Wednesday, June 30, 2004

Today, no time for blog, Dr. Jones.

But while you wait for my drunken crack whore muse to vomit again in my general direction, you should go over to ChaosMonkey's Abysmal Pit and read this great poem he wrote for a creative writing class. It's a hoot.

Time now to go drink rum & coke and read comics. Got everything listed earlier except the Dark Horse Book of Witchcraft. It was 15 bucks, and I didn't want to spend over 20 today so I shall bide my time until the next 25% off sale. Paged through it, though, and it really looks good. The Jill Thompson art in the last story was almost worth the cover price alone, plus there's a new Hellboy story in it too. And yes, I know that it will most likely be in the next HB trade, whenever that comes out. But still.

Speaking of Hellboy, I got my prize for winning the contest Steve Lieber had a couple of months ago, a drawing of the World's Most Famous Paranormal Investigator...and it's sweeter than Ashley Olsen's sticky buns. I'll post it as soon as I scan it so's you can all envy me a little.


Tuesday, June 29, 2004

Over at, as part of their 25th anniversary celebration, they're inviting readers to vote on the 5 best sports-related movies of the last quarter-century. To see the full list of films you can choose from and vote if you like, go here..

Huh? My list? It went something like this.

1. The Natural (This flick chokes me up every of the best film scores ever, by Randy Newman)
2. Eight Men Out (And me a White Sox fan! I think they totally nailed the period flavor and the performances are all top-notch. Shoeless Joe Jackson and Buck Weaver should be eligible for the gorram Hall of Fame)
3. Caddyshack (One of the funniest films of all time, bar none. Candy bar. Heh)
4. Major League (Another one of the funniest films of all time. "Yo, bartender, Jobu needs a refill.")
5. Hoosiers (If you don't apply silly stuff like logic to this film, it's a classic. Hackman is great as always, so is Dennis Hopper, and the basketball scenes are excellent)

If I had to choose another five:

6. Bend It Like Beckham (Most enjoyable film I've seen in a good long while)
7. Raging Bull (Brutal and gripping, a classic film film, not just a sports film)
8. Jerry Maguire (Hey, it's got Renee (sigh) Zellweger at her sexiest in it! What more do you need? What's it about? I forget. Oh, right: "Ambassador of Quan! Show Me The Money!" One of the things I liked best was Cameron Crowe's music choices for the soundtrack- love scene set to McCartney's "Singalong Junk"- brilliant!)
9. A League Of Their Own (I think this one set a record for combined airings on TBS, TNT and HBO/Cinemax in one year, but it's got a great cast, great story, Geena Davis looking all sexy and dirty, and Jon Lovitz going home to give his wife the "pickle tickle". Well, OK, it's got Rosie O'Donnell, but nothing's perfect...besides, she's pretty good in this. So is Madonna- maybe her best screen role!)
10. Bull Durham (A little overrated by many, but still fun)

I liked Cobb, but not enough to be in the top 10. Same for the cloying Field of Dreams. 61*, an HBO movie, was pretty good but not especially remarkable. I liked White Men Can't Jump, but Woody pissed me off so much at the end (whatta dumbass) that it still leaves a bad taste in my mouth when I think of that flick. Omissions? Where's Any Given Sunday? Happy Gilmore? Kingpin, fer chrissakes!
Time now, finally, for a look at some of the books I've received in the mail...

Y'know, it's not easy to do slice-of-life stuff, especially light-hearted slice of life stuff, well- especially given the cynical mindset of most TV, film, and print writers these days. Look at all the downbeat and exceedingly lame TV sitcoms, dramas, comic strips, etc. we have out there to bear witness to that fact. When one runs across an instance in which it's done right, then we need to stand up and shout about it, and that's most definitely the case with Tom Beland's True Story, Swear To God: 100 Stories, a collection of Beland's two-tier strips which are basically about him, his life, his relationships, his fanboy-ish-ness, his career as a cartoonist, his childhood, etc. In less capable hands, this could get tedious real fast, but Beland manages to hit the right note nine and one-half times out of ten, and the end result is that you can't put this down once you get started. He even manages to be engaging when he shifts gears and writes about the death, in his teenage years, of his parents- quite wrenching, especially if you've been through something similar. Invaluable in keeping the tone light throughout is Beland's cartooning style- he has a swooping, graceful line which reminds me a lot of the great Al Hirschfeld, and this makes Beland's vignettes a pleasure to look at, even when he's getting all serious on us. True Story, Swear To God, the ongoing, is a title that I pretty much overlooked when it came out initially, there's just so much to buy and so little money with which to do it with...but I'm thinking I might need to start picking it up as soon as possible. If you're looking for a fun read, written by an engaging storyteller with no hidden political agendas or cynical attitude to impose, then I definitely recommend picking both this and the ongoing up. You'll be glad, I think, you did.

Hench is the story of, well, a super-villian henchman, surely as much a staple of comics lore as the cape, mask and secret identity. This sort of thing has been touched upon before, I think, but I can't recall when it's been looked at in as much depth as here. Set , of course, in a world in which superheroes and supervillians do their respective things, football star Mike Fulton blows out a knee, has trouble adjusting to life without sports, specifically getting a job and providing for his wife and young son, and eventually falls into the henching profession. He winds up working for an assortment of colorful costumed lunatics on a number of big heists- sometimes they pays off, sometimes they don't and he gets busted and sent to prison, which causes serious strain on his marriage. When we first meet Fulton, it's late in his career and he's pondering just how it got to the point it did, plus, he's contemplating one last big score so he can get away. Problem is, the job is for the biggest psycho nutjob in the city...and somehow he winds up holding a gun at the head of the other big psycho nutjob in the city, a Batman-ish crimefighter named "Still of the Night". Does he shoot him in cold blood? He can't let him go, surely! Along the way, we get a look back into how he got into the life, and how much it's cost him. Hench is a nicely written character study, populated with imaginative characters, and it's writer Adam Beechen's straightfaced approach to the subject matter that keeps it from veering into Tick territory. Art-wise, Manny Bello is a bit on the raw side, especially in his figure drawing, but manages to keep the proceedigs going efficiently enough. He gives us a handful of full-page swipe illos, inspired by and credited to the likes of Ditko, Kirby and Steranko, and these are well done. So I think Bello bears watching in the future, and perhaps we'll look at this like we do X-Men 53 when considering Barry Smith. Hench isn't perfection, but it is a solid effort by a couple of creators who, I'll bet, will be heard from often in years to come.

Later: Malinky Robot: Stinky Fish Blues and Jax Epoch.
There's a new Christgau Consumer Guide up over at Most notable is his pan of the new Wilco CD...but not surprising since he's never really been an admirer anyway.

Monday, June 28, 2004

The book I've been illustrating for Mrs.B is complete as of a couple of hours ago. All that's left is to mail off the files and keep our fingers crossed. I've printed out copies for them to refer to, but they're not color correct (I've tried to calibrate my monitor and printer as best I can, but I don't have the necessary equipment to do it right) so that's my biggest concern- first, have I made the correct color choices, and second, will they be able to print them satisfactorily judging by what I've given them? We shall see.

Anyway, you may have noticed I've had more writing time now that my toiling is over, hence the entries today. Next thing I intend to do is some character sketches for a script I received recently, plus a drawing for its writer, then I'll see what I can do with the script itself. After that, who knows.

I wanted to get around to writing about some of the books I've received in the mail recently, most notably Malinky Robot 1, Hench, True Story, Swear To God: 100 Stories, and Jax Epoch (and the impossibly long title)...but it's gonna have to wait another day. But I'll get to them, I swear by the Hammer of Granthar.

Huh? What's the dealy-o with the above panel featuring Official Super-Hero Mascot of the JBS Super-Hip? Well, I'll tell ya. Scott Shaw has featured an issue of Adventures of Bob Hope starring Tadwallader Jutefruice's swingin' Brian Jones-lookalike alter ego in his regular Oddball Comics page on Comic Book Resources, and I wanted to tell you about it so's you could go read it for yourself! Click on the picture above and you are like there, daddy-o!
JLA #100

Here's what I'll be getting Wednesday, according to the new Diamond shipping list. I'm kinda hoping that (as good as I'm sure it's gonna be) that I didn't sign up for that Dark Horse Book of Witchcraft, since it's 15 bucks. But if I did, I'll get it. Other interesting titles (to me, anyway) include the welcome return of Kelly, Mahnke and Nguyen to JLA, more great art to gaze upon in Harley & Ivy and The Moth, and the long-awaited debut (well, I've been looking forward to it anyway) of the Mad Mod in the new Teen Titans Go!. And joy unspeakable, Sleeper returns this week.

If I don't pick up that Book of Witchcraft, then I might get last week's Catwoman. I had ceased to pay attention to that book to the point where I wasn't aware that Sean Phillips did the art in that issue! And of course, there's Free Comic Book day coming up on Saturday...I'm gonna be in town so I'll stop in and see what kinda swag I can pick up. And lest I forget- if you find yourself with an extra 13 bucks or so, and your gaze falls upon the Same Difference and Other Stories trade by Derek Kirk Kim, buy it. You'll be so happy you did. I would, but I've got enough to buy as it is. Besides, I read the lead story when Kim serialized it on his website and enjoyed it a lot, so I'm kinda leaning towards buying something I haven't already read. Plus, I'd be seriously shocked if my comics shop got a copy in...

Hey! Another Vinyl-O in the house! For those who may not be familiar with the Mondo Vinyl-O, it's where I write a paragraph or three about a number of those paragons of antiquity the 33 1/3 long-playing vinyl recorded album, specifically those I've listened to in the period since the last Vinyl-O. This was prompted originally by a new turntable I purchased in late 2002, and my joy in being able to listen to a lot of albums that I hadn't been able to for a heck of a long time, or to be specific, the demise of my previous turntable. So anyway, on with the show.

