Monday, November 03, 2008

Halloween Costume

I'm the Emerald City guard, at my work's Halloween party. Weird!

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Life After Ike

The night of Hurricane Ike was a difficult one, the days after it were no picnic either. Lights went off at 12:20 a.m. Saturday September 13, and did not come back on at my house until Wed. the 18th at 5p.m. Luckily we had a cool front come in during that time, or I'm not sure how we would have gotten by.

The day after the storm my family and I took an assessment of how we were. We had food and drinks, but our ice in the coolers was melting faster than we had expected. With no power or stores open it was amazing how important something as simple as frozen water had become.

Luckily we have an ice house in a neighboring town, and they were open selling off ice that had been made before the loss of lights. So that solved that issue, but another was becoming aware of the importance of keeping gas in the vehicles. Luckily there were stations that still had gas in their tanks and had generators. Yet still it was a 2 hour wait in line, and the first time we actually waited only to have the gas run out.

With Ike being such a wide reaching storm, commumications were down for a wide area. I had a battery powered handheld TV, something that I now realize will be useless when the switch to digital is final, and there were no TV stations on. Additionally there was only one operational radio station in the area. Which had some good to know news, we were lucky to not lose water services, but also a lot of repetitive items as well. Oh and as previously said, with no power cell phone service was non existent for days as even the cell towers had no power.

Add in curfews and it was so odd how a pattern emerged of basically going to bed when it got dark and getting up when the sun did. I must admit to feeling like I was visiting a past time or something the way things just were so different than normal life.

One thing I learned was how important things that seem like crap can be. My mom had brought these little battery power lanterns that didn't even give out enough light to see your hand by. Yet proved quite handy for lighting a pathway way in the dark of nightto the bathroom.

Even when power was restored, cleanup continued. I have a bundle package with Time Warner that gives me cable, phone and RR internet at a great price. Yet while power was restored on Wed., the TW services didn't return until the following Monday.

In some ways that taught me to find new ways to spend time, in other ways it just drove me mad in boredom and a feeling of disconnect from the world.

All in all its an experience I'll always remember, and am thankful it wasn't worse for me. People in Galveston and even just 30 miles to the south of me in a town called Bridge City had far worse with some towns having 98% of houses destroyed.

Hopefully I won't have to ever go through it again, and if neccessary I'll even evacuate to insure that I and my family won't have to.

Ike Was Scary

I've been meaning to do this for a while, but time has just been such an issue since Ike came through. For awhile after the storm with no lights, most busineses closed and curfews it was something I had plenty of with little to fill it. Afterwards its been the opposite, with so much to do from contacting insurance people, making arrangements for bills, getting back to work, etc. Time is just fleeting.

Anyway when I left off before the storm, the wind had been picking up but things seemed to be doing okay. Then all hell broke loose.

First up was the lights going off right around 12:20a.m early Saturday morning on September 13. We had flashlights ready to go, and for a while I tried to just sort of lay in bed and sleep through it. The sheer noise of the wind was just frightful for its odd sounds.

I couldn't help but think of the old stories about Banshees and people being drawn out into storms in the dead of night. I could understand it after hearing various sounds of the wind, from what sounded like mooing cows, and cats sqealing to the most frightful sound of howling babies and women screaming.

Add in this happening in the dead of night, with all power off in the entire area. That just added an extra level of chill to the experience. These winds and sounds lasted for well over 6 hours, occasionally I'd hear something hitting the house or would get the occasional glimpse of fallen trees.

Just a very frightful experience that I don't think I'll ever care to go through again. Of course afterwards came something nearly as challenging, surviving until things started coming back operational. Yet that's a whole other post....

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Still Alive

I'm still alive, though living in the stone age, or the next thing to it. No internet except here on a work computer, no cable and all the rabbite ears in a 100 mile radius are gone. They say it could be at least another week, its been tough though at least I regained power last Wed. and use of my cell phone. (cells won't work when the towers don't have power either)

The storm has really opened my eyes about some things, I'll definitely post some chiling thoughts and experiences about what happened during the storm later. Right now its back to work though!

Friday, September 12, 2008

Living with Ike 11:36pm

Still here, still have power. The internet connection went out for about 20 minutes, but it came back and is working fine now. Wind is in a bit of a lull right now, hopefully everything will work out okay.

