Thursday, September 30, 2004

Identity Crisis Backlash?

SPOILERS for Green Lantern #180-181.

I saw something in this issue that seems to almost have to be tacked onto after the fact. Possibly in a reaction to the criticism DC has been getting in regards to its treatment of female characters in the Identity Crisis miniseries.

In Green Lantern #180. GL Kyle Rayner comes home to find what appears to be the body of his mother in the oven, killed in a similar fashion to his girlfriend Alex Dewitt in the early issues of his run. By the insane villain Major Force, in what seemed to be a storytelling trick of revisiting an old plot to see how the character has changed.

In #181 it is revealed through dialogue only that Kyle's mom wasn't home, and that Major Force had used a mannequin that apparently looked just like Kyle's mom. Yet at the end of the issue Kyle decides to fly off into space, rather than going to check on his mom.

Hmm, Kyle's mom is revealed to not be dead by dialogue only, and in a way ("I just happened to bring a mannequin with me.") that seems rather silly. Then strangely flies off without going to check on her.

Meanwhile another series DC is doing has been getting a response from a fairly decently sized certain of fans. Questioning DC's treatment of female characters, perhaps making members of DC editorial to question after the fact, the direction other stories they have going. Yet the art for is already finished, yet there is still time to fix dialogue.


If so I'm not sure what to make of it. I'd be glad in one sense that DC perhaps has finally started to see a weird trend in their own actions. Yet on the other hand, it seems like this would be the place to try and right something. With a character who has had at most 4 appearances in 10 years, and likely won't ever be used again anyway.

Still I'll look forward to seeing other DC books, to see if they pull back on what seemed like a weird direction towards female characters.

Wednesday, September 29, 2004

My day

I was the good son on my day off today, and took my mom down to Houston so she could do some shopping at the craft malls she has wanted to go to down there for a while.

I hit a comic shop that was nearby, and picked up Green Lantern #181, Teen Titans #16, Warlock #1, She Hulk #5-#7 and Tokyopop's Remote #3 volume. Which was shrinkwrapped for the the first time, making me wonder what kind of extreme material it'll contain.

Teen Titans #16 I picked up for the Legion of Super Heroes crossover, I was disappointed to learn that they didn't receive their order of the LSH #1 book from Diamond though. Did anyone else's store have a similar problem?

She Hulk and Warlock issues I'm waiting a bit on, though I do have a question on something. Issues #5 & #6 of She Hulk I got out of the back issue boxes, and had been marked up to $3.53 each. It seemed weird that the books would go up in price that much, especially given that I haven't noticed anything that collectible about them. Yet they do this for everything in their back issue bins.

Common practice of shops through out the country to do this type of markup to everything, or does this shop just overprice?

SPOILERS for Green Lantern #181 to follow:

Green Lantern #181 was the last issue of the Kyle Rayner era as Green Lantern. As a fan of the character and his run I was very pleased by this finale. I especially enjoyed the pages with just the ring hanging in space. If I had a little more money I'd buy one of those pages from artist Luke Ross, as they had a real cinematic feel and were a treat for the eyes.

I thought it was a very inventive way to get rid of Major Force, that doesn't have Kyle crossing the line he'd made for himself years ago against killing. Yet does offer retribution for the character's misdeeds

Do I like the direction the story went with Kyle being pushed aside? Not really. Yet I realized long ago that comics aren't Burger King and you can't have them made the way you want them. I may not like what happened because I like Kyle as a character, but I can appreciate how it happens.

I thought it was nice closure to the run with ties being severed so I can walk away from the book now and not feel as if I'll miss anything. Or I could give the new direction for the character, whatever it will be, a try. Since Ron Marz has left the next creative team an open field to go where they will.

Plus one female character's death gets undone! A rarity in today's comics from the big two.:)

End Spoilers.

Tuesday, September 28, 2004

History Comics?

A lot of today's comics use a lot of their own history, but are there any out there that deal with real history?

I was watching the DVD of NBC's American Dreams first season DVD last night. It is a really great show set in the 1960s. It uses the setting to tell stories that provide insights into events of that time, that also reflect really well off events of today.

It got me wondering something though. Are there any comics today that use history in such a way?

I couldn't think of any, and that's a shame as it is such an untapped potential that comics would be wonderful in handling. Given the way comics can capture anything, but seem to so often only offer the same things.

Monday, September 27, 2004

5 Answers

Dave Carter of Yet Another Comic Blog asks:

1. What was the best single comics adaptation of a property from another media (movies, books, tv, etc.)?

I personally prefer Marvel's Xanadu adaptation but then I love old goofy movies that star actors like Olivia Newton John on roller skates though.

I've found myself enjoying IDW's CSI miniseries, as well as Moonstone's Kolchak:The Night Stalker quite a lot though, but they aren't strict adaptations.

2. If you could travel back in time for the sole purpose of bitch-slapping one now-dead person, who would it be?

Wow so many... I guess Hitler as he's the most evil person I've ever learned about.

3. It is the year 2014--what does the comic market look like?

What I'd like to see: Quality comics of various genres, with something for everyone, not just particular audiences. Sold in a variety of markets, in substantial packages that make them worth the money the buyer pays for them.

What I'd hate to see: A very small core audience, buying an ever decreasing amount of core series, at very high price points in an even smaller number of outlets. With retreads of prior hits, think Pokemon and Dragon Ball, a big draw as they try to pull in the audience that grew up with them.

It'll likely be somewhere in the middle of those two extremes though.

4. Which author is best suited to write the Bildungsroman based on your life?

Hmm, I'd love to think it would be someone like Nick Hornby or comic related Andi Watson. I'd probably wind up with someone like Chuck Austen or John Byrne though.:)

And finally, the most important question of all time:

5. Hulk vs. Thor: who wins?

Hulk is strongest one there is!

Thanks for the questions!

Elongated Man Spotlight

A lot of fans may have been exposed for the first time to Ralph "Elongated Man" Dibny and his wife Sue through a certain high selling miniseries DC Comics is putting out. I've seen lots of comments "I don't know who these characters were, but I sure liked how they were used here." or "Ah these two never had a personality or any importance anyway." to those who have had a problem with their handling.

I just wanted to spotlight briefly a story dealing with the characters that brought them into my "heart" as favorites. Maybe someone who just found them through "that miniseries" might even want to look these up if they have interest in reading who these characters were.

Secret Origins #30
September 1998 $1.50

This issue retells Ralph's origin in a very inspiring way, as Ralph and Sue have come to Ralph's old hometown to celebrate his 30th birthday. Ralph doesn't get along with his family, and relates his troubles with them (and thus his origin) to his friend Wally "The Flash" West who is also from the area and was visiting.

The most interesting part of Ralph's life, and proving the old description "his better half", is how he met his wife Sue at her coming out debutante party. Sue's wit and sense of adventure matches well with Ralph's active life style.

I really enjoyed how when they discussed their feelings for each other. Unlike other fictional couples whose love is usually described as at "first sight" or "never ending." They admit that they didn't really love one another instantly, but saw things in each other that they liked. Detailing how their love just grew into being, making for a deeper and more realistic feel to me as a reader.

