Thursday, April 27, 2006

Random FF covers

I probably won't be posting tomorrow or until Monday as I tend to unplug on the weekends so I'll leave you all with 3 Fantastic Four covers I fell in love with when I was unsuccessful in finding the cover for my first comic (for first comic week).

This one jumped out at me because it was just so unique amongst all the drivel. Plus I think it's the Scarlet Witch losing it. If not it will be soon.

It's not the She-Hulk in Daisy Dukes that makes me like this cover. I'm just a sucker for the surreal ink blot taking over the world story line done so well with Daffy Duck amongst others. And it's all off-kilter and just jumps out at you as a cover.

Forget Nazis this one has Hitler and the Fantastic Four have to save him! If there was a monkey this would be the best comic ever.

A question for all y'all.

So, I haven't been buying comics for the last 20 years. Do you think this would be a hindrance to a career shift into comic retail?

The Walking Dead

I am now a part of the walking dead. I'm meant to be updating a handbook on how the associations of the political party I work for needs to update their operating procedures and I'm thinking it would be easier and less painful to pick up my keyboard and concust myself with it. I'm thinking of using a large object like the monitor or my keyboard to bash my left hand fingers so I can't type anymore.

It's not that I don't enjoy writing. I quite enjoy the process. I don't mind hard work and have never shied away from it. I simply don't respect any of the people this is meant to benefit or the people who decided to make absurd and ineffectual changes. So this is what Dilbert was getting at.

I no longer fear death for I am sitting motionless in a box all day as it is.

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Wednesday's Loot - 26 April 2006

Quite the selection today. This week without pictures because I don't feel like getting any.

Godland #10
This is by far and away the most enjoyable book I'm reading.

Blue Beetle #2
I think I'm liking this update (not that I read much with Ted Kord to begin with). The way they play with time is fascinating. It was a bit disconcerting in issue one but here it is used to great effect. That's a great reveal, topped only in Battle for Bludhaven. I do like the updated and soon to be very dated, Brotherhood of Evil...I mean the Posse. The characters are all young and fresh. It's not a perfect book but it's a fun book that's not afraid to use some unique storytelling practices.

Iron Man: The Inevitable #5
I like the art. I really like the art here however I felt a bit lost in the story. Does Tony Stark and the Spymaster (out of costume) know each other. I may have to read all of these issues in one sitting when it's done. I do have one doubt though - so many characters were brought in, then dumped, is this a good thing or a bad thing? I can't decide but you all should. Oh, and what's the deal with Doc Samson, if someone cuts his hair will he die?

Battle for Bludhaven #2
Now THAT is a reveal. And here we were thinking he moved on to another universe altogether. I give you kudos DC on keeping this under wraps. Oh yeah, the rest of the story is progressing nicely.

Villains United Special
Note to Dave Campbell, this comic features the return of El Diablo. Just thought you should know. Again, I'm liking the story but would like someone to do a page by page breakdown of all the characters because I know less than half of them. If they're names weren't mentioned I probably don't know anyone outside of the more major villains (or ones made fun of on blogs).

Also bought but not read Solo and Batman. I don't want to read Batman until I get that last issue of Detective Comics. They are planning to reprint right? Right? Also dropped Hulk. That just wasn't going to last. I was tempted by Wolverine and the Annihilation stuff after the good words I've read. I guess my plan to reduce my purchases didn't work this week. Fuck.

Message to Jim Roeg

Four days left or you will be branded a liar sir.

I want cheap colour and New Avengers editorial nightmare

So I finished Showcase: Superman last night. And I could go on about the sheer insanity again or try to find a scanner to show the panel that I’m pretty sure shows Jimmy Olsen as a baby about to get molested by his neighbour. I am now questioning my sanity at purchasing the Showcase: Superman Family before reading much of the Superman collection. I just don’t have the mindset for these at the moment. I guess it’ll be one of those books resting on my shelf for a long time before I get to it. I want to enjoy these and share in the humour but I’m finding it … um…grating.

But I did have a notion. I would pay twice as much for these collections if they were on the same cheap paper with classic colour. I don’t need glossy paper with uber-new colours. I like newsprint paper with the dot-colouring. Hell, I’d like more comics to print on cheaper paper with cheaper colour if it reduced the cost a bit. I don’t need each page to look like a fantasy calendar. Mind you, I do like seeing the pure inked lines in these collections so whatever.

So I never got around to listing all those comics I’ll be selling because there was playoff hockey on and I was invited out for dinner. But I will write what I forgot to mention yesterday. New Avengers needs a bit more editorial attention. In each issue the number of convicts changes. It goes from 42 to 44 to 46. I can live with that because I’d assume that a massive prison break of supervillains would cause of bit of confusion. So as the dust settles the authorities get a better grasp of the situation. What I don’t accept is that in one issue (either 3 or 4) Stark Tower is founded in 2004 where in the next issue it’s founded in 2005. I know that Stark drank a lot for a while but I doubt he’d forget an entire year where he founded a massive structure that reshapes the skyline of New York. I’m just saying. These are the petty mistakes that really grate me but I don’t buy the book anymore so I shouldn’t really complain too much.

