Just to mix thing us a bit I did a price review of the comics that I read last week.
52 Week #34 – Cover Price $2.50 – Worth the price.
Batman #661 – Cover Price $3 – Worth $2.50
Batman and the Mad Monk #5 – Cover Price $3.50 – Worth $4.50
Blue Beetle – Cover Price $3 – Worth the price
Boys #6 – Cover Price $3 – Worth the price.
Connor Hawke Dragon’s Blood #2 – Cover Price $3 – Worth $2.50
Creeper #5 – Cover Price $3 – Worth $1.50
Crossing Midnight #2 – Cover Price $3 – Worth $4
Detective Comics #827 – Cover Price $3 – Worth $4
Flash #7 – Cover Price $3 – Worth $1
Guy Gardner Collateral Damage #2 – Cover Price $6 – Someone owes me $1
Hawkgirl #59 – Cover Price $3 – Worth the price
Jack of Fables #6 – Cover Price $3 – Worth the Price
JSA Classified #20 – Cover Price $3 – Worth $2.50
Justice #9 – Cover Price $3.50 – Worth the price
Justice League of America #5 – Cover Price $3 – Worth $1
Loveless #14 – Cover Price $3 – Worth $3.50
Supergirl #13 – Cover Price $3 – Worth the price
Supergirl and the Legion of Super Heroes #25 – Cover Price $3 – Worth $4
Superman Batman #31 – Cover Price $3 – Worth the price – because Zook is back!
Uncle Sam and the Freedom Fighters #6 – Cover Price $3 – Worth the price.
Wetworks #4 – Cover Price $3 – Worth the price
Anita Blake Vampire Hunter #3 – Cover Price $3 – Worth the price
Annihilation #5 – Cover Price $3 – Worth the Price
Astonishing X-Men #19 – Cover Price $3 – Worth $2
Daredevil #92 – Cover Price $3 – Worth $1.50
Heroes for Hire #5 – Cover Price $3 – Worth $2.50
Immortal Iron Fist #2 – Cover Price $3 – Worth the price
Nextwave Agents of Hate – Cover Price $3 – Worth $4
Ultimate Fantastic Four #37 – Cover Price $3 – Worth $2.00
Ultimate Power #3 – Cover Price $3 – Worth $2
Winter Soldier Winter Kills – Cover Price $4 – Worth the price
Wolverine Origins #9 – Cover Price $3 – Worth $2.00
X-Men #194 – Cover Price $3 – Worth $1.50
30 Days of Night Spreading the Disease #1 – Cover Price $4 – Worth the price.
Wolfskin #2 – Cover Price $4 – Worth the price.
Sunday, December 31, 2006
Comic Book Reviews for Week of December 28, 2006
Friday, December 29, 2006
Red Arrow - Please No
Each figure features multiple points of articulation and a base. Figures include Superman (6.75"), Black Lightning (6.625"), Black Canary (6.5"), Vixen (6.5"), Red Arrow (6.625").
Price TBA, in stores on August 8.
Speaking of deaf
I got the wife Scissor Sisters new album 'Ta-Dah' for Christmas. Talk about excellent!!! If you like 70's disco-pop in all its majesty, Elton John's Yellow Brick Road, Bee Gees falsetto, and that great battle at Waterloo...
Waterloo - I was defeated, you won the war
Waterloo - promise to love you for ever more
la la la ... I am suck a good singer. TYPO!! Such a good singer.
ANYWAY. Moving on... the radio single is "I don't feel like dancing".
There is absolutely no redeeming qualities to the album but it is SOOOOO much fun you can't help but tap your toe!
Just in case you aren't a disco person, the other 70's revival recommendation is Towers of London "Blood, Sweat, & Towers" which proudly wears its Sex Pistols, Clash, and similar influences on its sleeve. Few things better than the original punks!!!
HEY HO! LET'S GO!
Thursday, December 28, 2006
The Day Christmas Went Deaf....
I don't know the exact day that I became "old" but I've slowly been getting there. I've fought tooth and nail to be young and on limited occasions, "hip" but I can't fight it anymore. I think I finally have to admit "I am old".
Don't get me wrong, I'm still not as old as Jim, but somehow I managed to become older than most of America because I think the world is way to loud.
The signs that lead me to this conclusion...
(1) The toys are all way to loud...
I have young children and I realized that they are going to be deaf long before me. Since when was sonic amplification a necessity in toys? Jim played with wooden trucks and sticks he whittled into the shape of guns. I grew up with Stretch Armstrong and Luke Skywalker ACTION FIGURES (not dolls) version 1.0... They didn't make any more noise than I could dream up.
My daughter got a book that has buttons to press to make noise. It is so loud that we actually put tape over the microphone! And I can still hear it in the other room.
My son got a Lightning McQueen car that talks chinese (only when shaken correctly)
My other daughter got a horse that makes "real horse noises".
When did our children lose the ability to make their own sounds? When did it become necessary for toys to start a decibel war to attract a child's attention? The saddest toy is the motion activated talky-musical play set thing. My children walk into the room and it plays better hip-hop electronica jams than the radio. What is that teach my kids????
(2) Since when did it become fashionable to have the volume in stores at 11?
Is silence so bad? Today, my wife and I went to the local box store, with all the piped in music we could stand, and at points we were either shouting or leaning in so close my personal space was violated so that we could hear each other.
That's not to mention that I wasn't even a fan of the very-stylish-yet-unknown-to-me rapper on all videos. All I wanted was to purchase a lousy pair of jeans in a modicum of peace and quiet. Correction, a pair of jeans at a reasonable price. Is that to much to ask???
So I think the world is way to loud... there are many other things that have made me old, like the jeans I couldn't stand to buy or that movie "Black Christmas" but I'll save that for another day!
Abortion and the Death Penalty
My point is that many people are anti-abortion and pro the death penalty, while others are pro-abortion and against the death penalty.
