Saturday, February 24, 2007

If Only Real Housework Were This Fun

On the video-game front, we still haven't found a Wii. However, we haven't been looking all that hard. They just don't seem to be available yet, and it's too stressful to try to track one down. I want one, but not enough to camp out for one, even if it were summer.

Instead, I've been playing Chibi-Robo!, an extremely cute game where the player is a tiny robot who helps out a family with housework and domestic troubles. I never thought I'd enjoy picking up garbage and scrubbing footprints. Not everybody would enjoy this, but I like it a lot.


  1. Dramacon, vol. 2 by Svetlana Chmakova. (Checked out of the library.)
  2. Mister I by Lewis Trondheim. Wordless comics about a guy trying to get something to eat and failing miserably. (Library.)
  3. Penny Arcade, vol. 2: Epic Legends of the Magic Sword Kings by Jerry Holkins & Mike Krahulik. More gaming comics collected from the web. (Library.)
  4. Super Power Blues by Dave Morello. (Library.)
  5. Captain America: Red Menace, vol. 2 by Ed Brubaker & Steve Epting. I really should be buying these CA collections. Brubaker is handling the character well, and I enjoy these comics a lot. (Library.)
  6. East Coast Rising, vol. 1 by Becky Cloonan. Pirate adventures set after global warming has raised the sea levels enough to flood coastal cities.
  7. Captain America & the Falcon: Secret Empire by Steve Englehart, & Sal Buscema, with Mike Friedrich. For years I had heard about this storyline that ends with Cap unmasking the leader of a secret society bent on controlling the US, only to discover that the leader (who had just committed suicide) was Richard Nixon. It was entertaining, but I think it works better as a legendary story than an actual one.
  8. Neil Gaiman's Neverwhere by Mike Carey & Glenn Fabry. When I first heard about this adaptation of Gaiman's novel/tv series, I thought that Fabry did not seem like a good fit for this story. And my judgment has been verified. He's a good artist, but his style just doesn't work here. I hated the character designs for Door & the Marquis de Carabas. In fact, the only character designs I liked were for Croup & Vandemar.
  9. Claymore, vol. 3: Teresa of the Faint Smile by Norihiro Yagi. (Library.)
  10. Dragon Head, vol. 5 by Minetaro Mochizuki. A character named "Dragon Head" is introduced in this volume, the fifth of ten. And U.S. fans complain about "decompression" in comics. (Library.)
  11. Monster, vol. 1 by Naoki Urasawa. Medical thriller/horror manga. Quite good. I'm looking forward to seeing where this story goes. (Library.)
  12. Rex Mundi, vol. 2: The River Underground by Arvid Nelson & Eric J. (Library.)
  13. X-Factor Visionaries: Peter David, vol. 2 by Peter David, et al. This volume reprints comics from the 90s and features a cross-over with the Hulk (also written at that time by David).
  14. Bleach, vol. 17: Rosa Rubicundior, Lilio Candidior by Tite Kubo. The storyline that has been running for many volumes seems to be working its way to a close.
  15. Nextwave: Agents of H.A.T.E., vol. 1: This Is What They Want by Warren Ellis & Stuart Immonen. Completely over-the-top superhero shenanigans. Funny & fun. Too bad sales weren't better. But I guess comics fans want serious, important, mature comics. And that's why the pretentious, poorly-written, and ill-conceived "Civil War" did so well, and this comic was canceled.

Movies & TV on DVD
  • Samurai Jack, Season 2. Damn good show.
  • Children of Men. This was the best movie I've seen in a long, long time. Absolutely excellent. Highly recommended, and I wish it had been nominated for the Best Picture Oscar.
  • Little Shop of Horrors. Such a fun movie, considering that one of the characters is a human-eating plant from outer space. Great songs.
  • Mystery Science Theater 3000: Swamp Diamonds. From a movie inspired by a Roger Corman movie to one directed by him. This thing is a mess and doesn't really make any sense. But you do get to see lots of stock footage of New Orleans during Mardi Gras.
  • MST3K: The Giant Spider Invasion. This movie may be a low point in Alan Hale, Jr's career, and that's saying something.
  • The Godfather. Believe it or not, I had never seen this movie until now. I hadn't been avoiding it, but there just never was a chance. Now, I've got to see Part 2 sometime.
  • Nashville. Teen absolutely hated this, and I'm sorry I dragged her to it. And I have to say that of the Altman films I've seen, I like this one the least.
  • The Producers. A movie musical based on a stage musical based on a non-musical movie. I haven't seen the stage version (although I have and love the cast recording), but this is the least of all three versions.
  • House of Flying Daggers. An absolutely beautiful movie, with some exquisitely choreographed fights.