The two really compliment each other, yet I got the feeling that the two could live without each other as well. Yet they choose to be with each other because they make each other happy and are better together than when apart.

I like how rather than just detailing the bare facts of Ralph's origin, as many origins do, they surround it with a story that add something to the character. Ralph is someone that seems to instantly connect with most other heroes, so seeing him in a situation where he feels the odd man out was something new.

Seeing how it resolves itself, and how even someone as keenly observant as Ralph can misinterpret things about himself. Makes for a very enjoyable read, that I think is a must for anyone wanting to know what Ralph and Sue were about as characters.

Sunday, September 26, 2004

Cartoon Revelations

I was turning channels late last night, and came upon an old Fantastic Four cartoon on the Boomerang channel. It was a pretty poor cartoon, but the thing that struck me most was the way the Human Torch looked.

He actually looked like someone that was not only on fire, but actually burning and that just freaked me out for some reason. It made me realize just how scary a person like that in real person would look. How could you stand to be beside someone who was literally on fire?

I don't normally enjoy the superhero cartoons, a handful of Batman: The Animated Series and JLU episodes are about it, but it can be interesting to see how something works in another medium.

For instance, something I had never thought of before was on display in another FF cartoon that was on The Family Channel not too long back. The Thing when he moved sounded like a rock slide, which made sense once I thought about it. Unlike us he is literally rocks sliding against each other, and thus would make noise.

Which is just something I had never seen or even thought about in comics.

5 Questions

Shamelessly picking up the gimmick that Johanna and Shane have started. I open up the blog to any 5 questions you want to ask me.

Of course this is just a way to shamelessly fill up a day where I am completely beat, from 4 straight 10 hour work days.

Saturday, September 25, 2004

Quick Thoughts on:

Kare First Love Volume 1
Kaho Miyasaka
VIZ LLC; 200 pages $9.95 (August 11, 2004)

I wonder if I'm just growing tired of the teenage romance genre of comics right now.

This books is your stereotypical one about a young girl who is too shy and timid to really stand up for herself. Who doesn't have confidence in herself or think anyone else can like her so she hides herself away from everyone.

Who meets the popular boy in school, who has a secret artistic talent that allows him to see the depth our young "heroine" hides and tries to bring it out of her.

There really isn't anything wrong with the book, it just comes at a time for me right now where I almost knew what to expect from page to page. Which made for a boring reading experience.

I love the teen romance genre usually, but at this point I've seen it so much in other manga, in movies, and even on tv shows. That I'm to the point now where I feel burnt out on the genre as a whole.

I know very little is going to compare to the wonderfully engaging Hot Gimmick series, which I plan to cover soon, but I find myself expecting more than just average now as well.

Manga and the romance genre aren't "the new black" they first were to me, when I was looking for options to the typical nostalgia driven superhero or self centered couch sitting griping about life indy books. Instead of just being happy to be reading something different, to me at the time, now I expect just as much quality and freshness from them as well.

Newsarama Reports CrossGen For Auction

I wonder who would want it? The company failed for various reasons, yet at their heart I found the series to just be too generic. None of the series really had the time or took the opportunity to become more than their core concept started as.

Which makes me wonder why even movie studios looking for properties to pick up on the cheap would be that interested in them. Be it the sword and sorcery of Scion or fantasy of Sojourn, their basic elements would be just as easy to use created in house. Rather than pay money for a property which 95% of the world has never heard of anyway.

Fans hoping that someone to pick them up, in order to be able to continue the stories must look elsewhere as well. Even if comics company decided to try to do the comics as they were, which would be silly since they didn't catch on then. Getting the talent to come back on them would be nearly impossible.

From non payment to bad relationships that happened while working on them, the books have left a really bad taste in many of the creators behind them's minds. As writer Ron Marz points out on his message board where he details what would have to happen to get him to even consider it.

Ex Machina TPB?

So I'm reading a recent issue of Entertainment Weekly, one with original Star Wars movie actors on the cover, and on their "The Must List" they have the EX MACHINA series from DC/Wildstorm.

Anyone know if DC has a collection or something of this planned any time soon? It seems like a golden opportunity is being missed for the company to bring in some new readers. Given that coverage like this makes people, myself included, interested in the book. Yet I don't want to work too hard to try it.

Friday, September 24, 2004


Tropical Storm Ivan hit and seems to be finally be moving on, some flooding in places but everything seems to be okay for the most part. Can't believe how people panic, and do such foolish things.

Only way the storm has really done something other than rain on me, was forcing increased hours at work because of call-ins who were too worried to come in. Which meant more money, but very tired hands as a data encoder for the US Postal Service.

Odd comic book ramble of the day

Today's superhero comics, especially DC's, seems to be going back to older concepts that were popular for the company in the 60s, 70s and to a lesser degree the early 80s.

Some fans say this is an attempt to have the books be like they were when they captured young readers imaginations in those times. Will that really work though?

I wonder at times if the reason why comics have lost a generation or more over time, is that so many are still relying on what interested readers all those decades ago. Seeming to not really realize that readers tastes have changed, and what interested one group as kids may not (and likely will not) interest kids a generation or more down the road.

I look at my nieces and nephew for an example of this. I loved G. I Joe and Transformers as a kid, and thought the old "Jem" cartoon was a really fun show. Yet during their recent revival, I tried to share that interest with my younger relatives and they had no interest in it.

I look at what does seem to interest them, Spongebob Squarepants or Survivor, and I scratch my head trying to see the appeal. Which has me wondering why some readers think that just because they loved a comic as a kid in the 1960s, that their children will like the same exact thing in the here and now.

Of course while some of the fans believe that, I imagine DC and Marvel probably know what audience they are now going for with those anyway. Look at Marvel for instance which has not one, or two but four titles dealing with individual takes on the Fantastic Four.

Seeming to understand that many of today's superhero comic readers don't want new ideas or even new stories. So Marvel especially knows that they can sell basically the same exact thing over and over again to the same audience.

Which has made the circle of "comic life" shorter and shorter. I wonder what will happen first. Will the creators rebel from having no creative freedom? Or will readers wake up and realize the are buying the same exact book every month? Only time will tell.

Thursday, September 23, 2004

No updates

Sorry for no updates, am preparing for Tropical Storm Ivan's imminent arrival here, but will try to be back with more comic news and reviews soon.

Tuesday, September 21, 2004

Case Closed Vol. 1
Gosho Aoyama
VIZ LLC, 200 pages $9.95

Cute, hmm yes I think cute is the best way to describe this latest entry to the comics mystery genre.

The series follows high school student Jimmy Kudo, whose intelligence and incredible sense of observation and intuition has made him a great detective. Though only a teenager, he's already become a media darling, and someone the cops have come to rely heavily on to solve their toughest crimes.

It has also made him a bit full of himself too though, which along with the feeling of invincibility that being a teenager can bring. Means he's set himself up for a fall, which he takes when he's blindsided by two "men in black" while investigating a mystery.

Given an experimental poison, instead of killing him it instead literally "cuts him down to size" as he awakens as a kid of 8 or 9. With still the intelligence of his past self, he still feels the need to solve crimes and must try and figure out how to fix what has happened to him.

