Monday, June 30, 2008

New Comics for July 2

The Sword #9
Originally uploaded by Heidi Meeley
In all the highs and lows of the last week, it had completely slipped my mind how July is starting tomorrow. Good Grief. Where did the month go? The hubby and I celebrate our anniversary on the 8th, so it really snuck up on me.

The bad news is that is was 103 degrees today and our house is very warm. The good news is that it is supposed to cool down to the high 80's by the weekend. This is good because our house box air conditioner and swamp cooler can handle things up to around 90 and then it is a whole new ball game. At the high 80's, I can be sure of some comfort.

Our DCBS order for the last two weeks should be here tomorrow so I am very pleased. In the meantime, I checked out the list for Wednesday and was startled at how small it was for me. I guess all my frantic cutbacks are helping.

Here is the list for the week:

Batman #678
Fables #74
Manhunter #32
Nightwing #146
Trinity #5
Noble Causes #35
Sword #9 - pictured!
Astonishing X-Men #25
Boys #20
Terry Moore's Echo #4

That is ten books this week. That is down from my former lists that would number into the 20's to the high 30's. Now if I can just keep on this pace, we will be okay.

Stay cool in the warm temperatures, okay? Tomorrow night Jim and I are going to try and go see the sneak preview of Hancock, which is being shown in blissful air conditioning, so I may not see you until Wednesday. Take care!

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Random Thoughts and Musings

It is one day after finding out about Michael Turner's death, and Jim and I are still reeling a bit. Turner was a truly nice guy, and he fought his cancer bravely for a long time. We are truly mourning his absence, and Jim is going to work with his Space Goat crew to raise money for the American Cancer Society in Turner's name. I will have more details on that in the coming days.

In the past, I have had my moment of being critical of Turner's art, and it is hard to justify it now in the aftermath of his loss hitting so hard. It makes me wonder how ill he was when still drawing the covers that caused so much controversy. It also makes me feel guilty for questioning his skills. I remember getting my hands on the first eight issues of the Witchblade series and having a realization that I was witnessing something special. To call into question his talents so close to the end of his time on this earth is a hard thing to consider.

I guess the bottom line is that Turner is at peace now, and that the past is the past. I will always admire his talent and achievements, but will mostly remember what a kind, humble guy he was. Rest in Peace.

That being said, the news about Erik Larsen stepping down as publisher of Image, just doesn't resonate. It is about time, as Larsen needs to focus on his creative work and let Eric Stephenson handle the business aspects.

Other then that, the news coming out of Wizard World Chicago just doesn't register. Lots of stuff will happen in comics down the road- yada, yada, yada. Wow, big surprise there! Heh.

I am recovering from our garage sale yesterday. I had inventory at work Thursday and Friday, and worked from 7 a.m to 10 p.m. and 6:15 a.m. to 5:30 p.m respectively. Needless to say, by the time I got up at 5:30 a.m. on Saturday, I was operating on auto pilot. Then it got up to 100 degrees here and the last couple of hours of our sale were sweltering.

The good news to come out of this is that we made money, got rid of a bunch of perfectly fine stuff we didn't need, and were able to donate to Goodwill before it was all over. Jim and I are a bit shell-shocked at how much room we have freed up. Next weekend it will be time for a trip to the dump with all the stuff that was broken or battered and then we will be able to take a moment and decide if we should have another garage sale this fall.

I took a two and a half hour nap yesterday and then we went and saw Wanted. It was interesting to say the least. As someone who had read the orignal series when it came out, I was a bit surprised at how very different it was, especially the second half. For the most part, I liked it, but much like the comic, it ended in a jarring, unsatisfying way.

Now that I have rambled, it is time to close. It is over 100 degrees again and we need to go grocery shopping and load up the tables we used for the sale. Take care, and stay cool in the heat. See you here tomorrow.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

A Tragic Loss: Michael Turner Passes Away

As you know, today is our garage sale, and we have been up since 5:30 a.m. doing our thing. Imagine my surprise when I came in the house to grab a bite to eat and upon turning to Newsarama, found out that Michael Turner has passed away.

There are no words.

Much like Mike Wieringo, Turner was a peer. He was young, sweet, and relatable. His art has a universal appeal that will last many years after his time on this earth. He helped put Witchblade and Top Cow on the map. His struggles with cancer have been well documented, and Turner has always fought the battle with bravery and dignity, continuing to work until the end.

It is a horrible loss and a sad shame to acknowledge the fact that he is no longer with us.

