Friday, October 31, 2008

Halloween mix CD

Good evening, folks- a quick heads up to let you know that, in a shocking reversal from the usual procedure, there won't be any new content tonight, as it's time for the annual Halloween movie marathon at Stately YDKFH Manor. This year's lineup: Prince of Darkness, Suspiria, Ils aka Them, and The Wicker Man (the good one, not the Nic Cage shitbucket). Over at my long-neglected music blog, Telephone Thing, I'm uploading a quick mix CD of horror soundtracks and spooky electronics and whatnot. Download before someone makes zshare yank it!

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Comics for the week of October 29, 2008

Via, as always, the Savage Critic.

Singles, loneliest number, etc

Checkmate #31. Bruce Jones, you will be called to account for what you've done. Not today, not tomorrow, but when you pass them Pearly Gates up to that there Great Bullpen in the Sky. And on that day, you will know what it is like to be mercilessly bitchslapped by the ghost of Will Eisner. "WHAT HAVE YOU DONE WITH MY BELOVED MEDIUM," he will scream, tears of rage rolling down his spectral cheeks. And you will be silent because you know there is nothing you could possibly say in your defense.
...okay, that one got a little out of hand. Moving on to more...



DC Universe: Decisions #3.

why you do this to me Dimi


i am afraid

Final Crisis: Rage of the Red Lanterns #1. Finally, a book that doesn't make me want to jump off a bridge! So yeah, here we get Geoff Johns dealing with the immediate aftermath of the Sinestro Corps War and laying the groundwork for the upcoming Darkest Night plotline. Should be fun stuff, even if the art is a bit dodgy and it looks like it has fuck-all to do with Final Crisis proper.

Hellboy in the Chapel of Moloch. Mignola returns to drawing Hellboy for a special one-shot issue? I am so up for this.

Kick Drum Comix #2. More Jim Mahfood art. I would like more of this, yes I would.

Kill Your Boyfriend. A bit of prime Morrison finally available again in the slow, slow rush to cash in on the mild sorta-success of Final Crisis. I will never understand how the marketing departments of the big two work, but I will gladly take this reprint of one of my favorite Morrison stories. Gorgeous art by Philip Bond too.

Superman and Batman vs Vampires and Werewolves #2. I must confess I haven't read the first one yet, and ominously, I haven't seen much about it on the blogospheriversamajig, which probably means it's not only not terribly good (like anyone expected it to be) but not bad enough to be worth my while. But who knows? This could be the next Nextwave. It won't be, but I shall read it and its preceding issue with no expectations and find out.

Wolverine: First Class #8. Still good. Still a book about Wolverine. My brain is having trouble reconciling these two data points.


Bat-Manga: The Secret History of Batman in Japan. Batman. 60's manga. Chip Kidd. Ridiculous Japanese Bat-Merchandise. You know you want it, and if you do, be aware that the hardcover is a bit longer than the paperback. Last I checked, Amazon still had the hardcover at a steep discount.

Green Lantern: In Brightest Day. Geoff Johns selects an anthology of his favorite Green Lantern stories. Potentially interesting, though I don't know enough of the non-Moore GL highlights to have much to say about his choices. I can, however, point and scowl at the Jim Lee cover. SCOWL

And finally, something called Extreme Curves: Phat Girls. Not that I'm going to buy it- heavens, no- I just think it's a funny title. You see, "phat" with a "ph" is how the urban people say something is bad

(which means it is good oh they are SO CRAZY)

Seriously, I thought the word "phat" had been lying in an unmarked grave just off of Route 66 since the mid-nineties. Let's leave it there, okay? Especially if you mean "fat," which from what I gather is the specific fetish addressed in this weighty tome. OH SNAP

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Comics for the week of October 8, 2008, my friends.

Singles, my friends. Did you know my opponent wants to read these singles with no predonditions? No preconditions, my friends. My friends, that's not the kind of change we can believe in.

Action Comics #870. Geoff Johns brings a decent but not overwhelming Brainiac story to what seems to me like a rushed conclusion. I've been enjoying it so far, but the last issue was unimpressive. We'll see if Johns can stick the landing.