On the advice of a friend, he moves in with his girlfriend and her father a private investigator, using the pseudonym of Conan Edogwa.(a combination of the names of his two all time favorite detective novelists) He must keep his identity a secret, even from them, for fear of the "men in black" coming back to finish the job.

Yet he hopes that by keeping an ear inside the detective community through them, for word of the "men in black" so he can find a cure.

At first I didn't know really what to make of the book, as some of it seemed so straight forward and even silly in places. I suppose I am more used to the sort of older feel and approach of books like Kindaichi Case Files, that this much lighter approach surprised me.

This is definitely a book meant to appeal greatly to younger kids. Jimmy's struggles to get the adults to pay attention to him as he tries to let them know what he thinks on the cases. Is something every kid has experienced at one point, with the frustration of being dismissed as an almost nonperson with nothing to offer because of age.

Even the murders themselves are done in ways that make them more appropriate for a younger audience, with a real lack of attention on the victim. You don't really feel anything for them, even regret or sadness of their death, as much as just a curiosity as to how their death took place.

I'm not sure how much "fair play" the mysteries are however, as most of the revelations at the end of the two mysteries here are leaps of logic Jimmy makes from a couple of clues, that only really makes sense after the fact.

I do hope, that some of the core elements are strengthened a bit as time goes on. If every volume amounts to Jimmy having to solve the crime, while allowing his girlfriend's father to subtly take the credit. Then things could get old fast.

I do know that I'm already a little tired of him lying to his girlfriend about who he is, if he really does love her as he proclaims.

I can sort of see that appealing to young kids though. For them to be able say "ha the little kid is smarter than the adults!" Or that the character and reader share a secret as well, but as an adult I think they could be themes that could turn my interest off fast.

Yet again the book is just cute, I finished it not really wowed but curious enough to try the next volume when it hits shelves.

Monday, September 20, 2004

Quick Monday Link Blogging

India Celebrates Comic Creator's Birthday - The 75th birthday of a popular comic creator in India, has an article focusing on his career. I wonder how many of America's comic creators would warrant such attention?

The article says that every kid in India has read his comics, which is a remarkable feat. I found his reason for doing comics, to be really interesting.

From the article:

1967 Delhi The idea
At a quiz contest on TV when the children were asked who was the mother of Lord Ram none of the contestants could reply, but when asked a question about Greek Gods everyone had a reply. I realized then how the children of today were getting alienated from our own culture.

The idea of doing a comic in order to introduce or keep your culture alive is a very wonderful concept.

Can Comics Be Literature?- Interesting review of Art Spiegelman's "In The Shadow of No Towers" book from the South Florida Sun-Sentinel newspaper.

I thought this opening paragraph was very interesting:

Lately there has been a good deal of anguished discussion among book critics over -- shades of the 1950s! -- the growing impact of comic books (that's graphic novels to you, bud), specifically regarding the question of whether a comic book or graphic novel can be a real work of literature.

It is sort of interesting with the strides comics have made over the past couple of years, that it is still a question of their worth. I suppose I can understand it given the large amount of crap there is out there in comics, and when stuff like Identity Crisis gets so much publicity.

Yet I guess I was hoping that with works like Jimmy Corrigan, From Hell, Blankets and the like. That perhaps their worth had long since been answered, yet I guess as with anything there is still a lot of proving to do.

Sunday, September 19, 2004

Maria's Wedding
Written by Nunzio DeFilippis & Christina Weir
Illustrated by Jose Garibaldi
Published by Oni Press, July 2003, $10.95

When the same sex marriage of Joseph and Matthew splits Joseph's rather large Italian family. Joseph's brother Frankie speaks out about the situation, vowing to tell the family members who refused to attend and bad mouthed the entire thing off the next time he sees them.

A year later with their cousin Maria getting married, Frankie almost considers not going because of his vow. Yet Maria has always been one of his favorite relatives, and he wants to be there for her on this important day.

Frankie's still a bit worried at the reaction he'll get, but even more worried about what exactly he'll find himself doing when he sees those he vowed to tell off. Also adding an additional complication, is that one of the bridesmaids is an old teenage flame who he still has feelings for.

The situation of the story is familiar to anyone who has a family of any size. Perhaps not to the extreme of Frankie's, but everyone has relatives who are short sighted or only think of themselves. Who no matter the bloodties, are some of the last people you ever want to be around.

The art is really well done, the relatives resemble each other as they should, but still manages to draw each of them distinctly enough to be individualized..

I liked how they showed the importance of family, despite the negative things that the family can bring. By showing the love and strength that it can provide, a balance was struck that made the story seem a bit richer.

I really appreciated Frankie's ability to stand up for what he believes in. I have a family near the size of his, my mom is one of nine kids, and can relate to the bigoted beliefs he fights against. So he seems very heroic to me, to be able to say things that I would like to do as well, but sometimes lack the courage to.

Making this a book just something I could really relate to and enjoy. When I finished it I was a little sad, as I wanted to know what happened next (despite there being a fairly solid ending) because I'd come to care about the characters.

Maybe the team will do a followup?

Saturday, September 18, 2004

Gorgeous day

Sorry but it was just such a gorgeous sunny day here, that I couldn't keep myself inside on it to read and write. That makes me a bad blogger I know, but perhaps a better person.

I did get to see the Budweiser Clydesdales(sp?), at a local mall. Complete with harness and carriage, and the rest. They are simply gorgeous animals, and I was surprised at how HUGE they were!

Comic wise I picked up ASTONISHING X-MEN #4 and

Kare First Love Vol. 1

Hot Gimmick Vol. 6

I'm also found myself wondering this about superhero comics. When does something become canon and when is something just add on?

I used to think that only the origin stories were "canon," yet as I've grown older I've seen other stories start to have as much importance to the character's history as their start.

For instance with Spider-Man, Gwen Stacy's death has apparently become a key element of Spider-Man's canon in comics. It apparently adds an extra bit of tragedy, and extra oomph of responsibility to Peter's life. Why else would the Ultimate Spider-Man series revisit that storyline as well?

I think for new readers, some unexpected things can become cannon. I started reading the Legion of Super-Heroes titles during the V.4 take on the series. One of the key characters of that version of the series was Ultra Boy. Who as a new reader, a key element of his canon seemed to be the loss of the love of his life Tinya "Phantom Girl" Wazzo.

I'd never read a story with either character before, so to me her death was a defining moment to making him who he was. And played a part in one of the most heart wrenching scenes I've ever seen in comics. When while meeting younger "clones" of themselves, he is stunned to come face to face with the younger version of Tinya.

That was just devastating to read, not in a shocking evocative way, but by powerful storytelling.

Yet when the book got rebooted, that element was left off for a good portion of the run. And when they did revisit the theme of him losing her, they eventually undid it making it a very unimportant part of the character. Which just seems off looking back on it now, because at the time I first read the original stories it seemed as defining moment for Ultra Boy as Uncle Ben's was to Peter.

Anyway sorry for jumping ship, but I will return tomorrow with more reviews and such.

