Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Favorite Female Characters #18: Elektra

Originally uploaded by Heidi Meeley.
First seen in Daredevil #168 with her name misspelled on the cover to boot, Elektra has been confounding readers ever since. Mysterious and deadly, Elektra has lived a life of pain colored by brief times of past happiness. Her father was murdered while she was in college, and Elektra never fully recovered. She left school and her boyfriend Matt Murdock AKA Daredevil to find her destiny.

Elektra has been an assasin and an enigma. With shades of gray, she makes judgement on an individual and gives them a free pass depending on the circumstances involved. Trained by the enigmatic Stick and raised from the dead by The Hand, Elektra has had traumatic experiences far more then she has had good. I tend to think of it as karma, which I think Elektra would agree with.

Originally envisioned by Frank Miller as a temporary character, readers didn't want Elektra to vanish from their radars. Her best portrayal to date is still courtesy of Miller, but she has also been handled by other creative teams of note- most recently Brian Michael Bendis and Greg Rucka have penned her tales.

Elektra hasn't helmed a long term series, and I think it is because readers want to maintain a sense of mystery about her. I also think she is impossible to pigeonhole. Unlike Catwoman, she has never stayed on the lawful side of things for long. Her fraternization with Daredevil aside, Elektra prefers the shadows as her domain.

Elektra is one of my favorite females because of the shades of gray that surround her. She definitely thinks outside the box, and likes to maintain a sense of anonymity. She has struggled to repent and failed miserably, but is still seen as a sympathetic character due to the tragedies experienced so early in life.

I like that Elektra continues to surprise and defy. She has been seen in the last Wolverine story arc leaning towards the heroic side of things, but I doubt that will last for long. Elektra will not allow herself to be dictated to, and that makes her one of the deadliest females in the Marvel Universe, or any universe for that matter.

Recommended reading: Daredevil #168-190, Elektra:Assasin Mini-series, Elektra Vol. 1 and 2.

For the record I didn't see the Elektra movie because I refused to taint my comic book vision with the movie one. This is the only movie I have done so, but I guess at worst it makes me a comic geek pain, so I can live with that.

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Our Prayers are with you

I just want to send my thoughts and prayers out to the people whose world has been turned upside down by Hurricane Katrina. What a scary and awful thing.

As you can see by the links to your right, New Orleans is a favorite city of mine, and I cherish the memories I have of the Big Easy. May she and the other cities around her rise like a phoenix out of the ashes and come back to her greatest glory yet.

If you are able, send your donations to the Red Cross. Their url is:

Jim and my prayers and thoughts are with you all in this horrible time. I know that most don't have access to the Internet or for that matter, the most common of necessities. Donate today to the Red Cross if you can, and pray with me in any faith you prefer that the people involved in this awful natural disaster are going to be fine.

Favorite Female Characters #19: The Ladies from Invisibles

Invisibles Vol 2 #1
Originally uploaded by Heidi Meeley.
One is from the future, one is a former cop, and the third is technically a dude, but is more of a lady then most women I know. Ragged Robin, Boy, and Lord Fanny are the intriguing and fabulous ladies from Grant Morrison's Vertigo series The Invisibles.

Playing second fiddle to no one, The Invisibles are a team of rebels who know that the world isn't just black and white, and see through conventions to the truth behind the truth. Through three volumes of pure satisfaction, Morrison takes readers on the ultimate journey- one that haunts their dreams.

Cells of Invisibles have five members, and the women in this particular group team up with King Mob and Dane McGowan (Jack Frost) to rid the world of the evil that pervades the outlines and insides of society. Each has a role that fits with the elements, and throughout the series, each take different roles. Whether it be air, water, or earth, each member fulfills a specific duty.

Lord Fanny uses a kind of tantric and sorcerous magic - the amazing transvestite witch. Desired by many, and the best dancer you have ever seen, Fanny has a wisdom well beyond her/his years. Fanny is in the dictionary under the world fabulous.

Boy is a fully trained martial artist with a gray past. In Volume two she "sheds" multiple memories in a tale way too cool for me to tell you about here- it's a must read to get the full effect. Born with the name Lucille, her past affects her in ways she can even hardly believe. Dane has a big crush, and his puppy-like ways in her presence endear him to both Boy and to the reader. Boy is revealed, but still a mystery with many layers.

Ragged Robin is fascinating in her own right. Born in the future and sent back in time to save mankind, Robin initially ends up in an insane asylum and eventually hooks up with Mason Lang, the Bruce Wayne-like billionaire with a secret of his own. More then any other character, Robin transcends her original state of pupae into that of a fully formed butterfly. Robin takes on the leader role in the group for a time, with surprising and compelling results.

If you have never read Invisibles before, and you are wondering what the Heck I am talking about, go out and pick up either the individual issues or the trade paperbacks. I will preface reminding you all that it is a mature readers book, so if you are easily offended, proceed no further. The Invisibles don't gloss over things, and live their lives as they feel them, making for both glorious and disturbing moments.

I love the Ladies in The Invisibles. Each is so unique and so full of flavor. I can go back and reread the issues many times over and find new things each time, coming back more enlightened then ever. Grant Morrison had a specific vision with The Invisibles and he more then fulfilled his end of the bargain with A+ story telling and unforgettable characters.

Recommended Reading: Invisibles Vol. 1 Issues #1-25, Vol. 2 Issues, #1-22, and Vol. 3 #12-1.

Monday, August 29, 2005

New Comics for August 31

Today was hectic at work as our computer network decided not to work. The bad news is that the ethernet switch was bad; the good news is I actually installed a new one and it seems to be working. Whew- what a relief! Our main hardware guy told me how so I now know a new skill.

This week is another heavy hitter, with the increased price of each issue kicking us in the butt again.

Here is my list of stuff!

Revelations #1 (of 6)
Astro City The Dark Age #3 (of 16)
Batman Gotham Knights #68
Catwoman #46
Flash #225
Green Lantern #4
JLA Classified #11
Seven Soldiers Shining Knight #4 (of 4)
Wonder Woman #220
Body Bags Fathers Day #2 (of 2)
Dawn Three Tiers #6 (of 6)
Freshmen #2 (of 6)
Amazing Spider-Man #523
Astonishing X-Men #12
Captain America #9
New Avengers #9
Powers #12
Supreme Power #18
Young Avengers #6

Take care all and have a great week!

