You say good buy...

Looking forward to the upcoming Skyscrapers of the Midwest hardcover from AdHouse books? I know I am. But where are you going to buy it? I suppose you could get it through your favorite local comic shop or discount online comics service, or major e-tail (ugh) outlet like Amazon, if you like. Or maybe even Target.

Yup. Target. See for yourself.

This could be big.

Capes and dinosaurs and McCarthyism, oh my!

I was cautiously optimistic about Justice League: The New Frontier. While I was excited to see my very favorite DC superhero story turned into an animated movie, well, adaptations are a dicey proposition on the best of days, and if Hollywood as proven anything, there are million things that can go horribly, Hindenburgedly wrong on the journey from page to screen.

Yeah, I compared the process of turning a comic book into a cartoon to one of the most infamous air disasters in world history, and made an adverb out of it to boot. Cope.

Thankfully, my worries were for naught. It's not perfect, but there's much more right than wrong here, and the end result is a very entertaining movie.

Most folks initially seemed concerned with the length. At a slim 74 minutes or so, people worried about how much of the story would make it on to the screen. And yeah, at that running time, a story told over the course of 6 embiggened issues is going to get truncated. We lose some memorable sequences, a few characters' roles are combined or outright cut, and some of the character building scenes have to be eliminated. And yeah, that's too bad... I would have loved to have seen the prologue with the Losers, or the big Superman/Batman fight, but I think they did a good job keeping the core of the story intact. The plot moves at a pretty quick pace, but they did a good job of keeping the "there" there, if you know what I mean.

I think my only complaint about the story is that they don't do a good job of making the thing accessible to people who haven't already read the comics or are unfamiliar with the characters. J'onn J'onzz goes from looking like a police detective to actually becoming one very quickly, and while I know what happens in the interim, my wife wouldn't, and I know I'd be called upon to explain how that happened if she were to watch it. I'd also have to explain all the characters who are seen, and maybe have lines, but are never identified. Where I see Adam Strange or the Challengers of the Unknown, Erin's going to see Guy With a Fin on His Head and Those People in the Purple Jumpsuits. It's such a little thing, really, and very easy to fix - how hard can it be to drop someone's name into the dialogue once in awhile? - but it can be a huge stumbling block for those new audiences they presumably hope to reach.

All that aside, they've really put out quite a product here. The animation is a nice mix of the traditional DC animated TV series style (the type seen in everything from Batman: The Animated Series up through Justice League Unlimited) and creator Darwyn Cooke's own artwork, and it works quite well. A few sequences lifted directly from the page are particular standouts, especially the Flash's sonic boom as he races to stop Captain Cold in Vegas. I honestly caught myself muttering "wow" watching that bit. And the casting is almost uniformly top notch. Neil Patrick Harris is great as the conflicted Flash, Kyle McLachlan's Superman is suitably iconic and authoritative without being corny, and while Jeremy Sisto's Batman sounds cold and menacing, you can hear the subtle changes in later scenes as tries to change his image a bit so as to "frighten criminals, not children." I thought David Boreanaz was a bit flat at times, but hey, he's only Hal Jordan, so I'm willing to let it slide.

Long story short - too late - you might have a hard time wading in if you're not already a fan, but if you can get over that hurdle, it's a fun, entertaining adaptation that manages to capture the look and feel of the source material in a way seldom seen before. Give it a shot, if you're so inclined.

I'm sure it's not much better in context.

Not feeling very bloggy, so here's what someone on YouTube has dubbed "The Worst Transformers Scene Ever," and I'm inclined to agree.



Excitement!

Good thing I wasn't officially keeping track or anything.

Okay, so clearly I suck at making Oscar predictions. Oh, well. This is why I don't approach this with the same seriousness as Tom the Dog. But Diablo Cody won her (well-deserved) Quentin Tarantino award, so I was pretty happy all the same.


And she got it delivered by Indiana Jones, no less! That had to add to the geek-out of the moment about a hundred-fold. So congratulations to her, and everyone else that won, I suppose, even if I wasn't rooting for you.

Finds!