Friday, September 17, 2004

Love Fights
Andi Watson
Oni Press, 168 Pages, $14.95 (April 2004)

Jack and Nora are two fairly normal people, who live in a world filled with superheroes. Jack draws the publicity driven comic for one of the heroes, while Nora is a new reporter for a gossip magazine whose job is to get dirt on the various superheroes.

The two meet a couple of times while taking public transit, before working up the courage to ask each other out on a date where they seem to hit it off. The two do have problems though, Jack is jealous of the superheroes powers and abilities and worries that Nora has the hots for one as well.

While Nora's job brings a conflict from a story she writes, that damages the credibility of the superhero Jack's comic stars. Thereby putting his very job in jeopardy, and leading him to question even more her connections with these superheroes.

The idea of trying to have a relationship in a superhero populated world, is an interesting and familiar (though I can't place where) one. With Jack as a comic creator as well, the corporate politics and commentary on the way the character type should be portrayed are interesting to read. Making me wonder if perhaps Andy is using some of his own experience from his recent dealings with Marvel Comics.

Yet overall I just felt disconnected from the entire story and characters. Nothing about Jack or Nora seemed to really click for me, as I didn't see much reason for the two to get along so well other than the story says so.

I also have a love/hate relationship with the art. Andi is always changing and adapting his art with each new series. I've grown to like his sometime minimalist style, which is on display here to full effect at times.

Yet it seems a bit too much plain and simplistic here than was required, leaving me having to puzzle out exactly what I was looking at in places. I also disliked his use of scribbling over the character's faces to show off emotion. Rather than being artistically clever, I instead found it incredibly messy and distracting.

His imagination is still very strong though, such as when Jack is trying to think of what to ask Nora as an opening line when they first meet. Instead of just words, he uses symbols that clearly showed what Jack was thinking of asking in a clever way.

Perhaps I'm being a bit too harsh here, as the book isn't bad and is something I see myself reading the rest of when it is published. It just lacks the depth and sophistication that I've come to expect from Andi through works like Breakfast After Noon, Geisha and Dumped. I will look forward with relish to whatever project he has coming next, and hope the material will be something more in line with my interests.

Scooter Girl
Chynna Clugston-Major
Oni Press, 165 Pages, $14.95 May 2004

Ashton Archer is a young man who seems to have everything. He's rich, cool, and can seemingly have any woman he chooses. That is until the ultra sexy Margaret Sheldon comes to town. Margaret has style, an ultra cool scooter, and is turning the head of all the guys in school.

When Ashton tries his same old moves on her, he makes an ass of himself and becomes the object of her hatred rather than inducing her to be another notch for his bedpost.

He can't understand why she doesn't "love him" like everyone else and why since she turned up his life has gone to hell. While he continues to pursue her, his friends, "girlfriends," and cool stature goes down the toilet. The final straw being when his dad informs him they've lost all their money.

Which eventually launches him on a mission to win her love, that to him means bedding her, which he sees as the first step to also regaining his previous stature. Yet really the lesson he learns is that how we treat others, especially those we care for, reflects on how we ourselves will be treated in return. Along with the idea that there is more to relationships than the physical, an idea that is completely alien to him.

When we first meet Archer, and through out most of the story, he's a pretty wretched person in a lot of respects. Yet Chynna does an amazing job of taking a character that 9 times out of 10 would be the villain, and making us care and root for him despite his bad behavior.

The art really shows her craftmanship, as you can see her manga influences in some of the characters body types, yet she's made it her own as well. With intensive attention to detail put into clothes, hair settings. She's able to bring the world of mod-scooter lovers to life in refreshingly lush detail.

I especially love how artfully she's placed word balloons and captions, so that as your eye moves over the page you absorb both words and pictures at once. There really is no separation of the two at all, which makes this comics in its purest form.

Her writing is sharp and real as well. There are no forced lines or eyerolling banter, as each character has unique voice that seems to flow naturally.

One of her incredible comedic strengths is how she is able to play with the absurd. She is able to take the story in a strange and potentially disturbing direction, then turn it back a hair breath before it goes too far. Keeping the sense of fun and mischief intact, which is a necessary feeling for the material she covers.

I'd only read Chynna's Blue Monday before, so wondered at her taking time off from it to do this separate series. Yet after reading this I'm glad she did, and hope she's able to take even more creative chances in the near future.

Thursday, September 16, 2004

Oh what a day...

I feel a lot like Charlie Brown right now, things seemed to be going well today. I got off after only 6 hours at work, had plans to meet a special friend tonight for dinner and then do some writing tonight.

One problem, I stop by a store to pick up something for home and then come out and my truck will not start. I use my cellphone to call around but no one is home and I don't have the numbers to cellphones so I'm sort of stuck.

Finally after an hour I get ahold of my sister and she gets her mechanic fiancee to come with her to help me out. When they get there we finally figure out it is the battery, so they take me to Wal-Mart where I spend $60 on the new one.

We get back and notice that the connections have corroded on the battery so bad, that even the Coke pored over it does little. Back to the store where we get some wrenches that gets one of the connections off. Only problem is the other still isn't giving.

So back to the store once again (did I mention that this is in rush hour traffic and the nearest place with autoparts is 20 minutes away on a light traffic day?) and I get a pair of vice grips for $14 freaking dollars!

Get back and finally get it fixed, yay! Only to notice that one of my tires has a nail in it...

Finally 5 hours after I got off work and had an evening I was looking forward to ruined I make it home. Where I have a lot of VERY angry messages from my friend I was supposed to meet for dinner, but hopefully I can make up for that once she actually accepts a phone call from me.

Needless to say I'm not in the mood to do much writing tonight, I do have the next two days off though so expect some writing then.

Wednesday, September 15, 2004

Oni Press Spotlight

I love Oni Press's range of titles, from romance to comedy to spy fiction to whatever. They offer something for just about anyone, and they don't seem to mind giving their readers options in how they choose to read them. (singles or collections)

Yet with so much out there, it can be easy to take their consistent quality for granted. I know I for one have done that in the past year, I decided to wait for the trade and didn't until recently realized I'd waited an awful long time.

So with that I headed to Amazon and remedied that by ordering the following titles:

Scooter Girl

Lost At Sea

Love Fights

Maria's Wedding

Over the course of the next several days, when work or other things don't interfere. I plan to cover each one of these wonderful entries Oni has offered to the comic world.

Tuesday, September 14, 2004

Odd stuff

Anyone else notice how the big two comic companies can't seem to decide how long a story will take? Marvel has been extending miniseries for a while, but now DC is getting into it as well.

Take the Green Lantern: Rebirth miniseries, which the creators behind say they spent 6 months planning in order to get the return of Hal Jordan as Green Lantern "right." Yet over the course of just a few months since the series was announced. It has gone from a 5 issue miniseries, to a 6 issues, to in the most recent Previews listing 8 issue miniseries.

Now I can sort of see needing to expand an issue if things don't fit. Yet three issues to fit it all in? That seems to be lack of planning or perhaps inability to get writers to streamline their ideas into a workable idea.

I'm not planning on reading it anyway, but still just something odd to observe.

