Thursday, August 31, 2006

Yay, it's Thursday

But I'm still not ready to start blogging again. Sorry, still exhausted, although I had requests to bring the X-box to work today. That'll be fun until the new boss inevitably shows up.

I haven't even read yesterday's books yet and they're home so I can't read them at lunch.

No post for you - well, with any content anyway.

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Last Wednesday's Loot - 23 August 2006

Okay the National Leadership Convention is over. If you're Canadian you've probably figured out which party I work for by now. I'll keep the political content to a minimum. This isn't the forum. Besides I'm too damned tired, even after a day of rest, to write much at this moment.

Coffee helps though. Mmmm, sweet bitter coffee. Y'know, I like my coffee like I like my women. Bitter Guatamalan in a paper cup.

So, let's make with the funny (or not).

More Kandaqi stuff and the space heroes on their way home. This was a great action issue revolving around a very limited idea. It really works for me when done right. There's a bomb, go stop it whether they know about it or not. I think this was someone being clever with 52 in that it felt like an episode of 24.

Batman #Whatever (sorry I don't have it with me and am too tired to find it)
Okay, so I'm going to go search the blogs after I finish typing this post. I want to see if anyone else enjoyed the Ninja Man-Bats as much as I did. Or maybe it was just Batman thinking, "ninja man-bats. This is new." This is my kind of meta. It isn't obvious, it's clever, but not trying to be too clever. Plus this issue was just a heck of a lot of fun. I mean ninja's are the new zombies now right?

And this arc comes to a climax, er close and Matty Roth is ready for his new reality in the DMZ. I was enjoying this series before but this arc I think solidified it in the minds of a lot of its readers that DMZ isn't wasting its potential.

Agents of Atlas
Yeah I was late on getting this one and I regret it because I loved this opening. I like super spy thrillers and when there's a talking gorilla and a robot, I'm pretty much sold already. Fun stuff.

Action Philosophers - The People's Choice
I only read most of the first one. I won't even attempt to spell his name. Needless to say that's sort of how I looked for the last few days - what with the unwashed masses and the continued frustration.

Rex Libris
I just remember this being awesome.

So after a week where my life was actually threatened by a member of the party I work for. I'm a bit too tired to reflect on the comics I read last week. Sorry, I'll do more this afternoon or tomorrow. I've read a lot of other stuff from the library - look for you're new favourites and golden oldies. Such as: Plastic Man: On the Lam, Top 10 (all 3 mega-medley), The Originals, JLA: Earth 2, and many more.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

In lieu of content

You're all getting a link to CBC's archives. The Canadian Comic Book in multimedia. I promise not to sound like that depressed hampster in Creature Comforts.

Monday, August 21, 2006

Mondays - bah!

Okay it was a long weekend. Found out Friday evening that I didn't get the job I was interviewed for and I was really really really looking forward to moving on with my life. Lots of beer later and I'm really hung over on Saturday and I think I still am now.

I did get to read some good comics on the weekend. I don't really know what to say about them. Scurvy Dogs is really good if you like pirates and humour. Dead West was a great idea and has some nice artwork but I was totally lost for like half the story. Conan and the Jewels of Gwalhar was a great romp even if there was surprisingly little of Conan chopping things with his sword and he did seem a bit young to me - sort of how the new Aquaman should look.

I'll try to have more for you all later this week but I'm sort of in the dumps because I'm still at this job and I'm turning 30 soon. I don't care about turning 30 but I wanted to have a new job by then and through no fault of my own efforts it hasn't happened.

Friday, August 18, 2006

All Clear

Nothing new to report as of right now. Didn't have a chance to find out about Agents of Atlas or Wasteland. I will be making an effort to get both now that the creators stopped by. That's pretty dang cool. Also have a bid in on e-Bay for 1-24 of Manhunter because I enjoyed that last issue so much.

