Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Post What I Read – Feb 29

This week was another strange one for me when I realized that Romeo and Juliet were living in my nose. I know y’all out there are scoffing but it’s true! What you have to understand is that my nostrils truly are independent of each other. The right nostril is always blocked. It’s my drippings collector. If I have a cold then the right nostril is clogged. If I cry at a sad scene in the movie, the right nostril is clogged. Suffice to say the right nostril never works.

On the other hand, the left nostril never clogs so I can always breath and smell through it. But, the left nostril also collects all kind of dirt. When I swept down the corn silo, everything coming out of the left nostril was yellow from pollen. When I swept down coal pulverizers, everything coming out of the left nostril was black. So you can see how I have a Capulet and Montague thing going.

Well, the other day I notice that the hair in my nose was getting a little out of control and starting to extend outward. It’s at the point that I noticed a hair on the left had grown out and started reaching around the septum. At the same time, a hair on the right had done the same thing! It’s like the two hairs were reaching for each other. Appalled I did the only thing I could and stuffed everyone back in their respective nostrils. Later that night as I was getting ready for bed, there they were again… the little hairs were reaching out to be with each other. So, I came to the conclusion that left nostril hair was having an illicit affair with right nostril hair and only bad things would come from it. So, before the angry villagers lit my nose on fire in angry protest I clipped everyone.

In between my nostril love fest, I managed to read My Friend Dahmer, Billy Fog Vol 1, Ampney Crucis: Vile Bodies and Hector Umbra. You can see what I liked below the break.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Looking Back: Superman Birthright

I was unpacking some boxes last weekend and in the process I dug out a copy of Superman: Birthright, Mark Waid and Leinel Yu’s origin of Superman. While it can’t be denied that the book is part of Dan Didio’s endless attempts to both retell and tweak DC’s history, it is still a very, very good comic book. In fact, comparing it stuff like Geoff Johns’ Secret Origin and Earth One only demonstrates both how good this book is and what a great handle Mark Waid has on the character of Superman.

Monday, February 27, 2012

The Blank Page Before Me

Where was I last week, some may have asked, well Lee was kind enough, along with Thomm to come to my rescue as February 17, my Mom died. Obviously I had other things to deal with and the weekly column become something that I did not care about at that moment. My Mom was ninety and in declining health, so it was not a shock, but I have never lost anyone so close to me and it was still difficult. My Dad, who is 92 and was married for over 66 years, has the tough job at this point. I always debate how open to be on the blog. Still regular readers know I have lost my dog, had my first grandson, moved to Florida, now work from home and now lost my Mom. So I guess I’m pretty open. The reason why I talk about all of this is a prologue to the column title and what this post is about.

Due to my life being what it has been, I have read very little and have way too many comics to read to try and catch up. I started to think about what I was going to post and I realized I was drawing an incredible blank. I have not read a single book from this week, have hardly read any recent comics at all, nothing that I have read was screaming at me to post about it and all in all I had no clue what to write about. The proverbial blank page was starting at me.
That I realized I have become more of a casual comic book fan. Instead of being plugged into every last bit of news and following Bleeding Cool, CBR, Newsarama and all the rest I was now on the peripheral side of things and thought that perspective might be something of interest to write about.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

The Alchemist

I've dreaded this one for a while now. If Aaron and Ahmed had some New Age elements to it, this is ought but that. Worse yet, while I couldn't find fault with the art in Aaron and Ahmed, the art in The Alchemist has its own significant failings that detract from the book.

The Alchemist was originally a novel written by Paulo Coelho. This review is of the graphic novel adaptation. Derek Ruiz wrote the adaptation and Daniel Sampere did the art. On the face of things, I wouldn't blame Ruiz for what we have here but reading his introduction, he's bought hook, line and sinker into the theme of Personal Legend.

Personal Legend is Coelho's philosophy that everyone and everything has something it wants to accomplish in life. This is your Personal Legend. The young know it but tend to forget it as they get older, unless they've actually pursued their Personal Legend. You and I may call this following your dreams, some of which are more possible than others. I can have a Personal Legend that I'll be President of the US, but if I wasn't born in the US, that's going to be a problem. Hell, if I'm black and I was born in the US, it's still a problem for a lot of fantacists. On the other hand, wanting to work in comic books since you were eight, like Ruiz, isn't so unrealistic.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Batman: The Brave and the Bold # 16 – A Review

Writer: Sholly Fisch
Artist: Rick Burchett
Inker: Dan Davis
Colorist: Guy Major
Letterer: Dezi Sienty
Cover: Rick Burchett, Dan Davis and Heroic Age
Publisher: DC Comics
Price: $2.99

This is the way a great series ends.
This is the way a great series ends.
This is the way a great series ends.
Not with a whimper but a Bat-Mite!

