Wednesday, September 13, 2006

License To Wonder

Yesterday was lunch with Brian, today was lunch with Kathleen.
We met for lunch at Chili’s. Kathleen was pretty late, even in Kathleen terms, and while I was waiting the waitress was eyeing me more and more suspiciously, beginning to believe that I had lied when I said someone would be joining me.
Once she did arrive she ordered soup and salad (I had the Margarita Grilled Chicken, and before you ask, yes, it is okay for me to eat thing that have booze as an ingredient as the alcohol burns off during cooking.), but the waitress brought her something else entirely, to which Kathleen responded, “I ordered soup and salad” in a voice that, while polite, made it sound like she said, “You are a fucking idiot.”
Fortunately she didn’t have to wait too much longer for her lunch, as her order was actually ready, it’s just that the waitress grabbed the wrong one.
We then had a laugh about the positively uncanny nature of the way Kathleen’s food orders get messed up which led us to conclude that everyone everywhere is an idiot, though honestly we decided that a long time ago.
I had opted for us to have lunch at Chili’s because it’s close to the Wal-Mart in Sterling, which I thought I had to go to, but once I got there I couldn’t for the life of me think of why I needed to go there, and after doing a mental inventory I realized that I had plenty of the one thing I might have needed to get from there, so I was getting ready to leave when I noticed the DVD display.
I remembered then that there was some limited edition release of the original Star Wars trilogy, so I went over to the display and considered picking them up, as I don’t actually own any version of any of the Star Wars movies on DVD.
Now, it may or may not be true that I’m a reasonably intelligent person, but it’s unquestionably true that there are times when I am a total retard.
As I stood there looking at the display of DVDs I was entering into one of those periods in my cognitive cycle, and I concluded that Wal-Mart had a insanely good deal going on, selling all three DVDs – with included comic book (more on that in a bit) – for only $19.99.
Reckoning that I’d bee a fool to pass up a deal like that, I grabbed one of the packages that came with the comic adaptation of the first movie, and merrily made my way out of the store.
I stopped at Shoppers on the way home to pick up some snacks for work as well as several bottles of SoBe Energy. I drink that every morning at work, but usually stop at a nearby convenience store to pick up a bottle right before I pull in to work.
Shoppers sells SoBe drinks for a fair amount less than the convenience store, and if I have it at home it spares me from having to make the stop in the morning and deal with the early morning day-laborer rush that’s going on whenever I get to the convenience store.
However, they hardly ever have Energy in stock at Shoppers, so when I saw that they had many bottles of it today I decided to stock up.
Once I got home and put the groceries away I turned my attention to my holy trilogy bargain only to discover that, as noted, I had been a retard who wasn’t paying attention to what he’d actually bought.
This was only the first movie, not all three which made it considerably less of a bargain.
(This would also explain why some of the “sets” I saw included comic book adaptations of The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi. Like I said, retard.)
I decided that it was pointless to own one without the other two and was going to violate my policy of not going into the local ghetto Wal-Mart and pick up the other two, but then I decided that I really didn’t want to go anywhere else and that it wasn’t terribly important that I have the other comic books (I’m assuming that was Wal-Mart’s gimmick and not something that all retailers were doing.), and so I went online and ordered the other two from Amazon. Buying them together I actually ended up saving about $6 compared to what I would have paid at Wal-Mart.
So, despite my retardation, I guess it all worked out in the end.
The interesting thing about the comic that was included with the (one) DVD that I bought today is that it’s a reprint of the original 1970’s Marvel Comics adaptation of the movie, collected in one volume, that retains the original cover art from the first issue, but it’s actually published by Dark Horse Comics.
That’s not terribly surprising; Dark Horse has the licensing rights to publish Star Wars comics, it’s just kind of strange to see a Marvel comic repackaged like this.
Marvel had the Star Wars licensing rights into the 80s – at least up to the point of Jedi’s release – but Dark Horse, which didn’t even exist until after Jedi, picked up the rights sometime in the 90s.
Marvel has actually lost – or simply dropped – the rights to a lot of its licensed properties, most notable of which is Conan, which has also been picked up by Dark Horse.
In addition to publishing new Conan stories, though, Dark Horse has also reprinted some of the classic stories originally published by Marvel.
Meanwhile, another, related licensed property – Red Sonja – has been picked up by a third company, Dynamite Comics.
The whole licensed property thing can get to be kind of confusing, especially in Marvel’s case where many of the licensed properties were actually incorporated into the Marvel Universe.
Star Wars comics, obviously, took place in their own time long, long ago and in their own little galaxy far, far away, never touching the mainstream MU, but Conan and Red Sonja were both firmly set on an world that one day in the future would be the home of the X-Men, Spider-Man, and the rest. In fact, many present-day MU stories hinged on having Conan and his Hyborian civilization as part of the past.
Similarly, licensed properties such as The Micronauts and Rom: Space Knight, frequently interacted with MU characters.
Of course, these things only pose a problem if you actually care about continuity, which is clearly not the case over at Marvel (Where it is, I believe, referred to as “Conti-what-ity?”), so I guess it’s all good.
On the topic of Marvel and licensing, though, a while back I read an interview with former Marvel Comics Editor-In-Chief Jim Shooter who talked about the time when DC Comics was in discussion with Marvel to license all of their characters to Marvel.
It would have been interesting to see. Marvel holds the overwhelming percentage of actual market share, but when it comes to name recognition and true iconic status, DC has them beat, hands down.
I can’t help but wonder what it would have been like for the most successful comic book company to have the rights to publish stories about the most recognizable comic book characters in the world.
Shooter stated that the second word got out that they might be publishing the DC characters, John Byrne burst into his office with a proposal for what he wanted to do with Superman. I would assume that many of those ideas came to fruition years later when Byrne jumped ship and was given the chance to totally revamp Superman.
Still, it does all make for a provocative question, one suitable for Marvel’s What If..? comics or for a tantalizing “Imaginary Story” from DC.
In any case, another work week is nearly upon me.
I will be sans Scott until Saturday, as he’s currently in training to try to become a Red Hat Certified Engineer, so I’m sure it’ll be a boring couple of days.
Here’s hoping that all of you out there have a little more excitement.

1 comment:

Merlin T Wizard said...

Speaking of Marvel's licensed characters, I started to watch an episode of The Fantastic Four this week. That was a mistake. I think I made it through about ten minutes before I stopped it and wiped it from my hard drive. That was absolute drivel. I do not understand why Marvel (and DC for that matter) can't learn from what DC did in the 90's with Batman: The Animated Series and later with Superman, Justice League, and JLU. It makes me sad.