Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Wednesday’s Loot

I want to point your attention to my previous post called "Day Late and a Dollar Short." I've got a little question that needs answering. I've bolded it so you don't have to read the whole post.

This week is a very light week for me. Only 3 issues caught my interest. It could just be that I went during my lunch-break and they were a bit overwhelmed at the shop so were still unpacking. So here’s the quick first impressions.

JLA Classified #11 – I gave up halfway through the last run even though the characters were in hell. I have a fascination with fictional versions of hell and especially anthropomorphic Death (also known as the Grim Reaper). I wrote a few papers on the idea so it’s odd that I gave up on that last run just when Power Girl and Guy Gardner go to hell to rescue the Super Buddies. I started fresh with #10 and am liking the story so far as it progresses into #11. I guess the big attraction to this series for me is that if a story arc doesn’t appeal to me, I don’t feel the need to buy it. I like to see the JLA acting like the JLA instead of a bunch of knuckle draggers who continue to draw lines in the sand amongst themselves. I get enough of that in my daily job to want to read about it for entertainment but that shouldn’t stop anyone else from doing so. Still, while I like this issue I still feel like I’m waiting for the story to get going. I’m almost considering to just wait for the trade on this so I can just read the story in one sitting but I think I’ve got enough interest to keep up with this story arc as it comes out. We’ll see how I feel when issue #12 hits the stands.

I rate this book: The end of Act I, I think (hope).

Powers #12 – 64 pages that I can’t complain about. I’m really enjoying the circular dialogue page. I like a good cop story and a good superhero story so I’m liking this series. This is the first story arc I’ve read and I feel like I should go pick up the older trades. They are on that imaginary list I’m keeping. I have a feeling people who have been with the series for a while now are starting to feel a bit bored with it – hey, there’s only so many Law & Order episodes before you feel like you’ve seen the stories once before. It doesn’t mean they’re bad they’ve just nailed down a formula that works. I feel like this story arc is one of those “changes the lives of the characters forever” spiels so it makes me want to go read stuff that didn’t change their lives forever so I can know the characters a bit more.

I rate this book: Enjoyable

Solo – Jordi Bernet – I still don’t know what my feelings are on this one. I read Jordi’s biography at the end and felt like that was one of the most interesting stories. I don’t mean that to sound cold or rude because I like this issue I’m just not sure why. It is definitely pretty to look at and the short story format is fun. I think what’s not sitting well with me is that I’m left wanting more from all these stories. That is never a bad thing with me. I’ll need to read this again and digest it a bit more. Wow, unintentional pun on the first story. Cool.

I rate this book: Pretty to Look At and A Nice Break From Capes Even if Batman Makes an Appearance.

Call me a lazy punk then...

I followed Beaucoup Kevin's link and found out I'm a True Punk.

You're a True Punk. You know that punk isn't all
about studded jackets and mohawks. If you're
political, you're actually informed. Most of
the stuff you love is from before the 80s,
though you know bands like Fugazi kept the
spirit going.

You Know Yer Indie. Let's Sub-Categorize.
brought to you by Quizilla

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Day late and a dollar short.

Okay so I’m two weeks in on this blog and I already insult my readers. Swift move Cormier! I promise that if you ever see me in the street I won’t kick you in the privates. Man, I started this thing during a bit of a down-time at work then KABLOOIE! Work explosion. With parliament getting ready to sit again on the 19th of September and some internal voting and housecleaning (literal and metaphorical) going on I’ve been zonked lately. The first thing to suffer is this site and time I spend relaxing.

Anywho… I said that I’d start posting little contests on Mondays and as you can see it is Tuesday and no contest. I guess since we read comics we should get used to delayed shipping schedules but I’ll be honest. I feel like an ass for not delivering, especially since it was my idea and my schedule. Enough with the beating myself up. On with the exposition.

The idea I’m working on here is like a round-table discussion or just a conversation over beers (or coffee if you don’t drink alcohol, or distilled water if you don’t drink alcohol, caffeine or hot drinks). I want a space to make recommendations and bring in things others may have overlooked. Let’s face it, everyone has limited time and resources so we have to make choices on what we purchase. Plus some of us tend to have brand or genre loyalty. What I’m hoping is that someone will recommend or praise something that I wouldn’t normally think about picking up and convince me to look into it. What I want is someone to have a total love-on for something I wouldn’t normally consider and convince me to buy it. I’m going to use this as a resource to break out of my rut in buying only certain titles. I hope the same works out for the rest of you. And please, steal my ideas if you like them.

