Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Five years. What a surprise. My brain hurts a lot. I never thought I'd meet so many people.

Yes, it was five years ago today that, inspired to create my own by a link on one of Elayne Riggs' message board posts, I tentatively wrote this, my first tentative steps towards joining in on the whole internet weblogging thingamabob. Since then, as I've said before, I've met a whole lot of wonderful people, including many that I have revered growing up; had some incredible (and sadly, only one profitable) opportunities that I would not have been afforded had I not started, and by and large have had a pretty good time writing about, as I was fond of putting it, "stuff I like".

Then, not long after I started, the Comics Blogosphere happened, and since I was reviewing and writing about comics as well as music, movies, sports and TV, I was kinda caught up in the groundswell and witnessed how it grew (for better or worse). I have been privileged to see the advent of a ton of great writers who have written either solo or as part of a collective, many of whom extended friendship and respect my way. Even though I kept writing about other things, eventually I decided to focus on comics at the expense of the other subjects, and that's what I've featured here for quite some time now.

Which brings me to an announcement of sorts. Here on my fifth blogging anniversary, I've come to a decision. For a number of reasons, I have decided to shut this blog down for the foreseeable future. I've gone on hiatus before, but this is different.

While I have no intention of giving up my comics habit, which I've spent the best part of 47 years nurturing, I'm frankly just running out of things to say about them. It's not that there aren't still good comics being published, far from it- but there is a mean-spiritedness and an overt cynicism in a lot of what is being published these days that spoils a lot of the entertainment that is presumably there to be had; it's like these writers and artists are terrified that someone won't think they're "hip" or "edgy" so they write the most nihilistic, oppressive things they can think of, and feel satisfied that they've been true to their self-perception as an arbiter of what is "cool", and have serviced their faithful fans. While I have never been opposed to realism or dark tones to any of my fantasy fiction, too much of anything, especially the negative, is never a good thing and just because you CAN do a thing doesn't mean you SHOULD. It's like they're writing as if they're afraid the cool kids will make fun of them. Some writers get it. Many more don't. But all I know is that I seem to be reading fewer and fewer titles these days, almost no mainstream superhero titles, and judging by what I keep seeing here and there around the Web, that's fine with me.

Regardless, and forgive me digressing, there are other factors- I had hoped that when I took my new job in April, the reduced stress would rekindle my enthusiasm, but it hasn't happened. Also adding to my malaise is the fact that more and more I feel like I'm shouting out in the middle of the forest as loudly as I can, but no one is hearing. I do have my readers, I know, and commenters, and I am thankful for all of them. But I look at my referral stats and I'd bet that on a good day, 1/2 to 3/4 of my hits are image searches. I rarely, if ever, get linked to by any of the "major" linkers of the Comics Blogosphere; Deppey pretty much ignores me, and only smirkingly threw me a link bone once since Journalista has relaunched; Heidi, too, and the only time I can recall getting a mention on The Beat was for getting embarrassed and hassled on a message board. Tom Spurgeon, God bless him, will link to my reviews if I send him an email, but I seriously doubt if Jog or Graeme or Carlson has to do the same; and so forth. Speaking of Carlson, I am well beneath her radar as well. Which is not to say that it's their fault; there are lots of voices out there to choose from and frankly, mine has not always been the clearest, loudest or brightest, nor have I always stayed in key. And please understand that I'm fully aware that when it comes to writing and/or reviewing with length, substance and insight, I am in no way the equal of a Jog, Ian Brill, Alan David Doane, or Bill Sherman, to name a few. I recognize and accept my shortcomings. After all, I'm a graphic designer slash prepress artist, not a journalist. But still, a little recognition goes a long way towards building enthusiasm, that's all I'm saying. Shouting into the void becomes wearisome. I just don't feel like part of the conversation anymore, and I can't muster up the enthusiasm to do what it takes to join in again.