My heart is in pieces. There is no justification to this. I have a huge lump in my throat.

There are no words.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Is This Gratuitious? Elephantmen #18 Campbell cover

It has been awhile since my last "gratuitous" post and I am probably setting myself up by featuring such an ironic cover, but I just couldn't resist. This week's victim is the cover for Elephantmen #18 with art by J. Scott Campbell with Boo Cook.

No stranger to titillating covers, Campbell has done a great imitation of his past work here. The cover girl is obviously done full out "bad girl" style as the cover headlines. There is a see-through top with lots of boobage on display. She is wearing cute little panties and she appears to have some paint dripping on her legs. This is an obvious cover to draw new readers, and you know what? I bet it will work very well.

Before you slaughter me for picking on ole' J. Scott, you have got to remember that he has made lots of serious coin with his sexy depictions of women. This cover was right up his alley, and he took it to the limit. The biggest surprising thing that is missing is erect nipples so I have to give a lttle bit of slack. That is a pleasant surprise. LOL.

What do you think of this cover? Do any of you read this book? What is it all about? Is the cover representative of what is inside of the book? OR is it all just irony?

Here is the solicitation:

variant cover J. SCOTT CAMPBELL

Hiromi Kiyoko " Miki " is intent on finding out Hip Flask's deepest darkest secrets... but Miki and her mother, Keiko, have some secrets of their own.

SEPTEMBER 17 - 32 PAGES - FC - $2.99"

Okay- the ball is in your court. Help me out here.

Is this gratuitous?

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Bluetooth Madness

Well, I finally did it. I made myself go get a new bluetooth. Since laws will prohibit handheld cell phone conversations as of July 1, it was bloody well time. My biggest problem was that I had already tried a bluetooth and ended up hating it. To top it off, the thing was a piece of crap that only lasted about four months before dying completely.

To say the least, I was very hesitant to try another one.

After work I headed over to AT&T Wireless to get a bluetooth. I had done some research on the internet and had also considered what I didn't like about the first one. My requirements were simple.

1. No bud in the ear, as it drives me nuts.
2. No crappy little piece of plastic holding it on my ear. I wanted durable.

With that in mind, I picked up the Universal Motorola H271 to pair to my Razr. Since my Razr is almost two year old, I was a bit leary, but I am crossing my fingers. My friend Kerry has a similar model that seems to work well.

I like the fact that there is a boom on it, so I can close it and turn it off during my office hours. I also like that it rests against my ear instead of in it. Wearing glasses unnerves me enough and I didn't want to increase my stress.

Tonight will be my night to try it. I have to let it charge for two hours and then I am going to test it. Wish me luck.

One last thing: do any of you out there have this bluetooth? What are your opinions on it or other models? Do you wear a bluetooth consistently, and how does it feel and work?

I am really curious!

I will be back tomorrow with hopefully some help from you!

Monday, June 23, 2008

New Comics for June 25

Black Panther #37
Originally uploaded by Heidi Meeley
Good Evening and Happy Monday! Today went so fast that it is unreal. I worked an 11 hour day and then ran by the gym, so I am a bit tired tonight. It's all good though. Just one more week or so of this and then things should be back to a more normal pace.

Today I got notification that my next DCBS order is shipping on Wednesday, so that will include last week's and this week's books. That is always a wonderful e-mail to receive. Jim and I are so happy with the service from the DCBS that we wish we would have switched a lot sooner. Not using all the extra gas to get downtown and rushing around until I was ready to pull my hair out? Not missed.

Here is this week's list.

Final Crisis #2 (of 7)
Green Lantern #43
Huntress Year One #4 (of 6)
Superman #677
Teen Titans #60
Trinity #4
Darkness #4
Black Panther #37- pictured
Captain America #39
Daredevil #108
Hulk #4
Mighty Avengers #15
Ms. Marvel #28
New Avengers #42
She Hulk 2 #30
Ultimate Spider-Man #123
Uncanny X-Men #499
Wolverine Origins #26
X-Men Legacy #213

That is it for the week. I am glad that we are using DCBS because it has cut down on impulse purchases and therefore we are saving some decent money. I do miss the occasional store crawl, but I am saving it up for next time we go out of town.

Have a great night! See you here soon!

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Random Thoughts and Musings: Basement Cleaning Edition

Yes, I am still cleaning out my basement. I have been doing so for over four weeks. It is starting to shape up nicely now, and I can actually walk around without worrying that stuff is going to fall on me. All the piles are small, and I have a handle on where everything is.