The anti-abortion and pro death penalty position certainly can have logic built into it. As an embryo or fetus is an innocent who has not done any wrong. The criminal has committed an act heinous enough to merit our society's death penalty. So I will grant that the pro-life and pro death penalty has some basis for its position.
The pro-abortion and anti-death penalty position seems to have no basis in reality and actually seems to be almost obscene. How can you be for killing unwanted unborn children, but not want to kill an adult who has committed a crime worthy of getting the death penalty. If the death penalty needs to be stricter to only include people who have been proven guilty by their own admission or other hard evidence then fine, but that position must admit that life has to begin at some point before birth. So how can a person logically argue for abortion and against the death penalty. It is okay to kill innocents, but not a guilty person?
My position on abortion has changed over the years and with genetic testing and such I can understand aborting certain births as the quality of life would be abhorrent. It is a difficult issue to really get your head around, but all in all I think people will choose abortion and we should make it legal to protect people from having back alley abortions. It is a fact that people will have abortions and making them illegal is more problematic then making it illegal. When it should be illegal to do so is a tough decision, but a line needs to be drawn.
I believe that the next great ethical dilemma we will face will be the idea of assisted suicide. We are willing to put our pets down when their quality of life is taken from them, but force humans to live no matter what their life is like. As an aging population puts an unwieldy financial burden on society I believe we will re-look this issue. It will be couched in different terms, but will be a decision driven by societal need as much as anything else. A society has limited resources and supporting people with no quality of life may become something we can't afford.
Wednesday, December 27, 2006
The Legion of Super Heroes - Best Group Ever
Also no group has created more characters whose actual names I know. When I read the books I know Garth and Ayla are Lighting Lad and Light Lass or Live Wire and Gossamer or whatever name they are using. I could (sadly) probably name almost ever member by name.
This group now has a 40 plus year history and except for an occasional mini-series or having two legion books on the stands, you essentially only follow the group via their own book. Many other super hero teams a character or most of the characters have their own books. Or the team members have so radically changed, you no longer have anything vested in the characters.
Hell, even though we have had two resets since the five year gap from Levitz run to Giffen's run as writer - I still would love to see the story about the five year gap done as a mini-series.
Still I cannot thing of another group that has so much history that has been this good for this many years. The down periods have been less then the up times.
Long Live the Legion!
Tuesday, December 26, 2006
What I'm Getting Thursday
52 - What a shocker. Still a good book, we are now about 2/3 of the way finished.
Batman - More of the Ostrander/Mandrake story. So far this has been a good little story.
Batman and the Mad Monk - Matt Wagner's story broken into two mini-series, of the early years of Batman. Legends sales are way off, so doing a mini-series highlights this material.
Blue Beetle - Really starting to enjoy this character.
Boys - Okay the last issue made me hand around, this issue will determine if it was worth it.
Connor Hawke - Part 2 of a six issue mini-series, that feels pointless and adding nothing to the character. But I like Chuck Dixon's writing and he makes almost any book a fun read.
Creeper - The Creeper has been a moderate success in re-launching the character so far.
Crossing Midnight - Mike Carey and Jim Fern made me want to come back for more, let's see if issue #2 delivers.
Detective - The last issue was great, this has been an enjoyable book since one year later.
Flash - Is the new writer/artist team here yet?
Guy Gardner - A waste of paper, but I'll get issue #2 of 2.
Hawkgirl - Chaykin's art and the first storyline did not work on this book. It has gotten better, but I want to know where is HAWKMAN!!!!
Jack of Fables - New story arc. Very good book so far.
JSA Classified - This is part 2 of a Dr. Midnight arc. Great character.
Justice - Hard to follow as a comic, should be good when put together in one book.
JLA - Yawn! - Could Metzler slow this down a little, I almost think a story is forming.
Loveless - Should be good. Is Ruth the new Sheriff?
Supergirl - I'm falling off this book now. Too many bad issues and too few good ones.
Supergirl and the LOSH - CAN'T WAIT. Love this book now.
Superman/Batman - In order to write this book you have to submit a convoluted and unintelligible script to get the assignment.
Uncles Sam and the Freedom Fighters - Really an good book, that with stronger art would have been great.
Wetworks - Almost ready to drop this title. All darkness and nothing really grabbing me.
Anita Blake Vampire Hunter - Picked this up for my daughter Gwen and the Brett Booth art drew me into the book. So far not a bad story. I hear that this book is selling to a different market then many comics, which is always good news for the industry.
Annihilation - This has been a surprisingly good mini-series. Of course I love seeing old "B" and "C" list characters in books and Star Lord has to be a "D" lister.
Astonishing X-Men - This series has been a disappointment. Big names, with no real punch.
Daredevil - Should be a good issue as we are supposed to finally meet the person who has been freeling with DD.
Heroes for Hire - Fun book.
Iron Fist - First issue was cool (except for the 44 pages of ad and 10 pages of story - a slight exaggeration), looking forward to issue #2.
Masterworks All Winners Squad - Should be lots of losers and a few Winners squad. Golden Age Marvel madness.
Nextwave - Great book.
Ultimate Fantastic Four - Does anyone understand what is going on in this book?
Ultimate Power - Does anyone care that this book is being published? What if they had a big cross-over and nobody cared?
Winter Solider Special - Could be good.
Wolverine Origins - This book is on month by month basis as to whether I get the next issue or not.
X-Men - Better then Uncanny and Astonishing X-Men.
30 Days of Night - A new mini-series of the vampire series.
Wolfskin - Part 2 of Ellis' barbarian book from Avatar.
That's it for this week. I believe that leaves 5 books on the racks that I didn't get this week.
Sunday, December 24, 2006
The stockings were hung by the chimney with care,In hopes that St Nicholas soon would be there.
The children were nestled all snug in their beds,While visions of sugar-plums danced in their heads.
And mamma in her ‘kerchief, and I in my cap,Had just settled our brains for a long winter’s nap.
When out on the lawn there arose such a clatter,I sprang from the bed to see what was the matter.
