Friday, July 29, 2005

FINALLY got a minute in between crappy little ads that resemble hostage notes from and for people that can't spell or perform remedial english tasks to inform you that the latest and greatest Last Call is up for your perusal at Comic Book Galaxy. In it, I hold forth on ASTRO CITY: THE DARK AGE 2, CATWOMAN 45, CITY OF TOMORROW! 4, GODLAND 1, HELLBOY: THE ISLAND 2, JLA CLASSIFIED 10, JOHN CONSTANTINE: HELLBLAZER 210, LEGION OF SUPER-HEROES 8, THE LOSERS 26, NEIL GAIMAN'S NEVERWHERE 2, and SILENT DRAGON 1. No Courtney Crumrin Tales #1, Middle Man #1, or Banana Sunday #1. Thank you very much, Great Escape formerly Pac-Rats.

Lots of other great stuff over there too, like a big little big bang of comics punditry! Go! Look!

For future reference, from last week:


Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Image Hosted by ImageShack.usNature abhors a vacuum, y'know...and with the proliferation of serious stories with serious ramifications for the entire (fill in your favorite shared Universe) and this time it's for real-style goings-on, well, it's good to know that some people aren't taking things as seriously as the Powers That Be would have you think we should. People like J.M. DeMatteis and Keith Giffen, who seem to be staking out their lighthearted territory with more frequency these days, first with their mostly-successful revival of their 80's Justice League with Kevin Maguire, then going over to Marvel and giving us more of the same in a new sandbox with The Defenders. And also, while they're at it, hooking up with artist Joe Abraham on Hero Squared for original characters in a similar vein.

The latest from the Boom! Studios, Squared #1, is actually #2 since one issue has already been released by Atomeka. Got that? Anyway, we get a brief recap at the beginning so you won't feel like you've missed out on much. It's the tale of Milo Stone, a slacker film student with a girlfriend named Stephie, whose path crosses with Captain Valor, a hero from a doomed dimension who has come to our world to try and prevent the same fate from befalling us and defend our world from the evil Lord Caliginous and his Malignite minions. So far, so typical superhero plot- but the twist is that Cap is really Milo from his dimension, who was chosen, Captain Marvel-style, to receive superpowers and became his Earth's defender. Our Milo, y'see, hasn't been so fortunate. Another wrinkle is that Caliginous is actually that world's Stephie, and we kinda get the feeling that the potential exists for our Milo's Steph to do the same. Got that?

As always, what makes this fun is the excessive, but always breezy, dialogue that DeMatteis writes for his characters. Lotsa jokes and snappy patter, even though there is a faintly perceptible undercurrent of apprehension because in spite of his slack, we kinda like ol' Milo and Steph, and like Cap Valor, we don't want to see bad stuff happen to either of them. One gets the impression that this was a leftover plot thread from an intended Justice League story; it would be fairly easy to see Booster Gold as Captain Valor, maybe, or something like that- and the lack of familiarity with these new characters kinda detracts a little bit. When crazy things happened to Booster or Beetle or Guy Gardner, we could get a little extra humor at it playing off their personalities, and we don't quite get the same thing from these newish people. I also have, after two issues, a sneaking suspicion how this will turn out, or at least I see one plot twist coming 'round the, I won't say what it is! No spoilers here! Also, I'm reminded a little of a Jonathan Peterson (whatever happened to...?)/Kevin Maguire project of several years back, Strikeback!, insofar as it applies to the pace and the tone, although we don't get the myriad of characters that series had.

Artwise, Joe Abraham's art is as jagged, angular and fine-lined as before, but he's appeared to have grown more comfortable with his style since the Atomeka issue, and it looks just fine here. He gets across some nice facial expressions, and even reminds me a little of early 90's Kyle Baker, especially in his depictions of the Malignite soldiers. I don't know if he's still Photoshop-inking his stuff, but he's getting better at it if he is.

Hate to keep bringing up this aspect of it, but really my only quibble, other than why the obviously female Caliginous chooses to go by "Lord...", is that this is one mighty skinny floppy for $3.99, full color or no full color, and I'm afraid this might impact its casual rack appeal.

It simply boils down to this: if you're receptive to what Giffen and DeMatteis do best, and/or have liked it in the past, you'll like this very much. If not, then you'll want to take your sour ass elsewhere. Hero Squared is another enjoyable example of KG and JMD doing that voodoo they do so well. A-.
I'm trying to get back in the saddle, kids, but it's not easy. I'm having one of my periodic crises of confidence, and finding very little time when I do feel up to it. I intend to get something batted out here shortly, but don't get your hopes up.

I'm sure that you'd rather not hear me whine any longer, so in the meantime, know that Paul Dini has a LJ, and has written a great critique post on Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.

The more I hear and read about this flick, the more I'm thinking this will go into that Grinch/Cat in the Hat-"must avoid at all costs" category.

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Free Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.usI was checking out Comics Continuum this morning when my eye was drawn to the Devil's Due solicits for October. I've never run across a Devil's Due book that I wanted to read yet, but I was definitely impressed with this classic-poster-like cover for GI Joe: America's Elite 1, and when I googled its creator, R.Black, I found his website, and was very impressed there as well. I think you might be, too!

Monday, July 25, 2005

This settles it. I'm buying too gorram many comic books.


I already have HERO SQUARED #1; review forthcoming. I am also holding out hope for MIDDLE MAN #1 and BANANA SUNDAY #1, plus that ESSENTIAL KILLRAVEN TPB is still testing my LCS' patience with me.

All this courtesy the new Diamond shipping list!
As threatened, I mean promised, Last Call is now up and awaiting your ministrations.

