Saturday, February 28, 2009

Spaceknight Saturdays: Rom Dies!! (Not Kidding!)

The place: Somewhere in the USSR, site of a nuclear disaster.

The time: The early 1980s when the Reds were bad, and the comics were good.

The people: Rom, having been given a cloned human body, dying of radioactive rot, in Brandy "the new Starshine" Clarke's arms.

Oh and also: Stupid, stupid Russian soldiers walking into the radioactive zone to arrest them. Though Brandy is new at this Spaceknight thing, she's mega-powerful. And fueled by grief!
Not only does she melt their weapons, but they remain paralyzed for the rest of the story. Hey, she was trying to have a moment. Show some respect, heartless commies.

The Rom-zombie is not yet dead, and he asks Brandy to be brought back into the cave where Quasimodo gave him life. There's no way she knows how to reintegrate his fleshy bits with his armor, but help comes from the unlikeliest of places:
Gremlin, Son of Gargoyle, back from an encounter with the Hulk, hiding in the radioactive zone because he's been labeled an enemy to the state. He'll help Starshine get her lost love back if she protects him from the Soviet forces after him. And what Soviet forces, you ask?
The Rocket Reds!!!
Oh sorry, the Soviet Super-Troopers. My mistake. For the record, they were here FIRST.

Starshine unleashed her fury upon them. First, she blinds a number of them by searing their retina even through their tinted lenses. But that's not enough. So she turns a guy's armor into molten slag. Don't tell he survives this:
While Brandy is committing her first murders, the Gremlin finishes his work, and Rom's trademark eyes LIGHT UP!
His clone doesn't die right away though, so the two Roms have a chance to compare notes in a Most Pathetic competition.
Man, the Silver Surfer may feel sorry for himself, but Rom? Rom is actually jealous of his other self's misery, because it's way less miserable than his own! Yeah! After he is victorious in a battle of pure Emo, he goes after the Abbalicious Super-Troopers, bounces Devastator's energy back at the satellite that feeds him, and blows the whole thing to kingdom come.
One last lesson from the clone-Rom before he gives up the clone-ghost.
So Rom and Starshine's love gets approval from a gross zombie, and that version of Rom... dies.

Star Trek 813: There's No Space Like Gnomes'!

813. There's No Space Like Gnomes'!

PUBLICATION: Star Trek #16, Marvel Comics, October 1981

CREATORS: Martin Pasko (writer), Luke McDonnell, Gene Day, and Sal Trapani (artists)

STARDATE: 8431.5 (follows the last issue)

PLOT: The Enterprise visits the colony of Valerian and finds it missing. Instead, subhuman trolls are on the prowl and they abduct Chekov's Andorian girlfriend. While McCoy studies a fallen troll, the landing party meets a band of tiny gnomes who tell them of their troubles. But these prove to be untrustworthy when in the goblin forms, they attack the ship bestriding large bats. After Chekov's gf is rescued and few revelations are... uhm... revealed, we discover that the band of gnomes are really just two gnomes using their matter-manipulating caps to turn the colonists into trolls, their inhospitable world into a wooden glen, and trees into weapons. Kirk defeats them with a stolen cap that also allows him to work their magic, the colonists are cured, and everyone leaves Valerian forever.


DIVERGENCES: None, except from good sense.

PANEL OF THE DAY - Get the caps! (Wins Most Ridiculous Objective Award.)
REVIEW: As terrible as it sounds. I'm okay with the Star Trek episodes that present Earth's mythologies as super-powerful aliens who once came to Earth to affect its development, but garden gnomes who hide their technology in their caps? The premise is stupid, and the villains' motivations absurd (why make their world look hospitable if they don't want colonists to come?). Never mind the terrible pun in the title (or the one in the "final joke"). The story isn't helped by the art either, with Luke McDonnell quite far from his better days on pencils. His perspectives are awkward, his likenesses ugly, and his Enterprise at times completely off-model.
If there's a redeeming element, it might have been found in Chekov's relationship with an Andorian, but that comes out of nowhere, and I'm ready to bet, goes right back to nowhere.

