Tag Archives: fantastic four

Mr. Fantastic is a Menace to Your Skull!

From Death of Wolverine #1, Written by Charles Soule, Art by Steve McNiven, Published by Marvel Comics
From Death of Wolverine #1, Written by Charles Soule, Art by Steve McNiven, Published by Marvel Comics

I guess that Wolverine is going to die because he’s getting his medical advice from a PhD instead of a medical doctor???  Mr. Fantastic, genius leader of the Fantastic Four and holder of multiple doctorates in science fields though, to my knowledge, no actual medical degree to his name (M.D., D.O., M.B.B.S, or otherwise) is contemplating cutting into someone’s skull for a concussion.  Okay, to be fair, a “serious concussion”.  (Maybe for non-serious concussions he would just tap out a couple of holes?)

So what is a concussion, Reed?  Simply, a concussion is a head injury that results in a temporary change, impairment, or loss of mental functioning.   The more technical explanation is that a concussion is a type of mild traumatic brain injury, or MTBI.    In general, traumatic brain injuries are just like they sound —

concussion_graphicAll that soft brain shifting around in the hard skull, banging up against the sides of its non-adamantium covered “house” (in most of us), is…well…no good.  TBIs can be classified in multiple ways — time of unconsciousness, amnesia, and/or the most common Glasgow Coma Scale (GCS) — and are usually graded as mild, moderate, or severe.  TBI can also be categorized by the location of injury, how widespread the injury is, etc.

Again, by classification, concussions fall within the mild category of TBI.  The formal definition of concussion from the American Academy of Neurological Surgeons is:

“a clinical syndrome characterized by immediate and transient alteration in brain function, including alteration of mental status and level of consciousness, resulting from mechanical force or trauma”.

From the American Medical Society for Sports Medicine consensus statement, a concussion is:

“a tramatically induced transient disturbance of brain function and involves a complex pathophysiological process … a subset of mild traumatic brain injury (MTBI) which is generally self-limited and at the less-severe end of the brain injury spectrum”.

And, one more, this time from the American Academy of Neurologists, a concussion is:

“recognized as a clinical syndrome of biomechanically induced alteration of brain function, typically affecting memory and orientation, which may involve loss of consciousness”.

So, all in all, we’re talking about transient symptoms with changes in mental status.  Symptoms can include headache, confusion, amnesia, dizziness, nausea and/or vomiting, blurry/double vision, light and/or noise sensitivity, and tiredness/drowsiness.  People who get a concussion may also lose consciousness, but this is NOT “required” and, all told, most people who suffer a concussion do NOT pass out.

To go back to Mr. Fantastic’s assessment of Wolverine, he’s talking about the “usual procedure” for a “serious concussion”.   What would a serious concussion be exactly?   Keep in mind that, by definition, a serious concussion would still be a mild TBI, meaning that we’re still talking that this is minimal in the “Brain Injury Spectrum” (or BIS, a term I just made up now).  The main grading scales for concussion all include loss of consciousness in the highest grade (Grade III), but again remember, that for a concussion, this is a transient thing (seconds to minutes for the most part).

As for the “usual procedure” for concussion?  Physical rest, cognitive rest, and observation are the standby norms.   Pain can be treated with common analgesics such as Tylenol.    You know what’s missing from this list???

Yes.  That’s right.

What Reed is talking about is called a decompressive craniectomy, a surgical procedure in which a bone flap is removed in order to allow the brain to freely expand.  In severe (for the most part) TBIs, pressure could build up inside the hard, non-expandable skull due to brain swelling.  As the soft brain expands, it’s looking for somewhere to go less it be crushed within its “house”.  The only real option, though, is downward through the hole in the bottom of the skull where the spinal cord leads.  The main problem with this, though, is that the very important, life-maintaining functions of the brain are contained in the part that gets wedged down there first.  Yeah, bad either way you go.  BUT, if you remove part of the skull and allow the brain to expand outward (instead of down or not at all), this may save the person’s life.


I would say, though, that while people who present to a hospital with a concussion could go on to have more severe brain injuries than first expected, such as bleeding (hemorrhage), this takes the diagnosis into a new place, away from a concussion (even a “severe” one).

So, NO, Reed.  The usual procedure for a concussion is not to do cranial surgery.  But it may be for you to stay far away.

