Wonder Woman’s New costume: Big Deal, or not?

So, this probably really isn’t news, or that big of a deal, but everyone is talking about it, so I thought I would add my 2 cents as well. I am never much on costume changes. But, I am generally ready to accept them and move on with the story. But, I am also a Marvel man, and Marvel is constantly changing their characters costumes. However, DC seems to have issues changing their main characters costumes at all.

First off, there are several things going for the old costume. It’s very well known, and a very iconic costume. The whole Red, White, and Blue, Stars and Stripes theme is always big with people. And it has been, with few deviance’s, her basic costume from the beginning.  The original costume started with the Red, White and Blue, with an eagle on her chest. It wasn’t long before the skirt was converted to shorts. Her first real costume change came in the late 60’s through early 70’s when Denny O’Neil took over. He depowered her, and basically just put her in the fashions of the time. However, by 1972, she was back in her original costume, but with much more leg showing.

Of course, everyone who was around in the 70’s remembers this era’s iconic costume being worn by Linda Carter in the Wonder Woman television series. Then, in 1982, DC got rid of the eagle on her outfit, replacing it with the double W insignia.

In 1988, George Perez took over and made some changes to the backstory that finally gave a logical explanation for why an Amazonian would be wearing an American flag costume by saying American pilot Diana Rockwell Trevor crashed on Themyscira. Because Diana Trevor was considered a savior of the Amazons, two suits were made from the items found on her plane; one was worn by Diana after her death, and the other was put away until Wonder Woman won the honor of wearing it.

In 1995 Wonder Woman received her second major deviation from the main costume, when Artemis takes on the mantle of Wonder Woman. So, Diana takes on a dark blue costume consisting of shorts and basically a bikini, covered with a jacket and gloves. However, this costume did not last long, and when John Byrne took over the title in that same year, he converted it back to a simplified version of the basic costume.

For the most part, the costume had remained the same since 1995. There were some minor tweaks here and there, but the main aspects of the costume continued to stay the same. At least, until now! Jim Lee and J. Michael Strazynski have worked to change the costume one more time. At first, I was a little upset with the change. As many have stated, the costume is very iconic, and Wonder Woman is one of DC’s Superhero Trinity that includes Superman and Batman. Superman has had his share of forays into attempts at other costumes, and Batman’s has stayed fairly true to the original with tweaks here and there throughout his history. And Wonder Woman’s costume change is only the third major change from the basic costume.

As I started looking closer at the costume, and reading a bit more on it, I am now converted to actually liking the new costume. It definitely looks more functional than her normal outfit. For one thing she is now wearing pants, rather than a bikini bottom. While the colors change a bit, there are still some of the important aspects that have been kept. The double W is still there, albeit smaller and less pronounced, and of course the bracers are still a part of the costume. And, to me, the tiara is an important aspect of the costume as well, and they have kept this as well.

I think this costume is actually a great change. I don’t think an Amazonian should be wearing an American Flag costume, since she is not American. It sends a message that she is an American hero, when, given that she is from a foreign country, she really is not. Also, as others have stated, I have a feeling that this was created to get people used to it now, so they could use this costume design in a movie version, as it will be very hard to have a woman fill out the Wonder Woman outfit without looking cartoony or ridiculous. This particular costume would work very well for a movie version, and if it is introduced in the comics now, there will be less backlash when they use the costume in the movie version, which is doubtless to happen anyway.

I think the new costume is great; keeping enough of the original, yet updating it to a functional costume that will look good as well. The thing that bugs me more is the fact that JMS is changing her back story again. I look forward to this outfit being around for quite awhile, but I imagine as soon as another writer takes over the title, the costume will revert back to a variation of the original.

So, what do you think. Is the costume a good change, or should it be reverted back to the original?

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July 4th Weekend

Wow, this Fourth of July sure did sneak up on us this year. And here we are, Friday of the holiday weekend. And boy, is it already crazy around Vancouver, Washington tonight. In the past, Vancouver has allowed fireworks to be used up to a week before and a week after the 4th. However, this year they have extremely limited this to July 1st through midnight on the 4th. And the locals have once again seemed to save up all year to purchase enough fireworks to last those four days.

It started tonight, just after dark. Of course the first day or two, firecrackers of all types and sizes seem to be the preferred form of fireworks. Anything that is loud and makes lots of noise. The bright, pretty ones tend to be saved for the third and fourth. Of course, the dog is going crazy, scared from all the bangs and pops. And the kids are having problems sleeping. We all get up tomorrow and go into the store, and I understand that most of the neighbors have the whole weekend off. But do they really need to still be setting off firecrackers at midnight and 1 am? Especially when the legal cut off is 11 pm. Ah well. It only happens once a year, and it seems to make all the neighbors happy to so.

