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Archive for the 'Comics' Category

2009.04.24 hold on there:

A couple buddies of mine recently launched their awesome new website—Shelfbound—where they're currently talking mostly about comics (but eventually about books, music, and movies as well, I believe). On Friday of their first week, they posted a discussion about their personal histories relating to comics, which I felt compelled to comment on.

That post, coupled with the call I received from the comic shop I (used to) frequent—asking if I was actually going to come pick up my (7 months worth of) holds, or if he should put them back and delete my holds list— got me started thinking about my own comics history, such as it is.

At some point in the not too distant past, I was an absolute nut with an active holds list of more than 20 titles, and an average of over 33 books purchased per month. I thought it might be entertaining to air out the dirty laundry of my former addiction, by way of some lists comparing then versus now.

Going through my collection (at least, those books that actually made it up to before I stopped entering them), I came up with the following list of titles that, at one time or another, was a regular purchase. Mind you, these were not ALL on my list at the same time, but a LOT of them were.

The "long-time" list consists of books that I purchased (usually consecutively) for more than a year.
The "short-time" list consists of long-running titles that I picked up and dropped, or bought off-and-on, or which were longer-running mini-series.

Long-Time Collections
Amazing Spider-Girl
Amazing Spider-Man
Batman Confidential
Batman: Gotham Knights
Batman: Legends of the Dark Knight
Batman (various mini-series)
Captain America
Captain Marvel
Detective Comics
Harley Quinn
Incredible Hulk
Marvel Knights Spider-Man
New X-Men (Morrison run + a few)
Peter Parker: Spider-Man
The Punisher
The Spectre
Spider-Man (various mini-series)
Ultimate Fantastic Four
Ultimate Spider-Man
Ultimate X-Men
The Ultimates (2002 & 2005)
Webspinners: Tales of Spider-Man
Wonder Woman
X-Statix (X-Force)
Short-Time collections
All-Star Batman & Robin
All-Star Superman
Army of Darkness
Dark Tower
Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man
Green Arrow (kevin smith run + a few)
Marvel Knights
The Pulse
Sensational Spider-Man
Spectacular Spider-Man
Superman (off and on)
U.S. War Machine

And finally, after a few years of increasingly sporadic trips to the comic shop, and the cancellation (Spider-Girl) or ruination (Spider-Man) of some favorite titles, I've whittled down my holds list to the following:

Current holds list
Detective Comics
Ultimate Spider-Man

So, from 30+ titles every month I'm down to 6 (well, five plus Powers, which is apparently not even close to monthly anymore). Depending on the quality of the last 7 months, I may yet drop Superman/Batman, and I was considering dropping Daredevil (though the guy in the store said it'd been pretty good of late, so i dunno… i may just selectively pick up arcs, if they look good).

Of course, I just saw on Diamond's site that Dynamite Ent. is coming out with a new Buck Rogers comic, which I have to at least get the first issue of; and the guy at the store told me there's a rumor my girl (Spider-Girl, that is) may be re-launched. So, I may be back up to 8 titles in the near future… but for now, at least, it's a little more reasonable.

- 11:54 pm - PL :: 4 Comments
categories ::  Comics - Cool Links - Friends - Happy/Love - Pop Culture


2008.07.26 except for the bits with the bat, man:

(with apologies to the three or four of you who might read this post, as you're probably the three or four to whom i've already talked about it, and you've probably heard most of this from me already…)

Sara and i finally got out to see The Dark Knight thurs. night, and while it exceeded my expectations, i felt it didn't live up to the hype.

let me say first that this was a fantastic movie. all the major characters felt fully realized and deep, and either had strong arcs or a consistency of character that was gradually exposed during the course of the movie… that is, all the characters but one—the Batman. there was a recurring thought in my head as the movie unfolded: "this is a great movie, except for those pesky bits with the batman." after the movie, i reasoned that this movie would have been perfect as a GCPD movie—with all the batman stuff happening off-screen.

