Saturday, December 31, 2005

Hitching my trailer to a boat...

The post where I look back at the year and forward to the next, even predicting the future.

What's the best thing about this past year. Comics. I got back into them and am enjoying something simply because they're enjoyable. Just like the man says 'nuff said.

Second best thing of the year. Comic blogs. You're all great and I've enjoyed reading all of them. And not just the ones on my sidebar, all the ones I'm too lazy to add to my sidebar as well. You've made the dull days in my cubicle bearable (not that I encourage anyone to slack off at their jobs).

Predictions for 2006 - at about this time there will be a whole lot of people making best of the year and worst of the year lists.

Go drink bubbly wine tonight folks!

Thursday, December 29, 2005

Thursday's Loot - 29 December 2005

The last loot bag of the year and only two floppies. JLA Classified #15 and the new Solo book. To make up for it I picked up the first trade of Lions, Tigers and Bears as well as Sgt. Rock's Combat Tales Digest.

I took a break for lunch today, sort of resigned myself to fate as far as work goes and read the JLA Classified book. Is that or is that not the most classic Batman move ever? Besides taking a punch Batman has always been the guy with funny boomerangs that later explode when the villain laughs at them or breathes a sigh of relief when s/he realizes Batman missed. Well, I'm a sucker for it every time. It's always a "Fuck Yeah!" moment for me. I could almost see it in every single Batman story and still appreciate it. Otherwise this was probably the best and weirdest JLA story I've read this year. I do love the whole meme as enemy thing Ellis does. Fun stuff.

I really don't know why I like this rendition more than the others I've read of the JLA. I guess they're just equal parts punk and geek in this story - like me, or how I like to think of me. They're smartass, but they're clever. They talk shit but then they bring it. They do what they need to do, believe in themselves and each other without being pandering. And Superman is really goofy but still slightly badass. I mean, Christ, I'm the son of an electrician but I still get shocked everytime I plug in the Christmas tree so I don't see how his father being a scientist has anything to do with fighting random alien menaces. I don't care, I'm just sayin'....

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Marvel, hear my plea!

Oh, you did? Great.

I knew if I got all pissy with you you’d go and do something to make me love you again. Ultimate Wolverine vs. Hulk was a good read. I really enjoyed it. I think it’s funny how I’m enjoying reworked characters more than their original counterparts. I guess the weight of history is just too much for some characters to take.

Iron Man: The Inevitable was even better. You got me to read an Iron Man comic that didn’t involve the Fantastic Four and large Japanese monsters. Although I think The Basement Tapes and GØDLAND had more to do with it than you Marvel. Thank you for not claiming this book will change my life and bear my children. It was a refreshing change from your usual verbosity.

I know that UWvH was splashed all over the place and it removed the effectiveness of the whole tearing characters apart thing, but maybe I wasn’t paying much attention to you so I missed a lot of the hoopla. I may have been distracted elsewhere but I don’t remember a big stink about it. Thanks for that. And for the writer guy who’s known for doing something on TV that I watched once or twice but gave up on because they were telling the same story each week. Oddly enough I stopped watching his show for the same reason I dropped the comics that I dropped. You are warned.

I hope you are being clever here Mr. TV Writer. That your famous image of Hulk and Wolvie is your visual metaphor for deconstructing the characters. Please be that clever or you’ll let Marvel break my heart all over again.

I want to like the new Excalibur. I was in love with them once but they broke my heart. I still care for you but I was hurt once and I don’t want to go down that road again. If you can prove you’ve changed Marvel, I’ll consider buying this book. I have to admit though, your New Avengers and Young Avengers have let me down. There was no spark there, no connection, on paper we should get along but on our own in a romantic setting there’s just nothing there. I know you’re trying. I know you’re really nice but we just don’t work together very well. That’s okay. We can be friends, just not that involved.

Saturday, December 24, 2005

This is a rambling year-ender of a post

Hi all and Happy Holidays. I’m not sure if this post will be a long one or a short one as I start writing, so let’s read and see…

This has been an interesting year for me. It started out with me working month to month on 30 day contracts and finally getting hired full-time by the party I work for. There was constant threats of me losing my job after that and with a minority parliament a constant threat of a snap election. It’s finally happened and I’ve been working 12 – 16 hours a day since November. I’m exhausted and will be working today, Christmas Eve and Boxing Day for sure, Christmas Day is still a maybe. This is because our candidates haven’t bothered to all get registered and get on the ballot before the holidays like we’ve asked them to. So I get to spend my holidays, not in Halifax as was planned but with my in-laws at my new home with my girlfriend, and me working with people who don’t want to help themselves – but they do want to get elected to parliament. Very frustrating, but I really like my new flat.

2005 was also the year I got back into comics in a big way. It’s been 15-20 years since I read comics in any sort of volume. Having a guaranteed income helped, and a comic shoppe just a few doors down certainly helped out. Over the years I picked up a few Chris Ware and Paul Pope books, but I wasn’t exactly too interested in the whole comics thing. Then I took a computer animation course and was looking for some source material, and I picked up a few Tank Girl trades. The addiction flea bit me and wouldn’t let go. I bought a few random books and looked a few things up online. It was then that I discovered the Identity Crisis hoopla.

Now, say what you will about Identity Crisis as someone returning to comics after a long hiatus I really enjoyed it. I’m not so young anymore so I wasn’t looking for the stories I read as a kid. This did it for me. It brought me right back into comics. It was the right story at the right time for me. Yes there are problems with it, but that’s the point of story telling – there is never ever a perfect story – all stories are written to attain perfection and we read them to revel in the attempt. We’re here to see if the story resonates with us, and that it achieves what the story set out to do.

This year I did a few things simultaneously. I picked up some “essential” books that I’ve never read before alongside some more recent collections and current floppies. This year was the year I read Watchmen and The Dark Knight Returns for instance. It opened my eyes to what comics could be if we let them. They don’t need to feel hollow because these books proved it. They were timely and current, and more importantly they are respected, loved and successful precisely because they were timely and current on top of telling timeless tales. Coming at these books as a mature reader made me feel a joy at the brilliance of these works as well as a sadness that this isn’t what the industry is striving for anymore. Would these books get published today? I just don’t know. I also know that not every book can strive to be like these works, but the spirit they exude is missing from a lot of current work.

I can’t blame anyone for this either and I hope it’s not seen in this way. These works have also been responsible for a lot of the current trends that people are upset about. The aping of the style has resulted in the darkening of the genre by copying the surface presentation, not the heart and soul that makes those works historically relevant as well as important today. Plus they are just fun reads.

I read the Y: The Last Man trades as well as The Walking Dead trades and a couple of Hellboy trades – all of which were new to me as well. The Walking Dead sucked me in like a zombie sucking on a neck bone. Same with Y: The Last Man – except for the Safeword trade. It just pulled me out of the larger story when she mentions the Marquis de Sade as a psychiatrist. Near the end through I started to understand the moment in Stand by Me when the fat kid asks about the point to the TV show Wagon Train. Where are they going? They’re always wagon training but never going anywhere. Hellboy is my one regret. I should be putting all my other reading on pause and just getting as much Hellboy reading done as I possibly can. I love the look of the series and how it’s both original yet completely aware of the fun and serious aspects the medium is capable of. It is just storytelling at it’s strongest – proving that you don’t need new stories or characters to tell good stories. I mean half the characters existed since man first started recording stories – Hecate, vampires, golems – these are some of the most ancient stories yet feel new here.

This was also the first time I read Crisis on Infinite Earths.

And finally I’ve tried to keep myself from being blindly loyal to any floppies. If I didn’t like a series I let it go. I’ve read bits of Robin, Nightwing, Batgirl, Green Arrow, X-men, New Avengers, Young Avengers, Ultimates 2, Ex Machina, various Batman titles, a few Superman books, a couple of Teen Titans, a whole slew of Infinite Crisis tie-ins as well as books like Fear Agent, Gødland, The Amazing Joy Buzzards, Queen and Country: Declassified, and an issue of Ferro City. Recently I’ve been enjoying the western revival found in Jonah Hex and Loveless.

My thoughts for floppies were that I’d buy whatever caught my fancy for whatever reason. Online buzz, recommendations in the comments section here or on any number of other blogs. If a series wasn’t holding my attention I’d simply move on. I’m doing my best to buy what I enjoy, not what I feel duped into buying. This is what I do for fun so it needs to hold my attention and entertain me – that’s it. I’ve received two English degrees, I’ve read my meal of literature so comics are my dessert. That’s all I want – comics that are successful in what they are trying to do. They don’t need to educate me or blow my mind, they simply need to entertain me. If a series doesn’t do that, I move on. There’s a lot to read out there so I’m trying to remain an omnivore on the comics shelf.

