Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Just in case you care...

Here's my upcoming DCBS shipment, which should find itself upon my doorstep Friday afternoon.

DMZ #16
100 BULLETS #81

A couple of months ago, I decided to drop Local, so #9 will be my last, I guess. That was before I realized that it is a 12 issue series. Now, I'm reconsidering, but as with American Virgin, I guess I'll get the last three at my LCS.

And I thought last issue was my final Strange Girl! Looks like I have one more, an epilogue if you will.

Nice to know that I already have my review of 100 Bullets written.

And, any week with a new Jack Staff and Paul Grist, is a good comics week. Also looking forward to/sad to see the final issue of Doctor Strange: The Oath; and as usual I'm looking forward to The Spirit, Catwoman, Powers, (which has been on the upswing although it's really beginning to feel stretched) and of course Daredevil. Plus, we get an issue of Hellblazer that isn't by Denise Mina! First in what seems like a couple of eternities!

I already have Brave and the Bold #1 and Alter Ego #64 (Free! Gotta love free), which I will review next time.

My friends at Boom! have cut me off, looks like, because I have received no new comp of the Boom! title I like the most, Hero Squared, #5 of which came out today. Guess they don't like me no more. Cry me a river, I know. However, yesterday I received a copy of a Boom! title that I am less enthusiastic about, Warhammer 40,000: Damnation Crusade #2, so go figure. Hopefully, they'll have a copy for sale at my LCS, never a given when it comes to indie books, and I'll pick it up in addition to the aforementioned American Virgin #12.

I'm beginning to wish I'd ordered the 52 trade; DCBS had it for $10. Then again, it's 52. Do I really want that? Even at a discount?

Oh, and as you know, I managed to avoid picking up Civil War...but everybody and their comics-blogging uncle has put their two cents' worth in about the ending, so here's mine: It doesn't sound all that out-of-character for Cap to stand down because of the danger to those around him and his allies. But the bigger picture, the ramifications of Cap's action and what it means both as plot event and as allegory, is far more problematic. Besides, you know that this is just all stage-setting for the next big event, right?
Remember Flytrap by Sara Ryan and Steve Lieber? Well, the sequel is now online, at Ryan's website, this time with art by Ron Chan. And it's as good as its predecessor. Go look!

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Happy belated blogaversary to the mighty mighty Neilalien, who celebrated seven years of doing so on Sunday!

Sunday, February 25, 2007

Today would have been GEORGE HARRISON's 64th birthday. RIP, George.

For a list of my favorite Harrisongs (that should probably be longer) and a cool pic of Nelson Wilbury from about 1975, go here.

Saturday, February 24, 2007

Here's Wally Wood, from 1978, which is about the time I had my legendary (well, to me, anyway) correspondence with the storied creator. Found at Bhob Stewart's sparsely updated but always readable blog Potrzebie, which features jazz clips interspersed with Wood-themed covers and art and excerpts from the book he has written titled Against the Grain: Mad Artist Wallace Wood, available from TwoMorrows Publishing.
Well, whaddaya know! We get five more issues, looks like!

If only this had happened to Chase...

Thursday, February 22, 2007

By the way, just wanted to mention that if you haven't been reading Leia Weathington's Bold Riley and the Witch in the Wild at, well you should be, that's all.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

In which I opine in regards to various works of sequential fiction I have perused in the interval since the last time I inflicted my opinions upon one and all, or to be specific, from approximately 11 to 21 February, some of which may even still be on sale at finer comics selling establishments worldwide if you're lucky. Or not, as the case may be.

