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The Journal of the Lincoln Heights Literary Society
Miscellanea and Ephemeron

J LHLS Archives: March 2004

Saturday, March 27, 2004

Meet Edwin Morose

Teddy Scares teddy bears.

Reviewed by Ginger Mayerson

Full disclosure: I never had a teddy bear as a child. I had a Raggedy Ann.

However, because I'm a serious person(TM) and have had a lot of coffee today, I'm not going to let my childhood stand in the way of reviewing this Teddy Scares teddy bear, called Edwin Morose.

This is an edgy concept bear for teens, the waning on the box reads: "13+ for the unlucky ages of 13 & up." Now, I realize that in a perfect world, every twelve year old would receive a VISA card with a $100,000 credit limit and this would be the consumer version of sending teens in to the woods naked to see if they come back and are allowed to join the tribe. However, we do not live in a perfect world, we live in a world where adults have all or most of the VISA cards and anxious parents ought to buy this bear in an attempt to connect with the Goth baby, that used to be their Angel baby, who listens to loud, creepy music (*see below) and will not come out of their room anymore. I seriously recommend that parents do buy this bear for their spawn. They got nothing to lose here. If the kid is going to scoff at something, well, at least let it be something as cool as these Teddy Scares.

These bears are pretty creepy, but creepy in a cuddly way, if that makes any sense at all. The theme of this line of bears is an attempt to answer the age old question: What happens to teddy bears after the child outgrows them? Well, obviously they become zombie bears. So, the box looks like it's been sitting in a leaky part of the attic for a few years. There's more information on the box, such as:

"Once soft and cuddly,
"now dead and bloody."

Not quite EA Poe, but it does scan. Kind of.

"As a child, your teddy bear was there to love and protect you from things that go bump in the night. Now you've become older and your toys have been long forgotten... but they never forget."

See? Guilt and fear; exactly what the collection companies use when that VISA bill goes too long unpaid. Which makes this a kind of educational toy as well.

"These once loyal stuffed friends have undergone a hideous transformation - these cannibalistic cadavers have returned from their graves to exact a bloody revenge."

Like I said: Zombie Bears. And there you have perfectly good tie-in with "Dawn of the Dead". Please notice how the serendipity and interconnectedness of all of life and commerce is in play here.

And the box gets even cooler (I know, I know, it's a box, but it's an IMPORTANT part of this reviewer's experience). Inside the box, there's more text, this time handwritten:

"For years I sat on the edge of your bed, listening to your dreams, getting soggy from your tears. Every day I comforted you and played - we were together forever, friends to the end. The little child grew old which turned into [illegible]. Then I'm left lying around on the floor, stuffed in a box, and shoved..." [The rest is behind the bear's head and I didn't feel like unmooring him from his domain.]

You know, we so seldom get to see it from the teddy bear's point of view.

Also in this box, there are more graphics, but they are a blurry, faded picture of the bear with the child who subsequently abandoned him. There's a faded daguerreotype of Theodore Roosevelt and an x-ray of a hand for some reason. I dunno, this box has more ambience than my whole apartment.

And then there is the bear, Edwin Morose, himself. He's a shade of dark rose in lush plush. So lush and soft, I was startled when my hand first brushed against his head, but I controlled myself (kind of). Clad in a stunning navy blue t-shirt with a broken heart on it, he carries black velvet roses in his right hand and a burlap bag, ostensibly containing a plush heart (no, I didn't look, but I believe what it says on The Box) in his left. And he's soooooo soft, it's like silk chenille after you've had champagne or something. Okay, okay, I'll put him back in the box, calm down. Oh! And there's a toe tag! Is that cute or what?!

And in closing, I can only say that this is the bear for these times and the times for these bears. I speak as a member of the generation that kind of missed the Beatles, got stuck with Elton John (*see above), and had to choose between Disco and Punk. A hardy lot, we infants of the 60s and teens of the 70s, our tastes and manners honed by adversity and the Bee Gees (*see above), which are the same thing, but we do, at the roots of our being, know from bears. After all, we had Yogi and Boo Boo as role models on TV and of course the incomparable Phil Harris voicing the greatest singing bear of all time in "Jungle Book":

"Look for the bare necessities
"The simple bare necessities
"Forget about your worries and your strife
"I mean the bare necessities
"Old Mother Nature's recipes
"That brings the bare necessities of life."

