Saturday, November 30, 2002

Whilst digging around in my albums today, I came upon one that I can't believe I forgot when I was compiling my "10 best albums not available on CD" list. And here it is.

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This is "Flo and Eddie", the eponymous 1973 release from Mark Volman and Howard Kaylan, formerly of the Mothers of Invention and most famously from the Turtles. This album is a pop masterpiece, with many diverse styles and that patented Kaylan & Volman humor. It was produced by Bob Ezrin, who was producing Alice Cooper in his glory years at the time, and featured several of the musicians who played in the Mothers when F&E did. While this album was mostly (excellent) originals, there were a couple of great covers on there including a wonderful version of the Kinks' "Days". For whatever reason, it sold miserably, but I got a copy on a cutout 8-track (and have gone on to score the vinyl a few years later) back in '75 and have loved it ever since. To read about it on AMG click here.
Good morning. Thought I'd type a few lines to get the old brain jumpstarted.

Not much going on yesterday except work (no four day weekend for THIS poor wage slave) and my 3 year old grandson's (yes, that's right, I said grandson. I'm a young grandfather.) birthday party. He had lots of fun and got some cool Bob the Builder stuff. And some Play-Doh.

Except for ten dollars' worth of gas and a Royale without fromage from Mickey D's, I bought nothing yesterday, which keeps me in line with Buy Nothing Day as far as I'm concerned.

Couple of new links at bottom right: Instant, an info site about what the Lennon family is up to these days, and, a great Beatles trivia and info site.

More later when I think of it.

Thursday, November 28, 2002

Just a few random musings...

A couple of things I watched lately but haven't commented on: the film Behind Enemy Lines and the recent Dean Martin/Jerry Lewis TV movie that aired last Sunday.

"Lines" was pretty much junk, an attempt to update Top Gun for the Aughts, and on that level it was successful but then again I thought Top Gun was junk as well. But there's good junk and there's bad junk..."Lines" is the type of movie in which the lead character can have a whole battalion chasing him around over hills and mountains, and fire round after round of ammunition at him but never hit him once. Star Owen Wilson (Shanghai Noon) gets to do his likeable, goofy laid back reular guy schtick and he is indeed so likeable that I found myself, despite my growing disenchantment with the actual events of the film, rooting for him. Gene Hackman's in there too, and while he is given nothing much at all to do he does it well, whatever "it" is. Lots of flashy visuals, unsurprising since the director has a background in commercials; the scene in which Wilson and his co-pilot are shot down is gripping, and the otherwise ludicrous scene in which Wilson outruns a field full of exploding landmines, tripping wires all the way, and emerges unscathed without even an earache for his troubles, is highly watchable and even exciting. So if I was rating it I'd give it a C+, and recommend that you wait for it to play on cable. Whoops! I did rate it! Silly me.

The Martin and Lewis biopic was pretty darn good. I've always admired Martin's goofy cool and way with a tune, and enjoyed the bio from a few years ago. Never had much use for Lewis, though. Anyway, the period recreation was outstanding (and no, I'm not old enough to remember it firsthand, but I've seen lots of pictures), and the guy from Will and Grace who played Jerry was outstanding. Even the fellow who played Dean was OK, especially during the dramatic scenes, but when he lipsynched Dino's songs he gestured way too much. Rating? Oh, A-.

Tom Brady did absolutely fuckall against the Lions today, and of the other three fantasy players I had going today I only got one touchdown. Looks like I'm screwed. blued, and tattooed, unless I get lucky. And as any Fantasy Football playa will tell you, FFB is 20% preparation and 80% luck.

Watched large parts of two Bond flicks today-You Only Live Twice, which I've always liked (especially the gorgeous theme song) but now when I see it I see the direct inspiration for Austin Powers, and On Her Majestys Secret Service, legendary as the non-Connery 60s Bond flick. George Lazenby is wooden and dull as James in this one, but the radiant Diana Rigg steals the show. Rigg was my first crush, when I was 8 and watched Avengers every Sunday night on PBS... I had a hard time staying interested in OHMSS, though, so I bailed before it was over. God I miss seeing the Avengers. Wish A&E would start showing it again...I need to get the episodes on DVD.

Added a site link to Eatonweb. Hopefully that way more people will check out my humble little blog, and maybe even more will be moved to COMMENT...hint hint...I know, I know, if I'd write something interesting people would comment. *sigh*

I subscribe to the Bill Nelson Yahoo! Group, and get a link every so often to his online journal. There was a particularly interesting entry on there yesterday, about how he's getting the royal shaft, in respect to royalties, from his old record company from the 70s. I know you probably have no idea who Nelson is, but if you want to read a cautionary story about the evils of the music biz, click here. Nelson, by the way, used to be the singer/guitarist/songwriter/frontman for the excellent but undeservedly obscure 70s prog rock band BeBop Deluxe. After Deluxe fell apart in 1978, he went on his own, producing acts like A Flock of Seagulls (much of the 80s New Wave synth stuff owes him a DEEP debt) in between releasing obscure efforts on his own. He's had his ups and downs, but has remained an interesting musician and a articulate writer. You should get to know his art.

Firefly is on hiatus. Just read this at Ain't It Cool News. Damn damn damn. I have nasty premonitions of American Gothic a few years ago, a great show that got watered down when initial ratings were poor. When and if Firefly returns, watch for signs of telltale tinkering.

Music today: none really, but I think I heard the Avril Levigne song "Complicated" about a thousand times today, courtesy of my daughter.
While waiting to get the call to go to my Grandmother's house, here's COMIC REVIEWS!

What I bought and what I thought, lifted straight from the DC Comics Message Board:

Tough week to sort out...quality was high from top to bottom.

1. 100% 4: A bit late, but worth the wait. Highly recommended for artists and romantics. A+

2. JOHN CONSTANTINE: HELLBLAZER 178: Guess you just have to be British to write Johnny-boy, because unlike Azz (and this is no knock on Azzurello, I think he's a fine writer and I love 100 Bullets) Mike Carey understands JC and how he fits in and operates in his world. And the dialogue (always important in any successful JC story) is, as our British friends like to say, spot-on. Marcelo Frusin turnes in another great art job as well...he certainly is a contender for "most underrated artist working today". A

3. X-STATIX 4: Woo hoo! Two Paul Pope art jobs in one week! I bet the Marvel freaks who can't stand Allred's work are really getting their panties in a bunch after seeing THIS issue. Despite a forced, rushed conclusion, this was great overall. It's really beginning to concern me when guest artists, substitutes for Allred, make the scripts more lively than the regular artist...which has been the case with both Pope and recent fill-in Duncan Fregredo. A-

4. MIDNIGHT:MASS. 8: This series finale (for now) was well done. Good script, if a bit awkwardly stitched together (a necessity, due to the truncation of the original planned series length), and good-not-great art, with likeable, interesting characters. I'll buy the sequel. A-

5. GLOBAL FREQUENCY 2: Due to Ellis' self-imposed one-issue-in-length story mandate, this was wrapped up a bit too neatly and quickly for my liking...but it was still gripping, and well dialogued. I like this concept. Illustrator Glenn Fabry had his moments, but as an interior artist he makes a good cover artist. A-

6. CATWOMAN 13: I don't know, maybe it's me. Maybe I'm just missing Darwyn Cooke. But despite the fact that it's nicely drawn by Cameron Stewart, and much of consequence happens in this issue including a great Bruce Wayne cameo, I'm just not all that interested in this book anymore. When ennui sets in, it's usually a good thing to cut bait...but I still want to see how this storyline plays out. Then we'll see. B+

7. LEAVE IT TO CHANCE 13: Another rushed script, and Paul Smith's art has gotten looser and sloppier, apparently channeling the worst tendencies of Kyle Baker. Isn't it funny how I criticize Baker and Smith, but lionize Paul Pope? Go figure...Still, it's nice seeing this modest and enjoyable book back after a long hiatus, and I hope there will be more soon. B+

Wednesday, November 27, 2002

I haven't written much about it, but I absolutely revere the Fab Four from Liverpool, aka the Beatles. Ever since I was a big fat 4 years of age, and the double whammy of their appearance on the Sullivan show and my Aunt Lavana letting me listen to Meet the Beatles to my heart's content sealed my fate for the rest of my life. This has, of course, extended to their solo years as well, and if I haven't embraced the resulting albums with the fervor I did Abbey Road or Revolver, I have definitely got a place in my music loving heart for the likes of Mind Games or Dark Horse.

I mention this because I just finished watching the big 2 hour McCartney special on ABC. Such is my Beatle love that nine times out of ten I'll drop what I'm doing to see anything they have deigned to appear in, and I just couldn't see missing this. I've been especially encouraged by Paul's apparent musical reinvigoration-after all but giving up on him ever doing anything remotely interesting (to my ears) again about the time of 1997's Flaming Pie (an album that I think everybody liked but me), he came to terms with his grief over his wife's death by first recording a mostly oldies cover album that rocked like a mother, and the outstanding Driving Rain, which demonstrated a distinct renewed commitment to taking chances and avoiding the predictable and cliched (not exactly Macca's strong point throughtout the 70s and 80s). So I was a bit interested in what his show would be like. I wish I could say I was blown away by the program, but there was far too much documentary crap and not nearly enough concert footage. He has a tight and equally creative group of musicians in his band, pretty much the same group that goaded him to crank it up musically on Driving Rain, and they were just as excellent live. I wanted to hear and see more of that, and less of McCartney playing with apes and being fawned over by hysterical fans. And speaking of fans, dear God, for every shot of Paul and his band we got five of the audience, a mix of young and old and celebrity, all of them acting like they had never attended a musical event in their lives. It just got to be a bit (all too) much, (get it? Beatle joke there) and I have to admit my attention began to flag after a while. So, to sum up, even though there was much to like in Paul's primetime concert special, there was much more to dislike.

