Thursday, March 31, 2005

I shot a meme into the air, where it fell I know not where.

Well, actually I do, I put it on the LiveJournal Show, and it's interactive, so if you'd like to give it a shot go check it out!
I picked up and skimmed over DC Countdown to Infinite Crisis, or whatever the hell they're calling it these days, yesterday on the rack in the process of trying to decide whether I wanted to buy the thing or not. By the time I had gotten close to the end, and saw the big villain reveal, I had pretty much decided to pass, but went ahead and read the ending.

I had also typed up and posted a longish review/rant about it last night, thought I read too much like one of those notorious change-resistant aging fanboys, and deleted the post. I realize that in order not to become stagnant and dull, comics or any sort of sequential fiction has to grow and change. Fact of life. And I prefer my characters multi-dimensional and challenging, and likeability is not necessarily a requirement. But there's a right way, and there's a wrong way. Guess which one I think this is.

That sound you hear? That's Gardner Fox, John Broome, and Gil Kane spinning in their graves.

I'm also wondering- did Giffen run over Didio's dog or did DeMatteis screw his wife? What's with all the hate directed at the Bwah-ha-ha Justice League, an unworthy target if ever I saw one?

Like the horse that used to pop up in Ren & Stimpy, when you ask me what I thought, I'll say "No sir, I don't like it". And I won't be buying, either. Life goes on, and I stopped being emotionally invested in the spandex set ages ago. But that doesn't mean I can't be sad for this wrongheaded, venal direction that DC apparently feels it has to go in.

Update: Abhay over at the Pop Culture Bored at has done a magnificent dissection of this piece of crap, and I think you owe it to yourself to read it. Really I do.

Wednesday, March 30, 2005

It's another super-groovy Comics Blogosphereiverse Contest, this time courtesy of Spatula Forum! It's called the Jay's Days Giveaway, in which he's giving away (hence the title) lots of cool Jay Marcy-related stuff. And all you gotta do is write a little. So if you haven't partaken of Marcyness and have been curious, now's yer chance!
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And Laura, I posted this picture for you...

Tuesday, March 29, 2005

And about a little fanfare, please? ...



After all this time. Who'da thunk? A while back, I posted a list, over at the LiveJournal Show, of my 55 favorite albums. After having seen a few other lists, which were a lot shorter and had comments after each selections, I decided I should winnow my list down a bit and post it this time on the main page, the one that's in your eyes right this very second. SO, after much deliberation, here it is. In alphabetical order. I deliberately avoided naming an artist twice, although I may have fudged a bit here and there in the honorable mentions list.

1. The Beach Boys-Pet Sounds (1966)
2. The Beatles-Hey Jude aka The Beatles Again (1970)
3. David Bowie-Scary Monsters (And Super Creeps) (1980)
4. Kate Bush-The Dreaming (1982)
5. Lloyd Cole-Don't Get Weird On Me Babe (1991)
6. Donovan-Cosmic Wheels (1973)
7. The Flaming Lips-The Soft Bulletin (1999)
8. Jellyfish-Spilt Milk (1993)
9. Jethro Tull-A Passion Play (1973)
10. The Kinks-The Great Lost Kinks Album (1973)
11. Van Morrison-Veedon Fleece (1974)
12. Mott The Hoople-The Hoople (1974)
13. Parliament- Mothership Connection (1976)
14. Pentangle-Solomon's Seal (1972)
15. Alan Price-Between Today and Yesterday (1974)
16. Prince-Sign 'O' The Times (1987)
17. The Replacements-Tim (1985)
18. The Rolling Stones-Exile on Main Street (1971)
19. Roxy Music-Stranded (1973)
20. Sly and the Family Stone's Greatest Hits (1970)
21. Traffic-When The Eagle Flies (1974)
22. T.Rex-The Slider (1972)
23. Wilco-SummerTeeth(1999)
24. XTC-SkyLarking (1986)
25. Neil Young-On The Beach (1974)

Yes, I know there's a lot of boring old fart music here. I was gonna post capsule comments after each selection, but it's late, I'm tired, and Blogger has been a bitch today. Maybe I'll add 'em later.

HONORABLE MENTION: Todd Rundgren-A Wizard, A True Star (1973);
Los Lobos-Colossal Head (1996); Tony Ashton and Jon Lord-First of the
Big Bands (1974); Mary Hopkin-Earth Song/Ocean Song (1971); BeBop Deluxe-Sunburst Finish (1976); Rod Stewart-Every Picture Tells A Story (1971); Ron Sexsmith-Other Songs (1997); Bonnie Raitt-Home Plate (1975); Harry Nilsson-Son of Schmilsson (1972); The Sensational Alex Harvey Band- The Impossible Dream (1974); The Time-What Time is It? (1982); Frank Zappa-Apostrophe (1974); King Crimson-Lizard (1971); The Blue Oyster Cult-Secret Treaties (1974); Santana-Caravanserai (1972); Sparks-Kimono My House (1973); The Ramones-Rocket To Russia (1977); Alice Cooper-School's Out (1972); Rory Gallagher-Against The Grain (1975); Cat Stevens-Buddha and the Chocolate Box (1974); Ringo Starr-Ringo (1973); John Lennon-Walls and Bridges (1974); George Harrison-Dark Horse (1974); The Waterboys-Dream Harder (1993); Led Zeppelin-Houses of the Holy (1973); Robyn Hitchcock-Element of Light (1986); R.E.M.-Life's Rich Pageant (1986); Maria Muldaur-Sweet Harmony (1976); Elton John-Madman Across the Water (1971); Roy Wood-Boulders (1972); Wendy Waldman-The Main Refrain (1976); Paul McCartney-McCartney (1970); Steve Hillage-L (1976); The Who-Quadrophenia (1973); Phil Manzanera-Diamond Head (1975); Nick Drake- Bryter Layter (1970); Matthew Sweet-Girlfriend (1990); Flo & Eddie- "Flo & Eddie" (1973); Ian Hunter- "Ian Hunter" (1975); James Taylor-Flag (1979); Anthony Phillips-The Geese and the Ghost (1977); Captain Beefheart-Clear Spot (1972); Fleetwood Mac-Tusk (1979); Eno-Taking Tiger Mountain By Strategy (1974); U2-Achtung Baby (1989); Pete Townsend/Ronnie Lane-Rough Mix (1977); Black Sabbath-Sabbath Bloody Sabbath (1974); Trip Shakespeare-Lulu (1991); The Doobie Brothers-Stampede; Steeleye Span-Commoner's Crown (1975). I'll probably add more as they occur to me...

Please feel free to comment below, I'd be happy to answer any questions about these selections!
I've been checking out the new Isotope Virtual Lounge message board, and came across this, the funniest thing I've seen in, like, forever and a week...

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The next story arc on The Losers will apparently take the team to a certain small town in Colorado...

Monday, March 28, 2005

Alan David Doane's got another humongous meme, this time of movies. Nobody has called me out on it, but I'm gonna do it anyway. Like ADD did, I added a handful of my favorites.

- BOLD movies you own in your personal video/DVD library
- ITALICS for movies you have seen
- Leave plain movies you haven't seen
- Pass it on to three people at the end