the performances delivered by the entire (non-batsuited) cast were absolutely spot-on. Gordon, Harvey, the Joker, and heck, even Lucius and Rachel were phenomenal at every turn. Such fantastic acting, scripting, and directing that there could be an oscar here (or several).

as bruce wayne, christian bale's performance was on par with his co-stars, an unimpeachable rendition of the nuanced billionaire playboy—dashing, vain, pretentious, and ostentatious, while also calculating, serious, and very aware of himself. a perfect bruce wayne. however, once he's in the suit, we're not so lucky.

i do understand that batman is not the suit, but the man inside and the raging, conflicting emotional and philosophical debates that play inside him. however, i feel that bale's portrayal of batman is weak and contrived.

the main thing I hated about the val kilmer batman (aside from the dreadful story and the rest of that horrible movie), was that stupid, insipid, forced gravelly voice thing he did. well, now, of course we've got christian bale doing the exact same thing. it's well established in the comics that batman does speak with an altered, lower voice than bruce, so it's not like the gravelly thing is completely off-base… it's just that it's so bad, and unnatural, and just simply not right. batman just doesn't talk this way, except maybe in one of those weird surreal one-shot trades by some artist with a fixation on the grotesque.

also, this batman just doesn't feel right to me somehow. in the (hand-to-hand) fight sequences, batman seems slow, plodding, and shortsighted. despite the fact that he's just a man with no superpowers, a man who is supposed to be the single greatest fighter in the world should move with more grace, fluidity, economy, and speed. batman's abilities border on the super-human, but with this batman, i don't feel that at all. it just feels like a guy in a suit. as the bat acolyte says, "what's the difference between you and me?" in this movie, the answer is "nothing."

(let me digress for just a sec by reiterating that in the previous paragraph i'm talking almost exclusively about the physicality of batman—we'll deal with psychological and philosophical concepts in a moment)

also, the suit. the keaton suit always bugged me a little, because, like the current suit, it's a little too bulky, a little too stiff, a little too rubbery. however, i felt like in the keaton movies, tim burton worked fairly well around the limitations of the suit, leaving that batman feeling more like a superhero than a guy in a suit. i almost feel that chris nolan just doesn't care to work around his suit's limitations, like he wants it to be more realistic, and thus it ends up being just a guy in a suit. and what's up with the cowl? keaton's was a bit funky, with that stiff rubber, but seems like it was shaped better. bale's cowl feels too ovular, and like he's just got this tiny pointy little face on this great big egg shaped head. i dunno, but i don't like it.

veering away from the negativity a bit, but continuing with physicality, i have to say that the driving and flying sequences were great. all very well done, and enjoyable to watch. batman on a glider is one of my favorite things, and this movie didn't disappoint in this area. some of his toys were pretty nifty too. however, i do have a beef with the whole "skyhook" thing. it's a fantastic idea, don't get me wrong, it looked pretty awesome, and i know bruce wayne is rich as fuck, but seriously, the way that went down was not batman's style. a charter plane, or involving the U.S. military, either way, it's not his style. i mean, you can pursue realism all you want, but there is a line.

i mentioned earlier that all the characters were deep and well-realized. this is also true of batman (even though i don't care for the portrayal). the concepts dealt with in this movie—duality, sanity, purpose versus principles, and escalation—are indeed quintessentially batman concepts which have been dealt with extensively in the comics and other movies. so, yes, the batman's arc in this movie is also fantastically conceived… if only it was executed as well.

finally, we saw the movie in the IMAX theater, with seats near the middle on the second row about 100 feet or so away from the screen. perhaps i was too close, or perhaps i was too engrossed in the movie, but i can't say that i ever noticed a single bit that was IMAX. i will also say that it was very disappointing that there was at least some component of the projection system—the screen, the booth window, the project, or even the film—that was very dirty. there were black spots all over the screen.

given all the above, and my love of batman (in general), i figure that i will like it much better after a second viewing. now that i have traded expectation for experience, and having already said my peace about bale's bat, perhaps i'll be able to sit back and really watch it, enjoy it, and not let the bad bits color my perception of everything else too much.

anyone willing to give it a second look?

