Man of the Moment


Sean William Scott


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dorianwright [at] gmail[dot]com


"Reading his blog is like watching a beloved 50's Rat Pack Vegas act"--Larry Young
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"Dorian Wright is intelligent and slightly bitter, like a fine coffee."--Kevin Church
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"It's always fun to see Dorian be bitchy."--Chris Butcher




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Saturday, May 31, 2008

Paperback Book Club 



A Planet for Texans, 1958, H. Beam Poper and John J. McGuire
Today's cover selected because I'm off to Book Expo to meet up with Bully...and not because I saw the title and thought "putting Texas on another planet...well, it's a start I suppose..."

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Friday, May 30, 2008

Doctor Who: The Poison Sky 



I'm a bit under the weather, so let's try for a "under one hundred words" review.

The conclusion of the fourth season's first two-parter manages a few "wow, that was neat" moments, while nonetheless unfolding in a manner that was fairly easy to predict given the set-up of the first episode. It strives for an epic conclusion, but only peters out rather tepidly. There are clever moments, and the callbacks to previous episodes that added to the appeal to nostalgia of the first part continue, but the whole thing does wind up with a bit of an "oh" feeling.

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Thursday, May 29, 2008

Trancy! 



Hey, look! A Muxtape!

(Yes, this is what we in the biz call a "lazy post.")

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Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Bad Customers Beget Bad Service 

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Tuesday, May 27, 2008

We're Back 

Here is a dog photo begging to be LOL-ized:


And here is an arty, pretentious shot of a cow:

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Monday, May 26, 2008

Jungle Justice 

From Buster Brown #25, by Reed Crandall

Click the first page to see the full story at a larger size.

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Saturday, May 24, 2008

Paperback Book Club 



The Midwich Cuckoos, 1957, Ninth Printing, John Wyndham
I've been in Oregon since Thursday, for my sister-in-law's wedding, and to meet the new nephew. I'm sure he'll turn out a lot nicer than the kids in this book do.

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Friday, May 23, 2008

The Cute Boys of Doctor Who 

Since there's no new episode this weekend (in America or England), and since I'm technically out of town, let's take a look back at some of the season so far's eye-candy.







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Thursday, May 22, 2008

Hay Everybody! 

I know some of you are busy arguing over how badly a comic you haven't read yet sucks, or complaining that the resurrection of a character messes up your fan-fiction, but I figured a few of you might like to know that the latest issue of the Torchwood magazine features the first part of a comic by Simon Furman and Paul Grist...

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Tootsie Rolls May Be Used For Good Or Evil 

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Wednesday, May 21, 2008

The Lactose Intolerant Cannot Be Cowboys 

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Tuesday, May 20, 2008

The New "Look At My Crotch" Jockey 



(image courtesy Pal Cully)

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Monday, May 19, 2008

Real Wild West Brand 



I still want to know why those kids were hanging out with the grizzled old prospector...alone...in the wilderness...in the first place...

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Saturday, May 17, 2008

Paperback Book Club 



The Puppies of Terra (Mankind Under the Leash), 1980, Thomas M. Disch
Sometimes I buy books just for the covers...this rarely works out well...

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Friday, May 16, 2008

Doctor Who: The Sontaran Stratagem 



The first two-part story of the first season, Helen Raynor's The Sontaran Stratagem feels a lot like a throwback to earlier eras of Doctor Who story-telling. There's a lot of nostalgia on display in this story. We have the return of an old enemy, we have the return of U.N.I.T. (now with a less United Nations annoying name), and we have the return of last season's companion, Martha Jones. We even have a plot-line, evil GPS devices of potentially alien origin and a super-genius with fascistic tendencies collaborating with aliens, that is highly reminiscent of the Jon Pertwee era of the show. We also have a rather too long flashback to this season's previous stories. Thematically, it works with this story, as the story as a whole functions as a kind of dividing line between the earlier episodes, the "meet Donna Noble" period of the season, and the later, more meta-plot heavy episodes. The look back grounds us in where we've been, so that we have a fresh slate going into the remaining episodes. It's also nice, for a variety of reasons, to see Freema Ageyeman return as Martha, even if it's only for a limited engagement. The new series of Who has often been criticized for its focus on "domestic" scenes, rather than grand space opera, but it's a change in the format that has worked for the better, I feel, as it means that there are consequences for traveling with the Doctor, not just for the companion but for their families and for the rest of their lives, a notion that the original series only rarely dabbled in. It's also rather a nice touch here that Martha and Donna get on, as one of the most tedious aspects of the prior "new companion meets old companion" story, School Reunion was the childish jealousy both Rose and Sarah Jane indulged in.

