Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Best to Worst of Last Week

This was a solid week with a clear winner in my opinion and a clear waste of paper book and in between a lot of solid and entertaining books. I believe that I enjoy so many books because over the years I have developed a better appreciation of looking for what each book has to offer. Plus I believe that you have to find the good in something before going negative. It is easy as hell to just go negative on stuff (and I certainly do that at times). Plus I buy only what I think I would enjoy and therefore books that I would just crucify normally never make it home.

Crecy - A one shot from Avatar press by Warren Ellis and Raulo Caceres on art. I forgot that I ordered this and when I read it I was prepared to be under whelmed by a story of a middle age war between the French and English and was blown away. Ellis told a harsh and entertaining story of the battle between the English long bowman and the French mercenary army. I’m not a historian, but it felt accurate and was very entertaining. Certainly not for everyone as the language is harsh, but feels authentic as the story is told from the perspective of one of the thousands of bowmen.
Green Arrow Year One #2 (of 6) – Diggle and Jock are just making this series sing. Great remake and modernization of Ollie’s beginnings.
Black Summer #1 (of 7) – This is a great series and picks up from the zero issue and just goes from there. This book contains so much information and is told in such a great manner that I already want more then just the seven issues.
Hellblazer #234 – Andy Diggle is hitting two books out of the park. John Constantine as the unrepentant self-serving b*st*rd is back. Not a bad guy, just not the nicest person you would ever meet, has his own moral code.
Blue Beetle #17 – This book continues to get better and better. A great story of a boy becoming a man and a hero, full of humor, action and emotion.
Crossing Midnight #9 – This series continues to impress. A Japanese inspired horror/fairly tale written and drawn as an American comic.
Grendel Behold the Devil #0 – A 50 cent comic with very few pages should not be this good. Matt Wagner did a great intro chapter for the new series.
Invincible #44 – A great issue in what is a terrific series. The super woman from Mark’s planet was a great add. Really just buy and read this book.
Supergirl and The Legion of Super-Heroes #32– Bedard is doing a great job on this series and telling a story of a wide scope, but is focusing on small groups at the same time.
Annihilation Conquest Star Lord #1 (of 4) – Keith Giffen writer and Tim Green II on art bringing you the ragtag “Dirty Dozen” being sent off on a suicide mission for the Kree. Reluctant hero, sarcasm and humor mixed very well. The cast is Star Lord, Captain Universe, Mantis and Rocket Raccoon and a couple others. Great start.
X-Men First Class #2 – This book is just such a terrific read. Jeff Parker does a great job of making the characters feel right and yet making them feel younger. Roger Cruz has the right touch on the art that is fun and not too cartoony, but has a light flavor of cartoonyness.
Fear Agent The Last Goodbye #2 (of 4) – This book almost is too serious of an origin for the character, but it works. Fear Agent should be in movie houses soon (I hope).
All Star Batman & Robin the Boy Wonder #6 – This is a book that I’m growing to like against my better judgment. This is an insane version of Batman, but it is well drawn and just flat out mad fun.
Amazing Spider-Man #542 – Terrific showdown with the Kingpin, but the strong emotional underpinning of that scene was hurt since we know after all of this DD has taken him out of the picture and moved him to Europe.
Fallen Angel #18 – This Shi guest star is working very well and Peter David’s sardonic dialogue for Lee made me laugh a few times while reading it.
Green Lantern Corps #14 – The Sinestro War is just that an all out war against the Green Lanterns. Much better done then WW Hulk, DC needed to market this better.
Doktor Sleepless #1 – Warren Ellis’ sci-fi series from Avatar. Interesting start, but we obviously have a lot to learn about the good Doktor and what is going on in this skewed future.
Fantastic Five #2 (of 5) – My favorite FF book that I’m reading. This is exactly the way these books should be done. Letting the heroes get older and their lives move on adds so many story elements and this book proves how well it can work.
Hellboy Darkness Calls #4 (of 6) – I finally feel like I have a clue as to what is going on and this issue was a great battle between Hellboy and a foe that could not be killed.
Heroes for Hire #12 – Good issue, middle part of a story line, but the Humbug story and the Shang-Chi / Tarantula relationship are good elements.
Teen Titans #49 – Surprising good issue that was a perfect tie-in to Amazon Attacks. I t was part of Amazon Attacks, but told its own story.
Immortal Iron Fist #7 – For what was essentially a breather issue for the regular artist, the history of a previous Iron Fist was enjoyable. She was certainly not a very moral Iron Fist.
Deathblow #6 – Not sure where this book is going, but I’m enjoying the ride. The POV I believe is Michael Cray’s and he also has no clue what is happening.
JSA Classified #28– Nice story about why a hero can’t do everything, great issue focusing on Jakeem.
Iron Man #20 – Decent issue. A WW Hulk tie-in that added to the story as well as adding to the character development of a supporting character in Iron Man’s regular series.
Testament #19 – Good issue, the Exodus story line shows promise.
Wonder Woman #11 – Not a bad issue, the first issue of Wonder Woman in a long time that I recognized her as Wonder Woman.
Superman #665 – Solid updating on where Jimmy Olsen is from and how he ended up at the Daily Planet. Busiek seems to have adopted Jimmy and has made him a project to bring into the spotlight again (no mention of cross-dressing in this issue).
Sheena #2 (of 5) – Also a book that lacks depth, but it has a hot babe in a Jungle Outfit. Actually this issue improved over issue #1 as the story is starting to build some depth to it.
Hiding in Time #1 (of 4) – Not a bad start for this series. I like the premise of hiding witnesses in time, and now they are being killed (just like now in Baltimore City), still lacked a certain depth to the story and characters.
Wetworks #11 – Good 2 part story that focused on Ab-Death and what he is or isn’t.
Ultimate Fantastic Four #44 – This book got a little better, but I still think I may drop it after this arc is over, I just not getting into this version of the FF.
Hawkgirl #66 – Okay ending for this series. Still not sure if ending the endless cycle for the Hawks was a good thing or not.
X-Men #201 – Saved from total blahness, because Cannonball and Iceman were the featured players and I enjoy both of these characters. The back up story is boring.
Countdown #40– A little better then last issue, but putting Zatanna and Mary Marvel together makes me happy as “Z” is a favorite character. Lately this book is counting down to being cancelled before it is finished.
Batman #666 – This one shot of Damien as a possible future Batman was boring to me. I guess with the number 666 they couldn’t resist a devil themed book.
Mighty Avengers #4 – I read this book and forget what happens almost immediately. This stuff is like olestra for the brain.
Incredible Hulk #108 – Total filler, what a waste of paper. It is almost like they had no idea what to do to make this book go on for 22 pages. Blechh……….

So only the Marvel below the line books are working for being cut, as Batman was an aberration story made for the 666 numbering and Countdown is something I feel compelled to continue to buy as I have hope it will improve.

Monday, July 30, 2007

What I’m Getting Wednesday


Between my real job getting busy and lots of other summer activities I’m actually just barely keeping up with reading my new stuff week to week and this week is another decent size week with no hard cover collection, so the dollar impact is lessened. My weekly market share report: DC 47% with 17 titles, Marvel at 31% with 11 titles and independents at 22% with 8 titles. Arachaia has three new titles hitting the stands this week, which is exciting as that publishers has really gotten my attention lately and it all started with Mouse Guard for me.

Atom #14 – Part 3 of the “Hunt for Ray Palmer”. I have to say that this story line is interesting and based on solicitations I believe the group after him was a moving target as I thought it was going to be Nightwing, Kyle and Donna, now it is Jason Todd and Donna Troy. Still Gail Simone has kept this book as a very good read every issue.

Black Canary #3 (of 4) – Tony Bedard has done a great job with this mini-series and I’m curious to see how the whole situation with Dinah’s adopted daughter Sin works out.

Countdown #39 – Really I liked this series when it started and give it a lot of rope, but for someone who follows all of the DCU, this book is almost redundant. I hope it catches fire soon.

Metal Men #1 (of 8) – I recently re-read some older Metal Men issues by Gerry Conway and Walt Simonson and the story was pretty weak, still I can’t help but look forward to this mini-series. The concept is so much fun, that I want it to work.

Detective #835 – A two part story by John Rozum and Tom Mandrake. I enjoy Tom Mandrake’s art and I’m not 100% familiar with Rozum, so this is a judge it when I read it issue. Simone Bianchi’s covers are always good, but I saw a bunch of Detective issues in a row at the comic store and realized they are look the same at a quick glance, mainly due to the coloring.

Nightwing #135 – The best arc on this book since Chuck Dixon left it. I know Marv Wolfman is treading on familiar ground with a new Vigilante, but I’ve really enjoyed this story so far. This issue is a major confrontation between Nightwing and the Vigilante and we are supposed to learn who the new Vigilante is.

Outsiders Five of Kind : Week 1 Nightwing / Boomerang #1 (of 5) – I like the concept of Batman taking over the Outsiders and using tasks to choose who will be on his team, but I believe this one is a forgone conclusion to be Boomerang. Boomer has certainly been an interesting 2nd generation character.

