Friday, March 31, 2006

National "She's Funny That Way" Day

I have no idea what that's meant to mean but I think it's a rather funny holiday. It's funny that way I suppose?

I won't be doing anything for April Fools Day tomorrow, I guess I'm funny that way.

I may start reading V for Vendetta but then again I promise nothing. So, yeah I'm kind of writing for the sake of writing today.

I can't think too much about comics when it's bright and sunny and the pub downstairs is opening up its patio. Guinness is calling me, and the office wireless connection reaches there....hmm... time to break out the laptop I guess.

And just in case there's a big joke on the TV or Radio tomorrow, I would like to be the first to welcome our Squid overlords.

Thursday, March 30, 2006

The post where I sell out for free virus protection.

If I had the same technology as Superman and Joker I would disrupt your television signal and make the announcement, but, unfortunately, I’m stuck writing things on the two-bit internet thing. AVG is great. It caught and destroyed the computer virus that hit the home pc and all for the cost of FREE. I don’t have to hack anything since it’s a free service and I am now officially giving them a plug. If you want free virus software click here. Sorry for the interruption but I have to give a shout out to people who are willing to help people for free.

So, Comics.

Yeah, I got nothing.

My favourite post in a long time. I love meta humour, what can I say?

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Tonight should be fun.

Allison is working at home and called me in a bit of a concerned way. She went back to the computer after making a cup of tea and said there was a large pig on screen that said we had a virus. I hope this is standard AVG protocol and I don't have to suffer through the next great computer crash...

AVG is now scanning so hopefully everything will be fine by the time I'm finished here for the day.

Wow, four posts and the possible destruction of my home PC. Not bad for a day.

Showcase Presents: Brain Damage

I have no idea what possessed me to purchase the Showcase Presents: Superman Family. I'm still working my way through the Superman collection to end all collections of Superman material and I'm starting to lose stamina. I'm finding it harder and harder to sit down and enjoy the foolishness and pure joy contained within the covers. How am I going to get through the Superman Family collection?

I fear I am losing my soul because of this. I do enjoy Supermidget and when Superman thows Jimmy Olsen and chimps into orbit. I also like how Superman throws a chimp into orbit (the cnimp was meant to be rocketed into orbit as a publicity stunt - forget that paltry science scheme) the chimp circles the earth at 1800mph, gets irradiated, crashes to Earth, mutates into a Kryptonite visioned King Kong and Sueprman's solution is to kill the ape. Never once does he think throwing a chimp into orbit could have adverse affects on it and that somehow he's responsible for his own situation he finds himself in.

And there is an apartment sharing panel that made me howl in the "what subtext?" kind of way.

But I don't know if I can handle this much more. It's like being wakened daily with one of those boat horns. It starts to fray you after a while.

Wednesday’s Loot – 29 March 2006

Since today is National Mom and Pop Business Owner’s Day I picked up all four books at two local comic shops. One doesn’t seem to carry Godland so I go to the second one for my fix of Godland and Fear Agent. I had a small load today because finances are getting tight for me, otherwise I would have definitely picked up the Banana Sunday trade.

So you’ll probably get all these reviews elsewhere so I’ll be very brief.

Godland #9
I forgot to go back to my Freud books and find out what the role of the Id, Ego and Super-Ego are. I have a feeling it would help understand the new baddies. After the unbelievable fun of the last issue this was a bit of a let down but only like the perfect ice-cream cone compared to one that is slightly melty. I’m finding it hard to come up with new things to say about this comic. It’s good.
I rate this story: One of very few comics I will continue to buy monthly.

All Star Superman #3
You will read about this on every single comic blog.
I rate this story: Best. Superman. Ever.

JLA: Classified #19
Gail Simone’s story rattles along nicely with some new supervillains making an appearance. At first I was thinking X-men, but then I realized that there is a general flow of really creative ideas coming out of DC lately. Embodiment of unarmed combat, how cool is that?
I rate this story: The embodiment of a great JLA story.

Blue Beetle #1
I can’t decide if I like this one or not. I’ll decide when the next issue comes out whether or not I’ll buy it. I did spot a Hembeck elbow in there.
I rate this story: Nothing special.

Barry Windsor Smith Week

I know nothing about this guy. Go to some other blogs to find out more. I was locked in a basement for half my life, leave me alone, I'm sensitive about it (and to direct sunlight).

Kidding. It was just a regular bedroom, not a basement.

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

More movies because I won't be reading the V for Vendetta comic until this weekend at the earliest

Because I'm finding it hard to read more than one Superman story in a sitting (I'm wondering what the hell I'm going to do with that Superman Family Collection) I'm posting more about movies instead of comics. Just sit down and take your medicine.

So after I went to see V for Vendetta this weekend I found out that The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe was playing at the local second-run double feature cinema in my neighbourhood. I used to love this place, they would do these amazing theme nights where you could see Princess Mononoke and Akira back to back or something like The Matrix followed by Blade Runner. Then they started to just put random crap together and decided that cleaning wasn’t in their operational mandate. Allison says she’s afraid she’ll get fleas whenever we go in there and we generally spend about five to ten minutes looking for two seats next to each other without crap on them.

Anyway! We saw the movie and enjoyed it tremendously. I especially loved how the “evil” animals were all white. Very unique visuals. And yet I was reminded why I didn’t like the series as a kid. I read one of the books and was extremely bored. I guess I was too old or something. The same feelings came back as I was watching the movie. There was all this spectacular stuff in an amazing world and the story focused on the dullest aspect. I don’t care about some kid’s conversation with a lion, I want to see the ogre and the minotaur fight the centaurs. I want to know more about the place and the creatures and not simply focus on that which I already know. I’m a person, I’m following the people into the world so let’s explore the world and not the people. It sounds major but it really isn’t. I’m just putting together my thoughts now that I can – I wasn’t as eloquent when I was ten. I said it’s boring and sucky back then.

Then on Sunday I watched the History Channel and they played Red Dawn on History on Film. I lived through the eighties, I don’t remember that incident. I also remember actually liking that movie. Now it is just hilarious. I mean they drink the blood of an animal. So much for giving blood now – what with the whole foot and mouth and mad-cow scares going on. I know I’m banned from giving blood because I lived in the UK for 3 years.

Anyway, this movie got me thinking about cool shit you don’t really see in movies that much anymore. A few weeks ago in the office we were talking about something or other and I went off talking about how Crossroads had one of the best ever endings. No, not the Britney Spears piece of shit, the Ralph Macchio one. It ends with a guitar duel against the devil and the devil is played by Steve Via! I think you hear the echo of Dave Campbell’s F#@$ Yeah! I actually convinced someone to rent the movie because of how much I love the idea of movies that contain guitar duels with the devil. I mean who wouldn’t? I don’t remember anything else about the movie – apparently it’s not that great but not completely horrible. I can’t remember anything other than the Karate Kid and the guitar battle.

