Lazy Wednesday YouTube Blogging: Power(puff) Pop

Liam discovered the Powerpuff Girls last weekend and is now obsessed, particularly with this clip:



Can't say as I blame him. Syrupy lyrics aside, it's a damn catchy song. Probably the best 60s bubblegum pop song to not have been written in the 60s. And Blossom's guitar solo kicks ass.

And because it's YouTube, of course there are tributes. This one was cute, and almost assuredly a fetish for someone:

The List: 6/26/09

Brief thoughts about things I've read recently. Rarely current, barely pertinent, but at least it's quick.

Batman: The Brave and the Bold #4 - Like I said yesterday, the opening sequence contains the greatest team-up in DC history, but the main story is pretty fun, too, featuring Batman and the Sensational Character Rediscovery of 2008 teaming up to travel through time and fight dinosaurs, Roman legionnaires, cavemen, and a villain I only know from her Who's Who entry. Some cool cameos, too. Good reading for both you and the kiddos.

Micronauts (1st series) #s 21-25
- This book frequently flips between space opera in the subatomic Microverse and a riff on Irwin Allen's Land of the Giants whenever the Micronauts travel into the regular Marvel universe. This run falls into the latter category, as our currently action figure-sized adventurers face off against some third string super-villains, sleepy truckers, and some dude robbing a McDonald's (it reads better than it sounds). But there are "Tales of the Microverse" back up stories talking about concurrent events happening back in their own dimension, so you get the former, too. Bill Mantlo brings all things to all people in his unique melodramatic, scene-chewing style (and with a surprising amount of barely concealed inter-Micronaut humpin'... apparently they learned early on that it wasn't the kids buying this toy tie-in book). Great pencil work from Pat Broderick, easily on par with the Michael Golden issues that some claim are the only ones worth reading. Their loss.

Spider-Man: Brand New Day Vol. 3 - I had already read most of this volume before, since I bought the Paper Doll arc off the stands for the Marcos Martin artwork, but for once, I didn't mind rebuying the material, since it's still a good, fast-paced read (and the artwork is still gorgeous, 'natch), and it flows into the second story featuring the Enforcers so well. Maybe this isn't Great Spider-Man, only Very Good Spider-Man, but it's been so long since we've had even Decently Readable Spider-Man that I'll take it.




Criminal Vol. 1: Coward - Oooh, Ed Brubaker (& Sean Phillips) and noir go together like peanut butter and jelly. Gritty, gritty jelly. Fascinating study of a bad person who still operates by a very strict code of honor and conduct, as he knows all too well what happens when you work outside the rules. Relentlessly grim, and not a happy ending in sight, but compelling. I literally couldn't get to the next page fast enough. Might actually be better than the hype.

Remember that episode of Dinosaurs when they all died at the end?

Neither do I, but apparently, that's how they ended the series. The dad somehow ends up in charge of everything and ENDS CIVILIZATION AS THEY KNOW IT:



Cheery viewing for a Sunday night.

This show was many things. Most of them pretty annoying, actually (I was once in the comic book store while some guy and his little kid were also there, and the kid repeated Baby Sinclair's catchphrase "I'm the baby, gotta love me!" non-stop for A HALF HOUR STRAIGHT; I experienced true rage that day). But subtle? Not so much.

Comics' Greatest Crimefighting Team

Proving that sometimes they really do write comic books specifically for bloggers, the "opening gambit" (to borrow terminology from Bond and MacGyver) in the newest issue of the Batman: The Brave and the Bold tie-in comic features a magically babyfied Batman teaming up with Sugar & Spike:

Honestly, I doubt that anything else in comics for the rest of 2009 is going to make me any happier than this did. As long as creators are willing to actually cameo the characters every now and then, I remain hopeful that we'll one day FINALLY get some S & S collections.

The TARDIS is out there?

