Friday, November 30, 2007

Rest In Peace: Evel Knievel

Legendary Daredevil Evel Knievel has passed away, according to reports by the Associated Press. After a long battle with several health problems, including pulmonary fibrosis, an incurable condition that ravaged his lungs, Knievel lost his battle. He was just 69 years old.

Looking at the Sports Illustrated cover from so many years ago, it strikes me that Knievel really was the predecessor to do many folks who participate in extreme sports. He enthralled us all with his lack of fear and his showmanship. He even had his own comic book in 1974, cementing his legend.

While I wouldn't live my life the way Knievel did, I do have to say he did it all on his own terms. What sticks in my mind is when he tried to jump Snake River and had so many of us glued to our television sets. Back in the day, without the benefit of instantaneous internet gratification, Evel was the man that made life interesting. He kept that glamour and glitz up until virtually the end, as I found when I read an article in Maxim magazine that was especially poignant.

I would like to propose a toast to Evel Knievel, who is as you read this, trying to jump several clouds in heaven.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

News to Cherish: James Robinson's Starman Series to "Omnibus"

I just read over at Newsarama that DC will be publishing a series of six omnibus volumes of the acclaimed and standard-setting series Starman. Notably written by James Robinson and pencilled by Tony Harris (through issue #45), this is a book worthy of a bit spendier collection.

Here is the press release:

"STARMAN, the acclaimed DC Universe series created by writer James Robinson and artist Tony Harris, will be collected for the first time in hardcover, on high-quality paper, in THE STARMAN OMNIBUS, a series of six volumes beginning in May.

This series will feature new covers by Harris, and will measure 6.75” x 10.25”. Collecting the entire STARMAN series, plus the STARMAN ANNUALS, SECRET FILES, 80-PAGE GIANT, THE SHADE miniseries and much more, these volumes include stories illustrated by Harris, Peter Snejbjerg, Chris Sprouse, J.H. Williams III, Phil Jimenez, Gene Ha, Guy Davis, Teddy Kristiansen, Lee Weeks and many others, as well as several stories co-written by David Goyer.

Scheduled to reach stores in May, THE STARMAN OMNIBUS VOL. 1 HC is a 448 page title collecting STARMAN #0 and 1-16, with a cover price of $49.99 U.S."

Fantastic news. I can't say enough things about how much I loved this book and how much I know it will never be duplicated. It makes me happy to know that others will be able to find as much joy as I have.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Well Deserved: J.K. Rowling Named Entertainment Weekly's "Entertainer of the Year"

J.K. Rowling
Originally uploaded by Heidi Meeley
One of the best magazines I read is Entertainment Weekly. I appreciate the fact that this particular publication keeps the focus on entertainment news rather then on gossip and tedious tidbits. As a longtime subscriber, I was pleasantly surprised to see "Harry Potter" author J.K. Rowling on this week's cover as "Entertainer of the Year". God knows she deserves it.

If you haven't heard of Harry Potter, you probably have secluded yourself from every form of multimedia available. When the seventh and final installment of the Potter series came out this summer, the media was on high alert as were the millions of fans eager to read the book. As an avid fan, I was not disappointed with the end result. Rowling has created a world of magic and intrigue, and her books merit several re-reads. Flat out, she is a wonderfully talented author who has captured the public's imagination.

To see the author of a series of books named "Entertainer of the Year" was a breath of fresh air for me. God knows Rowling deserves it for her impact on so many fans. Her books are the mainstay of all ages and have translated very successfully into the big screen. I firmly believe Rowling is deserving of the rewards she has gained for her work and love the fact that on top of everything else she is a "rags to riches" story. Who doesn't love that?

If you get a chance, pick up a copy of EW and check it out. As the magazine points out, Rowling has made a book the hot new accessory and it is about damn time.

Monday, November 26, 2007

New Comics for November 29

Dan Dare #1
Originally uploaded by Heidi Meeley
Since comics are not going to be here until Thursday, I feel like I am being extra efficient with my list. I know that it is irrational, but it humors me, so I am going with that feeling. Today was a long one, so I am a bit rummy to boot.

This week's comic list is like the others before it in that it is long and I am convinced of my insanity.

Here is the lowdown:

All Star Batman & Robin #8
American Virgin #21
Authority Prime #2 (of 6)
Batman #671
Batman & the Outsiders #2
Blue Beetle #21
Countdown to Adventure #4 (of 8)
Countdown #22
Crime Bible The Five Lessons of Blood #2 (of 5)
Deathblow #8
Green Lantern Corps #18
JSA Classified #32
Teen Titans #53
Trials of Shazam #10 (of 12)
Uncle Sam & the Freedom Fighters #3 (of 8)
First Born #3 (of 3)
Black Panther #32
Daredevil #102
Ultimate Spider-Man #116
X-Men #205
Dan Dare #1 (of 7) - cover pictured!

That is it for the week, and I am relieved it isn't worse. I hope you all have a good one, and I will see you tomorrow!

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Random Thoughts and Reviews

Powers #27
Originally uploaded by Heidi Meeley
I am sitting here in a funk because my four day weekend is almost over. I didn't get done nearly what I needed and it went way too quickly. To top it off, Christmas shopping Hell has started.

That being said, I have decided not to try and do long form reviews this week. I am mad at myself, but have decided that it isn't feasible until I get my head in a different space then it is. Due to circumstances both beyond and within my control, I am finding that I can't focus enough for the long periods of time that are a requirement to do them correctly. Yes, I admit it, though I am not proud of it.

I did read and enjoy Powers #27 this week (cover pictured). After being a bit disillusioned with the book and the slowness of both publishing and the story being told, Powers seems to be back in the form that made me love it. Also, for the best damn letters column today, this book must not be missed.

