The Things I Get For My Birthday

There was a card:

Anyone know whose Spidey that is? I'm inclined to guess Bagley because of the ass and because he's the only Spidey artist whose work I've actually read.

I thought the point of these puzzles was some sort of memory and observation test. But I guess it also works as a 'telling the difference between two things, both of which you can see' test.

Maybe I'm just not the intended audience.

Anyway, even better than that?

Goddamn Batman Chuck Taylors.

That was probably the best birthday present I've ever bought myself, even if I do have too many shoes.


Today's fantasy novel comics reference.

Their banners flared and flapped, a pageant of color: red ox and golden mountain, purple unicorn and bantam rooster, brindled boar and badger, a silver ferret and a juggler in motley, stars and sunbursts, peacock and panther, chevron and dagger, black hood and blue beetle and green arrow.

-- A Clash of Kings, p. 417, George R. R. Martin


Two Panels.

In which I fall in love with Joe Casey (or possibly Brian Holguin):

(from Mr. Majestic)

It's too bad that's out of print.

In addition to the overall excellence and the similarities to Casey's Wildcats, it also made me much more anxious to read Gødland*.

* A Gødland bit my sister...


Hey Freddy...

Which upcoming Marvel MAX comic book about a mutant character created by Warren Ellis are you most looking forward to?


Why does Superman hate America?

Shame on you, The CW!

As I watched last night's Smallville, I was glad to see that the liberal, bed-wetting pansy of a "superhero" known as the Green Arrow was finally being portrayed correctly, which is to say, as a villain.

His stealing from the super-rich to give to charities, I thought, was a fine allegory for the crushing tax burden the super-rich must endure, only to have those monies be used for foolish things like "social programs" and "roads."

Though Clark Kent initially fought this foul brigand, he eventually came to sympathize with the filthy communist!

Do the writers of this show forget the great Revolutionary War-era slogan, "No taxation [...]"?

Surely the letters CW must stand for Civil War, because that's what their perpetuation of these evil socialist ideas will surely lead to.

Also, Lex & Clark OTP 4eva! XD


An actual entry.

Last night, I decided I wanted to spoil Civil War #4 for myself (if it's possible to spoil a book I don't read, that is). The first place I went was the YABS forum on CBR, where I thought I might find some discussion of it.

It was also the last place I looked, and I didn't even get to see any spoilers. Why? Because the J-Bolt thread has gone crazy-go-nuts!

Three months ago, which was about 3 months after I forgot all about it, activity resumed. Soon after, OMAR popped up to defend Mr. Bolt.

That went on for a while, as it tends to do.


After a month and a half of that...


Sure, I spoiled it, but nobody was going to read all 90 pages anyway, right? I recommend it, though. My favorite part so far is his grim-'n'-gritty "don't get offended, PLEASE, LADIES!" pitch. (I'm only on 227—sorry, page 227—at the moment, so there might be further, even more awesome developments since then.)


And of course I haven't neglected the library.

They got in volumes 4 and 5 of Cromartie High School, which made me squeal with delight. I also got the first 3 volumes of Yotsuba&!, which was all kinds of adorable and strange. I'm sure there's all sorts of Yotsuba's dad/Jumbo yaoi out there, but I have yet to look for it. For some reason.

They've been getting a lot of recent graphic novels too, like Deogratias, The Lost Colony, Can't Get No, and the much-anticipated Sloth. I enjoyed the latter two in a Donnie Darko way, by which I mean I liked them, but I'm pretty sure I need someone smarter than me to explain them. I also got Tony Millionaire's twisted and brilliant Billy Hazelnuts, which I read the first chapter of while walking home. Yet another reason I don't drive...


More lazy Flickr-blogging.


Edit: While I'm at it, I bit into a piece of bone in a sausage yesterday. I would like the people who made that sausage to please cease and desist linking[...]. I do not need, nor want, your sausages.

