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Saturday, October 29, 2005

10/26/05 Reviews

Another round of reviews here for your reading pleasure. This time around we get our monthly fill of Bendis, the last and final book of Marvel's monster fest, and Mike Allred's Solo. Half of this week was really good. The other half? Not really good at all.

Daredevil # 78

As Bendis ends his mostly sensational(and unfortunately sometimes lackluster) run on a book that Mr. Warren Ellis himself has referred to as "such a scary gig", Bendis starts to bring the house down, with guest stars galore.

Ever since the revelation of Daredevil's secret identity by the tabloid press, which has been the real notch that Bendis has added to history of this book, its been a constant shuck-and-jive for our Man Without Fear. Using his radioactive induced powers of enhanced senses(sans the eyes, of course, because OMG! SPOILERZ! he was blinded by the very same accident which gave him his powers!), DD has managed to evade all manners of surveillance equipment, be they tele-photo lens, night vision googles, hidden cameras, satellite looking guns that hear things from afar, or white vans that pose as delivery trucks for Flower By Irene. Imagine the frustration that must come from being a detective on this case. "Dude! Matt Murdock went INTO that building and NOW Daredevil's on the roof?! Fuck! How can we not prove he's the goddamn Daredevil, huh?!? I mean- I mean, what are we using here to capture this guy?! X-RAY-FUCKING-SPEX!?!?" Frustrating to say the least. But not this time around. Oh no. We have the Kingpin himself, Wilson Fisk, ready to spill the beans. Apparently he missed being fucked with by New York's elite of super heroes and decided to bargain for his freedom so that he can resume the stranglehold he had on the criminal underworld. So what's he doing? Exchanging a dossier of info on Daredevil, aptly called the "Murdock Papers", for his freedom.

Not a bad premise, really.

Along for the ride is Ben Ulrich, doing his whole looking-down-at-you-from-behind-my-glasses-in-somewhat-disbelief schtick, as the Kingpin conducts this little bit of business. I think Mr. Fisk feels bad about that one time with that one ninja assassin and the whole sai in his chest incident so he feels that he needs to throw Mr. Ulrich a bone. Considering Mr. Ulrich's stance on giving up DD's identity [see Daredevil Vol. 2 # 34 for yourselves, Devoted Readers! - Stupendously Studly Spencer], I think he's just there because it was a Wednesday, and Matlock was that one episode that he hates hates hates, so why not hang out and see what this old fat dude is up to. Speaking of old fat dudes, let us take a walk done memory lane...

That's some swank right there. Granted, he never changed his suit much, but that was because he didn't have to. White jacket, purple pants, orange vest, white scarf, cuban cigar, and a cane that's probably got some kind of sword action hidden inside of it.

Now look at him now:

Somebody give that man an Armani suit and a hired super-villian assassin, stat!

Ok, enough of all that. Back to the comic. This was a really good issue. Its got Luke Cage and the Iron Fist safely escorting Foggy Nelson from a media circus with Mr. Cage swearing up a storm as they do it. Elektra shows up at Matt Murdock's window, launching a ridiculously unprovoked attack on her from Matt himself. Black Widow gets all sassy and tells that same harlot that showed at Matt's window that she's all lame and could probably be better with a new haircut. White Tiger shows up and asks if its ok if she can come along for the ride and throw her ex-F.B.I.-turned-super-hero into the pulp-vigilante slash resurrected-hand-ninja-assassin slash russian-super-spy mush pot. The Owl gets all "nuh uh" about Kingpin's plans from the big house. And at the end, even Bull's Eye himself shows up to get all white boy day on everyone! Who saw that coming?

Ok, he's on the cover, but I thought it was Brian K. Vaughan. I'm a little slow.

All I know, is that when I finished this issue with its cliff hanger ending that promise major ass kicking action next issue, I heard some "wah-ah-ah-ah!" ala Disturbed's style in my head.

That's what Bendis wants to think, right? That this is a movie, right? Right?

Marvel Monsters: Monsters On The Prowl # 1

The fourth and final week of Marvel's little Halloween romp, and what do we have? Steve Niles. Zzzzzzzzz. Sorry, but Steve Niles is not very good in my book. Same goes for this book, too. Instead of being a funny book with some monsters, its a monster book with a little bit of funny, but not enough. The Hulk talks dumb(but not funny dumb), Giant Man wrestles some huge monster, Beast accidentally realizes that he can contact Mr. Fantastic through the Fantasti-Flying Thingamawhatever to help them figure out a way to defeat the monsters, with Thing organizing the whole thing. Duncan Fedredo does a good job with the pencils, giving it a nice late 60s, early 70s vibe. His Hulk is especially nice. Everything else? Lame. I wanted this to be really funny, but it wasn't. What can you do? Ask for your money back?

New Avengers # 12

Once again, we are thrown into the world of a Bendis ruled 616. In theory, this should work for me, as Bendis has produced some of my favorite work in the field of sequential art as of the past few years, but it doesn't. Big time super heroes like the Avengers isn't really Bendis's strong suit. Instead of delivering an action packed book of bang up goodness, its a little awkward. Normally events start to happen that get thrown to the side to make way for his love of dialogue that really feels forced. Not this time. What we have is Captain America trying defend his sense of sarcasm while everyone is knee deep in Hand ninjas which just doesn't fit. He would be the first one to say something like "Everyone shut the hell up and hit something, please." He is the Super Soldier, not the Super Guy Who Wants To Be Cool By Making Jokes In The Middle Of A Fight Like Spiderman And Luke Cage. Instead of focusing on the awesome fight, he focuses on the "witty" dialogue during the fight. Not to say that isn't important, but it just seems out of place.

