The Great Comics Caper

As I said on Twitter, the two bad things about driving 3 hours to Wichita for the KLA annual conference is: 1) it’s a 3-hour drive, and 2) you end up in Wichita. The good things, though, are very good. I got to hang out with some of my library friends, I got to see my pal Bobbi Newman give an excellent presentation on transliteracy, and I got to be part of a panel discussion/presentation on comics and graphic novels with my friend Royce Kitts and Gene Ambaum and Bill Barnes, the two guys who do the online comic strip Unshelved.

If you read Unshelved, you’ll have the impression that Gene and Bill are very smart, very funny and very cool. In fact, they’re even smarter and funnier and cooler in person. I liked them immediately. They know more about the history of comics than I do (which, all modesty aside, is saying something), they’re quick and wickedly sarcastic. We all had a lot of fun on the panel. I’m just sorry I couldn’t stick around in Wichita (really) to see Hot Tub Time Machine with them.

The defining moment of the panel (and the conference, really) for me was while Bill was talking about the history of comics, Gene suddenly got a look of inspiration on his face and quickly scribbled something down in his notebook. He then slid the notebook over to me, grinned at me, and pointed to what he wrote: “I don’t believe a word he’s saying.” It was all I could do to not bust out laughing.

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This One Goes to Eleven

“Bow ties are cool.”

I watched the premiere of the latest series of Doctor Who, “The Eleventh Hour,” the other day. As I’ve mentioned before, David Tennant’s Doctor is my favorite, but I wasn’t very happy with how his run ended. Still, Matt Smith had some big shoes to fill as the Doctor. And Karen Gillan had some big companion shoes to fill as Amy Pond, especially after two of my favorite companions, Martha Jones and Donna Noble.

I’m thrilled to say Smith and Gillan did a smashing job. While there were a few shaky bits (to be expected in a series opener, especially one that has to introduce an entirely new cast), the episode was clever, funny, creepy and touching. Smith’s Doctor seems to be a nice mix of Peter Davison‘s reckless enthusiasm and tetchiness with Jon Pertwee‘s brash confidence. Plus, he wears a bow tie! Gillan’s Amy Pond is great, too. She’s tough and snarky, but with some nice warmth showing through.

I’m really excited that Steven Moffat, who has written my favorite episodes of the new Doctor Who, has taken over as producer and chief writer. I expect this entire series to be full of mundane creepiness & terror, as well as action, adventure and comedy. I can’t wait for the rest of this series to unfold.

*Props to my girlfriend, Berkie, who made the “this one goes to eleven” joke about the latest Doctor.