Sunday, January 29, 2012

All Over the Place

  1. The Dark Crystal: Creation Myths, vol. 1 by Brian Holguin, Alex Sheikman & Lizzy John.

    The title sums this up pretty well. The cover and some sketches are by Brian Froud.
  2. Scalped, vol. 8: You Gotta Sin to Get Saved by Jason Aaron, R.M. Guera, et al. Continuing the noir series set on a Native American reservation. (Checked out of the library.)
  3. 20th Century Boys, vol. 18: Everybody's Song by Naoki Urasawa.

    I am very glad I didn't give up on this series. While the emphasis has changed from the early volumes, it has become gripping again.
  4. Yesterday's Tomorrows by Rian Hughes, et al. Nice to see Hughes' art collected. I particularly liked the adaptation of a Raymond Chandler story and the two stories written by Grant Morrison. (Library.)
  5. T.H.U.N.D.E.R. Agents, vol. 1 by Nick Spencer, Cafu, et al. The latest attempt to revive the late 60s-early 70s series. I quite liked this and wish it had continued as a monthly series. With luck, the current mini-series is doing well enough for them to do another.
  6. Avengers: West Coast Avengers: Sins of the Past by Steve Englehart, Al Milgrom, et al. These comics do not warrant a deluxe hard-cover reprint. If Marvel had put these out as part of their inexpensive Essentials line, I would have been thrilled. I got these comics when they first came out in the 80s, but I am under no illusions that they are good. Awkward exposition and ham-fisted characterization are par for the course here. The action and plot-oriented parts are fun, though. (Library.)
  7. Essential Defenders, vol. 5 by J.M. DeMatteis, Don Perlin, et al. More comics from the 80s. These hold up a bit better, and the fact that this book is approximately 500 pages for $20 makes me more charitable in my assessment. I read these comics when they were first published in the early 80s, but I remember nothing from them. Enjoyed this a lot.
  8. DC Comics Presents: Batman-Blaze of Glory by Will Pfeifer, Chris Weston, et al. Enjoyable Batman story.

Only one movie this week:
  • The RescuersI hadn't seen this since it was first released in 1977. The animation is a bit stiff in places, but the story and acting hold up great, which is the important part.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Getting Back Up to Speed

This post may have the same number of books as the last one, but that was a couple of weeks' worth of reading instead of just one.
  1. Baltimore, vol. 1: The Plague Ships by Mike Mignola, Christopher Golden & Ben Stenbeck.

    Comics continuation of the story begun in the novel Baltimore; or, The Steadfast Tin Soldier and the Vampire. A fair amount of this is a recap of the novel, but it has been a couple years since I read it, so the refresher on the character was welcome.
  2. The Boys, vol. 9: The Big Ride by Garth Ennis, Russ Braun & John McCrea. Building towards the climax of this series. (Checked out of the library.)
  3. Fullmetal Alchemist, vol. 27 by Hiromu Arakawa.

    The final volume of this manga series. Arakawa actually managed to bring it to a satisfying conclusion, which is no mean feat. Looking forward to seeing what she does next. (Library.)
  4. Takio by Brian Michael Bendis & Michael Avon Oeming. A couple of school-age sisters become super-heroes.
  5. Brody's Ghost, bk. 2 by Mark Crilley. Moving along the story. (Library.)
  6. The Complete Alan Moore Future Shocks by Alan Moore, et al.

    Short, humorous stories Moore wrote for 2000 AD early in his career.
  7. Wolfskin: Hundredth Dream by Warren Ellis, Mike Wolfer & Gianluca Pagliarani. Barbarian comics from Ellis.
  8. Pogo, vol. 1: Through the Wild Blue Wonder by Walt Kelly.

    I have read previous collections of Kelly's comic strip, but it had been years, and I had forgotten how amazing it is. Simply beautiful art and wonderful jokes. This is one of the absolute best comic strips, and I am so glad that it is finally being reprinted from the beginning in a format that does justice to Kelly's art. I want the next volume now.

A couple of DVDs finished since last week:

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Back to Books

New year, new list:
  1. The Wonder Woman Chronicles, vol. 2 by William Moulton Marton & Harry G. Peter.

