Thursday, January 26, 2006

A Correction, An Omission...

Or: The Perils of Late-Night Blogging...

First, a correction from my last post.
Wonder Woman #225 isn't actually the last issue of this volume! This is nothing but good news, as an extra issue of Wonder Woman is always a good thing. I'm not sure why I thought this was the final issue, but me and The Lady were all worked up, and now we get to continue being all antsy and teary-eyed for another month. That being said, the post looking back at the last 31 issues of the book will come at the end of February, you know... When the book is actually over. I discovered that it wasn't the final issue first when I read it today, and saw "Next Month..." in the back, and then when I got home and received an e-mail correcting me.

And since I've read it, a brief review!

Wonder Woman #225 -

What better way to take your character out of the middle of an action scene without having her run away? In this one, Athena plucks Diana out from above the sea where Paradise Island used to be for a chat, in which a great deal of questions about the Gods of Olympus get tied up. We also get a really great response from Diana about why she stays: it's the heart of the character, simple and true, and I got a little lump in my throat when I read it. Great character work on everyone, from the Gods to the staff at the embassy. Also, Ferdinand wears a trench coat and fedora, Ninja Turtle style. I look forward to seeing how this chapter in Diana's life ends.

And I can't believe I left this out when writing up my pulls for last week.

Spider-Man Loves Mary Jane #2 -
This book is so much fun. A lot of people look at it sideways, like it belongs on the WB, but there's far more Archie than Dawson's Creek in these pages. The first issue was Mary Jane trying to corner Spidey to ask him out on a date, which provided a great deal of comedy, some of which in the "wink-wink" variety when she professes her plan to Peter Parker and we get to be in on the joke. When people moan and complain that comics aren't "fun" anymore, I like to generally ignore them while I bury my nose in this fine book.

So that's it, and remember kids: Don't Post Things On The Internet past 11 P.M.! It's a great way to embarrass yourself!

Till next time,


Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Shameful: My Pull List for 3/4 of January!

Okay... Please, forgiveness?
Because sadly this blog does not rain pennies down upon me, and I need to get an education, and because I've been catching up on the new season of Gilmore Girls (what? I don't work ALL the time...), I kind of let my pull-list back up. So here's all the books I've either gotten or will be getting in January. The bonus of doing this late is that I've actually read some of them!

I'm also going to get all wacky and group them by publisher... Okay, KINDA - the Big Two and then Misc.!


Metal Gear Solid Vol. 2 TPB & Metal Gear Solid: Sons of Liberty #3 -
Good stuff, and I'm glad that they seem to be publishing the entire game series as comics. Ashley Wood's art is perfect for this surreal world of giant shamans, cloned secret agents and giant, war-head launching tanks. The only bad part is that you don't get the signature sound-track that comes with the game...

Penny Arcade: Attack of the Bacon Robots -
Does Penny Arcade really need me to talk about it? It's a enjoyably profane comic, and the second listing here that's video-game related. It's also the only webcomic that has a CONVENTION all about it. Here's a link to the site, where you can read the comics archived in this volume, but I want to have it bound and bathroomable:
Penny Arcade!

Sexy Chix -
Have I mentioned lately how much I love anthologies? Because I do. Throw in dozens of amazing female creators, from Gail Simone to Jill Thompson to Joyce Carol Oates, and you've got something that should make you sit up and take notice. There's a lot of hoopla about the name of this book, but if our friend 50 Cent has taught us anything, it's that you can't really fight marketing.

WETA Kong vs V-Rex Statue -
I know that this is not a comic book.
I know that it's something that, priced at 500 dollars, is what I like to call a "relationship-ending-purchase."
That being said, it's King Kong, and he's fighting a dinosaur... And he could be doing that in my living room every day till I die.
Feel free to pick one up for me.

Marvel Comics:

Daredevil #81 -
Last Bendis/Maleev issue! The Murdock Papers has been an amazing ride, and I can't wait to see where all the characters end up by the last page of this issue.

New Avengers #15 -
I was really impressed with the last issue, not just with Frank Cho's always outstanding work, but with the depth of Jessica Drew's backstory. It's easy to have a character that betrayed a team seek redemption, and often kind of dull, but to draw an incredibly complex and logical series of events leading to what happened in #13 is well, art. Good show, Bendis.

