Recently, we had guest Jon Cross from After Movie Diner on our show and the previous guest, Jeremy from Geek Chunks asked a particularly volatile Fourth Chair Carryover Question. This question turned into a 20 minute discussion about Star Trek, reboots, opinionated fans, "hate," and poutine. (Actually, poutine never came up surprisingly...) We decided to cut that discussion out of the show in an effort to get to the main topic discussion quicker, but it was entertaining enough that you might enjoy listening as a second helping.

Warning, there are spoilers for Star Trek Into Darkness and Flight of the Navigator in this. (Actually, Flight of the Navigator never came up...)

After taking the last two Fridays off, three new Snipes panels hit the blog today...

One of my favorite souvenirs from my time working as an intern at Marvel Comics back in 1998 was my issue of G.I. Joe, A Real American Hero #41.

At some point during my time there, I managed to get a stack of Joe comics. I had followed the series intermittently while growing up, but didn't have all of them. So when a few showed up in the big comic book dump bin that was there (a box that Marvel employees would dump comics they didn't want that I would check on a daily basis), I grabbed them. Among the issues was #41. Rather nondescript, however Howie Decker of Underscoop Fire mentioned it on this week's podcast, it turned out that I would actually have access to a majority of the creators of this issue and, with my editor's blessing, I began a signature quest.

The script for this issue was by Larry Hama. Hama is known for being instrumental in the creation of the Real American Hero characters and he wrote this entire run of comics. This signature alone was necessary. No disrespect to the others, but without Hama, the project would be a bust. Hama lived in NYC and regularly visited the Marvel offices as he was doing some writing work at the time (Elektra, Wolverine, Generation X and more). He was gracious enough to let an intern stop him one day and sign a comic book he wrote from 13 years prior.

With that one done, the next easiest one to get would be another regular visitor to the Marvel offices and someone working for my editor, inker Keith Williams. Keith was inker on Star Trek: The Untold Voyages and when he brought in the inked cover for issue #5, I asked him to sign my Joe comic. Williams had a good laugh about the book he had done all those years ago and happily signed it for me. He was a really nice guy.

Rod Whigham, penciler of issue #41, was not a NYC resident so he would not be stopping in the office at any point. However, he was also doing work for my editor on the Men in Black comic.

One of my main responsibilities was shipping on behalf of my editor. I'd traffic scripts and artwork in and out of the office. Fortunately, we had a script to send to Whigham and I stuck the comic in that package along with a note asking if he'd sign it. And the next time he sent artwork back, he sent the comic back. With that, the "big three" were achieved.

But I didn't stop there. There was one more that I could get. The colorist of this comic book was a man by the name of George Roussos. Roussos had a long history of working in the comic book industry. He was a staff colorist in the 80s and still worked at Marvel in 98. He was a very interesting man and I'm glad that he was willing to sign my G.I. Joe comic.

I figure the signature quest is over for me. I have met Denny O'Neil and Jim Shooter at conventions but I didn't have this comic with me (I might have met them before I had this comic, I can't recall the timeline). And Joe Rosen passed away in 2009.

Still, this is a very awesome piece in my collection that not only looks cool, but has a lot of personal meaning to me as well.

Yesterday we posted a new podcast where we talked all about G.I. Joe action figures. I didn't get into this on the show, but thought I'd do a quick blog post talking about the "J.C. Joe" plan.

I had a fair amount of Joe action figures and vehicles, but not all of them. And I was never going to get all of them. But, during the height of my collecting, a friend and I realized that if we joined forces and were strategic about what we asked for, we could maximize the number of characters we would have access to when we got together to play. Thus started the "J.C. Joe Plan." This was named after us, John and Carlin.

Unfortunately, I have no record of the plan but my recollection is that we split the character assignments in half. He would seek out about half the characters, focusing primarily on Joes (with some Cobra mixed in) and I would seek out about the other half, focusing primarily on Cobra (with some Joes mixed in). I'm sure a fair amount of notebook paper went to mapping this all out.

It was a great idea in theory, although I do recall some frustration on each of our parts when the other person didn't go exactly by the plan. And I don't remember how often we actually got together with our entire collections. Maybe once? Twice?

As a collector though, it made the ever-growing offerings from Hasbro seem more manageable. Trying to get 10-15 new figures a year instead of 20-30 was a lot more achievable. And the plan itself was enjoyable. Just updating the other person about what we got and what was available seemed to be a big part of the fun.

Not too long ago, John sent me a letter in the mail and in the envelope was a note I had given him 25 years ago that he had kept. I was updating him about which figures I had recently gotten, was filling him in on some sort of mail-in offer I got word about, and threw in a mention at the end that I wanted to get Falcon (because like Shawn said, berets are cool).