You're probably aware of Hunter- lead vocalist and primary songwriter for the great Mott The Hoople, big hit "All The Young Dudes", also wrote "Once Bitten Twice Shy" (Great White had a hit with it, shudder) "Cleveland Rocks" (you remember- Drew Carey). In 1975, having gone as far as he felt he could go with Mott, he struck out on his own (well, with former Bowie main man Mick Ronson at first) and released his self-titled debut later that same year. It went over pretty well, but Ronson couldn't hang around thanks to his rotten contract with Tony DeFries and MainMan, so Hunter was left to his own devices and recorded the more low-key and jazzy All American Alien Boy in America the next year. While this was an excellent album, it contained no hits and stiffed. Hunter went back to England, formed a band, recorded some new songs with then-white-hot Queen producer Roy Thomas Baker, and named the record after the band, "Overnight Angels". All good, right? Monster record, right? Wrong. Columbia USA, for some reason, didn't like the album and chose not to release it, and it was available only on import for several years. Of course, you know I had to search all over God's earth to get a copy because I was an absolutely rabid Hunter/Mott fan back then, and I managed to score this album a year later thanks to the efforts of Bill Lloyd at Tunetown. Anyway, it's a mystery why Columbia didn't like this- it's certainly no worse than the first two. With Baker at the helm, it has a bit more bombast than we were accustomed to getting from Ian at the time, but it really added a galloping, frantic edge to cuts like the side one opener "Golden Opportunity" and the next cut, "Shallow Crystals". Track three, which name-drops the band in "Hey Hey We're The Monkees" style, opens ominously but soon breaks out into a surging rocker. "Broadway" is a typical Hunter song about young girl in the big city and showbiz and rock 'n' roll and all that, and is marked with nice dynamics. Side two begins with a bopping rocker "Justice of the Peace", featuring doo-wopish vocal backing; it's agreeable but slight. Next up is another fallen angel song, "Miss Silver Dime", which again has a nice theatrical dynamic with its swelling chorus but features some rather sexist lyrics (Hunter sometimes fell into this trap, sadly). "Wild and Free" attempts to be just that, but is really the only clunker on the record- it's a lot of bash and crash and nothing else. "Ballad of Little Star" is similar in feel to "Shallow Crystals" and "Broadway". The album's closer is really out of left field- "To Love A Woman" is almost pop-soul, and sounded very radio-friendly to my ears with its Queen-ish backing vocals. It's anybody's guess why this album received the treatment it did, but the upshot was that Hunter disbanded the group (one of the members had gone to join Foreigner anyway) and came back two years later with what was his best-selling (well, Ian Hunter might have sold more, I don't know) solo album, You're Never Alone With A Schizophrenic, so it all turned out OK. I still like to dig this out and give it a listen once in a while, and I'm happy to have it!

This was the album that set Supertramp up for its late 70s-early 80s success, thanks to its hit "Give A Little Bit", a charming piece of poppery that sounds good on the radio to this day. Supertramp as a group was an odd duck- too pop to be prog, too elaborate in its song structures and subject matter to be pop- but most often they got lumped in with the progressives. Of course, after the next album Breakfast In America went sextuple platinum, they started getting compared to the Beatles, with whom they did share a definite knack for writing memorable melodies. Anyway, there's plenty of those on this album, which is quite all over the map with its influences. Of course, there's strong popcraft throughout, augmented with jazzy sax and chord changes and even some gospel flourishes here and there. Quietest Moments isn't as pop-friendly as its successors were, several cuts are over six minutes in length, the best being the big magnum opus track "Fool's Overture", essentially a "Fool on the Hill" type statement which incorporates synths and a sampled Winston Churchill speech, and is actually very memorable despite its self-pitying lyric. Other cuts of note include the love-song title track, again melodically strong, the theatrical-sounding "Lover Boy" which kinda comes across as music-hall on Thorazine; "From Now On", with its catchy gospel-choir BVs in the chorus and fadeout; and my favorite cut, ironically the simplest and shortest- "Downstream", a very touching love-n-devotion song with a haunting melody. Groups like Supertramp may be one of the reasons why we got Punk, but they were OK with me. I listened to this album a lot back in '77 and '78, so it remains a sentimental favorite, even though later I got really really tired of hearing "Take The Long Way Home" on the radio.

West Indie-born Armatrading was a husky-voiced singer-songwriter that everybody always thought was one album away from having that ONE HIT single or album which would propel her into superstardom...and while it never happened, she's managed to have a long, steady if not spectacular career which continues to this day. This album was as close as he came to grabbing the brass ring. It was produced (to distraction, some might say) by Steve Lillywhite, fresh off successes with XTC, Big Country, and especially U2, and he did his typical bombastic thing on nearly every cut. The Key is very much a 1983-type record, loaded with synths, syndrums, and agressive reggae-ish beats, and fortunately for Armatrading her songs were strong enough to hold up under the weight of such treatment. There are several tracks i flat out love, like the rockish (if a bit dodgy lyric-wise, in a PC way) "I Love It When You Call Me Names"; the swaying reggae-ish title track- the "key", of course, is to your heart; and a couple of heartfelt ballads ("Everybody Gotta Know", "I Love My Baby") which close each side and are very moving despite the overbearing synth accompaniment. "Drop The Pilot" is another catchy rocker. Adrian Belew guests on several cuts. According to AMG, this one crashed the US Top 40, but I don't think she ever returned. Lillywhite went on to absolutely butcher (in my opinion, a lot of people dig it) Marshall Crenshaw's second album, and produced a handful of subsequent Armatrading releases. I dig this one out occasionally and get taken straight back to '83.

Around 1972, when glam, bubblegum and shock-rock were ascendent, many of the old-school 60's rock stars were seeing the writing on the wall for the hippie dream, and many of them recorded downbeat, depressed records which reflected on their lives and what went wrong. A great example of this is Neil Young's excellent Time Fades Away, and his CSNY compadre Graham Nash followed suit with this, his second solo album, which shares many similarities with Young's album, including many of the same musicians and general sound. Of course, it's nowhere near as good as TFA, but there are several worthy tracks here including the side one opening title cut, which finds Nash in a cranky mood as he confronts someone who keeps complaining to him, set to a "Woodstock"-ish beat. It pretty much sets the feel of the record- Nash is in a bad mood, and almost every cut has a scolding, didactic tone which becomes kinda opressive for a while. He makes George Harrison sound like a happy-go-lucky free spirit sometimes. Misery loves company, I guess. Anyway, some other memorable tracks include the country shuffle "You'll Never Be The Same" which features some nice harmony vocals even as he gives the kiss-off to a former girlfriend, "Grave Concern", another uptempo rocker with that mid-70s Young rhythm section sound and some tasty David Lindley slide guitar; and "And So It Goes", which reminds somewhat of Young songs like "Cowgirl in the Sand" and "L.A." and again, nice harmony vocals- in fact, that's a given throughout the record- say what you want about CSN and the occasional Y- those sumbitches could harmonize. Brilliantly. Beautifully. My favorite cut is the gently loping "Hey You (Looking at the Moon), which has a low-key but engaging melody, nicely sung of course and featuring some wheezy harmonica licks in the mix. One serious negative to this album, though, is the Dylanish "Oh Camil (The Winter Soldier)", which finds scornful Nash taking the high moral ground in judgment over a Vietnam vet. This is simply reprehensible, and while he took some flak over it, he didn't get enough if you ask me. Anyway, Wild Tales, overall, is a strong, and overlooked record, like its predecessor Songs For Beginners. Nash engages and entertains even as he repels with his glumness and hectoring. My love for the early-mid 70s CSNY sound is enough, apparently, for me to overlook the most egregious of subject matter.

Bonnie, having released six good-to-outstanding albums featuring her distinctive blues/country/pop/folk throughout the 70s to almost complete chart indifference, was looking (like Joan Armatrading above) for that ONE BIG HIT which would propel her to the next level. It looked like her cover of Del Shannon's "Runaway" from 1977's Sweet Forgiveness was gonna do it, but it stalled before reaching the upper heights of the charts, so enter Peter Asher, who was experiencing mega success as the producer of both James Taylor and Linda Ronstadt, who were both superstars at the time. Hook her up with Bonnie, and the sky's the limit, right? Uh, wrong. The Glow failed on a lot of levels, and a big part of it was Asher's production style, which poured layer after layer of gloss on an artist best left with some rough edges here and there. The record came out and sank without a trace in the post-punk- and-early-new-wave-late 70s. Bonnie, for her part, didn't help much- her originals were uniformly dull, and what spark The Glow has comes from the covers, such as side one opener "I Thank You", the old Sam & Dave hit and the first single, which doubtlessly got overshadowed by ZZ Top's cover of the same song from that same year- a bigger hit, as I recall. Still, it was a rocking track and definite reason for optimism. It's followed by another Hayes/Porter blues song, "Your Good Thing (Is About to End)", and while you'd think it's right in Bonnie's wheelhouse, it's given a plodding treatment and seems two minutes too long. And that remains a problem- there's a tired feeling about just about every song on the record. Tempos are mid-at -best, and each song has a generic sameness about it that makes almost every one of them dull and boring. Not the best way to propel onesself to stardom. There's a Jackson Brown cover, "Sleep's Dark and Silent Gate", which is played for dramatics but becomes a snooze (of course, it doesn't help that I'm not a big Browne fan anyway), a woulda-shoulda been fun cover of "Bye Bye Baby", a rocking cut for about a minute and a half but again it goes on too long and doesn't get any more interesting; a dumb reggae-style cover of the great song "The Boy (Girl) Can't Help It", and some primo lounge-schlock on the title cut. Towards the end, it perks up a bit with a cover of Robert Palmer's "You're Gonna Get What's Coming", which was also a single and probably should have been a hit- it's catchy as all get out but overlong; and the album closes with Eric Kaz's "Goin' Wild For You Baby", a tuneful ballad in which Raitt finally sounds as winning as she can, and hearkens back to previous efforts like her excellent 1975 Home Plate. The Glow was a total disaster, in my opinion, and kinda hastened her slide into dire career straits during the 80s. Asher didn't fare much better after this album, either- he was less in demand by the middle of the 80s as Ronstadt went off into other musical directions and Taylor went into semi-retirement. Of course, it took an even slicker approach by producer Don Was to get her that long-awaited and well-deserved stardom via 1989's Nick of Time, but she went through a lot of down periods beforehand. Oddly enough, I saw her in concert on the tour for this album and she delivered a great show, which convinced me that it was Asher what sunk this record.

