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By 'culture' I meant that sports expresses values, and is a mirror of society in various ways, and contributes to a sense of shared community.

So yes, 'culture' is a reason to value sports.

Anyway, can't they love what they love over there?

What appalls me most about sports in general is the fan behavior. If your team loses a big game, you riot through your own town and if your team wins a big game, you riot through your own town.

Or the shame some parents put on their kids for not being star athletes.

Thank you but no!

I take a mild interest in pro sports - it helps that I come from a town (Boston) that usually has decent teams.  I never was into college sports much. Maybe if I'd gone to a college that had decent teams, it might be different.  My Old Man, now he was a big college sports fan - for two years after he died, he was still getting those recruiting letters and such.  Some of it was indentification with his school, and some of it that he didn't have alot going on with his life, and following sports gave him something to distract him from the many unsatisfactory elements of his life.

People that do this think they are sports fans but they're actually riot fans.

Philip Portelli said:

What appalls me most about sports in general is the fan behavior. If your team loses a big game, you riot through your own town and if your team wins a big game, you riot through your own town.

Or the shame some parents put on their kids for not being star athletes.

Thank you but no!

Last month I listened to the Librivox version of "Armageddon 2419 A.D." by Philip Francis Nowlan. This and its sequel "The Airlords of Han" are the novellas the Buck Rogers newspaper strip was based on. The novellas depicted a future in which North America is dominated by the Han and Americans have developed an underground free civilisation (which is militarised and socialist). The strip initially had basically the same storyline, although the ruling race became the Mongols; but it quickly acquired an element of humour which is absent from the novella, within a year the conflict between the Mongols and the Americans had ended with a pact of peace (something quite different happens in "The Airlords of Han"), and in just over a year after its start, with the introduction of the Tiger Men of Mars, the strip moved on to space travel themes. I've had the second edition of the collection The Collected Works of Buck Rogers in the 25th Century since childhood, so I'm a long-time Buck Rogers fan.


A few months back I read "The Prince of Mars Returns" by the same author, which can be found at Project Gutenberg Australia. I thought this an undistinguished Burroughsian adventure story. The hero is an Earthman who travels to Mars. He saves the life of a woman, and as a result has to marry her due to the local rules. She is kidnapped on their honeymoon by the minions of an oppressive lord, but help from a Martian allows him to rescue her. The Martians consider him to be a returned legendary figure and make him their leader in their war against the lord. He leads a commando raid into the lord’s territory and is captured, but kills the lord. As a result he and his wife become the new rulers of Mars. The story appeared in the Feb. 1940 issue of Fantastic Adventures, and was cover-featured and blurbed as by "Phil Nowlan author of Buck Rogers". Images of the cover, which accurately represents the first meeting of the hero and heroine, are easy to find online.


When I read the story I wondered if Nowlan had intended to start a new franchise. But he died in Feb. 1940. It now seems to me that it's more likely that it was an old story and its sale had to do with his approaching death. If so, it might predate "Armageddon 2419 A.D.", which is arguably a superior reworking of some of its elements. In both novellas, the hero is transplanted from the world we know to another world; in both, the first human he encounters is his love interest, whom he rescues from danger (a hostile 'gang' in "Armageddon 2419 A.D.", a monster in "The Prince of Mars Returns"); and in both he subsequently gets involved in a war, in which he goes on to play a leading role. But whereas I found "The Prince of Mars Returns" a pale imitation of Burroughs, "Armageddon 2419 A.D." has a special spark.


This post displaced the thread Watch Doctor Who? Who me? from the home page.

"T-Rex optical illusion explained" The illusion is really remarkable.

This post displaced the thread What Made You Smile Today? from the home page.

I'd forgotten just how silly Freakazoid was.  Gotta love it!

An early FF story by John Byrne, from when he was trying to break into the comics industry, can be found at his website. Click on "Galleries"/"The Early Days"/"Fan Fiction"/"FF Fan Fiction 1973". The images are taken from a Comics Interview printing of the story, for which Byrne contributed a note tentatively dating the story to 1974.