Sunday, August 28, 2005

Favorite Female Characters #20: Barbara Gordon-Batgirl-Oracle

Suicide Squad 49
Originally uploaded by Heidi Meeley.
Barbara Gordon is one of the comic book females I most admire. She has been through the ringer both physically and emotionally, yet has come out the other side with bravery and a radiant inner strength.

Seen first as Batgirl in Detective Comics #359, Barbara Gordon was seen then as a carefree, smart as it comes, daredevil. Not afraid to stand up to Batman and Robin, but able to keep her secret from her father James Gordon, Batgirl was as cool as it gets.

In her tenure as Batgirl, Barbara was a librarian and a Congresswoman. She dated a handsome private eye and flirted with the boy wonder. Great friends with the pre-crisis Supergirl, Barbara was on top of the world.

Then along came Post-Crisis life and The Joker. In The Killing Joke, Barbara is shot and paralyzed by the Joker, who is unaware of her dual identity. Initially targeting her father the police commissioner, Barbara is the victim of sour irony.

Not content to have a pity party for the rest of her life, Barbara honed her skills in the computer field and for a time worked with Suicide Squad. As seen in the cover featured, Barbara went through a rough patch that further strengthened her conviction to never give up.

Fate and great timing brought Barbara to Dinah Lance AKA Black Canary. Not content to be the Bat Squad's tech girl, Barbara wanted to solve crimes and correct injustices she cared about. With Black Canary by her side, they have gone through many ups and downs but have always managed to maintain their original vision of justice. Huntress has also come into the "Birds of Prey" environment, and Power Girl has visited it from time to time. The focus is on Barbara and Dinah, and their quest for justice.

As a character in a wheelchair, I feel a certain empathy with Barbara. My grand mother has been confined to one since the early 1970's and has never allowed it to be made an issue. When I see my grandma, I see the person, not the disability, and I think that Barbara has had that effect as well.

I love to read any comic book that has Oracle's name attached to it because I know she will be there standing up for what is right, and not letting others around her falter. She is a strong woman who has taken crappy circumstances and made them work for her. I also love to see her with Nightwing and hope that someday that relationship may continue again. Though Barbara is not defined by their relationship, it adds a softness and a third dimension that is not to be denied.

If you aren't too familiar with Oracle, pick up any of the Birds Of Prey trades, or Suicide Squad back issues. Also, she played a big role in Batman Family comics as Batgirl back in the day. Pick up an issue or a trade and see what I mean.

New Review up at Kung Fu Rodeo

Invincible 25
Originally uploaded by Heidi Meeley.
Hey there! I just posted a review of Invincible #25 over at Kung Fu Rodeo/ 4 Color Review. Give it a look if you get a chance!

Take care!

Saturday, August 27, 2005

Favorite Female Characters #21: Sara Pezzini and the Witchblade

Wtichblade 10
Originally uploaded by Heidi Meeley.
Originally, Sara Pezzini and her Witchblade were higher on my countdown, but I kept thinking about how poorly the Top Cow Editorial staff cared for her continuity and cohesiveness, and I just couldn't put her any higher.

Presented as a bad girl with a good heart, Sara Pezzini enconters the Witchblade, a mystical weapon that has been passed down many generations to be wielded by only the most worthy women. Sara has been hunted and beaten for her possesion of the Witchblade, and has even tried to rid herself of it several times, to not avail.

Witchblade is a comic book that has always been visually stunning. From Michael Turner's star making turn on the title to Michael Choi's current tenure, Sara is always displayed as quite gorgeous and curvaceous. It is too bad that the consistency of the story has not been treated so kindly.

When David Wohl and Christina Z left the title, past events were shelved, and the book was taken over by Paul Jenkins, who shoved all continuity aside and told his version of the character's story. Around this time, the television show came out, and the book went to crap. There was no consistency at all. One issue Sara would hate her sister Julie. In the next, Julie is dating Jake. Next thing we know it she is a drug selling ho. Come on people, figure it out already. Make a time line and a spec sheet.

All this mess aside, Sara Pezzini is a compelling character. She is a hero by birth, not by her weapon. As a cop by trade, Sara would fight for justice no matter what. The Witchblade has at times been a hindrance, at other times a crutch. What always emerges is Sara's heroic personality.

Ron Marz has taken over the writing chores on the title after several missteps and authors. He has taken an interest to finding the dangling storylines and fixing them, and clarifying other issues left hanging for years. As Witchblade celebrates her 10th year, she is probably in the safest hands she has ever been in.

I look forward to seeing what the future brings for Sara Pezzini and her Witchblade. I am crossing my fingers for tighter continuity and a renewed sense of making publishing deadlines.

Required Reading: Witchblade 1-25, 80 and up.

Friday, August 26, 2005

Commercial Interlude: Teen Titans 27 = BAD

Teen Titans 27
Originally uploaded by Heidi Meeley.
I had to take a break from my list of favorite females to say this:

Teen Titans 27 is really, really bad.

It isn't just that Rob Liefeld's art is painful to look at, because that is a given. It actually took me three attempts to open the book and get past the art enough to try to read the dialogue. That isn't the worst part.

The story is poorly done as well. I am crushed. I LOVE Gail Simone's writing. When she took over Deadpool I laughed out loud at her great way with a phrase. I adored her Oni project "Killer Princesses" and bought both the issues and the trade. I also love Birds of Prey. BUT...

I did not like this story at all. The villains are terrible cliches and the premise doesn't fly at all. I can hardly believe this is the same writer I enjoy so much.

If you haven't bought this issue yet, spend your hard earned cash on Birds of Prey or Killer Princesses instead. Don't buy into the Liefeld/Simone dream team because it doesn't come true.


Back to our regularly scheduled program tomorrow!

Thursday, August 25, 2005

Favorite Female Characters #22: Kitty Pryde

Kitty Pryde made her debut back in Uncanny X-Men #129, which also featured the first appearance of Emma Frost, the White Queen. This issue was back in the hay-day of Chris Claremont and John Byrne, and to this day is seen as an integral part of X-Men lore. To me, it will always be most notable for giving fans an accessable female hero close to our age at the time.

