It's a slow night.

Prepare for the coming of... LOLACTUS!

I'm sure somebody somewhere has already done this exact joke - and more proficiently at that - but oh well.

The Dig List: 12/16/07

Haven't done one of these in awhile, so in case you need a refresher, these are just (hopefully) short reactions to stuff I've read and/or watched recently.

Scott Pilgrim Gets It Together - Honestly? For my comic book dollar, this was damn near perfect, and probably my favorite book of the series thus far, seeing as we get the answers to a few questions, a few more questions raised, and some actual character development among the main cast. Fun Comics of the highest degree - maybe the only thing that's come close to challenging The Professor's Daughter as the year's best book for me. And now I really want to go back to Toronto for a visit.

Sin City: The Hard Goodbye and A Dame to Kill For - Generally not a big Frank Miller fan, but I actually kinda liked the both of these (the former more than the latter, but still). It's clear the man has a passion - and, I'll begrudgingly admit - a talent for ultraviolent, oversexed pulp material, but it works a lot better for me on its own rather than when its shoehorned into a Batman story or something. Quick question, though: are there any women in Basin City who aren't prostitutes, strippers, or gold-digging femme fatale types?

Planet Hulk - I think a lot of the praise that was heaped upon this story was mostly due to the fact that it was probably the first good Hulk story since Peter David's first run, but if it wasn't quite as excellent as advertised, it was still quite good. The basic concept of "Gladiator Hulk... IN OUTER SPAAAAAAAAAAAAACE!" didn't set my world on fire (bad choice of words, considering the climax?), but Greg Pak certainly took it to some places I wasn't expecting, so I definitely appreciated that. Plus, I really dug that for once, the angrier Hulk got, the smarter he got. Hulk smash is one thing... but Hulk strategize? That's kinda scary.

AmericanElf.com archives - I've been going through James Kochalka's daily diary strips from their very beginning ever since the site went free the other week, and let me tell you, that's a lot of life to absorb in a very short time. But it's a very satisfying, relaxing experience, too. I'm not a rock star indie cartoonist, but I can relate to many of the little zen-like moments Kochalka records, good or bad. But I'm a sucker for a good diary comic strip - hence why I enjoy the works of Jeffrey Brown, Liz Prince, and Ben Snakepit, too - if only because it proves that every life, however mundane, has its moments that deserve to be captured for posterity.

Snow: not a fan.

It's snowing... the second significant snowfall in three days, as a matter of fact. Bleh. At least today isn't as bad as Thursday's storm was. And the state seems to be handling this one a little better. I don't know if the news made it outside of Rhode Island or not, but the performance of the RI DOT (and just about every other state agency involved with roads and moving people along you could name) was a textbook example of how to make a minor emergency situation into a major one. The snow that day came earlier and a bit heavier than expected, and no one had any intention of touching the roads until they absolutely had to, so of course just about everyone in the state was let out of work/school/whatever early, at more or less the exact same time. What resulted was pretty much your classic clusterf--- situation. Cars couldn't move, plows couldn't get through, few emergency measures were enacted, etc. Commutes of minutes stretched into hours, you had kids stuck on schoolbuses until at least 8 p.m. in some cases... yeah, it was a nightmare. And of course, in the days since, every level of state and local government has been blaming every other level in the hopes that none of them get stuck being the sacrificial lamb in this case. Thankfully my work got canceled for the evening, and Erin works fairly close to our house, so we weren't affected that badly.

I did have to go to work today, though. This storm hasn't been as bad (today ended up being the patented Rhode Island rain/snow mix), there was less traffic because it was a Sunday morning, and I passed an army of plow and salt/sand trucks because no one wants to screw up that badly twice in the same week, so it wasn't quite the nightmare getting here today that it could have been, so at least that was nice. However, I would like to point out that I've been here for just about 3 hours, and so far I'm still the only library employee - staff or student - to have actually showed up.

So I'm pretty much more awesome than everyone. That's what I keep telling myself to keep from getting mad at the situation anyway.

Well, something good came out of it, I guess.

I wasn't terribly impressed with the Transformers movie, but I had this awesome dream the night I watched it. Optimus Prime got in a fight with (I think) Dirk Benedict, and the only way he could defeat him was by transforming into Ronald Reagan.

