The inevitable Watchmen movie post.

I finished re-reading Watchmen this morning, making this maybe the 5th or 6th time I've read it. It still holds up, obviously, but what amazes me is that every time through, I pick up on something new. Sometimes it's major, sometimes it's more subtle, but there's always some new piece of information I find that I had somehow missed in the past. The more I learn to read - and read into - comics, the more there is to absorb. It's easy to see why something so brilliantly layered has been appreciated (if I may understate) for so long.

Sadly, it's inevitable that those layers won't translate to the movie adaptation, the rich psychological, intellectual, and emotional complexities will be lessened (or gone), and we'll be left with a largely surface-only reading of the material.

That doesn't mean I'm not looking forward to seeing it, though. I'm pretty excited, actually. And not because I'm one of those people rooting for it to fail. I'm hoping to be legitimately entertained here. We may only be getting the surface here, and the experience cannot help but be less rewarding than reading the book, but that surface story is pretty gripping, so if Zack Snyder and company can at least do a good job bringing that to the screen, I'll at least be left with something that will hold my interest. I'm damning with faint praise here, I know, but I tend to prefer my optimism with a side order of caution. Comes from growing up in a Red Sox household, I'm sure.

I'm kind of expecting this experience to be similar to watching the film adaptation of Ayn Rand's The Fountainhead soon after reading it. The movie, as one would expect, jettisons numerous characters and plotlines in order to slim itself down to a manageable running time (for instance, the first 300 pages or so are summed up in the first 5 minutes), and the end result is certainly less philosophically challenging (your opinions of Rand will help you figure out whether that's a good thing or not... I enjoyed the book to a point, but I sure didn't miss the trainwreck-subtle hammering of the book's Big Idea), but still interesting viewing.

(And it didn't hurt that the Howard Roark of the movie comes across as slightly less-rapisty than his literary counterpart.)

Maybe the naysayers will be right, maybe the Watchmen film will fail miserably in every way. But I hope that isn't the case. While the original certainly makes such use of its medium as to be rightly seen as one of the pinnacles of that medium, I think the material is strong enough that it could be adapted successfully in film. And while I would have preferred to see what Terry Gilliam would have done with this, I'm willing to give Snyder a shot.

Lazy Thursday YouTube Blogging: Nannerpuss! Cookiepuss! Godzilla!

Who wins? We all do.

Meet the new domain, not all that different from the old domain.

So I finally got off my ass and registered a real-live domain name for my little cow town comics & pop culture blog here. It is... get ready for the astonishing creativity... will re-direct you there, but you'll probably want to update your bookmarks and/or RSS settings if you do that sort of thing.

And the new official email for the site will be bill (at) trustyplinkostick (dot) com. If you want to contact me for anything, whether it's something you want me to review or just wanna say hey, talk to me there.

My Top However Many I Feel Like Listing Albums Of All Time

This started off as a Facebook thing, but figured I'd 'port it over here, too. Hey, why waste content?' Anyhoo, in no real order...

The Juliana Hatfield Three: Become What You Are
- I've said this here before, but everyone has that album they hear in high school that makes them say, "Yes, that's it exactly. Finally someone gets it. This was that album for me. Suburban ennui and melodic hooks that grab you by the face and won't let go... it's kind of perfect.

Recommended tracks: Feelin' Massachusetts, President Garfield, Spin the Bottle

Violent Femmes: Add It Up (1981 - 1993) - This "hits & rarities" comp was my introduction to the band, and pretty much the soundtrack to my senior year of high school. Also, this taught me that the Violent Femmes "bring all their equipment on the bus," and as a result, "you cannot fuck with this band." So there's that.

RT: Blister in the Sun, Add It Up, Out the Window, Dance Motherfucker Dance

They Might Be Giants: Flood - Unlike anything I had ever heard at the time, and the record that taught me that, despite what others would have had me believe, you could be smart and snarky and goofy and utterly yourself well into adulthood and that that was perfectly okay. Still holds up, too, even if the bit at the beginning about "a brand new record for 1990" makes me feel really old.

