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CSBG Archive

What I bought – 12 October 2011

But novelists write for countless reasons: for money, for fame, for reviewers, for parents, for friends, for loved ones; for vanity, for pride, for curiosity, for amusement: as skilled furniture makers enjoy making furniture, as drunkards like drinking, as judges like judging, as Sicilians like emptying a shotgun into an enemy’s back. I could fill a box with reasons, and they would all be true, though not true of all. Only one same reason is shared by all of us: we wish to create as real as, but other than the world that is. (John Fowles, from The French Lieutenant’s Woman)

Yes, Glenn Fabry drew this in 2005! I'm not sure what's going on with Williams' obsession with X-rays in this issue Kalvachev does some nice covers for this series, I'll tell you what Man, talk about zipping along! This could get messy He's just a dude who likes his vodka and milk, man! 'Nuff said! Well, holy crap He's auditioning for Flashdance! So sad it's over! Who doesn't love evil Boy Scouts?

Atomika #12 (of 12) (“Genesis and Catastrophe”) by Andrew Dabb (writer), Sal Abbinanti (creator/penciller/inker), Buzz (inker), Beth Sotelo (colorist), and Dave Sharpe (letterer). $2.99, 26 pgs, FC, Mercury Comics.

The Atomika Saga is long and convoluted, and it’s even longer and convoluteder for me than for the creators involved, because this book actually came out in June, I believe, but I just got it last week. If you don’t remember Atomika, well, that’s not surprising. Issue #11 shipped in early November 2009. 2009!!!!! Let’s check out the history of when these issues came out:

#12: June 2011
#11: 4 November 2009
#10: 12 August 2009
#9: 1 July 2009
#8: 17 June 2009
#7: 3 May 2006
#6: 25 January 2006
#5: 15 December 2005
#4: 10 August 2005
#3: 1 June 2005
#2: 27 April 2005
#1: 9 March 2005

Now that’s a publication history! Atomika began at Speakeasy, which went under after issue #4, explaining (I assume) the gap between issues #4 and 5. I’m not sure what happened after issue #7, but it took three years before another issue came out. Then, tantalizingly, the penultimate issue came out and we had to wait almost 18 months for the conclusion. Phew! Then, I returned to Arizona after spending May and June in Pennsylvania, and my shop did not have issue #12. My retailer got shorted on his order (I think he ordered 2 and only 1 showed up) and he had to re-order it. However, Diamond told him new copies weren’t available and they cancelled his order. Finally, I contacted Sal Abbinanti directly, and he was swell enough to send me a copy of issue #12, free of charge. That was very cool of him. So now I have read it, and the question is – was it worth the wait?

Well, I can’t say anything is worth that long a wait. I mean, that’s a long wait for something, innit? However, I can say that Atomika is one of those magnificent comic books that makes you believe that there’s a future for this wacky medium, after all. At its core, it’s a superhero battle, one staged on an epic scale, but still. Our hero, Atomika, one of the gods of the Russian pantheon, has been fighting against several evil things arrayed against him, and in the final issue, he needs to fight his son, Chernobyl, and his mentor, Arohnir. He does so, and you might think that’s all this is. But, throughout the book, Dabb and Abbinanti have managed to make Atomika a character with more depth than your average superhero, and because he’s also a god, he needs to consider his worshippers and their feelings as well. So this final issue is less about the fights (he fights, to be sure, but they’re somewhat short) and more about what a god does when he realizes he’s obsolete. Does he rage and demand obeisance, or does he allow his worshippers to move on? As Atomika has moved through this book, he could go either way, so his choice is interesting. In many ways, Dabb and Abbinanti have made a “Soviet” comic book – I’ve mentioned this before – in that Abbinanti’s marvelous artwork is reminiscent of Soviet propaganda art – large spreads, iconic images, appeals to emotion – and Dabb’s writing evokes a sense of destroying the old and substituting the new. Is Atomika part of the old or the new? That’s the question that haunts him throughout the comic.

I wish Atomika had found a larger audience and that it had managed to come out in a timely fashion. It’s a stunning book, taking the sense of awe we should feel when we read superhero comics and mixing that deftly with a grounded sense of people yearning for a better world. Despite the fact that the regular folk in Atomika get very few speaking lines, they’re always there, haunting, watching, accusing, worshipping our hero and his ilk, and Abbinanti and Dabb have done a wonderful job making us identify with the shapeless and voiceless masses. The book, thankfully, has been collected into two trades (a giant-sized omnibus would be nice, but I’m not holding my breath), but I’m not even sure those are still in print (it appears volume 1 is, but I don’t know about volume 2). Abbinanti will be at the New York con this weekend (he’s at the Alex Ross booth, supposedly, but he was supposed to be at the Ross booth in San Diego, and I never saw him!), and I encourage you to stop by and say hello and check out his work. Atomika is a superb comic, and it deserves to be read!

