365 T-shirts - the reasoning

This blog should be sub-titled: a journal of my life in geek.

I get my geek on with things about which I am geeky: comic books, Baseball, Ultimate, science fiction, my favorite bands, books I have read and loved, and Jungian psychology to name some of the most frequently traversed subjects.

I began this project simply as a way to count my T-shirts. I own a lot of T-shirts. But how many do I have? Do I have 365? We shall find out.

When I started this blog, I thought about how each T-shirt means something to me. I bought it for a reason, after all. I set myself the task to post an entry about a new T-shirt every day as a way to simply write something every day, a warm up for writing fiction, which is my passion. Writing is like exercise. Warm ups are good for exercise. But after completing a month of blogging about T-shirts, I have learned that this blog serves as a journal; it documents my life in geek, sort of a tour of my interests in pop culture. The blog serves as a tool for self-inventory, for assessment and analysis of self and the origins of self, for stepping through the process of individuation in catalogues, lists, and ranks.

The blog also made me aware that I have some serious gaps in my T-shirt ownership, and I am in the process of collecting some new T-shirts for several of the great popular culture icons that I truly love. Stay tuned.

I was also a bit surprised that people checked out my blog and continue to check it, read it, and even comment on it. I am very appreciative of this readership. Please feel free to share your thoughts in my comments section. I will respond.

Also, please note that I have moved the original introductory text to the side bar. And now, I present to you the most recent entry of 365 T-shirts: a journal of my life in geek. Thank you for reading.
(Second Update - 1310.24. First Update - 1306.05 Originally Posted - 1304.25.)

Monday, August 12, 2013

T-shirt #144: The Teen Titans

T-shirt #144: The Teen Titans and a roundup of bloggy stuff and other nonesuch

Happy Monday!

I say "Happy Monday" on purpose because "happy" is the operative word today. Stay tuned.

As I wrote yesterday, KUDL's summer season is over, and so I am taking a break from KUDL and Ultimate shirts in general for some time.

I felt it was time for some roundup and reflection. For some readers the blog can be overwhelming. I do have a category devoted to what I think is my best work, entitled "Lists-My Ten Best Blog Entries," which contains 11 blog entries. I could not stick to ten.

One of my good friends and a dear reader spoke to me this past weekend wishing me well. I was deeply touched by this expression of good will by a dear friend and a reader. Thanks. You know who you are.

Part of my intention to do a roundup today is to recap as I close in on 150, which feels like a milestone. Also, I am approaching another milestone. If you don't know what milestone I am talking about, read T-shirt #77: Narcissism. My personal milestone takes place (begins and ends) on August 16th, which also happens to be my parents' 55th wedding anniversary, and the day before my wife's birthday (her number of years I am not at liberty to disclose). Starting August 16th, I have scheduled four days of pajama T-shirts. I may not use all four days in a row to show pajamas but that's the current plan in case I need that much time.


I promised roundup today. And, so I present, first, some bloggy roundup. I expected to do a whole bevy of roundup today but that's not going to be possible. Bloggy roundup, happiness, and one happy thing (George Pérez) is all I will have time to accomplish.

I had a reader praise my blog but admit disinterest in much of it: "too much about comic books," he said.

Though I explore a lot of subject matter with this blog, it would make sense for comic books to be the number one subject. So far, I have devoted 44 of the 144 posts to comic books: DC Comics (20), Marvel Comics (11), and Other(13). I do not have an "other" category, so I derived that number from subtraction. You can see these categories listed on the right side of the blog page. The Sports category takes second place with 36 entries, mainly because I include all of my Ultimate shirts in sports. I have featured 19 Ultimate shirts and 16 KUDL shirts, and though this may seem like a lot, the category for Just Logos and Symbols carries the third place rank with 29 entries, and I did not include sports logos in this category. The Logos category consists of comic book, SF, and other related logos, such as Star Trek,  Mad Magazine, and The Comics Code Authority.  Shirts I have been given as gifts takes fourth place with 27 entries, so NO, I am not buying them all myself!! Thus, TV and Movies takes fifth place with 25 entries, as many of these overlap with comic books. Some may feel I am cheating here as the shirts for several entries in this category have nothing to do with TV or movies, such as T-shirt #99: Moby, but since I wrote a little review of Iron Man 3 in that entry, I added it to the TV and Movies category, and so it serves double duty.

