Look, Up In The Sky!

Superman: The Movie is a motion picture that was released in 1978. Despite there being attempts at making comic book movies in the past, whether it be low budget movie serials or comedic films like Batman: The Movie from 1966, this was the first attempt at making a serious big budget motion picture that appealed to the masses. The choices made by the cast and crew of Superman: The Movie not only ensured that the movie itself would be entertaining for fans, it helped shaped the character of Superman and the world he inhabited in comics as a whole.

            The first lasting change starts with the opening location in the movie, Krypton. Before the movie, Krypton had routinely been portrayed as a typical 50’s sci-fi wonderland, similar to settings you would see in works like Flash Gordon or Buck Rogers. Richard Donner decided to take a different tact. Working with production designer John Barry, they envisioned Krypton as a cold, alien planet covered in crystals. This allowed the filmmakers to give the film a more modern look.

            The comics quickly took cues from the movie. After the landmark comic event Crisis On Infinite Earths, an event series intended to streamline the DC universe continuity, DC Comics commissioned noted comic creator John Byrne to reimagine the origins of Superman in his limited series Man Of Steel. The purpose of Man Of Steel was to essentially start over with the character. Mr. Byrne, taking cues from Superman: The Movie, took Krypton from the 50’s sci-fi wonderland it had been for over 50 plus years into an alien landscape that resembled the locations established in the movies. There were some changes, to be fair. Mr. Byrne presented Krypton as more of a desert planet, but the design of the buildings on Krypton closely resembled the world of Krypton in the films.

            The next big change had to do with Lois Lane. While she was never the typical damsel in distress, during the height of the Comic Code Authority of the 50’s and 60’s, Lois’s character became more focused on getting a man, not on being the best reporter at The Daily Planet. In fact, while she did have a comic book of her own during this era, Superman’s Girlfriend Lois Lane, that book typically featured her being boy crazy of some sort.

            Enter Margot Kidder. Margot took Lois Lane from a two-dimensional caricature into a fully fleshed out character. In the movie, Lois Lane is a tough, no nonsense woman who is good at her job and has no qualms letting you know about that. Sure, she loves Superman in the movie, yet her worth as a character is not defined by that love. She becomes the adult Wendy to Superman’s Peter Pan.

            How did that affect Lois in the comics? When John Byrne created Man Of Steel, his version of Lois Lane was influenced by the movie. She wasn’t portrayed as boy crazy anymore. The layers that Margot Kidder added to Lois Lane translated well to the comics. By giving Lois realistic motivations as a character, we the readers were able to connect with her in ways we simply couldn’t before. After the movie, Lois in the comics simply became more relatable because she was no longer a caricature.

            Another character that benefited by changes in the movie was Lex Luthor, greatest criminal mind of our time. In the comics, it was established that Lex and a young Clark Kent grew up together in Smallville. Thanks to a science experiment that went bad, Lex lost his hair, which caused him to seek vengeance on Superman. What greater motivation does a super villain need for world domination than male pattern baldness?

            The movie took a different path. Instead of presenting Lex as an evil scientist, Richard Donner took cues from the James Bond franchise and turned Lex into an evil capitalist with no moral compass. (Interestingly, the final script was written by Tom Mankiewicz, who wrote a number of early Bond films.) In the film, he desires land and will go to any length to get what he wants. For an audience in the 70’s, this was much more relatable than a mad scientist. A person could switch on the news and watch plenty of real-world Lex Luthor’s walking among them.

            The comics took note. Starting with John Byrne’s Man Of Steel, Lex Luthor was an evil industrialist that was head of LexCo. He used his resources as an industrialist to achieve his goals. By updating the character of Lex Luthor, making him resemble the character as portrayed in the movie, the comics took an outdated trope, the evil scientist, and updated the character into someone the average reader would think is real.

            Superman: The Movie is a landmark film. Similar to how the creation of Superman in the comics launched the superhero craze, the movie helped open the eyes of Hollywood as to what comic book stories can offer audiences. No longer are comic book characters marketed specifically to children. The movie, made 50 or so years after the creation of the comic, understood that generations of people grew up with these characters. By adapting them for modern times, by giving the characters more to do than the standard two-dimensional tropes you would come to expect from these stories, the movie opened the door for comic book creators to offer more depth to the world of Superman for which we the readers continue to benefit.

