Trusty Plinko Stick is 4 years old today. Hard to believe I've been typing away in relative obscurity - about silly comic books and stuff, no less - for so long. Thanks for coming along for the ride, folks. Let's strike up the band!


Less and less has been appealing to me in the ol' Diamond Comics Previews catalog these past few months, but a few things caught my eye (for good or ill) during my first quick glance through the October solicitations, so let's go over those, shall we?

(Not that I'm necessarily buying everything here, it's just stuff I think is worth talking about.)

(Also, I look at this stuff online, so no page numbers; sorry!)

Dark Horse
Beanworld Holiday Special and Beanworld HC Vol. 1: Wahoolazuma - Like I said last week, I'm pretty excited about these. I'm a bit annoyed that Dark Horse is indeed soliciting this further in advance than is necessary (Most stuff in this Previews ships in December, this book comes out in February), but a minor quibble, as getting Beanworld back into print, and getting new material in the form of the holiday special, is fantastic news indeed.

Batman: RIP Deluxe Edition HC - I'll probably wait until I can find this at the library, but I've heard enough interesting comments about this run that I'm definitely curious to check it out. And there's more Club of Heroes stuff in this story, right? Does that mean we get more of The Squire? She's awesome.

Justice League of America: The Lightning Saga TPB - Wait, this is only just now coming out in paperback? Jeez, DC! At least when Marvel insists on their silly Premiere Hardcovers, they only make you wait another 3 or so months for the trade.

Supergirl: Cosmic Adventures in the 8th Grade - Alright, so I'm pretty far out of the intended demographic for this one, but these new superheroey Johnny DC books have all been very strong so far, and this can't help but be a better take on the Girl of Steel than the constant soft-reboots they've been trying on the current mainline DCU version to make her more likable to anyone.

Spider-Man: Noir and X-Men: Noir - You know, these actually sound kinda fun. X-Men as a hard-boiled detective piece and Spidey as a pulp hero... they could work, you know? If there's money in the budget, I may have to check these out. Hate the $3.99 price tags, though. Could be a real deal breaker there.

What If: Newer Fantastic Four - The Walt Simonson/Art Adams "New Fantastic Four" story has always been a favorite of mine, and the What If special featuring the characters that was produced as a Mike Wieringo tribute this year was a lot of fun, too (thanks in large part to writer Jeff Parker), so I'm interested in this one, especially since Paul Tobin is writing it. For as much as I am Jeff Parker's bitch when it comes to comics writing these days, I am equally Tobin's.

The Wonderful Wizard of Oz - I don't but these Marvel literary adaptations in monthly format - or at all, actually - but I'm interested in this based on the Skottie Young preview images alone. I'll wait for the trade, most likely, but damn, this looks fantastic.

Disney Press
Wonderland HC - I always meant to get around to picking up this Alice in Wonderland prequel mini-series when Slave Labor Graphics published it originally, as I love me some Sonny Liew artwork (and what I saw of this looked incredible), but never did. What did folks think... worth picking up?

Aaaaaaand... that's it, mostly, barring the regular books I get (why reiterate those month after month?). Surprisingly weak sauce for the December issue. Which is good, because it's not like I have the cash to spend on a lot of comics these days, but still, it's disappointing.

The CR Sunday Feature Meme: 50 Things Every Comics Collection Truly Needs

These sorts of things make for perfect Lazy Sunday Blogging, doncha think? Anyway, this is pretty self-explanatory, but basically, Tom Spurgeon wrote up a fun post for today on The Comics Reporter about the 50 things he feels every comics person should have in their collection. Someone suggested he turn it into blog-friendly meme bait, and now here we go:

Leave Plain = Things I don't have
Make Bold = Things I do have
Italics = I have some but probably not enough (optional)
Underline = I don't agree I need this (optional)

1. Something From The ACME Novelty Library

2. A Complete Run Of Arcade

3. Any Number Of Mini-Comics

4. At Least One Pogo Book From The 1950s
(well, if you count the thicker 70s collections that reprint two of the 50s collections apiece)

5. A Barnaby Collection
(Well worth the hunt, folks)

6. Binky Brown and the Holy Virgin Mary

7. As Many Issues of RAW as You Can Place Your Hands On

8. A Little Stack of Archie Comics
(only because of the Free Comic Book Day issues)

9. A Suite of Modern Literary Graphic Novels

10. Several Tintin Albums
(I only own "Tintin in Tibet." Oh, and "Land of the Soviets" in French. I know I need more, but I never seem to get around to it.)