So that got me thinking about other cool shit you don’t really see anymore – like the dystopian Russian Invasion. Now it’s all about aliens and stuff. I miss the whole cold war evil empire alternate world order thing that was going on in the eighties. Red Dawn has that in spades. I didn’t finish watching the movie because I had to finish some drywalling after I fixed a leaking pipe (yep, I am actually handy at D.I.Y.). But what it did have was the following:

- Patrick Swayze crying and swearing vengeance because his dad is in a re-education facility.
- Patrick Swayze’s dad screaming “Avenge me son! Aveeeengge Meeee!” without being shot or anything.
- A cold-war communist re-education facility that apparently consists of a chainlink fence surround a drive in theatre – yeah because those bastions of security have never been foiled.
- A whole bunch of people singing America the Beautiful or something like that really off key before they are gunned down in front of their families and the mayor.
- A shot of a bumper sticker with Charlton Heston’s “You’ll take this gun from me when you pry it from my cold dead hands” above a dead dude holding a glock.
- The Russians find all the gun owners because they gun owners were forced to register their fire arms.

But the reason I like this movie isn’t because of the fact that the Russians keep airplanes in a re-education facility without a runway (I think they have a clever set up involving catapults or trebuchets to launch the MIGs), but because the Russians attach a high-school as a primary target. Yeah, I guess that’s why I’m not a commie generalissimo I’d go after military targets and power/water stations first (maybe a bridge or two if they were on the way). Apparently the chess club and jocks are the TRUE threat present in America. Plus they’re called The Wolverines. Marvel is now freaking out.

Oh yeah, I was going to do a special “Stuff on my Bookshelf” week of posts but I haven’t gotten to it. It’s actually quite funny because all the stuff I was going to post on isn’t actually on my bookshelf but in boxes from the move. I’ll get to it at some point.

Monday, March 27, 2006

W for Weekend

Apparently I should be accessing this site on the weekends because it appears that a comic creator whose work I am really liking presently has visited – Ms. Gail Simone. I may address this later today or even in this post if I can remember to do so. Needless to say I’ll be picking up her Atom series (I can’t remember if it’s a mini or ongoing at the moment). Still, cool. I’m feeling better about this wacky medium again.

I managed to go see V for Vendetta on Friday. Guess what? I freaking loved it! I haven’t enjoyed a movie in so long and this weekend the trend was broken. V for Vendetta was really nothing like I expected it to be – not that I even knew what to expect but I was really entertained and enjoyed the entire film.

I know that aspects of the comic were changed and I’ll be reading the comic now that I’ve seen the movie, but I really don’t think it was done in a bad way. These are different mediums with different audiences (in different times) and I think the movie managed to deal with it as well as it could. No matter how faithful the Wachowski’s wanted to be to the comic they can’t escape the fact that no matter what they do people will expect The Matrix from them. They make blockbuster popcorn movies with a smattering of intellectual challenge to them (well maybe not the last two Matrixes but the first one was really clever and a new mix of intelligent pop culture). I think this movie channels a lot of the spirit of the first Matrix.

The message is made for today’s audience and to interpret something word for word isn’t always going to make it better. I liked the ending. They’re all the same and yet they’re all unique, yeah it’s American and not in the book but I can forgive it. It worked and I’m kind of taking Alan Moore’s own position on this sort of thing – the comic and the movie are separate and should be treated separately. There were a few other aspects of the ending that I liked. It showed how violence begets violence because this big mob scene is averted when the military/police don’t start shooting. And you’re still not sure about V. I think for a pop-culture “hero” he left me feeling completely unsure about him, his methods and wondering if the ends, no matter what they are, justify the means. He is destroying a very rich past for an unknown future and I’m left wondering if he removes all this history will the people who inherit England be doomed to repeat the same mistakes that got them to where they are in this movie?

And I also like anything that critiques the current state of the USA. I mean c’mon! Haliburton anyone? This isn’t really anti-Bush (intentional or implied) more so than anti-Rumsfeld. The guy behind the guy in power holds the power. A large company with it’s board of directors inserting themselves into government like a suppository and while it’s obvious to everyone that this isn’t good nobody knows how to change it. Not until some extreme action is taken does it change. I was wondering what the vendetta was in this movie, and while it looks to be against the system currently in place it is at its base against the people who did this to V. He goes after these people but in order for his vendetta to really take hold and remain he needs to bring down these “evil” people and that which makes them inherently “evil” – the system in which they have become successful. Successful and evil are two sides to the same coin and your image is determined by where your audience stands and where you’ve managed to position yourself. It’s as much about putting personal accountability back into the public domain than it is about hiding behind an impersonal and ambiguous idea like “the system.”

Now, while I’m by no means a trained actor I did work in a theatre for quite a few years so I do know a bit about performing and there were some fantastic performances here. Hugo Weaving does an absolutely amazing job out of what seems like an impossible task. He gives an inanimate mask personality. His performance is really helped by the lighting and cinematography but it truly is a great performance to give something with one concrete expression “life.”

Who else thinks this may very well be Natalie Portman’s big break-out performance? Holy crap she was amazing. I honestly can’t think of anyone else in that role now and that to me proves that she was the right choice. I truly believe they picked the right woman at the right time in her career to take on this role. She is broken. Her character gets beaten down to nothing and you feel that she goes there as an actor. Who else in glamorous Hollywood would allow themselves to be beaten down, shaved and defeated on screen. She goes there and sells it to the audience. I honestly haven’t seen a performance like hers in a very long time. I can only say good things about her performance here, even if it wasn’t meant to make me feel good or entertain me, she made me believe it and I think that’s what every actor is striving for.

Now, if you’ll excuse my abject laziness, I won’t go searching for a cast list to remember the names of everyone. I really enjoyed Stephen Fry’s character. I do believe his character type will be almost always prescient, and that upsets me. Also the cop was amazing. More than anything I felt it was his story since he comes to his conclusions on his own whereas Evy’s were forced and manipulated. Oh, there’s another topic for discussion.

The female character is forced into situations she can’t control. All she can do is react and turn to herself. Unlike the cop who comes to the same conclusion Evy doesn’t have the support of anyone but herself and V (who I wouldn’t exactly call supportive). Evy is violently awakened to the truth, forced into it while the cop is on his own journey of discovery. The man finds his own place in the world while the woman is forced to comply to one that a man creates for her – even if it apparently frees her. Evy is still “controlled” by the male dominated system until a man sets her free. If anything this reinforces the broken performance as much as the performance reinforces Evy’s place in this world. Powerful stuff.

In the end this was one very intelligent popcorn movie. Me and Allison were both captivated from beginning to end. That’s how I know a movie is good. We’re both entertained and can talk about it for hours afterwards. It also prompted Allison to say that the movie made her want to read a comic. I won’t force this.

I was also going to write about how I saw The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe as well – I liked that movie as well. And I also saw Red Dawn on TV yesterday. While fairly crap, it made me want more alternate reality movies. I may address these later if I have the time and stamina to type about more movies.

Edit: Oh yeah! The cop's name was Finch. I do believe it's a connection to "To Kill a Mockingbird."

Friday, March 24, 2006

A different world.

Kalinara over at Pretty Fizzy Paradise has written a post that has gotten me to start thinking a bit more critically/creatively for today’s post. I sort of gave up and decided to click on one of her sidebar blogs that I hadn’t read yet. I clicked on The Zeta Beam read the post about the All-New Atom still being a white dude with the same costume and the ability to go atomic, or shrink – whatever. So I realized I would have to stick with my first idea about posting something meaningful on where some “mainstream” comics could go.

The gist of what I’m going to be getting at is basically “Where is the Harry Potter of comics going to come from?” I don’t particularly mean something about young wizards but more about a creation aimed at the young reader that is enjoyable by anyone who reads it. I think the Batman Animated Series and the current JLU are doing this well on television but the violence is a bit gratuitous. I know, I know, they’re heroes and heroing means you need to get punchy and make explosions. Heh, that kind of sounds like you need to be farty. And I know there is darkness and violence in the Harry Potter books, but one would have to admit the subject is treated a bit differently. Nobody walks away unscathed and if you do there are still repercussions for the actions taken.