Friday, February 27, 2009

Nightmare Fuel: Mary Marvel Was ALWAYS a Little Disturbing

Or at least her adventures were.From Wow Comics #48, 1946. Wow indeed.

Star Trek 812: The Quality of Mercy

812. The Quality of Mercy

PUBLICATION: Star Trek #15, Marvel Comics, August 1981

CREATORS: Martin Pasko (writer), Gil Kane (artists)

STARDATE: 8822.5 (follows the last issue)

PLOT: Kirk and crew go on a secret undercover mission where they must post as guards in galaxy's death row to rescue the half-Antosian son of a commodore. Doing so, they find a host of human rights violations and the shapeshifting Antosian who, though exonerated from criminal charges in the accidental death of the woman he loved, is now trying to commit suicide by posing as other prisoners due to be executed. Kirk saves him (though not from a lifetime of therapy) and the sadistic prison supervisor suffers a coup at the hands of his lieutenant who hopes to push for mercy and reform.

CONTINUITY: The people of Antos IV and their shape-shifting abilities are mentioned in Whom Gods Destroy. Spock's inner eyelid gets a mention.

DIVERGENCES: The Enterprise has a cloaking device. Spock uses "mind fusion" to teach his crew mates an alien language (Pasko really broadened his powers).

PANEL OF THE DAY - The first time that term has ever been used in Star Trek.
REVIEW: The main attraction here has to be legendary artist Gil Kane (though not his best work). No stranger to space opera from his days on Green Lantern, he proves quite adept at likenesses as well, usually with the smallest number of lines, though his Enterprise isn't quite as strong. As for the story, it plays a little too fast and too loose with its Trek continuity hits for comfort. The Enterprise has a cloak and there's no explanation why? And Pasko not only uses Spock's telepathy for new uses every issue, but here turns the Antosians into Firestorm - able to change not only their molecular structure, but that of object as well (even ships!). But if you don't think too hard about how this fits the wider universe, it's a fairly enjoyable cloak and dagger piece, with dynamic art by one of the medium's masters.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

What If... Captain America Hadn't Vanished During World War Two?

What If #4, What If the Invaders Stayed Together After World War Two isn't really a What If at all. It's Roy Thomas' last Invaders story, recounting for the first time what happened to Marvel's Golden Age characters in between 1945 and the advent of the Marvel Universe proper in 1960. It's since passed into canon - the All-Winners Squad, the various patriotic heroes standing in for Captain America like the Patriot and the Spirit of '76 - and though I don't necessarily know how the Agents of Atlas and the Twelve fit in these days, I'm sure that's still part of continuity. So let's skip right ahead to #5, the "flip-side" of the previous issue.

What If Vol.1 #5 (October 1977)
Based on: What If #4
The true history: In the latter days of World War II, Baron Zemo ties Bucky to a missile, leading Captain America to jump it. Not only does he not manage to save his sidekick, but he falls in the freezing waters and disappears until awakened by the Avengers.
Turning point: What if Captain America dissabled the missile that killed Bucky?
Story type: Agent of SHIELD.
Watcher's mood: Melty.
Altered history: Cap successfully disables the missile and both he and Bucky are picked up by a British boat. Cap fights beside Nick Fury and the Howling Commandos and helps them win a crucial battle - though Fury still loses an eye, he isn't hurt badly enough to be subjected to the Infinity Formula. Quite possibly, this is why he is killed in Korea years later. Meanwhile, our heroes go on to fight dirty commies throughout the 50s. Bucky grows up and becomes, simply, "Buck."
Yeah, that's much better. In the 60s, an ageing Cap is slowing down, but he is set in his ways and refuses both membership in the Avengers and leadership of a nascent SHIELD. He does recommend Buck for the latter position though, and Buck Barnes takes Nick Fury's place in history. However, it soon becomes clear Captain America isn't all he was, and Buck has to pull his ass out of the fire.
Has Steve Rogers really lost it? Touch his "guns", I dare you!
Oh, they were really soft? Oh well. The two men switch roles, with Buck as the new Cap and Steve Rogers - Agent of SHIELD (a recurring theme in What If?). Just like in our world, Rick Jones becomes the new Bucky. You can pretty much follow issues of Captain America from our timeline and insert Bucky in there in place of Steve, right down to the love affair with Sharon. Sharon who, by the way, can't pose as a Hydra goon to save her life.
No girls allowed, huh? Well, that explains a few things.

