Friday, October 31, 2008

Comics of the Week (10/29/08) part 1

DC Universe: Decisions #4 (of 4) - this biweekly Election '08 tie-in ends with a battle against Jericho, who possessed Hal Jordan's body, and then a "sermon" of sorts from Superman on why voting is important. I liked how this mini started out and how we got to see some political opinions of established characters, but the end did not pay off the way it should have. In hindsight, I probably could have skipped it and had been $12 richer because of it. Ah well.

Reign In Hell #4 (of 8) - this mini hits the halfway point and has a "Sightings" banner on the cover to boot. Turns out the last page reveals the return of a fan-favorite character (I won't spoil it right now). Suffice to say, it all hits the fan as Giffen certainly knows how to write this character well. The rest of the issue? Eh. Okay but not great. I still may drop it before the finale.

Teen Titans #64 - the team (what's left of it) does battle with Bombshell while Cassie gets a little "family" history. The issue seemed like filler to stretch this storyline over three issues. Can't say I was thrilled. This book runs hot and cold. I wish it could find a steady stream of hot to keep it interesting all the time.

Rann-Thanagar Holy War #6 (of 8) - Starlin and Lim give us a full issue to really comprehend the scope of the villain of this saga, and it sets the stage nicely for the final act. How will the rag-tag team of cosmic heroes beat this threat when their mightest of guns easily is swatted down? My interest is there now to want to see how this epic plays out to its conclusion.

Rocky Horror Picture Show

The cosmos must have been aligned just right yesterday, telling me that something was missing from my life of late. I mean, really, when you get two signs in a single day - it must be telling you something, right?

So, I was doing my usual daily browse over on, trying to find a way to spend my 75 monthly downloads (still had 30 left to go before the 10th when I get my next month's batch), and I stumble on the newly added titles the following:

Yeah, baby! You know what this is. The original motion picture soundtrack for the Rocky Horror Picture Show, that campy musical fraught with sexual energy that first hit theatres in 1975 and became a cult classic as a staple of midnight showings all around the world since. Now, I had a couple songs from it on my iPod already but this was the whole kitten-caboodle. It didn't take me long to download many of the tracks.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Making Comics

In 2006, Scott McCloud put out his third book on comics - the aptly titled Making Comics.

Naturally, it is about, what else, making comics. And since Scott is an artist himself, the book is more an illustrated guide on various topics including the expected discussions on perspective, character design, facial features, layout, composition and more. His approach to the topics works very well - in a show, not tell manner. That is really important when we're talking about how to do art. Those with MFA degrees or art backgrounds would most likely agree.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Losing It...

Confession time: I had a huge crush on Valerie Bertinelli from the first time I saw her on TV on One Day At a Time in the mid-70's all through my junior high and high school years. I'm sure I wasn't the only teenaged male who did. There was something about that wholesome, girl-next-door look and how well she portrayed Barbara Cooper that just entranced me. Maybe it was because she reminded me in a lot of ways someone else I was crushing on at the time. Hard to say. Still, I've always considered her very tops of my list of celebrity crushes.

Anyway, last week I realized she had written an autobiography entitled Losing It - and Gaining My Life Back One Pound at a Time. I checked the non-fiction section of my local library and it was checked in. Not for long. I checked it out and eagerly read through it in a couple nights.

The book talks about her career both on the sitcom and other shows and TV movies. It also talks about her marriage to Eddie Van Halen, and the ups and downs of that relationship over the years. It talks about her greatest role - motherhood (to their son Wolfgang). It also talks about a woman who has struggled with her own sense of self-image from a very young age until in her 40's when she most recently became a spokesperson for Jenny Craig.

I found the book to be very easy going and honest, just as I would expect Valerie to be. She doesn't lay blame on anyone but herself for most of the problems she has encountered in life. She speaks straight from the heart and gives an honest portrayal of things she went through, why and what those choices led to. I found it a very enlightening read.

Does this book shake my image of her? Well, a couple things might have - but not enough. She still seems like someone I would love to get to know, just to sit down and talk to. She seems more like an everyday person who just happened to be famous rather than some kind of diva or huge "star".

Friday, October 24, 2008

Comics of the Week (10/22/08) part 2

Trinity #21 - This issue felt, in a lot of ways, like a fill-in if you will. The lead focused on the three villains of the piece who usurped the trinity's power but we learn why things didn't go as planned. It was okay but not as great as previous issues. The back-up didn't do much to move the story either. Not sure why. I guess with fifty-two weekly issues in the story, you have to have a clunker every now and again.