Oh and damn you internet. You’re making me want to buy Nova and Daredevil when I was thinking of cutting out Hulk. I want to save a bit of cash since I’m getting married in a few months and comics will be the big cut I’m thinking. Then I change my mind. It goes like this all day every day for me.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Reducing and Re-using

Last night I went through my ONE long box that is currently edging on the “full” side. I did this because the Great Glebe Garage Sale is coming up (May 27th) and I want to reduce my collection. I know I’m not going to read these books again so, in theory, I’m going to sell them to someone who will read them. There’s going to be some decent books in the sell pile but some not-so-good stuff as well.

Highlights include two issues of The Amazing Joy Buzzards and an issue of 100%. I have two copies of that 100% issue after a friend gifted the full run to me and I’ll be getting the second trade of The Amazing Joy Buzzards after the debacle of a time I had finding the issues. I’ll also be selling the full run of City of Crime in the Batman family of comics as well as a few random issues of Legends of the Dark Night, Detective Comics, Batgirl, and Robin. It’s all War Games stuff or Red Hood related so nothing all that fantastic. I’ll also be selling the Nightwing: Year One comics. There’s the first eight issues of New Avengers (except issue 2 oddly enough) some various Spiderman and X-men titles. I’ll also be dumping the Rann-Thanagar War series as well as Omac, and some JLA comics about erasing memories.

Now, what’s the point of this you’re asking? Well, I may post the issue numbers and stuff here tomorrow just out of the curiosity I have on people’s reactions, but I’m more interesting in getting feedback on pricing and selling. I read through most of the stuff I was going to sell – skimmed some because I just couldn’t put up with reading it again hence knowing I should sell it. At first I was thinking I’d sell these books for a dollar each. Then I looked at the price and in Canadian dollars each book is minimum $3.25 but more of them hover around $4.00. So I was thinking maybe $2.00 is a fair price?

What I want to balance is price to not getting random parents extremely pissed at me for selling their precious little peanut a Batman comic where a guy with a skeleton face tortures a young girl or a Green Arrow comic about his new sidekick explains that she was raped by her father as a child. So I’m thinking a $1.00 price point will attract too many kids to books that really aren’t for them but $2.00 is simply too much for anyone. I just don’t want to have a flood of kids coming up to me with a buck and me telling them “no, go ask your parents first.”

I want to spread the love and create space. I got these books to read, not to fool myself into thinking they’re going to be my retirement fund. Maybe I’m making too much of a big deal out of this. It’s not like I’ll be selling X-box games.

Sorry about posting the cat yesterday. I realize now that post is this site’s equivalent of jumping the shark.

Monday, April 24, 2006

Woo Hoo! Colouring!

So for the last little while I've been using my lunch breaks to get back into photoshop a little bit. The result is the image of the Scarlet Witch below. It's nothing ground breaking but I think it's kind of fun and retro. It turned out better than I thought it would but it is, afterall, shades of red. I this look for the Scarlet Witch. I always thought I'd like the character but then they made her marry an android and go batshit crazy, and like, invent her own kids or something. I do like how all the men (and male aliens) in the Marvel U keep claiming they'll destroy the world but it takes a women driven crazy by their bullshit to actually make it happen.

NOTE: I didn't draw this image it was taken from Mike Weiringo's blog and I simply added the colour.

NOTE TO MIKE: Please don't sue me. If you want I'll take the image down.

M is for Monday - Gentlemen light your fires, the flaming is about to begin.

Bah. It’s been raining all weekend and I’m grumpy. Every time I try to send an e-mail I get an error message then it lets me send the e-mail. It’s very annoying. Like the three bears I’m suspicious that someone was using my computer.

So I finally read V for Vendetta. You know what? I think I liked the movie better. Blasphemy I hear you all shouting, but it’s my opinion. Sure the book was interesting and well done, I’m not refusing its merits but the movie simply entertained me a lot more.

I got lost on the relationship amongst the characters too often in the book and it seemed to move along in fits and starts. It just seemed a lot more fractured than the singularity of the movie’s story. I know that being fractured is a big part of the book although I’m not sure if the narrative was meant to feel fractured as a reflection of that theme.

I don’t want to sound as if I’m dismissing the quality of this work. It’s definitely there. The artwork and narrative devises were ground breaking with the lack of outlines and the lack of thought balloons. The story explored a lot more of the harshness and cruelty of the world than the movie did and the message is as much terrifying as it is satisfying in the book. I do like that the story and V are left to be somewhat ambiguous when the narrative ends (unlike the movie). It allows for much more interpretation, which is much more fun to do with a book as any English major will tell you – ad nauseum.