S: Kurt Busiek; A: Brent Anderson. (DC/Wildstorm, $2.99)

This comic just isn't working for me, hasn't for several years now actually, but I suppose I'm just too much of a cockeyed optimist to drop the series entirely. Kevin Church would be so disapproving of me, I know. A big reason, I believe, why I continue to get this is because it seems to be the work that Busiek cares the most about; he's a talented scripter who too often rises to the level of whatever corporate junk he's assigned to write by the Big Two, and the promise of getting to read something he's invested in is too tempting to resist. Sometimes, he's clever and inventive, as with the big Eternity/Galactus-style guy in this issue who just stood there in the heavens so long that the people down below got used to him, nicknaming him "Joe". Other times, he can be melodramatic and earnestly dull, as if he has so much reverence for the Good Old Days of Comics as writ by Englehart, Thomas, Bates, Wein, and so on that he must imitate as slavishly and as faithfully as he possibly can...and this causes his pastiches to come across as second-rate imitations of other first-rate imitations, and there lies the rub. Anyway, one thing is constant- I can't stand the third-rate BucklerAdamsisms of Anderson, and I've enjoyed what I've enjoyed from this series in spite of rather than because of, nine times out of ten. Guess I'll stick around for the next two, just in case something happens. Of such feeble hopes are addictions born. B-

S: Matt Fraction; A: Gabriel Ba. (Image, $1.99)

One of many concluding issues that I seem to have obtained this two-week period, and as usual with Fraction and this book it's convoluted as hell...but the one constant has been the fun vibe he's striven to get across: fun for him to write, and presumably fun for the reader as well. I've been begrudging, preferring a little more clarity than Fraction is apparently willing or able to commit to, but taken as a whole, these 7 issues so far have been a wild, kaleidoscopic thrill ride- perhaps the nearest thing to vintage Steranko S.H.I.E.L.D. since the Jaunty One took his brush and got into magazine publishing...or at least as close as we're likely to get this side of Grant Morrison. And of course, the contributions of Ba have been invaluable; this series would be a totally different creature without his input for sure, which is why Fraction goes out of his way to spend at least three text pages per issue to point that out. I am on record as wishing, every time out, that this wasn't such a chore to parse; but hey- nothing worthwhile was ever acheived without a little effort. And so it goes. B+

S: Warren Ellis; A: Ben Templesmith. (Image, $1.99)

Okay, wait. What happened to Richard Fell, the low-key, thoughtful guy I've been reading about in the previous six issues? He's been replaced by a short-tempered, not-too-bright fellow who gets schooled by a slick defense lawyer, with this issue serving as almost the diametric opposite of #5's excellent interrogation room sequence. I'm sure there's method to Warren's madness- I'm sure he didn't forget who he was writing during the longer-than-usual delay between issues- trying to establish character depth or dimension or something like that, but it took me right out of the story. None of which, of course, is Templesmith's fault, he's as expressive in his Baker-meets-Sinkiewicz style as always. Will the real Rich Fell please stand up? B

S: Justin Gray, Jimmy Palmiotti; A: Phil Noto. (DC, $2.99)

I've always thought that Phil Noto's art worked much better when he stuck to single illustrations- movie posters, covers, you know. As a sequential storyteller, he has left much to be desired, tending towards skimpy inks and static composition. However, I'm pleased to report he's gotten much better since the last time I saw a comic with his interiors; there's still the occasional stiff-as-a-board pose from time to time, but he's really improved with the mechanics of layout and such. All in the service of a story which gives us a female counterpart of sorts to Hex, and the promise of a part two which I hope is livelier than part one. B+

KORGI Book One
S/A: Christopher Slade. (Top Shelf, $10. Reviewed from PDF preview.)

OK, here we have what seems to be a textless story, by a former Disney animator, about a young girl who lives in a fairy-tale fantasy world of some sort and her cute doggy, a Welsh Corgi- hence the title. In the course of the tale, they come across a hill that has a buried flying saucer sticking out the top, and run afoul of some huge spiders and the really big ogre who commands them. Oh, did I mention that the cute dog breathes fire? Without really knowing the full story about this, the most immediate thing that I found impressive was the meticulously rendered artwork, as you can see in the relatively simplistic example at right. In the preview, there are pages that are stunning in their intricacy, reminding me a lot of John Findlay's beloved-by-me-anyway Tex Arcana work...but much of this looks unfinished, as if it's ready for coloring and lettering but not ready for print. For art lovers first and foremost, caveat emptor everyone else. B+