Detective Comics #849. This is by far the best Batman RIP tie-in, by virtue of not being complete crap; Dini also pulls off the best Hush story ever written by managing to not be Jeph Loeb. This isn't to say it's great, or even particularly good, but there's a high-melodrama pulpiness that Dini can employ particularly well at times and it's on display here. Zombie hobo nurses! Catwoman's missing heart! Batman fighting a little boy hopped up on Venom! Okay, that last one was ridiculous in a bad way, and Dini's Zatanna fetish is still irritatingly obvious, but I'm having fun here despite myself. Dustin Nguyen's gorgeous art helps too.

Final Crisis: Revelations #3. The third issue in Greg Rucka's surprisingly unsurprising Final Crisis tie-in, in which we learn more about the Magic Nun of Happiness and the Question and Batwoman throw down kung fu style. And some other stuff happens, presumably, unless the book is the first five pages printed over and over again. WE WILL SEE, AND READ, AND JUDGE.

Green Lantern #35. Huzzah! "Secret Origin" is finally fucking over! It's been as competently executed as any of Johns' recent work, but was it really worth taking half a year out of a flagship title to let us know that Black Hand diddles corpses? Okay, yes, there's the retconned Darkest Night stuff, but I'm not really convinced that was necessary- surely all the references in Sinestro Corps War provided enough context. And if they didn't, just carve some space out of the back of one of the GL titles (*cough*Corps*cough*) and reprint Alan Moore's "Tygers," bang, problem solved. Oh, and don't get me started on that line from last issue about "tell the other four Inversions that they can kiss my ass," or whatever the fuck, where Johns takes what Moore clearly meant to be a vaguely mystical title ("of the Five Inversions") and literalizes it in the most painful way. Urgh. yeah, I like this book and am looking forward to this issue.

Green Lantern Corps #29. This one, on the other hand? Not so much. GLC was never less than fine during the Sinestro Corps War event, but lately it's been feeling a bit rudderless, with the rushed and unsatisfactory Mongul/Mother Mercy storyline (YES DC YOU MISS ALAN MOORE, WE GET IT, THIS WILL NOT MAKE HIM COME BACK) and the almost pointless story of the last two issues with the Eyeball Kids or whatever the hell they were called. This month's issue allegedly starts the lead-up to Darkest Night- oh goody, they're ramping up to the stuff I actually want to read!- and features the Star Sapphires. They will be the Corps of Luuuv. Righto then.

Invincible Iron Man #6. Matt Fraction wraps up his first plot arc, in which Microsoft, in the persona of Warren Ellis's Tony Stark, fights Evil Linus Torvalds, only things are settled with punchin' and force beams instead of IP law and market share. I'm going to go out on a limb here and wager that we did not in fact see Tony get his head blown off on the last page of issue 5. Call it a hunch. Also featuring a variant cover that isn't ugly and pointless! Seriously, that is a fine, fine cover. I APPROVE.

Secret Six #2. Gail Simone seems like she's having a blast writing these characters again. Presumably this issue we get more of the deeply discomfiting villain-in-a-box and more supervillains makin' catty comments durin' Six Feet Under. I can live with that!

Young Liars #8. I was going to drop this after issue 6 for being an annoying, shallow Gregg Araki script transferred to the comics page. Then issue 7 came out, I read it anyway, and now I think Lapham might have a plan for this, and that the Natural Born Killersiness of the first six issues might have been intentional. I mean, obviously it was intentional, he sat down and wrote it and drew it, I mean intentionally irritating. We'll see. But man, that last issue was bugfuck crazy. Literally.

My friends, there is a surge of trades. It's a surge that my opponent, my opponent said wouldn't work, would- would never work, can't even admit today that it has worked. Teddy Roosevelt, my hero, once said- walk, talk softly and carry a big stick. My friends, these trades talk loudly.

Batman: Black and White vol. 2. Now in an all-new, smaller edition for your convenience! But as a compromise it costs...the same? Wait what

DC Comics Goes Ape. Yes, DC is again cynically exploiting a silly Marvel event with a cheap reprint of older material. But this book contains the Mod Gorilla Boss's fight with Animal Man and you know what? That is keen.

