Man of the Moment

Sean William Scott

Kindly direct email to:
dorianwright [at] gmail[dot]com

"Reading his blog is like watching a beloved 50's Rat Pack Vegas act"--Larry Young
"One of the few comics blogs I always make time for"--Antony Johnston
"Dorian Wright is intelligent and slightly bitter, like a fine coffee."--Kevin Church
"Absolutely huggable."--Bully
"It's always fun to see Dorian be bitchy."--Chris Butcher
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Friday, February 29, 2008

Friday Night Fights 

More badassery with the Blue Devil:

No glass jaw on him

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Hits & Misses 


Kevin Church is a god-damned saint.


The producers of the upcoming Wolverine solo film have decided, in light of the negative critical and fan reaction to the third X-Men film, to high-light Hugh Jackman's musical theater abilities and the gay subtext of the X-franchise:

I love covers.
I love Disney. okay...with Tim Curry.

Yet this terrifies me.

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Thursday, February 28, 2008

Unexpected Comics Beefcake 

Dan Cassidy, pre-Blue Devil

I think it's the side-burns that push him over the edge from "generically good-looking comics character" to "Whoa, Nelly!" territory...

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Wednesday, February 27, 2008

What If...Joss Whedon Wrote Doctor Who 

  • Rose would be played by an actress half Billie Piper's size.

  • Mickey would be Miki, Rose's peppy yet nerdy side-kick.

  • Both Rose and Miki would be straight, but there would be plenty of lesbian innuendo between them aimed at male audience members.

  • The Doctor would only appear for five to ten minutes of each episode, acting as Rose's mentor as he helps her fulfill her special destiny.

  • Captain Jack would be incompetent and straight, yet his relationship with the Doctor would be even more homoerotic.

  • Everybody would be in love with Rose because of how special she is, even though the traits people say they admire her for are never actually demonstrated. In fact, she acts like a selfish, spoiled, stuck-up bitch pretty much all the time.

  • Rose would frequently talk about traveling in time and space, yet we would never actually see it happen on the show.

  • Everybody would be white. Except for Martha, who would show up for two or three episodes and then get killed off. We can't have anyone threaten to displace Rose as the most interesting character, now can we?

  • For that matter, Donna would never appear on the show. What, you think people want to watch a show about an old lady having adventures? And forget about having Astrid, even as a guest star. No competing blonds, are you insane?

  • The Master would be in every single episode. He would be in love with Rose. Eventually his love for Rose would cause him to reform, therefore robbing him of what little bits of characterization made him interesting in the first place.

  • The show's fixation on Rose would last past the point at which the story structure makes sense for it to focus on her at all, past the point at which any compelling drama can be wrung from the character or her situation. To the point, frankly, where other characters start to look and act like total dicks because the show's creators don't trust the audience to move on past Rose.
    Uhm...hold up...



Tuesday, February 26, 2008

I Guess You Practice On Your Cat... 

I only ever seem to find this ad in old romance comics. So I guess the horrible notion of a woman having some kind of a career is balanced out by presenting one in which she might meet a doctor.
I don't mind telling you, that second paragraph, with its "nah, you don't need any kind of edju-ma-cation, your good intentions are all you need to be a nurse" scares the shit out of me...



Sunday, February 24, 2008

Paperback Book Club 

The Tombs of Atuan, 1981-14th printing, 1989-22nd printing, Ursula K. Le Guin
The back-cover copy of the 1981 edition emphasizes Tenar's role in the story. The 1989 edition pushes the "great fantasy epic" and "isn't Ged just swell?" angles. Not that I'm drawing any explicit comparisons to the evolution in how fantasy novels are marketed, mind you...



Saturday, February 23, 2008

Some Days, I Just Post For Myself 

Other People Who Post Just For Me





Friday, February 22, 2008

Friday Night Fights: Tigra vs. Hawkeye 

Pushing you to the brink

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Torchwood: Meat and Adam 

It seems almost inevitable that, after the high level of expectations set by the first few episodes, Torchwood would produce a few episodes that seem somewhat disappointing in comparison. It's not that either of these episodes are bad, but the best that can be said of them is that they're only of average quality. They each have the feel of being something of a place-holder episode, a story whose premise doesn't quite warrant elevating it into a major piece. The stories in question are neither particularly character focused nor very complicated plot-wise. To a certain degree, the actual stories of the episodes seem to have been a secondary concern to filling some of the middle period of the season with events that advance the overall story-line of the second series.