On the news they said that the eye will be hitting Galveston soon, then the winds will shift. Still some rain to come probably, but hopefully I can get through this night with nothing bad.

More later, if possible.

Living with Ike 10:06 Update

Still here, with power. The wind is blowing really hard, it sounds like an injured dog in some way. Sitting here with flashlights by us, and I have my portable TV and Ipod nearby in case we do lose power.

The worst part is likely to head here in a couple of more hours. Doing this has been a surprisingly good way to deal with the nervous anxiety this storm is bringing to me.

More updates soon I hope.

Living With Ike 8:40pm Edition

Doing this a few minutes earlier than my planned update, as the lights have dimmed a few times. Still no rain in the storm as yet, but we're still barely into it.

Wind is picking up and we've lost one of the networks, NBC, which is located in a mall in one of the soon to most hit parts.

I'm trying to decide whether to put on PJs or not, I doubt I get much sleep, and there's a part of me that'd prefer to be dressed if something happens. I do know that next time there is a storm, even if I get out of this one without losing lights. I'm making hotel reservations at the first sight of a potential storm.

More later, I hope!

Life with Ike 7pm

Wind has picked up a lot here, I'm closely watching trees, they are small but have a chance of hitting the house. Though my roof is strong so they'd bounce off given their size.

Its been a dry storm so far though, no rain is coming down currently hopefully that continues.

More later, I hope to update around 9pm Central.

5PM Life with Ike Update

Wind is picking up a little, its cloudy and some moisture in the air. Yet so far so good, though still a LONG way to go.

I'm amazed at the amount of idiots I'm seeing on TV though. Not only those who are going to the beaches and staying in Galveston despite it more than likely to be underwater by morning.

Yet there have actually been idiots here who are down from other states and are here to sight see and experience a hurricane. I'm reminded of the famous shirt, "Stupidity Isn't a Crime, So You're Free To Go."

Coming down to experience a hurricane, especially when as one moron on the news said "I'm from Kansas, tomorrow its my birthday and I wanted to come down for the hurricane for it." I mean damn, some people deserve to have nature take its course and be eliminated from the gene pool.

More later if weather and power issues allow.

Ike 14 Hours & Counting

Everyone is gathering at my house now. There's me, my mom, an aunt and her son. My sister and one of her daughters. I'm the one with the most room, with 4 bedrooms. We're cooking sausages and stuff, watching the amazing footage on TV of what Ike's doing to Galveston.

If you haven't seen it go here,


Its amazing stuff. I think I'm a little nuts for staying, but at least I'm not driving on a road right next to the damn ocean.

More later as long as power issues allow.

Blogging Through Ike

Something different today, as live from Silsbee TX, as long as the power lasts, I'll be blogging about Hurricane Ike which is hitting the area. Its been a weird experience this season, 2 weeks ago we had a mandatory evacuation called for Hurricane Gustav. I spent 2 days in Houston during it.

Nothing happened in the area, especially in Hardin County, and a lot of people were very angry. I wonder if that anger is why while every other county in the surrounding area has called for another Mandatory evacuation, mine has not.

Its too late to leave now, and with Houston being evacuated as well there are no hotel rooms closer that 8 hours away. With money having been spent on Gustav's evacuation, many people have elected to stay and hunker down. (a Texas term that amounts to duck and cover)

I'm far enough away from the coast that the 20 feet storm surge is no danger to me. Yet we are expecting winds averaging 55-60 mph and possible gusts as high as 80 to 90 mph. Its going to be a a scary next 24 hours.

Monday, July 28, 2008

DC Adds New Targets

With DC's recent penchant of killing off characters by the boat loads with each ongoing month. I was beginning to wonder when they'd reach their limit, but then I see that they are now adding two entire universe worth of characters. So hey, that's one way to add to the potential body count!:)

Okay, enough of being a smart ass. Newsarama has the news of DC adding the Milestone and Archie superhero characters to the DC Universe of characters. I'm a bit anxious actually to see what is done with these characters.

The Milestone Universe is one I still know little about, they started before I got back into comics. Plus I'm from a small rural, southern Texas town where diversity has a way of being ignored at times, so seeing them was a rarity.. What I have read I enjoyed, so the news that DC will be collecting the older stories, in addition to doing new ones has me curious.

