Post #400 is Actually #401: Batman Issue #400 and others

Blogs, comicsI was going to save the 400th post for this spot, but after getting a chance to see a special screening for Man of Steel, I had to go with that one first. Sooooo, this is the 401th post that should have been the 400th.

In celebration, I figured it would be fun to show off the covers for some of the major comic book series that have reached the 400th issue. This isn’t supposed to be a comprehensive list, but it’s a lot of them since having a title run to 400 issues means the series has been in steady publication for over 30 years (if the comic comes out in the normal monthly release format).

Except for funny books like Disney, Archie, Dell, Whitman, etc., the majority of the comic books that have arrived at the illustrious number 400 are from Marvel and DC. There are several ongoing gag books, particularly in Europe that have run the total number of issues into the 1000s but we’re focusing mostly on comics with continuous stories — typically superhero tales.

So, here are covers from comic books that have reached the 400th issue. This is not a comprehensive list since I didn’t do much research. If I’ve missed any big ones, leave me a comment.

1. Batman #400 (1986)

I love this comic. It was one of the first comic books I bought back in college. This anniversary comic that actually had some thought put into it. It has a wicked cool Bill Sienkiewicz (pronounced “Bill Smith”) and a fantastic Doug Moench story. It’s a thick comic that has several contributing artists including some of my favorites: Art Adams, Brian Bolland, Michael Kaluta, Rick Leonardi, Steve Lightle, Steve Rude, and Berni Wrighton plus several more.

Batman #400, Anniversary issue Cover art for Batman 400 by Bill Sienkiewicz

2. Detective #400 (1970)

What’s cool about this anniversary issue is that it’s not only a Neal Adams issue (the cover and the interior), it’s also the origin and first appearance of the Mat-Bat.

Detective Comics #400, Neal Adams, First Man-Bat

3. Dell Four Color #400: Space Cadet (1952)

Gay Comics 1955, #1Painted cover by Alden McWilliams. I like that. I also like the name of the comic.  It’s as unintentionally funny in the modern day context as as Gay Comics (1955). Speaking of gay, here’s a version we modified for a bit of fun. As you gaze upon it hum “I Could Have Danced All Night” from My Fair Lady.

Four Color Comics #400, Tom Corbett, Space Cadet

4. Uncanny X-Men 400 (2001)

The Uncanny X-Men and its derivatives are titles that we cut our teeth on in the 1980s before they become too confusing and commercial for my tastes in the 1990s. By issue 400, I had actually stopped reading X-Men altogether. Still, cool cover by Ashley Wood.

The Uncanny X-Men #400 cover The Uncanny X-Men #400 full cover

5. Sgt. Rock #400 (1985)

War comics are hit or miss with me but it’s worth noting that this particular war hero’s stories had a very long run.  The series actually began as Our Army at War with a title change to Sgt. Rock in issue #302.  Sgt. Rock actually didn’t even enter the series until issue #83. Hmm. Maybe we shouldn’t give this title credit as a 400 issue. Oh, well. Clever cover by Joe Kubert.

Sgt. Rock #400, Joe Kubert cover

6.Amazing Spiderman #400 (1995)

The issue had two different covers, both drawn by Mark Bagley and Larry Mahlstedt. The version shown below is a white embossed special issue of the newsstand version. If you can’t tell, it shows a tombstone with Spider-man swinging in front of it. The storyline is titled Death in the Family and in it, Aunt May or a clone or an actress or an old lady that happens to be Aunt May 269 reveals to Peter Parker or or Ben Reilly or Tom Jones or some sort of doppelgänger or who-knows-what that she has always known he was Spider-man or the Scarlet Spider or Spider-bot or Spider-Balls or something. I can’t keep track of which is who and what is how much.

The Amazing Spider-man #400, Death in the Family, alternative cover

7. Superman #400 (1984)

Painted cover by one of my favorites: Howard Chaykin.

Superman #400: Anniversary issue cover by Howard Chaykin Cover art for Superman #400

8. Fantastic Four #400 (1995)

The cover by Paul Ryan is made from a foil-like substance that refracts colors in a cool way.  Is that Dr. Doom on the cover? Does the Thing have boobs? And what’s the deal with the Watchers dying? And where’s Mister Fantastic (Reid Richards)? You can tell we don’t read FF either.

Fantastic Four #400, prismatic foil cover

9. The Incredible Hulk #400 (1992)

Prismatic cover by British artist Gary Frank.

The Incredible Hulk #400: prism cover

10. Avengers #400 (1996)

Giant Size issue with wraparound cover by Mike Deadato and Tom Palmer.

