Just back from the shop and this week I got: Strangers in Paradise #80, Local #4, Red Sonja #7, Jonah Hex #5, Ex Machina #18, and XIII #2. That last one is based on some old video game and looks like it was published in a different format originally. The first issue stared a guy who was modeled after Lee Marvin (I just checked the Lee Marvin comic was a different one not XIII but I can’t remember its name).
The disappointments from last weeks books were the two first issues I picked up. Warlord was typical of modern origin issues because nothing happened. And The Portent was pretty but nothing happened and it was not well written.

Well I tried. I worked up my sense of childish wonder and planned on going to my first comic con in about six or seven years. I had been getting e-mails from WizardWorld (though their name isn’t actually on the con) for about a month to buy advance tickets but I knew better than that. I don’t know how it is with comic cons around the country but my experience with the ones in NYC is that they will take your money and run. No advance tickets for me because too many things can go wrong (and have) and they will already have your money. Plus I still would have to pick up my tickets at the box office and have to wait in line to get them.

My buddy John came down from the northlands to pick me up and we drove into the big city. An uneventful drive and a price jacked parking lot latter we were hitting the Javitz Center. The show started at 11:00 AM and it was 1:00 PM when we arrived. There was a long line of people on the outside of the Center but about 6 out of 10 of them were female so we knew that couldn’t be the comic con line. John asked a woman with a comic con badge where the line was. That is when we found out that the fire marshal threatened to close them down and there were no more tickets being sold for that day. Wonderful.

This wasn’t even my first fire marshal comic con closing. Back in the early 90’s when they held conventions at one of those big NYC hotels I was at two in a row that the marshals shut down. But I was already inside those ones. I’m not sure if the fire marshal closings were what directly lead to the end of the big NYC comic cons but that is what I heard back in the day. It couldn’t have helped anyway.

We walked aimlessly away from the Javitz Center and got on the blower and tell our friend Ed what had happened. He was supposed to meet us at the con. Ed had purchased his ticket earlier that week at Midtown comics and was anxious to see if they would let him in.

For consolation John and I headed off to a nearby comic shop; Jim Hanley’s Universe. So did a lot of people who couldn’t get into the con because they were crowded and we stayed only briefly.

Next we wandered midtown until we hit the NY public library (the famous one with the lions out front) and saw they had a show of maps. The map show was good. It was free too.

Then we waited for Ed. As disappointed as John and I were with the day Ed was even more so. He had already paid for his $25 ticket. He met us on the library steps and told us how they wouldn’t let him in nor would they give him his money back. He was told it was a five hour wait to get in. This was at 1:30 PM for a show that ended at 7:00 PM. Do the math. They were willing to take his ticket and mail him a refund but this is NYC the rip off capital of the country so he wasn’t falling for that one. Midtown Comics, the place he purchased the ticket from, was Ed’s next destination. They just didn’t care there either. 25 bucks down the crapper.

The pain didn’t end there. We decided to go see a movie. There was nothing out that any of us really wanted to see so we just picked one starting soon. I don’t go to the movies very often so this might not be that bold a statement but it was the worst movie I have ever sat through in a theatre. It was “The New World” and it was long, boring, pointless and ugly. Stay away. I came out of there with a headache.

To end on a positive note I had some good pizza afterwards. Of course that was after I got home so there was no reason to actually hit NYC that day. Uh-oh, I think I lost my positive note. Maybe I’ll try again in 6 or 7 more years.

I just got back from the shop and I got four new comics. Two regulars: Usagi Yojimbo #91, The Savage Dragon #123 and two first issues. I got issue #1 of the relaunch of the Warlord from DC. Bruce Jones is writing it which is good and Bart Sears is drawing it which isn’t as good. But I’ll give it a try. I also got The Portent #1 from Image. It’s by a writer/artist who I have never heard of but it looks good so another gets a try this week.

Would Superman’s preference for women with the initials LL (Lois Lane, Lana Lang, Lori Lemaris) be considered a fetish? Does he go to websites dedicated to LL girls? Is he just not attracted to women without those initials? Does love at first sight exist for him or is it love at first learning her name? Chime in.

There is something to be said about context when listening to pre-recorded music. The specific context being what that music is played on. I appreciate good sound equipment but I am not an audiophile. I’ve never had a really good stereo system; mine have usually been made from hand me downs and cannibalized parts of previous systems. I’ve had some good boom boxes in my day and my sound systems have always been good enough for me to enjoy my music on but nothing to make an audiophile squeal.

I do insist on a good pair of headphones. I never listen to the ones that come with the Walkman, Discman or iPod. But the context I want to talk about is not Hi-Fi but Lo-Fi.

My musical tastes are as broad as my sound systems have been and there is an interesting convergence at one particular sound system. My little Panasonic RQ A200 cassette player. It is a Walkman style cassette player with two little speakers built right into the front of it. The speakers are tinny little Lo-Fi jobs that are great for one thing; listening old Lo-Fi recordings. Especially big band swing from the 30s and 40s.

I’ve listened to the same music on my Hi-Fi systems, and there is nothing wrong with that, it is just that the music sounds more authentic on the Lo-Fi system. That is how people originally heard these recordings. They take me back in time to the early days of radio where everyone only got a peek at what it was like to hear the big bands play. It is not really what a live band sounded like but it is how a lot of people heard them; wishing they could have the band in front of them.

A favorite trick of period filmmakers is to have some one listening to a big band on a Lo-Fi radio and then cut to a scene of the actual big band in all its Hi-Fi glory; thus emphasizing how people were only getting a small fraction of the musical experience. But I find that small fraction fascinating. With today’s Hi-Fi technology you can feel like you are right there with our modern musicians as they record. We always have them right beside us. When I am listening on my Lo-Fi system I feel like I’m hearing something ephemeral. A moment from the past where people were out having a good time listening to a live big band and I am with all those other people listening at their radios. We are all longing to hit the clubs and listen to Jimmie Lunceford, Glen Miller or Tommy Dorsey swing our blues away.

And speaking of blues I also like to listen to old blues recordings on my Low-Fi Panasonic.

So remember to play your music on a variety of machines and you might just hear something new in that old stuff.