(Why do all the greatest things on the comics blogohypercube always happen (or in this case, climax) in the Wednesday-to-Friday-ish period when I'm not reading anything?)


Re: The Events of Ultimate Spider-Man #99

Dear Messrs. Bendis and Bagley,







An interlude.

I know this isn't comics-related, but I thought maybe one or two of the three of you might have played Magic at some point.

If so, do you know how to judge a card's grade? I imagine it's a lot like comics, and I just found my Mox Pearl while looking through my things:



Dear Comics Blogocube:

There is a supervillain named The Gambler.

He looks like Kenny Rogers.

Why did none of you tell me about this?


Return to the Library!

Something startling has happened at the local library! It's so startling, in fact, that I need a few paragraphs of rambling narrative before I can work up the courage to even skirt the issue!

Having given up on Neal Stephenson's excessively Forrest Gumpish (but otherwise quite good if you can stomach that sort of thing for 2700 pages) Quicksilver (also, no Pietro), I went to the library to pick up a couple Charlie Stross novels (it would seem I'm something of a fan).

I looked at the "Young Adult" graphic novel/manga section, where I found Hope Larson's Gray Horses, Paul Sizer's Moped Army, and Linda Medley's Castle Waiting.[1]

But I've also checked out non-Young Adult graphic novels from there. Because I wanted to check the New Books shelves for any of those, I looked on the computer to find which Dewey Decimal number they're filed under. I searched for Jimmy Corrigan, which I knew they had in the stacks. Instead of the 741.5 W I would have once seen, a mysterious new pair of words appeared:


Yes, my library now has a regular graphic novel section.

After walking around for about five minutes, I noticed a collection of strangely shaped books in the third least obscure corner (of eight, spanning two floors) in the stacks, immediately to the right of the Science Fiction Zs. I painstakingly endeavored to count the books in that section, that I might present the glorious figure to you, my readers. The number nine is considered glorious in certain numerological systems, right? Comic strip collections are still unfortunately hidden among the 741.5s.

Far more interesting than that, however, was that Chester Brown's Louis Riel: A Comic-Strip Biography is now shelved under B RIEL, which means it's in the Biographies section. That might make it a bit harder for me to find any future comic book-style biographies that aren't heavily blogged about, but at least the thousands of people looking to read about crazy Canadians[2] and unable to search the catalog by computer will find that one.

[1] One feature this section seems to share with that other library's graphic novel section is a lack of a "New Books" division. Recently acquired graphic novels (like those three) go straight to their own section rather than languishing on the New Books shelves for a year like all other books in both libraries.

[2] I'm only kidding! There's no such thing as mental illness, apparently. Canadians, also.

Super-sekrit comic link of the day.


Big Brother tasks explained.

(The Walking Dead #28)

Left on their own, I wonder how long it would take the housemates to come up with a similar game.

Minus the zombies.



Some people...

Jeez, I forget to scroll down for a while, and I miss a couple comments on my Civil War entry. The first (of the two) was from Carla of snap judgments, which I added to my links thing[1] (and I even fit it into the OCD name-length order on the first try!). The second was from some chav scum who ranted for 3 or 4 screen-lengths (much more seriously than my original post) about how I'm stupid for noticing things, I guess. The UK, our love affair is over! Well, as soon as Big Brother ends. Unless QI is back on by then.

Anyway, I finished that giant stack of graphic novels a while back, and I thought it would only be fair to you, my reader, if I offered some facile, malformed opinions on some of them.

Black Hole: Makes Johnny Ryan's Brown Hole much funnier. I totally understand what it's a parody of now!

Selina's Big Score: Not as self-contained as I would have expected—it seems to want me to have read Cooke's Catwoman run in order to understand the characters' relationships. Still, loads of fun and beautifully drawn.

Pyongyang: I love Delisle's cartooning style. It sort of reminds me of a decaffeinated Ted Rall. A very funny and strange book. Made me want to walk backwards.

