The Haven: You Want Nostalgia? We Got That

By Andrew Goletz

I’m sending this one off to Dan minutes before the midnight deadline. (Five minutes before the deadline still counts as being on time.)

Crazy week with work, writing, comics and The Life of Reilly.


Out of all the big summer movies that were coming out, this was the lowest-ranking on my “must see” list. I was a child of the 80s and I watched the cartoon pretty religiously and bought most of the initial toys, but I thought I outgrew the whole “giant robots kicking the crap out of each other” thing. The trailers didn’t do much for me, either. Luckily, I have kids old enough to want to sit through most movies and this was very high up on their list. I don’t know why, but I really, really liked Transformers. I thought the acting was decent, the action was phenomenal and the effects with the transforming machines were believable.

I bought into the relationship between Bumblebee and Sam. I got a kick out of all the human characters, and Megan Fox is certainly easy on the eyes. Heck, I even bought into the fact that she would fall for Shia’s character after all they’d been through in the story. But the coolest moment for me was midway through the film, as the rest of the Autobots arrive on Earth and Optimus introduces his fellow warriors. When Optimus speaks for the first time, I’m instantly transplanted back to my parent’s house in 1980-something, watching GI Joe and Transformers and creating my own battles with the toys on my living room floor.

This was one of the most satisfying big-budget action experiences in awhile.

Live Free or Die Hard

Or is it Die Hard 4.0? I love the Die Hard films. The original is one of my favorite two or three films ever. I wasn’t as disappointed as most by the second film and really liked the third installment, too. Actually, a few weeks after seeing the third film for the second time (in theaters), a friend and I recreated the movie by trolling around New York City, hitting each location that John and Zeus visit.

I was going to see this movie regardless of the PG-13 rating and sub-par trailers, but I wondered whether there was a point to revisit the characters. For the second time in a week, I was pleasantly surprised that a film I had some initial skepticism about turned out to be so good. It takes a few minutes of Bruce being on-screen for it to sink in, but within the first ten or fifteen minutes, he’s channeling John McClane again and it starts to feel like a true Die Hard movie. Even the technological terror threat seemed genuinely frightening, and McClane’s beat-down of a female foe is an instant classic.

My only gripe was the exclusion of the “Ode to Joy” theme, which seemed to be the unofficial theme song of the first two films.

GI Joe: America’s Elite #25

Perhaps it was the nostalgia aspect of seeing the live-action transformers on screen or the return of John McClane, but I picked up the latest issue of GI Joe this week, the first part of a twelve-issue-long story line called “World War III.” I haven’t read an issue of GI Joe since the middle of the Marvel Comics run, but it was surprisingly reader friendly.

The story is basically that Cobra has gotten its hands on some technology that has given them an incredibly dangerous advantage in their long-running “crusade.” Because of this, the Government has allowed the Joe team to expand their roster so they can properly handle the threat. This story line will also allow the writers to use more characters that haven’t appeared in some time, apparently. I’m guessing the hard-core fans will dig it.

My favorite scene deals with Cobra Commander using his powers of persuasion to lure in a new recruit. The conversation clearly illustrates that sometimes the labels of good and evil are merely perception. I don’t know if I’m going to stick around for the long haul. It was nice to revisit these characters after being away for so long, but I think I’ve outgrown them, sadly.

There are a few nice bonuses for long-time fans, including a spread that features every Joe character that ever landed on the roster, even The ’Fridge, for God’s sake. And at the end of the book is a multi-page section that showcases every agent of Cobra and their current whereabouts. It’s interesting to see the use of Marvel-centric characters like Dr. Venom and Scarface.

Space Giants

The other day I had a dream featuring characters that I distinctly remember watching on television as a kid. There was this gold robot that turned into a gold jet. His wife was a silver robot who did the same, and they had a little preteen boy robot that turned into a red, white and blue jet. They also fought monsters that looked like slime and turned into a tar-like substance when destroyed. None of my friends who are the same age could understand what the hell I was talking about. I knew I wasn’t the only one who had ever seen this show and my head isn’t that messed up where I would imagine the whole thing, so I went to the trusty Brian Michael Bendis message board at and asked the posters there. These people have a gift for finding any piece of information in lightning speed. I think I found the answer to this mystery in less than 2 minutes.