I had the chance to swing by the semi-regular Comics & Collectibles show in South Attleboro, MA, before work this morning. I didn't have a lot of time or cash to spend, but it was still worth going for a couple of reasons. First of all, people apparently responded to my last, desperate plea and actually bathed this time around, which was nice. A lot less of that ol' cheese & vomit smell this time. My olfactory sense thanks you profusely, geeks of Southern New England. Second, lots of good stuff to be found for dirt cheap. Someone actually had quarter boxes! And with stuff in them you'd actually want to buy, not just coverless Archies from 1986. Here's my extremely thrifty haul:

25 cent books:
Thriller #s 1 & 2
Legion of Substitute Heroes Special #1
Ms. Tree's Thrilling Detective Adventures #1
Atari Force #s 1-3, Special #1
Micronauts #s 43 & 45
Jack of Hearts #1
New Warriors (original series) #1

50 cent books:
The Order #s 4 & 5
Omega the Unknown (current) #1
Ms. Marvel (current) #9 (the first Wieringo issue)

Half-off cover price
Immortal Iron Fist #7 (since I hear it won't be in the next trade)

Other stuff:
I picked up a cool poster for a Jeffrey Brown/Paul Hornschemeier appearance at Quimby's in Chicago at some point in the past, signed and with a little self-portrait sketch by Jeffrey Brown on it, for only 4 clams, which was pretty rad.

Nothing like picking up a giant stack of comics and other goodies for a tenspot. It's like being 8 all over again, only without the constant fear of cooties (especially because, again, people apparently washed this time).

I never let a lack of knowledge keep me from forming an opinion.

I haven't seen most of the Oscar nominated films this year, but I still have strong opinions about who should win. Here are my picks for the categories I actually care about. Here's the list of nominees should you wish to follow along at home.

Best Actor - I think the race here is between George Clooney, Daniel Day-Lewis, and Viggo Mortensen. Tommy Lee Jones makes as many crap movies lately as good ones, so he's out, and Johnny Depp is just here to appease the Hot Topic crowd. Clooney is tough to beat, because really, who doesn't like the guy (Bill O'Reilly doesn't count, being a living rectum and not an actual person), but I think Day-Lewis wins, because in a tight Oscar race, always bet on the Brit.

Supporting Actor - Tom Wilkinson. Because he's Tom Wilkinson. He could make 15 minute movie about clipping his toenails or buying tomatoes and still be nominated. People just love the guy. And I think this is his year to win. Because he's British.

Best Actress - I think Ellen Page should win, because she was awesome in Juno (also, she was Kitty Pryde), but the hipster picks never win here (see also: everyone nominated from Pulp Fiction), so I think you'll see Julie Christie or Cate Blanchett here (because, hey, British). At which point, Laura Linney will rise from the audience and assassinate the winner because she's tired of going home emptyhanded.

Supporting Actress - Cate Blanchett is almost a certainty, because people won't shut up about how amazing it was that a woman played Bob Dylan. Meanwhile, I don't care, because I really don't like Bob Dylan, so why would I see a whole movie about him? But still, I guess it's impressive, and the Academy likes women playing dudes (Felicity Huffman, who didn't win, and Linda Hunt, who I think did, among others). Also, British.

Animated Film - Haven't seen any of these yet, but I'm pulling for Persepolis, because it's the one I'm most excited to see, and I also enjoy it when a non-Disney or Dreamworks movie wins here (like when I was excited Miyazaki won for Spirited Away, even though I didn't really like Spirited Away and it was up against Lilo and Stich, which I loved. But still, the man who made Kiki's Delivery Service and Nausicaa gets a lot of leeway with me. And this parenthetical aside is really getting away from me, so I'll move on.).

Make-Up - I only care about this category because, for the love of God, I don't want anyone to be able to utter the phrase "Academy Award Winning Film Norbit" and actually have it be true. So, you know, not Norbit.

Original Screenplay - I think if Juno wins anything, this will be it. Because one of the screenplay awards is always the Quentin Tarantino Award - the prize that says "We liked your movie a lot. It was hip and clever and fun, and maybe it even made us a little bit happier that movies exist in the first place. But it's not serious enough to win the big prize, so you'll have to settle for this." And Juno is definitely that movie this year. So if it at least takes home this, I'll be happy. Also, after seeing this movie and reading her memoir, "Candy Girl: A Year in the life of an Unlikely Stripper," I now have a huge writer's crush on Diablo Cody.