The Big Red One (1980)
200 Motels (1971)
12 Angry Men (1957)
2001: A Space Odyssey (1968)
28 Days Later (2002)
The 400 Blows (1959)
8 1/2 (1963)
Adaptation. (2002)
The Adventures of Robin Hood (1939)
After Dark, My Sweet (1990)
Aguirre, the Wrath of God (1972)
Ali: Fear Eats the Soul (1974)
Alien (1979)
All About Eve (1950)
Amadeus (1984)
Amarcord (1974)
American Beauty (1999)
The American President (1995)
American Splendor (2003)
The Animatrix (2003)
Annie Hall (1977)
The Apartment (1960)
Apocalypse Now (1979)
The Apu Trilogy (1959)
Around the Bend (2004)
Arsenic and Old Lace (1944)
Au Hasard Balthazar (1966)
The Band Wagon (1953)
The Bank Dick (1940)
Barefoot Gen (Hadashi no Gen) (1983)
Batman (1989)
The Battle of Algiers (1967)
Battle Royale (Batoru rowaiaru) (2000)
The Battleship Potemkin (1925)
Beat the Devil (1954)
Beauty and the Beast (1946)
Being John Malkovich (1999)
Being There (1979)
Belle de Jour (1967)
The Bicycle Thief (1949)
The Big Heat (1953)
The Big One (1997)
The Big Sleep (1946)
The Birth of a Nation (1915)
Blowup (1966)
The Blue Kite (1993)
Blue Velvet (1986)
Bob le Flambeur (1955)
Body Heat (1981)
Bonnie and Clyde (1967)
Bound (1996)
Bowling for Columbine (2002)
Breathless (1960)
Bride of Frankenstein (1935)
The Bridge on the River Kwai (1957)
Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Garcia (1974)
Broken Blossoms (1919)
Buffy the Vampire Slayer (1992)
The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari (Kabinett des Doktor Caligari, Das) (1920)
Casablanca (1942)
Chasing Amy
Children of Paradise (1945)
Chinatown (1974)
A Christmas Story (1983)
Citizen Kane (1941)
City Lights (1931)
A Clockwork Orange (1971)
The Color Purple (1985)
Comic Book Villains (2002)
Conan the Barbarian (1982)
The Conversation (1974)
Cries and Whispers (1972)
Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (Wo hu cang long) (2000)
Crumb (1994)
Damage (1992)
Daredevil (2003)
Day for Night (1973)
The Day of the Dolphin (1973)
Days of Heaven (1978)
The Decalogue (1988)
Detour (1945)
Die Hard (1988)
The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie (1972)
Do the Right Thing (1989)
Donnie Darko (2001)
Don't Look Now (1974)
Double Indemnity (1944)
Dr. Strangelove (1964)
Dracula (1931)
Duck Soup (1933)
Dune (1984)
E.T - The Extra-Terrestrial (1982)
The Earrings of Madame de... (1953)
Easy Rider (1969)
Edward Scissorhands (1990)
Ed Wood (1994)
Elektra (2005)
The Elephant Man (1980)
El Norte (1983)
Eraserhead (1977)
Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004)
The Exterminating Angel (1962)
The Fall of the House of Usher (1928)
Fanny and Alexander (1983)
Fahrenheit 9/11 (2004)
Fargo (1996)
Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas (1998)
F for Fake (Vérités et mensonges) (1976)
The Fifth Element (1997)
The Firemen's Ball (1968)
Five Easy Pieces (1970)
Floating Weeds (1959)
Four Rooms (1995)
Frida (2002)
From Dusk Till Dawn (1996)
From Hell (2001)
Gates of Heaven (1978)
The General (1927)
Ghost World (2000)
Glengarry Glen Ross (1992)
The Godfather (1972)
Goldfinger (1964)
Gone With the Wind (1939)
The Goodbye Girl (1977)
The Good, the Bad and the Ugly (1968)
GoodFellas (1991)
Gospel According to St. Matthew (1964)
Grand Illusion (1937)
The Grapes of Wrath (1940)
Grave of the Fireflies (1988)
Great Expectations (1946)
Greed (1925)
Groundhog Day (1993)
The Hand (1981)
A Hard Day's Night (1964)
The Hearts of Age (1934)
Hellboy (2004)
High Fidelity (2000)
Hoop Dreams (1994)
House of Games (1987)
The Hustler (1961)
Ikiru (1952)
In Cold Blood (1967)
The Incredibles (2004)
It's a Wonderful Life (1946)
Jackie Brown (1997)
Jaws (1975)
JFK (1991)
Jules and Jim (1961)
Juliet of the Spirits (1965)
Kill Bill Vol. 1 (2003)
Kill Bill Vol. 2 (2004)
Killing Zoe (1994)
Kind Hearts and Coronets (1949)
King Kong (1933)
L'Atalante (1934)
L'Avventura (1960)
La Dolce Vita (1960)
The Lady Eve (1941)
The Lady from Shanghai (1947)
The Last Laugh (1924)
The Last Picture Show (1971)
Last Tango in Paris (1972)
Last Year at Marienbad (1961)
Late Spring (1972)
The Lathe of Heaven (1980)
Laura (1944)
Lawrence of Arabia (1962)
Le Boucher / The Butcher (2003)
Le Samourai (1967)
The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen (2003)
Leaving Las Vegas (1995)
The Leopard (1963)
The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp (1943)
The Lion King (1994)
Lolita (1962)
Lolita (1997)
Lost Highway (1997)
M (1931)
The Magnificent Ambersons (1942)
The Maltese Falcon (1941)
The Man Who Laughs (1928)
The Manchurian Candidate (1962)
Manhattan (1979)
The Matrix (1999)
The Matrix Reloaded (2003)
The Matrix Revolutions (2003)
McCabe & Mrs. Miller (1971)
Mean Streets (1973)
Metropolis (1926)
Mon Oncle (1958)
Moonstruck (1987)
Mr. Hulot's Holiday (1953)
Mulholland Dr. (2001)
The Music Room (1958)
My Darling Clementine (1946)
My Dinner With Andre (1981)
My Life to Live / Vivre sa Vie (1963)
My Neighbor Totoro (1993)
Nashville (1975)
Natural Born Killers (1994)
Network (1976)
The Night of the Hunter (1955)
Nights of Cabiria (1957)
Nosferatu (1922)
Notorious (1946)
Not Without My Daughter (1991)
On the Waterfront (1954)
One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest (1975)
Orpheus (1949)
Out of the Past (1947)
Pandora's Box (1928)
Paris, Texas (1984)
The Passion of Joan of Arc (1928)
Paths of Glory (1957)
Patton (1970)
Peeping Tom (1960)
Persona (1966)
The Phantom of the Opera (1925)
Phantom of the Paradise (1974)
Pickpocket (1959)
Picnic at Hanging Rock (1975)
Pinocchio (1940)
Pixote (1981)
Planes, Trains and Automobiles (1987)
Playtime (1967)
Pollock (2000)
The Producers (1968)
The Prophecy (1995)
Psycho (1960)
Pulp Fiction (1994)
Raging Bull (1980)
Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981)
Raise the Red Lantern (1990)
Ran (1985)
Rashomon (1950)
Rear Window (1954)
Blue, White, Red (1994)
Red River (1948)
The Red Shoes (1948)
Reservoir Dogs (1992)
Return to Glennascaul (Orson Welles' Ghost Story) (1951)
Return To Oz (1985)
Rififi (1954)
The Right Stuff (1983)
Roger & Me (1989)
Romeo and Juliet (1968)
The Rules of the Game (1939)
Santa Sangre (1989)
Saturday Night Fever (1977)
Say Anything (1989)
Scarface (1983)
The Scarlet Empress (1934)
Schindler's List (1993)
Scrooge aka A Christmas Carol (1951)
The Searchers (1956)
Se7en (1995)
The Seven Samurai (1954)
The Seventh Seal (1957)
Shane (1953)
Shaun of the Dead (2004)
The Shawshank Redemption (1994)
The Silence of the Lambs (1991)
Singin' in the Rain (1952)
Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (1937)
Solaris (1972)
Some Like It Hot (1959)
South Park: Bigger Longer & Uncut (1999)
Spider-Man (2002)
Spider-Man 2 (2004)
Star Trek: The Motion Picture (1979)
Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan (1982)
Star Trek III: The Search for Spock (1984)
Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home (1986)
Star Trek V: The Final Frontier (1989)
Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country (1991)
Star Trek Generations (1994)
Star Trek: First Contact (1996)
Star Trek: Insurrection (1998)
Star Trek: Nemesis (2002)
Star Wars (1977)
The Straight Story (1999)
The Strange Case of the End of Civilization as We Know It (1977)
The Stranger (1946)
Strangers on a Train (1951)
Stroszek (1977)
A Sunday in the Country (1984)
Superman (1978)
Sunrise (1928)
Sunset Boulevard (1950)
The Sweet Smell of Success (1957)
Swing Time (1936)
The Taking of Pelham One Two Three (1974)
A Tale of Winter (1992)
The Tao of Steve (2000)
Taxi Driver (1976)
The Terminator (1984)
Terminator 2: Judgment Day (1991)
Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines (2003)
The Thin Man (1934)
The Third Man (1949)
This Is Spinal Tap (1984)
Three Colors Trilogy (1994)
Three Women (1977)
Tokyo Story (1953)
Touch of Evil (1958)
Touchez Pas au Grisbi (1954)
The Treasure of the Sierra Madre (1948)
The Trial (Procès, Le) (1962)
Trouble in Paradise (1932)
True Romance (1993)
Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with Me (1992)
Ugetsu (1953)
Umberto D (1952)
Un Chien Andalou (1928)
Unforgiven (1992)
Unprecedented: The 2000 Presidential Election (2002)
The Up Documentaries (1985)
Vertigo (1958)
Victim (1961)
Walkabout (1971)
West Side Story (1961)
Where the Buffalo Roam (1980)
Wild at Heart (1990)
The Wild Bunch (1969)
Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory (1971)
Wings of Desire (1988)
The Wizard of Oz (1939)
Woman in the Dunes (1964)
A Woman Under the Influence (1974)
A Woman's Tale (1992)
The Wonderful, Horrible Life of Leni Riefenstahl (Macht der Bilder: Leni Riefenstahl, Die) (1993)
Written on the Wind (1956)
X-Men (2000)
X-Men 2: X-Men United (X2) (2003)
xXx (2002)
Yankee Doodle Dandy (1942)
A Year of the Quiet Sun (1984)
Yellow Submarine (1968)
Just in case you care.


My haul Wednesday, according to the new Diamond shipping list.

I haven't decided whether I'll pick up AMAZING JOY BUZZARDS or SECRET WAR; the last issue of AJB didn't exactly grab me where I felt it, and I'm kinda to the point where I don't really give a shit anymore about the other. And of course, we can't forget STREET ANGEL #5 and SHAOLIN COWBOY #2, which may come in, but probably won't. I also still have two issues of DETECTIVE COMICS, #'s 802 and 803, stuck back in my folder and I'd kinda like to read those so I might just put two back and draw two from the deck, as they say in poker.

Kinda makes me miss the days when I would grab my books off the spinner rack, y'know?
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Well, the big season two finale of Carnivalé has come and gone, and, well, I for one was very disappointed. I suppose it was because we were led to believe that the big "final confrontation" between Ben Hawkins and Brother Justin would occur, and there had been no third season announcement, so there was a definite perceived air of finality about the whole thing.

It's true, there was a confrontation, but (and I spoil here, so LOOK OUT) it was far from final. And then we get another plot twist tacked on at the end, which adds yet another layer of illogicality to what has become a hugely unwieldy and horribly convoluted narrative. It's like the show's creative people had all these super nice toys, but didn't know how to play with them so they began throwing stuff at the wall to see what stuck. Dumb coincidences, logic-defying character actions and motivations and many what-the? moments were the order of things for the majority of the second season, and while there were many memorable scenes and great lines, as a whole season two just didn't work for me as well as season one. I'm still on board, I suppose, even though the shark, she may have been jumped- there's just too much potential, even after all that's happened so far, for me to ignore it completely. Hopefully, we'll get a season three, if nothing else but to clear up a lot of the mess.

I'm not disappointed with season two of Deadwood, though- it's just as audacious, overripe, and fascinating as last season and even though we're just four episodes in we've already had a whole season's worth of wow-inducing scenes and dialogue. It's even educational- I had never heard the term "gleet" before! Right now, they're on such a roll that they can take an actor who played a key part in season one- Garrett Dillahunt, who played Jack McCall, the murderer of Wild Bill Hickock- and bring him back as a totally different character (the unlikeable agent of William Hearst, Mr. "W") and it works just fine. No sharks in the South Dakota streams just yet.

While I'm on the subject of my recent TV viewing, I also caught (over the last couple of days) an excellent documentary on Frida Kahlo, The Life and Times of.... As someone who's become interested in her work over the last few years, mostly thanks to the Salma Hayek biopic, I found this absorbing.

And, of course, I've been watching the NCAA men's tournament on and off, including Kentucky's double overtime loss to Michigan State yesterday afternoon. Tough loss, since both teams were pretty evenly matched and played a good game, but somebody's got to lose, and frankly I didn't have my Wildcats advancing as far as they did when I made out my brackets.

That's all I got for now...

Sunday, March 27, 2005

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What I bought and what I thought, week of March 16!

