Sunday, August 28, 2005

  1. A Day at the Beach by Jim Toomey. Another Sherman's Lagoon collection. (Teena's book.)
  2. Finder, vol. 7: The Rescuers by Carla Speed McNeil. Amazing science fiction comics here. But the extrapolation is from sociology & anthropology rather than physics & chemistry. McNeil calls it "aboriginal sf." I am constantly amazed by this series. So much so that, while I would normally grouse about the fact that this collection came out so soon after the last issue that is collected in the book (the next issue has not yet been published), I am just so happy to have the story all in one place that it doesn't bother me at all. (Also, Lightspeed Press is {as far as I can tell} a one-woman show, so I'm willing to cut her a lot more slack than I am Marvel.) This collection has been reviewed at Salon, so check it out.
  3. The Probability Broach: The Graphic Novel by L. Neil Smith & Scott Bieser. This is libertarian propaganda; there's really no other way of describing it. It could have been an interesting little alternate history story, but I found the periodic lectures (on the evilness of government, on the necessity of arming anybody & everybody down to age 6 or 7, etc.) to be distracting. While the phrase "enlightened self-interest" never appears in the book, that does appear to be the operating principle behind the philosophy presented. Unfortunately, the author doesn't seem to realize that the former part is a lot harder to achieve than the latter. Also, he doesn't appear to acknowledge that people don't always act rationally. Children and adolescents with guns do not make for a stable society. The trouble with utopias is that the people who create them tend to forget about aspects of human nature that don't fit convienently into their plan. (Checked out of the library.)
  4. YuYu Hakusho, vol. 6: The Dark Tournament by Yoshihiro Togashi. Time once again to complain about Amazon's crappy sorting for manga titles. What happened to "advanced search"? I'd really like to be able to weed out manga translations in languages other than English. Hell, I'd be happy to sort through the French & German versions if I thought I'd find more than a couple English volumes of the title I'm looking for. And it seems to be a crap shoot as to which titles are fully represented in English and which aren't.

That's all for now.

Saturday, August 27, 2005

  1. Hard Boiled Angel, Book 1: Blue Angel by Hyun Se Lee. Korean comics. Didn't much care for it. (Checked out of the library.)
  2. Catch of the Day by Jim Toomey. This is a collection of Sherman's Lagoon strips. (Teena's book.)
  3. Top 10: The Forty-Niners by Alan Moore & Gene Ha. I don't know where to begin. This book is absolutely excellent. It reminded me of how good the regular Top 10 series was and how sad I am that there won't be any more. (Yeah, there's a mini-series being published, but Moore's not writing it. I enjoyed the first issue, but it's not nearly as good as the original.) The concept, police in a city where everybody has super powers of some sort, sounds odd, but Moore uses it to tell marvelously human stories. (And the easter eggs just enhance the reading experience.)
  4. The Sandman Presents: Thessaly, Witch for Hire by Bill Willingham & Shawn McManus. Most of the non-Gaiman Sandman spin-offs tried way too hard to capture the feel of the original. This one works because it doesn't. (The same is true of Jill Thompson's works with the characters.)
  5. Superman: Secret Identity by Kurt Busiek and Stuart Immonen. I'd heard good things about this when is was being published as a mini-series, but I held off on reading it. Now that it's been collected, I think I'll have to pick up my own copy. This is an "Elseworlds" story (i.e. it's outside normal continuity). By telling the story of a man with superpowers in which the man ages & matures, Busiek has created one of his best works (and that's saying something considering the man wrote Marvels and Astro City). (Library.)
  6. Bad Signal, vol. 2 by Warren Ellis with Jacen Burrows. More of the best from Ellis' mailing list. Thoughts about comics, life, & the world.
  7. The Long Haul by Antony Johnston & Eduardo Barreto. A caper story set in the old west. The way the main character reacts to Native Americans seems a little too modern for this to be plausible (as if caper stories were plausible), but I still enjoyed this quite a bit. (Library.)
  8. Avengers West Coast: VisionQuest by John Byrne. This storyline got reprinted because of recent events in the Marvel Universe, but that's fine by me, because otherwise we wouldn't have this book of comics from back in the day when Byrne's ego hadn't completely taken over. Apart from his usual awkwardness when it comes to exposition (which unfortunately there is quite a lot of in this book), this is solid superhero fun. (Well, there is the matter of Wonder Man's mullet, but I'm not entirely sure we can blame Byrne for that.)
  9. Bill & Ted's Most Excellent Adventures, vol. 2 by Evan Dorkin. There is a lightheartedness to these comics that I really enjoy. I like Dorkin's other work, but Dork has an edge of bitterness to it, and Hectic Planet became pretty melancholy by the end. It's great to see something from Dorkin that's just unabashedly fun.
  10. Conan, vol. 1: The Frost Giant's Daugher and Other Stories by Kurt Busiek & Cary Nord. (Library.)
  11. Bleach, vol. 7: The Broken Coda by Tite Kubo. More ghost-hunting goodness. (Library.)
  12. King: A Comics Biography of Martin Luther King, Jr. by Ho Che Anderson. It's exactly what it says. Very well done. (Library.)
  13. The Legend of GrimJack, vol. 3 by John Ostrander & Timothy Truman. I've praised Ostrander here repeatedly. What can I say? I really enjoy his writing. So let me say once again how happy I am that this fantastic series is being collected.
  14. Heaven's War by Michah Harris & Michael Gaydos. (Library.)
  15. Tim Burton's The Nightmare Before Christmas by Jun Asuga. This is a manga adaptation of the movie. It was fine, but because it doesn't bring anything new to the story, it felt a little flat, sort of like a cover version of a song where the performer just tries to recreate the original.
  16. Scott Pilgrim, vol. 2: Scott Pilgrim vs. the World by Bryan Lee O'Malley. More kick-assery from O'Malley, full of cute drawings and game logic. Highly recommended.

