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.