OWLY: JUST A LITTLE BLUE GN lists the following synonyms for the word "warm": affable, affectionate, amiable, ardent, cheerful, compassionate, cordial, empathetic, genial, gracious, happy, heartfelt, hearty, hospitable, kind, kind-hearted, kindly, loving, pleasant, responsive, sincere, soft-hearted, sympathetic, tender, warm-hearted, whole-hearted. For "winning" we get acceptable, adorable, agreeable, alluring, amiable, bewitching, captivating, charming, cute, delectable, delightful, disarming, dulcet, enchanting, endearing, engaging, fascinating, fetching, gratifying, lovable, lovely, pleasing, prepossessing, sweet, taking, winsome. "Sweet"? affectionate, agreeable, amiable, angelic, appealing, attractive, beautiful, beloved, charming, cherished, companionable, considerate, darling, dear, dearest, delectable, delicious, delightful, dulcet, engaging, fair, generous, gentle, good-humored, good-natured, heavenly, kind, lovable, loving, luscious, mild, mushy, patient, pet, pleasant, pleasing, precious, reasonable, sweet-tempered, sympathetic, taking, tender, thoughtful, treasured, unselfish, winning, winsome. OK, that's enough. I'm just trying to come up with a different way to say what everybody else is saying, and everyone who's read any Owly stories knows: they're good. And you feel good after reading them. And that, boys and girls, is a hell of a thing and something we don't get nearly enough of these days. A

100 BULLETS 59
After the surprising events last issue, we change locations and catch up with Loop Hughes and Lono, fresh outta the joint and looking for Victor, in sort of "we're putting the band back together" fashion. Vic's kinda in a situation, though, which plays itself out in Eisnerish fashion, if Eisner was inclined to indulge himself in graphic sex and violence. Anyway, another strong chapter, force-of-nature-ish Ed Risso does another great art job, and apparently Dave Johnson is going to give us 70's Blaxploitation movie homages as covers for a while. I don't advise reading this immediately after reading Owly. A

This time out we get the betrayal we all knew was coming, doled out in punishing fashion for our boy Holden. And it wouldn't surprise me at all if there wasn't one or two more twists before we're done; the one constant Ed Brubaker's given us throughout both series is that Sleeper has more twists than Chubby Checker after ingesting an eightball of coke. A

Not much actual plot to speak of, all things considered, mostly another issue full of expository dialogue and Adam Warren's trademark wacked-out technogeekishness. But the characters are as likeable more often as they are disgusting (fortunately- I doubt we'll see six issues' worth of them regurgitating their nanotech flesh back on each other to patch damage, at least I hope not); Rick Mays does a great job with his faux-manga art style (or to be more precise, faux Adam Warren-style manga art), even though he really needs to practice drawing people (in the rare occasions he's asked to do so) over the age of 25, such as Nick Fury this time out and the John Constantine he gave us in the Zatanna one-shot of a few years ago, that look their age; and the big scene in which Gothic Lolita downs the bomb-bearing cargo plane was exciting, with lively dialogue. So, even though I'm still not particularly attracted to the current run of teengroup titles from Marvel, I'm really liking this one so far. A-

The events of Identity Crisis have definitely made this a tad less enjoyable that they would have been otherwise- I especially wish Giffen and DeMatteis would have laid off the "Sue is pregnant" jokes. Otherwise, just as breezy and funny as ever- while it is indeed a little offputting to see Guy Gardner macking on Mary Marvel (who may be 14-ish de-powered, but definitely looks older when in her Marvel powered aspect), remember, this is the same Guy who hit on the grieving-for-her-dead-parents Gypsy immediately after saving her from Despero back in the 80s book, so it's pretty much in character. Oh well, what can I say, I like these characters, seeing them go through their paces is like watching an episode of a favorite classic sitcom. Kevin Maguire's art is as smooth as usual, and I was a bit surprised to note that longtime inker Joe Rubenstein's ink line has become very subtle and graceful and quite different from what it was back in the day- almost Craig Russell-ish! Now if things just don't go to hell- whoops! Bwah-ha-ha. A-

Well, for what it's worth, I liked this one better than Battle Hymn. Another 24-style espionage thriller, garishly colored by persons unknown (Jason Richardson is credited with "flats", which could apply, I suppose, whatever "flats" are) and sloppily drawn by one Jason LaTour and interesting enough, I suppose, if not particularly engaging one way or the other. A man is on the run from a couple of suit-and-sunglasses government agents in a seedy town in Mexico, and gets mixed up with the daughter of the big fish in that little pond. Will it get better as time goes by, a la The Losers? We will see. B+

Surprisingly straightforward urban action thriller from Grant this time, which doesn't quite read like the Mad Scotsman we've all come to know and love and leads me to conclude that either he's employing ghosts or is experimenting stylistically. I like the concept, like the whole "Subway Pirate" culture notion, like the computer with the kinda-sorta face of Jack Kirby plus the clever almost-tie-in to previous Guardian lore, including the less-comic-relief-ish Newsboy Legion...but I seriously doubt that it's possible to rip a squarish section of skin off a man's back using only a hook, dramatically valid and ugh-provoking, I suppose, but also a little "oh come on" provoking from your humble scribe (calling Dr. Scott at Polite Dissent), plus of course Jake's family just happens to be on hand in the subway to serve as obvious hostage bait. Art-wise, Cam Stewart does a nice Chris Weston impersonation. A lot here to like, but, again I hope it gets a little better eventually. B+

I've never participated in a group therapy session; don't really have any desire to do so, and if this is what Bendis is gonna give us- a Rashomon-style retelling of Daredevil's assumption of the Kingpin's mantle, then I'm not so sure I'm going to enjoy this very much. Not that it's badly written per se, and I certainly don't want DD to go back to fighting the supervillain of the month anytime soon...but I'm not buying a book titled "Hell's Kitchen Residents in Therapy", I'm buying Daredevil, and quickly lose patience with stories told exclusively in flashback. None of this is Alex Maleev's fault, he's as good as always. B

Lackluster fill-in art from the Giuseppi Camuncoli/Lorezo Ruggiero team prevents this actually diverting and important-to-the Mike Carey "John vs. his evil demon kids" chapter from taking off. I know I've been disenchanted with Leo Manco's stint and miss Marcelo Frusin more than ever, but they've got to be able to do better than this. B-

I hate to bail on limited series (at least I think this is limited, God help us if they're trying to stretch this out into an ongoing), but I pretty much know how this is going to turn out, and my long-held distaste for John Watkiss' ugly art is more pronounced than ever. C

The Book Meme to End All Book Memes -- By special request from Alan David Doane (Or, here's your chance to show everybody how ill-read you are!):

- Bold those you have read
- Italicize those you started, but didn't finish
- Add three books after the last one

