Sunday, June 24, 2007

Today i stayed in, painted some minis, watched some movies and finished a book about the Ukraine that i've been reading for a while.

I watched Almost Famous, which i really loved in the theater, but it's not as engaging now. It's still quite good, i'm just not in love with it like when i first saw it. This time i noticed how there are so many significant looks between people--or between people and the camera--and i wondered if some of what Kate Hudson was doing wasn't more modelling than acting. For example, that scene where she smiles into the camera, with a tear rolling down her face, and the sunlight behind her: it's very pretty, but it's kind of indulgent. Eh. I'm sounding very critical, but i like the movie.

I also watched Dirty Harry, which i hadn't seen before. There are some great shots in that movie. In the beginning, when there's all those huge shots of the city from the rooftop, i thought "so this is a movie about striking cinematography; i can dig that." The crazy serial killer thing has been done to death (no idea how fresh or stale it was when this was made), and i hate it when a killer is made out to be interesting b/c hey, they're crazy and ironic.

The book is called Borderland: A Journey Through the History of Ukraine, by Anna Reid. I enjoyed it, but parts of it were very depressing. They had pogroms, they got starved to death by the Communists and then there were the Nazis...there aren't a lot of happy stories in this book. But i like to read about other places, and i knew very little about the Ukraine, except that that's where Kiev is, and it's on the Black Sea, etc. This book is an overview. The author lived there, and the history she tells us sort of follows her travels. A rabbi shows her some mass graves, and that leads her to tell us the history of how the Nazis killed all these Jews, and that leads to a wider overview of the Ukraine during WWII, etc. I'd like to read a more systematic history of the country at some point.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

This Blog is So Dangerous

What's My Blog Rated? From Mingle2 - Online Dating

This thing is waaaay too sensitive. This blog gets an "R" b/c "shit" shows up 3 times, "gun" twice, and "shoot" once. Who set this scale--a dainty 90-year old shut-in nun transported here from Elizabethan times?

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

DC has released advance solicitations for their comics coming out in September. Some selections and my thoughts on them follow.

Written by Steve Gerber and Matt Sturges; Art by Justiniano & Walden Wong and Stephen Segovia
The Helmet of Fate has landed…on Kent Nelson — a man so far down on his luck, he doesn’t know what luck is! The transformative nature of the helmet grants him powers he can’t begin to comprehend…but will they make his life better, or even worse?

I've always liked Dr. Fate. The tie-in to Countdown makes is a minus, especially when i remember how anticlimactic the Infinite Crisis tie-ins were.

Written by Adam Beechen and Justin Gray; Art by Eddy Barrows & Julio Ferrera and Fabrizio Fiorentino
Meet Champ Hazard, the hero of Rann. But what happened to Adam Strange?
And in the backup story, Forerunner travels to Earth-10, the universe where the Nazis won World War II, to recruit superpowers for her master’s cause.

Rann and an alternate Earth with Nazi versions of Bats, Supes and Wonder Woman? I might have to pick this one up. However, again Countdown link is off-putting, and it sounds like Forerunner is going to retrace Harbinger's steps from Crisis on Infinite Earths, and that's boring.

Written by Gail Simone; Art by Mike Norton & Trevor Scott
The Search for Ray Palmer is interrupted as the Atom is literally plucked from the Nanoverse by the mastermind behind all of the problems in Ivy Town — and the man who may or may not hold some answers for Ryan Choi about his fallen idol Ray Palmer!

I have faith that Simone will incorporate the Event stuff in a non-sucky way. I'm looking forward to whatever craziness she's brewed up to populate the Nanoverse. Is that where the big floating head comes from?

Written by Dwayne McDuffie; Art by Joe Benitez & Victor Llamas

McDuffie was a big part of the Justice League cartoon, which was very good, so i'll likely give this one a chance. When JLA is good, it's a lot of fun.

Written by Judd Winick; Art by Amanda Conner & Jimmy Palmiotti

I'm not buying this. I just wanna say i'm agin it. The asshole should not get the girl. Nuff said. Conner is an awesome artist, though.

Written by Peter Milligan; Art and cover by Max Fiumara
When Lex Luthor and his Everyman project was taken down by John (Steele) Henry Irons, it appeared the story of Infinity Inc was over. But one year-plus later, it seems that life hasn't been kind to Starlight, Fury, and Nuklon. John suspects the problems may lead back to their experience as on the Everyman Project, opening doors that can never be shut!

Milligan did some crazy, inventive stuff of X-Statix a few years ago. Steel is a cool character. So i'll give this one a shot.

Written by John Ostrander; Art by Javier Pina & Robin Riggs

Ostrander, Suicide Squad, i'm there.

