Saturday, September 24, 2005

Saturday Super-Toon Roundup!

Here's my thoughts on new episodes of Teen Titans and Justice League Unlimited!

Teen Titans: We're introduced to the Doom Patrol, the team Beast Boy belonged to before the Titans.... and the Patrol is comprised of Mento (acting as team leader -- guess the Chief wouldn't fit?), Elasti-Girl, Negative Man and Robotman. Part one of two -- and I liked it. In fact, I'd love it if this became a regular series!

Justice League Unlimited - 10:00 Episode: This episode features Green Lantern, Supergirl (in a new costume), Stargirl, and Stripe as they travel to Skartaris to meet the Warlord! All the regular characters from the Warlord comic are here, and translated faithfully, so far as I can see! Stargirl has an ego problem relating to Supergirl... and I think the episode is worth watching just for the battle with a quasi-Gamera at the beginning!

Justice League Unlimited - 10:30 Episode: The teaser for this episode gives nothing away... at first, I thought we were going to get some kind of James Bond riff, but nope! A Viking ship is found in the ice up north! This ep's team is comprised of Green Arrow, Wonder Woman, and J'onn J'onzz, with a cameo by Mr. Terrific. Nice bit between Wonder Woman, GA and J'onn in the Watchtower. Lots of stuff with the Legion of Doom, too! This ep revolves around the Viking Prince... and old school comics fans like myself will get a kick out of the recap of the Prince's history! Lots of classic DC baddies in this one, too. JLU is always a fun ride!

My Bio, Part One

So, since I mentioned I'd do it, here's part one of my biography... feel free to skip past this if you're not interested.

I was born in Rapid City, South Dakota, to Charles and Edith Knutson. Dad was from North Dakota, Mom from South Dakota. I have only some vague memories of life in South Dakota... and the older I get, the vaguer they are. I think we lived with my Mom's parents, the Herricks.

I'll be 43 next month, on November 9th, and I have two brothers and two sisters... I'm the oldest, followed by Sandy, Jeff, Debi and Karl. I believe Sandy may have been born in South Dakota as well, and I think Jeff and Debi were born when we lived in Wyoming (sorry, I don't recall where we lived in Wyoming).

I have a few less vague memories from Wyoming... we lived on the upper floor of a two-story house, which was kind of a duplex arrangement... except that there was a stairway from downstairs that came up into our kitchen when a trap door was opened. I remember there was a high school or college student from the downstairs family that used to come upstairs to visit from time to time, and I remember he liked to sit on the kitchen chairs backwards.

My only other memory from Wyoming was when we had a rummage sale, and most of our possessions were sold... I remember a lot of Disney records that were sold, and being very upset about that. It's possible we sold this stuff because we were getting ready to move to Washington State, which is where the family ended up.

We stayed with relatives in Seattle, originally (the Gosses, Aunt Louise was my dad's sister) before the family found a house to rent in Tacoma, in the Sprague district. I don't remember this myself, but Mom's fond of telling us the house was damaged in an earthquake before we moved in there, and a ball placed on the floor would start rolling on its own.

I remember there was a Union 76 station nearby, and one day, I found one of the styrofoam antenna balls they used to give away, and when I picked it up, a wasp crawled out the hole... I don't believe I was stung, I just got away from it fast!

From there, we bought our first house... or maybe it was rented, too, on Myers Street in Tacoma, not too far from the Narrows Bridge. This was conveniently located kitty-corner from Geiger Elementary, which I attended from kindergarten through 6th grade.

My brother Karl was born when we lived on Myers street. I recall he wasn't planned (but then, neither was I). Driving by this house as an adult, I'm amazed we could fit in it!

So, I have more memories of that house... dad used to burn trash in a old metal drum or garbage can in the back yard, and one time, the grass caught fire as well! A properly-wielded garden hose took care of it, though.