We are very happy to have found out that the Vancouver Firework show is back this year. The company that had been funding the show pulled out, and no one had stepped up to take their place. It was feared that we would not have our normal show. The Vancouver show has been the biggest west of the Mississippi for years, but it may not keep that title this year. With no funding, the Fort Vancouver National Reserve is picking up the tab, and scaling back so they can afford to do so. It used to be the fireworks were set off from a barge on the Columbia river, but this year they will be set off from the Fort Vancouver National Park instead. Hopefully we will find a good place to see them this year.

If you are in Oregon or Washington there are a few other fireworks shows to see. For Central Washington, Yakima always puts on a pretty good show. On the Oregon coast, there are shows at Depot Bay, Rockaway Beach, and Astoria among others. Hood River, Oregon has a pretty good show for such a small town. There are several shows in the Portland area, such as Oaks Park, and PGE park, among others. And of course there are shows in Seattle and Tacoma as well. Now, I know I did not mention all of them, and I apologize for any I missed, but I am running out of brain power for the evening…. 🙂

We want to wish everyone a safe and happy Fourth of July. Enjoy your time with family, or camping, and watching your local fireworks display!

Comic Conventions

Hey all. Been kind of slow here so far, but I am going to try to do better from here on out!

So, coming up in July is the International Comic Con in San Diego. What used to be the largest gathering of comic fans has become so much more. Not only is it the biggest comic convention, it is now where Hollywood likes to test out trailers of some of their biggest movies. Not just comic book movies anymore either. But, I’m not really going to discuss the International Comic Con.

There are multi-day Comic Conventions in many places these days. New York has two, Seattle has the Emerald City Comic Con, and Phoenix, AZ has one, and Heroes con in Charlotte, NC is going on right now. There are many others as well. While we do have the Portland Comic Book Show, and now Stumptown Comic fest, given Portland’s comic book pedigree, you would think we would have a large, multi-day convention.

Portland is home to Dark Horse Comics, as well as Oni Press, Top Shelf Productions, and Image-Shadowline. Not to mention all the comic creators in the area, such as Kurt Busiek, Greg Rucka, and Brian Micheal Bendis (I apologize to all the creators I did not mention, but we love you all too!). Two years in a row April has been declared Comic Month by mayor Sam Adams. With all these comic book companies, creators, and the attitude in the area about comics, why do we not have a large convention?

I think Stumptown may be on the way to becoming this type of convention. There are things going on throughout the comic book community during Stumptown Comics fest. Unfortunately I have not yet had the chance to attend Stumptown yet, but do plan on attending, and hopefully having a booth, at next years fest. I feel that the Comic companies in the area should be all behind putting together and promoting a large convention here in Portland. I don’t expect them to totally fund it, or to run it, but I would think that they would want to have something like this in their home area.

I for one would love to see Portland getting a large, multi-day Comic convention. I feel that it would not only be good for the comic companies, but for the city and economy as well. Lets hope Stumptown begins to build itself into one of these large conventions that pulls in comic book people from all over to visit our beautiful and green city.

Memorial Day

Well, I have been gone from writing for quite a while due to way too much homework, and not enough brain power. I just wanted to say a little something today before heading our for a short day trip to honor some of my family members.

Memorial day has always been a special day for my family. I remember as I was growing up, we would gather up the flowers, and take along some different gardening tools, and head out to Pine Grove cemetery. We would park, and head up to where my Great-grandparents are. We would spend some time cutting the grass from around the headstones, and sweeping them off with a little hand broom. We would place the flowers in the little containers, and those who remembered them would maybe tell a little something they always remembered them doing or saying.

As the years went on, there were more family members there; Uncle Ray, Uncle Gil, and then Grandpa, and my Grandma Z from my dad’s side of the family as well. Now, we also go and honor my wife’s Mother, and sister Marna.And at the Parkdale cemetery we have my grandfathers parents, Pop and Pearl.

We all need to think about, and remember those who have passed. But, as always, keep in mind all those who have served our country, and those that have made the ultimate sacrifice in protecting our rights and freedoms. While I have not had anyone that has died while serving, I have had plenty of family members that have served our country in the military.

So, as I head to Pine Grove cemetery this morning, I hope everyone is remembering their loved ones and those who have given themselves for us. Whether you are heading to the cemeteries yourself, or having a family get together and BBQ, remember them, and tell those who don’t remember them, your favorite stories about those who are gone.

Creating an Online presence

Wow. When I first opened my bookstore, I was not aware of all the social media sites out there, and how important they are. There are sites like Facebook, MySpace, Twitter, and LinkedIn, as well as blogs and all the local searches in which customers can rate and write a review of a business. Not only is it important to have accounts at these social media sites, but it is even more important to be looking at what people are saying about you.

