The Human Rocket is back! The Man called Nova! This mini series Annihilation Nova is the first attempt to bring him back that has raised my level of excitement. The other attempts were well intentioned but weren’t big enough for the stature that Nova deserved. Marv Wolfman will always be my favorite writer for Nova but Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning come close. It took two men to come close to what Mr. Wolfman did. If you have not read this issue yet you may want to stop now. I may reveal something that you might not want to know before hand. Annihilus and the forces called the Annihilation wave attack Xandar the home world of the peacekeeping forces of the Nova Corps. The entire Corps are there as they were being debriefed and getting their new orders. The wave destroyed them all except for Richard “Nova” Rider, Drax the Destroyer who was a prisoner of the Nova Corps and a human girl named Cammi. Also, the Xandarian worldmind has survived but it too will be gone soon. In order to keep that from happening, the worldmind is downloaded into Richard. However, the worldmind cannot be contained in a person very long with out them going insane. In order to keep that from happening the worldmind upgrades Richard’s Nova suit. Nova, Drax and Cammi must join forces to get out of their current situation, stop Annihilus and find a place for the Xandarian worldmind before Richard does go crazy because the suit only slows it down but cannot completely stop the insanity from happening.
I normally don’t care much for adventures that take place in space but this is one of the good ones. I never like it when they change the hero’s costume but I will learn to like this one. Not because it is a good change. I don’t think it is. But I prefer that then to find that they killed off Mr. Rider just to get a new costume AND a new Nova. Death in order to change the character is used way to much to improve a series. They usually wind up bringing them back I somehow. Look at DC. They brought back Hal Jordan. They often refer to Barry Allen. In series that has the Hawk and the Dove they at times refer to Don and Hank Hall. Perhaps there is hope for Ted Kord in the new Blue Beetle series after all. In closing I want to say again that I still think Marv Wolfman is the best writer for Nova but Mr. Abnett and Mr. Lanning you have left me wanting more. Let’s hope this leads to an unlimited series that lives up to this miniseries.
Wednesday, April 26, 2006
Thanks to my cousin Steve I was directed to this BBC website. It is an article on Mike Nesmith. It chronicles his career up to this year with his new CD "Rays". It does a pretty good job at condensing his life. Like most news articles on him they report that he was the Monkee with the most musical talent. I don't completely agree with that. They were all very talented. Each of them just took their talent in different directions. The above photo of Mr. Nesmith from his younger days is from Mary Spooner's personal collection. Mary runs the celebrity hosting network. There are no site on it for the Monkees but she has links to other stars of those bygone eras. Like Paul Peterson, Cliff Emmich, Suzanne Lloyd and others. She also has some tribute sites to George Reeves, Robert Shayne, Clayton Moore, etc. If you are a fan of old time movie and TV stars you will like what you see.
Posted by Rick L. Phillips at 10:56 PM
Tuesday, April 25, 2006
This is the end of Dick Tracy's California adventure. He has already put in a long hard day on this and will be taking a rest. The last two strips on this are the beginnings of another adventure that I may post some other time. Feel free to leave any comments that you want on this or any of my postings.
Posted by Rick L. Phillips at 6:18 AM
Monday, April 24, 2006
Going through some old books today I came across this book about the Harlem Globetrotters from Scholastic Book services. I got this back in 1971 when I was in elementary school. I use to be a huge Globetrotters fan. Not many people may know that the Trotters were started by a Jewish man named Abe Saperstein. When he started the team they were not suppose to be the clown princes of the court. They were a serious team. Over the years they had to fight racial prejudices. They did their tricks for crowds during their warm ups. After awhile due to the wars that America was involved in like World War II or the Korean War they had to replace some players. During WWII their were white players on the team. In the 50’s with players taken to fight in Korea they started relying on the tricks to become the clowns of basketball. The Trotters have never had trouble attracting first rate players such as Bill Russell and Kareem Abdul Jaber who played under his real name of Lew Alcindor. While they have been able to attract top players, they have not always had an easy time with them. Mostly it was when the players tried to transition from the Globetrotters style to the regular style of basketball. With self discipline they did make the transition and became the great players of their generation. The book says that another player had problems with Meadowlark Lemmon’s clowning. The author of the book, George Vecsey, does not give the players name. He just calls him Smith. When Smith was suppose to give Lemmon the ball to do his trick Smith would take it away from him. Soon there were hard feelings between the two men. One night, at a game in Ohio, Meadowlark had enough and pushed Smith down. When Smith got up he was ready to hit Meadowlark. The Ref, who normally has little to do at a Trotters game then to be the straight man, had to throw Meadowlark out of the game. Everyone was nervous that the fans would riot as he was the fan favorite on the team. However, the fans laughed thinking it was part of a new act. They were still laughing as he gathered his stuff and left the court.