Away to the window I flew like a flash,Tore open the shutters and threw up the sash.
The moon on the breast of the new-fallen snow, Gave the lustre of mid-day to objects below.
When, what to my wondering eyes should appear,But a miniature sleigh, and eight tiny reindeer.
With a little old driver, so lively and quick,I knew in a moment it must be St Nick.
More rapid than eagles his coursers they came,And he whistled, and shouted, and called them by name!
"Now Dasher! now, Dancer! now, Prancer and Vixen!On, Comet! On, Cupid! on, on Donner and Blitzen!
To the top of the porch! to the top of the wall!Now dash away! Dash away! Dash away all!"
As dry leaves that before the wild hurricane fly,When they meet with an obstacle, mount to the sky.
So up to the house-top the coursers they flew,With the sleigh full of Toys, and St Nicholas too.
And then, in a twinkling, I heard on the roofThe prancing and pawing of each little hoof.
As I drew in my head, and was turning around,Down the chimney St Nicholas came with a bound.
He was dressed all in fur, from his head to his foot,And his clothes were all tarnished with ashes and soot.
A bundle of Toys he had flung on his back,And he looked like a peddler, just opening his pack.
His eyes-how they twinkled! his dimples how merry!His cheeks were like roses, his nose like a cherry!
His droll little mouth was drawn up like a bow,And the beard of his chin was as white as the snow.
The stump of a pipe he held tight in his teeth,And the smoke it encircled his head like a wreath.
He had a broad face and a little round belly,That shook when he laughed, like a bowlful of jelly!
He was chubby and plump, a right jolly old elf,And I laughed when I saw him, in spite of myself!
A wink of his eye and a twist of his head,Soon gave me to know I had nothing to dread.
He spoke not a word, but went straight to his work,And filled all the stockings, then turned with a jerk.
And laying his finger aside of his nose,And giving a nod, up the chimney he rose!
He sprang to his sleigh, to his team gave a whistle,And away they all flew like the down of a thistle.
But I heard him exclaim, ‘ere he drove out of sight,"Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good-night!"
Saturday, December 23, 2006
Comic Books are the Best
Comics have always been my favorite form of entertainment. When I first started reading comic as a young child comics taught me the morals and principles that I still try to emulate today. As I got older and comics grew up as an entertainment medium I have been pleased to see how wide of a selection of material is in the market place. From Action Philosophers to Archie, from the Punisher to Spider-Man loves Mary Jane, from Fear Agent to Star Wars, from Superman to Sandman, from Wasteland to X-Isle, the breadth of the material today is fantastic.
The writers that are working in comics today are also excellent. This is not a slight on Stan Lee, Gardner Fox, John Broome and the rest - as most of today's writers are living off these other writers creations. It is just that we have so many excellent writers in comics today, Warren Ellis, Grant Morrison, Gail Simone, Mark Waid, Peter David, Jeff Parker, Ed Brubaker, Greg Rucka, Keith Giffen, Bill Willingham, Geoff Johns, Brian Azzrello and many others.
Then the artist we have all also unreal. The talent level is extremely high. Again this is not a slight to the masters of yesterday, people like Jack Kirby, Steve Ditko, Gil Kane, Murphy Anderson, Carmine Infantino, Mike Sekowsky, John Busema, Neal Adams and others. The amount of talented artist we have today is also a huge pool of talented people, Gena Ha, John Cassady, Bryan Hitch, Steve McNiven, Mark Bagley, Don Kramer, Barry Kitson, George Perez, Cliff Chiang, Marcos Martin, Leonard Kirk, Becky Cloonan, Charles Aldard, Jim Lee, Frank Quietly and so many others.
Lets not forget how many people who do a great job on both sides of the coin, Darwyn Cooke, Frank Miller, Mike Oeming, Keith Giffen and others.
It is amazing to me how many really solid and entertaining books there are out there and for the most part the people producing this books really care about what they are producing.
I have my doubts as to the strength of the overall market, but I don't doubt that the comics right now are as good as they have ever been and the companies are producing more quality series then ever before. The over hyped and event books still are a pain at times, but this medium provides the best visuals and at times best written work around.
2006 was a fun year for comics and I'm looking forward to 2007.
Thursday, December 21, 2006
Rocky Balboa - A Review
First off when I heard about this movie, I thought this was really a bad idea. I loved the first Rocky movie, Rocky II was okay, Rocky III had some great lines in it and was fun, Rocky IV sucked and Rocky V I never managed to watch on TV all the way through. So when I heard Rocky VI was being made I said no way I would want to see it. Then I saw the trailer and said I need to see this movie.
It was a really good movie. It was true to the first Rocky movie and it didn't try to be anything more then what it was. It was about a man getting older who had lost his wife, had a slightly strained relationship with his grown son and was still coming to terms with what his life was at 50 plus.
The vast majority of the movie is about Rocky and his life before trying to fight again. It shows him building a friendship with a woman and her son, his relationship with Pauly, working at his restaurant and showing the compassion and the heart of the character Rocky. The training and the fight are all standard Rocky fare, but are not the core of the movie and only encompass a small part of the movie.
The premise of the fight is that Rocky goes 10 rounds in an exhibition match with the current champ. The going 10 rounds is a little ridiculous, but it is the message of the movie and the spirit of the character that stays with you. The outcome of the fight is actual meaningless. The fact that he did it one last time is not.
A really great ending for this character and a well done film, that does not over reach and delivers a really good message and you leave the movie felling upbeat and ready to take on the world. Worth the $9.
Off to See Rocky VI
I find it amusing that movies have decided that the umpteenth sequel is a negative and so remove the numbers off the title. The old style marketing was to have Rocky IV, with a sub-title. Now it is apparently passe to have numbers after a movie.
It is still Rocky VI to me.
Reminds me of calling a garbage man a sanitation engineer, either way he still picks up garbage and isn't that demeaning to engineers?
Wednesday, December 20, 2006
The Iraq War - Silver Age Plank
It didn't work. We screwed up, we can't fix it. The only option is to withdraw in an orderly manner as possible.