Friday, August 26, 2005

From Michael:
You scored as Storyteller. You're more inclined toward the role playing side of the equation and less interested in numbers or experience points. You're quick to compromise if you can help move the story forward, and get bored when the game slows down for a long planning session. You want to play out a story that moves like it's orchestrated by a skilled novelist or film director.



Casual Gamer






Power Gamer




Method Actor


Law's Game Style
created with

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

I just realized I haven't mentioned how much I enjoy reading Hulk's Diary That Is On The Internet. Well worth checking out.
Klingon fairy tale titles. (Link swiped from Boing Boing.)
I may have linked to this before. But it may have been a different quiz. In any case, I'm fairly satisfied with the result.

The Second Doctor
You are the Second Doctor: Affable, impish, and
fond of simple pleasures as well as simple
pranks. Your mischievous exterior camouflages a
powerful mind and a great deal of courage.
Although you care nothing for appearances, you
place a high value on the bonds of true and
lasting friendship.

Which Incarnation of the Doctor Are You?
brought to you by Quizilla

(Edited to add that the quiz only goes up to the 7th Doctor, but it does include the Master. Also, I'm nearly positive I linked to this before. Oh well.)

Monday, August 22, 2005

It's been nearly two months since Teena & I moved in together. I thought I'd update more frequently once I had regular internet access, but that doesn't seem to have worked out. If I can get caught up, maybe I'll be able to stay on top of things with smaller but more frequent posts.