When I saw the Globetrotters on TV I loved them. Curly Neal became my favorite. He was the first person I saw spin a basketball on one finger. I have tried for years to do this but have never mastered it. My 13 year old cousin Josh Hall has shown me that he can do it fairly well. He is one up on me with that one. One day I saw that they were coming to Cincinnati Gardens to play. That was not very far and I asked Mom and Dad to get tickets. They did and it is a bittersweet memory. I was the hit of my class when I came in the next day to tell of my experience at seeing my favorite basketball team play. What I didn’t say was that the Trotters seem better on television then when you see them for real. I don’t know why. They do the same tricks but they come off better when it is on TV. I have seen them play at least 3 times when they came to my area and have not enjoyed it as much as when I saw them on television. If I ever see they are going to be on ESPN or perhaps on Comedy Central I will tune them in till then I have seen my last Harlem Globetrotters game.
Posted by Rick L. Phillips at 11:11 PM
Sunday, April 23, 2006
Over at Booksteve's Library he has been talking about his love of old time radio and his experiences at the old time radio convention that comes to the Cincinnati area every spring. I too have a love for that era of entertainment. For me it began in the 70's. Well ,considering how my Mom and Dad would sometimes talk about their favorite shows or use the slang of that era that started from old time radio, it actually may have started earlier. I might have had a drawer full of stuff and Mom would say it looked like Fibber McGee's closet. I had no idea who Fibber McGee was or what his closet looked like but that was the beginning of my old time radio education. I loved watching the old comidies of Abbott and Costello. I knew they had a radio show before but could never listen to it since it was off the air but I could watch those movies everytime they were on tv. Then one night I had the radio on and came across the "CBS Radio Mystery Theatre." I was hooked. A friend of mine, Wayne Davis, said that he liked the show too. Eventually I found that my cousins Steve and Randy liked old time radio too. Randy's love for Edger Bergen led him to become a part time ventriloquist and helped him make some money. We all were going to record stores and finding albums of old radio shows like the one shown above. Suddenly the door to Fibber McGee's closet was opened up to me and out came a whole gang of wonderful people. Edger Bergen and Charlie McCarthy, Jack Benny, The Shadow, Dick Tracy, Abbott and Costello, Superman, The Six Shooter, X-Minus One etc. Time passed and my love of radio grew enough that I got a Bachelor of Arts degree in radio, television and film communications. My cousin Steve told me of the OTR conventions that were in Cincinnati and one day when my college buddy Chuck and I wanted something to do we stopped in at the convention. The dealers room seem incredible and it was like a dream for people like me. Chuck and I both stocked up on some old time radio cassettes and listened to them on the drive home. Chuck has moved to Florida so he has stopped coming but I have been almost every year since. I missed one time as I went to Tampa that weekend to vist Chuck. I got to try out for roles usually being cast as the announcer. During the trip to Florida Chuck and I went to Disney and while there they were showing what went on behind the scenes of movies to make up the sound effects. They asked if anyone wanted to help out. I volunteered. They were going to show a film that had Martin Short and Chevy Chase in it and they asked me to voice the character that Mr. Short was playing. I couldn't believe it but here I was miles from the convention and I still got a part. When I was at one of the conventions I got the announcers job while Steve and his wife Rene also got roles. After we rehearsed I was sitting there waiting for the show to start. I looked at our cast of six and suddenly realized that half the cast was my family. It was a funny but proud feeling. Over the years I have stopped trying for roles but I still attend the convention and get tapes or CD's of OTR shows. The dealers room seems smaller every year now. Perhaps the audience for that brand of entertainment is dying off but my personal love for it never will.
Posted by Rick L. Phillips at 12:40 AM