Avengers #400, Giant Size Avengers #400 wraparound cover

11. The Mighty Thor #400 (1988)

Sort of a big Kirby-esque cover by Ron Frenz and Brett Breeding.

The Mighty Thor #400

12. Action Comics #400 (1971)

Superman sure seems to get a lot of gimmicky covers. Here’s a goofy one by Neal Adams and Dick Giordano.

Action Comics #400, Neal Adams cover

13. Adventure Comics #400 (1970)

We’re not big fans of this title, but it’s a 400 issue, so here it is. The story and art were provided by Mike Sekowsky, who was famous for creating the Legion of Superheroes and several of the characters in its membership.

Adventure Comics #400, Supergirl

14. Captain America #400 (1992)

This cover by Rick Levins and Dan Panosian is pretty bland. Therefore my comment about it is too.

Captain America #400

15. Archie Comics #400 (1992)

We weren’t going to do an Archie, but that wouldn’t be fair. Besides, I needed a #16. The Cover is by Rex Lindsey.  As for me, it has always been Veronica.

Archie 400th issue

There you have it. And here’s your bonus. On June 14, 2013, I published my 400th post. Here’s a collector’s item limited edition cover for your viewing pleasure.Comics A-Go-Go! Irresponsible Blogging at its best

All Kinds of Wrong: Alan Moore gets it on with Rob Liefeld?!

After cracking open that old box of 1990s comic book garbage our friend gave to us, we thumbed through the 150 or so comics to see if there were any gems. No, not really. What a terrible mess it was in the 90s. Reading was overcome by speculative collecting. Art was overcome by kids on meth. The biggest culprit was probably the House that Shit Built — Image Comics — which had enough hits to count only on one hand yet dozens of horrible titles that now fill up quarter-bins and still don’t move. There was plenty of pain to spread around, though. Small press printing (high quality or not) was becoming more affordable and with an influx of investors from the sports card market, anybody with a turd of an idea could start a miserable little company.

Anyway, we kept going and then … we stumbled on this horror.

Warchild by Rob Liefeld, poorly drawn feetRob Liefeld was one of the most prominent purveyors of perfidy. It seemed like every time we turned around there was a Liefeld cover, new title or character, guest appearance, or co-marketing trash. Rob taught us that no amount of missing talent could stop a kid with a dream. We’ve highlighted him several times on, so it only seems fitting we do it again.

Alan Moore, one of the best writers in comic-dom, is not someone we thought would ever associate himself with the likes of Image Comics. Apparently, we can all be wrong sometimes. In 1996, Alan teamed up with Rob to produce an abomination called Warchild. See, the thing is, we know Alan didn’t do it for the craft. He did it for the money. And Rob had gobs of it to share. So many other quality writers had sold out, so why not Ol’ Itchy Al? Anyway, who are we to challenge the right for a goblin to earn his scratch?

A match made in Hell: Alan Moore and Rob Liefeld

Here’s a promo for the series. Can you spot the six things wrong with the image? We listed them below so no peaking until you’re done.

Warchild comic book by Alan Moore and Rob Liefeld

1. This is the most obvious one: Alan Moore + Rob Liefeld. That’s like teaming up Dylan Thomas with a sober Andy Warhol. Or putting pineapple on pizza. Or having George W. Bush pen the autobiography of Thomas Jefferson. Some odd pairings are serendipitously wonderful (like chocolate ice cream and peaches) but some things just shouldn’t be.

2. Where the hell is Warchild’s spine going? How did his head get all of the way back there? Is that an arm? Is that grass growing out of his head? What the HELL is that on his face?! What the Go fuck yourself does he keep in those damnable pouches????!!!!!

3. It isn’t just his art; Rob can be credited for coming up with some of the worst names for comic book characters. Shatterstar, Knightsabre, Psilence, Riptide, Stryfe, Thornn, Wildside … are among the eye-rolling list. But Warchild. Gross.

4. “Epic Tale.” Right.

5.  We don’t want to know what a Farmergeddon means. We know we would regret it if we did.

Alan Moore with googly eyes6. “I think WARCHILD is the best stuff I’ve written for Image yet” — Alan Moore, Wizard Magazine #52. It isn’t clear but it appears that Alan was either (a) very, very high on mushrooms, or (b) very, very relieved when he discovered he had no self-respect and that he was now very, very wealthy.

Well, since we’re on a Kick Liefeld kick, here’s a bonus for you. That ass is asking to be spanked. No, not Vogue’s ass. Rob the Ass. Haters be hatin’.

Vogue comic book character by Rob Liefeld

The Top 10 Reasons

Question Mark Symbol

Sometimes, the reasons by themselves are good enough. Here are those top 10 reasons in no particular order.

