Sunday, September 30, 2007

Football Talk

There's a new unstoppable force in football.
... The Cleveland Browns.
The games not over so there's still a chance but it looks like the Browns are going to win today!
UNSTOPPABLE!
I feel bad for whoever they played today.
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The above post is being left only due to this blog's upholding anyone's right to a total a**. Yes the Ravens looked very ordinary today. I hate divisional games, anything can happen and usually does.
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The above - above post represents an honest, and intellectual statement of facts regarding a certain professional football team. Namely, the Cleveland Browns and their very impressive beating ... NAY CRUSHING... of the Baltimore Thugs.. umm I mean Baltimore Raisins.

The random, psychotic rambling (appropriately in red ink) following the initial factual, intellectual post is just a grumbly, mumbly Ravens fan who can't handle the truth.
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The green words above are the hopeful ravings of a deluded fool, who believes that the entire season is over after 4 weeks. (For those of you playing along at home Lee and I could continue these exchanges forever).

Taxes - Welcome to Maryland


It has been a while since I have done a rant against the political system that we exist under. I have been busy at my real world job and had a ton of comics to read in September and have not felt the absolute indignation it gets to really fire myself up enough to go off on a subject. Also I find that if you constantly hammer away at a theme people stop listening. But Maryland and its one party rule and the disingenuous governor Martin O'Malley has just finally hit the point of frell the people and let's tax and spend like there is no tomorrow.

Due to a ridiculous mandate on education funding (like spending money ever solved a problem that is now an embedded social crisis) and a refusal to ever reduce services, the state is facing a 1.5 billion dollar shortfall in its budget. So they are going to raise sales tax by 20%, cigarette taxes by $1 a pack, probably gasoline tax by 25 cents or more a gallon and add slots. In addition the governor has the audacity to say that since the property tax will be drop by 3 cents and he is looking for a progressive income tax structure, that only 17% of the population will be paying more taxes. And if you buy into that argument I have a bridge in Brooklyn I want to sell to you.

We are facing a possible recession and we are looking at increasing taxes, not a really smart idea. Of course Maryland lives off the teat of the US government given our proximately to the seat of power, so we are more recession proof then those areas that actually contribute to the overall good of society.
I'm so tired of growing government and more and more "services" being given to people that it makes me almost physically ill. I thought we were a democracy, but instead we have become a socialist almost fascist like state. The one major newspaper is a propaganda machine for the one party rule. Yet I see no true indignation in most people, even people who agree with my viewpoints are unwilling to really give a damn and fight back against the system, I swear most of them do not even vote. Would any of you have been willing to take arms against an unjust government as our forefathers did?

So I guess we got what we voted for in Maryland a tax and spend true blue liberal who can do an about face on subjects faster then a hooker can go down on Hugh Grant. O'Malley campaigned saying he would stop our electric rate hike (which was impossible as it was market driven) and it went up, he was against slots and now he is for them, he does not want regressive tax to hurt working families and is proposing a 20% sales tax hike, expanding what is taxed and is working for slots and a possible gasoline tax, each of everyone more of an impact for middle and lower class families then high income families.

What will it take for people to finally realize that we are pushing our society to the brink of financial ruin? I have no plans to remain in this state long term and I think more and more people are fleeing the state every year. The commute into PA along a major highway around Baltimore has gotten to be insane and then once people relocate they start trying to find jobs closer to home.

My five year plan to move and probably south as my wife wants warmer weather - I thought west and north, but I can live with south, just not too far south.

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Dark Horse / Image Preview Review for December

Jim: I find that I look forward to the Dark Horse / Image solicitations more then the DC/Marvel ones because both companies usually have some new projects that are at something different then the standard fare at the big two. In all fairness to DC with Vertigo in their mix we do get some different things under that category also.
Lee: I agree. I find I am looking forward to Dh and Image far more than the big two these days. Mostly because I can read stories that aren’t tied into every other book. It’s nice to have some one-n-done story lines.

Starting with Image

INFINITE HORIZON #1 (of 6) story GERRY DUGGAN & PHIL NOTOart & cover PHIL NOTO
Image presents a re-imagining of The Odyssey: A soldier's long journey home after years of war in the Middle East. In the not-too-distant future a small group of abandoned soldiers are lead home by one man: The Captain. To get back he will have to cross half the globe and endure deadly encounters with many enemies including the Cyclops, and the Sirens...but first he will have to survive the final hours of the war! DECEMBER 5 • 32 PAGES • FC • $2.99
Jim: Now this sounds interesting. Take a classic story and updated to today and also present some ideas about the geo-political situation in our world. I’m signing up for this book.
Lee: This does sound interesting. I also find intriguing that so few books have been centered in the middle east these days. With all the upheaval you would think there would be more story lines. It’s good to see Phil Noto on art again. He’s a great artist.

THE CRYPTICS III story STEVE NILESart & cover BEN ROMAN
Those macabre menaces of the suburbs are at it again. Join The Cryptics – Drac, Sea boy, Wolfy and Hyde – as they rampage through the arctic in search of an old friend! Also featured in this landmark third issue, special gusts stories and art from all corners of the creepy comic community! DECEMBER 19 • 24 PAGES • FC • $2.50
Lee: I love classic monsters and who better to handle them than horrormeister Steve Niles. Now, the interesting twist is they are all little kids and this appears to be an all ages book. But, the cover is great. Penguins, werewolfs, and some strange kid with a brain floating in a fish bowl!!! What’s not to like???
Preview of an older issue at:
http://www.comicon.com/cgi-bin/ultimatebb.cgi?ubb=get_topic;f=36;t=005856
Just so you can see the art.
Jim: I don't know this book just missing the mark for what I look for in a comic. I can see its appeal, but without having small children around to read to, this has no hook to bring me in.

INVINCIBLE PRESENTS: ATOM EVE #1 (of 2) story BENITO CERENO art NATE BELLEGARDE cover CORY WALKER editor ROBERT KIRKMAN
From the pages of INVINCIBLE! You know her, you love her, it’s the girl after Invincible’s heart: ATOM EVE! Find out how she got her powers, and what shaped her into the woman she is today. Robert Kirkman presents a tale of tragedy and triumph that will have lasting effects on the INVINCIBLE series. DECEMBER 5 • 32 PAGES • FC • $2.99
Jim: Well given that I sort of like Invincible so this is another no brainer for me. I look forward to Invincible and Atom Eve actually getting together one day and having some additional back story on her is a good idea. Also I prefer this back story to be off from the regular series as not to bog it down.
Lee: You sorta like Invincible? That’s like saying the sky is sorta blue. ANYWAY. Invincible is good. Actually, I am surprised they haven’t watered the title down with all sorts of miniseries before now. I have no idea who Cereno is so I can’t really make a call on this. But, some research yielded http://www.fetorpse.org/bio.html which has all sorts of news on the creative team.

THE NEXT ISSUE PROJECT #1: FANTASTIC COMICS #24 story ERIK LARSEN, JOE CASEY, TOM SCIOLI, HOWARD CHAYKIN, TOM YEATES, FRED HEMBECK, ASHLEY WOOD, ANDY KUHN & B. CLAY MOOREart ERIK LARSEN, BILL SIENKIEWICZ, MIKE ALLRED, TOM SCIOLI, HOWARD CHAYKIN, TOM YEATES, FRED HEMBECK, ASHLEY WOOD & ANDY KUHNcover ERIK LARSEN
SAMSON! STARDUST! FLIP FALCON! SPACE SMITH! CAPTAIN KIDD! THE GOLDEN KNIGHT! PROFESSOR FIEND! SUB SAUNDERS! YANK WILSON! Some of the greatest creations from yesterday brought back to life by some of the greatest creators of today! Fans have marveled over the years as, one by one, characters from comics' Golden Age have been revived for a modern audience. The NEXT ISSUE PROJECT is an ongoing series that continues a classic discontinued title for a modern audience! All stories are complete, self-contained and cool as all hell! All books are Golden Age sized, but these aren't simply an homage to Golden Age comics: They're updated classics for a new generation by modern masters! DECEMBER 5 • 64 PAGES • FC • $5.99
Jim: Again a good concept and a fun idea. I’m not rushing out to the story and waiting for it to show up, but for $5.99 with that list of creators, I’ll take a chance on this book. Since these are all public domain characters that I probably never saw, I will miss how they are being revived and or changed as I have no reference point.
Lee: What a list of creators is right!!! But, it will depend on execution. Alan Moore did this once with the series “1963”. It was good but almost to good at capturing the feel of 1963 comics. The first issue should be worth checking out though.

