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Friday, August 31, 2007
Pay Bills Online
Watch Fraggle Rock
Play WOW <-- Currently!
Go To Bank For Quarters For Laundry
Sit Around In Underwear All Day <--Alas, only for half the day, and that doesn't count
Our Love Story #26's lead feature is an entertaining look at an early model of the "metrosexual" variety. At least, that's the interpretation I'm going with. Because the slightly more plausible interpretation is that the story is about a young woman a little too dim to realize that her boyfriend is a closeted homosexual just using her as a beard in order to help himself become a success in the, er, fashion industry.
Oh, man...clothes designer, stands hip-askew, wears a gold bracelet...he's at least a 3/5 on the ol' Gaydar.
"That's right Dad, clothes! He won't even so much as deep kiss me! So back off, old man!"
"And he's so sensitive...and he doesn't try to paw me like the other boys do...and he likes going to the muscle-man beach with me..."
That's right Jill...no 9-to-5 job means less money to buy you pretty, pretty clothes...
Is...is that a momentary flash of insight on Jill's face? The artist has perfectly captured that "Why am I wasting my time on this broke-ass homo?" look.
Honey, Derek finds himself every weekend at the steam room in the gym...
Uh, no, I'm calling bullshit on this. Because as we all know, the one thing there isn't enough of in this world is advertising. Of course, if "Dad" treats all his customers like he does Derek, no wonder his business is falling off. "We'd like to advertise our exciting new lines of vitamin pills." "What is that, for loafers?"
Hey, it's the secret origin of The Gap!
And then we ran out of story pages so we get the horribly implausible ending. And for years, Jill wondered why Derek had to stop off at every rest-stop whenever they traveled anywhere by car. And why he became a Republican...
BIRDS OF PREY #109 A consistently fun book, and I'm curious to see what Bedard brings to it.
BLUE BEETLE #18 The best Spider-Man book on the market.
COUNTDOWN 36 Screw you, I like it.
GREEN ARROW YEAR ONE #4 (OF 6) Diggle and Jock, so a guaranteed sell. And Ollie doesn't come off as a complete tool. But that mischaracterization aside...
GREEN LANTERN CORPS #15 "Sinestro Corps War" is such a stupidly good idea.
JSA CLASSIFIED #29 Uhm, no idea...buyer's inertia? The overall ratio of "good" to "bad" is better than on JLA Classified.
OUTSIDERS FIVE OF A KIND WEEK 4 METAMORPHO AQUAMAN Is it wrong of me to hope that New Wave will show up in this new version of Batman and the Outsiders at some point?
SHOWCASE PRESENTS WONDER WOMAN VOL 1 TP These are dreadful, but in that semi-charming Silver Age nuttiness sort of way. Plus, you know, blogging fodder for dozens of people for weeks.
SPIRIT #9 Not sure if I'm going to stick with this past Cooke's departure.
SUPERGIRL AND THE LEGION OF SUPER HEROES #33 For Pete. I don't like this new version of the Legion at all.
SUPERMAN #666 (NOTE PRICE) I really like what Busiek has been doing with the Superman books. Between him and Morrison, the books are the best they've been in decades.
ANNIHILATION CONQUEST STAR LORD #2 (OF 4) That the presence of Rocket Raccoon is apparently enough for me and other people to pick this book up makes the odd lack of a trade for Mignola's Rocket Raccoon mini even more puzzling.
FANTASTIC FIVE #4 (OF 5) Consistently, I find myself liking the MU2 stuff more than the regular Marvel comics. They're slight, but they're good fun, and it's nice to see the Marvel heroes acting heroically.
THE ORDER #2 CWI Still on the fence. The first issue didn't suck, but neither did it blow me away. And why are all the female characters exposing their belly buttons?
ULTIMATE FANTASTIC FOUR #45 After that interminable Thanos story, there's been a noticeable uptick in quality.
INUBAKA CRAZY FOR DOGS VOL 4 TP Cute girls and cute dogs. It's almost like the perfect manga.
MOUSE GUARD WINTER 1152 #1 (OF 6) I debated switching to trades, but every issue I buy is one less for speculators to get their hands on.