That is why my blogging has sucked eggs. Sorry about that. Every extra moment I have had has been put into getting the basement cleaned and getting ready for our first ever garage sale. I have over twenty years of stuff around this house while Jim has at least ten years worth. It has been an ordeal to say the least.

On that note, my blogging will not be back to normal until after next weekend. We have set a date for our garage sale, and it is next Saturday the 28th. I have inventory at work the Thursday and Friday right before it so it was crucial to get everything ready this weekend, leaving more minor stuff for the weekdays.

We are really excited about having a gararge sale. We will have videos, books, clothes, assorted furniture, and keepsakes. It should be a riot. Heh. My only concern is that we have no flipping idea how to price stuff. I am going to have to pick some brains to figure it out.

One question: if you had knick knacks from loved ones that are deceased or in ill health, would you hold on to them for the sentimental value or would you dispose of them? My mom went through hell when she had to clean out my grandparent's home, and has become very anti-knick knack. I don't blame her. Other then some comic book related stuff, I have never really liked to keep stuff like that. It just feels wrong to get rid of stuff my family members have made for me. Opinions?

Note to all of you: do not be like me and let crap accumulate this long. It is a nightmare. I am exhausted and upset for doing this to myself. If your stuff is starting to clutter, go through it and figure out what can go. If you don't want to have a garage sale, take stuff to Goodwill, or donate it somewhere fitting.

On that note, I am going grocery shopping with Jim and then to help a friend paint. Then he will help us next weekend with the very thrilling Jim/Heidi garage sale. Until then, have a nice day and I will see you here tomorrow. Things will be back to normal here by the July 4th weekend. Thank you for humoring an eccentric middle aged lady!

Thursday, June 19, 2008

The Comic Book Business: Who Does the Heavy Lifting?

As I have been surfing around the internet checking out different comic book related websites, it is extremely obvious that DC is suffering from a distinct lack of organization and is being strangely quiet about it. In most circles, this means the hammer is about to drop big time or that someone is being silent, hoping it all goes away like a bad dream.

The always insightful Graeme McMillan (now coming to you from gives his usually correct opinion about the stirrings meaning that the axe is about to fall on DC honcho Dan Didio. Read it to get the accumulation of interviews and pieces he has worked together. It is an interesting bit of reading.

Occasional Superheroine Valerie D'Orazio has done several pieces recently, utilizing her insight from working inside the industry, and musing about what needs to be done in light of all the discouraging bits coming out on the 'net. She also talks about creators and their conflicts with comic book companies, specifically with regard to Chuck Dixon and his relationship with DC ending. In a bit of a side note, it is always comforting to me to know the truth, and to sort it out on my own time. As someone who has been through hell and back, I know how damaging it can be to not be able to defend yourself, so I think full disclosure can be somehow the most healing.

At any rate, back to the problem at hand.

When Final Crisis #1 hit the shelves, the readers were in general pretty confused. Things were out of continuity and no one was sure if this was a weird zen Grant Morrison moment or if things had gone wrong with DC editorial. After checking out Graeme's piece, musing about Val's words, and in general taking a stroll around the internet to gauge reactions, it is transparently clear that the editorial staff and/or management is at fault here. Morrison started working on Final Crisis well ahead of the Countdown weekly series and the Death of the New Gods mini-series. Morrison didn't care how the titles went down as long as they fit with where he was starting. Unfortunately, we all know that didn't work at all. Everything was damned confusing.

What troubles me is that this kind of crap happens too often. Books get retconned with no apparent explanation. Creators take extreme liberties to tailor characters to their vision. Editors clamp down and sweat the small stuff while letting big FUBAR's get through. It goes on and on.

In most businesses, gaffes of this size require at least one head to roll. It sounds like it may be Didio at this point. I ask you this- was it Didio that made the editorial error because he micro-managed or did one of the editors just flat err? Was the editor in question not made privy to Morrison's script? How top secret was the first issue of Final Crisis? Didn't writers of Countdown and Jim Starlin, who wrote DOTNG get to see the script?

What the hell happened here?

If I was the one that made the error because I was in the dark about the script, I would feel innocent and justified. On the other hand, if I was the editor in question and I just let this happen, I would expect to be cleaning out my desk. Wouldn't that happen most anywhere?

