Saturday, December 31, 2011

Last Entry of 2011

I'll post tomorrow with a description of our trip to Disney's California Adventure and Disneyland, but today is the last of the books I finished in 2011.
  1. The Royal Historian of Oz by Tommy Kovac & Andy Hirsch.

    After a rough start, this settles down into a very Ozzy book that I quite enjoyed. Glad I stuck with it.
  2. 5 Ronin by Peter Milligan, et al. Five superheroes re-imagined as ronin. The feudal Japanese setting works for me, but I can see how it wouldn't for everyone. Still, I liked this quite a bit.
  3. DC Comics Presents: The Life Story of the Flash by Mark Waid, Brian Augustyn, Gil Kane, Joe Staton & Tom Palmer. A biography of the Barry Allen Flash, from a time when it was thought he would stay dead. This is very good. I never bought it before because I thought it was overpriced. So a reprint in the cheap DC Comics Presents format was welcome.
  4. Gladstone's School for World Conquerors by Mark Andrew Smith & Armando Villavert. First book about young super-villains that I recall reading. Fun stuff.
  5. Captain America: Forever Allies by Roger Stern, Nick Dragotta, Marco Santucci, et al. Marvel has put out a lot of Captain America stuff in the past year or two (thanks, Hollywood), and I've been picking up the stuff I think I'd like. So far so good.
  6. Essential Spider Man, vol. 8 by Len Wein, Ross Andru, et al. These comics from the 70s hold up very well.
  7. Peter Porker, the Spectacular Spider-Ham by Steve Skeates, Mark Armstrong, et al. Funny-animal comics from 80s Marvel. Not bad, but overpriced. I'm glad I got this on sale.
  8. DC Comics Presents: Captain Atom by James Robinson, Greg Rucka & Cafu. Back-up comics from Action a year or two ago.
  9. Milk and Cheese: Dairy Products Gone Bad by Evan Dorkin.

    This may be a one-joke strip, but given that each story is only 1-8 pages long, this makes great bathroom reading.
  10. Mutts, vol. 10: Who Let the Cat Out? by Patrick McDonnell.

    Love this comic strip. Not necessarily funny, but always gentle.

I'll save movies for tomorrow.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Possibly My Last Post Until New Year's

Traveling next weekend. Then Christmas. So this may be the last post here until New Year's.
  1. Stargazing Dog by Takashi Murakami.

    Very touching story about a dog's loyalty. I do wish the translation had been presented in the Japanese format, since flipped art is occasionally distracting. (Checked out of the library.)
  2. Fullmetal Alchemist, vol. 26 by Hiromu Arakawa. Only one volume to go. (Library.)
  3. The Secret Society of Super-Villains, vol. 1 by various. A collection of standard 70's fare from DC. The stories are okay, but there is absolutely no way this material warrants one $40 hardcover, much less the second one implied by the "vol. 1" in the title. Originally DC solicited a Showcase Presents for this material. $20 for 400-500 pages of comics printed in black and white on cheap paper would have been ideal. So glad I didn't buy this. (Library.)
  4. The Show Must Go on by Roger Langridge.

    Odds & ends from Langridge. Very funny stuff.
  5. Walt Disney's Mickey Mouse, vol. 1: Race to Death Valley by Floyd Gotfredson.

    Comic strips from the 30s. A great mix of adventure and humor. Looking forward to getting future volumes from the library.
  6. PS Magazine: The Best of the Preventive Maintenance Monthly by Will Eisner. Here is a book that owes its existence to a creator's reputation. If Eisner weren't a legend, there would be no call to collect the best of the comics he created for an Army-published magazine about maintaining equipment. Some great art here, but the stories are mostly all-business. Fortunately, Eisner brought interest to what could have been some incredibly dull comics. (Library.)
  7. Moomin, vol. 6: The Complete Lars Jansson Comic Strip. After his sister Tove stopped doing the Moomin comic strip that she created, Lars took over and kept up the gentle humor. (Library.)
  8. Dragon Puncher Island by James Kochalka. (Borrowed from Teena's classroom.)
  9. Hellboy: House of the Living Dead by Mike Mignola & Richard Corben. An untold tale of Hellboy's time in Mexico working as a luchador. Man, I love Corben's art.
  10. DC Comics Presents: Batman: Don't Blink by Dwayne McDuffie & Val Semeiks.
  11. The Misadventures of Prince Ivan by Diane Duane & Sherlock. I don't know enough about Russian folklore to know if this is an unusual retelling of an old tale or an original story from Duane, but I quite enjoyed it.
  12. Captain Swing and the Electrical Pirates of Cindery Island by Warren Ellis & Raulo Caceres.

    Ellis takes on steampunk and the nature of police work. I loved this.
  13. B.P.R.D.: Being Human by Mike Mignola, Karl Moline, et al.
    Short pieces about some B.P.R.D. agents.

