Three guys talking about comic books, sports, movies, TV shows and the numerous other pastimes that make us Gentlemen of Leisure.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

X-amining X-Men Annual #4

"Nightcrawler's Inferno!"
1980

In a Nutshell 
The X-Men fight their way through a facsimile of Hell as depicted by Dante. 

Writer: Chris Claremont
Artist: John Romita, Jr.
Inker: Bob McLeod
Letterer: Tom Orzechowski
Colorist: Glynis Wein
Editor: Louise Jones
Editor-in-Chief: Jim Shooter

Plot
The X-Men throw Nightcrawler a surprise birthday party, but when he opens a present from an unknown sender, it explodes and puts him in a coma. Unable to revive him via traditional methods, Professor X calls in Dr. Strange, who realizes that Nightcrawler's soul has been taken. Just then, a sorceress named Margali appears and summons a tentacled creature which pulls Dr. Strange and the X-Men into darkness. They awaken, along with Nightcrawler, outside a massive gate which Dr. Strange recognizes as the entrance to Hell. They enter and come before Minos, guardian of the gate of Hell. He tells the X-Men that Nightcrawler broke the rules laid out upstairs, and tosses him into a deep pit. Storm flies after him, and pulls Nightcrawler up far enough that he manages to teleport away, but Storm is attacked by Harpies and falls into the pit herself.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Merry Christmas!

"... on this day a million years ago, a dude was born who most of us think was magic. But others don’t, and that’s cool, but we’re probably right, amen."

- Homer Simpson, "'Tis the Fifteenth Season"

On this day, may you be a double-bacon genius burger, and just a little bit drunk.


Merry Christmas to all, and to all, a good night!

Friday, December 23, 2011

Last Week in TV #13: All Christmas Edition

A couple of quick housekeeping notes. There will be no "Last Week in TV" post next week; if TV can take a week off, so can I. The following week (the 6th), we'll take a look at all the new shows I've been watching (many of which I haven't been writing about consistently) and evaluate what shape they're at mid-season. Then the week after that (the 13th), we should be back with regular material, taking a look at returning shows (and likely playing catch-up on some old stuff as well). Moving into the second half of the season, my hope is that my schedule will even out a bit, and I should be able to cover shows in a more timely manner than I have thus far. We shall see (best laid plans and all that). Anyways, on with the Christmas!

The Simpsons: Holidays of Future Passed


Not surprisingly, The Simpsons has, in its twenty-three season history, managed to create several subsets of episodes. There's the annual "Treehouse of Horror" anthologies, of course, and the themed anthology episodes inspired by those (like "Simpsons Bible Stories" or "Simpsons Tall Tales"). Then there's the clip shows and the high concept episodes, like "22 Short Films About Springfield" and "Trilogy of Error". This episode falls into two subsets: Christmas episodes, and alt-future episodes.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

X-amining Phoenix: The Untold Story #1














April 1984

In a Nutshell
The original ending to "The Dark Phoenix Saga".

Writer/Co-Plotter: Chris Claremont
Artist/Co-Plotter: John Byrne
Inker: Terry Austin
Letterer: Tom Orzechowski
Colorist: Glynis Wein
Editor: Louise Jones
Editor-in-Chief: Jim Shooter

Plot
On the Blue Area of the moon, the X-Men engage the Shi'ar Imperial Guard in a duel for the fate of Jean Grey. The X-Men are quickly overwhelmed, leaving Cyclops and Jean to make a final stand against them, but they too are defeated. Aboard the Shi'ar ship, a gathering of the strongest telepaths from the Shi'ar Empire prepares to perform a psychic lobotomy in order to remove Jean's powers. Wolverine protests, but Cyclops reminds him that the X-Men gave their word to honor the results of the duel. As the telepaths do their work, Cyclops can feel Jean's power slip away through their psychic rapport, an experience he describes as watching someone die while dying yourself. When the psychic surgery is over, Jean is unconscious but alive and powerless, and the defeated and bitter X-Men leave the Shi'ar ship. Meanwhile, from his home on the moon, the Watcher comments on the nobility of the X-Men and the potential in humanity symbolized by Phoenix, and expresses his belief that the future of humanity will be filled with promise and fulfilled potential.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Dr. Bitz Ranks Every Television Series Ever...Sorta (Part 4)

Yes, I'm back and I'm still ranking. I'm unsure how to begin these posts so we'll just get right to the ranking. Maybe I'll come up with a better introduction next time....but that would require me not to be lazy. As always, if you're unfamiliar with these posts, check out the introduction here.

45. FlashForward: An intriguing premise. The entire world blacks out for 137 seconds and during this period they see a brief glimpse of their future. Naturally, global devastation occurs because of the blackouts and everyone's lives have changed because of what they saw.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Last Week in TV #12

A quick catch up week. Next week we'll take a look at a bunch of different shows' Christmas episodes.

Family Guy: Grumpy Old Man 


Another decent episode, with a fairly weak plot but some good cutaway gags (I say fairly weak not because it was bad, but because it hit pretty much all the expected beats, both plot and comedic, with a workmanlike drive). Carter has never been one of my favorite supporting characters, but this was a decent outing for him (plot-wise, I liked it better than the one where he was caught cheating and hit the singles scene with Peter), and the story wisely kept the focus on him. In terms of cutaways, I enjoyed the phone sax, Slightly Open Robery, and most of all, the pizza place making a salad, which was hilariously spot on in its attention to detail, a "funny cuz its true" gag. So that's about it. Nothing terribly compelling, but a largely amusing Family Guy episode nonetheless.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

X-amining X-Men #138

"Elegy"
October 1980

In a Nutshell 
At her funeral, Cyclops remembers his time with Jean. 