I think one of the places this could happen is, oddly enough, with The Phantom Stranger. It’s already got mystical elements that seem to be hip with the youth without being totally sword and sorcery. Kind of the Quantum Leap in comic book form is how I see this book, only with magic instead of science. You’d not be limited by time or space since the dude is basically a ghost. When I think of things that work on multiple levels I keep turning back to Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Outside of the obsessively scary fans, this show managed to package multiple genres and appeal to each demographic. Teen drama, check, Horror tropes, check, Comedy, check, Boobs and Pecks, check. It mixed things up while moving each of them forward. It became aware of what it was and even experimented with its own form and the expectations of its own audience. Man I miss those DVDs…

Anyway, back to comics. I think with the new releases coming out there is a chance to do this as well. How many of us out there think something new and unique will appear? C’mon, don’t be shy. You can raise your hands anytime now….(crickets chirp).

We see that the new Atom looks to be just like the old Atom. I don’t say that to begrudge Gail Simone anything. I really like her take on the DCU. She’s created a lot of stuff I love and I look forward to what she’s going to be coming out with. But her writing seems suited to my demographic – fans who know a bit of the history and want their classic mixed with equal parts current. Then again I don’t want to think of her as a limited writer. This could be exactly the series we’re all looking for.

I think the current OYL Aquaman is a step in the right direction. It’s mixing genres in a way that works without cheapening either histories – Aquaman’s own and the fantasy genre. It’s hard to judge if there will be a continued success here since there has only been one issue but it did manage to collect new readers. It took a writer that people are interested in, a character that people are interested in, and started from scratch while respecting the history that came before. It allowed those of us not invested, but interested, in both the character and the creator to get a taste of something new. I can’t crown it king just yet but I do see it as a successful start and I’d like to see this happen to an all-ages book.

I recently wrote about my love of the Bone comics. Why can’t we get superhero comics like that? I know there are the animated DCU comic books, but I want something that isn’t treading familiar waters. Yes, they’re good books and fun books, but they’re more or less cartoon recaps. I don’t want recaps. I want new – even if it mixes in some old elements. So where can we get this? Who knows? Justice League Detroit? Probably not – sorry fans. Maybe the Metal Men? I could see that happening more.

Here’s some random ideas off the top of my head that could possibly work as an all-ages book:

The Phantom Stranger – mix between Quantum Leap and Sherlock Holmes with a healthy smattering of the mystical.
The Metal Men – Straight up superhero book about trying to find your place in the world only they could be like Degrassi Students.
Mary Marvel – Like Superman only done like Buffy the Vampire Slayer and the Hardy Boys/Nancy Drew (yeah make jokes now about The Nancy Boys).
Super Boy – He takes time off from the Teen Titans and travels across America, then the world, then outer space trying to find himself or just drink it all in with some friends. Kerouac for the comics.
Tor or Kamandi – c’mon how can you not go wrong with intelligent apes and random dinosaur action. It would sell to anyone with testicles.

As for Marvel comics, I would imagine something like:
Bah, I can’t be bothered. It would be like five extra Spiderman and Wolverine comics where they punch stuff then punch each other done by an exclusive artist. And some random character like Gladiator or Black Bolt gets a miniseries that is really good.

So I started this post many hours ago and sort of forgot where I was heading. I did have some points but they are lost to the annals of history. Oh yeah, one of my favourite single issues (aside from the Jonah Hex book) was the Gotham Central issue that was done in one starring crooked cops and Poison Ivy. I think the police procedural would work. Same with a mystery based title or even medical drama. Although I probably wouldn’t buy a medical drama book, personally. I’ve been going on about mystical/comedy but there’s also sci-fi. What about a sci-fi western or a western horror mix up, a western mystical book or adventures of everyman-adventurer trying to keep his livelihood in a world with the JLA?

What do you think would work as a new direction for at least one book?

Thursday, March 23, 2006

The Noble Savage

I am now officially a Vandal Savage fan for one simple reason. He rode a comet back to Earth. No. Seriously. Read that again. Okay? No I don't think you get how unbelievable awesome that is to me so I'll type it again with explitatives.


And walked away from it.

And caught a crow mid-flight, ripped out it's throat and tossed it aside because after you RODE A FUCKING COMET back to your home planet you can take a bite out of anything and throw it aside. Who would argue with you. I feel bad for his former lackeys and the OGL (Original Green Lantern for those of you who don't get my patois of early hip-hop and geek-speak).

His life has been reduced to rubble. He has lost all his fortune and all his worldly goods. He has lost an empire. His daughter stabs him in the chest with a hidden X-23 type of doohickey, puts on a mask like that ninja from the Soul-Edge video game, and he shrugs it off.

Wait, if he can shrug off a deep impact why is his body now failing? He's immortal so it really wouldn't matter would it? I hate comic book science. It is just a bit too convenient if you ask me. I can't wait for a speech from Metropolis University when we hear the introduction being "Our speaker today is the foremost authority in the field of plot hammer...etc."

Plus - Seven Soldiers is indeed a very good thing. It is probably my favourite project in quite some time and one of my biggest regrets that I now must await the trades. Also, I watched the JLU last night on YTV. It was the first episode I've seen in ages. I've now seen a total of 3. It was basically an original Seven Soldiers story. Very karmic if I do say so. It was Vigilante, Shining Night, Star and STRIPE, and Green Arrow in a parade fighting a Hulk knockoff. Then The Crimson Avenger and Speedy show up. It was all very fun and I like how the JLU has more racial diversity presented than most mainstream comics in the cast and extras.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Wednesday's Loot - 22 March 2006

Batman #651
Things are continuing along nicely in James Robinson’s Batman arc. I was sort of unsure about it as Batman and Robin were simply exploring a skyscraper then it stopped and had a classic Poison Ivy sequence. This is they type of Ivy I like – eco-terrorist more than horrible villain. I felt the exploring-action sequence was effective in showing us the inherent difference between Batman and Robin. The stoic man and the light-hearted but probably unsure and a bit scared young apprentice. I do like the master and apprentice take on the dynamic duo. I was all thinking “great things are flowing towards something akin to the animated series” when Blam! Violent ending. It’s not atrocious, but it’s not “lighthearted” either. This continues to be the type of Batman story I like, even if it could have been compressed into one issue I don’t feel cheated. I also realized that this story arc is called Face the Face – cool.
I rate this story: Pure Batman and riding the razor’s edge of good and bad Batman comic storytelling.

Iron Man: The Inevitable #4
This series is continuing along nicely although I sort of had a feeling of deja-vu when I cracked the spine on this one. I like the pink art. It’s so unusual in superhero books that it’s great this team is using it so effectively. Again, this was going along nicely and took a turn for the disturbing – but not raping and decapitating people disturbing just Wolverine in his underwear with a picture of himself on the underwear disturbing. What are they implying – Wolverine’s a dick. Yeah, I got that memo in the eighties.
I rate this story: A real nice story – if you aren’t getting it, it’ll be worth the trade so far.