11. A Smattering Of Treasury Editions Or Similarly Oversized Books

12. Several Significant Runs of Alternative Comic Book Series

13. A Few Early Comic Strip Collections To Your Taste

14. Several "Indy Comics" From Their Heyday

15. At Least One Comic Book From When You First Started Reading Comic Books

16. At Least One Comic That Failed to Finish The Way It Planned To

17. Some Osamu Tezuka

18. The Entire Run Of At Least One Manga Series (check back with me in a few months when I finally pick up the Yotsuba&! volumes I'm missing)

19. One Or Two 1970s Doonesbury Collections

20. At Least One Saul Steinberg Hardcover

21. One Run of A Comic Strip That You Yourself Have Clipped (I used to clip and save The Phantom as a little kid, but those are LONG since gone).

22. A Selection of Comics That Interest You That You Can't Explain To Anyone Else
(Hello, I'm Johnny Cash; The Saturday Morning Comic Book, which is based on the 90s Saturday Morning CD; any number of cross-promotional/educational books)

23. At Least One Woodcut Novel

24. As Much Peanuts As You Can Stand

25. Maus

26. A Significant Sample of R. Crumb's Sketchbooks

27. The original edition of Sick, Sick, Sick.

28. The Smithsonian Collection Of Newspaper Comics

29. Several copies of MAD
(I think I only have one right now, with the Batman TV show parody)

30. A stack of Jack Kirby 1970s Comic Books

31. More than a few Stan Lee/Jack Kirby 1960s Marvel Comic Books

32. A You're-Too-High-To-Tell Amount of Underground Comix

33. Some Calvin and Hobbes

34. Some Love and Rockets

35. The Marvel Benefit Issue Of Coober Skeber

36. A Few Comics Not In Your Native Tongue
(Do foreign translations of American books count?)

37. A Nice Stack of Jack Chick Comics

38. A Stack of Comics You Can Hand To Anybody's Kid

39. At Least A Few Alan Moore Comics

40. A Comic You Made Yourself

41. A Few Comics About Comics

42. A Run Of Yummy Fur

43. Some Frank Miller Comics

44. Several Lee/Ditko/Romita Amazing Spider-Man Comic Books
(if collections count, then yes)

45. A Few Great Comics Short Stories

46. A Tijuana Bible

47. Some Weirdo

48. An Array Of Comics In Various Non-Superhero Genres

49. An Editorial Cartoonist's Collection or Two

50. A Few Collections From New Yorker Cartoonists

The Photo Meme

Via Kevin and Sims:

Take a picture of yourself right now.
Don’t change your clothes, don’t fix your hair…just take a picture.
Post that picture with NO editing.
Post these instructions with your picture.

No, I didn't just
repost an image from a few weeks ago, what are you talking about? I often spend Sundays lazily drinking coffee around the TARDIS control room. As a Lego minifig. It's how I unwind, okay? DON'T YOU JUDGE ME!

Five(ish) Comics That Need To Be Collected Already!

Over the past few years, several of the heavy hitters from my mental collected edition wish list - stuff like Herbie, Little Lulu, The Life & Times of Scrooge McDuck, Zot, Beanworld - have at long last ended up getting made into for-real, trade paperbacks and hardcovers that a person could actually own, some for the first time ever, others coming back into print after too long an absence. There's only one conclusion I can draw from this - clearly I have the ability to affect reality with my very thoughts. I suppose I could use this power to help end the current financial crisis, reverse climate change, end our dependence on foreign oil, etc... but I seem to be having good luck with this comic book thing right now, so I think I'll focus on that instead.