I'm a little more weirded out about the news of the Archie superhero characters joining the DCU though. This isn't the first time DC tried to work with these characters. I seemed to be one of the few (some days I wonder if I was the only one!) that liked the !mpact line of comics DC did with those characters in early 90s.

This won't be those exact characters, but writer J. Michael Straczynski seems to have a plan for these characters. And if reviews of his Twelve series can be believed. He seems to do some of his best work with characters of this type who he can build and mold without fear of going against someone else's story.

So it could be an interesting time for DC ahead in the coming year. First time I've said that in a few years!

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Batman : Legend of the Dark Knight

I went to see the new summer blockbuster today. Anxious to see Heath Ledger's last role before his untimely death. His Joker is a demented, violent monster to be sure. Yet honestly it never really connected for me.

He claimed to be against order, but many of his actions were the definition of order gven his detaile dplanning. Even his violent acts were not shocking or really even that scary. Given that you aren't made to care for most of his victims, many of who are murderous crooks anyway, before their death.

That's basically the problem with the entire movie for me. I'm not led to care for anyone in the movie, which made the tragic events that happen to most of them have no meaning to me.

Take the Rachel character who is a carry over from Batman Begins, though with a new and new better actress in the role. She is sadly nothing but a trophy or prize in the entire movie though. Her entire role in the movie is something for Bruce Wayne, Harvey Dent and eventually the Joker to seek or control. Yet she herself has little character at all, leaving me to wonder why the men saught after her so.

Christian Bale in the starring role is an odd duck for me. He nails the Bruce Wayne persona spectacurlarly, be it as the dimwitted playboy acting, or the sardonic wit sparring with Alfred or Mr. Fox. Yet as soon as the costume goes on, the emotion goes out.

Batman just looks stiff and awkward on the screen, which makes all of these huge fight scenes with him look fairly lame and at times boring. I think that's more to do with costume design and special effects though.

Though perhaps its that the mask/costume hides emotion, making it hard to care. Comparing it to Iron Man movie, Batman is about darkly litted fist fights. While Iron Man had him blowing things up, shooting missles and the like. Much more visually stimulating. Perhaps if there isn't a better way to show emotion with the bat costume, they should go for more visual interesting effects?

All in all, I'm just left sort of underwhelmed by LOTDK. It just doesn't seem to have much heart in it, and while good Ledger's Joker grew tedious over the length. I'm certainly glad I only had to pay $1 for the movie.

Friday, July 18, 2008

The press release follows, but I got to say this Galveston miniseries from Boom Studios is one of the most interesting new things I've seen in a while. People know stories about New York, Chicago, etc. Yet Galveston, TX is a hidden little town, that doesn't get a lot of attention though its had its share of great stories as well.

I mean how freaking cool is it to have a story with a cowboy and a pirate, and it turns out to be true on top of it. I can't wait to see this book!


July 8th, 2008 (Los Angeles, CA) - BOOM! Studios announces its latest mini-series, GALVESTON, a swashbuckling historical epic based on true events where cowboys and pirates collide, written by Tom Peyer and Mark Rahner and featuring interior art by Greg Scott.

Series editor Mark Waid said, "When publisher Ross Richie told me that the famous French pirate Jean Lefitte--true story--lived his later years in Galveston, Texas with his best friend, frontier legend Jim Bowie, inventor of the Bowie knife, I was gobsmacked. First off, I honestly thought that Jean Lafitte was the pirate who fought Cap'n Crunch. Second, the notion of Galveston being a Deadwood-type town run by a mad pirate had me screaming, 'put this on the schedule right away! Why am I not already reading this book? "

Focusing on these early exploits of Jean Lafitte and Jim Bowie, GALVESTON is an over-the-top thriller of blood, guts and revenge. Utilizing an extensive knowledge of the time period, Peyer and Rahner take history and turn it into an action-packed adventure comic that fans are guaranteed to love.

"It's a cowboys-and-pirates fable about the famous privateer Jean LaFitte and Texas icon Jim Bowie," said Peyer. "It's six-guns vs. cutlasses, heroic rescues and hair's-breadth escapes, seasoned with glimpses into the real personalities of these two legends and omens of their futures."