Buck, Rick, Steve and Sharon infiltrate Hydra headquarters and are surprised to find the Supreme Hydra is Baron Zemo! In this history, a displeased Red Skull put Zemo in a state of suspended animation for 20 years, at which point he fell into the Hydra gig. You can't escape destiny though, and he is killed by molten lava!
Speaking of destiny, Buck is also killed on this mission. Is this to be a world without Captain America? Not if Rick Jones has anything to do with it! But for now, Steve Rogers grieves, and he's not letting anyone else near that costume.
Books canceled as a result: There's no way Captain America is ever cancelled, even if Cap dies. I think that's been proven. I do wonder if Zemo had time to beget a son though, and if he didn't, how does that affect the creation of the Thunderbolts?
These things happen: Something not happening can't all of a sudden happen... or something like that. Elements from this story do eventually crop up though. Bucky Barnes did indeed turn up alive, and did indeed become Captain America. Yet another What If that seems incredibly familiar today.

Star Trek 811: We are Dying, Egypt, Dying!

811. We are Dying, Egypt, Dying!

PUBLICATION: Star Trek #14, Marvel Comics, June 1981

CREATORS: Martin Pasko (writer), Luke McDonnell and Gene Day (artists)

STARDATE: 8305.3 (follows the last issue)

PLOT: Exploring a planet that looks just like ancient Egypt before it is hit by deadly meteors, the crew has to contend with robot sphinxes, awakening mummies and shrink-ray enabled pyramids. A computer god turns Kirk into a mad pharaoh who takes the landing party hostage, but they eventually escape and Spock destroys the computer to release his old friend (oh, and saves the ship while he's at it). In the end, though the Enterprise destroys the meteoroid shower, they also relocate the population to a radiation-free world and Kirk instructs them on how to govern themselves.



PANEL OF THE DAY - The line-up to "mate with females from other worlds".
REVIEW: Remember the episode where Kirk becomes an American Indian? Well, this is almost exactly like that, except with Egyptians. It's an unremarkable yarn, drawn rather dully by a young Luke McDonnell not quite up to his Suicide Squad work's level. You'd think an pharaonic Kirk would be a lot of fun, but I just can't get excited about it, no matter how many females he's promised. He doesn't even get to personally destroy the computer. Sigh.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

25 Writers

The other day, my blog-friend Michael May listed 25 writers that had influenced him, apparently as part of a meme on this newfangled contraption the kids like to ride today called the Facebook. I promised I would participate and list my own, and well, it took a while, but here it is.

I think part of the problem for me was determining just what "influence" meant. After all, am I not influenced by everyone I meet, everything I see, hear and read, everything that happens to me? And just how am I influenced? As a writer? If you somehow made a complete works of Siskoid, you'd find (in addition to these bloggly articles): a few zines and mini-comics, some literary essays I'm proud of, terrible poetry, unpublished scripts for various comics projects, role-playing scenarios, newspaper pieces, lots of articles about improv and CCGs, press releases, inspirational speeches, maybe some correspondance... But I think the most writing I do is actually in my improv work. For more than 20 years, I've been in the improv world, committing acts of "instantaneous writing". Sure, it's not the same, it's ephemeral and performed at the same time it's written, but I think writerly influences definitely come into play there, and have helped me develop my "samurai code".

And of course, there are those influences that have simply changed your mind, tastes and life, and perhaps opened doors to yet more written words that would do the same. So enough with the preamble, except to say this: The writers below are not there because they are my favorites (though many of them are), they're there because I can say they significantly influenced me. Various mediums are referenced. And they are in no significant order, except one I found aesthetically pleasing.