Just one movie since last week:
  • Hogfather. Amazingly faithful to the book. Incredibly well-done. This may go into the list of Christmas movies Teena & I watch each December. If you love Terry Pratchett's Discworld books, you have to see this.

Sunday, December 04, 2011

Books, Books, Books

  1. Fullmetal Alchemist, vol. 25 by Hiromu Arakawa. So close to the end. Almost there. (Checked out of the library.)
  2. The Invention of Hugo Cabret by Brian Selznick.

    After seeing the movie (see below), I knew I had to read this. I am glad I did. I wish I had listened to Teena sooner when she recommended it. Great book, with an interesting mix of text and pictures. (Borrowed from Teena.)
  3. New Mutants: Unfinished Business by Andy Lanning, Dan Abnett, Leandro Fernandez & Michael Ryan. Pretty good super-hero stuff. I enjoyed it, but I am very glad I didn't buy this: $20 for a hardcover collection of 4 issues. Marvel seems determined to wring the last drop out of their audience. (Library.)
  4. Echoes by Joshua Hale Fialkov & Rashan Ekedal. Suspense/horror. I saw the twist coming early on, and I don't like the way the ending was handled. (Library.)
  5. Walt Disney's Donald Duck: Lost in the Andes by Carl Barks.

    Oh man, there are some great comics collected here. So glad Fantagraphics is collecting Bark's duck stories. Great mix of humor and adventure in these comics. My one quibble is that I don't know how good an idea it was to include, in the premiere volume of this new series of reprints, a story that includes African characters given that the story is from the 50s and follows the then standard depictions of the time.
  6. Superman: Secret Origin by Geoff Johns & Gary Frank. Enjoyable story about the beginning of Superman's career, although I find that "one-note" is a little generous in describing a couple of the characters, and it's just a little creepy how closely Frank models Clark/Superman on Christopher Reeve. (Library.)
  7. Ray Bradbury's the Martian Chronicles: The Authorized Adaptation
    by Dennis Calero. This book is too short. There isn't enough space to adequately adapt the stories, and so the art doesn't bring anything new. It just serves as a replacement for description. Occasionally awkward and confusing word balloon placement highlights how this book would have been better served by allowing more space for the story to flow. Much as I love the original, I can't recommend this. (Library.)
  8. Irredeemable, vol. 6: by Mark Waid, Peter Krause & Diego Barreto. Still enjoying this series. (Library.)
  9. Marvel Adventures Fantastic Four: Four-Three-Two-One... by Paul Tobin, et al. More great all-ages comics.
  10. Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?: Dust to Dust, vol. 2 by Chris Roberson & Robert Adler. Concluding volume of this authorized prequel. I enjoyed the story and art, and Roberson does a great job of integrating technological advances that have arisen since Dick wrote the novel. (Library.)

And now for movies from November and the beginning of December:
  • K-9 and Company. Pilot for a Doctor Who spin-off that never went anywhere.
  • Up. Pixar does great movies. There are a couple points where I always tear up when watching this. If you've seen it, you know where they are.
  • Mystery Science Theater 3000: Secret Agent Super Dragon.
  • Hugo. Great adaption of the novel I wrote about above. Scorsese really made it a love-letter to early cinema.
  • Doctor Who: The Invisible Enemy. The introduction of K-9.
  • Mystery Science Theater 3000: Santa Claus. Each December there are a handful of movies Teena and I always watch as Christmas approaches. This is one of them. Look for the others as the month progresses.
  • The Film Crew: Killers from Space. Another bad 50s science fiction movie made fun of by MST3K alumni.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Teena's Birthday Post

I finished Mass Effect earlier today, so I'm hoping I'll be back on schedule for a while. (No guarantees though. Mass Effect 2 is available used pretty cheap, so I may just move on to it. I doubt it, though. I expect my next video game will be a re-play of Paper Mario: The Thousand Year Door, something completely different from the gritty science fiction I have been playing.
Anyway, on to the books I've finished in the last 3 weeks:
  1. Supergod by Warren Ellis & Garrie Gastonny. The third and most apocalyptic of Ellis's three meditations on how people with superpowers would deform the world (following Black Summer and No Hero.)
  2. Spider-Girl: Family Values by Paul Tobin, Clayton Henry, et al. (Checked out of the library.)
  3. Secret Warriors, vol. 6: Wheels Within Wheels by Jonathan Hickman & Alessandro Vitti. The final volume of this series looking at super-spies in the Marvel Universe. It depicts things as being much grayer than is typical in superhero comics. (Library.)
  4. Unwritten, vol. 4: Leviathan by Mike Carey & Peter Gross.