I guess there should be a few ground rules. I don’t want any sort of “flame war” going on. The moment I see it, I shut off the comments feature. God, I sound like a primary school teacher “Now be nice and respect each other.” I don’t mind disagreement or criticism but it can’t get personal. What’s the point? Out of respect, I’d like any criticisms to contain an alternative. So if you post “How can you like artist Y on SuperAmazing X-book?” you’ll need to explain why artist Z on IndyWoman is a better option.

So, a day late with a long and whiney explanation, here’s a question for everyone out there. Since these are becoming something of a rarity these days:

What was the best standalone issue of an ongoing comic series that you’ve picked up this year? (2005 only).

For me it was Gotham Central #32. I don’t buy the series but I’ve heard mostly good things plus was told this was a standalone. I like Batman and the Gotham mythos so seeing it from the point of view of the classic crooked cops (say that five time fast) was refreshing. Also, Poison Ivy. It was an engaging story that motored along with a solid pace and had a good little twist at the end. I was a bit suspect of the art at first but I warmed to it when I noticed it never took me out of the story. All in all, a good issue for anyone who is looking for a “cop on the street” story or a closer look at the corruption part of Gotham that spurred Batman and Com. Gordon for so long.

What did I get out of the story? Well, it shows what a fine line the Batman character walks along in his crusade. The two cops that this story focuses on are also trying to fight the good fight. Where they differ is that they compromise their integrity to do it. They too justify what they do, just like Batman, only their driving motive becomes self-preservation instead of self-sacrifice. And that simple difference creates a completely different moral experience. Self-preservation isn’t always a bad thing, but when you’ve dedicated yourself to serving and protecting others there will definitely be conflicts.

In the end justice is served and a balance restored in one of the most poetic ways. The protagonists are defeated by someone better at self-preservation than they are. And while the “villain” wins it is simply because she, like Batman, has a sense of community and social responsibility unlike the cops who are totally focused upon themselves. The cops aren’t betrayed or sold out they are simply beaten by what they have rejected and what they just don’t understand or consider as an option. This is ironic seeing as they are meant to be employed in the service of a community and putting themselves in danger in the place of the community they serve.

I rate this story: Enjoyable.

Monday, August 29, 2005

Apparently the internet is mending itself

I used to believe that a thousand chimps at a thousand typewriters could recreate the greatest works of literature. The internet has proved me wrong.

Apparently a lot of people are upset about superhero comics, but a lot of us aren’t. For instance Beaucoup Kevin, Comics.212, Focused Totality, and Near Mint Heroes. Jim Roeg over at Double Articulation does a great job of just examining his relationship to the medium. Sit back, make sure you have some free time, and read through it and try to do the same for yourself. You’ll find you actually do have things to say that are positive. And he's my only reader. Go Jim!

So, today, no griping allowed on the internet. Unless you are in a hurricane. Shit-storms don't count.

So let us all get on with the positive and start enjoying ourselves again. If you are only happy when you are angry, well you'll have to just suck it up and put on a happy face today.

Friday, August 26, 2005

Heroes in repose - Looking at Northwest Passage

I hope you’ll permit me to go a little English Lit 101 – Compare and Contrast?

Now that I’ve had a bit of time to digest the story I’ve realized a few of the chords it struck with me. Especially Governor Lord. I see him as a combination of two other characters in particular. Bruce Wayne/Batman in Frank Miller’s Dark Knight Returns and Bilbo Baggins from The Hobbit/Lord of the Rings. Not exactly the most common of bedfellows I realize but stay with me.

I see a big connection between Gov. Lord and Bruce Wayne in their drive to return to their youthful, and more physically demanding, lives. Both of them are older men looking to a comfortable retirement but keep gazing back at their exciting past. Exploring the Canadian wilderness and fighting crime in Gotham City meant they lived moment to moment whereas in their older years they find themselves distanced from any immediate danger. Bruce in Wayne Manor and Gov. Lord in the more obvious Fort Newcastle. Now, I know that Gov. Lord hasn’t exactly “returned to action” in volume one of The Northwest Passage the way Bruce Wayne does in DKR, but I’m fairly sure he will in the upcoming issue. Until then we’ll have to wait and see if I’m proven wrong but that’s not the point.

