Monday, January 30, 2006

When Teena & I moved in together, I had visions of small updates every few days & staying on top of things that way. That hasn't exactly happened. Here's my attempt to finish listing the books I read in 2005 before we finish the first month of 2006.

  1. The Ultimates 2, vol. 1: Gods & Monsters by Mark Millar & Bryan Hitch. I've been enjoying the Ultimates collections enough that I'm considering buying them. (Checked out of the library.)
  2. Cromartie High School, vol. 1 by Eiji Nonaka. Completely absurd manga about a high school full of tough guys & misfits (including a gorilla, a robot, a masked wrestler, and a guy who just might be Freddie Mercury).
  3. Inferno by Mike Carey & Michael Gaydos. (Library.)
  4. The Collected Dork Tower, vol. 8: Go, Dork, Go! by John Kovalic. I'm not sure why Amazon shows the cover to issue 2 of "Dr. Blink, Superhero Shrink" instead of the actual cover, which looks a lot like this.
  5. I Can't Believe It's Not the Justice League by Keith Giffen, J.M. DeMatteis, & Kevin Gaguire. Light & fluffy superheroics, but with some genuine emotion. Based on recent events in the DC universe, this will be the last time we see the silly versions of these characters, and that's a shame.
  6. Until the Full Moon, vol. 1 by Sanami Matoh. This is another manga title I checked out because the library had the first volume available. It was okay, but not terribly interesting. If the second volume hadn't been on display the next time I went to the library, I would not have sought it out. (Library.)
  7. GrimJack: Killer Instinct by John Ostrander & Timothy Truman. You all know the deal by now, right? In case I haven't drummed it into your heads by now: GrimJack is an excellent comic, and I am happy new stories are finally being published.
  8. From Eroica with Love, vol. 1 by Aoike Yasuko.
  9. Bleach, vol. 2: Goodbye Parakeet, Good Night My Sister by Tite Kubo.
  10. The X-Files, vol. 2 by various. Like the previous volume collecting X-Files comics from the '90s, this book could have used some proofreading. This time, the table of contents says it reprints 2 more issues than it actually does.
  11. Evil's Return, vol. 1 by Jong-Kyu Lee & Hwan Shin. This was just awful. (Library.)
  12. Star Wars: Clone Wars, vol 7: When They Were Brothers by Haden Blackman & Brian Ching. I've been buying most of the volumes in this series because they are at least partially written by John Ostrander. I ended up getting this one because either the comic catalog had the wrong information or my comic book store decided that since I'd bought previous volumes, I'd want this one. It wasn't bad, but I can't remember a damn thing about it.
  13. Mystique, vol. 1: Dead Drop Gorgeous by Brian K. Vaughan & Jorge Lucas.
  14. Bleach, vol. 3: Memories in the Rain by Tite Kubo.
  15. Batman: Bruce Wayne, Fugitive, vol. 2 by various. (Library.)
  16. Bleach, vol. 4: Quincy Archer Hates You by Tite Kubo.
  17. Krazy & Ignatz 1935-1936: A Wild Warmth of Chromatic Gravy by George Herriman. This volume reprints the first Krazy Kat strips that appeared in color. They are absolutely gorgeous.
  18. The American by Mark Verheiden et al. I don't know who at Dark Horse decided to reprint these comics, but I'm glad they did. This is a cynical take on the idea of a Captain America-type hero. It's not at all realistic, but it feels closer to how things would be in the real world.
  19. Little Lulu: Letters to Santa by John Stanley & Irving Tripp. (Library.)
  20. Knights of the Dinner Table: Bundle of Trouble, vol. 13 by various. Comics about role players. Terrible art, but funny stories.
  21. Image Holiday Special 2005 by various. I think there must be something wrong with Erik Larsen. How else can you explain him creating what is supposed to be a humorous Christmas story that involves a police officer being killed? I enjoyed some of the stories in this, but Larsen's really put me off.
  22. Tom Strong, Book 4 by Alan Moore, Jerry Ordway, et al. This collection includes Moore's last issues writing this comic (at least until the final issue comes out, if it ever does). I'm debating whether or not to get any more volumes in this series.
  23. The Best of the Spirit by Will Eisner. Eisner's innovation & mastery of the medium is at full display in this volume. I'd read all these stories before, but I still marveled at Eisner's craft & storytelling. I would love to see an affordable series of books reprinting the Spirit comics. The Archive editions look great but are just too damn expensive.
  24. Vimanarama by Grant Morrison & Philip Bond. This is just odd; the best description I can think of is a Jack Kirby story as told by Bollywood (but set in England). Strange and wonderful.
  25. Anywhere but Here by Tori Miki. (Library.)
  26. Villains United by Gail Simone, Dale Eaglesham, & Val Semeiks. This was good, but I think I would have enjoyed it more if I were more concerned with current events in the DC universe. I guess the thinking is that if the story is spread out over many titles, if they all tie into the big cross-over event, people will buy comics they don't normally pick up. (I know: this has been going on for decades, but the continuity seems especially tight-knit with Infinite Crisis.) But for me, it just makes me even less likely to buy individual issues. I'll pick up trade paperbacks by creators I like, but that's it.
  27. Star Wars: Clone Wars, vol. 3: Last Stand on Jabiim by Haden Blackman, John Ostrander, Brian Ching & Jan Duursema. I found a used copy of this & picked it up, even though Blackman wrote most of it.
  28. Kane, vol. 5: The Untouchable Rico Costas & Other Short Stories by Paul Grist. Grist has a cartoony art style, and he uses it well in this series about a police detective. He self-published for a long time, and then Image picked up the series and started republishing the collections (Grist decided years ago to move from individual issues to simply publishing books). They have finally reached material that had not been previously collected. I just hope further volumes (and dare I hope, new material) are soon to follow.
  29. Eerie Queerie, vol. 1 by Shuri Shiozu. (Library.)
  30. Coyote, vol. 2 by Steve Englehart, Steve Leialoha, Butch Guice, & Chaz Truog.
  31. Say Cheesy by Darby Conley. Have I mentioned how much I adore the Get Fuzzy comic strip?
  32. Embroideries by Marjane Satrapi. I enjoyed this more than I did Satrapi's autobiographical books (the two volumes of Persepolis), probably because of the subject matter: sex. This isn't salacious at all; it's a collection of stories Satrapi & her female relatives told each other. (Library.)
  33. Naruto, vol. 7: Orochimaru's Curse by Musashi Kishimoto.
  34. Iron Wok Jan!, vol. 6 by Shinji Saijyo. (Library.)
  35. Naruto, vol. 8: LIfe and Death Battles by Masashi Kishimoto.
  36. Star Trek: Death before Dishonor by Peter David & James Fry. It's nice that these comics are finally being collected. (I wonder how many different companies have had the license for ST comics over the years. I can think of at least four.)
  37. Dragon Ball Z, vol. 20 by Akira Toriyama.

