Marvel Comic’s Heros Anonymous

A.k.a Super Hero Underground, A.K.A League of Losers.

I went and saw The Force Awakens again today, and I really want to write about it, but I think I need to give it some time and perspective before I write another 3000 word blog post.  Instead I am going to write a quick post about one of my other favorite topics on this blog; Marvel Comic’s Darkhawk.

I live in this fantasy world where I am creative and talented and hardworking enough that if given a chance I could show run an amazing Netflix style Marvel show featuring some of their least popular and marketable characters.  I honestly spent hours in bed before I fall asleep each day (well, more like over the course of a month really) day dreaming about how you could make a TV show with characters like Darkhawk, Sleepwalker, Night Thrasher, etc… that would be entertaining and just popular enough to be worth everyone’s effort.

I think the reason I like to day dream about this is that it isn’t so much an exercise in pure creativity and storytelling, but instead is more of a logistical puzzle for me.   It is one thing to imagine what you could do if you were given free reign to make the next Iron Man film with a near unlimited budget and no real restrictions on which characters you would have access to.  This is a different animal completely.

First off, you would have to find a streaming service like Yahoo or maybe Overstock.com who want something popular like the Marvel Netflix shows, but know they can’t spend that kind of capital on rights or to license premier IP like daredevil.  Instead they would have to be convinced that there is a lot of upside since it is a marvel property, but Marvel will let you have it for cheap cause no one cares about heroes like US1 and his telepathically controlled big rig.

Part of my pitch would go something like this: “Come on, please! Just let me make the show. Yeah I know you never heard of Dark Hawk before, but who the F ever heard of Groot before Marvel made the Guardian’s of the Galaxy movie?”  It’s a good honest heartfelt pitch.

Next you have to figure out how to do the show cheaply, without a ton of special effects and expensive locations that can eat up budgets.  I guess you would also have to find some up and coming actors who are cheap and hungry.  Yeah it would be awesome to get a Charlie Cox, but you will probably have to go with someone who is even less well known than he was when he took the job.

I spend a lot of time while day dreaming trying to figure out how the structure of the show and story lines could help keep the show lean, but usually end up imagining impossible to get actors for all the parts. And speaking of impossible to get actors for the parts I would like, I’m just going to throw out some characters and the acting counterparts I would like in this fantasy world I hope to one day live.

Darkhawk – Karl Urban (or a younger version)
Sleepwalker – Aaron Paul
Dagger – Alice Eve
Night Thrasher – Donald Glover
Combo Man – Jake McDorman (that guy from TV show limitless)
Mr. Imortal – J.D Williams (Bodie from the wire)
US1 – Brian Van Holt (or an older version)
Lace – Merritt Weave (new lady doctor on the walking dead)

Lace, as far as I know, would be a new character and is the Felicity Smoak type role for this group of heroes. I would try to make her ability with machines/computers actually come from a super power and the name Lace was chosen by her to pay tribute to Ada Lovelace.  It… Arrow is good, not as good as The Flash is in my opinion, but one thing I hate is that the smart characters can do whatever needs to be done with science at that moment even if it has never been established that they know how to do whatever they are doing.  There’s no consistency from one week to another as to which smart people have expertise in which field and are smarter or dumber than anyone else in those fields.

In this season of Arrow Felicity has, who I assume is Mr. Terrific, clean up some transmission that Ray Palmer is sending her phone so that it can be watched. She doesn’t need his help based on all the shit she’s done in previous seasons.  I like his character, but …, I don’t know, I think my point is obvious, but the lesson for this show would be that, yes there is a person who can do amazing things with computers and electronics, but that’s because she has an actual super power, it’s not just a way to move from scene to scene. If Lace isn’t around, and something fancy with computers or electronics needs done, well, it probably isn’t getting done. Or if it is done, it is done really really shittely.

The rest of the characters I listed above are existing Marvel characters that aren’t all that popular, except for maybe Dagger, that could be changed to suit the shows restraints without too much bitching from fans. I was also thinking about squirrel girl, but she is actually kind of popular with a cult following from what I’ve been told, so not a good fit.  I also figure there would be some additional randoms that could drop in from time to time like Demolition Man, or Starfox, or All Pro.  Yeah the NFL might not allow their logo on this All Pro, but I’m sure there is something fun you could do with him as a former pro football player turned part time hero.

