Thursday, November 26, 2009

Just in case you're interested...

I'm going to extend this posting break here, perhaps at least until the end of the year. The stars, planets, humors, vapors, and all other sorts of esoterica in my personal life are just not conducive to me being a regular blogger right now. Plus, I'm just a bit burned out on the whole thing. I can't see a single damn thing that I bring to the party anymore that you can't get in better, cleverer fashion in a multitude of places. I don't want to go away completely, but I just can't see me contributing anything much here right now...and while I hate it like sin, I don't want to be just putting bullshit up here (well, more so than usual) for the sake of putting something up.

That said, unless ADD tells me to stop, I do intend to keep contributing infrequently to Trouble with Comics, so there's that if for some sad reason you just can't make it without my musings on books of the comical variety. I'll probably still do the Five for Friday at the Comics Reporter, whenever I can think of answers to the relevant topic in time to get them to him. And, sure, I'm still on Twitter and Tumblr and Facebook, so it's not like I'm going away for good, as pleasurable as that may sound to some. Oh, and I'm going to continue to put NFL predictions up on the LJ as well.

So anyway, be good, and be good to each other, have a happy holiday season, and sayonara for now, at least as far as the Johnny Bacardi Show goes.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Pumpkin Pie.

I guess that title is in poor taste, no pun intended, but I couldn't think of anything else more appropriate to go with this nice Autumnal picture of a young Marilyn Monroe, sitting in her sincere pumpkin patch.

Just wanted to get something up here, to show that I'm not dead or anything. Not much time or energy for blogging lately, and I hope that changes soon...I'm more behinder than ever, reviews-wise, and I'm behind on some stuff I'm writing for Trouble With Comics for Alan Moore month as well. Anyway, just checking in to let you know that I'm not done just yet.

Picture taken from this very nice Marilyn pics post at Golden Age Comic Book Stories.

Sunday, November 08, 2009


Please be upstanding for another CONFESSIONS OF A SPINNER RACK JUNKIE, in which I opine in shortish fashion about comics that I have bought and/or received and/or read in the interval between October 16th and 28th, 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.

And, yeah, once more I'm way behind, so please bear with me as I look at comics you read and most likely forgot about three weeks ago...

BATMAN AND ROBIN #5: Looks like Grant's just giving us a more genteel version of Miller's ludicrous Spillane-with-Tourette's All-Star Batman with Robin the Boy Wonder, and the more I read, the more squalid the whole thing seems. I know he can do better, and I know he knows that, too. Not helping: artist Philip Tan, who gives us not one but two absolutely incomprehensible action scenes. My interest is hanging by a thread, and only the promise of Grant's Squire drawn by Cam Stewart, coming eventually, is keeping me around. C-

The sad/weird backstory of likeable Boy "Mother's Milk" takes center stage this time out, and it's typically Ennisian, with smirks riding shotgun with pathos. As always with this title, for them that likes, here's more. B+

B.P.R.D.: 1947 #4: Continues to flow along nicely thanks to the Moon/Ba art, but the story feels like it climaxed last issue. Hopefully Dysart and Mignola have something extraordinary in mind for the ending. A-

CRIMINAL: SINNERS #1: Wait, aren't all criminals sinners by definition? Anyway, Tracy returns, and is once more placed between the proverbial rock and the proverbial hard place. All your favorite noir tropes are once again present and accounted for, and those who seek to wallow will find this a most acceptable trough, especially as it's once more illustrated with aplomb by Sean Phillips. A-

The first issue of the Diggle era reads pretty much like the last eleventy-hundred from Bendis and Brubaker, which is not necessarily a bad thing- consistency does have its virtues. As you probably know, the new wrinkle is that DD is leading longtime pain-in-the-necks the Hand, but we don't wanna get too crazy out of line so he is of course all angry and angsty about everything, just like Miller Christ didst intend. Lotsa good character work, especially with the supporting cast, and a decent enough plotline that while it doesn't break any new ground, at least moodwise, at least shows that Diggle will keep the dramatics compelling and I guess that will keep me buying for a while longer. I recall liking artist Roberto De La Torre on Thunderbolts; he told the story well enough, and his style, while derivative, at least had some personality. I'm pleased to report he brings that to bear here. B+

FABLES #89: Most of this issue deals with Bufkin the flying monkey, left behind in the old Fabletown digs and faced with the threat of not only Aladdin's old genie, but the Baba Yaga as well. It's almost impossible to describe the events in this comic without sounding nuts, you know. Also, more with Frau Totenkinder, now all young and hot and stuff, as she tries to find out more about the threat of the Dark Man. Lots of stuff going on; this title is as engrossing right now as it's ever been, and it's been pretty good before. Artist Mark Buckingham once more saves most of his creativity for his nifty panel borders, and does everything else as well as he needs to- he's always reliable. A-

OK, I'm buying this now for Aaron's take on Daimon Hellstorm, so naturally only has a cameo in this issue. Even so, this one's still got a lot of fast-paced action, as the bickering brother Riders battle an old Marvel Monsters-age baddie whose schtick it is to possess inanimate objects like cars and bulldozers and such, as well as one of the House of Ideas' less-inspired ones, Big Wheel. It's the sort of left turn that would ordinarily be offputting, but Aaron makes it work. The action scenes pop thanks to a god job by Roland Boschi and Dan Brown. More drive-in movie-style fun. B+

HELLBOY: THE WILD HUNT #7: The lead story keeps on keepin' on, gearing up to what should be an appropriately apocalyptic finale. As always, Mike Mignola is Hellboy's best writer, and Duncan Fregredo is the next best thing to Mr. M himself on art. What I've been enjoying the most, though, and forgetting to mention is the backups- first, the return of Gary Gianni's quirky and bizarre MonsterMen (or Corpus Monstrum, or whatever the hell he's calling it these days), which I've missed, and this issue's not-as-good-but-still-pretty-good Henry Hood spotlight, which ties in with the Witchfinder series running concurrently. Whew, it is to make the head spin, keeping up with all this... A