Sunday, June 27, 2004

299 days remaining until land burning and sea boiling time, according to Click on the banner above to go to the brand new official Serenity (the movie) site! Hope they spiff up the graphics a bit in the future...


What I bought and what I thought, week of June 23

Funny. I read better-illustrated comics (Wanted) and better-written comics (The Losers) this week, but none of them engaged me like the latest chapter in the saga of John Constantine, amnesiac. Of course, we've been down this road before with ol' Conjob, most notably in the long-ago Ennis/Dillon days, but Mike Carey has been lessening the deja-vu with some sharp dialogue and some interesting trappings like the demon who's following him around offering to give him back his memories. This issue's story framework, a cult centered around a malignant "savior" (ensconced, naturally, in a creepy abandoned church) provides sufficient menace and enough gravity to make me actually wonder, for the umpteenth time, "How the heck does John get out of this". I'm not sure about the demonic cult leader's identity, but I have a suspicion it's someone from a previous arc, one that I didn't particularly care for, and the notion of making recycled characters more interesting appeals to me somehow. I think what puts this issue on top for me, though, is the return of Marcelo Frusin to the art chores. His work is easily the best we've seen here since Sean Phillips left, and I'll hate to see him go, even if it's to make way for Leo Manco. A-

Looks like our MarshallMathers Man "hero" is beginning to show signs of being what passes for a "good guy" in this series after all, as the machinations of Mister Rictus and all the less than benevolent members of the super-baddie community tighten around him. Nicely paced and tightly written, what prevents this (so far) from turning into what passes for a surlier version of Astro City or a perverted version of The Tick is the superlative art of J.G. Jones, who really must be considered one of the best there is these days. Worth mentioning is the awful early 90's Image-style art in the "bonus" preview of the upcoming must-avoid series called Human Kind, which tempted me to dock this comic to a B+. Really, fellas- that sort of thing is not what comics needs right now. A-

Horrors! What is this, the latest issue of what is probably my favorite comics series not named Jack Staff or Promethea, coming in at #3 out of 4? Gadzooks! Anyway, the answer's pretty simple- the fill-in artist left me cold. Somehow Nick Dragotta, who (it says) worked on X-Statix (presumably after I stopped buying), manages to make the energeting, vertiginous layouts of regular artist Jock and change them into some sort of clumsy amalgam of Matt Wagner, Cliff Chiang, and not surpisingly, Mike Allred- and while that may not sound too bad since these are fine artists in their own right- for every nicely drawn panel we get cartoony Sambo faces on Pooch, genie cowboy boots on Cougar that only a Don Martin cartoon character could wear comfortably, and general inconsistency all round. And he's coming back next issue, oh joy. A shame, too, because the Diggle script is as good as ever, with our misfits being shanghaied by Quataris (Quatari Force? Hee) and approached about doing some "work" for them, while the ever-more-interesting Agent Stegler finds his new assignment less and less to his liking. This is not a bad issue, far from it- it reads as well as ever, but the art just kills it. Where's Shawn Martinbrough (the artist that reeled me in to this title in the first place) when you need him? B+

Basically a "getting acquainted" issue, so the jury's still out. The three main characters are interesting enough, and the script by unknown-to-me Jonathan Vankin is fine, if a little convoluted. Bonus points for the unexpected cameo at the end, which explains the "special thanks" credit to Peter Gross. The art, though, is something else again. In penciller Leigh Gallagher (another unknown, to me anyway) and inker Ron Randall we get another of what seems to be the preferred Vertigo style these days...a stiff, mannered, far-too-neat-and-pretty approach that frankly puts a distance between the reader and the characters. Well, this reader anyway. Of course, the MacPherson cover is almost worth the three bucks all by itself. B
OK, I'm back. What started as a one-or-two day break at most practically turned into a weekend hiatus! And gee, the Comics Blogospheriverse and the Music Blogospheriverse and any other Blogospherowhatevers that I may fit in went right on without me. How humbling. Anyway, the book's almost finished, work may or may not slow down (ya never know)...but I plan to get back in the saddle effective right now.

Thanks for your patience. And please- no "I didn't even know you were gone" remarks from the back there. And special thanks to Kate Bosworth for being the JBS spokesperson in my absence. She performed mah-velously.

Wednesday, June 23, 2004

Hello out there, Johnny Bacardi Show readers! I'm Kate Bosworth. You may remember me from such films as Blue Crush, The Rules of Attraction, and Win A Date With Tad Hamilton!. I'm also proud to be the official Johnny Bacardi Show spokesperson for the month of June, and I'm here because he's asked me to extend apologies to all of you faithful readers- who come here on an almost daily basis looking for his usual trenchant commentary on the worlds of comics, music, movies, and, when nobody's looking, sports- for not posting anything of significance for the last few days. You see, Johnny's been very busy between his crap job, his not-quite-as-crap job, the children's book project (see the JB Sketch Blog for more), reading comics, cursing at his fantasy baseball team's pitchers, and so much more. Anyway, he extends his sincere apologies, and promises to be back, better than ever (well back, anyway) soon.

Thanks so very much- you've all been wonderful. I really mean that. Good night, and may whatever God you acknowledge bless. Mwah!

Tuesday, June 22, 2004

Someone named Justin Peters has written a somewhat condescending, but mostly informative article on the boom in animated shows lately, specifically Adult Swim's Williams Street studios. While I wonder what kind of hay the WS guys could make of a writer that uses such phrases as "the Adult Swim shows are united by a shared postmodern ethos: ironic detachment and meta-commentary on the metaphors and tropes of bad television" and "...Unsurprisingly, most of the shows that came from the networks were putrescent abortions", not to mention conclusions like "The 1970s and early 1980s saw a downturn in cartoon quality (true enough-JB), as the airwaves became cluttered with shows about innumerable latently homosexual superhero teams (wha?-JB)" and a title like "Toon In" in the first place, it's still a mostly perceptive article and worth your time. Plus, it gave me the opportunity to poach that cool Aqua Teen Hunger Force picture above!

I think it's the word "tropes". Makes the old pretension klaxons in my head go off every time, it does. Not to mention "shared postmodern ethos" (thanks, Mik).

Found via Franklin, whom I hate because his icon looks more like him than mine does. Look like me. I don't want mine to look like him. Aw, you know what I mean.
It seemed like there, for a while, comics bloggers were popping up in droves- but it seems to have levelled out for now. Thanks to Johanna Draper Carlson's Cognitive Dissonance, we are now presented with two new ones: The Comic Queen (...perchance to dream, she used my head like a revolver- little T.Rex joke there. Sorry.), and the Precocious Curmudgeon, whose real name is David, thus adding to the Legion of Comics Bloggers Named David.

Welcome to the Comics Blogosphereiverse, and I'll link to ya as soon as I can get behind a PC.
Longtime readers may recall that I used to do these Bacardi Show Birthday Greetings (henceforth referred to as BSBdG's) quite frequently, whenever I ran across the b-day of a musician, actor, or other noteworthy kinda person. After one year went by, though, I kinda got out of the routine of checking celebrity birthday pages and so on, 'cause I'd pretty much observed most, not all, but most, of the people I wanted to put in. I didn't always want to do a lot of reruns, if you will.


Three birthdays of note have come up, both yesterday and today, and I wanted to, well, note 'em. So here ya go. First:

Kinks-man Raymond Douglas Davies, 60 yesterday. My love for the music of the Kinks is entirely based on the period from, oh, 1966 to 1975, when their music was inventive, melodic, wistful, clever, raucous, and many other adjectives. After a label shift in 1976, though nearly every trace of what made their music so special (subtlety, wit, melodicism) was left behind in their consuming desire to compete with the Punks and to "Give The People What They Want" by incessantly touring America and delivering a pandering arena-rock sound not only in concert but also on record, "Come Dancing" notwithstanding. By the time this no longer became an issue, Ray and brother Dave had apparently lost the plot for good. Of course, now the Kinks are long broken up, and Ray soldiers on as a solo performer, giving pretty good performances of the classic Kinks repertoire, and good on him. One 80s Ray tune that I love, though, is "Quiet Life" from the soundtrack of the film Absolute Beginners.

Also, musician/producer/graphic artist/man with many hats Todd Rundgren turns 56 today. Todd's another artist whose music has left me cold since 1986 or so, but I always hold out hope that he still has one great one left in him. It's faint, but flickering. He usually can still be counted on to give a pretty good live performance, though, and I've seen a couple of TV lately. The number of albums he's produced that I love deeply is significant, from Steve Hillage's L through XTC's SkylarKing to The Pursuit of Happiness' One Sided Story and so on and so on. Favorite album: 1973's Carole King-on-acid A Wizard/A True Star. Underrated: 1984's Utopia on Nettwork records, a great poprocksong collection that should have garnered more attention than it did.