Wimbledon Green: Would calling this "a rollicking good time" be corny? Because it really is. It rollicks.

American Elf: The best of the lot. Alternately funny, feline, moving, and pee-soaked. Sometimes a combination of up to three of the above. Definitely a contender for the best comic featuring elf-cock that I've read this year. I'd still like to read the missing strip, though.

[1] I don't click through other people's blogrolls as often as I probably should, which means I usually only look at the pages of people who comment, so I end up with links to blogs that update even less frequently than mine over there. Sorry.


ZOMG Breaking News!

Writer Brian Lynch (Spider-Man Unlimited #1, Slyde Into Destiny) announces:

In September, IDW is coming out with a new mini series starring everyone's favorite character from ANGEL and BUFFY, Mr. William the Bloody himself, Spike.

Five issues, monthly, full color. Art by the insanely talented Franco Urro.

The writer of this mini-series is best known for writing and directing a movie for Kevin Smith about a decade ago, but who has also dabbled in writing the adventures of a talking blue monkey and the occasional naked dude.

SPIKE: ASYLUM is coming.

He's a funny dude. I'm looking forward to this more than I've ever looked forward to a Buffy-related comic. I didn't mean that to be as backhanded as it came off. I loved his Spider-Man Unlimited story, and I think he'll do a great job with this.

Here, have an interview.


I don't need no Civil War

Would it be excessively nitpicky to point out that there are no white center lines on streets in CT[1]?

Or that Stamford has 12 elementary schools, and of course none of them are called Stamford Elementary?

Or that Stamford doesn't have any sort of grid layout anywhere in the city, especially in the residential areas? And that it's obvious from Google Maps?

Or that Stamford is 25 miles away from NYC? And cars and public transit and photographs exist?

Or that made-up towns like Manchester AL or Fairport CT don't have these problems?

It would? Then I guess I won't mention those things.

But it would have been nice if someone at Marvel had read the New Warriors mini and noticed that Microbe probably shouldn't be talking like Ultimate Peter Parker.

Other than that, I completely agree with Graeme's review.
[1] On residential roads, solid white lines are only used as edge lines.


Insert 'package' pun here.

Yesterday, Tom Tomorrow blogged about the latest plagiarism scandal and book packaging companies. Today, he linked to a Times article on the subject.

From the second page (emphasis mine):

Packagers have been around for decades, dating at least as far back as the Stratemeyer Syndicate, creators of the Nancy Drew and Hardy Boys mystery series. Today, packagers work not just in the teenage market, but on all kinds of titles, from illustrated coffee-table books and toddler series to self-help tomes and graphic novels.

I can't even begin to guess which graphic novels could have been "packaged" like Nancy Drew or Sweet Valley High books. Is there some parallel comics market that I'm completely unaware of? Could they be referring to some manga titles? The upcoming Dark Tower books from Marvel (which have some similarities to that method, I gotta say)? Any American comics that have editors? Do any of you smart people know what they mean?


I'm not dead yet.

Just as I've nearly finished with my massive pile of books, Johnny Ryan's brilliant Shouldn't You Be Working? parody strips have been removed from his site pending publication. I was hoping to link to the Epileptic and Persepolis strips, if I could remember enough about what I've read to make some sort of attempt at an entry.

I've been listening to the Kings of Leon a lot, thanks to my obsession with British TV. Their second album was mentioned in the last episode of The Mighty Boosh, so I had to get it. It's no My Humps, sure, but it's quite good nonetheless.

I've also been watching Nathan Barley, Big Train, Garth Marenghi's Darkplace, Boys Will Be Girls, It's Not Easy Being Green, and what may be the best, most enjoyable series I've ever watched, QI [1]. I've grinned and laughed through the first 26 episodes, pausing only to wonder what's up with all the racism.

Soon I'll finish watching these things and have more time for comics. Or I'll continue to look for episodes of '80s TV series in which John Cameron Mitchell [2] appeared, that I might marvel over how little he's aged in the past 20 years.