How do you store your comics?

I am worn out, and still only half done, trying to convert my comics from the long white boxes to airtight plastic containers. I don't have but about 6 white boxes and a dozen or so big Diamond boxes of stuff I've gotten in the mail.

Yet trying to determine what will go where, what to keep, and realizing just how FREAKING heavy a lot of comics can be is very weird.

Monday, September 13, 2004

Monday Funday

Scary Godmother: Halloween Spooktakular DVD(with glowstick)

My local Wal-Mart store screwed up and put this movie, based on the first Scary Godmother Comic, out a day early. I'm really looking forward to seeing how the material makes the transition, and figuring out exactly what a glowstick is.

I'll then pass it on to my 7 year old niece, who has a birthday coming up in the next month.

While looking through Tokyopop's site I see

Love or Money

About a young girl who acts as a loan shark in school, whose rich grandmother puts a stipulation in her will before her death, that in order to inherit she must not charge interest on loans and must marry an honest man.

This could be a fun little series, hopefully Tokyopop will have some preview pages up before it release in December.

In other news:

Lack on interest in the product, by all but a core audience of fans? Huge power struggle between the haves and have nots? Strife between corporate suits and the people who actually make the product? Contemplation of a smaller amount of product, for hopes of bigger gains on said product?

No this isn't the 90s direct market/Marvel Comics market bust, but the tales of the financial struggles of the NHL. Which has some strange similarities in places.

Sunday, September 12, 2004

What I have so far

Here is what I am planning on ordering from DCBS so far this month:

American Flag Books 1 & 2

Have heard a ton of praise and acclaim for this early Chaykin work, which happened at a time I wasn't reading comics. On sale for $9.99 each I imagine they'll be worth reading from a historical perspective if nothing else.

Avengers #1

Never been a huge fan of either the Avengers or Brian Bendis. Yet with a sale price of 56 cents for the first issue, I figure what the hey and will give it a look anyway.

Iron Man #1

I always thought the concept of Iron Man could be very interesting, but none of the stories I read really grabbed me. Warren Ellis seems like a good choice for the character given his technology savvy writing and perhaps will finally be the one to make me like Iron Man. On sale for $1.75.


I've heard great things about this comedic take on a certain green skinned female, and at $7.49 I figure it is a decent time to give it a shot.

Wow, I can't believe I'm getting so much Marvel stuff...


From the same team that brought us the classic FORMERLY KNOWN AS THE JUSTICE LEAGUE, is a new series in that same vein. In an age where some creators only want to focus on the down side of humanity, it is nice to see creators who realize the fun side of the superhero as well. I'm getting it for $2.19, but price was NOT an issue here.

Blade of Kumori #1

The creator behind this is a friend of mine, but this series about a young woman who is the last in a long line of samurais sounds very intriguing as well. I look forward to giving it a try, and hoping it comes off as well as it sounds. Sale price of $1.47.

Hardy Boys #1

I love mysteries, I enjoyed reading the Hardy Boys novels as kids and the series is drawn by Lea (RUMBLE GIRLS) Hernandez. So how could I not try this new series from NBM? Especially at a sales price of $1.62.

Superman Secret Identity TP

One of the best comic series I read last year was this miniseries by Kurt Busiek and Stuart Immonen. This story that used portions of the Superman mythos to examine different phases and aspects of life, was powerful and thoughtful. I'm ecstatic to see it finally collected, and would pay even more than the $12.97 sales price if needed for it.

So there you go, almost at my limit of things already. I just have to see if there is anything else, which I can't get at a bookchain store (hence no mangas), that I might want to also try.

Preordering is Tedious

So I'm going through the Discount Comic Book Service site trying to figure out what I want to order through them this month. They have a ton of great deals as usual, but while trying to go through the text version of the Previews listings I grew bored less than half way through.

There is just SO much out there, which is great on one hand for more variety. Yet when you do websearches for more information and make decisions, it becomes a pain after a while.

Trying to guess what I'm going to like, what I can wait on, and what even half of the stuff is sure is a lot of work. Especially for stuff I'll have to wait 3 months on before I even see it.

I think I'll wait until those who do the Previews rundowns gets their articles up. They really save a lot of time and hassle for me anyway. I love comics, but this is only my second time to preorder in the past year and I'm already getting worn out by the process.

Saturday, September 11, 2004

Four Mangas To Go

Here are some quick observations of 4 manga titles I read recently.

SGT FROG Volume 4

Yet another fun filled volume of a cute frogish looking alien race, whose plans for invasion keep getting derailed by their own incompetence and interest in the wonders the Earth has to offer.

In this volume the platoon finds themselves on various misadventures, the best of which were an over the top snowball battle, and a story that will make you glad Earth has such things as dentists!

There seemed to be quite a bit more "fan service" this volume, than I had seen in previous ones though. I don't mind playful teasing that much, but at times this volume's multiple stories that amounted to finding ways for teenage girl Natusumi to become naked went a bit too far.

The writing has such imagination and energy that I can look over it for the most part. Yet I think they could do better things, given the talent they've shown. Still this series continues to be the funniest book on the stands today.

The Kindaichi Case Files: Smoke and Mirrors

I never realized how much I loved the old teenage mystery books, Nancy Drew or Hardy Boys, until I started reading the Kindaichi books. This series offers a mystery that readers can play along with the characters to solve, in fun inventive ways.

Its lead is Hajime Kindaichi, the grandson of a famous detective, but a lazy good for nothing when it comes to school. His IQ is extremely high so he isn't stupid, he's just too lazy to put in any effort that will allow him the scholastic success he could achieve.

Which makes his friendship with Miyuki a strange one at times. Miyuki is a hard working, dedicated young woman, who is at the top of her class. Together the two make a great team in the one thing Hajime does have an interest in though, solving mysteries.

In this one it is revealed that the school they go to has a terrible secret, linked to 13 terrible mysteries. Legend has if anyone learns even what all the mysteries are , they will be killed by the "Afterschool Magician."

When a female upperclassman takes an interest in Hajime, and asks him to join the school's Mystery Club. He's intrigued, while Miyuki starts to question her feeling for Hajime when she starts to feel jealous of the pretty upperclassman's interest in Hajime.

When the Mystery Club starts to examine the 13 mysteries, and its members start dying. It will be up to Hajime and Miyuki to join together to solve not only the mysteries of the past, but those behind the deaths in the here and now. In order to save themselves and those around them.

This was a real page turner that had me on the edge of my seat with every page. It was able to have fairly horrific deaths and consequences, with out feeling as if the victims were being objectified or killed for shock value.

There was a sense of danger and intrigue that made the entire thing work in the end, leaving me going "why didn't I see that!" when the final revelations are revealed.


This book is really a tale of two different stories, one I was interested in the other I was left very bored by.

The first chapter is a terrific look at what an extremely intelligent and driven woman, in a place of power in her profession, may have to deal with at times.

Sumire's life was going great, until her boyfriend dumps her because he's intimidated by how much smarter and successful she is than he. Then she's demoted at work for punching out her boss at the Christmas party when he tries to grope her. Finally she learns that those who worked for and with her, who she thought of as friends.

