Monday, March 14, 2005

Casey Malone's Precious Little Life: Volume Awesome!

In what I'd like to egotistically refer to as my inaugural post, I said I would try to update this web-log every other day. I maintain every intention of doing so, but I've held off because I had an itch of a topic to write about: Aaron Sorkin's Sport's Night. And scratchable as that desire is, I wanted to reserve judgements and decisions on the show until I'd viewed the entirety of the show.

I borrowed my friend's box set to catch all the episodes I hadn't seen on Comedy Central and, wouldn't you know it, disc 6 was in... less than great shape. So I did what any rational, DVD addicted Aaron Sorkin nerd would do: I Netflixed it. I waited practically by the mailslot, the TV on DVD junkie I am, and a few days later it arrived. That dvd also did not work. So the Sports Night Rant, long in coming as it is, will have to remain so for a few more days. [Editor's Note: In the time it took my lazy ass to actually sit down, write this post, edit it and copy it over to the web-log, I got the sixth disc from Netflix and blew through it. So the Sports Night post? Coming soon.]

Instead of ranting about the lesser of the Sorkin shows (See that? Like what I did there? That was a little preview.), I'm going to give you a couple of those "Quick Looks" at a few comic books that all the other kids on the net are so wild about.

  • DC Comics Gothem Central:
This Wednesday at the comic stand was depressing. The shelves were as barren as my once fertile imagination, which television's beautiful wrath left arid and dead. There was only one new comic I read released, Gotham Central. Conincidentally, I'm apparently the only one left reading Gotham Central. Good crime books are hard to come by when they're not written by Brain Michael Bendis, and in the Batman Universe where the "world's greatest detective" lives, there's shockingly little detection going on. Ed Brubaker and Greg Rucka saw this, and they created this little gem that explores what it's like being on the front lines in the DCU. When a noise complaint could turn into an encounter with Mr. Freeze, it takes a special breed of cop to walk the streets of Gotham City.

After reading the book for the majority of it's run, it becomes apparent that there are acutally only two different breeds of cop: corrupt and staggeringly brave. Most of the latter category make it up through the ranks to detective, and they're rewarded with situations like the Joker with a sniper-rifle, Catwoman as a prime suspect in a murder case, and most recently one of their own boys in blue turned into a hulking brute by Dr. Alchemy. The story arcs are inventive without exception, the characters distinct and realistic, and the revelations at the end of each mystery are always satisfying. I'm particularly excited about an upcoming case involving a dead boy in an alleyway dressed as Robin. Is it Robin? If not, where did he come from, and how did he die? A damn refreshing read after the latest issue of The Ultimates, JLA, or some other book featuring bright colored people punching each other.

  • Oni Press' Soctt Pilgrim's Precious Little Life:
The only other thing in my subscription box at Comicazi (link to the right) was a rather precocious little piece called Scott Pilgrim's Precious Little Life, in which the titular Canadian character, who plays in a band called "Sex Bob-omb," falls for a girl he sees roller-blading through a worm-hole in his brain. Not convinced of it's awesome-a-powa? Well, to win her hand Scott must battle her seven evil ex-boyfriends. When they're defeated, he gets coins. This book is nuts. This is the first of apparently seven volumes, the only bad thing about Scott Pilgrim is waiting for the next volume.

One of the peculiar things about the book is the art: the backgrounds look like something out Craig Thompson's Blankets or an issue of Drawn And Quarterly. But laid onto that like ColorForms from the wrong box, the characters are pure Manga. What comes out is something resembing a black and white episode of Hi Hi Puffy AmiYumi. As someone consistantly turned off by manga, it took some cajoling by one Aaron Trites, fellow punk-rock nerd-child of the 80s to get me to pick it up. I spent ten dollars on the book, but I owe Aaron oh so much more. It kicks major ass.

That's it for last week, this Wednesday I'll be picking up a lot more new stuff, including Teen Titans, Wonder Woman, and out of habit more than anything else the consistant let-down New Avengers. I know it was you, Bendis. You broke my heart. Also tomorrow I plan to try something new by picking up Sandman Vol. 1, Sin City Vol. 1, and the new trade of Teenagers From Mars.