I mean, who wouldn't?

Adapted Screenplay - Well, I'm the most excited to see No Country for Old Men, so I guess I'll go with this, although There Will Be Blood has enough people quoting the milkshake bit that I guess you can't write it off completely. Write it off! In a paragraph about a screenplay award! That's a joke, son!

Best Picture - Again, pulling for Juno, but I highly doubt it. All the rest are movies about crime and/or period pieces. I'm gonna go with Atonement, actually. It's got that downer ending that Oscar voters dig, and yes, it's British. In Hollywood, the British Invasion never really ended.

Six Awesome Things

The Awesome Level (tm) around here needs to be increased a bit. Kicking it up to the power of six should suffice for now. I only hope we're ready for it!

The Fisher-Price Little People bulldog. The dog that came with the farm was just a regular, 4-legged dog. This guy was made like the rest of the Little People, implying he was an accepted part of the community. Also, that meant he could drive, and that's just cool.



Pictures of Marilyn Monroe that are more Norma Jean Baker than Marilyn. It's fun to get a glimpse of the personality, not the product.



Nien Numb and Lando... the best Star Wars-based buddy comedy that ever could have been, but sadly never was. Where's their spin-off comic book and/or novel series, George?



French toast, nature's most perfect breakfast food. Especially when accompanied by bacon, which Sarah Vowell wisely called "the food of joy."



Mysterio - the greatest of all second-tier Spider-Man villains. Gotta love that costume... pure Ditko!



The platypus - the best use of leftover pieces in the history of the universe, and the cornerstone of my theory that God is an exceptionally creative 8 year old.

Hey, look, stuff to buy!

I haven't shilled any eBay auctions on here in a long time. Well, that trend had to end sometime.

You can see what I'm selling off here. Maybe you'd like to buy:

  • Batman 404-407, the complete Batman: Year One story by Frank Miller and David Mazzucchelli?

  • Batman 651-654 and Detective Comics 817-820, the complete Face the Face/One Year Later story by James Robinson, Leonard Kirk, and Don Kramer?

  • The out-of-print Mary Jane Vol. 1: Circle of Friends digest by Sean McKeever & Takeshi Miyazawa, the real beginning of the Spider-Man Loves Mary Jane series?

  • Spider-Man Loves Mary Jane Vol. 1: Super Crush digest, also by McKeever & Miyazawa?
Well, then click over and bid already!

Not so Freaky Links

Happy Ultimate Hulk vs. Wolverine Day!

So what did you get your loved one to celebrate the occasion? I bet it wasn't Ultimate Hulk vs. Wolverine #3! (I am the first person ever on the internet to make that joke. I also invented LOLCATS and "All Your Base Are Belong To Us." I'm kind of an innovator like that.)




See? What was I just saying yesterday?

(Although, one of the commenters there is clearly wrong about the Clue movie from the 80s, which was about 12 distinctive kinds of awesome. Anyone who says differently is not to be trusted.)




Dave Sim talks Glamourpuss, Cerebus, and all manner of other things over at The Comic Forums today (Wednesday). It'll probably lack the excitement of his Comics Journal and Sequential Tart visits, but still might prove informative.




First the Defenders, now (potentially) Doctor Who. The Minimates people are apparently desperate for my business.




I think David Willis is too quick to judge... this might have made Superbook almost watchable.

There's money to be made from the toybox, and Hollywood wants a cut.

So with all the news about the G.I. Joe movie - casting info, plot details, all the hand-wringing over the fact that the logo differs ever-so-slightly from the one that adorned the action figure cards* - it occurs to me that after the success of Transformers, if this film does similarly well at the box office, we're going to start seeing movies based on every toyline imaginable in the years ahead, huh?

I can just hear the Don LaFontaine voiceover now...

"This Summer, it walks downstairs alone or in pairs!"





*And by the way, if this does actually bother you, please remove yourself from the gene pool post-haste. Seriously. It's a good bet that no one has ever loved you, anyway. Not even Mister Rogers, and man, he liked everyone. But not you.