    Man, I love this series and its exploration of stories. This volume has a couple of moments that just stunned me, and I was left saying, "Of course. It couldn't be anything else." This is the best comic being published at the moment.
  5. Everything, vol. 1: Blabber, Blabber, Blabber, Blabber: Comics from around 1978-81 by Lynda Barry.

    Barry's art and writing style have changed in the 30-some years since these comics were created, but she was good even then. Looking forward to the next volume.
  6. The Legion of Super-Heroes: The Curse by Paul Levitz and Keith Giffen. Over a year of LSH comics from Levitz' peak era. Very glad these comics have been collected.
  7. Neonomicon by Alan Moore & Jacen Burrows.

    An interesting (and very disturbing) take on Lovecraft. One I've never seen before. It ends in an oddly touching way. Moore may have become obsessed with sex as he has gotten older, but he can still write rings around most people.
  8. Essential Captain America, vol. 5 by Jack Kirby, et al. Two-thirds of this book is by Kirby, and reading these comics now, I find it hard to believe there was a time I didn't like his art style. When I was a kid, I thought it was too blocky. I eventually figured things out and see Kirby for the genius he was. Great stuff (even if it is pretty damn silly).
  9. DC Comics Presents: Catwoman: Guardian of Gotham by Dough Moench & Jim Balent. An Elseworlds story with Catwoman & Batman trading places.
  10. Black Jack, vol. 16 by Osamu Tezuka. The penultimate volume of this medical manga. (Library.)
  11. DC Comics Presents: JLA: The Age of Wonder by Adisakdi Tantimedu, Galen Showman & P. Craig Russell. Another Elseworlds story, this one setting superheroes in the early part of the 20th century. Beautiful art and a good story.
  12. 20th Century Boys, vol. 17: Cross-Counter by Naoki Urasawa.

    At this point I can't believe there was a time I was considering dropping this series. I can't wait to see where the story goes next. This volume contains a hint at a revelation that has me more interested than ever.
  13. Chew, vol. 4: Flambe by John Layman & Rob Guilory. (Library.)
  14. DC Comics Presents: The Jack Kirby Omnibus Sampler. I can't afford The Jack Kirby Omnibus, so I'm making do with this. Some great old comics here.
  15. Star Wars Omnibus: Quinlan Vos - Jedi in Darkness by John Ostrander, Jan Duursema, et al. Glad to see these comics collected. Ostrander has a great handle on showing somebody tempted by the Dark Side. Much better than Lucas (not that that's saying much.)
  16. Showcase Presents All Star Comics by Paul Levitz, Joe Staton, et al. 70s comics set on Earth-2.
  17. Ozma of Oz by L. Frank Baum, adapted by Eric Shanower & Skottie Young.

    I'm loving these comics adaptations of the Oz books, if for no other reason than they give me a chance to understand the jokes that went over my head when I read the books as a kid. (Borrowed from Teena.)
  18. Detroit Metal City by Kiminori Wakasugi. The final volume of this absurd series about death metal in Japan. (Library.)
  19. Scarlet, vol. 1 by Brian Michael Bendis & Alex Maleev. This story about a young woman fighting a corrupt system seems especially relevant given that the Occupy Wall Street movement began since these comics were published. (Library.)
  20. Yotsuba & !, vol. 10 by Kiyohiko Azuma

    More adorableness. (Library.)
  21. DC Comics Presents: Batman: Bad by Doug Moench & Barry Kitson. It'd be nice to see more of Moench's stuff get collected (and not just the Batman as a vampire stuff that has been), but I'll make do with stuff like this.
  22. Essential Fantastic Four, vol. 7 by various. Super-hero comics from the 70s. The final issue in this collection was the first issue I got as part of a subscription I had when I was a kid. I'm going to have to pick up the next volume and see if the rest of those comics hold up to my memories. (I suspect they won't.)
  23. FF, vol. 1: Tomorrow by Jonathan Hickman, Steve Epting & Barry Kitson. Hickman tosses out huge SF concepts all through these comics. He's a great fit for the Fantastic Four. (Library.)
  24. Superman: The Black Ring, vol. 1 by Paul Cornell & Pete Woods. Ironic that Superman appears at the head of this book's title, since he doesn't appear in it. This is all about Lex Luthor and his ambition. It's tough to pull off a comic focused on a villain, but Cornell pulls it off.

Since I've been so far behind and this post is so long, I'm going to put movies off until next week.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Another Excuse

No house guest this week, but Mass Effect was calling, so no real post this week either. There's a 4-day weekend coming up, so maybe I'll get caught up then.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

An Excuse

We have a houseguest this week, so no post.

