Sunday, September 30, 2007

Yet Another Light Week

Didn't get many books read this week, so I'll take this opportunity to update my sidebar.

  1. 52, vol. 3 by various.
  2. Hellboy, vol. 7: The Troll Witch & Others by Mike Mignola, Richard Corben, & P. Craig Russell. Yay, a new Hellboy book! Normally, I prefer that only Mignola draw Hellboy, since he's clearly the best artist for the character. But Corben & Russell are fantastic artists, and I really enjoyed seeing their versions.
  3. Civil War: Fantastic Four by J. Michael Straczynski, Dwayne McDuffie, & Mike McKone. (Checked out of the library.)
  4. Shiny Beasts by Rick Veitch. Miscellanea from Veitch, including a story written by Alan Moore. (Library.)
  5. Thor Visionaries: Walter Simonson, vol. 4 by Walter Simonson & Sal Buscema. I miss Simonson's art on this series, but Buscema does a fine job. Perhaps not the most epic of stories from this era of Thor, but plenty entertaining.
  6. Sluggy Freelance Megatome 01: Born of Nifty by Pete Abrams. I had heard good things about the webcomic Sluggy Freelance, and I had come into a windfall, so I decided to take a chance on ordering this compilation of the first three (out of print) collections. It was pricey, but it was worth it, because I really enjoyed this book. (But I do have to say that Abrams found a better deal on printing the second megatome, and it's only half the price of the first.) It's hard to describe what Sluggy Freelance is about. There are a lot of pop culture parodies, but sometimes it's just jokes or adventures or wackiness. Lots of fun.
  7. Wonder Woman: The Hiketeia by Greg Rucka & J.G. Jones. I picked this up at that comic book sale I mentioned last week. While I like the story, this book is overpriced, and I would not have bought it if it hadn't been on sale.
  8. Captain Confederacy: The Nature of the Hero by Will Shetterly & Vince Stone. While the premise of this book, a superhero story set in an alternate history where the South succeeded in seceding from the Union, makes it sound like a racist fantasy, but it's not. It's about a good man realizing that the country he loves is in the wrong. This book is a collection (and condensation) of a series that ran for twelve issues nearly twenty years ago, and it's good to see that the story still holds up.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Another Light Week

  1. The Authority: Revolution, Book 1 by Ed Brubaker & Dustin Nguyen. I finally got a copy of book two, but it had been so long since I read book one that I decided to reread it.
  2. The Authority: Revolution, Book 2 by Ed Brubaker & Dustin Nguyen.
  3. Iron Wok Jan!, vol. 12 by Shinji Saijyo. I made a difference at the local library. I had been been checking out volumes from this series, but I had to stop after volume 11, because the original US publisher went out of business. I found the ISBN for volume 12 (from the new publisher), and requested it. Now the Multnomah County Library system has all the volumes of this manga series (at least the ones that have been translated. (Checked out of the library.)
  4. Imagination Rocket: Science and Social Studies Volume by various. I picked this (along with a lot of other books) up at a local comic book store that was having a sale before shutting its doors. This book is intended for use in a classroom (my guess would be junior high). After each story, there is a page of study questions & activities. The stories vary in quality, and sometimes don't do much toward promoting learning. But it is an interesting concept, and I'd like to see more of this kind of thing.
  5. Civil War: The Road to Civil War by various. (Library.)
  6. DMZ, vol. 3: Public Works by Brian Wood & Richard Burchielli. This excellent war comic continues, with this volume taking a look at "Trustwell" an independent contractor hired to rebuild certain significant locations in the DMZ (Manhattan). Just think "Blackwater." Brutal, gripping comics.
  7. Green Lantern: No Fear by Geoff Johns, et al. Johns is a good enough writer, but sometimes I don't care for his style. However, I liked this volume quite a bit. Writing Hal Jordan seems to be Johns' niche. (Library.)
  8. Doctor 13: Architecture and Mortality by Brian Azzarello & Cliff Chiang. This is a fantastic story about the oddball characters from comics' past that don't fit anywhere anymore: from a talking Nazi gorilla to the ultimate skeptic to the ghost of a Confederate general who haunts a WWII tank. It doesn't feel like the sort of thing Azzarello normally writes, but it's a lot of fun, and I really enjoyed it.
  9. Civil War: Amazing Spider-Man by J. Michael Straczynski & Ron Garney. From what I've heard, the powers that be at Marvel have said that Iron Man's side in Civil War was supposed to be the one in the right. But all of the comics I've read show him in a negative light, and it's clear that he is now a super-villain (albeit one with government backing). I don't know what to make of that disconnect. (Library.)
  10. Project X: Cup Noodle by Todashi Katoh. Man, only the Japanese would produce a comic book about the development of Cup Noodles. But then somebody has translated it into English, and I bought the damn thing, so it's not like I'm in a position to cast aspersions. Yes, you read that correctly. This is a documentary comic about how Nissin developed Cup O'Noodles. Make of that what you will.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