Clearly the secrets of the universe will be revealed to me when I figure out what all this means.

Sandwich Party: The Mother of All Sandwiches

I was really looking forward to making something exciting for Elsa's Online Sandwich Party, but between present wrapping and toddler wrangling and car buying, I unfortunately didn't get a chance. I did make a grilled cheese sandwich for the kiddo last night, though, and it got me thinking.

In French cuisine, they have this concept of "mother sauces." These are 4 basic sauces that can be added upon and tweaked to make a practically infinite number of other sauces... the primary colors of the food world, in a way. Well, if the concept carries over to the sandwich side of things, you have to figure that the grilled cheese would be one of the mother sandwiches. The basic idea is ridiculously simple, and the variations you can create are limited only by your imagination and the contents of your fridge.

(Not my own sandwich, but the tastiest looking one I could find on Google Images on short notice.)

At its core, a grilled cheese is melty cheese on toasted bread. That's it. There aren't any requirements that need meeting beyond those... it can be Velveeta on Wonder Bread or Gruyere on a baguette. You can eat the sandwich on its own, or pair it with some chips or a nice bowl of hot soup for a great lunch on a cold day. You can even break it down into its component parts of cheesy glop and toast and enjoy some Welsh Rabbit, if you like.

And of course, like the greatest innovations of Scandinavia - I'm speaking, of course, of Lego and Ikea here - it's modular. Want a little kick? Add some spicy mustard. Need some vegetables in there? Add a slice of tomato. Grill up a hot ham (or even bologna) and cheese if you want a heartier sandwich. Looking for a quick bite to eat for breakfast? Use an English muffin or a bagel, throw on a bit of scrambled or fried egg and maybe even some ham or bacon and make your own Egg McWhatevers at home.

And come on, how many other sandwiches can you name that have been the source of religious wonderment?



That's right, friends... even the Blessed Virgin herself enjoys a nice grilled cheese once in a while (though, to be completely honest, I've always thought this particular sandwich seems to resemble a Grease 2-era Michelle Pfeiffer myself, but we all see what we want in these sorts of miracles, I suppose).

The grilled cheese - so easy that it's the first thing most of us learn to cook for ourselves, but also the gateway to myriad, perhaps even divine, possibilities.



Other bits of sandwichy goodness from the TPS archives:

Make All Out War In Your Own Home...


Yup. Nothing says fun like a toy that allows you to simulate nuclear war in you own bedroom! I especially dig the little helmets and antennae the men are wearing... that'll protect 'em for sure. I wonder if they're made from the same material as those fallout-proof school desks kids used to have to duck and cover under?

(Ad from Blackhawk #205, cover date February 1965, which is a treasure trove of great ads, as well as cover appearances by two of DC's most beloved Silver Age chestnuts... gorillas and hyper-evolved giant heads!)

Other stuff in Previews that caught my eye...

Oh, this month's Previews is just jam-packed with good comics stuff for February, huh? Not that I can afford or plan on buying all this stuff, but here are a few more things that caught my eye:

Fantastic Four: The Lost Adventure - After promising this all freakin' year, the "missing" Lee/Kirby FF issue is finally going to see the light of day. Better late than never, I guess. It'll be cool to see this - more Kirby FF is always a good thing - as we not only get the completed issue, but also the story from FF#108 that made use of the existing artwork as a flashback, sort of the way Star Trek used footage from "The Cage" in "The Menagerie." It'll be fun to compare and contrast.

Sky Ape: King of Girls- I've never read any of the other books from this series before, but it's a gorilla in a jetpack. I mean, that must be awesome, right? Anyone wanna give me some skinny on this? (Paging Larry Young...)

RASL #1 - The new book from Jeff Smith, about an art thief. Who thieves art, I suppose. After all those years of Bone and being admittedly disappointed with the end results of Shazam: Monster Society of Evil, I'm probably going to pass on this for now, but I'm sure I'll check out the trade(s) eventually.

Tiny Titans #1 - Art Baltazar's Patrick the Wolf Boy may very well be pure joy in printed form, so I'm looking forward to his take on what the DC Universe's own Teen Titans cartoon would be like. Plus, DCBS has the first issue on sale for the ridiculous price of 56 cents. At that price, I'll probably pick up a second copy to give to the kiddo.

