Saturday, March 31, 2007

Making Up for Lost Time
Well, after a slow week last time, I've read quite a few more books this week.
  1. Aquaman: Sword of Atlantis, vol. 1: Once and Future King by Kurt Busiek & Butch Guice. Fairly good, but I don't know that I'll be buying this. (Checked out of the library.)
  2. Spider-Man India by Jeevan J. Kang et al. You'd think that a retelling of Spider-Man's origin, reset in India, would be more interesting. You'd be wrong. (Library.)
  3. Hikaru no Go, vol. 3: Preliminary Scrimmage by Yumi Hotta & Takeshi Obata. More manga about a board game.
  4. Blue Beetle: Shellshocked by Keith Giffen, John Rogers, Cully Hamner, et al. Nice solid superheroics, although the first chapter expects too much from the reader in terms of knowledge of "current events" in the DC universe. If you need to be reading the current big comics event to understand what's going on in the first issue of a new series, you're doing something wrong.
  5. Small Favors, Book 1 by Colleen Coover
  6. Harlan Ellison's Dream Corridor, vol. 2 by Harlan Ellison, et al. A collection of adaptations of short stories by Ellison. Say what you will about the man, he can write.
  7. The Dark Tower, Book 3: The Waste Lands by Stephen King. I had read the first two volumes of this series around the time that they were published, but I never got any further than that. I am continuing to enjoy these books, and Teena is eager for me to continue. (Borrowed from Teena.)
  8. Rock Bottom by Joe Casey & Charlie Adlard. I'm not sure I buy the ending, but overall, this is a very well-done story about a guy who is slowly turning to stone. (Library.)
  9. Franklin Richards: Lab Brat by Chris Eliopoulous & Marc Sumerak. Cute little stories about the son of Mr. Fantastic & the Invisible Woman. There is a definite (deliberate) resemblance to Calvin & Hobbes. Fun.
  10. Dungeon, Twilight, v.2: Armageddon by Joann Sfar, Lewis Trondheim, & Kerascoet. (Library.)
  11. Testament, vol. 1: Akedah by Douglas Rushkoff & Liam Sharp. While not nearly as bad as Club Zero-G, this still rubs me the wrong way. I think I would have liked it better if it weren't for Rushkoff's introduction, in which he comes off as arrogant & positive he has all the answers. (Library.)
  12. Club 9, vol. 3 by Makoto Kobayashi. (Library.)
  13. Girl Crazy by Gilbert Hernandez.
  14. Monster, vol. 4: Ayse's Friend by Naoki Urasawa. (Library.)
  15. Fullmetal Alchemist, vol. 12 by Hiromu Arakawa. As this goes along, it diverges more & more from the anime series. Since this is the original source material, I find myself curious as to the time-line for when each version was created.
  16. Claymore, vol. 5: The Slashers by Norihiro Yagi. (Library.)
  17. John Constantine, Hellblazer: Black Flowers by Mike Carey, Marcelo Frusin, et al. More horror comics.
  18. Ranma 1/2, vol. 32 by Rumiko Takahashi. More silly fun. (Library.)
  19. Ultimate X-Men, vol. 6 by Brian K. Vaughan, Stuart Immonen, et al.
  20. Usagi Yojimbo, vol. 1 by Stan Sakai. I recently got Teena hooked on this series. It's been quite a while since I read the early volumes, so I decided it was time to re-read these books. Sakai's art style is a little rough in this volume, but his storytelling skills are great right from the beginning. And I know how good the art gets. I'm looking forward to the rest of these books.

Saturday, March 24, 2007

I Didn't Try Terribly Hard

As you may have noticed, there was no movie update on Sunday. On with the books.

  1. Closer by Antony Johnston & Mike Norton, with Lynne Buckley. Ghost story with science.
  2. The Punisher, Vol. 5: The Slavers by Garth Ennis & Leandro Fernandez. Ennis's Punisher stories are pretty damn formulaic: despicable people do something awful, and the Punisher kills them. But they're entertaining. (Checked out of the library.)
  3. PvP, vol. 4: PvP Goes Bananas! by Scott Kurtz. The latest collection of the comic book that reprints the webcomic. Not exactly highbrow or high art, but amusing enough.