OVERMAN #1 (of 5) story SCOTT REED art & cover SHANE WHITE
Brace yourself for an explosive journey into a doomed future. Set in an art deco-styled Pittsburgh of 2135, hired killer Nathan Fisher discovers the first clue of a vast, cryptic plot that will destroy the human race. OVERMAN combines hard science fiction with a surrealistic twist, from new writer SCOTT REED (High Strangeness, Last Odyssey) and critically acclaimed artist SHANE WHITE (NBM's North Country , and Image Comics Fear Agent). DECEMBER 5 • 32 PAGES • FC • $3.50 Art preview at: http://www.theovermancomic.com/ Artist info at: http://www.shanewhite.com/
Jim: Damn looks like yet another book that has me hooked and reeling me in. I love the “doomed future” type books, matches my world view (just kidding). Not sure of the creators, but the premise is enough to get me to try out issue #1. Still in just four projects Image has more excitement in their new ventures then DC and Marvel combined this month.
Lee: For those of you at home, Jim’s “doomed future world view” comment…. He wasn’t kidding. Image certainly is putting out different and interesting books these days. But, to control my spending I may wait for the trade on this one.

A RED MASS FOR MARS #1 (of 4) story JONATHAN HICKMAN art & cover RYAN BODENHEIM “ETERNITY”From the mind of comic book innovator Jonathan Hickman and pen of super-talent and Image debutant RYAN BODENHEIM comes A RED MASS FOR MARS. In a world that has survived every catastrophe imaginable, a new threat from beyond the stars looks to be the end of all humanity. A RED MASS FOR MARS tells the story of the last days of Earth and the one man who could save us all, but won't. DECEMBER 12 • 32 PAGES • FC • $3.50
Jim: Jonathan Hickman is a busy guy of all a sudden. I’m a little confused as why a book called Red Mass for Mars is about the last days of Earth (maybe a typo). Still with Hickman and that premise – worth at look at issue #1.
Lee: OK, enough is enough. You have picked EVERY SINGLE BOOK Image is publishing so far. Good grief already. How about some filtering, Buddy Boy? But, Image is riding the Hickman wave. Hopefully, he is able to continue the high quality work. And, random factoid of this posting, Ryan Bodenheim is the winner of the 2002 Wizard World art contest. Who knew?

TIM SALE: BLACK AND WHITE HC written by RICHARD STARKINGS & JOHN ROSHELL w/TIM SALEart & cover TIM SALE
REVISED AND EXPANDED!HEROES artist TIM SALE discusses his life and work in this comprehensive and lavishly illustrated volume. This is a new, revised and expanded edition of the original sold out and out-of-print TIM SALE: BLACK AND WHITE previously published by Active Images. Includes 16-page color signature.
DECEMBER 5 • 272 PAGES • BW • $39.99
Lee: OOOOHHHH. HC of Tim Sale artwork. Pretty!!! And cheap too.
Jim: This is why Lee is the art guy and I'm more the story guy. I love Tim Sale's art, but enjoy it when it is part of a good story also, so I'll pass.

HAWAIIAN DICK, VOL. 1: BYRD OF PARADISE TP (NEW PRINTING) story B. CLAY MOORE art & cover STEVEN GRIFFIN
The original acclaimed miniseries in a beautiful trade paperback, containing over fifty pages of exclusive bonus material, including creator notes, concept artwork, a pin-up gallery, a text piece by co-creator B. CLAY MOORE, web strips created specifically for image comics.com, and a lushly illustrated drink guide created especially for the trade by Eisner-nominated series co-creator STEVEN GRIFFIN.
Collects HAWAIIAN DICK, VOL. 1 #1-3
DECEMBER 19 • 144 PAGES • FC • $14.99
Lee: Since this has turned into a “HEY LOOK AT THIS” for every single Image book, I want to add my two cents. This was a great series from couple of years ago. Excellent crime book with outstanding art. You really can’t beat it for $15.
Jim: I have to borrow this one from Lee as I missed this series from before and it still is not drawing me in.

BONDS #3 (of 3)art & cover DURWIN TALON
Lee: OOOOHHHH. The naked chick has a wolf’s head so that makes it ok. NO NO NO! This books wins the Embarrassed to be a Fan Boy award just because the cover is extra pointless.
Jim: Well since I read Bonds #1, I know that this is due to the magic component of what is happening in the story, still hard to disagree with Lee.

BUT WAIT! THERE’S MORE!!!

BRIT #5 art & cover CLIFF RATHBURN
Lee: I stand corrected. Brit #5, with the tentacle that actually manages to get into the costume wins. Sorry Durwin your cover was pointless but Cliff’s creepy trumps pointless anyday.

Jim: The whole tentacle thing is just odd, especially since apparently it is a big turn on with some of the manga stuff. Creepy and perverted.

BRAWL #3 (of 3) story DAN HASPIEL & MICHEL FIFFEart & cover DAN HASPIEL & MICHEL FIFFE Post-coital mania tears the bloom off the rose in this final installment of Haspiel and Fiffe's tour de force of love and pain as Billy Dogma battles the lesser half of his better half in hopes of making everything wrong go right, and Panorama’s Augustus escapes the madness of a double-cross with a twist ending you never expected to see in comix.
Lee: Now, just to get back to reality, a cover worth looking at. I don’t know if the story is any good but this is a very good cover. I like it.
Jim: Lee is now just picking covers and knows I'm the one having to format this post with all these pictures.

KILLING GIRL #5 (of 5) story by GLEN BRUNSWICK art TOBY CYPRESS covers FRANK ESPINOSA & TOBY CYPRESS
It's the final battle: Sara is forced to face down her former mentor. But Nightmare has discovered that Sara has an "Achilles Heal." She actually has feelings for FBI agent, Charlie Baker. Nightmare plans to kill Charlie in front of Sara before eliminating her as well. DECEMBER 12 • 32 PAGES • FC • $2.99
Jim: I was very upset to see the Frank Espinosa fell off this book as the artist. I enjoyed issue #1, but feel a little cheated as the series will not have him as the artist for all five issues. Hopefully Toby Cypress will be a good replacement.
Lee: Well, you can check out Toby at http://tobycypress.blogspot.com/. While I agree, it would be nice to have Espinosa for the entire series, I would rather have an ending.

Tomb Raider Compendium Volume 1 Limited Edition Hardcover (W) Dan Jurgens, David Wohl, James Bonny, & Dan Slott (A) Andy Park, Adam Hughes, Billy Tan, Tony S. Daniel & more! Now a limited edition hardcover! Collecting TOMB RAIDER #1-50, TOMB RAIDER COMPENDIUM VOLUME 1 gives you the complete adventures of Lara Croft in one massive volume! Full Color 1280 pages $99.99 Limited Edition Hardcover
Jim: Was there a demand for this? Oh by the way a 1280 page book is just too damn big to be of any use other then a doorstop.
Lee: Ummmm, isn’t this the same size as Marvel’s Omnibus’s???? And you love those.
Jim: Actually Marvel's are usually much smaller. Their door stop was Amazing Spider-Man at 1008 pages I believe.

Over to Dark Horse


CITY OF OTHERS
STEVE NILES (W) and BERNIE WRIGHTSON (A) On sale Feb 27 FC, 112 pages $14.95 TPB, 7" x 10" Stosh Bludowski is a killer, born with the capacity for no apparent human emotion other than rage. Killing comes easy for Blud, and he makes a good living doing what's easy-until the day he meets two jobs in an alley who just won't die, and a grotesque mystery unfolds right in front of him. Soon, the remorseless killer is confronted by a reality he could never imagine, and he will be invited to make a decision once and for all . . . is he human, or is he Other?
Jim: Love this material and I may have to get the trade also. Bernie Wrightson’s work was missing from comics for way too long. The only issue I had with this series was it felt like a prologue to a series of stories about Blud.
Lee: For me, this is an Eh. I have lots of Wrightson in the collection. Lots of classic, peak Wrightson in the collection. If you have nothing else, start here but for me, I’m just not sure.