The Dig List: 2/17/08

Short reactions to stuff I've read and enjoyed lately:

Houdini: The Handcuff King - A short original graphic novel by Jason Lutes and Nick Bertozzi that could have just as easily been called "A Day in the Life of Harry Houdini," since that's what we get: not so much a biography as a biographical sketch, using the events (probably a mix of real and fictionalized occurrences) of one of Houdini's famous handcuff escape events to show us the sort of person he was. Fun, charming, and chock full of notes from the creators definitely the sort of book that encourages further reading - not just about Houdini, but the other works of Lutes and Bertozzi, too.

Y: The Last Man Vol. 1: Unmanned - I figured with all the coverage about the series ending, I should finally get around to checking out for myself and seeing what all the fuss was about. And while obviously this first book is all set-up for the adventure ahead, it's certainly an interesting set-up. If this was the pilot for a TV show, I'd come back for week 2, you know? Yorick seems to be an interesting hero, and not the sort of usual he-man type we get for these "last man on Earth" stories - if anything, besides his knack for escape artistry, he's kind of a wuss - so that's a unique fold right there. I'd be interested in seeing how the all-female society we see forming in the second issue came into being during the two-month story gap between it and the first issue though... does that get covered down the line? Anyway, good start by Brian K. Vaughn and the artwork by Pia Guerra makes me look forward to her Doctor Who stuff coming down the pike from IDW.

Pride of Baghdad - I knew coming in this was essentially Watership Down, but with lions that escaped a Baghdad zoo, and that there was only one way it could end, but still, it wrecked me a little. Very affecting story by Brian K. Vaughn, helped in no small part by Niko Henrichon's gorgeous artwork, which manages to give each of the characters very distinct visual personalities and expressions while making sure they still look like actual animals, not Disney characters. As good as advertised, which is always nice.

(I assure you, the transition between those books - escape artist story, story featuring an escape artist that is written by BKV, story by BKV about escaped lions - was completely unplanned, and just the order I happened to read them in. However, it was fun to see how my experiences with and opinions of the latter books were affected by the former ones as the sequence continued.)

Fantastic Four: The Lost Adventure - Let's get this out of the way: this is clearly from the point where Jack Kirby was phoning it in with the FF (and maybe Marvel as a whole), and the scripting by Stan Lee is, like most of his modern work, awkward at best (and the few modern references - like DSL, for instance - were just jarring). But who cares? A new complete Kirby FF story is meant to be pounced upon and treasured like the rare gem it is, and I'm willing to overlook a lot for just that reason. Plus, even at $4.99, it's a hell of a value - the complete story, the unfinished pencils and plot notes for the entire story (with commentary), and the entirety of the story that the few original completed pages were folded into. I'm shocked they didn't slap this into a $15-20 hardcover. Come for the comic itself, stay for the astounding restraint on Marvel's part!

I'm so sorry.

Bully sets up a fun joke, and of course I have to go and ruin it:

Though to be fair, Mikester was the one who unleashed that upon us a few years back, so if anything, it's all his fault that it remains seared into my memory to this day.

And still another 100 reasons I like comics.


Well, it's Valentine's Day, which means it's once again time to trot out the annual "100 Reasons I Like Comics" list, an invention of Mr. Fred Hembeck in the 80s, revived by Fred himself over on his blog a few years ago, picked up by Alan David Doane and then everyone else. It's met with diminishing returns in the few years since then, to the point where I can only remember myself, Mike Sterling, and a few others bothering to make one last year. But it's a fun exercise, and I'm continually amazed that even now, in the fourth year of doing this, I can still come up with another 100 reasons why comics are swelly keen without intentionally repeating anything from past lists. They say every comic fan's personal golden age is 12, but lately, there's a strong argument to be made for "almost 32," too. I'm not as excited as Yotsuba here, but I don't as excited about breathing as Yotsuba gets about, well, everything, so you can't go by her.

