Please release The State on DVD already, so I can watch stuff like this whenever I want to without having to resort to 12-or-13-year-old videotapes or grainy YouTube scans:
And yeah, I know it's available for download on iTunes now, but I don't want to watch TV on iTunes. I want DVDs. So hop to it. Chop chop!
Anyway, help me clear up some much needed space by bidding on the following:
- Captain Britain trade paperback by Alan Davis and Jamie Delano - the 1989 book, not the more recent one with the Alan Moore stories.
- The New Adventures of Abraham Lincoln by Scott McCloud - bizarre, but fun.
- Squadron Supreme mini-series 1-12 - the 1985 series by Mark Gruenwald; I love this book, but maybe this'll finally make me get off my butt and buy the trade.
- Nova 1-5, 12, 14, 24, 25 - from the original 1976-1979 series.
- New Teen Titans 9 issue lot - issues 12, 17, 19 through 22, 25, Tales of the Teen Titans 45, and New Teen Titans Annual 2.
If there was a "Best Pitch That'll Never Ever Happen (Especially Now) Award," this would win hands down.
Yessiree bob, you used to have to turn to poorly-written internet fanfic to see your beloved icons defiled in this manner, but now you can get all the officially-sanctioned debasement your blackened little soul desires! Less Fun Comics - if it were any less fun, it'd be educational.
(Have the last few years' worth of event comics made me cynical? Maybe a smidge.)
For this and other bits of wonderful. Run, don't walk, to the place you buy comic books and buy Marvel Adventures Avengers #9, written by Jeff Parker. The truths of the universe will stand revealed before you.****
* Mobile Organism Designed Only for Killing.
** Mobile Organism Designed Only for Conquest (this is from an all-ages book, see)
*** Advance Idea Mechanics.
**** Okay, this is a lie, but it's a very good book, and easily the most-fun in any Marvel book not named "Nextwave: Agents of H.A.T.E." for at least the past few years, if not ever,
So of course, the real trick is trying to invent new paninis to actually try. Well, the real trick for me, anyway. As Erin is quick to admit, she's an extremely picky eater and is content to go with the stuff she knows, leaving me to explore most culinary frontiers on my own. Not that my explorations lead me all that much farther past what I already know, either, but still.
So anyway, the other day I was trying to think up new warm sandwich creations, while at the same time thinking about this really terrible cover of "Suspicious Minds" (my favorite Elvis song) I heard over the P.A. in the grocery store earlier in the day. The conclusion I reached was, in this particular set of circumstances, probably inevitable - The Elvis Panini. The King's penchant for fried peanut butter and banana sandwiches is pretty legendary, and I have to admit that they always sounded pretty good, if also a little bit fatal. But, I reasoned, if you grilled it, you might just postpone the massive coronary, at least long enough to actually finish the sandwich, anyway.
First I took some ciabatta bread we had floating around and lightly brushed the exterior with a super-tiny amount of olive oil so it wouldn't burn on the grill plates (and also so it wouldn't taste like peanut butter, bananas, and olive oil, which seemed to be a less than savory combination). I spread on some Jif Honey Peanut Butter and cut up a little more than half a banana into discs that I placed closely together on top of the PB. Then I put it on the Griddler, pressed down on the handle for 30 seconds (so you get those grill marks), then let up on the handle and left it in to cook/toast/whatever for another 5 minutes.
The results? It was good - not great, but good. I certainly enjoyed it, but it wasn't quite the King of All Sandwiches that I was hoping for. Maybe I should have used sourdough instead of ciabatta, or maybe regular Jif instead of the honey kind. Probably could have used more peanut butter than I did, too, the more I think of it. And maybe the bananas were a little too ripe - they were about a day or so from being perfect banana bread fodder, so the banana taste was super strong, almost overpowering, really. And hey, maybe this sort of thing really does need to be fried, you know? Frying makes everything tastier. Possibly even footwear.