Jonah Hex #22 – Flat out a very good and at times great series. Justin Gray and Jimmy Palmiotti have made this book a must read.

Supergirl #20 – An Amazon attacks tie-in by Tony Bedard. Tony has apparently taken over the DCU as his name now appears everywhere. I assume Tony has no life other then in front of a keyboard. What was he writing a year ago, because I forget, but man he is everywhere lately and doing a great job.

Action Comics #853 – Continuing the three part Countdown tie-in that is focusing on Jimmy Olsen and his coming to grips with having super-powers. Kurt Busiek is at the helm ands the last issue was entertaining.

Justice Society of America #8 – This book is so well done. Johns has so many characters with so much untapped potential and back stories that they should make this book a bi-monthly comic. I hope he has a ten year run on this book in addition to the almost seven year run he had on the prior series.

American Virgin #17 – This is a really good series and Steven Seagle and Becky Cloonan have kept what I thought would be a limited premise interesting for almost a year ad a half. A well done and entertaining book.

Exterminators #20 – A wonderfully off beat and fantastic series about bugs and the people who kill them. The official hype “Faced with overwhelming odds, the Bug-Bee crew locks and loads for its apocalyptic showdown with the invading Mayan Hisser army, while in the Ocran boardroom, the newly power-mad Laura is putting together a secret army of her own.”

Faker #2 (of 6) - Issue #1 did not impress me that much and issue #2 needs to pull me into the story or I may bail. It wasn’t until the end of issue #1 that we found out that Nick was having issues proving he existed. So hopefully this issue will get the story started in earnest. I want to like this series as Mike Carey and Jock are very good creators.

Scalped #8 – A beautiful coming of age story set in an Indian Reservation. If by coming of age means that you are a hard ass son of a b*tch undercover FBI agent being sent back into the hell hole you grew up in. An intelligent action/crime drama.

Midnighter #10 – This book gets saved from my dropping it due to Keith Giffen coming on board as the new writer joining Chris Sprouse and Karl Story. Giffen usually has a lot of interesting ideas, so I will give him a chance to renew my waning interest in this title.

Welcome to Tranquility #9 – Gail Simone has taken an unusual concept and with astute character development and solid plots made it into a book that I enjoy reading month in and month out. Neil Googe is an underrated artistic talent that works perfectly for the tone Gail has set.

Inanna’s Tears #1 (of 5) – Three books from Archaia Studios Press this week. The official hype for this series “Inanna’s Tears: a proto-historical romantic tragedy in five acts 5000 years in the making. A five-issue series and graphic novel written by Rob Vollmar and illustrated by mpMann” I’m not sure if this book will be to my liking but I willing to give it a try. That’s what the right publisher can do for a story, because you trust that the publisher is looking for the right type of material to do. Check out the preview web pages http://www.daradja.com/inannas_tears.php

Grimm Fairy Tales #16 – The “good girl” covers still puts me off on this book a little, but I find it to be a light read, that is amusing in its twisting the old fairy tales.

Grimm Fairly Tales Return to Wonderland #2 (of 7) – This had a good start to it and it should be interesting to see what happens to Alice’s daughter as she goes thru the rabbit hole. The overt sexual conations in this book are unnecessary and distract from what could be a good story.

Awakening #1 (of 10) – Again from Archaia. The official hype “A series of missing-persons and gruesome murders has begun to unfold in the city of Park Falls. Derrick Peters, a former member of the Park Falls Police Department, receives a visit from Cynthia Ford one January afternoon. Cynthia, well known as the town crazy, seems to have finally lost her mind. She claims to have information about the murders…but does she hold the key to unlocking the mystery or has she truly gone insane? To Derrick’s disbelief she utters one word: Zombies.” Now I have to say that this book better be damn good in the first issue, because we have really beaten Zombies to death (pun intended). Check out the preview webpages http://www.daradja.com/awakening.php

White Out Trade Paperback Vol #1 – Greg Rucka and Steve Lieber , Great premise and as I never got around to reading this before, I decided to try it out. The official hype “U.S. Marshal Carrie Stetko has made Antarctica her home. In its vastness of The Ice, she found peace... until someone commits a murder in her jurisdiction and the lawwoman is forced to use her detective skills once more.”

Garth Ennis’ Chronicles of Wormwood #6 (of 6) – The last chapter in Garth Ennis sacrilegious story of the anit-Christ trying to stop his Dad from ending the world he enjoys.

Killing Pickman #1 (of 6) – Archaia Studios Press strikes again with the main title that sounds so frelling cool, that I really hope it is as good as the premise. "William “Bloody Wulf” Zu is a New York homicide detective that has just made the arrest of his career. With the apprehension of Richard Pickman he has solved over one hundred missing child cases over a span of thirty years. The excavation of Pickman’s basement reveals horrors beyond imagination…the bodies of children mutilated in bizarre satanic rites.But nine years of solving violent crimes and this latest and most awful discovery has pushed William Zu to the brink. Neither a promotion at work, a lucrative book deal, nor even the love of his wife and newborn son can break the grip of a dark depression that settles over his soul. Frustrated with his role of clean-up man to the detritus of the world, William makes what may be a fatal mistake: he decides to kill Pickman.Fatal, for Richard Pickman is no ordinary psychopath. The rituals he performed were not the work of a madman but sacrifices made to a very real demon to prolong his life. Killing him is going to be a lot tougher than Zu ever thought possible.” Check out the preview webpages http://www.daradja.com/killing_pickman.php

Snakewoman Tales of the Snake Charmer #2 – This new arc about the Snakewoman is almost re-setting the story line. A very cool book, that is my favorite series from Virgin Comics.

Daredevil Battlin’ Jack Murdock #3 (of 4) – This has been a very enjoyable little mini-series giving us some back story on DD’s early years and his Dad.

Fantastic Four #548 – The FF vs. The FF. I liked the idea of a new Frightful Four and I enjoyed the opening bell in this storyline, so this issue has potential.

Ant-Man #11 – This book ends with issue #12 and I actually think that this book deserved its death. Eric was too unlikable to make this book succeed. An unlikable character can work but it is a fine line to walk and this book missed the mark too many times.

Marvel Illustrated Last of the Mohicans #3 (of 6) – Strictly a book I buy and send to my daughter in Florida. After trying to read issue #1, I gave up on this book.

New Avengers Illuminati - #4 (of 5) - The significant other’s of the Illuminati apparently take center stage or are ticked off at their mates. Could be amusing.

New Warriors #3 – Okay issue #1 I liked the book, issue #2 I was wondering when the book was going to start. This is a pivotal issue for me in deciding to hang in to see how it develops or to drop this thing like a rabid squirrel.

She-Hulk #20 – Last issue the book felt fun again and this promises to be more of the same as Dan Slott starts to wrap up some of his plotlines in anticipation of Peter David coming in with issue #22. I really enjoy this book when it is fun and was disappointed when it was dragged into Civil War.

Spider-Man / Fantastic Four #4 (of 4) – This has been a throw back type story, that has none of the angst ridden stuff of the regular continuity. It has been a light book in content, but it has been an enjoyable story that harkens when super hero comics were fun.

Thor #2 – The first issue was a snooze feast and a waste of my $3. I hope JMS has his meandering bullsh*t done with and we get down to actually seeing the start of a story line. I mean Thor can have epic in scope adventures, but still let’s get the ball rolling.

Uncanny X-Men #489 – Curious to see how this plays out, but for the most part three X-books (Uncanny, Astonishing and X-Men) all seem a little lost. Cassady’s art carries Astonishing, but the rest don’t even have that going for them.

World War Hulk #3 (of 5) – So the first issue was really cool, I thought the second issue was brutal and lost its momentum. So (again) issue #3 is a pivotal issue to see how this series will play out. I also have an issue with Romita Jr,’s artwork as it tends to get sloppier as the series progresses.

In looking through my comments, I really need to cut back on some Marvel books as few of these titles are exciting me in looking forward to them. Another big week for just comics, which is always fun.

Sunday, July 29, 2007


The San Diego Comic-Con has some interesting news, but I think I have become so jaded over the years with announcements and such that I don't get too excited to read a book until the actual solicitation comes out and then I still temper my excitement until I see it on the list of books coming out on a Wednesday.

Still there is an enormous amount of energy and creativity being pushed into comics right now. I have seen so many different ideas come out of the creator owned and the independent side of things that it is forcing the big two to at least hire some of this talent. I'm very curious to see how the profit model works in today's market for these companies as I have a suspicion that the "real" money to be made is in the big stores selling as completed graphic novels as opposed to just the direct market (as a former CPA and financial forecaster I'm always interested in those things).

On the political front I have converted a few people to the Ron Paul camp (http://www.ronpaul2008.com/). Just so you know I do not agree 100% with him, but I don't agree with anyone 100%, but I agree with his core values. Please check him out and think about actually supporting him. Also on any issue that you feel he is on the wrong side about, listen to what he says about it or read his positions, even when I disagree with him I understand his viewpoint and have to reconsider my own. I really think Ron Paul could make a true difference in our country and its future.