I think that would be part of the appeal of the show if done well. These are all part time super heroes.  Yes, so is Matt Murdoch the attorney and Jessica Jones the PI, but I want to see these heroes have to try and juggle superheroing with jobs that don’t allow the type of autonomy that those other character’s jobs allow.  What happens when Chris Powel (Darkhawk) gets fired from his help desk call center position cause he missed too many days of work?

I imagine a scene where Chris Powel’s alarm on his phone goes off, he slowly rolls out of bed, all sore and bruised.  He goes through his morning routine and get’s into work and sees all his stuff has been boxed up at his cube.  His boss comes over and says he’s sorry but he had no choice after he no showed yesterday. Chris is like “I had yesterday off, I put in a request for Monday off three weeks ago.”  And his Boss would say “It’s Wednesday.  You were off Monday and just never showed up yesterday… which was Tuesday…. Please don’t use me as a reference.”

That’s what I have been doing a lot of lately. Imagining individual scenes and the trying to build out a story around it.  Although I love Darkhawk… for some reason, the show would have to work as an ensemble. Kind of like the Wire. Probably a little better really. Like, twice as good as the wire by the time I’m done with it. In fact, I’m calling it right now, no 2nd season of this show.  It will go right from season 1 to season 3. That way I won’t have to listen to fan’s bitch about the story lines involving Sleepwalker and Dagger investigating shipping containers down at the docks.

How about an opening scene where the camera slowly moves around a somewhat empty or abandoned warehouse place and as we move we get closer and closer to loud music and flashing lights.  As we get closer and closer we can hear the music is violent fast and overbearing in its volume. The lights are partially strobe and painfully bright.  You see that they are all emanating from one glassed in room where a man is hunched in a corner trying to cover his eyes and ears from the onslaught.  It is Sleepwalker’s host Rick Sheridan, and it is apparent someone is holding him against his will and making sure to keep him awake.

Maybe something more light hearted like at the end of an episode recreate the hallway fight scene from the second episode of daredevil, but this time instead of the hero taking on all comers, Night Thrasher just sneaks by the other rooms and heads straight for the back and just sucker punches one of the henchmen leaving the back room.  Then grabs the hostage and sprints out before anyone in the other rooms notices what has happened.

Individual, out of context scenes are fun to dream up, but what about the connective tissue?  To have an ensemble show you need something to connect the characters together. That’s why I thought it would be kind of cool if this group came together originally as part of a support group for unknown heroes. That at least could be the backstory for how they all know each other and have come to support each other.  They started meeting a few years back to share their experiences and they soon discovered that their powers didn’t have to be a burden they carried alone.  They not only got the emotional support they needed from the meetings, but also in time they got logistical support to help with both their daily lives and their super hero activities.

So how would each character fit into this setup. Well someone has to have been the original organizer. I think that should be Night Thrasher.  I don’t know much about his character’s backstory in the comics outside of him being one of the rash of black teenagers who roller skate super heroes that kept popping up in the 90s.  I know he comes from money but doesn’t have any super powers.  So, I envision him as having money left to him from his parents.  Not bruce wayne money, but still, multi millions, never have to really work and can live off interest money.  He won’t be buyin private planes and re purposing them for fighting crime, but I’m ok with him owning an apartment building that has a basement with one of those security doors with sliding view finder thing where they can hold their meetings.  Remember the Chesterfield club in rounders.  Something like that set up, but instead of a card room it is like a low key headquarters where they can every Wednesday night do the circle of metal chairs and talk about their feelings, and then other days they can use it for training and stuff.

No one is the leader of the group but Night Thrasher would be the closest thing since he is very gung ho about helping everyone and being a benefactor to them, and since he has martial arts training he can be kind of a teacher for those who need to learn to hone their skills for combat purposes.  He may also be the person to go to if you are looking for employment since he owns a few small companies as part of his estate. I kind of like an idea of having a temp agency for these guys where if someone can’t make it to their job because they got messed up fighting crime the night before, someone else would fill in.  I haven’t fully thought that part out though.