Superman: New Krypton - this one-shot bridges from last week's Action Comics to the next event running in all the Superman titles over the next few months. Superman has to bear with a great loss while at the same time juggling the Kandorians discovering what the yellow sun will do for them. There are a couple scenes that indicate this could turn into a huge problem for the Man of Steel and Earth. You can sort of tell which creative team did what. The art was split through out - some of it better than others. It hasn't convinced me to pick up any further Superman titles beyond Action though.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Comics of the Week (10/22/08) part 1

Final Crisis: Submit - I liked this tie-in one-shot that was more character focused. Black Lightning shows how a true hero continues on despite insurmountable odds. However, Grant Morrison's disjointed writing tainted the book a bit. Still, it was a better read than...

Final Crisis #4 (of 7) - if the idea was to give us a feeling of chaos and confusion, this issue did it! Seriously, I don't all the praise for Morrison on this. This is supposed to be a cornerstone event and yet it just isn't working for me at all. There are a few good ideas here and there, but none of them follow through. It is like throwing spaghetti on the wall to see which is done enough to stick. Too much is sliding to the floor. And the dialogue is clunky. Ugh.

Tangent: Superman's Reign #8 (of 12) - while I appreciate the epic feel Jurgens is trying for here and the fact he wants readers to realy get to know the ins and outs of the Tangent Earth, I think this book is suffering from having too many issues to play with. It is like the story is dragging on purpose just to fill out the twelve issues.

Maybe I'm just having a cranky week. Two more books left to read.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Comics of the Week (10/15/08) part 3

Final Crisis: Rogues' Revenge #3 (of 3) - Geoff Johns and Scott Kilins deliver an amazing ending to this mini series, showing why the Flash's villains can easily carry a title on their own. These criminals show that there is honor and rules among thieves, and that they take care of their own. As Johns did when he wrote the Flash years back, these characters are more than just advesaries to make the hero look good. They are fully formed, well-rounded characters. I cannot wait until he relaunches the book now that Barry Allen, the Silver Age Flash is back!

Final Crisis: Legion of 3 Worlds #2 (of 5) - here Johns' epic story telling is supported by the ever perfect, ever detailed artwork of George Perez. Together they take the rich history and cast of not one but three LSH eras and weave an epic adventure. And looking at those full page spreads and identifying all the players is a lot of fun too. I have a feeling there will be some big casualties in the battle with Superman-Prime's Legion of Super-Villains, but in the end the LSH franchise will be left stronger and ready for another 50 years.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Comics of the Week (10/15/08) part 2

Justice Society of America #19 - "One World, Under Gog" continues with part 4 as the battle lines in the JSA are drawn - those who question Gog's motives and those who support them. Things get even more complicated though when Power Girl finds her way back from Earth-2, but she's not alone! Next issue should prove to be quite the fight between the generations. Johns and Ross are really taking their time to weave an epic here. Though at times it is like not a lot happens each month, the characterization and the context are making for a rich tale. And those Ross covers are awesome as always.

Trinity #20 - Busiek and Bagley continue to explore this "what if" world where the trinity never existed, and through Firestorm's research we see how that new history was shaped. I think the weekly format really allows them to explore and expand on the concepts that a monthly title could not afford. I am enjoying this a lot - like a good novel. The back-up feature involves the newly released Krona and his quest for power. This should come to a head later in the run as well.

Booster Gold #13 - fill-in team of Remender and Olliffe give us a thrilling first part of a tale where Starro the Conqueror takes over Rip Hunter and, in essense, has a chance to change history. Booster and Goldstar must try to stop the alien starfish from subjugating the entire human race. The story continues in the same vein as earlier arcs, using the dynamics of time-travel to make for some very interesting situations. This fill-in is allowing Dan Jurgens the time to ramp up as the writer-artist on the book full time. I'm continuing to love this title.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Comics of the Week (10/15/08) part 1

Batman and the Outsiders #12 - another Batman R.I.P. tie-in issue with the Outsiders finding themselves on the receiving end of trouble. The cover does not lie - an Outsider does die in this issue. But it isn't an obvious choice, or one that really has long standing ramifications. Oh, except the team disbands. Yeah, we'll see where things go with next issue.

Brave and the Bold #18 - I have to ask again: when did Marv Wolfman turn into a hack writer? This second part of the Raven/Supergirl team-up was horrible. Very disjointed. And even though a forgotten hero returns (sort of), it still wasn't anything major to write home about. This felt like a filler arc to be sure. I hope the quality of the book gets better.