Were jealous of her, and felt she is getting what she deserved for having achieved what they felt was above her station to do as a woman.

This look into what powerful successful women may deal with at times, was very eye opening and intriguing in its depth. No easy cliches or ham handed look at such a unique situation. This was indepth and had me really involved and feeling for Sumire as she went through it.

As a guy I'd never really given much thought to the situation she found herself in. Sure I perhaps intellectually knew some of the problems women in the workforce faced. Yet seeing so strikingly how things like "being too smart" or being judged only by my looks by even those of my same sex (and not in no way in a sexual way most times) was something startling. Because as a a guy it is something I likely will never actually go through myself.

So after reading that great first chapter I was jazzed to see what happened next. Unfortunately the rest of the book pays little more than lip service to that wonderful situation in the first one.

Instead focusing the majority of its attention on Sumire meeting her first love once again. Plus an odd situation with a young man off the street, who becomes something of a cross between a pet dog and kid to her over time.

Perhaps it was only because I was so much more interested in the successful woman angle of the first chapter. Yet the rest of the stuff just seemed like artificial drudgery, that didn't hold my interest one wit. Which is too bad as the first chapter was one of the best parts of a manga as I've read so far.

The Kindaichi Case Files: The Legend of Lake Hiren

Hajime and Miyuki return for another adventure. This time finds the two switching places with one of Miyuki's cousins, in order to go on a free trip to a new exclusive resort club in the woods.

When the other club visitors start being murdered, it is up to the two to find what the mysterious connection between them all is. Which will lead them to their would be assassin and an exploration of the moral dilemma of having to do bad things for good reasons.

The relationship between Hajime and Miyuki takes further steps forward, with this time Hajime finding himself having to contemplate his feelings when an old crush of Miyuki shows up.

This volume is probably the most thought provoking of the series I've read so far. The mystery is okay, but the questions it raises were very intriguing and defied any simple answers. Leaving me wondering for quite some time afterwards, what I would have done if facing similar circumstances.

Which in this age of disposable entertainment, anything I'm still thinking of 2 minutes after I read it has accomplished more than most.

Friday, September 10, 2004

Friday Stuff on Interest

Samurai: Heaven and Earth
Writer: Ron Marz
Artist: Luke Ross
Cover Artist: Luke Ross
Colorist: Jason Keith

Dark Horse Comics continues to be a haven for fairly established work for hire talent, to bring their own projects to publish. I was really blown away by the cover, as Luke Ross's art is just so beautifully detailed, without feeling cluttered.

The story about a samurai in the feudal Japan of 1704, whose love has been kidnapped by his enemies. His quest for her rescue will take him to the empire of China, across Europe, and finally to Paris and the court of King Louis XIV's Versailles.

I know Ron Marz is a real historian when it comes to ancient cultures, so this book could be both exciting as well as interesting to see the different cultures of the past.

Hurricanes derail convention plans for some creators- Ron Marz, Brandon Peterson, Andy Smith and Rob Hunter had to drop their plans to go to the Baltimore Con this weekend. All four live in Florida, and with Hurricane Frances already doing heavy damage to the area. The news of Hurricane Ivan coming in the same direction caused them to change their plans.

Geoff Johns Board shuts down Visitors to Geoff Johns message board were greeted by this message when they tried to visit today.

Sorry, the boards are offline at the moment

Turned the boards off for a while to let everyone take a deep breath, and as a reminder that there is more to life than comics and yelling at each other about them.

Please take the down time to breathe deeply and slowly, and enjoy life.

We'll be back up later.
Thanks for your patience.

GJ Team

Nothing specific has been said as to what exactly became so heated that the board had to be shut down for a while. My speculation is that once again the "Great Green Lantern Debate" is the cause. More than any other topic in comics, it seems to draw the heaviest amount of nastiness and bitterness out of the fans who discuss it.

Wednesday, September 08, 2004

Tonight's Link Blog

Cognitive Dissonance Returns! - As does the rest of the blogosphere after a Blogger meltdown. Johanna post a ton of stuff, I think she must have saved up during the down time or otherwise she would have exploded.:) Including the panel schedule for this weekend's Baltimore Con.

Virtual Women - Jon on his Mae Mai blog points towards two articles, one on virtual girlfreinds and the other about a Video Game Girl issue of Playboy.

Sheesh have people lost their imagination? I had no trouble as a horny teenager, imagining Scarlet or Lady Jay nude in my old G.I. Joe comics! .... Err!!;)

On that note I think I'll head to bed. I will have reviews again I swear! Once I actually get time to read a book...

Tuesday, September 07, 2004

Tuesday Link Blog

DC To Release Free Copy of Fallen Angel #1 - Those looking to try DC's Fallen Angel series have a golden opportunity this week, as DC is shipping free handout copies of the first issue to comic shops this week.

Meanwhile Johanna Draper Carlson, still has her Fallen Angel Contest going as well. Hurry though, as all entries must be received by tomorrow September 8!

Speaking of Johanna, has she fallen victim to my blog rollcall of doom? As she is unable to post to her blog so far this week due to Blogger glitches.

Just when you think comics may be growing up and turning a corner. You see books like this one from someone who has obviously been playing video games WAY too much. And makes you wonder if they have ever been near a real woman from the way they draw them.

To end on a positive note though. I am very interested after reading the interview with Jamie Boardman on the DC/Rebellion partnership. Which promises to bring a lot of new, to me and I'm sure many other readers, series to the US by some of today's most talented creators.

In an industry which seems to support a certain amount of sameness, bringing about new things to try will be a very welcome addition to the current comic world.

Monday, September 06, 2004

Holiday Link Blog

Not much to write about today, as I'm still in the middle of the latest Sgt. Frog book. Which has been a ton of fun so far, with snowball battles, political battles and other offbeat paths.

Dark Dorothy series - On the one hand the Newsarama report on a darker take on the Wizard of Oz books certainly looks very interesting visually. Yet I wonder a little at the fascination with darkening a lot of our childhood myths that seems to be going on currently. (see DC's FABLES series)

India's Spidey to Hit US - I must admit to being excited about the news of this take on Spider-Man, if he was born in India rather than NYC, coming to stories here. It sounds a lot more interesting sounding than anything the regular Spidey books have been doing for quite some time.

(Updated to add my wishes for those in Florida to be safe as can be with the hurricanes coming through there.)

Sunday, September 05, 2004

For Lovers Only #76
Charlton Comics 1974

This one seems to be the closest to an adult take on the romance genre, with stories about being grown up, moving on your own and the like.

The first one stars a young woman named Terri, who has just moved to New York and everything seems to be going great for her. She's got a nice job, a good roommate and what seems to be a super cool boyfriend.

Until the boyfriend invites her to move in with him, and then laughs when she mentions marriage to him. This leads her to flee the city to seek refuge with an older aunt in New Jersey, who wants her to go into business with her. She agrees and things seem to go okay, though she starts to feel longings for the boyfriend in the city.