Written by Dave Gibbons; Art and cover by Pat Gleason & Prentis Rollins
“The Sinestro Corps War” continues as Mogo is attacked by the Sinestro Corps. Can the largest Green Lantern of all defend itself from a squadron of Sinestro Corps members?

GLC is a very good comic. It's got action, several interesting plot threads, and strong characters. Gleason's art is real purty, too!

Written by Dennis O’Neil; Art by Denys Cowan & Rick Magyar
A new trade paperback collecting the 1980s adventures of The Question, the faceless, morally conflicted avenger based in corrupt Hub City! A martial arts master, The Question delved into Eastern philosophy as he battled crime and the crooked politicians of his hometown.

The Question is a great character, and this series is highly regarded.

Written by John Broome, Gerry Conway, Jack Kirby and others; Art by Murphy Anderson, Jack Kirby, Walter Simonson and others. This thrilling volume collects futuristic tales from Strange Adventures, First Issue Special, Hercules Unbound, Kamandi, Weird War Tales, House of Mystery, Superman, Amazing World of DC Comics, and House of Secrets! 576 pg, B&W, $16.99 US

There's too much talent in this one to skip it. Kirby and Simonson under the same cover? Awesome. This stuff is a bit obscure, but it's apparently going to be adapted to the current DCU. I expect this to be some of Kirby's more "out there" material, which i find endlessly entertaining.

Written by Robert Kanigher; Art and cover by Ross Andru & Mike Esposito
From the 1960s comes this volume collecting BRAVE AND THE BOLD #55, METAL MEN #1-16 and SHOWCASE #37-40, starring one of the strangest super-hero teams ever, now featured in a new miniseries! Created by Dr. Will Magnus, the team includes six robotic heroes: noble Gold, powerful Iron, loyal Lead, hot-headed Mercury, timid Tin and lovely Platinum! 528 pg, B&W, $16.99 US

Okay, i'll admit it, DC: you hooked me on Magnus & the Metal Men with 52. Congrats.

Written by Tony Bedard; Art by Nicola Scott & Doug Hazlewood
In the aftermath of her new team’s first mission Oracle is reminded of how, sometimes, a smaller task force is needed even on some big assignments.

I think this is Bedard's first issue? The Negation series he wrote for Crossgen was a blast, and i already love the Birds, so this is on my list.

Written by John Rogers & Keith Giffen; Art by Rafael Albuquerque & David Baldeon
The Beetle’s truce with crimelord La Dama is put to the test when someone puts a Giganta-ic price on her head!

Blue Beetle is by far the best thing to come out of OYL. This is one of the most likable new heroes to show up in a long time. The supporting cast that Rogers & Giffen have developed for his is very strong, too. If you like Invincible or early Spiderman, you oughta check it out.

Written by Greg Rucka; Art by Joe Bennett & Jack Jadson
Amanda Waller’s unauthorized Black Ops game is exposed! “The Fall of the Wall” begins here!

The fact that this solicit makes me think "oh yeah, now this shit is ON" means either this is a great comic, or i need stronger medication.

Written by Mark Waid; Art & cover by Daniel Acuña. What alien menace lies beneath the Flash’s own home? And what’s his dark, dark family secret — the one that’s helping him keep the peace in Keystone?

I'm not digging that cover, but Waid is back on The Flash--thumbs up! And if it's Wally back as the Flash, too, double thumbs up!

Written by Geoff Johns; Art by Dale Eaglesham & Ruy Jose. Don't miss this important prologue to an event that will rock the world's first and best super-team! In this issue, a fight between Wildcat and Wildcat; a firehouse pancake breakfast; Power Girl's quest to unlock the secret's behind her cousin's death; Citizen Steel's new family and the fate of Starman! And that's just the beginning as we prepare the Justice Society for their newest and most surprising member to date...

It sounds like this series continues to rollick along with several ongoing plots, all of which interest me to varying degrees. Eaglesham is the shit, too.

Written by Duncan Rouleau; Art and cover by Rouleau. Unaware that he is a pawn in a ruthless war that spans both time and space, Magnus attempts to rescue his Metal Men from certain destruction while wondering at the same time if he should even create them. Can the greatest robot-maker of all time discover his true path to the future, or is he doomed to wander “Inside In the Inside Out.”

Like i said above, the Metal Men are cool.

Written by Tony Bedard; Art by Matthew Clark. A new era dawns for the Outsiders! Batman makes a stunning last-minute change to the Outsiders’ new roster — but there’s a bigger surprise in store as the team uncovers a worldwide upheaval within the supervillain community! FINAL ISSUE

Here's Bedard again, but this is the final issue? I reckon it gets relaunched next month. I'm not sure i want Batman back in the Outsiders, but oh well.