Checkmate #20 was a pleasure. The concluding chapter of "The Fall of the Wall" was just the kick in the butt I was hoping for. Amanda Waller has become a favorite of mine for her tricky and evil ways, while Sasha Bordeaux is a revelation. I also love Mr. Terrific, and he is fast becoming one of my favorite male heroes. It might not be "Queen and Country", but Greg Rucka brings it here in the spy version of the DCU.

Birds of Prey #112 was a bit uneven for me. Lady Blackhawk is mourning the passing of Big Barda in her own original style. I appreciate that Zinda is a unique lady, but I was a bit off-put by the wordiness of the story. I am getting very impatient for the next regular creative team to be on this book, and if I have read my Previews correctly that should commence with the next issue.

I got distracted this week from reading all my comics as "Confessor" by Terry Goodkind came out and I have been reading it the past few days. I am almost finished tonight and I can hardly wait. Richard and Kahlen are great characters and knowing that this is the final chapter is both exciting and bittersweet.

The other book I read is the autobiography of Slash, the former lead guitarist of Guns'N'Roses. Talk about your excesses! Between this read and "The Heroin Diaries" by Nikki Sixx, I am very happy I never did drugs. Talk about a horror and a nightmare. These guys are lucky to be alive and making music today.

Last but not least, I was astonished at page six of Thunderbolts: Breaking Points. Holy Crap! The fact that this hasn't already gotten the spotlight for spoofing the Mary Jane statue is beyond me. I was shellshocked and then amused. How this goes over depends completely on reader interpretation, so I am interested to see if it goes anywhere.

I hope you all had a nice weekend and that life is going well! I will be back tomorrow with my weekly shipping list. Take care!

Friday, November 23, 2007

Is This Gratuitous? Uncle Sam and the Freedom Fighter #3

First off, I hope you all had a wonderful day yesterday, holiday or not, and that your Friday was filled with joy and peace. Here at Casa Fairplay we had a lovely, relaxing day in which we held control of the remote. Nice, huh?

Today brings another candidate for "gratuitous" consideration. Uncle Sam and the Freedom Fighters #3 from DC Comics features a depiction of Dollman that caught my eye. In what I am pretty sure is supposed to be irony, Dollman is holding a doll in one hand and a gun in the other. The doll in question looks like a cross between a blow up doll and a puppet, so I am trying to figure out what that means. The fact that a male is holding a woman puppet is what gives it the edge that takes it right to the line.

As a note, Dave Johnson is a cover artist whose work I usually appreciate. His 100 Bullets covers are amazing and have given the series a flavor that I appreciate. I would go so far as to say that the Johnson/Azarello/Risso trifecta is the best since Ennis/Dillon/Fabry on Preacher. That being said, it takes a great deal for me to call Johnson out, but this cover did it.

While extremely artistic and clever, the portrayal of the doll makes this a murky one. Help me out here and tell me what you think.

Is this gratuitous?

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Happy Thanksgiving!!

Happy Thanksgiving from Comics Fairplay! We are planning a day at home and will soon commence with cooking, but felt it was important to give a quick list of things we are thankful for!!

Comic book Thank you's and Blessings for:

Gail Simone on Wonder Woman.
Geoff Johns and Gary Frank on Action Comics.
Jessica Jones being created by Bendis.
100 Bullets .
Y The Last Man.
Dwaine McDuffie writing Justice League of America.
Power Girl gettting great characterization in JSA.
Garth Ennis on Punisher Max.
Ultimate Spider-Man (much better then the core books).
More Wonder Woman products like Showcase and another volume of DC Archives.

My Life Thank You's and Blessings for:

My family who has never wavered in loving me.
The hubby who has been here for 11 years and counting.
My friend Kerry who has helped me so much.
Continued Good Health.
Continued employment.
Amazing friends, with many of you included!

I know that there is much I am missing, but I at least wanted to take the time to say "Thank you" to you as well. If you celebrate Turkey Day, have a wonderful one! If you are having a "regular" day, I wish you well!

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Kick Ass Metal Video of the Week: Blow My Fuse by Kix

When I think of seriously underrated metal bands of the 1980's, Kix is one of the first bands that always comes to mind. Fueled by Steve Whitman's ferocious vocals and a sonic, incendiary sound, these guys should have been huge. Instead they faded into obscurity as many other bands did at the advent of grunge. It makes me sad to this day to think that I never saw Kix play live. Does anyone know if they are still performing? I would love to see them!

Check out "Blow My Fuse" and tell me what you think!

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

A Love/Hate Relationship: The Wonder Girl Mini Bust

When I looked at the DC solicitations for February 2008 on Comic Book Resources, I stopped and just stared. Right in front of me was a solicitation for a Wonder Girl mini bust designed by Terry Dodson. No, it wasn't Donna or classic Wonder Woman as Wonder Girl. It was Cassie. Hmmmm..

For whatever reason, Cassie getting a mini bust took me by surprise. I guess I didn't realize how popular she had gotten and how much exposure has surrounded her as a character. It really shouldn't be a surprise as Cassie was a player in Infinite Crisis and in the Wonder Woman and Teen Titan titles. I just didn't expect it.

I appreciate Cassie and am glad to see how she has evolved in the DCU. I just don't know if I would spend the money to purchase this product. I just picked up the Black Canary mini bust based on designs by Adam Hughes and it is alright, but I had intended it to be my last "statuette" purchase for a long time.

Is it because Cassie has been focused to the teen and "tween" markets that I am reticent? I think so. As a middle aged buyer of product I would probably spend money on a mini bust of Dizzy from 100 Bullets before I would buy this. Maybe it is the frame of mind I am in.

