Welcome to the first installment of The Weekly Haul for 2015! Yeah, sure, we’re actually at the third Wednesday of the year, and okay, it’s been a few months since we’ve done a Haul, but…ummm…I don’t know. Thanksgiving turkey coma? Holidays wrapping paper industrial accident?
Whatever excuse you’ll take, I’ll sell. Let’s get right to it, shall we?
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)
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.
And The Bull? She’s also pretty damn cute, if I do say so myself…
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.
Things at the house this past week have been pretty chaotic. This year marked the first big Seder (the Passover meal) at our house and my overachieving wife wanted to prepare everything herself. The Boy wanted to make the Seder plate though:
Yup, the contents of the plate are all courtesy of Toys R Us by way of his play kitchen foods. Anyway, we had 12 adults and 4 children at the Seder and the night went without a single argument or food fight, a great achievement if you ask me. And the food was excellent!
Besides Passover, this past Monday was my wife and her mother’s birthday, which means planning some kind of night out. This has become more difficult to do as our schedules have gotten busier. Oh, and since the addition of those two other humans living in our house. Thankfully, Dawn is in agreement with me that adults shouldn’t need birthday presents (especially those who have the means to get their own things) so I don’t have to worry about the gift hunt like I used to, but getting the kids to behave in a restaurant on the first night of Passover? I’d almost rather panic while searching Zales.com…
Basically? Tiring week.
And for the non-Jews out there, Happy Almost Easter!
This past week marked my return to work after a week vacation, which of course, leads to something that looks like this:
Yeah. A stack of labs to go through so large that it took me all freaking week. Blech.
Meanwhile, besides working this week, comics came out. That’s about it — getting back into the swing of things after time off has always been a difficult task for me. Though almost as a reward, X-Men First Class, the best superhero movie made (go ahead, bring the debate), has been on TV almost non-stop this week.
Let’s start off this post with an adorable picture of The Boy. Yes! Relish in his cuteness! Soak in that Spider-Man pajama suit! Be distracted that I am behind two weeks!!!
So, the first picture is obvious evidence that I’ve so far successfully brainwashed Jacob into becoming my comic protegee. The Boy has really taken to his new role and is slowly amassing his own (and stealing my) superhero toys. It’s even started to infuse into his reading habits. Every night before bedtime, we read two stories — the routine since he was an infant. Now that he’s picking out the stories himself, it’s been a pretty consistent 50% superheroics rate. We’ve been into this one, an anthology book with about 10 or so different stories:
Which includes such great visuals for young minds, such as this one:
Looks like a great story, huh? Classic Avengers (including, as Jacob calls him, the Huk) beating up on the obnoxious Namor, which in about 2 pages leads to the dramatic reveal of the frozen Captain America. My kid? Focusing on this panel:
To which my genius kid asks, “Daddy, where is that guy’s pants?” I mean, if a 3 year old is questioning the validity of Namor’s fashion decisions, who am I to argue?
Oh, and so as not to show my obvious Marvel bias, he’s also learning about Batman and his rogue gallery, such as The Cat Lady (Catwoman), Two-Man (Two Face), and Crocodile (Killer Croc). He’s getting there — give him another week.
Since it seems I’m blabbing a bit here, so I might as well go off on an even crazier tangent. I need to vent on something that drives me absolutely crazy. There’s no good place for me to do this but here, so if you don’t want to read the ramblings of a rabid lunatic, you can just skip ahead to the jump.
Plastic. Clothing. Tags.
Yes, those pieces of thin plastic that hold tags onto your clothing. I don’t know if they have a better name — I really don’t care if they do. All I know is that they are ALL OVER MY FREAKING HOUSE. The floors, the couch, the table, floating weightless through the air — they are EVERYWHERE!!! I haven’t bought new clothes in about a year, so I am EXTREMELY confident that they are not from me. Dawn, the primary buyer of new clothes, and the kids, the primary wearer of said clothes, are my obvious archenemies. Without fail, I’ll come across at least one piece a day. I don’t think that there are even that many new clothes around to support this many tags! There must be some, I don’t know, plastic clothing tag gremlin or something roaming the house in the dead of night, giggling and grinning while he (or she, hate to be gremlin-ist) plants them like crappy Afikomen at Passover (though both matzah and plastic have a similar flavor).