The Incredible Hulk #93
Planet Hulk is Gladiator. If you like Gladiator and sci-fi you will probably like this. If you like the Hulk it should also help. Although there were a few random jumps in the plot and I wish the Hulk didn’t speak in full sentences. He should be all “Hulk Smash” not “You want a sandwich?”
I rate this story: Decent but I’m undecided on whether or not to continue buying it.

Sgt. Rock: The Prophecy #3
I keep thinking I won’t buy this, then I do. Then I read the first page and think, why did I buy this? Then I get to the end and can’t wait for the next issue. It does a good job of showing the sparseness, surreally stark atmosphere of the Eastern Front and is going to some nasty places really soon. It is showing the more intimate side of the WW2 conflict.
I rate this story: Worth the asking price and probably better in single issues than the eventual trade unless there are some kick-ass extras.

Not appearing in the quick review because my lunch hour ended: JSA Classified and the 2nd Seven Soldiers trade - yeah yeah I didn't jump on the gravy boat when it started so I'm sitting on my arse waiting for the trades of this Morrison internet lovefest.

You're damned straight I'm making fun of kid's comics

Before I bore you with vague descriptions of more fairly obvious observations from the Superman Collection to end all collections of Superman material, I give you some random thoughts.

It seems that women comic bloggers tend to be Green Lantern fans. Men comic bloggers tend to like seeing Hal Jordan suffer head trauma. Could it be that it's because he attracts all the ladies? I was never a GL fan and I don't know why. Is it the suit. His cute butt in the suit? My theory falls apart if you're gay, by the way.

I don't think I have a "sure sell." I used to think Excalibur would be one since I liked the book when I used to collect. But I remembered that I gave up collecting that book and I didn't want to buy the Magneto book and I didn't bother to buy the New Excalibur book. I guess Cpt. Britain is as close to a sure sell as I can get - but even that isn't a sure thing. Don't ask me why this is so, it just is. I feel he's a bit of a wasted character.

If Marvel does more New Warriors will the book be called The New New Warriors or The Brand New Warriors? And before you tell me that they're all dead and each team is called The New Warriors because the old team always dies, I've never ever read a New Warriors comic and I don't know who was ever in the team. I'm just being an ass.

So back to the Superman stuff. I should really write more of this stuff down because I tend to get typing and forget everything I wanted to write about.

Basically, why is he so worried about marrying Lois Lane? She's a babe. She's successful. She's intelligent. What gives? Who in their right mind would go to those lengths to AVOID marrying someone? I'm thinking if he never askes then isn't the point moot? There is some serious conflict going on in that man's mind when he repeatedly puts himself in a position where he asks her to marry him, or reveals his identity, then goes to extreme lengths to deny the truth. Is the Fortress of Solitude a metaphor for some type of closet I don't get? Maybe it explains the Kryptonian penchant for unitards - unless they were SERIOUSLY into figure skating as a planet.

I understand the whole - a man makes his own way sentiment, but this is going a bit far. Maybe it's as simple as boys think girls have cooties so we can't have Superman getting married. That kissing stuff is for the girls.

Then I'm struck by the inherent conflict in Lois Lane. She's meant to be an equal in many ways but she's almost always portrayed as emasculating Clark Kent or as completely inept/frivolous. I feel like Lois has really gotten short thrift here. Sure Jimmy Olsen is retarded, but Lois barely fares any better. She's like community functional at best in most of the stories with an obsessive one-track mind. I guess it's my modern sensibilities but I find it a bit grating to find Superman being so carefree and self-contained where his "equal" is so needy and incomplete without the man of her dreams.

I guess I'm wondering why these stories tell and don't show?

Oh, and how many heads do you think popped like melons because of this collection when continuity nuts tried to make it all fit together? I'm hoping at least one.

I find this series is like a three hour movie of a fat man being hit in the crotch then falling down stairs. Sure it's funny at first, but it really can't be sustained for three hours. I like this series but I can't sit and read it cover to cover. Small doses is enough.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

A bit more for today...

I did actually learn something from the Superman collection to end all collections of Superman material. The guys who work on skyscrapers are called "steeplejacks." I never knew that. It is also the story that proves doctors were prescribing drugs that are now illegal - like speed and whatnot. This story violates continuity from panel to panel, let alone how it relates to today's continuity (is Superman Skyscraper still in Metropolis?). When "Kirk Brent" (Superman's clever alias) is first up on the beams he is almost blown off by a gust of wind. He, geniusly, pretends he's doing gymnastics. Apparently gymnists can float in the air underneath metal beams. Shows you how today's athletes are just crap. And then a couple of panels later (after lunch so that may have something to do with it) he brushes off being blindsided in the head with a dozen steel beams. I know it's about shoddy materials and the crooks who pedal in them, but c'mon! I guess Metropolis is really in hurricane alley or something where every gust of wind is category five or more.

I also learned that acetylene torches can cut ANYTHING.

You got to be extra tough just to live in Metropolis. Forget Gotham, they got crime and stuff - big woop. Metropolis has wind gusts able to knock Superman off balance, they build skyscapers out of matchsticks apparently, and they have enough chlorine in the water to make the population retarded in order to disquise the kryptonite that is making Superman retarded.

So anyway, I think after Superman meets Brainiac and the bottle city he went to the Justice League and was relating this to Wonder Woman and Batman. The newly heroic Hal Jordan was sort of standing around in the corners when Superman tells Batman andWonder Woman how he was shrunk and tried to punch the re-large buttons but he slipped and went head first into the button. Wonder Woman was all "shyea right, you slipped." And Batman was like "You've been drinking the water again haven't you? Here, try this I call it the Batrita water filtration system." But Hal was thinking, "Hey, he can use his head and still show his face in the Justice League with pride. This gives me an idea...(WHACK). Damn ceiling tiles why do they always have to be yellow in here?"

Lois Lane is certifiable. I can't decide if she's the world's biggest dumb-ass, if she's utterly insane, or simply a misogynistic creation. WOW! I knew she liked Superman and is not supposed to know his secret identity but she is either legally blind or has the memory of a goldfish or golden retriever. How many times can Superman reveal to her that he's Clark Kent before she actually accepts that he's Clark Kent no matter how many metal belts he uses in conjunction with electro magnets. I was in grade school science, I've seen electromagnets work. Nobody ever flew in any of my classes because they had belt buckles (unfortunately). Maybe I should have gone to Catholic or private school...

Then she is given a lot of responsibility at the Daily Planet. Perry White leaves her in charge and we're always reminded how she's a brilliant journalist. They just never actually show Lois being either. She's put in charge and the first thing she does is have the printers make vanity pages for her before she verifies facts. Perry White is gone a minute and she's bringing the Daily Planet into debt for vanity.

There are two words that I will always think of when I think of this Lois Lane though. Fashion. Maven. Ms. Lane can dress for any occasion, especially parachuting it seems. How Jimmy Olsen ever got his helicopter license is WAY beyond me and why anyone would willingly get into any sort of moving vehicle, let alone one that can fly, is WAY WAY beyond me. That's another thing about Metropolis - everyone can slap a parachute on in like 2 seconds flat or your another statistic for Darwin. It eliminates the weak you see because apparently every tall building or flying machine comes standard with a Jimmy Olsen in Metropolis so you can either parachute or plummet in the hopes Superman can catch you without running head-first into Super-Girl. I guess anyone who doesn't like plummeting from tall heights just moves to Gotham. Crime there is at least at ground level - mostly.

More tomorrow. I have to go celebrate getting money back on my taxes. It's why I can't really type coheren thoughts here. I'm just all around excited or possibly delirious from the cold of death hangover I'm going through today.