Writer/Co-Plotter: Chris Claremont
Artist/Co-Plotter: John Byrne
Inker: Terry Austin
Letterer: Tom Orzechowski
Colorist: Glynis Wein
Editor: Louise Jones
Editor-in-Chief: Jim Shooter

Plot
As the X-Men attend Jean Grey's funeral, Cyclops reminisces about his relationship with Jean and their time with the X-Men. Afterwards, Lilandra presents Jean's parents with a holoempathic crystal that carries within it an image of Jean and a recollection of her personality. Cyclops tells Professor X he's leaving the X-Men to think things through and get his head straight, though as the X-Men leave the cemetery, he vows not to crawl back into his emotional shell, as Jean wouldn't want that. Back at the mansion, a cab pulls up and drops off the school's newest student: Kitty Pryde.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Last Week in TV #11

The Simpsons: The Ten Per Cent Solution


Maybe it's just because I recently re-watched it thanks to syndication, but this episode reminded me a lot of season nine's "The Last Temptation of Krust", in which Krusty realizes his comedy is outdated and reinvents himself as a modern observational comic before ultimately reverting to form in order to sell out (it also features Homer's "don't you hate pants?" line which has become part of my personal vernacular). Now, to say that a latter day Simpsons episode is reminiscent of an earlier episode isn't exactly a cutting edge observation; the vast majority of recent episodes are a Frankenstein's Monster-like hodgepodge of old plots and gags stitched together to make something new, with a few original ideas occasionally thrown in (also, some of the "modern" comic sensibilities used to contrast Krusty's style in that season nine episode are almost just as comically outdated these days). But the similarities between these two episodes, with Krusty finding himself out of touch with his audience, then proceeding to reinvent himself with an edgier act before ultimately deciding that his personal desires (be they woman or Canyonero) are more important that artistic integrity, seemed worth mentioning.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

X-amining X-Men #137

"The Fate of the Phoenix!
September 1980

In a Nutshell 
It's all right there in the title.

Writer/Co-Plotter: Chris Claremont
Artist/Co-Plotter: John Byrne
Inker: Terry Austin
Letterer: Tom Orzechowski
Colorist: Glynis Wein
Editor: Jim Salicrup & Louise Jones
Editor-in-Chief: Jim Shooter

Plot
The X-Men suddenly find themselves on the cargo deck of a Shi'ar Imperial Dreadnought. Lilandra confronts them and explains that for her destruction of a Shi'ar warship and the planet D'bari, Phoenix must be destroyed. Cyclops insists that the power of Phoenix has been contained by Professor X, but Lilandra believes the risk too great. In response, Profess X issues an Arin'nn Haeler, a Shi'ar duel of honor, between the X-Men and the Imperial Guard for the life of Phoenix. Impressed with the knowledge of her culture he learned while living in Shi'ar space, Lilandra leaves to confer with her Kree and Skrull allies, and all agree that the X-Men will abide by the result of the duel, and to let it occur. That night, aboard the ship, each of the X-Men prepare for the coming battle in their own way, contemplating Jean's actions as Dark Phoenix. At dawn, Jean, dressed as Marvel Girl once more, approaches a brooding Cyclops. He insists that she is not evil, and that he loves her, and will stand by her, no matter what.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Last Week in TV #10

Here it is, the long-awaited (??) return of "Last Week in TV".

The Simpsons: The Book Job


Look, I'll admit, between its send-up of the book industry and wanna be writers, the presence of Neil Gaiman and the references to slick con man films, this episode couldn't have fallen more in my wheelhouse, so I may be incapable of viewing it objectively, but I absolutely loved this episode.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Dr. Bitz Ranks Every Television Series Ever...Sorta (Part 3)

Yup, I'm still ranking every TV series I've ever seen....details here.

We're still near the bottom of the list, so there's some more lesser known shows...but here we go:

50. Hellsing: A vampire series before vampires were cool...or before they were lame? Well, all I know is they didn't sparkle.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

X-amining X-Men #136

"Child of Light and Darkness!"
August 1980

In a Nutshell
X-Men vs. Dark Phoenix: Round 2

Writer/Co-Plotter: Chris Claremont
Artist/Co-Plotter: John Byrne
Inker: Terry Austin
Letterer: Tom Orzechowski
Colorist: Glynis Wein
Editor: Jim Salicrup
Editor-in-Chief: Jim Shooter

Plot
On Imperial Center, Lilandra and her Grand Council meet to determine what to do about the threat of Dark Phoenix. On Earth, Peter Corbeau tells the President that the energy matrix he detected leaving the solar system is returning, more powerful than ever. The President calls the Avengers but only reaches Jarvis, their butler, Beast having abandoned his post earlier in the night. At the X-Mansion, Beast is working on a mnemonic scrambler intended to help contain Dark Phoenix's power, while Wolverine, Colossus and Nightcrawler work out in the Danger Room. Dark Phoenix returns to Earth and visits her parents and sister, but finds herself torn between her love for them and her rage at the fear of her she senses in their minds. Distracted by a fog rolling in, Dark Phoenix leaves the house. Suddenly, Nightcrawler teleports on top of her, dropping Beast's scrambler onto her head.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Last Week in TV...

...is moving to Fridays!

In an effort to try to stay more current, and to cut down on goofy weeks where we talk about an episode of Walking Dead the day after another episode airs*, "Last Week in TV" will now post on Fridays.

So look for the next, quasi-double-sized post this Friday!


*This Friday's post will still feature outdated Walking Dead reviews...

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

X-amining X-Men #135

"Dark Phoenix"
July 1980

In a Nutshell 
Dark Phoenix goes on a rampage. 