Here's my current list of comics I want, nay, need collected editions of. Make it so, mutant power brain:

Sugar & Spike - Let's just get the elephant in the room out of the way, shall we? The company line from DC is that Sugar & Spike collections won't sell. They tried to gauge interest 8 or 9 years ago, and the results were unfavorable. Well, I hardly call a barely-advertised reprint of the first issue and two shitty plush toys "gauging interest" (and that was pre-DiDio, remember, so it's not just him standing in the way of it, though he sure as hell doesn't help). And sure, it's not gonna sell as huge as a Batman book, but I have to believe you could make money off of Archive editions just on comics bloggers alone. I think the excitement over Dark Horse's Herbie Archives proves that! And while I'd ideally prefer a nice big slab of a Showcase Presents volume (I mean, look at some of the other Showcases they've put out... how well can Elongated Man sell?), I would gladly take an Archive if that's what they decided.

Alex Toth's Hot Wheels - As all the excitement online the past few days over this Alex Toth gallery proves (not to mention the response to the huge article and reprints in The Comics Journal a few years back), the man still has quite a cult following. And while, on paper, this toy (and possibly cartoon?) tie-in sounds pretty silly, Toth drew the hell out of this book. There's a reason he got all that work from Hanna-Barberra... he had a way with adventure and car chases, you know? Someone - not even necessarily DC, but someone - needs to renew this license and get these back in print.

The Black Cat (the Harvey Comics version) - Lots of folks lament the lack of strong female superhero characters, and I think most of them would get a real kick out of the original Black Cat. Admittedly, her costume is a little on the cheesecakey side (though compared to, say, Phantom Lady, she's downright demure!), but in all the stories I've read, she's a very strong character... smart, resourceful, and free of all the uncomfortable subtext William Moulton Marston power-loaded into Wonder Woman. Also, she taught her readers judo holds... how cool is that? And that artwork by Lee Elias is just stunning... he's a guy whose work really deserves to be rediscovered by fans, a la Ogden Whitney or Dick Briefer. Alfred Harvey's company Recollections reprinted a bunch of stories back in the late 80s, IIRC, but they're really hard to find these days (got any of these kicking around the store, Mikester?), and that's a damn shame.

Dick Briefer's Frankenstein- Hey, speaking of Briefer, let's see his humorous Frankenstein ("The Merry Monster") stories get reprinted. There's an edition of his straight horror Frankenstein comics, which I do want to read someday, but I've always heard that the funny stuff is better, and based on the few bits and pieces I've read over the years (online or in scattered back-up feature reprints... one even in Cracked Magazine, I think), I'm inclined to believe it. And the I think whole "nose on the forehead" thing is such a subtly great visual gag.

More Captain Marvel/Marvel Family - Yeah, there's already 4 volumes' worth of Shazam Archives reprinting Captain Marvel's earliest appearances, and another Shazam Family Archives volume reprinting Captain Marvel, Jr. and Mary Marvel stuff, but given just how much Marvel Family material Fawcett put out over the years, it's sad that more of it hasn't been reprinted. I mean, yeah, DC's going out of their way to ruin the characters in their mainline universe (Why beat around the bush? They're absolutely ruining them.), but Jeff Smith's Shazam: The Monster Society of Evil mini-series and Mike Kunkel's current Billy Batson & The Magic of Shazam seem to go over well, so there's obviously still an audience for the traditional versions of these characters. So get over the fact that the Big Red Cheese outsold Superman in his heyday, DC, and hop to!

Sugar. And. Spike. Dammit. - It bears repeating.

So what about you folks? What remains unreprinted (or sadly out of print) that you think deserves a comeback?

Ponderous Graffiti

Not sure who it's supposed to be, but he's important enough to be sketched in magic marker on a guardrail in the parking lot of the South Attleboro, MA, Borders store. So he's got that going for him, which is nice.

New Beanworld. New Beanworld! NEW BEANWORLD!

It's been reported elsewhere, but it bears repeating.

According to Larry Marder's blog, we're getting this...

the Beanworld Holiday Special in December, which is all new material and in color, no less. A very happy holiday gift indeed.


