Sunday, July 31, 2005

It's way past time I started updating books again. I'm not going to get caught up tonight, but if I don't get started, I'll never make any progress.

  1. Get Fuzzy, vol. 5: Say Cheesy by Darby Conley. "Get Fuzzy" is my favorite newspaper strip that isn't "Doonsebury." Always happy to see another collection.
  2. Ojo by Sam Kieth, with Alex Pardee & Chris Wisnia. Kieth writes & draws strange books. I like weirdness, but sometimes I don't know what to make of his work.
  3. The Atomics: Spaced Out & Grounded in Snap City by Mike Allred et al. Silly, good-natured fun.
  4. Hunter X Hunter, vol. 1 by Yoshihiro Togashi. I keep discovering more shonen (boy's) manga that I enjoy. They're horribly formulaic (a boy is determined to become the best at something; with pluck, determination, and the help of the friends he makes along the way {at least some of whom will be former rivals or adversaries}, he achieves his goal), but I still like them.
  5. Ultimate Fantastic Four, vol. 3: N-Zone by Warren Ellis & Adam Kubert. I really enjoyed Ellis's take on this new version of the FF. But he quit after 12 issues, so this will be the last of the collections I get.
  6. Courtney Crumrin, vol. 3: In the Night Kingdom by Ted Naifeh. I wish I could put my finger on why Naifeh's work doesn't quite click with me. I feel I should like it, but there's something about it that doesn't work for me. (Checked out of the library.)
  7. Bleach, vol. 4: Quincy Archer Hates You by Tite Kubo. Another shonen series I've been enjoying. At least I'm saving some money by not buying these. (Library.)
  8. Peanutbutter & Jeremy's Best Book Ever by James Kochalka. I'm finally beginning to appreciate Kochakla's work. This is damn cute but not cloying. (Library.)
  9. Little Lit: It Was a Dark and Silly Night by various. (Library.)
  10. The Baroque Cycle, Vol. One: Quicksilver by Neal Stephenson. It took me a long time to finish this book, but I really enjoyed it. I'm looking forward to the next two volumes, but I've been putting them off because they're just as long as this one.
  11. Pearls Before Swine: This Little Piggy Stayed Home by Stephan Pastis. A comic strip collection. (Library.)
  12. Planetes, vol. 4, pt. 2 by Makoto Yukimura. This is the final volume of a highly impressive science fiction manga. (I have no idea why the last two volumes are labeled vol. 4, pts. 1 & 2. Why not simply five volumes?) Hard SF is such a rarity to find in comics of any sort, plus this one has some emotional depth to it as well. Unfortunately, this appears to be a high-water mark among manga, and I may have some difficulty finding anything else this good.

That's it for now. I'll try to get caught up by the end of this week, but I'm not making any promises. I'm still 7 weeks behind.

Gretchin pointed out that Blogger will now host images, so here's a copy of The Moon.

(Okay, I need to figure out exactly what graphics programs Teena has so I can fix that.)

Saturday, July 30, 2005

Last weekend I finally made another mix CD.

Music Such as Charmeth Sleep
  1. They Might Be Giants - Bed Bed Bed from No!
  2. Black Lab - Keep Myself Awake from Buffy the Vampire Slayer: The Album
  3. Richard Thompson - I Can't Wake Up to Save My Life from Mirror Blue
  4. Michelle Shocked - Sleep Keeps Me Awake from Captain Swing
  5. Brenda Kahn - Sleepwalking from Epiphany in Brooklyn
  6. The Beatles - I'm So Tired from The Beatles (a.k.a. The White Album
  7. Suzanne Vega - Tired of Sleeping from Days of Open Hand
  8. The Beatles - I'm Only Sleeping from Revolver
  9. Shonen Knife - Dolly from Happy Hour
  10. Suzanne Vega - Book of Dreams from Days of Open Hand
  11. Richard Thompson - You Dream Too Much from Rumor & Sigh
  12. Richard Thompson - I Still Dream from Amnesia
  13. The Beatles - Golden Slumbers from Abbey Road
  14. Talking Heads - Dream Operator from True Stories
  15. Talking Heads - City of Dreams from True Stories
  16. Roy Orbison - In Dreams from The Very Best of Roy Orbison
  17. The Cox Family - I Am Weary (Let Me Rest) from the O Brother, Where Art Thou? soundtrack
  18. Cowboy Junkies - Dreaming My Dreams With You from The Trinity Session
  19. Emmylou Harris, Alison Krauss, & Gillian Welch - Didn't Leave Nobody But the Baby from the O Brother, Where Art Thou? soundtrack
  20. Phranc - Lullaby from Milkman
  21. Suzanne Vega, Bill Frisell, Wayne Horvitz, Syd Straw - Medley Two: Stay Awake/Little Wooden Head/Blue Shadows on the Trail from Stay Awake

This is the latest in my series of mixes that use tarot cards as the cover (not that I've created a cover for this one yet). The card for this mix is The Moon. I'd put up a picture, but I don't have any place to host the image. (I'll steal an image from somebody who has put it up on the web, but I won't steal bandwidth from them.)