S: B. Clay Moore; A: Jeremy Haun. (Oni, $3.50)

Solid finale to this miniseries slash TV series pitch, as the title character manages to extricate himself from the sticky situation he got himself into with panache, leading to the requisite explosive ending. Snappy dialogue, always a Moore hallmark, makes this a lot more fun than it would have been in other, less skilled hands. Haun's art, for his part, has begun to remind me of Jock's Losers work, and that's a compliment. If you're looking for a fun little action-thriller type comics buzz, and you haven't been along for the ride to this point, I'm sure the trade will be appearing any day now...and you should check it out. Yes, you. A-

S: Mark Andreyko; A: Javier Pina, Brad Walker, Robin Riggs. (DC, $2.99)

The character stuff, as usual, carries the day- the Chase subplot is chugging along nicely, and the back-and-forth between Wonder Woman, Blue Beetle, and Kate Spencer is very good. The obligatory Batman cameo is good, too. The pencil art is still as relentlessly ordinary as ever- tells the story, no muss, no fuss. This malaise even extends to the cover- Kevin Nowlan, usually a very good illustrator, has proven once and for all that there are no novel ways to illustrate Batman's cape anymore. Here, he looks like he's pissed at Alfred for putting too much starch in it and leaving it hanging on the clothesline. B+

S: Garth Ennis; A: Peter Snejbjerg, Karl Story. (DC/Wildstorm, $2.99)

Fish gotta swim, birds gotta fly, Garth gotta write war comics. He's the Robert Kanigher of the modern age of comics, no doubt. This time out, Midnighty skulks around the waning days of the Third Reich looking for the soon-to-kill-himself Hitler, and gets involved with some Hitler Youth in amusing fashion. Actually, not a bad read, and nicely dialogued, something at which Garth has always been a dab hand. And since it's apparently impossible for Chris Sprouse to do a sustained run of an ongoing series, better Snejbjerg (the man whose name I hate to typye) than last issue's Joe Phillips- at least Snejbjerg has something that resembles a style, and he does a wonderful job here, helped by Story. As usual, quite readable. A-

S: Warren Ellis; A: Stuart Immomen. (Marvel, $2.99)

It's a bit of a cliche, to bust out this Neil Young song lyric- but I think it sums up the demise of this title better than just about anything: "It's better to burn out than it is to rust". And for sure, if this madcap little series had been a smashing success, a lot to ask (apparently) from the Great Unwashed of Comics Fandom , then I could see the day when Ellis and Immonen would get tired of making with the bwahhaha and move on. Hard to sustain, you know. Which would necessitate a replacement, and heaven only knows who that would be- so like the Beatles and Barry Sanders, it's good to go out while on top of its collective game. And make no mistake, Ellis and Immonen had reached that point- the last few issues have been absolutely funny and inspired weirdness, the likes of which only perhaps Grant Morrison can top, and the funny has never been his strong suit. If Marvel was smart they'd sell plush baby M.O.D.O.K. toys. Of course, if Marvel was smart, this wouldn't be a dead book. A

S: Christos Gage; A: Doug Mahnke. (DC/Wildstorm, $2.99)

Second straight excellent cover in a row from Doug Mahnke- one which probably speaks to my inner Goth fetishist, I suppose, but ya can't deny it's nicely composed as well. And unlike last time out, the story contained within is engaging even though the female PHD contingent is subjected to that even-now hoary cliche of the Ladies' Night Out, with the requisite complications. But Gage is getting a good handle on his cast, and the character stuff works really well- and he's come up with a really interesting hook for his new sorcerer's apprentice character Black Betty (whoa! bam-a-lam!), a secret I won't spoil but it could be a fine plotline if Gage chooses to go that route. A-

S: David Lapham, Brian Azzarello; A: Eric Battle, Prentiss Rollins, Cliff Chiang. (DC, $3.99)

Status quo: extremely skippable Spectre story, and worth picking up only for the Dr. Thirteen feature, which just keeps getting weirder and weirder. I would never in a million years have considered Chiang an appropriate artist for all these shenanigans, but as staid and controlled as his style is, he still can bring a lot of dynamism to bear and that makes the difference. At the risk of sounding churlish, I hope they never collect it; I don't want to think I exposed myself to these awful Spectres for nothing! C+

BEST IN SHOW: Nextwave. So long, we hardly knew ye.