I've always said that when this came to be more like an obligation or a chore than something I did for fun, then I would stop. That's what it's become, so that's what I'm going to do. If you, for some godforsaken reason, just want to read what I might post in the future, by all means visit my LiveJournal- I intend to put stuff up there from time to time. It probably won't be comics stuff though. I also intend to continue the Elton John commentary blog, since it will have a finite time of ending at some point in the future. I still plan on dropping a comment once in a while here and there, because not writing about comics doesn't necessarily mean stop reading what others have to say about them. And I'm not ruling out a return to writing about comics- I plan to keep buying and reading them. I just am not going to worry myself about squeezing out what I laughingly refer to as "reviews" weeks after everyone else has read them and discussed them at length. For the last several months, there have been far too many memes and uninspired "posting a cover" types of posts, and it just needs to stop. If for some reason I change my mind and return to this blog, I may just start over with a new template and get rid of a lot of the flair I have over there on the linkbar. Who knows. I don't want to seal up the door, just put a good, sturdy lock on it.

Anyway, that's it. Happy 5 years to me. I just want to say thank you to everyone who's ever stopped by and spent some time, and linked to me, or commented. The friendships and acquaintances I've made are a source of much joy to me. Thanks to everyone for everything. Be good, be good to each other, and may every song you sing be your favorite tune, in the words of Mick Jagger.

It remains to Freakazoid to have the final say, I think. Apologies for stealing Tom Foss' April Fool's Day prank.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Y'know, there was a time when I would go through the monthly new comics solicitations for DC, Marvel, Image, and others, and devote a long post to them, even posting cover images and everything. I'm finding that as with so many other things, I'm just not finding a whole lot of time, desire, or energy to do that anymore. Combine that with the predominant apathy I feel towards much of DC, Marvel, and others' published output, with about $50 worth of monthly exceptions, and that explains a great deal. To my satisfaction, anyway.

However, finding myself with a modicum of all three tonight, I did notice a few things as I scrolled through January's DC offerings...and they are as follows:

First and most notable to me is the DIANA PRINCE: WONDER WOMAN VOL. 1 TP, something I never ever thought I'd see, Hell, I figured they'd put out a Thriller collection before they'd reprint these late 60's-early 70's stories, in which they let Mike Sekowsky (with DC 70's MVP Dennis O'Neil scripting) totally revamp the Amazon Princess into something more like the Avengers' Emma Peel, played with aplomb by Diana Rigg. As I'm sure most of you know, she lost her superpowers, depended on martial arts skills instead, mentored by an elderly blind Asian man who went by the sobriquet "I Ching". She was also given an assortment of Emma Peel-esque groovy 60's outfits to wear. Wonder Woman fans, the ones who have actually read them that is, are mixed in their opinions about this relatively brief period in the characters' history. Me? Well...I'll be honest here, I've never read any of them in their entirety. Well, that's not exactly true- I used to own a copy of #202, the penultimate Diana Prince... issue, and that was because it featured Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser, whom I had discovered a few months after this one hit the stands in 1972. I picked it up in the back issue bin. That said, I have read a few pages here and there via such sources as the scans_daily LJ community, Wonder Woman-devoted websites and so forth, and have always been fascinated by them.

Now, I should add here that I am not particularly a fan of the established Wonder Woman character; when I was a kid growing up, I did have an issue or two as I recall, and did enjoy her in the Justice League stories of the day...but she never grabbed me as hard as many of the other DC/Marvel superheroes, male or female, did. Many of those wild-ass Kanigher/Andru/Esposito stories were just too childishly weird for my childishly weird tastes. Since I wasn't really a fan of the character, I didn't care much when they altered her so drastically (coincidentally, if you clicked the last link above, you'll notice that one issue I owned as an 8-year-old was the last issue before the change) but neither did I want to read about a de-powered superhero (even though I loved watching The Avengers, strangely enough) I didn't buy a single issue of the entire Diana Prince run. Don't really even remember seeing them on the spinner racks, come to think of it. As I got older, despite some sweet Nick Cardy covers, the 1970's and most of the 80's were made up of a ton of bland, uninspired comics, a real waste of trees like so many of DC and Marvel's main licensed properties were in that long-lost decade. Perez and Byrne in the 80's and 90's left me cold. I loved the Bolland and Hughes covers, and Joe Kelly and Doug Mahnke's take in JLA in the mid-late 90's and Aughts. And that's about it. But I've always been fascinated by that 20-something issue run that I barely saw, that took what has always been (sorry, everybody) an uninteresting and somewhat silly character IN MY OPINION, (and don't get me started about that costume) for the most part and reimagined her in a radical way. Of course, O'Neil was golden in the 70's and I've always enjoyed Sekowsky's...unique...take on anatomy and action depiction. Problem is, back issues are hard to find, and expensive when you can find them on eBay or wherever.