Oh, those UNIT boys...

Threads to Watch For
ATMOS pays off
Other than that, slow week for meta-plot

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Thursday, May 15, 2008

It Doesn't Work Like That 

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Wednesday, May 14, 2008

It's Too Early For A Mid-Life Crisis 

















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Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Sexy Facial Hair of the 70s 

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Monday, May 12, 2008

Badly Phrased Title 

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Saturday, May 10, 2008

Paperback Book Club 



The Book of Philip Jose Farmer, 1973, Philip Jose Farmer
Why is Tarzan in a top-hat? Because Philip Jose Farmer, that's why.
For more "why: because" statements, the management recomends:

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Friday, May 09, 2008

Doctor Who: Planet of the Ood 



After the heights of the previous two episodes, it feels like damning with faint praise to point out that Keith Temple's Planet of the Ood is merely good. Following up on a two year old plot thread, the Doctor and Donna find themselves on the Ood-Sphere, next door to the Sense-Sphere (and seemingly our completely gratuitous minor old series continuity reference for the season). The Ood are in the midst of a semi-rebellion, with formerly subservient Ood turning into rapid killers and attacking humans. The Doctor, feeling guilty over failing to save the Ood in his last encounter with them, or to ask how it was even possible for a sentient race to willingly sell themselves into slavery, determines to uncover what is happening to the Ood and the best way to help them.



Overall, it IS a good episode. We have a nice action piece, a big explodey battle sequence, and some nice moments with Catherine Tate and David Tennant. Donna in particular gets several good scenes here that emphasize her compassion for others, which are nicely contrasted with the Doctor's more "big picture" perspective. He sees the problem in macro; she sees it in the suffering of individuals. It was also nice to see the return of several themes from both the old and new series highlighted here, chiefly the banality of evil, which is expressed here in the form of an evil corporation and a blisteringly obvious comparison of the Ood's lot to contemporary factory workers in the Third World. What I would have liked to have seen more of was the nice inversion of the standard sci-fi cliche that takes place in this episode, namely that the evil, enslaving aliens are humanity.



Plot Threads to Watch For
Bees disappearing
"Your song must end soon."

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Thursday, May 08, 2008

How I Spent My Weekend 

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Wednesday, May 07, 2008

An Attack of Heavy Hair 

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Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Too Bad There's No Support Group For That 

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Monday, May 05, 2008

Things Carol Channing Should Never Do 



Nude sky-diving

Race in the Kentucky Derby

Bicycle across the Antarctic

Translate the Voynich Manuscript

Say the word "bukake"

Erotic jumping-jacks

Agree to star in a remake of Skidoo

Jump over a shark on water-skis

Go on a white-water rafting trip with Ned Beatty, Jon Voight and Burt Reynolds

Release a sex-tape

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Saturday, May 03, 2008

Paperback Book Club 



Unidentified Flying Oddball, 1979, Vic Crume
This is the closest thing I've got to an Iron Man-ish cover.

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Friday, May 02, 2008

Free Comic Book Day 2008 Reviewed 

As I've done every year prior, I undertook the masochistic task of getting my hands on, and reading, and reviewing, every single Free Comic Book Day book available. This year I missed out on a few, as they failed to get to me in time. I've heard that I didn't miss anything. The review scale is the same as before. If I say Get It, that means that I think the book is worth your attention. If I say It's Free, that means either the book is good, but nothing exciting, and you should probably either be happy with it for being free or pass. Avoid, I would hope, is self-explanatory.

All Star Superman
The best Superman comic in decades, with fantastic art and a real sense of humanity in the writing? If you haven't already been picking up this book, read this, and lose all your excuses for not getting it.
Get It

Amelia Rules: Comics and Stories
An engaging cast of characters, in all ages stories, with suitably dramatic and emotive stories without being preachy, condescending or reminiscent of an after-school special. Oh, and also funny and well drawn.
Get It

Atomic Robo
The lead story here is a fun adventure comic featuring robots, crazy Russian scientists and explosions. It's a little reminiscent of Hellboy in tone, but in a good way.
It's Free

Bongo Comics Free-For-All
Several inoffensive Simpsons stories, mildly amusing at best, but nothing remarkable. The best thing in the book is the art on Nina Matsumoto's manga-fied Simpsons story.
It's Free

Broken Trinity Prelude
A text-heavy recapping of the last several years worth of Witchblade and Darkness comics. The art has a nice, painterly quality to it, but the story is simply dreadful.
Avoid