    Man, Golden Age Wonder Woman stories were weird, even before you get into the bondage aspects. Magnetic hearing, interplanetary travel and astral projection are all par for the course. I will say that the Golden Age version of Etta Candy is a fantastic character. Yes, she's presented as comic relief, but she's confident, self-reliant and a lots of fun.
  2. Brody's Ghost, bk 1 by Mark Crilley. Manga-ish. I'll see where it's going. (Checked out of the library.)
  3. Red Hulk: Planet Red Hulk by Jeff Parker, Gabriel Hardman, et al. (Library.)
  4. A Clash of Kings: A Song of Ice and Fire, Book Two by George R.R. Martin.

    I love this series. When I finished, I wanted to go straight on to the next book, but I think I'm better off pacing myself on these. I'm going to content myself with keeping ahead of the TV series. With luck, book six will be out by the time I get to A Dance with Dragons. (Besides I've got lots of other books to read).
  5. Iron Man: Dragon Seed Saga by John Byrne & Paul Ryan, with M.D. Bright. Nothing special. (Library.)
  6. Criminal, vol. 6: The Last of the Innocent by Ed Brubaker & Sean Phillips.

    The latest volume of Brubaker & Phillips' noir series. This time the premise is: What if Archie & friends acted more like actual teenagers & then grew up? Extremely well-done and highly-recommended, but I'm not sure this story counts as noir.
  7. Duncan the Wonder Dog by Adam Hines.

    Wow. This is an amazing book. The elevator pitch would be: A serious take on the kind of world presented in Get Fuzzy. In the world of the book, animals are sentient and can speak. 400 pages long, this is only the first of a proposed nine volumes. I can't wait to see the next volume, but I'm going to have to, since this one took Hines seven years to create. I can't do justice to this book, but check out this article and this interview with Hines for more information. The book well deserves being named the best graphic novel of 2010 by Comics Alliance.
  8. Dave Stevens: The Complete Sketches & Studies. Sketches from the creator of The Rocketeer. Gorgeous art. We lost Stevens way too soon.

A few movies in the new year so far:
  • TrollhunterReally enjoyed this Norwegian film about a guy who hunts trolls for the Norwegian government. He's nothing special, just doing a hard, dirty job, and that's what makes this work. If he were presented as some kind of hero, it'd be different. But he's just a guy.
  • Sherlock Jr.Amazing physical comedy from Buster Keaton.
  • Tales from EarthseaNot very satisfying adaptation of bits and pieces of Ursula LeGuin's series of fantasy novels. I wish Hayao Miazaki had been able to direct this himself. His son directed this and just didn't do a very good job.
  • MirrorMaskSo visually amazing.
  • Village of the DamnedCreepy British science fiction.

Sunday, January 08, 2012

Disney, part 2

I'm in the middle of reading A Clash of Kings, so there's not much in the way of books this week, so on to Disneyland.

We arrived shortly before the park opened. Disney does something very clever: they start admitting people into the park a bit early, but they can't go any further than Main Street, USA. This helps prevent huge ticket lines. But people do build up inside the park. See?:

Sorry the image is pretty dark, but it was before 8am on the winter solstice.

We went straight to Tomorrowland.

There, we went on Star Tours, which is very popular. Fortunately, by going there so early, there was hardly any wait. (Early in the day we had very good luck when it came to lines. Later in the day, using FastPass was a great help.)

After that, we headed over to the Indiana Jones Adventure. Again, we just walked through the waiting are. Actually, we walked and walked and walked through the waiting area. They have allocated a lot of space to the wait for this ride. Fortunately, Disney knows how to make that wait interesting.

Lots of things to look at. Plenty to keep your interest. The ride itself was a blast. I'm sorry we missed it the previous time we were at Disneyland.

The other rides we went on were (in no particular order)Space Mountain, Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, the Enchanted Tiki Room (when we needed to sit down for a while), and Pirates of the Caribbean. There is some weird recursion going on with the last ride: it wasn't based on any particular movie (although Disney's version of Treasure Island has to have been an influence), then it was the basis for a movie series, and now the ride has been altered to more closely resemble the movies.