I am a fan of Terry Dodson's work. I was fortunate to meet Terry and his wife Rachel at a Seattle Comicard Show a few years back and they were very nice. What concerns me is how the cute sketch Terry did has evolved into a "surprised look" from a big smile. I think that must be the bottom line here. My favorite part is the fact that her body seems to be in proportion and the Titans tower base.

Here are the official specs:

"Designed by Terry Dodson Sculpted by Jack Mathews The popular WOMEN OF THE DC UNIVERSE line of cold-cast porcelain busts continues with Terry Dodson's Wonder Girl! Seen here standing atop Titans Tower, this fearless teen wonder has Ares' lasso twined at her side. Collect all of the Women of the DCU: Series 2 busts in 2008! Wonder Girl joins Wonder Woman, Starfire, Cheetah, Batwoman and more! This WONDER GIRL BUST measures approximately 5.5" tall x 2.5" wide x 2.5" deep and is packaged in a 4-color box. Advance-solicited; on sale July 2, 2008 o Bust o $55 US "

At $55, I think the price is a bit steep. That definitely makes this a "no" for me.

Let me ask you: would you buy this? What do you think?

Monday, November 19, 2007

New Comics for Thanksgiving Week!

Countdown To Mystery #3
Originally uploaded by Heidi Meeley
I was going to put November 21 in the title as the shipping day, but because of Thanksgiving here in the United States, I decided I better not. I will have Jim call our retailer tomorrow to find out for sure if the books will be in Wednesday or Friday. In the meantime, and in keeping with my blog's tradition, I am posting my list today.

It is another DC heavy week as I have fallen under the spell of several of the Countdown crossovers after swearing not to. Countdown to Mystery is a great read that has me very interested in seeing where it goes. I also have been enjoying the "Challengers" one shots so I have been picking those up as well. I am partially mad at myself and partially resigned that these are books I will follow because they are limited. We shall see.

Here is my list!

Action Comics #859
Army@Love #9
Birds of Prey #112
Brave and the Bold #8
Catwoman #73
Checkmate #20
Countdown: Search for Ray Palmer- Gotham by Gaslight #1
Countdown #23
Countdown to Mystery #3 (of 8)
Detective Comics #838
Ex Machina #32
Flash #234
Shadowpact #19
Invincible #46
Captain America #32
Incredible Hulk #111
New X-Men #44
Penance Relentless #3 (of 5)
Powers #27
She-Hulk 2 #23
Thunderbolts Breaking Points
Wolverine Origins #19
X-Men Emperor Vulcan #3 (of 5)
The Boys #12
Lone Ranger #10
Red Sonja #27
Snakewoman Vol. 2 Tales of the Snake Charmer #5

It is a pretty long list so hopefully I will find lots of good stuff there. I am especially excited for The Boys as usual, and to see the "Wall" be sneaky over in Checkmate.

I work tomorrow and Wednesday and then I have a four day weekend. Jim and I are staying home and putting a roast in the crock pot with some veggies so that should be pretty relaxing. I am also hoping to do some reviews and Jim has promised me control of the remote to boot. It should be fun!

Have a great night!

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Now Coming Your Way... An Obvious Homage!

Justice Society of America #13 is being solicited for February 2008 and when I saw the Alex Ross cover, I immediately knew where it's inspiration came from.

Normally I am bit leery of a cover homage, but this one bats it out of the park for me as it brings back fond memories. Thanks to Newsarama for the preview image.

First Came This...

The cover of Justice League of America #209 has always stood out in my mind for several reasons. Firstly the characters on the sidebars are all looking in with killer facial expressions in full display. Secondly, the action on the inside portion of the cover is very compelling. The stark image of per Degaton in his glory surrounded by head shots of the characters involved in the annual JSA/JLA, and in the instance, All Stars, is very memorable.

Imagine my pleasant surprise when I saw the cover in the next post.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

The Show I Can't Miss: Iron Chef America

Iron Chef Mario Batali
Originally uploaded by Heidi Meeley
A couple of years ago my friend Brant told me he had found a television show that was a "must-see". It was called Iron Chef America and it was based on a Japanese show called Iron Chef. The premise is that an "Iron Chef", who was considered a cast member and a top chef in their own right, would face off against a competitor to do battle in the kitchen. Given one secret ingredient and an hour to cook five dishes, the chefs would go through a frenzy of fast paced food preparation and cooking to try and outdo the other.

What makes the show even more interesting is that three judges are selected to try the dishes and vote based on taste, plating, and originality. The chef scoring the highest points is the winner of the battle.

I am absolutely addicted to Iron Chef America. I love to see such talented artists create masterful dishes in a limited amount of time. At times it inspires my own cooking and at other times it awes me to see how easy the chefs make it look. Armed with two assistant chefs, the competitors must prepare five dishes that are original but tasty. It never ceases to amaze me when I see how much pure talent and creativity go into each show.

One thing that separates Iron Chef from the average reality television show is that there is talent involved. Unlike the dating shows or "dare" shows, Iron Chef America requires a competitor to have absolute skill at creating food that a person can feast on and enjoy. Watching these chefs is like watching a dance of sorts.

My favorite iron chefs are Mario Batali and Masahuro Morimoto. Batali has a great sense of humor and cooks with flair. I am always impressed with how clever and unique his dishes are. He is absolutely incredible. Morimoto came from Japan where he was a competitor on the original Iron Chef. He has an air of grace and sense of determination that separates him from the rest. One of my life goals is to someday, somehow eat a meal prepared by one of these gentlemen. Pretty lofty, I know.