Cartoonapalooza
Highly uneven in terms of subject matter and artistic quality, there's some momentary diversion to be found here, but nothing very compelling.
It's Free

Comic Book Challenge Showcase
A flip-book, with Hero By Night, a well-drawn but somewhat derivative super-hero comic, and Gunplay, a western with utterly undecipherable plot details, just based on this preview.
It's Free

Comic Book Diner
A collection of all-ages, and mostly very young-skewing at that, stories. As with most of the anthology titles, the quality of material is very uneven, but overall there's more good than bad or indifferent here.
It's Free

Comics Go Hollywood
A sampling of articles from magazines published by TwoMorrows about comic books and film. It's mostly interesting, but it's almost explicitly aimed at the older, long-time comic fan, and much of the material feels a bit randomly chosen and not particularly relevant to the interests of a new or casual comic book reader.
It's Free

Dabel Brothers & Del Rey 2008 Preview
A sampler of comics based on fantasy and sci-fi novels, overall of fairly good quality. The art on many stories is possibly too stylized to be of broad appeal, and the samples are a little short to be very effective, but not a bad package.
It's Free

Dan Dare/Stranded
What we have here is a not interesting at all science-fiction story and a revival of a decades long defunct British sci-fi property. It's hard to tell who the target audience for these is supposed to be, but since neither story is engaging in the slightest, it probably doesn't matter.
Avoid

Drafted
This is just horrible. Terrible art and a thread-bare concept that screams "buy me and turn me into a movie."
Avoid

EC Sampler
It's free EC stories, so there's no question as to the quality of material or its value, but only one of the stories really stand out as an iconic example of the EC style. A good idea, but not the best selection for this purpose.
It's Free

Gekiga
Two excerpts from Drawn & Quarterly's mini-line of, for lack of a better phrase, "indie" manga books. It's good material, and the excerpts stand alone and create interest in the complete story.
Get It

Graphic Classics
A broad selection of artists adapt great works of literature into comics form. A stand-out collection.
Get It

Gyro Gearloose
A bit of a disappointment compared to previous Disney releases from Gemstone, as Gyro stories tend to be more than a little repetitive, even by the standards of Duck comics.
It's Free

Hellboy
Interesting supernatural adventure stories, but there's a strong suggestion here that you should probably already be more than passingly familiar with Hellboy and his supporting cast.
It's Free

Ignatz
Another uneven collection, this time with the added benefit of self-importance, in this sampler of books from Fantagraphics "Ignatz" line of comics. There are a few good stories here, in the few self-contained pieces, but overall there's little to impress.
It's Free

Impact University Volumre 4
Nothing but a glorified ad for pricey "art instruction" books.
Avoid

Jughead
Even by the standards of contemporary Archie comics, this is tedious and charmless, and the advertorial nature of the inclusion of the Geppi's Entertainment Museum is off-putting.
Avoid

Kid Houdini and the Silver-Dollar Misfits
There's an interesting art style on display here, and the idea of a young Harry Houdini solving Scooby-Doo-esque mysteries with his gang of circus side-show freaks is quite clever. A complete story, however, would have been preferred.
Get It

Love and Capes #7
This is a real charmer, a funny super-hero romance book with a distinctive and appealing art style. If you haven't read this before, this is a nice place to start and a good introduction to the book.
Get It

Maintenance
This was fun, a bit too impressed with it's own cleverness, but an amusing take on the "super-villain" concept focusing on the guys who have to do the actual heavy lifting.
Get It

Marvel Adventures: Iron Man & Hulk & Spider-Man
Fairly inoffensive, but feels a bit to "talks down" to kids a bit. As far as introducing new readers to the characters, it's an okay effort, and it nicely capitalizes on upcoming Marvel movies.
It's Free

Maximum Ride
As a manga-style adaptation of a young adult novel, there really isn't anything here to recommend it unless you're already familiar with and a fan of the novels. There isn't even any kind of recap page to explain why people have wings.
Avoid

The Moth
Nice art, but it's in service to a completely generic super-hero story.
It's Free

Owly and Friends
Nicely illustrated kid-friendly comics. Most of the stories are dialogue free, making this an excellent choice for pre-readers, and the art is simply lovely on almost all these stories, giving the book appeal to all readers.
Get It

Project Super-Powers: The Death-Defying 'Devil
Most of the book is actually taken up by ads, mostly focused on Dynamite's licensed properties. The main story is unremarkable, featuring characters that even long-time comic fans will probably have to strain to remember, and the format chosen, having the characters explain a past adventure, makes for an undynamic book. That the villain is one of the more egregious "Yellow Peril" characters ever produced does not help matters either.
Avoid

