Wednesday, December 29, 2004

This will probably be my last chance to post before the end of the year. I've finished a couple more books since my last post, but I'll save them for now. (I will mention that I've read over 600 books in 2004.)

Anyway, on to movies. (I'm so far behind that some of the movies I saw in the theater are now available on DVD.)
  • Mystery Science Theatre 3000: The Beginning of the End (Borrowed from Teena.)
  • Roman Holiday (Borrowed from the library.)
  • Collateral Saw with Teena.
  • Ju-On: The Grudge Very scary. Also good at showing you things the characters don't notice or only catch out of the corner of their eyes. I think this was much better than the American remake with Sarah Michelle Gellar, but that may be because I saw this first & knew what was coming. I should rent this & watch it again to see if I think it's still as creepy.
  • Babylon 5, The First Season: Signs & Portents This isn't as good as I remember it being when it was first on. However, it does an excellent job of setting up things for later seasons (which I think will hold up better).
  • Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind Saw with Teena. Although I had a few problems with the premise (there's now way a process like that would get FDA [or whatever] approval), this was really good. It was a reminder of how good an actor Jim Carrey can be. The plot reminded me of something from a Philip K. Dick story, so that's good.
  • Rocky & Bullwinkle & Friends, The Complete First Season Terrible animation, but wonderful cartoons. Excellent writing, with stuff for both kids & adults.
  • Garden State Saw with Teena. Excellent. Who knew Natalie Portman could actually act? (It's not like Lucas has given her much to work with.)
  • Samurai Jack, season 1 Gift from Teena. One of the best of Cartoon Network's original programs. Kick-ass action.
  • MST4K: Rocket-Ship X-M (Teena.)
  • Jaws Believe it or not, I had never seen this movie before. From cultural osmosis (not to mention the Mad magazine parody), I had picked up the plot & new about most of the startling scenes beforehand, but still a very good movie. What happened to Spielberg?
  • South Park, season 1 Watched with the audio commentary on CD (& which is only available if the DVDs are purchased directly from Comedy Central).
  • The Ring: The Final Chapter This is a Japanese TV series (13 episodes) that says it's a sequel to the Ringu movies, but it feels more like a variation on a theme than a sequel. All in all, not terribly scary.
  • MST3K: Fire Maidens of Outer Space (Borrowed from Teena.)
  • Classic Commercials Old commercials are amazing cultural artifacts. The 70's public service announcement "VD is for everybody" has to be seen to be believed.
  • MST3K: The Human Duplicators (Borrowed from Teena.)
  • Farscape, season 2 Damn the Sci-Fi channel for cancelling this show. Probably the best SF on TV in a long time. (Library.)
  • The Anniversary Party
  • Lou Reed: Transformer
  • Waking Life
  • MST3K: Zombie Nightmare (Borrowed from Teena.)
  • The Last Wave Seen as part of the 2004 H.P. Lovecraft Film Festival
  • The Resurrected Another selection of the HPLFF
  • The Crimson Cult 60's adaptation of an HPL story.
  • At the HPLFF I also saw a selection of shorts, including an adaptation of "Dreams in the Witch House" which has to be the most incompetently made movie I've ever seen. Nobody seems to have told the editor that you can cut out long seconds of dead air at the beginning & end of scenes. The performers seem to have had acting described to them but never actually seen it done before they tried it. The ferret playing Brown Jenkin was entirely too cute to be believable as a horrible witch's familiar. For some reason, the witch was made up to look just like the Wicked Witch of the West from The Wizard of Oz. And they did an excellent job on her make-up. The entire movie is terrible (in an entertaining way), but they did an amazing job making that woman green.

Well, I'm still not caught up on movies, but the library is about to close. If I can, I'll update again before the end of the year.

Thursday, December 23, 2004

Not caught up yet.
  • A Series of Unfortunate Events, Book the Eleventh: The Grim Grotto by Lemony Snicket. Only two more books to go after this one. (Checked out of the library.)
  • X-Statix, vol. 3: Back from the Dead by Peter Milligan & Mike Allred. Somebody high up at Marvel decreed that this comic would do a storyline about Princess Di returning from the grave & joining this team. Wiser heads (or protests) prevailed, and instead, the character is a pop singer from "Europa."
  • Robin: Unmasked! by Bill Willingham, F.R. de la Fuente, & Rick Mays.
  • Global Frequency, vol. 2: Detonation Radio by Warren Ellis et al. The second volume collecting a series about a worldwide organization dedicated to handling crises that local agencies are not equipped to deal with. This almost became a television series, but the deal didn't come through.
  • The Essential Tomb of Dracula, vol. 2 by Marv Wolfman, Gene Colan, et al. More great horror comics from the mid-70's.
  • Godzilla: Age of Monsters by various.
  • Life on the Border edited by Terri Windling. An anthology set in the shared world of "Bordertown." Man, if the cheapest copy of this is going for over $30, maybe I should put mine up for sale. Hell, I got it of eBay for something like $5.
  • Bad World by Warren Ellis and Jacen Burrows. An essay by Ellis about people with very odd world-views.
  • The Willowdale Handcar: or The Return of the Black Doll by Edward Gorey. (Library.)
  • The Silk Tapestry and Other Chinese Folktales: Songs of Our Ancestors, vol. 2 by Patrick Atangan. (Library.)
  • Fantastic Four, vol. 5: Disassembled by Mark Waid, Karl Kesel, Paco Medina, & Mike Wieringo.
  • Batman: As the Crow Flies by Judd Winick & Dustin Nguyen. (Library.)
  • A Few Perfect Hours... and Other Stories from Southeast Asia & Central Europe by Josh Neufeld. This is the kind of thing I think more people should be doing: a travel book done in graphic novel form.
  • Strange Killings by Warren Ellis & Mike Wolfer.
  • The Pulse, vol. 1: In Thin Air by Brian Michael Bendis & Mark Bagley. This series picks up where Alias left off. Private investigator (and former super hero) Jessica Jones has been hired by The Daily Bugle to be a consultant on a new supplement to the paper.
  • Hard Time: 50 to Life by Steve Gerber & Brian Hurtt. Gerber is at his best when he's doing broad social satire, as he did with Howard the Duck in the 70's (trust me, it's a LOT better than the movie). Unfortunately, there's not much of that in this book. It's okay, but the story isn't helped by mediocre artwork. And the artwork isn't helped by the coloring. Everything is done with a limited palatte that just makes things look muddy. It's just ugly. And while a book about life in prison shouldn't be pretty, I don't think I'll be picking up any further collections of this series.
  • Dark Blue by Warren Ellis & Jacen Burrows.
  • Bad Signal by Warren Ellis & Jacen Burrows.
  • Wonder Woman, vol. 2: Challenge of the Gods by George Perez with Len Wein.
  • Batman: Strange Apparitions by Steve Englehart & Marshall Rogers.
  • Hicksville by Dylan Horrocks. This amazing graphic novel is about the history of comics (both real & imagined) by somebody who clearly loves all forms of comics, from the smallest print run minicomic to the biggest superheroes. Wonderful stuff, wonderfully told. (Library.)
  • American Splendor: Our Movie Year by Harvey Pekar et al. Picking this up reminded me of what an excellent movie American Splendor is. But I have to say that this collection of stories from various places does get a little repetetive. It may not have been the best idea to put all of Pekar's stories about the movie in one volume, since he has to explain just what's going on each time. Or at least they could have broken them up with some of his record reviews that appear later in the book.
  • Oustiders, vol. 2: Sum of All Evil by Judd Winick, Tom Raney, et al. One of the characters in this comic is beginning to look and act like Morph from Winick's series Exiles, which is fine with me, because I really liked that character.
  • What's New with Phil & Dixie, vol. 2: Sex ad Gamers...No, Really by Phil Foglio. A collection of strips Foglio did for Dragon magazine in the mid-80's.
  • What's New with Phil & Dixie, vol. 3: The Magic Years by Phil Foglio. When collectible card games hit big, Foglio revived his strip. Unlike the previous collection, which I think could be enjoyed by non-gamers, I think this one requires at least a passing familiarity with "Magic: the Gathering."
  • Creatures of the Night by Neil Gaiman & Michael Zulli. Adaptations of a couple of Gaiman's short stories. Not yet listed at Amazon.
  • The Matrix Comics, vol. 2 by various.

