Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Top Ten "Best" Comic Events of 2008

After a bit of a downer post yesterday, it is now time to celebrate the “best” of comics in 2008. There was a few that sprang right to mind. The rest were a bit of a fight in my head, which I am sure must have been a heck of a sight to the hubby. Without further ado, let’s dive in!

10. Captain America. Ed Brubaker and Steve Epting continue to bring the heat on a title that has turned into one of my consistently top ten reads. I love Bucky as Cap, and I can hardly believe I am sitting here admitting it. This book is exquisite in every way, and the creative team is amazing.

9. Heroes Season 3. Yep, I said it. I loved the “Villains” storyline despite the controversy. Having the cast focused on a common theme was a nice change. I continue to have a bit of a Sylar obsession, and I still want to save the cheerleader. After a dismal season two, I feel optimistic again.

8. Wolverine: Old Man Logan Storyline. Mark Millar either hits or misses with me as a writer, but here he is hitting it out of the park. Did I mention that Steve McNiven is doing gorgeous art as well? I love the pairing of Wolverine with Hawkeye and watching the re-emergence of the savage part of the character has been fascinating to say the least.

7. Aaron Lopresti on Wonder Woman. I love Gail Simone as a writer, but I have to give some props to the artist working with her. Lopresti draws a beautiful but fierce Diana, and I can’t get enough. The panel work is seasoned, and Lopresti adds an extra dimension to Simone’s vision. I hope he is on the book for the long haul. I miss his work when there is a fill-in. Lopresti deserves a steady run on a title, and I feel that the Wonder Woman fans are lucky to have him.

6. Witchblade and Birds of Prey on DVD. I was thrilled when the DVD’s hit the shelves. I loved the Witchblade series and I had always wished I could have given BOP a second look. This has given me a second chance, and it has been a treat. I just want to know one thing: can Yancy Butler stay on the straight and narrow, and can the television series come back? I miss it! Honorable mention: Blade television series on DVD.

6. Incredible Hercules. I was really poised to hate this book, as I was disgruntled by the dismissal of Hulk from his own title, but I have to say I was wrong. This book kicks ass! The relationship between Amadeus and Herc is one of the best developed and rich ones in comics today and I don’t say that lightly. I can’t recommend this title enough.

5. Outstanding Mature Series of note: 100 Bullets, Fables, Boys, Fallen Angel, and Army @ Love. These mature titles have been some of the best work of the year. I am sad to see 100 Bullets and Fallen Angel coming to an end, as the entire development and production of these series has been phenomenal. Fables has given my childhood fairy tales a whole new life. Boys makes me laugh myself sick. Army @ Love is so damn clever and enchanting that it sucks me in every time. I love the fact that I am able to purchase and enjoy these books and that somehow it makes me feel that comics have grown up with me.

4. Discount Comic Book Service. The smartest move Jim and I made this year is to switch to an online comics service. I admit to some crappy customer service when I have problems, but I also admit to an ease and a peace I haven’t felt in years. I miss going to comic book shops, but I also know that my comics will be here in a timely fashion and I love that. Small town readers rejoice!

3. Return of Nick Fury in Secret Invasion. I love Nick Fury. His comeback to the Marvel universe was well executed and proved that you can’t keep a good character down. He is just the shot in the arm that the endless stream of major events and crossovers needed. Irreverent, whip-smart, and as brilliant a tactician as I have ever seen, I hope Fury is back to stay.

2. Iron Man and Dark Knight Movies. It was fun to go to the movies this spring and summer and two of the biggest reasons were these two flicks. I adored Robert Downey Jr. as Tony Stark and am foaming at the mouth for a sequel. Dark Knight was so perfectly executed that I was in complete awe the first time I saw it. Even better, the movie continues to improve with age- a rare feat in this day and age. A toast to two fantastic films that reaffirmed my faith in the murk and muck that was a potentially fatal comic book movie explosion.

1. Gordon Lee case dropped. One of the most emotional moments for me this year as a comic book reader was learning that this frivolous witch hunt of a case was dumped. Having Neil Gaiman announce it at a CBLDF event was even more spectacular. This was a huge step in freedom of expression. I pray that it is a trend that continues.

That is my list for 2008. Can you think of something I missed? Any disagreements or additions? Let me know! Join me tomorrow for the events to look for in 2009.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Top Ten "Worst" Moments in Comics of 2008

It is time for this year’s “worst of” list here at Comics Fairplay. I went back through my blog, noticed I hadn’t blogged as much, and wondered this: how much is dissatisfaction with the industry and how much is the fact that I have went through a lot in my life? I guess at this point I would put it at a 50-50 split. That being said, I was able to come up with my list of 10 worst items quicker than the best. I mourn my optimism!