Written by Matt Sturges; Art and cover by Doug Braithwaite. It’s Shadowpact vs. a horde of zombies! Plus, a new villain hits the team at its weakest point! And it’s training day for the Warlock’s daughter; and her tutor is the team member she hates the most!

Huh? It's not written by Willingham? What gives? Shadowpact is another one that i look forward to every month. It's always good.

Written by Darwyn Cooke; Art by Cooke & J. Bone. The Spirit becomes embroiled in a high-profile murder case that is at the center of a swirling media feeding frenzy. To make matters worse, the victims are the TV personalities who usually fan the flames of discord! But all is not as it seems…

This is one of the best comic series going right now. Highly recommended.

Written by Bill Willingham; Art by Mark Buckingham & Steve Leialoha. Flycatcher is in trouble. He hasn’t had food or water for more than a month and the power he’s been drawing from his magic armor is running out. If Flycatcher falls, his army perishes with him.

I don't expect Flycatcher to survive this.

Written by Bill Willingham; Art by Tony Akins & Andrew Pepoy. In the conclusion of “The Bad Prince,” our hard-luck group of crash survivors try to find a way out of the wilderness. And along the way we learn more about Wicked John, and our boy Jack doesn’t like a bit of it. But it does give him an idea of how he might possibly get fabled Excalibur removed from his chest. In the story of the Sword in the Stone, Jack hates playing the stone.

More fun with Jack being a self-absorbed ass, and ocassionally getting horribly mangled.

Thursday, June 14, 2007


It looks like i'll be going to HeroesCon after all. I might go to the DC panel, but what i'm really interested in is finding some cool stuff on the indie tables, and raiding some quarter boxes. It would be cool to start a sketch book, but a sketch costs like, several comics' worth of money. :)

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

The Kaiju Gets Quized!

This is part of the "5 Questions Interview" meme going around some comics blogs right now. Ami asked me these questions. If you would like to participate, just leave a comment saying "interview me".

1. If you had to be a professional colleague of a Superhero's sekrit identity who would it be? (and they have to have a civilian identity, you can't choose Supergirl and be a professional bar hopper XD)

I reckon Clark Kent, b/c the Daily Planet is always hopping, and there are plenty of smart, interesting folks there.

2. If you could change one thing about your comics store what would it be (including moving it closer to your house, etc). :D

It's pretty close to my house already, but could be closer. I've thought about walking over there on a Saturday, but honestly that would be as much about testing my walking endurance as buying comics. It's a good shop, but if i could change something, i'd turn some of the Marvel fans into DC or indie fans, b/c then i could shoot the shit with more of them.

3. Steel or Ironman? :O

Steel, no contest. Ironman was always a secondary hero in my world anyway, but after Civil War i can't stand him. Steel has a lot of strong hero qualities, plus he's an inventor, and has the extra cool factor of being related to an American folk tale that Johnny Cash sang about.

4. Shaquille O'Neal or Robert Downey Jr.? XD

I'm not a fan of either, but once in a while i'll hear some crazy, ridiculous metaphor from Shaq that makes me laugh. It's like he wants to say stuff the way Muhammad Ali used to, but he doesn't quite make it.

5. What do you think is the most attractive thing about you? :D

Aside from my rugged good looks? ;) I think i'm a good listener. When i worked in a small retail store, people would come in just to talk. I don't often have constructive advice, but if you need to just get something off your chest, you could do worse.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Scott Pilgrim Volume Four

September 19th.
Comics On Screen

This site ( features a cool way of reading comics online. The comic is displayed on the screen, and you drag the mouse over to the corner of the page and "turn" the page. It looks really cool. You can move it back and forth and it looks real. You can also call up a sort of pop-up window that acts like a magnifying glass.

They're currently building the content of the site. I'm not sure how much is on there yet, but suffice to say you can spend many hours reading what's there already. A lot of it is from Heroic Publishing, who do some nifty superhero books. (There's some historic link with the HERO/Champions RPG.)

There are free samples on the right hand side of the page. A subscription to the site is 5.99 per month, which seems fair.

Friday, June 08, 2007

The Lone Ranger #6

Brett Matthews, writer; Sergio Cariello, artist; Dean White, colorist
This issue wraps up the origin story/first adventure of the Lone Ranger. He finally confronts the hired gun who killed his father, brother, and the other Texas Rangers. Over the last six issues, we've seen the traditional bits of the Lone Ranger's identity come together: Tonto, the mask, the silver bullets, Silver the horse, and in this issue, the signature six-shooters, "Hi-yo Silver!" and "kemosabe".