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Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ½ ☆

One totally Airwolf panel:

Well, he'll get plenty of that!

Batwoman #2 (“Hydrology Part 2: Infiltration”) by J. H. Williams III (writer/artist), W. Haden Blackman (writer), Dave Stewart (colorist), and Todd Klein (letterer). $2.99, 22 pgs, FC, DC.

I’m really starting to hate bleach-white Kate. I’m totally serious – it’s actually affecting my enjoyment of this excellent comic book, because I can’t stop thinking that Maggie Sawyer will just suddenly say, “So what’s up with the zombie look? ‘Cause it ain’t workin’ for you.”

Anyway, you know the drill – Williams is as dazzling an artist as is working today, so he does nice stuff even in the “mundane” aspects of the book – Kate and Maggie’s date is a nice example, with Kate moving through the club a good touch. Batwoman’s presence at the crime scene is well done, too – she’s hiding in the rafters the whole time, and Williams does a good job obscuring her. It is, not surprisingly, a gorgeous comic.

The story of the folklore woman who steals children is interesting, too, but it’s overshadowed a bit by the Religion of Crime nonsense. I’ve never liked this plot, because even in a Gotham City populated by Killer Croc and Two-Face and the other crazies, it seems too fantastical. I don’t know why this is, but it’s never resonated with me. I don’t know if Williams is simply going to mix the abduction story with the Religion of Crime subplot or if the Religion of Crime thing is a really long-running thread, but either way, it’s annoying. I really can’t be more specific than that – sometimes things in fiction work for certain people, and sometimes they don’t. This one just doesn’t, and I can’t really figure out why.

Anyway, despite my sticking to the trades for all the new DCnU books, I was buying this in singles before the reboot and I’ll keep buying it in singles now. Plus, I hate waiting to gaze upon Williams’s astonishing artwork. Wow. I wish all superhero books looked half this good.

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ½ ☆ ☆

One totally Airwolf panel:

Dang, it's an ultimatum!

Blue Estate #6 (“Point of No Return”) by Viktor Kalvachev (writer/artist/colorist), Andrew Osborne (writer), Toby Cypress (artist), and Nathan Fox (artist). $2.99, 23 pgs, FC, Image.

Halfway through the first “season” of Blue Estate, Kalvachev and Osborne are pulling things together just a little bit – some of the threads get picked up on and spliced together, so Rachel Maddox visits her brother, who’s being threatened by the Italian mobsters and whose pictures are being taken by Roy Devine, who believes she’s visiting a lover and thinks he has his client, Bruce Maddox, a scoop. Then there’s Rachel’s scheme with Johnny, her sponsor, which comes together in an interesting way, as well. As usual, it’s gleefully delirious, and it’s very cool to see things start to coalesce. As with the best noir, Kalvachev and Osborne began by throwing all sorts of seedy types into the comic, and only now are they starting to intersect in fascinating and potentially violent ways. I love stories like this, and I’m loving this comic.

I should mention the art, as it’s as solid as ever. Kalvachev coloring the entire thing probably helps, because he allows Fox’s manic intensity and Cypress’s more languid lines to come through but he also helps make the look of the book more uniform. So far, even with more artists than just Kalvachev, Fox, and Cypress, it’s worked very well, and I do hope that Kalvachev can keep at least these two guys throughout the book’s run, or add similar artists who complement the book’s look as well as they do. It’s an interesting way to do the book, but it continues to work.

Kalvachev was nice enough to send me the first trade of this series, which collects the first four issues. If you’re into reading your comics that way, I just wanted to let know you that it’s out there. Blue Estate is a very cool comic, and I’m glad it’s doing well enough to keep going.

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Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆

One totally Airwolf panel:

Men R Idjits!

Morning Glories #13 by Nick Spencer (writer), Joe Eisma (artist), Alex Sollazzo (colorist), and Johnny Lowe (letterer). $2.99, 34 pgs, FC, Image.

Here’s another comic that spent a while establishing things and confusing the hell out of the readers, and now Spencer has seemingly decided that it’s time to kick things up a bit. This is the beginning of a new arc, and after what Casey discovered last issue, it’s about her attempts to escape the academy with the help of her new ally. Of course, things don’t always go as planned at Morning Glory school, do they?

Spencer does a nice job kind of reminding us who’s who and what their deals are before launching into the big scheme, which involves Plato’s cave somehow (well, I guess it’s a reference to Plato’s cave – who knows, really?) and gets screwed up in a way that will lead to many complications in future issues. As always with an issue of Morning Glories, there’s the vague sense of dissatisfaction (at least for me) because everyone seems to calm about the fact that the faculty wants to kill the students (it seems), but I try to ignore it and go along. Spencer gives us a solid issue that opens up whole new avenues of possibilities for the series, shouts out to artist Nick Pitarra (at least I assume he or Eisma does), and manages to do a 34-page comic that costs $2.99. The early issues of the series were intriguing because of the weirdness going on, but it’s nice to see that Spencer realizes that, at some point, you need to start moving forward. I’m glad he has.