The Rules

The requirements are that an answer has to be in before the next contest. You have to e-mail the answer and include with your answer the prize that you want to have sent to you and your address if I don’t know it. I will only mail to USA addresses otherwise the cost for mailing becomes too high and I am giving this stuff away for free. As there are nine prizes this week, you should give me a list in order of preference as to what you would like as it will be first to be right wins their first preference and then on and on from there.

Congratulations to last week's winners Matthew, Ron, Lee and Gwen.

The answer to last week's quiz were :
1) Green Lantern, Hourman, Dr. Fate, Flash, Starman, Dr. Midnight
2) Alan Scott (Hal Jordan), Rex Tyler (Rick Tyler), Kent Nelson (Inza Nelson), Jay Garrick (Barry Allen), Ted Knight (Jack Knight), Charles McNider (Pieter Cross) note the second half has multiple choices I just listed one.
3) (a) Star Boy from the Legion is now in a different costume and quite mad and in the JSA today (b) Bat- Mite.

This week's contest is: The ten strings of letters below need to be rearranged to form the names of various super heroes or major comic book personalities. You have to get 8 out of 10 right to win. If you get all 10 right you did great, but still only one prize per winner.

1) NNPOARRAHTSGMET - DC Mystical Character
2)ENAELTS - Mr. Presents
3) ANRAWSTD - Legion Member
4)BRAUSNRIEM - All wet
5) SRERELAWINL - The current king of writing
7) CCKAYLARANB - Fishnets
8) NLAEEMTM - Melt them for money
9) RNOOTMI - There are 52 of these guys now
10) IYSPORTAPHCE - Argg maties - emotions ahead

Good luck the prizes are:
1)Doonesbury Collection
2)Ron Goulart Listing of comic books artist from 1987, contains short bios of many artists.
3) Frank Frazetta art book - Vol. 3
4) Bernie Wrightson Art Book
5) Newstime Magazine Covering the "Death of Superman" - Addressed to Clark Kent
6) Church & State Vol 2 - Collects Cerebus #81 -111
7)Armorines #1 - Signed by the artist Jim Calafiore
8) "Q" Action Figure
9) Batman Card Set

Have fun.

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Watching the Comic Con From The Sidelines

Well unfortunately only Lee could make it to the Comic Con this year and in order to afford it he had to cut off his leg and have a sex change operation in order to get free tickets and a hotel room. The modeling gig he got from Tarantino and company help to offset most of his costs. Still it just shows you how far the management and staff here at Comics And... is willing to go in order to get the inside story. Hopefully they can reattached the leg, but otherwise Lee makes a fine looking woman. We hope to get stories from Lee on his undercover work at the Comic-Con.

It is funny how the "news" from Comic-Con is really nothing too earth shattering at this point in time. Still some exciting projects and creator shake ups are certainly being made.

Warren Ellis and Simone Bianchi on Astonishing X-Men strikes me as almost odd. First off Astonishing X-Men should be All Star X-Men as it appears that what happens in that books has no bearing on what is happening in current X-continuity. Marvel has almost segregated the X-Men into their own little world and what happens in the rest of the Marvel Universe has no impact there and vice versa. Now this was the franchise that made Marvel the incredible bloated beast that it is. A quick side note is a huge congratulations goes to Joe Quesada and Brian Bendis for making the Avengers the sales driving machine to rule the comics world. I mean they switched over to making these books the number one sellers, then Mark Millar and Civil War have now cemented Marvel at almost 50% of the market. Personally I'm not a big fan of Bendis and Millar and still think DC is better, but the sales numbers support these guys as the best marketer of comics. Okay so that was not a quick side note, but Astonishing X-Men has taken the best characters out of any impact in the X-Men or Marvel Universe, so will Ellis continue that trend or will he make an impact with these characters. Also will this book be published on a regular basis. I'll give Ellis a chance to make a believer out of me and almost every book Ellis has done for a while has been gold, so maybe this will work also. Still in recent history beating Morrison's run will be a tough job, too bad Marvel basically ignored every thing he did. PS - What the hell happened to Desolation Jones - did Ellis' Marvel contract make him stop this book?

Mark Waid as Editor-in-Chief of BOOM studios was a major surprise. I love how the "Lying in the Gutters" rumour column almost got this one right. His quote "I'm told Mark Waid is only writing four issues of the Flash series. Possibly before taking over some nice big fat exec role at DC." So it was pretty funny when the announcement went out. Also it was nice to read that he will continue to write the Flash and Brave & Bold. I really hope that BOOM succeeds as Chip Mosher is a friend of this blog and Mark Waid has always come across as a smart and creative person. I can see BOOM as becoming the next Dark Horse type publisher, but I hope that their energies continue towards complete mini-series stories of all genres and not too much of a focus on licensed deals.
Phil Jimenez and Marc Guggenheim signing Marvel exclusives was almost a yawn announcement. Personally Jimenez has become way too slow and I'm not sure what project he has lined up that will be a knock your socks off type deal. Also all of these exclusives get signed and then what happens to the work. Andy and Adam Kubert made a huge splash signing with DC and yet Adam is already off Batman and Andy has not delivered any assignment even close to on time. The buzz from these exclusives are meaningless until something is delivered. I am sorry to see Marc Guggenheim go to only Marvel as I enjoyed his DC work.

Dark Horse new project has me excited. The premise from the series writer Rick Remender: "The End League is a project where we can do everything we've ever wanted to do with superheroes. A merging of The Lord of the Rings and Watchmen, The End League follows a cast of the last remaining supermen and women, all familiar archetypes, as they embark on a desperate and perilous journey through a world dominated by evil, in hopes of locating the one remaining artifact that can save their world — the Hammer of Thor." Everyone seems to love the hammer of Thor as I have recently gotten into Stargate and watched seven seasons to date, they also had an experience with the hammer of Thor. The character sketch also looks terrific, so this is a book I will be looking to order as soon as it is solicited.
Final Crisis will be by Grant Morrison and JG Jones from DC. The actual title is lame as hell, but with those two creators on this book, I cannot wait. I hope DC delivers with actual status quo rocking changes. Still my disappointment with Countdown to date has tempered any excitement I may have for this project. Of course the funny thing is I think DC has a lot of really good ongoing series being made right now. Still they need to do something really major to make this work (i.e. replace one of the big three with a new person, Dick as Batman, Chris as Superman and Cassie as Wonder Woman would be cool, especially with the Multiverse to allow stories to continue with the original three. In fact it could be an "ultimate universe thing"). Now I'm still waiting to here what was the big project that caused Kurt Busiek to have to drop off Aquaman after he had redefined that character.

Friday, July 27, 2007

Safe America

A few years ago I started writing a novel. I had remote hopes of it actually making it to publication, but then I meet my wife and all sorts of real world events intruded. Time passed and I haven't had the time needed to devote to really writing. I still hope one day to get around to finishing my story as I have a rough outline for the rest of the book in mind, but who knows it maybe an unfinished project that never sees the light of day.

Anyway for your amusement I present the opening for this story. I have another six or seven pages of the text actually written that maybe I will share some other day.

Chapter 1

The year was 2022 and not for the last time did I think that hindsight was always perfect. The important thing according to the US information network was that we could be assured of almost total safety for our children due to the passage of the “Childhood Safety Act”.

Another piece of legislation that no one really seems to care about or read anymore. This shouldn’t have surprised me as the slow rape of democracy and the constitution has continued unabated for the last 20 plus years, why should this be any different. As long as every one has their basics
physiological needs fulfilled, just tweak their concerns on the safety needs and pass laws for protection. Maslow would have been horrified to see how his basic premise was being used, because he believed in the innate goodness in most people. If we can rise above our base needs we can move to self actualization. Unfortunately the in the theory of human philosophy it appears that Machiavelli was an optimist.

Worse it hasn’t mattered who we elect. The reason is that people run for office for power and the power structure in place only allows you to build power in the system by accepting the system. In other words every maverick that we elect, either becomes indoctrinated into the system as it exist or is an ineffectual figure who ultimately can not win re-election due to their inability to change things.

So we get constant addition of laws like the “Childhood Safety Act”. A small chip that is genetically encoded with the child’s DNA and is surgically placed in every new born child. The random placement was a nice touch, since not even the parent will know where the chip is and try to remove it. The conspiracy theorists are sure that there are actually two chips placed in every child to ensure the maximum surveillance by the government. The paranoid miss the point that the chip is essentially benign unless activated. In order words until a transmission is send out to turn the chip on, it doesn’t constantly broadcast. Parents are now ensured that their child can’t be stolen or run away from home and never be found. The children are safe at last. How wonderful that we live in a world that guarantees that our children are safe and that the government has their genetic code in a data bank somewhere. They can track down whomever they want when ever they want. Our children are safe at last.

With that much safety Locke’s social contract has becoming a social straight jacket. The overall populace (also know to myself as sheeple) are contented and feel better because nothing has happened to them. In Roman days it was give the masses bread and circuses and they will be happy. Today was keep the populace focused on any bogeyman you can create and keep them wrapped in consumerism and every one will be just fine.