CUT - by MIKE RICHARDSON (W), TODD HERMAN (A), AL MILGROM (I), and MIKE MIGNOLA (Cover) On sale Dec 12 FC, 112 pages $9.95 TPB, 5 1/4" x 7 1/2"
The latest addition to the Dark Horse horror line is this chilling original graphic novel from writer and publisher Mike Richardson (The Secret, Cravan). Twentysomething Meagan Walters regains consciousness and finds herself locked in an empty room of an old house. She's bleeding from the back of her head, and has no memory of where the wound came from-she'd been at a club with some friends . . . left angrily . . . was she abducted? When Meagan peers through the door's keyhole, she starts to suspect that her captor isn't quite human . . .
Todd Herman (The Fog; The Goon: Noir) fleshes out the story with his moody, EC-influenced pencils, and comics stalwarts Al Milgrom and Dave Stewart bring them to life.
Jim: I will be passing on this book and wait for any reviews to see if I have any interest. Wonder how this Mike Richardson guy gets all of his stuff published?
Lee: Might have something to do with him owning the company. But that’s just a guess. Sounds interesting enough but I agree with the wait and see philosophy.


THE DEADLANDER #3 (of 4)
KEVIN FERRARA (W/A)
Lee: Since we had two awful covers, I think I can point out two good covers. I really liked Brawl #3, and I like this one two. It definitely works to draw the reader in.
Jim: Good cover, but do you know how many times I have had to add an extra photo and then redo all the damn spacing!

THE END LEAGUE #1
RICK REMENDER (W), MAT BROOME (P), SEAN PARSONS (I), and WENDY BROOME (C) On sale Dec 26 FC, 32 pages $2.99 Ongoing
A thematic merging of The Lord of the Rings and Watchmen, The End League follows a cast of the last remaining supermen and women as they embark on a desperate and perilous journey through a world dominated by evil, in hopes of locating the one remaining artifact that can save humanity-the Hammer of Thor. For his return to the world of comics renowned artist Mat Broome (WildC.A.T.S.) teams up with critically acclaimed writer Rick Remender (Fear Agent) for this, Dark Horse Comics's newest superhero series.
Jim: I’m trying it out as I like Rick Remender’s work, but not sure I need another super hero series.
Lee: I may have to try this too. Broome is a good artist and it’s nice to see his work again. And Remender is not slouch either. It’s definitely worth investigating.

FRAZETTA EGYPTIAN QUEEN STATUE
On sale Jan 30 12 1/4" tall, 12 1/8" wide, 11 7/8" deep Limited to 2000 units for worldwide distribution $350.00
ReelArt Studios and Dark Horse Comics are proud to present Frazetta's Egyptian Queen, the third offering of a four-statue collection inspired by the original artwork of one of the world's most beloved fantasy illustrators, Frank Frazetta. The fully hand-painted statue, as sculpted by Gabriel Marquez, depicts one of Mr. Frazetta's most famous works and was personally overseen and approved by the master.
Jim: Lee, you can get this for me as a late Christmas gift. I love how sexy Frank Frazzeta’s woman are and they are not those rail thin super models who are supposed to be so sexy.
Lee: I would get it for ya but she she looks fat. I know you don’t like rail models but there’s a difference between “full figured” and “OMG your a$$ just ate your thong!” I can’t spend money on something I know you won’t really, truly appreciate. BUT, you can buy me the Judge Dredd statue which is way super cooler.

GRENDEL: DEVIL QUEST
MATT WAGNER (W/A)
On sale Feb 13 FC, 64 pages $14.95 HC, 7" x 10"
In seven chapters, all written and lusciously painted by Wagner, the deadly cyborg Grendel-Prime pursues the past with singular purpose, even while the decadent and decaying world he has forsaken hunts him for reasons of its own. With each chapter a twisted relation to the children's rhyme, "Rich man, poor man, beggar man, thief, doctor, lawyer, Indian chief," this tightly crafted work is an essential piece of the Grendel canon, and a tie-in to Wagner's popular Batman/Grendel series. Lee: First off, I thought I had read everything associated with Wagner’s Grendal but I don’t remember this. I might have to dig in the collection to see if I have it. BUT, it appears that DH is putting the entire series in HC format. This is soooo cool.
Jim: I agree it is cool, but I want bigger hard covers, right now they are killing me doing all small hard covers.

THE SAVAGE SWORD OF CONAN VOLUME 2
ROY THOMAS (W), BARRY WINDSOR-SMITH (A), and JOHN BUSCEMA (A)
On sale Feb 27 FC, 544 pages $17.95 TPB, 7" x 10"
In the mid 1970s a comics magazine was published containing some of the most exciting epic fantasy tales the world has ever known-The Savage Sword of Conan. Based off of the work of renowned author Robert E. Howard, each issue offered multiple thrilling tales of the legendary barbarian. The magazine was also a showcase of comics talent, headed up by Conan aficionado Roy Thomas. Now for the first time ever, these stories are being collected in a series of omnibus-style books, with over five hundred pages of classic sword and sorcery-for the complete Conan collector! Included in this volume are tales featuring the stunning art of such comics luminaries as Barry Windsor-Smith, John Buscema, Alfredo Alcala, Jim Starlin, Al Milgrom, Pablo Marcos, Walter Simonson, and many more. o The first time ever that The Savage Sword of Conan magazine has been collected.
Lee: Now this will be interesting. You see, SSoC was a B&W magazine which was outside of the comics code. AND, with the issues this reprints Marvel slipped in some nudity!!! That’s right big John Buscema drawing nekkid wimmens!!! WHA HOOOOO. I wonder if DH will reprint as published or edit like Marvel did on Tomb of Dracula????
Jim: I can not imagine Dark Horse worrying about nudity, if they edit it, I will be disappointed.

INDIANA JONES OMNIBUS VOLUME 1
WILLIAM MESSNER-LOEBS (W), DAN BARRY (W), LEE MARRS (W), DAN BARRY (A), LEO DURANONA (A), KARL KESEL (A), ANDY MUSHYNSKY (A), and more
On sale Feb 6 FC, 352 pages $24.95 TPB, 6" x 9" Indiana Jones is back in this massive volume recounting three of the most important discoveries in the career of the twentieth century's most adventurous archaeologist!
Containing the long-out-of-print stories, "Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis," "Thunder in the Orient," and "Indiana Jones and the Arms of Gold," this substantial tome follows the intrepid Dr. Jones as he travels from Africa to Asia and nearly everywhere in between in a race against the Nazis for the world's greatest treasures. From lost cities, to ancient temples, to artifacts of legendary power, Indy will stop at nothing to preserve these prizes from the grasp of Adolf Hitler's evil minions. Collecting many long-out-of-print stories in one value-priced volume
Jim: Not something that I want, but nice to see all sorts of properties getting lower cost reprint treatments.
Lee: This actually sounds really good. As always I wish it were full sized but I’ll take what I can get. Messner-Loebs is a very good writer and it looks like a solid line up of artists. This has high “fun” potential and should be worth picking up.

Jim: Well a damn decent month from the smaller press big two. Nice to see someone is looking for some different projects and willing to take a chance.
Lee: This is just so much more interesting than the big two these days. It makes me excited to read comics again.

Friday, September 28, 2007

Alice in Wonderland

Hmm, I should consider picking a different day for my posts as Thursday night is always my major homework night. Thus I end up writing more about school and less about comic books.




Still, One of the major issues all of us on this blog have discussed at one point or another is how many comic books are out there that are considered 'all ages' anymore. In fact we go out of our way to mention when a book is child appropriate. I find that many times it's hard to judge about a book. I find myself recommending books like the Legion of Superheroes, Bone and Mouseguard to parents and many times find that I have to be even more particular with my selections. After all these books contain violence, betrayal and even death. Many parents seem reluctant to expose their children to these things. Yet I wonder if our society has become overly protective of their children in recent years - perhaps this is why teenagers seem to rebel in more extreme ways. As I look more closely at children's literature such as Alice in Wonderland I find myself wondering why we've 'dumbed down' the stories we expose children to. Personally I think many kids can handle and learn from (in a positive manner) a lot more than we give them credit for.

This is the essay I just finished writing about the satirical nature of Alice's Adventures in Wonderland. All of the examples are directly from the story, and I am convinced that the children's stories we read today cannot compare to the depth found in stories like this.