Friday, February 24, 2012

Indies Previews For April Part 3 of 3

Hermes Press
Gray Morrow's Orion SC by (w/a/c) Gray Morrow
Hermes Press is reprinting the entirety of legendary artist Gray Morrow's Orion from the pages of Heavy Metal magazine. Orion is Morrow's sword and sorcery masterpiece about an Errol Flynn-like swashbuckling hero who battles evil on a strange and mystical world. Most of Orion will be shot directly from Morrow's original hand-colored artwork, and reproduced in full-color along with Morrow's Edge of Chaos series, originally published by Pacific Comics. Proceeds from Orion are going to Morrow's wife Pocho Morrow. Accompanying Orion will be a biographical essay by Irving as well as more samples of Morrow's inimitable artwork and storytelling. 144 pgs, $39.99 Read about Morrow here
I Spy: Complete Series Vol. 01 HC by (w) Paul S. Newman (a) Alden McWilliams
One of the greatest spy shows from the 1960s, I Spy, returns with Hermes Press' new deluxe reprint of all six Gold Key comics' issues of the feature. Included in this complete reprint are informative essays about the creative team behind the comic book and loads of never-before seen publicity photographs featuring stars Robert Culp and Bill Cosby. Artwork by Al McWilliams (issues #1-5) and Mike Roy (issue #6); scripts by Western Publishing mainstay Paul S. Newman. 256 pgs, $49.99 Read about McWilliams here.
Lee: Sigh, if only I was rich. Morrow is one of the realistic greats of old. He worked on daily strips such as 'Secret Agent X-9', Rip Kirby and Tarzan. As such he wasn’t well suited for superheroes which is why many aren’t familiar with him. But his art is eye popping amazing. The same is true of McWilliams. He worked on Star Trek comics and many others and is just amazing. Sadly, he too is unknown to most fans. I have no clue if the I Spy stories will be any good (I doubt it) but the art will be great. Now only if I were rich.
Thomm: I think Morrow’s the better bet, based on the history of comic adaptations of movies and TV. I’ve seen some Morrow stuff, too. Even if the story is weak, the art is great.
Lee: A late find, a complete I Spy story can be read here. It was better than I thought.
Thomm: It’s not bad, but I don’t get the personalities of Cosby and Culp coming through the way the show did. Just looking at the pictures from the show that are with the sample I got more of the personality the two actors brought to the characters.

Eight more books below the break, it's a huge month I tell ya!

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Indies Previews For April Part 2 of 3

Chronicle Books
Darth Vader and Son HC by (w/a/c) Jeffrey Brown
What if Darth Vader took an active role in raising his son? What if Luke, I am your father was just a stern admonishment from an annoyed dad? In this hilarious and sweet comic reimagining, Darth Vader is a dad like any other - except with all the baggage of being the Dark Lord of the Sith. Celebrated artist Jeffrey Brown's delightful illustrations give classic Star Wars moments a fresh twist, presenting the trials and joys of parenting through the lens of a galaxy far, far away. 64 pgs, $14.95 Visit Brown here.
Lee: Jeffrey Brown is an excellent slice of life cartoonist. His autobiographical material has been outstanding. Now he is taking on some very silly stuff… and I am interested. I am up for a good roasting of Star Wars.
Thomm: Probably funny, but not exactly new ground in roasting Star Wars. Is his sister going to be in the book, too? Will it explain the sticky buns hair style? Now that’s stuff I want to know.

9 more books below... and 1 game too.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Indies Previews For April Part 1 of 3

Lee: Another month and and huge list. I really need to filter some more. Then again no I don’t because it’s all really good. Except for the couple of books that were so bad I had to pick those too.
Thomm: I vote for more of the really bad ones. Those are fun in their own special way. But maybe Gwen should have a say, seeing as this is her regular gig.

Allen & Unwin
Robert Wells Trilogy Vol. 01: Sacrifice GN by (w/a/c) Bruce Mutard
Set in Melbourne in the shadow of World War II, this graphic novel, the first in the Robert Wells trilogy, deals with war, ideals, family, and love. As the world spins out of control into World War II, Robert and his family wrestle with the challenges it presents. Robert offers his apartment to German-Jewish refugees, Artie intends to join up as soon as the fighting breaks out, and Robert's communist sweetheart Elsa answers the call of capitalism. When Robert befriends Mata, he embarks on a soul-searching journey with an uncertain ending. $24.95 See a preview here.
Lee: In a sign of restraint, I only picked this book from Mutard but you really should follow the link and look at both books that are offered. As for the books, Mutard seems to have a solid handle on people and interpersonal relationships so the books look to be very interesting. The art seems good enough so this is worth checking out.
Thomm: This has a lot of the things I like in a good story, including a historical setting and well- rounded characters. Highly appealing.

It's a HUGE month starting with 7 more books below the break.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

What I read this week - Feb 21

This week was I was thinking about luck.  Alot of people say they are lucky and just as many say that they aren't.  But what really defines luck?  As it happens I think I have an excellent example of luck.

I've been traveling alot for work lately so I haven't been getting as much fiber as I normally do.  Hence things are a little stickier than I would like.  I was finishing up in the reading room at the office when something lucky happened.  You see, I made a downward swiping motion when FLING - PLOP and it landed on the toilet seat.

As I looked at the plop on the seat my first thought was "Wow that was really lucky!"  You see that stuff was sticky.  If it had landed in my whitey's then they would have been stained forever.  Skid marks are one thing but big circles?  How do you explain that to the significant other?  That would have been bad.  If it landed on my pants I would never have been able to get it out and I would be washing my pants in the sink at the office.  That's really hard to explain so that would have been bad too.  But by landing on the seat it saved me from being embarrassed.  Now that is lucky.

After getting lucky, I managed to read some comics. Specifically, MarziWolverine: Best there is Vol 1, and Xombi. You can see what I liked and didn't about them below the break.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Marvel Preview for April

Greg: Well its summer crossover season AND there's an Avengers movie coming out. So I hope you like the Avengers, Lee, because you're about to get more than your daily recommended dose of them.
Lee: And I cannot tell you how excited I am about it.  Wheeee.  See?  That's me being excited.