More later, I hope- right now I'm spending my last day off painting. Walls, not pictures.

Sunday, July 24, 2005

Crazy busy the last few days, so apologies if you've been impatiently checking to no avail.

Just wanted to send along Bacardi Show Birthday Greetings to three luminous personages:

One, Trevor Von Eeden, who illustrated what is by most accounts my favorite comics series, Thriller, along with many other excellent works, and is a hell of a nice guy;

Two, Pat Oliphant, my favorite political cartoonist; and

Three, my best girl Mrs. B aka Theresa Ann Doyle-Jones, who is sweet as sugar cane, and has the patience of a saint and the courage of a lion for putting up with me all these years.

Friday, July 22, 2005

Well, the best laid plans etc. and all that- my vacation week is almost over and as I feared, I have done very little of the writing I'd planned to do. C'est la vie- I've had a million things to do over the last few days, it seems, and not all of it due to outside influences...I spent the majority of this morning, for example, watching the excellent film Sideways, and not just excellent for Sandra Oh at her sexiest. One more film to add to my eventual movie post, which will come along soon, I hope!

One thing I did manage to get written was my new Last Call column, but circumstances beyond the ken of mere mortals has necessetated that it will appear on Monday, and not today as usual. In it, I take a look at The Atheist 2, Daredevil 75, Defenders 1, JSA Classified 1, Love and Rockets V2 14, Lucifer 64, Smoke 2, and Ultimates 2 7.

And while I'm thinking about it, letter grades for last week's comics purchases:

100 BULLETS 62 A-

OK, that's all I got for now.

Thursday, July 21, 2005

Make with the clicky click to viddy this sladky Derek Kirk Kim poster!

As you were, o my brothers.
Time now to take a look at some mini- and indie comics I've received lately.

FLYTRAP- EPISODE ONE:JUGGLING ACT is the latest "chapbook" project from writer Sara Ryan and artist Steve Lieber, and it's a winner. Harried, put-upon PR agent Maddy has a terrible day at the office, she has a clueless, self-absorbed, knuckleheaded musician boyfriend (complete with stacks of can't-give-'em-away "Klaus" urinal cakes), her car gets towed, and then she gets canned. Oh yes, and in the course of the day she meets a traveling alternative circus who wants to hire her firm for PR, but after she gets fired they hire her as an independent PR rep. A lot goes on in these 16 pages, and a lot more promises to happen in the future. I like how Ryan was able to introduce the character, make her likeable and sympathetic but not too sympathetic, and establish her situation without resorting to unnecessary expository dialogue and contrivance, simply by letting us see her in the course of her work day. Lieber turns in another solid art job, helping Ryan out immensely by providing excellent facial expressions, especially on Maddy- and often giving us nicely staged pages like 8 and 9, which reminded me a lot of some of Alex Toth's work with its energetic use of sound effects and solid black outlined figures. Another influence which I felt was that of Steve Rude, and I don't think it's anything conscious on Ryan or Lieber's part, but the circus character aspect reminded me a lot of Rude's recent Moth series. I'm sure it won't go in that direction, but the feel is there just the same. All said, I enjoyed Flytrap a lot, and I hope to read more! A

WINGNUT AND FIDGET: SPRING 2005 ONE-SHOT by Brian Clopper is an engaging Sci-Fi fantasy about a couple of alien bounty hunters, one laid-back and "streetwise", the other uptight and accident-prone- in the first story we see how they began their partnership, and in the second they outwit some mercenaries who are on their trail. Both stories are fun reads. This is my first exposure to W & F and Clopper's work, and my biggest question is WHY isn't Clopper doing more work for other publishers? His art is excellent- very Wallace Wood-via-Stephen DeStefano inspired and light years above the average minicomic fare. I was a bit surprised to find out that he's done these characters as far back as the '80s, and these are the new, updated versions. I liked these two stories very much as well, and again, I hope that there will be more. One nit to pick: I know these are "mini" comics, Mr. Clopper, but please, for the sake of my aging eyes- make your pages a bit bigger. You've left a good quarter-inch margin on the sides, and a half-inch on top, and your work in places is so filled with detail that I was considering getting one of those rectangular magnifying glasses so I could scan it better! Anyway, it costs $3.00 and can be obtained by emailing Brian at A-

I also received a package of comics from Omaha Perez and O-P-P Press, and before I go any further I have to say:

"You down with O-P-P?" "Yeah, you know me!"

I apologize for that. Anyway, the package consisted of CENOZOIC #1, PERIPHERY #1, and PERIPHERY #2/HOLMES #1. Periphery is a weird-tales anthology series, Cenozoic is caveman funnies, and Holmes is a less-than-flattering take on the great detective. Of all these, I think perhaps Cenozoic is the most ready for prime-time; while writer/artist Mark Fearing doesn't necessarily do anything with our shaggy ancestors that Hanna Barbera and Carl Reiner and Mel Brooks haven't already done, it's an often amusing read, especially the "Jerry Caveman, Inventor" strip that's featured in Periphery #1. Half of #1 is occupied by a frenetic mismatched buddy-strip called "Cave Bear and Duck", and Fearing better hope that the Klasky-Csupo people don't see it. Periphery itself is up-and-down, as anthologies tend to be- the three non-caveman tales both sport EC-style twist endings: Steve Niles and Brian Horton's "Carsickness"'s twist works better than the others, it's a story of two thugs who return to their home town and are not what they seem. "The Handsomest Man in the World" features some crude, angular art from Perez which seems to strive for expressionism of some sort and falls short, same for "In Deep", about two crooks who steal a carlike spaceship and fly to the moon to escape the law. For some reason, I was reminded of Astronauts in Trouble. Horton's short story "Closed Case" had decent enough art, but the resolution didn't make much sense to me. Best of show in #1 was the preview for another presumed ongoing called BOHDISATTVA, which gives us Hindu adventure stories and -attention, Dave Puckett!- a Beatles appearance at the end. Perez again does the art for a Richard Raleigh script, and here his work looks 110% more accomplished and makes me wonder how much time has elapsed between some of these stories. #2 has more funny caveman hijinx and a short story by Matthew Smith and Brian Horton that is nicely drawn but again doesn't make much sense, at least to my unenlightened mind. Bodhisattva: A. Periphery 1: B. Cenozoic #1: A-