1. William Shakespeare - Michael called it a cliché (and nonethless put him on his list), but anyone who knows me, knows just how important Shakespeare is to me. I actually see the world through the filter of analogy and metaphor, thinking like a Shakespearian character. Which I am, which we all are, in a sense. I totally agree with Harold Bloom who says Shakespeare invented the modern human thanks to characters who could influence THEMSELVES by hearing themselves speak. Which is totally what I think Shakespeare's given me.

2. Jorge Luis Borges - I was discussing something I'd written with a mentor of mine back in the day when he asked me if I'd read any Borges. I hadn't, but he thought it would inform my writing. He was right. I totally clicked with Borges' unique short story as faux-critical essay and the metaphors he used. Again, this helped me not only in my writing, but in forming my entire world view.

3. Grant Morrison - Speaking of Borges, here's a comics writer who has obviously been influenced by him. Morrison not only made me see comics in a new and enlightening way in the days of Animal Man and Doom Patrol, but also sent me to the library looking for dada, surrealism, Lovecraft and mystic texts. He's certainly one of the reasons I've got so many book shelves in my house today.

4. Harold Bloom - I wanted to put a critic on here, because one of my favorite modes of writing is literary criticism, and since I already mentioned Bloom, he's it. Every time I read one of his books, it makes me want to read or re-read a ton of books, which is always a good thing. Further, critics like him have helped clarify my intuitive ability to analyze everything aesthetically. I've always done it, but they've sharpened my tools.

5. Robert Gravel - Who, you ask? This late, great Quebec actor shaped my life more than anyone in this list. Probably more than anyone I've ever met (and I did manage to meet him just the once). He basically created the improv games we play here in French Canada and elsewhere, the ones that suspciously look like ice hockey. Watching him on public access, he was immediately the player I wanted to model myself after - literate and respectful, yet not pretentious - and I still find wisdom today in his book "L'impro" despite having myself become an "improv guru" and having taken improv in new and different directions over the years. Not only has improv been an important (sometimes too important) part of my life, it's also formed my character, fine-tuned my abilities, and given me a code of conduct. Merci Robert.

6. Julian Barnes - In the early-to-mid-90s, I seriously got into postmodernism, an aesthetic point of view that I carry with me to this day. Ushering me into that world, was francophile Brit author Julian Barnes. If nothing else, he taught me something about shifting (and untrustworthy) points of view.

7. Douglas Coupland - Also part of that cohort, Coupland manages to perfectly capture Gen-Xers. So did he influence me? Or did the rest of us influence him? He just seems to have put on paper what I was thinking before or while I was thinking it.

8. Chuck Palahniuk - For much the same reasons, though from a different angle. They say Fight Club has become scripture for a certain generation, and I guess that means me. That short book spoke volumes. I am totally the kind of person who hates to be reduced to his job or home town or whatever it is the old folks ask.

9. William Blake - Studying him in college was a transformative experience. On the one hand, you have his marriage of pictures and words. On the other, an invented cosmogony. And on the third hand (it's Blake, it's allowed), the whole philosophy of perception = creation. How could it not capture my imagination and point of view?

10. Dante - Though obviously, a young literate man will be interested in the map of Hell, it's really Dorothy Sayers' breautiful translation that made me appreciate Dante for what it was - a grand moral allegory. Another brick in the wall as far as my thought process goes.

11. The Bible writers - How can your Judeo-Christian heritage NOT mold you even if you've since perhaps fallen off the wagon? My faith borders on the atheistic (I know, dirty word these days), but I still find great beauty, meaning and guidance in the Bible. Whether that's the J Writer's Old Testatement mythic fables and histories or the New Testament's Gospels. Even Paul's Epistles, which I find a dangerous subversion of the Gospels' lessons, still teach me something about the persuasive power of words.

12. From Herodotus to Robert Graves... Greek myth - Though I think the Bible is more than mythology, I can't help but think I've always viewed it through the lense of Greek myth. Indeed, Greek myth is probably responsible for my general interest in both fantasy and history.

