Sunday, April 10, 2016

A Sunday Review

Here are reviews of the DCBS comic books that I've gotten around to reading and reviewing, sorted by the original shipping date:
  • Mar 2nd
  • Green Lantern #50 - Ah, the jumble that is the DC Universe now... allowing us to have multiple Hal Jordans, as if one wasn't too much!
  • Batman Beyond #10 - Yay the Justice League is back! Including Aquagirl. Boo, they aren't themselves.
  • Batman '66 Meets the Man From UNCLE #4 - Fun little story, with all the Bat-villains out having fun in another country. And, of course, Batman has a great disguise.
  • Scooby-Doo Team-Up #15 - The Flash this time... and a visit to Gorilla City. I like the "talking gorilla"\"talking dog" moment. Very cute.
  • DC Comics Bombshells #10 - No Mera, but lots of battling. This is a darn good book, and it just keeps getting more fun with all the twists and turns.
  • Doctor Who 11th #2.6 - Well, if you are going to go there, you clearly need River Song to do the driving... This is getting kind of exciting.
  • Steam League #2 - Still extremely disjointed, and the rivalry between Dorothy and Alice is amusing but I'm not sure it was quite set up right. I'll stick with it, but it's a bit of a confusing book.
  • Legend of Oz: The Wicked West #6 - Not much to say about this one. More of the same, really. I suppose I'd write more if I hadn't already read it the first time it was published, but I'm just rereading.

Fortean Times #32
Fortean Times #32 (Summer 1980). Seesawing between old and new, once again I'll head back to the 1980s and to what was, to me, a memorable summer. Mt St Helens had just erupted, and I was obsessed. It wasn't the first time I became obsessed with something, but it was one that had a lasting impact on me. I learned a lot about geology and how odd the Pacific coast is, and tons about volcanoes and what makes them. I also vividly remember the photographs of the devastation... I had a book about the eruption that showed the remains of a truck with a body in it. I didn't quite go so far as to memorize the names of the dead, but I was close to it.

Meanwhile, across the pond, the next issue of Fortean Times came out with almost no mention of Mt St Helens, and the one mention I see, on page 26, got the date wrong. The eruption happened on Sunday, 18 May, not the 20th... although the phrasing is unclear enough it could be just sloppy writing.

I love the cover to this issue. The artist is Gilbert Shelton, a well-known underground comix artist. As a person might guess from the cover, much of the issue focuses on cats. Mostly big cats showing up where they aren't expected. There's an article on The Panthers of Southern Australia, and Loren Coleman's "On the Trail" column is about African lions, complete with manes, showing up in the United States. Out of Place is also about... well, out of place big cats. Even Phenomenomix gets into the act, with the main character turning into a cat trying to get into a phantom tin of cat food. Naturally, there's a lot of fun bits in these pages. People seem to like spotting giant cats, and for some reason they are kind of fun to read about, too.

The first main article is actually about the "Mississauga Blob", a strange plasticky thing that hit someone's picnic table in their backyard about the time Skylab was falling. There's some information about the incident and what happened when the witnesses attempted to report it. All told, a strange story, and nearly impossible to figure out what really might have happened.

The second part of the Gateways to Mystery article is in this issue, and features a collection of events by date in one relatively small area of Michigan, just to illustrate what a gateway area might look like. Some of the sightings are fun reads and some are just odd. There's no conclusion reached, just a general theory with some ideas on how to possibly record features of the area near the events to maybe get an idea of what's really happening. Fun, but I'm not sure where it's all headed yet.

Paul Sieveking presents the readers with a horrible selection from a 1749 book called Aristotle's Book of Problems that has absolutely rubbish advice for a variety of problems and total BS answers to somewhat childish questions. I'm just going to say if I had a time travel device, I'd be tempted to go back and smack whoever wrote the thing upside the head just for the Basilisk answer alone.

The letters start out with a really good "It Happened to Me" type of story, about being approached by someone at a cemetery who saw his own name on a gravestone, only to go back later and fail to find the gravestone. It reads just like an urban legend, though the writer claims it was a personal experience. There's also letters about tulpas, booms, films committing suicide and a giant kangaroo in Lancashire.

Comix starts with a very silly Telly Kinex, in which Telly hears about a mind-improving fish spread and tests its power by purchasing and consuming 15 family-size pots of the stuff, with predictable results. Ug. I've already mentioned Phenomenomix, but Facts You Might Forget is about ... um ... knitting patterns received via a knitting needle through the head? I don't want to think about it too hard.

This issue has some photos of winged cats... the poor critters have fur-covered growths on their backs, usually just in front of their hindquarters. There have been lots of reports of them, so the wings apparently don't hurt them much, since they survive to be found and photographed. The photos are part of a selection of clippings by George Ives that were being collected into a book.

A new column in this issue is by the problematic writer, but it's fine because I read it and it makes almost no sense anyway. It reads like a stereotype of a conspiracy theorist, with each paragraph almost making some sort of sense, but as a whole it really doesn't come together at all unless you cross your eyes and hit yourself over the head with a frying pan a few times. Again, everything from that writer gets a bucket of salt to go with it.

The reviews are fun, although I can't see much I'd want to track down. There's a book called "Guardians of the Universe" by Ronald Story that apparently addresses the Ancient Astronaut theories of von Daniken, a book I was exposed to early on because there was a copy in my parents' house and I read anything I could get my hands on. Even then I thought it was pretty silly, so this book sounds like a fun takedown of it. There's also a review of the print copy of the House of Lords UFO Debate, which happened in January 1979 and apparently caused a stir in Fortean circles. Another one it would be fun to look at some time. I was also amused to see a book called "The Manna Machine", which is apparently the genesis of the article of the same name by Ted Harrison in FT326. Connections...

Some of the other features have collections of strange tales, stories about sorcerers in China, swarms of varieties of critters, a round-up of odd news from India, reports of human sacrifice, talking elephants and monster hunts. Lots of neat bits and pieces, densely packed into a fairly small magazine. Definitely something I enjoy reading, the magazine that makes me laugh and think.

Fortean Times Wishlist: FT1-FT24, FT40-FT163, FT194-FT211, FT219-FT222, FT229-FT238