We see in both men a desire to return to youth instead of fading into a comfortable old age. Gov. Lord expresses his desire to find the Northwest Passage where Bruce Wayne seeks to return to the identity he became more comfortable in – Batman. Another parallel is the impetus for their actual return to action being violence and crime. Gov. Lord has a sudden problem with French mercenaries whereas Batman has the Mutants. Not only is it the crime that spurs them into making a decision they desired but their reasoning is that they must take on the role of defender. Batman is the proclaimed defender of Gotham and is tied intimately to the place and Gov. Lord is the representative of the Hudson Bay Company and the Crown of England. For those of you that don’t know the history, the Hudson Bay Company was a combination of private enterprise and official representation of English law in the Canadian frontier.

And, make of this what you will, Gov. Lord’s nephew appears to be en-route to a role similar to Robin and Eagle Eye is the wizened old friend (Alfred). There’s also a definite connection between the roles of these two men and their costumes at different points in their lives.

Now the connection between Gov. Lord and Bilbo Baggins is that they both share the aspect of being former adventurers who seek to return to their adventuring ways. Neither of them are comfortable in their current role even if they give off the appearance of comfort. Both of these men (yes I know Bilbo is a Hobbit, thank you) were one day wandering through the wilderness on grand adventures then were plunked down and meant to operate in the now mundane tasks of daily existence. Bilbo in The Hobbit is happier to return to the life he left behind and returns relatively unchanged. But in LoTR he starts the story itching for one last adventure so one has to wonder how unchanged he really was by his adventuring.

The thing about heroics and adventuring, is that they are very fine to read about but to experience them will change your views on life. Like The Matrix, you’d do fine to never know it existed but knowing it exists and taking the red pill can you ever truly take the blue pill later on? Probably not but I’ll ask Laurence Fishbourne if I ever meet him. I can’t remember if this is right or not but I think Tolkein examined just this in The Hobbit with Bard, the Guardsman of Lake Town, who slew Smaug the Dragon. He was a hero who just had no role in society when there was no need for a hero. That’s how Bilbo, in LoTR, and Gov. Lord feel.

All these characters don’t seek adventure for adventure sake, I think they partially seek a return to youth as well. What I like is that none of them are presented as the whiney old white guy who wants to lose the spare-tire and get back to his high school life.

Thursday, August 25, 2005

Amazing! Even if it isn't Stan Rogers

For most people outside of Canada, and even outside of the Atlantic Provinces, Stan Rogers is a folk singer who ranked 4th in the 50 Essential Tracks: Canadian Edition with his song Northwest Passage.

I don't know where to begin with this book. I honestly just put it down. Work is insanely busy right now, but I needed a lunch break so I took my sandwich and locked myself in the boardroom with this read. Scott Chantler is now listed as one of my links and I'll definately be waiting for more of this story as well as locating some older stuff.

It seems the stuff I'm enjoying is black and white these days. Whatever. It works. The only thing that sat a bit off with me was the time of the setting. 1755 is when my ancestors, the Acadians were rounded up by the English and deported. It was really horrible stuff, but that's not the point of this book. The point of this book was great characters with a boatload of potential for a riotous story. Everyone is easily identifiable, I'm assuming that's from his animation experience and even their speech patterns are well suited to the characters.

This is one of those books I've been waiting for. It's not billed specifically as an all-ages book but it's easily passed down to a younger reader. Think PG13 movie. I'd give it to the kid who's a little bored in Canadian History class. (Note: this doesn't work outside of Canada because you're unlikely to study Canadian history in, say, Hungary).

I think my favourite part was how the flashbacks and visions were rendered to feel black and white in an already black and white comic. Fantastic stuff that is. You want a "part one of X" that doesn't skimp on the action, this is the read for you. Don't let the digest size put you off, you'll be thankful.

This is my recommendation as the antidote for Infinity House Crossover Event. The history of the Hudson Bay Company and the northern adventures are basically the Canadian version of the Wild West. That's exactly how it is being portrayed here. Is there a lot of standard stuff here, sure, but Shakespeare never had an original idea either and Romance novels account for half of all paperback sales. It's all in how you implement the formula that matters. It is done here expertly. Okay, enough gushing. Maybe I'll get a better review up sometime, until then I'll just leave this gushing bit up.

I'm already missing deadlines.