001. The Lord of the Rings, JRR Tolkien
002. Pride and Prejudice, Jane Austen
003. His Dark Materials, Philip Pullman
004. The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, Douglas Adams
005. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, JK Rowling
006. To Kill a Mockingbird, Harper Lee
007. Winnie the Pooh, AA Milne
008. 1984, George Orwell
009. The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, CS Lewis
010. Jane Eyre, Charlotte Bronte
011. Catch-22, Joseph Heller
012. Wuthering Heights, Emily Bronte
013. Birdsong, Sebastian Faulks
014. Rebecca, Daphne du Maurier
015. The Catcher in the Rye, JD Salinger
016. The Wind in the Willows, Kenneth Grahame
017. Great Expectations, Charles Dickens
018. Little Women, Louisa May Alcott
019. Captain Corelli's Mandolin, Louis de Bernieres
020. War and Peace, Leo Tolstoy
021. Gone with the Wind, Margaret Mitchell
022. Harry Potter And The Sorcerer's Stone, JK Rowling
023. Harry Potter And The Chamber Of Secrets, JK Rowling
024. Harry Potter And The Prisoner Of Azkaban, JK Rowling
025. The Hobbit, JRR Tolkien
026. Tess Of The D'Urbervilles, Thomas Hardy
027. Middlemarch, George Eliot
028. A Prayer For Owen Meany, John Irving
029. The Grapes Of Wrath, John Steinbeck
030. Alice's Adventures In Wonderland, Lewis Carroll
031. The Story Of Tracy Beaker, Jacqueline Wilson
032. One Hundred Years Of Solitude, Gabriel Garcia Marquez
033. The Pillars Of The Earth, Ken Follett
034. David Copperfield, Charles Dickens
035. Charlie And The Chocolate Factory, Roald Dahl
036. Treasure Island, Robert Louis Stevenson
037. A Town Like Alice, Nevil Shute
038. Persuasion, Jane Austen
039. Dune, Frank Herbert
040. Emma, Jane Austen
041. Anne Of Green Gables, LM Montgomery
042. Watership Down, Richard Adams
043. The Great Gatsby, F Scott Fitzgerald
044. The Count Of Monte Cristo, Alexandre Dumas
045. Brideshead Revisited, Evelyn Waugh
046. Animal Farm, George Orwell
047. A Christmas Carol, Charles Dickens
048. Far From The Madding Crowd, Thomas Hardy
049. Goodnight Mister Tom, Michelle Magorian
050. The Shell Seekers, Rosamunde Pilcher
051. The Secret Garden, Frances Hodgson Burnett
052. Of Mice And Men, John Steinbeck
053. The Stand, Stephen King
054. Anna Karenina, Leo Tolstoy
055. A Suitable Boy, Vikram Seth
056. The BFG, Roald Dahl
057. Swallows And Amazons, Arthur Ransome
058. Black Beauty, Anna Sewell
059. Artemis Fowl, Eoin Colfer
060. Crime And Punishment, Fyodor Dostoyevsky
061. Noughts And Crosses, Malorie Blackman
062. Memoirs Of A Geisha, Arthur Golden
063. A Tale Of Two Cities, Charles Dickens
064. The Thorn Birds, Colleen McCollough
065. Mort, Terry Pratchett
066. The Magic Faraway Tree, Enid Blyton
067. The Magus, John Fowles
068. Good Omens, Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman
069. Guards! Guards!, Terry Pratchett
070. Lord Of The Flies, William Golding
071. Perfume, Patrick Susskind
072. The Ragged Trousered Philanthropists, Robert Tressell
073. Night Watch, Terry Pratchett
074. Matilda, Roald Dahl
075. Bridget Jones's Diary, Helen Fielding
076. The Secret History, Donna Tartt
077. The Woman In White, Wilkie Collins
078. Ulysses, James Joyce
079. Bleak House, Charles Dickens
080. Double Act, Jacqueline Wilson
081. The Twits, Roald Dahl
082. I Capture The Castle, Dodie Smith
083. Holes, Louis Sachar
084. Gormenghast, Mervyn Peake
085. The God Of Small Things, Arundhati Roy
086. Vicky Angel, Jacqueline Wilson
087. Brave New World, Aldous Huxley
088. Cold Comfort Farm, Stella Gibbons
089. Magician, Raymond E Feist
090. On The Road, Jack Kerouac
091. The Godfather, Mario Puzo
092. The Clan Of The Cave Bear, Jean M Auel
093. The Colour Of Magic, Terry Pratchett
094. The Alchemist, Paulo Coelho
095. Katherine, Anya Seton
096. Kane And Abel, Jeffrey Archer
097. Love In The Time Of Cholera, Gabriel Garcia Marquez
098. Girls In Love, Jacqueline Wilson
099. The Princess Diaries, Meg Cabot
100. Midnight's Children, Salman Rushdie
101. Three Men In A Boat, Jerome K. Jerome
102. Small Gods, Terry Pratchett
103. The Beach, Alex Garland
104. Dracula, Bram Stoker
105. Point Blanc, Anthony Horowitz
106. The Pickwick Papers, Charles Dickens
107. Stormbreaker, Anthony Horowitz
108. The Wasp Factory, Iain Banks
109. The Day Of The Jackal, Frederick Forsyth
110. The Illustrated Mum, Jacqueline Wilson
111. Jude The Obscure, Thomas Hardy
112. The Secret Diary Of Adrian Mole Aged 13 1/2, Sue Townsend
113. The Cruel Sea, Nicholas Monsarrat
114. Les Miserables, Victor Hugo
115. The Mayor Of Casterbridge, Thomas Hardy
116. The Dare Game, Jacqueline Wilson
117. Bad Girls, Jacqueline Wilson
118. The Picture Of Dorian Gray, Oscar Wilde
119. Shogun, James Clavell
120. The Day Of The Triffids, John Wyndham
121. Lola Rose, Jacqueline Wilson
122. Vanity Fair, William Makepeace Thackeray
123. The Forsyte Saga, John Galsworthy
124. House Of Leaves, Mark Z. Danielewski
125. The Poisonwood Bible, Barbara Kingsolver
126. Reaper Man, Terry Pratchett
127. Angus, Thongs And Full-Frontal Snogging, Louise Rennison
128. The Hound Of The Baskervilles, Arthur Conan Doyle
129. Possession, A. S. Byatt
130. The Master And Margarita, Mikhail Bulgakov
131. The Handmaid's Tale, Margaret Atwood
132. Danny The Champion Of The World, Roald Dahl
133. East Of Eden, John Steinbeck
134. George's Marvellous Medicine, Roald Dahl
135. Wyrd Sisters, Terry Pratchett
136. The Color Purple, Alice Walker
137. Hogfather, Terry Pratchett
138. The Thirty-Nine Steps, John Buchan
139. Girls In Tears, Jacqueline Wilson
140. Sleepovers, Jacqueline Wilson
141. All Quiet On The Western Front, Erich Maria Remarque
142. Behind The Scenes At The Museum, Kate Atkinson
143. High Fidelity, Nick Hornby
144. It, Stephen King
145. James And The Giant Peach, Roald Dahl
146. The Green Mile, Stephen King
147. Papillon, Henri Charriere
148. Men At Arms, Terry Pratchett
149. Master And Commander, Patrick O'Brian
150. Skeleton Key, Anthony Horowitz
151. Soul Music, Terry Pratchett
152. Thief Of Time, Terry Pratchett
153. The Fifth Elephant, Terry Pratchett
154. Atonement, Ian McEwan
155. Secrets, Jacqueline Wilson
156. The Silver Sword, Ian Serraillier
157. One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest, Ken Kesey
158. Heart Of Darkness, Joseph Conrad
159. Kim, Rudyard Kipling
160. Cross Stitch, Diana Gabaldon
161. Moby Dick, Herman Melville
162. River God, Wilbur Smith
163. Sunset Song, Lewis Grassic Gibbon
164. The Shipping News, Annie Proulx
165. The World According To Garp, John Irving
166. Lorna Doone, R. D. Blackmore
167. Girls Out Late, Jacqueline Wilson
168. The Far Pavilions, M. M. Kaye
169. The Witches, Roald Dahl
170. Charlotte's Web, E. B. White
171. Frankenstein, Mary Shelley
172. They Used To Play On Grass, Terry Venables and Gordon Williams
173. The Old Man And The Sea, Ernest Hemingway
174. The Name Of The Rose, Umberto Eco
175. Sophie's World, Jostein Gaarder
176. Dustbin Baby, Jacqueline Wilson
177. Fantastic Mr. Fox, Roald Dahl
178. Lolita, Vladimir Nabokov
179. Jonathan Livingston Seagull, Richard Bach
180. The Little Prince, Antoine De Saint-Exupery
181. The Suitcase Kid, Jacqueline Wilson
182. Oliver Twist, Charles Dickens
183. The Power Of One, Bryce Courtenay
184. Silas Marner, George Eliot
185. American Psycho, Bret Easton Ellis
186. The Diary Of A Nobody, George and Weedon Gross-mith
187. Trainspotting, Irvine Welsh
188. Goosebumps, R. L. Stine
189. Heidi, Johanna Spyri
190. Sons And Lovers, D. H. Lawrence
191. The Unbearable Lightness of Being, Milan Kundera
192. Man And Boy, Tony Parsons
193. The Truth, Terry Pratchett
194. The War Of The Worlds, H. G. Wells
195. The Horse Whisperer, Nicholas Evans
196. A Fine Balance, Rohinton Mistry
197. Witches Abroad, Terry Pratchett
198. The Once And Future King, T. H. White
199. The Very Hungry Caterpillar, Eric Carle
200. Flowers In The Attic, Virginia Andrews
201. The Silmarillion, J.R.R. Tolkien
202. The Eye of the World, Robert Jordan
203. The Great Hunt, Robert Jordan
204. The Dragon Reborn, Robert Jordan
205. Fires of Heaven, Robert Jordan
206. Lord of Chaos, Robert Jordan
207. Winter's Heart, Robert Jordan
208. A Crown of Swords, Robert Jordan
209. Crossroads of Twilight, Robert Jordan
210. A Path of Daggers, Robert Jordan
211. As Nature Made Him, John Colapinto
212. Microserfs, Douglas Coupland
213. The Married Man, Edmund White
214. Winter's Tale, Mark Helprin
215. The History of Sexuality, Michel Foucault
216. Cry to Heaven, Anne Rice
217. Same-Sex Unions in Premodern Europe, John Boswell
218. Equus, Peter Shaffer
219. The Man Who Ate Everything, Jeffrey Steingarten
220. Letters To A Young Poet, Rainer Maria Rilke
221. Ella Minnow Pea, Mark Dunn
222. The Vampire Lestat, Anne Rice
223. Anthem, Ayn Rand
224. The Bridge To Terabithia, Katherine Paterson
225. Tartuffe, Moliere
226. The Metamorphosis, Franz Kafka
227. The Crucible, Arthur Miller
228. The Trial, Franz Kafka
229. Oedipus Rex, Sophocles
230. Oedipus at Colonus, Sophocles
231. Death Be Not Proud, John Gunther
232. A Doll's House, Henrik Ibsen
233. Hedda Gabler, Henrik Ibsen
234. Ethan Frome, Edith Wharton
235. A Raisin In The Sun, Lorraine Hansberry
236. ALIVE!, Piers Paul Read
237. Grapefruit, Yoko Ono
238. Trickster Makes This World, Lewis Hyde
240. The Mists of Avalon, Marion Zimmer Bradley
241. Chronicles of Thomas Convenant, Unbeliever, Stephen Donaldson
242. Lord of Light, Roger Zelazny
242. The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay, Michael Chabon
243. Summerland, Michael Chabon
244. A Confederacy of Dunces, John Kennedy Toole
245. Candide, Voltaire
246. The Wonderful Story of Henry Sugar and Six More, Roald Dahl
247. Ringworld, Larry Niven
248. The King Must Die, Mary Renault
249. Stranger in a Strange Land, Robert Heinlein
250. A Wrinkle in Time, Madeline L'Engle
251. The Eyre Affair, Jasper Fforde
252. The House Of The Seven Gables, Nathaniel Hawthorne
253. The Scarlet Letter, Nathaniel Hawthorne
254. The Joy Luck Club, Amy Tan
255. The Great Gilly Hopkins, Katherine Paterson
256. Chocolate Fever, Robert Kimmel Smith
257. Xanth: The Quest for Magic, Piers Anthony
258. The Lost Princess of Oz, L. Frank Baum
259. Wonder Boys, Michael Chabon
260. Lost In A Good Book, Jasper Fforde
261. Well Of Lost Plots, Jasper Fforde
261. Life Of Pi, Yann Martel
263. The Bean Trees, Barbara Kingsolver
264. A Yellow Rraft In Blue Water, Michael Dorris
265. Little House on the Prairie, Laura Ingalls Wilder
267. Where The Red Fern Grows, Wilson Rawls
268. Griffin & Sabine, Nick Bantock
269. Witch of Black Bird Pond, Joyce Friedland
270. Mrs. Frisby And The Rats Of NIMH, Robert C. O'Brien
271. Tuck Everlasting, Natalie Babbitt Bleh.
272. The Cay, Theodore Taylor
273. From The Mixed-Up Files Of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler, E.L. Konigsburg
274. The Phantom Tollbooth, Norton Jester
275. The Westing Game, Ellen Raskin
276. The Kitchen God's Wife, Amy Tan
277. The Bone Setter's Daughter, Amy Tan
278. Relic, Duglas Preston & Lincolon Child
279. Wicked, Gregory Maguire
280. American Gods, Neil Gaiman
281. Misty of Chincoteague, Marguerite Henry
282. The Girl Next Door, Jack Ketchum
283. Haunted, Judith St. George
284. Singularity, William Sleator
285. A Short History of Nearly Everything, Bill Bryson
286. Different Seasons, Stephen King
287. Fight Club, Chuck Palahniuk
288. About a Boy, Nick Hornby
289. The Bookman's Wake, John Dunning
290. The Church of Dead Girls, Stephen Dobyns
291. Illusions, Richard Bach
292. Magic's Pawn, Mercedes Lackey
293. Magic's Promise, Mercedes Lackey
294. Magic's Price, Mercedes Lackey
295. The Dancing Wu Li Masters, Gary Zukav
296. Spirits of Flux and Anchor, Jack L. Chalker
297. Interview with the Vampire, Anne Rice
298. The Encyclopedia of Unusual Sex Practices, Brenda Love
299. Infinite Jest, David Foster Wallace
300. The Bluest Eye, Toni Morrison
301. The Cider House Rules, John Irving
302. Ender's Game, Orson Scott Card
303. Girlfriend in a Coma, Douglas Coupland
304. The Lion's Game, Nelson Demille
305. The Sun, The Moon, and the Stars, Stephen Brust
306. Cyteen, C. J. Cherryh
307. Foucault's Pendulum, Umberto Eco
308. Cryptonomicon, Neal Stephenson
309. Invisible Monsters, Chuck Palahniuk
310. Camber of Culdi, Kathryn Kurtz
311. The Fountainhead, Ayn Rand
312. War and Rememberance, Herman Wouk
313. The Art of War, Sun Tzu
314. The Giver, Lois Lowry
315. The Telling, Ursula Le Guin
316. Xenogenesis (or Lilith's Brood), Octavia Butler (Dawn, Adulthood Rites, Imago)
317. A Civil Campaign, Lois McMaster Bujold
318. The Curse of Chalion, Lois McMaster Bujold
319. The Aeneid, Publius Vergilius Maro (Vergil)
320. Hanta Yo, Ruth Beebe Hill
321. The Princess Bride, S. Morganstern (or William Goldman)
322. Beowulf, Anonymous
323. The Sparrow, Maria Doria Russell
324. Deerskin, Robin McKinley
325. Dragonsong, Anne McCaffrey
326. Passage, Connie Willis
327. Otherland, Tad Williams
328. Tigana, Guy Gavriel Kay
329. Number the Stars, Lois Lowry
330. Beloved, Toni Morrison
331. Lamb: The Gospel According to Biff, Christ's Childhood Pal, Christopher Moore
332. The mysterious disappearance of Leon, I mean Noel, Ellen Raskin
333. Summer Sisters, Judy Blume
334. The Hunchback of Notre Dame, Victor Hugo
335. The Island on Bird Street, Uri Orlev
336. Midnight in the Dollhouse, Marjorie Filley Stover
337. The Miracle Worker, William Gibson
338. The Genesis Code, John Case
339. The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, Robert Louis Stevensen
340. Paradise Lost, John Milton
341. Phantom, Susan Kay
342. The Mummy or Ramses the Damned, Anne Rice
343. Anno Dracula, Kim Newman
344: The Dresden Files: Grave Peril, Jim Butcher
345: Tokyo Suckerpunch, Issac Adamson
346: The Winter of Magic's Return, Pamela Service
347: The Oddkins, Dean R. Koontz
348. My Name is Asher Lev, Chaim Potok
349. The Last Goodbye, Raymond Chandler
350. At Swim, Two Boys, Jaime O'Neill
351. Othello, by William Shakespeare
352. The Collected Poems of Dylan Thomas
353. The Collected Poems of William Butler Yeats
354. Sati, Christopher Pike
355. The Divine Comedy, Dante
356. The Apology, Plato
357. The Small Rain, Madeline L'Engle
358. The Man Who Tasted Shapes, Richard E Cytowick
359. 5 Novels, Daniel Pinkwater
360. The Sevenwaters Trilogy, Juliet Marillier
361. Girl with a Pearl Earring, Tracy Chevalier
362. To the Lighthouse, Virginia Woolf
363. Our Town, Thorton Wilder
364. Green Grass Running Water, Thomas King
335. The Interpreter, Suzanne Glass
336. The Moor's Last Sigh, Salman Rushdie
337. The Mother Tongue, Bill Bryson
338. A Passage to India, E.M. Forster
339. The Perks of Being a Wallflower, Stephen Chbosky
340. The Phantom of the Opera, Gaston Leroux
341. Pages for You, Sylvia Brownrigg
342. The Changeover, Margaret Mahy
343. Howl's Moving Castle, Diana Wynne Jones
344. Angels and Demons, Dan Brown
345. Johnny Got His Gun, Dalton Trumbo
346. Shosha, Isaac Bashevis Singer
347. Travels With Charley, John Steinbeck
348. The Diving-bell and the Butterfly by Jean-Dominique Bauby
349. The Lunatic at Large by J. Storer Clouston
350. Time for bed by David Baddiel
351. Barrayar by Lois McMaster Bujold
352. Quite Ugly One Morning by Christopher Brookmyre
353. The Bloody Sun by Marion Zimmer Bradley
354. Sewer, Gas, and Eletric by Matt Ruff
355. Jhereg by Steven Brust
356. So You Want To Be A Wizard by Diane Duane
357. Perdido Street Station, China Mieville
358. The Tenant of Wildfell Hall, Anne Bronte
359. Road-side Dog, Czeslaw Milosz
360. The English Patient, Michael Ondaatje
361. Neuromancer, William Gibson
362. The Epistemology of the Closet, Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick
363. A Canticle for Liebowitz, Walter M. Miller, Jr
364. The Mask of Apollo, Mary Renault
365. The Gunslinger, Stephen King
366. Romeo and Juliet, William Shakespeare
367. Childhood's End, Arthur C. Clarke
368. A Season of Mists, Neil Gaiman
369. Ivanhoe, Walter Scott
370. The God Boy, Ian Cross
371. The Beekeeper's Apprentice, Laurie R. King
372. Finn Family Moomintroll, Tove Jansson
373. Stormbringer, Michael Moorcock
374. Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep, Philip K. Dick
375. Assassin's Apprentice, Robin Hobb
376. number9dream, David Mitchell
377. A Game of Thrones, George R. R. Martin
378. Five Quarters of the Orange, Joanne Harris
379. Darkness at Noon, Arthur Koestler
380. Einstein's Dreams, Alan Lightman
381. Dance On My Grave, Aidan Chambers
382. Left Hand of Darkness, Ursula Leguin
383. Hyperion, Dan Simmons
384. Martian Chronicles, Ray Bradbury
385. Checkmate, Dorothy Dunnett
386. To Say Nothing of the Dog, Connie Willis
387. A Clash of Kings, George RR Martin
388. The Egyptian, Mika Waltari
389. Moab Is My Washpot, Stephen Fry
390. Contact, Carl Sagan
391. Mythago Wood, Robert Holdstock
392. Feersum Endjinn, Iain M. Banks
393. The Golden, Lucius Shepard
394. Decamerone, Boccaccio
395. Birdy, William Wharton
396. The Red Tent, Anita Diaman
397. The Foundation, Isaac Asimov
398. Il Principe, Machiavelli
399. Post Office, Charles Bukowski
400. Macht und Rebel, Abu Rasul
401. Grass, Sheri S. Tepper
402. The Long Walk, Richard Bachman
403. Neverwhere, Neil Gaiman
404. The Joy Of Work, Scott Adams
405. Romeo, Elise Title
406. The Ninth Gate, Arturo Perez-Reverte
407. Memnoch the Devil, Anne Rice
408. Dead Famous, Ben Elton
409. Scarlett, Alexandra Ripley
410. Dead Souls, Nikolai Gogol
411. Look to Windward, Iain M. Banks
412. The Colossus of Maroussi, Henry Miller
413. Branded, Alissa Quart
414. The Idiot, Fyodor Dostoyevsky
415. Dharma Bums, Jack Kerouac
416. White teeth, Zadie Smith
417. Under the bell jar, Sylvia Plath
418. The little prince of Belleville, Calixthe Beyala
419. Madame Bovary, Gustave Flaubert
420. A King Lear of the Steppes, Ivan Turgenev
421. The Brothers Karamazov, Fyodor Dostoyevsky
422. Memoirs of a Revolutionist, Peter Kropotkin
423. Hija de la Fortuna, Isabel Allende
424. Retrato en Sepia, Isabel Allende
425. Villette, Charlotte Brontë
426. Steppenwolf, Herman Hesse
427. Ubik, Philip K. Dick
428. Mein Kampf, Adolf Hitler
429. Solaris, Stanislaw Lem
430. The Sun Also Rises, Ernest Hemingway
431. Nausea, Jean Paul Sartre
432. The Island of the Day Before, Umberto Eco
433. The Elementary Particles, Michel Houellebecq
434. The Angel Of The West Window, Gustav Meyrink
435. A Farewell To Arms, Ernest Hemingway
436. Naked Lunch, William S. Burroughs
437. Slaughterhouse-Five, Kurt Vonnegut
438. In the Eyes of Mr. Fury, Philip Ridley
439. Consider Phlebas, Iain M. Banks
440. Into the Forest, Jean Hegland
441. Middlesex -Jeffrey Eugenides
442. The Giving Tree -Shel Silverstein
443. Go Ask Alice -Anonymous
444. Waiting For Godot, Samuel Becket
445. Blankets, Craig Thompson
446. The Girls' Guide To Hunting And Fishing, Melissa Banks
447. Voice of the Fire, Alan Moore
448. The Geography of Nowhere, James Howard Kunstler
449. Coraline, Neil Gaiman
450. The Circus of Dr. Lao, Charles G. Finney
451. Jitterbug Perfume, Tom Robbins
452. John Lennon: The Lost Weekend, by May Pang and Henry Edwards