But all second guessing aside, it was pretty tasty, warm, and gooey. It just could be even more so. I think further experimentation is required to truly perfect the Elvis Panini. I figure I owe it to the world. It may be my one lasting gift to science. The responsibility I'm facing here is astounding.
Ultimate Fantastic Four Vol. 1: The Fantastic - I have a hard time forming any sort of opinion about this book, because honestly, I couldn't even be bothered to finish. It wasn't particularly bad or incompetently created or anything, or even vastly different from the traditional FF in any sort way that would actually matter. I just couldn't quite bring myself to care enough to actually read all the way through. I think it's the same problem I've had with almost every other Ultimate book I've read*, and that's the tendency to go back and "re-imagine" older stories and/or concepts that I think are still serviceable as is, even with the anachronisms intact. I know these books are certainly popular with their fans, and I think it's great that the exist for those people to enjoy, but I think I know for sure now that I'm not one of them. Call me old-fashioned, but I'm just an Earth-616 boy at heart. At least when they're not stuck in the middle of endless, soul-crushing, decidedly un-fun crossovers, anyway. Maybe I'm more of a "Fringes of 616, and also Marvel Adventures" boy at heart. Eh, semantics.
American Born Chinese by Gene Luen Yang - Wow, people just seem to love this book, don't they? Well - and here's where I lose what little Comics Bloggyverse Cred I've earned - I wish I could say I was one of them. It certainly starts off strong enough. I enjoyed the format of the three stories told in parallel - Jin dealing with what he considers the burden of his Chinese heritage and his desperate struggles to fit in at school, the fable of the Monkey King, and the twisted sitcom happenings with Danny and his cousin Chin-Kee (almost the worst Chinese stereotype since Mickey Rooney in "Breakfast at Tiffany's") - and the way each of the plotlines in some way reflected the happenings of the others. I think Yang had a lot of interesting things to say about racism, and how the most affecting form of it may come not from outsiders, but from within your own insecurities. And I think the art was really wonderful - cartoony enough to feel removed from the situation, but realistic enough to make everything seem real (if that makes sense at all). And in spite of myself, I actually found some of the Chin-Kee sequences to be truly laugh out loud funny (there's a great subtle visual gag involving Chin-Kee in math class... you really need to check it out), which I really hope was the intent, because otherwise I'm a very bad person.
The problem for me, though, came with the ending (Here's where we might get a little spoilery). I was sort of expecting the Monkey King and Danny/Chin-Kee storylines to have endings that would somehow relate to the end of Jin's story in some sort of metaphoric/parable fashion, but instead, they all merge into the very same storyline. This teenage coming-of-age-and- dealing-with-emotional/cultural-baggage story suddenly has all of these mystical, fantastic elements folded into it, and if we're to accept them literally, it removes me from the situation-as-I-understand-it and completely derails the entire story for me. One moment Jin and the girl he has a crush on are seeing "Sixteen Candles," and then later Jin is visited by the actual Monkey King? It would work for a Scott Pilgrim book, sure, but it's established very early on that that's the sort of world Scott Pilgrim occupies. Here, it just comes out of left field, almost as if it came from an entirely different book. I hate to say that this ruined the whole story for me, but it kind of did. And it's too bad, because before the last chapter, there's a lot about this book to like.
Still to come: Fun Home by Alison Bechdel and the Spider-Man/Human Torch: I'm With Stupid digest (that oughtta make for a disjointed double feature, huh?). On top of all the other stuff I'm trying to read, too (Absolute New Frontier, Chuck Klosterman IV, Showcase Presents Shazam, Locas, Runaways Vol. 5, some book on Orson Welles I picked up at work today...). It's really hard to find the time to read all this stuff! If only I didn't have to work. But until the Powerball people get their act together and award me the damn prize already (whether I've remembered to buy a ticket or not), I still need to hold down a job. Grumble, grumble.