The comic book industry mystifies me. I have never felt that it was truly run like a business in need of profits. It seems like someone wants comic book companies to lose money. I am sure Time Warner wants a tax write-off or that Marvel has to have something to offset the booming movie business. That is the only explanation I can come up with, other then that the folks in the business are the most "good old boy" network in the world. It is always the same old faces that resurface, and it makes me wonder when the people running the show will get a clue and send these faces packing for good. What is it- does someone have naked bribe pictures so they keep their job no matter what?

Can anyone who has been in the business explain this crap to me? At my job, we are supposed to be accurate and careful while working at a fast pace. It is the American way, right? If we make too many mistakes, we get canned and go flip burgers. We don't go make the same mistakes at the next place because we had drinks with the head guy at some show!!

Who runs a comic book company? Who there makes the ultimate decisions? Are people that are given the titles doing the jobs they are hired for? I worry that there is a divide between the business types and the creative types that can't be breached. I remember going to a show and asking a guy who was a former bigtime editor and his buddy who was a writer how come creative types got away with so much stuff and that they seemingly weren't called on it and getting a blank stare in response.

I could write a book of a blog on my irritation and confusion on this matter. Even though I have been a business professional for many years, I just can't relate to the comic book industry. It is unique in so many ways that it makes my head spin.

What do you think when you read about the gaffes in Final Crisis and the bits and pieces about Didio? Do you think Didio should be canned? How much fault lays with the editors and creators?

Please someone help me understand this.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Video of the Week: Nine Inch Nails-Head Like A Hole

I was driving home tonight and Nine Inch Nails "Head Like a Hole" came on. I immediately cranked it and, in scary middle-aged fashion, proceeded to sing loudly and head-bang while driving. It had been a long time since I had heard this song, and it made me feel a bit wistful. The video and tune remind me of simpler times, and the fact that I used to be able to get my rage out through music alone. My how times have changed.

In honor of said kick-ass song, I am posting the video and imploring you to kick back and enjoy it. NIN will always hit me right in the soul.


I am looking at what time it is and realizing I have yet to blog.


I am going to take the night off and read comics, Folks!

Have a great evening!

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

New Comics for June 18

I went to Diamond's new releases page yesterday and it wasn't updated, so here I am today with the list. It didn't upset me too much because of the DCBS service I use now. I knew that I just had to figure it out when the stuff showed up, but being anal retentive, I am curious and can't wait.

I had planned to do a big post follow-up on my survey about comic book spending, and embarassingly enough, I haven't gotten there yet. I am now hoping to do it this Saturday. This week has been nuts for so many reasons that I doubt my ability to get home at a decent hour.

Last night and tonight I found myself at Costco with my workout partner, helping him to pick out and cart home 27 20' wraps of hardwood for his flooring in his three bedrooms. This was quite the fiasco to say the least. I am happy to be home now and know that he has all the stuff he needs to install his new flooring.

Now that you had to read my non-sensical ramblings, here is the comic list!

Birds of Prey #119
Brave & the Bold #14
Catwoman #80
Ex Machina #37
Justice League of America #22
Trinity #3
First Born Aftermath One Shot- cover shown
Anita Blake VH Guilty Pleasures #12 (of 12)
Incredible Hercules #118
Punisher #58
Ultimate X-Men #95
Wolverine #66
X-Factor #32
Fallen Angel #27

That is it for the list. It continues to be more manageable, which makes me extremely happy.

Have a wonderful night!

Monday, June 16, 2008

Kick-Ass Cover Alert: Action Comics #869

Looking at Previews for September, I stumbled upon a totally killer cover. Gary Frank's rendering of Clark and his pa is so sweet and unpretentious that it puts a lump in my throat. The only thing cooler would be if it would have come out on Father's Day.

Here are the specs:

Written by Geoff Johns
Art by Gary Frank & Jon Sibal
Cover by Gary Frank
"Brainiac" part 4 of 5! Krypton's greatest adversary has set his sights on Superman and his homeworld as his endless quest for absolute knowledge continues. But the horrors within Brainiac's ship are nothing compared to the alien behind it. Superman's world is about to change as the build-up to the Superman event of 2008 races towards its conclusion!
On sale September 10 o 32 pg, FC, $2.99 US"

This cover is just another example of why I love Gary Frank's art. Amazing.

No new comic book list tonight as Diamond didn't update. I will see you back here tomorrow. Tonight we are sitting here giddy because we got our stimulus check and ran it to the bank. Yay!

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Happy Father's Day!