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ½ ☆ ☆

One totally Airwolf panel:


Northlanders #45 (“The Icelandic Trilogy Part 4: Conversion 999″) by Brian Wood (writer), Declan Shalvey (artist), Dave McCaig (colorist), and Travis Lanham (letterer). $2.99, 20 pgs, FC, DC/Vertigo.

Wood begins the second part of “The Icelandic Trilogy” (yes, it’s nine issues long, but it’s still a trilogy!) over a hundred years after the events of issue #44, with the fifth generation of Haukssons running the island and still engaged in their feud with the Belgarssons. Wood starts the issue with an awesome assassination attempt of Brida Hauksson, who really runs the island (her brother, Mar, is a swell guy but a bit of a goofball who always needs money, apparently). So Brida gets some nasty revenge, but then a game-changer is introduced into the feud – Christianity. A Spanish priest shows up and tells Brida some news that makes her very worried. I’m not sure why it does, but I’m sure Wood will get into it more next issue. I mean, I can understand why she’d be angry, but I assume the dire circumstances that she foresees have to do with the larger structure of Christianity at the end of the first millennium. Still, Iceland is so isolated that I’m not sure how dire her foreboding can be. We’ll see.

Anyway, as with most first issues of a story in Northlanders, Wood does a wonderful job setting the scene. We also get Shalvey’s very nice art, so that’s cool. Where Azaceta was good for showing the rough beginnings of the Hauksson’s dominion, Shalvey is a bit better at showing the slightly (very slightly) softer side of “civilized” Iceland a century later. And his splash page (which you can see at his blog) is amazing. So, yeah, another good issue of Northlanders. What a surprise! (And I’m not poking the bear this time around, so Wood, if he’s reading, can just take satisfaction that at least one schmuck continues to enjoy his Viking saga!)

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ½ ☆ ☆

One totally Airwolf panel:

Yeah, don't fuck with Brida

Pigs #2 (“Prodigal”) by Nate Cosby (writer), Ben McCool (writer), Breno Tamura (artist), Chris Sotomayor (colorist), and Rus Wooton (letterer). $2.99, 22 pgs, FC, Image.

The second issue of Pigs screeches to a halt from the frenetic pace of the issue #1, and I’m not sure that’s the best move. Yes, we needed to get some backstory about the sleeper cell and their activities in the U.S., but the first issue ended on such a neat cliffhanger that I was a bit disappointed that Cosby and McCool didn’t go back to it. I think the way they presented issue #1, with scenes from “the present” showing the fallout from the cell’s arrival in the country mixed with scenes from “the past” where we saw them entering the country, would have been fine, even if they couldn’t do that for long. It seems like that strategy would have been effective for a few more issues, at least.

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Because issue #2 is far slower and duller than issue #1. It’s still an intriguing comic, of course, but the fact that everything takes place in a linear fashion and shows one small step on the cell’s journey means it’s less intense and less exciting. The cell needs the help of Felix, who has been living in America for years, and we know he’s going to help them even though he protests when they first show up that it’s not his life or war anymore. We know he’s going to help, we know how they will get him to help, and so the entire issue feels a bit padded with no emotional payoff, because it’s fairly standard storytelling. The interesting part of the book is the flashback to Felix’s childhood, because it shows that maybe he’s the wrong guy to fuck with. But we could have had that, Felix joining the cell, and more from “the present” and the book would have moved more briskly. There’s no reason to slow it down so much right now, especially because we don’t really know the characters all that well and so any emotional resonance this issue might have is muted anyway.

Still, I’m liking Pigs so far. We’ll see what happens next time!

(Oh, and I wanted to ask something. Felix is helping his kid with her algebra homework. He tells her that if she doesn’t learn it, she’ll fail math and have to “repeat the third grade.” In what universe is a school teaching a student algebra in third grade? Is he joking? The kid’s age is indeterminate – she could be in seventh grade, which is when most people I know started rudimentary algebra, but she could also be young enough for third grade – but I’m just not sure if Felix is kidding or not. Does anyone know any schools that are teaching algebra, no matter how simplistic, in third grade? I honestly don’t know – my daughter is only in first grade.)

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ½ ☆ ☆ ☆

One totally Airwolf panel:

But you are required to enjoy my manly chest hair!

S.H.I.E.L.D. #3 (“The Fall”) by Jonathan Hickman (writer), Dustin Weaver (artist), Sonia Oback (colorist), and Todd Klein (letterer). $2.99, 20 pgs, FC, Marvel.