Finally, Howard Kaylan, (R above) the "Eddie" of Flo & Eddie, is 59 on this very day. First as a member of the deranged pop group The Turtles, then as Zappa's vocalists/comedy relief in the early 70s Mothers of Invention, then on their own and as vocalists for an amazing number of artists such as Marc Bolan & T.Rex, Kaylan and his partner Mark "Flo" Volman have been responsible for a lot of excellent tuneage over the years. When, oh when are we gonna get 1973's Flo & Eddie on CD?

Happy birthday to all.

Monday, June 21, 2004

Another week, another Diamond shipping list!


And that's all!

A welcome change from the massive hauls of the last two weeks. I'm not especially impressed with the interiors I've seen from The Witching, although cover-wise, Witchin' is bitchin'. As usual, the highlight of the week promises to be The Losers, although Hellblazer and Wanted are usually always highly readable.
Ale Garza, who will be doing fill-in honors on upcoming issues of The Losers, has posted some links to a couple of pencilled pages. One features Aisha, and the other features someone getting interrogated, but I can't tell who's the interrogator and who's the interrogatee. Anyways, go look at 'em, they're not bad. Not quite my cup of tea (you can tell Garza has studied many an issue of late 90's X-Men), but I think I can live with it...

Sunday, June 20, 2004


What I bought and what I thought, week of June 16

As you will discover the farther you go in this post, I purchased 13 comics this week, and every one of them was very enjoyable and worthy of your attention. However, since my custom when writing this column (for lack of a better term) is to place the reviews (again, for lack of a better term) in my own personal order of preference, I had a dilemma. Which title did I enjoy the most? And after a lot of thought, I settled on this, the latest issue of nouveau critical-whipping-boy Brian Michael Bendis and Alex Maleev's Daredevil because, to be perfectly honest, it was the most memorable story out of all of them that I read. Maybe this means that I don't know what I'm talking about, that I don't know shit from shinola, my ass from my elbow, whatever. All I know is that Bendis has a down-to-earth take on these corporate properties, and part of his job is to take unrealistic situations and make them feasible, which he has done for the most part as far as I'm concerned. Much of the reactionary criticism has focused on Bendis' dialogue, slamming it for not being really being "realistic"...of course, it's not realistic. Very little comic book dialogue, if any, is. But it does scan like natural dialogue, and sharp, smart and refreshingly pithy (despite the surfeit of it), especially compared with the stilted likes of Claremont, Busiek, or just about any mainstream superhero writer you can name. And sure, it's dark and dour and talky. So what? Is there some rule somewhere which states that comic book superhero adventures are required by law to always be big, bright, brash, colorful and light? It's called establishing mood, kiddies, and you may not like the notion of a gloomy superhero story, but that doesn't make it any less valid or enjoyable to those who don't make such distinctions. Last issue, I liked the resolution of the Yakuza battle arc that has drawn a lot of this flak but deplored the fact that at the end it was back to the status quo for both the Matt Murdock character and his alter ego; this issue, we do get some interesting examinations of the fallout including the details of the dissolution of Matt's marriage and its effect on him, some interesting spy stuff with Nick Fury and the Black Widow, and a potential political conflict down the road. Bendis does especially well in establishing Matt's often contradictory attraction to the Widow in a series of inner dialogue panels. Maleev, for his part, excels where he usually excels and isn't expected to draw much in the way of spandex throwdownery, and that plays right to his strengths. He draws a great Widow, in my opinion. So there you go. I don't expect to convert any of the anti-Bendis infidels; they're set in their ways and extremely vehement. But, me, I like...and you can draw whatever conclusion you want from there. A

In which we get some long-delayed answers regarding the nature of Jack's disappearance from the British superhero scene, referred to from the beginning but never explained and Weapon H and its relationship to Unit D. All those letters. Anyway, Paul Grist's wonderful and inventive layout skills are once again a highlight, and while I still think I prefer Jack in black and white, Phil Elliott does a great job on colors. A gnarly tale, full of fascinating characters, cleverly as usual for Grist and Jack Staff. A

Speaking of "moody", here's a very moodily illustrated tale about a reluctant soldier who got more than he bargained for when he joined the army. An expert sharpshooter, he doesn't want to kill other people, which (as you can imagine) causes him a lot of problems when he's sent to Iraq, where sometimes people are shot because of the potential threat they represent, not any actual threat they may carry out. Brian Wood poses a lot of implicit and explicit questions in his tough and spare script, and while the ending may be ambiguous it doesn't disappoint like last issue because we're given all we need to know to sympathize and appreciate our S.O.L. soldier's plight. We can pretty much imagine what kind of future he's gonna have, and it's not likely to be a happy one, the way our society is set up these days. Becky Cloonan does another outstanding art job, once again becoming an stylistic chameleon using blown out, under-rendered highlights and blocky, solid shadow areas to give the whole story a stark, minimalistic feel. A definite contendah for best issue of the series...or does that go against the grain of the whole idea behind this most resolutely unconnected of ongoing and seperate short stories? A

The Days of Our Lives...if Our Lives had zombies which popped out at inopportune moments. As always, solid and involving, with Charlie Adlard proving that he brings a lot to the table as Tony Moore's successor. This month, our motley crew deals with pregnancy, hunger, the usual fear, shock and horror and other stuff, and find what seems to be a safe haven for a while. But we all know better, don't we, fright fans? Tune in next month for...As The Flesh Rots! (cue organ music) A

Well, of course you know by now that this resembles the Challengers we all know and love in name only...really, I don't understand why Chaykin felt the need (or was asked to by TPTB at DC) to call this "Challengers of the Unknown", because, well, it's just not! It's not even as faithful to the concept as the X-Files-ish Challs we got in the late 90s. Fortunately for us, though, whatever the title this is primo Chaykin, with little of the smarminess he's capable of and a heaping helping of his idiosyncratic dialogue...lets face it, nobody writes smartass and snappy words for his characters like this, not Bendis, or Ellis, or anybody. And certainly not David Tischman. As breezy as the script is, though, the biggest delight for me is seeing 22 pages of Chaykin's adventurous artwork, with his sharp-as-ever layout style. It's like he picked up where he left off from his long-ago Times Squared, and it's a welcome sight. I initially had reservations, after checking out some preview pages, about the frankly dumb names he's given his cast, but even that was explained to my satisfaction. So, welcome back, Howie, and I hope you can keep it up for five more issues! A

This clever series made its debut a couple of years ago, and attracted more attention (negative, I'm afraid) for its unusual tabloid-size format than its subject matter. It lasted four issues, after which some serious rethink was done and now we have CM back, in squarebound prestige-format size, picking up where it left off last year. For the uninitiated, our protagonist, Astrid Bonn is summoned back to Switzerland on the occasion of the death of her father and brother, both of which she barely knew having grown up in the USA. She soon discovers that it was their responsibility to maintain and protect a huge clockworks which controlled and stabilized the Earth's rotation and ecology, and due to the death of her father and sibling, it's now her responsibility due to family succession. Of course, she doesn't want anything to do with it or her responsibilty, but her protestations soon become moot when they're all threatened by not one, but two menaces. Of course, you just know that she'll come to accept, if not completely understand or endorse her charge, so that leaves us to follow how she and the clock maintenance crew deals with the threats, and so far they've been handled with an appropriate air of mystery and menace. Miss Bonn is not a particularly likeable character, even though writer Jim Krueger devotes a lot of time to letting us in on her private thoughts, but that's not especially important because we can sympathize with her reluctance to accept her situation and new acquaintances. It's a novel premise, and so far it's been carried out well. The art on Clock Maker is something else again...Matt (never saw an ongoing I could finish yet) Smith started it out in his Mike Mignola-ish style, but bailed sometime around issue 2 as is his wont. It's still his character designs and his style that sets the tone for subsequent issues, though. We get a new penciller this time, one Jason Baroody, and he's often good but sometimes a little awkward- but between him and inker Michael Halblieb we get an acceptable faux Mignola thing going on. I don't know if we're going to get a memorable resolution out of all this, but for now I'm interested and content to go along for the ride. A-

I wish I could adequately explain what it is about Dame Darcy's comics work that interests me so...her stuff is a definite octagonal peg in a world of round and square holes. Part Charles Addams, part Grandma Moses, part Tim Burton, it's whimsical, fanciful, cheeky, often cutesy and cloying but never excessively so, and Darcy's unpolished art can generously be best described as "primitive". But what attracts me to her work the most is, I think, the sheer Grimm's Fairy Tales-like imagination she brings to her vignettes, full of odd characters with heaving bosoms and devious notions like the perpetually horny Effluvia the Mermaid (who bears a strong resemblance to the author, who also appears as herself occasionally), the witch Strega Pez, a winsome young lady who "speaks" via small tablets, with words printed on, that slide out of a bloody slit in her neck and the morbidly vivacious Siamese twins Hindrance and Perfidia. And much of this is sexy even- sometimes she romanticizes her androgynous male characters to the point of fetishism, and is never averse to showing her creations lusting and loving with abandon. Of course, this is all done in a style which reminds of old Murder Ballads, or the more lurid examples of, shall we say, more "lowbrow" fiction of the late 1800s and early 1900s in both America and England. Aah, I could go on and on, and 9.5 out of 10 comics readers who pick this up will say, to paraphrase Dorothy Parker, "This is a comic which shouldn't be lightly tossed aside, it should be hurled with great force". Too bad for them. If any of this sounds even remotely interesting, I urge you to check Darcy's Meat Cake series, recently collected, by the way, out- if nothing else but to let me know that I'm not out of my tree. Kudos to Fantagraphics for continuing to support whimsy in all its myriad forms. A-