  1. Because I said so.
  2. Because [insert your preferred celestial being here] wills it.
  3. Because [insert your preferred demonic being here] made me do it.
  4. You’re not the boss of me! I don’t need a reason! [this is an acceptable reason for any child under the age of 10].
  5. It seemed like a good idea at the time.
  6. I figured he was already dead, so … yeah.
  7. [We do not like over trodden clichés, but this list has a life of its own] “If I told you, I’d have to kill you.” [That was funny the first time every one of us heard it, but it’s been annoying ever since].
  8. Experts say … [whatever you want goes here, because when “experts say…” it doesn’t matter what the reason is — it’s golden.]
  9. It’s tradition. You cannot escape tradition.
  10. Your mama.

Bonus reason:  Evidently, “because it was there” is a valid response to every query.


Top 20 Most Interesting Flags of the World

[Note: this post got picked up through a reblog on Reddit and I’ve been getting quite a bit of traffic from it. Apparently, I touched a nerve with some of the people that found it, but harshness aside, there are some important corrections they’ve pointed out. I inserted their comments into my original post below. If I have other errors, I’d love to get your feedback. The thrust of my blog is primarily to entertain with … as Reddit user sylban says … “lame-ass ‘jokes'”, but I always appreciate getting feedback, particularly if it improves the information I’ve posted. I do have to disagree with sylban though. Corporal punishment for inserting my lame-ass jokes seems a bit extreme. I will, however, accept “chucklehead” and “childish gibber.” Reddit user tmcroissant indicates my post contains racism, which I take more seriously. I cover a lot of geography (albeit poorly according to Reddit User Calls-you-at-3am-), so I’m not sure what wording is of particular concern to tmcroissant. As for the other condemnatory comments, I can’t disagree in principle. After all, as my tagline indicates, I am an irresponsible blogger. Lastly, regarding excluded flags, Reddit user AlexSud asks why the Georgian flag isn’t on the list. Obviously, this list is completely subjective to my tastes and everyone else’s list is likely to be different. The flag of Georgia is a beautiful flag, I have to admit.]

There are between 165-270 countries in the world depending on how one defines the word “country.” The United Nations recognizes 190 undisputed “sovereign countries.” In other words, the U.N. congregates agree that there are 190 entities with no claims by other countries challenging that sovereignty (sovereignty is a fancy way of saying “you’re not the boss of me”). There are an additional 16 states whose sovereignty is disputed. Some of the disputes are silly, like Pakistan disputing the independence of Armenia? The reason for the dispute is friendly support by Pakistan for Azerbaijan, who has been in conflict with Armenia over territory and the results of war, even though Azerbaijan itself doesn’t dispute Armenia’s independence.  The most famous disputes are Taiwan vs. Republic of China and Israel vs. Palestine. The most bizarre one is  North Korea and South Korea because they both claim each other.

I’m really loose with my criteria. For the most part, the look of the flag, with a minor nod to symbolism and history, is what drove me to compile the list. I scoured through flags of sovereign countries, autonomous states,  partially self-governed territories, and even dependencies. Why? Because some of the best flags are hidden in there. I’m no vexillologist (someone who studies flags) so I’m not going to pretend I have the depth of knowledge about flags acquired by those that study them. A couple of the negative comments were pretty arrogant, so I’m hoping they aren’t representative of the community at large. This is a list of interesting flags. I can’t think of anything more subjective than “interest,” so what’s interesting to me may not be interesting to you.

So, that said, here is my list of the Top 20 Most Interesting Flags of the World. Your list may differ.

20. Marshall Islands

To me, the flag looks more like a product brand than a flag. The big sun with all the sharp rays kind of catch the eye. Marshall Islands is a Trust Territory of the United States and calls the southwest Pacific Ocean its home. [Correction: Reddit User KarlPilkingtonsBrain points out that the islands are no longer a Trust Territory of the United States. Marshall Islands became fully sovereign in 1986.]  The territory is made up over 1,100 islands and it’s located about halfway between Hawaii and New Zealand. It’s also famous for being the home of U.S. nuclear bomb testing. Death by radiation was not uncommon.

Territory Population: 68,000

Flag of Marshall Islands

19. Christmas Island

Christmas Island makes my list partially because its flag has a beautiful looking Golden Bosun bird on it. Just looks pretty. Maybe I had the beaches on my mind, but the island’s shape reminds me of a bikini bottom. We deducted a point and dropped Christmas Island’s flag lower on this list since the Australian territory’s name was based on the fact that an explorer passed it on Christmas Day in 1643 and dubbed it accordingly. Lazy. And that’s even lazy for us. It’s located to the northwest of Australia and just south of Indonesia.