I made it out relatively unscathed (Phew!)

Vitamin C is a wonderful thing. As is a day in bed doing sweet fuck all. I read more of the Superman Collection to end all collections of Superman material. Unfortunately I took notes on my laptop computer and I don't bring it to work anymore so I don't have the great quotations I took (and my lack of scanner means you can read my descriptions rather than see the panels for yourself).

I am nowhere near done this collection since passing in and out of consciousness hampers your reading speed as does Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic II. I did notice a few things (that everyone else noticed a few months ago when this thing was new).

Jimmy Olsen has a gay-crush on Superman. He actually rubs a ruby tipped staff under the light of a full moon wishing that Superman had a lifelong companion.

Superman really was a dick. I saw the website and all but holy moly it didn't prepare me for this. He's like that obnoxious kid you new who you and your friends would make up a lie and tell him about it and the kid would go along with it then you'd tell the kid it was a lie and he'd pretend he knew it was a lie all along. I hated that kid. I know it's better when Superman doesn't only punch his way out of problems but this isn't even Deus Ex Machina, it's absurd. Good, but absurd. I'd love to have been a hack writer back then. You could write ANYTHING. Anything, I say. You just had to have the third last panel with Superman saying, this was all just a trick, I tricked you good. I had this hoax planned since the beginning. And everyone laughs and they wait for the next trick, which they inevitably fall for. I'm thinking there's too much chlorine in the Metropolis water supply. It was probably unregulated back then.

That being said I love the lengths Superman goes to for his practical jokes. The mermaid story is a perfect example. He poisons them with salt. How? By constructing a fortress of solitude full of working computers to mask salt deposits, giant pearls with hidden salt deposits, and an entire underwater complex to simply hide salt. I'd simply carry extra salt in my pockets as I swam around but that's why I'm not Superman. And his reasoning that this extra salt will poison aliens from a different planet? Great Salt Lake has no fish so an excess of salt should be poison to these ALIENS who are lucky to even be alive in this ecosystem to begin with. He bases his theory on the fact that fresh water fish can't survive in salt water. Did he try to say, poison ocean fish with salt water? Nope, he doesn't have to, he's fricken Superman.

Lion-headed Superman = Genius. Trust me. In every story but this one he's using his telescopic vision to see through hideouts or volcanoes where Kryptonite meteors landed but in this one neither him, nor Lois who bought the tickets, look at the name of the play they go to, either on the tickets or on the large flashing marquee outside the theatre. Maybe there's Kryponite in the water as well. I bet the chlorine masks it.

I have more but I'll post them later, including how I think Hal Jordan was influenced to take so many blows to the head and not think this is a bad thing.

Monday, March 20, 2006

Death and the blogger

I'm not sure but I think I have a fatal chest cold. It feels rather bad and I'm certain I'm on the brink of death. Either way, I'm not at work with good reason.

I didn't go see V for Vendetta this weekend, but I did buy the book. I plan on reading it only after I see the movie. So go look for snark and reviews about the movies somewhere else. I think I'll like it.

Today does mean I get to read more of the Showcase Presents: Superman collection. I do love this book. I really miss Jimmy Olsen but that's probably because I don't buy Superman comics. I love how he gets knocked unconcious by picture frames. I mean, I have pictures in my house and they're all framed. We have some that are rather large paintings with glass coverings but unless I'm sitting on the floor they won't ever hit me in the head. Who hangs a painting that high up a wall? Who is he the BFG? And how the hell did it KO him? My pictures would have to dropped of a fourth storey balcony to do that kind of damage. Maybe it was made of lead? I also love how he dreams Superman will solve the nation's debt by FINDING PIRATE TREASURE. If only we had the Olsen party like the British have the Monster Raving Loony Party and Canada used to have the Rhino Party (since politicians, by nature, are "thick-skinned, slow-moving, dim-witted, can move fast as hell when in danger, and have large, hairy horns growing out of the middle of their faces).

Friday, March 17, 2006

Cool Shit

Okay I've decided this isn't a family friendly site. I want to type like I speak dammit and if parents aren't constantly hovering over their kids making the child's life a living hell then I just worry about the moral fiber of that parent, or kid. I don't remember where that was going, I have a head cold that I think is killing me.

So here's some cool shit I saw in comics recently (or related somehow to comics):

1) Elvis Green Lantern in Green Lantern Corps: Recharge #5. He's in the big spread on the right.

2) Batman chillaxin' in JLA: Classified #18. He so needs a beer.

3) Wonder Woman with a plate of homemade doughnuts in JLA: Classified #18. And Batman hitting on her because of it. He is so "da man" in this comic.

4) Cordellia mentions planet Mogo in an episode of Angel I watched on DVD last night - I set of geek alarms when I pointed it out to Allison.

5) This Robot is Trained to Smash Your Camera on a robot chasing Jimmy Olsen and the Daily Planet running the headline No Trace of Dinosaurs Found on Mysterious Island in the same story.

6) Realizing that John Stewart is not a great character because he's so well balanced, but is probably one of the few superheroes I'd want watching my back at any moment in time because he never seems to lose it. That guy is a rock. I guess he's just a bit of a wasted character more than a bad one. I think he's one of those - crap this guy is too well balanced for us to really do anything with him characters. It makes any real conflict introduced into his life seem tacked on.

7) The key to the fortress of solitude is meant to look like a directional marker for planes... because radar and automatic pilots don't work in freezing cold temperatures? And where did all this land in the Arctic come from? I'm thinking if there's land, there's probably the occassional Inuit hunter who would stumble across a giant arrow key and be suspicious.

8) Buffy the Vampire Slayer is more like Spiderman than even Spiderman, except for Ultimate Spiderman.

9) I bet having a Nintendo in the JLA Headquarters would have sucked. Especially if they had the Track and Field game where you had to keep pressing ABABABABABAB and you got put against Flash or Superman. I'm thinking that's why they never had any other video game setups - that and the whole saving the world on a regular basis thing. But think about it for a second - you're on the moon or in a satelite orbiting the earth with the best hi-fi set up EVER CREATED. You're telling me Blue Beetle and Booster Gold never once smoked a fatty and hooked up a Playstation?

I wish I worked at the Daily Planet. I could write stories about how people aren't 20 feet tall today or how you can't eat plutonium on Fridays and I could work on my Gorilla fighting skills.

I also realize that I may get some demerit points for being a comic bloggermonger and not owning a scanner. Le sigh.

Happy St. Patrick's Day

Or as I like to call it "Make Up an Irish Ancestor Day." It's the one day a year you can pretend to be Irish because you made up the fact that your Great Great Grandfather's Uncle had an Irish Setter. Go out, drink green beer or Guinness and talk in a very badly faked Irish accent. It's fun and you should just generally be drunk.

Little know facts:

I keep thinking St. Patrick's day is on the 16th.

My grandfather was, in fact, Irish so I do have cause to celebrate. His family moved to northern England when he was still a baby.

I realized during the St. Patrick's Day Parade that I had an orange T-shirt on for the 3rd year in a row - unintentionally. They should let you know when parades are taking place...

I lived in Hammersmith just after the IRA tried to blow up Hammersmith Bridge earlier in the week. The bridge was outside our balcony. The explosives didn't go off thankfully or it would have obliterated the flat before I could move in - not to mention the death involved.