Sunday, November 06, 2011

Man, I'm really enjoying Mass Effect. What a great game. That's why this update is late.
  1. Detroit Metal City, vol. 9 by Kiminori Wakasugi. More absurdity. (Checked out of the library.)
  2. Stumptown by Greg Rucka & Matthew Southworth

    Crime story set in Portland. Great story and beautiful art. It's fun identifying the locations Southworth used for reference in his art. The book design is gorgeous, as well. An amazing package all around. I hope there's more to come, but in the current comics market, I'm not holding my breath. This book was a birthday present. Thanks, Gemma & Dee!
  3. God Save the Queen by Mike Carey & John Bolton.

    Urban fantasy. Bolton is a fantastic artist, and this story plays to his strengths.
  4. Alpha Flight Classic, vol. 2 by John Byrne. Some awkward story-telling here & there, but still plenty entertaining. I hope we see a third volume of Byrne's run and then another with Mantlo's & Mignola's issues.
  5. Boy's Ranch by Joe Simon & Jack Kirby. I've had this book for years but kept putting off reading it. Reading the collection of Simon & Kirby's Sandman comics a few weeks back convinced me to crack it open. I'm glad I did. Fun stuff.
  6. The Last Dragon by Jane Yolen & Rebecca Guay.

    Comics adaptation of one of Teena's favorite stories by Yolen. Beautifully done. (Borrowed from Teena.)
  7. Beards of Our Forefathers: A Collection of Wondermark Comic Strips by David Malki !

    Web-comic collection. The creator repurposes art from old magazines, advertisements and books. Very absurd stuff. Lots of fun.
  8. All-New Atom: Small Wonder by various. I really enjoyed the end of Gail Simone's run. But the writer who took over after she left made the story entirely too serious.
  9. Captain America: The Trial of Captain America by Ed Brubaker, Butch Guice, et al. This continues to be a great series.
  10. Zorro, vol. 3: Tales of the Fox by Matt Wagner & Francesco Francavilla.

    And with this book, I have completed by 2011 list of A-Z book titles.
  11. DC Comics Presents: Batman: Blink by Dwayne McDuffie & Val Semeiks. While it is nice to see more of McDuffie's comics collected, it would have been nice if this had come out before he died.

  • Mystery Science Theater 3000: Manos: The Hands of Fate. Actually watched this a few weeks back but kept forgetting to list it here.
  • Doctor Who: The Creature from the Pit. I had seen this once before when PBS showed it in the 80s, but I remembered almost nothing about it. It's quite funny.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Halloween Eve

Mass Effect has been eating up a lot of my time lately, so I'll keep things short.
  1. Motel Art Improvement Service by Jason Little.

    (Checked out of the library.)
  2. Showcase Presents: Secrets of Sinister House by various. Horror stories from the early 70s. I've read one of the other horror Showcase Presents volumes before, and I wasn't impressed. I think I liked this one better because I read a story or two a day rather than devouring the whole thing at once.
  3. Snuff by Terry Pratchett.

    After learning that Terry Pratchett has early onset Alzheimer's, I keep expecting each new Discworld novel to be the last, but he's still going strong. This latest one may be a little predictable, but Pratchett still understands human nature as well as ever.
  4. Dracula: The Company of Monsters, vol. 3 by Kurt Busiek, Daryl Gregory, Damien Couciero & Scot Godlewski. Conclusion to the best vampire story I've read in a long time. (Library.)
  5. The All-New Atom: Future/Past by Gail Simone, Mike Norton & Eddy Barrows.
  6. Invincible Iron Man, vol. 8: Unfixable by Matt Fraction, Salvador Larroca, et al. (Library.)
  7. Sigil: Out of Time by Mike Carey & Leonard Kirk. Great young-adult fantasy story. I hope to see more of this.
  8. Essential Monster of Frankenstein by various. Frankenstein's Monster in Marvel comics. Pretty good, although the stories from the black and white magazines (that were not subject to the Comics Code) were too nihilistic for my tastes.
  9. Superman/Batman: Worship by Paul Levitz, Jerry Ordway & Renato Guedes. (Library.)
  10. Greek Street vol. 3: Medea's Luck by Peter Milligan, Werther Dell'edera & Davide Gianfelice.

    The final collection of this comic updating Greek myths to current day London.
  11. Vertigo Resurrected: The Eaters by Peter Milligan, Dean Ormston, et al.
  12. Dungeon Zenith, vol. 3: Back in Style by Joann Sfar, Lewis Trondheim & Boulet. (Library)
  13. The All New Atom: The Hunt for Ray Palmer by Gail Simone & Mike Norton.
  14. DC Comics Presents: Superboy's Legion by Mark Farmer & Alan Davis. The DC Comics Presents format is giving DC a place to reprint a bunch of Elseworlds stories. Fine by me.
  15. Showcase Presents: The Phantom Stranger, vol. 2 by various.