RT: Birdhouse in Your Soul, Istanbul (Not Constantinople), Dead, Minimum Wage

Mike Doughty: Golden Delicious - Jenny Peters taught me to love Soul Coughing, and I followed that right through to Mike Doughty's solo material, which I think is even better than the SC stuff, great as that was. And this is my favorite record of his, mostly for the fact that myself, Erin, and Liam all love it with equal reckless abandon. Besides, getting to hear Liam's little 3 and a half year old voice singing "Let the sunshine in..." from the backseat of the car is the GREATEST THING EVER.

RT: Fort Hood, 27 Jennifers, More Bacon Than the Pan Can Handle

The Cure: Galore - Another singles comp, but this album played a large part in Erin and I getting together, so I can't very well leave it out, can I? I had always assumed the Cure was music for the sad-dudes-in-eyeliner crowd (which they are), but most of my opinions about Robert Smith were formed by the bits they used to do about him on the MTV Half Hour Comedy Hour with Mario Joyner. It never occurred to me that the band could actually be kind of happy and melodic, or that they could be enjoyed by people who owned clothes that contained color. Erin made me a copy of this tape when we were still in the pre-dating stages, and it went a long way toward convincing me this girl was even cooler than I thought.

RT: Just Like Heaven, Close To Me, Friday I'm In Love, Wrong Number

Angus: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack - Like I said in a comment on Justin's list, Angus was the Pretty in Pink for high school outcast guys. Just a brilliant movie all around (though criminally unavailable on DVD), and the soundtrack flows in and out so perfectly. Really ought to be studied by people putting together movie soundtracks, since it's a Master Class in doing it properly.

RT: Am I Wrong by Love Spit Love, Enough by Dance Hall Crashers, You Gave Your Love to Me Softly by Weezer, Kung Fu by Ash

Weezer: Pinkerton - The Blue Album is the better piece of power pop confection, but this is the better work of art, with Rivers Cuomo pretty much laying his entire psyche wide open for view. Of course, no one bought it, so he went back to singing about drugs and Nightcrawler, which is fine, but most of their output since this has been pretty weak. Much as I enjoy Keep Fishin', for instance, I admit that it's entirely because of the video with the Muppets.

RT: El Scorcho, Across the Sea, Why Bother, The Good Life

Saturday Morning: Cartoons' Greatest Hits - This is less about artistic merit than it is about pure Gen X Nostalgia Chow. 60s and 70s cartoon songs by 90s Alt-Rock musicians... what's not to love?

RT: The Tra La La Song (Banana Splits theme) by Liz Phair & Material Issue, Scooby Doo Where Are You? by Matthew Sweet, Josie & the Pussycats by Juliana Hatfield & Tanya Donnelly, Spider-Man by the Ramones

The Beatles: Rubber Soul - I used to be all about Sgt. Pepper when it came to Beatles albums - and don't get me wrong, I still love it - but I've come around to liking Rubber Soul better now, since like Sgt. Pepper, it's just hit after flawless hit without a filler track or cover in sight, but they're able to do it without wrapping it in a gimmick or attempting to sound un-Beatlesy.

RT: Drive My Car, You Won't See Me, The Word, Run For Your Life, Nowhere Man

Weird Al Yankovic: UHF Motion Picture Soundtrack and Other Stuff - Al's sense of humor spoke to me from an early age. "In 3D" was the first album of his I owned, and it remains a favorite, but I think this is the best showcase of his skills, giving his original songs and scripted material from the film (Spatula City, Rambo II) as much spotlight as his parodies. And I'd honestly put the title song on any list of best Rock songs from the 1980s. Al and his band can really wail when they're of a mind to.

RT: UHF, Isle Thing, Generic Blues, Money for Nothing / Beverly Hillbillies

Michael Jackson: Thriller - Come back with me now to a time when we thought Michael Jackson was only a little weird, just after the first nose job but before his skin turned off-white. You loved this album. I loved this album. Everyone loved this album. And if you can banish the images of the current Michael from your mind as you listen, you'll find it still holds up, even during that part where Vincent Price attempts to rap (though I maintain he still did better than Debbie Harry on "Rapture"). And has there ever been a better rock guitar solo than Eddie Van Halen's appearance in "Beat It?"