Writer/Co-Plotter: Chris Claremont
Artist/Co-Plotter: John Byrne
Inker: Terry Austin
Letterer: Tom Orzechowski
Colorist: Bob Sharen
Editor: Jim Salicrup
Editor-in-Chief: Jim Shooter

Plot
In the wake of their skyship's destruction, the X-Men plummet to Earth, with Colossus and Nightcrawler using their powers to land safely while Storm grabs Wolverine and Cyclops. But Dark Phoenix attacks again, making quick work of the team. Nearby, Sebastian Shaw meets with Senator Kelly in the wake of the X-Men's "attack" on the Hellfire Club. As the NYPD insists on calling in the Avengers or the Fantastic Four to search Central Park for the X-Men, Shaw proposes to the senator a more long term solution for the mutant menace: Sentinels. Just then, they watch as an enormous fiery bird appears over Central Park as Dark Phoenix heads into space. Following her departure, Beast arrives and helps evacuate the X-Men from the park. In New Mexico, Professor X confers with Moira over Dark Phoenix's increasing, cosmic-level power. Considering himself party to blame, Professor X tells Angel he must get to New York as quickly as possible to try and rectify his mistakes.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Boots~ Review - OUR LOVE IS REAL


I broke down and bought it on comixolgy.

I blame the-gutters.com.

For an explanation of the story and the rave reviews, click here.

Was it pro-bestiality? Was it a metaphor for pushing along the "equality" agenda? Was it funny?

My answer for what it is - BORING.

I feel bad that I spent $2.99 to increase its sales.

Without igniting the fires of past blog entries, this is what the story boils down to from my perspective -

If you are able to have great sex with something, then that is LOVE.

As someone who is semi-pursuing his social experiment PROJEKT LOVE, I find this answer to the question "What is LOVE?" to be quite lacking and sad.

For those who would like to enjoy smart, witty, and socially relevant comics, I'd highly recommend avoiding OUR LOVE IS REAL and instead purchase CHEW.

boots~

Monday, November 21, 2011

Last Week in TV #9

Still catching up, though I didn't have a chance to watch last night's animated shows yet. 

The Walking Dead: Cherokee Rose


Another strong episode that still did very little to advance any kind of overarching narrative (other than setup a likely conflict between Rick & company and Herschel when the former want to stay on the farm), but it did have some nice character moments. The fact that pretty much everyone has more or less given up on finding Sophia (even her mom, to some extent) but, what the hey?, let's look for her anyway is a nice, subtle touch. Darryl is continuing his transformation into TV's new Sawyer, and the scene between him and Carol, from which the episode gets its title, was genuinely touching. Shane continues to be hella creepy (those overalls really help), and there was some truly disturbing subtext to his conversation with Andrea. And, we even got the start of a romantic subplot (Maggie can talk about "one time" all she wants, but we've all watched enough TV to see where that is going).

Friday, November 18, 2011

Ten Pop Culture-y Things For Which Teebore is Thankful

The Uncanny X-Cast
I'm not much of podcast listener (aside from the Fantasy Focus baseball podcast and the lie-filled Lost podcasts with the producers back in the day) but I stumbled across Rob and Brian's X-Men podcast this last year and have been slowly catching up on their old episodes while following along with the new ones. It features great discussions of X-Men issues old and new as well as hilarious comic and non-comic related bullshit. Download it on iTunes or check out their website.

Star Wars on Blu-ray


I've geeked out about the deleted scenes already, but two months out and I'm still having fun with this set. The movies look and sound great (Mrs. Teebore and I recently watched Jedi) and I just learned the animated sequence from the infamous holiday special which introduced Boba Fett is on one of the discs as an Easter egg. 

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

X-amining X-Men #134

"Too Late, The Heroes!"
June 1980

In a Nutshell 
The X-Men escape the Hellfire Club, but Jean transforms into Dark Phoenix

Writer/Co-Plotter: Chris Claremont
Artist/Co-Plotter: John Byrne
Inker: Terry Austin
Letterer: Tom Orzechowski
Colorist: Bob Sharen
Editor: Jim Salicrup
Editor-in-Chief: Jim Shooter

Plot
The stunned X-Men watch as Cyclops struggles to his feet, his psychic death at the hands of Mastermind having almost killing his physical body as well. Just then, Wolverine bursts into the room, still fighting a handful of guards. Mastermind orders the Black Queen to attack him, and she telekinetically tosses Wolverine across the room while also secretly unlocking the ruby quartz helmet containing Cyclops' power. Cyclops quickly takes down Pierce and frees the other X-Men before blasting Leland out of the room and shooting the floor out from under Shaw. Colossus engages Pierce as Cyclops orders Storm and Nightcrawler after Shaw while Wolverine takes on Leland. Mastermind, seeing the day as lost, uses his power to hide in the background. Meanwhile, at Avengers Mansion, Beast receives an alert that the X-Men are attacking the Hellfire Club. Rather than call in the other Avengers and risk fighting his old teammates, Beast erases the alert and heads out to help the X-Men.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Last Week in TV #8

This is already late, so let's take this quicker and more bullet point-y than usual. No pictures, either. No time. No time! 

The Simpsons: Replaceable You
This was a pretty awful episode, with pretty much all the events in the plot happening for no reason other than the script said so. Homer suddenly has a new assistant at work, because shut up, that's why, and she eventually takes advantage of his buffoonery to usurp his position, because we said so. And because she's voiced by Jane Lynch, she looks like Jane Lynch. Also, Bart and Martin build a robot seal that becomes murderous if its wires get crossed. Because sure, why not?

