Fair Weather, Friends

Ferris Wheel Berlin
Image via Wikipedia

Last Friday night, we attended the next-to-last day of the Wilson County Fair.  This is an annual event that has become extremely popular – especially considering people became to scared to attend the Tennessee State Fair.  Something about knives, stabbings, shootings, etc by the large groups of illegal Mexican immigrants that would attend.  Crime jumped up and attendance fell down.  It still takes place, mind you.  In fact, this coming September is when it is scheduled.

But back to the real fun – the Wilson County Fair.  Great times were had by us Friday night.  My wife, son, one of his friends and myself walked around, enjoyed the sites, rode some rides, ate some goodies.  We also met another family of friends there and hung out for awhile.

Saturday, The Wife and I attended a friends birthday party.  His wife threw a surprise party and invited several folks over.  Games, snack foods, grilled hot dogs, alcohol (of which we didn’t partake, thank you very much!) and we ended up having a blast.  My wife was hesitant of going at first, but she ended up being the one that wanted to stand and hang out.  Great times all around!

And, of course, Monday just had to rear its ugly head.  After four days off work, yesterday wasn’t horrible, but it was right back to the same old boring grind that I’m growing soooooo tired of.  But, I guess you really can’t have your cake and eat it to – so I guess as long as we need money, I need that job.

Here is to hoping you have as great a week as I want to!


Sunday Awesomeness

Today was actually a very good day.  Our local comic shop (lcs) Outer Limits Murfreesboro had another fantastic sale going on today.  If you bought 100 comics from the $1.00 bin, you got them for .50-cents each.  Buy 200 books, you get them for .25-cents each.  Buy 300 and they’re yours for .10-cents each!  But wait, they threw in yet another level of awesomeness:  If you bought 500 books from the $1.00 bin, you got them for .05-cents each.  That’s $25.00 for 500 comic books of varying awesomeness!  I racked up, my friends.

My son also visited the LCS with me today, along with the wife.  They were on their own mission.  You see, my boy likes to talk – he takes after his mother.  He talks A LOT.  Some folks believe this means he can’t be quiet for even a few minutes.  As a result, his aunt made a bet with him Saturday that she would give him a dollar for every minute he was quiet.  After the 35 minute mark, she caved and told him the bet was off and coughed up her end of the deal.  With that money, he bought a diecast/plastic Voltron: Defender of the Universe collectible that had been sitting in the store for awhile.  It wasn’t in the best condition and may have been priced a little high, but considering a mint condition one is going for $249 on eBay right now, I think he did okay.  We just need to clean it up a bit and do some touch-ups on it.

Afterwards, we had some time outdoors for a change as the weather really cooled off.  A nice breeze, some shade, a few clouds.  NICE!  We tossed a baseball around, he rode his bike, a couple of kids across the street came over and they played.  An awesome day.  Afterwards, I grilled some hotdogs and we chilled out for a while.

It’s the simple things, my friends.  It isn’t often I get to just relax at home anymore, but today was a great day of just enjoying everything around me.  I hope you had a similar day and loved it just as much!

A Brief Moment …

Hello!  I suppose it might look as though I’m trying to become an amateur comic book review site.  Rest assured, pop culture sites have nothing to worry about from me!  While I enjoy the graphic novel medium, I lack certain skills in properly reviewing them – skills such as proper grammar rules, artistic commentary, etc.  I do, however, know a good story that draws my attention and entertains me.  That is what I focus on when I post thoughts on a particular trade.

I went away for a while, tried out the Tumblr pages.  Seems the main thing to do on Tumblr is repost other people’s images and LOL pics.  Gets old after a few dozen or so, I think.  Why would you want to sit around all day reposting other peoples work when you can create your own content?  Sure, my work here may not be professional – hell, most of it isn’t even on a high school level as far as how it is written or covered – but it’s mine, darn it.

So, yeah.  I’m back for a little while.  Until I get bored again, anyways.  Maybe I’ll see you around.