I did like the story and I appreciated the narrative, however I wouldn’t say I enjoyed it as much as the movie. I don’t think it’s meant to be enjoyed in a happy-fun way so much as enjoyed on a intellectual, detached, “hey that’s an interesting notion” kind of way. I think the book is one of intellect in much the same way that anarchy is. They both function extremely well when they exist as ideas or as a story, but put into practice and there is just no proof they will work. Sure people without leaders is better than people with bad leaders in much the same way as this is a book I can appreciate but not so much enjoy.

I guess I was just left a bit flat. I felt like it was a taste test for a really great story. I like the ideas hinted at and slightly explored but in the end I felt like I wanted more. I felt there was too much deus ex machina as a narrative devise. It’s revenge, then a vendetta, then about justice, then anarchy. I just felt like the plots within plots within plans were to Silver Agey for me. I guess I’ve just been reading too much Showcase Superman + Superman Family for me to separate the plots of V from the plots of Superman.

V for Vendetta is a great comic, I’m not trying to disagree or disprove that. It has stuck with me and I’ve been thinking about it since I read it. It’s one of those stories that is great because it makes you reflect upon it long after you’ve read it. I find myself going over scenes or character situations in my head. But I can’t say I enjoyed it. It wasn’t fun. I don’t think it was meant to be and in that it is a success.

Friday, April 21, 2006


Dave, Mr. Longbox himself is currently having X-men week on his wonderous blog.

And since I’m more of a supporting actor than a leading actor I’m taking one of his briefly mentioned points and run with it. I’m going to present the version of the X-men I’d like to see with something of an explanation. Well, unless I get bored typing the stuff then I’ll just abruptly stop and end the post.

I’m going to have to provide myself with some limits otherwise my ideal team would be all the “good” mutants. So I’m going to limit myself to eight mutants because really I’d like the X-men to be a rotating cast of pretty much all of them. Oh wait they already each have their own series somewhere. Also, Professor X is a given, but I’d make him less of the hidden past of horrible dickery version we have and more of a Charlie or Bosley from Charlie’s Angels.

There’s not much to the guy I know but every team needs a punching bag right? Actually I really like the character because of this. He’s rich so he doesn’t really need to be with the X-men. He could always be on the verge of leaving or when things don’t go his way he can just take of business with his own resources. Plus there’s like gagillion poor-little rich-boy stories you could do monthly as well as the requisite, it’s the person not their financial situation that’s important.

Here’s the muscle. We need someone who can punch bad guys through walls and throw cars or buses full of school children at the Juggernaut. I always liked when he’d get pushed to edge then stand toe-to-toe trading punches with anyone who tried to dish it out. Plus he’s player, even if he comes off as a creepy retarded uncle sometimes.

I’ve always been a bit on the wall about Kitty Pryde until I read the Essential collection that she’s introduced in. She’s a plucky youngster with a pretty cool super power, I mean mutant ability. I think you can do a lot with a character that is both a mutant and Jewish if you’re writing about racial tolerance and other themes that have taken a backseat to boobs and multiple titles. She's one of the only X-women that hasn't annoyed me on some level. She's not a victim or femme fatale but clever and confident.

I like Wolverine because I like the idea of a smoking, drinking, bar fighting indestructible Jack Kerouac. There’s always been great moments of tenderness between him and the people he actually cares for or respects. The rest of the time they need someone who doesn’t pussyfoot about but goes straight for the jugular.

This is the one guy I was the least sure about. He’s a bit whiny and “oh woe is me” all the time or they make him religious. But I think the team needs at least one member who is very obviously a mutant. Plus “Bamph!”

Jamie Madrox
I’ve liked the idea of The Multiple Man since I first saw him in that horrendous green and yellow number. A very useful power this guy would have for pretty much any situation. Madrox can basically be the dues ex machina in any situation. “Ha ha, that was just a double that you killed so maybe now you’ll keep that temper in check Logan. I hope you learned your lesson.” I’d like to see this guy in the team but never really sure which version of him is the real one. Is this dealt with in the mini-series?

This is again, someone who can fly, is uber-powerful, and can basically be distant support for the team. Storm has always felt underused to me. There is a lot about her character that I feel is sort of crap because writers simply don’t know what to do with her. She’s still a blank slate to me, and I think to a lot of people. I'm not a huge fan of the whole, hey she's black she should be the proud black woman of the team aspect to her. I haven't read anything she's in recently so I'm not sure if she's been humanized a bit. I'd like to see her with a bit of a sense of humour and quite confidence like in Grant Morrison's All Star Superman or she's be all punk. Plus she'd need the mohawk again if she's on my team. In fact, so would everyone else I think for at least one issue.