And now I'm caught up.

With books anyway. I was behind on movies & DVDs before I started working at ACT. At least there are fewer of them than books.

Wednesday, December 22, 2004

More books.

Tuesday, December 14, 2004

Continuing with books read in November.
  • Even More Fund Comics by various. A benefit book for the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund.
  • Crypto Zoo: The Collected Rare Bit Fiends, vol. 3 by Rick Veitch. Dream diaries in comic form.
  • Slaine by Ian Sturrock. This is a role-playing book, adapting the setting from the "Slaine" comics from 2000 AD.
  • Jack Staff, vol. 2: Soldiers by Paul Grist. A rather British take on superheroes. I really enjoy Grist's work.
  • The Archer Foundation by Scott Gearin & Patrick Kapera. Yet another role-playing book that will get sold to Powell's.
  • Mister X, The Definitive Collection, vol. 1 by Los Bros. Hernandez, Dean Motter, et al. A nicely designed collection of one of the best designed comics of the 80's. If only it weren't missing some pages; they just seem to have been left out when they put this reprint volume together. But I guess I shouldn't be surprised; this comic always was more about the look of things than about story.
  • Don't Call Me Stupid! by Steven Weissman. (Checked out of the library.)
  • Human Target, vol. 2: Living in Amerika by Peter Milligan & Cliff Chiang.
  • Expo 2001 by various. Another benefit for the CBLDF.
  • Hand of Glory by various. A sourcebook for the Shadowforce Archer setting for the Spycraft role-playing game.
  • Bluebeard by James Robinson & Phil Elliot.
  • Michael Chabon Presents The Amazing Adventures of the Escapist by various. In his novel The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay, the title characters created The Escapist, & now there are actual comics featuring him. This book collects two issues of a quarterly comic. Unfortunately, this collection came out less than a month after the second issue. I found myself wondering why I was spending the money on the individual issues when there was such a short wait for the collection. So I stopped getting the quarterly. However, I also seem to have stopped buying the collections. The second collection has been out for several weeks, and I haven't picked it up yet.
  • On the Road to Perdition: Detour by Max Allan Collins & Jose Luis Garcia Lopez. This is the third of Collins' sequels to the graphic novel that became the Tom Hanks movie. (Technically they're not sequels, since they're set during the time that's covered in the first story.)
  • Delta Green: The Rules of Engagement by John Tynes. Probably the best novel I've read that uses a role-playing setting. DG does an excellent job of updating H.P. Lovecraft's stories to the modern day.
  • Wounded Man, vol. 1: The White Haired Demon by Kazuo Koike & Ryoichi Ikegami. Manga.
  • Y: The Last Man, vo. 4: Safeword by Brian K. Vaughan, Pia Guerra, & Doran Parlow. The latest collection of the comic about a world in which every male on the planet (except one) has died.
  • Edge by various.
  • Lords & Ladies by Terry Prachett. This is one of my favorite Discworld novels, probably because Pratchett gets faeries right in it.

That's enough for now. At this point I'm less than a month behind. Looks like I'll get caught up before the end of the year.

Monday, December 13, 2004

Starting books read in November:
  • Way of the Ninja by various. Another role-playing book.
  • Fables, vol. 4: March of the Wooden Soldiers by Bill Willingham, Mark Buckingham, & P. Craig Russell. The latest collection of Willingham's update on all sorts of fairy tales. Because this series seems quite popular, and it looks like Vertigo will continue to publish collections, I have stopped buying the individual issues. From here on out, I'm just waiting for the book. It's tempting when I see a new issue in the store, but it's simply a matter of economics.
  • The Walking Dead, vol. 1: Days Gone Bye by Robert Kirkman & Tony Moore. A pretty good zombie comic. My only major complaint is that the opening is remarkably like that of 28 Days Later. (Checked out of the library.)
  • Captain America, vol. 3: Ice by Chuck Austen, John Ney Rieber & Jae Lee. (Library.)
  • Creatures of Rokugan by various. Yet another role-playing book that is destined to be sold at Powell's.
  • Love Hina, vol. 1 by Ken Akamatsu. Manga. (Library.)
  • Runaways, vol. 1: Pride and Joy by Brian K. Vaughan & Adrain Alphona. The story of what 6 teenagers do when they discover that their parents are super-villains. Entertaining.
  • Girl Genius, book 2: Agatha Heterodyne & the Airship City by Phil & Kaja Foglio. Another collection of this wonderful series. I greatly enjoy the steampunk genre, and when it is handled as well as it is here, it's easy to see why. The Foglios have clearly put a lot of thought into how this world works, and it comes out in the comics. Things aren't thrown in simply because they're a neat idea; they hint at characters' pasts or highlight the differences between Agatha's Europe and our own. The fact that they're also neat ideas is simply a bonus.
  • Negima, vol. 3 by Ken Akamatsu. More manga.
  • Sandman Mystery Theatre, vol. 2: The Face & The Brute by Matt Wagner, John Watkiss & R.G. Taylor. This is another series where Vertigo has finally started collecting more than the first storyline. This is the Golden Age Sandman, nothing at all about the embodiment of dreams or the rest of the Endless, just a man in a trench coat & gas mask who investigates crimes.

Okay, that's it for now. More later.

Friday, December 10, 2004

Still catching up.

Okay, that takes me through the end of October, so that's a nice cut-off point for now. With any luck, I'll be caught up by the end of the year.

Thursday, December 02, 2004

If I wait until I write about ACT, I'm never going to get caught up on the book list, so here we go. (Descriptions may be a little short because I'm so far behind that I don't want to get too bogged down. Also, I may not remember much on some of these.)

  • Just a Pilgrim by Garth Ennis & Carlos Ezquerra.
  • Manhattan Beach 1957 by Yves H. & Hermann. (Checked out of the library.)
  • Three Days in Europe by Anthony Johnston & Mike Hawthorne. (Library.)
  • Crossfire, vol. 1: Hollywood Hero by Mark Evanier & Dan Spiegle. This comic was a spin-off of DNAgents, but I like it a lot better. That's because it's not so much about superheroics as it is about Hollywood. In fact, my favorite part of this comics (which unfortunately isn't getting reprinted) were essays Evanier wrote about his experiences working in the entertainment industry.
  • The Doom Patrol, vol. 2: The Painting that Ate Paris by Grant Morrison & Richard Case. I am thrilled that DC is finally reprinting the rest of Morrison's run on Doom Patrol. This was one of the funnest (and strangest) comics ever. How can you not love a comic where the bad-guy group is called The Brotherhood of Dada (and who includes The Quiz, who has every superpower you haven't thought of)? Plus, this collection contains the issue with the fight between two disembodied brains.
  • Green Arrow: The Archer's Quest by Brad Meltzer & Phil Hester. (Library.)
  • Summerland by Michael Chabon. Man, I love this book. I would have enjoyed it even more if it had been written when I was 10. A very nearly perfect children's book. Plus, it contains a journey across mythic America that goes from west to east. And as somebody who has lived on the Left Coast my entire life, it is wonderful to see the west not depicted as unexplored wilderness.
  • American Gods by Neil Gaiman. Rereading one book about myths and America made me want to reread another.
  • Hi-Horse Omnibus, vol. 1 by various. (Library.)
  • Mr. Monster: Worlds War II by Michael T. Gilbert.
  • Godwalker by Greg Stolze. This is a privately published, limited edition (200 copies) novel by Stolze, set in the world of the Unknown Armies role-playing game. Good, but the prose struck me as a little flat. But that's probably because I'd recently read books by Chabon & Gaiman (not to mention Faulkner a little before that).
  • Superman: Return to Krypton by various. (Library.)
  • Batman: Death and the Maidens by Greg Rucka & Klaus Janson. (Library.)

Well, now I'm only 2 months behind on keeping this list updated. That's enough for now.