I always wished Finn McCool (yeah I know I spelled that wrong it's probably Fionn mac Cumhail or James Duggan, I just don't know Irish Gaellic) would be a Superman villain or misunderstood colleague. Doesn't that sound like a gangster from the Thirties? "Hey, Finn, the man of steel is heading this way." "Don't just stand around you palookas, blow him ta pieces." "Sure thing Mr. McCool." These days they'd make him an ice-themed villain instead of just Irish.

I'm not actually going to get much chance for Guinness today, unfortunately. I have tickets to go see Richard Ashcroft and Coldplay tonight. At least it better be Richard Ashcroft who is opening here tonight as that's more of the reason I bought the tickets than to see Coldplay.

During the last election the candidates in an Alberta riding (I think it was in Edmonton) were asked to take part in a presentation to a grade 3 class. One kid stood up and asked the Green Party member if the Green Party was started by Leprachauns. He glanced to the left, to the right and answered "yes."

Thursday, March 16, 2006


After reading this post on 2 Guys Buying Comics I think you will all have to refer to me as Viper from now on. Read the page 173 outtake. Skip to the last paragraph of that outtake if you’re extra lazy with the reading.

As per Brian Cronin’s post, I’ve got five “I’ds of March” about comics and one about the blog. Some you’ve read before some may be new to you.

I’d keep Juggernaut as an X-villain.
He’s just better when he’s being mean and punchy and could take on the whole team at once. There were some good bits with Black Tom and that fish kid but he should have remained a bad guy. It would have made him a better villain. Giving characters more depth does not equal becoming a member of the X-men. (Unless we’re talking about the X-men comics, obviously).

I’d never call something changed “new”
I would just call the New Avengers “The Avengers.” I mean cripes, lineups change, we get it, we can live with it. Change the direction, the members, whatever - why the lame name change? It’s unnecessary. Eventually they won’t be new, and they’re barely Avengers as it is. I cry foul! What’s next “New Defenders, New Excalibur, New Eternals, New Inhumans, New Fantastic Four, New X-Force, New Spiderman?”

I’d have kept Ted Kord around
Yeah yeah I know all the sides to this argument but he was a good character that was wasted. I wouldn’t have given him his own series but he should have been either a backup or a team member in something. He could be guest star in Birds of Prey or the JLA. I’m indifferent to the new Blue Beetle because it seems like an Iron Man knockoff but I’m also intrigued by the book that looks like the soul mate to Spider-Girl.

I’d have Jimmy Olsen backup stories in All-Star Superman
I think he’s going to be in the actual comic proper soon, but if Morrison really does love the campy silver age stuff why isn’t there Olsen backup stories? He’ll never get his own series again so where else can we get doses of Jimmy Olsen randomly transforming himself or recklessly endangering others on a regular basis?

I’d focus Detective Comics on detecting and Action Comics on action
I’ve said this before and I’m repeating it here. Batman and Superman both have multiple titles so lets use them to focus on different aspects of their characters. Action comics doesn’t need to be punch up after explosion after punch up but it could work as the main theme the same way detecting works for a Batman theme.

I’d try to post more actual content
I started this hoping to have a place to examine, criticize, explore, create and possibly even inform but it’s turned into something quite different. Apparently it takes a lot of time to write 300 words of informed interpretation (I should have remembered that). This is time I just don’t seem to have anymore, what with the job, looking for work, planning a wedding, being newly introduced and addicted to Buffy the Vampire Slayer on DVD, and generally having a life. I’m hoping to refocus and jump back into things a bit more whole heartedly instead of making poo jokes about Marvel covers – then again it’s hard to resist a good poo joke.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Wednesday's Loot - 15 March 2006

I caved and bought the Showcase Presents Superman Family collection. I figured it's cheaper and less hassle than getting the Jimmy Olsen comics from e-bay. Although the lack of colour and dated advertisements is a bit of a shame.

Here's the rest of the best:

JLA Classified #18
This is still roaring along even if I don't remember much about the General and some elite squad sent to kill him but caught bullets in their heads. The JLA bits are fantastic. I like that Batman and Superman are more like respectful competitors rather than polar assholes, I mean opposites. Superman is sort of an unintentional jerk because he's concerned about his colleagues who don't have super powers whereas Batman is self confident and doesn't mind pointing out how he's not helpless. I sort of expect this Batman to go home to a room full of stuffed big game animal heads to drink scotch and smoke cigars. He sits around with his feet on the JLA board room table - how freaking arrogant is that? Plus, Wonder Woman makes doughnuts and Batman is the first to jump in and eat one. I'm hoping that DC is holding off on the Showcase Presents Batman volume for the Batman Begins sequel when there is further interest in the property - because if this is the Batman you'll find in those stories the world will shine a bit brighter. Cherubs will decend and bless that collection and we will all feast on ale. Or we'll just buy it and read it and then make some rather out of context comments about how silly our sad little lives are.
I rate this story: Still the best JLA series out there. Wait, it's the only JLA series out there. No I'm not counting the JLU comic, bite me.

DMZ #5
Matty gets robbed and chases the robber across New York. I've been enjoying this series and I do like it but it's on the chopping block for no reason other than I get it. I know what's going on so I don't really feel compelled to get any more. I feel about this series like I do about Ex Machina. It's good but not groin grabbinly good to quote Homer Simposon.
I rate this story: A good done in one issue for anyone who wants to check this series out.

Batman Year 100 #2
Paul Pope. Batman. I like both. I like this comic. I like the mystery in it. I like the visuals of it.
I rate this comic: Totally fucking wicked

PD Days

Like all other bloggers I've participated in the time honoured "stop posting without any explanation" days. You know who I mean, that guy with a blog who like disappeared or just started posting cats, or that woman's blog that changed templates a few times and now has pictures of her cat. I haven't posted the cat yet.

I haven’t taken time off since the election and I have 20 days worth of overtime on top of my vacation days so I’m using it before I’m losing it. I was at home reading and creating civilizations – damn you Sid Meier! I could have been working on a cure for childhood diabetes! Ah, who am I kidding, I’m not even very good at Civilization IV.

Five days away from comics. I read some actual fiction. The black and white – words only kind. I’m reading Dune because I’ve never read it and don’t want to hand in my geek card just yet. It’s odd to be reading about jihads and the responsibility of the leader who has combined spirituality with warfare. I bet that sentence got this blog put on a list. Hopefully traffic will go up (not that there’s much to read at the moment). Let’s try for a few other words that’ll get me blacklisted. C4. Crossing the Canadian border. Holy war. Pipe bomb. Exploding shoes. Bag of kerosene.

Needless to say I came up with a few ideas for posts in my time off. I think it may start next week when I’ll do a theme week called “Things on my bookshelf.” It’ll start with a few good posts (three if you’re lucky) then turn into me phoning it in and describing the look of the book or the plot or the shape of the object since I don’t just have books on my bookshelf. So look for that if you’re still reading and not comatose yet.

Even though I didn’t read any actual comics I was thinking about Superman. I have the Showcase Presents Superman collection – finally! I didn’t actually get to it yet but I was thinking that if he can squeeze coal into a diamond he could probably squeeze any living being into a diamond. I mean, coal is petroleum, which used to be living creatures a long time ago that were buried and compressed into oil then coal right? So it’s a good thing they didn’t make Superman a cat-hater or a dog catcher. But they should make him an exterminator so he could crush cockroaches or silverfish into diamonds and destroy a few economic systems while he’s at it.