I have a slew of trades and Graphic Novels to read this weekend including: The Originals, Dead West, The Incal, Scurvy Dogs and Conan and the Jewels of Gwalhar. I'll make a stronger effort to review them. I also picked up Max Brooks The Zombie Survival Guide to get ready for the National Convention of the party I work for. I figure the stench of decay will be something I need to prepare for and I need to know how to escape a room full of braindead corpses.

Also, everything is on hold until Newcastle United are finished beating Wigan in their opening match of the English Premiership. Shockingly it's on TV because Newcastle is never on TV here. And the game following is Tottenham which is A's team. We're both excited for brunch, beer and footie.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Make Mine Whatever

Okay, upon second sober thought I've decided to actually give Marvel some props. At least they let everyone know beforehand that these titles would ship late. They stood up and took one for their own team and that takes a certain intestinal fortitude.

I know why I reacted so negatively and smug to the announcement. I think I know why so many people are jaded about it as well but I don't presume to speak for anyone but me. I like things to be delivered on time. These are grindhouse entertainment, not the Sistine Chapel. Swallow your pride and work faster. These won't be the comics that define comics for centuries to come. The Comic Golden Age is passed. Just get it done and learn to manage your time better. Thank you for the head's up though. Those are rare.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Wednesday's Loot - 16 August 2006

Only two titles at the moment since I didn't find issue one of Wasteland and issue two is just as invisible here. Also couldn't find Phonogram but will check store number 2 on my way home.

52 Week 15
How’s that for a bit of super-hero action? A little punching. A little prison break. A little nuclear sub explosion. A little joke about wiki. You’re either enjoying this series or you’re not at this point and nothing I can say will change your mind. Personally I’m enjoying the whole thing. When I was picking it up at the shop there were two guys talking about how they don’t know if it’ll make it to 52 and that some of the stories are dragging. I figure this is not worse than any other miniseries out there. I’d rather get weekly adventures than six separate six part mini-series that are told at the same pace with the same quality.
I rate this comic: The action section.

Manhunter #25
Yes you two, I know I should have been buying this. I have bought it and I love it and regret missing the first 24 issues. This title deserves all the praise it has been getting. I’m a bit lost but this looks like it may be my first “searching for back-issues” title in a long long time.
I rate this comic: Worthy of my money in all respects.

Also, I found the first French comic I was less than thrilled about. Vampire Loves left me feeling, well, little love. I liked how Ferdinand floated around. I always liked that about vampires and it's something that seems to be forgotten about by most of the more modern-writing-for-adults type of stories. It felt a bit too stream of conscious for me and more like it didn't know who it wanted its audience to be. It read like a kids book for half and then discussed fucking. Weird.

Also, since you can't see me, consider this sentence to be me sitting smuggly and smirking since I dropped Civil War after issue one. I hear Agents of Atlas is good but honestly, Marvel has pretty much lost any goodwill I had towards it once. I did enjoy The Ultimates and Ultimate Wolverine v. Hulk but they both seem to have disappeared without explination - and so has the money I used to spend on Marvel comics. Interesting that.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Monday, August 14, 2006

Totally forgot to post this earlier

I’m writing while sipping a cup of coffee and wondering where all my fellow employees are. Mmmm. Coffee. I like my coffee like I like my women. Large and bitter.

I managed to read a lot of books this weekend and I’ll get to those in a little while. But first let me point out a few things I’m liking. First up, Chris celebrates a birthday with face kicks. Ian has a make-over. Scipio posts the cat. And Sterling unleashes a blanky. I'll post my contribution as soon as blogger lets me upload images.

So, as I said, I read quite a few books this weekend. I’ve been out of sorts recently since there’s a lot going on at the moment, what with getting married, turning thirty and waiting to hear about a job interview I think went well for a job that is unbelievably unique. More on that if I get it I assure you.