Wednesday, December 01, 2004

Still not quite ready to write about ACT, but I've done a new mix CD, so here's the track list:

Happy Winter Holiday

Wednesday, November 03, 2004

So the reason I haven't updated in over a month is because I had been busy with my canvassing job. I intend to write about my experience working with ACT (although we saw just how my intention to write about the trip to Vegas panned out), but today I need to vent.

Just what the fuck is wrong with the people in this country? Bush actually WON this time. He's making noises about working with the Democrats, but he did so much of that in his first term, when he didn't win the popular vote that I'm sure he'll go out of his way to accommodate people who don't think exactly as he does this time around. (Of course, it would help if Congressional Democrats had at least a single vertebrae between them.)

Was it the bin Laden video? Do Bush & Co. have everybody so fucking scared that they don't realize that the video is an indication that we haven't caught him yet?

It looks like the pollsters were right to not consider young voters, who, despite massive get-out-the-vote-campaigns, didn't vote in any higher numbers than they have in the past. Morons.

My thoughts aren't coherent enough to go on, but I may post more later.

Tuesday, September 28, 2004

Back to catch-up on books.

  • Old Goriot by Honore de Balzac. I last read this in college and reread it for The Usual Suspects book club, but there hasn't been a lot of discussion about it. (Possibly we're all burnt out from the Faulkner.) (Checked out of the library.)
  • Silly Daddy by Joe Chiapetta. (Library.)
  • Runaways, vol. 2: Teenage Wasteland by Brian K. Vaughan, Adrian Alphona & Takeshi Miyazawa. I quite enjoy Vaughan's series Y: The Last Man and decided it was time to start looking at his other work.
  • Dead Memory by Marc-Antoine Mathieu. (Library.)
  • Captain Marvel, vol. 4: Odyssey by Peter David, Aaron Lopresti, Pat Quinn, & Keith Giffen. I enjoyed this comic & would have liked to have seen where David would have gone with it, but apparently sales weren't good enough to continue publishing it (although they were good enough to collect the final storyline).
  • Mister Blank: Exhaustive Collection by Chris Hicks.
  • I Don't Love You!: The Best of Migraine Boy by Greg Fiering. (Library.)
  • Video Girl Ai, vol. 1: Preproduction by Masakazu Katsura. More manga. (Library.)
  • The Essential Starchild, Book 1 by James Owen.
  • The Remarkable Worlds of Professor Phineas B. Fuddle by Boaz Yakin & Erez Yakin. A rather fun steampunkish type adventure, but the art really didn't work for me. The pages are very busy, with lots of details, and the whole thing feels very flat. There's nothing that draws your eyes to what's important on the page, so you have to look around, figuring out what you should be paying attention to. In part I blame the colorist (Angus McKee), because there's no shading; it's all flat, and because pretty much all the colors are the same darkness. There isn't really anything to distinguish the foregrounds from the backgrounds, and it all blends together. This is odd, because McKee has done some wonderful color work in the past.
  • Batman: Broken City by Brian Azzarello & Eduardo Risso. (Library.)
  • American Elf: James Kochalka's Collected Sketchbook Diaries. Every day, Kochalka draws a cartoon (usually 4 panels) about some aspect of his day. The book collects 5 years' worth of these cartoons. When I've read Kochalka's work in the past, it never really grabbed me (although I did like it enough to keep checking his books out of the library), but I really enjoyed this. Each individual cartoon isn't much, but the accumulation of them works very well. As you read, you slowly build up a sense of what Kochalka and his life are like. Very good. (Library.)

Still not caught up, but I'm getting there.
I guess I should talk a bit about how my first day at the canvassing job went.

I was very nervous about going door to door & talking to people. That feeling was compounded somewhat by my awareness of just how much older I am than the vast majority of the other people doing this job. The guy who trained me is only 19; I'm nearly twice his age.

So for the first part I watched him work, then I was supposed to do the talking while he watched. But not once did he let me finish the spiel. Every single time I talked to somebody while he was there, he stepped in & took over. This made me feel like I was doing a horrible job & that my first day would be my last. However, once I started working on my own & was able to actually talk to people (even if I was a little hesitant), I started gaining some more confidence. Talking to some people back at the office helped too. I think I'll get the hang of this.

Oh yes, I nearly forgot to mention just how old the job makes me feel. I'm not the oldest person working there, but the vast majority of the other canvassers are quite young & full of fire & idealism. It makes me feel ancient.
It's been a while since I did posted the results of an online quiz.

The Moon Card
You are the Moon card. Entering the Moon we enter
the intuitive and psychic realms. This is the
stuff dreams are made on. And like dreams the
imagery we find here may inspire us or torment
us. Understanding the moon requires looking
within. Our own bodily rhythms are echoed in
this luminary that circles the earth every
month and reflects the sun in its progress.
Listening to those rhythms may produce visions
and lead you towards insight. The Moon is a
force that has legends attached to it. It
carries with it both romance and insanity.
Moonlight reveals itself as an illusion and it
is only those willing to work with the force of
dreams that are able to withstand this
reflective light. Image from: Stevee Postman.

Which Tarot Card Are You?
brought to you by Quizilla

Huh. I never would have picked The Moon for me.

Friday, September 24, 2004

Okay, now that I finally got that out of my system, time to catch up with what else I've been reading.

  • Maison Ikkoku, vol. 5 by Rumiko Takahashi.
  • Maison Ikkoku, vol. 6 by Rumiko Takahashi.
  • Astro Boy, vol. 23 by Osamu Tezuka. The final volume in this series collecting all the Astro Boy stories. (Checked out of the library.)
  • Supreme Power, vol. 1: Contact by J. Michael Straczynski & Gary Frank. The creator of Babylon 5 re-works Marvel Comics' version of the Justice League.
  • Batman: Child of Dreams by Kia Asamiya, adapted by Max Allan Collins. A manga version of Batman. (Library.)
  • The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, vol. 1 by Alan Moore & Kevin O'Neil. I reread this because I finally got around to reading
  • Heroes & Monsters: The Unofficial Guide to The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen by Jess Nevins. Nevins has annotated all the literary references in LoEG. My name appears in the aknowledgements (along with a couple hundred other peope) because I contributed to the annotations when Nevins was first compiling them & putting them up on the Web. (But the one thing I know I contributed to the Web list didn't make it into the book because it wasn't a literary reference, but a suggestion as to what was happening in a slightly confusing point in the book.) Reading this & rereading LoEG made me want to read volume 2, but I'm going to wait for Nevins' companion volume; it should be out next month.
  • Absalom, Absalom! by William Faulkner. The Usual Suspects Faulkner Seminar continues. (Library.)
  • Masters of Luck and Death by various. A sourcebook for the HeroQuest role-playing game.
  • The Rawhide Kid: Slap Leather by Ron Zimmerman and John Severin. I think it was a slow news day when Marvel Comics announced that they were reviving this character from the days when cowboy comics sold, but now he'd be gay, because it got a lot of attention. It sounded to me like a lame attempt to be relevant, but what none of the news stories mentioned was that the whole thing was going to be humorous. This isn't serious at all. There's a school-marm character named Laura Ingulls who is always talking about her Pa and growing up in a small house on the prairie. It's quite funny. Plus, it has art by John Severin, who I like a lot.
  • Exiles, vol. 5: Unnatural Instincts by Chuck Austen & Clayton Henry. Reading this, I learned that I was right to only buy the Exiles collections written by Judd Winick. (Library.)
  • Isaac the Pirate, vol. 1: To Exotic Lands by Christophe Blain. (Library.)
  • Jimmy Olsen Adventures, vol. 1 by Jack Kirby. As a friend said, this book "hurts my brain," but it does so in a good way. Kirby was a visionary, and (despite the efforts of many) nobody else has every captured the essence of his work. Plus, this volume has a story guest-starring Don Rickles! How can you go wrong? (Library.)
  • GURPS Mars by James L. Cambias. Four versions of Mars for role-playing games, from scientifically plausible to extremely pulpy.
  • Halo & Sprocket: Welcome to Humanity by Kerry Callen. (Library.)
  • Captain America: Cap Lives by Dave Gibbons & Lee Weeks. (Library.)
  • Wolverine: Snikt! by Tsutumu Nihei. A manga version of Wolverine. (Library.)
  • The Unspeakable Oath, no. 16/17 by various. Scenarios, resources, etc. for the Call of Cthulhu role-playing game.
  • Trigun, vol. 1: Deep Space Planet Future Gun Action!! by Yasuhiro Mightow. I don't know whether the manga or the anime came first, but whichever did, the other is a pretty faithful adaptation of it. A science fiction western.
  • Who Let the Dogs In?: Incredible Political Animals I Have Known by Molly Ivins. A collection of essays by Ivins from throughout her career, but the emphasis is on her more recent work. (Library.)
  • Birth of a Nation: A Comic Novel by Aaron McGruder, Reginald Hudin, and Kyle Baker. Although this is supposed to be a graphic novel, there are many times it feels more like a heavily illustrated screen play. Anyway, the plot is about the city of East St. Louis seceeding from the US after the events of the 2000 election. (Library.)
  • Rosetta, A Comics Anthology, vol. 2 by various. (Library.)
  • The Complete D.R. & Quinch by Alan Moore & Alan Davis. Silliness.
  • Scary Godmother: Spooktacular Stories by Jill Thompson. This is a collection of several Scary Godmother one-shots. Lots of fun.
  • Smax by Alan Moore & Zander Cannon. This is a spin-off of Moore's Top Ten series, but what that does with superheroes, this does with fantasy tropes. The backgrounds are full of references to fairy tales, fantasy novels, etc.
  • Buzzboy, vol. 2: Monsters, Dreams & Milkshakes! by John Gallagher w/Rich Faber. (Library.)
  • Louis Riel: A Comic-Strip Biography by Chester Brown. More non-fiction comics. (Library.)
  • Dreadstar, vol. 3: Plan M by Jim Starlin.
  • Certified Cool by various. This is an anthology comic that didn't work for me.