Anyway, if you're interested, here are the three previous lists. And now, here's the current one:


1. The Professor's Daughter.

2. Jaime Reyes, the current Blue Beetle.

3. The supporting cast in Blue Beetle.

4. Okay, pretty much everything about Blue Beetle.

5. Dr. Thirteen: Architecture and Morality.

6. Traci 13, quite possibly destined to be the Kitty Pryde of the next young generation of
fanboys.

7. Cliff Chiang.

8. Dr. Strange: The Oath.

9. Brian K. Vaughn.

10. Marcos Martin.

11. Ed Brubaker's Captain America. I was a bit slow to catch on, but I totally get it now.

12. Brubaker and Matt Fraction's The Immortal Iron Fist. The best Marvel book publishes today.

13. Devil Dinosaur - probably the lamest of Kirby's Marvel creations, but also one of the most fun.

14. The Queen and Country Definitive Editions - I'm sad it has taken me this long to discover this book, but I inadvertently waited for the perfect format in which to read it. So that's pretty cool.

15. Joss Whedon and Fabio Moon's Sugarshock!

16. Gerard Way and Gabriel Ba's The Umbrella Academy.

17. The theme to The Batman... cool techno surf rock with a hint of the old Neal Hefti theme running in the background. Even if I decide to not watch a whole episode, I always watch the opening. And, of course, I can't find a video of the current opening anywhere. I can get the older one with the awful theme written by the Edge, but not the great one they use now. So this Saturday, sit down in front of your TV and watch the show at least through the opening credits to see what I mean. Thanks.

18. Gray Morrow.

19. Jim Steranko - I gave props to his Captain America run a few years back, but honestly, the man's entirely body of work is incredible.

20. The Brave and the Bold by Waid, Perez, and Co. - everything I want a mainstream DC book to be.

21. Gail Simone's All New Atom, especially when drawn by Mike Norton.

22. Yotsuba&! - if you can't laugh at this, you have no soul. None.

23. Mononymic Norwegian cartoonist Jason...

24. and his book, The Left Bank Gang...

25. and I Killed Adolph Hitler.

26. Jeff Parker's X-Men: First Class...

27. especially the Collen Coover back-up strips.

28. And while we're at it, Colleen Coover.

29. Action Philosophers by Fred Van Lente and Ryan Dunlavey.

30. Johnny Hiro by Fred Chao.

31. The upcoming Nearly Complete Essential Hembeck Archives Omnibus.

32. Katie Cook.

33. Black Panther by Priest and Co.

34. Anticipation for the New Frontier movie.

35. Paul Sizer's Little White Mouse.

36. Liam's excitement whenever I pop in the Adam West Batman movie.

37. The "I dare you to figure out what the hell is going on here" storytelling of the original Omega the Unknown.

38. Going back to #17, the Neal Hefti Batman theme. Simplistic, sure, but EVERYONE knows it, don't they?

39. Dinosaurs fighting anything - soldiers, superheroes, other monsters, whatever.

40. Jim Shooter's return to Legion of Super-Heroes (so far).

41. The sheer amount of excellent reprint collections and original graphic novels floating around throughout the Rhode Island public library system.

42. Superman: Up, Up, and Away by Busiek, Johns, and Co. - as good a reintroduction to the core concepts of Superman as you'll ever read.

43. The Unremarkable Tree Frog by Joey Weiser.

44. New York Comic Con getting moved to April this year - I'm sorry that it conflicts with Passover, but it should theoretically be a much nicer weekend to be in the city.

45. MySpace Dark Horse Presents - almost makes dealing with the spammers worthwhile.

46. In Search of Steve Ditko, what I've seen of it, anyway. I really need to track this down sometime.

47. Tintin et moi, the excellent documentary about the life and career of Georges Remi, A.K.A. Herge.

48. Alex Toth, the man who could make even a tie-in book for the 60s Hot Wheels cartoon look like a thing of beauty.

49. Mid-to-late career Gil Kane, when his work got more stylized.

50. The more oddball character illos in DC's Who's Who - Jaime Hernandez on some Legionnaires, Bill Sienkiewicz on Monsieur Mallah, etc.

51. The logos in Who's Who; every single character got their own specific logo design. I appreciate that level of effort and detail.

52. The "Giant Size" collections of family friendly Marvel books sold at Target - a great format at a great price.

53. The X-Men line-up of Storm, Wolverine, Colossus, Rogue, Nightcrawler and Kitty Pryde. For me, this is the team's highpoint, character-wise.

54. Real life political figures in comics - sure, it dates the story, but who doesn't dig seeing Superman (and later Superboy) undertake a mission for JFK, or Henry Kissinger putting Captain America and the Falcon through the wringer?