Happy 2013 everyone!!! If comics have taught me anything, this year is one to be feared. I know, you’re all just sitting there, happy that you survived the Mayan Apocalypse, but something is coming, something worse than you could have ever imagined…
THE DAYS OF FUTURE PAST!!!
No, not just the upcoming movie (though is it any conincidence?), but the actual event (based on true predictions, I’m sure). Here’s the proof:
To call your attention to the top left panel:
Oh my god it’s really here they’re going to find and kill all the mutants!!!
We’ve been a bit busy at the homefront, trying to finish the can’t-believe-its-still-ongoing cleaning of the house in the post-baby room rearranging. Jacob has found a new hobby outside of his equestrian pursuits — drawing! The kid really loves to color and draw and leave marks on the carpet, God bless the little punk…
Oh, for those of you who couldn’t tell (you fools!), from left to right, that’s Jakey, Emma, Daddy, Mommy, and Oreo (our Shih Tzu and oldest “child”).
Emma doesn’t realize how old she is (6 months) and is now crawling. I thought I would have a lot more time before I had to re-gate the house and put away all the small easily inhaled toys. Guess she told me…
Oh, and this past week saw the birth of our second niece, Mackenzie Rose Slawitsky, born on January 7th, 2013 at 8:53 AM! You’ve got a crazy long name, kid, but we love you anyway!!!
It’s strange to not go back to the theater this weekend — last Sunday was closing of Hairspray. While I’m happy that I don’t have to live in fear of having a heart attack on stage while dancing anymore, I consider myself so fortunate to have been a part of such a great show with such a fun cast. It had been a LONG time since my last show (you know, medical school, residency, children and all) so it’s been a while since I got to pretend to be a teenage heartthrob. Most of the time now I’m pretending to be a 30-year old heartthrob…wink wink…
Now that I’m home this weekend, I figured it was time to pretend to be a responsible homeowner and clean up the house. Laundry, dishes, action figure displaying; you know, the basics. The biggest task of all is dealing with our den, which is the main room that we spend most of our time in. It’s the TV watching room, family room, playroom, computer room, everything room. When Jacob was little, his toys were easily contained, but now we’re showing the effects of three birthdays and Chanukahs. Plus, all the “baby” toys that we put away are now all back out for the little princess.
Emma’s stuff gets tossed on top of itself, thanks to the absolutely selfless (read: terrible parental sarcasm) boy. His stuff, a menagerie of Mickey Mouse Clubhouse, Hot Wheels, Jake and the Neverland Pirates, My Little Pony, Batman, the Avengers, and random Fisher Price playsets, is EVERYWHERE.
A word to anyone who is purchasing presents for children. If it has multiple pieces, no matter how adorable, leave it in the store until they’re old enough to pick it all up and put it away themselves. (Not to sound ungrateful for the 100+ piece Hot Wheels set from my sister and future brother-in-law. It’s like a painful foot massage whenever I accidentally step on a piece strewn throughout the house. A little slice of heaven on Long Island, for sure…)
Meanwhile, Emma is teething like a, well, 5 month old, and the sheer amounts of saliva pouring from her mouth could fill the bathtub in a few hours.
Two quick comic-related plugs:
There’s a pretty good article over at CBR about Bendis’ run on the Avengers titles over the past 200+ issues. I was happy to hear about Bendis making the transition over to the X-books; I think that a large family of titles (Avengers, Bat books, etc) does better with a figurehead somewhat detailing the overarching plot points. Hopefully we get a bit of a Claremont-renaissance out of Bendis…
Oh, and the excellent and under-represented website Sequart (short for sequential art), which takes a scholarly approach to comic books, has been giving away chapters from their books for free via their Facebook page. I’ve purchased a few of their titles before — their Legion, X-Men, and Batman books sit on my shelf and live in the magical world that is my Kindle — plus I’ve sponsored their Kickstarter projects. Go become a fan and scoop up their stuff.
As I’m writing this post, we’re right at the end of DC’s first year of their New DCU enterprise, which also puts us right in the middle of their Zero Month, a temporal echo of 1994’s Zero Hour. Similar to the use of the zero issue then, these modern zero issues are being used to tell origin stories (though the definition of “origin story” is pliable depending on the writer) of characters in this new universe.