Periphery #2 shares space with the debut of another ongoing, HOLMES #1, which is a total Perez joint and gives us yet another Sherlock Holmes-as-drug addict/lunatic/idiot savant,seeing Moriarty everywhere and "Does Holmes' evil archfoe really even exist?" Poor Sherlock- what have you done to cause modern-day writers to leap at the chance to portray you in such a harsh light? Sure, you could be a bit of an uptight, know-it-all prick, but still. Me, I prefer the ultra-capable and razor sharp Doyle-by-way-of Basil Rathbone conception, and while I'll admit to liking The Seven Per Cent Solution a lot and don't necessarily hate darker takes on previously established characters, I find these "He's wearing no clothes"-style hatchet jobs tiresome. However, this is mostly well-done, more so on the writing/dialogue side than the art- whatever advances Perez made for Bodhisattva, he takes a step back here, giving us some very crude-looking figure drawings. That said, the story is told clearly and economically, so I suppose we take the sugar with the medicine. B-

So regarding O-P-P, I liked Bodhisattva a lot, thought Cenozoic was fun and wouldn't mind seeing more from Fearing in this vein, and can take or leave Periphery and Holmes.

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

JIM APARO, 1932-2005

Got home after seeing Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, and saw the sad news on a couple of sites that Jim Aparo had passed away. Aparo was a huge influence on what I laughingly refer to as my artwork, and was one of my absolute favorite illustrators (and letterers, too) in the '70s and early '80s. As a teen, I was captivated by Aparo's dynamic perspectives and expressive figures, especially the faces and most of all the hands he drew- I spent many hours copying the way he drew people gesturing, pointing, punching and so on. And three of my favorite comics series as a teenager were Phantom Stranger, Adventure Comics with the Spectre, and The Brave and the Bold, in which I actually managed to get a letter or two published. I didn't see much of his earlier Charlton work, since I wasn't in the habit of picking up their titles then, but having seen them since I discovered him I liked a lot of what I saw, especially the sci-fi western Wander. As a tribute, here's a cover gallery from some of my favorite Aparo-related comics. Click on the images to see them bigger.

Rest in peace, Mr. Aparo, and thanks for everything.
Remember all that stuff I said I was going to write about yesterday? I'll do it later. Instead, here's a look at some of the DC Comics Solicits for October I find remarkable:

First, Bat-books.

This Jock cover for Batman 646 makes me wish that the first issue of the revived Brave and the Bold would feature Batman and the Losers. Yeah, I know, no Vertigo/DCU crossover. Bleh. Like Dorian, I think the Black Mask doing the Wile E. Coyote down in the lower left hand corner is a hoot.

BATMAN: GOTHAM COUNTY LINE #1 : When I first saw the title, I had my hopes up for the Caped Crusader vs. redneck sheriffs...but it's Bats in the suburbs instead. Yawn.

BATMAN: LEGENDS OF THE DARK KNIGHT #196: I hope they collect this- I like D.C. Johnson's writing, but after adding Detective (which I've since dropped) I didn't want to add another Batbook.

ARKHAM ASYLUM ANNIVERSARY EDITION SC: To be honest, I thought this was an overwrought, underwritten mess back in the day- and while I've come to like Morrison's writing a lot (and consequently have softened my stance on the book as a whole) I still dislike McKean's haphazard, needlessly cluttered artwork. And for what it's worth, I liked very few of his Vertigo covers, too.

Another month, another great Adam Hughes CATWOMAN cover. I still wish he'd look at the interiors and stop drawing her in pleather, and the foreground and figure inking is sketchier and sloppier than I'm accustomed to- but that's OK. This one's #48, by the way.

The copy (and the image file name) says that this is the cover for GOTHAM CENTRAL #36, and that it's by Sean Phillips. I am dubious- it doesn't look like Phillips' work at all, and the initials in the cute little signature box appear to read "JR". Who knows. I don't like the hypermuscled Batman of the Jim Lee school, and it's a bit uncommon to feature Bats so prominently on a GC cover- he's a bit player in this book, guys, remember?

Wow. There have been 143 issues of ROBIN. Seems like only yesterday that #1 came out. Why does everybody on the cover have pointed feet and hands? I know, stylistic choice. Yada yada.


Silly people. You know I don't partake. Still:

How Not To Draw the Female Figure 101, courtesy of Ian Churchill & Norm Rapmund via the cover of SUPERGIRL #3. Arms? Too long. Thighs? Too wide. Ass? Too small. Face? Not bad, but everything else is so wonky proportion-wise that you don't notice. Will I buy? HELL no!

SUPERMAN IN THE FORTIES TP: Now, I'd consider this if I was able to buy TPB's indiscriminately. I've never cared for the goofy versions of the '50s and '60s, but Siegel & Shuster's Superman was nicely drawn and had some snappy dialogue.


James Jean rules the school. From GREEN ARROW #55.