Of the two, Meat, by Catherine Tregenna, is probably the strongest, in part because of the simpler plot. The thrust of the episode is Gwen's fiance Rhys discovering the truth about Gwen and Torchwood. Gwen's secrecy and treatment of Rhys in the first season was, to be blunt, horrific, and made her downright unlikeable and extremely unsympathetic in certain episodes. Getting that needless complication out of the way once and for all eliminates the potential of the over-used "character has a secret that will jeopardize a relationship" trope. Rhys knows, it's dealt with, we all move on. After that, the actual story of a group of thugs who exploit an alien as a source of cheap meat just fills up the rest of the fifty minute run time. The villains are nothing special, one-note thugs with no imagination and no personality, and the alien, well...let's be generous and assume that the production team meant it to look like a shapeless gray blob for dramatic reasons. The only cringe-worthy false note in the episode is the forcing of some kind of pseudo-sexual/romantic tension between Gwen and Jack. It just doesn't work with these two characters, and the continual introduction of that dynamic into the series is just maddening. It's an annoying television cliche that the show can do without replicating.

Adam, also by Catherine Tregenna, is the kind of story I find I want to like more than I do, but in the end there isn't very much to it. The set-up is that a new member of the team is in the Hub, but his presence provides hints that something is going wrong. People are forgetting important things, things vital to their sense of self. People are acting wildly out of character. Blatantly, obviously, of course the new arrival is tied directly into all of it. But the villain of the piece is never really credibly explained or motivated. He's just...there. And then he's not, via a method that is even more frustratingly vague than the villain and suggests a cop-out. It's a story with zero consequences, as the "reset" button is hit at the end.

And again, secondary concerns of plot and character advancement seem to be the real point of the story. We get a few moments of insight into Gwen and Ianto's relationships with Jack and Toshiko's and Owen's senses of self. Burn Gorman in particular does an exceptional job in this episode, saddled as he is with a bit of a Duane Dibbley persona for this story, and the hint of back-story we are given does more to justify and explain the frequent odiousness of Owen's personality than anything else we've seen in the show so far. But the main draw is the fleshing out of Jack's back-story, particularly the explanation of who Gray is, why he's important to Jack, and what Jack's child-hood in the Boeshane Peninsula was like. Especially how the traumas of Jack's childhood shaped him into the man he was when we first met him in Doctor Who. It's important character development, and it significantly advances the meta-plot for this season, but it just doesn't happen in a very compelling episode.



Thursday, February 21, 2008

Genuine Swiss Watch 

Wouldn't it be better to co-ordinate your watch strap color with your evening dress, rather than just assume that because it's black it's going to go with your outfit?
Fashion is serious business people! Black only almost goes with everything!



Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Equal Time 

Oh yeah, Marvel publishes comics too.

I'm not quite sure what to make of Marvel's partnership with French publisher Soleil. On the one hand, I hope it works out better for Soleil than the deal with DC did for Humanoids. On the other, this is Marvel we're talking about, and rather than just publish the albums, they're releasing the first series, Sky Doll, in comic format. And that's not even getting into the question of whether these will be edited in order to avoid a Fox News segment on "Spider-Man Publisher Pushes Porn On Kiddies..."

The solicitation for Spider-Girl spin-off American Dream reminds me of the occasional defense I sometimes feel obligated to mount for the M2 line. Which is that, as mediocre and formulaic and out-of-synch with contemporary comics storytelling standards as the line is, I find that they're frequently the only books Marvel publishes which aren't trying too hard. They're unambitious, but they're also not trying to be "edgy" or any other nonsense like that. They're the books where the good guys act like good guys.

I will be buying Avengers/Invaders. If you know me, this may come as a surprise to you. But for me it basically comes down to twelve issues of Steve Sadowski drawing Wolverine, and...yeah, I'm up for that.