"Alice's Adventures in Wonderland", by Lewis Carrol, satirizes society through the eyes of a child attempting to come to terms with the world around her. Carrol uses the creatures of Wonderland to illustrate stereotypical adults in what he saw as a nonsensical culture.


The White Rabbit is the first Wonderland creature Alice encounters. The Rabbit is a parody of the typical working adult in society. Alice becomes intrigued by the Rabbit when he pulls out a pocket watch after exclaiming, "Oh dear! Oh dear! I shall be too late!" (Carrol 5). Throughout the story the Rabbit seems to be running late, although we're never quite sure what he's so late for (presumably he's running one errand or another). Carrol is mocking the average man's inability to recognize what is and isn't important. The Rabbit is so consumed with his worry about being late that he fails to notice what's going on around him. In fact he even mistakes Alice for his own housemaid, Mare Ann. He sees Alice and assumes that she must be his servant and orders her to "Run home this moment, and fetch me a pair of gloves and a fan! Quick now!" (Carrol 21). Not only does this show how the average working adult is obsessed with time but it also illustrates how many adult members of society take little notice of those they consider to be beneath them.


The Duchess is another highly stereotypical character. She represents the people of society who feel that they have the answer to everything. During Alice's first encounter with the Duchess she informs the child that "You don't know much... and that's a fact" (Carrol 37). From then on the Duchess not only informs Alice of 'facts' (that make little sense) but also orders her around. The Duchess seems to presume that she is better than Alice because she is comfortable in the belief that she knows more than Alice. Later, in the Queen's garden, the Duchess again asserts her own superiority. She begins to find morals in everything that Alice says - whether or not there is an intended moral. For example when Alice informs the Duchess that her flamingo may bite the Duchess says, "Very true... flamingos and mustard both bite. And the moral of that is - 'Bird of a feather flock together' (Carrol 57). Alice points out that mustard isn't a bird and rather than admit that her statement was in error the Duchess glosses over the whole incident by agreeing with Alice - as if it all makes sense anyway. This shows the Duchess to represent all the members of society who act in the belief that they know all there is to know.

The Queen is a representation of adult authority. She satirizes the world of rules and regulation by representing extremes of illogic and impossible rules and regulations. The Queen's croquet game is a perfect example of this. Alice finds herself given inefficient tools to play an impossible game in which she never quite sure of the rules (as they're always changing). "The players played all at once, without waiting for turns, quarreling all the while... and in a very short time the Queen was in a furious passion... shouting 'Off with his head!'" (Carrol 53). The croquet game itself is a mockery of human society while the Queen, at it's head, is a symbol for the authority that claims to maintain society. In it's extreme form, bureaucracy wishes to solve problems with haste - but with little regard to those that it effects of the actual execution of the actions to be taken. This to, is acted out by the Queen when confronted with a creature with only a head who she wishes to have beheaded. When no one seems to be able to behead the creature she decides that "if something wasn't done about it... she'd have everybody executed" (Carrol 55). The Queen clearly satirizes adult society's befuddling authority.

Wonderland is an elaborate representation of adult society and all it's strange stereotypes and patterns. Carrol uses the characters and circumstances of Wonderland to create a satire of society through the perspective of childhood.




I would, of course, like the opinions of the actual parents who read this, as I don't have children of my own. I am curious on how people feel - do we shelter our children more - perhaps in an attempt to keep them younger longer? Or do you feel there has been little change in children's literature?

* Yes, this is a cheating post * Apologies *

As an interesting side note though I wonder if comics are considered 'kid stuff' by society because children's literature is associated with illustrations alongside the text?

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Marvel Previews for December


Lee: Oh the surface this looks like it might be a good month. But, I have been fooled before. Then again, I may get lucky.
Jim: I don’t think you’re going to get lucky with this group. The big two are not having stellar months in what I see so far.

ULTIMATES 3 #1 (of 5)
Written by Jeph LoebPencils & Cover by Joe Madureira & Christian
The countdown to Ultimatum begins here and when it's over, the Ultimate Universe will never be the same! And when we say that in the Ultimate Universe, you know we ain't fooling around! A year later, who are the Ultimates? After going through the tumultuous events of the past two volumes, the Ultimates find themselves operating out of Tony Stark's mansion in New York where, no longer working for S.H.I.E.L.D., they have to make it on their own. But, a terrible secret is about to tear them apart and bring about a murder at the mansion! One of Earth's greatest heroes will die and there'll be plenty of suspects! New Members! New Adventures! And New Secrets! All this and Ultimate Venom too! 32 PGS. …$2.99
Lee: Well, the Ultimate Avengers is better than the regular Avengers these days so this should be good. Then again, Loeb is a spotty writer and Mad is a spotty artist so this could really stink. Then again, even the best train wrecks are worth looking at!
Jim: This is a pass for me. I was wondering if Loeb and Mad could produce a monthly book, but being as it is only 5 issues long, I guess that is doable. Still Loeb has not had a good book in a long time in my opinion.

MARVEL ILLUSTRATED: THE ILIAD #1 (of 8)
Written by Roy Thomas, Penciled by Miguel Angel Sepulveda
MARVEL ILLUSTRATED: THE MAN IN THE IRON MASK #6 (of 6)
Written by Roy Thomas, Penciled by Hugo Petrus
MARVEL ILLUSTRATED: PICTURE OF DORIAN GRAY #2 (of 6)
Written by Roy Thomas Penciled by Sebastian Fiumara
Lee: It’s nice to see that Marvel is commited to this line. I wonder how the sales are doing. I really wish I knew who the artists were too.
Jim: I agree and I’ll be tempted to try some of the trades down the road, although I found Last of the Mohicans boring.


ULTIMATE IRON MAN II #1 (of 4)
Written by Orson Scott Card. Pencils & Cover by Pasqual Ferry
The untold origin of Iron Man continues! When last we saw him, young Tony Stark was nearly blown to bits. How much of him survived his initial Iron Man trial run – and where does the young genius go from here? Plus: How does James Rhodes fit into Tony’s plans for the perfect fighting machine? 32 PGS. …$2.99
Jim: Okay when was the end of Ultimate Iron Man I and that series ended in the middle of the story. If I ever get this I want till the collect the entire series.
Lee: Sooooooo… you’re never getting it? Is that the bottom line?

ULTIMATE SPIDER-MAN #117
Written by Brian Michael Bendis Pencils & Cover by Stuart Immonen
The fatal finale to “Death of a Goblin!” This is it, the gut-wrenching conclusion to Spider-Man’s battle against both the Green Goblin – and his son, the Hobgoblin! It’s been building for years – now the tragic tale of Peter Parker, Norman Osborn and Harry Osborn comes to a shattering conclusion! Be there for the shocker in the series that IGN.com calls a “Must Read!” 32 PGS …$2.99
Lee: The long story continues. I read this in trade so I have no comment right now. BUT, mark my words someday the last line will read Be there for the shocker in the series that COMICSAND… calls a “Must Read!”
Jim: Ultimate Spider-Man has been the best Spider-Man book out there. Also I criticize Bendis in many books, but this one is done very well and Bendis deserves a lot of the credit.

ULTIMATE MARVEL
Written by Arune Singh
The groundbreaking Ultimate Universe changed the face of comics, redefining your favorite heroes in bold new epics. Now, get your first look at Ultimates 3, Ultimate Iron Man II, Ultimate Origins and all the other Ultimate books that will have your jaws on the floor! Add in exclusive commentary from creators, never-before-seen art and you’ve got the perfect holiday surprise at the right price! The Ultimate Universe will never be the same and this is your chance to get in on the ground floor! 32 Pages …FREE
Lee: Free??? Are they kidding? Maybe Marvel isn’t the greedy super corporation I think they are? HA HA HA. Yeah, right. Dollar says it ships late too!
Jim: The retailers have to pay for it and it is all promotional material. Just a crap flyer really.

AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #546
AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #547
AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #548
Hype for ASM 546:Written by Dan Slott Art & Cover by Steve McNiven
This is it, Arachnophiles!!!! Prepare for what promises to be the most pulse-pounding piece of four color fiction to be delivered unto the Mighty Marvel Minions in decades! You asked for more Spidey! You demanded it! And, by Buckley, you're gonna get it! After the devastatingly heartwarming events of ONE MORE DAY, Peter Parker puts the past behind him and sets forth on a BRAND NEW DAY! Starting with Amazing Spider-Man #546, you now have THREE times the action! THREE times the villains! THREE times the danger! Amazing Spider-Man – Now 3 times every month! Bank on it, buck-o! And if that weren't enough: ASM #546 goes double-sized to bring you back-up features that introduce you to the new players in the lives of Peter and his family!48 PGS …$3.99
Lee: Wow. Three Spidey books in a single month. This can certainly crush a budget. Glad to see Dan Slott getting the title. He has a great handle on superheroes and fun and should be a great fit. Hopefully, the editors don’t crush his effort…. Or crossovers ruin any flow he might establish… or Events take over… Yep. He doesn’t stand a chance.
Jim: Well Lee if you were paying attention to the hype you would know that Amazing is now the only title and they have four different writers (I believe) scheduled to work on the book and it will now be a 3 times a month book. Spider-Man’s numbering can try and catch up to Action and Detective at this rate. Interesting experiment, but I’m hesitant to sign up until I now how “One More Day” ends.

SPIDER-MAN FAMILY #6
Written, Penciled & Cover by by Chris Eliopoulos(ribbit)
Time for a team-up, Spidey! (ribbit) Let’s see…Iron Man’s busy (ribbit), Captain America’s a little under the weather (ribbit), the FF are doing their own (ribbit) thing…who’s not busy this month? (ribbit) FROG THOR!!!!!!!!104 PGS …$4.99
Lee: Frog Thor????? Frog Thor!!! Yeah, baby, Frog Thor is awesome.
Jim: Okay so you like frogs the way I like monkeys, me not a big frog guy.

HULK VS. FIN FANG FOOM ONE-SHOT
Written by Peter David. Penciled by TBA. Cover by Jim Cheung
Prepare yourself for a showdown of epic proportions. The gamma irradiated goliath, the Hulk, faces off against the mighty Marvel monster, Fin Fang Foom. This action-packed double-sized one-shot will take two of Marvel’s BIGGEST… GREENEST monsters, and pit them against one-another. And you can be sure that when these big brutal beasts collide, ain’t nobody gonna be happy. So place you’re bets folks, cause this one’s going to make it into the last rounds…My money is on the FOOM! Plus, classic slugfests from the past!48 PGS…$3.99
Lee: This has the potential to be awesome. Great writer in Peter David and a great artist in… WAIT A MINUTE!!! There isn’t an artist assigned. So, if I understand correctly, Cheung did a cool splash and Marvel hired PAD to write a story around it. BUT, no one has actually drawn it yet. Oh no, this will never get delayed. Nope, not a chance.
Jim: Lee, I think you missed the point, TBA is the artist formerly known as Rob Liefeld. Easy pass.

POWERS: THE DEFINITIVE COLLECTION VOL. 2 HC
Written by Brian Michael Bendis. Art & Cover by Michael Avon Oeming
We know this is the one you have been waiting for... and that wait is now over! It’s a hardcover collection of the entire second year of POWERS in chronological order! The first three epic POWERS stories, issues #12-24, are presented in order of publication – remastered, redesigned and reformatted! Also featuring all the POWERS bonus features you’ve come to know and love: sketchwork, scripts, interviews, galleries, original designs and another POWERS Best of the Letter Column, Year Two! This is the most celebrated year of this award-winning title! A must-have for your comic library! 488 PGS. ...$29.99Trim size: oversized
Lee: 488 pages for $30 is a great deal. And, the story is excellent too. My only question, isn’t this the second or third time it’s been solicited?
Jim: I vote for third. I loved Powers in the beginning but fell off this book during the monkey sage (see I don’t always like monkeys).
Lee: I looked it up. This was originally solicited Oct 06. Only a year late. Not bad.

CRIMINAL VOL. 2: LAWLESS TPB
Written by Ed Brubaker. Pencils and Cover by Sean Phillips
Tracy Lawless has come home for his first Christmas in the city in nearly twenty years. But the only kind of family reunion he'll find is in a graveyard, because his last living relative, his little brother Ricky, was killed almost a year earlier. Now Tracy is back to find out who did it, and why, and to do that he'll have to immerse himself back into the criminal world that he once ran away from. The question is, even if he finds the answers he seeks, will he survive the experience?128 PGS. …$14.99
Lee: I read Criminal in trade and I love it. The first series was very, very good. I expect no less from this.
Jim: Great book and possibly Brubaker’s best work. The second arc has been superior to the first arc, so even if you skipped part I, get this one.

MARVEL MASTERWORKS: RAWHIDE KID VOL. 2 HC
Written by Stan LeePenciled by Jack Kirby, Jack Davis, Don Heck, Dick Ayers, Gene Colan, Paul Reinman, Al Hartley & Sol BrodskyCollecting RAWHIDE KID #26-35.272 PGS./All Ages …$54.99
Lee: Classic cowboy goodness. This is great stuff with early art by Gene Colan. Rare Jack Davis Marvel art, and of course a healthy helping of Kirby. Good, good stuff.
Jim: This is great stuff and an easy Masterwork for me to order.

MARVEL MASTERWORKS: GOLDEN AGE HUMAN TORCH VOL. 2
Written & Illustrated by Carl Burgos, Bill Everett, Mickey Spillane, Basil Wolverton, Ray Houlihan & Art Gates
Reprinting HUMAN TORCH, #5b-8, from 1941-42. (Yes, folks, odd numbering was not solely the province of modern comic books; the Torch’s solo book had two #5s). This hardcover collection remasters and restores these early adventures featuring two titanic and epic-length battles between the Human Torch and the Sub-Mariner. First, amidst a raging World War, Sub-Mariner declares all-out war on the surface world attacking Hitler, Stalin & Mussolini before he sets his sights on New York City. Only the Human Torch, Toro, Kazar, the Patriot and the Angel stand in his way of total world conquest. Then the most fantastic plot in the history of modern warfare plunges the Human Torch and Sub-Mariner into an epic struggle against each other when the villainous Python hypnotizes Torch into aiding Hitler’s cause. Also featuring “Tubby & Tack,” “Swoopy the Fearless,” stories by pulp legend Mickey Spillane and Basil Wolverton’s “Peculiar People.”280 PGS …$59..99
Lee: This book is interesting because of so many things. First are the battles between the Human Torch and Submariner which were some of the biggest Golden Age Heroes. Second is the time table of these books and the inclusion of Hitler. Propoganda was the sole providence of the government and comic books did their best to pitch in. It will be interesting to see if Marvel edits the racial stereotypes out of the book. Finally, the price point is very, very interesting. The Rawhide Kid masterworks is $55 for 272 pages. Yet this book is $60 for 280 pages???? I wonder if Marvel is applying the price hike because they know only the most serious of collectors will buy this.
Jim: It might be that the price hike is due to cost to produce this book. I really hope that the Torch versus Sub-Mariner battle was handled with TLC, because that was some great Golden Age material. If they corrected the racial stereotypes I would be upset as I prefer to see the old stuff warts and all.

THE TWELVE #0
Written and Penciled by Charles Nicholas, Basil Wolverton, Will Harr, Maurice Gutwirth, Mike Robard, Sam Cooper & Chris Weston
This preview comic features the origin stories of Golden Age greats “Rockman” from USA Comics #1 (August 1941) by Charles Nicholas and Basil Wolverton and the never-before-reprinted “Laughing Mask” by Will Harr and Maurice Gutwirth from Daring Mystery Comics #2 (February 1940) and Phantom Reporter by Mike Robard and Sam Cooper from Daring Mystery Comics #3 (April 1940) along with character sketches and preview pages of the new series The Twelve by J. Michael Straczynski with art by Chris Weston. 48 PGS ...$2.99
Lee: Don’t waste your money on this boys and girls. Let me tell ya why… #1) all the character sketches have been plastered over the web. #2) The preview pages will be there soon enough and #3) Even I, who loves GA material, have no clue who any of these characters or artists are. That’s not true, the Wolverton art will be excellent but 6 pages is not worth $3. Wait for the real series.
Jim: AGREED! Plus with JMS writing the book I’ll wait for the hardcover and skip the actual book.
MARVEL SPOTLIGHT: X-MEN – MESSIAH COMPLEX
Written by John Rhett Thomas
After the repercussions borne of House of M, the mutant universe faced its most dire challenge in a landscape sundered by the Decimation. As the mutant population dwindled and external threats multiplied, the mutant community, led by the X-Men, has seen better days. It's about to get worse. After doing their best to weather the storms that have rocked the other parts of the Marvel Universe, mutants now face the events of MESSIAH COMPLEX, which will bring the ramifications of "No More Mutants" to a resounding climax. Marvel Spotlight will be essential reading for fans to get up to speed on the creators and comics involved in this multi-title event, with insightful writer and artist interviews, plus a look back at other classic eras of X-Men.32 PGS. …$2.99
Jim: This is just a blatant money grab by Marvel and these type of books just tick me off.
Lee: Ditto. It’s not often I don’t have a lot to say but this is one of those times. I mean, I agree with Jim. This is a blatant screwing of the comic book customer. I mean really what can be said other than Ditto, which I already said. But it all agrees with Jim so there isn’t any reason to write lots about this. Right? Right! ‘Nuff said because Jim was clear and concise. A money grab by Marvel. Those scoundrels!