Without further ado, here is my list.

10. Justice Society of America Earth 2 Annual. I was really torn on this the first time I read it, and as I have gone back and re-read it several times, my irritation grows. I loved the JSA back in the day, and I am convinced that is a big part of the problem. No issue by any creator would have satisfied me. I also hate the fact that there is a new Power Girl. Her uniqueness along with her demeanor always appealed to me. A year from now, I may be eating my words, but for now this makes the list.

9. Y The Last Man ends. Much like the end of Preacher, the end of Yorick’s journey left me numb then depressed. For sixty issues, I was enthralled by the book and really wanted to know how the men died and how the ladies persevered. Then all too quickly it was over. The only book ending that will remotely touch this is 100 Bullets, which is ending in February. The pain… the pain.

8. Bruce Jones on Checkmate. I hate to say it, but after Rucka left, I left as well. Jones’ writing leaves me cold and this is no exception. The subtle web of intrigue and meaningful action were gone, and the book was soon cancelled. What a waste. I am sitting here hoping for a new series after the Final Crisis ends.

7. Cancellation of Manhunter, Birds of Prey, Spider-Girl, and She-Hulk titles. I am so sad about this. These were four excellent titles with female leads, and the quality of material was usually fantastic. I am just sick that these books are going, going, gone and I truly think it is one of the things that has driven me to cut back so much on my buying habits. It is decisions like this by the reader’s buying habits and the company’s editorial that have made me so cynical.

6. Garth Ennis leaves Punisher Max. This is truly the end of the era for me. I looked forward to each issue of the title, knowing that Frank Castle was going to make things right in his own scary way. It was a bit twisted at times, but I felt a healthy entertainment value was always gotten for my modest fee. I really miss Ennis, and am happy that he and Dillon have done the special mini-series. That is what saves me a bit.

5. Open Source Boob Project. I know you didn’t want to go there, but I can’t help it. This embarrassing debacle was one of the things that inspired my outside polls, which helped me a bit… BUT… come on now. Why would you do something like this at an all age’s event? An idea from some folks who wanted to grab boobs and be grabbed by mutual consent turned horribly wrong somewhere at THE INCEPTION. I know we are better than this.

4. Marvel Fashion Show. You know I had to point this out, right? I am still back at the beginning of this wondering why and how this came about. Do you know anyone that purchased these outfits to wear? The models are gorgeous girls, and they created quite a stir at the San Diego Comicon, but it didn’t seem like a good fit. Fanboys: 1, Dignity: 0. much like the Open Source Boob Project, I worry that this kind of stuff sets us back again, instead of making progress. I am obviously not the target audience.

3. Final Crisis/Countdown Continuity Gaffe. Grant Morrison gave an extensive interview. DC didn’t say much. There really wasn’t a resolution other then “oops”. That pisses me off. Call me “Fangirl” but I pay good money to have a semblance of continuity in two big company events. Speaking of paying good money…

2. Comic Book Prices hit $3.99. Not every book is this price, but the sticker shock is a big reason I have cut back on my comic book buying habits. With free internet downloads, and the price of a comic collection at zero to nothing, why the hell do I want to collect anymore? I might as well wait for the trade on the really good stuff. Damn I am bitter, huh?

1. Michael Turner, Steve Gerber, Jim Mooney, and Dave Stevens pass away. After last year, I prayed we would keep our creators with us. Unfortunately, this year hit hard. Losing these brilliant talents made the industry a much duller place. My heart still aches and I want to take a moment to thank these gentlemen for their work. Godspeed.

That is the list for this year. Care to agree or disagree? I am waiting to check the blogosphere for other lists until I am done later this week. Tomorrow night it is time for the “best” list, proving it is always darkest before the dawn!

Monday, December 29, 2008

Making A List, Checking it Twice...

I am sitting here working on my "best" and "worst" lists so no post tonight. I will be back tomorrow with my list of negatives, and hopefully also the Diamond List. I totally forgot to print it today. Duh!

Have a great night!

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Just Hanging Out!

The last couple of days have been nice even thought the weather is still bad. Not having to be places at a certain time is a luxury around here, so we have been reveling in it.

Yesterday we slept in and then we went to the post office. Jim had some art to send, so that was a priority. I couldn't believe how busy it was after Christmas! Then we made an error in judgment. We went to Borders because the calendars were half off. It took a half hour to get to a parking spot. Then it took two minutes to pick out the calendar, and twenty minutes to wait in line. Then it took a half hour to get home when it should have taken less then ten minutes. Not cool.