    More Comics Code-approved horror.
  16. Morning Glories, vol. 2: All Will Be Free by Nick Spencer & Joe Eisma. The Prisoner meets teen drama. I enjoy this series quite a lot, but I do hope we start getting at least a few answers soon.
  17. Astonishing X-Men: Xenogenesis by Warren Ellis & Kaare Andrews.
  • Doctor Who: The Two Doctors. The 6th Doctor (Colin Baker) meets the 2nd (Patrick Troughton).
  • Thor. Enjoyed this more than I expected. Plenty of jokes and some spectacular action.
  • Howl's Moving Castle. When it has been a while since I've seen a studio Ghibli movie, I forget how beautiful they are. I love this movie.
  • Kakurenbo. Japanese animated short. Horror story about a special game of hide & seek.
  • Bride of Frankenstein.
  • Frankenstein. Teena & I probably should have watched these two in the other order, but once we finished Bride, we realized there was time to watch the first movie. Really impressed by Karloff's performance, especially in that costume & under that makup.

And that brings me up to date.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Skip Week

Not many books this week (since I read a novel). And since I spent the afternoon playing Mass Effect, I'll put things off until next week.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Some Spooooky Books

We are well into October, so I have been picking some horror titles for my reading. Not everything, but some.
  1. The All-New Atom: My Life in Miniature by Gail Simon, John Byrne, & Eddy Barrows. Finally got around to picking up the collections of Simone's run.
  2. American Vampire, v.2 by Scott Snyder, Rafael Albuquerque & Mateus Santolouco. I'm enjoying this series, but I'm not blown away by it. (Checked out of the library.)
  3. Hellboy, vol. 11: The Bride of Hell and Others by Mike Mignola, Richard Corben, Kevin Nowlan & Scott Hampton.

    Latest collection of Hellboy short stories, including the one in which Hellboy spends time fighting as a luchador in 50s Mexico. Great stuff, as always.
  4. Captain America: Man Out of Time by Mark Waid & Jorge Molina. The story of Cap dealing with culture shock after being rescued from the ice where he spent the years since WWII. Very well done. Waid really gets the character and what he stands for. (Library.)
  5. iZombie, vol. 2: uVampire
    by Chris Roberson & Michael Allred, with Gilbert Hernandez.
    This series is really growing on me. I like the characters and am looking forward to seeing where Roberson takes them.
  6. Amulet, bk. 4: The Last Council by Kazu Kibuishi.

    And now I am caught up with this series and will have to wait a year before I learn what happens next. Great, all-ages comics. (Borrowed from Teena.)
  7. Scary Godmother Comic Book Stories by Jill Thompson.

    It's so nice to have all of Thompson's Scary Godmother comics collected into one book. Really fun stuff. Aimed at kids (complete with craft projects and snack recipes) but enjoyable by adults as well. Tons of spooky fun. Highly recommended.

And now for movie catch-up:
  • Bringing Up Baby. Cary Grant & Katharine Hepburn are hilarious in this screwball comedy. I was surprised to learn that the movie didn't do well when it was first released, because it is fantastic. Wonderful performances all around.
  • Ocean's 11. The original from the 60s. The recent remake bears almost no resemblance to this. It's interesting, but a very different movie.
  • Clue. About the only good movie I can see being made from a board game. So many great comedians in this.
  • James Burke's Connections. Thanks to Netflix, Teena & I watched this series about how things are connected. Some amazing chains of connection. Absolutely fascinating. We will be getting the later series soonish but need a break right now.

Sunday, October 09, 2011

Lots of Books This Week

  1. Mermaid Saga, vol. 4 by Rumiko Takahashi. Final volume of this horror series.
  2. Frequently Asked Questions: An Unshelved Collection by Bill Barnes & Gene Ambaum. More comic strips about a public library. (Checked out of the library.)
  3. Hereville: How Mirka Got Her Sword by Barry Deutsch.

    Enjoyed this so much when I got it from the library a few months back I decided to pick up a copy at Stumptown Comics Fest. Deutsch is local, and he was there. So I got this copy signed. Wonderful story. I hope there will be more.
  4. Invincible Iron Man, vol. 7: My Monsters by Matt Fraction, Salvador Larroca & Carmine Di Giandomenico. Another Iron Man collection. This one includes a story that takes the Iron Man villain The Mandarin, and rescues him from his racist origins as a Yellow Peril cliche. (Checked out of the library.)
  5. Taskmaster: Unthinkable by Fred Van Lente & Jefte Pao. A minor character that's been around for ages get a back-story. Both funny (especially Don of the Dead) & touching. (Library.)
  6. The Other Side of the Mirror, vol. 1 by Jo Chen. Romance comic. The art is very nice, but the story feels amateurish. But then, this is one of Chen's first published works.
  7. The Other Side of the Mirror, vol. 2 by Jo Chen.
  8. Shadowland: Power Man by Fred Van Lente & Mahmud Asrar. A new character emerges from a Marvel cross-over. (Library.)
  9. Strange Science Fantasy by Scott Morse.