That means in between anxious pacing I sat down and read all of the following: Will Eisner’s The Plot, Corey Lewis's Sharknife, Joann Sfar’s The Rabbi’s Cat, Seth’s Clyde Fans Book 1, Ande Parks & Chris Samnee's Capote in Kansas and J.P. Stassen's Deogratias. Quite the mixed bag I think but I have to admit I forget most of the notes I made in my head to bring up for a post. I’m sort of pre-occupied these days what with the “hoping everything works out for the best.”

Here’s the quick hits reviews.

The Plot
This book is absolutely fascinating and stunningly beautiful to look at. I didn’t know anything about The Protocols of the Elders of Zion (hello white supremacists and anti-Semites searching Google) and the enduring nature of a proven forgery. The borderless artwork helps reflect the integrated nature of the book itself. Just as the stories of the people presented here blend together because of their relation to The Protocols, the forgery itself has managed to blend itself into global society around the world. Quite simply The Protocols survive because people forget. What struck me was the ability of the book to be proven false, time after time, but it still gets used repeatedly to prove a false point. It goes away, only to rise again somewhere or when the people have forgotten about it being a fake. Not only is the story itself quite unique, you’re treated to more Eisner artwork. Somehow, this guy seems to have just gotten better as he aged. I read The Spirit for beginners book a few months ago and loved it but the artwork here seems that much more accomplished while holding onto a classic quality. I sort of felt like the art belonged to an earlier time period like the Twenties or Thirties. It wasn’t dated, it just felt properly aged.

I have no idea what happened in this book. It was like trying to understand a four year old who ate a pound of gummy bears dipped in sugar. It looked good, if confusing during the action scenes, and I read it in like fifteen minutes. So yeah, pretty cool, manic and fun.

The Rabbi’s Cat
I don’t know what it is about French comics that make me love them so much. This is the second translated book that I’ve absolutely adored. I’m a sucker for stylized characters. I’m doubly so when the story presented contains a lot of elements that have already been done. I don’t need another fish out of water story, but I got one that was fun because the presentation was unique and enjoyable. I was a bit surprised that the talking cat episode wasn’t longer but for the most part this story is filled with sympathetic characters and is a look at a time and place that I, for one, knew little about.

Clyde Fans
Maybe I need Book 2 to get the rest of the story but so far I can only say that the jury is out on this one. I love the art though. It’s unbelievably clean and deserves to be hung in a gallery. I just don’t particularly like stories that are slices of life without any real meaning behind them, no matter how beautiful. It’s a phase I’m going through.

Capote in Kansas
But then this story that’s a slice of history I loved. Yeah I can’t explain it either. I haven’t seen the movie or read In Cold Blood so I’m essentially going into this book “untainted.” The development of Capote is captivating and is yet another fish out of water story that’s been done a gagillion times before. But it works well as he comes to terms with his past and the people of the town affected by the tragedy. And the artwork that functions a lot without outlines helps connect all the characters even further. This is a nifty warm up to the film and the book, if you’re planning on getting them. I’d recommend this as a great companion piece and as a great summer read.

I wasn’t sure if I was going to read this since I was already on edge enough and didn’t want to get overly depressed. I read it anyway and am glad I did. I don’t really know what I can add to the reviews already out there praising this book. It’s sort of the poster child to use against people who think comics can’t be serious and deal with recording history. Sort of like The Plot that way I guess. In a lot of ways it does carry on the legacy of The Plot but while not “true” history it does tackle serious issues in a manner that keeps the reader reading. This is a story that manages to get the reader emotionally invested to simply see how things came to where they are today. That in a mad place maybe the madman is the only sane one there since he’s at least not denying his madness.

Friday, August 11, 2006

Exchange this!

I’m going to get away from reviews for a second and write about something that is really starting to get my dander up. I’m talking about currency conversion, naturally. Yesterday I was reading MacLeans, and while it’s quickly becoming a piece of crap worthy of having a crossover with The Outsiders it actually had a decent article about current pricing practices in the book market and how it’s extremely frustrating with the strength of the Canadian Dollar these days.

