Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Happy Thanksgiving!

(with semi-sincere apologies to Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons)

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

The Making of Star Trek

Once upon a time, when some of us were in high school and junior high, there was this TV show that was SO COOL. It was called Star Trek, and it was about the future. It had adventure and fun, and cool aliens, and a neat spaceship.

If you went into your local Git-n-Go or 7-11 or such, you might have found this book on the paperback spinner in September 1968.

This is the cover of the first edition.

Yes, new, fat (400+ pages) paperbacks with dozens of photo pages DID sell new for 95 cents.

This was, and is, a treasure-trove of fun and interesting facts and maybe-facts, with the advantage of presenting its information (100% accurate or not) while the whole idea was still new and fresh, before the overlay of decades of wishful thinking and mythology started to tint recollections.

One of my favorite memories of reading the book at age 12 is the discussion of network sensors' objections to the marvelous draperies that exposed acres of ripe womanflesh. It says something like, "NBC would allow a costume to reveal the TOP of a woman's breast almost down to the aurolae, but showing the underside of the breast was verboten. Perhaps they believes that moss grew under there."

This, the first printing, is so "fresh" that, in the back where you have episode titles & cast credits, the 3rd season isn't included, because it hadn't happened yet! Later editions, besides changing the cover, also included information for the 3rd season.

Monday, November 20, 2006

Byrne & Smallville, Be Damned!

Once there was a wonderful age, a wonderful time to be a wide-eyed innocent American child. A time when I was young enough to take at face value the strict right-and-wrong values shown me in comic books and TV shows featuring upright guys (and gals too) who strove mightily to protect my chance for an innocent childhood.

During this time, DC Comics had a character called Superboy, whose comic book featured "The Adventures of Superman When He Was a Boy!" And, it made sense. Because (although I didn't know it) way back in Superman's origin story we were told that even as an infant he had mighty muscles.

And yes, during this more innocent time, we weren't thinking about Super-Projectile Diarrhea, or what if Superbaby gave Ma Kent a BIG HUG. No, these were cute stories where things were resolved quickly, and we were shown a world where -- although evil existed -- other people were helpful and good-natured, unless their actions proved otherwise.

As Elliott S. Maggin put it so very wisely, "There is a right and a wrong in the universe, and most of the time the choice is not difficult to make." After all, most of the time our life decisions are not as complicated as those depicted in movies or on TV. The characters in The Unit may have to decide whether to let someone live or die, but for you and I, it's pretty easy to see the right and wrong in letting somebody in front of us merge onto the highway, or holding the door open for somebody.

These books are little, 20-page children's books that were published in 1980, when execs at DC were trying to extend the life of the Superboy character wo a further generation. However, by now most buyers were probably nostalgic types like me.

Remember, you have choices. Do right! Help other people!
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© by Mark Alfred