* Perhaps no one will find this as much fun as I did so I'm not sure why I'm putting it up top, but after Bryan Lee O'Malley made an innocent comment on Twitter about Vernors Ginger Ale – America's oldest pop – a bevy of dumb links came my way both by accident and choice. See, Vernors is something of a staple in my hometown of Flint, Michigan as its bottled locally by friendly gnomes who make it so powerful that one sip causes the uninitiated to sneeze uncontrollably. Said gnomes have been immortalized in a giant mural downtown, a portion of which you can see above and the history of which you can read here with plenty more pics. (There was also a Michigan State-themed mural in East Lansing when I went to college, but it's sadly been painted over). As for Vernors history, I suggest this delightfully short version or go to the Vernors Wikipedia page which has a nice rundown of how the pop was finally distributed nationally (the issue of which kicked off the whole thing) and to learn about the Boston Cooler – greatest milkshake known to mankind.
Perhaps more exciting was Sean T. Collins' unveiling of this amazing, fantastic, stupendous, brilliant map showing how different folks in different regions of America refer to the sugary, carbonated beverages that comprise the majority of our non-booze drinkery. After living in New York for three years, I was almost ready to succeed that I was weird for saying "pop" because so many insisted that "soda" was how "most of the country" referred to it. However, after closer inspection of this fine map, I'm sticking to my guns and not allowing the coasts to dictate what we Midwesterners do or say (as with most things, the South is just odd. I mean really...everything is Coke?).
Any New Yorkers reading this can feel free to try and dissuade me from this course of thought, but seriously, you people say "wait on line" which is fucking stupid, so I'm not sure you've got any kind of case.
* In other "fun waste of time with friends" news, my good bud and website designer Matt Bleicher (brother of he known as grog) has launched the site Robots - For The Win! This blog collects and analyzes the slow takeover of our species by mechanical men as inspired by a "Trading Places" style $1.00 bet. Bookmark now.
* OK, on to things more important. This week, Marvel's Tom Brevoort drew our attention to the need to remember two of comics most unique voices lost too soon: legendary writer/editor Mark Gruenwald and acclaimed artist Mike Wieringo. I never had the chance to meet either man, but did some e-mail with Ringo, who was always a class act on top of being one of my favorite artists since I first bought this comic at the local grocery store based on the cover alone. In any event, the way I kept these creators fresh in my mind this week included reading Sean's excellent review of Gruenwald's Squadron Supreme at Savage Critics and by popping over to Ringo's jaw-dropping sketch blog, kept going thanks to the efforts of his brother. And if you have any of their comics around the house, I don't think this would be a bad weekend to pull them out for another read, huh?
* Hey. "G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra"? Worst fucking movie I've seen in years. A total pile of dog shit. I can't even think of anything clever to say here, and there's no link. I just needed to get that off my chest and IMing with Ben about it last night didn't do enough to purge what I saw from my brain. God, I hope Larry Hama got some serious retirement cash off that thing. May they never make another.
* To cleanse the pallet a bit, this week on Cartoon Brew, Jerry Beck posted the following video of 92-year-old former Termite Terrace ink and paint girl Martha Sigall explaining the creation Bugs Bunny. Not only is it really informative and interesting, Sigall is totally fucking adorable:
"That's a fuzzy wuzzy name." Guh. If you have the chance, please call your grandma soon and tell her you love her.
* I can't believe I'd never heard of any of this Link: Then again, Irish comics from the late 1800's is kind of a specialized field. Bookmark that site, though, as I'm hoping the rest of the series is that interesting and enlightening. (Via Everyone)
* Brief but to the point: Jeet Heer connects the dots on Felix the Cat and minstrel shows, blackface, etc. Did you know I interviewed Heer in college based on reading two stories he wrote for the now defunct Lingua Franca – one on racial tensions in George Herriman's life and his great Krazy Kat and one on Philip K. Dick reporting literary critics who loved his work to the F.B.I. as Marxists? Well now you do. Those aren't online as far as I can tell, but if you want copies let me know, and I'll send you a Xerox. (Via Tom)
* My new friend Jill posted this compilation of Tweets by folks admitting their "Geek Sins." Some I qualified for. Some were funny. Some were downright sad.
* Shaun Manning really liked this web comic. I got a chuckle out of it too. (Manningpage!)
* Occasionally, Google Ads have fun content Link: this blog is dedicated to explaining XKCD strips for people who don't get them. Dear Lord.
* In case you didn't see it alredy: The tree across from my apartment looks exactly like Admiral Ackbar: Seriously.
* Let's wrap up this week with some art I saw on Tumblr. First up, via the Comic Books Tumblr run by I don't know who, a group shot of the Teen Titans Go! by Todd Nauck. I think those issues he and J. Torres did were probably the best straight up "superheroes for kids" comics since the awesome Kelly Puckett/Mike Parobeck run on Batman Adventures – media tie-in or otherwise.
* Next via Ryan Penagos' mega-popular Tumblr of power, a radical Legend of Zelda piece by Kim Herbst from the ongoing Life Meter Comics project. I'm really bummed I never got to buy volume two of the print anthology. I hope they make more.