And this whole Ronin business? Bullshit. Instead of creating some suspense in the story about this character and how they are someone mysterious and radical and we should all speculate on who they are, we're TOLD to believe that this someone mysterous is awesome and we should speculate on who they are. Showing a character on the cover for 10 issues for no reason other than........yeah, I can't think of a reason other than to FORCE some kind of excitement and intrigue on us. In Bendis's defense, he has said that the covers aren't really up to him. That's good ol' Marvel for you that's forcing mysterious characters down our throat.

Its all a shame, because I really want to like this. Hydra/Hand/S.H.I.E.L.D. espionage drama? Not bad stuff. An ecclective cast of super heroes that you wouldn't think would work together doing just that? More not bad stuff. However, its not working because we have the writer that is notorious for his bad plot points on a book that should be mostly plot points. And the guy who is known for his realistic takes on dialogue gives us the lamest panel of the weak:

Yeah, its a bit weird, isn't it. And of course I being nit picky, but its comics and that's what they are there for. For me to gaze upon and nit picky over because, well....I'm a comic book nerd. Sorry, but that's how it is.

Solo # 7

Dear Mr. Allred,

You are ok in my book. I'm sorry that I never picked up Madman in its hey day. I was coming off of an Image overdose that made me pretty much give up on comics altogether. Such crazed fan boy devotion had me in its grips, and instead of maybe finding some other comics to read, I continued to read the same old tired crap done really, really bad. Its when they popped that whole x-traitor thing on us, we just HAD to stick around. I mean, who could have it been? If I knew what it would have eventually turned into, I probably would have been ok with not keeping score. And Image? Man....how could I not see what the deal was? I was in the 6th grade. All those guys rocked my world(except Valentino. He's always sucked.) And when the buzz all died down, I found myself gravitating towards Mr. Lee's Wildstorm world more than anything. I'm just a sucker for that kind of stuff, I guess. And to think it was Alan Moore's super hero gang war that sent me running from that. Isn't that a bit ironic? Yes, I was dumb, Mr. Allred. I didn't realize what this whole comic book business was about. I didn't think that the things I loved would turn their backs on me and that the one thing that would keep me stringing along was Hiroaki Samura's Blade Of The Immortal. I mean, that's Manga! That's the enemy, right? And speaking of the enemy, I'm not mad that you hang on to your silly notions of childhood nostalgia. Its ok. I do, too, I just was a child of a different time. And its ok that you're Mormon. I was once, too. Thank god for Heavy Metal. That shit saved me. But yes, its great that you're pursuing your love for the Holy Trinity by illustrating The Book Of Mormon. Maybe people can read that and hopefully stop asking me questions about special underwear and alien planets. Thank you for that. And thank you for being such an amazing illustrator. Or is it called penciller. I'm not sure, but either way, you draw some good pictures. And all this nostalgia silliness, the other Allreds do a damn fine job of not making it such a wank off spectacle. Its a little masturbatory, but not an out and out "Here's what I would have done if I wrote Silver Age comics." I never once felt like a douchebag while reading your comic because I didn't pick up something ludicrous like the Metamorpho trade. Having very little knowledge of the things you had in your issue of Solo definitely did not hamper my enjoyment of it at all. Keep up with the good work. You are definitely a person whose work I will check out more in the future. Thank you and take care.

Spencer Carnage

PS: Any chance of you doing a guest stint on New Avengers? I think it would the bestest.

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Batman to visit Simi Valley's new mall

Can Gotham weather a weekend without the Dark Knight? Looks like they'll have to, according to local Simi Valley newsletter, the Simi Valley Acorn, Batman will be visiting the small Ventura County suburb to appear at the opening of its first mall.
"Batman will be in the children’s department from noon to 4 p.m. Sat., Oct. 29. Customers are encouraged to bring cameras."

Local Simi Valley DC fan boy and drummer for the punk rock band, Secret Wars who asked to be identified as "Chaka" was excited:
"This will be great! I'm so excited! Batman is awesome! Did you get the new Batman Begins movie on DVD?! Its astonishing! I can't wait to see him in real life! Yes!"

When asked what he was going to purchase at this new Mall, "Chaka" said that he was going to pick up some more of that Sex In The City perfume for his girlfriend. "Chaka" was probed further about the Batman Begins movie and its placement in the existing Batman movie echelon, to which he started to use profranity and walked away.

However, not everyone in Simi Valley is excited to see the Batman dealing with kids. Reeling from September's allegations that the Batman's sidekick was physically coerced into joining Batman in his path of vigilante justice, one partent had these words to add:
"That Batman is a menace! He's only here to try and recruit more sidekicks! I mean, what kind of person puts on a bat costume and dances on rooftops with little children?! Its a travesty!"

Curious to see how Gotham City was going to deal with its hero being busy opening malls instead of continuing his war against Gotham's seedy underworld, GCPD Detective Montoya had this to say:
"And stay out!"

In addition to Batman's appearance, mall customers will receive a 15 percent discount e-certificate for Alaska Air Lines with any $35 purchase in the store.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

10/19/2005 Reviews

This week was much, much better than last week. Up this week we have Daredevil/Punisher # 5, Marvel Monsters: Fin Fang Four # 1, Klarion Witchboy # 4, and Shaolin Cowboy # 4. That's Lapham, Morrison, Irving and Darrow in one week. Hot damn!

