Sunday, December 31, 2006

Here it is, the last day of the year, and I am going to get caught up today.

  1. Continuity by Jason McNamara & Tony Talbert. (Checked out of the library.)
  2. Avignon: Gods and Demons by Che Gilson & Jimmie Robinson. Perhaps a little too gothy for me, but quite good. (Library.)
  3. A History of Violence by John Wagner & Vince Locke. There's an aspect to this story that I find stretches my willing suspension of disbelief, but other than that, I really enjoyed this. For a second, I wondered if my sticking point made it into the the movie version, but then I realized that it is something that's right up Cronenberg's alley, so I'm sure it was retained.
  4. Ghost Rider: The Road to Damnation by Garth Ennis & Clayton Crain. I didn't have high hopes for this, but Ennis is almost always at least entertaining. I was pleasantly surprised. This story felt very In Nomine-ish, and that's a good thing as far as I am concerned. (Library.)
  5. Blab!, no. 1 by various. A large number of 60's underground comics artists write about how they were influence by EC comics, especially Mad.
  6. Cowboys & Aliens by Fred Van Lente, Andrew Foley, & Luciano Lima. I picked this up on impulse because it was written by the writer of Action Philosophers! the best comic book about lovers of wisdom (also, it was cheap). Pretty good. Nothing spectacular, but entertaining.
  7. Marvel Holiday Digest by various.
    Panic, vol. 2 by Al Feldstein, et al.
  8. The Dark Horse Book of Monsters by various.
  9. Ex Machina, vol. 4: March to War by Brian K. Vaughan, Tony Harris, & Chris Sprouse. I continue to enjoy this series, but I don't have a lot to say about it.
  10. Sachs & Violens by Peter David & George Perez.
  11. Ragmop by Rob Walton. I was thrilled when I read that Walton's brilliant series was finally being collected. Unfortunately I felt a little let down when I read it. I think it's because I had built it up in my mind too much in the decade or so since it was originally published. Also, after 6 years of GWB's America, Walton's depiction of the machinations behind the US government doesn't seem nearly as transgressive as it once did. Don't get me wrong, this is still a great & hilarious story about politics, religion, history, and dinosaurs. I just had my expectations too high.
  12. Dragon Head, vol. 4 by Minetoro Mochizuki. (Library.)
  13. Dragon Slippers by Rosalind B. Penfold. (Library.)
  14. Three Tenors: Off Key by Bill Messner-Loebs, Dave Cockrum, & Clifford Meth.0785123210
  15. Captain America: Red Menace, vol. 1 by Ed Brubaker, et al. (Library.)
  16. The Authority: The Magnificent Kevin by Garth Ennis & Carlos Ezquerra. (Library.)
  17. Frontline Combat, vol.3 by Harvey Kurtzman, et al.
  18. Crime SuspenStories by various.
  19. Pocket Essentials: Alan Moore by Lance Parkin. A slim but very informative book about Moore's writing history. I liked this, but was puzzled by a couple of gratuitous swipes at Neil Gaiman.
  20. Fiddling for Waterbuffaloes by S.P. Somtow.
  21. Bleach, vol. 16: Night of Wijnruit by Tite Kubo.
  22. Fables, vol. 8: Wolves by Bill Willingham, Mark Buckingham, & Shawn McManus. While I enjoy Willingham's writing, there's something about it that has bothered me for a while. I have finally figured out what it is: his characters are too rational. In his stories, nobody ever does something stupid because they weren't thinking or because they were caught up in the moment. I'm not saying his characters are unemotional, just that they never let emotions affect their judgment.
  23. Supreme Power, vol. 2 by J. Michael Straczynski, Gary Frank, & Dan Jurgens.
  24. Maison Ikkoku, vol. 14 by Rumiko Takahashi.
  25. Maison Ikkoku, vol. 15 by Rumiko Takahashi. I used to say that Inu Yasha was Takahashi's best work, but that was before it started dragging on & on. It's got a great mix of adventure, romance, & comedy, but it has gone on too long. Maison Ikkoku on the other hand, wraps up nicely in 15 volumes. I haven't read everything Takahashi has written, but right now I believe this is her best work. This is a lovely, sweet ending to the series.
  26. The Order of the Stick, vol. 0: On the Origin of the PCs by Rich Burlew. Finally bought a copy of this.
  27. Blowing Up Hong Kong by Chris Jones. This is a source book for the Feng Shui role playing game.
  28. The Twelve Terrors of Christmas by John Updike & Edward Gorey.
  29. The Five Fists of Science by Matt Fraction & Steven Sanders. Nicola Tesla & Mark Twain vs. J.P. Morgan, Andrew Carnegie, & Thomas Edison. What's not to love? (Library.)
  30. The New Avengers, vol. 4: The Collective by Brian Michael Bendis, Steve McNiven, & Mike Deodato Jr. (Library.)
  31. Runaways, vol. 2 by Brian K. Vaughan, Adrian Alphona, & Takeshi Miyazawa.
  32. Lost Girls by Alan Moore & Melinda Gebbie. Sometimes this worked for me, sometimes it didn't. If nothing else, it's interesting. But then Moore's writing always is.