Well, I'm still not caught up, but I made some progress. Out of time now. More later.

Tuesday, September 21, 2004

Okay, so I'm finally going to get around to writing down why I didn't like Criminal Macabre (I'm not going to link to it at Amazon again; once was enough).

A while back, I read another book by Niles (scroll down to the entry on 30 Days of Night), and I didn't like that one either. I probably should have learned my lesson from that, but I figured that my dislike of the first book was just me being anal-retentive. Now that I've read more by him, I have concluded that he's a sloppy writer & needs an editor who will call him on it.

First I'll go into the nit-picky thing that bothered me about this book. At one point, it is revealed that a sample of bubonic plague has been stolen from a lab. People are understandably concerned about this, but one of the scientists from the lab tries to calm them down by explaining that this particular strain of the plague hasn't killed anybody since it wiped out a Romanian village sometime in the 14th century. And that's all they say. There isn't even an attempt to explain how they could possibly know that. It would have been simple to stick in some techno-babble excuse, but no. We're left to wonder if a group of medieval epidemiologists found the sample & stored it safely for nearly 700 years or what.

My other major complaint about the book is about how it is structured. It opens with the main character being interrogated by the police. What we see is his recount of the events leading up to his arrest. That's fine; it's a perfectly good (if maybe a little cliched) way of telling a story. The trouble is, after about 16 pages, Niles just drops the format. Until the end of the book (when we finally return to the police holding cell), there are occasional captions of the character explaining things, but there is no sense that he's talking to anybody in particular, much less a hostile cop who would have no reason to believe his story of vampires & ghouls.*

Niles drops the flashback format because he wants a scene where the main character isn't present. There are several of these, but there is never any mention of the main character figuring out or being told what happens in these scenes. So how does he know this stuff? I don't know if Niles just doesn't care or if he doesn't realize that there is a problem.

I like the ideas behind Niles' stories, but he gets careless with the details, and he needs somebody to call him on it when he does.

*Also, this book is a collection of a 5-issue comic series. So for people who bought the individual issues, there is a gap of months between when the story is set up and when it finally comes back around to the present day. And anybody who missed the first issue would have no idea of the situation until they reached the final issue. There should have been reminders that the whole thing was a flashback at the beginning and end of each issue.

Monday, September 20, 2004

Part of the reason I haven't been updating is because I've been depressed over my continuing lack of work. I can't seem to summon the energy to type up a boring list of books.

But now I've got a job! It's for a group dedicated to increasing voter awareness and registration. It doesn't pay very well, and I can't say I'm thrilled about the prospect of going door to door in the rain (it is autumn in western Oregon, after all), and I'd feel happier about it if I didn't get the sense that they're mostly looking for warm bodies. But it is a job.

I can't guarantee that'll mean I update this site more often, but hopefully it'll at least snap me out of my doldrums.

Friday, September 03, 2004

Hey, I'm updating twice in one week!.

Continuing with books read:
  • Never Ending Summer by Allison Cole. The story in this graphic novel isn't bad, per se, but it is something I don't have a whole lot of interest in (at least not unless it's told much better than it is here): an autobiographical story of a woman in her early 20's and her relationship problems. At least, I assume she & her friends are in their early 20's. If it weren't for the fact that they spend a lot of time in bars and there is no mention of fake I.D.s, I'd assume they were all in their late teens. The problem I have with this book is the artwork. I knew I was in trouble when I found the "cast of characters" page, and all 15 or so characters were blobby abstractions of people with very minor differences to distinguish between them. I suspect that Cole can't draw well enough to accurately portray her friends, so she goes for the abstract. To her and her friends, the tiny details that serve to distinguish the characters are probably sufficient for identification. But to the rest of the world, it's not enough. (Not that it matters, since the story is so entirely about Cole that there's no need to identify just who it is she's talking to.) (Checked out of the library.)
  • Doom Patrol: Crawling from the Wreckage by Grant Morrison & Richard Case. DC/Vertigo is finally starting to collect the rest of Morrison's run on Doom Patrol, and I couldn't be happier about that. So I re-read the first collection, since it's been years since I'd last read it. It's just as wonderfully strange as I remember. The opening story, about a fictional world that starts to invade reality, owes a lot to Jorge Luis Borges (specifically to his story "Tlon, Uqbar, Orbis Tertius"), but it's so wonderfully strange that I don't care if it's derivative.
  • Transhuman Space: Deep Beyond by David Pulver. This is a source book for the Transhuman Space role-playing setting: near-future science fiction in which genetic engineering, nanotech, and developments in artificial intelligence have allowed people to start colonizing the solar system. This particular book is about people living in the asteroid belt & further out. Nicely done.
  • R.A. Salvatore's Demon Wars: Trial By Fire by Scott Ciencin & Ron Wagner. I've never read anything by Salvatore, so I don't know if this graphic novel does a good job of capturing the Demon Wars setting. (Library.)
  • Criminal Macabre: A Cal McDonald Mystery by Steve Niles & Ben Templesmith. I really disliked this, and I want to go into loving detail as to why, but I don't have the time right now, so that will have to come later. For now, just let me say that Niles really needs an editor. (Library.)
  • Club Zero-G by Douglas Rushkoff and Steph Dumois. This graphic novel was written by somebody who was highly influenced by Grant Morrison's comic book The Invisibles (although he seems to have missed at least one of the points of that series). Rebels in a totalitarian future use psychic powers to reach back to a guy in their past (i.e. now) in an effort to prevent their grim future from coming about. The guy does this by encouraging people to go to a rave club. Well, the club is actually a psychic construct found in people's dreams, but still. It's got a dumb, cliched ending and the whole thing suffers from an attitude that I've encountered elsewhere. There's a message of "We must fight the forces of conformity!", but at the same time there is the implication that the world would be great if only everybody were just like the author/viewpoint character. Whenever I've encountered this attitude, I get the impression that the person simply doesn't see the contradiction. (Library.)
  • WildC.A.T.s: Homecoming by Alan Moore, et al. A re-read to see if this comic is too insular to be understood by somebody who doesn't already know the characters. I don't think it is.
  • WildC.A.T.s: Gang War by Alan Moore, et al.
  • Spiral by Sakura Mizuki. This is a tangential story to The Ring. It's about the doctors inspecting the bodies of the people who have fallen victim to the cursed videotape.
  • Scars by Warren Ellis & Jacen Burrows. This is the scariest thing I've read by Ellis, and that's because it's done without any fantastic elements at all.
  • One Piece, vol. 4: The Black Cat Pirates by Eiichiro Oda. (Why is it that when I search for manga on Amazon, French & German translations come up before English ones?)
  • Love Hina, vol. 2 by Ken Akamatsu.

