"The thing that kills me about education is that it's so touchy-feely...if the children don't know how to read, I don't care how creative you are. You're not doing your job". Michelle Rhee is polarizing, inexperienced, abrasive, and young - and with urban school systems all over the country watching, she is trying to rebuild DC's famously troubled public school system (link to full series). [more inside]
Neil Gaiman celebrates 20 years since the first publication of Sandman. Yes it’s that old. Io9 lists five ways in which Sandman changed the comics world.
Original character designs for Watchmen, including a (dropped) full body suit for Rorschach, by Dave Gibbons. (Also it looks like the movie version will have a different ending, so fears of a non-sucky Alan Moore film can be put to rest.)
NextBus uses GPS to tell you the predicted time of the next bus. Google maps show buses in real time, and you can get updates on your phone/PDA. The coverage is limited to certain agencies within the US, so these other sites might be useful: Hopstop covers subways and buses in NYC, Boston, Chicago, San Francisco, DC, and more. (mobile version) Google Transit has many US metro areas in addition to Canada, Europe, and Japan. (previously) Many more locations inside. [more inside]
Who is the mysterious Shadow Candidate for Shadow Senator of the District of Columbia? Marx Cafe Bartender Damien Ober, kind of. Ober wrote a series of campaign ads (which can alternate between provocative, sophomoric, and simply creepy, depending on your point of view) in response to D.C.'s lack of congressional representation, and hired an actor to sit in the darkness portraying his unnamed candidate. After viewing the videos on youtube, however, the D.C. Libertarian Party has decided to give him a for-real shot at the for-fake position.
If breakfast is the most important meal of the day, what are the most important people in the political spectrum eating for breakfast then? Obama eats eggs, McCain eats cereal, Pelosi eats... ice cream? Politicians and reporters divulge their breakfasts inside the beltway.
The Green Lantern movie is back on! Minus Jack Black! Early concept art is looking exciting, though sadly we’ll never see Paul Newman in the role of Hal Jordan.
Superman rebooted! - The next Superman movie will be ignoring 2006’s Superman Returns, something that has been suggested by comic book writers when asked how to save the franchise. Mark Millar has his own idea of what Superman needs: Mark Millar.
Who watches The Watchmen? Kevin Smith has, Dave Gibbons has, Alan Moore won't (Gibbons hopes he'll watch the DVD), and if Fox has its way maybe YOU won't either.
The Pisces Effect is a statistician's find that birth sign may predict likelihood of Olympics medal victories relating to Zodiacal attributes. Past statistical studies indicate Pisceans may be bad drivers...with perhaps some fluctuation for hemisphere. One columnist feels Washington, D.C.'s problems (and potential) may be attributable to being Pisces. Maybe Pisceans [flash; auto/unstoppable sound] have more luck as horses. Previously: [post] [comments]
The Joker is Batman's main nemesis. Why him? Why not some other villain?
He wanted his espresso iced, but the coffee shop wouldn't let him. "Hey man. What you're about to do … that’s really, really Not Okay." [more inside]
Heller v. District of Columbia, the U.S. Supreme Court's first actual interpretation of the Second Amendment, has just come down. In a 5-4 decision, the Justices ruled D.C.'s comprehensive handgun ban to be unconstitutional. Antonin Scalia writes for the majority.
I though documenting my early sex life would be a perfect reason to use Polaroids to do something other than take naked pictures, yet to still play on the sexual identity of the medium. I lived in Alexandria from 1980 to 1999. These were my formative years and they determined the way I dealt with women. A guy documents the spots in his old neighborhood (SFW) where he got kissed, dumped, laid or confused as a kid, and tries to work out "what went wrong." (via, via — both NSFW)
Superstar Scottish comics writer Grant Morrison is about to tear the DC Universe apart again with Final Crisis, the latest in a series of apocalypses and world ending events he's inflicted on various comics worlds over the years. But there was a time before fame when he wrote the tie-in comic for ZOIDS, the robot dinosaur children's toy. So what did he do? Ushered in the apocalypse, in the form of THE BLACK ZOID.
After breaking the ice with his video message to all Americans, His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI arrives in Washington, D.C. this afternoon for the initial part of his first Papal visit to the United States of America. Watch it all live. [more inside]
Washington's Other Monuments is a photoblog by photographer Lloyd Wolf chronicling "the many sad memorials erected by friends & family to honor murder and other violence victims in the Washington DC area. These spontaneous, homemade, heartfelt creations are found on streets throughout the region. They are often the only physical tribute to the many slaying victims." Washington Post article. [via Eddie Campbell]
"In a possibly historic ruling, a federal judge Wednesday determined that the heirs of Superman co-creator, Jerry Siegel, are now the rightful owners of one-half of the copyright of Superman, and have been since 1999."