*Ultimate Spider-Man Annual #1 and a few select issues of Ultimate Marvel Team-Up excepted.
Okay, it doesn't at all. I have no shame. May God have mercy on my very soul. While I'm off doing penance, check out what I'm selling this time around:
- Ultraman unique Heroclix from the DC Legacy set (Scipio, do you already have this one for your proposed upcoming battle with Starman?)
- Kingdom Come Wonder Woman unique Heroclix from the DC Unleashed set
- Dumped by Andi Watson (the book, that is... you don't actually get dumped by Andi Watson)
- Bizarro Comics softcover (indie writers & artist do DC stories... great fun, but not anything I think I'm gonna read again)
- Tales of the Beanworld 1, 7, 12, 14, & 15 (one of my most favorite series ever, but these are all collected in the trades, which I have, so I don't need 'em twice)
- Captain America 444-454, the first Mark Waid & Ron Garney run (fun stories, and perhaps the last time I truly enjoyed a Cap book)
Also, special thanks to those of you who delurked on the last post. The number of folks who responded was less than I hoped, but at the same time, far more than I actually expected, so I'm gonna chalk that one up in the "Win" column. It always nice to know that I'm not completely typing away into the big empty.
More brief, potentially spoilery thoughts on stuff I've read.
Teen Titans Go! 38 - Chynna Clugston's art doesn't quite match the look and feel of the animated Titans themselves, but that's a minor quibble as it matches the tone of this Mad Mod spotlight story to a "T" (ugh, sorry about that; completely unintentional, I assure you). Fun story, jam packed with layer upon layer of Beatle and mod-culture references. And if you're quick, you'll find a fun cameo from the Blue Monday cast.
Jonah Hex 14 - Part 2 of the Legend of Jonah Hex, in which our hero goes poo diving (and kills a bunch of people, 'natch). I keep going back and forth on whether or not I'm going to keep reading it, and then an upswing in story quality comes along that hold my interest a while longer. This storyline is one of those high points, helped in large part by the art of Jordi Bernet, who seems to be channeling Alex Toth (this is a good thing). I'm unfamililar with Bernet's work - is it always like this, or does he adapt his style to the book/character he's working on at the time?
Athena Voltaire: Flight of the Falcon 3 - You know, comics could use a truly excellent, globe-hopping, Republic serial-esque 1930s adventure series, and this book is trying really hard to be that book, but it falls short of the mark for me. For one thing, I think we're told how amazing the titular aviatrix is rather than being shown it. Also, there's never anything on the last page that actually indicates that it's the last page. I'll be reading along and reach the bottom of a page, then it's ad, ad, ad, letter page, sketch page, back cover. No "To Be Continued," and not even anything that could be seen as a cliffhanger. Everything just kinda... stops. That's disappointing.
Scott Pilgrim & the Infinite Sadness - A slightly quieter, and at times surprisingly introspective installment of the Canadian Video Game Streetfight Love Manga-ish series. It answers some questions from the previous volumes, fills in a little more of the back stories of various characters, and has a lot of fun at the expense of vegans. A good time should be had by all. Volume 4 can't come fast enough for me.
Invincible Vol. 6: A Different World - I've probably mentioned this here before, so I won't continue to beat a dead horse, but for my money, this is still one of the very best superhero books on the market today (though a little more graphically violent than I'd like), and probably the current karmic successor to Spider-Man as far as both the archetype of the young hero coming into his own and the development of the supporting cast are concerned (the last book to hit those marks so well, IMHO, was Static). Also, I have to admit that naming the trades after various sitcoms makes me laugh. I'm a simple guy, what can I say? Anyhoo, decent main story, some good continuation of long-running subplots, and a few twists I legitimately didn't see coming.