My other goal is to someday be able to go watch the show be taped. I am a bit reticent at times to go through with this as I don't want to lose the "magic" I feel when I see the program on television, but I also feel like I miss part of the joy of the show by not being able to smell the aromas that must permeate Kitchen Stadium.

If you enjoy reality television and love to eat, go find Iron Chef America and give it a look. It is on the Food Network Sunday nights at 9 p.m. and Thursdays at 9 p.m. It is also shown at various times throughout the week. For great entertainment that promises good eats, this is the show to see.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Is This Gratuitous? She Hulk 2 #23

She Hulk 2 #23
Originally uploaded by Heidi Meeley
In this week's candidate for "gratuitous" glory, I went outside the box a bit. Normally I have stayed away from Mike Deodato pencilled art because of his sexy portrayal of women making art a bit naughtier then the average bear. Like my buddy Frank Cho, Deodato has a stylized method that makes his female characters have incredibly long legs, tiny waists, and perky, large breasts. I liken his women to barbies, so I have tried to stay away from him in this feature as it may seem like an easy target.

Then I saw the cover for She-Hulk Volume #2 Number #23. What made me wonder about this was the dichotomy of the portrayal of She-Hulk. On one hand, she has a fierce facial expression that gives the impression that she would like nothing better then to kick your ass. On the other hand, she is soaking wet on her hands and knees.


I have got to tell you- I am really torn about this cover. I love how strong Jennifer's arms look. The muscle definitio is killer. Also, she looks pissed to be sure. My confusion is in if it is sexy anger or pure rage. Also, I am wondering why she is crawling and wet? The title being made of water droplets does score points with me in originality.

I am confused here. Part of me loves this cover and the other part of me is a bit taken aback.

I need your help here. Is this gratuitous?

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Humble Thanks and a Few Thoughts

I just got done reading the comments on my blog and I am a bit overwhelmed. I feel tears of happiness ready to flow as I re-read them. I am the luckiest person on earth to have made such good friends and to have such a positive vibe from them. Thank you so much for that. It means the world to me.

I don't have much to say tonight. My heart is full and I am a bit speechless. In lieu of anything heavy, I have posted one of my favorite songs from The Cult. Then I have the thrill of paying our bills and doing laundry. After that I am desperately hoping to not be too tired to read my stack of comics this week.

Before I forget, when I got to the comic shop today I had a surprise waiting for me. Evidently I had ordered the "Women of the DCU" Black Canary mini bust that had been designed by Adam Hughes. For the most part I really liked it. Best part: the fishnet look and feel like real fishnet stockings. Worst part: Black Canary had huge boobs in a bustier that is much lower cut then normal. As a look, what saves it is that the focus isn't the bustier so much as it is Canary doing her trademark cry. Overall I was pretty happy with it though my bank book was not. Did any of you see it today? Did any of you purchase it? I am curious what you thought.

On that note, I am off to try and get my long list of chores done so I can read my books. Have a wonderful evening and thank you again from the bottom of my heart for the kind words. I will be back tomorrow night with all my replies. I just plumb ran out of time tonight. Bad Heidi.

Killer Video of the Week: The Cult - Sweet Soul Sister

As a palate cleanser, I wanted to share one of my favorite songs from The Cult. I have never considered them to be metal to the core as I think there is a touch of funk and edge that makes them very unique. Sweet Soul Sister has that nasty groove on the downbeat that makes me want to get up and rock out while having a brewski. I can't help it- the song is kick ass.

Enjoy and let me know what you think of The Cult!

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

1000 Posts Later: What if I Started a Blog and No One Came?

1000 posts. Really.

I can't believe it either, but I am happy about it.

Some people get to the magic number much sooner then I did. It isn't a feat of quantity for me. What means something to me is that I have consistently blogged for over three years. I admit to missing days here and there and sometimes posting videos or short posts at times but never once do I think I compromised myself just to post. Sometimes there was nothing to say of interest. Other times my life away from my computer took precedence. That is okay in my mind as this blog was never started as a money maker or an attempt at internet domination.

Comics Fairplay came about because I wanted to talk about comics and pop culture without any constraints or pressures. There was also a need in me to have my own home on the 'net. I wanted somewhere I could bring my principles and interests, giving friends and strangers a safe haven to disagree and/or support each other in learning or enjoying a subject. This may seem egotistical, but it really wasn't. It was more about being able to express opinions whenever I felt like it, even if no one came to see them. God knows the DC boards scared me badly so that wasn't an option.

Interestingly, there were not near the number of female bloggers as there are now. The women I looked to back then were Laura at Bloggity-Blog-Blog-Blog and Elayne at Pen-Elayne on the Web. I was fascinated at the way these ladies were able to mix comics and culture with their lives and wanted to find my own way in that grand tradition. A bit later I discovered Heidi MacDonald, whose reporter style caught my attention, first at The Pulse and now at The Beat. These women are very important links on my blog and I continue to visit them daily, enjoying their wisdom and outlooks.

What is ironic is that feminism in comics was not neccesarily the focal point of discussion at any given time, but that female fans had a voice that was unique and visionary (and still do in my humble opinion). Feminists attitudes didn't just happen in the last six months, as is the general consensus. What has happened as that through sites like When Fangirls Attack, Occasional Superheroine, and Sequentially Speaking, the voices have gotten louder as the number of bloggers has increased. There are many more sites now, but these three sites mentioned each have a completely different take on the industry and have garnered a following through their originality and professions. I especially enjoy visiting Lisa and Valerie for their even handed and intelligent take on feminism and the comic book world.