JLA #120 & 121 both sport covers by someone named Daniel Acuna. Never heard of him, but he has an interesting, visually witty style. I don't care for his cover to OUTSIDERS #29 quite as much, but I'll keep an eye out for his stuff in the future. In the cover at left, Batman just farted. At right, a gratuitous crotch shot of Black Canary.

SHOWCASE PRESENTS: METAMORPHO VOL. 1 TP: Holy mackanoley, that's an ugly cover. Even for Sal Trapani. But anyhoo, I loved Metamorpho comics when I was a kid and haven't read many of these stories in ages, so I'll strongly consider picking this up even though, as with the Marvel Essentials books I bemoan the lack of color. Wanna bet Bat Lash gets this treatment soon?

SOLO #7 is Mike Allred's turn in the spotlight. This cover, with its retro-'60s rendition of Adam West doing the Batusi, is pretty cool. Which is the sort of thing that Allred does best, and it will be interesting to see if he can summon up some of that early-Madman vibe that he had and in my opinion lost.

SEVEN SOLDIERS: KLARION THE WITCHBOY #4 and SEVEN SOLDIERS: ZATANNA #4 both sport great covers and promise a lot of sturm und drang in their respective series conclusions, but I wonder how the promise of a magic-free DCU that I read about recently will affect these characters.

For those feeling nostalgic, there's a good old-fashioned bondage cover on WONDER WOMAN #222.

Other imprints:

I'm beginning to wonder if I shouldn't check out TOP 10: BEYOND THE FARTHEST PRECINCT. I loved Top 10, but that was mostly because of Alan Moore and Moore projects in other hands have a dubious track record. That goes for TOM STRONG as well, although I see that #35 is drawn by the original art team of Chris Sprouse and Karl Story. I don't think that will be enough inducement to pick Strong up again, though- I dropped it a long time ago.

Vertigo's LOVELESS #1 looks very interesting. The only Azzarello work I've really enjoyed was, of course, 100 Bullets- put him on the corporate trademarks and he goes about eleven kinds of bland. The ad copy compares it to Deadwood, and I say fat chance there, but Azz does have a flair for vulgar dialogue so he might pull it off. I'll be checking this out.

Talk about shock and awe: DC is going to put out DOOM PATROL VOL. 3: DOWN PARADISE WAY TP , which will feature the first appearances of Flex Mentallo! Can that long-awaited and controversial mini-series collection be far behind? Stay tuned! I'd be really excited if I didn't already have all of those (he says smugly).

Oh yeah...James Jean. FABLES #42. Think the voice of one of the cop robots in Futurama when you read that.

THE LOSERS #29 is part one of "Endgame", the copy tells us, and that's alternately sad and exciting. Another iconic Jock cover.

The cover for LUCIFER #67, sans copy. Interesting to see that Kaluta is combining his love for mirror imaging with an actual attempt at sequentials. I wish he'd vary up his ink line a bit more, but who am I to carp?

I'll consider plunking down my $18 for THE ORIGINALS SC...looks like an interesting read. Dave Gibbons is a solid craftsman, and a rarity: I don't particularly care for his style, but I love how he tells a story.

Maybe I'm missing the point here, but if you're trying to attract new readers to Vertigo titles via one-shot samplers like the VERTIGO: FIRST OFFENSES TP , isn't it a better idea to include recent properties instead of decades-old prior successes that are no longer being published, except in trades? Or is that the point? What do I know?

And...that's all! Hopefully, more stuff later.

Monday, July 18, 2005

Well, as expected, the GOHRP took precedence today. Then I watched another of my Forties inamoratas, Virginia O'Brien, in the Red Skelton vehicle Merton of the Movies on TCM. Fun, but Virginia didn't sing. Then, swimming lessons for my grandson. And when we got home, it was time for The Old Dark House (Karloff! Charles Laughton! Ernest Thesiger! Gloria Stuart!). Right now, I'm trying to get this done before Zombies on Broadway comes on.

Anyway, as promised, my presumed upcoming haul as per the new Diamond shipping list:


And quite possibly


...all MIA at my LCS. And I'll also have the


In my folder; I'll buy it ASAP but probably not Wednesday.
Good morning! I'm on vacation!

No, I'm not in the Barbados or anything like that. I had a week coming to me at the ULPJ (Unrewarding Low-Paying Job, in case you didnt know) so I tooked it. Of course, this coincides with the GOHRP (Great Ongoing House Repair Project), so I may find myself busy as hell- but I'm also hoping I can get some stuff posted here in the next few days. So stay tuned!

Things to discuss:

Cenozoic, Periphery, Holmes. Soon.

The Grudge. Born to Boogie. The Life Aquatic With Steve Zissou. Garden State. Collateral. Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy. All films I've seen lately. No, I haven't gotten around to seeing Batman Begins, War of the Worlds, Fantastic Four, Revenge of the Sith, or Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy- I might try to catch one or two this week.

Flytrap and Wingnut and Fidget, two above-average minis I've received.

The latest Justice League Unlimited.

The new Eels CD, Blinking Lights and Other Revelations, and perhaps even some overdue Mixed Bag 2 CD reviews at the LJ, which is suffering from neglect.

Dare I say...Hammer Locke?

And of course, that ever-popular ongoing feature, what I'm getting via the new Diamond shipping list.

Stay tuned!

Sunday, July 17, 2005

Ahem. May I have your attention, please. I just wish to state for the record that I thought (and you'll hopefully remember that I wrote that) Superf*ckers 1 was a hoot and a half and dug it immensely. So when you read Tom Spurgeon's new interview with James Kochalka, and he says that comics bloggers hated it, know that I was NOT among that number.

Thank you very much.

Saturday, July 16, 2005

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Official JBS mascot Super-Hip! creator Arnold Drake, at the SDCC. I'd never seen him before. I sincerely hope that when I'm his age I can look this cool. What a great hat!