NAOKI URASAWAS MONSTER VOL 10 TP Okay, no, this is the perfect manga.
Books I'm Not Buying This Week
BATMAN LOBO DEADLY SERIOUS #1 (OF 2) I digs me some Sam Keith, but I'm all about Lobo-ed out.
BOMB QUEEN III #4 (OF 4) (MR) Every time I see this on the shelf, I sigh quietly to myself. At least I don't have to actually sell it to people myself anymore.
AMAZING FANTASY OMNIBUS VOL 1 HC VAR $75 for pre-super-hero Marvel books? Uhm, pass, thanks.
HALO UPRISING #1 (OF 4) (MR) The Cult of Halo confuses me. It's just a FPS. And not even a very good one, from what I can tell.
30 DAYS OF NIGHT DARK DAYS TP NEW PTG (MR) Hey, look, the trades coming back into print in a reasonable amount of time before the movie premieres! That's how you can tell Dark Horse didn't publish this.
BLACK SUMMER #2 (OF 7) (MR) I'm definitely feeling Ellised out. I read the preview, and I just wasn't feeling this book. It's tired, well tread ground for Ellis and dozens of other creators.
SHOJO BEAT SEP 07 VOL 3 #9 Dropped. We're at the point now where the only thing in the magazine I want to read is Absolute Boyfriend, and I can't justify $6 a month for that.
TOUPYDOOPS #6 (RES) (MR) Mike says there's something in this issue which will annoy me. I'm assuming he means apart from the lack of anything funny in a supposed humor book.
ZOMBIES VS ROBOTS HC (OCT068201) If I ran the comics industry, there'd be no more fucking zombie books.
Two stills from upcoming movies that I found interesting:
Johnny Depp and Helena Bonham Carter in Sweeney Todd, directed by Tim Burton, based on the musical by Stephen Sondheim. Burton has cast two actors not generally regarded as accomplished singers for the lead roles in a rather difficult musical. And the production design seems, so far, to be more evocative of a fire sale at Hot Topic than a grand guignol. And any criticism of the film will be shouted down by the Cult of Burton.
Christian Bale and Heath Ledger as Batman and the Joker in The Dark Knight, directed by Christopher Nolan, based on the DC comic. Nolan has cast two exceptionally talented actors who, to be honest, could probably do a lot better than a super-hero action movie. The production design is faithful to the feel of the source material, without blindly replicating it. And super-hero fans will do nothing but complain (but go see it anyway).
I see you've announced plans for another edition of Dungeons and Dragons, this time including fee-based on-line play elements and an even more significant emphasis on miniature use. If I wanted to play a fantasy based tabletop miniatures game, I'd play Warhammer. If I want to play a fantasy based MMO, I've already got a World of Warcraft account. You used to have a pretty good fantasy role-playing game on your hands...I wouldn't mind you bringing that back.
SERENITY PVC SET: I always catch this sad whiff of desperation off of Serenity/Firefly merchandise, as if people are hoping that, if they keep putting things out, someday it will have more than a small cult following.
BOOSTER GOLD VAR ED #1: Does this book really need a variant cover?
GRIFTER MIDNIGHTER #6 (OF 6): Do we need to revisit why this series stayed off my buy list?
RIPCLAW PILOT SEASON #1: This "Pilot Season" thing might have been a good way to test out material without committing to an ongoing...too bad it's being done with Top Cow properties.
DP 7 CLASSIC VOL 1 TP: Once again, Marvel fails the "Perceived Value" test (see also Planet Hulk and Annihilation hard-covers). I'm not willing to pay $25 for material I can get out of dollar boxes. Now, an Essential edition, that I would buy.
SUPER VILLAIN TEAM UP MODOKS 11 #2 (OF 5): I don't get the MODOK-love from bloggers. Even as far as big-headed campy Marvel villains go, he's not that interesting.
THOR 2ND PTG COIPEL VAR #1: This isn't solely something Marvel does, but I get the impression that the "second printings" have become less about meeting unexpected demand and more about creating the impression of success. Especially from a "print to order" publisher.
AVENGERS CLASSIC #1 ART ADAMS CVR CGC 9.8 ED: This would be Wizard selling a pre-slabbed reprint comic. This would be one of the reasons why I think the comics industry would be better off without Wizard.
