Saturday, February 26, 2005

More books finished in the last week.
  1. Nodwick Adventure Log, vol. 1 by Aaron Williams. This book reprints a bunch of Nodwick adventures first published in "Dragon" magazine. Fun parodies of classic D&D modules (not that I've ever played any of them).
  2. Superman: Birthright by Mark Waid & Lenil Francis Yu. I didn't realize this at first, but this is basically Ultimate Superman, since it's a retelling of the early days in Superman's career as if they were happening now. (Checked out of the library.)
  3. Ultimate Marvel Team-Up, vol. 3 by Brian Michael Bendis et al. For some reason, three issues of the comic book did not get reprinted in any of these three volumes. If it turns out that they are available in the out-of-print hardback edition, I am going to be very annoyed.
  4. The Collected Works of Tony Millionaire's Sock Monkey. (Library.)
  5. Ultimate Fantastic Four, vol. 2: Doom by Warren Ellis & Stuart Immonen. The first volume of this didn't really grab me, but I really enjoyed this story. Ellis creates an interesting version of Doctor Doom for the Ultimate universe. (While looking up the ISBN for this, I was annoyed to learn that there will be a hardcover edition that will reprint the first 12 issues of Ultimate Fantastic Four. I really wish Marvel would make it clear which titles will get hardcover editions. I much prefer them to the paperbacks, but I'm not going to buy a new collection just because it's printed at a larger size & has a few extras.)
  6. The Originals by Dave Gibbons. While I read this, I felt I should have been listening to Quadrophenia. It's the story of a Mod. Gibbons uses a science fiction setting, but he might as well have simply set it in 60's England. He does an excellent job telling the story, and I might like to own this, but it's just too expensive as it is. Perhaps when the paperback edition comes out. (Library.)
  7. Scooter Girl by Chyna Clugston-Major. (Library.)
  8. She-Hulk: Single Green Female by Dan Slott, Juan Bobillo, & Paul Pelletier. (Library.)
  9. Doctor Cyborg, vol. 1: Outpatient by Allan Gross, Mike Oeming, et al. (Library.)
  10. Fred the Clown by Roger Langridge. (Library.)

Saturday, February 19, 2005

Okay, so I never did update movies & games last week. So this week I'll do so before I start on books.

Movies & DVDs
  • Real Women Have Curves. (Checked out of the library.)
  • Doctor Who: Remembrance of the Daleks. This is the adventure that made me really start to pay attention to Sylvester McCoy's portrayal of the Doctor. He now rivals Tom Baker as my favorite actor in the role. But Sophie Aldred as Ace is the best companion ever.
  • Mystery Science Theater 3000: The Atomic Brain. (Borrowed from Teena.)
  • MST3K: Red Zone Cuba. Oh man, this was an incomprehensible movie. (Teena.)
  • MST3K: The Sidehackers. A thoroughly unpleasant movie; thank goodness for the jokes. (Teena.)
  • The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie. Teena & I finally got around to seeing this. It's basically just a bigger, longer version of the TV show, which suited us just fine. Very silly.
  • Doctor Who: Tomb of the Cybermen. This was part of Michael's 2nd Doctor Who marathon. I prefer the early design for Cybermen (as seen in this adventure). The later design makes them too robotic; they're supposed to by cyborgs, and it's much more believable with the early design.
  • Doctor Who: Spearhead from Space. Jon Pertwee's first adventure as the Doctor.
  • Doctor Who: Pyramids of Mars. Classic Tom Baker adventure.
  • Master of the Flying Guillotine. This was part of Steve's Kung Fu Birthday celebration. It's an early 70's kung fu movie that has to be seen to be believed. There's not much plot (and what there is is put on hold by a long tournament sequence in the middle of the movie), but it's got some great fight scenes & some laughable special effects.
  • Five Deadly Venoms. The plot missing from the previous movie seems to have found its way into this one. It's got way too much plot (and way too little action) for a kung fu movie. There's only one fight scene, and while it's pretty good, it's at the very end of the movie, and it's just not worth sitting through all the exposition & plot contrivances that led up to it.
  • MST3K: The Wild World of Batwoman. Oh boy, is this a strange movie. It's practically incomprehensible, it includes clips from at least two other movies (one of which has also been given the MST3K treatment), and the performances are just strange. Very funny jokes, though.
  • Daredevil. Teena & I watched this earlier today. I liked it when it came out, but watching it again made me realize that it is a very cheesy movie, and not actually all that good.

It's been long enough since I updated that I can't remember all the things I wanted to say.

In the Wednesday group, we finished up Steve's first Transhuman Space story, and we didn't destroy Singapore in the process. Since then we have begun Bryan's Middle Earth campaign, and that's going pretty well.