I think we have lost focus and missed the entire point of our existence. Weren’t we building a better tomorrow for our children? Trying to begin to explore the universe and spread our immortality across the stars. By keeping focused on this little mud ball called Earth and letting our leaders continue to give themselves power for power’s sake seems pointless. My little sticks and stones and almost innocent protestations would have most likely gone unnoticed except for one small flaw.

In a population of 355,000,000 people and the ineptitude of any large organization I was sure that I would be invisible. I was a small speck of dust to the government, a mote in God’s eye if you will. The dissonant chord that I hit with a few of my articles and small speeches have unfortunately caused me to become a sought after member of the opposition. Hell, I didn’t even know I was a member of the opposition until I noticed the little things starting to happen to me.

I’m trying to put everything into a context because I have to make sense of what has happened and why I’m now a fugitive from the law and have at least 3 people that want to see me dead (probably more).

The few hours that I have to relax I’m spending writing this out in the foreknowledge that this words mean nothing to anyone but me, but if I live through the next year, maybe I can publish this as a novelization of my wild ride through the police state America has become.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Random Comic Notes

When the San Diego Convention gets going we used to get tons of big announcements, the last couple of years haven't been that way, but it is always fun to follow the news as it comes out. The first announcement that I read that has me jazzed is Matt Wagner and Amy Hadley doing a Madam Xandu series for Vertigo. I have always had a fondness for this character, even though she hardly ever shows up in that many series. So this is an exciting event.

Another huge piece of news that come out recently is Dark Horse is going to be reprinting the old Creepy and Erie material from Warren Publishing and are doing new books with those names. I hope that they cull more of a best of and do them in a quality format as oppossed to the mammoth black and white formats that are so popular, reprinting the entire run. Either way I'm a happy camper to see this material see the lot of day again. I found this really amusing as it was recently I had wished for an Archives type format of this material.

The following is a press release from Archaia Studios for upcoming books.

Press Release
Archaia Studios Press (ASP) is so proud to announce five new titles coming your way later this year and in 2008, we just couldn’t wait until San Diego Comic-Con to unveil them. In The Engineer, The Many Adventures Of Miranda Mercury, The Bonds Of Saint Marcel, The Sisterhood, and Cursed Pirate Girl, we’ve gathered talent far and wide to bring more of what we feel define our books, and have allowed us to acquire a growing legion of fans: idiosyncratic and creator-driven comic books and graphic novels in the fantasy, science fiction, horror, and crime noir genres.Joe Illidge, comics editor at ASP, said, “I’m thrilled to help bring more diversity to the comics’ playing field, both in creators and content. Our newest creators are journalists, screenwriters, and novelists. They’re veterans and new players. These new titles fit perfectly in line with the vision and brand of ASP.
”THE ENGINEER An ancient sentient entity is feasting on the very fabric of space and time. Only one man can stop it: The Engineer. Utilizing a colossal pipe organ that enables pan-dimensional travel, The Engineer pursues the lost components of The Konstrukt, an archaic mechanism that imbues whoever possesses it with the ability to manipulate reality itself. The Engineer endeavors to restore The Konstrukt, using it to defeat the creature and undo the incalculable damage already done. THE ENGINEER #1 (of 4, Writers: Brian Churilla and Jeremy Shepherd, Illustrator: Brian Churilla, Colorist: Jeremy Shepherd, $3.95, 32 full-color pages, Ages10 and up for Mild Violence) releases Nov 2007.
THE MANY ADVENTURES OF MIRANDA MERCURY From writer Brandon Thomas (Fantastic Four Tales, Spider-Man Unlimited, Robin (forthcoming)) and artist Lee Ferguson (Marvel Comics' Heroes 9/11) comes THE MANY ADVENTURES OF MIRANDA MERCURY. She’s the greatest adventurer in this, or any other galaxy, the kind of old-fashioned, classic science-fiction heroine that can successfully defeat The Time Raiders of Xaxium, brave the wonders of The Glass Planet, survive The Perils of Yor, and battle The Infinity Class to a veritable standstill! All while facing the one enemy that perhaps even she cannot defeat, a microscopic poison rushing through her veins, courtesy of her greatest adversary, Cyrus Vega. With only one year left to live, Miranda Mercury will have her morality tested and values shaken to see her life’s mission completed. Release date: Feb 2008.
CURSED PIRATE GIRL, written and illustrated by Jeremy Bastian, is an epic fairy tale of a cursed girl in search of her father. The only things she knows about her father is that she will find him on the Omerta Seas, and that he is a pirate captain. The fantastic waters of the Omertas hold many strange and dangerous creatures and forgotten evils; enlisting the help of two armored swordfish and a parrot with a secret agenda, Cursed Pirate Girl sets out on the perilous journey to find her father among the remaining pirate captains. But instead of a glorious reunion, the scheming of interlopers leads her to resurrect her father's most dangerous foe. When her friends and allies fall beneath the terrible sword and sorcery of this old enemy, it is Cursed Pirate Girl who comes to face her father's bane. Set in an imaginative version of our world in 1728, filled with the stuff of sea legend: underwater lavafalls, sunken cities, a turtle sea witch, the silver coral court, a titan squid named Jenny, Davey Jones’s locker, ghost seamen, and the most interesting pirates imagined all lie in wait for Cursed Pirate Girl on her adventures. A series of six 36-page comic books beginning March 2008.
THE BONDS OF SAINT MARCEL Catherine Johnstone is the black sheep in an old Boston family whose wealth and influence stretches back to the American Revolution. When Cat’s family is murdered, she discovers that the only one who can save her life is Eamann, a vampire that was bonded into her family’s service against its will 200 years ago. Running for her life, Cat forms an unlikely friendship with Eamann. But as she uncovers more about her family's past, they discover the killers are only hunting Cat in order to set Eamann free. THE BONDS OF SAINT MARCEL is written by Jennifer Quintenz and with covers and layouts by Christian Gossett (Red Star). A six-issue series beginning early 2008.
THE SISTERHOOD The writers of Talent, The Menagerie, and Force Majeure---Christopher Golden (Baltimore, Hellboy: The Lost Army) and Tom Sniegoski (Angel)---team up once again to tell the tale of THE SISTERHOOD. When heavily-armed commandos massacre a convent of nuns from the Order of the Holy Sepulchre, the very worldly Eden Parish is dispatched by her superiors to investigate what’s happened to her Sisters and why. She uncovers a dangerous and indeed demonic conspiracy, a threat from within the Order aimed at its very foundation, its very purpose, and she will be tested to the limits of her endurance and resolve to defeat it. THE SISTERHOOD is written by Christopher Golden and Tom Sniegoski, with art by Wellington Alves. A three-issue series beginning early 2008.All ASP titles are available at all finer comic book stores and bookstores everywhere.


Between this publisher, BOOM studios (hi Chip), IDW, Avatar becoming a player, Image, Dark Horse and Vertigo comics, you can find a lot of fantastic titles and RED 5 Comics begins in October. So make sure that you look in the back of the preview catalogue. While I have great love of super hero books and read a lot of stuff from Marvel and DC, some of the absolute top books come from outside of the big two.

Upcoming postings are the Dark Horse / Image October Preview Review, The Independent October Preview Review and a review of all three RED 5 comics. The publisher was kind enough to send out an advanced digital copy to this site and with three new titles, Lee, Brainiac6 (Gwen) and I each are reviewing one book.

Of course the Sunday Contest will continue also.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Is sleep to much to ask????

So, another entry, another week without sleep. Seriously, there must be a rule written somewhere, in some ancient language, that states “Parents with children under the age of 10 SHALL NOT get 8 hours of uninterrupted sleep.” I can hear the giggles from the childless people reading this and I can see the nods from those with children. Those with children know I speak the truth.

Anyway, this weeks traumatic event… drum roll please… Tiny moved from the crib to a big girl bed.

I know exactly what you’re thinking, “What’s the big deal, Lee? It’s just a new bed.” I know this because I though the same thing. I thought this because logic would dictate that such an event would be pleasant and joyous. Yeah, I was wrong.

The whole process started months ago when we purchased a bed frame in preparation for the big move. We finally decided it was time to make the move and last week I purchased a mattress. We were going to wait until the weekend to assemble the bed but when I brought the new mattress the kids were all excited. Even Tiny was excited. There were squeals of delight and you would have thought it was Christmas morning with all the excitement. Thus began the “team” effort to disassemble the old crib and setup the new bed. That’s an adventure best described another day. But, it was done and Tiny loved climbing into her new bed. She immediately crawled in, pretended to sleep, and even practiced throwing her toys on the ground much to her siblings delight. A good time was had by all.

Then, it was finally time to go to bed. You could see the little gears turning in Tiny’s head as she realized the new bed was going to stay. You could see the tears forming in her little eyes when she realized she was really going to have to sleep in it. And, her little voice sang out “No bed! No bed!”