Only to be eclipsed by Louis Prima as the King of the Swingers. Sigh, there's always a bigger fish, isn't there? Alas, there are no lines of "Curious George in the Rue Morgue" or "Mighty Joe Sock Monkey" plush toys, are there? Are there?!

No wonder I've become obsessed with Edwin Morose of Teddy Scares. I will, however, try to find a more balanced reviewer to get a second opinion on this bear, upon which I have rendered the verdict: Fabulous! Utterly Fabulous! He's sooooooooo soft and... oh never mind.

Note: This bear is Wizard World LA 2004 swag. Thank you very much to Mr. Phil Nannay, President of Applehead Factory Design Studio, www.appleheadfactory.com, for the Teddy Scares bear for review.

Posted by Ginger Mayerson @ 06:00 PM PST [Link]

Sunday, March 21, 2004

The Case of the Colonist's Corpse
by Bob Ingersoll and Tony Isabella
Publisher: Star Trek (Pocket Books)
ISBN: 0743464974

Reviewed by Kathryn L. Ramage

Perry Mason in Space…

Authors Bob Ingersoll and Tony Isabella make it clear in the acknowledgments prefacing this book that they've written a murder mystery in the Perry-Mason style -- that is, a mystery set as a courtroom drama with the lawyer for the defense acting as detective, and a client who is undoubtedly not guilty. But Ingersoll and Isabella have also written a Star Trek novel. Our hero is none other than Samuel T. Cogley, the luddite lawyer who defended Captain Kirk in the Original Series episode Court Martial. His client is a Klingon governor accused of murdering his Federation counterpart on a colony world shared by both (in accordance with the Organian Peace Treaty). Like Earl Stanley Gardner's Perry Mason, Cogley is called upon not only to defend his client, but to solve the crime of which his client has been falsely accused and to find the guilty party. He even has a "Della Street" secretary and a "Paul Drake" private investigator to assist him.

This book can be considered in two lights; as a mystery, and as a Star Trek novel.

How does it stand up as a mystery? As a mystery, the story is replete with the typical range of suspects: the cheating wife and her lover, some business-type associates who would be ruined by the actions of the murdered man if he'd lived long enough, an angry, drunken lout bent on revenge, and even a couple of spies–in this case, one human and one Klingon. I had my suspicions about the murderer early on, but the truth wasn't so painfully obvious as to spoil the mystery, nor so obscure as to come out of nothing; there were enough real clues, false clues, motives, death threats, and red herrings tossed in and sustained to keep the question respectably up in the air until the resolution. The story has a nice Perry-Masonish feel to it throughout and follows the template of the Gardner novels I've read (admittedly, not all of them).

How is it as a Star Trek novel? Those readers looking for the further adventures of Kirk and company will be disappointed; the crew of the Enterprise only makes two brief appearances at the middle and end of the story. On the other hand, we do not forget that this novel is set in the Trek universe, for the text is liberally strewn with references to people, places, and events familiar to the well-versed Trekker -- actually, to the point where I began to find them an annoying distraction. The Organians and the Daystrom Institute? Okay. At least there was some reason for their being mentioned. But Captain Archer and Section 31? Unnecessary, and laying it on a little too thick for my tastes.

It seemed a bit odd to me that with all the usual 23rd-century Trek technology available, there were a number of things that were anachronistic. For example, Cogley's dislike of computers is well established from his appearance in Court Martial, but the murdered man also keeps a collection of books and writes his notes on paper -- both of which are important to the case. It also struck me as odd that the murdered man could be hit with a phaser blast and not be vaporized instantly. Both of these points I can forgive, however, by attributing them to the authors' need to provide viable clues: computer records can be altered in ways that printed writing cannot, and the weakness of the phaser blast leaves a body to be found so that the characters in the novel know that this is a murder rather than an unaccountable disappearance.

In spite of the oddities and irritations, my overall impression of the book is a favorable one. I enjoyed reading it, and if there are to be further books in this series, I'll look forward to seeing them too.