For over the past year, John Seavey has been reading through Marvel's Essentials and DC's Showcase Presents reprints in order to examine the title comic's storytelling engine. From classic characters to barely-footnotes, much of the bedrock of Silver Age heroes are represented in the column's archives. [more inside]
The Losers Cover Gallery showcases the bold design sense and unique art style of UK comics artist Jock, who also produced much of the interior art for the VERTIGO series. Losely based on a WWII comic of the same name it became a fast paced action caper with a political edge under writer Andy Diggle, and the covers reflect both the themes and the cinematic style of the comic.
In his own words (YouTube). In the 1980s and 90s, Washington, DC had a mayor-for-life who liked to smoke crack, a murder problem so bad that even the basketball team was renamed, and one exceptionally prolific graffiti writer named 'Cool "Disco" Dan', whose simple graffito with quotes appeared everywhere in the DC area. Now, most of his "work" has been painted over, torn down, or ripped off. Some locals wonder... which one will be the last tag standing?
Co-creator of Spider-Man, Steve Ditko is famous for weird, distinctive art, his 1966 departure from Marvel Comics, and granting very few interviews in the course of his decades-spanning career, preferring to let creations such as The Creeper, the Objectivism-inspired Mr. A, and Squirrel Girl speak for him. Okay, Squirrel Girl not so much. Jonathan Ross turns the spotlight on the artist in the BBC4 documentary, In Search of Steve Ditko. Did they find him? Well, that's The Question, isn't it?
This fall is going to be a good season for some giants of American art in Washington, DC. Edward Hopper comes to the National Gallery from Boston. Asher Durand opens at the Smithsonian. And Ansel Adams travels to the Corcoran.
Picnicmob would like to invite you to a picnic and seat you precisely with those most like you.
Hi, I'm a Marvel...and I'm a DC. A collection of videos on youtube targeting both the Mac/PC ads and comic book based movies. Ten videos so far, with more coming "Soon. I promise."
The boundary stones of Washington DC.
Ian MacKaye seems like he wants to put his foot in the ass of those that would do away with all-ages shows in his hometown district of columbia.
Punk Love “If you weren’t up for being a quarterback or going to a Fleetwood Mac concert, then this was your alternative." A collection of images from the D.C. punk scene of the early '80s, captured by Susie J. Horgans, with commentary from Fugazi's Ian MacKaye and (former Häagen-Dazs manager) Henry Rollins.
The Luce Foundation Center in the recently renovated and reopened National Portrait Gallery in Washington, DC, is more like a smörgåsbord-cum-antique store, packed in an overflowing archive rather than a more traditional museum layout. The collection is comprised of varying American art styles and genres in intimate display cases, with little in the way of context or reference. (Though the same site in this link is available on computers scattered throughout the gallery for further detail.)
Virginia woman could get 2 years in prison for throwing McDonald's bag - a jury in Stafford County, Virginia has recommended a two-year prison sentence for Jessica Julia Hall, a 25-year-old mother of three, for throwing a bag with a soft drink inside into the car next to her. She was convicted of a felony offense after getting into an altercation with another driver on I-95 between Fredericksburg, VA and Washington, DC - widely considered to be one of the most congested stretches of road on the East Coast. Anyone who drives in the DC area can tell you how overcrowded the highways are. It gets worse in the summer when the tempratures rise and tempers flare. This could be an example of excessive justice, or perhaps juries in this area have had enough.
Polite Dissent rings in the new year with the best and worst in comic book medicine from 2006. While this entertaining blog's subjects are not limited to four color minutiae, it is the source of some of the most entertaining posts. Please to enjoy Flatlining, Hippocrates, Originitis, and the scourge of a generation, Metal-Eating Disease!
David Cockrum has passed on. The cause of death was apparently complications from diabetes; he died peacefully, in his sleep. Comics fans would know him from a number of projects, amongst them Giant Size X-Men #1 where he helped introduce Colossus, Storm and Nightcrawler to the world, his run on the Legion of Super Heroes, and possibly his self-published work The Futurians. You can find some nice retrospectives on his career and what he did for Marvel and for DC Comics.
Election day 2006 - Whose side is your favourite superhero on? "The Spirit of Vengeance, Ghost Rider is the ultimate protest voter. He always votes against the incumbent and anyone who endorses helmet laws. Vengeance is his." [via]
IGN's top 50 DC Comics covers should satisfy those who didn't like the Marvel covers posted yesterday. Great art, traditional themes, and strange psychadelia.