Oh hell, guess there's just no pleasing me.

One thing that DID please me was the fourth issue of Paul Pope's magnificent 100% book. I'll be sure to rave more later, but I hope you reading this will consider checking it out, if you're not reading it already. At least look for the trade, probably coming out early next year.

That's all I got for now. Again, Happy Turkey Day tomorrow. If Tom Brady gets off against the Lions, I'll have a happy one indeed.
Here's a worthy cause if I've ever seen one...I wouldn't go shopping on the day after Thanksgiving for all the tea in China anyway, so I think I can do this.

Music today: Stone Temple Pilots-No.4, Beach Boys-Good Vibrations box disc 3, and Prince-The Hits and B-Sides disc 3.
Had a fat stack awaiting me at the comics shop today...100% 4, X-Statix 5 (it's Paul Pope month!), Midnight, Mass.8, Leave it to Chance 13, John Constantine: Hellblazer 178, Global Frequency 2, and Catwoman 13. Of course you know I will hold forth about them at length, as soon as I've read them.

It's Thanksgiving Eve. Thanksgiving is probably my favorite's devoted to eating and professional football, two of the things I love the most. In case I don't get around to posting again today, happy Thanksgiving to you all.

Tuesday, November 26, 2002

New links at right. What I lack in significant content I hope to make up for in entertaining linkage. Added today, "Betty White's X-Entertainment", a humor site that cracks me up every time I visit; the official site of artist slash writer extraordinaire Mike Mignola, devoted to his greatest creation Hellboy; and a blog named Pop Culture Gadabout which reads like I wish this page did. You know the drill: click, read, enjoy. And comment. It's allowed.
You've all probably seen this, but here it is anyway: the Dark Side Switch campaign. Funny stuff, and better than Star Wars episode two.
Calamitous Chris Tabor, who seems to think that I like to read, write, and talk about political and philosophical concerns, sent me this little article about a controversial and thought-provoking book, written several years ago. Read and discuss among yourselves. The article. You can read the book, too, I suppose...
Just got another phone call from Thriller artist Trevor Von Eeden! He was apologizing for being late in sending me a letter in response to my site I created...whatta nice guy. I was concerned, but I know he must be a busy man, so I wasn't all that worried...still, apparently he's going to a lot of trouble and writing a critique of his stint on the book. Can't wait to read it! I told him that since he's going to so much trouble, that he should do some doodles in the margins...

Music today so far: The Lemonheads-Car Button Cloth, Harry Nilsson-Harry, and Nick Drake-Time of No Reply.
April Patterson's bunny is dying. Very sad. Hey, I'm being sincere here!

This will make you smile, though: the Giant Bee song.

Monday, November 25, 2002

Just added a link to an outstanding online comic, Nowhere Girl. Wish my stuff could look this good.
Having an OK day. Not great, but not bad. It's c-o-l-d outside, and cloudy, and they're threatening snow again, which wouldn't be so bad but I drive 80 miles round trip on the Interstate to get to work and back, and I hate like hell to drive on the Interstate in the snow. Oh well, ces't la vie.

I have a sinking feeling about the news today about Generalissimo El Busho and his Homeland Security Act, like I'm sure many of you do as well. What can you do, though, except hope for the best...

New link: Whitney Matheson's Pop Candy, which is about all that good ol' trivial pop culture stuff and appears in the USA Today online. Fun stuff, well written. Go. Read.

As promised, my thoughts on the movies I watched this weekend...

I liked, didn't love Star Wars episode 2: Attack of the Clones. It was an impressive visual acheivement, I suppose, but it was wasted on an abysmal script with inconsistent acting. Ewan McGregor and Christopher Lee (playing Christopher Lee playing a renegade Jedi Master) came across the best as far as the main cast went, and Hayden Christensen wasn't bad as Anakin Skywalker. But Samuel L. Jackson sleepwalked through most of his meager scenes (and sounded ridiculous mouthing the cliche-ridden dialogue they gave him) and the lovely Natalie Portman alternately lit up and dragged down every scene she was in. She's very beautiful, but she can't act. Not a lick. But the whole Star Wars thing as a concept or whatever it is must be golden and magical, because I still found myself interested and caught up in the goings-on. Yoda was a hoot, as well. I've never been what you could call anything more than a casual Star Wars fan, and this installment isn't going to rev up the ol' fervor one iota.

I went into Brotherhood of the Wolf with high expectations, and wasn't disappointed. Much. Everything I had heard and read about it had me anticipating some kind of incredible smorgasbord of period drama, martial arts, sex, and monsters, and while it had all this and more I think I set myself up unrealistically because it was a lot more conventional than I expected, and consequently a bit disappointing. That being said, I still liked it very much and I have a feeling I'll like it more with subsequent viewing.

Lock, Stock, and Two Smoking Barrels was no disappointment at all. I'm a sucker for fast moving, witty, clever movies about quirky characters that tend to fall into the toughs, hoods, and wannabes categories and so far Guy Ritchie has given us two of the best flicks about same. Lots of great, hilarious dialogue and outstanding performances. Great music, too, with two kick ass James Brown songs spotlighted. I think I liked Snatch a bit better, though-found its basic story to be a bit more fully developed- and it was a bit disconcerting to see many of the Snatch cast members playing different roles...but that is a minor quibble at best (and I'm sure it's because I've seen Snatch at least 50 times to LS&SB's 1) and I recommend LS&SB highly.

I also watched an excellent film on TCM, The Ox-Bow Incident, which starred Henry Fonda. Gripping all the way through, with beautiful B&W photography and a moral that many of our leaders today would be wise to remember.

My beloved Atlanta Falcons kicked some major ass yesterday, defeating the Carolina Panthers 41-0. Any victory's a good one, but what with all the turmoil and controversy the Panthers have been dealing with lately, this one almost falls in the "cripple-kicking" category. Still, I'll take it.

Music today- Camper Van Beethoven-Key Lime Pie, Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels soundtrack, R.E.M.-Monster.

Saturday, November 23, 2002

Busy day today, and it's already ten PM, so I'll try to finish the ol' list tomorrow.

Hit Blockbuster today, and rented Star Wars Episode 2: Attack of the Clowns...I mean Clones, Brotherhood of the Wolf, and Lock, Stock, and Two Smoking Barrels. You see, right now I'm absolutely addicted to the film Snatch...can't seem to change the channel when I run across it on cable-and everyone says "Oh, man...if you like Snatch, you need to see Lock, Stock. They're almost the same movie!" So we shall see. I watched the first two, and don't worry, I'll be sure to give you my opinion whether you want it or not!

One reason I'm so fatigued tonight is that while researching the albums on last night's list, I happened across a fascinating website called Wilson & Alroy's Music Reviews. These guys are kinda like the Tom and Ray of music criticism. I couldn't stop reading! I finally got to sleep about 2:30 AM. So check 'em out, just do it early in the evening.

Falcons play Carolina on TV tomorrow, but I won't be able to see it...gotta do radio station duty again, and the cable company which provides the signal to the station TV doesn't provide the channel on which the game airs. Feh.

Friday, November 22, 2002

Been thinking, always a dangerous proposition, and it occurred to me that while I probably won't be able to do a "ten best albums of 2002" list, I could do a "ten favorite albums not available on CD" list. Strangely enough, most of these are from 1972-1975, probably my favorite period in music history. One disclaimer-I take no responsibility for some of these appearing on bootlegged form or through some Japanese/German/whatever release back in 1988 or some such. So without further ado:

1. The Great Lost Kinks Album. This was your basic contractual obligation album, released in 1973 after the Kinks had moved on to RCA Records from Warner/Reprise. It's a collection of B-sides and unreleased songs, some from an aborted Dave Davies project, and many from the Arthur/Village Green Preservation Society period. It's also one of the strongest, song for song, albums ever released in my humble opinion. Most of these songs are available on the various VelVel reissues of the last few years, making it even more unlikely that this particular set of songs will ever come out in this particular configuration. Also notorious for the liner notes, written by noted Kinks kronikler John Mendelssohn, which were downright kritikal (OK, I'll stop) of the band and its then-current releases.

2. The Pentangle-Solomon's Seal. The final release from this great British folk-rock group, at least until a couple of underwhelming reunions in the late 80's, the master tapes for this magnificent album are lost, which means they couldn't put it out on CD if they wanted to! Copies pop up on eBay from time to time, so keep an eye out. I've listened to many of their other releases, but to me none of them were as tuneful and enjoyable as this one.

3. Neil Young-On The Beach. Apparently Young himself doesn't want to see this, along with the its excellent predecessor Time Fades Away, released on CD. Nobody really knows why; except that Young associates this music with a bad period in his life and doesn't want it out there, and claims to hate CD sound. A shame, because this is arguably his best. If you read his recent bio, "Shakey", then it was indeed written and recorded under some of the most lunatic circumstances imaginable, but I don't care about all that-this is magnificient, haunting, unconventional music and it deserves to be heard by modern audiences. Click on the link above and sign the petition!