BABY SITTERS CLUB VOL 3 MARY ANNE SAVES THE DAY SC: More power to them, I hope these find their intended audience, but lord, I have no desire to read this.
BATTLE VIXENS VOL 12 GN (OF 12) (MR): The long-awaited conclusion to the gripping Battle Vixens saga. I'll leave it to your imagination to work out what the fans are gripping.
BATTLESTAR GALACTICA CYLON SILVER FOIL CVR #12: I can't decide which phrase is more of a disincentive, "silver foil" or "Battlestar Galactica."
DRACULA VS KING ARTHUR LTD ED HC (RES): Did this really warrant a hard-cover?
GI JOE STORM SHADOW #3: In-joke alert--No, young man, there are no good ninja comics.
INU YASHA ANI MANGA VOL 22 GN: I'm amazed these are still coming out, frankly. I lost interest in the regular series long ago. The Macguffin was just getting to the point of self-parody.
KODT BUNDLE OF TROUBLE VOL 20 TP: I used to buy these, as for a gaming comic the writing tends to be pretty spot-on. Which was the problem, in fact. It was too spot-on, and the book was just becoming depressing to read.
PORKY #2 (A): Mike never got in Porky #1 for me...
SCARFACE DEVIL IN DISGUISE #2 (MR): In Southern California, at least, the Scarface film seems to be particularly popular with Hispanic pre-teens. I never thought the original film was very good, and the "continuing adventures of" approach the book was promised to take seems to miss the point of the film.
ZOMBIE HIGHWAY DIRECTIONLESS (MR): I never need to see another zombie comic as long as I live.
GREYS ANATOMY MAGAZINE #4: I understand from Mike that these TV show tie-in mags don't sell new, but sell as back-issues. Which is a phenomenon I've never understood.
TMNT 2007 MOVIE DVD: Only a week and a day after every other store in the country got this in. Which is why I never buy DVDs through Diamond.
I thought it would be appropriate to do some "needlessly cynical reactions" to Wizard World Chicago announcements, but honestly, statements like this, in relation to the Millar/Hitch run on Fantastic Four: "And oh yeah, and they plan on it being monthly!"
Metal Men #1, by Duncan Rouleau, published by DC Comics
I'm not a particular Metal Men fan; the concept is handled poorly slightly more often than it's handled well, but Rouleau handles the concept well. With this book he plays with DC comics history and creates a new/old continuity approach to one of the admittedly sillier concepts to have been produced in super-hero comics. But rather than try to force the characters and concepts into a "serious" mode, Rouleau runs with it and just lets the book be silly and fun while keeping it within an action-adventure mode. His stylized yet cartoonish art helps with that method of storytelling immensely.
Black Adam #1, by Peter Tomasi and Doug Mahnke, published by DC Comics
I'm not usually one to fault the books that exist only to fill in "continuity gaps" and make sure that fans of a super-hero universe have all their questions answered. It's at times a necessary evil when you publish a large and linked-together set of titles. But unless it's a subject or character I really want to know about, I usually can't be bothered to get too worked up positively or negatively about those types of books. This book exists only to explain what happened to Black Adam between the end of 52 and the start of Countdown. Heck, the cover pretty much announces that. And it's not as if it's a bad book, though those who object to grim and serious uses of characters originally intended for children's stories will definitely want to avoid this book. But it is, at best, only a thoroughly competent book. It does what it is meant to do with a minimum of fuss.
There were, of course, other reactions. You can see some of them on display in this thread at Kotaku. For those without the patience to read through, and I don't blame you for not having it, a certain segment of the on-line video gaming community responded to the attack with some variation of "they had it coming." Not because it's a gay site and gays are icky, mind you. But because by specifically setting up the site as being primarily for gay and lesbian gamers, they're setting themselves up for these kinds of attacks. Because they're setting themselves apart. Because they think they're better than you. Because they have to be special. Because it's only about sex. Because they want special rights. Because they want their issues catered to. Because there's no "need" for a gay video game site, because sexuality has nothing to do with video games, and it's not as if all the other video game sites are for straight people.
