Friday, June 5, 2009

What is Essential?

I’ve mentioned before how much I love the original Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe. I have a bunch of the single issues from back in the day and the Marvel Essential trade paperback collecting all 15 issues. But here’s the problem with the Marvel Essentials line: lack of color. Again I was flipping through the trade paperback and stumbled on the S.H.I.E.L.D. Uniforms entry. Now S.H.I.E.L.D. (Supreme Headquarters International Espionage Law-enforcement Division), headed by Executive Director Nick Fury, is “an extra-governmental intelligence and security organization dedicated to protecting the nations and peoples of Earth from all threats, terrestrial or extraterrestrial.”

Initially looking at the entry in the Handbook, I suddenly felt like I was eight years old and sitting in my pediatrician’s waiting room trying to figure out the “find the difference between these pictures” puzzle in Highlights. I was completely baffled by the entry because I missed the “color of accessories denotes rank” comment on the page.

I ended up having to pull out the original issue of the OHOTMU to figure out the color coded designations. Level 1: Executive Directors (Fury) has white accessories and white gloves (all other levels have blue gloves); Level 2: Special Directors have white accessories; Level 3: Regional Directors have yellow accessories. Even in the color depictions, I don’t see a difference between Level 4: Special Officers and Level 5: Regional Officers, both appear to have orange/brown accessories. Level 6: Field Agents have red accessories; Level 7: Administrators have brown accessories; and Level 8: Technicians have blue/gray accessories.

While I appreciate what Marvel has done with the Essentials line of trade paperbacks (cheaply reproducing batches of original titles in black and
white provides fans a low-cost way to catch up on or revisit decades-old issues), you can see the trouble a black and white reproduction of certain titles can sometimes pose.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Vintage Central Florida, Part 4

Probably my favorite sign of the bunch, the Beefy King was also a favorite place to grab a bite to eat for lunch when I was a bachelor and lived nearby. And, unlike a lot of the signs I shot back in '98, it appears to still be in business (and it damn well should be!).

424 North Bumby Avenue, Orlando, Florida