The food on this day wasn't quite as good as it had been in California Adventure, but it was still fine (if rather overpriced). And it was fun:

By the end of the day, we were completely exhausted. It was a fabulous couple of days, and I want to go back already.

Monday, January 02, 2012

Disney Adventure part 1

As part of our trip to visit her parents in the week before Christmas, Teena & I went to Disney's California Adventure and Disneyland. This won't be a full account of our trip, but some highlights.

We spent our first day at California Adventure, which we had never been to before, and it was great, if a little sparse. (Two large sections of the part were closed off for renovation.) We got very lucky with rides. We walked right into Muppet*Vision 3D, which was a blast. Animatronic Statler & Waldorf heckle the show from a balcony, and the 3D effects are handled well. The movie itself is very much in the spirit of Henson, who was never afraid of corny jokes or ending things with a bang. At one point in the movie, there are bubbles, and real bubbles fall from the ceiling, so it's hard to tell which are part of the movie and which are real.

I didn't have too long of a wait for the Twilight Zone Tower of Terror, which is fortunate, because I felt a little guilty about making Teena wait for me while I went on a ride she had no interest in. The drop was very scary, but thrilling. I definitely want to do this again when we go back.

The Golden Zephyr is basically the Dumbo ride with retro-science fiction trappings, but I really enjoyed it and the view it affords of the park.

The shorter line and Teena's propensity for motion sickness meant we chose a stationary gondola for Mickey's Fun Wheel, which is a damn tall Ferris Wheel.

The highlight of the day was the World of Color show in the evening. We spent quite a while waiting for it, but it was worth the wait. While waiting I took these pictures:
The World of Color show was amazing. A light show projected onto water from hundreds of fountains shooting up into the air. Just spectacular. Disney really knows how to put on a show.

On the way out, I convinced Teena that we should get the aviator caps we had seen earlier in the day.

I don't know when we'll wear these, but I'm glad we bought them.

That's enough for now. I'll try to post about Disneyland soon.

Sunday, January 01, 2012

2011 A-Z Title List

Before I start my 2012 A-Z list, here's the 2011 one:

Ayako by Osamu Tezuka
B.P.R.D., vol. 14: King of Fear by Mike Mignola, John Arcudi, & Guy Davis
Castle Waiting, vol. 2 by Linda Medley
Dr. Horrible & Other Horrible Stories by Zack Whedon, et al
Echo, vol. 5: Black Hole by Terry Moore
Finder: Voice by Carla Speed McNeil
A Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin
Hereville by Barry Deutsch
Invincible Iron Man, vol. 5 by Matt Fraction & Salvador Larroca
John Constantine, Hellblazer: India by Peter Milligan, et al
Korgi, vol. 3 by Christian Slade
Love & Capes, vol. 2: Going to the Chapel by Tom Zahler
Marvel 1602: Spider-Man by Jeff Parker & Ramon Rosanas
Naoki Urasawa's 20th Century Boys, vol. 13: Beginning of the End
Once Upon a Time in the North by Philip Pullman
Planetary, vol. 4: Spacetime Archaeology by Warren Ellis & John Cassaday
The Question: Pipeline by Greg Rucka & Cully Hamner
Red Mass for Mars by Jonathan Hickman & Ryan Bodenheim
Snuff by Terry Pratchett
Tiassa by Steven Brust
Ubu Bubu by Jamie Smart
The Viking Prince by Bob Haney, Joe Kubert, et al
The Walking Dead, bk. 1 by Robert Kirkman, Tony Moore, & Charlie Adlard
X'ed Out by Charles Burns
Yotsuba &!, vol. 8 by Kiyohiko Azuma
Zorro, vol. 3: Tales of the Fox by Matt Wagner & Francesco Francavilla.

Wrapping up 2011

Happy New Year!

Here are the movies from the last 3 weeks of December:
After my post yesterday, I finished a few more books, so here they are:
  1. DC Comics Presents: Elseworlds by various.
  2. DC Comics Presents: Batman - The Secret City by various.
  3. DC Comics Presents: Batman - Urban Legend by various.