I ended up dropping books like Ex Machina, New Avengers, All-Star Batman and Robin because they just didn’t hold my interest anymore. I’m tempted to get them every now and again, but I feel I’ve been there and it’s time to try something new. I just recently picked up the first three issues of Fell, and I may pick up issue four and decide whether or not I’d go on from there. I love the art but I’m not necessarily in the right frame of mind to enjoy the stories. My life is depressing enough. Same with Powers. I dropped this because I felt it would simply be better as a trade.

I’ve also had a hard time getting my hands on a few books. I’ve missed all but the first issue of Ferro City. I liked it, but I wasn’t going to bust my ass to get the books and I don’t want to be tied to a subscription. Gødland has been hit or miss for me as well and I missed the last issue of the Amazing Joy Buzzards – which I would go out of my way to get.

I find it hard to come up with a best of 2005 list since I’ve read stuff from across the historic spectrum. I really enjoyed All Star Superman and I’m seriously enjoying Justice. I wasn’t too sure about Loveless at first but issue two pulled me into the story, as did issue two of Jonah Hex. I’m truly happy to see a series that looks to be single issue books. Please keep this up. I’m also really enjoying the Ultimates 2. I can’t put my finger on why, I just know that I look forward to reading it when I get it. I also think the current arc of Marvel Team-Up will continue to be fun, and I'm enjoying both JLA: Classified and JSA: Classified. And Solo will continue to be on my pull-list.

So I guess I’ll end on an odd note. Things I wish I didn’t miss out on. The Seven Soldiers series. I know I would love these but I just didn’t buy them from the beginning so I’m forcing myself to wait for the trades. I know this goes against what I just finished writing about not forcing myself to buy entire series, but this one I know I’d enjoy it more if I had it all so I’ll wait and see. I also wish I read more of the Justice League Unlimited series and the Spider-girl digests. I’m intrigued by Runaways and Invincible but haven’t gotten to either yet. Hell, I keep changing my list of back-issue trades I want to read. I am afraid to admit I have yet to read any Scott Pilgrim or New Frontier.

I did buy myself a few X-mas gifts this year. I got JSA: The Golden Age, the first Animal Man trade, and The Best of The Spirit. I’m looking forward to read all of them and be able to post on all the weeks I’ve missed out on. I do have a lot to say just not the time to say it.

Thanks for reading – enjoy your turkey if you have it. And I highly recommend Smax to anyone who thought Shrek was a great movie.

Friday, December 23, 2005

14 - The maybes and also rans

Here’s to the potentials and to the never weres.

This is the last of my political posts for a while – maybe. There are two parties that are still eligible to become registered parties if they field one candidate in this election. The Western Block Party and the First Peoples National Party of Canada. Both have logos without flora or fauna, which will really help them stand out on television and in the paper. I really do wish the First Peoples National Party of Canada the best of luck. I think it is a great vision and a movement that will help the First Nations get the respect they so rightly deserve. They have the potential to bring a very unique and original point of view to the political arena.

Then there are these jokers. Sorry if I can’t take them seriously. The logo was made by a small child or worse, an adult who draws like a small child. Then their policies of holding referendums on everything is hilarious. How do you hold a referendum on shared values, let alone shared religion? Sorry, we don’t believe in putting sugar in coffee, we had a referendum on that, it’s not a western value. Then I thought it would be hilarious if Hinduism or Jedi won as their shared religion.

And last but certainly not least are the National Alternative Party that couldn’t get enough members to prove they were a party, The Ontario Party – ditto – and the Absolutely Absurd Party who withdrew their application. I think the Sex Party was also trying to get registered. Personally I think we are all the worse off for not having an Absolutely Absurd Party running. Imagine if they were like Dadaists reading from telephone books at candidate debates.

Sir, what is your position on the gun registry?

James Flannigan – 902-234-1599

Okay, and your party’s position on Quebec separation?

Rice Pudding.

13 – Liz White and the Animal Alliance Environment Voters Party of Canada

Well, voters in Toronto Centre are a lucky bunch. This is a brand spanking new party that has become officially registered the moment Liz White was registered as a candidate in this election. Guess what the Animal Alliance Environmnet Voters Party of Canada stand for. Anyone?

Well at least the logo doesn’t have foliage in it. They went with fauna instead of flora, and some kind of tick tack toe game. Good thing it isn’t a jumbled mess… Wait! When did we get gibbons in Canada? And, damn, there is a pine tree in there. So everyone but the Canadian Action Party has foliage in their logo.

Slogan? Nope. Isn’t their name already a slogan?

Liz White. Looks like she’d wear a seal-skin coat. Or not. I’m thinking that she and the other members realized that by having a political party they could give out better tax receipts than if they were a charity so they are simply using this election to have some free advertising and give better tax breaks to contributors who are allied with animals. I bet she's a cat person. Look at her, you know she disapproves of your life.

Captain Carrot has nothing on this lot.

Wednesday's Loot - 21 December 2005

Oops, this got delayed a bit. This week it's all mini-series. In fact I'm almost tempted to only read limited series for all of 2006 with the exception of Jonah Hex and The Amazing Joy Buzzards, of which volume 2 issue 3 I cannot find anywhere. So I picked up Infinite Crisis #3, Justice #3, Green Lantern Corps Recharge #3, JSA Classified (whatever number it's at 6?)Iron Man: The Inevitable #1, and Ultimate Wolverine Vs. Hulk #1 with the Ultimate gold cover. Yes, bright shiny objects will actually attract me, distract me and take my money. I'm also hoping that "The Inevitable" isn't referring to the delays in production... wucca wucca wucca.

I read Infinite Crisis but I'm just too physically exhasuted to make sense of anything anymore. So in the least amount of words possible (maybe to get me in the mood for the Hulk book) here's what I thought.

Animal Man + face lightning = Jon want read series. Am happy bought first trade for self Xmas.
Purple death ray = badass
Luthor = good twist. Stop laughing. It good.
Superboy = whiny frustrated teenager. Good twist.
Antimonitower = good.
Batman = girly-man. Shut up and kick ass. But in happy way with giant bat-bot or something.

12 – Tracy Parsons and the Progressive Canadian Party

Previous entries: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11

Well there’s only two things I know about the Progressive Canadian Party. One, they were so upset by the death of the Progressive Conservative Party that they decided to use their initials and values for their own party. Two, one of the members owns photoshop or some other image editing software program. Look at the website and you’ll see what I mean, hell, look at Ms. Parson’s photo and you’ll see what I mean.

They exist simply to ape on the old PC party and hope that a few seniors are so used to voting for a PC party that they’ll skim a few votes in each election. I find it funny that none of the actual Progressive Conservative MPs or politicians had anything to do with this party. It’s like fan fiction or fan films. Sure a few are good, and some are even funny when they use flash or other animation programs but for the most part they suck. Same with this party. It loved something so much it tried to recreate it only to be seen as a chubby weirdo with an odd obsession and a light saber, I mean political party – which is weirder. At least people understand that things like comics and star wars will have fans, but political party groupies? C’mon. I mean, really, c’mon. It’s one thing to want to lay the prime minister it’s another to make your own version of a party.

Well, here’s the logo. Yep, looks like it was made by photoshop, or some freeware imaging software. Sorry about the extra crap around it.

I can’t tell what the slogan is. It’s either “welcome,” “become a member” or “nation builders.” I’ll go with “Nation Builders.” That’s not too bad. At least it can’t be photoshopped. Is photoshopped a word? It is now. Finally, I’m with Shakespeare and can be accredited with being the first to record a word that goes into common usage.

I don’t know what to say about Tracy Parsons. I wish her luck, she’s going to need it. (In politics, they got photoshop down-pat). I guess she’s just one of the also-rans. I’m too tired to make with the funny. Is this election over with yet?

No grades. They suck. Not Communist bad, but bad. I mean, the Marxist-Leninists ran more candidates than the Bloc Quebecois last time around and these guys are meant to be a legacy party?

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

11 - Sandra Smith and the Marxist-Leninist Party

Hot damn I forgot the Marxist-Leninists. How could I have possibly forgot about the Marxist-Leninist Party? Yes, here in Canada we aren’t happy with a simple Communist Party, we need two parties that show us the strict division in communist thinking and ideologies. I guess we’re only missing the Stalinist Party that will kill anyone who dissents with party leadership.
When I first researched the Marxist-Lenninists they didn’t even have a website. They do now. Way to prove that your method of thinking isn’t out-dated.

I don’t know what the hell is up with the logo. It looks like it’s for transsexual rights or breast cancer survivors. That would be cool, but no, it’s for commies that go by another name.