Pretty soon after the plan was instituted, I got out of collecting Joes and went on an action figure hiatus for a few years.

And by the way, I never did get a Falcon.

This week on the show, CT and Pax welcome back Shawn Robare of Branded in the 80s and Cult Film Club and new guest Howie Decker of Underscoop Fire to discuss the G.I. Joe action figure line. We chatted about the figures we collected, the ones we never got, and what inspired the way we played with our toys. Nerd To-Dos this week featured Man of Steel, animation cels, and Retro Con.

Coming next month is the 2013 Atomic Geeks Podcasting Network Crossover. Last year, there were just three shows in the Network and now that number has more than doubled to seven. There will be a variety of ways the shows will interact and I'm looking forward to participating.

Knowing this was coming up several weeks ago, I asked Snipes illustrator Bill Wiist if he'd be willing to draw a promotional image for the crossover. I've long been a fan of the JLA/JSA crossovers. Maybe this is because one of the comics that was in my dad's comic collection was the first one. I thought it would be great to do an homage of that image for the crossover and Bill was on board.

I spent a few hours collecting reference shots of the various people, mapped out who would go where, and sent that all to Bill. We decided to cut The Atom's slot so that meant there were only 13 character slots available. Sadly, we weren't able to include everyone who participates in the TAG Network, but almost everyone. Maybe next year, we'll have to use that George Perez JLA/Avengers cover as the inspiration.

In the end, I thought Bill did a great job. If you are interested, prints are available to purchase through Cafepress here.

And the guide for those who want to know who's who...

And for those who like to see the process, pencils and inks for this piece...

When it comes to certain properties, I carry a lot of baggage. Star Trek, the Muppets, A-Team...these are all things I've talked about before on the blog having a great passion for. And when Hollywood decides to delve into these passions of mine, I can get nervous and have concerns that they won't treat the property with the level of faithfulness and respect it deserves. I find it very hard to leave that baggage at the door.

Superman is one such property that I carry a lot of baggage with. I was a long-time reader of the comic books, huge fan of the Donner movie and Christopher Reeve, and love much of the animated endeavors. Fortunately, with a 75-year history, Superman has proven himself capable of being interpreted in various ways. So I decided to leave the Superman baggage at the door and accept that this was its own Elseworlds it you will. (And unlike the last Superman movie, this was easier to do since there were no overt connections to previous tellings of the story.)

But based on feedback I've been seeing on social media and trusted friends who have seen it (such as Robert from To The Escape Hatch or DiGio from The Atomic Geeks), I was worried that leaving the baggage at the door would not be enough. Thankfully, that negativity either helped me adjust my expectations appropriately or I was just looking for a different Superman movie than they were.

I don't know. I rather liked this movie. In fact, there's not a whole lot I dislike. Maybe let's start there.


If all goes according to plan, I'll be posting my review of Man of Steel tomorrow. That's all depending on whether or not I get to see it tonight.

In the meantime, I thought I'd just fill today's post with a Pinterest-friendly picture of another craft project my wife had done for my son. This one from over four years ago. I blogged six months ago about his birthday shirts, but the "This is not a bib, they put my cape on backwards" bib was not mentioned.

This really set the stage for subsequent years of my son pretending to be Superman or other super heroes. Which is awesome, because that's the best part about super heroes.

Be sure to check out The Cavalcade of Awesome for his Superman Week. And remember to sign up for our newsletter for a chance to win a Des Taylor Superman art print.

In 1993, Superman returned to television after a long hiatus of one year. Okay, that was Superboy not Superman. And Superboy was in syndication and hard to catch. And even harder to watch.

But seriously, 1993 saw the debut of "Moonlighting for Superman" in the form of Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman. Dean Cain and Teri Hatcher starred and the show focused on them more than it did Superman.

It saw great success initially and came at the height of the popularity of comic books. The show lasted four years and impacted comic book story lines along the way. The show also spawned a series of YA novels, three paperbacks and one hardback. I was really into this show and I picked up the paperbacks. I have never read any of them...

...until now.

All three of the books were written by M. J. Friedman who is probably most well-known for writing some Star Trek novels. I think he also wrote some comics book throughout the years, too. The first released of the books was Heat Wave and on the off-chance there was some sort of continuity and on the even offer-chance that I would continue reading them, I decided to start there.

These books are new stories and are not novelizations of episodes as was my first assumption based on the fact there was an episode, "Man of Steel Bars," that dealt with a heat wave in Metropolis. But, really the title has very little to do with the A-plot of this book and just serves to frustrate me by wearing me out as I read it. Despite the promo photography coming from seasons 1 and 2 of the series, this book takes place somewhere in the third season. But I'd like to think it was before Lois butchered cut her hair.