WOLVERINE: FIREBREAK ONE-SHOT
Written by Mike Carey Art and Cover by Scott Kolins
A brand-new, stand-alone story by X-MEN’s Mike Carey and OMEGA FLIGHT’s Scott Kolins! Everyone knows that Wolverine is an expert tracker, but what about when he’s been blinded? The fighting Canadian must lead a vacationing family out of the woods, using only his 4 remaining senses and the help of that same family. Things get more complicated, however, with a visit from Advanced Idea Mechanics. Also, as an added bonus: a special back-up story by Macon Blair (24Seven) and Vasilis Lolos (Pirates of Coney Island).48 PGS. …$3.99
Jim: This just seems like a book that was commissioned and then forgotten about. This book just ices that they signed Scott Kolins to an exclusive and then buried him. This guy is a dynamic and really good artist who was wasted with his time at Marvel.
Lee: I agree. They never really did anything with Kolins. Wait a year and get it from the quarter bin.

WOLVERINE #60
Cover by Arthur Suydam
Lee: I pick this only to highlight the pointless cover and complain. Seriously, isn’t there enough gratuitous violence on in comics enough without showing Wolverine’s claws going through someone’s head? AND, at one time it was cool that Wolverine actually tried to avoid killing people. Whatever happened to that character? This is pointless and stupid.
Jim: I agree, Wolverine was the ultimate bad a** super hero and now he has been over exposed and reduced to being more of a killer then someone who will kill if necessary.


MS. MARVEL #22
Cover by Greg Horn
Lee: Speaking of pointless and stupid, my selection for Embarrassed to be a Fanboy cover. Marvel has really cut back on them these days but you can always trust Greg Horn to illustrate porn stars as superheroes.
Jim: Greg is always good for this type of work. His She-Hulk covers were so over the top that I would be afraid to leave them on a coffee table in my home.
Lee: Over the top or top heavy? I get confused.
Jim: I know Lee, I know.

EXILES #100
Written by Chris Claremont. Pencils & Cover by Tom Grummett
Adios, Exiles! They’ve left their footprints across the multiverse for a hundred issues, but what threat will make Blink and Co. close up shop for good? It’s not what you expect! And what’s this we hear about an all NEW EXILES…Also! Re-presenting the classic Exiles #1 by Judd Winnick and Mike McKone!64 PGS. …$3.99
Lee: And the final stupidity… Exiles end (good) with the hint that it will be restarted in a couple of months. Let me see, sales are down so you’re going to cancel the series and immediately restart it???? Series are becoming like characters in comic books. You just can’t kill them.
Jim: Never got into this book at all, so cancelled and re-launched, I still have no interest.

Lee: Another bland month. I fear that I am going to start having more and more of these as the months progress. Marvel is my first love but I am so exhausted by the endless crossovers, and endless events, that I really don’t care anymore. It’s hard for me to believe but I am sick of the angst and long for the days when Stan dictated 10 pages of every comic be dedicated to a fight scene.
Jim: Marvel was my first love also (just 10 plus years earlier) and almost all the love I had for these characters has been drained out of me. Marvel really needs to try and create 2nd generation of their major heroes and try to move on.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

When Did Your Children Grow Up?

Here’s an interesting question, when do kids grow up? Don’t get me wrong, I understand that I am still my Mother’s little boy. As she says, I always have been and always will be. But at some point, I grew up. My wife says several times a week that it is time for me to grow up but that’s different.

I don’t know when my little people grew up but I think they did. Maybe it was last week when they went to school for the very first time. The kindergarten bus pulled up and they leaped right on without even the slightest look back. They were too excited to get on the bus to worry about me.

Maybe it was the other day when I came home and no one rushed to greet me. Sesame Street was more exciting than Dad coming home. In truth, they stopped coming to the door weeks before. I just didn’t want to admit they weren’t coming to see me anymore.

Maybe it was this morning as I was leaving for work, and Tiny screamed “Kiss! Kiss!” because I hadn’t given her a goodbye kiss yet. She rushed over to me and made sure I kissed both her cheeks. The older two didn’t even take their eyes off the television.

I’m very proud of my children, love than more than anything, and it really is a great deal of fun watching them grow up. But somedays, every now and then, I really miss the little people that squealed in delight when I came home.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Best to Worst of Last Week

I was in a more generous mood this week as there was probably three to five titles that I could have cut from my list, but I felt like most of the books this week delivered well enough to keep me hanging in with them. Plus there were a couple of titles that hit their last issue on their own accord and that made it a little easier on the potential drops.