I think the slogan is awesome, but it also proves why people don’t really like lefties. “FOR US ACCOUNTABILITY BEGINS AT HOME... Stop Paying the Rich! Increase Funding for Social Programs! Let Us Together Take a Bold Step in Defence of the Rights of All!” I like how they misspelled Defense. Good job there. That’s what happens when you do everything by committee.

I couldn’t find anything about the leader but I found this photo in a Google image-search. She could be like King Tut on the sixties Batman TV show. Or maybe one of his hench-ladies. Whatever. I don’t care about this party and neither does anyone else. Well, except for the commies that didn’t like the Communist Party. I won’t even bother rating them, I’ve barely berated them.

10 - Jack Layton and the New Democratic Party

Previous Posts - 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9

My favorite thing to say about the NDP is that they’re not new anymore, they’re not all that democratic and it’s not much of a party. That and I think they had an internet survey on whether or not Mr. Layton should shave his moustache. That’s sad. Yet, they claim to not be a party that panders to anyone. I guess moustache issues aren’t included in that non-pandering declaration. The moustache demographic can truly decide an election if you’re not careful and since Mr. Layton is the only leader with a moustache he pretty much has that niche voter covered.

These guys are sort of like the superheroes that made creators want to reinvent everything. They were bright and shiny once, offering hope and new ideas but then everyone realized there was very little you could do with these characters. They have one thing to say and when it’s been said, you want to move on – or completely destroy anything that made the character unique. Same goes here. They were bright and shiny to my parents, but now they’re indistinguishable from any of the other parties. I keep hearing how they were working to give us good government, and they were, then suddenly they decided we need an election in the middle of the Christmas holidays that is twice as long as regular elections. It makes me want to say NDP Party just to piss off NDP members. It’s cute to see them get frustrated. “You’re saying New Democratic Party Party when you say NDP Party.” Yeah, yeah go sing strike songs like you actually worked for a union once for a summer job but your hands are softer than a baby’s bottom now because you’d rather kill yourself than work manual labour.

Ah well, at least they keep trying to be Green. That’s something that defines them from the other parties. Well, except the Green Party I suppose. I guess it would be rude to point out how the major supporters of the NDP are steel worker unions and auto worker unions. I can see how they would be a very ecological party with steel workers and auto workers. Two of the most environmentally friendly professions that cause not pollution whatsoever.

At least the logo is green now. It has the requisite maple leaf, but a green one this time. Thanks for changing it up.

Slogan for this election. “Getting results for people.” Not bad. Very assertive. I wonder what kind of results they mean though? Stool samples or like report cards? I do like it but I can’t help but remember that they were getting results and good government from a minority parliament but then decided they wanted more seats and could pull a few more seats from the Liberals in the middle of a scandal. What people want those kind of results? Besides the NDP, I mean? This is sort of like the spider clone saga. It started as a decent idea but then went to complete shit in a hurry.

Jack. What can I call Jack? Jack Spratt? Jack-man? The Dude? All I know is that this guy’s superpower would have something to do with shrugging your shoulders whenever you speak French. It’s hilarious. It’s like he has an itch he can’t scratch on his back and is trying to wiggle his shoulder blades so we doesn’t have to scratch on TV. So, here’s a picture of him getting results for people. Looks like he’s asking the other sissyneck politicians to “just bring it.” That’s pretty cool. I guess you can talk tough when your friends are teamsters. I guess at some point there will be a special book introducing a mini-series where this guy is unceremoniously shot in the head.

Superhero name: Jackass, I mean Jack-man.
Super Powers: Talking tough but can be stretched an shaped into any form other than what was promised.
Weaknesses: Economics. Constant reinvention of origins.
Super Team: Dippers (how can I come up with something better than the truth?)
Overall Rating: B

Monday, December 19, 2005

Shouldn't Marvel put as much effort into their comics as they do their press-releases?

So I figured I’d chime in about comics and stuff instead of the political stuff that leaves the taste of ashes in my mouth. I think my funny bone has been removed since dealing with political candidates.

Anyway, can someone explain what the hell is up with Marvel? They’re already hyping their next big summer event. Is this because I missed something about the last one? I’m sure someone liked it, but it held absolutely no interest for me whatsoever. I would really appreciate if someone could explain how it was good, seriously. It just seemed like a What If? story or about every single Wolverine plot I can remember.

I guess this is the next big event in a similar way to how Ronin was a character everyone was talking about… Except nobody was actually talking about him, her, whatever, I stopped reading New Avengers. I still think the Wrecker scene was cool though.

This thing just seems like someone surgically attached Infinite Crisis to The Da Vinci Code. Aren’t the Illuminati in the Da Vinci Code? They’re in Angels and Demons, and that book made me realize that I would never buy another Dan Brown book again. Ever. I bought it second hand and felt cheated. I plan on using the pages as padding when I mail somewhat fragile items. I refuse to link to his books. You can do whatever you want but I won't waste my time to copy and paste links to that tripe.

I think I’m happy enough just reading Marvel’s press releases. They’re actually more entertaining than a lot of their event books. Who knows though, I was skeptical of Infinite Crisis and I like it, and this could very well be a great story, but don’t call it something like the most talked about event of 2006 when nobody has heard of it or is actually talking about it. I've lost a lot of faith in people these last few weeks and the gaping holes of cynicism and indifference this Marvel civil war has been met with really isn't making me feel good about it or comics in general.

I will go back and re-ead both issues of Fear Agent to make this better.

Friday, December 16, 2005

9 - Blair Longley and the Marijuana Party.

Previous Posts - 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8

I think the Marijuana Party is what truly defines the North American split (if you leave Mexico out of North America). Since I don’t know anything about Mexico I’ll pretend only Canada and the USA are in North America for this post. In Canada, we have a political party that runs candidates for Federal Office based solely on the premise of legalizing marijuana. In the USA if you come out pro-pot I think they deport you to Mexico. In the USA you’ve basically chosen a side in the war on drugs. Here we let the potheads run for the House of Commons. Here people get fines and mostly just warnings if they are found with a bit of pot, in the States I’m told you get possession of narcotics charges. So if your going to get charged with possession of narcotics why not get caught with a barrel of heroin instead of a gram of weed?

The Marijuana Party is great, sad and hilarious. They manage to live up to stereotypes but they’re also making a point. If so many people are smoking marijuana already are the laws working? They tried to ban alcohol and that only saw a rise in organized crime who decided to fill the hole in the market. Same goes for weed. Legalize it and suddenly the criminal element no longer making a profit when government sponsored weed hits the shelves. But then you see the weed crew and laugh. It’s hard to take them serious and they don’t particularly want to be taken serious so the issue is a no brainer. Dude, isn’t a brainer when somebody blows smoke up your nose?

At least the logo isn’t a maple leaf, although I have seen Canadian flags that replace the maple leaf with a pot leaf. Whatever. The slogan is totally awesome – “Let’s roll!” I appreciate that type of humour. We need more in politics.

Now the thing about these guys is that Kevin Smith has already made comics about them and parodied them enough in Bluntman and Chronic as well as his various Clerks spinoffs. All the funny stuff you can think about the Marijuana Party is probably true. They forget when deadlines are and don’t get on the ballot. They forget that they need to actually collect signatures to get on the ballot, and they forget that the signatures need to be in the riding and from eligible voters. They stink of pot and b.o. when you meet them and probably have beards and/or piercings.

Who really cares though? They exist and manage to run a handful of candidates every elections. Is it due to their leader Mr. Longley? I doubt it. This guy looks more interested in the balloons that running a political party. He probably claims to be a Rastafarian and that the pot laws discriminate against his religion. He’s as much a Rastafarian as I am Hindu. He smokes pot, I eat Indian food, it isn’t a religious conversion. Still, they’re fun. I wish they got invited to debates and stuff. I’d actually watch debates with the Marijuana Party candidates. I’d sit in the audience eating chocolate bars or something to distract them. I guess the whole, they’re right but probably spend more time being paranoid about bullshit ideas they have from spending too much time stoned and sitting in a couch with the same people thing makes me be dismissive.

So what’s my conclusion here? They’d be shitty superheroes, but could be a great guest star or something. They’re cute in that unwashed, want to make politics as bitchin’ as their mixed tapes, kind of way. They’re the political party that gets the munchies whenever pork-barrel politics is mentioned. Not only do they want to lead the unwashed masses, they are unwashed masses. And, um, I didn’t manage to really say anything funny on this post. I wasted its potential, just like this party does with itself.

