Sunday, January 31, 2010

Some Movies This Week

But first, Books:
  1. The Order of the Stick, vol. 4: Don't Split the Party by Rich Burlew. The latest volume of this web-comic that started as a D&D parody. Still very funny.
  2. Cromartie High School, vol. 8 by Eiji Nonaka. More absurdist manga. (Checked out of the library.)
  3. Thor: Ages of Thunder by Matt Fraction, et al. Some great Thor stories here.
  4. Final Crisis: Legion of 3 Worlds by Geoff Johns & George Perez. Quite good (even if it is continuity-porn).
  5. Essential Fantastic Four, vol. 4 by Stan Lee & Jack Kirby. Not quite as great as the previous volume, but I think that's because Stan & Jack aren't introducing new elements to the Marvel Universe here; they're just playing with stuff they had already established. The art is still amazing, though.
  6. Static Shock: Rebirth of the Cool by Dwayne McDuffie, Robert L. Washington III, & John Paul Leon. I really had forgotten how great Milestone Comics were. It was, by far, the best of the various superhero universes that various comics companies introduced in the 90s. I hope the reintroduction of the characters (now integrated into the DC Universe) goes well and we see more reprint collections.
  7. Kickback by David Lloyd. Noir-ish story.
  8. B.P.R.D., vol. 11: The Black Goddess by Mike Mignola, John Arcudi, & Guy Davis. The past few volumes of this series have really built up the sense of impending doom. It looks like it all comes to a head in the next volume. I can't wait.

Since I last updated I have watched
  • Muppets Magic from the Ed Sullivan Show. Quite a few of the sketches done here were re-worked for The Muppet Show.
  • The Best of the Colbert Report.
  • Spellbound. Hitchcock, Ingrid Bergman, & Gregory Peck.
  • Battlestar Galactica: The Plan. I had hoped this would provide insight into why the Cylons launched their attack on the colonies. Instead, it was two hours of Dean Stockwell being a bastard.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Just Books This Time Around
  1. Masterpiece Comics by R. Sikoryak. The Scarlet Letter as a Little Lulu comic. Beavis & Butthead in Waiting for Godot. Garfield crossed with Faust. And much more.
  2. Empowered, vol. 5 by Adam Warren.
  3. Children of the Sea, vol. 1 by Daisuke Igarashi. Giving a new manga series a try. It's okay. (Checked out of the library.)
  4. Mr. X: Condemned by Dean Motter. Stylish as ever.
  5. Agents of Atlas: Dark Reign by Jeff Parker, et al. I really enjoy Parker's writing, but this comic is hurt by inconsistent art. Not that the art is bad, but there's a new artist every issue or two. But despite that, this is a lot of fun. I'm sad that sales didn't match the comic's quality.
  6. The Heart of the Beast by Dean Motter, Judith Dupre, & Sean Phillips. A story about the New York art scene in the 90's, but with Frankenstein's Monster as a character.
  7. Ex Machina, vol. 8: Dirty Tricks by Brian K. Vaughan & Tony Harris. I'm not sure where Vaughan is going with this, but he is clearly building to something, and I'm enjoying the ride. Looking forward to re-reading the whole series when the final volume is published.
  8. Punisher War Zone: The Resurrection of Ma Gnucci by Garth Ennis & Steve Dillon. Completely over the top. (Library.)
  9. Memories of the Future, vol. 1 by Wil Wheaton. Remarkably clear-eyed account of the first half of the first season of Star Trek: The Next Generation. Wheaton doesn't pretend the first season wasn't wildly uneven (and mostly crap). And he is very funny. Looking forward to volume 2, when he puts it out through Lulu.
  10. Icon: A Hero's Welcome by Dwayne McDuffie & M.D. Bright. I haven't read these comics since they first came out in the 90's. I had forgotten just how good they are. I hope this did well and they continue to publish collection of Milestone Comics (particuarly Blood Syndicate and Xombi).
  11. Sub-Mariner: The Depths by Peter Milligan & Esad Ribic. I nearly didn't get this. Milligan runs hot & cold for me. For every X-Statix or Shade the Changing Man, there is an Infinity Inc. or Toxin. However, on the recommendations of Aaron & Evie of the Awesomed by Comics podcast, I picked this up and was pleased to find that it was more like the former than the latter.
  12. Jack of Fables, vol. 6: The Big Book of War by Bill Willingham, Matthew Sturges, & Tony Akins. Still enjoying this.