Kitty come from humble beginnings, and her normalcy has always been refreshing. Even in startling and dangerous circumstances, fans can always depend on Kitty to be their touchstone. When we are shown things through her eyes, we not only see the evil; we also see the injustices.

Kitty is currently in residence at the X-Mansion as a member of the "Astonishing" team. Writer Joss Whedon hand picked her as a perfect foil to Emma, and as a character he also wanted to know at a younger age. It is nice to see Kitty in the spotlight again, though from time to time I have enjoyed her stints in the shadows so to speak.

Born with the power to phase through objects and become immaterial, Kitty had to adjust to her new physical state. At first, she disrupted equipment without thinking first, and seemed tentative. As she has grown into her power, it is refreshing to see her find new and innovative ways to use it. I also like that Kitty has a great bit of skill with computers and is considered a brain. It gives her a non-mutant edge that other members of her other team may not have.

Who can forget the opening line of Uncanny X-Men #168- "Professor Xavier is a Jerk", as shouted by Kitty? She went through very rough patches, and this issue serves as a spotlight of her personality and growth. I highly reccomend it for fans for Kitty Pryde.

My other favorite time period for Kitty is when she joined Excalibur, especially during Warren Ellis' run on the book. Kitty dated a man other then Colossus, giving her an added depth. The fact that said man (Pete Wisdom) was older and much more experienced, only gave the readers much more to be interested in. My favorite issue of that era is Excalibur #91 (Seen at right), when the whole group goes down to the local pub and ties one on. Very compelling stuff.

As Kitty has grown up, we have grown with her. Though she has remained young compared to us readers who have unfortunately continued to age at a rapid rate, we still feel an empathy and a similarity with her as a character that few others ever attain.

If you have heard the name Kitty Pryde but were never interested, or were worried it wasn't cool to like her why don't you go back and revisit her? Check out some of the issues above, as well as the Uncanny X-Men issues in that time period. Marvel has put out Essential trades that are reasonably priced- a great starter for fans on a budget.

Kitty Pryde is the comic book version of me and my girl friends back in the day, only a lot wiser and a lot more powerful. That is why I will always have a deep appreciation of the character.

Look Kitty up some time, you will be glad you did.

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Favorite Female Characters #23: Fury

Originally uploaded by Heidi Meeley.
To me, Lyta Trevor-Hall, AKA Fury, has always been a wild card. From her Amazonian beginnings, a short stint in The Dreaming, and a recent reappearance in the JSA title, Lyta has been everywhere in the DC Universe without ever really having a place to call her own. It is her potential that has intrigued me from day one and continues to impress upon me to this day.

First seen in Wonder Woman Volume 1 Issue 300 as the daughter of Earth 2's Wonder Woman and Steve Trevor, Lyta's full name was Hyppolyta, after her grandmother who was incidently the Queen of the Amazons. Full of energy and vitality, Lyta was a character exploding with potential.

Lyta next made an appearance in Infinity Inc. #1 as Fury. Along with other sons and daughters of the Justice Society, she made a bid to become a full fledged member, only to be told to come back later. Infinity Inc. was born from this moment, and the series lasted 53 issues, from March 1984 to June 1988.

In the period of Infinity Inc. membership, Lyta lost her identity literally when Earth 2's Wonder Woman was retconned out of existence during Crisis. Her origins were re-explained as being the adopted daughter of Miss America and her husband. Her real mother was said to be the Golden Age Fury, Helena Kosmatos. It was during this time period that Lyta lost her luster. Her fiance Hector Hall was believed dead and she was pregnant with his child. Hector re-emerged as the new Sandman and the two were married and went to live happily ever after in The Dreaming.

Lyta next turned up in Vertigo's incredibly ground-breaking title Sandman by Neil Gaiman. She and Hector had been living a life based on lies. She remained pregnant for an indeterminate amount of time and the real Sandman kicked them out of The Dreaming. Lyta had their baby but was left shiftless, as Hector was sent back to the dead.

It is in this time period, as seen in Sandman: The Kindly Ones trade paperback, that Lyta loses control and vows to kill Sandman. Her son Daniel subsequently becomes the new King Of Dreams and Lyta is left rudderless once again.

The next time we see her, Lyta shows up in Sandman: The Furies Hard Cover and regains a semblance of control. Though she has no idea that Hector Hall has been reincarnated as Dr. Fate in JSA, she takes charge of her life again, older and wiser.

Recently Fury has resurfaced in JSA. She and Hector are happily together without a lot of explanation, which I am eagerly awaiting. Fury has so much potential that hasn't been tapped that it is almost criminal.

I love Fury for her both her fragileness and her boundless determination. She needs a mini-series desperately to get her back on track. I want to know who Fury is and I want to know where she is going. Though her origins tie her to the Wonder Woman family, I don't see her as a member of that group. Through her suffering in The Dreaming and beyond, I feel she is a unique character that could bridge the gap between Vertigo and mainstream DC.

Hey Geoff Johns, next time you do a JSA Classified tale, put the spotlight on Lyta and do your magic. Give her direction and a semblance of a life other then being a yes-woman to Hector. She deserves it.

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Favorite Female Characters #24: Winged Victory

Winged Victory
Originally uploaded by Heidi Meeley.
Predominantly seen in the first Astro City mini-series, issue #6, Winged Victory has left such a vivid impression on me that I felt compelled to include her on my list of favorite female characters. A strong woman, almost militant in her beliefs, Winged Victory stands for women's rights, but is also very human and vulnerable in her way.

Created by Kurt Busiek, Astro City is a great comic book series period. I consider it Busiek's crowning achievement, and the more he allows me as a reader to find out, the more intrigued I am. Winged Victory was right there in the first mini series, "Life In The Big City", and the date she shared with major male super hero Samaritan resonates to this day. As they peeled away layers of each other's personas on this first date, I found myself turning each page more breathlessly until I got to the end, and could barely contain my awe. Busiek got it right in a major way.

Winged Victory has been forced to be independent, and has created women's self-defense training centers to help her fellow females to be self-sufficient. Her origin remains a bit of a mystery, and since this date back in the first mini-series, not much else has been revealed. I am still awaiting the day when Busiek will choose to present another chapter of this fascinating character's history and existence.