To all you dads out there, Happy Father's Day! Let me congratulate you and give you my humble thanks. Dads that are there for their kids, teaching them and helping them- that is priceless.

Jim is on the phone with his dad right now and I am going to call my dad soon. My dad has alway been my hero, and I have always been a daddy's girl of the highest order. One of the hardest things for me has been to live 200 miles away from him. Thank God we both have the same cell phone provider, so that I can call him on a lark and have a conversation. God knows I miss him, and he has been a source of my sanity in a crazy, out-of-control world.

Have a nice day filled with love and joy.

Talking Survey: Spending Habits

After asking you about your spending habits in this economy, and checking to see what you think, and how you have adjusted accordingly, one thing really stuck out: you have been watching your spending habits all along, and have treated comics as they should be- as a hobby rather then as a life sustaining requirement. I was overwhelmed by the reality check, and am pretty much near speechless about it.

I am going to go back through the postings again, and make another post, but for now let me say this: I admire your diligence and intelligence in your comic spending habits.

Now if I could only get there...

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Review: The Virgin Project

Last year at the Emerald City Comicon, a fella stopped by my booth and gave me a self-published pamphlet/comic book to check out. His name was K.D. Boze and the book was called "The Virgin Project".

I sat down to look at this small marvel and was immediately engrossed. This was like no other comic book I had ever seen, and it left me amazed. Boze and his artist collaborator Stasia Kato put out fliers at the Seattle Erotic Art Festival asking people to tell their stories of losing their virginity. They promised complete anonymity and that they would change appearances and names to protect that.

Boze and Kato received several responses, and proceeded to put them into comic book format. Thus "The Virgin Project" gained life. What is ironic here is that something that could have gone so terribly wrong ended up being poignant, tender, crazy, funny, and sad. For lack of a better word, the creators nailed it.

This year at the ECCC, I ran into Boze as he was setting up a space at friend John Lustig's booth. His pamphlet had evolved into a full fledged graphic novel. I immediately felt guilty, because I had wanted to blog about his creation but for several reasons, hadn't done so. I promised him and myself that I would go buy a copy, as it was one of the most interesting, amazing pieces of work I had seen in a long time. Sunday at the show, I made good on my promise and am now the owner of said work.

It is hard to do "The Virgin Projects" justice without being able to just hand it to someone and say "look at this". It is also difficult to talk about a book like this in a casual manner given that the subject material is anything but. The one thing I know for sure is that it struck and extremely emotional chord with me and I wanted to make sure other people knew about it's existence.

Kato's cartoony artwork is perfect for this kind of an anthology. It gives a certain levity to a tricky topic. Some of the stories are very sad while others make a person feel angry, and Kato brings life to them without judgement. Boze did an outstanding job of narrating the experiences with a detached, emotionless tone that still managed to bring to the surface the painful reality of it all.

"The Virgin Project" is most certainly a book for grown-ups, but some of the tales give a cautionary tone that make me want to give it to young adults. It isn't gratuitous, and it isn't sexist. The tag line "real people share real stories" says it all.

This is a very personal book about a bit of a taboo subject, but I recommend it wholeheartedly. It will touch you deep down in your heart while administering a punch in the guts, leaving you feeling like you went on a journey.

Go check out Boze's website for details or if you want to share a story that may be included in a future anthology. Most of all, if you find a copy and have enough left over from you stimulus check, pick one up. Be prepared for a crazy ride.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Survey: Have You Made Cuts in Your Spending?

Last night I freaking lost it. Waiting for a half hour to save $5 made something in me snap. I guess it felt like a ominous feel of what is to come before the economy improves. Maybe it is that I haven't gotten my relief check yet either. I don't know for sure, but it was probably a combination of a lot of little things.

At any rate, I went through my comic book spending habits from a year ago and compared it to today's spending habits. I have cut my spending by half in one year. No lie. Amazing, but true. I knew I was cutting back quite a bit, but what I saw tonight on my Microsoft Money told the tale. I spend a little less then half as much as I did before.

In looking down the road, my cuts are pretty much stabilized through July. I know that I will need to cut another 1/3 of that to make sure my ends meet. The sad thing about this is I quit buying anything independent or new for the most part. I can't take that kind of chance with my money right now- not knowing if I will like something or not. I have to go for the tried and true for the time being. Realizing where the deepest cuts have been made makes me sad. I really want to support up and coming creators, and I know I am failing miserably.

With all this in mind, let me pick your brain for a change.