Episode 158: Book Club: March Book 1 Episode Notes

The Friends Talking Nerdy Book Club returns! This month, Professor Aubrey,  Tim, Jennifer Lumbly, and Keeli Price discuss the book March Book 1 by the late John Lewis, Andrew Aydin, and Nate Powell.

As mentioned on the show, Jennifer is the host of Comics Will Break Your Heart on YouTube. If you enjoy in depth, entertaining discussions about comic books, Jennifer’s show is for you. The beauty of having a webpage allows me to point you attention below this paragraph.

And look at that! It’s Jennifer’s show. Check it out for yourself. You won’t regret it.

One of the creators on March Book 1, Nate Powell, has a new book out. Save It For Later is the name of the book. Here is a brief description of the book from it’s website:

‘In this anthology of seven comics essays, author and graphic novelist Nate Powell addresses living in an era of what he calls “necessary protest.” Save It for Later: Promises, Parenthood, and the Urgency of Protest is Powell’s reflection on witnessing the collapse of discourse in real time while drawing the award-winning trilogy March, written by Congressman John Lewis and Andrew Aydin, this generation’s preeminent historical account of nonviolent revolution in the civil rights movement. Powell highlights both the danger of normalized paramilitary presence symbols in consumer pop culture, and the roles we play individually as we interact with our communities, families, and society at large.’

It looks like a great companion piece to the book we read, so we strongly encourage you to buy the book. If the past four years has taught us anything, it’s that we cannot sit by idly while the world burns. One of the pieces in the book, called About Face, debuted on the website Popula. Take some time to check it out by clicking here. It’s a great read.

And finally, Keeli Price mentioned a group local to the Nashville area that she feels deserves our support, Gideon’s Army. Here is their mission statement from Facebook:

‘Our mission is to act collectively, boldly and strategically as a unified force for all children. We eliminate the root causes of the prison pipeline, save our children from death and incarceration and guide them on a secure path to success.’

Please consider supporting them today.

Episode 157: Folsom Prison Blues Episode Notes

On this week’s episode of Friends Talking Nerdy, The Reverend Tracy and I spoke on a few topics.  In this thread, I’ll be posting some information, whether it be follow up thoughts or links to other sites, about the topics we discussed in this episode. This thread may be updated on occasion, so feel free to check back regularly. To listen to our latest episode, click here.

We started off discussing the return of the Friends Talking Nerdy website. Then, we provided an update on The Battle For State Supremacy II. As of this writing, The Reverend Tracy is slightly ahead, but there is still time to vote.

We discussed television shows we’ve been watching recently. I brought up the new HBO Max documentary Tina.

I also discussed the HBO Max documentary series, Q: Into The Storm.

The Reverend discussed the show Forged In Fire.

She also discussed the Hulu show, Solar Opposites.

We closed the show discussing prison reform. As we stated on the show, we are NOT experts on the subject. The purpose of bringing up the topic was to start a discussion on a subject that people routinely ignore. We encourage everyone to do research on your own. People that do bad things deserve to ‘do their time’ for their crimes. Yet we as a society need to examine how we treat people in the criminal justice system. If the system causes more problems than it fixes, why not make the changes needed that makes it the rehabilitation process it is supposed to be?

  1. ACLU Policy Priorities For Prison Reform
  2. The documentary 13th from director Ava DuVernay

3. Defund The Police is more than a slogan. Click the link for more information of what this movement means.

4. Article from the ACLU about how Defunding The Police will help our communities.

5. Prison Culture blog. There is invaluable material on this site.

The Battle For State Supremacy II

The battle lines have been drawn. The combatants prepare to enter the battle field. It’s The Battle For State Supremacy II!

Reigning Battle For State Supremacy Champion Tim Jousma, representing the state of Michigan, faces off against Professor Aubrey, representing the state of Tennessee, and The Reverend Tracy, representing the state of Texas.

You, our wonderful audience, will decide the winner. Vote in the poll above so you can help determine the victor in The Battle For State Supremacy. Below are the three playlists we discuss on this episode.

