Sunday, February 27, 2011

Finished that Novel

  1. A Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin

    I had been holding off on reading this series until Martin finished (or, possibly, died), but with an HBO series coming up this spring, I decided to start reading these massive books.
    Teena and my friends have recommended this series, but that did not prepare me for how gripping the book is. I loved it, and I want to plunge straight into the next book, but I have a bunch of books from the library I should be getting to, not to mention a big stack of unread graphic novels. Also, I don't want to run through this series too fast when it could be a long time before volume 5 is published. But I will definitely be reading more soon (although I think I will hold off on A Feast for Crows until after A Dance with Dragons is published).
  2. Black Jack, vol.12 by Osamu Tezuka. Yet another volume of this medical manga. (Checked out of the library.)
  3. Atlas: Return of the Three Dimensional Man by Jeff Parker, Gabriel Hardman, et al. The final volume of one of the best comics Marvel has published in recent years. Parker was doing all sorts of interesting things with super-heroes in this, but not enough super-hero fans are interested in innovation.
Next week, I should have read more books than I have in the past few weeks.

Did watch a couple of movies:
  • The Last Lovecraft: Relic of CthulhuThis was the highlight of the H.P. Lovecraft Film Festival a couple of years ago. Humorous, but with some heart, and surprisingly good special effects. Glad it's finally available on DVD.
  • WhiteoutI loved the graphic novel this is based on, but I just didn't find this adaptation engaging. Admittedly, I am still infatuated with my iPad and was playing with it while watching the movie, but I don't think that's all. There's nothing specific I can point to, but it's just not that gripping.
The podcast this week is one that I am participating in: The Saint Clair Gamers Actual Play Podcast. My role-playing group has started recording some of our sessions, and Michael (our host and the guy who GMs most often) has started putting them up. Right now we are playing The Armitage Files campaign for Trail of Cthulhu. We are three sessions in, and it looks like we'll be playing for quite a while. I haven't listened to more than a snippet because I don't like listening to recordings of my own voice, but we are having fun playing the game. Give it a listen & let us know what you think.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Three Day Weekend Means a Monday Post

Still reading that novel, so it's another light week.
  1. Fullmetal Alchemist, vol. 24 by Hiroum Arakawa. Penultimate volume. It looks like the ending is going to wind up more satisfying than the anime version's. (Checked out of the library.)
  2. Star Trek: Romulans: Pawns of War by John Byrne. Events during the original series, from the Romulans' point of view. (Library.)
  3. Showcase Presents: Aquaman, vol. 3 by Bob Haney & Nick Cardy.

    These comics don't make a hell of a lot of sense, but they are fun.
  4. Superman/Batman: Saga of the Super Sons by Bob Haney & Dick Dillin. There is almost nothing more amusing than middle aged comics writers trying to capture teen "lingo" from the 60s and 70s.
I said there wasn't much. A few movies this week:
  • Doctor Who: Silver NemesisThe 25th anniversary story, featuring Cybermen. I'm not quite as enamored of the hints at the Doctor's mysterious (and sinister?) past as I was when I first saw the stories from this period, but I still enjoy them.
  • Doctor Who: The Talons of Weng-ChiangNow, this story still stands up. The fourth Doctor and Leela in Victorian London. And it doesn't feel padded, as so many of the 6-part stories from this era did.
  • Oscar(tm) nominated animated shorts Fun stuff, especially The Lost Thing, which Teena says feels just like the book.

Since it's another short week, here's another podcast I enjoy: In honor of my finishing Showcase Presents Aquaman, vol. 3, the choice this week is Tom vs. Aquaman, which is available at that site or through iTunes.

Tom reads old comics and recaps them for you, bringing out all the absurdities and unintentional subtext. He has previously covered the Justice League and the Flash. He's been doing this for a while now, and he just keeps getting better. I especially like how Tom gives a rich inner life to Topo, Aquaman's octopus sidekick.

Each episode is short, running about 10-15 minutes, and he usually posts two or three episodes a week.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Light Week

I started a long novel this past week, so this entry and the next couple are going to be fairly light.

  1. Secret Six: Cats in the Cradle by Gail Simone, John Ostrander, & Jim Calafiore. Latest collection of this series about super-villains. Awful people doing awful things in an awfully entertaining way.
  2. The Question: Pipeline by Greg Rucka & Cully Hamner.

    Rucka excels at crime stories. While we are unlikely to see much more of this version of the Question (at least from Rucka), I am glad to have this.
  3. Hikaru no Go, vol. 20: The Young Lions by Yumi Hotta & Takeshi Obata. I'll see this through to the end, but the more I read, the more I think the series should have ended when the character Sai faded away. (Literally. He's a ghost.) (Checked out of the library.)
  4. Doom Patrol, vol. 1: We Who Are about to Die by Keith Giffen, Matthew Clark, & Justiniano. The latest incarnation of this team. Pretty good, but I think it suffers from super-hero comics's inability to let characters stay dead. Also, it suffers by comparison to Grant Morrison's run from the late 80s and early 90s. (Library.)
  5. Love and Capes, vol. 1: Do You Want to Know a Secret? by Tom Zahler. Enjoyed the second volume so much that I picked up a used copy of the first.
  6. Too Much Crazy by Tom Tomorrow.

