Not too long a day.

*The best part about last week’s column showing up only a few days ago? Now there’s an all-new one today! This week’s slab of thinking is a little more pastoral than usual, and readers with photographic memories will note that it’s expanded from a passing comment I made in an earlier post, one that I then couldn’t get out of my head. It deals with comics as periodicals, and periodicals reflecting their own date of release. Not in a historical sense, but in a seasonal sense, a more immediate, arguably shallower reflection. But maybe not. Have at it.

*Gearing up for some big Astro Boy/Pluto discussion tomorrow (get a quick taste of thoughts by myself and others here), so this one’ll be a little short again. I did check out the new Entertainment Weekly (#829), and there’s a short sidebar feature in the ‘Books’ section on All-Star Batman and Robin, the Boy Wonder. Interestingly, they opt to interview Jim Lee over the more media-visible Frank Miller; looking for someone fresh, mayhap? Lee promises “humorous jabs” at the concept of Batman from Robin’s perspective. I’m still wondering how Miller plans to approach the whole throwback ‘12-year old in hot pants’ concept of the latter character; certainly his Batman seems to be familiar, growling stuff like “You’ve just been drafted. Into a war,” as the article teases. Other than that, it’s all stuff you already know, like the fact that it’s a quasi-sequel to Batman: Year One. Lee talks a little about trying to incorporate classic ’40s and ’50s Batman visual cues into a resolutely Frank Miller plot, so maybe that’ll turn out interesting.

As anyone who’s read this site for more than three posts can figure out, I’m a bit more looking forward to that other All-Star book arriving late this year, although I actually thought that Miller’s DK2 was a decent book, certainly a step up from a number of recent Sin City volumes, and possessed of a resolutely individual charm. It reminded me a lot of Elektra: Assassin in tone, and that’s the best book Miller ever wrote. for my money.

Oh, and the Fantastic Four movie got a ‘C’ from Owen Gleiberman, in a delightfully curt 100-word review (“…clumsy, chintzy, cheesy… who needs these cardboard heroes anyway?”). He's not alone in his feelings. The feature review space is surrendered to the smallish, buzz-laden documentary Murderball, even over the much-bigger Dark Water (which looked like an Armageddon of unintentional laffs from its trailer; something about the adorable little girl unable to control her finger-paints slays me every time).

*Oooh, oooh, oh! Specs released for the big 7-disc Unseen Cinema box set, due out on October 18 for only $99.95 (much cheaper online, I'd wager)! It "represents 100 avant-garde, professional, and amateur filmmakers working before World War II and is considerably refined from the touring film program." I don't care if this news only excites Matt Fraction and myself; it's great!

*Smart words:

If this movie had used zombies instead of aliens and was directed by George Romero instead of Steven Spielberg yet was in every other way the same, the genre in-crowd would be going berserk for it right about now.”

-Sean T. Collins, teasing us about his upcoming review of the curiously rejected-by-online-fandom War of the Worlds (never have I heard so much yearning for Independence Day across the message boards… and was that admittedly miscalculated ending really any worse that the outright howler that capped the similarly creeps-over-explosions toned invasion epic Signs?). I said stuff here.