4. Lon and Derek Van Eaton-Brother. So obscure that I could only find one or two links, this great folk/rock/pop record was released on Apple back in 1972 and boasts production and session work by George Harrison and Ringo Starr, as well as Fifth Beatle Klaus Voormann. If you run across this in a used record store someday, buy it immediately. Paid 1 buck for mine! The album came with a do-it-yourself kinetiscope that you could assemble, place on your turntable, and watch the brothers beat on a drum and move around. They just don't do that sort of thing anymore...

5. Maria Muldaur-Sweet Harmony. All anybody remembers from her is Midnight At The Oasis, but the first three solo albums she did on Warners were all equally great, and this one was my favorite. So guess which one is inexplicably unavailable on CD! This is a wonderful, mixed-stylistic collection, jazz, folk, blues and country among others, and I like it better than the AMG reviewer did, obviously.

6. Donovan-Cosmic Wheels. (1973) Even though many lesser Donovan efforts are available on disc, inexplicably this one isn't. Many dismissed Mr. Leitch long ago, and his '98 comeback CD was a bore, but I will always have a strong attachment to this excellent album. The lyrics are pretty much the sort of thing that Donovan detractors always loved to harp on, but I find clever and charming. Musically, this sounds like nothing he did before or since. While mostly acoustic-based, there's some strong, stylized electric guitar work by Chris Spedding, and the orchestral arrangements are first-rate, often written in a minor key that sounds somewhat creepy sometimes, a la the strings John Lennon used in Imagine. I also love the distinctive, cleverly creative cover package-to see it, click on the link. I also know the link also lists a CD release, but it seems to be an import and isn't available through normal outlets like Amazon or Tower, hence its inclusion on my list.

7. Andrew Mackay-In Search of Eddie Riff. (1974) After Brians Eno and Ferry split up, fellow Roxy Music musicians Phil Manzanera and Mackay did solo projects, and this was sax player Mackay's debut. Assisted by Eno and Manzanera, it's a tuneful, fun instrumental album. Bought this in the import section at Headquarters in Bowling Green when I was 16, and listened to it constantly, causing all my Skynyrd and Journey-loving friends to regard me as a bigger freak than they already did.

8. Sly Stone-High On You. (1975)The first and only album that he released under his own name alone, this is regarded as a flop, but to my ears it sounded as good as anything he and the Family Stone had previously done...OK, well, almost anything. I liked it better than the absurdly overrated "There's A Riot Goin' On".

9. Tony Ashton and Jon Lord-First of the Big Bands. (1974)The growly-voiced R&B singer Ashton teamed up with flashy Deep Purple keyboard player Jon Lord for this 1974 one-shot that went straight to the cut-out bins. Great folk/R&B/blues/funk album with a very odd, muted production sound. Got my copy for a buck. The relative failure of this album didn't stop 'em from releasing a too-slick follow-up with Purple drummer Ian Paice in 1977. According to the Purple Records website, this is due to be released on CD soon.

10. David Cousins-Two Weeks Last Summer. (1972) I have always had a soft spot for the Strawbs, an acoustic/folk/rock/prog outfit that had some success (mostly in the UK) back in the mid-70s. Cousins was their frontman, and in between personnel changes and Strawbs releases he put this solo album out, which was never released in vinyl in the US, either. This didn't deviate much from the Strawbs sound at the time, but it's a strong collection of songs.

And that's it! More lists when I think of them. You've been warned.
Saw this story this morning on Yahoo!...thought it was quite amusing. Sorry, Vicki, I know he's your boy but...

I was listening to Jill Sobule's Pink Pearl album this morning. Great stuff. She's one of my favorite singer slash songwriters. I had the opportunity to meet her a couple of years ago in Nashville, after she had opened for Joan Osborne. Of course, I hadn't heard any of her music (besides I Kissed A Girl) at the time so all I could do was say "Nice show...what's up with the Negatives right now?" The Negatives, of course, being her band project with Lloyd Cole (big Lloyd fan here as well). A little later, I picked up a couple of her albums and wound up liking them very much, and even got to see her again a year later both opening for and serving as guitarist in the-that's right-Negatives! Of course, she appeals to no fashionable demographics right now so her career is in a bit of a stall at present; but you never know-maybe someday pop smarts and clever songcraft will stage a comeback and perhaps Jill will be at the forefront. I won't hold my breath.

More new links to the right hand side: Alas, A Blog and Body & Soul, both of which are mostly political in content and kept me reading for a while, and Erosblog, which is not for the kiddies. There seem to be at least 850 million blogs out there, and while it seems like 849 million of them deal with politics actually there are several which deal with other topics, including sex, and erosblog is one the best I've run across on that particular subject. So go forth, click, read and enjoy. I also added another illustrator's site, that of Steve "the Dude" Rude, whose work is amazing and incredible and many other adjectives.

I have actually done some artwork today! If you recall, I've been asked to help out a friend who has a pizza place by coming up with a character for them to use in ads and such. Here's what I've done and what I'm going to submit:

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Hope he likes it! Of course you know it is ©2002 David Allen Jones.

More later if I get the chance; gotta go to a nephew's birthday party this evening.

Music today-Jill Sobule's Pink Pearl (duh), Lisa Germano-On the Way Down From The Moon Palace, The Move-Shazam!, and Son Volt-Straightaways.

Thursday, November 21, 2002

As promised, COMIC REVIEWS! Woo Hoo!

1. LUCIFER 32: In which most of the complex machinations of the last couple of issues come to fruition, and there's still a lot more dangling threads left to go. Nobody in comics right now is writing better stories that Mike Carey, and though I have often been critical of the team of Peter Gross and Ryan Kelly, they did outstanding work this time out. A

2. DAREDEVIL 39: This book-length courtroom scene was more gripping than anything in the last two seasons of the Practice. Have to wonder why Al Roker was moonlighting as a prosecuting attorney, though. Nice Doc Strange cameo. A

3. JLA 75: Well, the big wham-bam-thank you ma'am el finale grando has come and gone. I think Obsidian Age should be subtitled "Nitpickers Delight"...for every good thing Kelly did, it seems like he did two not so good things. I'm still not sure I really get all the time travel paradoxes, one reason why nine times out of ten I can't stand time travel stories... but overall, I think it was a ripping good adventure, with lots of nice character interaction and was one of the few big multi-issue epics that stayed interesting from beginning to end. I only wish Mahnke & Ngyuen could have drawn the whole thing, or at least the big finale...I was never all that impressed with Guichet & Propst. And this issue was a total artistic hodgepodge. Even the golden (in my eyes, anyway) team of Mahnke & Ngyuen was inconsistent...exactly how long are Aquaman's arms supposed to be in that splash page near the end of the book...! A-

4. SHANG-CHI, MASTER OF KUNG FU 3: My initial joy at seeing Moench and Gulacy together again, doing one of my favorite 70s characters and the character that they did the best, is becoming tempered somewhat by the realization that nothing of note is really happening. It's all nicely (if a tad inconsistently) drawn and well dialogued, but when you get right down to it, it's Shang, Leiko, Reston, and Tarr-again-versus the resurrected Fu Manchu-again-and we get a big James Bondian subplot-again. The one novel thing, the sexual tension between the married-to-Reston Leiko and Shang is addressed, and that's the highlight...and I'm not so sure that it should be. A-

5. THE TRUTH 1: When you overlook all the hoo-hah surrounding this clever "What If" style limited series, what you get with this first issue is a nicely scripted, though somewhat leadenly paced, story with irritatingly indifferent art and ghastly color by Kyle Baker. After I Die at Midnight, King David, and this I wish someone would take Baker's Wacom tablet and computer with Photoshop and throw them into the Hudson Bay. His actual drawing is OK, but looks rushed and sloppy, like he's trying to get finished so he can go back to drawing caricatures or animation or whatever yanks his crank these days...'cause it sure ain't comics. B+

6. THE FILTH 6: Grand, glorious incoherence as only Morrison can write. Problem is, I don't have a lot of patience for incoherence for its own sake, so this better kick in real soon. As usual, nicely drawn and colored. B+

7. Y: THE LAST MAN 5: I still say that this doesn't deserve half the praise it receives, but in spite of myself I actually enjoyed this chapter. Guess I'll be buying #6 after all. B

Music today so far: Redd Kross-Phaseshifter, T.Rex-The Slider.
Good morning. Looks like it's going to be a beautiful day in the neighborhood, a little cool, but hey-it is November...

God help me, somehow I'm walking around with the most heinous, disgusting, and all sorts of other ugly adjectives songs ever written in my head, Whitney Houston's "The Greatest Love of All". I almost called in sick to work, and if it doesn't go away soon I'm considering a lobotomy or shock treatment. I can't take it much longer.

Al Gore is popping off again; despite the fact that a lot of what he's saying is true he needs to watch this sort of thing, since it sounds a lot like sour grapes to me...and I'm sympathetic to his message. Read all about it here.

My main man Chris "L'il Kim's Lotion Boy" Tabor has sent me this, for those of us who are concerned about privacy issues. Me, I figured they had all this info already and are just coming up with justification for possessing it...

From Mike "Stupid Llama" Cary, here's...snicker...this...hee hee hee...BWAH-HA-HA!!!

I read lotsa comics last night, and liked several of them. I'll be telling you what and why later.