No Inspired (Or Even Uninspired) Post Title Today

  1. Once in a Blue Moon, vol. 1 by Nunzio DeFilippis, Christina Weir, & Jennifer Quick. A rather nice little set-up for an on-going series of graphic novels. Too bad there's no sign of any further volumes.
  2. Monster, vol. 9: A Nameless Monster by Naoki Urawawa. The thriller manga series continues. (Checked out of the library.)
  3. Civil War: Front Line, Book 1 by Paul Jenkins, et al. The more comics from Marvel's Civil War I read, the less I like it, and I didn't have a high opinion of the cross-over before I began. And yet I keep checking the books out. Train-wreck value, I guess. (Library.)
  4. Manhunter, vol. 3: Origins by Marc Andreyko, Javier Pina, et al. It took a while for this comic to grow on me, but I'm glad I gave it a chance, because now I really like it. I hope it returns from hiatus soon.
  5. Strange: Beginnings & Endings by J. Michael Straczynski, Samm Barnes, & Brandon Peterson. A retelling of Dr. Strange's origin that doesn't seem all that necessary & that doesn't add much to the character. Eh. (Library.)
  6. I Shall Destroy All the Civilized Planets! by Fletcher Hanks. Bizarre comics from the golden age. These stories read like something written by a grade-schooler, but there is an undeniable energy in the art. And often the stories pull you along by their sheer strangeness. For example, in one story the hero, Stardust, transforms the bad guys into rats & then summons cats to chase them out of the city & into the sea. There most of them drown, but Stardust rescues their leader & restores his human head & then drops the man-rat off at FBI headquarters for interrogation. Weird, weird stuff. (Library.)
  7. Dragon Head, vol. 7 by Minetaro Mochizuki. (Library.)
  8. The Legend of GrimJack, vol. 7 by John Ostrander & Tom Mandrake. The final volume of John Gaunt's adventures. I've said this before, but I am so glad that this series is being collected. I can't wait for the next volume.
  9. Negative Burn Summer 2005 by various. So-so anthology.
  10. Ms. Marvel, vol. 1: Best of the Best by Brian Reed, Roberto De La Torre. I've got a quibble about stories in Marvel Comics. If the events of the Civil War crossover were triggered by an explosion that killed 600-some civilians, shouldn't there have been at least some reaction to events in this comic, in which an army base and a town of 3000 people were wiped off the map? (Library.)
  11. Wet Moon, vol. 1: Feeble Wanderings by Ross Campbell. I like Campbell's art style, but I hated the story, which is full of late-adolescent/early-adult angst & drama. Bleh.
  12. Batman: Detective by Paul Dini, et al. Batman comics written by the person behind Batman: The Animated Series? Yes, please. I especially liked the Joker story that finishes up the volume.