Although if there are to be more books in this series, I have to pity poor Areel Shaw, the prosecuting attorney and Kirk's love interest in Court Martial, and this novel's Hamilton Berger stand-in. At the very end of the book, we have the following ominous description of her:

[Kirk] was reminded of the resentment and intensity he had sensed in Areel back on the Enterprise, and realized he sensed the same thing from her now. Only this time it was stronger, darker. Disturbing.

Who can blame her? She must realize that as long as she's up against Cogley, she'll never win another case for the rest of her career.

Posted by Kathryn L Ramage @ 08:33 PM PST [Link]

Yes, I went to Wizard World Con today (Sun, March 21, 2004) and I'm sure the fanboys were wondering whose maiden aunt wandered into the wrong con.

Actually, it was great! And I spent time talking to publishers and artists who were glad to talk to someone closer to their own age, refreshing, in fact. Thank you very much to Jesse Schiller at Wizard World for the press passes for me and Gaming Editor, Ruben Sahagun.

I'm told that yesterday it was packed with over 7,000 attendees. I'm sure today was quieter, but there were still a lot of people in there. And I was only downstairs in the Comics section, I'm sure the Gamer section upstairs was jumpin', too.

Anyway, here are the very nice folks who gave us very nice work to review (look for in-depth reviews here in the near future):
REVIEWED Common Grounds 1, 2 and 3 (floppy comic book [color]).
REVIEWED No Honor (trade comic [color])
Midnight Nation (huge trade comic [color]) by J Michael Straczynski ("From the Creator of Babylon 5 and Rising Stars" is says on the cover).
REVIEWED Yu-Gi-Oh Collector Magazine, Neopets, the Official Magazine (I was very politely informed that elderly sophisticated women of a certain age, like myself, love Neopets. Good to know!), and the REVIEWED The Anime Collector Magazine.
Gone South (floppy comic book [bw]) Dixie vampires (I think), hey why not?
REVIEWED Ganglords of Chinatown (a slim and elegant trade comic [color, esp. red]) Violent and gory. But they do have a new title coming out called Fade from Grace that they assured me was romantic and pretty and that elderly sophisticated women of a certain age, like myself, would love it.
REVIEWED B.A.B.E. Force 1 and 2 (floppies [bw]) Satire, "This action comedy follows the adventures of an elite team of super spies as they try to go undercover in suburbia." Charlies' Angels meets Fast Times at Ridgemont High maybe.
REVIEWED Kabuki Metamorphosis (incredibly beautiful trade [color] signed by the artist who is very nice to talk to) I've read a few Kabuki floppies and think they are just the cat's pajamas. "Layers of intrigue and hidden agenda are matched by the layers of graphic invention -- pen and ink, collage, watercolor -- while western psychoanalytic theory coexists with the fatalism of the Japanese ghost story." John Sayles. It's really pretty, too, and every page is beautifully composed and subtly colored. That's not a review, it's just a teaser.
REVIEWED Buzzboy. Monsters, Dreams & Milkshakes. "The World's Most Upbeat Super Hero" "Featuring Monkeys and Wienerdogs!" (trade comic [bw]) Looks kind of fun.
REVIEWED Me and Edith Head (mini comic [bw]) Really really good drawing and story.
REVIEWED Stupid Comics (floppy [bw]) by Jim Mahfood.
REVIEWED Alice (small trade [bw]) by Lela Dowling. Retelling "Alice in Wonderland" in sequential art. Clever drawing, kind of like "For better or for worse" but edgier and that's still not right, but the best I can do right now. The Cheshire Cat is a riot. And we all know the story.
REVIEWED And, last, but hardly least, Teddy Scares (scary teddy bears [I'm not making this up], they are very cool).

Look for reviews of these fine publication on this blog in the near future!

There might be a few things on this list left to review after the J LHLS reviewers have had their way with it. Please contact me at J LHLS, if you'd be interested in reviewing any of it, thanks.

And now I must recover from my day. Comics - they wear a woman out.

Posted by Ginger Mayerson @ 08:22 PM PST [Link]

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