I like the irony of the first song ostensibly being about getting ready for bed, but it has such a driving beat that you could not fall asleep to it. Meanwhile the final song contains a lullaby with lyrics all about not going to sleep.

The title is from A Midsummer Night's Dream. The most famous Shakespeare quote featuring the words "sleep" and "dream" is, of course, about something else entirely.

Sunday, July 17, 2005

Very nearly a month ago, Doug memed me, and I've been putting it off ever since. Time to take the plunge.

If you could have one superpower, what would it be and why? (Assume you also get baseline superhero enhancements like moderately increased strength, endurance and agility.)

My first instinct was to say "teleportation." Imagine the money you could make delivering packages instantly. But that's greed (& a desire for travel) talking. What I would really want would be a Green Lantern power ring. Who wouldn't want the power to create anything you can imagine? For a while, there seemed to be an editorial decree that any comic featuring GL had to mention that the ring was "the most powerful weapon in the universe," but really it's the most versatile tool in the universe, and weapon is just a subset of the things you can do with it.

Which, if any, 'existing' superhero(es) do you fancy, and why?

I'm assuming we're talking a British usage of "fancy," so I have to say that since most superheroes are poorly-drawn & -written cariacatures that bear little resemblance to actual people, I can't think of any who I like "that" way. (Altough I will admit to a high-school crush on Storm from the X-Men, particular when she had a mohawk*.)

But if you forced me to answer, I'd have to say Ms. Kyle from PS238. She is a former superhero who is now an elementary school teacher.

Which, if any, 'existing' superhero(es) do you hate?

While I still read plenty of superhero comics, I can't get worked up enough about the characters to hate any of them. (Creators, on the other hand...)

OK, here’s the tough one. What would your superhero name be? (No prefab porn-name formulas here, you have to make up the name you think you’d be proud to mask under.)

Well, considering that the only extraordinary ability I seem to possess is an amazing capacity for remembering useless information (often about comic books), I think my superhero name is The Trivianator.

For extra credit: Is there an ‘existing’ superhero with whom you identify/whom you would like to be?

Like Doug, there was a time when I identified with Spider-Man, but not so much anymore. As for wanting to be one, hell no. I have plenty of angst in my life as it is, and I just don't think I'm up to handling great responsibility.

Pass it on. Three people please, and why they’re the wind beneath your wings.

Nope. I'm only passing this on to one person: Michael, because he's the only person I know well enough to ask to do this who both reads comics & has a weblog (other than Doug, who passed this on to me).

*I am annoyed that I was unable to find a picture of her from this era.

Sunday, July 10, 2005

Still not quite ready to list the books I've read in the last month so instead here are

Movies & DVDs

  • Being John Malkovich. Teena & I saw this at Pix. It's amazing how awful John Cusak & Cameron Diaz look in this movie.
  • Space Ghost Coast to Coast, vol. 3. What a wonderfully strange & stupid show.
  • Howl's Moving Castle. Teena & I went to see this with a couple other friends, Harmony & Toph (they're the couple who introduced us). I had considered rereading the book before seeing the movie, but decided against it. It had been so long since I had read the book that I couldn't remember more than a few details. If I had reread it before seeing the movie, I would have spent a lot of time comparing the two. And that would have meant less time to enjoy the movie. It's absolutely beautiful (no suprize there, as it's a Miyazaki film) and very touching. Highly recommended.
  • Batman Begins. Saw this with Teena. I quite enjoyed it. It certainly does a great job of re-introducing the character (and removing the bad taste left in the mouth by the last Batman movie {not that I ever saw that monstrosity}). I like the way they handled Ra's al Ghul & the Scarecrow. One problem though; whenever Katie Holmes was on the screen, I kept thinking about Tom Cruise & his antics lately. We saw it a second time with Harmony & Toph, and I was able to actually pay attention to Holmes's performance that time around (at least until that one scene {if you've seen the movie, you know which one I mean; I'm sure assistant DAs in Gotham City don't get paid all that much, but you'd think she'd at least be able to afford a coat}).
  • Mr. & Mrs. Smith. Light & frothy fun, with two very pretty leads & lots of explosions. What's not to like? Teena & I certainly enjoyed it.