Come February, we also get this...

the new Beanworld hardcover collection, Larry Marder's Beanworld Vol. 1: Wahoolazuma, which reprints the first 9 issues for $19.95. While I'm hesitant to rush right out and re-buy material I already own, I'm sure I'll cave on it because Dark Horse tends to do a great job on these sorts of things, what new supplemental material there is may be interesting, and because I'm fussy enough that when this series gets to reprinting the stories that weren't in the original 4 trade paperbacks from the 90s, I'll want everything to match up together nicely.

Also, I'm proud of Dark Horse issuing a hardcover reprint collection for considerably less than the $49.95 price tag they seem so fond of lately, and I feel their rare, commendable restraint should be rewarded. Now if they don't advance solicit the thing ridiculously early, I'll be happy as can be.

The Dig List - 9/17/08

Short-ish reactions to stuff I've read recently. Let's do this.

The Nightly News - Stylewise, this book is absolutely gorgeous, taking far more of its visual cues from the world of graphic design than traditional comics. Sometimes the design gets in the way of the storytelling rather than enhancing it, but the overall effect works more often than not. Storywise, it reminded me a lot of the second half of Fight Club - terrorist cult declares war on segment of society it hates, in the case the news media, and vents its anger in some pretty brutal ways. Interesting, but nothing new, and I had the cult's hidden leader, The Voice, pegged pretty early on, so that disappointed me a bit. Also, I really disliked Fight Club, so I had that to overcome. Still, there's more good here than not, and it's pretty strong for a debut work. Well-played (mostly), Jonathan Hickman.

Dungeon: Zenith Vol. 1 - Duck Heart - Joann Sfar and Lewis Trondheim are creators I've come to admire - even if I don't always enjoy everything I read from them - these past couple of years, so I figured I had to give their long-running comedic swords and sorcery epic a shot. And while I'm not enough of a fantasy fan to really love it, there's enough funny in the adventures of Herbert the Timorous Duck and Marvin the vegetarian dragon to make it an enjoyable read. Sfar and Trondheim's story pokes fun at all the usual fantasy tropes (without constantly beating a joke into the ground, a la Groo the Wanderer), but like any really good parody, it's also a decent example of the target genre itself. Wiseass magical talking sword belts, a dungeon run as a for-profit operation, unionized monsters, villains looking for less tacky hideouts... there's a lot of fun to be had here.

The Family Dynamic #1 - Lovenotes to superhero comics of the 70s and 80s usually try too hard to recapture the feel of the era, or else recontextualize everything with darker and/or postmodern twist. J. Torres avoides that with The Family Dynamic, as well as crafting a story that'll be interesting to adults, teens, and younger kids alike without insulting the intelligence of any of them. No easy trick. The situations and characters all seem familiar - the main characters borrow more than a little from the Fantastic Four, and we see analogues for Superman, Batman, Robin, and perhaps even the Joker and Harley Quinn (though villains Tragedy Ann and Tom Foolery seem based on The Dresden Dolls as much as, maybe even more than, Mr. J and Harl!) - but that never bothered me for a second. While sometimes I want innovation, other times I basically want comics-as-comfort-food, and this has that going for it in spades. That artist Tim Levins seems to be channeling his inner Mike Wieringo certainly doesn't hurt in the slightest. Let's all write to DC and see if they'll give us more after this initial 3 issue mini-series finishes up, shall we?

Ten (and then some) things I learned from the Superman Vs. Atom Man radio serial.

A while back, I wrote a post about the things I learned when listening to the "Batman's Great Mystery" storyline from the old Adventures of Superman radio show. Over the past few week, I've been listening to the famous "Atom Man" storyline, and while I'm only about halfway through at this point (it clocks in at around 40 chapters or so... even when you're talking about 10-12 minute episodes, that's a hell of a lot of Superman), what I've heard so far has been no less instructive.
1. I doubt there was any event in this world that narrator Jackson Beck could not make exiting and absolutely fraught with tension and peril. (But where did Clark Kent, who is also Superman, leave his lunch?!? And will whomever finds it dare eat his precious bologna sandwich?!? We'll have the shocking answer tomorrow, fellows and girls! Miss it at your risk!!!)

