Sunday, November 30, 2008

Attempting to Catch Up

I'm a week behind, but I don't really feel like writing much today.

  1. DNAgents: Industrial Strength Edition by Mark Evanier & Will Meugniot. Reprints of an indie super-hero series from the 80s. Comics sure used to be a lot talkier than they are now.
  2. In Odd We Trust by Dean Koontz & Queenie Chan. I haven't read any Koontz before, but I enjoyed Queenie Chan's manga-esque series The Dreaming, so I thought I'd check this out. That was a mistake. I really didn't like this. Mostly because the dialogue was atrocious, full of awkward exposition and baffling attempts at characterization*. I don't know if Chan adapted an existing short story, or if Koontz did the actual writing, but it was awful. I won't be looking for any more of Koontz's work. (Checked out of the library.)
  3. The Spirit: Femmes Fatales by Will Eisner. I'm not looking forward to the upcoming Spirit movie. It looks too much like it will be Sin City lite, rather than an actual adaptation of Eisner's work, but at least the movie means that we're seeing more of the original work released in an affordable format. (Although there is quite a bit of overlap between this volume and The Best of the Spirit, but I'll take what I can get.
  4. Strangeways: Murder Moon by Matt Maxwell & Luis Guaragna. A mixture of wsterns & werewolves. (Library.)
  5. John Constantine, Hellblazer: The Family Man by Jamie Delano, Ron Tiner, et al. I think one more volume will mean that Delano's run on this series will finally be completely collected.
  6. To Terra..., vol. 1 by Keiko Takemiya. This may be a hugely influential manga series, but it felt extremely generic to me and did not hold my interest. (Library.)
  7. Black Jack, vol. 1 by Osamu Tezuka. Now this manga is interesting. It's about a brilliant but unlicensed doctor who handles extremely unusual cases. Weird, and occasionally disgusting, but fascinating. I'm looking forward to future volumes.
  8. Six Feet Under: Better Living through Death edited by Alan Ball & Alan Poul. A companion book to the HBO series.
  9. Gimmick, vol. 2 by Youzaburou Kanari & Kuroko Yabuguchi. (Library.)
  10. Star Trek: New Frontier by Peter David & Stephen Thompson. David brings his series of Star Trek novels to comics.
  11. Northlanders, vol. 1: Sven the Returned by Brian Wood & Davide Gianfelice. Vikings!
  12. Doktor Sleepless, vol. 1: Engines of Desire by Warren Ellis & Ivan Rodriguez. Mad science for the 21st century. Ellis has not forgotten that mad scientists are villains.
  13. Thor, vol. 1 by J. Michael Straczynski & Olivier Copiel. Meh. (Library.)
  14. Grendel: God and the Devil by Matt Wagner, John K. Snyder III, Jay Geldhof, et al. Another great comic from the 80s finally reprinted.
  15. Conan, vol. 0: Born on the Battlefield by Kurt Busiek & Greg Ruth. The story of Conan's childhood. (Library.)
  16. Three Strikes by Nunzio DeFilippis, Christina Weir, & Brian Hurtt. Great crime story. I have been very impressed by every non-superhero story I have read by DeFillippis & Weir.
  17. Crossfire, vol. 1: Hollywood Hero by Mark Evanier & Dan Spiegle. A spin-off from DNAgents that is quite a bit better than the source material. That's because the emphasis is less on super-heroics and more on Hollywood (a subject Evanier knows a lot about). I'm hoping to see more collections, especially if they include Evanier's essays about his life in show biz.
  18. Locke & Key: Welcome to Lovecraft by Joe Hill & Gabriel Rodriguez.
  19. Mystique, vol. 2: Tinker, Tailor, Mutant, Spy by Brian K. Vaughan & Michael Ryan.
  20. Mateki: The Magic Flute by Yoshitaka Amano. Gorgeous art. (Library.)
  21. Nation by Terry Pratchett. A rare non-Discworld book from Pratchett, but this is just as good as any in that series. Wonderful & highly-recommended.

Well, look at that. I did get caught up after all, and I actually wrote something about most of the books.

*Admittedly I don't know any fry cooks, but I doubt many invest as much of their identity in their jobs as Odd does.

Sunday, November 23, 2008


No update this week. Spent too much time playing Animal Crossing.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Taking a Break from Animal Crossing

Teena & I just picked up the latest Animal Crossing game, so I'm going to try to keep this short as I want to get back to our cute new town.