Superhero Name: Weed-wacko
Super Powers: Can inhale and hold breath for indeterminate periods of time. They got ideas that would totally blow your mind, man
Weaknesses: Bright shiny objects, colours, food, well anything to tempt the senses really.
Superhero Team: The Pot Heads.
Overall Rating: C+

His name is Robert and he can't stop thinking about Ninjas

This is a totally ninja site. It made my day. Well, it made my early morning.

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Wednesday's Loot - 14 December 2005

Only picked up three books today, but I didn't see The Amazing Joy Buzzards. I'll have to stop at the other shop on my way home in case it wasn't delayed. How sad am I?

I did get: Batman: Gotham County Line #3, DMZ #2 (didn't that just come out last week?)and The Best of The Spirit. I really can't wait for February when this dang election is over and I can read comics again. I want like a whole month where I can just escape reality (not that dealing with candidates and politicians in any way reflects reality).

Also, Rick Mercer is finally standing up for the much abused Beer Drinking Demographic in response to Scot Reid's comments. Sign the petition because Children may be the future, but Beer is forever.

For Scipio

Since I don't know how to post it or send it to him... Go read The Absorbascon, sorry The Sword of The Absorbascon, or maybe Absorbascon: Sword of the Internet Comic Bloggers... I don't know.

Here's the goddam picture:

Oh yeah, I made it here, with a little help from Photoshop.

8 - Jean-Serge Brisson and the Libertarian Party

Previous Entries - 1 2 3 4 5 6 7

Well, it seems that the kooky hours I’m working have basically killed all enthusiasm I have for pretty much everything in my life right now. I can’t even make fun of politicians on a regular basis – and it’s really easy.

What is there to really say about the Libertarian Party. I’m pretty sure they exist simply to get votes from dyslexics, myopic or librarian voters who confuse them with the Liberal Party. They believe in less government, so they are cast in the shadow of villains. They’re a bit like anarchist-lite. It just doesn’t fly in a country that values state sponsored institutions. There is a social safety net that has been created and maintained by government. This is the biggest difference between Canada and the U.S. of A. The national consciousness here is that the government of the country is here to support it’s citizens and maintain a basic level of care, whereas south of the border the government is there to ensure the citizenry is free to do what it please whether or not it is to the detriment of everyone else. That’s the big difference. That, and the snow monkeys we’re plagued with up here.

The big impression I’m seeing is that the Libertarians are basically arguing for the Americanization of Canada. The Libertarians sound like the sworn enemies of the Canadian Action Party that exists simply to fear the American Dollar Bill or something. I’m not sure if two insane wrongs make a lesser wrong, but you’d think this could possibly be comedy gold. I’m just not in a funny mood. I feel funny, but that’s just lack of sleep and a proper diet. I think I’m funny, but I’ve been sitting in front of a computer and talking on the phone since 8AM and for the last 16 days for an average of 12 hours a day. Rice is funny to me now.

The logo looks like they’re a airline more than a political party It does contain the required maple leaf. I don’t get this, why do they all need maple leafs? Do these parties think Canadians voting in a Canadian election might accidentally vote for a Ugandan political party?

Any who… The slogan “A whole new idea” sounds like a whole lot of “rushed to meet an election deadline.” I got a brand new idea – try not to suck.

What’s the deal with Mr. Brisson? I guess his big claim to fame is his big seat belt ordeal. I think the party exists to limit the amount of government because they told him it was a good idea to wear a seatbelt while driving on the highway. Those bastards. I guess if you have an impenetrable skull you don’t need to worry. He should fit right in in politics. Is government too big? No, your order is too tall.

Superhero Name: The Librarian
Super Powers: Impenetrable skull
Weaknesses: Fast cars and cops
Super Team: The Freedom Fighting Minute Men of America
Overall Rating: D-

Saturday, December 10, 2005

7 - Paul Martin and the Liberal Party

The Liberal Party, along with the Conservatives and NDP, show us that politics at its best is politics at its worst. To me, Martin and his Liberals are like the second generation of heroes or heirs that inherited a legacy but since they didn’t have to work to earn anyone’s respect they just fuck it all up because they actually believe they’re entitled to have what they have.

To me, the Liberals are something like the re-imagined heroes of the nineties. They’re just riding a wave of success made by their predecessors. The thing is, we’re so used to them being around and since the other groups are even scarier they manage to remain powerful. I guess the Liberals have the potential to be something like Sandman or Starman but really they’re just Aquaman when he got all pissed off and yelly.

The logo unfortunately contains a large letter “L.” It’s fine as far as logos go, easily identifiable, and not too garish a colour. The trouble is, what kind of hero wants to run around with a large “L” on their chest? I know the fad at the beginning of the millennium where people used their thumb and forefinger to make the “L” on their forehead has passed, but I can imagine us all doing this behind a Liberal hero’s back as he streaks towards injustice with a large red L on his chest. Again with the "Maple Leaf as rising sun" motif. How many times does Canada need to rise?

The logo for this campaign doesn’t seem to be released yet, but last time they had “Team Martin” on all their signs. It’s not so bad as far as nineties superhero team names go. It’s all about ego isn’t it. I’m Martin, you’re my team so you’re Team Martin, any questions? The trouble is, you should be inspired by your leader if you plan to rally around that call, and since the Liberals have more back stories, underlying plots, and rifts than three years of X-men books, it’s hard to believe people would jump to this rallying cry. Then again, there are enough boot lickers and toadies in the Liberal party that they’ll all be cow-eyed and complacent until Mr. Martin turns his back or shows a sign of weakness. I always wondered why Megatron tolerated Starscream, now I get it, they were in the Liberal Party of Canada.

What about Mr. Martin? Here he is generating his energy attack. It’s compressed hot air or maybe he farted and stained his pants. Mr. Martin does have a bit of Starman in his story. His father was a great representative for this country, and Mr. Martin wanted nothing more than to follow in his father’s footsteps. The father laid a great path while Mr. Martin was given a quagmire of fraud and invertebrate scum, I mean young Liberals or maybe Conservatives – whatever, potayto potahto. At least the Liberals aren’t righteous sons of bitches, just horribly smug. Anyway, Mr. Martin so desperately wanted to be a defender of democracy like his father but was handed such a scandal ridden mess, it’s amazing he hasn’t jumped off a bridge yet. He stuck with it, and here he is, trying to keep cleaning it up – again. But I guess the only real connection between the Liberals and Starman is that Starman had a rod that looked like it could screw you, and the Liberals are adept at pulling our pants down.

Superhero Name: The Martinite
Super Powers: Hot Air, able to phase concrete plans and detailed promises into nothing.
Weaknesses: Can’t pass up a buck.
Superhero Team: The Invertebrates
Overall Rating: B+

Thursday, December 08, 2005

And speaking of the Green Party...

...they have started an online petition to get included in the leaders' televised debates. They are currently being excluded because they have no sitting members, but are on track to running a full slate of candidates for the second election in a row - more candidates than the included (and elected) Bloc Quebecois.

I know there are a few Canucknuckleheads reading this so I suggest signing up - this is about democratic choice - not whether or not you actually agree with or even like the Greens.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Wednesday's Loot - 7 December 2005

I haven't complete forgotten about comic books, although the amount of candidates I am dealing with makes me want to escape into some form of four colour nether-world more and more these days - I just can't keep my eyes open long enough when I drag my carcass home at the end of the day.

So, I received Local #1 from Chris. Thanks. A review will appear at some point.

Today I picked up quite a few books. I picked up the first three issues of Fell (thank you reprints), Marvel Team Up, Jonah Hex, Detecive Comics, and Ultimates. I will get reviews up in, I don't know, February? Maybe.

Jim Harris and the Green Party of Canada

Previous Entries - 1 2 3 4 5

Ah, the Green Party. They keep trying to be “the little engine that could” but end up being “the little party that just couldn’t.” There’s a lot to love about the Green Party and a lot to make fun of. In a lot of ways they are the Doom Patrol – equally loved and hated depending on who you are and who’s in charge. Plus there is a fairly healthy mix of freaky people and suits. At least now there is. Once upon a time this party was the political equivalent of a Fruit and Nut Bar that had candidates who looked and spoke as if they spent all their time in a root cellar chewing on bark. Now they’re competing with the big kids and look to actually give them a run for their money. These are the second stringers that suddenly became interesting in the right hands.

To me, the history of the Greens is like the opening of The Incredibles where Buddy keeps trying to be like his hero. In some ways it’s amazing that someone young and inexperienced can pull off something as amazing as rocket-boots but they waste their potential trying to copy their idols. In the eighties, some Green lefties were inspired by the European Green Parties and managed to register one in Canada. Unfortunately, modeling a Canadian political party after a European one doesn’t quite work since Canada is larger than all of Europe. Green Parties tend to work in smaller locations, and Canada is certainly not a small location. Anyway, the original Greens sat on a copyright for a while until the next generation came around and said, that’s actually not a bad idea and we can get someone elected if we tone down the “I know what’s right for you even if you don’t and I will cram my righteousness down your frickin throat until you accept my superiority over you” stance inherent in all environmental movements. The last election had the Greens moving from being confused with Greenpeace and the Marijuana Party to being seen more like an actual political party that could get an actual politician elected – some time in the future…eventually.