Slowly I have come to this conclusion. I was against the war from the jump. I never believed the reasons for the war, I still believe it was about oil. The neo-cons decided to buy into trying to stabilize an area that has never been stable by building a democracy in the middle east. You can't make people want to have a democracy. Years ago when the British left they made up these borders and purposely left warring fractions in the same areas to keep the area destabilized.
The only reason Iraq was stable was due to an iron fist dictator running the place. We took him out and now have a country in the throes of chaos.
No one has a solution, because there is no solution that works within the framework of our political morals. I mean we could bomb the country into submission or take over and enforce laws as Saddam did, but that is not how we operate anymore.
Instead this administration will probably increase troop levels short term and then start a slow withdraw in 2008. Ultimately we may be left with a lot of troops permanently station in Iraq.
It's wrong, it didn't work, we frelled the place up (at least now it is out in public, with Saddam it was all hidden anger and resentment). It's their country, it's time for us to leave.
Tell them we will hang out for one more year to train as many people as we can and then we are gone.
Sure people will say you can't screw something up like that and then leave, but staying there is not fixing it. We should leave and try to help via other channels or let these people work out there own problems. You can't fix you neighbors arguments and we can't fix another people's conflicts.
Tuesday, December 19, 2006
The Death Penalty - Silver Age Party Plank
I have at times contemplated that perhaps the death penalty has outlived it usefulness and that if the penalty is put off 20 or more years it may have become pointless. I believe this position is wrong and the delay is the problem.
I favor the death penalty as some people are evil or have committed such horrendous acts, they have given up their chance to live. Instead of doing away with the death penalty, I believe it should be mandated to be enforced one year from sentencing and that only one appeal is allowed.
Call me barbaric, but some people no longer need to walk the earth. I would even accept the penalty for myself if I decided to do such an act. If someone did something terrible to my wife or daughters, I believe I have it in me to hunt them down and kill them slowly. If our laws say I have to die for that premeditated act, so be it.
The death penalty needs to be part of our justice system and needs to be enforced in a timely manner.
A quick aside - most people in favor of the death penalty are anti-abortion and most people who favor abortion are against the death penalty. It may just be me, but from a logic standpoint it seems like the positions are ill matched.
Monday, December 18, 2006
What I'm Getting Wednesday
52 - A really solid series, my big concern is this has done so well sales wise that DC and Marvel are going to try some similar stunt and it won't work. This filled a gap, the next event will be too forced.
Aquaman - Kurt Busiek has made this a must read book, shame he is leaving after issue #49.
Birds of Prey - The second issue now that the BOP has become a Mission Impossible book where Babs chooses a team based on the mission. Over 100 issues and this is still a rock solid entertaining book.
Catwoman - Good series, curious to see where we go with Holly and Selina both being Catwoman.
Checkmate - This book feels late, but I have really enjoyed Rucka's take on the new Checkmate, the political intrigue maybe the best part.
Deadman - A book doomed to failure as they named it Deadman and it is not Boston Brand and the much maligned Bruce Jones as writer with the unappreciated John Watkiss as artist, yet I like the series. I will be shocked if it makes it past 12 issues.
Fables - Almost a mortal lock to be a good read.
Hellblazer - Finishing up with the Empathy Engine storyline (or darn close to the end). Denise Mina (?) has done a good job in writing the character.
Ion - A very hot and more often cold book. This 12 part series has floundered too often.
Omega Men - A fun romp, with the appropriate gritty artwork of Flint Henry.
Secret Six - The end of a great mini-series. Gail Simone hit a home run with this book.
Shadowpact - Bill Willingham is one of my favorite writers with his work. Shadowpact is a great book, that has a good amount of solid humor in it.
Teen Titans - I like this book, but always feel a little disappointed in it and I don't know why exactly.
Testament - A very cool Vertigo book, that is always thought provoking.
Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes - Because I need to read an Avengers book that is about the Avengers.
Civil War Front Line - Very tired of this book.
Criminal - Good work by Brubaker and Phillips.
Iron Man - Not even sure why, but he is a central character in the MU.
New Avengers: Illuminati - No valid reason, but I want to see how much further they can take this concept.
She-Hulk - This is a great little series and Slott makes this book work.
Thunderbolts - Waiting for Ellis to start.
Ultimate Spider-Man - The clone sage is still a bad idea, even in the Ultimate universe.
X-Men First Class - Great fun and well written by Jeff Parker.
Zombie - Want to see if Simon Garth becomes a Zombie again.
Lone Ranger - Needs to come out faster.
Wasteland - Great series by Oni, can't wait.
Conan - Still a rollicking good time.
Sunday, December 17, 2006
Steps to take
1) Get into playoffs (done)
2) Be one of the top two seeds
3) Beat Chargers
4) Beat the Bears in the Super Bowl
2006 Top Five
Christmas parties, poker night, Christmas shopping, my birthday and just plain old burn out has prevented me from posting for a few days. Today in honor of the radio show we are recording today, where we have to pick the top five, and having read Gwen and Lee's reasoning on why they picked what they picked; I thought I would also join in with my top five and the reasons why they made it.
5) 52 - While this is not the best book every weak and it has its ups and downs, it was a bold move that DC made that has worked. No one thought this book would ship every week and by naming it 52, one missed week would cause an endless period and calling the book 53, 54 or whatever. Now it didn't make it just because it has shipped on time, it made it because it is the first book I read every week. Some of the moments in this book have been great. Also they have made Black Adam, Isis, The Question, Montoya and Ralph Dibny as some of the most fascinating characters in the DCU.
4) Invincible - What a year this book has had. I love Robert Kirkman writing Invincible and Walking Dead and have been disappointed in his Marvel work. This year Invincible had the great issue where he ended up in the other dimension after killing the villain up to save his Mom. Kirkman has sub-plots that takes years to come to fruition and the pay off is always good. Really this is akin to the beginning of Amazing Spider-Man from the sixties. A great series and an enjoyable read. Ryan Ottley is not a great artist in my mind, but Invincible is his book at this moment in time.