RT: Thriller, Beat It, Billie Jean, PYT

So I Married An Axe Murderer: Original Soundtrack - The movie has its moments, but it hasn't aged very well. Flawless soundtrack, though. For one thing, it starts and ends as the movie does, with two different versions of "There She Goes Again," both the Las' original and the Boo Radleys' awesome cover. In the middle you a little Toad the Wet Sprocket, a remix of B.A.D. II's "Rush" that I think is better than the original, and an alt-rock take on the Bay City Rollers. Lightweight, but I've never not enjoyed listening to this.

RT: Either version of There She Goes Again, Saturday Night by Ned's Atomic Dustbin, Rush by Big Audio Dynamite II, Long Day in the Universe by the Darling Buds

Piebald: We Are The Only Friends That We Have - This was Erin's favorite band when we first met, and I liked some of their stuff, but too much of it eventually descended into screamo. With this album, they've grown up a lot, and there's a lot less "angst for angst's sake" and more flat-out rock & roll. The angst isn't completely gone - you can't make good rock music if you're not mad about something after all - but it's more focused. And a lot less whiny. Plus, you have to like a band that writes a love song for their late, lamented tour minibus.

RT: Just a Simple Plan, American Hearts, King of the Road, The Monkey Versus the Robot

The Anniversary: Designing a Nervous Breakdown - Emo, punk, and pop, enveloped Wall of Sound-style in Moog synthesizers, and lyrics sung with such urgency and fervor that the male and female leads might just die if they can't them out like NOW. Retrofuturistic harmonic angst never sounded so good.

RT: The D in Detroit, The Heart is a Lonely Hunter

Jim Croce: Photographs and Memories - The first music I can remember both myself and my parents liking equally. Croce was gifted at writing songs that could be unabashedly sentimental without being sickeningly sweet, as well as telling stories about the sort of people you hoped you'd never actually meet in your daily life but damn it if they weren't fascinating folks just the same.

RT: Bad Bad Leroy Brown, Operator (That's Not the Way it Feels), Time in a Bottle, Workin' at the Car Wash Blues, I'll Have to Say I Love You in a Song

Mickey Mouse Disco - Just about everyone owned at least one of Disney's "Quick, let's cash in on the latest music fad just as it's dying out" albums as a kid. This one was mine. Also the first record I ever owned, so sentimental value far outweighs artistic or technical merit. Also notable for being the one Disney thing I've ever seen outside of the old Floyd Gottfriedson Mickey Mouse comic strip to ever reference Horace Horsecollar. And good for Horace, I say.

RT: The Greatest Band, Watch Out for Goofy, Macho Duck, a very disco-ized Zip-A-Dee-Doo-Da.

Barenaked Ladies: Maybe You Should Drive - There was a time when I was obsessed with this band, especially with their first album, Gordon. If you were there, you remember, and I apologize wholeheartedly. What I initially liked about Gordon was that they were a bunch of clearly dorky guys making catchy - and clearly dorky - music. With MYSD, though, they grew up a lot, both in tone and musicianship. Still lots of clever wordplay here, which sometime ventures into "too cutesy" territory, but the maturity, in retrospect, was a breath of fresh air. I needed more maturity myself before I could come to appreciate it.

RT: Jane, Life in a Nutshell, The Great Provider

The New Pornographers: Twin Cinema - Honestly, the New Pornographers have yet to make a bad record, so I could list any of them here and be perfectly happy, but if I had to pick a favorite, Twin Cinema would be it. Lot of gorgeous, synthy power pop, layered like a fine orchestra, available for your consumption in a stunning array of subjects, tones, and arrangements, sort of like a Whitman's Sampler of Awesome.

RT: The Bleeding Heart Show, Sing Me Spanish Techno, These are the Fables

Northern State: Dying in Stereo - Northern State were often called a female Beastie Boys in the beginning, and I can see why... three white kids from Long Island putting out hip hop records, yeah, that sounds a little familiar. But whereas the Beasties had to take a little while to show us the depth they were capable of, NS let us know they were capital-S Smart right out of the gate. Clever rhymes and Having Something To Say aren't exactly new in hip hop, but seeing as this came out at a time when most mainstream rappers were still hung up on Cristal and strippers, the differences where palpable and appreciated. And I appreciate anyone who can reference Chekhov (the playwright, not the Ensign) and Charles Schulz in the very same line. Erin and I both said at the time that we wished we knew teenage girls we could give this record to and say, "Here. You'd do well to listen to what these women have to say."