Being the kind and gentle parents that we are, we explained that she had to sleep in the new bed. We explained that everything would be alright and the new bed was lots of fun. She nodded and looked at us with eyes as big as saucers and half filled with tears.

So we loaded Tiny up with all her favorite small, pint sized stuffed animals: (1) elephant, (2) red dog, and (3) Angelina Ballerina.

Then we handed her a book, because she likes to “read” before going to bed. Well, Mom and Dad gave Tiny the Clifford book, but she really wanted the Teletubbies book. So we gave her the Teletubbies book. AND, she wanted her new dog book which wasn’t Clifford but a book related to the stuffed dog she was already holding.

FINALLY, we gave Tiny her blanket to snuggle with because she always goes to bed with that.

SOOOOO, were you keeping track? In case you weren’t, the two year-two month old is holding NINE items. Maybe holding isn’t strong enough. It was more of a "clutching in a death grip" kinda thing. Unfortunately, with her little arms, there was no way Tiny could hold it all.

So, goodnights were said. And kisses were given. The night light plugged in. And Tiny tucked in her big girl bed for the first time.

In less than five minutes, the first wail was heard "Mooooooommmmmmmmmmyyyyyyyyy."
And the wailing continued. And continued. And continued. I liken it to an air raid siren in the house... and air raid siren with no off button.

Luckily, while I felt bad for the child, my guilt at torturing her was placated by the fact that she only called for Mommy. Until... Tiny realized that Mommy wasn't going to respond. And then Tiny moved onto "DDDDDDaaaaaaaddddddddyyyyy."

Eventually, Tiny fell asleep. And, thankfully, she fell asleep in less than 2 hours. Wife and I had a wager and luckily I lost because I thought she was going to be up much longer.

BUT, Tiny did come for a visit at 2:00 am. You know, just to say hi. It consisted of a pair of little, itty bitty beady eyes staring at me over the edge of the bed saying “Daddy. Daddy”. And, once I peeled myself off the ceiling, I returned her to bed while the Wife went for gizzie that prevents small children from opening doors.
I miss sleeping through the night. Maybe I'll get some when she's a teenager... or maybe when she goes to college.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Best to Worst of Last Week

That was another fun week of comic book entertainment. I also glance at other people’s review columns and individual comic review and see how many people torch the medium they claim to love. I read a heck of a lot of books and usually enjoy the vast majority of them, but go in expecting different things from different books. When I’m reading a Batman comic I’m not expecting a political thriller, when reading Hero Squared I’m not expecting a film noir type book. So when people review I think they first need to understand what it is presenting itself to be and then see if it meets that qualification. Also when you critique something, at least have some like for going in. So often (especially in movie reviews) someone rips apart a movie because they hated that type of movie going in; so they hated it going out, what a shocker. On to last week’s best to worst.

Brave & Bold #5 – Batman versus the Legion of Super Heroes was great. I love seeing Batman be so smart and Perez’s artwork is great.
All Flash #1 – A sentimental favorite seeing Wally burst back onto the scene and his dealing with the death of Bart.
Highwaymen #2 (of 5) – This book is great about some older secret agents pulled back into the game for one more adventure. Action, humor and a good story.
Breathe #4 (of 4) – A very moving and tragic ending. I really enjoyed this series.
Catwoman #69 – This book totally rocks and it keeps getting better and better.
Cover Girl #3 (of 5) – This is a rock solid mini-series, that is telling a great story and has some really fun parts to it also.
Goon #19 – The first four pages is why this book is so high. Nice to have Powell and the Goon back, but the Oprah send up and ripping on “The Secret” was priceless.
Spirit #8 – Just a wonderful series. Darwyn Cooke and J. Bone are producing winning issues almost every time out.
Captain America #28 – Very good story line, only gripe is the huge caption introducing almost every other page. Akin to one page chapters in a 200 page novel.
Black Canary #2 (of 4) – What a great 4 issue mini-series. Bedard has gotten Black Canary right away.
Birds of Prey #108 – Gail Simone’s final issue, another sentimental favorite. She has a definitive run already under her belt, with more to come I’m sure.
Conan #42 – This is a very good adaptation of “Rogues in the House”.
Fall of Cthulhu #4 – Really good issue, this issue had a really nasty ending.
Strange Embrace #2 (of 8) – This story has a creepy vibe and an interesting story.
World War Hulk #2 (of 5) – Too much of just Hulk smash and Reed being brutalized like that was uncomfortable, Plus Romita Jr.’s art already has fallen off from issue #1. He never gives a job the same bang as he does when he starts a series.
Zero Killer #1 (of 6) – Good start. The artist is reminiscent of Paul Gulacy.
Giant Sized Marvel Adventures Avengers #1 – It had Agents of Atlas and a really light and odd version of the Avengers. Just fun.
Action Comics #852 – Nice job by Busiek giving Jimmy Olsen some prime time development.
Amazon Attacks #4 (of 6) – I’m still having fun with this book for no strong identifiable reason.
Aquaman Sword of Atlantis #54 – Continues to climb back into my good graces. Now the mystery is who the heck is this guy really.
Robin #164 – Solid series and Tim has his own nemesis now Dodge.
Hunter’s Moon #2 (of 5) – Enjoyable issue and so far a decent series, seems to be building and laying ground work.
Programme #1 (of 12 ) - Nice art and an okay start, but the story was a little tough to follow. Would a caption saying when this scene is taking place kill them?
Annihilation Conquest Quasar #1 (of 4) – Decent start and Christos Gage continues to shine as a writer on almost any project. I wish DC would lock this talent to an exclusive.
Superman/Batman #38 – Wow, I’m actually enjoying this arc.
Checkmate #16 – Good issue, but somewhat of a breather issue, Still great to see Fire and Ice together again.
Weapon #2 (of 4) – Fun little series.
The Order #1 – A lot going on, strong art, will need a couple issue to know what I think about this book.
Justice League of America #11 – Okay solo issue story, waste of Gene Ha’s artwork
Avengers Initiative #4 – Okay book, but too many characters and I’m not vesting in anyone at this point.
Ultimate Spider-Man #111 – Nothing really happened but a nice farewell issue to Bagley.
Lone Ranger #7 – Story was disjointed, solid art.
World War Hulk X-Men #2 (of 3) – Now it feels like filler as we are having a pointless battle between X-Men and the Hulk.
Thunderbolts Desperate Measures – Felt like it was a fill in issue, called a one shot, but still it came out when Thunderbolts was skipping a month.
Legion of Monsters Morbius – The back up Lilith story was better, but still just books to build up to a hard cover that can be at Barnes & Noble forever.
Countdown #41 – Has become the DCU headline newspaper. Boring. Where is the excitement!
Shazam The Monster Society of Evil #4 (of 4) – Nice art, really did not enjoy the story or the Sugar & Spike aged Billy Batson and Mary. Okay they were a little older then Sugar & Spike, but by a hair.

Nothing below the line is any real danger except the Lone Ranger. It is nice art, but the story was so disjointed that I feel like it is being confusing for the hell of it. If I drop it and say I’ll get the trades, I would forget about this title. WW Hulk X-Men only has one more issue, Legion of Monsters is a series of one-shots, Thunderbolts was a one-shot by Jenkins and Lieber, not part of the Ellis run, Countdown hangs in there no matter what as I still believe it will be important later on (I hope), and Shazam is already over.

10 books above the line, but I believe there were that many really well done books this week. If you take Wildstorm as a different publisher the top ten has six different publishers represented and a wide variety of genres. One of my favorite in comics is the “thriller” or action-adventure books that have been coming out from a lot of sources, really well done and entertaining material.

Monday, July 23, 2007

What I’m Getting Wednesday

A monster week to end the month. This week’s breakdown is 2 trades, one hard cover, and a lot of comics, 42 total items (ouch). In my market share report DC has a 45% (19) market share, Marvel 31% (13) and the independents a 24% (10) share. A lot of really potentially great books are coming out this week.

Amazing Spider-Man #542 – This book has lost it’s appeal for me, which is a shame as I was enjoying it, but the delays and endless promotions of what is coming out later has taken almost any edge off of this story.

Annihilation Conquest Star Lord #1 (of 4) – Star Lord was a off beat character from years ago and his return in the last Annihilation series was nice to see, so I’m looking forward to his mini-series. The first two mini-series tying into the oncoming mini-series (Wraith and Quasar) have been entertaining.

Fantastic Five #2 (of 5) – Really enjoyed issue 1 of this series and in fact it felt more like what I want out of a FF book then anything else currently on the stands.

Heroes for Hero #12 – Part 2 of the WW Hulk cross-over and I have to say this cross-over has worked out well. Instead of it being about the Heroes for Hire being smashed by the Hulk it is dealing with Hulk’s insect comrade and Humbug.

Iron Fist #7 – A stand alone issue that is focusing on a past Iron Fist. The official hype “Her name was Wu Ao-Shi, and she was known as the Pirate Queen of Pinghai Bay...and that all came after she left K'un-Lun and took the power of the Iron Fist with her.” At first having all of these other Iron Fist seemed a little lame, but I’m now enjoying the concept. I also like the idea of a breather issue after a major story arc, especially one that develops back story.