Well, work has been insane so I haven't had a chance to pop open the covers of these books yet, except Omac. All I can say is when did Colossus become a woman with pink eye? Otherwise I more or less enjoyed it. I'm a fan of "poison the well" stories. Most times the bad guy gets stopped trying to poison a city's water supply only this time it happened and now what? I sort of feel like nanobots are becoming the latest Deus Ex Machina though. I like the image we're left with and I'm hoping we see Batman back in this series to wrap it up because having him left on the sidelines doesn't seem to work for me. He's not even really dectecting, he's just sort of "instant messaging" with Brother Eye. I guess I'm more conflicted with this story than I initially thought. I like parts but others just drew me out of the story.

He just "got better."

This was meant to go up yesterday, but the internet broke in Ottawa.

Okay, I read this on the DC website plugging Batman #644. "Don't miss the shock ending that will remove a long-standing character from Batman's life forever!" Maybe they'll set up a toll-free number and we can vote thumbs-up or thumbs-down like in the Roman Coliseum and kill off Jason Todd ... again. Wait, is he considered long-standing being dead all these years?

Welcome to my snark. That didn't take long. What was it, a week?

Actually, I don't care too much if they kill off and resurrect characters. It is fiction after all. And part of the experience of heroes is seeing how they face death. Even villains can be examined in how they meet their (ig)noble end. The only thing I don’t really get is why does a name mean so much? Aren’t we meant to be read about HeroMan, not civilian identity? Who cares if civilian identity has a different name, can’t they be written just like previous HeroMan/civilian identity? Sorry about the English Lit stuff, but death and resurrection are a part of heroic fiction.

I remember talking to a friend of mine about wanting to break into comics as a writer. I said I was thinking about doing a Robin story. I figured that was a decent enough character that wasn’t a major lead. (Yes, my mistake. I've come to see how wrong my initial assumption was. And I haven't written a thing down in comics so obviously that idea of mine never panned out). My friend’s comment was “give that boy some pants.” Neither of us were really aware that there were so many different Robins floating about. Yes we both remember the "Death in the Family" story, but to us Robin was Robin. What I’m saying is that we both knew who Robin was, and what he represents as a character – not who Dick Grayson, Jason Todd, or Tim Drake were. I know they are all “unique” but are they that different? People know the “character” not the “identity.”

Didn’t the Blue Beetle replace a previous Blue Beetle? And I’m reading good things about a “new” Firestorm. I’m sure someone can point out much better examples than I can. Basically, heroes get resurrected all the time whether through actual resurrection or someone taking up the mantle and adopting the role as their own.

I guess what I’m trying to do, besides find a writing style I’m comfortable with, is say that if we enjoy the stories who cares about deaths and resurrections? They’ve been part of heroic fiction since ancient Greece where the afterlife was full of crusading heroes visiting fallen comrades and bringing them back. The entire basis of Christianity is a resurrection story. I’m pretty sure there is resurrection aspects to most religions, but I’m not all that familiar with any religion to comment. Stories like Robinson Caruso, Moby Dick and Gulliver’s Travels are all a form of resurrection stories. Even Peter Pan said that death would be a great adventure.

These stories have been a part of our cultural memory since people started recording things. I think it’s just how the medium of comics taps into a very primal story

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Wednesday Picks

Here's what I picked up today:
  • Northwest Passage #1
  • The Omac Project #5
  • Queen and Country Declassified: Sons and Daughters #2, #3

Reviews may be up later this evening, but most likely will be up tomorrow. Really been waiting for Northwest Passage after missing the Louis Riel book. I was unsure about more Omacs after I missed four issues that weren't in the mini-series, but I caved. And I was on vacation for 3 weeks so I missed the Q&CD #2. I may just sit down and read all 3 at once to see how it holds up. I haven't done that yet.

Fast reads online

Before I post what I purchase today (I can only hit the shop during lunch and I'm writing this during my coffee break) I'll post a few fun reads.

BeacucoupKevin has a great take on Golden Age heroes and story telling. I'll add the task of finding some collections of that stuff to my ever increasing "to do" list.

Steven Grant's Permanent Damage column examines the Disneyfication of western culture. Some interesting parallels in how everything in our lives are interconnected.

Comics.212 moves on from the "well fuck off then" attitude to giving us something positive again. Glad to see that the frustration is being worked out and the energy is being spent looking for stuff to get excited about again.

And, finally Lady, That's my Skull has some love for pulpy sci-fi thrillers.

More soon.

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Why are comics like Canadian Politics?