55. The giant books by Les Daniels on the history of both Marvel and DC. The Marvel book is the better of the two, but they're both fun to look at to this day.

56. Tom Gauld.

57. Simone Lia.

58. Characters breaking the fourth wall on the cover.

59. The Krypton Crawl.

60. The Challengers of the Unknown

61. Annihilation - the first two-thirds, anyway. I have high hopes for the last part, though.

62. OMAC: One Man Army Corps - Kirby at his unfettered craziest. In a good way. Mostly.

63. Don Martin sound effects. SHKLIZZORTCH!

64. The sheer insanity of a Fletcher Hanks comic book. Any of 'em.

65. Smilin' Galactus! ("I'ma eat your planet all up!")

66. Beryl Hutchinson, the Squire. Let's see her more often, DC, especially if Grant is writing her.

67. While we're on the subject, the Club of Heroes story from Batman.

68. The Order, even if it did take the announcement of its cancellation to get me to go back and give it a fair shake.

69. Jeff Smith's Shazam: Monster Society of Evil - even if it wasn't quite everything I hoped for, it was still quite good.

70. The Prisoner of White Agony Creek by Don Rosa, probably my favorite Scrooge McDuck story ever.

71. Goofy looking Marvel aliens - Skrulls, Rigellans, Ovoids, those broccoli people that Phoenix killed... I could go on and on.

72. Mysterio - easily the greatest of the under-appreciated Spider-Man villains.

73. Light from Death Note = the evil Encyclopedia Brown.

74. The fact that they were able to bring back Bucky in a way that actually made sense (for a comic book, anyway).

75. The Mr. A parody in Ambush Bug Stocking Stuffer #1.

76. Unsubtle aliases from the Batman show, like P.N. Gwynn, A.L. Fred, and Miss KITKA (okay, so a name as long as Kitanya Irenya Tatanya Kerenska Alisoff would potentially throw someone off the trail, but I'd think the acronym nickname would tip the hat, even for the befuddled, lovestruck Adam West Batman.).

77. Ben Grimm in a Beatle wig.

78. The movie parody covers from The Loners.

79. Johnny Hiro's girlfriend Mayumi - you'd be hard pressed to find a cuter, more endearing love interest in comics today.

80. Dave Stevens.

81. Jef Czekaj's Hypertruck (A.K.A. R2-D2 is an Indie Rocker).

82. Pia Guerra.

83. Stan Lee's hairpiece.

84. Monter Blog's Kirby Monsters Never Reprinted.

85. Steve Gerber (R.I.P.).

86. Clumsy Batman, a game I play with Liam involving his Batman figure and two cannisters of Play-Doh he can never seem to carry without tripping over something. In our house, Batman falls down a lot.

87. The Giant Green Star Wars Rabbit.

88. Roy Crane's Wash Tubbs & Captain Easy.

89. The Ten Doctors.

90. Torchwood Babiez.

91. Church & Birdie's The Rack.

92. Danielle Corsetto's Girls With Slingshots (the character of Jamie in particular).

93. David Willis's Shortpacked! (the character of Amber in particular).

94. That Alan Moore looks like the villain from a particularly nasty grindhouse movie, but sounds like he'd offer you a cuppa while talking about his begonias.

95. Peter Parker: Spider-Man #33, "Maybe Next Year" - a wonderful story about dads and baseball.

96. The oversized Marvel Super Heroes card game I had as a kid. I think it played like Old Maid (with a Doctor Doom card subbing for ye aged spinster, which is pretty funny, now that I think about it), but I hardly ever played it. I looked at the artwork on the cards for hours on end, though. Great stuff, and my introduction to a good chunk of the Marvel Universe.

97. All the freebies the DC booth gives out at cons. I cleaned up at NYCC last year - posters, bookmarks, previews, and a John Stewart MiniMate. The DC booth always has the best swag.

98. Gert Yorkes from Runaways.

99. The giant Popeye books from Fantagraphics.

100. The TV ad for G.I. Joe #1... the commercial that created a generation of comic book fans.

Silly (but holiday appropriate) geek quiz.

Who's my ideal superpowered date? Probably the closest thing you're going to get in comics to an amalgam of Tina Fey and Mythbuster Kari Byron, so I'm not displeased with the result:

Tinkering and one cool thing.