13. Bloggers like you - I'd be lying if I said I came up with the concept of a "comic book blog". Heck, the layout I use looks just like the dearly departed Dave's Long Box! But despite Dave Campbell being my "first", there have been many. If you're in my blog roll (and even if you're not and I've visited your space), you've probably influenced me. It's an organic community, I find, and one I'm happy to add to.

14. Gene Roddenberry - Star Trek has, I admit, played a vital role in my upbringing. I find I still espouse Roddenberry's crucial values of humanism and idealism, no matter what real life throws at me.

15. Franz Kafka - Kafka writes by subtraction, which is something I've noticed in my improv work of late. I don't like to give things away, but rather tease the audience with as few facts as possible. If the improv is long enough, they may puzzle out the mystery definitely. If not, it retains its openness to interpretation (which is something of a feat in that medium). Kafka's auto-editorial process taught me some interesting lessons.

16. Lord Alfred Tennyson - Can a writer be here because of a single work? I think so. While Tennyson has a lot of pieces I admire, it's his Ulysses that most influences me. In fact, it's one line: "I am become a name." Can someone be on this list for a single line? Yes, when that line has forced me to ask some profound questions about my own identity and perception thereof, questions that have led me to actually amend my "self".

17. Daniel Pennac - Another writer listed for a single work, and that work is Comme un roman (Like a Novel), a book-length essay that discusses, in part, how to teach a love for reading. Not an easy task. Most influential for its drafting of controversial "Readers' Rights", which I have striven to grant myself.

18. Oscar Wilde - Sure, I'm a fan of his work, but Wilde never had any qualms about making his life a work of art as well. He's influenced my public persona, my repartee techniques, and my sense of irony.

19. Hergé - Who do I credit with an enduring love of the comics medium? It has to be Hergé. At a very young age (like, three), I was handed a Tintin and the rest is history. I read all the major French-language bandes dessinées and emptied my local library of everything they had by the time I was 12. I learned to read and speak English in Archie and Richie Rich's classroom. And, well, you've seen the blog.

20. Philip K. Dick - I can't, for the life of me, credit a writer for a similar interest in science-fiction. TV and movies were probably responsible and not that old (translated) copy of I, Robot. But I WILL credit Philip K. Dick for blowing the doors of SF right off their hinges (for me, I mean). I think my first taste was Ubik, not a major novel by any means, but just what I needed to revitalize my faith in the genre at a time when I might just as well have abandoned it.

21. Douglas Adams - Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy was a serious (haha, you know what I mean) step towards the realization of my sense of humor, both written and improvized (falling into my hands about a year before improv did).

22. The Rheostatics (Martin Tielli, Dave Bidini and Tim Vesely) - My favorite band, three members of which write songs. I think they taught me more about being Canadian than any number of civics classes did.

23. Dave Sim - An odd choice, especially given his inflammatory rhetoric starting ±midway into Cerebus, but I think a sound one. Sim's documents on how to self-publish were immensely helpful in projects I both succeeded and failed to bring to term. I also found a lot of truth in both the multiple roles a character/person might play over the course if their lives and in the whole Cirinist debate before it became about full-blown misogyny. As Sean Penn said at this year's Oscars, sometimes artists don't make it easy to like their work.

24. Rachel Pollack - Another odd choice, and it's really not for her work on Doom Patrol or any other comics. It's her Vertigo Tarot. See, I've been interested in the tarot since I was 12 and reading occult magazines, but I never really understood how it worked or how you could meaningfully conduct readings until I read her theory on the narrative structure of the tarot. I don't believe in the occult, but I do find the tarot an interesting psychological tool and am rather well-known for my readings (so much so I now usually hide my abilities).

25. Mad Magazine writers - There's a lot of Funny in my life. From improv to this very blog to every single human being who's gotten the sharp edge of my tongue (thanks for not ALL beating me up). Though not considered cool anymore, Mad is where I learned to construct a joke. Even the Lighter Side of... Hippies, though incredibly outdated by the 1980s still had something to teach about joke structure. So I finish off my list with a broad category of people that has included the likes of Sergio Aragones, Al Jaffee, Don Martin, Dave Berg, and many whose names I've since forgotten.

