December 31, 2010

Andy Rash's Iotacons

Andy Rash is an illustrator who creates some pretty amazing pixel art on the side.

Here is a representation of the all four Indiana Jones movies - MacGuffins and all.

December 25, 2010

Christmas Comic Cover - December 25

Santa Claus: The Movie

In the past I've ended my Christmas Comic Advent Calendar with a cover from Santa Claus Funnies, but I couldn't find a good one this year. So I went with the cover from the movie adaptation of Santa Claus: The Movie.

Have a wonderful Christmas

hollyMerry Christmas

December 24, 2010

Christmas Comic Cover 2010 - December 24

The Great Treasury of Christmas Comic Books Stories

Technically this is a cover to a book, not a comic; but the book is a collection of Christmas themed comics from the Golden Age of comics, so it still qualifies.

I thought the sleepwalking children surprising Santa in his work was a fitting image for Christmas Eve.

It's Christmas Eve!

hollyMerry Christmas

December 23, 2010

Christmas Comic Cover - December 23

Son of Tomahawk #138

Probably the least CHristmas-looking of all the covers I have included in this year's advent calendar. But with a promise of "a different kind of Christmas story" I guess you have to have a different kind of Christmas cover

2 Days until Christmas!

hollyMerry Christmas

December 22, 2010

Christmas Comic Cover - December 22

DC Holiday Special 2009

Really the best thing to the DC Holiday comics over the last few years has been the cover. This cover from 2009 by Frank Quitely keeps that tradition alive.

3 Days until Christmas!

hollyMerry Christmas

December 21, 2010

I'm Running Out of Time to Write This Post

The Middletons is a fairly benign little comic that I read regularly because of its ability to surprise me with a funny gag every week or so.

Today's comic, while not particularly funny, did get me to thinking about something.

The Middletons

When does expecting of a event you're are looking forward to switch from taking forever to coming too quickly for you to be prepared?

Just like in the comic, I remember as a kid it griping that the four weeks between Thanksgiving and Christmas seemed to last 4 months. There were Christmas television programs to watch, wish list for Santa to write, decorations in the house to put up, and Christmas music to listen to - it felt like we we doing those things forever, and that the actual day of Christmas took twice a forever to arrive.

Now, Thanksgiving ends, I blink twice, and there are 4 days left until Christmas.

It's still 4 weeks on the calendar. When did that perception of time change?

My dad has an interesting theory. The older you are, the faster time moves.

He explains it this way: As you age the percentage of your life that is defined by each calendar year gets smaller, so perception of time speeds up.

Thank of it this way. When you are 5 years-old, each calendar year is 20% of your life. That's a fairly sizable chunk. It takes a while to move through 20% of something. Therefore getting from Thanksgiving to Christmas is going to take some effort and a lot of perceived time.

However, when you are 40 years-old, each year is 2.5% of your life. That won't even cover sales tax. You can blow through 2.5% of anything in a heart beat. Therefore Thanksgiving and Christmas may as well be on the same weekend for as much as you and your perceived time are concerned.

Can't say that I like it, but I figure I have to live with it.

Christmas Comic Cover - December 21

Black Cat #8

Not sure what Black Cat this is. Certainly isn't the Marvel Comics version. But the cover sure looks fun.

4 Days until Christmas!

hollyMerry Christmas

December 20, 2010

Christmas Comic Cover - December 20


Is Heathcliff the poor man's Garfield?

If he is, then when Garfield is the poor man's lazy ass comic, was does that make Heathcliff?

5 Days until Christmas!

hollyMerry Christmas

December 19, 2010

Christmas Comic Cover - December 19

Christmas Classics

Make sure you read the small print above the title. You're not just getting another graphic interperation of A Christmas Carol, you're getting a Sherlock Holmes (presumably Christmas themed) story and a story about Santa Claus and the werewolf dog. How cool is that!

