My name is Steven Howell Wilson, and I do a lot of different things…

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I’ve written fan fiction and published fanzines. I’ve assumed the role of custodian for my friends who created a fanzine called Contact. I founded a convention called Farpoint, which has run for over two decades. I’ve been a comic book writer for DC Comics (Star Trek and Warlord) and a comic reviewer. I run Prometheus Radio Theatre, and we put out a (mostly) weekly podcast. I’m publisher for Firebringer Press, and a contributor to Crazy 8 Press. Finally, in the mundane world, I’m a recovering librarian, an IT Director and a consultant. And yes, I do all this because I’m allergic to work. I figure as long as I look busy, I won’t have to perform actual labor. It’s worked for nearly half a century so far…

Back in the Day I Liked – More of Superboy #208

Yesterday I wrote a long piece about the “new” story in this issue. Now I’ll turn to the reprints.

To begin with, there’s an info page titled, “The Legion of Substitute Heroes.” This introduces six people who don’t appear anywhere else in the issue, but are part of a splinter group. It’s explained that they’re rejected Legion applicants who have since proved themselves. I always loved the collection of powers. Some are so lame that one wonders why these kids didn’t just become accountants—I’m looking at you Stone Boy and Color Kid!—while one wonders why an applicant like Polar Boy would ever have been rejected in the first place. Of course, he did eventually become a Legionnaire. But Stone Boy, the feature tells us, was offered a slot first.

Really? Stone Boy. Huh.

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Back in the Day I Liked – Superboy Starring the Legion of Super-Heroes #208

As soon as I posted yesterday’s review, WordPress kindly popped up “related posts” on my blog feed, and I realized that, in eulogizing the LSH back in 2013, I had covered a lot of the same territory I covered yesterday. Oh well, kids, old people tend to tell the same story over and over. Get used to it.

What was I saying? Oh, yeah, don’t you hate how old people tell the same story twice?

No, I was talking about Superboy #208, which I bought at a Highs—no, a 7-11—back in nineteen hundred and seventy five—on a Saturday, I’m pretty sure. Or a Wednesday. Okay, now I’ll stop sounding the way my kids tell me I sound, and get on with it.

Since I retold the same story yesterday, I’d like to expand today on my discovery of the super-heroic storytelling playground that was the Legion of Super-Heroes. First, I want to acknowledge that I’ve told conflicting stories. I said my first exposure to the Legion was in Superboy 207, and then I said it was seeing a house ad in my brother’s comics. It must have been the latter, but, as I recall buying that issue, I don’t remember having ever seen the group before. So I just don’t know. Anyway, issue 208…

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Back in the Day I Liked — Superboy Starring the Legion of Super-Heroes #207

This comic came in a three-pack. I still occasionally see these, but, back in the 1970s, there were always some three-packs on the spinner rack at my local 7-11. The deal was that you got three comics for somewhere around the price of two. I seem to remember they were priced at 99 cents, but they must have been less when I first bought them, since three comics in those days would only have cost 75 cents.

I don’t recall what else was in the pack. Usually there was a Superman title or a Batman title, an issue of something offbeat like Plop! or a war comic, and another superhero title. You didn’t know what the third book was. It was in the middle. Continue reading

Back in the Day… I Hated Age Restrictions

Going to buy breakfast this morning, I saw this sign on the wall by the grocery store door. It made me recall an incident from my childhood. I must have been twelve or thirteen. I had walked with a couple of others to a convenience store on a hot day, and we were waiting in line to buy drinks. The young man at the counter told me I needed to leave the store. In disbelief, I asked why. He pointed to a sign on the door, saying that no more than two minors could be in the store at one time. I was the third kid in line, so I had to leave.

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Back in the Day I Liked – The Super Sons

Early in my comics-buying career, I was aware of a title called World’s Finest. I’m not sure how I was aware, but I was. I guess I’d seen it on the spinner rack, and maybe I’d seen ads for its 1960s issues in the pages of my brother’s war comics. Was it called World’s Finest Comics on the cover when I bought my first issue? Or just World’s Finest? If you look closely, it was called “WORLD’S FINEST!” but with a little whisper of ‘comics’ under it.

