Must Sees at the 2012 San Diego Comic Con

I swept through the San Diego Comic Con like a child in a candy store. So many twinkly and shiny things. As I stumbled around (and into a few fanboys with poster tubes) I snapped pics of my two favorite areas.

Warner Bros broke out the Batmobile vault and wheeled them all down. Yes, all the Dark Knight’s rides dating all the way back to the Adam West years. Ogle and enjoy.

Adam West’s ride from 1955. It’s a Lincoln Futura featured in the 1960s TV series.

Redesigned batmobile for Val Kimer in Batman Forever, 1995.

Clooney’s batmobile actually had a top speed of 350 mph and a rocket burner.

Christopher Nolan’s 2005 Batman Begins featured the “Tumbler” batmobile.

That wasn’t all. The folks at Disney were touting Tim Burton’s Frankenweenie everywhere. I grabbed my hall pass and peeked through the stop motion museum. Astounding on so many levels.

Frankenweenie himself, looking cute and a bit despondent. In the back, you can make out the skeleton used to move the figure.

The classroom, complete with Victor, Edgar (as Igor) and the teacher.

Victor’s attic where he jolts Frankenweenie to life.

Outside the official convention was a tent sponsored by Frankenweenie. Inside, I found this… a graveyard with carnivorous plants, gravestones, and mist.

If you’re still in the convention, check these out. If not, then view and drool. I know I did.

Tim Kane

Historical Gotham was a Town Filled with Madmen

I can’t say I’m a Batman fanatic, but I do enjoy the vigilante crusader. Little did I know the sordid history behind Gotham’s name.

It turns out that Gotham was a village in England known to be populated by madmen. The villagers feigned insanity to prevent King John from building a royal road near them (at the time, villages would have to pay for the upkeep of the road). When the king’s herald arrived, the townsfolk were engaged in all manner of madness. Needless to say, they rerouted the road.

Twenty of these tales were bound together as The Merry Tales of the Mad Men of Gotham in 1540. Over time, the “mad” part was replaced with “wise.” Makes you wonder just where madness ends and wisdom begins.

One tale, called “Of Drowning Eels,” concerns the fishermen of the village. It seems that all the fish vanished from the local pond. Only a great eel remained. They presumed that the eel must have eaten all the fish, so the folk of Gotham put the eel on trial. Finding him guilty, they sentenced the eel to death by drowning. (Yes, drowning). They cast him back into the pond, saying: “Lie there and shift for yourself, for no help thou shalt have from us.”

A nursery rhyme concerning the loony Gothamites survives. It first appeared in Mother Goose’s Melody in 1765.

Three wise men of Gotham,
They went to sea in a bowl,
And if the bowl had been stronger
My song had been longer.

Washington Irving borrowed the legend of the town filled with crazies and used it as a label for New York city. In a letter printed in his magazine, Salmagundi, on February 13, 1807, he writes:

One of the most tickling, dear, mischievous pleasures of this life is to laugh in one’s sleeve – to sit snug in a corner unnoticed and unknown and hear the wise men of Gotham, who are profound judges (of horseflesh) pronounce from the style of our work, who are the authors. This listening incognito and receiving a hearty praising over another man’s back is a situation so celestially whimsical that we have done little else than laugh in our sleeves ever since our first number was publisht.

So Gotham was filled with mad men long before Batman appeared on the scene.

Tim Kane

Geek Speak: A Twenty-First Century Disease?

Often my mind works in quotes. “My friends, you bow for no one.” or “How about a magic trick?” These sorts of things bounce through my brain like pin balls. Sometimes I tilt, and get sucked into pop-culture mayhem. I don’t know if this is a twenty-first century disease, but I do know that it plagues me.

I sat down at the table with a plate of mash potatoes. My very first thought, even before butter or salt or silverware was: “This means something.” Then I formed the potatoes into a replica of the Devil’s Tower. My colleague sitting next to me had no idea what I was going on about.

Then, when I heard a friend of mine issue a tiny little squeak of a cough, I instantly thought: “I think I have the black lung.” He got it, and a series of Zoolander quotes ensued.

I’m lucky in that my wife gets most of these. We have the same humor level and watch mostly the same films. Likewise, my fellow teachers at school are geek inclined. Yet when did conversation turn into requotes from movies or television? It’s almost like my mind has become a twitter stream and I’m in constant retweet mode.

I find this frustrating as a writer because I dare not let this stuff slip into my pages. First, this stuff is so dated that it becomes obsolete within a few years. Second, this type of trivia is specialized. Only a few close friends will get all the references. Not an idea situation for young readers who don’t understand how cameras can work with film.

Tim Kane