In the Monday group, we've begun the second of Michael's Infinite Worlds adventures, and we're working to stop time-travelling Nazis from invading 3rd century Rome.

We began the World's Largest Dungeon about a month ago (and the 2nd session will be tomorrow) with a group of 11 players, which proved to be just too unwieldy, so Steve broke us into two smaller groups.

The last HeroQuest game was a lot of fun. I ended up using one of my character's traits in an unorthodox way. Our characters were in the spirit realm and encountered a group of bees. We didn't have anything to placate them, but my character is honey-tongued, so I figured in the spiritual realm that might be more than metaphorical. I was right and talked our way past them. Unfortunately, we didn't take any of their honey with us because shortly after that we encountered a bear. My honeyed tongue came to the rescue again, but in a bit more direct manner: I ended up french-kissing the bear. (I am very happy I did well on that roll. If I hadn't, I may have ended up mute.) Later in the session, I managed to win at a contest where I was entirely overmatched. It was all due to some lucky rolls (and juditious use of Hero Points). This is highly unusual since normally I roll terribly.

As for computer games, I finished Myst IV: Revelation a while back (after Teena did, and with quite a few hints from her). As always, an absolutely beautiful game. I still haven't finished Pikmin; the final boss battle doesn't interest me all that much. I've picked up a used copy of Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time, and while I haven't had much of a chance to play it yet, I really like what I've seen so far.

And now on to Books I've finished since last week.
  1. Metropolis by Osamu Tezuka. This is one of Tezuka's earlier works, and it's not as good as his later comics. Still pretty good, though. (Library.)
  2. Ultimate Spider-Man, vol. 5 by Brian Michael Bendis, Mark Bagley, & Trevor Hairsine. I seem to have run out of things to say about this series. But it's great, and I'm eagerly awaiting the 6th volume.
  3. Tom Strong, Book 3 by Alan Moore, Chris Sprouse, et al. One of the things I love about Alan Moore's writing is how he can tell you a lot about a character with just the right bit of dialogue. Admittedly, "Mostly I just dress for the weather is all," doesn't sound like much out of context. But in the book, it says quite a bit about the person who said it.
  4. The Quest for Aberzen, Book 1: To the Death by Marc N'Guessan & Christophe Gibelin. (Library.)
  5. Same Difference & Other Stories by Derek Kirk Kim. The title story of this collection is excellent, and most of the others are also very good. (Library.)
  6. One Piece, vol. 5: For Whom the Bell Tolls by Eiichiro Oda. (Amazon really needs to pay closer attention to the way manga show up. Trying to find a link for this book, the closest I could get was a search that yeiled 85 results, most of which were Japanese, French, & German editions of this series. I could not find the English edition of this volume.) This is my favorite manga being published in Shonen Jump. It's a very silly story of pirates.
  7. Shaman King, vol. 4: The Oversoul by Hiroyuki Takei. (I did manage to find a link to this manga, but not by what would seem to be the most obvious search of the title & author's name. I ended having to follow links from other books.) This is my second favorite manga from Shonen Jump, although I have some problems with the idea that the next great spiritual leader will be determined through a tournament in which all the contenders beat the tar out of each other.
  8. B.P.R.D.: Plague of Frogs by Mike Mignola & Guy Davis. Mignola has had Hellboy leave the Bureau for Paranormal Research & Defense, but there are plenty of people left there, including Abe Sapien. This story gives some hints at where Abe came from.
  9. Less than Heroes by David Yurkovich. (Library.)
  10. Ultimate Fantstic Four by Brian Michael Bendis, Mark Millar, & Adam Kubert. Marvel's Ultimate universe expands, adding new versions of the first family of Marvel Comics. (Thanks for the gift, Teena.)
  11. Lazarus Jack by Mark Ricketts & Horacio Domingues. (Library.)
  12. The Magic of Aria by Brian Holguin & Jay Anacleto. The cover copy for this book compares it to Neil Gaiman's Sandman, which is a shame because it raises expectations too high. (Library.)
  13. Jimmy Olsen Adventures, vol. 2 by Jack Kirby. Man, the world in Kirby's head may not have more than a passing resemblance to our own, but I'm glad he documented as much of it as he did. Strange, wonderful stuff, unlike anything else in comics (despite many attempts to recreate Kirby's magic).

Wednesday, February 16, 2005

A while ago, the Hollywood Theatre was closed while parts of a movie were filmed there. That movie opens here Friday. If you follow that link & watch the trailer, you can see the outside of the theater & the upstairs lobby fairly well in several of the shots.

Saturday, February 12, 2005

So I've had my new job for a week, and while it can be a little overwhelming at times, I think I've got a pretty good handle on it. It seems like a good fit. (Much better than ACT was, that's for sure.)

Anyway, I'm over a week behind on books & even further on movies/DVDs & games.