US1, which may be one of the lamest heroes in Marvel History, is someone I think of as the wise O G of the group.  He’s been in the game a long time and seen some shit, but he’s always been in the background, mostly forgotten, and he is happy with that.  He gives everyone perspective when they are about to take on a challenge.  Everything that Night Thrasher lacks in terms of maturity and actual leadership qualities, US Archer more than has in spades. The only reason he isn’t their leader is because he is on the back end of his career and doesn’t want to risk the chance of being forced into the limelight.  He wants to sit in the shadows, but help if he can.  He is low key and nothing really phases him as he has seen it all before, or at least acts like he has.

Sleepwalker is kind of the last line of defense, or maybe the back up plan.  He is only able to go out fighting crime when his human host Rick is asleep so I’m thinking that it would be good to show Rick as someone who is always tired because he is always trying to stay awake until Sleepy is really needed. That’s when it is heavy duty ambian time. I see Rick as maybe more tragic than all the others since he has some of the same responsibilities but even less control.  He will never get recognition except as part of what sleepwalker did. Even then in everyone’s minds all rick did to help save the day was to take a nap.

Outside of Sleepwalker, or maybe even including him, Darkhawk is the most powerful of the super heroes in this group.  While Chris isn’t reluctant to be a super hero, he is reluctant to take on a greater roll.  Someone like Night Thrasher is really only good against low level villains with un amazing powers.  Darkhawk on the other hand has a ton of power  but isn’t comfortable to let it all loose. He doesn’t have the required confidence to take on a higher level of villains. He views himself the same way the world views US 1, but there will have to come times when he tries to rise above those self imposed limitations.

I think that brings us to an important topic. If this is a world with Thor and Ironman and other Heroes who are insanely powerful, why do you need a Night Thrasher or a Mr. Immortal. My contention is that there is a lot of crime and a lot of bad guys that the Captain Americas and Hulks of this world could easily defeat without much effort. The reason you need someone like Sleepwalker to fight someone like 8ball is because heroes need to take on real challenges. If Iron Man is spending all of his time easily defeating lame super villains after lame super villains, then he isn’t going to be ready to take on a real challenge like the Mandarin or Fing Fang Foom.  The heroes in this group fight these fights so that other heroes don’t have to.  Darkhawk will never defeat Thanos in a fight, but because he is willing to take on Tombstone and Savage Steel, the avengers will be able to battle and defeat Thanos.

So who else? Dagger probably would be impossible to get, but if we did get her I think it would be awesome since we could have a distractingly sexy woman who has some health capabilities. I know it is kind of shitty to put someone in the hot lady that causes love triangles departments, but I think you could do something grown up that isn’t mysoginistic.  Have her be confident in her sexuality and sexually aggressive and unapologetic about it. And then let that cause some heart ache for the dudes and make some drama in the form of “I don’t like you for playing with my heart strings but i need your healing powers cause i got the shit kicked out of me last night.” It’s a tough tight rope to walk trying to not make her a sexy kitten cliche but also not feel like your pandering to any specific group or message.

Mr. immortal would just be a fun character since as I would imagine him being used anytime there is a dangerous situation you are unsure of, you just send him in to see what’s up and then a few moments later he shows back up coming from somewhere else and letting everyone know that, yep, it’s really dangerous in there.

Combo man would be the best cause he wouldn’t be like he was in the comics, which was just an amalgamation of other characters that was basically a paid advertisement by Combos.  This would be a regular dude who wants to be the first super hero that is sponsored, so he walks around eating combos and tries to be a super hero even though no one in the group wants him.  He would kind of have that Booster Gold feel, and I would love an episode where after half a season of no one taking him seriously, he some how saves everyone’s ass, probably by borrowing some of their equipment to get it done.

Shit I need to add some images to this post. Meh, maybe later.

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Star Wars the Force Awakens review … with and without spoilers

I’m going to write the first half of this review spoiler free, and then the second half will be just loaded with spoilers and near random conjecture on the next two movies.  If you are planning on seeing it, and are like me and don’t want to be influenced at all before you see it, then don’t read this.  I always find that when you read a bunch of spoiler free reviews or hear a bunch of headlines that say a movie is either really good or really bad it can really affect your enjoyment.  Instead of going into those movies with a clean slate, you instead go in tying to compare it to the rating you have come up with in your mind.

I heard mad max fury road was amazing, and when I saw it I was underwhelmed.  I heard National Lampoons Vacation with Ed helms tanked, I was really surprised with how much I liked it when I went and saw it.