AEIOU, or Any Easy Intimacy - The more or less true story of a relationship by Jeffrey Brown, this book may be WAY too emo for some folks. I liked it a quite a bit, though. But then again, I'm a sucker for diary comics, and this is very much in the vein of works by James Kochalka and Liz Prince (and, maybe a little like Jen Omand), but more downbeat.
Still to come (somewhere down the line, maybe, once I actually get to read them and if I even feel like typing about 'em at that point):
Runaways Vol. 4: True Believers
Showcase Presents: Shazam! Vol. 1 (I hope it's a Volume 1, anyway, as I'd sure like to see the rest of the series collected, along with the stuff from World's Finest)
Superman: Secret Identity (technically, this would be a re-read, so I may skip over typing about this one entirely)
Absolute DC: The New Frontier (Sweet Jebus, is this a beautiful book)
On the other hand, Mark "I Won't Tell Congress I Didn't Do Steroids Because I Don't Feel Like Perjuring Myself" McGwire, another ballot first timer, chalked up 23.5%. Ouch.
Anyway, though I'm happy for Ripken and Gwynn - both of whom clearly deserve the honor - I'm a little disappointed at the list of those who didn't get in. Red Sox great Jim Rice, for instance. This is his 13th year on the ballot, and still no dice. Goose Gossage was up for his 8th try and didn't make it, but I've already several articles talking about how he's inching ever closer. No Andre Dawson, no Don Mattingly, no Dale Murphy, no Tommy John, and no Steve Garvey, which is especially rough since this was his 15th and final year. The whole "fathering illegitimate children" thing isn't such a big deal for famous athletes now, but in the 80s, it was a real career killer.
So good news for Ripken and Gwynn fans - and there are certainly a lot of them - but mark my words, all of New England will be celebrating next year when Jim Ed Rice finally gets his due on his 14th year of eligibility, which will be fitting, since as this article reminds us, he wore #14 for his entire career.
Spirit 1 - Yes, I'd like a lot more like this, please. They said it couldn't (maybe even shouldn't) be done, but Darwyn Cooke brought the goodness here in a big way, I thought, keeping the book true to the (ugh) spirit of Will Eisner but at the same time not shying away from making it a thing unto itself. Very anxious to see A.) where this goes, and V.) if Cooke can keep up the standards he set for himself here.
Justice Society of America 1 - More like this, too, please. Everything a first issue should be: sets up/re-establishes the premise, introduces some new folks, lays the groundwork for future stories, and sets the main plot of the arc into motion. This got me more excited about the JSA than I've been in some time, and has me thinking that maybe I'll pick this up monthly rather than in trades. We'll see, I guess. Also, I hearby declare Maxine Hunkel to be the Sensational Character Find of 2006.
Supergirl and the LSH 25 - I like this new version of the Wanderers, and just how many of them are new versions of old Legionnaires and/or Subs. And I'm glad Waid finally gave Dream Boy something useful to do... he's been depicted as such a tool so far, and his only really flaw is that he's not Nura. And, you know, that's not so much his fault, really, is it?
Nextwave: Agents of HATE 11 - Alright, so the MODOK Elvises were inspired, but you had to appreciate the all-ape squad of Wolverine clones, too. This is Warren Ellis-as-mad-genius.
newuniversal 1 - And this is Warren Ellis phoning it in. Sorry, I just didn't like it, even for 75 cents or whatever the DCBS price ended up being. Not enough of a story (even for an introduction issue), and the art is way too photo-referenced for my liking.
An Anthology of Graphic Fiction, Cartoons, & True Stories - My boss got me this for Christmas. How cool is that? Anyway, this is an amazing collection of material that I'm having an absolute blast picking my way through a few pages at a time (which is the best way to approach this, I think - a few pages every couple of days or so). Editor Ivan Brunetti selected some truly memorable material from a who's who of indie artists past and present (though of his own work, I wish he'd included the "Whither Shermy?" strip instead of one or the other pieces he selected; it would've gone well in the Schulz tribute section of the book), as well as material from some classic sources: a week's worth of daily Barnaby strips by Crockett Johnson, a Gene Dietch magazine cover, a Hey, Look! from Harvey Kurtzman, a Gasoline Alley Sunday strip from the '20s (IIRC), and so on. They make nice little palate cleansers in between the more modern stuff, as well as helping to show the influence of the classic on the contemporary. A fine "how do you do?" to indie comics that's well worth your time and money.