3) X-Factor - Wow an X-Book again as one of my favorites of the year. It's been a long time since that could be said. Peter David has taken this book to a place that no other super group has ever been. The characterization and the lives of these people is what makes us come back for more, issue after issue, but the mysteries of Singularity and the action is what makes this stay a solid super hero book. Ryan Sook is missed, but the other artists have done a great job in maintaining the quality of this book. Also major kudos for taking the lame ass Layla character and making her a favorite of mine.
2) Fell - This has been Warren Ellis' year. I don't think he has written a bad book this year and the ideas have been coming from every where. Desolation Jones, Newuniversal, Planetary, Nextwave and more, but Fell is his best. Ben Templesmith has also had a great year and between Fell and Wormwood Gentleman Corpse I have had the pleasure of seeing his great art and his fun writing. Fell didn't have a lot of issues, but the format is $1 less then other comics and the 16 pages contain more story then most 22 page comics contain in two issues. A truly great work.
1) All Star Superman - Grant Morrison and Frank Quietly saved the All Star line before it was totally dismissed. Of course it should be named the all late line, but still I believe we got four or five issues of All Star Superman this year and they have been great. Morrison has raided the silver age and made it fun and fascinating all at the same time. So many great bits through out this series. Frank Quietly has captured a different portrayal of these characters, while retaining their essences. The Superman/Lois Lane kiss on the moon is one that is destined to be a poster. This book is a love letter to the Silver Age with modern story telling sensibilities and art to die for, every issue is a gem. I'm buying the Absolute Edition as soon as they publish it.
That's it for my top five and why they are what they are. This year had tons of other great books and some excellent mini-series and many, many honorable mentions, but I was forced to narrow it to five and I think my choices are justified.
Thursday, December 14, 2006
The Spirit #1
Too busy to give this book the review it deserves, but go out and buy this book. Darwyn Cooke does a great job and has fun making comments on the state of modern news coverage.
Wednesday, December 13, 2006
Variant Covers, Mega Cross-Overs and Weekly Comics
When I owned a comic shop in the early ninties it was a time of mega cross-overs and variant covers. The most famous variant cover was the X-Men #1 with five seperate covers. The two most infamous mega company cross-overs were Secret Wars II and War of the Gods. Both marketing ideas were pushed to the max until the market place just said no to them.
Personally I think we have hit that wall again. The variant covers do not seem to have the buzz they did just a year ago and the mega cross-overs seem to have over stayed their welcome. I think Civil War and the constant delays has been the burn out point for me.
Now if the result of Civil War is some exciting stories in the regular Marvel books, then I'm all for it. DC did a terrific job since Infinite Crisis with many of their regular series. So why Infinite Crisis was not all that, it served a good purpose.
I state all of this as a preamble because I believe both DC and Marvel have another mega event in their plans soon and I hear both companies will be doing a weekly book. The sales numbers show you why they want to try and replicate what they have done. 52 and Civil War books are the top selling books (at least to the direct market - who know what the sell through is at this point). I just thing that the market cycle for those ideas needs a breather. Variant covers should disappear (unless a 2nd print is called for), mega cross-overs should take a year or two off and the weekly book idea may have been a one time winner.
Should be interesting to see what next year brings (although we already have March solicitations and it appears everyone is sitting tight so far).
Tuesday, December 12, 2006
Golden Age Green Lantern Creator Dies
Other Wars and The Nanny State
This article is on the war on drugs and it is a solid overview on how the war on drugs is a lost crusade. In my opinion it is now just a drain on our economical resources. http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/opinion/2003468705_peirce11.html
This article is about the Nanny State and how the country is slowly starting to tell everyone how to live their lives.
When I read these articles it reinforces certain core beliefs that I have about the US. One is that we are an arrogant group as a whole. The idea that we were going to have a war on drugs and actually win was preposterous from the onset. Now it is an entrenched part of our economy and we want to continue to fund it so many people will continue to have jobs. The whole Homeland Security and War on Terror is the same crap. It is where we give our rights away willing to our government that our polls show we have no faith in. The President has a huge disapproval rating and Congress has a worse rating, yet we want the government to control our lives. No drugs, no smoking, no trans fats, wear a seat belt, red light cameras, cameras in our city streets, amber alerts, restricting where people live - it has become way too much.
The second is that we have a belief that pills and or technology can cure anything. How else can you explain the fact that anti-depressants and other psychotropic drugs are being given to our children in record numbers. On the technology front, don't read to your kids have them play V-Smile or some other crap that is marketed as a learning tool to relieve a parent of the guilt of not spending the time with the children they had.
I know that this will lead to us deciding the only way to fully protect all of our children will be to implant a microchip in them that will have various type of information. It may even be sophisticated enough to have a GPS signal activated when needed to find them. It will be considered a great way to make sure each and every child is safe and can be found if needed. It will also be a way that the government will be able to track every individual born in this country after a few generations.
We give up control so easily in this country and have become such victims that it is insane. The time to pay the price for our ignorance and ability to just ignore a host of social and fiscal problems is coming to an end within the next 10 to 20 years and it will not be a pretty site to see. Will the US become Balkanized? Will we become bankrupt? We will become a nation or working poor?
What is the vision for the future of our nation?
Monday, December 11, 2006
What I'm Getting This Wednesday
Sunday, December 10, 2006
A great game. After having a rough Thursday night game the Ravens come back into form and really play an amazing game against the Chiefs. The fourth quarter drive was another fantastic fourth quarter drive by this team. Taking over nine minutes off the clock and going almost the length of the field and scoring a touchdown. This drive ended the game for the Chiefs, but the defense never let them in the game.
The Ravens and Chargers look like the best two teams in the league right now.