Territory Population: 2,072

Flag of Christmas Island

18. Switzerland

This country’s flag is simple but its square shape sets it apart from the typically rectangular flags of other nations. The red cross symbol is found on the Victorinox knifes I carried around as a Scout so maybe there’s some nostalgia there. Switzerland is also home to holey cheese (not to be confused with the holy cheese housed in Vatican City), pretty nurses, wooden clocks, Alpine horns (see Asterix in Switzerland), craggy mountains, discreet banks, and avoiding getting involved in wars. Switzerland is located in Europe in the area between Germany, France, and Italy. Update: I forgot to mention that Switzerland is also famous for chocolate. Duh! What’s wrong with me?! That’s like making a list of objects in the Solar System and forgetting to list the Sun! Geez.]

Country Population: 8,000,000

Flag of Switzerland

17. South Korea

OK, remember how I said these are the most interesting flags in the world to me? Right. So, this is a good example of a completely arbitrary choice because it’s just catches my eye. The flag looks kinda like a biplane’s piston engine. And I like biplanes. That’s it. Stupid. But the flag is still interesting. Anyway, whereas North Korea has typically been run by lunatics, the South has been run by small, affordable, lightweight automobiles that have given the Japanese car makers a run for their money. Incidentally, I’ve enjoyed some South Koreans films recently but have to admit they are pretty twisted. Try Oldboy or I Saw the Devil on for size. South Korea juts out from the Chinese mainland and is southwest of Japan.

Country Population: 50,004,441

Flag of South Korea

16. Dominica

A parrot on a festive flag gives Dominica a placer on our list.  The Sisserou Parrot is a huge beautiful bird native to the former colony of the United Kingdom and is located in the Caribbean. By the way, Dominica has nothing to do with Dominican Republic, a larger nation also located in the area. Dominica is in an area called the Antilles which is at the outer eastern edge of the Sea heading into the Atlantic Ocean.

Country Population: 72,660

Flag of Dominica

15. Zimbabwe

Like a lot of the flags on the African continent, Zimbabwe’s flag carries multiple colors that signify agriculture (green), minerals (yellow), blood (red), and heritage (black). The bird on the flag is a soapstone statuette representing the heyday of the magnificent ancient city of Great Zimbabwe (go read about it on Wikipedia). The Marxist star represents misguided revolutionary efforts to make a go at the real world after years of colonial repression. Instead of democracy, however, the country ended up with one of the worst tyrants in modern history (hello Robert Mugabe). As Roger Daltrey sings “Meet the new boss, same as the old boss.”

Country Population: 12,619,600

Flag of Zimbabwe

14. Brunei

We just like it because of the hands. There aren’t too many flags with human body parts on them, so hurrah for the Bruneians. The hands symbolize the benevolence of the Sultanate’s Islamic government. That’s a problem for me since countries run by religious autocracies tend to have poor human rights records, although Brunei appears to be more tolerant than others. Also, the flag has a “parisol” representing the monarchy and a crescent representing Islam. Brunei is located in the South China Sea in an area carved out of Malaysia. [Correction: Reddit User oalsaker referenced the fact that Malaysia was created through arrangements made between the Sultan of Brunei and a short lived dynasty of Englishmen called the White Rajahs, so it wasn’t Brunei that was carved out — it was Malaysia. I had meant to say that Brunei was essentially a landmass “carved” out of the larger landmass of Malaysia but that confuses the actual history of Brunei and Malaysia as oalsaker points out.]

Country Population: 408,786

Flag of Brunei

13. Japan

Big. Red. Dot. Simple and geometrically perfect. Mr. Sun, Sun, Mr. Reddish Sun … Japan is located east of China, the Koreas, and Russia. Japan is getting back to work on Monday at the same time as some parts of the United States are getting ready to go to church on Sunday. See, this is why we’re always running to catch up with Asia. [I got some criticism for not pointing out that Bangladesh and others aren’t getting attention here. Again, my list. I just like the look of red on white and the color of other flags that are similar just don’t jump out at me. I do have to say that if I did the list over again, I would have placed Greenland somewhere on it. It’s not as simple as Japan’s, but again, red and white. Plus it has an interesting horizon concept].

Country Population: 126,659,683

Flag of Japan

12. Macedonia

Hey, another sun flag, this time from a European country. I like the yellow rays on the red background. Just different. Macedonia is one of the countries that sprang forth after Yugoslavia blew up.  It’s on the southern end of Europe.  Incidentally, Greece and Macedonia both claim the name “Macedonia” as their own and this has been a source of contention between the two countries. Smells like another war opportunity. [Reddit user Calls-you-at-3am added that Macedonia is also referred to as “the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia” due to the naming dispute with Greece.]