I take all Doctor Who casting rumors with a grain shaker giant economy-sized bag of salt, but I do think it'd be pretty cool to see Gillian Anderson as a regenerated Rani.



I mean, the report is from The Daily Telegraph as opposed to, say, The Sun, but still... until I at least see a BBC announcement and accompanying in-costume publicity photos, well, I'll remain skeptical.

Paul Pope. Spock. Need I say more?

In case you weren't already aware, there's a Paul Pope written & illustrated Star Trek comic in the new issue of Wired:


This issue (focusing on puzzles and mysteries) is guest-edited by J.J. Abrams, so it ties into the new movie, but even if you're not interested in that, I imagine it'd be a fun read all the same because, come on, Paul Pope. You can read the whole thing online if you like, but the larger magazine format showcases Pope's artwork really well, and the whole issue has lots of cool retro design elements and Futura font everywhere, so I think it'd be worth your while to actually go pick up a copy. But whatever floats your boat.

What to buy, what to buy

So what's everyone ordering from the latest Previews? Well, I'll tell you what you'd be ordering if you happened to be me:

Marvel:
Captain Britain & MI13 #14
Captain Britain & MI13 Annual #1
This has quickly become my favorite book that Marvel is putting out right now, and the only Marvel book I actually buy monthly instead of waiting for the trades. Paul Cornell and Leonard Kirk are bringing the awesome superhero action here, and serving it up with a side order of horror and fantasy. Fantastic stuff.

Runaways Vol 8: Dead End Kids digest
Loved Brian K. Vaughn's run on the book, and was curious to read Joss Whedon's quick arc, but wanted to read it in the same digest-sized format in which Vaughn's work was published. At last, my patience has been rewarded. I only hope the story is even marginally worth the wait.

DC:
Batman: The Brave and the Bold #6

Like Justice League Unlimited and Teen Titans Go! before it, I'm not following this tie-in book regularly, but am more than willing to pick up the issues with plots and/or guest stars I'm interested in. Bringing in someone like Kid Eternity is interesting enough, but the cover makes it look like we also get at least a brief helping of J.A.K.E. the G.I. Robot, and I'm all over that.

Mysterius the Unfathomable #6
Good lord, this has been awesome so far, and I'm sad to see it end. Here's hoping for an ongoing, or at least more minis.

AdHouse Books:
Johnny Hiro Vol. 1

Like I said before, If you didn't pick up the issues, you really missed out on something special, so here's your chance to correct that grievous error in judgment, and get two additional issues' worth of all new story besides.

BOOM! Studios:
The Muppet Show #4

Another mini-series that needs to be a regular thing, because Roger Langridge's take on The Muppet Show just might be as good as the genuine article. And given the high esteem in which I hold The Muppet Show, I don't say that lightly.

The Incredibles: Family Matters #4
If I can't get more Mark Waid Fantastic Four, this is the next best thing. Recognizably Waid, but never strays from the feel of the source material. Fun stuff.

Unknown #2
More Waid. Buying this miniseries blind, but the solicit copy compares it to Ruse, which might be my favorite Mark Waid work ever. Sure, he's known for the superhero stuff, but he can write quite a good mystery when he's of a mind to, too (Which reminds me, I really need to pick up that Potter's Field collection one of these days.).


Stuff that Missed the Cut:
Batman & Robin #1
- I loved Morrison and Quitely on All Star Superman, but I've been through all this "replacement Batman" hoo-hah before and I don't care to relive it, thank you. If I hear it's good, I'll check out the collected edition.

You Shall Die By Your Own Evil Creation - Oh, how I loved that first Fletcher Hanks collection, but I just don't have the money right now. This will be mine eventually, though, I swear it.

Nexus: As It Happened Vol. 1 - At long last, affordable collections of Nexus. This is a good thing. However, Steve Rude's new publishing effort has thus far released, what, one out of 5 or 6 solicited issues of the new Nexus series? I don't like those odds. I'll gladly pick this up when I know it actually comes to pass, but I'm not going to spend money to pre-order what could well be another vaporback book.