The Wasp
Yes, the Wasp. Okay this is sort of me grasping at straws but I wanted another female character on the team and I’m not a big fan of Rogue or the rest of them. Maybe Marvel Girl but I decided to go this way. My thoughts are two fold. First, she could be on like a hero-exchange program between the X-men and The Avengers. Beast is with the Avengers, which is where I like him, and Wasp can be with the X-team. Second, I wanted anther woman on the team who isn’t young and or insecure with herself. Plus she has the leadership ability from The Avengers and would function well as a sort of hidden general on the battle field when she’s all waspish.

I think this gives the team a bit more of a spy agency, secret operative feel. They can function behind the scenes doing there own non-government sanctioned operations which always leads to stories about their hidden agenda. Let’s actually make them operate as if they have a hidden agenda. They want to work in the shadows, so lets put a team that is like the TV Alias. The only thing I’m missing is the technology guru but we can just rewrite Shadowcat to her Excalibur days when she was making alien jump gates or whatever, with her dragon.

Almost making the cut were Cyclops, Marvel Girl, Beast, Iceman and The Human Torch. I was thinking of going with a fire and ice combo but I couldn’t fit both on the team and when one went so did the other. Cyclops and Marvel Girl are your legacy characters but the whole Marvel Girl Pheonix thing is just too much to deal with. That horse is dead and I don’t want to go near that smell anymore. And without Marvel Girl there’s no point in having Cyclops since he and Wolverine won’t have the girl in the middle. I wanted Beast as the techy brilliant guy but I figured I’d go with new faces.

All images were borrowed from this place.

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Quick hits

I'm tired.

I'm really really tired.

I need more coffee.

Like the song goes (but personalised) - J-O-NN-Y needs C-O-FF-EE.

I am now a beta tester for Windows Vista. It is very flashy and I'm on the bleeding edge of Microsoft products. Hello all you penguins out there.

Anyway, comics. I liked all of them but haven't finished the Action Philosophers book because my friend came over to help with the install.

I hope the baby doesn't share a similar fate to the puppy in Sgt. Rock. I have to say I was happy that Easy Company finally got a chance to play dead then spring up to punch Nazis. Stupid Nazis. That's like the staple of all Sgt. Rock stories, playing dead then jumping up to punch or stab Nazis - that, and bazookas up front. Apparently Nazi-school didn't teach you things like "the dead don't breathe."

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Wednesday's Loot - 19 April 2006

Got a few books today, but also a very long staff meeting. It was like a sweat sauna in there. Or hell depending on whether or not you have a sense of smell. Thankfully I had boxing gloves growing up which resulted in a lot of bloody noses so my sense of smell is rather reduced. So in other words little time for reviews at the moment.

However, since A. is in Scotland I'll be having a drink, smoking a Cuban cigar and reading the following: JLA: Classified, JSA: Classified, Justice: Classified, Sgt. Rock: The Prophecy Classified, and Action Philosophers: Hate the French Classified.

Cormier out!

Jon Cormier and The Introduction to Scott Pilgrim

With the $20.00 I won for my triumph over the world, on the Risk game board, I picked up the second Scott Pilgrim book. I love these books. I FINALLY get what everyone was saying.

These books simply ooze with charm. I was a bit confused by a few of the characters because there are so many of them but that’s also what adds to the charm of the book. It’s more about being a part of the community that is Toronto than it is about anything else. The laid back artwork supports the idea that these characters are doing what they want and it’s great in the punk ethos DIY manner. Is the artwork great, yes and no. It’s great to me because it allows Bryan Lee O’Malley to express what he needs to. The simple look of the characters allows them to be way more expressive than something like photoreferenced artwork. If you have little tolerance for anything with indy-manga linework, you may be put off but give it a chance - I read New Avengers for a while so you owe me.

I want to call the book a punk rock book because it reminds me so much of it. It is intentionally trying to not look exceptionally beautiful in order to really strengthen its core. Like the indy band you love that isn’t the most talented but they have the core of rock ‘n roll down which makes them stand out to the dregs or pop music. This comic stands out in today’s comic atmosphere the same way something like the Sex Pistols or The Ramones did to the bloated prog-rock of the seventies disco era and the whole grunge movement did to the early nineties pop scene. Wait, this sounds like I don't like the art. That's the wrong message because I absolutely love the artwork here. I love the look, I love the feel, and I love the flowing changes and transitions. It is kinetic and expressive which is just how I want my pop-art to look.

As I said before, what struck me most by this book isn’t so much one character or another but the feeling that they were all a part of some community that I wanted to find myself in. It reminded me of my heyday going to indy-rock and punk shows in between video games, parties and other entertainments. It’s like Pilgrim through the lens of O’Malley remembers all the stuff I once cared about and is filtering it back to me in comic form. I was constantly hanging out in the Halifax/Moncton scene on the east coast when Sloan and Eric’s Trip were starting up. Reading Scott Pilgrim reminded me a bit too much of all those floating relationships that were involved with taking part in a small scene. There were all those people you’d see at shows or parties and were sort of friends for a night and although neither of you disliked one another you wouldn’t really see them again until the next show or party.