Hellboy Library Edition vol. 2. If you like yer Hellboy big 'n' sturdy, here's another giant backbreakin' chunk o' Mignola. Cain't say as it's my thing, but some folks go fer it.

The Immortal Iron Fist vol. 3: The Book of Iron Fist. The final volume of Brubaker and Fraction's run on the title, also collecting the two one-shots. Good stuff, but if you hold off for a couple months it'll be in paperback.

Punisher MAX vol. 10: Valley Forge, Valley Forge. Or "Valley Forge, Valley Forge: The Slaughter of a US Marine Garrison and the Birth of the Punisher" if you're a stickler for detail. The last of Ennis's MAX stories, and allegedly a damn fine one. I'll be waiting on the final hardcover to read this.

Black Jack vol. 1. Also available through Diamond as a hardcover with an extra Black Jack story Tezuka apparently didn't see fit to print in the Japanese "perfect collection" these Vertical reprints are based on. Good stuff, and highly recommended. See Christopher Butcher's review for more.

Edited for a truly astounding number of typos and errors gramattical, factual and stylistic. Most amusingly "Batgirl" instead of "Batwoman;" apparently my subconscious can't believe they're finally trying to get some use out of the character either

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

dogg it must feel sick as hell to receive a knife in the face from a dude

While we're on the topic, does Bowie-Joker's speech pattern remind you of anyone?

Panel from this week's Batman #680; Photoshop MSPaint inspired by 4thletter's "Ruining the Moment" (scroll down for the doctored Achewood pages, including one that I am chagrined to find on re-reading does the same Achewood strip to much better effect. I knew I should have gone with Notorious L.I.N.C.O.L.N.

A few thoughts on Batman #680

Major spoilers for this week's Batman #680 ahead. Don't say I didn't warn you.

So apparently I'm psychic!

Let me back up a little. Yesterday's Argento video was a bit of a lark, a lazy filler post based on the belated realization that Argento's gialli nearly always feature a black-gloved killer. And interestingly, whenever we see the killer at work, said hands are nearly always played by Argento himself- Grant Morrison is the Black Glove!

But anyway, this issue's climactic introduction of the Joker to the Black Glove's superwealthy playmates brought that back to mind- the Joker's murder of El Sombrero seems like an explicit homage to one of the famous deaths in Argento's masterpiece Suspiria:

As with the last Argento clip, this is utterly NSFW. But note the red and black pattern on the floor! If that's a coincidence, I will purchase, carefully season, cook, and eat a hat.

So what if Morrison really is staging a tribute to the giallo with "Batman RIP"? Most of the central elements of the genre are present- a whodunit-style mystery, dozens of red herrings, often extreme and brutal violence, and an emphasis on madness- though in this case, not the killer's, but the putative victim's.

In this issue we finally get to see Morrison's newly reborn Joker take center stage as well- the issue is even titled after him, "The Thin White Duke of Death," and he certainly does seem to have a horrible kind of mid-70's coked-up-to-the-nostrils Bowie thing going on; hell, he's even got the same haircut. The Bowie reference seems to play into this arc's focus on showmanship and over-the-top melodrama; remember Mr. Mayhew's past in film, and consider this issue's telling line from an oil sheik-type at the Black Glove's danse macabre (in reference to the Batman of Zur-en-Arrh): "I know an impostor when I see one. Is this another of your beloved actors, doctor?" Another? Hmmmmm.

The final pages seem like they might be intended as a Big Reveal of the Black Glove's Identity- if so, it's a disappointment, as it's a character everyone was sure was involved in the conspiracy to some extent- but it'll be interesting to see how this plays out in next month's concluding issue.

An interlude: this is what it is like when Aaron and I discuss comics

Ryan (7:20:54 PM): also, everyone knew it was going to happen, but I'm still a little choked up over the Joker's murder of El Sombrero. *sniff*
Ryan (7:21:36 PM): Every DC comic for the next month should have a corner logo of his little neon-skull-in-sombrero-on-black-velvet business card and the legend "WHERE WERE YOU WHEN THE SOMBRERO DIED?".
Ryan (7:23:20 PM): NO she will debut in NEW AVENGERS and she will be LADY SOMBRERO

The Algonquin Round Table we are not.