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.