Maybe the best comic I've read this year, certainly the funniest. Exhibit A for the jury:

Now I can cross "Seeing Hercules dressed like Thor giving a tittie twister to Thor dressed like Hercules while they're battling" off my bucket list. A

Somewhat anticlimactic resolution to an arc that was pretty good as a whole; your satisfaction depends a lot on whether you think Osborn would care all that much about being seen beating the crap out of a defenseless Tony Stark on worldwide TV. Me, I'm a bit skeptical- would Dubya or Cheney have had the same scruples? Anyway, the literal ending itself was pretty interesting, and I think I'll follow along a while longer to see what happens. B+

LIBERTY COMICS: A CBLDF BENEFIT BOOK #2: Just like last time, we get several somewhat heavy-handed and obvious stories, mostly of the barbed satire stripe, apparently OK because it's done by some outstanding creators such as Paul Pope, whose "Loverman" finally sees print, Brian Wood, who dusts off the Channel Zero concept, Paul Grist, more Apocalypstix by Ray Fawkes and Cam Stewart, and others, all for a good cause- it's great art showcase. I'm down with the cause, and the propaganda this time is slightly better than last time, but I prefer subtlety. Character flaw on my part, I suppose. B

SCALPED #32: Things are rapidly coming to a head, it seems, for both Dash and Chief Red Crow...and about the only thing I can predict is that the resolution will most likely be very bloody, and I'm pretty sure nobody will learn any damn life lessons. Once again, consistently consistent in its constant excellence. A

It's difficult for me to be impartial about this series, so I guess I won't even try. As excellent now as it was 20 plus years ago, and the added scenes are providing clarity- I don't recall if the whole Mary Medea boards the spaceship to go to war in the aftermath of the botched Bajar spy mission scene was in the B&W Dark Horse reprint series, but it read as unfamilar to me, and made her motivations clearer. The dialogue is great, the helter-skelter script construction is still fun, Kaluta's art was never better and has rarely been better since, and the new coloring continues to kick ass. Perhaps I'll find something to nitpick eventually- the Galactic Girl Guides backups still strike me as somewhat trivial- but for now I'm completely in the bag. A

STRANGE TALES #2: Indie artists slumming once again, or so the attitude of most of these stories would have you believe; still, some are having fun and that gets this across just fine. Best of show, Jacob Chabot's amusing "Lookin' Good, Mr. Grimm" which carries the Thing's resemblance to chia pets to its logical conclusion and reminds us that hig-spirited humor was always a big part of the old FF formula; others which impress are Jim Rugg's long-shelved Brother Voodoo story, Matt Kindt, doing his Super Spy thing with the Black Widow, Jhonen Vazquez's cutesy MODOK, and Tony Millionaire's goofy Bob Burden-esque Iron Man tale. Less impressive is Pete Bagge's long-delayed Hulk, which only reinforces my own held belief that when it comes to the Bradleys or the Beach Boys, Bagge is golden. Everything else, not so much. B+

Continues to be an entertaining smorgasbord of cultists, ghosts, demons, and Mignola's ever-spreading Hellboy mythology, ably brought to moody life by Ben Stenbeck. A-

As always, sorry about being so late with these. More coming soon.

Thursday, November 05, 2009

I had Seven Seconds to say...

Today's Bacardi Show Birthday Greeting goes out to writer ROBERT LOREN FLEMING, 53 years young today. Above, a small cover gallery of the many series he's had a hand in over the years. There seems to be one exception, though, and I just can't quite seem to put my finger on which one it is. Oh well, I'm sure it will come to me.

It also happens to be the birthday of the great JIM STERANKO, and Guy Fawkes Day as well! (Boy, wouldn't a Steranko-illustrated, Fleming-scripted issue of Thriller have been something to see?)

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

I gazed a gazely stare.

Back in the hazy, crazy days of 1973, Scottish pop singer Lulu, who was by then past a string of Sixties hits including "To Sir With Love", the theme for a film in which she also appeared with Sidney Poitier and for which she was probably best known here in the States, gravitated into the orbit of David Bowie (she years later confessed to a fling, Bowie hasn't commented) and Mick Ronson at the height of the Glitter era...and the a single, a cover of Bowie's 1970 title track from his Man Who Sold the World album, was the result. Above is a TV performance of same from 1974. Although I dearly love the music the Bowie/Ronson team made together, I had not gone as far as to check this out before- although I was aware it existed. The slightly-different arrangement isn't bad, although the sinuous guitar melody line that runs through the original is missing until closer to the end, it's definitely got that honkin' sax that DB liked in this, the pre-Ronson split Pinups era...but I don't think Lulu's vocal does much for the song at all, sorry to say. Her calm, sweet demeanor doesn't really jibe with the ominous paranoiac mood the song (especially in its original version) evokes. I haven't heard the B-side, "Watch that Man", a fave Bowie track of mine from Aladdin Sane.

Anyway, today is Ms. Lulu's birthday today, and reading about it got me curious to hear her cover. Thought I'd take the opportunity to send along a BSBdG. Wish I could have been more complimentary- I did like "Sir", and she was definitely a big part of the whole Swingin' '60s scene. So there's that!

Monday, November 02, 2009

"Your bodies will be unlovely..."

A two-page scene from Druid #3, Warren Ellis' sequel-of-sorts to his Hellstorm run in the mid-'90s. I was totally taken by surprise at the cultist's reaction to Ludgate's demand, and I still remember laughing out loud when I read it. Who says Ellis can't do teh funny?