They both have grown men with logos. Thankfully only one of them has a lot of spandex.

Seriously though my current job is with a political party and I’m seeing a lot of parallels. The irate members (giggle). The righteous indignation. The “I’ve been a member for longer than you therefore I know more than you.” The response, of “well you’re the one whose complaining so obviously there’s something wrong with you.” The attitude of “let’s treat everyone like an open wallet.”

Personally I see both realms as having simple solutions. The more voices taking part, the better off we all are. Yes, I know there are really just two really big voices in North American comics who are more or less the same (which is surprisingly like politics again). But look at the amount of selection that is out there now that just wasn’t there before. Don’t like one genre try another. The simple fact is that there is a way more choice out there now than ever before. And not only currently produced stuff, we have access to a great back catalogue of materials.

I was at a presentation about voter turn out that made some really interesting points. When there were only two political parties there was higher levels of voter turn out. Lack of true choice is not a valid argument these days. I’ve listed all the registered political parties in Canada on this site, and there are two more that are eligible to be registered. There is more choice than ever now. I think there is the same with comics. When there was less choice, there were more people buying them. Now there are less people buying them but way more choice of materials to buy if you are lucky enough to have access to all of it. This is the same if you are lucky enough to have a candidate from each of the parties in your riding.

The thing is, simply bitching about the current state of affairs (although fun) just doesn’t cut it for me. I’ve heard it one too many times in my 9-to-5 for criticism without offering an alternative to hold a lot of water with me anymore. My theory is you can always speak with your feet and walk away. Trust me, this has an impact. If you stop buying something, it will be felt. You can try to change things by complaining about them but lets face it, when was the last time someone complained you into agreeing with them? Was it like, never? Same here.

Yes, I agree this whole crossover into the house of infinity event is tiring and easy to make fun of but what is the alternative. I think this is an opportunity for us, as a community, to find new adventures. Since we’re not making the things we can have our say as consumers and try buying something else. Looking for new voices, new stories? Then let’s do a bit of footwork and try to find some of them on the shelves, or on the internet and request them.

So there’s a question for everyone. If you’re tired of Crossover Event to End All Crossover Events Forever, Again, what do you think you’ll try instead? Me, I’m thinking of picking up Godland, and getting around to reading more Hellboy, Y: The Last Man and Fables. Please, make some recommendations.

More Shameless Self-Promotion

Okay, so two people have at least stopped by. Thanks, Jim and James. I’m glad to see that but I may have to make a rule about your name beginning with J to access this site. So here’s my plan. Free $1.00 comics to the both of you. I’ll e-mail you both to get addresses for delivery. These selections are totally at random, so I can’t guarantee you’ll enjoy them and it's against the rules to refuse them. I’m also thinking of making this a way for me to get a bit more information from the existing community.

So, starting next Monday I’ll start posting little questions that the first comment I get will receive a free $1.00 comic. I’m thinking of questions along the lines of, if there is one original graphic novel that you can recommend me to buy, what would it be and why? Or, what revamped property is worth checking out? I’m coming up with the list and these two questions won’t be on it. I think this will be a fun little social experiment. And I encourage everyone who reads this to come and make recommendations.

Monday, August 22, 2005

Lame attempt to make friends

Okay, to add some meat to this thing and hopefully bring in a few more people, like anyone besides myself, here’s my response to Tegan @ Bloggity Blog-Blog-Blog’s list-o-blogs meme.

In alphabetical order:

The Absorbascon. I like the rungs of villainy creature feature. Then Batman gets his clock cleaned for like 20 posts. Funny if you like that sort of humour.

The Comic Asylum. Lists off the 10 Best Battles which is good if you like lists. Personally, if I had to make a list of things I didn’t like it would look like this:
1. Lists.
I know that isn’t funny, but I posted it anyway. This blog is good for us newbies looking for someone’s opinion on individual issues that were enjoyed instead of an artist’s run on a series or an overarching story event to collect in back issues.

Double Articulation. Super long reviews. Good for us who can’t afford everything we would like to get and don’t have time for a flip-through. It’s also a good way to look into a series you haven’t checked out yet. Also Jim is a fellow Canadian so support your own.

The Great Curve. I put this on the list because it has a History of Oracle feature for us relative newbies. There’s also a long Q&A with Becky Cloonan, who’s Demo is on my list of future purchases (it’s a long list) so this is a neat intro to her work for me.