(Note: Charles Soule, the writer of this dialogue, is no dummy.  The guy is an Ivy League undergraduate and a lawyer with a degree from one of the most prestigious law schools in the country.  This is a smart dude.  No question.  HE SHOULD NOT BE MAKING THESE MISTAKES.  Drop me a note, Charlie.  Let’s talk.)

The Weekly Haul – August 27th, 2014

I have reached a disturbing milestone in my life as a comic reader.  I have done something — something that I once deemed TOO TERRIBLE TO EVER DO…

I sent comics to the CGC for grading.

For those of you who are unfamiliar, the CGC, or Certified Guarantee Company (not Comic Grading Company, which I’ve always stupidly thought), is one of the largest (THE largest?) comic grading companies out there.  What they essentially do is take your comic, use a standardized method of describing the condition of your book, give a score of 0.5 (poor) to 10.0 (gem mint), and then (here’s the scary part for me) encapsulate the book in a clear container (to quote their website) “through a combination of compression and ultrasonic vibration”.

Caution: A combination of compression and ultrasonic vibration may result in vinegar strokes.

Anyway, my big problem with the whole CGC grading/slabbing is that the comic becomes no longer readable.  To me, collecting comics has always (for the most part) been intricately tied to reading.   I like having my runs of titles, going back into the long boxes, and rereading old stuff, discovering interesting things that I may have missed.  I get that we live in the surging digital age of comics, where finding a book is as simple as going onto Comixology and downloading it to the iPad, but — call me an old man — there’s something about holding the book.

So why this time?  I came across two comics that I have relatively no interest in reading but — I’m no dummy — I understand their importance in comics history —



Incredible Hulk #180 and #181 are the cameo and first full appearance (respectively) of the future X-Man, Wolverine.  Granted I am a HUGE X-Men fan and, therefore, having these issues are fun for me, but I am NOT a Wolverine fan.   These issues, while I love the original whiskered-Wolvie, are not special to me.  I don’t know if I’d ever sell them — and I’m convinced that people who slab their books are primarily interested in resale value — but I could part with these (over most of my collection) and be fine with it.

I will give the CGC this — I’m really excited to find out what grade they get.


To The Haul

The Haul Catchup – April 3rd, 10th, and 17th, 2013

Well, obviously things over here at The Weekly Haul have been pretty quiet for the past few weeks.  I should really just stop calling attention to my inability to keep up with reading my comics — is it a function that I’m buying too many books?  Or that I’m just not that excited in the titles that I’m reading?  I’m going to take a look at that very thing in the rundown.  But first…

Here’s something I got excited about the other day — another one of the fantastic (typed stuffed with sarcasm) Marvel-sponsored children’s prose stories based on their characters.  This time it’s not Namor in his panties, but rather good old Tony Stark AKA Iron Man!  He’s turning out to be one The Boy’s favorites (though he picked up a Mr. Sinister action figure this past week at the comic shop)

The Offending Object
The Offending Object
In the next installment, we learn about the villainous Mandy Mandarin.
In the next installment, we learn about the villainous Mandy Mandarin.

Anyway, past the jump, I’ll break down the past three weeks’ 51 (!!! so close to having DC sue me!) comics into my version of The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly.  For the sake of your sanity and my fingers, I’ll talk about only the highlights and lowlights.  And holy god, there were some real lowlights…

I also want to give a quick plug for a project over at Kickstarter.  Ray Sumser, a really excellent NY-based artist, is working on his newest adventure, an all-original all-ages comic called LYK and Bear.  Ray’s a real talent (and a nice guy), so go make his dreams come true, support his comic, and get some great rewards out of the deal.


At the homefront, The Boy is still having a good time terrorizing his little sister, collecting Squinkies, and getting ready for his upcoming dance recital.  That’s right, he’s still lacing up slipping on his tap shoes and fa-lapping across the studio each Saturday morning.

This photo will certainly haunt him in his teenage years...
This photo will certainly haunt him in his teenage years…

And The Bull?  She’s also pretty damn cute, if I do say so myself…

cuddlemecrochet.etsy.com -- advertising at The Weekly Haul for your convenience
Hat by cuddlemecrochet.etsy.com — advertising at The Weekly Haul for your convenience!