AvX: Vs #1 (Of 6)
Cover By Adam Kubert
Variant Cover By Stuart Immonen
Amazing Spider-Man 50Th Anniversary Variant By Tba
• The Premier Tie-In To Avengers Vs. X-Men!
• All-Out Action Featuring Cover To Cover Battles, Each Issue Expanding On Fights From The Main Avx Book In Ways You Can’t Imagine!
• This Issue: Iron Man Vs. Magneto And Thing Vs. Namor!
32 Pgs./ $3.99
AVENGERS Vs. X-MEN #1 (Of 12)
Brian Michael Bendis (W) • John Romita Jr. (A)
Cover By Jim Cheung
Variant Covers By Ryan Stegman & John Romita Jr.
Blank Variant Also Available
• It’s No Longer Coming—It’s Here!
• Does The Return Of The Phoenix To Earth Signal The Rebirth Of The Mutant Species? That’s What The X-Men Believe!
• Unfortunately, The Avengers Are Convinced That Its Coming Will Mean The End Of All Life On Earth!
• The Stage Is Set For The Ultimate Marvel Showdown In This Oversized First Issue!
40 Pgs./ $3.99
Greg: Nerds loooove watching heroes fight each other. This was cool before it happened, y'know, ALL the time. There are plenty of logical reasons for these groups to fight, so it shouldn't be as pained as the conflict behind Civil War, but the format of this worries me. Rotating creative teams are very tricky, even when there's stellar talent involved. And a WHOLE YEAR is a long time to keep this shizz up. Meanwhile AvX, title devoted entirely to fights, might be the dumbest thing I've ever seen. But hey, if they really let their artists go crazy maybe we'll get some pretty pictures.
Lee: Marvel has never had any trouble with pretty pictures so I agree this will be fun to look at.  But, the last big event, Fear Itself, really was a mess.  It was fun watching it go wildly off the tracks but that was about it.  I am concerned that this will be more of the same.  It has potential to be good, but I'm not convinced.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Cypher makes me sad.

Earlier this week, I was looking at CBR’s previews for next week’s new comics and I was reading the preview of the next issue of New Mutants, a pretty decent comic book by two of my favorite writers. The story in the preview was about Cypher talking a psychiatrist about his ridiculous comic book problems. Suddenly I got very sad.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

The Real Reason Why Some Sidekicks Can Never Replace Their Mentors

It’s time again for some Comic Theory brought on by my perchance to muse about stuff.   Blame Winter Soldier #1 for putting the idea in my head, but I had an epiphany after looking at Lee Bermejo’s cover.  Do you want to know why Bucky failed as Cap or Dick couldn’t last as Batman?  Editorial Mandate? Nope.  The answer is much simpler than that and it goes right back to the beginning of their careers.

Friday, February 17, 2012

DC Preview Review for April Part 2 of 2

As promised or is that threaten, Part 2

Art and cover by ANDREA SORRENTINO
On sale APRIL 25 • 32 pg, FC, $2.99 US • RATED T+
As the Justice League Dark team faces the end of all magic – and perhaps life itself – only one man can challenge the dark force known as Cain: Andrew Bennett. He’s back from the dead, but whose side is he on? Regardless of the answer, nothing will be the same for either series when “Rise of the Vampires” is over!
Jim: Absolutely love this series. It has mood, it has a good story and it has some damn fine artwork. I got that this is Vertigo style books done in the DCU. What I find so appealing about this book is that we have different creators then we normally see in the DCU and we have a great story. At first shoehorning it into the DCU felt like a bad idea, but Fialkov has made it work.
Gwen: I would also expect this to be a Vertigo book but I guess as long as the creators make it work... I am a little burnt out on vampires at the moment though.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Aaron and Ahmed: A Love Story

Oy. Well, I promised I'd get to these last couple of library books, so here I am. Not only was this not a good book, it's a rare miss for Vertigo, so far as what I've read over the years.

Aaron and Ahmed was written by Jay Cantor, drawn by James Romberger, colored by Jose Villarrubia, and lettered by Jared K Fletcher. There's nothing wrong with the art, coloring or lettering. They're not outstanding, but they do the job they're supposed to do in relaying the story.

The problem is what Jay Cantor has written. The basic plot is that Aaron is a psychologist in the Army on 9/11/01 when his wife is killed on one of the planes that flew into the Twin Towers. This tragic experience causes Aaron to volunteer to be an interrogator at Guantanomo Bay, Cuba. Cantor shows the water boarding and other methods used to glean information from detainees, as well as the possible psychological harm to the interrogators.

I suppose that's what the story is all about. What harm are we doing ourselves in treating these prisoners in this way? That would be an interesting story, but the way Cantor goes about it is just strange. An evidently fictitious interrogation method involves chanting (or at least some sort of mystical use of words) as a means to brainwash. This is believed to be something the Taliban and Al-Qaeda are doing to create suicide bombers, so the Army supposes it could be used to turn prisoners into agents or to turn off potential suicide bombers who have been programmed.

It's kind of New Age theory. Well, it seems like that to me because it doesn't seem to have any sound basis in science. To me, it derails what could be a good story. Cantor goes further off the rails by having Aaron somehow manage to get himself and Ahmed, a prisoner who had been a driver for bin Laden (a touch of reality because the actual driver for bin Laden was a named plaintiff in a Supreme Court decision giving the prisoners some rights), released to go to Pakistan for further study and infiltration. It all gets very trippy with whether Ahmed has been turned, Aaron has been turned, or the two of them are engaged in a love affair. Hell, it could be all three, near as I could tell.