Soooo...the plot. There is a heat wave in Metropolis. A heat wave that the author continually goes into incredible detail trying to explain. It's hot. Lots of sweat. People are tetchy. Things are happening in Metropolis that are made worse by the heat. The heat has nothing to do with anything really. The main story is that there is a movie that's being shot in Metropolis. This movie has seen a series of unfortunate accidents. Perry White sends in his crack team of investigative reporters to go undercover as production assistants on the movie.

Unfortunately, the heat (that isn't caused by a super villain and has no ties to the movie) is causing extra emergencies in Metropolis. Things that need Superman's attention. So Lois winds up having to solve the mystery of the movie production saboteur by herself doing things she could have probably done without being a production assistant on the movie. Things like talking to people and following someone. Clark and Lois get into a bit of a spat and Lois has to be put in her place by her sister, Lucy. This forced drama reminded me that I was reading a YA novel because these types of spats had been addressed in the TV show.

My biggest disappointment is that–it's a novel. Here's a chance to do something more with Superman and the Lois & Clark characters, not less because there is no special effects restriction. A lot of the Superman scenes I skipped by the end because it was just exhausting to read about old people having heat strokes or truck drivers getting mad and that be what Superman was getting in the middle of. In fact, I sided with Lois on her whole spat with Clark (even though it was forced). If Superman was saving Metropolis from mole men or aliens, then I'd see much more merit in his leaving his job.

Based on the descriptions on the back of the books, I will say that books 2 and 3 do look better. In fact, book 3 introduced Professor Killgrave, a character from the comics. Although...I doubt I'll read these anytime soon. Maybe for the next time there's a Superman Week.

Be sure to check out Cavalcade of Awesome and To The Escape Hatch for their Superman Weeks.

Superman Week continues!

This week on the podcast, we celebrate a 75th birthday and the release of Man of Steel with a discussion about this long-enduring granddaddy of all super hero characters, Superman. CT and Pax are joined by Michael May and Thom Holbrook for a look back at what the character means to all of us from all media. We talk comics, radio, television, movies, and even get a chance to finally play "Superman: Dead or Alive." Nerd To-Dos this week feature talk about Downton Abbey, Creepshow, Battlestar Galactica, and Burn Notice.

Also, if you want to win a print of the above piece of Superman art by Des Taylor, sign up for our Nerd Lunch Newsletter by July 1, 2013 and get entered for a chance to win it. Easy peasy.

It's hard for movie makers to keep anything a secret these days. iPhones and social media spread set photos and rumors like wildfire. It's easy to assume that this was something that only came as a result of the internet though. While it has gotten a lot worse, before the internet, there was Starlog.

I recently stumbled upon an internet archive of seemingly every issue of Starlog Magazine. Surprised to see such a thing exists, and even more surprised that such a thing might be legal, I immediately thought it might be interesting to revisit Superman from the perspective of an early reader of Starlog Magazine.

The first mention of the Superman movie project comes in issue #2 with an article on live action super heroes. At press-time, the role of Superman had not been cast. Apparently Burt Reynolds, Robert Redford, and James Caan were all rumored.

Four issues later, the big news dropped. And here we learn that Sylvester Stallone and Arnold Schwarzenegger were both up for the role, but neither landed it. Instead, Christoper Reeve did. And that Reeve will need to be working on his "super physique."

This week on the show, the Nerd Lunch crew are joined by Fourth Chair guest, Claymation Werewolf where they take a trip down memorylane and relive the glory days of Saturday mornings. No obligations, cartoon lineups on three major networks, and hours upon hours wasted watching cel-painted goodness (and badness). From earliest memories, to favorite shows, to things that might have been canceled too soon, a lot of great shows were covered. Nerd To-Dos include more home improvement reports, animation projects, and summer TV plans.


Listen next week for details on how you can win this Des Taylor Superman print!

Week 11 of "Snipes" by Bill Wiist...

This week we finally take another crack at the Listbuster topic first heard back in Episode 17. In our crosshairs is IGN's list of the Top 25 Action Movies and riding shotgun in the fourth chair is Jon Cross from the After Movie Diner and Dr. Action and The Kick Ass Kid podcast. After a healthy discussion about just what an action movie is, we tear IGN's list to shreds and then reveal our top 10 action movie lists. In our Nerd To-Dos we get the lowdown on the Superman III novelization, a goal to chat with Steve Guttenberg, and a mini review of The Hobbit (hint: it's a long movie).

Grab this episode from iTunes or listen here using the player below. And after your eargasm, be sure to let us know who put together the best Top 10 list using the poll to the right.