1. How are your comic book spending habits different from a year ago? What about six months ago?

2. Where have you made your deepest cuts?

3. How do you think the economy will affect the comic book industry, if at all.

4. What about statues, action figures, and other specialty items? Have you cutback there or is that a factor?

5. General comments.

Take the time if you can, and let me know how you are feeling about your spending. If you want to get more detailed and talk about the state of your "union" feel free. If you want to generalize, feel free as well. I am really curious how the increasing prices of pretty much everything are affecting your life.

Thank you! I will see you back here tomorrow night, and will wrap things up this weekend.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Random Thoughts and Musings: The Reality Check Edition

Tonight I sat in line for a half hour at a gas pump establishment to save 40 cents a gallon. That basically added up to $5.20 by the time it was all said and done. Now it is almost 8 p.m. and I am just now sitting down to blog. After that I need to eat and get cleaned up. This really makes me think.

How much is my time is worth?

Do I want to wait in line a half hour to save $5 while I am tired and hungry and could be home relaxing before my next work day? The $5 I saved will buy the teriyaki chicken rice bowl I will consume at lunch tomorrow. I think of it that way and am happy. Then I realize that I could have packed a lunch tomorrow at a dollar value of about $3 and saved the time. Hmmm... I am still money ahead to sit in line. But....

What price is my sanity worth?

This is a conundrum. Obviously the price of gas isn't going to go down anytime soon. It may never go lower again. This might just be the price of driving my car. What it boils down to is that I will go see my family less and will pick and choose the reason I travel. It also makes me wonder how much time I will be waiting in line at pumps in the future.


In connecting this to comic books, let me just say this:

Compared to waiting in line for a half hour to get gas, the Final Crisis continuity gaffes don't mean dick. At the rate prices of everything are rising, it is probably a moot point. Who gives a crap that the New Gods continuity is screwed up because DC Editorial couldn't keep track of their timeline sufficiently? I will probably be selling my freaking "Death of the New Gods" run and trying to fire sale the "Countdown" series to pay for said fuel for my car, so it really won't matter.

That is my reality check.

Monday, June 09, 2008

New Comics for June 11

Happy Monday to all you lovely folks out there! It was a gorgeous day here and even though I had to work, I was able to get outside for lunch and then to run errands in after my workout. I was sorry to hear how hot it was in New York City during MOCCA. That must have been a tough one.

This week brings lots of comic book goodness, including another issue of both 100 Bullets and Wonder Woman. My diverse taste craves these books equally for completely different reasons. After last month's issues of both books, I am on pins and needles waiting to see what will happen next.

Without further ado, here is my list.

100 Bullets #92
Action Comics #866
Booster Gold #10
Green Arrow/Black Canary #9
Green Lantern Corps #25- cover pictured
Huntress Year One #3 (of 6)
Salvation Run #7 (of 7)
Titans #3
Trinity #2
Wonder Woman #21
Invincible #50- my last issue of said book
Magdalena Daredevil One-Shot
Wildguard Insider #2 (of 3)
GeNext #2 (of 5)
Skaar Son of Hulk #1

That is it. It is mostly a DC week, which is interesting to me, since I was cursing myself at how many Marvel titles I ordered on DCBS. Maybe it is just an odd week.

That is it for tonight. Time to go shower and eat some dinner. Have a wonderful evening and I will see you here tomorrow night to catch up on comments and hang out.

Sunday, June 08, 2008

EW Writer and Hating Super Hero Movies

In this week's Entertainment Weekly, writer Chris Nashawaty has an editorial piece about how much he hates super hero movies. What is extremely interesting about this isn't how he lumps all the movies together but that he admits upfront that he is in the minority of moviegoers, including several of his coworkers.

Nashawaty pinpoints the date of his disenchantment as the opening of the first Spider-Man movie. His point isn't so much that the genre sucks so much as he hates the fact that super hero flicks have replaced the old school Bruce Willis/Arnold type action flicks. He misses the days when a person could go to a show and see something original, that wasn't already franchized.

In considering his point, I can concede that this year it appears more and more that big time studios are relying on super hero movies to draw viewers. In doing this, they walk the fine line between pleasing those of us who enjoy the windfall of fanboy entitlement and appealing to the mainstream movie audience.

The best example of using super powers to draw in viewers is the movie Hancock, starring Will Smith. In the past, Smith has refused to be involved with movies that focuses on comic book heroes because he didn't want to be pigeon holed. The fact that the man has conceded and is donning a leather suit shows that the studios and the viewers have won.