RT: A Thousand Words, Trinity, The Man's Dollar

Pretty Sketchy: Taking the concept of the "Archie Legion" to its logical conclusion

Phantom Girl from the Legion of Super-Heroes, done-up Archie-style by Archie Comics artist Dan Parent. Commissioned at New York Comic Con '09.

When I handed him some reference material to give him an idea of what I was looking for, one of the images I used was PG's Who's Who entry, which caused him to a double take and exclaim, "Oh my God, is that Jaime Hernandez! That's fantastic!" So he, myself, and my friend also named Dan talked for a few minutes about some of the awesomely offbeat art choices found throughout Who's Who. Fun times, and a very cool guy to talk to.

He lives without fear, but also without tact, common sense, basic decency, etc.

The first Green Lantern comic I ever read was the mini-comic that came with his Super Powers action figure. I liked it, and the figure, so I decided I'd get a real GL comic when the first opportunity arose. I found one a bit later at a corner store in Monson, Maine, on the way home from visiting my aunt and uncle at their camp. The issue?

This one. The one where Hal Jordan up and quits the GL Corps to be with Carol Ferris. This set the stage for my relationship with this version of the character for years to come. I got all excited for a character thanks to a cool toy and his appearances on Superfriends, and the first time I buy his comic book, Hal stops being Green Lantern (I was 8, I had no idea this wouldn't be permanent), and for a girl, no less (again, I was 8). How un-Superfriendsy. I followed along off and on to see how DC would deal with this, so by default, John Stewart became my Green Lantern right off the bat.

Hal eventually came back, of course, but the damage had been done. Next time I read an issue of Gl that featured Hal, the book had become The Green Lantern Corps, and featured a variety of other Lanterns hanging out with Hal and John, most of whom were more interesting. Also, Hal started a relationship with Arisia, the alien female GL who had had a long-standing crush on him, even though she was underage. But it was "okay," because she used her ring's power to age her physically, never mind that mentally she was still 14. So that was pretty gross.

I caught a few of his appearances in Action Comics Weekly, where he was jobless and mooching off of John and Katma Tui (who were married by this point). His old buddy Green Arrow showed up at one point to tell Hal to "get a life." Oh, and Hal's ex ended up killing Katma. So he sleeps on your couch, eats your food, probably doesn't kick in for the rent, and ends up getting your spouse killed. That's gotta make him one of the 10 worst houseguests ever.

I seem to recall there was an annual where Hal managed to get John imprisoned in a South African jail, but I might be misremembering that one.

In the series that began in the early 90s, he's basically a homeless drifter, and a town he visits gets whisked off to Oa by that Guardian who went mad (before going mad was the thing to do for the Guardians). Hard not to attribute that to him, too.

And, of course, after Coast City was destroyed by Mongul and Cyborg Superman, Hal goes nuts, murders the entire GL Corps, becomes Parallax, and attempts to restructure all of time to his liking. But that's "okay," because as we found out a few years ago, he was just being possessed by a yellow alien bug fear god or something.

So while I've never considered myself a huge Green Lantern fan*, I've clearly read a number of GL comics through the years. And in that time, what's the most positive trait I've seen from Hal Jordan's resume? Quitter. Compared to Twisted Aimless Genocidal Pedophile, being a quitter ain't half bad.**

* Well, except in the 90s when Kyle Rayner took over... I followed the book pretty regularly for a good 5 or 6 years during that era.
** To be fair, I did like the version of Hal that appeared in Darwyn Cooke's DC: The New Frontier. Why can't more people write stories about that guy?