Country Population: 2,058,539

Flag of Macedonia

11. Uganda

Another colorful African flag with a bird. This time, the bird is a Grey Crowned Crane. The colors represent Africa (black), sunshine (yellow), and the blood of brotherhood (red). Uganda is a landlocked country (meaning it has no shoreline to access an ocean or sea) and it’s located in the same vicinity as Kenya and Congo. Sadly, Uganda has experienced its fair share of political and tribal violence, and it doesn’t appear that it will be abating anytime soon.

Country Population: 35,873,253

Flag of Uganda

10. Martinique

Not one, not two, not three, but four snakes! It’s even cooler that they are vipers. The flag of this overseas region of France apparently isn’t really an official flag. So what. It merits attention anyway. Martinique is located in the Caribbean, just south of Dominica (see above).

Region Population: 403,795

Flag of Martinique

9. Vatican City

This flag is rather bland, but it is interesting because, like Switzerland, it’s square. The keys really strike our fancy. They represent heavenly (gold) power and earthly (white) power. Ha! I just realized that I wrote that the key symbolizes white power. That’s controversial in a way, I suppose, although one doesn’t typically associate the Catholic Church with white supremacy … or does it, Herr Ratzinger? There is a dubious history of some within the Catholic Church’s hierarchy colluding with Nazis.  Vatican City is located in Rome, Italy and is an independent nation, technically, but relies on resources from outside its walls.

City-State Population: 836

Flag of Vatican City

8. United States

OK, this is where I’m torn. I’m American so naturally I have been enveloped by my flag so much more than other countries’ flags. So, with my bias I’m not really sure if this flag should be higher or lower or even on this list. But the reason I think it deserves attention is that there is a lot packed into Old Glory. And, just so you don’t think I only pick on other countries, I acknowledge that my country is the only one to have used nuclear weapons against human beings in wartime. We also still execute people (the United States was the only country to do so in the entire Western Hemisphere in 2012). We hate communism but don’t mind hypocritical tax subsidies for major private corporations. Many, if not most, of our citizens would be hard-pressed to identify the majority of the flags on this list (and lest I be charged with hypocrisy I admit that I could not identify in any way nine of the flags on this list until I started researching for this post). Ours is a country of massive contradictions. But, I have to openly and firmly admit that I love my country, just as most of you love yours. I’m not going to assume, by the way, that the U.S. is the leader of global morality as some of my fellow citizens believe. Leadership from around the world has collectively made our world a better place over the generations. There is still much to do and I’m hoping my country will be a part of it.  [Note: Reddit user Zarorg states that “Ugh, this is so heavily Americanised.” Yes, that is correct, so I’m not sure about his/her point. Maybe Zarorg didn’t complete the sentence and intended to say “… and that’s a bad thing.” That’s Zarorg’s opinion, just as this post is mine.]

Country Population: 315,706,000

Flag of the United States of America

7. Guadeloupe

The fact that one of the primary versions of the flag has so much black on it makes it unusual. A big sun with curved rays, sugar cane, and  three fleurs-de-lis make it even more distinct. Like Martinique, Guadeloupe is a French region so the flag is unofficial. Guadeloupe is located in the Caribbean Sea north of Dominica and Martinique (see above).

Region Population: 405,500

Flag of Guadeloupe

6. Swaziland

Swaziland is a landlocked country located mostly within South Africa and is bordered on the east by Mozambique. It’s a small country and relies heavily on trade and economic aid from South Africa. The flag is relatively new and was adopted after independence from Britain in 1968. The weaponry on the flag recalls its militaristic history. Like many of Africa’s flags, vibrant colors call out many different meanings: blue for peace and stability, red for previous wars, and yellow for the country’s resources. Swaziland is run by the last absolute monarchy in Africa.

Country Population: 1,185,000

Flag of Swaziland

5. Nepal

The distinctive triangular shapes are super interesting to me and make this an instantly recognizable flag. The shape represents both the mountainous region it occupies and the two predominent religions: Hinduism and Buddhism. The symbols represent the sun and the moon. Nepal is a landlocked country that is sandwiched between India and China. Well, not really China. Tibet is its north neighbor. But who are we to stir the political pot? Oh, hell. Here we go. Long live the Dalai Lama! Sorry Nepal. We stole your thunder.