Thursday, March 09, 2006

North South Divide

I just read Dave's last post and it got me thinking... (which is sometimes good, sometimes boring).

On Oscar night I turned to Allison and said "Crash will win best picture. Americans like movies about themselves. And really, this movies is just The Simpsons only they use the stereotypes for drama instead of comedy." Little did I know it was written by a Canadian. I guess it takes an outsider's eye to get to the core of what works and what is actually there underlying public sentiment.

What do we Canadians get in return? American writers giving us Alpha Flight. This can be the evil twin to what I said above. Sometimes outsider's eyes only remain that way and they present their vision of what things are without understanding or getting to the core of what is there.

Then again the old Alpha Flight might be good. I've read precious little of it. The new one should have been called Alpha Slight because I don't think it was good for anyone with the ability to read.

Plus we can actually get away with stuff like this:

Auctioning off the leadership to the Liberal Party of Canada on e-Bay.

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Wednesday's Loot - 8 March 2006

And I'm back, not that you noticed I left. Like I said somewhere before - in the vacuum of the internet, nobody can hear you sob quietly into your beer.

I had two days worth of meetings. It was interesting.

So what did I end up buying today? Nothing. Zip. Zilch. Nada. Zero. Squat.

Nothing went "hey buy me." or "c'mon, take a chance on this." I walked in. Browsed the new releases. Did a mental "meh" and shoulder shrug. Walked out.

There's no commentary on the state of the industry or the local shop. There was simply nothing that interested me, except the Ultimate Spiderman with Ultimate Kitty Pryde but not enough to make me want to slap down money for it. I think this is helping me fortify the gumption to start selling stuff on e-bay to make some space in the one long box I have. I'm also tempted to get some Silver-Agey stuff of Jimmy Olsen or Lois Lane or even some animated Batman series in comic form.

I do have to admit that there is one thing the one year later Batman story that sort of pissed me off. I've been dreaming up stories about a hard-boiled detective series starring Harvey Bullock. Guess that won't happen now. I'm happier. It means I don't have to write anything now.

Friday, March 03, 2006

Bandes on the Run.

Recently I’ve been thinking more and more about French comics or “bandes-designes” as the French or the Pretentious call them. I grew up on the East Coast of Canada in a bilingual family, but my French is rather iffy, at best because we had an English mother. This means my father’s side of the family was mostly all French speaking. It also means growing up I had cousins with huge collections of Asterix, Tintin, Lucky Luke, The Smurfs or Les Schtroumpfs, and Gaston. I could have cared a less about Gaston and a few others I can barely remember as I was instantly drawn to Tintin’s adventures and the Gallic adventures of Asterix and Obelix. The Smurfs were on TV so I didn’t really need the comics unless I had time to kill.

In a lot of ways these were some of my first real “comics.” Sure I didn’t own them, and still don’t, but they were always something I’d love to read. Some were English translations and some were still in French. I didn’t quite read French all that well but I’d follow along with the pictures. I would say I’m probably one of the few people who “read” most of the Asterix library in the original French without actually reading a single line of dialogue. I was a weird kid, what can I say? Actually, I just couldn’t read French which isn’t all that weird.

I had access to all the animated versions of these comics as well. I used to watch Lucky Luke* each Christmas vacation even if I didn’t understand it until much later. Everyone remembers The Smurfs and their eventual marketing glut, but Tintin was also on television. I remember Tintin because I was home with the flu or mono or something so I was really delirious and on heavy drugs when the trippy mushroom from space episode was broadcast. This was in high school so I told my friends and we all tried to record it for future “recreational” use – same with the surgery show that was on late night Friday or Saturday. But I digress.

After I left comics for sex, drugs and rock ‘n roll, or the teenage years and my early twenties as the time is also called. Well by me I suppose. I don’t think anyone else refers to that time period as Jon’s teenage years, except maybe my parents. And university hit where I met my good friend Brian who should be making comics and I feel is a bit of a wasted talent. It saddens me that he never stuck with it. Anyway, he had some Paul Pope stuff, some Moebius stuff, some manga (Battle Angel, Appleseed and Akira), and Sin City – the one with Marv and Kevin. So it was a cool time and we both did what we could to find as much Moebius stuff as we could. It didn’t really work out that well in that we found next to nothing. I think we managed to scrounge up something in French that had a lot of dirty French words. I think it was a Heavy Metal magazine or something similar that we found. One of the most surreal moments I’ve had reading a comic was reading Heavy Metal (if that’s what it was) full of surreal sci-fi imagery and a porn flick narration translated with a French-English dictionary.

Then I moved to London, England not London, Ontario and stumbled across a Corto Maltese book in a bargain bin at a Borders or something. I sort of equate this with stumbling across a five dollar reprint collection of Golden Age comics that you fall in love with. I picked it up because the art was fantastic and I was pretty sure I knew the name Hugo Pratt from somewhere. It was an interesting read. The translation was crap. I could read the English and see how it was directly translated from the French – which doesn’t work in translation by the way. I was basically translating the book back into French in my head as I read it because it simply read better that way. What an odd turn of events, huh? Then I stumbled across some Dark Horse collections of Moebius (H.P. Rock City and The Mad Woman of Notre Dame). I bought them for my friend Brian and gave them to him when I was back in Canada for Christmas. I never realized he was so serious about his Catholicism until then.

I traveled to Paris and a few other places in France but I never bothered to pick up any collections. This is probably one of the things I regret. I just don’t particularly want to read in translation with a French-English dictionary again. My French is again rusty. But I’ve been thinking about that Corto Maltese book for a while. I have no idea what happened to it. It was such a departure from what I was used to, even in “independent” comics. It was basically a pirate story set just before World War 2. He fights the Japanese Navy, gets shipwrecked on Pacific islands, rescues the rich heirs of someone, and just generally has a rollicking good adventure. There are some questionable portrayals of race in the book which seems to be par for course in French culture and always bothers me.

A weird side note is I later saw Tim Burton's Batman movie and Vickie Vale just came back from the Corto Maltese islands. The more you know...

It was basically this book that lead me to discover that there are a crapload of good comics out there we simply don’t have access to. Has anyone read an issue of Moebius’s western comic, Lt. Blueberry? I would marry your sister if you could get me a copy of that is in English. There’s a lot being made about Blacksad and Valerian being missing or poorly translated although both are really good books. I’d love to read either of them and if they’re as hard to find as the rest of the French stuff I’m screwed. Yeah, I know all the examples I’ve been using aren’t exactly French, they’re Belgian and other European countries, but I can’t help but think of them as French.

I’ve been thinking about how unfortunate it is that we just simply don’t have access to these books. I’m sure there’s a conspiracy theorist somewhere who’ll say it’s a big deal by the American companies who don’t want their audience to get access to these books that make theirs look like Bantha fodder. I don’t know if that’s the case or not because a lot of the audience is different. I think about growing up with Tintin and Asterix even if adults love the stories. But I can’t imagine growing up with Marvel or DC’s heroes today outside of the all-ages books or the cartoons. I know I wouldn’t give them to kids who have graduated into “serious” readers but I wouldn’t hesitate to give this same group Tintin or Asterix.

This has been in the back of my mind for a while because friends of ours have a four year old who is really into heroes and books. I’m holding onto a few of my comics for him when he gets older, but I want to get him started at some point. And what I could think of were Tintin books. Then it made me remember all the other great bandes-designes that just don’t exist in the English speaking market. I’m left to ask why?