There's still more to discuss, but that can wait for now. In the meantime, there are meals to be prepared, children to be put to bed, episodes of Arrested Development to be watched, and levels of Marvel: Ultimate Alliance to be played. I'm one busy dude.
So the following things rocked my tiny little sphere of existence in 2006, regardless of whether they actually came out the past year or not. Any glaring omissions you perceive are most likely attributable to the fact that I don't get out as much as I used to, which was never very often to begin with:
- The aforementioned "Haughty Melodic" by Mike Doughty
- V for Vendetta, which I actually liked better than the book.
- Nextwave: Agents of H.A.T.E.
- Doctor Who
- "Putting the Days to Bed" by the Long Winters
- An Anthology of Graphic Fiction, Cartoons, & True Stories, edited by Ivan Brunetti
- Jack's Big Music Show
- X-Men: The Last Stand
- Godzilla: Final Wars
- That Snakes on a Plane song by Cobra Starship
- Dan Zanes and Friends
- Arrested Development
- "Twin Cinema" by the New Pornographers
- The theme song from Veronica Mars ("We Used to Be Friends" by the Dandy Warhols)
- Supergirl and the Legion of Super Heroes
- The Little White Mouse Omnibus
- Mad Hot Ballroom
- Justice League Unlimited
- Killing Yourself to Live: 85% of a True Story by Chuck Klosterman
- The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky (for about the 5th or 6th time)
- Darwyn Cooke's version of The Spirit
- Hell, just about anything by Darwyn Cooke (Overstock.com can't ship my copy of Absolute New Frontier fast enough!)
- The Marvel Adventures books (esp. Spider-Man and The Avengers)
- The magazine-sized collected editions of those books sold at Target
- Agents of Atlas
- Battlestar Galactica
- My father-in-law's homemade pizza
- The Comic Geek Speak podcast and forum
- Marvel: Ultimate Alliance
- Lego Star Wars II: The Original Trilogy
...and a bunch of other stuff I'm sure I've forgotten. A year is a long time to remember stuff, especially if you have an Etch-a-Sketch brain like mine and don't take a lot of notes. So this list is by no means comprehensive, but I guarantee it's accuracy; I really did enjoy these things. And I think that counts for something.
- How to Draw Comics the Marvel Way (1984 reprint)
- Moon Knight (Vol. 1) 1, 2, 16, 19, 21
- Marvel Comics Series from Pocket Books - 9 book lot (digest/mass-market sized reprints from the 70s - FF, Captain America, Spider-Woman, and two volumes each of Spidey, Hulk, and Dr. Strange; for whatever reason, eBay keeps refusing to list this on my "currently selling list," which is starting to piss me off, quite frankly.)
- G.I. Joe 19 issue lot - 2 (reprint), 23, 33, 35, 36, 37, 49, 50, 51, 52, 54, 57, 58, 59, 60 (Todd McFarlane art), 65, 67, 118, and G.I. Joe Yearbook #1.
- Fantastic Four 10 issue John Byrne lot - 221 (which predates his "official" start on the book), 232 (the real beginning), 241, 245, 266, 280, 281, 282, 283, and 293 (his last issue).
Okay, not a lot of so-called hot items, but they'll appeal to someone, I figure, and you have to start somewhere. As always, bid early, often, and honestly.
Good to know.
When my own personal revolution comes, this crap software is the first against the wall.
(The gist of the lost post, by the way, is that Christmas was good, but for some reason, I've lost the goodwill required to retype it. Funny thing, that.)