Sunday, September 09, 2007

Light Week

  1. True Story Swear to God, vol. 1 by Tom Beland. This is actually the third collection of this series, but it recently changed publishers, and this is the first volume from the new publisher. Which is fine, but there are 5 or 6 of the self-published issues that have not been collected, and I have seen no sign that they will be collected. Which is a shame, because this autobiographical series is fantastic.
  2. It Came from the Far Side by Gary Larson.
  3. Incredible Hulk: Planet Hulk by Greg Pak, Carlo Pagolyan, Aaron Lopresti, et al. I'd heard good things about the issues collected here. And I have to admit, it sounded like a good storyline: Transported to another world, the Hulk becomes a gladiator & ends up leading a slave rebellion. But this collection costs $40, and my budget can't accommodate a book that expensive if I'm not sure about it. I did enjoy this quite a bit, and I'll consider picking it up in paperback at some point. (Checked out of the library.)
  4. The Far Side by Gary Larson. The first Far Side collection. I was surprised to discover that one of my favorites was one of the very first Far Side cartoons: A line of damned souls are walking through a corridor in Hell as a devil looks on. Beside the devil is a sign that reads "Today is the first day of the rest of your life."
  5. Red Prophet: The Tales of Alvin Maker, vol. 1 by Orson Scott Card, Roland Bernard Brown, Renato Arlem & Miguel Montenegro. I don't want to give money to Card, because he is a homophobe, but he's a damn good writer. I compromise by checking his books out of the library. (Library.)
  6. Beyond the Far Side by Gary Larson.
  7. Hellboy Animated, vol. 2: The Judgment Bell by Jim Pasco, Rick Lacy, & Tad Stones. Not as good as the stuff from Mignola, but entertaining enough.
  8. Checkmate, vol. 2: Pawn Breaks by Greg Rucka, Jesus Saiz, et al. An interesting mixture of spies & super-heroes.
  9. Spider-Man Family, vol. 1: Back in Black by various.

Tuesday, September 04, 2007


Which Heroes character are you?
Your Result: Hiro Nakamura

You are Hiro Nakamura.
You can bend space and time with your mind. You always try to do what is right and you are very innocent. Maybe too innocent. You took a trip to the future and saw NYC blow up. Now you are focused on saving the world. You also love sci-fi.

Claire Bennet
Matt Parkman
Peter Petrelli
Issac Mendez
Nathan Petrelli
Niki Sanders
Which Heroes character are you?
Quiz Created on GoToQuiz

Monday, September 03, 2007

Happy Labor Day!
Unfortunately, Teena is unable to completely take this day off. She's got to prepare for class to begin tomorrow. However, I'm at home today, and I'm using the time to update.

  1. Fallen Angel, vol. 3: Back in Noire. By Peter David, J.K. Woodward, & Kristian Donaldson. I would say that this is the best comic David is currently writing. Possibly the best comic he has ever written.
  2. Good as Lily by Derek Kirk Kim & Jesse Hamm. When I saw that this book was written by the same person who wrote Same Difference & Other Stories, I knew it'd be good. I wasn't disappointed.
  3. Marvel Adventures Fantastic Four, vol. 1: Family of Heroes by various. Some of the most entertaining comics Marvel is currently publishing are coming from the Marvel Adventures line of comics for younger readers.
  4. In Search of the Far Side by Gary Larson. Comics for the geek in all of us.
  5. The Ultimates 2, vol. 2: Grand Theft America by Mark Millar & Bryan Hitch. Big, loud, enjoyable super-hero comics. Much better than Civil War. (Checked out of the library.)
  6. Marvel Adventures Fantastic Four, vol. 3: World's Greatest by Jeff Parker, et al. These comics are just fun.
  7. Yotsuba &!, vol. 2 by Kiyohiko Azuma. More cute comics about an enthusiastic little girl. (Library.)
  8. Hound of the Far Side by Gary Larson.
  9. Essential Silver Surfer, vol. 2 by Steve Engelhart, Marshall Rogers, et al. Big, cosmic comics, with the fate of the universe hanging in the balance. Fun stuff. And Rogers' art is fantastic.
  10. Anne Freaks, vol. 1 by Yua Kotegawa. I picked this up on a whim when I spotted it at the library. But the story didn't grab me, so I don't think I'll be picking up any further volumes. (Library.)
  11. The Incredible Hulk: Prelude to Planet Hulk by David Way, Keu Cha, & Juan Santacruz. (Library.)
  12. The Punisher, vol. 7: Man of Stone by Garth Ennis & Leandro Fernandez. (Library.)
  13. Legion of Super-Heroes, vol. 2: Death of a Dream by Mark Waid & Barry Kitson. I've lost track of how many times the Legion of Super-Heroes has been rebooted since Crisis on Infinite Earths, but I'm enjoying this version of the characters while they last. (Library.)
  14. Marvel Adventures Fantastic Four, vol. 6: Monsters & Mysteries by Fred Van Lente & Clay Mann. Kids' comics don't have to justify themselves to the readers by pretending to be "mature". Of course, mainstream comics don't have to do so either, but a lot of the creators apparently think they do; hence grim, dark comics that have all the fun stripped out of them.
  15. Marvel Adventures Spider-Man, vol. 6: The Black Costume by Fred Van Lente, Cory Hamscher, & Michael O'Hare.
  16. BomBaby: The Screen Goddess by Antony Mazzotta. An attempt to translate a Bollywood film to comics. I'm not sure it works without music. But I still liked it.
  17. Goodnight, Irene: The Collected Stories of Irene Van de Kamp by Carol Lay. This parody of romance comics is pretty strange (the title character is a Caucasian woman raised in Africa & who has a plate lip), but I like it as much as when I read some of these stories back in the early 90's.
  18. Alan Moore: Wild Worlds by Alan Moore, et al. These comics Moore wrote for Image back in the 90's aren't his strongest work, but it's nice to have them collected.
  19. Skinwalker by Nunzio DeFilippis, Christina Weir, & Brian Hurtt. I liked this X-Files-ish story when I checked it out of the library, so I snapped it up when I found a copy on sale at 50% at a local comic store.