2. The hayseed population of Metropolis and its surrounding environs is shockingly high, especially given that we're talking about a city big and urban enough to seem like it actually earns a name like Metropolis. But the second you step outside the city limits, everyone sounds like they're from Hooterville.

3. It was apparently shockingly easy to get someone committed to a mental institution in the 40s, at least in children's radio drama, anyway. Lois suspects Clark has had a nervous breakdown, and two gorillas in white coats show up almost instantaneously to whisk him off to a "rest farm."

4. I said it last time, but it bears repeating... Clark is awful at this secret identity thing. He almost outs himself as Superman at least a dozen times. Maybe if he'd stop the expositional monologues?

5. Need to pad out your storyline? Get someone to doubt you. Just talk about how there's this thing called Kryptonite that can hurt Superman, or how you can create an evil Atom Man to conquer the world, and your friends will spend the next three episodes telling you you're full of crap.

6. Every now and then, the writers throw in a clever gag for the parents. One of the Atom Man's eventual partners, for example, is referred to as "the fat man, whose name is Sydney." And sure enough, the character's voice is a pretty decent Sydney Greenstreet impersonation. This was the last place I expected a Maltese Falcon reference... well-played, Adventures of Superman writers!

7. For being such a recognizable figure, adored and feared the world over, no one ever recognizes Superman the minute his costume is somehow damaged.

7 1/2. Actually, people in the Metropolis area don't seem to notice much of what goes on around them pretty much most of the time. I wonder if there's lead in the water or something?

8. Want a reporter's job at the Daily Planet? Just go right in and ask! No need to provide a resume, a simple verbal summation of your experiences will suffice. I mean, why would you make that sort of thing up? It's not like your a crazed Nazi scientist's secret weapon trying to infiltrate the Planet because of its known close association with Superman or anything, right?

9. In 1945 as now, people knew that Nazis made for perfect scenery chewing villains. They even go so far as to name the evil scientist Der Teufel, which is german for "the devil" (a fact we're reminded of many, many times). I love how wonderfully unsubtle that is.

10. Get all the swell new comic strip character buttons found in every box of Kellogg's Pep, gang, and maybe, just maybe, the announcer will finally stop talking about them.

10 1/2. I doubt the veracity of the stories this guy is telling about the kids in his neighborhood and their excitement over those very same swell new comic buttons, by the way. Call it a hunch.

(Although, I did find a webpage listing the buttons, and I have to admit they are pretty cool as cereal box prizes go.)

"And the TVs had these funny little knobs you'd use to change the stations..."

I had this exchange with my son this morning:

Him: "Wanna watch Martha [i.e., Martha Speaks, a new PBS show based on the children's book series of the same name]?"

Me: "Well, buddy, it's not on right now."

Him: "Martha."

Me: "No, it's not on. And we don't have any taped."

Him: "Martha." (Emphasis totally his. Your average 3 year old can be pretty forceful.)

And at this point, I realized the issue here. Between DVR, OnDemand, and DVDs, he's pretty much able to watch any show he likes whenever he wants (or at least when we allow him to, whether it's because he earned the privilege for being good or he's just been so terrible that we allow ourselves to be bad parents and let the TV babysit for a while because OH MY GOD WE NEED A BREAK.). Waiting for a specific time and/or place to see a specific program or movie is a concept he will probably never actually encounter in his life, at least not like we ever did, certainly.

And then I realized another thing: we're really a bunch of pussies now, aren't we? I mean, when I was a kid, my dad and I were out on a drive and he decided to retrace his old paper route. What he didn't tell me was that his paper route was about 2 or 3 miles long, and he did it on foot every morning before school for years. Mine, on the other hand, was about a block and a half, and I'd beg for automotive assistance on cold days. This is the legacy of my father's childhood, his "barefoot through the snow, uphill both ways" story. Mine's gonna be, "We had to wait a whole week to see the new Dukes of Hazzard episode! And basic cable only had thirteen channels! And forget about ever seeing boobs on TV, unless your friend had Cinemax..."

Pretty Sketchy - Kinetix and XS by Johnny Bacardi!