Marvel Comics: Captain America: Dead Men Running

Captain America: Dead Men Running (A 3-issue Story Arc)

Marvel Comics

Issue 1, March 2002 / Issue 2, April 2002 / Issue 3, May 2002

Darko Macan (writer), Daniel Zezelj (artist), Matt Madden (colors), Todd Klein (letters)

Ran in 2002, the three issue storyline of Captain America: Dead Men Running caught me off guard.  I understood that comics, especially these days, can have deeper meanings and shed light on serious subject matter.  This arc of Captain America was not what I was expecting when I picked it up.  Admittedly, though, I haven’t been in the comic scene for about 10 years, and even then I only dabbled in the Marvel side of the pool.  This series was picked up on eBay for a grand total of $5.00, and it was a great buy for the story inside.

The story picks up with a handful of soldiers in the jungles of Columbia.  They are running from someone, an even smaller group of children with them.  They are running from drug lords, they have “liberated” the children and broken them out of the mobs headquarters.  But, they have also lost their radio man, have no idea where they are going and have lost all hope.  And then, a plane flies overhead and a lone shadowy figure jumps and parachutes down into the trees.  Rushing to find out who has landed, they are amazed – and frightened to find out it is Captain America.

The Captain stirs their morale, it seems, and he tells them there is a monastery where they can rest up ahead and that he also has a friend with a plane that will wait for them for two days.  That is when they are ambushed.  Cap takes out the majority of the guys, but he receives a flesh wound from one of the enemies bullets.  Suddenly a helicopter appears and one of the children call out to their papa …

After the chopper has been ran off, Captain America asks the simplest question: Why did the girl call out to her papa when the chopper appeared?  Suddenly, one of the soldiers injects our hero with a drug that knocks him unconscious.  They are actually mercenaries, sent in to make a deal with the drug cartel, get a piece of the “pie,” but when things didn’t go smoothly, they kidnapped the main man’s children and are heading back to rendezvous with their commanding officer, Major Buxley.

Using Cap as a tool, they manage to infiltrate the monastery, but only after one of the nuns test their civility.  The leader kills her, splattering the Captain’s shield with her blood.  They force their way into the monastery and hold up, managing to contact their major and tell him things have gone bad but they have the children.  He says he will send someone for them.  Meanwhile, one of the soldiers has a heart-to-heart with the Captain, as he is drugged and unresponsive.  He tells how his grandfather pushed the tales of Captain America down his throat for years, beat him when he didn’t live up to Captain America’s presentation of morals, and explains, in general how living in the shadow of someone like Captain America has been nothing but a nightmare.  He knocks Cap around a bit, until Captain America begins to come to.  They have a brief heart-to-heart, but it is cut short because …

Up top on the monastery’s wall, the groups leader hears the approaching planes.  Jets.  Fighter jets.  He suddenly wonders how a couple of jets are going to rescue them all when, as it hits him, the planes launch missiles at the compound, blowing up everything in the area.  The leader falls, almost managing to escape death, when Captain America’s shield he has been carrying decapitates him, adding his blood to that of the nuns he shot earlier.

Captain America and the guys he was being abused by make it to the top, help free the kids.  The remaining soldiers decide to stay behind and face their fate with the drug cartel, telling Cap about their major that is behind everything and telling him to take the kids and go ahead.

Captain America walks away with the children as trucks pull up with members of the drug mob dressed in black outfits with skeletons imprinted on them jump out.  The soldier who had beat on Cap, pulls on the Captain’s mask that he had taken from him, hoping that it will finally make his grandfather proud of him, and begins to fight.  They lose, of course, and in the last frame we see Cap’s plane taking off into the air.

So serious, so bloody and dark, so adult.  This was a great story arc, told perfectly in three issues by the writers.  This is why comics aren’t just for kids anymore, folks, and I recommend this as a great find and read to anyone.  I’m sure there are much better stories out there, but as a rehabilitated noob coming back into the comic world, I consider myself lucky to have stumbled onto this one.  Love the story, love the narrative, and I always enjoy seeing how the lives of heros affect the average man, as is the case with the soldier who was constantly pushed to be better by his grandfather.  Not all heros are heros to everyone.