"Bowie could throw down," said Rahner. "This is the dude who once had a gun broken over his head, then got run through with a sword cane, and while the attacker was planting a foot on his chest to pull out the sword, Bowie gutted him with his legendary big knife. Then he got shot and stabbed again while the sword was still hanging out of him. This won't be any PIRATES OF THE CARRIBEAN."

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Random Comic Thoughts

I don't pick up comics at a comic shop much anymore, usually if I want something I'll just wait for a trade. Yet I've been following the Blue Beetle story in Booster Gold, I've always had a soft spot for Ted Kord, so have been making a sort of random stop in to pick it up. This week I picked up a handful of others as well.

Eternals #1 - I really enjoyed the HC collection of this series that Neil Gaimon wrote last year, so I was curious to hear about a continuation of it in a regular series. To me it takes some mighty big balls in comics today to try and continue something that Gaimon did, especially since he was himself re imagining something Jack Kirby created.

Daniel Knauf tries, but at least so far he's not hitting the depths Gaimon was able to in so few pages. Daniel Acuna's art is fine, and brings the bigger than the world feel to these godly characters. Yet Knauf's story just so far lacks a punch, as there's too much too soon going on.

Leaving me feeling like I was watching TV with someone who has attention deficit disorder. With not enough time left on any particular scene or character to care before I was flipped to another.

Chuck #1 - I'm a big fan of the TV series, so when I saw the first issue of a tie-in series (which I had no idea was coming out) I decided to give it a look. I feel sort of torn on the issue in ways.

It captures the voice of the characters well, and the serious but not too serious feel of the show. Yet the art is a bit quirky, with everyone seeming to be very angular looking. Plus not only is the comic not able to pull off the sexiness of the Sarah character, but she hardly even gets to do or say a lot in the story here.

Of course the big deal for me is that I've lost a lot of my patience when it comes to comics and heck just stories these days. I don't know what I'll be doing week to week, so its hard for me to commit to running stories. One of the best things about the Chuck shows was that most of the episodes were self contained, done in one episodes.

So this book being part one of six, that I paid for as opposed to watching for free on TV, just bugs me for my own minor pet peeve that I don't expect anyone else to share. Especially since it doesn't bother me on some other continuing series, but does here.

Buffy The Vampire Slayer Season 8 #15 - Usually I pick this up off newsstands at book chain store, but it was at the shop this week. Its an enjoyable conclusion to a storyline by writer Drew Goddard who had written some of the episodes for the TV show.

So most of the characters feel like their TV counterparts, except Willow who has seemed off the entire series so far, which is what I as a fan of the show am glad of.

I did find it interesting that in the letter column the editor thanks fans for not focusing on what he describes "one incident" from the first issue of this storyline. Its odd to see that the editor didn't want to comment on or even state what I guess might be a controversial storyline in the series. (Buffy having a lesbian relationship)

It was a fairly out of the blue thing to happen, but given the show's history with matters like this. I would hope that most of the fans didn't get too upset over it.

Booster Gold #10 - I've enjoyed this series far more than I ever thought I would. Usually Geoff Johns work is too bloody/continuity picky for me, yet here a character (Booster) that most thought was useless has been given heart and made fun.

As I said in my first paragraph, I've always had a soft spot for the Ted Kord Blue Beetle. That's why I've gone outside of my normal routine to pick this series up. It has been great seeing Ted again, even though this whole storyline is built upon what I believe is an incredibly stupid story to begin with.

Hey as much as I love Ted, I have a hard time believing his death or lack there of unravels the universe to this extent. Yet then hey I'm also one of those that thought it dumb that Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman would need a reminder Ted's death that was to be you know heroes.

Still despite that its been built on such a flimsy house of cards, this storyline has been fun. Seeing Booster and Ted together again has been fun to read as they have such a nice setups to play off each other. I'm really hoping the series doesn't go for the stock end that things can't be changed, and have Ted killed off for good.

Yet we'll see I guess in the final issue of this creative team's run next month.

Thursday, June 05, 2008

The Ayre Force
Written by Joseph Phillip Illidge and Adam Slutsky
Illustrated by Shawn Martinbrough
Published by Bodog

So I get this Graphic Novel in from a publisher called Bodog, who apparently have their own media empire including singers, mixed martial artists and apparently a poker site.