Green Arrow / Black Canary Wedding Special – I have read that many believe this to be a horrible story and just poorly done, I flat out disagree. Judd Winick and Amanda Conner pulled off a old time fun filled super hero wedding, with a shock ending that left me wanting the first issue of the new Green Arrow / Black Canary book; that apparently will star Conner and Black Canary. The whole wedding was an editorial mandate, but it has been executed by all parties involved in an entertaining fashion. A really great issue.
JLA/Hitman #1 (of 2) – This was a frelling wonderful book. First I love Tommy Monaghan and seeing him interact with Batman, Kyle, Wally, Superman and Wonder Woman was just fantastic. Superman trying to explain why he likes him and that he never knew he was a hitman was priceless. I really want DC to complete trading the original series, one of the better under the radar series of all time.
Bad Planet #3 (of 6 or 12?) – I absolutely love this book. Alien monsters, flying girls, great looking women and huge flying bugs. The only problem I had were the 3-D parts of the book. I love 3-D, but I think I just need to tape on red and blue cellophane to my glasses, because I now wear progressive lenses and trying to put the 3-D glasses and my glasses together is a pain. Between this book and Alien Pig Farm Raw Studios is producing some beautiful material that is pure fun.
Hellblazer #236 – This is the best Vertigo series right now. Under Diggle’s pen this book is now at the top of its class.
30 Days of Night Red Snow #2 (of 3) – Ben Templesmith is so damn good and this book just continues to prove the point. The Vampires force the Germans, Russians, Townspeople and an English observer to join forces to try and survive the onslaught. The little girl vampire is reminiscent of Wormwood’s little girl corpse, but why quibble.
Highwaymen #4 (of 5) – Just a great series. McQueen is dying, Grace and his partner are in a car falling out of the back of an airplane. Really good action/adventure story.
Catwoman #71 – This is one of DC’s better series. This issue Selina solicits Batman’s help in faking her death. At the end it appears she is asking for his help to give her baby up to someone else. Really an emotional and understated scene.
Criminal Macabre My Demon Baby #1 (of 4) – Why did I decide to try this out; I love Cal McDonald now and will end up buying some of his prior adventures in trade. This is the most down on his luck PI ever; it is Rockford to the Nth degree, running around with zombies and other supernatural stuff. Half serious-half tongue in cheek all cool.
Batman/Lobo Deadly Serious #2 (of 2 ) – A great read and over the top fun. Beautiful energetic mad art and story by Sam Keith
Checkmate #18 – Really good start to the “Fall of the Wall”. Greg Rucka has all the right elements going, action, political intrigue, set-ups, moves and counter moves.
Captain America #30 – The “Death of a Dream” has been a good story. Dr. Faust will apparently have everyone under his control soon as Bucky has been captured and is now held prisoner by Faust. I did not like the Red Skull conveniently knowing a code wood to shut Bucky down.
Countdown to Mystery #1 (of 8) – Both stories were strong beginnings. Eclipso is on Darkseid’s doorstep and apparently his creation and Dr. Fate is finding out what it means to be the new mystical Dr. Fate.
Superman/Batman #40 – Best issue yet of this series. Orion’s wife (Bekka) and Batman’s attraction to each other was done so well and the story just played out perfectly. Darkseid is starting to show up everywhere in the DCU.
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Dynamo 5 #7 – Nice wrap up to the duplicate Captain Dynamo storyline. This book continues to impress with solid stories, solid character development and good action. A really well done super hero group book.
Flash #232 – Still has my interest, but the art is not working for me in Flash and the story line is a very odd one to start off the book, an unflash like menace.
Programme #3 (of 12) – Each issue of this book is getting better for me. Milligan’s story of cold war super heroes being created and then accidentally being activated today is being executed well so far.
Robin #166 – Nice wrap up of the Dodge storyline and some great interaction with Batman. I believe this is writer Adam Beechen’s last issue and he did a great job on this series.
Shadowpact #17 - Since Matt Sturges is Bill Willingham’s writing partner on Jack of Fables I should have known he could pick this book up seamlessly. I really enjoyed Doug Braithwaite’s art on this issue.
Penance Relentless #1 (of 5) – In spite of my hating what they did to Speedball, this next step in the characters evolution had an intriguing start. Paul Jenkins has my interest in this series. Appears that Robbie is playing Norman and the government at this point.
Gutsville #2 (of 6) – A little lost in the overall story due to the long delay between issues, but Frazer Irving does a great job depicting on one of the strangest settings ever, people living in the guts of a mammoth sea creature.
30 Days of Night Beyond Barrow #1 (of 3) – Steve Niles and Bill Sienkiewicz deliver a good start to a billionaire adventurer visiting Barrow to get his kicks and see a vampire. Can’t wait for October to see this movie.
Wasteland #12 – Solid series. This issue was fast paced. Ari and Michael escape execution, slaves are freed, Sand-Eaters attack, and the city is in chaos.
Aquaman Sword of Atlantis #56 – Another solid issue, I’m enjoying this series again, the break from Busiek/Guice to Williams/McManus was so jarring that it took awhile for me to really enjoy this book again.
Birds of Prey #110 – Nice one and done story focusing on Huntress and Oracle’s relationship while doing a job.
Countdown #32 – Fun issue, the bachelorette party was amusing and we finally have Eclipso and Mary Marvel together.
Terror Inc. #2 (of 5) – Played as a straight action adventure, but with some really bizarre and outlandish twist. Still, when your main character is a rotting corpse that needs body parts to replace the ones worn out, what can you do? Nice little series, definitely best as a mini-series.
Streets of Glory #1 (of 6) – Billed as Garth Ennis reinventing the western, the first issue comes across as a gory, but still a typical western. The story is set in the times when civilization was starting to take over the old west. Decent start, just not a reinvention at this point. The artist loved having people’s jaw’s blown off by bullets though, maybe that was the reinvention. Truly the first comic that had "jaw dropping" art.
Tales of the Sinestro Corps Parallax #1 – Nice little background piece on what happened with Kyle and how he is trying to fight back. Decent back story matter that fills in some of the blanks from the Sinestro War.
Annihilation Conquest Quasar #3 (of 4) – Nice use of her powers at the end, the idea that Moondragon is now a real dragon and they will still remain intimate “mind” lovers was a little too ridiculous, even for comics.
Ant-Man #12 – Fun ending and a nice way to get Eric back into the costume. Seems like they may make him into a real super hero this time.
Marvel Comics Presents #1 – Eight page stories by different creators, some continuing stories and some one shot stories. This type of book is always a mixed bag, but I will try out this anthology styled book for awhile. This first issue was decent.
Zero Killer #2 (of 6) – Matt Camp’s artwork really reminds me of Paul Gulacy, very well done. This post apocalyptic world is set in a bombed out New York with gangs running the big buildings and a military government trying to run what’s left of the US. So far this has been interesting, but I think a trade is the way to go with this story.
Sheena #3 (of 5) – I just like watching a pretty girl run around in a jungle outfit. Not much each to really recommend this book as the plot is clich├ęd ridden, but I still enjoy this piece of fluff.
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Doktor Sleepless #2 – The only book by Ellis lately that I’m not sold on. Ellis is playing with his ideas of tech, but this book is not really drawing me in yet. The last panel with a second person who appears to be Sleepless was intriguing.
World War Hulk #4 (of 5) – I have already said my piece on this book, needless to say it was not a favorite this week. Let’s see how it ends.
Cthulhu Tales Tainted – Not bad, but some of the stories were just confusing and or incomprehensible. Still this and the vastly superior Fall of Cthulhu series has made me want to read Lovecraft’s work and see what the source material is like.
Testament #20 – Another book I should cancel and just go to the trades as the stories are relatively complex and are hard to really stay with the story over the month (and reading 100 plus other comics). Still a well structured story and it definitely continues to move forward.
Ghosting #2 (of 4) – I should have canned this book after this issue, but I’m interested enough now to want to find out who or what is behind all the killings going on – is it a ghost or something else.
Witness #1 – A set-up for a graphic novel. Rather mundane, cop protecting witnesses becomes a witness of mob boss killing his own daughter (who was ratting out Daddy). He fakes his own death to protect his family. Was not that strong of a book and it just leads into a graphic novel.

A really good week of books. I have so many above the line as the best that it even shocked me. The book you should be reading that you are not is Bad Planet. Drop a Marvel or DC title that you are so-so on and buy Bad Planet and see if you don’t enjoy it more then the book you dropped. If I’m wrong let me know and I’ll try and get a quarter to you to buy the issue you missed back in about three months.

Monday, September 24, 2007

What I’m Getting Wednesday

One more killer week of books and then I escape to a five week month in October. September has been a huge month with a fair number of trades, hard covers and a ton of books. As I have said before you can collect a lot of independent titles and have almost none of them show and then they can all show at once. This week it is DC and Marvel flooding the market with product and only a few independent books.

Fall of Cthulhu #6 – Starting a new story this issue. These stories have really spurred me on to go out and seek some of the source material and read Lovecraft’s work. From reading the stories I get a feeling that the horror associated with this material is a primal type fear and if you frell with them you will lose.

Astounding Wolf Man #3 – Another Robert Kirkman creation and written by the creator. The art is very loose and still a little amateurish, but Kirkman has made this book to be unpredictable in where we are going. He zigs, when you are expecting a zag. This has a fun read for the first two issues, looking forward to issue #3.

Brit #2 – Another Robert Kirkman creation, that he now acts as editor on. Kirkman is slowly building his own line of books with Image. The first issue was okay. Killing Brit at the end is very typical type ending lately, but I trust these guys will twist it enough to keep us off balance.

Walking Dead Volume 7 TP – One of two series I get as a trade. I really have enjoyed this series and I’m almost tempted to switch over to monthlies as Kirkman (yes him again as writer/creator) has ratcheted up the anything can happen vibe to this book. Walking Dead is a must read.

Killing Girl #2 (of 5) – Not written by Robert Kirkman, instead written by Glen Brunswick and art by Frank Espinosa (who will not be finishing the series). The first issue was very good and issue #2 should be good. The official hype “What if the Mafia had their own secret service...? Sara has uncovered the truth: Her sister is alive. Just one quick kill...then Sara will slip away to spend some overdue quality time with her long lost sibling. Unfortunately, her current target may complicate matters. The FBI agent she's been assigned to kill is also her sister's fiance.”


Left on Mission #4 (of 5) – I was fortunate enough to receive an advance look at this book and have already posted a review on it. Once again I will say a great series.

Annihilation Conquest: Star Lord #3 (of 4) – This has been just an amazing little mini-series. Keith Giffen and Timothy Green have done a fantastic job with the intergalactic dirty dozen theme storyline. Star Lord and Rocket Racoon are my two favorite members of those who are left.

Avengers/Defenders War Hardcover – This was an decent story by Steven Englehart with okay art by Bob Brown and Sal Buscema. Nice to see in a a reasonable priced package for only $20. I’m buying this more for nostalgia purposes, then it being a story for the ages. I appreciate Marvel doing stuff like this that doesn’t fit anywhere else.

Avengers Initiative #6 – This book is slowly winning me over of all the launches out of Civil War, this is one of the only new ones I didn’t cancel. Cloud 9 has become a character that I enjoy and I get a kick out of seeing a ridiculous character like Slapstick getting face time in the MU.