Daredevil/Punisher # 5

This is the Frank Castle that I knew and loved when I was in the 5th grade. Back then, Punisher was a pragmatic, hard-boiled, no holds barred ex-Marine turned criminal-killing-machine. He was one of the first. However, despite his mean disposition, he was a person that you could like. You felt for him and his loss and almost believed that his mission, although rash and involving lots of dead people, made sense. When I was younger, I constantly found myself thinking "Is it possible for someone to wage a one man war on crime? And am I the person with the stones to do it? Could I wear a skull themed costume and pack a whole bunch of guns to unleash hell and brimfire upon those who could not follow the laws set forth for us?"

This warped 5th grader thinking was all because of the Punisher.

Lapham's Punisher is more in tune with the Punisher that I knew which is one of the reasons that I'm digging this mini-series so much. I have no problem with Ennis's psycho crazy Frank Castle. That's good stuff, too. However, there was a time when all Punisher was, was a guy with a mission and an armory to back it up. He didn't need a psychosis to make him interesting.

Daredevil, on the other hand, is the one that's lacking in this story. He is serving more as plot device here with his belief system(justice by due process) playing against the Punisher's(vigilante justice). He also pops up to make Punisher's life difficult, which is really the best part of DD's involvement in the story. Watching Frank get all PO'd when that uppity blind lawyer in red tights shows up and starts frolicing around while throwing cheerleader batons everywhere is great. Just imagine the complex that this already very angry man must have when folks with real powers get in the way of his vengeance.

Lapham's pencils are great, even if the colors are shitty. If you haven't been following this, pick up the trade. Get yourself some Stray Bullets while you're at it.

Marvel Monsters: Fin Fang Four # 1

This makes up for last week's bullshit fest. Classic comedy using shrunken versions of monsters before Marvel's super hero whoring days that work in Four Freedoms Plaza. Or is it the Baxter Building? And are the FF still broke? Or is this where Thing all rich and wears dumb top hats because that's what rich people do? I'm a bit confused. My funny bones have been thoroughly tickled, however I'm not sure which version of Marvel's Fantastic Four is in this comic.

Really though, this was hilarious. Little H.E.R.B.I.E-ish bots laughing at Elektro for only have 32k RAM is thumbs up. Beats all that horror crap that everyone's trying to shove down your throats this month, that's for damn sure.

Seven Soldiers: Klarion The Witchboy # 4

Here we are, another step closer to the end of this massive saga that Grant Morrison has put together for our reading pleasure, and quite frankly, we're still going strong. Now, please don't expect some elaborate critique about Seven Soldiers and how if you read Seven Soldiers: Klarion The Witchboy # 4 on the Winter Solistice in the nude with nothing but the cool air blowing upon your nether regions, you can tap into ancient celtic dryad demon lovers that will spill forth all of the secrets of the multiverse, both big and small, helping you to jump start your career with mainstream super hero comics, because, that's what Jog is for. I am not as intelligent nor articulate enough to understand half of the shit that Morrison is dropping inbetween these pages, but when I want to know, I go read Jog's blog. He is the Mad Thinker of comic book blogging, minus the Mad part. He even mention how awesome it is that Morrison and Irving have Klarion's familiar, a cat named Teekl, put on a little kitty stake. Jog gets it right.


I read my comics late and post my thoughts even later, which brings me to my one little gripe:

What happened with the bad guy? One minute, he's all dope, this underground puritan town is gonna be all my bitches, shot the Grundies and let's get on with it, until SHIT! CRAP! FUCK! its Klarion all crazy and then:

He's running scared from Klarion, they both crash into something and then!:

The bad guy's a fire monster who rants for 20 seconds. Doom and Gloom on you, Klarion, Witchboy!:

Just kidding!


Uh, what?

Sorry, but that's just poor writing. At least give Klarion the satisfication of kicking the guy's ass, sending him running, giving Klarion the motivation to follow. Sure, Klarion follows him because he takes off, however I just feel kind of.....well....

Grant Morrison was rubbing my comic enjoying nuts then stopped dead cold and told me that me imagining him rubbing my comic enjoying nuts would feel much better. We get a 2 page chase only to find a villian that was dead set on kicking everyone's ass is really going to turn around so he can kick the world's ass and come back for them later. I'll say it again: Uh, what?

Yeah. Doesn't make sense to me either, but what can you do. Since Klarion didn't die, does this mean that Zatanna's gonna die? I do remember some solication that one of the Soldiers was gonna kick the bucket and all we have left is that damn mindwiping JLAer, so.......

Or did I miss something? Somebody get Jog on the case, stat!

Shaolin Cowboy # 4

Who knew that Geof Darrow had it in him? This is so damn funny that its beyond words. Describing this is like telling my friends how good the Upright Citizens Brigade was. They just won't get it. In this issue alone, we have a talking horse that shits on a zombie chiropractor that is being controlled by some ancient, evil head who is being pulled around by a bird, spouting nonsense about chi and whatnot while engaged in combat with the Shaolin Cowboy as baby with bloody hands walks around saying "mine." Doesn't make sense, but it is funny funny funny times not a billion but a gang of million.

The cover of the book says "2005 Eisner Award Loser." What's not to like?

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

My new girlfriend

Maybe when I was 23.

Just found this over at the DC Conspiracy which is NOT website dedicated to the shadowy, nefarious doings of the masonic order of Johns, Waid, Rucka, Winnick, and Morrison, but a rather good blog about self-publishing by a group of Washington D.C. based comic book creators.