DOG OF THE WEEK(S): Tales of the Unexpected. Despite the Doc Thirteen story.
Just so you don't think I've died or something- and I am in the middle of writing comics reviews- here's a couple of crossposted LJ entries:

Meant to post this weeks ago- Harry Nilsson on the cover of Time magazine! Ian Anderson, too! Click to see it all biggerer.

Well, Studio 60 certainly turned out to be a disaster after a strong start, but I've found myself getting into something else lately: FX's Dirt ! At first it's because Ian Hart, who played John Lennon superbly in Backbeat, was in it and I wanted to see what sort of paces they were putting him through. And he's good, of course, in an odd role but I found myself amused by the sheer trashiness of the show, as befits the subject matter I suppose- nobody in this thing has any redeeming qualities whatsoever, except Hart's faithful photog, and he's such a nutjob that it's really hard to tell where he's coming from when he's being nice. Hell, when your most personable character is a drunk ex-newspaperman played by Pee Wee Herman, and the most sympathetic one starts puking worms at odd times, you know something very skewed is going on. It's pretty racy for a non-pay cable network show, too; lotsa bare buttocks and we even see dildos and a fetish mask under a character's bed in tonight's episode.

I think what I like the most is that making these characters likeable doesn't really seem to be a priority- I can't speak for anyone else, but nine times out of ten I have little patience for films and TV that have nothing but unpleasant people doing and saying unpleasant things to each other; it gets wearisome trying to work up any sympathy or empathy. But these characters are unpleasant with relish, and while I suppose it's splitting hairs I find myself fascinated by all the wallowing, in spite of my better judgement, and have suddenly found myself really interested in where this is all going- as opposed to Studio 60, which squandered a good cast (even the horribly miscast Sarah Paulsen, whom I've liked in other shows) desperately bending over backwards to give the increasingly disinterested audiences something to relate to. FX being the smallish network it is, apparently wants to be liked on its own terms with this show, and ta heck with ya if you don't. I don't think ratings have been that great, but then again I don't know what constitutes "great" for a network like FX anyway. I'm sure we'll at least get to see the season finale on March 27, which promises (in tried-and-true tabloid style) a kiss between star Courteney Cox and Jennifer Aniston. And if the episodes I've watched are any indication, betcha there will be tongue, too!

Sunday, February 18, 2007

RIP BOB OKSNER, who has died earlier this evening. As always, Mark Evanier has the information.

Of course, among the multitudes of characters Oksner drew for DC in the Sixties was Super-Hip!, the official JBS mascot, so there was no way I was going to let his passing go unremarked upon. As a kid growing up, I certainly picked up my share of DC humor comics, and it seemed like Oksner drew 75% of them- his angular, manic humor style really made a deep impression on young, impressionable me, not only in the Adventures of Bob Hopes I read with Tad Jutefruice's alter ego in them, but on the Stanley and His Monster and Angel and the Ape features as well, and there were so many others. As the years went by, though, I soon became interested in other artists' work, and DC stopped doing the kinds of books Oksner drew best, so I kinda forgot about him for a long time- in fact, until 2002 and the beginnings of this blog, when I had found an old beat-up copy of Bob Hope #105 and renewed acquaintances. As a theoretical grownup, I found him to be a much better illustrator than I had remembered, and boy, could Mr. Oksner draw the ladies. According to Evanier, he didn't draw much in the latter years of his life after he retired in 1986, and that's a shame. Anyway, I'm sure he'll soon be setting up to sketch Angel O'Days for a long time now.