Notes: No, I'm not an Orwell freak; we were assigned to read 1984, Animal Farm, and Brave New World in a high school English class I took, believe it or not. I started to read The Hobbit after I finished Lord of the Rings, but soon discovered that the latter had sated my thirst for Tolkien. Like (I suspect) many of my peers, I've read entirely too much Stephen King and Anne Rice. I read an excerpt from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory in Children's Digest one day as I waited to see the doctor when I was about 7 or 8. Have never been moved to look for and read the whole thing, although I wouldn't mind doing so. My high school library had a copy of The Divine Comedy, so I thought I'd give it a shot. I didn't get too far, but I'm glad I made the effort. I need to read more Kafka and Kerouac. I was a little surprised to see Blankets on the list- what's next, Owly? I have GOT to make myself sit down and finish Kavalier and Clay; I don't know whether that's an indictment of the book itself or my reading sloth.

Friday, March 25, 2005

Free Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.usIt's actually not too terribly busy today here at the Snooze, but am I poised to make blog hay out of the situation? Hell no. I got nuthin'. But I'll try to get a few shorties in before they bring another stack of ads in, which is usually what happens when I get started on something longish. First, the pic at left is something which caught my eye whilst I was perusing the June Image solicits over at CBR-the cover for issue 1 of STRANGE GIRL, a title by two folks with which I am totally unfamiliar with, Rick Remender (writer) and Eric Nguyen (drawer). Something about the description made the Hellstorm receptors in my brain, long dormant, perk I might find meself buying this if the mood strikes. Click on the pic to see it all big-like.

Lest you think this is going to turn into another Image solicits review, fear not- there wasn't anything else on the list that caught my attention, not really, other than what I'm already buying. I was amused by this line in the description of Walking Dead 21:

Could the dangers of this new world finally be behind them, or is this the calm before the storm?

Hm. Let me see. Whichever could it be? My money's on the storm.

Finally got to the comics shop yesterday, and bought most, I say most, of the books I was supposed to get. There was still no Street Angel 5 or Shaolin Cowboy 2- and when I asked about it they said they'd check on Cowboy and they wouldn't be getting any more Angels. Hu-wha? But it's on my pull list, I stammered, and lo and behold when they checked my sheet, there they were. AH-HA, said I, and much shrugging of shoulders ensued. I kinda got some vague assurances they'd be looking into it, but I'm a little chapped about the whole thing. Oh, if only I could afford to start DCBS. And this after I had impressed them by showing them my byline in the Wizard "How To Draw" book! Hmph! I went ahead and picked up the Owly: Just a Little Blue trade, and of course it's delightful.

Well, they just dropped a big, ugly outdoor gear retailer's ad here, and of course it's a Frankenstein mess of type here and art there and happy that's what I'll be doing the rest of the day. Who knows, perhaps I might have something else later. Perhaps not. Life is so uncertain.