When he invites them both to the city for lunch she agrees and starts to realize that he perhaps isn't as bad as she initially thought. In the reverse he starts to gain a better appreciation for the slower pace of her life and the values she grew up with but he'd always shunned. So he eventually transfers to her city and the two agree to be married, and decide to stay with her aunt in a second floor loft.

This story was fairly sweet, yet kind of typical of many romance stories. The young purehearted woman wins over the wordily man and changes his views to mirror hers. The art was very solid and distinctive. Though it had a surprising teasing part, with Terri shown topless on her stomach wearing only small panties in bed. That was unexpected given that I would think the target audience for this is young girls.

The second story is a bit more like the Teen Confessions ones, with a young girl inviting her new beau to a party at her parents house. She'd initially been invited to it by a long time friend of hers and the family, but this new guy's approach seemed so fresh to her.

At the party his brashness starts to wear on her though, especially in regards to his rudeness to her parents and friends. When she invites him outside to try and convince him to tone it down, he instead takes it as an opportunity to try to grope her. Luckily for her the family friend comes to her rescue, and punches the guy out while confessing that she's always been the girl for him.

Later she reveals to him that he's always been the guy for her too, and the other guy was just her try to make him jealous. He "jokingly" warns her that it better be the last or he'll have to teach her a lesson to.

This story's message of go for the nice guy is a good one I suppose, especially when they reveal that the mean guy was a very grabby fellah. Yet I wonder if the message of only choose people who your parents approve of was supposed to come through quite so strongly.

Probably the best story of all of this weekend was the last one in this volume titled "Fast & Furious." Judy Farrel is a strong minded young woman, who finds herself speeding in her car a lot in order to get back and forth to work. It has sort of become a game with her in order to try and get by a cute young officer who watches the stretch of highway she normally speeds on.

One day she gets lax and he does catch her speeding, and despite all her sweet talk he still gives her a ticket. This makes her one ticket away from losing her license for 6 months. Rather than slow down though, she finds herself even more determined to beat young Officer O'Rourke at the game.

She times her journey home one day perfectly, so that just as he is coming one way to go back to the station, she'll be speeding from the other leaving him no time to catch her. Her plan works and she's very pleased with herself.

Until a knock at her door find an off duty O'Rourke who has come to talk with her to try and get her to slow down given that he'd just come from a wreck that killed four people. Judy's roommate overhears and invites him to come out with them for dinner and dancing that evening. He agrees to and Judy finds herself strangely attracted to him, and the two have a great time.

The next day as she's speeding again, she's stopped again and angered to be given a ticket by O'Rourke who she thought would let her slide since they'd had a good time. He does not though, and in anger she tells him to never speak with her again because he's cost her her license for 6 months.

Afterwards Judy starts to feel awful, though she can't figure out why. When Judy's roommate suggests it is because she liked O'Rourke and has treated him horribly for just doing his job. Judy scoffs, but while walking in the rain to the bus stop the next day, O'Rourke pulls up and offers her a ride home.

On the way the talk and agree to dinner, where he quickly proposes to her and she accepts. With the humorous line of "someone has to drive me around."

This was just such a fun story because Judy reminds me of some people I've known. The tension and dynamics of their interaction was funny and yet touching and just really pulled me in. Yeah O'Rourke looked like an older version of Jimmy Olson, orange hair and a ton of freckles, but he had a charm about him that you could understand Judy would be seduced by him.

While Judy's strong minded nature and obvious competitive nature was a strong draw for me, and made me like her despite her fairly selfcentered nature.

This story showed to me that not everything to be read in this era had to be taken with the idea of letting things go because of the time it was published. As it showed that there were some stories who knew what they were doing, and whose work was timeless.

Saturday, September 04, 2004

What comic blog will I kill next?:)

I was just looking at the links to other blogs on here, and notice two of them have sinced closed shop since I linked to them. Johanna's is still going, Heidi's is stil pretty new, while Drew isn't really a blog as much as a weekly column.

I need to update my blog list tomorrow, but I wonder "do I dare?" :)
Teen Confessions #88
Charlton Comics 1975

The second installment of my look at some old romance comics focuses on Teen Confessions #88. Which seems most remarkable for being a series about teens. Yet none of the character look much like teenagers to me, but then this is an era where the Legion of Super-Heroes characters didn't look much like teens either.

The first story is a fairly unremarkable tale about two teens whose parents want to arrange a marriage between the two. They are both quite opposed to the idea, despite being friends with each other since childhood while on joint family vacations, wanting to be able to pick their own spouses.

Yet as they go back to their daily lives, and the boyfriends/girlfriends they have. The two come to realize that the people they are with don't interest them as much as they thought they would. While they come to realize they are most happy with each other, and so in the end decide to choose each other.

The art on this story reminds me a lot of some of the Spider-Man art of this era, so I'd love to find some type of credits for it. Overall the story is fairly unmemorable though, no real insight or even goofy elements. Well beyond the girl's boyfriend back home being named Bonk.

Second story is fairly confusing though, to the point where after reading it three times still don't really understand it. A young woman meets a seemingly great guy, named Guy, at her birthday party. Everything about him seems so perfect, from his looks to his behavior to even his job as a real estate agent.

Even the girl's parents love him, and decide to go into business with him to buy some type of land from a company he is working with. A friend of the family doesn't trust him though and launches and investigation of him and the company and finds out that the company is a sham.

When no one can get in touch with Guy the poor girl and her family feel as if they have been duped. Until suddenly Guy knocks on the door revealing that he didn't trust the company either and had just put the money in a bank instead. Which leaves me just scratching my head going "Huh?" because I don't get the point of the story at all.

The third feature was apparently an ongoing story with this as its latest chapter. Starring a young guy named Jonni Love, yes I laughed at the name as well, who travels the country on his motorcycle helping young women out.

Here he's just saved a young woman from drowning as she tried to escape a yacht where her date tried to take advantage of her. Jonni is K.O.'d by the jilted would be lover and his first mate who looks like a cross between Gilligan and Popeye. Who then take the girl back on the yacht where they hope to take lurid pictures of her and have their way.

Jonni follows on his motorcycle though, and when the yacht docks. He comes to the girl's rescue, and after some fisticuffs takes the girl back to her home.

Unlike the comic I covered yesterday, the stories in this were fairly tame and dull. An overall theme seemed to be that teens should listen to their parents when it comes to everything, including their relationships. Good message to point towards communication, yet gets a bit too close to "let your parents pick your friends" which is kind of iffy.

Other material was basically the same as with the Just Married comic, right down to the scary squeeze the fat out of you clothing gear. Was kind of freaky how every single ad was about how to lose weight fast.

Letter column was still strangely interesting. Just as with the JM comic it had young teen girls asking what to do about their 20 something year old boyfriends. Yet also one about a girl asking for advice on how to attract boys, given that her mom's invites has had no success.

While other letters had a girl talking about a cheating boyfriend and an actual boy writing in asking how to prove to a girl he likes that he truly does love her.

I wish the stories would have been as interesting as the letter subjects.

Friday, September 03, 2004

Just Married #105
Charlton Comics Published 1975

I love romance stories, be it in movies, TV shows or comics form. Which is why you see me reviewing so many manga books that are about relationships, love and the like. Call me weird but that kind of stuff interests me more than who will beat up who or "how big the explosions" genre of stories.