Every since we were dumped by the Rampage I've decided to just fool around with comic blogs from now on. You know, not make it anything serious. Once DC Conspiracy starts talking about meeting its mother and what not, I'm out. Because, you know, just because I'm hitting that DC Conspiracy ass, don't be expecting me to stop drunk dialing the Comics Should Be Good or The Absorbascon on weekends.

That's just crazy talk.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

10/12/05 Reviews

Yeah, yeah, its late. Reviews for today, 10/19/2005 will be up this weekend. Does any one care? Nah. This week's comics(last week's actually) had one from the pull list and three that I picked up just cause. I also picked up a copy of Alan Moore and Gene Ha's Top Ten: The 49ers which I haven't found the proper time to sit down and read. Really want to give that a good hour or so which I can't find to save my life, as you can see by the lateness of this entry.

Ok, on to the reviews...

The Goon 25 Cent Edition

Yeah, this is good. Was there any question? Eric Powell doing what he does best: delivering beautifully rendered art with a dialogue that is both smart AND funny. Hell, if The Goon comics had a full time job and didn't live with her parents, I'd probably ask her out.

This is meant as an introductory issue of sorts, what, with the $0.25 price tag. With Halloween around the corner, it probably couldn't have come out at a better time. As far as introductory issues go, was this a good one? Me being the new reader, am I able to jump into the world of The Goon and not fell hopelessly lost and without a clue because of strict continuity that makes me sense to my amateur eyes?

This issue doesn't do much to explain The Goon and all the nuances of The Goon's world. Instead of explaining it, it SHOWS it. The Goon knocks heads for an offscreen mob boss who OMG! SPOILERS! actually doesn't exist. What this revelation means for the world of The Goon is definitely something of interest, but not a new reader like myself. The Goon is such a simple concept on the outside with just the right amount of silliness, that you can't help but want to go back and see what else there for one's reading enjoyment.

Thank God for that Fancy Pants collection.

Marvel Monsters: Where Monsters Dwell # 1

Week 2 of Marvel's Monster Halloween comics. Last week was so damn good, that its a shame that Week 2 didn't really offer all that much. The first story, "Bring On The Bombu" is a nice little gag written and drawn by Keith Giffen(with inks by Mike Allred!) about an Big Headed Alien Guy that's trying to take over earth. However, his luck sucks and his resistance to electricity isn't much better. Watching him get berated by his superiors that are off planet is classic and the best part of the little story.

The rest of the issue? Some weird Invasion Of The Body Snatchers type schtick where GASP! SPOILERS! the protagonist is really the bad guy, and a story about how Peter Alan David is upset because somebody in Hollywood used creative telepathy to steal his idea for Commander-In-Chief so he's gonna get back at them by returning as a writer to the Incredible Hulk. Seriously. That's what its about. Pretty crappy, I know. And there's a reprint of "I Was Trapped By Titano" from a happier time in the world when stories about huge crabs getting their asses kicked by MacGyver-like improvisation with a glacier was a good thing.

I would have paid $.50 for the Giffen story, but they charged $3.99. It could be worse. I could have been Canadian and been charged $5.75. Dumb ol' Hockey loving Canucks..

House Of M # 7

Oh my. Yeah, umm, I- I, well, yes....



Let's take a look at this whole little Scarlet Witch fiasco that Bendis has put us Marvel fans into. True, he didn't start the Wanda-Iz-Krazee business, but he sure is in love with the idea of it. Something about flawed women that just really turns Bendis's crank.

So Wanda is crazy distraught sad because she was pregnant with the Vision(an Android created by the mechanically mad Ultron who turned sides against his maker)'s kids and lost them. No surprise there, but this is comic books so the idea that a robot could inseminate a human female is one that we will take for granted. She is a mutant after all. Throw in Agatha Harkness, queen supreme witchness monster who is somehow involved with Wanda's magical past, and the whole thing is just gangbusters with trouble.

Now Wanda's situation is one that I'm somewhat familiar with, but from the perspective of a fellow Avenger who knows what's up, but didn't get too involved because I was starring in my own book as well as being a full time Avengers kind of way. It involves my old apartment and my fellow roommates. It breaks down like this:

Instead of Earth-616, its Apartment-173. Spencer is Iron Man. He is the swanky billionaire technofetishist playboy that's constantly getting into all kinds of trouble with the ladies and the booze. Spencer's a good guy that you definitely want on your side, but he can get a bit mired in his own self-inflicted destruction from time to time. One of Spencer's roommates, Chaka, is Captain America, the Super Soldier, recently released from dating hybernation to both lead and inspire us to be better super heroes. When shit gets hectic, he is always there to come through and make you feel like you're the coolest Avenger in the Mansion.

Our Scarlet Witch is a mutant from the Midwest with a disposition that requires therapy. And I'm not trying to be "all girls iz crazy" about it, but I do mean she is without a doubt one of these people who would benefit greatly from counseling with a licensed psychologist on a weekly basis. When you break your arm, you see a doctor. When your head's bugging, you see a shrink. There is nothing wrong with that, that's just how it is. Then there is Vision, the android, who was once a fascinating character in our little cast of characters is now a boring plot device. His main use in the pages of the Avengers of Apartment-173 is now one of those bold tales of a robot that is in search of its humanity and is doing so by falling in love. There's a four issue mini series about it.

Captain America and Iron Man are happy for them. Maybe one day they'll make it to on-going status.

In Apartment-173: Dis-assembled, the Scarlet Witch and Vision suffered the same unfortunate events that the Scarlet Witch and Vision suffered in the Earth-616 version of the Avengers comic, sans all stupid shit.