My two favorite Legionnaires from the post-Zero Hour period, Kinetix (Zoe Saugin of Earth) and XS (Jenni Ognats of Earth, granddaughter of Barry Allen), as drawn by the life of the comics bloggysphere party (and Zoe Saugin FanMan #1), Johnny Bacardi! I dig this piece a lot, and rest assured, JB, it will reside in a place of honor here at Trusty Plinko Stick World Headquarters. Thanks so much!

And people, the man looks to be willing to take on more commission work, too. He says as much over on his LiveJournal site, where he also reminds people that he's "disgustingly cheap... and [doesn't] charge much for a sketch, either!"

September Previews Thoughts (such as they are)

Maybe it's just because the various companies are saving all the good stuff for December in the hopes of getting your Birthiversmas* dollar, but it sure seemed like the September Previews catalog (containing items theoretically shipping in November) set out some pretty weak sauce. Here's the lowdown of what I'm ordering for the month:

Blue Beetle #33 - So far, so good Matt Sturges. Let's keep it up!

Legion of Super-Heroes in the 31st Century #20 - Sadly, the last issue. I can see where it doesn't make much business sense to keep publishing a book that ties in to a (just as unfortunately) canceled cartoon, but still, this was fun, and I hate to see it go.

Showcase Presents the Legion of Super-Heroes Vol. 2 - My backlist pick of the month. Don't have Volume 1 yet, but I have the first 4 Archives, and this actually reprints past the point where Vol. 4 leaves off, so I'ma want it. Probably trade the Archives up (or would it technically be down?) for the first Showcase at some point if they continue to pump 'em out.

Drawn & Quarterly
Or Else #5 - I still haven't caught the Kevin Huizenga bug like the rest of the comics bloggyverse seems to have, but I'm willing to keep trying. So maybe I'm slowly catching on after all? We'll see.

Grant Morrison's Doctor Who #2 - Like I said last month, so glad to get a chance to read these without tracking down DW Monthly issues or paying Panini's inflated import collection prices. And with just two issues (this is just a 2 issue thing, yes?), a trade seems unlikely.

Oni Press
Blue Monday Vol. 3: Inbetween Days - I have the trades for all of Chynna Clugston's other awesome Blue Monday mini-series, but I managed to miss this one somehow (probably because this was the only one I bought the initial issues for), so I'm glad for the opportunity to scoop it up now. And there's, at long last, a new mini starting up, too, but I'll wait for the collection on that one, and maybe even buy it in a timely fashion for once.

SuperReal Graphics
SRG Presents Wolves of Odin One-Shot - I'll just let the solicitation copy do the speaking here:
From Lucasfilm artist Grant Gould (Star Wars: The Clone Wars) comes the story of the war between Vikings and werewolves in this debut graphic novella! The rise of Christianity among the north-men has frustrated Odin, Father of the Norse Gods. Out of jealousy and anger, he has transformed three of his most loyal berserkers into unstoppable beasts, and set them loose upon his traitorous 'followers.' Thor, God of Thunder, takes it upon himself to challenge his father's madness by aiding a loyal warrior of his own - the Viking Tyr. Along with the help of a witch and two strangers, Tyr must face the wolves and realize his own destiny!
Doesn't that sound awesome? Doesn't that also sound like still more proof that some comics are written specifically for Chris Sims? The odds of Viking-on-werewolf face kicking have got to be pretty high here.

Stuff that sounded interesting, but didn't make the cut:

The Ruse Omnibus from Checker Books was very tempting, as it was the one Crossgen book I followed, and though I left when Mark Waid did, I've always been curious about the stories that came later. But this only reprints to, I think, #17, which means that I wouldn't be getting that much new-to-me material, and that any second volume to complete the series would be much slimmer in comparison. Also, it's pricey, and even with the DCBS discount knocking it down to $20, it's still a budget breaker. I'll just keep haunting the cheap bins to read the rest for now.

The Umbrella Academy: Dallas... yes, definitely. But I'll be waiting for the collection on that. If Dark Horse's handling of the original series is any indication, that wait won't be too long.

