Marvel to Shazam. Previously, 'Shazam' was the magic word that transformed young Billy Batson into Captain Marvel. However, decades of legal battles between DC and Marvel (long story) have left DC struggling to use the name 'Captain Marvel' (copyrighted by Marvel). They worked around this by never calling him Captain Marvel by name on their covers, with titles like The Power of Shazam. Now, it seems they're giving up on the battle and simply renaming him 'Shazam'.

As far as that's concerned, I have no problem with it. Personally, I prefer 'Captain Marvel', but for legal reasons, I can understand their reasoning.

No, what bothers me is DC constant attempts to reboot the character. Most times, they attempt to darken the character or make him more 'mature'. For this particular character, I think it's completely the wrong direction to go. Additionally, I feel their constant attempts to add him into the DC universe is also the wrong way to go. Let me explain.

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Themed Interest by Day

Since posting this morning, I've been thinking about how I could motivation myself to post more actively. Something that I discussed before, when I tried being active again, was having certain days be based around certain subjects. If I give myself something of a regular schedule to follow, there's a chance I'd not only be motivated to write more, but I could think ahead of time on what to post on that themed day. So, here's some ideas I have. This is going by a Monday-Friday basis, taking a break on Saturdays and Sundays. And one post per day (within reason or with some wiggle room to post other things, if I wanted). At least one idea is already set in stone, in my opinion:

1) Monday Night Blog - If you imagine Vince McMahon announcing this, it sounds a little like "Monday Night RAW." So this would be a wrestling-themed post for the day. My immediate thought is to finally write a weekly mini-series, relaying my experience in wrestling school. Another might be "Why I Should Book Wrestling," some articles of which are already written but never published anywhere. Of course, on other weeks I don't post either of these things (or perhaps a second post in that day), I could talk about current events in wrestling. Like how it seems awfully convenient that CM Punk's Twitter-trashing of Chris Brown started right when the Road to WrestleMania began.

2) Movie/Video Game Tuesday (working title) - With some exceptions, new movies (DVD/Blu-Ray, not theatrical) and video games are released on Tuesdays. I'm rarely (if ever) one to go out and buy the latest thing the second it comes out. Since this is a day that a lot of gamers are excited about, I think this day is appropriate.

3) Comic Book Wednesday (working title) - Comics are released on Wednesdays. Again, what better day to discuss them. I buy a couple of monthly DC comics, but most of my purchases are graphic novels or trade paperbacks (depending on your definition). Since moving to Maine for school, I haven't been able to buy new trades on Wednesdays. So this would be just whenever I happen to buy them. Or it could be thoughts on comic book news, as well (like After Watchmen, which I'm sure I'll tackle, even if it's belated). Or maybe I'll just spew about some of my favourite books.

4) Teacher Thursday (working title) - I'm studying Elementary Education. And I've found that, whereas before, the interests I was most passionate about were nerdy in nature, the idea of teaching has joined as a new passion. This could be a good exercise in self-reflecting for me, possibly throwing around possible classroom techniques or lessons. Just last week, I wrote my official first lesson plan that includes comic books into the curriculum. And I'm just getting warmed up.

5) Armadillo Fridays - New readers to the blog will soon hear a lot about Dilbert Pinkerton. Similar to Chris Sims' "Batman..." posts that include a picture of Batman and a hilarious caption ("Batman...heard one of you ladies is getting married tomorrow!" as he rips open his shirt), I'd post things about armadillos. This could be just fun facts, maybe a captioned photo, or maybe even a sample chapter from my novel. In fact, this might double as a creative writing day, talking about my writing in whatever manner. At the very least, come Christmas time, I'll make it an annual tradition to post the "Holiday Armadillo" clip from Friends.

And...that's about it. If anyone has ideas for good names for the "working titles" stuff, say so. Or tell me what you think of this themed days idea.
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The Return to LJ

There have been several times I've attempted to return to LiveJournal. Many times, I'll make one or two significant posts, and then forget all about it. Every time, it's a promise - either publicly or personally - to post more often. Hopefully, this turns into a case where that promise is kept. My fingers are firmly crossed, but I'm not getting my hopes up.

The thing is: I enjoy writing. Very likely, I would have to if I wanted to be a writer. As of this writing, I've had half a dozen short stories published in places. Last summer, I completed my first full-length novel that I'm now shopping around. LiveJournal has always been a place where I could practice my writing and hone my skills. I'd like to return to that, if possible.