The Pulse #13 -
What? ANOTHER book I love that Bendis is leaving? The Pulse is more of an off-beat superhero title, and it sadly didn't receive the editorial support of DC's excellent Gotham Central. I'm hoping the new creative team (whoever they are)
understands the behind-the-scenes concept, and gets the book on a monthly schedule.

She Hulk 2 #4 -
Woo! Scott Kolins! He did some amazing work back on Avengers & The Flash with Geoff Johns, but they lured him to She Hulk because of the former. This is a flashback issue, shining new light on the events of the Avengers: Search for She-Hulk story arc that Kolins penciled, and giving us a peek at the aftermath. It's amazing character work, and Dan Slott shows us that even though he's brilliantly funny, he can tug a heart string or two when he needs to.

Spider-Man/Black Cat: The Evil That Men Do #6 -
This took a surprising turn with the last issue... And no, I don't mean "It came out." While the Dodson's work has a very cheese-cake feel, work like this and Trouble really highlights their subtle expression work. There's a lot of emotion packed into Kevin Smith's script for #5, and I hope #6 continues the trend.

Ultimate Spider-Man #89 -

This issue ties up the Silver Sable arc. Lately this book has fallen into the trap that Brian K. Vaughn's run of Ultimate X-Men has: spending each arch introducing the "Ultimate" version of some character from the regular Marvel U. Ultimate Spider-Man is a whole big sandbox full of toys: play with the ones you've got for a bit. The next arc introduces Ultimate Deadpool but at least we get some Spidey/Kitty pride interaction.

DC Comics:

All Star Superman #2 -
"Can YOU Guess The Secret of Superman's FORBIDDEN ROOM?!"
I miss the days before barcodes, when that would be a big box taking up 1/4 of the cover. The fact that it's on there at all is really a testament to the wacky silver -age feeling of the book. While generally not a member of the Morrison/Quietly Mob (I say mob because they CAN get violent), I'm really enjoying this book.

Green Lantern Corps: Recharge #4 -
Kilowog says to pick up this book, poozers.
While I'm not nutty about Hal Jordan coming back to life, or the direction they've taken his series in, DC at least did us the favor of returning Guy Gardener to the ranks of the Green Lanterns and restarting the Corps. Look for this to turn into a monthly OYL, and for this to lead into Ion, which I'm really looking forward to.

Infinite Crisis #4 -
The Crisis gets bloodier. Weather this issue is more extreme than the Freedom Fighters scene from #1 is up for debate, but there's no arguing that this is a big issue. I really don't want to spoil any of the stuff for you, but now that all the exposition is done, I can't imagine how much nuttier it's going to get in #5.

JLA #124 -
Dawn Raven? More like YAWN Raven!
I feel like a lot of books DC is putting out right now are just waiting to be canceled and re-booted. The Flash had the same problem: Geoff Johns finished his run, and since there was a few months left before the book ended, they've had some really bland filler stories featuring Vandal Savage. JLA, on the other hand, brought back the Key, and ties up the loose ends from the Justice League Elite mini series. While I don't mind Green Arrow getting some face-time, with all the insane things that the League could be dealing with right now his fling with Dawn Raven shouldn't be at the top of the list.

Seven Soldiers: Mister Miracle #3 -
A particularly cool take on the New Gods, where the people of New Genesis seem to be homeless crazies, and DeSaad is a conniving therapist. I'm curious to see how this all ties into the Seven Soldiers books, as right now it seems to be in a parallel kind of universe. I have faith as the other soldiers stuff have been an impressive, lego-like piece of work.

This brings us to the last book I'm getting this month:

Wonder Woman #225 -
Issue #225 marks the end of Wonder Woman Vol. 2, and the end of Greg Rucka's tremendous work on the book. This was a character that I wasn't really attached to one way or another 30 issues ago, and now I'll fiercely defend her and the title. I'm going to post a big look back at this particular chunk of Wonder Woman on Saturday/Sunday, and give some speculation about the future of the character. Something this great deserves it's own post.

That's it for me, folks. That's a big chunk of change (especially if I somehow score that Kong statue... With my discount it's only 450 dollars... hmmm...).

Until next time!


Thursday, January 19, 2006

Buy This...