    Political cartoons from mid-2008 to early 2010. Nice to be reminded that there are other liberals out there. (Library.)
  7. Fractured Fables by various. Anthology of reinterpreted fairy tales & fables. Pretty good, but nothing really stood out. (Library.)
Just a couple of movies this week:
  • Doctor Who: The AztecsEarly story, from when they were still doing historical stories without fantastic elements (other than the Tardis). Interesting to see more of the first Doctor.
  • The Secret of KellsAbsolutely beautiful animation, and a great story as well.

Since it is a light week, I think it's time to inaugurate a feature I've been thinking about for quite a while now, in which I discuss the podcasts to which I listen. You may have noticed that when I picked a new format for the blog, I added a list of podcasts to my sidebar. First up is CogKNITive, A Knitting & Psychology Podcast by Dr. Gemma.

While I learned to knit in college, and I made a stab at learning to crochet about a year and a half ago, I have to admit that the knitting, crocheting, and spinning parts of the podcast do not interest me. However, the other parts are great. In each episode Gemma discusses a life strategy, something she really likes, and how psychology intersects with her life. These parts make the podcast worth listening to even if you have no interest in the fiber arts.

Episodes tend to be weekly and around half an hour, although lately they've been more sporadic & longer. The show is available through iTunes as "CogKNITive podcast" or from

(Full disclosure: Gemma is a friend from college. But my recommendation of her podcast is not nepotism. She has led an interesting life, and her podcast reflects that.)

Sunday, February 06, 2011

I Don't Know What To Title This Post

  1. Essential Captain America, vol. 2 by Stan Lee, Gene Colan, Jack Kirby, et al. Man, these comics are entertaining. And I love the way Gene Colan draws. His art does something to my brain.
  2. X-Men Noir: Mark of Cain by Fred Van Lente & Dennis Calero. X-Men characters translated to the idioms of the pulps. (Checked out of the library.)
  3. Planetary, vol. 1: All Over the World and Other Stories by Warren Ellis & John Cassaday. Ellis's tour through the pop culture of the 20th Century. I finally got the final volume and decided to reread the previous volumes.
  4. Planetary, vol. 2: The Fourth Man by Warren Ellis & John Cassaday. In which it is revealed that the series' bad guys are the Fantastic Four.
  5. Planetary, vol. 3: Leaving the 20th Century by Warren Ellis & John Cassaday.
  6. Planetary: Crossing Worlds by Warren Ellis, et al. Planetary cross-overs.
  7. Planetary, vol. 4: Spacetime Archaeology by Warren Ellis & John Cassaday.

    Good wrap-up to the series. Glad I waited for the collection, since the huge gaps between the last few issues would have driven me insane.
  8. Love and Capes, vol. 2: Going to the Chapel by Tom Zahler. I had heard good things about this romantic super-hero sit-com, so when I found a cheap used copy, I picked it up. Occasionally too sit-com-ish for my tastes, but overall very good.
  9. Hikaru No Go #19: Hikaru No Go, vol. 19: One Step Forward by Yumi Hotta & Takeshi Obata. I fell behind in this manga series about the game go, but am catching up now. (Library.)
  10. Groo: The Hogs of Horder by Sergio Aragones, with Mark Evanier. Social commentary in a comic about a profoundly stupid barbarian. Very funny. (Library.)
  11. Uncanny X-Men: The Birth of Generation Hope by Matt Fraction, Whilce Portacio, et al. Fall-out from the latest X-cross-over. (Library.)
  12. Detroit Metal City, vol. 7 by Kiminori Wakasugi. More absurdity & death-metal. (Library.)
  13. The Muppet Show Comic Book: Muppet Mash by Roger Langridge. The final collection of the Muppet Show Comic Book. Fun stuff, and I'm sorry to see it go. Langridge really captured the feel of the Muppets, especially when he did the art himself.
  14. Tales of the Green Lantern Corps vol. 3 by Steve Englehart & Joe Staton. Not exactly profound, but entertaining comics from the 80s.
Catching up on movies (many of which were watched via NetFlix Watch Instantly):
  • Doctor Who: The Mind Robber. A second Doctor adventure. The one in which the actor playing Jaime got chicken pox and had to be replaced for a couple of episodes.
  • The Black Adder. The first series. Not as polished as the later ones. (Blackadder III remains my favorite.) But still funny.
  • Doctor Who: The Green Death. A third Doctor story. Environmental issues, self-aware computers, and giant maggots.
  • RiffTrax: Order in the Shorts. One of two recent collections of old educational films with sarcastic commentary.
  • RiffTrax: Shortstoberfest. The other.