In the past, when you had an unhappy customer, you often did not know they were unhappy. They left without saying anything, and are likely to not ever come back. On top of that, they are likely to tell more of their friends about their bad experience than a happy customer will. These were always the most dangerous customers, but once they left the business, you never knew what they were doing, and it was too late to fix whatever the problem was. Now, that unhappy customer is going to go to a site such as Yelp.com, or even find you on one of the social media sites, and write a review that will now be seen by hundreds, and in some cases thousands, of potential customers. With online reviews, you can lose customers before you even have the chance to wow them. However, this does give you the chance to see what is being said about you, and now, have your say and possibly fix whatever the problem was.

It is so hard for a small business to get noticed online as well. I have had my Facebook page for quite some time, almost a year, and there are very few fans that are not family or friends. But, I am learning, and trying to get more comfortable with this whole new type of marketing. It may take some time, but I will make this work!

Going Green

My wife and I like to think we are doing our part for the environment, even if it is just little things. We recycle all the paper, plastic, and tin cans we use. We often shop at second-hand stores, and always donate the things we don’t use anymore to second-hand stores, Freecycle, and other local charities that can use them. We have tried to do our little part for many years. This is why I was so sickened at some of the practices that large retail stores use when disposing of unwanted items.

Clothing was recently mentioned on an AOL blog, and how retailers throw away clothes that don’t sell, rather than donating them to those who need clothes that cannot afford them. But, as a reader, and a lover of books, and of trees, the practice that sickened me the most was what they did with books after a certain time period. Now, I understand that these retailers only have so much room for books, and that they need to change out new, better selling books for those that have been there awhile and are not selling. But they could send those books back and have them sold somewhere else, or even sent to be recycled. But no. The distributors come into the stores and pull the old books off of the shelves and pile them into carts. Once the new books are out, they take those carts to the back room. Here, they proceed to tear the covers off the books, apparently for two reasons. One, so that they have a count of what books they had to get rid of, and also to make sure that no one could sell the books if they get a hold of them. After tearing off all the covers, they then toss all of those books into the garbage compactor. I have seen them throw up to 3 carts full of books into the compactor at one time. Multiply this by all the times they come into the stores to do this, and by each store in just one of these companies, and you can soon see how dramatic this waste of paper products is.

The retailers and the book distributors claim it costs too much to ship the books back than to just throw them away. But really, is the amount they save by throwing them away any better than the long-term costs of the loss of trees and other environmental concerns that come with this waste? I would think the book publishers and distributors would get some sort of tax credit or refunds for recycling all these books. In today’s climate of sustainability, environmental consciousness, and “Going Green”, shouldnt these companies start being environmentally responsible?

Again, I and my wife are trying to do our part. Our small business is based on trying to be environmentally conscious, even if it is in just a small way. I think of all those books being thrown away, and think of how many people throw away books when they finish them. Then I think of all the people who really enjoy reading, but can’t pay out the $6 to $8 for a brand new paperback novel. So, we offer pre-read/gently used/used books for an affordable price. Our company tagline is: Reduce, Reuse, ReRead! (Thank you to our 10-year-old son Alex for this!) Another I like to use is: “It’s old to someone else, but it’s Gnu-To-You!” Cheesy, I know, but I think you can get the point. Why throw away so many books when there are people out there who would love to read them but just can’t afford a brand new one. Especially in our current economy. If you are looking for a book to read, do you really mind if there are some creases or a few marks on the book? Especially if you can purchase a $6 book for $2?! The enjoyment of reading the book and saving the $4 is well worth the creasing and marks that you might come across. Some will say that this undercuts the publishers and authors. But, if a reader has to choose between not purchasing a book at all, or purchasing a used book, do the publishers and authors really lose anything? And, if that person likes that author, they are likely to praise them and suggest them to friends, who might be willing and able to go buy that brand new copy. Or, maybe they will get introduced to an author they find in my store, and then go buy copies of their latest book when it comes out.

We all need to do our parts to help keep our planet Green. I’m trying to do my part in little ways. Imagine, just like my example of throwing the books away, and multiplying that by each visit and each store, if we all did our part in little ways, those little ways will add up to big and important changes in the future. In the end, each little thing adds up until those little things are really tremendous things that truly do help.

New to the world of blogging

Well, here we are. We’ve taken the next step into the technological world. I will be discussing a number of different things here on our blog; books, comic books, authors, artists, local stuff, family stuff, and maybe even a comment or two about things going on in the world. I am new at this, so it may take me a bit to get into the swing of thing, so please bear with me:-)