Salem Queen of Thorns
I might have liked this more, if it didn't seem like it only existed in order to have something to hand off to potential film investors. There's probably still some good entertainment to be wrought from the fantasy/mystery genre, and this isn't terrible by any means, but it feels like a means to an end, rather than a finished product.
It's Free

Shonen Jump Special
A good over-view of several Shonen Jump titles, marred by the in media res nature of two of the stories.
It's Free

Sonic the Hedgehog
There is a certain charm to this, and the art is lively. It does definitely talk down to kids, though, and suffers from the same sort of going-through-the-motions quirks that most Archie adventure books have historically displayed.
It's Free

Tiny Titans
Pure, undiluted joy. Great art, cute stories, and fun.
Get It

Transformers Animated
I was actually looking forward to reading this, as I think the character designs for the new Transformers cartoon are fantastic...and then I saw this was a poorly designed fumetti using blurry screenshots instead of an actually drawn book.
Avoid

Wizard: How To Draw
Wizard has a bad history of putting out completely inappropriate material for FCBD, but this is actually not bad, cover aside, with good drawing advice from talented artists.
It's Free

Worlds of Aspen
I've been reading comics a long time, and I can't tell what the hell is supposed to be going on in any of these stories. I even know the basic concepts of the books featured, and I still can't figure out what's going on. So either I'm a complete illiterate, or this is just inept.
Avoid

X-Men
A character I've never heard of, a new status quo for the X-books alluded to, but not really explained, and enemies that as far as I know haven't been seen since the seventies, and weren't very interesting then either. On top of all that, we've got the traced-over-porn art of Greg Land presenting all this to us. It's completely unpleasant to look at, but it's "slick" so I imagine it will go over well, so long as people only look at the pictures and don't try to read the damn thing.
Avoid

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Thursday, May 01, 2008

Doctor Who: The Fires of Pompeii 



I'm apparently going to really have to take the time to track down a copy of James Moran's film Severance. Not only has he written one of the stronger episodes of Torchwood, "Sleepers," but his premiere Doctor Who episode is one of the most emotionally compelling stories they've aired on the program in years. At the root of the episode are questions that the show has rarely dwelled on in its history; to what extent is the Doctor responsible for the lives he endangers by his presence? What gives him the right to meddle in certain aspects of history, but not in others? Moran's script takes these questions and puts them into the context of a very old-school-Who-ish "monster of the week" alien invasion story. When the Doctor and Donna attempt to land in ancient Rome, they find themselves instead in the city of Pompeii, the day before the Romans learn what the word volcano means. Immediately the Doctor and Donna find themselves in conflict, with the Doctor wanting to flee the scene as soon as possible, and Donna insisting that she and the Doctor do something to try and save the citizens of Pompeii. Naturally, the Doctor discovers a deeper mystery, hinting at alien involvement with the city, which he must solve with a very precise deadline hanging over his head.

She's got it, Yeah baby, she's got it

Little touches that Moran brings to the story make it more than a simple "the Doctor fights aliens" story. In keeping with the tone set by the previous story, there's a good deal of comedy on display, mostly centered on the domestic scenes that have become the trade-mark of new Who, as the Doctor and Donna befriend an upwardly mobile Pompeii businessman and his family. Some of the jokes are even a bit overly pun-based, including a bizarre in-joke regarding character names that only makes sense if you took Latin in a British school (or have it explained to you over the internet by someone who did, in which case the impact of the joke is...not so much). The conflict between the Doctor and Donna is handled well, with Donna arguing from the perspective of compassion and the Doctor from necessity, and with it a strong subtext of an earlier critique of the Doctor from Donna, way back in "The Runaway Bride," that what the Doctor really needs, sometimes, is someone to stop him. It's the sort of argument you can't imagine Rose or Martha, or even very many of the Doctor's earlier companions, ever having with him. It's very nice to have a more mature companion, one without stars in her eyes, as it allows this kind of surprisingly sophisticated conversation about morality to occur on what is a family adventure show. And Catherine Tate and David Tennant do an exceptional job once again with the acting in these scenes. It appears that the two of them bring out the best in each other as performers.



Plot Threads to Watch For
"She is returning."
"There is something on your back."
The Medusa Cascade
Missing planets

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© 2007 Dorian Wright. Some images are © their respective copyright holders. They appear here for the purposes of review or satire only.