There's a lot of internal dialog for Aaron that tries to have him both acting to infiltrate this mystical Muslim operation while at the same time recognizing that he's been programmed to perform some sort of operation for them. He says to himself at one point that he wants to get back to Gitmo to be deprogrammed. It's like a Manchurian Candidate who knows he's a Manchurian Candidate but doesn't want to be. It's a fundamental mispresentation of how the brain works. A person aware of so-called programming would easily not act on that programming. It's not like the brain is a computer that can be programmed. At best, programming a person is a suggestive thing which may not be acted out.

As to be expected, there's no happy ending. This is moralizing, not happy time. There's the hint of a good story in here, but it's so far buried in a bunch of psuedo-psychological babble, all mixed up with drug therapies, street drugs, and homoeroticism, that any possible good story is lost. A couple of blurbs on the back of the book claim its a mash up of Balzac, Delillo, and Alan Moore or a read that requires intellect and compassion. I don't know about the Balzac and Delillo references, being none too familiar with either, but even Promethea was a more comprehensible read than this. Aaron and Ahmed gets lost in its pretensions where Promethea added layer and depth to a coherent story. As far as intellect and compassion, my intellect brought me to a screaming halt when the story didn't comport with what I know about the subject matter, and the compassion never arose because I never liked a single character in the book.

I can't recommend this book, even as a free read.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

DC Preview Review for April Part 1 of 2

Jim: So once more into the breach. These used to be fun but right now absent my interest in Batman and a few other books, DC no longer owns my heart. This latest reboot changed something, a switch was thrown and we will see if it is an irreversible change or not.
Gwen: I have to agree with Jim, I have a feeling I'm not going to be as into DC cape stuff for the foreseeable future.

Written by GEOFF JOHNS
Backup story art by GARY FRANK
1:25 Variant cover by MIKE CHOI
1:200 B&W Variant cover by JIM LEE
On sale APRIL 18 • 40 pg, FC, $3.99 US • RATED T
Combo pack edition: $4.99 US
Retailers: This issue will ship with three covers. Please see the order form for more information.
In the five years that the Justice League has been a team, Green Arrow has never once been a member. And he intends to rectify that right here, right now! One member against his candidacy: Aquaman!
Plus, in "The Curse of Shazam" part 2, Billy arrives in his new foster home just as an ancient evil is uncovered halfway across the world.
This issue is also offered as a special combo pack edition, polybagged with a redemption code for a digital download of this issue.
Jim: So issue #5 of this book turned me off it pretty bad. I was getting two copies of this book and sending one to Gwen and one to Jamie, after issue six I’m only getting one copy and that is only to give the book one last shot. I agree with Matthew that the jump the shark moment was when Batman revealed his identity to Green Lantern for absolutely no reason. Add to that it was 20 pages of story and art for $4, they are doing three covers and doing the stupid digital combo packs, this book is not for the real fan, it is a marketing tool only. Finally the art is now by Carlos D’Anda, Jim Lee could not even make it for a year.
Gwen: I could care less about Green Arrow. So any JLA story about GA holds little interest for me.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

What I Read This Week – Feb 14

This week was I managed to get back on track. That isn’t true… I just managed to ignore Wife and Kids long enough to read something entertaining.

I read some intellectual material from The New Yorker.  I read some pure fluff from People (Poor Demi she really is in a bit of a pickle), and of course lots of comics.  Ok, maybe not lots but I did manage a couple of hundred pages in two books.

This week I read Rocketeer Adventures Vol 1 and Tales of Supernatural Law. You can see why I loved them, or not, below the break.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Afterthoughts of Last Week and Why Dark Horse Screwed Me

Well I have finally made the move to Florida and this is the first Monday column that I’m typing from Seminole, Florida. My wife is happy to be less than 4 miles from the beach and I will be doing my real job from home, so have to say I will love my commute. My new digs are nice and must be one of the five homes in Florida with stairs which I like since it reminds me more of where I lived. I always have thought stairs in your home were a good thing. 

As you can see I changed the title and since it will take a few weeks to get back into a normal swing I have decided to just call this column a goofier name for now. Also I will do more than discuss comics at times since when I started this blog lo those many years ago the idea of Comics And, besides a homage to my store from the nineties, was to allow for more than comics to be commented on. 

Still the book of the week for me is Punishermax #22 by Jason Aaron and Steve Dillon. Those of you who have read my meanderings from time to time know that I have always advocated the growth and aging of characters as that leads to better stories. There is no reason why Bruce Wayne needs to be Batman forever. Scott Snyder proved that with his Detective run entitled Black Mirror. That was the best Batman run done in comics in close to 40 years. I think you have to go back to Denny O’Neil and Neal Adams work on Batman to find a comparable story line that was as good. Back then the Ras As Ghul story was not strung together as tightly but it is still a story that has stood the test of time. Punishermax has now shown what could have been a great story within the regular Marvel Universe. The epilogue of Frank’s death in last issue is first and foremost a powerful story. The scene where Nick Fury is drinking with Frank in a casket was just a great scene. To me the crux of the entire series showed that the better and more powerful story is watching how a character goes through life and death. How we face death is as important as how we live our lives. Frank’s death defines him and puts a cap of his career. There is no reason why a younger man could not lose everything and decide to become the next Punisher, but one who is current and up to date on all the new technology. It would make for a better story.  This was a great run and will be one of those series that I will buy a hard cover collection of it they did it right. 

Sunday, February 12, 2012


In case you missed it, this week has been busy between work (me, Greg), computer problems (Matthew), and a move to Florida (Jim).  Thomm has always been difficult so that's nothing new... so in honor of too much going on, today is declared a vacation!

I shall include a cool cover that you probably haven't see.  A classic from Zap comix, 1974, by Spain Rodriguez

Now go outside and do something fun!