My point in all this? Its makes sense that Wanda would go fuck nuts crazy. Had the Wanda of Apartment-173 had Chaos Magick at her emotional disposal, BangFocuses would have landed in our living room killing the furry butler, Jonas. I am not making light of my old roommates situation. Not at all. But I can see the picture that Bendis is painting here. It is an ugly one that seems a logical path for our heroes and villians would find themselves going down. High emotional stress and Chaos Magicks would be something that all the Avengers of Apartment-173 would be very concerned about. In the end, the Avengers of Apartment-173 pulled through it together without the aid of a Dr. Strange monologue. We are a lot closer as a team because of it.

So Bendis is not wrong for choosing this plot device to run with, he's just not pulling it off. Wanda's crazy seems very stereotypical with her being this innocent, coy little thing who just wants to play with her toys until she is poked and prodded enough to snap. And for all of this to come out of the blue last year in Avengers: Dis-assembled makes it even less believable.

The only thing about this issue that made me get excited was OMG! SPOILERZ! watching Magneto kick some Quicksilver ass. The whole time we have this pensive Magneto who just stares out into wide open spaces while reciting the words to Sunny Day Real Estate in his head. The dude brought some serious whoop ass on his son and all you could do was say "fuck."

That was about it, though. The big battle was really just a few pages of random stuff. You kind of get an idea of what's going on, but not really. All you see is heroes and villians going off on each other, but you don't really know how, unless you count super powers flying ablaze while Nightcrawler teleports everywhere. I believe Copiel doesn't speak english, so its understandable that there might be a little break down in communication, but Bendis has never been one who is good at directing fights.

And then there is the end result of all this House Of M madness:

Yep. No more stinkin' muties. I can't WAIT to read about the kind of stories that'll come out of this.

Infinite Crisis # 1

I heard this was supposed to be all earth shattering, universe shaking shit, but all I can remember about it was this:

(click to make big)

Must be a DC fanboy thing, I guess.

Monday, October 17, 2005

things of note

* Girls are kicking the doors down in our little comic book world, much to the dismay of snarky comic book fans. My thoughts? Nothing wrong here. Not a super huge fan of the writing style Johanna Stokes chose for her first time out, but you really can't fault a girl for calling you an idiot for trying to shove the Avengers down your girlfriend's throat. Maybe everyone's just mad because she got a job writing zombie comics...?

* However, she is not the only girl to the scene that I have noticed lately(apparently she started bitching about the wolverine wall paper in our club house back in July. I'm a little slow with things.) There's Kamikaze Girl at SilverBulletComics.com who is pretty funny, well versed in the funny books, and attractive, even if she looks like a crazy ex of mine. My observations of the female gender contributing to the super hero group internet thought is not all encompassing, so please forgive whatever shortsightedness I have exhibited in advance. Hell, enlighten my ass.

* My girlfriend currently has my copy of my Stray Bullets Volume One which probably sits by her computer, largely unread. I once tried to get her to read Alias, before I realized that Alias was really just Bendis'(and my) way of working out the girl drama. She got lost in the first issue with that whole Captain America video nonsense. She did like Enki Bilal's art though.

* Probably better than getting my girlfriend to read comics was the realization that a copy of Us Weekly works great for those moments when she's hanging out and all I want to do is read comics or surf the internet.

* Finally got around to reading the Goon. Only read the first few pages and dayum, son! Shit is deep! Maybe I should take another look at this Scott Pilgrim and Street Angel that all these bloggers be hyping even if the former's previews and the latter's one issue that I read really didn't do a damn thing for me.

* Neil Gaiman's American Gods, is having a hard time washing down my throat as the protagonist just stumbles from one weird situation to the next with out me giving so much as a damn about the whole thing, possibly stalling the rest of my Sandman reading experience(I'm on the 5th trade) for quite some time. I should just finish Chabon's The Adventures of Kavalier & Klay, which I really, really, really, really liked but just could not muster the strength that novels seemed to require from me a year ago.

* One last question: Would House Of M been any good had I never read an article online or in Wizard about it? No. No, probably not.

Monday, October 10, 2005

Night Thrasher = Badical

Oh man, its one o'clock, I'm at work, and shit is so boring that I want to kill myself. Maybe I can alleviate some of this boredom by checking out Dave's Long Box and see what kind of comic book dorkiness we can laugh at toda-, WHAZZAHUH?!?!?!?! Skateboarding super heroes suck!??! Night Thrasher the suxxor?!?!??!?!

I say thee nay.

To discredit a key member of the New Warriors AKA "Heroes for the 90's--!" all because he skates?! What we have here is a classic case of comic book ignorance. Well, well, well. I think its time Mr. David Campbell has a little lesson of his own to learn about the Airwolfness of the Night Thrasher.

First and foremost, let's take a look at Night Thrasher as presented by Dave's Long Box:

What we have here is your standard "strike a real mean pose" picture that is necessary for an entry into an Official Marvel Handbook. Not the most flattering picture, that we can all agree on. Law breakers and low life thugs wouldn't bat an eye at this Tae Bo move. Its 2005 and Tae Bo is shit your mother and girlfriend do to get into shape. But back in 1990? You bust some Tae Bo out on the local pimp and he be all convinced you were trained by the ghost of Bruce Lee himself! And the scarf? Well damn, make all the fun you want and but when you're laughing and there's a BLACK! METAL! FIST! PILFERING! OUT! JUSTICE! IN! YOUR! FACE!...you'll think twice about dissing on dudes with a little bit of balls when it comes to fashion.


Ok, so the scarf is lame. Let's move on to...