6 Days until Christmas!

hollyMerry Christmas

December 18, 2010

Rankin & Bass : Christmas Myth Builders

Growing up, the Rankin/Bass Christmas TV specials were everything for me. I loved watching them. I would scour the TV guide every week in December to see when the different ones were scheduled to be aired.

Santa Claus is Coming to Town, A Year Without a Santa Clause, Frosty the Snowman, and Rudolph are the programs everyone probably knows, but I always went deep into the Rankin/Bass stable of shows. Twas the Night Before Christmas, The Leprechauns Christmas Gold, Rudolph's Shiny New Year, and Nestor the Long-Eared Donkey still remain some of my favorites.

I've watched the shows countless times. When I was old enough I started collecting them on VHS tape. As the shows were re-released on DVD I purchased them again. It makes for a nice collection of programs that I can now share with Ian, Emma, and Zoe.

But before my kids started regularly watching these shows, they had questions about Santa Claus. Who he was. How he operated. Where he lived. Without really thinking about where I was getting my information, I would answer the questions. Only later did I realize that I was mining my answers from scenes and stories that I had enjoyed in those Rankin/Bass specials.

Truth be told, I believed the stories as well. The Rankin/Bass stories are so well done, so entertaining, so much fun, I can't help but think that they way they told the stories of these Christmas characters is the definitive adaptation. I'm not worried about how the R/B versions might differ from traditional stories, their versions sit right with me. So that is probably why it was the Rankin/Bass specials I used to teach Ian, Emma, and Zoe about Santa and company.

My kids took my answers as gospel. And why shouldn't they, I was their father. The truth of what I had told them only gained more credence when they started watching Santa Claus is Coming to Town and Rudolph. There on the screen were the same characters doing the same things dad and mom had talked about.

As my kids have started to grow up, but still hold close their belief in Santa, I can't help but notice that their perception of Santa, Rudolph, and the other characters of Christmas are firmly rooted in the Rankin/Bass tradition. It was that observation that made me realize that Rankin/Bass created our Christmas canon.

Not a particularly earth shattering revelation, but pretty interesting upon reflection. Arthur Rankin, Jr. and Jules Bass created their many Christmas themed shows because the enjoyed entertaining. But like Clement C. Moore shaped and influenced America's version of the European tradition of St. Nicholas when he published his poem "A Visit from St. Nicholas", I doubt Rankin & Bass realized that they were re-building or adding onto the Santa mythology for generations of children in the future with the airing of their TV specials. But I believe that has been the effect of these wonderful Christmas TV shows. The Rankin/Bass production company didn't just create entertaining holiday programming, they ended up materially contributing to the mythology of Santa Claus.

Christmas Comic Cover - December 18

The Ford Rotunda Christmas Book

This year I am featuring two comic covers from promotional comics published by companies in the automotive business. Who knew that kiddie Christmas comics were such an effective marketing tool back in the day.

7 Days until Christmas!

hollyMerry Christmas

December 17, 2010

Ain't It The Truth

I know Heather plans for these sorts of cards every year.


Christmas Comic Cover - December 17

Santa Claus Versus the Martians

This year Image Comics will publish a comic about Santa fighting martians that I doubt will look anything like a movie with a similar theme from 1964

8 Days until Christmas!

hollyMerry Christmas

December 16, 2010

Christmas Comic Cover - December 16

The Adventures of Superman #487

Not having read the comic that this cover is from but being familiar with a lot of Superman's supporting cast, I'm going to assume the surly looking gentlemen with the red nose playing Santa is Bibbo, the dim-witted longshoreman who appears frequently in Superman stories, and not some drunk Superman lifted from the back alley.

9 Days until Christmas!

hollyMerry Christmas

December 15, 2010

Christmas Comic Cover - December 15

Archibald Saves Christmas

I really hope he succeeds.

10 Days until Christmas!

hollyMerry Christmas

December 14, 2010

Isn't It Obvious

Just the other day Ian used this exact same argument to explain to me how he had written the song we were listening to on the radio.


Christmas Comic Cover - December 14

Spider-Man's Tangled Web #21

Love this Darywn Cooke cover.