During my last breakup, a big part of getting through it was reading through all three parts of Jeffrey Brown's Girlfriend Trilogy. After that really cathartic reading of Clumsy, I remarked how good these were to read while I was heartbroken, but how they were just as amazing to read when I was happy in love.

It's that unique quality in Brown's bio comics that makes them stand out - he manages to make your heart swell and then deflate just as big and flat as his did. All this, using 4 (or sometimes 2) panels a page drawn in ball-point pen.

So this new one, Every Girl Is The End of the World for Me will definately make my list of things to read come April. The title alone sends me back to highschool, when I got a deadly crush on every pretty girl I knew (with the exception of a few lasting ones).

Brown also does a great deal of funny, funny shit. Be A Man is his re-telling of Clumsy if he'd been more "macho". Also, anyone who likes Super Hero comics should pick up BigHead, in which the titular character battles villians such as The Puncher. Brilliance all around.

Order Jeffrey Brown's work here (or at your local shop!) - TopShelf Comix
Visit his website here - The Holy Consumption


Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Solicit Problems...

The biggest problems for comics retailers is that books are solicited 2-3 months in advance. That means, before issue #1 has even hit the stands, they have to determine their need for issue #2. This can cause some serious shortages if the book is a break-out hit. The fist example that comes to mind is Ultimate Spider-Man (USM). USM started off back in 2000, when Marvel began their "Never Reprinting" rule, before they did the political "Well... I guess if we print it with a different cover, it's not the same, right? So we're really NOT re-printing! Heh-heh ::wrings hands greedily::" move.

Now, USM was something that had been done a few times: re-tell the Spider-Man story without having to worry about how many times he's fought who or when or which lady he was with at the time. Not knowing that Bendis was about to become a hit mainstream writer, and not knowing they had a slightly fresher take on the concept than any bland Spider-Man Year One kind of deal, comic shops didn't order too many of issue #1. Then they cut orders on #2, since it lacked that big shiny #1 which seems to move comics. Seeing this, Marvel cut the print run on #5, which was about to go to press.

Then #1 made it to the stands, and KA-BOOM! Home run for Marvel. However, the demand for #5 FAR out weighed the print run... check out the Price Guide for Ultimate Spider-Man. Look at the price for #5. It's higher than #3 & #4 combined! So because everything's done so far in advance, things can get way out of whack.

Enter Previews.

Previews is the monthy book put out by Diamond, the company that, in all honesty, has a monopoly on the comic book distribution across the country. In previews, they give cover art, hints and things to come, and slightly dodgy plot summaries of up-coming issues. They try to keep it vague because, hey, owners are readers too!

Now, as you may have noticed, I've reached a certain point in comics nerdity, to the point where I, say, keep a blog about them. I read the previews each month to make sure that nothing I'm excited about slips under my radar. And sometimes, I find something expressly cool that maybe isn't getting the full media blitz of a publisher like the "I think I'm too cool for school" Nextwave is.

With all the changes going on in the DCU, it's pretty dangerous to read the solicits, since they're ads for books during the One Year Later period, and pretty much HAVE to reveal who makes it out... if they're advertising a Green Arrow issue with Ollie Queen on the cover, then hey, I bet Ollie doesn't buy it in Infinite Crisis.

So what have I done for my Previews fix? With nothing earth-shattering going on in the coming months, I assumed, wrongly, that the Marvel previews would be safe... Now, if you don't care about spoilers, by all mean, click THIS. Daredevil is the book I'm furious about.

Bendis still has an issue left on his run, Brubaker's first issue hasn't even hit stands yet, and they're giving away this MAJOR event in Daredevil's life! I understand that it's a catalyst for the story to come, but COME ON! Give us a chance to be suprised, moved, and hurt. Whatever drama was packed into the moment of revelation on the page has been stripped away and left us just turning pages until it happens. I've seen an issue of Previews where Marvel blanked out a cover of Amazing Spider-Man because it had the face of Gwen Stacy and Norman Osborne's illegitamate child on the cover. That horrible secret required protection and this didn't? This is the same fury I'm filled with when I see movie trailers, that instead of hinting at the film and giving us a taste of the flavor, simply spoil every detail of the plot up to the climax.

I know these aren't really meant for fan consumption, and are a tool for the retailer... but again: the retailers are fans too. And the reality of the situation is that fans DO read them, and I've found it's a great tool for finding out when things like trades are coming out, or again, little books that I might have missed. They even put an order form for people with Sub-Boxes to give to their local shop's owner to make sure they get exactly what they want.