Don't get me wrong though. I am not touting myself as a feminist visionary here. I think that others have done a great deal more then I have in that respect. What I like to try and do is look at things from my perspective and try and appreciate what the opposition thinks even if I don't like it. There have been times that I have been so truly pissed at what I have seen at other sites that it takes everything in me not to jump in the fray. What stops me is that I don't want to lose sight of myself just to prove a point. That is why my "gratuitous" posts are not so much a damning attack as they are a chance for dialogue between men and women from all the angles. Hopefully I can continue that focus and continue to grow in that respect.

Reviews have got to be in my future. I think Augie De Blieck Jr. at CBR's Pipeline makes a great deal of sense when he talks about blogs in general not reviewing like has been done in the past. The pure reviews of yesteryear have certainly got lost along the way here. God knows I pretty much only do "quick takes" anymore and that makes me a bit sad. I have got to get past the "fast food mentality" that permeates my brain and work on my chops. For a long time I reviewed for 4 Color Review and I loved it. Now feels like the time to get back down to business. Cross your fingers for me!

Never in a million years did I think anyone would come to my blog. I just thought it would be this small corner of the universe that gathered cobwebs. Going to the Emerald City Comicon the last two years and having a booth has changed my perspective. It hasn't made me feel any cooler to be sure- I will always be a bit of a dork. What I have loved is meeting new people. Without my blog, I would have never met Laura and her nice hubby and sister, Pamela and Kirk , Dr, Scott and his sweet wife, Swinebread, Shon and Joe, and Brian. I also have made friends with many of my fellow bloggers- John, Eaglewing, Mark, Lisa, Nick, Vaklam, Elayne, Lea, Devon, RAB, Redhead Fangirl, Shelly, Britt, Melchior, and Loren. I know I am missing someone... crap!! Please forgive me any omissions as I am not as young as I used to be. Heh.

Rather then sit and talk about myself anymore, let me just say "thank you" and tell you how much I appreciate everyone that has ever come here. My blog is not a "top site" or a big hit getter, but I have fun and I have met and talked to the nicest folks I could have ever hoped to meet. For that I am eternally grateful.

On that note, cheers! Here is to 1000 more posts of good times and good friends!

Monday, November 12, 2007

New Comics for November 14

New Avengers #36
Originally uploaded by Heidi Meeley
I am sitting here feeling proud after doing an hour of cardio and another hour of weights at the gym. After a stressful day at work there is no better tension reliever and I am pretty sure it is good for me. :-) My other motivation was that tomorrow is my pesticide exam and it allowed me to study the book while I was on the elliptical. I am reading the book for the third time and rather then reading it in depth, I am focusing on the key words and the points that came up in the test questions. I am hoping to get a fourth read through tomorrow before the test.

On that note, I haven't read many books from last week, so tomorrow night will be my chance to catch up. Wednesday is bringing many books again as usual. It is a DC heavy week for me, and next week doesn't look any better. What is really exciting though is that Gail Simone's Wonder Woman run starts and Green Arrow Black Canary #2 comes out. The cherry on the ice cream is that 100 Bullets #86 also hits the stands. This makes me extra giddy!!

Here is the list for the week!

100 Bullets #86
All Star Superman #9
Black Adam the Dark Age #4 (of 6)
Booster Gold #4
Fables #67
Gen 13 #14
Green Arrow Black Canary #2
Nightwing #138
Salvation Run #1 (of 7)
Suicide Squad Raise the Flag #3 (of 8)
Teen Titans East Special #1
Welcome to Tranquility #12
Wonder Girl #3 (of 6)
Wonder Woman #14
Sword #2
Avengers Initiative #7
House of M Avengers #1 (of 5)
New Avengers #36 (pictured)
Punisher #52
Punisher War Journal #13
Spider-Man Red Sonja #4 (of 5)
Wolverine #59
World War Hulk #5 (of 5)
X-Factor #25
X-Men Die by the Sword #3 (of 5)

Crap. It is a Marvel heavy week as well. I better save my pennies as next week is just as scary.

On that note, my hubby tells me that tomorrow when I post it will be my 1,000th entry. It blows my mind to think that I have yammered that much. Join me tomorrow as I prepare to ponder something and look forward to 1,000 more!

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Thoughts on New Comics and Random Musings

Y the Last Man #59
Originally uploaded by Heidi Meeley
At the grocery store tonight it was pure hell. Evidently Thanksgiving is in a week and a half and people are starting to panic. I couldn't believe the sheer amount of food in carts and the tension level felt. I figured we would have at least until this coming weekend before the panic set in. I was wrong.

In reading this week, Y the Last Man #59 went in a direction I was not expecting. Yorick's reaction to last issue's tragic event was one of strength and a sense of reckoning. I was not prepared for that as I figured violence would beget more violence. What this means for the end of the journey is definitely a mystery. I will miss Yorick and his cast very much when it is all done with next issue.

The Search for Ray Palmer: Red Rain was very well done. The cast of Donna, Jason, Kyle, and Bob is a success as far as I am concerned. In this issue, the gang pays a visit to a world where Batman is a vampire. Kelley Jones' eerie art really set the tone and the script by Peter Johnson clinched it for me. Having artists Eric Battle and Angel Unzueta also on board didn't distract me, which was a pleasant surprise. I have really come to appreciate the journey these characters on and think it is the highpoint of the whole "Countdown" saga.

"Secret Invasion" kicked off in The New Avengers: Illuminati #5. I can't say I was surprised by how it all went down, as the characters who were revealed as skrulls has supposedly died or disapeared prior to being shown. I really can't decide what to think about this and if I even want to follow it. I will have to read it again to be sure which direction to be follow. It didn't instantly earn my love, so that is something to consider.

Does anyone else thing that Astonishing X-Men is the storyline that never ends? Cripes, I can't even remember how the team got in this soup. Does anyone know when issue #24 is supposed to come out?

