Routine Check 10/10/12

– I wrote about the extremely unfortunate end of everyone’s favorite modern comic strip Cul de Sac a while ago, and the final strip ran (online at and in the newspapers cool enough to carry it) since my last edition of this infrequently updated column. Richard Thompson (who, in case you missed it, is going into a bit of a forced hiatus due to his battle with Parkinson’s) wrote a brief but illuminating blog post about it, going into his scrapped plans for an original final strip before opting instead to rerun one of his personal favorites, one with an appropriately reflexive theme. GoComics will be running the entirety of the syndicated run as daily “classic” strips, which soothes the pain a little, and should attract a lot of new fans. Update: Thompson updated his blog with a report from some corrective neurosurgery. It is full of both good news and fascinating scientific experiments.

– Man, I’ve really been enjoying this episode-by-episode breakdown of the finally-on-DVD cult classic series Get a Life with showrunner David Mirkin. One of those lengthy pieces I started out skimming and then doubled back and read in deep detail. Lots of anecdotes about delivering surreal, unclassifiable material to a network before there were many examples of such, plus some valuable asides about working with the likes of Graham Chapman, Charlie Kaufman, and Brian Doyle-Murray.

– Speaking of Chris Elliott, he returned to David Letterman’s side last night to announce both a third season of Eagleheart (a show that makes me laugh like an idiot) and a new book he has coming out, a gimmick “unauthorized autobiography” that is going right to the top tier of my reading list (or listening list, since it’s available as a self-read audiobook). I always forget Elliott actually wrote a couple of humor novels a while back…we as a nation are not doing enough to appreciate Chris Elliott.

-Speaking of funny people writing books, the great Peter Serafinowicz has one coming out as well, A Billion Jokes! (Volume One…), which will likely be at least in part a compilation of some of his Twitter-born one-liners in “gifty hardback.”

– Look out for an amusingly mysterious Adult Swim event tomorrow night in The Greatest Event in Television History, which looks to be a one-off special developed by Adam Scott and Lance Bangs and starring Scott and Jon Hamm. It will surely be available in convenient Work-O-Vision streaming format after its broadcast. (Update: Watch it here. It’s funny.)

– I have to admit I’m pretty attracted to the idea of a haunted maze designed by Penn and Teller, which joins a previously announced Alice Cooper attraction for Universal Orlando’s annual Halloween Horror Nights. I hope at the end, everyone dies to the accompaniment of “I Started a Joke.”

– Finally, a farewell to the great Herbert Lom, a spectacular and beloved character actor who died in his sleep at a solid 95. I remember once thinking during a Pink Panther marathon that Lom’s Inspector Dreyfus probably does more to hold that franchise together than Sellers’ Clouseau, and is certainly just as integral to their mechanics. He’s also particularly great in The Ladykillers and Hopscotch. I’ll leave the proper obituary to the experts at AV Club.

Today in streams and freebies: I’ve got quite a few bookmarked since it’s been a little while, so I hope everything still works for you. How about a free digital comic to mix up the usual album streams? Comic Book Resources has the details on a Comixology offer to get a free download of the first issue of Mark Waid’s new Daredevil series, a critical darling I’ve been trade-waiting. In music, you can stream in full new albums by the always-enjoyable A.C. Newman, the psych throwback Tame Impala, the new Nigel Godrich-led supergroup Ultraista, a new sample-based project from Caribou’s Dan Snaith called Daphni, and the solo debut of Benjamin Gibbard, stepping out from Death Cab for Cutie for a moment. I haven’t had a chance to spend serious time with any of them, but I’m a big fan of Snaith’s and I really enjoyed the first Tame Impala album. Maybe the biggest stream of them all though is a surprise (to I think nearly everyone) new Godspeed You! Black Emperor release, their first in ten years, following a successful “reunion tour” I was fortunate to see last year.


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