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The superior intellect of a grammar professor!

Yes, comic books can also be textbooks! Though it may not seem so at first, Reed Richards, the so-called "Mr. Fantastic" and self-described genius, is correctly using the word "myself" in the above panel.

According to my Unabridged Second Edition-Deluxe Color Webster's New Twentieth Century Dictionary (which surprisingly has color on only 16 of 2,305 pages), the word "myself" is defined "a form of the first person singular pronoun, used: (a) as an intensive; as I went myself; (b) as a reflexive; as I hurt myself; (c) as a quasi-noun meaning 'my real, true, or actual self'; I am not myself when I rage like that." While the Quicksilver may use the first example sentence and the Incredible Hulk the third, Mr. Fantastic is clearly interested in hurting himself, so to speak.

In Reed's sentence, "myself" is an intensive pronoun referring to the sentence subject, "person." If Reed had said "I have that qualification myself," there would be less confusion, but super geniuses just don't talk like common people. For the sake of clarification, consider the following sentence diagram (don't look at me like that; sentence diagramming is way more fun than Sudoku):

Finally! After 25 years, I have a use for 7th grade sentence diagramming!

So there you have it: proof that repeating anything that Mr. Fantastic says is not only melodramatic fun, it's also grammatically correct. It really gives us all something to think about, doesn't it?

Know it all.

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I just returned from watching the Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer movie. The first thing that struck me about the film was that the title for the movie was on screen for about 5 seconds, barely giving me enough time to really look at it. Maybe I'm spoiled after all of those Batman films that really lingered on the bat symbol, but it seemed very quick. My brother pointed out that if I didn't know what film I was there to see, the brief view of the title was the least of my problems.

I wholeheartedly endorse the latest FF movie, by the way. It's all light action with spectacular jovial and often heartfelt interplay between the four teammates. It's exactly what has made the Four so popular in comic books. And the movie is drastically different from most other super hero films, except the TMNT feature released a few months back. Which, when you stop to consider that the heart of that movie is the interaction of the four ninja turtles, perhaps shouldn't be so surprising. In fact, this is likely the answer to the giant flaw in the recent Superman movie: more interaction with characters, fewer brooding loners. The old television Adventures of Superman is great fun to watch because of the actions of Clark, Lois, and Jimmy, with a touch of infallible, god-like Superman to save the day, not rain on their parade.

So make note, movie producers: we -- or at least I -- want to see enjoyable character interaction in my power-packed, comic-inspired films, not boring retreads of told-to-death origin stories where the heroes only obstacles are self-doubt, terribly poor self-discipline, lack of morality, and Kryptonite.

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Today I wore a Fantastic Four logo t-shirt with my Superboy leather jacket, and the sales staff at Best Buy, EB Games, and Kroger all gave me grief about wearing Marvel and DC trademarks together. I was impressed by the knowledge that these people had about comic book publishers and copyrights. Though they were admittedly all much, much younger than I am, each property had a movie in the past 2 years, so I shouldn't be too surprised, I suppose. In any event, long live comic books!

It's a bird, it's a plane, it's a leather jacket!

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What with an election coming up in a few days, I'm being bombarded by advertisements telling me how lousy all of my leaders are. Is this sort of negative, petty message, condoned by our collective social passive acceptance, really indicative of how Americans wish to interpret the world around us? My innate cynical response is, "yes, and we deserve it."

On a related note, I found the following panel in the Fantastic Four story "The Skrull Takes A Slave," originally published in issue #90 in 1969 while a "police action" was ongoing in Southeast Asia. I think it sums up a lot of what you see debated on CNN these days. (See? Comics can be topical, even prescient.)

How can you argue with a guy named Mr. Fantastic? If you like your messages well mixed, please note that the "savage"-ly interrogated Mole Man makes his escape just 3 pages later in that same issue once the powerful Thing stops paying attention. (Stan Lee always loved his morality in shades of gray.)

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I just discovered the game Freedom Force. How have I put off playing this? It's great! The entire Fantastic Four, together, in a great game! Almost wants me to Make Mine Marvel, but only until I pick up one of their books. (That's probably the best endorsement I can give a game: it makes me want to read Marvel Comics again.)

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To be continued...


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