Incredible Hulk #108 – I wonder when this numbering will be merged with previous series to make it the right huge number issue. Amadeous Cho has formed a team of earth heroes who are on the Hulk’s side and this issue promises a face off against Hulk’s Warbound allies. Still amuses me that the regular Hulk comic is really the mini-series supporting the main story.

Iron Man #20 – A WW Hulk tie-in. The last tie-in issue was pretty bad and reiterated only what happened in the actual mini-series. I hope this issue actually brings it’s own story into play.

Marvel Masterworks Volume #80 – Containing Thor issued #141-#151. More of the great earlier Thor stories by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby. Without glancing an any of the art, I remember almost every page was a four panel layout of less. Kirby made this material larger then life and Stan brought a modern mythic quality to the work, while being very melodramatic. Great stuff.

Mighty Avengers #4 – This book is almost off my list, so far it has been marginal at best. The official hype (and I mean hype) “Ultron has taken over the world!! The Black Widow has taken over S.H.I.E.L.D.! The Sentry's life is changed FOREVER! And the rest of the Avengers are faced with the power of the new Iron Man unleashed!!” Yet, I bet they can make this boring.

Spider-Man Fairy Tales #3 (of 4) – Strictly a book I buy to send to Gwen. I read #1 and didn’t like it.

Ultimate Fantastic Four #44 – The Ultimate Silver Surfer and other madness. I want to like this book, but even Mike Carey has not made this work. The Ultimate FF may be doomed from my list soon.

X-Men #201- Okay last issue half the current team were traitors and they turned on the rest of the team, brought in additional players and appears to have offed Rogue. The problem I have is that this book still does not feel like the X-Men. By pulling out the big guns and putting them into Astonishing (or infrequently published) X-Men, it just never feels like we are actually following the X-Men.

X-Men First Class #2 – The unlimited series continues and the X-Men visit Monster Island without Prof. X tagging along. This is a great comic and is my current favorite series that features the X-Men. Modernized tales of the first X-Men, a concept I would not have thought works, but it does.

52 Trade Paperback Volume 2 – Since I never saved the actual series I decided to buy the four volume trades which include some background material on the series. I really enjoyed 52 and look forward to reading the entire series.

All Star Batman & Robin #6 – Wow a second issue of this comic in the same year. What are we three years into this series since issue #1 hit the stands and we have only six issues of this book? This book is interesting now only from the standpoint of how psycho can Frank Miller make all the heroes of the DCU. Maybe a few years from now and once I have a chance to read it as one story it will make more sense.

Batman #666 – So of course it has to be about the devil, I mean it is issue #666. This tale promises to be about a possible future where Batman’s possible son is now the Batman and he is fighting the devil. I’ll give Grant Morrison one thing, the scope of his thought process is always outrageous and often borderline genius. Also looking backwards on his work is often more impressive as he has brilliant ideas.

Blue Beetle #17 – God last issue was brilliant, when Eclipso made Jamie into his ultimate power fantasy and it was a dentist with a six figure salary I nearly laughed my a** off. This book should be a best seller as it really has been a great series and just gets better. This issue Jamie is back to trying and stop the “Reach”.

Countdown #40 – Countdown is a mortal lock for me to continue to get, but I really feel this series was best described as the DC newspaper. It gives you all the headlines of what is happening in the DCU, but is missing being it’s own story. Since I get all of the DCU anyway, this book is redundant and adds only the barest extras to what is happening. For this series to be worth getting they should have events happening in this book that have repercussions across other DCU books. I mean Lightray died and what?

Green Arrow Year One #2 (of 6) – Loved issue #1 and can’t wait for part 2. Diggle and Jock have proven to be a great team and this redefining of Green Arrow instead of being boring is so well done, it is like a great remake of a classic movie. The essential elements are all there, but it is updated and enhanced for a more up to date style.

Green Lantern Corps #14 – The Sinestro Corps are seeming everywhere and this issue shows one of my favorite new GLs in the cross hairs. Soranik has to fight for her life and the planet GL Mogo is being attacked. The Green Lantern part of the DCU has really been good over the last few months and is just getting better.

Hawkgirl #66 – The final issue as Kendra faces off against Hath-Set and tries to end the curse of the endless births and rebirths and Hawkman and Hawkgirl. In some ways if she succeeds she is also killing off a great romantic idea of endless love.

Teen Titans #49 – An Amazon Attacks cross-over issue as Supergirl and Wonder Girl appear to be on the side of the Amazons. This should be a decent issue, but this book needs a direction and with next issue I believe we will get one.

JSA Classified #28 – This issue focuses on Jakeem Thunder and the Thunderbolt. A hugely forgotten and underutilized character. Of course Johnny Thunder was always supposed to be comic relief and now this character is more dramatic, yet a child, so it is hard to write stories that work. Based on the cover it appears they are trying to age Jakeem, which would be a great idea to make him work better in the JSA.

Supergirl and the Legion of Super-Heroes #32 – Tony Bedard came onto to this book and I had a high level of trepidation regarding his taking over, but I really enjoyed the first issue and look forward to the rest of this story arc, the official hype "The Quest for Cosmic Boy" begins! The Legionnaires have lost their longtime leader, Cosmic Boy — but was he captured by enemies or did he flee responsibility for his "war crime"? The Legion's newly elected leader makes a hard decision her first day on the job and sends out teams of Legionaires in search of Cosmic Boy. Will they be prepared for what they find?”

Showcase Present Martian Manhunter Volume 1 – If I can’t have an Archives of J’onn J’onzz at least I can have a showcase. These were often 8 page stories and eventually J’onn got a sidekick called Zook, who is such a bizarre little alien, that you can’t help but love the guy. I really want a Zook action figure. I also believe that many of the early stories J’onn was just acting as a Detective John Jones and seldom appeared as a “super-hero”. Really looking forward to this volume.

Superman #665 – A little bit of a breather issue as we have a story that focuses on how Jimmy Olsen first became a part of the Daily Planet. Jimmy’s visibility us been upped considerably as of late. I find it interesting as they can’t seem to define what age they want Jimmy Olsen to be. Still in Action and now in this issue of Superman Kurt Busiek is devoting a lot of pages to develop his character and with his role in Countdown it looks like Jimmy Olsen gets to be a major character for awhile.

Wonder Woman #11 – An Amazon Attacks cross-over as Wonder Woman is in the heart of the storm caused by what appears to be her mother going mad. Amazon Attacks has been a decent little series and this issue should be good. Still I’m really waiting for Gail Simone to take over this book.

Deathblow #6 – This book is a good read, but really suffers from what seems to be longer then one month between issues. Also Brian Azzarello is a master of never quite revealing everything that is going on. All that being said, I’m enjoying this series and this issue it appears as all the s**t hits the fan.

Wetworks #11 – I believe this book is over with issue #13. Still I have enjoyed it enough to follow it till the bitter end. The official hype “Ab-Death, determined to bring Mother One back from the Deadworld before her soul is beyond his reach, risks his own soul and, in the process, learns a terrible truth about who and what he truly is.”

Crossing Midnight #9 – DC is advertising this as a horror/fairy tale and should add with a Japanese influence. The hardest book to describe, that is one of the best Vertigo series on the shelves right now. The official hype “At the end of a quest that has bounced her from a mystical realm to the mean streets of Tokyo, Toshi faces her ultimate opponent: The Gleaner, one of the five faces of Death itself. But with a challenge that literally hits too close to home, does the impulsive Hara twin have any hope of succeeding?”

Hellblazer #234 – I cannot recommend this book enough. Andy Diggle has made this character shine like he has not in years. That is not to take away from the last few writers, who have kept this book entertaining; it is just a quantum leap forward under Diggle. Leonard Manco continues to deliver artwork that suits this book to a “T”.

Testament #19 – Really tempted to make the switch to trades on this book as so much is going with the parallel story lines across Biblical and a near future, but I’m afraid if I stop the monthly I may forget about this book all together. Not much of an endorsement, but this book has a different story telling style and I believe it would help if I knew more details of the past Bible stories he is referencing.

Invincible #44 – This book rules and flat out is one of the better super hero books on the stands. Kirkman lays groundwork and then seems to forget about it and then plays on it months later. I always look forward to this book.

Hiding in Time #1 (of 4) – Wonderful premise, the official hype “In the near future, the Witness Protection Program will relocate people throughout time to ensure their safety. But when hired assassins begin finding and killing them, Nathan Crew – a simple technician in the now-defunct Time Portal Division of the WPP – is forced to travel back in time to try and stop the atrocities!” Sound like a great old time science fiction premise. Hopefully it will be done well.
Hellboy Darkness Calls #4 (of 6) – To get back into the swing of this series has taken me more then one issue, but I’m starting to feel like I know some of what is going on again. Still it is hard to not love Hellboy and I’m just sorry I stayed away for such a long time.