Thursday, November 10, 2011

X-amining X-Men #133

"Wolverine: Alone!
May 1980

In a Nutshell
Wolverine takes on the Hellfire Club

Writer/Co-Plotter: Chris Claremont
Artist/Co-Plotter: John Byrne
Inker: Terry Austin
Letterer: Tom Orzechowski
Colorist: Glynis Wein
Editor: Jim Salicrup
Editor-in-Chief: Jim Shooter

Plot
A quartet of Hellfire Club mercenaries are searching the basement to confirm Wolverine's death when he suddenly emerges from the shadows and attacks them. Quickly dispatching three of the mercenaries, Wolverine intimidates the fourth into surrending before pressing him for information about the Hellfire Club. Upstairs, with the X-Men restrained by power dampening manacles, Shaw congratulates Wyngarde for his role in the Club's victory. Storm tries to reason with Phoenix, but thanks to Wyngarde's illusions, as Lady Jean Grey she only sees the X-Men in 18th century terms. She strikes Storm, whom she sees as a slave named Beauty. Cyclops, recalling the permanent psychic rapport Jean established with him back in New Mexico, wonders if he can use it to the X-Men's advantage, while Shaw explains that the Inner Circle intends to use the X-Men in experiments to create custom designed mutants.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

X-amining X-Men #133...

...will be delayed, unfortunately. I hope to have it up ASAP, but probably not until tomorrow. Stay tuned!

Monday, November 7, 2011

Last Week in TV #7

A Halloween-heavy batch this week thanks to the Monday holiday. Also, I'll be out of town most of this week for work, and thus unable to watch much TV, so next week's post will probably be rather short.

The Simpsons: Treehouse of Horror XXII


Even in weak seasons, the annual "Treehouse" episodes tend to be pretty good, but this one was just average. Not even bad, just very by-the-numbers and unremarkable. As has been the case of late, all three of the stories were more or less just parodies of movies or TV shows will no real connection to Halloween, other than the opening sequence (which contained a huge gaffe: Homer introduces the Switch Witch to the kids and tells them its Marge; the next morning, he doesn't know Marge was the Switch Witch) and a greater presence of cartoon gore. Of the three, the final Avatar spoof was probably the strongest. It generated the biggest laugh of the night (when Chalmers in his mech suit climbed into an even bigger mech suit, then proceeded to knock himself off the cliff) and by replacing the Avatar aliens with the Rigellians from past "Treehouse" episodes, it connected the story at least slightly to Halloween. But still, Avatar? You're not exactly hitting these phenomenon at the peaks of their relevance, Simpsons... 

Homer: Okay, I’m on the floor. I can’t move. So far, a normal Sunday morning.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

X-amining X-Men #132

"And HELLFIRE is their Name!"
April 1980

In a Nutshell
The X-Men infiltrate the Hellfire Club, and Jason Wyngarde's plans come to fruition.

Writer/Co-Plotter: Chris Claremont
Artist/Co-Plotter: John Byrne
Inker: Terry Austin
Letterer: Tom Orzechowski
Colorist: Glynis Wein
Editor: Jim Salicrup
Editor-in-Chief: Jim Shooter

Plot
The X-Men arrive at Angel's New Mexican home, and are greeted by their old teammate and his girlfriend, Candy Southern. Cyclops, desiring a private word with Angel, is flown to an isolated butte a few miles away, and Cyclops tells Angel about the recent attacks on the X-Men by the Hellfire Club and the fact that the club knew a lot about the X-Men's powers and plans. A surprised Angel tells Cyclops that he and Candy are members of the club, but assures him he hasn't leaked any info on the X-Men to them. Cyclops insists there must be a leak somewhere, which is why he brought the X-Men to Angel's home instead of back to the mansion. Just then, Jean arrives and shoos Angel away, laying out a picnic dinner for her and Cyclops. Determined to lighten Cyclops' mood, Jean removes his visor, telekinetically holding back his optic blast so she can see his eyes, and the pair embraces.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Last Week in TV #6

Happy Halloween, everyone! I watched a ton of Halloween-themed shows yesterday, and am planning on more tonight, so we'll have a nice post-Halloween rundown of those next Monday (it'll be just like the old "Treehouse of Horror" episodes that aired well after Halloween!).

In the meantime, here's thoughts on what I watched last week.

Once Upon a Time: Pilot (series premiere)


I'm pretty much a sucker for anything that takes the archetypal fairy tale characters and casts them in a different light, whether it be the cleaned up animated versions found in classic Disney films or the more thrilling, exciting and adult stories that unfold in the pages of Fables (one of my favorite comic books). So I was pretty psyched to see two "fairy tale characters in the modern world" TV shows set to debut this fall (thus making the odds better that at least one will be watchable and will stick around). Once Upon a Time was the first of the shows to launch (we'll discuss Grimm in next week's post), and it was pretty good, at least at first glance.

Happy Halloween!

Happy Halloween, everyone!


May your pumpkin patch be found the most sincere, and may your vampire attacks be carried out by the genuine ones, not the sparkly kind.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Retro Review: Treehouse of Horror III

Or the One Where
"Clown Without Pity" (Homer is stalked by a killer Talking Krusty doll), "King Homer" (King Kong re-imagined with Homer in the title role), and "Dial Z for Zombie" (Bart accidentally raises the dead").

The Setup
Marge hosts a Halloween party for all the kids in lieu of trick-or-treating, with Lisa, Grandpa and Bart each telling a scary story at the party.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

X-amining X-Men #131

"Run for your Life!
March 1980

In a Nutshell 
The X-Men battle the White Queen. 