- 04:29 am - PL :: 5 Comments
categories ::  Comics - Indifferent - Movies - Pop Culture - Rants - Raves - Uncategorized


2004.12.07 can't live for tomorrow:

wow…today has been incredibly eventful.

first i found out that the live hot snakes 7" they were selling on their most recent tour was, in fact, a peel session. not only that, but it was the last peel session ever. wow. i found all this out after kurp sent me an email to let me know that they were selling the 7" on the swami records merch site. after some begging and pleading, i was able to find someone who could order it for me (i have no credit/debit card). so…that was awesome. i'm happy.

add to that the fact that i won a contest over on jim lee's blog. i am walking out of that deal with a very rare, retailer only copy of batman #608. it has a different cover than the normal edition and goes for $400-500 on ebay. super awesome! not only is jim lee one of my favorite comic artists of all time, but he's a super swell guy. wow.

something i forgot to mention yesterday was that i spent most of my weekend putting together a dvd of nirvana's 1993 mtv live and loud performance. i made new menus and even added a couple "hidden" extras. i'm quite proud of it. you can download it via bittorrent from here (you'll have to register for the site). that's a raw dvd folder that you'll have to burn onto dvd with a (shock!) dvd burner, but you should be able to play the dvd from your hard drive with just about any dvd player software (does windows media player support dvd now?).

wow. i'd call this a pretty decent tuesday.

- 07:00 pm - PL :: 3 Comments
categories ::  Comics - Music - Nothing


2004.08.11 hustlin' little girls:

nothing resets the happy clock like a quiet night of sitting at home, doing nothing. man…i loves me some relaxin'. and let me tell ya…relaxing is a lot easier now that i have this awesome bean bag chair thing that the girl bought for me. it's my new videogame chair. it rules.

we're not going to get back into the studio until monday. it's kinda disappointing on one level and for the better on another. we've now had time to listen to things and see what needs to be fixed, as well as time to finalize the lyrics, since they've changed every show we've played. more time to get things right will never be a bad thing, i don't guess.

another reason we won't be back into the studio until monday is because i'll be in chicago at the wizardworld comic-con all weekend. i must have a sick fascination with revealing incredibly geeky facts about my ridiculously pathetic life. i need to seek help.

that reminds me, though…i really need to burn some cds tonight for the trip. i'm used to my car's mp3 player. the girl's car only has a standard cd player. it's like being back in the stone age…

time to get to pretending to work…

- 04:35 pm - PL :: 2 Comments
categories ::  Comics - L&N - Nothing


2004.07.28 punk rock craze is the hottest thing goin':

last night was a much needed quiet evening at home. the girl and i ordered some pizza, everything was aces. we even went to bed early. i woke up feeling like a million bucks.

they're doing some interesting marketing for halo 2. seems like another one of those sprawling "arg" kinda things. blaine seems to think this points to them having a playable demo in the august oxm. could be…could be.

speaking of halo, that's what my after work plans consist of. i predict "the gooch" will run riot on the asses of all of my friends.

jesus. i wonder if i've ever posted something that insanely geeky.

how about this: my tickets for the wizardworld comic convention in chicago arrived on monday. does that outgeek the halo thing? i think it might.

- 09:46 pm - PL ::
categories ::  Comics - Nothing


2004.01.07 then i'll get rid of you:

man…there's this creepy dude that sits right by the door into the office. every time i come through that door, he turns around and stares at me. i know that's normal if you sit next to a door that's constantly opening and closing, but jesus…this guy is just creepy in that wormy little nerd way. either way, i wish the little bastard would stop. or move away from the door. creepy little fucker.

so…we went out bowling with some friends for the girl's going away party, the other night (photos and video here). a lot of fun was had, a lot of beer was consumed, a few strikes were thrown (one of which is actually on video). pitchers of beer were only $5, so needless to say, we drank a lot of 'em.