Haven't watched any movies this week, so this seems like a good opportunity to mention video games.
  • Nearly done with Final Fantasy XII. However I just can't seem to get past the final boss. I need to refine my strategy, but when he kills me, I get discouraged & put the game away for a while. By the time I return to the game, I have forgotten the strategy I worked out after I last got killed. (And it doesn't help that there are long cut scenes and three boss battles between your last opportunity to save and the final boss.)
  • When I either get past that final fight or simply give up on the game, I will move on to The Legend of Zelda: Spirit Tracks, which was a Christmas present from Teena. I love the games in this series and am looking forward to playing this one. (Assuming I can overcome my musical stupidity and get past the point where I am currently stuck trying to play some pan pipes.)
  • And there is the latest acquisition: Marvel Ultimate Alliance, which is fun, but I need to figure the controls out a bit more so I can get past the first big boss: Fin Fang Foom.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Some Books and a Couple of Movies

  1. Un Lun Dun by China Mieville. Great young adult novel about an adventure in the "abcity" of Unlondon (there are other abcities, such as No York, Parisn't, and Sans Francisco). A pair of girls from London find their way to Unlondon, where they discover that one of them is the Chosen One destined to save the abcity. Unfortunately, she is incapacitated. However, the other decides that if the Chosen One can't do the job, she will instead. Very good. Lots of playful ideas and some clever wordplay. (Borrowed from Teena.)
  2. Yotsuba &!, vol. 7 by Kiyohiko Azuma. Still amazingly cute. (Checked out of the library.)
  3. Electropolis: The Infernal Machine by Dean Motter. "Hard-boiled" story staring a robot detective named Menlo Park. Loosely ties in with Motter's work on Mr. X and Terminal City. Features some great punning names such as Anesta Robbins and Tess LaCoyle.
  4. Rin-Ne, vol. 1 by Rumiko Takahashi. Takahashi's latest. Fun, but her formula has become overly familiar, so I think from here on out, I'll be following this through library copies.
  5. Dark Avengers, vol. 1: Assemble by Brian Michael Bendis & Mike Deodato. This is my favorite of Bendis's Avengers titles. He really has a handle on writing villains. (Library.)
  6. XKCD, vol. 0 by Randall Munroe. Geeky web comic collection. (Borrowed from Teena.)
  7. Shivering Sands by Warren Ellis. Collection of essays and odds & ends that Ellis wrote for a variety of places on the web. Published through Lulu.

  • Key Largo. Man, it's weird to see Lauren Bacall when she's so young.
  • Doctor Who: Logopolis. Tom Baker's final story as The Doctor.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Starting 2010

  1. The Mourning Star, vol. 2 by Kazimir Strzepek. Post-apocalyptic story set in a fantasy world. I didn't care for this volume as much as the first one.
  2. Detroit Metal City, vol. 1 by Kiminori Wakasugi. Manga series about a sweet young fan of Swedish pop music who is the singer and guitarist for a death metal band (complete with KISS-style make-up and costumes). Over-the-top and very silly. But entertaining. (Checked out of the library.)
  3. Jim Henson's Return to Labyrinth, vol. 3 by Jake T. Forbes & Chris Lie. Manga-style sequel to the movie. (Library.)
  4. Detroit Metal City, vol. 2 by Kiminori Wakasugi. (Library.)
  5. Avengers: The Initiative, vol. 2: Secret Invasion by Dan Slott, Christos Gage, Stefano Caselli, & Harvey Tolibao. I've heard great things about this series on a couple of comics podcasts I listen to. But I'm just not seeing it. It's okay, but nothing great. (Library.)
  6. Usaki Yojimbo: Yokai by Stan Sakai. To celebrate the 25th anniversary of his samurai rabbit, Sakai painted this story about a gathering of monster. Beautiful artwork on a great story.
  7. Yotsuba &!, vol. 6 by Kiyohiko Azuma. Cute manga about a wide-eyed little girl & her father. (Library.)
  8. Read Responsibly: Unshelved, vol. 5 by Bill Barnes & Gene Ambaum. Collection of a web-comic about librarians. (Borrowed from Teena.)