Aren't you glad he had a skateboard, middle aged civilian lady in danger? I bet he probably pulled a Five-Oh with a late 360 kickflip off panel before he landed!

"Hey, who's that guy that looks all fucked up from Night Thrashers blinding smoke capsule?" Its Terrax! "What?! Terrax?!?! You mean that guy who tangles with the likes of Silver Surfer and Firelord?!?" Yes, the very same one. He even pulled an indy grab on this one! Hella sick! Not only does he have skills, but he ain't afraid of shit. This guy could have been pro had his parents not been violently killed, forcing him to engage a life of vigilance.

Ok, so blinding Terrax isn't really gonna shit. He gets points for trying though.

"But what about combat? What use does this skateboard have besides getting you to and fro?" Good question.

Snikt! It turns into a god damn blade!

That's Mad Thinker's head flying off, probably thinking "Shit! How come nobody told me this punk kid had a skateboard with a blade on it??"

Pwned!!! Or should I say...PUNWNED!!!

(Ok, that was cheesy. Sorry.)

And what else does this little Night Thrasher have up his sleeve besides a skateboard of action, you're wondering? You just read Frank Castle's mind.

Click the picture to enlarge and what do we see? Garrote wire! Cayenne Pepper Spray! Plastique Explosives(3)! Magnesium Flares! 8 inch titanium blade! Sour jacks! Infra-red sighting! Computer Terminal! Belt Pack Assembly with secret compartment that defies Punisher's computers ability to figure out!

That's a fucking Uzi in that secret compartment, stupid Punisher computer!

Did I mention that he started the New Warriors pretty much by bullying everybody into joining? Because he did.

So Mr. David Campbell, I urge you to think twice next you try to snark on the New Warriors(Bagley era only. The rest of the shit is up for grabs.) unless you want to face the wrath. Because in all honesty, that Night Thrasher suit probably cost a total of $800 bucks at Sears and I've been saving up.

(Actually, I'm just kidding. Dave's site is hilarious and his skateboard/superhero post is no exception. I'm just having a laugh while posting fondly about my favorite comic book when I was 12. Keep up the good work, Dave.)

Saturday, October 08, 2005

Better late than never

Yeah, yeah, I know its so five minutes ago, but I had to once I came across this picture in an old Time-Life book that I got from the Salvation Army. Blame Earth-2 Leigh, he made me do it.

His is still better.

Friday, October 07, 2005

Broken Social Scene Self-Titled

I am so in love with this band right now. This Toronto menagrie of musicians successfully knocked Pinback out of their 3 1/2 year championship spot of "My Favorite Band" and have reigned supreme for a little over 6 months and still counting. 'Who or What Is Broken Social Scene' you ask? I think its time you learned.

They are avant-garde. They are a whirlwind tornado of artsy fartsy new hotness, that if thrown into a cockfight ring with Pretentious Revival Rock, they would win everytime. They are accoustic malady coupled with orchestratic rock with only a track # to separate the two. They are the riff jam kings and queens. They make banjos sound like rain drops that are running from a rainbow of percussion and noise. They are the soundtrack for both a quiet drive off into the sunset with friends and day spent inside with curtains closed to happiness and hope. They are two guitars, a bass, and drums making with the mid tempo rock. They are electronic synthesizers and ambient sounds bringing the background music. They are a piano and a voice reminding you of times better for some, worse for most.

They are fucking Airwolf.

This new album is exactly what I wanted to hear.

What you have is a collection of songs, each full of personality and character that stand on their own. "Our Faces Split The Coast In Half" starts the album out slowly with a bit of guitar strumming that quickly launches into a full on jam with horn section galore. Vocals drop in and you're off. "7/4 (Shoreline)" is another summer song much like "Pacific Theme" on You Forget It In People, but this time with a good dose of female vocals to lead you through. Another good song, "Fire Eye'd Boy", drives along with guitars leading the way while the snare pops and the high hat hisses into a tam consumed bridge of drummy kick ass-ness. There is straight forward rock standing right next to ambient noise. Its a very interesting collective of sound here which just might up end The Arcade Fire as the rulers of Art Rock Extravaganza.

Vocally this cd strays from You Forgot It In People as a good portion of the songs have layered male vocals that give away quite frequently to Emily Haines(or Leslie Feist, the linear notes don't really say) singing by herself right when the sing really pick up. A solid departure from what came before, where the songs were either male or female dominated without much of the mix of the two.

The key word here is "variety." There's alot here.

And to top all that off, you get a seven song EP that has a few remixes and a some new little electronic-induced bits that would fit perfect on Feel Good Lost. You really should buy this. Give it a listen or two and you'll see. Buy You Forgot It In People, too. If you like good tunes, you will thank me.

Now if only November 17th could come any sooner, I could be seeing this band live already...

Thursday, October 06, 2005

10/5/2005 Reviews

I kind of want to start this blog off a little easy. Give you sometime to sit and think about it before I blow your mind. So what's easy?

Reviews! Yay!

Unfortunately(or fortunately, you tell me) it might be short because I have recently cut down my pull list to 5 monthly titles with an assortment of bi-monthly, tri-monthly, almost quarterly, and god-awful-waiting-for-the-next-issue-of-a-comic-I-probably-don't-really-like-but-the-fanboy-in-me-just-won't-let-it-go-almost-quarterly-but-closer-to-bi-annually.

Basically I'm going to trades on most stuff, which gives me an opportunity to pick up all those books that I couldn't afford because I had 483194723983 floppies to buy that week.

The snazzy trade of the week?