Jim really wanted to go see Valkyrie because he has an interest in World War II history. It was a decent movie, albeit a depressing one. Definitely not a date movie, LOL. Tom Cruise is one of those actors that irritates out of character, but always manages to capture whatever role he is playing. Jim found it extremely ironic that the cast was mostly British, considering the events of the second World War.

So today is playtime. I lifted weights and did cardio yesterday and will do the same today. I have to work off the cookies I ate! Then it is all about doing what we want on our own terms. I have been enjoying Facebook quite a bit. If you aren't on there, you should check it out. I like it a great deal more then mySpace, as it has a real time feel to it. It has been cool for me also because my high school class has a group and I have loved checking out my former classmates. I also like to stay in touch with my more local friends that are busy like me.

The one sad thing is that I miss my family. I wish I could have seen them this weekend. Thankfully, I know that I will get together with them in a couple of weeks after the snow hopefully melts!

Have a wonderful day! I am going to start concocting my best and worst lists of the year!

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry Christmas!

I hope that all of you, regardless of your religious and social preference, have a wonderful day today! We are relaxing here at home, since the bad weather prevented our trip. I just put a prime rib in the oven to cook and it is already starting to smell delicious.

By the way, the cookies did turn out. The chocolate chip ones have a slightly crunchy outside and a soft, chewy inside. The spritz cookies, which are sugar cookies that are normally pressed into shapes, turned out well. I was a happy camper.

Today is a day for family and loved ones. I hope you have yours around you have a wonderful day and I wish you peace and love.
(Image courtesy of Heritage Comics)

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Christmas Eve Baking!

Happy Holidays to all! It is Christmas Eve and because I couldn't travel to see my family, I am baking cookies. Jim is sitting here in absolute amazement because I don't think he has ever seen me bake. Cook yes... bake no. I am making chocolate chip cookies and spritz cookies. I made a mess and it is a bit scary, but for the most part they are coming out okay. I screwed up the first recipe by adding the flour first- duh!

I had lunch with my friend Kerry, his son, daughter-in-law, and grandson. It was very cute because the little boy is a huge super hero fan. He loved the fact that I knew what he was talking about. It was also nice, because his dad has a Spider-Man tattoo, and that was common ground. Did I mention I had an excellent hamburger as well?

On that note, I am going to go finish baking and hang out. It is nice to be here but I really miss my family. Maybe next week...

Have a wonderful Christmas and happy holidays!

Monday, December 22, 2008

New Comics for December 24

I got home late tonight because Jim and I went grocery shopping and then I went to my friend Kerry's house and helped him clean it. Now I am sitting here, happy that tomorrow is my Friday. Having the rest of the week off feels great from this side of things!

In bad news, the weather still sucks. It was -1 this morning when I went to work and the high was 16. It also snowed over a half a foot. I can tell I won't be going home for Christmas to see my family.

Here is my list for this week.

Batman #683

Brave and the Bold #20

Reign in Hell #6 (of 8)

Top Ten Season Two #3 (of 4)

Trinity #30

Wonder Woman #27

Darkness #73

Daredevil #114

Hulk #9

Ms. Marvel #34

New Avengers #48

Secret Invasion Requiem #1

She-Hulk 2 #36

Ultimate Spider-Man #129

Ultimatum #2 (of 5)

That is the list. I hope to post more once I get through tomorrow and have more time. Have a great week!

Friday, December 19, 2008

Friday Before Christmas!

Tonight is my company Christmas party. We normally have it on a Saturday, but the last two years have been different. Having the party on a Friday makes it feels rushed. I enjoy and appreciate my coworkers, but this year I am having a bit of an issue. I ate leftovers for lunch and now my stomach is lurching along, which I hate. I am debating whether to still go or not.

In comic book news, my DCBS order has not shipped yet due to unforeseen circumstances that I have worked to resolve. This means that we will not see the order until after Christmas. That is okay, as things will be hectic.

The weather c0ntinues to suck. It was 1 degree this morning on my way to work, and I believe that the high temperature was in the upper teens. Yuck! The next week will bring a fantastic mix of either snow and ice or extreme temperatures. It makes me sad. Hopefully I will have something to cheer me up soon!

Not much more to tell. I feel like a sourpuss, so I have been keeping the blogging light. Hopefully there will be news to tell or I will get some reviews done soon! I have lots of ideas that I have yet to execute. Bad Heidi!

Have a safe and happy weekend!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Random Thoughts and Musings: Christmas Blues

The weather here is pervasively cold and crappy. It shows no signs of getting better before Christmas. This makes me very irritated! It is snowing right now and is supposed to snow through tomorrow. Friday, Saturday, and Sunday we will experience highs of 11 degrees. This means multiple layers of clothes and lots of care while driving. How is your weather?