Despite the fact that there are hardly any words in this comic, it’s still one that takes a while to read, because it’s so much fun looking at Weaver’s gorgeous artwork. Sure, the entire point of the issue is summed up in the final two pages, so maybe Hickman could have gotten us there a bit more quickly, but he wanted to let Weaver cut loose with the Star Child destroying Underground Rome, and by God, that’s what he got!

I mean, honestly, what really is there to say? Weaver gives us page after beautiful page of the Star Child, who went a bit nuts last issue, zapping buildings. Everyone tries to stop it, to no avail. Finally, what’s-his-name – the glowing dude – speaks to it in binary code or something, and it disappears into the future (the year 2060, maybe?). Ta-da! All is set. No, it’s not the most labor-intensive of issues from Hickman’s point of view. Yes, the book comes out every two months, so we have to wait until December to find out what happens next. But you know what? It’s still awesome. KA-BLAMMO!!!!!

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ½ ☆ ☆

One totally Airwolf panel:

Every human in this panel should have a thought balloon over them reading 'shit' in their native language

The Unexpected #1. “The Great Karlini” by Dave Gibbons (writer/artist) and Angus McKie (colorist); “Dogs” by G. Willow Wilson (writer), Robbi Rodriguez (artist), José Villarrubia (colorist), and Sal Cipriano (letterer); “Look Alive” by Alex Grecian (writer), Jill Thompson (artist), and Travis Lanham (letterer); “The Land” by Joshua Dysart (writer) and Farel Dalrymple (artist); “A Most Delicate Monster” by Jeffrey Rotter (writer), Lelio Bonaccorso (artist), Cris Peter (colorist), and Travis Lanham (letterer); “Family First” by Mat Johnson (writer), David Lapham (artist), Lee Loughridge (colorist), and Pat Brosseau (letterer); “Alone” by Joshua Hale Fialkov (writer), Rahsan Ekedal (artist), José Villarrubia (colorist), and John J. Hill (letterer); “Americana” by Brian Wood (writer), Emily Carroll (artist), and Jared K. Fletcher (letterer); “Blink” by Selwyn Seyfu Hinds (writer), Denys Cowan (penciller), Don Hudson (inker), Dave McCaig (colorist), and Jared K. Fletcher (letterer). $7.99, 70 pgs, FC, DC/Vertigo.

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This comic is really inappropriately named, because almost nothing in it is “unexpected” in any way. Grampá’s amazing cover is about the most unexpected thing in it! It’s basically a horror anthology, which is fine, but I guess Vertigo thinks we’ll be surprised by the twists in this book? If so, they need to rethink things, because if anyone is surprised by these stories, they’ve never read genre fiction in their entire lives.

Maybe I’m overthinking these stories. But I didn’t name the comic! I mean, let’s check it out: Gibbons tells a story about an escape artist who marries his mentor’s daughter. The mentor tells the escape artist if he ever makes the daughter unhappy, he (the mentor) will kill the escape artist. Does the escape artist make the daughter unhappy????? Who can say?????? Then, Wilson gives us a story in which humans act like dogs and dogs are more compassionate than humans. What could be the consequence of that????? Grecian’s story is about a zombie who tries to pass as human. It’s clever but nothing unexpected happens. The next tale is about a Mexican farmhand whose employer’s grandson is killed, and while the Mexican knows what really happened, I wonder if the local yokel law enforcement will think that he himself, a filthy wetback, had something to do with it????? Rotter’s story is about an effete scientist who is able to clone Neanderthals and believes they are simple animals. Protestors want to introduce the Neanderthals to “regular” society, but the scientist believes they are happy as they are, and takes the Neanderthal on a field trip to prove it. What might happen????? “Family First” is about kids who live in a barren wasteland and keep talking about protecting the family. Aw, isn’t that nice? Come on – do you really think they’re benign????? In “Alone,” a dude who is thinking about cheating on his wife (live-in girlfriend?) dies in a car accident and comes back to haunt his own house, where he discovers something horrible about her. What could it be????? Brian Wood and Emily Carroll’s “Americana” is part of something larger Wood was working on, so it doesn’t have the “hook” of a lot of the stories, but it’s still a fairly standard “People are killing the planet” story. Finally, “Blink” is the first part of a new series, “Voodoo Child,” and if you think you’re going to get a story about New Orleans that doesn’t mention Marie Laveau, well, you’ve never read a comic book set in New Orleans, have you?????