Guardians of the Galaxy. Hate the name. But it has Rocket Raccoon in it. So, yeah, it gets checked out at least.

Just when I think Marvel's starting to act like a real business, I come across something like the solicitation for Kick-Ass:
Plus, Kick-Ass starts to find out what happens when you tick off the real-world criminals who have ignored him until now. Things turn ugly and that can mean only one thing...God, this comic is so good I could cry. And I'm very butch.
Yeah, way to convince us your company isn't being run by over-grown frat-boys there, guys...

I'm not sure what I can add to the incredulity of not only a collection of Kitty Pryde and Wolverine, one of the worst comics of all time, but a hard-cover collection at that, in multiple editions, when Kevin's already said all there is to say. Except this: when I worked in comics retail, the only people who ever bought this series where obsessive-compulsive X-Men fans who had to own at least one copy of every book with an X-Man character in it ever published, and creepy guys who were a little too into Kitty Pryde...



Obscurity Is Joy 

The new DC solicitations have been released, and these are the ones containing the first solicitations for Final Crisis and the, by the scale of these things, modest number of cross-overs. And, predictably, I've already seen, here and there, a few mumblings of discontent over the fact that, judging by these early solicitations, two obscure and nearly forgotten villains are at the center of Final Crisis, namely Libra and the Human Flame. "Oh, why can't it be someone important, like Darkseid or Mongul or Sinestro?" they say. "Why can't it be someone cool, like Hush or the Joker or Doomsday?" a few say as well.

Well, bah to the whiners I say, because:

There are a couple of very good reasons to use obscure characters for a project like this. Primarily, minor and forgotten characters are great tools for writers. They have no huge backlog of history or continuity to get tangled up with. They're blanks, and a good writer will take that blank and turn it into whatever they want it to be. History, motivation, personality; the characters were one-off and one-note when they first appeared, now they can be more.
But more importantly, there's a very practical reason why a minor Justice League villain and an unknown Martian Manhunter villain are ideal for a project like this. Frankly, no one cares about them. They're not going to be appearing in any movies. They're not going to be featured in any cartoons. No one is clamoring for a Libra lunch-box. This means that Morrison is free to do...pretty much anything he wants with or to them, and no one is going to be terribly upset. No marketing or licensing opportunities of significance will be lost if the Human Flame is killed off. No will send death threats to Morrison if Libra dies in the story.
Well, except for the people who post to scans_daily, and they whine if a character so much as stubs their toe in a comic.

Also of note: DC Universe Special: Justice League of America, reprinting issues 111, 166, 167 and 168 of the original Justice League series. These would be the issues that feature Libra and the Secret Society of Super-Villains, including the infamous "the Society does a mind-swap with the League" story that so many DC writers have referenced in recent years.

And, of course, more Wildcat:

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Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Comics What I Read 

Comics What I Liked

Narcopolis #1, by Jamie Delano and Jeremy Rock, published by Avatar
A new sci-fi serial by one of the most under-appreciated writers in recent years? Yeah, I'm up for that. Delano creates a bold world, throwing readers head-first into it without context, forcing you to work to understand both the setting the clever language games he's using for dialogue. It's breathtakingly innovative work, with stunning artwork from Jeremy Rock. It's easily one of the most exciting first issues I've read in years.

Captain Billy's Whiz Bang, published by About Comics
This is a reprint of an "adult" humor magazine from 1922. I use scare quotes because it's neither particularly risque or off-color, just somewhat deliberately, even self-consciously, naughty and provocative. Given that this is an early Fawcett publication, that level of smirking smug schoolboy naughtiness isn't terribly surprising. It has a certain charm though, in a contemporary setting, as a reminder that the supposed innocent ages of the past weren't so terribly innocent.
(Yes, I know this isn't a comic.)

The Last Musketeer by Jason, published by Fantagraphics
Jason's work never really seems to prize narrative as a focus. There's an almost surreal sense of story on display here, a kind of "this happens, then this happens, then that happens" rhythm to events that is suggestive to me of the kinds of imaginative play that children often engage in. The ideas come quickly, and blend together disparate elements that don't suggest natural pairings; in this case, a Dumas-ian musketeer thwarting a Martian invasion by a disinterested Martian Emperor while his daughter smacks her boyfriend into doing what she says. The art is deceptively clever, and highlighted by simple flat coloring.