Could it really be true? The State on DVD at last?

I'll believe this is actually happening when I'm holding the set in my hands, but still, this is long overdue very good news indeed:



This will be as interesting to hear as it will be to watch, since music rights were allegedly one of the main sticking points in keeping these from getting released for so long. Also, anyone know if the infamous (and little-seen) CBS special will be included?

Pretty Sketchy: OUTRAGEOUS!

Hate to do one of these while the last one is still visible on the first page, but it's been a light content month and I want to put something up, and besides, this is just damn cool and I want to share it ASAP.


A Batman: The Brave and the Bold- style Aquaman by Michael Schwartz, who draws a fun undersea adventure webcomic called Oceanverse. I've been on an Aquaman kick lately thanks to this cartoon, and when I had the chance to get a commission from Michael, I figured a classic-styled Aquaman (i.e., no long hair or hook hand) would be right in his wheelhouse. And when he replied asking if he could draw something closer to the version from B:tBatB, well, I knew he'd bring the awesome.

That poor octopus makes me laugh every damn time I look at it.

Titanium Rain returns this summer

Josh Finney & Kat Rocha's new series Titanium Rain saw its first issue released last September, but then it sadly dropped off the radar when publisher Archaia Studios Press went through its problems in the fall. All that seems to be in the past now, though, and the series is set to return through Archaia this summer. Here's a video preview:



Josh and Kat are great folks, and their work looks like nothing else I've ever seen. Give this book a shot!

And there's more info here at the official site, of course.

Linkage: The April Covers Project at Geek USA

My friend Andy is a talented S.O.B. So talented, in fact, that if I didn't like him, I think I'd kind of hate him for being Good At Things. Even still, I'm currently constructing a device to rob him of his abilities in very much the same manner that the evil dentist played by Dick Gautier tried to drain Fonzie of his Cool™ on a later-season episode of Happy Days (well-past The Shark, that one). So, shhh, don't tell him.

Anyway, Andy is sometimes a band called The Pluto Tapes, and as a special project, he's recording and releasing a cover song every single day throughout the month of April over on his blog, Geek USA. He's putting his own spin on everything from Nine Inch Nails and Nirvana to The Magnetic Fields and the Muppets and all points in between. It's good stuff. And it's free. Free is good. Check it out.

And I'm reasonably certain you can download The Pluto Tapes over at iTunes, so if you like what you hear, throw him some money. I'm sure he'd appreciate it.

And I owe my soul to the raccoon's store.

Oh, Animal Crossing: City Folk. I didn't want to love you, but you gave me no choice.



I gave up on my Tamagotchi after just a few days. And I never had any patience for The Sims. Because I have enough problems to deal with in my own actual life on a daily basis. I can't be bothered to make sure that little electronic people (and/or space chickens) go to work, get something to eat, and avoid shitting on the floor... I have a hard enough time making sure I do all those tasks myself. And then I went and had a kid, and I don't know if you knew this or not, but the Japanese word for child literally translates into High Stakes Tamagotchi, and lemme tell ya, they got that one right on the nose. So he takes up a lot of time right there. No time left for Sim Anything, not even a Sim Something I build up over time and then eventually get to wreck with storms and monsters like I used to over at my friend Sam's house growing up.

(And Liam really likes to pretend to be storms and monsters, so I get my fix right there.)

But my friends Jeremy, Annie, and Joel all used to talk about the original Animal Crossing for the GameCube, insisting that it was better than any old SimThingyBlahBlah, that it was fun, pleasant, even relaxing. I was skeptical, but when the Wii version, Animal Crossing: City Folk, was released last fall, I figured it was worth a (free) rental to see if I could understand The Big Deal. And I didn't. Until about Day 3.