A good question to ask is this: where are the Terminator films of yesteryear? What happened to a tough guy, hard drinker, smart-ass type dude winning the day? Did we drink the wrong color bottle and end up back in our pods, unlike Neo from The Matrix? Most importantly, can super hero movies and the classic action hero flick co-exist peacefully? Hmmmm...

Because I am a longtime comic book fan, I pretty much go to all the movies that come out. As we have discussed in the last week or so, we all have favorites that have worked, but there is an acknowledgement that there have been some stinkers as well. Nashawaty point to Elektra, and I say "duh". That is way too easy a target, Bro.

For the record, not every comic book movie is a must see just because a person reads comic books. I am not exactly thrilled at the prospect of seeing another Hulk movie, though I do concede that I am eager to view Batman: The Dark Knight, which is chock-full of great actors and has rejuvenated a campy crippled classic. Hellboy 2 looks interesting, but I won't bumrush the theater on opening weekend. The Spirit preview, on the other hand, filled me with glee. It is all about individual interests.

We have to remember that many of the people paying to see super hero movies are NOT comic book readers. That has been proven over and over. What is it that draws them like a moth to a flame? I think it is the fact that moviegoers can go as a family and enjoy two hours together cohesively in a world that doesn't always offer family entertainment. I also think that it is a great date movie for couples looking to find a neutral film. It isn't just us "nerds" that populate the theaters clamoring for more, is it?

Have any of the rest of you read his article? What did you think about it? I am choosing to bypass irritation and go right to one touch of agreement. I do miss the old school action flick as well. That is why I go see Crank or Street Kings. While I will always love to see my favorite super heroes up on the big screen, I still like to root for the everyday guy kicking a little ass. I think that is what Nashawaty is trying to say.

Thursday, June 05, 2008

Quick Take Reviews: The Quickie Edition

Since Tuesday night I have been reading my comics for the last two weeks. Due to a commitment to cleaning my home and late nights as usual at work and working out, I still don't have the whole pile read. This is both thrilling and a bit scary, as I am a super fast reader. I guess at this point I will embrace it.

Because I haven't done reviews for awhile, I thought I would pop in and do some quick takes. Without further ado, let's jump in, shall we?

Final Crisis #1 (of 7): Grant Morrison has done his usual schtick of layering plots and being mysterious, so after one read, I still have no idea what the hell is going on. Villains are at their nastiest, there is strange goings on at the Darkside Club. The worst kept secret in comics goes down as a beloved character is killed. There is a great deal of subterfuge, to say the least. I did really dig the art by J.G. Jones and I trust Morrison, so I am cautiously optimistic. Grade: B-.

Batman #677- Morrison is up to his tricks here. Batman is going down in no uncertain terms. I have to express the fact that I am completely glued to this one, waiting to see what happens next. Tony Daniels is a decent artist, but it was hard to top the cover by Alex Ross. Grade: B+.

New Avengers #41: Spotlight on... Ka-zar and Shanna??? It's all about the Savage Land and the back story contained therein. Interesting tale, but I am not sure how it fits into an Avengers book. Grade: C-.

Mighty Avengers #14: Spotlight on... Sentry. After a lot of mysterious, flaky behavior, it is time to see what makes the Sentry tick. This story was more filler and backstory, but it was is obviously setting up something huge for Secret Invasion #3 or #4, right? Grade: C.

All Star Superman #11: Wow, this is a Grant Morrison extravaganza, isn't it? I love this freaking book and issue #11 was no exception. Morrison and artist Frank Quitely go together like peanut butter and jelly. They produce tasty work, and it leaves me hungry for more. I can hardly wait for issue #12 to come out, so I hope Quitely gets his butt in gear and gets it done! Grade: A.

Uncanny X-Men #498: The countdown to issue #500 is kicking into gear. After the whole "Xavier gets shot in the head" deal, the X-Men are scattered all over. Emma and Scott are in San Francisco trying to get to the bottom of why it feels like the Summer of Love all over again while Logan, Peter, and Nightcrawler are tortured by the Russians. Groovy. I am enjoying this book like the guilty pleasure that Ed Brubaker has made it into. Grade: B.

Justice League of America #21: If I have ever seen an issue that is nothing more then a set-up for a big event, this tops it. Villains are meaner and nastier, and the JLA is trying to get their heads around it. Some folks are going to die before this is over- shocking! At leat Dwayne McDuffie gets a nice script in and I get to enjoy the eye candy artwork of Carlos Pacheco. Bless you DC for that. Grade: C.