The story is too long for a normal-size issue. At that point Marvel wasn't doing annuals. Its Giant-Size titles, most of which carried new lead stories of varying lengths, began appearing in early 1974. Buckler's FF run, to which Byrne's note also refers, started with #142, on-sale in Oct. 1973.


In the tale, Reed and Ben discover a woman in a space capsule orbiting the Earth. They bring her back to the Baxter Building. She wakes up and fights the Torch, but the FF capture her. Reed reveals (p.19) that the woman comes from Counter-Earth. (The model Reed is pointing at in panel 2 is of our Solar System, and he is pointing to the third planet, which is Earth. Panel 3 shows the two Earths. The FF had not had dealings with Counter-Earth when the story was created, so p.19 may have been intended as their discovery of its existence.)


From this point the story is harder to follow. p.20 seems to be a page for text explaining more about Counter-Earth. It has panels depicting the FF's origin at the right and bottom. My guess is there was supposed to be text explaining that the High Evolutionary prevented the FF's Counter-Earth counterparts from acquiring the same powers. I think p.21 is out of sequence and belongs between p.29 and p.30. I can best explain p.22 as an intended cover.(1)


On pp.23-24 Reed succeeds in communicating with the woman, initiating a flashback sequence. In this, Counter-Sue, Crystal and Johnny ( p.27 panel 4, which shows him dressed in a safety suit, reveals him to be the third figure) conduct an experiment involving an android (which looks like one of the Mad Thinker's or the Adaptoid before it had imprinted on anyone). There is an explosion.


p.27 is particularly hard to interpret. Counter-Sue wakes up and discovers Counter-Crystal injured or dead. Counter-Johnny visits Counter-Sue or Crystal in hospital. (The woman looks like Sue to me, but Johnny's gesture in the panel might fit better with her being Crystal.) A funeral is held either for Counter-Crystal or Sue.


At least one page, and probably more than one, is missing after p.27. On p.28 Counter-Crystal bursts into flame and attacks an older man. Counter-Johnny uses a hose to put out her fire. The older man convinces Counter-Johnny that she must be exiled to space in a capsule. p.21 shows how the capsule came to our Earth.

On p.30 Johnny expresses an interest in the woman (he lost Crystal to Quicksilver in 1972, although they didn't marry until 1974) . Reed explains either that what he's suggesting can never be or that they can't allow her free. Johnny walks off in a funk.

I can fit p.27 and p.28 together on the hypothesis that p.27 depicts the death of Counter-Crystal and the woman on p.28 is her android duplicate. Her propensity for bursting into flame could be a parallel for the Golden Age Human Torch's, the older man could be Counter-Professor Horton, and his decision to exile her to space could be a parallel to Horton's treatment of the original Torch (believing him to be dangerous, he kept him in a vacuum and imprisoned him in a block of concrete). Possibly she's the android Counter-Sue and the others were working on in the preceding sequence. p.27 panel 2 might depict Sue's discovery of the dead Crystal and panel 3 her discovery that the android has transformed itself, Adaptoid-style, to look like her. The figure in the bed in panel 3 might be the android. This somewhat far-fetched theory would explain the Torch's interest in the woman but not why the FF don't seem to recognise her as looking like Crystal[2] when she clearly looks like Crystal on p.28. But if anyone has a alternative explanation, please share.


(1) I have a qualm about this, as it's a weak image for a cover and an image of the FF fighting the She-Torch might have been expected. But the preceding pages don't explain the distress the Torch displays on this page.

(2) Reed and Ben don't tell the Torch about her when they bring her to the Baxter Building, and they aren't depicted as contacting the Inhumans about her.

Incidentally, my recollection is Byrne has said the reason some of the female faces are so weak is they were redrawn by another hand to show the story could still be used after Medusa replaced Sue on the FF's roster. Part of the story has been very professionally inked, which is another reason for the art's variation in quality.

This page has articles on many of the artists who worked for the British publisher Fleetway.

This post displaced the thread Last of the Year Reviews, Part 2 from the home page.

My favorite thread. Long time no see, my friends. Oh, and an HTML editor? This just got real, yo.

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