  1. Superman vs. the Flash by various. This reprint volume collects all the comics depicting races between Superman and the Flash (all three of the latter). I found it iteresting that in every case where there was an unambiguous winner, the Flash won. There's got to be some benefit to specializing. (Checked out of the library.)
  2. Narbonic, vol. 2 by Shaenon K. Garrity. Teena & I both enjoyed the first volume so much that we promptly ordered the second one. Highly recommended. Go to Garrity's website, check out the available strips, & order yourself a copy.
  3. Megatokyo, vol. 1 by Fred Gallagher w/Rodney Caston. I had heard the name of this online comic a few places, so I decided to give this collection of strips a try. I enjoyed it, but the major impression it gave me is that it was written by & for American people who are way too interested in Japanese culture. You know the type: white guys who know the minutest detail about any manga or anime series you care to name. (I know. To some people, I am that guy. But believe me, there are people out there whose interest in all things Japanese puts mine to shame.)
  4. One Piece, vol. 7: The Crap-Geezer by Eiichiro Oda. Yes, I've undercut my argument by listing a manga volume immedately after the last book, but at least it's in English. The guys I'm talking about learn Japanese so they can have the unfiltered experience.
  5. Sandman Mystery Theatre, vol. 3: The Vamp by Matt Wagner, Steven T. Seagle, & Guy Davis. I had forgotten how good this series was, and I'm glad for these reprints to remind me. The relationship between Wesley & Diane is a wonderful thing to watch develop. I hope this has sold enough that they continue with the reprints.
  6. Bleach, vol. 5: Right Arm of the Giant by Tite Kubo. I'm really enjoying this series. Enough so, that I'm considering buying them. (Now if only I could find them on Amazon.) (Library.)
  7. Bleach, vol. 6: The Death Trilogy Overture by Tite Kubo. (Library.)
  8. Walking Dead, vol 2: Miles Behind Us by Robert Kirkman & Charlie Adlard. A damn good zombie story. (Library.)
  9. Walking Dead, vol. 3: Safety Behind Bars by Robert Kirkman & Charlie Adlard. (Library.)
  10. Don Martin's Droll Book. If you're a fan of the man who was once billed as "Mad's Maddest Artist" you don't need me to explain this. If you're not, nothing I could say would convince you.
  11. Star Wars Clone Wars, vol. 6: On the Fields of Battle by John Ostrander, Jan Duursema, et al. This volume wasn't entirely written by Ostrander, but enough of it was that I felt it was worthwhile to pick it up. I'm sure I'm in a miniscule minority of people buying Star Wars comics in that whether or not I pick up an issue or graphic novel depends entirely on who the creators are, so my hope for books entirely by Ostrander will probably go unfulfilled.

(Edited to fix the time frame. It's been more than two weeks since Teena & I moved in together.)
(Edited again to fix the count numbers.)

Friday, August 19, 2005

Tom the Dog had almost exactly the same reaction to Scott Pilgrim's Precious Little Life that I did, and he expresses it much more articulately than I did. So check out his review.

Monday, August 15, 2005

Back to the list.

  1. Iron Wok Jan, vol. 1 by Shinji Saijyo. I'd read good stuff about this online, so I decided to take a look. Pretty interesting, but it didn't really grab me. It is nice, though, to see a manga series where the battles aren't fights (although I bet it quickly becomes difficult to make cooking competitions visually interesting). (Checked out of the library.)
  2. Tuxedo Gin, vol. 1 by Toki Matsuura. Another series I decided to try based on online recommendations. I'll be checking out more of these, if only for the sheer weirdness of the premise: a boxer dies & is reincarnated as a penguin; he retains his memories of being a human; if he lives out his natural lifespan as a penguin {no suicide}, he'll be returned to his human body & reunited with the girl he loves. Of course, said girl is keeping him as a pet. Completely absurd, but rather charming nonetheless. (Library.)
  3. Scott Pilgrim, vol. 1: Scott Pilgrim's Precious Little Life by Bryan Lee O'Malley. Yet another book I read because of comics blogs I read. From the blurb on the back of the book, I was prepared to hate this book. It sounded like it was filled with the kind of drama that appeals to teens & twenty-somethings. Plus the main character is 23 and dating a 17-year-old? Creepy. But I read it & discovered that it kicks all kinds of ass. Very cool stuff. I'll definitely be buying my own copy of this. (Library.)

I didn't get nearly as far as I wanted to tonight. Oh well, at least I made some progress.

{Edited to correct the numbers}

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

I'm off a roll. Life got in the way of updating. And even now I'm not posting books I've read recently.