Still not caught up, but the library's closing. More next week.

Monday, August 30, 2004

A large part of why I haven't been keeping this site updated is because I've been spending a lot of time playing Kingdom of Loathing, an online game that is very addicting. But I seem to be nearing the end of the adventures created for the game, so it's starting to get a little boring.

Anyway, it might be nice to list books I've read more often than once a month, so here goes.

  • Spider-Man's Tangled Web by various. (I can't find it at Amazon.) Odd-ball Spider-Man stories. (Checked out of the library.)
  • 40 oz. Collected by Jim Mahfood. (Library.)
  • New X-Men, vol. 3 by Grant Morrison, et al. (Man, I wish Amazon's search function worked better with graphic novels. I can't tell if they don't have this particular volume or if I just can't find it. Of course, part of the problem is the way that Marvel names & numbers hardbacks vs. paperbacks. More on that at a later date.) The final year or so of Morrison's run on X-Men. Good stuff.
  • Brokedown Palace by Steven Brust. This is set in the same world as Brust's Taltos novels, but the emphasis is different. This feels a lot like a retold fairy tale. (Borrowed from Teena.)
  • The Forbidden Book: Journeys into the Mystic by various. (Boy, I'm not having much luck finding stuff on Amazon today, am I?) A variety of short stories involving magic. Eh.
  • CMX Preview 2004 by various. (Okay, I'm not surprised Amazon didn't have this one. It's a free sampler of manga titles from CMX.)
  • Mother, Come Home by Paul Hornschemeier. A touching account of a boy & his father trying to cope with the boy's mother's suicide. Very good. (Library.)
  • The Devil's Footprints by Scott Allie, Paul Lee, & Brian Horton. A pretty good horror story. (Library.)
  • Astro Boy, vol. 22 by Osamu Tezuka. (Library.)
  • Strange Kiss by Warren Ellis. I like Ellis's stuff, but sometimes I find it difficult to describe. This is odd, but good.
  • Human Target: Strike Zones by Peter Milligan & Javier Pulido. I enjoy this series, but the explaining the premise would take more time than I feel like right now. Maybe later.
  • Exiles, vol. 4: Legacy by Judd Winick, Jim Calafiore, & Ken Walker. This is the last volume of the Winick-written Exiles that I needed to get. Occasionally I wonder if this series would appeal to somebody who isn't familiar with the Marvel universe & all its intricacies, but the backstory for one of the plotlines in this collection is from a time after I stopped reading X-Men, and I enjoyed it fine.
  • Drawn & Quarterly Showcase, Book 2 by various. (Library.)

And that's where I'm going to stop for now, because the next book I read is one that I didn't like, and I want to talk about just why I didn't like it (along with a couple others that I didn't enjoy), and the PSU library will be closing soon enough that I don't think I can get my rant done in time. I hope to finish updating later in the week.

Friday, August 13, 2004

I created a new mix CD last weekend. This one isn't one of my tarot-themed CD's though. It's covers.

You Still Ain't Heard Nothing Yet

So that's my latest mix.

Thursday, August 12, 2004

Wow, May was the last time I updated the movie list. Since it's been so long, I'll leave out the Amazon links (I'm just too lazy).
Movies, videos, DVDs
  • X-Files, season 1. I didn't start watching the show until sometime after the first season, but reruns have meant that I had seen most of these episodes. But there were still several that were new to me. Good stuff. Man, if only they'd pulled the plug on this show a couple seasons earlier. (Checked out of the library, but I don't know why I just didn't just borrow this from Michael.)
  • Neil Gaiman's Neverwhere. The 6-episode tv series that came before the book. Not the best special effects, but generally well done.
  • Amelie. Teena & I saw this at Pix. Their Tuesday night movies tend to be a lot of fun.
  • Mystery Science Theater 3000: Diabolik. The final MST3K; cheesy Italian caper movie. (Borrowed from Teena.)
  • Mystery Science Theater 3000: Bloodlust. (Teena.)
  • Mystery Science Theater 3000: Rocket Attack USA. (Teena.)
  • Mystery Science Theater 3000: Teenage Caveman. (Teena.)
  • Mystery Science Theater 3000: Viking Women vs. the Sea Serpent. (Teena.)
  • Chappelle's Show, Season One Uncensored. Dave Chappelle is a funny, funny man.
  • The Lion King. Disney does Hamlet.
  • Mystery Science Theater 3000: The Violent Years. (Teena.)
  • The Odd Couple. The movie, not the tv show. (Library.)
  • M*A*S*H, season 1. Watching this made me realize that I'm still burned out on this show. It's very good, but I watched way too much of it when it was syndicated. If they released a "Best of" DVD set, I might get that, but I won't be buying any more seasons.
  • The Sopranos, season 4. (Library.)
  • Mystery Science Theater 3000: Bride of the Monster. (Teena.)
  • Harry Potter & the Prisoner of Azkaban. Teena & I went to see this. Much better than the first two movies; I wish this director were sticking around for the rest of the series. It was nice to see a film directed by somebody who understood that books & film are different media & have different needs.
  • Six String Samurai. Several of us went over to Alex's & watched this post-apocalyptic story. I enjoyed what I saw of it. Unfortunately, thanks to a combination of lack of sleep the night before, anti-histamines, and a single beer, I was nodding off during most of the movie.
  • Godzilla. This is the original Japanese movie, not the American version that added Raymond Burr. Very good movie.
  • Shrek 2. Teena & I saw this together. Very entertaining, but I don't quite see why these two movies are as extraordinarily popular as they are. I enjoy them, but I don't quite get what it is that so many people seem to get out of them.
  • Spider-Man 2. Teena & I went to see this with a couple of friends. (Hi, Harmony & Topher!) Lot's of fun. It is so gratifying to see good superhero movies.
  • Doctor Who: The Dalek Invasion of Earth. Michael had a Doctor Who marathon that Teena & I attended. He tried to show a sampling of the various Doctors. This was the William Hartnell entry.
  • Doctor Who: The Three Doctors.
  • Doctor Who: The Talons of Weng-Chiang. An excellent Tom Baker adventure.
  • Doctor Who: The Curse of Fenric. The more I see of Sylvester McCoy's later episodes, the more I like him. I think he may have overtaken Tom Baker as my favorite Doctor.
  • Northern Exposure, season 1. A nice, quirky little show. But now that I've seen it again, I'm feeling less of a need to own the series. However, I'll be more than happy to borrow DVDs from other people. (Borrowed from my mom.)
  • The Best of Insomniac with Dave Attell, vol. 2. What can I say? Sometimes I like low-brow humor.
  • Robin Williams Live on Broadway. (Borrowed from Mom.)
  • Monty Python's The Life of Brian. This movie was re-released to theaters as a sort of anti-Passion of the Christ, but it took a while for it to get to the Hollywood Theater. It had been years since I'd seen this movie, and this was the first time I'd seen it on the big screen. Very funny. I'd have to say that this is Python's best film. It's one story, not a bunch of sketches strung together.
  • The West Wing, season 1. I don't know why I didn't watch this show from the beginning, but damn it was good right from the start. (Library.)
  • Mystery Science Theater 3000: I Accuse My Parents. (Teena.)
  • The Muppet Movie. Another Pix movie watched with Teena.
  • I, Robot. This is a perfectly fine action movie if you can just ignore the idea that it has anything to do with Asimov's stories. Yeah, there are plot holes, but it's an action movie. Teena & I enjoyed it.
  • Mystery Science Theater 3000: The Magic Sword. (Teena.)
  • Mystery Science Theater 3000: The Gunslinger. (Teena.)
  • Seeing Other People. Pretty funny.
  • The Chronicles of Riddick. This is a bad, bad movie. Don't get me wrong; it is entertaining, but is is simply awful. If you're considering seeing this movie, my best advice is to go in with low expectations and try to disengage your brain. I believe Teena would agree with me.
  • The Bourne Supremacy. Teena & I have been going to quite a few movies together since school got out. This was very good.
  • The Essential Clash. A collection of videos. I like The Clash very much, but these videos aren't all that interesting. They're mostly just shots of the band performing.
  • You Bet Your Life. A game show where the highlight isn't whether or not the contestants won but rather the host talking to the contestants. Groucho Marx was a very funny man.
  • The Jack Benny Show. I have to say this didn't excite me all that much. Jokes that weren't very funny & songs I don't care about. Not my cup of tea. But the Christmas episode was interesting.