Other then my review of Fallen Angel #21, I haven't read the rest of my stack. I am busy studying for my pesiticide dealer-manager test. Wish me luck as I am going to take it Tuesday. I have to renew every four years, and it is that time again. Luckily most of the book is common sense so I am hoping to do well.

Nothing more tonight. I have to read my pesticide book and try and remember as much as possible. Since I have to work tomorrow while several of you lucky people have the day off, it is crucial to be ready now for the test on Tuesday. I am jealous of those of you that have the day off. My postman friend is planning to go see a movie and relax. Jealous, I tell you! LOL!

Have a wonderful evening!

Friday, November 09, 2007

Is This Gratutious? Iron Man: Director of S.H.I.E.L.D. Annual #1

After a short break from my regular feature highlighting possible "gratuitous" candidates, I am back this week with a cover that may be interpreted several ways, one of them being that this portrayal of Iron Man, surrounded by several women in skimpy bikinis crosses the line.

What led me to single this cover out is the fact that said women are in beach wear when it appears that normally they would be in a more formal attire, including a lab coat or a business suit. It is a well known fact that Tony Stark is a playboy, so I am torn between wondering if this is a James Bond nod or just another opportunity to show hot chicks with guns.

That being said, I am happy that the women are wearing bottoms, which is a definite improvement over some of the other covers I have highlighted. I am also pleased that Jim Cheung can restrain himself from drawing huge ta-tas. That is a plus! In fact, Cheung normally does a very natural job on his portrayal of characters of both sexes, which is probably why he nailed the job on Young Avengers. His female characters there showed a strength of character rather then a strength of underwire.

This was a tough cover to select, as it isn't overtly gratuitous in the way some of the other covers we have discussed have been. What put it over the top is that it can also be perceived as another chance to put women in a subservient pose while the dude looks cool.

Okay, now that I have said my peace, I really want to know:

Is this gratuitous?

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Review: Fallen Angel #21

Fallen Angel #21
Originally uploaded by Heidi Meeley
“Mature readers” looking for a quality read: I have the book for you. Fallen Angel by IDW Publishing is the kind of book that can revitalize a person’s love for the medium. Featuring a city that I get lost in and characters that are unforgettable, this is the comic book that captures the imagination.

Originally published by DC Comics, Fallen Angel chronicles the life of Lee, a guardian angel who lost her favored status with God and now resides in the city of Bete Noire, nicknamed “the city that Shapes the World”. Increasingly, the city and its occupants have taken more of a front row in the book, and some of the mystery surrounding the characters is coming to life. As Lee’s son begins to find his place as the new magistrate of the city, his part in the book has become more pronounced. Left in an orphanage, her son had no idea what he was meant to be and became a man of the cloth. His confusion and horror at his new job have textured the book in a whole new light then I believe originally intended.

This is the kind of book that seems to write itself. Writer Peter David has let the book go in directions I would have never expected. Most readers picked up the book in its original incarnation hoping to find that Linda/Matrix/Supergirl (David's previous book) had come to a new title with a new life. What they got is so much more. A city of mystery and deadly secrets with a jaded magistrate, an angry drunk of an angel, a barkeep with great heart, the remorseless drug dealer Asia Minor, and Black Mariah, the female who is still mostly a mystery. Many characters on the peripheral have come and gone, adding a dimension of fear and life on the edge.

In issue #21, the Fallen Angel herself takes a back seat as her son Jude starts to realize his influence. Noting that a terrible dictator by the name of Antar Yyv has emerged and is committing horrible atrocities, Jude turns to those he does not trust for help. His enforcer Slate sends him to Black Mariah who fills him in on Yyv’s secret weaknesses. Asia Minor also enters the fray as his role in the city is made clearer. Together they can indeed “shape” the world.

I have to pause to praise artist J.K. Woodward. Since the book has been at IDW, Woodward has become as integral to its success as David. The art here is so gorgeous that it sometimes gives me pause. With muted shading and excellent pacing, Woodward takes the reader on a visual journey that serves to enhance the story being told. The images can be stark in their horror as well as their beauty. At this point, I can’t imagine the book without this creative team in place.

The story here involves several characters but still manages to feel intimate. That is amazing to me. What a gift this creative team has. The dictator is painted as human and frail, with many flaws. As his life is revealed, the reader can feel the horror and the pity for him. When he meets a young girl and their fates become intertwined, I found myself holding my breath waiting to see what would happen next. The reveal is the ultimate treat here, with a clever twist that put the bow on the package.

I hate to gush, but Fallen Angel is truly a high quality book with consistent excellence. From the lush covers to the gut wrenching appeal of the city of Bete Noire, I always feel like I am included in the story being told. Other then Grant Morrison’s Invisibles, this is the second book I have actually dreamed about. The characters are flawed but compelling. Their story and that of the city intertwine to entertain and affect the reader’s emotion and gut.

Bottom line: If you haven’t read Fallen Angel, you are missing something special. Issue #21 is no exception, and as self contained story, it is a great starting point for new readers. So what are you waiting for? Go pick up a copy!

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Random Thoughts and Musings

There are so many things going on that I want to address, but getting home after 7:30 p.m. at night after being gone since 6:30 a.m. is making it dang near impossible. I find that at this time at night I am more apt to make spelling and grammatical errors. After a ten hour workday and a long workout, I am spent mentally and physically. Somehow I am going to have to figure out how to reprioritize so I can get home by 7 p.m. That is my goal - making that work so I can spend more time blogging and talk about issues that are affecting me.