These comics reminded me of all the enjoyment that I got from the drama of finding your place in the world along with everyone else of that age group. But I moved to London when I graduated from University (the first time) so I left my scene far behind, what with the ocean and all. I can related to the horrible poverty of that time when you’re trying so hard to find your place – you’re fighting against your own past as well as getting over the fact that the people you’ll end up with have a past as well. As you grow, you start to accept and refocus and simply start to enjoy your life instead of trying to change it.

What I liked the most about these books is that they are extremely hopeful. There is a big undercurrent of sadness to them but they’re just so damned fun that you know it’ll be alright. The look is simple to hide the fact that these characters are not going through simple changes even if they act like they are. They find enjoyment in a lot of simple things, in a lot of things that I find enjoyment in, which makes these characters appear real. You don’t know them by their costumes but how they act with each other. They have personality, which I’ve discovered is exactly what I wanted out of a comic.

I will be in line for volume three.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Internet, c/o Blogspot, Google, USA 90210

Dear Internet,

Sorry I haven’t written to you in a while. Life just sort of happened. I feel bad for not writing to you for the last four days which in nanoseconds is like four years to people. I think that to you, human time is like dog years to us humans. Sorry to get all metaphoric on you but I’ve been trying to write some fiction lately and I’m always thinking in metaphors now. I’m also adding “he said” or “she said” after every single sentence uttered to me. It’s kind of annoying but it’ll stop soon.

I’m glad you’re still around and haven’t gone off to pursue your other interests like herbal medicine and dead Sudanese royalty with many relatives in Canada that lawyers like to e-mail. How’s your Texas Hold ‘Em game these days? I still haven’t found the time to learn the rules myself.

So I should update you on what’s been happening. So much has happened I almost don’t know where to start. It’s all so exciting. Well I’ll start with the really good news. A. got the job she applied for. It sounds really impressive whenever she tells people about it. I’ve always wanted to use “The Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons” in a sentence and now I can! In fact I’ve kind of overused it and it’s lost all fun to me and is just sort of a mouthful now. She’s well, and in fact just left for Scotland this morning to visit her ailing grandmother. I’m a bit jealous because she gets to spend a few days in Edinburgh which, as you know, is one of my favourite cities since I lived there for about a year.

On the flip side we were planning things to go horribly awry at her old job. You’ve met her boss, she’s a bit.... insane? Crazy? Complete bitch? Take your pick really. We had an extraction plan ready with code names and everything. She asked me what I wanted my code name to be so I had to think of my a few of my favourite things that would be appropriate. I decided on Rocket Monkey because it would be fast, slightly on the edge of insanity and fairly wily. Also if things went bad she was supposed to call and say, “Rocket Monkey, I’ve achieved escape velocity,” then I’d go pick her up at the designated site. Then A. said she wanted her name to be Ariel the Mermaid and I had to explain to her the appropriateness of code names in covert missions. And she started calling me Monkey Rocket so we just went with Driver and Hitch-hiker with the code “My thumb is extended.” This all amounted to nothing by the way and you probably think we’re insane or that someone has been dumping estrogen pills into our water supply, but I needed to reduce her stress levels somehow.

My parents were here for the last few days as well. We went to my uncle’s 60th birthday and we had a great time. My cheeks were in traction the next day because I broke them from laughing so hard. His sons are as wild and hilarious as he is. How can you not like a speech that is done like the narrator of some nature show talking about this unique specimen and the first line is “I have 23 of your chromosomes.”

Oh, and I made twenty bucks playing Risk. I love mission risk. So much easier, and you can play more than one game in a night without someone being killed off and out of the game.

As for myself, I’ve been well. Played some video games but mostly read in my free time yesterday. I’m also working on a few comic related projects that I may update you with in a few months, weeks, years, I don’t really know when honestly. One involved a credit check I ran on myself, which was really disheartening (goddam student loan arseholes) and the other involves me sharpening some pencils and remembering how to use Flash and Photoshop.

I hope you are well internet. I promise to write more. I really miss you but I figure I shouldn’t bore you if I don’t have much to say.

Thinking of you always,

ps - I realize my first comic story doesn't really talk about the comic much. Sorry about that. Sometimes I miss the point of blogs.

Thursday, April 13, 2006

First Comic Week - hypnoray version

Chris over at 2 Guys Buying Comics declared this week to be First Comic Week. Thankfully he's allowed everyone to talk about the first comic they really remember buying instead of forcing us to remember the actual first comic purchase.

Me, I’ve got an extra limitation because I simply couldn’t find the cover for the first comic I really remember buying and I’m also muddy on the details over which one of these two came first. My memory goes a little something like this:

And uh one, and uh two, and uh one, two, three, FOUR! (Sorry, that Scott Pilgrim is really getting to me with it’s sugary rockness).