And that finishes my list of books read in 2005. Maybe I'll get back to movies I've seen one of these days.

Friday, January 27, 2006

Proto-Bender is now here. It pours the beer but doesn't drink it.

Monday, January 16, 2006

Let's see how much I can get entered today.

  1. Superman: That Healing Touch by Greg Rucka, Matthew Clark, et al. The thing that I most remember about this, is that there is an estabilishing shot for one scene that is clearly based on the Everyday Music on Sandy Boulevard. (Checked out of the library.)
  2. Zombieworld: Champion of the Worms by Mike Mignola & Pat McEown. I wish Mignola had written more of these stories, because this one was pretty good. It felt almost like a twisted version of Tintin.
  3. Deathnote, vol. 1: Boredom by Tsugumi Ohba & Takeshi Obata. This is the story of a smart, bored highschooler who finds a death god's notebook, which allows him to kill anybody he likes simply by writing their name in the notebook. The death god is a more sympathetic character than the lead human. I'm really enjoying this series, and I should look to see if the writer has had anything else translated.
  4. Ghost in the Shell by Masamune Shirow. Teena & I have both been enjoying the anime version of this cyberpunk series about a special ops team, so we thought we'd check out the original manga version. They seem to be more variations on a theme than anything else. The characters may have the same names, but they don't act like their counterparts. In fact, there is very little characterization in the manga. It's more like Masamune is just dumping his thoughts about how cyber-technology would affect society, and he makes it visually interesting by including lots of cheesecake poses of the female characters (and an especially large number of panty shots). (Library.)
  5. Concrete, vol. 2: Heights by Paul Chadwick. This volume continues with the reprints of all the Concrete stories. It's hard to believe it's been twenty years since these were first published.
  6. Thud! by Terry Pratchett. The latest Discworld novel, this contains the previously mentioned Where's My Cow? I am amazed at how fast Pratchett writes these & how good they continue to be. (Teena's book.)
  7. Case Closed, vol. 1 by Gosho Aoyama. (Library.)
  8. Tales of the Closet, vol. 1: One-Two-Three by Ivan Velez, Jr. The comics reprinted here are from early in Velez's career, and the art & storytelling are undeniably rough in places. But there is also definitely strength & passion here. This comic was aimed young gays & lesbians; it tries to show them that they are not alone. Velez clearly believes in what he's doing here. I do hope the rest of the series is collected.
  9. Teen Titans, vol. 1: A Kid's Game by Geoff Johns, Mike McKone, & Tom Grummett. This wasn't bad, but it left no impression on me.
  10. Manhunter, vol. 1: Street Justice by Marc Andreyko & Jesus Saiz. I'd heard good things about this series, so I picked up the first collection, but it didn't impress me. I doubt I'll be getting any more collections.
  11. Baraka & Black Magic in Morocco by Rick Smith. Generally I have enjoyed graphic novel travelogues, but this one isn't as good as the others I've read. I did get the impression that the creator went to Morocco for the drugs.
  12. Geobreeders, book 1 by Akihiro Ito. Occasionally I will check a manga volume out of the library because they happen to have the first volume of a series available. Sometimes that doesn't work out. This volume was nearly incomprehensible. (Library.)
  13. Teen Titans, vol. 2: Family Lost by Geoff Johns et al. I picked this up at the same time I got volume 1. Like the first volume, this left almost no impression on me.
  14. Ghost in the Shell 2: Man-Machine Interface by Masamune Shirow. This seems yet another variation on a theme, because it bears little resemblance to the first book. And because the main character spends a lot of time in cyper-space this time around, the creator has an excuse to draw her "nude" for most of the book. Teena & I will stick to the tv anime series, thank you. (Library.)
  15. Wolverine, vol. 1: Enemy of the State by Mark Millar & John Romita, Jr. (Library.)
  16. Y, The Last Man, vol. 6: Girl on Girl by Brian K. Vaughan & Pia Guerra. It's not like the title makes it sound.
  17. X-Factor Visionaries: Peter David, vol. 1 by Peter David & Larry Stroman. Man, mainstream comic art in the 90s sucked. I blame Image. At least the writing's good.
  18. PvP, vol. 3: PvP Rides Again by Scott Kurtz.