Winged Victory stands toe to toe with her male compatriots while retaining an amazingly graceful presence. To this day, I believe her to be the most powerful female hero in her universe, and will choose to think so until Busiek advises otherwise.

So how about it, Kurt Busiek? When can we get another dose of Winged Victory and her many layers of characterization? I would love to see a book solicited, even if it is a one-shot, that revolves around her.

Crucial Read: Astro City: Life In The Big City TPB.

Favorite Female Characters #25: Fatale

Fatale 1
Originally uploaded by Heidi Meeley.
Fatale is character I was introduced to by my husband Jim back in 1997. Published by the now defunct Broadway Comics, Fatale was the lead character in a series of her own name. Written by Jim Shooter, Janet Jackson, Joseph A. James, and Pauline Weiss with art by up-and-comer J.G. Jones and inks by veteran Frank McLaughlin (with some tales also penciled by Dave Cockrum), Fatale is a character that could have survived the bad girl craze if the fates had been kinder.

Fatale's real name is Desiree Hopewell, and her past is a checkered one. The latest in a line of women with the ability to absorb additive power from the other people, Desiree has been on the run much of her young life. As she hides from the people who want to steal her life force for their own gain, she is forced into emotional circumstances that turn her life and the lives of her friends upside down.

Along the way, uber-sexy Desiree toys with several men, using her tremendous breasts and keen intellect to keep her safe in the most perilous situations. Throughout she is called a fat cow and ridiculed, and in time shapes up into a leaner but still curvaceous, mean fighting machine. She doesn't let the insults get her down, and tells protagonists she would rather be shapely then rail thin, sending a more positive message to female readers. Alas, her fate is not always kind and we find at the end that though triumph is wonderful, it also can be very hollow.

If you are interested in finding out more about Fatale, there is a great trade paperback titled "Fatale: Inherit The Earth" that features all of her appearances in one volume.

Truly a unique and fun character, it is a shame that Broadway Comics didn't stay around to put out more books or trades about this sexy heroine. She has a realistic figure and wears real clothes for the most part rather then spandex.

First Appearance: Powers That Be Vol#1, Issue #1 (1995)
Best Bet: Fatale: Inherit The Earth TPB (1996)

Favorite Female Characters- Honorable Mention: Arwyn

Sojourn 31
Originally uploaded by Heidi Meeley.
When CrossGen closed it's doors, I was extremely sad to see that I would no longer be able to follow the adventures of Arwyn, the brave but emotionally fragile lead character of Sojourn. Making matters worse, the series ended in the middle of a story arc, so only God and the creators involved know where Arwyn ended up.

Of all the female characters in the CrossGen Universe, Arwyn touched me the most. She lost her husband and child horribly, and with only her faithful dog Kreeg by her side, set out to wreak her vengeance. When she met up with Gareth, there was an added essense of hope that shaded her persona.

Gifted with Ayden's arrow, Arwyn and Gareth undertake the mission of uniting the five fragments can defeat the evil Mordath and return peace to their lands. From horrendous persecution to a persistent sense of urgency, Arwyn displayed immense courage, though her heart was fueled by vengeance.

Beautifully rendered by super star artist Greg Land, Arwyn became legendary in most reader's eyes. The high point of the series was when Land would collaborate with writer Ron Marz. I give CrossGen high points for insane quality and coloring that were icing on the cake.

Tbe bottom line: Arwyn was a fantastic female character. Through great sorrow, Arwyn displayed a grace that immediately endeared her to me. Her poise and determination, plus a great supporting cast and an insanely evil villain made for a compelling monthly read. To this day, I look for the title on shelves only to find old issues that are bitter reminders of my inability to follow this character further down the path she started.

To read Arwyn's adventures, check out Sojourn #0 through 34.

New Game Plan- Female Character Lists

In the upcoming couple of weeks, Comics Fairplay is going to delve into female characters in comics. We are going to start with a list of our favorite characters and expound on a few other lists as well. Please bear with me and enjoy the ride, knowing that the opinions here are solely my own, and issued forth to bring out discussions and acknowledgements.

Let the madness begin!

Monday, August 22, 2005

Sharing A Sketch Memory

Never in my life have I been as excited to meet a comic book pro as I was to meet Joe Staton. Despite a snowy mountain pass we had to cross, and a super early morning, Jim and I made it to that 2002 Seattle Comicard Show early, eager to meet the man who had helped to created Helena Wayne, the Silver Age Huntress.

When we finally got inside, we went directly to where Mr. Staton was sitting. Shaking with nerves and anticipation, I approached him gingerly, grasping tightly the well-read copies of All Star Comics I had for him to sign. "Mr. Staton?" I questioned quietly. "Yes, how are you today" he replied as pleasantly as can be. I believe my response was something along the lines of "finehowareyou... I am such a big fan of yours. You are the father of one of my favorite characters The Huntress and I just love her...." and so on, breathlessly gasping out everything I wanted to say.

Much to my luck, he smiled slowly and quietly, took my praise in, and asked if I wanted a sketch. Did I?? Holy Cow!! I plunked down my money eagerly, and he went set to the task of bringing Helena Wayne to life.

While we excused ourselves, we walked over to where Geoff Johns, Steven Sadowski, and Scott Kolins were sitting and gushed to them about the greatness of Joe Staton. Without missing a beat, Geoff Johns replied "yeah, I was in awe too." Much love to these three guys for feeling the way I was, as it put me at ease.

When we returned to Mr. Staton later that day, he presented me with the incredible sketch pictured here. With tears in my eyes and a lump in my throat, I thanked him profusely and walked slowly from the table, as if in a dream. It is still one of my fondest con memories to this day.

I cherish this sketch, and can't imagine parting with it. I like to think that Mr. Staton saw my love for his work and his character that day, and put a little something extra in it.

Thank you Mr. Staton for making such a wonderful piece of art, and giving an ardent fan a fantastic memory to cherish.

Time To Let Go- My Obsession with Food

Since an early age, I have been obsessed with my weight. Between comments made from adults about my big-boned, muscular body being too large, and a lack of dates in junior high and high school, I have never felt attractive or thin. This has permeated into my consciousness with a vengeance, and now my obsession with my weight has mutated into an obsession with food.