Quick Hits on What I Have Read So Far This Week
52 Week #31 - Yes
Atom # 6 - Yes
Batman Confidential #1 - Yes
Detective Comics #826 - Yes
Jonah Hex #14 - Yes
Justice Society of America #1 - Yes
Nightwing #127 - Yes
Other Side #2 - Okay
Supergirl #12 - No
Superman Confidential #2 - Yes
Doctor Strange The Oath #3 - Yes
Hulk #101 - No
New Universal #1 - Yes
Spider-Man Reign #1 - Yes
Uncanny X-Men #481 - No
White Tiger #2- Okay
Invincible #37- Yes
Meltdown #1- Yes
So far a really good week. As you can see in the short form I have three ratings. Yes, No and Okay. My next rating system is only five at A,B,C, D and F, but that would require more time and more of an explanation and I'm doing a quick post today as I have "real world job" stuff that I need to do and the Ravens game is later.
Saturday, December 09, 2006
Me Am Tired of Living in Bizzaro World
I'm totally stealing this post from Airelle -http://theantenna.blogspot.com/, she linked to the following article http://www.kxxv.com/Global/story.asp?S=5785699 which basically describes how a four year old student was being charged with sexual harassment because of the way he placed his head when he hugged a school aide. The school, per the report, has downgraded the offensive to inappropriate physical contact after protest by his father.
WHAT THE F*&$?
This world has gone totally upside down. Someone invades your home or destroys your property and then you defend it and you can be sued by the criminal. I heard of one such case down along the Mexican border and I believe the people who sued and won were illegal immigrants destroying a rancher's property.
When the hell did black become white and up become down. A great book called "The Death of Common Sense" by Philip K. Howard outlines how the legal system has slowly destroyed this country. This is just an example of how much further wrong it has gone.
If your child is acting out outside in a store and you smack his ass, then someone will have the authorities over your house. People with degrees to tell you how to raise a child properly, although they never had a child.
We need degrees for everything today, pills to medicate a problem away and our pre-schoolers are developing lifetime records for being deviants in some states. Stand up for what is right and be shouted down by everyone. Dare say the wrong thing and be declared a racist.
I'm against illegal immigration and have been called a nativist for it, an underhanded way of calling me a racist. What utter crap, it is okay to have differing opinions, but if I disagree with you I don't call you names, but that is the way have the media argues against opinions they don't want to hear.
I heard someone on the radio talking about a common sense thing that a child is better off coming from a two parent home statistically speaking. A single mother called in and said that is was wrong to say that because her child turned out just fine. The radio show host said that he agrees that many children can succeed in a one person household, but that your chances improve if you have a two person household. She said it was wrong to say that as you maybe discouraging some people. Speak the truth and they tell you not to say it.
What will it take to cause enough of an uproar to actually invoke political change and a return to common sense. I fear it won't happen in my lifetime.
End of Rant - Me now no go back to not ranting.
Friday, December 08, 2006
Things that Made my Day
First buying gifts for family and friends.
Next, I saw Casino Royale, the new James Bond movie at a matinee and after they lost the perfect James Bond I thought the franchise would flounder. I was happily proven wrong. Great movie. It was an origin of James Bond and Daniel Craig did a good job with the script, but it was the story that really made the movie. This was Bond without a gillizion special effects. The last Bond movie was great in the first half, then the second half was all quips and special effects. This would have been a perfect movie if they had done this as the first Pierce Bronsan James Bond movie. Still I really enjoyed it.
Also, we had switched to using our cable for our phone service via the Internet. We only had one phone for all four floors (basement, first floor, second floor and finished attic). This was because the relatively simple wiring to attach all phones was a pain to actually do in my house, so for a long time we have had only one house phone. Today I picked up a multiple handset cordless phone and we now have two phones and the capability to add extra lines.
My birthday is next week and my daughter Gwen sent me a birthday gift that I received today. Now trying to find something comic related that I don't own or haven't ordered that I will like is close to impossible and yet she did it. This gift made me very happy and I love it. It is the Batman Handbook - The Ultimate Training Manual. It is a step by step guide to help you become Batman. It covers fighting skills, detective skills and much more. In addition it teaches you how to build a Batcave, train a sidekick, maintain you alter ego and many more useful skills as I start training for my new career as Batman. I'll try to occasionally update via my blog how my new career is going.
Then I picked up a new CD as the song by the Fray "How to Save a Life" won't get out of my head. A few tracks on this CD are really good. But How to Save a Life has a quality to the way is sounds that just invokes feelings in me that are hard to put into words. But great music that touches me makes me happy even if the song itself has a sad quality to it.
The Rocky Balboa trailer. I can't believe I want to see this movie, but the trailer makes it seem like it might be a good movie. It is playing right into an aging boomer's feelings that we can still do what we did when we were younger. It may not be as pretty as it was when we were younger, but we still have the guts, determination and passion to maybe beat or at least hold our own against the next generation.
On a totally different note, I will be 51 next week and that means I'm in my 52nd year while the comic series 52 is ongoing. Coincidence or a cosmic alignment of DCU with my life. I think it is a cosmic alignment. 52! 52! 52!
Thursday, December 07, 2006
Justice Society of America #1 - A Review
Wednesday, December 06, 2006
Publishing Delays - Does it Matter
All Star Batman has to be the biggest joke of the delayed books. We saw one issue of this title in 2006. First off the whole story by Frank Miller is like a bizzaro version of Batman. When the book first was coming out I thought that maybe Frank was showing us that Batman without a Robin to temper him was becoming almost psychotic. With the lengthy delays who even cares about this book. With all the flaws this comic has it could have been a sales winner if the 6-12 issues they were doing with this story come out in a timely fashion. Now I could care less about the series and will be very leery of the next team on All Star Batman. This was a horrible launch of a separate line of books.
All Star Superman has been longer then every two months, but this has been a high quality story and beautiful artwork. This book is worth the wait and since it has actually come out at least quarterly it has been well worth it. This should have been the book to launch the line and can survive long gaps between issues.