Incognegro, by Mat Johnson and Warren Pleece, published by DC/Vertigo
Moral certainty is an easy out when dealing with stories set in the South during the segregation period, but Johnson's historical mystery goes beyond a simple black/white race-based conflict to incorporate issues of class and gender as well, set against the vital artistry of the Harlem Renaissance. It's a flawed work; the evilness of the villains approaches the one-note, lacking any nuance, but it's still a strong and compelling work. Pleece's work is expressive, and he takes full advantage of the symbolism the black-and-white format of the work affords him in his characterization.

Comics What Could Have Been Better

WWH Aftersmash: Damage Control #1, by Dwayne McDuffie and Salva Espin, published by Marvel
The title alone should give you a big hint as to what my major problem with this book was. On it's own, this was a good title: well written, well drawn and genuinely funny. Unfortunately, it's been over 15 years since a Damage Control comic was published, and this comic assumes I've read World War Hulk, Civil War and the issues of Wolverine that tied into Civil War. Even a release of a Damage Control trade featuring the original issues would have alleviated some of these issues, at least it would have gone some way towards reminding me who these characters are supposed to be. But in the end, this is a book that could have been good, but is crippled by the presumption that the only people who could possibly be interested in it are intimately aware of the minutia of Marvel's publishing output.

Queen & Country: The Definitive Edition, Vol. 1 by Greg Rucka and others, published by Oni
The plotting and character-ization here are top-notch, and it's a neat trick that Rucka has pulled off, creating a realistic espionage thriller that never feels like it's either pandering to popular political opinion or seeking to avoid causing offense. The significant problem here is that the change in art styles from story to story is jarring, and certain artists feel like extremely bad fits for the story. Steve Rolston and Brian Hurtt turn in the best work here, while Leandro Fernandez's contribution marks such a radical change in style, with grotesquely caricatured characters in comparison to the work that has gone before.

Diana Prince: Wonder Woman - Volume 1, by Denny O'Neil, Mike Sekowsky and Dick Giordano, published by DC
Oh boy, are these comics no good. The only reason these comics are even readable is that the passage of time has rendered their very rough to look at art and naive stories amusing when viewed with an ironic detachment. So the end result is that these are enjoyable to read, but by no means whatsoever any damn good. At all. If you're a Wonder Woman completist, a blogger looking for easy content, or simply entertained by well meaning failure, than this is a book for you.

Indiana Jones Omnibus Volume 1, by Various, published by Dark Horse
There is a trio of comics published shortly after the release of the third Indiana Jones movies reprinted here, from the period when Lucasfilm was trying to replicate the success of the so-called "Expanded Universe" of Star Wars to the Indiana Jones properties. The first, a comic adaptation of the stellar "Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis" video game, is yet another reminder of the fact that video games, even the plot-heavy adventure games which used to dominate the market, simply don't make good source material for comics. The second story, "Thunder in the Orient" is a twice as long as it needs to be piece of Steve Canyon fan-fiction, complete with sultry Asian villainess, disguised as an Indiana Jones story. It's simply dreadful, to be blunt. The last story, "Indiana Jones and the Arms of Gold" comes off well, simply by being competently executed and not insultingly bad. The book is more of a test of patience to see how much of an Indiana Jones fan you really are to get through it.

Comics What Were Good, That Failed To Engage Me

Lust: Kinky Online Personal Ads from Seattle's The Stranger by Ellen Forney, published by Fantagraphics
Forney's artwork is pretty, and there's a sly sense of humor on display in most of these pieces, but the nature of the project itself; single-panel adaptations of personals ads, doesn't lend itself to a big thick book. A few dozen or so in a pamphlet or in a magazine is one thing. One hundred and sixty or so pages of it becomes quite tedious. It doesn't help either that a good deal of contempt for the people placing the ads comes through from time to time. There's a certain "let's laugh at the sick desires of the loveless freaks" attitude that surfaces from time to time that's off-putting.