Okay, enough child pimping.  Let’s get to these books.  Again, I’m going to do things a little bit differently this time.   I thought it would be interesting to see if my lifelong hobby is still providing a good ratio of excitement per dollar.

To The Haul!

The Haul – March 27th, 2013

Again, I’m trending behind in my books, even despite a week off work.  Damn, I need another distraction.  Quick!  Look over here!!!

The Boy and his puppies (nevermind the foot in the corner...)
The Boy and his puppies (never mind the foot in the corner…)

I was on vacation last week, which has provided opportunities to do all the things that a 30 year-old married man with two children wants to do — go to Bed, Bath, and Beyond, Buy Buy Baby, Michael’s — you know, all the cool, hip places.  God, I depress myself to no end.

Anyway, I found this gem over at Michael’s while hunting in the party favor aisle (a personal favorite place to find cheap garbage).

photo 3

Great!  We like Green Lantern in the house, we like coloring things in the house — perfect match!  Let’s take a look at the provided markers…ARE YOU SERIOUS?  NO GREEN???

On an even more ridiculous note, baseball season is finally here and the Amazin’ Mets have taken the first 2 of 3 games, once again starting their season off on an exciting note which will eventually turn horribly flat.  As for my fantasy team, Ruins of Shea:

RoS Standings

What a hot mess.

To The Haul!

The Haul – March 13th, 2013


That’s me!  Waiting for my fantasy league assignment…

Continue reading The Haul – March 13th, 2013

The Haul – February 13th, 2013


I’ve never been a huge fan of the holiday, as it seemingly forces you to profess love for people — I think that should just happen naturally and not while held at proverbial gunpoint by chalky candy hearts — but, hey, it’s an important holiday for most.  We spend our Valentine’s the same way we spend every other day — trying to stay asleep while the kids scream and jump in the bed, negotiating the small toys scattered throughout the house, and breathing a very small sigh of relief once they’re both asleep.  The life of married with children isn’t a glamorous one, but despite my complaints, it does happen to be a great one.

A quick word of concern before the usual stuff.  Each night before bedtime, The Boy and I read a story.  A few nights ago, for the first time, he picked out a story that I used to have when I was young — Love You Forever.  I’m sure that most of you know this one, but I haven’t looked at it since I was a little kid and now, seeing it as an adult,


If my mother, while “all the lights were out in my house”, got a ladder, broke into my house through my bedroom window, crawled across the floor, picked me up out of bed, and rocked me in her arms, I would be on the phone with the mental institution so fast she wouldn’t have time to recite her creepy four line poem.  And then I would call my doctor to find out how the hell I was able to sleep through all of that.

This is worse than ANY horror movie I've ever watched.
This is worse than ANY horror movie I’ve ever watched.

We’re still on a big superhero kick at home, much to my obvious thrill.  He’s even double-Supermanning it these days!

The new school dress code - in my fantasy world.
The new school dress code – in my fantasy world.

At this week’s trip to the comic store, The Boy went with me (basically to get him out of his mother’s hair for a little bit).  As we were checking out — with a Spongebob comic in tow — he started looking through the glass display cabinet under the register, which was filled with random loose action figures.  Iron Man, Wolverine, lots of different characters.  Well, no surprise that my flesh and blood NEEDS to have one.  So, of all the choices, who does he pick?

Jean Grey for the win!
Jean Grey for the win!

At least she’s an X-Man and he’s a happy kid, huh?

This week also marked the arrival of a commissioned piece of art that I had done for Emma’s room by the excellently talented Hanie Mohd.  Since The Boy was essentially named after two characters from one of my favorite TV shows, I figured I’d carry on my secretive naming with The Girl and pick names from the X-Men.  So, here is the final product from my request — Emma Frost and Rachel Summers doing something fun.  I think it came out ridiculously awesome.


The little lady is still making every attempt to plow through and over anything in her way as she rapidly makes a case for the most self-injurious baby around.  Bedtime is becoming a new joy too; she does not want to fall asleep without at least a good 45 minutes of testing the volume of her voice and production of her tears.  Here’s the monitor from a few nights ago after an hour:


Let me get a closer view for you…

IMG_1931Yeah, that’s her passed out against the bars of her crib after screaming at the top of her lungs for an hour.  Persistent little thing, she is…

To The Haul!