DC Universe: Decisions #3 (of 4) - except for a couple good scenes with the heroes and their political thoughts, this issue really took the series down a turn for the worse. I had high hopes for this mysterious person behind the assassination attempts, but we find out in the last few pages who is behind it. And trust me, it is a left-field thing (even if it does fit the clues so far). I won't spoil it here, but the last issue of the mini series has some serious 'splaining to do as to the motive behind this person's actions.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Comics of the Week (10/8/08) - part 2

Action Comics #870 - the Brainiac saga comes to a rocking conclusion with lots of big panels, lots of excitement, and an ending that was slightly telegraphed by the cover (unfortunately). I have to say though that in a number of panels, Gary Frank's rendering of Superman looked a lot like the Christopher Reeves Superman to me. That is a very cool effect. In a lot of ways, Geoff Johns writes this book like a huge blockbuster film.

Trinity #19 - the lead focuses again on Tarot in this strange, altered Earth. Also, we get a nice glimpse both in the lead and backup of former supporting cast members of the now-missing-trinity. Nice touches to this alternate reality aspect of the epic. Cool cover as well.

Secret Six #2 - Gail Simone continues to dazzle me with her story telling and characterizations of these villains on the fringe. I really like where the book is going so far. Also, the battle between Catman and Batman shows how alike the two are in so many ways - fitting since Catman started out his career trying to emulate Batman.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Comics of the Week (10/8/08) - part 1

Legion of Super-Heroes in the 31st Century #19 - in this penultimate issue of the series, Booster Gold is the focus as the LSH tries to figure out what the true purpose of this showy hero is. Now, I like Booster a lot, so this story was fun. But the book really seems to have lost its focus on the LSH and that might be possibly why it is getting cancelled (that and the cartoon is no longer running on Kids WB).

Final Crisis: Revelations #3 (of 5) - we hit the halfway point and find out just why Cain is so hot to destroy the Spectre. Nice tie-in to Final Crisis - you get a real true sense of the effects of the Anti-Life Equation.

Green Lantern #35 - the final "Secret Origin" chapter brings Hal and Sinestro back to Oa for a meeting with the Guardians. It doesn't go well. This chapter sort of ties up the threads of the "origin" arc and peppers things for the next story line in present day. It'll be nice to get back there after seven-plus months. The artwork by Reis & Albert is gorgeous as always.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Comics of the Week (10/1/08)

DC Universe: Decisions #2 (of 4) - I really enjoyed this second issue of the political themed mini. After Green Arrow endorsed a candidate last issue, the floodgates are opened. I like how the personalities and the interplay between characters worked this issue. With the real-life election playing out daily in the news, this is a nice contrast to it.

Justice League of America #25 - some nice touches this issue with Red Tornado, tying up elements that have been present in this title run so far. The Vixen/Animal Man plot is a little dull, especially given the villain and his abilities. Glad this storyline concludes next issue.

Trinity #18 - speaking of alternate realities, welcome to another one after last issues big blow up! I like how this was presented - it was interesting. How will the Trinity bounce back and set things right? I'm eager to keep finding out after this issue.

Terror Titans #1 (of 6) - spinning out of the regular Teen Titans title, this mini series by McKeever and Bennett promises to be an action packed ride. I like finding out more about these villains, about seeing more evolution of the Ravager character, and I like how this ties into Final Crisis without having all the trappings of that book. Really enjoyed this first issue a lot.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008


Damn, it's been a couple crazy weeks.

First, I'm halfway through a three week cycle of working third shift on a remote installation project for my company. Gotta love those 10pm to 6am work cycles to mess with your biorhytms. I don't think I've watched any TV regularly of late.

Second, there's the gas chaos in the south - but it is getting better. More stations seem to be keeping in stock of late, so that is good. Luckily with working the third shift from home I haven't been burning through the gas.

Third, with the bank chaos, our bank Wachovia gets bought out on Monday. I'll let my wife handle that stuff as she has a past in banking and is the financial mind of our coupling. Still, that's always a surprise.

Finally, AOL sends an email out last night saying on October 31st they are pulling the plug on user FTP sites. What the $^#%*?!? No reason why - just "sorry for the inconvenience". Hey, AOL, forget you. I just changed from my monthly paying account to the free version. You don't want to give me FTP space, I'll forgo giving you money and use your free email service. Thanks but no thanks, dudes. That's crappy customer service and that's what you get. So, I'm moving my websites to another locale - something free. Sure, its work but what the heck. Time to prune my online presence some. Still, I hate the idea of all those dead links on the Internet. So untidy.