How about the logo. Why does it look like a buzz-saw or the British Petroleum logo? I don’t think that’s a good idea, but what do I know. Is it supposed to be some flower bullshit? Because to me it looks like a smudged thumbprint. I guess the Green heroes could take an ironic stance and be buzz-saw themed heroes but I doubt they’re that clever.

Now for the slogan, “We Can.” Not exactly horrible, but not exactly good. It’s not exactly specific either, what can you do exactly? Compost? But then you look through their candidates and shockingly they can look like politicians. Maybe that’s what they mean, they can wear suits and comb their hair. Okay, not all of them, but more of them than you’d expect. Maybe they can also have political scandals and pissed off ex-leaders? Yep on both cases. Good job Greens, you can be a political party – well except for the whole getting elected stipulation.

And for the leader. Is he Underdog or Jim Harris? Nobody knows for sure. What we do know is that he doesn’t get picked to take part in debates. Poor guy. I bet he got picked last for dodgeball as well. Unlike the previous leaders of the Green Party Mr. Harris’s leadership has been plagued with controversy. He won the leadership by making it a goal of the party to run a candidate in every riding, and softening the unworkable Green solutions the party was formed on. Apparently this isn’t a Green value because ex-members have been writing nasty articles about him because of this. I guess it’s not Green to compromise and be worth the public’s attention.

Since he’s not included in the debates I’m going to put two pictures of Mr. Harris up here, so the voting public will get to know him. Yes, you, that one Canadian voter who reads this, this is the Green Party leader. Here he is demonstrating his super-power of misdirection. Is he going up, will he go down? Ha ha, you will never know, Toads! Yes, he can be a politician, didn’t you read the slogan? There are a few things I know about Mr. Green Jeans, he always mentions his Toyota Prius and bottled air in interviews. I wonder if he’ll give his star candidates a ride in his Prius and a hit of bottled air when they agree to run?

I need to give the Greens credit though, they managed to bring themselves out of complete obscurity by some pretty innovative means. They had mostly volunteers and little cash but pulled off what only 3 other parties have ever done and run a candidate in every riding. Sure last year’s platform was riddled with inaccuracies and it contradicted itself, and this year former employees and leaders are somehow quitting their positions again months or years after they quit the first time, but it’s not bad for a group of people with no idea of what being a political party entails. At least they don’t all look like the Unabomber.

And finally, Google image search has shown me that Kamala the Ugandan Giant’s real name was Jim Harris. While he would be a hell of a lot more entertaining to see in a political debate when he pile drives the other leaders into the podiums, I give the Green points to being randomly associated with someone retro-chic. I'd vote for this guy in a heartbeat. Plus, the Green Party ran Sailor White in the last election.

Superhero Name – Mr. Green Jeans
Super Powers – Drives his Prius like a motherfucker, master of misdirection, gets more powerful with global warming.
Weaknesses – surrounded by scary looking people
Superhero Team – The Green Machine
Overall Rating – B+ (Most improved)

Monday, December 05, 2005

Last Wednesday's Loot

Oh yeah, I did manage to buy a few floppies last week and actually read them. Oddly enough only one of them was released that week - JLA Classified - and J'onn Jonz was fricking awesome.

I also picked up the first issues of The Perhapenauts and Fear Agent. I'm now looking for the second issue of Fear Agent and I really didn't enjoy the Perhapenauts. I felt it was really cliched. The idea is fine, and the art is fine, but I was just plain bored by the whole thing and felt like I read this a million times before. Sometimes that's okay but this time it didn't work for me. I really dug Fear Agent and the whole riffing on Half-Life which really was the last ballsy Sci-Fi story I can remember. I hope to track down a copy of #2.

Friday, December 02, 2005

5 – Stephen Harper and the Conservative Party

Previous entries - 1 2 3 4

This one has taken me a while for a couple of reasons. The election actually starting and I figured I needed to give Stephen Harper and his Conservative Party “special” attention. As far as the name goes it’s not all that horrific. It says what they are, end of story. However, the story of how the name came about is actually kind of exciting. There used to be two parties, the Progressive Conservatives were one of the original parties in Canada. They were fiscally conservative but socially progressive in a lot of ways. Or maybe it was the other way around, I can’t recall. They’ve had one hell of a ride over the years in politics. In the eighties, under Brian Mulroney they had this massive majority in parliament but he decided that the metaphor of the mouse lying with the elephant wasn’t good enough so he decided to insert the mouse that is Canada so far into the elephant that is the USA that this country would essentially become the 51st state. In the next election they were reduced to two seats and lost their official party status.

Then out west this party called the Reform Party started up. They were sick and tired of the more or less useless PC party bumbling to reassert itself nationally. They were grassroots and Western – bright shiny and new. Then something happened and they became the Canadian Alliance and became scary in the bible-belt, Adam and Eve are my ancestors and rode dinosaurs to church every Sunday, scary. Eventually, Peter MacKay leader of the PC party and Stephen Harper, leader of the Canadian Alliance finally made a truce and formed the Conservative Party. Look, they had meetings around tables and everything so you know they're serious. If you look closely at the picture above it looks like MacKay is restraining himself from ripping off Harpers head and using it for a toilet. Harper looks infatuated.

That is a very brief summary of events, and the potential for conflict and storytelling is massive, as you may well imagine. They are the closest thing to having a Secret Society of Supervillians as a political party as anyone will ever see. Harper and MacKay are always at each other’s throats, and have secret meetings behind each other’s back – there was a public abandonment when Belinda Stronach dumped MacKay and joined the Liberal Party. This is Villains United or the current JSA Classified arc except the only torture involved is in us, the electorate having to listen to these jackasses.

So, with the new party comes a new logo. Not since Bert & Ernie were two men more excited about a letter than Harper and MacKay when they released this logo. It’s a bit of a mobious strip “C” with a maple leaf. It’s okay, but it doesn’t scream conservatism to anyone. I do like the design though, it’s clean and clear. It’s actually quite hip when you think about the source. Not bad gentlemen you could slather this on each other’s chest with liquid latex.

Now let’s have a look at ole Stevey-Boy. OH. MY. GOD. That is an offence to all fans of the Village People, the Village People, cover bands of the Village People and anyone with eyes. I know you wanted to appear more personable and get out of the suit every now and again, by c’mon. Get your kids to make you a faux-hawk and dye it blue, this is just sad, and wait, I need to stick needles into my eyes if I’m to continue….Thalse betataar. Thankfully I can touch type so it won’t affect me except for the sweet release of blinding pain. I think you need to stop attending the pancake breakfasts if you don’t want this leather to pop.

Then there’s the haircut. He is actually giving Donald Trump a run for his money as far as utterly ridiculous haircuts go. Did your dad bring you for a haircut when you were like four and since then you’ve been saying “gimme the usual” ? Because that’s what it looks like. It look impenetrable and just utterly, utterly ridiculous. If this was “Hot or Not” that hair cut would rate a “Fucking Hideous.” If you bent at the waist and ran at brick walls, could you eventually smash through them Stevey-Boy?

When I read his biography online I noticed that Mr. Harper does want to be a hero. He desprately, desprately wants people to revere him, love him and vote for him. This is the first line of his bio “Stephen Harper has spent his political career standing up and speaking out for Canadians who work hard, pay their taxes and play by the rules.” He wants to be Superman. I take comfort that at some point the Conservative Party will kill off Stephen Harper to go up in the polls, and have his role assumed by four unlikely successors, a robot, a younger copy of Mr. Harper who was created using Mr. Harper and Peter MacKay’s combined DNA, a cloned copy of Mr. Harper, and Shaquil O’Neil. I’d watch those debates.

Not a bad thing to stand up for Canadians who work hard, but what about those who are hardly working? Those watercoolers won’t drink themselves you know. Okay, taxes, whatever – give me a break on mine and I’d consider voting for anyone. Now comes the part that got up in my craw and wouldn’t leave “play by the rules.” That is such a “kid who was pushed into the mud on a regular basis in primary school” thing to say. I bet he ran to the teacher whenever a situation started. It’s great to play by the rules if everyone agrees on them, but a major point of Mr. Harper’s campaign and his party’s is that the rules aren’t fair and need to change. They exist simply to change the rules. Playing by the rules is a completely empty statement when uttered by this man. One of the first orders of business is to overturn the ruling on same sex marriage which is now legal and have another vote on it. So the rules are good, and we should all play by them, unless Harpy’s supporters don’t like them and they need to change because they will utterly destroy the moral fabric of this free, just and socially responsible society. Yes, that’s the Canada we all know and love – the one were we get rid of healthcare for every Canadian, and ensure that every Canadian is never treated equal to all others.