You might think I hated this comic because I’m so snarky about it. Well, I didn’t. The stories aren’t bad, after all, they just fall into fairly normal stereotypes about horror and even about characterization (well, of course the cops in southern Texas in the 1950s are a bunch of racists who don’t care about solving a case the right way and instead blame the Mexican farmhand!). If you just read them without caring too much about the fact that they’re pretty predictable, there’s plenty of charming parts to them. Rotter’s story about the Neanderthals is pretty hilarious, even if we know what’s coming. And the art is great throughout. Gibbons and Thompson are always solid, of course. Rodriguez makes the dogs in Wilson’s story extremely creepy. Dalrymple’s art is probably not to everyone’s taste, but I always like to see it. Bonaccorso’s cartoonish art helps make the Neanderthal story even more effective. It’s always great to see Lapham drawing something. Ekedal continues to get better, and the way he shows how Darin perceives the world after he dies is very cool. Carroll is also a very good artist who deserves a wider audience. And Cowan kills on the Voodoo Child story – I’ve always liked Cowan’s art, but this is really stunning (Hudson’s strong inks and McCaig’s colors undoubtedly have something to do with that). So while the stories aren’t great, this is definitely worth a look, because anthologies are neat-o and it’s always nice to see creators who don’t always get a lot of recognition working for the big boys. Aren’t those enough reasons to splurge on this book?

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Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ½ ☆ ☆ ☆

One totally Airwolf panel:

Huq needs his own series, right quick

Who Is Jake Ellis? #5 (of 5) (“Are You Listening?”) by Nathan Edmondson (writer) and Tonci Zonjic (artist). $2.99, 24 pgs, FC, Image.

Who Is Jake Ellis? finally concludes, and while it might not quite reach the heights of the first issue, the answer (or half-answer) to Jon Moore and Jake’s curious relationship goes about as well as it can, and even the ending, which in these kinds of things is often contrived, feels like something that would actually happen. Edmondson does leave some things tantalizingly unanswered, but that’s okay, because, again, it feels like that’s the way it would really go down. I do like Jon’s blunt solution to one problem – people should sometimes learn to keep their mouths shut – and he does a nice job with the showdown aspect of the issue. Zonjic is wonderful, too – not just the pencil work, but the way the book is colored sets the mood really well. Jon and Jake begin in a bland, bureaucratic hallway, but once Jon penetrates the dark recesses of the complex, we get sickly yellow and antiseptic white and bloody red, giving us a nice tableau through which our hero moves. It works very well for the mood Edmondson is creating.

I’m not sure if this is worth a hardcover purchase, which has been solicited by Image already. It’s definitely worth a trade, though, so you might want to wait for that. Or you could buy the hardcover! It’s your choice! That’s what free will is all about, people!

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆ ☆

One totally Airwolf panel:

Jon doesn't want to hear that at this moment, does he?

Bloom County: The Complete Library volume 5: 1987-1989 by Berkeley Breathed (writer/artist). $39.99, 285 pgs, BW/FC, IDW/Library of American Comics.

I’ll say it again: Dang, this is awesome. It appears there’s going to be a complete “Outland” book, too, which should be nice. When “Outland” ran, I was often places where the newspaper didn’t run it, so I missed quite a lot of it. So I’m very curious. I can’t wait until Sean Connery shows up in the strip!

Troop 142 by Mike Dawson (writer/artist). $20.00, 256 pgs, BW, Secret Acres.

I haven’t loved the stuff Mike Dawson has done, but I’ve liked it enough to check this out. It sounds a little like “Lord of the Flies Boy Scout Camp,” and I can get behind that concept!

Well, that’s it again. I’m doing a good job sticking to my “Buy DC in trades” policy, and it helps that even though I liked a lot of the #1 issues, none of them really made me think “I NEED to buy issue #2 right away!!!!!” Animal Man, Swamp Thing, Batman, Wonder Woman, All Star Western – I can wait for the trades on all of them. I don’t know if I’m just getting old or if the first issues just weren’t as great as they could have been. I’m probably getting old.

It’s October, which usually means I’m really digging sports, but this year – yuck. The Phillies got bounced in the first round by a team I was terrified of, the Cardinals, and while I was disappointed, I wasn’t as bummed as I might have been. The Phillies won 102 games, after all, and the playoffs are increasingly a crapshoot, where one bad game that means nothing in the regular season might mean you’re not playing anymore. I’ve gotten more into this mindset over the past decade – winning the championship is nice, but the fact that the Phillies have been one of the three best teams in baseball over the past five years feels pretty good, too. World Series wins are nice, but consider: In 2004, the St. Louis Cardinals, who just knocked out the Phillies, won 105 games and got swept in the World Series; in 2006, the St. Louis Cardinals won 83 – EIGHTY-THREE! – games and won the World Series in 5 games. Which was a better team, really? I absolutely hate the Cardinals and have for years, so I’m rooting for any other team to win the World Series, but still – it’s a crapshoot. Meanwhile, I’m usually following the Eagles as well, but they’re 1-4 and falling apart, and I think that as good as Andy Reid has been for the team, it might be time for him to go. I didn’t buy into the hype about the Eagles after their free agent spree, but they have to be better than 1-4, don’t they? The Andy Reid Era is the best in Eagles history (the team hasn’t even won a Superbowl in this era, but they’ve been in the playoffs – again, a crapshoot – almost every year, and given the Eagles’ sad history, that’s amazing), but I think he’s run his course. It’s sad that I’m most interested this October in my alma mater’s team, because Penn State’s offense looks like it’s being run by tribesmen from New Guinea who’ve never seen a football game in their lives. And they still have a good chance to win 9 or more games! Sheesh.