Star Trek 810: All the Infinite Ways

810. All the Infinite Ways

PUBLICATION: Star Trek #13, Marvel Comics, April 1981

CREATORS: Martin Pasko (writer), Joe Brozowski, Tom Palmer, and D. Hands (artists)

STARDATE: 8264.5 (follows the last issue)

PLOT: The Federation and Klingons are competing for mining rights on the Vulcan-like planet Hephaestus (ho ho ho), when strange murders start to occur. Because the ape-like natives owe their intelligence to an implant, the Klingons are trying to sabotage their implant factory and remove the implants that were once a gift from an ancient alien race. That way, they can better annex the world. Meanwhile, McCoy's estranged daughter Joanna is also on the planet, and engaged to a Vulcan no less. The gulf between them widens, even after that Vulcan dies helping save her from the Klingon who had taken her hostage. In the end, our heroes manage to upload the alien data to the ship before the factory is destroyed, and so the information and the society is saved. But can McCoy start the healing process?

CONTINUITY: Klingons. Joanna McCoy is Bones' daughter from the Animated Series; no relation to Gold Key's Barbara. Spock espouses the IDIC philosophy.

DIVERGENCES: Spock tracks down Klingons telepathically by following their irrational impulses.

PANEL OF THE DAY - McCoy pulls a Hank Pym
REVIEW: You may not agree with the characterization of McCoy as a racist (especially since his relationship with Spock has always seemed colored by a hidden friendship), but points to Pasko for at least trying to give the characters a semblance of psychology. He's actually trying to make these comics about more than plot, which they've been for a while, and inject them with emotional depth. And hey, Kirk goes to a strip joint.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

A Natural Elseworld

This?Yeah, I think Dell already had it covered.

Star Trek 809: Eclipse of Reason

809. Eclipse of Reason

PUBLICATION: Star Trek #12, Marvel Comics, March 1981

CREATORS: Alan Brennert and Martin Pasko (writers), Luke McDonnell and Tom Palmer (artists)

STARDATE: 8180.7 (follows the last issue)

PLOT: What you didn't know about Janice Rand - between her last TOS appearance and The Motion Picture, she went and got married to a Phaetonian, a race of telepathic energy beings who can interface with machines. Now she's going off on an intergalactic mission with her husband and 100 of his people, the only human on a trip between galaxies on which she will die of old age. But going through the Great Barrier around our galaxy drives the Phaetonians insane and Janice telepathic and she's able to send a mental mayday to Mr. Spock. The aliens are now returning home to crash their ship into their own planet. It's up to the Enterprise to ram it unless a landing party can rescue Janice and take back control of the ship while the Phaetonians use its machinery to attack them. They of course succeed; Janice's telepathy proves to be temporary; and she annuls her marriage to a mad energy being.

CONTINUITY: Janice admits she left the Enterprise in the middle of Season 1 because of her unrequited feelings for Kirk. The Great Barrier still has an effect on the human mind.

DIVERGENCES: For the second issue in a row, the Vulcan mindmeld is called the mind touch.

PANEL OF THE DAY - Feeling guilty, Janice?
REVIEW: One thing I like is that the issue at least explores Kirk and Rand's relationship from the show. I'm not such a big fan of her marrying a ball of energy, but this is nonetheless an exciting adventure for one of the less seen Star Trek characters. Good for her! There are a number of good character moments, including Scotty telling the crew he's sorry to send them on a suicide mission, and the stakes are certainly high. But the ship battles are drawn a little awkwardly, and we have a wasted idea in the "white hole" to another dimension. Far from perfect, but after a year, this series remains readable in spite of its reputation.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Reduced to Ranting

I want to be a citizen again, not just a tax payer!I want to be a person and not a consumer!
I want to do my part for society, not for the economy!
I want a government that doesn't think of itself as a business!
I want good and productive people to be rewarded with financing, not tax credits!
Why has my relationship to the State been reduced to paying taxes?
By changing the words, they've reduced us to passive bank accounts. Pay your share, don't do your share.
I want the real words back.
All head shots accompanying this rant from Hergé's Les Cigares du Pharaon.