What i’m trying to say is… go see the movie.  If you are going to see it in the next couple days or couple weeks.  Just skip this.  If you are going to wait a few weeks or a month to see it, then I doubt what I say in the spoiler free section will have much impact.

Either way, if you are going to see it, and haven’t yet, don’t read the spoilers section.  That’s lame and you are robbing yourself of a few surprises.

So… here we go with the spoiler free review…

I went and saw The Force Awakens Thursday night at the 11:00 pm showing.  There was an early showing, well several really, starting at 7:00 that featured a ton of people dressed up in all manner of Star Wars themed garb.  That’s fine. I’m a nerd, and I appreciate that stuff, but I don’t want too be in a movie theater full of those people.  The 11:00 pm showing had a hand full which is just fine for me.

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none looked like that… i know i should find a star wars cosplay image, but look, this is what google image search gave me when I typed in “cosplay” and now I’m in love

I know I might sound like a hypocrite since I am a huge nerd, but there is something about cosplay that doesn’t involve hot ladies in skin tight outfits that just reeks of sadness and desperation.  If I think of it logically of course, I know the exact opposite is true. Those people are full of joy and are comfortable in their skin and environment.  I just know that if I dressed up, I’d feel way too self conscious, and I project a lot of my shortcomings on other people. But enough of the self diagnosis, let’s talk about the movie.

I want to say something where I would use the phrase “It wasn’t a perfect move..” but I think that would give off the wrong impression.  Usually when someone says that, they aren’t talking about a movie that they ever had any thoughts of it being perfect.  Usually the phrase is used on a movie like Jurassic World or the next James Bond movie.  With those movies there is a lot of expectation and excitement, but at no point do you really expect or even hope for it to be perfect.  For a new star wars movie, that is the unrealistic bar that some people have in their heads.  So when I say it “wasn’t a perfect movie” understand that I think of this star wars movie the same way I would think of an all time great athlete. Tom Brady isn’t the greatest athlete ever, but holy shit is he fantastic. He maybe isn’t the best QB ever, but I would never turn down an opportunity to have him on my team.

I may be mixing metaphors, so let me try to be a little more concrete while still not delivering any spoilers.

I had a few fears going into this movie, a lot of the stemming from the prequels.  I was afraid they would shoe horn in references and connections to the other movies where they weren’t needed and were actually distracting.  I was afraid it would pander.  I was afraid it wouldn’t have the right feel.  I was afraid it would over explain, and leave no mystery.  I was afraid it would feel like fan fiction, or worse yet, like a reboot from someone who didn’t love the source material.  I was afraid there would be no sense of wonder.

I’m happy to say that all of my fears were unfounded.  Yes it isn’t perfect, and maybe there is a better star wars movie out there that could have been made, but here is the important thing; THIS IS A STAR WARS MOVIE!!!

That is something I could never say about the prequels. When I watched those movies, to me,  it had a completely different feel from the original trilogy. This movie feels like a natural extension.  Best of all, that extension isn’t obvious.

One of the things I loved about this movie is that it doesn’t pick up 30 years after return of the Jedi with all the characters where you expected them. That’s not how real life works, and it was brave for the makers of The Force Awakens, to not just go with the obvious scenarios.  I’m sure if you asked fans of the original trilogy, what would have happened to each character, 90% would not have guessed accurately with any of the main characters.

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That isn’t to say that what was done was a departure and out of character.  It was just unexpected, which is good. The choices they made help create a rich backstory, that is mysterious, honest, dynamic, and intriguing.

Speaking of the intrigue, I love that the new characters seem to fit in perfectly with the Star Wars universe but are still unique unto themselves.  Each one has a bit of mystery, and the fact that they didn’t come out and give the complete history of each new character through forced dialogue should be commended.

As far as the winks and nods to the original trilogy… there weren’t any winks or nods in my opinion. Everything that could have come across in a wink or nod fashion really just felt like it was at home in this star wars universe of movies. When you are watching a TV show like Breaking Bad or the Shield, and something happens in season 3 that relates back to something in season 1, you don’t think to your self “Oh isn’t that a cute little thing they put in for the fans of season 1.”  No, that’s just how natural story telling is done.  Now when you have a TV show like Castle (which I’ve never actually watched) and the titular character is played by the same guy who was the main protagonist in Firefly, dressing him up as his Firefly character on Halloween episodes and having him say that he is dressed up as a “space Cowboy”, is a totally fun little wink to people who watched that other completely different unrelated show.