I was clicking around on the Web last night and ran across a couple of sites that had already broken out lists of the best albums of 2002 and that sort of thing...I realized, to my dismay, that I couldn't even name ten albums that came out in 2002, and I bought even less than that! So if I wanted to do something like that I'm gonna have a problem...and I call myself a music afecienado...hmpf. On a related note, that noted confident heterosexual Mike Cary sent me this list of the top 100 albums of the 80's, a musical decade that just didn't do it for me, if you know what I mean. We compared notes and I own 35 of the 100 on the list...I need to do better, I suppose, but I have absolutely no interest whatsoever in seeking out albums by Joy Divison or the Fall, so my life will have to be incomplete for a little while longer. Anywho, check out the list and tell me how many YOU have!

Wednesday, November 20, 2002

A quickie link before beddy-bye: some photos from one of my all time favorite movies, The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai: Across The Eighth Dimension. I like to think I'm well versed in all things Banzai, but I had never before seen some of these photos. Enjoy, and as always-no matter where you go...there you are.
I've been neglectful. I've added several sites/blogs to the list at right and haven't written about them. Apologies to all involved, no slight was intended. One blog I do wish to note is the most recent one I added, the Vodka Pundit. I got a laugh or three from his writings, and we who invoke alcohol in our pen names should stick together, so there he is. Rock on, Vodka Pundit. Maybe I could be the Rum Pundit someday. I should live so long.

I also added the very enlightening sites, endorsed by no less than Tom Tomorrow, and Stand Down, an always interesting and sadly relevant anti-war site. You see, the idea is that if you or someone like you stumbles upon this humble little blog, since you most likely won't find a lot of insightful political commentary (political commentary being de rigeur for blogs, as far as I can tell), then so you won't go away disappointed you can click on one of those friendly little links at right and get the political commentary I know you are all (if you'll excuse the expression) jonesing for. All for one and one for all, that's me!

Jonesing. Like in Jones. My real last name, you know.

More music: The Replacements-All Shook Down, and Prince-Come.
Pulp Fiction is one of my favorite movies. I found this link on "Joanie Da Goddess"'s site via Blue you can discover which Pulp Fiction character you are! Surprisingly, I'm Butch. The character, smart ass.

I would have posted the picture & link and all that here, but apparently the code's incomplete or I did something wrong, 'cause it doesn't work and you'll have to go take the test to see for yourself.

Music so far today: I Am Shelby Lynne, Blind Melon-Soup, and Warren Zevon-My Ride's Here.

Tuesday, November 19, 2002

Brand new Buffy tonight, featuring the intermittently interesting Aimee Mann. Here's a preview.

Music since last post: Disc 2 of the 20 Years of Jethro Tull box set, Miles Davis-In A Silent Way again, and Disc 1 of Stoned Soul Picnic: The Best of Laura Nyro.
Boy, it's just one right after the other these days, isn't it? Rest in peace, Mr. Flint.

On the other hand, here's a good news/bad news type thing: apparently da WB is cancelling Birds of Prey! This is a bit surprising to me since I wasn't aware that it was struggling in the ratings...I just don't follow that sort of thing as closely as I could, I guess. Serves 'em right for screwing around with the basic idea of the comic, which was just fine to begin with and didn't NEED any tinkering. For my part, as I said a few days ago, I didn't think the show was a total trainwreck, but it could have and should have been much better. So what's the good news? Fox has reportedly given the green light for more episodes of Firefly, my favorite new show of 2002. Read about both stories here.

Tomorrow's Wednesday, and of course it means NEW COMICS DAY! According to Diamond, I've got a fat stack waiting for me: the Filth 6, JLA 75, Lucifer 32, Y: The Last Man (and maybe: my last issue) 5, Daredevil 39, Shang-Chi: Master of Kung Fu 3, and (I'm not sure if I have added these to my holds) I think I'll be getting the Truth 1 and the JLA/JSA Secret Files 1. Probable Chase appearance, you know. Of course I will review these right here in my humble little blog, for all two or three of you that give a shit.

Music so far today: Martin Mull and His Fabulous Furniture From Your Living Room, an obscure 1973 gem...

Monday, November 18, 2002

I'm a bit annoyed. Since the Divine Weathermaker up there hath decreed that for every clear day around here we must have a week of gloom (or maybe that's just around me, I don't know), I'm not gonna get to see the Leonid meteor showers, going on somewhere in the night sky even as I type this. Of course, it was mostly sunny all day today, then clouds moved in this afternoon and here's the kicker-it's supposed to clear off tomorrow. *sigh*

In my never ending mission to inform, enlighten, and/or amuse those of you who have obviously nothing better to do or have stumbled upon this page by a.) mistake or b.) while looking for another blog, I have posted new links at right. More political-types-the aforementioned Rall and Toles, and someone I had forgotten earlier, Ruben Bolling AKA Tom the Dancing Bug.

Also, since I have a dearth at present of music-related links, I present the URL from the site for one of my favorite lyricists ever, Peter Sinfield. Some call his lyrics for 70's prog rock groups King Crimson and Emerson, Lake and Palmer overwrought and pretentious, others (like me) call them clever and imaginative. Go to the site and see for yourself, and don't forget to click on the "Promenade the Puzzle" section, which features amazing interpretations and annotations of the concepts and words behind the first four Crimson LPs, and his only solo LP as well. Yes, beneath my otherwise reasonable, not to mention cool and hip, demeanor lurks an appreciation for that most unappreciated musical format, Progressive Rock. Don't let me get started about Jethro Tull's "A Passion Play". Hope you're not too disappointed in me, I do have my good points, although I'll be damned if I can think of any offhand...

I may not ever have anything interesting to say, but I can link with the best of 'em.

More music today: Chuck Berry-The Great Twenty-Eight and Miles Davis' In A Silent Way.

More creator links at right: that of Andi Watson, who has a clean, simple, beautifully expressionistic style that makes my eyes happy when they gaze upon it, and Scott McCloud, who will always be in the Bacardi Show Hall of Fame for Zot! if nothing else, and is a champion of webcomics everywhere through his site.

Also, whilst looking over Dirk Deppey's Journalista! (see link at right) I ran across a link to an interesting interview, done by Arune Singh ( nice guy and pretty darn good interviewer), with Watson, Chuck Austen, and Terry (Mr. Pretentious) Moore. Interesting reading, or so I thought anyway...
Let me just state for the record that nine and one half times out of ten I hate super hero parodies in other forms of media, and that includes unintentional parodies like Birds of Prey. I've always felt they were unnecessary and just served as a way for the perpetrator to demonstrate to his viewers that of course he didn't take such silly things as comic books seriously, that he (or she) was far too sophisticated and hip to write adolescent power fantasies, and the feeling that the scripter and director is constantly winking at the audience is like fingernails on a blackboard to me. Kinda like the Brady Bunch movies, for example...just comes across as mean spirited, no matter how well done they are. Besides, spandex slugfest-type comics pretty much do a good job of parodying themselves. The few super hero parodies that work (The Tick animated, Flaming Carrot, any Genndy Tartakovsky projects like Dial M for Monkey, Powerpuff Girls, and Justice Friends) transcend satire and become affectionate celebrations of funnybook cliches, at least in my eyes. I just get sick of seeing episodes of everything from Spongebob Squarepants (Ok, Mermaidman & Barnacle Boy wasn't all that bad, as these things go) to The Fairly OddParents to god knows what featuring funnybook sendups with "Captain" this and "What-have-you" Man that. But then again, since I just happen to be a lifelong reader of these funnybooks, maybe I'm a *wee* bit biased. Grumble grumble...

The reason for this little screed? I saw this link on Silver Bullet and again, while I generally hate super-hero parodies, this looks interesting.

And now for something completely friend Bob, whom I worked with for several years at a previous job, has been operating his own pizza parlor for the last year or so, and back in February he asked me to design and illustrate a couple of characters for him to use in a logo. Of course, thanks to my natural procrastionation tendencies, lack of confidence and nasty self-doubting streak, I have sketched and doodled but haven't actually given him anything. He calls me on Saturday and tells me he's entered into a partnership with some people who have worked with a couple of large pizza restuarant chains, and they want to come up with some sort of character slash logo ASAP. Bob, God bless him, still wants me to do it for him, so I guess I'd better get my ass in gear. Perhaps when I come up with something I can post a link to it here. We will see.

Music today so far: Sandy Denny: No More Sad Refrains (The Anthology) disc 2, Nick Drake-Pink Moon. Guess I'm in a British folk mood, huh.

Sunday, November 17, 2002

I work with some great people. My friends Mike Cary and Ruth Loiacano (I spelled that right, didn't I, Ruth!) loaned me stuff that I enjoyed very much over the weekend. Mike loaned me the DVD of Dazed and Confused (that makes two movies that I "can't believe that you haven't seen" that I finally saw this year; Jaws being the other one.) and Ruth let me borrow the All Music Guide to Jazz, a skonking big reference tome.

Dazed was just a film that I somehow missed for the last nine years. I was never moved to rent it, since its basic story, an American Graffiti-style look at one night in the lives of a bunch of Texas teens in 1976, was pretty much something that I had already lived through (yes, I was 16 in '76), and it never aired on a cable network that I received...and who the heck wants to watch the edited for television version? But after viewing it, while I'm a bit puzzled at the paddling Freshmen obsession (something Kentucky teens, at least Caverna High School seniors, just didn't do-or at least I don't remember doing or receiving it as a Freshman), they really nailed the whole drugs and beer and woo-hoo party, man to Seger and Skynyrd scene as I vaguely remember it back then. I was a bit surprised that most of the principal characters' actors and actresses haven't gone on to bigger and better things...only Ben Affleck, Milla Jovovich (rrrow), Joey Lauren Adams (double rrrow), Parker Posey and Matthew McConaughey (who played a great, funny character-I've known several guys like that), all of whom had small roles, have done anything that has caused a blip on my radar screen. Go figure.