So let’s see how they would change things and I’ll add the truth in parentheses.

His plan for Canada tackles the real issues that matter to Canadians. A Harper-led government would:
- Help individuals, families and entrepreneurs get ahead by lowering taxes, rewarding hard work and making it easier to save; (unless you are homosexual)
- Help our seniors preserve their hard won gains through fairer taxes, better service from bureaucrats and by opposing ‘death taxes’; (unless you are homosexual)
- Improve the quality of life in communities by improving access to health care, offering choice in child care and tackling violent crime; (unless you are homosexual)
- Fight waste, mismanagement and corruption in Ottawa by enacting and enforcing tough anti-corruption and accountability measures; (unless you are homosexual) and
- Stand up for Canada by defending our national interests in trade disputes, securing our borders and treating all provinces with respect. (unless you are homosexual)

Holy Gingerbread Jesus, he’s Bizarro not Superman!

Super Hero Name: Leather Pancake Daddy
Super Powers: He can only ever speak the opposite of what he really means. Impenetrable head. Clever ploys.
Weaknesses: Prone to failure and defeat at the hands of his enemies (because he likes it). Leather vests.
Superhero Team: Bibleous Thumpus – aka Secret Society of Harpies.

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Finally I am not inadvertently turning into a loser by opening a soda

It appears I've finally opened a bottle of cola and turned into a winner!

Chris Tamarri's fine blog Crisis/Boring Change made me an offer I couldn't refuse. A copy of Local #1 for the low, low introductory price of an e-mail. I think he took pity on the fact that I'm in the middle of helping candidates get registered in the now official 39th General Election here in Canada as well as moving apartments on the first.

I've had to cancel my holiday flight to Halifax and stick Allison with packing the remainder of our apartment for Thursday while I'm behind my desk for enough hours that it's becoming a science experiment. I hope to prove that people can exist by not sleeping or completing coherent thoughts for 8 whole weeks. Well, I think we're allowed to take Christmas day off.

This was all made a bit less painful with the prospect of getting Local #1. I hope to actually read the two other comics I bought last week and sit down with Local at some point. It was callously sold out at both comic shops I have access to, so this is a great way to check out Wood's other work. I got DMZ and really like it.

I will post a review of this book whenever I get a few minutes to read it and finish a few coherent thought about it. Until then, read Chris's blog - anything with a Pixies quotation is good in my book.

Monday, November 28, 2005

4 - Miguel Figueroa and the Communist Party of Canada.

I think my favourite thing about the Communist Party of Canada is that they are required a leader to be registered as a party but they don’t actually have one listed on their website. I had to go to the Elections Canada website to find out that Miguel Gigueroa was the registered leader.

So these guys would have to be washed up villains or third string heroes. Fifty to twenty years ago they would have been the biggest threat to the free world but now they’re just boring, not terrorists. I really don’t know how to make them more threatening than they already sound. They’re freaking Communists. Once an iron curtain of red terror, now they’re just middle-aged and go on like Grandpa Simpson. It’s sort of sad to see them in this state. If commies were a dog, we’d just put them down to end their suffering.

How about the logo. It’s appropriate. It’s as busy as their website. Their logo is like their text – hey, we can fit some more in there so we should the more images we add, the more text we add makes it better. Why explain yourself in one word when fifteen will do? Same goes for logos – let’s add another cog or sheaf of wheat if there’s some white space, that will make it better.

Then there is the enigma of Miguel Gigueroa. I was hoping for some romantic Latin hero figure like Che Guevera or even Castro. I don’t know if this is the guy but this is what Google image search turned up. He looks pretty badass. I doubt commies support cultural expression like this but he looks like he could have kicked some ass.

I think they would just talk until you either fall asleep or kill yourself then they rob your wallet to fund the revolution. I’m so bored even thinking about the Commies that I can’t even think up funny names for them or funny superpowers. That’s sad. I can’t wait for the next revolution where we can vilify someone without fear of reprisal. I think after seeing this guy here as a villain, the KGBeast turned over in his mausoleum.

Superhero Name: The people’s defender of the proletariat worker on the principles of social justice and communal socialism
Super Powers: Text. Heaps and heaps of text. Reasoned yet passionate debate. Power of organized proletariat.
Weaknesses: The spirit of the individual means the ideology is not sustainable and crumbles when each is unwilling to sacrifice for the whole.
Superhero Team: The Proletariat Defenders of Freedom (PDF for short)
Overall Rating: C- for a once great enemy

Saturday, November 26, 2005

3 - Ron Gray and the Christian Heritage Party

Well, what can you say about the Christian Heritage Party really? I could try to get through the entire post without making fun of Christianity but I am not big enough or clever enough to do so. So right off the bat I’m thinking, really crappy name. If it was the Christian Crusaders or the Knights of the High Holy Christ, that would be intimidating. Christian Heritage Party sounds like Sunday School to me. And how exactly to you throw a party to celebrate Christian heritage? I guess you could sit around and try to turn water into wine and serve the whole party with one fish and one loaf of bread. Besides that your stuck with wandering deserts, giving up your worldly possessions and comparing people to lotuses or something – if only we could all survive off photosynthesis like the Christians want us to. Getting nailed to various wooden objects? Otherwise aren’t all our statutory holidays based on Christian heritage already?

Then there’s the logo. It’s actually not too bad if you get rid of the text. I guess the rising Maple Leaf is representative of these guys rising Canada out of the sea if the Canadian Action Party succeeds in their hidden mandate. Onward Christian soldiers indeed. Good to know there is someone clever enough to see Lady Canaction for what she truly is. Or, no wait a second, that’s just the spirit of Canada rising once it’s dead isn’t it? Ah, fuck, that doesn’t help.

Well let’s hope the leader is kind of heroic. Ronny? Oh, sorry I don’t have to file my taxes until April. Oh wait you’re the leader? Dang, I was hoping you guys would break from tradition and get anyone other than an old white guy as a Christian leader, I mean even Jesus was technically Jewish. What are you’re super powers – you can balance a cheque book, righteous indignation, turning the other cheek, rapture? Oh, I’m right, okay then. What about a name now – Christian Soldier, nope. I know, since you’re the Leader of the Christian Heritage Party you will now adopt the identity of Herry Christian. You see that? What I did there? I made a sixties Marvel comic pun of Hari Kristna.

The battle cry of “Your Responsible Alternative” just isn’t working either. It’s all fine and great if everyone was Christian and agreed with you but since half the population is women and of all the men, not all are Christians, this sort of rings hollow. Still, good for you guys for trying. You do have a nice idea if it didn’t conflict so much, and at least you’re up front about not wanting to keep church and state separate.

Superhero Name: Herry Christian
Super Powers: Cheeks of steel, Ethereal Form once dead, Righteous indignation, sunbeams, balanced finances.
Weaknesses: Crumbles under examination, stigmata, human form.
Superhero Team: The Hairy Christians
Overall Rating : D+

Thursday, November 24, 2005

2 - Constance (Connie) Fogal and the Canadian Action Party

Hot damn! The Canadian Action Party. Points for a very superhero team inspired name. It’s got Action in the title so instant points for Ms. Fogal being the super-leader of a superhero team. Except that it sounds a bit like a superhero team name from the early nineties. You know it’s exciting because it has action in the name. The only better name would be the Canadian Boob Party. Dave would appreciate that. Then again if you go by the acronym it’s CAP. That’s kind of lame. It sounds like some sort of support group. Welcome to the monthly meeting of Circumcised And Proud, CAP Session 4582 will now come to order. Negative points for lame acronym.

So let’s have a look at things here. Logo – check. But damn that’s ugly. Okay, it has a silhouette of Canada on it, but it's tilted or something. It says your view of Canada is skewed. Then the small swirly text has got to go as does the word "hope" lost in the sea of blue. Sure those of us who own a globe can recognize Canada so we’d know Ms. Fogal was Canadian but this logo really doesn’t say much more than that, except maybe that Canada is hoping to be blue for some reason? Is this a Sub-Mariner defense league or something? Or is it a pro-Atlantean movement trying to sink Canada into the depths of the seven seas? Come to think of it, the name of this group is sort of misleading. It’s just vague enough to be some cooky cult.