So what I'm trying to work my way up to is that I am delighted to see this is scheduled to come out, all in one place for easy readin', (well, a good chunk of the run, anyway, up to issue #184- tempers my excitement a bit- I wish it was more but I couldn't afford it if it was) and I am going to drop coin on this as soon as possible.

Other stuff I'm amazed to see is that Bob Haney-scripted TEEN TITANS: THE LOST ANNUAL that DC did their best to bury a year or two ago. Too bad that Bob won't be around to see it come out, although I don't really think he gave a shit one way or the other by the time he passed on, from what I remember reading. Even so, this looks very cool.

BAT LASH #2 is solicited; I recently reread all of his 60's appearances, and am apprehensively awaiting this one. It is my carefully considered opinion that no one has managed to find the right tone for the character since O'Neil stopped doing him in the 60's- the great Sergio Aragones is on hand, true, but the strength of those originals was never in the plotting alone, but in the synergy between Sergio's plots and O'Neil's dialogue style. No one else has even come close, and I hold out no hope for "acclaimed Western novelist" Peter Brandvold. I keep threatening (in my mind) to scan pages from all nine original issues, and post a few pages from each along with an overview...the spirit is willing but the flesh is soft and spongy, or something like that.

Sorry to see that AMERICAN VIRGIN is shitcanned with #23; I almost dropped it twice, but it has been pretty good lately, for the most part. I hope that it will get a satisfying resolution of some sort, and that Seagle will pick a tone before he's done.

That's about it for DC. Oh, and dear Mr. Unidentified Solicitation Copy Writer: THANKS for spoiling major events in the text for FABLES #69. Punk.

On the Marvel side, I'll be getting Daredevil and Iron Fist, as usual, and not much else catches my eye. Oh- Iron Man-Enter the Mandarin #5, because I like the art. I'm undecided about Omega, but I may get that too.

And, that's about it!

Now playing: T. Rex - The Time Of Love Is Now
via FoxyTunes

Via the Beat and Flog comes news that the great Marie Severin suffered a stroke last Thursday. Here's hoping for a speedy recovery and wishing her all the best. Click on either link for an address to which one can send get-well cards and such.

Saturday, October 13, 2007


That more-or-less ongoing feature in which I opine upon various works of sequential fiction that I have perused in the interval since the last time I inflicted said opinions upon one and all, or to be specific, the period from approximately 23 September to 8 October, some of which may even still be on sale at finer comics selling establishments worldwide if you're lucky. Or not, as the case may be.

I'm really sorry these are so late. These things happen, although it happens less frequently to some than to others... **= newer reviews.

AMERICAN VIRGIN #19: Enough foreplay- let's have a money shot or forget it. I also thought that Adam's tat was to prevent his being haunted by the ghost or spirit or vision or whatever of his dead ex-girlfriend. I've been known to be wrong before, though. B+

NICK MAGAZINE PRESENTS AVATAR: THE LAST AIRBENDER #2: As (apparently) the world's oldest Avatard, I had to pick this up- and good thing, too: among the fake advice columns, sudoku and word find puzzles there are several four-to-six page stories, illustrated by such fine young artists as Reagan Lodge and Johane "I'd sure like to see some more Horus" Matte, and the kicker is that these stories actually depict events that have a bearing on the Nickelodeon TV series! Most unusual. Anyway, depending on your level of Avatar fandom (and believe me, this thing coming out just before season three generated insane levels of interest on all the fansites), it's all very entertaining, printed on high quality paper, and best of all, it's wrapped in a cover by the most excellent Lauren Montgomery. Not for everybody, but then again, what is? And you should be watching Avatar anyway- it's better, more sophisticated, than you might think. A-