And now for movies & DVDs I've seen lately:
  • Penn & Teller: Bullshit! The First Season. This is a great TV series in which Penn & Teller explore a variety of topics, from alternative medicine to UFO abduction, and explain how it's all bullshit. I don't always agree with them, but they're always funny.
  • Samurai Jack, Season 3.
  • Harry Potter & the Order of the Phoenix. I know a lot of people don't like this book, but I quite enjoyed it, and I think the movie adaptation worked well (assuming you know that back story).
  • The Simpsons Movie. We haven't watched the show in years, but Teena & I had to go see the movie. We liked it. And it was helped by the movie-going experience. We saw this at Cinetopia, a fantastic local theater. It's pricey, but not all that much more than Regal, and you get some nice perks for the extra money. The seats are extremely comfortable, there is plenty of leg-room, there are even ottomans so you can put your feet up. In some of the auditoria, they serve food & wine, which we didn't try. But the bar-service means that no-one under 21 is allowed in those theaters. No crying babys! No texting teenagers! All in all, it was a great experience, and we'll be going back there every now & again.
  • Mystery Science Theater 3000: The Lost Continent. This film contains more footage of rock climbing than any other movie ever made. No, I'm not making an exception for documentaries about rock climbing.
  • Paprika. Anime film from the director of Paranoia Agent about dreams & some machines that allow people to share them.
  • Man on the Moon. Jim Carrey as Andy Kaufman.
  • MST3K: Wild Rebels.
  • MST3K: Shorts, vol. 2.
  • MST3K: The Indestructible Man. As you may have noticed, I've been watching a lot of Mystery Science Theater 3000. Basically, Teena & I realized that some of the DVD sets have gone out of print, and to make sure that we didn't miss any, we ordered a bunch of the sets we didn't have. And we've been watching them.
  • The Film Crew: Hollywood After Dark. Three MST3K alumni (Michael Nelson, Kevin Murphy, & Bill Corbett) are continuing the tradition. No silhouettes, this time around, but the jokes are a little racier. This movie stars Rue McClanahan as a would-be actress who falls on hard times and ends up working as a stripper. Wait, before you run away, it's from 30 years before Golden Girls. I'm looking forward to future discs in this series.
  • Stardust. Different from the book, but that's to be expected in any adaptation from one medium to another. We liked this and have only minor quibbles.
  • Penn & Teller: Bullshit! The Complete Second Season. More skepticism from Penn & Teller.
  • Young Frankenstein. Mel Brooks' humor may not be sophisticated or subtle, but it is funny. (Or it was, when he made this. His recent track record isn't too hot.)
  • Labyrinth. Cheesy, but I like it. However, when we saw this last night, we were unfortunate enough to be sitting next to a group of people who clearly have seen the movie way too many times. They recited every single line of the entire movie, including the songs. Teena shushed them a few times (she was the unlucky one sitting right next to them), as did other people around them. It didn't do any good. This isn't The Rocky Horror Picture Show, and it's not your living room. Shut the hell up.

Sunday, September 02, 2007


No update today. I'll be back tomorrow with the books I've read in the past week & the movies I've seen recently.