  1. The Martian Conspiracy, vol. 1 by Jason McNamara & Paige Braddock. Pretty good science fiction action story. (Checked out of the library.)
  2. JLA: That Was Now, This Is Then by Roger Stern & John Byrne. I have to admit this wasn't Stern's best story, but he has written some great super-hero comics in the past, and he deserves my support.
  3. Blue Beetle, vol. 4: Endgame by John Rogers, Rafael Albuquerque, et al. Now this is a fun comic. It makes me feel like I did when I read comics as a kid. Highly recommended.
  4. Bat-Manga!: The Secret History of Batman in Japan by Jiro Kuwata. This is a collection of 60's Batman comics from when the TV show was airing in Japan. These stories are insane. Imagine goofy silver-age comics viewed through a filter of Japanese culture. I especially love the story where a gorilla has acquired the intelligence level of the scientist who was experimenting on him (the ape), but the gorilla knows it will revert to its original state in a few days so it sets out to capture Batman & perform the experiment again so it can acquire Batman's intelligence. I said the stories were insane.
  5. Empowered, vol. 3 by Adam Warren.
  6. Hikaru no Go, vol. 13: Professional Match by Yumi Hotta & Takeshi Obata. More manga about go.
  7. Herbie Archives, vol. 1 by Shane O'Shea & Ogden Whitney. Oh, so strange. Comics about a fat kid who doesn't speak in complete sentences & who is constantly sucking on a lollipop. But he is known and respected around the world & throughout time. Bizarre & wonderful comics. (Library.)
  8. The Legend of Zelda: The Ocarina of Time, vol. 1 by Akira Himekawa. Reading this manga made me want to play the game again.
  9. Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Season 8, vol. 3: Wolves at the Gate by Drew Goddard, Joss Whedon, & Georges Jeanty. I continue to enjoy these comics. And they're definitely doing things that would be impossible with a TV show's special effects budget.
  10. Prince of Persia: The Graphic Novel by A. B. Sina & LeUyen Pham. A good story, but only slightly related to the video games. (Library.)
  11. Love & Rockets: New Stories, no. 1 by Los Bros Hernandez. When I first started reading Love & Rockets (man, that was 20 years ago), I preferred Beto's work over Jaime's (Mario's has never really worked for me), but nowadays it's the reverse. I think it's because Beto has moved away from the Gabriel Garcia Marquez-esque Palomar stories. Still great stuff, though.

Now, back to Animal Crossing: City Folk.

Sunday, November 09, 2008

A Few Words about Some Books

  1. Showcase Presents Legion of Super-Heroes, vol. 2 by various. This volume contains the debut comics work by Jim Shooter. Stories written when he was 13. Which might explain how, in one of them, he tried make the reader believe that the Legionnaire who would betray Earth was NOT the newly-introduced Nemesis Kid.
  2. Achewood: The Great Outdoor Fight by Chris Onstad. I had heard about the web strip Achewood, but the art style put me off, and I never got into it. Then this collection came out, and I kept reading how good this storyline was, so I decided to take a look. I have to admit, it's pretty damn good. I still think the art is incredibly ugly, though. (Checked out of the library.)
  3. Gimmick, vol. 1 by Youzaburou Kanari & Kuroko Yabusuchi. Manga about a make-up artist. (Library.)
  4. Where the Deep Ones Are by Kenneth Hite & Andy Hopp. Mixing Maurice Sendak & H.P. Lovecraft.
  5. Essential Man Thing, vol. 2 by various. More adventures of the muck-encrusted mockery of a man.
  6. Owly, vol. 5: Tiny Tales by Andy Runton. More cute, wordless stories. (Borrowed from Teena's classroom.)
  7. Marvel Adventures Avengers, vol. 7: Weirder and Wilder by Jeff Parker & Ig Guara. I say this every time I read a Marvel Adventures collection, but some of the best super-hero comics being written today are aimed at children.
  8. Ex Machina, vol. 7: Ex Cathedra by Brian K. Vaughan & Tony Harris. Still enjoying this.
  9. Crossing Midnight, vol. 3: The Sword in the Soul by Mike Carey & Jim Fern. The final volume of this series involving Japanese yokai. I liked the concept, and I guess I should have bought the issues as they came out. If more people had, this might not be the final volume. But I'd rather have collections than individual issues.
  10. Stephen King's The Dark Tower: The Long Road Home by Robin Furth, Peter David, & Jae Lee. And now, a Dark Tower comic that isn't an adaptation of pre-existing stories.
  11. The Dresden Files: Welcome to the Jungle by Jim Butcher & Ardian Syaf. I've never read the novels, and I only saw a couple of episodes of the TV show, but I thought I'd give this graphic novel a try. The story is pretty good. Not the best art, but at least the characters look the same from panel to panel, and the artist can tell a story using pictures.

Sunday, November 02, 2008

Back Up to Speed

Got a few more books read this past week.

  1. The Savage Sword of Conan, vol. 1 by Roy Thomas, John Buscema, Barry Windsor Smith, et al. Reprints from the magazine Marvel published in the 70s. The stories can get somewhat repetitive, but they're still entertaining.
  2. Super Spy by Matt Kindt. Very impressive. An assortment of related spy stories set in WWII. Extremely well done. (Checked out of the library.)
  3. MySpace Dark Horse Presents, vol. 1 by various. As with any anthology, the quality of the stories varies, but there is more good here than not. (Library.)
  4. Aetheric Mechanics by Warren Ellis & Gianluca Pagliarani. This is steampunkish, and therefore I bought it. I liked it, but there is a revelation that comes near the end that I don't quite buy. On the other hand, I do like how the characters react to that revelation.
  5. Miki Falls, vol. 2: Summer by Mark Crilley. Manga-ish & very well done. (Library.)
  6. Miki Falls, vol. 3: Autumn by Mark Crilley. (Library.)
  7. Miki Falls, vol. 4: Winter by Mark Crilley. (Library.)
  8. Moomin: The Complete Tove Jansson Comic Strip, vol. 3. More sweet, funny comic strips.
  9. The Goon: Chinatown and the Mystery of Mr. Wicker by Eric Powell. A serious story about the Goon's past. (Library.)
  10. Cthulhu Tales, vol. 1 by various. Another anthology. I especially liked the story about a grade-school production of The King In Yellow, but I think it needed more room to develop. (Library.)
  11. The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman. Another enjoyable book from Gaiman. This one made me want to read The Jungle Book, since I only know the stories from the Disney movie (and I haven't seen that since I was a child) and a handful of comic book adaptations. As it is, I was only able to see the broadest of parallels (although I don't know that the correspondences go beyond the most basic of levels).
  12. Meow, Baby! by Jason. Largely silent comics involving a variety of monsters. (Library.)