But, the cover I wanted to use today, but might have not have been completely appropriate, is below if you want to see something cool...

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Computer Woes

In honor of all my recent computer woes, which hopefully are resolved now (and I'll spare you the long-winded details).  I give you the spectacular Micronauts #24 cover from December 1980 by the awesome Michael Golden.  Where our beloved band of adventurers are having computer woes of their own.  It's funny, I actually think I relate more to Computrex in this picture than Commander Rann, Bug, and Microtron. I certainly had that expression more than once this week!  I apologize for the short post this time around.  I've got several things brewing in the back of my mind, but I really need a chance to rest up and catch up.  Back to normal next week...I hope.
And here's a bonus image in the same theme.  This time a nearly perfect rendering (only without the Cos-Play) of the going-on's at my house surrounding the new computer with my sexy wife in the role of Medusa and me as Black Bolt (only I wasn't that silent).  Be sure to read all the words on this page -- they're PERFECT!


It's also a surprisingly great story, one I throughly enjoyed after my afternoon nap today. (Jim, check it out from your MMW Inhumans Volume 1 HC -- it's a keeper!)

Friday, February 10, 2012

Comics on TV

I suppose movies were enough of a hint to tell that comics are taking over the world just as their doom is being foretold, but not only do we have The Walking Dead as a TV show, and a show about comic geeks following it this Sunday, shows that have nothing to do with comics are including comics. Last night's Person of Interest (Wolf and Cub) on CBS featured a comic shop owner villain. Dude, played by Malik Yoba, was running a numbers and protection racket in a poor neighborhood. Either our script writer(s) have never been to a comic shop or they're engaging in fantasy fullfillment with this character.

What I read this week - Feb 10

This week was actually the start of my busy season. My work is very cyclical with Spring and Fall being ridiculously busy with Summer and Winter being ridiculous dull. My company has part timers that work for 3 months, take three months off and repeat. And yes, they earn in 3 months what you and I earn in 6!

Anyway, I did manage to read some books this week and because I was busy I cheated and read great stuff. Yep, nothing completely new and out there. Nothing mysterious. Just books with proven writers and artists so I knew it would be good. So, go figure, I liked everything this week.

I managed Batwoman: Elegy, Bayou Vol 1 and 2, and Unwritten Vol 2. You can see why I loved them below the break.

Selling Off The Collection

So my recent move to Florida has caused me to seriously re-evaluate what the heck I’m doing with all the hard covers and trades that I had accumulated. When you have to actually move the stuff and in my case unpacking all of it you get a startling revelation, I have way too much sh*t. I easily have over 1,000 hard covers and trades. Even if I live to 100 I would never have the chance to read all of it.

Leaning Tower of Comics
Of course a lot of the material I have read before when I was growing up or during the last few years I would think, great series I will get the collected version and re-read it. Ha, it almost never happens. Between getting involved in a book club, my real job and all the new stuff I get I hardly ever sit down and read any of the stuff I get and I want to read it all. 

So I have started selling a bunch of it and have over 100 auctions going on at Ebay (see seller id jlm1955707). I expect some to not sell, in fact I expect a fair amount not to sell, which means I will probably give away some of it or relist stuff for a second round (I have found that often stuff sells the second time, just a matter of finding a buyer who is looking).  Picture to the left what I have to list and sell on Ebay. Pictured to the right what I have on EBay, there is a second stack behind the first.

Thursday, February 09, 2012

The Library, Mega Edition

I'm getting a little out of order here, as I have several more individual posts for The Library, but I've been checking out so many books I'll be filling up the Sundays for months and months with just library books when I really have some things to put up on other books I have, be it singles or trades. So, this week we have a cluster of library books, in no particular order.

Sometimes when I get graphic novels at the library I'm just being lazy because I never got around to reading the novel. This is one of those occasions. Ray Bradbury's Fahrenheit 451 is a 20th century classic but this is the 2009 graphic novel version. The art, by Tim Hamilton, is quite good. He's got a clear vision of the characters and the situations, transmitting the feeling of a sterile society lost in its own fear and ever present preparation for war. It's very much a product of the Cold War. By now I figure everyone knows the basic that firemen start fires rather than put them out, and that books are the primary object of burning. There's a lot more to the story, though. It's very much an assault on anti-intellectualism, particularly in the form of TV. The lack of intellectual stimulation leads to frequent suicides and re-education for those who can't succumb to the dumbed down society. It also leads to a nuclear war, which is a pretty extreme view of television, really. A fine piece of sci-fi hyperbole, really.

Wednesday, February 08, 2012


One of the things my move to Florida impressed on me is that I have way too many hard covers and trades.

Therefore I have started doing some selling of stuff.

My E-Bay seller ID is jlm1955707 - peruse and maybe you will see something you want.

IDW Preview for April

Lee: Another month of goodness from IDW. A couple of things Thomm can afford and a couple of things that I can afford.
Thomm: Ah, but can we find them in the sea of licensed publications?

Archie: Sunday's Finest HC by (w/a) Bob Montana
Continuing the Eisner Award-winning series of the rare Archie newspaper strips by Bob Montana, we turn our attention to his remarkable full-color Sunday pages. Archie's Sunday Best is the first-ever collection of the late 1940s and early 1950s color Sunday strips. Montana is approaching the peak of his creative of his juices in these pages, which feature classic Archie themes and characters. $49.99
Lee: These books are soooo good. The material is very funny. The art is stellar. AND the best part is I can read it with my girls because they love it. Viva Archie!
Thomm: I’ve read Archie since I was a kid but I was never that into it. Of course, it was the ‘70s by the time I was reading and the quality probably wasn’t as good.