As I am unlikely to finish any more books in the 6.5 hours until midnight, this concludes my listing for 2006. Join me next year, when I will update more frequently: at least once a week for books, and at least one more post a week for movies (until I get caught up on them; but since it's been something like a year & a half since I listed any movies, that should last a while).

Tuesday, December 26, 2006


Back in October I spent a week updating and getting caught up. And now, a month and a half later, I'm finally updating again. I'm going to try to get caught up before the end of the year. In 2007, I am going to try to update the book list at least once a week. Let's see if I can maintain the pace.

  1. The System of the World by Neal Stephenson. When I finished this, the last of Stephenson's Baroque Cycle books, it took me a while to readjust to reading about something else. I had been immersed in 18th century intrigue, high-finance, and politics for so long that it felt like it should keep on going, even though I'd finished the book.
  2. Ultimate Spider-Man, vol. 7 by Brian Michael Bendis & Mark Bagley.
  3. Showcase Presents: Justice League of America, vol. 1 by Gardner Fox & Mike Sekowsky.
  4. American Born Chinese by Gen Luen Yang. Before I read this, I had read a lot of very positive reviews of this book. They're all right. (Checked out of the library.)
  5. The Pulse, vol. 3: Fear by Brian Michael Bendis, Michael Gaydos, & Olivier Caipel.
  6. Thieves & Kings Presents: The Walking Mage by Mark Oakley.
  7. A Series of Unfortunate Events, Book 13: The End by Lemony Snicket. In some ways, this book is very disappointing, because it leaves so many unresolved questions. But one of the points of the book is that life doesn't tie up loose ends. Also, I think I will love this book forever because of one particular event that happens towards the end of the book. (Library.)
  8. Desolation Jones, vol. 1: Made in England by Warren Ellis & J.H. Williams III. Ellis channels Raymond Chandler through a filter of post-modernism. Great stuff.
  9. Runaways, vol. 6: Parental Guidance by Brian K. Vaughan and Adrian Alphona.
  10. A Distant Soil, Book 2: The Ascendant by Colleen Doran.
  11. A Distant Soil, Book 3: The Aria by Colleen Doran.
  12. The Little Man: Short Strips 1980-1995 by Chester Brown. (Library.)
  13. Klezmer, Book 1: Tales of the Wild East by Joan Sfar. (Library.)
  14. A Distant Soil, Book 4: Coda by Colleen Doran. I do hope there isn't as large a gap between this volume and book 5 as there was between book 3 and this volume (5 years).
  15. Sight Unseen by Robert Tinnell & Bo Hampton. A pitch for a horror movie done up as a graphic novel. (Library.)
  16. Charley's War: 2 June 1916-1 August 1916 by Pat Mills & Joe Colquhoun. Very well done & well researched stories about WWI. (Library.)
  17. Stormbreaker: The Saga of Beta Ray Bill by Michael Avon Oeming, Dan Berman, & Andrea DiVito. Eh. (Library.)
  18. Fragile Things by Neil Gaiman. Short stories & poems by the always-excellent Gaiman.
  19. Fables: 1001 Nights of Snowfall by Bill Willingham, et al.
  20. Gotham Central, vol. 4: The Quick and the Dead by Greg Rucka, Michael Lark, and Stefano Gaudiano. Man, I wish this series about the police in Gotham City were still going. But I guess comics fans want superheroes more than they want good stories.
  21. The Rann-Thanagar War by Dave Gibbons & Ivan Reis. There was too much going on in this comic. A lot of stuff happened "off-screen", and it feels like it was written that way because there was too much happening (in this editorially-mandated mini-series) to fit it all on the alloted pages. So the readers were told a lot of things rather than shown them. (Library.)
  22. Scrum Bums by Darby Conley. More great "Get Fuzzy" comic strips.
  23. Captain America: Winter Solider, vol. 1 by Ed Brubaker, Steve Epting, & Michael Lark.
  24. Captain America: Winter Soldier, vol. 2 by Ed Brubaker, Steve Epting, & Michael Lark. I never would have guessed that I would enjoy a comic that resurrected one of the two people in the Marvel Universe that everybody assumed would never come back from the dead. But I did.
  25. Death Note, vol. 8: Target by Tsugumi Ohba & Takeshi Obata.
  26. Scrublands by Joe Daly. (Library.)
  27. Wintersmith by Terry Pratchett. I am constantly amazed that Pratchett has not run out of things to say with his Discworld books.
  28. A Scanner Darkly by Philip K. Dick, adapted by Richard Linklater.
  29. Essential Moon Knight, vol. 1 by Dough Moench, Bill Sienkiewicz, et al. These comics from the 70's hold up remarkably well. Solid superheroics.
  30. Inverloch, vol. 1 by Sarah Ellerton. (Library.)
  31. Dragon Head, vol. 2 by Minetaro Mochizuki. (Library.)
  32. Luba: The Book of Ofelia by Gilbert Hernandez. The short stories here started to feel repetitive after a while. I think I like Beto's work better when he does longer stories.
  33. Available Light by Warren Ellis. In this book, Ellis wrote short stories & essays to go with photos he took with his phone, with some interesting results.
  34. Y: The Last Man, vol. 8: Kimono Dragons by Brian K. Vaughan, Pia Guerra, & Goran Sudzuka.
  35. Fullmetal Alchemist, vol. 10 by Hiromu Arakawa.
  36. Spider Man: The Other: Evolve or Die by various. Another example of editorially-mandated comics selling well but not being very good. (Library.)
  37. Moomin: The Complete Tove Jansson Comic Strip, Book One. As a kid, I enjoyed Jansson's Moomintroll books, but I never knew that she had created a comic strip featuring the same characters. Fortunately, these charming strips are now being collected. I'm looking forward to future volumes.
  38. Outlaw Nation by Jamie Delano, Goran Sudzuka, & Goran Parlov. I'm afraid I never bought any issues of the comic that is collected here, and I therefore contributed to its early demise, but I did enjoy reading this book.
  39. Polly & The Pirates, vol. 1 by Ted Naifeh. There's something about Naifeh's other work that puts me off, but I enjoyed this a lot and hope he does more volumes. (Library.)
  40. Can't Get No by Rick Veitch. I like a lot of Veitch's stories, but this didn't work for me. I think that's because it's closer to his dream comics than a more straight-forward narrative. (Library.)
  41. The Sandman Papers edited by Joe Sanders. Academic papers about The Sandman. As with other academic books about pop-culture I have read, this was a mixed bag. For me, the low point was this quote: "As Moonwomon-Baird has said, 'I have come to think that language use among lesbians, at least across ethnicities and social classes of English-speaking American lesbians, is peculiarly lesbian in that interlocutors assume shared knowledge about many extradiscoursal matters touching on both gender and social-sexual orientation'." In other words: people from a particular sub-culture have experiences & knowledge in common, and they assume this when they talk. Wow! What insight!
  42. Dragon Head, vol. 3 by Minetaro Mochizuki. (Library.)
  43. Maison Ikkoku, vol. 12 by Rumiko Takahashi.
  44. Maison Ikkoku, vol. 13 by Rumiko Takahashi.