Friday, February 16, 2007

I now interrupt the cricket concerto this blog has become lately to keep a promise- that is, the one where I said I'd let you know if I heard more about the Timespirits collection.

Over at Steve Bissette's MyRant blog, about halfway down the post he mentions the upcoming Megacon in Orlando, Fla., and specifically goes on to say that 'Spirits co-creator and scripter Steve Perry will be in attendance, and posts two made-by-unknown-hands promo images for the collection- one of which I have ganked, as you can see above. He also goes on to say that he has just written the introduction for the collection, still scheduled to come from Image at some future date. Looking forward to that, and if you go and meet Mr. Perry, tell him Johnny B says hi. Hopefully, he won't look at you like you just ate a bug.

And now for something completely different: You can go here to see a trailer for the still-unfinished documentary Will Eisner: The Spirit of an Artistic Pioneer. Ugh, what a title- but the trailer is good stuff.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Haven't posted a "Life and Loves of Lisa St. Clair" cover in ages, so here you go. I gotta get some of those one of these days. Anyway, Happy Valentine's Day, from all of me to all of you.

Sunday, February 11, 2007

In which I opine in regards to various works of sequential fiction I have perused in the interval since the last time I inflicted my opinions upon one and all, or to be specific, from approximately 28 January to 10 February, some of which may even still be on sale at finer comics selling establishments worldwide if you're lucky. Or not, as the case may be.

100 BULLETS 80
S: Brian Azzarello; A: Eduardo Risso. (DC/Vertigo, $2.99)

The Standard Review: Another well-done issue what will engage the already engaged, baffle the uninitiated, and even baffle the initiated upon occasion. I think I'll just cut and paste this review for the next 20 issues. Oh, and one of those surprising deaths I mentioned last time turned out not to be. A-

S/A: Rick Veitch. (King Hell, $16.95)

And now, kids, a blast from the past, from waaaaay back in 1981. Think Salvador Dali and Carlos Castaneda collaborating with Herman Melville on Moby Dick, and you get the general gist of this, one of Veitch's earliest script/art efforts. I was fortunate enough to be buying Epic Illustrated, Marvel's attempt to horn in on the Heavy Metal market, when this was initially serialized and it blew 21-year-old me away. Subsequent readings kept revealing the little details and clever touches that Veitch had worked in, and I have long regarded it as one of my favorite works of sequential fiction, to get all pretentious about it. Veitch has seen fit to rerelease it in a shiny, handsome new self-published volume, and I'm happy to say that even with all the somewhat dated new-agey doors-of-consciousness underpinnings, it still works as a surreal nightmare scenario, with many of Melville's (and Veitch's, for that matter) concerns still intact. For this volume, Rick has given us some text pages that shed light on what was going on in the industry and with him personally as he concieved Abraxas, and while some annotation would have been really nice, it's an interesting read just the same. Veitch's ace in the hole, as it so often is, is his underrated art; it's capable of stunning complexity and expressiveness, even though sometimes his figure drawing looks a little stiff. This was done at about the same time as his adaptation of the ill-fated Spielberg/Belushi/Aykroyd film 1941, and as with that effort, he uses collage all over the place to great effect. And the vivid coloring is top-notch. Twenty-six years on, this has lost very little of its luster for sure. A

S: Steven Seagle; A: Becky Cloonan. (DC/Vertigo, $2.99)

I had dropped this, but #10 intrigued me enough to give it one more chance (and resign myself to paying full price again for the next few issues, until I can order it from DCBS again)...and while I wish I could say I was captivated it's really more of the same, as Adam continues to work out his obsession with who he regards as his girlfriend, recently deceased, while dealing with the press and resuming his ministry in Miami, where he gets involved with judging a Miss Teen Miami Beach contest. The character stuff works pretty well, even though I still don't buy the glossing over of the negative publicity that one would think would accompany his previous escapade. Chameleon-with-a-pencil Cloonan goes it solo this issue, sans inkers or Christine Norrie, and her art looks more streamlined and less rough-hewn than the last time I remember seeing her on her own. Oh well, still fact, she remains the one consistent pleasure of this inconsistent title. B-