I also watched Woody Allen's 20's comedy, Bullets Over Broadway. I'm usually hot and cold on Woody's oeuvre, with only Zelig, Annie Hall, and Sleeper being films of his that I could sit through previously. There's just something uninvolving to me about most of his films. That being said, I enjoyed Bullets very much. It had a great cast and great perfs by John Cusack, probably my favorite male actor (I usually like everything he's done...but I haven't seen Serendipity yet, either), the luscious Jennifer Tilly, the great Jim Broadbent ( he's done several movies I love, including Topsy-Turvy and Moulin Rouge!), Dianne Weist, and several others.

I also just finished watching the Will Smith biopic Ali. I'm not really a boxing fan, but I remember Ali's great fights growing up and all the hoohah that surrounded him, so I get a little nostalgic for that sort of thing from that time period. Smith is good, and Jon Voight does a creditable Howard Cosell (even though John Tuturro was better in Monday Night Mayhem) but the film is shot with all flash and little substance by Michael Mann, who keeps us at arm's length from Smith's Ali and never lets us see what makes him tick. Maybe it was impossible to show, I don't know, but that distance keeps the film from becoming truly gripping, and almost is somber and regretful in tone, hardly the way I would think Ali should be portrayed. Also, ending it abruptly in 1974 after the Foreman fight (or as abruptly as a damn near 3 hour film can end) was a little jarring...I wanted to know more, even though I do know more when you think about it. So I guess it wasn't entirely unsuccessful, but I wish it could have had a bit more depth.

I spent a great deal of time digging around in the AMG Jazz book. For the last couple of years I've been getting more interested in Jazz, ever since the Ken Burns documentaries I suppose, and I enjoyed reading up a bit more on the people that interest me like Miles Davis and John Coltrane. I've got a few Davis CDs, and I've got the one Coltrane Ken Burns disc, and I was interested in the book's recommendations. Jazz is a daunting world to the neophyte, there are so many styles and artists and many years of stuff to sort through. I think it's mostly a case of wanting to investigate a new style of music that I haven't paid a lot of attention to before. There's just a depth missing to much of today's music; it's all surface and no depth. Of course, there are exceptions, but as the years go by they are few and far between. Maybe this is related to what Devra wrote about back on Thursday; I'm finding myself more interested in going back and discovering stuff I've overlooked in the past. I do like Coldplay, though...

The Falcons won today! They beat New Orleans 24-17, and are surpassing my wildest hopes for the season. I honestly believe that unless they totally collapse they could win 10 games and get a wild-card berth in the playoffs.

I haven't had much, if any commentary on comics lately, I know...there just hasn't been anything that's sparked my interest. I'm hoping the new 100% comes out this week or next. If you're not reading this excellent Paul Pope book, then you're missing out on a real tour-de-force, not to mention one of the best romance comics of the last 40 years. You might want to wait until it comes out in trade format; at right at 6 bucks an issue it's pricey, but in this case I feel that you definitely get what you pay for.

Music today-a shitload of contemporary gospel music. Praise Jesus.

Saturday, November 16, 2002

I love political cartoons. One of the best practitioners of that craft is Pat Oliphant, and I've added the link to a site which features his work. I also love Tom Toles, Ted Rall, Nick Anderson, and several others.
Just watched one of the most blatantly stupid films I've ever seen in my life: Adam Sandler's Mr. Deeds. Maybe if I had ever seen the original Mr. Deeds Goes To Town, I might get it...but a movie where everyone is just egregiously idiotic, bad guys and good guys alike, is a movie that's difficult for me to warm to. And what's really odd about this is that I like Adam Sandler. I've liked him since he was the "Stud Boy" on MTV's Remote Control. SNL? Great! Operaman! And I liked The Waterboy. Billy Madison. Happy Gilmore. Big Daddy. Little Nicky, even! Well, I don't know about Nicky but these are all classics of cinema compared to Sandler's Mr. Deeds. Heck, it's not that I don't like stupid comedies, of my favorite movies of the last few years is the unbelievably moronic but totally imaginative and hilarious Dude, Where's My Car?! But I just sat through this one with my mouth hanging open at the sheer idiocy. Sandler just seems to sleepwalk through his role (think he took Punch Drunk Love with a little damage control in mind?) and the only thing that even remotely resembled acting was delivered by that notorious felon Winona Ryder and John Tuturro as a butler that was supposed to be Spanish, but sounded strangely like Bela Lugosi to me. Feh. Glad I didn't pay for the rental.

Caught Old Woodenhead himself, Meestah Al Gore, last night on Letterman. He got my lesser of two evils vote back in '00, but I'll tell ya-if he had come across this relaxed and funny when he was campaigning, he wouldn't have had to worry about dangling chads and all that nonsense. Maybe Dave just has that effect on people, I don't know...but he's threatening, I mean considering another go at Bushy in '04, so we shall see what we shall see.

The ol' Rodeo's in the shop for the near future, so I guess I'll have to miss the Nick Drake documentary that's playing up at Louisville. Oh well. This is not shaping up to be a good weekend. Tomorrow I have to get up at 5:30 AM CST in order to work the board for the Sunday gospel programming for that little AM radio station I work for. In essence, I get to be the ringmaster of the holy roller circus for eight hours solid. We broadcast gospel music and live in the studio, evangelistic, Southern Baptist, real-hellfire-and-damnation-style preachin'- prayin-singin-shoutin' as you can find only in South Central...Kentucky, that is. Not being the religious type, necessarily, not at all down with the cause if you will, all I can do is try to get 'em in and out as efficiently as possible, and I bring a big stack of papers, magazines, books and comics to read while I try to keep a low profile in the studio while they do their thing in the other room. Of course, this time of year I try to follow football games on the station TV but that's often difficult at best. Ah, the things I do for a little spending money.

Hope you got to see Firefly and John Doe last night on Fox. Firefly was outstanding, perhaps the best episode I've seen yet, and John Doe is coming along nicely in a Prisoner meets the X-Files vein. If you're a fan of those shows, check out Mr. Doe.

Tomorrow my beloved Atlanta Falcons take on the New Orleans Saints. I didn't give 'em much of a shot against Pittsburgh last weekend, but they showed me something in that game. However, the Falcons beat NO a few weeks ago in the Big Easy, and I'm sure the Saints are pissed and will be more than a little fired up. I still like my Birds at home, though.

The Jeffrey Jones story just keeps getting stranger. Now it seems that Paul Reubens, AKA Pee Wee Herman, has been implicated in the same investigation that busted Jones. The mind boggles. Go here for the skinny.

I changed my subheading up there, but I think I'll change it back to the "Honi Soit" one. Just in case you were wondering, it's a quote from Henry V and means "You who think bad thoughts will get bad things."

That's all for now, hopefully I'll add more later.

Friday, November 15, 2002

The Stan Lee Sues Marvel story just won't go away, and through the Comics Journal's Journalista! (don't know how to make that upside down exclamation point) I found a link to this great column by Matt Fraction about the whole sitch. I'm a little disappointed I didn't see it on my own, I often read CBR's columns.
Well, the rains have returned outside, and soddenness is all. And it's getting colder outside as well; I'm hearing flurries tomorrow night. Joy.

I added a link at right to Madeline Begun Kane's amusing blog, MadKane, at right. You may have noticed I've gone in and tried to organize my links to be a little less random. I kept my Thriller site at top, of course, but after that I've tried to put together general cool stuff pages like Retrocrush, then other bloggers, then comics news sites, then creators' sites with a couple of my fave webcomics added for good measure, and finally my lone (so far) musician's site. Someday (and it's entirely possible that I might have to upgrade to BlogPro to do this) I'll figure out how to place actual headers in there and seperate them into actual groups. Oh yes. Someday.

Firefly's on tonight, as well as the often interesting John Doe. I recommend them both, especially the clever Firefly.

Also, I saw on Franklin's Findings where actor Jeffrey Jones has been arrested for allegedly diddling young boys and posessing kiddie porn. Story is here. Like Franklin, I really hate to hear this, since I have always enjoyed seeing him in movies such as Ed Wood, Ravenous, Beetlejuice, and Sleepy Hollow. Like my friend Ruth said, seems like everybody's got a dirty little secret. Except me, of course.

Music today, so far: Terence Trent D'Arby's Vibrator, and Exile on Main St. by da Stones.

Thursday, November 14, 2002

Inspired by a trivia question over on BlueStreak, I found an incredibly cool and very thorough site devoted to silent film stars. Yes, Devra, I cheated.

I think I'm in love with Clara Bow and Anna May Wong...
My homey Chris has again come through with this thought (and Conservative)-provoking article. Read and discuss among yourselves. Or with me, I don't mind...
I've received several interesting news items and links from friends today.

From Chris Tabor, this sobering op-ed piece from William Safire. You have to register with the NY Times to read it, but it's free and the spam boxes aren't on by default, which is nice. Also, Chris passed along this article on George Harrison's new album. Haven't heard it yet, but the cover is atrocious.

From my co worker Mike Cary, this hilarious link, which came from a blog which I think I'll be adding to the list pretty soon. It's a page which features another link to a clip showing a unbelieveable screw-up some news guy made recently.