Tuesday, February 07, 2012

Cover Fails for Marvel April Previews

Here’s something new that I’ve wanted to try for quite some time. Aaaahhhh, who am I kidding. I saw another guy do it on his site, thought it was a fantastic idea, and figured to try my hand at it too.

Let’s talk about cover fails!
Ultimate Comics Spider-Man #9

Brian Michael Bendis (W) • David Marquez (A)

Cover by Kaare Andrews

Kaare Andrews is a good artist which makes this disaster such a head scratcher. So, what’s wrong? How about Spider-man’s torso. To start, it’s very elongated. There is a certain amount of distortion to be expected in comics but this looks like he’s Mr. Fantastic. The second part, and this is the most egregious, is the twist on it. The left leg is straight yet Spidey’s mid-section is going in the opposite direction.

This is a FAIL.

More discussion of what makes covers work and not below the break

Monday, February 06, 2012

From Shadow to Light – The Life and Art of Mort Meskin

So in order to be able to have a post that goes up Monday February 6 I have to work ahead because Friday February 3 I will be driving down to Florida for my move. The transition period has been long and laborious and I’m looking forward to getting back to my life with my wife. A little sad about moving, but everything has pluses and minuses. My preamble is to again reiterate why my Monday column is becoming a little random.

This week I want to discuss the book From Shadow to Light – The Life and Art of Mort Meskin (click on the link to see the Amazon page where you can check out some of the interiors of the book). Mort was a golden age comic artist and as with many from that time his name is not well known. Only the gentlemen who made the transition from golden to silver age have any true renown, many of them toiled in relative obscurity and many will be lost to the vestiges of time. Fortunately people like author Steven Brower and Fantagraphic books are giving us the opportunity to get to know who Mort Meskin was and his story is very interesting.

The book was both a success and also a failure for me. The success part is we did get the life story of Mort Meskin. Essentially Mort was a talented artist who suffered from a lot of insecurities, had some bouts with mental illness, fathered two sons with his first wife, found true love later with his second wife and ultimately moved from comic book work to commercial artwork. 

Sunday, February 05, 2012

The List - January 2012

And 2012 dawns. Flickers? Any light at all? It's the same old crap in the political and economic worlds, but in the world of comics, it looks bright to me. I have some new stuff that will be coming out in the Spring that I'm anticipating, and what I have now is looking good. Some of the New 52 titles are probably going to get the axe after issue 6, but they're not terrible. They're just not looking like they'll hold my interest, and my dollar, after one arc. But, as always, we start at the top.

1. Fables 113 - I love these kind of stand alone issues. This one gives Mark Buckingham a respite by using various guest artists. The book is entitled In Those Days and contains 4 short stories that tie to the larger Fables stories we've seen over the last decade and flesh out some background to some lesser known characters. The first is A Delicate Balance, with art by P Craig Russell, which is a treat unto itself. It's the story of a queen whose cuckold husband is a magician who turns her into a turtle, condemned to carry a tea cup that contains her shrunken kingdom. The second is A Magic Life, drawn by Zander Cannon, and tells the story of Kadabra, the magician killed before the big war with The Empire, and explains why he was killed. The Way of the World is drawn by Ramon Bachs and is a brief story of a challenge a young boy must face while living in the world in the tea cup. The last is Porky Pining, who gets himself cursed by Frau Totenkinder, a fact I wouldn't know but for having read the novel, Peter and Max. The perils of a smart mouth, which isn't a lesson I've learned yet. Great little stories.

2. The Unwritten 33 - This book is kicking into high gear. Tom has a real problem on his hand by the end of this issue, but I love the path it took to get there. Along the way there's a lovely tender moment with Lizzie that takes all of 3 panels. You know your book is doing well when readers think of the characters as people in whom they have a vested interest. Carey and Gross certainly have that here. M.K. Perker's finishes are great, too. The continued use of multi-media formats within the paper pages is really setting the book in our modern midst, what with all our electronic bombardment. But the Cabal's tactic in thwarting Tom's attack is the most interesting. At some point Carey and Gross are going to have to let us in on why Pullman doesn't just run the Cabal.

3. The Unwritten 33.5 - Ok, up 'til now I've been putting two issues for the same book in the same numerical listing, if they're consecutive in quality, but this time the two Unwritten books are so good I decided they deserved their own individual listing. Madame Rausch has been an important character in the main story line but not known at all beyond her rather extraordinary power. This issue lays the foundation of how she came to be who she is today. The entire story is touching and tragic, but the opening alone is worth noting. "I was worried about the little girl. She seemed so fragile, and so unhappy. So wounded, already, by the world. Before she had even ventured out into it." Bam! you're right into the thick of the story. Who can read that and not want to find out what happened to the girl? Of course, the prisoner hung in the cage outside the house at the bottom of the same page is interesting, too...

4. iZombie 21 - After more than a year of following this book and thinking that it was pushing the edge of being dropped, it's taking itself in a very interesting direction. Not that I doubted Chris Roberson's ability to tell an engaging story, but this one was more than Kirkmanesque in its slow build. J. Bone's art for this issue doesn't hurt, of course. It's a far more cartoon style than the usual art for the book, but there's something of a humorous element, especially in this issue, that's perfectly suited by Bone's style. And Michael Allred, whose own style is quite unique, gets a rest. There's so much happening and so much coming together now, my interest is such that I'm going to have to re-read all the issues before to fully enjoy the climax that appears to be in the offing. Speaking of climax, love the three way that Claire and Ellie have arranged. Almost platonic.