Saturday, July 09, 2005

I'm adding a new feature to my weblog, one I'm stealing from other comics bloggers: a list of items from the latest Previews that I want but will not be ordering. No real reason for this other than to remind myself of how much I can't afford. It'll be almost entirely graphic novels because I don't pay much attention to other areas of the catalog, and I keep moving away from buying individual issues.

  • Cravan by Mike Richardson & Rick Geary. I love Rick Geary's art; that's the only reason I want this.
  • You Deserved It by Bob Fingerman. I really enjoyed Fingerman's Beg the Question.
  • Robin/Batgirl: Fresh Blood by various. If DC stopped doing Bat cross-overs & allowed the writer for each title to create their own stories, I'd be more inclined to buy the collections. Bill Willingham, the writer for "Robin", is somebody whose work I enjoy, but I don't care about Andersen Gabrych, the writer for "Batgirl", at all. So I'm not buying this. I'll probably check it out of the library, though.
  • Superman: Secret Itentity by Kurt Busiek & Stuart Immonen. This is strictly a budgetary decision.
  • JLA: Syndicate Rules by Kurt Busiek, Ron Garney & Dan Green. For some reason, I really want the Superman book by Busiek, but this JLA collection doesn't seem all that interesting. I'd still like a copy, though.
  • Showcase Presents Superman, vol. 1 by various.
  • Showcase Presents Green Lantern, vol. 1 by various. Not getting these two books really hurts. Cheap reprints of Silver Age DC comics, what's not to love? (Other than the fact that they're in black & white, but that's why they're cheap.) I love the idea behind Marvel's Essentials line, and this is more of the same. I just hope I'll be able to pick these up later.
  • Wonder Woman, vol 3: Beauty & the Beasts by George Perez et al. This is another book I hope to acquire later. Perez's run on WW was good stuff.
  • ABC: A-Z - Tom Strong & Jack B. Quick by Peter Hogan, Keven Nowlan & Chris Sprouse. If Alan Moore were writing this guide to the characters from America's Best Comics, I'd be buying it. As it is, I may not even pick up the collection.
  • Blood Mary by Garth Ennis & Carlos Ezquerra. Ennis tends to be hit & miss for me. If this had been solicited in a month when there were fewer things I wanted, I probably would have ordered this. (The same could be said for everything on this list.)
  • Hellblazer: Black Flowers by Mike Carey et al.
  • Hellblazer: Red Sepulchre by Mike Carey, Steve Dillon & Marcelo Frusin. Carey's "Sandman" spin off*, "Lucifer," never really worked for me. But I rather like his work on "Hellblazer." (I still dropped the monthly a while back when I was still unemployed, but I had been enjoying it.)
  • The Quitter by Harvey Pekar & Dean Haspiel. Much as I loved the movie version of American Splendor, Pekar's comics don't always work for me. If this were cheaper, I'd pick it up, but $20 seems like a lot.
  • Ring of Roses by Dan Petrou & John Watkiss.
  • Saint Germaine: Shadows Fall by Gary Reed et al.
  • Small Press Expo 2005 Anthology by various. I feel guilty about not getting this, since proceeds benefit the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund, and it's been too long since I contributed to them.
  • The X-Files, vol. 3 by Rozum, Purchell & Van Fleet. These comics were initially published back before the TV show jumped the shark.
  • The Complete Peanuts, vol 4: 1954-58 by Charles Schultz. I would dearly love to be getting this series. I need to win the lottery or something.
  • Mad Night feturing Judy Drood, Girl Detective by Richard Sala. Sala's wonderfully creepy art suits my sense of the macabre well, just not enough to spend $19 on this.
  • Acme Novelty Library by Chris Ware. Ware has a marvelous sense of design, and his books always look gorgeous. I just find the despair depicted in them rather hard to take.
  • The Punisher Max, vol. 1 by Garth Ennis, Lewis Larosa & Leandro Fernandez. It seems like when "The Punisher" became a mature readers only title Ennis forgot the absurdity of the character & started treating him seriously.

*Does anybody working on that comic remember that "Sandman" was set in the standard DC universe?

Friday, July 08, 2005

My excuse for not having updated recently is that I've been playing with my new toy.