The Haul – January 9th, 2013

It continues to be a bit embarrassing releasing a post with a date from a week and a half ago, but things have been busy.  In the next post, which will be about this week’s books, I’ll give you some more stuff, but for sake of time, let’s just get right to it.

Oh, but I’ll give you this one thing:

309524_4872665891108_1632451229_nShe is about a half a second away from walking now.  Only 7 months.  The baby gates went back up today, which now means I have to play doorman for both Jacob and the dog 24/7.

To The Haul!

The Haul – December 12th, 2012

Like usual, I’m late with my posting, but for the first time, I’m feeling the pressure to post this like never before.

EarthYes, it’s true, tomorrow is the End Of Days.  The Final Countdown.

The Apocalypse.  And not the X-Men character.  The bad kind.

I’d be lying if I didn’t think, at least for a few seconds, about packing a panic-type bag to survive in the post-nuclear (is that how the world is supposed to go?) landscape that surely my family and I will be traversing, living on dead animals, searching for the nearest Twinkie factory…oh.  That’s depressing.   Or reassuring, maybe.  It can’t possibly be an end of the world scenario without people seeing out an abandoned Twinkie factory.  If I can’t trust Family Guy, who can I trust???

Accurate Representation of Tomorrow
Accurate Representation of Tomorrow

(Good lord.  It just started raining and the dog in the house behind me is barking like a maniac.  I’m scared…)

Despite that we’ve now lived in our current home for just over three years, we’ve finally started to hang up pictures of the family.  Dawn didn’t think that my plan of just hanging random picture on the already-existing nails and screws in the walls was working for her, I guess.  I really hate picking out photos to hangNow there are about 5 different collage frames hanging up, still with the paper fake photos in about half of the slots.  My family has never looked happier.  Or WASP-ier.

Oh, yeah, we TOTALLY love to go boating at our lake house...
Oh, yeah, we TOTALLY love to go boating at our lake house…

Oh, and as you may have noticed, this past week has seen not only the addition of The Weekly Haul’s very first contributing writer, Remy, but also the start of a new recurring article — The Top Ten.  That puts the site up to four regular columns!  Look at us diversify, huh?  Welcome, Remy — hope you survive the experience!

To The Haul!

The Catchup Haul – Ultimate Comics and Marvel

So, it’s definitely getting harder and harder to keep up with the weekly books.  I’ll have more witty things to say and cute pictures to post next time, but let’s just get right into this thing.

To The Haul!

The Haul – July 18th, 2012

Yes, I know it’s almost 2 weeks after that date up there in the title.  Call me terribly ashamed.  Who knew fellowship would be busy?

As if starting fellowship wouldn’t be enough on my proverbial plate (I’ve now survived a month of service and my first week/weekend on call!), Dawn and I, in our infinite wisdom, decided that it would be a great time to go full force into our planned three-way room swap (not our planned three-way, though that would be interesting material for this blog, huh?).

Our lovely house (typed with a dash of sarcasm) has four bedrooms, two upstairs and two downstairs.  We moved into this house the month before Jacob was born, because, again, we like to be frantically stressed.  The two downstairs bedrooms easily became our master bedroom and his nursery/bedroom.  The larger upstairs room was originally destined to be the office, but once my delusions that we needed an office dissipated, it became the 50% Crochet Castle and 50% Comic Book Room of Doom.  The final room?  Well, the “guest room” never became much of a room for guests.  Sure, there was a nicely made bed in there, but it was buried with unopened boxes, old clothes, books, and a ton of odds and ends.

Now that there’s a second kid (I know because she rarely stops crying and screaming), the big plan is to make the two rooms upstairs into their bedrooms and bring the office into Jacob’s current room.  Of course, this also means I’ve got to paint three rooms and recarpet two of them (read: the Home Depot guys have to recarpet two of them).

After a week of working after working, the two rooms upstairs are empty(ish) and Emma’s room is painted.

My drapery hanging skills at work!
Painting on a slanted wall = Speckled pink glasses frames
It’s not a nice thing for a wife to make her OCD husband apply a 120-something decal to the wall…

The trade off is that our living/dining room looks like an episode of Hoarders.

Accurate representation of our house +/- a few papers

In order to move quickly onto last week’s books, I’m going to try to keep my blabbering short in what was ultimately a light week.

To The Haul!