I have watched a few movies since the first.
  • Sherlock Holmes. Probably not of interest to purists, but Teena and I both really enjoyed this. Very entertaining and I hope they do more.
  • Futurama: Into the Wild Green Yonder. The last (?) of the direct to DVD Futurama movies, and the best of them. Not that I completely disliked the others, but the first had way too many call-backs to the tv series, the second didn't really grab me, and the third ended terribly after a fantastic first 3/4. This one was good and consistent the whole way through.
  • Cat People. Clearly a b-movie, but well done for all that. Some of the plot points seem questionable (the male lead proposes after only two dates, and they get married with the understanding that they won't kiss until Irina feels more comfortable in their relationship), but it has some genuine suspense. I can see why this has the reputation it does.

Sunday, January 03, 2010

2009 Wrap-Up

  1. The Art of Bryan Talbot. Not a lot of actual reading here, but some very nice art.
  2. Incognito by Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips. The story of a super-villain who has gone into the witness protection program.
  3. The Long Haul by Antony Johnston & Eduardo Barreto. I love a good heist story. The fact that this one is also a western is just icing on the cake.
  4. The Arrival by Shaun Tan. Wordless story about the immigrant experience. Teena wrote a great post about it. (Borrowed from Teena.)
  5. Birds of Prey: Dead of Winter by Gail Simone & Nicola Scott. Picked this up at a signing Simone did at a Portland comic store.
  6. North World, vol. 2: The Epic of Conrad by Lars Brown. I enjoyed this quite a bit more than I did the first volume. I think that's because all the various elements introduced in the first book coalesced into a story in this one.
  7. Templar, AZ, vol. 2: The Mob Goes Wild by Spike. Filled in the gap in my print collection of this great web-comic about an alternate-history world.
  8. The Golden Age of DC Comics: 365 Days by various. Selected panels from the Golden Age of comics, one per day for a year.
  9. The Book about Moomin, Mymble and Little My by Tove Jansson. Children's picture book.

And those are the 504 books I read in 2009.

Here are a few more movies watched last year:
  • Avatar. The story may not be the most original (and it may contain no surprises), but the movie is extremely entertaining, and it looks absolutely gorgeous. The most convincing CGI characters I have ever seen.
  • Cinematic Titanic: East Meets Watts. Many jokes cracked at a kung-fu blaxploitation film.
  • Mystery Science Theater 3000: Night of the Blood Beast. Roger Corman. Need I say more?
  • MST3K: Warrior of the Lost World. Such an 80s depiction of a post-apocalyptic world (that doesn't seem all that post- apocalyptic).

Last January I resolved to read at least one book a month that was not a graphic novel. I succeeded in that resolution. In fact, I read at least two non-graphic novel books each month (and in October I read four). I was also good about not getting behind in listing the movies & DVDs I watched. I was less successful in my resolution to make a dent in the number of unread Showcase Presents and Essential volumes I own. I have been reading them more frequently than ever, but I also have been buying more of them.

This year I resolve to maintain the resolutions from last year. And I am adding an A-Z reading challenge that Teena participated in last year. Basically in 2010 I'm going to try to read at least one book starting with each letter of the alphabet (detailed rules can be found in Teena's post). I will keep a running account in the sidebar.

I don't have much to report in 2010 yet, so I will save that for next week.