The aforementioned hired gun is known as Black Bart. That's a cliched name for an Old West bad guy, and writer Matthews is using it with a wink. This Black Bart is actually black, as in African-American. He is a remorseless, resourcefull, and ready killer. Since taking out the Rangers in issue one, he's been touring the West taking out their families, too. He's one of those talky, self-aware villains, like you'll find in Whedon's stuff. That can easily go too far, but Matthews pulls it off here. Bart's discursiveness also balances well with our heroes' terseness.

The Lone Ranger is very young in this incarnation. This is a departure from the old TV show i grew up watching in re-runs, but it works well. This is, afterall, the beginning of his career as a vigilante lawman. Over the course of this story, his character has been building from grief to rage, and finally in this issue, to an understanding of the larger role he can play in the Old West. Until now it wasn't plain whether this would be a "modern", "gritty" take on the Ranger, or something more traditional. I'm happy to say that the best aspects of the traditional version remain. Though the world he's adventuring in is far harsher than the one his TV self raced through, the Ranger himself is still a character of hope and good.

Tonto is interesting. His character wasn't developed much, IIRC, on TV, but he was always cool. You always knew, just from his demeanor, that he was a bigger bad ass than he let on. You get the same sense here, though he's more fleshed-out. Though we've yet to learn his history, it's clear that he's lived a very hard life. Black Bart recognizes him as a killer. He has a lot of skills he doesn't let on about. He definitely has that strong, silently, and slightly scary vibe going on. It will be cool to learn more about him as the series continues.

The dymanic between Tonto is an inversion of the usual hero/sidekick trope. Tonto, the nominal sidekick, is actually more experienced, older, physically more intimidating, and more worldly than the hero. He also fills the mentor role. In a reversal of the Batman and Robin relationship, here it seems that the younger, more hopeful hero will bring some light and calm to the damaged, relentless sidekick.

Before closing this review, i have to talk about the art. Sergio Cariello's skills are quite formidable. He has an expressive, sketchy (which is not to say illdefined) style that compares favorably to Joe Kubert, or Nick Cardy's work on Western comics. You might call it "European" (which, demographically, Cariello is) except that it is in the tradition of American comics about the Old West. His action scenes are fluid and dynamic. His faces convey emotion and thought, and are admirably varied. His website, which includes a gallery, is linked above.

The colors by Dean White are stunning. A lot of the backgrounds, especially lands and skies, are as much his work as Cariello's. Many of the full-page and two-page images wouldn't have worked as well without White's colors. To whit: i might have been put off by two pages of a 22-page comic being spent on a picturesque image of the Lone Ranger and Silver racing across a barren Western landscape, sans narration or plot-moving action, if not for the stunning colors.

John Cassaday is credited with "Art Direction". I'm not sure what that means, but the page layouts are similar to Cassaday's. He also does the covers.

Available at your local comic shop, or through the publisher's site. I'm not sure if a collection of these six issues has been solicited yet, but no doubt it will be. Note: If you pick these issues up at the shop, be aware that Dynamite produced multiple covers for each issue, so don't do what i did and accidentally buy two copies of the same issue.
Hilarious Cover

I swiped this from Cover-By-Cover. Go over there and see a bunch of covers, some great, some simply entertaining. They're grouped by theme, like "to the bone", "behind bars", and obviously, "weddings".

Monday, June 04, 2007

Cheap Post

...just to have a new post, basically. It's a "meme" about comics.

01) Batman or Detective Comics is the first comic book I really got into.
02) Shadowpact is one of the comics I currently collect.
03) Batman is one of my all-time favourite superheroes.
04) Scott Pilgrim is my favourite non-superhero comic.
05) Lobo is a very overrated character
06) -------- is, in my opinion, a very overrated comic artist.
07) Gail Simone is one of my favourite comic book writers.
08) Buying comics from a spinner rack is a happy comic book memory for me.
09) Darwyn Cooke is awesome at drawing female characters.
10) Mike Alred is one of my all-time favourite comic artists.
11) Rags Morales is an artist I’d love to see drawing a monthly series.
12) Wasteland is a comic I’ve meant to read, but haven’t done so yet.
13) Green Lantern Corps is a welcome ’80s comeback.
14) Cable/Deadpool is a comic I’ve never read or paid much attention to.
15) Ghost Rider is a popular character I’ve never really paid attention to.
16) Scott Pilgrim is a title I would recommend to my friends.
17) Darkseid is one of my favourite comic villains.
18) Batman is a comic I’m glad they made into a movie/movie franchise.
19) Catwoman is a comic they totally ruined by making it into a movie.
20) ------- is someone I would really love to meet at a comic convention.
21) ------- is a character I can see myself being for Halloween.
22) Catwoman is a comic I used to love, but now I’m not so hot about.
23) Chyna Cluggston is someone I would love to work on a comic book with.
24) $2.99 is the most I’ll spend on a 22-page (average sized) comic.
25) Crossgen is something/someone they should bring back.