Several different stories going on in this one, all somehow connected to the repercussions after the fact of Yahweh's abdication. Some are a bit more compelling than others, but each is interesting enough, plus we're given a helpful and humorous recap of the recent events in the last couple of issues by the fallen cherub Gaudium aka comedy relief. Also, a cameo by one of the Endless, more angels, a haunted murderer, more mythological characters and their devious schemes, familiar faces like Jill Presto, who's been with us since #1, and the title character even makes an appearance once or twice! I'm sure all these plot threads will cohere eventually, and knowing Carey the results will be outstanding, but the process is s-l-o-w. The art, this time out by Peter Gross and Ryan Kelly, is solid as always if not exceptional. A-

The Mad Hatter is cover featured, but one gets the feeling that he's not quite the prime bad guy this time out as the GCPD continues to investigate a cold murder case that was originally given to Harvey Bullock. Solid as always, even though that nagging "can't tell the players without a scorecard" feeling persists. Two characters that don't fit this description: Bullock, who is a fascinating character (I've not been a regular Batman reader over the years, so I don't know everything about him) as written by Ed Brubaker, and Josie Mac, whose addition to the cast was a masterstroke. She livens up every scene she's in, especially this issue's Mad Hatter interrogation. Mike Lark's art is great as usual. Wish I could say the same about the coloring. But Gotham Central remains a great read, and this arc is a definite rebound from the previous so-so arc. A-

While trying not to wonder about how many times Chris Chance has gone under the knife to restore his face, and how often, in real life, one can do this without coming to resemble Michael Jackson, I found myself caught up in the story of how Chris deals with his reunion with Frank White's wife, who, if you recall, he fell in love with while impersonating her less-than-reputable-as-it-turned-out Hollywood producer husband. Milligan makes some obvious, but no less correct observations about getting in too deep and the trust that is implicit in any successful relationship no matter how weird it may be, and Javier Pulido returns to illustrate all this with a loose, sloppy, borderless style which recalls advertising art from the odd choice, but it works- and in no small part because Pulido the colorist helps Pulido the artist out with a great-looking scheme of pastels. As always with the Target, I have reservations but don't have too much trouble overcoming them...which, in an odd way, makes me feel like Chance must feel about most of his relationships. Wow. DC's first interactive comic book! A-

Anybody remember Super President, a Saturday morning cartoon from the 60s? Just wondering. A lotta smart people are praising this to high heaven, and I can't say that I blame them...but for some reason this failed to grab me quite as hard. Perhaps a couple of issues on I'll appreciate this one more, who knows. It's a pretty good idea for a story, but it tries to be the Rocketeer with a political slant, and doesn't really have a consistent tone. It's difficult to take a protagonist dead seriously with a contrived name like Mitchell Hundred, convenient explanation notwithstanding, but there's very little, if any, humor here either, unless you consider having a Russian character named Ivan nicknamed "Kremlin" a hoot. Anyway, we're just getting acquainted for now, so the jury is still out. Biggest attraction here, anyway, is the welcome return to regularly scheduled comics illustration of Tony Harris, inked by Tom Feister. Of course, just as with Starman, sometimes Harris' reach exceeds his grasp and we also get occasional instances of that ol' "drawn facial expression doesn't match logical reaction" bugaboo, but as a whole, it looks wonderful. I'm still not convinced it's all that wonderful, though. B+

I've noticed some disappointment around the Web about this, and I suppose that shouldn't be surprising. Seaguy 1 was so eagerly anticipated, and so hotly discussed and dissected, that the straightforward (well, as straightforward as we can expect from Grant Morrison, anyway) nature of its followup was bound to cause some backlash. This issue is a bit disappointing on the heels of the weird and wonderful #1, but that's not necessarily this is just isn't as head-scratchingly stupefying. After some opening weirdness with minions of Mickey Eye and smoking Easter Island statues, we delve deeper into the mysteries of XOO and its shady purveyors, then Chubby Da Choona makes a tragic mistake at the Temple of Poseidon. Are there multiple meanings, metaphors, and allusions herein? You betcha! Are any of them easily understood? Well, not to me. That's OK, I'll just sit back, enjoy the pretty pichers and trust that it will all become obvious at the end. In short, just like I approach every Grant Morrison project. B

My hand hurts, not to mention my head. I'll be back later on with more, including a Father's Day salute, and eventually a look at The Originals Ashcan, Hench, True Story, Swear To God: 100 Stories, and Jax Epoch and the Quicken Forbidden: Borrowed Magic, if not tonight then tomorrow.

Of course, today is Father's Day. Above you see four generations of Jonesmen, in a photo taken in 1983. From left to right, that's yours truly, my son Britt, my grandfather Herbert and my father, Hulen. My dad passed on in 1990, and he is sorely missed to this day.

Happy Father's Day to ya, Dad, wherever you may be...

Bacardi Show Birthday Greetings go out today, on this Father's day, to the fellow who once incorporated the phrase "The Child is the Father to the Man" in a song: Beach Boy Brian Wilson, one of the greatest songwriters in popular music history in my own humble opinion. Brian's been unusually active over the last year or so; not only does he have a new album coming out, but has also pulled the Lazarus-like task of reviving the legendary aborted Smile project some 36 years after it was conceived, first as a series of concerts and as a brand-new studio recording, wonder of wonders, due in September.

Amazing to think that of the three Wilson Brothers, Brian is the survivor. Long may he run.

Saturday, June 19, 2004

Coolio pointed me to Yahoo!'s Bobbleheadworld Store, where you can buy a lot of fun and clever bobble head dolls, including our lord and saviour Football Jesus above. I suppose that's wrong on several different levels, but it cracks me up. And even better, they have a sense of humor about it- witness the funny dialogue between the FBJ bobblehead and the Daunte Culpepper bobblehead on this page. The Virgin Mary is also represented, so Catholics won't feel left out. Here's a great picture of the Jesus, Mary and Ozzy Osbourne bobbleheads together.

I'm strongly tempted to drop $15 on one of those, if nothing else but to annoy the hyperreligious people I work with...get thee hence, Football Satan!
Found at DJ Spoof:

Hm. Not a favorite, but a movie I enjoyed anyway. Took another personality test at

Brain Lateralization Test Results
Right Brain (52%) The right hemisphere is the visual, figurative, artistic, and intuitive side of the brain.
Left Brain (42%) The left hemisphere is the logical, articulate, assertive, and practical side of the brain
Are You Right or Left Brained?(word test)
personality tests by

Some would say that I'm hare-brained, but that's neither here nor there. Or left or right. Or whatever.

That Fred Hembeck. He cracks me up.

Friday, June 18, 2004

Just for gits and shiggles, I did a bit of fiddling about with the Portrait Illustration Maker that everyone else in Blogistania got tired of weeks ago. It's a bit babyfaced for me (looks more like my son, actually, but people say he looks like me anyway so what da fug), but I didn't feel like tinkering around too much with it. So here it is.
Kind of a slow day at work (although there's still plenty of time for late ads), but I just don't have much I feel inspired enough to write about. You've all been there, I know. Not to mention that I generally don't feel like I can get on a good writing roll here since I never know how many ads I'll get and how often they'll be coming in, and I have a hard enough time writing coherently even under the best of circumstances, let alone when I'm being constantly interrupted. So, all the time looking over my shoulder, I think I'll just type some odds-and-ends type things that have been crossing my mind lately and let the chips fall where they may.

Went back to the comics shop and got the rest of the titles that I didn't get on Wednesday. All total, twelve, count 'em, 12 comics, thirteen counting the Originals ashcan, and another of which was $4.95. Thirteen! In one week! I've dropped a lot of cash mon-nay on my funnybook jones lately. This can't continue. I need a decent-paying job. In case you're wondering, I did drive up to Bardstown to jump through hoops for the fine folks at American Fuji Seal, Inc. Didn't do too well on a skills test they gave me, sorta understandable since I haven't had to dissect files in Illustrator since 2000, and certainly not in Illustrator 10 on OSX. Of all the graphics programs I know, with Quark and Photoshop being #'s 2 and 1, respectively, Illustrator comes in at a distant #3. I kinda knew what I needed to do, but was kinda hesitant and a bit slow in unfamiliar territory. Excuses, excuses. Haven't heard from them since, but I have a feeling that I'm asking for too much money, plus they won't help me relocate, so au revoir, American Fuji Seal. Didn't really have a very good feeling about the place anyway. Nothing else on the horizon, although I'm trying to keep an eye on a situation closer to home with the help of the Political Correspondent. Not gonna hold my breath.

So, demonstrating my usual disregard for the facts of life as I live it, I sat here the other day and did some figuring to see how much it would cost me to go to the San Diego ComiCon next month. My wife would love to go back to San Diego- she went there a couple of years ago and had a large time. My reasons for wanting to go are obvious, I would's the last day you can register online, by the way. OK, let's see. Con registration, $120 for two people all four days. Flight, according to, round trip $706. Hotel, the Best Western Bayside Inn, $847 for 5 nights and 4 days, the most affordable one I could find in the same zip code as the Convention Center, again according to Expedia. Car rental: (I'm not walking everywhere, and we do want to go other places besides the Con) $143 for a midsize car. That's approximately $1800 bucks, not to mention that we should probably take another thou so I can buy stuff at the Con, and we can hit some other places, not to mention all those other miscellaneous expenses that always pop up. I had thought it would be cool to go see a Padres game at their new stadium, but they're out of town that weekend. Crap. Anyway, guess a dream it shall remain 'cause that's a lot of money for me, especially the way things are right now. Just donts gots da chedda. Oh well, someday...someday...