Basically a few years ago the Canadian Dollar bottomed out at something like sixty-six cents American. There were all these cross border trips where Yanks would come up here and walk away as if they were kingly conquerors of the Canadian market. I think Jim Carrey and Dan Akroyd pooled some money and bought Winnipeg in, like, '95.

But these days the Canadian loony is riding high, at about eighty-nine cents American. Now, take out your recent comic purchases and look at the Canadian cover price. They’re all at least a dollar more here in Canada. For instance, lets take 52. It’s $2.50 USD which at todays rates means it would cost me $2.82 CND if I bought it with my own money across the border. But I'm paying $3.50 which means each time I buy 52 I’m paying an extra sixty-eight cents – every single week. Now, I know I’m not the only Canadian buying this series, so this is starting to look like a lot of extra money being strapped onto the cover price.

Now, don’t get me wrong this isn’t going to be a one sided rant of how comic companies are evil. I know that price points are decided on long in advance and that there is probably something about shipping to Canada worked in there. Unless of course these books are printed here in Canada. If anyone knows more specifics, please inform us. I know I’d like to know.

However, where I think comic publishers can become leaders of the publishing industry is that they actually do have the luxury of adjusting their price points on a monthly basis. Book publishers will have stockpiles of books and need to sell through them before prices adjust to today’s market reality. Comics in their floppy monthly format aren’t in that position. They can react to exchange rates much quicker and there isn’t an expectation that they will “stockpile.” I mean isn’t the whole direct market based on the idea that nothing stays on the shelves? I was at a bookstore yesterday and they actually used a marker to black out the American price on their new books. I asked about it and they said they were getting too many complaints about the price. I didn't buy anything either, I was just killing time.

I know that personally, I’ve really cut down drastically on my monthly purchases because I simply can’t afford comics anymore. But I know I’d buy more if they were priced accordingly. Don’t even get me started on Trades. It’s much worse there, but I know how their publishing schedule and process is much more closely related to the book market. But floppies, c’mon?

You’ll move a larger volume of comics if they were priced accordingly. I think it would be a revenue neutral process and would possibly increase the amount of books sold month to month in Canada. Reduce the Canadian price, please. I know I’ll buy more – guaranteed – if I don’t feel like I’m being taken to the cleaners.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Two reviews

I more or less finished two books last night as bookends to the Aeon Flux movie. I actually enjoyed the movie a lot more than I thought I would. I vaguely remember the cartoon as being really cools but in an experimental film sort of insane way.

I really enjoyed Antony Johnston and Eduardo Barreto's The Long Haul. It’s basically the Western version of heist movies like Ocean’s 11 or, um, The Great Train Robbery. The story is divided up nicely between recruitment and the big heist with not a heck of a lot getting in the way. There’s a setup, a gathering and the execution. A quick three acts that are the perfect quick read for the summer. Crack open a beer or pour yourself 3 fingers of bourbon and enjoy the caper.

It’s a quick read and it the art reminds me of European comics like Corto Maltese, which is good. This isn’t ground breaking stuff and it is all the better for it. It’s plain old fun with great characterizations, a solid plot and solid art. What’s not to like? Tired of the red herrings and loose ends of miniseries that seem padded? Pick this up and enjoy how everything is connected and makes sense.

I also had to stop reading Eddie Campbell’s Fate of the Artist. I didn’t hate it. It simply left me feeling too cold. I like the idea but I was sort of bored by the process of reading it. I think it should be something that students of the artform read, study and examine but I’m not really a student anymore. I’m not trying to break into the medium doing my own thing. I think it should be on reading lists for art schools that have graphic novel courses. There were some neat bits like “Angry Chef” or cook, I can’t recall, and Honeybees throughout. The layout is quite fun but for some reason I can’t seem to explain here I wasn’t drawn into it. It was probably the spicy food I ate just before reading it. I made it like three-quarters of the way through and felt like I got it and wasn’t invested enough to tough it out for the ending, but that’s just me and I’m a navel gazing internet freak.