For those who like lists, here's the top ten for the blog so far.
  1. Comics Books = 44 entries
  2. Sports = 36 entries
  3. Just Logos and Symbols = 30 entries
  4. GIFTS = 27 entries
  5. TV and Movies = 25 entries
  6. Music = 22 entries
  7. DC Comics = 20 entries
  8. Science Fiction = 20 entries
  9. Ultimate = 19 entries
  10. KUDL = 16 entries


I have been thinking a lot lately about what makes me happy. This is surely a theme of this blog. Why would I wear a shirt displaying something that makes me unhappy? Obviously, if I am going to wear a shirt, which sits close to my heart, the thing depicted will also be close to my heart. This entire blog is one long journal about the things that make me happy outside of the obvious things, such as family and friends. I could probably complete a blog about 365 people or memories and not run out of material, much like the T-shirts.

But because of the aforementioned milestone, I have been thinking about things that make me happy, why they make me happy, and managing what my therapist and I call "self-care," which means making sure I get enough of those things that make me happy. I did discuss this subject some in T-shirt #103: Aloha, dedicated to the concept of Aloha from my wife's native land of Hawaii, which someday I hope to visit. In that blog entry, I began a subject that I plan to expand and explore often in the second 100 entries, of which I am halfway complete: THE RULES OF CHRIS. Though I did not name the "Rules of Chris" in the post, I added T-shirt #64 to the category because of the subjects I explore therein. Subjects of T-shirt #64 will connect very directly to several future blog entries.

I cannot make a list of happy things because the list is this blog. In the end, I hope to have over 365 happy things, and maybe room for more. In fact, some of the happy things, such as the very first entry: T-shirt #1: Son of Satan, deserve further exploration. I did not know what I was getting myself into when I started back on March 22nd. I could surely explore the very interesting Damion Hellstrom in more depth, but I will save that investigation and reflection for another time.

For now, today's happy thing: George Pérez and the Teen Titans.


If I had to select one favorite comic book artist, I do not even have to think about it. I would select George Pérez.

I have struggled with this issue of listing my favorite comic book artists. I started my thinking on this subject in T-shirt #27: Iron Fist, when faced with writing about Gil Kane. At that time, I made a very preliminary list, which, of course, contained George Pérez. I made the list just off the top of my head, which five artists sprung to mind first. By the time I reached T-shirt #43: Deadman, I realized that I had left Neal Adams off the list, and so I had to correct my oversight, and so I decided to organize the artists by era, which saves George Pérez for the 1970s and 1980s, even though he is still working today. In fact, the height of his career is arguably the 1980s, and he is probably best listed then. I decided to divide by era only because I have too many favorite comic book artists to keep to a simple top five or even a top ten. I have not even written about all of my favorites yet. More are still to come. But if I were to choose one artist as my all time favorite, I would unhesitatingly choose George Pérez.

I have the pleasure of being Facebook friends with George Pérez. In the 1990s, when my friend Neil Southwell and I were trying to sell a Teen Titans comic book idea to DC comics, we had the privilege of going to George's house (then in Queens) so he could critique Neil's art, which was an amazing learning experience. I am proud to say that we were able to meet with the editor of the Teen Titans books of the time, but DC declined to hire us to create a new Titans book. I am amused by the current All New X-Men book at Marvel Comics because this was essentially our idea with the Teen Titans. We wanted to bring back the original Titans (Robin, Speedy, Kid Flash, Aqualad, and Wonder Girl), though I planned to leave in doubt HOW they came back to the, then, mid-1990s DC landscape. Were they clones? Was it time travel? Were they brainwashed? Maybe they were aliens? What if they were brainwashed, alien, clones from the past? I had many plans for fun revelations and mysteries. Too bad we did not get our shot. If I had scans of the art, I would share it. The first page splash showed the original Wonder Girl's fist slamming into the then Robin's (Tim Drake) face in extreme close up, blood and teeth spewing forth. It was a great idea for an image and Neil drew it beautifully, though as George showed us her pointed wrist bracelet would not have allowed her to bend her wrist without goring herself.