Ultimates Volume 1 was so ridiculous that by the end of the series I had almost forgotten about the book. I picked up the deluxe format that collected all 12 issues and have ignored Volume 2 totally. In listening to other show panelists they seem to be enjoying this Volume, but it has lost a lot of steam in hearing them talk about it. I would have signed up for the monthly if I thought it would actually be published on a reasonable schedule. Now they added a 13th issue for Volume 2 to drag it out even longer. No point in following this book anymore. I will got the deluxe format book so I can read the story in one or two sittings.
Planetary has taken years and years to publish 27 issues, but this book is a total exception to any rules on delayed comics. I will buy the single issues and the Absolute when Volume 2 is solicited. This is Ellis' best comic work and Cassady's best art and I don't mind waiting months for their schedules to open up enough to let them do an issue. Planetary is just that good.
Watchmen was late, Camelot 3000 was late and all of the above stuff has been late. I think the lateness on these books hurts their sales, but the bottom line is the actual quality of the story will tell the tale about if these books will succeed in the long run. Where the delays I think have a bigger impact are the "in continuity stories" and especially the event stories.
Civil War is the proverbial 500 pound gorilla when it comes to this type of delay. The delays on this book have in my mind been inexcusable. This is not a separate story unto itself, it is an event book that builds with its immediacy. All of the delays have made this story fell like a strung out boring story. The bang will have to be huge for me to care about the ending at this point. If I was on a limited budget I would have dropped this book by now and moved onto something else.
Using TV as an analogy, 24 is the only TV show that I will watch anymore when it is broadcast. That is because once they start it every Monday night at 9PM I can turn on my local Fox channel and see a new episode until it is over - guaranteed, no delays, no gaps waiting for the right sweeps week, it's on Monday night. Now for Lost I get the DVDs.
Comics are getting to be the same way, get the trade or the hard cover. Like a DVD, no ads, no waiting for the story to be completed or indeterminable delays between issues or episodes.
The danger is that if I went all trade that I may not try many newer series, also I may drop off something because my interest waned over six months. It is a whole new marketing game.
Publishing delays have to be balanced out between what the project being delayed is, who are the creators and what else is being effected by the delay.
My final proof that hitting your publishing schedule on time is important for sales is 52. A series that does not star any of the major DCU characters is outselling every other DC comic and the vast majority of the Marvel titles.
Tuesday, December 05, 2006
I'm three episodes away from completing watching Lost season 2. I love this show as a DVD. It reminds me of a lot of many current comic series in that it is long form entertainment sliced up as episodic entertainment.
A lot of comics are really better read as a trade paperback. The Squadron Supreme is a series that almost every issue almost nothing happens. If read as a six or 12 issue block then the long form story takes shape and in the context of 12 issues something happens. Lost purports to be a weekly TV series, but in some episodes absolutely nothing happens. When I watch a season of episodes then the long form story takes shape and something actually happens. I cannot imagine watching this thing weekly with the huge gaps between original episodes.
Still as a season on DVD this is a fun show to watch and has drawn me in so much that once I started watching it I managed to watch all the episodes in a little over a week. If last week-end wasn't so busy I would have completed it before tonight. It cuts into my comic reading time, but that's okay.
As with my comics ownership is over rated, so Lost will be taking a trip to Florida. One day I will have to get the first season back and watch it again as it is a very good TV series when watched as a season on DVD.
Monday, December 04, 2006
What I'm Getting Wednesday
Back to my regular Monday blog.
52 - This series has really been fun, but the prospect of DC and Marvel both doing some weekly bullshit after this is over scares me.
Atom - Gail Simone is a great super hero writer and this book is just another case in point.
Batman:Confidential #1 - No expectations and appears to almost be a make over for Legends (which I hear has been cancelled), but with Andy Diggle and Whilce Portacio as the creative team I have hopes for this book.
Desolation Jones - The Warren Ellis year continues, Next Wave, Fell and this book are all excellent Warren Ellis written projects.
Detective Comics - I believe Paul Dini is back as writer, which is good as the fill in was barely adequate. I wonder how long Dini will treat us to the endless reintroduction of the rogues gallery. I want more continuity and more of a direction for Batman. The book has been better then it was before the one year later jump, but it still needs to be more.
Exterminators - A severely under looked Vertigo series. Possibly the second best ongoing from Vertigo.
Jonah Hex - A strong candidate for a series of the year nod.
JSA - The re-launch of the JSA. As I liked the book before the re-launch was a shocker, but with Johns staying at the helm this should be a good series.
Manhunter - She's back for a six issue arc and then her fate will be up in the air again. I hope this series makes it as it has been a solid series all the way through its run.
Mystery In Space - Love this book by Jim Starlin and Shane Davis for the lead feature of Captain Comet and Starlin and Milgrom for the Weird. Very enjoyable mini-series.
Nightwing - A book to look forward to again. Enjoying Marv Wolfman getting back into the groove. The second issue was better then his first and I hope issue 3 is another step up.
Other Side - Interesting mini-series from Vertigo on the Viet Nam war.
Outsiders - This book has been my favorite modern day team book since the one year later jump. Winick has really upped his game of this and Green Arrow.
Showcase Shazam - 500 plus black and white old time Captain Marvel material.
Supergirl - Last issue put me off this book again, we shall see where we go this issue. I have been very hot and cold on this book.
Superman Confidential - CAN'T WAIT. Loved issue #1. Darwyn Cooke and Tim Sale has to be good.
Tranquility - More Gail Simone! First issue, I believe it is an old age home for super-heroes as the setting. Should be fun and give Gail a lot of room to do the humor material she handles so well.
Agents of Atlas - Jeff Parker and Leonard Kirk has made me love the old 50's era Timely heroes. Nice mini-series.
Avengers:Earth's Mightiest Heroes - A fun update/revamp of the Avengers from the early Vision era.
Dr. Strange - A decent little mini-series. Loved to see Dr. Strange back as an unlimited series with the right team.
Essential Defenders - 500 plus black and white pages of the Defenders!