Jumping on the Bat-Train

Thanks to both Chris and other Chris I've discovered Random Panels and the creepy Batmeme.

If you don't have to look that up you're either a zoologist or someone who stumbled across it in the dictionary like I did during a Scrabble game. Oh, it will be used!

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

The Bachelor Party Weekend Idea

Since I found out that my best man will be in Taiwan at the end of the month and unable to attend the wedding I've been tossing an idea around in my head. Since he won't be around to organize a bachelor party (he lives out of town and won't be here before he leaves the country) I'm thinking of organizing a Bachelor Party weekend.

I'm going to start trying to contact the appropriate people for the following activities:
Friday Night - movie double bill at the second run theatre. I'm thinking Romero's Dawn of the Dead because I never watched it before and Shaun of the Dead because I love it.
Saturday Night - I'm trying to organize a local band for a concert. Probably the Fiftymen if possible.
Sunday Afternoon/Evening - Scotch tasting.

I've been trying to think of "guy" things to do that anyone would enjoy since I can't afford to rent locations or organize enough people to show up to fill a place - let alone trying to do it in two locations. I've contacted the local free paper about advertising it and I'm trying to write up a correspondence with the theatre. I'll be mooching on some friendships to organize the band.

Does anyone else have ideas? I have some other movie ideas if these fall through and I was also thinking of a cigar smoking session or something but with the new no-smoking legislation I'm not going to invite the public to my house. If you live in Ottawa and think you can help me out in booking bands let me know in the comments and I'll get in touch.

Wednesday's Loot - 09 August 2006

Only two books today. I should have picked up the back copies I missed of Agents of Atlas and Green Lantern Corps but I can live without them, I realized. I do think I will start reading Manhunter in the trades at some point though. Depends on finances really, and whether I can buy a few trades and be caught up to the regular series. Agents of Atlas will be a trade read as well.

On with the show...

52 Week 14
Okay this was a bit of an exposition issue. It moved a few plots along nicely but no real major action. Renee and The Question find stuff they shouldn’t in a location they shouldn’t, John Henry Irons makes a really nice robot suit, and Mercury returns. Then two pages of Eric Powell drawing Metamorpho, what’s not to like about that?
I rate this story: The halfway point between A and B.

The Secret Six #3
This seems to be the week for exposition or plot movement. It’s the second comic that deals with the movement from one plot point to the next. Okay, I’m not big on the whole naked ladies thing in comics as a selling point but I guess it works here better than the skimpy costumed cover to tantalize. She’s just who she is, naked and all. There is some genuinely creepy moments because they’re very decadent. They’re funny because they are so bloody and surrounded by death. I was wondering what happened to Dr. Psycho and this issue deals with his relationship to Ragdoll. Many severed limbs and a seizure later the Doom Patrol shows up.
I rate this comic: Bloody and naked, but in a good way if not the most exiting issue.

I talk about Wolverine and Batman comics you've already read.

Sorry for the delay. Monday was a holiday and I took Tuesday off. Took care of wedding stuff and visiting parents for the last few days so no time to really post or read many comics. I’ve actually not been contemplating them too much recently either. There was a time I was thinking of opening a shop but not having an extra $50,000.00 sitting around is kind of hampering that plan.

Still, a while back I did get to read Wolverine: Enemy of the State/Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D. and enjoyed them thoroughly. I'm not sure if I already mentioned them here so I'll give a couple of seconds here. Any comic where someone wrecks a submarine then kills the sharks in blood frenzy drawn to the sinking ship is fine by me. But then when the same character hijacks a sentinel and rides it head first into a zombie ninja secret hideout, my mind gets blown.