while we were boozing and bowling, a friend of mine that works at a local comic shop looks over at me and says "didn't you have everyone at the chicago con draw hellboy for your sketchbook?" i confirmed that that was, in fact, exactly what i did. he says "man…i think you were mentioned in the introduction to the new hellboy weird tales trade."

so the next day, i go into the shop to see what the hell he's talking about. lo and behold and lots of cool other revelatory words, i'm mentioned as a "young writer" (despite having nothing actually published) and he talks about my sketchbook a bit. since i wasn't mentioned by name, i wasn't convinced that it was me, so i wrote scott allie (the hellboy editor and the one who wrote the introduction) a little email and he sent this back to me:

Yep. Didn't wanna mention names, as one time I did that and the person got angry, when I thought he'd think it was cool. You never can tell.

so…yeah. i feel super fucking cool. totally. the funny thing about this whole thing…i bought the singles of the weird tales books, so i didn't even really consider picking up the trade. i flipped through it and noticed the stories were out of order and marvelled at the sketchbook pages, but i never looked at the introduction until after said friend mentioned it to me. now i have to go out and buy the fuckin' thing.

oh yeah…there's also a new show over at transmission3000. oxes. recorded in france. it's bitchin'.

have a happy new year, suckers.

- 04:57 pm - PL :: 2 Comments
categories ::  Comics - Nothing - Transmission3000


2003.10.31 infuriatin':

well, after almost a month of little-to-no internet connection at the ol' homestead, we've finally switched to evil cable broadband access. seems pretty good so far… and it works, which is a big improvement at this point.

it's been a busy few weeks beside, with me finally taking the time to start entering comics into the database program after over a year of neglecting the task. (which i did pretty-much simply because i had no 'net connection at home, thus no ready distraction).

i also finally managed to get out of the house long enough to go visit my friend nate (a formerly frequent commenter who's been too busy trying to make people call him Doctor to pop in for inane chatter.) it's been a while since i've seen him, and we had a good visit where we did next to nothing but watch TV and video games all weekend, which, in and of itself was pretty much an off-continent vacation for me, as little as i do either of those things.

and the most wonderful event of the past weeks has been the celebration of my one year anniversary with my incredible girlfriend. i've never managed to maintain a relationship for more than 5 or 6 months at the most, so this is a major accomplishment for both of us–her, for putting up with me, and me, for not screwing things up. being with her has made this the best year of my life–one that i want to repeat and improve upon as many times and as much as possible.

in other news, the kentucky gubernatorial race has been really ticking me off. personal attack ads are (unfortunately) not uncommon in political races, but usually they're at least defensible. the Fletcher campaign has been participating in quite a bit of it's own misrepresentation (of the candidate himself, and of his opponent), but the most egregious example has been the ads put out by the Republican Governors Association. most of these ads have been denounced as outright falsehoods by every responsible media outlet in the state, and some of the statements made in them have even been denounced by RGA members themselves. but don't take my word for it, pick up a newspaper, i'm sure you'll find mention. or better yet, a page on Chandler's site collects several quotes from papers around the state. to top it off, the RGA isn't even authorized by the Fletcher campaign to place these ads (though of course, he doesn't ask them to pull them) which are also not paid for by campaign funds. is this legal? unfortunately, yes. what it amounts to is "legally" untraceable donations to a political campaign. what it amounts to is soft-money spending to promote a political candidate. they've taken steps to ensure that the ads are technically legal (they never say "vote for Fletcher" or anything like that). and now, it's prompted similar assistance for the Chandler campaign. but at least we know that Chandler is capable of acting independently from his party and any special interests, which is something Fletcher has shown no ability or desire to do.