We had a small dog at that house, which I'd named Poochie. I was obviously not ready for a dog then, because we had to give him away! Before we moved from that house, however, I got a cat named Jerry and my sister got a cat named Fluffy. My family was big on pets, as you'll see in future installments.

My best friend in kindergarten was Curtis Phare, a black kid. The fact that he was black meant nothing to me... I was color-blind in that regard, I guess!

Oh, almost forgot... Mom has always told me I started reading when I was 2. This had to start when we were in the Dakotas, because I have my Uncle Gary to thank for it.... or maybe I started on my own! The story varies. I've been told that when we drove around town, Uncle Gary would read the billboards to me, and I started recognizing them from that.

However, there's a second story... Mom would take me grocery shopping with her, and I'd point out products, like Campbell's Soup, and say their name. At first, she thought I just recognized the packaging, but finally, she wrote some words on paper and showed them to me... and I could read them!

At any rate, I was a reader at an early age. I think I even read my first comics before kindergarten! I know Curt and I used to play Captain America and the Falcon together, so I had to be reading comics back then.

I was such a good reader that it was recognized in Kindergarten... and I would be chosen to read aloud from the Weekly Reader, a newsletter we got for free. I also knew how to write my name before Kindergarten, too.

Thanks to my voracious reading appetite, I guess it was pretty obvious I was smart from a young age, too. This would cause problems later in school.

I was a Beatles fan from an early age, as well... My earliest Beatles memory is either seeing the on the Ed Sullivan Show or watching Help! on NBC.

After kindergarten, we moved to Rochester Street, a two-story house with basement, that was still walking distance to school. We lived there until halfway through seventh grade.... but I'm getting ahead of myself!

Comics were a big part of my early reading, but I also read real books, too... I loved books on dinosaurs, and also remember reading the first Space Cat book. But so far as comics went, I always seemed to have them as a kid, and my parents never forbid me from reading them.

OK, I guess that's enough for part one!


By the Power of Greyskull...

...and of my furiously flying fingers, I finished the latest batch of transcripts today for upcoming He-Man and the Masters of the Universe DVD documentaries!


I actually even found time to watch some of the DVD today... watching He-Man for the first time in 20-some-odd years.

My impressions? Well... some of it is better than I recalled it being. There was a lot more original animation than the show is given credit for. On the other hand -- and maybe this is due to the work I've done on transcripts -- I do find a lot of the plots and dialogue a bit boring... and some of the one-off character designs are, frankly, cheesy as hell.

They're still fun to watch -- hell, I love watching Godzilla movies, after all, so you know cheesy isn't a bad thing -- but it's far from my favorite Filmation program. That honor would go to, more likely than not, their Star Trek series... although I'll always have a soft spot in my heart (if not my head) for their 1960s DC super-hero cartoons.

I do hope that BCI/Eclipse is able to do more DVD's of other Filmation programs. I'd imagine that doing the aforementioned DC super-hero programs is probably impossible -- Warner Video would have the nod for that, I'm sure (and why haven't they got on the ball on this yet? They should definitely get Andy Mangels working on special features for it) -- and I've heard that, somehow, The Hallmark Channel has the rights to the Archie cartoons (not sure how that happened)... and some of the other licensed programs would probably be difficult to get the rights to (then again, do we really need DVDs of the animated Gilligan's Island, to say nothing of Gilligan's Planet?)... but there's other stuff of theirs I'd love to have.


Friday, September 23, 2005

32 Minutes to Go....

...and I'll be finished transcribing videotapes for He-Man and the Masters of the Universe!

At least, for the time being, I will be done. I'd imagine that at some point, I'll check my email, and there'll be a message from Andy Mangels asking who from the transcriber pool has time to do some work... and I'll be thinking how nice it would be to get some extra money, and I'll volunteer for it... and that I'll be posting less here than I had been.

Anyway... I'll be finishing that up Saturday by early afternoon, I'd imagine!