5. Scalped 55 - This is Scalped, so there's no going back, but Shunka? Really? Damn. Did Red Crow really not know? I mean, yeah, he acted like Bad Horse was his own son, but, hell, Shunka could see it. I sure hope Nitz doesn't end up smelling like roses out of this. If anyone in the FBI deserves a comeuppance, it's Nitz. I've seen some griping about how dark Guera's art is in this issue, but the entire story is set at night, and mostly in unlit locales. Between that physical aspect and the darkness of what's happening, dark and rough is how the art should be. The clear picture of Bad Horse at the end is the perfect counterpoint to what's gone before, with a bright light burning behind him, making his purpose and role clear to Red Crow. The whole issue is just how it should be in this darkest of crime thrillers.

6. Invincible 87 - Not that Mark or the reader is surprised, but Dinosaurus is a tricky ally, at best. Still, he and Mark brought us the best punch, and death of an enemy who hasn't been seen in 5 years, since the Mauler Twins bought it. It's one of those instances when I'm reminded why I like this book so much more than the superheroics in Marvel and DC. A dead character is going to stay a dead character, no matter how many other writers could put together the 40th good origin story for that character. Cecil's persistent attempts to have the Guardians of the Globe take on Mark or take on threats that Mark wants to handle is amusing, considering Mark and Dinosaurus quickly killed a threat that the entire Guardians couldn't handle. We had surprisingly less fight between Mark and Allen/Oliver than I thought was coming, but I'm sure we'll have lots of punching and dying now that Freddie Mercury is on the scene. I wonder if next issue will reveal that Allen keeps a handy supply of virus with him? Nah, probably not.

7. Northlanders 47 - The Icelandic Trilogy is up to its sixth part, the last we'll have featuring Brida. I suppose I shouldn't be shocked that she's only 23 when these events are taking place, but she's aged well beyond the years of an American of the same age today. Viking Iceland will do that, I suppose. More surprising is how savvy Mar turns out to have been. This isn't the first story arc to address the effects of Christian conversion on the Vikings, but it's the first to show how complicated that can be. I'd like to see a lot more stories with Brida, but this is likely the last, at least for now. I expect our next arc in the trilogy will jump forward in time to see how Brida's plan came to fruition, or didn't.

8. The Walking Dead 93 - A Larger World starts in this issue, as you can see. At first I was taken aback by Rick's treatment of "Jesus". Then I remembered what world he lives in. I was more surprised at how quickly Rick's position changed, though. Given his history I expected his resistance to the proposed trade agreement with other survivor groups to be a longer lasting affair, needing more direct evidence that the other groups wouldn't harm his group. But, Rick has often been hopeful and only became as hard as he is now after many hard lessons, particularly with the Governor. And Kirkman's not likely to tread the same ground over again by having these other survivor groups be remotely similar to the Governor. 'Course, Rick's not entirely hopeful, as his last statement attests. Definitely hard.

9. Memorial 2 - Hey, look, it's another Chris Roberson book. He's on a good roll this month. And this book is quickly moving up in my List because I already want to know what's going to happen with Em. Roberson has a fascinating fantasy world here. We're right in the midst of a larger conflict right from the start. In fact, this is almost the anit-iZombie in how quickly it's moving to the conflict that is central to the story. The art by Rich Ellis displays a wide range of cultural influences in the story, always a favorite for me. Then there's the humor, intentional or not, of having much of what's happening being dependent on what's Behind the Green Door.

10. Wonder Woman 5 - Azzarello still has my favorite New 52 title clicking along. The longer it has nothing to do with the rest of the DCU the better, as far as I'm concerned. In fact, this iteration is almost worthy of separation from the DCU altogether. In other words, it would make a great Vertigo title. Alas, that's not the direction DC is taking, so I'll just have to hope they leave it alone enough to keep the high quality stories coming. No cross-overs or Events. The power plays of the gods are thick in this series, and this issue no less so. Diana seems to be making a play of her own, pitting Hera and Poseidon against one another. With Hera already mad at the Amazons, this seems to be a dicey strategem. Then again, Diana just told Zola that she's not always right.

11. Batwoman 5 - Another New 52 that seems to be in its own world and is the better for it. Okay, Batman does show up, but only tangentially. Besides, he's talking about Batman, Inc. which doesn't even exist in the New 52 as far as I know. I'm looking forward to next month's issue so I can read the first six all at once to get a better grip on how coherent it is. Sometimes I get lost in enjoying the art and don't pay enough attention to the story. That doesn't happen very often, so Williams obviously deserves credit for that alone.

12. Swamp Thing 5 - That's some kiss. Is the Parliament dead? I'm looking forward to finding out. This is a very different Swamp Thing from Moore's creation, but it's strongly tied to that at the same time. Scott Snyder's new take is a fresh look that the character needed in this new launch. If it has legs, I'll stay with it for quite a while.

13. Animal Man 5 - Lemire's other side of the battle against the Rot takes a different approach. Where Swamp Thing features an Alec Holland with no powers (until this month) and not wanting to be a part of the Green, Animal Man has his powers and is doing all he can to help the Red. Unfortunately, he's not having any more success than Alec. These two books make great companions but each can be read without the other. Two great authors are the key here.

14. Incorruptible 26 - I like getting Max Damage's origin story. His battle with Plutonian goes much further back than gaining his powers and committing crimes. Actually, the crimes part came first, but whatever. I think it's time to move back to the current story, though.