I remember picking up a Fantastic Four comic during a summer vacation. I think everyone remembers their first comic as either a summer vacation or flea market experience. My theory is that these were generally exciting events in the life of a young person. You were not in school and generally leaving the house for an extended period to stay in a cottage, swim in the ocean and generally do things you imagined yourself doing all throughout the school year. Or you were in a dirt market full of AWESOME stuff like slot car tracks that had big-rig trucks you could buy and boxes of comics.

For me, we were going to my dad’s family cottage for like two weeks. It’s only about a half hour/forty minutes from where I grew up but the trip felt like it took FOOORRRR EEEEVVVVEERRRRRR! (forever) when I was younger. Also my younger sister didn’t travel well in the car. I was generally anxious to go swimming, running or having massive D-day type invasions up the huge rocky half of the beach with my cousins and our G.I. Joes. I kept losing Dusty because of his damned dessert camouflage. Eventually we clued in that we should only bring the bright orange and yellow guys in the water because everyone else sort of blended in too well and made their way to PEI. Or at least we assumed that’s where they went since it was just across the Northumberland Strait.

As per usual, we stopped at the gas station in Cape Pêlé (Cape Bald if you translate it into English or pronounced “cap peh-lay” not “cape paylay”). I rummaged through the slim selection of comics because my parents said I could and dark clouds were rolling in. I gave short thrift to Batman and Superman and was looking for a Spider-man comic only to find none. But there was a Extra-Large Fantastic Four comic with Spider-man on the cover. They were all running up to the edge of New York, it may have even been a pier, to fight back some large War of the Worlds looking machine and an army lead by Namor. I knew value when I saw it, plus Spider-man. We got to the cottage, the rain came down and I studied each panel with utter joy. It was aliens, but they’re machines were all full of water. At least that’s how I remember it. I’m pretty sure it was a Giant-Size special with some other stories in there but I can’t seem to find it anywhere online.

Now, the second comic doesn’t have such an introduction, but it too was bought at a gas station, this time close to my house.

I spent many a day trying to come up with Arcade's next big fun house trap. And I still can't figure out if the X-men are shocked at just how badass Wolverine is, at the fact he shredded the Hulk or that they're all shocked that the Hulk has been a robot all along - duh-duh-DUUUHHhhh!

It was around this time that I was going to my cousin’s house and he was feeding me comics like morphine to a junky. Every time I’d go we’d crack open the long box and I’d rip through stuff. He got me hooked on Excalibur, Wolverine, Moon Knight and Spider-Ham. I remember exactly zero of those stories except for a bit of Excalibur. I remember squat about Moon Knight. But my cousin had a hell of a collection so I got a steady and varied diet of comics.

Me, I remember picking up Fred Hembeck Kills the Marvel Universe because I thought it was pretty funny, an issue of Alf because I was slightly retarded and watched the show, I picked up a Dragon Lance issue where a dude got roasted by a dragon, an Insectoids comic because I got an Insectoids action figure for my birthday and it had a bug side-kick that functioned like a squirt gun so I wanted to read more about them, then my own Wolverine and Excalibur comics. There were various Spider-man, Batman, and X-men comics in there as well, but with my limited allowance I didn’t really budget well for comics.

I remember the first ever trade I bought. Batman: A Death in the Family. I didn’t know it was called a trade, but I remember how obsessively my cousin was collecting these issues and I just couldn’t afford that many comics (of the same comic). So I read like, half the story, then found the trade and I remember being blown away at how ballsy the story was. Killing off an established side-kick, and wondering how Batman would react to the whole process. Would he take a new Robin or go it alone? Later that year I discovered girls and Public Enemy.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Wednesday's Loot - 12 April 2006

Only four books because I can't find Action Philosophers or the last Detective Comics anywhere. I find it quite frustrating and may take matters into my own hands at some point.

Batman: Year 100 #3
One of the toughest Batman stories ever and in this issue he gets a motorbike making him even that much more badass.
I rate this story: On my top 10.

DMZ #6
I was thinking of not continuing with this series but I'm glad I didn't. I love the uber-urban hipness of this comic. There's a cliff hanger and everything here but I'm a little annoyed at how much these stories seem to be about Matty's possessions like his jacket last time and his phone this time - again. I simply love the look of this comic and the story hasn't put me off yet.
I rate this story: A good balance.

The Battle for Bludhaven #1
I was really unsure if I would go through with this purchase or not. I'm glad I did. I enjoyed it. I think this will be a book that people will either love or ignore and that's fine by me. There's basically a whole bunch of characters I know nothing about so get to be introduced to each of them in the same way I was introduced to a lot of characters when I first bought comics. This really does feel quite old-school. The art, the dialogue, and how they try to comment on current events. This was a great mix for me.
I rate this story: Great or awful depending on who you are.

The fourth book I picked up was the first Scott Pilgrim digest. Yeah, I'm a slow learner.

Monday, April 10, 2006

Hey ho.