Monday, August 09, 2004

I really do need to start updating this more frequently. 2 1/2 weeks since I updated books & I don't know how long it's been for movies. Plus I've got a new mix CD to post.

Well the site's not going to update itself.

  • Ultimate Spider-Man, vol. 4 by Brian Michael Bendis & Mark Bagley. Bendis really has a knack for dialogue. I enjoy his work quite a bit, and if I had a job, I'd be buying these collections. (Checked out of the library.)
  • The Nocturnals: The Dark Forever by Dan Brereton.
  • 24 Hour Comics Day Highlights by various. Years ago, Scott McCloud issued a challenge to another notoriously slow comics creator: Create a 24 hour comic book in a 24 hour period. Since then, many many people have taken up the challenge. This past April, there was a designated day for people to create 24 hour comics. Hundreds of people in dozens of locations participated. This book is a selection of the results.
  • Marvels, 10th Anniversary Edition by Kurt Busiek & Alex Ross. (Library.)
  • The Maxx, vol. 2 by Sam Kieth w/William Messner-Loebs. By far the strangest (and probably the best) thing to come out of the early days of Image Comics.
  • War Stories, vol. 1 by Garth Ennis et al.
  • The Sound and the Fury by William Faulkner. Somehow I managed to get an English degree from Stanford without having read in Faulkner. It took the board to get me to finally pick him up. (Library.)
  • The Simpsons: Treehouse of Horror Fun-Filled Frightfest by various. A collection of stories from several issues of the annual Simpsons Halloween comic book.
  • The Chrestomanci Quartet by Diana Wynne Jones. The Science Fiction Book Club put together this collection of four novels. I've said this before about Diana Wynne Jones, but she covers a lot of the same ground that J.K. Rowling does in the Harry Potter books. However she's been doing it longer & better (just not as popularly).
  • Planet of the Capes by Larry Young & Brandon McKinney. This story was somewhat interesting but ultimately seems rather pointless. (Library.)
  • Batman/Deathblow: After the Fire by Brian Azzarello & Lee Bermejo. (Library.)
  • Inu Yasha, vol. 17 by Rumiko Takahashi. (Library.)
  • Paradise Too: Drunk Ducks by Terry Moore. A collection of Moore's attempts to develop a syndicated comic strip. I see why he hasn't had any success with that. For the most part, these strips are derivative, uninteresting, and unfunny. (Library.)
  • Yukiko's Spinach by Frederic Boilet. (Apparently Amazon doesn't have this book.) A story (that may or may not be autobiographical) about a brief affair. (Library.)
  • Kyle Baker, Cartoonist, vol. 2 (Amazon has volume 1, so I'm guessing this is just too new to show up.) I think Baker works better with longer stories, but his shorter pieces are pretty funny too.
  • Exiles, vol. 1: Down the Rabbit Hole by Judd Winick & Mike McKone. Having decided that I like this series enough to buy the books, I'm slowly picking them up (at least the ones written by Winick).
  • Orion: The Gates of Apokolips by Walt Simonson. I think Simonson's one of the few creators who can do justice to Jack Kirby's creations, the New Gods.
  • Exiles, vol. 3: Out of Time by Judd Winick, Mike McKone, & Jim Calafiore. Since there's only one Winick-written volume of this series that I haven't acquired yet, I guess I'm not going that slow in picking them up.
  • Powers, vol. 6: The Sell Outs by Brian Michael Bendis & Michael Avon Oeming. The latest collection of Bendis's excellent cop/super-hero comic.
  • Finder: Mystery Date by Carla Speed McNeil. I really love this series. It's science fiction, and unlike most SF comic books, it isn't simply superheroes with a few SF trappings.
  • Dragon Ball, vol. 16 by Akira Toriyama. This is the final volume before the series changes to Dragon Ball Z.
  • Negima!, vol. 2 by Ken Akamatsu. One of the reasons I first looked at this series is because I learned that the English adaptation is being handled by Peter David, whose work (in comics & novels) I quite like.
  • The Woad to Wuin by Peter David. See? This is the 2nd of David's novels about an anti-hero, Sir Apropos of Nothing.
  • Hulk: Gray by Jeph Loeb & Tim Sale. This is probably the best of the collaborations between Loeb & Sale that I've read, but I still don't understand why they're as popular as they are. But I do like them enough to check the books out of the library. (Library.)
  • Hellblazer: Highwater by Brian Azzarello et al. (Library.)
  • X-Statix, vol. 2: Good Guys & Bad Guys by Peter Milligan, Mike Allred, Darwyn Cooke, et al. I really like this, but I'm not sure what to say about it. This series is more about the nature of celebrity that it is about superheroes. And sometimes it's just plain weird (as in the Wolverine/Doop cross-over).
  • PvP at Large, vol. 1 by Scott Kurtz. This is a collection of a comic that is an expansion of an online comic.
  • Transmetropolitan, vol. 0: Tales of Human Waste by Warren Ellis et al. This is an assortment of excerpts from Spider Jerusalem's columns.
  • Man Is Vox!: Barracudae by John Thomas & Carter Allen. An odd little comic, and the first part is nearly incomprehensible because the creators need to work on their storytelling skills. It gets better later in the book. (Library.)
  • Thor: Vikings by Garth Ennis & Glenn Fabry. Ennis gets to exercise his penchant for over the top violence. (Library.)
  • The Batman in Nine Lives by Dean Motter & Michael Lark. A noir story using Batman characters.

Monday, July 26, 2004

Hey, I just wanted to thank everybody who has used the the links in this weblog to order items from Amazon. I just received my second gift certificate, and it was nearly twice the size of the first one. I used them to order The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy on DVD. (And it just now occurred to me that I should have created this entry with the link first, then ordered the DVDs. Oh well.)