Either way, I knew it was a book co-starring Superman and Batman. It had been since its first publication in 1941, although, in the early days, co-starring meant there was a Superman story and a Batman story in each issue, not that the two teamed up. Their first team-up story came in 1954, 71 issues into the title.

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El Goes to Elle

Okay, I guess I’m really back, because I’m delving into morality, philosophy and politics. With the revelation of Harvey Weinstein’s staggering abuse of his phenomenal power to coerce his employees into undesired sexual situations, Hollywood’s floodgates have opened. It seems everyone being accused, from Louis C.K. to George Takei. And one question that keeps coming up for the public to munch on is, “Are these people, alone, to blame?” After all, along with the accusations almost always comes the statement, “And everybody knew all about it.”

So, when behavior that’s been accepted, even encouraged, for decades is suddenly revealed, and finally recognized as the problem it always was, who’s to blame?

Mara Wilson, former child star and current left-wing social activist (her Twitter presence is self-dubbed “Mara ‘Get Rid of Nazis’ Wilson”) has an answer:

We all are.

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I Just Finished – Stranger Things 2

There aren’t many TV shows that I have to watch anymore. I like The Flash and Legends of Tomorrow. I enjoy Supergirl overall. I tend to fall way behind on them, though. I’m still finishing Iron Fist and thus haven’t started The Defenders. Beyond those, I’m a little behind on This Is Us and a lot of the shows friends are watching I’m just giving a pass to. I don’t need The Orville. They made 79 real episodes of Star Trek, and enough Next Gen that I’ve never seen them all. I gave Star Trek: Discovery what I feel was a fair chance, and it didn’t impress me any more than any other non-Enterprise Trek has.

But Stranger Things I must see. It’s too gripping, too engaging, too much plain fun not to. It’s such a great piece of 80s nostalgia, not just in costumes, music and décor, but in the feel of 1980s films about young people.

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I Just Finished – Thor Ragnarok

I saw this opening weekend, and didn’t really think of commenting on my blog. But then it occurred to me that, the last time a Thor movie came out, I pretty much savaged it in this forum. So maybe a follow-up visit, albeit perhaps less expansive than my review of Thor: The Dark World, is deserved.

This was easily my favorite of the three Thor films to date. Although, sadly, it does not serve the supporting cast well—Jane Foster, Sif and Erik Selvig are all missing, and the Warriors Three appear, but only in cameos that their fans probably weren’t glad to see—it’s rooted firmly in the Thor comics mythology and showcases Chris Hemsworth and Tom Hiddleston amazingly well, to say nothing of newcomers Cate Blanchett, Jeff Goldblum, Karl Urban and Tessa Thompson, and welcome guest Mark Ruffalo. Idris Elba has a reduced, but important, role. I point out with irony that this is probably also the best Hulk film ever made—with irony because, obviously, it’s not a Hulk film, and the character did not fare well in his own title films. But here, he’s the best he’s been in a movie.

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I Just Finished – Murder on the Orient Express (2017)

I wasn’t sure what to expect from this film, going in. I remembered the 1974 film coming out—probably from commercials and buzz on morning news programs. I remembered that one was an all-star “vehicle” (pardon the pun) of the type that was so popular in the 1970s. I never cared much for such films, when I was little. They seemed designed to appeal to boring people who drank martinis, talked about Nixon and watched too much football.

Kenneth Branagh’s film is, too, an all-star vehicle, with no less than the director himself, Michelle Pfeiffer, Willem Dafoe, Johnny Depp, Josh Gad, Derek Jacobi and Dame Judi Dench in its cast. And, admittedly, some of the crowd around me in the theater struck me as being martini drinkers who talked about Trump and watched too much football. But I found myself delighted with this film.

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I Just Finished – Twilight Zone “The Lonely”

Jack Warden and Jean Marsh star in the sad tale of Jack Corey and Alicia. Corey is a convicted felon, although he claims that he killed in self-defense. He’s a decent enough guy, from what we see of him in thirty minutes, that you tend to believe him about that. But he’s been sentenced to solitary confinement on an asteroid which, Rod Serling’s narration tells us, is “nine million miles from Earth.”

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