And that's it for the books that I have finished since last Saturday. Looks like I've got time to get to those movies.

  • American Splendor. Paul Giamatti does a fantastic job as Harvey Pekar, alternative comics' greatest curmudgeon.
  • The Land of the Lost: The Complete First Season. I had fond memories of this show from when I was a kid, but I was worried the reality wouldn't hold up to my recollections. In a way, I was right to worry. The show is terrible. But it's terrible in an entertaining way. The acting is atrocious, and the special effects seem laughable now, particularly the hand puppets used for close-ups on the dinosaurs. But there is something there. The show has some really interesting ideas, which is scarcely surprising considering some of the people who wrote for it: Ben Bova, Norman Spinrad, Theodore Sturgeon, and Larry Niven all worked with David Gerrold, who was the script editor. Who knew; big name science fiction writers contributed to a Saturday morning kids' show.
  • Casino Royale. There was no question about it: we had to get this on DVD. Damn good movie.
  • Kids in the Hall: Brain Candy. Eh. Not great, but fun.

Saturday, March 17, 2007

Saturday update

  1. Dork Decade by John Kovalic. A collection of gaming strips.
  2. InuYasha, vol. 24 by Rumiko Takahashi. I decided it was time to start reading these again. (Checked out of the library.)
  3. Monster, vol. 3: 511 Kinderheim by Naoki Urasawa. I'm quite enjoying this series. Very suspenseful. (Library.)
  4. Death Note, vol. 10: Deletion by Tsugumi Ohba & Takeshi Obata. The plots & machinations of the characters in this series are getting pretty abstract, and I'm finding them less intriguing, but I'm still interested enough to see this series through to the end. Three volumes to go.
  5. Captain America & the Falcon: Nomad by Steve Englehart, Sal Buscema, Frank Robbins, et al. More 70's reprints. This volume follows immediately after the one I read a few weeks back. (Library.)
  6. The Comic Book Holocaust by Johnny Ryan. Offensive, vile cartoons.
  7. Ranma 1/2, vol. 30 by Rumiko Takahashi. Silly martial arts romance. (Library.)
  8. Ranma 1/2, vol. 31 by Rumiko Takahashi. (Library.)
  9. The Left Bank Gang by Jason. (Library.)
  10. Channel Zero by Brian Wood. Reading this book about a totalitarian, fascistic America, it's amazing to think it was written before the passage of the Patriot Act. (Library.)
  11. InuYasha, vol. 25 by Rumiko Takahashi. I think my problem with this series (other than the premise being dragged on too long) is that somewhere along the way, the humor got dropped. There's still the occasional joke, but I remember the earlier volumes being funnier. (Library.)

I'll try to update movies tomorrow. There's not much to say, though.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

You Keep Using That Word

I had an insight the other day: When they say "Fair & Balanced", Fox News is using the word "fair" in the same way that children do when they declare a situation "unfair" because they are not getting exactly what they want.

Fox News: Reporting with the sensibilities of a six-year-old.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Happy Pi Day!

It's 3/14, so celebrate your favorite irrational number by having some pie.

Of course, this only works for the U.S. method of writing dates. The rest of the world doesn't get a Pi Day, since April only has 30 days, and there aren't 14 months in a year.

(Could this post be any geekier?)