Writer/Co-Plotter: Chris Claremont
Artist/Co-Plotter: John Byrne
Inker: Terry Austin
Letterer: Tom Orzechowski
Colorist: Glynis Wein
Editor: Roger Stern
Editor-in-Chief: Jim Shooter

Plot
Kitty Pryde is being chased through a back alley in Chicago by a pair of Hellfire Club soldiers when Phoenix suddenly appears and destroys their car. Nightcrawler gets Kitty to safety, but frightened, Kitty runs away from him and hides inside a nearby building. Phoenix, tracking her telepathically and telekinetically changing into street clothes, finds the girl and calms her down. The X-Men, Kitty and Dazzler gather aboard the X-Men's skyship to plot their next move, and Cyclops asks Phoenix to read the mind of one of the Hellfire Club captives. She learns of White Queen's attack on the X-Men and the existence of the Hellfire Club, which startles her, as in her recent time slips she was married to a member of the Hellfire Club. With the information gathered from their captive and the help of Phoenix' power, the X-Men infiltrate the Frost Industries warehouse where their teammates are being held.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Last Week in TV #5

Thoughts on what I watched last week (I did watch the first episode of Once Upon A Time, but I'll save that for next week's post).

The Walking Dead: What Lies Ahead (season premiere)


Well, that was quite an ending...

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

X-amining X-Men #130

"Dazzler"
February 1980

In a Nutshell 
The debut of Dazzler.

Writer: Chris Claremont
Penciler/Co-Plotter: John Byrne
Inker: Terry Austin
Letterer: Tom Orzechowski
Colorist: Glynis Wein
Editor: Roger Stern
Editor-in-Chief: Jim Shooter

Plot
Cyclops, Phoenix and Nightcrawler arrive in a seedy New York neighborhood in search of the second recently-detected new mutant. Leaving Nightcrawler to keep watch outside, Cyclops and Phoenix enter a rundown disco, not knowing they are being watched by the Hellfire Club. As they search the disco for the new mutant, the Hellfire Club mercenaries check in with Sebastian Shaw and Jason Wyngarde, members of the club's secret Inner Circle. Wyngarde departs for the disco while Shaw checks in with the White Queen in Chicago. White Queen reveals that she has captured Professor X and has Wolverine, Storm and Colossus locked in power-inhibiting cages. Unknown to her, the stowed-away Kitty Pryde phases into the room, and manages to awaken Storm. She gives Kitty a number to reach the other X-Men, and, discovered, Kitty flees, using her power to dive through the floor and escape a pair of guards.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Last Week in TV #4

Thoughts on what I what I watched last week (we'll discuss the season premiere of The Walking Dead next week; we can't watch it night of or else Mrs. Teebore has nightmares). 

How I Met Your Mother: Field Trip

 
So is Robin dating her therapist creepy? Yeah, kinda, though probably not as much as Ted and Barney seemed to think. It's certainly the kind of thing I wouldn't give a second thought to if the chemistry between the characters was good. Here it's...okay, but we'll give it time.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Retro Review: Lisa the Beauty Queen

Or the One Where
Homer enters Lisa in the Little Miss Springfield pageant.

The Setup
At the school carnival, Lisa has a caricature drawn of herself, which makes her think she's ugly. To boost her spirits, Homer sells his ticket to ride the Duff blimp to enter her in a beauty pageant.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Fallcon 2011

Hey you guys!

If you're in the neighborhood this weekend, be sure to check out the Midwest Comic Book Association's annual Fallcon comic book convention on the Minnesota State Fairgrounds.


We'll be in the Eco Building (aka the building with the environmentally-friendly house inside during the fair and the big windmill blade out front) from 10 AM to 4 PM this Saturday (the 15th). Tickets are $8 a piece (get a dollar off with a food shelf donation) with free admission for kids 9 and under. But if you're reading this and would like to check it out, let me know and I can score you some free tickets.

More details can be found here. If you do make it, be sure to stop by and say hello to me and Mrs. Teebore!

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

X-amining X-Men #129

"God Spare the Child..."
January 1980

In a Nutshell
As the X-Men return to the mansion, Kitty Pryde, White Queen and the Hellfire Club debut.  

Writer/Co-Plotter: Chris Claremont
Artist/Co-Plotter: John Byrne
Inker: Terry Austin
Letterer: Tom Orzechowski
Colorist: Bob Sharen
Editor: Roger Stern
Editor-in-Chief: Jim Shooter

Plot
Several days after their battle with Proteus, the rested X-Men prepare to depart Muir Island, though Banshee has decided to stay behind with Moira. En route to New York, the X-Men's jet passes an Hellfire Club jet carrying Jason Wyngarde. As they pass, Jason reaches out to Phoenix's mind and Jean suddenly finds herself back in the 18th century, aboard a sailing ship and married Jason. Scared, she runs out on deck and is approached by a sailor, who transforms into Cyclops as Jean shifts back into the present. With a quiet moment to themselves, the pair finally reconcile and declare their love for one another. Receiving an intruder alert when they land at the mansion, the X-Men storm inside only to discover Professor X, returned from space. Days later, Scott and Jean witness Wolverine storming out of a training session in the Danger Room, and Cyclops tries to explain to Professor X that his style of teaching won't work on the new X-Men, but is interrupted by Cerebro, who suddenly detects the presence of two new mutants, one in Chicago and one in New York. Xavier splits the team, sending Scott and Jean to New York while he takes Storm, Wolverine and Colossus to Chicago. But unknownst to the X-Men, the Hellfire Club have tapped Cerebro, and dispatch the White Queen to Chicago as well.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Dr. Bitz Ranks Every Television Series Ever...Sorta (Part 2)

Remember me? Yeah, me neither. Remember my posts ranking every (non-comedy/non-reality) show ever? Yeah, me neither. But I'll continue it on anyway.
If you forgot the rules, check them out here.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Last Week in TV #3

Still getting caught up, but lots to cover. 