  1. The Viscount of Adrilankha, vol. 2: The Lord of Castle Black by Stephen Brust. I really enjoyed this, and it's a little frustrating (after reading these books one after the other) to have to wait until March when Sethra Lavode will be released in paperback before I can see how the story ends. (Borrowed from Teena.)
  2. Mermaid Saga, vol. 1 by Rumiko Takahashi. More manga. (Checked out of the library.)
  3. Usagi Yojimbo, vol. 18: Travels with Jotaro by Stan Sakai. The idea that somebody could tell the story of a samurai using funny animals (the main character is an anthropomorphic rabbit) seems odd, but Sakai has created a rich & entertaining story using feudal Japan as a background. (Library.)
  4. On Subbing by Dave _____. Stories from a guy who works as a substitute education assistant. Interesting, but it took me a little while to become accustomed to the writer's style. (Borrowed from Alex.)
  5. PVP, vol. 2: Reloaded by Scott Kurtz. PVP started as (and still is) a web comic, became a comic book, and now there are collections of the comic book.
  6. Bill & Ted's Most Excellent Adventures, vol. 1 by Evan Dorkin. While I enjoyed the Bill & Ted movies, I would never have bought a comic book adaptation of the second one or a series based on them unless I already liked the creator. And Evan Dorkin is a very funny guy. Now, years later, the series is being collected.
  7. Phoenix, vol. 5: Resurrection by Osamu Tezuka. Tezuka considered Phoenix to be his life's work, and it shows. He told remarkably touching stories in this series. (Library.)
  8. The Legend of GrimJack, vol. 1 by John Ostrander & Timothy Truman. I am so happy that somebody is reprinting the GrimJack series from the 80's & early 90's. I loved that comic & was very unhappy when the company that published it went under. The title character was one of the first "grim & gritty" comic book characters, and he's still one of the best. These early stories are a little rough; Ostrander was still getting a feel for writing comic books, but the promise of the character shows through. I'm looking forward to many more of these reprint volumes.
  9. Ultimate Spider-Man, vol. 4 by Brian Michael Bendis & Mark Bagley. More great Spider-Man stories.
  10. Runaways, vol. 3 by Brian K. Vaughan and Adrian Alphona. This is the finale to the initial storyline about six teenagers who discover that their parents are supervillains. I'm liking Vaughan's writing more & more.
  11. Seaguy by Grant Morrison & Cameron Stewart. Most of the time the strangeness in Morrrison's writing works for me; this time it didn't. I don't really get what he was trying to do here.
  12. Buffy the Vampire Slayer: The Origin by Christopher Golden, Daniel Brereton, & Joe Bennett. This was adapted from Josh Whedon's original screenplay for the movie. I'm afraid it's been too long since I've seen the movie, so the biggest difference I noticed was that Buffy's Watcher looks like the actor who played him in flashbacks on the TV show and not like Donald Sutherland.
  13. Essential Howard the Duck by Steve Gerber, Gene Colan, et al. Yes, the movie was legendarily awful, but the comic book that the movie was based on was pretty damn good. These stories are very much of their time (mid- to late-1970's), but they are quite entertaining. This series may have been Gerber's peak.
  14. Noble Causes, vol. 1: In Sickness and in Health by Jay Faerber, et al. Soap opera-ish superheroics. (Library.)
  15. Ultimate Marvel Team-Up, vol. 2 by Brian Michael Bendis, et al. Fun stories with Spider-Man meeting other prominent figures in the Marvel Universe.
  16. The Amazing Spider-Man: Coming Home by J. Michael Straczynski & John Romita, Jr. This collects Straczynski's first storyline as writer for Spider-Man.
  17. Clive Barker's Tapping the Vein by various. I remember enjoying these adaptations of Barker's short stories when they were first published in the early 90's, but now they don't do much for me at all. (Library.)
  18. Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Bad Blood by Andi Watson & Joe Bennett. I think Watson was an excellent choice to write the Buffy comic book. Unfortunately, the artists Dark Horse chose weren't the best. Often the only way to figure out who a character is supposed to be is by hair color: "She's a brunette, so she must be Cordelia." Also, I am annoyed by the fact that the collections give no indication as to which issues of the comics they reprint. Since the collections don't have any kind of numbering, you're left to guess in what order they should be read.
  19. Mighty Love by Howard Chaykin. (Library.)
  20. Queen & Country, vol. 3: Operation: Crystal Ball by Greg Rucka & Leandro Fernandez. Fernandez is a good artist, but I don't think his style (which tends toward exateration & cartooniness) is suited to this series of very realistic spy stories.
  21. Queen & Country, vol. 4: Operation: Blackwall by Greg Rucka & J. Alexander. Another excellent spy story.
  22. Broolyn Dreams by J. Marc DeMatteis & Glenn Barr. I find DeMatteis to be an uneven writer. He can be excellent (see Moonshadow), but often he tries to shoehorn spiritual ideas into superhero comics that just can't handle them. This story is (I assume) autobiographical, and DeMatteis's insights work much better in this format. This may be his best work. (Library.)
  23. Marge's Little Lulu, vol. 1: Lulu Goes Shopping by John Stanley & Irving Tripp. I remember enjoying Little Lulu comics when I was a kid. It's nice to discover that they still hold up. Of course, these aren't the same comics I read in the 70's. These are reprints from the 40's. (Library.)
  24. Pulpatoon Pilgrimage by Joel Priddy. (Library.)

