Sunday, June 26, 2011

Still Another Light Week

  1. Boilerplate: History's Mechanical Marvel by Paul Guinan and Anina Bennett.

    Great book about a robot invented late in the 19th century and its adventures until its disappearance during WWI. Presented as a history book, and full of amazing photos and illustrations, this could almost convince somebody that there was an intelligent robot over a century ago.
  2. JLA: The Hypothetical Woman by Gail Simone & Jorge Luis Garcia Lopez. (Checked out of the library.)
  3. Anya's Ghost by Vera Brosgol.

    Very well-done young-adult comic about a high-school girl who finds herself haunted by a friendly ghost. Recommended. (Borrowed from Teena.)
  4. Black Jack, vol. 14 by Osamu Tezuka. Another volume of the manga about the maverick doctor. (Library.)
  5. Edgar Rice Burroughs' John Carter of Mars: The Jesse Marsh Years by Paul S. Newman & Jesse Marsh. Comics from the 50s adapting some of Burroughs's Barsoom stories.
  6. Essential Fantastic Four, vol. 6 by Roy Thomas, Stan Lee, John Buscema, et al. Early 70s super-heroes.

Just one movie this week:
  • Stardust. Fun, not great. Apparently, Terry Gilliam was offered the opportunity to direct this but turned it down. That would have been something to see.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Father's Day Post

  1. Love and Rockets New Stories, no. 3 by Gilbert and Jaime Hernandez.

    While still good, Gilbert's stories are getting more & more esoteric. And I'm enjoying Jaime's stories all the more. (Checked out of the library.)
  2. Thor: Wolves of the North by various. It's just amazing how many Thor books Marvel has been putting out recently. I wonder why that is.
  3. The Marvels Project: Birth of the Super Heroes by Ed Brubaker & Steve Epting. An examination of the early days of the Marvel Universe.
  4. Scalped, vol. 7: Rez Blues by Jason Aaron, R.M. Guera, et al. The more I read of this Native American noir, the more impressed I am. (Library.)
  5. George R.R. Martin's Doorways by George R.R. Martin & Stefano Martino.

    Adaptation of a television pilot that Martin wrote a while back.
  6. Essential Spider Man, vol. 6 by Gerry Conway, John Romita, Ross Andru, et al. Conway really handles the soap-opera aspect of super-hero comics well. He juggles sub-plots and brings them to prominence when they've simmered long enough. And he keeps adding more threads as old ones resolve. Solidly entertaining comics.
  7. DMZ, vol. 10: Collective Punishment by Brian Wood, et al.

    Moving the story along and catching up with other characters.
  8. Judge Anderson, vol. 1: Anderson, Psi-Division by John Wagner, Alan Grant, et al. Spin-off of Judge Dredd. Pretty good, but nothing all that memorable.

Oh, yes. I forgot to mention it when I finished it, but I listened to the audio version of A Series of Unfortunate Events #13: The End, narrated by Tim Curry. I will always love this book for one particular scene; one I don't want to mention because it's the climax of the book. If you've read the book, you can probably guess which scene I mean. If you haven't read the book, I highly recommend it (and the entire series {even though there are a couple of books in the middle where the formula gets a bit tedious}).

A few movies since last time:
  • Mystery Science Theater 3000: Last of the Wild Horses.
  • Doctor Who: The Curse of Fenric. The seventh Doctor manipulating bad guys and helping Ace to deal with adolescent angst.
  • The Great Muppet Caper. Teena's favorite Muppet movie. (I lean towards the first one myself, but this on is plenty of fun.)
  • Doctor Who: Planet of Evil. The fourth Doctor and Sarah Jane on the edge of the universe.
  • Sherlock. The first series of the BBC modernization of Doyle's stories. Teena and I were both blown away at how great a job they did bringing the characters and situations up to the current day. We couldn't believe the ending and cannot wait until the next series comes out and makes it to the US.

And I have finished a couple of video games recently.
  • Puzzle Quest 2 for the iPad. A match-3 game paired with an RPG. Kept me occupied for hours.
  • Bayonetta. I mentioned this on Twitter, but this game is completely over-the-top. I have never seen a more preposterous game. The cheesecake is so blatant that I can't even find it offensive. It's ridiculous, and it knows it. Here is a review of the game that does a better job describing it than I could.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