Thursday, March 24, 2005

Image Hosted by

Ladies and gentlemen, I give you Sue Storm. As Mr. Fantastic likes her. From a GQ Magazine interview with Jessica Alba, by a writer for Los Angeles magazine with a condescending tone towards comics readers.
Free Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.usHello, boys and girls! I'm feeling better today, thanks for asking. Yesterday, I was at something like 50% capacity, today, 85%. Spent most of my day sleeping, when the dog wasn't barking, and my Mom and my kids weren't running in and out of the house.

Not much to report, really...but I did another foolish, impetuous thing today. On Tuesday, I had been Googling around looking for sites with artwork by Nestor Redondo, and some of what I found featured pages from the circa 1975 DC Comics extrapolation of the book/film Green Mansions, name of Rima The Jungle Girl, and it looked very good. Curiosity provoked, I went over to eBay to see what, if any, issues of Rima might be available...and wonder of wonders, there was a full run available with the "buy it now" option! Then when I noticed the minimum price, $24.99, I started to click away but then I noticed something I hadn't seen before at eBay, a "best offer" I decided I'd watch that auction and see if it went to the end with nobody buying. Nobody did, so I shot them an offer of $10 for the set of 7, with s&h of $4.95, which I thought was reasonable, and they accepted! So I am soon to be the proud owner of a clutch of 70s Jungle Girl books!

And please. Those of you who run comics shops, don't post a comment here along the lines of "Well, hell, I would have sold a run to you for half of that!" I don't want to know.

Rima was part of a brief sword-and-sorcery and adventure-comics expansion that DC undertook in the mid-70's, bringing us such titles as Conan knockoff Claw the Unconquered (actually not-bad, with some pretty good Giffen art), Stalker: The Man With The Stolen Soul (art by Ditko with Wally Wood inks!), Beowulf: Dragon Slayer, a clever take on the old legendary character and a personal favorite series. and others, none of which made it past the subsequent DC explosion/implosion. I remember seeing Rima on the stands, with its Joe Kubert covers and Nestor Redondo interiors, and to be honest, I don't know why I didn't pick them up. Guess I'll make up for that now. I'm sure these aren't timeless classics, but they should be a good afternoon's read, I'm thinking. By the way, click on the cover at above left to see a bigger version. I'm kinda enamored of this, can't ya tell?

Wednesday, March 23, 2005

I'm home from work with a nasty cold right now, so blogging will be light today if at all. But don't cry for me, Argentina, because it's just one of those sniffly-nose and run-down-feeling type colds and with some rest and that sort of stuff I should be fit as a fiddle and right as rain tomorrow. I hope. What does suck is that I won't be able to go get my new comics today. Bleah.

By the way- that long-awaited top 50 (yeah, I know, I said 25- actually the list is 55, I couldn't stop) favorite albums list is up and awaiting your perusal at the LiveJournal Show. I put it there so it would stay up longer. Anyway, check it out and having checked, comment! God loveth a cheerful commenter, or something like that.

Free Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.usHuh? That drawing? Oh, yeah- JBS favorite Jen Wang has updated her main website with lots of great art, and you, yes you, should go look at it while I convalesce. Click on the pic to see it full size, or just click on the link- it's the illo that graces her index page!

Jen also has work appearing in September in an interesting-looking anthology called You Ain't No Dancer with the likes of Bryan Lee O'Malley, Jim Mahfood, Hope Larson, and others. More competition for my pathetically inadequate entertainment dollar.

Anyway, I'm going to go pass out in front of the TV now. Déwa mata.

Tuesday, March 22, 2005

Free Image Hosting at"With Dylan, so much has been said about him, it's difficult so say anything about him that hasn't already been said, and say it better. Suffice it to say Dylan is a planet to be explored. For a songwriter, Dylan is as essential as a hammer and nails and a saw are to a carpenter."

Leave it to Tom Waits to say that there's nothing that can be said about Dylan that no one's said before...then he goes and says something that (to the best of my knowledge, anyway) no one's said before! Anyway, this quote is from an Observer article in which Tom lists his most cherished albums of all time, and I'm proud to say that we share one at least.

Which one? Well, I guess I'll have to post a top 25 list someday, as I've been threatening to do for two years now, so you'll know!

Thanks to Mik Cary for the link...
If my Dad, on the long-ago, dim and distant date of January 16, 1960, had stopped to buy a DC comic book (not that he would have, of course- as far as I knew he never read the things) to look at while he was waiting for me to make my grand entrance into the world, here's what he would have to choose from.

Via Mike's Amazing World of DC Comics' "Time Machine" page, which I saw via Elmo's Junction.

Now as we all know, there was about at 2 month lag in cover dates and actual newsstand dates, so that's why I went forward to March of 1960. Here are the comics which he has for January 1960, many of which bear a February cover stamp. Pretty cool, and a little confusing!

Arigato to Bob at Four Realities for correcting my erroneous impression of comics cover dates!
Free Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.usSomething I neglected to mention when I ran through what I'll be getting this week comics-wise is the publication you see at right, the WIZARD BEST OF BASIC TRAINING DELUXE TP, which should contain my first-ever write-for-pay article. Of course, I haven't received said pay yet, nor have I received (nor do I know for sure if I will receive) a copy, so I'm a little anxious about whether there will be any "me" left in the final version...but I'm assured my byline will be intact, and that's enough for now. Anyway, if you see it on the rack, no pun intended, look it over and let me know what you think!

Two Thumbs Down.

From the Bacardi Show Political Correspondent comes this dismaying news:

Sony Adapting Marvel's Killraven
Source: Variety
March 20, 2005

Sony Pictures is in talks with Marvel Entertainment to develop comic book character Killraven into a sci-fi tentpole film, reports Variety.

Set in a future where mankind has been enslaved by an alien race, storyline follows a man who, though born in captivity, rises through gladiatorial battles to become the leader of a group of revolutionaries. Called the Freemen, his warrior-slaves unite in an attempt to drive the invaders off the Earth.

The trade adds that Sony already is in discussions with Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Robert Schenkkan ("The Kentucky Cycle") to adapt the 1970s comic book series.

Marvel Studios' Avi Arad would produce the film, along with Angry Films' Don Murphy. Kevin Feige of Marvel would executive produce.

You all know how much I loved those 70's McGregor/Russell/Others War of the Worlds comics. And you all know that this will be a cluster fuck which will make Alan Davis' wrongheaded revival attempt of a couple of years ago look like a faithful adaptation- or perhaps advance storyboards in anticipation of Spielberg's War of the Worlds flick. I'm not looking forward to this at all.

Monday, March 21, 2005

Spawn of Frankenstein, part 4

At long last: Part 4 of my 4-part look at future Seventh Soldier

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When we left Spawny, at the end of Phantom Stranger 25, he had decided to try and resurrect the man who had revived him, Victor Adams. His plan hit a temporary snag when he ran afoul of devil worshipper Mordecai and his brutish manservant Mammon, who had kidnapped Adams' widow Rachael in order to use her as a sacrifice to open a gate to Hell, so Mordecai could go be with his master, Satan. But thanks to Spawny's interference, their plans were scuttled and they ended up as a devil worshipper barbecue as the perished in the supernatural flames they had conjured. But.

And before I go any further, an apology: last time, I said that the SoF back-feature never returned to the "Resurrection of Victor Adams" after the big crossover story with the main character, the Phantom Stranger. Problem is, #26 is a direct continuation of the "RoVA" story, and I just plain ol' forgot, not having read the comic for quite some time. I was right in one thing, though: the plot was never resolved with any finality, to the best of my recollection. So, onward to the contents of Phantom Stranger #26- script co-credited to SoF writer Marv Wolfman and then-PS-scripter Len Wein, with art by the up-to-then regular PS artist, Jim Aparo. Regular SoF artist Mike Kaluta did get to do the striking cover, with its unusual-for-1973 color scheme, and the only time Spawny ever got on the cover. And we begin right where we left off in #25.

The monster doesn't know this, but the gateway that Mordecai and Mammon tried to open stayed open long enough to let two demons emerge, and they head straight for Spawny and possess him as he makes his way to the university hospital to get the equipment he needs.

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Meanwhile, Dr. Thirteen continues his hospital vigil over his comatose wife, Marie, and receives an unexpected visitor: The Phantom Stranger. Now, these two go way back, and Dr. T does his usual "What the heck do YOU want, you fraud" schtick, and the Stranger says "Yo, foo, why you frontin' wit' me?" or something like that. Anyway, they bicker like old women until the Stranger hears a racket somewhere else in the building, and he interrupts Spawny, apparently undeterred by the pair of demons now squatting inside him, in the act of boosting the equipment he needs. Now, the Stranger has a lot of amazing qualities, but he's never been much in the fisticuffs department, and the Monster quickly overpowers him- and decides to zap him with the scale model laser he has stolen. At this time, Dr. T bursts in, and recognizing the creature he holds responsible for Adams' death and his wife's coma, typically tries to reason with the creature...nah, he does what he always does, charges irrationally, shouting "I'll kill you!", and Spawny throws him out the window for his trouble. The Stranger, having recovered somewhat, immediately dives out after the hotheaded Doctor.

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By now, we, the readers, have glommed on to the fact that Spawny is not just in a bad mood but is being influenced by his demonic bodysquatters. Of course, Dr. T and the Stranger don't know this yet. Well, the Stranger would say that he knew all along, of course- he's kinda like that sometimes- but he doesn't really know.

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In fact, for reasons unknown, the demons force Spawny to kidnap Marie Thirteen before he leaves the hospital, while Doc T and PS are occupied. When he returns to Mordecai's lab, where he's stashed Victor's body along with his widow Rachel, who was awake and screaming at being in the room with the corpse of her late husband in the last panel of #25 but has apparently passed back out, no doubt tuckered out by all the screaming. The demons try to get him to kill Rachael by zapping her with the laser. When he refuses, the pissed-off demons decide to leave him and possess Victor and Marie's bodies.

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The demonic duo, which go by the names Pornipus and Flagermot (they probably bailed outta Hell because all the other demons made fun of their names), try to kill the SoF (so that another demon, presumably with a less stupid name, can possess it) by animating some suits of armor, and when this doesn't work, they cause him to be encircled by flames, which burn through the floor, causing him to be trapped in the basement or cellar of the house.

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Spawny manages to escape his pit prison, and leaps out, slamming Victor's body with a devastating feet-first blow, which stuns the demon, but doesn't harm Victor's body (the funeral home guys must be proud at the enbalming job they did), which prompts Spawny to think that if he can smack up enough on the bodies, the demons will bail. As he proceeds to throw Marie/Flagermot out the window (he likes this method of fighting, apparently), the Stranger and Doc Thirteen arrive at the house.