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I’ve watched a few more television shows since I last wrote about them, too. The Playboy Club was the first show to get the axe, which is good because it sucked. Terra Nova is idiotic fun, and it’s nice to see that they hired Stephen Lang, who’s a graduate of the Sam Elliot School of Acting. I had some hopes for Suburgatory, because I had read some nice stuff about it, but man! was it boring (and this despite starring Steve the Pirate – I’m always interested in what he’s doing – and the very cute Jane Levy, who continues the disturbing trend on network shows of casting girls well over 18 – Levy is at least 20 – to play 15- or 16-year-olds; Sarah Hyland is another example of this, and isn’t it vaguely creepy?). I’m morbidly curious about Grimm and Once Upon a Time (even though the idea of “updating” fairy tales for the modern world is already played out), but I doubt if I’ll stick around past a first episode unless I’m very pleasantly surprised. Man, the new television season blows. No wonder network television is dying on the vine.

But enough of that! Let’s take a gander at The Ten Most Recent Songs On My iPod (Which Is Always On Shuffle):

1. “Empire”Queensrÿche (1990) “I’m sorry … it’s starting to hit me like … a two-ton heavy thing”
2. “Charlie Sheen”King’s X (2000) “I don’t want to hate you for what you’re not sorry for”1
3. “One Tree Hill”U2 (1987) “A sun so bright it leaves no shadows, only scars”
4. “(Thru) the Gates of the Big Fruit”Urban Dance Squad (1991) “The closest heaven considered as loot”
5. “Misty Mountain Hop”Led Zeppelin (1971) “Why don’t you take a good look at yourself and describe what you see, and baby, baby, baby, do you like it?”
6. “Light Up”Styx (1975) “Every day’s a holiday when your lips meet mine”2
7. “Good Enough For Now”“Weird Al” Yankovic (1986) “You’re sort of everything I ever wanted; you’re not perfect, but I love you anyhow”
8. “Drop Dead Legs”Van Halen (1984) “I get a nu-nu-nothin’ but the shakes over you”
9. “Principal’s Office”Young MC (1989) “Forget class, I’ma shoot some ball – with the late pass I got no trouble at all”3
10. “Foolin'”Def Leppard (1983) “On and on we rode the storm, the flame has died, the fire has gone”4

1 Yes, it’s weird how prescient King’s X is. Of course, Charlie Sheen has been a fuck-up for years, hasn’t he?

2 I first heard this song at my uncle and aunt’s house in Cherry Hill, New Jersey. He was eight years younger than my dad, so he came of age in the late 1960s and 1970s, and his taste in music was much less square than my dad’s and mom’s. He was a cool dude.

3 My daughter heard this song and decided to dance wackily to it, because she’s wacky. She also knows the (admittedly easy) lyrics to “Peaches” by The Presidents of the United States of America and the chorus of Prince’s “Starfish and Coffee.” My daughter, in case you didn’t know, is awesome (she likes the “Look out!” in “Peaches”). My wife uploaded the video of her dancing to Facebook, because she’s crazy that way.

4 Yes, I know this recently came up on my iPod. Since then it was reset accidentally. It’s very annoying.

And yes, we’ll do a Totally Random Movie Quote. Why do you ask?

“I had the most absurd nightmare. I was poor and no one liked me. I lost my job, I lost my house, Penelope hated me and it was all because of this terrible, awful Negro.”

Man, that’s a funny movie. This one is far too easy, isn’t it?

Have a wonderful day, everyone. Don’t take any wooden nickels!


How many volumes of Bloom County will there be? I want to purchase them, but if there’s like 7 or 8, I might not. If there’s only 5, then I’m down

Trading Places. From the good old days, when Eddie Murphy and Dan Aykroyd were genuinely funny. I need to re-watch that sometime soon.

For some reason, I read that quote from Trading Places and began to imagine how it would sound if it were performed by Bill Murray doing his Richard Burton impression.

Tom Fitzpatrick

October 13, 2011 at 8:24 pm

@ mmmm: Good news for ya! There’s only 5 volumes of Bloom County. Dunno about Outland and Opus (if IDW gets to do them too).