  19. Ocean by Warren Ellis & Chris Sprouse. Based on what I read online, I'm glad I waited for the collection on this. Apparently the tpb adds a few lines of dialogue in the final chapter, explaining what's going on. I didn't have any trouble understanding things, so it looks like it worked.
  20. Deathnote, vol. 2: Confluence by Tsugum Ohba & Takeshi Obata.
  21. The Legend of GrimJack, vol. 4 by John Ostrander, Timothy Truman, & Tom Sutton. I feel I should say something here, since this was one of my favorite comics, and I am thrilled it is finally being collected, but I don't know what else to say after haveing said some variation of that for the previous three volumes.
  22. The Stupidest Angel: A Heartwarming Tale of Christmas Terror, Version 2.0 by Christopher Moore. Fun, but slight. (Library.)
  23. Colonia, vol. 2: On Into the Great Lands by Jeff Nicholson.
  24. Between the Sheets by Erica Sakurazawa. Another manga volume checked out on a whim. (Library.)
  25. JLA: Strength in Numbers by Grant Morrison, Howard Porter, et al. I've finally gotten around to picking up the last couple collections from Morrison's run on JLA.
  26. Grendel: Red, White & Black by Matt Wagner et al. If only Dark Horse would collect the later issues from the original run of Grendel.
  27. Beet the Vandel Buster, vol. 1 by Riku Sanjo & Koji Inada. This feels like it was created with an eye towards a possible video game spin-off. (Library.)
  28. Man-Thing: Whatever Knows Fear by Hans Rodionoff & Kyle Hotz. Unmemorable. (Library.)
  29. Bleach, vol. 1: Strawberry & the Soul Reapers by Tite Kubo. Initially I was checking the volumes in this series out of the library, but I liked it so much I decided I wanted to own them.
  30. Fullmetal Alchemist, vol. 4 by Hiromu Arakawa. This series is excellent, and I wish the manga volumes were released on a faster schedule than they are.
  31. Fantastic Four Visionaries: John Byrne, vol. 2. I am glad Byrne's run on Fantastic Four is being collected. I just wish the volumes were a little cheaper. I have to admit that they meet my criteria for whether or note a trade paperback collection is a good value (the cost of the book is equal to or less than the cost of buying the individual issues if they were published today), but I'm still not willing to pay full price for them. Instead I've been looking for used copies.

I'm still not done with 2005, but I'm going to take a break now. I may be back later today, but I wouldn't count on it.

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

I can perform weddings!

Yesterday I visited the Universal Life Church website & filled out their online ordination form. Today I received the confirmation e-mail that I an now ordained. Of course, that email is all I have to prove that I can perform weddings. At some point I will probably pay the $5 for an ordination credential.

edited to add the link

Monday, January 09, 2006

I first found this quiz a while ago, but I don't think I ever posted results.

I Am A: Chaotic Good GnomeBard Fighter

Chaotic Good characters are independent types with a strong belief in the value of goodness. They have little use for governments and other forces of order, and will generally do their own things, without heed to such groups.

Gnomes are also short, like dwarves, but much skinnier. They have no beards, and are very inclined towards technology, although they have been known to dabble in magic, too. They tend to be fun-loving and fond of jokes and humor. Some gnomes live underground, and some live in cities and villages. They are very tolerant of other races, and are generally well-liked, though occasionally considered frivolous.

Primary Class:
Bards are the entertainers. They sing, dance, and play instruments to make other people happy, and, frequently, make money. They also tend to dabble in magic a bit.

Secondary Class:
Fighters are the warriors. They use weapons to accomplish their goals. This isn't to say that they aren't intelligent, but that they do, in fact, believe that violence is frequently the answer.

Finder Wyvernspur is the Chaotic Neutral god of the cycle of life and the transformation of art, although he leans heavily towards Good. He is also known as the Nameless Bard. Followers of Finder believe that everything must change in order to grow and thrive. Their preferred weapon is the bastard sword.

Find out What D&D Character Are You?, courtesy ofNeppyMan (e-mail)

I'll get back to books eventually. I've got over 50 books still to post from 2005, and I'm already in double digits for 2006.