We’re the Action party (hear the swooshy sound effects whenever you read Action!). But what Action are you talking about – running, jumping, climbing, voting? Ummmm, actually we’re the sink Canada into the seas to become part of the true kingdom of Earth – Atlantis party. That doesn’t sound like a fun action.

Let’s have a look at the slogan. “Making a difference.” That’s sort of weak isn’t it. Why not “I’m helping, I’m helping”? I guess even doughnuts are making a difference in our society with the average weight on the increase as well as record rates of obesity and type two diabetes. That’s not the kind of difference I want to make though. I guess this isn’t exactly a misleading slogan since screaming this into battle while the villain pummels you is making a difference to the villain’ self-confidence levels and improving his or her megalomania.

Know, what can we call Ms. Fogal? Let’s have a look at her. Hmmm, well she does have the Canadian flag in the background, that’s patriotic – in the same way Bucky was patriotic. Or maybe Koryak is a better fit here. I’m still trying to come up with something better than Mistress Action, or Lady Action, or The First Lady of Canadian Action, or Canaction, actually I think I’ll go with Lady Canaction.

After minutes of research through their website, I think Lady Canaction would have been a great nineties superhero who later turns into a villain when her plan to sink Canada finally comes to light. Lady Canaction is able to tap into feelings of Anti-Americanism to increase her strength. She has set herself up as protector of the True North Strong and Free from imaginary foes. She has gotten her powers from some kind of paranoia inducing drug overdoes where she now fears the American Dollar Bill. Her aim and mission is to keep Canada separate from the United States of America – even if it means sinking it to the bottom of the Atlantic – or Pacific – or both, I suppose….

A quick Google image search reveals Lady Canaction is also a master of disguise. Makes you want to curl up to a wood fire in your footie pajamas with a cup of hot apple cider with some CBC radio on or maybe Masterpiece Theatre and she reads political polemics to you until you fall asleep to dream of one day achieving the freedom from the USA that you’ve already enjoyed for your entire existence. Say Gran, can you read the one about the smooth talking American bandit with the velvet mask who oppressed the proletariat again? That's my favourite. Then read the one about our glorious submersion into a glorious brine free from the oppression of the dreaded American Dollar bill.

Got to love those small parties, they’re all about the imaginary solutions to imaginary problems and text. Lots and lots of text.

Superhero Name – Lady Canaction
Super Powers – increases her strength by feeding off Anti-American sentiment, can whip a loonie fast enough to take out your eye, master of disguise.
Weaknesses – elections, essay competitions, photoshop
Superhero Team – The Action Team
Overall rating – C (hey they have what looks like a comic on their frontpage – it leads to nothing).

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Wednesday's Loot - 23 November 2005

I almost forgot. I bought the following:
  1. The Amazing Joy Buzzards, Season 2 #2 - read it. Think it's still awesome but there was a few hiccups in the flow of the story here. I do like the frenetic pace
  2. Godland #5 - I just found issue #2 as well. Looks like I can finally get the even numbered issues of this series as well. cool.
  3. JSA Classified #5 - My first ever JSA comic. I'm a sucker for a villain story.
  4. Loveless #2 - This is the issue where I give Loveless a chance. I will still give it one more chance unless the suckage is unbearable. Issue #1 left me sort of unconvinced so I'm hoping this issue grabs me a bit more. We'll see.

So, I don't really have much time to read these today - or ever since this election looks to be going ahead. I may or may not get back to talking about actual comics. Until then, enjoy my leader/hero things.

1 - Gilles Duceppe and the Bloc Quebecois

Unfortunately, Monsieur Duceppe would have to be cast as a villain or at the very least some sort of conflicted anti-hero. The entire reason for the Bloc Quebecois to exist is to pull Quebec out of Federation. In essence, destroy Canada. So he is equally feared and respected. Hero to one person, foe to another.

I think this guy is up there as far as “misunderstood” goes to define him as a character. He’s the Quebecois version of Black Adam. But on the other hand his first language is French at that generally means villainy in comics.

Let’s have al look at his slogan and logo. I’m not much on the logo. I could take it or leave it. It certainly is a bit too “robin’s egg blue” to strike fear into the hearts of do-goodnicks and average citizens – or as a symbol to rally around if you are Quebecois(se). Although it does have bevelled edges - ooohh, photoshoppy! It must be new and modern it's faux 3D. It's fauxtramodern.

What about the slogan he would shout as he runs headlong into battle with the Federalist Forces of Canada? “Je me souviens.” Not bad. For you non-French speaking folk it says “I am unstoppable you dolts!” Or, “I remember” which is the “national” slogan for the province of Quebec. Explain that one to your kids. "Yeah, so it's a province, but it has a national assembly and a national slogan. Isn't that a provincial slogan and provincial assembly if they're only a province. Yes, just don't say that to their faces, they get test - but that could just be indigestion from the poutine."

For the most part, Gilles is looking pretty good so far. He’s got a quick slogan that taps into a feeling of national pride. It claws back through the veil of history and says, oooh, I remember, I won’t forget what you English tete-carres did to us on the Plains of Abraham (ironic that they refer to English Canada as "blockheads" don't you think?). Then you see the rest of the slogan. “Je me souviens…du scandale des commandites.” Huh? For you non-French speaking folk, it translates to “I am unstoppable you dolts! Now get me some crackers or see my wrath!” Or maybe it says, “I remember the sponsorship scandal.” That’s not so evocative of the national pride there GD, what gives?

So let’s see Monsieur in costume. Yowzas! Since Quebec is quickly becoming known as a major producer of cheese, I’ve decided that M. Duceppe will be a cheese themed anti-hero. The first major crime of the Bloc and M. Fromage was to stop the use of the cafeteria for the house of Commons. When the Bloc first became the official opposition the cafeteria was where all MPs would gather and discuss stuff outside of party politics or party lines and what not. When the Bloc was elected, fraternizing with the enemy was not really good as it would reduce their hard line. Plus the cafeteria was serving up really expensive food so they started campaigning against it and the use and reputation of the cafeteria plummeted. This is an honest to goodness true story by the way.

Then there is this story about some mysteriously disappearing cheese. What convinced a personally rational man to sink $50,000.00 of good cheddar into the Baie-de-Ha!-Ha! Is beyond me, but I see some sort of influence from Golden Age Batman villains. Only someone caught up in a wretched hive of villainy would dump perfectly good cheese into the ocean. Then it was named the “Bay of Ha! Ha!” – how the Joke is NOT from Saint Louis de Ha! Ha! is also a question I want answered – or at least why he never tried to invade the place to make it his world headquarters. I guess it all comes back to Cheese boy here. His powers of cholesterol manipulation, errant hairs (hence the hairnet) and bowel issues would be enough to keep any English pig-dog at bay. If all else fails he could slowly kill them by force feeding poutine to his victims while using the Ludvico technique with this offshoot of cheese culture.

Superhero NameBloc de Camembert or Cpt. Camembert (I can't decide).
Super Powers - Cholesteol manipulation, Can digest anything, Can communicate in own language, Cannot acknowlege the passage of history or defeat in battle.
Weakness - Too many people think Quebec is too cute to be scary (or serious), affinity to hats and the ladies.
Superhero Team – Les Blocistes (with anscilliary female group Blocenistas)
Overall rating - B

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Enjoy your damn Turkey!

So while it's a long weekend of home-cooked goodness in the U.S. of A. I'm stuck up here in the frozen north preparing for an election. My posts have been random and rather pithy recently but I have come up with a great idea. Since the government is about to fall I thought I would spend a bit of time mixing up politics with superhero comics.

I've mentioned it before how Canadian politics and superheroes have a lot in common - older white men obsessed with logos and catch phrases. You'll also notice that I've got a few links on my sidebar. I do think it's important to vote, and if you look at my sidebar you'll see that we are really not lacking as far as choice is concerned. To any of my American colleagues who are reading this - we have more than one party in every single election and elections are generally completed in one single day with out anyone suing anyone else or using the courts to decide the outcome. We're funny that way.

So since I'm now on the night shift I thought I would see how the political leaders stand up to being leaders of a superhero team. I'll look at their logo, their slogan (for this election or the last one) and try to come up with some superpowers or a name for them as hero (or villian as my mood allows).

I'll be presenting the parties in alphabetical order for no bias on my part - I do work for one - have fun guessing which one! I won't tell you so I can avoid any possible legal ramifications if I quit or get fired. Actually, I'll send you a free comic if you come up with a creative way that my career in politics will end.

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Wednesday's Loot - 16 November 2005

Yesterday was an odd day. For some reason the local shipment was delayed and oddly enough when I finally got to the shop in the evening Local #1 was sold out. I'll try the other shop today.