I also want to start doing more reviews. It has bothered me for quite some time that I don't review comics very much anymore. It used to not be that way. When I started doing reviews for 4 Color Review back in the day, that is all I did. I very seldom did op-ed pieces and I certainly didn't focus on news. Reviews were my deal. Then I started my blog and felt like I had free reign to talk about whatever comic book or pop culture issue caught my fancy. This has led to me straying from my original focus. How I am going to get back to this is uncertain, but I am going to find time.

The best thing to come out of having such a busy schedule is that I watch a maximum of two hours of television a day. I used to average four to six, which is way too much. Now I focus on watching shows I really like and it makes me appreciate it that much more. Before I think I relied too much on TV. I am happy to focus on it less now. God knows that after a long day of staring at the computer it can't be great for my eyes to watch the boob tube. That makes me wonder if all the reading I do at night is not helping either. No wonder I wear glasses.

One thing that has been on my mind is the writer's strike. I am glad to see the writers asking for a piece of the pie. My biggest problem is that I am not very familiar with unions as a tool for change, as I have never been close to anyone that was in one until the last ten years. My exposure to unions previous to this was the UPS strike that almost killed our business over a decade ago.

That being said, the response of writers saying that they would like to write comic books or put an emphasis on it as an income leaves me a bit cold. It makes me concerned for the men and women who already make their primary living doing this. How will that affect their income? If a well known TV writer wants to get some money and get involved in writing, will they drop the industry like a hot potato when the strike is resolved? The cynical part of me is really concerned about this.

There is also a huge amount of division over the issue of feminism in comics coming to the forefront. I see so many folks talking about it from so many angles that it boggles my mind. I don't see an easy or quick resolution to this issue anytime soon. The one thing I do want to note is that it has been a bit more difficult to find "gratuitous" cover candidates. Whether this has anything to do with the issue at hand is anyone's guess. It may be that I don't dig deep to find a cover. My hubby has helped me in the past and I have stumbled upon a few. Lately because I have factored out certain series like Red Sonja and Witchblade, it has made it more interesting and sparser.

On that note, I am off to eat dinner. I am starving after a two hour workout!! Have a wonderful nigh!

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

TV Guide "Covers" Heroes

Normally marketing gimmicks are irritating to me, but I am strangely intrigued by the four covers TV Guide is going to have out November 8. Jim Lee, Phil Jimenez, Tim Sale, and Michael Turner are the artists providing the work that will be seen.

What gets my attention is that each artist has done some of the best work I have seen from them in this effort. As someone who has been upset by Turner's latest work, I really have to say he brings it here. Also, Lee provides some of the most photo realistic style I have seen in his work. As a longtime Jimenez groupie of sorts, I am thrilled that he has been included here. The homerun for me is Sale's gorgeous portrayal of Sylar, Maya, Monica, and Micah (pictured at right). His work on Heroes has been nothing short of phenomenol.

For a real treat, head on over to Newsarama and check out all four covers. As a comic book fan, I am happy to see such outstanding work will be seen by the general populace. It is an excellent opportunity to get some notice. As a fan of the television show, I love the fact that it is getting "covered" so beautifully. After last night's episode, I am more intrigued then ever.

What is your favorite cover?

Monday, November 05, 2007

New Comics for November 7

Well it's here. Pre-Christmas panic is starting to set in. I know that we haven't even had Thanksgiving yet, but I would never know this was the case after walking into my local grocery store tonight. The first thing I saw was two rows of Christmas goodies next to a small amount of pumpkin pie. This means that the countdown has begun. God help us all!

This week's comics are not too bad for once. I almost fainted when I saw how manageable the list is. Maybe this is my early present? At any rate, here is the list!

Countdown Search for Ray Palmer Red Rain #1
Countdown blah blah #25- yes I ordered it through Previews.
Robin #168
Supergirl #23
Tranquility Armageddon #1 (Pictured)
Y The Last Man #59
PVP #36
Witchblade #111
Astonishing X-Men #23
Fantastic Four #551
Immortal Iron Fist #10
Ms. Marvel #21
New Avengers Illuminati #5 (of 5)
Uncanny X-Men #492

Hmmm, that is a bit Marvel heavy for me. I guess it is an "opposites" week as I normally have been complaining about DC. At least I can take it with a grain of salt.

Health wise I finally feel better today. My sore throat is gone and my body aches are calming down to a manageable level. I haven't taken any ibuprofen since lunch so I am thrilled. Being sick is the pits, so I am happy to be doing much better.

I hope you all are doing well! I am hoping for a much better week blogging this week, and a happier time for all!

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Random Thoughts and Musings

Here it is, the first day of "falling back" already. I can't believe it is starting to get dark at 4:45 p.m. After being so ill this weekend, I am still a bit disoriented but am finally feeling a bit better. The time change hopefully helped as it allowed me to get an extra hour of sleep. The really bad thing is that I had to miss my nephews' birthday party today in Portland and I am broken hearted about it. The boys are 14 and 11 this past week and they are the most important thing in my life. Unfortunately, I just couldn't make the trip. I couldn't drive four hours feeling like this. Hopefully I can make it up to them in the next two weeks.

While laying on the couch, I attempted to browse my new comics. I read a few, glanced at a few, and randomly decided to save a few until I felt better. After this round of "looks", here is my opinion.

Justice Society of America #10
Crime Bible: Five Lessons of Blood #1
The Death of the New Gods #2
Countdown to Mystery #2
Daredevil Annual #1
Robin Annual #7

X-Men Messiah Complex #1
Batman #670
American Virgin #20
Action Comics #858
Lord Havok & the Extremists #1
Dynamo 5 #8

Anita Blake The First Death #2
Trials of Shazam #9
Countdown to Adventure #3
52 Aftermath The Four Horsemen #3
DC Infinite Halloween Special #1
Necromancer #1

JSA Classified #31- Really hating the art here.
New X-Men #43- Really hating the art here as well.
Midnighter Armageddon #1- can't figure out the point of this.
Countdown to Final Crisis #26- a recap, plain and simple.