Lady, That’s My Skull. Best mission statement ever. Also, all the blogs I already knew about have chosen this one so I couldn’t be left out. Okay, sarcasm is really hard to write. This blog can do it better than I can because there is an obvious love of the material. It’s a bit of a walk down memory lane only wishing you knew then what you know now. Plus snark.

RIOT comics + culture. First, the name intreagued me then I found out this is a retailer’s perspective. Not only that, a retailer trying to promote more than just superhero comics. If I’m ever in Camp Hill, PA I’ll stop in for a book.

Snark Free Waters. I really appreciate this title. To me, this is a fresh breath in the current state of affairs where there is a lot of, um, ire at the current state of superhero comics. I like this one, even if it top five lists of … I appreciate getting people’s perspective on things when they aren’t spitting bile.

Spoilt! Reviews and spoilers. This is good if you like reviews and spoilers. Again, I think it’s a good resource for newbies to get aquainted with comics they may not pick up. Just remember to take everything with a grain of salt – especially my advice.

Suspension of Disbelief. Besides being one of the terms I’ve used during my university days this is a term that never really made sense to me. Doesn’t it just mean believe? Anyway, there’s more than you ever wanted to know about archery here. Is the Green Arrow really that bad? I’ve enjoyed what I read.

Zilla and the Comics Junkies. I really appreciate the First Six Months Back reviews. They do it better than I am, but that’s the idea was hoping to plug into for this site. Here’s part 1, part 2 and part 3. There is more here than I get a chance to absorb, and I see a lot of my choices in the list. So, of course I'll recommend this site.

The Walking Dead is killing me

Right-o, let’s get going on this thing. I’m not a big fan of zombie movies. Check that, I’m not a big fan of American zombie movies because I really enjoyed Shaun of the Dead and 28 Days Later. I keep thinking I will like zombie movies but I don’t. I think it’s because I had the flu once, right before Halloween, and caught Night of the Living Dead on late night television when I was 9 or 10. Between the fever and the lack of sleep, I was fairly traumatized. I’m also a big chicken so I tend to avoid horror movies in general.

So, why did I pick up The Walking Dead? Simple. Reviews like this and this. Then I was at the local comic shop on a day other than Wednesday and overheard a conversation on zombie comics. The shop employee was slightly shocked that the zombie fan had not only never picked up a copy of The Walking Dead, but had never heard of it. Then, instead of attacking the zombie fan, the employee simply raved on and on about the series and stated how they couldn’t keep the trades on the shelves. Then, the praise for Invincible started, and I knew I was walking out the door with Volume 1 of The Walking Dead.

I got home and tore through the book cover-to-cover. The next day I had plans for the evening, so I managed to save my budget and not by volumes 2 and 3 even though I was chomping at the bit to get them. I made it back to the shop a few days later and both were gone, so I’ve got them ordered and am waiting with baited breath.

So, why did this admitted horror-hater enjoy this so dang much? Again, it is simple. Characters and dialogue. This series is just unbelievably well written. It’s rare for anything to truly engage me these days (jet lag and work insanity see to that) so anything that grabs me by the throat and won’t let go until the final shot is fired, is good enough for me. The black and white art really works here to heighten the situations in which we find our cast of misfits. And for a series not relying on the iconography of colourful heroes, there is a easy sense of characterization here. We get to read unbelievably human characters who remain interesting because of their current state of affairs and being able to remain utterly human. On the back it says something like “in the land of the undead, they can truly live,” or something similar to what you find on the back of books. But the weird thing is, that’s exactly it. We can examine and appreciate these characters as regular people because they are trying to live regular lives in the face of extreme horror. I want to go on, but I’ll save the critical analysis for anyone who asks for it later.

I had a feeling I would like Kirkman’s work, and I really wasn’t let down. When I’m finished the next two volumes I’ll post again on it. I want to recommend to anyone interested in writing comics to pick up a volume or issue of this series and discover how dialogue is used to enhance situations, educate the reader and show the relationship of the characters. I figure it’s just a matter of time before I go through all of this with the Invincible trades. And I’ll more than likely get around to watching Romero’s ouvre.

You can check out some previews of Kirkman’s stuff at Image, and read his new column Buy My Books over at CBR. Check them out and learn more.