The List: Mostly NYCC Books, But Some Other Stuff, Too, Part 2

New York Comic Con! My local comics shop! The library! Comics goodness (and, sadly, a little badness) abounds from a variety of sources. Here are some more brief thoughts on stuff I've read lately:

Annihilation: Book 3 - It's been a while since I've read the first two Annihilation collections, but Book 3 brought me back up to speed pretty quickly and finally delivers the meat of the story, and it's tasty indeed (bad metaphor, I know, but let's move on and never speak of it again). While I certainly got the Giant Space War story I was expecting, this took off in a number of directions I wasn't expecting, and I was all the happier for it. Lots of stuff going on, all of the major cast members get their times in the spotlight, and we see that a satisfying conclusion to a story isn't always the same as a happy ending. Just fantastic space opera goodness here, and I'm now quite excited to move on to Annihilation: Conquest, Nova, and Guardians of the Galaxy. Damn shame that this got overshadowed by the mess that was Civil War, but in superhero comics as in pro wrestling, the truly entertaining stuff isn't happening with the flashy main eventers, it's with the hardworking mid-carders.

Carl, The Cat Who Makes Peanut Butter Sandwiches - This is a Jim Mahfood book published by Nerdcore, the people who makes the calendars with the naked ladies engaging in geeky pursuits. And the title pretty much explains it all. Carl's a cat who spends his time either making peanut butter sandwiches or dealing with his sex-crazed human girlfriend. His sandwich making for the mob has pisssed off the Eskimos, though, so violence happens. Bizarre, but a dumb kind of fun, especially if you're a Mahfood fan and aren't easily offended by sex or violence, as there's a lot of both. Not for the kiddoes.

Half-a-Chicken - A mini-comic by Michelle Fariss that retells an French folktale about a half-chicken, the king that wrongs her, and the retribution she seeks with the help of a fox and a river. The story is narrated traditionally, but the dialogue from the characters is decidedly modern. This and the cute artwork make for a decidedly fun comics experience.

Agents of Atlas #1 - I was going to wait for the trade on this series, but I figured I'd cave and at least check out the first one, given how much I'm enjoying reading Captain Britain & MI13 in issues, and while it's certainly more of the same storytelling excellence from Jeff Parker (especially Gorilla Man's quick page one summation of the past few years' worth of Marvel events), it didn't grab me quite the way I was expecting from the get-go. I certainly enjoyed Parker's story, and Carlo Pagulaya's artwork is gorgeous and a worthy successor to Leonard Kirk's pencils on the mini, but it didn't leave me with that sense of urgency. I'm sure I'll love the collection when it comes, but I'm willing to wait to get this one in a big story chunk.

Daniel X: Alien Hunter by James Patterson and Leopoldo Gout - I should probably wait until I finish a book to talk about it, but I can't promise I'll actually do that with Daniel X. I'm maybe 10 pages in, and it's already pretty terrible. Danny Boy here's an alien hunter, which is an alien who, um, hunts other aliens, I guess. He can imagine anything into being, be it monster, weapon, or his own best friends. Overwritten narration, corny dialogue, thin characterization... is this typical of Patterson? He's sold a bajillion of those "Maximum Ride" books, so I assumed he must have been at least okay. But a lot of people read stuff like "Left Behind" and "Twilight," too, so maybe that doesn't prove much. And Gout's artwork... not a good fit. Way too cartoony for the story being told. All in all, a very amateurish package for something published by Little, Brown and Company. Glad I was handed this for free at NYCC, or else I'd be pretty mad to have dropped money on it.

Oh yeah, Valentine's Day.


Happy belated Valentine's Day, folks. Seeing as I usually work the night of Valentine's Day, Erin and I usually end up making up a holiday of our own somewhere else down the line. Makes it more special, and it's way easier to get a restaurant reservation. So this year, when I'm actually not working on Valentine's... we decide to keep doing our own thing, anyway, and actually spent the day going to Ikea and helping some friends prep and paint the new house they just bought. Our dinner was McDonald's take-out eaten on the ride home. Very romantic, I'm sure you'll agree.

We did already give each other gifts, though. I got Erin Morrissey tickets, she got me Herbie Archives Vol. 2, and we got Liam action figures of Yoshi from Super Mario Brothers and his now-beloved Wildcat, as well as a slew of candy he promptly ate for breakfast (we're stellar parents). So we played by the rules somewhat, I suppose, but A.) we opted to give each other things we actually wanted rather than the typical "romantic" gifts, and B.) we still like our own day better.