More Books this Week

  1. The Goon, vol. 9: Calamity of Conscience by Eric Powell.

    I like the way Powell mixes thrills and angst with goofiness and low-brow humor. (Checked out of the library.)
  2. DC Comics Presents: Batman: Dark Knight, Dark City by Peter Milligan & Kieron Dwyer. I'm generally not in favor of stories that bring us a dark & edgy Riddler. Come on, he's just silly. But this one is well-done and adds to Gotham City's history.
  3. Stan Lee's Soldier Zero, vol. 1: One Small Step for Man by Paul Cornell & Javier Pina. I normally like Cornell's writing quite a bit, but it did nothing for me here.
  4. The Boys, vol. 7: the Innocents by Garth Ennis, Darick Robertson, Russ Brown, & John McCrea. Building towards a climax. (Library.)
  5. DC Comics Presents: Green Lantern: Willworld by J.M. DeMatteis & Seth Fisher. One of DeMatteis' mystical stories, which can be hit or miss for me, but it works here, especially since it is backed up by suitably hallucinatory art from Fisher.
  6. Guardians of the Galaxy, vol. 2: War of Kings, bk. 1 by Dan Abnett, Andy Lanning, Brad Walker, et al. More cosmic super-heroics in the Marvel Universe. (Library.)
  7. Secret Six: Reptile Brain by Gail Simone, Jim Calafiore, et al. More twisted fun from Simone. This is one of my favorite comics right now, and I am sad that it will be going away with DC's relaunch in September. I really hope we get a collection of the final issues.
  8. Farscape: Uncharted Tales: D'Argo's Quest by Keith R.A. DeCandido & Caleb Cleveland. (Library.)
  9. Batman and Robin, vol. 3: Batman and Robin Must Die by Grant Morrison, Fraser Irving, et al. Great climax to this part of the huge, sprawling Batman story Morrison has been telling for years.
  10. The Stranded, vol. 1 by Mike Carey & Siddharth Kotian. I need to remember that not everything Carey writes works for me. A lot of it does, and when it does, it really works (see my responses to The Unwritten). But this is not one of those. There's nothing wrong with this story about aliens hiding amongst humanity, but it doesn't really speak to me.
  11. The Stuff of Legend, bk. 2: The Jungle by Mike Raicht, Brian Smith, & Charles Paul Wilson III.

    More adventures of a group of toys searching the world beyond the closet for their boy, who has been stolen by the Boogieman.
  12. The Best American Comics 2008 edited by Lynda Barry.

    I may not love every comic in this anthology, but I can see the merit to them all. And there is plenty of great stuff here. (I do wish DC had permitted an excerpt from Paul Pope's excellent Batman: Year One Hundred .)

Time to catch up on movies:
  • Iron Man 2. Not bad, but not as good as the first one. This needed more banter between Tony & Pepper and Tony & Rhodey. You've got Robert Downey Jr., give him a chance to be charming.
  • Mystery Science Theater 3000: The Beginning of the End. Peter Graves in a tale of giant locusts menacing Chicago.
  • The Saturday program of the Northwest Animation Festival. Not everything here was for me, but there was plenty of great animation. I especially liked "The Gentleman's Guide to Villainy", "Something Left, Something Taken", and "Coffee Critics".
  • The Last Airbender with the RiffTrax commentary. The white-washing of the cast was enough to keep Teena and I from seeing this movie in the theater even before the horrible reviews came in. However, we thought the jokes of a RiffTrax commentary would make it worth a NetFlix rental. There were some funny jokes, but they weren't nearly strong enough to overcome just how bad this movie is. It tries to cram the entire 20 episode first season of the cartoon into an hour and a half. It does this by forgoing any attempt to "show, don't tell." It feels like the movie is nothing but exposition. Particularly awkward exposition. More than once, a character tells another, "As you know..." Also sacrificed to get the run-time down: any trace of charm, humor, and the characters' personalities. Simply awful. Not worth it even with the RiffTrax jokes. Teena and I have started re-watching the cartoon (which is wonderful) just to get the bad taste out of our mouths.

Sunday, June 05, 2011

Another Light Week

  1. The Savage Sword of Conan, vol. 4 by Roy Thomas, John Buscema, et al. More black and white Conan comics from the late 70s and early 80s.
  2. Doctor Who: The Coming of the Terraphiles Or, Pirates of the Second Aether!! by Michael Moorcock.

    This is not so much a Doctor Who novel as a Michael Moorcock novel (and one of his weirder ones at that) that happens to include the Doctor. I really enjoyed it, but it's definitely not for everybody.
  3. Delirium's Party: A Little Endless Storybook by Jill Thompson.

    Cute children's book using the Endless from Neil Gaiman's Sandman.
  4. Love from the Shadows by Gilbert Hernandez. (Checked out of the library.)
  5. Superboy and the Legion of Super-Heroes: The Early Years by Paul Levitz, Kevin Sharpe, and Eduardo Pansica. I'm a fan of Levitz's work on the Legion in the 80s. He hasn't quite recaptured the feel of those stories (and I'm not sure I'd really want him to try), but this is still enjoyable.
  6. Showcase Presents World's Finest, vol. 3 by various. Man, the Silver Age was something else. Bizarre stories, but some fantastic art by Curt Swan.

Feeling lazy, so I'll put off the movies until next week.