Friday, August 19, 2005

Required post about DC's crisis

I know I should give a bit more detail about how I returned to comics or list the top ten books that got me interested again. I won’t be doing that right now because I think others have already done it better than I could. In particular The Derilict at Flying Inn and the Comicbookslut, although I’m pretty bored with lists of books to give non-comics fans even though I realize I’ll post on it sooner or later.

There is also Seguential Tart’s 50 Essential Graphic Novels and The Derelict expressing the same feelings I had about Marvel and DC upon my return. I know the Crisis infusion that’s going on now isn’t sitting well with a lot of people, but it doesn’t bother me. It seemed like a good jumping-on point for me, someone who never really bought DC books before except the occasional Batman. I have to admit that I’ve been enjoying the minis connected with the Countdown with the exception of Day of Vengeance which never interested me from day one. Because of the blogs I read, I feel like I really shouldn’t be enjoying these miniseries as much as I am. I don’t know the entire history of the DCU, but I’m having fun and that’s really the point for me.

Although, I do need to qualify this. I was really enjoying Omac until I realized that I missed four issues between issues 3 and 4. It made me understand the concerns of the dedicated online fans and really didn’t sit well with me. I’m not so sure if I’ll be continuing that one now it’s left such a bad taste in my mouth. But I think it’s only because I was enjoying the series so much that this is such a pisser. I would have happily bought the rest of the series as it came out if it was 6 issues or 10 issues, but this feels cheap. And now all the tie-ins. Again, this didn’t bother me so much, but now that Omac went to pot I’m looking at all of this with a bit more trepidation.

I've also heard that these aren't great "gateway" books into the DCU. Poppycock! Those of us enjoying the books are willing to find out more about the characters that show up and aren't immediately recognizable. We're not all lazy sods. Then again the occasional caption would be nice from time to time. If a book is good, it is good and encourages those of us who are interested to find out more. What's wrong with creating a bit of community by getting us newbies to ask others who these characters are, and just what the deal actually is?

The Origin Story Continues…

Well, before I’m into this thing completely I feel like I need to publicly declare a few more ground rules I’ll try to establish for myself.

Firstly, I’ll be trying not to violate Jessa “Bookslut” Crispin’s Graphic Advice. Although, I sort of mention that I haven’t read comics since I was a kid in my first post. Not off to a great start on that one. Then again, it’s kind of the point here to explore my return to the medium.

Secondly, I know I may get complaints about this because people tend to hate large corporations but whenever I mention a trade paperback or a graphic novel, I’ll try to link it to the Chapters website instead of Amazon. This is because I’m in Canada and I want to make it easier for my fellow Canadians to order stuff. But really, I encourage you to go into your local comic book shop or bookstore. You can place orders with them if what you’re looking for isn’t on the shelves

Thursday, August 18, 2005

Why another blog?

The easy answer: Everyone else is doing it so why can’t I? I guess that’s more of a question than an answer.

Whatever, here’s the deal. A little over a year ago I started a new job in a Canadian political party. Yes, I know this has nothing to do with comics, but I’m getting there. This job finally gave me a bit of spending money after years of scratching by and paying off student debts. I worked through an unbelievably crazy election campaign and the aftermath. In the midst of that insanity I needed something to entertain me. Something easy. Something fun.

I noticed the comic shop almost next door to where I work so I popped in. I went in a few times in the past few years but more to just browse, flip through a few comics, and see what was being made into toys. I was also in a computer animation course and wanted some reference material so I bought some Tank Girl trades. I may talk about that computer animation course again in the future but now isn’t the time. But now I had money to buy things. I had no idea what I was doing or what I was looking for so I picked up an X-men comic and an issue of 100%, I think.

Anyway, I decided that I needed a bit of a break from politics so I thought I would throw myself into comics again. I went online to bring myself a bit more up to date. The last time I was even remotely collecting comics was for a year or so when I bought Excalibur and Wolverine comics and read whatever I could fit in whenever I visited my cousin’s house. I found out a little series called Identity Crisis was starting up and the idea for it really intrigued me. I’ve been buying since, but I’m not truly committed to anything or any one series, company, creator or anything else. I tend to just check out what I think I would like.

I think that is where this blog will be going. I don’t have the history of attachment that most other comic blogs have. I hope that by sharing my experience here I can give others who are new or returning to comics some insight and hopefully some laughs. I hope to offer some resources for people to use in my links section which is currently made from 'my favourites' in my web-browser so if anyone sees any glaring errors or omissions, please let me know. You may be wondering why there is a politics section - I have plans to explain that in greater detail soon.