So only two titles this week although I was tempted to get a lot of trades. With the big move still happening on Dec. 1st I resisted temptation. So, surprise surprise if you can guess which comics I bought..... c'mon, you bought them too. Well you bought at least one of them.

That's right I'm talking about everyone's favourite hero in complementary coloured spandex.

All Star Superman #1
Superman's origin in five panels (one is a two page spread) and eight words. Perfect storytelling. Then my jury left the building and are still out. I'm happy that Morrison doesn't treat the reader like a complete tit here - we all know Superman's deal so let's get on with the story. I feel like I need to know a bit more about Supes to get what's happening or understand who these characters are but in all honesty I don't care and I don't think it matters. I really enjoyed this story. Lex Luthor is actually imposing as a crazy mad scientist without being too mustache twirling.

I'm sure others out there who know more about comics and the entire history of Superman already have this issue covered so go read their stuff. I just give these piddly little, hey I liked the comic reviews. This one is good and is a breath of fresh air after that other All-Star title.

I like that Superman is laid back, heroic, and the clumbsy Clark Kent in equal measure. It's oddly refreshing to see the boy-scout version not cram goodness and the American Way down your throat (you can now all make jokes about cramming things down throats).

I rate this story: If all Morrison's comics are this good I'm an idiot for this being the first one I've picked up (if only I bled hard cash...).

I also picked up Fantastic Four and Iron Man: Big in Japan #2. Haven't read it yet.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

I like my mind right where it is, thank you very much.

Has anyone else noticed how all the promotion lately is going to "blow our minds"? Man, if the comic companies were right these four colour floppies will have spinal fluid leaking out our ears so fast and furious there will be nothing left with which to enjoy the pleasant effects of alcohol and narcotics. If TV rots your brain then comics blow it (actually that sounds funny when you think about it) how come we can still read these things? Wouldn't we be, I don't know, dead?

I wonder if the guys over at Comics Should be Good have realised that comics will blow their minds since they've sentenced a few DC employees to perform said action on Dan DiDio. No wonder parent's don't let their kids buy comics - comics may fellate your brain! If only. I always thought blowing anything was meant to be a loving action and well, we're a conflicted bunch I think. Half of us are happy, half of us are raving mad, and most of us have internet access to we can see people blowing all sorts of things for free, so do we need this?

I would just like to see some solid story telling - you don't have to shock me, you don't have to grab my groin, you don't have to chew on my eyeballs like a pitbull on a rump roast, you don't have to blow my mind. Just entertain me. Go buy that Robbie Williams album with "Let Me Entertain You" on it and play that song on a loop in your creative space. I don't care if you don't like it, listen to what he's saying. I like the status quo. I like the pattern of serial comic book story telling. Please, everyone, for one month only, don't blow my mind. Just give me a status quo story that doesn't completely change everything again.

I know change is the only constant in life but aren't comics a bit of an escape? How about a little non-change. How about something pedestrian? How about a superstory where the hero is defeated by the bad guy at the beginning and the hero learns from his or her mistakes and cleverly defeats the villian at the end of the issue? I'd buy that. I'd buy that every month. Heck, I'd buy that every Wednesday. Maybe I need to buy more Archie comics or something. I think when I'm done sucking at the Infinite Crisis boobie I'll just buy the JLU books and Spidergirl for my superhero fix. Or possibly just buy the Bruce Timm DVDs since I like those versions of the heroes anyway.

Wow, this went on longer than expected. Sorry folks. There's a constant threat of an election here in the frozen north so I'm pulling crazy hours and my life is in constant upheaval - maybe that's why I don't need mind blowing crisis and change every week. I have it in my day-to-day existence, if I didn't would I want the constant change?...perhaps I'm on to something there.

Monday, November 14, 2005

Batman 'n stuff

So, Batman is everywhere these days. Love him or hate him. There he is staring up at you through his cowled visage. I watched disc 4 of the Animated Series and then Batman Begins in one day. It's weird how much I've come to like the Scarecrow because of this. There's one thing that struck me though from watching Batman Begins - he's so concerned about leaving a legacy but he's got no children to carry on his name. Forget about the Batman, that can be passed on to anyone really, but who will be the next Wayne to keep contributing to Gotham? And don't tell me Dick Grayson. I believe in adoption but this is different. This is the end of a familial legacy.

I now know the first Batman story I want to write. I'll call it "The Last Temptation of Batman." He can get hit with more fear stuff from Scarecrow only I think his real fear is not having a family and particularly a son. He's so freaking conflicted about his parents' death, and his father's influence on him and Gotham that I think this is Bruce Wayne's real fear. Would you read that? I would.

Friday, November 11, 2005


Sorry no comics today.

Today is Remembrance Day in Canada, and I'm slightly upset that we don't all get it off work in order to honour those who gave their lives for our country. Public servants do and it should be manditory for them to go to a service in my opinion.

Since I'm in Ottawa a bunch of us are leaving the office to go to the big remembrance ceremony at the Cenotaph.

At the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month please hold two minutes of silence for those who have made the ultimate sacrifice.

This year's silver cross mother is the mother of one of the soldiers killed by American friendly fire in Afganistan.

Thursday, November 10, 2005


I was watching some of the Batman the Animated Series this past weekend and I was reminded why I have such fond memories of it. These are some of the best Batman stories ever told. They really did manage to get to the essence of what made Batman such a great character. Sure there are two part stories but for the most part these are all little self contained episodes in the life of the Batman. There are dark moments where you can see why the Batman strikes fear into the hearts of criminals but you can also see him make a joke with Robin or fight a giant robotic tin soldier controlled by the Joker. And it all works together. He’s equal parts dark night, hokey hero and portrayed as an actual man not a constant mythically dark knight.

In particular two episodes stand out – the Grey Ghost episode and the introduction of Clayface. Technically, they are three episodes but the Feats of Clay was a two-parter. I know this show had a lot of problems with the censors and whatnot because they were using actual guns instead of laser beams so the show had to make some concessions. I’m thinking of a horribly obvious moment in that Sewer King episode – “Kids and guns don’t mix. EVER!” There’s also the requisite anti-drug episode but that was dealt with in a really creative way where the message really drove home the drama already present in the episode – old crime boss is losing control of his life.

So back to the point at hand. I know these episodes are good for one reason. Allison was on the couch reading and she stopped to watch the episodes. The Grey Ghost episode is really one of the most clever television shows I’ve come across. It works on two levels simultaneously (perhaps a few more). The story in and of itself is a cool take on the classic superhero story. But the other story going on is that it’s a comment on the TV appearances of Batman as a character. The story of The Grey Ghost is the story of Adam West, who is voicing the character. The villain looks like and is voiced by Bruce Timm – the obsessed collector who is willing to ruin the character he loves in order to own everything. Hmmm, comment on the comic market, anyone? There’s some big time action with stuff blowing up and a nifty little mystery. There’s a character’s redemption to himself and there is a really touching moment between Batman and The Grey Ghost when he shows him the collection of memorabilia. Bruce gets to meet his childhood hero and manages to inspire him to accept that being typecast as The Grey Ghost is as good or bad as you are willing to make it. Wow, doesn’t sound like the current Batman does it?

Then there’s the Clayface episodes. I know there is a lot of talk about how this series rewrote the origin of Mr. Freeze and how Harlequin was written into comic continuity, but this episode beats them both – although the Two-Face origin is pretty close. These people were masters at making villains that the audience could identify with. Almost all of them are bad because of circumstances not some inherent evil on their part – I think only Joker is pure bad but I’m not even done the first season so I’m sure things change. This show just shows how easy it is to create motivation for characters that can run afoul of Bats. Here, Clayface is basically a drug addict. He was a vain actor who made one mistake and was then thrust into horrible situation after horrible situation. He gets blackmailed then the mob tries to kill him by drowning him in the toxic clay he’s addicted to. Clayface goes after the real bad-guy but his passion and vanity again get in the way. The villain isn't beyond redemtion, they are caught up in situations beyond their control and trying their best to deal with it.

Plus I’m pretty sure there is a gay couple in this episode. I know the relationship between Clayface and the other man is explained as that of actor and body double but I think this is Timm and crew being really clever again. These two characters live together for Pete’s sake and the body double is around a bit too much to just be a “friend.” Okay I know this isn’t a sign of homosexuality but the relationship is pretty obvious and really ahead of its time – especially for a kids show and a cartoon. I wish the show didn’t have to hide it like they do but they were progressive on all other fronts so I’ll encourage you to watch the episodes and let me know what you think. I think it adds a lot more depth to the character – he’s always hiding who he truly is or at least feels he has to. Mind blowing huh? A progressive and unbelievably smart cartoon. Sign me up for more.