The Pin-Up Art of Dan DeCarlo Vol. 2, by Dan DeCarlo, published by Fantagraphics
While DeCarlo's art is as fantastic as it ever was, and the production of this volume is fantastic, with excellent use of limited color to accent the artwork, this was still an unsatisfying read. Frankly, it's because the cartoons really aren't terribly funny. The cartoons are reprints from men's humor and pin-up mags, and so the point is more to draw a really stacked dame, maybe with a hint of nipple showing if it looks like the Post Office might not be looking too hard this month for things to censor, than to show much originality or wit.

Krazy & Ignatz 1941-1942: "A Ragout of Raspberries", by George Herriman, published by Fantagraphics
Like the DeCarlo book, Herriman's art is amazing, and the production values on the book are excellent. Sadly, the work is too much of its time, and far too repetitive regarding the nature of the gag's, to really work successfully for a modern reader. It's an interesting curiosity of an earlier period, and an important piece of comics history, but in and of itself it fails to compel.

Hank Ketcham's Complete Dennis the Menace 1955-1958 Box Set by Hank Ketchum, published by Fantagraphics
It's too much Dennis! I can't really think of any other way to put it. Ketchum's line work is still strong at this fairly early point in his career, and there is still an undercurrent of slightly risque humor that would disappear in later years on the strip, as it devolved into a mediocre "kids say/do funny things" gag strip. Dennis is actually more of a terror in these strips, which honestly doesn't say much for the parenting abilities of the Mitchell's. But then, given their seeming neglect of the boy and their own barely repressed anger towards each other and outsiders, perhaps it isn't too surprising that Dennis acts out. But that's over thinking the strips.

Comics What I Did Not Like
Hotwire Comics #2, by Various, published by Fantagraphics
Mome #10, by Various, published by Fantagraphics
Anthology titles tend to be a mixed bag at the best of times, and while that's certainly the case here, on the whole there is more material in both of these books that is simply bad, if not unreadable, than is good or merely mediocre. Hotwire's contributors repeatedly make the mistake too many of today's self-consciously "edgy" cartoonists make, which is that they're so busy showing off how offensive or outrageous or envelope-pushing they can be that they forget to actually create a comic worth reading. Most of Mome's contributors make a similar mistake, which is to be overly self-regarding to the point of laughable pretentiousness.

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Monday, February 18, 2008

Toy News 

There was some recent toy news that got me excited, for appallingly fan-boy-ish reasons.

There's a new 3 3/4 inch line of DC figures coming out, featuring the usual suspects (Batman, Superman, Hawkman), some pleasent surprises (Question, Commishoner Gordon, Batwoman), some head-scratchers (Hush, Weather Wizard) and several generic figures (Gotham PD, Thangarian Wingmen).
And of course, an absolute MUST HAVE figure for everyone:

There was also an official announcement of the long-rumored Doctor Who Mini-Mates. These were a no-brainer buy for me anyway, but this seals the deal:

What kind of interesting tableaus can I create with a Mini Jack Harkness, Mini Wildcat and Mini Leather Daddy Wolverine...

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Muscle Building "Tools" 

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Saturday, February 16, 2008

Paperback Book Club 

Exile's Honor, 2003, Mercedes Lackey
This cover is notable for being one of the very few Mercedes Lackey novels with a) a man on the cover who b) is not a wispy androgyne.



Friday, February 15, 2008

Friday Night Fights 

Tonight I steal from Chris Sims, instead of the other way around:

When he hits a bear, it stays hit.

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Ugh...The Sixties... 

Well, I suppose if you're going to be participating in any Laugh in cos-play, this is something...



Thursday, February 14, 2008

Happy Valentine's Day 

Yes, I'm a bad man. I know.
I'm not sorry.



Wednesday, February 13, 2008

East Meets West 

Blame Bully

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Thank You, Wikipedia 

Without that little bit of completely uncontested factual information, I may not have been able to make it through my day...