Criminal #9 – Still following Tracy Lawless quest to avenge his brother’s death as he finds himself drawn more into the criminal life. The second arc of this book has been much better then the first arc and the first arc was a decent story. I’m tempted to switch over to trades for this book, but not yet.

Iron Fist #9 – Part 2 of the contest of the Seven Cities of Heaven. I recently read the Iron Fist Essential and enjoyed the adventures of Danny Rand then and I’m enjoying the new adventures of Danny Rand as well. Brubaker and Fraction have done a good job of remaining true to the source material and enhancing it with adding more depth to it. One of Marvel’s best series.

Iron Fist Annual #1 – A double dose of Iron Fist this week, that’s a good thing, but I still think Marvel should have spread them over a couple of weeks. This issue is providing more background on Danny’s predecessor Orson Randall.

Iron Man #22 – Daniel and Charles Knauf do a good job of writing this book, but the story seems to be very stretched out. Maybe the new status quo is here to stay, but I want more of a confrontation with the Mandarin and Tony’s duties as director of SHEILD dominate the story lines (as one would expect). Still the first time I have followed Iron Man in years, so it is a good job.

Marvel Illustrated Last of the Mohicans #5 (of 6) – A book I send onto Gwen and never read. Hope we get a review of it once it is complete. I would like to know if this line has any value.

Punisher Barracuda TP – The collection of the Barracuda mini-series spun off from the Punisher. My expectations are mixed on this book as I’m not sure I like the idea of creating a nemesis for the Punisher in the Max line, it doesn’t feel right based on the way Frank is portrayed in the Max series.

Ultimate Fantastic Four #46 – My last issue of this book. Mike Carey does a fine job writing it and Pascul Ferry is a good artist, so why am I dropping the title? I don’t buy into this group as the Fantastic Four. They are too far removed from the original group for me to have any real buy in and therefore I find I don’t care about them as characters.

Ultimate Spider-Man #114 – This book is the opposite of Ultimate FF for me. Peter is younger, but eminently recognizable as a version of the Spider-Man that I grew up with, so I do care about this character. Last issue was the best issue in this series in a long time and I loved how Machiavellian Bendis made Norman Osborune. Looking forward to the next part of this arc.

Sub-Mariner #4 (of 6)- This has been a decent series so far, but having Venom in it is just blah. All of a sudden Venom is everywhere in the Marvel Universe. Curious to see how this series plays out. Marvel has been playing up the Namor lately and I wonder if this series is re-establishing his place in the new status quo of Marvel.

X-Men First Class #4 – This is flat out just a wonderful re-imagining and updating of the adventures of the first X-Men. Jeff Parker and Roger Cruz have crafted a modern, yet classic take that is fun to read. My favorite X-Book right now.

X-Men #203 – The Marauders true goal is supposed to be revealed this issue. I have enjoyed this arc because Bobby and Cannonball are two characters in the X-Men who I have usually enjoyed. Overall though I may be done with the X-Books soon.

American Virgin #19 – The official hype says it all “Concluding the 5-part "Around the World." Paris: the city of lights…the city of love…the city of sex. And Adam Chamberlain has not one, not two, but three shocking revelations for the new woman in his life. One involves a question, one involves his future, and one involves changing the title of the book from American Virgin to something else.” Should be a good issue.

Crossing Midnight #11 – This book is really one of the better books on the stands. It covers so many different genres and tells a great story focusing on the twin brother and sister who are caught up in forces beyond their control. This maybe Mike Carey’s best work ever.

Astro City : The Dark Age Book 2 #4 (of 4) – As always this has been an excellent story, but also as always the eternal lateness of this book just kills the excitement that this series could generate. If this book showed up even eight times a year it would really be a major hit.

Deathblow #7 – I’m not sure if this book is just super slow in coming out or if it is getting cancelled. The excitement that I felt for this story has also been drained by its lateness. Some books can survive coming out when ever, but a complex plot line and obtuse story telling of Brian Azzarello demands a schedule close to monthly.

Wetworks #13 – J.M. DeMattesis has kept the writing quality on this title at a high level. This issue the original team joins with the new team and is fighting off Night Tribes.

52 Aftermath The Four Horsemen #2 (of 6 ) – Giffen had a good start to this series. I love his dialogue between Bruce and Clark. I went in not knowing what to expect, but the first issue was an interesting story of the reappearance of the Four Horsemen and how Batman, Wonder Woman and Superman will deal with it.

Blue Beetle #19 – Giganta is hired to take down Blue Beetle. This is a great series depicting a young man coming to grips with being a super hero. One of DC’s best ongoing series that remains pretty much to itself.

All Star Batman and Robin #8 – This book has actually become a title I look forward to reading. Miller has crafted a totally different type of Batman and recreated the DCU in this title. The heroes are all a little unhinged, but the story is fast paced and being well drawn by Jim Lee. If the book can just come out four times a year it has a chance to recapture its audience.

Batman #669 – Concluding the 3 part Batman and The Club of Heroes murder mystery drawn by JH Williams III. This has been a surprising nice murder mystery tale by Grant Morrison set on a remote island. Looking forward to the concluding chapter.


GA Year One #5 (of 6) – Really can’t wait for this book. Diggle and Jock have so far done what will be GA’s definite origin story for the foreseeable future. I may get the trade of this one.

Countdown #31 – The last issue was okay, but I think my problem with this series will continue to be the same lament I have had for awhile, no real end points to the stories being told, therefore we have been building up to something for almost five months now.

Countdown to Adventure #2 (of 8) - Really enjoyed last issue. Adam Strange replaced as Rann’s hero, Animal Man and Starfire trying to figure out where there lives will take them next. Forerunner’s origin was interesting, but I’m not sold on this character yet, still having her series as a backup story is a good way to introduce her.

Showcase Presents Metal Men Volume 1 – Probably the only way we will ever see this zany material reprinted. I hope that they do a second volume as I have always wanted to re-read the time when they ran around in human disguises.


JSA Classified #30 – Part 2 of the Mr. Terrific story. The first part of this story was a disappointment as it was just an adventure and was not building any real focus on Mr. Terrific who has become one of my favorite DCU characters. Hopefully this issue will get more into Michael’s background.

JLA Classified #43 – Continuing the Martian Manhunter story of how he met the JLA. The first issue was interesting, but did not really add anything to J’onn’s story. Still looking forward to this issue.

JLA #13 – Really looking forward to this issue after reading the JLA Wedding Special. Dwayne McDuffie and Joe Benitez bring us the Injustice League versus the JLA. This book should really rock now and feels like the beginning of a great era for the JLA.


Spirit #10 – Darwyn Cooke with J. Bone continue their run on the Spirit. I have heard issue 12 is Cooke’s last issue, but 11 issues of his work is still a joy to behold. Hopefully the first 12 will get a hardcover in an oversized format.

Supergirl and the Legion of Super Heroes #34 – Continuing the Quest for Cosmic Boy. Tony Bedard has done a great job of carrying the torch on this book after Waid left it. I know Jim Shooter is coming on the book with issue #37, but Bedard is doing such a good job I was happy with him writing the book.

Superman Confidential #6 – To get this book back being published DC has decided to publish part 6 of the Kryptonite saga whenever it is completed. “Sigh”, DC has done this with Wonder Woman and two different major story lines in Superman books. This issue we go back to an early Superman story featuring Lori Lemaris, Lois Lane and Lex Luthor, all the major LLs except Lana.

Teen Titans #51 – The Titans Tomorrow story line stars in earnest as Sean McKeever takes over as the writer of this book. I have a feeling that Sean is posed to make some definite runs on books at DC. He is a really good writer and being given series that were already decent. The Titans have been in need of a direction for awhile and Sean seems to have some storylines laid out.

Uncle Sam and the Freedom Fighters #1 (of 8 ) – The second mini-serie sfeaturing Uncle Sam and the Freedom Fighters. Same writers with a new artist. I love this group of seldom used heroes and enjoyed the first series a lot and look forward to this second mini-series.


Wonder Woman Annual #1 - Wrapping up the storyline from the first arc of the current Wonder Woman series. I'm getting it, but could really care less about it, the re-launch was poorly executed to say the least.

And that's a wrap on another huge week of books. I look forward to a five week month in October.