The GN stars real people who work for the company, of whom the only person I've heard of is singer Bif Naked.

Its drawn by Shawn Martinbrough, who used to draw Batman, back when the entire issue would have a green or red color tone. I was a fan of his work there, and here its solid if not inspiring work, with some minor quibbles in facial expressions and panel flow.

The story kind of scares me a little though, as it seems to encourage and glorify eco-terrorism. Now I can understand and put my belief behind not harming animals and that kind of thing. On the other hand its kind of scary to see the "heroes" killing the workers at a third world research center, or blowing up and killing everyone on whaling ships.

To me that's basically the equivalent of being mad at rising gas prices, so you beat up the gas station attendant. What makes this especially odd is that while they are harming and killing these workers, they know who and where the big bad guy behind this is. But don't go after him until he captures some of their members.

The book just doesn't seem to really think its ramifications all the way out, preferring to see things as only black and white. It says in the back that all the proceeds from the sales of this book will go to their organizations efforts to stop the mistreatment the heroes fight in this book. I'm not sure what to make of that, as if they can seem so enthused about fictional acts like these, I wonder what they would do in real life.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Caliber First Canon of Justice #1

Writer Sam Sarkar
Art Garrie Gastonny
Colorists: Imaginary Friends Studios
Letterer: Annie Parkhouse
Radical Comics, Due in stores April 30, 2008
(A PDF preview was provided by the publisher for review purposes.)

Clarity. Its an important detail when you launch a new comic, not to mention a comic line, to have. There are tons of new comics that come out every week after all. So if you get a reader to read your first issue you better leave that reader with a clear vision of what your series is about. Something that unfortunately Caliber fails at completely.

I've read it three times now, and still am scratching my head to try and figure out what is going on. There is apparently some Native American God who wishes to enforce the law. The law in this case being "white man's law" as being done during the time in history when Native American were being moved to reservations.

It does this through a shaman who is half white and half Native American. Who has visions that lead him to find a magic gun, that will only work for one man who will protect and enforce the law for everyone.

Unfortunately it seems that the shaman gets bad reception on his visions, as he doesn't have much luck finding the right person despite seeing his face.

Its a shame that this series writing isn't a bit clearer, as the art is really lovely. There is lush detail, good panel structure and just an open feel to the art.

Yet the story just lacks that sense of clarity. I don't expect to know where a story is going after one issue, yet I do expect to have a clear idea what type of story I read. This might get clearer with future issues, but I wonder with comic prices and the amount of diversity out there who comes back for the second issue to see if it does.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Hercules: The Thracian Wars #1(of 5)

Writer: Steve Moore
Art: Admira Wijaya
Colors: Imaginary Friends Studio
Letters Todd Klein
Radical Comics, due in stores April 30,2008
(PDF preview provided for Review)

Hercules and his band of friends have come to Thrace to train their army for war. When they find their reception to not be kind, they find themselves in a fight for their lives to survive.

I'm only vaguely familiar with the Hercules myth. Its been many years since I studied them in my younger days and while I remember liking them the details are sketchy. My most recent experience with it being the light hearted TV series starring Kevin Sorbo.

So I was a bit taken aback by the sheer brutality of this take on the series. Not that I was expecting light hearted fare, the detailed showing on page one of crows picking at dead bodies made it clear such would not be the case. Yet I was hoping for something to make me want to read more.

Especially give that the art by Wijaya fit the material well. There wasn't a ton of different facial expressions since everyone was in a bad mood. Yet there was a nice flow to the scenes and it showed the horror in vivid detail.

Still these heroes seem as reprehensible as those they fight. Be it slaying fleeing women who never bared a weapon, killing someone for being dismissive of them, or planning to eat the dead bodies of their enemies as one companion planned. I was left wondering why I should care if these characters lived or died.

Perhaps the intention is to portray a more realistic version of Hercules, and surely in a real world setting the characters would be very brutal and not likable as these were. Yet the take seemed quite cynical, and it just isn't to my tastes at least.

If someone is looking for a more brutal take on Hercules, in the vein of the harsher Conan stories, then this series could be the one for you.