Star Trek 808: ...Like a Woman Scorned!

808. ...Like a Woman Scorned!

PUBLICATION: Star Trek #11, Marvel Comics, February 1981

CREATORS: Martin Pasko (writer), Joe Brozowski and Tom Palmer (artists)

STARDATE: 7935.6 (follows the last issue)

PLOT: Evacuating a colony threatened by radiation, the Enterprise takes on board a cult leader and his assistant, one of Scotty's jilted exes. Soon, while the cult leader starts subverting the crew with his message of freedom from military oaths, strange creatures from Scottish folklore start attacking Scotty and anyone around him. When the "svengali" takes over the bridge, he reveals he and the girl are psionically trained (though with different talents - he hypnotizes and she brings figments of your imagination to life), but Kirk fights off the hypnotic effects while Spock and McCoy sedate the girl.

CONTINUITY: Scotty's ex jealously rants against Mira Romaine (The Lights of Zetar) and Carolyn Palamas (Who Mourns for Adonais?). Drexler II, the hijacking destination in this story, may be the same as Drexler Outpost from where the Hansens left the Federation, as told in The Gift (i.e. would have been named after Doug Drexler as well).


PANEL OF THE DAY - Jumping James Kirk!
REVIEW: Martin Pasko (the "regular" writer) has a penchant for throwing in science fantasy elements that make for unusual comic book images (not unlike the Animated Series), but you're never quite sure if they work in the Star Trek context (much like the television episodes that make use of such). Here, though the Lock Ness monster attacking the ship is patently ridiculous, there's at least a science fiction premise behind it. The story rolls along fairly well, even if there's not much of a mystery (not with that title, at any rate), and we miss the emotional closure of the personal subplot. The art is strong on expressions and likenesses, but a little awkward on the action poses.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

This Week in Geek (16-22/02/09)


Three DVDs have newly come across my desk: David Mamet's Redbelt - because David Mamet - the Canadian WWI epic Passchendaele - because Paul Gross - and 30Rock Season 2 - because of my recent crush on Tina Fey. Now you know how I think.


This was Murder Week. Work was complete murder. Nights, weekends, the whole thing. So no geekly "accomplishments". Plenty of the other kind, but that's scarcely entertaining.

Someone Else's Post of the Week
Teebore slid one under the wire last Sunday that compares the Founding Fathers of the US of A to the founding members of the Avengers. Check out the cleverness!

Star Trek 807: The Klingon Hamlet

807. The Klingon Hamlet

PUBLICATION: Pocket Books, February 2000

CREATORS: Nick Nicholas and Andrew Strader of the Klingon Language Institute, and William Shakespeare of the Globe Theater (illustration by Phil Foglio)

STARDATE: A time of crisis for the Klingon Empire, date unknown.

PLOT: You know the story. Or you think you do. The real title is The Tragedy of Khamlet, Son of the Emperor of Qo'nos by the Klingon Shex'pir. The book contains both the English and Klingon versions of the play, along with end notes and essays on the subject of the translation.

CONTINUITY: This is Hamlet in the original Klingon, as mentioned by Chancellor Gorkon in ST VI. Klingon Houses are used in the Klingon text, including that of Duras (in lieu of Fortinbras). There is an essay meant for Starfleet Academy students.


REVIEW: One of many versions of Hamlet I own, on the face of it, the Klingon Hamlet is one big joke. I don't deny that the authors went through a great deal of trouble actually translating Shakespeare's greatest play (actually, I should say, the greatest play in human literature) into Klingon, but most readers aren't going to be able (or even willing) to read it. Where it transcends its basic concept is in the few pages of notes that discuss the translation. How do concepts of honor and the warrior code inform the play? What happens when Klingon has no word for the English concept (or vice-versa, as we're told to believe)? For example, there is no "to be" in Klingon. Is the most famous of soliloquies entirely misunderstood with that corruption of the Klingon "to continue"? These notes and accompanying essays are a great deal of fun and humor. Definitely worth a look, especially for Shakespeare nuts such as myself.