Country Population: 26,494,504

Flag of Nepal

4. Bhutan

A dragon on rollerballs. Can you imagine? Actually, they’re jewels. Like Nepal, Bhutan is a landlocked Asian country that has the misfortune of being surrounded by Tibet and India. We’d hate to be in the middle of that mess. Bhutan had its own nastiness to deal with, though. It was guilty of ethnic cleansing (without the wholesale murder like in the former Yugoslavian nations) by booting out hundreds of thousands of Nepalese Hindus in the name of their flavor of Buddhism. So much for peace and acceptance.

Country Population: 742,737

Flag of Bhutan

3. United Kingdom

The Union Jack or Union Flag (see comment from Dylan below). A significant number of the world’s flags have the crosses of the British empire on them. It’s that cool. Or it represents the UK’s conquering colonial reach. Either way, it’s a sweet design. Even if it isn’t the most interesting, it’s probably my favorite flag overall. Again, I feel like I have to make a justification for my list — it represents the most interesting flags to me. I don’t have the same history as many of you do with the flag or the country so you either may feel the same, better, or worse about this flag when you make your own list.

Country Population: 63,181,775

Flag of the United Kingdom

2. British Indian Ocean Territory

Before you cry foul that I’ve double dipped, keep this in mind. The fact that the British crosses are on the flag is actually only a part of what makes this interesting. What really gets us are the wavy stripes. Maybe I’m a bit jaded because I love the ocean so much. Anyway, can you imagine how crazy the flag looks when it’s fluttering in the breeze? Waves upon waves. Top it off with the British royal crown and palm tree and the semi-official flag of this British territory has it all going on. The additional fact that it flies over an area with no formal population (it’s a military zone) and that the British and Americans booted out the native population and that it’s a disputed territory (Seychelles also lays claim) just makes it even more crazy.

Territory Population: 3,000 personnel

Flag of the British Indian Ocean Territory

1. Saint Pierre and Miquelon

This was a hard one. I really, really like the British Indian Ocean Territory flag, but in the end I felt this one was more interesting. Since “interesting” is the operative word in the title of this list, interestingly enough, it belongs right here. Saint Pierre and Miquelon is a self-governing French territory (not a region like Martinique and Guadeloupe) that’s situated in the North Atlantic near Canada. What makes this flag the most interesting on my list is only partially because of the big yellow ship. As I said above, I may be jaded because I love the ocean, but I think that anyone would be drawn to this flag because of this unique artistic element. But it doesn’t end there. This flag has the flags of three other nations on it: Basque Country, Brittany, and Lower Normandy. How cool is that? And those other flags are interesting because …

  • The Basque flag has a cool name (ikurrina). Its colors represent the Basque people (red), the famous oak tree of Guernica (green), and a cross to symbolize a fierce devotion to Catholicism (which is odd, since the Basques were originally and natively pagans until they were conquered by foreigners (Romans) that brought a foreign religion with them; we know the Basque people so we don’t understand how a fiercely independent nation now swears fierce fealty to the religion from faraway Palestine and Rome.
  • The Breton flag also has an interesting name (Gwenn-ha-du). The black and white colors are unusual on a flag, and the shapes are ermine coats (i.e., fur from stoats, an animal that is part of the weasel family; this makes me sad, but, well, there it is).
  • The  Lower Norman flag: It is a provincial banner from a northern region of France and displays two leopards. Yes, leopards!

Population: 5,888

Flag of Saint Pierre and Miquelon

So, yeah. There you have it. And of course, what complicated list wouldn’t be complete without honorable mentions:

Isle of Man: three armored legs running around in a circle based on an ancient symbol from the Turko-Grecian region. The Isle of Man is a self-governing British Dependency.

Dependency Population: 84,655

Flag of Isle of Man

Albania: It just looks so sinister (that’s not a commentary on the country, just the look of the flag). Therefore, it’s very cool and interesting to me. Albania is a Balkan country located next to the former Yugoslavian countries and faces into the Mediterranean Sea.

Country Population: 2,821,977

Flag of Albania

Mozambique: Like the flag of Zimbabwe, a Marxist star represents the historical push by Mozambicans (is that the right name) to shed colonial rule through a popular uprising based on Marxist principles. The country no longer aligns itself with Marxism but the flag hasn’t been changed. A book symbolizes the value of education, and the hoe represents agriculture. The Mozambique flag is the only one in the world that uses a modern rifle (in this case an AK-47). Mozambique is located along the southeastern shores of the African continent and faces into the Indian Ocean, although it’s blocked by Madagascar and a bunch of confused former zoo animals (movie reference, anyone?).