Grendel: Behold the Devil #0 – A 50 cent one shot, that is a primer for the new series. I almost hate these books, because they are usually worthless for the fans waiting for the series. Still Matt Wagner back with Grendel is a good thing.
Fear Agent : The Last Goodbye #2 (of 4) – Continuing the origin of Fear Agent. I love this series and have been happy to see it come out on a more consistent basis. My only fear (pun intended) for this series is they have to keep it light. If it gets to plot heavy or serious it could take away from the fun in the book.

Black Summer #1 (of 7) – After reading issue #0, I have been waiting for this issue with bated breath. I really want to see where Ellis takes this story. I just hope he doesn’t try to resolve all of the questions he has started but killing everyone at the end.

Doktor Sleepless #1 – Another Avatar title that I’m getting and a new sci-fi series by Warren Ellis. The official hype “It is the near future. No one has a flying car. Everyone feels cheated. What America needs now is a Mad Scientist! A city with a secret is shocked out of its apathy by the return of a young technological genius who has reinvented himself as Doktor Sleepless. But perhaps he never left, and perhaps his planned 'new future' doesn't include the city.” Warren has been on such a roll lately that I think this should be another great series.

Star Trek :Year Four #1 – I seldom buy this type of comic, but I have to see what some writer’s idea is for year four as I never read any of the novels which probably covered the missing two years. I wonder if JJ Abrams project to revive the ST franchise will ever get off the ground.

Sheena #2 (of 5 ) – A Devil’s Due project. I almost want to drop this book after #1, because the art was marginal and the story was very cliché ridden. We shall see with issue #2.
Fallen Angel #18 – The last issue starting the team-up with Shi really floored me with how good it was, so I’m really looking forward to this issue. Fallen Angel has been an up and down book lately with many more ups then downs.

And that is a wrap for one huge week of books. A lot of reading and I have a really busy week-end next week they will make it hard to actually get around to reading everything.

Sunday, July 22, 2007


We have been having a lot of posting lately which is great. With B6 giving us a taste of how well she liked Harry Potter and the October Preview Reviews and the regular columns we are getting more then just one a day posts.

The Rules

The requirements are that an answer has to be in before the next contest. You have to e-mail the answer and include with your answer the prize that you want to have sent to you and your address if I don’t know it. I will only mail to USA addresses otherwise the cost for mailing becomes too high and I am giving this stuff away for free. As there are just nine prizes this week, you should give me a list in order of preference as to what you would like as it will be first to be right wins their first preference and then on and on from there.

This week we have three questions. Get one of the questions right and you win. Get all three questions right and you win two prizes. Two out of three still only gets you one prize.

Okay I'm a big fan of the Justice Society of America and enjoy the fact that many of these heroes have had second or even third generation iterations of these great characters. Now regardless of what Lee will say I was not collecting these comics when they first came out.

Question #1 - Six of these figures are part of the Golden Age Justice Society of America. What are the super hero names of these characters.
Question #2 - Name their secret identities. Also name a person who has taken up the mantle for these characters.
Question #3 - A) Why is the character that is not a golden age JSA member in the first picture legitimately part of the a JSA theme? B)In the second picture who the heck is the little guy who has nothing to do with the JSA?

The answer to last week's quiz was, from top to bottom and left to right, Black Canary, Huntress, Donna Troy, Zatanna, Tomorrow Woman, Batwoman, Batwoman, Batgirl, Batgirl, Saturn Girl, Supergirl, Zatanna (again), Death, Lois Lane, Kid Flash, Hawkgirl, Hawkgirl, Wonder Woman, Isis & Power Girl.

We had three winners last week. Kudos to Gwen, Lee and Ron
This week's prizes are: A Herman Treasury, Batman Card Set, a "Q" action figure, Action Philosopher Giant Size Thingie #1, Star Wars II Attack of the Clones DVD, The Ray mini-series, Killraven mini-series, Armorines #1 signed by Jim Calafiore and an All Star Superman run (#1-#7)

Good luck.

Marvel Preview Review for October


Lee: Well, Marvel’s upcoming books are a shocking contrast to DC’s future offerings. Seriously, DC has a million or more new books, and Marvel has one-tenth of that. It’s weird. But, all the miniseries end this month so November should be loaded with new things. Overall, it’s fairly light.
Jim: It is funny how that happens. Still I can not get over how big of a percentage lead Marvel has over DC when you like at the individual product lines. Marvel has some great and very good stuff, but overall DC has more books and in general I believe better books.

HOWARD THE DUCK #1 (of 4) Written by TY TEMPLETON Pencils & Cover by JUAN BOBILLO Grab your guns and camcorders and start shooting, it's DUCK SEASON! Marvel's favorite furious fowl, Howard, and his faithful friend with benefits, Beverly, begin their journey to destroy the internet, radio and television, in this all new mini-series by Ty (She-Hulk) Templeton and Juan (She-Hulk) Bobillo. SEE Howard face mighty hunters with mighty guns on MeTube! SEE Beverly in nothing but fig leaves! SEE grown men dressed as bunnies! And who is that giant headed guy taking A.I.M. at our heroes? HINT: It starts with "MODO-" Just when you thought it was safe to read comics again and Marvel has to do THIS?!?
Lee: This should be great fun. I have always loved Howard and Templeton is a proven humor commodity. I really like the cover too.
Jim: See I understand what Lee is saying, but Howard the Duck was a very different kind of humor then what Ty usually does, still it could be fun for a new generation, but I will pass. In my opinion Howard is an idea whose time has passed.

WORLD WAR HULK #5 (of 5) written by GREG PAK Pencils by JOHN ROMITA JR. The millennium's most massive Marvel smashfest careens towards its cataclysmic conclusion! Four so-called Marvel "heroes" shot the Hulk into space. Their exploding shuttle destroyed his people and pregnant queen. And the Hulk has taught them what their arrogance has wrought. But now the Hulk faces the puny humans' greatest champion. And as the terrible battle rages, who will stand revealed as the hero - and who will be proved the monster? Who knows the difference between vengeance and justice? And who will pay the terrible price of anger?
Lee: I bring this up to start the official “kill off Sentry” theme. I DON’T CARE ABOUT THE SENTRY! MARVEL DOESN’T NEED A SUPERMAN CLONE. A piss poor excuse of one to boot.
Jim: I vote with Lee on this one. Sentry was a cool mini-series the first time out, but once they made him part of the Marvel Universe he just did not fit at all. The MU does not work with a Superman clone.

PUNISHER WAR JOURNAL #12 Written by MATT FRACTION Pencils & Cover by ARIEL OLIVETTI With WORLD WAR HULK in full swing and New York shut off from the outside world, who's left to protect those left behind? Frank @#$%!@!* Castle, that's who -- and he's none too thrilled. As the insatiable MUNG THE INCONCEIVABLE rampages through lower Manhattan, Frank and Clarke help a small band of refugees hold back his relentless onslaught. The Punisher? World War Hulk? Alien Invasion, Manhattan in ruins?
Lee: Have you ever wondered when a mega event goes off the rails? Or when it’s run it’s course? The easiest way to tell is watch for incredibly silly teamups. Teamups like Hulk v. Punisher. The strongest creature in the entire Marvel U. v. an ordinary, extraordinarily surly and grumpy, but still ordinary man. The only thing more ridiculous than this would be Venom taking over Wolverine.
Jim: Well I have dropped this book and I have to say this smacks of sales desperation for this book. I prefer the MAX version of Punisher.

MARVEL ZOMBIES 2 #1 (of 5) Written by ROBERT KIRKMAN Penciled by SEAN PHILLIPS Are you ready for Marvel Zombies Civil War? Forty years have passed and the zombies have come back home after eating just about everything else in the universe. Yum yum! What awaits them back on Earth, though, is beyond anything even these shambling monstrosities could have conceived! This is a new series featuring the amazing, irreverent take on the Marvel characters that became last year's unexpected smash hit. They're back and more stomach-churning than ever! The smash hit series is back, daring to ask: "Whose stomach are you in?"
Lee: We all knew this was coming but will be it Secret Wars II (worse than awful) or Infinity War (Marginally good). Tough call.
Jim: The first comic was fun for about 3 issues, then it became apparent this was a one note comic. So count me out of the second series. Sometimes a good idea that generates mega sales and multiple printings of a hard cover should still be left alone. Often once you try to clone your successes it diminishes the charm and kills the uniqueness that made it a success in the first place. I wonder how Kirkman feels to be the "Zombie Guy" at Marvel.

NEW AVENGERS #35 Written by BRIAN MICHAEL BENDIS Pencils & Cover by LEINIL FRANCIS YU The Hood makes his play for the big time by gathering the most ruthless rogues gallery of evil the Marvel Universe has ever seen. What does a guy who wants to be the "Kingpin of all super-villains" do to make his point? You have to see it to believe it.
Lee: OH MY! Venom takes over Wolverine!!! I pick this for a couple of reasons: (1) I don’t care what you tell me, the Red Hood isn’t all that as a super villain. I’m just not drinking the Kool-Aid on that one. (2) This qualifies as stupidest cover of many, many months. AND, has worst crossover I have ever seen. Venom and Wolverine?! Marvel never ceases to amaze to the depths of fanboy pandering they will do.
Jim: This is too funny. I used to love Wolverine, but he has been made out to be an almost pathetic character that everything happens to and he controls nothing. This is more of the same and is pandering to the nth degree.