Maybe I’m over explaining what I consider to be a wink and a nod and why they fit in some mediums and stories, and not in others. My point is, anything referencing the original trilogy, never takes you out of the moment like a wink and a nod moment would.  I know the term “organic” is overused, but I think it applies with this movie in many ways.

Pretty soon I am going to have to talk about specifics that are also spoilers, but one of the things I wanted to mention before I get to that is that I loved the locations and settings and sets.  I know I am beating a dead… horse, I’m not going to say bantha or tantan or jarjar, look I’m not that much of a nerd and that is cheesy. So yea, I’m not trying to beat a dead horse when I compare things to the stuff I disliked in the the prequels, but man the look and feel of this movie is so on point.  I hated how polished and sterile so much of episodes I, II, and III looked.  There was no grit and grime, and I guess the stories were supposed to take place somewhere that was suppose to be elegant before the ravages of war took their toll.  Still, having what looked like real sets, with limited CGI, with more rust than chrome, gave it all the right feel.

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Ok Now I’m Going to Get Into The Spoilers.

So…..

SPOILERS!!!!!

GO BACK IF YOU DON’T WANT ANYTHING SPOILED

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This section is going to be more linear, and starts with the opening crawl.  Honestly, most of the crawls in the past have done almost nothing to set up the movie outside of the first one.  I guess wit this movie you still don’t need it, but seeing the line about Luke being missing really connected with me.  Maybe that’s because there were a lot of rumors about Kylo Ren being Luke, but I was trying to convince myself all week that those rumors were BS so that if it did happen I would still be surprised. (yes we will get to all that later).

The first scene where poe gives bb8 secret information to keep safe before the empire captures him kind of made me feel uneasy. It wasn’t bad, but i was just kind of worried that since it was basically the same set up as a new hope that the rest of the movie would be like this. Turns out it wasn’t, but i’ll admit to some trepidation.

The Introduction of Kylo Ren freezing blaster fire in mid air was a pretty bad ass way to introduce him.  I wasn’t sure how I felt about him being a knock off Darth Vader, but now that I know some of his back story, it is clear he is not a knock off in terms of the film makers trying to intimidate what has worked before, but instead we have Kylo as an almost king joffrey type character. Not a perfect analogy, but I think anyone who has seen both things will kind of understand what I am getting at.  It was great watching Kylo transition within the film to this Vader like badass, and into a wannabe almost poser whose warped misguided hero worship/obsession makes him seem sympathetic only because his motivations seem sad and pathetic.   He seems like a teenager who as an adult was an outcast and latched on to something that he could claim as his own, mostly because everyone else saw it as evil, but he liked it because whatever it was is an outcast like what he imagined he was in his mind.

I should really retype that last couple of sentences so it is more coherent, but i’m not going to.  How about this.  Kylo Ren is a sad emo kid grown up and with power that has corrupted him.

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Let’s just get to the first of what I felt were the two big moments with him. First, the reveal by the supreme leader that he is in fact Han and Leia’s kid. That kind of stunned me.  I knew the general outline of some of the post Return of the Jedi comics and paper back books, and this is kind of a departure, although it may borrow some elements as well.

We will get to the other big thing that happened with Kylo, but lets get back to the rest of the movie, and talk about the two other main characters, Fin and Rey. In the previews I assumed Rey was Han and Leia’s kid, and maybe she is.  They put a ton of work into making her seem like Han with all the stuff happening on the falcon, and she obviously has the force like Leia’s side of the family does. Still, is she Han and Leia’s kid?  Is she Kylo Ren’s sister.

We don’t know what caused Kylo to go to the dark side, and I’m guessing it had something to do with her.  Yes they say that the supreme leader corrupted Kylo, but there has to be more to it.

As the movie went on, I was getting more convinced that she was Kylo’s brother, but all that changed at the very end of the movie when she tracked down Luke and handed him the lightsaber that he lost back on bespin. I really think that she is Luke’s daughter, and that she was hidden away on jukku just like he was hidden away on Tatooine. Maybe her arrival caused Kylo’s spiral into jealousy at the Jedi Academy when Luke was trying to rebuild the Jedi knights.