    Fun, weird stories using comics tropes from non-superhero genres: war, detective, adventure, science fiction. I quite enjoyed this. (Library.)
  10. Korgi, vol. 3 by Christian Slade. Latest volume of this silent comic about a magical korgi and his friends. (Borrowed from Teena.)
  11. The Sandman by Joe Simon and Jack Kirby

    I had gotten used to Golden Age comics being more about enthusiasm than skill. A lot of the comics I've read from the 40s have an undeniable energy (stemming from the excitement of young people doing something that's brand new), but they're just not very good. That is not the case with the stories reprinted in this book. They're great. Simon & Kirby knew what they were doing, and they crafted some highly entertaining stories about a guy in a purple and yellow jumpsuit. So glad I picked this up.
  12. Amulet, bk. 3: The Cloud Searchers by Kazu Kibuishi.

    The story continues. Still fantastic. (Borrowed from Teena.)
  13. John Constantine, Hellblazer: Bloody Carnations by Peter Milligan, Giuseppe Camuncoli, Stefano Landini & Simon Bisley. I am glad that Milligan's run on Hellblazer turned out to be one of the things by him that I enjoy. I'm not sure what is happening with the character now that he is again part of the main DC universe. I hope this continues as a separate continuity.
  14. Questionable Content, vol. 2 by Jeph Jacques. The second collection of the web-comic. (Borrowed from Teena.)
  15. Ruse: The Victorian Guide to Murder by Mark Waid, Mirco Pierfederici & Minck Ooserveer.

    Sherlock Holmes pastiche. Pretty good, too.
  16. Essential Defenders, vol. 4 by various. It took me a long time to get through this book. The stories just didn't hold my interest, especially the "Tunnelworld" one. That story dragged on and on. There was a great bit late in the book when Valkyrie and the Hulk go grocery shopping. Other than that, it was pretty dire.
  17. Paying for It: A Comic-Strip Memoir about Being a John by Chester Brown. This is a very odd book. Self-serving, I have to assume. I don't think that Brown is going to convince anybody who doesn't already think prostitution should be decriminalized, but his arguments are interesting (if not persuasive). (Library.)
  18. Chester 5000 XYV by Jess Fink. Silent steampunk erotic comics.

That's a lot of books, so I'll hold off on movies until next week.

Sunday, October 02, 2011

Light on Books, but Finally Some Movies

  1. Northlanders, vol. 5 Metal and Other Stories by Brian Wood, Riccardo Burichelli et al. Another volume in this series of stories about vikings. I especially liked the third story, "The Girl in the Ice." (Checked out of the library.)
  2. The Ballad of Sleeping Beauty by Gabriel Benson & Mike Hawthorne.

    Fairy tale western. Pretty good, but I didn't find it particularly compelling.
  3. Amulet, bk. 2: The Stonekeeper's Curse by Kazu Kibuishi.

    The next volume. Wonderful stuff. I do seem to be managing to pace myself on these, but it's hard. I want to see what happens next. Wonderful fantasy series aimed at kids but enjoyable by adults. (Borrowed from Teena.)
  4. Black Jack, vol. 15 by Osamu Tezuka. Yet another volume. Still great. (Library.)
  5. Mermaid Saga, vol. 3 by Rumiko Takahashi. These stories are quite good. I wouldn't be surprised if this didn't sell as well as her romantic comedy stories, but I wish Takahashi would do more like this.

And that's it for books this week. But the H.P. Lovecraft Film Festival was this weekend. The main festival has moved to southern California, although, there will be a satellite festival in Portland in spring starting next year. This was a shorter festival to tide us over until then. There were 2 shorts blocks; one of which I didn't much care for (except for a single, fairy-tale like story about mismatched silverware), the other of which was pretty good. There were also 2 feature films:
  • The Whisperer in Darkness, which is a fantastic adaptation of the story. Extremely well-done. Very impressive.
  • Die Farbe, a German adaptation of "The Color Out of Space", my favorite Lovecraft story. I was blown away by this. This actually captured the sense of dread, foreboding and helplessness of the story. (Very unlike the Italian adaptation I saw a couple of years ago that went for shock and gore rather than attempting to actually capture the feel of the story.)
Enjoyed the festival, and the shorter length meant that Teena and I weren't completely wiped out when it it was over. So that was nice.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Last Sunday in September

  1. Atomic Robo, vol. 5: Atomic Robo and the Deadly Art of Science by Brian Clevinger & Scott Wegener.

    I'm glad I stuck with this series after the first volume (which felt a lot like a Hellboy pastiche). It keeps getting better & funnier. (Checked out of the library.)
  2. Fallen Angel: Return of the Son by Peter David & J.K. Woodward. This appears to be the final volume of this series. There is a chance there will be more, but they will be quite dark, and I'm not sure I will get them.
  3. Vertigo Resurrected: Johnny Double by Brian Azzarello & Eduardo Risso. Another mini-series collected.
  4. 20th Century Boys, vol. 16: Beyond the Looking Glass by Naoki Urasawa.