15. I, Vampire 5 - Not surprisingly, I think this book would be better served if it was less DCU. Batman just seems out of place in a fight with vampires. It is a DC book, so some involvement with the rest of the DCU is inevitable, but I think this book, which is good, would be better still if it was like Wonder Woman, less involved in the DCU. And I've lost track of who Andrew's companion is who wants to kill him. That's not a good sign.

16. Blue Beetle 5 - If Jaime keeps healing friends with the suit, the Earth is soon going to be overrun with battle suits. But why does one scarab suit want to destroy another? Aren't they supposed to be on the same side, especially considering Jaime's suit created Paco's suit. Ah, well. I hope Dona Cardenas is back soon, wherever she and her house disappeared. She's the most interesting new mainstream comics villain that I've seen in a long time.

17. Resurrection Man 5 - This is my first experience with the new Deathstroke. Can't say as I'm a fan of the bulky, '90s looking outfit. What the hell are those belts on his thighs supposed to be doing? Baggy pants half down the arse aren't bad enough? (Not on him, in the real world.) Whatever. Mitch Shelly is quite the tool in his life before the amnesia. No wonder the two indestructible hot chicks are looking to capture him. Amazing how amnesia can make a person better behaved.

18. Super Dinosaur 7 - Much as this is fun, I'm coming to the conclusion that I'm not the target audience for this all ages book. It feels too much like Invincible Lite. I'll give it a few more issues to conclude this arc, but that'll probably do it.

19. Batwing 5 - This one's probably going to go after the next issue. It's not a bad story but I haven't been able to get a good feel for its characters. I don't know why Batwing is Batwing or how he went from child soldier to who he is today. And the hunt for Massacre is kind of meandering. Oh, and Batman's here, too. I don't even read any of the Batman books, but he's in three of the books I do read this month. That boy sure does get around.

20. Demon Knights 5 - Another one that's probably not much longer for my reading perusal. I don't know. It could get a reprieve. I like the concept of the team but the betrayal, or at least apparent betrayal, by Vandal Savage is too early to be surprising. It's expected. If we had more development it might be more surprising. But, I like the other characters, especially Blood/Etrigan.

A light month, but some of that's due to no Spaceman and no DHP. I hope both return soon. At least I've been filling things in with library books and trades I've gotten on sale. I'll write about some of them separately.

Saturday, February 04, 2012

Justice League #5: Something to Replace "Nuke the Fridge" and "Jump the Shark"

I doubt I'm the only person out there that looks at what happened in Justice League #5 this way, but I've purposely not searched the internet to check. Maybe it was the stressful work week and the dying of my old computer that contributed to my reaction? Nope. That’s too easy of a pass for the creators involved. I’ll use Batman’s own words to damn his actions: “It’s insane.”

Friday, February 03, 2012

Image Preview for April

Lee: This is a really odd month from Image. Not odd because of bad books but odd because everything is in the middle of story lines. It’s kinda crazy. On top of that, Image is getting it’s tpb machine rolling so there are lots of trades this month too. It’s starting to look like a Marvel/DC solicit without any characters that I know.
Thomm: Trades work for me. Well, in theory. We’ll see what we have.

story Jonathan Ross
art / cover Bryan Hitch
32 Pages / FC / $2.99
Welcome to AMERICA'S GOT POWERS! It's the biggest TV show on Earth, where the chance to win fame, fortune and get laid are dangled in front of a generation of super-powered teens. All they have to do is WIN. Who is the fastest, the strongest or the greatest? Who survives? Young Tommy Watt's dreams of being the greatest hero of them all might just be shattered when the greatest show on the planet begins to reveal it's dark heart.
Lee: What a great idea this is! It seems to be part American Idol and part Hunger Games/Battle Royale. Hitch’s art has been kinda muddy on his last couple of books so hopefully he’s invested in the book and not just in it for the paycheck. No matter what, it’s worth looking at.
Thomm: It’s The Running Man with super powers. Ok, Arnold’s always a super power freak in his movies. Bet this one doesn’t have a guy playing hockey while wearing a bunch of Christmas lights.

Thursday, February 02, 2012

Political Comics, less than fair and balanced

Lately, articles have been published around the interwebs criticizing how liberal comics are. These criticisms are directed at a broad attitude that pervades comics (particularly mainstream comics) but are centered particularly around Captain American #602, where a Tea Party protest is portrayed in a less than positive light, and things like Occupy Comics, work by largely indie artists in support of the Occupy movement.

Wednesday, February 01, 2012

What I read this week - Feb 1

So, what did I read this week? Well, I managed to slog through a bunch of junk and one amazingly, spectacular book. I even managed to browse a bunch of books which did nothing but annoy me.

What was so bad that it annoyed me?  Marvel reprints is what!  I recently picked up Captain Britain Vols 1 and 2.  They are great (relatively speaking) Marvel Bronze age stories with some pretty decent art.  Actually, truth is that I have a couple of the original issues and I want to see how the story ends.  The only problem is the reproduction is absolutely terrible.  The art is muddy and about as poorly reproduced as I have seen in a long time.  Boy loves it but he's never seen the original material.  It's too bad because this shoulda-woulda-coulda been so much better.  The same thing is true of Marvel's Asgardian Wars collection.  There is no reason the art should be crappy in that book.   One page is a perfect reproduction then the next page is missing have the black lines.  Sure, all the color is there but where did all the lines go?  I understand, and even expect it to a certain extent, given the age of the Captain Britain stories but X-men reprints from the 80's?  There's no excuse for that.

So what did I read this week that was good? I managed High Moon, Criminal Macabre Omnibus Vol 2, and Unwritten Vol 1. You can see what I loved and didn’t below the break.