Spy School #1 from Kronos Entertainment sounded interesting, but there's no promo material that I could find, nor does the publisher have a website. As much as the Queen & Country Definitive Edition trades have me pumped for more good espionage comics, I don't have the money or patience to go into a book completely blind these days. Plus, that just seems like shoddy marketing-fu to me.

* The holiday season consisting of our wedding anniversary, my wife's birthday, and Christmas. But you all knew that since you celebrate it faithfully every year, right?

The Dig List: 9/7/08

Brief, usually untimely reactions to stuff I've read recently. Here we go:

(Wait, before we start... do folks think I do these too frequently? Should I space them out more so there's definitely a week or more between each segment? Let me know. We now return to The Dig List, already in progress.)

World War Hulk trade paperback - With a book called World War Hulk, you expect to see a lot of the Hulk smashing the holy hell out of everything in sight, and by George, do you get that here in spades. To use a movie analogy, if the Planet Hulk series was Rocky (i.e., the one with an actual story), WWH is Rocky III (the one with all the entertaining hitting). Not much in the way of gravitas here - like most recent Marvel summer events, the meat of the story is actually going on in the tie-ins, not the main book - but what's here is a suitable enough payoff to Planet Hulk, at least until the lame "Deus Ex Sentry" ending (give it up, Marvel... Sentry is never getting over with the crowd). I was sad to see that none of the Hercules/Angel/Amadeus Cho stuff I've heard such great things about ever came into play here, though, but I remain intrigued enough to track down that tie-in volume through the library, so it wasn't so off-putting. Anyway, in the end, nothing you need to own, but worth a read for the dumb fun. Read Planet Hulk first, though, if you haven't yet.

King Size Spider-Man Summer Special - There's a story in here about an early meeting between Spider-Man and the Falcon. Skip it. It's terrible. However, the first story by Paul Tobin and Colleen Coover, two of the big movers and shakers in Marvel's Secret Department of Fun (idea ™ Bully the Little Stuffed Bull), is pure genius, and worth the price of admission on its own. Basically, the Enchantress seeks to control an army of women via magical shampoo, and only the team of Clea, She-Hulk, Marvel Girl, Scarlet Witch, Hellcat, Mary Jane Watson, and Millie the Model can stop her.

(Digest that for a minute. So much concentrated awesome can lead to head 'splodeys if you take it in too quickly.)

Anyway, yeah. If that's not the sort of comics you want to read, I don't know what else to say to sell you on this. The Spidey/MODOK gag strip by Tobin and Coover is fun, too, but the lead story... you need it in your life, okay? I can't stress that enough. Enchanted. Shampoo. C'mon, people!

Doctor Who: The Forgotten #1 - This is as good a start as the first issue of the previous IDW Doctor Who mini-series wasn't. Damning with faint praise, I know, but seriously, this kicks off on a much better foot than its dire, convoluted, and boring predecessor. Tony Lee's plot is nothing new if you've read even a handful of the many Who novels - the Doctor loses the memories of his prior selves and must reconnect with objects from his past in order to regain them and save the day - but it's handled pretty well. The strange Doctor-centric museum is a suitably creepy setting that would've fit in well with the original series, and the First Doctor flashback captured the feel of that era without being quite as boring (impressive, as I find most William Hartnell stories to be pretty yawny). And the art by Pia Guerra is a real treat after the sloppy work from the last series. Not quite up to the standard of her work on Y the Last Man, but that may be more of an inker or coloring thing. An interesting beginning... let's see where they take it from here.

MySpace Dark Horse Presents #14 - New Beanworld. New Beanworld! NEW BEANWORLD! There's other stuff, too, but come on. Beanworld. And it's new. Ish. The overall narrative isn't really moved ahead, but it's a good introduction for newbies and a solid refresher for fans who haven't maybe thought of it in awhile. Also, it's in color, which took a little getting used to for me (I never thought Beanish would be quite so Kermity green!). And it's all yours for the low, low price of Free Ninety-Free, so you've no excuse to not go here and check out one of my very favoritest comics of all time.

A reminder to DC Direct statue customers.