    Another nine volumes to go, and I'm still eagerly anticipating each one. Can't wait to see where it goes next.
  5. Thunderbolts: Violent Rejection by Jeff Parker, Kev Walker & Declan Shalvey. Don't know what to say other than that I enjoyed this. (Library.)
  6. Amulet, Book 1: The Stonekeeper by Kazu Kibuishi

    The fourth book in this series is coming, so I decided it was time to re-read this one and to finally read 2 and 3. I had forgotten how good this fantasy comic is. Looking forward to reading more. (Borrowed from Teena.)
  7. Excalibur Visionaries: Warren Ellis, vol. 1 by Warren Ellis, et al. Even though I like Ellis's writing a lot, I resisted picking up this collection of some of his early work at Marvel. But I found a used copy and picked it up. The first issues reprinted here don't impress me, but the final three issues are definitely Ellis doing good work. The character he introduced earlier, Pete Wisdom, starts to feel like the standard Ellis protagonist (if you've read Transmetropolitan or Gravel or just about anything Ellis has written, you know what I mean). I'll be getting the other volumes when the opportunity presents itself.
  8. The Best of Archie Comics by various.

    Over 400 pages of comics ranging from Archie's first appearance in 1941 to an issue from 2010, all for $10. This is quite a bargain. I will never claim that Archie comics are high art, but they can be plenty entertaining.
  9. Showcase Presents: Blackhawk by unknown and Dick Dillin. DC comics no longer knows who wrote these stories from the late 50s, but they do know that Dillin drew them. The first few issues reprinted here are all about how evil Communists are, and the stories suffer for it. (Not that I'm pro-communist. Just anti-propaganda.) Once the Blackhawks' opponents become gangsters with fantastic weapons and vehicles, the stories get more readable.
  10. Stan Lee's Starborn, vol. 1: Beyond the Far Stars by Chris Roberson & Khary Randolph. (Library.)
  11. Mermaid Saga, vol. 1 by Rumiko Takahashi. Not her usual formula, but this is a horror series, not a romantic comedy.
  12. Mermaid Saga, vol. 2 by Rumiko Takahashi.

Still no movies.

Sunday, September 18, 2011


  1. X'ed Out by Charles Burns.

    Disturbing, as Burns always is. I had not realized this was the first volume of a series. Looking forward to more. I wonder if the next volume will also have a certain Tintin feel to it. (Checked out of the library.)
  2. Hulk Visionaries: Peter David, vol. 8 by Peter David, Dale Keown, et al. David wrote the Hulk for a long time, and I am very glad his run is being collected.
  3. Fantastic Four, vol. 4 by Jonathan Hickman & Steve Epting. Hickman seems a perfect fit for the Fantastic Four. Plenty of super-science concepts flying around. (Library.)
  4. Sweet Tooth, vol. 3: Animal Armies by Jeff Lemire. Latest collection of this post-apocalyptic comic. Sweet an horrifying at the same time. The more of Lemire's work I read, the more I like him.
  5. Star Trek: The Manga, Ultimate Edition by various. Manga-style comics about classic Trek.
  6. The Marvelous Land of Oz by L. Frank Baum, Eric Shanower & Skottie Young.

    Comics adaptation of the second Oz novel. I had forgotten just how funny these books can sometimes be. (Borrowed from Teena.)
  7. Essential Spider-Man, vol. 7 by Gerry Conway, Len Wein, Ross Andru, et al. When I was a kid, I had a subscription to The Amazing Spider-Man sometime in the mid-70s. The issues I got in my subscription are reprinted in this volume. It was a weird feeling, re-reading something after 35 or so years.
  8. Madame Xanadu, vol. 4: Extra Sensory by Matt Wagner, et al. I had thought volume 3 was the final collection of this series, but I was wrong. However, this is the last one.
  9. Congress of the Animals by Jim Woodring.

    Woodring's comics are always surreal and dream-like, particularly his Frank stories, which are wordless. Freaky stuff, but very good. (Library.)

No movies this week.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

10 Years

Don't have much to say about the 10th anniversary, but we shouldn't forget.