How I Met Your Mother: The Stinson Missile Crisis


We return to the Robin/Barney/Nora triangle, but while I was mildly amused by the metatextual commentary on the show's format afforded by having the story unfold via Robin's discussion with Kal Penn's psychiatrist, I preferred the B story that found Ted struggling to fit himself onto "Team Baby" with Lily and Marshall. Oddly enough, given that damn near every sitcom to ever feature a pregnant character has done this kind of scene, my favorite part of the episode was Ted and Marshall in the birthing class together. And of course, the recurring gag of poor, sad Ted insisting famous duos were actually trios was classic stuff (my favorites were, not surprisingly, "Batman, Robin and Alfred", as well as "Romeo, Juliet and the Apothecary").

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

X-amining X-Men #128

"The Action of the TIGER!
December 1979

In a Nutshell
The X-Men defeat Proteus 

Writer/Co-Plotter: Chris Claremont
Artist/Co-Plotter: John Byrne
Inker: Terry Austin
Letterer: Tom Orzechowski
Colorist: Glynis Wein
Editor: Roger Stern
Editor-in-Chief: Jim Shooter

Plot
Proteus turns his power on the city of Edinburgh, warping reality to attack its denizens and reveling in his power. The X-Men do their best to protect the city's residents until Proteus turns his attention to Moira, transforming her into different hideous forms. Cyclops devises a plan designed to exploit Proteus chief weaknesses, his need for host bodies, and metal, and the X-Men attack. Proteus quickly traps Storm in crystallized amber, and when Wolverine stops to free her, moves in for the kill. But Banshee shoots the villain, forcing him back. Proteus responds by burying Banshee beneath the ground. Cyclops blasts an opening to Banshee and Nightcrawler teleports him out, the strain knocking both of them out of the fight. However, Cyclops first objective has been met, as Proteus has fled the city.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Last Week in TV #2

Well, real life intruded on TV much earlier in the season than I was expecting, which is why lots of stuff is missing this week (no Glee, Person of Interest, or Terra Nova yet; next week, hopefully). Anyways, here's what I got.

The Simpsons: Bart Stops to Smell the Roosevelts
Maybe it's just because I'm a history nerd, but I really liked this episode (Teddy Roosevelt is a pretty cool historical figure). Surprisingly, given the longevity of the show at this point, they've never really done a Superintendent Chalmers episode, and even more surprisingly, it was a relatively down-to-earth story, with Chalmers' old fashioned, boys-will-be-boys, rugged hands on approach reaching the more troublesome kids. Well, down-to-earth until Bart and the bullies overtook the school and held it hostage, but that was more a result of the random last act bizarreness from which the show seems unable to escape since the switch to the four act structure. Still, this late in the game, it's nice to see that The Simpsons is still capable of churning out a solid, thoroughly enjoyable episode now and then.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

X-amining X-Men #127

"The Quality of HATRED!"
November 1979

In a Nutshell
The X-Men track Proteus to Edinburgh, where he possess the body of his father and captures Moira

Writer/Co-Plotter: Chris Claremont
Artist/Co-Plotter: John Byrne
Inker: Terry Austin
Letterer: Tom Orzechowski
Colorist: Glynis Wein
Editor: Roger Stern
Editor-in-Chief: Jim Shooter

Plot
With Proteus advancing through the gale force winds she's created, Storm tries to fly away from the villain, but he warps reality around her, causing her to crash into the ground. Just as he moves in for the kill, Proteus is shot several times. On a nearby hillside, Moira fires a sniper rifle, locking in on his energy signature. Lining up for a kill shot, Cyclops intervenes, causing her to miss. Moira knocks out Cyclops, but when she sets up for another shot, Proteus, fearing the metal bullets, has fled. Moira, recognizing that Proteus has been moving steadily south, thinks she knows where he is heading, and breaks off on her own. She arrives in Edinburgh where she meets her estranged husband Joe, telling him he has a son and that his son is likely coming to kill him.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Last Week in TV #1

The 2011-2012 network TV season kicked off last week, which means its time to fire up the "Last Week in TV" posts. For new readers, this is a weekly post I write looking back on the previous week in TV. It should appear every Monday (morning-ish) and discusses whatever shows I've watched that warrant discussion (the list of shows can change from week to week, depending on how timely I watch things and how motivated I am to write about a particular show in a given week; but if there's a show we both watch that you'd like me to write about consistently, let me know in the comments).

Anyways, I still haven't settled on a single format I like best, so expect the usual hodgepodge of quick thoughts and humorous quotes alongside longer, rambling analyses. And I promise it will probably never be as long as this one (this was a big week of TV, and there's still stuff I haven't watched yet, like all of SNL and Pan Am).

This season, there's a bunch of new new sitcoms I'm trying out until they either get canceled or turn out to be stinkers. I probably won't write about all of these all the time, but they're worth a few initial words.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Five Favorite Star Wars Deleted Scenes

One of the big draws of the new Star Wars blu-ray release were the deleted scenes included from each of the films. Before the release, I had heard about a few of them, but was still surprised by the sheer volume of deleted scenes included (some of which I'd never even heard of), as well as by some of the scenes that were included. Here is a look at five of my favorites.


(Thanks to Star Wars Aficionado Magazine for the screen caps. Check out their great early-release look at some of the deleted scenes here). 

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

X-amining X-Men #126

"How Sharper than a Serpent's Tooth...!"
October 1979

In a Nutshell
The X-Men attempt to capture Mutant X. 

Author: Chris Claremont
Penciler: John Byrne
Inker: Terry Austin
Letterer: Tom Orzechowski
Colorist: Glynis Wein
Editor: Roger Stern
Editor-in-Chief: Jim Shooter

Plot
The X-Men race to Muir Island aboard the Blackbird, crossing the ocean in just over an hour. As they fly over the island, the X-Men fan out, searching the complex for signs of trouble. Colossus encounters Havok and Multiple Man and they tussle briefly, the Muir Islander's believing the real Colossus to be dead, while Storm and Cyclops encounter Moira. Cyclops breaks off on his own and finds an unconscious Phoenix, who comes to briefly. She confuses Cyclops with Jason Wyngarde, then passes out again. Later, after the X-Men have scoured the island and found no trace of Mutant X, everyone convenes to plan their next move. Multiple Man explains how, after hearing Lorna's scream, he sent a duplicate to help her, who stopped Mutant X from killing her but lost his own life when he was possessed by the villain. As Cyclops stresses the need for more information, Moira reluctantly admits that Mutant X is her son. 