I feel sorry for my husband Jim, because every time we make plans to travel or go out, our conversation must center around food. Are we going to eat before we go? Is there someplace close we can eat at afterwards? Is there going to be food I like and can eat there? It must be a nightmare for Jim, but he tries to be patient and let me go through the ritual.

I think part of this obsession is weight-based, and part of it is based on my upbringing. I was raised on a farm, and there was a lot of uncertainty as to when I would be able to eat a meal. As someone who used to burn a lot of calories bucking hay and filling grain sacks, it was a very important issue. I would get so hungry that my head would pound until I could get some nutrition. Even though this is no longer an issue since I have a desk job, the obsessive thoughts continue.

Let me say for the record that I never did starve, and that my mother is a wonderful cook. It wasn’t a question of not eating; it was a question of WHEN. Sometimes, out in the fields trying to harvest a crop, we would be battling the elements and imminent rain, so food had to come a distant second to work. For whatever reason, that would panic me, and to this day, it is still a huge issue.

The end result of my obsession with food is that I spend way too much time considering what to eat and when. I also eat too much when I am nervous, a condition I associate with trying to carb load when I wasn’t sure when the next window for eating would come. To that end, when I get to work in the morning, I have a small bag of dry Cheerios to snack on and I ingest a protein bar between 9:30 and 10 a.m. without fail. This I have under control. My problem comes when I have meetings or unplanned circumstances that make me late for lunch. If I eat on time I will eat a normal amount of food and be full all afternoon. If for whatever reason I eat later, I gorge and eat WELL OVER the amount required to fill me up. My boss tries to be sympathetic, but sixteen years into our working relationship, still has no idea how to deal with me about this issue.

Another problem my obsession with food brings is that it makes me have a small window for working out. If I don’t work out at my lunchtime, I have one hour between 5 and 6 p.m. to get my cardio done. Then I pick up my husband from work and must go home and eat. If we eat too late, I over indulge and feel sick. If we are on schedule, it is all fine.

The weekends aren’t nearly so bad. I like to get up and have a bowl of cereal. Then I like to go workout, grocery shop, and come home and eat something light. If anything or anyone interferes with my plans, that is another thing altogether. A couple of weekends ago, my poor husband made an assumption about my hunger level, and paid for it in a complete meltdown courtesy of me. Poor guy, I still feel guilty about it today. But for the most part, the weekends are a breeze.

What is the point of this confession, you might ask? It really comes down to this- I will never be happy until I can either let go of my obsession or admit to it and make a structured plan for myself, similar to what I had when I was on my “Get In Shape” contest diet. For the short term, I am better off to preplan, but in the long term, I have to let it go.

I have always joked that if I didn’t work out, I would weigh 300 pounds. Mind you, I have never gotten close to that heavy, but it almost isn’t funny anymore. As I get older, and it is harder to keep the pounds off, it is “put up or shut up” time for me and my weird idiosyncrasies.

My new goal in life is to not obsess so much and make healthy choices when I do eat. I can’t let stress or other people’s opinions rule my life, especially since some of those opinions are at least twenty years old. I also have to be happy with myself, and tell people who have unhealthy opinions to piss off and worry about their own health. I am sure my husband would be much happier as well, considering he has always loved me for the person I am, not the person he wants me to be.

As I approach 40, things have to change. It has to quit being about food and weight and be completely about health. Cross your fingers for me that I can make the transition. I will be healthier and happier, and my husband will be less stressed and happier as well. It is time to quit obsessing and start living.

New Comics For August 24

Day of Vengeance #5
Originally uploaded by Heidi Meeley.
I can hardly believe another week has already passed! The good news is that I am not so exhausted; the bad news is that the next few weeks at my job are going to be more challenging then ever. At any rate, at least I know I have new comics coming on Wednesday, so there is something to look forward to.

Here is my list of comics for the week.

Conan #19
Batman #644
Day of Vengeance #5 (of 6) - at right
Hellblazer #211
JSA Classified #2
Legion of Super Heroes #9
Omac Project #5 (of 6)
Otherworld #6 (of 12)
Teen Titans #27 - the terrible Liefeld art issues are here. It makes me want to drink just thinking about it.
Invincible #25
Black Panther #7
Daredevil #76
Fantastic Four #530
New X-Men #17
Spellbinders #6 (of 6)
Ultimate X-Men Annual #1
Wolverine #31
Queen & Country Declassified 2 #2 and #3

That's all for now! Have a great day!

Sunday, August 21, 2005

Batgirl #67 Review up at Kung Fu Rodeo

Batgirl 67
Originally uploaded by Heidi Meeley.
Just to let you know, I just posted a review of Batgirl #67 over at Kung Fu Rodeo/4 Color Review. Give it a look if you get a chance.

Take care!

Friday, August 19, 2005

Ultimate Spider-Man Annual 1 = Cute

Ultimate Spider-Man Annual 1
Originally uploaded by Heidi Meeley.
Ultimate Spider-Man Annual #1 was not at all what I expected, but I ended up really enjoying it. Sweet and romantic, it was just what I needed to pull myself out of the funk permeating my brain.

I will attempt to make my thoughts as spoiler-free as possible, so here it goes. There is a female character in the Ultimate universe who has met up with Spider-Man before and remembers him fondly. With a little help from her girl friends, she seizes the courage to contact Peter Parker and set up a meeting. From moment one to the climatic ending, said female and Peter establish a warm understanding that makes the story especially touching. The nature of the female character is different then that of Mary Jane, but still nurturing and understanding of who Peter really is.

Writer Brian Michael Bendis makes sure to keep the story in a super hero bent with a couple of battles with super villains. How Spider-Man approaches each battle is fascinating, given the different set of circumstances in each.

I really enjoyed Ultimate Spider-Man Annual #1 after begrudgingly picking it up. It not only enables me to continue my week of romance in comics, but it also picked my mood up off the floor and gave me something to smile about.

Pick it up if you have a chance. There's nothing wrong with a feel good story now and then, and this tale is no exception.

Spammers Beware

Last night some spammer decided to put comments on my site that have nothing to do with the topics at hand. Here is your first and last warning: Don't do it again.