So, what can you look forward to here? Well, I'm toying with a few ideas. One of which is to basically post a (hopefully) abbreviated autobiography of myself, just to put some of the stuff I've talked about in this blog since I started it into some sort of context. This may be a multi-part series, if I go on for too long!

I'm also hoping to, sometime soon, post a picture of the credits from the He-Man DVD I got this week that shows my name... I have two ways I can try to do this...

1) Take a digital picture as it's on my TV screen, freeze-framed.

2) Bring the DVD to work and see if the Macs at work can get a screen grab.

Yeah, my Mac isn't DVD compatible (the software came installed on it... but it won't read 'em. Bizarre, isn't it?).

I may throw out a few other things, too... like some more comics ads and the like.

Next week... well, I really, really need to do some writing on my column, Cover Stories, for World Famous Comics, so I don't find myself suddenly without a backlog!

I'm also thinking about doing some new "Comics They Never Made" covers, which I may debut here... assuming I can put 'em together! Come to think of it, there's a bunch of those covers I created that I never got around to writing up and posting on the DC History mailing list, which is where they originally were presented.

And finally... gotta get some new eBay auctions up, and get some other things done, too!


San Diego Comic-Con, Vicariously...

So, here it is Friday morning, and I still have about an hour and a half or so of He-Man tapes to transcribe, all shot at the San Diego Comic-Con. From one of Andy Mangels' bits I've already done, it appears these are all ging to be used (for the most part, anyway) in a single documentary, possibly to be included in a December release (which, since I'm not 100% certain has been announced officially, I won't say what that release will be).

There's a lot of good stuff on these tapes, and yes, a lot of rehashing of stuff that I'd already transcribed before, especially from the panels, but I think we can trust that Andy won't include the rehash, just the cool new stuff!

Obviously, this means I still haven't watched the comp copy I got the other day of the He-Man 10 Best Collector's Edition of the DVD, which I have to admit, I'm planning to check out the documentaries first, to see 1) What Andy actually used, and 2) If my name got spelled correctly on the credits.

Jessi was kind of disappointed that my name doesn't appear anywhere on the packaging when I was showing it to her... I'm not sure why she thought it would! It's not like it would be a selling point.

Anyway... back to work on that, and hopefully I'll be able to post something more lengthy later this weekend.


Sunday, September 18, 2005

Taking a Break...

...from transcriptions for the He-Man and the Masters of the Universe DVDs... and did any of you get the "10 Best" volume that was released in August?

Anyway... all these interviews and panels I'm transcribing came from this year's San Diego Comic-Con, which I sadly was not able to attend. But at least, with this transcription work, I can feel like I attended a few panels, at least!

It turned out there was much more than originally promised to do... I was told there was about 6 hours to get done, and then I got two tapes in the mail, with 5 1/2 hours on the first one alone! I should be finishing up the first tape later today, and then tomorrow night, I'm on to tape 2, which has 10 separate interviews, and should go by much faster... at least that's my theory.

In case you're curious how I transcribe... when I get standard audio tapes, I have a transcription machine, with foot pedal. Standard tapes can take anywhere from 2 to 3 times as long to transcribe as the original recording lasts, depending on the sound quality, and how fast people are talking.

When I get videos, like the ones I'm working on, the remote for the VCR is to my left, and I just hit "play," and type as fast as I can... every 10 seconds or so, I have to hit "rewind" and "play" again, to catch what I might've missed. Video tape transcription takes at least 3 times as long to do, sometimes 4 or more if there's a lot of people talking, or they're talking fast, or if the sound quality isn't so great.

It's a lot of work, and honestly, it's not a lot of money. I think yesterday's work was worth about $75 or so... and I won't go into how long that took me! This is certainly not something I'd ever consider trying to do full-time, that's for sure!

But still, it's fun, and I'd like to thank Andy Mangels, the coordinator for this project, for getting in touch with me and hiring me to do this work! And those of you who bought the ten-best set... didja catch my name on the credits anywhere?