Country Population: 23,929,708

Flag of Mozambique

Turkmenistan: The intricate design of the carpets is fascinating. Turkmenistan was reborn out of the death of the U.S.S.R.  It’s population is mostly Muslim although one can argue that many are also Niyazovists given the cult-like endearing feelings engendered by the former president/dictator. We won’t bother with the details here. Go read up on him somewhere else. He was nutty and cruel. His legacy’s tragedy is a reminder that horrors can be caused by ruthless autocracy perpetuated through a cult of personality … like that of the Kims in North Korea. Turkmenistan is located north of Iran and is surrounded by a bunch of other Stans to the east.

Country Population: 5,125,693

Flag of Turkmenistan

Ceuta: This flag of the autonomous Spanish city is actually fantastically interesting to me. [Correction: the flag is Portuguese. The Spanish retained it after the city chose to remain on Spain’s side after a war in 1640]. I love the black and white gyronny (a shield design) behind the coat of arms. I considered putting this flag into the list but it really stretched the general criteria of showcasing flags of countries and territories. Vatican City is an autonomous city but a separate state as well, so it’s different. Ceuta is located on the tip of Morocco at the gateway to the Mediterranean Sea.

City Population: 75,241

Flag of Ceuta

Since I’m American, I’ll go ahead and highlight the most interesting State flag. Maryland’s flag is by far the most unique in my opinion. It’s design is based on the coats of arms of a prominent family that founded Maryland.

State Population: 5,884,563

Flag of Maryland

[If you made it all the way to the bottom, you may agree with Reddit User NewleyLostAgain that “the wording of this article is complete shit.” Perhaps. Anyway, I’ll take that as a compliment since shit is often a good fertilizer and the cursory knowledge you gained today by reading this shit may be of some use to you as you make your own list of “interesting flags.”]

The Top 25 Most Rewatchable Comedies

I don’t particularly like watching movies more than once. There are just too many good things to see out there that by taking 90 minutes or so out of my life to re-tread ground I’ve already covered seems like a waste of the precious 700,000 hours of time I expect to spend alive. But, there are a rare few that give back enough to make the experience feel fresh every time.

movie-reelHere is a list of 25 comedy films that I have watched more than twice (and in some cases, probably more than a half dozen times). Since a lot of these are films that have been re-released or re-telecast bunches of times, I know I’m not the only one that enjoys the hilarity. And just to be clear, these aren’t even necessarily my favorite films (although some are).

25. It’s a Mad Mad Mad Mad World

Movies that are worth seeing multiple times: It's  Mad, Mad, Mad, WorldThis is one very loooooooooong comedy. In my opinion, comedies aren’t supposed to be long. People love to laugh, but they can’t do it for hours at a time, so it takes a special movie to hold one’s attention for almost three hours and it’s even more satisfying if people want to watch it again and again. My favorite scene is when Sylvester Marcus (played by Dick Shawn) is roaring down the road bawling: “Mama, it’s all right. Everything’s gonna be all right. Your baby’s coming to get ya.” Cracks me up every time.

24. Charade

Movies that are worth seeing multiple times: Charade!

Cary Grant. The incorrigible rogue. Audrey Hepburn. The elegant yet hilarious darling. Perfectly cast film with enough humor and suspense to make me want to watch it over and over again.

23. Ferris Bueller’s Day Off

Movies that are worth seeing multiple times: Ferris Beuller's Day Off

The 80’s were full of quirky, coming-of-age movies. John Hughes can be thanked for that and Ferris Bueller’s Day Off is a funny little film that never wears out its welcome.

22. Animal House

Movies that are worth seeing multiple times: National Lampoon's Animal House

College was an awesome time-and-place experience. Animal House brings back fond memories every time (not because I did any of the antics in the film but because I watched the film a lot during that time — vicarious shenaniganary; how pathetic is that?!).

21. Philadelphia Story

Movies that are worth seeing multiple times: The Philadelphia Story

James Stewart pulls off the most hilarious drunk scene I’ve ever watched. And for crying out loud — Katherine Hepburn and Cary Grant together. Wow. Let’s see that again.

20. The Mask

Movies that are worth seeing multiple times: The Mask

Jim Carrey is to comedy as Sylvester Stallone is to action films. No one really respects him as an actor but everyone has seen most of his movies more than once (admit it – Ace Ventura is on your rewatched list whether you liked it or not). This one is my favorite Carrey film.

19. Monty Python and the Holy Grail

Movies that are worth seeing multiple times: Monty Python and the Holy Grail

This movie is so dated that you might think it would stop being relevant. But it doesn’t. Oddly, I haven’t watched it nearly as much as I probably should.

18. Beetlejuice

Movies that are worth seeing multiple times: Beetlejuice

This is an example of a movie that isn’t one of my favorites but that I will watch if it happens to be on TV when I’m clicking through the channels. It’s Michael Keaton at his best.