Anyway, on to books:
  1. Call of the Wild: A Mutts Treasury by Patrick McDonnell. Such a wonderful comic. Sweet and gentle unlike anything else on the comics page, but not cloying or saccharine.
  2. Avengers: The Coming of the Beast by Steve Englehart, Tony Isabella, George Tuska and Don Heck. I really wonder who at Marvel decides what comics get fancy hardcover collections. This one consists of the first four Avengers issues where the Beast is a member and 2 unrelated fill-in issues from shortly thereafter. Different creative teams too. Why do these issues warrant a $20 hardcover? (Checked out of the library.)
  3. Casanova, vol. 2: Gula by Matt Fraction and Fabio Moon. Man, I love this comic. Weird and surreal and fantastic. So glad that new issues are being published again.
  4. Rin-Ne, vol. 6 by Rumiko Takahashi. I'm sure I've mentioned this on every previous volume: Takahashi's formula is very apparent here, but it's still entertaining. (Library.)
  5. Fantastic Four, vol. 3 by Jonathan Hickman & Neil Edwards. More super-science concepts. (Library.)
  6. Doctor Strange: Into the Dark Dimension by Roger Stern, Paul Smith, et al. Another of the fancy hardcovers I was talking about above, but this time it's a coherent storyline (although I suspect the final issue reprinted here may have been included just to pad the page count). I really enjoy Stern's writing and wish there were more collections of his work.
  7. DC Comics Presents: JLA - Heaven's Ladder by Mark Waid & Bryan Hitch. One of the things DC seems to be using these DC Comics Presents for is to bring back into print stories that were originally published as overpriced hardcover original graphic novels. I'm glad they are now cheaper.
  8. B.P.R.D. Hell on Earth, vol. 1: New World by Mike Mignola, John Arcudi & Guy Davis.
    Still a remarkable series. Still going strong.
  9. Gen 13: Best of a Bad Lot by Gail Simone & Talent Caldwell. Reboot of the Wildstorm property. Probably moot with DC's latest relaunch, but still a good story.
  10. Usagi Yojimbo, vol. 25: Fox Hunt by Stan Sakai.
    Now this is an achievement. Sakai has been creating this comic for nearly 25 years, and it is as good as it has ever been. He just keeps honing his craft. Excellent comics. One of the best being published.

  • Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs. Teena and I had our niece over for a visit, so we watched a kid's movie. This was better than we had expected. Not filled with lazy jokes, which was a pleasant surprise.

Monday, September 05, 2011

Happy Labor Day!

Three day weekend means a Monday post.

Today is a nice reminder that the U.S. hasn't always been so hostile to the common worker. I'm just glad that Labor Day is old enough that there is little chance of it being rescinded. (Although who knows? As this page shows, the Right has stopped pretending not to be outraged that the poor have the audacity to think they should have a say in their own governance.

Anyway, on to the past weeks books:

  1. Ghost Story by Jim Butcher.

    The latest Dresden Files novel. Where do you go when your protagonist ends the previous book by being shot in the chest and falling into the icy waters of Lake Michigan? Well, the title should give you a hint. Looking forward to the next book next year.
  2. The Warlord: The Saga by Mike Grell, Joe Prado & Chad Hardin. Grell returns to a character he wrote and drew for a good deal of the 70s.
  3. Incognito, vol. 2: Bad Influences by Ed Brubaker & Sean Phillips.
    Pulp-inspired super-villainy. Can't wait to see where the story goes next.
  4. Rasl: Pocket Book One by Jeff Smith. Smith's latest book is very different from Bone, but is just as good. (Although I will admit I am starting to get a little burned out on stories that use Tesla as a source for whatever science McGuffin they need.)
  5. Dan Dare Omnibus by Garth Ennis & Gary Erskine.

Catch-up time for movies:
  • Cowboys vs. Aliens. Actually saw this back at the beginning of August, but forgot to post about it then. Enjoyed the movie itself fine enough. Unfortunately, our experience was ruined by a jerk who got to the theater after previews had started, sat right next to Teena and spent the entire movie texting.
  • Mystery Science Theater 3000: Gamera vs. Zigra. It's really strange to see a kaiju (giant monster like Gamera or Godzilla) speaking in one of these movies.
  • Doctor Who: Enlightenment. Wraps up the story arc of Turlough's introduction.
  • RiffTrax Live: Jack the Giant Killer. Old kids' movie with some respectable stop-motion animation effects and a bizarre story.
  • The Heroic Trio Kung Fu super-heroics.
  • RiffTrax: Shorts to Go. One of the latest collections of short films and joke-filled commentaries.
  • RiffTrax: Olde Tyme Shorts Roundup. The other latest collection.
  • Doctor Who: The Seeds of Death. The Second Doctor vs. invading Martians.
  • The Film Crew: The Giant of Marathon. A Steve Reeves movie that isn't about Hercules. Amazingly, he still plays an incredibly strong ancient Greek.
  • Big Trouble in Little China. This movie is so much fun. I love the description of Kurt Russell's character as "A sidekick who thinks he's the lead." It fits perfectly.
  • RiffTrax: Shortstoberfest. Still more short films.