Tinkering with the look & feel a bit. The white-on-black was getting a little hard on the eyes. The black-on-white might not be much better, but I figured it was worth trying out for a little while, anyway. Let me know what you think if you're not blinded by the glare.



I own a couple of MiniMates figures, but I'm not really into them, per se. This set, though?



Those are just awesome. If I find these cheaply at the New York Comic Con, they're probably coming home with me. Because, honestly, who wouldn't want the Defenders on their shelf? Too bad there's no Nighthawk, though. Maybe they'll do a Nighthawk/Hellcat two-pack down the line?

Crap. This is how they get you, isn't it?

Why it is often helpful to do research before you start typing.

So I was going to type a bit about Violet Rose #1 from Bluewater Productions.

It was a book that I was really looking forward to based on the Previews solicitation a few months back (short, short version: teen sleuth investigates supernatural crimes in weird small town), but the end result disappointed me a bit - some grammar issues, the plot bits didn't develop quite right, some wonky dialogue, and so on.

Then I read that the author, Emma Davis, is 16 years old, and that she created the characters at 13. Well, I'm not nearly enough of a jerk to tear into a teenage girl's first effort. Especially since as the creation of someone still in high school, well, it's actually pretty good. I wish the stuff I wrote at 16 was this decent. There's plenty of room for improvement, sure, but it's a hell of a start.

Thank you, internet, for providing the information that kept me from metaphorically kicking a girl's dreams square in the junk. And keep up the good work, Emma. I look forward to seeing where you go from here.

Pretty Sketchy: The Unremarkable Tree Frog



I bought some mini-comics from Joey Weiser early last year featuring his superhero character, the Unremarkable Tree Frog, and he did this sketch of Tree Frog on the envelope. Bonus!

Check out Joey's website for lots of good stuff, including entire stories from his minis.

The tricky business of buying before you ever see the product.

I put in my order for the books that are (theoretically) coming out in April with DCBS this week, and I figured I'd type about it here, in case there's one person out there who gives an eighth of a damn about my opinions and can be swayed enough to buy (or not buy) something based on what I say.

Blue Beetle #26 - Still my favorite regular DC book, and still the best Spider-Man book published today. I'm psyched to see Traci 13 make a return appearance, and very glad to see Mike Norton on fill-in art duty, but it bugs me that the dialogue will all be in Spanish (the story takes place at Jaime's family reunion), with the English script as "bonus material." If they want to do a special Spanish language edition of the book, that's fine, but having to (I assume) to flip repeatedly from the front to the back just to figure out what the hell people are saying will annoy the hell out of me. Not a fan of this idea.

Brave and the Bold #12 - If not for Blue Beetle, this would be my favorite regular DC book. Seems like this is the end of the current storyarc, and based on the cover, it features everyone who has appeared in the last 6 issues, which'll mean a big, fun cosmic melee indeed.

Doctor Who #4 - Seeing as issue #1 has yet to ship, I'm still buying this on spec. Which makes me nervous. But I really enjoy the current Who TV series, so I'm hoping some of that love can crossover here.

Young X-Men #1 - This is one of those DCBS super mega discounted books (74 cents), so I figured I'd give it a shot. Mostly because I feel dumb for passing over Thor a few months back at a similar price. But hey, it might not suck. Maybe it'll have Armor in it. She's fun in Astonishing. She's young and still an X-Man, right?

Helen Killer #1 - Helen Keller, given her senses back with devices invented by Alexander Graham Bell, as a special agent for President McKinley. This will either be awesome, or very, very awesome.

Many Adventures of Miranda Mercury #296 (of 300) - Another case of buying on spec in the absence of an unreleased first issue, but the whole concept sounds like just the sort of space adventure book I've been wanting for years now, so I'm willing to take the chance. Plus, I find the numbering gag kind of fun.

Queen & Country Definitive Edition Vol. 2 - Loved the first volume enough that I pretty much need the rest. Of course, this puts me over my usual budget for the month, but I told Erin she's buying it for me for my birthday, and she said okay. Surprises are fine and all, but when it comes to presents, a lot of times, we just want what we want and tell each other as much. It makes gift shopping infinitely easier.