Yesterday Fanboy Rampage had a thread about "desert island comics." I didn't post my list of 5 comics there, but I am posting it here. In no particular order:

  • Tales of the Beanworld by Larry Marder. Such a wonderfully strange & thought-provoking series. Unfortunately out of print.
  • Promethea by Alan Moore & J.H. Williams III. Beautiful artwork, wonderful stories, and a primer on magic, all rolled into one.
  • The Sandman by Neil Gaiman et al. I don't need to explain this choice, do I?
  • The first half of Cerebus by Dave Sim & Gerhard. Sim is an amazing storyteller (and no other letterer can convey the nuances of speech as well as he can). It's too bad he went nuts.
  • Palomar by Gilbert Hernandez. I cannot tell you how touching these stories are.

So that's my list.

Thursday, August 04, 2005

I'm on a roll.

  1. The Fairer Sex: A Tale of Shades & Angels, vol. 1 by John Ira Thomas & Jeremy Smith. I found this book quite confusing. I attributed that to bad storytelling skills on the part of the creators. I thought that they simply weren't bothering to properly introduce characters, but once I saw the ad in the back of the book I realized that despite the "volume one" on the cover, this isn't the first book featuring some of these characters. However, nothing in the book except that ad gives any indication that this is the case. So it's still bad storytelling, but more along the lines of sloppiness rather than incompetence. (Checked out of the library.)
  2. The Maxx, vol. 3 by Sam Kieth, with Wiliam Messner-Loebs. Strange, weird stuff. But it starts to all make sense in this volume. I had delayed in picking up this volume because the oddness of the previous two had started to get to me. (And I've got a high tolerance for weirdness.) I need to get volume 4.
  3. Ranma 1/2, vol. 28 by Rumiko Takahashi. Yet more martial arts mayhem. (Library.)
  4. Ranma 1/2, vol. 29 by Rumiko Takahashi. Even more martial arts mayhem. (Library.)
  5. Narbonic, vol. 1 by Shaenon K. Garrity. One day I stumbled across Narbonic, a great little web comic about a mad scientist & her underlings. I hadn't seen much of it when I took a chance on ordering a copy of her book (directly from her rather than Amazon). Teena & I are both glad I took that risk. The comic is very funny, but then how can you go wrong with mad scientists? Highly recommended.
  6. Harry Potter & the Half-Blood Prince by J.K. Rowling. You may not have heard of this fantasy novel, but it's actually the sixth in a series of seven books.
  7. Too Much Coffee Man: How to Be Happy by Shannon Wheeler. You have to admire Wheeler. He took a one-note character & turned him into a vehicle for all kinds of commentary. Pretty funny, too.
  8. Y: The Last Man, vol. 5: The Ring of Truth by Brian K. Vaughan & Pia Guerra. The latest collection of this series, and it looks like we're finally starting to get some answers about what happened & why Yorick & Ampersand survived the disaster that killed every other male mammal on the the planet.
  9. Dr. Slump, vol. 2 by Akira Toriyama. If all I knew of Toriyama's work were Dragon Ball Z, I'd have been surprised at how goofy Dr. Slump is, but I knew that before the "Z" was added, Dragon Ball was pretty silly.
  10. The Pulse, vol. 2: Secret War by Brian Michael Bendis & Brent Anderson. It seems wrong to me that the "comics event" this storyline ties into is still unfinished. It also seems wrong that this collection was published before the next issue of "The Pulse" comic was. It makes me more inclined than ever to just wait for collections.

I'm catching up. Right now I'm only 1.5 weeks behind, and the half week is the time since I started updating again.

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

I didn't actually expect to be updating tonight, but the regular Wednesday night game fell through, and I didn't feel up to heading over to Michael's for an impromptu Space 1889 game.