Not much explanation here, and I am sorry for that. I need about one more day of recovery to get myself and the blog back up to speed. All I know is that some books held up well while others pissed me off for lack of story quality. I also noticed that the price is edging up to $3.50 on several books, which means I will have to drop comics for lack of finances sooner then later. Argh.

Have a great rest of the weekend and I will be back tomorrow with the next week of comics!

Finally! Twin Peaks Definitive Edition on DVD

I was browsing around when I stumbled upon the coolest thing I have seen in quite awhile. Just out this week is the Twin Peaks Definitive Gold Box Edition DVD set. Featuring the entire quirky television series, this set is drenched with extras that a diehard fan like myself will be thrilled about. At a $99.99 sticker price and a $69.99 sale price, this is worth saving up pennies for. This is what I want for Christmas.

Here are the specs:

"DVD Features:
Available Subtitles: English, Spanish, Portuguese
Available Audio Tracks: English (Dolby Digital 5.1), English (Dolby Digital 2.0), Spanish (Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono), Portuguese (Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono)
All 29 Episodes plus the original pilot (both U.S. Network and International versions) on 10 discs
Remastered picture from the original negative with 5.1 Sound, both personally approved by David Lynch
Original broadcast 2.0 audio
Deleted Scenes
Exclusive feature length documentary: 'Secrets from Another Place'
A Slice of Lynch (featuring David Lynch, Kyle MacLachlan, and M├Ądchen Amick)
Return to Twin Peaks
Interactive Map of Twin Peaks
The complete Log Lady introductions
Saturday Night Live: Kyle MacLachlan’s monologue and the Twin Peaks comedy sketch
Julee Cruise music video: "Falling"
On-air promos, TV spots, production documents, rare photos "

Any other Twin Peaks fans out there who have already got this or are planning on buying it?

Saturday, November 03, 2007

Excellent Guest Pencils News: Snejbjerg on Two Issues of The Boys

The Boys #13
Originally uploaded by Heidi Meeley
Still sick. Still whining. Finally got out of bed and am checking out the computer. Then I see this little bit on Newsarama. This news is almost enough to get me over my illness.

Read on and see:

"With issues #13 and #14 (December and January, respectively), Garth Ennis and Darick Robertson invite a new member into their exclusive Boys club, as Peter Snejbjerg steps in to help with the artwork for the two issues.

For Snejbjerg, the issues give him a chance to flex his muscles…to put it mildly. “As Garth put it in the script: ‘Unmistakable, obvious, disturbing.’” Snejbjerg said. “That just about says it all, doesn't it? Seriously, though, this not only gives me a chance to draw that strip club scene, but a few other things I don't expect to draw again in any other American comic book. It's also that Garth just writes the best dialogue around, period. It's fun to draw Garth Ennis books because it's fun to read Garth Ennis books. And it's fun to get to play with the toys designed by Darick because they are such cool toys!”

Ennis had high praise for the artist, as the two have worked together previously. “This is the fifth time that Peter's guest-starred on one of my books, and it really is about time the two of us created something from the ground up,” Ennis said. “He's one of the best storytellers in the business, with a sense of character second to none- he certainly had no trouble nailing The Boys. It's a real treat to be working with him again."

The two issues continue the current storyline which has seen the hero-punishment team in Russia. In issue #13, Little Nina's backers are revealed, Butcher ruins Monkey's day, and the Boys find something nasty in the borscht, leaving Hughie to finish the job alone. "

I loved Snejbjerg's work on Starman so to see him filling in for Robertson here is damn near a dream come true. Other then Steve Dillon, I can't imagine another artist I would prefer to see take on Wee Hughie and the gang. Though I am still not feeling good, this news is a bit of sunshine to be sure!

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Random Thoughts and Musings

If my blogging has been a bit spotty and distant this week, I apologise. I have a sore throat, body aches, chills, and a fever so I am being whiny and a bit of a baby. The fact that tomorrow is Friday and I can depend on Saturday to get a bit of rest is definitely a help.

Halloween was definitely quiet here at Casa Fairplay. We had one group of trick and treaters and that was it so we have a bunch of mini Hershey bars with almonds left. To my credit, I haven't eaten any and don't plan to. It will be a nice treat for Jim in the next month. Because I got home late and didn't feel good I lounged on the couch and we watched the "Top 100 Scariest Movie Moments" on Bravo. It was fun to watch the various clips and hear the commentary from horror movie directors, stars, and film critics.

That being said, I haven't read my comics other then to mostly browse. Countdown #26 seemed like a bit of a summary so that kind of pissed me off. Hopefully now things will pick up. (This is me being optimistic or maybe it is the cold/fever tablets talking>).

I pondered the Occasional Superheroine/Pretty Fizzy Paradise discussion about using the argument that "you don't have a vagina" can backfire/justify an opinion. I tend to like to be able to use a more rational argument then attesting to my basic female anatomy to make a point, so this was a bit of a sticky situation for me. Rather then jumping on either bandwagon, I am going to ponder this one a bit more.

How was your Halloween, by the way? So many of you had exciting adventures and wore cool costumes. It did my heart good, and made me smile. Next year I am vowing to be back to my old self in that regard. Also I must note that Halloween will be on a Friday next year so I should be able to throw our annual party again. Yay!

Not much more to tell. I am feeling ill and exhausted so it is back to the couch for me. I have to work tomorrow and 6 a.m. comes early!

Take care!