The Reverend Tracy’s Playlist:

Professor Aubrey’s Playlist:

Tim Jousma’s Playlist:

Episode 155: You Know My Name Show Notes

On this week’s episode of Friends Talking Nerdy, The Reverend Tracy and I spoke on a few topics. In this thread, I’ll be posting some information, whether it be follow up thoughts or links to other sites, about the topics we discussed in this episode. This thread may be updated on occasion, so feel free to check back regularly. To listen to our latest episode, click here.

Jomo And The Possum Posse have a new EP on the way titled Self Quarantine. We have discussed that band’s work on the show before, as heard on Episode 99 (Take A Number, Satan) and Episode 118 (Let’s Ride, Boys), and as before, their work continues to delight. Head to their website for info on how to purchase their work.

We discussed the tragic shootings in Atlanta and Boulder. It is beyond time for gun reform to happen in America. This website has some information about the impact gun violence has in this country.

The Reverend Tracy has joined a wonderful organization called The Hero’s Circle. Take time out of your day to check out that organizations mission to see how you can help. The Reverend also recommends checking out Victim To Hero as well.

Lastly, we discussed our thoughts on the HBO Max documentary, Allen V. Farrow. During our talk, we discussed the skepticism certain people in the documentary had toward Parental Alienation Syndrome, which was first brought to light by Doctor Richard Gardner. Check out this link which provides a detailed response to some of the criticisms to Doctor Gardner’s work. As always, we do not proclaim to be experts on this subject and welcome any and all honest and genuine discussion on this topic, so sound off below.

Thank you for listening!

My Question for Stan Lee

Hey there. Wanted to post this video I made last year at Rose City Comic Con. Thanks to the efforts of Latino Review Media, I was able to obtain some press passes. Stan Lee was making his final visit to Portland and I wasn’t going to pass this up. I had a couple of beers and bolted for the microphone. Here is the result.

Ms. Marvel Volume 2 Issue 13

I love me some Ms. Marvel. The work G. Willow Wilson and crew have done with this character is nothing short of groundbreaking, along the lines that Stan Lee and company incubated with the creation of Spider-Man in the 1960’s. Kamala Khan will be the next big hero that lasts the tests of time. My grandchildren will be reading of her exploits which will make me quite happy.

That doesn’t mean each issue of Ms. Marvel is a classic however. Issue 13 of the second volume of Ms. Marvel stories was just bad. So bad that an Afterschool Special would shake its head at how terrible the story was.

The basic premise revolved around a Hydra agent who, thanks to Gerrymandering, led in the polls to be the new Mayor of Jersey City. A topical story in this day and age, especially with Gerrymandering being such a force for ill in our current political landscape. Yet this story went out of its way to be preachy. Hell, to say it was telling a story would be laying it on pretty damn thick. This issue of Ms. Marvel was more of a sermon about the importance of voting. And as an atheist, I have as much of an interest in a sermon as I do a colon exam.

The basic premise of the story is not bad at all. I like the idea of a hero fighting against a villain who tries to manipulate the system to their advantage. There is story material here. Yet the moral of the story, getting out to vote for candidates that matter, was handled so heavy handed that as someone who believes that Gerrymandering is one of the causes of the current political system we’re facing today, I could have cared less how Ms. Marvel handled this issue.

One criticism Conservatives throw at Liberals is that they love to preach. You often hear of Liberals going out of their way to preach to others how they should live their lives. There is truth in this statement. In this particular case involving Gerrymandering, while the message the Ms. Marvel team is trying to impart on their readers is true, regardless of where you stand politically, the way they handle relaying that message to the reader is so heavy handed that a reader with any modicum of common sense will see this for what it is. A poorly written story.

I love Ms. Marvel. I will continue reading this series because G. Willow Wilson is one of my favorite comic book writers today. This issue was just bad. It wasn’t representative of what this series has to offer.

Purchase Ms. Marvel on Amazon and help The Jousma Files out! It’s well worth the price. ENJOY! Click the picture below.


Passion. You have to have passion for what you do. When you create something from thin air, which is what I do as a writer, you have to be able to have passion for what you create. If you cannot muster up the passion to create, why do it?

A wonderful opportunity arose a little over a year ago thanks to this blog of mine. A much larger website came across my work and asked me if I wanted to contribute. I agreed and had one hell of a time working for them.