Finally, for you filthy Americans, Target apparently considers Starburst jelly beans to be Easter candy and has marked them 90% off. That's 16 cents per bag. Take advantage of this if you want. Or tell me how disgusting they are so I can ignore any opinion you might have in the future.
[1] Bill Bailey is a frequent guest, and he of course played Bilbo, the owner of the comic shop, on Spaced. Nyah.

[2] Sook-Yin Lee is in Hedwig and the Angry Inch and Mitchell's upcoming Shortbus. She had a "thing" with Chester Brown. I can bring anything back to comics.


Overheard in New Dork

Comic Shop Guy (talking to another customer): There were three, and Impulse, sort of. He never took the Flash name.
My Brain: Well, he took a Flash name. I mean, it was his last name. He'd be Mr. Flash as sure as Marvin Lee Aday is Mr. Loaf now. I should go remind him that— Hey, knock that shit off! Find your happy place! It's over there in the Fantagraphics section, under A.
My Wallet: *whimper*

--Midtown Comics Grand Central


Comics can be educational!

There's a comic-like thing about musicians that appears in my Sunday paper every week. I usually only look at it to laugh at the Greg {Horn,Land}-esque photoreferenced pictures of Will Smith or Paula Abdul, but this week's was somewhat more interesting:

"Found dead," you say? That's it? "A different musical direction?" "More influential?"

I certainly learned a few things.


The bestest kitty in the whole wide world!

Hello and welcome to my "blog"!

I'd like you to meet the cutest little fuzzy man in all the world, my precious little Elliot! (That's why it's The House of El! El is short for Elliot! LOL!)

Here he is trying to fit in a box:

He's too big for the box! LOL! And he's winking at me! Isn't that the cutest?

I caught him napping!

I better not make him get up! I bet he'd be really mad!

Oh no! I made him mad!

Maybe if I vacuum a little, he'll feel better...

He hid under the sofa! ROFL! But at least he looks happy!

Thank you for looking at my "blog". I hope we can chat again!


Box Office Pain

Reading Box Office Poison, I kept noticing little things, like someone's chin or neck, or a particular pose, that reminded me of another cartoonist's work that I love.

About halfway through, I noticed a character with the surname Kreider. I flipped to the list of Robinson's cartooning friends to whom he expressed gratitude, and sure enough, Tim Kreider was listed.

Later in the book, one of the overlapping speech balloons in the party scene contains the title of Kreider's comic, "The Pain -- When Will It End?"

Do yourself a favor and read the entire archives.

Of particular interest to you superhero-types are The League of Indecency and More Superheroes Nobody Wants to See.

And by far the most useful one for my own life, Our New Line of Greeting Cards.

But seriously, read them all. And buy his books. So I command!


I cheated.

I read Nausicaä while waiting for advice, since I knew nobody would tell me that I simply must read it seventh. I spotted a couple things that made me giggle like a moron.

Kurotowa is introduced and tells Princess Kushana about the state of the battles on the main front, including the armies of the Dorok principalities:

Haha. Dorks.

Later, Kurotowa explores a lost city beneath Pejitei, where he finds...

A pop culture reference, 22 years early! Damn, Miyazaki's good.

And so I can have some Western comics content: If you don't like John McCrea, you don't like comics. I'm just sayin'.


Attention Dorkwads!