Ganked from CBR.
Heidi's got the Eisner Award Winners up at the Beat.

If I may, some selected comments:

Best Single Issue (or One-Shot)
Eightball #23: "The Death Ray," by Dan Clowes (Fantagraphics)

OK, fair enough- I liked, didn't love this one but many of my respected peers thought it was the best thing since Einstein split the beer atom. It was much better than the other nominees, that much is certain.

Best Serialized Story
Fables #19-27: "March of the Wooden Soldiers," by Bill Willingham, Mark Buckingham, and Steve Leialoha (Vertigo/DC)

In a world in which Sleeper and The Losers exists, to name just a few, this is ludicrous. But none of the nominees really yanked my crank, save perhaps Planetary 19 & 20, so whatever.

Best Publication for a Younger Audience
Plastic Man, by Kyle Baker and Scott Morse (DC)

Methinks the voters confused "Younger Audience" with "juvenile in execution". I can't imagine very many young kids are reading Plastic Man, or many older ones either for that matter! And THIS won over Owly and Courtney Crumrin. What the fug.

Best Archival Collection/Project
The Complete Peanuts, edited by Gary Groth (Fantagraphics)

Good call. I'm saving my pennies for volume 3.

Best Writer/Artist
Paul Chadwick, Concrete: The Human Dilemma (Dark Horse)

Bitch, please. I'm sure Chadwick's a prince among men, but Best Writer/Artist?

Best Cover Artist
James Jean, Fables (Vertigo/DC); Green Arrow, Batgirl (DC)

Good call. He's the best there is right now.

Talent Deserving of Wider Recognition
Sean McKeever (A Waiting Place; Mary Jane; Inhumans; Sentinels)

Oh, come on. Shoulda been Raina Telgemeier.

Best New Series
Ex Machina, by Brian K. Vaughan, Tony Harris, and Tom Fesiter (WildStorm/DC)

OK, sure, I know lots of people like this one so I'm not surprised, just disappointed.

Best Limited Series
DC: The New Frontier, by Darwyn Cooke (DC)

Cooke's going to be doing the Spirit- Didja know?

Oh. Sorry.

WE3 should have taken this one.

Hall of Fame
Johnny Craig
Hugo Pratt
Nick Cardy
Gene Colan

Can't argue with any of these selections, especially the great Nick Cardy. Great to see Gene Colan get the recognition, too. I still don't see why they can't put all the nominees in- how the hell aren't Reed Crandall, Graham Ingles, and Frank Robbins already in?

Friday, July 15, 2005

Here's a look at the new poster for Serenity.
In further news here at Brosgolmania Central, the Divine Miss B snagged herself the Kim Yale award at the 9th Annual Friends of Lulu Awards last night. Congratulations!

Yeah, like she ever reads this site anyway...
Darwyn Cooke's going to do a Spirit comic! Did I tell you that? Oh? OK.

May I direct your attention then to the latest LAST CALL, up now and awaiting your ministrations over at CBG.


Among the missing, because my LCS didn't get 'em: SMOKE 2, BANANA SUNDAY 1, and THE MIDDLE MAN 1. Most annoying.

Thursday, July 14, 2005

I can't believe my eyes. Somebody pinch me. This news is so incredible and so right, it's too good to be true. They must be having a joke at my expense, taking the piss as out friends from across the pond say.


An. Ongoing. Spirit. Comic.

Darwyn. Effing. Cooke.

Forget House of M or any of Joe Q's other half-baked tempests-in-a-teapot, THIS, if there's a God in Heaven above, should crack not only the Internet but the North American continent open.

Excuse me, I need to smoke a cigarette now.
Emmy nominations are out, and I was most interested in how one show in particular was represented:

Drama Series: Deadwood (HBO)
Lead Actor, Drama Series: Ian McShane - Deadwood (HBO)

OK, no problems there. But then, not another nomination until

Directing, Drama Series: Gregg Fienberg - Deadwood (Complications) HBO

That's it! Well, there were some other nominations, mostly for behind-the-camera stuff...but no writing nomination? On a show celebrated for its elaborately profane wordplay? No love, either lead or supporting, for Robin Wiegert, Paula Malcolmson or Molly Parker? No nomination for Brad Dourif's excellent portrayal of Doc Cochran? Or Dayton Callie for Charlie Utter? Dare I say William Sanderson as E.B. Farnum?

As Al Swearengen might say, it's a f*cking travesty!

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

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Vera Brosgol's got her new website up and running, and it is, of course, stuffed with excellent work. Clicky click on the banner to visit!

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

On his LJ, Brian Wood has posted the cover to Local #1, which, according to CBR, is a "new 12 issue series by critically acclaimed writer Brian Wood (DEMO, POUNDED, THE COURIERS) and Ryan Kelly (LUCIFER) . LOCAL will feature stand alone issues, each focused on normal people in extraordinary, life changing situations."

Hm. Now where have I heard that before?

I kid. Actually, it sounds very interesting. Oni seems to have a ton of great stuff coming out in the next few months...oh, to be on their comp list!

And this art is by Ryan Kelly. RYAN KELLY! The fellow who's apparently been sublimating his talents to the extraordinarily ordinary pencils of Peter Gross over on Lucifer. That's remarkable. Or frustrating. Or remarkably frustrating!

Anyway, I just saw this and decided to pass it on.

I've been spending most of my evening tonight reliving my teenage years (and my two-years-too-late T.Rextasy) via Marc Bolan and Ringo Starr and the concert film (with vignettes) Born To Boogie, my first Netflix rental in about 5 months, since I renewed my subscription over the weekend. Gotta tell you, this 2 DVD-set is a blast, and I MUST own it. It's a great concert, sounds good and looks good, and the interviews and documentaries are also first rate. I will try to have more to say later.