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Dr.T manages to catch Marie/Flagermot, and brings her inside as the Stranger confronts the Monster. M/F revives, and much to Dr.T's dismay, zaps a chandelier over his head. The Stranger, by now (I'm sure) getting annoyed at having to save Doc T's bacon yet again, uses his cape to magically deflect the heavy fixture. Dr. T whips out a pistol, and begins to fire at Spawny- and it's obvious that Thirteen never watched horror movies when he was a kid because OF COURSE they have no effect. The SoF throttles Dr. T, but by now the Stranger's beginning to catch on, and reasons with him.

Flag and Porny decide that they don't want to tussle with the Stranger and the Monster anymore, and fly up in the air, calling upon the Moon to blast the house with a magically enhanced moonbeam.

Fortunately, they took their sweet time about it, and the Stranger and company are able to get out of the house before the moonbeam zaps it to dust. Porny and Flagy swoop back down, and try to moon-blast them again, but this time the Stranger is ready for them,

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And uses his medallion to zap them with their own moonbeam...which causes their demonic adversaries to cease to exist. Which brings us to the end, and the status quo is preserved.

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The equipment that Spawny stole was, I assume, vaporized with the house, so I suppose that was the end of the "Resurrection of Victor Adams" notion.

Of course, as I've written before, after this Wein, Wolfman, Kaluta and Aparo moved on to Swamp Thing and The Shadow and Marvel Comics and Phantom Stranger #27 brought an all-new art team to both the lead and the backup as Arnold Drake and Gerry Talaoc took over the Stranger's adventures, in which he became more of a passive participant in his own stories- often to the point of being merely a narrator- and the Spawn got Steve Skeates as a scripter, and the Golden Age Spectre artist Bernard Baily as illustrator. The story, as it was and to the best of my memory (I don't own Phantom Stranger #'s 27-30 anymore), wasn't all that bad- Spawny ran afoul of a Charlie Manson-style cult and its leader, but that's about all I recall. But Baily had nothing left in the tank, and his art was awful, to put it mildly. The story wound up in #30, after which the Black Orchid took his spot in Phantom Stranger, and the Spawn of Frankenstein was seen no more. Or if he was, it was just a cameo or appearance in some kind of reference book...I don't remember seeing the character again, but it's entirely possible he was in something I didn't buy in the last 30-something years.

Anyway, that's it for my look at the Spawn of Frankenstein. Hope you've found it enlightening and useful. If I should ever acquire those Skeates-Baily issues again, perhaps I can post a breakdown of them like I have these. So bring on Seven Soldiers: Spawn of Frankenstein!- later this year!

All of these concepts, characters, and art are ©2005 DC Comics, Inc.
100 BULLETS #59

My haul Wednesday, so saith the new Diamond shipping list. When you factor in STREET ANGEL #5 and SHAOLIN COWBOY #2, which may or may not have come in, that's a fat stack.

On top of that, I've giving serious thought to picking up RUNAWAYS #2, because I've read a lot of positive stuff about it here and there. I'll have to track down #1 at some point as well. And of course, I've still got two issues of DETECTIVE, #'s 802 & 803, plus the OWLY: JUST A LITTLE BLUE trade put back. So many books, so little disposable income...
Free Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.usThe oddest thing happened to me the other day. I was at home, my doorbell rang, and when I looked out the door there was a white box on my front porch. And the strangest thing was that I could swear I caught a brief glimpse of a transparent fella with a head shaped like a heart out of the corner of my eye...

Anyway, all seriousness aside, I just finished reading the contents of that white box: both volumes of AiT/PlanetLar's ELECTRIC GIRL, by Michael Brennan- thanks to the well-known and justifiably celebrated generosity of Larry Young, whose head is not shaped like a heart, at least not to my knowledge. And despite my complaints a while back about how nobody seems to be writing anything for adults and so on, I gotta admit that I got a, well, (if you'll excuse the expression) charge out of them both.

Electric Girl is an account of a, well, girl...who was born with the ability to conduct electricity with her bare hands. She also has a companion, an invisible gremlin (with the aforementioned heart-shaped head) named Oogleeoog, who gave her this ability and has made her his pet mischief-making project, which is the chief concern of all gremlins, we're told. Mischief-making. In these volumes, we meet Virginia (our E-Girl), her professor Dad and her businesswoman Mom, who's always traveling, it seems; her cute, impetuous dog Blammo, her friends, including Abby, who is an intern for uptight, egotistical control-freak college Professor Flosznik, who is head of a team that is trying to create artificial intelligence, and succeeds at least twice- once with a big robot that develops an attraction to Virginia, which of course leads to complications, and the other, which would be a big fat spoiler so I won't elaborate further. An so on and so on. There are a lot of characters that weave their way in and out of these deceptively short stories, and they're all interesting and well-thought-out. We also get many looks at Virginia through random instances in her life- sometimes the story deals with her as a young girl, sometimes as college-age, and so on. Of course, Oogleeoog has his gremlin peers as well, and they make the occasional fun appearance, including an odd-looking little gremlin fella with a cat-like head who functions as a gremlin referee of sorts.

Brennan does his best not to let this go into typical super-hero territory; although he does set up adversaries of sorts for Virginia, she never dons a costume and fights evil or that sort of thing (except for one fun episode where, as a young girl and at Oog's urging, draws lightning bolts on all her clothes and considers a life of crimefighting)...instead, her conflicts with people work themselves out in often clever ways, as in the case of Timmy, a child super-genius who goes through more babysitters than Calvin and Dennis the Menace put together and has a penchant for creating deadly robots- she accidentally encounters him early on, but in a later story gets hired to baby-sit him! Once in a while Brennan gets all surreal on us- a highlight of the first trade is a dream story towards the end (I suppose it first appeared in #4) in which Ginny realizes her worst fears and gets put on trial for electrocuting people; Brennan pulls it off nicely, with a lot of imagination. Another story which really stood out to me was one in which Virginia is almost abducted by a child molester, and Oog tries his best to protect her without interfering, a gremlin no-no. It was tense and very involving.

Brennan's art is a little problematic for me- it goes down easy, but is sometimes a little awkward and underdrawn in places, and he apparently uses one, and one only, ink line which gives his early stories a very samey look. Around issue #5, though, he begins to incorporate grey tones in his art, and it makes a lot of difference, giving it a more finished look. Style-wise, he's an amalgam of Scott McCloud, Richard Sala, and Andi Watson...he utilizes Watson's simplism, shares McCloud's penchant for stiffness in his figure drawings, and reminds me a lot of Sala in his faces, especially his females. Still, he's fine, and conveys the charm of the whole concept very well.

Free Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.usBesides this, the only real complaint I have is that some of the stories don't always follow a strict cause-and-effect logic, and seem to be held together by coincidence and duck tape...but the overall feel is so breezy and genial that I can easily overlook this. Sometimes it's a bit disorienting when he skips around from young-girl-Virginia to older-girl Virginia stories, but it's not a major problem. If you're looking for a fun read that can be appreciated by all ages, then I highly recommend Electric Girl. If you're interested, has a whole page devoted to the book. If I understand it correctly, there will soon be a volume three, and I plan to pick that up as soon as humanly possible.
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Made an impulse purchase Saturday- the new DVD of THE INCREDIBLES. And at the risk of being superfluous or presumptuous, after I watched it (heck, even during) the only thing I could think of was that this film fulfills all the promise of every superhero comic since Siegel and Shuster first walked through the doors of National Periodical Publications.

Much has already been written and it's all near-unanimous in its praise, so I won't attempt to spit in the ocean, as it were. But I will say that most of you who read me know how much I dislike most films with superhero comics as their inspiration, most are compromised, dumbed-down and brain-dead affairs that rarely capture anything that comics actually are to those who care to see. But The Incredibles satisfies on nearly every level. It's one of the most intelligent treatments of superheroes and the people who have to coexist with them in their world since Watchmen or Astro City, and it refreshingly never lapses into soap-opera sludge or smart-assed snark. It succeeds on every level- visual: characters, costumes, animation, even color choices are all clever, well-thought-out and spot-on; as an adventure film, with its strong James Bond (and that was brilliant, working in so many references to Bond films here) feel; as a family-themed character drama of sorts, without succumbing to Hollywood's apparent need to impart "life lessons" to those of us who it deems needful, and its depictions of Mr. Incredible's attempts to get along in the business world and his friendship with fellow retired hero Frozone are all perceptive and nuanced, and of course there's the overlying theme about conformity and why it's not necessarily a good thing; and as a comedy- it's constantly clever and funny without becoming crass and pandering, and there's even enough slapstick to keep the little kids entertained.

What this tells me is that after the excellent Iron Giant and this, director/writer Brad Bird gets it. And is apparently able to bring it to the big screen, which is even more miraculous. I hope he can keep it up. The Incredibles is as solid as a rock, fresh as a spring day, and more fun than coming up with cliches to describe how much you like something. Hell, it probably should have been up for a best picture Oscar®, and not just best animated picture. I guess what I'm trying to say here is that I liked this film a lot, and I think you will too, if you haven't already seen it and know what I'm talking about.

Sunday, March 20, 2005

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What I bought and what I thought, week of March 9!