This weekend I did manage to read Batman: The Long Halloween while A. was out picking out flower arrangements. I’d heard some good things a while back and the structure for the story is uniquely cool. The idea of a noir gangster Batman story with a holiday serial killer is so simply wonderful it makes you wonder why it took so long to come to pass. The story is quite good even if it sort of feels a bit too incestuous in the end. I don’t like the constant retrofitting of characters into new roles with previously hidden depths. The additions at the end seemed unnecessary to me and weighed down an otherwise really great story. I love the stylized art here which is such a break from what I expect to see in Batman comics. I was unsure of the whole re-examining characters from Batman: Year One but that was quickly forgotten as I got drawn into the plot. This is a great little Batman distraction from your other readings. I highly recommend it if you haven’t checked it out.

There’s nothing like a fun little dark mystery in the middle of summer. It’s got gangsters and the slow introduction of Batman’s rogues. I particularly like The Riddler’s appearance, and Batman meeting him in the bar. There’s nothing better than someone trying to take a piece of Batman, he catches the baseball bat and simply says “Wrong answer.” Then you know the shit is ON! I do have a feeling that after this story came out there was a sudden increase in adding a lot of previously unknown and uncharacteristic back stories to the Batman supporting cast because this one ends with elements coming out of left field. It could have worked better if the idea went completely one way or the other instead of the mixing of two stories. I guess it was probably the deleted scenes collected at the end of this trade with Holiday and Calendar Man meeting up in Arkham that made the ending presented here seem all that much more of a let down. I wasn’t the biggest fan, it wasn’t terrible but it could have been a lot better. It felt like a bit of a cheat to me, doesn’t mean I didn’t enjoy the rest. But that deleted scene really set up a great possibility for future stories.

Friday, August 04, 2006

One of the best things I've ever read.

Epileptic by David B.

Reading this comic really made me wonder what the hell is wrong with North American comics? I like Super-hero stuff and I like some indy stuff, but this was just so freaking good it made everything I remember reading a bit crappier. This book made me want to follow it into battle. It was a rallying cry and a heavy totem that should be used to beat the heads of anyone thinking of making autobiographical comics. Why? Simple. It’s a personal story that doesn’t feel trite or extremely mundane and trying to make something bigger out of mediocrity and suburbia.

This comic doesn’t have the answers. It knows there isn’t one. It’s about understanding. It’s about how something so innocent and beyond the control of anyone can have such a profound affect on everyone around.

I thought this would be a story about two brothers and how epilepsy affects them or one of them. This is sort of the story but the main thrust of it is how the parents try to deal with this situation as much as the children. And boy do they try a lot. It’s extremely fascinating to experience all the various new age “cures” the family adopts or gives a shot.

After a few episodes you start to feel they’re fooling themselves. That they’re gullible and willing to be taken for a ride by anyone with a quick fix that doesn’t involve surgery. As the story hits its denoument I realized they weren’t being gullible or holding onto false hope they were trying to keep everyone together, to distract themselves from how bad things could go. The side effect is that all these distractions mean that Jean-Christophe’s epilepsy does become the focus of their entire existence. Everything they do is to try and distract them from this one condition. Basically, by not talking about it, by not dealing with it, the silence becomes louder than anything else in their lives. When there is constant noise, silence becomes more powerful, and is given a sharper focus.

David B’s art is simply amazing. It reminded me a lot of Mayan or Aztek inspired totems. The various demons, especially Jean-Christophe’s epilepsy, are shown in a style that is reflective of “primitive” art. It’s not exactly South American Indian anymore than it is Australian Aborigine. What better way to represent a primal, unknown force than to return to an art-form used to explain a primal, unknown world. Just as “primitive” art is used to represent myths and legends that explain the world, it fits perfectly with they myth and legends of this epileptic family. They don’t all have epilepsy, but their lives are focused around it.

The sharp lines, the dark and harsh inking really give a lot of this story a sense of foreboding in parts. There is an evolution from childish moments with fun art to nightmarish images of death and reflections on anxiety. This story feels as much like a confessional as it does an autobiography. It needs to be studied not copied. We would all be better for it.