I'm not caught up yet, but this did get me into December. More later.

Saturday, December 09, 2006

It's been nearly a year since I did a mix CD, but here's my latest effort:

Red vs. Blue: The W Years
  1. Mr Helpmann from the Brazil soundtrack
  2. Beth Watson - Waiting at the Border from Tom's Album
  3. America, F**K Yeah from the Team America: World Police soundtrack
  4. Blame Canada from the South Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncut soundtrack
  5. Tom Lehrer - Send the Marines from That Was the Year that Was
  6. Randy Newman - Political Science from Sail Away
  7. David Bowie - 1984 from Diamond Dogs
  8. Eurythmics - Doubleplusgood from 1984 (For the Love of Big Brother)
  9. The Beatles - Piggies from The Beatles (The White Album)
  10. R.E.M. - Exhuming McCarthy from Document
  11. Devo - Freedom of Choice from Devo: Greatest Hits
  12. The Clash - Know Your Rights from Combat Rock
  13. Austin Lounge Lizards - Jesus Loves Me (But He Can't Stand You) from Lizard Vision
  14. James Taylor - How Great Our Lord from Randy Newman's Faust
  15. Richard Thompson - Outside of the Inside from Old Kit Bag
  16. T-Bone Burnett - Fear Country from The True False Identity
  17. Elvis Costello & Allen Toussaint - Broken Promise Land from The River in Reverse
  18. Leonard Cohen - Everybody Knows from Leonard Cohen Live
  19. Dixie Chicks - Not Ready to Make Nice from Taking the Long Way
  20. Pavement - No More Kings from Schoolhouse Rock! Rocks

This may be bitter, but it's been building for several years. The elections last month may be a sign things are turning around, but the cynic in me suspects the Democrats will screw it up & squander their chance to hold the thugs to account.