But again, passion. Nearing the end of my time there, I just didn’t have the passion. Sure, doors were opening for me that weren’t there before but was that opportunity worth it if my heart wasn’t in the work?

The answer is no. I couldn’t go on. Despite everything that site offered me, I just couldn’t find the passion I needed to continue. So, I’m back here.

“But you’ve said this before Tim,” you might be saying. And you’d be right. But this time is different. Plans are in place. Nothing I can get into too much detail about now but stuff that is exciting as hell. And most important of all, the passion is back baby!

For the website I contributed to, I leave with a wealth of knowledge that I simply did not have for which I have to thank them. They need people that are going to be able to devote the time needed to make that site great. That person is not me simply because I lost the passion to write for them. If the passion is not there, I am not helping them make their site successful.

I also feel it’s important, especially in creative endeavors, to be in control of your own destiny as much as you can. I have recently finished work on the first draft of my second novel. There are other plans for creative endeavors that are just thrilling to think about but again, I’ll leave that for future posts.

For now, it’s time to dust this old blog off and get it purring again. When I started it and reviewed a comic book a day, it got my creative juices working in a way I never thought it would. If I am going to call myself a writer, it will be on my own terms from now on. The passion is back. May God have mercy on us all.



(Here’s a story I wrote close to twenty years ago now that seems oddly relevant today. Enjoy.)

Jitters by Tim Jousma

 It was as if the crowded room suddenly became still. Joe Dekker sat at the table in the coffee shop and stared across the restaurant at the woman who just walked inside; the woman he’d been pining for. Laura Knight had been the subject of his desires going on almost three months now. Bordering on obsession, he could think of nothing but Laura and how things would be if he could actually take her out on a date. His friend Robert came back to the table with their coffee’s and stared where Joe was looking. He shook his head.

 “I should have figured she walked in the room with that blank stare on your face.”

 Joe blushed. “What?”

 “Dude, you have the hots for that chick. It’s no big secret. Why don’t you just get it over with and ask her out?”

 Joe shrugged. “You say that like it’s something easy to do.”

 “Yeah it is actually. You just go up and ask her out. What’s the worse that’ll happen?”

 “She could laugh. She could slap me. She could get her boyfriend who is an amateur body builder to kick my ass.”

 Robert stared at Joe. “Seriously man? Worst thing that’ll happen is she says, drumroll please, no.”

 “You don’t know that.”

 “Why would she do what you suggest? From what you’ve told me she’s been nothing but nice to you. If she is not interested in going out with you, she’ll be nice about the rejection.”

 “But you don’t know that.”

 “Oh shut your bitch mouth, reassert your testicles, and go ask her out.”

 “Fuck you.”

 Robert rose from his chair, walked over to Joe, and forced him to stand. He shoved Joe in Laura’s direction. Joe turned, gave Robert the finger, yet continued on.

 His mind raced. All those questions that filled his mind at times like this flooded his brain like a lake after a dam burst. He had to be calm asking her out. First thing he needed to do was calm his shaking hands. Joe took a deep breath and put his hands in his pocket. He had to figure out what he would say to her when he was within talking distance. ‘Hi’ would work but that wouldn’t get him very far. What else could he say to her before asking her out?

 The sound of the door chime got his attention. A man walked in, gazed around the coffee shop, spotted the person he was looking for, and walked over to them. To Joe’s horror, the person this insanely good looking man was interested in seeing…was Laura. Joe turned tail and headed back to his table and sat back in his seat, defeated. Robert laughed.

 “Down for the count, huh?” he asked.

 Joe finished his coffee, rose, and walked out without replying.


 Joe couldn’t pinpoint what moment in his life that made him scared to approach women. Sure, being introverted didn’t help but that didn’t necessarily mean it would prevent him from asking women out. Maybe it had to do with his first love all the way back in the fifth grade.

 Melinda Gomez. An angel that dropped from the sky and shared the same fourth grade class as his sister. She was the first girl he ever spoke with voluntarily. They’d spend their recess sitting by the slide or the merry go round and just talk. Joe never imagined he’d be able to do that with a girl. It wasn’t too long ago that girls were nothing more than humans with longer hair. Melinda was the first girl to actually make him understand that women had more to offer than just existing. Melinda was his first crush.