Monday, September 19, 2011

A Few Thoughts on the 63rd Annual Emmys

The opening number, with Jane Lynch singing her way through various TV shows (that all apparently exist in the same building, for some reason, and Leonard Nimoy doesn't want us to know that...?) was pretty lame, and that's coming from someone who loves these big, over-the-top openings to award shows. The lone highlight was when Jane stumbled into Mad Men and flirted with Peggy before being thrown out by Don Draper, outraged at her news that in the future, people can fast-forward through commercials.


Friday, September 16, 2011

Five Things I Love About Star Wars

A few years back I celebrated the tenth anniversary of Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace with a post about the five things I love in that film. I always intended to continue on and do similar posts for each additional film, but never got around to it.

I figured today's release of the entire saga on Blu-ray was as good an excuse as any to finally finish the project, so here are five things I love about the rest of the Star Wars films (and you can read my Phantom Menace post here, as well as Dr. Bitz's rejoinder here). 

Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones


"Across the Stars" 
If Anakin and Padme's romance has any resonance whatsoever, it's largely due to John William's sweeping and sorrowful love theme that completely tells the story of their tragic and doomed relationship without cheesy dialogue and wooden acting.  I've often said that it would be fun to watch the Star Wars movie as silent films, with only score and sound effects. If that were the case and it was left entirely up to this theme to tell their story, Anakin and Padme might have gone down as one of the greatest romances in film history.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

X-amining X-Men #125

"There's Something AWFUL on Muir Island!"
September 1979

In a Nutshell
Mutant X makes his move on Muir Island while the X-Men learn Beast and Phoenix are alive. 

Author/Co-Plotter: Chris Claremont
Penciler/Co-Plotter: John Byrne
Inker: Terry Austin
Letterer: Orzechowski
Colorist: Glynis Wein
Editor: Roger Stern
Editor-in-Chief: Jim Shooter

Plot
On Muir Island, Moira tests the limits of Phoenix's power, both women unaware they are being watched by the possessed, decaying form of Angus MacWhirter. Meanwhile, the X-Men are training in the Danger Room while, on Asteroid M, Magneto is recuperating from his last battle with the X-Men, thinking of his late wife and planning his next move. In Scotland, in a town near Muir Island, Jason Wyndgarde ruminates about his recent manipulation of Jean and his desire to mold her into the Black Queen of the Hellfire Club. Back on Muir Island, Moira studies the test data on Phoenix, and realizes Jean still has access to god-like power, while on the Shi'ar Imperial Center, Professor X studies the record of Phoenix's actions inside the M'Kraan crystal, and realizes for the first time the true extent of her power, deciding he must return to Earth at once.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Retro Review: Homer the Heretic

Or the One Where
Homer starts his own religion.

The Setup
After skipping church and subsequently experiencing the greatest day of his life, Homer decides to start his own religion.

Notable Notes
The chalkboard gag in this episode's opening, in which Bart writes, "I will not defame New Orleans" is a reference to the controversy surrounding one of the songs from last episode, and was rushed into production to serve as an apology.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Summer Movie Report Card 2011

That's right, the State Fair is over and the movies are decidedly less blockbuster-y, which means it's time once again for the summer movie report card!

I'm going to these "one sentence review" (or so) style, as any more than that and I start to get repetitive. 

Thor


The Marvel film with the greatest potential for disaster, it actually turned out pretty good, keeping the events on Earth from getting too boring and managing to make the action on Asgard fun without being too campy.
A

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

X-amining X-Men Annual #3

"A Fire in the Sky!"
1979

In a Nutshell
The X-Men battle Arkon the Magnificent.

Writer: Chris Claremont
Artist: George Perez
Artist: Terry Austin
Letterer: Tom Orz
Colorist: G. Wein
Editor: R Stern
Editor-in-Chief: J. Shooter

Plot
Early one morning, Arkon the Magnificient, ruler of the extradimensional world of Polemachus, arrives in New York. He heads immediately to Avenger's Mansion and accosts Avengers' butler Jarvis, demanding he contact Thor. When Jarvis explains that Thor is away, Arkon despairs that his world is doomed. Just then he's contacted by his Grand Vizier, who tells him of another who may be able to help them.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

X-amining X-Men #124

"He Only Laughs When I Hurt!"
August 1979

In a Nutshell
The X-Men escape Murderworld (alive). 

Writer/Co-Plotter: Chris Claremont
Artist/Co-Plotter: John Byrne
Inker: Terry Austin
Letterer: Tom Orzechowski
Colorist: Glynis Wein
Editor: Roger Stern
Editor-in-Chief: Jim Shooter

Plot
Arcade watches as Cyclops and Wolverine reluctantly fight a brainwashed Colossus, stopping to tell Colleen Wing and the other imprisoned X-girlfriends his origin. The battle amongst the X-Men leads to Wolverine and Cyclops getting separated. Meanwhile, Storm finds her trap filling with water to the point where she's almost out of air. Cyclops emerges in Nightcrawler's trap and destroys one killer buzzsaw car, only to have several more appear, while Wolverine runs into Banshee, now beset by science fiction star fighters. With the help of his heightened senses, Wolverine is able to find a maintenance tunnel, but when he Banshee enter it, they are confronted by the incredible Hulk and Magneto.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Retro Review: A Streetcar Named Marge

Or the One Where
Marge stars in "Oh, Streetcar!", a musical version of A Streetcar Named Desire.