The List: The (Mostly) New York Comic Con Edition Part 1

It was The Dig List, but is now just The List. It's still brief thoughts about stuff I've read lately, though, and this one is mostly about stuff I picked up at NYCC, though a few other things may find their way in, too. Hit it!

Too Cool to be Forgotten - I've been an Alex Robinson fanboy since Box Office Poison, so this was a no-brainer purchase for, and as usual, it was pitch-perfect. The conceit of a 40-something man finding himself reliving high school is fanciful, sure, but Robinson makes it ring true. Everyone "sounds" the way they should, and the main character's actions never seem outlandish; forced to go through a chunk of high school again, any of us would probably do the same as him. And though the story's climax is foreshadowed to varying degrees throughout the book, it still hits like a ton of bricks. Go and read this already.

Radical Publishing 2009 Preview Book - I've read a little about Radical online, but never knew a lot about the titles or the company. After looking through this preview... I still don't. You get interviews with Steve Niles and Rick Remender about their books, but the rest is all sketches, covers, and dialogue-free preview art. And it's gorgeous art, don't get me wrong. These are very eye-catching, and they certainly don't look like much else out there on the stands these days. But, as a story guy, I'd like a little more info about what's actually going on. Even a plot synopsis or two would've helped.

Awesome: The Indie Spinner Rack Anthology - Born out of the sizable artist community on the forums of the ISR podcast, this features material from a huge number of incredibly talented indie cartoonists, including Andy Runton, Fred Chao, Renee French, Nick Bertozzi, Bernie Mireault, Raina Telgemeier, Dave Roman, Josh Cotter, Liz Prince, Matt Kindt, Roger Langridge, Sam Hiti, GB Tran, Alec Longstreth, Fred Van Lente, Ryan Dunlavey, and more. It also helps benefit a scholarship fund for the Center for Cartoon Studies in Vermont. The talent and the cause make the book worth your while. That it's also good comics is just icing on the cake. It's an anthology... there's something in here you'll like. Probably several somethings.

Captain Britain and MI13 #s 1-4 - I got tired of waiting for the trade, and just went out and got the issues (and for a lot less than the trade would've been, so yay for me). This was not a bad idea at all, because this book was a lot of fun. Paul Cornell ladles out the awesome with a heavy hand here, and considering all the baggage this could have, it's a remarkably stress-free read. You don't need to know the incredibly convoluted pasts of Captain Britain or the Black Knight, you don't need to have read Cornell's prior Pete Wisdom mini-series, and you don't even have to have read the rest of the Secret Invasion event that this belongs to... you get the super-condensed basics, and then onto a gonzo story about aliens, magic, and monsters. A fun ride, and what may become that rarest of rare things to me now, a Big 2 book I actually want to follow monthly. Huh.

Searching for a distant star, heading off to Iscandar... Lego-style!

From the "Holy Crap, Is That Cool!" Department:

The Battleship Yamato (or, if you prefer, the Argo) from Star Blazers, as rendered in Lego. And damn impressively at that!

More here.

Pretty Sketchy: Wildfire by Art Baltazar

The Legion of Super-Heroes' resident hothead Wildfire, as depicted by Patrick the Wolf Boy and Tiny Titans creator Art Baltazar, easily the snappiest dresser at New York Comic Con '09.

The not-so-long con: my day at New York Comic Con

I only got to go to New York Comic Con on Friday this year, but considering I didn't get to go at all last year, and that my library cred got me in for free on Friday, I really can't complain. Besides, I'm not much of a panel-goer, anyway, so maybe I miss out on some of the after-hours stuff and have horrible shoulder, back, and leg pain because I have to do all my comics shopping in one day and therefore have to carry All That Stuff around the whole time, but I'm generally satisfied with the one-day experience at any con I attend (I mean, jeez, I did Wizard World Chicago that time in just 3 hours and saw everything I wanted to see... a whole day at NYCC was great!). Anyway, let's be lazy and bullet-point the highs and lows, shall we?