S/A: Matt Wagner. (DC, $2.99)

No big surprises as Bats dispatches of the vampire cult in short order, and loses his girlfriend in the process. Maybe that would have had more resonance if we didn't already know that Miss Madison doesn't figure in any significant way in his subsequent career anyway. So, kinda anticlimactic- and as a whole, this mini wasn't quite as entertaining as its pulp-fiction predecessor, Monster Men. Second acts rarely reach the same heights, we all know that, but that doesn't mean they shouldn't try. Wagner's art, with its fat, clumsy inkline and awful rendition of Madison, was professional enough, but hard to like even though the covers were solid. I also found myself wondering, like another internet pundit whose name I forget and whose opinion I read later, why every rich family in Gotham City except the Waynes are predisposed towards being lunatic murdering psychopaths with a whole crew of skeletons in every closet of the crumbling mansions they all live in. Oh well- I appreciate all efforts to return Batman to his less cluttered and more crude roots, but they need to have a bit more panache and wit than this for me to stand up and applaud. B-. Entire series: B.

S: Ed Brubaker; A: Sean Phillips. (Marvel/Icon, $2.99)

Boy, for such a smart cookie, Leo sure does some dumb things, doesn't he? Oh well, a smart cookie would have avoided his life if at all possible...but a comic book titled Decent, Law-Abiding Citizen just wouldn't have the same oomph, now would it? Anyway, all seriousness aside, another solid issue as things get more and more complicated for Leo and Greta, and didn't I tell ya that Ivan would kick the bucket? That's the only obvious thing so far, and one reason why this is such a good read. As always, Phillips proves himself a master of light and shadow as he works the script for all the tension and mood he can muster. A

S: Ed Brubaker; A: Michael Lark, Steven Gaudiano. (Marvel, $2.99)

As about a succinct a wrap-up as one could hope for, I guess, especially if one was wishing for Brubaker and Co. to move on and do something different with this character, who has been mired in the eternal Kingpin/Bullseye/Elektra/Karen Page/blahblahBLAH loop for what seems like over 20 years. So, for that reason if nothing else, I appreciated this issue's events. And you gotta admit, that final confrontation between Matt and Wilson Fisk was riveting reading, with a satisfying and logical resolution. It helps that Ed is so in sync with Lark And Gaudiano- in the hands of lesser artists that confrontation wouldn't have had half of its impact. A-

DMZ 15
S: Brian Wood; A: Riccardo Burchielli. (DC/Vertigo, $2.99)
Our boy Matty gets a little too involved with a suicide bomber, if not the action that he's been selected to participate in, and kinda causes things to get a lot more complicated with the terrorist cell he's infiltrated. Another strong chapter in the ongoing arc, but Burchielli needs to work on his staging a little- there's a panel on the next to last page which presumably shows someone getting smacked by another (trying hard not to spoil here, folks!), but the angles of the open hand and the reaction to the blow just don't look right, and to me it wasn't apparent what had happened at first glance. Hey, I know I'm nitpicking. If that's the biggest flaw I could find, then that says something, right? B+

S: Brian Vaughan; A: Marcos Martin. (Marvel, $2.99)

It's like someone made a checklist of all the things you never see Doc do, and then instructed Vaughan to work them into the story- cursing, firing a gun...but to everyone's credit, everything works and works very well. This time out, we get the backstory of the mysterious adversary that has been causing all the trouble- and Vaughan does two smart things: first, he gives us an "is he is or is he ain't lying" origin story...and leaves us hanging; and second, he presents the cancer cure macguffin in a different light, which raises the stakes and actually portrays the badguy in a more reasonable, even positive light than Doc himself, who comes across as a bit arrogant and naive. Not exactly a textbook method for reintroducing a classic character (one which is almost universally beloved by most comics fans, and one that both Marvel and selfsame fans would love to see in new ongoing adventures, especially by a top-quality creative team) to a presumably new audience, and I commend BKV for doing it. A