This has been something that the fans, myself included, have been clamoring for. Having followed DC continuity only for a relatively short while, I didn’t have that much invested when the universe was rebooted. It doesn’t particularly matter to me if Tim Drake was ever Robin or if Superman and Lois are dating. Now, if the same had been done to my beloved X-Men, you know I’d be dying to know which of the thousands of dollars I spent over the years still mattered for current continuity.
Overall, I really think that the DC reboot was a success for weak-minded DC fans like me and probably those people who had not been reading any DC at all. For the die-hard DC-ites? I’m sure that these #0 issues will reveal history — some of which will be fairly close to what it was before, some of which will be vast departures and alterations to prior continuity, but there is no way that a single issue can answer most of the questions that still circle around this new universe.
Anyway, on the personal life front, Dawn and I took Jacob to the Fresh Beat Band at the Beacon Theater this past week. For those without kids or strange TV watching habits, the FBB is a made-for-TV Nick Jr. quartet that dresses in bright colors and sing songs about teamwork, friendship, and washing cars. Seriously. In all honestly, out of the stuff that I’ve needed to watch because of The Boy, the Fresh Beats are pretty entertaining.
That is a current photo of the living room. Our nice Pier One chair (which doubles as Jacob’s “naughty spot”) that I worked tirelessly to attain, now buried with comics odds and ends. Twelve long boxes, four short boxes, and some towering piles of issues yet to be sorted. It’s fun for me to see all my “floppies” in one place (all the trades and hardbacks are on the opposite site of the room); my wife is about $3.99 away from having an aneurysm explode in her brain.
Sooooo, obviously it’s been a bit busy the past 2 weeks and, like usual, I’ve again fallen behind in the wonderful world of comics. I hang my head in shame, as I know that all of yousome of you a miniscule number of you can’t get through a week without reading this shameful website.
Anyway, on the work front, last week was the end of the academic year for the residency program and, therefore, a very nice, structured, calm graduation for the residents, fellows, and myself and my co-chief residents. Oh, and also, a PARTY!
When I first started my residency, I thought that I would like to stay on and do a chief year. When I was approached about it during my second year, I was totally into the idea. When I first started my chief year, it was overwhelming,To be a bit mushy, I’ve been extraordinarily lucky and fortunate to have spent the last year with some amazing people. I’m happy that I get to stay at my “work home” for the next three years (at least) for fellowship, but I’m sad that my co-chiefs will be departing to other places to complete their training. It will be strange to be in a office without them, for sure.
Then, this past Saturday, Dawn had her dance studio’s recital. Thankfully, being 38 weeks pregnant at the time, she didn’t have to dance herself — not sure if there’s a real market out there for pregnant dancers — but Jacob and I went out to watch and support the kids. I don’t know if he will end up in a formal dance class, and I won’t fight if he wants to, but he REALLY likes to dance, be the center of attention, and flirt with girls, so it seems like a good fit for his needs.
And then the most recent reason for the lateness?
Yep, child numero dos (AKA Emma Rachel) has arrived! She was born on Sunday, June 24th at 8:58AM, about 12 days early (anxious to find out about the conclusion of AVX, though I told her that it will likely end in 2054). I’m not sure if my wife will be pleased with my publicizing the intricate details of the affair (nor will you want to read it if I wrote it … nor would I really want to write it in the first place), but Dawn’s labor went WAY fast this time.
Basically, she woke me up at 7AM with the very calmly phrased, yet no less frightening, “Can you please wake up? I think I’m going to need your help.” My first reaction as a loving, caring husband of 3 and a half years and a boyfriend for a decade more? “Can I shower first?” Aren’t I just the best?
Following my obviously life-alteringly important shower, we sped to the hospital, cutting my normal 30 minute commute to a hot 15 minutes (no thank you stop signs and red lights), just in time to leave The Boy with the unit receptionist and watch my daughter be born without the joy of an epidural. It was fast and crazed, but thankfully, everyone is doing great.
So far, Jacob is very sweet with her; he gives her hugs and kisses and wants to “teach her about his toys”.
Oh, and we got a fish too. Jacob named him Schkookie. Or Skookie. Depends on the moment. Not sure where he pulled that name from. This house is getting more and more crowded by the second…