  1. The Golden Plates, vol. 1: The Sword of Laban and the Tree of Life by Michael Allred. Much as I like Allred's work, I'm not terribly interested in a comic book adaptation of the Book of Mormon, so I'm not buying this series. (Checked out of the library.)
  2. Hunter X Hunter, vol. 2 by Yoshihiro Togashi. As formulaic as this is, I like it.
  3. Will Eisner's John Law, Detective: Dead Man Walking by Gary Chaloner. The reprinted Eisner stories in this book are good. Unfortunately, they're something like only a third of the book. (Library.)
  4. Hunter X Hunter, vol. 3 by Yoshihiro Togashi. More manga.
  5. Escalator by Brandon Graham. I enjoyed this at the time I read it, but it took quite a while for me to remember it now that I'm posting about it. (Library.)
  6. Scheherezade: Stories about Love, Treacher, Mothers & Monsters by various. Another not-terribly-memorable graphic novel. (Library.)
  7. Batman & Superman: World's Finest by Karl Kesel, Dave Tayer, et al. (Library.)
  8. The Dead Boy Detectives by Jill Thompson. A cute comic in the style of shojo (girl's) manga. I always enjoy Thompson's work.
  9. Ranma 1/2, vol. 27 by Rumiko Takahashi. I'm afraid I don't really have much left to say about this series. There are enough volumes that I think I've covered it all before. I like these and will keep reading them as long as I can get them. (Library.)
  10. Fullmetal Alchemist, vol. 2 by Hiromu Arakawa. I'm very happy that Teena also enjoys this manga & anime series about two alchemist brothers.
  11. Midnight Pulp Presents: Secret Skull by Steve Niles & Chuck BB. I've ranted before about how I think Niles is a sloppy writer. So why do I keep reading his stuff? I think it's because I derive some schadenfreude from the knowledge that I could do a better job of editing his stuff than whoever is doing so. Actually, this book wasn't bad. I didn't notice any gaping plot holes, but it still didn't grab me. (Library.)
  12. Naruto, vol. 4: The Next Level by Masashi Kishimoto. Even by the standards of ninja stories, this is unrealistic. But it's fun.
  13. The X-Files, vol. 1 by Stefan Petrucha et al. Actually, this is more like volume 3. Topps (yes, the baseball card people) published a line of comics in the 90s, and they had the license for The X-Files. They published two collections before they folded, and now a new publisher is picking up where Topps left off. Unfortunately, the art is muddy. It feels to me like they didn't have access to the original art and had to shoot from copies of the comic books. Also, they really need a proof-reader. A couple pages are out of sequence, and there is something that should have been printed as a two-page spread but instead ended up on opposite sides of a single page. But my favorite mix-up is on one of the chapter headings. In the book, each issue starts off with a page that reprints the cover of the original comic. On that page, they have put the writing & art credits for the issue that follows. For one of these, the credits read: "Story: Author Name. Art: Artist Name." Lovely quality control there, folks.

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

Continuing with catching up.
  1. Courtney Crumrin & the Coven of Mystics by Ted Naifeh. I like these well enough to check them out of the library. My best guess as to why they don't quite work for me is that they come across as a little too angsty & "Oh, nobody understands the burden of being me." (Library.)
  2. Scream Queen by Ho Che Anderson. (Library.)
  3. Superman: True Brit by Kim "Howard" Johnson & John Byrne, with John Cleese. I had hopes for this story: John Cleese helping write a "What if Kal El's ship landed in England rather than Kansas?" Sounds promising, but overall it was just lame. The jokes fell flat. Too many of them were rehashed Monty Python gags that weren't actually funny but instead reminded the reader of something that actually was humorous. The book suffers in comparison. Not recommended. (Library.)
  4. The Losers, vol. 2: Double Down by Andy Diggle, Jock, & Shawn Martinbrough. I enjoyed this, but I can't think of anything to say about it. (Library.)
  5. Batman: War Games, Act 2: Tides by various. (Library.)
  6. Canvas by Alex Fellows. (Library.)
  7. Proof of Concept by Larry Young et al. The idea behind this book is that the writer throws out a bunch of ideas for possible comic book series or graphic novels & then has a variety of artists illustrate them. None of the concepts really grabbed me, but I did like a couple of them. (Library.)
  8. What's Michael?, vol. 10: Sleepless Nights by Makoto Kobayashi. Japanese comics about cats.
  9. True Story, Swear to God: 100 Stories by Tom Beland. A collection of comic strips. I see now why people have been raving about Beland.
  10. Filler by Rick Spears and Rob G. I rather enjoyed this gritty crime drama until I got to the end. The twist at the end of the book renders everything that came before unnecessary. It made the whole experience unsatisfying. (Library.)