Restoring Truth is an interesting (if poorly constructed–hey, i'm a web developer, it's a big deal to me) site run by the Chandler campaign showcasing many of Fletcher's misrepresentations, and outlining how his political speeches don't necessarily reflect his voting record. on one of the pages of this site, it mentions that it was put together for about $50, which is pretty believable when you consider the number of typos and misspellings i caught while going through it. the navigation leaves a little to be desired as well, but the information is valuable and worth the effort to retrieve.

one of the things that Fletcher constantly tries to push on Chandler is an association with the scandal-ridden Patton administration. for anyone who actually believes this line of bullshit, i'd recommend you read (at least) this page outlining Chandler's Ethics Plan. overall, it outlines Chandler's commitment to government ethics, and in several places lists supporting evidence from his years as State Auditor and Attorney General. like specifically, how he has cracked down on members of his own party when they've done wrong.

in the end, you need to get out there and vote for who you most agree with. and keep in mind while reading that a "spin-free" forum doesn't exist. Chandler applies spin, Fletcher most certainly applies spin, i apply spin. try to get the facts, and when you can't build a complete picture, at least be aware that you can't.

i'm going to vote against Fletcher because i don't like his politics, i don't like his ties to the special interests, and i don't like his lying to the public. i'm going to vote for Chandler because i generally (though not totally) agree with his politics, i love his ability to break from strict party loyalties in pursuit of justice, i like his committment to ethics in government (self-policing and watchdogging), and i like how he's tried to run a "clean" campaign (if you disregard that mess during the primaries) promoting his own merits and outlining his opponent's record without resorting to snippy and erroneous personal attacks (as far as i've seen).

but again, to reiterate, read shit for yourselves, get the facts, make your own decision. what's right to me may not be for you, which is what democracy is all about.

- 01:02 am - PL :: 3 Comments
categories ::  Comics - Computers/Tech - Friends - Happy/Love - Love Life - Politics - Rants - Travel - Upset/Dislike - Wife


2003.08.18 will you stand or run?:

i'm really trying to be better about updating aruond here. i realized that before my last post it had been a full month, so under a week isn't so bad, right?


oh well…

a minor brouhaha has developed over my now aborted attempt to post all the issues of the alan moore/neil gaiman class miracleman online. it's out of print and the rights to the series are currently tied up in court because of a certain ex-spider-man artist who cares more about homerun baseballs and toys than drawing comics. i even got a cease and desist from neil's lawyer. this nice little letter was picked up by a few comics news sites and has been labelled "the nicest cease and desist ever." whatever.

we're going back up to chicago this weekend to see radiohead. they're actually playing in east troy, wisconsin, but who's keeping score?

there's new sets up over at transmission3000. two rocket from the crypt shows from 2001. i've got a rodan set on the way.

here's a few short reviews of some of the comics from last week…

Great issue, but I thought Batman's involvement kinda ruined it. I'd like to see the cops take care of things on their own.

I'm hooked on this series. I thought the whole "I'm the leader" argument was a little truncated, though. I'm guessing Johns wanted to throw it into a few panels and then trot it back out later on down the line.

Bruce Jones is writing a tight little series, here. I've always been interested in the Kingpin when he's written properly (like in Bendis' current run of Daredevil), and here I think he is. I love Sean Phillips' art, but his Kingpin just looks kinda dopey. There's no real menace there, i guess. This could be just because Sean's only doing breakdowns, but…

MARVEL 1602 #1 (Of 8):
Great first issue. Gaiman sunk his hooks into me right off the bat. I'm really into the various mysteries of this story. Andy Kubert is really kicking some ass on this one, as well. Helped in no small part by Isanove's brilliant colors.

TROUBLE #2 (Of 5):
I don't know why everyone is bitching…I really like this book. It could just be that I'm a total sucker for the Dodsons' art, but whatever.

Oh boy! Another issue of Ultimate Marvel Team-up! I'd much rather this book actually be about the X-Men, you know. It's actually starting to get on my nerves.

Bendis is starting to tie this arc together nicely. I almost forgive him for that whole monkey thing.

PUFFED #2 (Of 3):
Crosland's art blows me away. I'm really enjoying the story that Layman's telling here, as well. That giant dragon about made my eyes pop out of their sockets.

alright…now that i've cheated and made this post longer…i'm out.