Very likely, this won't be as personal as it used to be. There have been times that I posted far too many personal details, which got me in trouble with friends - and one time nearly fired from a job. I can't deny that I enjoy posting things about my life. I used to use LiveJournal as a way to communicate things to people who cared about me, as a way of reaching out for support. Now, with this place having the potential to reach an audience and possibly promote my writing work, I need to steer clear of that a little more carefully.

Either way, I'm going to try updating at least - at least - once a week, if I can. We'll see. Fingers crossed.
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J'ohn loves his oreos.

Why Comic Book Men is Bad for Business

When I heard that a roundtable-style show about comic books would soon follow up AMC's hit series, The Walking Dead, I was ecstatic. Finally, a television show about the comic book industry. What a great way to introduce readers to new books! Oh, how wrong I was.

First, Let me give you some brief context. I've been a comic book nerd since my early teens. Now in my thirties, I've enjoyed comics for half of my life. My original reading comprised of comics from the two main publishers, dubbed "The Big Two," DC Comics and Marvel Comics. Being a big fan of The Man of Steel, my collecting started with The Death of Superman. Since then, I've expanded my tastes greatly. I don't get the same pleasure from reading the same monthly adventures of the most well-known costumed crusaders. Once in awhile, I'll discover some great story arcs by a great creative team, but overall, I'd grown tired of the same stories being told over and over. Changes in continuity and big events drove me away. My tastes expanded beyond The Big Two. Today, I enjoy a plethora of different titles from a variety of publishers: Chew, Elephantmen, Kabuki, The Unwritten, DMZ, Essex County, Criminal, Queen & Country, Mouse Guard, Asterios Polyp; the list goes on. Friends have come to me with recommendations. Just recently, an old friend asked me for suggestions for kid-friendly comics for her son. There's so many undeniably great comics out there that I strive to turn new readers to those books.

But then the new AMC series, Comic Book Men completely destroys any and all hopes I had of people taking my favourite storytelling medium seriously.

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Can't brain today...have the dumb.

Graduating? Finally?

Ordinarily, I guess graduating an undergrad isn't a big deal. For some people, they can just fly through four years with no problem.

For me, though, it's been an ongoing struggle. I had official first year of university in 1997, shortly after graduating High School. I finished that year but dropped out around November the following year. Part of this was because I had no bloody clue what I wanted to do. From there, I struggled with depression, moved several times, attempted wrestling school and had a major nervous breakdown (the lowest point in my life where once a year, on the date, I'll celebrate it; this year was my 11th anniversary).

But after a few years, I returned to school as a mature student. I declared English Literature as my major. And I loved it. God, I loved it. I went from being the quiet kid in the back of the class, barely paying attention and reading being the keener in the front row going, "Ooh! Ooh! I know!"

But after the second year of that, depression hit me hard again. I dropped out a second time. For the next few years, I worked pretty much full-time at Blockbuster and doing very little else. Finally, a friend of mine convinced me to move to Toronto. I did, tried wrestling school again which didn't work (long story). After a year of that, I went back to school in Toronto (York).

And now? After 14 years of struggles? I'm now nearly done. I've seen three sets of friends graduate (High School, the friends I met in '97 and the ones I met about 2003 when I returned). April 5 is the last day of classes. My last exam is on the 10th. I've spoken with someone in the English department and all the degree requirements will be fullfilled. I've written three out of four final essays and have three exams (two take-home, one regular) to write.

My parents and other members of my direct family are coming up to see my graduation ceremony in June.

And...goddamn, I don't even know how to feel. It's surreal. It's this one thing I've struggled with for near half my life. There's a light at the end of a long, depressing tunnel.
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Road Rage

This is cross-posted with the toronto community (mostly so I can go back and see the comments easier *grin!*).

Monday evening, I was biking home after class. It was raining lightly, but I'd come prepared. If you want to see how prepared, click here. On top of my rain gear, I also had my lights (front and rear) blinking and I was being as cautious as always.

Because of that, I wasn't expecting what happened next.

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Zombie Nick

Bicycle Nerd

This past summer, I worked as a bicycle courier for the first time. Most days, I enjoyed it quite a bit, being able to hit the road for 9 hours, learning my way all over downtown Toronto. Now, I know downtown like the back of my hand.

*looks at the back of his hand* Huh, that's new. *nervous stare* So...biking!

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For depression-related posts.


Of all the times that I complain about being lonely, I've had something of an epiphany. Recently, I've been reading a lot of James Joyce, due to a class of the same name and subject. Two characters, Stephen Dedalus in Portrait of the Arist as a Young Man and James Duffy in "A Painful Case" in Dubliners, suffer from something of self-imposed isolation.

Stand back, folks. This is a long one.

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