Only 4 weeks behind now.
Another quiz, courtesy of Mr. Piggs and Gemma.

You are a Black Coffee

At your best, you are: low maintenance, friendly, and adaptable

At your worst, you are: cheap and angsty

You drink coffee when: you can get your hands on it

Your caffeine addiction level: high

I would debate the level of caffeine addiction, but the rest seems about right.
Here's a Harry Potter personality quiz based on the Myers-Briggs test.

Pirate Monkey's Harry Potter Personality Quiz
Harry Potter Personality Quiz
by Pirate Monkeys Inc.

Monday, August 01, 2005

Here's two weeks' worth of books.
  1. Wizard's Castle by Diana Wynne Jones. This is a compilation of Howl's Moving Castle and its sequel, Castle in the Air. I didn't reread these before we went to see Miyazaki's adaptation of the first book, and I'm glad I didn't. They are quite different, and if I'd reread the book first, I would have spent the movie making comparisons between the two, instead of just enjoying it. Of the two books, I prefer the latter. I suspect that's because of the Arabian Nights feel.
  2. Magic Pickle by Scott Morse. Silly.
  3. Michael Chabon Presents the Amazing Adventures of the Escapist, vol. 2 by various. I stopped buying the individual issues of this series because Dark Horse was releasing the collections mere weeks after all the issues collected (both of them) were published. I didn't feel like spending money on the same material twice so close together. And now they seem to have stopped collecting issues. It looks like I'll have to hunt down back issues, and I know I'm going to do so. Will Eisner contributed to one of the uncollected issues.
  4. The Secrets, vol. 1: The Other Statue by Edward Gorey. (Checked out of the library.)
  5. Powers, vol. 8: Legends by Brian Michael Bendis & Michael Avon Oeming. I know Bendis isn't all that popular among comics bloggers, but I still like his stuff. (Although Powers is the only comic of his where I don't wait for the trade. Wait, I also buy individual issues of The Pulse.) Lots of revelations in this collection (and the infamous "monkey sex" issue).
  6. Supreme Power, vol. 1 by J. Michael Straczynski. I found it interesting that the supplementary material in this collection never once mentions the fact that the Squadron Supreme (which Straczynski is re-imagining in this series) was based on the Justice League. I guess there are too many trademark issues, but it's obvious (and always has been).
  7. The Wizard King, book 1: The King of the World by Wallace Wood. I have to say that the thing that most stands out in my mind about this book is how the coloring has added clothes to all the femal characters. It's clear from the linework that Wood intended them to be nude. (Library.)
  8. Age of Bronze, vol. 2: Sacrifice by Eric Shanower. Shanower is doing an absolutely amazing job of retelling the Trojan War. It's taking a long time, I assume because the vast majority of comic buyers aren't interested in a realistic depiction of life in the bronze age. (The only supernatural elements Shanower uses are visions & prophecies.) It's clear the book is meticulously researched. It's also clear Shanower cares a lot about the subject. I hope this sells very well outside of comic book stores, because it's wonderful stuff, and I want to see it completed.
  9. Negative Burn Winter Special 2005 by various. Negative Burn was a great anthology comic in the 90's, but anthology comics almost never sell very well. NB lasted longer than most, but it too was cancelled. Now it's back in a series of specials. (Well, assuming more than one gets produced. And given that this "Winter Special" didn't come out until June, I'm not getting my hopes up.)
  10. Julius by Antony Johnstone & Brett Weldele. Shakespeare's Julius Caesar retold as the story of contemporary London mobsters. That should be enough to tell you whether or not you'd be interested in it.

Only 5 weeks behind now.

(By the by, I ended up not getting the books I linked to earlier.)
Just putting a couple Amazon links in for my own use.
Ultimate X-Men, vol. 4
New Avengers, vol. 1