17. Best in Show

Movies that are worth seeing multiple times: Best in Show

Christopher Guest owns the mockumentary genre.This is his best film. I’ll single out Fred Willard’s performance as the dim-witted reporter who can’t believe anyone actually takes dog shows seriously. Exactly my sentiments.

16. Addams Family

Movies that are worth seeing multiple times: Addams Family

Some actors fit a role so perfectly you can’t imagine anyone else playing it (and before you start screaming, I’m talking films here; John Astin was brilliant in the TV series). Raul Julia as Gomez Addams is one of the most entertaining characters I’ve ever watched. So, I watch him a lot.

15. O Brother, Where Art Thou

Movies that are worth seeing multiple times: O Brother, Where Art Thou

The Coen Brothers show up a lot on pretty much all of my movie lists. They just know how to make “characters” work brilliantly with excellent casts. One of my favorite lines is “Damn! We’re in a tight spot,” which was funny the first time Everett says it but making Clooney’s character repeat it several times had me rolling on the floor.

14. Up

Movies that are worth seeing multiple times: Disney Pixar Up

I’m willing to watch pieces of Pixar movies anytime they’re on the Disney channel but this movie is worth watching from beginning to end in repeated showings. The sentimentality might be gooshy to some, but it’s aces for me.

13. The Princess Bride

Movies that are worth seeing multiple times: The Princess Bride

You would have been shocked if this wasn’t on the list, right?

12. Raising Arizona

Movies that are worth seeing multiple times: Raising Arizona

Another Coen classic. Again, immensely watchable characters. How do they do it? We’d better watch it again to see if we can figure it out.

11. Napoleon Dynamite

Movies that are worth seeing multiple times: Napoleon Dynamite

Not everyone’s cup of tea, but it works for me. Favorite character? Kip. Everyone has met a “Kip” at some point in their lives.

10. A Christmas Story

Movies that are worth seeing multiple times: A Christmas Story

This is a seasonal film, so it has an unfair advantage . Watching holiday movies is almost a required ritual that can’t be avoided. But of all the Christmas movies out there, this film is the one I actually enjoy.

9. Trading Places

Movies that are worth seeing multiple times: Trading Places

Trading Places is just a completely satisfying film. Comeuppance at its best.

8. The Pink Panther Strikes Again

Movies that are worth seeing multiple times: The Pink Panther Strikes Again

“Does your dug bite?” We talked about perfect casting above. Can you imagine anyone other than Peter Sellers playing Inspector Clouseau? You’d think Hollywood would figure that out.

7. The Return of the Pink Panther

Movies that are worth seeing multiple times: The Return of the Pink Panther

Guy Gadbois had such a short screen time that I watch this film over and over hoping I’ll see him pop up somewhere I missed.

6. Singin’ in the Rain

Movies that are worth seeing multiple times: Singing' in the Rain

My favorite musical. It’s got it all.

5.  Ghostbusters

Movies that are worth seeing multiple times: Ghostbusters

As hilarious as the main characters are (and they fantastically hilarious), Rick Moranis as Louis Tully will never grow old for me.

4. Office Space

Movies that are worth seeing multiple times: Office Space

This is a movie I love to hate. I have lived through cubicle hell, so why would I want to watch it again? Because it makes me laugh while I cry.

3. Toy Story

Movies that are worth seeing multiple times: Toy Story

One of my sons watched this movie every day for a straight month (plus a few days). I get it. All 3-D animated movies in the last 15 years owe this film tribute.

2. Galaxy Quest

Movies that are worth seeing multiple times: Galaxy Quest

If there are any geeks out there that do not rank this movie high on their Favorites list, they have no sense of humor and should be reprogrammed.

1. Groundhog Day

Movies that are worth seeing multiple times: Groundhog Day

This film isn’t even the one I’ve watched the most repeatedly. But Groundhog Day is the comedy I enjoy the most every time I watch it. Sure, Bill Murray is at his very best in this film. Sure, Andy McDowell is cute as a button. Sure, the other quirky characters are wonderful additions to the cast. But it’s the premise, and how it unfolds, that hits a park-clearing home run. In fact, it’s about time to watch it again.


What about the movie that I have watched more than any other in bits and pieces but have never watched completely in one sitting? National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation. Whenever it’s on TV around the holidays, I’ll pause and watch a few scenes before I get bored and move on. And yet, I keep watching it (piecemeal) every year …

Movies that are worth seeing multiple times: National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation

How about you? Any films you like to watch over and over that aren’t on my list?