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I hate myself for having read all of these

I think the biggest hint that she is his daughter is that her introduction as his child would fit perfectly with that voice over that sounds like Luke that was in the one teaser that talks about how the force is strong in his family.

BTW, that speach wasn’t in the movie.  There are a few little things that were in the previews that weren’t in the movie.  Also not in the movie; Luke doing anything other than standing on a mountain top and slowly turning towards the camera.  That’s all he did in this movie. I’m ok with it though.  This is a trilogy and I like the idea of a slow burn with his character.  This movie was really all about Han and that was awesome.

Before we get to Han and his big moment in this movie, let’s talk about Fin since he is the other new character that really shines and takes center stage.

Having him be so like-able and funny, while at the same time mysterious and almost selfish was a real feat to pull off. I’m amazed at how much I rooted for his character while at the same time also thinking “That guy is hiding something”.  I heard a wild theory that he might be a clone or decendant of Mace Windu.  I just don’t think that is true.  It would be cool, but more in a fan fiction way than in a real big time star wars movie kind of way.  I really hop that doesn’t turn out to be the case.

Speaking of mysterious new characters, the tiny lady who knows about the force but isn’t a jedi, and had luke’s lightsabre and had those giant glasses… what’s up with her.  I have a feeling she was Yoda’s home slice or something.  There has to be something to her beyond just what was in this movie.  Hopefully she survived and will be coming back.  In the same vein, I’m excited to find out more about the Supreme leader. Maybe it would be cool if it turns out he is a character from one of the previous movies, but they would have to be very careful with that. If done right it could be cool. If done wrong it would be sooooooo dumb. Like Jengo Fett is the main clone for all the storm troopers dumb.  I think he is somehow connected to Luke and the Jedi training and Kylo and that he looks all fucked up because of whatever falling out there was.

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Not going to lie, I also wondered about how cool it might be if Jar Jar was Snoke.

Anyways, moving on, The rest of the movie is great and doesn’t need a lot of dissection really except for the showdown between Han and his son.

Seriously… don’t read this if you don’t want spoilers.

just go find something else on the internet to keep you busy.

There’s thechive.com

or theonion.com

I’m a big fan of uproxx.com

Or if you hadn’t heard, the new season of serial launched a couple weeks ago so go check that out. I think the website is serialpodcast.com

But if you are ready for huge spoilers here we go.

The moment Han walked towards that bridge I knew he was dead in the same way I knew Ned Stark was dead as soon as Joffrey gave him the executioner the order to kill him.  There is enough time inetween the deciding moment and the act itself that you are able to think of a thousand scenarios where the person you love will live.  But you also know that everyone of those thousand scenarios is a cop out and that the film maker wouldn’t have done a great job up to this point and then written themselves into a position where they had to use a terrible cop out.

Here’s the part that really got to me. I think Han didn’t call him Ren. I think he called him Ben. Like, his name was Ben, and maybe that was Han naming him after Obi Wan Kenobi.  I have no idea. Maybe I misheard it, but when I heard what I think was “Ben” it was magical.  I can’t explain why, but something about it was perfect. It was great that Han had a name to call him that wasn’t the one being used by everyone else. That it was something a father could call a son. It was a name that was a reference that didn’t seem too obvious.  If he had named the kid Lando, for instance, or anakin, it wouldn’t have felt right.  Naming his son Ben was just so god damn perfect.

I don’t know if Han’s death at his son’s hand was perfect, but damn did it get to me. It wasn’t really overly sad, but it just made me realize, that these guys made a real movie. Obi Won died in the first movie. yoda dies in the third movie.  Star wars isn’t a movie franchise where everyone you like lives. People die. There are real stakes. Good job J. J.

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No, that’s not how he died. It was via lightsaber.

I could go on, but it is late and I have to get some work done. I’m about 2 hours behind schedule right now cause I love talking / writting / typing about this movie.  I’m sure I will have follow up posts after my next visit to the theater to see The Force Awakens. I put the over under on the number of times I see it in the theater at 4.  Seems kind of low honestly.

later.