Work proceeds apace on the children's book Pumpkins on the Vine...the cover, pumpkins and cats are already inked and awaiting the scan/color process; the splash page of the pumpkin patch where most of the action will take place is about 75% inked, and the money shot, a splash which explains the mystery of where those gosh darn pumpkins went in the first place, is loosely drawn and I've just begun to ink some of the figures. This is going out late next week, so there's my deadline, and another reason why I haven't written much hereabouts in the evenings whilst at home- I feel like I should be working on this art project instead of spending my time blogging. So...if I don't post much between now and, oh, Sunday, I hope you understand. I love all of you guys, but I gotta live with the author!

Went shoe shopping with me Mum back on Monday, got some cool black suede Converse One Stars, and found the DVDs of Lock, Stock, and Two Smoking Barrels and Snatch for less than 20 bucks together- but I didn't buy. The more I think about it (and the more I listen to the Lock, Stock soundtrack, like I have been today), the more I want to go back there and get them. I know, I know, if I wouldn't spend all my money on comics, DVDs and CDs, not to mention lunch out five days a week, I'd have money to go to San Diego in July! That's what my parents would say anyway, God bless 'em. I am truly their son.

Brian Wood, over at his LiveJournal, mentions new Channel Zero t-shirts. I didn't know there were old ones! I sure would like to get me one of those! Anyway, you can go here to see what he has. I like the design of the "I Heart Vermont: Freedom and Unity" shirt, but that color makes my eyeballs bleed.

I can't imagine why you reading this might not check out Ilana's Sugar-n-Spicy site, but if you don't, I'll keep on passing along some of the cool links she posts. Like this one, a really nice Alphonse Mucha gallery that's typeset in foreign characters...but the illustrations are the main thing anyway so what the heck; also, here's a site which features The Advertising Art of Dr. Seuss. Fascinating stuff.

That's all for now. Don't know if I'll get the chance to post much this evening or tomorrow, but I'll try to get comics reviews up, if nothing else, by Sunday evening. I'm the ringmaster of the holy roller circus at WLOC most of the day Sunday, so I should have some time to blog a widdle bit.

You'd think that people would have had enough of Paul McCartney...I look around me and I see this isn't so...oh no...

Since it's his birthday, I won't take that lyric to its obvious conclusion, but will instead send out the coveted BSBdG to Sir James Paul McCartney of the Wings pop group, 62 today. Seems like he was in another band, can't recall the name offhand.

Favorite album: still, after all this time, 1970's solo debut McCartney. He's done many fine records since, but as far as I'm concerned he's never topped this, his homemade declaration of independence. Underrated: quite a few, like 1986's Press To Play and 1977's London Town (I've always thought "People pass me by on my imaginary street/ordinary people it's impossible to meet" was an incredibly poignant line from a songwriter not known for wearing his inner feelings on his sleeve), but I don't think he's done an album in a long time in which he stretched so much and got little recognition for it like he did in 2001's Driving Rain, which gets better with repeated listens.

Oops, almost forgot, while on the subject- I bid on and won this the other day. You may be a bit surprised to find out that I didn't already own a copy, but frankly I had no use for this particular Macca solo effort until just recently, when a chance hearing of the album cut "She's My Baby" made me think "Hm. I'd like to hear that again." Hooray for me.

Thursday, June 17, 2004

Remember that humongous list I presented to ya on Monday, of the comics I was supposed to get on Wednesday? Well...I didn't get 'em. Not all of 'em anyway. I got the first five I cited, but not the rest. The culprit this time isn't my comics shop, but UPS! Brown let us down. I was told that it was simply that they didn't deliver both boxes that they were supposed to- they left one on the dock! This is the kinda stuff that my beleagured CS has to deal with a lot, although they haven't had this happen lately. Anyway, no Seaguy, or Jack Staff, Daredevil, Clock Maker, Walking Dead, or Meat Cake either. Hopefully, they'll arrive today, or at least that's what I'm told. One thing I DID get, though- Demo 7!

Tune in tomorrow for the ongoing saga of "Will Dave Get His Comics?"...

Wednesday, June 16, 2004

Go here for a preview of Viper Comics' upcoming Daisy Kutter, by Kazu Kibuishi.

I'm looking forward to this, it looks fresh and fun. Maybe it's because I have a thing for spunky blond heroines with curly locks, can't say for sure.

At the risk of sounding like a boring old fart, musically, (I fully admit that I qualify on the other counts of being a BOF) I just wanna state for the record that Rod Stewart's 1972 cover of Bob Dylan's "Mama You Been On My Mind", from his Never A Dull Moment album, is one of the most beautiful songs I've ever heard, with its pleasant, homey acoustic accompaniment with harmonicas, accordian, and steel guitar. Anyway, had that song on my mind (so to speak) this morning so I gave it a spin before I went to work. Man I love that song. Update: By the way, I did some checking and found that I had erroneously credited Danny Thompson with bass on this cut- after checking AMG at prompting from reader Jeff Sellers I found that he's not even listed in the credits. Don't know where I got that notion. I think he did play on an early Stewart solo album, but it ain't this'un!

While I'm on the classic rock tip, is there a more exciting opening to a rock song than can be found in the first couple of minutes of The Who's "Baba O'Riley"? With the burbling synth riff, then Townshend's syncopated, slashing guitar chords, then Moonie coming in like an avalanche on drums...boy. They don't make 'em like that anymore, do they?

Also, while I was looking for a picture of of ol' Rod from circa 1972 to post with this particular ramble, I ran across a site with a BUNCH of great photos of many of my 70s musical heroes like Robert Fripp, Bryan Ferry, and others like the above shot of the June 1, 1974 album and concert lineup of Kevin Ayers, Nico, Eno and John Cale! Conspicuous by his absence: Marc Bolan. Guess everyone couldn't shoot the guy. Here's the link, go check it out! Back in the day, I had a t-shirt with a picture of Neil Young from what appears to be the same show. Cool, huh.

Oh well, just wanted to share. The nurse is calling me back in for my feeding, then I'll get my catheter bag changed, then it's meds and naptime.

Boys and girls, I give you the all-new, all-different Jonny DC!

As a graphic designer (or so my diploma says, although as with so many other things, my skills are eroding with disuse) I gotta say that this is one spiffy logo. Kudos, as they say, kudos to the designer.

Although I've seen it linked to on a couple of blogs already, the skinny, the 4-1-1, the straight dope can be found over at Newsarama. The comments section seems to have devolved into an argument about getting comics back in 7-11's and other places instead of in comics shops only, to which I can only say amen, mah brothas.

We also are given examples of some upcoming titles that sport the logo like the Justice League Unlimited above. I post it because two things jumped out at me- John Stewart's stylin' beard, and get a load of the gams on Zatanna! Hot'sa minoochie, as Chico Marx would say. Homina homina!

What do you MEAN, I should wear light colored clothing when I jog?

Don't know if you guys ever watch the Late Night With Conan O'Brien show, but if you do, then you'll know what I'm referring to when I bring up the fact that I can't scan the title for Ah-nold's latest Terminator flick without hearing the voice of the fellow who does those TV screen interviews (you know, moving mouth, still photo on screen) imitating the Gov of Cali: Tuh-minatah TREE! Rise uh duh MACHEEENZ!

Which, in my roundabout way, is my way of bringing up that I watched most of Termninator 3: Rise of the Machines last night when it aired on HBO. I say most because after about 15 minutes I got unbelieveably bored and restless and started flipping back and forth between ESPN News, the Lakers-Pistons game, and the movie. Navy NCIS was a rerun I had already seen. Anyway, what a lazy, cynical, by-the-numbers, clichéd sequel T3 is. The performances aren't bad, but the script, oy. It's essentially a rewrite of T2, except that the killer 'bot is now female (and a quite comely one, I might add) and we don't have Linda Hamilton's muscles to stare at when the going gets slow. I feel sad (well, not that sad- she probably made more for this film than I'll make in the next ten years at my job) for poor Claire Danes, who is apparently getting less than adequate advice from her agent and is headed down that slippery slope to becoming as irrelevant as Jamie Lee Curtis, who I could swear she resembles in some of the lesser-lit scenes. Of course, Ah-nold has the requisite amount of moments when the music swells, then stops, he utters a quip of some sort, and something gets blown up or someone gets hit. Just awful, and Schwarzenegger, who managed to be fearsome in the first one and sympathetic in the second, just looks like a big teddy bear now since he's spent the last 20 years trying to soften his onscreen image. The scene towards the end, in which he has to reboot himself or kill Nick Stahl's character is unintentionally hilarious. In fact, that's what it had devolved to by the time me, my son, and his girlfriend got to the end of this flick- we were doing our best Tom Servo, Crow T. Robot and Mike impersonations. If you can avoid this film, please do so. If you're curious, don't be. If you are such a rabid Ah-nold as the Terminatuh fan that you absolutely MUST see this, then God help you, 'cause you probably already own the DVD.