So at what point is it the responsibility of publisher to warn us of spoilers, how explicit should these solicitations really be, and at what point do we just give up reading Previews?

Tonight, or tomorrow if I can't get to it, my picks from last week and this!


Sunday, January 15, 2006

Two Sweet Art Projects: Too Bad I Can't Draw

Tonight I've got two links to some terribly keen art projects.

The first is from LiveJournal. Yours, Truely is suckered with a certain fondness for Babs Gordan, the first Batgirl. So when a friend kicked me towards this, the Draw Batgirl project, I spent entirely too much time clicking back and forth through the various Batgirls, new, old, or entirely new concepts.

Here's my fave so far -

What can I say, I'm a fool for the classic costume!

It's by a cat called Ian J.

He's got a LiveJournal where he posted this (Linksville!), and a website where all sorts of cool illustrations are up (Link to the Past!).

I'm a big fan of both Brian Lee O'Malley and Andi Watson, so it says something that this sketch is my favorite over the ones they did.

There are seriously hundreds of these things, and if you have some free time and love comics, give it a click. If you're a busy fella or gal, I take no responsiblity when you fall terribly, terribly behind after clicking. It's all the Pretty, Pretty art's fault.

Draw Batgirl!

The second project is something I found through MySpace (yes, I have a MySpace account... Leemee alone.) Jim Mahfood posted on his page about it, it's called Drink And Draw, and it's exactly as it sounds.

A gaggle of artists get together with alcoholic beverages and pens of various inks and draw whatever they want. The end result is completey groovy.

Here's one of Food's pieces that I love.

It's got this crazy romantic Ralph Steadman-y quality too it, thanks to the ink-blot/lizard combo.

You can find most of the Drink And Draw stuff on their MySpace page:

Drink And Draw!

This particular picture was yanked from Mahfood's personal page, which itself has no shortness of awesome:


So that's it for me kiddies. Tomorrow I might be able to swing the always late Pull List for last Wednesday. Next week maybe I'll get to some reviews?

Here's hoping, and see you soon...


Saturday, January 07, 2006

Pull List Week of 01/05

Comics ho!

New Avengers: Breakout TPB -
FINALLY. I beleive I've allready expressed my qualms with this "overpriced hardcover and then the paperback trade months later" nonsense.
That aside, I've read this trade in single issue form allready, and frankly - I dig it. I was resistant to it at first, mostly because it's called "New Avengers," and while it's a very cool, these characters don't seem to gel as a team in my mind the way the old Avengers do. It's nothing I can put my finger on, but put this trade side-by-side with Young Avengers and... something... is missing.

Once you get past it, the art is mighty pretty, and Bendis gets to shut-up all those people who complain that he can't write action. On top of the action, though, we get the Bendis Spider-Man, who in my opinion is the best version of the character swinging around the Marvel U right now. I highly reccomend it.

Marvel Zombies #2 -
They talk about Spider-Man eating his wife and aunt.
This book is completely crazy and utterly awesome. The covers alone are worth $2.99.

Gotham Central #39 -
I'm so sad this is ending. At least it's on the creator's terms and not canceled by DC Editorial. If anyone hasn't been reading this book so far, I won't go into what it's about, but it should be my most intense read of the week. A bonus note: Greg Rucka has said they're going to reprint this entire series eventually in trade, so start picking them up now and avoid the rush! BUY IT!

Jonah Hex #3 -
What's cooler than pirates?
For those of you who answered "Cowboys!" Then you, sir or madam, are correct. While ninjas would have also been an acceptable answer, Jonah Hex has none. It's just nice to read a comic that is self-contained, beautifully drawn and features a scarred character with a firm yet undefinable moral code.

Seven Soldiers: Frankenstien #2 -
It took me a loooong time to get on board with this Seven Soldiers thing, but now I'm totally absorbed in it. I'm not sure where, exactly, it's headed though. The first issue of this comic featured a decapitated magician and weird psychic slug things. So I have no clue what's coming in this ish.

