Post-Weekend open thread…

Hey, everyone. Glad to be back. Contacted the long-suffering Chris Magyar (who when he designed our new WordPress site apparently found himself chained to it for all eternity, like Prometheus…I’m the eagle in this analogy), who not only renegotiated for unlimited bandwidth–whee, no more downtime–but got our monthly rate lowered. I still miss my Amazon money, but I can’t complain about the miniscule hosting costs, that’s for sure.

Spent much of the weekend reading. The Marvel Project is sort of a prequel to Marvel’s popular mini-series “Marvels” from several years ago, which retold the history of the ’60s explosion of superheroes from a regular guy perspective. Ed Brubaker deftly penned this follow-up, which explored the real beginnings of the Marvel universe back in the ’40s. The point of view is provided by one of several obscure (but ‘real’) guy-who-punched-guys comic book adventurers from the period, and his take on the emergence of the superpowered superfolk like the original android Human Torch, Namor and Captain America. Steve Epting provided the fantastic and quite gorgeous art. Really, really good stuff.

Read Ghost Story, the brand new book in the Dresden Files, about the wizard Harry Dresden and his increasingly complicated adventures in modern day Chicago. The title is accurate; Dresden was (spoiler) murdered at the end of the last book, and his ghost is sent back to Earth to uncover his murderer, left disaster befall the loved ones he left behind. This has always been a pretty good series, although the writing at times could be a bit clunky. However, the scope of the series has grown massively over the last several volumes, and we seem to be heading into brand new territory with the next book. It’ll be interesting to see how that goes.

Also watched several episodes of the second (and last) season of the British anthology series The Rivals of Sherlock Holmes. This provides adaptations of a batch of Victorian detective stories that competed with Conan Doyle’s, and is pretty entertaining stuff. Production values are about what you’d expect from Brit TV from the ’70s; the shot on video imagery looks not that great, and the show is clearly shot on sets. However, this is offset by typically clever writing, acting from a raft of familiar Brit character actors (Charles Gray, Michael Gough, Derek Jacobi, Doctor Who’s Nicholas Courtney) and a nice sense of the period.

The most famous story here is Cell 13, the (oddly) renamed adaptation of the classic story The Problem of Cell 13 by Jacques Futrelle. This is the best remembered story starring his series character Professor Van Dusen, a brilliant logician known as The Thinking Machine. Here Van Dusen is given a comic pomposity, probably because the character was a bit flavorless in the stories. Van Dusen also features in one of the other stories in this second skein of tales. Recommended for people who like this sort of thing, as I do.

Anyway, that ate up my weekend. What about you guys?