Monday, July 11, 2005

Holy buckets, is this gonna be a wallet-killing week for me! As per the Diamond shipping list:

SERENITY #1 (Not sure which cover I'l get, probably the J.G. Jones Inara one if they have it.)
100 BULLETS #62

And, possibly:

ESSENTIAL KILLRAVEN VOL 1 TPB (I want this, but with the $7.50 Smoke in my holds, (I hope) I may have to wait. It's not like I haven't read these stories before, God knows)

GUNCANDY #1 (OK, OK, so I'm weak for the cheesecake. A game-time decision.)

BANANA SUNDAY #1 (I like Coleen Coover's work, and this looks fun, but I didn't pre-order it and I seriously doubt that my shop oredered it. If it's there, I'll check it out and perhaps put it in my folder till later)
This is gonna be a rambling post about a number of things with very little comics content, so bear with, please. If you wanna read good comics stuff, go to Comic Book Galaxy. Heh, my CBG plug for the day! Maybe I should put this on the LJ, but nobody reads that damn thing anyway (or at least I don't think anybody does, since I can't figure out how to attach a sitemeter, I've got no way of knowing) so it goes here.

Monday morning. We are currently dealing with the death-throes of Hurricane Dennis, where it was a threat to Florida and Louisiana but by the time it gets to Kentucky, it just gives us some much-needed rain. One of the benefits of living so far inland, I suppose. I looked at the local weather channel radar earlier this morning, and we had a real neat-looking spiral hurricane-shaped cloud formation right over the state. Comics geek that I am, I couldn't help but flash on the True Story, Swear To God: This One Goes To Eleven saga of Tom Beland and Lily and Hurricane Georges. I went down to the basement for shelter, but Mrs. B was having none of that, calling me names and reminding me that she has a busy day planned for me today.

Yep, I'm off work today. I'm off every other Monday, since my co-worker Leisa and I alternate Saturdays. Someone has to be there for late ads and to finish up for the Sunday edition of the Snooze. So you'd think that I'd be making some significant blog hay today, wouldn't ya? HA! This morning will probably be the only down time I've had this entire weekend. Today, I have a long-overdue doctor appointment at eleven, then the rest of the day will be taken up by various house-related activities, accompanied by Mrs. B, who likes to take off on my off-Mondays to keep me from doing anything I want to do, I mean spend the day with me "getting stuff done".

I'm kinda getting ahead of myself here- all this "house related activity" pertains to our current situation. We recently took steps to refinance our home, in the process taking care of some of our debtload, credit card and other wise, with enough left over to do some much-needed home improvements, such as a new roof, new floor covering, paint, kitchen cabinet and plumbing repair, possible blacktopping of the driveway, et cetera. Some of these have needed to be done for over a decade, but we just haven't been able to afford to do them. This will also result in our monthly bill-paying obligations being greatly reduced, which should make things a lot less stressful around Casa Bacardi. And, believe it or not, this makes my situation at the Low Paying Unrewarding Full-Time Job a little less odious to me as well. I'm still getting no personal satisfaction from it, and seriously bristle at being treated like a moron, but perhaps I won't be so inclined to grind my teeth as I drive to the bank to deposit my sad little paycheck.

After everything got approved and settled and checks cut and electronic payments made last week, we took our first steps on this journey Saturday morning, going to buy paint for the living room and dining room, along with some new bathroom fixtures. Saturday afternoon was spent painting. If you're used to a mostly sedentary lifestyle, as I am, you'll understand how wrecked I can get with just some moderate physical activity. Stopped before Justice League Unlimited came on, though! Good eppy, too, which answered some of my complaints from the previous installment. I knew Batman wouldn't sit this one out. And the Creeper got some extended screen time! No Gypsy, though. Hoped to stay up long enough to watch Samurai Champloo, but couldn't do it.

Anyway. Buy home stuff Saturday morning, paint all Saturday afternoon, TV on Saturday night. Go to bed tired and sore. Then get up at 5 AM Sunday morning because it's my turn to be the Ringmaster of the WLOC Holy Roller Circus. Or to put it less cynically, run the board at the radio station, play the religious programming and get the live preachers on and off the air until 1:30 PM, lock up and go home. Then it was back to the painting, and when we had gotten two walls done, we had to stop because the two that are left haven't had holes filled and sanded down, and we still need to clean the walls, too. And oh yeah, move the bookshelf and its contents that covers one of those walls, which means I have to transfer the contents, CDs, all my albums, and my run of Mojo magazine, somewhere else so I can take the sections apart and get them out of the way. THAT was a job, too. If you have a large record or CD collection, perhaps you can sympathize. I also had three comics boxes plus a stack of recent comics purchases taking up room and needing to be moved as well. By 9 yesterday evening, we had successfully relocated all of it, but now the house is extremely cluttered. More so than usual. But you have to break some eggs to make an omelet, as the saying goes.

And now, here I am on Monday morning, preparing to go to the doctor and trying to get a little blogging done. I'm sure we'll get back to the home improvement project when I get home, which means that I won't likely be posting anything else today until the new Diamond shipping list comes online.

Snuck a new CD in the shopping pile: the new Eels album Blinking Lights and Other Distractions. I saw Mark Everett & Co. perform "Trouble With Dreams" on Letterman the other night, and liked it- it was a bit of a throwback to his Daisies of the Galaxy album, which I love, specifically "Flyswatter". It's a 2-CD set, and I really haven't had a lot of time to digest it yet. I just finished listening to disc 1; disc 2 is out in my truck so I put in Larry Young's Mixed Bag 2 CD instead.