I managed to make the month of April "reduced work week month." Ever since the election and my 20 days worth of overtime that I accrued I've been meaning to do this. Since Easter makes one week short, I simply booked various Fridays and Mondays off so I'm only working 4 days a week all month long. This is good. It lets me consider my options and do my own thing.

I did mean to post on Friday, but I had nothing to say.

I have been thinking a bit more about The Spectre being a jackass though. I really hope they don't give him a goatee to make him look more black. This is the classic guise of the character so I suppose I can relent on the whole "black man trying to be a white man" issue for the time being. I realized I was a bit harsh on the DCU that does manage to have a rather diverse cast of heroes and is more representative of the world as I know it (although with more lighting, punching, explosions and superspeed) than most other superhero comics.

Too bad about Vibe though.

Thursday, April 06, 2006

The Spectre is a jackass.

I know that yesterday I heaped a bit of praise on Infinite Crisis #6 but there is one big sticking point for me. I did like the comic and I know I can’t like everything produced but this moment stuck with me even though I forgot to write about it yesterday.

When the magic denizens of the DCU all have a love in at Stonehenge, or a séance, I tend to get them mixed up, and call the new Spectre he kills that Green Lantern baddie. What’s her name? Pink Lantern or something? Just kidding, I know she’s called Lavender Menace.

Anyway, after the very cool appearance of Swamp Thing’s hand and when I’m left wondering how Klarion and Zatanna can be in one location when they are never meant to meet, the Spectre appears and two things happen that sort of bother me. Again, the race of a character is hidden and then he kills Star Sapphire because she terrorized and killed men across the universe. Okay, the race card is taken up again a bit later on the Omac thing and dealt with in a better way, but give me a freaking break here. If this is the m.o. of the new Spectre he’s going to have to kill like 50% of the male population of Earth.

I guess this new Spectre is like the religious right aspect of “justice.” It’s not so much about righting wrongs but keeping women and minorities in their place. What about all the “alternative” lifestyle people floating about the DCU – Creeper is more or less fighting crime in drag and Blue Devil is my favourite gay queen character so I fear for their safety. I’m sure someone with access to back issues will be able to come up with better examples.

Still, this scene really bothered me. Of all the people he exacts vengeance on, it’s a powerful woman (or is she a female alien?). What next, is the Spectre off to Africa to exact his revenge on the one black guy who killed a rich white farmer whose family brutally repressed the area for generations? Or maybe he’ll destroy the battered wife who kills her husband that was holding a knife to her kid’s throat after beating her to within an inch of her life? Maybe he’ll go after the women who were raped because they “dressed promiscuously” then had the gall to fight back against their attackers?

Yes, I get that she was a villain, but come on? If this dude is meant to be such a vengeful spirit of justice why are there any villains left in the DCU at all?

All I can think is that this is a black guy, who only becomes powerful when he becomes a white guy (not that far fetched really) however his white-guyness is internal. He's what I've heard to be a "coconut." Brown on the outside, white on the inside. He's not really trying to get to the root of problems but dealing with the consequences of a broken system. If only he was a self-hating Jew the circle would be complete.

The Spectre is a jackass. I won’t buy his comics.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Wednesday's Loot - 5 April 2006

Weird day at the shop. I decided to pass on Jonah Hex. I’m deciding to trim the pull list a bit and I decided that it wasn’t worth the commitment. I also passed on the Omac Special because I’m still pissed about the series leaving out the major plot point so you’d have to buy four other unconnected comics. Also, Detective Comics wasn’t at the shop, they were shorted or it didn’t arrive or something like that.

On with the show…

Infinite Crisis #6
Now that’s more like it. Huge battles on multiple fronts. Glimpses into all the different Earths. I think the Aztek/Mayan Earth was my favourite. The death of a Super-family member as a sacrifice. The Grant Morrison “breaking the fourth wall” plot point. This was all big explodey goodness to me. This was like when the drums kick in on Baba O'reilly only in comic form.
I rate this story: A great heaping serving of Superhero crossovers and beat downs.

Aquaman: Sword of Atlantic #42
I love the art in this book, even if Arthur Curry looks older than me when he’s meant to be a bit younger than me. It’s a great sword and sorcery book set in a pretty cool world. I sort of wish I knew a bit more of the Aquaman continuity but I don’t really need to in order to enjoy the story. I am finding it sort of ironic that a story taking place under water is “decompressed.”
I rate this story: Intriguing.

Lions, Tigers and Bears Vol. 2 #1
This is my type of all-ages comic. Bright fantastic images full of characters that straddle the mundane and the fantastic. It’s straight forward storytelling in a world of primary colours. Exactly what the doctor ordered in a medium clustered with dark and tangential reading experiences. The goal of this book seems to be one of entertainment. Is it fun? I think that’s the question this book asks you as a reader. If you’re looking for a nice light reading experience you could do much worse than this book. It’s the kind of comic you feel you should hold onto until you have kids of your own so they can read it when they learn how to read.
I rate this story: A pure joy to read.