And now, a little tid-bit from Young Love #96:

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Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Boys, Beauty, & Popularity 



Monday, February 11, 2008

Two Things I Found Noteworthy 

So, you know how some people keep insisting that manga is the great hope of the comics industry, because the lack of sexism and misogyny won't drive new readers away the way super-hero comics allegedly do?
(And how those of us who have been reading manga for longer than the current shojo boom hear this sort of thing, and just shake our heads?)
Well, I bought Ral Grad, the new manga from Death Note artist Takeshi Obata. And while it's twisted in the ways I usually like I'm not sure I'll be picking up any future volumes.

That sort of thing? All over the damn book. Hell, Ral's primary motivation to become a hero is so that he'll have ample opportunity to grope women.
This was published by Viz, as part of their Shonen Jump line. So it's a kid's comics.

And I'm not calling for a ban on the comic, or hoping to prompt an outcry, or anything like that. I'd just like to take this opportunity to remind people that, you know, Japanese comics are just as bad, if not worse, than American comics when it comes to the whole sexism thing.

And on a lighter note:

So, the message for this ad seems to be: if I use their product, I'll miss out on seeing hot guys make out. Yeah, I think I'll go without Bluetooth accessories for my phone a bit longer, in that case.

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Don't Smoke, Kids 

I'll tell you what you've done, young man! You've turned yourself into a freak!

You should live a clean, wholesome and healthy life, so you can wind up like these fine folk:

I'm so glad we have the comic book industry to give us truthful, realistic lessons about health and nutrition.



Sunday, February 10, 2008

How Internet Fandom Works 

I point out this article to Ken because I think it's an interesting look at how the producer of a successful sci-fi show approaches online fandom.

Ken uses that article as a springboard to talk about the negative extremes some fans go to.

Mike and I both link to Ken's piece because we think it's good writing and makes a point worth listening to.

Hysterical, over-sensitive fans take offense at what Ken wrote because, frankly, he described their behavior and attitude to a "t."

Andrew points out that the hysterical, over-sensitive fans basically proved Ken's point for him.

I write about all this because, honestly, I'm laughing my ass off at the echo-chamber Ken was talking about being shown in action so perfectly.

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Saturday, February 09, 2008

Paperback Book Club 

Shot in the Dark, 1950, edited by Judith Merril.
Cover illustration by H.E. Bishcoff of Leigh Brackett's The Halfling

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Friday, February 08, 2008

Friday Night Fights 

And now, a brief scene from the courtin' days of Jonathan and Martha Kent:

The ring-master

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Torchwood: To The Last Man 

The producers of Torchwood continue to change up the format to good effect. This time around we get a quiet, deeply personal romantic tragedy, with an apocalyptic rupture in the fabric of space-time standing in for the usual romantic complications. After the "comedy with action" episode and the "action with comedy" episode, it's nice to have an episode that pulls back a bit from the attempts to tell a "big" story and instead focuses on a more character driven story. Naoko Mori as Toshiko turns in a lovely performance, practically heart-breaking, convincingly moving from the thrill of the sweet moments of early love to the inevitable loss that the nature of her love affair demands. Another excellent guest performance is also on display with Anthony Lewis as Tommy, the thawed out World War One soldier whose destiny is tied into Torchwood and the complicated nature of the Rift in Cardiff. His performance nicely blends the youth of his character with the world-weariness of a man who has seen the better part of a century whirl by him in a matter of months, with cosmetic changes but human nature, depressingly, not developing.

There are a number of nice nods to the continuity obsessive here as well. The introduction of Torchwood Three circa 1918 is a nice reminder of the history of the organization, while the very slight dig at Doctor Who was another sly reminder of the wider "universe" Torchwood inhabits. There are, of course, the usual head-aches caused by attempting to logically unravel a story involving time-travel, time-loops, and apparent predestination. In keeping with the "light entertainment" mandate of the show, this is not dealt with, other than in the most broad possible terms in an effort to heighten the drama. In other words, you can't over-think the internal logic of the show too much or you'll just turn your brains to mush.