I finally got my contribution to that project mailed last week; hopefully everyone has theirs by now. I'd love to hear some comments on it, but nobody involved (including me, it seems) is in a hurry to do so on their blogs, so I guess we'll have to see how that goes.

I also finally got to see the end of the Steve McQueen flick Bullitt the other night; I had tried to watch it a few weeks ago but my cable went out with 15 minutes to go. It was a good film, with several excellent moments that weren't necessarily car chases, but it sure could have used a less convoluted script.

I'm enjoying (when I can stay up late enough- 11:30 pushes it for me a bit sometimes) watching reruns of Superman-The Animated Series on Boomerang. That was one solid, well-written and animated show, better even than the Batman animated show that preceded it. Of course, then later on the same team produced an excellent Animated Batman as well in its last couple of seasons. Now you all know I'm not the biggest Superman fan out there, except perhaps the really old Siegel-Shuster version, but I like the streamlined, strongly Kirby-influenced version that the Animated show gives us. In light of recent Unlimited events, though, it's definitely a Beetle-Max Lord moment every time I see Prof Hamilton.

I finished Neverwhere the novel yesterday- and it was very good, if a tad disappointing with its routine good-vs-ultimate evil resolution. Not handled badly, mind you, but I was hoping that Gaiman would take it in a less conventional direction and he just didn't- and the aftermath with Richard Mayhew was even more predictable. Still, intriguing characters and an imaginative setting, the kind of stuff that Gaiman is good at. I'm looking forward to reading the rest of the comics adaptation. I got the feeling that many of these characters might have been first conceived with Sandman in mind...

As far as other comics go, I recently received the Holmes/Periphery/Cenozoic bundle from Omaha Perez that I think everybody else got a week or two ago (my fault, not O-P's...) and I've yet to finish them all. I'll probably comment on them in the next Last Call. That's it! Nothing else in the pipeline right now. Geez- here I am dying to get free stuff so I can hype the hell out of it, and I got nothin'. Sigh.

OK, I need to get in the shower now so this is all you'll get from me for a while.

Sunday, July 10, 2005

Warren Ellis has posted a "director's commentary"-style look at several pages from Desolation Jones #1. Interesting stuff, and another testament to the excellence of J.H. Williams III.

Also, on a completely unrelated topic, Teresa Ortega tells us how Superman fought the Ku Klux Klan back in 1946.
RIP writer/editor/publisher Byron Preiss.

Jim Steranko has posted an obit at the Pulse.
Take the MIT Weblog Survey

I FINALLY got to take this survey that everybody else has already done! I was having trouble getting it to accept my key number using Mozilla or IE on my Mac OS 9.2. I finally got around to doing it on a PC, and lo and behold, its wonders were opened up unto me yea verily. This blatant anti-Mac bias is sad. Anyway, I did it.

Saturday, July 09, 2005

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You may recall that I was bitching a little the other day because there didn't seem to be a Cameron Chase pic in that great Micro-Heroes site. Well, as you can plainly see, I was wrong- she was lumped in with the JSA section. Which leads me to think that she must have been featured in at least one of the issues that came out after I dropped the title. Which makes the anal fanboy Chase completist in me groan since the Conisseur of Good Comics inside me had already washed his hands of the JSA book over a year or two ago. So...any of you out there care to tell me which issues she appeared in? Just in case I might want to get them someday.

Back to the Micro-Heroes site, the more I explore, the more I am in amazement at the amount of time and patience and commitment this must have taken, even if these were done by more than one person. And I'm also wondering who I've overlooked- maybe if I click on enough sub-sub-sub menus I'll run across those Thriller pics! Or even Super-Hip!

Other stuff:

For future reference:
OCEAN 6 B Entire series B+

Watched the 1932 Scarface last night for the first time. I'd post more, but Mrs. B wants to go buy some paint (the house remodeling begins!), so I gotta go. More later.

Friday, July 08, 2005

It's Friday, duh, and Friday means busy busy here at the Daily Snooze. But I wanted to take a minute to let you know, if you're not aware and give a rat's behind, that my new Last Call is up and awaiting your pleasure over at Comic Book Galaxy. In it, I hold forth upon Amazing Fantasy 10, City of Tomorrow 3, Gotham Central 33, Nat Turner 1, Neil Gaiman's Neverwhere 1, Ocean 6, Shanna The She-Devil 6, and Strange Girl 2.

Also, Chris Allen breaks down, I mean Breakdowns, just for you, and Jef Harmatz looks at Kochalka's Cute Manifesto.

Plus, the usual gang of misfits and idiots who put up great stuff all week long.

The New Comic Book Galaxy. Once upon a time, we would have been burned at the stake for such goings-on.

Thursday, July 07, 2005

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BSBdG's go out today to Richard Starkey aka Ognir Rrats aka RINGO STARR, who is 65 today.

As has become my Beatle birthday custom, a list now of my favorite Ringo Starr songs/vocal performances, both solo and with the Fabs.

I WANNA BE YOUR MAN from With The Beatles
WHAT GOES ON from Rubber Soul
A LITTLE HELP FROM MY FRIENDS from Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band
OCTOPUS'S GARDEN from Abbey Road
IT DON'T COME EASY (1971 single)
EARLY 1970 (b-side of It Don't Come Easy)
$15 DRAW from Beaucoups of Blues
BACK OFF BOOGALOO (1972 single)
HAVE YOU SEEN MY BABY (Hold On) from Ringo
YOU AND ME (BABE) from Ringo
GOODNIGHT VIENNA from Goodnight Vienna
NO NO SONG from Goodnight Vienna
HUSBANDS AND WIVES from Goodnight Vienna
CAN SHE DO IT LIKE SHE DANCES from Ringo the 4th
ATTENTION from Stop and Smell the Roses
DRUMMING IS MY MADNESS from Stop and Smell the Roses
MR. DOUBLE-IT-UP from Vertical Man

John's is in October!