Comic Pub

I was just thinking that if I could combine two things I loved, like chocolate and peanut butter, or chocolate and pretzels, it would be a comic shop and a pub. I'm not sure if this would really work in the long run since you'd probably have a bunch of drunk people trying to steal comics, but that would be the type of comics lounge I'd love to be involved with. I don't think I'd bother serving food other than potato chips or pretzels (possibly even chocolate covered pretzels). Anyway, instead of those wooden containers full of condiments I’d use them to contain old comics for each table – like old all-ages stuff, animated DC books, Archie comics, and other things I couldn’t get sued for making available – with a kid friendly option as well.

How can beer not go well with comics? Except for that whole stealing issue I think this is a good idea. It would make for some great signings since you have both comics and beer (or your alcoholic beverage of choice). And with the no-smoking legislation here in Ottawa you don’t have to worry about your kid’s lungs getting broken – just their minds getting warped.

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Soma Comics

So I decided to bite and check out the preview for Brave New World. I'm intrigued by the Atom, especially since Gail Simone stumbled across my site, which was the highlight here for a while. I’m thinking the only one I’m not interested in is the Omac stuff because that miniseries seriously pissed me off when it didn’t include the major plot point. And I’m iffy on the Freedom Fighters because I’m oddly attracted to the idea of the team but I’m not buying Hawkgirl because of the cheesecake boobs and that’s really the whole point of the Phantom Lady, isn't it? Isn't that why she's (in)famous?

Anyway, the whole reason I’m posting is because I’m meant to be intrigued by who DC is bringing back. I’m hoping to Christ it isn’t Pariah. I hate that guy, and I just prayed to Christ and I’m not religious at all. It’s not so much as I can’t believe they’d be willing to bring him back so much as wondering why they’d want to? The silhouette looks a bit like Pariah… please, I’m begging, why, why would you do this? Do you know how many times I’ve witnessed the destruction of a good comic by a terrible reveal? Do you know how many times I’ve not bought comics that feature the return of characters I find annoying? How many stories must be destroyed before Pariah will forever rest in peace? How many? He has poisoned too many worlds. That one story back in the eighties was really enough.

Upcoming this week.

Before I started this p.o.c. blog I noticed that a lot of other comic bloggers were doing a preview or "what I plan to buy this week" post. At the time I made a decision not to do that type of post and I'm sticking with it. I do this for a very simple reason - I really don't know what I'll be picking up when I go to the shop. I generally have a good idea of what I'd get depending on what arrives or how much they stock - I've had a nightmare finding Godland and The Amazing Joy Buzzards locally. I still haven't received the second volume of Northwest Passage.

I think this allows me more of the thrill of discovery aspect to comic book floppies. Although I have to say I'm really tempted to take a hiatus from comics altogether in order to save more money. I may simply back out of the floppies and just get the ocassional trade. We'll see how it goes since I do have some big changes coming up this Fall.

But so this isn't just a post about my dull life I'll share some music information with you all. LAst night me and Allison were chilling and listening to Spiritualized Laser Guided Melodies. I think this is probably the best album nobody owns. I discovered Spiritualized with Pure Phase and Ladies and Gentlemen We're Floating in Space and loved those albums. I managed to find a copy of Laser Guided Melodies for free at the university's radio station. Okay, I nicked it. And I didn't like it as much as the other albums. Then I gave up recreational drug use and it's the only Spiritualized album I still listen to. It's just a chiltastic layered expanse of great music. It's straight forward and not as dissonent as the other albums can get.

Monday, April 03, 2006

How could I miss this?!

April 3rd is National Workplace Napping Day! This is my new favourite.....zzzzZZZzzzz.... oh, huh?

Thankfully it's grey and rainy so I won't have trouble taking part in this great day. Until my manager does his best J. Jonah Jaimson impression. "Cormierrrr!"

A light job, but someone has to do it.

Okay, my posting has been a bit light these days because I haven’t been reading that many comics and I don’t have a huge collection of back issues to trawl through for a greatest hits kind of post. In fact I only have one old copy of a Tick comic where Chairface Chippendale makes his first appearance. I just sort of inherited it over the years. I don’t even know where it came from. I think someone forgot it in a room I moved into when I was in University.

I’ve been reading regular fiction as opposed to the graphic kind. Been reading Christopher Moore’s “A Dirty Job” about a Beta-Male who accidentally becomes death. I’ll pretty much read anything involving Death as a personified being and people working as Grim Reapers – but having it written by Christopher Moore is just a great coincidence since I’ve enjoyed the other books of his I have read (Lamb: The Gospel According to Biff, Christ’s Childhood Friend, The Island of the Sequined Love Nun, and Practical Demon Keeping). I plan to read Blood Sucking Fiends at some point in my life.

I also don’t want to bore you with more descriptions of black and white Superman panels.