Hulk - I'm getting tired of Planet Hulk, but at least the end is near.
Ant-Man - I have actually dropped this book, but will probably still pick up issue #3.
NewUniversal - Warren Ellis tackles the old "new universe" from Marvel that dies. Has potential.
Ultimate Vision - Because Mike Carey is writing it.
Uncanny X-Men - Brubaker's lamest work right now. So much of what he does is good and this is just okay.
White Tiger #2 - First issue was ho-hum, let's see how issue #2 is.
Cross Bronx - Last issue of this little mini-series by Oeming. I have enjoyed it, dark little crime/supernatural tale.
Invincible - Always a great read. Robert Kirkman at his absolute best.
Hero Squared - Giffen/DeMatteis with Joe Abraham as artist. Fun series, really the best sitcom around right now.
Another fine week of entertainment.
Saturday, December 02, 2006
Loveless #13 - A Review
Premise - Wes Cutter was shot and possibly killed at the end of last issue and we jumped to a one and done story focusing on Silas the Colonel in charge of some local Federal troops who just had his leg cut off due to an injury. As he is recovering he flashes back to a lost love.
What I Liked:
1) The story. This was a real heart wrenching story. Between the Colonel having to be drunk and he can hear the saw going through his leg bone to the heart breaking flashes backs to a long ago girl that loved him. Yet, he left her for the glory of being a solider. The story is told in part via the Colonel's letter to the woman he regrets now living behind. Two great lines stand out to me. The first is "that there will always be another tomorrow, but never another today". The second line is "regret is from when the ordinary is touched by the extraordinary and doesn't feel it until much later." Great story, really well done.
2) The art is very good also and fits the mood of the story. Daniel Zezelj is a more of an acquired taste and is definitely not your standard comic book artist, but it is very moody and conveys this story perfectly. The colorist maintains a muted pallet that suits this book.
What I Didn't Like:
1) Really nothing in this issue. As a series it is sometimes a little muddled in its story telling and I have a hard time discerning exactly what Wes Cutter and Ruth Cutter are trying to accomplish.
Ultimate Power #2 - A Review
Premise - The Squadron Supreme has jumped dimensions to the Ultimate Universe as they claim Reed Richards has destroyed their world with a device he sent into other dimensions. Reed was attempting to cure Ben Grimm. In this issue an all out fight between the FF and the Squadron is in full force as the Squadron can't speak or use their powers correctly because of the dimensional jump. The Ultimates and the X-Men show up for the fight.
What I Liked:
1) The book was published on time.
2) The women in this book are drop dead gorgeous and create fantasy just by looking at their pictures.
3) High production values and great coloring.
What I Didn't Like:
1) The art. While Land draws beautiful people, his layouts and fights scenes are almost non-sensical. Also everyone has their mouth open in this book. To the point that I started to want to cut how many people had their mouths open. One scene has a double page spread of the Ultimates dropping from a plane into the fight on top of the Baxter Building. The Scarlet Witch has her mouth so wide open that I was looking for her tonsils. Plus I still keep looking for the who has Greg Land used for his models.
2) The story is okay at this point. The first issue was a waste, but this issue we learn what is the set-up for the series. The first issue was a total waste and we could have started with issue #2. So the story is not a like or a dislike at this point.
Too many ads spoil the comic
It was pointed out that I haven't ranted about the ads that have begun to overwhelm the comics again and it is high time that I added my two cents.
As a child of TV I have lived with advertising being shoved down my throat for my entire life. The intrusive nature of ads at movies was my first shock. I mean I'm paying money to see a movie and I have to watch a frelling advertisement. What type of crap was that.
Due to the overwhelming amount of ads that I have seen in my lifetime I can pretty much ignore ads now days. Hell I watch TV shows that I like on DVD so as to miss the 18 minutes of ads that an hour show has, plus I can watch a season in a week or two. When I watch football I hardly even register the ads as they go by and really can barely name what is being advertised. These ads serve as "go to get beer" or "relieve beer from the system" time while enjoying a game or to read a comic during a game.
So nine times out of ten I can ignore ads in almost any medium and do so very well. Yet the ads in comics have become noticeable again and that is not a good thing. A while ago Marvel had a two page ad right after the opening page. and then a page of art and an ad as the pattern for the book. The fans hue and cry seemed to be heard and the placement got better until recently.
First up DC has these annoying 3-D glasses inserted in some books so you can look at an ad in 3-D. Then they have a Titans Go ad insert that has some postcard bullshit inserted in the middle that makes you think you have picked up an Annual size comic instead of a monthly. I feel sorry for the absolute completist collectors who must leave these things in there books, because all my 3-D glasses are in the trash can. For the most part once I throw this stuff away and skip over the huge middle insert the flow of the book is only marginally interrupted.
Marvel has gotten absolutely horrible again with some books. The most recent book is Iron Fist. Wow, a number one with a good writing team and solid art and a character I love. I couldn't wait. When I picked up the book to read I thought it might be an extra long issue due to the heft of the book. WRONG!!!!!!!!! It was extra long due to more ad pages then actual pages of comic book. Also (and this is most important), it killed the flow of the story. My first thought was screw this and I'll get the trade. If I didn't comment on the radio show and send my books out to friends I would be sorely tempted to abandon the weekly jaunt to the comics store and just buy trades. I mean aren't they now insulting me with the monthly book. More ads then comic, breaks up the flow of the story, I have to store them in a long box and it cost $18 for six issues. What a moron I am, why not wait six months and get the trade for $15 with no ads and put it on a bookshelf.
Of course this changes the buying habits of a comic reader and could result in less actual dollars being spent as all books aren't traded and many books may not be worth a try at $15 to $20. I get Punisher Max and Walking Dead in trade and may go that route with some other titles. This crap is absolutely ridiculous. If I'm noticing the ads they are intrusive and if they are making think twice about buying the book, that is counter productive. Finally I still ignore what the ads are and if I did notice them I would avoid the product for taking away some of the joy I get from comics.