 But as elementary school love went, it didn’t last. It ended in suddenly. At an assembly one day, Melinda and her younger sister stood up in front of everyone and told the school that today was their last day because their parents were moving to Papa New Guinea to become missionaries. What selfish jerks, Joe thought to himself. He went home that day, which just had to be Valentine’s Day, and cried his eyes out.

 Ever since that traumatic experience, he’d been unable to get close to a woman. For whatever reason, he could never be comfortable enough around a woman in order to close the deal. Not that he couldn’t deal with women in general; he’d been able to work with many women just fine in professional and school situations. He just couldn’t get the chutzpah in order to ask a woman out on a date.

 He met Laura at work. She worked in the computer department which brought her to his area of the store many times during the day. She broke the ice the first day on the job, commenting on his Doctor Who keychain. Joe hadn’t met many women who knew what Doctor Who even was much less having any sort of opinion one way or the other about the show. They spent many hours during lunch discussing the latest episodes. They’d even exchanged phone numbers and hung out with each other outside of work. But when it came to actually discussing with her his feelings, he couldn’t speak one word.

 He had to sort things out. It was time to pay a visit to his best friend. If anyone could give him some advice on how to ask Laura out, it would be Peter.


 “So you’ve finally found someone you want to get the courage to ask out and you’ve come to me? I feel so honored,” Peter Vogler said as he finished rinsing off a plate and putting it into his dishwasher.

 “Wow. What a way to be sympathetic,” Joe replied, handing him a dirty coffee cup. “Dick.”

 Joe and Peter laughed. “So why haven’t you asked her out?”

 “I tried earlier today at the coffee shop. I headed in her direction and the moment this guy walked into the shop and started talking with her, I bailed.”

 “She has a boyfriend then?”

 “I don’t know.”

 Joe finished rinsing the coffee cup and put it in the dishwasher. “Then why the hell didn’t you talk to her and ask her out?”

 “She ended up talking to that guy.”

 “But you don’t know if that’s her boyfriend.”

 “So? Looks like it’s full. I’ll grab the soap.”

 Joe knelt down and grabbed the soap from Peter’s cupboard and filled up the soap dispenser in Peter’s dishwasher. “Why would I try and ask her out if her man is there? He’d kick my ass.”

 “He may laugh at you sure but unless you’re trying to break the damn law, if that is his woman, he won’t touch you.”

 “How can you be sure?”

 “Simple. Not many people want to go to jail for assault. Starting fights with anyone who glares at your woman will land you there.”

 Joe followed Peter to his living room and sat on the floor while Peter started up a video game for them to play. “Ok. So he wouldn’t kick my ass. But it still would have been bad form for me to ask her out.”

 “Fine. Let’s go with your assertion that that particular moment was a bad time to ask her out. When is the next time you see her?”

 “At work. Why?”

 “Ask her then,” Peter said, handing Joe a controller.

 “But if she says no then, I’ve made working with her quite an uncomfortable affair.”

 “Then you need to find the perfect time man. Fact is, if what you’re saying is true she’s a cool lady and as long as you don’t come across all psycho crazy on her, at the very least she’ll be cool about saying no and will still be your friend. Do you think you can handle that?”

 Joe thought about it for a moment. “I get what you’re saying. I just get too nervous and realize that…”

 “It can come across like you are a creepy bastard, I get it. Again, she’s comfortable talking with you. Take advantage of that. Now get ready for me to kick your ass. My team is one win away from getting into the playoffs and I need to stomp on your pathetic ass.”


 His mind was his own worst enemy. Joe lay in bed that night going over again and again what would potentially happen if he dared asked Laura out. The ‘What If’s’ were visiting him. The ‘What If’s’ were scenarios that ran through his head whenever he thought of asking a girl out that usually went over the very worst case scenarios that could potentially happen.

 He imagined Laura was taking a break outside work talking to a friend. He imagined himself taking a deep breath, wiping the sweat off his hands, and approaching her.

 “Laura, hi,” he would say.

 Laura would acknowledge him without speaking, dismissing her friend. Joe stood for a moment before going on.

 “How you doing today?”