Also, here's one I found all by myself, on Yahoo, about the new Democratic House leader, Nancy Pelosi. She sounds intriguing, but I'll expect the worse so I'll only be mildly disappointed when she shows her true colors.

Segueing awkwardly, I said I would comment on last night's Birds of Prey show, and by God, I'm going to. Again, the law of diminishing returns holds true with yet another half-assed attempt to do comics on TV. Like the Tick, which was Seinfeld in spandex, we get Dawson's Creek in black leather with super powers. Let's face it, the decisionmakers behind this project have no respect for the source material, so they feel like they have to strip it down and make it conform to what they think people (read: non-comics buyers) will accept, hence the imitative-ness of it all. But so many of the decisions made about BoP are just dumb...the most obvious being re-imagining Black Canary as a perpetually pucker-faced teenage girl, and Huntress as the adult, just the opposite of the comics. The costume (and the goofy animal noise/eye-change thing as well) they stuck the Huntress in is just plain ridiculous. I just wonder what group exactly this show is targeted for. However, before I slag it too much more, I will say that I like Dina Meyer as Oracle. The actress who plays Huntress is extremely sexy, and she does a lot with the often ridiculous dialogue they give her. I like the tie-ins with the Batman legend. I think the actor that plays Alfred is great. So despite the fact that I hate what they've done to the concept, which wasn't that far-fetched to begin with, I find Birds of Prey somewhat watchable, a guilty pleasure that I'll watch if I have nothing better to do, but I won't cry over when it's gone.

Speaking of comics, I bought a few yesterday-and here's (to borrow a catchy phrase form the DCMB Y: The Last Man board) "what I bought and what I thought!"

1. TOM STRONG'S TERRIFIC TALES 5: The very fact that this is #1 gives you a clue about what I thought of my haul this week. Great art by Jason Pearson in the first "story", Really nice Sergio Aragones second story, which vaulted this to the top, and the usual lackluster Alan Weiss Young Tom Strong feature. A-

2. JSA 42: Guess somebody must have lit a fire under Leonard Kirk's ass, because this is the best art he's turned in during his lackluster tenure. Out of the multiple storylines that are going on right now, I find the Doc Fate in Gemworld most compelling, and it's also the reason I'm continuing to buy. A-

3. KILLRAVEN 2: *Sigh*. If you remember back to my review of the last issue, you probably remember that the 1970s Amazing Adventures slash War of the Worlds featuring Killraven is one of my all time favorite comics, and I have been very apprehensive about its return under the aegis of the well meaning Alan Davis. Last month my fears were mostly realized with a shallow, unsatisfactory script that featured very objectionable characterization choices. Of course, Davis is not Don McGregor, but essential to the appreciation of the entire concept is to understand that the strength of the original was characterization, and not rayguns and explosions. To Davis, what made the book special to me is just not important. Still, it's well drawn in his flooby Adams-ish style, and it features the return of favorite characters Mint Julep (we never really got to know her in the old series) and KR's lost love Volcana Ash. So if I try really hard to accept this on its own terms, it's OK, if a bit derivative of Mad Max. But again, this isn't any old series to me, so I'm trying to deal but it isn't easy. B+

4. JINGLE BELLE'S WINTER WINGDING: Now, to the disappointment of the year. The usually reliable Dini strikes out with some heavy handed and obvious satire in the poorly drawn lead story, and the somewhat amusing second story gets rushed-looking art by the also usually reliable Stephen DeStefano. I didn't buy the accompanying trade this time either, simply because a couple of pinups and some color pages are not enough of an inducement to make me want to buy material I already own. Hopefully they'll do better next year...and they deserve a lump of coal for this year. C

I also bought FABLES 7, which like #6 I haven't read yet because I'm waiting on the trade and don't want to read any spoilers.

Honorable mention goes to the 4 issue mini series from '99-'00, Jim Mahfood's GRRL SCOUTS, which I picked up in anticipation of the upcoming new series. It's a fun concept, but it's a little heavy handed and broad...the best way I can think of to describe this series is a punk-ska-hip hop cross between Charlie's Angels, Super Fly and the Fabulous Furry Freak Bros. And Mahfood has an odd, expressionistic but interesting style. So I would give the series as a whole a B+.

That's all for right now...guess I need to get to work.

Music today so far: Miles Davis-Kind of Blue, Beatles-Past Masters V2, Stone Temple Pilots-Purple, and Los Lobos-Kiko. I would link to them, but I don't have time...

Wednesday, November 13, 2002

Hidely ho, neighbors. Had a few minutes before Birds of Prey came on, so I thought I would take the time and post a couple of things.

Beautiful day in the ol' neighborhood today. Sunny, a little cool but pleasantly so. It's gone a long way towards dispelling the gloom that was so pervasive around here just a week ago...

Picked up my new comics today, and of course you know that I will review them for your perusal as soon as I get around to reading 'em. Just in case anybody cares.

Couple of interesting links I ran across: The official site of the Amazing Randi, that legendary debunker of the supernatural (thanks, Franklin's Findings) through which I found an amusing "reverse astrology" site...all this time I thought I was a Capricorn and it seems I'm really a Virgo! Also, another illustrator's site, that of the great P. Craig Russell. I'll be adding this one to my links at left soon. After you're done checking out his outstanding art, go to his forum where he's usually always posting and is available for questions.

Music today: the Monkees-Head soundtrack, Jellyfish-Spilt Milk, Victoria Williams-Musings of a Creekdipper, and John Cale-The Island Years, disc 1.

More later, maybe...

Tuesday, November 12, 2002

Just finished watching the new Buffy. Despite some minor quibbles I had, not really worth mentioning, this was a pretty good episode with lots of juicy characterization, some clever and witty dialogue (usually a given) and the return of some old "friends". I've been watching this show from day one, except for a couple of years (arguably the best ones, too, but I've since seen most of them in reruns) that my @#$%! FORMER cable provider didn't give us a WB carrier. Even rented the mostly lame movie. Still, after what? 6 years? It's still a pretty darn fresh show and totally unlike anything that's on right now, a big plus in my book. That being said, it still bugs me that Buffy can take so much punishment and still brawl like it's nothing...sure, she's a Slayer, but she's still flesh and blood. They probably explained this in year 3. Also, either they dig some shallow-ass graves in Sunnydale and don't use caskets, or we've been asked to believe that it's relatively easy to claw your way through a steel coffin and nine feet of packed soil. I know, I know...I mentioned them. The quibbles.

Tomorrow's comic book day! I'm dreading/anticipating the second issue of Alan Davis' Killraven, which disappointed me so much. Well, that's not exactly true. I was fearing the worst, and it wasn't terrible, but this isn't any old comic book series to me, it's Killraven, and I'm afraid that if Don McGregor isn't writing it, it just isn't's an impersonator running around in that terrible 70's Sigfried and Roy-style unitard. Also anticipated in my stack tomorrow: Fables 7 (still haven't read 6 yet), JSA 42, Tom Strong's Terrific Tales 5, and Jingle Belle's Winter Wingding! Man, I love Jing, especially when she's drawn by Jason Bone and Stephen DeStefano...

Good night, boys and girls.
Hello again.

More links at right, to more interesting pages. Franklin's Findings, by (appropriately enough) Franklin Harris, Flat Earth by somebody whose name has eluded my clicking around in order to find out but is full of great comics related news, and the site devoted to one of my absolute favorite singers, songwriters, and musicians, Harry Nilsson. I might write more about why I feel that way later. Go to the discography section where I have written numerous capsule reviews of many of Harry's albums, with the notable exception of my favorite, Son of Schmilsson. Words (so far) have failed me.

Also, happy birthday to another member of the Dave's Faves club, Neil Young. So when the heck are you gonna release On The Beach on CD, Neil?

Music so far today: Yo La Tengo-Fakebook, Cyndi Lauper-Sisters of Avalon, Masters of Reality-Welcome to the Western Lodge, and Nilsson-Pussy Cats.

Time for lunch. Hopefully more later.

Monday, November 11, 2002

Another interesting blog in the links section, by someone named Devra and titled Blue Streak. Go forth, read and enjoy.
Wow, what a weird, crazy weekend this turned out to be.

In the aftermath of the LSU/Kentucky debacle, there was the unbelievable Atlanta Falcons-Pittsburgh Steelers game , which ended in a tie (the first NFL tie in five years!) and almost ended with another miraculous, no-time-left-on-the-clock desperation TD pass by the other team! Fortunately, the Steelers receiver never got the ball in the end zone, instead catching it with his feet in but not the ball, and the tie was preserved. A tie is frustrating, but if you had told me on Saturday that Pittsburgh QB Tommy Maddox would pass for 4 TDs and over 450 yards and WR Plaxico Burriss would have over 250 receiving yards, I would have thought that Atlanta would have been beaten by 40 points. Instead, they got down but not out and really showed me something, and I'm as proud if them as I've been since that miracle '98 season.

Then there was the weather around here. Storms, tornadoes, hail, torrential rain, wind, warm temps...anything but the sort of weather one expects in November. Fortunately, most of the bad stuff was to the north and south of us, but we still had some nastiness. My daughter and I went to get pizza last night and got caught in a hailstorm...had to pull off the road, and failing to find an overhang to get under, pulled in next to a building figuring that getting pummeled on three sides was better than getting pummeled on four, full on! Fortunately, the hail didn't get bigger than marble size, so I avoided a repeat of the hailstorm of 1998 in which my (and everyone else's) vehicle, sitting in the factory parking lot, got beat all to hell by golf ball size ice chunks as we all watched helplessly. At any rate, another gloomy weekend, and no, the pizza wasn't worth it. Today's a bit better, though...mostly sunny and a bit cooler.