The Setup
Feeling isolated, Marge auditions for a community play, much to Homer's annoyance.

Notable Notes
This was another episode held over from the third season production run. It was also, along with "Mr. Plow", one of the first Simpsons episodes to be submitted for an "Outstanding Comedy Series" Emmy, thanks to a rule change that allowed animated series to be submitted as comedy series. Though The Simpsons had (and continues to have) success with the Emmys, it's generally considered that voters weren't ready to judge animated episodes alongside live action, and neither episode received a nomination.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

X-amining X-Men #123

"Listen--Stop Me If You've Heard It--But This One Will KILL You!"
July 1979

In a Nutshell
The X-Men are captured and imprisoned in Arcade's Murderworld. 

Writer/Co-Plotter: Chris Claremont
Artist/Co-Plotter: John Byrne
Inker: Terry Austin
Letterer: Tom Orz.
Colorist: Glynis Wein
Editor: Roger Stern
Editor-in-Chief: Jim Shooter

Plot
Spider-Man is on his way to a date when he bumps into Cyclops and Colleen Wing. After a brief chat, they part, and as Spider-Man leaves, Colleen and Cyclops are captured by a garbage truck. Recognizing the sound from his own encounter with the villain, Spider-Man realizes Arcade is targeting the X-Men. Meanwhile, at the Metropolitan Opera, Colossus and Nightcrawler, along with their girlfriends, are attacked and knocked out by Arcade's associate Miss Locke, while Wolverine is captured following a date with Mariko. Back at the mansion, Banshee is awoken by the telephone, but is stunned by Arcade before answering. Brought downstairs by the still-ringing phone, Storm is similarly knocked out.  Arcade answers the phone and tells Spider-Man, who was calling to warn the X-Men, that he's too late.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Retro Review: Kamp Krusty

Or the One Where
Bart and Lisa go to Krusty's summer camp.

The Setup
Despite forging his grades to meet Homer's requirement of a "C" average, Bart and Lisa are shipped off to Kamp Krusty for the summer.

Notable Notes
After this episode was created and scheduled as the fourth season premiere, but before it aired, producer James L. Brooks called the writers and suggested the script for this episode could be expanded upon and used for a Simpsons movie. Showrunner Al Jean told him that as it was, the episode came up short (they had added a few verses to the Kamp Krusty song to pad out the running time), making it doubtful it could be expanded into a full length feature, and that if this episode was held for a possible movie, then they'd have no episode with which to start the season.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Dr. Bitz Ranks Every Television Series Ever...Sorta

One of the best television shows ever has come to an end this year (three different times depending on how/when you were watching it). The show was Friday Night Lights. It got me to thinking of where it ranks among all other television series I've watched.

So, long story short, I decided to rank every show I've ever watched. So, after going through the process of finding/remembering all television series I've seen and then ranking them, I've finally compiled a list.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

X-amining X-Men #122

"Cry for the Children!"
June 1979

In a Nutshell
The X-Men pick up their lives back in New York.

Writer/Co-Plotter: Chris Claremont
Artist/Co-Plotter: John Byrne
Inker: Terry Austin
Letterer: Tom Orzechowski
Colorist: Glynis Wein
Editor: Roger Stern
Editor-in-Chief: Jim Shooter

Plot
Finally back at the mansion, Colossus trains in the Danger Room but is unable to stop a hydraulic press despite being nowhere near the limits of his strength. Wolverine disables the Danger Room controls and enters the room, placing himself between the presses. Chiding Colossus for letting his homesickness overwhelm him, Wolverine refuses to get to safety, forcing Colossus to overcome his worries in order to save Wolverine. Meanwhile, Cyclops leaves for town to get the phones turned back on, worried that Xavier and Lilandra may never return. In Shi'ar space, Professor X wonders how his relationship with Lilandra will change after she is crowned Empress. In Stornoway, Scotland, Jean bumps into a handsome man named Jason Wyngarde on her way to meet Moira, not knowing that Jason has plans for her involving the Hellfire Club.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

X-amining X-Men #121

"Shootout at the Stampede!"
May 1979

In a Nutshell
The X-Men fight Alpha Flight over the fate of Wolverine

Writer/Co-Plotter: Chris Claremont
Artist/Co-Plotter: John Byrne
Inker: Terry Austin
Letterer: Diana Albers
Colorist: Glynis Wein
Editor: Roger Stern
Editor-in-Chief: Jim Shooter

Plot
Cyclops, Colossus and Storm arrive at the Calgary Stampede Grounds, having tracked Vindicator's energy signature to the location. As they fan out, Cyclops recalls the X-Men's forced landing in Canada and the subsequent attack by Alpha Flight. Storm finds Nightcrawler and Wolverine bound in the center of the fairgrounds, but before the X-Men can free their teammates, Alpha Flight appears. Outside, Misty, Colleen and Banshee arrive, but are unable to enter due to Alpha Flight member Shaman casting a spell to keep out intruders. Inside, Vindicator tries to reason with Cyclops and allow the X-Men to leave without Wolverine, but a suspicious Colossus attacks Sasquatch and a fight soon erupts.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Retro Review: Brother, Can You Spare Two Dimes?

Or the One Where
Homer's half brother Herb reappears and invents a baby translator. AKA the one with the vibrating chair.

The Setup
After a routine physical shows that Homer is sterile due to years of working at the nuclear power plant, he is awarded the First Annual Montgomery Burns Award for Outstanding Achievement in the Field of Excellence in order to disguise the $2,000 settlement he receives from Mr. Burns. The sudden windfall attracts the attention of Homer's estranged, derelict half brother Herb.