See, I think that's how long it takes the game to really grab you. The first day you're getting used to the controls, exploring the town, and enduring the indentured servitude of the raccoon you're forced to work for part-time in order to secure a loan (from said raccoon, no less) to purchase a small house. The second day, free of the yoke of forced employment, you can really get down to the business of seeing the sights, talking to the animals in your town, maybe even learning to fish or dig up fossils if you can get your hands on the proper equipment. And by Day 3, you settle down to your new little life.

And you're hooked. At least we were. I think because it's such an easygoing indoctrination. With The Sims, it's all pressure right out of the gate. Find a house! Get a job! Talk to your neighbors! Aim for the toilet! AC is much more relaxed, especially after you're free from the raccoon. Hey, pick out a house for yourself. You'll have to make mortgage payments, but there's no timetable, just pay when you can. You should plant some flowers, help make the town look nice. Swing by the museum and have a cup of coffee. Can you bring this present to one of the other neighbors? Thanks, here's a gift for your troubles, too. Hey, wanna play hide & seek?



Everything's so soothing, that I generally don't mind any of the actual upkeep chores that occasionally need to be done. Watering the plants, looking for fish and bugs, delivering packages for other animals... it's all just another chance to visit our little town of Pluot (named for the yummy plum-apricot hybrid fruit because, well, we couldn't think of anything else at the time). It's a welcome respite from real life sometimes, and it's very easy to get wrapped up in everything. Last week, our favorite neighbor, grumpy alligator Del, moved away, and we were legitimately sad to see him go.

Yeah, we need help. I know. At least we still remember to feed the kid. Wait...

Lazy Tuesday YouTube Blogging: A Remembrance of Breakfasts Past

I would legitimately be the happiest boy on Earth if Kellogg's would bring back Graham Crackos in some form:



Maybe change the name, though.

The List: 4/6/08 (The Sniffly, Sneezy, Coughy, & Wheezy Edition)

We're on Cold #5 (I think) of 2009 - man, will I be glad for summer this year - so life has really slowed down, but I'm still trying to make it through my To Read pile. Here are the latest short reactions to comics I've read recently. Let's (cough, sputter, gasp) go.

Naoki Urasawa's 20th Century Boys Vol. 1 - I usually just get my manga fix through the library, but this sounded interesting, and the word of mouth was universally positive, so one Borders 40% off coupon later, I picked it up. And not only did it live up to the hype, but actually kinda exceeded it. So many layers here... it's a look at what it was like to come of age at a unique time in Japanese history, just as Western culture was really starting to take root; it's about that point in your adult life when you realize that your childhood dreams probably aren't going to come true and you just have to accept it and be a grown-up; and there's this dark, disturbing underside to the whole thing about a cult that seems to want to destroy the world in order to save it. These threads are interesting enough on their own, but trying to figure out how, where, and why they'll eventually all come together elevates this to brilliance. More, please.





Gus and His Gang by Chris Blain - Picked this up on a whim from the First Second booth at NYCC, and I'm glad I did. Given that Blain is a French cartoonist, I wasn't expecting a traditional Western or anything, but the book was even more nontraditional than I would have thought. Because, sure, it's about a band of Western outlaws, but it's really more about love, sex, family, and trying to find whatever it is that makes you happy in life. Lucky Luke it ain't. The stories are short but packed full of ideas and emotions, all conveyed in urgent, expressive fashion by the Harvey Kurtzman-esque artwork. Funny, moody, violent, dark, and sexy... in other words, it's French as hell. Definitely give this a shot.





The Muppet Show #1 - I knew Rodger Langridge nailed this just a few pages in, with the "song" about the toads and the beans. In my mind, I could hear the whole thing happening as I read it... the voices, the music, even the very particular sound effect they'd use whenever Muppets would explode. I was hoping for merely funny, but I got more than I could have hoped for: a note-perfect recreation of an actual episode of The Muppet Show. Everyone involved with this book deserves makes a mint off of it. Buy the hell out of this, people.