Back to George and the Titans.

This shirt commemorates a more recent edition of the Teen Titans and a spanking new logo. But any time, I think of the Teen Titans, I think of George Pérez (check out the Wiki).

In fact, I think about George Pérez every day because his lithograph for the Avengers 41st anniversary hangs directly above my computer desk in the place of ultimate honor (see photos).

I spotted George Pérez from his very first published art work in the Deadly Hands of Kung Fu magazine in 1973. Soon he was illustrating many of my favorite comics, to which I subscribed to ensure I would have all of George's great work, such as Avengers and Fantastic Four. 

In 1980, George hopped to DC with Marv Wolfman to do the New Teen Titans book. Though I bought the first issue, I was off to college and my comic buying was spotty for a few years as I distracted by girls, girls, music, more girls, okay and maybe a little with academics (especially my classes with beautiful women). I loved the New Teen Titans book, but I missed a lot of issues. It was early 1984 before I started making regular treks to the local comic shop (a used bookstore that is now out of business; it would be another year before I would find Fanfare) and started buying the Teen Titans issues on a regular basis (and any back issues I could get my hands on). My love of comics renewed, I followed George's work avidly as he created the world-shattering and pivotal comic maxis-series Crisis on Infinite Earths with Marv Wolfman and then later a complete re-definition and a wonderful re-envisioning of Wonder Woman.

I have been an avid follower of George Pérez's work for most of my life (and his). I think his art is the most gorgeous in the history of comic books. I also love that he is an oft-imitated artist, such as by Phil Jimenez, who is a great artist in his own right but surely lists George as his number one influence. George's career is well chronicled in the Wiki devoted to him. He is still at work today, involved in DC's New 52 launch.

In 2010, DC finally agreed to publish the graphic novel we Titans fans had been waiting for since the 1980s. I actually owned a photocopy of the art that was distributed to our APA TitanTalk way back in the late 1980s. I wrote about my involvement with the APA in T-shirt #62: Nightwing. The graphic novel Games is a beautiful masterwork and a testament to the excitement of those 1980s Titans stories. Back in the late 1980s, George had asked my friend Neil to do some drawings that would appear on cards in the finished product. The cards are included on the pages of the finished art work, but I am not sure if these are Neil's drawings. He is not credited, in any case. Nevertheless, George has always been a huge supporter and a regular communicator with the fan community, much more so than many of his standoffish colleagues. It's one of the things I appreciate about the man. Not only is he a great artist, but he is a wonderful and gentle human being. I feel honored to say I know him, even a little.

Games is a wonderful graphic novel, and I highly recommend it. Maybe in a future post, I will review it and offer up more of a love letter to those 1980s Teen Titans issues and why I am such a huge fan. (And, no, it's not just because I have a huge crush on George's Donna Troy, Wonder Girl, and consider her my favorite woman character in all of comics... but that's surely part of it.)

Meanwhile, I will close with some more George Pérez art, including an image from the other, long-awaited master work: the JLA-Avengers book, which finally saw print in 2003.

Also, no entry about George Pérez can exist without mentioning his ingenious Hulk: Future Imperfect (written by Peter David) and George's run on AVENGERS with Kurt Busiek.

Enjoy this image gallery tribute to the great George Pérez. Surely, it is incomplete, and I will be forced to cycle back to this great artist again before my 365 days are at an end.







page from the "Who is Donna Troy?" comic (Titans #38).


All art (I hope) is posted here with permission of George Pérez, DC Comics, and Marvel Comics.
With all love and respect to and for George Pérez.

- chris tower - 1308.12 - 16:48