I personally liked the cameo of the Duke brothers from “Coming to America”, too….

Whenever that guy says that at the the beginning of “Empire”, I have to say, “ANVIL!” because that must be the “two ton heavy thing” he’s trying to think of.

No love for The Shade #1? James Robinson is back . . . or at least writing a character the same way that that he did — cheez ‘n’ crackers — almost twenty years ago. Twelve issues, a different star artist per issue . . . why not get your toes wet?

The bleached skin irks me too, but it’s been there since the beginning, so we’re just gonna have to deal. Besides, it just reinforces the idea that Kate is *SO* DIFFERENT, right…..?

The Crime Bible stuff bores me too; it really should have ended with Final Crisis. I am eagerly awaiting the return of sister Alice, though.

The dialogue’s not quite as sharp as it was under Rucka, but this title is still one of the new 52’s best.

I had almost lost hope that Atomika would be completed. What an amazing series! On a related note, I’ll say that the Jonah Weiland’s interview to Sal Abbinanti at last year’s San Diego Comic-Con was great. That guy’s hilarious.

I just re-watched Trading Places last week. It still holds up beautifully.

Because I hate myself (and money) I bought Suicide Squad #2 and I didn’t regret it.

Tom and mmmm: It appears there’s going to be one volume of Outland, as it’s in the back of the fifth volume, but I don’t know if they’re going to reprint Opus, too. We shall see!

Da Fug: Yeah, that’s a really odd beginning. I wonder where they found it.

Jason: I’m all about the trades these days! At least for DC mini-series that I know will be collected. I was tempted by The Shade, but I figure I can wait 18 months or so to read it!

Other Chris: Yeah, I guess so. I won’t rant about it all the time, but for some reason, she seemed whiter than usual in this issue.

jjc: This is why I’m waiting for trades on the new DC stuff, because first issues might not be a good indicator of a book’s quality. If Suicide Squad, for one, gets better, I may have to get the trade!

it seems to me i read DC in comics form because the trades take FOREVER to come out. Most of marvels comics are 3.99 and the trades come out rather quickly compared to dc. The DC hardcovers are also cheaply made in my opinion, compared to the Marvel editions. I almost bought The Unexpected just for that cover! R. Grampa is insane! I would kill to see him and Morrison on any collaboration.


I totally agree with you about the Cardinals. GO BREWERS!!!!!

That Batwoman panel IS airwolf, because she’s both jutting AND cold!

But according to bleeding cool, Desolation Jones is in the club scene, along with a JHW3 self portrait and a few other comics creators, I guess.

I got the first Bloom County HC at the Boston Con as one of a 3 books for 10 bucks thing. Woo hoo! Hmm, 4 more volumes, plus a volume of Outland (and maybe an Opus?)?! Good lord and butter, I might get those.

Man, I might have to dig out my Empire cassette. EMPIRE!!!

And my TV watching is limited to Ringer (although Walking Dead s2 starts Sunday!). It’s an addictive soap opera, because every time you think, good lord, this show is like suck, it’ll come back with a twist where you NEED to see the next ep. Arrgh!

But the best part of this past week’s ep was during the commercials. I saw an ad for the GL movie on DVD, and there’s an offer for whatever Batman video game there is where you buy GL and get a Batman Sinestro Corps “skin” (uh, whatever) for the game.

Except the announcer called it Sinestro “Corpse”. I swear to god they said it that way. Either the announcer’s copy was misspelled, or he doesn’t know how the word is properly pronounced.

I laughed my ass off. Try to find the ad online if you want, or just see if it’s on TV.

Ed (A Different One)

October 15, 2011 at 7:59 am

I loved me some Bloom County. I think that Breathed was at his creative (if overworked) peak when it was a daily strip back in the halcyon 80’s.

For me, Outland was, well, OK. I had high expectations for it when it came out (Breathed making funnies again, yeah!) and I appreciated the fact that he intended it to be a totally non-Bloom County strip at first, but then it just evolved into Bloom County light – I followed it devotedly but the old magic just really wasn’t there.

By the time Opus came around, I kind of lost interest and quit following it. If anybody knows how Opus ranks in comparison to the original Bloom County and Outland, I’d like to hear your opinion on the matter so I know if it’s worth seeking out any collections.

And, to me, the most heart-tugging comic strip of all time was the last episode of the original Bloom County. Just seeing the empty “anxiety closet” did it for me . . .

The glowing guy in SHIELD is Michelangelo. He doesn’t speak binary, I think he is talking in the “Quiet Math” (whatever that means). I had already forgotten who the Star Child was, but it doesn’t detract from enjoying this issue. The art by Weaver is astounding.