It might behoove you to remember that, all issues of transformative magic lightning and whatever crazy storyline may currently be running aside, Mary Marvel is an underage girl. So if you buy this:

don't be surprised if you one day receive a visit like this:

Think about it, won't you?

Thursday is...

Screamin' Kirby Captain America Day!

(Sorry for the unintentional low content week... switching back to the old work schedule is really doing a number on me, energy and motivationally speaking. Back to my usual level of half-assing it next week.)

Lazy Tuesday YouTube Blogging - Palabra Jot, Palabra Jot.

It still amazes me how little I'm *not* able to find on YouTube. Just the tiniest bit of digging and you'll inevitably find yet another formerly long lost childhood memory. Here's the beginning of a PBS show I remember watching a lot as a kid - sometimes even in school - called The Write Channel (and it's in surprisingly good quality for a change... go enterprising YouTube uploader!).

And here's an ending segment (no middle to be found, but every episode was just R.B. Bug tracking down his next thoroughly uninteresting story, getting some grammar help from that Red Green lady, and then revising until just about the last minute, exclaiming "Oh no! Red needs this story RIGHT NOW!") featuring the part of the show encouraging all you kids to write, The Club. Say the motto with me... Palabra Jot, Palabra Jot. Now, watch!

I think we actually did write endings to a couple of these stories in school in the second or third grade and even sent them in to good ol' R.B. So I guess I'm an official member of the Club. Never did get my very own official pencil sharpener, though.

The Dig List - 9/1/08

Short (and today, extremely untimely) reactions to comics I've read and enjoyed lately.

Thor #168 (original series) - Joins the story midstream, but basically, Odin sends Thor out in the Odinship (does Odin name all his stuff after himself? God or no, dude's worse than Batman like that) to fight Galactus because... I dunno. They don't say. Meanwhile, the Warriors Three go down to Earth to help Baldur guard the place in Thor's absence, and Volstagg breaks all of Don Blake's furniture. Because the dude's so fat, you see. Back to Thor, who stumbles upon Galactus after, apparently, all of 15 minutes. He's ready to wreck throw down, but Galactus basically wants him to sit down, have some coffee (I added that part), and talk about BIG COSMIC THINGS. Again, they don't say what. But it doesn't matter... this book is nuts, even for a Stan Lee/Jack Kirby story. Are all Lee/Kirby Thor stories this outright bizarre? Because if so, I think I've been too quick to dismiss them, and I need to read more.

Superboy's Legion #s 1 & 2 - One of the later period Elseworlds stories, in which baby Kal-El's rocket is found in the 31st century, where he grows up to idolize 20th century heroes and bug the living hell out of his adoptive dad (R.J. Brande), the Science Police, and the entire United Planets. So he finds some other would-be heroes and founds the titular Superboy's Legion, a group dedicated to doing good, though their first big test shows that maybe this isn't the fun time they'd all hoped for. Interesting alternate take on the LSH (one of dozens, I know) on the LSH that has fun mixing aspects of the (then) two different versions of the concept, and one of the few Elseworlds I've read that actually could have spawned an ongoing series, as the story is that tight. And, in a surprisingly unique twist for a Legion book, Alan Davis's teenagers actually look like teenagers. That's an ironically rare occurence in this Space Super Teens from the Future strip.

Captain America: Civil War - Probably the least compelling overall of the collections of Ed Brubaker's Captain America series so far, since it's mostly reacting to the poorly executed (and downright silly) Civil War event Marvel was running at the time, rather than forwarding its own narrative as much as it could, but still a decent read. It speaks to Brubaker's talent that he was able to keep me interested enough to read an extension of a story I thought was pretty stupid in the hands of its own creator (not a Millar fan, in case that wasn't abundantly clear). The Winter Soldier one-shot issue that rounds out this collection really brings the book back up to form, providing both a slew of interesting character moments (I love it when we get that rare glimpse at Prince Namor's sense of humor) and works as a good Christmas story to boot. If you'd have told me a few years ago that Bucky the Not-Dead Formerly Brainwashed Cold War Cyborg Assassin would become one of my favorite new characters, I'd have said you were crazy. But as it is, I'm clearly digging whatever Brubaker's slipping into the Kool-Aid.