So when I found a number of old romance comics at a local craft mall really cheap, I decided to give them a look to see what they were like. This issue of Just Married, is just the first of what will be at least three such reviews ove the weekend.

The first story is about a couple who fall madly for each other on their very first date, but hold off a WHOLE 6 weeks before getting married. I think the idea of love at first sight is sort of sweet, but from the way the panels are drawn I have to wonder if it wasn't more "lust" at first sight instead.

Still things go well for them the first month, until he dares agree with her that her cooking isn't wonderful. --Good thing he didn't mention how ugly the color of her dress was I guess.-- Which causes her to leave him to head to Haiti for a quick divorce.

In Haiti she quickly becomes involved with another guy, I began thinking at this point that her husband up north might be well rid of her. The new guy takes her snorkeling, and impresses her by scaring away a shark. (probably because sharks don't eat their own kind)

The new guy proves to be a con artist who is only interested in the woman for her money. When she refuses to give him any more he grabs her to force it out of her, but then like a "true hero" her husband shows up and punches the guy out.

She is thrilled to see him, but before she can say another word he grabs her and puts her over his knee and starts spanking her. Promising to continue doing so until she calls off the divorce.

At which point I took away my initial thoughts of him being lucky to be rid of her, because it is obvious these two truly loony love birds are perfect for each other!

The second story stars a newly married couple, with the husband a pilot caught by his wife dating stewardesses while he's out of town. This story is peculiar because instead of feeling her outrage at seemingly being betrayed. We are instead shown mostly his perspective, with him thinking how foolish it is of her to be jealous because nothing happened on the dates and they didn't mean anything.

Yes that's right, we're supposed to feel for HIM because his wife just won't trust him dating other women! Still they do make up, got to have a happy ending I suppose, with him showing her letters from the women talking about how nothing happened when he was with him. Yeah I'm going to trust LETTERS from people I suspect my spouse is cheating with, telling me they are not.

Still weirdest of all may have been the third, with the new husband being an insurance seller. When his wife expresses her displeasure at his "making out", they call it flirting in the story but kissing and hugging is NOT flirting by my definition, he tells her to basically butt out because it is how he does business.

Still this one has a stronger female character, because she decides to turn the tables on him by "flirting" with his male customers "in order to help him sell more insurance." When he feels what she has been going through, he vows to turn over a new leaf and do business in another way.

The other parts were interesting as well, like ads like for a suit that you wear when you exercise. That apparently contracts as you move, and thus squeezes you into shape. The drawing of the woman in it had a waist that looked like someone had tied a rope around it and pulled as hard as they could.

Letter pages were odd as well, with teenage(14 years old mostly) girls writing in to ask for advice with their 26 years old or older boyfriends. Apparently there were no statutory rape laws back then?

This was a really fun and wacky book to read, in order to see the way some ideas and trends have thankfully changed, plus to just see what was popular back then.

Tough Choices For Inker

Drew Geraci's blog has an interesting take on the decisions artists face when it comes to deciding what art to keep and what to sell. As well as a insights into what types of pages are the best sellers and what may have a very limited value.

I'd never really thought about what artists do with the art they had. It just seemed to me that they all sold their stuff, because if they really wanted that particular image again, they could just draw it again. Interesting to learn otherwise and that artists can be as "pack rat" like as anyone.

Thursday, September 02, 2004

Diamond Hires Manga Expert

According to Anime News Network comic Retailers who have wanted to get into the manga market but didn't know where to start have a new go to guy.

"I love manga, and look forward to sharing my passion for this highly lucrative format with Diamond's customers," said Kevin Bolk. "More importantly, retailers should feel free to contact me directly should they have any questions regarding manga titles and how best to market them to their customers."

I know and have seen a great number of retailers who expressed some interest in manga, but were intimidated by the sheer volume of titles out there. Hopefully Mr. Bolk can be a tool for them to use to know what best to pick for their stores, and thus take advantage of the huge interest the manga movement has brought.

Fascinated With Ourselves

I just got through reading the latest in the Stephen King Dark Tower book series, and the way he's put himself into the story has made me start thinking more about the entertainment around me.

We as a society seem to have a huge amount of fascination about our own lives and trials than at anytime before. Be it the plethora of reality TV shows, stories like King's where he puts himself in as a key part, autobiographical comics or heck even blogs like this one.

It just seems strange how we can't seem to have purely fictional stories or heroes to emulate, instead putting our own selves in the starring role. Perhaps this is just a reflection of today's society where from the President on down to heck even comic book superheroes, there is a lack of heroic figures that we care or want to put our faith in.

Which has led to the interest to do things ourselves or only look to ourselves for things we want in our entertainment.

I know I'm "guilty" of this a bit as well, this blog is in itself a testimony to my own inner fascination with the thoughts I have on what I read or watch. No one else seems to offer a true option for discourse of ideas that are like mine enough to satisfy that burning need, so I felt the need to do this myself.

Yet I wonder what future generations will think of us when they look back at us. Will they find us to be a society of self absorbed fools, who only looked inward and not outward or ahead?

Only time will tell I suppose.

Sorry to see this

Grotesque Anatomy Shuts Doors - John Jakala is closing his blog down due to work and other related issues, I haven't known John that long, but I've found him to be a true gentleman and his writing to be superb.

His interests and tastes were the closest I've seen to mine than all but one other person. His blog was one of the few must read every day on my list, and was an inspiration to get me to do more work on my own.

So I wish him well and in honor of him I'm going to seek out the Iron Fist, a character he dedicated an entire blog entry to educating me on:), Essential book, and review it sometime in the next few weeks.

All the best man!

Wednesday, September 01, 2004

Writer: Will Pfeifer
Artist: Jill Thompson
4 issue miniseries from Vertigo in September of 1999.

It is hard to believe that this month marks the 5 year anniversary of the release of the first issue of the remarkable FINALS miniseries from Vertigo. At the time Vertigo was predominantly known for "adult versions" of former superhero concepts like Sandman, Swamp Thing, etc.

Finals gave me the first inkling of what the line could be, and perhaps is part of the drive that led to the line becoming more than just a home for eerie superhero stories that don't fit in the DCU.

The series focused on a group of seniors at Knox State University, who mandates that seniors who wish to graduate must have truly life and death or of Earth shattering consequence senior projects.

The core characters projects show this extremeness off, from the sorority girl who has turned her house into a cult with her as its messiah. To one guy building a time machine despite knowing its invention will lead to his death, while another robs local businesses in search of a unique perspective as a Criminal Justice major.

The stories start off strongly individually, but lead to connections as they progressed to an ending that left me speechless.

There is an overwhelming theme of the too much importance we put in grades, done in an over the top black humor fashion. Yet there is also the strong message that sometimes the most important things we'll learn at college, are from the people and situations around us, not the textbook knowledge we learn in the classes themselves.

With themes like terrorism, cults, robbery and the like, this story will likely never be collected. Which is a real shame, because it is such an energetic and thought provoking piece. Which should be accessible to the much larger audience a collection would offer.