Saturday, February 17, 2007

I didn't read many Books this week, which will make for a short update.
  1. The Dark Tower, Book 2: The Drawing of the Three by Stephen King. I continue to read this series. I had read the first two volumes before, but it was a long time ago, and I only remembered a few, very specific details. (Borrowed from Teena.)
  2. Showcase Presents: Superman, vol. 2 by various. More weird, wild comics from Silver Age DC. I would almost believe the writers were on drugs.
  3. The Cartoon History of the Modern World, Part 1: From Columbus to the U.S. Constitution by Larry Gonick. Gonick seems to have staked out territory nobody else is mining: using comics to tell history. It's remarkably effective. It's helped by the fact that he has a sense of humor & isn't afraid to use it, but the simple fact of the matter is that the combination of words & pictures can be a very powerful educational tool.
  4. The Fountain by Darren Aronofsky & Kent Williams. This made me want to see the movie. (Checked out of the library.)

And now for Movies
  • The H.P. Lovecraft Film Festival: Shorts Blocks 1-3, Cthulhu! and
  • Dead Birds, a very effective ghost story set during the Civil War. Very creepy.
  • Creature from the Black Lagoon.
  • Plan 9 from Outer Space. I think somebody should make a prequel about the previous 8 plans.
  • The Rocky Horror Picture Show. Cheesy movie, but great songs. This and the previous two films were the offerings at Steve's 2006 Halloween Horror Movie fest.
  • Mystery Science Theater 3000: The Killer Shrews. Slow-moving, a sloppy script, drunken characters, and "killer shrews" that are clearly frisky, playful dogs with carpet samples taped to their backs. What more could you ask?
  • Casino Royale. I cannot remember the last time I saw a James Bond movie in the theater, but I am very glad I broke my streak with this one. It was great. Not just a good Bond movie, a good movie, period.
  • Arrested Development, Season 2. So very funny. So very awful. I wish I'd watched this show when it first aired.
  • Little Miss Sunshine. I liked this, but I don't know that it deserves an Oscar nomination.
  • The Sting. It had been something like 25 years since I had last seen this. Very satisfying movie.
  • MST3K: Santa Claus. Words cannot describe how strange this movie is.
  • MST3K: Santa Claus Conquers the Martians.
  • Stranger than Fiction. I really enjoyed this, particularly the ending. (Which I won't give away, so I guess that's all I have to say.)
  • City of Angels. This was okay, but I prefer Wings of Desire, the movie of which this is a remake (even though it's been 20 years since I saw the original).
  • A Prairie Home Companion. Rather fitting that Altman's final film is about Death.
  • MST3K: Godzilla vs. Megalon.
  • The Fantastic Four. Not Art by any means, but entertaining enough. And there was a moment that I found very touching: Ben is out in public for the first time after the transformation, and his fiance has come to the edge of the crowd that surrounds him. She looks at him sadly, takes off her engagement ring, and places it on the ground. But he can't pick it up because his fingers are now too big to get a grip on it.
  • Love Actually. This was one of the first movies Teena & I saw together. Very sweet and, in places, heartbreaking.
  • Kung Fu Hustle. This movie always puts a big, stupid grin on my face. And it makes me want to play Feng Shui.

And that finishes off the movies I saw in 2006. I'm nearly caught up.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Your results:
You are Dr. Doom

Dr. Doom
Lex Luthor
Mr. Freeze
Poison Ivy
The Joker
Dark Phoenix
Green Goblin
Blessed with smarts and power but burdened by vanity.

Click here to take the Super Villain Personality Test

Absolute monarch of a middle-European country? I could live with that.

Saturday, February 10, 2007

Well, Blogger finally forced me switch to the new version. If anything goes wrong, I blame them.

I've been home sick for most of the week. I was sick enough that I didn't feel like updating, even though I had the time.