The Push Man & Other Stories by Yoshihiro Tatsumi. I have absolutely no idea what to expect from this, but I'm hoping its gonna be just as great at Karasik and Mazucchelli's City Of Glass. That will have to wait for now, as I'm currently making my way through the 4th Sandman trade.

What I did read is..

Bart Simpson's Treehouse of Horror # 11

I decided on being adventurous with this one. And when I saw the spiffy Swamp Thing spoof story by none other than LEN FUCKIN' WEIN AND BERNIE DANG WRIGHTSON, I bought it.

Now, I've never ever purchased a Simpson's comic, because well...there's the TV show, right? And the comic seems like a bastard son to the TV show, which I don't even really watch anymore. However, there are people who make comments about how good the Simpson's comic is, especially at the little knocks they make at comic books in general. So why hell not.

Reading this Simpsons comic is a little weird. When you read it you just hear the voice actors in your head. And the shift in quality from the different artists just makes you think you're watching stuff from earlier seasons. Check it out:

Last sunday night

Season Two DVD

Look how goofy and amateurish Kount Krustofski looks. That's only amateurish in the context of TV show. Not necessarily bad, but certainly not as polished as what you would see on TV nowadays. The exception, is the two stories by Len Wein and Bernie Wrightson, and Marv Wolfman and Gene Colan, who definitely add a very stylized look to both of their stories.

All in all, I'm not a big fan of Halloween themed comics, I guess. Or Simpson's comics. It was an ok read, but nothing great beyond a small chuckle or two. I think I'll pass next time.

Gotham Central # 36

This is one of the few comics that I still pull. Its a fairly new discovery for me and I love the shit out of it. I have this things about super hero comics that focus on non-super hero aspects of the super hero world. Or super hero comics that take themselves seriously. And not serious in the sense that grittier = serious. Serious as in they deal with real life problems. Super hero dramas, I guess.

Living in the 20th century utopia created by omnipotent super heroes and the problems that this "perfect world" creates, in MiracleMan Golden Age: Good stuff. Daredevil's identity being revealed in a tabloid newspaper(OMG, Spoilers!): Good stuff. The Sandman story with the female Metamorpho in which her powers are more of a curse than something that would be used to fight evildoers: More good stuff, and that was only one issue. (A hell of lot better than that Midsummer's Night Dream thespian drama club wack off shit. Sorry, but I did not see why it won that Fantasy Award.)

You get the point.

Gotham Central is about cops and what their life is like living under the shadow of the Bat in Gotham City. And its more good stuff. This issue, we have the big wrap up of the current story arc: Who's been killing kids dressed up like Robin? Is it Batman?! Well, the cover has Batman in a classic pose with the words "Wanted For Murder" below it. Holy hell, I think its Batman! Figures, because he's a prick! Probably kidnapped a bunch of random kids, dressed them up, then pushed them off really tall buildings and stuff, just to show that uppity sidekick what could happen to him if he doesn't cut that obnoxious 'tude. See!? What a dick!!!

Actually, its a really bad cover. Let's look at it again:

Yeah, that's lame. Maybe a picture of Batman in some dead end alley with headlights on him, hiding behind his cape, ready to shot a Bat-Grappling Gun up to unknown gothic statue off panel while police look on. Or even better: have some people eating at a cafe, with one person pointing to the sky with their fork where you can see Batman swinging between buildings, saying "Isn't that the Batman?" while the other person replies with "Yes. Isn't he WANTED FOR MURDER?!?!" with that last part in some super actiony intense looking speech balloon. That would have been good. This cover just looks like sub par Batman. Sorry Ryan, but after thinking about it, I disagree with your observation that this cover is awesome.

Which brings me to the next item up on the list of Things That DC Should Have Done To Make Their Only Good Book Even Better: Don't show Batman working the Bat-Interrogation on the Bad Guy. Should have just kept it on the police who were observing, with all the commotion coming from off panel being heard. Maybe make one of the cops a bit freaked out to show that they're not comfortable with the idea of the Goddamn Batman doing his thing. And have another cop totally picking their nose, as if, meh, its just the Goddamn Batman....whatevs. But no.

And last but not least, the big reveal of the actual killer? Lame. I like the motivation behind him, but not the execution. Its been done before and we all know where you ripped it off from. Way to go, Ru and Bru.

All in all, I would have to say that this was probably the only story arc of GCPD that ended not so good. Not horrendously bad, but nothing like all the other stuff that's come before. Can this be the beginning of the end?

Well, next month we have a Day! Of! Judgement! Tie! In! which should be interesting as it deals with Spectre fighting Shazam while all the GCPD are running around like little sissy la las. I think. I'm not really sure.

Marvel Monsters: Devil Dinosaur # 1

Only one word can describe this comic:

Go buy it. 'Nuff Said.

PS : Don't get too mad when you realize the Hulk reprint story that they allude to on the cover is not the Hulk story you think is.

Nerd Cave ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! !

My comic shop is the best. They're well stocked, clean, girlfriend and kid friendly, and all around awesome guys. They do great things like put your comics aside, give you a free trade for every ten that you buy, recommend good stuff that you may not of thought of reading, and have signings by pros such as Marc Waid, Geoff Johns, and Steve Niles on an almost monthly basis. They'll even insult you and what you buy, but in that "Thanks for being our customer" kind of way. If you're ever in Van Nuys, CA, stop by and check them out:

Earth 2 Comics

However, if you're ever in say......Oxnard, CA and.....you're hankering for some comics.....keep driving and go to Ralph's Comic Corner in Ventura which is only a few miles down the road and oh so much better than.....Michael's Comic Book Shop.