This is simply one of the best comics I’ve ever read.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Wednesday's Loot - 02 August 2006

Presented on Thursday. I don't have any reviews of older trades today. I'm in the middle of reading Epileptic and loving it, but my life after work is sort of filled these days. I'm starting to feel like a DC Zombie these days but as long as they keep Batman in fine form I'm basically a happy camper. I do love Fear Agent and want to check out Wasteland but I can't find either in Ottawa. I'll start making requests. I've only got the first four issues of Fear Agent and it's at 6 now isn't it? That's a pain in the ass. I may need to get a *choke* subscription.

52 Week 13
The Ralph Dibny storyline really hits its pace in this issue. His sequence presents a great meta-comic book exploration of the whole resurrection phenomenon in the DCU. I’m glad that DC has the cajones to actually admit that their heroes die and are reborn while taking missions directly from God. Sure they cop out a bit and don’t really explain it, but they at least admit it happens and that it’s there under the surface whether you believe or not. And like The Wicker Man, it’s a bit shocking to see the group actually go through with their quest and appear to succeed leaving Ralph with a bend mind instead of a bendy body. Then there’s Isis and Black Adam. I’m fairly certain they’ll either have a falling out or she will be killed to Adam can be a big bully again. I’m loving the two page histories of the characters and I’m most excited by the preview image of The Metal Men.
I rate this story: A decent Wicker Man tribute that finally moves along Ralph’s story.

Mouse Guard #4
The plot introduces the old wizened hero with a missing Axe. And much like Bone, the evil being cloaked in darkness is revealed as the ultimate baddy that is familiar to the guard-mice.
I rate this story: Still charming in format, art and story

Detective Comics #822
The glorious return of The Riddler in a story I first thought was going to be a repeat of the Animated Series episode where Edward Nigma becomes a toy designer. Not so. This was another fun, done in one issue, where Riddler shows up as a competing detective to Batman and Jim Gordon. His arrogance, presentation and dialogue were all wonderfully done. I’m also glad he’s less the psycho killer and more the Dandy with questionable colour combinations. I also like how he’s not afraid for the public to know who he is and he just wanders around in the costume he was also a career criminal in – that complete disregard for any victims family is the sort of psychosis Gotham criminals need. I don’t know if I could ever be happier than I am with the recent Batman titles. It’s making it a lot easier to not read much else since these titles are done so well. Plus, Roxy Rocket. That’s brilliant.
I rate this story: A bit deus ex machine and unfair for those of us trying to figure out the murder but a fantastic Batman story nonetheless. Batman how he should be.

So, how've you been?

Wednesday's Loot will be late since I have a staff meeting today and don't have enough time to read and review all the comics at lunch. I'm consistently only buying 3 comics a week now. This week is was 52, Detective Comics and Mouse Guard.

And, in case you haven't notice because you've been bored to tears, this site has recenly become more of a review site than anything else. I see commentors have fled in droves. It's sort of weird to be writing so much because I'm reading so much. It's a real flow of consciousness thing as I'm not really spending a lot of time on my reviews. I'm not rewriting them or anything since this is a hobby and I'm going more for my initial reactions and gut feelings rather than intellectual examination. I'm not sure how much longer this will go on or if it'll be the new status quo. I'm just doing my thing and hoping it helps anyone else who has returned recently to the comic fold.

If you have been reading, you'll notice a lot of older stuff, dare I say some "classics" being reviewed. Yeah, I've only been back into comics for about a year and missed a lot of these the first time around. Finances have been the biggest hindrance to me reading all this stuff until I discovered the wonderful resource call the Ottawa Public Library that has a great graphic novel and bandes designe selection. The BD project will begin with the snow as I'm in no mood to translate anything in this 40 (100) degree heat.

Image for Chris

Okay, since I couldn't post this in the comments and I'm WAY too lazy to figure it out, I've posted this image here for Chris. If you have never read Chris's Invincible Super Blog you are missing out on one of the most consistently funny blogs about comics ever. If it's sincere then it's even funnier.