I don't have to say it, do I? The very fact that the site was attacked in a homophobic manner points out the need for a gay video game site. That people are so used to the heteronormativity of video games that they can't see that, yes, video game sites assume their readership is heterosexual, points to the need for a gay video game site. That the default insult for the teen/post-teen male audience that most video game sites cater to is "gay" or "fag" points to the need for a gay video game site.
Which, in a roundabout way, brings me to comics. Whenever the topic comes up of gay issues in comics, or women's issues in comics, or race issues in comics, the response, very quickly degenerates into that same kind of "why do you think you're special, why do you need to be catered to, there's nothing about comics or the comics industry that's hostile to women, people of color, or gays." There is a certain degree of overlap in the comics community and the video game community; they're both primarily geek-centric activities, after all. And although I've noted before the basic conservative inclinations of nerd-dom at large (coupled with an oddly knee-jerk, unexamined libertarianism), I don't think that's whats really at issue here. Because I don't see this willful cluelessness as something confined to geek-culture, but instead it's something I see in the culture at large. It's a deliberate unwillingness to understand the issues and concerns of minority groups that quickly turns into open hostility towards the very idea of people that are different from the majority wanting to have either their voices heard in the mainstream or to have their own spaces. But I see this unwillingness and hostility especially prominent in geek circles. My initial reaction is that the geeks who feel so threatened already feel so ostracized and out of touch from the mainstream that any thing that threatens to unseat them from their self-imposed status of persecuted martyr must be shouted down. In other words, it's the usual fan entitlement rants as applied to identity politics, only in their world nerds are more disenfranchised than any other group in history.
Or, you know, they're just petty, small-minded jerks. In which case this picture of John Tristram should cause their heads to explode:
Getting linked to by BoingBoing gets you hate mail from conservatives. I mean, honestly, this was the saddest attempt to put me in my place I've ever seen. It was so inept I can't even work myself into a state of mild annoyance. Finding the attempt utterly fucking hilarious, though? Yeah, that's easy.
I'm exhausted and I'm sunburnt and I never want to see an under-12 with Scarface souvenirs ever again.
Click on the fully legal and licensed, I'm sure, Hulk balloons to see an exhaustive Flickr set of my day. Bear in mind, some stuff is there because I thought it was neat, some stuff was there because it amused me, and some stuff is there because I thought it was really, really sad. I'll leave you to guess which is which.
Lastly, here's Pete and my cousins on the most insane ride they had there. Well, thirty seconds of that. Because that's how long my damn batteries lasted. There were water jets involved at one point, seriously.
Our story opens with the young movers and shakers of Washington D.C. sitting around in a living room and telling ghost stories. And not in the midst of a drug and drink fueled orgy, as I gather real-life young movers and shakers of Washington D.C. get up nowadays.
Just then! A mysterious noise is heard outside...
And so they immediately leap to the conclusion that a common housecat was able to kill a grown man...maybe I was too quick to dimiss the "drug and drink" theory...
He's not looking at her eyes... I feel this would also be an opportune moment to point out that Phantom Lady's...endowment...is nothing spectacular, and is actually quite modest, given the number of people who think the only thing the character has going for her is cleavage.
And...that's an unfortunately drawn close-up.
Sandra's friends aren't very perceptive. Please note this, it will be important later.
After changing into her Phantom Lady costume, we get the least dramatic dramatic reveal ever:
Followed by an awkwardly drawn chase scene:
Which brings us to...something we can't see because the artist went crazy spotting blacks.
"They only place they could possibly have gone...is through that door the artist didn't bother to draw but we're about to walk through!"
"I has a burly ruffian!"
"I has a Phantom Lady...is not so great, actually."
Oh, yes...that makes perfect sense...
So...the Knight family has Fifth Columnists and cats in their basement, and they were none the wiser all this time...Well, my faith in politics is restored...
I think only Alfred has a more sinister wink... So, let's review something...Phantom Lady wears no mask. She just had an adventure that took place in the home of Sandra Knight, with Sandra Knight's friends and Sandra Knight's fiancee...Yeah, I guess her outfit really does work to distract people...Either that or her friends are idiots.