S: Bill Willingham; A: Mike Allred. (DC/Vertigo, $2.99)

Always nice to see this much new Allred art in one place, and he's in fine form here with only a wee bit of unfamiliarity with the established character likenesses (I'm thinking Pinocchio here, chiefly) marring the proceedings. And that's a minor quibble, believe me- Buckingham's pugnacious 'Noke was extremely incongruous when compared with the Disney version, not to mention the original novel. Script-wise, more gradual plot advancement as Snow White and Bigby Wolf, kids (constantly referred to with the wince-inducing nickname "Hellions") in tow, travel to the Great White North to meet with Bigby's estranged dad, the North Wind, and try to find out where he stands in the conflict with the Adversary...but soon the kids get into trouble as they hunt in the woods, providing the cliffhanger. Another above-average issue. A-

S: Denise Mina; A: Leo Manco. (DC/Vertigo, $2.99)

England lost, in case you were wondering. Okay, now bring on Andy Diggle, please. Ms. Mina, best of luck with your writing career in the future, but please don't script any more titles I read regularly. I'll provide a list if it will help. D

S/A: Jeff Smith. (DC, $5.99; reviewed from comp copy.)

I never acquired a taste for the opus by which Mr. Smith made his career and reputation, Bone, but I could always tell that he had a lot of the right stuff to be a superior storyteller- and he proves that here. This is the first attempted revival of the venerable former Fawcett properties that has impressed me since the 1974 SHAZAM! series, and it certainly seems like Mr. Smith has done his homework, managing the apparently nigh-impossible task of writing these originally-lighthearted-and-simple-in-tone characters in an entertaining fashion, something which has eluded three decades' worth of talents. Wisely eschewing all the leaden and depressing baggage of modern DC Comics continuity, he gives us a tweaked but still-logical update of the classic origin and compliments it with nicely colored and satisfyingly expressive art. That said, I didn't know either man, but somehow I doubt that C.C. Beck or Otto Binder would approve of the extravagant price point, nor would they smile upon the pointless and arbitrary time-shifting jumping-around technique that Smith uses in telling his story, an unnecessary and needlessly showoffish modern technique that really has no place when dealing with these characters. Hardly a deal-breaker, though. It remains to be seen if he can sustain this great first step, but as far as I'm concerned, I think he will. A

S: Justin Gray, Jimmy Palmiotti; A: Daniel Acuna. (DC, $2.99)

Regrettable collar and all, the 90's Ray returns to good effect in one of those "f*ck yeah!" moments you've read about as this protracted saga rambles on to its presumed resolution. Even though I get a bit weary at how repetitious the bones of the plot are, this is still pretty good superheroing as far as I concerned, for what that's worth. Problem is, it looked for a while there about three issues ago that it would be even better than that, and that's a disappointment. However, if Graymiotti were to do an Uncle Sam series, I'd be first in line to pick it up, especially if Acuma drew it- great 3/4 panel on the next to last page, with Sam telling it like it is while standing next to the Washington Monument. More moments like that one, that's what I want. B+

That's it for this time out! Next comics shipment should be the end of this week.

BEST IN SHOW: Abraxas and the Earthman, for standing the test of time. Shazam! and, as always, Criminal are right up there with it.

DOG OF THE WEEK(S): Hellblazer, hopefully for the last time.

Friday, February 09, 2007

Well, hello there!

Been a trying last couple of weeks, so no time for blog, Dr. Jones.

I've seen a few movies (none in theatres, alas), read a few floppy single pamphlets (and one collection), and have been mulling over a good old fashioned music post, perhaps with the emphasis on the oeuvre of a particular artist whose biography I finished reading a month or so ago, and if we're lucky at least some of these will get written about soon.