I think I bought a 100 year old Trumpet

I haven’t had a lot of time lately for hobbies, so on the weekends I usually find something that is going to keep me busy for a few hours between naps, football, and work.  As of late this has taken the form of browsing thrift shops for cool shit.  A month ago I bought a bunch of 70’s and 80s LPs (mostly Blood Sweat and Tears, and Simon and Garfunkle). Before that I bought a poker table I refinished and redecorated. Well technically I got the idea for that while at a thrift store but then found a cheaper one online.

Last weekend, I bought a trumpet/cornet from the Salvation Army.  They wanted 79 bucks for it, but I talked them down to $59.00 for it.  It looked fairly old, the vales seemed to just need a little oil, and there was section of the bell that was a little bent. Aside from those things it looked pretty good with the exception of it not having that polished shinny metal look that new instruments have. Plus it had all of the accessories in the case from what I could tell.

I got it hoe and blew a few notes and was surprised at how good it sounded. Maybe this was just me not having played a musical instrument in over a decade and being more surprised I could still blow a half decent note than it was that the horn actually sounded nice.   I read some articles on cleaning up old horns and started by giving it a bath in warm water with a little bit of CLR and Baking soda mixed in.  This seemed to do wonders and the cornet looked like this:

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It still has that old school look which I was ok with since I was planning on just hanging it on my wall over the piano I never got around to tuning or learning how to play.  But then I read an article that talked about how to polish old horns that did not have any lacquer on them.  I had always thought that the shinny look new instruments have is because of the way they are varnished or painted or plated.  Turns out that old brass instruments can look just as good, they just need to be polished.  The modern instruments get that shinny look the same way the old ones do, with the only difference is a clear seal coating is put over the outside on the newer stuff.

So I stopped at walmart on my way to the hotel and bought some all purpose metal polish from the automotive isle.  I then spent the first 2 hours at the hotel polishing my horn until it looked like this.

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Glad I decided to take a before and after.  Close up it doesn’t look quite as good as the picture does, but it is still startling how different it looks.   I also polished the accessories.

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That one mouthpiece was basically black before I polished it.

I tried to find out how old the cornet is, but I’m having a little bit of trouble with the serial number.  If you go by just the 6 digit number on the 2nd valve (122698) then based on every website I could find this horn was made between 1911 and 1912.  I don’t know enough about Conn instrument design from the turn of the century to say whether what I have could fit in the category, but one thing does give me pause.  If you look right above the serial number this is the letter “L”.

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There are a lot of models in later years like the 60’s and 70’s that begin with a letter prefix, but never an L.  Also here are some other pictures showing some of the markings.

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I did some more digging however, and I think I found evidence that this is over 100 years old.   Take a look at these model drawings I got from a Conn-Cornet fansite of sorts: 

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The horn on the bottom left is almost identical to mine from everything I can tell.  So I think I have a 1911 Perfected Wonder Solo Cornet.

Here are some more links to back that up: http://cderksen.home.xs4all.nl/ConnPerfWonderC-wo-mechanism1910image.html

http://cderksen.home.xs4all.nl/ConnNICircusBore1911image.html

So now the real question is, “How much is it worth?”

This listing has a starting big of $159 http://www.ebay.com/itm/Very-Rare-Antique-CG-CONN-PERFECTED-WONDER-Cornet-100-years-old-SURVIVOR-/131670676187?hash=item1ea82f12db:g:t~cAAOSw37tWCumT but no one has bid on it yet.  Interrestingly the Serial number on that listing has an M floating above the serial number which is 6 digits and starts with a 11.

This one might be even closer to the horn I have, http://www.ebay.com/itm/Very-Rare-Antique-CONN-Trumpet-with-case-/262182737387?hash=item3d0b4f15eb:g:kuUAAOSwu-BWQfcE  The case is the same from what I can tell, and the serial number is a higher number than mine (starts with a 19) meaning mine would be older.  He wants $300 based on his “Buy it now amount”. He said it has been in the family probably from the 30s or earlier.

This last one is the one that is the most similar I think and the most expensive at almost $600 bucks.  http://www.ebay.com/itm/Antique-Conn-81A-New-Wonder-Cornet-with-Mechanism-Gold-Plated-/271835063099?hash=item3f4aa1e33b:g:FiwAAOSwpDdVKEhc

Wait I take that back. That is a more recent model than the one I have judging by the serial number.

 

Anyways, the point is, that this is a pretty cool find!