I may have been a bit wrong on some of the facts about the show, but the main points were correct. This show was absolutely phenomenal and I spent way too much time on YouTube watching old episodes. My Transformer-loving children, however, didn’t get the fascination with it.

Star Blazers

Looking through links of Space Giants ended up cross-referencing me with Star Blazers, and then I just completely screwed up my productivity for the week. More people recognized this show than Space Giants, but their lack of enthusiasm was disturbing. Was this not the greatest sci-fi cartoon in the history of television??? I replayed the opening theme songs from seasons one and two until my wife threatened to beat me to death. Once again the kids weren’t as impressed as I would have hoped.

But I did discover that there was a season three of the show and it’s available out there. I must have this. Without seeing season three, it’s like there’s a piece of my childhood missing.

I also found out that the “official” Star Blazers web site ( has been putting out a web comic called Star Blazers Rebirth. Wonderfully written and illustrated (it’s just like watching the old show), fans of the series would be wise to check it out.
How did this turn out to be a nostalgia column??

The week started off very strong. I put the finishing touches on the interview with Gerry Conway that reveals some information about the original 1970s clone story that I wasn’t even aware of. It sheds new light on who was truly responsible for introducing the story line that would one day usher in the Clone Saga.

I was also proven wrong in some original assumptions that I had with a very thorough interview with Todd DeZago. Todd was very open about his experience with the story, and his enthusiasm in speaking about those initial meetings got me even more pumped up. I’m in the process of doing some follow-up questions with him and hopefully will be able to finish up his segment in the next week. I was pleasantly surprised with how well it went and I think that Todd’s anecdotes about the story will change people’s preconceived [negative] notions about what happened and why.

Danny Fingeroth was extremely helpful again with a great many things. He’s been pointing out possible flaws and helping to guide a lot of things since I started on the collection of these columns. As a huge fan of Danny’s, I never thought I’d have the opportunity for him to essentially teach me like this.

Danny probably doesn’t even realize how much of a help he’s been and he’s never been anything but extremely patient with me, but just the simple matter of feedback from him or when he asks me to question something makes me feel like the book is becoming exponentially better than the column from a narrative and factual point of view.

There was always a threefold appeal for the column. Many of the initial readers were fans who wanted to learn more about the storytelling process. Another large segment of readers consisted of people who hated the Clone Saga and wanted to hear the stories about how things fell apart. The third group had never read the Clone Saga – and most of them weren’t even Spider-Man fans – but they appreciated the behind-the-scenes stories and the recollection of the events of the books.

I was and always will be a fan of the story line. My hope is that this new collection will make some people think twice about their hatred of the Clone Saga. I’ve been spending a great deal of time trying to find out the intricate details of every decision, so I can set the record straight and give every creator a chance to voice his/her opinion. The Clone Saga is blamed for the near death of comics, when nothing could be further from the truth. The Life of Reilly book will hopefully be vindication for those talented creators who put in tremendous work only to have the Clone Saga become a punch line. It’ll soon be time for people to give the series a reread and discover for themselves that it wasn’t bad at all (and may even be … good).

The big finale to the Reilly events of the week is that it seems I have someone to write the Introduction to the book. I wanted to find the perfect person to do this, and the short list of people I thought of numbered two. I was hesitant to ask one of them because, well, I just thought they wouldn’t be interested and had too many other things to do. I was hesitant about candidate #2 because I thought that person may start the thing off with the wrong message. The situation ended up working itself out perfectly. Lucky me. Lucky you!

Things are winding down in the reshoots part of this thing. I’m pretty much just waiting on confirmation from a few more people before I start the editing. Unfortunately, the three people I’m waiting on are (to me) the three most critical components of the new “cut”: Terry Kavanaugh, JM DeMatties and Howard Mackie. I’ll most likely know the status by the time next week’s column goes up.

Once all the new interviews and commentary are finalized, I’ll have the fun of rereading the whole column and trimming and adding line by line by line. I’m getting the sinking feeling that I’m going to rapidly start missing my targeted deadlines for the book, and I’m trying to do everything I can to prevent that.

Oh well, the book will make an EXCELLENT Christmas gift!