July 17, 2011 -- Here are some thoughts rambling through my head that aren't worth a whole post by themselves:
1) Marvel is ribbing DC's relaunch in their most recent solicitations by bragging about their high issue numbers. You've probably seen "Uncanny X-Men -- still at #340!" or whatever. But I've noticed that Marvel is, in fact, relaunching a lot of their long-running series on the sly:
Toss in the resurrections of Ghost Rider, Moon Knight and Alpha Flight, all with #1s, and that's at least 10 relaunches in recent months. It's not 52, but it's still too many to be bragging about how they've kept their old numbering.
2) I love having Legionnaires from around the world, offering unique insights and perspectives. And I'm frequently reminded of that by a peculiar difference between American English and UK English: verb-subject agreement. I first noticed it in sports (which the English refer to as "sport"), where Americans say St. Louis IS but the Cardinals ARE doing such-and-such, shifting from singular to possessive depending on the subject. But I hear on BBC radio UK speakers using the plural no matter what, so Manchester ARE doing such-and-so, which sounds weird to American ears. This also applies to "United States" as a subject; American says the United States IS doing such-and-such -- we actually fought a bloody war to establish that the USA is, indeed, a singular noun and not a collection of individual states that can secede at any time -- but UK speakers say "the United States are" -- which, again, sounds odd to American ears.
I may have some of the above mucked up -- I don't actually memorize how UK speakers talk, I only notice when a noun/subject "disagreement" sets off my copy editor sense -- but it also applies to Marvel and DC. American speakers generally use the two as singular nouns, whereas UK speakers generally use the two as plural nouns. Americans say "Marvel is ... " while UK speakers say "Marvel are ..."
The upshot is that every time I read "DC are run by boring guys in suits" or "Marvel are run by monkeys" I'm reminded how wide-spread the Legion of Superfluous Heroes is, how much diversity we have, how much cultural exchange is going on ... and it makes me smile.
3) Years ago, the Frito Bandito was officially and publicly banished by Frito-Lay as an offensive cultural stereotype. I haven't heard anything to corroborate this, but it appears the same is true of any heavily-accented Mexican character, from Jose Jimenez to Speedy Gonzales to Baba Louie (in Quick-Draw McGraw). Whereas other offensive cultural stereotypes, such as Pepe LePew, seem to still be around. Anybody know?
4) In the current Avengers cartoon, the three-part season ender had the Assemblers banished to the nine realms of Norse mythology, whereupon they had to battle back to Asgard to confront Loki.
It's interesting to note that Captain America was in Niffleheim or Muspelheim or Hel (I've forgotten which, but it was one of the lands of the dead) where he met the shades of deceased Howling Commandos -- including JACK Fury, the African-American commander of the squad. In the comics, of course, Jack Fury was a World War ONE veteran, and Caucasian, while Nick was the WWII Howler, and, of course, also Caucasian. Evidently the concept of Nick Fury as an African-American has now made a third leap in the culture, from the Ultimate universe to the movies and now to the cartoons (and Fury's WWII connection has been severed). The problem, of course, is that the U.S. armed forces weren't integrated in World War II, and the idea of a black man commanding white troops was, AFAIK, impossible. I like a black Nick Fury just fine -- and who doesn't love Samuel L. M-Fin' Jackson -- but I don't like history being messed with. We need to be aware of our mistakes, so we don't repeat them, and anachronisms like this bury the mistakes of our past. And the way America has historically treated its black sons and daughters is a Very Big Mistake that should not be, ahem, whitewashed.
Another interesting bit is that Tony Stark was marooned in whichever world the trolls live in ... you know, the trolls who forged Thor's Mjolnir and Odin's Gungnir. So, naturally, Stark and the trolls forged Uru, Asgardian, Iron Man armor! That was pretty cool ... and now I read that this bit is being repeated (nine-fold!) in 'Fear Itself.' Coincidence? Cross-pollination? The tail wagging the dog? I don't know, but it's interesting.
Those are some of the thoughts rattling around in my head on a lazy, hot Sunday. Now to go watch the Japan-U.S. match in the women's World Cup final. GOOOOOOOOALLLL!