Bored at work, my friend Tony and I decided to drive down the street and visit this comic shop deep in the 'Nard. That's what we call Oxnard 'round here. After getting us lost, Tony finally had us arrive safely only after a verbal berating from yours truly. As we pulled up, there was a weird sense of tension and anticipation in the air. Much like many great explorers that came before us, we were eager to see what hidden treasures possibly lied behind that glass door. As Short Round landed the Honda Civic upon foreign soil, I(I'm playing Indy on this one) stepped out and surveyed the store front with the same caution and courage one would display when gazing upon the Amazonian entrance to what was to be uncertain doom...

Tony: Here it is.
Spencer: This place is fucking ghetto.
Tony: Yeah. Right next to an army navy store, too.
Spencer: Sweet. We can stock up on camoflauge while we're here.
Tony: Let's go inside.

Michael's Comic Book Shop? Stuck in 1996. And it was more of a baseball card and crap shop, really. The comics were ugly things that were hidden in the back. They had all the new stuff, but not as plentiful as you would expect, which was either laid out on a table or on some crappy racks. On the wall, you could see a Rogue's Gallery of comics with hologram covers marked up to $20 with post it notes on them that said "50% off." Imagine the excitement of comic book fans as they finally track down an affordable copy of Cyblade # 1 for only ten bucks. How do they stay in business?!

In a secret hallway slash comic rack section(I say secret because it was like this side thing that was a bit hidden from the rest of the store) they had what was a comic book rack that was exactly like you would have seen them back in '96! Hellina? Check! Nicienza and Robertson's New Warriors? Check! Babe Version Cover Of Crappy Extreme Studios Liefeld Comics? Triple Check!!! It was both ugly and beautiful to behold at once.

Now, the good part? They had a good selection of Graphical Novels. Not Trade Paperbacks, GRAPHIC NOVELS. You know, comics that were made just for the format, like the Scorpio Connection Hardback. They also had a good selection of Prestige Format mini-series like Chaykin's Blackhawk, Nick Fury VS. Shield and a bunch of Punisher stuff. Not the best stuff out there, but things that are definitely on my radar of books I need to read. Got me the Arthur Adam's Longshot trade.

And the dollar bins, they weren't your usual treasure hunting type of dollar bins. No, they had a lot newer, cooler stuff in there, such as the Jack Staff # 1-3, Losers # 2-9, and Intimiates # 1-3, all which I purchased. Again, not books that I was immediately turned on to, but something that I would probably check out one of these days. I also saw the first 4 issues of Batman: Dark Victory, which made Ryan shit himself at practice the other night.

The total price for all this stuff? 20 bucks.

So yeah. Nerd Caves. The kind of places that make you say "If only I was in charge around here..." Go explore one today and plunder that shit.

Because Michael Lark is awesome

New Daredevil goodness. Its the Bendis Board, but still. Just click it.

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

I can't believe I'm doing this...

Well, dang.

This is the place where everyone falls in love with the sound of my own voice. I'm gonna say things that are uber witty and deserve to be quoted in magazines.

I'm going to blog my way to the top.

Girls will want sex with me based upon the dashing debonair of my bloginess, but to these offers of sex I say "Nay" for I have another to call my own.

Joe Quesada and Dan Didio will hire legions of computer based hackers to break down the firewall of fury of my computer processing unit, passing up Porno clips and Pinback tracks to procure the scores of notepad files that have titles like "What I would do if they made me Jim Shooter.txt", "The essence of Superman in 3 panels, tops.txt", and "Spider-man: What I would do right.txt" to line their fat pockets with my creative fan boy genius.

The Rock 'n Roll Hall Of Fame will build statues in my band's likeness, exemplifying the radical nature of our rock out abilities, only to have Stallone, the Bruce Willis, and Ahnold become outraged and tear up three city blocks in thunder and chaos when we flake out because we were over in Japan collobrating with Envy and Avail on a 3 10 inch vinyl record(with etched B-sides on all three records!).

National Leaders will hold interational peace conferences on how to do deal with my inevitable death and the subsequent fall out of mourn and agony that will result in 7 years of rioting, obscene profanity, lewds of sexual conduct, and a general breakdown in social morality.

Porn shops will stock glass, rubber, and vinyl sex objects fashioned after various different parts of my sexual being.

Buffets consisting of vegetarian hot dogs, veggie chicken wraps from Garden Wok, and Cereal will be held at the Opening Night of my movie "Well, dang!" with celebrities like Dane Cook, Charlize Theron, Samuel L. Jackson, Grant Morrison, and the re-animated corpse of Akira Kurosawa in attendance.

Jesus Christ will fast forward the second coming by 392 years just so he will have a chance to hang out with me and take pictures with me and my mother.

The United States government will successfuly spearhead a shady super-secret program combining technology recovered from the Roswell crash site and Kung Fu to create an army of Mega-Humans to strike me down while I'm stuck in an Austin Airport waiting for my connecting flight to Boston to attend my very own panel at Spencer Carn-A-Con on April 9th of 2012.

Pushing the science a hundred years into the future, I will create a cybernetic chasis that will replace 99.7 percent of my body with an assortment of laser shooting appendages, near indestructible skin, infa-red vision, and a Starbucks coffee maker, giving hope to the disabled the world over when I hand these advanced methods over to the UN to proliferate.

Also, I'll be talking about all kinds of dumb stuff that I think I know more about than say, the experts on said subject.

Can I get an 'Of Course, yeah!'?