I got these 20 books out of the library today, and I need your help:

David B., Epileptic (which I've already read the first half of, but I think there might be new stuff in those parts in this edition)
Chester Brown, I Never Liked You
Charles Burns, Black Hole
Darwyn Cooke, Selina's Big Score
Guy Delisle, Pyongyang
Will Eisner, The Contract with God Trilogy (of which I've read the first book)
James Kochalka, American Elf
Jeanne Martinet (and the original artists), Truer Than True Romance
Hayao Miyazaki, Nausicaa Of The Valley Of The Wind
Jim Ottaviani & Big Time Attic, Bone Sharps, Cowboys, and Thunder Lizards
Alex Robinson, Box Office Poison and Tricked
Marjane Satrapi, Persepolis, Persepolis 2, and Embroideries
Seth, Clyde Fans Book One, Wimbledon Green, and It's a Good Life, If You Don't Weaken
Bryan Talbot, The Tale of One Bad Rat
Bill Willingham (& various artists), The Sandman Presents: Taller Tales

They're due in three weeks (though I can renew them online if there are no holds). Where the hell do I start? Where the hell do I keep them? What the hell was I thinking?

I'm still in the middle of a novel and a David Foster Wallace short story collection, too.


Inspiration strikes!

During my nightly jaunt 'round the blogodome, I came across Mike's latest entry.

One quotation in particular struck my fancy:

"no it wouldnt...stupid thread...ur being stereotypical here.."

I thought, "What if Superman were an illiterate internet-thing?"


Dear Mr. Bendis,

I wouldn't have minded an issue of Powers with only 26 story pages. Really.

I can only hope this is all leading up to a scene in which all the spoken-word people gather to tell each other how brilliant they are and get splattered by a meteor hurled from orbit by the superpowered team of Henry Rollins and Russell Simmons. If that happens, all will be forgiven.



PS: Thank you for giving the current issue's malcontent some dialogue that I can't possibly mock in ways that everyone who read the issue hasn't already thought of. It makes both our jobs easier.

PPS: Also, thank you for making Ultimate Spider-Man good again. Please never add terrible ranting loons to that book.


Not Safe For Work At All

Back in August of last year, Kevin did post a wondrous post, introducing me (and I'm guessing, many others) to the world of Iceman. Be sure to heed the warning in that post and consider it to apply to this one (and the comments! (thanks, Spencer!)) too.

I've been looking back there occasionally, often with dismay at the number of things that have been removed. At least the Teen Titans and Robin/Clayface pictures are still there to amuse and horrify (respectively).

But sometimes, there's a new comic.

A new comic that shows us Blob's penis, Beast's anus, and Xavier's leadership. And let's not forget that Wolverine's cock has an elbow (click through to page 13 for that!).

I have to wonder whether Scott shaves, or if he just uses his optic blasts Superman-style.


Too lazy to Google.

I would like to know two things:

  1. When "No quarter asked, none given." was first used in a comic book.
  2. When it was used a second time.
The first is forgivable. The second is not.

Comic book writers: Please never use this cliché or any of its variants, except in the broadest of parodies, or, I suppose, in reference to a mute, unsuccessful beggar.

Thank you.

Bonus link!


The reluctant comics-based Valentine.

This would have been timely if Blogger had let me publish it. Oh well.


Why I love comics.

Sometimes, I'll read something—a story, a page, a single panel—and realize that an artist I've never met has tapped into a part of my life, rendering it for a worldwide audience.

Or as Roberta Flack sang,

I felt all flushed with fever, embarrassed by the crowd,
I felt he found my letters and read each one out loud.

Of course, one usually hopes that it wouldn't be as embarrassing as the page that spoke to me in Craig Thompson's Carnet De Voyage. This was my life from 1997 to 2002:

(Click to see the full page.)

I laughed until I stopped[1].

From the same book, here are some adorable porcupines:

[1] For further hilarity, see also: John Hodgman's The Areas of My Expertise. The list of 700 hobo names is of particular interest to those conversant in the nerdly arts.


Shock! Horror!

I'm outraged, let me tell you.

Thanks to Mike's post last week, I was looking forward to tonight's Bones, only to find a disturbingly biased portrayal of comic readers.

While investigating the death of a teenager who dressed like a superhero, Bones and Angel come across a handful of elderly teenagers on the roof of a comic shop, also dressed vaguely as superheroes.