I want more Corto Maltese. I want to read one Blueberry story or one Blacksad story. I want to discover all the books that are crammed into every square inch of Paris that I’ve seen before or since. This may be a project for me this year – to find some of this stuff in translation, but I hope someone is listening who can make this a reality. Get that comics company going that translates the French market for the North American audience. Give us some affordable graphic novels and I bet they sell. Then again they may be received like a bunch of lepers, I don’t know. But it would be interesting to find out and I want more than a Tintin collection and the rest of the industry he has become.

Why is the French market so different? It is working in France like the book industry. These books are constantly selling in French Canada. The English transaltions are also always selling or I'd assume they wouldn't be carried in Chapters. So why is it only limited to Tintin and not the rest of the French market? Would you, dear reader, purchase an original viking comic or pirate comic or hard-boiled detective comic that was a best seller in another country? I would. I want more than tights, but I want to know I'm getting my money's worth and this would seem like a guarantee since the work is proven successful. Then again the 2000AD line crashed like a lead balloon with DC...

*Apparently they've edited Lucky Luke's smoking habit. He usually has a cigarette plastered to his lip and not a stalk of straw.

Thursday, March 02, 2006

Thursday's Loot - 2 March 2006

So I went back to the shop today to pick up the one year later books and the Batman Annual. I needed a bit of brain candy. Hey, I haven't had a coffee or beer all week, gimme a break. One vice is enough.

So let's go through this again.

Jonah Hex #5
Wow that art was creepy. I was liking this four on the floor tale until the end. It was good, good, then random ending. I'm all about later retribution but this was pushing it.
I rate this story: The weakest issue since the first one.

Godland #8
You are either right there with me or are a poor deprived soul I will forever pity. This book is good. It is the answer to all the things you've complained about in comics but isn't a return to the "bad" parts. I mean it has a trio of bad guys named after the id, ego and super-ego and the universe being created from the body of a giant warrior that wept when he had nothing else to warrior against.
I rate this story: Continuing to please

Fear Agent #3
Robots, ray guns, bubble helmets, a classic rocket with a shark smile painted onto it, and whiskey. Sci-fi has rarely been this fuck-off awesome.
I rate this story: Tougher than your cigar smoking, whiskey drinking, truck driving, bar fighting grandma.

Green Lantern Corps: Recharge #5
So that's what they were trying to do in the whole Rann-Thanagar War thing? This was much better. Spiders, lanterns, war-buddies-who-were-once-enemies, people sucking it up and surprising leaders. This was a great ending and a good start to the series. This is my first ever Green Lantern comics and I really like them.
I rate this story: A really impressive ending to a good miniseries. I don't like that I'm shocked that there was a coherent end that allows the story to bleed into a series. It just seems so rare these days. I mean, I could not bother to buy the series and be happy.

Batman Annual
I simply got this because I was curious about it after I heard good reviews coming from blogs I trust. I was expecting a train wreck but what I got is actually excited that Jason Todd is back.
I rate this story: How the hell did they manage to handle that well?

Detective Comics #817
So you've read all the plot synopses and know the spoilers, so now what? I don't know? Read the comic. If you're a Batman fan this a return to what Batman is all about the same way Batman Begins makes you forget about those crappy batnipples. I went away, but I'm back now and you may want to give old Bats a try again yourself.
I rate this story: Back to basics, which is a very good thing.

Aquaman: Sword of Atlantis #40
This is where The Fabulous Scipio decides to institute the first ever lifetime ban from his blog. I liked this comic. Then again I have never bought an Aquaman comic before and have nothing invested in the character. It's also helping me quench my thirst for sword and sorcery without buying the Conan trades. I actually think it's a good fit because of the otherworldly aspects of the ocean.
I rate this story: A good jumping on point for anyone who is interested.

I guess overall I'm simply shocked at how well DC seems to be handling these reboots. I think so far they've managed to do exactly what they set out to do. They are presenting new versions of the classic characters. New people can jump in on the ground floor and yet it is still continuing the stories already familiar to continuity junkies (maybe). I know the inherent problems with reboots is that they will eventually be needed again when things inevitably go off the rails. But until then I'm actually excited about superhero comics again. And I'm excited about comics I've never bought before either. Although the whole boobtacular Hawkgirl doesn't appeal to me even if it has a mystical edge to the stories.

And I did actually enjoy the Ultimates yesterday despite what I posted. Just being an ass I guess.

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Wednesday's Loot - 1 March 2006

You know the drill.

Infinite Crisis #5
Do I really need to put up my comments. You'll read about this everywhere else and someone will manage to say what I was going to say anyway, so just read the people who are more eloquent than yours truly.
I rate this story: Big special effects extrAAAAahvoganza!

Ultimates 2 #10
Hey didn't I just read the Infinite Crisis issue for this month? Oh wait, this is Marvel. I guess I did want an entire issue giving me the backstory of the villains. I didn't?
I rate this story: Thankfully reminding me what happened last issue and sort of just bridging gaps. Placeholder with too many numbers in the title I had to write out.

Iron Man: The Inevitable #3
Yeah this came out last week but I only got it this week. Still coming along strong. I never knew I would be an Iron Man fan. This is a great mini-series with great art. Tony Stark is in it as much if not more than Iron Man. It's more about the brains than the brawn.
I rate this story: Mmmm, mmmm good and with an electric pink cover no less!

I have yet to read Jonah Hex, Fear Agent, Godland, Green Lantern Corps: Recharge. This was a pretty decent week for me. So far I've been entertained with four other titles I'm still excited about left.

Oh, and A Lot of Kevin explains why I don't want a subscription at a comic shop. I just can't reserve something sight unseen and then be expected to pay for it. It's not my responsibility to keep comics alive. They'd be fine if they stories were good enough to maintain a large audience and the distribution system wasn't the commercial equivalent of insane monkey paintings.

Rumpy Bumpy Info-Dumpy.

This is where I link to a bunch of stuff you already read.

According to Dave I need to punch myself in the throat seeing as I don't have many friends who A) read comics or B) like Kraven. I guess B is sort of redundant.

Greg has a great post about Frank Miller as a fascist writer. He does a really good analysis around some of the guys work. I haven't read too much Miller but I've read enough to agree with what's written here. I've expressed my apprehension over The Book That Shall Not Be Named.

Non-pal Dorian has some One Year Later spoilers. One made up word - Nymphomercial. (Hey I don't know the guy so I can't claim to be his friend like the rest of the comic blogmongers out there).

Plok has a challenge for the comic blogmongers that I'm completely unqualified for.

Oh yeah, and is anyone else wondering if Hawkgirl has anti-gravity boobs? I know the principles of hot-air balloons, but that's taking comic book science to a new low or height depending on you point of view. And shouldn't she maybe wear a bra with all that flying and loop-de-loops and whatnot? I guess it's just cold up there in the atmosphere.

And there seems to be a decent haul coming out today. Hopefully they'll all be available at the local comic shop although I've been having trouble getting Fear Agent and Godland at the one I frequent during the lunch break. Hey, it's two doors down. Plus I'm hoping to get the last issue of Iron Man: The Inevitable if it really did come out last week. I never know anymore and I refuse to take a subscription. Yeah yeah, I know. And I think it's become the new meme to take a break from blogging. I won't be though. Where else would you read this meaningless hooey?