Superman: Sacrifice TPB -
Let's play everyone's favorite game "How Many Times Can We Get Casey To Buy Wonder Woman #119?!?!" Apparently the answer is at least three (the issue, this, Omac trade) but PROBABLY four, as they'll reprint it in the appropriate volume of Wonder Woman.
The sacrifice arc itself isn't that impressive, and other than getting to see Darksied wearing boxing gloves it had me screaming "MOVE IT ALONG!" as we got teeny tiny little clues about what was going on in each issue. Luckily the payoff, the Superman/Wonder Woman fight, was more than worth it.
Four times, though?
I should just burn the money, right?

Teen Titans #31 -
Everything that's going on with Superboy, and the Titans off in space with Donna Troy and we're reading about Brother Blood? Geoff Johns might be stretched too thin over at DC. Well, I'll give the issue a fair shot anyway, but the title has been hurting since Mike McKone left.

Y: The Last Man #41
The origin of Agent 355! They've been doing quite a few asides to the main story lately, and while I'm glad for the depth it gives to important characters like 355, and supporting characters like Hero, I have to wonder if it means that the actual Y story is coming to an end. I know Vaughn is only doing a set number of issues, but I don't want it to end. Good things never last, Mr. Denham.

So that's it for this week, I'll give you some pocket reviews as soon as I pick up my books! Hope you grabbed some good stuff this week!


Monday, January 02, 2006

Livejournal Feed!

A teacher, excellent author and fellow blogger Michael A. Burstien created a Livejournal feed for this very page! In case there is more than just me and him reading it, I'm posting the link here once, and after that I'll be over in the link bar yonder!

Here's the info, just click the link and then add it as a friend!
Casey of Earth 2: Now On LJ!

Here's Michael's website, and a link to his own blog, which I read daily.
- MABFAN's Musings


Coolest Comics Couples - 2005

So I'm a little TOO into the romantic aspect of fiction, and comics are no exception. So here are the five couples that got together (or should have) over the past year that hit the right chord with me, be it a funny one, a sad one, or one that makes me go "Awwwww..." louder than a bucket of kittens.

5 – Spider-Man and Luke Cage;
Oh, c’mon. Did you see these two in the pages of New Avengers? Luke probably sneaks across the hall to Spidey’s room for a little Alias #1 action once the lights go down in the Avenger’s Tower. If you listen closely, you can hear Iron Fist crying.

4 – Scott Pilgrim and Kimberly Pine;
This one takes place in the past, but a 4 or 5 page montage of Kim and Scott gave us so much insight into her character, and made me fall head over heels. At first she's rescued by Scott and things are grand and adventurous, but later there's a panel depicting what I took to be their first time together and it's heart-felt, and romantic and real. To hear how Scott asked Kim out, skip back a bit to my favorite lines from last year.

3 – Matt Murdock and Milla Donovan-Murdock;
Finally Matt Murdock gets the nice, stable woman he deserves. Thank god he's over his ninja/spy/ex-porn star phase. Milla on the other hand didn't really win the stability lottery, but hey, she’s married to Daredevil. I really like them as a couple, the dual blind saviors of Hell’s Kitchen, one by night and the other by day. Now if only his arch-enemies and ex-girlfriends* would stop barging in on them while she’s in her underwear

2 – Ultimate Spider-Man and Kitty Pride;
That Peter Parker, It’s about time he found himself a nice Jewish girl. While it was heartbreaking to read Peter cut M.J. loose, these two seem made for each other. They’ve only been together for two issues, but they’re dynamic is a charming one. Spidey can’t trust anyone normal to be around him, since they keep getting hurt, so a Super-Girlfriend is perfect. Kitty on the other hand is a misfit in a house full of mutant super-people, so someone who understands alienation is good for her. Also, as any lady who's stooped to our level knows, nerds try harder.

1 – Diana (Wonder Woman) and Io;
“Whaaaat?,” you say? Go back, and re-read Greg Rucka’s Wonder Woman run. In every scene between these two, there is a tenderness, concern, respect and care between the characters that can’t be construed as anything other than romantic love. Diana is the first name Io utters when coming back to conciousness after a battle with Ares, and Wonder Woman recognizes Io by scent alone when her sight is gone. Wonder Woman #224 was told from Io’s perspective, and was an almost completely tragic ending to their expertly crafted romance.

Tomorrow a look back at some of the odder titles that I've really dug from 2005, followed by a look at the last year's CRISIS, and what could be coming!