Saturday, March 10, 2007

Back on schedule

  1. Monster, vol. 2: Surprise Party by Naoki Urasawa. Thriller about a doctor searching for the serial killer whose life the doctor saved 10 years ago, when the killer was just a boy. I'm enjoying this quite a bit. (Checked out of the library.)
  2. Fallen Angel, vol. 2: To Rule in Hell by Peter David & J.K. Woodward. I can't say I care for Woodward's art very much, but I do like the stories.
  3. Fantastic Four Visionaries: John Byrne, vol. 6. I think this book might have been better served if they had stuck strictly to comics that Byrne wrote. One of the comics reprinted here is "Secret Wars II, #2" written by Jim Shooter, and it is absolutely terrible. There wasn't even much of a connection to the Fantastic Four. You do not need to read the issue of "Secret Wars II" to know what's going on.
  4. Avengers/JLA Compendium by Kurt Busiek, George Perez, et al. This is a companion volume to the JLA/Avengers collection. I found it interesting, but I think only people really into superhero comics would do so. (Library.)
  5. Rex Mundi, Book 3: The Lost Kings by Arvid Nelson, Eric J, Jim DiBartolo, & Justin Ferreyra. Conspiracies, politics, sorcery, the Holy Grail, and more can be found in this noir-ish story. (Library.)
  6. Penny Arcade, vol. 3: The Warsun Prophecies by Jerry Holkins & Mike Krahulik. Funny stuff. (Library.)
  7. Nat Turner, vol. 2: Revolution by Kyle Baker. A powerful story about an 1831 slave revolt. Baker does an amazing job. He has quite a range, from his usual cartoony style to this.
  8. Ex Machina, vol. 5: Smoke Smoke by Brian K. Vaughan & Tony Harris.

Sunday, March 04, 2007

So Much for Resolutions
It only took me a little over 2 months to violate my New Year's Resolution to update at least once a week. Still, I'm only a day late.

  1. Checkmate: A King's Game by Greg Rucka, Jesus Saiz, Cliff Richards, et al. Spies & superheroes.
  2. Hellshock by Jae Lee.
  3. John Constantine, Hellblazer: Red Sepulchre by Mike Carey, Marcelo Frusin, & Steve Dillon. Carey's Sandman spin-off, Lucifer never worked for me, but I quite liked his run on Hellblazer, and decided it was time I started picking up the collections.
  4. Harry Potter & the Sorcerer's Stone by J.K. Rowling. I have decided to reread the entire series in preparation for the seventh volume, but I don't want to be reading them all back to back in July, so I'm starting now.
  5. Hero Squared, vol. 2 by Keith Giffen, J.M. DeMatteis, and Joe Abraham. Light-hearted super-hero fare.
  6. Alan Moore's Exit Interview by Bill Baker. Moore's thoughts on the comic industry & why he has pretty much left the field.
  7. Claymore, vol. 4: Marked for Death by Norihiro Yagi. (Checked out of the library.)
  8. Daredevil, vol. 13: The Murdock Papers by Brian Michael Bendis & Alex Maleev. Bendis's final story for this comic.
  9. Hellboy: Weird Tales, vol. 2 by various. Other people tackle Hellboy & associated characters.
  10. Jack of Fables, vol. 1: The (Nearly) Great Escape by Bill Willingham, Matthew Sturges, and Tony Akins. Fables spin-off.
  11. Hikaru no Go, vol. 2: First Battle by Yumi Hotta & Takeshi Obata.

Movies & TV
  • Return to Oz. I remember Siskel & Ebert panning this when it came out. Their problem was that it wasn't like the Judy Garland movie. I suspected that Return was more like the original books. When I finally saw it years later, my suspicion was confirmed. If you like Baum's books, this is a great movie.
  • The Departed. Jack Nicholson just gets scarier & scarier as he ages.
  • Arrested Development, Season 3.
  • Walk the Line.
  • The Ring 2. Not nearly as scary as the first one. Due largely, I think, to the fact that the viewer has at least an idea of what's going on. And, the deer attack is just ludicrous.
  • Pan's Labyrinth. Very good, but in places it can be hard to take.
  • Doctor Who: The Ark in Space. Rather enjoyable, but I had forgotten just how low the special effects budget for this show used to be. There are several scenes where a character is turning into a slimy monster, but it's clear that he is just covered in bubble-wrap that has been painted green.
  • Notting Hill. I had never seen this before, but I quite enjoyed it. That scarcely seems surprising considering that I have also enjoyed other romantic comedies written by Richard Curtis: Love Actually and Four Weddings & a Funeral.

And with that, I have finally caught up with movies.