The Many Adventures of Miranda Mercury #295 - This book from Archaia Studios Press sounds crazy-go-nuts-fun. The greatest space adventuress in this or any other galaxy has a year to live and searches for the cure to what's killing her, having all manner of fun adventures along the way. Interrelated, but mostly done-in-one stories. And lots of space stuff. I was sold on the solicitation alone. This article from the book's writer (including part of the pitch) and this Newsarama preview sealed the deal.

Spider-Man Family #7 - The Mike Wieringo tribute issue, written by Todd Dezago and Mark Waid, and drawn (in apparently quite 'Ringo-esque fashion, if the cover's any indication) by Karl Kesel. I'm looking forward to reading this, but it still saddens me that that I have to.

Renaissance Press is re-offering all of the existing Amelia Rules books, which I will get around to getting at some point, because their awesomeness knows no bounds.

Top Shelf is also in the re-offering cool things business this month, serving up additional helpings of pretty much the entire Jeffrey Brown library. Again, I plan on catching up, but it isn't very likely to be this month.

And there's lots more, I'm sure, but honestly, looking at all the awesome stuff I can't afford to buy is cool for awhile, but it eventually turns depressing. It was true of the Sears Wish Book back in the day, and it's just as true now.

The 12 Days of Geeksmas

Cancelled due to lack of interest. My own, in fact. It's not nearly as fun or clever as I thought it'd be. So let's just ignore it, never speaking again of this bizarre cover-up.

For the record, though, real Christmas is awesome, and I'm enjoying the hell out of it this year, even if Liam refuses to let me walk around the house without a Santa hat on and forces me to watch Frosty the Snowman at least 3 times a day.

Oh, who am I kidding... I love those parts, too. Though I'm more than ready for the kiddo to move on to Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer now, thanks.

So if you're keeping score at home: Legitimate Holiday Season 1, Made Up Stupid Blog Holiday 0.

We're all misfits! Some more than others, though.

The doll from the Island of Misfit Toys. No one knows her deal, huh? Everyone else's misfithood is pretty much explained... jack in the box named Charlie, cowboy on an ostrich, bird who swims, train with square caboose wheels, etc. But we're left to wonder about the doll. There's nothing physically obvious to make her a misfit, so most folks assume the issue's mental. Maybe she's the doll that never stops crying, or maybe she wets constantly. We'll probably never know for certain.

But personally, I think she shivved a Mrs. Beasley doll and took refuge in the one place that wouldn't rat her out to the toy cops.

A smattering of Previews goodness

Better hope you're getting lots of cash and/or comic shop gift certificates for Christmas or Hanukkah, kiddos, because there are a lot of good comics-related trade paperbacks and hardcovers in the December Previews catalog. The jerks. Just when I'm trying to cut back, too. Here are a few nuggets of The Good that caught my eye:

Well, DC has that Shazam: The Greatest Stories Ever Told book I mentioned a few months back, and I want want want that a lot, even if the Alex Ross cover is a little on the boring side.

Image has three books - two of incredible hugeness - that can't help me anything but awesome. The Nearly Complete Essential Hembeck Archives Omnibus, which offers about a billion pages (okay, only 900+, but still) for $24.99 (and DCBS is offering it half off... woot!). And they're also releasing the True Story Swear to God Archives Vol. 1, which reprints all 17 issues of the original series for $19.99. There's a little more info about that over on Tom Beland's page, I think. And then there's Mixtape, the Jim Mahfood hardcover art book, which I'm willing to bet will be a thing of greatness to behold. I think that's a $24.99 dealie, too.

And Fantagraphics has what I think is the first of the new format Love & Rockets original hardcover graphic novels, The Education of Hopey Glass. It's a bunch of Locas pages from Jaime Hernandez, so I imagine it'll be pretty awesome. I'm maybe a third of the way through the giant Locas tome, so it'll be a while before I get to this if I keep planning to read the stories in order, but still, this is on my radar.

So. Comics. That I doubt I'll be able to afford or acquire anytime soon. But if you have the means, you should. And maybe buy some for me, too. I'm a good person, mostly. You should reward that.