But again, worrying too much about the obligatory sci-fi babble is to miss the point of the episode. The grist of the story is the emotional lives and developments of the characters. We don't see much of Gwen or Owen in this episode; Gwen is essentially just Jack's right-hand man in the story, without much to do than run into echoes of people from the past, although Owen is allowed a few more moments of his "Owen is nice inexplicably a nice guy" arc. Ianto and Jack don't get terribly much to do in this episode either, even Ianto's one-liner count is down a bit, but they do share a beautiful scene that advances their relationship and sheds more light on what is bringing them together. There is a shared loneliness to the characters, and pain in their past, that seems to be developing as the primary mover in their relationship. However, none of that comes close to upstaging Toshiko's storyline, and the superlative performance Naoko Mori gives.



Thursday, February 07, 2008

Lest We Forget 



Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Your Role in the Cold War 



Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Sugar-coating It 

One of the quirks of online fandoms is their...interesting attitude towards the truth. When a fan says something is "true" it doesn't necessarily mean what a non-fan might think it means. So, as a public service, and with pretty pictures to help make the lesson more interesting, in ascending order from "least true" to "most true" in the eyes of fans, I present:

Why, yes, they are in the right order. These are fans remember...

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Monday, February 04, 2008

From Hell's Heart I Stab At Thee! 

I only occasionally bother to do a full score look at Previews. Frankly, there's too many other people out there doing it. So I really have to hold off on it unless there is sufficient material I find appalling enough to merit taking the time to do one. And by "appalling enough" what I mean is: I feel the need to go wash a couple layers of skin off with a pumice stone when I contemplate being in the same building as people who want to own these things.

Yeah, this was one of those months...

Liberty Meadows Keychain Trading Figures—Page 63
How to get me to buy Frank Cho merchandise:

Make me a little duckling riding a dachsund.
(There's going to be a huge-breasted woman on the package, isn't there?)

Cybercontroller Statue—Page 64
I'm a fairly shameless Doctor Who fan, and the success of the new series has meant that, finally, I can get my hands on decent merchandise. And still…

A $300 "Weta Collectibles" Cyberman statue? No.
(We will not mention the $330 Dalek statue…)

Spawn: Age of Pharohs—Jackal King—Page 177
Okay, the picture isn't that great, but:

It's nice to see McFarlane toys finally putting out a toy with a noticeable package in addition to the obligatory female figure with big…assets.

Secret Invasion—Marvel Previews Page 41
Only two cross-over titles…that's positively restrained. 'Couse, I'm not the slightest bit interested. Largely this is due to the series getting sadled with an artist not even remotely the slightest bit to my taste. But also because I already sat through this storyline with the Dire Wraiths. And the Manhunters.
(It wasn't very good those last two times, either.)

Jim Butcher's The Dresden Files: Welcome to the Jungle—Page 266
No joke, I just wanted to be sure Pete saw that a Harry Dresden comic was coming out.

The Nye Incidents—Page 274
A new graphic novel from Devil's Due. This is the first line of the ad:

Okay, so we're looking at some sort of non-fiction comic, like Palestine or something by Harvey Pekar, right?

Ah, so "True Events" is evidently a typo for "Unadulterated Bullshit." Devil's Due really should hire a better proof-reader.

Thirsty For Love—Page 290
This is the description for this yaoi title from Digital Manga Publishing's June' imprint:
Orie Nakano’s girlfriend is cheating on him with two other men! One is the mysteriously untouchable Tatsumi, and the other is the basketball-playing upperclassman that Orie idolizes.
But things are far from being as simple as they seem, and now the three men are inevitably pulled towards each other and bond together by their love for Yuka, which extends much farther than just the girl herself. Love, admiration and lust intermingle around them in an inescapable spiral in this coming of age sexy romance.

Teenage boys sleeping with the same girl leads, somehow, to gay sex…Yeah…You know, some gay men really don't like the way yaoi depicts gay men. Plots like this sort of drive home why.