Fables #73: What a great book. Fables continues to grow more textured and richer as the War finally begins. Everything that this series has been building up to is here. The Adversary and his kingdom are in deep doo-doo, and the tables are about to turn. I can't wait to get to issue #75. Bill Willingham and Mark Buckingham have created a fantastic place for the characters of my youth to evolve into. Grade: A.

Huntress Year One #2 (of 6): Where did DC get Ivory Madison from and can they chain her to a desk and keep her there? Her scripting is incredible. I have really enjoyed this mini-series thus far, and have decided that Madison needs to take over the writing chores on Birds of Prey stat! Grade: A.

Daredevil #107: Luke Cage guest stars as Matt completely loses it. Ed Brubaker and Greg Rucka are a team supreme here. I also appreciate the ferocity with which artist Michael Lark works a pencil. The flow in this issue is perfection and has me eager to follow Matt on this story arc's journey. Grade: B+.

She-Hulk 2 #29: Oh, I get it now. After a few issues of feeling lost, the story behind Jennifer stopping her practice of law is revealed. Fascinating and quirky, much like the storytelling of writer Peter David. Thank God this book is back on it's game. I was getting impatient. Grade: B.

Incredible Hercules #117: I love this book. Writers Greg Pak and Fred Van Lente and artist Rafa Sandoval display amazing synergy in a title that both excites and intrigues. The last thing I would have ever expected is to embrace this book as fully as I have, but I can't help it. Great storytelling doesn't lie and that is the case here. If you aren't reading this book, you are missing a treat. Grade: A.

That is it for now. I still have several titles to peruse, so I am off to go have some reading fun. This DCBS thing has worked well so far in that I have several days of books to read rather then one or two nights.

What do you think of the books I just reviewed?

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Random Thoughts and Musings

Good Evening! I just got done checking out Newsarama's new site look. So as to not mince words: I don't like it. To me the layout is confusing, and it takes longer to load then the old site. Will I get used to it? Most likely. Will I like it? Time will tell, but for now, I am not very thrilled. What do you think?

In "doh" level errors, I missed last month's issue of Justice Society of America #15. Crap. Jim and I talked about it and I will probably do an online order from Midtown Comics or somewhere similar and pick it up, along with a few other odds and ends.

If you live in the Spokane, Washington area, or are just in the mood to make a trip, this weekend would be a great time to do so. On Saturday, June 7, the Spokane Comicon will take place. It is being held at Cataldo Hall on Gonzaga University grounds from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. I really wish I was going, but it just isn't in the cards. Here's who will be there:

Clayton Crain- X-Force/Ghost Rider art
Andy Owens- inker of Nightwing, Buffy, etc.
Bluewater Productions
Jim Koch Design
Ben Hansen- our buddy and talented artist on The Dependents
Jason Metcalf- the extremely handsome and humble artist who just completed a comic called Eternal Descent and has worked on The Darkness
Randy Kintz- another extremely handsome, but a bit less humble artist whose new comic "Jason and the Argonauts" #4 just hit the stands

What a great list of guest! According to the buzz, there will also be lots of stuff to buy and a costume contest to boot!

That's it for tonight. I have to go shred old stuff for a half hour and read some more of my new comics. I will be back tomorrow to catch up on answering comments. Take care!

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

1984 American Bandstand: Madonna!

I just got my big pile of comic books from DCBS, so I am going to go be really greedy and sit and read them tonight.

Let me send you this killer blast from the past- Madonna on American Bandstand in 1984!

Scary thought: I remember watching this episode when it first aired and thinking that my life would never be the same. It wasn't. Thanks Madonna, for all those crazy black jelly bracelets, hair tips, and nutty jewelry.

Monday, June 02, 2008

New Comics for June 4

Our internet was a bit spotty all weekend, which made posting tough, and it has continued to be problematic today as well. I am crossing my fingers I don't lose service before I get this posted, so I will keep it brief.

Here is the list for this week:

Detective Comics #845
Justice Society of America #16
Manhunter #31- yay!! It's back!!
Nightwing #145
Trinity #1
Noble Causes #34
Witchblade #118
Secret Invasion #3 (of 8)
Ultimate Origins #1 (of 5)
Boys #19
Devi #20

That is it! In really exciting news, my DCBS order will be here tomorrow so I will be in comic book heaven.

Have a great night!