I am not amused.

Thursday, August 18, 2005

Infinite Crisis #1 Cover By Perez in Color!!

Take a gander at the beauty that is fan-favorite George Perez' cover for Infinite Crisis #1. This wonderful work of art makes me eager to see what DC has in store for fans this Fall and Winter. (Thanks to Newsarama for pointing the way)

Today was completely horrible, so I am off to drown my sorrows in some flavored water and a microwave hotdog. Thank God tomorrow is Friday!

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Sappy, Wonderful Love Story Alert!

Marvel Knights 4 #21
Originally uploaded by Heidi Meeley.
I just got done reading Marvel Knights 4 #21 and loved every minute. The story celebrates the 40 year union between perpetual lovebirds Reed and Sue Richards, and I for one couldn't be happier.

Disguised in Previews as a secret tale from Sue's past featuring Black Panther, Marvel Knights 4 #21 is a great excuse to remember the wonderful marriage and relationship Reed and Sue share. From her night out with the girls to how she deals with moment to moment stress, this issue contains several great memories.

So, if you are a sappy romantic like me, give MK4 #21 a shot. It certainly made a hectic day for me a little more dreamy.

Take care all, and happy reading!

Monday, August 15, 2005

The Complete Wynonna Earp TPB Comes Out Wednesday!

If you are looking for a great read, pick up The Complete Wynonna Earp Trade Paperback that is coming out this week. It is courtesy of IDW and writer/creator Beau Smith. Priced at $24.99, you get two complete mini-series plus extras. It's a great value.

If you haven't read any of Beau Smith's stuff, you might not know how uniquely great he is. Beau has his own style, and he works it perfectly. His sense of pacing and diction drive the story, and the gorgeous art, especially by Joyce Chin in the first series, really is the icing on the cake.

Beau knows Westerns and beautiful women, so if you are interested in either or both, give it a look! I know I will be picking up my copy on Wednesday.

New Comics for August 17

The month of August is going so fast for me that it is shocking. Today my younger sister Holly turns 36! Happy Birthday Sis!

Getting to the matter at hand, here is a list of comics I am picking up this week.

Authority Revolution #11 (of 12)
Batgirl #67
Birds of Prey #85
Detective Comics #810
Green Lantern #3
Lex Luthor Man of Steel #5 (of 5)
Manhunter #13
Seven Soldiers: Klarion the Witch Boy #3 (of 4)
Top Ten Beyond the Farthest Precinct #1 (of 5) - see pic at right
Girls #4
Witchblade #88
Cable Deadpool #18
Defenders #2 (of 5)
Marvel Knights 4 #21
Mutopia #2 (of 5)
New Thunderbolts #11
New X-Men Hellions #4 (of 4)
Spider-Man House of M #3 (of 5)
Ultimate Spider-Man Annual #1
Ultimate X-Men #62
Complete Wynonna Earp TPB

Have a great week! I will be more active hopefully, now that my sales meetings are done and our company has gone back to their home back East.

Take care!

Sunday, August 14, 2005

Catching Up

It is Sunday, and the last five days have flown by at an unreal pace. I am just now sitting down to check e-mails and see what has happened in the world.

My husband's brother and his fiance' came to surprise Jim on Thursday evening, and are here visiting us from the Philly suburbs and Delaware. They are in the process of packing and showering and are leaving tonight to head back home. We always have a lot of fun with Tom and Jen, and inevitably revert back to our teenage years in terms of behaviour. This trip was no exception, as last evening we went to the Meadowbrook Family Funcenter and did go-karts, water innertube fights, miniature golf, and hit the arcade. Then it was back to the house for barbeque and beer, two of my favorite pasttimes.

It is also worthy to note that I made it through my sales meetings, and worked well over 40 hours in three days. I tried desperately to get out of bed before 10 a.m. the last two days with no success. I think that once you have been going at the pace I was running at, your body just kind of shuts down and needs to reboot.

Comic books wise, I haven't read a single one. Paged a few, but not read. I can bet that means no review over at 4CR/KFR this week. I am feeling slight amounts of guilt, but am tired enough to know that I will be doing everyone a disservice by trying to do a review with half a brain.

Have a wonderful rest of the day! We are going to go to the Country Harvest Buffet to do my favorite thing other then sleeping- eating. I will be back tomorrow with a list of new comics and hopefully some fun stories.

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Gone for Five...

I just want to wish everyone a great rest of the week. My company is having sales meetings, so I will not have access to my personal stuff where I will be. Happy Comic Day and have a good weekend!

In the meantime, go check out the great sites to your right. I know they will be insightful and very enjoyable to say the least!

Take care all!

Monday, August 08, 2005

New Comics for August 10

Noble Causes 12
Originally uploaded by Heidi Meeley.
It's already a new week, and that means it is time for a new comic list! This is what I am picking up this week.

100 Bullets #63
Samurai Heaven & Earth #4 (of 5)
Action Comics #830
Batman #643
Fables #40
Green Arrow #53
Hawkman #43
JLA #117
Majestic #8
Nightwing #111
Outsiders #27
Rann Thanagar War #4 (of 6)
Seven Soldiers Zatanna #3 (of 4)
Supergirl #1
Villains United #4 (of 6)
Noble Causes #12 (see right)
Captain America #8
Exiles #68
House of M #5 (of 8)
Incredible Hulk #85
Iron Man #4
Punisher #24
Shanna The She Devil #7 (of 7)
Ultimate Fantastic Four #22
Ultimates Annual #1
X-Men #174

Have a great week!

Sunday, August 07, 2005

Y: The Last Man 36 Review

Y The Last Man 36
Originally uploaded by Heidi Meeley.
I just posted a review of Y: The Last Man #36 over at Kung Fu Rodeo/4 Color Review. Give it a look if you get a chance.

Have a great week!

My First Wonder Woman Comic Book: Wonder Woman 214

Wonder Woman 214
Originally uploaded by Heidi Meeley.
I will never forget the first comic book I read that featured Wonder Woman. It was issue #214, and it was a 100 page issue. My Uncle Jack gave it to me, and within ten minutes I was hooked.