So I guess I'm just saying that I'll be maintaining radio silence a bit longer, until Saturday at least- I at least need to get my comics reviews done. For me, if nobody else.

So ta-ta and chin-chin for now, and when you least expect it, I'll be back.

Monday, February 05, 2007

Via Pop Candy comes a heads-up about a film that I've been looking forward to: Julie Taymor (Titus, Frida)'s Across the Universe, which appears to be a coming-of-age love story set in the mid-60's, surely a snooze-fest description if I've ever heard one...and even worse, the Beatles music that's at its core brings up uncomfortable memories of Sgt Pepper's the film- but that's not reckoning with Taymor's marvelous imagination. Here's the new trailer. At first, it looks kinda dire and dreary, Hair-like even, but just wait until the last thirty seconds or so and then we see the sort of thing which has made Taymor one of my favorite filmmakers after only two movies. Guess we'll find out in September!

Saturday, February 03, 2007

Yeah, I got rid of the HammerLocke stuff for now. Just didn't look right stuck there without the writing. Sorry.

Hey, why not go check out this interview at with Mark Tatulli, who does the comic strip Lio, that just finished its tryout run in the Louisville Courier-Journal a week or so ago. My opinion? Well, since you asked, it was OK, better than the usual run-of-the-mill comic strip fare these days. Often surreal, sometimes absurd, sometimes cutesy. Wouldn't break my heart to see it be chosen as the strip to replace the daily Fox Trot in the C-J.

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Ordinarily, I post this sort of thing on the LJ...but I think this belongs here:

Someone has taken it upon him/herself to post entire segments of the obscure Harry Nilsson/Ringo Starr horror movie slash comedy Son of Dracula on YouTube! This one features one of my favorite scenes from the film- Harry as Count Downe, the titular Son, putting the bite on some glam-rock loving young girl (after having already sampled her boyfriend!)...and pausing to put the tone arm back on the record which had been playing before he interrupted their evening- "Chariot Choogle" by T.Rex! And if you look closely at the murky picture, you can see that there's a T.Rex Wax Co. (Marc Bolan's vanity label) on the record! Squee!

I own a (probably recorded off TV) VHS copy of this film, which has never seen a legitimate DVD or even VHS release. I had wanted to see it for years but had never had the chance until I ran across the tape in a catalog belonging to a movie seller that specialized in kung fu flicks and foreign porn. I wish I could say it was worth the trouble, but really (as I'm sure you realized if you watched all six minutes of this clip) it's a wretched bad film, low-budget and poorly acted, with an incoherent script and worthwhile only for little Nilsson (and T.Rex)-fan tidbits such as the above, or an opportunity to see Harry (as the Count) perform with a pickup group of all-star musicians.

Another YouTube Nilsson bounty is the unreleased (and unseen by me) 1972-era documentary Did Somebody Drop His Mouse?, which someone saw fit to post in segments as well! Here's part one of five. Mouse assays the creation of the wonderful Son of Schmilsson album, and features the great Klaus Voorman, Ringo of course, Peter Frampton, producer Richard Perry, and others, along with some goofy narration and really bad film quality, unsurprising since it's supposed to be an unfinished film. I'd post one of the segments here, but I fear I've already tried your patience for embedded videos enough for one evening.
100 BULLETS #80
DMZ #15

This is my next DCBS shipment, coming (hopefully) tomorrow. I know, many of you have already read some of these...that's the price I pay for bi-weekly shipping, I guess. Looking forward to rereading Abraxas without having to dig out my Epic Illustrateds over at my Mom's. In an upstairs closet, not her basement.

I still haven't ruled out picking up the new American Virgin at my LCS; that last issue was just good enough to make me reconsider my dropping it. I'm also mulling over picking up Wisdom #2, if they still have a copy. I just liked the title when I paged through it a week or so ago.

That's all I got tonight.