In comic book news, I have made a list of the books I must get in January that I did not order. They are Birds of Prey, Manhunter, Fallen Angel, and Noble Causes. Because all these series are ending and I am a completist, it makes sense to save a bit of Christmas money aside and grab these books. Added to 100 Bullets, The Boys, Wonder Woman, and Justice Society of America, and that is my pull list.

It dawns on me that I haven't done Christmas cards. What is the ettiquette on that? Has anyone ever done e-cards and foregone the stamp and mail route? Is it tacky to put superheroes on a Christmas card when one is not an artist?

Not much more going on. I just don't have any Christmas spirit as the weather has got me stressed out. I am worried I won't be able to see my family next week, but hopefully we can celebrate a late holiday if the weather doesn't cooperate.

Have a great night! See you soon!

Monday, December 15, 2008

New Comics for December 17

Today is the 15th. That means like 10 more days to Christmas. Good Lord! The decent news is that Jim and I got a couple of packages sent out today. The bad news is that I haven't even thought about Christmas cards yet. Yikes.

This week's list caps off what is sure to be a huge shipment from DCBS. Three weeks worth of stuff is coming to us, and with the holidays I am already bracing myself for delays. It is being considered our early Christmas present as it should be here on the 23rd or the 24th!

Here is this week's list.

Rex Mundi #15- cover pictured

Birds of Prey #125

Ex Machina #40

Fables #79

Manhunter #37

Supergirl #36

Trinity #29

Dark Reign New Nation one-shot

Deadpool #5

Mighty Avengers #20

Punisher Max #65

Uncanny X-Men #505

X-Factor #38

X-Men Legacy #219

Fallen Angel #32

That is it for tonight. It is supposed to get under 0 degrees farenheit tonight and be horribly cold the rest of the week. I am bracing myself for ice and snow and generally miserable weather.

Have a nice night!

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Gift for the Non-Comic Reader: Camelot 3000

I know that in this year of trade paperbacks, the word on everyone's lips has been Watchmen. It has sold like hot cakes and it is getting a ton of critical praise. While I don't discount the perfection and glory of Watchmen, it is not the first book I would give to a non-comic book reader.

I ask you for a moment to think of Camelot 3000 as an alternative in gift giving. This trade paperback is a collection of the first maxi-series ever done. It is also the first adult themed book and it was printed on heavier paper. Did I mention that it also features King Arthur?

Camelot 3000 is the imagining of the return of Arthur, Merlin, and his knights to the troubled future. Britain has been taken over by aliens, and the world has all but given up. Into that time, King Arthur awakes to put things right. The twist here is in the times and in the reincarnated knights and their own reawakening. This book is truly glorious in every way.

Writer Mike W. Barr and artist Brian Bolland have created a book for the ages. Their collaboration is flawless, as the book has the feel of one mind and one spirit creating it. The dress and the introduction add to the tone of the book, enthralling readers from cover to cover.

I selected this as a gift to non-comic book readers because it is not cut from the typical super hero mode. There is no Wonder Woman, and Captain America doesn't make an appearance. These are iconic characters in their own right, and the legend has been passed down for centuries. Who hasn't heard of Lancelot and Guinevere? Merlin is certainly famous (or infamous) in his own right. This is the perfect book to hand to the person who has seen the movie Excalibur. They will go nuts for it!

When shopping this year, I have hesitated to share the comic book joy, but this is a rare exception. The price is right, and the book is available in multiple formats, ranging from deluxe to simple. If you haven't read it, give it a look and make your own opinion.

While everyone else is reading Watchmen, give the gift of King Arthur.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Random Thoughts and Musings

Watching the last episode of Boston Legal Monday night was really sad. Though sometimes the politics were a bit too liberal for me, I was sad to see Denny and Alan say goodbye. William Shatner hammed it up and it always felt like he was having a good time working on the show. James Spader endeared himself to me with his quirkiness and his amazing ability to enthrall and sadden. The chemistry between the two was truly the anchor of the show, though Candace Bergen as Shirley Schmidt was fantastic. I will truly miss this show.

I have been riveted by The Biggest Loser this season. Vicky has become the character I love to hate, while I am intensely rooting for Michelle to win. Ed and Heba have been a roller coaster ride for me. I love Ed's support of his wife and I have enjoyed seeing the two together. I hope that after this show they go have a long, happy life.

Television is slowly replacing comic books for me. It is not a good change, but the truth is that I can afford to watch these shows, while the price of comic books continues to escalate. It is probably the perfect time to ponder ending my longtime love of them.