The lead story is from the "12 Trials" storyline in which Wonder Woman had to prove her worth to herself before rejoining the Justice League of America. This particular issue had Green Lantern Hal Jordan as the guest Leaguer, following Diana Prince around New York as she battled evil. I will never forget Diana in her hip UN gear, or Hal posing as a medieval page to watch Diana in a themed restaurant.

Further bringing me in, there were several back up tales from Wonder Woman's past. There was the Wonder Woman full of pathos, cheery Wonder Woman, and plain old emotional Di. I couldn't believe how much I cherished each page.

Once again, I read my copy so many times that I lost the cover and the first several pages. Five years ago I bought a much better copy on ebay for around $15 and it was worth every penny.

Isn't it amazing how a great comic book can take us back to the day we first read it? Man, I was so innocent and hopeful. Wonder Woman embodied what I could be if I worked hard and played my cards right. She still to this day inspires me, as she is never afraid to stand up for what she believes in.

I was eight years old, but it feels like yesterday.

Questions of The Day

As I sit here going through my e-mail and doing all my house work, I think of questions that to me are never-ending. Here are some examples.

1. How did my grandmother and the women before her manage to cook full meals every time?

2. Why do I have to pack so many things into two days before I go back to work?

3. Why do I love reality television so much while my husband hates it?

4. How am I going to afford the comic book bill this week?

5. Why do I have such bad road rage?

6. How am I going to lose 10 pounds but continue to eat what I want?

7. Why can't it be Friday again?

These are just some of the questions that jumble through my head as I go throughout the day. Scary, huh?

Have a happy Sunday! See you all soon!

Saturday, August 06, 2005

Gym Etiquette: Appropriate Attire

Today I went to the gym to get a long, invigorating workout in. I took my iPod mini and my heart rate monitor and drove there early this afternoon. I got in and started doing a half hour on the elliptical, when much to my horror, an older gentlemen in way too-tight shorts got on the one to the right. I couldn't believe what I was seeing, so I stared straight ahead and tried to be in denial for the rest of the workout. The things I saw in the next two hours both made me sad, and horrified me. Based on this, I have some suggestions for appropriate attire at the gym.

1. No one looks good in shorts that give them a wedgie. This fellow next to me was approximately 65 years old, and his shorts were pulled up to his rib cage. This allowed full view of the family jewels and his butt cheeks. Ay carumba! Save it for the wife at home, okay? Wear a bigger size, and have them start at your belly button.

2. Spandex is a privilege, not a right. David Lee Roth said it best when he commented that it's a lot easier to buy the spandex then do the f'ing sit ups. Please do not wear spandex if you are over a body weight percentage of 25%. It isn't attractive, and it scares small children. I sympathize that it feels comfortable, but there are looser, nylon based shorts or full sweats that will do the same thing.

Note to guys in spandex: I can see your unit and your balls. Is that what you are hoping for? I hate to tell you, but I am not impressed, and more then a little sickened. Once again, looser would probably allow your privates to breathe easier and certainly looks more attractive.

3. Exercise bras are just that- bras. Unless you have a totally fit body, you need to wear a tank or shirt over your exercise bra. Your bra is designed to hold your chest in, and if not the right size, cuts in at the sides of your ribs and your back. This creates an illusion of more fat then you might have, and looks bad. Also, if you are pairing spandex and an exercise bra, you are pushing your middle to look bigger. Not a winning proposition.

4. Size matters. In your clothes, that is. Even if you are wearing more appropriate clothes, if they are too tight it looks unflattering. I know that gaining weight sucks, and that is why you are here with me, but go to Target or Wal-Mart and buy some bigger clothes. They are reasonably priced, and will feel better. I got a pair of shorts and a new exercise bra for under $20, and they looked fine. If your clothes are too tight, you will look fatter then you are!

5. Revealing Clothes do just that- Reveal. Even if you are super fit, and have a hot body, you are still getting sweaty like the rest of us. If you are wearing a tight tank and shorts, your sweat isn't soaked up and it goes all over. Bring a towel, or get one from the front desk to wipe your drips away. Even if you look great, if you douse us with sweat, we will run for cover.

6. Bikinis are for the beach or the pool. Don't wear a bikini top to work out in. It doesn't hold your boobs in, or flatter them for the most part. When you are bouncing around, it probably doesn't feel too good either. I hate to break it to you, if you are over a certain age or not fit, it really looks bad too.

7. Be age appropriate. As we get older, sometimes it is not as acceptable or flattering to wear certain outfits. I am 39, and I wear a tank or t-shirt over my exercise bra. I also wear loose fitting nylon shorts. I don't even consider wearing spandex. You shouldn't either. At a certain age, no matter how good a lady takes care of herself, she is going to get cellulite. It is a genetic nightmare we can't escape. Because of this, we may want to cover up more. Also, gentlemen of a certain age, please cover up more. As fellas get older, they get more hair in weird places, and it isn't super cool. Wear a tank or shirt that covers your torso, please. The gym has air conditioning for a reason.

On that note, all I ask is that you give some thought to what you wear before you go to a public place. Even if you are not planning to interact with anyone else, they can still see you. iPods can take away the noise, but not the vision. Get clothes that fit right, and are in the exercise section of the clothing store.

If you look better and feel better, it will enhance the gym experience for all of us. It will also keep me from having nightmares, which is much appreciated. I am still trying to brain erase the fella next to me's jewels from my already disturbed brain!

Friday, August 05, 2005

Joe Madureira comes back to comics?

Red Monika
Originally uploaded by Heidi Meeley.
After very publicly leaving comics quite some time ago, Joe Madureira is coming back. According to a Wizard World Chicago report on Newsarama, Joe Mad has agreed to pencil a project with Jeph Loeb, who signed an exclusive agreement with Marvel.

This news just pisses me off. In my mind, Mad forsake the industry that gave him fame and success to go off and be in the video game business. Now he's back and I am supposed to be happy? Bull crap.

I ordered Battle Chasers from Jim Lee's Wildstorm Cliffhanger imprint back in the day, only to have Joe Mad half ass ship product when he had time between his meetings and video game endeavors. I think the longest wait for a new issue was over a year, and then the series ended without any resolution. That soured me in a big way. Between he and J. Scott Campbell, I feel the bridge has been burned.