More sequels? Please, Arnold, say "not to be".
Steve Wintle over at Flat Earth has been posting a lot lately about the earth-shattering event that was the DC Implosion, and the two subsequent limited-issue Cancelled Comics Cavalcade releases that DC, somewhat cynically if you ask me, put out so that people who actually wanted to read the stories that were reproduced therein would have to go through hell and gone to obtain one. As someone who was there and buying comics at the time, I was disappointed that many of the titles wouldn't be coming out- I was one of about three people on Earth who was actually looking forward to more Green Team and Prez, and I was digging Ditko's Shade, which got canned along with its interesting-sounding backup feature "The Odd Man", and as I recall Claw The Unconquered was mighty readable- but mostly I received the news with a shrug. Life went on. I was too busy smoking dope and trying to hook up with girls to care all that much...the more things change the more they stay the same, I guess. Hee.

Anyway, Steve's been posting links to several of the pages from those long-ago omnibi, and you can go here and here to check them out. Of course, of most interest to me are the Jerry Grandenetti pages from Green Team and Prez; his work on them is much better than I remembered although the Joe Simon story on the GT tale had some dodgy political implications to many, I'm sure. Also included are pages from the aborted first issue of The Vixen...I'm unsure who the artist is, but the inks look like Ernie Chan or one of the Filipinos. It might have been an interesting title, by 70s standards anyway. Y'know, since she and Animal Man have essentially the same abilities, maybe they should have hooked up. Oh well.

Tuesday, June 15, 2004

Nothing in particular to say about Dina Meyer (above as Oracle from the late unlamented Birds of Prey show). But one of the birthday sites I check occasionally listed today as her birthday, so I hunted up a cool pic to do a BSBdG- but then discovered that her birthday isn't really until December and the site was in error. hate to let a cool shot go to waste, though, so here it is. Guess I'll have to find another one in December.

Just viddied the trailer for the upcoming Constantine flick. It looked pretty good except for one small detail. THE TITLE ROLE IS ONE OF THE WORST EXAMPLES OF MISCASTING IN THE HISTORY OF CINEMA! I think this has the potential to be one for the ages, and I like Keanu, generally. Oh, to be able to chuck bricks at the people who made the decisions for this one...

Here it is Tuesday already, and nobody's gotten around to dissecting the season finale of Deadwood yet, and that's a wee bit disappointing (Jeff Chatlos, wherefore art thou?). But it's entirely possible that everyone's like me, and hasn't fully processed all the ramifications of what happened. One thing I do know- they certainly didn't treat this last episode like a season finale! We did get some things resolved, for sure, but for every resolution we got two more possibilities opening up. As always, the most frustrating thing about Deadwood for me has to be Timothy Olyphant's Bullock character. I just can't ever get a handle on where's he's coming from...he errs on the side of the angels as often as Al Swearengen errs on the slightly less virtuous, and while his decision to take up the badge again is satisfying on a surface level, I just don't think it's going to be a good thing. And boy, Al sure had a busy night, didn't he? Really nicely done closing shot of the excellent (boy, I never thought I'd be typing those words, Lord of the Rings notwithstanding) Brad Dourif as Doc Cochran (what an emotional prayer scene he had) dancing with Jewel. Lotsa funny lines, as usual, in this one, mostly from the exasperated Swearengen (no big surprise here). I've been clicking around on the Deadwood site on HBO, and have found a page which collects many of the best lines from each episode. It's been a hell of a first season, and I am, of course, eagerly awaiting season 2. That makes three series (Deadwood, Dead Like Me, and Dead Like Carnivalé...whoops, make that Carnivalé...heh...) I am now anxiously awaiting season twos for. About time one of them came back on, isn't it?

This is all I got right now. Maybe I get more later. Ta.

Monday, June 14, 2004

New Diamond shipping list up. Here's the haul I should expect Wednesday:

SEAGUY #2 (Of 3)

and, of course, the tardy DEMO #7, which is supposed to be coming up from the Nashville shop. Then there's also CLOCK MAKER ACT 2 and WALKING DEAD 8, which were both on the list to come out last week but didn't, at least at my shop, and I was assured they were shipping this week instead SO WE SHALL SEE. Either way, looks like another pay-through-the-nose comics week. Any notions I might have had about sampling the FALLEN ANGEL trade will have to be put on hold. Looking forward to seeing what Chaykin will do on Challengers, Ex Machina looks promising, and hey-! Seaguy is only a three-issue series? Da Fug! There will also be another putrescent issue of the Worst Comic Ever, Daredevil, and a new issue of Jack Staff, always cause for rejoicing around Casa Bacardi. And speak of the devil- Dame Darcy returns with a new Meat acquired taste which I acquired a long time ago. Don't ask me why, I just did.

And dat's what I be gittin, yo. Word to your mutha.
Meat Cake writer/artist (What! You don't read Meat Cake ? I don't believe it) Dame Darcy had a fashion show a few days ago; here are pictures from it. Margaret Cho's there, too. Geez, O Grande Dame, would it hurt your face to smile once in a while?
Shane at Near Mint Heroes has started a mean little meme that's spreading like wildfire through the comics blogosphereiverse. Of course, I'm referring to the "dream teams" in which we pick artist/writer teams we'd like to see on certain characters. Of course, I want to play, but I haven't had a lot of time to dwell on it and have only come up with three so far. So, I thought I'd post these and hopefully do more later. Here goes:

LEGION of SUPER-HEROES by SCOTT McCLOUD; I've always thought McCloud's style would be interesting on the 30th Century superteam, and he's shown that he can write human interest disguised as superheroics a la Zot!. It may not work, but I'd still like to see it.

LOS LOBOS by JAIME HERNANDEZ: Waitaminnit! Los Lobos? The blues-rockers from East LA? They're not comic book characters! But each of them has such a distinctive look that they could be...and I think a book, drawn by Xaime, featuring the Lobos guys getting into weird adventures and spy stuff all over the globe would be a hoot and a half. I'd just like to see Jaime draw the band...his terrible portrait of Amy Ray and Emily Saliers on their new album notwithstanding.

Finally, you may remember that I've written about this one before-

SUPER-HIP! by Grant Morrison and Philip Bond. Pete Milligan and Mike Allred might be fun too, but I'd rather turn Grant loose on the World's Most Disgusting Super-Hero. Leave the Benedict Arnold High faculty at home, except for Badger Goldliver and Tad's girlfriend, and have Tadwallader Jutefruice's swingin' alter ego fight the Mad Mod in 1966 London, something which I just know Bond would nail visually.

OK, that's all I got for now. Hopefully I'll think of more down the road.

Sunday, June 13, 2004

Oh look at the sun - it's all a-glow
Slow burning star - sinking low
Heaven knows where you go
Out of sight, out of minds eye, no
Aw such a shame - you must leave
All day long you were a friend to me
Still - the moon´s company
Until morning when larks will sing
Horizon´s appointment you´ll keep
For sunswept flamingos must sleep
Scenes like these from my dreams
Cover cutting-room floors all over .....
Warm heart we spin slowly from view
Why are you sad - do you disapprove?
How we´ve wasted our time
Sunset - end of my day - my decline
Postscript you trace colours the sky
Red-letter light fades, is filed away
Sunburst fingers you raise
One last sigh of farewell - goodbye

"Sunset", from Roxy Music's Stranded LP. Lyrics by Bryan Ferry.

Picture taken this evening at approximately 7 pm CST from my deck.

Feel free to put the album or CD on now if you own a copy.

Saturday, June 12, 2004


What I bought and what I thought, week of June 9

Meirda santa! Maybe you can resist such cheerful, straightfaced nonsense, but I know I sure can't. My biggest concern about this issue was if it would be able to achieve the same goofy tone as issue 1, and I'll be damned if they didn't go out and top it. Highlights include the somewhat dim and definitely Angel-whipped ninjas (who should be pissed that pirates and monkeys seem to be hogging all the attention these days), the seedy Australian Buzz Lightyear type, sexy fishnets on the Incan deity's secretary, a Surgeon General's warning for young impressionable readers, Spanish conquistadors and virgins (always useful) I am often slack-jawed in amazement. I'm sometimes slack-jawed anyway, but that's neither here nor there. I want an Inti, the Sun God bobble-head doll right now. He's too cool for school. I also wish for a crossover with the Scurvy Dogs...but that might cause my brain to explode so best leave well enough alone. A

100 BULLETS 50
The prodigal title returneth with the usual tough-talking barflies, gun battles, and Machiavellian machinations that Azz and Rizz are known for, except this time a lot more of it. We also get some welcome light shed on the Trust and its history, which apparently goes waaay back a lot farther than I imagined. Picking up like they left off when they went to play with Batman, another good-sized piece of a far-from-complete puzzle. A

Not much happens this time out, characterization-wise, but as if to make up for that shortcoming we get a surfeit of battlefield goings on, as the beleaguered residents of Fabletown fight for their lives against the wooden soldiers of the Adversary. One surprise death (at least as far as these characters can "die") that I didn't see coming, some amusing confrontations during the melee, and a great re-appearance of a missing fable at the end add up to another satisfying chapter of a tale that I think will read better collected. A-

Another bigger-than-usual issue, squarebound no less, for no apparent reason than the Bros. were feeling their creative oats this time. We get more "Julio's Day", continuing Beto's preoccupation with poor Mexican dirt farmers; the conclusion of the somewhat convoluted "Me For The Unknown", a great one-shot "Roy and His Pals", which sends up superheroics in fine, absurd fashion and proves that the Street Angel guys and Grant Morrison have nothing on Gilbert when it comes to surreal absurdity;, and a fun feature in which we "catch up" with many of Beto's characters from years past. Jaime is represented by one story only, but it's a doozy- A long Maggie tale in which she deals with Izzy's house burning down and some occult-loving geeks that think she has some sort of special powers since she was her friend, then eventually becomes a manic flashback sequence, then ends up at Mag's apartment building. Lots of evocative images, and you're never really sure what's real and what isn't- and that is both a strength and a bit of weakness. I understand Jaime's storytelling quirks somewhat after having read them for almost 20 years, so I'm not especially annoyed, but I would kinda like to know for sure what is actually going on here. Maybe we'll find out more eventually. Also of note is a three-page feature in which Jaime, Gilbert and Mario list their favorite comics, trés mucho fascinating. I also bump this up a notch for Gilbert's right-on-the-money assessment of the 70s career of David Bowie in a four-panel throwaway strip, in which he also gets even more on my good side by giving Marc Bolan props for pioneering glam. Right effing on, Gilbert. A-