BATMAN #669: Morrison and Williams take the ball all the way to the opponents' 2 yard line, only to fumble it into the end zone for a touchback. Forgive the strained football metaphor, but that's the way this seemed to me- brilliant setup, botched ending that demands blame be divided between the principals equally: Williams, being just a little too overenthusiastic in his designerly layout at the expense of storytelling clarity, and Morrison, presumably not making it clear enough through dialogue exactly what was happening to whom, how people could survive being in the room with highly charged explosives, and so on and so forth. Ah well. Given a pass because, after all is said and done, this is still the best Batman story I've read in this decade, an indictment of the handful I have read (nearly all comics writers seem to be satisfactory-endingly challenged anyway) and best of all it had the SQUIRE in it! That's an extra grade point all by itself! A-

BLACK DIAMOND #4: Having missed #3, I was at a bit of a loss as to what was going on, but after a couple of reads (and Larry Young's helpful inclusion of this issue's script) realized that #2's diner waitress and our nominal hero had hooked up and were on the run from somebody. This issue, we get a lot of action, but Proctor's art is still so lifeless and static that it really works against what Larry's trying to do. Nothing against Proctor, who in all fairness has his still-life moments, but his approach is counter-intuitive to what the script would seem to demand. Dude, would a speed line or two here or there kill ya, is all I'm asking. On the other hand, the more Larry focuses on the fringe civilization that has sprung up on the superhighway itself, the more I'm warming to the concept, although I still have a hard time accepting that the people on Earth below would ever agree to risk having a '71 Camaro drop on their heads from out of the blue without warning. Oh well, Roger Corman never sweated that stuff either, and he did pretty well. I'm afraid I'm judging this by what I wish it wasrather than what it is, which is still entertaining and worth checking out. But it's becoming a lot like watching a series of stills of A Waking Life, and that's not exactly what I think anyone had in mind when they started. Faring a bit better, thanks to the Pope-lite art by Josh Boulet and a nicely naturalistic script by Rob Lavender, is the back feature, which spotlights a kid who dares to ride a bicycle on the Diamond. I'm liking these back features for the most part, they're providing a good spotlight for up-and-coming talent. B+

BLACK GHOST APPLE FACTORY: Ah me. Alienation, depression, unrequited feelings of love. What would Indie cartooning be without them? Don't know, but I get the feeling that Jeremy Tinder would be at a bit of a loss for anything to say. Despite some clever, surreal gags and his likeable Craig Thompson-meets-Johnny Ryan artwork, after a while he begins to come across as just another needy, whiny, probably-not-as-much-of-a-loser-as-he'd-have-you-think cartoonist and believe you me there are MORE than enough of those to go around. There's a fair share of things to like in this shortish collection, and I don't mean to sound like I'm dumping on Tinder here, but after a while you begin to wonder what a comic like this would be like as done by someone who actually will cop to having sex and/or a relationship more often as not would be like, and agree with the little voice in your head that says "Physician, heal thyself!" C+

CATWOMAN #71: More of what had become obvious six issues ago, that CW needs to do a better job of assuming a new life and fake ID. This time she gets help from Batman, no big surprise there, and several clever scenes ensue before an ending which promises to address another dangling plot thread. Another solid read, wonderfully, if a little stiffly, illustrated, and if you're not reading other DC books but not this on a regular basis, well, shame on you. A-

CRIMINAL #9: Looks like the excrement is about to hit the oscillating ventilation device, as Tracy lays his cards on the table, perhaps a little prematurely. Another outstanding issue that is, as always, hard to review objectively- not to mention difficult to find new ways to praise its consistent excellence. A

GREEN ARROW YEAR ONE #5: It's kinda by-the-numbers James Bond stuff, if Bond shot arrows instead of Berettas, and if it's not exactly fresh, the emphasis on Ollie Queen the man instead of the standard Green Arrow Personality Type is very well done. Plus, anytime you get Jock doing action, you, my friend, have something that is made of win. Boy, do I miss The Losers. A-

HELLBLAZER #236: It remains a sheer pleasure to read Diggle's take on Constantine- and for the first time in what seems like an eternity, he's actually given him a thoroughly evil and eminintly capable pair of adversaries. Manco continues to tell the story competently, if not exceptionally. A-