With respect to the Eagles, I have to disagree with your opinion that Andy Reid’s time is done. If you can accept the Phillies not winning more World Series, you should realize that football is also kind of a crapshoot at times. The Andy Reid era is the best in Philly history by far (at least, by far if you take away the short lived but good Dick Vermeil era). He is a very good coach. I think the free agent spree was a good one, the main problem seems to be the lack of linebackers and the inexperience of Juan Castillo. I think the Eagles will win tomorrow and right the ship.

I really like Blue Estate, and I have the first trade. I just wish Kalvachev would draw more of it. I like the other artists on the book too, but I really love Kalvachev’s style. It has a certain Mignola influence that just looks great, especially in a noir setting. Pherone’s story was decent but it was the art that made that a favorite for me.

I agree with you about Kate’s pasty white skin. There’s no reasonable explanation for it and it just looks weird. Does she really have skin that color and wears 100 spf, or does she put on whitening make-up? Either way it’s the one thing that looks bad on an otherwise fantastic-looking book. I’ve only read the limited series HC, but I’ll probably pick up the trade for the new series when it comes out.

Do you ever read any Dark Horse stuff? Since you like Atomic Robo so much (just got volumes 3 and 4 from Amazon), I’d think you’d like The Goon, Hellboy and B.P.R.D. I’d love to see what you think about those titles sometime.

Enrique: Thanks. I forgot it was Michelangelo. Whoops!

I certainly think Reid should get the entire season, but if they lose 10 or more games (I don’t think they will), it might be time for him to go. The regular season is far less of a crapshoot than the postseason, so I’m willing to overlook their playoff “failures” more than other people are, but I just wonder if Reid has worn thin with the players. I definitely think he should fire Castillo, but I don’t think he will. I just get bugged by Reid’s reluctance to change anything. I’m stunned that McCoy got 26 carries today – maybe this will convince Reid that he doesn’t need to let Vick throw the ball 40 times and get hit 20 times a game to have a chance to win. We’ll see – I think the Eagles can still win 9-10 games, and I would laugh if they were the team that snuck into the playoffs and then got hot at the right time and won the Super Bowl. That’s the way it is these days, it seems!

Rosselli: I rarely read Dark Horse’s ongoing series in single issues. They have such nice trades, after all. I love Hellboy and B.P.R.D., but I get them in the giant-sized hardcover editions, so by the time I read them, I don’t feel the need to review them because they’ve been around for a long time. I have given The Goon a few chances over the years, but I just don’t like Powell’s writing. His art is gorgeous, but his humor is just not funny to me. I find Atomic Robo far more clever than The Goon. I wish Powell would work just as an artist, because his art is so nice.

Too much negativity! Where’s your buddy Ivan? I don’t want to read about any comics that aren’t perfect 10s! Or higher!

P.S. New network TV shows I’m still watching: “Up All Night,” “Pan Am,” “Revenge,” “New Girl,” “A Gifted Man.”


October 16, 2011 at 3:39 pm

Halfway through the first “season” of Blue Estate, Kalvachev and Osborne are pulling things together just a little bit

I didn’t grab #6. I might get it next week, but this series has just been taking too long to come together.
The art is awesome, but there’s just not enough meat to each issue/the over arcing story for it to feel like a satisfying read each month.

The early issues of the series were intriguing because of the weirdness going on, but it’s nice to see that Spencer realizes that, at some point, you need to start moving forward. I’m glad he has.

I stopped reading Morning Glories soon after #6, but kept getting the issues.
Read them all in one go last week, and now I’m really pumped for more.
The disconnect between the teachers killing students and the students all still going along with it is odd… but what isn’t odd in this book?

Every human in this panel should have a thought balloon over them reading ‘shit’ in their native language

I think that’s the most Airwolf panel I’ve seen in a while.

Rob: Ivan is exhausting to hang out with, so I can’t do it that often or I start to be optimistic about life. THAT JUST WON’T DO!!!!

Up All Night has been cancelled, sorry!

FGJ: Perhaps you’ll feel the same way about Blue Estate as you do now about Morning Glories! I think Blue Estate is much denser than Morning Glories, but perhaps reading them all at once will be more satisfying.

That’s not what they’re saying on the Internets.


Up All Night and Whitney Get Full Season Orders; Playboy Club Canceled

Shoot, sorry about that. I got it confused with the one with Hank Azaria. Yeah, Up All Night is doing fine.


October 16, 2011 at 6:49 pm

Greg, unfortunately, I did a similar thing with Blue Estate – I had been reading it, but it wasn’t winning me over, so I read them all in one, and it still felt too slight.
When I did it with Morning Glories I was pumped up on it, and planning to read it in it’s monthly installments, but with Blue Estate, it felt lesser.
As I say, MAYBE I’ll grab last weeks issue this week, but it depends how much my wallet is hurting from all the other stuff that’s sure to be coming out.

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