OK, let's take a look at this dreadfully dull, decompressed, stretched-out-for-the-trade comic book, shall we? And if I spoil, I apologize- but hey, so little happens, there's nothing to spoil, right? As we begin, Cap and the group disarm a bomber. We are reminded that the media remain skeptical of the necessity of having such a powerful group to perform such menial tasks. We also see Hank Pym working on what appears to be "Ultimate Ultron". There's a telling conversation between Captain America and the Wasp, which points to trouble for their relationship down the road. A little somewhat-less-than-comic relief with Jarvis at a "Billionaire Bachelor's Club". Then, Tony Stark give the Black Widow a present of her own armor, and the proposes in the way that only a multi-billionaire can. In Italy, the police break up a peaceful demonstration, which is in turn broken up by Thor, once again fighting what he perceives to be the good fight. We next discover that Clint Barton is married with two kids, then finds out about Thor's encounter as he's summoned by Nick Fury via helicopter. Next, we're in Brussels where we find out more about other countries' Super-Soldier programs, and are introduced to a host of other Captains, from different countries- Captain Britain, Captain Italy, etc. Millar defuses the silliness of these names by having his characters make fun of the naming convention. We also get a version of Thor's origin, and how he stole his hammer and armor from his brother, and fled to pursue his humanistic goals. It becomes obvious to all that Thor must be dealt with, since he's becoming a pain in the ass to all concerned, then we go to Norway where Thor is camped with his followers, including an alternachick Jane Foster, and is confronted by the Captains and our Ultimates...and as a cliffhanger, Cap A once more gets to demonstrate what a dick he is in this version. Boy, that's a whole lotta nothing, huh! Maybe my ADD isn't as bad as I thought. A

The Question gets a somewhat unexpected ghostly ally (whose murder didn't exactly seem to be the smartest thing to do, given the circumstances) in this penultimate issue, in which Rick Veitch sets the stage for the grande finale next month. Some nice character moments in this issue courtesy of Lois Lane and Jimmy Olsen's downright mean ridicule of Vic Sage college-age poetry at Sage's expense, and Sage's suppressed reaction to same. As always, nicely drawn by Tommy Lee Edwards, and vividly colored. If Veitch doesn't blow the ending, this up-and-down series has a good chance of finishing on a high. A-

This book continues its upward swing of late with the continuation of the dueling Jill Presto-and-her-unwanted-baby and the Lilith/Lilim/Mazikeen war on Heaven storylines, which Mike Carey seems to be a lot more interested in than other recent storylines. Good for us. As always, the Peter Gross/Ryan Kelly art is competent. A-

No new surprises here as Jaime continues to give us interesting, funny, and sometimes sexy spotlights on Hopey and Ray, along with some amusing sports misadventures with Maggie, and Gilbert continues his "Dumb Solitaire" storyline, with which I remain fascinated in spite of myself. I'm beginning to wonder more and more if the Bros. aren't in a rut of a less obvious sort...but at least it's an interesting rut, so I won't complain. A-

The mystery was a weak and convoluted one, each twist having to be constantly explained and referred to every step of the way (and that drives me crazy), and the dialogue was always clunky...but the resolution didn't strain credibility too much (although it certainly seemed like he pulled the real perpretator out of thin air) and I kinda liked this Nate Hollis character, or at least his potential. While I doubt that Gary Phillips is the one to help him realize it, I wouldn't mind seeing him pop up again someday. Guess we'll find out whether this will happen if this should somehow manage to get collected, despite its abysmal sales- but I'm not holding my breath. Another thing that I fervently hope is that Shawn Martinbrough gets a better, more high-profile and more challenging project with which to showcase his illustrative skills next time. This issue: B-. Entire series: C+

MIA: STREET ANGEL #5, SHAOLIN COWBOY #2, and the 100% TPB, coming (hopefully) sooner rather than later from DCBS.

Friday, March 18, 2005

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Yes, it's come to this. Super busy all day at the "main" job, then worked at the radio station this evening engineering the board for the state high school basketball tournament games we're carrying, and I get to get up and do the same thing tomorrow at 8:45 AM CST. Then, at 4 PM, I get together with a gang of drunken degenerates to participate in our fantasy baseball draft, which will last God knows how long. Then I get to get up at, oh, 5 AM and do the Sunday morning gospel programming thing (AKA Ringmaster of the Holy Roller Circus) from 6 AM-1:30 PM. So what I'm trying to say is that blogging may be light for the next 36 hours or so.

So in the meantime, here's a picture of Satan Cat, also known as Dino. I'm not sure when this was taken, but it's been fairly recently, I'm sure. The date on the file isn't accurate. Yes, I'm cat blogging because I haven't got the time or energy to write anything substantial. I'll try to get back in the saddle Sunday afternoon or Monday, unless I'm to hung over.

It started as just a way to comment on other people's LiveJournals without having to hand code a link to the Show, and otherwise not post anonymously...and so I could have one of those neato-keeno icons when I did comment- but lately, I've been indulging myself in a little writing over there as well. I call it, in my own clever little fashion, The Johnny Bacardi LiveJournal Show, and I'm beginning to think perhaps I could emphasize the comics stuff (which I pretty much do now, actually) here and write things of a more personal nature, and music and such, post art on those infrequent occasions that I do any, over there, and very little, if any comics. I think most, not all, but most of my readers visit here for the comics stuff anyway...but the thing is, I don't like to get in a rut of writing about one thing exclusively, and a second venue might provide a way to maintain a focus over here. Or perhaps I'm just over-analyzing, as usual, and I should just do whatever comes naturally. Anyway, I'm linking to the LJ in my "I Me Mine" section, and feel free to check it out whenever you please!

Just wanted to share...more later, time permitting.

Thursday, March 17, 2005

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Happy ST. PATRICK'S DAY, everybody!

If you go out and drink a Guinness today, hoist it high for ol' Johnny B!

Wednesday, March 16, 2005

DC's SOLICITATIONS FOR JUNE are out- say, I've got an idea...why don't I go through them and comment on what I find interesting?

Trying something new this time- click on the cover images for a larger image. We'll see how it works.

Free Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.usFirst of all, the Bat-books. Since I am now committed to picking up Dave Lapham's "City of Crime" 12-issue arc, here's Lapham's cover DETECTIVE COMICS #807. I like the composition.

Free Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.usI'm not interested in getting the BATMAN: WAR GAMES trades, but they have nice James Jean covers, and I'm always up for posting a Jean cover. Makes my humble page look better.

Free Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.usUpon first glance, the color scheme for the cover of BATMAN: LEGENDS OF THE DARK KNIGHT #192 is really eye-catching. Upon closer examination, though, I'm not especially impressed with artist Seth Fisher's rendition of the Caped Crusader. The story here is written by Chase's D.C.Johnson and J.H. Williams III, but Fisher's on art. If Chase were appearing in this, I'd buy.

Free Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.usSean Phillips does the cover for GOTHAM CENTRAL #32, and it's very nice. I wonder if they're gonna leave the crop marks and stuff on the printed book? Anyway, if Phillips were to assume the art duties on this comic it would be hellasweet. That said, I think new penciller Kano (whose work I liked a lot on H-E-R-O will be just fine.

Now, I'm a firm believer in that hoary old saying "You can't go home again"- how many times have we seen, in the past, a creator or creators returning to the scenes of past glory only to turn out mediocrity at best and downright dreck at worst? And the covers I'm seeing for BATMAN: DARK DETECTIVE #'s 3 & 4 are proving that old saying true yet again- those are two butt-ugly illustrations by the Marshall Rogers- Terry Austin team. Was a time when I thought Rogers was one hell of an interesting artist and eagerly awaited his infrequent appearances; now, after a long hiatus, it seems like he hasn't gained a thing or advanced an inch. I'm going to give the benefit of the doubt to this for now- even though these covers do nothing for me, it may be that Steve Englehart is perfectly able to craft an interesting story out of the long-ago discarded building blocks of his 70s Detective stint. I won't get my hopes up, though, 'cause let's face it...that synopsis doesn't sound like the freshest thing to come down the pike in the last three decades, does it?

Despite the regrettable decision by new cover artist Adam Hughes to outfit our heroine in pleather- or is it shinyl vinyl?- on CATWOMAN #44, impressive for the fetish crowd, I guess, but annoying to me- it's still a great drawing and the new creative team of Wil Pfiefer and Pete Woods is promising. I dove off the bandwagon when Gulacy came aboard, but I might just have to climb back on.

Despite Pfiefer's presence, I fully intend to pass on John Byrne's Demon book. But after looking at the first three covers, as well as the cover for BLOOD OF THE DEMON #4, I gotta ask- what's up with Byrne's wrinkly, pruney Etrigan? Did he stay in the bathtub too long? Does he need some Oil of Olay? Wassup wit dat?

I'm used to a lot of oddball things in comics these days, heaven knows, but Detective Chimp? In DAY OF VENGEANCE #3? What the F-? I'm kinda on the bubble with this title as well; I don't remember signing up for it but I may have because I'm such a Spectre geek, along with the rest of DC's supernatural posse. Those Simonson covers, though, have all uniformly been blandly drawn and the color has been U-G-L-Y.

I've seen a few negative remarks, around the ol' Comics Blogosphereiverse, about Kevin Maguire's sexist-seeming and female-objectifying cover for JLA CLASSIFIED #8, which sports a black leather-clad Mary Marvel putting a beatdown on Guy Gardner. And y'know what? It's true. But y'know what else? I don't care. The next issue, #9, comes out the same month and features a much less offensive but even funnier cover, with a giant G'Nort on a rampage. Bwah-ha-ha!

All three SEVEN SOLDIERS covers look great this month, but the one for KLARION THE WITCH BOY #2 really stands out. Looks like they're reprising the late-90's closeup cover stunt DC used on all their books for the month.

A sketchy, sloppy portrait of Slam Bradley on the cover of SOLO #5 lets us know that the spotlight is on none other than Darwyn Cooke. I love Mr. Cooke's art, so I'll be getting this.

Free Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.usSON OF VULCAN #1 . SON OF VULCAN #1 ? What the-? Who the hell greenlighted this? The umpteenth revival of a D-list Charlton character, and we all know how well THAT'S worked for DC in the past. Who's next- Wander? Anyway, this doesn't look terrible, but I pass just the same. Son of Vulcan. Gimme a break.

Big, epic multi-issue limited series continue to be all the rage at National; this month we have, among others, THE RANN/THANAGAR WAR #2 and VILLAINS UNITED #2 . Rann/Thanagar at least has Dave Gibbons scripting, but I dunno. Life and money are short.

JUSTICE LEAGUE UNLIMITED #10 features the Animated-style Creeper. I've always liked the Creeper, and I really liked his appearance on the cartoon, so I might just consider picking this up.

Free Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.usTHE BALLAD OF HALO JONES TP is something that each and every one of you reading this should consider reading, if you haven't already. It's an older Alan Moore work, for sure, but it's completely fascinating, nicely drawn by the underrated Ian Gibson, and I liked it a lot when I got the three collections that someone (I forget who) released in the 80s.

ASTRO CITY: THE DARK AGE consists of four 4-issue arcs stretching across Astro City's darkest era. AARGH! Why do all these comics publishers assume we have money to burn?

CITY OF TOMORROW #3 Speaking of sexist, objectifying covers, here's cleavage a la Chaykin. Of course. This is the man that gave us Black Kiss, and he does it so well! I'm definitely going to be picking this up.

Ladies and gentlemen, for your entertainment pleasure, another spectacular James Jean cover. From FABLES #38 .

Let's just get it out in the open right now: Mike Kaluta's cover for LUCIFER #63 is not one of his best. God knows I love me that MWK, but even the mighty stumble once in a while.

NEIL GAIMAN'S NEVERWHERE #1 could be interesting, or it could be a pretentious trainwreck. We shall see.

Of course, you all know that you should get the WE3 TP, especially if you haven't read it yet. Others may disagree. I showed you the cover the other day.

Finally, all I can say is that if I'm gonna cough up 90 bucks for a gorram statue of the Black Canary, then she damn well better be wearing fishnets! Hmph!

And that'll do it for another month.