  1. Coyote, vol. 4 by Steve Englehart, Chaz Truog, et al. This volume included Todd McFarlane's first published comics work. That is not why I bought it.
  2. Defenders: Indefensible by Keith Giffen, J.M. DeMatteis, & Kevin Maguire. Slightly silly Defenders story from the people who made the Justice League fun.
  3. Seven Soldiers of Victory, vol. 1 by Grant Morrison, et al.
  4. Seven Soldiers of Victory, vol. 2 by Grant Morrison, et al.
  5. Seven Soldiers of Victory, vol. 3 by Grant Morrison, et al.
  6. Seven Soldiers of Victory, vol. 4 by Grant Morrison, et al. This has to be the best superhero cross-over I've read (even if the superheroes don't meet each other). I'm sure that's due to the fact that it's not trying to create huge changes in the "universe." It's just an attempt to revitalize some characters/character concepts. I'm glad the entire thing is now available in book form (although it would probably be better if it were one book rather than four).
  7. Four Bastards by Robin D. Laws. This is an adventure for the Feng Shui role-playing game.
  8. Iron Man: Extremis by Warren Ellis & Adi Granov. Good, but not Ellis's best.
  9. The Order of the Stick, vol. 2: No Cure for the Paladin Blues by Rich Burlew. For an online comic strip that started out as a means to make fun of the rules peculiarities found in Dungeons & Dragons, this has become quite the humor/adventure strip. Highly recommended. Check it out for free via the link in my sidebar.
  10. The Drifting Classroom, vol. 3 by Kazuo Umezu. Things continue to get stranger & stranger. (Checked out of the library.)
  11. Rex Mundi, book 1: The Guardian of the Temple by Arvid Nelson & Eric Johnson. Film Noir-ish story set in an alternate world where magic works & the Reformation never happened. I enjoyed it, but the story wasn't nearly complete. This was much more about setting up the world than anything else. (Library.)
  12. Penny Arcade, vol. 1: Attack of the Bacon Robots by Jerry Holkins & Mike Krahulik. I've never followed the online comic strip. I've just never been deep enough into video games to really be able to follow it. But they can be very funny. However, even with the annotations that come with this book, I was still left not knowing what the hell they were talking about. (Library.)
  13. The Legend of GrimJack, vol. 6 by John Ostrander & Tom Mandrake. Excellent writing here. The art's a little rough, but my disappointment may stem from knowing how good Mandrake will get. The comics reprinted here are closing in on 20 years old, and Mandrake has improved tremendously in the meantime. I'm looking forward to the next volume.
  14. Doom Patrol, vol. 5: Magic Bus by Grant Morrison, Richard Case, & Ken Steacy. More adventures of the strangest superhero group ever.


Saturday, February 03, 2007

First, I want to thank anybody who has used the links on this page to get to Amazon. Whether or not you buy the item I linked, I get a cut, and that has paid off for me. I just received a $13 gift certificate from Amazon.

  1. Book Club: An Unshelved Collection by Bill Barnes & Gene Ambaum. More comic strips about life in a public library. (Checked out of the library.)
  2. The Two Faces of Tomorrow by James P. Hogan & Yukinobu Hoshino. I enjoyed this manga adaptation of Hogan's novel (which was written, I believe, in the late 70's), but it did seem rather formulaic: Of course the AI experiment goes out of control in ways that nobody foresaw. Also, as is pretty standard for hard science fiction, there's not much in the way of character development. (Library.)
  3. Skaggy the Lost by Igor Baranko. Vikings adventuring in Meso-America. (Library.)
  4. Acme Novelty Library, no. 16: Rusty Brown by Chris Ware. Like all of Ware's work, this is bleak, brutal, and incredibly well-crafted. (Library.)
  5. Claymore, vol. 1: Silver-eyed Slayer by Norihiro Yagi. Monster-slaying manga. (Library.)
  6. New Thunderbolts, vol. 1: One Step Forward by Fabien Nicieza & Tom Grummet. (Library.)
  7. Claymore, vol. 2: Darkness in Paradise by Yorihiro Yagi. (Library.)
  8. Fade from Grace by Gabriel Benson & Jeff Amano. A love story with a superhero. (Library.)
  9. Maybe Later by Philippe Dupuy & Charles Berberian. Autobiographical comics from a pair of French cartoonists. (Library.)

Wow, nothing but library books this week.

  • Flash Gordon. This was the original serial. Much better than the later serial, Flash Gordon Conquers the Universe that was basically incomprehensible. This was lots of cheesy fun. Wonder at a bear painted to look like a skunk. Marvel at the variety of races found on Mongo (chiefly distinguished from one another by their hair styles). Gaze in awe at the sparkler-powered spaceships.
  • O Brother, Where Art Thou? This is the movie that made me like George Clooney. It convinced me he was more than just a pretty face. (I had a similar reaction to Johnny Depp and Edward Scissorhands.)
  • Bride and Prejudice. We nearly shut this off, but we kept with it, and we are glad we did. It got much better than the beginning would lead you to think.
  • Comfort and Joy. A sweet little movie about a Scottish radio personality who gets caught up in a turf war between rival ice cream companies.