OMEGA THE UNKNOWN TPB WRITTEN BY STEVE GERBER, MARY SKRENES, STEVEN GRANT & MARK GRUENWALD Penciled by JIM MOONEY & HERB TRIMPE Marvel's short-lived superstar fought enemies both infamous and obscure, but it took his death to unveil the story of his life! It's demons, depowerment and drama when the Defenders discover the true secret of Omega and his mysterious charge! Plus, the death of a super-villain who, so far, is still dead! When was the last time you saw THAT?
Lee: I’m not sure I get the appeal of this series. I have the original in floppies. It’s got Mooney art if you’re into that. But beyond that…. I really don’t see it. But, Omega has this appeal of being “ahead of it’s time”. Maybe for someone else but not for me.
Jim: I have this trade as it was given to me and I have not bothered to re-read it. Maybe there is something there I don’t remember, but what I do remember was a uninteresting comic.

OMEGA: THE UNKNOWN #1 (of 10) Written by JONATHAN LETHEM with KARL RUSNAK Art by FAREL DALRYMPLE & PAUL HORNSCHEMEIER The story of a mute, reluctant superhero from another planet, and the earthly teenager with whom he shares a strange destiny -- and the legion of robots and nanoviruses that have been sent from afar to hunt the two of them down. Created in 1975 by Steve Gerber and Mary Skrenes, the original Omega The Unknown lasted only ten issues but was a legend to those who recall it -- an ahead-of-its-time tale of an anti-hero, inflected with brilliant ambiguity. One of Omega's teenage fans was award-winning novelist Jonathan Lethem, who has used the original as a springboard for a superbly strange, funny, and moving graphic novel in ten chapters.
Lee: You read the hype on this and you can see what I am talking about when I refer to Omega as “greatly loved”. I still don’t understand why. BUT, a new series does intrigue me. Dalrymple is a proven indie artist so it really comes down to the author. And that is a big can of worms. Lethem can easily be found at http://www.jonathanlethem.com/ but once I was there, I wasn’t sold. As I said, it all comes down to the author.
Jim: For me this will be a wait for the trade. Once the series gets started and if it gets good reviews and if I like the art, I may buy the trade.

SHE-HULK #22 Written by PETER DAVID Penciled by SHAWN MOLL It's a new direction for the lean, green fighting machine as longtime Hulk writer Peter David takes the helm as the world's most dangerous lawyer takes on the world's most dangerous job. Be here now? or She-Hulk Smash!
Lee: Dan Slott did a great job on this title and now he is being replaced by a proven commodity. This has always been a must read for me and this just guarantees that it will continue to be one.
Jim: Agreed, I was worried when Slott went off this title, but David is the perfect replacement.

FOOLKILLER #1 (of 5) Written by GREGG HURWITZ Pencils & Cover by LAN MEDINA Los Angeles Times best-selling author Gregg Hurwitz (The Crime Writer) and Lan Medina (Punisher) bring you a gritty, no-holds barred crime thriller! Move over Frank Castle, there's a new vigilante in town. When the Foolkiller strikes, the punishment fits the crime. It's a grand display for all to see, the truth in all its brutal glory, our hidden secrets gutted and turned inside out for the front pages. A vigilante artist, a madman performer, the Foolkiller has been brutally introduced to the human joke, and he wants to make sure fools everywhere take note. What he reveals may not be what you want to see. Or what you want to admit. But he makes one thing certain: If you're a fool, you cannot hide.
Lee: Now then, as much as I think Omega is overrated, I equally love FoolKiller. I don’t know why but I do. My only beef, FoolKiller was never a muscle bound thug. He was always the skinny, picked on nerd. Kind of a poor mans Punisher. Lan Medina is a solid artist so once again it comes down to the writer, unknown to me but can be found at http://www.gregghurwitz.net/index1.htm
Jim: I will also be trying this out. My memory of Foolkiller is very fuzzy, so I would love to re-read the old stuff before getting this, but hell this book probably is not related to the old book at all.

PUNISHER #51 Written by GARTH ENNIS Penciled by GORAN PARLOV Frank Castle is in bad shape. His left wrist is broken, and the other is badly lacerated so he's guessing he went insane and snapped the handcuffs. On top of that, they had to reinflate his lung. How the scene played out is a mystery. But one thing's for sure. Barracuda has the prize. A 7-pound, 10-ounce bundle of joy. And the Punisher will do anything to get it back.
Lee: And this months award for newest character to be overexposures goes… drum roll please… Barracuda. I hear he’s getting the Venom symbiote next month and a team up with Wolverine after that.
Jim: I don’t think Barracuda has reached that stage yet. He was the main villain in one arc and then his own mini-series and now back again. 3 appearances is not radical overexposure. BUT if Frank doesn’t kill him it will be out of character.

Lee: Two comments, Comment #1: Strange Tales is awesome. Either you understand it or not but if you can afford this book you absolutely must buy it. Comment #2: F- Marvel. Seriously. Reprinting the FF Masterworks, which just happens to be one of the most expensive Masterworks to get on eBay, is just a sh**ty move. They are quietly destroying whatever future value my collection may have. AND, after they said they weren’t going back to reprint. Lying B**tards.
Jim: Agreed. I will reemphasize that the Strange Tales stuff is too much fun to pass up.

LEGION OF MONSTERS HC Written by CHARLIE HUSTON, MIKE CAREY, ROBIN FURTH, JONATHAN HICKMAN, TED MCKEEVER, SKOTTIE YOUNG, BRENDAN CAHILL, C.B. CEBULSKI, DOUG MOENCH, MARV WOLFMAN, TONY ISABELLA, BILL MANTLO & SCOTT EDELMAN Penciled by DAVID FINCH, GREG LAND, KLAUS JANSON, TED MCKEEVER, SKOTTIE YOUNG, KALMAN ANDRASOFSZKY, JONATHAN HICKMAN, MICHAEL GAYDOS, VAL MAYERIK, DAVE COCKRUM, FRANK ROBBINS, RICO RIVAL, RUBEN YANDOC & RON WILSON Cover by GREG LAND High-octane horror one-shots featuring Jacob Russel, the Werewolf by Night; the Monster of Frankenstein; Man-Thing; Simon Garth, the original Marvel Zombie; the devil's daughter, sultry Satana; a Living Mummy; Morbius the Living Vampire; and the king of vampires, Dracula, and his beautiful daughter, Lilith! Collecting LEGION OF MONSTERS: WEREWOLF BY NIGHT, MORBIUS, MAN-THING and SATANA. Plus: classic tales of horror and suspense featuring the Scarecrow, Manphibian and the Legion of Monsters from DEAD OF NIGHT #11, MARVEL SPOTLIGHT #26, MARVEL TWO-IN-ONE #18, LEGION OF MONSTERS #1 and MARVEL PREMIERE #28. Terror has never looked as good as these frightening fables!
Lee: I have the Marvel Westerns and Monster hc’s and enjoyed them immensely. I figure this to me more of the same. Great new stories and excellent reprints. A must have for me.
Jim: I should have learned to just skip the comics and get these hardcovers. Still the actual comics were so bad so far, that I will skip the hardcover.

Lee: And this month’s Embarrassed to be a fanboy cover goes to… WAIT, before we get to the announcement I have to say that it’s was harder to find a ridiculous cover this month. Maybe Marvel and DC read the blog and realize how bad some of the covers are! Next month will tell. BUT, it was a close race between passed out Storm with no clothes and Shanna. For nitpickers, I always eliminate Greg Horn covers because that’s another game called “Guess the PornStar model”… Anyway I shall weasel out and pick both. Jim, it’s up to you to pick a grand winner for embarrassing cover this month. Shanna or Storm?????
Jim: Both are worthy contenders, Storm because it is showing us a half naked and brutalized Storm (not too misogamist), but Shanna the She Devil wins, not only for her half nakedness, but for the unfortunate pose she has and the placement of the dinosaur’s tongue. BRAVO! A book that will never be brought and if I did buy it, it would never be on my living room coffee table.

Lee: In case you missed the fine print… look at who’s writing and drawing the Marvel Adventures line. WOW. Now that’s top of the line, proven talent. It’s interesting there is more writing experience here than on some of the new series launches (Foolkiller or Omega). I might have to start getting this. AND, it gives me hope of actually being able to find a book that my kids can read that I don’t have to be worried about.
Jim: I agree Lee, and I just read Marvel Adventures Giant Size Avengers because of the Agents of Atlas and it was a great read and was fine for kids to read also.

Lee: Well it started off weak but there’s enough here to be interested in. Really looking forward to the Legion of Monsters HC. Just in time for Halloween too. Perfect timing.
Jim: No matter how weak a month is for solicitations, there is always some fun stuff.