Thursday, July 22, 2004

Okay, time to update the book list. And, like last time, since it's been nearly a month since I updated, I'm going to forego the Amazon links. Let me know if there's anything you're just dying to buy & I'll add the link for you.
  • Friends of the Dragon by Keith Baker & Will Hindmarch. This is a supplement for the Feng Shui role playing game. It's about creating player character groups; having them be members of a SWAT team or an occult investigation squad or something, instead of just a random group of people thrown together by circumstance.
  • Hawkman: Allies & Enemies by Geoff Johns, James Robinson, Rags Morales, et al. I enjoyed this, but don't have much to say about it. Pretty good superheroics.
  • Exiles, vol. 6: Fantastic Voyage by Judd Winick, Jim Calafiore, et al. I find I really enjoy this title (at least when it's written by Winick). I've written about previous volumes so won't go over the premise again.
  • City of Silence by Warren Ellis & Gary Erskine. This bears a slight resemblance to Ellis' Transmetropolitan but is more about technology & ideas than politics. (But really, it's more about violence & swearing than anything else.)
  • The Dark Horse Book of Witchcraft by various. An anthology of stories, including a Hellboy story by Mike Mignola.
  • Daredevil, vol. 3 by Brian Michael Bendis, Alex Maleev, & Manuel Gutierrez. What happens to a superhero who is "outed"? The issues collected in this book deal with Matt Murdock's attempts to handle having his secret identity reavealed by a tabloid newspaper. Bendis is an excellent writer. Once I get a new job, I think I'll be picking this up. (Checked out of the library.)
  • Ultimate Spider-Man, vol. 3 by Brian Michael Bendis & Mark Bagley. Not only is Bendis a good writer, he's also prolific. (Library.)
  • Lazarus Churchyard: The Final Cut by Warren Ellis & D'Israeli. Reprints of some of Ellis' early works. I picked up an issue or two of this when it first came out, and I remember it being cooler than what's in this book. I guess my tastes have changed.
  • Noble Causes: Extended Family by various.
  • Fables, vol. 2: Animal Farm by Bill Willingham and Mark Buckingham.
  • Exiles, vol. 2: A World Apart by Judd Winick, Mike McKone, & Jim Calafiore. I've read this before, but that was a library copy, and based on having picked up vol. 6, I decided I want the earlier volumes too. So when I found this on sale, I couldn't pass it up.
  • Scene of the Crime: A Little Piece of Goodnight by Ed Brubaker & Michael Lark. Crime fiction. Pretty good, too. Too bad the series didn't last long. (This is the downside to not buying individual issues & wating for collections to come out. Sometimes sales aren't strong enough.)
  • Love Fights, vol. 1 by Andi Watson. Romance comics crossed with superheroes. Fun & kinda sweet.
  • Hellblazer: Haunted by Warren Ellis & John Higgins.
  • Astro Boy, vol. 20 by Osamu Tezuka. (Library.)
  • Fables, vol. 3: Storybook Love by Bill Willingham, Mark Buckingham, et al. I like this series, but I don't know what to say about it. As far as I can tell, sales are strong enough that I think I'm safe in cancelling my subscription to the individual issues & just getting the collections.
  • Beach Safari by Mawil. (Library.)
  • Grickle by Graham Annable. (Library.)
  • Lovecraft by Hans Rodionoff, Keith Giffen, & Enrique Breccia. The idea here is that the things Lovecraft wrote about were real, and he was doing his part to protect the world from eldritch horror. I've seen it done before, and that was plenty. Can't really recommend this. (Library.)
  • DV8: Neighborhood Threat by Warren Ellis, Humberto Ramos, et al. A rather twisted look at what superpowered teenagers might be like.
  • Superheroes in my Pants by Mark Evanier. This is a collection of Evanier's columns for the Comic Buyers Guide; essays about comics (including several about Julie Schwartz & what he contributed to comics), Hollywood, and whatever Evanier felt like writing about. Entertaining stuff.
  • Trinity by Matt Wagner. A story about the first time Batman, Superman & Wonder Woman all got together. It's good, but I don't know if I need to own this. I'm glad I didn't buy the individual issues or the hardback. I may get the paperback when it comes out. (Library.)
  • Wolverine: The Brotherhood by Greg Rucka & Darick Robertson. (Library.)
  • DNAgents, vol.1: Born Orphans by Mark Evanier & Will Meugniot. Reprint of an 80's superhero series. It's okay, but I'm really looking forward to the reprints of the spin-off series, Crossfire, which was more about Hollywood than fighting crime.
  • Bone, vol. 7: Ghost Circles by Jeff Smith.
  • Bone, vol. 8: Treasure Hunters by Jeff Smith.
  • Bone, vol. 9: Crown of Horns by Jeff Smith. Well, the final collection finally came out, so I could see how the whole thing wound up. Very good fantasy series. And despite the way the storyline became more serious as it progressed, Smith wove humor in all the way through the end (although to a lesser extent than in the beginning).
  • Catwoman: Selina's Big Score by Darwyn Cooke. An original graphic novel that set the stage for the current Catwoman series. This is a caper story, not superheroics. Very cool artwork too. Much better than the upcoming movie looks to be. (Although, as a friend pointed out, "Halle Berry in a leather cat suit. What's not to love?)
  • It's a Bird... by Steven T. Seagle & Teddy Kristiansen. A semi-autobiographical story about a writer who has been offered the chance to write Superman.
  • What's Wrong? by various. This is a companion piece to What Right? that I mentioned in an earlier entry. This collection contains stories aimed at an adult audience.
  • Buddha, vol. 4: Teh Forest of Uruvela by Osamu Tezuka. Tezuka's amazing story of the life of Buddha continues. (Library.)
  • Negima, vol. 1: Magister Negi Magi by Ken Akamatsu. More manga. This one is about a British wizard who is sent to teach English at a Japanese girl's school. He is told he can't use his magical abilities, but he can't seem to help himself. Also, he's only 10 years old. Okay, so plausibility isn't exactly the strong suit here, but it is entertaining.
  • DeadLands: Hell on Earth: The Wasted West by Shane Lacy Hensley w/John Hapler. Sourcebook for the DeadLands: Hell on Earth role playing game. Post-apocalyptic horror western.
  • Suspended in Language by Jim Ottoviani & Leland Purvis. A comic book biography of Neils Bohr, it does go into the physics, but not at a deep level. This is Ottoviani's 4th graphic novel about science & scientists. I think we need more non-fiction comics.
  • The Nodwick Chronicles IV: Obligatory Dragon on the Cover by Aaron Williams. Although this comic grew out of strips for a role playing magazine, I'd say it requires less familiarity with RPGs than, say, Knights of the Dinner Table. It's really more about fantasy tropes than gaming ones.
  • PS238, vol. 1: With Liberty & Recess for All by Aaron Williams. A grade school for the children of superheroes. Very funny stuff. And Teena says that he gets a lot of the teacher stuff right.
  • Super Hero Happy Hour, vol. 1 by Dan Taylor & Chris Fason. Comics set in a neighborhood bar where the regulars are superheroes. (Library.)
  • Elektra: Relentless by Robert Rodi & Sean Chen. (Library.)
  • Astro Boy, vol. 21 by Osamu Tezuka. Well, after getting interesting for a while, the stories reprinted in these started getting repetitious again. (Library.)
  • Boneyard, vol. 1 by Richard Moore. (Library.)
  • Fantastic Four: Hereafter by Mark Waid & Mike Wieringo. More adventures of the first family of the Marvel universe.
  • Sebastian O by Grant Morrison & Steve Yeowell. I'm not sure how to describe this. Steampunk is probably the closest I can come. But I'd say it owes a fair amount to Rimbaud (and maybe Wilde) too. Morrison's weird, but that's why I like him.

Tuesday, July 20, 2004

Man, I've really fallen behind with this thing, haven't I? I just can't seem to motivate myself to add to it. And I'm still not going to update the book list yet. Today it's an entry about my latest mix CD. This weekend Teena was kind enough to allow me to use her computer to burn my latest mix. This is another of the tarot mixes; the songs are about cars, motorcycles, & driving, so the cover image will be the Chariot card.
Driving Ambition

So, lots of '80's stuff, but that's pretty typical for me.
*FLCL is an extremely odd anime series. This song is from the end credits to the show, which shows a Vespa scooter roaming around a town.

Friday, June 25, 2004

I've done this before, but the link is buried way far down in the archives.

This site is certified 39% EVIL by the Gematriculator

So this site is somewhat evil, but mostly good.

Thursday, June 24, 2004

It's time for me to acknowledge that I'm not going to write about Vegas yet. I still want to write about it, but if I don't at least get the book list updated soon, I'll probably abandon the site.

As it's been nearly a month since I updated, I'm going to save myself some effort & leave out the Amazon links for the catch-up list. If anything I write about catches your eye, let me know & I'll put up a link.