I want to state for the record that I will NOT support any book Joe Mad works on. To me, that is the best way to get my message across. Burn me once, shame on you; do it a second time, shame on me.

Thursday, August 04, 2005

Wonder Woman 219 gets a Second Printing

Wonder Woman 219 2nd print
Originally uploaded by Heidi Meeley.
Like the rest of the "Sacrifice" story, Wonder Woman #219 is getting a reprint, complete with new cover.


The new cover by artist Ladronn is awful. After the beauty of the original cover by J.G. Jones, it just doesn't hold a candle.

I am going to go get an aspirin now.

Appreciating the Classics- Justice League of America 113

JLA 113
Originally uploaded by Heidi Meeley.
After posting my five favorite comic books, I received feedback that it was odd that there were no silver or bronze age books featured.

Let me assure you that this is not because of a lack of appreciation for older books; on the contrary, I have deep-seeded memories of the hours of enjoyment I spent perusing each page of each new issue I would get at the grocery store. I still look at those books, many of which I had to replace with less used copies in later years, with a certain fondness.

So why did I not select any of these as my top five? Simply put, I treasure them, but I don't go back and read them frequently. It is partially because I have the stories memorized from so many views, and partially because I have grown up with my comic books, and like to have an exposure to the newer stuff as well.

Pictured here is Justice League of America #113, the very first team book I ever owned. It featured three different tales, beginning with a JLA/JSA crossover that showed readers the fate of Sandy, Sandman's youthful sidekick. Beautifully illustrated by Dick Dillin, I still find the tale compelling. As we have seen in the current JSA title, this particular tale is referred back to in continuity in bringing back the Sand character.

There are also a couple of reprints, and that was my first exposure to the JSA as well. I read this comic book so many times that the cover and the first eight pages came off. My lovely mother, not realizing the poignancy and importance of the tale, threw them in the trash. Needless to say, this is one of the first books I replaced when I had the means.

To honor my favorite old books, I will focus on key titles from my past as time progresses. Let me assure you that these comics mean the world to me, and will always have a place in my memory.

Take care, and have a lovely day!

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Top 5 Favorite Comic Books- Deadpool #11

Deadpool 11
Originally uploaded by Heidi Meeley.
Never in my life have I laughed so hard while reading then when I first set my eyes on Deadpool #11. To this day, I can hardly turn each page without giggling, because it holds up so well.

Writer Joe Kelly is probably best known for his work on the Superman title, especially issue 775, but he has never shined brighter to me then when he was writer on Deadpool. His scripting is without peer here, as he layers a new script on the old school wording of Stan Lee, circa 1960's.

Deadpool #11 finds the lead character and Al back in the past. Forced to disguise themselves as Aunt May and Peter Parker, the hilarity ensues as they interact with the core group of Amazing Spider-Man characters from that period. Kelly took the tale from Amazing Spider-Man #47 and brings a new twist to it. A favorite moment for me is when Deadpool as Peter first lays eyes on Harry, and his reaction is as uncensored as it gets.

Another treat is the interaction between Blind Al disguised as Aunt May, and Mary Jane's Aunt Anna. When Mary Jane herself shows up, it gets even more hysterical.

Deadpool #11 is at times a bit mean spirited, but always side-splittingly funny. I give this book the highest recommendation. If you can find a copy in the back issue bins, grab it up and prepare for a great ride.

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

Top 5 Favorite Comic Books- Antman's Big Christmas

Antman's Big Christmas
Originally uploaded by Heidi Meeley.
I know that this may seem like an unlikely choice for a favorite, seeing as it is more obscure, and is also newer then my other picks, but this little gem by Bob Gale and Phil Winslade found it's way in my heart and hasn't left yet.

I actually bought the issue on a lark, because I have always appreciated The Wasp as a character. Seeing her looking old school with Hank Pym on the beautifully rendered cover sold me, but the contents captivated me.

Anyone who has relatives that are rude, crude, and obnoxious during the holiday season will see the joy in Antman's Big Christmas. It is Holiday season, and the Avengers are pouring through the thousands of letters they receive to find someone in need of help. When Captain America presents a letter from a young boy who is desperate for Antman and Wasp to save him from his relatives at Christmas by making an appearance themselves, hilarity ensues. From Hank's ineptness in making a phone call to Jan's jabs about their own families, there are so many laughs, I don't know where to start.

Antman's Big Christmas may be hard to find, but if you get your hands on it, grab it. It breathes life and depth into an age old problem- relatives who don't get a hint. You will laugh along with me, and be pleasantly surprised at the amount of heart and raw emotion that catch you by surprise before it's over.

Monday, August 01, 2005

New Comics for August 3

Gotham Central 34
Originally uploaded by Heidi Meeley.
It's another crazy week, and another long list of comics to pick up. I am debating whether having five Wednesdays this month makes it better or just makes me spend more!

Without further ado, here is the weekly stash.

Aquaman #33- deciding issue
DC Special The Return of Donna Troy #3 (of4)
Detective Comics #809
Gotham Central #34 (see awesome cover at right)
JSA #76
Justice #1 (of 12)
Superman #220
Swamp Thing #18
Top Ten The Forty Niners HC - $24.99 ouch!
Y: The Last Man #36
Darkness #22
PVP #0
Fantastic Four House of M #2 (of 3)
New Avengers #8
Ultimate Iron Man #3 (of 5)
Ultimate Spider-Man #81
Uncanny X-Men #463

That's it for right now. Have a wonderful week!

Top 5 Favorite Comic Books- Justice League Europe 22

JLE 22
Originally uploaded by Heidi Meeley.
Justice League Europe #22 is a great characterization issue, and a damn funny one. Kara (Power Girl) has adopted the meanest, surliest cat around. She lovest her cat, and when he is kidnapped by two thieves, all hell breaks loose. From trying to get Batman on the case, to hysterical laughter from her teammates, this issue serves to advance plots and just generally entertain.

One of the things I like most about this issue is that it adds a dimension to Power Girl's persona. It also gives an opportunity to explore the interaction between the team. As Captain Atom reaches for yet another antacid, I giggle with glee and anticipation.

Justice League Europe is a great read from start to finish. It is available in back issue bins at a very reasonable price. Go grab one today- it's a treat on many levels.