  • Thanks to some particularly well-timed train and cab-grabbing, landed at the Javits Center right around 10, and promptly waited in line for the next 30-40 minutes, which seemed odd for Professional hours. But again, won't complain because of the free. I will complain about the group of librarians in front of me, though, who kept making the Same Joke Over And Over ("If knowledge were wealth, we librarians would be the richest people alive!") and kept letting their friends cut in line, which makes me wonder how they could get an MLIS when they so clearly failed Second Grade. You give library-folk AND comic fans a bad name, people in front of me!

  • One other complaint, actually... very few of the people working the con, volunteers or paid employees, seemed to know where anything was. I missed the Comic Book Club panel, the only panel I planned on attending, because four different people told me four different locations for the place it was supposed to be held (the "Variant Stage"). When I finally found someone official-looking (i.e., had a head-set and a clipboard), his directions led me basically past where I started, so I just gave up. It would've been nice if more people had some idea where they were and what they were doing.

  • Mattel's line-up for the Batman: The Brave and the Bold toyline doesn't include a Wildcat for the foreseeable future, so I found someone working the booth who looked vaguely important that adding one down the line would make both my son and at least one blogger very happy.

  • Resisted the urge to buy Scott Pilgrim Vs. The Universe since I have it coming in my DCBS box at the end of the month. Maybe if the version on sale had something more special than a pink slip of paper with some "new art" banded around it, maybe, or if I had stumbled across a signing. But I did get the SP Full Colour Odds and Ends special, though, even though that was just a case of me rebuying material I had already gotten for free in the past, so I'm still a bit of a sucker there. But, colour. That's like color, but even fancier.

  • Met up with my buddy Dan in front of the Archie Comics booth, which we noticed was positioned across from a pin-up art booth. We decided someone had to have done that on purpose.

  • Mid-aisle a bit later, Dan is behind me and starts yelling out "Hey, Scott!" As I turn around, he's saying "I just wanted to say thanks for all the music..." and then I see That Beard. It was Scott Ian from Anthrax, just wandering the show floor. He was very cool, shook our hands and said thanks for listening, and we let him go on his way. Very awesome, random moment there.

  • Cool creator conversations: Talked with Alex Robinson about Wizard World Boston as he signed Too Cool To Be Forgotten, and he joked, "Oh, so you were that one guy who went to Wizard Boston!"; shook Joe Staton's hand, and he thanked me for the kind write-up of the last E-Man book; had a nice long conversation with Girls With Slingshots creator Danielle Corsetto about Maine, since her mom grew up in Mechanic Falls; minicomic writer/artist Michelle Fariss spoke with us for a while and did a great critique on some of the artwork Dan brought from his students; talked Legion with people like Art Balthazar & Franco and Dan Parent; basically fell all over myself praising Cliff Chiang; Dan had a cool minute with Brian Bendis... I could go on. Already have from the looks of it.

  • Got to meet Colin Baker, who was incredibly warm and friendly, and even though I wasn't paying to get anything signed, still shook my hand, thanked me for the kind words I bestowed upon him, and posed for a picture...

    Yeah, it was a true Nerd Glee moment for me. You don't get to meet many of your childhood icons, and when and if you do, they usually don't end up being red letter occasions, but it was all just as cool as I had hoped it'd be. Honestly, the entire day was worth it just for this.

  • Not a lot of memorable costumes on Friday. A couple of Cobra Commanders, one of which was quite good, a decent Darwyn Cooke Catwoman, and the usual assortment of Phoenixes, Ghostbusters, Star Wars characters (I should have gotten video of the Noo Yawker-sounding stormtrooper hitting on Catwoman... "dese ahn't de droids youse lookin' faw"), girls in corsets, and the like. The worst was a guy with an Optimus Prime helmet, a towel tied around his neck, and a boombox playing the Power Rangers song. Dan wondered if the guy had any intention of ever talking to a girl, much less kissing one, but I sort of applauded the way he was so clearly removing himself from the gene pool like that.