Lotsa comics news on Sunday, most of it DC can read about it here. Vertigo has a couple of interesting projects coming up, a revamp of the Losers and something called the Wintermen, and I'm delighted that it finally occurred to someone to get Kyle Baker to do Plastic Man. Also, Kurt Busiek has finally gotten around to doing Astro City again, which is long overdue good news in my book.

Watched the Justice League:The Savage Time event Saturday, and though it was overall pretty good, and often clever...but the same complaints I have had about the series as a whole were still present, like the incredibly inconsistent depiction of the powers of the League itself. Superman, for example, is shown to be able to move mountains or stop giant War Wheels in their tracks with a minimum of effort, and sometimes all it takes to knock him out of the air is a simple rocket shot. Wonder Woman is often unbelieveably powerful, more so than Superman even, and the "bullets and bracelets" thing is a heck of a lot more convincing when one or two people are firing at her than if an entire battalion of soldiers or airplanes is doing so. Apparently being able to vibrate between molecules is not in Flash's power description, and why would anybody who could become intangible submit to electrical torture like J'onn did? I know, he overpowered his torturer eventually but as soon as he regained consciousness I would think he'd be phasing out of there! And I didn't think that Green Lanterns needed to recharge their rings anymore. I don't know about that one, since I'm not a GL reader. Still, quibbling aside, this one didn't seem nearly as long as it was, always a good sign, and I enjoyed the appearances of Easy Company and especially the Blackhawks. I wouldn't mind seeing a Blackhawks animated series, but I won't hold my breath. So JL:TST could have been better, but all in all the effort that Dini and Co. seemed to bring to it showed this time out.

Also, on Saturday night I watched the Michael Douglas film Don't Say A Word. It's nice to know that the tradition of crafting good looking thrillers without letting little things like internal consistency or logic get in the way continues. That being said, it still had some good things going for it, like the underrated Oliver Platt in a thankless role and a far fetched but snazzy ending, as well as the gorgeous Brittany Murphy (of course, you wouldn't know it from this flick, in which she spends all her time looking like a zombie). Rent this if you get a discount or a three-for-one deal.

That's all I can think of for now, perhaps more later.

Music today so far: Semisonic-All About Chemistry and Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band by some group called the Beatles or something.

Saturday, November 09, 2002

Quickie update: I just added links to the site of God, AKA Alex Toth, writer slash fount of information (and Kirby bud) Mark Evanier and 100 Bullets artist Eduardo Risso, the hardest working man in the comics business today. Along with my absolute favorite illustrator, Mike Kaluta. Met him once, maybe I'll tell the story one of these days.

Toth is, quite simply, the master of sequential storytelling, and this site, now "official", showcases his work as well as features his columns. Which I sometimes find cranky and hateful and often disagree with, but jeez-he certainly has the right to his opinion.

Evanier's site has lots of interesting stuff from the world of comics and Hollywood and such. Good reading. If you like comics and movies and such, as I appear to do.

Risso amazes me. He has pencilled and inked at least 38 issues of DC's great 100 Bullets series all by himself (well, he may have an assistant, I don't know) in an era when many artists take months and months to pencil a four issue miniseries...and then still don't complete the job, and he has done so in an innovative, Eisnerish, finely nuanced style that brings out all the best in Brian Azzurello's often dense and convoluted scripts. Hats off to you, sir.

And ever since I first saw it in the pages of DC's 70's Shadow #2, I have been head over heels in love with Kaluta's work. If you find the series he did with Elaine Lee-Starstruck- in the quarter boxes buy it now. You won't be sorry, I promise.
The ongoing archive watch continues. They're back now, except for the seven days that stubbornly refuse to show.

I think that people who practice religion are wasting their time. It has become painfully obvious to me that if you want to go to Heaven, then forget rosaries and Allah and becoming born again through the grace of our lord Jesus Christ. All you need to do to go to Heaven is root for the University of Kentucky football team. If you do that, you've already been through seven kinds of hell and there's no way Saint Pete can refuse you. If Father Murphy ever became a saint, then he would be the Wildcats' patron, relieving St. Jude. I just finished watching one of the damndest things I've ever seen as LSU defeated Kentucky 33-30 on a frigging desperation pass that the 'Cats tipped right into the path of an LSU receiver, who took it home as time expired. Of course, hindsight is 20/20, but when UK kicked the go-ahead field goal I was already apprehensively thinking that A. I really really wish they had taken one more shot into the end zone instead of running into a pile to get better position for the kick, and B. They left way too much time on the clock. Oh well, that's a stake in the heart of Draculean proportions but let's face it, UK's not bowl eligible anyway so who cares; and last year this game wouldn't have been this close. UK thought they had the game won (and QB Jared Lorenzen had already dumped a bucket of something over coach Guy Morris) and the football gods do not smile upon premature celebrations.

I finally got around to reading Friday's newspapers. I subscribe to the Louisville Courier-Journal, and buy a copy of USA Today every day to boot. The liberal-leaning CJ I read before I drive to work, and I read the USA Today on my lunch break. Yesterday I was running late to work and went out to eat lunch with friends, so my papers went unread. Anyway, in Friday's CJ (for contrast, I suppose- if not to assuage the cranks who constantly write letters to them complaining about their liberal stance) was a whole page in their editorial section featuring three of the most noteworthy conservative columnists, George Will (whom I kinda like, but I suspect it's just 'cause he likes baseball so much), Cal Thomas (who has apparently never met a Republican politician he wouldn't bend over and spread 'em for), and the repulsive, hateful Mona Charen. All three were crowing about the Republican "victory" and describing Dubya as "stupid like a fox"...and here I was thinking the expression was "crazy" like a fox. Anyway, that's fine and good and all's fair as we all know. I am no political expert. I don't follow politics like some people because frankly, they all seem to be bought and sold and it just becomes an us vs. them pissing contest. But I see this Republican "victory" on Tuesday last and to my unenlightened eyes they control congress by only a handful of seats- hardly an overwhelming number, in my book. But it is control nonetheless. The GOP would also do well to remember that they acheived this victory not because of their superior agenda but because the Democrats (or shall I say "Republicans Lite") failed to provide a decent alternative, preferring not to rock the boat. Will the Dems get the backbone to be a true opposition party? Will someone, anyone get some spine and rise up to be the leader the Dems sorely lack? How the hell should I know. All I can say is that I hope when Dubya's had his little dog-wagging war with Saddam and gasoline is back under a dollar and that evil snake is dead, like all good Republicans know God wants it and him to be, that each and every Republican voter will use the extra gas they can now buy more cheaply to go buy a flower, drive to the nearby cemetery, and place it on some soldier's grave. I just hope it's not one that belongs to my 20 year old son. And that, boys and girls, is my long promised political commentary. Please refer to Tom Tomorrow's page, link at right, for more intelligent discourse; he also has a thorough links section.

Also, while perusing today's Courier, I saw where the 13th Annual Louisville Film and Video Festival will be showing, among other things, A Skin Too Few-a documentary about Nick Drake. Big fan of Drake's here, and I'd love to see that so I think I'll drive up. It's playing at the same theatre where Spirited Away is playing right now; hopefully it will play there one more week and I can kill two birds with one stone. If you've never heard of Drake or his music, then you owe it to yourself to do so.

Recently in the news, at least the news of the comics world anyway, is Stan Lee's gripe with Marvel Comics, the company he helped bring to promenence as editor in chief and primary scripter in the 60s. After a 60 Minutes piece on the comics industry in which Lee was asked some uncomfortable questions, news came out that he planned to sue Marvel for 10% of Marvel's profits from movies, TV and so on. You can read about ithere. It's difficult to have much sympathy for Uncle Stan, who made his bed long ago and is now sleeping in it (albeit, apparently rather uncomfortably-or as uncomfortable as you can when you still pull down a million per), but the 5 year old in me who loved the comics that Uncles Stan and Jack Kirby and Gene Colan and Roy Thomas and John Buscema and Don Heck and so on did so long ago feels rather sad about it.

Looking forward to the new Justice League this evening...but that anticipation is tempered a bit because the JL cartoon has been a dull, talky, indifferently scripted and only marginally well animated disappointment so far. However, one gets the feeling that asses were busted making this one so we'll see.

Big NFL game tomorrow, at least for me: my beloved Atlanta Falcons take on Pittsburgh. I don't think they have a snowball's chance in Hades of beating the Steelers at Pittsburgh, but I didn't think they had a shot at New Orleans either so we shall see...I'm afraid they just don't have the offense. Come what may (and if you want to imagine me singing that like Ewan McGregor, then by all means), I anticipate sitting on my butt watching football all day tomorrow and cussing about my fantasy teams.

Music today: Ken Burns Jazz: John Coltrane (esp. My Favorite Things)

Friday, November 08, 2002

Everybody reading this should check out Joss Whedon's Firefly tonight at 7 central, 8 eastern on Fox. I have a soft spot for oddball westerns (one of my favorite movies is The Valley of Gwangi) and this one certainly qualifies. And don't put it off-the ratings have been not so good. I've read talk of it being moved to another night, so maybe that will help. It's got great characters, fine performances, the scripts more often as not have a sense of humor, and it's got Det. Harris from Barney Miller in it! Plus the actress that plays the courtesan-in-residence is a nuclear hottie. So watch already!