  • Athyra by Steven Brust. Another Vlad Taltos novel borrowed from Teena. I didn't enjoy this one quite as much as the others. Largely, I think, because it isn't told from Vlad's point of view.
  • The Ring 2 by Hiroshi Takahashi & Meimu. A translation of a Japanese comic book adaptation of the sequel to the novel that was also adapted into a movie. (Does that make sense?) I hear that there will be a sequel to the American movie. I wonder if it will be an adaptation of the Japanese sequel or if it'll be a new story.
  • Dame Darcy's Meat Cake Compilation. Dame Darcy has an unusual drawing style. I rather like it; it's got something of a Victorian feel to it. I just wish her lettering were easier to read. Oddball comics.
  • Transmetropolitan, vol. 1: Back on the Street by Warren Ellis & Darick Robertson. A few years ago I checked this & one or two other collections of this series out of the library. I found the science fiction stories about Spider Jerusalem, a newspaper columnist (who bears a striking resemblance [in attitude anyway] to Hunter S. Thompson) somewhat interesting, but not enough to continue. Then a friend started talking them up, so I gave them another chance. The series got a lot better once it got into politics. One of the characters is a thinly veiled reference to George W. Bush, and I found the sheer vitriol directed at him to be refreshing. After checking all the available collections out of the library, I started picking up new volumes as they were published. Then my collector's nature took over, and I had to start buying the earlier volumes too. Once I had the entire run in book form, I started reading them from the beginning.
  • Transmetropolitan, vol. 2: Lust for Life by Warren Ellis & Darick Robertson.
  • God's Bosom & Other Stories by Jack Jackson. Jackson is rather unusual; he uses comics to tell history. And he does a damn good job of it too. This collection has some of his lesser works, but I highly recommend his other books. (If you can find them; they're mostly out of print. Nonfiction comics tend not to sell all that well.)
  • Transmetropolitan, vol. 3: Year of the Bastard by Warren Ellis & Darick Robertson.
  • Transmetropolitan, vol. 4: The New Scum by Warren Ellis & Darick Robertson.
  • Transmetropolitan, vol. 5: Lonely City by Warren Ellis & Darick Robertson.
  • Transmetropolitan, vol. 6: Gouge Away by Warren Ellis & Darick Robertson.
  • In Your Face Again: A Feng Shui Scenario Anthology by various. This is a collection of adventures for the Feng Shui roleplaying game. I don't normally buy RPG adventures, but I really like the Feng Shui game & want to support it.
  • Transmetropolitan, vol. 7: Spider's Thrash by Warren Ellis & Darick Robertson.
  • Transmetropolitan, vol. 8: Dirge by Warren Ellis & Darick Robertson.
  • Ranma 1/2, vol. 26 by Rumiko Takahashi. More martial arts romantic comedy. (Checked out of the library.)
  • Bone, vol. 4: The Dragonslayer by Jeff Smith. Continuing to re-read this series since it's finally wrapping up. (Library.)
  • Bone, vol. 5: Rockjaw, Master of the Eastern Border by Jeff Smith. (Library.)
  • Bone, vol. 6: Old Man's Cave by Jeff Smith. (Library.)
  • Transmetropolitan, vol. 9: The Cure by Warren Ellis & Darick Robertson.
  • Transmetropolitan, vol. 10: One More Time by Warren Ellis & Darick Robertson.
  • Orca by Steven Brust. Before I read this, I never thought I'd encounter (much less enjoy) a fantasy novel about the savings & loan scandal. (Borrowed from Teena.)
  • Last Call by Tim Powers. I re-read this for the trip to Vegas. It's a World Fantasy Award novel about poker, tarot cards, the Fisher King, family, and T.S. Eliot's "The Wasteland." And it's set in Las Vegas.
  • Pogo, vol. 11 by Walt Kelly. Fantagraphics Books was publishing the entire run of Kelly's wonderful comic strip. But apparently sales were none too good, since this is the final volume that has come out, & they had a long ways to go.
  • Dragon by Steven Brust. (Teena.)
  • Proposition Player by Bill Willingham & Paul Guinan. Another re-read inspired by the trip. This graphic novel is about a small-time card player who finds himself playing for bigger stakes than he ever thought when a bar bet results in him owning several human souls.
  • Batman Adventures, vol. 1: Rogues Gallery by various. Remember Batman: The Animated Series? How cool & stylish it looked? This is a comic book based off that.
  • Batman Adventures, vol. 2: Shadows & Masks by various.
  • Nevada by Steve Gerber & Phil Winslade. Another graphic novel set in Las Vegas. The main character in this one works for a casino called "The Nile." But it looks exactly like the Luxor, complete with an intensely bright light shining up into the night sky.
  • Catwoman: Crooked Little Town by Ed Brubaker, Brad Rader, et al. This is the 2nd collection of the current Catwoman comic. It has something of a noir-ish feel to it. Very cool.
  • On the Far Side with the Dead Folks by Joe R. Lansdale & Timothy Truman. Nobody combines horror & westerns like Lansdale & Truman.
  • Odd Job: The Collected Stories by Ian & Tyson Smith.
  • Tiny Giants by Nate Powell. Wow, this really did not make an impression on me. I can't remember a damn thing about it. (Library.)
  • Astro Boy, vol. 18 by Osamu Tezuka. I had gotten very far behind in reading this series because the stories were rather repetitive. Eventually I cancelled my subscription to the series. And now that I finally got around to reading the last couple volumes, I discovered that the stories had gotten a lot better. Also, the series ended four months after I stopped getting it. I don't know if they ran out of material to reprint (I doubt it though; Tezuka was amazingly prolific) or if poor sales caused Dark Horse to stop reprinting these comics. If the latter, I'll feel rather guilty.
  • Kid Beowulf by lexis E. Fajardo. Eh. (Library.)
  • Krazy & Ignatz: 1929-1930 by George Herriman. Reprints of the Krazy Kat Sunday strips continues.
  • Issola by Steven Brust. Now I've got to wait for the next Taltos book, just like everybody else. (Teena.)
  • Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card. I'd never read anything by Card before this. I liked it quite a bit, but I'm not sure I'll read anything else by him.
  • Fallen Angel, vol. 1 by Peter David & David Lopez. This is something rather unusual; a mature readers only title published by DC that isn't a Vertigo title.
  • The Mirror of Love by Alan Moore with photographs by Jose Villarrubia. In the late '80's, the British government tried to add "Clause 28" to the books. Clause 28 would have pretty much tried to erradicate even the idea of homosexuality. Alan Moore put together a benefit book to raise money to oppose Clause 28. The piece he wrote for it was a prose poem, "The Mirror of Love." This new edition has some amazing photographs to go with the poem.
  • The Best of Spider-Man, vol. 3 by J. Michael Straczynski, Fiona Avery, John Romita Jr. with John Romita Sr. Remind me to discuss Marvel Comics' hardback collections at some point. I've got mixed feelings about them, and I'd write them now, but this entry is too long anyway.
  • Astro Boy, vol. 19 by Osamu Tezuka.
  • Mixed Magics by Diana Wynne Jones. Four short stories by a female British author who has been writing stories about magical schoolchildren for much longer & better than J.K. Rowling. I'd forgotten how much I enjoy her work; I'll probably re-read some of her novels soon.
  • Icaro 2 by Moebius & Jiro Taniguchi. (Library.)
  • Buzzboy by John Gallagher. (Library.)
  • Budda, vol. 3: Devadatta by Osamu Tezuka. An amazing work. I wish I still worked in a place where I could order books cheaply, because I'd really like to own this series. Maybe if they come out in paperback. I've mentioned this before, but I wish I knew more about Buddhism, so I had some idea of how much Tezuka made up for his story. (Library.)
  • American Splendor: Unsung Hero: The Story of Robert McNeill by Harvey Pekar & David Collier. The story of a Vietnam vet.
  • What Right? by various. This anthology was put together to benefit a bookstore in Canada because Canadian customs has a tendency to seize adult comic books sent across the border.
  • Human Target: Final Cut by Peter Milligan & Javier Pulido. A crime story set in Hollywood.
  • The Arrow of Heaven by Rob Vaux. An adventure for the 7th Sea roleplaying game. I picked this up cheap somewhere a while back.
  • Panic, vol. 3 by various. Back in the '50's, when Mad first debuted (it was a comic book before it became a magazine), it was so popular that it spawned a whole horde of imitators, including one from the very same publisher. "Panic" was the "only authorized" rip-off of "Mad." This book is a reprint of several issues.
  • Jack Kirby's Forever People. Jack Kirby was an amazing creator. I don't think any other comic book artist has ever delivered as much action & power in their work. But Kirby really should not have tried to write hippie characters.
  • Krazy & Ignatz: 1931-1932 by George Herriman.
  • Star Munchkin Roleplaying Game by John W. Mangrum. This is a very funny parody of science fiction rpgs.
  • The Wretch, vol. 1: Everyday Doomsday by Phil Hester. (Library.)
  • The Silent Gondoliers: A Fable by S. Morgenstern by William Goldman. Goldman claims Morgenstern wrote The Princess Bride and that the book bearing his name is simply an abridged version. This is a cute little story, but not all that great.
  • Green Arrow: Straight Shooter by Judd Winick & Phil Hester.
  • Hawkman: Endless Flight by Geoff Johns, James Robinson & Rags Morales