Not much else to say tonight. Life is interesting, to say the least!

Take care and I will see you back here soon!

Monday, December 08, 2008

New Comics for December 10

Wow, it is the second week of December already! Luckily, Jim and I pretty much know all our Christmas gift giving now, so we are feeling a bit better. I just have to finish a few things and we will be pretty well set.

This week is very heavy with DC books. I think that Marvel must be having a bit of a lull with the aftermath of Secret Invasion. It is scary knowing that next week my second to last big shipment will be sent.

Here is this week's list.

100 Bullets #98

Action Comics #872

Booster Gold #15

Detective Comics #851

Final Crisis #5 (of 7) - pictured

Green Arrow Black Canary #15

Green Lantern Corps #31

Justice League of America #27

Nightwing #151

Secret Six #4

Titans #8

Trinity #28

Witchblade #122

Secret Invasion Dark Reign

Lone Ranger #16

That is the list! Now I have to run off and watch Terminator: Sarah Connor Chronicles, followed by the SERIES FINALE of Boston Legal. What a bummer!

Saturday, December 06, 2008

Morning Musings

It feels good to have a lazy Saturday after some really busy months of work. I got up early and have been rooting around the basement. I will try and clean a bit so Jim and I can focus on getting our house clean and nice. After that, we will be able to evaluate what improvements and repairs need to be made. The great news is that the basement is sealed tight as a drum. It is one of the things I really appreciated about the house when we bought it almost nine years ago.

Our big living room is the other thing I have always liked. We don't spend much time in the rest of our house, so it is nice to have plenty of room to "live in". We have had some great parties there, and have had way too much fun in the past!

The other thing I am working on is trying to make room to get my comics organized. What a mess! Since we have cut back so much, it makes sense to try and get some order now. It is a perfect time to make decisions about what I want to keep the rest of my life and what I would part with. I feel ready to do so.

Thank you so much for all your ideas on how to continue our reading habit. It will undoubtably be culture shock of the highest degree. It will be good in the long run. Also, who knows- we may be able to pick up back issues for pennies on the dollar years down the road.

Have a nice day! I am going to go back to cleaning and then I need to go work out. My other goal is to get all this extra weight I have put on off. Damn food addiction!

See you later!

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Random Thoughts and Musings

Here it is Wednesday and I am already home from work. I took a half day off work so Jim and I could take care of our business. After working so many hours, it felt good to do the stuff he and I so desperately needed to. We are making plans for our future, and it involves time and effort.

In rant news, I am sad to hear that Comic Foundry is ending with it's next issue. I have really enjoyed reading it and wish it could somehow continue. It was the magazine that filled the void for comic readers who wanted content over T&A. Maybe someday it will start back up... I can only hope.

Not to be too nasty, but the art on X-Factor is awful. It was one of my favorite books until Larry Stroman took over as penciller. I know that he was the artist on the series before, but this looks bad to my untrained eye. I have convinced myself that it is because his style doesn't mesh with normally able bodied inker Jon Sibal's work. It is good timing to have to drop so many books, and this made it an easy choice. Sorry, but in my personal preference, the art was so distracting I couldn't follow the story.

I am now sitting here trying to wait patiently for our DCBS order. It is the third to last decent sized order we will be getting, so I am a bit sad. We had to make the cuts though. It was inevitable. In this day and age, I can't afford to read comics anymore. I have been ranting for some time about how the expense of comics would someday kill my habit, and I am sad to say that the day is now here. It makes me wonder what I will blog about. I am so depressed about it that it is hard to deal with. My reality doesn't reflect the kid in me.

Anyone got anything fun going on? I need a mood booster badly!

Monday, December 01, 2008

New Comics for December 4

Wow, it is December! The last month went by very quickly and now I am in full Christmas panic. I worked late and just got home, so I am really in a state about gift giving. Thank you for the ideas- any help is appreciated!

Here is my list of this week's stuff.

Army @ Love 2 #5 (of 6)

Batman #682

Justice Society of America #21

Sandman Dream Hunters #2 (of 4)

Trinity #27

Broken Trinity: Witchblade

Darkness #72- yes, they started re-numbering in anticipation of the countdown to #75

Noble Causes #38- cover pictured

Sword #13

Marvels: Eye of the Camera #1 (of 6)

New Avengers #47

Punisher Max X-Mas Special 2008

Secret Invasion #8 (of 8)- holy crap- it's over!

X-Men Manifest Destiny #4 (of 5)

Boys #25

That is it for this week! I will be back to answer questions and catch up. Take care!