Beyond #1

Created by Deepak Chopra
Scripted by Ron Marz
Art by Edison George
Colors by Parasuraman A.
Lettered by Sudhir R. Pisal
Virgin Comics, Due in stores May 28, 2008
(a PDF preview copy was provided for purpose of review)

Everyone has heard of a story of some family going to a foreign country and all, or parts, of the family just disappearing. Its an urban legend, and like all such stories get passed around, but no one really knows WHO the particular family is. This comic walks that familiar ground and takes it off into a suspenseful, supernatural path full of possibilities.

We follow an American named Michael, who has brought his family to India on a business trip. Michael is the typical "ugly American" visitor who not only can't see the wonders of the world around him, but gets annoyed when his wife and son do.

It was interesting to see how the art showed this closed mindedness by having Michael's scenes take place in small, closed panels . I took it at first to be an artist that didn't know when to pull back to let the scope of a scene show. Yet the more I read and thought on it, the more it actually worked to display that closed mindedness the character had.

Whether it was an elephant crossing in the middle of a street, or the beauty of the lighting of candles ceremony on the water. We never peel back to take in the beauty of it, just as Michael doesn't take in the beauty and wonder around him as well.

When Michael's wife goes missing he must open himself, and this is shown by the panel structure getting slightly more open, to find her. Not only taking in the beauty of the world around him but seeing the dangers as well. At least one danger that is scarily supernatural in origin.

This was a great start to the series, as while I start off disliking Michael a great deal. Seeing him start to change and realize what he faces to lose was engaging. I'm wondering right along with him and his son what exactly is going on, and whether or not he'll ever get his wife back or faces losing even more.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Incredible Hulk: Planet Hulk (Hardcover)

by Greg Pak (Author), Carlo Pagulayan (Illustrator), Aaron Lopresti (Illustrator), Juan Santacruz (Illustrator), Gary Frank (Illustrator), Takeshi Miyazawa (Illustrator)
Hardcover: 416 pages
Publisher: Marvel Comics

Sometimes a book comes along at the right time for a reader, as this one did for me. I've never been the biggest Hulk fan around. I read a good portion of the Peter David run, but wouldn't say I was a huge fan of the character. Yet for a while I've been looking for a solid adventure story, with big fights, direct conflicts and a solid direction.

The Planet Hulk HC came into my hands through my library at a perfect time, as it hit all of those needs that I needed.

Writer Greg Pak, has to have been a big fan of Robert E Howard's Conan and Edgar Rice Burroughs's John Carter of Mars stories. Given that this Hulk story of the Hulk on an alien world fighting for his survival in gladiator like conditions hits the same vibes of those stories in elegant ways.

The story itself is fairly simple, the Hulk is blasted off Earth by his so called friends, and finds himself on a harsh alien world where his strength and brutality is needed to survive. On his journey he makes friends and enemies, as he forges a new life for himself.

This type of story is exactly why I wish there could be closures to series, instead of the never ending continue to "milk the cow" approach to comics at DC and Marvel. The story will be forgotten eventually since it doesn't overly rely on anything from the past, or have anything lasting that will last very far into the future.

Which is a shame as in and of itself its a fun adventure story. It also offers a telling theme of an over all current shift of approach to its characters at Marvel. Given that in this story the one we are to feel sorry for is the Hulk, who is hindered by Bruce Banner, not the other way around.

Its an odd change in story type, given that nearly all intelligent Marvel characters are now shown with dehumanized approaches to situations. Seemingly showing that brute strength and unwavering blind faith are things to admire over high intelligence. Which has been shown to lead those characters to ruin and betrayel of their friends.

A fairly big change from the time comics were read by mainly nerdy young boys. For whom stories of escape into worlds where intelligence was shown to win out over might were inspiring.

Monday, March 31, 2008

Written by David DiGilio
Cover by Andrew Huerta
Art by Alex Cal
Boom Studios, 24pgs, FC (1 of 5) SRP: $3.99

In the near future disaster has struck the world, and the planet is in a deep freeze. Humanity still survives in small pockets, and as always there are people who try to take advantage of others in the battle of survival.

I wasn't quite sure what to make of the series when I first heard of it. The basic plot sounded a little too close to the movie The Day After Tomorrow yet it turned out to be something completely different. Which is a good thing as the movie was pretty dumb in a lot of respects.