11 Days until Christmas!

hollyMerry Christmas

December 13, 2010

POTC : On Strange Tides

I loved the first Pirates of the Caribbean. Thought the second one was fun. The third left me tired and bored.

Despite how the third POTC film turned out, I am optimistic that the fourth one, On Strange Tides due in theaters in the spring of 2011, will fall more in line with the first film in term of entertainment value. Gone is the bloated, building storyline. Gone are the characters Will and Elizabeth. But Captain Jack Sparrow and Barbossa, the two most enduring characters of the franchise, remain.

12 Nights of Christmas

I love Christmas music a plenty. But after a few weeks of spinning my collection I start to look for some new stuff.

The 24 hour Christmas radio station in Chicago is horrible. They have about 25 songs that are kept in a tight rotation. Boring and unoriginal. I typically stay away from the station if at all possible.

That's why I am looking forward to the next two week on XRT. Every night from now until Christmas Tom Marker will be playing holiday music like only XRT would program.

8pm-Midnight Monday-Friday; 7pm-11pm Saturday.

Christmas Comic Cover - December 13

DC Super Friends #22

This cover just might be the happiest cover I post this year.

Have you ever seen a happier bunch of super heroes?

12 Days until Christmas!

hollyMerry Christmas

December 12, 2010

Christmas Comic Cover - December 12

Samurai Santa #1

Do I need to write anything about this cover? It's a karate dude with a big sword dressed up with a Santa hat and beard. 'Nuff said.

13 Days until Christmas!

hollyMerry Christmas

December 11, 2010

Christmas Comic Cover 2010 - December 11

Action Comics #117

Is It me, or do those kids seem more excited about the arrival of Superman through the chimney. I mean the girl dropped the doll she just (presumably) received from Santa she's so happy for Superman's arrival.

14 Days until Christmas!

hollyMerry Christmas

December 10, 2010

One Of These Things Is Not Like The Other

This is the top part of the email I received today from Warner Brothers.

Someone should pull the marketing department in charge of promoting Warner Brothers Archive Collection to the side and set them straight.

If they are going to commit the sin of using clip art in their email design, at least use some high-end, quality pieces of art. Not some Santas that look snipped from a 1950's Woolworth's ad.

Additionally, if you must use clip art, make an effort to have the styles of the pieces you select match. I don' t think the blond Mrs. Claus in the middle could look any more out of place if someone was trying.


Ian & Santa

I can't quite figure Ian out. At least not as far as Santa is concerned.

Last year around this time it was pretty clear that Ian was starting to form his own ideas about the true nature of Santa. He would say things and get a little twinkle in his eye that indicated, "I know the secret", but he would never come directly to Heather and I with any accusations or ultimatum questions.

If Heather or I did ask him directly "Do you have some questions you want us to answer about Santa?", he would shyly decline the invitation to interrogate us on the matter. Until one day when he finally gave in to his curiosity and asked us to tell him the truth about Santa.

So we did.

He was clearly shocked to have his suspicions validated. There were a few tears. But then he seemed okay with the facts of the situation. The half-asked questions and little twinkle-eyed comments stopped. Christmas came and went. Everyone was happy. All seemed well.

Now Christmas is upon us again. As you would imagine, with the three kids in the house talk of Santa and his annual visit dominate much of the conversation from November onwards. A day doesn't go by where Santa doesn't come up in some fashion or another. The girls are always giddy with anticipation of Christmas morning and the promise of presents under the tree, and you can hear it in their voices. What I find interesting is that I still think I hear that giddiness in Ian's speech.

Did he forget about what we talked about last December? Seems unlikely. The kid has a mind like a steel trap. Once something goes in he retains it forever.

Is he denying to himself that the conversation with Heather and I ever happened? Possibly, but it still doesn't seem right. Unless he's afraid that acknowledging the facts behind Santa would have a impact on his Christmas morning experience. To that end I would have thought that how Christmas turned out for him last year would have eased those concerns. Just because you're in on the Santa story doesn't mean you Christmas morning is going to be any different.