Picked up some back issue comics yesterday. Fables 6 and the first two issues of Jim Mahfood's Grrl Scouts mini from 1999. I didn't read the Fables simply because I didn't want to run across any spoilers before I read #'s 2-5 (I'm getting the trade when it comes out here in the next couple of weeks). I wanted to get familiar with GS because there's a new series coming out soon and I plan to pick it up too. I suppose it would be best if I reviewed it after I've read the last two.

More music: The Jayhawks-Smile, and Neil Young & Crazy Horse-Weld disc 2
Well, for some reason I seem to have misplaced about 5 days' worth of posts. As you can see from the archive list on the right, my posts from 10/27 to 11/02 are now missing. Most distressing, and I tried to follow the instructions on the help page to refresh my archives, but no soap. I have emailed, so we shall see what we shall see...I'd hate to think that my immortal ramblings, once preserved for posterity, are now lost and gone forever, dreadful sorry.

BUT tempering my annoyance at this state of events is a namecheck on Laura Gjovaag's page. Apparently this wonderful linkback feature that I, too, copied from Elayne Riggs (she's gonna find out how much I've been referring to her blog one of these days and boy is she gonna be pissed) alerted her to my nefarious presence; she mentioned me and this very site you're perusing right now! I am now legitimized and bona fide in the Bloggerverse! Woohoo! And I mean it when I say that you should check out Bloggity, etc. as often as possible. It's a nicely written and laid out, and has mucho linkos.

Music so far today: Matthew Sweet's 100% Fun, Beach Boys-Carl & The Passions: So Tough.

More later, time willing.

Thursday, November 07, 2002

I'm very stoked right now, because I just spoke to Thriller artist Trevor Von Eeden on the phone. If you want to know the Thriller story, please click on the link at right. When building my website, I wanted to speak to the creators and get their side of everything. I had managed to contact writer Robert Loren Fleming, but his collaborator Von Eeden had been much tougher to track down. Finally, I managed to get a third party involved who said if I'd send him a self addressed self stamped envelope containing a letter to TVE then he'd forward it along. Months passed and I had pretty much given up, thinking he was probably too busy, couldn't be bothered, didn't want to talk about it, or any of a number of scenarios. Then, wonder of wonders, I came home two weeks ago tomorrow and what to my wondering eyes should appear but a note, written by my son, which said "Trevor Von Eeden called, said he got your letter and is replying" and had his phone number! I thought I'd better read the letter before I tried to call the number, but as the days went by I became afraid he might think I was blowing him off so I broke down and called. On the third night I tried to call, I finally got an answer, not him but someone in his family I assume, who took my name and number. I told my family that if he called this time, give him my work phone, and that's what he called today! Whew! He said he has written a ten page letter, critiquing his work, was flattered and happy to hear that people remembered and liked the book, and invited me to call back after I'd read the letter. So when he mails the darn thing, I'm in business!

More, which I suppose is a prerequisite when it comes to linking and blogs; and Paul, which is the site of an artist whose work I have come to admire very much, especially the amazing 100% which is coming out right now from DC/Vertigo Comics. Also just added, the blogsites of the demented writer Warren Ellis and the Comics Journal. Mucho interesting-o. If you like comics and such.

I feel obligated to talk about politics, which I seldom do. Just like religion. Actually, both subjects are kinda similar if you ask me. I'll spare you all for now, but be warned-it's coming, 'cause I've been clicking around and checking out other blogs, and all the other kids have been doing it. So lemming-like, I feel the urge to follow suit. I will say this with pride-in the Kentucky State Representative to Congress, 2nd District race, I was the only one in my voting district to vote for the Libertarian candidate. Not that I consider myself a Libertarian per se, mind you, I just didn't care for the other choices. I saw the election returns at the AM radio station where I work part time. It's kinda neat to look at that sheet with all those numbers and see that number and know that it's your vote.

More music today: Ween-Chocolate and Cheese, Nick Drake-Pink Moon.
Continuing to search the Net for fun, interesting blogs and sites (and partly to make up for the pedestrian nature of this one), I've added Bloggity-Blog-Blog-Blog, a nice page by one Laura "Tegan" Gjovaag. I like the title, and the content and links were excellent, hence its inclusion on the right. Go forth and read and enjoy.

Woke up this morning, looked out the window, and was greeted with a curious sight: the sky was some sort of odd bluish color, not at all the sodden gray that I had grown accustomed to. I woke up the wife and called several of my neighbors. Almost had three accidents driving to work because I was staring at the sky in wonderment and awe at this amazing phenomenon. The man on the radio says it's going to be like this tomorrow, too. He can't be serious.

Having seen that other people are using their little bloggie-poos to review comics, I shall proceed to do so as well. This is copied straight from the DC Comics Message Boards, from a topic thread that appears regularly on the "Other DC Universe Topics" board, aka "ODCUT". It's a thread in which those who care to participate are asked to rate the new comics they bought in the past week, and comment on them if they wish. Of course you know that I'm not content merely to post a title and a star rating, OH NO. Since I am a pretentious git, I gotta write little Robert Christgau-like capsule reviews and give 'em letter grades too. So without further ado, here 'tis. Oh yeah-I go by Stately Wayne Manor, hence the "Manor" references.

1. MUTANT, TEXAS: TALES OF SHERIFF IDA RED 3: Some have complained that Dini is spinning his wheels and stretching out a short, I think he's just trying to give each of his large cast a little time in the spotlight. Clever, humorous, and often action-filled and tense, and superbly drawn by the estimable Jason Bone. A

2. POWERS 25: Despite the unpleasant opening (and let's face it, this has never been a pleasant book) this is just as solid and enjoyable as always. Deena Pilgrim makes me roll my eyes one minute and laugh out loud the next. A

3. VERTIGO POP: LONDON 1: Any book with Philip Bond art is a cause for celebration around the Manor. While the story isn't always sharp (really, now, a major British rock star, on a par with the Stones, named "Rocky"?) it is nicely dialogued (not always a Milligan strength) and I didn't see the twist at the end coming. I'll stick around for more. A-

4. X-STATIX 4: Another all-around fine issue. I was disappointed at the revelations about Solomon O'Sullivan and his associate; it seemed arbitrary and cheap and I liked S'OS just fine without it. Again, I didn't see the ending coming, and I like that. A-

5. HAWKMAN 9: My newfound admiration for Rags Morales took a slight hit when I observed the ridiculous contortions he drew Kendra in, both awake and asleep...but still, he's great at action (not that there was much of it this time out) and the script, despite the B-movie backstory it looks like Johns is going to stick her with, was passable, especially in the Doc Fate/Carter Hall scenes. So I was hot and cold with this one, and it inches ever so closer to the drop ledge...B

Honorable Mention goes to the new Comic Book Artist magazine, #22 to be precise, an overview of the Dell/Gold Key/Whitman comics line, several of which I read when I was a boy. I haven't finished it yet.

Promises to be a slow day at work today, so maybe more later!

Music today so far: Yoko Ono's Approximately Infinite Universe, NRBQ's Peek-A-Boo, the Best of NRBQ.

Wednesday, November 06, 2002

You know, newspaper soap strips are as addictive as crack and heroin. Even though most of them are far fetched and only tangentally resemble anything like reality, you get caught up in them when you read them every day and you just can't help yourself! My particular addictions range from the ludicrous Gil Thorp to the surprisingly well done Rex Morgan, MD (with art by onetime Batman artist Graham Nolan, who actually draws people that look like modern people!) to the banal Apartment 3-G, all of which appear in the Louisville, KY Courier-Journal. It was a dark day when they dropped Mary Worth, let me tell you. Anyway, back to I said, the strip, the way it is now, is as dull as dirt (but that doesn't keep me from faithfully reading it every single fricking day) but once upon a time, kiddies, it was smart and classy and extremely well drawn, and I was reminded of that era when I lucked up on an article thanks to a link on Sharpeworld. It was a retrospective on the glory days of 3-G and its artist, Alex Kotzky. Go here to see for yourself. A funny coincidence-after reading this article and soaking up that great art I posted a link to it on Shane Glines' Cartoon and Illustration Talkback message board, a place where people who appreciate that sort of thing tend to congregate, and much to my surprise I received a reply from the author of the article itself, who was happy I enjoyed it. Ya never know sometimes who reads the stuff you put out there.

Another link added today, at right. Evan Dorkin is one of the funniest and all around best creators working in comics today. I've been a fan since the early days of his Milk & Cheese strips. He just started doing a blog, and the link is to it. Go to for more.

It didn't rain today, but it stayed cloudy all day so the gloom continues. Adding to this was car trouble with both my and my wife's vehicles, so this was not a happy fun day. At least it was Wednesday, which is NEW COMICS DAY! I picked up the new X-Statix, Mutant: Texas, Hawkman, Vertigo Pop: London, and Powers, as well as the oh crap! book of the week, the absolutely magnificent and enjoyable to read Comic Book Artist magazine, which is devoted to articles exploring comics history but is expensive as hell at $6.95. I love to read it, but it comes out infrequently and is sometimes a costly surprise...fortunately, I got a discount but that still adds a pretty good chunk to my weekly bill when it comes out.

Music today: Julian Lennon's Help Yourself (again), Wilco-Yankee Hotel Foxtrot, and Bill Nelson's Blue Moons and Laughing Guitars.