Its obvious from just the first issue that writer David DiGilio has put a lot of thought into what the world would be like in this situation. His story is immersed in the world and society he's built, not on any particular character. Which is a good way to go about it as this story shouldn't be about how things affect one character but how the societies themselves work.

Issue one is an interesting beginning to the series, and quite rarely at times these days has me anxious to see what happens next with a bated breath. I want to see who all of these players are, how and whether they survive and if the world gets better.

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Witchblade #116
writer Ron Marz
painter Stjepan Sejic
Publisher Top Cow

Sometimes it is easier to just write a book off as something and never look back on it. After all there are a ton of comics out there to be read, and if it doesn't pass that first test then you move on and don't look back. Witchblade was one of those series which I tried way back when it first came out and dismissed it as mindless T&A garbage.

So when Ron Marz, whose Green Lantern and other work I'd enjoyed, was announced as the new series writer I really thought he was nuts to be honest. Yet he talked me into giving it a try, and I'll be damned if he hasn't completely overhauled the series.

Gone are the mindless plots and generic bad guys. This book is at times a crime drama that just happens to have supernatural trappings to add flavor. One scene in #116 with Witchblade lead Detective Sara Pezzini going to a murder scene, could just as easily been something out of an episode of tv's CSI or Bones it just hit that note so right.

Gone also are the stupid plots designed to get any female character's clothes off. Oh there is still some teasing, but the book's grown up. The sexual teasing is more natural now and more something you'd see in a James Bond movie, not the sophomoric American Pie type of previous stories.

Painter Stjepan Sejic knows how to draw a variety of different characters and body types. His work is atmospheric and beautiful, while still keeping a feel of fluidity that so many other painters art lack. How on Earth he can meet a deadline with the insane amount of detail he uses I don't know but am looking forward to seeing.

This issue is the perfect jump on point for any new reader. The characters are all introduced and showed doing the roles they have in order to serve the story. New mysteries are just beginning for Sara and a new Witchblade user, that are sure to intertwine as they unravel in future issues. So if you've been thinking of jumping on board, the time really is now.

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Car Repairs Are Expensive!

I really wish I was mechanically inclined. This past week my car broke down on me in the middle of a busy mall entrance. Pushing the heavy 2002 Hyundai Santa Fe out of the way was quite a chore.

Not as much as finding out how much the repair bill was though. For a new timing belt and crankshaft positioning sensor, it only cost $100 for the parts. Yet in order to have hem put on I needed to go to the dealership, none of the shops would touch the odd car brand. Which brought the total to $700.

Big ouch, and means quite a lot of cutbacks for the next few months to absorb such a financial hit. One of those cutbacks is no new comics for at least 3 months, unless I can get something at a library.

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Why Comic Pros Shouldn't Talk About Others Comics

Newsarama has an article by a Brandon Thomas sort of defending the One More Day Spider-Man story. It is a fairly well written article, not saying I agree with it or not, and makes some interesting points.

Then I get to the end and I see this for his bio:

Brandon Thomas is a freelance writer and columnist. He has written over a dozen comics for several publishers including Marvel and DC Comics, featuring popular characters like Spider-Man, the Fantastic Four, Black Panther, Hulk, Batman, and Robin, the Boy Wonder. His first creator-owned title The Many Adventures of Miranda Mercury begins publication at Archaia Studios Press in February 2008. He lives and writes in Chicago, IL.

As soon as I read that part I just groaned as I knew what the reaction would be, whether justified or not. It is my opinion only here, but pros just shouldn't say anything further than "I like this issue/series/writer/artist/editor." Anything else just results in a result that there is no chance for the pro to win in.

Praise, as in this article, can be dismissed as just trying to get in good with the bosses in hopes to get further work and gets dismissed as a homer or mindless shill. Especially when it comes from a writer still trying to make a name for themselves. Negative takes can be even more destructive, as they can be accused of jealousy, unprofessional ism , etc. Not only by the fans, but by fellow pros themselves.

Sometimes, and I know its hard as most pros are fans themselves here. Yet its better to just keep the opinions to yourself, as there is just nothing to be accomplished by opening your mouth in a public forum.