Gnome One-Shot - Garden gnomes defending the world from evil? Sure. It helps that I liked David Dwonch's previous book, Special Education. Also, if you buy this through DCBS, you get a free gnome sketch from Dwonch. That's pretty cool.

Jeffrey Brown's Little Things: Memoir in Slices - I was late to the Jeffrey Brown party, but I'm catching up, and whenever there's a new batch of his diary comics on the horizon, I will definitely pick them up. For whatever reason, I find mundane autobiography to be pleasant.

Thoughts? Reactions? Anything I missed?

Actually, everyone from Liverpool inspires that sort of mass screaming. It's true.

You know, I've certainly seen clips of the Beatles on The Ed Sullivan Show over the years, but I've never seen the actual full performance. Well, YouTube proves useful once again.



A question for those who lived through the era: did America collectively decide to ignore just how little screen presence Ed Sullivan actually had? I mean, the man was probably the single most important person on TV in the years between Milton Berle and, I dunno, probably Watergate, but still, you could tell me the man was made of wood and I'd believe it. Topo Gigio moved more fluidly.

Hey, look, SciFi is giving me a birthday present.

The fourth season of Doctor Who and the first of The Sarah Jane Adventures coming to SciFi Channel in April.

Happy dancing line forms to the right.

Now if they'd only stop airing terrible original movies and pointlessly inconclusive reality programming, this April 30th could be the grandest birthday of all.

It's finally over, seeing as no one ever watches the Pro Bowl.

I'm not even what you'd call a casual football fan, so missing most of the game yesterday due to work didn't really bother me, and though I think it's too bad the Pats managed to snatch defeat from the jaws of certain victory (but I was surprisingly happy to see the underdog Giants slay the, um... other giants, I guess?), I certainly didn't lose any sleep over it. If anything, I'm annoyed more by the fact that so few of the mighty, mighty advertisements seemed so boring (hey, sponsors... at about $3.459 billion dollars per picosecond or whatever the going rate is now, don't you think you should really bring your "A" game?). But I do have these two points to make:

1. In the closing minutes, I watched Manning the Younger shrug off 3 Patriots dudes like they were nothing and complete an effortless 30+ yard pass. If 3 of your bigger guys can't take down a skinny QB, your team deserves to lose. End of story.

2. What the hell kind of name is Plaxico, anyway? It doesn't inspire the sort of "are the parents illiterate, dumb, or just mean?" ire that, say, the name Anfernee does, but still, it sounds like a fictional South American country from a fifties Batman comic book ("The citizens of Plaxico say gracias to you, SeƱor Batman!") or a chemical/plastics conglomerate ("Plaxico - ruining the future today!") than a person.

Into the 'wood.

Having watched countless hours of The Real World, Road Rules, Dawson's Creek, The O.C., and such with Erin, I told her a few years back that she had to watch at least the first episode of the new Doctor Who with me. She agreed that she owed me that much, especially since I said that if she didn't like it, she'd never have to watch with me again. She liked it enough to come back for a second week, and then a third, and by the fourth week, she was the one suggesting we watch the newest episode. A happy geek was I.

Then Torchwood comes along, and seeing as she liked Who, she was as game to give it a shot as I was. We watched the first episode or two and enjoyed the show well enough, but there was a lot of other stuff vying for our attention, so we moved on to other things, but continued to DVR the rest of the series so we could catch up when life, work, and viewing schedules allowed.

Over Christmas, we finally got that chance. And while the show had a few silly moments in the earlier episodes, I enjoyed it's different take on the Who universe pretty well, and never really saw why fans online were so quick to rip it a new rectum (well, other than because they were fans online, anyway).

Erin, though? Erin was hooked. Obsessed, even, and by her own admission. Obsessed mostly with Gareth David Lloyd, the guy who plays Torchwood majordomo Ianto Jones (again by her own admission), but that spills over into the show itself. So now she scours YouTube for fun bits and upcoming clips, reads up on whatever info she can, and when the DVDs for Season One came out, we pretty much had to run out and get them. So now I know what it's been like to live with me all these years. It's been interesting.

No doubt about it... I created a monster. A cute, fangirly monster who keeps asking me to learn Welsh. It's a fun time. Especially when she finds stuff like this: