Tuesday, March 24, 2020

Adventures in Comics: Pandemic Edition, or How I Spent My Quarantine...



Redartz: Greetings to one and all. Strange and uncertain times find us 'hunkering down', rabidly following news updates, and facing challenges physical, financial and psychological. And all of us, globally, are in this boat together. My story- laid off work for the duration, and engaging in the 'treasure hunt' of finding grocery staples. Case study: it took six stores over three days, but I finally scored a package of toilet tissue. Proof that it is possible...




But seriously folks, I'm feeling fine. And that's a blessing, during such a period of upheaval. Which leads to the topic of discussion: finding some positives among the negatives. 

Many of the things we share interest in here can be considered diversions. Reading comics and books, watching films and tv; listening to music: all these are great ways to take your mind off the world for a bit. Like many of you, I'm going to have quite a bit of extra time available for awhile. Time spent at home, as travel is  currently discouraged. And while I'll be tackling some neglected  household tasks, I'll definitely be spending some time with the above-mentioned diversions.

Specifically:  there are several tpb collections collecting dust on a shelf that I'll be tackling. Avengers by Stern/Buscema; DC Showcase edition of Brave and the Bold. Might return to Y: the Last Man.





As for video: will be binging on Amazon Prime's "Hunters". "Lost in Space" on Netflix. Aaaand, probably do some Jonny Quest episodes, just for fun.

Music: you folks have put many great suggestions out there in recent posts, which I'll be investigating. That, and sorting through the rest of the cd collection I bought last month.

 
So, for those among you who also will be spending some quality time at home over the days and weeks to come- how shall you occupy yourself? Share, and maybe you'll give the rest of us some more ideas.

And most certainly, be safe, be well, and take care of each other. 

25 comments:

Humanbelly said...

*sigh*
I have four Shakespeare plays completely learned (R2, 1H4, 2H4, H5) and opened in Rep--- and as of last night, our "hiatus" status became "cancelled for the rest of this season" status. But, even on hiatus we were still gathering via ZOOM to do some MUCH-needed line/brush-up rehearsals. So-- I honest-to-pete haven't had any real stretch of free evenings since. . . the last week of July? Maybe early August? Tomorrow evening will be the beginning of a new era, I daresay. . .

I also don't want to broadcast this too loudly, but my daytime job as a Tech Director doesn't look like it's going to go idle or have me furloughed at this point-- I'm actually scrambling to get the build of our final production underway, as it's managed to slot in right after the likely date for DC's major restricted-gathering ordinances to be lifted. A quirk of scheduling-- and we're one of the very, very few companies that hasn't cancelled the rest of our season outright. There's a weird sense of, almost, survivor's guilt with this-- as lots of my freelance colleagues are very hard up, and I've nothing to offer them. (At the moment, I am working in complete solitude at my shop---)

Now, my WIFE is teleworking her behind off-- and let me tell ya, she's gettin' a touch stir-crazy already. . . ! Random texts and emails with memes and gifs she finds amusing; questions about obscure household things that indicate her mind has wandered FAR from her work; local shut-down updates. Oof!

I'm actually avoiding falling into a binge-watch habit at the moment, tbh. Just finished an Agatha Christie novel that I thoroughly enjoyed (an under-appreciated one titled REMEMBERED DEATH in the U.S.-- I think it was called SPARKLING CYANIDE in Britain-). And then I made a bold commitment to tackle Tad Williams' OTHERLAND tetrology for a third time, which will probably occupy most of my reading time.

Man, if the weather improves and I do end up with free daytimes, I fear I will be conscripted into clearing some long-standing disasters out of our large yard. . . arthritic knee or not. . .

HB

Charlie Horse 47 said...

Red - Glad you are well (I sent you an email yesterday, btw.)

HB - glad you are still rolling too!

It's a time for reflection. What am I reflecting on? "All of humanity's problems stem from man's inability to sit quietly in a room alone," wrote the French philosopher Blaise Pascal 400 years ago.

And, in my reading time I am reading two things:

- Fantastic Four 96 - 100. I do this to stay ahead of SteveDoesComics.blogspot.com for his 50-years-ago posting. I have very limited memory of what I read 50 years ago so, I need to bone up.

- "Big data" in the world of soccer. It's interesting b/c soccer really does not lend itself to statistical analysis unlike football, baseball, basketball due to the lack of repetitions in a game. It's low scoring, far more "free flow," so how do you analyze data?

But Pascal deserves my attention.

Colin Jones said...

Hello from lockdown Britain - yes, after much dithering and delay Prime-Minister Boris Johnson made an address from 10 Downing Street last night and announced that everybody except "key workers" must stay at home or be shot on sight...OK, not exactly but he said the Police could fine or detain anybody flouting the rules when only the day before he'd said the Police definitely wouldn't do that. I had planned to buy a new tablet but the shop is now closed - in this day and age you'd think that shops selling phones/tablets/computers would be considered essential? There's a lot of confusion about who counts as a "key worker".

Anyway, I'll pass the time by going online or listening to my favourite radio station, BBC Radio 4 which is a speech station featuring news, drama, comedy, documentaries, quiz shows etc - I'll also listen to BBC Radio 4-Extra which is a digital-only station (I've got two radios, one digital, one analogue) which features shows from the BBC archives spanning the 1950s to the present day. I rarely watch TV but if I fancy anything I can download it - I recently switched to fibre broadband so downloading is much quicker.

Thankfully the weather has now improved. After six months of almost non-stop rain (last month was the wettest British February since records began in 1862) it has become dry and sunny with blue skies. How ironic that the nice weather arrives at the same time as the national lockdown! But I hope Spring is here at last.

HB, as a Shakespearean actor do you know about Macbeth being unlucky? British actors consider it bad luck to say the word "Macbeth" so instead they say "The Scottish Play" - are you aware of that tradition?

Humanbelly said...

Oh yeah, Colin-- totally aware of it, yep.
"The Scottish Play", "The Scottish King", "Lady M" are all the euphemisms used to avoid the name. I'll use them as well, largely to placate the folks that cling to those superstitions, but mostly I roll my eyes at it. I played MacB as a guest artist last summer in a 75-minute cutting of the play for a local Youth Performing Arts-type company (well, in Damascus, MD). An intro-to-Shakespeare type of production for them. It was the very essence of a what-doesn't-kill-you-makes-you-stronger experience.

It is a HELL of a great role, though-- man--

HB

Mike Wilson said...

Well, I don't go out much anyway so this isn't much of a hardship. (Plus, I live in a really small town, so I'm pretty isolated.) But it gives me a chance to read some books I've been meaning to get to (I found a cool book of 20th century history that goes through the whole century month by month). I've also started watching Xena, which I've somehow never seen before. So, a little extra alone time is kinda nice. Hope everyone else is having some fun with it too :)

Edo Bosnar said...

I've been mostly working from home for the past year, so this new situation doesn't actually change much for me. Although I'm not sure how much longer we're going to be getting work from our clients. (My partner, though, is a television reporter who normally does feature pieces, so this is a really big change for her.)

Anyway, my leisure-time activities haven't changed much, although I really needed some serious pop culture comfort food as of Sunday: Zagreb got hit by a pretty powerful (5.5) earthquake, right smack dab in the middle of the coronavirus shutdown. To make matters worse, we had a freak snowstorm (!) last night - it seems like it's all piling up at once.
So the only thing I've been able to read in my spare time is Archie comics - picked up the Americana Silver Age digest Sunday night and have been slowly going through. It's had a soothing effect.

Redartz said...

HB- Sorry about your shows. The arts (like all areas in society right now) are taking a big hit. More importantly, as you mentioned, the people behind the arts are taking a hit. That's the big picture overall, globally; the billions of individual lives being affected by all this. That said, I'm confident that the art world, the sport world, and every other social world we deal with, will come back later, and hopefully stronger.

Charlie- love your Pascal quote. There's nothing like some quiet personal time...

Colin J- as usual, it seems our respective leaders are cut from the same cloth. Ours is 'dithering' about the length of societal shutdown. I'm not one to delve much into politics here, but I'd suggest to all leaders that under these circumstances, the advice of scientists and doctors should outweigh the advice of financial advisors. IMHO.
Oh, and if you're shopping for a tablet- doubtlessly you have considered this, but I recently bought a new one online. Discontinued Samsung Galaxy S3, so the price was good; absolutely love it. Much cheaper than others I looked at; but buying online saved me big. Same unit was available at a local store but 200 dollars US more...

Mike W.- best of luck up there! How is Canada faring so far through the epidemic? And regarding your book, is it by chance called "Chronicle of the 20th. Century"? I have that very volume, and a similar one that chronicles the last millenium. Fascinating reading, following the events over the months and years. Especially informative regarding the two World Wars...

Edo- boy, sounds like you folks in Croatia deserve a break. You picked a fine choice for some escapist reading. Those vintage Archie tales are great 'comfort food'. Just read a few issues of "Betty and Veronica" myself...

Killraven said...

Yeah, only 2 days into my layoff and it feels like 2 weeks!
My state has "Stay At Home" orders now but I wasn't moving around much anyway.
The weather will be key, if it gets nicer out I'll be in the yard or garage. Plenty to do out there.

I was able to start the Englehart / Rogers run on Silver Surfer, fun so far.
And my son and I will be watching the second season of "One Punch Man" which I surprisingly got addicted to.

Be safe y'all!!

Mike Wilson said...

Redartz:

Yup, it's Chronicle of the Twentieth Century all right; you're right about all the detailed info ... great for a lover of historical minutiae like me. I didn't know there was a millennia edition though ... something to look for.

Canada's been doing OK generally, although things have gotten a bit restrictive. Probably the same as down in the States: bars, restaurants, and non-essential stores closed, anyone crossing provincial borders asked to self-isolate for two weeks, and in some provinces a ban on people gathering in groups of more than five, even in private homes (with a $1000 fine for first time offenders and steeper fines for repeaters). A lot of TV/movie productions that shoot up here have shut down too, including the CW superhero shows, but hopefully things will get back to normal soon.

Humanbelly said...

. . . Welp, always be careful of speaking too soon!
I am out of the shop for (probably) a week, at least, until our organization's legal counsel can figure out if it's considered a "business" or not (it's not), in case it's susceptible to being closed down by mandate. I'm the only human being working there at the moment, of course. . .

So now I too am starting a bit of unexpected home-time.

And-- the call of the binge-watch has yet to attract me, somehow.
Same with the lure of the Nintendo. Bleah.
Not feeling comics just yet (NEVER thought I'd ever say THAT!).

I'm actually. . . oh lordy. . . kinda feeling like sorting through unsorted YEARS'-WORTH of piles and boxes of pictures and scrap-book stuff. Hunh-- it would certainly make my wife happy to have that cleaned up. . . .
There may be Husband Points in the offing--!
Fellas-- follow my lead! De-lumpify yerselves! Do somethin' to make yer poor wives/partners/parents/sig-others/WHATevers happy during yer downtime!

HB

Redartz said...

HB- welcome to the club! That project you're considering is a gargantuan one. I know, because I'm doing exactly the same thing. Literally thousands of photos; am going through them, picking those worth keeping, scanning them and disposing of them. Why dispose? Our kids don't want them, and prefer digital. So when I'm done, everyone in the family gets a cd. Word of warning- you do get bleary eyed. You might need an occasional break with some of those comics. Oh, and yes, my wife is pleased. Great advice you gave, everyone out there - HB knows what he's talking about!

Colin Jones said...

HB, on the subject of Agatha Christie - "Murder On The Orient Express" was published in the United States under the title "Murder On The Calais Coach" (in 1934 so I assume that's not the book's American title now).

Red, yes I did consider buying a tablet online but I prefer not to shop online if possible. Getting a new tablet isn't urgent so I'll wait a while.

Humanbelly said...

Colin J: Oh yeah, I've never seen that earlier title around anywhere. It must have reverted to "Orient Express" here early on. Although-- probably not a title that would pass muster in society today.

Heh-- which reminds me that "AND THEN THERE WERE NONE" has gone back and forth with 'TEN LITTLE INDIANS" for just about ever. But before that it was "TEN LITTLE N******"-- (HB slowly puts the imaginary volume down, and carefully backs away from it--). PG Wodehouse was also prone to casually dropping the N-word in. . . and I think I may have seen it in a Dorothy Sayers mystery as well. I suspect that British writers in the 20's thru the 40's were quite unaware of how painfully charged that word was even then. . .
Different topic entirely, of course, the blithe, casual, and often-confusing racism/classicism of British novelists. Which I'm only aware of from reading several of their books, mind you. Never seen it discussed.

HB

Charlie Horse 47 said...

Oddly enough, HB, Colin, et al. the British Comic Annuals I would read in the 60s - 80s were rather "over the top" when it came to portraying native americans.

I'm referring to big, thick, hard bound Beano, Dandy, etc. Christmas Annuals which mixed humorous comic strips with some adventure strips.

Lines like (I'm making it up as a I go but you get the point), "Chief Bird Brain, have 'um heap 'um big hunger!"

That said, the natives always out-smarted the cowboys so it wasn't like the natives were being shown as ignorant, it was just the stereotyping of the language and garb which I never really noticed here.

As I recall, my only exposure to natives in comics in the USA was Marvel's cowboys who were usually just fighting Indians b/c the Indians were attacking wagon trains or such... Rather straight forward like Sgt. Fury fighting in WW 2.)


Steve Does Comics said...

Charlie, you've clearly been reading Little Plum.

I'm keeping myself sane by singing my favourite songs and hoping the neighbours don't end up deciding to kill me to shut me up.

Charlie Horse 47 said...

Steve-um! Eureka! Little Plum was a real peach to read!

Anonymous said...

Sad to hear the news about the mighty Albert Uderzo yesterday, so I dug out some old Asterix the Gaul books earlier. Brilliant.

Also been immersed in the monstrously epic Kirby Fourth World Omnibus, and the Dingbat Love book, and I'm about to start re-visiting Alan Moore's Jerusalem (hey - I don't think the current situation is going to change any time soon!

Appreciate the US putting in the effort to keep us all entertained by regularly streaming the Trump/Fauci show. How does that little fella keep a straight face?

-sean

Charlie Horse 47 said...

Sean - yep, that is a bummer that our comic world lost a truly great creator in Albert Uderzo.

For my USA colleagues, I suspect Asterix is relatively unknown, though. I only really read it b/c of my wife being French and he is like Frances #1 comic with TinTin as far as I can tell.

Do any of you have any fav Asterix books? I lean toward Asterix and Cleopatra and also the first one Asterix the Gaul. But I have not read all of them maybe a half dozen as my french is not exactly superlative, lol.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Albert_Uderzo

Redartz said...

Sean and Charlie- I have read some Asterix (and also Tintin), and enjoyed it thoroughly. And yes, the loss of Uderzo is yet another in the parade of great comics figures we've lost recently. That big studio in the sky is getting crowded, but what a bullpen of artists and writers...

Humanbelly said...

I'm pretty darned sure my wife has a couple of Asterix books squirreled away somewhere (in French)-- I've looked through them, but since I don't read or speak a word of the language. . . . .

(Solid cartoon story-telling style, though, right? It totally looked like something I'd love if I could understand it---!)

HB

Charlie Horse 47 said...

Hello Gents,

If you are interested in Asterix, written in English, they sell used Omnibus versions (collects 3 stories) for like 10 bucks on Amazon in paperback.

And if you are stingy with a buck, or just out of space in your house (I qualify for both at this time!) then I see my local library has copies that can be checked out! Then again, Chicago is a cultural hotbed (w.t.h.???), so we would have those things in our library. Not sure about you folks in the hinterlands, lol!

Edo Bosnar said...

On Asterix, yes, there are rather excellent English translations that have been available forever - either in the single albums or, as Charlie Horse noted, in various types of collections. Like Charlie said, I think better stocked public libraries should have them (I first heard of them when I was in high school, in the 1980s, so I don't think they're something entirely unknown to the American comics reading public.)
By the way, the best ones to read are about the first 2 dozen, i.e., the ones scripted by Asterix co-creator Rene Goscinny before his death in the mid-1970s. The stories done after that, which were scripted as well as drawn by Uderzo, are just not as good - the humor and stories just don't have the same spark as the earlier ones written by Goscinny.

Anonymous said...

Yeah, Asterix & Cleopatra... or any of the books written by Rene Goscinny are well worth checking out, although the first - the eponymously titled Asterix the Gaul - is a bit weak compared to once the pair of them hit their stride imo.

-sean

Charlie Horse 47 said...

Yeah Sean, I agree that the first is perhaps not the best but I think (dare I say it) the nostalgia factor does it.

It was my first exposure to Asterix so the whole concept was new and I suppose that what I liked about the concept is tied to Asterix the Gaul #1.

Anonymous said...

Sure Charlie - even without the nostalgia factor I expect for anyone not familiar with Asterix the first book would still seem pretty good.
But its not like the concept is hard to pick up wherever you start, so if you have a choice...

-sean

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