What about the dozens of us who hang out on the roof of Borders and pretend to travel though Europe or to North Korea, grow up in Iran, pee on our brothers, become involved in a pansexual love triangle, go to a school of badasses in Japan, live in a Bronx tenement, collect comic books, or wreak vengeance on an Irish mob family who betrayed us?

Shame on you, 20th Century Fox Television.


Just when I thought I was out...

Always remember...

There's really no excuse for this sort of thing.

(The master list.)



First, my mean-spirited, political Superman thing:

Second, for the people who complain that Nextwave doesn't treat Boom-Boom with the proper respect or that H.A.T.E. and the Beyond Corp couldn't possibly exist in the Marvel Universe or whatever: Always remember...

(Oh, how I love the Etheric Loop Recall Televocometer.)

Finally, and apropos of nothing, I don't think I'll ever be able to refer to the writer of A Complete Lowlife and Sleeper as anything other than Ed "Irn" Brubaker. This is a personal failing of mine, and I take full responsibility.

(The master list.)


Always remember... (#2)

Does he even go to this school?

I was already planning it before Spencer said anything. And I'd already made it when Chris made his.

(Coming soon: I finally do that Superman thing I've been threatening since I got the Showcase book. Hilarity ensues.)

(The master list.)


Always remember...

Late to the party, but I had to add to Dorian's list.


Thank you, Rich Johnston.

When I read Ultimate Extinction #1, I had an intense feeling of déjà vu during the Ultimate Misty Knight part of the book.

The whole setup seemed very familiar, and when I saw the reveal of Ultimate Silver Surfer, I knew there would be a sniper in the same building as UMK. I knew she'd chase her down the stairs. I felt like I'd read the entire thing before, even though I knew there was no way I could have.

I was going to ask here if it seemed familiar to anyone else, but I didn't want to seem crazy.

In the latest Lying in the Gutters column, Rich Johnston links to Warren Ellis's End Times script and compares passages from it to the published Ultimate Extinction #1.

After I followed the link and read the introductory paragraph, I knew I'd read that script before. So it turns out I'm not crazy*. Thanks, Rich.

* Well, not because of that.


I hate myself.

I had to listen to My Humps for the first time ever to do this. I hope it was worth the damage it did to my soul.


Well gee, Bob...

(From JLA #124, written by Bob Harras.)

Whatever could he mean?

I'm looking forward to the response in a few months, when JMS awkwardly crams the word "Elseworlds" into Fantastic Four. Revenge!


It's been a while.

But not as long as it's been since Spencer posted.

I finished Bizarro World last night, and even though Kevin just described it as such, I can't think of a better word than delightful. It improves greatly on Bizarro Comics, due in large part to the removal of the overlong framing story. With one notable exception (the Batman musical, but let's face it—even Alan Moore can't manage a 'musical' comic), I was grinning throughout the entire book. It was wonderfully arranged, too. I often found myself thinking, "Wow! Best one yet!" only to think the exact same thing for the next story. Let's go ahead and call that the Anthology of the Year.

And let's call that my yearly awards thing. Moving on...

After not going to the nearby Borders for a couple months, I went there a couple weeks ago to find that their manga section had doubled in size (still no Cromartie High School*, though they did have one copy of the first Antique Bakery), as had their single-issue last-month's-comics section. I went there again today and found a lot more, let's call them, real comics too. (Hmm. Wonder who that'll annoy.) They had Epileptic, Carnet De Voyage, a The Incal GN, many copies of the Runaways digests, the Showcase Presents collections of Superman and Green Lantern, and several other things I'd never seen there.

(I could never find those Showcase Presents books on Amazon—turns out including 'DC' in the search causes it to utterly fail. Also, the subsequent volumes are only $11.55 there. Not bad at all.)

I was so overwhelmed by those (and a $19 CD, which is ridiculous) that I had to retreat back to my home and request a bunch of (which is to say, three) interlibrary loans.

* Of which chapter 58 is the best so far. I ♥ that book. Manga of the Year!