I should note that Scott Pilgrim Vol. 1 and Teenagers From Mars were both referred to me by the aforementioned Aaron, who got them from one Kevin "Scooter" Church, our local Comics Advocate, Gadfly, and far more popular/experienced/adept blogger than I. Check his stuff out at Beau Coup Kevin, his own little corner of the web.
See all o y'all on Tuesday,

Friday, March 04, 2005

Oh, The Things I Know!

Welcome, welcome, welcome.
Through the magic of the internet, a poor young Dickensian orphan such as myself has a place to espouse on his various, trivial, interests. I've customized this webspace with all the comforts of home (i.e. a background and some links,), and it is here where I hope to house my thoughts, both stray and cultivated. Here are some background bullet-points that hopefully will ad some context to whatever you, the reader, are subjected to over the posts that follow:

  • I am none of the following things: poor, an orphan, or Dickensian.
  • Comics Books. Oh my stars and garters to I love comic books. I know that given the nature of my Log title and background this may seem obvious. I figured that I may as well throw it out there during this Getting To Know You, Sound of Music-style post. Personal favorites of mine are Y-The Last Man, The Walking Dead, Ultimate Spider-Man, Wonder Woman, Bone, The Flash, and the comic book that I've read, re-read, and if there was a word for "read almost constantly" I'd use that, is Daredevil.
  • Then there was film. Film and Television are another huge part of how my brain works. Walking down the street, I play out little scenes in my head; people, places, shots, and especially dialog for random characters (often people I know) flood my senses to the point where I often am almost hit by oncoming traffic or miss my public transportation du jour. I love the poetry of film: a complete story, encapsulated and complete and hopefully profound and striving for something new. It combines a great deal of sensations, not only sight and hearing, but I think film manages to give us a wholly sixth sense, one that stretches the hundred feet across the theater to the screen and puts you into a completely different time and place. Truly there lies a sacred power within Gigli. (Also something you should know: I'm always looking for the cheap Gigli joke.) Some of my favorite films are Adaptation, Ghostbusters, Breathless, Clerks, Dr. Strangelove, Jaws, The Fellowship of the Ring, pi, and The Usual Suspects.
  • Okay, so maybe I'm a little Dickensian. It's the hat.
  • I mentioned Television. Ah Television... teacher, mother, secret lover. While I feel film is visual poetry TV harkens back to the 18th century serials that were published in newspapers. As such, they do occasionally have that "paid-by-the-word" feel to them, but hit the right batch of it and you can really connect. Good television is less about events and more about characters and moving with them. I feel with and care more for C.J. Craig, Tim Canterbury, or Lorelai Gilmore than I have and do for any film character I can think of. Also a must for Television to hit with me is sharp dialog. I mean "shave-with-it-in-the-morning cut-yourself-just-looking-at-it" sharp. I don't do Friends. I don't do Family Guy. I don't do Survivor. I might come off like a snob, but I assure you: I just need a some substance. What I do like is The West Wing, The Shield, Gilmore Girls, 24, Lost, and Curb Your Enthusiasm. I am also slowing warming to Sports Night, but that's a post in it's own right.
  • So other than those frivolous hobbies, the one substantive thing that interests me is politics. I'm not going to go into too many details on where I stand, but I believe the finest book available on the political state of the American Media is "Lies and the Lying Liars Who Tell Them: A Fair and Balanced Look at the Right" by Al Franken. Again, I'm not going to say where I am on the spectrum, or who I voted for but if you pay attention and follow the clues, you'll see where I lay...
So that's about it for this post. I'm going to try and update every other day, I hope I stick to that. I'd also like to keep this about my thoughts on comics, on film, on the state of things. So to start me off right, I figure I'd let one of my favorite directors say something about one of my favorite things:

"Comic books are the ghostly fascination of these paper people, paralyzed in time, stringless puppets, imobiles, unable to be transported to movies, whose charm lies in rhythm and dynamism. It's a radically different way to please the eyes, an unique way of expression. The world of comics books can, in its generosity, lend plots, characters and stories to the movies, but can't lend its inexpressible power of suggestion that lies in the permanence and immobility of a butterfly in a pin."
Frederico Fellini