Mack Bolan, The Executioner: The Devil's Tools—Page 306
Given how many comic-book characters are thinly disguised riffs on Mack Bolan, it's nicely full circle that a new comic featuring the character is coming out.
Man, The Executioner. I can remember a time when there were two or three bays full of "men's adventure" novels in every bookstore I ever went to. I can't even remember the last time I saw even a single copy of something in the genre in a bookstore. Low sales killed off the genre, I guess. Well, to be more specific, the self-fulfilling prophecy of "men don't read/let's not put out light reading for men" killed the genre. Now I can find seven or eight bays worth of books about plucky young women going to the big city and getting their dream job and a guy who will put them in their place (but for the love of all that's holy, don't call the book a "romance").
I don't even like men's adventure novels (well, the cover art is usually a hoot) and I feel put out that the genre's gone…

Captain Action #0—Page 319
Really Moonstone? That's the license you went after?

Okay, I'm scanning the next two, because if I don't someone's going to call me a liar:

Okay, I'm going to save all of you lovely people $220. The comics industry started when a bunch of gangsters looking to launder their money found a way to cheat a bunch of teenagers and people who couldn't break into real illustration jobs out of their intellectual property. They made a lot of money doing so and have done their level best to whittle away their audience ever since. Now we are left with an industry where Marvel and DC screw Diamond, Diamond screws every other publisher, everybody screws retailers and fans complain that they're not being sufficiently coddled to.
Honestly, what's the market for these books? I'm picturing them appealing to the same sort of people who sign up for a $2000 course in "How to Save Money."

A Whole Shitload of Indiana Jones Novels—Page 408
If I'm not mistaken, all these books are reprints of the novels that came out after Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, when Lucasfilm tried to create an "Expanded Universe" for the Indiana Jones films, given that it didn't seem likely that a fourth film would be made and they had to get more income off the property somehow.
I made the mistake of reading one of them once.
I'd advise against them.

Family Guy Presents Episode IV: A New Hope Premium Trading Cards--420
Trading cards based on the Star Wars parody episode of the worst animated series since Capitol Critters.
I'm not going to make fun of anyone who buys these. How could I possibly add to your shame?

American Flagg! Ltd Edition Hardcover Book Set—Page 427
This is not the long-awaited new collection of this series. No, this is a set of old hard-covers that were, presumably, sitting around in some warehouse somewhere. I can't help but feel that the presence of this listing in the catalog should be taken as a sign that the new collection still won't be coming out anytime soon.
I expect we'll see the next issue of Ultimate Hulk vs Wolverine before we see that collection.

The Golden Compass Basic Action Figures—Page 446
In case you somehow missed picking these up when every toy store in the country had shelf after shelf of pegwarmers going unwanted before Christmas…

The Princess Bride: Talking Dread Pirate Roberts Plush—Page 450

Oh, I hope it's in scale with the Another Country plush dolls!

Randy Bowen's Gargoyle Statue—Page 466
Get it now, before Disney's lawyers get wind of it:

I'm just sayin'…

Medieval Wooden Sword—Page 518

I love this little reminders of the fact that Diamond still considers head shops and Ren Faires to be an important part of their business model.

Labyrinth Door Knocker—Page 519

I just want to draw your attention to one line here: "…One can hardly speak and the other can hardly hear, making them a form of living irony."
i-ro-ny, noun, "the use of words to convey a meaning that is the opposite of its literal meaning."
A door knocker that cannot speak or hear because of where the ring is placed really doesn't fit that definition. At all.
(This observation submitted by Little Mikey Sterling, Aged 52, of Greater San Buenaventura, California)

Sweeney Todd Razor Prop Replica—Page 521

This has been your "oh dear God, these fucking prop replicas need to fucking stop already" entry for the month.

Doctor Who Micro Universe Game—Page 535

Doctor Who clicky-style collectable miniature game? Oh, my yes.Yes yes yes.

Eleven Men Out DVD—Page 548
I nearly dropped my copy of Previews when I came across this. In the midst of all the anime, bargain-basement horror films, nerd-core television shows and soft-core porn, Diamond is soliciting a European film about a gay soccer team. It's unprecedented!
I wonder what they thought they were soliciting…

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Friday, February 01, 2008

Friday Night Fights 

Really Simon? Really?

Let's go to the tape:

Wonder Man, you just got taken out by one of the Beast's villains.
Turn your Avengers ID in to Jarvis on your way out. We'll send you your things.

How did that fight turn out, anyway?

Tigra talked him out of attacking.
Tigra, of all people.

The Hero of the Beach

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