 “Fine,” she would say, her face not giving Joe an idea of what she was thinking.

 Joe would take a deep breath before going on. “Uh, yeah. I was wondering if, um, you wanted to go to a movie or something?”

 Laura would smile. What started off as a sweet smile turned into a vicious sneer.

 “Why in the hell would I want to associate myself with someone as disgusting as you?” she would say, at which point she would take out a can of mace and spray him in the eyes.

 Joe shook his head, clearing the image from his head. Why the hell would she do something like that? he asked himself. Peter was right. She wouldn’t do something like that to him. Why did he keep telling himself that something negative would happen? Before he could knock some sanity into his head, another ‘What If’ scenario popped arrived.

 Joe had his cell phone in his hand during this little delusion. He called Laura, each ring making his nervousness intensify. She finally answered.


 “Laura, it’s Joe. How goes it?”

 “Fine. Why are you calling?”

 Joe paused, taking a breath. “I was wondering, uh, if you’d like to go out to dinner sometime?”

 There was silence. Just as Joe was about to ask if Laura was still there, she replied.

 “Joe, I’ll say this once. Never call me again.”

 What kind of nonsense is that now? Joe asked himself, taking a deep breath after that scenario stopped. How much worse can these get?

 As if on cue…

 Joe saw himself approaching Laura outside work again. Just as he came within arm’s distance of her, she caught sight of him, pulled out a gun, and shot him in the face. With that, Joe rose from bed and headed into the kitchen to get something to drink. Whatever his mind was trying to do to convince him he shouldn’t ask Laura out, he had to prove the fucker wrong just so these stupid ‘What If’s’ would stop.


 This was it. Today was going to be the day. If he couldn’t ask Laura out on a simple date today, he’d never be able to do it. Not with her or any other woman. If he failed, his life would be destined to involve tons of lotion and internet porn.

 The season finale to Doctor Who would be on tonight. They’d always called each other after each episode to talk about the latest developments and where the storyline for the season would lead the Doctor to next. Joe figured that if he got her riffing on a topic that interested her, if he tossed in the question of asking her out at some point, she wouldn’t be inclined to be negative in her refusal to date him.

 He kept glancing at his watch as the episode went on. While he was engrossed with the story, the fact that something so earth shatteringly important as asking Laura out was getting closer weighed on his mind like a Volkswagen Beetle filled to capacity with overweight clowns. He knew he’d have to have something to talk to her about though so he tried his best to remember the main points of the show. Anything he missed he’d pick up later when watched the episode again. 

 Once the show ended, he took a deep breath and called her. She answered on the second ring. They discussed the episode. Before he knew it, Joe looked at his watch and noticed that twenty minutes had passed. Time had a habit of flying by any time he talked with her.

 As they exhausted all topics relating to the show, Joe knew now was the time to ask her out. He took a deep breath. Before he had a chance to go through his prepared comments, Laura interrupted him.

 “I saw you at the coffee shop the other day. I was about to go say hi to you but you left real fast. What happened?”

 Joe squirmed in his chair. “Oh, yeah. I thought I saw you there. I was just in a hurry you know. Had things to do. I, uh, also saw you were with someone so I didn’t want to bother you.” Great, he thought. A totally smooth way to bring up the fuck face she was with and find out his identity.

 “My brother? He just got into town. He’s visiting the family for spring break. I would have loved for you to stop over to talk cause while I love him to death, he’s about as exciting to talk to as a rock.”

 Joe couldn’t believe it. The fuck face was her brother. She was with her brother. She had no boyfriend. His very own gospel choir broke out into song in his head celebrating the good news.

 “Well, speaking of being out, I was wondering if you wanted to head to a movie or something at some point. You know…on a date.”

 Oh God, Joe thought. What a douchey thing to say. Did the ghost of John Hughes force him to say something like that? He could almost picture her laughing now.

 “It’s about time you asked me out. I was wondering if you ever would.”

 She said yes. Joe couldn’t believe it. A woman finally agreed to go out on a date with him. He did it. He conquered his fears. And he also would be collecting twenty bucks from Robert for getting a date before the age of twenty three. Now that he had the date though, he had something else he would have to worry about.

 What would he say and do on the date?

The End