Phantom Histories: Gaston Leroux’s Phantom of the Opera

Phantom of the Opera

The Phantom of the Opera is one of my favorite stories but also one of the most frustrating.

The original story written by Gaston Leroux was published as a serial in the French newspaper Le Gaulois, but is now available in novel format in most bookstores. Because of its serial nature, though, the story doesn’t read naturally if you just sit down and read it chapter after chapter. It’s an excellent book, but it commits some big literary no-nos, such as introducing a major character in only the final act. Nonetheless, it is a compelling read with a character that is evil yet likable and ultimately very tragic.

With some narrative flaws but an otherwise terrific story, the original work seems like it would be greatly improved by adaptation. Despite having received numerous film versions, I don’t feel that any of the adaptations of Leroux’s novel have quite captured the original charm. Yes, some of them are very good in their own right, but they always leave out one or two elements that leave me wanting.

The end result is that I’m a big fan of The Phantom of the Opera, but I am still waiting for what I would consider a definitive version – a tale with all the character development and tragedy of the original story without the literary problems caused by the format in which it was released.

Read more at the Screamsheet!

The Golden Age Superman was a Badass Vigilante (Part 1 of 2)

Superman Action Comics #1

I had the good fortune of picking up Superman: The Golden Age, Vol. 1while it was on sale at Comixology.com a few weeks ago. I like the Golden/Silver Age stuff as a historical artifact of how comics shaped pop culture. In the case of Golden Age Superman, the results were really eye opening.

I knew that Superman’s early days were very different from the Man of Steel we know today. He didn’t have heat vision, couldn’t fly, and kryptonite wasn’t a thing yet. However, I didn’t realize how fully early Superman embraced his role as a man of the people – or how well the stories serve as middle-class wish fulfillment.

Read more at the Screamsheet!

My 5 Goals for an Amazing Summer with my Kids

Summer Sunset

I usually feel like I don’t spend enough time with my family, and that feeling gets worse in the summer. I definitely don’t want to be the dad who works through every vacation. But, alas, I’m a bit of a workaholic. I not only have my normal full-time career, but also two part-time jobs.

So I’ve made a few summer resolutions I’m hoping might help make sure the season goes down as an enjoyable one instead of one that I wasted working, again.

Read more at BabyCenter.com!

My Daughter is Seriously Good at Creeping me Out

Creepy Kid

There are many awesome parts about having a Halloween baby. Then there’s the creepy parts. Creepy can also be awesome, but it does definitely catch me off-guard sometimes.

Kids have built-in weirdness, but my daughter seems to fully embrace her unusual side. As long as she uses it for good, I’m okay with that. Of course, the fact that she was born on Halloween is a coincidence.

Kids don’t need an excuse to creep their parents out. But my daughter happens to exhibit this sort of behavior more than her brother. She’s also great at emoting, which makes anything she does memorable.

Here are just a few of the ways she’s made me raise an eyebrow.

Read more at BabyCenter.com!

I Joked about Getting Fired, and Kind of Freaked my Kid Out

Kids Hearing

I’m decent (not great) at avoiding profanity around my kids. But I tend to have loose lips with other topics that I never considered to be a potential issue. For example, after a bad week at work, I made an offhanded comment to some friends that I’m lucky I didn’t get fired.

My son immediately asked me to rewind in my conversation and go over what I had said again. He really looked worried. By this point in his life, he not only realizes that money provides him with safety and comfort, but that my job is the primary source of money in our household.

Read more at BabyCenter.com!

4 Lessons I Learned from a Family Trip to Hawaii

Hawaii

After years of planning and saving, our family finally managed to take a dream vacation in Hawaii. Getting there, which involved 14 hours of flying and shifting through five time zones, was a pain. Returning home introduced challenges. Everything in between was paradise.

While my wife and I had taken a similar vacation for our honeymoon, our kids had never traveled so far or spent so long away from home. As a result, the whole trip was a learning experience. In addition to plenty of souvenirs, we took the following lessons home with us.

Read more at BabyCenter.com!

The Many Worlds of D&D, part two

Oriental Adventures

Dungeons & Dragons started as an offshoot of wargaming, but it grew quickly. TSR, the company that owned the game, soon saw that people wanted more than just dungeons and wilderness areas for their heroes to explore. They wanted a semblance of a living fantasy world filled with history, personalities, and adventure.

The earliest settings, which I described last time, grew at the speed of adventure – new information got added as needed for a given module rather than in an atlas-like book. By the 1980s, though, D&D was realizing its media crossover potential. This led to a new wave of campaign settings that had a reach far beyond gaming tables.

Read more at the Screamsheet!