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

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Caught the premiere of TCM's newest film documentary, Watch The Skies last night. It was an entertaining hour, stuffed with scenes from some of the best (and some of the worst) of the 50's Sci-Fi boom, and had mostly interesting commentary from the likes Steven Spielberg, George Lucas, and James Cameron. I actually enjoyed Spielberg's comments the most, especially on the subject of the film Invaders From Mars, which kinda echoed my own when I viewed it as a child on The Big Show. In fact, the only negative I can muster up is that it unfortunately turned into a promo for Spielberg's War of the Worlds flick in the last 10 minutes or so- part of a tradeoff, I suppose, for getting Spielberg in the first place. I was gratified to see The Space Children, an odd, low-budget, but moody and watchable sci-fi film represented- I saw it a year or two ago and kinda liked it, and it's nice to know others did as well. Even though it got the MST3K treatment.

Next up was an airing of the 1951 Howard Hawks version of The Thing (From Another World), one of those films that I've seen at least 850 times but always seem to be able to sit through for that 851st. It's such a crisp, well-acted film, with excellent, often humorous dialogue that I can't resist it despite its somewhat dismaying anti-science/pro-"average guy" bias. One of the characters I love the most is Scotty, the newspaper reporter who happens to be along for the ride- he's more or less the comic relief, but also gets in several sobering remarks- he gets the famous "Keep watching the skies" line at the end. One reason why I think I respond so well to his character is that the actor, Douglas Spencer, has a passing resemblance to my Dad. Can't help but keep coming back to the breezy, snappy script, with exchanges such as these:

[after a quick encounter with the Thing]
Hendry: Did you get your picture?
Ned "Scotty" Scott: No, you were in the way and the door wasn't open long enough.
Hendry: You want us to open it again?
Ned "Scotty" Scott: NO!

Dr. Chapman: Find anything, Captain?
Hendry: Not a sign. We poked into every snowbank within miles.
Bob, Crew Chief: Barnes flushed a polar bear.
Cpl. Barnes: Sure did.
Dr. Chapman: Scare you?
Cpl. Barnes: Not after I saw it was only a bear.

[referring to McPherson's gun]
Ned "Scotty" Scott: You sure you know how to use that thing?
Lt. Ken McPherson: I saw Gary Cooper in "Sergeant York."

And that scene in which they open the door to the greenhouse, and THERE'S THE ALIEN! Still makes you jump, regardless of how many times you've seen it.

I love the Carpenter remake, for a lot of different reasons...but the 1951 Thing is a solid action film in its own right, and I have a feeling I'll be sitting through it again for 851 more viewings, God willing.

The rest of the evening was given to another showing of the documentary, then Forbidden Planet, another excellent sci-fi flick that I've seen probably 750 times. It was late, though, and I wasn't up for 751.
May I direct your attention to a list of "The 10 Comics that kept me reading", from a new blog called The Flying Inn. It's a good one, I think, with good comments.

And if there's a trade available, I think I might check out The LIght Brigade one of these days.
The sad tale of Lucia Joyce, daughter of James Joyce, over at a LJ called Femmes Fatale. fascinating stuff.

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

New Diamond shipping list!

In my holds should be:


in addition to

NEVERWHERE #1 (If they had any copies left at my LCS)

Then, I'll have to write like a sunuvabich to get my Last Call column in, since the books don't come out till Thursday and the column is due on Friday. Such is life.
Every afternoon, around 12:30 or so, pretty young Renea from the front office makes the rounds and gives each of us a copy of today's Daily News. You know, the newspaper for which I work. Anyway, as I was skimming through today's paper, looking at the help wanted ads and such, I spied a feature about a fellow named Eric Lindgren, who's doing a ongoing webcomic called Space Pirates, which can be perused at his web site. Kinda looks like he's read more than a few Garfield collections.

Who says I don't do my part for the local cartoonist?
OK, kiddies, it's show and tell time!

After seeing Steve Gerber post a couple of these "Micro-Heroes" images on his blog, it led me to visit the site and check it out in length. I had ganked his (their?) renditions of Gypsy and Promethea before, but I hadn't really explored much.

There are a HELL of a lot of cool images there. Like these:

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The cast of the late, lamented MAJOR BUMMER! From L-R: Lou Martin, Val aka Fly Girl, The Gecko, Francis, and Lauren. I wish the alien college students that got everything started had been included...

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Bat Lash!

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Kinetix of the Legion, in my favorite of her many costumes and looks.

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Daimon Hellstorm aka the Son of Satan, in a neat little animated version which shows you all his looks except the most recent- the lean, mean, shaggy haired Ellis/Manco version. His Englehart/Milgrom goofy costume with teeny weeny trident is there, though!

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Namorita! I heart Namorita.

And last, but certainly not least,

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Most of the cast of the McGregor/Russell WAR OF THE WORLDS featuring KILLRAVEN! From L-R: Killraven, Volcana Ash, M'Shulla aka Bloodarrow, Carmilla Frost, Grok, Old Skull, Mint Julep, and Hawk.The Alan Davis version is also represented, if that blows your skirts up.

There were about a skadillion more, but I can't post 'em all- then you wouldn't go see their site! I was a tad disappointed to not see Cameron Chase, Crazy Jane and the Thriller cast represented. Oh well. C'est la vie.