Or maybe he's accepted the facts of Santa, understands the situation, but still wants to embrace the magic of the holiday. Nothing says that just because you understand the facts behind Santa you can't still believe in Santa. Keeping that belief in Santa - or at least the ideals and values that Santa embodies - makes the season more enjoyable.

I'd like to think Ian's silence on Santa this year is because of that last option.

I wrote this post last night while on the train ride home, with plans of publishing it today. This morning while Ian was pouring some cereal for breakfast, he stumbled onto Heather’s list of whose receiving what for Christmas this year. The list, which Heather maintains in a standard notebook, had been left open on the counter in the kitchen.

Ian got through the first two items listed under the “Ian” heading before Heather realized what was happening and snatched the notebook away.

But by then the damage was done.

Now it was time for some tears from Heather, who was upset with herself for forgetting about the notebook.

Ian was pretty happy with himself. One, for discovering what was supposed to be un-discoverable and two, because he really liked what he read in those first two lines.

But the excited wore off rather quickly. He turned to me and said, “You know, it’s (Christmas) not going to be as much fun now that I know what I’m getting.”

So while I was disappointed that some of the surprise and excitement of Christmas morning had been stolen by the morning’s developments, Ian’s comment about missing some of the fun strengthened my belief that the reason he’s been talking about Santa and Christmas they way he has this year is because he understands the facts to Santa but still like to believe in the magic of the holiday.

Next year we just need to make sure to keep the list hidden better.

Christmas Comic Cover 2010 - December 10

Sabrina The Teenage Witch #22

One of the smaller Archie Comic titles makes it into this year's Comic Advent Calendar. Mainly because I am a sucker for comic covers that try to incorporate photographs of real people into the design to help sell books.

15 Days until Christmas!

hollyMerry Christmas

December 09, 2010

Christmas Comic Cover 2010 - December 9

Shade, The Changing Man #19

I've never read Shade, but I recall when the series was running back in the early 90's that it was well regarded.

The cover to this issue leads me to believe that there probably wasn't a traditional Christmas story contained within. But Santa (or something looking remarkably close to Santa) is on the cover, so it makes this year calendar.

16 Days until Christmas!

hollyMerry Christmas

December 08, 2010

Christmas Comic Cover 2010 - December 8

Andy Panda #17

Don't know who Andy Panda is and haven't taken the time to try looking it up. I just know he looks pretty proud of his scheme to trick Santa and game the gift receiving system, so he earns a spot in this year's comic book countdown.

17 Days until Christmas!

hollyMerry Christmas

December 07, 2010

Wow, Part 2

Earlier this week I posted an amazing interception that was made during the Oklahoma vs. Oklahoma game.

This play is equally amazing, though it occurs on the ice, not a football field.

That's Muskegon Lumberjacks defenseman Travis Walsh working some magic with the puck to score the deciding goal in a 2-1 shootout win over Cedar Rapids.

Christmas Comic Cover 2010 - December 7

Scooby-Doo #17

I am pretty sure that I have included a Scooby-Doo cover every year that I have done a Comic Advent Calendar. Considering the enduring love of Scooby in our house, I knew I had to keep the tradition going.

18 Days until Christmas!

hollyMerry Christmas

December 06, 2010

It's a Bird, It's a Plane, It's . . .

The guys over at the Comic Twart blog are working on their best Superman pieces this week.

Having the Man of Steel as their subject is result in some fantastic art. Everything looks great. But my favorite has to be this sublime piece of art from Francesco Francavilla.

Christmas Comic Cover 2010 - December 6

Archie Giant Series Magazine #15

While hunting down which covers to use this year, I came across at least 3 or 4 covers to Archie comics of one name or another that depicted practically the same scene - Archie dressed like Santa, with Betty and Veronica sitting his lap.

Luckiest dude in the world.

I settled on this version from 1962.  I liked this depiction of Veronica the best.

19 Days until Christmas!

hollyMerry Christmas