  • As for the haul, let's see... a Doctor 13 print from Cliff Chiang, a bunch of great sketches that'll be future Pretty Sketchy material, Too Cool to Be Forgotten, Girls With Slingshots Vol. 1, that color Scott Pilgrim book, Content #2 by G.B. Tran, the Indie Spinner Rack's Awesome Anthology, Action Philosophers Vol. 3, Jim Mahfood's Carl the Cat That Makes Peanut Butter Sandwiches, Gus & His Gang, The Amazing Remarkable Monsieur Leotard, Kaput & Zoskey, Michelle Fariss' minicomic Half A Chicken and... oh, there was a bunch of other stuff, promo things and the like, that I can't remember now.

  • But still no Legion button at the DC booth. One of these years, please, DC?
So sure, there was stuff I missed... I had hoped to finally meet Boston's favorite drunken comics blogger at the BOOM! Studios booth or maybe even New York's favorite little stuffed bull, but those didn't happen unfortunately, never stumbled into a Jeff Parker, Paul Cornell, or Paul Tobin & Colleen Coover signing, and if Darwyn Cooke really was there, I never saw any indication, but on the whole, it was a good day. And I also learned that if you barely eat all day, a McDonald's Quarter Pounder with Cheese quickly consumed while driving on I-95 in Connecticut at about 9 p.m. becomes the most delicious thing ever for that one moment. So there's that.

Superman watches more children's TV than you might think.

What song did Superman sing to defeat Darkseid in Final Crisis #7?

If you've ever seen even a few minutes of Wow, Wow, Wubbzy, you know that it'd work.

Blame Dr. K.

(Yes, my Photoshop Fu is so weak I had to use Paint. And yes, my Paint Fu is weak, too.)

NYC in (Abstract) Lego

Some things are so great you need to share them with everyone. This thing here, one man's highlights of life in New York City, as rendered abstractly in Lego? It's, like, 4 or 5 of those things in one.

Go here for more.

The Dig List: 2/1/09

Thoughts! About comics! Ones I read recently! Woo!

E-Man: Curse of the Idol - I just read a whole pile of original Charlton Comics E-Man issues a week or two back, so this came along at just the right point to play Compare & Contrast. The verdict? It holds up quite well in terms of both story and craft on the parts of Messrs. Joe Staton and Nicola Cuti (with Randy Buccini), and has the added bonus of not feeling like it'll fall apart in your hands like those old Charlton books, which is always nice. A good E-Man story is as adaptable as the title character, and this one, about the hunt for an artifact that gives its owner great power at a terrible cost, is just that. You get a little Indiana Jones, a send-up of hard-boiled detective fiction, a touch of Lovecraftian drooling-beastie horror, and pinch of Famous X-Men Plotline. The recipe works, recalling the best of the classic E-Man while still reading accessibly to a newcomer on the look out for a fun superhero yarn. The coloring is a bit too bright sometimes, and there are one or two improperly lettered word balloons, but any technical glitches aside, this was Fun Comics.

Mysterius the Unfathomable #1 - Jeff Parker has become one of my favoriter writers over the past few years, so I had every intention of picking up this mini-series in its eventual collected form somewhere down the road. But the buzz on this first issue was so universally good that I got curious to check it out in the here and now. And yay verily, the people speaketh the truth... this was a damn fine comic book, one of the best I've read in awhile, and as strong a first issue as I can recall from the past few years. The title character makes his living as a celebrity medium and illusionist, and though he has his detractors, he's the real deal... and has been for much, much longer than anyone suspects. A seance gone wrong leads him to meet his newest assistant, a skeptical but curious reporter named Ella, whom he redubs Delfi (the latest in a long line of Delfis, in fact), and we see her start to learn the ropes of the new profession she has little choice in pursuing. Loved the relationship between Mysterius and Ella, which reminded me a lot of that between Bill Pullman and Ben Stiller in the movie Zero Effect. M might not be as dysfunctional as Pullman's Darryl Zero, but he's certainly quite aloof from the rest of humanity, and Ella, like Stiller's Steve Arlo, is both annoyed and fascinated by her new employer, often at the same time. It's an interesting hook, and Tom Fowler's artwork - which here resembles a sort of 70s Jack Davis style, I'm thinking of his MAD covers and the Superfan books in particular - gives it all a very stylized look that stands out from the crowd as much as the story itself. Brilliant work. More, please!