An impulse purchase on Thursday, when I went back in to check on a couple of MIA books from Wednesday. You probably already know the Big Significant Plot-Driving Event behind this, and I won't mention who dies in case you haven't. Part of me deplores that it was considered necessary to kill this particular character, who was one of the more pleasant stories in the DCU, but I can't think of a single character with a low profile whose death would be more affecting and regrettable. So if that's what writer Brad Metzger was aiming for, then he succeeded in spades. The funeral scenes were, frankly, quite touching, in no small part because I grew up with those characters (the victim and his/her significant other) in the 60s and 70s and kinda liked them. So mission accomplished, he now has my attention. I'm not especially familar with Metzger's previous work- I've didn't read his Green Arrow, nor have I sampled his prose work. I will say that he does a nice job with the relationships and dialogue here, and while I will confess to wondering exactly what the point of the street-level events of the stakeout which eventually proved to be a distraction was, and if there will be repercussions to the shooting of second-string super villain Bolt, I'm willing to go along for now. The art is first-rate- few are better at depicting action and extreme emotions better than Rags Morales, even when he's under the tight-assed line of Michael Bair. So far, pretty darn good for one of those Big Summer Event series. B+

The exceptional art of Gene Ha gets this, the final chapter of Warren Ellis' extended TV series proposal, over. That's usually the case- the scripts Warren has given us for this series are fairly rote and formulaic- only one or two issues have deviated from the "menace is discovered, Miranda Zero barks at Aleph, Aleph barks at a bunch of people we've never met before, said people deal with menace quickly and efficiently" format...and when the artist is on, as with Chris Sprouse a while back or Jason Pearson last issue in one of the more atypical storylines, the events are much more interesting. If not, then the routineness becomes grating. Fortunately, I tend to like this sort of thing, but for others, your mileage may vary. Good luck with the TV series. A- Entire series: B+

H-E-R-O 17
Unlike Tegan, this concept works best for me when there's some sort of connecting thread. I was frankly getting bored until Pfiefer finally whipped out Robby Reed and brought back the most interesting, or just most likeable, recent owner of the H-dial yet and gave them something to do. We've got a plausible "is-he-or-isn't-he nuts" thing going on, and while Robby appears on the level, we are given just enough to have our doubts about his motives. For the first time, we have a motivation and a purpose instead of aimless vignettes. And new artist Dale Eaglesham does a very nice, painstaking job on the art- I'm enjoying his style more and more as the series progresses. We may be back to "owner-and-power-of-the-month" before long, but for now I'm finally digging this series again. A-

Another impulse buy, and 150% more wisely compiled than the baffling Golden Age sampler we got a few moths ago. I'm always up for a Fox/Sekowsky Justice League story, and it's been a hell of a long time since I read this one, in which Green Arrow joins the club. The script is episodic and stiff, but always extremely imaginative, and I never get tired of Mike Sekowsky's solid and dynamic, if oddly proportioned, art. The second feature has never been among my favorites, since I've never really been a fan of the early 60s Curt Swan and Wayne Boring-era Superbooks. They always struck me as quaint, stiff and dull, and the first appearance of the Legion of Super-Heroes, as historic as it may or may not be, is no exception. *I'm sure this read better when I was 4 or 5 than it does now. Finally, we get the first ever appearance of DC's long-running soldier boy, Sgt. Rock- here called "Sgt. Rocky", and it's a corker. Primo Ross Andru and Mike Esposito art (has there ever been a more sympatico penciller-inker team?), and a typically breathless Bob Haney script which reads more like a folk tale than a comic book war story. First-rate. A-

Y'know, I'm just not caught up in this despite a typically gnarly plotline, a diverse enough cast and dialogue with the requisite snark (and the occasional chuckle-inducing zinger) factor in full effect. Hard to say why, too. Maybe it's the lets-face-it-it's-all-wrong-for-the-book art by David Hahn, which is actually very good in his Linda Medley-meets-Trina Robbins style. I like Hahn's work, I just don't know if it's up to the task of this grubby script. Everybody's just too clean, pretty and neat. The monochromatic coloring is odd, and for once I agree with Johanna Draper Carlson's assessment that it reminds her of a box of crayons. Interesting choice, but it definitely works against the mood. Maybe Chaykin would have been better off pitching this to HBO instead; I think a live-action TV approach would work a lot better than this. Anyway, I'm interested, if not completely won over, so I'm gonna stick around to see if it gets better. Kinda doubt it, but I'm feeling optimistic today for some reason. B-
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Couldn't not send out a BSBdG to my Forties inamorata Priscilla Lane, who would have celebrated her 89th birthday today.

Friday, June 11, 2004

OK. Now...the grande finale of my ALL-TIME TOP 20 FAVORITE COMICS SERIES (and certain runs on certain titles) series, THE NINETIES!

Again, the standard disclaimer- these are series that are my personal favorites, not what I'm trying to tell you were the absolute best comics ever published in a particular decade. I also reserve the right to edit this list to include series I forget about, which has happened with depressing regularity in the course of this list. The lists are grouped by publisher, in no particular order.

1. MAJOR BUMMER by John Arcudi, Doug Mahnke, Tom Nguyen and others
2. CHASE by D.C. Johnson, J.H. Williams III and Mick Gray
3. HAMMER LOCKE by Tom Joyner, Chris Sprouse and K.S. Wilson
4. IRONWOLF: FIRES OF THE REVOLUTION by Howard Chaykin, John Francis Moore, Mike Mignola and P. Craig Russell
5. FLEX MENTALLO by Grant Morrison and Frank Quitely
6. THE SANDMAN by Neil Gaiman and Various, most notably Marc Hempel on THE KINDLY ONES
7. TERMINAL CITY by Dean Motter and Michael Lark
8. PREACHER by Ennis and Steve Dillon
9. CHALLENGERS OF THE UNKNOWN by Jeph Loeb and Tim Sale
10. GEMINI BLOOD by Chris Hinz and Tommy Lee Edwards

11. HELLSTORM by Warren Ellis and Leo Manco
12. DRUID by Ellis and Manco

13. HATE by Peter Bagge
14. EIGHTBALL by Dan Clowes

15. SCARY GODMOTHER by Jill Thompson

16. HELLBOY by Mike Mignola and others
17. NOCTURNALS by Dan Brereton (originally from Malibu/Bravura comics)
18. MONKEYMAN & O'BRIEN by Arthur Adams

19. DORK!/MILK & CHEESE by Evan Dorkin (I know, I cheated here. Sue me.)

20. STRIKEBACK! by Jonathan Peterson and Kevin Maguire (thanks, Mark!)

Honorable mentions include JOHN CONSTANTINE: HELLBLAZER by various, most notably Ennis and Dillon; STARMAN by James Robinson, David Goyer, Tony Harris, Peter Snejbjerg and Wade Von Grawbadger; SCENE OF THE CRIME by Ed Brubaker and Michael Lark; TOP 10 by Alan Moore, Gene Ha and Zander Cannon; DIRTY PAIR: RUN FROM THE FUTURE by Adam Warren ( LOVE Warren's work, and I think this was his creative apex to date); THE SPECTRE by John Ostrander and Tom Mandrake; HITMAN by Ennis and John McCrea; MOBFIRE by Gary Ushaw and Warren Pleece; RED ROCKET 7 by Mike Allred; KANE by Paul Grist (this one would have been on the list, but I didn't discover Grist and Kane, or Jack Staff until the 2000's); JINGLE BELLE by Paul Dini, Stephen DeStefano and various. I think Jingle Belle first premiered in 1999, I'll have to check on that one. YOUNG HEROES IN LOVE by Dan Raspler, Dev Madan and Keith Champagne; SIN CITY by Frank Miller (sometimes I love this, sometimes I'm underwhelmed); MADMAN by Mike Allred. I would list FROM HELL by Alan Moore and Eddie Campbell, but I've never completely read it! Embarrassing, I know...but I don't remember my shop getting in the individual issues of Taboo, and never felt like I could afford a collection. It's on my "to read" list. LEGIONNAIRES by Tom & Mary Bierbaum and Chris Sprouse; SKELETON KEY by Andi Watson (this one should probably be in the 20...but I can't think of what I'd replace!); the last of Morrison & Case's run on DOOM PATROL, plus the last six issues of Rachel Pollack and Ted McKeever's stint; ECLIPSO by Robert Loren Fleming, Bart Sears, Keith Giffen, Luke McDonnell, and others; AMBUSH BUG by Giffen and Fleming; CHRONOS by J.F. Moore and Paul Guinan; BEWARE THE CREEPER by Len Kaminski and Shawn Martinbrough.

Update 6-13 God help me, I keep thinking of series I can't leave off, including one I just wrote about the other day! Compared to the 60s and 70s, in which my income was kinda limited and I just couldn't buy every issue of everything I liked, and the 80s, which had some definite highlights but a lot of stuff that I just don't remember quite as affectionately, I think that the 90s really had it going on, as the kids say. We'll do the Aughts in six more years, so keep me bookmarked!