Just Imagine Stan Lee's Watchmen! Back in 2002, DC Comics extended an olive branch of comics industry peace to Stan "Excelsior!" Lee, the founder of rival Marvel Comics. The result was the Just Imagine line, wherein we find several DCU heroes reimagined in one-shot comics as only Stan Lee could. Some titles were good. Some were okay. Most were just so. But never in a million issues would DC have let him take on Watchmen -- perhaps the most critically-acclaimed and analyzed series this side of Maus. So since Stan couldn't or wouldn't, Kevin Church has.
An official comic book adaptation of the 9/11 commission report is due to hit bookstores this month. The U.S. Army seeks an Arabic-speaking comic book creator. Meanwhile, an Israeli blogger suspects a Kuwaiti company of misusing Marvel and DC comics. These are just the latest incidents in a long-running history of using comic books for propaganda purposes, ranging from Mussolini and Hitler to Captain America vs. the Nazi-affiliated Red Skull to anticommunist comics for Catholic parochial schools to a phony Black Panther comic book created by COINTELPRO to a comic book of the American invasion of Grenada. However, my favorite site of comic book propaganda tends to focus on more innocuous domestic issues such as bicycle safety, USDA nutrition standards, and fighting crack cocaine. (OK, that last issue isn't so innocuous, but comic book propaganda about health & safety issues still generally blows.)
Pull out a US $20 bill. Take a look at the picture of the White House. See that tree peeking in from the right, the 140 year old elm that's been there since Andrew Johnson? Well, it's gone. Yup. Fallen over, thanks to the soaker summer storms which have been hammering the Mid-Atlantic in recent days. Cleanup has started, but no word on whether the $20 bill will be needing another update.
At approximately 9:20 PM (ET) on January 6th, David E. Rosenbaum, a longtime reporter for the Washington bureau of the New York Times, was found lying on a sidewalk in Washington, DC. He was disoriented. He was bleeding from the head. He was vomiting. And, as it turned out, he had been assaulted and robbed. [more inside]
Girl-Wonder.org is a new site tackling the portrayal of women in comics, written in the same vein as Women in Refrigerators and sequential tart.
"Feds to City: Drop Dead." So say the usually Republican-leaning New York tabloids, the Post and the Daily News, after the Department of Homeland Security announced 40% budget cuts for New York, in favor of giving more anti-terrorism funding to cities like Louisville, KY, and St. Louis, MO. Among the reasons for the funding cuts? New York doesn't have any monuments or national icons that need protection. Was New York given a bloated anti-terror budget to begin with, or is this (ab)using the Homeland Security budget for pork spending?
"And on the rare occasion when nonwhite heroes were included, names like Black Panther and Black Lightning telegraphed the difference" (NYT). Nonwhite and non-traditional superheroes aren't new, but a "lesbian socialite" Batwoman is. How about "The Great Ten," a "Chinese government controlled superteam" also to be featured in the ongoing "52" Series from DC comics (an alternate superverse bereft of A-league stars like Batman and Superman)? When I was a kid, it was pretty shocking to know of at least one gay superhero (and a Canadian to boot), but I wasn't aware that there were actually so many. Of course, the irrepressible Stan Lee claims he created the first gay superhero in the persona of Pvt. Percival Pinkerton. (Previous mefi discussion of Pavitr Prabhakar, the "Indian Spiderman" here.)
Photoset: DC in the 1970s. Washingtonians, take a look. Some things haven't changed at all, other things are subtly different, still other things are no longer there.
This past Saturday was host to anti-war demonstrations in cities throughout the United States and even internationally. In Washington, DC a march, which was accompanied by a later benefit concert, drew over 100,000 people (estimates vary). Rallies in San Francisco, London and Los Angeles drew thousands more. Though there was some mainstream coverage, it was largely overshadowed by hurricane news. [more inside]
Source Code --ever wonder who it is feeding the media in DC? Meet "The 4 Horsemen", "The Übersource ", "The Troika ", and lower on the totempole, "Hill Dwellers" and "Ex-Bush Spokesbots".
This is what a party sounds like. If you grew in Washington DC in the 80's anyway. Invention of go-go music, DC's home-grown version of funk, is often attributed to Chuck Brown, but it probably came closest to breaking through to the mainstream when "Doin' Da Butt" was featured in Spike Lee's "School Daze" and E.U.'s beats were subsequently sampled by Salt-N-Pepa. [mi]