- 08:44 pm - PL :: 2 Comments
categories ::  Comics - Nothing - Transmission3000


2003.08.12 keep your hands off of my stack:

i keep on neglecting this here weblog. i blame it on the fact that work has been insanely busy, as of late, and i spend an inordinate amount of time just farting around on the computer when i finally get home. or maybe it's writer's block. or maybe i'm just lazy.

krazy fest was the weekend beore last. we had a lot of fun hanging out and watching the endless parade of good bands. friday was spent hanging out with tall, since it was his last day in town. we had a good time and ended up getting seriously trashed by the time we had to take him to the airport. you know…at 6am.

krazy fest sunday was spent hanging out with bob, since he was in town with that band of his. we basically sat up at the crab shack for a while, drinking a good amount of beer. in the sun. always a good time.

the week seemed to blur past and then we get to this past weekend…

the girlfriend and i decided to go up to chicago for the wizardworld comic convention. this has to be one of the most geeky things i've ever done in my entire life, but i don't care. not at all. it was a ton of fun. i ended up hanging out and talking with a lot of my favorite comic creators and scored a ton of original sketches by most of them. i had my little theme going, so i had them all do hellboy. you can see them all here.

i also picked up some wizardworld exclusive comics that i realized i didn't really want, at all. i've since put them up no ebay, so if you want to buy something, check out my auctions. I'll be adding a ton of old 7" records to ebay in a few days, so make sure to check back.

ummm…yeah. that's about it.

- 09:01 pm - PL :: 3 Comments
categories ::  Comics - Nothing


2003.07.03 this is how i ended up sucked in:

this week's comics:

100 Bullets #46:
The conclusion of "Chill in the Oven"…fantastic. Risso threw down one of my all time favorite comic panels, in this issue, and Azzarello kept the story running. I love how there always seems to be action running parallel to these big conversation moments between two characters. Advancing two stories at once. Smooth. I'm really looking forward to this team's run on Batman. I think I'm sweating that even more than I was Jim Lee's current run.

Arkham Asylum Living Hell #3:
Ryan Sook continues to impress and amaze. His rooftop shot of the pre-"Sprang Act" Gotham was awesome, as was every other bit of his art in this issue. Evolving from a straight Mignola clone (never bad in my book) to a solid style of his own, he's making it damn hard for me to wait until he takes over Detective Comics as the regular artistwith Ed brubaker writing. And I tell ya…Dan Slott is telling a helluva story for a guy I've never heard of.

Formerly Known As The Justice League #1:
BWA-HA-HA? Maybe…It's getting there. The concept is pretty damn funny, thus far.

Superman Birthright #1:
Superman done right. Period. If you don't already have a copy of this, go get it. Think "Ultimate Superman." Now you can stop wondering "which version of Krypton is canon?" or some other garbage and enjoy the frickin' story. Leinil Yu's art is nothing short of beautiful. McCaig's colors are pretty damn swanky, as well.

Alias #24:
I had a strong feeling that the "villain" or point of this story would be who it is. I'm looking forward to the glimpse into Jessica's past that the next issue may provide.

New X-Men #143:
I bought this book solely for Bachalo's art. Last issue's script was pretty tolerable, as far as Grant Morrison goes, but this one is right back to the "I'm incredibly inconsistent, I ignore proper characterization, and my stories make no sense ON PURPOSE! But it's okay…I'm GRANT MORRISON!" bullshit. I'm waiting for everyone to wake up to see that this particular emperor is butt naked.

Ultimate Spider-Man #43:
I'm already annoyed with Bendis' take on the "X-Women." This is probably one of the weakest issues of Ultimate Spider-Man yet. Still more enjoyable when held up against the other Spider-Man books, but it's not the kind of story I'm terribly interested in, I guess.

Last Of The Independents GN:
Great book. Simply great. I picked it up on a whim, and I'm really glad I did. It's a 70's bank heist movie on paper. In widescreen. Damn straight.

scroll down for my newest post about actual…y'know…stuff.

- 10:25 pm - PL :: 5 Comments
categories ::  Comics