HIGHWAYMEN #4: After all the rumpus about its failure to sell well enough, in these weird and troubled times in the Comics World, to be continued beyond its initial run- not to mention Steven Grant's typically hightoned and ever-so-slightly condescending takedown of some of its internal story inconsistencies- it feels kinda beside the point to note that this was another involving issue, with what I thought was some good character interaction and solid action set pieces...and if this issue's cliffhanger was borrowed straight outta 1994's Charlie Sheen vehicle Terminal Velocity, well, who remembers that movie anyway? 13 years is an eternity these days. B+

**THE IMMORTAL IRON FIST #9, IMMORTAL IRON FIST ANNUAL #1: Iron Fist keeps rolling on; #9 gives us the result of Danny Rand's opening round Mortal Kombat-style tournament battle against Fat Cobra- and I don't mind telling you that even though he loses, it puts him on the road to discovery. So far, Brubaction (or would you prefer Frabaker?) are striking a nice balance- you can tell Fraction's influence from the sheer what-the-hellishness of all the various influences and ideas he brings, but unlike Casanova, Brubaker can tell a grounded, linear story, and we, the readers, are the beneficiary. David Aja is solid as always on art, fully able to provide the Malleev/Lark/Gaudiano style that the decision makers behind this title seem to want. The guest artists, Scott Koblish and Ray Allen Martinez, seem to aspire to a Geoff Darrow-ish style, and while they fall far short they're not terrible. The light, open nature of their work and the way its colored really contrasts with the dark gloom of Aja on the main story, and that's intentional, I suppose. But what purpose it serves isn't easily ascertained. Anyway, the discovery road Danny sets off on leads to the annual, in which he is filled in on Randall's history by an old sidekick. It's a huge, sprawling pulp magazine adventure tribute, lavishly illustrated by Dan Brereton, Howard Chaykin (in the modern-day framing scenes), and Marco Djurdjevic's significant other, Jelena Kevic Djurdjevic, and is good fun from beginning to end, especially in Brereton's sequences, which are brilliantly painted in reds, golds, oranges and greens. It's been a little while since I'd seen new art from him and it was good to do so. Now, if he'd only get around to doing more Nocturnals, in an affordable format that is. #9: A-, Annual #1: A-.

**THE INCREDIBLE CHANGE-BOTS: The latest from Jeffrey Brown is a straightfaced Transformers homage/tribute/something that reads like it was written and drawn by a really smart 12-year-old. Being a little...advanced... in years for being part of the generation that grew up loving GI Joe, GoBots, Transformers, Thundercats and all that ilk, this really just kinda sits there on the page for me. So really, all I can do is appreciate the lack of smirk- as with Kochalka on Superf*ckers, I never get the feeling that Brown is doing anything but having fun, and not at the expense of the genre or whatever you want to call it; and bemoan the length of the darn thing. Page numbers are not provided, and I have no desire to count them, but it's just too damn long, even for an Awesomebots story. B

IRON MAN: ENTER THE MANDARIN #'s 1,2: Joe Casey remakes/remodels an old Lee/Heck Tales of Suspense yarn, taking 6 issues to tell a story that his predecessors told in one. But don't take this as one of those "Comics Have Abandoned Their Charming Past, and the Present is Therefore Fucked" diatribes...the decompression isn't wasted space, it's filled with equal measures of not-so-essential technojargon which adds flair if little else, and more importantly nice character bits with the good old Classic Iron man cast of Pepper Potts, Happy Hogan, the Russian dude who ended up as the Crimson Dynamo, and but uf cuss the Mandarin himself, more megalomaniacal, arrogant and conceited than ever. The main reason why I decided to pick this up, though, was the extremely dynamic art of Eric Canete, who manages to combine the goofyfooted loosey-gooseyness of the great Guy Davis with Walt Simonson's layout and storytelling chops, and provides real eye candy. I haven't read a lot of Iron Man comics over the last 20 years or so, to say the least, but so far this one appears to be a winner. A-