I'll try to write about gaming and movies later today.

Sunday, February 06, 2005

It's been a while since I posted the results of a personality test here.
You scored as Samwise. You're Samwise Gamgee! Samwise the brave is the most loyal friend that you could ever ask for. He'll be there for you through thick and thin, and be willing to do anything for you.
"There is some good in this world, Mr. Frodo, and it's worth fighting for."



















Which LOTR character are you?
created with

Tuesday, February 01, 2005

I better get this thing updated before I start my new job & lose my opportunities to use the web for personal stuff.

  1. Powers, vol. 7: Forever by Brian Michael Bendis & Michael Avon Oeming. The latest collection of Bendis's excellent series about a pair of homicide detectives in a world where superpowers exist.
  2. Ex Machina, vol. 1: The First Hundred Days by Brian K. Vaughan & Tony Harris. Politics mixed with superheroics.
  3. The Iguana by Carlos Trillo & Domingo R. Mandrafina. (Checked out of the library.)
  4. McSweeney's Quarterly Concern, Issue Number 13 by various. A nice selection of work by "alternative cartoonists" (i.e. people who don't deal with superheroes). (Library.)
  5. Atmospherics by Warren Ellis & Ken Meyer, Jr. Nobody else even remotely associated with main stream comics seems to do what Ellis does: create lots of short series and original gramic novels. Everything is centered around ongoing series. I like that when Ellis has an idea, he doesn't feel the need to shoehorn it into a continuing series. If the story he wants to tell is short, he writes a mini-series or an original graphic novel.
  6. John Constantine, Hellblazer: Setting Sun by Warren Ellis et al. With the upcoming movie, DC has been pushing collections from the series. I just wish somebody had told the people who made the movie that Constantine is pronounced with a long "i."
  7. The Viscount of Adrilankha, Book One: The Paths of the Dead by Steven Brust. Both Teena & Michael told me that they didn't enjoy this as much as The Phoenix Guards and Five Hundred Years After, but I found it just as entertaining at the other two. There's still lots of adventure, and it made me laugh quite often. (Borrowed from Teena.)
  8. Love Fights, vol. 2 by Andi Watson. Romance comics used to be big, but like every other genre, they were displaced by superheroes. With Love Fights Watson has combined what would seem to be two incompatible genres. Fun stuff and a lovely, sparce style of art.
  9. Phoenix, vol. 4: Karma the more I read of Tezuka's work, the more impressed I am. He created wonderful, touching stories. (Library.)
  10. Mister O by Lewis Trondheim. (Library.)
  11. Dungeon, vol. 1: Duck Heart by Joann Sfar & Lewis Trondheim. (Library.)
  12. Hanging Out with the Dream King: Conversations with Neil Gaiman& His Collaborators interviews by Joseph McCabe. After that title, I don't have anything to add.
  13. The Wizard Kereth Cowe-Spigai & Matthew Petz. This is a science fiction romantic comedy that didn't work for me.
  14. Daredevil: Ninja by Brian Michael Bendis & Rob Haynes. I reread this to figure out if it was accessible to somebody who was unfamiliar with Daredevil's history. I think it is; therefore, I'll be loaning it to Teena sometime in the near future.
  15. Bughouse by Steve Lafler. The story of a jazz band, with anthropomorphic bugs.
  16. Baja by Steve Lafler. A sequel to Bughouse.
  17. Avengers: Disassembled by Brian Michael Bendis & David Finch. Bendis caused a big uproar in the fan community with the storyline reprinted in this volume, but I like it quite a bit. However, I don't know that it would be accessible to somebody who isn't at least somewhat familiar with the Avengers.
  18. The Amazing Spider-Man, vol. 3: Until the Stars Turn Cold by J. Michael Straczynski & John Romita, Jr.
  19. Daredevil: Wake Up by Brian Michael Bendis & David Mack. This book collects Bendis's first storyline as writer for Daredevil, but for some reason, it was not collected in one of the hardbacks.
  20. Mad About Comic Strips by "the usual gang of idiots." (Library.)

That's all for now. I'll update movies & games later.