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Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Heavy Metal Heritage: Metal as Religion?

Via the always awesome Neatorama comes this item from the UK Telegraph:

Fans campaign for heavy metal to be recognised as religion
From the article:

They are being asked to officially register their faith as ''heavy metal'' while filling in the next Census questionnaire...Rock magazine Metal Hammer launched its campaign last week and has already attracted nearly 10,000 followers to a Facebook group...
It has even gained the backing of a metal figurehead, Saxon frontman Biff Byford, whom the magazine says will become the proposed faith's ''world metal peace ambassador'' if the campaign proves successful.

If you are unfamiliar with Saxon or Biff Byford here's the video for the 1981 New Wave of British Heavy Metal Anthem, Denim and Leather:

This movement is partly inspired by the recognition of Jedi as a religion by several English speaking nations in 2001.

Of course Metal has a long history of viewing itself in quasi-religious terms. A fine example is Judas Priest's 1984 album, Defenders of the Faith.

The album had this quote on the back cover:
"Rising from darkness where Hell hath no mercy and the screams for vengeance echo on forever. Only those who keep the faith shall escape the wrath of the Metallian... Master of all metal."
Sounds biblical, in a metal sort of way...

You also have the examples of bands with religous sounding names like Metal Church, Armored Saint, Iron Savior, and of course Black Sabbath. Sabbath is largely responsible for a lot of the religious imagery in metal. Ozzy Osbourne wore large crosses from the very earliest days of Black Sabbath.

There is also a metal obsession with angels, particularly fallen ones. You have bands like Death Angel and Angel Witch as well as albums like Angel of Retribution (Judas Priest), Angels Fall First (Nightwish) and Angel Down (Sebastian Bach). I'm sure there are literally hundreds of other examples of fallen angels in lyrics, song titles and artwork throughout the history of metal.

Here is a rather lengthy piece on heavy metal and it's similiarities to and odd relationship with religion.

If they're successful in their attempt to have metal officially recognized as a religion, maybe this could be the official uniform of the faith.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Could Apple's iTablet bring me back to monthly comics?

There is much anticipation of Apple's big announcement this Wednesday, with pretty much everyone expecting them to reveal some kind of slate or tablet style computer. As someone who gave up on reading monthly 'floppy' comics in 2006 because of ever-increasing prices, the notion of a digital comics reader is somewhat intriguing.

I'm sure the comics industry will have some sort of app/reader for comics available for the device when it finally ships (if they are smart).

One key here for me is pricing.  If the price of the iSlate/iTablet/iDunno is reasonable out of the gate, or falls to a reasonable price in the next few years I'll consider getting one.  I'll probably be in the market for a laptop in a few years anyway, and all the apps that will be available will just mean added value. If Marvel/DC (or any other publisher) wants to recapture lost readers (and entice newer ones) they will have to price their digital comics reasonably.  They will have an opportunity here to win big, or shoot themselves in the foot.

The print version of Fantastic Four #575 will be in stores on the same day as Apple's announcement and is cover priced at $2.99, which is now pretty typical, with some titles hitting the $3.99 mark.  I stopped when most titles hit $2.25-$2.50 an issue.  I was reading anywhere from 10-15 titles a month at that point and spending about $35 a month on my comics habit.  My choice was to cut back on titles, which I did for a while, or spend more money, which I couldn't afford to do.  Ultimately I decided to pick up the odd trade paperback, OGN, or collection, and get a complete story for my comics dollar.  This of course took me out of the shops regularly and my comics consumption has dropped accordingly due to the price of the books.

If an iTunes style, digital comics service could deliver a title for $.99 per issue (or less), I'd seriously consider reading them monthly again.  At that price, I could afford 10 regular titles a month and the ability to sample newer releases or limited series without breaking the bank.  Additionally if I find a series or story arc worth hanging on to, then I can always purchase a collected print version when it becomes available.

Another obvious key factor will be how these comics read on the device, and if the portability can help with the loss of that tactile experience of the printed page.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

The T-Shirts of The Big Bang Theory

As a guy who digs t-shirts so much I started to design my own, I'm a big fan of the geeky shirts worn by Sheldon and Leonard on the CBS comedy 'The Big Bang Theory'.  I'm not the only one.  The folks over at have catalogued and located many of the shirts worn by the guys on the show.  They've even determined which shirts are no longer available, and tracked down several of Howard's belt buckles.  I myself have Leonard's Cassette tee! :

Friday, January 15, 2010

Save Free TV!

I was looking for some retro audio at the Internet Archive and stumbled across this amusing gem from the early days of Cable Television:

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Peter Sarsgaard is Hector Hammond

Actor Peter Sarsgaard has  been cast as Hector Hammond in the Ryan Reynolds Green Lantern movie. I've always liked Hammond's freakishly large skull, so I mocked up a Sarsgaard-Hammond in Photoshop:

Friday, January 8, 2010

A-Team Trailer and an Alternate

Well, the A-Team Trailer has been available here and there today:

If that one gets taken down, which seems likely, check out this fake trailer from 2007.  I kind of like the idea of them keeping the team as Vietnam veterans, acting as aging Soldiers of Fortune.  Morgan Freeman as B.A. seems oddly inspired:

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Hey Kids, Comics!

The University of Nebraska has a pretty cool collection of Government Sponsored Comics.

Many are available for download as PDFs, including one on the Operation and Preventative Maintenance of your M16A1 Rifle illustrated by comics legend Will Eisner.

Read about Captain America fighting drugs, Yogi Bear prepping for earthquakes, Lil Abner joining the Navy, or Supergirl and the importance of safety belts. Lots of civic-minded stuff about Zip Codes, Nutrition, and the invasion of Grenada.

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