JLA/HITMAN #1: Those singing the praises of not only this, but the second part (out on stands, but I won't get it until this weekend) are certainly justified- it's as good as anything Ennis has written (well, anything I've read by him, anyway, which hasn't been much since 2001 or so) in at least ten years- it's amusing somehow how good he can be when he's writing the character he seems to wish-fulfill, I mean like, the most...and on top of that, he even gets to do what he likes more than anything, make fun of super-hero tropes. For his part, good ol' John McCrea draws it like it was 1996 all over again, which is to say with a witty line and solid layout sense. But before we get carried away in our effusive praise of how great it is to see Tommy Monaghan back among the upright once more, I just want to think back to the original series, which I bought faithfully right off the racks until the bitter end, and how by the 3/4 turn it became more Star Spangled Desert Storm Stories starring Tommy's Heroes and less the original concept of Tommy pranking on the JLA and carrying out contracts on the bottom of the DCU barrel, and how tedious it got before the admittedly bravura finale, not to mention the magnificent one-shot Lobo team-up. What I hope to accomplish by pointing this out I can't say for sure, except to note that while I do indeed hope that the solid reception this two-parter has received spurs the long-overdue release of the rest of the original series in TPB format, I suppose the kids out there should know that it wasn't all puking on Batman. That's all, I guess. A

MADMAN ATOMIC COMICS #4: Having effectively given up on this title after last issue's showoff move, I am gratified to note that Allred is, at least, attempting to tell a linear story once more. But that gratitude is tempered by his insistence towards playing that "this time it's for reals- or is it?" game which I lost patience for after #2. Enough, as they say, is enough. C+

OMEGA THE UNKNOWN #1: I'll confess right now: although I was certainly a comics buyer back in 1975, and one with not only an affinity for the weirder corners of Marvel and DC but something of an admirer of Steve Gerber's writing to boot, I did not buy the original iteration of this licensed property. I wasn't excited by the stolid art of Jim Mooney (tolerated it a year or so prior on Son of Satan), and something about the Captain Marvel-on-'shrooms concept itself didn't push the right buttons in my head either. So I'm completely in the dark about how this somewhat controversial revival matches up with its predecessor; I only have vague memories of a handful of mildly interested glances at a few issues over a few months while standing at the spinner rack. So I'm coming in completely cold here, just want you to know. Jonathan Lethem acquits himself pretty well for the most part, paying lip service to Steve Gerber's original but adding a bit of that Aughts smirk by throwing in some sort of superhero character called the Mink, who promises to be some sort of irritant/adversary/whatever to Omega or his teenage alter-ego. Otherwise, his deadpan dialogue, delivered by (in most cases, aptly enough) robots, works to add a layer of surreality to the proceedings. However, as is so often the case, it's the art by Indie stalwart Farel Dalrymple that captures my eye; it too has a straightfaced, grubby quality that grounds the oddball proceedings very well. Almost too well- in spite of how good I think it is, there's not a whole lot of visual pop to it and that works against it in a lot of ways. Still, at the end of the day there's enough to keep me interested, especially if he goes beyond merely remixing what Gerber and Mooney did 30 years ago. We'll see, I guess. Maybe if I get some mushrooms. B+

**RESURRECTION #1: Another spin on Wells' War of the Worlds, this time dealing with the aftermath of the Martian invasion. Can't blame Oni for trying to get in on that Walking Dead buzz train, because that's what this reminded me of right off the bat: post-apocalyptic human-interest dramatics, drawn in a semi-realistic B&W style. Much better than Boom! Studios' attempt to extrapolate Wells, Second Wave or whatever the hell they ended up calling it, this could have legs, especially to the same crowd that has made Dead such a small-scale success- hell, it's even got a kind of zombie in it, called a "burn", humans who the aliens experimented on and now shamble around trying to kiss pretty girls and waiting for a bullet to the brain. No bets are left unhedged! I suppose whatever cachet that writer Marc Guggenheim has as a former TV writer might also make this more attractive to some as well. Anyhoo, if you're a fan of the above mentioned elements, you should look for this when it comes out in November. Everybody else...proceed with caution. C+

**THE SPIRIT #10: Now hold on- #9's grisly goings-on weren't part one of a two-parter? Apparently not, because here comes #10, and no mention of El Muerte, or Denny Colt's bloody "CURSED"-scrawled chest, or any of that. Way to give a guy a mental hernia, Darwyn! Anyway, what we do get is a not-bad, not-great satire of media punditry, with some chuckles here and there, but not nearly enough to be really memorable. Of course, it goes without saying that the art, with Jason Bone on inks doing yeoman work, is excellent as always. But it's become clear, ten issues in, that Cooke just isn't equal to the task of giving us extraordinary Spirit stories. That's no crime, and it may not be possible anyway- but I'm thankful for the effort. B+