I made it here. Please use it wisely.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Alan Moore's Extraordinary Gentlemen = fantastic!

About the only thing I knew about The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen before reading it is that there was an extremely crappy movie made. I know it was a crappy movie because I watched it and can’t remember a goddamned thing about it. I think Dorian Gray was in it because he plays such an important role in the first trade dress, there off to the right behind the group.

These two volumes have made it really hard for me to comment upon them. I simply enjoyed them a heck of a lot. Now, I’m not too big on reading older books anymore, two degrees will take some of the wind out of your sails, so I didn’t know who Mina Murray was until she took the scarf off. Hey, there’s a lot of “classic” English lit out there, nobody can read it all. And yes, I know Nemo is from a French author, shut it.

Well, I loved them. I enjoy Moore’s examination of the supergroup dynamic and how it could possibly fit into a historic time period. And yet this isn’t exactly the Victorian England of history. It’s a pseudo-fantastic version of remembered history. It’s the history of fantasy mixed with the history of reality. I do love the idea of the crumbling Empire being required to turn to her former enemies to defend itself. There is a reflection of the fall of the Roman empire as we see the English empire embrace those it tried to conquer and repress. There are hints that the Empire collapses because it simply absorbed too much not to change its foundation.

There is a faux exterior presented to the world of the English Empire that is reflected through the existence of the Murray Group. They have fantastical elements but their activities are kept hidden. No need to try and crack the English resolve and disillusion their grand entitlements (or sense of entitlement and privilege).

The first volume is essentially the beginnings and recruitment of the group, and in a round about way answers the burning question of how Batman and The Hulk would act on the same team. It’s Cpt. Nemo and Mr. Hyde if you’re lost on that. I know that there isn’t meant to be any straight parallels between these books and anything else but I kept thinking that and it added a dynamic to their interactions that made me smile. The rest of the first volume is taken up with espionage goodness and some dramatic visuals based around the East-West divide that first came to light in Victorian England. You could write a paper on the East-West and notions and representations of the orient and “the other” in this comic, but I don’t feel like it. I’m just trying to help out anyone who is in undergraduate English lit classes.

Then there’s the second volume that is the “action” partner to the espionage thriller of the first volume. This is more or less a retelling of The War of the Worlds with more sex and explosions. There is treachery, ties are broken, and nobility is found in a complexly fierce being. Mr. Hyde takes on a bigger role in this volume, not just as the reflection of a man’s darker, meaner, primitive side he played in the first. Dr. Jekyl is barely present, instead we have Mr. Hyde essentially taking over the role. He begins to understand his actions and while brutally fierce he becomes the one character who doesn’t hide behind a false fa├žade. Dr. Jekyl is stripped away and Hyde takes on the role of the noble savage.

In many ways the facades presented in the first volume all get stripped away here. The Invisible Man reveals his intentions, Nemo refuses to cooperate with the English he fought for so long, Miss Murray finally removes her scarf, Quartermain strips down to his boney naked self and Mr. Hyde isn’t in a rage as he continues his actions and his quest. He comes to terms with who and what he is and, in turn, uses that to help in the only way he can. He uses his destructive ability for good. What Mr. Hyde shows us is that using any destructive force for good is still inherently brutal and does debase those who purvey it. He is fine with his actions and in some ways he ensures that his path is laid out before him. He needs to meet his end and to do it for a noble reason even if there is a sense of futility to it.

Mr. Hyde, shows what happens when a brutal system comes to terms with its own brutality. AS the Empire began to crumble and realize the horrors it committed, the Empire didn’t stop itself, it only became desperate and tried to remain noble when presenting itself with defeat.

I guess I had more to say than I thought. All I really wanted to say was that some pubescent boy or crusading Christian cut out a panel in the first volume when the group first encounters Mr. Hyde. I suppose it had boobs or a penis on it and that this person didn’t get around to borrowing volume two. Also after reading volume two why is anyone surprised that Alan Moore has a book about literary characters having sex?