**UNCLE SAM AND THE FREEDOM FIGHTERS V2 #1: Dan Acuna is gone, off drawing the Flash, and he's replaced by another who-dat name of Renato Arlem, whose work reminds me of some sort of unholy mix of Ed Benes, Gene Ha and Alex Maleev. It's functional, but its static poses and choppy black ink lines are hard on my eyes. I would rather have had Renato Guedes, if I had to have a Renato here. Otherwise, more of the "is we is, or is we ain't gonna be a secret government op agency" thing gets talk talk talked about, and when they're not talking, the focus is on the new Red Bee character who has gotten into deep pollen on some sort of space bug hive, and has undergone an unspecified change of some sort. Graymiotti state that the team has been fighting there for three days, which begs the question of how (mostly) human beings can do that without eating or sleeping or going to the bathroom...but hey, I've never been in a superhero fight with giant alien space bugs so how would I know? I kinda like these characters, really like their Uncle Sam, but this sort of hackneyed spandex crap tests my patience. B-

Also, to FINALLY finish this overdue and overlong look at books most of you have already read and have forgotten about, I was recently sent a box by the wonderful folks at Top Shelf Comix. The offerings I hadn't already read and reviewed, I have included in this column. However, they also sent the final published versions of a few that I had already written about- and I felt like the least I could do was link to the past columns with those reviews. So here they are:




Still to come, looks at Matt Kindt's latest, SUPER SPY (haven't finished it yet!) and Top Shelf's nicely done SEASONAL SAMPLER 2007.

Now playing: Phil Manzanera - Diamond Head
via FoxyTunes

Friday, October 12, 2007

I sat out a week, but I'm back and in effect, with

Tonight's brawl is courtesy of Len Wein and the late, great Jim Aparo, from Phantom Stranger #24- Len's final issue of his outstanding run on that title. Here we see PS and ongoing foe/ally Tannarak putting a beatdown on some Dark Circle cultists. The Stranger didn't throw down often, but when he did, he made it count.


Now playing: Elton John - Can I Put You On (Original Soundtrack Recording)
via FoxyTunes
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Thursday, October 11, 2007

Reviews will continue tonight, but I was clicking around hither and thither and discovered something interesting- well, to me, anyway- the REST of the website of Tex Arcana creator JOHN FINDLAY, which has several beautiful pieces like the above Ben Franklin illo above.

Because I'm such a hopeless Tex degenerate, I still check the site to see if John's updated the ongoing fourth book (which he hasn't since frigging JANUARY, damn it) but had never thought to click anywhere else on the page! That's how I found his illustration site.

So go check it, already!

Now playing: Anthony Phillips - Collections
via FoxyTunes

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

I now interrupt what has apparently turned into yet another blogging hiatus to observe what would have been JOHN LENNON's 67th birthday.

Surprisingly Rock 'n' Roll-heavy favorite song list, as of 2005.

If you're still bothering to visit, please bear with. I'll "get back" (ouch) in the saddle eventually.

Now playing: Flo & Eddie - Flo & Eddie Theme
via FoxyTunes

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Over at X-Ray Spex, Will Pfiefer is blogging about his favorite horror/fright/supernatural/you know films, and today's is a longtime favorite of mine as well: 1941's The Devil and Daniel Webster. You should go read what he wrote, but I thought it would be cool to post the trailer for the movie, which I found on the YouTube.

Now playing: Iris Dement - When Love Was Young
via FoxyTunes

Monday, October 01, 2007

Brian Marucca and Jim Rugg have created a new Brother Voodoo story, with tongue only slightly in cheek (there's an "injury to the eye" panel!) and complete with yellowed paper and poor color register. It is teh awesome.

Edit: Apparently Mr. Rugg jumped the gun by posting this, because it's been taken down from his LJ. Oh well. Something to look forward to, I suppose! Heidi has a panel posted over at the Beat, too, and it's just as well because everybody will remember seeing it first over there anyway. Wish I hadn't overwritten the page file I got the above from!